donderdag 25 december 2008
dinsdag 23 december 2008
woensdag 17 september 2008
Hmmm, my old hood in San Francisco, 5 blocks from "home"=
(09-17) 09:51 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A bicyclist was shot and killed early today in a normally quiet neighborhood in San Francisco's Richmond District, police said.
AMSTERDAM - Staand een biertje drinken op een terras? In Amsterdam mag dat volgens de regels niet.
Rough translation= Standing drinking a beer on a terrace?? In Amsterdam, according to the rules, that's not allowed.
dinsdag 12 augustus 2008
zondag 29 juni 2008
A man uses a vaporiser at an Amsterdam coffe shop.
But now they face an unwelcome blast of fresh air: On July 1, the Netherlands will be one of the last European countries to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in compliance with EU law.
The Health Ministry says the ban will apply to cafes that sell marijuana, known as coffee shops. But this being Holland, which for centuries has experimented with social liberalism, there's a loophole: The ban covers tobacco but not marijuana, which is technically illegal anyway.
But that still leaves coffee shops and their customers in a bind. Dutch and other European marijuana users traditionally smoke pot in fat, cone-shaped joints mixed with tobacco.
"It's the world upside down: In other countries they look for the marijuana in the cigarette. Here they look for the cigarette in the marijuana," said Jason den Enting, manager of coffee shop Dampkring.
Shops are scrambling to adapt. One alternative is "vaporizer" machines, which incinerate weed smokelessly. Another is to replace tobacco with herbs like coltsfoot, a common plant that looks like a dandelion and that smokers describe as tasting a bit like oregano.
But most shops are just planning to increase their sales of hash brownies and pure weed -- and are hoping the law isn't enforced.
Michael Veling, owner of the 4-20 Cafe and a board member of the Cannabis Retailers' Union, said he expected a small decline in sales as smokers are forced to separate their nicotine addiction from their marijuana habit.
But he expects the long-term effects to be minimal. "It's absurd to say that coffee shops will go bankrupt in the second week of July. Nonsense," he said.
Veling is instructing his staff to send tobacco smokers outside, but he doesn't expect all coffee shops to do the same. He said some owners will ignore the ban -- and will probably get away with it, at least for a while.
But "if obeying the smoking ban becomes a condition of renewing your business license, just watch how fast it will happen," he said. "That's the way things work."
Chris Krikken, spokesman for the Food and Wares Authority, charged with enforcing the ban, said his agency won't be targeting coffee shops in particular.
"For the first month we'll just be gathering information about compliance in a wide range of hospitality businesses. Depending on what we find, we may focus more squarely on a sector that's lagging," he said.
But he said individual businesses caught allowing customers to smoke will be warned and definitely checked again. "Repeat offenders will face escalating fines," he said.
Marijuana possession is illegal in the Netherlands, but smokers are not prosecuted for holding up to 5 grams. Around 750 cafes -- half of them in Amsterdam -- are licensed to have up to 500 grams in stock at any one time.
The Dutch "tolerance" policy recognizes that some people will smoke pot regardless of laws, so it might as well happen in an orderly way. Critics complain this encourages substance abuse.
But cannabis abuse in Holland ranks somewhere in the middle compared to other nations and is lower than in the U.S., France and England, according to statistics compiled by the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime.
At the same time, the levels of THC -- the main active chemical in marijuana -- have soared in the past decade and are now at 16 percent in Dutch weed.
The U.S. government sounded the alarm earlier this month because THC in American marijuana has doubled to 9.6 percent since 1983, and it warned of recent scientific findings linking the drug to mental problems.
The Dutch government, currently led by a conservative coalition with a religious bent, is slowly squeezing back the number of coffee shops by not renewing licenses when shops close.
Growers are arrested, leaving coffee shop owners struggling to obtain their main product.
"The rules are being set to pester us out of business one by one, slowly but surely," said Richard van Velthoven, manager at The Greenhouse, who said he feared being shut down for tobacco violations.
"I've taken the cigarette machines out, I'm putting Coltsfoot on the tables, I've bought extra vaporizers, the staff is watching out -- what more can I do?" he said.
