Speechless, But Trying: The Church Shooting in Charleston S.C.

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“White Man Kills Nine Black People in Church Shooting in Charleston S.C.”

Revoke the License to Kill and Reduce Lethal Police Shootings

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Better Firearms Training, Less Lethal Force, Fewer Lethal Police Shootings”

Police Training within the Police Hierarchy: A Bad Idea

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“How to Get Independent Quality Police Training and Police Accountability”

1984: Dutch Police Training Adjusts to Society

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“1984: Dutch Police Training Adjusts to Society’s Anti-Authoritarianism”

This Says it All

I found this video on a post about Zwarte Piet by Travelogues of an African Girl. Holland, it’s time to catch up.

They’re All Druggies and Alcoholics

image: askusfortcollins.com

image: askusfortcollins.com

An argument you hear often for not helping the homeless is that if you give them money, they just spend it on drugs or alcohol.

First of all, there are plenty of people homeless who aren’t drug addicts or alcoholics. It’s often hard to tell the difference. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet and Ferguson

image: vrij-zinnig.nl

image: vrij-zinnig.nl

In a reply to a comment by Onno on one of my posts about Zwarte Piet, I mentioned that the Netherlands is still in the Stone Age when it comes to racial sensitivity. Onno responded by pointing to Ferguson. Continue reading

Please DO Feed the Homeless

image: sleuthjournal.com

image: sleuthjournal.com

It’s that time of year again: people donate to food banks that feed the hungry and to organizations that provide meals for the homeless. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Let’s Put This into Perspective, Again

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

Okay, one more repost, because I’ve had so many hits on the last one. Clearly there’s an interest and the post below is one that gets skipped a lot, it seems.

After this I’m stopping with the Zwarte Piet issue, at least for this year. I think.

Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Breaking Down Some Arguments, Again

blog.seniorennet.beIts that time of year again in the Netherlands: Sinterklaas is coming. From what I gather over here in Texas, for now, the people who want to keep Zwarte Piet black have won.

There’s no point to me saying everything I already said at length last year, but for those of you who missed it then, here’s one of the posts I wrote about the issue below. Or, if you want, you can start at the beginning. And if you’re one of those who say I have no right to say anything because I’m an outsider, I have dedicated my last post in the series especially to you.

So here goes:

————————————————————————————————–

Continue reading

Dictionary Schmictionary, or The Downside of Being Bilingual

image: licoricelemondrops.com

image: licoricelemondrops.com

Today’s writing prompt: Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

Okay, this is embarrassing, but it definitely is the biggest boo-boo I’ve ever made in this regard. Continue reading

Dreamy

Snowdonia 8

Not the best quality image but it was the first that came to mind. I converted this from a slide from the 80s. This is on the path up to Mount Snowdon, in Wales. It was cloudy, incredibly windy and it was my first ever mountain. It definitely felt dreamy.

Police Killings, Militarization and the Absence of the NRA in Ferguson, Missouri

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Police Shootings, Militarization and the Absence of the NRA in Ferguson MO”

Tiny Texas Tornado

tornado 1Well, here’s another thing you don’t have in the Netherlands. Tornadoes.

We have plenty of tornadoes in Texas, but usually further north, where the land is flatter. Once every few years we get a tornado warning, but I’ve only taken the kids into the closet twice. Once in the Rio Grande Valley, when R was still a baby and our cats were outside pets, which was fortunate, since our centrally located closet was tiny. And of course nothing happened. Continue reading

Rated Hardly R At All

jellies 6I think it’s time for a sequel to my post Rated R, where I literally translated some Dutch swear words and phrases into English. So here are several words I used when I was a kid in the early seventies. They’re not as R-rated as the first post. I found these “retro swear words” on this site. Continue reading

Coleslaw: Improved

coleslawLate 1960s Australia. My mother adds a recipe to her limited repertoire–she discovers coleslaw. Continue reading

From No Way to Okay to Every Day

cokesThis morning I read a BBC article about Coca Cola. This reminded me of conversations T and I had when we were living together in the Netherlands.

