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If World War I were a Bar Fight

I don’t know who came up with this originally, but it’s brilliant! I made several additions here and there, but otherwise it’s someone else’s work – if anyone knows who originally came up with this analogy, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due!

If World War I were a Bar Fight

funny-If World War One Were a Bar Fight

Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint.

Austria demands Serbia buy it a whole new suit because of the new beer stains on its trouser leg.

Germany expresses its support of Austria’s point of view.

Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.

Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole new suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria’s trousers.

Russia and Serbia look at Austria.

Austria asks Serbia who they’re looking at.

Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone.

Austria inquires as to whose army will help Russia make them do so.

Germany appeals to Britain that France has been eyeing Britain, and that it’s unwise for Britain not to intervene.

Britain replies that France can look at whoever it wants to, and that Britain has been watching Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?

Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action anymore.

Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium.

Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper.  When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone.

Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium and Luxembourg, who had been minding their own business at the end of the bar.

France and Britain punch Germany; Austria punches Bosnia and Herzegovina (which Russia and Serbia took personally); Germany punches Britain and France with one fist and Russia with the other.

Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over.

Japan calls from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side, but stays there.

Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.

Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back.  There are no hard feelings because Britain made Australia do it.

France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting.  Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change.

Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway.  Italy raises both fists in the air and runs around the room chanting.

America waits until Germany is about to fall over from sustained punching from Britain and France, then walks over and smashes it with a bar stool and pretends it won the fight all by itself.

By now all the chairs are broken and the big mirror over the bar is shattered.  Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany’s fault.  While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.

Everyone went home, leaving Germany to pout on the floor planning on how to get even.

Family History: A Moment of Profound Change, 1899

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Family histories are fascinating, and each one is unique:  They mirror the changing times, the cultures in which they form, and here in Switzerland they often represent the international, innovative and traditional yet open mindset of the Swiss.  I was born and raised in America, immigrated to Scotland at the age of 20, and eventually met my Swiss husband there.  So “my” family history spans from the frontier plains of Kansas to the Highlands of Scotland to the Swiss Alps.  A few years ago I put together a Swiss family history and photo album, digitalizing faded, torn, close-to-extinction photographs.  Here’s one of the family stories.

1899 - Tochter Elisabeth, Vater Josef German, Tochter Josephina Steinauer

1899 – Tochter Elisabeth, Vater Josef German, Tochter Josephina Steinauer

The photograph above was taken in 1899, on the occasion of the imminent emigration of Elisabeth Steinauer from Einsiedeln, Switzerland to America.  Her widowed father Josef and sister Josephina would never see her again; emigration was a permanent change back then, with only the extremely wealthy ever making a return voyage back to Europe to visit relations.  Elisabeth met a Mr. Schönbächler in Sacramento, California; they were married and settled down on the far side of the new frontier; up until at least 1960 she was still alive and well, writing letters home from America.  She was not without family, however; her elder sister Meinrada had emigrated to Sacramento 4 years earlier; incredibly she had done so as a single woman of 30 years old!  There she met a Swiss man by the name of Birchler, with whom she had actually gone to school with as children in Switzerland, and they were married.

By the time this photo was taken, Josephina had married Franz Xaver Hüsler of Einsiedeln, Switzerland,  and had had six of their eight children (only two of which preceded her in death).  One of her surviving children, Josef Hüsler, became my husband’s grandfather.

Though this will likely only be of interest to family members, below is the Hüsler Family Tree, from 1600 to present; I put it here so that it can be accessible to those who would like to see it.  It is incomplete, so if anyone has more information to add, please contact me in the comments below!  Click on the images to enlarge.Hüsler Stammbaum 1, 1600-1770sHüsler Stammbaum 2, 1780s-1930sHüsler Stammbaum 3, 1940s-Gegenwart

Christmas Holiday Traditions

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I write 5 blogs, 4 of them on a weekly basis; I like to find interesting topics, though there are times in the year that can get a bit crowded with other activities.  Christmas has just passed, and at the moment we have a teenager living with us; the topic of family traditions came up a few times, and it’s a good reminder that within even the same culture there can be variations of traditions.

I was born and raised in America, emigrated to Scotland, and am now 100% Swiss; my husband is 100% Swiss, came to Scotland, met me, and inherited my mixture of cultures (which fits fine in our multi-culture family).  When I lived in America the Christmas tree went up shortly after Thanksgiving; in Scotland, if it went up, it was around the first of December; here in Switzerland the trees usually go up on the 24th of December, so in our household we’ve made a compromise and do it the Scottish way.  For over ten years we’ve had a silk tree rather than a real tree; we just could not support the ecological consequences of chopping down a tree that had grown for several years, just to spend a fortnight dying in our living room and then to be tossed out with the compost.  The silk tree looks real, doesn’t drop needles or need watering, and has served us well for quite some time.  When it comes time to replace it, the tree will be taken back to the shop and they will dispose of it ecologically (that has already been paid for in the price of the original tree).  Swiss are extremely ecologically-minded; there is a “joke” (though it’s not far from the truth!) that after drinking a tea the Swiss will put the tea bag contents into the compost, the bag into the old paper collection, the string into textiles recycling, the staple into the metal collection, and the cardboard tag into the cardboard collection!

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One of my handmade ornaments from a beer can!

Our Christmas decorations are otherwise modest, nothing too flashy, but we have taken the North American tradition of Christmas stockings to heart.  I am gradually replacing our store-bought decorations with handmade ones; I make them from recycled drink cans and a bit of embossing ingenuity (For that process, click here).

In Switzerland the traditional Christmas meal is Fondue Chinoise; we only really do that if we get together with the wider family as it is quite a lot of effort for just the two of us.  In Scotland, the favoured meal was Haggis with tatties and neeps.  I do miss the Christmas crackers on the table in Scotland – not the food-type crackers, but table favours with small firework-snaps in them:  Two people pull one apart, and as it snaps a surprise gift comes out.  There were also the table bombs, with exploding gifts (like a piñata in reverse…).  Here, the intimate family circle celebrates together on the 24th, and on the 25th is family day with in-laws and the wider family; the 26th (Boxing Day) is also a holiday, usually spent with the other side of the family, or spent travelling back from the 25th (which is how our Boxing Day is spent, as our family Christmas involves either everyone coming here, or – more often – us going to France).

Every family has their own traditions; when two people marry they bring with them all sorts of expectations, impressions, preferences, habits and memories that form who they are, why they act the way they do sometimes, and how things “should” or “should not” be done.  And as they make compromises, new traditions are born.  That’s what makes cultures and mentalities, and eventually national traditions evolve over time!  What are your family traditions?  How much of it is from your culture, and how much is from your family’s individual traditions?

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