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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.




the Eagle / box 3

Further below this page this series has been explained.

Box 3 has 2 dvd's, 4 episodes.
Codename Chronos sees Hallgrim recovering from his wound and stay in hospital. During the recovery he sees someone he knows from his Palestinian period: Benjamin Stern, member of Israeli maffia.
An investigation is being made and there are links to another inquiry, involving children's abuse.
Codename Chronos2 continues on this plot of children's pornography. The trail leads to Berlin, Germany.
It seems someone high up in governemnt circles is being blackmailed.
Meanwhile the relation between Hallgrim and Maria Wied is cooling.
Codename Erinye brings further complications: Benjamin Stern is also linked with illegal weapons trade in the Congo. Enter warcriminial Le Mabé.
Codename Agamemnon finds Le Mabé in Sweden, later in Denmark.
A Danish businessman, Aagaard is involved too in the illegal arms trade. Le Mabé seeks contact with him, to extort money for his silence, while Hallgrim's team has to tread carefully for political sensitivities.

Characters of the cast see little changes nor great development. We get to learn more about Hallgrim's problematic relation with his father, while he gets romantically involved with a friend from the past.
Vily Frandsen has marriage problems and gets involved with Anna, a temp...



Theodore Dalrymple, Andermans Rotzooi

Anthony (A.M.) Daniels (b. 11Oct1949), who generally uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, is an English writer and retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. He worked in places including a number of Sub-Saharan African countries and the east end of London.
Dalrymple's work frequently appears in The British Medical Journal, The Times, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, The Salisbury Review, and Axess magasin.
He is the author of a number of books, including Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, Our Culture, What's Left of It, and Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality.
Although he is occasionally accused of being a pessimist and a misanthrope, his defenders praise his persistently conservative philosophy.

The above book was my first taste of Mr Dalrymple's writing, translated in Dutch, the English title being 'Litter. How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives.'
I very much liked his writing, his peeling analyses, his sharp pen.

Travelling the 400 miles from Glasgow to London recently, Theodore Dalrymple noticed that the roadside was littered with food and drink packaging.
He presents how he came to conclude that the littering is an unusually British disease.
Behind the increase in littering lies a decrease in civilisation: 36 per cent of British children never eat meals at a dining table with other members of the family. In fact, he found that plenty of British households never cooked anything, or indeed had any cooking equipment beyond a microwave...
Lack of money seems to have little to do with this.
After a childhood with no authority, kids grow up to eat packaged foods, on the move, at no fixed time, with none of the self-imposed restraint required to hold on to litter until they find a litter bin.
Put simply, the British litter because they haven’t been socialised properly.
Dalrymple reasons and deducts in a calm and philosophical style; he observes unsatisfactory human behaviour in an almost scientific way, thus increasing the impact of his writing and conclusions.

I'll be reading more of his writing!

Theodore Dalrymple en.wikipedia.org



Charles Bukowski, Septuagenaran Stew - Poetry & Short Stories

Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; 16Aug1920 – 09Mar1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer.
His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work.

There's some excellent poetry in this collection and quite a few good short stories as well. This is work from later in Bukowski's life.
Someone wrote: 'A man who articulates the darkness with light fingers' and I think that is very well put.




Reizen zonder John, door Geert Mak

This is one of those very rare books, which upon ending the last page, I wanted to start again all over..

Geert Mak is a Dutch journalist and non-fiction writer on history subjects; he had to travel to the Unites States for work and from an early age he became thoroughly fascinated by it.
As a youth he came to stay with an American couple, Edith & Louis Laab (both have passed on, this book is dedicated to them), whom he didn't know at first but became friends for life.
For work and out of sheer interest he often travelled to the USA and studied the way of life, its politics, the history, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies in the complex society, etc.

