A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Our intrepid reporters and researchers seem to think that summer is the time to slack off and go on holiday. It took a while to round them up and get them back to work. They really need to be flogged publicly! Anyway, when they got back, they found their e-mail inboxes full of questions. Our very own Answer Man, who is really one or our intrepid researchers, will answer our readers' questions. One of our reporters will also ask follow-up questions. Let's find out what our readers wrote to us and what the Answer Man has to say...
BB: Question 1. It seems like most of the Austrian women's team is retiring. Will anyone be left?
Answer Man: Yes. The Austrian ski machine is working overtime to develop young ski racers to replace those who have retired. Austrian families have been told to take their daughters to the closest ski academy and leave them there. Every Austrian girl over age 4 must now report to a ski academy.
BB: Even girls in Vienna, where it is flat?
Answer Man: Yes. It is considered their patriotic duty to become a ski racer, especially now in the wake of so many retirements.
BB: What if a little girl does not want to become a ski racer?
Answer Man: How can you even ask such a question? Of course every girl in Austria wants to become a ski racer!
BB: Does this mean that girls who are not even in school yet will race in the World Cup?
Answer Man: No. But if Austria is going to keep its number one position, it must have a steady stream of racers. The Austrians must start now so that there is never again a big void when a lot of team members retire.
BB: Question Number Two. Marcel Hirscher bought some land near Salzburg several months ago. Is he planning to grow crops on it?
Answer Man: I was able to talk to Marcel. He wants the land for his reindeer, Ferdinand. He is hoping to win again in Levi so that he can get a female reindeer and start breeding them. Ferdinand is Marcel's baby. Marcel misses him when he's away from Levi. He wants to have his own reindeer herd. It is never too early to start planning for retirement.
BB: Is Ferdinand's current Finnish herder okay with Marcel taking Ferdinand to Austria?
Answer Man: Nobody has asked him about that. He seems to be the forgotten man in this situation. Nobody talks to the herder until just before the races in Levi.
BB: Let's say that Marcel is allowed to bring Ferdinand to Austria. Will his girlfriend take care of him while Marcel is racing?
Answer Man: I'm sure that they discussed it. Maybe Marcel will bring Ferdinand to races and interviews. If Lindsey Vonn can bring her dog everywhere she goes, surely Marcel can bring his reindeer. He may even get his girlfriend to hold Ferdinand up for the TV cameras.
BB: When Ferdinand and any other reindeer that Marcel has gets old, will he make ojlmsfjaegger from their hearts?
Answer Man: Good question. Ojlmsfjaegger are not eaten in Austria, but Marcel could change that due to his popularity. That could be the real reason why he bought the land to raise reindeer.
BB: Before getting to our next question, could you explain to our newer readers what ojlmsfjaegger are?
Answer Man: Of course. They are cubes of pickled reindeer heart covered in a special smoked salmon and chocolate sauce. Ojlmsfjaegger are eaten in Norway on birthdays.
BB: Our third question. I am planning to go to Soelden to watch the season-opening ski races. I want to arrive early in the week to get in some hiking. What are the chances of seeing some wild kangaroos in their natural habitat?
Answer Man: Very slim to none. It would be the same chance of being attacked by a Yeti or being abducted by a space alien.
BB: Wait a minute! You probably would have said the same thing about finding elephants in the Austrian mountains. Yet the Austrian ski team found elephants two years ago when they were training in Soelden.
Answer Man: The elephants were part of the force that failed to invade Slovenia. They were dropped in the right place, but the invading force ended up in the Lubyanka instead of in Ljubljana.
BB: So if an invading army decided to cross the Alps with kangaroos, a person visiting Soelden could theoretically see kangaroos while out on a hike.
Answer Man: Kangaroos would not be the most logical animal to use for crossing the Alps or for fighting.
BB: Au contraire! Kangaroos can box. They are the perfect animal for an invading or a defensive force. You think they are really sweet and then...POW! Nobody would mess with an army of kangaroos.
BB: Question four. Marcel Hirscher just beat Aksel Lund Svindal and Felix Neureuther in an auto race. Has he taken up auto racing in order to beat David Alaba as Austrian Athlete of the Year?
Answer Man: One would think that three medals in Vail, plus the World Cup overall and two small globes, would be more than enough to qualify him as Athlete of the Year. But it is evidently not enough to beat a football (soccer) player. Thus the auto race. This year we will also see Marcel competing as a gymnast, a swimmer, a pole vaulter, and a marathon runner in addition to ski racing.
BB: Won't he get burned out or injured from doing so many sports?
Answer Man: Marcel is young and his body can take the abuse for now. He must do all of those things if he wants even the slightest chance of being the Austrian Athlete of the Year.
BB: Question Number Five. What is the status of Anna Fenninger competing for the planet Zorkon?
Answer Man: Things appear to be at a stalemate with Anna and Peter Schroecksnadel, though Schroecksnadel didn't like the frowny face that she made when he gave her an award. The OeSV and the FIS are sticking to the two-year residency requirement. One of my sources told me that Anna has hired someone to see if she has a close Zorkonian ancestor so that the residency requirement can be waived. For now Anna will compete for Austria.
BB: And what are the odds of her having a Zorkonian ancestor?
Answer Man: About the same as finding wild kangaroos in the Austrian Alps.
BB: Let's not go there with the kangaroos. On to the next question...
BB: Question Six. Why do Austrian skiers announce that they are going to have a press conference to make an announcement?
Answer Man: Ski racers are the biggest celebrities in Austria. They have to schedule their time with the press to avoid conflicts. Can you imagine Niki Hosp announcing her retirement and Marlies Schild announcing her pregnancy on the same day? That would not do at all! The athletes schedule their press conferences for the simple reason of avoiding upstaging each other. That way everyone gets equal time in the press and the athletes keep their celebrity status.
BB: Don't the fans get annoyed by the racers announcing their future announcements?
Answer Man: Not at all. It's the same principle of having a meeting to decide when to have future meetings or having a committee to form a committee.
BB: Our seventh and final question...were the mountains in Garmisch installed after the war? (short pause) Garmisch is in Germany, but we'll answer that question since it is on the Austrian border.
Answer Man: Contrary to popular belief, the mountains in Garmisch were not part of the post World War Two Marshall Plan to rebuild Germany. We know that they were there in the 1930s, because the 1936 Winter Olympics were in Garmisch. The mountains were there in King Ludwig II's time in the 1800s because he had castles built on them. They were even there before Ludwig's day because Hohenschwangau is much older than Neuschwanstein and that castle is in the Alps. Hannibal crossed the Italian Alps on elephants. Perhaps Hannibal skipped Germany because the mountains weren't there yet. I'm thinking that the Alps in Garmisch appeared sometime after Hannibal's invasion in 218 BC, but before the original Hohenschwangau fortress was built in the 12th century.
BB: Are you saying that the Italian Alps were formed before the mountains in Garmisch?
Answer Man: That could very well be. After all, there was no mention of Hannibal skiing in the mountains of Garmisch.
BB: But the Garmisch mountains were definitely not part of the postwar Marshall Plan?
Answer Man: That's right.
BB: And there are no kangaroos in the Garmisch mountains because they are all in Austria?
Answer Man: Right again!
BB: On that note, it looks like we are just about out of time. Our readers, as always, asked some very interesting questions and we did our best to answer them. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.
The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: If we hear anymore about kangaroos, we're going to shoot someone.
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