Being American, he drank Coke. Continue reading

Agile Eyebrow Envy

agile eyebrowsOh, to be able to raise one eyebrow!

My best friend can do it. My daughter can do it. Steven Colbert can do it with both eyebrows in faster succession than even my daughter can. Continue reading

Eponymous Me

image: Franz Kafka

image: Franz Kafka

Kafka, Marx, Orwell, Sade–no reason why I shouldn’t end up on that list. Here’s what I imagine my contribution to Webster’s to be: Continue reading

Sons of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. I’m approaching the end of Season 2, and I’m still not sure what to think of it. Is it an ultra-hardcore version of The Dukes of Hazard or is there more to it? So far I’m still going back and forth on that one about ten times per episode but the characters are definitely growing on me. Continue reading

The Assault: Part 10: Time Eternal

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

Time Eternal in The Assault: Events Put in a Larger, Timeless Perspective”

The Assault: Part 9: Familiar Imagery

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

Familiar Imagery from Dutch History, Culture and Politics in The Assault

The Assault: Part 8: Selection and Reduction

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“History Changes, Then Solidifies in Historical Fiction, As in The Assault”

 

The Assault: Part 7: Causality and Coincidence

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Causality and Coincidence in History, Historical Fiction and in The Assault”

 

The Assault: Part 6: The Changing Past

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“The Changing Past: The Assault Is the History of an Incident”

 

The Assault: Part 5: Time Stands Still: Petrifaction and Isolation

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Time Stands Still: The Petrifaction of Anton’s World in The Assault”

The Assault: Part 4: Mulisch’s Five Times

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“The Five Forms of Time in the Historical Novel The Assault by Harry Mulisch”

 

The Assault: Part 3: Structure and Narration

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Structure and Narration in The Assault by Harry Mulisch”

 

The Assault: Part 2: Summary

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“A Summary of The Assault by Harry Mulisch”

The Assault: Part 1: The Time Capsule

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“The Time Capsule: An Introduction to the Concept of History in The Assault”

Stay Tuned For The Assault

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Post Series on De aanslag: History and Time in The Assault by Harry Mulisch”

When Are We Going to Get Angry?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Authoritarianism: Response to Police Misconduct? A Slap on the Wrist”

Reading Circle Linked to Separatist Inclusion

image: bbc.com

image: bbc.com

Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo is to take a news article and use (some of) its words in a poem. My goal was to use all the words. I managed, although I did change some words from verbs to nouns, from plural to singular, etc. Continue reading

Gender and Grammar and Growth, Oh My!

image: exchange.smarttech.com

image: exchange.smarttech.com

My son B has been maturing by leaps and bounds the past couple of months. It’s like he’s having a massive mental growth spurt.

As a result, he is increasingly finding out what it means to be him, and learning how to be more assertive about the boundaries between himself and others. At the same time he’s also expanding his experience to include more and more of the world around him. All this seems to suddenly be happening at a faster pace than ever before. Continue reading

If I Had a Semi

image: terrain.org

image: terrain.org

The daily writing prompt asks what skill I’d like to have in my back pocket.

Well, years ago I saw a truck driver back a semi into a parking space between two other semis, straight as a ruler and with about a foot to spare on both sides. Now that’s clever. Continue reading

The Blackbirds in the Pie

image: space.com

image: space.com

Yesterday’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem for children. Here’s mine.

Old Mother Hubbard, who lived in a shoe,
Had so many blackbirds, but no stew.
She put them in a pie and said rub-a-dub-dub,
Gave it to the dog and put him in a tub.
The dog had a great fall and hit a clock,
The pie flew through the sky and went into shock.
That’s how the blackbirds avoided the spoon
And the spoon went over the moon, the moon, the moon,
Yes, the spoon went over the moon.

