Friday, January 30, 2009

The tree part 1


Stoking steel

The stimulus package Barack Obama wants to start implementing has a very weird rule.

Much of the money will be spend on the decayed infrastructure in the USA.
Many bridges need to be repaired or even rebuild.
For this a lot of steel is needed.

Steel can be bought from all over the world.
Usually, when steel is needed, it is bought where it is the cheapest.
Steel used in the USA can be coming from China or Europe.
But this time, the stimulus package forbids this.
The steel must be bought in the USA.

This is called protectionism.
What has at least two consequences.
The steel will be more expensive.
And the countries that cannot sell their steel to the USA, usually retaliate by banning importing certain products from the USA.

In the short term, getting the steel only from the USA seems not to be such a bad idea.
It keeps the US-steel industry in business.

However, in the long term it is very damaging to an economy.
The particular industry operates without competition and will become inefficient.
And the counter measures by other countries may damage the national US economy more than the advantage of buying American steel only.

Protectionism and boycotting imports is not an unknown tune to the US Government.
In the USA there is a huge meat industry and they like to export their products.
To Europe as well.
But the Europeans refuse to buy American meat.
The reason is that American meat is coming from animals that are given growth hormones.
That end up in the bodies of the meat eaters and can cause cancer.
In Europe meat with growth hormones is therefore considered dangerous for the health.
So they choose not to buy it.
Instead, they get meat from other countries like Argentina.
This doesn’t please the US-Government.
As a punishment for not buying American meat, the US Government is not allowing imports of certain European goods and products.
The WTO (World Trade Organization) has condemned this US policy but nothing is changing.

We live in a complex world.
Boycotting, banning, limiting, sanctions: they are no good solutions.

A better idea is to import only from countries where the wages paid there to the workers are at least the same as in the importing country.
If a product is made somewhere by workers paid less, it cannot be imported and the product has to be made in the own country.
If a product is made somewhere and the workers are paid more, it becomes beneficial to produce the product in the own country: it will be cheaper.
For a country like China to export, it must first raise the wages of their workers.

A result of this system will be that products become more expensive.
But a result will also be that workers worldwide will be paid a decent salary.
Something that cannot be claimed right now.
The cheap stuff from China in Wall*Mart is available only because too many Chinese work like slaves.
They are earning low salaries, have hardly social welfare and live in miserable conditions.

In the end, everybody can buy what one needs.
If it becomes more expensive because workers get paid more decently, it only will take a little longer before the product can be bought.
We will learn to save money again before we buy something.
And we will learn again only to buy what we really need.


To learn the details and facts of the US-trade policy for not being able to sell hormone treated meat, click on:


Thursday, January 29, 2009

In touch with the Pope

The Catholic Church has at its top a pope.
Now it is a German by the name of Ratzinger.
Who embraces back in his church a runaway Bishop who believes the Holocaust never took place and that no Jew was gassed in Auschwitz.

A Pope has many powers, recognized and respected only as long as a person is a devout Catholic and accepts the hierarchal structure of the organization.
Then, a Pope is considered to be the representative of God on Earth and whatever he says therefore is right.

One of the powers the Pope has is to declare a person holy.
Whatever that means.
And this is going on even today.
Certain individuals are promoted to the status of a Saint.
Of course, they must have been Catholics: no Muslim, Bhudist or Hindu can become a Saint.
And often these men and women have given their lives for the cause of the Catholic Church.
To be of inspiration and of example for the flock.

Originally a person being promoted to the status of saint got an extra bonus.
A day in the year was named after him of her.
Like today, January 29, is in the memory of Saint Valerio.

For a long time, all 365 days have already their saints and the Catholic Church not having a rotating system for this, lost the give away to new saints to have a specific day carrying their name.
Unfortunately, becoming a saint now, means eventually obscurity.

However, you can be a saint and have your own day, though be in obscurity nevertheless.
Like Saint Valerio today.
Who was this man?
What did he do to get on the calendar?

Google does not come up with an answer.
Wikipedia neither.
Nobody knows about Saint Valerio.

The man, Saint Valerio, is supposed to be of inspiration and an example to all of us, hence why does the Catholic Church not do a better PR job on their saints?
Like a "who is who" on a special website of Catholic saints.

Reason to get in touch with the Pope.
Although his name is Ratzinger, he has a pseudonym: Benedict 16th.
And believe it or not, he has his own e-mail address.

We send him this e-mail:

January 29, 2009

Dear Pope Benedict 16th,

Today, according to the Catholic calendar, you celebrate the memory of Saint Valerio.
But who was Saint Valerio?
Nowhere on the Internet an answer can be found.
Please inform us who was Saint Valerio and what did he do to become a saint.

Thank you very much,

kind regards,

Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski.

Of course, if an answer is received from the Pope, Preferred fervent and loyal blog readers will receive a copy by e-mail immediately.
And some days later the e-mail will be published on this blog for the other fervent and loyal blog readers.

Will the Pope reply?


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fascinating flashes

How is it going with Edgar and his new passion of fishing?

The new development is that he is not allowed by his grandmother to go fishing by himself.
This is partly concern for his well being.
But also concern for a limitation of Edgar being available to assist her.
The best time of day for fishing is early in the morning.
But that is exactly the time he needs to go with his grandfather to help milking the cows.
Another good time to fish is at the end of the afternoon.
But that is exactly the time Edgar has to take care of the returning goats.
Hence, he can only fish an hour or so in the early afternoon.
When there is no fish.
And in any case, he is not allowed to go by himself.
Recently, he asked your faithful blogwriter to accompany him to the beach for a fishing session.
And like a nanny, or a body guard if you prefer, he was escorted to the beach where he fished.
Thanks to all the Gods of the different religions he caught a small Roncador that made his day.
At least he returned to his Grandmother proudly.

How is it going with the broken Sony radio?

Christina Gonzales, who lives in the town of La Ribera and who was visiting the rancho last weekend, explained that her neighbour had a business of fixing TV’s and radios.
Christina took the Sony radio with her and soon it will be known if it is repaired or a new one must be bought.

How are the lizards?

Some time ago a posting was about two large lizards living in the heap of stones next to the Fuso Szulc.
In fact, they are still living there.
Around noon they come out to take a sunbath.

What about this plan to sell the Fuso Szulc?

It is buzzing with rumors.
On a forum of a website for expedition vehicles fans this issue was already discussed.
Obviously, because the Fuso Szulc is the only expedition vehicle of its kind and unique in its design and outfit.
However, a public offering of the mobile palace is still pending.

How is the photo project “How the world loves” doing?

Amazing results are coming in.
Mostly because of the images.
Somehow, these pictures made by persons without artistic ambitions, are very convincing and revealing.

How is the weather?

Sunny and warm.


The website for people who love expedition vehicles, click on:

To see how people love, click on:


Monday, January 26, 2009

Let me out, let me in.

Five months ago a young couple from the Netherlands went to travel in the USA.
As tourists enjoying the beautiful and interesting country.

They had a tourist visa that is valid for 90 days.
They were in Atlanta when they intended to travel into Mexico because their visa was going to expire.
However, a big storm stopped all traffic.
They couldn’t get out of town.

It took 10 days before they managed to reach the US-Mexican border.
Somehow, they got checked there by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Who saw they had overstayed their 3 months visa with 10 days.

The couple from the Netherlands was arrested immediately.
And taken to a detention centre for illegal immigrants.
They were separated not to see each other anymore for two months.
Each of them was put in solitary confinement.
Locked up in a cell of 2 x 2,5 metres with a bed, a toilet and a small table.
The light in this cell was kept on 24 hours a day.
Sleeping was made impossible by constant loud shouting of the sadistic guards.
Who threatened them:
“Tomorrow we will kill you”.
“I am going to fuck you in your ass”.

They were kept in solitary confinement under these horrifying circumstances for one week.
Their clothes had been confiscated: they were given a towel and a short jacket only.
Even underwear was not allowed.
Requests to make a phone call to their family, to a lawyer or to the Embassy of the Netherlands were refused.
They were given food, but only so much as to have them feel hungry all the time.
The boy later declared: "They were trying to destroy us psychologically".

After one week they were put in prisons. Together with murderers and other serious criminals.
Still they were not allowed to contact anybody.
The boy managed to convince another guy, who was going to be released, to call once free his parents.

The parents had already panicked not knowing where their son and his girlfriend were.
Until they received a phone call from the guy explaining the son was locked up in a prison.

The authorities of the Netherlands were alarmed who managed to get both of them out of prison and the USA.
After 2 months in prison.

And now we have the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
A person from a European country cannot simply get on a plane to the USA anymore.
As of recently the traveller needs to go to a website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
And fill in on-line an application.

Starting the procedure of applying, suddenly a pop-up screen appears:

You are about to access a Department of Homeland Security computer system. This computer system and data therein are property of the U.S. Government and provided for official U.S. Government information and use. There is no expectation of privacy when you use this computer system. The use of a password or any other security measure does not establish an expectation of privacy. By using this system, you consent to the terms set forth in this notice. You may not process classified national security information on this computer system. Access to this system is restricted to authorized users only. Unauthorized access, use, or modification of this system or of data contained herein, or in transit to/from this system, may constitute a violation of section 1030 of title 18 of the U.S. Code and other criminal laws. Anyone who accesses a Federal computer system without authorization or exceeds access authority, or obtains, alters, damages, destroys, or discloses information, or prevents authorized use of information on the computer system, may be subject to penalties, fines or imprisonment. This computer system and any related equipment is subject to monitoring for administrative oversight, law enforcement, criminal investigative purposes, inquiries into alleged wrongdoing or misuse, and to ensure proper performance of applicable security features and procedures. DHS may conduct monitoring activities without further notice.

