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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

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


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

CURRENT BLOG


 

 
OLA DUBH | HARVIESTOUN ALE

oLA dUBH,  Garviestoun Ale

Ola Dubh is a Harviestoun ale, and presented to me in a box not dissimilar to expensive whisky brands; well, it is aged in whisky casks and the taste (and punch!) shows it! Great taste, great present!

From the box:
" Ola Dubh (or 'Black Oil') is so named because it is gloopy and viscous. This ale is the result of a unique collaboration between Scotland's most innovative micro-brewery and the world's most respected single malt.
This limited release has been aged in selected Oak Casks formerly used to mature Highland Park 40 Year Old Single Malt Whisky.
A lifetime in the making, the whisky has been described by Dave Broom in Whisky Magazine as 'stunningly great'.
The casks add complementary whisky notes to what is already a brew of remarkable complexity; it is redolent of chocolate and has a distinctive roasty, bittersweet finish.
Every botle of Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 Year Old is individually numbered."

The website is great too: http://www.harviestoun.com/OlaDubh/

[14Sep2011]
 

 
MEER VAN MIEN-YUAN, RECHTER TIE MYSTERY | ROBERT VAN GULIK

Rechter Tue mystery, Meer van Yuan

Ever since China sparked my interest during the 1980s, I find occasion to read or explore something on the subject, in whatever form. The 'Rechter (=Judge or Magistrate) Tie Mysteries' by Robert van Gulik offer an easy insight in China in historic times.

The titles from Dutchman van Gulik have been translated also in English; the name of the magistrate changed to Judge Dee.

Judge Dee (also, Judge Di) is the eponymous protagonist of Robert van Gulik's series of detective novels. The series is set in Tang Dynasty China and deals with various criminal cases solved by the upright Judge Dee (judges often play the investigator role in ancient Chinese crime stories).
The Judge Dee character is based on the historical figure Di Renjie (c. 630–c. 700), magistrate and statesman of the Tang court. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) in China, a 'folk novel' was written set in former times, but filled with anachronisms.
Van Gulik found in the 18th century Di Gong An an original tale dealing with three cases simultaneously, and, which was unusual among Chinese mystery tales, a plot that for the most part lacked an overbearing supernatural element which could alienate Western readers. He translated it into English and had it published under the title Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee.
This gave van Gulik the idea of writing his own novels, set with the similar Ming anachronisms, but using the historical character. Van Gulik was careful in writing the main novels to deal with cases where Dee was newly appointed to a city, thereby isolating him from the existing lifestyle and enabling him to maintain an objective role in the books.
Van Gulik's novels and stories made no direct reference to the original Chinese work and so Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee is not considered to be part of the Judge Dee series.
Van Gulik also wrote series of newspaper comics about Judge Dee in 1964-1967, adding up to a total of 19 adventures. The first 4 were regular balloon strips, but the later 15 had the more typically Dutch textblock under the pictures.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dee

Robert Hans van Gulik was born in 1910, in Zutphen,Netherlands and spent most of his youth in the Dutch East-Indies.
Later he studied several Asian languages, became a diplomat, indulged in scientific research and found himself a literary talent.
He passed away in 1967, in The Hague,Netherlands.

About this particular book:
Mien-Yuan is a small, historic town west of the Chinese captial. Mountains call for an isolated existence. The town is situated next to a mysterious lake, stories of people disappearing without a trace go hand in hand with appearances of ghosts.
Rechter Tie / Judge Dee find himself assigned to Mien-Yuan and becomes himself involved in the murder of a courtisan; the girl tried to warn him about a conspiracy but is killed and floating in the lake before she can meet the Judge.

Like the other books I have of Rechter Tie, this book also has a foreword and epilogue by Janwillem van de Wetering, explaining the historic context and customs of this book in relation to medieval China. Such as the rotational assignments (mostly every 3 years) of the magistrates and the fact that he brings his staff with him to his next assignment.
The magistrate enforces the law, sees to it that interest of government and administration is upheld but is also the detective in solving crime - his helpers do legwork, offer moral suport, enforce the law, arrest people but the judge does the brainwork.