Emperor Wu’s Teenage Diary

image: almanachdegotha.org

image: almanachdegotha.org

My daughter’s 8th-grade History and Geography teacher is teaching Ancient Civilizations this year. She gives some cool homework assignments.

Recently, R had to write three journal entries from the point of view of Emperor Wu, of the Han Dynasty.  Each entry had to be six or seven sentences long and they had to include three innovations. Continue reading

Grackle Haiku

grackles 2_edited-1

Grackles

From high on the wires
A cool rain shower of sound
sizzles on tarmac

 

Migraine Haiku

migrainePiercing, slashing glare,
Mute explosions, crushing blows,
Silent, violent pain.

The Evening Picnic

image: theguardian.com

image: theguardian.com

Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo was to write a poem including words from this list of seashell names:

Peruvian Hat, Snout Otter Clam, Strawberry Top, Incised Moon, Sparse Dove, False Cup-and-Saucer, Leather Donax, Shuttlecock Volva, Striped Engina, Tricolor Niso, Triangular Nutmeg, Shoulderblade Sea Cat, Woody Canoebubble, Ghastly Miter, Heavy Bonnet, Tuberculate Emarginula, Lazarus Jewel Box, Unequal Bittersweet, Atlantic Turkey Wing. Continue reading

Disorder: With A Wink To William Blake

OCD’s not my personal bugaboo, it just worked for this poem for NaPoWriMo.

image: mnn.com

image: mnn.com

Disorder

Pillows, pillows, teal and red,
Against the headboard of the bed, Continue reading

It’s the Honest Truth

A poem for NaPoWriMo.

earth

The sun revolves around the earth,
Something’s wrong with Obama’s birth,
The dinosaurs missed Noah’s ark, Continue reading

How Do You Write?

A poem in twenty questions for NaPoWriMo.

image: shakespeareforalltime.com

image: shakespeareforalltime.com

Do you pen like William Shakespeare?

Famous tragedies like King Lear?

Or is Hemingway everything under your sun? Continue reading

The Room’s Prayer

Today’s poem for NaPoWriMo

image: authorkevinlewis.com

image: authorkevinlewis.com

Years ago, when B was nine, I wrote this silly poem, framed it and hung it in his room. It didn’t work, but I had fun writing it anyway.

My child,
Who art almighty,
Whom I know by Name.
Please keep me clean,
Please, please, please, please,
On my floor as I am on my ceiling.
Put away daily all your books.
And I’ll forgive you your clothes
As long as you put them where clothes belong.
And bury me not in toy animals,
But deliver me from clutter.
For thine is the neatness,
And the power,
And the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen

What a Difference a Name Makes

image: cafepress.com

image: cafepress.com

I consider myself to be a relatively tolerant, open-minded person. A pacifist, even. Not always in thought, but definitely in actions. I don’t hate much. It’s a toxic attitude to have. Live and let live, I usually say. But nobody’s perfect, not even yours truly. Continue reading

The Hedge

image: hillerscapes.co.uk

image: hillerscapes.co.uk

Today’s writing challenge is Fifty. Exactly fifty words.

Here are mine.

My mother required a hedge. Hawthorne. All around the large field, for an English look. My father, heart patient, dug, scraped and worked the rocks and clay to plant the shrubs. It killed him, but my mother had her English hedge. A year later she liked another house and moved.

Celebrating Spring Green

fuzzy green_edited-1Do you get drunk on green in the spring? I know I do. As a teenager, commuting to school by train, I would lean my face against the window and just drink in as much as I could of the deep May-green pastures rolling by.

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Yes, I’m catching up. This week’s photo challenge is Threshold.

This is son B, registering for the very first time at a college, with T right there with him and R sitting down.

