Klaus Hnilica
Thursday December 5th, 2019

(Deutsch) Fritz – und der Stillstand der Zeit

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Klaus Hnilica
Saturday November 16th, 2019

(Deutsch) Caros Rache – oder die ungewollte Spaghettisierung

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Klaus Hnilica
Monday November 4th, 2019

(Deutsch) Ein seltsamer Vergleich – oder?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday September 24th, 2019

Trend Research with Carl

Carl and Gerlinde (# 62)

”Carl – there is a lady who wishes to talk to you“, Gerlinde yelled from the kitchen, before finally, deciding to bring him the telephone into his home office, after all.

”Good morning, this is Cornelia Koch from the Trend Research Institute! I was hoping that you might be willing to let us ask you a few questions?“

Carl took a deep breath and said “yes”!

”Many thanks! After all, we are dependent on people like you if we want to do a fair job.“

”Okay“, said Carl.

”I would now like to ask three questions – and as soon as you have answered them, I will leave a thank-you present for you.“

”Hm“, replied Carl.

”The first question is: are you married?“

”Why?“

”Well – my first question is about the marital status: are you married?“

”Do you happen to work for a matchmaking agency?“

”No – of course not. We are the Trend Research Institute and the only thing we want to do is find out certain social trends. So let me ask again: are you married?

”Yes and no!“

”What exactly do you mean by that?“

”Yes“, Carl replied spontaneously. He heard Gerlinde’s snicker – apparently, she had her ear on the door …

”Well, so here is the next question: do you own a house?“

”Ah – you work in realty and you are looking for objects to sell on?“

”No – we are the Trend Research Institute and we would appreciate it if you gave concise answers to my questions. So do you own a house?“

”I own several houses”, said Carl.

”How is this?“

”I own several houses!“

”May I ask how many houses you own?“

”Twenty-six!“

”This is not my idea of a good joke? Are you pulling my leg?“

”That is something I would never do without previously having asked for your shoe size!“

“Good – so I will write down twenty-six! So here is the last question: do you live in one of your own houses, or are you renting?“

”I am renting one of my own houses!“ now Carl was really getting a little impatient.

”And why is that?“

”Because my wife insists that I pay rent!“

”Why does your wife take rent from you?“

”Because I told her to demand rent from me …“

“From you?“

“Naturally, because we live together!“

”What kind of sense does that make?“

”It makes a lot of sense, because that is how she has her own money with which to pay the rent that she owes me“!

“You also charge her?“

“Yes, – because that is how I practically live for free?“

“And your wife?“

“She would also live for free, if she were to marry me at long last …“

“Thank you so much for this conversation!“

“So what about the thank-you present?“

“Well, I guess that has become obsolete“!

“This is outrageous“, said Carl in the direction of Gerlinde who suddenly appeared in the open doorway.

“Carl, I think it was really great how you taught that miserable telephone lady a lesson. I am really proud of you“!

Since she then disappeared noiselessly, Carl had no opportunity to tell her that, after this remark, he was going to cut some of the money he paid to her as his rent!

K.H.
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Friday August 2nd, 2019

It Can Be Done With White – I Know …

Dear Roland,

I understand your desire to promote freedom and your solid belief that this vision of yours must be something we can achieve on this planet (see:  http://if-blog.de/rd/die-teekanne-und-der-frieden/ ), but in my view, the future of the world is white.

Because if our earth were basically white, all would be well. With a little white paint and minimal gen manipulations, this is actually far easier to achieve than, for instance, a removal of the anti-peace testosterone from the male sex.

And the climate change that everybody laments would be practically non-existent, since a white planet would reflect more of the sun’s rays and thus the warming of the earth would be impossible. Moreover, the entire biosphere – i.e. all plants and creatures – would have gotten used to the colour white eons ago. At least in those parts where winter was a matter of course.

But even apart from this, in a white world, all potential conflicts would solve themselves in a white fog: all racism would be obsolete, because all humans would be white. White facial and top hair would further reduce the difference between generations and sexes, especially if everybody wore white clothes.

The number of books would be drastically reduced, because white print on white paper would provide us with totally new perspectives and every man, woman and child would need only one book. Besides, it would be totally irrelevant how many pages such a book has. Except in those cases where you need a particularly thick or thin book in order to stabilize a tilting table.

