Let me tell you a secret.

This summer was amazing: June, July and August, the sun beating on the Rhine valley like god’s anvil, the temperature hardly ever dropping beneath the thirties in daytime. No rain, the cistern ran out of water quickly and we had to install more wine casks as raincollectors to water our tomatoes and fruits.

The local swimming pool was crowded every single day, the nights too hot to allow restful sleep and the farmers complained that the absence of rain was going to ruin the harvest.

This brought back childhood memories. Let me tell you a secret, that may proof valuable for you.

Many, many years ago, when I was still a very young boy, my father arrived home one night accompanied by two men carrying a big box. The box was put on the table and unpacked. It contained the very first television set that my parents had bought with their meager  income. Mind, this was the time when most people still spent the evenings listening to the wireless.

The men installed the television on a small table and left. My father switched it on. My mother, my sister, my brother and I looked eagerly at the screen.

Only atmospheric disturbance was visible: a gray soup of signal accompanied by a fizzy hissing sound. My father played with the two antennas, moving them from left to right and back again. Suddenly a voice appeared from the ether, and after some more fiddling, a human face emerged out of the signal swamp.

My father lowered himself next to us on the couch. The five of us stared at the man; the first person we had ever seen on a television.

The man wore a dirty blue cap. He was standing in the middle of a field, obviously a farmer. Another man, outside of view (we could only see his arm and hand) held a microphone under his mouth.

“What will happen…,” said the invisible man, “If it doesn’t rain within a few days?”

The farmer looked at the sky, at the ground and started a long explanation in an exotic dialect that we could not understand. But his facial expression and voice made clear that the end of the world, if not of all times, was closing in on us.

We watched his narrative for five minutes. Then my mother said: “What’s on the other channel?”

My books: www.clemenssuter.com/books

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Celebrating the 2010 release of my novel Two Journeys with a limited edition coffee mug.

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This special commemorative coffee mug can be filled with 350ml of hot coffee, even steaming hot: it is fully temperature resistant. All types are supported: latte, cappuccino, koffie verkeerd or macchiato; its smooth surface even protects against the oxidative effects of Devil’s Brew.

FAQ

How does it work? The mug comes with two holes: one hole (at the top) is used to both add and extract the coffee. The hole on the side is used to insert two fingers so that the mug can be lifted. (Confusing the two may lead to damage and/or injury.)

Can the mug be used for tea? Yes.

How about the artwork? Find the cover of Two Journeys on the front, and a mysterious QR code on the back! Where does it lead, you will wonder? Which miraculous domain of the internet?

Learn more here: http://clemenssuter.com/books

 

The Secret Art of Whistling

“Stop whistling, Clemens. Only laborers whistle,” my great friend and teacher C used to say. C was Austrian, and like many citizens from that cutlet-shaped country,  leaned towards eccentricity. Highly sympathetic, but thank you for the advice. Meanwhile I am glad I listened to most of C‘s suggestions, but ignored this particular one.

Many years later I had an eye opening experience with music. As a birthday present, my wife gave me a weekend-long harmonica training. A crash course with a professional harmonica teacher, Dale King. At the end of which I walked from the experience with the rewarding conclusion that I would never be able to play ANY musical instrument. Except for a CD player or smartphone, my limbs, fingers and lungs are unable to extract any melodious or rhythmic sound from any instrument. Problem solved.

There is some truth in the statement that everybody can and should sing, but being modest for once, I admit that my singing capabilities are limited.

But I can whistle. The tunes that Yehudi Menuhin squeezed from his Stradivari after long years of tortuous practice, effortlessly leave my two lips with no practice at all.

Whistling – it truly seems to be a secret art. I couldn’t find any article or reference  about the effect of whistling on well-being, physical health, war and piece, the economy or whatsoever. There are no lists of famous Hollywood actors, historical figures or politicians that indulged in this activity.  Did George Washington, Caligula, Margaret Tatcher or Jennifer Anniston ever whistle? The history books remain stumm.

But I LOVE it. In fact, I will now render Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Beats my vocal version by a length.

Read more here: http://clemenssuter.com/books

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Top Five Tips for the SMART HOME of the future!

The SMART HOME of the FUTURE – everybody talks about it, but what does it really entail? Here’s your chance to get a close-up view of our SMART HOME, simplifying our life every day.

Below the center piece of our SMART HOME: our SMART SOFA. As a visitor sits down, the sofa automatically determines the weight of that person. Almost as if by magic. This weight information, together with age, sex, home address, and email details, as well as buying and sexual preferences, is automatically not transferred to a server system somewhere in Alaska (not owned by Facebook, Amazon or Google). This facilitates more meaningful and open conversations between host and visitor.

