August 30, 2007

Red Riding Hood: The Adult (sort of) Version

From time to time, I search Youtube for Norwegian language entertainment (mostly to show to the kids). Today, I found the following video. It is subtitled into English and is really pretty damn funny. I wish I could show it to my kids and I am quite glad I watched it all the way through before deciding it was ok to show the kids. Enjoy:

Posted by Random Penseur at 12:59 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 15, 2006

Must be a language difference

See, here in the United States, when we say "petting zoo", we don't mean a place where you get to pet with the animals, much less have sexual relations with them. I guess that must be why the article is titled "Animal Bordellos". Think the animals have a union?

Note to self: do not take kids to the zoo in Norway or Denmark next year.

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:51 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 08, 2006

Archeology ... yesterday. Or the day before. Not really today, though


This story broke first on September 6, but I was too busy to do anything about it until now: Viking find in Østfold, Norway. Aftenposten reports:

Archeologists have found a boat in a burial place near the E6 highway in Bjørnstad in Østfold County in southeast Norway.

* * *

The ship's contours are 6.6 meters (21.65 feet) long and 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) wide.

Although the find is the first of its type in the Østfold Country area, it resembles several ships of the same size found in Gulli in Tønsberg two years ago.

"The boats in Vestfold (County, over the Oslo fjord) were all from the Viking period. It would be a sensation if this was not also from the same era," Rødsrud said.

There is a cool article from PBS on Norwegian Viking Ships and you should certainly also go check out the Norwegian museum website which has links to the individual boats themselves.

A new ship. Very cool.

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July 10, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation, installment 2

We are up to Tuesday, the day after I spirited the children away to the Oslo Fjord.

I have a very old, very dear friend who has a Norwegian father and an American mother. We have been close since we were two years old, throwing rocks in a pond together. His father is a retired Norwegian diplomat and his parents are living in Oslo. I have known them forever and I love them. So, going to see them was practically a requirement. Off we went, just me and the kids as, once again, the Viking Bride was laid low by the sleep problems of the littlest viking.

Our friends live near Frogner Park (link is to pictures of the Vigeland sculptures there). (more photos here). We didn't go to the park this time. It was raining, off and on and a bit chilly. The only bad day of weather we had the whole trip.

We had a lovely visit with our friends. This was the first time I had seen their apartment since they had renovated it. The apartment was lovely. Huge windows, full of light, generously proportioned with a fireplace in the dining room and the living room. The dining room was banquet sized with an elaborately painted ceiling, original to the building. The rooms all had stunning plaster moldings. High ceilings, hardwood floors, the works. It also had an interesting arrangement I've noticed in other Oslo apartments. The front hall is self contained and differently floored -- tile, I think. It is closed off by doors from the rest of the apartment, which makes sense when you consider the cold winters they endure in Norway.

The building is rather historic, built in 1889 by Henrik Bull (link is to a Norwegian language biography but it does have some nice pictures, partial English langauge bio here), a famous Norwegian architect. I think that this must have been one of Bull's first commissions since: "Henrik Bull etablerte sin egen arkitektpraksis i Kristiania i 1888. . ." Or, he established his own architectural practice in Oslo in 1888. Bull went on to build a lot of well known buildings in Oslo, including the National Theater and the Historical Museum.

It was quite cool to visit a building he designed.

Cool, by the way, being the operative word under the right conditions since the building lacked any central heating system.

After lunch, my sister in law spirited the kids away to see Ice Age II, in Norwegian, while I browsed my way back up the main shopping drag to take the train back to my in-law's house.

It was a lovely afternoon, spent in the company of dear old friends, in a beautiful apartment with an impressive historic pedigree. And they served beer. Really, how much more could you ask for? And before you do, let me note that my friend's mother served homemade lemon ice-cream that the children devoured.

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July 07, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation, installment 1

I suppose I feel a little like talking about how I spent my summer vacation. I do not intend this to be a blow by blow account. I am, as always, writing for my own pleasure, because I enjoy seeing the words dance across the screen, because I wish, by writing, to try to better fix the memory of what transpired. In fact, I lack the time to recount everything in this one entry so I will just get some of the beginning bits down. So, to the substance.

