Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

objectivistic love


Love, respect and acceptance without abnegation.



Monday, December 01, 2008

Gerard Bodifee


Open letter to Mr. Gerard Bodifee

Dear Sir,

Recently I have been in the audience for your lecture “God and stones: what religion and science speak about and keep silent.”

Either I misunderstood the title or it is deliberately misleading. A better name for your tale should have been something like: “God and stones: the mental splits of a scientist next to his god”.

As engaging and well structured the part of your disquisition was on the cosmos, as woolly was the part on religion. In your thesis on ethics I strongly sensed the human and religious feelings of superiority that for centuries are the cause of a lot of misery.

Why attribute only the good to religion? Religion is nothing more then a safe harbor for the distressful and fearful and is further used by the zealots and the good-willing as hat-stand for their conviction. The same hat-stand as you use for your “religion as basis of ethics”.

Apparently you are a religious man and that's your choice. However to use your status as scientist to bring all sorts of sophisms just to justify your combination of scientist and believer I find ill-suited. It diminishes the alloy of the integrity of the human behind the scientist and believer.

Kind regards,
Circum

(link to Mr.Bodifee's site)



Open brief naar De Heer Gerard Bodifee

Beste heer Bodifee,

Ik ben onlangs toehoorder geweest van uw lezing “God en het gesteente: waarover religie en wetenschap spreken en zwijgen.”

Misschien had ik het òf verkeerd begrepen òf de titel van uw lezing is bewust misleidend. Uw relaas had beter een andere titel kunnen hebben, namelijk zoiets als “God en het gesteente: de mentale spagaat als wetenschapper naast god”

Zo boeiend en gestructureerd als uw uiteenzetting over de kosmos was, zo zweverig was het gedeelte over religie. In uw stelling over ethiek proefde ik zeer sterk het menselijke én religieuze superieuriteitsgevoel en egocentrisme dat al eeuwenlang aan de wieg staat van zoveel miserie.

Waarom enkel het goede aan religie toeschrijven? Religie is niets meer dan een vluchthaven voor de angstigen en verdrietigen en wordt verder door zowel zeloten als hen van goede wil als kapstok gebruikt voor alles wat zij eraan wensen op te hangen. Dezelfde kapstok die u gebruikt voor uw “religie als basis van de ethiek”.

U bent blijkbaar een religieus mens en dat is uw keus. Echter om uw status als wetenschapper te gebruiken om met allerlei drogredenen te komen om uw combinatie van wetenschapper en gelovige te kunnen goedpraten vind ik niet gepast. Dat doet afbreuk aan het allooy van de integriteit van de mens achter de wetenschapper en gelovige.

Met vriendelijke groeten,
Circum

(
link naar Dhr.Bodifee's site)




Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's been enough


You claimed the 100%, but filled in only half.




Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fortis' new name (07)





Fortis Blank

Fortis' new name (06)



Forthiswasfortis Bank

Fortis' new name (05)





Forthisiswhathappenswhenyouarearrogant Blank

Fortis' new name (04)




Fortisalaugh Fortwasalaugh Bank

Fortis' new name (03)





Fortisnomore Bank

Fortis' new name (02)





Wreckis Bank

Fortis' new name (01)





Ruinis Bank

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No joy is bigger


Dear Fortis Intensive Care Unit,

It is with great pleasure that I found out about the difficulties your bank is in right now. In case you need any advice feel free to contact me. I do have some of your old letters to me that could serve as a good source of inspiration to me.

Perverse delightedly yours,
Circumspection




Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shit, it happened again!


I thought my sadistic guardian angel finally retired but apparently he hasn't. Or perhaps he just came back for old-time-sake. Today I got into an accident with my bicycle again. This time I was not run over by a car but by another bicycle. Luckily not as bad as the one on my birthday 3 years ago but bad enough that I'm aching everywhere. Let's see what tomorrow brings and if I still will be able to move all limbs. I have bad experiences with accident-day-afters.




Can't you believe in a god and be quiet about it?


That you believe in a god I don't mind, it's your decision. But it annoys me when you bring your god into most conversations and correspondences. It's almost if you are reassuring yourself that your god exists by bringing it up all the time. There is no need to convince me that you believe in a god and it has no added value other then to yourself.

Anyway, that's my belief.




Monday, September 22, 2008

But do you really like your b-day present?


Mrs.Circum: “Happy birthday dear and here is my present for you.”

Mr.Circum: {unwrapping}

Mr.Circum: "Ah that's a nice present, a beauty-case! Really beautiful! Thank you!”

Mrs.Circum: “Yes now you don't need those two old toilet-bags anymore and look, there is even a loose mirror inside. Don't you like it?”

Mr.Circum: "Yes dear it's really nice”

Mrs.Circum: "Do you really like it?"

Mr.Circum: "Yes dear I really like it.”

Mrs.Circum: "But do you really, really like it?"

Mr.Circum: "Yes dear, I really like it. But perhaps it's a bit too big as it will take up almost half the space in my suitcase. I think the two old bags I use now are more practical."

Mrs.Circum: "Do you want me to bring it back?"

Mr.Circum: "It all depends, if it costed more then €100 then I think perhaps it’s better to bring it back."

