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My blog

24-02-2018

       

 

 

Every day we watch the news they are full of the fact that the coming days it will be rather cold. Hold on to your seats: it will be below 0! Maybe someone should explain to these people that it is winter and this is normal and not worthy of a 10 minutes slot of the News while the world is going to hell in a handcart.

 

Furthermore I am following the court case against a Belgium GP , lets call him John,who had orchestrated his son-in-law’s ,we will call him Peter,murder. Here it is called the Castle murder, as the victim a 34 year old property developer lived in a lovely castle in West Flanders. The whole story reads like a real crime novel.You just can’t make it up.
In short Peter was married to , Mary,the daughter of a local GP, who himself was not short of a penny. They have 4 small children. They seem to live the ideal life living in a castle surrounded by beautiful grounds. 
One day Mary comes home to find a blood trail in the entrance hall of the castle and her husband has disappeared. The police is called and a search is started. They only had one shell casing as evidence.
Soon Dr.John and his son were taken into custody as the rumor mill already had put a story into the world that they had it in for the victim as he wanted to emigrate to Australia and take his wife and children with him away from all her family and friends. But the police had to let them go.When they finally found the body in a pit on the property of a good friend of John, Mr.P. and on top of that found that the pit had been dug 14 days in advance by a cousin of Mr.P. all of the men involved were taken into custody again. This time Mr.P. pointed the finger to the man who had actually done the killing. He was a known criminal in the final stages of pancreatic cancer and died within a few weeks he was found out. After rigorous questioning John first only admitted that he wanted his friend Mr.P. only to hire someone to teach his son-in-law a lesson. But soon after that Mr.P. cracked and told the police that John had pestered him for weeks to have Peter killed.
John changed his story again and tried to excuse his deed by accusing Peter of incest with his kids and that he had to ‘save’ them. 
The court case is still going and prosecution is not being fooled and has asked for the maximum of 30 years prison. And as icing on the cake, Mary is now pregnant from the best friend of her murdered husband…… I wonder when the book comes out.

To write about some more depressing stuff, today we had to attend a funeral of my best friend’s father. He was 90 and had not been ill one day of his life. As a daughter whose parents both died at 55, I think he got a fair innings. Before that we lost a very lovely family friend (94) and straight after that my husband’s uncle who also made it to 94. Now in two weeks we will attend the funeral of an aunt, the aforementioned uncle’s wife, who lived to the ripe old age of 96. I said depressing, but as they all had rather full lives and did not suffer too much in the end it is actually an uplifting story. Being at all those funerals though made me think of how I want my own send off to be. The problem is that I can think of a lot of things I don’t want , but cannot decide how I do like it to be. A Viking send-off in a burning boat would have my preference, but in this day and age I would have to be brought to India where it is still done at the river Ganges. Here in Europe all the health and safety rules probably would prohibit it. My husband finds it morbid of me to want to plan it already and when you think of it you should not give a damn about what they do with your dead body as you will not be there anyway. People have been carrying out burial ceremonies for hundred thousands of years in all matter of ways, but what they have in common is that people get together and mourn and celebrate the diseased and dispose of the body. As contemplating the finality of death is too hard for a lot of people, they have to believe there will be another life one way or the other after death. Be it in some ideal place or through rebirth in another body. But for the first option I think that place will be very overpopulated by now and for the second option our population is getting larger and larger so where do all those extra souls come from. Animals?Plants? Though I must say some people do seem to have been a worm in former life. I will not mention names.

I will leave you all with some uplifting news: The Winter Olympics will finally finish tomorrow, so we can have some real news again. Think this last was a real Victor Meldrew moment. God I loved that man. My husband and I well aware that we have entered the grumpy old people phase always say:’I can’t believe it!!”, before we point out some things to each other that was done so much better when we were young. Here some examples of the master.

17-02-2018

Reading my last blogs I have come to the conclusion that I have to stop writing them late at night or at 5 in the morning. They read more like a stream of conscientiousness than structured essays. But as I am pretty sure hardly anyone is reading them I have decided to push on writing them as they are helping me to fill the gaps in writing on my book.

Last week St.Valentine’s day was celebrated. One of the many commercial holidays that I love to hate. Reading up on it the connection between the religious saint’s day and romance was first started with a mention of the day in one of his poems: 

“For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make”.