We arrived on Saturday after an all night flight. I recall almost nothing of that day at all. Not a shock, since I did not sleep on the flight, having occupied my time primarily with making sure the Boy Child, who was asleep on the floor of the plane, did not keep pushing his head out into the middle of the aisle for someone to accidently boot it as they passed. He was persistent, just the same. It was a long flight.

Monday was the first day I can recall particularly enjoying. The weather was beautiful. So beautiful, that I packed the Boy Child and the Girl Child into my mother-in-law’s car and she drove us down to the docks to take a boat out to Hovedøya Island, in the middle of the Oslo Fjord. The Viking Bride, exhausted, stayed behind with the baby. I try to get to the Oslo Fjord as soon as is practicable whenever I arrive in Norway. Especially in the summer. There is something magical and almost healing about being on the water. I suppose that goes for anywhere but it feels particularly powerful in Norway.

So, I bought the kids some candy and a bottle or two of water and off we went. Oslo maintains, much like city buses, a small fleet of city municipal transport boats that run on a regular schedule between the various islands in the fjord. We took one of these. We sat on the top of the boat, out in the sun, and got off at Hovedøya, a large island with a beautiful beach, ruins of an old (1100's) monastery, and left over fortifications from the time batteries of artillery were placed there to protect the harbor. We walked to the beach, over the island, to the other side. It was glorious weather and the beach was not at all crowded. The Girl Child immediately waded into the water and was soon helping a bunch of other girls make mudpies – all the while chattering away with them in Norwegian. The Boy Child stuck a bit closer to me and we sat quietly together on the rocks overlooking the water. We all later gathered some beautiful small sea shells. After a quick shower to take the worst of the mud and salt off, we adjourned for lunch at the café. Following lunch, we went off to explore the ruins. According to the kids, this may have been the high point of the day. The ruins were covered over with wild flowers and the sky was very blue. I let the kids clamber up and over whatever the felt comfortable climbing on and I let them explore to their heart’s content. I got some great pictures of them and when I download them from my camera I will consider posting one or two.

On the approach to the island by boat, I noticed a battery of old cannon and I sort of recalled being there one time before, about 10 years ago. So, after the monastery, I marched my little troop off to find the battery. We marched around half the island and failed to find it. We did, however, enjoy walks through forest, wild flower covered fields, wild raspberry patches, and along paths following the coastline of the island. It was, all of it, gorgeous, even if the Boy Child was concerned that his feet were getting “very busy”. I knew that meant he was tired so we took a candy break. Do not give a three year old boy a chocolate bar and not expect him to become a chocolate monster with brown smears all over face and hands. Fortunately, there were wipes. Plenty of them.

I hoisted the Boy Child on to my shoulders for the walk back to the dock and happily got on the wrong boat with the kids. We added 15 more minutes to our journey this way and got to see a couple of more islands. The islands are covered with small, what were once, summer cottages. I think that many of them have been winterized now. We ate the rest of the chocolate on the boat. However, this time, I held the Boy Child’s chocolate for him. The Girl Child, naturally fastidious, did not need any help.

It was a wonderful day.

Posted by Random Penseur at 02:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 16, 2005

Kosovo and the Beach Boys

Go and watch the Norwegian peacekeepers/soldiers dancing to a US soldier version of the Beach Boys classic: The video link. I think it's kind of funny but I gather it is causing a strong reaction in Norway. My Norwegian sister in law, who sent it to me, thought it was funny, too.

Posted by Random Penseur at 04:46 PM | Comments (6)

April 28, 2005

Munch Theft update: Paintings destroyed?

Since the Scream and the Madonna were stolen, I have maintained the hope that they would be returned, unharmed. That may have been foolish. According to Aftenposten today:

The Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" have been incinerated, according to newspaper Dagbladet, citing criminal sources and a top secret police report. The paper claimed Thursday that the paintings were destroyed in order to get rid of damning evidence as the police investigation closes in on the culprits behind the robbery.

Investigation leader Iver Stensrud of the Oslo police said he had no knowledge of the supposedly secret report acknowledging the destruction of the paintings.

"This is completely unknown to Oslo police. I basically have no comment and normally we do not use Dagbladet as a reliable source here at the Oslo police," Stensrud told NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting).

Three people are in custody in connection with the Munch robbery, but none of them are linked to crime via technical evidence, and the pair that carried out the heist are considered to be at large.

Dagbladet cited both criminal and police sources in their reportage, and said that police expect new arrests in the case shortly.

