Monday, June 30, 2008

Building a home for friends

For many months now, while staying at Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico, often time has been spent building a pyramid.
Right in front of the Fuso Szulc on the beach with stones found in the vicinity.



One day the Mexican Señorita came to visit and when she saw the pyramid she asked the only question that comes up in the mind of every sane person:
“What sense does that make?”

Why would someone spend so much time, effort and energy to build a pyramid on a beach in Mexico?
Who is served by that thing?
Calling it a pyramid while it is not much more than a heap of stones.
Does a person not have better things to do?

The explanation given to the Mexican Señorita was that as an artist basically all activities are not making any sense.
A baker bakes bread, Apple makes computers and Airbus airplanes but nobody asks an artist to make art.
Art is usually a product for which is no demand.
That is not serving a purpose and plays no role in society.
This in general: there are exceptions.

So, how can one be on a location like Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico working on the art without feeling senseless?
Without being frequently attacked by thoughts of being useless, decadent, a-social and more than marginal and completely off?

This is where the pyramid comes in.
It is true that building like an Egyptian in Mexico makes no sense at all.
No purpose to put stones on top of each other on some beach for months.
But in that absurd activity lays a power with tremendous consequences.
Because doing a totally ridiculous activity like building a pyramid, the work on the art promotes to being a very sensible thing to do.
When tired of hauling stones, there is the work on the art waiting as a much more serious activity.



A few days ago the Mexican Señorita came for a visit again and exceptional news could be reported about the pyramid.
This totally useless thing suddenly had become something nobody ever imagined.
A couple of iguanas have made the pyramid their home.
They have discovered the beautiful structure of stones and found it the perfect place to live.



Iguanas are animals that have three eyes.
They see things as well as a photographer.

Now, each morning one of the two iguanas climbs to the top of the pyramid to have a sunbath, watch the Fuso Szulc and the world.



Sometimes we do things without knowing why exactly we do them.
And before to find out why we did it, we come up with these intellectual and sophistic explanations.

While it is so simple.
For months a house was build for the iguana friends.

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To learn more about iguanas, click on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguana







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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Warm and cool

It is not even eight o’clock in the morning and the temperature is already at 30.1º C. (86º F)
The waiting is for the wind to start blowing and because it comes from the sea, it will cool down life on land.

This effect has once been observed in Georgetown, Guyana.
The English colonialists have built houses in Guyana with large windows that are facing the side from where most of the time the winds are coming.
Outside, just beneath the window are large water containers.
The wind blows over the water surface and cools down to enter the room of the house.
Natural air conditioning.

Before to be impressed by the English ingenuity, already in the times of the Romans, about 2000 years ago in Europe, all kinds of natural air conditioning systems like the one in Georgetown, Guyana were developed to cool houses

The Fuso Szulc has been built without an artificial and energy consuming air conditioning.
Concerning hot weather the Fuso Szulc is equipped with large windows, large roof vents and a philosophy.
The philosophy is that a mobile living unit should move along with the temperature of the environment.
When it gets too cold, the mobile living unit moves to where it is warmer.
If it gets too hot, the mobile unit travels to where it is cooler.

Because of the temperature getting too high next to the Sea of Cortez, in a few days the Fuso Szulc will travel to La Paz to proceed to the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
The water temperature of the Pacific Ocean is much lower than that of the Sea of Cortez.
Hence, the wind is cooling the environment much more and it is more pleasant to live and work over there.

Today is Sunday and fervent and loyal blog readers definitely remember how last week we were all praying the “Our Father”.
The Christian way.

This Sunday it is the opportunity to pray together in the Buddhist way:


Oneness of Life and Light,
Entrusting in your Great Compassion,
May you shed the foolishness in myself,
Transforming me into a conduit of Love.
May I be a medicine for the sick and weary,
Nursing their afflictions until they are cured;
May I become food and drink,

During time of famine,
May I protect the helpless and the poor,
May I be a lamp,

For those who need your Light,
May I be a bed for those who need rest,
and guide all seekers to the Other Shore.
May all find happiness through my actions,
and let no one suffer because of me.
Whether they love or hate me,
Whether they hurt or wrong me,
May they all realize true entrusting,
Through Other Power,
and realize Supreme Nirvana.
Namo Amida Buddha

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


To learn more about Guyana, click on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgetown,_Guyana


To learn more about praying and Bhudism, click on:

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/pureland_sangha/id41.html








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Saturday, June 28, 2008

86 % import tax

Maybe it is because of living in a simple and peaceful situation for one month now.
That the conscience sharpens.
Slowly seeing more than has ever been realized before.

Take as an example the pivotal system with which the Fuso Szulc is equipped.


It has never been noticed that the way the shock absorbers have been mounted to the chassis is off by 1 centimetre.







How come this has never been noticed before?
While even having been personally present when they did the job?

Some hours later another thing was noticed.
The handles on the doors are off as well.
They are not put in the same place.





A remarkable sharpening of the awareness of what is seen.

Meanwhile a parcel has arrived from California, USA.


Thanks to the solidarity and gentleness of a friend.

While the Fuso Szulc was stored when the European tour was made recently, some items disappeared from the Fuso Szulc.
Among others the wheel covers and a shovel.

The stolen items were bought by the friend in San Diego and shipped DHL.




First stunning experience was that the wheel covers and the shovel were costing a total of $ 75,38 (47,74 €)
To ship them to a town 1.500 KM (932 miles) south with DHL was costing $ 148 (93,74 €).
But most stunning was that in Guadalajara the Mexican customs opened the parcel and decided that import taxes had to be paid of 634.50 Pesos ($ 61,65 = 39 €)


On merchandise with a value of only $ 75, the Mexicans like to cash 86 % import tax.
No way out.


They have DHL get the money from the recipient.
DHL, before to deliver, calls and asks if the receiver is prepared to pay.
If not, the parcel returns to sender.

It was found that on the Fuso Szulc not everything is in its correct place.
This 86 % import tax neither.







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Friday, June 27, 2008

When a mother looses her son

It is getting warm here.
Some would call it hot.
During the day almost 35 degrees Centigrade (95 Fahrenheit) and during the night 24 degrees (75 F).
With hardly any cooling wind from the Sea of Cortez.

Time to leave the east coast of the Baja California peninsula and move to the west side.
To Punta Marquez to continue the work on the PS-series.
Over there temperatures are lower due to the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean.

The transfer has to wait until after Sunday though.
When is the final of the European Soccer Championships.
Germany playing Spain.
The match will be seen on the small TV of the Gonzales family.
Who are hardly interested.
In fact they even sacrifice because they are completely hooked to their soap operas.
That they have to interrupt during two hours for a soccer match.

The whole day their TV is showing all kinds of soap operas like “Tormenta en el Paraiso”.
“Storm in paradise”.
Cheaply made TV-films.
To reduce costs hardly any scene is on location but everything is filmed in the TV-studio.
Because they produce at high speed the actors and actresses have no time to learn by heart all the texts.
So often you can see them look away obviously reading their words from text boards.

But for the Gonzales the cheapness is not sabotaging them to believe in what they see.
In fact, the main characters are having the personal concern of the Gonzales and if a Gonzales family member has missed an episode the others will do a briefing.
As if it is of any relevance.
But for the Gonzales it has.