Mrs.Circum: {ignoring husband for rest of the day}



ps 1
I should have listened to my youngest son who was secretly hitting my leg when she asked it, trying to tell me to be carefull with my answer.

ps 2
It's that I'm not rancorous, otherwise I would give her a drilling machine for her birthday





Friday, September 19, 2008

Jackson


We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout,
We've been talkin' 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out.
I'm goin' to Jackson, I'm gonna mess around,
Yeah, I'm goin' to Jackson,
Look out Jackson town.

Well, go on down to Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health.
Go play your hand you big-talkin' man, make a big fool of yourself,
Yeah, go to Jackson; go comb your hair!
Honey, I'm gonna snowball Jackson.
See if I care.

When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow. (Hah!)
All them women gonna make me, teach 'em what they don't know how,
I'm goin' to Jackson, you turn-a loose-a my coat.
'Cos I'm goin' to Jackson.
"Goodbye," that's all she wrote.

But they'll laugh at you in Jackson, and I'll be dancin' on a Pony Keg.
They'll lead you 'round town like a scalded hound,
With your tail tucked between your legs,
Yeah, go to Jackson, you big-talkin' man.
And I'll be waitin' in Jackson, behind my Jaypan Fan,

Well now, we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper Sprout,
We've been talkin' 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went.
I'm goin' to Jackson, and that's a fact.
Yeah, we're goin' to Jackson, ain't never comin' back.

Well, we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout'
And we've been talkin' 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went...

- Lyrics by Johnny Cash -



Thursday, September 11, 2008

You don't have to buy me a big present...


...there are small expensive things too.



Thursday, September 04, 2008

Screw the unions


For their final aim is a fully paid zero-hour workweek. Having had a small business with around 30 employees I decided I am much better off with no employees and not to hire anybody any more. They can take all their complaints and demands and ...




Friday, August 22, 2008

Cool Jew


I was brought up in mild non-religious traditional Jewish manner. The way I experienced my Jewishness evolved over the years. I would describe myself now as a conscious anti-theist. But when I saw my oldest son speaking to an Israeli girl it felt good. It seems that my intellect is built on a sticky layer of emotional inheritance of generations.




Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kids catch 22


"I know I promised you that, but I also told you not always to believe me. You didn’t believe that, did you?"




Saturday, August 16, 2008

Believe it or not


A recent American study has evinced that children sucking their thumb are more likely to become religious then the non-suckers.




Thursday, August 14, 2008

Believers... (02)


Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Holiday happiness day 14


One of the waiters here wanted to flirt with my oldest daughter.
He asked my youngest son how to say in our language "I like you very much".
My son taught him "I have a garlic breath".



Click here for the first day.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Holiday happiness day 13


The MTV wannabe dynasty.

A new family has arrived here in the hotel; father, mother and two children.

Father:
In his early thirties, smoking like a chimney, skinny type with some impressive meant tribal tattoos on his hardly impressive upper-arms, flashy ear stud, flashy plastic sunglasses, over sized Rolex-Daytona-type watch on his wrist, several rings on his fingers, short dark hair with a broad peroxide dyed yellowish/blond band dividing his head in three equal parts making his head look like part of a crosswalk.

Mother:
Also in her early thirties, smoking as the same chimney, her long blond hair needs a new color-treatment as the old one has visibly been an approximate 4 centimeters ago, flashy fake Dior sunglasses, a fleshy impersonation of the Astarte fertility sculpture. I did not check on tattoos but would not be surprised if she has some.

Daughter:
Around 14 or 15, smoking like a little chimney but only since recently judging by the way she holds a cigarette in her fingers in what she apparently presumes to be mature. Skinny teenybopper, parading with her just budding breasts in what is supposed to be a sexy outfit, long brown hair, wearing big loop shaped earrings, nose stud, too much eye-liner and make-up.

Son:
Around 10 years old, not started smoking in public yet, a clone of his father in all, hair cut and colors, ear stud, sunglasses, posture etc. except I think his tattoo is a stick-on. Cool wide legged walking around in this tropical heat in his over sized skater clothes with screaming prints of some big brands and an over sized baseball hat diagonally on his head.

It made me think that this is what it looks like when kids are having kids.



Click here for the next day.



Monday, August 11, 2008

Holiday happiness day 12


How to be a tour-guide for dummies
A five-minute course on how to become a professional tour-guide.

Part one
Smile, say good morning to the dummies, brag about your magnificent country and mention the tip box.

Part two
$mile, offer the dummies some overpriced drinks, brag some more about your illuminated country and mention the tip box.

Part three
Smi£e, show the dummies a pile of old rocks and stones, make up a story about it, keep bragging about your dazzling country and mention the tip box.

Part four
Smil€, bring the dummies to the local jeweler, leather house, carpet factory or any other merchant you can make a good commission deal with, do not stop bragging about your unbelievable fantastic country and mention the tip box.

Part five
$mi£€, bring the dummies back to their hotel while bragging about the modest mentality of the people of your country and mention the tip box.

Did we mention the importance of the tip box yet?



Click here for the next day.



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Holiday happiness day 11


One of the joys of being the father of an 18 year old attractive girl is that I finally can have my revenge on all the good-looking boys that, in contrary to me when I was that age, where always popular and lucky with the girls.

A boy, the type that I just described, a bit older then my daughter was hitting on her while I was sitting nearby. I did not even have to look good to see the abundant level of testosterone shining, almost dripping, through his eyes when he was smooth-talking and name-dropping to impress her. Now I know my daughter is a clever girl who can see through such a charade, but when he asked her what they were going to do that night I couldn't resist interfering by saying "I know what you two are not going to do tonight".






