Sunday, February 26, 2006

ANTI anti Mohammed cartoons demonstration

Yes. We did it again..

Amsterdam now is worldwide leader in ANTI anti Mohammed cartoon demonstrations. Yesterday there was a demonstration on the Amsterdam Dam Square (central square) where people demonstrated for freedom of speech (local government permitted the demonstration). No flags were burned, no one was killed luckily but there were some riots. Police had to separate demonstrators and anti anti anti demonstrators.

I guess now we're the first in ANTI anti anti Mohammed cartoon demonstrations as well..

Following I found on the Dutch demonstration web:

"Demonstration 25th of February 13:00 hours. Location: Dam square, Amsterdam -final update:Permission for the demonstration has been received. The council has requested to end the demonstration at 15:30 hours in order to free staff for the commemoration of the 1941 February-Strike. This event is held elsewhere. Flags and texts:In Holland, little is prohibited. However, texts containing expressions of racism (ethnic or cultural), calls to violence or hate, are prohibited. NO NAZI SYMBOLS, these will not be tolerated. The main theme is continued freedom of speech. It is also a protest against the religious frenzy and solidarity with those who suffer from it. It is not a demonstration to deliberately insult populations or parts of populations.How to get there:The Dam square is near Amsterdam Central-Station (see map) at the end of the opposing street 'Damrak'. For information on public transport, please use links below. Food&Beverage:Plenty of outlets in the area but if many come, they may be flooded. It is advisable to bring water. Water can also be useful if someone accidentally uses a lighter a bit clumsy.Toilet facilities:None. The original plan (see previous update) has been cancelled partly due to the duration of the demonstration. Security and safety:There will be police present. The police are neutral. We hope they treat us correctly. They hope we treat them correctly.Small factions have made some threats and attempts to intimidate. It is difficult to assess how serious these attempts are. The council has requested these factions to demonstrate elsewhere. As a precaution, it is advisable not to bring children. One can ask oneself if children are conscious of what the demonstration is about.Because accidents can happen, a small medic first aid kit can be useful.Weather forecast Saturday (KNMI)-update:Sun 60%, rain 10%, temperature 4 °C, wind NE -4."

Europe has no hope of eradicating bird flu

(Telegraph news)

"Although the virulent strain of avian influenza arrived inside the EU less than two weeks ago, it is now a fact of life, European Commission officials said. The warning came as EU officials approved plans by France and the Netherlands to vaccinate millions of birds against the disease. The British Government yesterday reaffirmed its opposition to vaccination, arguing that it could lead to the "silent spread" of the disease."

There we go. Now it is spread all over the world and here to stay I guess..

Glamour Stiletto Run

I shouldn't be so serious all the time so I thought I'd post something lighter for you: The Glamour Stiletto Run

Ladies block your agenda on March 9th, fly over to Amsterdam, bring your high heels (at least 7 cm) , run 70 meters through the PC Hooft street without breaking your leg, end up first and win €10.000.- you can spend at D&G, Luis Vuitton and so on just across the street.

The Strike of February 1941

On 25 February 1941 Amsterdam was seized by a general strike in protest against the persecution of the Jews. One day afterwards the strike spread to the Zaanstreek (Zaan-area), Kennemerland (Haarlem and Velsen), Hilversum, Utrecht and Weesp. In Amsterdam public transport came to a complete standstill and nearly all other council-services went on strike as well. Tools were downed in shipbuilding and steel industry in the North of Amsterdam, at the company of Hollandia-Kattenburg and also in large multiple stores like Bijenkorf. City-wide shops and offices were closed. Many pupils left their classrooms. That day large crowds of people were constantly on the move in the centre of Amsterdam. Restrained emotions sought a way out, people wanted to openly oppose the German occupation troops, that had attacked our country on 10 May 1940 and no longer disguised their intentions to force their regime on us.

The statue of The Dockworker commemorates the Strike of February. It is at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein. By striking, the people showed their protest against the razzias held on February 22nd and 23rd. On that occasion 427 Jewish men at the age of 18 to 35 years were rounded up at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein ande deported to the concentration camps Mauthausen and Buchenwald. They died within a year.
The Germans were baffled. They had never come across a strike against anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jews. Yesterday there was a ceremony in Amsterdam where several guests spoke about the happening 65 years ago. Amsterdam is still a city where racism, anti-semitism and discrimination will not be accepted by its residents.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Solidarnosc, round two..

The responsibility of human autonomy.

