Genre Profile: Be Legendary by Pop Evil

Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com

There are heroes and then there are legendsheroes get remembered but legends never die.– Averstu.com

.

In our first Genre Profile (formerly Genre of the Week) in ages, this song came to mind when we talk about legends. The past year and a half brought out not only the best in everyone but also legends. Doctors, nurses, law enforcement, journalists, teachers (among them) but also the common person have risked their lives to help others who were badly in need of help but have been left in the dust because of greed and ignorance.

It leads to the question of how we want to be remembered- specifically how we perceive ourselves in front of everyone and how we can make a difference.

And this is what the song is all about. Produced by the American rock music group Pop Evil, the plot looks at a group of people who find a relict of their youth- a video game machine sitting disused for many years- and decide to relive the moment when they became heroes in their game, answering all of the questions, many of which include all the „what-ifs“.

The song not only focuses on the past but it also sends a message which is „Now is our time. How do we want to be remembered?“ 

And this is where we start off with a good conversation with the older generations, asking them about their lives and how they would like to be remembered. Sometimes a look in the past can help us in the present dictate what our future should be like.  Something to think about as you listen to this song……..

.

Don’t Plan for 2020; Plan for the Now and the Future

 

Dear fellow students, former students, friends and those loving a chat with an American expatriate,

 

Over the years, many of you have taken a keen interest in knowing about my country and its culture, including those who either have been in Minnesota, where I was born and raised, or are planning to go there. I had many who have spent time in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as in New Ulm, Fargo, Worthington, Winona, Duluth  and Rochester (and the Bluffs Region). I even had a former student who was an exchange student at a high school in Waseca, located between Albert Lea and Minneapolis and is where I came into the world almost 40 years ago. Many people have been asking me what my stance is on this year’s elections and despite my voting for my candidate of choice whether I would be happy with the result.

 

I’ve decided to put this to rest before I utter a word about it to my next class- and waste a couple valuable sessions in the process, because it is a library’s worth of explaining how messed up the United States of America has become, especially since the Elections of 2001 and the infamous hanging chads.

 

Last year while preparing a presentation for a lecture with a couple colleagues, one of them had a cheek to predict the end of the world and that anything we do is fruitless at this point. At that time, we didn’t have the debates but had prominent people vying for candidacy as the next President of the US by visiting regions and communities. We didn’t have a below-the-belt style of locker talk as we had in these Elections. Despite her being a devout Christian- a Lutheran- I played down her comment as absurd and totally unrealistic.

 

I can no longer say that when I read the results and after watching the debates, while draining the keg at the same time. In fact, if the opportunity arises, I would still like to ask her whether she holds this opinion and if so, why.  In response to what I saw in the Elections, as well as everyone else, it is as follows:

The role of the President of the United States is the most unwanted, underappreciated job of any jobs in the country. To get to where you are, you have to undergo the same procedures as Homer Simpson did when he joined the Stonecutter’s Society- getting spanked with a stick and getting humiliated in the process. This is what we saw with Clinton’s e-mail scandals together with the Benghazi affair on one end, and Trump’s Aryan rhetoric during his campaign speeches, sexual harassment lawsuits and ruined businesses. Once the ass is swollen, the media exploits you like a soap opera show and turn every debate into a wrestling match regardless of gender and who is refereeing- er moderating the debate.

With every debate I’ve watched, even over a few rounds of Flensburger Flotilla and wine, the first impression I had was that any tag-team match between Velvet McIntryre and Princess Victoria vs. the Fabulous Moulah and Wendi Richter would trump the verbal spats the two candidates had. And these matches of the 1980s were real and not scripted; genuine and not choreographed, tough knuckled and not pussy-like.  And you wonder why professional wrestling of the Eighties was one of the best products broadcasted on TV.

And now what? As a new member and leader of The Stonecutter’s Society known as the President of the United States, with a swollen ass and a bruised ego, you have a country to lead, many angry people to calm down and countries to impress. My prediction is simple: you will never make it past one year. And even if you did, the United States of America will never be the same as it was before the elections took place. It was becoming a stranger during the days since 2000. With the results of the Elections and the writing on the wall, the country which I grew up, with its pride in history, culture, landscapes and even literature, with friends and family alike, has become a total stranger. It used to be an example to follow, it is now divided like Spain prior to the Civil War (1936-39), conquered by hate and segregation similar to Germany under Hitler, an anarchic state where ideas are not welcomed and selling one’s soul to Satan in order to get ahead is the norm. In four years, we could see the country as either an authoritarian state or one that is on the brink of a Nebuchadnezzar-style uprising and raid.

