Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 - March

Slepe rundt på døde dyr by Hans Sande
Menn som hater kvinner by Stieg Larsson – AUDIO
The Complete Phantom of the Opera by George Perry
Duty and Desire by Pamela Aidan
Ved elven Massacre by Edwidge Danticat
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by GW Dahlquist
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor – AUDIO
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin
Fred & Rose by Howard Sounes
Åndenes hus by Isabel Allende – AUDIO
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Penguin 60)
Veien følger hjertet by Iselin B Alvestad – AUDIO
Affliction by Russell Banks
Kurtby by Erlend Loe - AUDIO
Musketerene tyve år etter, volume 1 by Alexandre Dumas

11 printed books, 3,204 pages.
5 audiobooks, 61h 11m.

Favorite fiction:
Ooh, how can I pick just one ... !! I've read so many good books this month. Seriously, there are so many wonderful books on this list. But since I absolutely have to choose one I think I have to say Swastika Night. It's a disturbing vision of a Europe in which the Nazis have won WWII ... more than six hundred years ago. Thousand year Reich, anyone? o_O Burdekin imagines what kind of society would have developed and what twists and turns history would have taken. What is so impressive is that she wrote the book in the mid-1930s. :-o George Orwell, eat your heart out.

Favorite nonfiction:
Not a lot to choose from this month. I guess Stalingrad. Vivid descriptions of horrific sufferings recited in the melodious voice of Duc Mai-The, what's not to like?

Favorite audio:
Should I say The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ... ?? It's a reread, so I feel like it doesn't really count properly. But it is such a fantastic book. Except that I got the Norwegian edition, in which Anders Ribu almost constantly mispronounces the first name of one of the main characters (Mikael Blomkvist; he says 'Mikal') and that drives me up the wall. But it's fantastic. :-) And other than that he reads it very well indeed. :-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Free Sture Bergwall

Did anyone watch Debate on SVT1 tonight? I'm watching it online now. The topic was Thomas Quick, on the occasion of his getting one of his eight murder convictions retried by the courts. Kudos to him, and to Hannes Råstam and all his other supporters.

Info for the non-initiated: Thomas Quick is the nom de plume, or should I say nom du guerre, of Sweden's first and AFAIK only serial killer, Sture Bergwall. Actually, I tell a lie. He's incarcerated for serial murder, but he's never killed anyone. Believe it or not.

The debate is really interesting, there are people saying that he must be guilty and others saying that he can't possibly be. After seeing Råstam's documentary on the case, Thomas Quick - The Creation of a Serial Killer (2008) I am (obviously) in the latter camp. Just what little insight the documentary gives into the Quick investigation is staggering. Sweden prides itself on being a society with a highly functioning legal system, so it's almost unbelievable that something like this could even happen ... but I for one am certain that it has.

Sture Bergwall has been tried and sentenced for eight murders on literally not a shred of evidence. All they've got are his confessions, but what are they worth? He's confessed to murdering people who are still alive. At least one of these murders he cannot possibly have committed, he knew nothing of the victim or the place where she was taken - until the police officers in charge of the investigation told him. That's where the solution lies, I think, to how this whole thing can have happened - all the people who have basically made their careers on this case. Christer van der Kwast, Birgitta Ståhle and Seppo Penttinen first and foremost. (None of whom had the balls to take part in the debate tonight.) These three should be facing a court alongside Bergwall, if you ask me.

There are three things that are so wrong with this case. In ascending order of magnitude: First, these convictions are violations of the bereaved of the victims, in that they are now expected to settle down and accept an invented truth about the fate of their loved ones. These people are being lied to in the worst way. Second, the whole case is an extreme violation of the rights of a mentally ill man who has been abused and exploited, turned into a drug addict even, by a group of supposedly professional people who have used him for their own ends in the worst way. I'd be interested in seeing what the Human Rights Tribunal in The Hague would have to say about this case. But the third point should perhaps take precedence - because of the way this so-called investigation has been handled, there is now most likely a number of murderers walking freely about in both Sweden and Norway while Bergwall is serving their time.

Sture Bergwall is a criminal, I'm not saying he's not. But his crimes were committed forty years ago, and among them murder can in all overwhelming likelihood not be numbered. One thing I'm completely certain of: Bergwall never in his life set eyes on Therese Johannesen, and he absolutely did not kill her. Who did? I wonder if we'll ever know, since both Norwegian and Swedish police have accepted her as one of Quick's victims. But her real killer has never been caught - he may be your neighbor, dear reader - and her remains have never been found. The piece of bone from her body that Thomas Quick identified for the investigators wasn't even human bone at all, it was just a piece of old wood. Yet on the strength of that find, he was convicted of her murder.

I know, it almost defies belief, doesn't it? Free Sture Bergwall. Or at least follow him on Twitter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I gave up

Yes, I gave up. A certain movie I've been waiting for just hasn't gotten a distributor in this country, and it looks like it won't ever be in theatres here. Bwaah ... !! But the internet is my friend. My dream, I has it ... !! I also found something else at a really good price, look:

Bored housewives and serial killers! What more can one ask?!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, March 26, 2010

Worthless parents ...