This aspect would be similarly dramatic in art and photography, thereby reducing the common capitalist intrigues in the art scene to a minimum. And all lamentation that this would mean that such a measure removes the yellow of the egg would be of no consequence, because you would only have the white of the egg. Not to mention the world-wide scourge of humanity: colour blindness. In a single stroke, all humanity would get rid of it once and for all.

Written hate messages would no longer exist in a white world, because if you use white writing on a white surface, you cannot do much and thus you cannot spread hatred. The powerful concerns Appel, Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon would have a totally new face in such a world, their stock market value would certainly dwindle to almost nothing or even become zero.

The same would be true for the entire digitalization in general.
And if, in addition, by way of a minimal orthographic reform, the words white and wise were to become synonymous, then this would not only make us all white citizens and voters, but even wise citizens and voters who all would be living in eternal contentment and peace! However, you could not really prove any of this because all white reasoning, even if it were extremely wise, would be invisible on a white background… …

K H
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Monday June 24th, 2019

Tina Tuner and a Democratic Common Pilosophy.

I find both Tina Turner and the US neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty with his book ”Contingency, Irony, Solidarity“

/1 / of 1989 extremely refreshing: both she – see below – and he are really concerned with things and discoveries from real life, instead of all the time seeking the Ultimate Truth that we in Germany like to set as our goal.

The important thing for Richard Rorty is that the truth is not found but made!

Incidentally, this idea was first introduced 200 years ago in Europe, but especially gained influence in the pragmatic concepts of the Americans. Currently, in a more and more digitalized world with its fake news that spread extremely fast, it will probably be hard to control the circulation of information at all.

“But for Richard Rorty, the discovery that the truth is made is like a liberation”.

All of a sudden, he can see how a truth value can be assigned to a historic state of the public perception – or at least there can be an indication of a consequence!

His idea is that, as the history of philosophy and democracy unravelled, there was suddenly the option to change yourself and the society in a positive way, instead of the domination of the metaphysical constructions which saw the truth in things.

Obviously, for the enlightened and rational citizen, his body is the ideal concept. Instead, we now have what he calles the playful and serious “ironical lady“ who understands that contingency (“contingency is something that is neither necessary nor impossible; basically it is what can be but could also be different”, see Niklas Luhmann) is a necessity because she is flooded by the understanding that both her convictions and her everyday vocabulary and the society she lives in could also be different.

And she does not think that this is a deficit!

On the contrary, she uses the new opportunities that result from this and uses innovative vocabulary in order to test new stories about herself and the world and to experience the world anew.

The female ironist leaves everything unsolved, she does not crave freedom of conflicts, but open synthesis.

The female ironist knows what life is really about and what makes contingencies possible:

“the state guarantees freedom for its citizens and the society practices solidarity with those among its members who have been violated and restricted“.

This knowledge turns the female ironist into a liberal person.

Consequently, if you pair liberalism with an ironic concept of the world, you get a mentality that is appropriate for dealing with the modern craving for fixed identities in a democratic way.

Yet, regardless of this addition of irony and solidarity, you have to note that, with a radical-democratic perspective, even though the female ironist will agree with the contingencies of life, there is still the fact that solidarity necessitates that national and religious differences between humans are considered irrelevant if compared to the similarities between pain and humiliation.

The difference between Rorty’s solidarity concept and the rational ethics of enlightenment is that he includes no general principles whatsoever.

He recommends a change towards stories in order to enable literature and the public to develop more sensitiveness towards human misery – and thus generate solidarity.

In this context, however, we need to ask how exactly pain is measured and if perhaps a scale for measuring it is in itself contingent and dependent on the respective social concepts?

And what about solidarity practices themselves perhaps providing us with a concept of what is unsurmountable misery only while they are ongoing and only step by step?

Because what a European discourse in 2019 considers pain is definitely not something you can easily generalize.

Which raises the basic question: is Rorty’s concept is a step towards the solution of the problem or perhaps a symptom for the political situation?

Or maybe Rorty’s approach is more a de-militarization approach for philosophy – just like Tina Turner‘s Popsong ”We Don‘t Need Another Hero“ of 1985 – which means that we do not need counter-heroes to replace the ancient metaphysics. Instead, we need a pragmatic approach towards solving the everyday problems of society?

