Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday March 27th, 2018

Saving Money with WHISKY

Carl and Gerlinde (# 58)

No, Carl did not wish to explain yet another time why he and Gerlinde had originally planned going to Tenerife but had then yet again ended up in Lanzarote, from where they had returned home yesterday night!

Gerlinde did not want to say anything on the matter, either: why had Hannelore and Kurt chosen this early Sunday morning during breakfast to invade their privacy, just because Hannelore, again, found it impossible to wait for the fantastic vacation report from Gerlinde? After all, she was eager to convince her Kurt that the Canaries were where they needed to go.

Carl was a little irritated when he asked them if they would like a cup of coffee or if they would prefer the champagne and the salmon appetizers he and Gerlinde had eaten at the “Iberostar Lanzarote Park Hotel“ each morning around this time as their brunch.

Oh – you stayed in the same hotel as last year? Hannelore piped. Gerlinde confirmed it with a tired nod while looking for the champagne glasses, because Carl was actually already on his way to fetch the champagne in the basement. Yes, when Hannelore wanted something he was always eager to please!

Come, Gerlinde, tell us how you liked Lanzarote? What was the weather like? Were the people nice and what about the general atmosphere? We want to know everything in detail, don’t we, Kurt?

Kurt gave a short nod and Gerlinde said: Well – yes – on the whole, it was quite nice!

Well – that does not sound too enthusiastic, does it, grumbled Kurt.

But it was – Carl interrupted while he let the champagne corks pop.

Unfortunately, as soon as the first week was over, I started coming down with this terrible cold. I am still not over it, Gerlinde moaned and, to prove her point, she filled two tissues with what had accumulated in her nose.

And I was cold all the time, Carl grinned while pouring the champagne for everyone.
Are you telling me that it was not as warm and spring-like as you had hoped?, asked Hannelore with her raised champagne glass in her hand.

For the many overweight people, it was certainly warm enough, Carl replied. But for the few normal weight humans, like us, it was not! But now cheers. Here is a toast to you and the fact that we are back home safe.

The constantly blowing cold north wind was really a nuisance this time. Gerlinde moaned with a grand suffering expression that Hannelore obstinately chose to ignore.

Great! – This is why you fly 4,000 kilometres in the direction of Africa, was Kurt’s smug comment. He finished his glass in one go and immediately and provocatively placed it again next to the champagne bottle that still contained a few sips.

There was not a single day when it was possible for her to lie in the sun for more than half an hour, because this stupid wind was always blowing. And she only swam in the pool three times in all these two weeks. Her cold, too, was probably because of this, Gerlinde continued lamenting. After all, now she was in lamenting mode and she noticed how this negative report made Hannelore more and more uncomfortable. But, naturally, she had not been the only one suffering from a cold: even early in the morning when everybody came to eat their breakfast, almost the entire room was filled with coughing and sneezing in all musical pitches when they arrived. And the flight back to Frankfurt, too, had been a single load of running and coughing noses.…

Since Carl, to the pleasure of Hannelore, had refilled the glasses with champagne and was now invitingly lifting his glass, Gerlinde had to interrupt her sneezing report for a short time. This gave Hannelore, after she had swallowed a few hasty sips, the chance to quickly ask the question if they had at least enjoyed nice day trips.

Yes, definitely, said Gerlinde after a long pause during which she, who was still wearing her bathrobe, had been swaying her upper body in both directions and taking small sips from her glass!

Immediately after arrival, they had booked this much-recommended and grandiose trip to the fantastic small fisher island ’La Graziosa’ in the north of Lanzarote for Wednesday: it was only 60€ per person and included lunch, the bus transfer from the hotel, the ride to the romantic harbour of Órzola and from there, with a catamaran, through the so-called Rio to the island of La Graziosa!

Unfortunately, however, it rained on this wonderful Wednesday, which scarcely ever happened, moaned Gerlinde. She asked Carl for a refill and also pointed out that the otherwise normal wind had grown into a veritable storm on this day, which meant that they could not stay on deck and that an extra glass bottom boat had to be commissioned to accommodate all the tourists who wanted to stay dry. After the meal on La Graziosa, they decided against another sightseeing tour of the island in the rain and instead cruised around the island with both ships through this deathly swell – after all, there are 6,000 kilometres of Atlantic Ocean directly behind Graziosa. As a result, she had to throw up all the time and even Carl was only just able to walk upright by the end of the tour.

