To commemorate the fight for the eight hour (working) day, also known as the 1886 Haymarket Affair, the first day of May is known as international labor day. In a lot of countries this day is celebrated. Just as often it is used as a day for political protest.
A few years ago, one man has made his point of view very clear to everyone in The Netherlands. During the festivities at the National Holiday to celebrate the Queen's birthday, which was then celebrated at April 30th, he drove his car into the audience that was watching and cheering the Royal Family. Several visitors were injured, some were killed. The ruthless ride was made by a man who had lost his job. A single man's protest, witnessed by almost the entire nation at live televison. A nation united in its greeve by this incident.
"If only he had asked for help" someone said. 'Mayday' is the emergency code word used internationally as a call for help. A distress signal derived from the French; "Venez m'aider" ("Come help me"). 'Hello!' or 'Help!'; who can recognise a call for help from a man in psychological need?
First time since...well...ages we went into town. The familiar shopping procedure was easily retrieved. So was our passion for a coffee break. The coffee corner we used to visit, was closed for reconstruction. This unexpected change of plans brought us to another, much smaller, coffee corner which obviously was found by everyone who was surprised to find their favorite restaurant to be closed.
The line-up behind the counter was insufficient to handle all orders from the inpatient queue at the front of the counter. Result: stress on both sides of the counter: trays filled with empty cups; trays filled with too many cups; empty trays waiting for cups and people waiting for cups and...cuppy things. Nevertheless I managed to return to our table with coffee and brownies!
Yup. I'm an MC: Master of Coffee Chaos.
Mister 'Ouwerkerke'. Or mister Oldchurch as he had introduced himself. A literal translation of his name. Not just one of my English teachers. My all time favorite. And even though it's been more than 35 years and I cannot find any photo of those schooldays right now, I can still picture him. The characteristic beard; the twinkle in his eyes...irony and sarcasm in the classroom. Just loved it. And him. As a teacher that is...
"Always remember this kids" he used to say. "One day, in the middle of the night, when your are fifty years old or maybe even older, I will appear in your dreams. I will wake you up and softly whisper in your ear: 'iambic pentameters'; and you will say...?"
"Rhyming in pairs!" we all repeated.
Still haven't got a clue why those bloody pentameters are rhyming in pairs. But I do remember the line. That's the only promise we made.
The reason I will always remember him, is because he introduced us to the master of short stories: Roald Dahl. Don't know if my classmates were as inspired as I was, but for me Dahl has been one of my favorite authors ever since.
Too bad the image I had of this fabulous author has changed now that I've finished reading his biography. A real 'Tale of the Unexpected'. So I prefer to stick to the memory of the man who inspired me to read Dahl's stories. My own master of the macabre.
Studies reveal that in and around Rotterdam more than 350,000 jobs will be lost in the near future. All due to computers taking over the present jobs. No need to worry the reporter concludes. New jobs will be created. Sure, like what? Building the computers that will take over your job? Everybody knows the best way to built computers is to create computers that built computers. Duh-huh.
this phrase? An inevitable quote by Peter Sellers as Clouseau in the Pink
Panther movies. We used some kind of spin-off name (Commander Clousteau) as character in the YA series Aquifer. Except for the hazzle dazzle about the spelling of his name (a bit of a running gag in the first book), I had to think about Furby. Cute, gremlin-like toys which lately had been refurbished. The new eyes scared kids. Didn't stop parents from buying the new Furby though.
Years ago, one of my girls walked in to show her new toy:
“e-dog”. Instantly I remembered series of Furby’s and other electronic things,
said to be great toys that could learn new things if you play with them every
remember one Furby phrase; “I’m sleepy”. And off it went. Forever. Five of them
hiding in my house. None of them speaking or doing anything at all. All are
very sleepy. And how about e-dog? This great new toy dog will dance and do all
wonderful things whenever it gets enough food. You only need to feed it. With music. And so we did. And so it danced. And so…that was it. Move over Furby, e-dog
likes to sleep on your lap!
It's been long since April 1st. So I guess it is safe to tell you about the Dutch Mountains now. Mountains? In Holland? Isn't that the flat, little country with all the dikes? Land below sea level? Yes folks, it is. And like always, people are trying to get what they dont have. No mountains here? We'll go and find some mountains. Let's go to Switzerland for holidays. Well trained and prepared, of course. And so you can see people training for wintersport, using rollerskates underneath their ski's. Who needs skateboards, hover boards and things like that?
The original painting has been made a couple of years ago.
When still running our gallery, we used to participate in Art Fairs. Construction and dismantling always were exhaustive. I was thinking about the "Holland art Fair 2006". We had exhibited some rather large paintings which, after the show, I tried to bring back to our truck all by myself. Now the painting measured 1,50 x 2,00 metres; just a little bit too big for one person to handle. Dismantling starts directly after the show,. If you've ever been to an art fair, you should get yourself a seat and enjoy the 'afterparty'. When the show's over, there are no more nice gallery owners. Everyone is rushing to get his booth empty and get the... well, get out of there. Chaos. Disorder...
