Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year



Offering
all fervent and loyal blog readers,
all infrequent blog readers,
all occasional blog readers
and all accidental blog readers
the very best wishes
for a healthy, harmonious, prosperous and peaceful 2009.


Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski







.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A massacre


1 death Palestinian, 2 death Palestinians including women and children, 3 death Palestinians including women and children, 4 death Palestinians including women and children, 5 death Palestinians including women and children,

Bradley Burston wrote yesterday in the Israelian newspaper Haaretz:

I want to apologize for the unforgivable.

It is time for us to stop "understanding" why we kill so many Palestinian civilians.
It is time for us to stop explaining away the deaths we excuse as the unfortunate and incidental by-product of a terrible war.


6 death Palestinians including women and children, 7 death Palestinians including women and children, 8 death Palestinians including women and children, 9 death Palestinians including women and children, 10 death Palestinians including women and children, 11 death Palestinians including women and children, 12 death Palestinians including women and children, 13 death Palestinians including women and children, 14 death Palestinians including women and children, 15 death Palestinians including women and children, 16 death Palestinians including women and children, 17 death Palestinians including women and children, 18 death Palestinians including women and children, 19 death Palestinians including women and children, 20 death Palestinians including women and children,

If it had been only an isolated incident, a tragic aberration, I would have kept my peace, said nothing, just moved on.

But the same crime, the same - let's call it by its real name - atrocity, has been committed time and again, under the same circumstances, for the same reasons, with the same indefensible result.

Someone in an Israelian Defence Force uniform, in a position of responsibility, gave an order.
We will probably never know who.
Nor will we know who loaded the shell into the tank gun, if that was, indeed what happened, or who armed the air-to-surface missile, if that was what happened, who sighted the target, who gave the order to fire, who carried it out.

21 death Palestinians including women and children, 22 death Palestinians including women and children, 23 death Palestinians including women and children, 24 death Palestinians including women and children, 25 death Palestinians including women and children, 26 death Palestinians including women and children, 27 death Palestinians including women and children, 28 death Palestinians including women and children, 29 death Palestinians including women and children, 30 death Palestinians including women and children, 40 death Palestinians including women and children, 50 death Palestinians including women and children,

The army said it fired two missiles at Palestinian militants near the tin shack of the Abu Meatik family, detonating explosives carried by the militants, sparking a "secondary explosion" that struck the home.

Witnesses said that a tank shell sheared through the roof and killed everyone inside, among them Rudina Abu Meatik, 6, her brothers, Saleh, 4 and Mousab, 15 months, and her three-year-old sister, Hana, 3.


60 death Palestinians including women and children, 70 death Palestinians including women and children, 80 death Palestinians including women and children,

What we do know is that a mother in Beit Hanoun, a devastated area of northern Gaza from which Qassams and mortars are fired at Israel, was seeing to the breakfast of her four small children Monday morning when their world exploded.

We know that they are all dead.


90 death Palestinians including women and children, 100 death Palestinians including women and children, 101 death Palestinians including women and children, 102 death Palestinians including women and children, 103 death Palestinians including women and children, 104 death Palestinians including women and children, 105 death Palestinians including women and children, 106 death Palestinians including women and children, 107 death Palestinians including women and children, 108 death Palestinians including women and children,

We console ourselves, here on the Israeli side of the border, that, unlike the suicide bomber, the box cutter terrorist, the drive-by machine gunner, the Merkaz Harav gunman, the deaths of the children and their mother in Beit Hanoun were a terrible case of bad fortune.

109 death Palestinians including women and children, 110 death Palestinians including women and children, 111 death Palestinians including women and children, 112 death Palestinians including women and children, 113 death Palestinians including women and children, 114 death Palestinians including women and children, 115 death Palestinians including women and children, 116 death Palestinians including women and children, 117 death Palestinians including women and children, 118 death Palestinians including women and children, 119 death Palestinians including women and children,

We salve our doubts by stressing - and this is true - that the Israeli army never intentionally targets non-combatants. We protect our fragile consciences by suppressing case after case of Palestinian civilian casualties.

120 death Palestinians including women and children, 121 death Palestinians including women and children, 122 death Palestinians including women and children, 123 death Palestinians including women and children, 124 death Palestinians including women and children, 125 death Palestinians including women and children, 126 death Palestinians including women and children, 127 death Palestinians including women and children, 128 death Palestinians including women and children, 129 death Palestinians including women and children, 130 death Palestinians including women and children, 131 death Palestinians including women and children, 132 death Palestinians including women and children, 133 death Palestinians including women and children, 134 death Palestinians including women and children,

We deflect our guilt by shifting the blame to Hamas, to the Jihad, even - and for this I apologize seventy-fold - to the failure of Palestinian civilians to rise up and stop the terrorists.

135 death Palestinians including women and children, 136 death Palestinians including women and children, 137 death Palestinians including women and children, 138 death Palestinians including women and children, 139 death Palestinians including women and children, 140 death Palestinians including women and children, 141 death Palestinians including women and children, 142 death Palestinians including women and children, 143 death Palestinians including women and children, 144 death Palestinians including women and children, 145 death Palestinians including women and children, 146 death Palestinians including women and children, 147 death Palestinians including women and children, 148 death Palestinians including women and children, 149 death Palestinians including women and children, 150 death Palestinians including women and children, 151 death Palestinians including women and children, 152 death Palestinians including women and children, 153 death Palestinians including women and children, 154 death Palestinians including women and children, 155 death Palestinians including women and children,

We are prepared to excuse it again and again. We excused it when we heard the news today, just as we excused it in November, 2006, when an Israelian Defence Force artillery piece killed 19 people in Beit Hanoun, some of them children still sleeping in their beds when the shell hit.

No more.

156 death Palestinians including women and children, 157 death Palestinians including women and children, 158 death Palestinians including women and children, 159 death Palestinians including women and children,
160 death Palestinians including women and children, 161 death Palestinians including women and children, 162 death Palestinians including women and children, 163 death Palestinians including women and children, 164 death Palestinians including women and children, 165 death Palestinians including women and children, 166 death Palestinians including women and children, 167 death Palestinians including women and children, 168 death Palestinians including women and children, 169 death Palestinians including women and children, 170 death Palestinians including women and children, 171 death Palestinians including women and children, 172 death Palestinians including women and children, 173 death Palestinians including women and children, 174 death Palestinians including women and children, 175 death Palestinians including women and children, 176 death Palestinians including women and children, 177 death Palestinians including women and children, 178 death Palestinians including women and children, 179 death Palestinians including women and children,

It would pay, in this regard, for us to review the reasons why Palestinian mortars and Qassam rockets fired at civilian centers are considered a war crime. "Because Qassams are not capable of accurate targeting, it is unlawful to use them in or near areas populated with civilians," Human Rights Watch said after a Qassam killed a Sderot mother of two children, days after the 19, mostly women and children, were killed in Beit Hanoun.

