Opgeven is een optie

Het gaat waaien in Nederland. En flink ook; de voorspelling is dat zelfs in het binnenland enorme schade aan bossen zal ontstaan – althans, als ik de beaufortschaal in de Volkskrant mag geloven. En dus geven we als land gewoon bij voorbaat vast op. Kiezen op elkaar, en er het beste van maken lijkt geen optie. Stelletje watjes.

Gisteren trok een storm over het land met – wederom volgens dat artikel van de Volkskrant – een kracht 9 – oftewel schoorsteenkappen waaien weg, kinderen waaien om. Ik weet niet waar ze dat gemeten hebben, maar slechts enkele tientallen bomen zijn omgewaaid; nergens kan ik een bericht vinden over omgewaaide kinderen of weggevlogen schoorsteenkappen. Ik heb gisteren tikkertje gespeeld op de dijk met verschillende kinderen uit groep 4. Er stond wind; maar zelfs zij waren niet onder de indruk.

Morgen wordt er dus nog hardere wind verwacht – met enorme schade aan bossen, als ik Beaufort mag geloven. Het zou dus kunnen zijn dat er een aantal bomen op het spoor belanden. Het zou dus kunnen gebeuren dat er een aantal treinen niet kan rijden. Het zou dus kunnen gebeuren dat de NS heel veel mensen hun geld moet teruggeven omdat ze te laat op hun bestemming komen. Want als er een boom op het spoor ligt, is dat natuurlijk de schuld van de NS. En dus zet de NS alle treinen stil vanaf 14:00.

Kiezen op elkaar en doorstrijden lijkt geen optie meer. We kunnen het niet meer. Als er een beetje tegenslag dreigt, kruipen we met zijn allen in een gat in de grond, en wachten we tot het voorbij is. Het leven mag absoluut geen fysieke moeite kosten.

Omdat de treinen niet rijden, gaan scholen dicht. Sommige scholen besluiten zelfs om deze reden de hele dag online onderwijs te geven. Andere scholen sluiten hun deuren om 13:00 – de die hards. Het zou wel eens kunnen gaan waaien, dus we moeten ons met man en macht beschermen tegen discomfort. Want oh wee, als we eens fysiek iets moeten doen om iets voor elkaar te krijgen… Het einde van de klachten en de kosten is dan niet meer in zicht.

De verwachting is dus dat zelfs volwassenen omwaaien. Bring it on. Als mijn werkgever het enigszins toelaat – die mij dwingt thuis te werken – ben ik later in de middag op het strand te vinden. Wind, geef me ervan langs; waai me om als je kunt. Dat stelletje watjes achter de duinen zijn te bang.

Daddy died…

It’s been a year, today, since I started a sequence of blog posts that has helped me through a rather turbulent year – part of it porn, part of it horror and part of it mere entertainment. It’s been wonderful to write, it’s been entertaining to see your reactions, but lately blogging has started to feel like a duty, and not a pleasure.

Therefore I’ve decided to let daddy die – he won’t say anything anymore for the time being. The blog will remain in existence, and my conatus scribo posts are likely to return, once in a while. But I don’t have the motivation anymore to write something on a weekly basis.

Like I said, it’s been fun, and I’ve enjoyed reading comments and your work; keep it up – till I return.

Daddy said… (30)


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“You know what the problem is? We’re all too scared of the dentist. That’s why our teeth are falling out!”

So I went to some teeth-smith’s and said Ah.

As I’ve been blessed with a gorgeous ivory smile, I was ready to say ‘Be’ soon enough. B being, paying the bill. The amount of cash a saw changing hands in the front office – mind you, my million dollar smile didn’t cost that much – made me consider a career change.

The pile of green being shoved in the dentist’s drawer was evidence enough for me to realise that many people indeed suffer from dentryps – which I gather from Ed’s Medical terminology page means broken teeth. I might be wrong about that.

What I’m not wrong about is what is most commonly considered the dominant cause for bad teeth: sugar and bubbly drinks.

