March 13th, 2007

The gay marriage

When I blog here, I try to write about things that touch me personally, are eyebrow rising, or (so I hope) give some insight in seriously different arrangements than “elsewhere”, either in my country or in others. I didn’t check the number but it seems there are about 200 countries in this world. Of those 200, only 5 (Begium, Canada, the Netherlands, South-Africa and Spain) have gay marriage either embedded in their law system or simply doesn’t make any distiction between the sex of the partners. One of those 5 is my country.

Now get the twist. Civil servants can refuse to close a gay marriage if it conflics with their personal beliefs or conscience, however, each municapality is obliged by law to marry a homosexual couple, either by haveing at least one servant who is entitled to and will do, or by “flying in” one for the occassion.

Now get the double twist. We have some ex-colonies left in the carribean (yes, a few black history pages are connected, but that is a different subject). After many many years of debating, status changes etc, 4 of those 6 will simply become municipalities of my country. One small island has stated it’s (mainly Catholic) population will refuse to accept the gay marriage. I guess what will happen is they will simply have to comply if they want their status, but then of course no civil servant living there wants to burn him/herself. And of course some people will find that in itself attractive enough to want to be married there. “Flying in” will get a new meaning!!!

I think gay marriage is civilization export and both we, as the island occupants should be proud of it. Feel free to comment.

disclaimer: I am most definately not gay.

note: the situation in the US is more diverse. Massachusetts has a gay marriage law, 7 have some sort of marriage-like contract possibility, while 4 others make no sex distiction.

July 27th, 2009

The city of Sin (and politicians) (kinda revisited)

See this post from last year please.

This year, a politician from, mind you, the largest party in our system, a moderate Christian bunch, are literally rocking the boat, read, will join in with about 40 gay, Christian people in the yearly parade through the Amsterdam canals. Not my party mind you, but I applaud this step forwards. The boat is called “holy boat”, hee hee.

An achor man from a fundamental Christian radio and tv network here, who was invited too, was denied the pleasure by his employer, stating “we choose our own methods and means to lift the taboo on homosexual Christians”. Yeah.

More on the nest here.

June 22nd, 2009

Can’t have any of that going on

We’ll be heading down to the Anchorage Assembly meeting Tuesday night to participate in the Anti-Discrimination hearings. For those of you who don’t know, a local Baptist group has tried to xtian filibuster the proceedings with over 500 people giving testimony on why they hate gay people and thus we don’t need anti-discrimination ordinances.

So for Pastor Jerry, just a reminder of what the Bible says is a Traditional Marriage.

h/t Crooks&Liars

April 5th, 2009

The city of Sin (and the military)

Connections connection (the new gay marriage laws in some US states): Amsterdam has a pretty extravagant yearly “gay day” called Gay Pride. The most eye catching part is the Canal Parade going through the canals of the city center. Look here to get an idea of what’s going on there.

Last year, the defense department forbid the uniform to be worn at the parade, stating it would “harm the dignity of the uniform”. Mind you, Amsterdams major Job Cohen (you cannot imagine a more un-gay person)  joined in the festivities, in representative function (see his “major chain“).

This year, the secretary of defence withdrew the uniform rule, but added the department has no involvement whatsoever with the event and “does not see how Gay pride adds to a more positive attitude towards people with different sexual orientations”. Erm, maybe Cohen does and you can ask him?

March 8th, 2008

The park

Justice at last!!!!! Amsterdam’s Vondelpark is an oasis in an otherwise let’s say busy city center. And well, erm, some people, esp in the gay scene like to have sex in the bushes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like a nightly orgy there, but yes it DOES happen, frequently, hush hush. Illegal btw. The city administration and the police now decided that people walking their dogs without a leash, read, biting at runners (or to people having sex, hehe) or shitting on the playground are actually a bigger nuisance than, well, the nightly rompers. So, they’ll quit chasing the gaspers and go after the barkers owners. LMAO!