[12SEP11]
 

 
REVELATOR by TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND | MUSIC

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Came across the music of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks on the Eric Claptaon 'Crossroads' dvd's and their music was a highlight for me. This CD, 'Revelator', hits the spot!
Susan Tedeschi has a voice that is made for their blues music, both feminine and masculine at the same time. Derek Trucks is a phenomenon on the guitar.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band, formerly known as the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band is a blues rock group based in Jacksonville, Florida. Formed in 2010, the band is led by husband-and-wife musicians Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, and primarily features members from their respective solo groups. The core lineup is Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge, Tyler Greenwell, J.J. Johnson, Mike Mattison and Nigel Hall.

The first CD under their new name 'The Tedeschi Trucks Band', named Revelator, was released on June 7th, 2011. Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars, referring to it as a masterpiece !

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tedeschi_Trucks_Band
www.derekandsusan.net

[11SEP2011]
 

 
DEVIL'S DILEMMA | CARTOON (Dutch)

Progress at a price

I thought this Dutch cartoon rather striking, detailing how are identities are read and stored, unerasable, somewhere floating around in cyberspace, looming ominous, available for use and abuse, all there our likes, dislikes, everything.
But there is no turning back, we don't want to go back to the big stationary phones , music on LP vinyl, knowledge only available in print, porn in magazines, mail delivered only once or twice a day to our doors... We don't want that, do we? And what would we have to hide?

By Pieter Geenen ('Het Leven') in Vrij Nederland 10Sep2011.

[11Sep2011]
 

 
INSPECTOR WINTER | CRIME DRAMA

Inspector Erik Winter - Crime drama

Åke Edwardson (born March 10, 1953 in Eksjö, Småland) is a Swedish author of detective fiction, and was previously a lecturer in journalism at Gothenburg University, the city where many of his Inspector Winter novels are set.
Edwardson has had many jobs, including as a journalist and press officer for the United Nations, and his crime novels have made him a three-time winner of the Swedish Crime Writers' Academy Award for best crime novel.
His first novel to be translated into English, in 2005, was Sun and Shadow. The second, Never End, followed in 2006.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ake Edwardson
http://akeedwardson.com/

This 4-dvd box contains the stories of 4 most recent Inspector Erik Winter stories.
We see 'Komissar Erik' at work in Göteborg, he and his team see issues adressed such as rightwing extremists versus muslims in a murder mystery, a cold case reopened which is almost fatal for Erik, a teammember lost while hunting down a murderer and someone stalking Erik's family.
Erik is successful in his work but he often follows his instinct,s leaving his team behind somewhat bewildered. Bounderies are crossed when his family become involved in his crime fighting and this causes doubts about his career.

While I enjoyed these murder mysteries I found humor lacking when compared to, say, Inspector Wallander. Also his lone investigations are so frequent it makes Winter's role quite unrealistic at times. Not quite in the same 'crime drama' league as Mankell's Wallander and Sjöwall & Wallöö's Beck, but nevertheless much preferred over most American crime drama crap.


[02SEP11]
 

 
EEN HOLLANDER IN PARIJS - S. CARMIGGELT | BOOKS

Simon Carmiggelt

A classic from my bookshelf: (translates as) A Dutchman in Paris, by Simon Carmiggelt.
Simon Carmiggelt (October 7, 1913 – November 30, 1987) was a Dutch writer who became a well known public figure in the Netherlands because of his daily newspaper columns and his television appearances.
As a youth Simon was determined to become a journalist.
After various editorial jobs, he became a reporter for the left-wing newspaper Het Volk (The People). Later on he worked for the same paper as a drama critic. He also wrote short columns about daily life in The Hague, which he called Kleinigheden (Trifles). In 1939 Simon married Tiny de Goey. A year later she gave birth to a daughter, Marianne. In the same year the first collection of Kleinigheden was published, named Vijftig dwaasheden (Fifty follies).
When the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940 and Het Volk was taken over and censored, Carmiggelt resigned from the paper.
In 1943, Simon's brother Jan was arrested by the Germans for aiding persons in hiding. He was taken to camp Vught, where he died of exhaustion. Jan's death was to change the rest of Simon's life; he would never fully overcome the trauma it caused.
After the war he again started to write columns for Het Parool. He signed them 'Kronkel' (Kink). His Kronkels became very famous for their melancholic, sometimes sombre tone and the ironic use of formal language.
In 1977 Carmiggelt started a secret liaison with the author Renate Rubinstein. She was later to write a book about this, titled Mijn beter ik (My better self), which was published when both she and Simon had died. Simon Carmiggelt's last Kronkel was published in 1983.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Carmiggelt

