Monday, January 30, 2006

Pictures of Muhammed

There are two pieces of news that are high up on the front pages of the internett newspapers today:
- Several individual Muslims around the world are threatening Denmark and Norway after two newspapers have published pictures (caricatures) of the prophet in Islam, Muhammed.
- The new season of Big Brother in Norway and Sweden has started, and two contestants (two Swedes, a girl and a boy) had sex after only six hours.

This second piece of news sort of undermines any moral high ground western values may have had in the eyes of an outside observer.

The issue of whether the newspapers should have printed the pictures, is not an easy one. A right to free speech does not imply an obligation to print. Making people angry just for the fun of it is not necessarily the right thing to do, even though it is protected by the law.

The issue here, though, is another. The issue is whether the Norwegian people should be punished for having laws protecting free speech. That is a no-brainer. The laws of individual countries can not be written to protect the sensitivities of all possible religions.

Free speech is a fundamental right in our societies. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to use that right in a way that doesn't hurt other people. It is not the responsibility of the state to ensure that we do.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Hurray! The 2006 Olympics are approaching, and Aftenposten has made a list of Norway's main candidates for gold medals:

Alpine skiing: Aksel Lund Svindal (Super-G).

Cross-country skiing: Tor Arne Hetland, Jens Arne Svartedal, Frode Estil, Marit Bjørgen and the relay teams.

Tor Arne Hetland

Biathlon: Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Stian Eckhoff, Frode Andresen, Gro Marit Istad Kristiansen, Liv Grete Poirée and the relay teams.

Speed skating: Eskil Ervik.

Nordic combined: Magnus Moan, Petter Tande and the relay team.

Magnus Moan

Ski jump: The team.

Curling: The men's team.

This may be fun!

(I should mention that the Aftenposten article is a month old, which means they have not taken into account Roar Ljøkelsøy's recent progress in ski jumping, for instance...)

Most ignored news stories

virtual|matter mentions the Project Censored which covers "the top news stories which were either ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media each year".

Sadly, the list of the 25 most ignored or downplayed stories of 2005 is as flawed as the media themselves. There are major humanitarian disasters around the world that got almost no attention in the media in 2005, including from Project Censored. See for instance Médecins Sans Frontières's list of the Top ten under-reported humanitarian stories of 2005.

The use of priests

Norway got its own "Terri Schiavo"-case this month, as a four year old child who cannot breath on her own were the focus of the media's attention. The hospital wanted to turn off the machinery that kept her alive, but her father didn't want them to. He sued the hospital, and the media and the lawyers were ready for battle.

Enter bishop Ole D. Hagesæther. He arranged a meeting between the parties, which led to some understanding. The court cases are cancelled, the machinery is still on and the little girl's father is spared the pain of having his daughter taken away from him while he still believes she can be saved.

In a time when the church is often most often in the media for internal quarreling about which kinds of loving relationships it wants to accept, it is good to see that they care about more important issues. In this case, whatever moral authority the church has left was used to make the two parties see that they are on the same side in this battle. It may be a losing battle, but then at least it is a losing battle that should be fought with dignity in the hospital, not without dignity in the courts...

A big thank you to bishop Hagesæther.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Boyfriend moving in...

Oops, I did it again...

What I mean is that again I blogged on on unsubstantial things, but forgot to blog on the one most important thing in the (ok, then: MY) world right now - that my boyfriend has moved in with me. "My home" is now OUR HOME, and that feels just right...

Sunset over Oslo 26th of january

Sunset over Oslo 26th of january
Originally uploaded by pschwens.
One of the great ways of using flickr, is to search for places you know to see how other people have photographed them. Today, I looked at Oslo, and found this picture - taken today - of how the sky above Oslo looks like on a winter afternoon... Great, isn't it?

More John Andresen...

I see that John Andresen has been busy taking more photos. For instance of German model Ingo Franz...

Norway - Russia 21 - 24

Norway lost their first match in the European Championship in handball today. Norway lost not because of terrific play by their Russian opponents, but because of technical errors and too many two minutes suspensions.

Kristian Kjelling did ok, made a few remarkable goals (including one from 9 meters in overtime in the first half), but also chose to shoot in positions where he should rather have waited...

All in all, there's no need to be depressed - except that the next opponent is Croatia...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

John Obi Mikel update

The John Obi Mikel saga goes on...

On January 9th, Oslo Tingrett (the lowest court in Oslo) declined to take the case brought by John Obi Mikel against Lyn over alleged faked contracts. The court wants the case to be settled by FIFA, not by Norwegian courts, according to Dagbladet.

On January 20th, The Independent printed rumours that Chelsea are willing to pay 6 million pounds to Manchester United to get the case out of the way. These rumours have not been confirmed by any of the parties.

I don't know who is right or wrong in this case, but I hope we'll see him playing in the Premier League soon...

Previous posting on John Obi Mikel:
John Obi Mikel story goes on.

Presidential palace party (in the nude)

vg writes about a party in the Estonian presidential palace, apparently held by the grandchildren of president Arnold Ruutel. The grandchildren are Maria (13) and Helena (15). One of the pictures that have been published from this party is the following, showing a young man nearly nude:

The most intriguing part is the following: The president's spokeswoman is glad that the nude person is a man and not a woman. "That would have been totally different", she says.

