Tuesday, January 29, 2013
History occurred at seven o'clock last night. In Amsterdam, the Dutch monarch delivered a somber address on National TV. All across the Netherlands, citizens listened closely to their Queen as she made her brief but sudden announcement. Effective April 30th, (the Queen's Day holiday) she is abdicating. Loved by many...hated by some...but respected by all...Queen Beatrix is a monarch no more. Her tumultuous twenty-three year reign is officially over. So...join us at the DUNER BLOG as we take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of a truly great world leader.
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of Orange was born 75 years ago in Utrecht. Her baptism a year later in The Hague was massive. A horde of European dukes and duchesses cheered, as the Great Cathedral erupted in adoration. Her godparent, King Leopold III of Belgium, stood next to her mother, Princess Juliana and her grandmother, the glorious Queen Wilhelmina. Unfortunately, the fun would be short lived. A year later, Princess Beatrix and the entire House of Orange were forced to flee in exile to London when Nazi Panzer forces overran the Low Countries. Although the Dutch Monarchy was reinstated after war, things were different. When Queen Wilhelmina died in 1948 and Queen Juliana took over the throne, the pomp and circumstance of the past was missing from the ceremonies.
In 2009, Queen Beatrix again showed her toughness when she survived a horrific assassination attempt. KARST TATES, a derranged anti-Monarchist, crashed his cheap Suzuki compact car into the Queen's motorcade. Eight innocent people were killed but Beatrix survived. Afterwards, she shocked the world with a compassionate speech, again emphasizing 'peace and harmony' over 'anger and distrust.' Rather than demonize her killer, the assassin is currently serving a life sentence without parole and is receiving much needed psychiatric treatment.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
This may be hard to believe...but...every once in awhile...the DUNER BLOG makes a mistake. For example, we're not too proud of our post: LANCE ARMSTRONG IS A HERO (Aug. 29). We also blew it with MAYAN DOOMSDAY WILL HAPPEN (May 24). Anyhow, events occurred in West Africa last week that you might have missed. They unfortunately discredit another post from last year: AZAWAD: THE NEWEST AFRICAN NATION? (March 28). It seems troops from France invaded Mali and liberated the Northern Provinces, thus ending the reign of our new, renegade nation...and thus proving the DUNER BLOG wrong. D'oh!
Oops! Way Too Much Information to digest in that opening paragraph. Let's start with your most obvious question: France successfully invaded another nation? No way! Alright...let's put this silly American joke to rest. Despite being invaded by Germany twice last century, overall the French have a pretty high success rate on the battlefields of the world. Napoleon won 80% of his battles. Only Britain colonized more territory. Therefore, it came as no surprise when France came to the aid the Malian Army. The Air Force conducted a swift and effective operation, liberating a million square kilometers of territory.
Next up: What's in the future for Azawad? This is the most difficult question to answer. While the area has been cleared of the Jihadists (they're Niger's problem now!), the Malian Army has been hesitant to send in ground forces to reclaim the territory. They say the region is littered with landmines, armed with tiny guerrilla groups and houses hostile civilians. They're right! France's military operations were largely from the air...they didn't want any troops to be killed. The bottom line is no one wants to mess with a bunch of armed yahoo renegade terrorists living in the Sahara Desert. Currently, the plan is to wait for the African Union to assemble a force to reunite the nation.
|Timbuktu in better times.|
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
As our faithful readers know, we here at the DUNER BLOG have a special penchant for royalty. And...apparently...so do you! See, our three blogs on last year's Royal Wedding in London received more pageviews than others. To continue this trend and to honor every girl's dream of being swept off their feet by a handsome prince...here are our TOP SEVEN AVAILABLE ROYAL HUNKS:
#7 Prince Amedeo of Belgium. This handsome young man is dripping in Royalty. According to Wikipedia, he descends from the "Austrian, Belgian, Italian, French, Swedish, Danish, British, Portuguese, Spanish and German royal and imperial families." To accomplish such a feat, all eight of his great-grandparents were in Royal European houses. While debonair, cultured and sexy, he is seventh on our list because he is seventh in line to the Belgian throne...meaning you're not likely to become a queen if you marry him!
|Prince Andrea Casiraghi|
|Crown Prince of Dubai|
NOTE: Prince Harry of Wales did not make our List of Royal Bachelors...Way too much baggage!!
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR from your friends at the DUNER BLOG! We're starting off 2013 with a great news item from Europe that you might have missed. So let's get started! One trend that will certainly continue in the New Year is anger towards the ultra-rich. Often called the One Percent, the folks at the top of the financial pyramid are currently under a vicious attack. Activists worldwide are demanding higher income taxes on their wealthiest citizens. In socialist France, these taxes have become a reality. On January First, the Super-Tax (now there's a scary term!) went into effect nationwide. The tax calls for a 75% flat rate on every person's income that exceeds 1 million Euros.
Naturally, the Super-Tax has enraged one of France's most famous (and richest) citizens, actor GERARD DEPARDIEU. First of all, we here at the DUNER BLOG do believe movie stars are horribly overpaid. For example, Ben Affleck gets $10 million a movie. That's not right. Sure, Depardieu is a gifted actor...but...does his body of work really justify his wealth at $200 million dollars? While these are good questions indeed, we don't think The French Government should decide such matters. We also don't think any government should force a citizen to give more than half of his/her earnings to federal tax collectors. To escape this injustice, Gerard Depardieu announced he was moving to Belgium where taxes are lower, around 55%. He finally decided to leave Western Europe altogether and move to Russia, where taxes are very low...thus angering the entire nation of France.
You're asking yourself: Why does Putin care about a washed-up French actor? Well, Vladimir is horribly concerned about his image as a cool dude. He hunts wild elk, has a black belt in judo and is often photographed without his shirt on. When Putin heard about Depardieu's plight, he saw a great opportunity to show his cultural virality as well. He dispatched aides to Paris and quickly arranged for the whole charade to unfold. It culminated with the staged press conference on Sunday. With the Caucaus Mountains in the background, the actor and the president exchanged handshakes and smiles. As expected, it was the opening story on all state-run TV news channels across Russia.
Let's just hope Gerard spends the New Year making movies and staying out of the headlines!