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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues I feel have no place on my website.
The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.


Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) - Bishop George Berkeley

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.). The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website.

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.




Kapitalisme zonder remmen door Maarten van Rossem

The three decades after WW2 are sometimes referred to as 'the Golden Years'. There was a strong, continued economic growth and the start was made of the social wellfare state.
'The Big Crisis' of the past century was still fresh in mind, governments took care of stability and healthy employment.
But during the 1970s economies stagnated, the ugly head of the inflation beast raised itself and unemployment figures went up.
Legislators and economics looked for a new economic tool, but the government changed from being the solution to be part of the problem! Government was to step back and let 'The Market' reshape itself to a healthy condition.
With Thatcher and Reagan in power, this became the operating rule. But after initial successes, neoliberalism derailed in the late 1990s.
The market ideology took on a fundamentalistic character and in the American financial world a 'wild west capitalism' developed.
This 'no holds barred' doctrine led in 2008 to a massive coronary of the financial markets: the credit crunch (Wikipedia).
A third drastic change of financial- and economic politics seems required.
Maarten van Rossum describes it all in his usual clear and candid way.
This book was read in Dutch, not sure if there are any English translations.

Maarten van Rossum : Wikipedia


Weird things customers say in Bookshops

The premise of ‘Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops’ is really what the title promises, a collection of snippets of conversations of, well, weird things customers say in bookshops.
And they do say weird things..
Such as, upon entering the bookshop: "Do you keep the Pornography in the Photography section..?"
People are obnoxious too, and dim witted. But it is all funny!
Customer: Where do you keep Hamlet? You know 'to be or not to be'? Is it in philosophy?

Customer: What kind of a bookshop is this?
Bookseller: We're an antiquarian bookshop.
Customer: Oh, so you sell books about fish.

A thousand laughs!


Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

Hot, Flat, and Crowded asserts that artificially triggered climate change is a deadly threat to society. Rising global population, accompanied by rising rates of resource and energy consumption as the developing world grows affluent, may overwhelm both the Earth and the marketplace.
Only fundamental change in energy production and use—"a whole new system for powering our economy"—can stave off disaster. And the longer we wait with radical change, the bigger the damage, the bigger the bill we'll pay.
Yet there's an upside: drastic change in energy use represents an opportunity for the United States (Friedman writes with global overview but largely from the American perspective, note the book is subtitled 'Why we need a green revolution and how it can renew America') to preserve its global economic leadership, by beating the world to clean-energy ideas that will sell.
But initiatives (such as solar energy in Germany) and progress towards drastic changes in production spheres (China) clearly show leadership by the USA has been challenged with success.
Source and more on this: www.slate.com

SugarCity | Urban Renovation

Sugar City - Halfweg

The Sugar City Project won the 2011 Fiabci Prix dÉxcellence in the category Environmental Conservation. The abanoned sugar mill (CSM) is slowly put to new use again.
Sugar City, Netherlands

The former CSM factory is being redeveloped into a factory outlet center, supermarket, congress- and exposition hall, offices and showrooms and various restaurant and/or catering providers.
The sugar mill closed its doors in 1992; the area that will be redeveloped measures some 110.000 m2
More photos of this location HERE...
'400 Women' Exposition at Sugar City, May 2012



Rokjesdag - Martin Bril

Spring here in Holland is a bit disappointing this year: mostly a chilly wind blowing, when it mellows there are clouds and rain.
So instead I took to reading about Spring: Martin Bril's (r.i.p.) columns compiled in this book, he's waiting for 'Rokjesdag'. When Spring truly starts.
'Rokjesdag' is when women here start wearing skirts, there is a certain day when womenfolk seem to sniff that in the air. Eagerly awaited by us menfolk. Our sentiments nicely put in writing by Martin Bril.
Coverphoto by Ed van der Elsken (r.i.p.).

Martin Bril's 'ROKJESDAG': wikipedia
Ed van der Elsken: Wikipedia



Horst Faas
Horst Faas (28 April 1933 – 10 May 2012)
Photo: AP

Horst Faas was a German photo-journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. He is best-known for his images of the Vietnam War.

Born in Berlin, Germany, Faas began his photographic career in 1951 with the Keystone Agency, and by the age of 21 he was already covering major events concerning Indochina.
In 1956 he joined the Associated Press (AP), where he acquired a reputation for being an unflinching hard-news war photographer, covering the wars in Vietnam and Laos, as well as in the Congo and Algeria. In 1962, he became AP’s chief photographer for Southeast Asia, and was based in Saigon until 1974. His images of the Vietnam War won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1965.
In 1967 he was severely wounded in the legs by an rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and suffered further complications from the use of medicins, which resulted in the use of a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

In 1972, he collected a second Pulitzer, for his coverage of the conflict in Bangladesh.
In 1976, Faas moved to London as AP’s senior photo editor for Europe; he retired in 2004.
Faas worked for almost 50 years with Associated Press (AP).
He produced 4 books on his career and other news photographers, including Requiem, a book about photographers killed on both sides of the Vietnam War, co-edited with fellow Vietnam War photojournalist Tim Page.
Since 2008 his health deteriorated and since Feb.2012 he was hospitalized.

