Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top2000. Liedjes naar taal. Veeeeeeeel Engels

Heerlijk al die liedjes die de afgelopen dagen langsgekomen zijn. Eigenlijk ken ik ze allemaal wel. Meeste vorig jaar bij #top2000 #jaar2009 voor het laatst gehoord. 

Vorig jaar heb ik de nodige uurtjes gestopt om uit te vinden wie er informatie heeft over de taal van de songteksten. Niemand kon of wilde me helpen. Dit jaar #jaar2010 zelf de puzzel gelegd. Wij Nederlanders houden veeeeeeeel van Engelse muziek. Om precies te zijn 1.693 liedjes van de 2.000 hebben een Engelse songtekst. Dit is 85%.

Hoe zit het met het Nederlands? Als je zo naar de radio luistert, lijkt er veel dialect gezongen te worden. Als we de tijd nemen om te tellen en naar de details te kijken valt het best mee. 93% van de liedjes in het Nederlands zijn Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands. Inclusief Andre Hazes. De rest, dat zijn 16 liedjes, zijn in een van 's lands dialecten. (Ja ik weet dat Fries een taal is.) Mij verraste het. En jou?

Wat me ook opviel - ben ik de enige - niet 1 Surinaams, Turks, Marrokaans of Indisch liedje. Zijn we zo gelijk in muzieksmaak? Of is deze verklaring beter: gescheiden werelden, eigen zenders, eigen "zuilen"?

 Details of the list above. Details of my complete 2000 list (source)
(c) @JeandD99

 1st2nd and 3rd blog on this subject.

History of Religion (Maps-of-War). Footnote The Netherlands 1990-2010

What do you think of this? Five thousand Years Religion on Planet Earth in 90 seconds: Brief history of most well-known religions 3000 BC-2000
I loved the brief or big picture. The religions that are born, grow up, get older, much older. And die? At the same time I realized it's only focused on the "mainstream" religion of people and countries. Always there must have been people who believed something else. Not mainstream but smallstream.What happened to them in all those centuries?

In The Netherlands the picture above is since 20 years no longer valid. In #nl the mainstream religion is "no religion". 44% of the Dutch say in 2009 that they no longer belief in God. Better: they are not registered in a "formal" religion. 
Index. 'Geen kerkelijke gezindte' = no religion; 'Katholiek' = Catholic; 'Hervormd' = Dutch reformed church; 'Gereformeerd' = reformed churches; 'PKN' =  Protestant church in The Netherlands; 'Overige gezindten' = other religions.
Source: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek 'Terugblikken: een eeuw in statistieken' (December 2010)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Top 2000 #music #nl #2010 Non English & Non Dutch Languages. Artist & Song

What artists and songs are on the playlist if we skip English and Dutch in #top2000 #music #netherlands #year2010 #lyrics? This is the list of year 2010.






 Details of the list above. Details of my complete 2000 list (source)
(c) @JeandD99

 First blog and second blog on this subject.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top 2000 #music #nl #2010 Peak Position Languages

If we skip English and Dutch how does the world look like? World? The world of languages Dutch like best for their #top2000 #music #netherlands #year2010. Look at this wordle:
Peak position for each language used in lyrics:

Want to check out the details of my list yourselves? Click here (source)
(c) @JeandD99

First blog on this.

Top 2000 Year 2010. Music in The Netherlands

On 25th of December the 12th edition of Top 2000 starts. 2.000 songs "Dutch" like best. Any idea what song "we" like best? Check out here.

Any idea what language "we" love best to listen at? Answer: English. In year 2010, 85% of our lyrics are written in English. Dutch lyrics are 2nd.
And all the other languages? Hardly interesting for "us" Dutch. Sorry, English is our lingua franca in music.
Want to check out the details of my list yourselves? Click here (source)
(c) @JeandD99

Second blog on this.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What do You Think. Why do We Watch TV?

Look at talkshow host Oprah Winfrey. Look at U2 rockband singer Bono. Look at Paris Hilton. Take 30 seconds … what do you see? Differences? Resemblances?

I see a big campfire. Only 3 ‘homo sapiens’ generations ago we all sat, with our own 40-60 group, around campfires. Looking at the fire. Eating and drinking. Dream a little. Chat a lot. Making plans for tomorrow. In our time and age we exchanged campfire for TV and other social media.

In the past our group consisted family, neighbors, friends etc. People who all lived nearby. People we all knew face to face. These days our 40-60 group is spread throughout planet Earth and consists: family, popstars, celebrities, Twitter and Facebook friends, writers etc. Most of them we don’t know personally. We get informed about them via TV, glossies, newspapers, tweets etc. We know much more about them then about the neighbor 5 houses down the street.

The setting changed. Our 40-60 group changed. But what remains is the amount of people we follow. Still 40-60. What remains is our need for people who change ideas with us: what's next? what happened? what to do tomorrow? who can we trust and who not?

Look at the fire. What do you see? 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I went into a room

I went into a room on the day that Jesus was born. Outside snow. Lots of snow in Austria. On  a 10-day ski holiday with my mum, brother, a friend of my brother and my girlfriend (now wife).
Just finished my 5 hour walk under a warm sun. I walked alone. Everyone else went skiing. Nothing happened. I made no spectacular climb. Didn't risk my life. Enjoyed the views, houses (german 'Maisäße'),  clouds and sun. Life in Austria is always so much more vivid.