In any event, prepare for the worst.

Posted by Random Penseur at 11:20 AM | Comments (4)

April 07, 2005

Munch Theft update

Do the police finally have a theory? Well, according to Aftenposten, maybe the Munch theft was linked to another robbery and maybe the gang who stole the Munch paintings did so to create a spectacular art theft that would tie up and divert police resources while the gang went on to perform another fantastic heist. Sounds ridiculous. Sounds like the police need to get some more money so they can buy a clue. I've been following this theft for some time and, well, here's the text of the article (in case the link expires) and you be the judge:

Munch robbery a diversion? Police now apparently rounding up the final suspects in one of Norway's biggest robbery cases now believe their work may also lead to a breakthrough in the high-profile theft of two masterpieces by Edvard Munch.

The robbery, which was a ruthless and large-scale operation, resulted in the shooting death of police officer Arne Sigve Klungland, making it an exceptionally violent crime by Norwegian standards.

The police investigation to catch the members of the gang behind the NOKAS robbery is the biggest law-enforcement operation ever launched in Norway, and has already cost NOK 65 (USD 10.2) million, probably a bit more than the thieves made off with.

Now investigators say they cannot rule out that the robbery of Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" from the Munch Museum in Oslo on August 22 last year was part of an advance maneuver from the band behind the NOKAS heist. The goal would have been to tie up investigative resources by creating a spectacular art theft.

On the grounds that the members of the various criminal networks in the underworld in Oslo and eastern Norway know each other, police inspector Iver Stensrud is optimistic that more than one case may be solved by the NOKAS investigation.

"I would therefore not rule out that the arrests in the NOKAS case will lead to a positive development in the investigation of the Munch case," Stensrud told Aftenposten.

Police have biological trace evidence in the getaway car used in the Munch robbery, and have an increasing number of suspects in custody to test.

The Malaga arrest of Toska, in the company of a 28-year-old Norwegian suspected of being behind a major hashish smuggling operation, is another indicator to police that Norway's criminal circles often merge, with multi-faceted international criminals becoming the norm.

"It is interesting for us that these two were arrested together. It is relevant to raise the question of whether part of the robbery take has been used to purchase large quantities of hashish, and this is something the police will investigate closely," Stensrud said.

Think I'm being too hard on these poor, hard working idiots? The only promising thing, from my vantage point, is that they may have some form of "biological evidence" recovered from the getaway car.

I despair that these paintings will ever be found.

And while on the subject, I bet if they ever do catch anyone, no one is going to jail because they will demonstrate that they are unbalanced. I mean, if you can get away with stabbing six people on a bus, killing one of them, and not serve any prison time, what do you have to do to get put in the clink?

Accused killer not legally sane A Norwegian-Somalian who went amok on an Oslo tram last August, killing one and injuring five with a combat knife, has been assessed as psychotic and cannot serve prison time.

Police arrive on the scene of the stabbing rampage that stunned Oslo in August last year.

Forensic psychiatrists say the 41-year-old man was psychotic when the crimes were committed and is still psychotic and recommend he receive treatment for at least five years. He stands charged with one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

District attorney Terje Nybøe will ask that the defendant be transferred to compulsory psychiatric care when the trial begins in Oslo municipal court on April 26.

Defense counsel Heidi Bache-Wiig said her client does not remember anything that happened and will plead not guilty.

The 41-year-old was seated in the front of the tram and suddenly stood up and began methodically stabbing passengers. The driver stopped and opened the doors to help people escape and the assailant ran off, eventually getting away after threatening a motorist into surrendering a vehicle.

The Norwegian-Somalian man was a known 'ticking bomb'. He had been released from the psychiatric polyclinic at Ullevål University Hospital four days before the tram attack and was on the police list of suspects when they received a tip from a mosque that led to an arrest.

The 41-year-old had no medication and reportedly had been sleeping rough, on benches and in bus shelters, and spending his days in a park in the period before the attack.

The investigation revealed that the defendant had tried to receive medical help just three hours before the rampage, but was refused. Norway's Board of Health criticized Ullevål for their treatment of the man, and for not supplying their final report to the man's physician.

Bache-Wiig told Aftenposten that she is still considering suing Ullevål for compensation for the way her client was treated.

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2005

Munch stolen, again!

