Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What's in a Name ...

My Father always took such quiet pride in the name Schlegel. There was the undisputed significance of the well respected 'Schlegel' brothers who were not only philosophers ... but poets, critics and scholars - Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel and August Wilhelm von Schlegel. ... I'm still kickin' around 'Ann Elizabeth 'von' Schlegel'.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel and August Wilhelm von Schlegel

Also, one cannot forget the film 'Howards End' ...

This picture received massive critical acclaim. On June 5, 2005, Roger Ebert included it on his list of "Great Movies". Well, it stars Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter - the latter two being Ms. Schlegel and Ms. Schlegel. It's almost distracting for me to hear Ms. Schlegel so many times in the movie ... my sister Karen stopped counting at 47 !!

Then, of course, there is the importance of the great Schlegel Brauerei established in 1854 ... possibly the greatest beer ever brewed ...

My Aunt Betty had brought beautiful fine Schlegel Bier glasses and ashtrays back from Germany as a gift for my parents. My Father would often treat himself to a beer in the Schlegel glasses. But mostly, he kept them for 'special' because they were so fragile. ... and, the fact that he had an incredible collection of antique German beer steins which naturally held more beer and included a 'lid' to keep the flies out.

In 2004 my friend Hinrich and I drove to Bochum on a pilgrimage to acquire Schlegel bier. We bought 9 cases and brought them back to Schwaebisch Gmuend ... just in time for Conrad's birthday party. I also brought 10 bottles of beer home with me so my family could drink Schlegel bier on my Dad's birthday.

So ... you're getting the point on how respectable and important the 'Schlegel' name is ...

... and then came 'Alf'.

Alf on the phone with Wayne Schlegel

Now, I know Americans are a group of folks that like their tv. When I'm in Europe I insist on NO tv because I don't want the distraction ... and, as an American, I am naturally distracted by tv. The only tv I watched while in Germany since mid-June was the Women's World Cup ... and WHAT tv that WAS !!! Now THAT tv programming was worth watching !!

In the 1980s we, in America, had this one particular show on tv .... called 'Alf'. I'm sorry to say, and maybe the German folks will disagree, but I thought this show was 'el stupido'. Not only that, but embarrassing and painful to watch. BUT, I have come to know that these brilliant minded German people not only enjoy this show, but even know that 'Alf' had a buddy named 'Wayne Schlegel' (of Michigan Life and Casualty). Believe it or not, there is even 'The Wayne Schlegel Band' in Germany !! In one or some episodes, Alf either was electrocuted or fell on his head and actually thought he WAS 'Wayne Schlegel'. So ... the deflation of my pride with the beautiful name of Schlegel began.

It was my friend Michael who first said to me ... 'Schlegel' as in 'Wayne Schlegel' from Alf. WHAT ?? Alf ?? huh ?? ... I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard the reference to Wayne Schlegel in Schwaebisch Gmuend. Then, one day I decided to spend the day in Stuttgart. I was photographing the fish shop in the incredible market ... and afterwards I gave the fishmonger my card ... and as I was leaving the fish market, the fishmonger ran after me and said 'hey, your name is 'Schlegel' just like 'Wayne Schlegel' from 'Alf'. ..... ouch.

It doesn't end there ... I heard giggling one day in the Culture Bureau ... apparently 'Schlegel' can mean several other things including:

miner's hammer

But combined with other words means it can mean something else. For example: hühnerschlegel ... that means 'chicken leg - or 'chicken drumstick'. For a little while, I was referred to as 'Ms. Chicken Legs'. Ouch ... again.

It's a good thing that I can take a joke !!! And ... by the way, my friend Julia invited me over for a delicious hühnerschlegel meal the other day:

Ok ... Schlegel might not be as refined as lobster tail or caviar ... but my 'Schlegel philosophy' is that there's nothing more comforting and satisfying than a home cooked hühnerschlegel meal with friends ....

... and if you're lucky, you might also have a Schlegel bier to quench your thirst. Nix Besser!

Prost !


Anonymous Elizabeth said...

love love love the Schlegel post! Can't stop laughing about ALF! Love to you!

10:18 PM  
Blogger PaintingEachDay said...

I know, me too ... ouch !

3:42 AM  

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