Saturday, 31 May 2014

Truth or dare?

OK, I am a sucker for a challenge. A challenge to do something within a certain amount of time for example. The subject of the challenge is often related to work - boring to you not to me :-) - but some are quite fun. Like reading a book published in every year, between the year you were born until today. (Goodreads challenge) . On June 1st starts the A till Z spanking blogging challenge, see the banner on the right. I'm so looking forward to. And sometimes it is more serious than that, life is not just fun and games. I finished today the Archbishop Tutu and his daughters' global forgiveness challenge

And of course I had to make this forgiveness challenge extra hard and chose a heavily trauma subject. Admittedly, I learned a lot, about myself and why I do the things the way I do, but in the end failed the challenge to forgive. And it hurts a little - alright, more than a little - that I didn't succeed. When I put my teeth in a challenge I almost always finish what I started out to do. Too stubborn not to. Or too proud. Those two care closely connected I think.

Anyway, on the eve of the start of a new challenge, I failed the previous one. Do you think the elements proud and stubborn have anything to do with not being able to forgive? I don't think so either :-)

There is only one challenge I won't give up on, ever. It is called marriage. It's a continuous dare. And that's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And yet, given the choice to start anew, I would take up that challenge with her instantly, without a shadow of doubt.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Pieter de Hooch and Vermeer

Life and work of Pieter de Hooch

De Hooch was born in Rotterdam to Hendrick Hendricksz de Hooch, a bricklayer, and Annetge Pieters, a midwife. He was the eldest of five children and outlived all of his siblings.Beginning in 1650, he worked as a painter and servant for a linen-merchant. His service for the merchant required him to accompany him on his travels to The Hague, Leiden, and Delft, to which he eventually moved. 

De Hooch was married in Delft in 1654 to Jannetje van der Burch, by whom he fathered seven children. While in Delft, de Hooch is also believed to have learned from the painters Carel Fabritius and Nicolaes Maes, who were early members of the Delft School. He became a member of the painters' guild of Saint Luke in 1655, and had moved to Amsterdam by 1661.

Woman weighing gold by Pieter de Hoogh

His work showed astute observation of the mundane details of everyday life while also functioning as well-ordered morality tales. These paintings often exhibited a sophisticated and delicate treatment of light similar to those of Vermeer, who lived in Delft at the same time as de Hooch. The motives and compositions are also very similar between the two painters. 19th-century art historians had assumed that Vermeer had been influenced by de Hooch's work, but the opposite is also possible.

Woman weighing gold (1660)

The woman holds a scale to weigh gold coins, gold or pearls. The interpretation of this painting is different as to what she is doing. It is very likely De Hoogh and Vermeer both lived in Delft for a period of time have met and exchanged ideas. If you look at the painting below by Johannes Vermeer both paintings are linked. Since neither of the paintings are dated accurately and since both artists were contemporary, “who influenced who” has been a subject of debate for critics.

Woman holding a balance by Johannes Vermeer

Woman holding a balance (1664)

Who posed for the young woman?

Owing to the intimate nature of Vermeer's art, there has been an inclination to link the painter's family members to the sitters of his paintings, some of which seemed to have posed more than once. The economic advantage of employing sitters from the artist's family circle willing to pose long hours without pay would be obvious. It is believed that Vermeer's wife Catharina posed more than once and may be a candidate for this picture. The same woman also posed in the Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window and Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.

She has the same high brow, straight nose and wide-spaced eyes and also appears to be pregnant in the Rijksmuseum work. Perhaps she is the most lovely of Vermeer's models who have never been held to be beauties in the conventional sense of the word. Their beauty derives from the way they are painted.
Catharina, who was one year older than her husband, would have been approximately 32 years old when the Woman Holding a Balance was painted, in about 1664. However, there are no surviving images of her and therefore we cannot make any comparison. After having lost a child in 1660, Catharina bore her first son Johannes, about three years later, about 1663 - 1664. In the years that followed, she must have spent most of her time pregnant since she bore Vermeer 15 children before the artist died in 1675.

Meaning of the painting

A young woman delicately holds an empty pair of scales in her right hand. She seems to be waiting for them to balance out before she weighs something, probably the gold coins at the edge of the table.
Also on the table are some jewels, pearl necklaces and a gold chain. On the far wall hangs a painting of the Last Judgment while: on the left wall facing the woman is a mirror. The contrast between the valuable objects on the table, the Last Judgment and the scales, symbols of the Judgment itself, are intended to remind the viewer of the importance of resisting the temptation of earthly riches and living moderately in order to obtain salvation. The calmness of the young woman's feature's indicates that she is capable of living according to these principles. The subject of moderation appears in other paintings by Vermeer, such as The Girl with the Wine Glass, in which the stained-glass window features a female figure who can be identified as an allegory of Temperance. In the present work, the contrast between the various objects is what fills the painting with meaning.

While the presence of the Last Judgment indicates that the message of this painting has religious connotations, we should not forget its similarities to other works by Vermeer of the mid-1660s; such as Young Woman with a Water Jug, and Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. These two works, as with the present one, depict a young woman in a thoughtful attitude within a domestic interior accompanied by symbolic elements. In conclusion, we are dealing with images in which the artist imbues an everyday context with an atmosphere of idealization and calm that can be related to universal issues such as purity, love and, in this case, moderation.