It would pay, in this regard, for us to recognize that despite cutting edge technology, we can aim neither tank shells nor missile with assurance.

180 death Palestinians including women and children, 181 death Palestinians including women and children, 182 death Palestinians including women and children, 183 death Palestinians including women and children, 184 death Palestinians including women and children, 185 death Palestinians including women and children, 186 death Palestinians including women and children, 187 death Palestinians including women and children, 188 death Palestinians including women and children, 189 death Palestinians including women and children, 190 death Palestinians including women and children, 191 death Palestinians including women and children, 192 death Palestinians including women and children, 193 death Palestinians including women and children, 194 death Palestinians including women and children,

"International humanitarian law prohibits direct attacks against civilians and civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks and attacks that cause disproportionate damage to civilians," the organization declared. "A prohibited indiscriminate attack includes using weapons that are incapable of discriminating between civilians and combatants or between civilian and military objects."

195 death Palestinians including women and children, 196 death Palestinians including women and children, 197 death Palestinians including women and children, 198 death Palestinians including women and children, 199 death Palestinians including women and children, 200 death Palestinians including women and children, 201 death Palestinians including women and children, 202 death Palestinians including women and children, 203 death Palestinians including women and children, 204 death Palestinians including women and children, 205 death Palestinians including women and children, 206 death Palestinians including women and children, 207 death Palestinians including women and children, 208 death Palestinians including women and children, 209 death Palestinians including women and children, 210 death Palestinians including women and children, 211 death Palestinians including women and children, 212 death Palestinians including women and children, 213 death Palestinians including women and children, 214 death Palestinians including women and children, 215 death Palestinians including women and children, 216 death Palestinians including women and children, 217 death Palestinians including women and children, 218 death Palestinians including women and children, 219 death Palestinians including women and children, 220 death Palestinians including women and children, 221 death Palestinians including women and children, 222 death Palestinians including women and children, 223 death Palestinians including women and children,

We all know why we send in the assault helicopter, and the tank, and the fighter-bomber, and use them against Palestinians. We use them for the same reason we pulled out of Gaza. To spare our own soldiers. We know that occupation takes huge numbers of troops. We use armor against humans in order to limit the exposure of our own soldiers to risk.

The way we use them, however, kills children.

224 death Palestinians including women and children, 225 death Palestinians including women and children, 226 death Palestinians including women and children, 227 death Palestinians including women and children, 228 death Palestinians including women and children, 229 death Palestinians including women and children, 230 death Palestinians including women and children, 231 death Palestinians including women and children, 232 death Palestinians including women and children, 233 death Palestinians including women and children, 234 death Palestinians including women and children, 235 death Palestinians including women and children, 236 death Palestinians including women and children, 237 death Palestinians including women and children, 238 death Palestinians including women and children, 239 death Palestinians including women and children, 240 death Palestinians including women and children, 241 death Palestinians including women and children, 242 death Palestinians including women and children,

And while we're at it, let the Israeli who is stunned and stricken by Palestinian terror, begin to acknowledge that incidental killings of civilians are our shame, our war crime, our suicide bombs, the massacres for which we, virtuous as we believe we are, are directly to blame.

243 death Palestinians including women and children, 244 death Palestinians including women and children, 245 death Palestinians including women and children, 246 death Palestinians including women and children, 247 death Palestinians including women and children, 248 death Palestinians including women and children, 249 death Palestinians including women and children, 250 death Palestinians including women and children, 251 death Palestinians including women and children, 252 death Palestinians including women and children, 253 death Palestinians including women and children, 254 death Palestinians including women and children, 255 death Palestinians including women and children, 256 death Palestinians including women and children, 257 death Palestinians including women and children, 258 death Palestinians including women and children, 259 death Palestinians including women and children, 260 death Palestinians including women and children, 261 death Palestinians including women and children, 262 death Palestinians including women and children, 263 death Palestinians including women and children, 264 death Palestinians including women and children, 265 death Palestinians including women and children, 266 death Palestinians including women and children,

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Hamas for the rocket attacks, but also had strong words for Israel.

"While recognizing Israel's right to defend itself, I have also condemned the excessive use of force by Israel in Gaza. The suffering caused to civilian populations as a result of the large-scale violence and destruction that have taken place over the past few days has saddened me profoundly,"

267 death Palestinians including women and children, 268 death Palestinians including women and children, 269 death Palestinians including women and children, 270 death Palestinians including women and children, 271 death Palestinians including women and children,272 death Palestinians including women and children, 273 death Palestinians including women and children, 274 death Palestinians including women and children, 275 death Palestinians including women and children, 276 death Palestinians including women and children, 277 death Palestinians including women and children,

The U.N. Security Council called for both sides to immediately end the violence, but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that the campaign could last "for some time," and his Cabinet voted to call up 7,000 reservists.

278 death Palestinians including women and children, 279 death Palestinians including women and children, 280 death Palestinians including women and children, 281 death Palestinians including women and children, 282 death Palestinians including women and children, 283 death Palestinians including women and children, 284 death Palestinians including women and children, 285 death Palestinians including women and children, 286 death Palestinians including women and children, 287 death Palestinians including women and children, 288 death Palestinians including women and children,

"It's very bad, people are running in all directions because of the bombings that are happening everywhere," Karen AbuZayd said from Gaza City.
AbuZayd is the commissioner-general of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides assistance to about 80 percent of Gaza's 1.5 million residents.
289 death Palestinians including women and children, 290 death Palestinians including women and children, 291 death Palestinians including women and children, 292 death Palestinians including women and children, 293 death Palestinians including women and children, 294 death Palestinians including women and children, 295 death Palestinians including women and children, 296 death Palestinians including women and children, 297 death Palestinians including women and children, 298 death Palestinians including women and children, 299 death Palestinians including women and children, 300 death Palestinians including women and children, 301 death Palestinians including women and children, 302 death Palestinians including women and children, 303 death Palestinians including women and children,

Iyad Nasr, the Red Cross spokesman, said Israeli sanctions had left Gaza's hospitals "almost incapable of functioning" even before the weekend's attacks, and those facilities are now "bleeding every resource available."
304 death Palestinians including women and children, 305 death Palestinians including women and children, 306 death Palestinians including women and children, 307 death Palestinians including women and children, 308 death Palestinians including women and children, 309 death Palestinians including women and children, 310 death Palestinians including women and children, 311 death Palestinians including women and children, 312 death Palestinians including women and children, 313 death Palestinians including women and children, 314 death Palestinians including women and children, 315 death Palestinians including women and children, 316 death Palestinians including women and children,

Angry protests took place in several cities around the world on Sunday against Israel after its air strikes in Gaza killed at least 270 people and wounded hundreds more. In London, hundreds of demonstrators battled riot police in an attempt to enter the Israeli Embassy, according to media reports.
317 death Palestinians including women and children, 318 death Palestinians including women and children, 319 death Palestinians including women and children, 320 death Palestinians including women and children, 321 death Palestinians including women and children, 322 death Palestinians including women and children, 323 death Palestinians including women and children, 324 death Palestinians including women and children, 325 death Palestinians including women and children, 326 death Palestinians including women and children, 327 death Palestinians including women and children,