These soap operas, called in Spanish “Telenovellas”, are not exactly lifting up one’s spirit.
It is all tragedy, misery, misfortune, suffering and sadness.
A square pipe deposing only negativity of the worst kind into the viewer’s heart.

Somehow this is addictive to people like the Gonzales and millions of others in Mexico.
They not only love to follow the Telenovellas, they are hooked and addicted to them.

In a way that is surprising.
In their lives the Gonzales have their own shares of storms in paradise.

About 5 years ago they lost their son Angelito due to a kidney disease and grief is still strong.

Ketcha’s brother in law in San Diego, USA, is very ill and is unable to finance his medical costs.
He needs frequent medication that costs each time $ 100 and this he doesn’t have.
That is quite a storm in paradise if someone needs medication one cannot afford with all its mortal physical consequences.

One would think that these storms would disrupt enough a happy life.
But no, more is added by watching Telenovellas on TV.

There is a theory that by watching misery on TV, but presented in the rather fairy tale way as Telenovellas do, make people forget their own misery.
Hence, the actual misery of a person can be measured by the time the person is watching Telenovellas.
If half an hour of “Tormenta en el paraiso” will do, the personal misery is rather limited.
But if the TV is showing Telenovellas the whole day, the personal misery must be gigantic.

It is a mother who lost her son.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


To learn more about the soap opera "Tormenta en el Paraiso", click on:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tormenta_en_el_Paraiso






.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

150 billion peanuts

Breakfast could not be entertained with National Public Radio.
There was a program about Country and Western music and this kind of music is highly disliked.
Hence, a switch was made to CNN who have the sound of their TV news broadcasts on XM Satellite Radio.
Landed in the studios of CNN Barack Obama was heard saying that he will spend 150 billion US Dollars on green energy.
To create thousands of jobs and to make the USA less depended on foreign oil.

That is great !
To spend so much money on finding alternative sources of energy so we can quickly get out of this mess of high gas prices and suffocating and devastating pollution.
Barack Obama understands that it is simply a matter of money.
Give scientists a good salary, an excellent laboratory and enough woman and manpower and not for long we have bacteria’s eat plastic producing fuel.

But there is a natural distrust of politicians.
Promising to spend 150 billion Dollars and soon the problems will be over sounds too good to be true.
Like the vacuum cleaner salesman emptying a bag of dirt on your living room floor promising his machine will clean it spotlessly.

For the fervent and loyal blog readers some research has been made and the shocking outcome is that this 150 billion Dollars are peanuts.
What Barack Obama is not saying in his speeches is that his 150 billion Dollars will be spend over a period of 10 years.
That is 1,25 billion Dollars per month.
Now, we could argue that 1,25 billion Dollars monthly is still buying more than a Domino pizza.
But let’s revive in our minds how much for example the war in Iraq is costing:
9 billion Dollars a month.
And how much the USA is spending on its army and defence per month:
49 billion Dollars per month.

So, what is a meagre 1,25 billion Dollars per month compared to 49 billion Dollars?
Is that a good balance between current urgencies?

Will there be a shift in that balance once Mr. Obama becomes possibly President of the USA?
Hell no!
What did Obama told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs last April?
“I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.”

That’s precisely the number favoured by President Bush’s Defence Secretary Robert Gates over a five-year period at a cost of $108 billion, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

Is that the way to go to enforce the army and to moderately handle the energy crises?
To spend more on defence and just a little on more essential problems affecting people badly in their daily lives?


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more on defence spending, click on:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures











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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eat plastic, pee fuel.

We know now that Google offering the Blogspot service is not monitoring titles of postings and banning them in case they contain one of the forbidden seven words.
Nobody needs to worry anymore.


That makes sense because the forbidden seven words is only a specific USA-affaire.
While Google's Blogspot is available worldwide.
Countries all over the world have different traditions and ways to organize their societies.
For example, a woman cannot sit in a public bus mixed with the men in a country like Iran.
She has to go to the back where all the women sit together while in the front of the bus the men sit all by themselves.

The approach is therefore to always be the observer.
To look at the rules in the different countries.
To experience them, but always temporarily.
To keep the mind and spirit free to whirl in the sky like a butterfly.

With as a result that the mind comes up with an excellent idea combining the forbidden word “piss” and the current high fuel prices.
Why not genetically breed bacteria that eat plastic and pee fuel?
Plastic is made from oil so somehow it should be possible to transform it back into its original state.

Genetically we are able to clone identical sheep, like Polly and Molly.
And breed bacteria that eat nylon.
The Flavobacterium.
So it is a matter of time until we discover a way to have bacteria eat plastic and have bacteria fuel in our gas tanks.

Last night a remarkable dream.
Not unique because this dream has occurred frequently.
On the beach was driftwood.
In the branches of a washed up bush was hanging with a string a plastic bottle.
This bottle was checked and turned out to contain a large amount of coins.
Obviously people had put their money in a bottle and had been hanging it in this bush temporarily while fishing.
To forget about the bottle when returning home.
Wherever that was.
Quickly the bottle was emptied and the coins put in the pocket.
Some time later again a bottle was found hanging in another bush containing a large amount of coins.
And then a third time a large amount of coins was found and this time in the sand of the beach.

A dream about finding money is one thing.
But to find money three times in one dream is rather exceptional.

Maybe this idea of having bacteria transform plastic into oil should be patented because of the coins it may bring in?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


To learn more about cloned sheep, click on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polly_and_Molly

To learn more about bacteria that eat nylon, click on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylonase







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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Piss is one of the seven words

It is a very strange feeling to write the daily posting of this blog without knowing if it actually will appear on the fervent and loyal blog reader’s computer screen.
This because the title contains one of the seven words that are not allowed to be published in the USA.

The American fervent and loyal readers of this blog must not think though that once more they are staged here as an ultra conservative and non permissive society.
It is possible for example to buy the book “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) by Adolf Hitler in American bookshops.
No problem.
While this Adolf Hitler book is banned in Europe and illegal to sell.

Recently the loyal and fervent blog readers were informed about the company Winnebago.
How they are unable anymore to sell their motor homes in volumes as they used to do.
Having to close one of their factories.
Seeing their profit drop.
The gas price has just become too high.

It was then that the question came to mind why actually in the USA people use these really big motor homes.
Often one can see in the USA a couple travelling in a gigantic RV.
While a couple in Europe will travel in a motor home of a much smaller size.


USA motor home


European motor home

Both are travelling.
Both are living in the motor home.
But one couple is paying now dearly because the gigantic motor home has a 10-cylinder 6.8-litre gasoline engine.
And the other couple enjoys the 4 cylinder 2.5-litre diesel engine consuming a lot less.

One could say that it would be beneficial to have this European motor home available for the American RV’ers.
This is hardly possible though.
And that has everything to do with the value of the Dollar.
A Winnebago motor home costs about 100.000 $.
That is 64.000 €.
A very good and efficient European motor home like a Hymer will cost about 50.000 €.
To this amount comes shipping costs, import taxes and what it costs to modify the motor home according to USA-road standards.
The Winnebago will be cheaper.

Eventually, there will be a break-even point though decided by the lower fuel consumption of the Hymer.

Meanwhile, American made mini-motor homes have become available.
Often build on a European Mercedes chassis with a 5-cylinder diesel engine.
But one like the Gulf Stream Vista will cost over 100.000 $ plus taxes.