088_edited-1

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Last week’s photo challenge (yes, I’m behind–it’s what happens when I’m writing a series of posts) was street life. So here’s a quick pic I took with my phone in the car in downtown Austin. For some reason it has these rainbow colors, but I kind of like it like that.

skyscraper

 

A Few Books and Movies About American Slavery

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

A Few Books and Movies About Slavery I Can Recommend.”

Reconstruction: What If?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“What Would Black History Look Like if the Reconstruction Had Continued?”

The Meridian Riot of 1871

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“The Meridian Race Riot of 1871: The Failure of the Rickety Reconstruction”

Reconstruction: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Reconstruction: Federal Army, Carpetbaggers, and Blacks in Office”

Slaveholders, Militant Immediatists and Everyone in Between

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Slaveholders, Militant Immediatists and Others on the Abolition Spectrum”

Freedom: Some Qualifications

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Free People of Color: Before Abolition It Was a Freedom with Qualifications”

What is Basic History Education?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my new blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“What Is Good History Education: Civil War Battles or Why They Were Fought?”

American Slavery: A Quick When and Why

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Slavery and the American Civil War: A Quick When and Why”

Laura Plantation

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Laura Plantation: A Sugar Plantation Tour With Barely a Mention of Slavery”

Jeremy Irons’ Slinky Antics, Russian Toilets and More

image: studio360.org

image: studio360.org

What was going on yesterday:

T was planning a family trip.

I’d been driving R around for three days so she could film for her second documentary about homelessness and I kept forgetting to take pictures of her filming. Continue reading

1000 Followers: Yay Me?

image: themirror.co.uk

image: themirror.co.uk

Today I have 1000 followers.

It looks good, but I wonder about most of them. On average I get about 50 hits a day and anywhere from five to thirty likes per post, most of them from the same loyal readers. So who are these 1000 followers? Continue reading

American Railroads and the Environment

It’s high time for another one of my pet peeves. This commercial by CSX, one of the big railroad companies, annoys me no end: Continue reading

Early Memory

image: ct.gov

image: ct.gov

The daily writing challenge: write about the earliest memories of the house you lived in.

We lived in the Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat in Amsterdam. I was about two–it must’ve been 1963. Continue reading

And Then the Music…

DSC_0024_edited-1You can’t walk around New Orleans’ French Quarter or the Marigny without coming across street musicians.

They’re all amazing. Continue reading

Abandoned

The Weekly Photo Challenge is “Abandoned“. The post has to be created for the purpose of this challenge, which this one is. But there are two stories connected to it, if you’re interested. Read this one first to understand the second one.

loving 33_edited-1Loving, New Mexico, taken January 2014

Krewe du Vieux: A Fun Family Outing

image: bestofneworleans.com

image: bestofneworleans.com

When you think of New Orleans–if you ever think of New Orleans, that is–you think of music and Mardi Gras parades.

We saw the very first parade of the season: the Krewe du Vieux. Apparently it’s always extremely crude, but we didn’t know that. Continue reading

Barataria Country

DSC_0077_edited-1South of New Orleans the land turns into real swamp and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. This area is generally called Barataria Country or just the Barataria, which includes swampy land and Barataria Bay and Barataria Sound. The elevation is no more than a few feet. The movie The Beasts of the Southern Wild was filmed here. Continue reading

Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1

DSC_0043_edited-1Due to the high water table, most of New Orleans’ dead aren’t buried but rather entombed in “cities of the dead”. More info here.

If you visit Nawlins, a cemetery  should be on your must-see list. Continue reading

Those Cool New Orleans Nights

image: dancecenter.com

image: dancecenter.com

An empty lot in the middle of the Rue Royal had been taken over by sellers of hand-made jewelry and such. It was evening and getting cooler. One lady sat in her folding chair, laboriously pulling hot pink (much hotter than in the photo), ruffled, nylon bloomers on over her leggings, explaining that there’s nothing like synthetic bloomers for keeping your thighs warm. Continue reading

Where Am I?

We went on a little trip. Guess where.