"We are in an all-out war against Hamas," Barak told a special session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

328 death Palestinians including women and children, 329 death Palestinians including women and children, 330 death Palestinians including women and children, 331 death Palestinians including women and children, 332 death Palestinians including women and children, 333 death Palestinians including women and children,

Gaza families were sleeping in stairwells and corridors in hopes of avoiding the Israeli airstrikes, which have targeted Gaza City's largest university, as well as mosques that Israel claimed were being used to store weapons, build rockets or hide militants. Israel announced Monday that it would also attack private residences if they're used to house militants.
334 death Palestinians including women and children, 335 death Palestinians including women and children, 336 death Palestinians including women and children, 337 death Palestinians including women and children, 338 death Palestinians including women and children,

In messages that have left many Palestinians rattled, Israel has been placing calls to Gaza residents to personally warn them that their homes, or adjacent buildings, were targets.

Among those trapped in their homes was Wafa Kannan, a 27-year-old Gaza City resident who's been camping out in a narrow apartment corridor with her mother and two brothers since the strikes began on Saturday.

Over the weekend, Kannan's mother received a recorded call on her cell phone from the Israeli military. When she heard who was calling, she hung up. Minutes later, the same call came to the landline in her apartment warning her to leave if she was storing weapons.

339 death Palestinians including women and children, 340 death Palestinians including women and children, 341 death Palestinians including women and children, 342 death Palestinians including women and children, 343 death Palestinians including women and children, 344 death Palestinians including women and children, 345 death Palestinians including women and children.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe defended the Israeli attack on Gaza.
But added that the Bush administration was urging Israel to avoid civilian casualties.
346 death Palestinians including women and children, 347 death Palestinians including women and children, 348 death Palestinians including women and children, 349 death Palestinians including women and children, 350 death Palestinians including women and children, 351 death Palestinians including women and children, 352 death Palestinians including women and children, 353 death Palestinians including women and children, 354 death Palestinians including women and children, 355 death Palestinians including women and children, 356 death Palestinians including women and children, 357 death Palestinians including women and children, 358 death Palestinians including women and children, 359 death Palestinians including women and children, 360 death Palestinians including women and children.

And more than 1.400 Palestinian men, women and children injured.

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

For the full story of Bradley Burston in the Israelian newspaper Haaretz, click on
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/978661.html






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Monday, December 29, 2008

A killing spree

A complicated conflict has erupted into a new local war.
The death toll after three days stands now at 323.
An army prepares to move into another country.
To kill and destroy more.

1 death person, 2 death persons, 3 death persons, 4 death persons, 5 death persons, 6 death persons, 7 death persons, 8 death persons, 9 death persons, 10 death persons, 11 death persons, 12 death persons, 13 death persons, 14 death persons, 15 death persons, 16 death persons, 17 death persons, 18 death persons, 19 death persons, 20 death persons, 21 death persons, 22 death persons, 23 death persons, 24 death persons, 25 death persons, 26 death persons, 27 death persons, 28 death persons, 29 death persons, 30 death persons, 40 death persons, 50 death persons, 60 death persons, 70 death persons, 80 death persons, 90 death persons, 100 death persons, 101 death persons, 102 death persons, 103 death persons, 104 death persons, 105 death persons, 106 death persons, 107 death persons, 108 death persons, 109 death persons, 110 death persons, 111 death persons, 112 death persons, 113 death persons, 114 death persons, 115 death persons, 116 death persons, 117 death persons, 118 death persons, 119 death persons, 120 death persons, 121 death persons, 122 death persons, 123 death persons, 124 death persons, 125 death persons, 126 death persons, 127 death persons, 128 death persons, 129 death persons, 130 death persons, 131 death persons, 132 death persons, 133 death persons, 134 death persons, 135 death persons, 136 death persons, 137 death persons, 138 death persons, 139 death persons, 140 death persons, 141 death persons, 142 death persons, 143 death persons, 144 death persons, 145 death persons, 146 death persons, 147 death persons, 148 death persons, 149 death persons, 150 death persons, 151 death persons, 152 death persons, 153 death persons, 154 death persons, 155 death persons, 156 death persons, 157 death persons, 158 death persons, 159 death persons, 160 death persons, 161 death persons, 162 death persons, 163 death persons, 164 death persons, 165 death persons, 166 death persons, 167 death persons, 168 death persons, 169 death persons, 170 death persons, 171 death persons, 172 death persons, 173 death persons, 174 death persons, 175 death persons, 176 death persons, 177 death persons, 178 death persons, 179 death persons, 180 death persons, 181 death persons, 182 death persons, 183 death persons, 184 death persons, 185 death persons, 186 death persons, 187 death persons, 188 death persons, 189 death persons, 190 death persons, 191 death persons, 192 death persons, 193 death persons, 194 death persons, 195 death persons, 196 death persons, 197 death persons, 198 death persons, 199 death persons, 200 death persons, 201 death persons, 202 death persons, 203 death persons, 204 death persons, 205 death persons, 206 death persons, 207 death persons, 208 death persons, 209 death persons, 210 death persons, 211 death persons, 212 death persons, 213 death persons, 214 death persons, 215 death persons, 216 death persons, 217 death persons, 218 death persons, 219 death persons, 220 death persons, 221 death persons, 222 death persons, 223 death persons, 224 death persons, 225 death persons, 226 death persons, 227 death persons, 228 death persons, 229 death persons, 230 death persons, 231 death persons, 232 death persons, 233 death persons, 234 death persons, 235 death persons, 236 death persons, 237 death persons, 238 death persons, 239 death persons, 240 death persons, 241 death persons, 242 death persons, 243 death persons, 244 death persons, 245 death persons, 246 death persons, 247 death persons, 248 death persons, 249 death persons, 250 death persons, 251 death persons, 252 death persons, 253 death persons, 254 death persons, 255 death persons, 256 death persons, 257 death persons, 258 death persons, 259 death persons, 260 death persons, 261 death persons, 262 death persons, 263 death persons, 264 death persons, 265 death persons, 266 death persons, 267 death persons, 268 death persons, 269 death persons, 270 death persons, 271 death persons,272 death persons, 273 death persons, 274 death persons, 275 death persons, 276 death persons, 277 death persons, 278 death persons, 279 death persons, 280 death persons, 281 death persons, 282 death persons, 283 death persons, 284 death persons, 285 death persons, 286 death persons, 287 death persons, 288 death persons, 289 death persons, 290 death persons, 291 death persons, 292 death persons, 293 death persons, 294 death persons, 295 death persons, 296 death persons, 297 death persons, 298 death persons, 299 death persons, 300 death persons, 301 death persons, 302 death persons, 303 death persons, 304 death persons, 305 death persons, 306 death persons, 307 death persons, 308 death persons, 309 death persons, 310 death persons, 311 death persons, 312 death persons, 313 death persons, 314 death persons, 315 death persons, 316 death persons, 317 death persons, 318 death persons, 319 death persons, 320 death persons, 321 death persons, 322 death persons, 323 death persons.