Gulf Stream Vista

And diesel is in the USA considerably more expensive than gasoline.
One gallon of gas costs on average in the USA today 4,07 $ while a gallon of diesel costs 4,64 $.

There were the days that a couple would go camping.
With a tent and sleeping bags.
Over the years we upgraded from there to Class A, B and C motor homes.
Maybe we are being confronted now with downgrading times.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about European Hymer motorhomes, click on

http://www.hymer.com/eu/


To learn more about pricing of European motor homes, click on:

http://duerrwang.de/New-vehicles-offers-on-stock.reisemobile_neu.0.html?&L=2









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Monday, June 23, 2008

The seven words

Not too long ago a posting was devoted to the merger of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio.
This, because the chairman of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), Kevin Martin, had been speaking publicly in favour of creating this monopoly.


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin


Kevin Martin pops up again as Chairman of the FCC because yesterday comedian George Carlin died.


Comedian George Carlin


Who became famous because he initiated a public discussion about what you can and cannot say in public.
This has put George Carlin in conflict with Kevin Martin’s FCC.
Because not only is the FCC deciding if Sirius and XM Satellite Radio can merge or not.
The FCC is also in charge of the “Regulation of Obscenity, Indecency and Profanity”.
They are a watchdog of what is said and done on American TV having even the power to fine breakers of FCC rules.

Officially it reads:
“The FCC has authority to issue civil monetary penalties, revoke a license or deny a renewal application. In addition, violators of the law, if convicted in a federal district court, are subject to criminal fines and/or imprisonment for not more than two years.”


And that the FCC is serious leaves no doubt when they say:
“The FCC vigorously enforces this law where we find violations. In 2004 alone, the FCC took action in 12 cases, involving hundreds of thousands of complaints, assessing penalties and voluntary payments totalling approximately $8,000,000. The Commission has also toughened its enforcement penalties by proposing monetary penalties based on each indecent utterance in a broadcast, rather than proposing a single monetary penalty for the entire broadcast.”


Kevin Martin’s FCC is very specific about what can be said and what cannot be said on TV.
“What makes material “profane”? Profane language” includes those words that are so highly offensive that their mere utterance in the context presented may, in legal terms, amount to a “nuisance.” In its Golden Globe Awards Order the FCC warned broadcasters that, depending on the context, it would consider the “F-Word” and those words (or variants thereof) that are as highly offensive as the “F-Word” to be “profane language” that cannot be broadcast between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.”

George Carlin made the “The seven words you can never say on TV” famous.
Of course he said them and has been arrested for it.
Taken away by police.


Nowadays anybody, even children, can know without any problem what those seven dirty words are.
They are for everybody to read on Internet.
But they can also be heard in the everyday life of most people.
Including that of children.
Especially between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

In all this is a lot of hypocrisy.
And this is what George Carlin brought to the surface.
In every day’s life many of the seven words are heard repeatedly.
It is a part of reality but this reality is not allowed on TV.
To create an artificial reality that does not exist except in the minds of the moral knights of the FCC.
In this way children are taught how to be hypocritical.
Hypocrisy is a very serious disease of the mind comparable with cancer in the body.

To have a watchdog in a society, with powers like the FCC, results not only in hypocrisy but also it creates an atmosphere of fear.
Fear of not living according to rules put on everybody from above.

This fear is widespread.
An example is the blog service of Microsoft called MSN Spaces.
If somebody publishes a blog on MSN Spaces and in the title is one of the seven words like “Piss” or “Tits”, the posting is eliminated by MSN.

It is unknown what the policy is of Google, the kind service taking care of this blog.
To check this out, tomorrow a posting will be published with the FCC forbidden word “Piss” in the title.
If fervent and loyal blog readers will not find a posting tomorrow, they will know not a new abduction by the Mexican Senorita took place, but that it was the long arm of Kevin Martin.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about George Carlin, click on:

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20080623/D91FPBTG1.html


To find out what are the seven words, click on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_dirty_words






.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abducted.

Suddenly life is upside down due to an abduction.
The Mexican Senorita came and took her catch to her home town of San Jose del Cabo, Baja California, Mexico.
While it is simmering hot there, the context to live in has changed dramatically.
For example, this blog is written in an OfficeMax shop.
No situation to come up with an entertaining, educational or informative text today.

Return to the Fuso Szulc is on Sunday and as of then loyal and fervent blog readers will be able again to enjoy a decent treatment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

No more motorhomes

There are people arrested now in the United States that have been involved in one of the biggest scams ever.
Mortgages were sold willingly and on purpose to people that never could pay them back.
Mortgages with an interest rate of 1 %.
Not telling the clients that the mortgage had a flexible interest rate that would go up to 12 % and more within 2 years.

Next, these mortgages were sold as a package to bigger and foreign banks as prime investments.
With false documentation hiding the fact that they were unrealistic mortgages.

This is one of the consequences of a free and unregulated market where any vulture can go and look for prey.

Meanwhile, people are forced to leave their homes by the thousands, a worldwide economic crisis is growing, some bandits are caught but the real culprits are enjoying their newly acquired wealth.

One of the consequences of the current economic crises was revealed yesterday.
One of the United States' leading manufacturers of motor homes is Winnebago Industries Inc.
They make motor homes which are sold under the Winnebago, Itasca and ERA brand names.
Yesterday they published their business results for the third quarter.
Winnebago’s sales fell 40 %.
The company reported an operating loss of $6.9 million compared with an operating income of $14.7 million a year ago.

"The motor home market has changed significantly in the past year, with dramatic declines in the past few months," CEO Bob Olson said in a statement.
"Discretionary purchases have declined in the United States as the country is faced with unstable fuel prices, consumer confidence at 16-year lows and a tighter credit environment."

“Unstable fuel prices” ?
Fuel prices are steadily going up and up making people think twice before to buy a gas or diesel guzzling Winnebago.

Resulting in a drop of 40 % in sales.
And it is predicted sales volumes of motor homes to fall to levels not seen since 1991.

Logically Winnebago is badly hurt and prepares for a future not looking very good.
The company announced earlier this month plans to close its Charles City factory on August 1, eliminating 270 salaried and hourly employees.

The reality is that in these economically difficult times a 30 feet Winnebago Sightseer motor home will cost about 100.000 $ (65.000 €).
This kind of motor home has a 6.8 litre 10 cylinder engine consuming 8,5 miles to the gallon. (14 kilometres needing 3,78 litre = 1 litre drives 3,7 kilometres).
A little trip of let’s say 200 miles will cost the RV’er 23,5 gallons of gas at $4 is $ 95.
$ 50 for every 100 miles…

To remember also is that these days it is not really cheap anymore to stay in a campground.
For example, one night in the Koa Fresco campground will cost the RV’er $ 45 plus taxes.

Hence, a simple weekend trip will cost the Winnebagoer a few hundred bucks in gas and Koa besides the payment of the loan to the bank.

No wonder the RV-industry is collapsing.
Travelling in a motor home is becoming a privilege only affordable for the ones with money.








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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back to Earth

Sometimes it is interesting to play with figures.
To reveal truth and reality.
Today we use this method to shine a light on the price of gasoline.
People in the United States complain, suffer and are disturbed because the price of gasoline has been going up so much.
Depending in which State, the price of a gallon of gas ranges from 3,85 $ in Missouri to 4,61 $ in California.

