30 September 2008

a messy comparison

place the following story beside the Red Light District, beside the women in the windows.

there were two women, sisters. in the place they grew up, when they were young, they were promiscuous - they were caressed and fondled. Oholah was the oldest and Oholibah her sister. and they married, having sons and daughters.

But Oholah cheated on her husband - longing after her lovers: doctors and lawyers, nobility, handsome young men, drivers of expensive, face cars. She bestowed favours upon them, these choicest of men; and she gave herself over to their addictions and followed the lifestyle of all those whom she lusted. She did not give up her promiscuous ways from where she used to live; for in her youth men had lain with her and fondled her bosom and poured out their lust upon her. And she was brought into the hands of her lovers, for whom she lusted. They uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and they killed her. She was judged, and she became infamous among women.

Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet she was more corrupt than her sister in her lusting and in her promiscuity, which was worse than those of her sister. She longed after her lovers: doctors and lawyers, rich, drivers of expensive, fast cars, handsome young men all of them. And her husband knew of her adultery; she was like her sister. And yet, she carried her promiscuity further! She saw paintings of men, images of men in flashing suits and tuxedos, with dashing smiles and perfect hair, all of them looking like nobility and movie stars. When she saw them she lusted after them, and sent messengers to them. And they came to her into her bed, and they defiled her with their lust; and after she defiled herself with them, she turned from them in disgust. When she carried on her promiscuity so openly and flaunted her nakedness, her husband turned in disgust from her, as her sister had also been turned from. Yet she increased her promiscuity, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the prostitute in the land of her birth and lusted after her lovers there, who were like donkeys in their size, and stallions in their lust. Thus she longed for the lewdness of her youth, when her bosom was fondled and her breasts were caressed.

But her lovers arise against her - from all sides, doctors and lawyers, rich, drivers of expensive, fast cars, handsome young men all of them. And they judge her according to what she has done. They deal with her in fury, they strip her of her clothes and take away her fine jewels. She is delivered into the hands of those whom she hates, into the hands of those from whom she turned in disgust; and they shall deal with her in hatred, and take away all the fruit of her labour, and leave her naked and bare, and the nakedness of her whorings shall be exposed. She shall be scorned and derided, she shall be filled with drunkenness and sorrow. These are the consequences of her lewdness and whorings, consequences and judgment that her husband agreed with.

And her husband said, "Ah, she is worn out with adulteries, but her lovers still carry on their sexual acts with her. They go in to her, as one goes in to a whore. They went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, wanton women. And the righteous shall declare them guilty of adultery because they are adulteresses. I will put an end to lewdness in the land, so that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done. You shall be repaid for your lewdness, and you shall bear the penalty for your sin."

The story above is an adaptation of Ezekiel 23 (a text I've worked on). Not included in the story above, is the switching in pronouns. About halfway through the above passage, the pronoun, "she" is most often referred to as "you." The story is told to the prophet, Ezekiel. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

There is a lot of excitement around about doing cross-cultural reading of the Bible. Reading the story of God's people, the prostitute, beside the stories of prostitutes today can provide a way of seeing the biblical text above in a different light. And the text and the women in the windows can be seen in a new light when one reads Matthew 21.31b "Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.'" (NRSV)

But one also has to be careful in placing the biblical text beside culture. One cannot simply transpose the text's proclamation of deserved judgment onto all of the prostitutes who live in my neighbourhood - especially not when the words of unfaithfulness - words directed toward prostitutes - are directed towards you/me.

27 September 2008

on a different (lighter) note...

i read a lot - including blogs. besides being a great source of information and insight into different people's lives in different places, blogs can also be a great way of putting life into perspective (or just giving me a smile/laugh for the day). so i thought i'd share a couple of blogs that i always look forward to reading:

dutch word of the day - the explanation and sentences are an informative (and sometimes humourous) way to increase my knowledge of dutch language and culture.

Life at the Geertsema's - the author is someone i lived with in college and even then she had a knack for telling great stories. the stories she shares here of being a down-to-earth parent (of two girls) are both sweet and funny. the following is a glimpse:
"Big Tummy
One of Naomi's favourite things to play lately is "Big Tummy" - that is, one of us pretends to have a big tummy (be pregnant), and then rushes to the hospital, where the doctor pulls it out. I gave birth to several babies today, including one set of twins. (They weren't identical - one was a cat, and one was a bunny.) When she is the doctor, she pulls out the baby with such excitement, and then hands me the baby, and leans in to kiss me and say congratulations. Then she tells me if I've had a boy or a girl.
One day last week, I just couldn't resist asking a question.
"Congratulations, it's a girl," she said.
"How do you know?" I asked, curious as to what she might say.
"Silly Mom," she responded, "she's got braids."