In American literature he also became fascinated by John Steinbeck, who made a vast tour through the USA in 1960 and wrote a book about it, 'Travels with Charley', which was published in 1962.
Fifty years later, Geert made a similar voyage. And published it also two years later: september 2012.
Steinbeck's book is an excellent read, but did not turn out to be what the writer had in mind from the outset. Geert Mak is more successful.
Steinbeck's book is discussed further down the page.

Geert Mak took Steinbecks lessons seriously and planned his trip more wisely, travelling almost the same route over a longer period of time. Hence the title, which translates as Travels without John.
Data to illustrate findings and conclusions are easier to retrieve these days, though I suspect double- and triple checking to avoid doubtful statistics will have been an immense task.
While travelling, Geert Mak found he wasn't the only one with the idea to retrace the 1960 Steinbeck route; with those travelogues published on the internet, Mak shifted his focus, and while his book follows John Steinbeck route and mindset, it emphasizes the state of the USA during the past decades.
And as such this book has become a marvellous study, a valuable historic document on the USA; about that vast and fascinating country across the Atlantic that had, and continues to have, a great influence on our way of life in Europe.
Hopefully it wil be translated in other languages.
There is much to learn about the past in this book, but it will also explain developments in years to come.

Geert Mak on Wikipedia



Kelly Joe Phelps

Kelly Joe Phelps is an American musician and songwriter. His music has been characterized as a mixture of delta blues and jazz.
He played the 'Oude Veiling' (translates as Old Auction House) in Aalsmeer, Netherlands on 23Sep2012, promoting his latest album 'Brother Sinner & the Whale'.

My recordings of this gig uploaded on TouTube:
Pilgrim's Reach (from the new album)
Crow's Nest
Goodnight Irene

My photos of this gig on Flickr.com





Cartoon says: "The theme tonight is: 'Satire & Religion'."
By Tom, in Haarlems Dagblad today.


Lee Child, the Hard Way - a Jack Reacher novel

Read my first Lee Child crime novel, The Hard Way. I concur with the review (below): '...I really shouldn't like this. But I do.'

Ex–military cop Reacher sees more than most people would (he remembers seeing a man cross the street to a parked Mercedes and drive it away; that car contained one million dollars in ransom money..).

What started purely as a witness report, is followed by an investigation, to save 2 innocent lives involved in a kidnap.
Jack Reacher does it the way he does it best: the hard way….
At first he is on home ground, walking & thinking while soaking up the hot, electric New York City nights; he gets involved deeper and deeper. Other people get involved, but who to trust? Doubts creep in: is he serving the right people? He sure doesn't like them, but he does it for the woman and child that have been kidnapped.
The trail leads to rural England.
The book has tremendous pace, I'd say that is the biggest attraction.

A crime novel typical of the American way, he's Superman and inspite of a few blemishes (he admits he has killed a high ranking military official), he's a bit of a stumbling saint too. But never doubt his character, resolve or strength.

As a rule I prefer English, Scandinavian and a particular Icelandice writer books for my crime novels, but I was on holidays and read four books previously on poetry, history and politics- so I was in for lighter fare.
And quite liked it!




Joris Luyendijk, "Je Hebt Het Niet Van Mij, Maar..

Dutch Journalist Joris Luyendijk was allowed to roam for a month as 'Nieuwspoort-reporter' in the centre of political power: 'het Binnenhof' in The Hague.
In this booklet he shares his findings of political machinations and crafty schemes in the Dutch capital and seat of political power, The Hague.
Obviously I knew of some players hard at work there: politicians, media spokesmen and spin-doctors, journalists... But the considerable role lobbyists play in Dutch politics was new to me and quite a revelation.
Very useful and enlightening little book; not sure if it was published (1st print 2010) in any other language than Dutch.



Ornen / The Eagle - Crime Drama

Enjoyed another series of Ørnen or as it is internationally know: The Eagle. Box 2 has 2 dvd's with 2 episodes each each. These are Ares 1, Ares 2, Nemesis and Hades.
240 Minutes of excellent crime drama.