What? In what way, exactly?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kristian Kjelling goes Beckham

According to vg, Norwegian handballer Kristian Kjelling wants to follow the lead of David Beckham. He has hired a manager who will be in charge of making the "brand" Kristian Kjelling.

Another way Kjelling seems intent to follow Beckham is in becoming a gay icon. At least, the new photo series of him seems to have that purpose. I'll show just one example here, but there are more at Brun og blid's homepage.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Norwegian State Church approves of gay priests

The headline here is misleading. The Norwegian State Church has approved of gay priests for a long time. However, due to a decision in 1995, gays and lesbian living in a stable and loving relationship were banned from being priests. The news now, is that the committee that was appointed to look at what the Bible says on the issue, has apparently not been able to come to a conclusion. Their decision is due on Friday, and rumours say that their verdict will be split. This opens the way for a full recognition of all gay priests, not only the single ones.

The situation since the 1995 decision has been a bit messy, as a few bishops have opposed the rest of the church establishment, and have appointed gay, "unsingle" priests anyway. Now, at last, the time has come for a majority of the church to take the same view.

See Vårt Land for more on this (in Norwegian).


Originally uploaded by Violator3.
Here's a great photo inspired by Caravaggio that I bumped into on Flickr.

Monday, January 16, 2006

On men of large fortune

A wonderful quote in a recent issue of The Economist (from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park):

"there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them."

Memory loss?

I've been wondering lately if I'm getting old - I seem to keep forgetting things...

But now I've realized that I remember more now than I usually do - it's just that the number of things I "should" remember are much higher than usual...

Oh, by the way: this blog has now had more than 40,000 hits. To me, that's a tiny bit amazing...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My thoughts...

...are often on working their way from Oslo to Paris these days, as my boyfriend is in Paris while I'm in Oslo... Miss him...

(The map is generated by Great Circle Mapper.)

10 sexiest album covers of all time has published a list of the 10 sexiest album covers of all time. However, there is not a single male on any of the ten covers - which makes them patently unsexy, in my opinion.

So, what ARE the 10 sexiest album covers of all time, really?

I've tried to look around a bit, but don't have many good ideas. Tin Machines cover for "II" is a bit too boring, really...

Any suggestions?

Friday, January 06, 2006


F gay Berlin 031
Originally uploaded by zarbln.
I come home from work, fall flat on my sofa and fall to sleep. It's that time of year, when everything is dark and cold and I wish I could hibernate.

And I dream of summer, of sandy beaches, and this picture from flickr shows the idea of summer quite perfectly...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Louvre

Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
On 30th of December, I spent some time in the Louvre. It was a cold, snowy day, and everyone else in Paris had also thought of the same... There were no more room for putting away my winter clothes, so I had to carry them everywhere. And the English audio guides were sold out already. And there were lots and lots of people everywhere.

I did have a good time, though. I liked the Rembrandts the most, I think. I also spent some time with the sculptures.

Saw "Mona Lisa" as well, of course. Good painting, but I wonder why it is the most famous painting of all times. I wish to read the story of it becoming so famous...

More about the Louvre later...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Art on stamps (again)

As noted previously, I have started collecting stamps with art motives. Today, I have even started a blog for the purpose: Art on Stamps. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will NOT read much about art on stamps in this blog...

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's resolution

It's that time of year again...

You could choose between looking at your life to see what is good there - or to look for bad things that you want to change. For some reason, people tend to focus on the bad things, ending up thinking that they lead terrible, terrible lives. To avoid this, I will look at what I like about my life at present:

1. I got a boyfriend in 2005!
In 2006, I will try to spend lots and lots of time with my boyfriend, and I'll try to be as good to him as he deserves (and that's a lot!).

2. I have a great family, and in 2005 I spent some good quality time with them!
...and in 2006, I want to keep doing that...

3. I have some friends that are very important to me, and spent a lot of time with them in 2005!
...and I want to keep that up, as well...

4. I got a good job - and I like it!
...and in 2006 I will keep doing a good job, but try not to work TOO much...

5. For a while in 2005, I had a good habit of training twice a week.
...and I want to get back into that habit soon...

I wish you all a happy new year! Remember to hold on to the parts of your lives you are very happy with - don't risk losing that just because you are mildly unhappy about other things...

Dieux du Stade Calendar

Decoration 2
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
Just another look at the decoration at the New Year's Eve party - after the party... :-)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New years eve

New years eve
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
On new year's eve, we went to a party where a 2005 calendar was used for decoration. Just as 2005 itself, the calendar had done it's duty, and ended up forgotten and unloved on the floor...

Great party, by the way.


Notre Dame, Paris
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
I've spent (almost) a week in Paris now. That was great - mainly because I spent so much time with my boyfriend and his friends. Other parts of the experience were not as good - such as having a cold with a fever at the same time as having a back problem meaning I couldn't get from a sitting to a standing position without pain... (I'm better now...)

Due to the cold and my back, as well as the cold weather in Paris, I didn't see as much of Paris as planned. I ended up with parts of Louvre and the Sacre Coeur - in addition to seeing Notre Dame and some other buildings from the outside...

Anyway: it was a wonderful week in Paris, and we will most certainly return...

Music chart has come up with a few new ways of putting charts on your webpages, and that is cute. Here is my current chart showing which songs I've heard the most in iTunes:

bjornsmestad's Overall Tracks Chart