Wednesday, 30 April 2008

A Right A Day 8

Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal

Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A Right A Day 7

Right to Equality before the Law

Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Monday, 28 April 2008

keys

A goodlooking, charming man gave me the keys to his apartment in an excellent Amsterdam location today and then we had lots of Moët & Chandon to celebrate. And pizza.

It was almost a perfect evening. Unfortunately his ex husband and his current boyfriend were there too. Not to mention the downstairs neighbours, a friend and her adorable little doggie. (Sorry 'bout the fuzzy picture, I swear she was playing games with me, staying still until just before I took the picture.)

I should really be in bed and fortunately the buzz seems to be wearing down so I'll be brief.

'Night!

A Right A Day 6

Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law

Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

A Right A Day 5

Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

American Pie

A week ago I was in Spa on this year's EUU Spring Retreat. Both Friday and Saturday night we were entertained in the bar by two men called John together and separately playing their guitars for hours. I don't know what the staff and other guests thought of us as we sat around and sang along to songs from (mostly) the 1960s and 70s, but I believe I don't care much either.

One of the songs that was played, I believe only on Saturday night, was Don McLean's American Pie. It has been with me off and on all throughout the week, not a bad song to go through your head compared to some of the others vying for the position of #1 earworm this week, such as the frog chorus from Paul McCartneys We All Stand Together and Alles is voor Bassie, from a popular Dutch children's show in my day, Bassie en Adriaan.

I even copied the lyrics from some website and started correcting some of the spelling mistakes. Then last night it was used on a silly show called Singing Bee, which I wasn't watching, but my neighbours were, together with a bunch of friends (I presume) and singing along to it, loudly and badly.

Below are several versions of the song that I would like to share with you for one reason or another. First there's this interpretation of the lyrics, which I don't subscribe to completely, but it makes a lot more sense than what I would've come up with on my own:



The following isn't really a video, but I like the version, which is, apparently, a 1992 remix "taken from the Australia-only release, The 25th Anniversary Album - Killing Us Softly":



Below are the lyrics, half-heartedly edited by yours truly, but even this would've been a great help to the guys and gals singing (along) last week, who got lost several times during the song and in each casae decided to skip that verse and just repeat the chorus again...

American Pie
Don McLean

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

So “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock ’n’ roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
’Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pick-up truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

I started singin’,
“Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone,
But that’s not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me,

Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while Lennon read a book of Marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singin’,
“Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
’Cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singin’,
“Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again.
So come on, Jack-be-nimble, Jack-be-quick!
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
’Cause fire is the devil’s only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan’s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw Satan laughing with delight.
The day the music died

He was singin’,
“Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.

And in the streets the children screamed,
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And they were singin’,
“Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.
“This’ll be the day that I die.”

They were singin’,
“Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.”
Drove my Chevvy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die.”

surprise

You know the Bible 82%!
 

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes



(thanks to Teh Evil Ganome)

A Right A Day 4

Freedom from Slavery

Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Friday, 25 April 2008

A Right A Day 3

Right to Life, Liberty and Personal Security

Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

could do better

This was originally posted on my other blog Worth and Dignity, which has taken off even less than this one...

I keep telling myself I really ought to do more with this blog. Recently I posted this on 'the other side', with very sketchy report on the EUU's Spring Retreat, some UUSC history and a lot of inspiration.

And then the wonderful Father Tony of the Farmboyz - reluctantly - comes up with the idea to start a new Christian church. I agree the old ones aren't up to scratch.

I don’t know why I bother with this. It’s not like I personally need a religion. I just can’t shake the task. The errand has fallen to me much against my will. I’d really rather be cruising the Ramble, but let’s have at it.

I advise you to read the whole post, but its key ingredients are:

#1) How you share your penis or vagina with consenting adults or with your left hand is your business.
#2) Let there be freedom to subscribe to the particulars of God as you see them.
#3) Let there be abundant forgiveness.
#4) Let us become disciplined and skilled in the pursuit of happiness and peace.
#5) Let our church own absolutely nothing.
#6) Let us not care about whether this church has five members or five million members.
#7) Let the leaders of the new Christian church announce themselves.