Female Science Professor - she shares the good, the bad, the challenging, and the bizarre things that come into her life as a female science professor (with a science professor husband and a teenager). for some reason i feel like i can relate to her life, although maybe it's only because i appreciate her odd sense of humour and am thankful that somebody else has even more bizarre things happen to her than i do!

25 September 2008

praying for the women in the windows (4)

people sometimes ask about the nationalities of the prostitutes. the answer usually given is a variety of different nationalities, and not so many dutch women. the amount/concentration of different nationalities changes over time - certain countries like Columbia, Romania, and Poland are pretty high. in the 1990s, a large number were from Eastern and Central Europe. before that many were from Latin America. and before that Thailand and the Philippines.

and it's hard to know the numbers - and the official ones are bound to be faulty. beside the women who work illegally or are trafficked (and thus are not recorded), many women move around a lot - to different places and different kinds of prostitution. the types of prostitution in the Netherlands were:
Form Percentage
Women in the windows 20
Streetwalkers 5
Brothels and clubs 45
Escort services 15
Service at home 5
Other* 10
Total 100
* Hotels, bars, massage parlours etc.
(numbers from 2000 - taken from the 2005 report on Prostitution published by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FAQ on Prostitution, as found on their website).

but i also wonder how much it matters about the numbers or nationalities. numbers can skew things - or separate us from the situation. numbers do not give faces or stories. numbers cannot give a picture of how many of the women are free to choose a different life, irrelevant of nationality. numbers do not give how many speak dutch - nor how many women have been here (legally) for years, even becoming dutch citizens. nor do the numbers, even of foreign women, give an idea of how many women speak neither dutch nor english - and so, irrelevant of how much help they could claim from the government, it does not share how difficult it must be for the women to communicate - with the entire world outside of their window/house/club and with those who pay them. and the numbers cannot say how many of the women have friends - or know where to go or who to turn to when things are bad - or when they want to leave.

and information (numbers and statistics) can be a good way of separating ourselves from this world, but information can also provide a means of opening our ways to things we had not seen before. and that is why i have written these blog entries on prostitution: in the hopes that people may see another picture - and be able to do something, including and especially praying.

and in terms of the Red Light District here: although i would argue that legalization of prostitution is generally a more positive situation for the women involved in prostitution, i would argue that legalization also has problems - like a demand that encourages prostitution or of not asking what unhealthy attitudes are allowed to grow if prostitution is accepted as normal. And even as the government talks about cutting down on the criminal elements related to prostitution, there are still a lot of problems with trafficking and coercion, as noted by Shared Hope, which has a video and a document (entitled Demand, found as a pdf file on the website) on the Red Light District and trafficking.

this is all that i am writing about the Red Light District for now - if i read too much or think about the situation too much, i am overwhelmed and sad by all of it.

23 September 2008

praying for the women in the windows (3)

if you live here, it becomes possible after awhile to ignore the women in the windows. they can become just a part of the scenery - the scantily clothed women being ignored as much as the pornography or the hash museum or people inviting me in to watch a live show [all things i walk by several times a week]. but if you walk through the Red Light District bring coffee and tea to the women, you see things again.

there is my street, with the pornography from the theatres and shops and museums. and mixed in are tourists and houses and churches and bars and regular people who live here or are just passing through. and here, there are significant number of windows where fashion designers have leased windows that used to be used by prostitutes. the prostitutes on this street tend to be European and are more likely to be considered beautiful by model standards (although most are not excessively model-skinny). although some of them have regular customers, especially those who work days during the week, most of their customers are people they will never see again (e.g. tourists).

then there are the side streets which are still full of a mixture of things, but one bumps into more windows all put together and things are more crowded. one is confronted more closely with the women behind the windows - and those walking past looking and evaluating. the women are all kinds of nationalities (although often in clusters). and in these side-streets, one becomes more aware that "women" might not exactly be the best description - the technical gender of the person behind in the window can be a bit more questionable.