Back in our apartment I took for something to eat. Made hot chocolate. Lurked in a book. The room was warm. I felt tired and satisfied. Nothing happened. Everything was quiet and cosy. In a few hours we would eat together and get a few drinks. But that was a few hours away. Far away. First more monky-me: nap, read a little and write a little. Just me and the ticking clock.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The right stuff

Runway. Empty landscape. Military jetnoise. A crashed jet with the pilot in it. Couple of pilots hanging at the bar. Pictures on the wall. A lot of pictures: pilots and their aircrafts. Two well dressed men entering the bar. Silence. We can hear the clock ticking. More jetnoise.
Two men: "We are looking for Chuck Yeager."
One of the pilots: "Who is asking?"
Two men: "We're from Washington and looking for pilots for the NASA space program."
Yeager: "Not interested. Don't want to get rocketed into space like a hooked monkey. That's not flying."

The scene above in 'The Right Stuff' (film 1983) is one my favorites. It tells it all in a nutshell: bravery, machismo and doing exactly what fighter pilots want to do: flying. Flying as a way of life. Danger - 53 procent change of dying as a test pilot during a 20-year career. Fast jets. A man's world. For Yeager being an astronaut was the wrong track. It had nothing to do with flying. Wrong track. Wrong stuff.

 
The book I finished reading last week reminded me of the scene above. Writer Dave "Bio" Baranek wrote in his book 'Topgun days' (2010) about his career as a radar intercept officer (RIO) in the Navy. He was not a pilot (front seat). He sat in the backseat. Flying was all Bio wanted to do. Live a fighter pilots life: flying in fast jets, outsmarting others in dogfights, learning and adapting. For 30 months Bio was an instructor at the US Navy Fighter Weapons School. It's the school we all know now by the name 'Topgun'.    

Lovely book. No real surprises for me. What struck me most was the fact that 'Topgun'-the-movie was a ripple in the day to day job of Bio. For him the movie was decoration. He was busy flying, doing his classes and being an instructor. Just a ripple.

P.s. Here a  real book review on book 'Topgun days'.
P.s.s. The scene above is my interpretation of 'The Right Stuff'. I saw the film >10 years ago. Can't remember the exact lines.
P.s.s.s. My blogs on flying: bookreview 'Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds'; history gliders in 3 pics; 3 pics fighter pilots how things changed in 100 years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On an oil lamp

Today a poem from Marcus Argentarius who lived around year 0 in Rome (AP 5.128):
 
"Her breast against my breast, 
Her skin on mine,
Her lips against my lips, 
with nothing in between Antigone and me, we lay.
I say no more.
The rest the lamp was witness of."


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Does the postman always rings twice? #job

My favorite extinct job is a #palingpeurer (english #eelbob). Question: What is your favorite(s)?
 
Postman always rings twice! Always? In The Netherlands #postman are this and next week on strike. It's a profession threatened with extinction. Why? All of us hardly send snailmail anymore. No handwritten letters. No postcards from abroad. No packages with food, cloths or ... - there must be more. The delivery of items is reducing quickly.

Are you frozen on your job? Do you hate the way your boss organises your company? Does no one ever listen to your "free" advices to get the work better - much better - organised? Looking around again for another job, boss or Way things Finally get Properly organised?

Remember this. There is not 1 way of organising. There are many. How to organise depends on the organisational configurations, the life cycle of the organisation and the environment it lives in.

Remember this. Jobs come and go. When we look back in history we find out that jobs are like a river. The exact definition on what to do (and don't) is never the same. Never! Water floats and floats. The #postman of today is not the same as the postman 50, 100 or 200 years ago. The #farmer of today is not the same as the farmer 50, 100, 500,1.000 or  10.000 years ago. 
I love to puzzle and wonder on jobs that got extinct. A little list of extinct jobs in The Netherlands:
This is a list of not extinct jobs. It's a list of romantic remnants: #shepherd #clog (dutch klompenmaker) #windmiller #king. Yes a #king.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Odd?

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Only the fresh you of today that needs his teeth brushed? You at the age of 19? An ape? The imperfections? What you could be if ...? Do you ever look at your own eyes? Or only from the side? What do you see when you look at you?

This is what I "see":

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You know?

Only 200-300 years old! Did you know that all our present day focus on I, Me and Self is a highly biased perspective? It's a Western Enlightenment view on life of species 'Homo Sapiens'. It's only a couple of 100 years old. 200 - 300 years old! Surprised?

Twenty years ago I planned to write "someday" a book on the history of happiness. Four years ago I realised I don't have to write it anymore. It's already written by Darrin M. MacMahon in his book 'Happiness: A history'. I read it 4 years ago. Back than I needed a mirror. I needed something that dried my tears and cleared my head. Reading Darrin's book worked perfect for me. 

In a way we as species invented (better: have been inventing) "happiness". The definition on what a happy life is changed a few times during history (source):
  • Homeric.  Happiness = Luck
  • Classical. Happiness = Virtue
  • Medieval. Happiness = Heaven
  • Enlightenment. Happiness = Pleasure
  • Contemporary. Happiness = A Warm Puppy

It's my birthday today and I cry if I want to.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So why bother?

I know that I'm authentic and original. Someone who makes up his own mind regardless of authorities, titles, holy books, fat words or todays trending topics in my country or on planet Earth. Hot news of today is always old news tomorrow. So why bother?

How did I became the man I'm today? Someone who is always working on at least 3 projects. Bizzy with reading. Checking out thoughts, presuppositions and allegations. Always on the road. Never steady ground. Never afraid to enter a completely unknown subject.

The truth is I don't really know. Since I left primary school I was always on my own. My parents were not able to help me with my homework. I had to figure it out on my own way. At the university I was never impressed by all the professors I met. Just human beings too. With their strong points, flaws, jealousy etc. Most of them specialist's specialist.

I guess above all because I like to read books. Books make me feel alive.