'Een Hollander in Parijs' tells about two Dutch ramblers strolling the streets of Paris: Simon who describes his observations and Otto Dicke provides drawings of the same.
The first print of this book was made in 1955 as 'Articles de Paris' and the Dutch title did not appear until 1964. The book is written in Simon's kind style, a little wry and mocking sometimes, and has us looking back to different times with recognition.

[31AUG11]
 

 
THE SAVAGE ALTAR by ASA LARSSON | BOOKS

The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson
Hard to believe this is a first novel!
The story shifts between past and present, rural and city values, relationships and religion, written in a compelling style.
Rebecka Martinsson is a struggling young lawyer and she is called upon for help by Sanna, with whom she grew up with, and who is under suspicion of having killed her brother in a heinous manner. This means Rebecka has to return to Kiruna and her roots; traumatic memories surface but also good ones.
The detectives investigating Victor's murder are the heavily pregnant Anna-Maria Mella and Sven-Erik Stalnacke, her deputy. Carl von Post is their publicity seeking boss.
Truly an excellent book, a real page turner!

(See also a more extensive and better phrased review by Maxine Clarke,
www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/The_Savage_Altar.html )

[27AUG11]
 

 
CROW by TED HUGHES | POETRY

Crow, from the Life and Songs of the Crow

Crow is a collection of poems based around the crow. The nature poems such as Crowcolour (see below) are stark, dark, ferocious and sometimes brutal but definitely impressive.
The collection is beautifully written, scary but often funny at the same time. It is also deeply philosophical about the world. I would recommend it if you like scary poems about nature...

Am glad the shopkeeper of Armchair books in Edinburgh advised me about Ted Hughes during my visit earlier this year!

Two poems I particularly liked from this collection:

THAT MOMENT

When the pistol muzzle oozing blue vapour
Was lifted away
Like a cigarette lifted from an ashtray

And the only face left in the world
Lay broken
Between hands that relaxed, being too late

And the trees closed forever
And the streets closed forever

And the body lay on the gravel
Of the abandoned world
Among abandoned utilities
Exposed to infinity forever

Crow had to start searching for something to eat

CROWCOLOUR

Crow was so much blacker
Than the moon's shadow
He had stars.

He was much blacker
Than any negro
As a negro's eye-pupil.

Even, like the sun,
Blacker
Than any blindness.

--Ted Hughes


[26AUG11]
 

 
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP | FILM

e$XIT tHROUGH tHE gIFT sHOP

Since I became acquainted with Banksy's inspiring and funny Street Art, I was given this film to watch. And indeed it is, as described: "A hugely entertaining movie"!
With a twist though, it isn't without controversy, as below quoted text and links will show.

"Ostensibly, Mr. Brainwash, whose real name is Thierry Guetta, was a French-born ex-pat living in L.A. who had been attempting to make a documentary about street art when he came in contact with Banksy. The outrageous plot of the film is that Banksy was so horrified by Guetta's would-be movie--there's even an over-edited, bad 'first cut' of the movie shown--and so fascinated with Guetta, that he turned the cameras on him, only to be completely blindsided when Guetta ripped off his style.
The whole thing, it's clear now, was an intricate prank being pulled on all of us by Banksy, who has never publicly revealed his identity, with Fairey as his accomplice.
The new 'documentary' Exit Through the Gift Shop, 'directed' by Banksy, and 'co-directed' by Shepard Fairey, takes that prank one step further..."
www.fastcompany.com/1616365/banksy-movie-prankumentary