DSC_0035_edited-1

Don’t know yet? Here’s another clue:

DSC_0055_edited-1

The Answer: Bandana and the Hat

Okay, I got a few responses to the question in my last post. Not an overwhelming amount — two to be exact — but I won’t complain (much).

So here’s the story. (Newcomers, it’s essential that you read the previous post first, so I’ll see you back here in a few minutes.) And thanks, Doug at Doug’s Boomer Rants for the idea.

loving 14_edited-1 Continue reading

What Happens Here? You Decide

loving 14_edited-1

On the third day of my road trip away from Las Vegas, I came to this little crossroads in New Mexico called Loving, near the border with Texas. On the other side of the road from these poor things was a warehouse, and not much else. Continue reading

My Dutch-American Red Cabbage Stamppot

rode kool stampot 2We finally got our new stove after having done without for months. Long story, which I’m not going to bore you with. But now we have a stove and the weather is wonderfully wintry. So the first meals I made were stamppots. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

I left Las Vegas in the dead of night. My wonderful husband T told me to at least make a little vacation out of it, so I did. I spent the next four days driving home road trip style. Taking 3- and 4-digit roads wherever possible.

On one of those roads, just outside Gallup, New Mexico, I saw this sign. I think it’s a good one for the photo challenge.

cross and native american sign

More on my little road trip later.

To Hell and Back: 24 Hours in Las Vegas

las vegas nightmareIn October I saw that there was going to be a New Media Expo (NMX) in the beginning of January and I decided to go. It was in Las Vegas. I hate superficiality, I hate the idea that bigger is always better, I hate unbridled greed and I hate sexual objectification of women.

What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Ripped from the Headlines

skyscraper_edited-1The daily prompt: take the third headline from a website you visit regularly for the news and write.

Well, I went to BBC’s UK & World News, and this was the third headline:

 

Topless Skyscraper Photos Spark Suit
“Look up there!”
“What is it?”
“It’s a shiny rocket!”
“It’s a giant penis!”
“No, it’s a topless skyscraper!”
Where’s my phone? I’ve got to take a picture of this! Then sell it to CNN! I’m going to be rich, rich, RICH, I tell you–aah-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!!!!
“Oh my God! Quick,  somebody get that building a suit!”

Snow and Oliebollen

oliebollen_edited-1Happy New Year!

Well, here I am again, finally. Did you miss me?

Continue reading

Conversation over Breakfast

chicken fajitasI treated my homeless friend Steve to a meal of chicken fajitas at Magnolia Cafe the other day. Talking to him for a while is often overwhelming. So much information. So much of it shocking. Continue reading

Bridge Bottoms Galore at the Riverwalk!

T and I took a little overnight trip to San Antonio. It’s the perfect time of year to visit. Relatively cool (although I managed to find it muggy even at 60 degrees) and after Thanksgiving the holiday lighting is up. Long strands of colored lights in the towering cypress trees and along all the restaurant balconies certainly put me in the spirit. Continue reading

Sometimes You Just Gotta Steal to Write

image: uwathletics.com

image: uwathletics.com

A few days ago the Daily Writing Prompt was to write about one of my fears. Well, jeez, where to start? So I skipped that one. Then I read the post a blogging friend wrote. See, I should be that flexible. If you can’t choose which one fear to write about, just change the prompt. Duh. Except I didn’t think of that. Continue reading

A Little Reminder

image: abcnews.go.com

image: abcnews.go.com

Judging by the news coverage, you’d think that the biggest worries related to the freezing winds this Thanksgiving are the flight delays and the possible lack of giant balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Continue reading

Open Letter to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

art acevedoDear Police Chief Acevedo,

I’m an Austin resident. I drive my kids downtown to school every morning and back every afternoon. Since I’ve been driving the same route twice a day for five years, I’ve befriended some of the homeless who stand on corners I almost always stop at. These guys sleep mostly under bridges and overpasses. Continue reading

What Would Jesus Do?

the_ass_at_schoolThis Ruthless World is one of my favorite blogs. And her newest post is hilarious. A Tea Party guy reinvents Jesus to fit his personal ideas of what a man should be. And the blogger responds so thoroughly that there is nothing left to add.