If we accept an average price of 4,00 $ a gallon, we can translate this into litres and Euros.
4,00 $ a gallon is 0,67 € per litre.
Seen from a European perspective, this is a bargain.
One litre of gasoline in Europe costs 1,68 €.
That is 0,67 € in the USA and 1,68€ in Europe.
For the convenience of our loyal and fervent American readers, a gallon of gas would cost in Europe 6,36 $.

Hence, 4,00 $ a gallon is still 59 % cheaper compared with what the Europeans pay for their gas.

Remarkable is that the European economies are doing rather well.
In spite of the higher price they pay for gasoline and diesel.

There are positive aspects to the rising price of oil.
It makes people think in a more conscious way about the way they live.
The realization will come that this lifestyle of consuming in excessive ways, as is now happening, is unsustainable.
Too many people do not want to listen to Al Gore and to become conscious of the elite position they occupy.
But now, because of what they consider a high price to pay for gas, they are waking up and are buying Hybrid cars.
Leaving the gas guzzling RV in the driveway to spend the weekend in the garden.

Once people are used to an excessive material life style they believe their happiness and wellbeing depends of it.
The idea that part of it will not be available anymore, scares them to death.
This is why no politician ever mentions to his or her electorate that more sober and simple times are needed.
This perspective will turn voters away, while it is not only very true but highly needed as well.

Because politicians are avoiding and evading this matter, the changes will come too late and in a painful and dramatic way.
Now one or two loyal and fervent blog readers may mention that yesterday Presidential hopeful John McCain plans to build 45 new nuclear power plants if he gets into the White House.
Isn’t that offering a solution to the current problems?

Maybe.
We must realize that nuclear technology is still not ideal.
We are left with garbage coming out of these plants that we don’t know what to do with and that is very dangerous in many ways.
The suggestion of McCain to build 45 nuclear power plants implies that the way many people live in the USA, using the highest amounts of energy in the world, is something that doesn’t need to change and can continue.

For example, houses have been visited in the USA that are having a central air-conditioning system.
Not only this system was used while the temperature outside was not that high and opening the windows would have been as effective to get coolness into the house.
But also every room of the house was cooled.
Even the rooms that were not used.
This is an expression of a mentality and an attitude.
That are very hard to change.
Except if the price of electricity would go up to realistic levels like the price of gasoline and electricity in Europe is having.
One KWH (Kilo Watt per Hour) costs in the USA on average 0,09 $ and in Europe 0,20 $.
No way a European cools all the rooms in the house with air conditioning.
That would cost a fortune and it does.
Not only having to dig into the own pocket but it costs Earth a fortune as well.

It has been calculated that one person in the United States is using on average 10.000 litres of oil annually.
A European uses less than 5.000 litres per year.
And someone in South America about 1.250 litres.



There is much to say for having gas cost in the USA over 6,00 $ a gallon.
And electricity at least 0,20 $ per KWH.
To bring everybody back to Earth.

++++++++++++++++++++++


To learn more about energy consumption worldwide, click on:
http://timeforchange.org/prediction-of-energy-consumption







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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

West lacking East

Currently reading a book called “The log from the Sea of Cortez” by American author John Steinbeck (1902-1968).


John Steinbeck

In 1940, Steinbeck and the biologist Edward F. Ricketts ventured aboard the “Western Flyer”, a sardine boat out of Monterey, California, USA, on a 4.000-mile voyage around the Mexican Baja peninsula into the Sea of Cortez.
The sea next to which the Fuso Szulc is parked.



“The log from the Sea of Cortez” is a day-by-day account of the expedition.
But it is also about science and philosophy.
The extraordinary presence of nature inspiring Steinbeck to higher levels of thinking.

On page 218 we find the following statement:
“There is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved about him.”

We must understand that probably Steinbeck means with “man”, the human being.
Including women also.

Steinbeck’s statement is very true.
Of course a person will feel very lost in life if a perfect and certain pattern dissolves.
For example if a person is used to a life with plenty of money and suddenly all material wealth is gone.
To adapt to poverty will be difficult and painful.
Or if a person is in a harmonious and happy relationship and suddenly the partner dies.
How else can the person feel but lost and miserable?

Steinbeck gives as an example:
“There is no hater like one who has greatly loved”.

This might be an extreme way of putting it and the statement suffers of generalizing.
There are plenty of people who lost the love of their life and did not become haters.

What Steinbeck was totally lacking in 1940 was any knowledge of ways of thinking about life as they do in the Far East.
In India, Japan and China.
He was unknown with concepts like transformation, sublimation and enlightenment.
He therefore could only conclude that a drastic change in the life of a person would lead to war, negativity, depression and destruction.
Writing his book during the Second World War he was unable to see that a person may have experiences in life that seem to be dramatic and destructive.
But that eventually they turn out to be the best that could happen.
Because the person manages to go through the deep and dark valley while learning and growing to ultimately manage to climb out of the personal hell to reach new and higher levels of living.

This concept was unknown to Steinbeck.
He writes:
“Little enough is known about the function of individual pain and suffering, although from its profound organization it is suspected of being necessary as a survival mechanism”.

The truth is that for thousands of years a lot is known about the reasons for human beings to have suffering and painful experiences in life.
But Steinbeck was living in a context of extreme violence and worldwide conflict: the USA in the 40’s.
Making himself go deeper into this context by becoming a war correspondent.
Allowing violence and conflict to go even deeper inside him.

Remarkable enough, very near from where Steinbeck was living, a spiritual master was expressing an opposite message.
Steinbeck was in Salinas, California, USA and Jiddu Krishnamurti was in Ojai, California, USA.


Jiddu Krishnamurti

275 miles (442 kilometres) away from each other.
But Steinbeck never heard that life is a process of learning.
Not to survive, but to grow.

+++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about Jiddu Krishnamurti, click on:
http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=J._Krishnamurti

To learn more about John Steinbeck, click on:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck

To learn more about the book “The log from the Sea of Cortez”, click on:

http://www.amazon.com/Log-Sea-Cortez-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140187448

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Log_from_the_Sea_of_Cortez







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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The imperfection of time

Over the years the members of the Gonzales family have been photographed.
Originally without any specific purpose as only that it is always a great joy to make pictures.
But when consistently a group of people are documented, and this more than 20 years, something remarkable can be seen.
How time affects people.
How life comes and goes and will end.

During the last visit to Europe, time was spent in Poland scanning a selection of negatives that are kept in the house of cousin Jerzek in Nowy Sacz.
This in preparation of a book about the conceptual photography made in El Triple, Mexico over the last 28 years.
Also negatives were scanned of the Gonzales family to present them as photo books.

These days those photo books are produced through www.lulu.com and soon the first copies will arrive.
But now doubts have arisen whether it is actually such a good idea to confront people that strongly with the past.

In many pictures of the Gonzales are members of the family that have passed away.
And the pictures show clearly how everybody grew older.

It could very well be that to see these photo books will not be a pleasure for the Gonzales.
It might be painful.
Depressing.
Emotional for sure.
A strong confrontation with life and its shortcomings.

But maybe the Gonzales are able to look back at their past with harmony and peace.
Without bitterness and regret.
Accepting life fully.