... get worthless kids.

I was watching one of these shows on TV earlier tonight, a documentary about beauty pageants for little girls. Babies, even. Only in America would you have a girl show herself off in swimwear on stage before she's learned to walk. Yuck. But it really struck me what total lack of insight some parents suffer from. There was this one couple (where the husband was so obviously gay it was ridiculous) who had a two year old daughter who just 'loved' doing pageants. The mother tried to get the kid to hold up a couple of her trophies and say Ava loves trophies! or something like that ... she couldn't even get her to understand what she was supposed to do. And then she immediately went on to say that her daughter was soo committed to her pageant participation, she just loved doing it and would go on stage and just give 110%. WTF? Talk about confirmation bias ... ! I just don't understand how it's possible to as a parent be so blind. o_O

And sometimes that has infinitely worse effects than some kids just being raised like living dolls. In Sweden right now there's a criminal case that's shaking the nation ... and it really is appalling, they should be reeling. It was broken open by Uppdrag granskning, which is a wonderful investigative TV show. It's like the Swedish answer to 60 Minutes. I watched the show on Wednesday, The Second Rape, and it really was appalling and shocking. I hardly know where to start, there is so much to criticize there that it's almost overwhelming.

Brief recap: 14-year-old girl is raped by 15-year-old boy on school grounds during school hours. She goes to the police, they investigate, the boy confesses and is eventually found guilty as charged. But in the small community where these teens lived (the girl has since moved away), the convicted rapist is celebrated and the victim is brutally slandered. I mean, it almost defies belief ... slander in the community and beyond slander online. The rapist's brother set up a website for him all about the kid's innocence, and of course the comments came pouring in ... I'm talking gross death threats, seriously, it's been on that level. The girl lost almost all her friends and was bullied half to death. At the graduation celebration in the local church she did not attend, but her attacker did ... he was welcomed to the church even though there was of course a restraining order against him, and his victim might well have been there. He gave out flowers to his schoolmates and was applauded [!!]. Then during a beach party the same night, again a graduation celebration, he raped another girl! He's been tried for this as well and found guilty. But still the community supports him, and the second victim is being called 'cunt' to her face by random people in the streets. (She was 17 years old, the boy is now 16 and in a juvenile institution.) There were some interviews in the show that just beggared belief.

The vicar in this parish ought to be fired from his job. He is a complete & utter idiot. Get this: he claimed not to have known about the second rape, which took place the same day that he welcomed this convicted rapist into his church and felt that it was 'a powerful demonstration'. o_O Nope, never heard of it. Then the reporter asked what his opinion of the situation was now that he did know about it. This devoted servant of god actually managed to say the following: Poor boy. I mean ... what a total piece of shit. Both of them.

The bullying online has been ongoing the entire time, now against both girls. But of course after the show aired the tide has completely turned ... now it's the boy's family who are getting the death threats. Cowards that they are, they have removed their website. The Facebook group (now deleted) supporting the boy had 4 000 members, the one supporting the girls (only just created this week) already has something like 50 000 members. Death threats are bad, but I can't make myself feel sorry for this family. WTF is wrong with this mother??

As a general rule, although there may be exceptions (some people may be just born 'bad'), IMO, when your son is a twice-convicted rapist at age 16, you have failed as a mother. If your son at age 15 forces a young girl to the floor, straddles her, holds her arms down, forces her jaws apart and shoves his dick down her throat after she has asked him to 'please stop', according to his own statement, five or six times ... then you have failed as a mother. And reading an interview with the mother in Aftonbladet, I see that she's not even ashamed of it, and is continuing to fail her child. Of course I believe my son is innocent. She's going to keep fighting for her son, as apparently she feels is her duty as a mother. o_O

Now, I don't have any kids, and I don't want any either, but seriously, if I had one, I really hope that I would have the brains and the ethical stamina and just the common decency to make my child take responsibility for his or her own actions. How does it help to deny reality?? She's probably setting the kid up to become a serial rapist - just one more to go, and he's there. He's a criminal. Her mollycoddling is quite possibly what made him one, and she's only going to make it worse by insisting on treating him like her golden boy still.

Now, as we know, I am so prejudiced. Just bursting with prejudice, I am. But the photo that has been published of this woman ... When I see a grown up white woman with all her hair in afro braids like this, that just screams white trash to me. There's been no mention whatsoever of a father, so she may well be a single mother to these boys. Red flags just going up all over the place. Her kids have the deck stacked against them to start with ... and she is determined to make it worse.

