Saturday, August 15, 2009


As per usual, I was looking for a studio version but could only find this 1971 Live performance of 'Old Man' by Neil Young. Still, I have to give it to Young that he manages to capture the gist of that brilliant song unplugged, on a guitar lacking a string no less. As a Dutch-speaking outsider to the Anglosaxon world, I realize it's well possible this song has lost all appeal to British speaking rock aficionados in the Year of Our Lord 2009 - but for me it's still a beautiful thing to hear. Either I'm incurably true to my old tastes - or 'Old Man' isn't outdated a bit. What do you think?

The risk of having to do with a live performance of Erik Satie doing Gymnopédie No.1 was rather small, since the good man departed this life in 1925, when there was in all likelihood no Youtube yet. And if there was, tough luck: Al Gore wasn't born until March 31, 1948! Satie, born to a French father and a Scottish mother in 1866 in Honfleur, a lovely French coastal town and harbor in Normandy, was an eccentric French composer who made a sport of downplaying his own work and influence. Most of his life he spent quietly in Arcueil, a Parisian suburb. If this little jewel of Satie the piano virtuoso sounds familiar, you may have watched Twilight, which sports Debussy's Clair de Lune in its soundtrack - Satie and Debussy were acquaintances, and the latter is indebted to some extent to the former. As is another early twentieth century French composer, Maurice Ravel, who is known primarily for his Boléro.

This is the first and best known of the three gymnopédies, which are short, minimalistic and melancholic pieces written in 3/4 time with each sharing a common theme and structure. The unassuming but immortal charm is obtained by, for the first bars, an alternating progression of two major seventh chords, the first on the subdominant G, the second on the tonic D.

Here is some stuff on subdominants and tonics, but you don't have to have Beethoven genes to discern the alternation. Just listen attentively. Btw, I think I'm too early with this. I always imagine the Gymnopédies are for playing when you're sitting in your study on a cold sunday afternoon in November. You look out over pale brown fields, and low-hanging grey clouds muffle the light of the sun.


Friday, August 14, 2009


Denmark is basically Jutland, a tongue of land the size of New Jersey "jutting out" from northern Germany, the two big islands Fyn and Sjaelland, and numerous smaller islands. Copenhagen, the capital, is on Sjaelland. The biggest city on Fyn is Odense, birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, he of the famous fairytales.

I wonder what inspiration good ole Andersen would get from present day Odense:

Multiculti enrichment courtesy the Religion of Peace, erm, Piss, in Vollsmosen, an Odense neighborhood.

Our friends over at Gates of Vienna have the story:


Live rounds were flying past local policemen in Vollsmose, while trying to assist colleges after a traffic incident. The situation became nasty last night in the Vollsmose suburb Odense when a 19-year old BMW-driver tried to escape the police and then crashed his car. When the ambulance arrived at the scene, the mood was so nasty that some 100 bystanders tried to block the ambulance.

“Finally, the police had to get the driver out of the car and into a patrol car in order to drive him over to the ambulance,” says Chief Inspector Hans Frederiksen of the Funen Police to BT. It escalated to vandalism, and around midnight four cars at the parking lot were set ablaze, including the wrecked car. When two policemen from the Vollsmose precinct arrived, ten shots were fired at them, possibly from an automatic rifle. The shots were fired from a green area some 50 meters away.

“One of our colleagues could actually see the muzzle fire and hear the rounds flying past. This means close proximity, and the shots were surely aimed at the policemen,” says the chief inspector."

Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the well-known German author, journalist, intelligence services expert and former advisor to Helmut Kohl has written a new book about the future civil war between indigenous natives and the muslim hordes: "Vorsicht Buergerkrieg!". The book points out in what areas of Germany the impending civil war is most likely to break out, and it also deals with preparations taken by German police forces and the Bundeswehr - the German armed forces - to counter the violence by muslim masses. When I read this I was reminded of the delegations of European intelligence services who allegedly watched from up close how the IDF dealt with islamic terrorists in Gaza.

Anyway... for conservatives the time has come to make it clear to the left that in the event of a civil war, we will make no distinction between them and muslims. Only when they understand that, they might refrain from opening the gates for these violent hostile masses even further.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


For once, we changed direction for our yearly holiday, from northwest to due north - so instead of Scotland it was Norway this year. Always wanted to do it, always wanted to check out whether these fjords were really so breathtaking.

What to say? Since we still have small kids our ideal vacation is one that involves choosing a hub to avoid the constant cumbersome packaging and looking for a new place for the night every, well, night. Once we have established a "foothold" the holiday is then divided into daily journeys to one or more places of interest. This worked very well in the Scottish Highlands, where I can't imagine a better hub than Fort William. Daily excursions to Mallaig, Ardnamurchan, Glen Coe, Loch Tay, Ben Nevis, Blair Atholl, Inverness, Skye, Loch Ness, Ullapool, Inveraray, Dunadd, the list is endless. I fell in love with the Highlands, and in the back of my mind I have a couple of neuron knots telling me to retire there sometime.