Which then implies that the typical personality of humans in a liberal democracy is actually boring, calculating, miserly and un-heroic.

If you follow Rorty, then this is basically the price you pay for political freedom!

And, as opposed to Max Weber, Rorty does not fall victim to a cultural pessimism over it. Instead, in typical US fashion, he wisely says “so what?“ and recommends that the words greatness and heroism should only be used in private and never publicly, because: cravings like these will damage the liberal society!

In general, it seems that Rorty’s question of vocabulary to be used in public is stimulating in modern times.

After all, Rorty’s recommendation to leave religious and other identity-based arguments out of the public discourse because they are only conversation stoppers bought him fierce enemies both on the left and right side of the political scale – and also among the religious groups!

Because if you leave these groups out, you are in danger of losing your claim to solidarity and liberalism.

On the other hand, you will have to ask what exactly remains as a common ground for a society that polarises in terms of ideology?

And how can it find a common language – which seems absolutely necessary if it wants to unite?

Today, it seems that doing without ultimate reasons is understood less as a philosophic change but more as a political problem.

In the end, it might become something that supports a philosophy that postulates the “priority of democracy over philosophy“ and does not stubbornly use its former vocabulary, instead applying its vocabulary to the political present – and, if necessary, modifying it!

K H

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday April 11th, 2019

Death of the Cook (Part 2) – Dead Spot Hotel

Oh God – how often have I wished I had never agreed to this unholy affair: all the things that came to light because of my meddling, or rather all the things that remained unsolved, only contributed towards me feeling even more sorry about the loss of my friend Sturmius…

It started with the impossible ”Dead Spot Hotel” in the beech woods of O.R.. No halfway sensible person would ever have set foot into this impenetrable wilderness. But, naturally, Charlotte Burns, this dubious self-appointed guide, had to ‘produce‘ a breakdown near this the world’s absolutely most remote hideout with her minibus, four more persons and a driver. And it had to be exactly on Friday afternoon, on our way to the ‘Musikantenstadl‘ that, allegedly for the first time ever, played in the town W. Of course, the usual suspects were to come: Andreas Gabalier, Andrea Berg, Roland Kaiser and whoever else usually is part of the outfit.

Almost miraculously, there was a sign not far from the place where our breakdown had occurred that said that a ‘Dead Spot Hotel‘ could be found three hundred metres from here. However, as it turned out, said hotel had been out of commission for many years and, with the exception of a retiree who was hard of hearing and occasionally had a watchful eye on it, nobody ever went there.

Well – it is hard to believe, but occasionally, the famous TV cook Sturmius von Suppé, too, was part of the outfit. His purpose – typically for the outcast- was to try special cooking creations about which nobody at all must hear anything in this absolute solitude.

Naturally, only a very small and exclusive circle of persons was in the picture about these sporadic visits of his. Apparently, the mysterious Charlotte Burns was one of them: there is no other explanation for this accidental meeting of this bizarre group of tourists and my friend Sturmius.

I, too, had until then not had any idea that he actually used this place once in a while for diverse adventurous activities.

It seems that a regional TV station also used this ‘ancient place‘ for diverse ghost stories and ‘Tatort‘ recordings.

Still, it stroke me as more than strange that the famous TV cook Sturmius von Suppé, of all people, had been told to go there in order to create a suitable “monster dinner” for a “monster binge at midnight”. Allegedly, the motto had been “the less appetizing, the better“: make it an “abhorriminable TV program“!

As I was told, Sturmius von Suppé was not at all fascinated by the idea of having to execute such a lengthy cooking experiment that might well take several days in such a dilapidated environment. But his arguments were beaten; again and again, strict secrecy policy was given as a reason by the responsible parties!

But perhaps even more important for him was that this break-down tourist group turned up at the ‘dead spot hotel‘ totally unexpectedly late at night.

Was this an accidental? Or was it really this impertinent guide Charlotte Burns who had set a few wheels in motion?

Actually, the members of the tourist group were almost an embarrassment. Besides the alcohol addict Raffaela von Suppé, there was a rather dubious music journalist Dörte Hansemann, along with the two “Hessian Babblers” Ernie and Bert Hesselbach.