Worthless parents, worthless kids. Hard to know where to start to fix the problem. :-(

One more thing: Amanda Ögren, one of the very few people who has stood by the first victim through all of this, is a true hero. She deserves a medal. She is 15 years old and she has done something that IMO most adults would not have had the strength to do. I mean, Q.E.D. People like her restore my faith in humanity. :-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What are the odds

OK, so, I know all that about how the human mind looks for patterns and picks up on them, while it ignores other non-pattern events ... but still, this is weird. :-)

I worked overtime on Tuesday, in fact a whole bunch of us did ... getting a lot of little chores done that we haven't gotten around to because of a ridiculous turf war we've got going on at work right now. I was relabeling some shelves when I noticed that some of the turnbuckles were ... not broken, cause they were totally fixable, but just had some parts missing. Some nuts and bolts were gone. I got some new ones off the shelf and just fixed them then and there, but I was thinking that I might as well not bother, cause when do we ever sell these things anyway. I don't think I've sold a single one since we moved. o_O Anyway, I fixed them up.

Then on Wednesday one of the sales guys from one of the daughter companies was wandering around the store with a customer and shouting for me ... and at first I couldn't figure out what he was saying, because it seemed so unlikely, but he was asking where I keep the the turnbuckles! :-D And even weirder, we have the things in three sizes, and the ones that I fixed the day before was the size he needed. o_O He actually needed more than we had, even. I ordered some more for him. But what are the odds.

It gets even weirder though, because today another customer came in and, get this, I asked if there was anything I could help him with, and he said Yes, do you have any turnbuckles in stock? WTF?? I haven't sold any of these things for what, eighteen months, or more ... then this. If someone comes in tomorrow wanting some of them I'm going to really freak. :-) What are the odds. :-D

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NORWAY 1976 - Mata Hari

So, the draw was announced yesterday for this year's contest. Ie, the order in which the entries will be performed. We got slot #3. Which, if you remember what I've said about this before (although you probably don't ;-) ought to be really really bad. But actually, it's not. It's great!! :-D See, this year there's yet another change to the setup of the contest - now, instead of voting only during a short window after the performances are all done, we will get to vote throughout the entire show, starting when the first performer enters the stage. Personally, I'm against this change ... I think it's unfair on some level. I know, the draw is random, but still. It just rubs me the wrong way. But what are you gonna do.

Anyway, that means it's now good to get an early slot. And we're in third, so that raises our odds considerably. Which is bad, since we don't want to win ... ! :-D But at least hopefully it'll ensure that we won't do as badly as we did in 1976.

Actually, the song we sent that year was pretty fantastic ... that's generally agreed on among connoisseurs. ;-) A lot of those in the know think that the song was basically ahead of its time, too advanced for the audience back then, and so it didn't appeal to anyone and, alas, came last. :-( But it is a fantastic song ... one of my all time favorites among the Norwegian entries. And her costume is just precious. ;-)

This is Anne Karine Strøm performing Mata Hari by Frode Thingnæs and Philip A Kruse. They competed for Norway in the Congresgebouw in The Hague on April 3rd, 1976. The only way they could have done worse would have been to get zero points ... but they actually got seven. Three from the host and four from Portugal. They are generally confused ESC-wise. ;-) The goddamned Swedes didn't even give us one lousy point, as usual. Just because they weren't in the contest that year they thought they could weasel out of it, grumble, bah, humbug, etc.

And now, Mata Hari!!

Lyrics here, in both English and Norwegian. Participants were free to choose languages that year so Strøm performed in English.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yeah, this totally made my day. I saw it at the last meeting of my writers' group/book circle/whatever, it was in the kitchen. IMMD.

Don't make coffee and tea at the same time. The fuses will blow!
With an obvious typo, repeated twice. Scribble says:

Monday, March 22, 2010

A propos

This seems like an appropriate lol today, since tonight's episode of Hjernevask was on violence and whether or not we as a species are predetermined to be violent ... and of course whether or not men by nature are more violent than women. I've found this series really interesting so far, but tonight ... meh. Eia just seems to be becoming more and more the comedian again and veering increasingly off track from the supposedly genuine questioner he started the series as. So I find myself losing interest ... which is too bad, because the topics he's presenting are interesting and I do think it's important to have this debate. Nature vs nurture, and how our society has skewed its perceptions way too far towards the latter. But the series seems to be slowly turning into a comedy show now. Too bad.

But however disappointed we are, always remember:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Millennium, oh yeah

So, the first episode last night was just as good as I'd hoped. Everything from the movie is still there, plus something like 20 minutes of new scenes which give new depth to several things in the story, especially the relationship between Mikael and Erika. Now I don't want to wait a whole week to see the next episode ... !! :-D

In the meantime, Hollywood, like the leeches that they are, have of course latched on to the Millennium series as well and several so-called talents are reportedly hard at work on an American version. Yes, because god forbid that American audiences should have to actually read subtitles. Sheesh. Anne Ida and I (I went to her house to see the show because her TV is bigger than mine ;-) found a couple of articles online, one of them mentioned several big names that supposedly are interested in the project. Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp are the two that I remember. Sheesh, not Pitt!! That'll mean that the whole thing will become completely American. So it probably won't be very good, because a huge part of its appeal is that it isn't American, as far as I'm concerned. Anyway.

