Thursday, December 28, 2017

Black and White. Without explanation

The request was: take a black and white picture for 7 days at a row. Out of your life, without people on it and without explanation. Here is my set of seven. Plus one for the road.

And one for the road with a piece of an individual 'homo sapiens' on it ;)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ...
Which reminds me to check out, how old this greeting tradition is (source):
  • Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, by the fourth century the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date that was later adopted in the East.
  • The first Christmas cards were commissioned by Cole in London in 1843.
  • One of the earliest Nativity of Christ images is on this 4th-century sarcophagus. 'Sarcofago di Stilicone' in Sant'Ambrogio basilica in Milan.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cold Coffee

Cool what artist Giulia Bernardelli makes from cold coffee:

P.S. More of her and her other "spilled" food art: here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Content with Himself

He had an attic in a castle with 10,000 books hidden under plastic. He also had a number of icons hidden in a room. Both of them not for display on book shelves or walls. He was rich but lived as an ascetic. At the age of 78 he died alone in Albania leaving behind the 'A.A. Bredius Foundation' as his inheritance. This foundation aims to unlock the Byzantine culture in all its richness and versatility. Not for academic scientists only!

He is Arnold ("Ar") Bredius (1903-1982). A member of a Dutch patrician non-noble family who made their fortune selling (gun)powder. He studied theology but never became a priest. He was on his own. Socially awkward with a communitarian deficit. He was non-communicative about what was on his mind. He was married to Olga with whom he had a relation as brother and sister. Both of them were not interested  in lust for sex. Both injured souls. Olga: "Bredius was a child, more childlike than a child".   

Was he happy? No, he regarded his life as a burden. A life of duty and obligation. At the same time his life was successful because he left behind his Foundation as the climax of a life in which he was content with himself.

He regarded life as Whole and One. He enjoyed beautiful things. He was interested in the magic ("connectedness") of books, icons, music and places. Things outside himself. It seems that he was not interested in "knowing" himself spiritually. 

I think the author and I disagree on this. I personally think that Bredius had had his moments of enlightenment but that he had a hard time to communicate about these in spoken or written words. Was he a mystic? It seems only partly. Is that possible when it comes to propagate enlightenment? The bottomline, for me, is that his Foundation is exactly that: propagate that there is more than senses getting input and that there is magic. Stuff of mystics ...

P.S. Book: Theo Jansen, 'Arnoldus Anthonie Bredius, Schetsen van een leven' (2012).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Public Garden

You might be surprised to hear this from me. Are you? But ... I am very very fond of these posts. 

It's me time. It's time for you ... of that what was, what could and should have been. Making up my mind as honest as I can in public. As you know there is a lot of private stuff that you and I only share in our private garden. Noone needs to know! Private versus public garden.

Next to our private garden, I like this public garden too. Make up my mind. Share my dreams, fears, what I read, what I think, ... - there must be more. In a way it is for me a kind of meditation. It cleans up my mind. It sharpens my soul and gives me peace. The older I get the more fond I am that I stored all my public letters in this blog. 

What do you think should I publish my blog in a printed book? All posts? By subject? By date of publishing? With index?

P.S. Painting is from David Hockney, 'Autumn Trees' (2008).

Saturday, November 11, 2017


I loooooooooooooooove this gemstone ring. Its colors, the gems and respectable age.

P.S. Every 'o' in love is one century in age.
P.P.S. You can watch this ring in this museum.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dancing with Wolves

When I was eight years young I had two episodes of dreams with wolves. 

Episodes one. I was a young wolf in a wolfpack. I ran as they ran. I slept as they slept in the open field on the ground. I ate when they ate. I was one of the pack but young and I had to listen. I felt comfortable being one of the pack but I missed time for my own and I missed human-talking.

I can't remember which episodes were first but I feel more comfortable if one was before two in time.

Episodes two. I was a human being and alone. I had to run for the wolfpack who was after me. There was no place to hide. One of the nights I realized it was a dream so I told myself - me as magician - add a stick into the dream and use it. All the nights thereafter I still dreamed about wolves hunting for me but this time I had a stick in my hand. Ready to use if necessary! I never was afraid again and they never caught me again. 

Why am I telling you this? Because in a way I am still that magician.

P.S. Source picture: here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I want to cook you a soup that warms your soul - what else. Song: here.

Friday, October 6, 2017


Dick Proenneke (1916-2013) makes me very zen. A few pictures of his cabin on Twin Lakes inside Lake Clark National Park.