Other links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Brainwash
www.odditycentral.com/tag/thierry-guetta
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/03/street-artist-thierry-guetta-sued-for-copyright-infringement.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s29huwaQ-Ew

[26AUG11]
 

 
ANTON CORBIJN | PHOTOGRAPHY

Anton Corbij 'Inwards and Onwards'

Anton Corbijn showed his exhib 'Inwards and Onwards' (portraits of artists) in the FOAM Gallery (Amsterdam, Netherlands) while Misha de Ridder had photos and video here from Norway on show ('Solstice').
www.flickr.com/photos/

Foam proudly presented Anton Corbijn's most recent photographic project. In it he has aimed the camera at a few of his favourite artists, including Gerhard Richter, Alexander McQueen, Richard Prince, Iggy Pop, Anselm Kiefer, Damien Hirst, Tom Waits, Peter Doig, Bruce Springsteen, Lucian Freud and Karel Appel.

Corbijn's love for the musical and creative spirit is already well known. Collaborating on a short film (Some YoYo Stuff, 1993) with artist Don van Vliet - also known as Captain Beefheart - made his appreciation for the painter clear. This probably also had to do with the fact that his grandfather was a painter. The project strippinggirls which he produced with Marlene Dumas in 2000 also had an influence on his interest in the painter.

Anton Corbijn is interested in how artists struggle with the creative process: the pain and the drama of the act of creation. His monumental black-and-white portraits blend austerity and aesthetics and attract attention because of the deliberate and exacting way they capture the character of the person being portrayed. The work shows Corbijn's concentrated gaze, his feeling for wonder and his ability to empathise with another.

Personal vision
In spite of the styling and the apparent coolness of the images, Anton Corbijn's photos have their own unique kind of intimacy. This comes more from Corbijn's vision than from how well he is acquainted with his subject. Both the form chosen as well as the interplay of his concentrated gaze and the space that he continually allows to be determined by chance are essential to the strength of this work. In this series of portraits, Corbijn reveals an extremely personal and contemplative vision of artists which in many respects are decisive for our time and culture. The social and psychological consciousness that Corbijn reveals in these portraits draws viewers into the complexity of the creative process in an unexpected way and makes them aware of the struggle that often is linked to creation. Through this, the portraits give insight into the artists depicted as well as the creator of these intriguing photographs.

Influence
The work of Anton Corbijn has had a great influence on photography throughout his long career, especially on the use of portrait photography in international media. Even at the beginning of his career, a subtle balance could be observed between documentary work and portrait photography in his atmospheric and often melancholy black-and-white photos. His implicit blurring of the lines between various photographic genres was later widely copied worldwide.
www.foam.org

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_corbijn
www.corbijn.co.uk

[25AUG2011]
 

 
MARIANNE BRESLAUER | PHOTOGRAPHY

Marianne Breslauer 'Unguarded Moments'

Marianne Breslauer (b. 20Nov1909 - d. 07Feb2001)

Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum (JHM) has managed to arrange an exhibition of photographer Marianne Breslauer, the first such exhibition in the Netherlands.
Breslauer is regarded as one of the most avant-garde photographers in Europe of the 1920s and 1930s.
www.flickr.com/photos/

She took lessons in photography in Berlin from 1927 to 1929.
In 1929 she travelled to Paris, where she briefly became a pupil of Man Ray. He convinced here to go her own way; she saw her future as a photographic reporter.
Marianne was a close friend of the Swiss photographer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, whom she met through Ruth Landshoff and whom she photographed many times. She described Annemarie (who died at the young age of 34) as: "Neither a woman nor a man, but an angel, an archangel". In 1933 they travelled together to the Pyrenees to carry out a photographic assignment for the Berlin photographic agency Academia. This led to Marianne's confrontation with the anti-Semitic practices then coming into play in Germany. Her employers wanted her to publish her photos under a pseudonym, to hide the fact that she was Jewish.
She emigrated in 1936 to Amsterdam where she married the art dealer Walter Feilchenfeldt.
Family life and work as an art dealer hindered her work in photography, which she gave up to oncentrate on her other activities. In 1939 the family fled to Zurich.
After the war, in 1948, the couple set up an art business specializing in French paintings and 19th-century art. When her husband died in 1953 she took over the business.