Vermeer's paintings of around 1665 reach an unprecedented level of harmony and serenity. The delicate transition between areas of light and shade and the rhythm established by the color relations contribute to the refinement of the scene: the woman's blue jacket echoes the piece of material on the table, while the color of the curtain on the left reverberates in the ochre tones on the table, the orange and yellow of the woman's stomach and in the verticals of the picture frame on the far wall. The young woman's concentrated expression and the strict geometry of the composition, which alternates in a masterful way the horizontal and vertical lines with the diagonal created by the light entering from the window, are other elements which contribute to the exquisite sophistication of this painting. It is likely that when he painted this work Vermeer was inspired by a painting of De Hooch's, Woman Weighing Coins (right). The similarities of the subject and composition between the two works are not coincidental and indicate the relation between De Hooch and Vermeer, the first often the most innovative, while the second transformed his models by giving them a more spiritual, abstracted appearance. In Pieter de Hooch's work the spectator focuses on the anecdotal details, such as the gesture of the woman's hands and the textures of the materials and the geometrical construction of the scene. Vermeer uses these same elements, together with others such as the distribution of the areas of light and shade, converting them into verticals which serve to transcend the everyday and create a scene which conveys the feeling of a timeless truth. (many more fascinating details of the painting on the essential Vermeer).

A picture within a picture

Last Judgement at the back of the painting
The so-called picture-within-a-picture that appears on the back wall portrays a Last Judgment. The artist of the Last Judgment is Jacob de Backer, a late 16th-century Flemish painter. An artist who specialized in similar Last Judgment scenes. One peculiar characteristic of this composition that is often found in De Backer's works is the image of Christ with both arms raised. Vermeer probably owned this painting, or at least had it as a part of his stock as an art dealer.

Barbra Joan Streisand

Best singer in the world still alive

My Streisand LP's
I am a fan of Barbra Streisand ever since I was a kid. Barbra was my first unattainable love. I loved everything about her. Her wit, her perkiness, her voice and I thought - and still think - she is the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world. I didn't understand people were being sarcastic about her looks. Why didn't they see the strength, beauty, the femininity and the fragility, I saw? No one can sing ballads like my Barbra. And no one ever will. She herself has redefined Ballads forever. 

One less bell to answer/A house is not a home

My absolute favorite ballad is a 7 minute song, two songs actually woven into one, breathtaking ballad. Everyone knows John Miles "Music", where two songs intensify each other. Before John Miles did this, Barbra already done that in this ballad. Like the Miles' song this song is long, seven minutes.
It is not like the crap you hear today, it's a close your eyes song.
Please close your eyes and do not look at the beautiful pictures of Barbra and just concentrate on the music. Your loved one has left you and your first reaction is of course: "I am glad you're gone, have a nice life. But after that slowly the loneliness sets in. And inevitably, desperation.

Everyone who's heart is broken once should read under the video the text of  "a House is not a home". It is of infinite sadness. 

Video from a 1971 TV-show

This video is from the Burt Bacharach television show in the seventies. 1971, that is 43 years ago. And miss Streisand, my miss Streisand, looks so stunning, so... overwhelming beautiful here. But don't forget to close your eyes.


"One Less Bell To Answer / A House Is Not A Home"

Mmm. . .
One less bell to answer
One less egg to fry
One less man to pick up after
I should be happy
But all I do is cry, cry
No more laughter
(Oh I should be happy)
Oh why did he go
I only know that since he left
My life's so empty
Though I try to forget
It just can't be done
Each time the doorbell rings
I still run
I don't know haw in the world
To stop thinking of him
(I should be happy)
'Cause I still. love him so
I end each day the way I started
Crying my heart out
(Start and end each day crying)
One less bell to answer
One less egg to fry
One less man
(One less man)
To pick up after
No more laughter, no more laughter
Since he went away
(Since he went away)
Since he went away

Mmm... a chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there' s no one there
To hold you tight and no one there
You can kiss goodnight
A room is still a room
Even when there's nothing ever gloom
But a room is not a house
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart
Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears
But it's just a crazy game
And when it ends, it ends in tears

So darling, have a heart
Don't let one mistake keep us apart
Oh, I'm not meant to live alone
Turn this house into a home
When I climb the stairs and turn the key
Oh please, be there still in love with me
One less bell to answer
Each time the doorbell rings I still run
One less egg to fry
(I got one less man)
To pick up after
(No more laughter)
No more laughter
No more laughter...
Since he went away,
(Since he went away)
Since he went away...
All I do is cry...

Writer(s): Hal David, Burt F. Bacharach

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Free at last

Dutch prison week

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” 
Nelson Mandela 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Disciplinary sanctions

Dutch prison week


Disciplinary sanctions and special security measures in the Dutch prison system. Disciplinary sanctions can be imposed by the prison governor where the behavior of the inmate is in conflict with good order, security and discipline (e.g. the possession of a small quantity of marihuana or alcohol or serious misbehavior during transport). Before a sanction can be imposed, the inmate must be heard, preferably in a language that he understands.

Disciplinary sanctions are:

  • Solitary confinement of two weeks maximum. Solitary confinement is implemented in a cell separate from the premises. The cell contains only a toilet, a mattress and a foam rubber block to sit upon. During solitary confinement, the prisoner may not take part in prison labor and recreational activities. He may, however, receive mail and visitors, attend religious services and he may also spend one hour per day in the open air. The prison governor may, however, reduce these contacts with the outside world. In cases in which the solitary confinement exceeds 24 hours, the prison governor has to inform the Supervisory Committee and the prison physician or his substitute promptly; 
  • Deprivation of the right to receive visits for four weeks maximum, provided that the behavior was related to the visit; for example where the visitor had attempted to smuggle drugs on the prisoner’s request; 
  • Exclusion from participation in one or more activities for two weeks maximum; 
  • Refusal, withdrawal or restriction of the next prison leave; and 
  • A fine of two weeks’ wages for prison labor. 