When I grew up in the seventies, my country was in a changing process from agricultural focus to becoming more industrialized. Companies like Philips, KLM and Shell were booming and growing exponentially. Local farmers united in corporations and many farms closed down because of lack of succession. This had a major impact on our society. There was huge demand of disciplined, specialized and rational workers. Exploitation of humans as company assets resulted in increased focus on human rights, solidarity, emancipation and more democracy.

But the changing from agriculture to industry didn’t stop there. The introduction of computers and internet created another big change and with a pace never seen before. The post-modern information society that we live in today has new cultural elements like independence, insecurity, competition and hedonism. Our Western countries, have changed from a society built on a trust in authorities to being a society where individual freedom (of speech) and autonomy is stressed, from a society built on a rather homogeneous religious foundation to being a pluralistic and secularized society, from stability to agility.

Bloggsville is a good example of the virtual societies we mingle in nowadays. Our children exchange kudo’s in their virtual worlds and although they will be connected 24 hours a day, they will be very individual and independent persons. Micromarketing on personal level will be the new way of selling services and goods within a few years time. When I was 18, my world was about 100 square miles. Now I have contact with the other side of the earth (the up-side-down-people :-) on an almost daily basis and the world is my oyster where I fly about.

It is our human nature to survive and get the best possible living standard for ourselves. We would like to exploit the world but only for our 100 square miles area of responsibility. That’s where the equation fails. Our post-modern individuality is perhaps the greatest gift of life but it comes with a huge and heavy weighing responsibility.

Since the world is my oyster now, the starving people in Africa ARE my responsibility too. Child labour in Pakistan IS my responsibility as well. Closing our eyes and turning our backs makes us lousy examples of human beings. I have not precisely identified my role in this responsibility as I know many of us haven’t. We have to remain alert in our new society though and look after the weaker brothers and sisters. It is time for a new wave of solidarity, but now it has to be organised on a global level..

Global solidarity is MY responsibility. I will take it.

What's your thought?

In 38 seconds to the 56th floor..

Let yourself be transported in 38 seconds to the 56th floor of the Montparnasse tower. You are in 200 meters height at the doors of the highest restaurant in Europe: "Ciel de Paris".

This week was all about Brussels and Paris for me. I invited our group IT directors for a two day Paris meeting. We had a great diner in Ciel de Paris overlooking Paris. Fabulous restaurant!

Traveling via Paris airport Charles de Gaulle is becoming a real pain these days.

I fly very frequently and have all sorts of cards, iris scan badges, quick airport acces, vip valet parking and electronic tickets. Anything possible to make my traveling life efficient. It normally takes me about half an hour to leave from home and be seated in the plane. In France however, you can prepare as much as you like. Forget about it. The French customs and security check has gone bazurk. I had to queue up for 45 minutes to be frisked by a sweaty fat guy. Had to take of shoes and belt and was yelled at to move on. Many people miss their flights because of this which causes a lot of stress and frustration. belle France...

When I arrived back in Amsterdam, the Dutch airport Schiphol was a mess too.. But I guarantee you this area will look brand new next week.

I may be very critical to my country some times but if there's one thing we do well than that would be organizing things to maximum efficiency. France on the other hand..(-deep sigh-)

Friday, February 24, 2006

The older the berry, the sweeter the juice?

Saw this article on the internet this week:

How older women snag younger guys

"She's hot -- and she knows it. At 41, Chicago comedian Tracy Tedesco is beating back guys in their 20s like she was giving away Xboxes. Tedesco is the definition of an "urban cougar."The label used to be an unflattering characterization of middle-aged, boy-hungry single women. But as more women shed the traditional taboos about age and dating, the name has been taken on as a badge of empowerment by sexy, older professional women who prefer the physical and spiritual qualities of younger men. Look no further than the celebrity world for proof that the movement is growing. Some of Hollywood's hottest actresses have taken on younger mates, and a number of male celebrities in TV and music have chosen girlfriends who are several years their senior"

Older men getting younger girls are lucky. Older women getting younger men are cougs?

Anyway, there's grape juice and wine...but then there's vinegar too, eh..

Monday, February 20, 2006

Say Cheeeeese

My Ellis Island alike country -the Netherlands- will roll out the next phase of its tough integration policy next month when it introduces compulsory Dutch language and culture tests at 138 embassies, the immigration minister said today. The 30-minute computerized exam will determine if newcomers are prepared for Dutch life, said Rita Verdonk. "If you pass, you're more than welcome. It is in the interest of Dutch society and those concerned."