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Monday, June 16, 2008

The devil at work

After the prayers of Sunday, there is a return to the agnostic attitude reserved for weekdays.

On a windless Monday morning, the barometer rising while currently at 1007,6 hPa, the humidity at 70 % and the temperature at 7.38 am about 25 Degrees Centigrade. (77 F)

Another beautiful and peaceful day in Baja California, Mexico.

In the margin of this gay existence the news has come that it is likely that the two companies offering satellite radio in the USA, Canada and parts of Mexico will be allowed to merge.
To create a monopoly.
These days we have Sirius Radio with 8.3 million subscribers and XM Radio with 9 million subscribers.
Sirius wants to take over XM for 5 Billion Dollars but has been stopped until now by lack of approval of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
And there is intense opposition from the land-based radio industry and most consumer groups, who say the deal will create a monopoly.
And consequently brutal exploitation of the consumers.

The satellite radio deal has also drawn an unusual amount of scrutiny from Capitol Hill, where the National Association of Broadcasters has fought an expensive advertising and lobbying campaign to block approval.

But guess what, the shareholders of Sirius and XM are in favour of the deal.
And the Justice Department has already approved it.

Now, the Chief of the FCC, Kevin Martin, has come forward to say that he recommends approval of the merger and the monopoly.
Leaving the other four commissioners of the FCC behind.
They, for the most part, keep their views on the deal to themselves.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin

FCC chairman Kevin Martin is not a democratically elected official although he decides about matters concerning the general population of his country.
Chairman Martin was nominated by President George W. Bush to a Republican seat on the Commission, and was sworn in on July 3, 2001.
He was designated chairman by President Bush on March 18, 2005. Chairman Martin was re-nominated for a second term as commissioner and chairman by President George W. Bush on April 25, 2006.
Martin is therefore a political appointee and is most likely not to speak for himself but for the interests of the political party he is representing.
A political party always defending the interests of business and money.
A political party recently allowing oil companies to make windfall profits while millions and millions of good Americans suffer of high gasoline prices.

FCC chief Kevin Martin is saying: "I am recommending that with the voluntary commitments they (the companies) have offered, on balance, this transaction would be in the public interest."

Martin doesn’t explain what is exactly in the interest of the public when Sirius and XM merge.
And of course he will not be responsible if the two companies do not stick to the voluntary commitments they promise to make.

One of those promises is that Sirius will not raise rates for the next three years.
This cannot be true.
For sure somehow they will go up.
Both Sirius and XM have been making annual losses until now.
They were never profitable.
To this comes the 5 Billion Dollars needed to create the monopoly.

All Sirius and XM subscribers must realize that in the near future they will have to pay considerably more.

And that Kevin Martin is merged with the devil.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Kevin Martin invites people to send him an e-mail.
Check:
http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/martin/mail.html







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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday today.

Our Father, Who is in heaven,
Holy is Your Name;
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.






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Saturday, June 14, 2008

A temporary nationalist


“Those fuckin’ assholes.

Those imbeciles, screw them”

These words sounded loudly in an area as much as about 2 miles around the rancho Punta Boca del Salado yesterday.
Obviously someone at the rancho was very upset about something.
Screaming at the tops of his lunges.

What was going on that caused someone to scream this language more likely heard in certain neighbourhoods of Chicago?

Yesterday was the important soccer match between the Netherlands and France.
This for the European championships for national teams.
After the Dutch team had beaten the strong Italians with 3-0 some days ago, expectations were high to see another fantastic match.
France has been World champion and recently Vice-World champion and plays excellent soccer.
But the Dutch demonstrated against the Italians that they have invented a new version of the “Mechanical Orange”.
Experts will know that the “Mechanical Orange” is a certain style and tactic of playing football that is new and innovative.
And spectacular to see.

Hence, the match of the Netherlands against France was highly anticipated by football lovers worldwide and that included the nomadic photographer.
Who could see the match on the small TV of the Gonzales family at Rancho Punta Boca del Salado.

The terrible anger came when after five minutes in the match, the program was abruptly interrupted for commercials.
That is worse than a blasphemy.
It is the most awful thing a TV company can do.
The football fans will hate the TV channel and the products of the commercials forever.
It was ESPN where this happened and never before has such brutality been experienced.
And of course, right during the first commercial, the team from the Netherlands scored their first goal.
Millions and millions of people were not able to witness this fabulous goal just because of some stupid commercial.

Ketcha Gonzales was amused by the outbreak of emotions and anger of their photographic friend.
She likes men that have temperament.

But the excitement about the fabulous match was poisoned by these commercials that came back a few times.

It is amazing that the decision was made to interrupt a soccer match to show commercials.
They know that everybody hates that.
That it is counterproductive.
That it leads to boycotting of the products advertised.

In most civilised countries they never show commercials during the match.
They may have logos and banners but the viewers can always follow the game without being interrupted.

This is vital.
Contrary to sports like baseball and basketball, any second something important can happen in a soccer match.
This is why baseball and basketball are so popular in the United States and hardly anywhere else.
Because most of the time in baseball nothing is happening.
And in basketball there are constantly time outs.
Therefore there is plenty of time to show commercials.
Hence, baseball and basketball are made popular on TV in the USA because it generates money.

With soccer this cannot be done and this explains why the poor Norte Americanos have no idea how spectacular soccer can be.

Meanwhile the Fuso Szulc cannot move until the 29th of June.
This is the day the final of the European Championships of soccer for national teams will take place in Vienna, Austria.
There is a high chance the team of the Netherlands will play in that final.
There is no other option then to stay at Punta Boca del Salado and with the Gonzales family to share with them this fascinating tournament.

It is rare to see football of this high level.
And the 25 % Dutch ancestry makes a temporary nationalist and deeper involvement.
France was beaten by the Netherlands by 4 – 1.





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Friday, June 13, 2008

Life or death

In 1992 another visit was paid to the village of Nyakomba in Zimbabwe.
Over a period of years this village and its inhabitants was documented and many friends were made.

However, the 1992 visit was different.
This because a drought had ravaged the fields and the people were having no more food.
Worst hit was the Katerere District and what was witnessed there was dramatic.

An English doctor was met, Dr. Roger Drew, who was running a Mission called Elim Mission right in the centre where the devastation was the worst.
With him a plan was developed to return to Europe, do a campaign to collect money and come again to Katerere district with the proceeds and assist in the food distribution.
And make pictures of course.

In the Netherlands a friend, Hans Römer, was motivated to join this project and together a serious amount of money was collected.
In December 1992 we went to Elim Mission and for 3 months assisted in the food distribution in the Katerere district.

This involved waking up early and loading a truck with heavy bags of maize.
This truck would drive to food handout centres where local people had gathered.

Each person would get 2 scoops of maize for each member of the family.
To prove with how many they were they had to bring identity cards.
One rule was that people over 65 were not entitled to get food from this distribution program.
Priorities were put on mothers with children.
This system of distribution resulted in one of the most impressing experiences ever in life.
There would be long lines of people patiently waiting to get their food.
Men and women and children all hungry, weak and depressed.
They would show their identity card and when they classified they would get their scoops of maize.
Sometimes there would be a man or a woman showing an identity card and from the year of birth it could be concluded that the person was not the maximum age of 65, but for example 66.
The strict rule was that this person, hungry, who had walked long distance to get some food, who had been standing in line for hours, had to be sent home without any scoops of maize.
These 65+ people were old after a tough life of work and hardship.
They would look in the eyes begging clemency and tolerance and flexibility.
But the rules were the rules.
Scoops of maize going to old people were not going to young mothers with children: there was a limited amount of maize available.
It has been one of the toughest experiences in life to be forced repeatedly to refuse those 65+ people food.
Condemning them to more hunger and suffering and in some cases death.

