Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Orleans


My thoughts are with the people of New Orleans and the areas around it. I hope hurricane Gustav will do as little damage as possible...


TV: Last Man Standing

I've just seen the first episode of the TV show "Last Man Standing". Six US/UK guys have been picked to travel around the world to remote tribes to take part in their sports.

Reasons to watch:
+ good-looking guys wearing next to nothing
+ "insight" into unfamiliar cultures
+ did I mention good-looking guys?

Reasons NOT to watch:
- ethnocentric view of the other - we see only what seems fascinating and only from US/UK point of view
- is it really good for these tribes to be exposed to our culture in such an intrusive way?
- repetitive - apparently made for viewers who don't see the whole episode

In conclusion: sexy as it may be to see Richard Massey's feet being torn up with piraja teeth and then massaged with salt and chili, the reasons NOT to watch it may stop me from seeing the rest of the series.

Movie: Lange, flate ballær

This movie is surprisingly good. It is very predictable, but partly makes up for it with enthusiasm and technical skill. The story goes like this: The garage EdGarasjen is about to be taken over by its creditors, but as a final gesture to his devoted, if erratic, staff, the owner decides to take them to the soccer World Cup in Germany.

Apart from the local guys from Fredrikstad (a small town south of Oslo), there's a surprising number of Norwegian celebrities involved in the movie - as well as Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. The movie also manages to do what so many soccer movies fail miserably in - to tie in photos from the field in the story.

Of course, I've seen good movies by Harald Zwart before ("One Night at McCool's" being his most well-known, I guess), but it's nice to see that he can make good movies even in Norway.

Lange, flate ballær (2006)

Directors: Bjørn Fast Nagell and Harald Zwart

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bold AND Disastrous?

TIME Magazine asks whether McCain's choice of running mate is "bold or disastrous"?

I can't see why it can't be both.

TIME has also set their eyes on Sarah Palin's "dishy husband", Todd Palin.

I've seen dishier. But he'd certainly be a step up from Lynne Cheney.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gambling from McCain

It's very interesting to see that John McCain has chosen Sarah Palin, who is facing ethics investigation in her state of Alaska, as his running mate.

It's also a bit strange - why do such a seemingly desperate choice when he's so close to Obama in the polls? Instead of focusing on the issues and choosing a "safe" candidate, he's chosen to "turn the tables" and "stir things up", to use the catch-phrases from CNN's commentators today.

"Gambling", says Norwegian researcher Halvard Leira.

Some commentators claim that McCain is trying to get the dissatisfied Hillary Clinton voters. Does McCain really believe that all the people voting for Clinton did it just because of her gender, and that they will go all the way to a anti-choice candidate just to get a woman as vice president?

McCain is a solid candidate, while Obama is closer to my heart. Biden seems like a guy who has the experience to be able to step in if he has to. Palin is a wild card. This may be seen as the day that Obama secured the election.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Closeting gay diver

Gaysir writes about gay Olympian Matthew Mitcham, who won a gold medal in Beijing. NBCSports interviewed him, but - for no apparent reason - decided not to broadcast his victory interview, in which he is hugging his boyfriend/partner Lachlan.

This is sad - journalists give so much attention to straight people's love lives, with interviews of their partners and so on and so forth, that neglecting to do the same with gays will create an impression that there are almost no gays in this world...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Movie: The Last King of Scotland

This is a movie with two villains. The one unlikely villain is Nicholas Garrigan, an incredibly charming doctor with a lust for life. He wants to do good, but for a few key moments of his life, his priority is to do good to himself instead of to others. The more predictable villain is Idi Amin, the brutal dictator of Uganda.

Of course, the magnitude of sin in these two persons are very different. While Idi Amin was responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, Nicholas Garrigan was only (partly) responsible for the death of a few people close to him. Still it's interesting to see how many bad things can come out of trying to do good...

Both James McAvoy and Forest Whitaker are great in the main two roles. The movie feels quite realistic, and in the beginning of the movie there is also some nice music which made me think of buying the soundtrack.

A good film - but certainly not a feel-good film.

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Main actors:
Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin
James McAvoy as Dr. Nicholas Garrigan

Movie: Batman Begins

I'm one of those who considered the previous Batman series too dark. Therefore, I didn't even give Christopher Nolan's attempt a try. Before now, that is - when "The Dark Knight" is doing so well in the movies and everybody says that I should see that - and in particular Heath Ledger's last performance.

