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Sorry, the death of graphic artist / writer Marten Toonder, creator of 177 Tom Poes & Olivier B. Bommel comics and coiner of God knows how many Dutch language innovations, is just too Dutch to do in English. I don't even know how to translate 'denkraam', except, perhaps, as 'mental window'.

Olivier B. Bommel & Tom Poes

With the possible exception of Van Kooten & De Bie, Toonder was the greatest supplier of new words and expressions in Dutch over the past half-century. An incomplete list:


  • denkraam
  • zielknijper
  • minkukel
  • grondstoffelijk
  • breinbaas


  • kommer en kwel
  • als je begrijpt wat ik bedoel
  • een eenvoudige doch voedzame maaltijd
  • een heer van stand
  • verzin toch eens een list!
  • met uw welnemen
  • zaken zijn zaken
  • hier ligt een mooie taak
  • geld speelt geen rol
  • ook dat nog
  • zoals mijn goede vader zei
  • als ik zo vrij mag zijn
  • oplettende lezertjes

And that excludes lesser-known coinages such as 'futvoeder', 'bovenbazen' and 'zwadderneel'.

It also excludes the poetry of Toonder character Querulijn Xaverius markies De Canteclaer van Barneveldt. I'll post some of his stuff as soon as I can delve it up.

Meanwhile, check the Bommel Profile in NRC Handelsblad, longtime publisher of his work (in Dutch).

Update: More on Marquis De Canteclaer's poetry.

some good old internet optimism

In Wired's look-back at "10 years of boom, bust, and sock puppets" since Netscape went public in 1995, Kevin Kelly's article 'We Are the Web' provides an interesting look forward. It's been a while since we heard such jubilant talk of the internet, but this is up to the level of his 1999 'New Rules for the New Economy' again.

Combining, essentially, Toffler's idea of prosumerism with McLuhan's idea of media as extensions of man, the internet will become (or already is) one planetwide Machine. Fed information with every mouseclick, Google search, blog post, e-mail and web page we create, this Machine is bound to become an extension not only of our memory, but of our brain. In short, it will become intelligent. We are all jointly creating that mythical AI that no amount of laboratory research has accomplished.

Or as McLuhan asked in 1964:

...might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness?

Like I said, some good old internet optimism. But still a cool idea.

Update: See also 'The Machine is Us/ing Us', which boils down web 2.0 to a five minute video.

spacetimemoney continuum

His wealth resides less in possessions than in the fact of that most modern of powers, mobility, the ability to be present at practically the same time in every part of the globe. A life of travel, of palaces, seems gilded with a magic that sedentary luxury has lost.

Wrote Eric Rohmer about Orson Welles' 'Mr. Arkadin' in 1957.

The luxury of mobility, now much more commonplace, is neatly visualized in the Personal World Map. It takes time and money (themselves interchangable, right?) as the criteria for distance, and then distorts the earth according to your input.

The supremacy of time over distance is not only real for the flow of information but also for our movements across the earth. Places which are more accessible seem to get "closer" to each other while less accessible places become isolated. This fact clearly affects our perception of the earth.

Create your own world map @ www.personalworldmap.org

little patch of yellow wall

Visiting the Mauritshuis today to see the 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' for real (as reality follows blog posts these days), I was struck by that other Vermeer, hanging across the room from her, which provided one answer to the question of what the girl is looking at so longingly. It's the 'View of Delft'.

Vermeer's View of Delft

As the great Vermeer website tells us:

Marcel Proust's 'À la recherche du temps perdu' contains a well-known passage in which the elderly writer Bergotte visits a Dutch art exhibit and, while examining a detail of Vermeer's 'View of Delft', falls ill and dies.

The still unsolved question is, which "petit pan de mur jaune" ("little patch of yellow wall") in the painting proved lethal to Proust's character...?

songs and sounds

To put on repeat, this addictive little pop song by Dutch duo Solo!

Solo - 'Songs and Sounds' @ 3voor12.vpro.nl

crystallized music

Cool animation visualizing a jazz piece by John Coltrane, 'Giant Steps' ('59).

The structural approach of John Coltrane to music is associated with architectural thinking. The musical theme defines a space and the musical improvisation is like someone drifting in that imaginary space.

Watch movie @ http://michalevy.com/gs_download.html


An old one, but still great, this photo inventory of subcultures...

@ www.exactitudes.com

human footprint map

As a follow-up to my earlier Human Footprint post, here's an illustrative world map. The resolution is poor, but the Netherlands look reddish if not purple...

Human Footprint map
The Human Footprint is a quantative analysis of human influence on the Earth's surface. In this map, human impact is rated on a scale from 0 (minimum) to 100 (maximum) for each terrestrial biome. The color green indicates areas of minimal impact while purple indicates areas of major impact.

Source: 'One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment', produced by the United Nations Environment Programme -- a wealth of maps and satellite images, available online in its entirety!