I just had to share this. Kort maar krachtig, is what we call that--brief and to the point.
Posted in Uncategorized, Society, Politics
Tagged politics, America, opinion, crime, law, prisons, prisoners, white collar crimes, fraud, wall street, prison privatisation
image from nbclatino.com
In my last post I voiced my disgust with the liberties police take on a daily basis in regular, unthreatening situations, and I wrote that nobody seems to have a problem with it. Not enough to do anything about it, anyway. This, of course, is not completely true. Continue reading
Posted in Society, Travel
Tagged America, are you a US citizen?, border patrol, border patrol checkpoints, discretionary powers, humor, immigration, law, opinion, police, police interrogation checkpoints, rights, society, us citizenship
image from foxnews.com
So last week “America’s sweetheart” Reese Witherspoon’s husband was arrested because he was driving while drunk. Bad. Badbadbadbadbad. You get no argument from me there.
But Reese herself was arrested, as well. Why? She got out of her car. Not only that, but when the police officer told her to get back in the car, she drunkenly told him she had a right to stand on American soil. Gasp! The horror! How dare she!?! Continue reading
image from wikipedia
An American Facebook acquaintance recently posted this video with the comment: “Just for the record”. I watched it and I found it to be a strange hodgepodge of information, rumor and images without commentary. It’s in Dutch, so let me briefly tell you what it’s about.
It begins with KLM, the Dutch airline, and its role in helping Nazis Continue reading
Posted in History, Holland, World War Two
Tagged Dutch collaborators, espionage, geschiedenis, history, KLM, Nazis, netherlands in WWII, NSB, oorlogsmisdadigers, Prince Bernhard, Prins Bernhard, spionage, tweede wereldoorlog, war, war criminals, World War II
A blogging friend made me aware of this article in the New York Times about eating invasive species such as feral pigs. Feral pigs are a problem here in Texas and it makes perfect sense to eat them. They’re free-ranging, organic, with no added hormones or antibiotics. So eat them invaders, y’all!
Posted in Consumption, Eating out, Food, Nature
Tagged animals, Austin, eating out, feral pigs, food, free-range pigs, nature, organic meat, pork, restaurants, Texas, wild pigs, wilde varkens
Yesterday T and I went to the Market Days in Gruene, south of Austin and pronounced as ‘Green”. The weather was mild and the market was colorful.
Posted in Consumption, Nature, Photography, Recreation
Tagged arts and crafts, bikers, day trips, Gruene, Gruene market days, Hill Country, motorbikes, photography, recreation, Texas, travel
I’ve been feeling kind of truculent lately, so let’s see if a list of five things I can’t stand will get it out of my system.
Let me begin with drivers behind me–when I’m up front at a stoplight, waiting to turn left at an unprotected left turn–honking for me to go ahead and make the turn already. Continue reading
Posted in Consumption, Lists, Neither Here Nor There, Religion, Society
Tagged animals, Boston bombing, community, disasters, ducks, hangers, Lists, opinion, religion, traffic, victims
(image from biography.com)
Well, I’ll probably be banned from ever entering Utah for this, but here goes.
I just read The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. It tells the somewhat parallel stories of two nineteenth wives: Ann Eliza Webb, wife of Brigham Young, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints’ second leader in the 1870s, Continue reading
Posted in Books, History, Religion, Society, University
Tagged Ann Eliza Webb, Ann Eliza Young, boeken, books, Brigham Young, Briham Young University, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, David Ebershoff, godsdienst, Joseph Smith, LDS church, Mormonen, Mormons, opinie, opinion, polygamy, religie, religion, The 19th Wife
image from nbcbayarea.com
Evolution of X just had a post about her memories of 1978. She invited readers to do the same.
So, let’s see. Not in chronological order: Continue reading
Posted in Books, High School, History, Holland, Lists, Movies, Music, Society, writing
Tagged 1970s music, Anwar Sadat, Bee Gees, Doe Maar, film, Gerrie Knetemann, high school, history, Jacques Brel, memories, Menachim Begin, music, muziek 1978, pop music, Queen, The Netherlands, Weleld kampioenschap voetbal 1978, World CUp Soccer 1978, writing, Y.M.C.A.