I think I would feel right at home there. In many ways it exists already, because this sounds a lot like UU to me, except for it being Christian, of course the UUs let the secular humanists, atheists and Earth religions in, and #5, which is beautiful, but slightly impractical. Many churches and fellowships don't own much, NUUF certainly doesn't have its own a church, but it's convenient to rent somewhere so we can congregate. Some others own a lot (Shelter Rock anyone?) but do a lot of good with it. Money shouldn't be the end, but it may be a means.

The post has earned him a guest blog at The Bilerico Project.

A Right A Day 2

Freedom from Discrimination

Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, natural or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

A Right A Day 1

Right to Equality

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Eleanor Roosevelt with a copy of the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I thought it would be interesting to study this document more closely, since I received a pocket-sized version this weekend. Here's the full version, but personally I often find it hard to concentrate on long electronic documents (somehow this does not apply to "certain stories", but let's not mention those here...)

So I decided to treat you to an article a day, or A Right A Day, and to type them out myself in the hope of better absorbing them. First, though, we have to get the preamble out of the way:


Universal Declaration of
Human Rights



Preamble


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if a man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest imporotance for the full realization of this pledge,


Now Therefore,
The General Assembly
proclaims
This Universal Declaration of Human Rights


as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

inspiration

This weekend I spent in a simple but nice hotel in the Belgian Ardennes, above the town of Spa, at a European Unitarian Universalist retreat. In fact, the spa baths were just below us, a two-minute walk away. The drive there allowed up to take in the grandure of the place. But, as someone said this weekend, they're friendly hills; they're majestic without being overaweing - although the trip downhill to drop some people off at the station was a bit scary.

Just as the magnificence of nature can be an inspiration to us, so of course can people. The people at any Unitarian Universalist meeting or event inspire me, but this time there was one that stood out: Charlie Clements heads the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a human rights organisation, who in the sermon on Sunday reminded up that we shouldn't be frustrated if change through our actions doesn't come fast enough, because we're like the mediaeval builders of a cathedral who won't live to see its completion in decades or centuries to come, but who are essential in its coming to completion.

He also told a wonderful anecdote about bishop Tutu bringing the house down at some forum when he announced that he had to remind the Dalai Lama, who is a very funny and playful man (I believe he shares the twinkle in his eye with that same Desmond Tutu), that he should behave like a holy man!
Illustrating to us the importance of humour and that, though we must help others, we musn't forget to have a little fun along the way.

Martha and Waitstill

Let's look at the history of the UUSC for a while, a most inspiring history it is. As early as the annual meeting of the American Unitarian Association in 1933 the rise to power of Adolf Hitler was deplored. Two years later the Universalist General Convention noted its "abhorrence of religious and economic persecution" against Jews in Germany.

In February 1939 the AUA sent a service mission to Czechoslowakia. The country had been overrun by refugees since Germany had been given permission to annex Sudetenland in the Munich Agreement. Waitstill Sharp was a Unitarian minister in Wellesley Hills, Mass., his wife Martha had a degree in social work. Within three weeks the Germans marched into Prague, but the couple kept on doing their work for months, flying under the Germans' radar.

Conditions for other countries to take up any of the refugees were very strict and required proof of employment. Martha organised an administration of thousands of files (only 300 were ever found later) which they then tried to match as best they could with employers in safe countries. They travelled back and forth for five months, getting many people out this way. Friends urged them that it was really getting too dangers for them now, but the kept going until finally in August they left. When Waitstill returned to the hotel after the war, the clerk welcomed him back warmly and told him they had avoided the Germans coming to pick them up by one day.