"Punishment cell"

The prison governor may also impose a sanction where the fine is not paid on time. The prison governor may also impose a combination of disciplinary sanctions. In cases in which the behavior of the inmate has caused material damage, the prison governor will have to negotiate with the prisoner on the payment of compensation.

Safety measures

In addition to disciplinary measures, the prison governor can also impose safety measures. Whereas disciplinary sanctions serve to correct the inmate’s behavior, safety measures can be applied where the order and safety of the penitentiary establishment or the safety or well-being of the prisoner is at stake.

Safety measures are: the exclusion of a prisoner from regime activities or isolation in an isolation cell for two weeks maximum, either of which can be extended by an additional two weeks if circumstances so require. Contact with the outside world can be restricted or excluded, except contact with wardens and prison officers. Due to the far-reaching nature of these measures, the Supervisory Committee and the prison physician have to be informed within 24 hours.

Full body search

Furthermore, the prison governor can order that a prisoner’s body be examined if this is necessary to prevent serious risk to the order and safety in the penal establishment or to the inmate’s health. Internal bodily examination includes anal or vaginal examination and the insertion of an endoscope. The examination takes place by a physician or on his instructions by a nurse. This intrusion to the basic rights of the inviolability of the body or the right on privacy (sects 10 and 11 Dutch Constitution) may be necessary if there are serious reasons to assume that the inmate has concealed parts or ammunition of a firearm or cocaine in his body.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Food, clothing, and personal hygiene

Dutch prison week

The penitentiary establishment provides the inmate with food. The food is precooked and is heated on site. In the evening the inmates get a half loaf of bread (evening and breakfast).

If the doctor of the establishment prescribes a special diet for health reasons, or if the prisoner is not allowed to eat the regular meal for religious or ideological reasons, special food will generally be provided. The expenses for food are limited but in conformity with the recommendation of the National Nutrition Information Office. Every inmate may buy, at his own expense, supplementary sandwich fillings, fruit, snacks, soft drinks, confectionery, cigarettes and tobacco in the prison canteen.

As a rule, smoking is permitted in remand houses and prisons. The governor may order that smoking is forbidden in certain areas and at certain times. During the daily open-air visit, smoking is always permitted. The inmate is entitled to wear his own clothes and shoes or footwear, unless these pose a possible risk to order and safety or personal health. He may be obliged to wear specially adapted clothes or footwear during work or sport. If the inmate refuses to wear these clothes or footwear, he may be excluded from labor or sport. The penitentiary institutions take care that clothes are laundered.

For personal hygiene, the penitentiary establishment provides soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, shaving equipment, a comb and shampoo, and sanitary towels for female inmates. In the prison canteen an inmate may buy supplementary products for personal hygiene. In principle, an inmate may have a beard or moustache. The governor ensures that a hairdresser is regularly available to cut hair, beards or moustaches. After sport activity, and at least twice a week, an inmate is obliged to take a shower. No right to a daily shower exists, but it is quite often permitted.

When a prisoner enters the prison for the first time he arrives at the "bath". The people who work there are called "badmeesters", bath attendants just like in a regular swimming pool. In the old days people came filthy from the streets and were mandatory to take a shower. Nowadays the bath attendants do a full body search and a thorough search of all the belongings of the detainee.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

No cellphone

Dutch prison week

Except where restrictions have been placed upon a pre-trial detainee, every detainee has the right to have telephone calls with persons outside the penal establishment for ten minutes at least once a week. Telephone calls are at the expense of the detainee, unless the prison governor determines otherwise. The detainee can buy telephone cards in the prison canteen (shop). If he is found in possession of more telephone cards than are needed for regular use, this may constitute an offence against the order in the penal establishment, which may be punished with a disciplinary sanction. 

The governor may decide to supervise telephone calls conducted by or with the pretrial detainee if this is necessary to establish the identity of the person with whom the detainee calls or for the following reasons: 

  • the maintenance of order or safety in the penal establishment; 
  • the protection of public order and national security; 
  • the prevention or investigation of criminal offences; or 
  • the protection of victims of crimes. 

The supervision may include interception or recording of the telephone conversation. Prior to the telephone calls, the detainee must be informed of the nature and reason for the supervision. The governor may deny the detainee the opportunity to make telephone calls, or may terminate a telephone conversation within the time allotted for the reasons previously mentioned. The decision to deny the detainee the opportunity to make telephone calls remains in force for a maximum of twelve months. 

Visitors are not allowed to take their phone into the visiting area. When the detainee arrives at the penitentiary institute he is allowed to write down the numbers he needs from his cellphone. The phone and his other valuable possessions like debit/creditcards, id, money are kept in a sealbag during his stay.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Just suppose you are an avid reader

Dutch prison week

Letters and parcels

As a rule, a detainee can send, at his own expense, and receive as many letters as he wishes. The prison governor, however, has the authority to restrict the number of letters in order to maintain order and safety.
The prison governor has the authority to examine covers and other postal items and check the content for contraband. He may also supervise letters or postal items sent by or intended for a detainee. This supervision may comprise the copying of letters or of other postal items. The detainee shall be notified beforehand that letters or postal items will be examined and supervised.