I’m not big on collections. I used to be. I had all sorts of collections. If I saw something I liked, I would start a collection. Until I felt that I was surrounding myself with things just for the sake of surrounding myself with things, and I got rid of most of them. Continue reading
Posted in Books, History, Technology, Travel
Tagged 1968, 65 Days Adrift, Adrift, Ampol advertisement, boekcollecties, book collections, books, collections, Gregory's, Huckleberry Finn, maps, raft books, rafts, Sinister Island, street directory, Sydney, Sydney's Street Directory, The Raft Book, The Swiss Family Robinson, travel, vlotboeken, vlotten
(Image from forum.dallasmetropolis.com)
Time for another bridge post. And no, this one isn’t about the Mopac bridge. For the first time ever, I present to you the bottom of a different bridge. The Lamar Boulevard Bridge, the one east of the Mopac Bridge across Town Lake in Austin, Texas, the United States of America. Continue reading
A week or so ago, one of my favorite bloggers posted about the clothes in her wardrobe. She has since taken the post down, so I can’t link to it. But it reminded me of one of my favorite things here in America.
About once year I need some serious clothes shopping. Usually because I
have gotten even fatter have given myself a size promotion. Continue reading
(Image from media1.policymic.com)
Yesterday I wrote about Dickens’ experience in America in 1842. One of the things that shocked him was the pride Americans had about carrying weapons. Continue reading
Since I’ve been blogging about Victor Hugo’s stories, let me jump over to England and Charles Dickens.
This winter break I had the bad luck to get the flu. For days I could barely get out of bed. But every cloud has a silver lining, and this cloud’s lining was that I got to read Martin Chuzzlewit in a few days. Continue reading
Posted in Books, Education, History, Politics, Society, Travel
Tagged American academic titles, American capitalism, American superiority, Amerika, Amerikaans eten, books, Charles Dickens, Dickens in America, Dickens in Amerika, Engelse literatuur, food in America, geschiedenis, gun rights, history, liberty, literature, Martin Chuzzlewit, opinion, Penguin Publishers, second amendment, teen pregnancy, tiener moeders, typesetting, Verenigde Staten, vrijheid, vuurwapengeweld, Wordsworth Editions
(Image from Oo.Cities.org)
Writing prompt 1984 asks about being locked in a room with my greatest fear. I suppose that having nightmares is a pretty good metaphor for being locked in a room with my fears.
When B was about six months old, we were staying with my in-laws for what was supposed to be a week to ten days, because the front windows in our house were being replaced. It ended up taking more than two months. But don’t get me started on construction work in South Texas . . . Continue reading
Posted in Books, World War Two, Writing Prompt Responses
Tagged holocaust, Les Miserables, motherhood, nightmares, persecution, The Hunchback of the Notre Dame, Victor Hugo, World War Two, writing prompt 1984
image from breitbart.com
Okay, finally I’m getting around to the post about Red Dawn.I think it’s no coincidence that it was remade around this time. Continue reading
Posted in History, Society, World War Two
Tagged community, firearms for protection, gun control, guns, movies, Newtown, North Korean invasion, North Korean occupation, opinion, Red Dawn, school shootings, second amendment
In my last post, I addressed the idea of giving teachers guns in the classroom. But the NRA wants more than that. They want everyone to have a gun, because, as they say, “The only thing more dangerous than a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. Or something like that. Continue reading
Posted in Media, Politics, Society, World War Two
Tagged community, first amendment, gun laws, gun rights, history, opinion, Piers Morgan, politics, school, school shooting Newtown, second amendment, Second World War, shootings, society, tweede wereldoorlog, vuurwapens, wapenbezit, World War Two
That signs like this are necessary outside schools is already ridiculous enough.
So you would like to see teachers walking around with assault weapons slung over their shoulders. Your focus is on the idea that those teachers would shoot the killer.
