“Generally a crank, either profoundly antisocial or hopelessly narcissistic and following the strenuous life in hopes of achieving immortality or a legendary sex life.”— R. Emmett Tyrrell, of urban cyclists
in october 2004—when the boston red sox were homerunning themselves to becoming the champions of world baseball—the goethe institute and the council for the german language were conducting their own little competition. their goal was to determine the most beautiful german word based on over 20,000 entries. here are the leading contenders.
lebenslust - zest for life
erdbeermund - voluptuous lips
teufelsbraten - rascal
wolkenkuckucksheim - cloud cuckoo land
glueck - happiness
liebe - love
mitgefuehl - compassion
pusteblume - dandelion
sehnsucht - longing
vergissmeinnicht - forget-me-not
the real star of this list is obviously wolkenkuckucksheim. apparently, itmeans an “unrealistically idealistic state where everything is perfect,” which makes it close in meaning to the english bizarro world.
drumroll please: the german word judged to be the most beautiful was habseligkeiten which refers to the paltry belongings of an almost penniless person. no go forth and use these words to write philosophy.
Here’s how you can help
Have you voted today? You’re allowed to vote again every day!
Methods of persuasion The Popularity Contest: “My favorite nonprofit, HandsOn Bay Area, is at #106 in the Refresh Everything grant contest. Represent the Bay Area right now by clicking here to vote for them!”
The Money Angle: “What would you do with $50,000? HOBA will send me and 9,999 other volunteers to help the needy in the Bay Area. Click here to win them a grant!”
The Lazy Card: “How can you help restore native habitat, feed hungry families and tutor GED students, all without leaving your chair? Click here to help HOBA win $50,000 to mobilize 10,000 volunteers to do just that.”
The Recession Reminder: “You want to give back, but you’ve just got too many commitments and your bank account is running low. If you’ve got 30 seconds right now, you can help Bay Area volunteers with a $50,000 grant. Click now!”
The Guilt Trip: “How many times have you clicked your mouse playing Farmville today? Click three more times to help mobilize 10,000 volunteers in the Bay Area this year. Start here.”