And, almost as if a button had been pressed, all of them seemed to suddenly hate the son of a bitch Sturmius. However, they did not take to each other, either: the lesbian couple Charlotte and Raffaela made fun of the lamenting Dörte who, after an alleged violation by Sturmius in the basement of the Dead Spot Hotel, admitted that she had a fifteen-year-old daughter with him. And it seemed that Bert Hesselbach had been cheated by Sturmius when it came to the rights for the phenomenal ‘Noggi Aroma‘. He said that a lot of money had changed hands during that affair.

So it came as no surprise that, under these circumstances, nobody could sleep well at night when Sturmius von Suppé was, on top of everything, accused of cannibalism because he apparently had, in a consciously provocative fashion, processed a bloody female arm – which he had ‘constructed‘ beforehand from pigs’ feet with culinary finesse – as part of his ‘fashion cuisine‘ for the ‘monster dinner‘.

As a consequence, there was an unappetizing argument in the hotel kitchen during which Sturmius, instead of being able to continue with his work, heard for the first time about his illegitimate daughter Katharina whose mother was Dörte Hansemann!

But the situation took a truly dramatic turn when the totally ignorant Ernie Hesselbach just drove the hand blender which Sturmius had demanded and which hung next to her over the kitchen counter into the soup saucepan in which he was busy partitioning the chicken mush for the creep soup with both hands. And since the device was apparently truly very deficient, it triggered an electric short circuit in the soup that was accompanied by a noisily whizzing electric shock in the wake of which Sturmius von Suppé dropped dead! And he was really and truly dead! As they wrote in one of those tabloids.

Well, you can rest assured that nobody had intended this outcome!

With the possible exception of Charlotte Burns who could not escape fast enough, followed by Bert Hesselbach with his totally clueless and confused wife Ernie.

Raffaela, who turned out to be Sturmius’s sister, was probably anything but unhappy about the sudden death of the brother she despised. She definitely did not take long to find consolation in her Schnapps bottle. …

And Dörte Hansemann, who, at long last, got a signal in this dead spot, was able to tell her daughter that she had just turned very, very rich through a substantial inheritance!

Dörte Hansemann was probably also the person who had called the local police. They came surprisingly fast und officially announced Sturmius von Suppé dead. They also sealed the crime scene for the coming securing of evidence. Dörte Hansemann and Raffaela von Suppé gave their statements in the same night, not even demanding to see their rightful lawyers.

Charlotte Burns and the Hesselbach couple were interviewed two days later, but none of these statements brought forth any changes in how the accident was judged!

After an initial ‘light storm‘ in the usual dailies – which was due to the popularity of my friend – it took surprisingly little time for everything to return to normal. I am sure it was partly because none of the concerned parties was interested in pursuing the matter further.

I was the only one who did not really find peace: somehow or other, my journalistic gut feeling told me that there was more to this alleged accident that met the eye. Since, however, I had no tangible proof, my hands were bound and I was left alone with my nightmares and musings for the time being…

K.H.

PS.
Let me express my gratitude to those who helped to shed a little light on the darkness of Sturmius‘ death: in particular, I would like to Christine Bruckmann, Gabi Nelges, Martina Tornow and Detlef Knoll. Irene Weingärtner, however, refused to discuss the matter.

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday April 4th, 2019

The Death of the Cook (Part1) – Flashback

“A first-grade asshole!“, was always the first reaction when they talked about Sturmius. For me, too, this guy was hard to digest – almost impossible to accept. …

But you had to admit that he was an excellent cook!
For many years, his name and his artistry in cooking were everybody’s main topic. Sturmius von Suppé cooked on TV on a Thursday at prime time, his viewing figures had no problem surpassing those of the Sunday ’Tatort’.

No rapist or child molester could compete with his Tafelspitz, let alone his roast saddle of venison. No murderer was ever able to get more interest than his acid Vienna Schmäh while he cut duck breasts and glazed carrots.

But I was never able to find out why this Sturmius showed such a dog-like devotedness towards me of all people. Perhaps it was because I, too, was different. Yet I had never been ostracized like he – who, even when he was at school, had constantly smelled of ’celery’!

”Here comes Stinkersturmi! Sturmistinker, Stinkersturmi“, they called after him or whispered with smiles at each other, because Stinkersturmi was not someone you wanted to find yourself alone with on a dark road at night. He had the strength of a Grizzly Bear and never hesitated to use it: even before he grumbled, his paws found their goal – after which mostly nothing remained to be said or done.

