Some of you will have heard some of this before
so please bear with me.
A few weeks ago, Lynn and I spent an afternoon in
Haarlem, a city just a few miles west of Amsterdam on the coast. As
we were walking back to the train station, we saw a clock over a bus
stop. We had seen the same clock on the way in but the first time, all we saw were the hands on the clock. What else matters about
a clock, right? The
second time, though, Lynn looked at the clock again and pointed it
out to me. There was a rendering of a face in profile. The face was
I took a picture of the clock and when I got home
and looked at it more closely, I saw that the artist's signature was
also on the face of the clock so I wrote him asking who the model
was or if there even was a model. It turns out that the sketch is
actually of Jaap Pop, former mayor of Haarlem. The artist, Eric J.
Coolen, wrote me back with a link to a website for
Apparently the clock was made in conjunction with the group on this
website. The group's purpose is to poke fun at the Dutch penchant
for speaking English and complains, in a
light-hearted way, that they shouldn't do it.
Two things about that. 1) Eric Coolen told me that since he joined
the group he's writing more English than ever and 2) the website has
a place to get an English translation which, upon clicking on it,
shows a screen that says, in Dutch, something to the effect of,
"What?? Are you kidding? We don't do that here!" These guys are a
yuck a minute.
Next thing I know is that I get a phone call from
a man named Hein Flach. He wanted to know if he could use the letter
that I sent to Eric Coolen for an article which I thought was to
appear in the group's newsletter. Well, it did, but it was also on
their website and also in the Haarlem daily newspaper. So now I'm
almost famous yet somehow when I walk down the street people still
tend to ignore me. Imagine that.
But it doesn't end there. Eric Coolen wrote again
and said that they do a weekly "radioprogram (sic) [which] contains
live music and interviews with local politicians, writers, sportsmen
and businessmen." They wanted to interview me and he said the
interview would be between five and eight minutes. They did and
here's the interview. The first few seconds are in Dutch but they moved to
English because otherwise it wouldn't have been much of an interview. When
it was over, Eric presented me with a clock with what was actually
my own image on it. I thought that was great and it's now hanging in
My son Aaron laughs hysterically at all this. "You got an interview
on the radio because you look like a clock?" When I assured him that
that was the sole reason, he said, "Well, I think you have more hair
than the clock and I think that's the first time in human history
anyone has ever said that phrase."
Here's the newspaper article with a picture of the clock and me
along with my original letter and some more pictures below.
Here's the translation
of the article. In the interview, you may have heard reference to a
video I took of all the girls. Here's the
|This was during the interview with Joost
Mulder on the right.
|after the interview. That's Eric J. Coolen
on the right, the artist who started this whole thing
|the clock I was given as a gift
|the caricature in the center of the clock
|Jaap Pop, for real and in his own clock