 

And what will become of the republic that we have followed for over 227 years?  A faded memory.

 

But it is not too late. Our votes were not fully wasted. We have a democracy but it is the one which we the people can run. While we may have voted for the lesser of two evils in the elections, it is only we who can make the changes. Why wait until the next elections in 2020 when we can make a difference now and for the future? After all, with all the hatred we expressed to our candidates and the people who supported them, it is time that we take action to handle the problems the US has on its home front, let alone with other countries. I really doubt the winner will hold to his promises, nor do I think Washington can afford to rollback policies of the Reagan era, let alone prepare for the 2020 elections. We have pressing issues to deal with. And the list is long: The environment, immigration, improving foreign relations, helping war-torn countries rebuild, rebooting health care, restructuring the education system, improving the infrastructure, and so on. No president can handle this alone in four years, if he survives it. I don’t think anybody in Washington can handle it, but bickering and bitching will be a waste of time. We’ve tried two different policies since 2000 and neither one worked. I doubt the next style of policies will be any better. Therefore it is up to us, we as an international community to handle these problems head-on.

 

Did I use the words international community?  You bet I did.

 

We are no longer the people of the United States of America. We have no association between the Republicans and Democrats. We come from different backgrounds, but have the same problems as everyone else in the world. Instead of relying on politics as a way to providing comfort, we should go out there, see how things work in other countries and regions and see if we can work them into our system and our lives. We should implement the ideas we ourselves have and ensure everyone can benefit from it. We should create agreements that will benefit everyone and not the select few. We should pray for and help those who are unloved, underappreciated, narrow-minded, helpless- strangers, friends and family alike- and open the doors for God to help and bless us whenever we and they need it. We should read the Bible, Quran and other religious works and understand why the power of work and prayer works. We should learn about the other person and include him/her in our society. If fire and war hits, we should go and help them rebuild. After all, we all have a purpose in life. It is how we handle our lives that is the hardest to do, especially if we make decisions that can alter our course for the good.

 

While the next president will make many promises and break them, it is up to us to make and carry out solutions to the problems that we are facing, for it is we who cannot afford to wait until 2020. It is we who cannot afford to watch events to unfold. It is we who cannot afford to hide behind people whose purposes are to hurt and destroy other lives for their own gain. I know that there are more than enough unloving people out there, but we need to take action to persuade these people that we the people are doing this for their good. Believe it or not, the person predicting the apocalypse at the beginning of this article, I found her such a quote some weeks later that said just that:

 

We need to love the unloving, take action to help others in need and let the world under one God decide our fate. The more good we do, the better place we’ll have for generations to come and the more pride we have in ourselves that we accomplished something our president had previously promised but never carried out.

 

The future is now, not in 2020. We have to shine now, because we are now in uncharted territory. How events will unfold will depend on our actions and not that of others. So don’t wait, act!

IMGP5251

 

I could say more but in case you want my personal opinion about the elections between Donald Trump and Hilliary Clinton, and the state the US is in, this is my honest to God truth. We can talk about how the political system works and other issues to be resolved. However, sometimes the truth can be hard to swallow and we need time to digest it before we can decide what to do next. In my opinion, I will keep teaching and talking about my culture in comparison to Germany, continue to write my column pieces, exploit the sides we don’t read and talk about, and help those who wish to have a better life. After all, that is my sole reason for being here on this planet.

FF new logo1

The Use of Time Markers in English Part III: Future Tenses B

GC32

Sticking to Pastor Tom, the German Church and some holidays, while picking up from Part A, we will now have a look at the time markers that differentiate among the five known future tenses plus the conditional would. While time markers are well known for the past and present verb tenses, many people think that time markers are rare in future tense, and if they exist, then only for all of them. One size fits all. Uniformity is everything.

Linguists, Teachers and those who are of that mentality may want to rethink this notion for a bit. As you can see in Parts One and Two, even the usage of time markers can make a difference within the given time forms. That means, time markers can separate the meanings between present simple and present continuous, as well as between present perfect and past perfect.