I know that I'm authentic and original. How about you. Are you too?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Invoice

Five years before the Iron Curtain fell down I visited Auschwitz concentration camp (polski 'Oświęcim') in Poland. It was a strange place to visit. Rain. Green grass. Dust. Lots of rust iron. How bizarre to enter the old gas chambers. Pretty small.
What shocked me most was an invoice of Zyklon B. Couple of thousand kilo's. Price? Can't remember. One invoice of probably many. Apparently someone did the bookkeeping. I realised that the killing of the Jews in World War II wasn't done in a whirl. It must have been a gigantic logistical operation. Gather people (raids), transportation over thousands of km, selection (to the right meant labor, to the left meant to the gas chambers), killing (Zyklon B), burning of the death and get rid of the ashes. Bills that had to be paid. There must have been a bookkeeper who knew the answer to the question 'Avarage cost of Zyklon B for 1 Jew?'. 

Question: did he (or she?) calculate too the costs of razzia's, transportation, crematorium, food for gards and workforce? Were costs for environment e.g. Carbon dioxide (CO2) an externality?

P.s. I'll try to find a better and readable copy of this invoice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Newspeak

Laat me de namen van des lands Ministeries zien en ik zal je zeggen wat voor een land je bent. Of positiever geformuleerd: kernachtig wordt in de namen van Ministeries de speerpunten van landen getoond.

Met veel genot kijk ik naar de namen van de Ministeries in Nederland van 1850, 1900, 1950 en 2000.
Ik heb vooral veel vragen:
  • Waarom was er in 1850 een apart Ministerie voor Rooms-Katholieken (RK)? De meeste Nederlanders waren destijds toch Protestant? Het had mij meer logisch geleken als er een Ministerie voor Protestanten geweest was en een Ministerie voor RK en andere Erediensten. Kennelijk destijds een gevoelig puntje.
  • Grappig dat ergens na 1950 het Ministerie van Oorlog omgedoopt wordt tot Defensie. Zegt dat ook iets over onze strategie en hoe we erin zitten?
  • Grappig de verschuiving van Koloniën naar Gebiedsdelen en daarna naar "Zaken".
  • Vreemd dat ergens na 1900 Landbouw en Visserij losgeweekt zijn van Economische zaken. Het zijn toch ook economische activiteiten?
  • Na 1950 zijn Milieu, Kunst, Cultuur en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking kennelijk 'hot' geworden. Maar ook weer niet zo 'hot' dat ze ieder een heel apart Ministerie gekregen hebben voor dat ene speerpunt.
  • Waarom hebben ze Verkeer bij Waterstaat gedaan? Volgens mij gaat de fileproblematiek sneller opgelost worden - als het opgelost moet worden -  als ze het onderbrengen bij Economische zaken. 
Heel benieuwd hoe morgen de speerpunten van kabinet Rutten-Verhagen I gaan luiden. Wedden dat we iets krijgen met "Immigratie"? Deze namen zullen het wel niet halen: "Alle buitenlanders eruit. Nederlanders eerst. Nederland schoon. Alleen buitenlanders van voldoende toegevoegde waarde." Waarmee maar weer eens aangetoond wordt dat ook 's lands speerpunten newspeak zijn.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Not on Tanja Nijmeijer (FARC). Or is it too?

    Some time ago I read this quote: "We spend money we do not have, to buy stuff we don't need, to impress people we don't like". A lot of people despise this kind of behavior. I don't.

    This quote poped up yesterday when I re-read a bookreview on David Hazony's book 'The Ten Commandments'. The 2nd commandment reads 'You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol.' David's interpretation of this commandment: smash the narcissistic idols of wealth and fashion. Mark that David tries to (re)find the wisdom of the 10 commandments beneath, above or beyond all the religious controversies. His set of 10 commandments is a complete blueprint for individuals and society as a whole. It's a guideline to improve or change the world. To make a better world. To make all of us more caring. Regardless of our religion.
    Look at Fidel Castro (Washington 1959) wearing his militairy green. Always in "casual" green in order not not get distracted what to wear next and to be equal to his compañeros. Question: Did (better: does) Fidel smash his idols of wealth and fashion?

    What's my opinion on all this? A dream of a fashionless, equal world for all people is an illusion. It's a dream. I believe above all that we are apes. Selfish apes fighting for our personal survival and the group(s) we live in. Showing wealth, good health and good taste is something that individual apes need to gain a partner to get procreated.  Show off and impress other apes is relevant for the peck order and our survival to be fit. It's competition. Sharing is no big deal in a world of plenty but when there is not enough ...
    • we will crush or stampedes others in moments of panic at religious pilgrimages, professional sporting or music events
    • we will eat other human beings (taste like chicken) when our plane is crashed on a remote spot 
    • we will be selfish like Ingrid Betancourt on her "trip" with the FARC

    This blog is not on Tanja Nijmeijer (FARC). Or is it too?

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    Fall is in the air. Guust is exuberant

    On my little spark on Planet Earth it's fall. My favourite season of the year. Leaves are falling from the trees.  Apples. Grapes. Walnuts. Tamme kastanjes (chestnuts). Cut corn. Empty fields. I like this time of the year with all the colours and the sensation that everything passes. The seasons that pass by: being born, grow up and die. For me it's the metaphor of human life. Better: my life.

    I'm very fond on this year's 35 The Big Picture' pics 'Fall is in the air'. Lovely colours. But noone can describe my joy of fall better than Guust Flater. In the next episode of Guust  (sorry it's in Dutch) he is send home early by his boss  Pruimpit to make sure he can't blow up the signing of a big contract. Guust is enjoying the sun and the play of leaves and wind in the park. His exuberancy is the bottomline for the businessman who is just passing by accidently to finally sign the contracts. No contracts will be signed today.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    NON-READ REVIEW BOOK 'THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

    Dear David,

    Let me first say this. I do understand the reason why you wrote this book. I do appreciate your project. I do understand your 'win'. But ... I don't comprehend my 'win' and why this book is urgent for me to read (and re-think etc) now.