February 26th, 2008

The big why

Ok, ok, granted. This is not the sort of humor to be displayed here, so I dare the female readers to post me a sick alternative.

Why do men die first? This is a question that has gone unanswered for centuries, but, now we know. It requires a bit of explanation, first:

  • If you put a woman on a pedestal and try to protect her from the rat race … you’re a male chauvinist. If you stay home and do the housework … you’re a pansy.
  •  If you work too hard … there’s never any time for her. If you don’t work enough … you’re a good-for-nothing bum.
  • If she has a boring repetitive job with low pay … this is exploitation. If you have a boring repetitive job with low pay … you should get off your lazy behind and find something better.
  • If you get a promotion ahead of her … that is favoritism. If she gets a job ahead of you … its equal opportunity.
  • If you mention how nice she looks … its sexual harassment. If you keep quiet … its male indifference.
  • If you cry … you’re a wimp. If you don’t … you’re an insensitive bastard.
  • If you make a decision without consulting her … you’re a chauvinist. If she makes a decision without consulting you, she’s a liberated woman.
  • If you ask her to do something she doesn’t enjoy … that’s domination. If SHE asks you … it’s a favor.
  • If you appreciate the female form and frilly underwear … you’re a pervert. If you don’t … you’re gay.
  • If you like a woman to shave her legs and keep in shape … you’re sexist. If you don’t … you’re unromantic.
  • If you try to keep yourself in shape … you’re vain. If you don’t … you’re a slob.
  • If you buy her flowers … you’re after something. If you don’t … you’re not thoughtful.
  • If you’re proud of your achievements … you’re full of yourself. If you don’t … you’re not ambitious.
  • If she has a headache … she’s tired. If you have a headache … you don’t love her anymore.
  • If you want it too often … you’re oversexed. If you don’t … there must be someone else.

Why do men die first? Because they want to.

Erm… Thanks tha.

December 15th, 2007

The helicopter and santa

Last Wednesday, a Dutch air force Apache helicopter hit a high voltage line where it crosses the “Waal” river, the largest river in my wet, wet country. They made an emergency landing in a nearby meadow, but of course the lines went down, into the river, cutting off 100.000 people from electricity (fridges, heaters, light, the lot) and because of the very complex situation (unusually high poles, an unusually long crossing, the busy river), it took a frigging 2 full days to repair. Add to that a 2 days closure of a very busy river connecting Germany’s biggest industrial area (“ruhrgebiet”) with the largest harbor in the world (“Rotterdam”). Today, comedian Youp van ‘t Hek published this item.

The pilot looked down, overseeing the muddy area and was struck by a wave of melancholy. Strong melancholy. Softly he hummed a tune and his thoughts wandered to childhood images. “December” was the title of the old school image where as a youngster he had been staring at for almost a year. Each time the lesson was boring his eyes were drawn to the crowded drawing. Frozen locks between snow covered, children sledging, ready to make a real snowman with carrot nose, coal eyes, a beautiful hat, a thick scarf around his neck and knots on his belly. Stern skaters with a cake and cocoa, that looked so good he almost smelled the chocolate.

The farms spewed slow smoke streaks and he could see how nice and cozy it was inside. The pre television era. No Internet, a board game, the soft noise of folding clean sheets. In the warm stable the happy cows sighted.

The pilot asked whether he was looking at progress. A jammed A2 freeway, with crawling traffic both ways, the sad new office buildings spewing out bright white fluorescent light. Glass showcases filled to the brim with caddish BMW’s and the plastic road restaurant.

(…) The pilot looked closer now. He could cry, cry over nothing. Cry over the loss. Where was the cold? Where were the skates? The thick sweaters? The snow? The ear warmers? And the opinion of a grandfather to stack old newspapers under your sweater to to say warm? The hot water bottle? The hot stove? The soup on the petroleum stove? The pilot saw car parks full of cars that were all similar. All John Does. In the offices were men. Men in suits. And there were also women! The women looked all alike or wanted to look alike. Women all softly doubting whether to silicone or not.