I thought it striking that of all the images here on display only the photos of Amsterdam showed no people on them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marianne_Breslauer
[25AUG11]
 

 
AL WILDEY | PHOTOGRAPHY

Al Wildey Photography

'These images are superimposed digital photographs of specific journeys.
Opacity adjustments on each layer create a composite image where details dissipate and meld to produce an image with faint traces of each singular photograph, creating an implied sense of the cumulative journey. Much like a short film compressed to a single frame, details disappear and in their place, only an impression persists.'

www.alwildey.com
[23AUG11]
 

 
HEAVEN'S FURY & STEPHEN W FREY | BOOKS

Heaven's Fury by Stephen Frey


Mr Frey's books had high finance often as a subject, due to his own background, but not this one.
This book is set in a small Wisconsin community, Bruner, in the heart of winter, battling snow storms and cabin fever.
I immediately liked that setting: small town USA, pestered by a harsh climate and ignored by the world.
Sheriff Paul Summers has a tainted career and while respected by most he remains an outsider; and his marriage is in trouble.
Bruner is also a goldcoast for big city fat cats having their summer houses in prime, wooded real estate. Than Cindy is killed, she's the daughter of a business man who has it in for Paul, in a very mean way. There's rumor of a cult and the cult is expected of Cindy's ritual killing. Some even think Paul killed Cindy, because they were in some sort of relationship.
His friend and deputy Billy 'Bear' Brock backs him up but he's about the only one.
Moonshine, hidden cabins far into the woods, a jealous wife, a crazy Chippewa woman, a gossipping secretary which Paul cannot shut up...
A real page turner!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Frey

[18AUG11]
 

 
HARM DONE by RUTH RENDELL | BOOKS

Harm Done by Ruth Rendell


Harm Done can hardly be classified as a murder mystery, as there isn't a murder committed before page 350!
This Inspector Wexford mystery is about abductions, women being abused, a peadophile thrown in for good measure, causing unrest at the Muriel Campden Estate (ultimately leading to the death of DS Hennessy), daughter Sylvia working at The Hide (refuge for women fallen victim to domestic violence) while her own marriage is in dire straights and what happened to Wexford's burberry raincoat?
Plenty of mysteries here!
I found my own limitations keeping track with the many names and storylines of the Muriel Campden Estate people, but otherwise enjoyed another fine visit to Wexford's Kingsmarkham!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Rendell

[18AUG11]
 

 
STREETS OF THE WORLD | TRAVEL & BOOKS

Swolfs- Streets of the World project
In january 2011 I wrote about this project by Dutch photographer Jeroen 'Jerry' Swolfs, after I 'discovered' his website Streets of the World
Now I came across his book in which he describes his background, how his career got under way and this idea of visiting all (capitals of) countries of the world entered his head... And yes indeed it is possible these days to visit all the countries on the globe, but... it takes money, time & effort - he and his family & friends went through a lot of trouble and discouragement before they finally got 'the show on the road'.
The books has details about all that.
It also describes the difficulties in obtaining visas, how he had to hire protection for his photoshoot in Port Moresby, his acute appendicitis in Cairo and much more.
He intends to complete the project in five years time (the clock started in 2009).

Swolfs has no adress in the Netherlands, as he spends most of his time abroad. The book is about leaving family, meeting lovers but without the prospect of a relation, for he will leave again as his mind is firmly fixed on this project.
It can be lonely on the road, it is about that too, but this book is not written about the blues for the style is very upbeat and enthusiastic.
The countries described here are in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, Middle East and I found his visit to India particularly moving. Very nice reading and I intend to check (almost) daily where he's at now..
Jeroen Swolfs: www.streetsoftheworld.com

[11AUG11]
 

 
LEONARD COHEN | MUSIC & BOOKS

Leonard Cohen


During the early-1970s I 'discovered' singer/songwriters by listening to American Forces Radio, broadcasting from Rhein-Main in Germany. The first artists I bought albums of were Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot and.. Leonard Cohen. Many a melancholy mood deepened by a bottle of wine and Mr Cohen's music!

