Sunday, February 15, 2015

1944 - Finland... Saunaland!

Finland... Saunaland! A claim nobody can deny. But bizarre when it is the title of book, that was published in 1944 in The Netherlands. That leaves you with questions. And they will never be answered. So, I just had to buy this little book. Not only because I am a convinced advocate of the Finnish style sauna, but maybe more so since this is such a peculiar book on a very un-Dutch topic in that era. 

Author Sjoerd Brandsma was a Dutch journalist who spent a number of years in Finland. It was there where he got acquainted with this country's landmark culture and learned about the physical and mental benefits of sweating it all out at 90 degrees. The professor he asked to write the foreword was a bit skeptical about the possibilities of how sauna would conquer the Low Countries, but I suppose the author could not be picky here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's spa

 The Little White House, F.D. Roosevelt's summer cottage.

'You'd think I'd be used to this climate. It's hotter where I come from, but this is far worse,' the Indian owner of the motel in Warm Springs, Georgia, said to me. Georgia mid summer can be an oven, and a high humidity one at that. Better to be avoided in July, but this tourist did not know that. With one day to kill before a United flight would take me back from Atlanta to Amsterdam, I settled on visiting Franklin Delano Roosevelt's spa, which gives Warm Springs its claim to fame since the 1930s.

When I pulled up at the parking lot of the Warm Springs Historic District, where you can find F.D. Roosevelt's summer retreat, the Little White House and the therapeutic springs, there was only one other vehicle. That did not surprise me, since it was still rather early, just 30 minutes after the Georgia State Park Service maintained District opened its gates, and already very warm.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Erge mensen

Eva Jinek heeft een nieuw programma op tv. Hoera. Het zal mij een worst zijn. Mevrouw Jinek is net zo interessant als een koelkast. Maar er zullen ongetwijfeld weer horden cultureel tekortgeschotenen zijn die over het programma moeten bloggen en twitteren. Televisie als opium van het volk. Het moet maar eens afgelopen zijn. Daarom presenteer ik u een niet uitputtende lijst met mensen die absoluut niet meer kunnen in 2015.

Deze mensen wil ik in 2015 niet meer zien en er ook niet meer over horen: Jeroen Pauw, Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, Carice van Houten, Sylvia Witteman, Twan Huys, Yvonne Jaspers, Alexander Klöpping, Chris Zeegers, de meeste cabaretiers, Ali B, Nico Dijkshoorn, Marco Borsato, Prem Radhakishun, Freek Vonk, Johny de Mol, Joost Zwagerman, de meeste singer/songwriters, maar Blaudzun in het bijzonder.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eert uw vader en moeder, maar niet in Katwijk

Weet u het nog, een jaar geleden? Lokale politici van diverse pluimage wisten niet in welke bochten ze zich moesten wringen om de hielen van de kiezers te likken. Kerststerren, taarten, goede gesprekken en tentjes in drukke winkelstraten vlogen ons om de oren. We zijn een jaar later. Ik heb respect voor een aantal van onze vertegenwoordigers, laat dat duidelijk zijn. Dat zijn mensen die zelfstandig intelligente analyses en oplossingen aandragen. Maar voor het merendeel van onze amateurpolitici lijkt het toch weer gewoon om het pluche en de maandelijkse zilverlingen te draaien. 'Volksvertegenwoordigers' die in de praktijk vooral de vertegenwoordigers van het college en belangengroepen zijn.
Waarom ik dit aankaart? Katwijk stopt keihard met de huishoudelijke zorg voor ouderen. In het kader van de 'participatiesamenleving' zouden er keukentafelgesprekken komen, maar zelfs dat kan er in onze gemeente niet van af. Dat is op zich al in strijd met de wet (zie Binnenlands Bestuur), maar daar laat onze gemeente zich niet door weerhouden. De brief van de gemeente was ook niet echt helder, als je bedenkt dat je hier communiceert met mensen die 80 of 90 jaar oud zijn. Maar, zo laat Katwijk trots weten, iedereen houdt het recht op huishoudelijke zorg, mits je dat zelf regelt en betaalt. Zo heeft ook iedereen recht op een Ferrari, als je die zelf betaalt. Kortom, een sigaar uit eigen doos.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Man with a limited range

I had it all envisioned. Later, in a distant future, when arthritis and asthma would prevent me from any active vacations, I would book myself a hotelroom on the bank of some Swiss or Italian lake. I would sit in the garden, overlooking the lake and the mountains, read a book, and drinks would be brought to me in my deck chair. When it would rain, I'd sit in the spacious lobby, and have interesting talks with people far more interesting than me. Every now and then I'd stroll along the waterfront to the center of town to look at the shops and have coffee at a cafe. No organized trips for me, but just the soothing relaxation of quiet days in in a lovely scenery.

Then it is 2014. And I am suddenly confronted with situation where my days and life are cut in half. No activity, no walks, not the usual 24 hours days divided in 8 hours of sleep and 16 hours of whatever else, but predominantly making a living. Only working for a few hours every day. Not being able to drive more than 1.5 or 2 hours at the most. Hardly any social life during evenings. Can't bare fast and loud speaking voices, can't cope with fast moving objects or images. My range is limited. I feel like driving an electric vehicle, not knowing if you have enough juice to reach your destination, if you can recharge and how long that will take you. In short, post concussion syndrome (PCS), a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), all a result of a silly collision with a door post last April. I do not want to dramatize things here. There are people who suffer far more from TBI. But it more or less turned my working and social life upside down. Good days and bad days follow each other and there's just little noticeable progress the past few months.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mid century Kodachrome abundance

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's
a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

The 1960s were colorful. Paul Simon's tribute lines to Kodachrome film could very well apply to daily life in the decade that was the first one for me to remember. The 1950s were no doubt just as rich with colors, but that's before my time.

Colors everywhere. I remember a red Formica kitchen table, with a yellow second level and bright cheerful stools around it. When I close my eyes, I still see the plastic ribbons in the garden door opening, to keep flies and bugs out on the warm days of the endless summers, slowly waving in the wind in all the colors of the rainbow. The Luxaflex was lowered with its grey, yellow and red louvres. A green couch and red brick wallpaper. Actually, wherever you looked, colors in abundance. Life was good. Life was colorful. Lemonade glasses, kitchenware, Tupperware, nothing was black or white.

Friday, May 2, 2014


(Nederlandse versie hier)
It has been a month this week. I was so clever to walk into a doorpost with my head looking down. The result was a rather serious concussion. So, one moment you walk, the next you are down on the floor. If only I didn't live by my principles. It's my conviction that we can all contribute to a better world that knocked me down. I don't want to use in my sitiuation unnecessary appliances like dishwashers and laundry dryers for environmental reasons. And exactly came back to like a boomerang, right on my head.

The laundry was hanging to dry on a door. I bowed my head to walk under it. Keeping a straight line is essential then, so why I decided to abandon that rational knowledge, I don't know. Perhaps it was the bath towel, leaving only room for an experiences limbo dancer? Anyway, I somehow stepped aside and crashed with my skull against the sharp edge of the door post. Not good, so much was instantly clear to me. My first concussion.

Luckily, I have very little experiences with personal accidents. An achilles tendon rupture is the worst I have ever experienced, when the office sprinting to the bath room no less. And in my student days I sprained my ankle so seriously at the tennis court, that my Dad had to borrow a stationwagon to get me and my bicycle home. That's about it.