Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books I've read in 2009 - December

Nattefokk by Johan Theorin – AUDIO
Och fjättra Lilith i kedjor by Åsa Schwarz
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – AUDIO
Kennedys hjerne by Henning Mankell – AUDIO
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Singing Line by Alice Thomson
Box 21 by Roslund & Hellström
Minnet av en mördare by Willy Josefsson
'She Must Have Known' by Brian Masters
House of the Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata
Dollar by Lee Childs – AUDIO
Kuren by Mo Hayder – AUDIO
Pappersväggar by John Aijvide Lindqvist
Isbjörnarna/Cheek to Cheek/Människor i solen by Jonas Gardell
no tears for queers by Johan Hilton
Øye for øye by Stein Morten Lier - AUDIO
The Va Dinci Cod by ARRR Roberts

12 printed books, 3,589 pages.
6 audiobooks, 73h 32m.

Favorite fiction:
Pappersväggar. I love this author and in this short story collection there are some amazing stories. Everyone should read all his books :-) and this one is no exception.

Favorite nonfiction:
no tears for queers - a wonderful read that really opened my eyes. I'll be doing a video on this book I think, it really made me think a lot of new thoughts.

Favorite audio:
Probably ... Nattefokk. My second book by this author, and I loved this one too. It's available in English under the title The Darkest Room. I recommend it strongly.

Books with no links will be reviewed ... at some point ... :-)

And lest I forget: Happy new year to all my blog readers!! :-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

IRELAND 1996: Eimear Quinn - The Voice

This one's for you, Paz. ;-)

Others may argue, but IMO this is the best Irish ESC entry ever. And it's one of my personal favorite entries too. I just love this song. :-) There's just nothing wrong with it. :-) Quinn's voice is so beautiful and so expressive, the melody is gorgeous and beautifully played, and the lyrics are original and evocative. It's just such a beautiful song. Listen to this, people, and then you won't need to ask why Europe hated Dustin the Turkey ... he was offensive because we know from experience that Ireland can do so much better.

This song won in Norway and partly thanks to Norway ... it was our entry Nocturne from the previous year that paved the way for this song. (I'll be posting that one next year. :-) I remember watching this on TV and loving the song from the first moment I heard it ... and I was certain, from the moment Quinn began to sing, that Ireland would be winning yet again. :-) To the chagrin of RTÉ, probably, but a very well-deserved victory. :-)

This is Eimear Quinn performing The Voice by Brendan J Graham. He competed for Ireland in Oslo Spektrum on May 18th, 1996 and won by an at the time very convincing 48 points.



Lyrics here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh, you don't say ...

From Aftenposten on Sunday, December 27th. My translation.

- The Pope is vulnerable
The Vatican admits that pope Benedict XVI is vulnerable to attacks. It is impossible to protect the pope against assaults of the type that took place during the mass on Christmas Eve, says a spokesman.

Huh. Isn't that odd. I can think of at least one ... entity ... that ought to be able to protect Herr Ratzinger from pretty much everything.

Huh.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Keanu Christmas

I bet you are all soo thrilled to get the chance to watch this one ... ;-)



Don't complain; at least you don't have to listen to the man sing himself. >:-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quote of the Week

Most people can't bear to sit in church for an hour on Sundays. How are they supposed to live somewhere very similar to it for eternity?
Mark Twain

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some thoughts on trees

Christmas trees, to be exact. I'm not a fan. I can't remember what I used to think of them as a child. It's probably safe to assume that I didn't think much about the issue at all. But in recent years I've noticed myself developing something of an aversion to the things.

I don't have a Christmas tree at home. In fact, to be honest, I don't have any Christmas decorations at all. I own some, but I don't use them. I don't know why I've even bought them - total waste of money so far. If you saw my apartment you'd have no idea it even was Christmas right now. Partly that's for practical reasons ... I'm lazy and I'm never at home then anyway, so what's the point? In some ways it just makes it more special to arrive at my grandmother's house in the past, and at my parents' house now - I go from no decorations to fully decorated, so then I can really tell that Christmas has arrived. :-) But partly, or perhaps I might as well say mainly, it's because I'm not really into this holiday at all.