The program begins March 15 at Dutch embassies around the world. Verdonk is the architect of some of the government's toughest measures to stem new immigration and to expel applicants who have been rejected, putting her at the center of the national debate over the traditional image of Dutch tolerance. "What's tolerance? I think tolerance has become confused with indifference," she responded during a rare meeting with foreign reporters. "As far as image goes, I'm here to protect the public interests and I don't think our image will suffer," she said.

European Union nations largely praise the Dutch policies, Verdonk said, while Moroccans and Turks told her they are happy with the policies and want her "to keep up the good work." Immigrant families, often isolated from the employment market because they don't speak Dutch or face discrimination, account for 33 percent of the country's poor although they make up less than 20 percent of the population. Unemployment rates for nonnative youths are in some cases three time those of native youths, reports the AP.

I think we should teach immigrants to speak English. There are only 16 million out of 6 Billion people speaking Dutch. Who cares? Teach them to speak English and they have a better chance of getting employed and when we do send them back they have at least learned a language that matters. I feel ashamed of our so called tough integration policy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Free" day today in Amsterdam

Several topless bars, peep shows and sex show clubs in Amsterdam's famed Red Light prostitution district have declared an open house on Saturday. They hope to shore up their reputation with local politicians who are calling for a crackdown.

"You can come in, have a free drink, look around," said Bob de Maan, spokesman for the Banana Bar, which is known for its live sex shows. "People think that this is something dirty, but now - it's an open house. They can see for themselves."
Prostitution in Amsterdam boomed during the city's 17th-century Golden Age, when hookers catered to sailors on shore leave. With its lingerie-clad women and red neon lights, the area in the city centre became a major tourist draw in the 20th century.

It is widely known that women from Asia and Eastern Europe are abused and exploited over here. It's a clear red stop-light for me! Crackdown is my comment today!

Friday, February 17, 2006

When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
-- John Keats (1795-1821) --

No Comment

I have had it with my opinion for today. Opionion on this, a view on that, being under the impression that.., share the thought of.., stand up for.., holding strong to.., bladabladablah..

No tonight I will visit your blogs featherbrained, empty-headed. No preconceptions, no opposite view and last but not least:


Thursday, February 16, 2006

..and walk away from meat.

As I walked along the street today I thought it sad indeed,
That half the world is hungry When there isn't any need.
We've food for all the world and more, Enough for all to eat,
But this food is being wasted Raising animals for meat.
Perhaps some folk don't realize; As many others do
That eating meat's a wicked waste, And so polluting too.
It's highly inefficient To grow crops for stock to eat
For it takes 10 kilograms of food To get back one in meat
Five hundred and forty million tonnes Of soya, maize and wheat
Are fed each year to animals For Westerners to eat.
And much of it's from nations That aren't affluent or wealthy,
It's grown in countries where the folk Are starving and unhealthy.
Do you realize how much water Is required if you eat meat?
One hundred thousand litres For each kilogram you eat!
So as well as wasting precious food You're worsening the drought,
And six hundred litres of methane gas Each day, a cow put's out.
So you're causing global warming And you're causing acid rain.
You're destroying precious forests, And eroding the terrain.
So next time you wander down the street And feel the need to eat
Remember what it costs the Earth And walk away from meat.
-- By Jenny Moxham --

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Predator lender goes Dutch

Predatory lenders and brokers are out to make a fast buck on the backs of the elderly, homeowners in financial distress, low-income families and people of color. They charge consumers high interest rates and steal the equity that consumers have built in their homes, no matter the cost or consequences to the individual.
Predatory lenders are shameless. In Chicago, a sixty-three-year-old disabled widow, on a monthly fixed income of $448, was one of their many victims. She was smooth-talked into refinancing her home at 13%. And after thousands of dollars in hidden finance charges, the interest rate was even higher. Now, she has to pay $558 a month just to keep her home. At a time when she thought she was signing a contract to secure her financial future, she was actually signing her eviction notice.
Predatory lenders don’t wear ski masks or hold a gun to your head. They come knocking on your door with neckties and loan papers, and their numbers are increasing by the day. These robbers don’t end up in jail because what they are doing is completely legal under current law.
And when Predatory lenders become the US Presidents biggest fundraiser, predatory lenders are appointed as ambassador to the Netherlands.

On behalf of our Dutch poor and elderly people I thank the US of A(meriquest) for such a wonderful representation of your country. Fan -F%^&ng- TASTIC..

Blowing eeh..Blogging in Amsterdam

Our Dutch office of tourism invited 25 American bloggers over here to share their experiences to the world via the web. They started the blog a week ago and have posted their first experiences now. No info on the red light district or coffeeshops YET..