Click here for the next day.



Saturday, August 09, 2008

Holiday happiness day 10


Bargaining tips from the empiric expert - part two

The holiday bargaining confusion strategy.

The seller wants 50. Offer 25.
The seller will be very indignant and it is only because you are his friend and that he knows people from your city that are very nice too that you can have it for 40. Thank him in the most polite way and then offer 20 with a serious face. This will confuse him and with some luck he will say that you just offered 25. Thank him in an exuberant way, take out your wallet and count out 25. While the seller looks at you, trying to find out if you are sane or not, keep smiling at him in an evangelic kind of way. If this all does not work, go for the "me not speak English good" strategy.

Whatever you do, keep smiling and remember that it is only a game and no matter what you do, you will loose. Only how much is up to you.



Click here for the next day.



Friday, August 08, 2008

Holiday happiness day 9


"Oh daddy, daddy, that girl's father has a candy store. That is soooo cool." my youngest daughter told me.
"You know what is really cool? An ice cream store." I replied.
"What is so cool about an ice cream store?" my wife asked.



Click here for the next day.



Thursday, August 07, 2008

Holiday happiness day 8


Bargaining tips from the empiric expert - part one

One of the most important tips on bargaining while on holiday is to never ever start bargaining with a seller if you have your wife and/or kids with you, especially if it is something they want. If you cannot prevent this from happening then prepare yourself for spending way too much money.

Another important tip is to never ever have your family stop and look at merchandise from sellers that are old, very old, extremely old, crippled or pitiable in any way. This, with no doubt, will bring above the worst altruistic and deepest philanthropic emotions in your family members, only to be soothed, in their opinion, by the use of your wallet.



Click here for the next day.



Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Holiday happiness day 7


Ok, despite all my good intentions we stepped in our first tourist trap this holiday. What was sold to us by the friendly tour-operator was a visit to a waterfall, an all inclusive lunch and a visit and sight-seeing to a major town nearby.

We were picked up in time by the bus and I soon noticed that the friendly bus-driver interpreted the red stopping signs as non-committal suggestions.

First stop was "on the house" the friendly guide told us. Although not planned or mentioned in the brochure he wanted to show us the "lucky bridge". A recent interpretation of a Roman bridge on a place where there always has been a crossing. And, he told us, according to the local tradition, people had to cross that bridge walking to live long and happy. This stop took about 10 minutes in total.

Our second stop was at a big jewelery store where we had to look at a commercial for 15 minutes. The friendly guide then told us we had to spend an hour with the friendly jeweler. The friendly jeweler's assistant gave us numbered batches to stick on our clothes so the friendly jeweler would know who brought us to his place in case one of us would buy from him so he would know which ones of the friendly guides he had to pay commission to.

After this stop we were brought directly to a leather jacket warehouse where a friendly lady told us to clap on the rhythm of very loud music while some friendly female anorexia models and one friendly male macho model were showing leather jackets made in a fashion my grandparents cannot even remember. Then the friendly guide was so nice to offer us half an hour extra to look at the other jackets the friendly warehouse-keeper had in stock.

We were then brought to the waterfall but not before the friendly guide had told us that because of the worldwide climate change there wouldn't be much water coming down anymore.

From there we were brought to a place in the middle of nowhere to have our all-inclusive lunch which was surprisingly good. Another surprise was that, although mentioned otherwise by the friendly tour-operator, we had to pay the friendly waitress for our beverages. The price we had to pay would make an average barkeeper at the Champs Elysee blush.

From there we were driven to the big town without any further sight-seeing or background information and we were given three hours by the friendly guide to stroll around.

We bought us some things in the bazaar that I just cannot imagine to have ever lived without and were back in time for the friendly bus driver to pick us up, ignore some more red traffic lights and deliver us back in the hotel.

Actually it was not a bad day. We had some nice contacts with fellow passengers in the bus but now I wonder how many of my fellow male victims from this trip, who also crossed the lucky bridge, will get lucky tonight. I know I won't.



Click here for the next day.



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Holiday happiness day 6


The psychology behind, and the technique of, claiming desk chairs at the pool. An in-depth study of a particular season-related human behavior for which your undercover correspondent went great lengths.

Before I start my disquisition, and perhaps unnecessary to mention but everybody knows there is only one good place to sit at any swimming pool. And once picked, one gets emotionally attached to this one spot. So the choice of desk chairs and their "pool place" shouldn't be taken too lightly.

Phase one - "the task"
finding the right place

Important parameters are the answers to the following questions:
What time is the sun there?
Will there be any shadow and if so, where and when?
How far is the distance to the water?
Any chance on a refreshing breeze during the day, or too windy?
How are the chances to get splashed on or even to get seriously wet?
What is the distance to the nearest bar?
Are there any big loudspeakers near the pool and if so where?
What type of people sit in that area?

Take the pro's and contra's and decide.

Phase two - "the study"
Observe the people occupying the desk chairs of your desire, these will be your contestants. what time do they claim the place and are they bigger then you?

If the answer to the second question is yes then reconsider the outcome of phase one or go directly to phase seven.

Phase three - "the hit"

Set the alarm half an hour before you expect your opponents to claim your seats, go to the desk chairs and drape your towels there. Take a seat in them, make yourself comfortable till they come and stay seated until they claim another place. During this phase do not look too triumphantly but play the murdered innocence.