I do like some things about it. Time off is always nice ;-) and especially time off during which one has a total license to just relax and enjoy oneself. I like giving presents and getting presents ... although sometimes the whole present thing feels like it's almost more stress than it's worth. (Please note, friends & family reading this: I said 'almost'. ;-) I like - theoretically - the idea that at Christmas we should all be nice to each other. But.

I don't like what Christmas has become in the Western world. Far from a religious or spiritual celebration, I should sooner call it a gluttony of consumption. To be brutally honest, when I think about it too much, when I really try to take it all in, it makes me sick. Those of you who read Norwegian, please read this post over at my friend Gunnar's blog, unfiltered perception ... he has some excellent and important points to make on this same topic. When I hear statistics like the recent one showing that each Norwegian child will receive on average ten kilos of presents this year - and a lot of it will of course be Chinese plastic crap that's killing the planet - it makes my stomach turn. I just want to punch somebody in the face. But what can I do? It really is like Fay Weldon said. :-(

Anyway, back to the trees. This wasn't supposed to be a very long post. (Gee, quel surprise. ;-) Christmas trees are one of the things I have to say I reject about Christmas. I don't have one in my house and I never will. I just can't wrap my head around the concept. Here is a tree, one of nature's amazing creatures - because really, think of a tree, really think about them! they are fantastic beings! - living creatures who share this planet with us. And we kill them, just to drag them into our houses and drape a lot of weird shit on them - often more plastic crap - and let them slowly die for a couple of weeks. Then they're trash and we send them to the dump. That's if they're what, lucky ... a lot of them don't even get bought by anyone and just become trash right away. >:-( When I look at a Christmas tree, they just strike me as so wrong on every possible level. I know in my gut that I'm looking at something that is just totally out of place. It just doesn't in any way sense or form belong in that living room or whatever where it's standing. It's a tree!! It belongs in the forest! But no, we had to kill it for our temporary enjoyment. >:-(

And then when I talk to people like my mother, who insisted on having a Christmas tree even on those Christmases when we went to my grandmother's house and, obviously, weren't even home on Christmas eve ... then it's like I'm meeting a member of an alien species. Seriously. I don't understand how that thought process could even take place.

Instead of buying a Christmas tree next year, please consider donating the money you would have spent towards the planting of trees instead. Our planet will thank you. :-)

(Well, no, it obviously won't, but you know what I mean.)

Just to make this post really schizo, here's a picture of our Christmas tree, that I decorated. I know, I know ...

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas 2009

Does anyone remember the green Christmas we had here last year? Well, this year, forget about it!! Green Christmas, never heard of it. This year's holiday season is as white as it gets. Snow everywhere and it's even snowing more right now and has been for hours. It's so pretty ... !!

Just to really rub it in, I made a video. My old neighborhood looking all Christmas card-y. This was even made on Christmas Eve. :-)



Hope you're all having a wonderful restful relaxing holiday so far. :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A poem for Christmas

Christmas Trees
(A Christmas Circular Letter)

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Robert Frost

Takk til Elin! :-)

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yay, and *cough*

The computer's back home. Whee. :-) Perfect timing ... I had a couple of Christmas presents that I wanted to make, and I needed my computer for both, but now I have been able to get both done. So yay. :-)

But not all yay, because in the interim I've managed to get sick. Really uncomfortably sick ... with all kinds of flu symptoms, which is so ironic, because, get this, I was supposed to get my swine flu shot on Friday. It had been set up through work and I was fully expecting to get it done, but because of one thing and another it all fell through and I didn't get it. So then of course I get sick on Sunday. :-D Not at all saying that it's the swine flu - absolutely not - hoping it's just a bad cold or some regular flu thing ... but I do have all the symptoms they've been saying to look out for, and it's definitely not a 24-hour bug, because it's been more like 60 hours now and I'm not really feeling much better than I did when it started. :-(

So ... what a lovely Christmas I shall no doubt have. Seriously, I will. It's my mother who will suffer. My father's sick too, he has an ear infection and has been running a bit of a fever. So my mother will have a great time with the two of us, I'm sure. ;-) Happy holidays and so on ... :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Quote of the Week

You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do.
Anne Lamott

And, of course, happy birthday to Paz!!! Wheee!!! :-D

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Warsaw 2009: Moving pictures

Some videos from my trip to Warsaw. Not really very interesting, I suppose ... just street scenes filmed through the windows of various streetcars. But there you go. Writing this on Friday at work after work :-) and don't have time to be very inventive. No news on the computer as of yet, alas. :-(







Great public transport in Warsaw. :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

A thought on Hopenhagen

So, everybody's been more or less following the climate conference in Copenhagen. Hard to avoid. The big question is, supposedly, will something real & worthwhile come out of it all, or not? Umm ...