This needs to be OK-ed before the visitor can proceed.

Then another statement needs to be OK-ed about agreeing to participate in the procedure.

A list of questions need to be answered about mental and physical health and possible activities.
And of course all the info about where one lives, with who one is going to stay in the USA, phone number, e-mail address, etc

This information is protected by the privacy laws of the USA but they will keep it on record for the next 10 years…

The couple in mind that was 2 months in prison for overstaying the visa for 10 days, this morning the on line application to enter the USA in March was processed.
With a passport from the Netherlands issued in Spain while living in Mexico, the expectation was that the application would automatically get into the department of suspicious travellers.
And that complications could be faced.

But guess what?
After sending in the application to the US-authorities, within 10 seconds approval was received.

This does not guarantee entry into the USA though.
At the US-border the whole procedure repeats a second time.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sorry Sony

In the year 2002, in the small town of Burlington, Vermont, a brand new Ford F 250 4x4 pick-up truck was bought.
It was driven to Caldwell, Idaho where was the factory of Summerwind campers.
They had built a custom-made truck camper with an aluminium frame to be put into the bed of the Ford F 250.

One of the special items in the new Summerwind camper was a Sony car radio.
Bought from Jacky’s in Dubai in the Middle East.
A special Sony car radio, the XR-CA640X, because it can also receive short wave radio stations.

The Summerwind had obviously no Internet nor XM radio.
So, to stay informed with news and listen to nice music, a good radio was indispensable.
Because of its short wave ability, radio stations like the BBC from London, UK could now be listened to.

Eventually the Summerwind and the Ford F 250 were sold, but the Sony XR-CA640X radio was kept.
And built into the Fuso Szulc.
By then there was XM-radio but the Sony XR-CA640X still functioned as the vital link for the sound.

Over the last few weeks this Sony XR-CA640X has started to act in a funny way.
Not switching on anymore every time its services were needed.

Whatever could be cleaned, has been cleaned.
Whatever could be lubricated with special anti-humidity spray for electronics from RadioShack, has been treated.
But this inadequate operating of the Sony XR-CA640X became more and more eminent.
Until it failed completely.
Showing on its screen the time only and not wishing to be of more service than that.

This was of course dramatic.
Music, living in an expedition vehicle, is essential.
As well as the news.

But fortunately it was realized that the XM-radio receiver has three ways of offering the signals to a sound system.
One is by a FM signal.
Hence, a radio with FM can receive the XM-transmission.

For sentimental reasons, over the years, a Sony ICF-7600 DS radio has been kept.

Very unusual because there is a general policy never to keep things that do not have any purpose.
This radio has been on many journeys all over the world.
To listen in hotel rooms with the short wave to the news from Europe and elsewhere.
In campers in Europe, the USA and Mexico.
For years and years.

This Sony ICF-7600 DS has not been used for a long time.
But now it has come out of its box and serves as the transmitter of the XM-radio.
As a temporary solution for the problem with the build-in Sony XR-CA640X.

Of course, the sound is now coming not from the four high quality Kicker marine loudspeakers built into the Fuso Szulc.
Now it is a mono sound from the relative small loudspeaker of the Sony ICF-7600 DS.
But better this than nothing.

Next visit to La Paz, a car audio shop will be visited to ask if the Sony XR-CA640X can be fixed.
If not, it will be replaced.
Maybe with a Sony radio of marine quality?
That has circuit board coating and drip shields.

Because, it is suspected that because of staying close to the sea and its salty humidity, electronics are affected and do give up.


Saturday, January 24, 2009


There are satellite transmission problems today....


Friday, January 23, 2009

A deer also doesn't know beforehand who he will mate

In spring time animals become more active.
It is called the rutting season.
They feel the urge to multiply.
Becoming restless they want to find a mate, make a nest and have offspring.

Over the last years travelling has been constant.
Never staying long in one place.
But now, since early October, the Fuso Szulc is based in the dry riverbed of Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico.
Almost 4 months in one place!
An incredible fact not seen for a long time.

However, more and more it starts to feel like landing in the rutting season.
On March 31 is a flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Therefore, in about 7 weeks the journey will start to drive the Fuso Szulc from Punta Boca del Salado, Mexico, to San Diego, USA.
To leave the expedition vehicle there and spend one or two months in Europe.

But the rutting in the season is most of all becoming tantalising because of this:

It is a Mercedes Benz Unimog U 1550 that is made into an expedition vehicle by the famous German company Unicat.
The rut now is to have the Fuso Szulc adopted by an American affectionado of expedition vehicles and to get this Unimog Unicat instead.