They went home to their children, 2 and 6 years old when they had left them behind. In May 1940 the Unitarian Service Committee was formed and Waitstill and Martha were asked to return to Europe, to France, to continue their good work there. There is a sermon by Charlie Clements on the UUSC website from which the following quote is taken:

When you undergo unpleasant and perhaps dangerous medical procedures, you doctor is required to explain the details and risks of what you are about to undertake. It is called "informed consent"; but how many of you really know what you are in for? I didn’t when I volunteered to serve in Vietnam as a young man. But imagine: the Sharps did know what they were in for... they had experienced the Nazi terror up close... and they returned to Europe.

Paris had fallen before they got there, so they set up in Marseille in Vichy France and opened an office in Lisbon. They had the foresight to open an office in Geneva too and eventually fled to Switzerland with the nazis on their heels when all of France was overrun.

It is impossible to say how many they saved, it is safe to say they helped many thousands in one way or another. In June 2006 they were honored by the Israeli Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, a title awarded to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. (This is the Senate resolution paying tribute to them.)

civilized countries

Having said all that and been thoroughly inspired again myself, Dr. Clements also recalled how he would lobby the US State Department in the 1980s on behalf of human rights in certain countries, such as Jemen for instance, who hadn't ratified major international human rights treaties and would be told that the United States didn't deal with those countries because, staying outside the treaties, they were not considered part of the civilized world.

Guess which country won't sign the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child? The USA reserves the right to try minors, them wait until they turn 18 to execute them. By their own definition they are not a civilized state.

As shocked as I am at the murder of Lawrence King, I can't bear the thought that a boy who had turned fourteen three weeks before that fateful day can be tried as an adult by a country that dares call itself civilized.

Did you know that there is a number you can call at the White House that is staffed by operators not a computer and the calls on which they are obligated to record and report on? So the White House does know how many calls they get about government-sanctioned torture,

I'm just waiting for any of the people mentioned in my previous post to set foot outside the United States.

Monday, 21 April 2008

complicity



We have long known that the Justice Department tortured the law to give its Orwellian blessing to torturing people, and that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a list of ways to abuse prisoners. But recent accounts by ABC News and The Associated Press said that all of the president’s top national security advisers at the time participated in creating the interrogation policy: Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Rumsfeld; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; Colin Powell, the secretary of state; John Ashcroft, the attorney general; and George Tenet, the director of central intelligence.

These officials did not have the time or the foresight to plan for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq or the tenacity to complete the hunt for Osama bin Laden. But they managed to squeeze in dozens of meetings in the White House Situation Room to organize and give legal cover to prisoner abuse, including brutal methods that civilized nations consider to be torture.

(from an editorial in the New York Times)

We all know now. What are we going to do about it? To do nothing would make us complicitous.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

snail mail

A heads-up for all those wishing to send letters, cards and packages to or from The Netherlands: a postal strike has been announced as of next Wednesday.

The actions will take the shape of a relay, with The Hague to be hit first. On the 23rd no mail will be collected or delivered. Two days later it's Amsterdam's turn, followed by four more cities over the next couple of weeks.

If the unions don't get an improved offer on the 3% pay rise (1.5 now and 1.5 in April 2009) they will continue with the distribution centers from mid May.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

gogo kosher

Sometimes, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I catch a show on the Dutch second public channel by the Joodse Omroep (Jewish Broadcaster), called GoGo Kosher!. It's a tiny broadcaster, the show is only on once a month so it's surprising how often I manage to catch it.

Two teams of two people have to prepare a meal - usually the episodes are themed - and a strict jury consisting of a food critic, a yiddische mehme and a rabbi decides who has won.

What I love most of all is when they go "And the red team has called for the rabbi already!" Then the rabbi has to trot out and check the eggs. This video shows a Chanoeka episode.
At one point one of the contestants asks the presenter, Michel, "Have you ever eaten boksoi before?" "Of course he says, in Chinese food." pause "Kosher Chinese, of course."

Almost forgot to plug Joe.My.God.. I adore his observations, mostly overheard conversations at Food Emporium. This one came so close on the heels of the latest episode of GoGo Kosher! that I had to mention it.