A selection of song lyrics and poems from the long and influential career of one of the most acclaimed and admired poet-songwriters in the world.
For more than half a century, Leonard Cohen's music and poetry have made him an international cult figure, transcending genres and generations.
Here is a fascinating cross-section of his as 'Suzanne', 'Sisters of Mercy', 'Bird on a Wire', 'Famous Blue Raincoat' and 'I'm Your Man' and searingly memorable poems from many collections including Flowers for Hitler, Beautiful Losers and Death of a Lady's Man.
Encompassing the erotic and the melancholy, the sacred and the secular, the mystical and the sardonic, this volume showcases a writer of remarkable passion, humour and depth.

en.wikipedia.org:_Leonard_Cohen

UPDATE: Leonard Cohen died 07Nov2016. See Blog 2016 Q4.

[06AUG2011]
 

 
NIETZSCHE & KANT LEZEN DE KRANT (dutch) by ROB WIJNBERG | BOOKS

In 'Nietzsche & Kant lezen de krant' Rob Wijnberg discusses actualities using the history of philosophy. Current affairs (2008) explained in a clear manner by philosophers going back to Plato and Aristotles! Tremendously enjoyed Wijnberg's clearcut style and prose; looking forward to reading some of his sources of more recent philosophers & writers such as Naom Chomsky, John Gray and Thomas Friedman. Great read!Nietzsche en Kant lezen de Krant, door R. Wijnberg  (Dutch, Bezige Bij, 2009)

In 'Nietzsche & Kant lezen de krant' Rob Wijnberg discusses actualities using the history of philosophy. Current affairs (2008) explained in a clear manner by philosophers going back to Plato and Aristotles!

I tremendously enjoyed Wijnberg's clearcut style and prose; am looking forward to reading some of his sources of more recent philosophers & writers such as Naom Chomsky, John Gray and Thomas Friedman.
Great read! (Dutch, Bezige Bij, 2009)
[28JUL11]
 

 
DAN PEEK R.I.P. | Music


Dan Peek (b. 01Nov1950) died July 24th. He's best remembered as member of the band America, with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell.
They produced songs like 'A Horse With No Name', 'Sister Golden Hair', 'Ventura Highway' and 'Tin Man'.
At the time I preferred them over The Eagles, which wasn't the common choice.
Dan Peek sang, played guitar and keyboards; he left the band in 1977 and concentrated on performing gospel music.
RIP.

AMERICA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Peek

[28JUL11]
 

 
DUTCH STATISTICS | NETHERLANDS


CARPARKS, most expensive cities & average daily rates in P-garages.
01. Olso (61 euro)
02. Copenhagen (50)
03. Melbourne (48)
04. Sydney (47)
05. London-City (46)
06. Tokyo (43)
07. London-West End (40)
08. Amsterdam & Vienna (40)
09. Geneva, Zurich (33)
10. Helsinki (32)
Note: Jakarta was cheapest with only 65 euro cent.
Source: Haarlems Dagblad 28Jul11

Days off for people in the EU
The Danes and the Germans had the most days off in the European Union: 40 (including official holidays). Romenia sat at the bottom of the list, with only 27 days.
The Netherlands listed below the EU average (34,4) with 30 days off. On the number of vacation days the EU average was 25 and Holland was spot on.
Excluding national days of festivity on a sunday, the European average was 9,6; Spain counted the most: 14.
The agreed weekly working hours in the EU (including Norway) averaged 38 hours in 2010, an hour less than in 2009. But people working full-time averaged 39,7 hours on a weekly basis. In the Netherlands the average working week numbered 37,5 hours.