The governor may refuse to distribute certain letters or other postal items and he may confiscate objects if this is necessary in order to maintain order or safety in the penal establishment, to protect public order and national security, to prevent or investigate criminal offences, or to protect victims of – or those involved otherwise in – criminal offences. Non-distributed letters are returned to the sender, kept for the detainee, destroyed with his consent or handed over to the police in order to prevent or investigate a criminal offence.

Each detainee has an unrestricted right to send letters to Members of the Royal Family, Members of Parliament, the Minister of Justice, judicial authorities, the National Ombudsman and the Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Youth Protection. The right to send and receive letters is also restricted for pre-trial detainees who are detained under restrictions. All letters they send or receive must be checked and supervised. The refusal by the governor to distribute or post a letter must be substantiated in writing, and signed by the governor. A late distribution of a letter, because the letter had to be translated, is not a ground for complaint. On the occasion of a birthday or at Christmas, the detainee may receive a parcel of a restricted value (€ 33 maximum). All parcels from mail order compagnies are returned to sender.


In many prisons there is a small library. In the library prisoners can select books, can read newspapers or play games. A limited number of books may be taken to their cells. Some prisoners are not allowed   to be in contact with the world outside, because their case is in the newspaper f.i., but can order books by selecting these from a list.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Consent is the only safeword that matters!

Amnesty International USA Action Alert

On May 1, a vigilante group of 7 men – plus a 13-year old boy – stormed into a young widow's house, accused her of having an affair with a married man, and gang-raped her as punishment.

They beat her male companion, doused them with sewage, and then marched them to the local police station.

Now she – yes, you read that right, SHE – faces up to 9 strokes of a cane for adultery.

This is too often the horrific reality for women and girls in Aceh, Indonesia.

Speak out for this woman's human rights. Tell Indonesian authorities that caning her constitutes torture.

According to recent news reports, women are targeted by public gangs for not straddling their motorbikes the right way, or wearing "tight clothing."

Speak out to stop the caning! Send your message to Indonesian authorities now.

Caning is used to punish adultery, consumption of alcohol, or being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a marriage partner or relative.

At least 139 people were caned in Aceh between 2010 and 2013.

Together our voices may be able to stop this outrageous punishment.

I'm incredibly grateful for all you do to support women's rights and human dignity.

In solidarity,

Cristina M Finch
Managing Director, Identity and Discrimination Unit
Amnesty International USA
Caning this woman constitutes torture. Take action.

A crowd watches as a woman is caned by a police officer dressed in black robes at a public square in Aceh, Indonesia (Photo Credit: Riza Lazuardi/AFP/Getty Images).

She survived a vicious gang rape, and now faces 9 lashes with a cane for adultery.
Speak out to stop this caning. Send your message to Indonesian authorities now.

Just visiting

Dutch prison week

Weekly one hour visits

The inmate has a right to receive visitors for at least one hour per week at the times and places determined in the prison rules. Pre-trial detainees, however, who are detained under restrictions set by the examining judge, do not have this right unless the public prosecutor or examining judge issues directions to the prison governor to allow the pre-trial detainees to receive a visitor. 

Those who wish to visit an inmate must obtain prior permission by telephone or in writing. Visitors may be refused in the interest of maintaining order and safety of the penitentiary establishment, the protection of public order and national security, the prevention of criminal offences or the protection of victims of a crime. The governor may limit the number of visitors simultaneously admitted to the detainee if it is in the interest of maintaining order or safety of the penitentiary establishment. The visit takes place in visiting rooms supervised by prison wardens. 

Not like American television

In visiting rooms, as a rule, other prisoners receiving their visitors are present as well. Individual visits, however, may be granted by the prison governor. The conversation between the inmate and his visitor may be overheard or intercepted, provided that the prison governor informs the inmate prior to the visit that this may happen. As a rule, there is no glass or plastic screen between the inmate and his visitor. The governor, however, may decide that such a screen will be placed and that communication must take place through intercom. 

Visitors must wear an identity card and their clothing may, prior to the visit, be examined for the presence of objects that may be a risk to order or safety in the institution. The examination may also concern objects brought by the visitor. The governor has the authority to, and almost alwayways does, confiscate objects for the duration of the visit. The visitor must pass a detection gate. Visitors may not hand over anything to the inmate. 

Before and after visiting hours, the inmates’ clothing may be searched or the inmate may be ordered to undergo a bodily examination. Lawyers may visit their clients without time restrictions. Lawyers must identify themselves and pass a detection gate. Their belongings may be examined. 

Non-supervised visit

Prisoners serving a long-term prison sentence may be granted the right to receive a so-called non-supervised visit. These visits may be used for sexual relations. The request for non-supervised visits by pre-trial detainees, however, will be granted only in very, very exceptional circumstances. A long stay in pre-trial detention and deterioration of the relationship with the prisoner’s partner are not seen as sufficient reasons for granting a non-supervised visit.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dutch prison week

Let me tell you something about prison.


A Dutch cell is about 10 m2 (33 sq.ft.)  2 meters ( 6'5 ft) wide and 2,5 (8 ft) meters high. If there is work for the inmate he is 44 hours of the week not locked in his cell, if he doesn't work he is 86% of the day locked in his ( or her) cell. I will explain to you these next few days what are the rights and limitations of a Dutch inmate. Tomorrow I'll tell you about visitation in prison. Saturday about reading, is everything allowed? How would you feel if someone reads all of your letters? Sunday about making a telephone call 10 minutes a week. Monday personal hygiene and Tuesday about punishment and isolation.