    1. You wrote "Ten ideas constitute a worldview that has not been articulated before". Title of your book is 'THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life'. Your claim of "most ancient moral text" is false. The oldest Hebrew bible dates from 600 BCE (source). 2.000 year earlier (ca 2770-2250 BCE) the ancient Egyptian concept of Maat was written down. Maat was the concept of truth, balance, order, law/ justice and morality. In the Book of Death, chapter 125 ('The negative confession') we can find most of the 10 commandments. I'm not a specialist on ancient moral texts but I guess we can find in China and Mesopotamia even older texts on this subject.
    2. You wrote "The message is that [Ten Commandments] really have to offer us is of deep and immediate importance to our lives - regardless of faith." I do not disagree with your claim but the same could be said of every other (past or recent) culture on planet Earth. Every culture has it's own given set on proper/ good/ right behavior for individuals and groups.
    3. Why should I read a book about something all individual 'Homo Sapiens' know by nature, by our innate morality? An inborn morality that we all know and understand regardless of faith or God/ gods we are focused on. Not religion is the rock of our human behaviour our inborn morality is. Check out Marc Hauser's The Moral Sense Test. Hauser: atheists have the same moral scores as deep believers. Even psychopaths have the same scores in the Moralitytest.
    4. "Each commandment helps us become more caring, world-changing individuals." Sure! But why should I read your book on this? Why can't you write a 2 A4 blog on this? I'm interested in your message. I'm interested in your comments and interpretation of the 10 commandments. But I don't want to read your book.

    Once again I do understand your 'win' of the book you wrote - it must have  been a great journey - but I don't understand my or our species Homo Sapiens' 'win'. What's the urgency for me? Why not summurarize your message in a blog on what it really means according to you to be a human being (love, life, wisdom, the self, property and insecurity)? Is your presupposition that by sharing your message in a book the mirror works better?

    Best regards,
    Jean

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Haying time

    My father's sister N and her husband J are the last farmers in my family. Two generations ago all of them worked on their farms. Some years ago my nephew B inherited his parents farm. He will be probably the last one. He is not married. No girlfriend. No kids. Being a farmer in The Netherlands is for most citygirls in my country not compelling. Why? Too much work, hardly time for holidays, hard living, lack of ability to communicate of farmers and non-sustainability. It's a generalisation. Too many false presuppositions but that's the general picture on farming in my country.
    I guess I was around 10 years old. Some day in May or June. Haying time. My father asked me if I wanted to join him to harvest hay on uncle J' farm. OK for me. Together with my fathers new moped we drove.

    We worked for some hours. Uncle J, my dad, another man (can't remember a name or face) and me. The smell of hay and diesel. Transpiration. Hot sun. When our work was finished uncle J and my daddy told me both that they were proud on my hard work. We drank something.

    We drove home in 20 minutes while the sun was going down. The weather was warm. Me alone with my dad. My arms around his belly. Wind in my hair. I felt tired, proud and loved. I felt like a real man fostered in a man's world. Happy! I can't remember but I must have slept quickly in my own bed. Satisfied and with a big smile.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Of mice and men

    Is it a coincidence that Michel de Montaigne and Dulce Maria Cardoso favorite pastime is just let time pass by and do nothing? Just like me. Why do we like this so much? Is it your favorite pastime too? Why?

    This weekend I returned from my summerholiday. For 3 weeks I was with my family at the Mediterranean near Martigue (France). What can I say?  It was a good and lovely holiday. The weather was warm (>25C) and sunny. In my country it rained for more than 2 weeks. I read  6 books. Kids swam a lot at the swimmingpool and in the sea. We made a trip to Marseille twice. I loved the "wild" Calanques between Marseille and Casis. Strolled on the streets of Vincent van Gogh' Arles. Visited Cezanne's old atelier on a hill  (Lauves) in Aix-en-Provence. After 100 years Mont Sainte-Victoire is no longer visible from his/ this spot. Big trees everywhere. My kids were impressed by the  castle of  Tarascon. I missed the medieval smell. I looked for mouses (didn't see any). I made 2 coastwalks of more than 5 hours alone. I love to walk alone.

    I could give you many more details.  I could show you all the pictures that were made. You could interview me, my wife and our 4 kids. We could ... - there must be more - but in the end we will end with "empty" hands. The truth is that we can't freeze or grab the days that pass by one by one. In a way I enjoy my life most when I don't freeze it. When I'm out of control. When I have no real target other than just let time pass by. Read a little. Dream a litte. Talk, eat, make love and hug a little. Write a little.

    Since 10.000 BC species 'homo sapiens' settled down. No more walking around looking for something to eat. They settled down in farms and cities. Enough food nearby. Cooked food. More and more of us hardly need to invest time in getting and digest something to eat. So much much spare time compared to the other 'homo' species. It made us the species of today.

    What's my point? We as species 'homo sapiens' lost something  since the agricultural and city revolution. Before this revolution - in my opinion the only two real ones - we had only one target: food, shelter, safety and reproduction. What did we lost? We lost track of our species dedication. We gained distraction. We gained so much distraction that most of us are most of the time lost. Lost! Got lost in distraction.

    Since our species settled down we live together with mouses. Just realize every now and then that most of our species 9.000 generations of ancestors were not familiar with mouses. Nor with houses. Nor with cities. They walked around looking for ...

    Question: are those whose favorite pastime is 'Just let time pass by and do nothing' those who are NOT lost in distraction?

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Ordinary field stones. A poem

    It's a lost world. Which world? The world of Catholic Church priests. Really? Yes, I think so ... rapidly losing it's battle to win the hearts and minds of their flock in the Western World.