I've been hearing a lot of rumors about Kristen Stewart taking on the Lisbeth Salander role. That's gonna suck hard. I mean, she does have the right body type for it, but, you know, she can't act for shit. So that's definitely not a choice I'd be happy with. The article I read last night mentioned Carey Mulligan, though - that might actually work. At least she's a really good actress, that's at least a place to start.

I don't know who'd be really good as Salander anyway ... but I had a brainstorm last night and realized who I'd prefer as Blomkvist. David Duchovny. Seriously, he'd be great. I think he'd be just right. Now why won't everyone just listen to me ... !! :-)

Anne Ida: They're actually almost exactly the same age, they'll both be 50 this year, Duchovny's three months older. :-) So if Nyqvist can do it, Duchovny can too. ;-)

Update March 22nd:
Here's a thought: Duchovny as Blomkvist, and Robin Tunney as Salander??

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

What she had realised was that love was that moment when your heart was about to burst.
Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Don't forget - Millennium, the TV series, starts at 9pm tonight at SVT1 ... !! :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

A good song

Murder by Numbers by The Police. Sort of creepy lyrics (and a really creepy video, if you think about it too much :-), but as a true crime buff I of course like this song a lot. ;-)

One really weird thing: The person who made this has included a shot of Al Pacino in character in The Devil's Advocate. Whut?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A book recommendation

I just finished an amazing book this afternoon - Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Wow. It's a BookCrossing book - as you see - and it's gotten very varied responses from its readers. Some who absolutely loved it and some who couldn't even get through it. I'm in the first group. This book was just ... wow. It's not perfect, it does have its flaws ... like for instance I believe a lot more in the sections of the book that are looking back to the past than I do in those parts that are present day. Which I have to say is maybe seriously weird. :-D Anyway ...

I'm going to do a video review of this book very soon (and of course I will post that on my Youtube channel) but right now I just have to rave about it a little. Geek Love is the story of a very unusual family, the Binewskis. The father is a carny, like his father before him, the mother is a former geek and the children - two sons and three daughters - are freaks. Real live freaks of nature. The oldest son is a human worm, the oldest daughters are conjoined twins, the youngest daughter - our narrator - is an albino hunchbacked dwarf, and the youngest son ... well, what is he? Read the book and find out. ;-)

The book is very well written and the narrator is absolutely fascinating. Dunn is a very gifted writer. She has written three other novels; I will definitely try to get hold of those. This one sounds kind of cheesy, like leaning towards social pornography ... but it's not, I didn't get that feeling at all reading it. It actually made me think quite a lot about the whole concept of the freak and society's reaction to such people. The Binewski children have very little contact with 'norms' as they call us and are quite nervous of us ... they see themselves as the lucky ones and normal people as burdened and unfortunate. It was an interesting take on it.

It also made me think of that old movie, Freaks ... Tod Browning's big project, his dream project in a way, but also the movie that destroyed his career. It's a classic now though, and deservedly so. He made it in 1932 and he used real freaks to play his rather unusual set of characters in the movie. He at one point said something about this movie that I think is so poignant ... namely that in fifty years from now, or however long he said, this movie cannot possibly be made, because people like these will no longer exist. Ie, they will no longer be born. Rather prescient in light of what later happened ... and how our society has become now. Who are the real freaks, I wonder ... :-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sometimes ...

... bad things happen to good movies. :-( It looks like that's happening right now to En helt vanlig dag på jobben ... going by what I've been reading in the papers these past few days, it's bombing big time. That's really too bad. It doesn't deserve to ... it's a good and interesting movie. Findabair and I went to see it on Saturday. We were pleasantly surprised. :-) I've read the book as well and I have to say that it's much worse ... it goes into detail about working methods at a certain disgusting gossip rag much much more than the movie does. The movie is more focused on certain events than the book is. But what else is new, movies are always different from the books they're based on. Don't judge a book by its movie, and so on. ;-)

Anyway ... I thought this movie was creative, original and interesting. Well acted and the settings convincingly recreated. If you've been thinking that it sounds like something you might like to see, then go see it, it's good. You may not have the chance for very long. :-( I have to say that although it does have a number of point in its favor, it's worth seeing for Ingar Helge Gimle's performance alone. He brings Sven O. Høiby back to life, it's astonishing. This isn't the kind of movie that gets Amandas, I don't think, but if it wasn't for that I'd be willing to bet on a Best Supporting Actor award somewhere in Gimle's near future. It's the performance of his life. Don't miss it. :-)

Or click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

London 2010: Richmond Park

I am soo sick of all this snow and cold now. Today it looked nice and springlike, but it was actually pretty damn cold. 7 degrees below at Tveita this morning. Sheesh. I want warmth and spring flowers and green growing things ... !! :-(

Sigh. At least we're not having crazy snowstorms and avalanches like they've got in the northwest right now. o_O

Here's another video from London that I made - this one is from Richmond Park in Richmond-upon-Thames where there were snowdrops and crocuses and green grass growing. Damn foreigners!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A rather grotesque question

So, I'm reading a book at the moment, Fred and Rose by Howard Sounes. No prices for guessing who it's about. It's OK, not a stellar read, but interesting enough, I guess. I'm pretty prejudiced though, since I've already read Brian Masters' much more well written work 'She Must Have Known', which, unsurprisingly perhaps, has biased me in Rose's favor. Sounes is constantly taking it as an absolute given that she participated fully in the murders, but Masters gave me a lot to think about and so far Sounes has definitely not been able to sway me to his view. But that's not the point.

This book is OK language-wise but suffers somewhat from the traditional journalist's ailment of using words that sound fancy without considering what they actually fundamentally mean. You know ... no one was killed in the fatal accident. That type of thing. And here's my question. At one point, talking about one of the victims ... I think maybe Caz Cooper, but that's not important ... he says that Fred threw her decapitated head into the grave with her. But you can't say that, can you? That's my question. Input wanted from native English speakers. A body can be decapitated, but a head can't be, right? A head can only be severed ... because to decapitate means to behead, ie, to remove the head. So a decapitated head, that makes no sense, right? It's an oxymoron?

Hey, I said it was creepy.

To keep this post vaguely Keanu-related, here's a boring event from my life. I ordered some movies online yesterday. One of them I will definitely be getting back to. The other one though I'm less excited about ... I've seen it several times before, so, meh. But I don't have it on DVD, which of course is a shocking oversight. And the connection is serial murder. Relevance, I has it ...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Muslim bullies

A couple of days ago I posted about how it makes no sense to be worried about Muslims being oppressed in Europe and at the same time wanting less anti-Semitism here ... because if you want to keep anti-Semitism down, the most important thing to do is to oppress the Muslims. That's just reality, like it or not.

Right now I'm watching the Daily Review on Sunday, and the second story is about bullying of Jewish students in Norwegian schools. An anonymous mother of a Jewish boy was interviewed and talked about how her son has gotten death threats and is being verbally and physically abused. And he is far from the only one; these are apparently common experiences for Jewish students. The report said that - and I think that this is the worst part of all, this is so bad that if it's true the students responsible should be permanently suspended from their schools - some Jewish students have had yellow stars, cut out of paper, stuck to their backpacks or jackets. I'm guessing Post-Its - they come ready to stick on, just cut out into a star shape! Creepily enough, they already come in star-shaped pads ... but five-pointed stars, so not usable for this purpose, fortunately. Sheesh.

OK, I'm joking about it, but seriously, it's not a joking matter. It makes me furious hearing this - furious and a little frightened, to be honest. Those fucking brats who are doing this, if I could see them getting the shit beaten out of them I would just laugh. Which is mean, I know, but seriously, sticking yellow stars on Jewish children? My instinct is that if you do that you hardly deserve to live. Scum of the earth.

Back on track ... there's a lot of bullying of Jewish children in Norwegian schools - or rather schools in Oslo, I would guess, since I don't think there are many Jews in the rest of the country (we lost a lot of Jews during WWII), and certainly there's nowhere near as many Muslims. Because of course it's the Muslim students who are tormenting the Jews. See?? That's what they do!! We do not need to allow the Muslims to be more free to express their beliefs - we need to suppress their beliefs - because this is what comes of it!! The religion of peace my shiny metal ass. The news report said that nothing is really done about this; teachers do nothing and principals do the same. The mother who was interviewed said that when her son received death threats she went to his teachers and they basically shrugged and said shit happens. Just walk it off. I so feel for her - what does a mother do in that situation? :-(

What we as a country need to do, though, is obvious - we need to address the problem here. Yes, we need to do something about its effects, like the torture this boy and others are suffering (ie, stomp hard on the fucking scumbags who are doing this), but that's never going to solve anything unless we really talk about the problem itself. And the problem is Islam.

The news report ended with an interview with Secretary of the Department of Education, Kristin Halvorsen. She was of course aghast and steps will be taken. The reporter brought up how she herself has called for a boycott of Israel and heavily criticized Israeli politics, and didn't she feel partly responsible for Jewish students being treated with prejudice because of her widely publicized statements on these issues? She denied this absolutely - very understandable, she could hardly do anything else regardless of the facts. But this time the fact is that she is right, this has nothing to do with what she says or what any other politician says or doesn't say. Because this is about Islam. Why do Muslims - maybe not all of them, but a hell of a lot of them - despise Jews, and persecute them if they get the chance to? Because that's what Islam teaches. I am SO FUCKING SICK of this constant pussyfooting around religion. Oh, we have to be respectful, we have to be sensitive to these deeply held beliefs that people have. NO!!! We don't have to show respect or sensitivity or any of that shit. Islam is full of evil crap. Christianity is full of evil crap. Judaism is full of evil racist crap. OK, Islam is really racist too. We need to call all theists on all the crap and BS and evilness in their faiths - that is the only way to actually solve these problems. You wouldn't respect the KKK for their deeply held beliefs, so why should you respect Islam? Respecting religions to the point where we can't even discuss all the negative impact they're having on our society means that we can only ever address the symptoms, not the disease. Seriously. You don't treat cancer with band-aids and Tylenol.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