German tourist Lars Schmit said lamented the possible end of an era.
Without coffee shops, he said, "a little bit of Amsterdam will die."
dinsdag 20 mei 2008
In Holland, they don't even seem to bother making the food look appetizing to begin with, as can be evidenced by these pictures I came across in the supermarket ads -
maandag 19 mei 2008
zaterdag 17 mei 2008
And a pretty funny pisstake of what the producer might have been saying=
And finally, Stephen Colbert's comments=
donderdag 24 april 2008
Nation City Price in USD Regular/Gallon
Netherlands Amsterdam $6.48
Norway Oslo $6.27
Italy Milan $5.96
Denmark Copenhagen $5.93
Belgium Brussels $5.91
Sweden Stockholm $5.80
United Kingdom London $5.79
Germany Frankfurt $5.57
France Paris $5.54
Portugal Lisbon $5.35
Hungary Budapest $4.94
Croatia Zagreb $4.81
Ireland Dublin $4.78
Switzerland Geneva $4.74
Spain Madrid $4.55
Japan Tokyo $4.24
Czech Republic Prague $4.19
Romania Bucharest $4.09
Estonia Tallinn $3.62
Bulgaria Sofia $3.52
Brazil Brasilia $3.12
Cuba Havana $3.03
Taiwan Taipei $2.84
Lebanon Beirut $2.63
South Africa Johannesburg $2.62
Nicaragua Managua $2.61
Panama Panama City $2.19
Russia Moscow $2.10
Puerto Rico San Juan $1.74
Saudi Arabia Riyadh $0.91
Kuwait Kuwait City $0.78
Egypt Cairo $0.65
Nigeria Lagos $0.38
Venezuela Caracas $0.12
woensdag 12 maart 2008
dinsdag 11 maart 2008
zaterdag 1 maart 2008
What started me on this rant? A piece from today's "news" that the Dutch prefer bread and cheese for breakfast and continues to inform us what percentages buys their bread and where, and how many make their own sandwiches for lunch!!???! Well, anyone who's lived here for more than 2 weeks could tell this - this is generally what they eat for breakfast and lunch. In fact, in several situations I've encountered, the Dutch actually use the word "bread" for lunch, as in "Shall we go get some bread???" Now this is completely weird to most of us foreigners, but it's business as usual here. The thought of a rich, filling American breakfast or a greasy English fry-up is completely frightening to them (and sure, that's probably why they're much skinnier than us!). Anyhow, in case you are interested, the article is below.
AMSTERDAM – Despite the culinary variety in the Netherlands (WTF???-This is culinary variety???-dman) , a brown bread roll with cheese remains the most popular breakfast. Bread is essential to the Dutch diet, as evidenced by a survey of 500 people.
The survey was held in anticipation of the bakery trade fair to be held at the Amsterdam RAI from 2 to 4 March.
Healthy products are popular at the baker's as well: customers say their favourite breads are those with a healthy image, like multigrain, wholegrain and brown breads.
The survey also indicated that one in three Dutch prefer meat fillings for their sandwiches. Favourites were roast beef, ham and "worst" (a type of sliced sausage coldcut). Just one in ten prefers sweet fillings like chocolate sprinkles or jam.
"Almost four in ten Dutch usually buy bread at the baker's and six in ten usually at the supermarket. The Dutch are generally of the opinion that the bread from the baker's is tastier than supermarket bread. But those who buy it at the supermarket do so out of convenience. Men are of this opinion more often than women. Women are more likely to cite price as a reason to not buy at the baker's," the researchers concluded.
Four in ten Dutch take sandwiches from home to work each day. Most workers prepare these themselves, though one in five men does admit that his partner or mother prepares the sandwiches.