    At the same time I always realize I could have been a priest or monk too. If I would be one - I know I never will - I would try to be someone like Jan Twardowski (1915 – 2006). I like his poems, his images and the way he treats the world around him. This is one of his poems I like best. See how pure.

    FAITHLESS TREES

    One by one all the trees non-believers,
    birds refuse to study religion
    the dogs rarely goes to church
    they really don't know anything
    and see how odedient

    insects under the tree bark know nothing of the gospels
    even the white caraway so meek in the pasture
    ordinary field stones
    tears plowing the skin
    have never heard of Saint Francis
    and see how poor

    the stars refuse to hear my sermons
    so does the humble lily of the valley, all too familiar, alone
    the peaceful mountains that, like faith, keep on
    love with a heart condition
    and see how pure

    Poem 'Faithless Trees' (polish 'Drzewa Niewierzace') is written by Jan Twardowski. Translation by A. Mioduchowska and M. Garanis

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Fighter pilot Robin Olds. Bookreview

    I love to fly. I love the sensation of high up in the sky, hand on the stick and be in control of the aircraft. Clouds up. Mixture of green and brown colours down. And in between? Empty sky!

    For 1 year I joined a glider club. Just the kind of family, group, nerds I like to share my life with.  Unfortunately I had to stop because it was too time consuming next to my kids and old house but ... one day I'll join them again.

    I love reading about flying. Books. Magazines. Or whatever. When I was around 18 years old (before Top Gun) I wanted to become a fighter pilot myself. Dogfights - the real thing. 

    Flying is not a job it's a way of life. Next to that it's something you do and not read about.  You can't capture flying in a picture - ever noticed that you always see the same kind of pictures? Nothing beats the real thing. I realised it once again when I read Robin Olds' book 'Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds'. If you want to read a good review on Olds' life check out wikipedia on this. It tells it all.

    Olds memoirs are interesting and fun. Read them. He has flown aircrafts between 1942 and 1967. He shot down a couple of Germans in England and France during World War II and 4 MiGs in Vietnam. He was one of the leading officers who ensured that the Americans gained air superiority in Vietnam. By gaining that  the American bombers were able to drop their bombs undisturbingly. Only novelty I've read was that the Allied convoys during D-Day were covered from the air by aircraft. Olds was one of them. Nor Olds nor one of his fellow pilots saw one single German fighter during those days.

    Olds for managers (3th section):

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    River crossing

    Yesterday I finished reading for the second time Tom Holland's book 'Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic'. I wanted to find out why Julius Caesar (100 - 44 BC) crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC. The river Rubicon marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper to the south.  Any Roman general was by law of the Roman Republic (509 - 44 BC) obliged to disband his army before crossing the Rubicon. Otherwise both he and his men were guilty of high treason and automatically condemned to death. This law was set to protect the Roman Republic from internal military threat. In 50 BC the Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as proconsul had finished. He did not disband his army. Instead he used the power of his succesful army to stay in power. In retrospect we know that he defeated Pompey the Great and became Rome's (perpetual) dictator. It was generally accepted that the dictatorship ("one who dictates") was limited to 6 months. Julius Ceasar used (some say 'abused') this office to stay in power year after year. Unprecedented!

    The precise event which signalled the end of the Roman Republic and the transition into the Roman Empire is a matter of interpretation. Some say Sulla's (138 – 78 BC) route to power  paved the way for Julius Ceasar. Some say it's Julius Ceasar's crossing of the Rubicon or his appointment as perpetual dictator in 44 BC. Others point at the defeat of Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC or the grant of extraordinary powers to Augustus in 27 BC.

    According to me Julius Ceasar holds the key by crossing the Rubicon. Sulla misused his army too for staying in power but  in the end he resigned for the office of dictator, retiring to private life. Julius Ceasar gave the deathblow to the Roman Republic by crossing the Rubicon, defeat his "enemies" and stay in power through the office as dictator for year after year and finally as perpetual dictator.

    Why did Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon?  
    Tom Holland's book does not give a direct answer to my question. In a bookreview Holland says "Caesar of course had the option and the moral duty as a citizen not to cross the river. But for the ambitious Roman who he was his own  honour (dignitas) weighed heavier than the ancestral tradition (dignitas maiorum)." 
    Wikipedia's answer: "In 50 BC, the Senate, led by Pompey, ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome because his term as Proconsul had finished.  Caesar thought he would be prosecuted and politically marginalised if he entered Rome without the immunity enjoyed by a Consul or without the power of his army."
    Suetonius (69/75 – 130 AD) attributes the crossing to a supernatural ghost (source english and latin): "As he stood in doubt, this sign was given him. On a sudden there appeared hard by a being of wondrous stature and beauty, who sat and played upon a reed; and when not only the shepherds flocked to hear him, but many of the soldiers left their posts, and among them some of the trumpeters, the apparition snatched a trumpet from one of them, rushed to the river, and sounding the war-note with mighty blast, strode to the opposite bank."

    To be honest I still don't know why Julius Ceasar crossed the Rubicon. I guess we will never really know. For me it feels like a mix of personal and group survival and being afraid of losing his personal honour. Above all I think he was an ape fighting for his personal survival and clinged to his power as general. It's vanity if you think about his whole project/ life in retrospect. Everything blown away with the wind of time. The kid of Julius & Cleopatra was murdered. He never became a grandpa.

    Why is all this so important to me? What's my point? It's important because in all of us there is a part of  Julius Ceasar too. We as species 'Homo sapiens' are apes fighting for our own personal survival. Fighting for the survival of our family and the groups we live in. We all are citizens and we all are dictators. We all are Roman Republicans and at the same time Perpetual Dictators. We all are a mixture of vanity, honesty, dishonesty, cruelty, forgiveness, lust for power, need of affirmation, law abiding and law infidel. All of us are very able to kill and murder. And if you don't recognise all this is yourselves ... look better. Look!