My thoughts on this subject ought to be pretty clear. I recently shared with you all my message to the world, here. Now, that was for a project by a blogger here in Norway. He collected lots of these photos and then made a video with some or most of them. You can see the video here if you want. My photo wasn't included in the video, of course, since my message wasn't a touchy-feely-let's-all-get-along-and-be-happy kind of thing like most of the others. Smile to the world and the world smiles back, etc. How I wish I could be able to laugh when it turns out that I will be right in the end and they are all enabling saps. But I'm pretty sure it will be too sad to laugh about.

I don't think the Copenhagen conference will result in anything that will make any real difference, and everything's going to go to hell in a handbasket. That's what I think. There will be little or no improvement on the things that need to change. It'll be a lot of talk (and a lot more pollution, because of course all the delegates have to fly their own private jets or whatever, they can't mingle with the plebs) and nothing concrete will actually be done.

The reason for this is very simple. I personally think that there are things we could conceivably do - probably much less than is needed, because we've painted ourselves into such a fucking corner, but still - but those things aren't going to get done before it's too late. Because there's no money in it. I think that that is the sad truth. Preserving our biosphere, not destroying other fascinating species that share that biosphere with us, making sure there will be sufficient resources available for our ancestors in centuries to come, keeping human civilization on its goddamn feet ... there's no money in it. Maybe there might be in the long run. But that is one of the fundamental flaws of Homo sapiens sapiens, that we don't feel threatened by a danger that isn't presently apparent to us. So we don't take these apparently vague future dangers into account ... and that means that there's no money in changing the status quo, and we love money so much that we'll cling on to the status quo even when it kills us.

It's like I said. We're doomed. But will anyone listen? Sheesh, humans.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sad story gives me flashback

Read this sad story over at the Scandinavian BookCrossing forum. Aww!! Stuff like that breaks my heart. I hope she finds her teddy bear. :-(

But then, after reading it and thinking some sympathetic thoughts, I had a nasty flashback. Anyone remember this:



WTF was the deal with that kid?? ADD or just total evilness?? Why did he send poor Joppe through the mail if he was so afraid of losing him?? Stupid loser idiot brat!! >:-(

DÖDA JOPPE, RÄDD ELLER LEVANDE ... !! No, I don't mean that, I used to really like Joppe when I used to watch this actually pretty weird show. But I always felt sorry for him having to live with that awful kid who treated him so badly ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ooh, hungry fake turtles

Feed the turtles, they are cute and hungry ...



Get your own virtual critters here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Waaah!!!

Boo-hoo, sad news for Leisha. My computer was attacked by some virus last night and is now wild'n'crazy. I can get online, barely, but strange things happen. Most other programs don't work, just the browser ... and I can't install anything new or uninstall the crap that's making the poor thing go crazy. I'm going to some place downtown that trilltrall told me about and let one of the computer doctors make it all better. I called them this morning, they said come by this afternoon and they'll be able to take a look at it in a day or two. I hope so. I'm handicapped without my trusty laptop. :-( But there it is, these things happen. I guess maybe I'm lucky that it hasn't happened before. Still, sad and so on.

Anyway ... I'm at work now writing this, and as you can imagine, updates and replies to comments and so on will be on a minimum for a while till I get this fixed. Hopefully won't take too long, but who knows. Waah ... !

Yeah, you can laugh, mister ... >:-(

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quote of the Week

Society's never going to make any progress before we all learn to pretend to like each other.
Turanga Leela

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Got mail?