Result of aerial attacks by one of the most sophisticated armies in the world on one of the most densely populated independent countries who have a democratically elected government and who suffer cruelly of many years of being embargoed of basic needs.

And the world is silent.





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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Love in winter

The winter has also arrived in the area where is Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico.
The daily swimming in the Sea of Cortez has ended.

The winter came with the usual strong north-western winds and temperatures are now 16 º C (60º F) at night and around 25º C (77º F) at noon.
Rather moderate, one might say.
But that is from the perspective of the person up north caught in a severe winter.
The perspective here comes from last summer when nights were 26º C (79º F).
That makes 16º C (60º F) bitter cold.

Maybe better to go to Mexican’s mainland and travel to the southern town of Puerto Escondido.
Where during the day now it is 31º C (87º F) and at night 21º C (71º F).

Compare this to New York.
Where today it is a rather pleasant 17º C (63º C).
But at night a shivering 3º C (38º F).


Meanwhile the website of the photo project “How the world loves” is up and running.
Now in 5 languages: English, Dutch, Greek, Spanish and Polish.
With more languages to come like German and Chinese.

It is a matter now of the photo project becoming a snowball rolling off a hill becoming bigger and bigger.
To see the initiative of one man become an event created and carried by thousands worldwide.

The most important stage in this process has been happening.
The first persons have been sending in contributions and they are published on the website.
If one now goes to the website of the photo project “ How the world loves” the visitor actually will see contributors giving an answer to the question how we love.

This news might inspire most fervent and loyal blog readers to quickly go to the website of the photo project “How the world loves”.
To see for themselves how those contributors love.

When doing so, these recommendations are offered.

Inform as many people as you know about this photo project and send them the link to the website.

And consider becoming a top participant in the photo project “How the world loves” by sending in your own, personal contribution.

Make it YOUR project.

Enjoy and share hurrying to:

http://www.howtheworldloves.us








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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mining money

It is difficult to decide how President Bush should be punished.
He is a warmonger.
He is a war criminal.
He destroyed the American and the world economy.
He worked against peace in the world.
He sabotaged all global efforts to protect the environment denying there was a climate crisis and refusing to sign international agreements.

He did everything possible to have a few make a lot without having consideration what are the costs for the lower and now middle class incomes, for the world and for the environment.

The man and his administration have been a devastating and total disaster.
For the United States most particularly.

And he continues his disastrous policies even in his last days in office.

Now Bush has sided with the National Mining Association.
This organization represents companies that are involved in open pit mining.


In the Appalanches Mountains and elsewhere in the USA these mining companies want to access coal reserves by blasting off whole mountaintops.


To dump the resulting debris consisting of chemicals, rocks and sand into mountain streams.



The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, an official USA Government institution,
at least twice previously has said discarding debris into streams can violate the Clean Water Act and will kill wildlife.


It came to this conclusion once in a 2006 study and again in a legal filing.
This stopped mining companies to get permits to do their destructive work.

But now, miraculously, ignoring its own scientific study, the Environmental Protection Agency EPA said on Tuesday that dumping debris from coal mining into mountain streams doesn't conflict with the Clean Water Act anymore.
Why Environmental Protection Agency EPA changed its stance remains a mystery.
They won’t tell or explain.



Environmental Protection Agency EPA approval was needed before the Department of the Interior, under Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, could finalize the rule before Bush leaves office next month.
The Environmental Protection Agency EPA reversal clears the way for a new Bush administration rule that critics call a gift to mining interests.

This is a terrible thing.
The Bush rule-change allowing suddenly mining companies to blast mountains will be in effect by the time Barack Obama takes office.
Overturning Bush’s recent decision would require starting the rulemaking process all over again, which could take years and prompt legal challenges.
In the meantime, the mining companies can go ahead and have their ball.

There are two sides to this story.
One is that making money has been allowed by the Bush Administration without paying much attention of the consequences.
But the other side is even more serious.
The United States is supposed to be a democratic country and pretends to be a shining example for the rest of the world to follow.
But Bush has been demonstrating it is in fact a banana republic where a dictator-like puppet will do anything, violating many democratic principles, to guarantee a few the material privileges they paid him for.

There are many decent and democratic people living in the United States.
For them it is the hardest.
To see their Government act like bandits and criminals.

Soon this will end.
But of the legacy many people will suffer for years to come.

Bush should be put on trial.
To be condemned to clean for the rest of his life polar bear’ droppings on the North Pole.





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Thursday, December 25, 2008

What?

X.......................MERRY..........................X
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....X..........................MAS.......................X.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Save money and the environment

More than ever we depend on innovation.
With the tools and toys we are using now, slowly we are destroying the earth we are living on.

Every little step of innovation therefore is vital and one of those is now made by a company in the Netherlands called Spranq.

They have come up with a way to save 20 % on the use of ink when printing.
Any kind of printing.
It can be the newspaper or a book.
And even the print you make at home with any computer printer saving you dramatically on spending money on ink cartridges.

What did these smart fellows invent then?

They were inspired by Swiss cheese.
Besides tasting well, Swiss cheese has holes in its substance.
Result of air that was inside the cheese during the fermentation process.

The Spranq people figured out that if they would make holes in the letters, less ink would be needed.
This is what they did.
They took an existing letter: the Vera Sans.
And put the font full of holes.
This technique can be applied to any font of course.







The good news is that this font is available for free.
Any person can download it from the website of Spranq.
To use it, save money and most important: to be eco-friendly.

Isn’t that a nice Xmas present?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about the Ecofont and to download it for free, click on:
http://www.spranq.nl/en/






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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A magical Mexican manifestation

There are things that happen in life that can make even a grown-up man feel scary.

Winning the lottery makes happy without thinking what a coincidence it is.
Why destiny wanted the particular person to win.
The prize blinds and stops reflection.

But there are other events happening in life purely caused by coincidence.
But without a without a prize.
And when the event is therefore of no importance nor material relevance, while the coincidence factor is also extremely high, one starts wondering so much about the why, that the area of fear is entered.
Because, why is this happening precisely to the particular individual?

Take for example yesterday.
Every late afternoon there is the running on the dirt road going from Rancho Punta Boca del Salado into the direction of San José del Cabo.
It is a hilly road and hardly any car uses it at that time of day.
The distance run is approximately 22 minutes south and more or less the same time to come back to the rancho.

Yesterday, shortly after starting running, two guys were spotted walking south on the road.
Quickly it was understood they were employees of a Mexican security company protecting a large property further down.
They obviously had been to the rancho for food and a Coca Cola.
Now they were walking back to their camp.