After this short report, Gerlinde needed another glass of champagne and then sank down on her chair in a state of exhaustion. Carl finally took advantage of this opportunity to say something and added that, after this adventure, each of them had stood under the showers for half an hour in order to get a little warm again. Later, thank God, the unexpected happened – which saved the vacation …

And what unexpected event are you talking about? Hannelore eagerly asked with new hope in her eyes.

Well – I am not sure if I should tell? What do you think Gerlinde?
She did not care, muttered Gerlinde, all she wanted was another glass of champagne.

This is the fourth already, Carl noticed with some worry.

So – what?

Well, I was only mentioning it, he said while refilling the glass.

Incidentally, after the successful trip, their general state had been rather similar to the state Gerlinde was now in, Carl said to Hannelore and Kurt. And without further thought, they had then drunk all the four small bottles of Whisky from the mini-bar in order to sink into their beds with a minimum degree of content.…

However, the rude awakening came on the next morning when they discovered that the price for every one of those minuscule 5cl bottles of Whisky was 9.90€. This means that those four ridiculous bottles of Whisky – none contained more than what you could swallow with four mouthfuls – cost – 39.60 €! Well, this was certainly something you needed to give time to sink in, he moaned.

This is certainly not a bad profit for the hotel, Kurt – suddenly wide awake – commented!
And Gerlinde also moaned in her chair. However, her renewed call for champagne was no longer satisfied.

Instead, Carl told Hannelore that, naturally, nobody was going to treat him to such fraudulent rip-off. A short visit to the supermarket clarified the Whisky situation: the 75cl bottle of exactly the same brand was 15.85 €.

Even Kurt knew immediately what needed to be done. Consequently, he nodded when Carl, not without a certain degree of pathos, declared that he and Gerlinde spent the remaining 10 days of their vacation consuming 10 bottles of Whisky. Which meant that, after deduction of the acquisition costs, they had actually generated a plus of no less than 1,325.- € – as you could easily calculate yourself!

Ahhhh – Hannelore suddenly giggled, now it dawned on her: so that is what Gerlinde meant when she said that, all in all, you had been quite satisfied with your vacation!
Yes, that was probably what she meant, Carl confirmed since Gerlinde by then had gone to sleep in her chair. Apparently, the champagne had done its job!

And maybe the champagne had also helped Kurt who, without sounding any louder at all and with an air of self-evidence, suddenly said that, if such a potential for economizing was apparent, he could easily imagine spending a vacation on the Canary Islands.…

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 18th, 2018

Creative Communication – Texts

I remember something I really enjoyed. On October, 22nd, 2017. That was the day we met in Nuremburg to try something new in the evening. On that Wednesday, we planned a little show. We were going to jam with images, music and text and “be really creative”. It was the closing of the DOAG yearly conference “Soft Track“ sessions. We, that was Christian Botta, Knud Johanssen and yours truly .

The motto was “Jamming instead of Complaining” (Nicht Jammern sondern Jammen).

You can also see a Video recording. As promised, here are the texts accompanying the video.

To begin with, I introduce the solo by ALTO – the alto saxophone, a little towards the middle of the presentation (recited by Knud Johannsen)

Here is what ALTO the saxophone said.

And here are my texts. As a warm-up, I punched in a few catch-words (words that make sense). I only took words that started with the letter “K” in German. After all, it was all about “creative communication”.


Kaizen (in Japan as early as in the 1940ies), capital, commercialization, communication, accounts, costs, caste, consumption, concern, commerce, control & cooperation, tie, constructivism, context, cybernetik, communism (evil), capitalism (good), art (you cannot earn a living with it), coal (everything is based on it), carbon dioxide, Knud (the one with the saxophone), children (you no longer hit them these days), the (punch) card as the beginning of the computer, cats and kindergarden will come, crucifix will soon be a thing of the past (?), church, the motorbike, the crane, the power plant, nuclear energy, cars, (K70 but not as a combined thing), the cosmos, struggle (against sickness), war (is ostracized, but instead happens on the streets), committees, criminal stories & Kinsey(-report) – it was all crass, collective and complicated …


Then the time trip began with text and music, from yesterday over today into tomorrow – the stars  ****** in my texts always mean that Knud or Christian are the authors. And for those who do not know the songs, I always added a link to a video recording of the song. Naturally, the music played by Knud on his ALTO are always recognizable on the video recording.