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Frozen?

    Are you frozen on love, life or what to say/ think/ dream/ do next? Why?

    Is your "constraint" as steady and unmovable as a mountain? Really? Why don't you treat your constraint the way Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) did? The way he painted Mont Sainte-Victoire again and again. Year in. Year out. He painted his mountain 60 times. His mountain was never the same. Different mood. Different angle. Different colour. Different season. Different style. Different ... - there must be more. His mountain was never the same. Never! So why should you be frozen on your constraint?

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    1 year blogging. My own favourite blogs. Which one is yours?

    Happy anniversary! It's my 1st year of blogging. I wrote a little on this before. For me my blog is a mirror. My mirror. My public mirror. Next to that it's the archive of my dreams, puzzles and thoughts. For me. For my kids one day.

    On the one hand it's an easy job: I write as I think with a lot of questions and wonder. On the other hand it's transpiration: I'm not allways in the mood to write another blog. Week in week out on Wednesday. Sometimes a blog takes me 10 minutes. Sometimes 1 day. Most of the time it takes 1 to 2 hours.Will I grow up and ever celebrate my 2nd birthday? I don't know. May be I will. May be not. 

    In retrospect it was fun to blog. I wrote the kind of things - and in the same format - I usually write in private to a friend. These are my own favourite blogs: 
    1. Most successful 'Any idea how influential images are?'
    2. Deep drawing 'Stones 99 names of. Stones boring? 99 + 1 ways of looking at them' 
    3. Most instructive 'History gliders (or sailplanes) in 3 pictures. Most distinctive evolution: launching method'
    4. Largest survey 'Looking for a Prince (m/f) on a white horse? You are looking for Jesus!'
    5. Most made with love 'Book review. Pamuk' Museum Innocence. Aren't we all surrounded by thousands of tiny little things of the ones we love(d)?'
    6. Without blogging I would have not written this 'Kate Bush. Mystic on 'Aerial'. Invitation to be nondualistic
    Question: What's is your favourite blog of 'Live Life! - wednesdayblog'?

    P.s. To my readers. Please give back feedback once in a while. In a public comment or in a private e-mail. Don't forget that I need affirmation every now and then.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Lifted out of the body into myself

    It happened to me three times. What? THAT what Plotinus calls: lifted out of the body into myself and beholding marvellous beauty. And afterwards the wonder what happened. The moment of descending.

    Plotinus (around 204/5–270) in his Enneads (IV,8,1): "Many times it has happened: Lifted out of the body into myself; becoming external to all other things and self-encentered; beholding a marvellous beauty; then, more than ever, assured of community with the loftiest order; enacting the noblest life, acquiring identity with the divine; stationing within It by having attained that activity; poised above whatsoever within the Intellectual is less than the Supreme: yet, there comes the moment of descent from intellection to reasoning, and after that sojourn in the divine, I ask myself how it happens that I can now be descending (...)."

    In this blog I'll share with you my first moment of  becoming One with the Universe. I wrote on my second moment of enlightenment in my blog 'Aswan. April 3th 1987'. Someday I'll share with you my third moment too. My observation on my 3 moments. They all happened abroad, in hills and near other people. The days before  I always felt that another moment was coming soon. In a way I felt pregnant with Love and Light.

    Here is the report of the first. I originally wrote it in Dutch. For me my own translation  in English  feels terrible but it's the only way to share it with you.

    Enlightenment ? in Poland

    A frail wind blows in April. In the year of the Lord 1984. The farming landscape is hilly and green. Here and there capricious rocks. We are riding in a bus. On both sides of the road little houses which seem to me “out-of-date”. These houses seem to me little farmhouses. They look to me going to ruin, grey and dirty. These ruins are surrounded by dried up mudpools in which chicken freely walk around.

    The bus in which I sit has just set itself free from the air which is so characteristic of the mining-area of Katowiche in Poland. The air appears to be dangerous and unhealthy but to me it just smells very well.

    I undergo the change of colour and the change of smell. The change of a landscape full of soot-blackened flats to a green farming hilly landscape. And the change of the smell of pit-coal to “no-smell-at-all”. I get the feeling that I’m going back in time. Poland with it’s houses and people look to The Netherlands - as I am acquainted with photographs – in the ’50 of the 20th century.

    The bus stops in Czestochowa. A little village in the country. I leave the bus together with my travelling mates. Through a street, which is surrouned by high stone walls, we mount to the church we travelled for. The church, the domain in the ring of stones, is the sanctuary of the black madonna. The black madonna is a Maria with a black face who is worshiped for her legendary tears – and the power which is derived from those tears I presume? She is worshipped by the desperate people from Poland in order to make life in ‘hic et nunc’ (english ‘here en now’) more bearable.

    I’m a bit surprised by the huge amount of people who attend mass. The church is crowded, Very crowded. Outside still people gathering, trying to see a glimpse of the archbishop Glemmp. I’m watching it all. All those people sitting on lot of stairs. It’s as if the church cracks down by the amount of people inside it. I’m still able to walk and look at the interior of the church. I’m astonished by the calmness and resignation of the crowd of people. No one in a hurry. No one pushing. So much resignation. It’s so different than the intrusive, meddlesome and careless people of The Netherlands.

    Surprised by all that I sat down on a stair, between human beings. I closed the sleaves of my long trenchcoat. Put my hands deep in the pockets of my coat. I’m getting warmer already. The scraf of wool pricks pleasantly. The scarf smells well. Suddenly, at once, I feel …! (I would better say no more.) A feeling of peace. Tolerance of me against the rest of humanity. At once I feel accepted and one with all human beings. I feel as a human being like everybody else. I feel made up out of humanity … A couple of minutes I feel un-explainable quiet and happy with a deepness I never experienced before … A couple of days the feeling burnt deep in me. I wanted to become a priest or a monk in order to propagate my enlightenment. But – as allways – time heeled the urge as if it were a wound.