Phase four - "the fight"
keeping your place

Sometimes just staying in your chair will not do and you might have to defend it. This can be done in several ways. One of the simplest manners is playing dumb and stick to your mother-tongue. If you are lucky they go away, if you are unlucky and they speak your language then just stick out your tongue and play "first come, first serve". Another option might be to urinate on every corner of your territory while your competitors are watching. Even if they do not understand the significant meaning of this gesture, it might just turn them off just for hygienic reasons.

Phase five - "the bigger fight"
reclaiming your place

Expect the unexpected in the sense that your place can be reconquered by your enemies during your breakfast. Do not openly start the fight but set the alarm for the next day half an hour earlier and never go out again for breakfast, lunch or diner without leaving your territory unattended by at least your spouse and half of your offspring.

Phase six - "the bribe"
become friendly with the life-guard

It is a good precaution, already during phase one, to get acquainted with the life-guard. Drinks or other minor presents, even smiles can help. It is easier then to leave your place unattended, knowing you have the pool-police at your side.

Phase seven - "the justified right"
In case all previous advices failed buy the book: "The settler's handbook for a greater Judea" for more practical tips.



Click here for the next day.



Monday, August 04, 2008

Holiday happiness day 5


Read Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander yesterday and liked it. Back to Dostoyevsky's Idiot now, boring but I want to finish it.

At breakfast I looked around in the hotel's restaurant and it seemed I only heard children and women. Most of the men were eating silently. Chewing distantly and nodding absently their heads now and then and letting the babbling go by.

Oh how I can relate



Click here for the next day.



Sunday, August 03, 2008

Holiday happiness day 4


Woke up this morning around 5.30 AM by strange noises outside. When looking down from my balcony we saw a coming an going of mostly German men, claiming their "lebensraum" in the form of placing their towels on the deck chairs next to the pool. There was even a couple that stayed in the area to protect their claimed places.

My youngest daughter, 11 yrs old, was really upset yesterday because we didn't have a place to sit next to the pool. So when she was looking with us to these people claiming their seats, she decided to go down and claim us 4 seats too. We then went back to bed, to be woken up half an hour later by my oldest son with the message that he also had claimed three seats at the pool.



Click here for the next day.



Saturday, August 02, 2008

Holiday happiness day 3


I didn't sleep too bad. The choice was either too cold because of the airco or too hot without. I decided for the latter.

Had another good breakfast and then went to the spa. I wasn't too happy with it because there was not much to complain about.

Last night before sunset the sun suddenly darkened by a big brownish cloud. There seems to be a big forestfire nearby. We saw the fire fighting airplanes flying over and by the end of the day it started to rain ashes. The dark cloud stayed there for most of today.

I took my two boys, 20 and 13 yrs old, to the local barber for a shave. Although not really necessary for the youngest, he already shaved himself one month ago, but it makes him feel grown-up. He only didn't like the part too much where he got after-shave sprinkled over his just-shaved face.



Click here for the next day.



Friday, August 01, 2008

Holiday happiness day 2


First we had ourselves a good breakfast and then we went to the reception to ask for some other "joining rooms". The rather big clerk told me that the manager would come in 3 minutes. More then half an hour later in which the clerk assured me several times it really would be 3 minutes and that I perhaps should have another breakfast, plus being witness of the guy's vain attempts to hit on a fresh incoming female tourist, the manager came.

Of course it was very difficult almost impossible to have joining rooms, and he wanted to know who promised us what, where, when and why. We had to come back around noon and he would see what he could do for us. When we showed up at 11 he had found us our real joining rooms.

Late in the afternoon I went to the local hairdresser for a haircut and to be shaved. I have to be honest and commit that the result is not too bad.... considering the €6 I had to pay.



Click here for the next day.



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Holiday happiness day 1



So we are leaving today with Air Obscure, or at least that is what I hope the plan. We should have been at our destination by now but the flight has a delay of at least 9 hours.

I hope the plane has seats aboard to sit in.

We arrived and I didn't know it still existed, applauding passengers when the airplane lands. Obviously it still does.

The bus driver driving us from the airport to the hotel neglected at least two red traffic lights. No really much considering that the journey took us about an hour and that it could have been much more.

Upon booking we had received the assurance that we would get two joining rooms, since we are a 6-person family. Apparently the term "joining rooms" has another meaning here. I am not sure but I think it means something like "two rooms situated as far from each other as possible and preferably not in the same building".

Since it was already late when we arrived we took our "joining rooms" assured by the receptionist that it would be only for one night.





Click here for the next day.



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The old god is just a fear reflex


It seems that in our society the (individual colored) god image is turning into a methaphore for good ethical behaviour. Can we see this as a sign of our evolution?




Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

In balance and too busy to write


Anger and depression are good inspirers; I think I got rid of them.



Friday, May 02, 2008

I believe in gnomes...


... and people who believe in god make me grin.



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"You wanna play waf?"


... my youngest son in his impersonation of Tony Montana.



Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scam artists from Nigeria and Indonesia


My dear sir,

Over the years we have managed to build a system that detects scam artists even when they are polite. And it is surprising, although one wouldn't expect it, but the rotten smell of some of the mails we get is hardly bearable. So in answer to your mail and to cut a long story short: sorry but we do not sell nor ship to Indonesia or Nigeria. This message will be the most energy we'll put into your inquiry. However, feel free to contact us again whenever you move to a country of better reputation. In the meantime we would appreciate it highly to not hear from you again.