Yesterday


***** Yesterday (ALTO & Knud)
Yes, that was yesterday.
Yesterday was the beginning of Anthropocenum, – which is how we propose to name a new  geo-chronological epoch: the era in which homo sapiens  has become one of the most formative factors for the biological, geological and atmospheric processes on the earth. (Wikipedia).
It all started quite well! Electricity replaced coal, what progress! Electric motors instead of steam engines. Wonderful!
But: Electricity is still made from coal.
It is all still about coal – time is money.
***** Money – That`s what I want (ALTO & Knud)
Yesterday was also:
The conveyor belt (Taylorism – after Henry Ford or as practiced in the Chicago slaughterhouses) becomes part of the administration (process and organisation). The caste of engineers becomes the manager caste. Humans are resources. Punch cards for the white collars, too.
Power is in the hands of men. They are the makers. Positive: we have more wealth and are less hungry. We dance on the iceberg.
***** Dirty Dancing (ALTO & Knud)
A life of wastefulness. Waste and nonsense – like the life boats on the unsinkable ship Titanic.
***** Titanic (Alto & Knud)
On the streets, you can hear: damage what damages you!
***** Brick in the wall (ALTO & Knud)


Our trip continues in the Present:


Today


***** Löwenzahn (ALTO & Knud)
Today, success means “survival”.
With joy in life.
And the courage to preserve.
Since life becomes more and more complex: here is how it works. Basically, it is already complex enough. Then we find mistakes that are complex. Correcting the mistakes is complex and makes the system even more complex. We find new, even more complex mistakes. This is how you get a vicious circle of complexity.
***** Solo: Christian climbing a mountain to get at simple, complicated, complex and even “research“ projects (spoken presentation) supported by Heidi.
Enterprises become “excel managed companies“. They are considered machines. The managers turn the levers of this machine and thus control the turnover, profit and stock market value. Everybody competes against each other when planning and everybody bets no end. The golden lamb is growth. In politics, they talk a lot and do not do much. We know everything and do nothing. Inherent necessities rule and we have a contingent of women.
Regardless: wherever you look and in many dimensions, you will find upheaval and new ideas. We now understand: it is not that we lack the courage to do it because it is a hard job, but it becomes a hard job because we lack the courage to do it.


Tomorrow


Let us continue our trip and look at tomorrow. What will be important tomorrow?

  • Less is more!
  • KISS (keep it simple, stupid).
  • Leadership – make people look great, instead of small!
  • The future cannot work for individuals. Let us network and cooperate. Co-creativity will be the concept of the future.
  • Communicating at eye-level!
  • Give others your time, inspire and give impulses.
  • Freedom: willing and being capable of living your own life in a self-determined way
  • Wisdom as human prudence.
  • Sustainability: production cycles with no Waste
  • Biophilie: act in such a way that both your own and other lives will tend more towards increasing than decreasing in many dimensions.
  • The future is female!

We cannot make things right.
We can do the right things.
What will happen if we do the wrong things right?


Then there were some nice solo pieces by Christian (for instance about complexity), Knud never seemed to stop rapping and playing; and then everybody hummed imagine and sang hey jude.

For me (and I believe the same is true for our audience), those were 30 beautiful minutes of our lives. And if you now have become curious: here is the direct LINK to the video recording. We wish you lots of fun when you look at the material

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday March 16th, 2018

March, 15th, in the Morning:-)

Sitting in the IC 196 to Zürich.

Today, I visit Wolf in Switzerland. At 6.31 a.m., the S-Bahn train was to leave Neubiberg. To get to Neubiberg station, I have to cover a little more than one kilometre. Consequently, I leave home shortly after six.