You’re overlooking several aspects of the issue. Continue reading
Posted in Education, Politics, Society
Tagged community, education, firearms, guns in schools, Newtown shooting, opinion, politics, school shootings, teachers, vuurwapens in school
I just decorated the Christmas tree with R today–my back was giving me shit for a week–and then I turned on the news. And started bawling. Very schizophrenic. But I won’t say anything about the shooting. Everything has already been said. Over and over and over, for years. Continue reading
Middle school is an emotional roller coaster, as any parent of a young teen can tell you. I thought I’d share a day in R’s life with you–yesterday, to be precise.
Her friend regularly shares random “fun facts” with her. Today’s “fact”: left-handed people live on average nine years shorter. R is a lefty. Continue reading
Posted in Healthcare
Tagged death, dood, emotional roller coaster, exercise, handedness, left-handedness, linkshandig, living longer, middle school, pubers, teenagers
Sometimes a homeless man with a huge horseshoe mustache panhandles at one of the intersections in southwest Austin. I don’t talk with him much, because the timing is rarely right. He’s accompanied by a black Labrador, who usually sits under an umbrella stuck in the ground, a water bowl within reach. Continue reading
I am thankful for my friends. From my best friend since we were almost fifteen and my other Dutch friends, to my friends right next door here in Austin, and everyone in between. I don’t need to blog about my appreciation of them, because I connect with them in other ways. (But if you’re reading this: Hi. I love you.)
Here, I want to give thanks to the blogging friends I’ve made. Continue reading
(Image from tonic.com)
Disclaimer: I know most of my readers are compassionate people. So this is directed toward–well, you’ll know who you are.
From the first time I came to America with T, then my boyfriend, I have been shocked at the number of homeless here. Continue reading
Posted in Austin, Consumption, Food, Housing, Society
Tagged 47%, America, Amerika, Austin, daklozen, DPchallenge, giving money to the homeless, handouts, homeless, opinion, society, there but for, thuislozen
(Image from andilit.com)
I know this is a man, but it’s a good picture, isn’t it?
In an earlier post I wrote about Steve, a homeless guy I see almost every day after dropping off the kids at school.
Another homeless person I’ve met, but only once, was a woman in her late thirties or early forties. It was a cold and rainy day, and I stopped at the traffic light she was at, beside an overpass, in between showers. When I gave her some money she thanked me and told me to stay dry. Continue reading
Posted in Austin, Housing, Society
Tagged Austin, daklozen, homeless, homeless and dogs, homeless shelters and pets, honden, opinion, pets, seizure alert dogs, society, thuislozen
The homeless can always use help, but winters are especially hard. So here’s a list of things that are easy and inexpensive and can make a big difference for someone trying to stay warm and dry out there. Continue reading
Posted in Housing, Society
Tagged Amerika, Christmas, daklozen, feestdagen, helping the homeless, holidays, homeless, society, Thanksgiving, thuislozen
Right now lots of extra people are homeless due to Hurricane Sandy. But I’m going to write about some of the long-term homeless in Austin who I meet while waiting for a green light on my many drives around town. If for no other reason than that I already had most of this post ready before Sandy hit. Continue reading
One thing I’ve learned is the difference between Dutch politeness and Texan politeness.