The truth is that sometimes discreetly exceptions were made.
If a person of for example 66 would show the identity card and obviously that person was in bad health and suffering of the malnourishment in a dramatic way, the responsibility was taken to pretend the person was qualified to get scoops of maize.
No other member of Dr. Roger Drew’s team was checking anyway.

But they were exceptions.
Had to be exceptions.
Most 65+ had to be refused and that has made callus on the heart.
To see the desperateness, the ultimate disappointment, the fear in the eyes of older people when they are miserable and hungry hearing they will not get food.
To deliver that message repeatedly has been one of the hardest things in life.

It has influenced life in two ways.

Recently a good friend in Paris asked:
“Do you ever cry?”
And the answer is no.
How could one cry after having witnessed such deep human misery?
Every tear would be a demonstration of selfishness and would be pathetic.

Another influence has been that as of 1993, there is no more interest in food.
Naturally, the rule has become to eat simple and nutritious and nothing fancy.
As of 1993 eating in restaurants is not enjoyed so much anymore.
In fact, the food eaten normally is just some tofu, vegetables and rice.
Every day the same food, the same cooking.
Impossible to become more extravagant remembering how people look that are hungry.
And realizing that even today millions of fellow human beings still are hungry and lacking food.

The experience of distributing food to hungry people in Zimbabwe in 1993 has a perspective in which life today still is lived.
This perspective never reached an end or dissolved and still embraces and saturates awareness influencing deeply.

In this awareness there has always been and will always be those eyes of the 65+ people begging a reply:
life or death?

Stopping culinary pretentiousness and false sentimentality forever.




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Thursday, June 12, 2008

New friends

The best thing of being a long time photographer is that the technical possibilities are growing and growing.
There has been the digital revolution that has dramatically changed the profession.
And now we have the option of publishing a photo book on line.

This option has come thanks to the fact images can be made digital and procedures for book publishing automated by computers.

Two companies offering printing and publishing photo books have been tested.
Blurb and Lulu.




Blurb works with a system that the user downloads their software that is able to assist designing the photo book.
After composing and designing the photo book, the result is uploaded to the website of Blurb.

Lulu has a system that the composing and designing happens on line.

Both companies have friendly and intuitive software developed and it is very easy to work with.

Differences, as far as the research has come, are that with Blurb a larger photo book can be produced.
13 x 11 inch (33 x 28 cm) for Blurb versus 9 x 7 inch (22,8 x 17,7 cm) for Lulu.

Another difference is that Blurb does not accept images in Grayscale and Adobe 1998 RGB.
People who have black and white pictures scanned in Grayscale need to transform all those images in sRGB color.

These days photo books are produced using Lulu about the Gonzales family.
Lulu is used because the size of the book they offer of 9 x 7 inch (22,8 x 17,7 cm) is big enough and because they accept images in Grayscale.
During the weeks in Poland recently, where the archive is containing images of the Gonzales as of 1990, a selection was scanned on an Epson V 500 scanner.
Each image is perfected in Photoshop before it is used in the Lulu book.

It is an easy procedure to upload the images to Lulu and use their design software to compose the book.
They offer templates and it is all a matter of dragging and dropping.

Once the photo book is designed and composed, the procedure to order a copy is most simple.
A matter of minutes.
In this way seven books will be made about the different members of the Gonzales family and these photo books will be presented to them as a gift.
If they want more copies of a particular book, it is very simple to order them from Lulu.
They claim that in 10 days the photo books arrive.

As soon as the Gonzales photo books are finished, the project starts to make this photo book about El Triple.
El Triple is the location in Mexico where over 28 years conceptual photography has been made.
The photo book will show a selection of the sequences, the Vista series and the PS-series.
To show what happens when an artist-photographer decides to return to the same beach over and over again to discover what is inside to visualize this in images.
This photo book will be made using Blurb because of the larger size.
It is a big job to transform all black and white images from Grayscale to sRGB color, but the larger size of Blurb’s photo book is too important to neglect.

Another most interesting aspect of this new way of producing a photo book is that it is cheap.
A 20 page photo book of 9x7 inch (22,8 x 17,7 cm) with a hardcover costs 24,95 $ (16,10 €).
And it costs 1,98 $ (1,27 €) to have it send to Mexico.

While making the own photo books now it is remembered with a big smile how in the past the 13 photo books were made.
A very complex procedure that would start by trying to convince a publisher to take on a project.
Becoming completely dependent of the publisher.
And of the financial resources.
And of the designer.
And of the printer.
Because it is another beautiful sunny day in Mexico, the procedures of making a photo book in the past are better not remembered.
And quickly Lulu is joined again.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


To learn more about Lulu and Blurb, click on:

www.lulu.com

www.blurb.com







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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Total tanning

The last few days on the mainland of Mexico storms have been battering badly torturing it with heavy rainfall.
Baja California is too much under the influence of the Pacific Ocean and cool air coming from the north to get any rainfall this time.
Nevertheless it can be noticed here things are meteorologically not so good to the east.
There is a strong wind from the south and clouds cover the sky.

This is no problem because there is a heavy workload that involves spending many hours behind the computer inside the Fuso Szulc.
If the weather is gorgeous and brilliant outside, how can a sane person be inside?
Irresistibly the urge has to be fulfilled of being in the sun and the fresh air.
But now the cloudy weather is warmly welcomed because it is instrumental in getting a lot of work done.

The second reason why clouds are welcomed is the fact that for three months time was spent in India and Europe out of the sun.
Either because it was too hot, India, or because there was no serious sunshine whatsoever, Europe.
During those three months the deep tan burned into the skin over the first months of the year in Mexico had disappeared.

Paleness has returned that makes sudden exposure to strong sunshine a dangerous venture.
A step-by-step process has to be followed to gradually darken the skin again until the tan is adequate once more to stand being in the sun unlimitedly.

This will take not very long.
Within a week the job is done.
Assisted with some suntan cream.

There are friends who inquire if it is such a good idea to be in the sun so much.
They have a point.
Many days a year are spend in the full and strong sunshine.
Without any protection.
No shirt.
No long pants.
Even no suntan cream.

Is that wise and smart?
No, Sir.

It is stupid !!!
Yes, Madam.

Already on the arms and hands there are small accumulations of death skin cells forming small mountains that sometimes itch.

But a life in the sun while covered with protective clothing and heavily creamed where exposed is not acceptable.
It is against the strong force of this wild animal living inside.
That makes this person fatalistic.
Saying to better live as loved and die early.
Compared to living long in bonds.






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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Having options.

