Monday, April 03, 2006

De Ronde van Vlaanderen and Tornado Tom

Every year the Ronde van Vlaanderen brings all the men of Belgium either on the roads as live spectators or by the TV to watch. The Ronde and Liege-Bastogne Liege are the most important appointments for the most loved sport in Belgium: bicycle.

The Ronde took place yesterday from Brugge under the rain. The arrival was in Meerbeke, under the sun. Very appropriately the winner this year wore a rainbow shirt. He is the world champion. Tom Boonen, the winner this year, come with a bucket full of victories from last year: Paris-Roubaix, Ronde van Vlaanderen, two stages of the Tour of Belgium and the world championship in Madrid.

He received the trophy from the King’s hands; he is today a Belgian Hero.

For very nice photos see Graham Watson site.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rome Treaty - 50th anniversary in 2007

I start to notice in the newspapers and the net resolutions on how to celebrate this major event next year.

To get my attention in the beginning was:

1. a curious little article in Le Soir stating that the office of the minister-presindent of the region Brussels-Capital Charles Picqué will organise next year an European Carnival in Brusells to celebrate the Treaty and create a sense of pride in Bruxellois to be in the capital of Europe.

2. this week, during their spring plenary the COMECE Bishops decided to hold a congress in Rome from 23-24 March 2007. This congress will mark and reflect upon the European Union and its values fifty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957 COMECE is the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.

I start to see a pattern of decisions to spend lots of money for fun carnivals and vacations in Rome. I am curious to see what comes next. We are going to be hit in the 12 months from all side by this celebration. 50 years might not look like a lot but I feel that it is a major milestone. And for my baby-boom generation it means the work of a lifetime. It is not bad given the presmises.

Better look at Wikipedia to brush up on the history of the EU to put this celebration into context. What started with 6 than 9 than 12 it is now 25 countries this year and 27 next year with Rumania and Bulgaria.

Friday, March 31, 2006

EU - Eurocrate exams

This week is a big week for 41.000 candidates across Europe to become a eurocrate, Wednesday and Friday young and not so young aspirants will take exams in 43 cities in the 25 European countries plus Bulgaria and Rumania who will join next year.

From this pool of hopefuls only 1060 will be chosen to actually enter a five years waiting list for the next job opening in one of the European Union offices.

“Employment conditions include high salaries, security, health benefits, allowances and low taxation.” Writes Helena Spongenberg in

I am thinking about all those thousands of students protesting in France about temporary contracts and no security. What will happen to the 40.000 European young hopefuls that will not get in the five years waiting list.

This is crazy. There must be something in between this all or nothing situation. And above all there must be something to motivate the young ones to break this vicious circle. Today I have learned how they call themselves in Germany: Generation Praktikum.

Tintin - Trésor de Rakam le Rouge

In 19 February 1943, the Belgian newspaper "Le Soir volé" published the first strip of this story. Hergé later on would modify most of the drawings and a lot of the text for the first publication of the comic book that appeared in 1944. So all the Tintin fans around the world have never really seen the original Le Soir version but only the Casterman edition.

In the past few months Le Soir has published every day a strip from their archives and an editor every day points to us all the changes, even the smallest, that were made afterward with a comment on the reasons and results this changes made to the story.

I find this comparison fascinating and it gives me, a long time Tintinophile, a good understanding of the underlining details of the story. I collect every day the strip from Le Soir. Later on I will make an album with these trips of newspaper. I do not think this exercise will published anyway.