To A Texan, being polite is not just a matter of saying please and thank you, holding the door open for the person coming behind you, not belching loudly at the dinner table, etc. It also means avoiding embarrassing someone. Continue reading
Posted in Language, Society
Tagged America, Amerika, beleefdheid, cultural differences, culture, embarrassment, humor, kulturele verschillen, language, manners, Nederland, omgangsvormen, politeness, society, The Netherlands, verlegenheid
For many years now, there has been a huge rift within our family, caused by traffic lights. T and I are in permanent disagreement and our son B is pretty firmly on my side. R is undecided, but I’m convinced she will see the light (I couldn’t resist) in due time. Continue reading
Ah! Only seven days and one to go to Halloween, my ravenous readers, so I feel compelled to warn you. I move as though invisible through the streets and alleys and I observe the good citizens of my subdivision decorating their trees and lawns with whimsically carved calabashes and synthetic spiderwebs, comfortably convinced that ghouls are merely a myth, a myth upheld for no other reason that to have a costume party. Continue reading
Posted in Media, Politics, Religion, Society, Television
Tagged alliteration, American education, american extremism, Amerikaans onderwijs, bigotry, birthers, Christian extremism, conservative talk radio, costume party, education, Halloween, horror, KKK, media, Obama, opinion, politics, racism, racisme, scary monsters, talk radio, talk shows, tea party, zombies. Amerikaanse politiek
Every now and then I make myself unpopular with many of my neighbors. We have a Yahoo group, which is great, because with lightning speed we can get the word out about a lost dog or a scam artist in the neighborhood. But sometimes it can get contentious, and when it does, it seems that I’m often right in the middle of it. I have no idea why, because I’m just mild, non-confrontational, li’l ole me, right readers? Continue reading
Posted in Housing, Transportation
Tagged children, DPchallenge, humor, kids in the street, kinderen op straat, opinion, safety, traffic, veiligheid, verkeer
So do political parties in parties in multi-party systems use attack ads? This is another post in the series based on a Facebook conversation with my neighbor M that started here. Continue reading
Posted in Politics
Tagged American politics, Amerikaanse politiek, amerikaanse politieke partijen, attack ads, elections, media, opinion, parlementair stelsel, parlementary politics, politics, politieke reclames amerika, presidential election 2012, twee-partijen systeem, two-party politics, verkiezingen, verkiezingen amerika
Since Dutch-style party platforms are such an alien concept to Americans, I thought I’d show you how it works. Sure, both parties in America have their platforms, but they’re ultimately useless texts, because each individual representative will say as much as possible what all the voters in his/her constituency want to hear, and then mostly do what Continue reading
Posted in Politics
Tagged Amerikaanse partij programmas, Amerikaanse politiek, democratic party platform, Dutch party platforms, election, Nederlandse partij programmas, opinion, political accountability, political party platforms, politics, presidential election 2012, republican party platform, verkiezingen Verenigde Staten
Should the wing nuts (that’s right-wing nuts and left-wing nuts for you, Dutch readers) have less say in the elections? Or More? How does that work in the Dutch parliamentary system?
The other day my neighbor M and I had a Facebook conversation on American and Dutch political representation. My last post was the beginning of this conversation, with me shamelessly expanding on my Facebook comments. In this post my answer to his first follow-up question. Continue reading
Posted in Politics
Tagged American politics, Amerikaanse politiek, Amerikaanse verkiezingen, compromise in politics, compromissen in politiek, elections, multi-party system, opinion, parlementair stelsel, parliamentary system, political disenfranchisement, politics, proportional representation, tea party, twee-partijen stelsel, two-party system, verkiezingen
Are you wondering if it’s time to change politics? Wondering how it works in other countries? The other day my neighbor M, a few other people and I (but mostly my neighbor and I) were having a discussion on Facebook that I’d like to share, with some expansion on my comments. I’ll cut it up into several posts, to keep it readable. Continue reading
Posted in Politics
Tagged American politics, Amerikaanse politiek, Amerikaanse verkiezingen, meer-partijen systeem, Nederlands parlementair systeem, Nederlandse verkiezingen, opinion, parliamentary system, partij programmas, party platforms, political accountability, political disenfranchisement, politics, politieke aansprakelijkheid, politieke ontevredenheid amerika, proportional representation, twee-partijen systeem, two-party system
This is what I dreamed last night.