P.S. I am going to read his journals 1967-1985 (in three parts).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stay Calm

Indian summer. Autumn with its "small" amount of rain, "lots" of sun and its lovely smells and dazzling colors. For me, an inseparable connection with autumn in The Netherlands. More specific with the garden of my mother-in-law - she died a couple of years ago. I took care of her grass (mowing) and hedges (cutting) and all other sawing, chopping and pruning for more than fifteen years. Year after year. Season after season. All that is gone now. The house  has since been sold.

I miss feeling the seasons physically in that garden. The smells and colors close. Raspberries, blackberries, plums, cherries, walnuts, sweet chestnut, beech nuts and ... - there must be more. Mushrooms. And I miss the feeling of having a second home. Mostly we stayed for a night on the weekend, every other week, with the kids. The kids playing in the 1.5 hectare big garden. Having dinner and a few glasses of wine when it's dark outside. Sleep well and deep after a hard day work.

In my second home I had three books of my own on a shelf. Only these three - not one more: 
Mostly I browsed in these three books when I was in the mood for reading. Read some lines or a couple of pages. I found out that I only was able to understand Virgil when I read out his lines loud. 

I don't know where I came from but I like simple, calm and basic. Being comfortable with the imperfect = perfect me. Nothing wrong with cities and big cities. But sometimes it feels for me that a lot of (or most?) people in the "cities" lost track of where they came from and how to stay calm. For me the next lines are stating the obvious but I know for a lot of (or most?) people it's not.

P.S. Page 'The World' is from Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive (2015). Check out the quotes: here. WOW!
P.P.S. Source Indian Summer picture: here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Look at this:

Any idea what it is? Answer: a tear under a microscope! To be more specific, it is an "Emotional Tear" from Claudia (source): "An emotial tear of sadness, because she was struggling to get a trough [sic!] time in life".

What a beautiful universe on its own. Things like this make me cry, emotional and ... - you know.

P.S. More on this project of Maurice Mikkers can be found: here.
P.P.S. Did you know that it's not possible yet - if ever - to reproduce the same (kind of) tear? Currently there are too many variables. May be it's not even possible ever because some say, "human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. So since we largely consist out of water (just like the tear fluid), maybe this human consciousness is also influencing how the (emotional) tears are shaped".

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Happiness is Vectored Trust

Work. I am back at work again after four weeks of holiday. I finished my Cape Verde Islands translation (Hessel Gerritsz' rutter from 1628 remember?) and I painted the four windows in the front of the house and the front door.

Next to that I read most days around two hours. I finished Bob Marston's book 'Harrier Boys. Volume Two. New Technology, New Treats, New Tactics 1990-2010' (London 2016).

Lovely read those two volumes. I guess for most readers it will be too technical but if you read in between lines it gives a great insight into the history of the Harrier Force.

New for me:
1. Sites for field operations were, if needed, changed every 48 hours.
2. The Harrier was never perfect. It was a continuous process of evolution of the aircraft, its equipment and the (wo)man inside and outside the cockpit. They always wanted to have the best. And to be the best. In war there is no place for being second!

In 2010 the Harrier Force was disbanded as cost-saving measure in the United Kingdom (UK). Replacement? Yes, the Harrier will (probably) be replaced by the F35B. The Ministery of Defence of the UK took intentionally a gap in their V/STOL (vectored trust) air power. 

P.S. Not for Argentine eyes ;) the English are not able to defend the Falklands since 2010 and will not be able to for the next five years. Since 2010 more militairy power (marines etc) on the islands themselves?
P.P.S. Link to Youtube video 'The Best of Harrier Jump Jet History': here.
P.P.P.S. I wrote on Volume I in blogpost 'The Ultimate CAS' (November 2015).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luz Mayor

I was sitting on a bench, in the sun, at the back of my house. Nothing special. Looking at fat clouds passing by. Suddenly I realize that the world will move on and planet Earth will keep turning around its axis. Every day one round. Keep on turning when "I" am not here anymore. Better: "I" will be shattered in tiny little pieces and be re-grouped in other different "things". I knew but somehow I lost track of it.

Marina de la Riva in her song 'Canción de Las Simples Cosas':

"Uno se despide insensiblemente de pequeñas cosas
Demorate aquí, a la luz mayor de este mediodía.
Donde encontrarás con el pan al sol y la mesa tendida"

P.S. Translation of quote from Spanish into English: "One is insensibly saying goodbye to little things
(...) Take your time here, in the light of this noon. Where you will find the bread in the sun lying on the table.
P.P.S. For next four weeks no letters from me. I will be on holiday. Working on my Cape Verde Islands translation. Read a little. Simple cosas.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Stars That Know No Rest

For the Ancient Egyptians:
(1) Gold had no economic importance. It was only important for their religion. With their eyes we are supposed to "see" divine, indestructible (color of) sun and not a huge pile of money. 
(2) Silver was more precious than gold.