I have written a number of posts about the initial theft of the Scream and the Madonna from the Munch Museum in Norway. I have written follow ups here, here, here, and here. I have been very critical of the police since they have not come even at all close to catching the thief or thieves or recovering the art since they were stolen last August.

Now, these over worked art detectives have a new theft to contend with.

Be on the look out for:


The Telegraph reports:

Three works by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch have been stolen from a hotel in southern Norway - the second major theft of his paintings in seven months.

The art works were taken from the Refnes Hotel near the city of Moss, about 30 miles south of Oslo, last night.

Vidar Salbuvik, the hotel owner, said two of the stolen works were lithographic portrait prints, including one of the artist himself. He said the third was a watercolour titled The Blue Dress from 1915.

They were taken from the hotel restaurant after closing hours.

A hotel worker had surprised two people who had removed the pictures from the wall.

Art experts guessed the value could be in the millions of kroner (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros). The watercolour was a one of kind, and would account for the bulk of the value.

"It seems to be a fashion among criminals to steal Munch," said Mr Salbuvik.

"There are no grounds for assuming any connection between the thefts, but we will be talking to the Oslo police about it," Jan Pedersen, of the local police, said.

The hotel is on the island of Jeloey, where Munch lived and worked from 1913 until 1916, when he moved to Oslo.

Wish Mr. Pederson, the local policeman, luck in his dealings with the Oslo police about links to the Munch Museum theft and luck in recovering the paintings.

However, if history is any guide, I trust you will keep your hopes for a speedy resolution in check so as to avoid the disappointment.


I spoke too soon. Grammer Queen has happily alerted me that the paintings have been recovered and are in good shape! YAY!

I hope Inspector Pederson is transfered to Oslo, pdq, and given responsibility for the Munch Museum thefts.

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)

December 26, 2004

Another Yummy Norwegian Jul tradtion

Have you ever had the pleasure of tasting Pinnekjøtt? It is the traditional second night of Jul (Christmas) dish. It is lamb which has been salted and dried, rehydrated overnight (changing the water 2 or 3 times), steamed over birch sticks (the pinne part) and then put under the broiler. It is served with a sort of mashed turnip dish and, once again, you drink Aquavit and beer. Somehow, it becomes the essential of lamb, very gamey and very intensely flavored. I adore it. It is a bit heavy and sometimes a little greasy but I confess I ate way too much of it and am eagerly awaiting leftovers later in the week. Pinnekjøtt can also be prepared by smoking it instead of salting it but I prefer the salted one. The flavor is subtler, somehow. Well, back to the pool!

By the way, it is rather nice to compose Norwegian posts with a key board that has the following letters built in as options: Å; Ø; and, Æ.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004

Munch Museum Robbery Update: Paintings ruined?

According to Aftenposten this morning, the paintings stolen in the Munch Musuem robbery, the Scream and the Madonna, were both badly damaged in the theft. Madonna is supposedly ruined.

But the police, stalwart fellows that they are, remain "optmistic".

The getaway car can now be linked to several suspects known by name.

That's it. That's all they got.

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:43 AM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2004

Munch Museum Robbery: Update

Well, the paintings are still missing, the criminals are still unidentified, the museum is still closed, and there is nothing new out there in the media.

Oh, wait. I forgot. There is something. A brilliant new plan by a Norwegian city councilor who thinks that the best way to prevent thefts in the future is to make the plans of the museum a state secret. I shit you not. This is the best they appear to have come up with. Can you say, collapse of Western Civilization?

No word on what this will mean for the thousands of people who have innocently picked up maps to the galleries during their visits. Perhaps they will have to return them or face prosecution.

My favorite part of the plan?

If the complete plans for the city hall cannot be made secret then Horntvedt will try to at least classify certain parts of the building.

No word on whether this means that the lavatories will be marked with signs. I mean, gee, you never know.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2004

No Jews in Oslo commemoration of Kristallnacht?

I read here of the enormous irony in that Jews carrying visible signs of Jewish symbols were excluded from marching to commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht in Oslo. How can this be?

Andrew Sullivan covers this as well.


There is a lot of information going around that Jews were not excluded from the march. Indeed, someone left a very long comment to that effect (by pasting and cutting another's words). Instead, I refer you to the following for more information: here, here, and here

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:09 AM | Comments (5)

October 28, 2004

The End of Personal Responsibility

The time of personal responsibility has passed. No longer will you have to admit fault or recognize that the error or mistake lies within you, and not within the stars or some other silly excuse. In a development in Norway which I am sure will be reproduced as soon as possible in the United States, it has become impossible to imprison the "mentally ill", whatever that means.

A Stavanger man convicted 25 times and with 70 offences on the books since his last conviction may be able to sue for damages thanks to new laws. The man has now been diagnosed as 'extremely mentally handicapped' since 1992, and should have received treatment rather than prison time. The man's defense counsel, John Christian Elden, has filed to reopen cases involving 19 convictions since 1992.

District attorney Tormod Haugnes told newspaper Stavanger Aftenbladet that authorities have little choice but to acquit since it is not possible to imprison the mentally handicapped.

"New rules give him the right to commit crimes for the rest of his life, without punishment," Haugnes told the paper. "This is the most extreme result of the new penal code, where preventive detention is replaced with custody and compulsory treatment."

Elden told Aftenbladet that his client could demand compensation for the unjustified imprisonment for the seven to eight years he served for the convictions, and said the damages could likely amount to millions of crowns.

Please tell me that I am not the only one who thinks that this is outrageous, especially considering how easy it can be to manipulate the mental health system.

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:53 AM | Comments (5)

October 26, 2004

Munch Museum Robbery Update

The update is, well, there is still no news, no leads, and the museum itself remains closed. As we previously discussed here and here, Aftenposten reports:

"We ain't got squat", said the police. Ok, they didn't really say that, but it amounts to the same thing. They are no closer to solving the robbery or returning the paintings now then they were back in August when the robbery took place.

I am not filled with hope or optimism, at this point.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2004

Norwegian Law Enforcement: Strippers and Help to Find Drugs

Story #1

According to this article:

a Norwegian prisoner secretly hired an exotic dancer to spice up the prison's monthly culture night. The woman got all her clothes off, to the cheers of the male inmates, before guards could react on Wednesday night at the Hof minimum security prison in southern Norway.

When they come for me, and they will, remind me that I want to serve my time in Norway, will you?

Story #2

From Jan, at Secular Blasphemy (which I recommend checking out in general), we have the story of a drug courier who forgot where he buried his stash and, concerned that the dealer would get to him, called the police to ask them to help him find it!

My guess is that the guy might have heard about stripper night at the local prison.


At least the drug idiot in Norway knew what he was doing. Here in the US, our drug idiots appear to be much stupider. Here we have the heartwarming story of Vicki Lynn Nunnery, 43, of Callaway, Florida who dialed 911 by mistake, hung up the phone, and was later arrested when the police came to investigate the disconnected call (as they do in case someone was hurt) and discovered "one the largest methamphetamine laboratories ever found in Bay County". D'oh!

Posted by Random Penseur at 02:14 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2004

The Slurpee Machine was Broken

I was so amused by this story in Aftenposten about a murderer and rapist escaping from jail and then turning himself in so I had to supply my own answer to the question of why the convict turned himself in. Clearly, he could not get a slurpee.

Seriously, how soft must life be in a Norwegian jail if a convict calls the police from a 7-11 to come get him after a successful escape? As some of you may know, there was a point in 1999 when the Norwegian Supreme Court government refused to extradite a convicted drug smuggler from Norway to the US because it was felt that the US prisons were too harsh.

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2004

When did Norway start living the Jerry Springer dream?

(My wife is just going to love this post. Fortunately, she is at the dentist and may not see it until tomorrow).

When did Norway become such a ready-for-prime-time Jerry Springer player? This was the question I posed to myself after catching the following stories on the front page of Aftenposten's English edition:

1. Norwegian sexologists unveil "penis atlas" Publishers Dinamo will make a first presentation of an unusual book project, the Penis Atlas, on Thursday. The work of four sexologists a photographer and a designer, the volume uses photographs of 100 men in order to inform, demystify and correct many existing misunderstandings about the male sex organ.

2. Record number sexually abused by women
Never before have so many Norwegian men reported being sexually abused in their childhood by women. An increasing number of incest victims have stories to tell about female assailants, and experts say that women can more easily disguise such offenses as care, newspaper Dagsavisen reports.

