Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bless this hunk of steel..

Every night I lie in bed,
with this little prayer inside my head.
God bless all those I hold so dear,
and keep them safe thru coming year.
And, God, there's one thing I'd wish you'd do.
Would you bless my 'puter too?
Now I know that it ain't normal to bless a small machine,
but listen just a second, let me type it on your screen.
You see, this little metal box holds more than odds and ends.
Inside those small components rest a hundred loving friends.
Some, it's true, I've never seen, and most I've never met.
We've never shaken hands or even hugged, and yet...
I know for sure they love me, by the kindness that they give.
And this little scrap of metal is how I get to where they live.
By faith is how I know them so if it's ok with you.
I would love to see them back and have a deja vu.
Just take an extra minute while working up above...
To bless this little hunk of steel that's filled with so much love.
(adapted from unknown author, DA)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Netherlands - Australia 1606 - 2006

In March 1606 the ‘Duyfken’, a ship owned by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), chanced upon unknown land south of Java. Captain Willem Janszoon sent his men ashore to explore the area. On the map that Captain Janszoon presented to his superiors on his return he referred to the newly discovered area as a part of New Guinea. However, it was not an unknown part of New Guinea he had discovered, but the coast of Queensland in Australia. He was therefore the first European, as far as has been recorded, who made contacts with this new continent.

The landing of the Duyfken marked the beginning of a long relationship between the Netherlands and Australia. From 1606 to 1770 some 30 other Dutch ships followed the Duyfken’s example. These all landed on the north, south and west coasts of Australia. Through these explorations the VOC contributed greatly to the mapping of the sixth continent. Not only several geographical names, such as Cape Keerweer, Rottnest Island and Duyfken Point, serve as reminders of the early presence of the Dutch in Australia, but also the wrecks of the four VOC ships that sunk along the coast of Australia. The Batavia, that perished on the West Coast of Australia in 1628, is probably the most infamous of these four ships.

The year 2006 marks the 400th anniversary of the start of the relationship between Australia and the Netherlands. In 2006, both countries will celebrate this friendship. The special nature of the relationship that the two countries have shared in the past, and share now, is a good reason to do so. In both countries a programme of activities is under preparation. The programme will contain several exhibitions, symposia, and exchanges in the fields of sports, culture and science. Through these activities the relationship between Australia and the Netherlands will be further intensified for the future.

The Virtual Buddha

Come visit us at the The Virtual Buddha

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Digital Buddhist

Nowadays we are all connected 24 hours a day. Being a group CIO, I contribute heavilly to the ever expanding exchange of information and the inter-linking of value chains. Our world evolves rapidely. Change after change, at a faster and faster pace. Computers and informatics are the core of many businesses and are becoming a real part of our personal on demand lives. Our children grow up nowadays having eight MSN sessions open, e-mailing their friends next door, exchaning kudo's on-line, having a telephone conversation while listening to their I-pod all at the same time. Believe me, this is just the beginning. We haven't got the faintest clue how our world looks like in twenty years. It will be an interesting period to come because we haven't seen nothing yet :-))

The Buddha at Kamakura

"And there is a Japanese idol at Kamakura"
O ye who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when the 'heathen' pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda's Lord, the Bodhisat,
The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura.

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura --

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master's eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
Of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A-flower 'neath her golden htee
The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly
From Burmah to Kamakura,

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums,
And droned -- "Om mane padme hums" --
A world's-width from Kamakura.

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh-Gaya's ruins pit the hill,
And beef-fed zealots threaten ill
To Buddha and Kamakura.

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?

By Rudyard Kipling

Petit tour de L'Europe

This week I had to go to Paris and Basel, Switzerland and I promised Zee to take a few pictures of his birthland. The flight was delayed, I arrived at 20.00h in Basel, walked around for an hour (in minus seven degrees Celcius) but found absolutely nothing of interest. Next day I was told that they put me on the wrong side of the Rhine Valley..

I really don't enjoy flying in these small planes. They fly lower altitudes than regular planes and are more turbulent. I once experienced an airpocket where the plane fell for about a kilometer..

I ordered a cup of tea in Cafe Alexander where I was kinda overdressed compared to the pimps and vagabonds that had Alexander as their conference room.

Opposite my hotel room there was this beautiful little stripclub where drunk men argued all night long. It was impossible to get some sleep. So I blogged until the battery of my laptop gave up on me.