Next time you go out for some fishing, ask these guys to come along

Click here for video.

Happy Valentine's day

Monday, February 13, 2006

It's Secret Origami time folks. All together now..

Welcome to our Secret Origami class.
This time we won't be folding birds or butterflies but...
yes.. burning Twin Towers !!
Here we go: First fold a new $20 bill this way

Fold the right side under exactly as you folded the left side

Now flip it over and see other side- You will find the U.S. Twin Towers ablaze

Thank you for watching Secret Origami time. See you back soon!
(For more Origami fun: Al Jazeera Origami lesson 1 )

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lucky Person

Just saw an article on Al Jazeera about Ayaan Hirsi Ali's performance in the media yesterday. It's all about freedom of speech again. This article gives a clear impression on the style that is used by Al Jazeera. The author is Professor, Dr. Ali Al-Hail, Professor of Mass Communication. I don't know where he received his title but fact finding and clear non-emotional communication doesn't seem to be his strongest quality.

On Jihad Unspun I read an article by Al Andalusi. I quote: "The time for Muslims is to strongly protest and boycott the European products alongside preparing to fight this new Crusade struck at the very heart of our belief and values. The perpetrators of these crimes deserve execution similar to what Von Gogh met so that everyone comes to know the price of reviling Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). In the last century a similar incident took place in British India when a Hindu named Rajpal insulted Prophet Muhammad (Peacce Be Upon Him) by printing derogatory cartoon of our Prophet. An ordinary faithful guardian of the honour came out and punished that devil with death. He was Ghazi Ilmuddin who was later arrested and charged by British authorities, he pleaded not guilty and gladly accepted the gallows to earn martyrdom. His holy grave lies in peace to this day in heart of Pakistan, Lahore. Taliban Mujahideen have promised reward of gold bar for anyone executing the evil cartoonist. Are we waiting for another Nur Ad Din Zangi or Ghazi Ilmuddin or has our faiths become worthless? Only time will tell."

The Dutch-Somali member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali is disappointed by the British media's acceptance of the religious case. She does not believe it stems from concern for pious feelings but rather fear of violent reprisal. 'You're scared,' she says. 'That's a shame.' A former Muslim herself, she lives under 24-hour police guard, and has done so since before Theo van Gogh, the director of her film Submission, was shot in Amsterdam by an Islamic extremist.

“This is Europe and if we have a thought, we can express it,” she told BBC radio. It takes somebody from Somalia to remind us how precious, and how very hard won, that freedom is.

The Al Jazeera and Jihad Unspun articles are reprehensible and qualify to utter filth as far as I'm concerned. The first Al Jazeera author has a right to express himself however.
The second author from Jihad Unspun has cross bordered every form of respect and schould go to jail when living in the western world.
Hirsi Ali encourages the media to publish the cartoons. That's putting oil on the fire and it is unneccesarry. Now she is planning to make a new release of her Submission movie. That will for sure let the shit hit the fan for herself and for the Netherlands.
Hirsi Ali's first name Ayaan means "Lucky Person". I hope she'll be well but wonder when she runs out of it.
Soren Kierkegaard said it: People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Fast Food makes people sick

An unknown number of people got sick an hour ago in a Burger King outlet on the Amsterdam Nieuwendijk. The firedepartment blocked the street and are taking air samples at the moment. It is not clear if the sick people are hospitalized.

Normally you're the sick the day after. Did they change the recipe or is it fast food in optima forma?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Little kitten..

I saw this kitten and thought that I'd please my girlfriend as well as some of my blogfriends (we decided to adopt another "baby"cat tonight). I was thinking of a poem as well but I can't do better than this:

Dear little kitten, so lovely and so cute. Why did you crawl up the sleeves of my Armani suit?

So many times at night I thought I'd hear you play. But you were eating flowers from my beautiful bouquet.

I love your little paws and I like your climbing skills but your climbing in my furniture produces lots of bills.

It's not that I don't like you and it's not that I don't care, but without a daily vacuuming my pants are full of hair.

And still when I get home I can't wait for you to purr, whilst I know that you're the biggest, greatest business saboteur.

It took some years but now I know, suits and chairs they come and go.

But the playing of a little kitten is everlasting and that I've written!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Mea Culpa

This afternoon I posted something quasi humoristic in a somewhat boisterous mood on an article I read in The Sun. I edited it many times and finally deleted it because I felt wrong about it. I shouldn't be making fun of people that have their worst five minutes of fame in a lifetime. That's too cheap. I am sorry and apologize if I hurt any feelings. Won't happen again. I promise..

