Today's "Gram" inaugurates a new serial project, trademark Wacondah ventures, right?

Confined to our frustrations, we suffer; it is so much better to try to compile & cross-reference statements on current affairs and voice opinions. Lead example used to be the "Journaal" by Mark Grammens, who in the best of Anglo-Saxon journalistic tradition, tried to question our reality and comment the commentators!

Today's frontpage:
World-famous Belgian painter Luc Tuymans is all over the news: he was convinced of plagiarism and fraud by a lower court, for having shamelessly copied a photograph through painting.
While you can argue about that, and cite the "imitatio" principle honoured by timeless traditions in all types of art; one can't help to wonder "why" he was convicted.

His lawyers state that is was full of "parody" and thus exempt from the copyright protection act under Belgian law. However, the judge did not follow this line of argumentation.

For the time being, the photographer is right and should have her work protected in the public domain.

But beneath it all; isn't this case about "hybris"? Maybe it has to do with the way Tuymans looks down on other people (which is his absolute freedom of speech-protected right). I think there is an element of "attitude" that was judged yesterday. In any case, there will be an appeal. If I were the photographer, I'd drop the case and bask in the attention of media,to promote my work and be remembered forever as having been copied by a "Master" yourself! In addition, by dropping the case, you'd be able to demonstrate a much grander attitude. People are indeed remembered not only for what they produce, but for how they behave. Grandiose! Attitude!
If I were Tuymans, I'd put up a big smile, and share some of the royalties to initiate a new collaboration; but sourly, and surely, that's not gonna happen.
We should like artists for their work; but it's even better if we can also like them for their morals and attitude!
So, having promoted Tuymans here; I think it's only fair and square to post a link to young photographer Katrijn Van Giel

Question of the day: do the produders of radio commercials conspire to "not" make us laugh? Clearly, there is a general lack of imagination. Airtime is expensive, and so is my time: as a result we turn to other media. Note to self; next car should have the best state-of-the art private media channels.

Benoit Poelvoorde; of "C'est Arrivé Près de Chez Vous" fame, declares that his dog is fed up with interviews! Up for the watchlist: "La rançon de la gloire"

Reading: The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan (vampires! pandemonium! virusses!)
Viewing: American Sniper (slated for best-actor Oscar later this year?): Clint Eastwood directs Bradley Cooper in a high-intensity based-on-a-true story: are snipers cowards, or defenders of freedom?
Listening to: Spotify! and Parov Stelar
Thinking: Voltaire is en vogue after last week's attacks on Charlie Hebdo: let us therefore "Judge a man by the questions he asks, not the answers he gives"!
Travelling: Paris, Barcelona, Santiago, Daegu, Washington, Algonquin Park(*), Stockholm, Dakar (that's what's on the agenda so far)


Je suis Charlie

all our thoughts go out to the victims of the barbaric attack on "Charlie Hebdo" yesterday in Paris.

Eight puzzling questions:

1. why did one of the terrorists pauze to pick up a shoe on the ground before entering the runaway car after executing an already wounded police officer?
2. the attack seemed carefully prepared and orchestrated: however: how come did they end up in the wrong appartment building and why did they have to ask for directions to the right adress?
3. appearantly, the police found one of the perpetrator's identity card in the Citroen C3 car. This points to poor tradecraft? Or was it a deliberate clue? Do they want to be caught?
4. Surveillance cameras are ubiquitous in Paris and on French highways: the last runaway car must be known by the police. The exfiltration plan was appearantly well-prepared, yet sloppily executed - they choose random 2nd and 3rd stage vehicles: how long can you stay underground in our society?
****update: suspects located at 11.00 in the AISNE region*** (2015-01-08)
5. French TV coverage is very limited in images; it seems as if there is a ban on information release at this stage. There is an appearant lack of investigative reporting going on.
6. Charlie Hebdo was a very high-profile "soft" target. Close protection was "in place" and "in person" yet unsufficient against a direct hit. Appearantly, there has been increased pressure in the last weeks, why wasn't security beefed up?
7. Almost 24 hours later, no claims for responsibility have been posted on the Internet?
8. How plausible is it that a returning Jihadi trains his brother in just a couple of months in the art of urban guerilla warfare? Both seemed extremely well-trained, cold-blooded and methodic. are there training camps in Europe? And how difficult is it to get modified AK47s these days?


New Year's resolutions

This guy has it right in today's FT

In his brilliant article on the January Jinx that could be titled "hmmpphh.... got to have a good New Year's resolution --  just to abandon it a couple of days later when the first work party kicks in again"; it is refreshing to read things such as

  • Most resolutions, he explains, fail because no thought is given to how they will be implemented or measured.
  • “The idea is to cultivate a model of frequent re-examining.” By creating new habits, you improve your productivity in small steps.
  • Continuous self-improvement should be approached in a spirit of optimism. “It’s about making good things better.”

voilà; so a part from planning (my own agenda as a referee) for the boys' games of soccer in the next months and marking a couple of Sprint and Olympic distance triatlons; I'll try to up the ante and train for the 1/2 'Halven van Damme"

and a bonus one that everybody should try: "alco-lessing"; for at least a day! (objective attained already ;-) cross that one of my list

So We Wish you a lot of Optimism in 2015