Except to ask:

What would Jesus do according to this guy? Well, on Sabbath evening he would probably be whooping hippies’ asses and raising hell!

Whatever You Do, Don’t Read This!

samurai-sword-umbrella-2I discovered this blog, Conservative Newswire, only last week. I immediately became a follower, because I felt sorry for them. Such inexperienced boys, they were obviously never going to make it without the benefit of my help. Continue reading

It’s Getting Colder

image: austinchronicle.com

image: austinchronicle.com

It’s that time of year again here in Austin. More rain and cooler nights are wonderful unless you’re homeless. And further north winter is already in full swing.

Oh, and it’s Veterans’ Day. Many homeless are war veterans, guys who gave their souls for this country. They got chewed up in wars and were spit out by society and now they’re reduced to holding up cardboard signs at traffic lights. Continue reading

I Stand Corrected

image: comediva.com

image: comediva.com

I recently wrote a series of posts about Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), a character in the Dutch Saint Nicholas celebration. Black Peter is Sinterklaas’s helper; he’s a white person in blackface, with red lips, a black frizzy wig, dressed in an old-fashioned clown outfit. Continue reading

Employee of the Month

employee of the monthOkay, on day six I already had nothing to say, so forget NaBloPoMo. But of course now I have enough for the next couple of days. Isn’t that how it always goes? That’s why I never committed before. And I probably won’t next year. Continue reading

Hmm, Puzzling!

crosswords, crossword puzzles, New York Times Sunday crosswordsDo any of you do crossword puzzles? I do. Specifically the New York Times Crosswords. I have a book of 500 daily crosswords in the bathroom, and I have a book of 500 Sunday crosswords in the car.

The dailies are generally a lot easier than the Sundays. I finish about 8 out of 10 dailies in single sittings, but when I finish a Sunday crossword, it really feels like an accomplishment.

Continue reading

The Creek: A Documentary

Roosje's video 2_edited-1And now for some bragging.

The kids’ school has project week once a year. During that time the students can do whatever they want, as long as they spend four full days on it, learn something new and present their project the following week.

Two years ago, when she was twelve, R made a documentary of the creek behind our house for project week. It’s about time I showed it off. I’m biased, of course, but I think it’s beautiful.

Water in the Creek!

077_edited-1Austin has had a severe drought for several years. So when it rains, we’re all elated. The creek behind our house is spring-fed and there’s always at least a trickle, but the past couple of years it’s usually not more than that. Continue reading

Scenic Route

Scenic-RouteWell, I suppose this NaBloPoMo is a good opportunity to publish a few a-propos-of-nothing posts.

For instance, I’d like to draw your attention to one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Continue reading

To NaBloPoMo or Not to NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo_November_smallI’ve been blogging for about three years now, so this is the third time I’ve been made aware of NaBloPoMo–National Blog Posting Month.

It’s always hard to decide whether or not to join. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: The Zwarte Piet Issue from the Outside

zwarte clownSeveral people have pointed out–in a somewhat accusatory tone–that I’m looking at the issue of Zwarte Piet being racist from the outside. To a large degree it’s true. But first let me point out to what degree it’s not. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Zwarte Piet and a Horse Analogy — Yeah, I’m Really Doing That

Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Breaking Down Some Arguments

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Sinterklaas: Let’s Put This into Perspective

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

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Sinterklaas: Now I’m Getting to the Point

image: e-carnavalskleding.nl

image: e-carnavalskleding.nl

In yesterday’s post I described the way Sinterklaas is celebrated in the Netherlands. Except I left something out. It’s kind of a biggie.