No such tactics apply for a family with kids in Norway. The distances are too great, and - I hope Norwegian readers won't hold this against me - Norwegian roads don't allow fast travel. Almost all are two lane roads with a 90 kilometer per hour speed limit. Which meant that from the "central" location we finally chose, Kaupanger near Sogndal on the Sognefjord, a trip to even Bergen was out of the question. Oh, you could do it, all right. But we prefer no stress on holidays, thank you. Especially when Outlaw Mike jr. needs to have his diapers changed every now and then, and OutlawDaughter gets bored big time from having to sit still for too many hours. There's also the fact that you almost inevitably have to take a ferry somewhere - Norway is the land of tunnels and ferries - and your GPS system doesn't take the time spent in anticipation of ferries, or on the ferries themselves, into account.

Be that as it may - not having seen Bergen, not having seen Stavanger, not having set a foot in Trondheim (damn! DAMN!) - we had a GREAT holiday, and I climbed my little mountain, the Skala (1840 or so meters, starting from sea level). There's a small tower on top, built there about a century ago on orders of some eccentric doctor who thought patients with respiratory diseases would do well to spend some time there. Alas, by the time the tower, which came to be known as the Skalatarnet, was finished, the good doctor was dead. The Skalatarnet is now property of the Norwegian Mountaineering Society and you can enter it any time, take a rest, take a nap, cook and eat some of the available food, even sleep there. When you check out this guy, Jack Brauer, he's got some tidbit about it. Recommended site.

As always, not enough time. Stupid, because so much to tell, so much to show. Let me conclude with a hypershort shot from Norway's most beautiful fjord, the Geirangerfjord. Excuse me for the bad quality - the "camera" was a brandless thingy I got somewhere for free.

Hey, nite all.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009


From USAToday, August 10. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, D-CA:

"However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted "Just say no!" drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."

Un-American huh? It may be that here and there things got quite, uh, uncivilized, but when it comes to drowning out opposing views I don't think the left has to teach us anything. Moreover, as regular reader and commenter Scott points out (linking to a Rasmussen Report), public support for Obama's health care reform plan has fallen to a new low as just 42% of U.S. voters now favor it. This is down five points from two weeks ago and eight points from six weeks ago. Also according to Rasmussen, 44% of voters strongly oppose the health care reform effort versus 26% who strongly favor it. This is not about isolated resistance. This is a nationwide movement, and as such it deserves at least to be listened at. To label as un-american the behaviour of tens of millions of citizens, rightly concerned that their forced inclusion in a governmental health care insurance scheme will be worse for them than their current employer-provided insurance, as flawed as it may be, is pure demagogy and utterly typical of the left. I know, because I am a European and I know these tactics because not only did I grew up on a diet of them, but also because they still play a significant role in my life. Let us be clear about this: by un-american dissenters Pelosi does not only mean the 'Just say no' shouting crowd in Texas. She means EVERYBODY who asks critical questions. As per usual, Dennis Prager nails it:

"...The worst part of the liberal mantra, "Dissent is Patriotic," however, is not that is meaningless. It is that it is apparently meant solely to defend liberal and left dissent. Dissent against the right is inherently patriotic.

Dissent against the left is another matter. To Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and to the New York Times Paul Krugman and every other left-wing commentator I have read on the issue, those who dissent against the Obama/Democratic Party health care plan are not only not patriotic; they are Nazis, mobs, white racists (according to Krugman's non-sequitur thesis) and are always organized. They are activists sent by health insurance companies, the Republican Party, or by some other nefarious right-wing organization...


... A local physician [in Georgia's 13th Congressional District this past weekend - MFBB], Dr. Brian Hill, a urologist, went to a town hall meeting organized by Democratic Congressman David Scott. When Dr. Hill asked in a calm voice why the Congressman would support a government health plan in light of the failing government health plan in Massachusetts, Rep. Scott began yelling at him about people from outside the district coming to "hijack this event" and that those at his town hall meeting raising the health care issue should have had "the decency" to call the congressman's office to set up a meeting to discuss the issue and not take over the town hall meeting. As reported by WXIA-TV News, the local NBC affiliate, however, Dr. Hill does live and vote in the congressman's district, had called the congressman's office numerous times and got no response, and is not a Republican.

But such people as Dr. Richman in California and Dr. Hill in Georgia don't exist in the Democratic Party's or in Paul Krugman's mind. Like most of the left since Marx, the American left today has created an image of the world to which reality is subservient. Left-wing theories define reality, not vice versa. And in that closed world, left-wing dissent is patriotic, while dissent against the left is fascistic at worst, or paid for by the greedy at best..."

You bet.