Next morning I was told that my secretary arranged a hotel in the Basel Messe area which can be compared to our Amsterdam red light district. Wonderful..

The Swiss clouds on the way back made me forget everything immediately. They looked like you could walk on them. Aren't they beautiful?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mr. Harper, is it true that if you don't use it, you lose it?

What's this all about Guys??

Canadian prime minister-designate Stephen Harper took aim at the American ambassador's criticism of the Conservatives' Arctic sovereignty plan on Thursday, in the party leader's first news conference since winning a minority government. "The United States defends its sovereignty and the Canadian government will defend our sovereignty," Harper told reporters in Ottawa. "It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States."

A day earlier, David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said his government opposes Harper's proposed plan to deploy military icebreakers in the Arctic to detect interlopers and assert Canadian sovereignty over those waters.

"There's no reason to create a problem that doesn't exist," Wilkins said as he took part in a forum at the University of Western Ontario in London.
"We don't recognize Canada's claims to those waters... Most other countries do not recognize their claim."

During the federal election campaign, which culminated in Harper's win earlier this week, the Conservatives promised to spend $5.3 billion over five years to defend northern waters against the Americans, Russians and Danes.
"Sovereignty is something, you use it or you lose it," Harper said at the pre-Christmas announcement in Winnipeg.

So, let me get this straight: the US doesn't recognize that water NORTH of Canada are actaully Canadian waters? And having armed "ice breakers" going through the Arctic...breaking ice that normal ships do not get through...is protecting Canadian border more than miles and miles of frozen ocean that no normal ship can get through??

"Woohaahh! Hey guys look over there!
Yeah, some WEIRD animals on that boat.."

Another great viral campaign from Amnesty International

Watch their latest campaign:

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bush said he didn't REMEMBER meeting this chap

France Surrenders to Pirates

BREST, France (AFP) - French police who spent two years trying to identify a woman who was murdered by a blow to the head were relieved to discover the reason their efforts were failing: the woman died half a millennium ago.
The skeleton of a woman in her 30s was found during an exceptionally low tide in December 2003 near the seaside Brittany town of Plouezoc'h. A long gash in the skull convinced investigators she was killed with a hatchet or other sharp implement. Police ploughed through missing persons' files to no avail.

A theory that the woman was the wife of a Normandy doctor who disappeared with his family in a famous 1999 case was dismissed after DNA tests. Eventually radiocarbon dating established that the death had occurred between 1401 and 1453.

"We are satisfied because at least we know the date now. We reckon it was pirates," said Francois Gerthosser of the Plourin-les-Morlaix police on Tuesday.

CSI takes 25 minutes. If I'm going to be murdered by a blow to the head, I'm doing it in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Ragpicker Child

(for a little Indian angel)

What do you see when you're looking at me?
My clothes are all tatters, my hair full of fleas.
My body is battered, my feet always bare,
But I have a heart, and need someone to care.
A long time ago, I had a mother,
A father, a sister, an aunt, and a brother.
Where are they now?
The weather is cold. I need someone to love me, someone to hold.
Each morning at dawn when people start waking,
The fires are all lit, but I huddle shaking.
The cold and the wet just eats at my bones,
I need someone to love me, someone to hold.
If I rise very early the pickings are best,
I dodge the night watch man and fight off the rats.
The other rag pickers, they are my brothers,
My father, my sister, my aunt, and my mother.
We all need a family, someone of our own,
A fire, and a mother, and love in a home.
Look in my eyes, I'm just a child.
But my body is old and my head very wise.
Christmas to me, is like any day,
The rubbish is picked, and the rats chased away.
So tell me why Christmas is special to some,
And who is this God, and who is his Son?
Where is he now, can he see me,
As I pick through the rubbish, and scratch at the fleas?
You tell me this story, a baby was born,
In a manger he lay, with the beasts in a stall.
And Mary his mother, loved him so much,
But she knew from the start, He was given to us.
A Gift He was called, from our Father above,
And sent to this earth, for each one to love.
Can I be this baby, just for a while,
And have someone to love me, and someone to smile.
And perhaps I'll believe, that the Lord is my helper,
And be not afraid, when man tries to hurt me.
So next time you see me, see Mary's child,
Not a dirty rag picker, discarded and wild.

By Carole Edgecox

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Alive like never before..

