Oh, the places you’ll go!

This is the absolute last book by Seuss and man, did it become my constant comfort during tough times.

Like a lot of awesome things in this universe, the book is advertised for kids but is carrying a lot of deep, meaningful messages for adults. Apparently, this book is often gifted to college graduates before they head off to ”the real world”.

Compared to his previous works, the illustrations are a little bit rusty but it is clearly compensated for by its content and meaning.

The main message of the book: Life can be extremely tough at times. Just keep on the road and face your challenges head on.

The hero of the story is a little man who heads off for a life long journey and receives the writer’s best wishes. During his travels full of exhilirating, colourful landscapes he finds himself in a variety of situations – some wonderful, some depressing, some frightening.

Just to show off the use of the metaphors in the book, in the middle of the story, the hero gets stuck in ”the Waiting Place” where ”everyone is just waiting”.

This is a piece of my heart and I warmly recommend it to anyone.


Tamino – EP

Recently I was sauntering around town with my girlfriend. Her cousin called and asked if we wanted to join them in the park for a free concert. ”A fellow countryman of yours is about to perform. Tamino or something”, he said. For those who do not know me at all, I am a Belgian living in Amsterdam.
Upon his invitation, we tried to hurry so we could get there in time but sadly the performance was already over. We ended up having a lovely time, nonetheless.
When I got home, I was curious and searched him up on my Spotify. And am I happy I did! What a freaking revelation.
For now, he only released one EP but a spectacular one, at that.
I looked up some background info on him, because after all, he’s a fellow countryman and awesome musician. He’s only 20, born and raised in Antwerp (same town as me), with Egyptian roots, an aspect you can definitely withdraw from the music at times. I’m talking about the occasional Middle-Eastern vibe.
I was clearly on another planet because in one year, Tamino managed to win ”De Nieuwe Lichting”, a talent contest for up and coming musicians on Belgian’s alternative radio station Studio Brussel, sell out a large concert venue twice and play at Rock Werchter, Belgium’s biggest rock festival.
What is so special about his music is that he has a unique sound. A very shy, deep, melancholic tone of voice that can be brazen when necessary. The musical arrangement is very minimalistic. The sonic landscape is quite barren but you rarely feel like you need more than what he provides. A dear friend made a comparison with Jeff Buckley. I think there is something there. What they both convey is a kind of inherent beautiful sadness that they meticulously translate to musical ingenuity.
Sounds like an intense dream..
Listen to his EP – it’s on Spotify. Give him 20 minutes of your time.



On religion/spirituality

On the ”about me” sections of my Twitter and Instagram pages, I describe myself as follows: Cultural Jew, semi-practicing Buddhist, hopeless humanist, reluctant agnostic, unflinching liberal, inept occasional guitar player, bookworm, yearning traveler

I always like to refer to that description because it forced me to summarize myself with a limited set of characters.

I don’t adhere to any kind of organized belief system. I do identify myself as a cultural Jew. What does this mean? I grew up in a family of non-practicing Jews and more than anything else, and because Jews and Judaism can be classified as ”a people” and ”an extremely old tradition and set of values” next to merely a monotheistic religion, I have grown very attached to this part of my upbringing. I am agnostic, which means I do not actively believe that anything is known or can be known of the existence of God. I am a strong believer, however, in the fact that in Judaism – believing in God is optional. How I interpret it (because that’s how it works – whether you like it or not), is that this traditional backbone provides a spiritual framework for me. Is it better than any other? No! If I had grown up Muslim, I’d have probably chosen to continue being a cultural Muslim. The thing with Judaism is that it’s MINE. Consider it more like a strong cultural identity than anything else. It doesn’t define all of me but it’s an important part of my heritage.

I am completely, 100% aware of the fact that, purely based on logic, any religious scholar would lose in a debate with a devout atheist. But if I’m absolutely certain of one thing, it’s of the fact that we’re not always looking or even should be looking for logic. If you spend your whole life trying to understand your fellow human being by purely and solely applying logic to each moral or practical dilemma, you’ll soon be left clueless and very frustrated. There’s a big part of ourselves and others we can’t even begin to understand. I don’t claim any kind of God is the answer because that is very dangerous and I do believe we need to extend our logic and knowledge for as much as possible. What I do mean is that I’m trying to be forgiving and even loving of this big part of us that is irrational and abstract.

I won’t ever condone someone forcing their religion or any kind of belief on me.