Since I was built more like a hen and had not much to offer except a full mouth, Sturmius – without my ever asking him to – made me part of his ’celery aura’ and removed all evil doers from my path before I could even say ’hens’-droppings’.

To make up for it, I agreed to sit next to him each year. Who else would have been able to endure this repulsive creep who smelled of celery?

Naturally, this earned me the mockery and anger of all the others, but that was the price I paid for being protected by him; the price also included all the help I gave this walking celery in mathematics, physics and chemistry.

Once in a while, I even went home with him and saw his impossible upper-class parents and his lethargic sister Raffaela. To be sure, she did not smell of celery, but she made up for this by smelling of perspiration. And the dark, wood-panelled rooms of the noble castle smelled badly of old cabbage, because, due to the high price of heating, they were hardly ever aired.

But I really had never been quite close to this Sturmius von Suppé! I am sure it was not exclusively his fault – I, too, liked hiding behind my protective ’shield ’ and did not let anybody come close: nobody would have understood my ’tepid sorrows’, anyway…

Well, perhaps Sturmius would have understood! But I totally had lost his trail after graduation. I was the declared asshole and had enough on my plate with all the oppressive salamanders. Camouflage and deceit were the necessities of the time: nobody should hear about my unspeakable tendencies. And then, I somehow had to get through my studies at university.

So much the more did it surprise me when suddenly he, Sturmius, appeared on the TV screen of the nation out of nowhere and not only pampered his guests in a culinary way – for instance with his Beef Olives -, but also brought tears to their eyes with his biting Vienese Schmäh.

Suddenly, nothing was left of his uptight inability to talk a lot, neither could you hear any of the Hessian dialect with which he used to provoke the nobility circles he moved in.

And how strong he looked, this appetizingly dark-tanned Sturmius: the formerly pudgy pig-face had become distinguished and the total baldness, along with the dark horn glasses and the then seldom seen three-day-stubbles gave him a magnetic look.

The lively eyes and his broad grin – disarmingly charming whenever that was what he wanted – cultivated everything like the most delicate of spices. All of this not only delighted me, but also felt like a punch into my guts: I had to admit that he – the eternal asshole – had managed something that I never achieved: burst out of the ’cocoon’ and turn the unappetizing caterpillar into a colourful butterfly! Yes – Sturmius definitely had done it …

I admit that this insight came totally out of the blue for me and that it gave me some sort of chronic stomach ache that did not seem to abate! My only consolation was the tasteless hope that, regardless of all his culinary brilliance, he probably still smelled of celery. If even this was no longer true, then what remained of my former superiority?

Nothing – nothing at all was left – as I immediately realized when we met again for the first time. He whispered with an air of nonchalance that he had never forgotten me! So what would have remained for me to brood over or be sorry about? It was immediately clear that I, the freelance journalist, would have to work where the beautifully sun-tanned Sturmius did all his barbecuing and cooking. Be it Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin or Vienna – I was always there with him!

This is how it did not take me long to find out how Sturmius had not only learned how to cook and cooked with Plachutta, Lamprecht and diverse other restaurants, but also that he had been an item with a cabaret artist famous throughout the city for ten years. Said artist also had been responsible for bringing to the light of day the ’new Sturmius’ with a lot of sensitivity, thus laying the basis for his exceptional TV career.

Unfortunately, soon after they separated, this benign spirit turned totally towards the French Cuisine and his new lover, absolutely refusing to have anything to do with Sturmius‘ former Viennese cooking art. What a pity! It had actually been a lady who had intervened, but Sturmius refused adamantly to tell anything about her …

Well – and in Berlin, Sturmius had a short time ago, just like in old times, used his fists to get me out of a very inconvenient fight after we had celebrated through the night and met the wrong types of guys in a park. But Sturmius had not forgotten anything. On the contrary. Without a word, he finished the affair. The only help he needed was when he insisted that the three injured boys should be neatly positioned like sugar canes on the still dew-wet grass – arranged according their height. Somehow or other, he had become pedantic and more sensitive – this new Sturmius von Suppé…

So much the more brutal and merciless was the news that he had suddenly died!
For me, it was unbelievable that this frying and baking basic power was never again going to barbecue anything. Who could have managed to do harm to such a tough tree trunk? He was always the one who had wet the others?