With kind regards,




Sunday, April 06, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Morons I have to live with


I don’t trust Jews.” It has been a long time since I heard something like that about me and it really felt strange to hear it again yesterday. It gave me an uneasy feeling as I didn’t really know how to react to it. My first inner reaction was one of anger. Later I realized it tells more about the guy who said it then about me. It made me sad the rest of the day and I still haven't figured out how or if to deal with him in the future.




Chassidim or gnomes?


Whenever I see a group of Chassidim it makes me think of cute little black dressed wheelbarrowless worshipping gnomes.




Thursday, April 03, 2008

I believe in god...


... and people who believe in gnomes make me grin.




Monday, March 31, 2008

Clash of civilisations?


People need to belong to a race, religion, country, club or whatever to fight for against “the others” to justify their identity. The problem are not the good willing but the nationalistic and/or religious hooligans. From those we have to be aware of that they can drag us into their elementary medieval thoughts and tribe fights.

I will criticize all jingoistic fools disregarded their religion. It is not about condemning Muslims, Jews or Christians but about condemning zealots. The maniacs amidst us who will never accept criticism and while we cannot blame fools to act within their limited potential we still have to try to bring our narrow-minded brothers to a more civilized era; a task not easy as they think they are justified in their behaviour.




Sunday, March 23, 2008

A good contraceptive (01)


To experience my kids at their worst.



Friday, March 21, 2008

The healing power of precious stones


I met a stone polisher who strongly believes in the healing power of precious stones. On my scepticism he told me that his sister in law suffered strongly from asthma and that he had cut a malachite for her to wear on her chest. When I asked him how she is doing now, he said that three weeks after she got the stone she passed away.

He couldn’t laugh on my remark that the stone had definitely proofed its power as she clearly doesn’t suffer from asthma anymore.




Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Purim disguise:


The Invisible Man



Monday, March 03, 2008

Indignant Muslim reaction to Geert Wilders' movie


"Declare that we are peaceful and civilized or we will kill you!"



Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stoolpigeon!


In my youth whenever I misbehaved out of sight of my parents, they still always seemed to know what I did. Around the age of 5, whether it was walking through the park with all that tempting water, stealing all the go-karts, tricycles and children's wheelbarrows in the neighborhood and hiding them on top of some nearby garages, playing waterfall at the stairs from the top floor in the flat with milk from the bottles that the milkman had left on his daily routine, playing soccer in the sandbox with a big piece of meat the butcher had left on top of the postboxes in the flat and after playing around with it wrapping it back up and laying it back, sneaking in at a local construction work and playing with burning liquid hot tar (that I eventually got in my eyes), selling from door to door the little pieces of fabric that my father had asked me to give to the handicraft teacher or with X-mas, trying to sell the neighbors branches of holly that I had cut from their own tree a bit before, my parents always knew it.

When I asked them how they knew it, they told me that Mrs. Van Hupschoten had told them. Boy, did I hate that woman, snitching on me like that! My parents never wanted to tell me where she lived, or vaguely described the area. When I was 7 years old we moved from Amsterdam to another city. Much to my surprise when I came home one day from jumping ice floes over a canal (something my parents had rather strongly forbidden), I found out that Mrs. Van Hupschoten had moved to the same city too; still snitching on all the things I did.

Now, a parent myself, I too am calling-up on the services of Mrs. Van Hupschoten, much to the despair of my kids, and although they suspect Mrs. Van Hupschoten is imaginary they are not really 100% sure.




Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chop off my right hand


It's a parent's duty explaining your kids the difference between right and wrong. Easy as can be...

Some 10 years ago I took a subscription to the NRC-Handelsblad (a Dutch quality evening paper). It was my daily pleasure routine, after diner, laying on my belly on the couch, newspaper spread on the floor and read it. The Saturday editions were especially something to look forward to. Problem was the delivery; many times I had to call that the paper wasn't delivered. Something extra annoying because this mostly happened to the Saturday editions that I liked so much. I decided to cancel my subscription.

About a year ago I thought to give it another try and called the subscription office where I got a very friendly lady on the phone. When I explained her the problem she offered me a free period and then I simply could keep the subscription if I paid the check she would send me, if not then the subscription would automatically stop. I never received this check so I haven't paid. Strange thing is that the deliveries haven't stopped and now I have a free newspaper every day. That is, depending the delivery guy's mood and I do not want to call, afraid this might stop the free deliveries.

My kids know this situation and one of them confronted me with the lack of integrity I am showing here. I told him that he is right but that this is a different situation because now it is about me. But the thing is that he is right and I still haven't called the office of the paper to tell them about it.

Tell me, should I?

Update Monday, February 25, 2008, 9:30 AM


I just called the NRC-customer’s desk and spoke to a very unfriendly man accusing me of misusing their system. He did not seem to understand that I want to pay for my subscription and he just wanted to stop it. I decided to not leave my name. I will call back this afternoon when his manager is in.

Update Monday, February 25, 2008, 4:30 PM


I spoke with the manager and I'll be paying my subscription again starting the day after tomorrow.

Update Monday, February 25, 2008, 5:00 PM


Just told my son what happened, and that I did it because he was right. He, 13 years old, thanked me for the good example I gave and said that he would never be so stupid to call the newspaper...

Update Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Did not receive my paper today.

Update Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Received paper of today together with yesterday's news.

Update Thursday, February 28, 2008


Did not receive my paper today.

Update Friday, February 29, 2008


Did not receive my paper today.

