Criminally cold

With our government on its arse as it is, Parliament has still passed, almost unanimously, a draft for the law of forbidding the wearing of clothing that obscures the face partially or totally (except on Carnival). Luckily it is not a law as of yet, the wording is very ambigious and it will be amended by the Senate. So it is not going to be turned into a law just yet.
We are going to have elections one way or the other in June anyway. But just supposing, for argument's sake, it would have been a law passed phrased as it was today, I would have been extremely worried. Why? Because I'd never be able to go out in winter without risking a 15 to 25 euro fine (or a 1-7 day prison sentence). It's woolly scarf and bonnet for me pretty much from november 'till march.
So all the people in these pictures would be dirty rotten law breakers. I'd opt for the prison sentence. There's no room anyhow. Or you could just lift the prison door out of its hinges and walk out. Or charter a helicopter to fly you out. The possibilities are endless.


Photo of the Week

This must be my favourite photo of the week. King Albert II and his dear Petite Mozarella seen leaving the palace on Tuesday.
So watch out if you're in the Brussels area. Keep well away from a white Fiat 500. She's Italian. And we all know what their driving is like...
I also would like to point out they do not appear to be wearing any seatbelts! With all those policemen standing around at the gates you would think one of them would be brave enough to tell them to buckle up.
We've already had Albert's mother die in a car crash during the interbellum. Methinkst the country is politically down the pan enough. I don't think we'd cope with The Idiot Prince™ on the throne on top of all that.


Calimero Leterme

He's at it again.


Neighbours get it wrong

I've blogged many a time about my little surrealist confused country. And it's pretty complicated to try and explain to another European what's going on over here. But now we are turning into a world wide mystery.
Even the French and the Dutch have no clue what is going on, let alone telling Flanders apart from the Walloon part or getting to fit all the right provinces into the correct community. Those people at the graphic departments are clearly being fed the wrong information. Two gems from French news TF1 and Dutch news NOS.
This is degenerating into a farce we are all forced to endure. As in 'Union fait la farce'.
I wonder when the puppeteer is going to cut the strings.


All things Rubens

Last week I finally made it to the family grave of the Rubens family in Antwerp in the Church of St James. Good job I put my two jumpers on, it was quite chilly willy in there. I must admit I was a bit disappointed. All the pictures I'd seen of it made it look epicly huge. IRL it looked so tiny. One of the prints was on display which was made when the vault was opened in the 1855.

Just before Dr Livingstone had to go on tour again we'd also visited the Rubens House together. I'm studying Baroque Art this semester, and living in Belgium means everything Rubens ad nauseam. We went to see the Kamers vol Kunst exhibition currently on in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
All of my professors have been trying to convince me of the sheer unearthly talent Rubens had, but not a lot of the works he (and his countless assistants made) really have the 'umph' I'd expect after the heaps of superlatives. I'm more a fan of the Caravaggesque Baroque. But anyhow, I'm not going the one to be swearing in church. They are great works of art.

I finished a historic novel back in Januari called Rubensrood by Staf Schoeters. It was a bit disappointing, plotwise, but it brought the seventeenth century alive for a moment. As I've mentioned before, I do like to read something of a historical novel or detective about the period I'm studying about. But it does not always help, because anecdotes end up being confused with facts in my tiny tiny brain. So I can't overdo it too much. I read Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy during summer because in first term he was up for scrutiny.

But the Rubens pilgrimage wasn't the real reason I went to the St James. I had to write a piece on the main altar and two confessionals. Stunningly beautiful and I think every penny well spent by canon Hillewerve.
It is always tricky to take snaps of dark wood in dark nooks and crannies of churches.


Constitutional Crisis Flowcart™

Here's a handy Constitutional Crisis Flowcart™ (CCF™) made by one of the newspapers I love to hate. How to arrive at complete chaos in 4 easy steps. And when it hasn't worked the first time: Just ignore everything, repeat ad nauseum and carry on like nothing happened!


Mystic Mrs B

And I hadn't even got out the old crystal ball yesterday...
Leterminateur was off to the king today to hand in the resignation of Leterme II.

pic credit: Jon Sneyers


Déja BHVue

93,26% of 1810 people can't be wrong.
The clown won't do it this time round either.


Silence is golden

De Standaard made a howling distasteful mistake on their online front page today. The top story read: 'Jeweller dies in holdup in Brussels'. The second headline read: 'Speech is silver, silence is golden'.

* Picard facepalm


Shroud of Turin

The shroud of Turin is back on display for a limited time only. This thirteenth or fourteenth century piece of cloth has been restored. Some catholics still believe it was used to wrap Christ's body in and it magically transferred an image of a man that had been subject to a round of whipping and crucifiction onto its surface.
What science or religion have failed to prove either way is not why the image of a man believed to be Christ appeared on the fabric when everyone can clearly see it is the image of the Devine Frank Zappa!
We even have a picture of him when he appeared on the cover of his 1979 album Sheik Yerbouti wearing some kind of similar head gear.
There you go. Mystery solved!