To my surprise, I really liked this Batman. It has some touches that really makes all the difference - in particular Michael Caine as Alfred. It's also the almost James Bond-style fascination with new technology (with Lucius Fox "stepping in" for Q). I also liked the technological approach of the villains.

Christian Bale is a good Bruce Wayne, and Cillian Murphy is an amazing bad-guy.

I'm glad I decided to see this movie before going to the movies to see "The Dark Knight".

Batman Begins (2005)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Main actors:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine as Alfred
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes
Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane
Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox

Sexiest Olympic athletes 4

The olympics are over, and Norway has had success. It's time to wrap up the "sexiest Olympic athlete" thing as well. Here are a few more hot guys that I have been introduced to:

Liu Xiang, PR China (hurdles)

Wang Liqin, PR China (table tennis)

Kevin Mirallas, Belgium (football)

Alexander Artemev, US (gymnastics)

Thomas Rupprath, Germany (swimming)

Louis Smith, Great Britain (gymnastics)

Gábor Kucsera, Hungary (kayak)

And as a bonus: Epke Zonderland with friends having a bath:

I end up with the following top 10 list - if noone makes me change my mind... :-)

1. Andreas Thorkildsen, Norway (javelin)

2. Kenrick Monk, Australia (swimmer):

3. Fabian Hambüchen, Germany (gymnastics)

YouTube video

4. Rafael Nadal, Portugal (tennis)

5. Ryan Lochte, US (swimmer):

6. Michael Phelps, US (swimming)

7. Eamon Sullivan, Australia (swimmer):

8. Thomas Rupprath, Germany (swimming)

9. Alexandre Despatie, Canada (diving)

10. Epke Zonderland, Netherlands (gymnastics)

More suggestions?

Earlier post: Sexiest Olympic athletes 3.

Human rights in China

Monday, August 18, 2008

US is number 30 in the medal ranking

Simon Forsyth has a cool statistic on his website, giving a ranking of the best nations in the Beijing Olympics. At the moment, the US is number 30, with 0.0731 gold medals per million people. In comparison, Norway is number 11, with 0.2161 gold medals per million people. Jamaica is number 1, with impressive 0.7194 golds per million people.

Thanks to Dagbladet for pointing me to these rankings.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Movie: Reprise

"Reprise" seems like an inside story from a very particular environment - the richer parts of Oslo. Two young guys have no worries in their lives other than their (potential) writing careers. Then, after being run over by a car, one of them gets emotional problems.

The style of the movie is quite cool. Although all the flash-backs and the hypothetical futures are quite confusing, they still give a glimpse into the souls of these two guys. However, in other ways the portrayals are quite shallow - a parody of a group of male friends.

This movie got the awards for best screenplay, best direction and best movie in the 2007 Amanda awards (the Norwegian film awards) - which is a sign that this movie has clear qualities, but which also says a lot about the other Norwegian movies that year.

Reprise (2006)

Directors: Joachim Trier

Main actors:
Anders Danielsen Lie as Phillip
Espen Klouman-Høiner as Erik
Viktoria Winge as Kari

New nudes from Ewoud Broeksma

Ewoud Broeksma has posted some more photos on his website, for instance some of Epke Zonderland, who also participates in the Beijing Olympics, and who has been in my list of the Sexiest olympic athletes:

Students stripping

Adressa writes about how students at BI in Trondheim started their studies: by competing in making the longest line of clothes. In an effort to win and to impress their new fellow students, most of them ended up in their underwear. Tourists from Italy told the newspaper: "It's fun to see that the youth are having a good time. This shows that Norwegians know how to enjoy life. I got a good feeling by this spectacle."

Photo gallery

Friday, August 15, 2008

Movie: Lady and the Tramp

Although I've seen "the spaghetti scene" (almost) every Christmas for years, I didn't get around to see the whole movie before now. And obviously, it's all very cute, charming, funny and predictable as I had expected. It's not hard to see how this movie became one of Disney's big hits, it has lots of cosyness for the kids, and probably enough of adult recognition-value and good music to make it enjoyable for the kids' parents.

And actually, even though we are used to so much more advanced animation technique today, the classic Disney movies still feels perfectly okay.

I really want to see more of these old Disney animation movies - not because they will necessarily give me wonderful experiences, but because they will fill a gaping hole in my cultural education...

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske