In the News

There are a couple of recent stories that have caught my interest, with some of them having tie-ins to things I’ve posted about recently or in general. I thought I’d do a quick run-down here of some of the stories and why they’re of interest to me.

Tick Tock

First up is the news that the Domtoren is no longer signaling the quarter hour as it used to do. It seems that one of the pieces that is used for the automatic playing is damaged through normal wear and tear, so it won’t be used until it can be replaced. The current piece in question has been there since 1980. Fortunately, once the piece is replaced, the Domtoren will go back to chiming every 15 minutes.

Lego My Chair
Next up is the news that Rietveld’s famous Red and Blue Chair (seen here in a Lego version) is inspiring artists yet again. DWA, along with RnB, has used the chair as the basis for their redesign project:

The redesign project is an experiment into using music as inspiration in the design process, we ‘remix’ existing designs according to various musical genres, with the hope of making design as expressive as music.

I particularly like the RnB IKEA (pop) version of the chair, perhaps because of the interactive element, as well as the humor of it.

Headscarves
Finally, in somewhat more serious news, Queen Beatrix has been in Abu Dhabi this past week on a state visit, and while there she visited the Great Mosque. Naturally, she wore a headscarf/hijab (over her hat) as is required of any woman wishing to enter the mosque. Of course, members of the generally anti-Muslim PVV party decided to lambaste the queen for doing so, claiming she was legitimizing the suppression of women. The queen fired back that it was “echt onzin/sheer nonsense”.

As one of the articles about the story points out, “Ironically the party’s remarks came while Beatrix was in Abu Dhabi, one of the Islamic world’s most emancipated states, where two-thirds of university students and 70 per cent new business owners are women.”

As another article says, Wilders, the leader of the PVV, has certainly been known to wear a yarmulke when visiting synagogues, despite the fact that he is not Jewish. Depending on the branch of Judaism, there are sects where you could argue that there is similar suppression of women. For that matter, I remember lessons learned at a Southern Baptist school that also made it clear that women were lesser beings. In other words, Wilders and his supporters are being a bit hypocritical to say the least.

So, there’s my roundup of stories I’ve come across this week and found of interest. Hopefully, you found some of it at least vaguely interesting, as well. If you’re in Utrecht tomorrow, don’t forget it’s the kick-off of the monthly Cultural Sunday events held throughout the city. There’s always something interesting going on somewhere!

Oh, one last thing … Go Saints! (The New Orleans Saints are playing a play-off game tonight. Fingers crossed that they win!)

Saints Almighty!

Who Dat [Day 39/365]
I pulled out some of my old Mardi Gras beads — the gold ones, of course — to wear during the game.

As some of you may know, I went to Tulane University in New Orleans, and I fell in love with the city. I also became a Saints fan as I embraced everything New Orleans-related. Of course, I’ve also been a long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, so I was used to supporting a non-winning team. It’s now been 20 years since I first became a Saints fan. In all that time, I never really expected us to do that well; certainly not to make it to the Super Bowl! I mean, I’ve had my hopes raised in the past; I was there in the early ’90s when Coach Jim Mora had some success with the team, success that lead to the whole Cha-Ching chants and bumper stickers calling for Mora for Governor (which might not have been a bad idea considering David Duke and Edwin Edwards were the actual candidates).

So this season, as the Saints began their 13-game winning streak, I was thrilled, but still very cautious. It was the Saints, after all. Something would invariably go wrong. When they lost the last three games of the season, I thought it was the Saints as usual. Don’t forget, they used to be called the Ain’ts. I knew we were going to playoffs, but still thought that would be the end of it. Oh, I was thrilled we’d done as well as we had, but I didn’t want to get too excited. History was certainly not in the team’s favor. But they kept winning. They even beat the mighty Brett Favre and the Vikings to finally, FINALLY go to the Super Bowl for the very first time in the team’s 43-year history.

I still couldn’t bring myself to be too cocky about the Saints actually managing to win the Super Bowl. I figured I’d be happy just that we’d finally made it that far. The first half of the Super Bowl made me think that line of thinking was appropriate. But then the second half of the Super Bowl started and things turned around. Boy did they turn around! Touchdowns, interceptions, more field goals! I still couldn’t believe it and it wasn’t until the Colts’ last play, with only 40 seconds left that I finally allowed myself to believe that the Saints really were going to win the Super Bowl! They did it! They won! The New Orleans Saints are NFL Champions!

Did I mention that the game didn’t start here until 12:30 a.m. and that the end of the game wasn’t until almost 4 a.m.? Oh yeah. We watched. I wasn’t the only displaced Southerner/New Orleans Saints fan who stayed up and watched. This morning when I got up a few measly hours later, I was afraid it was just a dream. But no; it was all real! So if you’ll excuse me, I have some gloating to do.

Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?

WHO DAT?!