This is a rather complex manoeuvre that creates tremendous excitement.
Especially because it confronts with many unknowns.
No way of knowing where this will end…
As a consequence, it is a very educational experience.
And it will not bring the permanent pilgrim where he himself possibly wants to go.
It is the process that decides the route and destination.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Helping the President

During the recent election campaign for the Presidency of the United States, Barack Obama made over 500 promises.

He was promoting that change had to come to the United States and he was claiming to be the one who could do this.

A majority of the American people did agree with Barack Obama, voted for him and now he is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

That is all very fine.
But knowing how politics go, the essential issue now is to see what is coming true of all the promises made.

The United States is a country with a high level of democracy.
And a high level of communication infrastructure.

Those two things combined have resulted in “The Obameter”.
The St. Petersburg Times from Florida has created this remarkable tool.
“The Obameter” is published on a website for anybody to see.
And it is for free!

It is a list of over 500 promises Barack Obama has been making.
The people behind “The Obameter” track the progress on the promises.
And rate them from “Promise Kept” to “Promise Broken”.

After two days of Presidency, Barack Obama has already kept 6 promises.

No. 13: Require taxpayers to report more detail on capital gains taxes

No. 125: Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq

No. 240: Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials

No. 241: Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.

No. 427: Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees

No. 503: Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet

It really makes sense to go to this website and bookmark it.
To repeatedly return there to see if any progress is made.
To be part of democracy.
To be concerned.
And to assist somebody to keep the promises.


To see “The Obameter”, click on:


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A dog becomes a fish

Many Preferred and other fervent and loyal blog readers will remember the posting about Edgar.
One of the persons that live permanently on the Rancho Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico.

How he was taken out of school at the age of 12 to become a rancho-help doing small jobs helping his grand parents.

How he is struggling with the specific aspects of his adolescence.
A father completely missing and lacking.
Away from his mother and half-sister and half-brother.
Living in relative loneliness now without friends or other young children of his age.
Facing a rather unchallenging future.

Soon will be his birthday.
And the idea was proposed for him to have a dog.
Resulting in great enthusiasm in Edgar.

But he had to ask his grandparents for permission.
His grandmother was OK right away.
The bottleneck was his grandfather.
First, Edgar was too afraid to ask him.
Eventually he did though.
And Gumaro, the grand father, replied that he had to think about it.

This is of course how a good grand father handles a situation like this.
Making the grand child understand that serious thought is given to the request.
And that a grand father is wise by not giving anymore impulsive answers to questions.

After a few days Gumaro had an answer.
It was: no.
He would not allow Edgar to have a personal dog.
Of course, the person behind the whole turmoil also respected fully Gumaro’s decision.
The authority of the grandfather vis à vis the grand child was not going to be undermined by publicly or even personally questioning his decision.
In the end, the protagonist is a guest of the family and must behave and respect.
No dog is no dog.

Edgar was asked if he was disappointed.
He wasn’t, so he said.
Tough boy!

The good part of this story with Edgar is that he has now come up himself with something.
Fishing now fascinates him.
That can be done by walking to the nearby beach and catching some nice fish out of the Sea of Cortez.

The permanent pilgrim has decided some years ago not to fish anymore.
He is even now member of a political party in the Netherlands that defends animal rights in the Dutch Parliament.
All his extensive fishing equipment has been donated to the current fiancé of Edgar’s mother.
Who has given a fishing pole to Edgar.

So, it is fishing now.
And he has accepted that surf fishing needs some training.
This afternoon he is coming for his first surf fishing class.

The good thing is that Edgar has found his own passion now.
That turns out to be the purpose and meaning of the dog saga.
The dog was not his idea.
Although he liked to adopt it.
The fishing comes from within himself.
That is the best.
And he will be perfectly able to become a good surf fisher and feel better about himself.

Hard to wait for the moment he enters the kitchen of the rancho proudly showing the first fish he has caught.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ten pages of beauty

The writing of the daily blog is an activity in the sidelines.
When taking a break from the real activities.
It takes one hour in the morning and voilà.

The real job is of course creating new photography.
And a most important thing: the marketing of the photography.

Yesterday a new result of the principal activities came in.

A magazine that is published in the Arabic countries, like Kuwait, featured an important publication of the results of the photo project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
This is a highlight in the career.
It is an honour to be published so prominently.

These days only rarely do photo features get so many pages.
But most importantly, the happiness about the result is mostly about the possibility to express an idea and opinion through the photo project “The most beautiful people in the world” to a major part of an audience.
More so, because the publication was in an area of the world where the position of women in the society is different compared to Europe and the USA.
More openness about feelings and emotions helps to have a more balanced relationship between people.

“The most beautiful people in the world” has now been published in over 6 countries as major photo features.
And the presentation in the Arabic countries is one of the most appreciated.