Thursday, August 31, 2006

Munch paintings found!

Norwegian police claims to have recovered the two Munch paintings stolen from the Munch Museum two years ago, according to all Norwegian media. The two paintings, The Scream and Madonna, were obviously priceless, and The Scream is probably one of the most famous paintings in the world. They will soon be back in the Munch Museum.

Previous reports that the paintings were burned to ashes to destroy evidence were obviously not correct, which is a relief to all art lovers. Hooray!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Soccer stars and gay sex

Morten Gamst Pedersen, John Arne Riise, Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Kristofer Hæstad are among the Norwegian soccer players having hot gay sex in new erotic stories, Side 2 writes.

- It is amazing what people can do. We are also human beings with feelings, Morten Gamst Pedersen comments.

While it is understandable that being used for erotic stories is unpleasant, it is hardly surprising that these things happen. The intimate world of sexual fantasies and the public life has merged as the internet has created places for everything to be discussed in anonymity. Ten years from now, people will probably be amazed that newspapers found this newsworthy. But I'm not so sure that a solution has been found by then.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Demonstration against hate violence

Almost 1,000 people attended a demonstration in Oslo Friday night to protest against violence against gays. This summer, there have been several incidents where gays have been targeted. In yesterday's protest the Norwegian minister for justice as well as several other prominent politicians took part.

If this protest makes a few people realize that violence against gays in not accepted or looked away from, then it's certainly worth it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Naked at Øya

Dagbladet, always interested in culture, writes about the music festival Øya (or Øyafestivalen) today. Kimm Saatvedt and Kim Ramberghaug are two photographers that during the festival are making nude photographs of guests at the festival. They have, however, had trouble finding models: "It hasn't been easy", Saatvedt says. "I don't understand it. It only takes three to five minutes. Most people take a few beers before the photo session."

(photo from Dagbladet)

Not to be outdone, VG writes about a nude run at the festival (following the tradition of the Roskilde nude run - although it seems to have had only three competitors: Emmanuel Skånseng (20), Alexander Martinsen (19) and Christian Florelius (20). The winner was Emmanuel Skånseng, by the way.

(photos from VG and NRK)

I wouldn't mind going to Øya, but the festival has been sold out for months...

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
A tiny news story from Oslo: the statue of Trygve Lie (previous general secretary of the UN) at Furuset was "attacked" and apparently injured last night. By chance, I was there just this Saturday and took a few photos of it.

The artist is Nico Widerberg.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Answer to The Simon Wiesenthal Centre

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has written a letter to "the People of Norway". They write that "We await the word of honest Norwegians who will vociferously condemn Gaarder because they realize that the fate of the Jews is an alarm bell for humanity." Therefore, as a honest Norwegian, I feel called upon to answer.

I support the main points in Gaarder's article:
1. Israel is in a difficult position, but their actions in the last few weeks have been disproportionate (which is also Norway's official line) and disgusting.
2. Israel's history does not mean that Israel should be held to lower standards than other democracies.
3. Some Israelis' claim to being "God's chosen people" should have no impact on the resolution of the crisis.

However, Gaarder makes a mistake when he confuses the state of Israel with Jews, and his mockery of their religion, even though fully legitimate in itself, does not serve his cause. (I fully support the right of anyone to claim that religions are silly, but that criticism should be left for other circumstances.)

It is sad that such a good writer as Gaarder makes it so easy for the supporters of violence to shift the discussion to other issues. The killing of innocent civilians is too important for this. He should be intelligent enough to avoid writing in a way that makes him seem semi-antisemitic.

My only condemnation, however, goes to the parties on all sides in the Middle East using violence against civilians in their battle.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
Here's another pic from the art exhibition I visited yesterday. Cool painting - in nice surroundings...

Swedish pride

to Sweden for having (according to what I've read on the 'net) a cool pride parade today!

(Picture from

Exclusive interview with Bjørn Benkow

Propaganda writes in an article about an interview with the infamous Norwegian journalist Bjørn Benkow. Bjørn Benkow has produced interviews with celebrities such as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Schumacher and Margareth Thatcher - with only the small problem that all of these four denies ever having talked to him. Here's a translated version of the interview Propaganda mentions.

I took the subway to Majorstua, walked a few blocks up Kirkeveien and turned right. Soon, I would meet Bjørn Benkow again, who was behind lots of great celebrity interviews. I rang the doorbell, and heard a voice that sounded a little stressed, but well-known: "Hello?" "This is Bjørn", I said - and immediately there was a buzz in the door and I could enter.

Inside the writer's apartment everything was like it used to be. Benkow looked a bit tired. "How are you?" I asked. He shrugged. "It will pass", he said. His cell phone rang. He grabbed it, but put it down immediately. "Dagbladet [a Norwegian newspaper] again", he said.

I asked what he had been doing in the summer. "Oh, the usual things", he said. He told me that he had been in the US again, and had lunch with President Bush. Bush had been uncertain about what he should do about Iran, but Bjørn had mentioned that other presidents had burnt their fingers when they meddled too much with Iran. "Ronald got into a lot of trouble over Iran, you know, George" he had said. Then he had been on a visit at Steve Jobs' place, but Steve had only talked about new versions of the iPod.

"But what's the reason of all this fuss?", I asked. Bjørn explained that it was due to unfortunate circumstances. "Micheal Schumacher got into trouble with his sponsors when they understood that I got to see him in private while their chosen journalists didn't", he said. "Margareth Thatcher tried to let the public believe she was a vegetarian, therefore it was inappropriate that I mentioned in the interview that she had quite a lot of steak during our meal. And Bill Gates' security people got into a rage when it became public that he travels by ordinary planes from time to time." But Bjørn could at least tell me that he and Bill were still friendly - "Bill actually called me yesterday and was sorry for the trouble I had gotten into over this".

Suddenly Bjørn looked at his watch. "Oh, I have a deadline at eight - an interview with Ariel Sharon has to be edited a bit more. So I have to get back to my work." I thanked him for his time, knowing full well that I would be welcome back any time. And happy to be able to contribute a little, with this interview, to shed some light on the phenomenon that is Bjørn Benkow.

That's the interview, folks!


Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
I've been to an art exhibition today (again). This time, it was a friend of mine (Sigrun Louise Nome Werner) who had an exhibition with another artist. It was very cool - it was outside - some of the artworks in a church ruin and others hanging on trees nearby. Such as this little frog, who has apparently tried to escape his little box, without luck...

The weather has been wonderful again, and I hope it will keep up for one more day, because tomorrow is the last day of their exhibition...

(More of the artworks can - of course - also be seen in my Flickr stream.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Norway Cup

VG writes about the Norwegian football tournament for kids, Norway Cup, which has this year invited the military (including tanks) to do PR for themselves. Frode Kyvåg, the boss of Norway Cup, does not seem to understand the criticism this has brought. In Norway, giving children war toys is frowned upon, but Kyvåg does not mind giving the children a real tanks to play on - while real tanks are killing children in other parts of the world. It's sad.

Dagbladet, however, understands what Norway Cup is all about. They describe a match between Hallingdal and Herradura, with the telling title "He held my shirt, so I kicked his nuts". It's nice to see that kids understand what real soccer is. Nobody has yet used their heads in the way of Zidane, though.