Another thing I’m not wrong about is the long lines at dentists. And if that isn’t proof enough, the fact that few dentists are suffering despite a quickly shrinking world economy must show that there’s no odontophobia to speak of.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so! You can’t blame dentist fearing the shark, or the monster! You can’t blame a two-toed sloth for not needing one! It’s not our odontophobia that gives us bad teeth, it’s the smucking huhyooge (thanks Lisey’s Story) amounts of sugar in all foods, and the fizz.

Sugar itself doesn’t attack teeth. What attacks teeth is acid – and fizz is acid. The reason sugar is bad for your teeth, is because if sugar spends some time mixed with your saliva, it automatically turns to some kind of acid.

The solution immediately becomes obvious. First of all, refrain from drinking fizzy drinks, or anything else acidic. Secondly, once you start consuming sugar, keep doing so. When we add more sugar into our mouth, the old sugar will be swallowed before it can turn acidic. This will make sure it can’t burn holes in our teeth. So when you eat a little sugar, keep going and going until you can wash your mouth with something that’ll take all the sugar out of it!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009, and tweaked only slightly to include the internet a little. Thanks for your patience; I’m trying to get back to a weekly post, but someone very special has started distracting me.

Daddy said… (29)


, , ,

You know what the problem is? People love their in-laws so much, they have to eat with them for two days!

So I went out and had a look.

And as it turns out, lots of people do hate their in-laws. Like there was this single-file row of men following a hearse1. And there are of course other ways to get rid of your in-laws. And in The Netherlands, people tend to torture themselves to walk around the local Ikea – or similar megastores – with their in-laws. If this doesn’t tell your in-laws that you hate their guts (I mean, come on – is this a fun way to spend Boxing Day?), I don’t know what does.

But apparently, some people also enjoy spending time with their in-laws. On Christmas day – dinner with her parents; on Boxing Day – dinner with is. And the amount of food is staggering during such meals. To live through such a meal, one would really need to appreciate the people at the table; otherwise it would be double or triple torture!

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so! You can’t blame a penguin for mating for life! You can’t blame a Stegodyphus dumicola‘s young to eat it’s mother!

It’s not the aversion, nor the love we have for our in-laws that drives us to eat so much with them. And of course, if the meal turns out too gluttonous, you could easily drop a stink-bomb in the food. But that wouldn’t solve the problem of too much love for the in-laws – or the tedious Christmas dinners.

As I have already shown, there’s both love and hate for the in-laws on this planet. Plenty of it, too. So all we need to solve is the tediousness of those obligatory dinners. And, my dear readers, the solution has already presented itself; it came into existence late 2019 in China, and has spread all over the planet since. Forgive me for mentioning the dreaded virus: this latest corona-virus is the solution to all these problems. Just ensure no vaccine becomes available, ever, and for many Christmases to come, we can hide behind the lockdown rules of our governments to avoid tedious unpleasantness. And of course, if the lock down feels like too much of a lock up for you? Well then, fuck it – just go with the flow, and eat, feast and meet with people you enjoy being around. At worst, you will spread the virus a little more – which will only make sure the lock up (I mean, lock down) lasts longer – hopefully well into the next Christmas, so those of us who don’t want to eat with the in-laws can be grateful to you.

The Daddy Said series was previously posted on MyOpera – when it still had a blogging service. On this occasion, to make up for having missed another Monday (due to the fact that I was pre-occupied with a new sweetheart), I’ve written a whole new episode. I hope you enjoyed it. The next episode is likely to appear on January 11th 2020.

Footnote 1: I once saw a strange thing in my street. A hearse rolled through, followed by a man and his dog, and a single-file row of about 50 men. I first went silent respecfully, but then curiosity got the best of me – so I walked up to the man with the dog and asked what happened. The man replied that the dog had killed his mother-in-law. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I replied, and then hesitated for a minute. “Would you lend me the dog for a while?” “Oh, sure,” he replied. “Just get in line and wait for your turn.”

Daddy said… (28)



Daddy said…

“You know the problem is, people think they need all the data that is for sale. That’s why internet corporations are so powerful.”

So I went out and had a look.

And I found many a powerful corporation indeed, in many corners of the world. Not just internet corporations, either. Even in Thailand, some corporations have become so Truly powerful, that they stopped caring about the customer. I have been told that one day, a high up manager in such a corporation was introduced to a customer. Before the conversation got underway however, the lower management had to explain this semi-big cheese what a customer really was. Since that day, they decided to maintain a safe buffer of employees between the top of the corporation and the customer.

I also found that such gigantic corporations had a huge number of customers; which may not be so surprising. However, the most popular products are the ones that modern society demands us to use. The products are indeed smartly advertised, and may make more people think they need them than is actually the case, most of their products aren’t completely useless. This is why, like drugs, the internet corporations consider their customers ‘users’. The users eat up their products as if it were cocaine.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame an elephant for dropping a lot of dung! You can’t blame a fly for going for it! It is true that the customer is no longer king; or perhaps the customer is still king, but it’s in a constitutional monarchy, where the king is tied at hands and feet. The true customer friendliness of the corner shop has been replaced by a monstrosity which is large enough to expect that all customers are looking for exactly the same product. However, if we truly don’t need it, a corporation can’t sell it either. If we truly can’t use it, the product is likely to disappear from the play-stores.

When trying to get a personalized product from a big corporation, one must first break through the barrier put up between the decision makers and the customers; this even goes for the apparently personalised experiences sold by internet corporations. For anyone still single, there is an easy solution… We should date employees of the corporation that we need the service from. This employee will then go out of their way to get the personalized service. When many people follow this tactic, the barrier between the customer and the higher management will be broken, and before you know it, you’ll be talking about your friendly neighbourhood corporation!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009, and tweaked only slightly to include the internet a little. Thanks for your patience; I’m trying to get back to a weekly post, but someone very special has started distracting me.

Daddy said… (27)



You know what the problem is? Criminals are too useful to keep the powers that be in charge. That’s why so many go free too soon!

So I went through my history books, and strolled down memory lane.

A few names instantly came to mind; Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, Justinian, Pol Pot, Ariel Sharon, Thaksin Shinawatra, Donald J. Trump and of course Pope Inoccent III.

While at first sight, there are big differences between all these people, they have one important thing in common: they were powerful and made many people suffer. But none of these are any longer in power, and most of them are dead already; in other words, they weren’t caught by the human justice system, but just caught by their humanity.

Reading the newspapers I got a hunch that this isn’t what my daddy was talking about though. He wasn’t talking about the major political power abusers. No, I think he was talking about the people that go free in dirty deals to keep those power abusers rich and influential.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame a cuckoo for laying eggs in the wrong nest! You can’t blame a hen for loving its naughtiest of chicks! It’s not the desire for political power that sets them free, it’s the desire for more money; agreed upon in back-room political deals.

Take one Thai fugitive political criminal for example. He put pressure on his neighbouring dictators to democratize for several months. Just when I started to think he meant it, and wasn’t so bad after all, he quit. He quit because the telecommunications corporation he (oh, wait, his driver) controlled signed a deal with the military dictators that that company would be the sole satellite traffic provider for that country.

Take one not yet fugitive British prime minister for example… Well, if I go on and explain all this, I’ll be taking too much of your time. I think you get the message. And I think the solution is staggeringly clear.

All of these decisions are made in back-rooms, and subsequently denied; or at least denied to be connected. To prevent this from ever happening again, we should apply a very Thai tactic. When on New Year’s eve 2006, bombs put in rubbish bins went off, the government decided that it was a wise idea to remove all the bins. So what we’re now to do, is tear down the back-rooms. Make the maids go to Tesco’s if they need supplied; they can get the taxi-fare back twice under the current expense system anyway, right? So they won’t complain either.

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009, and tweaked only slightly

Daddy said… (26)



You know what de problem is? There are too many aid organisations trying to appeal to our compassion. That’s why traditional appeals for help no longer work!

So I went out and had a look.

The first place I turned to was the internet, and I searched NGO. The amount of results was staggering, and when I tried to find a list of all the world’s aid organisations, I got stuck because of the sheer number of organisations.