Most people react like, well, good for them, they derserve it. And some of them think, well, given the wrong time and the wrong place, it could be me as well. Try to think it would happen to you too. Have an open mind. 

Rights by law

The Dutch law provides rules for the prison regime and the legal position of detained persons. The main rights are related to contacts with the outside world, the right or duty to take part in prison activities in leisure time or to take part in religious services, aspects of food, clothing, personal belongings, open air visits, medical and mental care, disciplinary measures, safety and order in the penitentiary institution, complaints procedures, and so forth. The whole week is planned in advance; every Monday morning from 10 till  11 open air visit. If it rains you can stay inside, but locked in you cell. Tomorrow between 14 and 15 a new  chance to get some air. Every activity is planned for a week in advance.
In the Netherlands, a detainee may have a television in his cell, at his own expense, as well as books and a bird or a small aquarium. 

List of forbidden stuff

The prison rules establish which objects are forbidden in a prison cell. All these objects are statutorily forbidden:

  • objects similar to those which have already been provided by the State as inventory of the cell; 
  • flashes, candles, oil lamps, vibrators, sex puppets, film and video equipment, binoculars, telescopes, photo equipment, a transmitter and communication equipment;
  • pets, except one or two fishes to be held in an aquarium not bigger than 40 by 25 by 30 cm, and a birdcage not bigger than 35 by 35 by 50 cm with one or two small birds; 
  • objects with a discriminating, militant or indecent nature. 

The prison rules determine, sometimes in detail, the provision or possession of other objects such as clothes (7 pairs of underwear), shoes and other personal belongings that may be held in the cell. Objects, other than those explicitly forbidden or allowed, may be allowed or refused by the prison governor. He may allow the prisoner to keep a CD player, an electric kettle and a hairdryer in the cell. 


The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift composition. Having received  Charles Jennens text some time after 10 July 1741, Georg Friedrich Händel began work on The Messiah on 22 August. His records show that he had completed Part I in outline by 28 August, Part II by 6 September and Part III by 12 September, followed by two days of "filling up" to produce the finished work on 14 September. The autograph score was 259 pages.

The Hallelujah is special to me because it is the only music piece I have performed for an audience. I sung the bass voice in the choir, on those one-day-study-and-sing-days. And on this day I came to appreciate the richness of this music.

The custom of standing for the "Hallelujah" chorus originates from a belief that, at the London premiere, King George II did so, which would have obliged all to stand. There is no convincing evidence that the king was present, or that he attended any subsequent performance of Messiah; the first reference to the practice of standing appears in a letter dated 1756.


Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
(For the lord God omnipotent reigneth)
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
(Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah)

The kingdom of this world;
is become
the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ
and of His Christ

And He shall reign for ever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever
and lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords
And he shall reign forever and ever

Forever and ever and ever and ever
(King of kings and lord of lords)

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah


Wednesday, 21 May 2014


"Hallelujah" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, originally released on his album Various Positions (1984). Cohen spent years struggling with his song 'Hallelujah.' . . . He wrote perhaps as many as 80 verses before paring the song down Many cover versions have been performed by many and various singers, both in recordings and in concert, with over 300 versions known (Wikipedia)

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

When your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby, I've been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But listen, love is not some kind of victory march
No it's a cold and it's a very broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
But I remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove, she was moving too
Yes, every single breath that we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
As for me, all I've ever seemed to learn from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
But it's not a complaint that you hear tonight
It's not the laughter of someone
Who claims to have seen the Light
No it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth
I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Big Dumb Stupid Man (BDSM)

The original caption of this picture was "two business women sitting topless on a bench". Rembember when you bought this orange Toyota Prius and you were thinking, this is unique, I have never seen one, and suddenly you see one every day? So maybe I am focussed on power exchange. I definitely see a power balance tipping to the left on this picture. Maybe it's because the girl on the left only has to close her jacket to be "decent" in case someone passes by. Maybe it's the stern glasses that gives her a stern look. Maybe it is the possesive way she plays with the girl's hair. But I think it is the way she sits totally relaxed looking at the screen of the laptop, and the submissive girl is looking at us. It's confidence.

So they are not talking business on the public park bench. In New York State, women have the legal right to be top-free anywhere that men can be. That would include sitting on an urban park bench.
A 1992 New York State Court of Appeals ruling held that any law which precludes women from baring their breasts where men may legally do so violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection amendment.

For the complete ruling see: this site

Power Points
Power Points?

Funny naughty site, and a very, very long story: Erotica by Nick Scipio

Monday, 19 May 2014

Love Letter by Johannes Vermeer

Love Letter

Letter theme in Vermeer's paintings

This is Vermeer's third letter painting, a love letter this time, but again quite different compared to the other two, A girl reading a letter by open window and A woman in blue reading a letter.

With the unparalleled surge in literacy in the Netherlands, common women, for the first time, committed their feelings to paper. First person statements in the Dutch Republic, including letter writing, private diaries, journals, soul searching poems and self-portraits, proliferated far beyond their Renaissance role in aristocratic culture.
Letter writing manuals written in vernacular Dutch flourished. They offered instructions not only for fine calligraphy but in regards to style and elements of composition as well. It was only logical that this novel and widespread activity would become a favorite subject for painters.
Although an upsurge letter writing had given birth to a thriving postal service in 17th-century Netherlands, it was far from organized. Messengers multiplied but complaints often arose about these "hirelings" who tended to inflate postage rates. They were also noted for their impertinent behavior. Some great men and well-to-do private citizens retained their own trusted private couriers in order to maintain communication secret. Servant girls could rarely sign their name and probably could not read, suggesting that they provided an exceptionally discreet corps of letter delivery.