The series debuted on 10 October 2004 in Denmark. It won an International Emmy Award from the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for best non-American television drama series in 2005.
According to Wikipedia these episodes conclude Season 1.
The series was filmed on location in various parts of northern Europe, from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Oslo (Norway) and other locations including Iceland.
Starring: Jens Albinus, Janus Nabil Bakrawi, Marina Bouras, Steen Stig Lommer, Ghita Nørby, Elva Osk Olafsdottir, Susan A. Olsen, David Owe.



Links to Travel Blogs
From Volkskrant.nl/Reizen



Travel with Charley - Steinbeck

As a prelude to the recently published book by Geert Mak, 'Reizen Zonder John', I read Steinbeck's 'Travels With Charley'.
John Steinbeck travelled the United States in 1960 and his book was published in 1962. Geert Mak travelled the same route in 2010, and his book (in Dutch, not sure if their is, or will be, an English translation) was published last month.
Geert Mak is a John Steinbeck fan. I've liked Steinbeck's books ever since I read 'The Grapes of Wrath' in school.
My overall impression is that Steinbeck rushed through the United States, lost his focus (see the subtitle 'In Search of America') but wrote a very readable book. Geert Mak's book is witten more from a journalist perpective and I hope to read it in the coming weeks.

Travels with Charley is a one-man, one-dog account of the expedition in which he tries to recapture his familiarity with America. He set out with some misgiving, not sure his health would stand up to the 10,000-mile journey he envisioned.
The very first few pages brought me that feeling of leaning back, settling in for a nice read. That is a quality not many writers have.

But while I enjoyed the book, one doesn't learn too much from the state of affairs the USA was in at that time. He travels in a converted GMC truck, a sort of campervan 'avant la lettre', which at that time brought people out to have a closer look. There is that about 'food on the road', prepared with great efficiency but is regarded by Steinbeck as tasteless. And a few more of such details.
Since then it has come to light that Steinbeck's wife travelled with him much more than written about (the book only refers to a meet in Chicago) and the whole roadtrip was indeed a far cry from the solitary-man-and-his-dog-in-a-truck story this book tells us about.
One can read between the lines about Steinbeck's failing health and confidence, but even without all that it is a pleasant, masterly crafted book.




Kurt Wallander and his team of police in Ystad suffer a hot Swedish summer, but most are comforted by the idea they will be enjoying vacation soon. Kurt too, he is expecting Baiba to fly over to enjoy holidays together.
Wallander witnesses a young woman from the Dominican Republic setting herself on fire in a farm field. He had looked into her eyes, saw a bewildering fear, but found himself unable to save her. This haunts his mind.
Identification of this suicide takes second place when a series of brutal killings start; a sadistic serial killer begins preying on elderly, successful men, kills them with an axe and takes their scalps as trophies. The victims seem to have unsavoury issues in their past, but are difficult to connect.
The motive of the serial killer cannot be determined, except that he goes barefoot and seems inspired by Indian folklore.
Meanwhile, Wallander must also cope with his increasingly despondent father, who's determined to make one final trip to Italy. Kurt is very pleased with his daughter Linda staying with him for a while. But the killings go on and everybody will need to postpone their intended holidays; Kurt cannot bring himself to phone Baiba and tell her this, feeling increasingly unsecure and guilty as the date approaches.
As he investigates the two cases, the Ystad detective stumbles on a sinister link to prostitution rackets and the white slavery trade.



Martine Franck 1938 - 2012

Martine Franck, R.I.P.
When she was young and shy she took a camera to parties, to hide behind. Many a time I did the same, rather than suffer small talk with strangers. And not only when I was young..

For her that soon changed and she started to approach people for portraits.
The decision to try a career as a photographer was born during a journey to Asia, with choreographer Arian Mnouchkine; Martine followed Mnouchkine's Théâtre du Soleil through the lens of a camera bought in Japan.

