Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Straight Norwegians are crazy

Aftenposten has a story today about the level Norwegian male straights do at times steep to:

"Four boys in Tromsø made a bet on who would sleep with the most women during the year... The losers would each pay NOK5000 (about $600) to the winner. The boys are between 26 and 31 years old."

Get real! They are actually adults, even if they don't behave that way!

One of them claims that the total "score" passed the 200 mark in June. He also claims that he only uses prevention in half of the sex acts.



I guess it's too much to hope that the information being distributed on World AIDS Day tomorrow will make these guys wiser...



World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day

Nude athlete photography

The site of Ewoud Broeksma was brought to my attention today. He has photographed lots of athletes in and out of clothes. Some of the photos are really great - well worth a look!


Anatoli Poliakov, Russia


Steffen Driesen - swimmer


Hans Roskam - waterpolo



Norwegian soccer player Erik Nevland

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More anti-gay propaganda

According to VG, Jan-Aage Torp, one of Norway's leading anti-gay propagandists, has said that he thinks it's right to call gays "a cancer tumor in the society". "It's not about every single individual, but about homosexuality as a phenomenon," he is quoted as saying. (My translations.)

For some strange reason, the media keep neglecting to ask what the reasoning behind such nonsensical sentences is. While cancer kills, homosexuality just IS, and the fight for gay rights has made the society freer and more tolerant, both for gays and straights.

Just in case someone somewhere might actually take Torp seriously, Norwegian gay organization LLH has decided to ask the police to figure out if these statements are against Norwegian law.

I don't know if stupidity should be outlawed. But Torp's verbal abuse should be countered (even though it's always more difficult to counter pure nonsense than arguments), because there may somewhere be someone whose life is just a little bit more miserable because of Torp's hate speech.

Vatican tries to destabilize lives

In a rant today, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano writes that "homosexuality risked "destabilizing people and society", had no social or moral value and could never match the importance of the relationship between a man and a woman", according to Reuters

Apparently, the article does not try to argue coherently for these strange accusations. It seems quite strange to me that love should destabilize anything. Of course, the feeling of love may at times feel destabilizing, as suddenly the dull, everyday life is transformed and you can think of nothing else than doing good for your loved one. However, this is a good kind of destabilization, and moreover it does not (as far as I have noticed), have the same important consequences for society as a whole. (Which is readily apparent every time a lover tries to tell his surroundings about how wonderful his loved one is...)

That love between gays have the same social and moral value as love between others seem quite obvious to me, and the Vatican does not try to give reasons against this either. And the importance of good, stable relationships is huge - both for the couple themselves and for their children, if they have any. It's difficult to see that there is any important difference based on the sex(es) of the couple.

It feels very good to live in a society where the Catholic church does not have an important role. The same attitudes that the Vatican shows here, were promoted by the Norwegian church 50 years ago, but that is more or less a thing of the past.

However, it is also sad to see how the Vatican tries to destabilize the lives of all happy, Catholic gay couples. I hope they will not succeed in their quest.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Per Ciljan getting better



The Norwegian newspapers have been writing a lot about the leg of Per Ciljan Skjelbred in the last few days - after it broke because of a terrible tackle by an Olympiakos-player in a Champions League-match. Today newspapers (for instance Adresseavisa) show him smiling again after an operation and some hard days for the poor, young guy.

Hope to see him back on the field soon!

Skjelbred injured

Soccer players nude

I've come across an old issue of the Norwegian magazine "fotball", where the 1993 team for Ham-Kam is pictured. It's interesting to see, not just because of the nudity, but also because some of these are still important figures in Norwegian soccer. Ståle Solbakken has just completed a few successful seasons as coach of Ham-Kam, and will be going on to Copenhagen next year. Vegard Skogheim has done well as coach of Kongsvinger. Petter Belsvik is still one of the most-scoring soccer players through all time.


Vegard Skogheim, Ståle Solbakken, Leif Nordli and Petter Belsvik


Tom Henning Hovi, Sven Erik Sætre, Heina Jenssen and Ronny Pedersen
(The guy who is split between the two pictures are Stein Arne Ingelstad)

Eckhoff says no to women's magazines

...and yesterday's winner in biathlon, Stian Eckhoff, says to Dagbladet that he has been approached by women's magazines that want him to "show skin", but that he has turned them down. But at least he tells us about it - what should I (and Dagbladet) write about if he didn't?