The peculiar thing was that the moment the two guys were passed by, exactly that very moment, a car passed by as well.
A tremendous coincidence because it is very rare to meet people walking on that road and only seldom does a car drive there at that time of day.
And so special was that the runner, the two guys and the car met exactly at the same moment in the same place.

This event by itself would justify the publication of a posting on this blog.
As an example of an extraordinary coincidence.

But it became more weird and extreme, hence the fear now.
After the exceptional meeting with the car and the two guys, the running continued without interruption.
After approximately 22 minutes the direction was reversed to return to the Rancho.
And obviously after about 10 minutes the two guys were spotted again.
Still walking to their camp.
Now facing the runner.
And reality wanted it to be in this way: the very moment the two guys were met again, another car happened to pass by as well.
Another moment of meeting the two guys at running speed synchronized magically by a car that by pure chance happened to drive there that particular moment of the meeting.

Additional vital information is that during the whole running session only two cars were on the road.
The one passing when meeting the two guys on the way south.
And another car when meeting the two guys on the way north.

If a mathematician would want to calculate how high the chances are for this double event to take place, the outcome must be in the billions.

Conclusion is justified that the phenomenon of extreme coincidence was occurring.

Of course the spectacular coincidence of yesterday existed because of a high level of consciousness.
People, who do not pay much attention to the phenomenons occurring around the person, will not notice them.

In the end the best seems to be not to think too much about a magical coincidence like happened yesterday.
Otherwise one will start to feel afraid for the things happening.
Like an unknown power is orchestrating things to happen without one can know why and what for.
Unless one is maybe in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Two out of billions.






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Monday, December 22, 2008

Closing this blog?

We are close from the moment we turn a page.
Nine more days and we enter a new year.

A good moment for reflection.

To look back at the different events of the past year.
And to look ahead how to use the time of the new year.

One of the subjects flying around in the space of thinking these days is this very blog.

The blog “The life of a pioneering photographer” was started on November 14, 2006.
Until now 776 postings have been published.
The amount of visitors of this blog is rather constant.
Between 140 and 180 per day.

Probably not many readers of the postings realize what an effort it is to have a story every day.
A text that is surprising, interesting and entertaining.
This requires a lot of discipline, creativity, determination and imagination.

At the end of the year 2008 and after 776 stories the question arises why all this effort is in fact made?

Does this blog bring in any money?
Not one penny.

Are there any other benefits?

There are people who respond to the postings.
Partly with comments and partly by sending an e-mail.
Some of the respondents are very nice people who are truly involved.
Of them there are a few.

But there are also people who respond in a negative way.
Sending hate e-mails or throwing their garbage on the blogwriter in a comment that is so awful it cannot always be published.
Typical is that those persons always respond anonymously.
These negative reactions unfortunately outnumber the positive ones.

Therefore, the only benefit of publishing a blog can be found within oneself.
Is it fun, interesting and exciting for the blogwriter?
That in fact is the only valid criteria.

Hence, the question is:
how much fun is it still?

How will life be dropping this daily activity?
Should 2009 become a year ending the blog “The life of a pioneering photographer”?




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Sunday, December 21, 2008

17 bilion to save a reputation

A world without electronics is unimaginable.
Many people want to make their lives more efficient and easy by using electronic devices.
Like a computer and a mobile phone.

Is it difficult to make a computer?
Not at all.
Many companies worldwide make computers.
There are no secrets.
Is it difficult to make a mobile phone?
Not either.

This makes us ask why a company like Apple is so successful.
They make, among other things, computers, laptops, MP3 players and mobile phones.
And are incredibly successful worldwide.
How come?
Well, they are innovative.
And very good at marketing.



One of the secrets of their successful innovation is that they think from the world of the customer.
The starting point is always the person that is going to use the device.
Good example is software.
The operating system of most computers is Windows by Microsoft.
The Apple computers have their own operating system.
One is full of flaws, unpractical and complicated.
The other one is stable, consumer friendly and easy to use.

The driving force behind Apple is the CEO: Steve Jobs.
He announced he is not going to be present at the annual Apple meeting where new products are presented next January.
Immediately the stocks of Apple fell 4 %.
Out of fear that Steve Jobs might be ill and will retire from the company.

If Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors, the automobile manufacturer, would announce he is leaving, GM stocks will not fall.
They are more likely to go up.

A company like GM is the opposite of Apple.
This is why Apple is not knocking on Government doors to get taxpayers money aid.
And GM does and will do again.



So we may wonder why flawed companies like GM and Chrysler did get over 17 billion Dollars last week.
In an undemocratic way decided by a President on his way out.

These days President Bush is leaving office thinking only of his reputation and how he will be remembered.
Like recently he went to some army camp to speak in front of many soldiers.
To defend his Iraq policies.
To suggest a conclusion that he was right all along to start the war in Iraq.



President Bush probably will turn out as the worst ever for the United States and the rest of the world.
That will make him not sleep peacefully so he forces himself and as many others as possible to believe in another truth.
A truth comfortable for himself and his cronies.

If he had been following the principles he has been advocating over the last 8 years, he would have accepted that potentially the American automobile manufacturers go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
This would have initially resulted in more unemployed people than we will see in the next few months in spite of the 17 billion Dollars.
Just recently GM closed a plant in Dayton, Ohio firing over 2.500 loyal employees.



But Bush has been thinking of his reputation.
Accepting the three automakers to go into bankruptcy would have been bad for his image.
Hence, the solution is to throw 17 billion Dollars at the badly managed companies to give them some breathing time.
Not to recover but to make time for himself to finish his Presidency and shuttle the problem to Barack Obama.

The American taxpayers just lost 17 billion Dollars because one man has been unable ever to admit he was wrong.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chrysler and GM: communist companies

Strange things happening in the USA.

The representatives of the people and the Government decided some time ago to have $ 700 billion Dollars available for the financial institutions.

Tax payer’s money managed by the representatives of the people and the Government democratically decided to go to a specific purpose.

The three companies making cars and trucks in the USA, like the banks, went to Washington to ask for money as well.
This was refused by the representatives of the American people.

So they turned to the President of the USA and he gave them yesterday $ 17.4 billion Dollars.
From the money that was democratically destined to be given to financial institutions.

How is that possible in a democratic country?

The money is made available to two of the three automakers, but with a set of conditions.
Conditions that should have been implied years and years ago.
Like better controlling wages and pensions.
As Barack Obama was saying: “They need to reform bad management practices”.

But the automakers have a bad history of making promises and not fulfilling them.
So, what has the President of the USA come up with?
If the carmakers fail to prove viability, which is a positive cash flow and ability to make good on the loans, by March 31, they will be required to repay the Government loans.

