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Michael van der Galien

Michael van der Galien is Editor-in-Chief of Dutch news and opinion website De Dagelijkse Standaard, a freelance journalist and columnist, and a regular contributor to several American websites among which PJ Media He can be contacted at mpfvandergalien@gmail.com.
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These Beautiful Photos Will Reignite Your Love For Our Gorgeous Planet

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

With all the bad news that’s filling up most websites all day long, it’s of vital importance for us to focus on good and beautiful things every now and then. And what’s more beautiful than the planet we live on?

Here are some photos to remind us that we are truly blessed. Life often is ugly, but our planet is absolutely wonderful.

Glacier National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Montana. Via Mohammed Magdy, photo Jordan Ek:

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 20.18.26

Another great photo, this one published by Wonderful Nature And Wild Life on Google+:

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This turtle is also enjoying the view. I can’t blame him. Just look at that. You could put me there with my Macbook and I’ll happily await the end of my days there. Photo via Ervin Metellari on Google+ (the best social network for beautiful, high quality photos, yes even better than Instagram):

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Purple, purple everywhere. It’s an LSD-like experience, but gorgeous nonetheless (via G+):

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And then God created the most beautiful of his creations: nature. Again, via Google+.

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I hope these wonderful photos improved your mood a bit. I know they sure did mine.

More photos of our amazing planet at Google+’s “Earth” Community.

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Should Pregnant Women Who Smoke Be Fined for Endangering Their Children?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Know someone who’s smoking while pregnant? They need to see this video made by Dr. Nadja Reissland, of Durham University. In it she shows that unborn babies of mothers who smoke may have delayed development of their central nervous systems.

Many people believe that abortion should be illegal — at least after a certain period — because it means killing an innocent life. Well, how about physically abusing one? Shouldn’t that be illegal, too? After all, you aren’t allowed to beat your born child until she has brain damage either. How’s this any different?

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These Amazing Photos Prove Antarctica Is The Most Beautiful Place On Earth

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Day 5 - Penguin Sex - Shack Shack

Professional HDR (High Definition Resolution) photographer Trey Ratcliff just posted this amazing photo, accompanied by the following text, on Google Plus:

This is the first in a series of photos I’ll post from the hut of the famous polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. I can’t believe we actually got to go inside and explore it… we flew in a chopper out to this remote location… how people lived in here, in the middle of Antarctica for so long is truly a wonder!

Here’s another photo, this time of the Howard Glacier:

Day 10 - Glacier

And that’s not all. Check out this amazing photo of a mighty ice mountain and another glacier:

Day 13 - Sunny Valley - The Mighty Peaks

Day 13 - Sunny Valley - Megalith-Recovered

These are the trails made by penguins when they slide on their bellies and use their flippers to turn right or left. How awesome is that?

Day 13 - Sunny Valley - Penguin Slide

And lastly, Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on Antarctica, which only has two active volcanos. Erebus is always covered in snow:

Day 17 - Randy - Mt Ara

You’ve got to follow Trey on Google+. He’s a famous photographer many – myself included – consider one of the best HDR photographers in the world.

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This Traditional Turkish Coffee Beats The Heck Out Of Some Weak Italian Cappuccino Everytime

Saturday, March 21st, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

No Dave, Italian coffee definitely isn’t the best coffee in the world. That cappuccino you show looks like the same one you can get anywhere in Europe. There’s nothing even remotely special about it.

Want to see what real coffee is supposed to look like? Well, just take a look at this wonderful Turkish coffee I drank earlier today. Now that’s the kind of boost you need in the morning.

No Dave, THIS is what real coffee looks like

A photo posted by Michael van der Galien (@michaelvandergalien) on

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Editor’s Note: Tweet or Instagram pics of your morning beverages to @DaveSwindle on Twitter or @DaveSwindlePJM on Instagram to be featured as we continue the search for the ultimate caffeinated wake-up.

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Presbyterians Approve Gay Marriage: Forward-Looking or Surrender to a Culture Gone Wild?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

shutterstock_1916794

The Presbyterian Church has once again confirmed its progressive reputation:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved redefining marriage in the church constitution Tuesday to include a “commitment between two people,” becoming the largest Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.

Is this a sign that Presbyterians are forward-looking and profoundly modern, or are they selling out? Opinion polls show that 55 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage. No church can survive when it ignores the wishes and ideas of the culture at large. Gay marriage is going to be legalized nationwide eventually, as the culture is moving in that direction. Might as well get on board now rather than wait and be accused of being out of touch.

On the other hand, many devoted Christians rightfully argue that the Bible clearly states that a marriage is an arrangement between a man and a woman. They’ll claim they’ve got Genesis to back them up if they believe in a literal interpretation of Christianity’s holy book:

Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

What do you think? Are the Presbyterians right and should other churches follow suit, or are they selling out their religion in a desperate attempt to stay relevant in today’s society?