3. Cannabis plants removed from palace park
A surreptitious patch of cannabis plants tended on the fringe of the park surrounding the royal palace in central Oslo has been discovered after an alert call from newspaper Vårt Land. The annual plants were sown in the spring but will not be completing their life cycle.

4. Children left alone while parents party
Norwegian parents who take their children on holiday overseas are increasingly leaving them on their own while they take off to drink relatively cheap liquor. The problem already has cropped up in Spain, and now Norway's ambassador to Turkey is sounding alarms.

Doesn't this sound like the next Jerry Springer episode? "On our next show, we'll be talking to pot growing, penis obsessed Norwegian women who abuse children sexually and then abandon them for drinking binges. Make sure you tune in!"

All kidding aside, I am disgusted to read about idiot parents who abandon their children without food or water in hotel rooms in Turkey while they go on drinking binges. I keep coming back to the old thought that you need a license to own a dog, but just about anyone can have a child. Whether they should or not.

Posted by Random Penseur at 03:48 PM | Comments (4)

August 22, 2004

APB: Have You Seen This Man or This Woman?

Have You Seen This Man?


Seriously, he (the Scream) was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo yesterday by armed men who threatened the museum employees and then escaped to a waiting car.

Have you seen this woman? They also stole her, the Madonna:



Go to this blog, Secular Blasphemy, for a collection of a lot of links concerning the theft.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:27 PM | Comments (6)

July 27, 2004

Archeology today

A very cool find has been reported in Norway: a major Viking burial mound, several actually.

The site contains two monumental burial mounds, one of which contains a large stone casket. The other one is believed to contain remnants of a Viking ship and a so-called "long house," used as communal dwellings.

A Viking ship! That is so cool. If you want to see what other Viking ships look like, this site has some pictures.

Posted by Random Penseur at 12:23 PM | Comments (4)

July 25, 2004

Socialist Worker Paradise

Norway is the socialist worker paradise, paid for by the oil resources. This was just fascinating to me -- the Norwegian worker, excluding vacations, misses 4.8 weeks of work a year. That is stunning. It is said that it costs the government some $12 billion a year to cover the costs. Oh, and by the way, some 50% of the work force is working for the government in some capacity or another. How is this healthy for any society, that no one works and that half your work force is engaged in providing monopolistic social services to the other half? Who produces anything? How do you expect a society to grow, to thrive, to create, to do anything at all?

You cannot, in my view. The problem the Norwegians are now facing, according to the article, is that they are finally being called on this problem as American (you know, the great Satans) are buying or merging with Norwegian companies and not putting up with these practices.

Norwegian intellectuals do not like America or Americans. They are not alone in Europe, of course. But go, if you have a moment, and check out this article by Bjorn Staerk (Bear Strong for you non-Norsk speakers) on the famed Norwegian intellectual who thinks pro-American Norwegians should be put under surveillance and eventually on trial for their crime of supporting America. Truly shocking. I wonder why we bother to have relations at all sometimes with Norway.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:47 PM | Comments (8)

July 20, 2004

Norwegians think they can vote here?

How unilateral, how interventionist, how one sided. A foreign group wants to interfere in the democratic process of another country! Call out the United Nations! Someone has to stop this madness, this threat to world peace, this act which has the potential to imbalance all of the delicate mechanisms by which international relations are maintained. Maybe we should get France involved.

What am I talking about? You mean you haven't heard? The Norwegians don't want us to re-elect President Bush and have started a website in order to raise money to purchase an advertisement in the Washington Post to tell us silly Americans that Norway was opposed to the war in Iraq and we should not reelect the President. You can read about it here.

The funny thing is how central Norway feels it is to this debate that their ad*, in the WaPo of all papers, is going to influence our election. Most of the US voters don't even read the Post! The best part, though, was this quote:

Geir Lundestad of the Nobel Institute in Norway . . . [says] "Everyone [of the power elite in Norway] is asking me, 'do you think we'll get rid of Bush in November?,' and that's a completely new situation," Lundestad said.

We'll get rid of Bush? Are they kidding?

If we did something like this, the Norwegian press would be all over our neocolonialist-imperialist-unilateralist-bomb dropping-cowboy hat wearing-ass. The Norwegians take themselves so seriously sometimes that it's just funny.