Sinterklaas has helpers. Originally there was just one helper, but soon there were at least two of them, and when Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands or in a town, there are lots of them. They are called Zwarte Piet–Black Pete or Black Peter.

These Zwarte Pieten are white people with black  faces, bright red lips, afro wigs and big gold earrings, who wear Renaissance-style clown costumes.

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Sinterklaas: It Doesn’t Get any More Dutch than That

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Make Cold Symptoms The Least Of Your Problems! With Happitame!

I’m being lazy this week; can you tell? One of the effects of a shitty health care system in America is the amount of self-medication that goes on, and the number of commercials for medicines. These commercials are always good for a laugh and a spoof.

The Byronic Man

Happitame!  For temporary relief of minor symptoms associated with colds and fever.  No more sneezing; watery, itchy eyes; no more congestion, or runny nose.  Enjoy life again: with Happitame!

Your life will be like this picture!*  With Happitame!  (*assumes life was already like picture.  Not a guarantee)
Your life will be like this picture!* With Happitame! (*assumes life was already like picture. Not a guarantee)

Dosage:  Adults: Take 1 pill twice a day for relief from minor cold symptoms.  Do not exceed 2 pills in a single day.  Also, do not take fewer than 2 pills a day.  If you should be unable to take a second pill 12 hours after the first (exactly 12 hours), induce vomiting and consult a physician immediately, after which you should induce vomiting again.  Continue vomiting until no longer physically possible.

Warnings: Happitame should be kept out of reach of children, the elderly, and the insane.

Happitame should not be stored within 3 feet of fresh produce.

People of Greek…

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Mix Tape: The Loves of My Life

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Live Music Capital of the World: Willie Nelson

image from politicaljack.com

image from politicaljack.com

Of course I had to end with Willie Nelson, or just Willie, as we call him in Austin. He didn’t make it in Nashville, so he moved to Austin in the early seventies. Austin quickly adopted him as their own. Just recently, 2nd Street was renamed Willie Nelson Boulevard, and a statue was unveiled before the W hotel. He turned 80 in April of this year. Continue reading

Live Music Capital of the World: W.C. Clark

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Live Music Capital of the World: Janis Joplin

One of the many art guitars scattered around Austin, this is one of the first you see when you fly in, because it's right there in the airport.

One of the many art guitars scattered around Austin, this is one of the first you see when you fly in, because it’s right there in the airport.

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Live Music Capital of the World: Stevie Ray Vaughan

image from covershut.com

image from covershut.com

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M and Me in a Midweek Misunderstanding

m gutenbergMy oh my, what a prompt! My attempt may be seen below.

“May I have this dance, my dear, dear M?”

“Miss B, of course, how magnanimous of you, my word, my goodness, you most certainly may!”

“Minuet or Mashed Potato?”

Methinks you should read on!

What Is the Reason for Your Visit? Well, Doctor, I Have a Bad Case of Forms

medical forms_edited-1The other day R needed some physiotherapy. We had had a long, hot day and a rushed drive in heavy traffic after school to make it on time for the appointment. When we got there, all flustered and five minutes late, I first had to do the paperwork before the therapist could see R, which made her even later. The lady at the window grumbled a bit because I hadn’t come fifteen minutes early to fill out the forms.

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If I Had Talents, How Talented I Would Be!

image from 123thearts.com

image from 123thearts.com

Daily prompt: Talents I’d like to have, but don’t. Well, jeez. Where to begin.The thing about talents is that they are per definition great to have. So I’d want them all–why not? Okay, okay, I suppose the idea is to force me to choose the most important one. Well, I’m not going to. I’ll give you my top ten. Number one being the most important, but the others are close followers.

Check them out…

Lines and Patterns: Weekly Photo Challenge

The weekly photo challenge is about lines and patterns. This is a photo I took last year in the Rockies.