Fifteen hundred years ago, Constantine, who murdered his own wife and children, started the Christian religion.
From that day to this that religion has been the greatest curse that ever afflicted the earth.
This religion teaches that 6,000 years ago God made the first man out of dust - not even mud - and the first woman out of a bone; that God cursed the whole human race because a snake made the woman eat an apple; that God had a son by another man's wife, and that he had this son murdered in order to keep himself from sending all the human race to hell.
This son taught that any man who did not believe that piece of ignorance and priestly lying would go to hell and burn eternally in fire and brimstone.
The Bible, in which these things are taught, favors drunkenness, murder, slavery, lying, stealing and lechery.

Charles Chilton Moore (1837-1906)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stupid Americans

Yeah yeah, I know that there's 300 million of them and they're not all the same, whatever.

I saw something interesting on teletext a couple of days ago (and that's another stupid thing, they don't have teletext!?) about an American government agency - I think it was some official body, but I may be remembering it wrongly - that had done some kind of assessment of I don't know what, racism in Europe? And we basically came out badly because we're so mean to the Muslims. Boo fucking hoo. Islamophobia, I'm so sick of that term. Supposedly, according to this agency, many European nations need to get a grip on things now because the persecution of Muslims is escalating. Freedom of religion is being restrained, ooh, scary. They mentioned the minaret ban in Switzerland as an important example, apparently. Seriously stupid.

But what makes it grade A dumbness is that the same report that says we need to be more understanding of Muslims and let them be freer in the expression of their beliefs or whatever also warns against increasing anti-semitism in Europe. o_O How stupid can you get?? That is because of the Muslims! When you let Muslims be free to express their beliefs, they persecute Jews! Give me a break. How does anyone do research into this and not know that?? o_O

Then there's another story too, more American stupidity. Philip Morris, purveyor of death, is suing the Norwegian state because of a new law that took effect here on January 1st, according to which no tobacco products can be displayed in stores. I think specialty stores are exempt, ie stores that only sell tobacco. But there can't be more than a handful of those in this entire country. This law applies to grocery stores and newsagents and places like that. They can no longer display cigarettes and related products, they have to store these in opaque cabinets. Philip Morris is against this because, so they claim, it makes competition difficult in this market. I mean, like anyone cares. They think the law should be overturned because it doesn't stop people buying cigarettes anyway. But the stupid thing is that they claim that they think they have a good case. The law's only been in effect for a couple of months here, so it's too soon to tell if it will have any impact or not, but apparently when a similar law was passed in Iceland some years ago, tobacco sales did not go down.

So, Philip Morris want our law gone, because it'll hinder their sales, and their reasoning is that we might as well get rid of it because it doesn't affect their sales anyway. o_O Did no one read through this strategy before they went public with it? But hey, I won't be against anything that means they'll throw a lot of money away on nothing. Stupid Americans.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Problem-solving skills

So how do you figure we can make sure that people don't miss this giant mound of snow that we've collected here?

Gee, I don't know, lemme think. Uuh ... how about if we maybe paint it day-glo orange?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who will it be??

This year's ESC presenters will be revealed in 15 minutes. Nervousness! I'm pretty sure they'll have chosen someone more or less cringeworthy. All I can say is please not Fredrik Skavlan ... !!! He will embarrass the nation with his smarmy manner and abysmal English. Whichever woman they put up there with him will be unable to overpower him. Even Thomas Numme & Harald Rønneberg would be better ... although I dearly hope it won't be them, and I don't think it will be, because it's such an ingrained tradition to have a one man, one woman team as presenters. Fortunately, maybe.

Who would I like to see? Ingerid Stenvold would be good, or Marte Stokstad. Stokstad definitely has the enthusiasm for the project. Either one of them, and ... Jon Almaas? ;-) He's host of the Norwegian edition of Have I Got News For You ... he's very funny and very pretty. Maybe too funny though - this is a serious project. ;-) The weird thing is that I had the perfect set of presenters in my head the other day, but now I've completely forgotten about it again. It was either Stenvold or Stokstad, and ... some guy. Not Stian Barsnes Simonsen, definitely not. I don't know why people keep saying he's done such a great job presenting our national final. I think he's done a shitty job. It was some other guy, and it was perfect ... so perfect that I guess I may have only dreamed it. o_O Well, we'll all know it soon enough.