A few months ago I was invited to go on a business trip to Mumbay, India. It was the most impressive trip that I had in years. Yesterday, a blogfriend asked me about this trip and my feelings about it. I’d like to share my answer to her question with you because it evoked a lot of emotions again. You might know better than me that India is a country of contradictions between the majority living in extreme poverty and the ultra rich happy few. It’s also a country of beautiful and wonderful people as I’ve experienced.

One night we were invited by the Dutch ambassador to have diner in one of Bollywoods best restaurants named “Khyber”. We had diner being surrounded by various famous film-stars and well known locals. We quickly forgot about world’s misery and had a great time.

When we left the restaurant we were guided towards the bus when all of a sudden a litte beggar girl dressed in rags appeared in front of me. She had to be about five or six years old and had the most beautiful big brown eyes that laughed at me like little shining stars. The policemen yelled at her to get lost but I couldn’t resist to kneel down and look her straight into her almost hypnotizing eyes.

I asked her her name and she started to jabber words to me that I couldn’t understand. I opend my hands to her and she put her’s in mine. We then looked eachother in the eyes as if we were talking without words. All of a sudden she pulled back her hands and gave me a heartwarming hug that seemed to last forever. At that time I felt a feeling of compassion I have never felt before. It felt like both of us were at the centre of the universe. As tears rolled down my eyes, she all of a sudden stopped embracing me, looked me straight into my blurry eyes for a while and laughed at me with the same intensity as she did before.

In a split second she then dissapeared jumping across the street like a puppet on a string. I suddenly realized I wasn’t alone in this world and looked up at the rest of the group to find everyone crying. The ride back to the hotel was a quiet one with people snuffling and passing handkerchiefs. I looked out the window somewhat confused and watched Mumbay pass by, wondering what happened back there. I felt humble and man I felt alive. Alive like I have never felt before…

..thank you for your thoughts..

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Sunlight Of The Soul

If we care not for the present,
And our thoughts are on the past,
And we know not of the future
With its darkened clouds o'ercast:

When the storm-clouds of the present
Darken all our hopes and fears,
And our hearts grow sad beneath them,
And our eyes are dim with tears:

Hours of trouble, hours of sorrow,
Soon with splendor overcast,

Turn the sorrows that we borrow
Back into the distant past.

Thus with past illumination
Is our present hours made bright,
And our former darkened moments
With a glory-wave made light.

Then the beauty of the sunshine
To the present gives a glow,
As with misty gleams the future
Glances on the scenes below.

For our hearts must then grow lighter
As we catch those pleasant beams,
And our eyes with light grow brighter
With the soul's reflecting dreams.

And the storm-clouds that o'ershadow,
Pass away beneath the rays
Of a former golden pastime,
As reflected on our ways.

Teaching us that 'neath the curtain
Where the darkness lurks within,
That our thoughts will cast a shadow
Where the sunlight should come in.

Thus in moments when we're nervous
With a care that few can test,
Then this sunlight that is golden
Gives our soul its needed rest.

And our troubles quickly vanish
As the storm-clouds backward roll
From the glory of the spirit,
And the sunlight of the soul.

(James S. Jennings.)

He came, he saw, he did whatever the heck he wanted..

Click on picture :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2006




A world wide survey was conducted by the U.N. last year.

The only question asked was:
"Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions
to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was not a success.

In Africa they didn't know what 'food' meant.
In Eastern Europe they didn't know what 'honest' meant.
In Western Europe they didn't know what 'shortage' meant.
In China they didn't know what 'opinion' meant.
In the Middle East they didn't know what 'solution' meant.
In South America they didn't know what 'please' meant.
And in the U.S.A. they didn't know what 'the rest of the world' meant.

3rd term?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Noble eightfold path

1. Right View/Understanding(Understanding the Four Noble Truths)
See things as they truly are without delusions or distortions for all things change. Develop wisdom by knowing how things work, knowing oneself and others.

2. Right Thinking
Decide to set a life on the correct path. Wholehearted resolution and dedication to overcoming the dislocation of self-centered craving through the development of loving kindness, empathy and compassion.

3. Right Speech
Abstinence from lies and deceptions, backbiting, idle babble and abusive speech. Cultivate honesty and truthfulness; practice speech that is kind and benevolent. Let your words reflect your desire to help, not harm others.

4.Right Conduct
(Following the Five Precepts) - Practice self-less conduct that reflects the highest statement of the life you want to live. Express conduct that is peaceful, honest and pure showing compassion for all beings.