And then the pilot saw the reindeer. Seven moose’s made out of lights pulled a cheering Santa Claus. Santa Claus was made from LEDs. A few sheep looked at their watch while they whispered to each other that it is still a long way from Christmas. A horse ran sideways because it had been trained like that, dancing sideways to awful music. The horse cried in silence. His grandfather had pulled a flatbed, his father a plough, and he, he got a gay curly perm in his neck hair because people thought it looked nice. Elastic socks on its ankles and strange hair. Very strange hair.

He thought about his upcoming Christmas diners. He saw a cafe with a Santa Claus attached to the roof. He saw seven cafes with seven Santa Clauses to the roof. He saw eighty Santa Clauses and eighty cafes, and that is when he snapped. He did see the pole, he did see the lines, even if he denied that later. He saw them very clear. He sent his helicopter down. Dexterous and knowingly. This was better for everyone. Tears ran down cheeks. He was crazy. The others were sane. Completely sane.

Yeah, the largest artificial Christmas tree in the world (1000 feet transmitter pole), less than a mile from where I live was lit yesterday too.

Disclaimers: My and googles translation. Not entirely fair use I guess. And he has a way with language, not everthing here is translated cutting corners, the original has those unexpected twists too.

October 13th, 2007

The anger management

OMG I laughed my … off reading this. I am not posting a link here as it came from let’s say a NSFW site,  but Sassy, you made me laugh BIG TIME!

When you occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don’t take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don’t know.I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I’d forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it.

A man answered, saying “Hello.”I politely said, “This is Chris. Could I please speak with Robyn Carter?”Suddenly a manic voice yelled out in my ear “Get the right f***ing number!” and the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn’t believe that anyone could be so rude .

When I tracked down Robyn’s correct number to call her, I found that I had accidentally transposed the last two digits.After hanging up with her, I decided to call the ‘wrong’ number again.When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled “You’re an asshole!” and hung up.

I wrote his number down with the word ‘asshole’ next to it, and put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I’d call him up and yell, “You’re an asshole!” It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID was introduced, I thought my therapeutic ‘asshole’ calling would have to stop. So, I called his number and said, “Hi,this is John Smith from the telephone company. I’m calling to see if you’re familiar with our Caller ID Program?”He yelled “NO!” and slammed down the phone. I quickly called him back and said, “That’s because you’re an asshole!” and hung up.

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking Spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I’d been waiting for that spot, but the idiot ignored me. I noticed a “For Sale” sign in his back window, so I wrote down his number. A couple of days later, right after calling the first asshole (I had is number on speed dial,) I thought that I’d better call the BMW asshole, too.

I said, “Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?”He said, “Yes, it is.” I asked, “Can you tell me where I can see it?” He said, “Yes, I live at 34 Oaktree Blvd, in Fairfax. It’s a yellow ranch, and the car’s parked right out in front.”

I asked, “What’s your name?” He said, “My name is Don Hansen,” I asked, “When’s a good time to catch you, Don?” He said, “I’m home every evening after five.”

I said, “Listen, Don, can I tell you something?”

He said, “Yes?”

I said, “Don, you’re an asshole!”

Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.

Now, when I had a problem, I had two assholes to call.

Then I came up with an idea. I called asshole #1. He said, “Hello.” I said, “You’re an asshole!” (But I didn’t hang up.) He asked, “Are you still there?” I said, “Yeah,” He screamed, “Stop calling me,” I said, “Make me,” He asked, “Who are you?” I said, “My name is Don Hansen.” He said, “Yeah? Where do you live?” I said, “Asshole, I live at 34 Oaktree Blvd, in Fairfax, a yellow ranch, I have a black Beamer parked in front.” He said, “I’m coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers.” I said, “Yeah, like I’m really scared, asshole,” and hung up.

