Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Various observations about the Netherlands

I was so stretched for reading material in the Denver airport on Sunday that I actually paid money for a copy of GQ magazine.  In it, I read this giant article about the pot stores in Amsterdam, by some guy who worked there for a week or two and reported his findings.  (I am researching this not because I smoke pot – I don’t – but I’m thinking of starting a dog medical marijuana clinic for dogs that have arthritis or glaucoma, since I think if I did this in California, I could probably charge like four times as much to rich people with little neurotic rat-dogs.  I don’t know what to call it, but something with the term “dogstafarian.”)

I spent a week in Amsterdam in 2005.  Random observations:

  • It is acceptable to wear blackface during the winter season, but little kids might ask you for presents.
  • The people speak English, but also converse in some strange moon-man language called “Dutch.”  If you are white and of Germanic features, someone might come up to you and start talking in this weird language.  If you start screaming “I VOTED FOR GEORGE BUSH” they will stop.
  • A Turkish Airways 737 overshot the runway at Schiphol airport in 2004 because the pilot, copilot, and first officer were in a dispute over whether or not the Black Sabbath song “N.I.B.” implies that Ozzy Osbourne or another member of Black Sabbath was an employee of Procter and Gamble, because of the line “The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal”
  • You can buy hash in Amsterdam, but if you go into a pharmacy and ask for any cold medicine stronger than a Hall’s cough drop, the clerk will look at you like a crazed drug addict.
  • Anton–Babinski syndrome is a rare symptom of brain damage to the occipital lobe in which a person has complete visual blindness but insist they can still see.
  • Anne Frank’s attic was wired with cat-5 cable 60 years before the TIA/EIA-568-B standards were adopted.  Her father, however, used copper clad cable runs instead of 100% copper, which explains why in her diaries she mentions so much trouble getting her power over ethernet Cisco phones to work consistently.
  • You can hire the services of a prostitute in a McDonald’s, but they don’t have the shamrock shakes there.
  • I looked at all of Van Gogh’s paintings at his museum, and sketched out an entire idea for a Playstation game similar to Grand Theft Auto based on his artwork, but I lost my notes when I tried to use one of those public urinals.

I also went into an Apple Store while I was there, but this was before they had the iPad or the iPhone, so it was not that interesting.