Behind the woman is a painting of a ship. A lover or husband at sea and her maid is bringing his letter. The ship symbolizes the lover, the sea is a metaphor for love.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Feet of clay

A work of art

OK, I agree. 

Every man would like to have such sexy feet. You are allowed to be envious guys, I understand, I really do. Great goat's wool socks too. Rare these days, huh? Did you know they still exist? I wear them all the time. Summer and winter. 
Beautiful is kind of a spiceless expression regarding to my feet of clay, is it not? 

Anyway, it is so nice to write in a language other than your own. I didn't know for instance "feet of clay" is a common expression for a weakness or hidden flaw in the character of a greatly admired or respected person: "He was disillusioned to find that even Van Meegeren had feet of clay."

Expectations and disappointment

Feet of clay. Expectations and disappointment. The two are interconnected I think. 

In a wedding ceremony, couples exchange vows, which then establish expectations about faithfulness and constancy. These are legitimate expectations and when they are violated there are good reasons for disappointment and outrage. In these cases, people are also more than disappointed, they are also harmed by the breaking of vows. These are expectations that hence need to be taken seriously and when you enter into a marriage you are creating these kinds of expectations and promising to fulfill them. A wife expects to grow old with her husband. A husband expects a wife to care about him. Some of the expectations that arise in this relationship are well founded, some of them not. Managing the ones that are well founded is a task of practical judgment. And managing to dissuade the other person of the ones that are not well founded is a task of practical judgment.

The philosopher Kant says that the key to managing other people’s expectations is first of all to become aware of them. When people first marry they are not aware of all the expectations that are unconsciously lurking. It is only in living and facing the frustration of the expectation that we become aware of the expectation and then can modify it or change the circumstances. And as we become aware of other people’s expectations of us some of those are not going to be conducive to our best self-interest. In these cases, we need to learn how to help other people change their expectations of us in an effective way. Getting angry can sometimes be effective but not always. Sometimes anger just gets anger in response.

It is often very helpful to simply tell the other person what your expectations are so that they are aware that you too have expectations. Most people can adjust to your expectations if they don’t have strong expectations themselves. But conflict is going to occur when they have strong expectations. A person with good practical judgment will be aware of expectations and will pick up subtle hints of their reality and will also subtly replace them with more appropriate expectations. However, where subtlety is not effective the only alternative is to explicitly set her boundaries in a kind but firm way. A human being cannot be all things to all people and some expectations are simply in appropriate or too excessive.

The key of course is to communicate about your expectations. Before they turn into disappointment. 

And your feet will be covered in clay.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Reality beats fantasy every time

Dinner conversation

Hey how about a family picture?
Great idea
But I've got nothing to wear!
Ah, for every solution there is a problem:

Your new Christmas card?

Friday, 16 May 2014

I spoke to you in cautious tones

And so it goes 

In every heart there is a room 
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense 
And still I feel I said too much 
My silence is my self defense

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows.

Written by Billy Joel
Performed by the King Singers

Thursday, 15 May 2014

It's a little sour, don't you think?

Be nice, it's a team outing

Sometimes, the most wonderful things happen when you mix people from different backgrounds. We were at this group event - you know team building and all that - and this was the most weird group I have ever seen. There was the Chief Manager, full of himself, a very Alpha male type of guy with a beer belly to match his ego.  The rest were members of his staff department. A weird bunch, if ever I've seen one. A woman in her late forties giving all her love to stray dogs, and cats and birds. A gay male in his late fifties. Very funny guy. A jester. Three other people, including yours truly. And Ria. For some reason Ria was added to this team, but she was the odd one out. Deaf as a doorpost and due to a growth disorder a very small woman. Really small.

Be nice, it's just dinner

Anyway we were doing the dull things you do on a team outing. And our chief manager knew this very expensive restaurant he would like to show off. This nice restaurant was one of his favourite haunts. The: "Hallo-Maurice-how-are-you-doing? Good-evening,-sir. How-are-the-kids? Just-fine,-sir-glad-to-have-you -at- (and than the French name of the restaurant)" kind of place.

OK, we ordered some French stuff, infinitesimal food, but nice. And our boss felt he could impress us with his knowledge of wine. And so he ordered two bottles of wine. And all his staff members would make admiring grunts. Now this was a man of the world. And the waiter came and our gay colleague - being the royal jester he was - performed the whole ridiculous wine tasting ceremony. The complete stuff: holding the glass just right, waltzing the wine in the glass, sniffing and taking a sip of the wine. All with grave faces of course, this is serious stuff. And after he said to the waiter that it was fine we all got our glass of wine.

Be nice, it's very expensive

Coquettish our boss asked us if we liked the wine. It must have cost him 275 dollar a bottle, about 200 euro. And we would all say it was very nice. It was in fact, nice. Not 275 dollar nice, but nice nonetheless. And he shouted to Ria: "DO YOU LIKE THE WINE, RIA?". Ria took her time and a sip of her wine and said the words I will never ever forget: "It's a little sour, don't you think?"

Ever since, Ria has a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Faithful to my authors


I am a collector. I have been collecting things all my life. Strange collections. Bizarre collections. Sometimes I wasn't even aware of collecting it until I had started a new collection. I think it is strange myself. I don't want to be a stupid collector. But I am.

