December 25, 2010

Winter hunting ban; porn and clown voices; secretary most wanted job; and more

Filed under: Animals,Automobiles,General,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:20 pm

* Several provinces have instated hunting bans for a variety of animals because of the cold weather. Zeeland, Drenthe, Noord Holland and Limburg have ordered a general hunting ban, while others have limited their bans to a selection of animals. The Party for the Animals (PvdD) has called for a nationwide ban, Trouw reports.

* Car navigation software voiced by porn actress Kim Holland was the most popular of the stable in 2010, Blik op Persbericht reports. Her voice was also the most popular in 2009. The winner of 2008, Clown Bassie, came second this year. Unrelated: recently Holland’s demand that Internet provider Ziggo release the personal data of a customer suspected of infringing her copyrights was rejected on appeal.

* The most wanted job title on in 2010 was secretary, just like last year. Visitors searched 500,000 times for the title. Manager and controller were other popular job titles, Blik op Nieuws writes.

* Almost 1 billion worth of guilder coins and bills are still hiding underneath mattresses and in other places, Z24 reports. Half of that money is in coins, and can no longer be exchanged for euro. Paper money can be exchanged at the central bank (DNB) until 2031. The amount of unclaimed banknotes seems to be the same as last year’s.

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July 26, 2009

Carel Struycken’s spherical panorama photography

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 1:59 pm

Carel who? Well, only the most famous Dutch actor bar none.

You may not recognise his name, but you will surely recognize the characters he played: Lurch in the Addams Family films, the butler in The Witches of Eastwick, Star Trek TNG’s Mr. Homn, the Giant in Twin Peaks, and so on. He’s played countless roles in high profile films and TV series such as Men in Black, St.Elsewhere, and Babylon 5, where he is easily recognized because of his large-looking face. (Wikipedia says he’s exceedingly tall at 2.10 metres, but that’s only tallish for a Dutchman.)

But apart from appearing in almost every major Hollywood production, Struycken spends a large chunk of his time making spherical panoramas—that is to say, panorama photos that can be viewed in any direction—in the US, on CuraƧao, and in the Netherlands and Germany. I seem to remember from an earlier visit to his website that the crop above is of a panorama photo from an indoor swimming pool somewhere in the Netherlands, but Struycken keeps track of his panoramas in at least three different places, and I could not find metadata for this one in any of them.

(Source photo: Carel Struycken’s IMDB page)

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April 14, 2009

Mr Aart threatens to leave Sesamstraat

Filed under: Shows by Branko Collin @ 8:30 am

Aart Staartjes, the actor who has been playing the grumpy Mr Aart in the Dutch version of Sesame Street for over twenty years, is threatening to leave the show over a programming dispute. He said this last week on the Coen & Sander radio show (Dutch). The ire of Mr Aart was awakened when the starting time of the show was moved around a lot by the NPS public broadcaster. Originally, Sesamstraat started at 6:30 pm, later it was moved to 6 pm, then 5:30 pm, even later to 5 pm, and, starting today, finally back to 5:30 pm, writes (Dutch).

Last week, an emotional Staartjes suggested on De Wereld Draait Door (Dutch) that the network was trying to deliberately kill off the show, which saw a marked decline from 500,000 to 30,000 viewers: “What idiot came up with the idea to program a show at five in the afternoon when the target audience are parents and their young children? Nobody is home at that time. And when I try to find out who’s responsible, everybody’s pointing at someone else.”

Sesamstraat was first broadcast in the Netherlands in 1976, at a time when the country disallowed commercial networks and there were only two or three public channels. Staartjes (1938) joined the show in 1984. He is also well-known for having presented the reception of Sinterklaas for 18 years.

(Photo by Photocapy, some rights reserved.)

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