[28JUL2011]
 

 
ROAD DOGS by ELMORE LEONARD | BOOKS

Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard

In 'Road Dogs', Leonard unites 3 characters from previous novels: Jack Foley, the handsome bank robber from "Out of Sight"; Cundo Rey, the Cuban hustler from "LaBrava"; and Dawn Navarro, the con artist and supposed psychic from "Riding the Rap."
Foley has been serving in prison with Cundo: they are road dogs, who watch each other's back.
Cundo, who has access to money, hires a lawyer who wins Jack's freedom. They soon meet in Venice, Calif., where Cundo's lover, Dawn, and his partner, Little Jimmy, are keeping an eye on the two homes Cundo owns, worth a total of $6 million.
Part of the problem is that macho Cundo persists in the delusion that sexy Dawn has been faithful to him during his 8 years in prison.
Dawn tries to win Foley over to run with Cundo's money.
Various other colourful characters appear on the scene. The plot thickens as they say.
A very entertaining book to read.
[25JUL11]
 

 
WOMEN by CHARLES BUKOWSKI | BOOKS

Women by Charles Bukowski

Unromantic in its style of writing. Perhaps endearing at times. Opportunistic would describe the style of Henry 'Hank' Chenaski's encounters with women. Research by a low-life writer end unrepentant alcoholic...
I see him bare-foot, unshaven, in his underwear or worse, taking a gulp from a bottle of wine. Waiting for a female admirer or girl friend to call upon him.
The book is filled with Bukowski's observing, indifferent humor; another report from the life on the edge. Enjoyable, but I like Bukowski's poetry better.

[24JUL11]
 

 
SKåRBY CHURCH, SKåNE, SWEDEN in WALLANDER SERIES

Wallander at Skårby

We were surprised to see Skårby Church in an opening scene of the Wallander detective series. I recognised it immediately, put the dvd on hold and compared it with photos in the photo album. YES!
Check my travelreport in Skåne, Sweden.

[24JUL11]
 

 
35mm SINGLE LENS REFLEX CAMERA | PHOTOGRAPHY

23MM CAMERA

Today I decided to dispense of my book "35mm Handbook" by Michael Freeman (1980, Quarto Publishing). Not sure if I learned many lessons from this 'how to'- book, but I am sure it was of some help if not inspiration. Thanks.

[24jul11]
 

 
STAMPS | NETHERLANDS

Stamps in Netherlands
Today I went to the Post Office for some stamps. We don't actually have a post office in our town any more, just a seperate desk in a bookshop.
Needed a stamp for a letter. This shop only does sheets of 10 stamps, at another place you can pay per letter, but you get a sticker on it stating the amount paid. No stamp.

When I bought the stamps today I noticed there wasn't a figure for postage paid on it... Today it represents the value of 46 cents; tomorrow it may be different but postal services don't need to reprint new stamps because of these changes.
I guess stamp collectors don't like this, but I probably can use the same stamp 5 or 10 years from now because it doesn't show how much I paid for it. Postal services probably find something for this, so they can cheat me of my small gain..

[23JUL11]
 

 
RESILIENCE by Mike Roelofs | PHOTOGRAPHY

RESILIENCE by Mike Roelofs
> Click the image for a larger one <

Photographer Mike Roelofs and anthropologist Fanny Jol have recorded the lamentable circumstances of the Roma in Romenia in image and text. This has resulted in the book ‘Resilience’ as well as an exposition which I admired a few months ago in Naarden-Vesting (Netherlands).

Mike Roelofs (from Eindhoven, the Netherlands) travelled in 2008 for the first time into Romenia to record the living conditions of the Roma. The images he returned with saw Mike being awarded with the 'Zilveren Camera' (=Silver Camera) op.
Together with anthropologist Fanny Jol he revisited Romenia four times. A majority of the Roma have to live under distressing circumstances and while the compelling photography don't really need explaining, the text does let the Roma speak of their expectations, sometimes showing a glimmer of hope, often brimming with dispair and struggle.

The book Resilience was published in 2010 (ISBN: 978-­90-­815848-1­‐4).
www.mikeroelofs.eu

[20JUL11]
 

 
CHAPTER 11 FOR BORDERS (Books) | News

Borders files Chapter 11

Borders has abandoned efforts to refinance its debts, and is preparing bankruptcy papers and seeking financing agreements that would keep it operating during the Chapter 11.
Borders's finances crumbled amid declining interest in bricks-and-mortar booksellers, a broad cultural trend for which it offered no answers. The bookseller suffered a series of management gaffes, piled up unsustainable debts and failed to cultivate a meaningful presence on the Internet or in increasingly popular digital e-readers.
More on: online.wsj.com/article/SB100....