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Our SMART water collecting system. With the help of advanced gravity, rain water collected on the roof is transported into the container. Fully automated, the home owner can lift the lid to check water levels in the tank, and with a special receptacle (green, lower left), water can be distributed amongst the potted plants. (This was not necessary on the day this picture was taken, as the automated system noted sufficient precipitation through visual and haptic detection).

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Our SMART HEATING SYSTEM. If a family member gets cold, a piece of wood is inserted into the receptacle, and lighted with a small Sulphur stick. As it takes long to get a fire going, strain and frustration will sufficiently increase body temperature.

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Below our SMART BURGLARY ALERT SYSTEM. With 24/7 availability, this four-legged burglar alarm immediately emits a loud sound as anyone gets close to the house (30 feet will do, thank you). This includes not only fiends, but any guest or even family member. This alarm is always accompanied by a visual signal (moving tail, tennis ball in mouth) and in some instances amplified by the sound of crashing cutlery or glass, dropped by unsuspecting and shocked witnesses. In contrast to ordinary networked alarm systems, the SMART BURGLAR ALARM of the FUTURE cannot be hacked through cyber-criminal-led brute-force attacks.

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Our SMART DISHWASHER allows the SMART HOME to save on electricity and water (large amounts of valuable resources, energy & water are needed to produce, transport and recycle ordinary dishwashers). Fully automated, the SMART DISHWASHER alerts the family members that it is full to capacity (as on this picture) and after longish debate and negotiation, rinse & dry cycles commence. A pleasant view of the inner court is offered through the kitchen window.

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Impressed? Intrigued? You too can live in the SMART HOME of the FUTURE ! Learn more about the SMART ENTERTAINMENT CENTER here: www.clemenssuter.com/books.

 

More newspudding: Moguls, Magnates and Sexual Harassment

The  unlucky episode around Harvey Weinstein. When it started to develop, my initial reaction was something like: no surprise here, after all, the man is a movie-mogul – and isn’t harassment exactly what moguls are supposed to do? But on second thought I wondered: what is a mogul actually? And is obnoxious behavior a perk of a Mogul’s job, or, even worse, part of the essential job profile? (“Our studio is seeking a motivated, experienced individual to fill the role of Senior Movie Mogul. A proven track record in lewd behavior towards junior employees and subordinates (both sexes) is a requirement. We look forward to your meaningful application. Please provide photographic evidence.“).

Time for some research 

According to the dictionary, a mogul is also defined as a magnate, either a business magnate (a prominent person in a particular industry, kinda what William Randolph Hearst was for newspapers), or a media mogul, a “person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position, any media enterprise”. I like the phrase “who controls […] through personal ownership or a dominant position”: both fuzzy and threatening, like the silhouette of a shark in the murky depths of an ocean.

The phrase Mogul smoothly associates with Kings of Exotic Countries: it has a dark, foreign resonance (how different from “Trump,” a name that sounds like a blown musical instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles). Indeed, the Mughal Empire, from which the word Mogul originates, has its history in India, and was founded in 1526. It was ruled by a Muslim dynasty with Turco-Mongol Chagatai roots from Central Asia. Interestingly, the Mughal Empire did intervene in local societies during most of its existence, but balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices. The rulers of this dynasty had a highly relevant positive influence on science, trade (mostly with Europe), governmental policies, and architecture. Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor, gave the world the beautiful Taj Mahal.

Further (admittedly highly superficial) investigation

This seems to indicate that like in any other dynasty, kings had varied characters and quirks; yet the word “Mogul” seems to refer mostly to the unifying character and resulting vastness of the kingdom, and less to the embarrassing behavior of the rulers.

No mention that a typical King of the Mughal Empire or, for that matter, a Movie Mogul, must embark on lecherous, randy, lewd, degraded, embarrassing, harassing, disgraceful or shameful behavior.

It simply isn’t part of the job description.

More like this here.

“Clemens Suter” | adventure novels on Kobo

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“After Christmas” 9gag movie

Winter. Sky grey with snow coming down in slowmotion big flakes virgin white, going to sleep on your shoulders and cap and touch your lips ever so lightly. Lights behind windows that pull in visitors with urgency to come in from the cold. Comforting. And looking forward to the holiday season even in the absence of religion, with delicious food and lights and people that come to visit. With presents, that remind me of my youth, when for a small boy Christmas still was magical and an anchor in time; like the last day of school or your birthday.

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