 

 

Which funny enough was similar to the first Old Dutch poem ever recorded: “Hebban olla uogala nestas hagunnan hinase hi(c) (a)nda thu uuat unbidan uue nu”. Which loosely translated means something like: All birds have started making their nests, except you and me.What are we waiting for? Another trivial item of knowledge of which my head is full I am afraid. 

Other days are Fathers’and Mothers’ day. My husband sometimes complains that my sons do not acknowledge these days. Naturally as they were raised by me. I think expressions of love and affection should come from the heart and be spontaneous. My sons taking me out on a mother-sons day to a wellness center for massages and afterwards for a lovely meal or writing on a book token how much they appreciate that I am their mother and to please live as long as possible makes those days the real Mother’s day . I get enough of those impromptu days to make me a very happy person.
Risking to sound like the sheriff of Nottingham I don’t even like Christmas and birthdays.

Maybe it is due to the fact that my birthday falling right in the middle of the Summer holidays was often forgotten by my parents who, my father being a teacher, were then in relax mode. When I was small I felt terribly neglected and never said anything until the end of the day. When I then told them looking like a little martyr they felt very guilty, as I knew they would, and got me a very good present. As an adult I decided to only celebrate the big ones such as 21, 30,50 and 60. After that it is better not to mention it at all.
The aversion to mandatory feast days is probably one of the many ways I rebel against anything that is forced upon me. A rather difficult trait to live with especially in a working environment.
I can still hear my new manager telling my old manager :”Sylvia can’t be managed. Just give her a lot of work to do and she will be good as gold”. It was always difficult for me to respect my “betters” when I could not find anything worthwhile to admire in them. Over a career of 43 years I can count the good ones on the fingers of one hand. That is probably why I changed jobs 20 times over those years. The moment my manager stopped being an enabler and started being a micro manager I was out of the door. One even had the courage to tell me to apologize about a rather vituperative mail I sent someone, or else…… My resignation was on his desk 5 minutes later. Thank god my children take after their father when it comes to following orders. I take after mine. He changed schools on our small island 13 times and I think there were only about 15. Yes, we Lowiks do not take to authority very well.

Last week yet another school shooting in the USA. Listening to a reaction of some moron from the NRA, a club of very powerful weapon manufacturers, their solution is not to make getting your hands on any sort of weapon, as we do in more civilized countries, but to arm schoolteachers and have more armed guards in the schools! How crazy can you get? The president who is very dependent on the gun lobby to stay in power only came with the usual platitudes. A nice example is how the sister of the founder of Blackwater, now named Academi after a lot of scandals, is now the United States secretary of Education, while not knowing anything about this subject. The family Prince have always been staunch supporters of the Republican party, which has done them no harm financially. But what was more shocking that even Obama hired this private army now and then. Listening to an interview with an HR person from one of these private armies I found out that they are now hiring former Child soldiers from Africa, who have already been through hell as a child and have been raised to kill with no remorse. He coldly said that a trained soldier would cost the army about 8000 a month while these young men will go out and fight for you for a few 100 dollars a month and still think they are being paid over the top. 
Having the time now to follow up the news not only by looking at the dumbed-down items shown on the regular News in three countries, but on line and by reading up on the history, I am becoming more and more like Mel Gibson in the Conspiracy theory. I see relations between the bad things happening in the world and Globalized Big Business. Climate change, wars and the divide between the have and Have-Nots becoming wider. In the USA they show it quite openly. A rich man who has promised other very rich men more wealth when he is in charge of the country, is now President and has taken measures to give those very rich men a free hand in becoming even more wealthy over the heads of the workers. The latter actually supporting this television celebrity as they have been taught to do since they were children being brainwashed by that same television. It is all happening right in front of our eyes. Naturally the arms lobby was not forgotten and they have made a considerable part of the budget available for them instead of education, healthcare and getting all those homeless people off the street.

But lets stop about that country. It is a shame we cannot put a big Dome  on top of it as Stephen King did in his marvelous book Under the Dome. A great  predictive parable on life in the US as it is now but on the scale of a small town. Big Jim is Trump reincarnate. Stephen is a great writer but sometime the quantity seems to go before quality. He has published nearly 60 books in 44 years. most of them are very good read without knowing his whole output. But when you read them all you see he has done quite a bit of copy paste between for example the Dark Tower books and some other standalone novels. I quit that series when he started to appear as himself in the novel. But the first 5 were very good. For me the Stand and hearts in Atlantis still are the best. Though Revival shows him back at his best.

 

11-02-2018

Started to write a new category called Snippets as part of my Memories  1968 SC. Sometimes I suddenly remember little anecdotes of my childhood that I would like to share with my offspring, but when I don’t write them down I forget. Snippet 1 is about the way our parents brought us up which was quite strict but at the same time with loving neglect. We roamed the knoekoe, a sort of Caribbean bush whose wildlife consisted of goats and every variety of lizard, like a bunch of wildlings with no adult supervision. On the other hand there were strict bedtime rules and how to address adults and other officials.For  my mother, who suffered greatly from the heat and was homesick for the Netherlands, the carpet beater was the chosen instrument of instilling some sort of order . She ,especially when woken up by us from her siesta, would be calling us in to receive a few good wallops, so we always sent our little brother first, as he was her favorite and would not be hit so hard. And while she was giving him a few ,probably soft,whacks we would scoot in and hide in our bedroom. In case you feel sorry for me and my brothers, I have to admit we were trouble in triplicate. But more about that in the next snippet.

Recently there was another Twilight zone episode on the Belgium news. They apparently have found the way to reduce road accidents caused by people not keeping their distance in their cars.
No electronic gadgets in the car or more police intervention. The solution to the problem is advising the drivers to sing the first lines of the song: Last night the DJ saved my Life!!!! As this should take exactly 2 seconds which is the time you need to keep a safe distance between cars. In order to help us to do this they have written the lyrics on the road on the two main highways. 
It won’t get any crazier than this.

The Winter Olympics have started in South Korea.It is weird but I have the feeling there is hardly any enthusiasm for it anymore. Only sponsors,top athletes and politicians are really interested. In my day it was the main event if when it happened in the year. The same can be said for the summer games, though those get a bit more attention from the crowds. On demand television has something to do with it and being able to organize any sport event on your gaming console. The latest Game of Thrones episode gets more viewers.

 

 

 

02-02-2018

In Belgium practically every day at the end of the news they show some artists’impressions or security camera shots of suspects and ask the public help to find them. As most of those images would not be recognized by the suspects’ own mother I don’t know why they keep doing it.
I think there is enough news in the world or they maybe could replace this with some good news item. Or celebrate some people who have done something good for the world.
It never ceases to amaze me how people are conned into giving out their bank details so people can take all their money. For example the Microsoft engineer scam where they tell some old dear that there is a problem with their software and that they will sort it if a sum of money can be handed over, please give me your card details and pin. I mean I can understand all these zillions of people using it equipment without having the foggiest about how it works, but every bank should have in large letters printed on the bank cards:NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR PIN!!! Just like they tell people that when you smoke cigarettes you die a horrible death. The poor tobacco companies are now even being sued by hospitals and cancer institutions for giving them too much work, or no sorry for making cigarettes more damaging than in the olden days? Here is me thinking that everybody in this day and age knows about the risks of smoking so why blame the enabler? Do Alcoholics blame the drink companies? Or do we see pictures of damaged livers and car crashes on the bottles of liquor? No because their lobby must be very powerful. And I am not even starting on the use of petrol instead of electricity for cars and other transport. Or selling guns to people . It would be funny if the end results were not so painful.

Scientist in China have successfully cloned 2 sweet little monkeys, who look very unhappy without a mummy. They apparently cloning other animals as well, but this is supposed to be the first step to cloning humans. The current population of China is 1,412,782,694 as of Friday, February 2, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. Do they really need more Chinese? I get the feeling that the situation as described in the movie “The Island” or in the wonderful book “Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro is coming closer and closer. Why else would we need more people on this earth which is straining at the seams as it is?
I can say now that I have lived for quite a long time that science fiction from the past is now becoming or already is actual science today. It first started when I read “The Demon Princes “by Jack Vance , one of my most favorite writers. In those books he already talked about credit cards that magically transport money from one person to another. I could not believe that would ever come about.
Or being operated on by a robot, which is now possible but has been part of science fiction for a long time. Social media, mobile phones, tablets and the next step according to fiction implants of all sorts to make communicating with devices and each other easier. But better? There is still a lot of war going on on our planet. Globalization has alas not led to global peace.