Update Saturday, March 01, 2008


Received two issues of today's paper.





Saturday, February 23, 2008

New York, New York


1981, I was 20, almost done with my study and wanted to do my apprenticeship in New York. I asked the school if they would allow me two weeks off to go to NY, which they refused. So I called myself sick and went.

I stayed in the YMCA-hotel cause that was the cheapest place I could find; not aware of the attraction it has to men with a certain sexual appetite. Every floor of the hotel had its own communal washing place and when I was taking a shower two really very friendly men, also in Adam's costume, started washing my back without asking. To say that I felt uncomfortable would be an understatement. That event, plus the fact that whenever I wanted to use the only bathroom on that floor I saw my neighbor laying naked in his bed with the door and his legs invitingly wide open, made me look out for other options to spend my nights.

My idea was to go to a synagogue to meet people who could help me find a job and if possible where I could stay a few nights. So I first went to Temple Emanuel, that I knew from Bette Middler’s statement: “a lot of kissing and mezuzahs”, where I rang the bell and asked for the rabbi. “The who?” was the reply through the intercom I received. Eventually I found a real synagogue with a real rabbi. It was Pesach and I was invited for both Seder evenings with some very nice Sefardic people. Their sort of food was new to me and the matzos they ate were the driest I ever had. I stayed a few nights with these people and then went back to the YMCA.

Around that time I developed a certain uneasy feeling and even pain in the excretory opening at the end of my alimentary canal (just not to say the word "anus"). This unpleasant sensation in my private parts made me worry that, although nothing indecent had happened to me, I had caught some indefinable disease in the YMCA (Once back home, the school doctor reassured me that it was just hemorrhoids, most probably caused by the very dry matzos I ate.) I had bought new shoes a few days before I went to NY and that might have not been the smartest thing I ever did. When I was walking up and down Manhattan trying to find me a place to work the huge blisters on my feet and the painful itchy hemorrhoids gave me a walk that would not suit ill in Monty Python's sketch of the Ministry of Silly Walks.

One afternoon I saw a group of men standing around a table in the street playing the shell game and because I didn’t have much money left and the game seemed to be really easy I gambled half of my money. Needless to say that I lost. When going back to my hotel room depressed about this, I found that someone had been in my room and stolen my camera.

When I started to look around for a job I began with the big companies, just to find out that nobody was really waiting for me. Finally at the last day I found a place in some obscure shop but received a letter less then a month after I got back home that there wasn’t any place for me there after all. Besides looking for a job, I also had to find a place to live in case I could get a job. The only place I could find was from a man who offered the use of his apartment “in exchange for friendship”, something I didn’t have to think long about after my YMCA experiences.

My relationship with NY has never been restored.




Friday, February 22, 2008

I never inhaled!


In my college-time, one night mid-summer, it was warm as can be and we decided we just had to go for a swim. That the local swimming pool was closed at night we didn’t consider to be much of a problem. With a mixed group of some 20 people we climbed over the fence and went skinny-dipping.

One of the guys had some self-grown mind-expanding herbs with him and there, in the watchtower, I enjoyed my first encounter with the prime of Dutch export products. I can’t say that it did me much but when I went back swimming again I took a deep dive and was amazed by the graceful beauty under water that I never noticed before. When I came above the surface from my many diving sessions I noticed that I was alone in the pool. I wondered where everybody went and saw a naked girl running who yelled at me: “police!”

I got out of the water in what I consider to be a personal record and went looking for my clothes but couldn’t find them. So I hid myself in a little corner at the back of the changing cubicles where I met a Turkish friend. He was also naked and he told me that he hadn’t found his clothes either. By the moves of the flashlights we saw the police coming into our direction so we decided to climb back over the barb wired fence. My friend was a little guy who couldn’t pronounce the “i” as in the word “hit” and when he hit the barbwire with his precious he yelled “sheet”.

We walked back home naked through the city and found out that one of the guys had taken all the clothes with him “to help us”.




Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sjeintje


1978, I was 18, just got my drivers license and my parents bought me a Volkswagen Beetle for 700 Dutch Guilders (about €300). It was a white one and the first thing I did was painting its wings black. I also wrote the name “SJEINTJE” (from the Yiddish "sheinele" meaning "cutie") on the back. My grandmother had knitted a big multicolor snake filled with old hoses to put on the back seat.

About two weeks after I got my car I already wrecked it while playing with the snake instead of watching the road. I found myself another VW bug wrack for 70 guilders and reconstructed a new one out of the two I had. Since I had a spare steering wheel, I placed it as a dummy in front of the co-drivers seat. (It was our fun to look at their astonished faces when people looked inside the car while we were driving and when I turned the car left but when the front-passenger ostentatiously steered to the right.) I wasn’t able to fix the screen washer so I placed a manual spray can. The windscreen wipers I had to move by hand, pulling a cord that I had attached to them. (Not the best solution because one day in the pouring rain when driving the highway I lost both of them.) Another thing that I couldn’t make working were the indicators. To solve that I simply put my hand out of the window in the direction I wanted to drive. The exhaust valve was all rusted and that I fixed with empty bean cans from which I took both lids and attached it with metal strand. The front case cover was also attached with a string after it had spontaneously opened blinding my sight while driving the highway.

