Monday, June 09, 2014


So today is the day Christ ascended to Heaven, according to the Christian calendar, very much in play in this city, along with the vice, the whoring and the drugs.  None of those things have, as yet, captured my interest, as I have been too busy being insecure and at the same time enchanted about moving here.  Almost everyone is kind, though there is a problem feeling safe in the financial sense because they don't like Mastercard and American Express, but themselves handle only Maestrocard and you can't get one of those if you aren't Dutch.  It is amazing how self-satisfied the Dutch seem to be from the financial point of view, in spite of how long it has been since they actually captured anything and ran it, especially a country, aside from this one. And as we know, in the days when they took everything over, they did nothing to improve the places, being the one explorer and conqueror who simply pillaged, and that was that.
     Even as I write this I would be sad for the United States if I let myself, as I can feel us becoming less as a nation with every passing day.  I am especially depressed for Obama whom the Republicans have made seem more ineffectual than even the economy has done.
     But I am incredibly uplifted, physically, by the beauty of my apartment with its spare design, its panorama of light from the windows, even on a dark day, which this one already shows signs of becoming, after a sunlit morning.  I am reminded that Amsterdam is really in the middle of the ocean, that the one thing the Dutch did with incredible industry besides invade was pile earth and sand and pilings on waves and make a city in the midst of the sea.  So we have ocean weather.  But some of my happiest and funniest times were when I was on an ocean voyage.  I will consider this simply one more.  The ultimate one, I assume.
     Went to the museum with my new lady friend, Marlies, a lovely Dutch woman just moved back from China, involved on a heart level with my rescuer, Daniel, who was off for the weekend climbing rocks and mountains and somebody fell.  I have never had a wish for physical adventure, having gotten up on waterskis once when Don was alive, and a second, and I think final time, after the American Nazi party conference in Washington State where my skin literally started to crawl, and I escaped to the nearby Lake Something-- I can't remember the name of it, but remember clearly the sense of exhilaration when I got up on the skis, and afterwards hearing what had happened at the conference after I ran away. Reportedly somebody was hanged, and I realized I had escaped with my life, though it did make eczema a part of my medical history.
    Today, though, was easy and pleasant.  Amsterdam is tiny and Marlies is generous of spirit, so we went to a museum that is all about Dutch history, where there are endless portraits of those men with ruffles around their necks.  It is a puzzle to me how they could have been such pacesetters in the 16th century and then packed it all in, except for invading sweet little Bali.  That is the saddest story there is for Bali to tell, how the Balinese ran down to the beaches as the Dutch landed and threw all their jewels and gold at the invaders thinking that would satisfy them and then they would go away.  But they didn't so the Balinese killed themselves, adding their bodies to what they were piling up on the beaches. 
      The history of our planet is not a pretty one, and getting uglier all the time.  What makes it sadder than ever is that there is no more Herald-Tribune to read about it in, and we now have the International New York Times trying to look like it.  It was in the news online today that Time Magazine is virtually disappearing, that once great publication for which my wonderful friend, the great reporter Sandra Burton wrote before she was killed in Bali.  But that is another story. 
     I will be here in Amsterdam-- who woulda thunk it.  Of all the places in the world.  But it's a great apartment.  You're all invited.