How on earth can they live up to those conditions?
It is December 20 already: gives them only 3 months to turn things around.
Impossible.
Keep in mind that a company like Chrysler has closed down all its factories for one month.
Will that generate positive cash flow?
And if they can’t meet the conditions, from what money will these bankrupt companies pay back the Government?

The President of the USA has also been acting completely against his own political convictions of the free market.
He has more or less nationalized the American car companies by becoming stockholder now with absolute power.
Like the companies were in the former Soviet Union.
And we all know what that was leading to.

The President has also created a false competition: automakers like Toyota and Volkswagen have to compete now with Government sponsored companies.




Imagine a car that has an engine that only runs when it is needed.
When it needs to move.
An engine that stops when in front of a red light or in a traffic jam.
This would save a lot of fuel, wear and tear.

Next year Toyota offers such a car for sale on the European market.
Why are the Japanese able to innovate?





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Friday, December 19, 2008

The speed of nails growing

We all know about speed.
We drive a car and see that it goes for example at a speed of 55 miles per hour.
And we know more or less what this means.

But this knowledge of speed is rather limited.
Our imagination handles speeds up to let’s say 150 miles per hour.
Beyond it, it is only a matter of figures.
A missile flying at the speed of sound?
How fast is that actually?

We only know about speed if we can see it.

This not only goes for high speeds.
It is also a valid rule for low speeds.

We are capable to imagine that the slowest speed must be about one mile per hour.
But we never calculate speed by changing the time in the equation.
We always stick to this one-hour thing because it is within the territory of our visual imagination.
We never say: that snail goes at a speed of one mile per two hours.

This lack of imagination and limitation of visual perception results for example in not having a standard for the speed of the growing of our nails.
Or a standard for the speed of our hair growing.
Is it 0,000000000007 miles per hour maybe?

Actually nails grow at an average rate of 0.004 inches (0.1 mm) each day, or 1.5 inches (36.5 mm) in a year.
This is for the nails of the hands.
Nails from the toes grow four times slower.

As is the matter with high speeds, also slow speeds we cannot imagine.
Because we cannot see it.

What is 0.004 inches per day?
Like the speed of sound: 340 meters per second.
Totally abstract entities.

In other words: what do we exactly really know?
Not very much, ladies and gentleman.
Most we know is abstract information that has no concrete meaning.
And that this posting contains 327 words.

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To learn more about the speed of growing of our nails, click on:
http://www.wonderquest.com/petal-nails-light.htm#nails






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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The dog survived!!!

Suddenly and quietly this morning, Gante appeared.



The dog of Alfredo.
Who had been eating coyote poison and who was dying.

Alfredo took Gante to San Jose del Cabo.
To a veterinarian.

For some days it was unknown if Gante had survived.
If the veterinarian had been able to save his life.

During breakfast Gante came again.
His friend Rocky was very happy.





Later, after some hours of work and the daily swim in the Sea of Cortez, Alfredo will be asked what is the story.

But for the moment there is only joy that Gante is still with us.






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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A sadistic Christmas.

B: Good morning, Michel
M: Hi Beatrice !

B: Christmas is coming and isn’t this a wonderful time?
M: I hate Christmas.

B: Why would you hate Christmas? It is a time of peace and happiness and loving and gifts.
M: Something happened in my childhood with Christmas that made me hate it even until today.
B: Wow! That’s pretty heavy. What happened?

M: It occurred when I was 6 years old. At that time the family was still together. Christmas was celebrated with a big Christmas tree and decorations all over the house. On Christmas morning the four children could go in the large dining room where was a table divided in four sections. For each child there were presents and sweets and everybody was happy.
B: Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.

M: At the time each pupil from Primary school would get a report on the results over the last four months. Marks for the different disciplines. Going from 0 to 10. 10 being the best. When 6 years old the Christmas school report was the first one in my life.
B: That must have been so exciting!

M: Yes, it was. I went home full of excitement and pride of having my first report.
B: How were your results?
M: Very good. For all disciplines the marks were 7 and 8. Except for mathematics. That was a 5.
B: Meaning medium?
M: Yes, not bad and not good.
B: So, a report to be satisfied about.

M: That is not what my father thought. Proudly I gave him my report in the corridor of the house immediately after returning from school. Full of joy and excitement. He looked at the report, saw this 5 for mathematics and got tremendously angry. He started shouting and screaming and grabbed me. Lay me over his knee and gave me a severe spanking.

B: What a strange reaction he had.
M: That was not all though. He screamed that for Christmas I was not going to have any present. Because of the 5 for mathematics.
B: Isn’t that out of proportion?

M: Two days later was Christmas. In the morning we four children were all excited and waiting in our playroom to be allowed into the dining room to get our presents. The big moment came and we walked into the room. There was the large table. Divided in four sections. Three sections full of presents and sweets. And one section completely empty.
B: But that is awful!
M: I was just standing there seeing my brother and two sisters happily unpacking their presents.
B: That was sadistic of your parents.

M: As of that day I hate Christmas.
B: I can understand that. I also would hate Christmas after such an experience.

M: My father was a traumatized person because of his cruel and horrible experiences during the Second World War. Frequently he had excessive and erratic behaviour.
B: That must have been difficult to be the son of such a Dad.

M: For all my life I have escaped and avoided Christmas. Even to hear Christmas songs makes me feel bad. I switch off the radio or TV immediately. From shops I stay away during December.
B: But Christmas is everywhere.
M: This explains why for years I have spent December alone at the deserted Pacific coast of Mexico focusing on my photographic work.
B: Your photography as an antidote.
M: Exactly.
B: I have another antidote for you. Come into my arms and I will hug your Christmas-misery away.






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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A dog maybe surviving

The dog Gante has not been eating poison to kill rodents.
He has been eating poison that had been put around the Rancho La Limonada to kill coyotes.
That lowers his chances of survival seriously.

Yesterday Alfredo returned to the rancho from his activities in his love nest elsewhere.
He left last Friday conveniently claiming everything was fine with his dog Gante and that in a few days the animal would be healthy again.

Upon his return he was immediately approached.
Explained that his dog Gante was dying.
For 3 days underneath the Fuso Szulc not moving and not eating.

Alfredo himself decided to take the dog to a veterinarian.
And that is quite a commitment.
He has to stop all the work at the rancho.
Drive to San Jose del Cabo and that takes over one hour.
And spend cash on the veterinarian.
Those are big consequences for Alfredo.

A rancho help came by 5 hours after the conversation with Alfredo.
Got Gante from underneath the Fuso Szulc and put him in the bed of Alfredo’s pick up truck.
In the afternoon Alfredo went with Gante to San Jose del Cabo and the veterinarian.
He didn’t return to the rancho last night.
The result will be found out today or in the days to come…














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Monday, December 15, 2008

A dog dying

Even in a peaceful and harmonious situation like we find at Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico, sometimes dramatic things happen.

