Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chicken Ranch report no. 71: Der Spiegel Online

I'm back from vacation! Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? I didn't think so. The family and I went on a cruise to the Easter Caribbean--the first time we've ever ventured to that part of the world--and in true Griswold fashion, a tropical storm formed right over us as our ship approached Key West. Things never got rough for us, but everything was kind of off-kilter from that point on. Not the most satisfying vacation, but The Wife and I drank many fruity drinks and eventually got to see Hemmingway's house, so it wasn't a total bust.

What's this got to do with the Chicken Ranch? Nothing, really, except for the fact the first thing I did upon my return was prep for an interview with Der Spiegel Online. "What's that?" you may ask. Why, it's simply one of the oldest and largest German news magazines, with print circulation in excess of 800,000. Now, I'm not going to be featured in the print edition, but rather the online version, which has its own editorial staff and operates independently of the parent magazine, although they're both part of the same company. And Spiegel Online is one of the most heavily trafficked news websites in Europe. So, yay!

Jasmin Lörchner, a freelance journalist who does a lot of work for Spiegel, contacted me a couple weeks ago wanting to discuss the Chicken Ranch for an article. She did some research and I did some vacationing in the interim, and once our schedules connected we talked for more than an hour and a half. She asked thoughtful questions and got more details out of me than I'd initially planned on offering. I'm sure she didn't expect to have so many random tangents thrown at her, as one thought often reminded me of another point I thought relevant to whatever we were discussing at that moment. All in all, it was a good deal of fun. The very idea of the Chicken Ranch is somewhat absurd on the surface, but once you start going through all 170-plus years of history associated with it (many of said years being somewhat dubious in authenticity) it quickly becomes apparent just how outrageous and unbelievable the entire saga actually is.

In any event, the article should run in a few weeks. Jasmin has promised to give me a heads-up in advance of publication, so I can share with all of you faithful readers. The one drawback is that the article will be in German, which, despite my surname, I don't actually speak or read. On the bright side, the German language rights to my book are still available, so maybe this will spur some editor in Berlin to drop me a line. One can hope!

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