I was walking out of our supermarket and there were some kids begging for "superheroes", Plastic puppets that look hideously indeed. Still the kids want them like they were lumps of gold. And I understand that drive, I really do. When I was a kid we were collecting different things of course. My grandfather that lived in Ede, a town in the Netherlands, but far, far away from us (I was 15 when my father first owned a car, until then we would travel by public transportation of biking). And my grandfather smoked cigars. A lot of them, by the way. Those really big ones. And on the big ones there were these huge cigar bands. The prettiest were Elisabeth Bas.

They were as special to me as those superheroes today. Little did I know Elisabeth Bas (1571 - 1649) was the wife of Jochem Hendrickszoon Swartenhont. I did not know Swartenhont was a captain in the navy of the Dutch Republic and a military hero. Nor did I know the cigar factory stopped in Boxtel, Netherlands at the end of the sixties in the last century. The only thing I knew they were big and had the picture of Ferdinand Bol on it (I never got them from my grandfather, he always picked out the pretty ones and said: : no those are for you nephew, you can choose from the rest. The rest were ordinary cigar bands I had collected already). I don't have them anymore of course, but I still remember how glad I was to finally obtained a Elisabeth Bas.

Elisabeth Bas cigar band


Also, as to reading is concerned, I am a collector of books. I collect books from the same series (read one, read them all) or I collect all books from one author. If someone has written one book I did like, I must read more of him or her, because I must like the others as well? It is a kind of collecting as well. Collecting words. If that is not a poetic thought, my name is Diego Maradonna. I read a lot of different books, about music, poetry, fantasy novels and porn written for a female audience. It mirrors my interests I think, there are a lot of things I'd like to know more about. As for the porn bit: It is like my own sexual preference. It is nobodies business but my own. 

Not the john

I'm faithful to my authors, I think. If they haven written a book I don't like so much, big deal, the next one I'm sure I will love again. But there are limits of course. For example I have read "The Order of Solace". Four wonderful books, really breathtaking good books (Such a pretty and powerful word Solace, don't you think?). And after that I tried to read other books like Broken and Stranger an Deeper. And after Deeper I quit. Only if there is a new one in the series The Order of Solace (fat chance) , that one I will buy. But none of the others anymore. So apparently there are limits to my fidelity (or collecting mania).

But overall my author and me, we can take a punch.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Beauty of the Moon

Full moon by Maddog Photography

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon,
my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, 12 May 2014

I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Whatsapp for Mom

Many hugs
Only luv never anger
Teaching me
Helping me
Every smile when I was sad
Raising me to be strong
It spells Mother. Thanks for being u.

Happy Mom's Day

One of the highlights in the life of a child is mothers day. Maybe even more for the child than the mother. I remember my kid saved some money, OK, dad had to make a contribution a s well. Anyway we would go to shop for a nice present. Big secret. What would be nice?  I went straight to the aile of safe choices: something that smells good. Every mum likes to smell nice doesn't she? So whatever was big in volume (only a big bottle is expensive and would show her mom she has spent a lot of money on her. And a lot of money equals a lot of love).

So I found a compromise, not the own brand of the retailer, not a very nice smell in a very expensive small bottle, but a very big bottle of body milk, or bath foam or shower gel from Dove. Dove is a Dutch brand that advertise a lot. In magazines, on television, on the radio and on billboards. So it is a well known brand over here, and therefore it must be good, right? Right.

Having found the solution for my problem, I stuck to it. And when my girl was thirteen my beloved said to my daughter: don't buy Dove. I hate that stuff and she showed her a row of at least ten untouched Dove bottles. 
To all mums: happy mothers day.

See more at: this mothers day site

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A little support

We are today at the Support Fair and it is obvious where we came for, isn't it? It looks cool, huh? It is very impressive to see it, live in Utrecht, Holland. We go every other year to this fair to keep in touch with new developments and new possibilities.

The Support Beurs is known to be the biggest and one of the most influential events of all times dealing with the physically challenged. This event is one of the most important revenue generating events in the world. The world is filled with disabled individuals but many of them have managed to conquer their disabilities with the help of equipments and counseling. This event targets in achieving the same and has done exceptionally well in the previous editions. Support Beurs will be religiously attended by delegates from all over the world and there will be discussions about the market requirements for vendors and traders dealing with the physically challenged part of the society. The event is well planned and through its focused seminars has managed to gather over 18,000 visitors. This unique tradeshow has gained immense popularity and importance among the physically challenged denomination of the society. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Dutch Light

Holland is flatter than a pancake, reclaimed from the sea, and always cloudy: that's the recipe for Dutch Light. A friend of mine says the sky is always grey here in the Netherlands. She has lived under the blue American sky that was always blue and bright. She is wrong of course. Looking at the clouds the sky is different each day, the clouds are never ever the same and even simple grey weather filters the light.

Dutch light is most recognizable in the paintings of 17th-century artists such Vermeer, Koninck and van Goyen, who mastered and promulgated a technique of contrast and shading that makes their work some of the most valuable paintings on the planet. In the 19th century, critics began writing about Dutch light, creating a mythos that resulted in Holland becoming a destination landscape for artist-pilgrims.