there are the windows around the Oude Kerk, which are mostly Spanish speaking women. they are mostly from central or South America. compared to the previous streets, they are often older and more well-rounded. these women here are the ones who most often accept the offers of tea/coffee and invite us in to chat. in this area, there is also a little entrance leading to several windows - and the only reason to enter is to see a prostitute. one woman showed us her mirror - so that she could see all those coming in - and be able to close her curtain quickly if she saw anyone she knew.

on the other side of the church are several short streets that are only windows. here we are rarely invited in to chat and our offers of coffee & tea are usually rejected. and it is here that i am confronted most with questions about how much choice/control the women behind the windows have - i wonder about trafficking or of a relationship with a guy (pimp or "loverboy"). one street is so skinny that you can touch the walls on both sides of the street at the same time. there is nowhere to look or anything to see besides the women or the ones coming to see them. last fall, i bumped into a group of teenage guys in the close, enclosed spaces harassing one of the women - and who else was there to notice or care? there is a heaviness and uncertainty in the air - it is in this area that one becomes even more aware of the spiritual forces connected to prostitution.

and for these women, who have faces and stories and a small room where safety is not guaranteed, i pray.

22 September 2008

sailing in Enkhuizen for the weekend

this past weekend i participated in a sailing competition because i could (i didn't have to do anything else for the weekend and i was graciously invited along by br Luc and zr Annemieke, despite my lack of sailing skills). and i had a lovely, relaxing weekend on a sailboat - and wandering through Enkhuizen.

there was pretty much no wind all weekend, which doesn't make for the most exciting sailing. br Luc spent part of the race lying on the side of the boat, and then i took over from him this difficult task of lying in the sun watching the other boats (people familiar with saying will realize as br Luc points out in his comment to this entry, that this was actually a strategic use of weight - and not just a chance to sunbathe :). it was quite relaxing for me, although relaxing is probably not the word one wants to use for a race :)

the "anchor ball" race starts off with the boat anchored, the sails down, and one person above deck (the others need to be below). despite my lack of sailing skills (although i try to listen well and be helpful, my limited knowledge of sailboats (and difficulty with non-visual instructions) makes it difficult for me to know what i'm supposed to do even when given normal instructions), i got to be the one on deck. my job was to hoist the sail (calculated to be the least difficult although time consuming). i got to practice first (with br. Luc shouting at me to go faster and the neighbouring boat laughing at us), and it went fine - except i could have been quicker at pulling the other sail (the front one - the genoa) so that we could move somewhat (and not bump into the boat beside us). trying to determine how to capture the tiny bit of wind gave the race some tension (but as that was completely out of my range of skills, i spent most of the race seated, pulling a rope now and then or leaning against the main sail).

despite the low action race - and the minimal sailing back to the boat's home harbour, it was a lovely weekend: sunny, a lovely city to visit, good food and delightful company. the following are some pictures:

a park i bumped into in Enkhuizen:

a dusk visiting the back end of the boat. he was very cute at the time, although i expect if he started dirtying the back of the boat, he'd lose his cuteness fast.

br Luc monitoring things as we approached the locks leaving Enkhuizen.

more pictures (provided by br Luc) can be found on the Anchorbal website, plus an extra one of us crossing the finish line (to earn our 15th place [out of 22 boats] finish).

19 September 2008

praying for the women in the windows (2)

as my offer of coffee and tea opens the windows of the women around me, i hear stories and learn names. some of the stories are sad and some are hopeful.

there is the woman from Italy who considers the work to be good - and she does make lots of money. but she seems callused and like a piece of her is missing. as she blatantly displays her body as something worthy of being sold, i wonder how healthy it can be. she seems so young and immature, not seeing that her great ability to disconnect from her work (and make good money) might be hurting her.

and i see the woman from Russia who chose to work with another women - because business was better then. and it seemed to be a good thing for both of them. but i do not see her partner anymore - and her face seems sadder and more closed. and i do not know if she will tease those of us who visit anymore - inviting us back, saying that business is always better when we come (a compliment i'm not sure how to take!).

and there is the woman who invited me in right before her window was being closed, excited to tell me that she was leaving this work. she was doing what most people say they'll do, but don't - because leaving is hard. but her window was closing, so she's choosing to do something in the line of hair and cosmetics. and she was so happy - and i was happy for her!

and then there is the woman who started going to an Alpha course (a program held by churches to teach more about the gospel). and her partner/man was happy for her because he saw that it brought her joy. and she told us about the weekend where they experienced the Holy Spirit - and how good it was. and i wondered - what happens now? how does she take the world that she knows - a world where she has steady customers who she seems to help - and reconcile it with the gospel that she is growing to know and love more?

and we try to treat them with respect, show we care about their lives, and reminding them they are precious (the woman from Salvation Army does that so well in telling the women that they are beautiful). and i pray for them. i pray for the situations they have come from and all the things that made it is possible for the women to be here. i pray that each of them might be able to have a different life from the windows; while still praying that they might receive grace and strength and protection and love already now. and i pray that i might be able to reach out and help in some way.