Martine became a photographer in Paris, during the post-WW2 era; at the time she specialized in portraits of artists & writers. She met Henri Cartier-Bresson when she was 27, he was 30 years older and famous as a photographer. They married.
With their daughter Martine created Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson.
She became a full member of Magnum in 1983.
And she died, aged 74, last thursday 16aug.


Most of the above learned and translated from article by Merel Bem in Volkskrant, 18aug12.

Wikipedia, more..




Pussy Riot
A girl punk band sang a protest song in an half-empty church and hardly went noticed. But they were arrested and the ball started rolling.
Media got a hold, head of the Orthodox felt insulted (he apparently played a role in re-election of Putin) and Putin felt insulted. As much about male ego's as anything else. The unsavoury re-election of Putin shouldn't be protested against, not in 'Democratic' Russia.
Now there is even a Wikipedia page on Pussy Riot!
'On 21Feb2012, four members of the group staged a performance on the soleas of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, motivated by their opposition to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the politics of the Russian Orthodox Church...'


Ørnen / The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey)

The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey (In Danish: "Ørnen: En krimi-odyssé") is a Danish police procedural television series produced by Danmarks Radio, created and written by Peter Thorsboe and Mai Brostrøm.
The series debuted on 10 October 2004 in Denmark. It won an International Emmy Award from the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for best non-American television drama series in 2005.
The series is named after the lead character, a half-Icelandic half-Danish police officer named Halgrim Ørn Hallgrimsson, nicknamed "Ørnen" (the eagle).
In the first episode, a new international criminal investigative unit is being formed under Thea Nellemann (Ghita Nørby), and Hallgrimsson (Jens Albinus) is persuaded to take the job as the lead investigator for the unit.

Having seen occasional episodes on German and Belgian TV, I became interested in these series. It took me over two years to find the (legal) international releases on DVD.
This box (2 dvd's, 4 episodes) is the start of the series and I am looking forward to watch the other series, as I have acquired the complete series!



The Bridge - Scandinavian crime drama
Now this is Scandinavian crime drama of the highest quality!
The Bridge ("Bron" in Swedish or "Broen" in Danish) is a Scandinavian crime drama television series, co-produced by Danmarks Radio and Sveriges Television. The series follows a police investigation following the discovery of a dead body on the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden. The series was first broadcast on DR1 and SVT1 during the autumn of 2011.
Ten 60 minutes episodes, reminiscent of The Killing, bound to clean your agenda and keep you spellbound for a few nights..
The Bridge of the title is the Oresund bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden, Copenhagen and Malmö; a body is found exactly in the middle of the bridge and it is decided that police inspectors Saga Norén from Malmö (Sofia Helin) and Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) from Copenhagen work together on this; esspecially since the murderer continues murdering and victims fall in both countries.
Saga's boss, Hans Petterson, is played by Dag Malmberg who also features in the Irene Huss series (below).
Magnus Krepper plays a social worker, Stefan Lindberg, and we've seen him as Inspector Winter in another series.
The acting is excellent, but Sofia Helin really excels, playing Saga Norén who is a brilliant analyst but falls short socially; this creates an unbelievable contrast to the likable Martin Rohde though he is found during the series to have lived a very self-centered, egotistic life and will pay a high price.
So we have the murder plot, the murderer who communicates through an immoral newspaper columnist at Aftonposten in Malmö (Christian Hillborg as Daniel Ferbé), interesting character development of inspectors Saga Norén and Martin Rohde, Martin's relation with his wife Mette (played by Puk Scharbau) and his estranged son from a previous relation who has started to live with them again, August (Emil Birk Hartmann)... Just to name a few!
I don't know yet if The Bridge is as good as the first series of The Killing, but it comes close.
It's Nordic Super-Noir!




Robert Hughes r.i.p.