If fact (1) and (2) are both valid for the Ancient Egyptians the question is: what  are we supposed to "see" with or for silver? Moon (color of)? Sun (another color of)? Primeval mond where the first rays of the morning sun rise or shine (benben stone)? Or ... Is there or could there be have been some religion in Ancient Egypt that worshipped the moon?

The source for (1) is found on The Internet (here) and is not substantiated with source references. On the other hand there are numerous source references for (2).

More details on silver. According to 'Shaw and Nicolson' silver was in the beginning of the Ancient Egyptian civilization, in the Old Kingdom (2681-2181 BC) more precious than gold. In the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650) gold was more precious than silver. It seems that they regarded silver ("white metal") as a variety of gold.

Sun, moon, other five known planets ("stars that know no rest") and stars what were they for the Ancient Egyptians? Answer: all of them travel during the night through the body of goddess Nut. They represent the unchangeable, undistinguishable and reciprocal cycle of birth and death. All this is painted, in great details, on the ceiling of the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses VI (KV9 in the Valley of Kings): 

Detail of the journey of the sun in her body:

Born as white sun in the morning:

Swallowed as red sun in the evening:

For the Ancient Egyptians the cycle/ travel of the sun was the cycle/ travel of life.
  • Sunrise was rebirth
  • Morning was childhood
  • Afternoon was maturity
  • Evening was old age
  • Night was death and renewal
Thoth as ibis or ape is the god of the moon. He is the shipper and the writer of the gods. He regulates the times and seasons. He makes eternity and everlastingness.  

Thoth is the black eye of Horus. The moon in all its appearances (from black moon to full moon).

According to 'Shaw & Nicolson' gold was the flesh of gods and silver their bones. The Ancient Egyptians had no coinage but gold could also serve the living by melting it down as exchange and as reward for individuals ('golden fly of valour' in New Kingdom).

Preliminary conclusion/ hypothesis. Sun and moon travel for the Ancient Egyptians both through the same unchangeable cycle inside the goddess Nut. A reciprocal cycle of birth and death. Gold represents the flesh of gods and silver its bones. There seems to be no indication that silver represents the moon, the color of a silver moon. The moon as representation of god Thoth makes time and the seasons. Read in month the 'moon'. Better: moonth.

1. Wallis Budge, E.A., 'The Gods of the Egyptians, studies in Egyptian Mythology', volume I (New York 1969) page 400-415.
2. Betrò, Maria Carmela, 'Hiërogliefen. De beeldtaal van het oude Egypte' (Baarn 1999) page 153, 176 and 245.
3. Shaw I. and Nicholson P., 'The Illustrated Dictionary of Ancient Egypt' (Cairo 2008) page 46, 131, 150-151 and 304-305.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sword down & Rose up

'If you want peace, prepare for war' (Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum). Some say it's based on Plato, 4th century BC (source).

My personal crest is: Sword down & Rose up. It's my image that "we" can't live and enjoy love if we are not prepared to make war. Without the warranty of safety there is no room or space for love. Literally and figuratively.

Safety and love are in turn the prerequisites for getting even higher in Maslow's staircase. Higher as in ... - it's a Chinese Garden.  

P.P.S. Next week I'll write on gold as heavenly body sun and silver as heavenly body moon.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Be Mindful

Barafundle (1997) is the title of a sweet, folky and bit weird album of band Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Where does 'Barafundle' come from? It comes from the name of a bay and beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales (UK). One of the top 12 beaches in the world (2004).

There is no road access directly to the beach. It was the private beach (1) of the Cawdor family of Stackpole Court. For easy access to the beach of Barafundle bay they made steps and a wall. The house 'Stackpole Court' (2) was built in the 1730s. At the start of World War II most of the Stackpole Estate farmland was requisitioned for training ground for British troops. This made the estate unviable for the Cawdor family and they returned to their Scottish estate, in Nairnshire, in the early 1940s.

Stackpole Court in 1935

Crippling taxes and lack of money on the empty house meant it was demolished in 1963.

Leaving behind the estate's outbuildings, parkland and beaches which are looked after by the National Trust since 1977. What remains is a remembrance stone.

Be Mindful!

The bigger picture is that after the imposing of death duties (1894), drop of income from the estates, raising of servants' wages and materials, and World War I (1914-1918) the backbone of the country house in the UK was broken. Too expensive. More than a thousand country houses have been demolished since 1920. More (with a lot of details): here.

P.S. I wrote on country houses before: June 2010 and April 2011.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Niche Market

Letter to myself. When you are grown up start a restaurant, near the sea, with old recipes on the menu.