17 September 2008

praying for the women in the windows

the following is the first of a series of blog entires over the Red Light District and the women who stand behind the windows in that area.

living in the Red Light District means that the women in the windows are part of my life. when i walk home from church on sundays, i continue to be surprised by how many women are working already. when i sit at dinner and look out the window, i see the same woman scantily clothed trying to get the attention of the men passing by. and when i waited outside the apartment next door with supper, i wondered if that same woman noticed me - and wondered what she thought of me/us.

i do not know how exactly to respond to the women as i walk by. i get angry at the tourists who think it acceptable or fun to take pictures of the women - in blatant disregard of signs and indications by the women themselves. and i think: irrelevant of what you think of what she does and what type of person she is, does she not deserve to be treated with more dignity than as an object to mock and take pictures of? as much as i am saddened that the women are selling themselves, i want to respect and honour them as people made in God's image. and so i try to look them in the eye and smile. and to bring them coffee and tea (with the Salvation Army here - although i have temporarily stopped) - and ask if there's anything i can say or do.

and in bringing coffee and tea, i have been allowed to see a different world. although some of the women are indifferent to me or are scared to talk to me, still others have invited me in behind their window. and in doing so, i have learned names and stories. i do not always see the women again nor have i been able to talk again. the women move and work at different times, in different ways and different places. i am left only with names and stories and prayers.

i pray for beautiful Becky, who is making enough money to support her family back home. perhaps her family has an idea of what she does and perhaps they don't, but at least her younger siblings can have a decent life. and, of course, she doesn't like what she does! but she has friends here, which means that she has some control over her life - and being there. i never saw her again, even though her window was around the corner from me. and i do not know what has happened to her - but her story of leaving home to help out family in a situation/country that has little hope for a good future is not so different from many others here.

15 September 2008

Shrinking world

i'm deeply thankful for how much the internet allows me to keep in contact with people in many different places. and i still find it a bit unbelievable that i can visit other countries - or people can easily travel to me! and these things help me feel closer to those i care about (and keep connected to those strong communities) but these connections can also bring some challenges to community.

the following is an article i wrote about how the challenges and joys of community in a shrinking world.

"Shrinking world
by Brenda Heyink

Globalization, understood as the ability to have close contact and communication among different parts of the world, has become a common reality for most of us. Globalization both strengthens and challenges community, and it even affects our understanding of what community is.

Technology, especially the Internet, has made contact and information sharing possible in so many different ways and between many different places. As much as it is a blessing to keep in contact with those we love whom we’re away from, sometimes we can spend so much time and energy staying attached to the community(ies) that we’ve left that we do not participate in communities more related to the place where we currently are.

Nowadays, the world has become so much closer. We are able to hear what is going on in different countries—and even able to visit many places without too much difficulty. This access and knowledge can create a sense of solidarity and a realization of how our actions can and do affect others. But all of this access and information can lull us into a false sense of community. Depending on our news source, language abilities, cultural knowledge, and the access to technology (both our and others’ access), what might seem like a great world community is only a superficial connection at best.

As our ability to connect with more people increases, it seems that community could only increase. One would think that being exposed to so many differences would create more varied communities. But even as we’re exposed to more different people, we’re also exposed to more people like us. And we all have a tendency to gravitate toward those who think and act in ways that we understand and appreciate. Thus, we can find the gift of a niche, a place where we feel affirmed and comfortable, but we can also isolate ourselves from the challenge of interacting with those who are different. Community becomes a place that’s focused on “myself” instead of a place where space is made for others. Community can become stagnated when we stop letting what is around us—the changing events, people and situations—shape the little part of the world that we occupy.

Even figuring out what communities we are part of and to what extent is difficult—there are so many questions and options! How much information do I take in? How close can I be to my 200+ friends? The question comes down to how I can live in good relationship with others in the midst of a culture in which there is such freedom of movement and communication and choices—and how do I even begin to develop community there?

