Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Journalist Prematurely Ejaculated!


Telegraaf story translated from Dutch:

"Tribunal Throws Journalists Out"

The Hague _ The Yugoslavia Tribunal caused a great deal of outrage among the amassed international press that flocked there Wednesday by forcing the journalists out of the building a half an hour after the end of the press conference held by Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz.

Journalists without an office in The Hague who hadn't finished their stories went as a result, in poor spirits, to sit on the grass field on Churchhill square in front of the tribunal building.

Reporters from press agencies with fixed work places in the tribunal, such as AFP, ANP and Reuters, were forced to leave too.

At other international organizations, when they host a news event of global proportions, it is customary to offer journalists appropriate facilities to do their work.

Do I know anybody who got thrown out today and was sorely aggrieved? No comment...



Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Eroding Legacy of Curious George

(all images from: Curious George Takes A Job, copyright 1947.).

"He was a good little monkey _ but he was very curious."

As a strong advocate of the simian races, I remember Curious George as one of the important role models of my youth. So I was sorely disappointed when I purchased "A Curious George Treasury" recently from for my son.

Gone were the tales of mad monkey adventure I remembered. In their place were a bunch of predictable, harmless stories with the life and danger sucked out of them.

My son wasn't interested at all.

Then, while I was back home this month, I picked up one of my old Curious George books, called "Curious George Takes A Job" and it was every bit as good as I remember. My son loved it too.

I figured out later that the "Treasury" they're selling on Amazon actually wasn't done by either the original illustrator or author. They date from around 2000. What a scam.

"Curious George Takes A Job" begins with George stealing his keeper's keys and busting out of jail. He then goes nuts with some spaghetti in a restaurant and has to wash dishes to pay it off.

He gets a job as a window washer on a skyscraper and eventually breaks into somebody's house to paint it up like a jungle. When he gets chased away, he gets a compound fracture while jumping off a fire escape.

This is the Way of the Monkey.

But the ether incident is definitely the highlight.

"There is nothing more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge."

-Hunter S. Thompson.

If you're wondering, the story concludes with The Man in the Yellow Hat smoking big cigars after landing a movie contract for the story of George's life.

On a serious note, according to Wikipedia, the "Curious George Gets a Job" story is closely based on the life of a German boy with Down Syndrome who eventually became an artist. He's believed to have killed by the Nazis, presumably for either eugenics or as a producer of 'degenerate art.' MORE

Friday, July 25, 2008


(People lining up to buy the new iPhone in Palo Alto on Monday, July 6).

A quick post on my impression of America's economic health and the mood there after my first vacation stateside in quite some time.

Signs of the housing slowdown are everywhere. However, I do not have the impression at all that America is on the brink of a major recession, let alone a depression. People remain prosperous, friendly _ hardly anybody I talked to seemed gloomy about their economic situation.

The Wal-Mart was teeming with people. Take that as a good sign or a bad sign, since it shows economic activity but also implies people are trying to save the maximum amount of money.

I did see the following irresistible item on the rack there and had to buy it.

Discounted from $4.73 to $3.00 _ that's EUR1.92 for a gem like this!

And Amsterdam is beautiful again, although apparently I missed a cold wet and lousy Dutch July.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Licking your Wounds

(George the 4th)

Some people are repulsed by blood. Others, like me, lick their wounds instinctively.

Now Dutch researchers have come to the conclusion that there's a protein in human saliva that can help heal wounds faster.

Rat spit contains growth hormones that sparks skin cell growth around wounds in rodents. So licking definitely works for rats.

But people don't have enough of those growth hormones to work on their wounds.

The Dutch scientists found instead that a different protein, "histatin," has a similar effect on human skin cells. It was known as a mild antibiotic (antifungal) before.

They're conducting further tests, but the great question of "To Lick or Not To Lick" is probably going to go unanswered for the time being...


As my hero Cecil B. Adams points out, there's the significant problem of possibly infecting the wound with bacteria from the mouth.

Here's the actual abstract, with big words, from the "FASEB Journal" where it was published this week.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gone Fishin'

(photo: greefus groinks)

I'll be in California for several weeks.
Not sure if I'll have any time to post until I get back, on July 22nd or so.
Still reachable through the usual channels.

Happy trails to you ... un-til we meet a-gain...


Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Alzheimer Express

(photos: Geert jan van Rooi)

This is the kind of use of technology I really love.

For people at an elderly home who suffer from Alzheimers or dementia, the designers converted an ordinary lobby space into a replica of a (roomy) train, and the "windows" are video screens that desplay a Dutch countryside slowly rolling past, with cows, windmills, clouds and trees.

They even have people in costume come by to collect tickets and serve coffee.

I guess some people might not like this idea because it could be seen as too fake or demeaning to the people because they're being tricked.

But they love it! And for people who are not physically or mentally in shape to do much outside the walls of the home, what a nice option.

One row of seats side by side for people who feel like chatting, one row of single seats for people who just want to gaze out the window or read a newspaper.

Kudos to the artists behind it, Lino Hellings and Yvonne Dröge Wendel. It's installed at nursing home "De Bieslandhof" in Delft.

There's more information in English on the project on the website of "SKOR", Dutch acronym meaning for the Institute for Culture in Public Spaces."

Awesome that such an institute exists. Unfortunately, the website is a little cluttered.

The artists' own website details the ENTIRE process, from conception to completion, at (but that's in Dutch).

"We discover an old steam train between Hoorn and Medemblik. The windows are perfect, as is the speed. We use old socks filled with coffee beans to stabilize the camera..."


Tuesday, July 1, 2008


(this photo is copyrighted by Bert Bohlmeijer and AT5. Guys: I think I know someone who'd like to buy it, if you get in touch quickly...)

From the AP:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage.

Police spokesman Arnout Aben says the animals wandered in a group through a nearby neighborhood for several hours after their 5:30 a.m. breakout.

The animals were back at the circus later Monday after being rounded up by police and circus workers with the assistance of dogs. Aben says neighbors fed some of the animals — which he said was a bad idea — but they were tame and nobody was hurt.

Says Aben: "You have to imagine somebody rubbing his eyes first thing in the morning and saying, 'Am I seeing things or is that 15 camels walking past?'"

Speaking of Swine, the big cull in the Hoge Veluwe is supposed to start tomorrow. I wonder if the Party for the Animals (political party) is going to go ballistic...


The Hemony Arsonist Strikes Again





Troublesome it is.

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