Morning is already breaking, it smells of spring. Behind the houses, I can hear the earlier S-Bahn train. It is on time. That is good news.
The road turns towards the railway track. I walk along the way towards the station and enjoy the day. I remember that, before Christmas and before my trips to the South Sea and to the Antarctica, the two clocks on the Neubiberg platform showed times that differed by two minutes. To be more precise: the one at the southern end was correct, the one at the northern end was two minutes late.

On my way, I meet a gentleman who is walking his dog. He, too, is in no hurry. I approach the railway station. In the distance, a very new looking Fiat Cenquecento is in the process of parking on the park&ride lot and does some rearranging. A young lady – a little on the well-rounded side but dressed very stylishly – gets out of the car. She wears black and looks very chic. I can see it all from the distance.

Then I arrive at the S-Bahn station. I walk first down and then up the steps. I am too early. The platform is still rather empty. I recognize the lady in black on the platform. She smokes a cigarette. It all fits perfectly: new Cinquecento, very well-groomed and well dressed, with a cigarette. A modern lady.

I have time and thus walk along the platform. Another lady – slim and blond and not quite as well dressed – is standing there and smoking a cigarette. I compare the time on the two clocks: this is hard to believe, but everything is as it was. The southern clock shows two minutes later than the northern clock. I stand where the rear of the train will be. Because the S-Bahn train will change directions at Ostbahnhof and I want to be at the front of the train when arriving at Munich Central Station and take the escalator up to the platforms. This is what I call route optimization.

In Neubiberg, the S-Bahn trains meet. This time, the outgoing train comes first. I take a close look at the train. The first part is rather empty. Only women sit there. Is that a coincidence? Or is there a reason that more women than men use the outgoing S-Bahn trains this early in the morning?

My S-Bahn train is a little late. I can already see the three headlights as it arrives from Ottobrunn. It is (almost) on time. I board the train. Here, too, more women than men are on board. Perhaps there is also some “gender“ issue about women having to use the S-Bahn trains earlier than men?

The DB sends me a (stupid) delay alarm. And they tell me that, at my destination in St. Margareten, we will arrive on another platform than expected.

I am back home!

RMD
🙂 Written in the EC 196 on my way to Zürich – finished when we were passing Buchloe.
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday March 15th, 2018

Landing on Antarctica (including travelling report).

Roland landing in the Antarctica.

All participants of an Antarctica expedition have to take part in a preparatory seminar prior to landing. During said seminar, they learn how seriously the world community takes the protection of the unblemished nature of the continent Antarctica.

At the same time, the entire Antarctica, and especially Southern Georgia, is one large museum where many stories of expeditions and science are told. However, it also gives profound insight into the history of this world to geologists.

There are ten rules for landing on the Antarctica and Southern Georgia. You have to strictly abide by them whenever you set foot on the Antarctica and its islands.

  • Please keep quiet!
  • Keep your distance (five metres from penguins, 15 metres from seals and birds)!
  • Do not tread on anything!
  • Never bring plants or animals!
  • Respect protected areas!
  • Preserve historic sites and monuments!
  • Do not take “souvenirs” with you!
  • Respect scientific research!
  • Think of your safety!
  • Preserve the pureness of Antarctica!

That also includes that you must not spit, sneeze or piss anywhere.

Roland on his way back to the ship.

These rules are also meant to protect the animals. I was surprised to see how seriously all participants took them and how they all rigorously kept to what was required.

I, too, got used to never treading onto a green spot. We all avoided unprotected sneezing. It was not possible to accidentally forget a paper tissue.

Thus, each landing became an impressive adventure. The light, the pure air, the wonderful nature made a huge impression on all of us. Historic buildings gave testimony of a horrible industry (waling) that, by promising people good money, had motivated many people to do a gruesome job under the hardest possible conditions far away from home. There were all kinds of remains that revealed quite a lot.

Back in Germany, it really shocked me how thoughtlessly we treat our environment and our nature both on a huge and on a small scale. Even more than before my trip, the pollution of our cyclists’ paths, streets and cities horrified me. The same was true for the gigantic soil sealing of our beautiful country. And of how we, totally without being forced to, expose ourselves to a lot of noise and polluted air in the nice residential areas of our cities.