  • Appetizer (15 items), snacks (15), main course (15) and dessert (15); change every 3 months 5 items of the four categories
  • Ancient Egyptian bread and stuffed shortbreads
  • From Ancient Greece (source): Bean Soup, Albacore Tuna, Baklava, Cod with Coriander, Sea Bass with Feta, Easy Oranges with Honey and Roasted Leeks and Apple
  • From Ancient Rome (source): Garum, Columella Salad, Lentils with Coriander, Roast Wild Boar, Ostrich Ragoût, Fried Veal Escalope with Raisins and Nut Tart
  •  A couple of the Ancient Chinese 280 recipes from 'Qimin Yaoshu'
  • Yucatán Papadzules
  • Old English 'The Forme of Cury' (1390): Gees in hoggepot (XXXI), Chykenns in cawdel (XXXIII) and Tartes of Fysshe (XX.VIII. X)
  • Check out Wikipedia's 'List of Ancient Dishes'
  • In winter - seasonal product - with fresh snow and fruit make ice 
  • ... - there must be more
  • Check the recipes with archaeologists and chemists. Ask them to what amount of salt, pepper and sugar were used. And other herbs
  • Not halal, nor kosher, nor other prohibitions - if the ingredient can be bought legally it can be served; change the law not my dishes
  • Nothing vegetarian - if you don't want to eat (for whatever culturally or historically biased reason) meat, chicken, fish, cheese or ... choose another item or restaurant 
  • No diets. If you are not allowed to eat something for medical reasons ... choose another item or eat in a hospital 
  • Remake of ancient wines and beer
  • Water for free 
  • Guests can eat with their hands, with cutlery or sticks
  • Burps (modest) are allowed
  • Smell bar
  • Book with recipes
  • Music? Listen to voice of the sea?
  • Blog
  • Suggestion box
  • Fossils on the wall

 I repeat #Change the Law not My Dishes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lost and Found

Soko sings 'My Dreams Dictate my Reality'. Dreams dictate reality? Really? Not what you say? Not what you think? Not how you act? I'll come back to this later.

Between the age of 17 and 23 I kept a handwritten diary. Hesitatingly at first. Looking for a format and words. What I learned fast was that I had to be honest looking in the mirror. Honest as in beyond "normal", "stupid", "unfair" and "acceptable". I learned to face reality, in the safe and sheltered corner of my diary. My reality and the reality of the Others. To accept and embrace - it sounds easier in retrospect than it was for me back then - the real world of individual 'homo sapiens'. To accept my own and others' jealousy, aggression, misbehaviour and all the other adjectives that don't belong to a "perfect" planet Earth. (We are citizens of planet Earth first and citizens of the Cosmos second.)

In retrospect, the above is one of the seeds that make me sensitive for fringe people. I accept all behaviour of other homo sapiens. All! Including the behaviour of killers, of sadists, of suicide bombers, of mafia, of society their free-riders. For me their behaviour is valid too. It belongs to the real world. It's real. Don't deny!

I accept reality of (dis)behaviour. At the same time I accept the laws of my country. These laws define what must and shall be punished. In punishment we trust. Realizing, accepting and embracing that these laws are culturally and historically biased.

What's my point? I think that the biggest pitfall of human communication is the 'Say-Think-Act-trap' (STA-trap).

In a perfect world the sets of Say, Think and Act are one and the same.
In a never-perfect world the sets of Say, Think and Act don't have any intersection at all.
In the real world there are intersections between the three sets. "Perfect communication" is the intersection between all three sets (colour 'yellow' in the Venn diagram). "Noisy communication" is the intersection between two sets (colour 'orange'). "Deaf & Blind communication" is the symmetric difference between the three sets (colour 'white').

Example one.  He says to an acquaintance that he will pay back the loan of 25,000 Euros as soon as possible. He thinks I'll not be able to pay back the money before I die. He borrows the loan - not telling his acquaintance - while knowing he will die in two months of incurable cancer.  

Examples two. An extremist Muslim (according to the Islam 'Taqiya' principle) says he accommodates himself to the laws of the country he lives in. He thinks I'll apply precautionary dissimulation for my plans to kill as many Islam-unbelievers as I can. He blows himself up as a suicide bomber.

Example three. He says he wants a tree in his garden. He thinks of a 50 year old oak with leaves and roots. He plants in his garden the expensive tree he thinks of.

Dreams dictate reality? Yes, your dreams. Yes, my dreams too. Yes but also what we say, what we think and how we act. Depending on the (lack of) intersections between say, think and act we have a serious communication constraint. Better: we have communication noise. Observation: I see a lot of noisy and deaf & blind communication on planet Earth.