Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's story time.

Let me tell you a little story,  whether true or not is unimportant.

Once upon a time,  there was this man and a woman (and actually it could very well have been two women,  but as long as one of them was a woman,  that's all that matters)

They go on vacation.   They go to a quaint little cottage on a beautiful lake where the fishing is supposed to be very good.
Very early one morning,  the gentleman heads out on the little boat he had rented with all his newly purchased fishing equipment to try his luck.
Later in the morning he returns with nothing.
Not a bite,  nothing.
He ties off the boat,  leaves everything behind and slinks back to the cottage.
He passes his companion on the front porch without saying a word,  and goes back to bed.
Since she had already had her breakfast and was well into a good book,  she gets the idea to take the boat out,  drop the anchor and continue to read her book on the lake.

Along comes the Game Warden,  who accuses her of fishing without a license,  and is about to issue the citation, when she calmly explains that if he were to do that,  she'd then  have to charge him with rape.

Astounded,  he asks,  "Why?  I have no intention of molesting you in any way!"

"That doesn't matter,"  she says, "just as you so thoroughly explained to me how I had all this fishing equipment here in the boat with me so therefore I MUST be fishing,  even though I have no intention of doing so,  you Sir have the necessary equipment with which you might possibly rape me....Your intentions are unimportant."

Without saying a word,  he motors away in his little boat,  never to be seen on that lake for the rest of their stay.


OK so,  what's the point of my little story?

Well kids,  here in Wienerland,  if you want to watch TV or listen to radio,  you are required to pay a tax.  It can add up to somewhere in the neighbourhood of €300 a year.
Now,  if I'm going to be in that pricey neighbourhood,  then I'm sure as heck going to be wanting more than a dozen or so schlocky channels in German,  and.....CNN. that's worth €300 a year.   Oh,  and that doesn't include paying for the cable itself.   No no that's extra,  you're just paying the tax.
Ever been forced to watch CNN for hours on end?   Well actually, if you're still with us at this point,  and depending on your mental state,  then you probably haven't,  since you would have done yourself in after about the first hour.

Now before you go all "western civilisation" here on me,  Canada used to have such a critter,  but it was back in the fifties,  and somebody along the way decided it was a dumb idea.  They had a similar tax in the Netherlands up until just a few years ago. 

And while I'm getting slightly hot under the collar here,  let me just mention that as far as the Dutch are concerned,  "Dubbing is for kids",  and by that I mean,  children's programming during the day and after school are either in the original (Dutch) or dubbed into Dutch.   All night time programming is in the original with Dutch subtitles.
Could be English (usually)....might be French.
Might even be Frisian.

So if you want to watch say, "The Simpsons",   then you're going to get all the nuances of the voices that have made it one of the longest running programs in North America.   There's one in Japan that was started in 1969 so no,  not 'the world',  sorry.
But that's just one example.

By the way,  the Dutch take a fair amount of pride in the fact that they can at least understand English,  if not speak it as well.  Most of them,  quite fluently.
Do you think it might help that they watch English programming every single night of the week?  Could this explain why the Germans and Austrians are bumbling idiots when it comes to the English language?  Hm?

See here's the thing,  not only are there only about a dozen channels (plus CNN!!)  but everything,  and I mean everything in dubbed into German!

 I can almost handle that.


Except: 1) My travelling companion has no clue what's going on,  and 2) The guy dubbing Homer Simpson should not also sound strangely similar to Barrack Obama.
I kid you not!

I swear to God they have the same dozen or so mooks doing all the dubbing!
That just doesn't work for me.

So when we finally got our internet and phone,  and don't remind how flippin' long that took to accomplish,  we DID NOT choose to also receive and pay for a cable signal.
However, it doesn't matter whether or not you're actually watching the TV,  or if it's hooked up to anything,  if you have a TV or radio,  you're supposed to pay the tax.   Huh? want to charge me for something I'm not doing,  just because I have the equipment?  Isn't that kinda like the rape story?

So then it happened.   Yesterday some little guy came to the door.   Just as soon as I laid eyes on the little weasel,  I knew exactly what he was up to.
He had his clipboard,  and made sure he showed me his ID.
I immediately knew he was from the "GIS",  which stands for "Gebüren Info Service GMBH"
These are the people that go from door to door signing up those who have not yet registered their TV or radio....

See,  here's the strategy.

1) Speak only English.

2) Act as dumb as a post (not a stretch for me) and

3) Be polite.

Yes,  I know that last one is a bit tough,  but possible.   Shut up.
Unfortunately for him,  since he no doubt watches nothing but shitty Austrian TV in the evenings,  his English was pretty much non-existent.

What a shame.

Ah yes. To have to upper hand.
All the while I'm thinking,  "here's the thing dipshit,  I can communicate in both your language and mine,  but I think we'll just choose mine for the time being,  thank-you".

I made sure there was no maniacal laughter.

So he proceeded to pull out the sheet of paper for them English speaking foreigners,  which meant I had to go get my glasses,  so that I could then pretend to read it ('cause like I don't know what the hell it's saying) and then we had a little talk about power requirements and not shipping a TV from Canada,  and how it was oh so frustrating during the Olympics,  and bla bla bla bla.

All true.

Didn't lie.

 He left.

So sorry.

Meanwhile,  in the bedroom and next to the bed are both the TV and clock radio.    However,  the TV is only hooked to the computer,  and I haven't had to use the clock radio since we had to get up at 4:30 one morning there a few weeks back.

So sue me.

Trust me,  I tried to hook up the damned TV to the cable outlet,  but there's nothing on the back of the TV to allow me to do that!  I need some sort of adapter or box or something.  The chances of there actually being a signal there after I've paid for some high priced box that I can never use again in my life are slim to none,  considering the internet dudes had to run a new cable to get their modem thingy to work.
So that ain't happenin'.

So just let me repeat this.  If we have the TV,  whether it's hooked up or not,  we're supposed to pay the tax.


Bite me.


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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.