One in five workers visits the company canteen and 25% go home to eat at lunchtime.
maandag 25 februari 2008
The similarities to Mrs Miller are amazing, so I can't help but wonder if it's intentional parody, or just another case of a piece of amateur-creativity inspired by world events. After 9/11, there were loads of atrocious 9/11 Tribute Songs on mp3.com that, while pure in intention, were worse torture than waterboarding to listen to..... strangely enough, many of the comments on the youtube page are enthusiastic! Are those responses real or satirical??? I used to think satire was dead, as everything media-related had become so ludicrous that it was impossible to satirize any more.....however, I may have to think twice about that....the best satire was always that which you weren't quite sure was real or satire ;-)
vrijdag 8 februari 2008
maandag 4 februari 2008
Anyway, I think Peter R DeVries, the Dutch criminologist who is a bit of a media whore but generally gets results, overstepped his bounds when he says he "solved the case". Yes, he rigged a car with hidden cameras and got an undercover guy to lure Joran into telling him what "really happened" that night (which of course Joran claims was a lie to just tell the guy what he wanted to hear). But he hasn't made any Sherlock Holmesian discoveries. He has obtained a confession that may not even be legally binding, especially considering Joran was stoned most, if not all, the time. Plus, it was obvious Joran looked up to this guy was trying to impress him, so maybe he was making the whole thing up - he is just a 20-year old narcissistic, habitual-lying punk after all. At first, I thought just that. But as he continued to rant about what happened that night, he really went into detail and looked like he really was letting something out that he had never admitted before. Of course, part of being a sociopath is being a very believable liar, so it COULD be a big lie as well. But what wasn't a lie was the disgusting manner in which he spoke of the police, of Natalee, the Aruban brothers, and almost everyone around him. Maybe it's not fair, but I don't even care now whether he really did or not - I hope he gets punished or becomes the victim of some American Southern lynchmob-type justice. The sad thing is that the Dutch legal system is so tame, that even murderers get just 10 years in jail. The guy who killed Pim Fortuyn got a small sentence, will probably get out earlier, has a nice private cell with cable TV and because he's a vegan, his own chef!!! I don't think they can ever prove Joran as a murderer, so he will most likely get 6 months for disposing of the body at worst.
For a small country, Holland is making big news lately. Soon we'll also have Geert Wilders anti-Muslim film released. The government is freaking out that there will be riots and problems after it is screened. There probably will.
donderdag 31 januari 2008
Anyhow, the doctors told her she needed some kind of surgery to insert a splint into her leg and she refused! Despite the possible risk of infection, she just didn't want to do it (and this isn't Sick-O land - it wouldn't cost her a penny, so it wasn't out financial worry). While this was going on, some of us dog-loving neighbours were discussing if one of us could take care of her poor dog while she was recovering, because it was home alone, and howling at night. I was about to take him in, but now the woman died and her dogwalker found a new permanent home for him. In a way, it's good I didn't take him in, as I learned he likes to eat money (and there must be a thousand euros worth of 5 or 10-cent coins strewn about the house on the floor, under the couch, etc.) He also likes to eat....well anything= mobile phones, ipods, cameras - what a materialistic appetite he must have. It seems very odd to me that this woman died from falling, but one of the neighbours thinks that she just gave up on life and let herself die. It all seemed to happen after she discovered that her dog was in good hands and would be cared for.
I wonder if we can just give up the will to live and die like that. Maybe the fall did some deeper damage that was undiscovered. It's all kind of creepy. Luckily some more Three Stooges DVDs arrived today, so I'll stick those on to alleviate the dark thoughts....
zaterdag 26 januari 2008
At first, I thought maybe it was a one-off thing, but the Pav shows up elsewhere with Queen=
And then AGAIN with James Brown!!
He also does one with Deep Purple....who's next?? The Sex Pistols???? Oh yeah, Luciano's dead....bummer......
woensdag 23 januari 2008
maandag 21 januari 2008
I saw this episode numerous times on the tape, but had always been curious if any more existed. Last year in the States, I was happy to see a DVD for only $5, which contained almost 2 hours of episodes! Out of 104 episodes, apparently only 40 or so are known to exist. I've always loved the early days of TV, when there were no budgets and people had to be creative - in Diver Dan, they don't need CGI or expensive underwater photography, they just filmed it through a fishbowl!! Ernie Kovacs would have been proud (although he probably invented the technique himself).
Also on that old VHS tape was a show called SUPERPUP! No one seems to have uploaded that in its entirety yet (although it's in the public domain), but there's this small clip, which puzzled me because the tape I had was in black & white, and this is in colour! This show was not quite so charming as Diver Dan - in fact, it never made it past the pilot stage. And I don't get why Sgt Beagle was a Basset Hound???