It is truly convenient sometimes to be multi-ethnic.
Although it needs some shuffling in connecting events with the part inside that is linked to it.
Two days ago the national soccer team of Poland was playing the team of Germany.
This in a most exciting tournament now taking place in Switzerland and Austria to decide which national team is the best in Europe.
The result of Poland playing Germany was 0-2.
Not unexpected as the Germans are always playing very well.
But painful nevertheless.
Especially because the coach of the Polish players is the Dutch Leo Beenhakker.
Hence, this event hurts the 50 % Polish vodka and the 25 % Dutch cheese inside.
However, yesterday, the world champions Italy were playing the national team of the Netherlands.
This is quite a thrill when in a tournament already the very first match two of the best teams must compete.
Usually they are both very careful and strive for a 0-0.
To get their advantage playing less strong teams later.
But this time it was sensational.
The Dutch players dominated the match and excelled in a most painful way for the reputed Italians.
The team of the Netherlands devastated the Italians in skills, ideas, cleverness and motivation.
The end result was a 3-0 victory for the Dutch but it could have been 5-0 as well.
This is a very rare and historical match.
That one of two very strong teams is so outclassed.

Of course the 25 % Dutch part moved to the very centre and it was again remembered how grandfather has been a very successful business man who was the first to have in his town a house with an electric elevator and who gave a golden watch to each player of the local soccer team when they became champion.

So these days the “Polska”-banner is taken off the Fuso Szulc and the walking on the beach is now with a swing like if wearing wooden shoes.
On Friday the team of the Netherlands is to play France.
Another gigantic adversary that has been world champion as well.
If the Dutch play a draw or have another win, we have a future.

So, one may ask, what about the 25 % Belgium part?
Where is that?
Ever tried Godiva chocolate, eh?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about Belgium chocolate, click on:

http://www.godiva.com/about/faq.aspx


To learn more about the current European soccer championships, click on:

http://www.euro2008.uefa.com/






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Monday, June 9, 2008

Beyond origins.

These days are the championships of soccer for the national teams of Europe.
It is being played in Switzerland and Austria and happening only every four years.

Anybody interested in soccer will watch the matches because it is so unique.
Soccer over the years has changed very much.
It has commercialised in a most excessive way.
Soccer clubs, like FC Barcelona and FC Manchester United, have become companies.
They can buy and sell players and this makes any connection to the country and the city where a team comes from irrelevant.
A team for a soccer club these days is a mixture of players from all around the world.
For example, it is very possible that in the team of FC Barcelona not one player is actually from Barcelona.
The bare reality is that the club in Europe that becomes champion is the club with the best management and the most money.
The club that managed to get the most money out of the sponsor market to buy the best players wherever they are.

It is not so with the national teams.
Players in the national team must have the nationality of the country they are representing.
The men playing for their national team are not doing this primarily for the money.
Nationalistic feelings, honour, pride and privilege are the motivating forces.
A player has the potential to become a national hero never to be forgotten.
That’s something money cannot buy.

Hence, the European championship for national teams is an occasion to see soccer not influenced by money.

In the Fuso Szulc is no TV.
This is on purpose.
However, on certain websites TV can be seen but because of the relative low transmission speeds of the Datastorm satellite system the image is of post stamp size and often disappearing.

Fortunately the Gonzales have a TV and a satellite disk paying Sky for programs.
Powered by solar energy.
The National Mexican Television transmits the European championships of soccer live.
Hurray for that.
There is a match in the morning and one in the early afternoon Mexican time.
This because of the time difference with Europe.

Today at 12.45 am the national team of Italy is playing the Netherlands.
Being Dutch for 25 % it is a match to see.
Besides the fact that they both have excellent players.

Another 25 % is Belgium but that country has not qualified for this competition.
The remaining 50 % are Polish and one would assume that therefore most nationalistic feelings go that way.
This is not the case though.
The Polish team is not so good and the fear is that to be nationalistic for the Poles will lead to tears and tragedy because most likely they will be eliminated in the first round.

This is the advantage of a person with a multi-ethnic background.
The option to switch to a team that potentially can be a winner.
To act like an opportunist without being one.

Cousin Jerzek from Nowy Sacz made a banner available that many Poles put from their bedroom window these days.
As a sign of support for their team although for sure they will not be successful.
Heroes in loosing.
So, the 50 % part of the blood forced to put the banner on the Fuso Szulc.


A demonstration of identification.
While the preferred and the only true identification is with oneself.
Beyond the origins.





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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back at Punta Boca

Returned to the location left exactly 3 months ago.

Reunited with the Mexican Senorita and the Gonzales family.
Who want to know everything that has been happening on the European tour and on the journey to India.

A time of reflection opens now because the rhythm of moving from one country to the next, one hotel room to the other, from friends here to friends there has stopped.
And a more harmonious wave is carrying the life.
Creating space to remember one by one all the important events of the last three months.
To get a feeling what are its significances, its purposes and its meanings.
Or to come to simply accept some of the events without making any effort to understand.

The Gonzales family had cared for the Fuso Szulc.
It was parked next to their house.
Because it was in the full sunshine the two roof vents were left open.
Knowing very well this would allow dust to come in.
And it did.
It took a whole day of work by two people to get the interior of the Fuso Szulc dust free again.


But now the Fuso Szulc is back on location and everything works without a problem.




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Friday, June 6, 2008

A weapon of mass destruction in Los Angeles.

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks at the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at the order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman on August 6 and 9, 1945.
After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities, the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945.
Followed on August 9 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki.



The two bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings.
Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs.
In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians.

The release of the atomic bomb at 08:15 (Hiroshima time) was uneventful.
The gravity bomb known as "Little Boy” took 57 seconds to fall from the aircraft to the predetermined detonation height about 600 meters (1,900 ft) above the city.
It created a blast equivalent to about 13 kilotons of TNT.
The radius of total destruction was about 1.6 km (1 mile), with resulting fires across 11.4 km (4.4 square miles).
Infrastructure damage was estimated at 90 percent of Hiroshima's buildings being either damaged or completely destroyed.

The atomic bomb was transported by the 393d Bombardment Squadron B-29 airplane called “Enola Gay”.
Piloted and commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets.
He had called his bomber “Enola Gay” after his mother.



Now we fast-forward to 2008.
Los Angeles.
In the part of this immense city called Lawndale we find in a complex of small businesses the workplace of master carpenter Bob Wilhite.

Besides the work he does for his clients, he is dealing with a fascination he has for the atomic bomb.

On the walls of his workplace he has images of the atomic bomb, the “Enola Gay” and the mushroom cloud.




In the centre of his workplace he has the yet unfinished replica of the “Fat Boy”: the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Mr. Bob Wilhite is making the atomic bomb out of wood but it has its original size.



Why would a person do such a thing?
To re-build a weapon of mass destruction that has killed over 80.000 civilians instantly?

Hence, the question: “Bob, why are you doing this?”

He replied: “You know, everybody wants to have the atomic bomb. So do I”.









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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Honey in the heart

Several times on this blog, the subject was the observation that around a critical date events like to group.

The centre of events this time was the departure from Europe to return to the United States.
On Wednesday two planes of British Airways guaranteed a smooth and easy voyage between Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Los Angeles in the United States.

But before and after this pivotal event other experiences manifested themselves.
Most were fabulous, one was dramatic and one was a little sad.

It is typical that there is a tendency to accept the fabulous experiences for granted while dramatic and sad ones reverberate negatively in the mind and heart for a longer time.
Solution and healing way is to consciously force to remember the fabulous experiences and have their nectar drip into the heart.

One pot of honey was to meet in Los Angeles immediately after arriving good friend Henry Acland who had with him the new camera.
A Nikon D 300 with a 16-85 mm lens.
This to replace the aging Nikon D70.