Last Wednesday was a day nothing exceptional happened.
At the end of the afternoon there was the daily run of about 45 minutes and as always the two loyal dogs accompanied the athlete.
Gante and Rocky coming along to disappear in the bushes once in a while to sniff out the rabbits.
After the exhausting run for man and animals they got as always fresh water.
And the dogs a tin of dog food.

Next morning Rocky was there to welcome the early riser, but Gante was absent.
Unusual as he is the one who always sleeps underneath the Fuso Szulc and is the first to need cuddling as a morning welcome.

Gante didn’t show up the whole day.
And was not seen anywhere.

When going to the kitchen hut of Lucretia to enjoy the evening meal at night, Gante was spotted.
He was underneath one of Gumaro’s car.


Breathing heavily.
A foam like substance around his eyes.
His mouth full of sand.
More death than alive.

What was going on?
Had he been hit by a passing car?

But Lucretia knew the story.
Somehow, Gante and the dog from Gumaro called Tonkey, had found their way to another rancho several miles away.
At this rancho, called “La Limonada”, currently nobody is living.
Only the corrals there are used in the morning for milking the cows.
Because there was a plague of rodents at “La Limonada”, rancho help Tony had put poison.
Gante had been eating the stuff.
It had knocked him down shortly after when Don Felipe found him.
This was how he was brought back to Rancho Punta Boca del Salado.
They gave Gante some medication and milk and that was it.

On Friday Gante decided to change location and somehow managed to haul his deadly sick body to the Fuso Szulc.
As of then, he is underneath.
Suffering tremendously.
Hardly moving.
Refusing to eat.

Sometimes he comes out to drink a little bit.
His body is cramped and around his eyes is still this foam like cream.



This situation exists as of Thursday.
More than 3 days of intense suffering the dog is having.

Meanwhile his owner, Alfredo, has left to spend some days again with his girlfriend Jorgina.

What to do with Gante?
It looks he is dying…








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Sunday, December 14, 2008

How does the world love?

It was an important and exciting week.
The new photo project “How the world loves” has been launched.

For 4 years much of the work was on the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
Travelling to 10 different countries and meeting so many wonderful people.
An experience of a lifetime.

“The most beautiful people in the world” is not finished yet.
There are still magazines preparing publication and serious work is taking place to have the project published as a photo book.

But the feeling was that the time was right to start the follow-up project.
“How the world loves”
A project about persons who show the world how they love.

They can do this by going to a website where they get more information about the project.
And the possibility to contribute photographs that show how they love.
These images are published on the same website where every contributor gets his or her own page.

Fervent and loyal blog readers are recommended to visit this website to discover for themselves what the photo project “How the world loves” is exactly about.
And to possibly contribute.

Another important thing is to inform family and friends about “How the world loves”.
To tell them about this initiative and the opportunity to contribute and share how we love.

Therefore, we all click now on:


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shooting stars around the full moon

When it was very late in the evening, the Fuso Szulc was left to step under the night sky that had something extraordinary to show.

It had the biggest and brightest full moon in 15 years.


The reason for this is simple:

Each month the Moon makes a full orbit around the Earth in a slightly oval-shaped path and last night it was swinging by the Earth at its closest distance, or perigee.
It passed by 356,613km (221,595 miles) away, which is about 28,000km ( 17,000 miles ) closer than average.

The unusual feature of last night was that the perigee also coincided with a full moon, which made it appear 14 per cent bigger and some 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year .

The next closest encounter with a full moon this large will not be until November 14, 2016.
So the opportunity was gladly taken and as a bonus another phenomenon could be seen.

The annual Geminid meteor shower: one of the year’s best displays of shooting stars.
Up to 100 meteors an hour can fly across the sky.
Some meteors were seen that were burning red with a white tail.

Lots of opportunity to make wishes.
But there was only one.
A happy birthday for the only brother today.

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To learn more about last night's event, click on:

http://living.oneindia.in/insync/2008/brightest-full-moon-2008-121208.html

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/weather/article5327206.ece







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Friday, December 12, 2008

15 minutes of fame

Some time ago a rather hilarious event was witnessed on the BBC Worldservice radio.
They have a program called “Over to you”.
Listeners are asked their opinions about important geopolitical matters.
They can send e-mails and SMS messages while an expert in the studio responds to all the comments.
Some of the people who contributed get a phone call from the BBC saying they will be live in the program to say what they have written.
Some time before the actual broadcasting they know they will get a second phone call and they realize they will speak live to millions of listeners all around the world.

There was this guy in Accra, Ghana, who knew he was going to be on the radio and obviously got very excited about it.
He forgot that everybody’s opportunity to get world fame lasts not longer than a few minutes maximum.
One must be quick and smart to make a strong statement within the small time window attention is offered.

When the journalist got him on the line and asked his opinion, he replied in a slow and statesman-like way:
“Thank you for this interview”.
And continued to start to make his lengthy declaration.
Ready for this important and long interview only he was anticipating.
So, within minutes, he was cut off, thanked for his (useless) participation and the next person got on the line.
Obviously the Ghanese was totally disillusioned because for some time he had been thinking and probably telling his mother and friends, that he was going to have an interview on worldwide radio.

Artist Andy Warhol made in 1968 a statement that became well known:
"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."
But the Ghanese person didn’t even get two minutes.
Because he screwed it up.

Yesterday was an interview with national Dutch radio about the new photo project “How the world loves”.
It is a daily program of 3 hours and they have several subjects.
Hence, for the journalist it is like a sausage factory.
One guest and subject after the other and attention and interest goes to a limited depth.

How to get the best from the occasion?
One strategy is to keep strongly in mind that a radio interview is an opportunity to talk to the audience.
Not to talk to the journalist as such and respond to his or her questions but to mainly take the questions as an opportunity to inform the audience what is important for them to know.

This strategy works only though if the journalist personally gets interested by what he hears.
It is only effective if the subject quality changes from a sausage to something that surprises and intrigues.

Both projects “The most beautiful people in the world” and “How the world loves” have always made journalists get personally involved.
Main reason is that the projects are about them as well.
The experience of beauty and the way to love concerns journalists personally also.

Often, through the interview they become so concerned that in fact they turn into participants of the projects.
In their way, they contribute we all get together around an important issue.

Hopefully this posting reaches Accra, Ghana.