Or was everything a lie? Just dog Latin? Had this grandiose camouflage artist again tricked us all? Perhaps because he saw that his mission had ended and he was scared to start a boring life of routine? Or did he intend to surprise the world yet again? With a Sturmius as a side dish that nobody had ever seen before? Well, it was absolutely conceivable… …

But when, after long and sad weeks of alcohol delirium, I awoke and regained consciousness, and after all news about Sturmius’s death in the press and all social media had been digested and several discussions with his former environment had happened, I seemed to feel deep inside that, for an investigative journalist like me, there remained a lot to be investigated and that this is what I owed my friend. As he used to say whenever his braised meat was in the oven: you have to give it its due time. …

But that is another even more unbelievable story!

KH
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Saturday March 16th, 2019

Tenerife and its Thieving Magpies

Carl and Gerlinde (instalment # 61)

Honestly – for all normal humans, it is truly an extraordinary delight if they, at long last, can be gleeful without all restraint. At least, this is certainly true for Carl!

And he feels he can enjoy that glee particularly when it is about Tenerife. That island where Gerlinde, a few years ago, had sought refuge for a few weeks when, in a spell of mental incapacitation, she had thought she needed to separate from Carl. But then, what clear-minded woman would ever separate from Carl?

None – at least that is what Carl believes.

And in the end, Gerlinde did not really do it! Because as soon as she had seen what grandiose advantages this miraculous creature of a man had, she had commenced snuggling up to him again after surprisingly little time.

Naturally, he had been quite happy to have her back: after all, they had really gotten along brilliantly over all these years. And, to this day, he did not understand why she had needed this time-out at the time – and on this stupid island Tenerife to boot! He had never really liked it. And he also had never ever wanted to fly there.

And where he now – for the sake of peace – had flown again with Gerlinde. Just like all those other seven million tourists who spent time here every year. And they were old, fat, from England and Germany and France and even – who would have thought it possible – from Russia…

And Carl had to admit that this “Barceló“ in Puerto Santiago with its four stars was actually not a bad hotel. Even if he felt reluctant about admitting it: this hotel really sat near the black lava coast in such a picturesque way that it reminded you of a crusader. You could imagine starting your voyage at any moment. Directly into the Atlantic Ocean, passing San Sebastian, the Capitol City of Gomera, just like long ago Christopher Columbus who also, just like Carl and Gerlinde, had only the endless blue ocean in front of his nose every day and every night – and the stiff westerly breeze.

Admittedly, the splendid promenade along the small fisher harbour in this small town of Puerto Santiago, too, was not bad. Regardless of the many bad construction sins along the promenade that stretched far into the hinterland, even up the black volcanic slopes.

The lone diver, who was chained to a steel balustrade, looked funny. The contraption was probably meant against thieves and against the strong Kalima that blew from Africa all the time. He had advertisements from a diving school in his breast pocket and both his arms looked surprisingly unhappy as they hung down. And although his left hand had been bitten off – probably by a frustrated terrier –a long time ago, his right hand, wearing a red glove, courageously pointed into the thirty-metre abyss of a black Barancos that flowed into the near ocean directly behind him. Its powerful waves had been rising up and eating into the black lava coast for millions of years day in day out.

To the left behind the diver, you could see the newly built spectacular town fairground that jutted out far into the ocean and at the front end of which stood the statue of a deserving Spaniard. It was surrounded by Guanches that had visibly been treated poorly by the Spaniards, who had not left their work unfinished in the name of Christendom: with the exception of hints in the genes of the current population, nothing was left of them today.

Almost every other day, Carl and Gerlinde strolled along the fairground towards the Arena, enjoying the marvellous view onto the ocean and regularly making their way towards one of the typical pubs, where they would regard the lively atmosphere on the small beaches while sipping their Cortado and Aqua con Gas.

The same was true for this Thursday. Except that, today, the Kalima was blowing even stronger than before, which meant that at noon, when they were again commencing with their stroll, they were quasi surrounded by a permanent coat of sound. Countless tourists made their way through the broad pedestrians’ paths and practically every single pub along the street was firmly in the hands of semi-nude old men who mostly quietly sat behind huge beer glasses with their white-haired wives. However, when they spoke, what they said mostly sounded English, very seldom German and never Spanish.