Update 3:15pm:

Haddy N'Jie - yes! An original choice. She's great, I'm sure she'll do a wonderful job.
Nadia Hasnaoui - um, yes, OK. As unoriginal a choice as possible, so that makes up for the creativity of the first choice, I guess. o_O She's an old horse and will do a very professional job, but, well, it's not a very exciting choice.
And finally, Erik Solbakken. Oookay ... I guess he's a pro too, but this is going to be a show for grownups, right? ;-)

Yay for multiculturalism, I guess. A concept I am not sold on. But I'm happy happy that Skavlan is not going to be a part of it. ;-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More arts & crafts

Some more pictures of my artful creations. :-) All of this is for Swap-bot. Sheesh, I need to make some stuff for my friends. Anyone need a new bookmark? :-) For some reason, most of my friends are born in autumn and early winter, I think. Well, Calyx's birthday is in mid-February, but I found something really nice for her at Friends. :-)

Anyway. Some inchies. This was open theme, but I tried to make some that fit the recipients likes and interests, as she'd described them in her profile. The flower is an outline sticker that I filled up with glitter using a glue pen. Panduro has a set of glitter in their new winter/spring catalog - 15 different colors - I just had to get it, and I'm wracking my brain trying to think of new things to do with it all. :-)

A bookmark ... made for someone who likes butterflies. :-) Made with monochrome cardstock, patterned deco paper and some laser cut paper butterflies. I love those laser cutouts. I hope the bookmark won't get damaged too easily if/when the recipient uses it, which of course I hope she will.

I've started making postcards using my own photos ... in a more direct way than I've been doing so far. I just get some good quality prints from my local photography store, write whatever I want to say on the back, and then when I'm done, laminate them. Yes, I have a laminator. Don't you??

More inchies. Free theme again, tried to fit recipient's interests again ... she says she likes turtles a lot, so that's why Raphael's in there. :-) These are actually fridge magnets, although that doesn't really show.

I joined this one swap last month which I wanted to try as kind of a challenge to myself ... all the participants were supposed to make a butterfly out of metal wire and glass beads. I had never tried anything like that and didn't know how to do it, but hey, Google is my friend, right? This is what I came up with ... it hasn't arrived yet, so I don't know if the recipient likes it or not, but fingers crossed. I used her favorite colors, at least. The pen is just for scale.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Congratulations on ... ooh!!

Today is the International Women's Day - congratulations to all my female readers! - and I had a bunch of deep thoughts to share on the subject. How the situation is so terrible for women in Afghanistan and how lucky I am to be Scandinavian, and some mean-spirited remarks about the Oscars ... I suppose these last can best be summed up like so:

Best movie my shiny metal ass. But anyway. I had some real serious thoughts too. I did! I was going to write a v. serious blog post today, or at least mostly. But then all these deep & profound thoughts were driven out of my head when I stopped by SVT1, the main state-owned TV channel in Sweden ... I was going to record the rerun of the semifinal of their ESC selections. ;-) Just before the show started, they had one of their little non-commercials. Just informing us of what they've got in store for us. And boy, have they got something in store ... !! :-o

Everything you didn't get to see at the movies ... !! :-o Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, now on TV!! OMG OMG OMG!!!!1! Starting March 20th. I tremble in anticipation!! Although I'm not sure I should be doing that, because right now it looks like it's going to be six 90-minute episodes, and that doesn't mean a whole lot of extra material, does it ... ? But who cares?? MUST SEE ... !!!1 I just reread The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I just have to say, it's a hell of a story. If you haven't already read it, get hold of a copy. It really is as good as everyone says.

Speaking of which, the Americans are working on a remake of the first movie even as we speak. Oh, how I loathe Hollywood sometimes. OK, a lot of the time. Like right now. Stupid Americans who are too lazy to read subtitles so perfectly good movies have to be ruined for the rest of us! Growl. Rumor has it that Kristen Stewart is going to be cast as Lisbeth Salander. Or whatever dumbass name they're going to think up for her. Oh, the pain, the pain of it all!! But of course, one does wonder - on a day like today and so forth - what Keanu would be like as Mikael Blomkvist ... ;-)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring ... ?

Today was my mother's birthday, so I went to my parents' house for dinner. A good time was had by all. Although of course the day wasn't necessarily what it could have been. March is traditionally considered the first month of spring in this part of the world. Spring, you say ... o_O

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Quote of the Week

I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.
Terry Pratchett

Friday, March 5, 2010

A favorite movie

I wonder if anyone reading this will have seen or even heard of this movie? :-)

It's one of my favorites, anyway. I saw it at a screening here in Oslo during the annual Gay & Lesbian Film Festival ... they often have good movies there so I like to go if I get the chance. Independent movies usually, and sometimes from, well, unusual countries. Not just the standard Hollywood trash and semi-trash. ;-) I remember my friend Calyx and I went to see this movie, because ... no, I don't remember that. :-) It was my suggestion that we go and I must have thought it sounded interesting. Which it does, of course. :-) We'd never heard about it before then, either of us, I don't think. I'm hazy on the details though because it was so long ago ... this must have been in 1998 or 1999. o_O