5. Right Livelihood
Earn a living that does not harm living things. Avoidance of work that causes suffering to others or that makes a decent, virtuous life impossible. Do not engage in any occupation that opposes or distracts one from the path. Love and serve our world through your work.

6. Right Effort
Seek to make the balance between the exertion of following the spiritual path and a moderate life that is not over-zealous. Work to develop more wholesome mind states, while gently striving to go deeper and live more fully.

7. Right Mindfulness
Become intensely aware of all the states in body, feeling, and mind. Through constant vigilance in thought, speech and action seek to rid the mind of self-centered thoughts that separate and replace them with those that bind all beings together. Be aware of your thoughts, emotions, body and world as they exist in the present moment. Your thoughts create your reality.

8. Right ConcentrationDeep meditation to lead to a higher state of consciousness (enlightenment). Through the application of meditation and mental discipline seek to extinguish the last flame of grasping consciousness and develop an emptiness that has room to embrace and love all things.

The four noble truths

The First Noble Truth
Unsatisfactoriness and suffering exist and are universally experienced.
The Second Noble Truth
Desire and attachment are the causes of unsatisfactoriness and suffering.
The Third Noble Truth
There is an end to unsatisfactoriness and suffering.
The Fourth Noble Truth
The end can be attained by journeying on the Noble Eightfold Path.

Not a haiku but a senyru !

Nothing left to cry

for my deepest worries they

are about to die!

Spinning wheel

Having TV in bedroom halves your sex life. Starting a weblog will take care of the other half

ROME (Reuters) - Thinking of buying a TV for the bedroom? Think again — it could ruin your sex life.

A study by an Italian sexologist has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't. "If there's no television in the bedroom, the frequency (of sexual intercourse) doubles," said Serenella Salomoni whose team of psychologists questioned 523 Italian couples to see what effect television had on their sex lives.

On average, Italians who live without TV in the bedroom have sex twice a week, or eight times a month. This is halved for those with a TV, the study found.

and starting a weblog will take care of the other half ..

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Best laugh of the week!

I promise to post some serious stuff again next week but this one really made me feel my lost six pack again afterwards.. It's posted on State of the Day.

(Via JulianBlue)

Knock Knock Who's there?

This morning, while driving back from Hotel Des Indes in The Hague where we had a wonderful gala diner yesterday evening, I listened to the radio and learned that German Polizei received strict clothing and personal hygiene orders for coming 2006 Weltmeisterschaft .

They are not allowed to wear non-ironed shirts, have to wear long trousers, they have to be well shaven, tattoos are not to be shown and piercings and other jewelery are forbidden. German police officers have to be an example for the rest of the world.

We grew up in the Netherlands making fun of our direct neighbours; the Belgians related to (presumed lack off-) intelligence and the Germans related to - off course - WWII.

It would be too easy to start making German jokes now. Or wouldn't it? Ok ..allow me just a few.. I will try to behave..

Q: How does a German eat mussels

Q: Why are there so many tree lined streets and leafy lanes in France?
A: Germans like to march in the shade.

Q: Do you know why Germans build such high-quality products?
A: So they won't have to go around being nice while they fix them.

"Two Martinis, bitte."
"Nein, I said TWO!"

Knock Knock Who's there?
"Gestapo! "
Gestapo who?
"Ve Vill ask ze Questions! "

Inspiring blog

I can just imagine you guys sometimes being fed up with my peculiar sense of quasi humor, cynism, irony and frenetic efforts of being a starry-eyed idealist (just kidding of course).

For those of you who didn't find it allready and like to be inspired on a regular basis, visit Sadiq M. Alam , Matt and Kat on their truly great Empathy blog ..

..and then return to Cafe DA off course :-))

Friday, January 13, 2006

Kleptomaniac me

I admit having this one "stolen" from Nerdine

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.
Here it is:

"And what would happen to the Buddha when he died?"

Hmm, let me give you the sixt sentence as well:

"We don't know why but apparently in the days of the Buddha quite a lot of the disciples, and quite a lot of members of the public, were very interested in in this last question."

I feel like retyping the entire book but I prefer you read it yourself (if you like of course)..