* corrected typo pointed out by eagle-eyed reader.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:59 AM | Comments (7)

July 06, 2004

Stolen Identity

Another good reason why you should always be careful with your wallet: you may end up married without knowing it. At first this seemed really odd, but upon reflection it makes a lot of sense. You need a residency permit, you steal the identity of a woman, you marry her, you stay. I wonder how often this happens.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

Archeological find in Norway

They have dug up some interesting artifacts in Stavanger. The find includes Women's jewelry, a spinning wheel, a bowl-shaped silver-plated bronze buckle, and an amber pearl. Amber is something that you see a lot of coming from the Baltic region so this would be an indication of trade patterns, perhaps.

The oddest statement was made concerning a piece of stiffened pine resin which the project leader speculates was used as chewing gum: "All of us have tried to chew on stiffened pine resin at one time or another". All of us? We have? I must have been absent that day.

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Unemployed prostitutes in Norway

Too much supply and not enough demand for prostitutes in Norway cause them to take it on the road. What's the problem? Cheaper imported woman from the former Eastern-bloc countries are pricing the Norwegian prostitutes out of the market. Interesting application of market force.

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2004

Sperm Delivery Service in Norway

This is too funny. Apparently, in Bergen, Norway, you can call up and have sperm delivered to your door. The sperm was donated by local donors in Bergen. To think, who needs bars anymore to find an anonymous sperm donor?

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:03 AM | Comments (1)

Seal hunting for Tourists

As Aftenposten makes clear, it is now possible for a tourist to go seal hunting in Norway. The bill has cleared the Norwegian Storting (legislature) and foreigners can now take part in what was once an exclusive pass time for Norwegians. But wait, first you need to pass a shooting test, so don't run out to your travel agents immediately. I thought clubbing was the preferred method, not shooting.

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2004

New Viking Ship

I hope I'm not the only one who thinks that a new Viking Ship excavation is a really interesting occurrence. Because that would be sad.

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

Actually, it appers that the social welfare state has some limits

There may be some limits after all, despite what I wrote about below. A man claimed too much in benefits and was prosecuted. He was not convicted. Why? Too dyslexic to understand, perhaps. However, it does appear from this that you can't just claim for whatever you want and keep it, regardless of your situation or income level.

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

Gotta love the social welfare state

According to Aftenposten, the biggest Norwegian daily newspaper, a family has won compensation from the local welfare authorities to help pay for the effects of their 11 year old son's chronic bed wetting. They had to go to court to get it, but they are going to receive something like $1,100 a year. The article doesn't address this, but I imagine that they are also going to get their lawyer fees and court costs paid as well. The social welfare state will pay for just about anything, I think. Can you even imagine making an application for something like this?

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2004

Stealing Gas

If you plan on stealing gas this summer, as gas prices climb and climb be careful where you put the hose before starting to suck.

Posted by Random Penseur at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

God 17 Mai

To all of you Norwegians and Norwegian-o-philes, I wish you all a god 17 Mai! Today is Norwegian Constitution Day. It is a day to spend with families, to wave the flag, and to have a cook out. My wife and I will be at work instead. I hope everyone has an excellent 17 Mai!

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2004

Beer in Norway

A beer is probably an odd start to the day. Indeed, I have not enjoyed the breakfast of champions (leftover beer and a handful of chocolate chip cookies) since freshman year in college.

However, I feel compelled to share this random thought about beer and Norway. Beer holds a special place in Norwegian society. The first beer of the year taken outside when the weather is nice and taken with friends is a traditional and quite wonderful tradition. Still, with all that, the Norwegians Health Authorities are taking swift action to prevent a beer war. Retailers are lowering prices! Can't have that!

Social control over alcohol in Norway is very tight. Indeed, as a result of the high prices, every year or so someone dies from home brewing or wine making accidents -- usually from the bad hooch itself, not from the process of making it.

"The retailers cut the prices on some local beers to a point where only the state is making any money. The NOK 6.50 doesn't even cover taxes (which amount to NOK 6.61 on a 0.33-liter bottle), much less the cost of production or distribution. The retailers are absorbing the loss, figuring they'll make money elsewhere by luring customers into the stores. Norway has the highest beer taxes in Europe, equal to NOK 19.70 per liter. Denmark, by comparison, charges NOK 3.75 per liter."

And I used to jokingly refer to Norway as the land of the ten dollar beer.

Posted by Random Penseur at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)