Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas 006 is over...

... and New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday!

Photo from 30 December in Paris right before the real party is going to start....

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

My home is my (French) Castle

Photo from Savonnières (close to Tours), France in December 2006.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas on Ice

Video from Heidelberg, Germany, shortly before Christmas 2006.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

In dulci jubilo from Heidelberg

Time to say 'Merry Christmas' to the all of you and time to say 'Happy Birthday' to Torn. Best of luck!

Enjoy the trumpeter in the window of this Heidelberg renaissance building from 1592. Video from yesterday.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

From Jackson Pollock and Gustav Klimt to priceless pieces of art

Tastes are different, so are income and expectations. Currently, the highest priced painting is Jackson Pollock’s ‘No.5 1948’ (worth $140million). To my taste most Pollocks are notoriously overrated and do leave the impression that the U.S.A. also deserve to have the highest priced artist on Earth. Anyway, let other people pay the price.

The second most expensive painting (also auctioned in 2006, same as the No. 5 from Pollock) is ‘Adele Bloch-Bauer I’ from Gustav Klimt. It’s a nice piece of art, easy to understand and beautiful. To some people it’s tacky, to others it’s worth $135million.

The best thing is that not all art can be auctioned and that valuable pieces can still be admired at their original places. Take for example the ‘Last Judgement’, a 12th-century Byzantine mosaic from Torcello Church in the Venetian Lagoon. Compared to all the current high-flyers, these pieces are priceless.

Photo from the ‘Last Judgement’ in Torcello (December 2006), the former two pictures are borrowed from the net.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

If Venice didn't have a bridge, Europe would be an island

The quote is from the Venetian poet Mario Stefani, but what is Venice without Peggy Guggenheim?

Photo from Peggy Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice (December 2006 on a rainy day). In front, Alberto Giacometti's sculpture 'Woman Walking' from 1932; in the window, the task master who stopped me from taking more pictures; and Marino Marini's pathbreaking sculpture 'The Angel of the City' from 1948.

Mario Stefani's quote is taken from John Berendt's brilliant book on Venice 'The City of Falling Angels.' I first thought that 'The City of Falling Angels' was a novel. In fact, it is a work of non-fiction, but its rich cast of characters might provide enough material for seve
ral novels. Mario Stefani, famous for his erotic poems, who hanged himself in 2001 is only one cast. Others include Olga, the former mistress of Ezra Pound, an artisan glass blower, the Rat-Man, pigeon exterminators, several old Venetian aristocrats and some U.S. American hypocrites and know-it-alls.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Swinging dwarfs

Trust me, all dwarfs swing on Philippine roads!

Photo from March 2005 between Legaspi and Donsol, Bicol, Philippines.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shooting star Kim Boy and his tricycle

After having posted some vehicles from India, it is now time to explore the varity of private and public transport in the Philippines.

Photo from February 2006, Naga, Bicol, Philippines.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Happy 7th birthday, Lea!

Video from Cabilao Island (close to Bohol island, Philippines) November 2006

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Flagship of good journalism in the Philippines

‘GMA may drop Con-ass’? Who on Earth understands such a headline? Needless to say, this headline comes from the first page of the most respected newspaper in the Philippines, the Daily Inquirer (9 December 2006).

GMA is the Filipino version of GWB (must be a President then….) and ‘con-ass’ could mean ‘constituent assembly’. Since the Inquirer is seen as the vanguard of journalism in the Philippines it needs to be asked for whom such sentences are written? What target groups have such ‘editors’ in mind?

One thing is clear: Such esoteric language is rather unique and not easily to be found elsewhere in respected newspapers. Often connotations are even more interesting. The editors seem not to know that ‘con’ is the French word for ‘cunt’. ‘Ass’ I am sure is understood.

So what is the President intending to drop?

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas in Biga 2006: We all got hit

This time we really got hit during our 5th Christmas party on the beach. It all started so well as we had made a real effort to prepare the party better than in the previous years. Everything was there: food and drinks for the entire village, small gifts for everybody and prizes for the top players in the games. The Christmas party is a very nice event since a whole village gets involved: the kids not only play lots of games but they also show their latest dances. The adults are happy to see their kids have fun and enjoy the yearly lechon.

The party was on 10 December 006 and it had rained all night. Typhoon Seniang was still in full swing. We never thought that Biga or Batangas would be hit again since 3 super typhoons in 2006 (Caloy in May, Milenyo in September, and Durian in November/December) had already left a wave of destruction in the area – and Seniang was reported as to be on its way to Palawan on Saturday afternoon.

This time Biga has lost most of its sandy beach and corals replaced the sand. Quite a number of buildings were destroyed by falling trees. Around 12 noon, the rain stopped and we decided to hold the party. It was easy to get all the villagers to come over and we played a few games (for example hit the pot, pictured above) before the rain came back…

Even Santa Claus had to change his plans. He could not wait until sunset and just came in the rain. But the kids loved him.

Needless to say there was no big bonfire on the beach this year…

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Power of Beauty: Merry Christmas, Happy Wrinkles

I am so glad that many of the billboards are back. Life in Manila would be so less entertaining and so less enriching in understanding how the rich feel about the poor. Regarding the former you can now see an enlightening billboard in Makati (Manila’s business district) facing the North of Manila (where most of the poor live).

Belo Medical Group a major provider of cosmetic surgery sponsored the advertisement featured above. How do all the poor people feel when they see these artificial fellows who just came back from a facelift, got their tummies right-sized, their breasts augmented and are now just ‘beautiful’? Anyway, as the ad says ‘Merry Christmas’.

Photo from yesterday, Makati (same spot as ..................................).

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Pakistan's best financial daily

The Business Recorder is Pakistan’s finest financial daily. However, what is not understandable is that its printed version is still neglecting the existence of the Euro zone for countries such as Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Austria, and Spain.

The picture is showing the foreign exchange rate of Pakistan’s Business Recorder as of 4 December 2006. The above mentioned countries lost their national currencies on 1 January 1999.

For the history freaks and the editor of the Business Recorder:

On 31 December 1998 the conversion rates between the participating national currencies and the ECU (and later Euro with an exchange rate 1:1 between ECU and Euro) were irrevocably fixed, and became the official rates to be used for all conversions from national currencies to the ECU/Euro. On 1 January 1999 the Euro was born and legally, the participating currencies had ceased to exist and became
‘non-decimal sub-divisions’ of the Euro. The above mentioned date was also the start of the three year transition period before the introduction of Euro notes and coins. On 1 January 2002 the Euro notes and coins entered circulation and on 28 February 2002 the national currencies were withdrawn from circulation. (Sources from the European Union).

Again, this blog can not be read in Pakistan.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Balochistan's desert is turning white

Just got back from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province in Pakistan. In the summertime, temperatures can reach 45 °C in areas not too far away from Quetta. The first snow just fell a few days ago as pictured above.

By the way, blogger is still blocked in Pakistan. Sad world.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Pure Luck

We left Manila before Typhoon Durian was hitting Bicol and our region. Cheers from Cabilao Island (NW of Bohol).

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Sunday, December 03, 2006 this is Christmas...

On the first Sunday of Advent, we light the first candle. So much for the theory...

Photo from JP Rizal, Makati in November 2006.

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