It is called "Who is the Buddha" by Sangharakshita who is a Buddhist master that teaches the ancient wisdom in a modern western oriented way. I haven't read it yet, just unwrapped it for this bogpost as it was given as a present and still laying next to my chair :-)

Let's go outside

Yesterday Gary tagged me for the list of seven after publishing his own. Well, here's mine:

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Be world’s best daddy alive
2. Get a PhD and write a book
3. Run and finish the New York marathon
4. Play in a movie
5. Buy a round-the-world air ticket, a rucksack, and elope for a few years
6. Travel through space
7. Make the world a better place and become enlightened

Seven things I can’t do:
1. Visit the centre of a black hole
2. Turn into a fly and go eavesdropping on my neighbours
3. Be a celebrated male fashion model
4. Discover the final unifying theory of everything
5. Remember birthday dates
6. Become a Muslim fundamentalist
7. Stop acting like an idiot savant from time to time

Seven things that attract me to blogging:
1. improving my lousy English vocabulary
2. Meeting interesting people
3. Cold-shoulder non interesting people
4. Filling the last hour I had left a day
5. Learn on subjects I care for
6. Express my amateurish creative talent
7. Having fun

Seven things I say most often:
1. I think..
2. Why is that?
3. Can you give me an example?
4. ..hmm, sure..
5. To my opinion..
6. I guess you could see it like that but..
7. ..did I say that??

Seven books that I loved in 2005, in no particular order
1. Science and the Akashic Field : An Integral Theory of Everything by Ervin Laslo
The universe and A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking
Tibetan book of living and dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson
Faust by Johan Wolfgang Goethe
Being And Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre
All books by the Dalai Lama

Seven movies I watched more than once
1. All collector boxes of Star Trek
2. La vita e bella
3. All Lord of the ring movies
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
5. The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part II (1974)
6. Psycho (1960)
7. Some mature movies about biology in general and procreation to be more specific..

Story goes that I tag three other people now. I hereby kindly ask Lindsay, Tina and Worried American to get their sevens out of the closet. Thank you for your time and thoughts :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

OK Guys, flash your briefcases!!

Ok, here it goes, I've turned by briefcase upside down as this seems to be the latest blog trend (see Susie and JulianB).

(Airline tickets, Gartner Monthly research, Vodafone UMTS card, Airline tickets, Hyatt and Marriot gold cards, Schiphol airport pass, Entrance cards of University of Derby and Amsterdam, Harvard Business Review, Dutch Financial newspaper, HP-Tablet PC, some audio management cd's and €53,20 . Dull? Guess so..

OK Guys, flash your briefcases!!

(Photo taken with Qtek 9100 pda, always close at hand)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


A photo of a one-eyed kitten named Cy drew more than a little skepticism when it turned up on various Web sites, but medical authorities have a name for the bizarre condition.

“Holoprosencephaly” causes facial deformities, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. In the worst cases, a single eye is located where the nose should be, according to the institute’s Web site.

Cy, short for Cyclopes, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter. Its sibling was born normal and healthy. (AP Photo/Traci Allen).

I can't stop looking at this picture, sometimes nature moves in a mysterious but sad way..

Monday, January 09, 2006

who's annoying WHO????

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

First of all, this is a direct act to be able to go after political blogs. Second, news like THAT, is annoying to me. (Does this mean that the article is in violation of the new law)?

Be aware you anonymous, nameless, incognito and faceless blogmass ..

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline.

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.

If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully, and a little voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer."

World Ideologies as Explained by Reference to Cows

As we are originally a country of farmers, we tend to explain difficult stuff to our children with cows. Here it goes:

You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Pure Socialism
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you all the milk you need.

Bureaucratic Socialism
Your cows are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs the regulations say you should need.

You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

Pure Communism
You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

Real World Communism
You share two cows with your neighbors. You and your neighbors bicker about who has the most "ability" and who has the most "need". Meanwhile, no one works, no one gets any milk, and the cows drop dead of starvation.

Russian Communism
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the black market.

You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the Mafia takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the "free" market.

Cambodian Communism
You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

Pure Democracy
You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

Representative Democracy
You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

British Democracy
You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.

You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

Pure Anarchy
You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

Pure Capitalism
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

You don't have any cows. The bank will not lend you money to buy cows, because you don't have any cows to put up as collateral.

Hong Kong Capitalism:
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly-listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute an debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Isands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the Feng Shui is bad.

You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

Political Correctness
You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallo centric, war mongering, intolerant past) two differently - aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.