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image illustration via shutterstock / 

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You’ll Never Guess What Elton John Did Immediately After Boycotting Dolce & Gabbana for Blasting Gay Parents

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Say anything negative about gay parents and same-sex marriage and you’re done for! Begone! Your business will collapse!

Italian fashion designer Stefano Gabbana and Elton John are in a war of words on social media, calling for boycotts of each other’s work. The argument stems from comments about in-vitro fertilization in Panorama magazine, in which Gabbana and longtime collaborator Domenico Dolce spoke about “synthetic” children born from “rented” wombs.

Boycotting Dolce & Gabbana, eh? Elton doesn’t just talk the talk, he also walks the walk! You’re a fanatic, or you aren’t, right? I wonder how long he’ll be able to keep this up, knowing how much he loves the Italian designers.

What’s that?

Elton John has found himself in hot water after he was photographed carrying a Dolce & Gabbana bag just days after initiating a boycott of the fashion line.

The iconic musician was seen carrying what appeared to be a D&G shopping bag while walking into a Los Angeles recording studio Monday morning.

Well, that sure didn’t last long. Guess beautiful clothes trump principles every time, right?

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Justin Bieber Roast Is Epic: Read the Funniest Jokes at the Biebs’ Expense

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Oh my. Although we have to wait for “Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber” to be aired later this month, some of the jokes made at his expense have already been published. And that’s great news… if you’re like me, that is: a real Bieber-despiser. Here’s a short selection:

Kevin Hart:

“Tonight we are gonna do what parents and the legal system should have done a long time – give the boy an ass-whuppin’ he deserves.” He added: “Orlando Bloom took a swing at you; you have a perfume called Girlfriend; you threw eggs at a house — not gangsta.”

Shaquille O’Neal:

“Justin as a father of six you have to straighten up, son. Last year, you were ranked the fifth-most-hated person of all time. Kim Jong Un didn’t rank that low. And he uses your music to torture people.”

Will Ferrell (you’re the best!), also weighed in:

“He sings to 9-year-olds, and his hair is like a gay figure skater.”

Even Grand Old Lady Martha Stewart had a go at boychild:

“The only place people will be following you in jail is into the shower.”

Ouch. That’s harsh. Which is, it goes without saying, great! The show airs March 30th. I’m thinking it’ll be the first time I’m actually going to watch a show featuring Bieber. Heck, I can’t wait!

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Watch the Moving Rescue and Amazing Transformation of Watson, the Three-legged Dog

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

They found Watson all alone, hungry and handicapped; he had lost one of his legs. So they took him to Hope For Paws’ headquarters, treated him with care and… well, you’ve got to watch the video to find out how the story ends. Let me just say this: you’d better get out your handkerchiefs.

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Awesome: This Video of 3 Beautiful Ladies Lip Synching ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Will Make Your Day

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

If you love “Bohemian Rhapsody” as much as I do – it’s one of my all-time favorites – be sure to watch this version of the epic Queen song. Trust me, you’ll start your day with a bang.

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VIDEO: How to Shoplift an Entire Store in 3 Easy Steps

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Step number one: secretly put products in other customers’ pockets and bags.

Step two: put on the largest coat you own, grab everything in sight, and hide it below your coat.

Step three: go to the cash register and wait for the alarms to go berserk. Calmly walk out.

Congrats, you’re now a master thief.

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Hilarious Video: ‘Stop! Don’t Tickle Me! I’m Not Ticklish!’

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

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6 Reasons the Wife and I Should’ve Skipped 50 Shades of Grey

Friday, March 6th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

So I went to 50 Shades of Grey yesterday. The Missus and I had noticed that it had caused quite a stir, and we wondered what all the fuss was about.

Well, that was a mistake of epic proportions. Why, you ask? How about this:

1. It’s advertised as a movie about hot and steamy sex, while the sex ends up being anything but…

The director apparently tried to soften the movie a bit so it wouldn’t, you know, be banned by the authorities. Great idea. The only problem? All the supposedly hot and steamy sex scenes start and end with foreplay.

2. Clichés, clichés, clichés

Supposedly hot, mean rich man seduces innocent, naive poor girl. Angelic sweet girl has a promiscuous (and hot) roommate. Really? That’s the best storyline you could come up with?

3. Female lead character Anastasia is a virgin but acts like a sex addict

She says that she kept all men at bay during her life, but has no problem losing her virginity to some guy she just met. What’s more, the scene in which she becomes a woman, so to speak, is completely ridiculous: there is no discomfort, no pain, no nothing. She pushes up her legs and let’s him have a go at it. Bye, bye, sweet innocence.

4. The lines come straight out of a bad German porn movie

You know, the ones from the ’80s? “Oh ja, das ist geil” is the equivalent of “I don’t make love, I f***.” Who actually says that? Another example: “Some people say I don’t have a heart.” “Why do they say that?” “They know me.” Ugh. Please, give me a gun so I can shoot myself.

