Category Archives: ramblings

So much for Romantic Love?


“When a love relation comes to an end it shows that a lot of emotional bookkeeping had been taking place all the time while it lasted: ‘what did I receive in return for what I gave?’ “.

It’s a quote from last night’s ( 29.08.2014)  interview with Esma Linneman on Dutch public radio.  Subject was her autobiographic novel “Muze” (‘Muse, a love story in b-minor’) about an ‘unconditional love’ affair which collapsed.

I wonder is her observation gender-neutral or specifically feminine?



If you would ask whether I, being essentially a twentieth century man, love to live now, my answer  will be affirmative. Actually I intend to go on breathing till I’m ninety. At least. Because we are going through exiting times. Technologically, culturally, socially, politically, economically, well, just make your pick. On the other hand, to be honest  I’m afraid gradually I’m growing  out of step with modernity.  The truth is staring me right in the face: most people love parts of modern life  I dislike. Let’s face it, I’m a grumpy old man now. Sometimes.

A few examples.

Take good taste.

I guess the first time I got that nauseating feeling was when I saw Big Brother on TV for the first time. And the last time for that matter. Since that tasteless disaster happened the stupidity of similar formats on TV is the common rule. In literature things also seem to go downhill. Just look at the huge  success of woolly and vague books in the Paulo Coelho style. Or worse than that. Isn’t it significant that  E.L. James’ “Fifty shade  of Grey” proved to be a box office champion. And look at the turn the pop-scene took. Since it headed for Techno, Trance and Hip-Hop it’s all beat, no harmony. That doesn’t make me happy either. And now, last Saturday the “the woman with the beard” from Austria won the European Song Festival by popular vote. Camp in stead of pop-music.

There’s a process going on which might result in a travesty of good taste. It’s a repulsive but irresistible premonition.

Next item for prosecution, “Mother’s Day”. Which we, eh, let’s say celebrated yesterday in this part of the world.


Yeah, I also loved my mother dearly. But actually I think the yearly event is a painful anachronism. A commercial celebration of degrading clichés on women. A commercial exploitation of the latter part of the obsolete  dichotomy of  ‘either whore or  holy’. A feast of prejudices one might hope were in the past forever now. Such as ‘women belong in bed and the kitchen, except for mothers’ (who of course are beyond any criticism). It’s the weird echo of a once prevailing but no longer usual division of  family labour, in which only the wife carried the burden of the household and the education of the children. A performance for which her children would forever have to endow her with tokens of gratefulness, regardless of the quality of that education.

So annoying.

And so is smartphone etiquette. Or rather the lack of it.

Peculiar. I belong to the sixties and it’s preference for casual clothing and informal behaviour. So I never cared much for etiquette. However times are changing. Because if you want to discuss the worries of daily life or tell anecdotes about one’s grandchildren today, people keep looking down to check their little displays. They seem not to pay real attention to what you say. Most of time they very  aptly text their messages to someone you only can guess about, while all the time you elaborately try to explain why they should try this or that delicacy. Or ask their advice on some ailment, some mishap, some love you fear to  suffer from. No doubt about it, since technology is in, genuine conversation is out. Except of course when someone happened to have bought the newest gadget for hipsters the other day. That, for a short period of time, may spark some old fashioned exchange of thoughts and opinions. Which, that goes without saying,  usually only adds to my discontent.

It’s sad but true, I often feel ill at ease seeing modern electro-technical communication prevailing over traditional communication at social gatherings . I want the immediate return  of etiquette. Or rather the introduction of good old fashioned etiquette in the world of smartphone -users. Electronics  should be ‘not done’ while in company of others. We should focus on the ones present. Show interest. Not be disturbed by the absent ones.


But is there still hope for less commercial rubbish, for better taste and less smartphone terrorism?

Yes there is. By way of a one-man protest-movement I refuse to carry such a devilish Apple  -or other brand- product on me as long as that etiquette is not the rule.  And I will thoroughly teach my grandchildren to distinguish between quality and rubbish :).