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

To hear the interview, that is in the Dutch language, click on:
http://www.vpro.nl/programma/deavonden/afleveringen/40119927/







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Thursday, December 11, 2008

What it costs

1 bottle of 750 cc of Garnier Fructis shampoo
57,80 Mexican Pesos
3,29 €
4,31 $

1 pot of raspberry jam 340 gram
18,90 Mexican Pesos
1,08 €
1,41 $

1 pot of honey 750 gram
50,40 Mexican Pesos
2,87 €
3,76 $

1 cup of Danone Activia yoghurt
4,80 Mexican Pesos
0,27 €
0,36 $

One six pack of Pacifico beer
47,60 Mexican Pesos
2,71 €
3,55 $

1 kilo of Manchego cheese
145 Mexican Pesos
8,25 €
10,82 $

1 litre of Guyaba fruit juice
13,60 Mexican Pesos
0,77 €
1,02 $

1 Colgate herbal toothpaste
16,50 Mexican Pesos
0,94 €
1,23 $

1 kilo of mangoes from Equador
39,90 Mexican Pesos
2,27 €
2,98 $

1 kilo of red apples from the USA
27,90 Mexican Pesos
1,59 €
2,08 $

1 kilo of Mexican melon
9,95 Mexican Pesos
0,57 €
0,74 $

1 kilo of Mexican papaya
18,90 Mexican Pesos
1,08 €
1,41 $

1 kilo of Danjou pears from the USA
27,90 Mexican Pesos
1,59 €
2,08 $

1 kilo of bananas
12,90 Mexican Pesos
0,73 €
0,96 $

1 kilo of grapefruits
8,90 Mexican Pesos
0,51 €
0,66 $

1 bottle of Tempranillo wine from Argentina
77,02 Mexican Pesos
4,38 €
5,75 $

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Off for shopping

After 20 days in the dry river bed next to the Sea of Cortez and close to the rancho of the Gonzales family at Punta Boca del Salado, a trip to the town of San Jose del Cabo for supplies.
In a V8 Ford Explorer.




Shopping list.

Danone Activia yoghurt
Whole wheat toasted bread
Becel margarine
Honey
Raspberry jam
Apples
Pears
Melons
Papayas
Bananas
Colgate herbal toothpaste
Fructis shampoo
Nivea after shave
Dog food
Honey mustard
Soya milk
Quaker oatmeal
Lip balm
Cheese
Binoculars: the Xmas present for Gumaro.





All other city temptations, besides purchasing the items on the shopping list, are not permitted.




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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Homage to Marie

Up until the age of 13, besides the parents and the brother and sisters, there was a woman in the house called Marie.

She was employed to take care of the children.
Had her own room and her own place in the family.
She would always eat in a side room of the kitchen.
Not in the dining room with the family.
And she would never spend the evenings in the family living room.

Marie came from a small village in the Southwest of the Netherlands.
She was an unmarried woman and went home to see her own family once a month.

We would call her “Marie” and she would call the children by their first names.
But not the lady of the house.
She referred to her as “Madam”.
And the brother of “Madam” she called “Mister Jan”.
Madam’s husband was called “Sir”.

This sounds like a situation during the colonial times and in fact it was.
It was how the bourgeoisie in Europe lived in the 50’s and 60’s.

For the children “Marie” was wonderful.
Warm and caring.
She would take the children on her lap and listen and talk to them.

Many times she was singing in the house.
One song in particular is remembered:

“Oooh, was ik maar dood,
die ik liefheb die krijg ik toch nooit”.


This can be translated as:

“Oooh, I wish I was death,
because the one I love I will never get”


A rather depressing song and we may wonder what trauma the children were having in their adult life later because of hearing this song in their childhood so often.


Marie has been an important person in the life, in spite of her singing, because she was so excellent in expressing affection and love to children.

After 13 years of employment she was send away after a conflict with her “Madam”.
For the children this was very traumatic.
It was not understood why this had to happen.
Nothing was explained and suddenly Marie was gone.

She found new employment as a housekeeper for a catholic priest.

Later in life contact was made with Marie and she sometimes came to visit in Amsterdam.
She eventually died of cancer.
As a spinster.
Having lived the lines of the song she sang so often:

“Oooh, I wish I was death,
because the one I love I will never get”




Until now life has introduced some very remarkable women in the life.
And Marie was certainly one of them.






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Monday, December 8, 2008

Losing everything that is private

When you are an American citizen and you travel abroad, you may experience some surprises when returning home.
U.S. border agents may scrutinize the family pictures you have on your digital camera.
And they can check the audio files you have on your iPod.
And they can look up your Google keyword searches and any files on your laptop computer.
Welcome home to the land of the free!

Who are these people acting like the United States is a dictatorship with strict controls?

Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, asserts that it has constitutional authority to conduct routine searches at the border - without suspicion of wrongdoing - to prevent dangerous people and property from entering the country.
This authority, the government maintains, applies not only to suitcases and bags, but also to books, documents and other printed materials - as well as to electronic devices.

To what does this lead?
Take Tahir Anwar; a U.S. citizen from San Jose, California.
He has travelled abroad 12 times over the past 2 1/2 years and he has been detained returning to the U.S. every time.
Border agents have searched his laptop and once took away his cell phone for 15 minutes.
Tahir Anwar is an imam at a mosque…

But there is also Mohamed Shommo, an engineer for Cisco Systems Inc.
He travels overseas several times a year for work, so he is accustomed to opening his bags for border inspections upon returning to the U.S.
But in recent years, these inspections have gone much deeper than his luggage.
Border agents have scrutinized family pictures on Mr. Shommo's digital camera, examined Koranic verses and other audio files on his iPod and even looked up Google keyword searches he had typed into his company laptop.
"They literally searched everywhere and every device they could," said Mr. Shommo, who now minimizes what he takes on international trips and deletes pictures off his camera before returning to the U.S.
"I don't think anyone has a right to look at my private belongings without my permission. You never know how they will interpret what they find."
Mohammed Shommo is a native of Sudan who has been in the U.S. for more than a decade and plans to apply for citizenship next year.

But Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the department of Homeland Security, stressed that they do not profile based on religion, race, ethnicity or any other criteria in conducting such searches.
Any American could be searched.

That policy makes many Americans afraid.
Susan Gurley, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, noted that border searches pose a particular concern for international business travellers. That's because they often carry sensitive corporate information on their laptops and don't have the option of leaving their computers at home.
And for many travellers, the concerns go beyond their own privacy or the privacy of their employers.
Lawyers may have documents subject to attorney-client privilege.
Doctors may be carrying patient records.

In some cases, travellers who were suspected saw border agents copying their files after taking their laptops and cell phones away for anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks or longer.

The situation is so serious that the Congress is getting involved now.
A handful of bills have been introduced that could pass next year.
One measure, sponsored by Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., chairman of the Constitution subcommittee, would require reasonable suspicion of illegal activity to search the contents of electronic devices carried by U.S. citizens and legal residents.
It would also require probable cause and a warrant or court order to detain a device for more than 24 hours.
"It's outrageous that on a whim, a border agent can just ask you for your laptop," Representative Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. said.
"We can't just throw our constitutional rights out the window."

The fact is though that this police state policy of the Homeland Security predates the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers.
It has been going on for over 7 years.
Congress is rather slow to act…

Fortunately for the U.S. citizens, as part of the renaissance the United States might experience under the leadership of Barack Obama next year, laws will start limiting the Homeland Security in performing their excessive interferences in the private lives of the U.S. citizens.

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Check the full story about how Homeland Security will be restricted by new laws by clicking on:
http://apnews.myway.com//article/20081208/D94UGUEG0.html





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