Quite possibly the answer is no, not much. I mean, bills and random ads, sure. But that's not real mail. Real mail is a letter or a card or a package that puts a smile on your face ... and although many of us, thanks to the internet, are now in regular contact with far more people around the world than we were, say, ten years ago, we still get real physical mail much more rarely than we did back then. I know that's true for me. And as much as I love teh intarwebs with all the multitudinous opportunities for experiences that follow, I also like mail. I love mail. :-) It's like I said, it puts a smile on my face. :-)

So, these things considered, I don't understand why I haven't gotten involved with the topic of today's post sooner. I'd heard about it several times, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to really looking into it until the beginning of October this year. It's been going on for over four years, though. And it really works. I can so vouch for that now. :-)

What is Postcrossing?

It's a website set up to let people send and receive postcards to and from randomly selected strangers. :-)

The site was set up by Paulo Magalhães in the summer of 2005, based on his opinion, or one might say feeling, that it's nice to get mail. :-) It's grown very quickly and there are now more than 130,000 users, and more than 3 million cards have been sent.

The system is very simple. First of all you must register as a user - this is quick and easy and completely free of charge. (The site is free to use, although you must of course buy your own postcards and pay for postage. You can make donations to the site if you want, but there is no requirement whatsoever to do so.) You get a profile - mine is here - where you can share some info about yourself and what kind of cards you would like to be sent. You then request an address to send a card to. This will be selected randomly - the list of recipient addresses changes constantly. The address may be anywhere in the world. You also get a unique ID code - eg, NO-26893 - which you must write clearly on the card. You then write a few words - whatever you want to write - on the postcard and send it off.

When it is received by the recipient, that person will use the ID code to register the card as received. Your address will then be added to the list of people due to receive a postcard, and someone else will be sent your address when they ask to send a card. This person, again, may be anywhere in the world, and they will not be the same person that you sent your card to.

At any given time you can have up to five cards travelling; as soon as one of these is registered as received, you will be allowed to send another. This number increases in increments with the number of cards you send. You will receive the same number of cards as you send out, from various countries all over the world. You send a card, it's received, you get a card ... And around and around we go ... :-)

But seriously, it really works. So far I've had 26 cards registered as received, and I've gotten 24 cards. The latter number will obviously usually be a little bit behind the former. I've got six cards on the road right now, travelling to Russia, Scotland, Canada, the US, China and Germany. The two cards I'm due to receive may come from almost literally anywhere on the planet. So far I've gotten cards from Finland, Iceland, Japan, Brazil, Tahiti, China and Germany ... among others. :-) I love it. :-) You never know what will arrive, or when. :-)

Apart from the official Postcrossing cards, there's also a lot of swapping going on. You can check a box on your profile to let other members know whether or not you're interested in that. A great way to get even more mail. :-D

The point of this post is to encourage all of you reading this to join Postcrossing and share in the fun. What's stopping you?? :-) You don't have to send five cards at once, you don't have to swap, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. But if your constantly empty mailbox is boring you to tears, I'm here to tell you that there is a solution. :-)

Two of my friends - KAS and C. - have already joined, and I've signed my mother up too. If you decide to join, dear reader, I'd love to hear about your experiences. It's a great hobby, and - I'll say it again - it really works. :-)

As usual, I've gotten a bit carried away with this whole thing, so I've set up a Postcrossing blog to chronicle my PX adventures. It's here if you want to take a look at cards I've sent and received, and other Postcrossing-related info.

Got mail? No? Then become a Postcrosser - you and your mailbox will never look back! :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book reviews on video

I've been meaning to mention this for a while, but, as we know, I am slow. Remember when I had all that free time this summer and fall? I started doing something new - well, several new things actually :-) - more or less on a whim to see if it'd work. Turned out it worked pretty well. :-)

As the heading says, I'm making book reviews on video. You may have noticed them already on my Youtube channel. I've been getting really good feedback on them, it's interesting. And it's fun making them, because, no surprises here, I really like talking about books. :-)

Here's a sample - Circle's End by Tom Egeland, which was a disappointing read, but I think the review turned out pretty entertaining. If anyone reading this has read the book, I'd love to hear your opinion on it. Spill. -)



The review is in English, even though I read the book in Norwegian. Just because, obviously, more people can understand the review if it's in English. :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize, bah humbug

So, Barack Obama's in town right now, picking up his sadly undeserved Peace Prize. One hundred million crowns down the drain, if you ask me. It makes me sad to see all this tremendous security that apparently the Americans think is necessary for their president. I mean, it probably is. But that's what's so sad. Our king can walk from the Palace to go to the movies with a regular audience if he wants, and there's no barriers erected and no manhole covers needing to be welded shut ... just a couple of cops out of uniform and, from what I hear, usually the queen. :-) I like Norway. :-)