I car-pooled with other students, to save money we would split the costs. So one day, I had my car full with four other students and two guitars, I was driving back to the city I studied. Notwithstanding all the ingenuity I showed combining the two cars, I must have done something wrong because when it became dark and I turned on my lights the engine turned off. We drove the last 40-km over a dike in darkness and whenever we saw a car approaching we lighted our cigarette lighters. It was by far the spookiest trip I ever made.




Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Story of my life



February 1982, I was 21 and had already started a little business of my own. My parents were just gone for a 3-week holiday when I fell in love. Too bad my princess to be had already decided to go to Israel for a year and her departure was scheduled within a week.

I brought her to the airport and every day we wrote love letters to each other. Then, while my parents were still on holiday, she wrote me a letter that she missed me so much and asked me if I wanted to join her. Within two days I gave up my business and booked a flight to Israel. When I picked up my parents at the airport from their holiday, I told them I would leave for at least a year. About a week after I received the "please join me" letter I was on my way to the love of my life.

She picked me up from the airport and told me that although she found it hard to say, she had fallen in love with another boy and that now she just wanted to stay good friends with me. Before we would go to her kibbutz we had to stay overnight in a hotel and there we made love. This helped me softening the pain a bit, not the sex but the idea that she wasn’t really the one for me, already cheating on her latest boyfriend. I can’t say I had a nice first week. To be close to her I stayed in a kibbutz near hers in the north and there it took me a week to decide that I might as well make the best out of it. One reason I didn’t turn back home immediately was that among my friends there were bets how soon I would be back and I didn’t want to loose my face (at least not immediately).

In my kibbutz I met two girls and a boy who were planning to go to Eilat (in the south) and try to find a job there. I joined them and we went hitchhiking. My companions had backpacks while I just had a broken suitcase without handle and held together by a belt (after all, the initial plan was to stay for one year at one place). Our first stop was Tel Aviv. It hadn’t rain for years in March but when we arrived it was pouring. So we slept on our bags in the shower cabins at the beach where in the morning the cleaning squad use big water hoses through the opening under the doors to clean the cabins without looking if there is someone in.

Next stop was Jerusalem, where we tried to make some money by singing on the street but there weren’t any culture lovers among the passers-by. We stayed there for a week with the father of one of my companions who was a professor of something and then we hitchhiked to the south. It was evening when we got lucky finding a truck where we could sit in the open back on our journey through the desert. In the middle of the desert the truck stopped and the driver told us that we had to get off because he would go in another direction from there. So there we were in the middle of the night in the middle of the desert. We gathered some burnable stuff and made a little bonfire. It didn't last long enough till we got ourselves another lift to the south.

One of the girls had said that she knew a guy with a boat in Eilat and that we could stay on it. We found the boat but not the owner and we slept there for a few nights. Then the police came and told us that the owner didn’t know about us and that if we wouldn’t leave the boat immediately they would take our luggage and blow it up; not a real difficult choice. In the mean time I only had some $5 left in my pocket as I hadn’t bring any money with me (after all, the initial plan was to stay for one year and to live of love). To celebrate my last money I took one of the girls with me to a bar where I bought us two cups of coffee. I came into a chat with the owner of the bar and he asked me if I ever had worked in a bar before. With a poker face I lied to him that such was just the thing I use to do when I was a student. So he hired me and I worked there for a month. Eating we would do in the bar and sleeping on the beach. After that month I had saved a little money and felt that I should stay in a kibbutz for a few months and then making a trip through Europe.

I stayed for several months in a kibbutz and enjoyed all the things good parents warn you for. Then with a new companion, an English guy, I took the boat to Athens, third class, sleeping on the deck. We stayed some time in Athens, Greece sleeping in the bushes under the Acropolis and made a little money washing dishes in restaurants and then we took the boat to Crete. On Crete, in Chania, I shared a cave with two Danish girls I had met there on the beach while my companion was with a friend of his he knew from before. The sunrises were beautiful, shining a golden light into the cave. We stayed there for a couple of weeks and then the four of us went to the little city Paleachora at the other side of the island where we made little tents on the beach of washed up bamboo and plastics. The farmers there allowed us to pick cucumbers and tomatoes for as much as we wanted to eat. The nights there where beautiful, looking at the many fallen stars that we could see.

We went back to Athens and there we took the Magic Bus to Venice, Italy. When we arrived, it was a Sunday evening in August, there was a huge firework going on. That night we slept at a dry San Marco place. We stayed for some time in Venice and from there we hitchhiked to La Manga in the south of Spain. The parents of my companion had a house there but since they weren’t there yet and because he didn’t have the keys we slept at the place of a girl we met there. She was a Spanish beauty with long auburn hair and big brown eyes and I vividly remember the night when she took me to a shabby local disco bar somewhere in the middle of nowhere filled with long-haired hippy-style locals playing air-guitar to Jimi Hendrix’ music. This disco was close to the beach and after some dancing she asked me for a walk under the moon over the beach. When we were walking the beach it was loaded with couples making out stimulating my visions of the nice time we were going to have. We sat down and I tried to cuddle a bit when she reached for her wallet for what I thought would be a condom but it was a picture instead. She started talking about the guy on the picture, some Guru Maharaja and what a beautiful person that was and that she really thought that I should learn more about him. Although it was not really the fulfillment of the visions I had some moments before, I did see the humor of it as a story to be told later.