When, almost in a fearfully good mood, Carl returned with Gerlinde in order to eat their usual portion of grilled sardines with ample rose wine at the Paraiso del Sol, he suddenly got the impression from the sound of the Kalima that something inside his body there was a short vibration. It was not the cell-phone he was carrying in his breast pocket. After the second vibration, he knew that it came from the backpack behind. He quickly turned around and even touched one of the two darkly attired, black-haired women who were far too close behind him but showed not the slightest degree of surprise.

Instead, they passed him without any reaction. All of a sudden, he found himself annoyed at being by himself, took the backpack from his back and unbelievingly stared at the two wide-open compartments of his backpack with the scarves, hats, water-bottle, spectacle container and hairbrush in it. In shock, he called for Gerlinde who had walked a few steps ahead and not noticed anything about the two ladies before her – probably Roma – having intended to steel from him. They probably had not found anything interesting in his backpack.

Still in the process of calling, Carl, besides a paralyzing helplessness, felt an intense anger rise inside and would really have liked to overwhelm those two pick-pockets immediately. However, these two were not even reacting to his calling out to Gerlinde. Instead, they pretended that all this racket had nothing to do with them. In fact, they even positioned themselves next to the chained diver, took a leaflet out of his breast pocket and studied it with interest.

Carl felt that he, too, with his open backpack, had to be there and was there in a few strides. However his study of the leaflets consisted of constantly gazing at the two dark magpies, which they did not even seem to notice.

Suddenly, Gerlinde stood next to him and said: “Carl, I will now go and buy those shoes we saw together yesterday in the shop over there”.

”Okay“, Carl said apathically, without actually knowing what Gerlinde was talking about. He continued staring at the two black ghosts before him…

”But I will need some money from you, I do not carry any money on me. I am sure you have it in the front backpack pocket as usual, don’t you?“

Before Carl could react, she lifted the backpack that Carl had hanging over his arm and miraculously produced four 50-Euro-bills out of the third small backpack compartment that the beasts had not opened and that only contained Aspirin and a few drugs. She then disappeared without another word to the opposite side of the street.

Suddenly, Carl got the impression that the two black misery messengers no longer kept their painfully preserved facade of good temper: they replaced the leaflet back in the diver’s breast pocket with such a jerk that he almost toppled over regardless of his chains. Then they hurried away. As their distance from him grew, the venom they showered each other with increased. At least to Carl it looked like they were accusing each other of having spoiled a huge chance in a truly amateurish way.

And Carl not only realized suddenly why he was so deeply in love with his boisterous Gerlinde, but also and above all felt the heart-warming power of justified glee rising from inside…

K.H.
(Translated by EG)

PS:
In Instalment (XXI)
Hinter Sonnenbrillen vor Gomera
loves Gerlinde her time on Teneriffa!

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday January 8th, 2019

A Translation Mistake with Consequences ?

Since, after the ‘quiet time‘, we are back to ‘peaceful routine‘, it might be quite interesting to stop and think about all the evolutionary changes that even written texts can undergo. This is especially true for the book of books – the bible /1/:

For instance, in early Hebrew versions of the book Isaiah, there is a prophecy that uses the word alma when it describes the mother of a boy whose name is Immanuel (translation: God is with us).

In some languages, among them the ancient Greek, there is no translation for alma. However, a rough equivalent might be “young lady“ or “young lady who has not yet borne a child“.

When Jesus lived, however, the Jews no longer talked Hebrew. They talked Greek or Aramaeic. Consequently, the word alma became the Greek parthenos, which has a specific meaning, namely “virgin“. The biological term Parthenogenesis (“virginal conception“) is based on it: it describes a reproduction process without male contribution as we find it with some insects and reptiles.

That means that a modified translation of one single word turned a “young lady” into a “virgin” and a child into the Messiah! And the story of how Jesus was conceived suddenly changed completely. …

Matthew and Luke even turn this into a truth in their gospels. And for a billion Christians, it turns into a dogma. Which is exactly what we sing about in our Christmas Carols.

Isn’t it strange?

/ 1 / Adam Rutherford: Eine kurze Geschichte von jedem, der jemals gelebt hat
K.H.
(Translated by EG)