    I. I don’t believe in God. At least not in the God of the bible: a sort of Santa Claus who will dry up all earthly-tears, after-the-dead, in paradise. Often. Very often I’ve asked: who, what and where is God? No one wanted or better no one could give an answer to my questions. You had to believe. And I, Dutch product of anti-fasicism, could not accept the Truth without exception. I always believed with some reserve. Those reservations caused that I rejected the believe in a God of the bible. Now the believe of the God of the bible or the believe of a fascist state (which will last 1.000 years) or whatever is placed in the ‘collection of believes’. God (mono-theism) or gods (poly-theism) are a creation of groups of people. The God of the bible is no longer unique to me. As the singer Chris Rea says: “They teach us to swim but they don’t talk about the danger. They tell you the truth but they never say why.” 

    The Truth and The God do not exist. What exist are: truths and gods. Both only exist in plural.

    P.s. You can find the original text in Dutch here.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Music and the burden of history

    Music. Just music. Just music?

    Sunday morning at the end of the Eighties - 20th century. Fresh wind coming through my open hotelwindow. Warm spring sun. Listening to easy and mellow music on tape. Watching the gardens and houses in the Mea Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem (planet Earth). I was not the only one with an open  window.  I heard voices of childeren and adults coming out of the surrounding houses.

    I played Marlene Dietrich' 'Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt' (1930) loud. Very loud!  I wanted to give and share. Suddenly I realised where I was. I was in the middle of the most firm and orthodox place of  Jerusalem. Fear. I had a vision of  furious Jews who wanted to lynch me. Playing German World War II music in the middle of jews. How could I! Quickly I put the 'volume down'. For hours I was afraid someone would knock on my door and scream "Lynch him!". Those Others. Nothing happened.

    That morning I lost my innocence. That morning I realised music is connected to history. The burden of history. Music is never 'Just music'.

    P.s. Many years later I found out that Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) became an American citizen in 1939 and despised the antisemitism of the Nazi's. In WW II her music was loved by soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Look daddy!

    "Look daddy! This one is new isn't it?" My youngest son pointed at a little fossil on our floor. My youngest son is just as stone minded as I am. We both love stones. The shapes, structures, colors, smell and little treasures in them. Everytime we look we'll find or discover something new.

    I replied "No, it always has been there. I guess you never noticed this one before. Did you know that it's a kind of earthworm living in the sea millions and millions of years ago?"

    On the Dutch countryside it's not chic to have marble. On the Dutch countryside it's fashionable to have your floor paved with 'belgische of blauwe hardsteen'. In English 'blue or hardstone from Belgium'. My wife and I are blessed with good taste too ;)
    How bizarre. If you realize what 'belgische hardsteen' is made of. In a way we walk in  the mud of millions of years ago. We walk on the stoned mud and the cut corpses of pentacrinites fossilis, worms, brachiopods, polyps and sponges.

    A couple of years ago a new floor was paved in our new kitchen. Smell. The first few days the floor of 'belgische hardsteen' smelled like mud. I immediately recognised the smell: the mud from the Wadden Sea during mudflat hiking with all it's living and dead animals.

    Question: What is your favourite stone to walk on with your bare feet?

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    Aswan. April 3th 1987

     
    Aswan. Late in the afternoon on April 3th, 1987. Old Cataract Hotel on the back. Sitting on a big red rock. Fresh wind. Sun going down. The feeling of a rock radiating it's warmth. Felluca's sailing by. Noises. Sitting in the black and fertile world (ancient Egyptian 'kemet'). Looking at the other side of the river Nile, the red world of the death (ancient Egyptian 'deshret'). Thinking about Lord Carnavon and Howard Carter. Puzzling on what's the same and different in ancient and modern day Egypt. Wondering on Tutankaten and Tutankamun, 2 radical and different religious names for the same physical man. Felluca's sailing by. Riverbed with water floating. The same riverbed. For ancient egyptians. For present day egyptians.

    Suddenly, everything was quiet and one. The world with all it's sounds and motions came to a standstill. For a few seconds I felt "...", One with the universe and humanity. For a few seconds - that seemed to last forever - everything was perfect. THAT! 

    P.S. More on this from me.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Life in progress. List 28th June 2010 12.27h

    My to do list. My public to do list concerning Twitter and Blogging (disordered):
    • Check out writer Dulce Maria Cardoso. I want to read one of her books because she said “I love just let time pass by”. I blogged about her before.
    • Re-read Tom Holland's  book 'Rubicon'. Find out why Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Was it survival? Vanity? Or ...? It's a spin-off on this blog.
    • Read poems of one of my friends.
    • Listen to music of one of my friends.
    • Decide if I'll write a bookreview on Robin Olds book 'Fighter Pilot'. I finished it last week.
    • Write a non-read-review on book ''THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life'. A book I'll never read.
    • Check out website of cloud lovers:  www.cloudappreciationsociety.org. They really exist!
    • Find out why Winston Churchill refused twice his Duke title after winning World War II. He was such a proud men and jealous on his nephew's title. Why did he refuse the title he earned himselves? Vanity?
    • Re-reading Gerald Brenan's book 'South of Granada'. It's input for a #dream #travel post for @kirsty_wilson
    • Pick out the 7 books I'll read in this years summerholiday. I love puzzling on this. Pick up books. Browse a little. Smell at the book - I really do. 
    Question: What's your list?

      Wednesday, June 23, 2010

      Stop Talking.