Sondre Lerche's clear message to the Salvation Army



In the run-up to Christmas, Norwegian artists (in cooperation with the newspaper Dagbladet) hold free concerts in the centre of Oslo to support The Salvation Army's good work, despite The Salvation Army discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Yesterday, Sondre Lerche held a concert while at the same time giving a clear message to The Salvation Army. According to Dagbladet, he dedicated the first song to the new leadership of The Salvation Army in Norway, and then dedicated the rest of the concert to the man who was just degraded for being gay.

- The new leadership in The Salvation Army (in Norway) have reduced the tolerance, it seems. Artists can't go on holding concerts for free as if nothing has happened, when they discriminate against gays. That's in the face of all Norwegian values. We have gotten far in Norway. It is tragic that the Salvation Army now takes a step back. To treat an officer who has been there for more than 20 years in this way, is worse and ruder than giving him the sack. And what is the next thing - that the Army won't help a homeless guy because he is gay?

Thanks to Sondre for understanding the importance of this. I think his way of doing this is good - hopefully this will also nudge Dagbladet into finding someone else to cooperate with next year...

The John Obi Mikel story goes on

The most recent development in the John Obi Mikel saga (a Nigerian player who has played for Lyn this season, and who is now wanted by both Manchester United and Chelsea) is that John Obi Mikel claims that his contract with Lyn is falsified. Newspapers write that sorting out this in court may take three years. (The contract secures Lyn tons of money if John Obi Mikel signs for one of the big clubs.)

Sadly, so much money is at stake here that nobody can afford to think of anything else than money. There should be mechanisms to save young people from getting in such a squeeze that John Obi Mikel has gotten into here, but obviously they don't work...

The pictures below are taken from a lot of different sources, but they show an eventful year for John Obi Mikel, with happiness and unhappiness:















Other postings on John Obi Mikel:
John Obi Mikel speaks
What happens to Obi Mikel?
John Obi Mikel

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How to lose 20 pounds in 6 months

For some time, I've noticed that I've been gaining weight. It hasn't been sudden or anything, it's just five kilos or so in two years or something like that. But happily, I've had the plan ready to fight it:

1. I swim once a week - and 1000 metres every time. (Except weeks with too much to do at work. There have been a few of them lately. Come to think of it, these weeks have turned up a bit too frequently all autumn...)

2. I work out once a week. I have a program planned for me by an advicer at the centre. (Actually, it haven't been really EVERY week, but almost. At least once every two weeks...)

3. I have bought a BULLWORKER! Which means I will never have an excuse to work out! (And I've even used it - four times I think...)



4. I walk half an hour every day on my way to and from work...

5. I eat quite healthy food. (At home, that is. But actually I eat dinner out more often than at home. Desserts as well.)

6. I've stopped eating chips. (In 1993 or something. It lasted for several months.)

7. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. (This is true! I eat more than the "five-a-day" that is recommended...)

I would love to lose weight before going to the beach again next summer. And actually, I had thought I could lose 20 pounds in six months if I only followed those seven simple steps. But for some unexplained reason, it doesn't seem to work...

Pat Morita dies



Pat Morita, Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movies (a role he received an Oscar nomination for), died in Los Angeles on Thursday.

It is a bit strange that I should feel so sorry because of the death of a man I haven't really thought much of for the last 20 year, but the Karate Kid movies were important to me when I was 12-14 years old. I was secretly in love with Ralph Macchio, and Mr. Miyagi seemed just the perfect mentor in times of need - although he was reserved, his love was endless.

I almost get an urge to see "Karate Kid" again, but I guess this is the kind of movie /memory that is best left unchanged...

Salvation Army vs. gays

After the Salvation Army in Norway ("Frelsesarmeen" in Norwegian) degraded a gay worker a few weeks ago, the discussion about The Salvation Army has finally got the attention it deserves in Norwegian media, and several artists have decided that they will find other causes to support. But still The Salvation Army gets the support of lots of lots of people who wants to help the good cause even though they disagree strongly about this issue.

I find this surprising - and a proof that discrimination against gays is still not regarded as as "serious" as discrimination on the basis of skin color, for instance.