Anyway, our truck was parked rather far away on a very, very large and wide open parking area where there certainly was more than a spring breeze. Almost stormy it was.
There I walked; confident, yet struggling to keep the huge painting above my head. And there came the wind; it grabbed a hold of me and the painting. You know how you react when you stumble and fall, knowing people are watching you? Well, so did I. I tried to look relaxed."Nay, I'm always kite surfing paintings into the truck." For obvious reasons I will not give you the name of the painter or the painting involved...
En Marche. How convenient the initials of this new movement also are the initials of its political leader, and runner up to become the next French president, Emmanuel Macron. And how lovely they also are my own initials! If I would be the president... Well, obvious, I'm not. This song tells the story of a young blondhaired kid... An ironic song ending with a beautiful phrase: "Pas besoin d'être Président, pour aimer les enfants" (I don't need to be a president to love children). And that's what life is really all about! Oh well, you might as well enjoy the music:
And watch the new series on Albert Einstein ('Genius' on national Geographic). Politics, and science. Freedom of opinion folks!
Science is a tool for seeking answers. Politicians around the world are limiting and restricting scientists' ability to research, publish and communicate their findings.
Inconvenient facts are shamelessly replaced by 'alternative facts'. Scientific evidence is denied; written away or simply rejected. Rejection of scientific evidence by political and opinion leaders is a critical and urgent, global problem.
An alarming trend which cannot be denied anymore. Academics are jailed. Publicly funded scientists are censored or silenced (even in the US).
Imagine a world where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but consider to eliminate science entirely. Staying silent is a luxury we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science. Like freedom of speech, we need freedom of science. Scientists should not be chained! April 22nd, a worldwide march for science will be held; the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economics and governments.
Sick and Tired. That's how I feel about terrorist assaults. Many people share this feeling as, once again, can be seen by the messages of readers in newspapers and on social media in reaction to the most recent attacks in St. Petersburg and Stockholm. Not to forget the chemical attack in Syria; as there have been so many tragic actions, all over the world... I've been looking into some of my old notes and sketches. (Sounds great, but in fact my 'archive' is no more than a pack of loose leaf paperworks. An almost perfect chaos without any order. It's fun to browse through those paperworks though...). I was looking for a certain sketch I made. Even remembered I made a painting of it on old wood. And yes, I happen to know I also destroyed that artwork. Must still have a photo somewhere... Anywhere. Maybe in my undisputable archive... Seems I made the sketches back in june, 2008. A little, innocent man holding his hands up high. A big capital 'C' in the middle of his body symbolising the innocent 'Citizens'. Civilians walking around unarmed. Unable to defend themselves against brutal attacks. I cannot believe any god, prophet or whatsoever will tolerate violence. If I was a god, prophet or whatsoever I would open my house for the citizens and close the gates to my heavenly C-street for those who attack innocent people. And I would make a deal with the devil (dark side or whatsoever) to prevend them from entering that world too. Let them forever wander in the ghastly no man's land between heaven and hell. There's no room; no place for people like them in a civilised world. Nor in a civilized after world.
One day, Picasso is sitting in a restaurant. A woman approaches him with a table napkin. She asks him to draw something on the paper serviette. Within thirty seconds he makes her a drawing. 'That'll be 10,000 dollar' he says. 'Ten thousand dollars? For only thirty seconds of work?' the woman asks. 'Yes, but it took me more than 40 years to get where I am' Picasso answered.
After all the messages on cigarettes, warning about drugs and alcohol, now soda is labeled as dangerous. Politicians want additional labels indicating your Coke, Sprite, whatever you drink is causing obese.
It's about time politicians are labelled 'Lethal'. After all it takes politicians to send 'our boys' to war...
We all know. Mars and Venus. The difference between men and women is mostly verbal. Men talk explicit. It is what it is, right guys? Women talk implicit. You have to read (or actually: listen) between the lines. That's a "no go" for men.
Is there any hope one day we will solve this difference? Nope. Let out the IM-EX (im- or explicit) and you'll get plicit.
Didn't have a clue what that might be, so I searched in some dictionaries. You know what it says? "A Plicit is something that does not exist."
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Happy New Year, happy 2217... Wait a minute...2217? Typo? Or... No sir, 2017 will be the year of 'SIRE' a great new Science Fiction trilogy. A thrilling SF trilogy, about the worst tragedy humanity ever overcame. The frightening part is, it's not all fiction! Behold the truth. Beware the future... Coming February 2017 'Fracas', Book 1 in the new Science Fiction thriller trilogy: SIRE. Part 1 'Fracas' is scheduled for February 2017. (Check out the full schedule of parts 1, 2 and 3 here).