265_edited-1bw

Norway has a new prime minister, but my vote goes to the king

flag-pins-usa-norwayThis is pretty much the way politics are conducted in the Netherlands, as well. Check out this blog, by the way. I’m featuring it for a while; see the column on the right.

Edge of the Arctic

It’s hard to get excited about elections in a foreign country. You can’t vote. You’re cautious when discussing the candidates because you’re not sure how to pronounce their names. It would take a dramatic change for a new government to affect expats, anyway.

But I learned a lot about the politics of my own homeland while watching the electoral process up close in Norway during the election campaign over the last month. It’s so different from how things works in the U.S.

For one thing, Norway has 7 different political parties giving its 5.1 million people varied representation in parliament.

The Norwegian government is usually made up of three or four parties. You need 85 out of 169 seats in parliament to form a government and a single party never gets that much support. Instead, the parties form coalitions by negotiating a common platform to govern together, with the leader…

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Daily Prompt: Bookworms

squirrel on windowsill 3So the Daily Prompt told me to grab the nearest book and find the tenth word, then Google Image that word and write about whatever comes to mind. So I thought, whatever. But then I did it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

058_edited-1This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge. I’m recycling a photo here. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have a thing for the bottoms of bridges, and this photo represents “inside” for me. It’s taken under the Barton Creek Bridge in Austin, Texas.

If I Knew I Couldn’t Fail . . .

image from classicaustraliantv.com

image from classicaustraliantv.com

WordPress just wrote about blog events, so I checked some of them out. Some are questionnaires or challenges and some are writing prompts.

This is the introduction to the Daily Passion Prompt:

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Guy Forsyth is Coming to a Town near You!

image from flickriver.com

image from flickriver.com

Guy Forsyth is one of Austin’s great musicians. T and I have seen him perform several times. He’s awesome! And he’ll be in Europe for eleven concerts in eleven days, including three in the Netherlands! You are so lucky!

Have a look…

My Groundhog Day

286_edited-1The daily prompt for today is to describe my own Groundhog Day.

I don’t know. It would be easier to describe a day that I didn’t mess up, put my foot in it, or otherwise wish I could do over. But I already wrote that post.

So what would I do over?

I Pledge Allegiance — No, This Is Not the Same Post

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“I Pledge Allegiance — No, This Is Not the Same Post: What is Patriotism?”

I Pledge Allegiance to . . .

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Battling Nationalism for Maria Montessori: I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth”.

Resident Alien on Facebook!

facebook likeI know I promised in my last post that I would continue with a post about my gear, but I walked into the garage to find my lightweight camping stuff and two steps into it I changed my mind. First our garage will have to be straightened out. Ugh!

Now for the good news…

These Boots Were Made for Walking

img560These were my first hiking boots. Not the best brand, but they made my feet look smaller than the better kind, and it took a bit of serious hiking to find out that I didn’t care as much about looks as about my feet and ankles getting me where I wanted to go. Continue reading

The Second Middle Ages?

image from googleplussuomi.com

image from googleplussuomi.com

I’ve written before about the influence religion has in American society, and how it sticks its nose in places it doesn’t belong, like the justice system, politics, government, public education and science.

I’ve also reposted this blog post by a woman who grew up in Russia. She points out the ironic similarities between the American Tea Party and Soviet Union ideologies. Continue reading

Antoinette Tuff: Using Her Words

image from beforeitsnews.com

image from beforeitsnews.com

Wow, a few hundred kids and teachers weren’t shot by a guy with an AK47 yesterday. No doubt because another guy one-upped him with an even bigger gun, and shot him full of holes while hysterically screaming “Fuuuuuck you, cocksucker!” and then… What? What’s that? Those kids and teachers weren’t saved by a manly-man with a big gun and a bigger mouth? Oh. They were saved by an unarmed, level-headed woman? Who TALKED THE GUNMAN DOWN? Well shucks, imagine that!

The Real America or the Real Issues

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Hey, Real Americans Out There In Real America, What About the Real Issues?”