It is only every 5 to 7 years that a new camera needs to be purchased.
This makes it each time a fantastic event.

Many fervent and loyal blog readers may wonder what a photographer will do with the old camera and its lenses.
The value of it on Ebay or other markets is low.
And there is the fact that the camera has been the travel companion for many years and has been making pictures of immense value.
In other words, there is an emotional bond between camera and photographer.
After serving many years therefore, the thing cannot be dumped in a business way.

Dear friend Albert in Amsterdam had mentioned he could use the camera.
So on the last night in the Netherlands this sacred situation arose where the Nikon D 70 and two lenses were adopted and found a new and good home.

The first pictures with the new D 300 were made of the hotel in Los Angeles.
First of the Mexican ladies cleaning the rooms taking an elevator ride.


And later an image of the room, so big that two Paris hotel rooms would fit into it.



Today is a day of meeting friends and buying medication for the Gonzales family.
And a new battery for the MacBook Pro laptop computer giving up on life after 18 months.
But most of all honey for the Mexican honey.






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Monday, June 2, 2008

Hell in hotel

For the second time in one year lodging in Paris was in the Cervantes Hotel in the Rue de Bernes near the Gare St. Lazare.
It is a nice hotel, it has air conditioning and is in a quiet street.
Very important because this guarantees peaceful sleep.
In hotels without air conditioning the windows must be opened for fresh air and this brings in loud traffic noise and heavy pollution.



However, this time there was disappointment with the Cervantes Hotel.

Two vital facilities in the small hotel room were not working and one thing was lacking.

It is important to have a desk in the room.
A table to work on.
The room had a table but on it was a large LCD TV and underneath the table the minibar.
Hence, to work on the computer one had to sit in a chair with the laptop on the knees.
Very inconvenient.

Then the TV was a disaster.
This had to do with the TV-cable system of the hotel.
Not one channel could be received with a clear image.
All were like coming from Mars.
Snowy and vague.
Impossible to watch.
It is incredible that with today’s technology a hotel cannot manage to have clear images on the TV’s in the rooms.

The same inadequacy was found in the bathroom.
In the tiny shower the hot water supply was unstable.
Taking a shower resulted in having water shifting from being hot to cold and vice versa.
Very irritating early in the morning.
Hot water supply should be no problem in a hotel.

The Cervantes Hotel is not cheap.
€ 129 (200$) a night.
And for this money a guest may expect a properly working TV, a table to write on and proper hot water supply.

But the worst was to come.
When ready to leave the hotel the electronic door lock card had to be returned to the person at the front desk and questions answered about use of the mini bar.
Coming to the front desk several people were already waiting.
These clients of the hotel were waiting because the young woman on duty behind the front desk was answering incoming phone calls of people who wanted to book rooms.

She had to make a decision.
Do I answer the phone calls or do I help the customers waiting in front of me?
It is a very strange attitude, already often witnessed, that many people always give priority to phone calls instead of people present physically.
Somehow they feel that a person calling by phone has priority.
Such a high priority that people presnt must wait.
While business from both the caller and the person waiting is equal.

It could be a very easy procedure to say to the person calling to hang on for some minutes to assist the customers present personally first.

But this young woman was choosing another policy.
You call and you have her.

Waiting with the other customers for the young woman to finish her phone call, she immediately would answer the following one on another line.
When she accepted the fourth phone call making the customers in front of her even wait longer, it was time to intervene.

Loudly it was asked:
“There are four customers of your hotel waiting in front of you.
Why do you give priority to your phone calls?”

The young woman blushed and demonstrated in body language and face expression embarrassment, irritation and being annoyed.
She claimed that she could not just let the phone ring.

“You could politely say to the callers to wait for some minutes so you have time to assist us checking out of the hotel.
We are still customers, as you well know, and we all need to go to our appointments”.

This made her really upset because she understood there was a point.
A hotel cannot give so openly priority to people who want to book a room letting guests who have already paid wait.
It is the attitude of giving adequate treatment before you have paid and lousy service after you have paid.

The young woman roughly took the electronic key card and said with a harsh voice:
“Good bye!”.
To focus immediately again on her phone call business.

The hotel was left with a feeling it just had dropped off from the list as a place to spend nights again.
There are plenty of other hotels in Paris.
Where the TV works.
Where there is a constant stream of hot water.
Where there is a desk in the room.
And where people work who respect customers.







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Indiana Bones

The nomadic life style that is often lived in the Fuso Szulc expedition vehicle in the boondocks of Mexico, does not offer opportunities to go to the movies.
Yesterday there was a chance being on the Champs Elysees in Paris when it started to rain.
So what better place to be dry and on top of that be entertained by a movie?

The first movie available was “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Chrystal Skull”.



This Mr. Jones was well known because he was the main character in the amusing film “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.
That film was a kind of revelation and has been seen a few times.
It is the perfect film for boys.
And for men who are in their hearts still boys.

Unfortunately the new Indiana Jones film is a big disappointment.
It is not interesting, not fascinating, not exciting and not entertaining.
It was a waste of the 10,50 € (16,31 $) entrance fee.
For that money a cheap umbrella would have been a better investment.

There are several reasons why it is not a good movie.

One is that they made the film more complicated concerning special effects.
Especially in the end it turns into some kind of science fiction film.
The first Indiana Jones was simple and very realistic.
It played in a time and in situations that were related to times that have been.
Now we see Russians, probably representing the Soviet Regime, in an Amazon jungle setting.
A most ridiculous situation.
Seeing Russian jeeps and trucks and uniforms and arms in the Amazon jungle…

Because of the advanced computer technology also this film gets its share of the spectator looking at totally unrealistic landscapes, buildings and situations generated in the computer.
Not referring in any way to what we ever saw in real life.

There is also more violence in the new Indiana Jones film.
Fights between persons last very long.
And are very ridiculous to see.

But the main problem is Harrison Ford.
The guy is simply too old by now to play an acceptable character like Indiana Jones.
He moves around like a retired polar bear.
Is slow and spiritless and spectators wish he would not have come out of the mothballs.



When the spectator sees Harrison Ford walk or run it is very painful.
He is an old man.
That makes an enormous contrast with the scenes that Indiana Jones jump into action making it so painfully clear we look at doubles.
We see a vibrant man dressed like Indiana pretending it is he.
Obviously, the filmmakers, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, have realized this problem.
They tried to compensate Harrison Ford’s inadequacy with introducing Indiana Jones’ son.
It is a son Indiana Jones was not aware of.
He left the woman when she was pregnant of him.
And never informed him because shortly after she got involved with another man who believed it was his son.
How about the morals propagated here in the film?
Of course immediately Indiana Jones starts to love his newfound son and dominate and lecture him constantly.


Worst is that also the mother has a role in the film.
So we have to witness marital fighting in the worst ways that even the Soviets around them can’t stand.
Because it is a Hollywood film the fairy tale is that at the end of the film they marry and are suddenly very happy.

But a good Indiana Jones film can’t become a classic like the first one when the hero is too old and a son is needed for more action and a woman to have romance.

Commercially the film is a success.
This fourth Indiana Jones film became the seventh-fastest movie ever to crack the $200 million (128 million €) mark.
But that doesn’t make it a good movie.









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