Then I started looking at the way they appeal to our compassion for money, and the vast majority feature images of poor, starving, or otherwise miserable looking examples of God’s creatures, and only then I realised that we’re constantly being bombarded with such images. And they seem to be getting more shocking as time progresses; possibly because my daddy has a point. Anything but shocking won’t get us moving any more. We can now see an emaciated child, with a swollen belly for lack of nutrients, play in the dirt, begging to be held, and completely ignore it emotionless; seen it before; get in line. Especially when those images come over the tube, they’re easily ignored.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame a Praying Mantis for eating it’s mate after the deed! You can’t blame the fox for taking the crow’s cheese! It’s not the large number of NGO’s, nor the over exposure to sad images that makes us insensitive. It’s the fact that compassion is not truly natural. It’s together with socialism one of the things furthest away from nature that man can accomplish; the most extreme thing that separates us from the animals. However, we’re still close enough to the animal kingdom, to tend to ignore our separation from it.

As obvious appeals to our sense of compassion need increasingly more power to make us give money, those appeals are pointless. Instead the delight in giving should be exploited. Because, be honest: giving is a fantastic feeling. It makes you look important, and feel powerful. Some poor dimwit way below your station will be indebted to you for all time to come. And all that by a small donation…

This new way of raising funds will most likely increase the total donated amount; for most there’s no more powerful attraction than the promise of power. For some, like myself, the promise of keeping R-Rated ads featuring poor bleeding fly covered wretches off the tube would be enough to donate our life-savings.

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009, and posted it unchanged.

Daddy said… (25)



You know what the problem is? Money. Money is the root of all evil!

So I went out till I turned green, and had a look.

And I found money – lots of it too! Even the poorest bloke living off the rats’ leftovers had some once in a while. But I didn’t see money doing anything to this guy. It just sat there in his hand. It didn’t force him to do anything. It wasn’t the source of his misery! Though having some did seem to make him a little happier!

Also the very rich knew misery, so I was to discover. Also when your biggest problem of the day is whether to eat caviare, or fried turtle tongues, happiness doesn’t come automatically! But also their misery wasn’t caused by money. It sat there burning a hole in their wallets, but other than the wallet turning black, they didn’t suffer!

It seems to be true that for someone with no money, a little money makes him happy. But for someone with money, more money doesn’t make him more happy…

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so! You can’t blame a magpie for stealing what glitters! You can’t bust a bum for picking up litter! It’s not the money that’s the source of the misery. It’s people’s endless desire for more, or new. It’s the people’s desire for power. And the greatest trick of all, it’s the people’s desire to rule the world.

There’s one kind of people who’ve mastered that trick. They rule the world together, and use money for it. Having money gives you a share of the power, and as said, people are suckers for power. So we’re all racing for more…

I’ve suggested before that we should value money to the paper it’s printed on. This however, will not take away the misery. And even though we’ve tried to value bitcoins to the digits they’re comprised of, it messed up some people’s savings – this virtual money only brought about more misery. What will are the following three easy steps:

First, watch Austin Powers. Apart from the laughs, this film has an underlying message. Look at how miserable Dr. Evil is. And he already rules the world; if all his money counts for something! Who would want to rule the world after this?

Second, read the teachings of His Royal Highness Bhumibol Adulyadej. He advises us to be content with what fate throws at us. It’s not ruling the world that brings happiness; it’s the little things. The beauty of a bird greeting the rising sun.

And last, watch an age old favourite, Life of Brian. And if by now you still don’t realise that power is an illusion, and the desire for more is ridiculous, you’re a lost cause. Misery will come your way.

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009, and today I tweaked it only slightly.

Daddy said… (24)


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You know what the problem is? There are too many people who hate other people; that’s why there are so many terrorists.

So I went out and had a look.

And I found a world torn by war. I found many places destroyed by bombs, people bleeding, children crying for their mommy’s who had just been blown to bits. I also found that most people were disgusted by the terrorists, yet hated their guts and wanted to return the favour. That was the straightforward bit.

I also found a lot of people who’d fallen into the fairy tale fish pot of YouTube (and other anti-social media) who’d started to believe our supreme leaders actually drink the blood of our children – and want to start a war to out them; for example by shooting up a pizza shop. Those terrorists breed hate too.

“Where is the love?” I asked, but all bystanders thought I was singing.

