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)

Hans Bonfigt
Saturday January 5th, 2019

(Deutsch) Die kleinen Freuden …

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 27th, 2018

The CIO

Giving support only when there is a puncturen.

I always like helping people who are looking for a job. Actually, I even developed a small strategy. I call it “alternative job application”:

We sit together and draw up an “alternative job application“. It is a text where the person who is looking for a job offensively describes his or her strengths and develops a vision that outlines what extra value he/she can and would like to bring to the target enterprise with all his/her enthusiasm and courage. This sounds simple, but demands from the applicant that he thinks a lot and accepts many ideas, besides being creatively open.

As soon as this document is finished, we use the story as a text for our “alternative job application”. Additionally, we might also do a video recording that shows how the applicant can convince any audience with his personal attributes – including a link for responses – as a substitute for the commonly used gangster photos.

? All of this will be individually adapted to the job and the enterprise the applicant feels he/she would like to become part of and work in. My underlying idea is that the one thing an entrepreneur is most interested in is how the applicant can “be beneficial to his enterprise” and how and if said applicant can follow somebody’s train of thoughts.

And, as a general rule, the “alternative curriculum vitae”, will usually be followed by job interview invitations quite quickly. Naturally, these interviews, too, will have to be prepared thoroughly. After all, success mostly is not the consequence of passivity.

More often than not, the people I coach have wonderful classical curricula vitae where they describe many details in the common classical way in tables. You will read what they did and what their roles were during the last (20 !?) years, full of workshops, trainings and certificates. All these lists have been written well and with diligence.

However, these applications are not too much of a success. The applicants get negative replies all the time, which will be quite frustrating for the poor applicant. To me, this sounds totally plausible, because how are you supposed to prove to anybody how competent (knowledge + competence) you are?

Quite frequently, the “classical” curriculum vitae is something nobody is interested in. Consequently, we make it more concise and then only use it as an additional attachment. As such, it shows that there are good reasons for making yourself look optimistic in your “alternative job application”.

More often than not, the first thing I have to do is give the depressed applicant some hope and belief in his own value.

Some of the people I coached were women. After having spent several years educating their children, they now wish to get back into work. And I must say that, whenever we together manage to be a success, we are extremely happy. I share all of their joy and belief in the future.

A short time ago, I accidentally worked with a true “top-class” person. He had been manager of a very good medium-sized IT enterprise. Now he had given notice. His reason for giving notice – which was absolutely rationally acceptable – lay in the fact that the owners had sold the enterprise and the new masters had decided on a policy and goals he was not at all prepared to agree with.

Quite courageously, he gave notice without having found a new job. Now he is looking for a job as CIO (Chief Information Officer) with a well-established medium-sized company. And then, at least that was my perception, he was surprised that, regardless of excellent formal qualifications, he did not find it easy at all to land a new job.

When we talked, he turned out to be an extremely nice person in the prime of life. He also said many rational things. In many respects, he came pretty close to perfection. His personal record in life, too, looked absolutely a success to me. He also had a wonderful classical curriculum vitae.

In some way or other, I got the impression that he was not only depressed but also no longer quite up to date. Especially when it came to the internet and the turn of the era that has perhaps been initiated by digitalization. For me, his rather negative and relatively one-sided verdict on twitter, which he himself (naturally) does not use, was somehow significant.

After our conversation, I accompanied him to his car. And I was eager to see what kind of car I would see. I won the bet – it was the biggest Audi SUV available in Europe.

I had offered to support him during his application phase and said that I would also listen around in my network. All he would have to do is come back.

He never came back. Perhaps he did not think it possible that someone who rides a bike can actually help him.

Well, that is fine by me. It gives me more time to help those who perhaps need my assistance more. And perhaps I should have given the CIO the book on “The U Tactics” by Otto Scharmer?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday February 18th, 2017

Farewell to a Good Friend.

Eulogy for Werner Lorbeer.

On April, 25th, 2016, my friend Werner Lorbeer died. Unfortunately, I only heard about his death after he was buried on May, 2nd, which means I was not there. It still hurts. I will never forget Werner.