While there are five different types of future tenses, each type has its own set of time markers. While the preposition of time (at, in and on), next (week, month, year, etc.,) and tomorrow are used for all five forms, plus the conditional would, here are some time markers that make each future type distinctive:

PRESENT SIMPLE:

always, mostly, mainly, often, never, sometime(s),  (un-)usually, normally, traditionally,  certain days, weeks, months and years, each/every (day, week, month, year,….), daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, annually, bi-annually and regularly, there is/are

PRESENT CONTINUOUS:

(right) now, today, this (week, year, decade, evening, morning, afternoon, etc.), in a second/bit/while/moment, soon, within a given time

WILL:

(right) now, right/straight away, tonight, tomorrow, this morning/evening, in the coming days/week, for the next (…..), next (week), by morning/tonight, later, as soon as possible, (very) soon, for now/awhile, There will be, before, after, afterwards, in advance, prior to

GOING TO:

tonight, tomorrow, this morning/evening, in the coming days/week, for the next (…..), next (week), later, (very) soon, after, afterwards, sometime, someday

WILL BE + VERB-ING:

tonight, tomorrow, this evening/morning/afternoon, next (….), in a (minutes/hour), within a given time, until then/a given time, before, after

PRESENT PERFECT AS FUTURE TENSE:

by (given time), by next (week, month, etc.), by/at that time, by then, during that time, while, before (….)

WOULD AS CONDITIONAL:

If……then, Should…….then, in advance

There is some overlap among the five future tenses, but when looking at them carefully, one will see the fine print as to when and how time markers are used as well as determining what future tenses are used based on these words. One needs to pay attention to the context and how the future tense is used. The lone exception is the use of would, as it is used in Conditional II. While Conditional I features the if+ present- then will+ future, Conditional II uses would in the sense of a scenario that can happen if the bridge is crossed. Here are a couple examples to help you:

Conditional I:  If you invite me to sing at your wedding, I will come. 

Conditional II: If you invited me, I would come.

In I, a promise is made, whereas in II, it deals with a situation that either didn’t happen or may not take place.

GC33

Now for the activities-

Exercise 1.  Identify the time markers and the future verb tenses in the sentences below. Please note that there may be more than one time marker in each sentence.

  1. Erntedankfest, the German version of Thanksgiving, takes place every year on the first Sunday in October.
  2. Like in Coburg, Furth and Pulheim, Aue will have its own celebration on that day.
  3. There will be many people who are going to the event in three weeks.
  4. Unfortunately for Pastor Tom, he will have settled down in Buxtehude by then.
  5. Many farmers are bringing their harvested goods to the event on this day.
  6. Most of them will display their goods on the church’s alter for the service.
  7. A parade will be taking place after the service.
  8. Where is Pastor Tom going to celebrate Erntedankfest on this day? He will celebrate it with friends in Africa.
  9. It would be a shame to miss it, but if someone told him in advance, he would make it.
  10. But Pastor Tom is definitely celebrating the American version of Erntedankfest in the States this upcoming November.

Exercise 2. Unscramble the words to make a sentence using the correct future tense. Please note that there is a time marker in each of the group of scrambled words. Some words, including prepositions and articles may be needed.

  1. Germany/unlike/American/Thanksgiving/on the fourth Thursday/is held/November/every year.
  2. Gather/home/millions of families/for the weekend/ to eat Turkey and other foods.
  3. Pastor Tom and his family/ New York/ go/ Macy’s Thanksgiving parade
  4. He/ guest pastor/St. Patrick’s Cathedral/at/be/on/Sunday
  5. His wife/Black Friday/look forward/where/in front of/ line up/ department stores/thousands of people/ at 4:00am/ to get the best deal on Christmas gifts
  6. Her children/be/in bed/sleeping/by the time/leave/she/for Macy’s.
  7. There are/open/churches/no/stores/on Thursdays.
  8. Pastor Tom/ why/understand/doesn’t/all places/be closed/day/on/that.
  9. He/Pastor Flamingo Frank/this Sunday morning/about/concept/talk, who has signed the contract/ about/ Bamberg/fly/to/first basketball game/on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving/play.
  10. Many people/Cathedral/flock/to listen/sermon/Thanksgiving/Germany/and/America/about

Exercise 3. What do you think his sermon would look like? How would you view Thanksgiving in both Germany and America from his standpoint? Click on the links and write a sermon about it, with 50% being with future tenses and the rest with any other verb tense to your liking. Keep it simple and within a limit of 5 minutes so that the teacher and the audience can listen to it and help you with the content and grammar.

Exercise 4. In the two pictures as well as the one below, there is a statue of a family having just finished their harvest. It’s a fountain in a small town in Saxony. Can you guess where it is located and what the name of the statue is?