With the shifts in how we connect with others, the shape and form of community must also shift—and it is possible to lose a strong sense of what community is. Yet, becoming involved in the communities that are available to us today is something we as Christians ought to be doing: learning how not to superficial with those with whom we are in contact and showing love to those around us."

Taken from catapult* magazine, Let's Get Together, Vol 7, Nu. 16 (Sept 2008). Check out the rest of the issue for other great articles on community.

12 September 2008

some good thoughts on obedience and authourity

The following are some thoughts on obedience and authourity, which resonate well with life in community. They are taken from Edith Stob's blog:

"Obedience and Authority - Final Observations

The panel presentation at the close of the 2008 Monastic Institute asked four of the speakers to reflect on what they had heard and seen in the various talks, to share those reflections, and to add any final idea or word that needed to be said.

Tim Otto, of the Church of the Sojourners began by observing that people from San Francisco like to think they are countercultural, but the real alternative communities have always been the monastics.

He then noted that "obedience does not mean refusing to face into the necessary conflicts. Pacifism is not passive. We need to be the best fighters, the best arguers. Because we don't have the option of killing anyone, we have to be able to see an argument through to the end." He told of a community member, someone who struggles with an addiction, who complained when Tim did not confront him about his behavior, saying "Why aren't you arguing with me? I feel like you've given up on me."

The relationships in community that are the most valuable are often those that have been hardest fought. At the Church of the Sojourners, a person exploring their community who argues and asks questions is the one who is seriously grappling with what is happening. True community is generated when we care enough to disagree.

Deaconess Louise Williams noted that, no matter which person was speaking, three words came up repeatedly: Love, Trust, and Hope. One speaker termed obedience "the most effective way of loving" and another said that "listening is loving." Trust was talked about as trusting God, trusting the process, and trusting the authorities to guard and be obedient to both God and process. Hope (believing that what you see is not what you get) is the fruit of healthy authority and healthy obedience. The call to obedience is a promise that things can be different. That we can be different.

Sister Christine Vladimiroff noted that we barely had time to deal with the many ways and types of obedience that St. Benedict presents. She called attention, in particular, to the authority of the community. Many speakers talked about the abuse of power by superiors, but no one spoke about the situation in which the community proves recalcitrant, or factions form. What are the remedies? How does leadership deal with it? Similarly, we did not speak of grumbling and individuals who refuse the practice of the community. Groups may collude to reduce the power of the leader. Obedience is not a matter of carrying out an order. It is a way of giving ourselves fervor.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger spoke last. When he first became abbot, he said, he was glad that these brothers "meant business" and "were serious" - and how surprised he was at the tremendous impact that obedience had on people. "I realized I better get serious," he said, adding "I can count the number of times I got my way in those years - it was in having authority that I learned obedience."


Abbot John Eudes concluded by describing two dangers regarding obedience and authority, dangers visible in our monasteries and grounded in our common culture.

* Political Correctness can invade religious life. When it does, it shuts off conversations. We need to avoid the trap where political correctness prevents us from discussing particular issues or listening to some opinions. We need those discussions rather than just avoiding the issues. Lack of clarity in ecumenical dialog can lead to a wishy-washy communion that suppresses real differences; true dialog maintains the differences.
* Subjectivism is the result of upholding only one of two norms taught by John Henry Newman (this one was quoted by a speaker). A morality of conscience is important - that in any conflict of rules and conscience, we must follow conscience. The other norm emphasized by Newman (which we followed at great cost to himself) is that of having a true and properly formed conscience. To do that, one must know the scriptures, know the tradition, study patristics.

As monastics, we need to deal with the human tendency to "settle in" and stop wrestling with tough questions and tough issues.

Questions and comments from a variety of participants elicited some futher comments. Sr. Christine noted that "some monastics had a burst of generosity, then spend their lives taking it back. The monastery is not a place to nest, but to soar out into the sky. If we're not doing that, we're not living our vocation."

Deaconess Louise, commenting on safeguards and structures of authority, said "Misuse of authority can happen. It's not the structure that bring blessing - any structure can be corrupted."