[Source: NRC and Wikipedia - more..]


Budget Deficits 2012

Newspaper TROUW (Netherlands) produced some neat and simple statistics on the present 2012 National Budget Deficits and the outlook for 2013.
Well, I don't care much for the 2013 figures as I am not an investor and don't hold much faith in financial predictions in the present climate. In fact I suspect any prediction longer than the weather forecast.
Three percent deficit seems the magical figure.
Nobody aims for 0 %.
So even 'the good guys' spend more than they expect to see coming in.
Well, go figure..



400 Women

I visited the '400 Women' exhibition, impressively put on display in the abandoned Sugar Mill in Halfweg.
'400 Women' is a direct response to the abduction, rape and murder of hundreds of women and young girls in the Mexican border region of Ciudad Juárez since 1993, when the body of an unknown womean was found on the slopes of Cerro Bola - the first case of its kind to be documented in the area.
In early 2006 Tamsyn Challenger travelled to Mexico where she met with some of the families of the victims. One mother gave her postcards of her daugher who'd gone missing in 2001, aged 17. Tamsyn Challenger obtained many more of such memories and this led to her idea to invite nearly 200 fellow artists over 5-year period to each produce a portrait of one of the missing girls.
For some women no image existed and this produced socalled 'name-portraits'.
I hope my report will spread the word: that number of 400 murdered or missing was surpassed years ago.
Follow THIS LINK to my account on Flickr for my photos.
Background information and namelist (pdf document)




When Will There be Good News by Kate Atkinson

This is the 3rd Atkinson novel featuring private investigator ('I used to be with the police') Jackson Brodie. And we see a return of DCI Louise Monroe. But they hardly matter, they are not what the main story is about. Then again, they have their own stories to tell.
The storylines evolve mainly around Dr. Joanna ('Call me Jo') Hunter and her babysitter Reggie ('sweartogod') Chase.
Joanna witnessed her family being murdered when she was 6, she fled the scene and was found out in the fields by a search party. Later she became a G.P. and married Neil Hunter. The story sees her adulate of her baby while her husband sees his business 'going through a sticky patch'; he is being investigated for setting one of his failing properties ablaze to cash in on insurance.
Reggie is a delightful character, 16 years old but seems much younger, makes that up by being street-wise and smart. Her mother died recently, abroad on vacation with a new boy friend. Her brother Billie is no help, au contraire.
When the murderer of Joanna's family is released from prison, Joanna disappears. Did she go in hiding, was she kidnapped to be killed? What is the role of her lying husband in all this?
Jackson Brodie (recently married to Tessa) takes a wrong train and instead travelling to home finds himself travelling north: to Edinburgh. Then the train gets derailed and he barely survives.
DCI Louise Monroe, recently married to Patrick but her black heart has trouble connecting to his ever good humour.
Louise is preoccupied with another family, that of Alison Needler; her husband David Needler killed several of his family and he too is about to be released from a long prison sentence, and likely to return to his wife and finish the job. Louise regularly posts outside Alison's house and visits the stressed family with Christmas presents for her and her children. Her husband Patrick claims she is obsessed.
Storylines converge towards the disappearance of Dr Joanna Hunter, but Louise and Jackson (there is a bit of unfulfilled relations between them, the chemistry between them continues to smolder) both have their own plot to follow. With rather an awkward twist of events for Jackson Brodie.

Wonderful book, heartily recommended.



All The Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy

Two Texas cowboys head to Mexico in search of work, but soon find themselves in trouble with the law after one of them falls in love with a wealthy rancher's daughter

McCarthy's landscape is the southwest of Texas and Mexico between the two world wars, a time of uneasy transition, when horses and motor vehicles share the road and cattle ranches and cowboys are fading from the landscape.
John Grady Cole, a 16-year-old with a love for horses and a knowledge of them far beyond his years, senses on some level that the way of life he loves -horses and cattle ranching- is soon to come to an end.
He and his best friend Lacey Rawlins run away to Mexico in search of unnamed fulfillment other than the promise of adventure. Their meeting with the enigmatic Jimmy Blevins is a pivotal event that leads Cole into a series of bittersweet and violent encounters in a land where the rules are unknown and constantly changing.
When Cole and Rawlins separate from Blevins and obtain employment on a Mexican cattle ranch, it appears that they have achieved their idyllic dream.
Their brief association with Blevins, however, collides with Cole's affair with Alejandra, the beautiful and willful daughter of the owner of the ranch. Cole and Blevins soon find themselves in a situation where neither hope nor mercy exist.
Cormac McCharthy on Wikipedia



Liza Marklund's Annika Bengtzon - crime drama

I recently bought from the Lumière Crime Series 2 dvd's in the Liza Marklund's series of reporter Annika Bengtzon: The Bomber and Paradise, which I watched this week in reverse order.
These two novels about Annika Bengtzon had been filmed in Swedish by the English director Colin Nutley. The actress Helena Bergström starred in the role as Annika Bengtzon in both movies. They premiered in 2001 and 2002.
Actually, I should have started with The Bomber, in which Annika is already a deft professional, the story then moves back in time several years, to the start of her career and the meeting with her future husband Thomas. So me seeing these two dvd's in reverse order actually was the chronological order!
By the fifth installment, The Red Wolf, the reader is back in the present; this book I read last autumn, my first book by Liza Marklund. It certainly won't be my last!