Areas dominated by one race, one culture, appeared to be dominated by a humongous hate of those who are different. People were ready to die in the fight to make the whole world like their own. In those areas I could mostly hear two credos. One was: “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” And the other went: “The whole world is out to get us,” sometimes suffixed with: “… because our way of life is better than theirs; and they envy us for it.” Two credo’s I’ve come to associate with a desire to point out the differences in the world, and not the similarities.

Surprisingly, the greatest amount of love – or should I say, the best acceptance of one another’s differences – I found in places where many different people lived close together. In such places I could hear people saying: “I hate people who hate other people.” Few people realised though, that the unknown is feared and resented. Those who don’t know people who are different from themselves, resent them. Those who don’t know what our leaders actually drink, fear that they drink our children’s blood.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame a bat for not seeing his neighbour! You can’t blame an anthill for attacking the other!

When trying to fight terrorism, we shouldn’t use bombs. We should try to take away the cause that brings it about. Talk about a cheesy solution, perhaps, but the way to achieve this is simple; and probably pleasant too! We should all get to know those who are different. This can easily be accomplished, with a smaller budget that you might think. All you need is a pair of binoculars, and a notebook. With this you can check out what the neighbours are doing. This way, you get to know someone who is not you, and who most likely lives differently. The better the binoculars, the more people you can get to know. The higher up your apartment, the bigger the crowd again. The notebook you can use to keep track of what they do, and truly familiarise yourself with their lifestyle.

This system will not only help take away the cause for terrorism, it will also help the authorities find the culprits behind illegal blasts. All they need to see is your notebook, to find who was there, and who wasn’t. A two-edged sword solving our problems!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2008, but tweaked a bit to incorporate the current situation.

Daddy said… (23)


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You know what the problem is? It’s too hard for the train driver to keep the train on the tracks. For as meagre a salary as he gets, I’d delay the train too!

So I bought a ticket, and had a look.

The first thing that struck me was the curiosity of the lady at the ticket office. She asked me where I was going… I told her Chiang Mai, but decided to get off in Phitsanulok instead; this way at least she wouldn’t know where I was!

I settled down in the back of the train, which happened to be an old fashioned one, with a locomotive at the front, and a window facing backwards. Watching the tracks shoot from under me, seeing the rails meet far in the distance almost put me to sleep. When we changed tracks, the interruption of the rhythm woke me up. And I was amazed indeed by the driver’s skill.

So I headed to the front, and found the driver only had an accelerator and a brake. When I asked how he steered, he explained me that the train was locked in the rails. This really dropped my respect for him more than a little. I thought he’d have to keep the train on the tracks with a wheel!

So was my daddy right?

Obviously not! You can’t blame a snail for being slow! You can’t blame the hare for losing from the tortoise! The driver isn’t the cause for the delayed train. It’s the people lazying around boarding and alighting. There are just too many lovers determined to stretch their semi-dramatic good-byes. And in some countries, there are too many people who think it’s wise to board without letting anyone get off.

I can see only two ways to make all trains run on time. One is a lot cheaper than riding a train in the first place, the second one is cheap.

The first one is simple: just stay at home. What is the real desperate need to travel in the first place? Stay home! It saves you the train ticket, and if there are no passengers, there’s no one to notice the delayed train! In this day and age, can’t we all work from home? I’m doing it! You’re reading the result.

The second one involves buying a large bag of chilli peppers. It is common knowledge among the Dutch, that putting pepper in one’s bottom, makes that person rush. So take the peppers to the station, and just before your train arrives, apply the pepper to your fellow passengers in the appropriate place. This will make everyone rush into the train, and keep the train running on time!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009. Even the sentence about working from home isn’t new!

Conatus scribo



I’ve started a manuscript called Borse Code; it will eventually be a book in Dutch. Occasionally, on some Wednesdays, I will post chapters I’ve written here – in English – to see if they work. Let me know what you think, alright? The scene too long, too short, for a book?

These attempts are not in chronological order.