Let's have a little thought experiment: Let's say there are two organizations helping poor people - organization A and B. Both organizations are respected for their good work. However, organization A has a policy of not hiring people who are married to people of another skin color, while B does not have such a policy. Which organization will you support?

For me, the choice is simple - I do not condone racism, no matter what the "good reasons" behind it. So I would choose support organization B.

This is exactly the situation in Norway - there are other alternative organizations that are just as good as The Salvation Army. The only small detail is that The Salvation Army's discrimination is based on sexual orientation instead of skin color. That makes it ok?

Happily, one of The Salvation Army's most important supporters, the newspaper Dagbladet, has promised to review their support after Christmas. Let's hope they make the decent decision, and choose to support an organization that does not discriminate based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

Skiing

The skiing world cup has started. I noted that Jens Filbrich did quite well today, and found this picture. Isn't it cute?


Jens Filbrich, René Sommerfeldt, Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Claudia Künzel

Another one of René Sommerfeldt:

Interview meme

Okay, I'm slow. I have only just today "discovered" the phenomena "The Interview Meme". I found it at Jacob Haller's place.

The Rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me" or something similar.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions of my choosing.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and leave the answers as comments on my blog
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

(Okay, I admit I'm cheating - putting this here before getting any questions from Jacob to answer myself, but I'll update this with his questions for me and my answers later.)

College students really do party naked

Just when I thought I had figured out how Americans are (inhibited about nudity, among other things), I found this news report:


NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Naked parties appear to be the latest fad to streak across East Coast universities, it was reported Tuesday.

After apparently gaining a foothold at Brown and Yale, the fad has caught on at New York's Columbia University, the New York Sun reported.

All the parties have one thing in common -- all articles of clothing are left at the door. Among the reportedly banned items are cameras, masks and "spikey things," the newspaper said.

Students told the Sun the parties are more social than sexual. One Columbia student said he was surprised the trend even caught on at the basically conservative university.

"Columbia students are generally not into the exhibitionist realm," senior Zachary Bendiner said. "Rightfully so, because by and large they aren't terribly attractive."




I don't think this trend has reached Norway yet. But what do I know?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Maths blog

I've made myself another blog: Bjørn's maths blog. After all, maths is an important part of my life, so I should have a place to put "interesting" stuff I come across...

Stange


stange6
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
In my series of postings on photos I've taken (and which are available at flickr), I'll now mention this picture of "my" church. The church of Stange is a beautiful church from 1225. I was baptised there in 1972...

Although I no longer believe in gods, I still like this church...

Skjelbred injured

The soccer news of the day in Norway is that Rosenborg's rising star Per Ciljan Skjelbred broke his leg in yesterday's match against Olympiakos.



He will be operated soon, and may be back in training within a month or two. Let's hope he is well soon.

Previous postings on Skjelbred:
Per Ciljan for national team?
Nice swim after a hard match

Instructions for Philips Espressobar needed...

I've just made four or five unsuccessful attempts at making espresso in my "new" Philips Espressobar - before finally being able to make a latte. It actually tastes good! (And I've granted myself a dispensation from my usual rule of no coffee after 7...)

But sadly I don't know exactly I did right this last time, except turning knobs that I hadn't turned that much before... So if everyone has fool-proof instructions on how to use the machine, that would be very much appreciated... :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Espresso machine

I just got an espresso machine, and this morning I had my first cup of espresso that I've made myself! (Reminding me that I don't actually like espresso very much, but that's another story - I'll go for lattes and so on...)

The machine is a Philips Espressobar, and I got it for free from my brother, who has apparently moved on to more advanced stuff... I spent about half an hour on making the first cup of espresso, but apparently it will only take a few minutes once I get the hang of it...

And now I'm almost awake and ready to take on another day... :-)

Speed skating

shigeki reminded me (in a comment to the Even Wetten post), that there is also something called "figure skating".

Usually, that's not my cup of tea, but maybe I should reconsider... Here's Stephane Lambiel...




Previous postings:
Stephane Lambiel world champion

Soccer stars undress for cancer cause

According to vg, several Italian soccer stars have "undressed" for a calendar to make money for cancer research in Italy. That's a nice reminder to give some money to a good cause now before Christmas, instead of only spending it on myself...


Kaka

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Speed skating season has started

Several world records were set this weekend in Salt Lake City, pointing out that it will be an interesting season for speed skating. Norwegian up-and-coming-star Håvard Bøkko set a new junior world record in 1500 meters, and Even Wetten made a national record. I'm looking forward to the 2006 Olympic Games...