The Geocentrism Challenge

Catholic Apologetcs International will write a check for $1,000 to the first person who can prove that the earth revolves around the sun. (If you lose, then we ask that you make a donation to the apostolate of CAI). Obviously, they at CAI don't think anyone CAN prove it, and thus they can offer such a generous reward.

"Now a word of caution. By "proof" we mean that your explanations must be direct, observable, physical, natural, repeatable, unambiguous and comprehensive. We don't want hearsay, popular opinion, "expert" testimony, majority vote, personal conviction, organizational rulings, superficial analogies, appeals to "simplicity," "apologies" to Galileo, or any other indirect means of persuasion which do not qualify as scientific proof."

Seems to me that nothing actually revolves around any fixed point in the universe and that the motion of objects is relative to the observer.. Anyone to claim to $1,000?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I've been floored today.. the flu that is.

Goose bumps come and go, I'm running a slight temperature and my coughing sounds like the growling of a horny bear. Felt it coming yesterday evening but had two early meetings starting this morning at 7.30. I felt sick but decided to go anyway.

The persons that I welcomed didn't get my best attention so in retrospective I had better canceled the meeting via mail at 12pm risking they show up anyway. Flights are cancelled for the rest of the week and I have redirected my mobile phone to my secretary.. Bye bye world. I'm not here..

I believe I am in some kind of complaining mood but this Blogger infrastructure is really anoying me big time. Can't post, some of your Blogs won't even appear anymore, not to mention me replying to something at all. Perhaps my laptop cought a virus as well.

Didn't feel like studying too. And my little tour through the visible parts of Bloggsville didn't cheer me up either. So many worries, religious bashing and negative feelings last days. Wish I never told you I would be Blogging a litte less coming period :-)

My friends, I am still here. Let me try to cheer you up with a little Buddhism bashing humor (think I could be the first to do that world wide? Wonder if the Llamas will protest, burn Dutch flags and come and get me now?):

Once there was a monk who was an expert on the Diamond Sutra, and as books were very valuable in his day, he carried the only copy in his part of the world on his back. He was widely sought after for his readings and insight into the Diamond Sutra, and very successful at propounding its profundities to not only monks and masters but to the lay people as well.

Thus the people of that region came to know of the Diamond Sutra, and as the monk was traveling on a mountain road, he came upon an old woman selling tea and cakes. The hungry monk would have loved to refresh himself, but alas, he had no money. He told the old woman, "I have upon my back a treasure beyond knowing -- the Diamond Sutra. If you will give me some tea and cakes, I will tell you of this great treasure of knowledge."

The old woman knew something of the Diamond Sutra herself, and proposed her own bargain. She said, "Oh learned monk, if you will answer a simple question, I will give you tea and cakes." To this the monk readily agreed. The woman then said, "When you eat these cakes, are you eating with the mind of the past, the mind of the present or the mind of the future?"

{here goes pic of old Buddhist lady I can't upload} No answer occurred to the monk, so he took the pack from his back and got out the text of the Diamond Sutra, hoping he could find the answer. As he studied and pondered, the day grew late and the old woman packed up her things to go home for the day.
"You are a foolish monk indeed," said the old woman as she left the hungry monk in his quandary. "You eat the tea and cakes with your mouth."

(Story Courtesy of Dan Bammes)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Wanna know a secret? - WE CAN'T KEEP THEM !-

(Washington Post) NATO allies will be relieved at the Dutch decision to deploy extra troops to Afghanistan Thursday but dismayed at The Hague's carelessness with sensitive data. Just hours after the Dutch parliament voted by a large majority to send 1,400 troops to support a NATO-led peacekeeping operation in the volatile southern province of Afghanistan, media in The Hague revealed that top-secret information had been left in a rented car for the second time in as many months.In December, a member of the Dutch secret service left computer discs containing highly sensitive information in a lease car.

The discs were subsequently sent to a well-known investigative reporter who broadcast some of the data on television. Dutch newspapers Friday reported a second embarrassing slip for security services in the Netherlands, which has prevaricated about whether to send extra troops to Afghanistan for over two months.According to the NIS news agency, an army captain who spent five months in Afghanistan last year left a USB stick containing highly sensitive information about Dutch military movements in a rental car.

The captain has since been suspended after it was discovered two boys who found the stick copied the data onto their computers. Labor lawmaker Frans Timmermans railed that "the defense organization is as leaky as a sieve," while conservative members of parliament said allies might be reluctant to share classified information with military and intelligence services that have proved so leaky.