      ... - I'm not telling you.

      Silence or "..." is an underestimated activity. Yes, activity! It's the place where the mystic stops talking. It's the place where marriages are saved by not unnecessary hurting the other. It's the place where friends understand that we do not always want to talk. It's the place where new lovers find eachother's mystery and mutual attraction. 

      It's the image of all the things that are not frozen, that are not experienced or that are not yet history. It's the place of thousands of possible ways you can follow. Or not. It's the place of making choises. Or not. It's the place of being active inactive.

      We talk. We tweet. We buzz. We blip. Don't you need silence once in a while? I guess I think that we as species would communicate much better if we would be more silent once in a while. 

      Wednesday, June 16, 2010

      Democratie in #ned Dutch elections 2010

      Een keer wat anders. Ditmaal een typisch Nederlands onderwerp in de taal van mijn land: de verkiezingen die in Nederland op 8 Juni 2010 zijn gehouden. Afgelopen maandagavond had ik mijn beste vriend aan de telefoon. Toevallig (?) hebben we ook kort gesproken over de uitslagen en hoe we de ontwikkelingen met betrekking tot de PVV moeten duiden. We waren het er al snel over eens. Het gaat in Nederland nergens over! Zelfs de extreme partijen, aan de linker- en rechterkant van het politieke spectrum, zijn braaf en democratisch. Een echt gevaar voor de democratie is de PVV niet. Democratie in Nederland is kniezen voor kneuzen en geneuzel op de vierkante centimeter. Niet omdat een democraat een kneus is maar omdat het bij ons allemaal zo goed geregeld is. In Nederland werkt democratie. (Merk op dat 'werken' een werkwoord is.) Bij ons hoeft er niet gevochten te worden op leven of dood om onze democratische rechten te halen. Bij ons regeert routine, kniezen en verveling. Verveling!

      Ben ik een democraat? Om heel eerlijk te zijn. Alleen tegen beter weten in. Ik leun altijd op Churchill's (1874-1965) visie op democratie (bron): It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. Voor democratie geldt hetzelfde als voor een goed huwelijk. Met vrouw is het nixs enne ...  zonder ook niet.

      De verkiezingen in Nederland gingen wat mij betreft nergens over. Hypotheekrenteaftrek laten vervallen? Ze doen maar ik zal er geen last meer van hebben. Uiteindelijk zal er toch gekozen worden voor een geleidelijke afbouw (over 20 jaar of later) omdat anders de huizenmarkt in Nederland in zal storten. En in zijn kielzog de hele economie. Dat wil niemand. Kinderbijslag en ziektekostenverzekering inkomensafhankelijk? Ze doen maar. Burgemeester mogen kiezen? Het zal me worst wezen. Kerncentrales wel of niet erbij? Ze bouwen maar. Of het nu links- om rechtsom gaat en of de "grote uitdagingen" nu wel of niet doorgevoerd worden. Uiteindelijk is iedere keuze acceptabel voor mij.

      De verkiezingen in Nederland in zijn algemeenheid gaan nergens over. Alles is goed geregeld. De democratie werkt. "Het volk" (het waren er maar 1,5 miljoen, dit is 15%) heeft ditmaal gekozen voor de PVV omdat ze stevigheid beloven in deze tijden van onzekerheid. Het is een leugen. Angst en lust zijn slechte raadgevers. Laat de PVV maar in de regering komen. Laat ze maar vuile handen maken. Wellicht profiteren ze nog  een of twee keer bij verkiezingen die in de toekomst uitgeschreven zullen worden. Uiteindelijk zal "het volk" ook inzien dat ook zij maar verkopers van lucht zijn geformuleerd in een taal van stevigheid en fermheid. Onzekerheid is van alle tijden en niets blijft ooit hetzelfde.

      De democratie in Nederland werkt. Bij ons gelukkig alleen nog maar geneuzel over details die er eigenlijk niet toe doen. Dat is in de meeste landen op 'planet Earth' wel anders die in naam ook democratisch zijn maar die in de praktijk gebukt gaan onder machtsmisbruik, corruptie en intrige.

      P.s. I'm sorry that this blog is written in Dutch. It's a typical Dutch subject. Hardly possible to translate.

      Summary in English: Democracy in The Netherlands works. The good results in the last elections of the PVV is not a treat for the system. In my country we talk about minor and boring details. Dutch are bored to death.

      Wednesday, June 9, 2010

      History of castles. Development in 4 pictures

      Castles! What about castles in western Europe? According to Van Dale dictionary a 'castle' (dutch 'kasteel') is: 1 reinforced building 2 large and beautiful house. In a nutshell it tells it all. One thing missing: it's historical development.
      Phase 1. Safe home in times of endemic wars
      Starting in the 9th century feudal lords built private fortress-residences for defence. Wars were endemic in those times. The fortress was built on a defensible height. Surrounded by a dry ditch and surrounded by a wooden palisade.
      Phase 2. Siegproof
      Castles and outer walls were made out of stone. Walls get thicker. Sophisticated circuits of curving outer walls and towers to defend all sections of the wall. Never ending arms race of siegers and defenders.
      Phase 3. Military importance lost AND residence of landowner
      With the use of gunpowder  and artillery the castle lost its military importance around the 15th century.  The thick stone walls no longer withstand bombardments with cannonballs. New and bigger windows. Gardens. House of a rich landowner of noble origin.

      Phase 4. Make it profitable
      Taxes on inheritance and costs of materials and personnel make most castles too expensive to live in since the 20th century.  Castles no longer belong to the same family who lived there for centuries (generation after generation). 3 D's that causes selling castles: death, debts and divorce. Castles have to be profitable. Selling home made country products. Museum. Zoo. Country garden. Bed and breakfast. Restaurant. Hotel.