Just before the start of this excerpt, my protagonist and his long-time girlfriend have decided to rejoin the social-media circus for research-reasons (the topic of which I will not disclose now). While driving home on a warm summer’s night, he’s started to sign on to Facebook; she was driving. Then they arrive home…

While Sally greeted Darwin by cuddling the long haired Berner Sennen, Harry walked past them without looking away from his screen, and plopped down on the sofa. He had just strategically filled his profile with the research-specific details, when Sally sat on his lap; her bare knees next to him on the sofa, and her buttocks under her short skirt heavy on his knees. She took the phone from his hands, and put it on the table behind her, without taking her green eyes from his. Then she put her arms on his shoulders, grabbed his head and kissed him passionately. Harry kised her back, took hold of her buttocks under her skirt and pulled her closer. He started to grow in his pants, while she wiggled her hips. He pressed his head back into the sofa, with which he forced her to move forward and press her breasts into his chest, as they still locked lips, tongues entangled. His hands moved up, under her t-shirt, towards her bra, which he managed to loosen after a little while. They both laughed mentally at a reference to Charley Sheen – Harry would never be that good.

They disentangled their tongues and they each pulled their t-shirt over their own head, after which they continued kissing. Talking was unnecessary; they knew each other well enough. Her naked breasts pressing against his chest pushed the tension up a few notches. He caressed her back, where he felt slight irregularities due to her tattoo. He’d grown so hard by now, that he was sure she would’ve noticed his hard-on through her panties.

Today he took the next initiative. He sat up straight, which put her nipples right about the level of his mouth. Without skipping a beat he took one nipple in his mouth, and the other breast and nipple received manual stimulation. His other hand travelled back to her buttocks, which he relieved of her panties.

Just before his fingers reached her labia, she suddenly got up. She sensually wiggled her hips, dropping her skirt and panties to her toes. She stretched herself with her arms above her head, and stood there a moment graceful as a nymph in front of him. Appreciative, desiring her, he allowed his eyes to explore her body. Even though she wasn’t famous for her beauty, Harry was proud that he could call this beautiful woman his own; nobody knew her like he did.

“You are beautiful,” he said.

Immediately she dropped to her knees, blushing shyly, pulled his pants down and start to give head passionately. With a pleasure moan he fell back into the sofa, and indulged in the moment, cautiously aware that he shouldn’t come just yet. Quite some time before that happened, he pulled back, lifted her up, and put her on the sofa; her turn. She was already very wet when his tongue touched her for the first time that night. A slight shudder travelled through her body, and the sounds of pleasure filled the room. He knew her body well, and just before she orgasmed, he penetrated her. While he moved above and inside of her, she fixed his eyes with hers, and moaned uncontrollably. The tension in her eyes increased quickly until, suddenly, she came explosively.

As two satisfied rag dolls they lay spent on the sofa, together. He caressed her face, his fingertip following her hairline. She held him tightly around his torso, with both arms. Between them the heat was tangible. Sweat made for a slippery sensation. But the mutual flow of wordless emotions was too strong to let go just yet. Until Sally found her voice.

“If we’re going to do this, I want a strict agreement. If I ever have to take your phone from your hands to get your attention, we quit it.”

Daddy said… (22)



“You know what the problem is, the only animals that go extinct, are the ones that can’t take care of

So I went out and had a look.
First I found lots and lots of dead animals. Especially along Australia’s highways I found so many dead kangaroos, that I thought they’d be extinct by now. But as it turns out, only some of them are truly endangered, and the larger ones have even increased in numbers since Europeans first saw them.

Then I searched closer to home, and found the Kho Khao Lamphun cow, which is used in the Thai
Royal ploughing ceremony. I wonder why this animal has become rare. Is it because kings have
become rare too? Or is it really because they can’t take care of themselves?

Last I went to a national park. And there I found a sick lot of animals feeding on the rubbish visitors
and residents leave behind. The animals were both common and endangered species.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame the fox for stealing eggs when he can! You can’t blame an elephant
for eating 100kg a day! It’s in the animals’ nature to come where easily accessible food is available. But
it is this diet that is killing them. A plastic bag works for a grey-shanked douc about as well as a three-meals-a-day-Mickey-D’s diet for us. Three weeks, and we’ll be in the ICU.

So when trying to preserve our endangered animals, is taking care of a healthy diet. Taking care that no plastic bags make it into the doucs’ living area is nigh impossible; it’s in the human nature to instantly drop anything they don’t need any more.