You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

Counter Culture
Wow, dude, there's like ... these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.

You have two cows. One is suspected of being a terrorist and is sent in the middle of the night by private jet to a hidden prison in Syria. The other cow has the image of Jesus on its hide, and is given a talk radio show in support of the Republican Party. Mooooo!

God is a sock

Mom catches son with...AK-47

(Global National with files from Canadian) Most moms catch their kids with cigarettes, dirty magazines, or trying to sneak out of the house. Not this mom. A Toronto woman is being praised by police Thursday for turning in her son, after finding a fully loaded Avtomat Kalašnikov-47 machine-gun sitting atop his bedroom pillow, along with an additional magazine full of bullets.

I've never read stories like that over here in West Europe. In Canada and the USA it appears to be news. In West Africa it's daily practice. Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all have suffered greatly from violent conflicts in recent years. Many children carrying arms have died.

I believe that all adults have a responsibility to protect children from gun-related deaths and injuries.

Some USA states have CAP (Child Access Prevention) Laws which allow prosecutors to charge irresponsible gun owners who leave guns unlocked and that action causes harm to anyone. Sadly most of the pro-gun "representatives" have either made those laws extremely inefective or they had blocked the enacting of those laws altogether.

“We do not accept the threat these weapons pose to Canadians,” said the Prime Minister. “To make our communities safer we should ban handguns outright.

I don't know enough about the US Brady bill or the second amendments but Canadians banning guns seems like a good thing to do.

Home alone

Yesterday afternoon I was all by myself. It was the last day of my two weeks vacation so I thought I’d spend it well. Cleaned up the garage and unpacked some removal boxes. Created space in the wardrobe room while in the mean time I was awaiting the furniture shop to deliver some wardrobe wall units. They were supposed to deliver after 13.00h but finally showed up at 19.30h.

Being home alone and waiting in vain for the wall units to show up I got a little bit restless. I suddenly felt like doing something naughty, in fact the same feeling that I sometimes had as a kid when home alone..

I opened two boxes of cookies and flushed some away with milk that I drank out of the carton. *no one complained*, I started double bass drumming at maximum power and almost got myself a headache *no one complained*. While cleaning up I found some packages of fireworks so I decided to let some off. I got on the balcony and fired a small maroon. “Pfeeeeeeeeeeewwww BANG” Hmm, that didn’t do it either.

I decided not to light the firecrackers because that could scare the fish under the ice. I even considered to order pizza and pretend not home but instantly felt guilty. I ended up reading my book, drinking another pot of tea.

It’s not that nobody seems to be willing anymore to catch me with cookie crumbs on my chin. I just have to face the truth: Gone is the mischief, I have become a tedious, sensible and boringly predictable ass.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Six wise blind elephants

This afternoon I visited our Amsterdam office of The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order.

The FWBO is an international network dedicated to communicating Buddhist truths in ways appropriate to the modern world. The essence of Buddhism is timeless and universal. But the forms it takes always adapt according to context.

Now that Buddhism is spreading around the globe, the task is to create new Buddhist traditions relevant to the 21st century. During the past 35 years the FWBO has become one of the largest Buddhist movements, with activities in many cities and rural retreat centres around the world.

After group meditation, one of the students told following funny analogy:

Six wise, blind elephants of Indostan were discussing what humans were like.

Failing to agree, they decided to determine what humans were like by direct observation.

The first wise, blind elephant felt the human, and declared, "Humans are flat."

The other wise, blind elephants, after similarly feeling the human, agreed.

I have looked up the original parable from John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887), here it goes:

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Imagine this

Sitting together on the couch with my feet on the table watching the “What the Bleep do we Know” dvd while drinking a pot of Ayurvedic Vata tea and smelling the apple pie in the oven that should be ready within 10 minutes. (feeling the cramps in my arm of hand whipping cream slowly fading away). Hmmm, this feels good :-)

Kneeding the dough and hand whipping cream were my best deed of today. The rest of the day I hung around a little bit enjoying my absolute idleness. Tonight no heroic stories, quasi profound messages or amateur poetry. No, tonight I will be living reincarnation of the ultimate couch potato.

I won’t even think about the true existence of the apple pie or the particles that differentiate the pie from myself (or not as a matter of fact). Oh no, I’m just gonna eat the darn thing with loads of whipped cream on it. And more cream. Might as well eat the whole pie and flush it away with another pot of Vata tea.