Then I called Asshole #2. He said, “Hello?” I said, “Hello, asshole,” He yelled, “If I ever find out who you are…” I said, “You’ll what?” He exclaimed, “I’ll kick your ass,” I answered, “Well, asshole, here’s your chance. I’m coming over right now.”

Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 34 Oaktree Blvd, in Fairfax, and that I was on my way over there to kill my gay lover.

Then I called Channel 9 News about the gang war going down in Oaktree Blvd. in Fairfax.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to Fairfax. I got there just in time to watch two assholes beating the crap out of each other in front of six cop cars, an overhead news helicopter and surrounded by a news crew.

NOW I feel much better. Anger management really does work.

July 5th, 2007

The reverse view

As your foreign reporter (where are the locals?) it’s easy for me to comment on how American issues are viewed here. Now and then I get a mirror too. Fair use from a Boston Globe article.

“People in high political circles are saying it can’t be good to have a society so liberal that everything is allowed,” said Kranendonk, editor of Reformist Daily and an increasingly influential voice that resonates in the shifting mainstream of Dutch public opinion. “People are saying we should have values; people are asking for more and more rules in society.”

In cities across the Netherlands, mayors and town councils are closing down shops where marijuana is sold, rolled, and smoked. Municipalities are shuttering the brothels where prostitutes have been allowed to ply their trade legally. Parliament is considering a ban on the sale of hallucinogenic “magic mushrooms.”

Orthodox Christian members of Parliament have introduced a bill that would allow civil officials with moral objections to refuse to perform gay marriages. And Dutch authorities are trying to curtail the activities of an abortion-rights group that assists women in neighboring countries where abortions are illegal.

Yes folks, here too there is a shift to the administration doing the thinking for us.

May 24th, 2007

The asylum seekers

One of the motivators to write these entries is to challenge prejudice between countries (read: people), next to expressing critical citizenship. Negative prejudice about my country is that Amsterdam is modern world Sodom & Ghomorra (sex [preferably gay], drugs, lawless child-euthanesia – I won’t go into these today), but also that we are a broad minded open tolerant society. Today, I challenge that positive prejudice.

The country has been a haven for people from other countries, especially asylum seekers from dictatorial or war-engulfed states. About 5-7 years ago, that has changed dramatically. Fueled by the 9/11 events and fear spinning wanna-be politicians, asylum seekers were suddenly earmarked as a problem and had to make an extremely good case for themselves, usually within 48 hours, were they not to be expelled. I wrote about an incident how that could go very wrong earlier. Laws and procedures were quickly and without protest changed to reflect the “new sternness”. It seems though that every rope has it’s end, or, as I was tought “the quay WILL turn the ship”.

The European court upheld a verdict, that was challenged by our administration, to change national asylum law. The verdict critisizes the judicial handling by the highest court (standard outcome of asylum cases), condemned extreme formalism, torture and inhumane punishment (!).

A few examples:

  • Appeal cases are not judged against the current state of affairs in the home country, but against the state at the moment the appeal was made. Read: “We are sure you wouldn’t be tortured when you appealed our decision to send you back” – “But you know they will arrest and torture me when you send me there now!” – “Yes. So?”.
  • Asylum seekers need to prove they are being discriminated or will be prosecuted on an ultra-individual level. Being in a discriminated GROUP is no argument (you know, like Jews in ’40). Read: “My people are being tortured because they are muslim” – “Yes, I see, and I know you are a muslim, but why would they torture YOU? Can you PROVE that?” – “Huh?”.
  • The assessment of what’s going on in the home country is exclusively based on reports made by the foreign affairs ministry. Read: “This is the slaughter going on in my hometown” – “That is not stated in this report made 3 months ago by the ambassdor, from a city 700 miles away” – “Huh?”.

The verdict itself and yesterdays refusal of the European court for a rehearing is considered a major disgrace to the reputation, or positive prejudice if you will, of our country, and I have to say, I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad.

Added: example “conversations”.