Instead, we should all soon take a trip to the nearest national park. There, we should trap a pair of grey-shanked doucs and take them home. At home it’s easier to control the animals’ diet, and thus it’s more likely to live a long life! A long life will guarantee the survival of the species.

This way we can save one endangered species at a time!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009.

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In a small village in The Netherlands – you may not know it, but Google maps does: Ophemert – the streetlights have been infected with covid19 since May 2020: they’ve had such a high fever that usually they are lit day and night. The villagers have reported this to the local council, and they receive an e-mail within two weeks saying ‘your report has been resolved’; but the streetlights are still lit (it’s October 2020 now). Expect that the electricity bill will be added to next year’s council tax invoice. In the current privatised ‘public’ sector, there is nobody politically responsible for this, and from a business perspective, Ophemert is too small, and therefore too expensive to really take care of. A company serves but one master: money. And money never serves the public cause, just the private cause.

For a large portion of the twentieth century, social democracy ruled The Netherlands (and quite a few other Western nations). This led to monstrous state owned companies, where inefficiency was rule rather than exception. They employed expensive yet incompetent people who were glued to their position so tightly that no cruise missile could dislodge them. The answer to this was implemented in the 1980s under leadership of Thatcher, Reagan, following the teachings of economists such as (among others) Buchanan: neoliberalism. The ideal became privatisation of everything the state used to organise. This was supposed to bring, on the one hand, a smaller government and thus lower taxes. On the other hand these formerly state owned companies would have to become more efficient in a free market, which would give the consumers a lower price for a better service.

We all know the result of this: hospitals can now go bankrupt; instead of one Transporter with packages, four of them race down every street, every day; and the Rijkspostspaarbank has turned into a morally unacceptable corporation where corruption, environmental pollution and weapons deals have become the way to make money. People have even talked of privatising the school system, making private companies responsible for the education of our children. This would be awesome for the rich kids, for they would be able to go to schools that can afford teachers on a real salary. For the poor children, it would mean going to the CocaCola-school in Overvecht or the Schilderswijk, where teachers would get nothing more than a contribution for voluntary labour. And a tax reduction has only been implemented for the very rich.

In the neoliberalist model, it turns out that profit is private, but losses are public responsibility. When banks make a profit, the shareholders and the board of directors share those profits; when they suffer losses due to continues mismanagement and poor judgements on risk assessment relating to investments, the population of a country has to cough up the money to prevent the bank from going bankrupt. When the corona-crisis has destroyed the tourism industry, a booking-agency that has sent billions in profits into private coffers, now is asking the public – the government – for aide to pay the salaries of their employees. Of course I do not begrudge the people who work there their jobs. But if their salaries are being paid through tax money, I expect that the billions that were skimmed off the profits of hotels in the previous years are handed over to the government. Of course it’s a very complex puzzle – who deserves help, and who doesn’t? Companies that made no profit before the corona-crisis… Do they deserve help? Don’t they? What is, and what isn’t fair? To make that call, we need a large government, with many capable officials who do not apply a one size fits all remedy, but decide on individual basis what is reasonable and fair, and what should be done in return for the help.

When will there be a politician who has the guts to start changing this neoliberalist system? Piketty has shown that everything is a choice; there are several very smart economists who offer alternatives. My question that will determine my vote in next year’s general election in The Netherlands is this: who has the guts to stand for an alternative to neoliberalism? Who has the guts to really change our household books? Roughly forty years seems to be the life span of an economic model; it’s time for a change, and in 2060 we’ll look for something new again.

Do I have the answer? Not in the least. I’m not an economist. But here in Ophemert, I see that neoliberalism isn’t working any more. This obsolete system has had its chance (and has done good too), but it has proven that it doesn’t serve the public cause. A service engineer has to be employed all day; there can not be a day during which he has no malfunctions to fix. Liander (the company running our streetlights) has promised in early June that there would be a service vehicle available to fix our streetlights ‘within two weeks’. What this service vehicle has achieved is unclear; the lights are still on. Day and night. Because Liander doesn’t serve us; Liander serves the profits under the bottom line, 246 million profit in 2018. And the extra costs for electricity will be demanded from the local council by 2021. The profits of Liander is private, but losses are to be paid for by the people. And nobody is responsible for that.