Food Emporium, 1st & 72nd, 9PM

Woman On Cell: "Well, you tell that your brother that if he dares to bring that little bitch to MY Seder, he is no longer my son. What? What? You know I don't care about that. And at least your uncle's boyfriend is Jewish."

I followed her for another minute to get more, but the rest of conversation was about fish. Seriously though, I get my best material at Food Emporium. Something about grocery stores makes people forget that other people have ears. I always take a pen to Food Emporium.

Source: Joe.My.God

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

bus stop

Tuesday morning in a quiet suburban neighbourhood. The streets are wet and the clouds are dark, but the air tastes clean and fresh.

It's a grey dawn but the birds - it is a green neighbourhood with many mature trees, so there is always a chorus to greet the morning - are no less enthusiastic than usual. Especially the one that loves to mimic the sound of an alarm going off. Beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep.

There are six people waiting for the bus: one sitting in the shelter, smoking, the other five standing outside.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

back to the future

Blogger have added a very exciting feature called Scheduled Post Publishing. I have often wanted to set up a post to be published later, even tested to see if it would work, but so far to no avail. Apparently I wasn't the only one and Blogger are now testing this new feature.

If everything goes right, this post should appear this night at 4AM, while I am asleep.

Note: You have to be logged on to Blogger in draft to do it.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

back to 1929

Following George Soros, Dutch finance minister Wouter Bos has now also announced that the current economic crisis is the worst since 1929 (the last two links are in Dutch, sorry). He was speaking to the IMF in Washington.

Contrary to suggestions from others, he believes the Netherlands are not at risk from the credit crisis itself and the Dutch housing market is not a soap bubble about to burst. But there will be blows. Like a boxing match, you just don't know if they're going to come from the left or from the right...

Hurrah!



Have I ever mentioned how much I love Joe.My.God.? Just look at the picture above. It is swag he sent me, a signed Scissor Sisters Hurrah poster. If you know me at all, you'll know I would take a bullit for the guy after that...

food blogging



If Stash can do it, so can I...

Okay, I'll fess up, the honey mustard sauce was store-bought, the rucola mix came in a bag too, but I did cut up the chicken breast, sear it and heat up the sauce...

pr0n

Straight porn doesn absolutely nothing for me.

Okay, I lie, sometimes straight porn does a little. But never anything like the gay stuff. The men in these movies are at least twice as attractive as their straight counterparts, plus there are at least twice as many of them. A minimum of four times the fun!

Mostly of course, it's a part of me I don't share, but it can lead to funny situations. Like the time I went to meet a friend of K's in a gay bar and pointed to the monitor showing porn, saying "I know that one!"

On another occasion I met with a group of six (girl) friends at a hotel in Chicago for a weekend and played them a Falcon (NSFW) movie. These women were all very interested in the idea of gay sex (talking about it, reading slash fiction, even writing some) but as it turned out much less comfortable with seeing the mechanics of it.

Perhaps I really am a gay man at heart. A horny one - or is that pleonastic? If you want to stalk me, just promise to send me some DVDs and I'll happily tell you where I live!


EDIT: Perhaps I should mention that my family is pretty tolerant as far as soft core straight porn is concerned. When I was in my mid teens there was a station here in The Netherlands which screened an Emanuelle or Emanuelle-like movie every Thursday (I think) night.

My father would watch this while my Mom and I were in the room, Mom ironing or doing some other chore (she doesn't have the patience to watch any movie) and me reading and watching at the same time.

want Fries with that?

This morning I stumbled out of bed and went to make myself some breakfast. What should I choose? Yoghurt with crunchy muesli or rye bread. I stuck my head in the cupboard and thought, "Maybe I'll have fries..."

What? how did I get that? I rarely eat fries at all, and never for breakfast... Then I realised what I was looking at was a package of "roggebrood", or rye bread. "Fries" is Dutch for Frisian, of Friesland. I ended up having the yoghurt, some honey, topped with cruesli. I might add some banana too, next time.

