Saturday, April 28, 2007

Funny stuff #6

One easy question: Which group of people am I describing here? They make their living from going from town to town, performing in the weekends. In every town they come to, they invite the press while they undress, walk around in the nude and then put on some different clothes.

Yes, obviously, I'm thinking of soccer players. There are some interesting questions popping up when it comes to their attitudes towards nudity. The tradition seems to be that the press is invited to their locker rooms to do their interviews, which would be unheard of in most other sports. It seems that even swimmers (who don't wear much even when competing, which means they should have even less left to hide) don't habitually invite photographers to their showers. Does this mean that soccer players are uninhibited?

Well, some of them are and some are not. In a posting last week, I mentioned two incidences. In one of them, Tor Magne Aarøy and a pal did their training in the nude. Newspapers have happily printed the photos - apparently because they were taken outdoors.



In another story, Tor André Flo was photographed by a Rumenian newspaper, who posted them online - in 2005. When a Norwegian website picked them up this week, Flo was "shocked". Shocked? You invite the press to watch you nude every week, and is shocked when a photo is "leaked"? (It turned out, however, that his shock was fake - he saw the photo as early as 2005, it appears...)

The journalists are in the locker room on the understanding that they are there as professionals, not to watch the naked bodies. It becomes funny, then, when females enter the profession. Suddenly, the players realize "Oh, we're naked!", and start complaining. There was such a story in Rosenborg a few years ago. Apparently, the thought of being seen in the nude by lots of male journalists (some of whom must have been gay, by the way) was no problem at all, while one single female journalist was enough to make their head spin.

I never stop wondering what goes on in such people's minds. But then I don't have to understand it, happily.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Carlsen in the lead in Gausdal

Magnus Carlsen is doing good in the Gausdal Classics 2007. He is in the lead after 6 of 9 rounds. He is also the highest-ranking player in the tournament - it must be nice to play one of those again after Corus and Linares, where he was among the weakest, at least judging by the ranking...

Nude soccer training

While Aalesund surely has not impressed anyone in the matches so far this season, Tor Hogne Aarøy tried to impress by training in the nude this week. It's Sunnmørsposten which reports this, even with a video (click "Video"...)

Surely a way to get attention, but sadly not a way to get any points...

And in related news, a Norwegian site quickly pulled a nude photo of Tore André Flo that they had posted. However, Norwegian newspapers could quickly find out that the photo in question had been posted on a Rumanian newspaper's website years ago - and it's still there...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Trying on underwear

Aussiebum is apparently an underwear manufacturer who tries to get publicity by going to bars, asking people to try out the underwear there and then. Posting the resulting video on the net surely helps...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Facebook

This evening, I'm checking out facebook. (Here's my profile)

Looks cool so far, even though I haven't found more than a handful people I know so far...

Bjørn Smestad's Facebook profile

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Scrapblog

Like many others, I'm checking out Scrapblog, a cool little thing that makes you be able to make an online "scrapbook" from photos, text etc. While Flickr is a wonderful place for storing ALL my photos, and for communicating with people about single photos, I think it would be nice to have a tool for making small collages - and Scrapblog may be the right tool for that.

So far, I've only just started a scrapblog which may at some point include one or more pages on every city I've travelled to. Check it out at http://www.scrapblog.com/bjornsm.

Be a tourist in Oslo

Today, there has been "be a tourist in your own town" day, where most major museums in Oslo has been free of charge in an attempt to lure the local population in before the main tourist season.

I messed it up a little, thinking it was yesterday, so I went to a museum as well as the town hall yesterday. The town hall is one of the most Oslo's most characteristic buildings - in a recent poll, it was BOTH on the list of the top ten most liked buildings and on the top ten most DISliked buildings. It is richly decorated on the inside, here is a photo of the floor in the main hall:



(Lots of more photos of the town hall are at my flickr page.)

Then I went to the Historical Museum, which is the main Norwegian collection of ancient artifacts, although it's hard to think of a single, particularly important artifact held there. (The Viking ships, for instance, are held in a separate museum.) However, the dead Egyptians were worth the visit...



Today, I first visited the Nobel Peace Center, which was interesting. At least, they had state-of-the-art audiovisual displays, and plenty of information on the latest peace prize winner (Yunus and Grameen Bank). I can't help comparing it to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and feel that the Nobel Peace Center maybe doesn't convey the horror of "unpeace" as well as the Apartheid Museum. I also would much rather recommend a trip to free National Gallery than the rather costly Peace Center.



My next stop was Akershus castle, which is a green oasis in the middle of the centre of Oslo. I joined a guided tour focusing on Akershus' history as a site for prisons, and saw several of the early prison cells. Interesting!