Besides a crime writer, Eva Elisabeth 'Liza' Marklund (born 09Sep1962), she is also a journalist!
And Marklund is the co-owner of Sweden's 3rd largest publishing house, Piratförlaget and a columnist in the Swedish tabloid Expressen. Her novels, most of which feature the fictional character Annika Bengtzon, a newspaper journalist, have been published in 30 languages.
With the Annika Bengtzon series, Liza Marklund introduced a female main character in a genre where the main characters had often been men. Current events, like political scandals or women's issues, are often intertwined with the plot, or introduced in subplots.
Really good stuff!




Israeli violence towards palestinians
Not only has Israel a vast military superiority over the Palestinians, their public relations is also much, much better. Therefor it is quite remarkable to see Israel fail in front of cameras and show its hand and agression towards the suppresion of the Palestinian people.
Esspecially surprising since the press was invited here by the Israelis to demonstrate their restraint towards (pro-) Palestinian protesters.
The photo (or this link) will bring you to a Guardian page, showing how a Danish protester for the cause of the Palestinians was brutely hit in the face by a high ranking Israeli soldier.
The protest was with one of the many illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian soil.
Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner, the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade, said he acted in self-defence; he did not express regrets or apologies, merely stated it had not been a smart thing to do in front of cameras.

Israel has ignored all UN resolutions to stop expanding and remove their illegal settlements. And it gets away with it. Other countries get invaded by the US claiming to enforce UN resolutions, Israel has its back covered in Washington by a large and powerful pro-Israel lobby.



De Google Code - Henk van Ess
This book is subtitled (in Dutch) 'Stop searching, start finding' and indeed: searching by Google on the world wide web is far more complicated than one would assume on first glance.
Searching by one or two words can bring you millions of hits these days and this book shows how by use of hyphens, quotes and other characters a better search can be initiated. Also is explained how items can be hidden in databases and acrobat reader documents and still be found provided the search code is properly used.
Henk van Ess wrote a very useful book for those who like to dig a little deeper in their research on the Web.
Published by Pearson Education Benelux bv - ISBN 978-90-4301-908-8 (1st print 2009, 4th print 2010).



Peter de Wit - Sigmund en Relaties
Peter de Wit has Dr. Sigmund doing a daily practice in De Volkskrant. Over 90 cartoons have been compiled in thus book, published in 2012.
Dr Sigmund and relations, he is funny in an inexcusable way, very funny indeed.
De Volkskrant also has an English version of his cartoon:



Sylvia Witteman - Niets aan de Hand

Sylvia Witteman is a columnist for De Volkskrant and has again her raw and witty observations compiled in a book: 'Tot Dusver Niets Aan De Hand' (which translates as 'Until now all things normal').
She observes her immediate surroundings, esspecially her kids, but also enjoys to have her ear on street level, picking up parts of conversation in the public domain and runs off with it.
It is always a pleasure to take in her almost manly ramblings; have a break reading some of the 70 chapters from this book and notice there is much to enjoy for the wily observer.


PostNL: damaged goods

Delivery of mail is getting worse and worse in the Netherlands.
PostNL downgraded the mailman to less than a delivery boy on a newspaper route and it shows. Two magazines I normally get on thursday arrived late saturday (bought one in the shop already as I had given up on it) and this issue Time magazine arrived all wrinkled and messed up.
PostNL working on its own demise.


Reuters 2011 - Our World Now
Having acquired the previous editions too, and having a great appreciation for the hight quality of photography selected here, which were often performed under life threatening situations, I was bound to acquire the 2011 (5th edition) of Reuter's Our World Now series.
The revolts in Tunesia, Egypt and Lybia are vividly illustrated, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Occupy movement and many, many more moments we should not never forget, are selected from the finest news photography.



Arnaldur Indridason

Arnaldur Indriðason is a successful Icelandic writer of high quality crime fiction; most of his books feature the protagonist Detective Erlendur, but not this one.
This book has a Dutch title, an exception to the rule I normally read my books in English. 'Onderstroom' was originally titled Myrká (2008), in English translated under the title 'Outrage'.
This book sees Erlendur taken an abrupt leave of absence (an absence that comes to have increasingly sinister overtones throughout the book), leaving his colleague Elinborg to take charge when a murdered body is found in an apartment in Reykjavik.
There is a murder plot, steadily character background of the person Elinborg and her family, and to anyone who has been fortunate to have read more of Indriðason's books this will not come as a surprise: a disappearance with details which may or may not be linked to the murder victim.
It is once more a gripping tale and it kept me spellbound, all chores of today postponed for another day, as I had to finish it in one read. So be warned!
Book review on www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/Outrage.html



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Created: 01-Jan-2012