Abbot John Eudes, asked if his training in psychiatry was useful, said that it was, but prayer moreso. "The way any human person is differs from how they seem themselves or from how others seem them. There are unseen depths of potential or distress; people live on many levels." In prayer and with the insight of psychiatry, he began to see the mystery of people who are displace - "and we are all displaced persons. We all need other people. We have to deal with our desire to be loved by other people all the time. Once you can deal with that, you can begin to bear fruit."

"Everyone has to deal with two issues.Love. Anger. If you do it well," he said, "you will begin to grow in love and bear the fruit of Our Lord Jesus."

Posted by Edith OSB on Thursday, July 03, 2008"

10 September 2008

community branching out from Amsterdam

one of the great things about community is being able to share it with others. and i feel like i've been able to do that quite a lot lately - sometimes just being a friendly face willing to help out to others visiting or moving to Amsterdam and sometimes sharing the crazy family i've found in Oudezijds 100. and in this way, my knowledge found in living here, my having found a home here, and the delight i've found in being part of a community are things i've been able to share - with friends from back home, relatives, and people from my home church.

an indirect part of that sharing has also been my delightful connection to the Kirkendall community in Hamilton, which was started with help from my friends, Dave and Crystle. Dave and Crystle mention in the article that their visit to an intentional community in Amsterdam (that's us!) really solidified their desire to begin the community. And as the community has taken shape, i've been allowed to hear and see what's been going on in since they've started - sharing my experience here, being excited about what they're doing there, and getting to know everybody better.

The Hamilton Spectator just published this past weekend an article on the Kirkendell group. Although I like many things about the article and the words therein, some of Emma's words are the ones I want to highlight: "we are trying to share our hope and just the joy of living together, in the downtown especially." The intention of the community here is similar: "Rejoicing in hope in the innercity of Amsterdam." These words fit with our calling as Christians - living out what we believe in the place where God has put (called) us.

03 September 2008

being socially conscious

we didn't have a lot of money while i was growing up. out of necessity, we learned to be cheap and be content with less. those skills have proven very helpful over the years in both minimizing my debt from school, in giving me the freedom to go many different places and serve God in so many different ways, and helped me be generally content whatever the circumstances.

but having learned the blessings of being cheap - and somewhat being forced into it by necessity - it's hard to un-learn the mindset that cheap is always good. certainly using limited resources in a responsible way is good - it's being responsible with what God has given me. and less is generally good (except when it comes to being hospitable) but cheap is not necessarily good. being cheap can sometimes be only looking our for what is good for me - and not for other people. sometimes being cheap means not giving to others as much as i can - or it means not participating in things that would bring joy to lots of people. and sometimes my paying less for something means that somebody else is not being paid as much as they should be.

i struggle with how to be responsible with the resources i do have and acting (e.g. buying & giving) in a way that shows care and love for the others around me. as my resources change, the questions change. now that i've paid off all of the necessary bills and have money left over, what then? to whom and how do i give? how much do i use to pay off my old student loan (and how quickly do i do that)? when do i start putting money aside/away for when i need to buy a new laptop? for retirement savings? in case something huge happens where i need money? how much do i spend on myself? how much do i spend on paying more for certain products - because of better quality and also products where money does really go in a good way to those who made it? (and how much time do i spend researching whether those who made it are actually getting the money and not most of it going to the marketers)?

i know i'm not the only one to struggle with this - and am thankful for that [see Crystle's entry about purchasing choices which i think is great - and perhaps answer some of my how to be responsible well questions :)]. but all these questions make me sometimes wish i was even poor-er and i didn't have those choices. or wish i could simply believe that my getting the best deal for myself is always good. but serving God with my whole life - and all my money (not just a small amount of it) is not quite that simple, eh?

01 September 2008

good for a smile [or another reason to be proud of the Netherlands :)]

The following newsbrief made me smile so I thought I'd share it. It is from GOOD magazine:

"Authorities at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam have etched the image of a black housefly into each urinal. It seems that men usually do not pay much attention to where they aim, which can create a bit of a mess. But if you give them a target, they can’t help but try to hit it. Similar designs have been implemented in urinals around the world, including mini soccer goals, bulls-eyes, and urine video games (seriously). Do they work? Since the bugs were etched into the airport urinals, spillage has decreased by 80 percent." [found via the blog, Gruntled Centre]

For those interested, toilet stickers can be found in Europe. I laughed so hard when I first heard about them - and have even given one (as a joke) to each of my brothers-in-law [perhaps the gift was really to my sisters, though :) although it was more when they have too many guys visiting].