By sheer unjust accident Dutch isn’t the universal language.

So one of my problems with bridge-blogging is the necessity of the use of a lingua franca, in casu English. Which to the overwhelming majority of the world’s population and to me is a second language at best.

It means  that every time I write in English I  delegate from my comfortable Dutch intellectual Primera Division to  a second or third division.  In other words while it doesn’t necessarily diminish in any way the fun and pleasure of writing, it definitely tarnishes the quality of communication.

Actually this is what happens if and when Dutchmen try a conversation in English:


You see? On average one in two of our sentences is missing the bull’s eye by a mile or at least by some inches.

I’m Dutch, so I have to admit I speak Duglish rather than English.

On the other hand, who cares?

But keep it in mind please . I’m not as bad as my English :).

Not Hooked or The Fugitive


FB en Google want to know all about you and me.  Why not cooperate, because  we and our privacy loose anyhow?

So for them, here I provide them with some personal trivial details.

Smoking is off limits to me. Though fine food isn’t.  And usually  I will not decline an occasional glass of wine at dinner, but on the other hand I  never  tried soft or hard drugs. I gather I’m not programmed for addiction. Not even internet addiction.

This last one I know for sure because I did the Time internet addiction test and this is the result:

“0 – 25%

Wow, do you even have a wifi connection? You’re not addicted to the Internet at all. You probably do exotic things like read books and go outside and speak to people face-to-face. We’re surprised you even found this quiz!

25 – 50%

You’re a little bit addicted to the Internet, but overall, you use it in moderation. Good for you! You’ve probably had at least two conversations with actual human beings today without glancing at your phone, but you’ve probably spent a decent chunk of time surfing Pinterest too. And that’s okay!

50 – 75%

So, you’re pretty addicted to the web. You’re probably stealthily reading this on your phone beneath a table. But just be careful not to let your battery die because we all know there’s nothing more terrifying than being out in the world without a 4G connection in your pocket.

75 – 100%

Welp, you’re an addict. Might as well embrace it. We appreciate you finding time in your busy schedule to take this quiz — we know you have a lot of Facebook stalking, BuzzFeed browsing, Instagram scrolling and Reddit trolling to get back to. But hey, it might not hurt to step away from your computer now and then, and leave your phone behind while you’re at it. You can handle it, we promise.

You scored 10%!”

Yes, 10%! Hurray.

And, believe me, most of the time I leave the smart phone at home and on top of that I don’t  even have a watch.

You see, I’m on the run. Trying to escape FB and Google. Set to outsmart Big Brother :).

For a good laugh today :)

betovering 2

Usually news from the political world is boring. And disappointing. Often it also is bad, shocking or sensational.  Actually that may, for many people, be the very definition of genuine political news.

However occasionally, at some blessed moments, it makes you laugh. Because it’s crazy, absurd, over the top and funny.

This morning a small item in the JP unexpectedly cheered me up that way.

Earthquakes, rumbling volcanoes and flooding brought havoc to Indonesia. Time after time. Not only in recent weeks but often and devastating during last ten years between 2004 and 2014. The very time of the President’s two terms in office. This presidency, this administration, and huge as well as many natural catastrophes, coincide. Too accidental to call it mere chance, some people, psychics, claim. They apparently don’t believe in any rational explanation. To them the president and his bad Karma are to blame.


In large parts of the world nobody would pay any attention to these people and accusations. Not so this President who himself believes in witchcraft. Which by itself is remarkable but not as politically peculiar and amazing as the fact he thought it opportune to have his  cabinet secretary officially deny the President was the dark force behind all these disasters.

Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam stated the rational obvious by saying it’s not SBY, but the country’s geographical location. No genuine enlightenment to most of us I assume.  But I admit that he really did surprise me by adding that the hand of God was another explanation. Which may be pious conformity, but peculiar as well.

The psychics, the President and the cabinet secretary are worth a good laugh. And so much for modern world :).