Lastly, I went to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art to hear a short talk on Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol. It centered on Jeff Koons' "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" (one of the museum's most important objects) and on some of his "porn" works. It was quite interesting. Jeff Koons stays one of my favorite artists of modern art.

All in all, a very nice way to spend a Sunday. However, for a tourist visiting Oslo, there are other sights that should obviously be considered:
- The National Gallery (with important Munchs among other things)
- The Viking Ship Museum (at Bygdøy)
- The Munch Museum
- The Vigeland (sculpture) Park
- The Kon-Tiki Museum (for people interested in Thor Heyerdahl)

Movie: Hot Fuzz



I was very sceptical for the first ten minutes, but after a while, this turned out to be a very funny action movie, with nice splats of splatter movie in between.

Sergeant Nicholas Angel is a very dedicated police officer, and the clash is inevitable when he is assigned to a town where the police considers it easiest not to interfere. However, as people start having "accidents" in grotesque ways, Angel's suspicions are growing...



Hot Fuzz (2007)
Directed by Edgar Wright

Main actors:
Simon Pegg as Sergeant Nicholas Angel
Nick Frost as PC Danny Butterman

Index

Saturday, April 14, 2007

An attack on free speech

It is a clear sign that there is something very wrong with your beliefs when you try to defend your beliefs with violence.

On Thursday, some Norwegian thugs attacked the Norwegian girl Kadra, who earlier have said that she believes that the Koran needs to be reinterpreted. It seems they see that their position on the issue is impossible to defend, and chose violence instead of words.

The Norwegian society must accept different interpretations of the Koran - including mine, that it is just a collection of words which is not connected to any deity (as I don't believe in deities). But violence is another matter - it needs to be investigated and punished - especially since this particular attack was an attack on free speech.
clipped from www.aftenposten.no
Norwegian-Somalian Kadra, who became famous in Norway for exposing imam support of female circumcision, was beaten unconscious on Thursday.

Kadra attacked in public

Norwegian-Somalian Kadra has taken risks to front her views.

"I was terrified. While I lay on the pavement they kicked me and screamed that I had trampled on the Koran. Several shouted Allah-o-akbar (God is great) and also recited from the Koran," Kadra told VG.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

150,000

...just would like to mention that this blog just passed 150,000 hits...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Keywords so far in 2007

It's always interesting to see which keywords bring traffic to this blog. Here are the top keywords so far in 2007:

1. "naken russ", "nude russ", "russ nude", "russ naken", "nakenruss" 239
Yes, I have occationally commented on the fact that Norwegian 18-yearolds do tend to spend a lot of time in the nude when celebrating the end of school - almost. (They have their parties just BEFORE the exams - a bit counterintuitively.)


(A classic photo of nude russ - from 1984)

2. "harry potter nude", "equus harry", "equus harry potter", "equus nude" 88
Yes, the actor playing Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has also had a nude role in a play named "Equus". All the world knows this, and people are desperately searching for more photos...

3. "john andresen", ""john andresen" norway" 80
John Andresen tends to have new models once in a while, and I tend to mention that.

4. "per ciljan", "ciljan sexy" 65
Norwegian soccer player Per Ciljan Skjelbred looks good, and google users on the net know it...

5. "john arne riise nude", "charlotte fredriksen", "john arne riise", "charlotte fredriksen blog" 59
When Charlotte Fredriksen published nude photos of Norwegian soccer player John Arne Riise, suddenly everyone wanted to visit her blog. Some of them ended up here instead.

6. "ygranes", "jarl espen ygranes", "jarl espen ygranes nude" 47
Ice hockey player Jarl Espen Ygranes is one of the guys John Andresen (see above) has photographed.

7. "brattleboro nudity" 35
I wrote a few posts some time ago when young people in Battleboro protested against the adults by walking around in the nude. Seems to be a popular subject.

8. "bjornsmestad", "bjørn smestad" 33
This is me...

9. "magnus carlsen" 23
I've had lots and lots of posts on chess, including Norwegian wonderboy Magnus Carlsen. Nobody seems to be interested in my posts...

10. "roskilde nude run" 22
It seems to be a tradition that people throw away their clothes once a year to take part in the Roskilde nude run (during the music festival). It's also a tradition that I notice it and write a posting on it...

11. "thorstein helstad" 20
Norwegian soccer player. I have no idea why people would like to read about him in my blog...

12. "nude sports" 19
Okay, I must have mentioned this as well.

13. "joey barton moon" 13
English soccer player Joey Barton didn't wait for the locker room to start taking off his shorts - and he got famous for that.

14. "zobs.org" 13
Wow - people end up in my blog when they really want to visit zobs.org?

15. "ivan cvetkov nude" 11
Ewoud Broeksma photographed Ivan Cvetkov, and I wrote about it...