I was in a school gym, remembering how we would be made to run laps around a gym just like that in high school in the Netherlands. And I remembered that I could. I’d be tired, and I’d be protesting loudly like any self-respecting un-sporty teenage girl should, but that’s all. And I resented–in this dream–that I can’t run for two minutes now without having a gimpy knee for the next two weeks (this is real; I ran for two minutes last weekend, and now it hurts when I walk down steps). Continue reading
Posted in Austin, Education, Healthcare, Holland, Politics, Society, Sports
Tagged American conservatism, American construction, American dream, American education vs Dutch education, American houses, American prudishness, Amerika, Amerikaans onderwijs, Amerikaanse huizenbouw, Amerikaanse politiek, Amerikaanse rijkdom, beweging, dreams, dromen, education, gezondheid, health, humor, opinion, politics, sports
I wrote a post about the anti-science attitude of many Republicans two days ago. This Daily Show video is going around Facebook, but it illustrates the ridiculousness of the anti-science folks so beautifully that I just have to share it here as well.
Posted in Politics, Religion, Science
Tagged Aasif Mandvi, creationism, education America, evolution, humor, opinion, politics, Religion vs science, science funding, The Daily Show
I have always respected most religious beliefs. Sure, I put my foot in my mouth occasionally, but I have no problem with religion in itself. I can see how there’s a human need for spirituality of one kind or another, and that some of us have a bigger need for it than others. However, there’s supposed to be a separation between church and state in this country, and when that idea is so blatantly trampled, when religion interferes with science, education, politics and human rights to the degree it does here, then the respect is clearly not mutual, and I don’t feel as obligated to be religiously correct. Continue reading
Posted in Religion, Science, Society
Tagged America, creationism, gays, global warming, godsdienst en homoseksualiteit, godsdienst en onderwijs, godsdienst en wetenschap, godsdienst in Amerika, homosexuals, House Science Committee, Netherlands, opinion, religion, science, science and religion, science education, statistics, statistieken
Time to speak up!
Right before I came to America, a woman asked my then-fiance T how a Dutch person is different from Americans. The first thing that came to his mind to say was that I wasn’t religious. That left her speechless. She had never met an atheist.
When we were in the Rockies this past summer, we met several Dutch people and one of the first things they commented on was how religious so many Americans seem to be. Continue reading
One of the definitions of “entitled” is having the right to something. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney uses the terms “entitled” and “entitlement” as dirty words. It’s clear from his speech at a fundraiser dinner that he feels people should not be entitled to food, health care or housing. Meaning that if people don’t have the money to pay for food, shelter or the doctor, they can’t expect the government to help them. To Europeans, that is pretty shocking. In Europe we call entitlement programs parts of the social safety net.
The terminology illustrates the fundamental difference in attitudes toward people who need help. Continue reading
Posted in Politics, Society
Tagged 47%, entitlement programs, fundraiser dinners, health, healthcare, hidden camera, Mitt Romney, opinion, politics, republican politics, Romney's entitlement speech
They say that any American alive at the time can tell you exactly what he/she was doing when JFK was shot in Dallas. September 11, 2001 was one of those days as well. Continue reading
Cartoon by O’Farrell
One of my readers asked me a while ago to give my take on the apparent ambiguity between the American “melting pot” diversity and America’s dissociation from the rest of the world. Well, here it is. My take. I’m fully aware that I’m generalizing the heck out of this, but the question itself is generalizing, so that makes it totally okay. Continue reading
While B was in the hospital, or rather hospitals, blogging kept me from freaking out about things I had no control over. At first I still had several posts to do about the Rockies, and then I started blogging about the hospital experience. Continue reading
You probably have the same image popping into your mind as I do at the word “hospital”. Big, drab building with endless, oppressive hallways that all look the same, right? Well, it seems that the architects of Dell Children’s Hospital have been primarily intent on challenging that stereotype. Continue reading
The hospital in Cody, Wyoming had what you expect to get as hospital food: completely cooked-to-death veggies, blah mashed potatoes and bland, greasy meat. Pretty close to the high fat, zero fiber diet in hospitals in south Texas when we had the pleasure. They had a cafeteria in Cody, but it seemed to be closed most of the time. However, they did give any of us with B at mealtime a hospital meal as well, free of charge, which was really nice, because they didn’t have to do that. Continue reading