Anyway... the parents of my companion arrived and we stayed another couple of weeks. From there we hitchhiked to Frankfurt, Germany where I knew a girl that I had met in the kibbutz. The first night in Frankfurt, it was freezing cold, we slept outside a stadium. We stayed in Frankfurt a few days and then we moved on to Holland to pick up my car that I had stalled with a friend of mine. We stayed with my parents for about a week and then drove with my car to England to visit some more friends we had met during our trip. Then from England I drove home alone and before I started to pick up my business again, I drove back to Frankfurt to visit the same girl. The first night we went to a drive-in movie. We sat really comfortable and I had my usual hormones driven visions again. Then she looked me deep in the eyes, told me that what she felt for me was really special and that I was as the brother to her she never had...

I have worked ever since.




Monday, February 18, 2008

Warm feelings


My parents had a good marriage. My father the kind soul chairman with inflexible principles and my mom the somewhat naughty businesswoman with slightly flexible morals. There is hardly ever a day going by that I don’t think about them. Good people they were.

I think that in the hereafter my father is enjoying himself as main chairman of the board of chairmans and my mother is having a heck of a time selling at the market.




Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oubollig rijmpje


Alleen dan kan liefde tronen
Radieus en oh zo zoet
Als men vrij en ongedwongen
Simpel alles voor elkander doet.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lost!


my lust for you
it just went
it's not what I wanted
it's not what you wanted
you just didn’t care
why to blame
must you
lust me

Gone?



my future with you
it just went
it’s not what I wanted
it’s not what you wanted
but now you do care
why to blame
just you
lost me




Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I am so anti pasta!


Just the thought of spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna and/or other slithery slimy snotty gooey dough stuff makes me shiver.




Thursday, January 31, 2008

Holocaust survivors, second generation (14)


Reading back the blogs I wrote under the "Holocaust Survivors, second generation" I came to realize that I have not really closed the subject yet. So here it goes.

Mid 2006 a court doctor ordered some tests because, following an accident I had September 2005, I had complained about certain cognitive functions that I felt were diminished. A few months later I learned that this test was an IQ test and that I was rated as highly gifted. Then through a friend I found out about Mensa (an organization for highly gifted people). I became a member and started to join their social meetings and conversation groups. By comparing my experiences with other Mensa members I had a revealing insight on the subject of the anti-Semitism I encountered in my youth. The majority of the supposed anti-Semites from my youth were most likely only using my sensitivity about my Jewishness as a target for their uneasiness with my being “different”. The major reason for me being “different” must have been my high IQ, but back then the only valid reason I could find and was aware of was my origin. This insight did not only make me lose my residual anger but I also became much milder towards ‘ordinary’ people I encounter because now I realize that everybody acts to their own abilities.


To the first post in the "second generation" sequence.




Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Objectivism and altruism


Rand defined altruism as the principle "that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value."

One must distinguish between altruism and helping others. Simply helping others is not altruism: altruism is the belief that you have a duty to help others, that you owe others. As Rand put it, the issue is not whether or not you should give a dime to a beggar, but rather if you "have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence." Altruism holds that one person's need is a blank check against the lives of others. Altruism holds that self-sacrifice is the good and that self-interest is evil.

Although some would call this characterization of altruism "extreme", in fact altruism so defined pervades our culture. Ambition, greed, success: today these are viewed with suspicion at best, with downright hostility at worst. On the other hand, the New Deal, the Peace Corps, and "a thousand points of light" are upheld as great achievements or noble goals.

Although altruism claims to be based on "love" for man-kind, in practice altruism leads to suffering. On a personal level, altruism leads to unearned guilt. Personal achievement requires you to concentrate on yourself to the exclusion of others. If you accept altruism as the "good", then to the extent that you achieve, you are left with the nagging feeling that you should be doing more to help others, e.g., by working in a soup kitchen or some other such activity. On an interpersonal level, altruism leads to suspicion and ill will. Since any person's need is a blank check drawn against the lives of others, each person knows that any stranger may cash this check at any time, and conversely each person feels that every stranger owes him something.

From: Objectivism and Ayn Rand




Monday, January 28, 2008

Objectivism


Objectivism holds that there is mind-independent reality; that individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings gain objective knowledge from perception by measurement, and form valid concepts by measurement omission; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest"; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform abstract knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and respond to with the whole of one's consciousness.

From Wikipedia




Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Narcissistic, me? (02)


No, I’m just very happy I found myself.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

The purpose of my life.


I want to matter in the lives of those I love, care for and appreciate.
Nothing more, nothing less.



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Money (01)


The biggest handicap in my daily economical struggle is me.



Monday, January 14, 2008

Existentialism


Existentialism is a philosophical movement which posits that individual human beings create the meaning and essence of their lives. It emerged as a movement in twentieth-century literature and philosophy, though it had forerunners in earlier centuries. Existentialism generally postulates that the absence of a transcendent force (such as God) means that the individual is entirely free, and, therefore, ultimately responsible. It is up to humans to create an ethos of personal responsibility outside of any branded belief system. That personal articulation of being is the only way to rise above humanity's absurd condition (suffering and death, and the finality of the individual).

From Wikipedia




Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Digging for happiness


The beauty of life is overburden by a thick layer of responsibilities, the longer you live the thicker the layer.




Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Setting the tone


January 1st, 2008

Slept till I woke.
Ate.
Went back to bed.
Slept till I woke.
Took a warm bath.
A whiskey at hand.
Read in Mark Epstein's "Going to pieces".
Refilled the tub.
Proclaimed silently from "Dylan Thomas' Selected Poems"
No disturbing noises.

Just me and enjoying it, and I know... this is what I want.