Even Wetten after gold medal last season.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kakuro

Finally a diversion from doing Sudokus all the time: the new hot thing is supposedly Kakuro. I tried one at dokakuro.com and it was all right... A tiny bit more calculation than Sudoku, but not too much...



I don't know if this will be a new success such as Sudoku or Rubik's cube. And by the way, last time I saw a Rubik's cube was in a museum...

Sexiest man alive

Matthew McConaughey has been selected "sexiest man alive" by People magazine. "I particularly like the "alive" part of it", he says.



It is interesting to see that People Magazine finds speaking English very sexy. Everyone on the list are English speakers. Come to think of it, most of them are American and have English as their mother tongue. So maybe we shouldn't really trust this selection too much?

There is also a surprising number of show biz-guys, and few athletes, for instance. Weird.

The rest of the list is like this:
2. Patrick Dempsey
3. Terrence Howard
4. Viggo Mortensen


5. Vince Vaughn
6. Nick Lachey


7. Heath Ledger
8. Daniel Dae Kim
9. Keith Urban
10. Ian McShane
11. Matt Damon


12. Denis Leary
13. Anderson Cooper
14. Clive Owen

I beg to differ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Golden lion tamarin in Montreal


mont2
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
While in Montreal, I visited the BioDome. That was fun - four climates in just a little while. This cute little creature was one of the highlights...

More on my stay in Montreal in my previous posting.

No Norway in World Cup

After losing 0-1 in both matches against the Czech Republic, Norway will not be seen in next summer's World Championship. Norway could have beaten the czech with a lot of luck, but it must be admitted that it would not have been a deserved win...

But the World Cup will be fun anyway...


Morten Gamst Pedersen and the rest of the Norwegian team lost against...



Milan Baros and his czech mates...

But again: I'll take comfort in the ski season coming up...



Nude reporter

Okay, the Czech Republic is ahead at half time, so I'm trying to find other things to entertain me. In the blog Completely naked, I found the following picture:



Seems like an interesting tv station...

More nude guys from John Andresen

Okay, I admit it... I tend to check out John Andresen's website once in a while, to see what is new there. Today, I once more found good new photos there...





...which only goes to show that there are a lot of good-looking Norwegians around...

Previous postings on John Andresen:
Sexy Norwegian
Willy Sharma - sexy basketball player
No more nude photos? (Ice hockey player Ygranes)
Willy Sharma revisited

Bush/Cheney's wish to torture

When Bush/Cheney's capasity to shock seemed exhausted, they have just jumped into a fight to let USA keep torturing prisoners.

The Economist writes: "This week saw the sad spectacle of an American president lamely trying to explain to the citizens of Panama that, yes, he would veto any such bill [outlawing torture] but, no, "We do not torture." Meanwhile, Mr. Bush's increasingly error-prone vice-president, Dick Cheney, has been across on Capitol Hill trying to bully senators to exclude America's spies from any torture ban. To add a note of farce to the tragedy, the administration has had to explain that the CIA is not torturing prisoners at its secret prisons in Asia and Eastern Europe - though of course it cannot confirm that such prisons exist."

Bush's second term has not started well for him, but at least he may go in to history as the president who saved CIA's "right" to torture prisoners.

Shame on you.

John Obi Mikel speaks

In an interview with BBC (quoted in Dagbladet John Obi Mikel has spoken on his future. He is currently a player for Lyn Oslo, but both Chelsea and Manchester United claims him for their teams. John Obi gives praise to Alex Ferguson, but still wants to play for Chelsea.

FIFA will rule in the case soon, apparently.



Previous postings:
What happens to Obi Mikel?
John Obi Mikel

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Winter approaching...

After a warm autumn (for Oslo), the weather was cold again today. I shouldn't complain, at least not after the natural disasters in other parts of the world - and even in the west of Norway bad weather has taken lives - but I can't help thinking that I would prefer if we headed for summer instead of for winter...

And while I was surfing the 'net, I came across these pictures from Chios, Greece on a Norwegian website (Karl-Ove Vindenes' webpage)





Yep, I must plan for a trip to some faraway, warm country before long... (Christmas in Paris with my boyfriend is good, though.)