This is where I also would like to publish a report (Bericht) on the trip for my friends. It was written and illustrated by our great editor Dr. Katrin Knickmeier. She was one (not the only) person from whom we learned so much – and I can also recommend to all of you to visit this special continent.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday March 10th, 2018

You Know: He Might Actually be Right, Our Mister Trump.

Two facts are beyond dispute:

1) The EU imposes higher import taxes than the US

and

2) the US import more from the EU than they export into the EU

(source: Zeit)

Roland in Southern Georgia, where, for an entire century, wales and seals were killed just because it was profitable – which is also some kind of globalization.

Well, this suggests that the “partner” with lower import taxes is “the stupid one“, because he is the one who gets to import more than he can export. Basically, that sounds logical.

Let us look at the numbers and first take cars as an example.
The USA impose 2.5 % import taxes on cars. The EU imposes an import tax of 10 % on cars that transport passengers (cars, pick-up trucks if the loading area is smaller than half of the axis distance). This means that the EU imposes four times as much import tax as the USA.
Additionally, German car producers and their customers are also massively state subsidized (business car privilege, Diesel cars, research funds and prizes, no speed limit and no tolls, …).

The situation for motor bikes is similar:
The USA charges 2.4% for the import, the EU charges  8 % for motor bikes with a cubic capacity up to 250 ccm and 6 % for motor bikes with more than 250 ccm. In other words: the EU charges more than 3/2.5 times as much as the USA.

In general, it can be said that the current import tax rates for the two partners USA and EU are relatively low . Depending on which source you take, you can read:

“For the EU, we are talking an average of around 3 per cent of the product value, for the US, we have a little less than 2.5 per cent.“
(Cited from and source: Handelsblatt)

“According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the import tax of all US products in 2016 were at an average of 3.5 per cent. On the other hand, EU products had a rate of 5.2 per cent, and China even one of 9.9 per cent.“
(Cited from and source Spiegel)

So both sources say that the EU import taxes are, on average, considerably higher than those imposed by the USA (according to Handelsblatt by 25 %, according to Spiegel almost 50 %. For more information about import taxes, click here).

If you consider the twenty leading import and export countries for steel in 2010 (source: Wikipedia), you will notice that many countries exported around the same amount as they imported.

For Germany, this meant an export of 25,352 and an import of 22,733 (thousand tons) in 2010. For many other countries, such as Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Austria, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, … the export/import balance is similar.

Countries like China, Japan, Russia, that, for instance, exported twice as much as they imported, or at least considerably more than they imported. On the other hand, the USA imported twice as much as they exported – and the tendency increases.

But let us now assume the countries would first use their own steel and only export what they do not need, or else import what they cannot produce.

What a gigantic savings potential would lie in such a behaviour, along with all the avoided extravagance and environmental damage? Because overcoming the time-space threshold generally costs so much more than the allegedly so cheap transport.

In the late-capitalist world order, these ideas are unpopular and inconvenient. The conservative economic science of the 19th and 20th centuries, too, will simply tell you such assumptions are nonsense.
Because, according to the old theories, free trade is beneficial for all parties concerned and basically the requirement for global wealth. But what will “global wealth” be worth for me if the planet is spoiled in the process? Is such a thing as “global wealth” possible at all in reality?

In late capitalism, globalisation basically always was exclusively oriented towards taking advantage of the world-wide differences in wealth in order to maximize profit. It is always about making use of cheap labour. External costs, such as the destruction of nature, will be ignored – and this has been practiced for a long time. The fact that overcoming the time-space threshold costs considerably more than just the transport is “forgotten”.

In my eyes, the much-praised globalization becomes more and more suspect. I do not know how Mr. Trump feels about it. He is probably the last person who has the environment on his agenda. But perhaps protective taxes are exactly what the world (the environment) needs today.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
They say that a “trade war” is now threatening. I find it rather sad that the term “war” is used in this context. I believe we would find it quite easy to live with the consequences of a world full of tax mechanisms. The same is true for border control mechanisms. The consequences and the atrocities of all kinds associated with a true war, however, would mean a totally different dimension of misery.