Decades ago I read this book, Fatal Shore, and it made a big impression on me.
Hughes was described to be eloquent and a combative art critic as well as a historian, who lived with an operatic flair.
Well I don't know about art, but the history of extradition transport of English convicts to Australia during 1700s and 1800s (almost a century!) was described in compelling detail.
He died after a long illness, last Monday august 6th at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, aged 74.
His book Fatal Shore, this epic 1987 history of Australia (which he left in the mid-1960s) became an international best seller. I saved it for decades, intended to reread it and actually started doing so when I prepared my 2005 travel DownUnder, but it started falling apart so I intended to buy a new copy but sofar that hasn't happened.
But I will, as certain as I intend to revisit Australia.




Irene Huss - Swedish crime drama

In these second series, of six episodes, Angela Kovács again plays the role of Swedish police inspector Irene Huss. And again inspector Irene Huss is confronted a series of crimes set in or around Sweden's Göteborg.
Her privat life plays a considerable role too, when family members (her husband who works as a cook and restaurant owner, and her two daughters) get involved in crime or merely weigh in with 'domestic' issues.
These series are based on the novels by Helene Tursten.

While I think highly of these series, I found in some episodes some scenes connected too superficially, too easy. Her team also barges in with weapons drawns, without waiting for armed police support.
The family scenes are a nice relief, but tend to feel a bit 'soapy' at times.

Compared to Inspector Wallander (the Swedish version) it falls short considerably.

Angela Kovacs - Irene Huss; Reuben Sallmander - Krister Huss; Felicia Löwerdahl - Katarina Huss; Mikaela Knapp - Jenny Huss.
Lars Brandeby - Sven Andersson; Dag Malmberg - Jonny Blom; Eric Ericson - Fredrik Stridh; Moa Gammel - Elin Nordenskiöld; Anki Lidén - Yvonne Stridner; Adam Lundgren - Jon Rydell.



Arne Dahl scandinavian crime series

Jan Arnald (b. 11Jan1963) is a Swedish novelist and literary critic, who uses the pen name Arne Dahl when writing crime fiction. He is also a regular writer in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The dvd depicts a special police unit, each person with a certain specialty, each with his or her personal story too. And that is what I like about these Scandinavian stories: they show real people and characters get a chance to develop and not always in a good or pleasant way..
This dvd box contains 2 dvd's each with two episodes; both books Mysterioso and Kentucky Killer have been filmed in a positively spellbound manner.
Another good Scandinavian crime box by Lumière.be



Alaska by James Michener

In this sweeping epic of the northernmost American frontier, James A. Michener guides us across Alaska’s fierce terrain, from the long-forgotten past to the bustling technological present, as his characters struggle for survival.
The exciting high points of Alaska’s story, from its brutal prehistory, through the 19th century and the American acquisition, to its modern status as America’s thriving forty-ninth state, are brought to life in this remarkable novel: the gold rush; the tremendous growth and exploitation of the salmon industry; the discovery of oil and its social and economic consequences; the difficult construction of the Alcan Highway, which made possible the defense of the territory in World War II.
A remarkable portrait of a human community struggling to establish its place in the world, Alaska traces a bold and majestic history of the enduring spirit of a land and its people.
[Source: http://bcfreviews.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/review-alaska-by-james-michener/

In a book this size and span of time there are obviously parts less interesting to the individual reader, but I particularly liked the episodes of the discovery by the Russians, US involvement )resulting in lawlessness), the goldrush and early aviation.



Photo album HEMA
Uploaded my album to the HEMA, hope to see it in print a week from now.
I´ve always, faithfully, put my photos in an album, from the earliest days since I took up photography.
My photos were and still are fruits of labour, a treasure to preserve in a worthy condition. And striving for a sense of order too probably.
But these printed albums are more than ever a creatice process and I cannot wait to see the result!



Atrocisites by Assad regime in Syria

This cartoon, by Riber Hansson, was published in July 2012 in Dutch newspaper NRC.



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Created: 27-Jul-2012