I guess I just wasn't made for these times. Give me old movie serials, cheap kiddie shows, and lo-fi music over all this CGI-Pixar stuff any day!!!!
zaterdag 19 januari 2008
Fast forward a few centuries, and now I am a sound engineer. I spend a lot of time trying to make things "sound good" (sometimes more like polishing turds), but I think some clients would be surprised that I like listening to things that are usually of very bad quality! That studio manager who went on about the merits of Toto's album production probably would be shocked that quite a lot of CDs in my collection sound like they were recorded in a garage or bathroom.
Most people are familiar with Ed Wood, whose films are so bad that they're funny. The reason they are is that he was so passionate about making something great, but simply lacked the appropriate talent or perspective. He wanted PLAN 9 to be the next CITIZEN KANE. Well, for some of us, it was!
There are LOADS of Ed Wood's out there - ambitious people who passionately want to make music, films or literature. Recently, when constructing this blog, I came across WFMU's blog - they're the holy grail of community radio stations, originating in New Jersey. Not only do they play really good, diverse and interesting legitimate music, but they have quite a few guys and gals there who are, like me, fascinated by audio history and obscure recordings and novelty records. I was quite amazed and delighted to discover that some of these DJs and collectors have gone the extra mile and started mp3-ing and uploading, in their entirety, HUNDREDS of old novelty records! 8-year old preachers ranting about Satan, atrocious amateur songs about 9/11, Halloween kids records, terrible covers by wedding bands, children's sex education records - and even my beloved "Shemp Meditation Tape" (1 hour of the Three Stooges Shemp making silly noises) - there are literally thousands of files up there. And there are others, like The Audio Kitchen, who have mp3'd obscure cassette tapes of answering machine messages found at garage sales!
So, to help me combat winter depression in this cold, rainy, windy, impolite land in which I live, I loaded this stuff on my ipod and for some reason I can't fully comprehend, it helps me get through the day a little bit easier. How can I be annoyed by some rude, impolite, unbathed chucklehead bumping into me while the sound of Shemp laughing maniacally is going through my ears?? It's better than any anti-depressant....
As I uncover the odd gem, I'll probably link them here. I hope my blog doesn't wind up just being a series of links to WFMU's audio archives, but that's not out of the realm of possibility! Anyhow, thank God for WFMU....it's good to know I'm not the only oddball out there who would rather listen to Criswell predicting future events than to the latest pre-fab Top 10 garbage.
maandag 14 januari 2008
vrijdag 11 januari 2008
Need a shave?? Be sure to get some Barber Skum!!!
The coffee wasn't THAT bad....
The slut salad can be followed by the tart of the month
God Hot Dogs! I suppose it helps to know that "God" means "Good" in Danish. Maybe that would solve some religious conflicts that have occured there...
DONG stands for Danish Oil & Natural Gas - in the US it means something very different
My cat runs an elevator service...
Fart means to travel in Danish - I imagine some strange translation problems can occur.....
Is it me or do these hot dogs look a bit...umm....never mind....it's just me...
donderdag 10 januari 2008
* euthanized the family cat while my parents wept
* sent away a young thug who wanted to come in and rob the house but didn't notify police til 1/2 hour later
* reconnected with old friends I hadn't seen in 10 years, all of whom now have kids....and was referred to as "Uncle D!" several times
* rediscovered my love of the "maple bar"!
* rediscovered my love of Amaretto Sours!
* rediscovered my love of the Three Stooges!
* had a BBQ in an ice storm!!!!
* barely touched the internet, especially since the only option was a dialup which took 10 minutes to open my email
* enjoyed the warm, friendly, courteous good nature of people and dreaded coming back to NL- and upon returning, first thing I saw at supermarket was a woman ramming her shopping cart into a 4-year old child without apologizing or even acknowledging she had done it- welcome back to Amsterdamned!!!! :-D
* bought a King Crimson CD...LOL!
* FINALLY after 10 years realized a potential second career!! (I'm not telling yet)
After that, I think I need a vacation :-D