Anyway. I got the tickets and we went to see the first screening. And we just totally loved it. It was just fantastic, so sweet and funny and charming. Great actors and some wonderful lines and scenes. I just loved watching it. And Calyx ... !! :-D She is so funny when she's watching a movie she's really into, she practically jumps around in her seat, it's hilarious. :-) We both agreed that it was a brilliant movie and that we were so happy that we'd gone. The next day Calyx called me and asked what was I doing tomorrow after work? Because she had two tickets to the second screening of the same movie and would I like to go? :-D Of course I did! And it was just as good the second time. :-) Some movies are like that ... but it's very rare for me to go back to see a movie twice in the same week. :-)

Anyway. A couple of years later I got the movie on tape, which I still have ... but my VCR is broken and has been since forever, so that's not really helpful. It's annoying though, because sometimes I've been thinking that I would just absolutely love the chance to see that movie again. But it's not available anywhere around here, in fact I've never seen it in any store anywhere on the planet that I've been. Not that I've looked for it especially. :-) But still. When I was in London last month I asked in a DVD store, but they said that it's out of print, or whatever the equivalent is for movies. Pretty unbelievable for a fantastic movie like that, which everyone ought to see. >:-( Anyway, that was sad news, but as always, eBay is my friend. :-)

Most of the copies on there are insanely expensive though. They're like $45 for one DVD. o_O So I'm right, it should be more widely available, there is a market for it! Oh, why doesn't everyone just listen to me and do as I say. ;-) I found a reasonably priced copy though, right after I got back from England and, hooray, today it arrived. I can't wait to watch it. I wonder if it'll be as good as I remember. I haven't seen it for years now. Fingers crossed. :-)

My copy has a different cover, not the one below, which is kind of a bummer, because this is the artwork I totally associate with this movie. But you can't have it all. Get Real. :-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There's pros and cons to everything

I work with almost only men - in fact, for all practical purposes you could just as well remove the 'almost'. There are about 35 people working here at the Oslo branch right now - eight work for the mother company and the rest for the three daughter companies - and the only woman except me is the sales secretary at one of the daughter companies whom hardly anyone ever sees. She sits in her cubicle almost all the time and doesn't even eat her lunch in the cafeteria with the rest of us ... she just goes in and gets some food and then eats it at her desk in her cubicle. o_O Sometimes a whole week will pass and I'll barely even see her, or maybe not see her at all even once. So she doesn't have what you might call an intrusive presence.

Anyway ... it's me and a whole bunch of guys here. I'm on the shop floor so anyone can see me all the time. :-) Most of the customers are men too, to the extent that if we had one female customer a week for the next month we'd probably all be wondering what's with the rush of estrogen around here. ;-) This doesn't bother me at all ... in fact, I prefer it. I absolutely prefer working with all men or mostly men. What they call a female dominated workplace I think would seriously get on my nerves. I've worked a place with about half and half men and women and that's probably my tolerance limit. I know some women will freak out a bit at the thought of working as the only woman among three dozen men ... but I think it's great, I've never had any problems with it.

Except that if I worked with only women, it'd probably not be very likely that anyone would spit their snus into the sink in the ground floor toilet.

Yuck. :-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Turtles eating scallops

Today was a feeding day for my little guys and I think Raphael was hungry ... I've been sitting in my chair journaling a whole stack of books on behalf of OsloS-OBCZ after the BookCrossing meetup this afternoon, and he came out into the living room twice to check if there was anything to eat. :-D

Here they all are eating scallops. This wasn't tonight but a few weeks ago. They just got their regular boring food tonight. :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happiness is ...

... discovering that something you thought had disappeared without your noticing it isn't actually gone after all. :-)

This is actually really stupid, but that's how it goes. You Scandinavians reading this, you know Lakrisal, right? Mmmm, Lakrisal ... !! I hadn't eaten that stuff for ages, and I hadn't even thought about it, but then suddenly out of the blue I remembered it a couple of weeks ago. And I wanted to get some of it, but I couldn't find it in the candy aisle in my grocery store. There wasn't even an empty place on the shelf ... they just didn't have it. :-o So I figured that OK, I'll be going on a plane soon, they'll have it in the tax free store, right? Wrong! Remember those giant cardboard versions, with ten of the rolls inside them? I thought I might buy one of those, cause then I'd obviously be set up for a good long while. :-) But they didn't have them. :-( So I started thinking that maybe they've gone out of production. :-o That would have been so sad! That might have meant that I'd eaten one for the last time and I didn't even know it. And they're so tasty and unique ... !!

So I was sad about that, but then yesterday, guess what happened. I was at Narvesen (the biggest chain of newsagents in Norway) and even though I wasn't really thinking about the Lakrisal any more (yeah, my wounds heal quickly) it suddenly flashed into my mind that I should look for it. And behold ... !!

Yay! When I got home I finally got around to checking Malaco's website, and sure enough, there it is. So I could have saved myself some grief there. :-) Take a look, they have such an impressive array of candy under 'other selections' ... o_O

Mmmm, Lakrisal ... !! :-D

Hey, it's true