Anyway. To mark the occasion, such as it is, I'd like to share a couple of videos I've made from a recent video to the Nobel Peace Center here in Oslo. The first shows one of the permanent exhibits, the Nobel Field. It's both interesting and beautiful, so take a look. :-) The second shows the temporary exhibition From King to Obama, which is dedicated to the great Martin Luther King Jr and to Barack Obama. The exhibiton shows a lot of information about both men's careers and background, and about the times in which they lived and live. (Please don't get shot here, Mr President. ;-) It was quite interesting, I'm glad I saw it. I especially liked all the black and white photos from Dr King's career and significant events around the US in his lifetime.





I was actually downtown when he greeted the crowds from the balcony at Grand Hotel (encased in bulletproof glass, of course o_O) but there were so many people there that I didn't see a thing. :-D I normally wouldn't have been there - I'd have had a much better view watching TV at home ;-) - but I had to be there anyway ... Anne Ida and I had tickets to Rune Andersen's show at Latter, so we had to be around. :-) The show was great, see it if you get the chance. Andersen is such a funny guy ... his Lars Monsen impression was priceless. And Espen Beranek Holm doing Erling Lægreid was just too funny, I mean, wow. Spot on. :-D My face still hurts from laughing so hard. :-)

In closing, a quote that seems appropriate today.

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
Ernest Hemingway

I hope that Obama will keep that in mind. :-(

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warsaw 2009: reptiles at the Zoo

I mentioned that when I went to Warsaw Zoo back in March, the one thing I really went there for was to see the reptile house. It's called Gady. Don't know what that means. (Any Poles reading this, feel free to help me out. :-) Just before we were going to leave I got the brilliant idea of making a video of the place. You may have seen it already, it's the featured video on my Youtube channel ... but if not, then here it is. Enjoy. :-)

For the record, I have to say that this is one of the better reptile houses that I've visited. The enclosures could have been bigger, sure, but they were perfectly fine as they were. Nice setups ... some really good. The animals seemed to be doing very well. I got a really good impression of the place. :-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creativity WIN

The other day when I was at the library, I was lucky enough to see this. Take a look.

It's on the entrance door ... the one to the furthest right.

OK, hard to see, I know. There's a better shot below. I just loved seeing this. And I really was lucky to see it - it was grafitti after all, and the next time I was there, the following week, it was gone, predictably. I mean, I agree with them, it ought to be removed. But if you're going to do something like this, then wow, way to go!! This is creativity in action, really. Brilliant. :-)

It says, in a translation that isn't word for word accurate, but is in fact more correct for it:

Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss.

Again, this was on the door to Oslo's main library. Gotta love it. :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Keanu Monday

What is wrong with me ... !! I realized Tuesday morning that I'd totally forgotten about Keanu Monday. zomg!!1 Must be corrected ... !! So I wrote this post on Tuesday, December 8th, and changed the date to Monday, and then changed the date on Monday's post so that it looks like I wrote it today. I know, I need some kind of help ... o_O

Here's Keanu getting a Bambi award. I like the look on his face. :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quote of the Week?

Not really a quote, but still, on topic. And of course hilarious. :-)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Best Condell ever?

Feels like I've been posting a lot of videos lately. I hadn't really planned to post one today too, but then I went on Youtube and watched Pat Condell's latest effort. Wow. I'm leaning towards this being his best video ever. Far too good not to share.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A favorite song ...

... from a favorite movie.

Aldrig skall jag sluta älska dig ('I will never stop loving you') - music by Jesper Winge Leisner and lyrics by the one & only Jonas Gardell, written for the movie Livet är en schlager (Once in a Lifetime) by Susanne Bier, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I never get tired of that movie, it's absolutely wonderful in so many ways. One of which is that it stars the lovely & talented Helena Bergström, who is perhaps my favorite actress.

This song has been performed & recorded by several singers - among them Gardell himself - but the best version is of course the original, performed by Bergström as the main character Mona in the movie.