So there it is - as usual, nudity is more popular than arts and chess. I guess I'll still keep writing about all three - and more.

Johnny Hart dies

I'm sad to read in the news that "B.C." and "Wizard of Id" creator Johnny Hart has died. These comics manage to be funny, topical and absurd at the same time.

Here's a clip from a recent Wizard of Id strip, by co-creator Brent Parker.
clipped from www.comics.com
Today's Comic
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Norwegians afraid of swimwear

Adresseavisa writes about a new poll which shows that many Norwegians are uncomfortable wearing swimwear on the beach. 30 percent of women feel uncomfortable wearing bikini or shorts at the beach, while only 13 percent of men feel the same.

At the same time, 37 percent of men feel comfortable being naked or wearing only underwear in the locker room at the gym or the pool. Almost the same percentage of men feel uncomfortable about that, while 40 percent of women feel uncomfortable about this.

The story does not, however, ask how many people feel uncomfortable about being totally nude on the beach. Judging from the number of people on Oslo's nude beaches in summer, there are quite a lot of people who feel comfortable about that. Which means that there are still a few Norwegians with a healthy attitude towards nudity.


Nude beach

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New football season coming up

After a long "winter", we are finally ready for a new football season in Norway. The first matches are this week, while the last round of the season will be in November. My favorite team, Ham-Kam, will be playing in the second division (Adeccoligaen) this year, which will probably lead to more wins than last season...

In the first division (Tippeligaen), Rosenborg is favorites as usual - and I'm hoping anyone but Rosenborg will win...


(Up and coming player Jørgen Horn and more established player Daniel Fredheim Holm)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mr. World

According to Adresseavisa, 25 year old Juan García Postigo became Mr. World today.

Congratulations!
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Norwegian Simen Aassve, on the other hand, did not do too well...

Magnus Carlsen #22

Magnus Carlsen is #22 on the new rating lists published by FIDE. On the list of the Top juniors, he is #2!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Winter in Oslo


23
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
The other day, I found more than 20 CD's in a closet, with photos from a few years back. This meant that instead of having to scan my old photos to get them into flickr, I could just publish them instantly (as far as these about 500 photos are concerned).

One of the photos is this, a winter view of Oslo. I like it a lot - even though I am pretty glad that winter seems to be over for now...

First 500 movies

As mentioned in an earlier post, I'm in a process of creating a database of all movies I've seen (since I started noting down every movie I saw - in 1984). With the help of the software from Collectorz.com, this work is far quicker than I ever expected it to be, as the software does most of the job of collecting the details about the movies from databases on internet. So far, I've entered my first 500 movies (the movies until July 1993), and I'm able to look at my movie watching habits in that period, such as:

Top countries:
59.4 % of the movies I've seen are from the US.
16.0 % UK
6.8 % Norwegian
3.6 % Swedish
3.6 % French
But I've also seen Italian (9 movies), Spanish (5), German (5), Australian (5), Danish (4), Canadian (4), New Zealand (2), Mexican (2), Chinese (2), Brazilian (2), Yugoslavian (2), Indian (2), Irish, Pakistani, Indonesian, Turkish, Soviet, Polish and South African.
I guess the next 500 will be more international than this.

Top directors:
Woody Allen (8), Alfred Hitchcock (7), Sydney Pollack (7), Herbert Ross (7), John Huston (7), Blake Edwards (7), Pedro Almodóvar (6), John G. Avildsen (6)

Top actors:
Clint Eastwood (10), Jack Nicholson (10), Robert Redford (10), Woody Allen (9), Marilyn Monroe (9), Peter Sellers (9), Lois Maxwell (9)
I must admit I have no idea who Lois Maxwell is, even though I've seen her/him in 9 movies!

Top rated movies (here it must be noted that these are the movies I've seen from age 12 to age 21 - many of the movies would not have gotten a top score if I saw them as an adult:
Risky Business
Back to the Future
The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid, Part II
The Secret of My Success
Crossroads
Cry Freedom
Rebel Without a Cause
Hawaii
Top Secret!
Drengerne fra Sankt Petri
(It could also be noted that almost all of these are movies with a sexy, young man in a leading role - probably a strong criteria for me as a young, gay man in the closet...)




In comparison, these are the ten best movies I saw - as judged by IMDB rating:
Bagh Bahadur (9.7)
The Godfather (9.1)
Utsav (8.9)
Sara lär sig folkvett (8.8)
"Police Squad!" (8.8)
Casablanca (8.8)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (8.7)
Rear Window (8.7)
Przesluchanie (8.7)
Lawrence of Arabia (8.6)
Which seems to suggest that I should not trust the IMDB rating when choosing movies to see...