Roland Dürre
Thursday March 8th, 2018

SPORTS SOLDIERS in the JUNK ARMY

During the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea, I was in the Antarctica. That was definitely not a bad idea for someone who wished to avoid the Olympic Commerce Terror.

Roland in the Antarctica as participant in the Olympic Competition of Hot Dog Pølser (genuine Danish red sausages) eating and beer drinking.

If you are not in favour of the media hype, if you are not all that “nationally” inclined and if you neither want to hail every individual medal nor the ranking on second of the FRG (GERMANY) of these strange “Olympic” winter competitions, then it is a good idea to flee to a place as far away as possible while such “athletic” mammoth events take place.

Now many of you will say:
“What is wrong with you this time? Our GERMANY was really successful at long last! That is really something to be truly proud of as a German.“

It used to be much worse:
When I was younger, in the last millennium, people like me were often called “Traitors“ if they refused to really get into the collective Olympia and world championship euphoria. It was especially off balance whenever the success of the GDR’s National People’s Army was admired. Because all of them were using illegal substances, anyway.

As far as this is concerned, the world actually is now a slightly better place …
Yes, we came in second!

1 NorwayNorway  14  14  11  39
2 Deutschland Germany  14  10  7  31

However, you have to say “we only came in second” after Norway, which is a country with a population of only 5.3 million! We, the great nation Germany have 82.8 million inhabitants. And yet we took 8 fewer medals than they (four silver medals and four bronce medals). Isn’t that embarrassing? The success certainly gets a different perspective.

Let us take a closer look:
It was not we who were so successful (or rather, coming second, so much of a loser). It was the German Customs Officers, the German Federal Police and the German Armed Forces.

I used to believe that our Customs Officers were our weapons during the upcoming trade war against the USA under Mr. Trump. And that the Federal Police had important tasks such as protecting people on Christmas Fares against suicide attacks.

And that our Armed Forces are meant to be a deterrent? And that they are supposed to help such NATO partners as Turkey and also to give qualified assistance with the realization of a number of UN sanctions and activities? That is what I believed.

But all these assumptions are wrong! Those three institutions are apparently responsible for Olympic medals. Even the Armed Forces were quite successfully collecting medals. Although, allegedly, nothing works well at the Armed Forces. As you see, you cannot believe everything you read.

In summary, one can say that more than 100 out of our 154 Olympians in Pyeongchang are state employed (police, federal police, armed forces and customs officers).

Quelle rp-online.de

Even our ice hockey team was decorated with silver. They were 25 professionals (source Wikipedia), but in the total medal count, they only got one medal! Now isn’t that unfair?

It might be asked who was the 26th professional (see above on the graphical representation).

If I disregard those 26 professionals, more than 100 out of 128 Olympians were state employed, that is more than 78 %. This means that customs officers, police officers and the armed forces have a ¾ majority …

And I am annoyed with myself:
I did not stick to my intention to never again write anything trivial.
And I hope that this trivial article will not make me a traitor in anybody’s eyes.

RMD

P.S.
If I remember correctly, then the Norwegian Olympic Heroes, too, were mostly from the Norwegian Armed Forces.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday March 6th, 2018

Dry Spell in IF Blog!?

 

In January, I was on the South Sea

and it was great.

 

In February, I was in the Antarctica,

and it was great.

The two trips could not have been more different, but, especially since they were in such close succession, they were some kind of special craziness.
On both trips, I spent only very little time on the internet. Simply because time was too precious to waste it on the internet. It was also too precious to waste it on watching films or on similar activities.

Consequently, I only wrote two articles in the first two months of the year 2018. Which is definitely unheard of from me. However, this does not mean that I no longer think a lot about important issues. Or that I am no longer keen on writing. On the contrary.

However, I do not want to write trivialities. Both the South Sea and the Antarctica made me quite thoughtful. During my trips, I wrote down many exciting ideas. I found them quite great. But with each day I spent travelling, these topics seemed more and more banal.

But I assume that this time of collecting and reflecting will soon be over. After all, I am now back in the “real” world. And I truly believe that, soon, I will manage at least one article each week. About things that are important to me.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For the friends of Antarctica:
I have a wonderful report of my trip in February. I hope to publish it soon in the IF Blog. Here is an Ocean Map that should make your mouth water.