Crossing of the Rhine in Rhenen by Jan van Goyen (1642)

Around 1979, the artist Joseph Beuys said Dutch light was disappearing. The Zuiderzee, the inland sea at the liquid heart of the Netherlands, was blocked off from the North Sea, leaving behind a freshwater lake named for the river that drains into it, Ijsselmeer. Beuys argued that the diminished surface area in the heart of Holland was causing it to lose its famed light. Although he might be right (even as the film's excellent cinematography gives lie to the notion), there is simply no way to prove it.
Dutch artist Jan Andriesse eloquently sums up Dutch light:
"What distinguishes Dutch light is that it's constantly changing. It has to do with geographical and meteorological conditions. There's so much water in the air, which diffuses the light. There's so much surface water which reflects the light.. The only thing the eye perceives is a difference. Change stimulates consciousness. Even more important is that painters have conveyed their awareness of the light."
What can't be put in words is the beauty of place. The Netherlands' distant, flat horizon throws the world open to the movement of clouds and water dappled in sun. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The modern soul needs Bach

All of Bach project

This season The Dutch "Bachvereniging" has started a huge and ambitious project: "all of Bach". As a prelude to their 100 year anniversary they want to record - sound and film - all of Bach's work. They are going to record all of Bach's work and place in on the Internet. For free. For all of those people who are unacquainted with the abundance of Bach's music.

Each piece of music by Bach has its own page where site visitors can choose: the recording, interviews, background information or audience reactions. You can watch and listen to either every single piece or in its entirety. Musicians will talk about what the music does for them. Background information is provided for each work and all the facts about the recording are compactly summarized. The public section of the site has space for reactions from listeners.

Facts and Figures:

100 years old is the Netherlands Bach Society in 2022
 1.080 is the number J.S. Bach (1685-1750) works.
2014-2021 is the recording period
160 hours of music for solo instruments, choir, orchestra and solists
5.000.000 euro is the estimated cost of the project
1 recording every Friday until 2021 is published on All of Bach 

Why all of Bach?

Because the Netherlands Bach Society will celebrate its first 100 years in the 2021-2022 season, the idea emerged to perform all of Bach’s work. To stay close to Bach, the Bach Society shall perform his music in hand-picked locations: cantatas in a church, chamber music in living rooms, and so on. In order to reach as many people as possible, they turned our eyes to the new media. “In this way we can involve people in the way we work and let them discover how you can make Bach sound. It’s a gift to the world".


It's a gift of 5 million euro. Most raised by private funding.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Smut writers deserve more respect

I like to read porn written by women writers. I looked up the word smut in the urban dictionary and it says:
Smut:  A writting style that is sexually explicit and generally associated with females. Basically porn aimed towards women. The difference between porn and smut: Porn: Usually has very little plot line and is extremely sexually explicit. Mostly watched or 'read' for the pictures. Aimed towards men. Smut: Highly developed stories with love lines and other things that appeal to women that also include alot of sexually explicit scenes. Can be in comic form, or in written form (as in romance books).

Romance books: domestic discipline

There are hundreds and hundreds of female writers and millions of female readers. And yours truly. Always loved romance novels written for a female audience. I don't know why. It is not important. Anyway, these women who write these novels were the clever girls in your highschool. Some of them found a niche in the market called domestic discipline. The origins of DD as they call it goes back to the 19th centuary or before that in the Western World. Men were strong and powerful and the boss in the house. The women were obedient and if not they deserved a spanking. What is different about the old ways of the West, is that these women enjoy this kind of relationship. It is consentual. It's a way of life, and they write about it. Alone at their kitchen table. And affter 50 shades of grey there is a market for these books. 

Women next door

I have a deep respect for women who write these novels. Most of them are very ordinary mums you meet at the school playground. They bring their children to school and start writing. They write a lot: most of them write three or four books a year. And in order to sell what the write they have to be very active on all the social media, Facebook, Twitter, they all write blogs and most of them have designed a very pretty blog by themselves, they promote their books on eachothers blog. They respond to readers questions and they are all very nice people. Most of them are seen by other women as moms that stay at home, watch television and do nothing all day long, because nobody knows they are a writer. They have to work in secret in a way. They put in a lot of time, long hours and each of them is really the owner of a small business.

And many, many people can take an example from the dedication, the perseverance and the number of hours they put into their work. 

And the only thing I can say is thank you.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window by Johannes Vermeer

Another picture with a girl that is reading a letter, but a completely different one than A woman in blue. This one is painted some seven years before the woman in blue in 1657. Is the girl on this picture Vermeer's wife Catharina Bolnes? We just don't know. The only thing we know about her that after Vermeer died she lived a life in poverty.

Striking resemblance 

The profile of this young girl matches quite well with that of the woman who poses in the Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (see image right),
Catharina and Vermeer had 15 children in all, 11 of whom survived the early years of childhood.
In any case, if the affection with which the young girl is painted was directed towards Vermeer's wife, it would not have been unusual at the time. While in the rest of Europe, obedience was largely considered the fulcrum of matrimony, in the Netherlands things were different. Humanists had long held that tenderhearted sentiment and love were at the core of the marriage bond. Love was not subordinated to marriage but rather exalted it as the indispensable quality for a godly union.
Foreign visitors to the Netherlands were often surprised and embarrassed to witness the outward signs of friendship of married couples. The Frenchman De la Barre de Beaumarchais dined with a burgomaster of Alkmaar who went so far as to compliment his wife on the meal, to which she responded with a kiss.
Public demonstration of affection was not limited to married couples. Public kissing, candid speech, unaccompanied promenades struck foreign men, and especially the French, as shockingly improper even though they were repeatedly assured of the impregnable chastity of the married woman.
More incredible details on this painting on The Essential Vermeer.

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