GC31

flefi-deutschland-logo

Don’t break with the past, learn from it

Author’s Note: This is a throwback article from October 16th, 2012 that looks at a person’s dealing with the past. People love to forget the past, yet little do they realize, that it can come back in a different form. There it is important to embrace it and learn from it so that a person can do things differently. Here’s the author’s take on it:

A short while ago, a relative of mine decided to leave everything behind and move on into the future. By leaving behind her husband of 20 years for a guy she met at a seminar at a university in Wisconsin, and giving away many items that belonged to previous relationships, gifts given to her from friends and family, and some personal items dating back to her childhood, she decided to leave the life she knew in a small town in Iowa and move on to the future, despite the fact that she recently retired from teaching art in high school and pursue a degree in history.

If people were to read this, they would say that it is totally insane, preposterous and rather mad. Yet many of us have been in that situation at one point or another, where we had lives that were once enjoyable but now were no longer satisfying and wanted to break away from everything that had something to do with us in the past and start over from scratch. I can understand the stories of many people who either wished for something new or  have experimented with that. Some have succeeded and moved on, but some have realized that their experiment was a total failure and have returned to their roots, where they were once successful in their lives. Learning from their past and the mistakes that go along with it, they find themselves again and move on, doing something that is typical, deemed worthy of their character, and that people can like them for, as they had done in the past.

History can work in the strangest ways. We not only learn about the events that shaped our lives, but we also learn about our own surroundings and how we became part of it in one way or another. Our past can help shape our own lives and influence others, regardless of how they judge these actions. The more we do for others and ourselves, the more we will be remembered by them. It is impossible to separate the past from the present in order to pursue a future under a new identity for we will always end up having the past come back to remind us of who we really are. The past can serve as a tool for learning about ourselves and plan for the future, giving us a clearer perspective of what is good in life and what is bad. To break with the past would mean to break with one’s identity for one that does not exist. This is impossible to do, and if there was a possibility, it could be potentially fatal to the person himself. We need our past to learn about ourselves and to love ourselves for who we are. Only then will we be liked by other and we can find a way to succeed in what we are doing.

While I understand the reason for leaving things behind and moving on to a new life elsewhere, if there was a word of advice I would give to that relative who is now residing in Wisconsin or to anyone who is in that particular situation, it would be this:  Keep your past. To break with it means to reinvent it in a different form. Learn from it and you will learn more about yourself.  Those are my words to the wise.

five years flfi

Don’t break with the past, learn from it

A short while ago, a relative of mine decided to leave everything behind and move on into the future. By leaving behind her husband of 20 years for a guy she met at a seminar at a university in Wisconsin, and giving away many items that belonged to previous relationships, gifts given to her from friends and family, and some personal items dating back to her childhood, she decided to leave the life she knew in a small town in Iowa and move on to the future, despite the fact that she recently retired from teaching art in high school and pursue a degree in history.

If people were to read this, they would say that it is totally insane, preposterous and rather mad. Yet many of us have been in that situation at one point or another, where we had lives that were once enjoyable but now were no longer satisfying and wanted to break away from everything that had something to do with us in the past and start over from scratch. I can understand the stories of many people who either wished for something new or  have experimented with that. Some have succeeded and moved on, but some have realized that their experiment was a total failure and have returned to their roots, where they were once successful in their lives. Learning from their past and the mistakes that go along with it, they find themselves again and move on, doing something that is typical, deemed worthy of their character, and that people can like them for, as they had done in the past.

History can work in the strangest ways. We not only learn about the events that shaped our lives, but we also learn about our own surroundings and how we became part of it in one way or another. Our past can help shape our own lives and influence others, regardless of how they judge these actions. The more we do for others and ourselves, the more we will be remembered by them. It is impossible to separate the past from the present in order to pursue a future under a new identity for we will always end up having the past come back to remind us of who we really are. The past can serve as a tool for learning about ourselves and plan for the future, giving us a clearer perspective of what is good in life and what is bad. To break with the past would mean to break with one’s identity for one that does not exist. This is impossible to do, and if there was a possibility, it could be potentially fatal to the person himself. We need our past to learn about ourselves and to love ourselves for who we are. Only then will we be liked by other and we can find a way to succeed in what we are doing.

While I understand the reason for leaving things behind and moving on to a new life elsewhere, if there was a word of advice I would give to that relative who is now residing in Wisconsin or to anyone who is in that particular situation, it would be this:  Keep your past. To break with it means to reinvent it in a different form. Learn from it and you will learn more about yourself.  Those are my words to the wise.