Enjoy. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Katzenjammer live in Oslo

... in almost just one week. :-) The girls will be playing at Sentrum Scene on Saturday, December 12th ... returning in triumph to Oslo after an apparently very successful mini tour of Europe. So, they're moving up in the world ... Sentrum is a bigger venue than Rockefeller, so kudos for that. I've got my ticket and so have at least half a dozen of my friends. :-) Anyone else who feels like going, what are you waiting for?? It's guaranteed to be a fun show. :-) You can get your tickets here.

And here are the girls performing my favorite of their songs, Hey, Ho, On the Devil's Back.



At least it's my favorite so far. :-) They're working on their second album, from which we will presumably be hearing a number of songs on Saturday. Should be interesting. :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Racism can be funny

Or at least it can have entertaining results.

A couple of weeks ago we had a bit of a scandal in this country ... one of our rising young stars in the sport of skating made a complaint against her coach ... some sexual harassment thing, I'm sketchy on the details, but apparently there was some talk at a dinner party that got out of hand, and this guy, the coach, doesn't really get that there are some things you can do and say between people who are colleagues that you can't get into if you're their superior. Bad sentence, but you know what I mean. :-)

Anyway. He'd gotten a bunch of warnings for various other issues in the past, and this time it just got to be too much, and he was fired. This created a lot of debate. I don't really follow sports ... or, one might say I don't follow sports in any way whatsoever ... but this was impossible to miss, it was all over the media constantly. A lot of debate. Was it right to fire him, was it wrong? Personally I don't see the problem. As a coach he must have been hired to motivate the skaters to do their best and win competitions, obviously. Well, if telling people that they're fat and a disgrace to the Norwegian flag, and asking them in public whether the rumors are true that they give good head, turn out to not be working as motivation (and this would seem to be the case as we haven't really been producing a lot of world class skaters during this guy's tenure as coach) then he's not doing his job, so why not fire him? Anyway.

One guy who got involved in the debate is a person whose name I don't even know ... he's a sports anchor at our biggest commercial TV station (or possibly at their much smaller subsidiary, but that's beside the point) and he posted some speculation on his blog about this case. He was supposedly sort of thinking out loud and wondering if maybe this young skater's situation was being used by the Skating Association to forcibly eject the coach from his position. Reading this made one of our MPs see red, and she said to the media that this anchor guy should be given a dressing down by the powers that be at his channel, because this was just too much.

I'm not going to say whether she was right or wrong to do this ... or, well, I'll say that I don't quite get why she cares. :-) But this post - it does have a point! - isn't about what she said but about an absolutely stellar reaction that her statements provoked. It's brilliant, it's a masterpiece of meta-irony. :-) Wait for it.

So, the MP in question is Hadia Tajik. Just for the record, I do not like this woman. I voted for her party, Labor, in the parliamentary election in September, but I crossed her name off the list. Not because she's Norwegian-Pakistani - except of course that what I hold against her most likely was a result of just that - I resent her for her actions in the hijab debate earlier this year. I disagree with her completely on that issue and I will not vote for her. But that is neither here nor there. Here's the thing. Dagbladet had an article about this and they opened it up for debate. And the most popular comment in that debate is what is so incredibly ironic. I mean, it's almost beyond ironic. And the reason why the heading on this post says that racism can be funny is that I'm pretty damn sure that if Tajik had been a white person - most especially a white man; sexism can be funny too!! - whoever wrote that comment would not have done so. Think I'm wrong? Maybe. But I am pretty damn sure. A colored woman will have to take some shit that a white man won't even have to worry about. :-(

But, OK, the point. This statement is just the best. I love it. I want it on a T-shirt.

We have freedom of speech in this country, so shut up.

And just to end on a completely different note, happy birthday to my father who is 67 years old today. :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anton in living color

Remember Anne Ida's little turtle Anton who came to live with her two weeks ago? He's doing fine - somewhat skeptical of his new owner still, but settling in well. And of course totally adorable. :-) Like most freshwater turtles he is strong and agile and quick on his feet, and an excellent climber. Apart from the entirely aquatic ones - the softshells - these animals are both good at and fond of climbing. It's their instinct to seek out the highest spot, to get the best view of their surroundings ... and they're curious too, and want to see what's going on. :-)

Here's Anton climbing up the back of Anne Ida's living room couch. Bet you didn't think a turtle could do that. ;-)