[20JUL11]
 

 
GORKY PARK | BOOKS AND FILM

Gorky Park

This week I had the opportunity to see the film GORKY PARK (1983, William Hurt, Lee Marvin - see imdb.com). Everybody knows one should first read the book and then see the movie, not the other way around.
I seem to be going entirely wrong about it: I went to Gorky Park first, then saw the film, now I still have to read the book..

An investigator on the Moscow police force relentlessly pursues the solution to a triple homicide which occurred in Moscow's Gorky Park. He finds that no one really wants him to solve the crime because it is just the tip of a complex conspiracy which involves the highest levels of the Moscow city government.
In the film William Hurt plays investigator Arkady Renko and Lee Marvin plays the role of Jack Osborne, who is attempting to smuggle live sables (Martes zibellina) out of the country to break Russians monopoly of this fur trade.

[16JUL11]
 

 
MUMFORD AND SONS | MUSIC

Mumford and sons
A few weeks ago, when I was enjoying coffee with scones and jam for lunch, at a tearoom in a place called Nunney (England), my attention was drawn to the music that was being played in the establishment. The waitress told me the name of the band and showed me the CD. Two days later I bought 'Sigh No More' in Winchester.
That is how Mumford and Sons entered my life.

Formed in December 2007, Mumford & Sons consists of four young men from West London: Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane.
They create a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings Of Leon.
The four friends were playing various instruments in various bands in London throughout the summer of 2007. They were united to perform impromptu renditions of Marcus’ earliest attempts at song-writing in front of crowds of friends in sweaty underground folk nights in the capital. They bonded over their love of country, bluegrass and folk, and decided to make music that sounded loud and proud.
With each release, the music of Mumford & Sons got brighter, bolder and brawnier, with an increasing focus on their empassioned and intimate lyrics.
Their success continued to build, too, with two glorious benchmarks being their place on the BBC Sound Of 2009 Poll shortlist, and their London ICA show selling out in 24 hours.
More...

[14JUL2011]
 

 
SEASICK STEVE | MUSIC

Seasick Steve

My 2nd album by Seasick Steve, bought it a few weeks ago when I was over in Scotland: 'You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks'.
He has a unique style, but no.3 track on this album, 'Burnin' Up' made me think of Chris Rea, while no.12 track, 'It's A Long Way' made me think of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash; no copy cat material, just my personal association.
I also like the spoken, personal anecdote he's added at the end of the CD (as he did with the previous one too).
All wonderful stuff from a unique individual!

Steven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve (b. 1941), is an American blues musician. He plays (mostly personalized) guitars, and sings, usually about his early life doing casual work.
In the 1960s, he started touring and performing with fellow blues musicians, and had friends in the music scene including Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell. Kurt Cobain was a friend.
In the 1990s he continued to work as a recording engineer and producer, producing several releases by Modest Mouse including their 1996 debut album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About.
At one time, living in Paris, Wold made his living busking, mostly on the metro. After moving to Norway in 2001, Wold released his first album, entitled Cheap.
His debut solo album, Dog House Music was released by Bronzerat Records on 26 November 2006.
[Wikipedia]

www.seasicksteve.com

[04JUL11]
 
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HONDA XL600V TRANSALP | MOTORCYCLE

Honda XL600V Transalp

The decision has been made: I'll sell my Honda XL600V Transalp! While manufactured in 1994, I've been the owner since 2000.
When I bought it, replacing my Honda Shadow, it had some 47.000 kms on the clock. Now it has a mere 63.000 kms. I never got around to taking it abroad or fullfilling the other plans I had for it. It was esspecially great for a quick dash into the Big City where a car slows you down and is expensive to park.
Bye bye!!!
[04JUL2011]
 

 

 

 
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Created: 01-APR-2011