For almost one year, I have now tried to find the right words to say good-bye to Werner in my IF Blog. I could not find them. My memory of Werner is still as fresh as on the first day.

Over the last few years before his death, Werner, Josef and I met every few months in Munich. We talked about “God and the World”. But in particular, we talked about the future. And about what we could do to make the future better. We were no longer very young, but still full of plans and ideas. These meetings were always beautiful occasions with a strong feeling of togetherness.

Werner (in the middle) with me and Josef drinking our Frühschoppen at the Weißbräu im Tal (2012) – the picture was taken by a nice waitress.

Werner was a person who enjoyed life. He also took a lot of responsibility. He was sick for many years, but fought his illness and was active for many good causes.

And he also regularly wrote IF Blog articles. For me, this was truly a lucky strike. If you wish to read all his articles, click here.


Like me, Werner Lorbeer had attended the Jakob Fugger Grammar School. Soon after I started there in 1960, I registered for the school chess team and met him there. He was a little older than I and one level above me both at school and in chess for eight years.

Even in grammar school, he played an important role and soon became “students’ representative”. He was equally respected by teachers and students and supported by all. Later on, we – together with other friends – did quite a few things in the school magazine “Brücke”.

In those days – and that never changed – he struck me as a truly nice person. He was a shining figure who, in a very special way, always acted exemplarily and in a surprisingly wise manner. He always lived his values, which were always very close to mine, with consistency. In short: he was an enormously wise person full of empathy and he had tremendous charisma.

I witnessed how he always respected and appreciated other people in an exemplary manner. For me, he was a quiet haven who always was sympathetic towards our mistakes. That is something that stood in total contrast to me: I always saw myself as a hothead who made many mistakes.

Werner helped me to overcome the desperation I was often consumed by when I was young. I believe he was also my friend. My relationship with him was definitely full of friendship, love and warmth. I have reason to believe that these feelings were reciprocated, which makes me very happy.

Consequently, I would now like to formulate a few ideas about Werner and our friendship. Because I do not really know how to define friendship and love. Once in a while, I think I feel it, but I really cannot understand it. Just like I also do not know what really is the “meaning of life”.

During our youth, Werner and I often had discussions about this and similar questions. I always felt that Werner had understood all the questions that seemed to bring me to desperation. For me, his help was essential.

A friend of mine once wrote:
In my definition, friendship is something one human being on this planet cannot have room to experience with twenty-thousand people (in the intensity I would demand) on this planet with all its biological restrictions (sleep, day-night, bio-rhythm, winter, summer, mental capacity,…). Not even for one thousand.

As I see it, this is a nice metaphor for friendship. I, too, believe you cannot have zillions of friends in one life. And that friendship is a rarity. But that is not really an answer, either, is it? Love is probably something other than friendship? Perhaps there is a close connection between the two?

Metaphors such as “being prepared to die for someone”, too, make me rather sceptical. Also “similar souls” or “a lot of sympathy and a high degree of similarity when it comes to values, expectations, interests and needs” does not really help. “Blind understanding over time and space” also seems nothing more but a nice metaphor. Rupert Lay, from whom – similar to Werner – I learned many important things, once said:

Tolerance is if you accept that someone else is different from you. Love, however, is if “you want the other person to be different from you”.

I find that metaphor great. I think it is also true for friendship. For me, following it means that Werner was a true friend, because I not only accepted but wanted his “being different from me” both for him and for me.

🙂 So I continue looking for the meaning of friendship and love and still do not know what it really is. The philosophers are not really much help, either. 🙂

And I am and remain sad about my friend Werner having left us.

Here are two small articles about Werner’s life from the Augsburger Allgemeine and a  report  by “Pro Augsburg“ written after his death. He was always very intense and successful when It came to the well-being of our home-town. And he achieved quite a few things the Augsburg people are happy about today.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For many years, Werner’s illness had not longer been a secret to me. When I heard about it, I was very depressed and described my feelings it in the IF Blog in a very personal post.