And I had a brainwave after I saw a girl on the train eating yoghurt and cruesli/muesli from a tupperware box on the train last week. It seems to be a lot cheaper alternative than buying the same thing at the station.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

hard cash

The euro is up not only against the US dollar (duh!) but has also made big inroads against the British pound since last August.



As Uroskin mentions, the new British coins look stunning.



Now if only I had some euros to spare, I would go and spend them in the UK or the US...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

sci-fi and sushi (plus some singing)

Here be spoilers for Torchwood S02E13 and Doctor Who S04E01!



Yesterday I drove up to K's for Dr. Who night. First we watched the final episode of Torchwood season 2, which we missed* on Friday because we were out drinking. One has to prioritise.

We agreed the episode was great, although he didn't want Owen to die and I was cheering (shame about Toshiko, though). I loved the body in the freezer, although I was slow to understand why they didn't have to to wake Jack up every year like they did the World War I soldier - great! after I simply accepted as given that he'd been in the ground for almost 1.900 years dying and coming back to life again and again...

If they somehow revive Owen after this, or it turns out to have been a dream or some such, I will (1) scream and (2) never watch another second of Torchwood again.

K's homemade sushi was absolutely perfect. We had two varieties, tuna and prawn makisushi, and though the tuna was great, the prawn ones were to die for. We had them as we watched Dr. Who.

The first episode of the Doctor Who season was a disappointment in comparison (but then I would never compare them, The Doctor is The Doctor, it's traditional for it to be corny, have low production values and plot holes, in fact I almost find the production values too slick these days).

I'm not too impressed with the return of the runaway bride although we all laughed at the mime scene at the matron's office. The little fat babies were very cute, Sunshine and I were awww-ing over them but decided we wouldn't risk it because we didn't know what they would grow into.

What I hadn't thought of until yesterday is how they never use the interior of the TARDIS anymore. All you ever see is that ugly, dilapidated control room, where are all the other rooms, the corridors, that bell that tolls when they're in grave danger?


* I also missed a colleague who was on the first episode of some sort of karaoke show (it's about knowing the words rather than being able to sing). He won, but I already knew that. Here he is in the red shirt:

near-miss

This morning I drove up to Amsterdam from K's, parked at one of the outer stations and took a train into town. (aside: I thought the Park & Ride scheme was free so they could encourage people to leave their cars, but it cost me €6,-. Not bad for a little over seven hours, but still...)

There were only three people at our adult religious education course, but that probably made it easier to come up with a plan for this June's service, which we'll organise. We have the skeleton, now it's up to everyone to help flesh it out.

Then we had a druidic ceremony for Alban Eilir, which was interesting and also kind of funny because the participants didn't really know what they were supposed to do, everyone was reading off their scripts and watching the druid leading the ceremony for clues. As it was such a beautiful sunny day and he had said that normally they wouldn't do this indoors, we had taken it outside into the church's garden, which may not have been the best idea because it did get cold as soon as the sun disappeared. My hands were purple, but I didn't really suffer, K on the other hand was looking like a wet puppy, shivering like mad.

Afterwards we went over to Prik and had a few drinks (mint tea for me, I was driving, after all), stopped by a friend of K's who has unfortunately got a very serious illness for a little while and then got ready to go home.

I was only just off the ring road around Amsterdam when I was in a near-accident with a German lady (at least she was driving a car with German plates), who decided to move into my lane without looking. I don't know about other countries, but over here in The Netherlands you're not allowed to change more than one lane at a time. She came from the first lane and I saw her signalling and moving into the second, no problem there.

Then she kept moving over into the third lane where I was. If I hadn't moved away, I would have hit her on the driver's side. Fortunately I was able to move out of the way on time. I happened to know both lanes to my left were free because I was paying attention, but imagine if there had been a car next to me: I might have had to broadside her (which would hopefully be better than running one of the corners of my car into the driver's door), with all kinds of nasty consequences...

Friday, 4 April 2008

early morning, April fourth

Early morning, April fourth
A shot rings out through the Memphis sky
Free at last! They took your life
They could not take your pride


I was wondering why I had that song going through my head yesterday.