5. The movie ends in horrible physical abuse

Just when you think it may become somewhat romantic, Christian suddenly abuses Anastasia in a scene that left my wife traumatized. Hey, Mr. Director, we’re paying for a good movie, not for PTSD!

6. Male lead character Christian isn’t a womanizer, but a psychopath

If you’re a woman who’s attracted to Christian, please go visit a shrink. The guy is a rapist in disguise, a violent psychopath to the core. If that turns you on, you’ve got serious psychological issues.

In short, whatever else you do, don’t take your wife to watch this movie. Unless, of course, you and the Missus enjoy a serious psychological trauma every now and then. In that case, you’re good to go.

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Related at PJ Lifestyle:

Why American Sniper Is a Much Better Love Story Than Fifty Shades of Grey

10 Movies Much Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

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Dear Americans: Whatever You Do, Don’t Ban College Football

Saturday, May 26th, 2012 - by Michael van der Galien

Banning college football is un-American.

Being European, I can’t help but wonder over recent debates in the United States about the NFL and college football. Increasingly more analysts believe that these sports should be banned, or at least ‘reformed’. The latter of course meaning that they’ll lose what makes them unique and appealing to sports fans everywhere.

Now, make no mistake about it: I’m just as convinced as the average Joe that football is a very dangerous sport indeed. But why did this fact take analysts by surprise? Why do they make such a big issue out of concussions and other football-related problems? Is it a matter of them wanting to wash their hands in all innocence?

I still remember the first time I watched the NFL: I was shocked – shocked. These weren’t athletes, they were gladiators. Anyone not blind could see that they were out to hurt each other and that the crowd loved them for it.

Once I got into the NFL, I started watching college football too. It was just as great, if not better, simply because it’s less commercial. These youngsters were trying to prove themselves; they wanted to be the best they could possibly be, while hoping for a professional career in the NFL. They were willing to run through brick walls to reach their goals.

Of course, they too were taken off the field regularly. One had a concussion, another a broken leg. Some of the injured players were probably scarred for life. That much was clear. 

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Why Google+ Is Starting to Suck

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 - by Michael van der Galien

Although Google+ continues to grow (it now has 100 million users, according to Larry Page) I’m afraid that while the stats may be on the rise the quality of the platform itself is going downhill.

When I signed up for Google+ in July of last year, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was inhabited by ‘early adopters’: people who are the first to sign up for new websites and to participate on them. Luckily for Google, these early adopters are also the world’s ‘influencers’ and they were positive and hopeful about this new social media baby.

That was then, this is now: like others I’m starting to lose faith in Google’s ability to turn G+ into a network where people come to discuss serious issues. Increasingly, it’s becoming a carbon copy of Facebook. People are reduced to sharing cat gifs and other fancy images (often with so-called ‘inspiring’ oneliners accompanying them).

The reason? I’m afraid that G+ lost most of its appeal when it opened to the public at large. The masses don’t care about quality conversations; they want fluff. To keep up with the trend, even influencers (with, again like me, many thousands of followers) change their posting behavior. We’re now at a point where I wonder why I’m logging in; sure there still are some good and interesting posts published on G+, but I can find their authors also at other social networking sites that are more focused on professionals.

Read: LinkedIn.

It became even worse when Google+ got a complete redesign that actually emphasizes images and photos. That’s great for the visually oriented, I guess, but for those of us who want to learn something from other people, it isn’t useless but frustrating. We suddenly see “trending topics,”"what’s hot” and posts that consist of a gigantic image, with no or little thoughts offered with it.

How that is supposed to inspire interesting conversations is beyond me.

Can Page et al. turn it around? Can G+ once again become the place on the Net for me to talk about technology and social media, and of course politics?

Perhaps. But I’m losing faith.

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The 8 Ways Big Brother Facebook’s New Changes Alienate Its Users

Monday, September 26th, 2011 - by Michael van der Galien

By Michael van der Galien

Facebook is supposed to be one of the most innovative social networking websites on the Net. It is, at the very least, the biggest — by far.

But for how long will Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard project remain number one? It’s a fair question to ask now that the changes Facebook announced Thursday at its f8 conference are being criticized by virtually everybody — except for Zuckerberg himself, that is.

When Google+, the new social network of Google, was launched, many were critical. The criticism disappeared at the very moment people starting using it, however: all its new users fell in love with it immediately. This wasn’t just a “social network,” it was truly a new home on the Internet, especially for those who had grown tired of Facebook’s clutter and arrogance.

Facebook knew it had to strike back. First came video chat, which is a partnership with Skype. Then, this week, other innovations were rolled out: the biggest changes were a new news stream and the possibility to subscribe to users’ public posts. Then, Thursday, other changes were introduced that, Zuckerberg announced, would truly revolutionize your Internet experience.

But are these changes in the best interest of Facebook’s 800 million users? No. Not even almost.

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