Sunday, September 21, 2008

Five best podcasts

Here's a list of my favorite five English-language podcasts:

1. NPR: It's All Politics
Two great commentators discuss the last events of the US political scene in a light-hearted way. Great.

2. Real Time with Bill Maher
Do you want a non-partisan look at US politics? Don't even think of coming here. Bill Maher is a left-wing political commentator and comedian who usually think the democrats are too far to the right. But he's funny.

3. Stuff You Should Know
Light podcasts about things that you really should know. Actually, there is something to learn here from time to time.

4. Just The Facts (video)
Vidcasts from factcheck.com, a website that checks the politician's assertions and alerts us to their lies. Educational.

5. Front Row Highlights
A top-tier cultural program from the BBC. Features interviews with the very top people of culture. (And with culture, I do not mean just TV and movies - also books, theatre, art...)

Also see a list of the best five Norwegian-language podcasts.

Sunday Stealing: The "All About Me" Meme

Another meme from Sunday Stealing:
Complete each sentence.

I am: so tired, I haven't slept a wink

I think: I'm gonna be sad, I think it's today, yeah

I know: I can't go on with Beatles quotes all the way down this list

I have: a wonderful boyfriend

I wish: he was here

I hate: hate

I miss: my boyfriend

I fear: fear itself

I hear: "hjertemedisin" by Tre små kinesere (on iTunes)

I smell: nothing in particular

I crave: nothing - I have everything

I search: for witty words

I wonder: how the rest of my life will be

I regret: nothing - regret is so unconstructive

I love: my boyfriend

I ache: nowhere

I am not: stupid

I believe: in love and in human dignity

I dance: rarely

I sing: alone

I cry: once every ten years on average

I fight: for gay rights

I win: in love and

I lose: in games

I never: use drugs

I always: breathe

I confuse: some people, I guess

I listen: to music almost all the time

I can usually be found: but why do you want to find me?

I am scared: of heights - at least a little. Survival instinct, I think it is called.

I need: love - love is all I need

I am happy about: life, my friends, my family, my job

I imagine: there's no heaven and no hell. It's easy if you try.

Palin made rape victims pay for their forensic tests?

There's a story running on the internet that should be bad for (US vice presidental nominee) Sarah Palin if it turns out to be true: On her watch, Wasilla Chief of Police Charlie Fannon (whom she had hired), apparently made rape victims pay a fee for the "rape kit" needed to produce evidence for the police investigation (see USA News and World Report).

I will follow FactCheck.org closely to see if this ridiculous story stands up to scrutiny. If it does, Palin's claim to "experience" will beg the question "experience of what?"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Meme About Blogging

(Meme from Sunday Stealing)
1. How long have you been blogging?
Since February 26th, 2005.

2. Any advice to beginners?
Just the ordinary things: try to find some themes that you write about regularly. And if you read any newspapers that link back to blogs (for instance using Twingly), that's an amazing source of visitors.
(I have several blogs, by the way, the main two being this one (in English) and a Norwegian one for stuff that's mostly interesting for Norwegians.)

3. What are the good things blogging has brought to your life?
A few interesting discussions and a habit of writing which I guess has improved my English skills a bit.

4. What would you consider the pitfalls?
Nothing really. I guess that some people can become a bit too personal, knowing that only a few people read it, but not thinking enough about exactly who may be reading it...

5. Tell us about your blog name. Ever think of changing it? If so, to what? Why?
I think too much of what is written on the internet is anonymous. Therefore, I wanted my name to be prominent, even in the name of the blog. No, I've never thought of changing it.

6. Knowing what you know now, was starting a blog a good thing for you? Why or why not?
Yes, it was. It's a way of expressing my opinions. Before starting blogs, I spent quite a lot of time discussing things in discussion groups online, but I prefer having my own place...

7. How do you think blogging, bloggers, or the blogosphere has changed since you started?
It's been only 3 and a half years, but even in that short time, blogs have become far more visible in the media landscape of Norway. There are still people who talk of blogs as something terrible and trashy, but that's not the people who know what they're talking about. It's like saying that books are all bad or all good.

8. Ultimately, what would you like your blog to accomplish for you or others?
Some people have actually said that they read my blog because they think they're funny. That's good. I also want to counter some of the heteronormality of society - to do my little bit to make things better...

Nude demonstration in Sweden



Dagbladet writes about a demonstration in Malmö, Sweden. The newspaper does not mention what the demonstration was all about, which makes you suspect that they only write about it to be able to bring a photo of one of the nude activists.

And if they can, I can...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Naked "primitive tribe"

Norway's broadcaster has made a Norwegian version of "Ticket to the tribes". A Norwegian family goes to a "primitive" tribe in Ecuador to see how they are living. According to Dagbladet, the people in the tribe usually use clothes, but agreed to undress for the cameras. "The waorani never walk around naked anymore - except for tourists and reality shows", anthropologist Laura Rival says.



This is an amazing example of bad taste. Not that I worry about nudity, of course, but it is quite obvious that they are only asked to undress so that they will appear more "primitive" than they really are. (If you don't agree: do you think the opposite scenario is possible: that the tv team would invite a family from Ecuador to Norway, and then pay the Norwegians to go around in the nude?)

(See also Adressa.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Giant male restored

The Guardian writes about the giant (55m) male figure from Dorset that has recently been restored to former glory.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nude run at Hove



The Norwegian Hove music festival has taken the idea of a nude run from the Roskilde festival - or at least radio station P3 has tried to get it going. Watch the video at NRK P3tv.

750,000

My blog just went past 750,000 hits. That's kind of cool. Keep coming back...

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

For anyone who still hasn't seen the videos of Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel...

The story goes like this: Sarah Silverman - apparently a famous person in the US - had been a girlfriend of talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, but had broken up a while ago. Then she was a guest in his show, and surprised him (?) with a video about what she was doing now, featuring Matt Damon. The title of the video? "I'm fucking Matt Damon".



Here's the reply:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Movie: Hollywood Ending



This is certainly not one of Woody Allen's more memorable movies, but being a Woody Allen fan, I still found it enjoyable. Woody plays the typical "Woody Allen character", this time as a neurotic director who gets his last chance to direct a major movie, only to get blind on the first day of shooting...

A little slapstick, lots of good one-liners and a moderately interesting story. From the description I've made, I see that my good mood may have contributed to the experience.



Hollywood Ending (2002)

Director: Woody Allen

Main actors:
Woody Allen as Val
Téa Leoni as Ellie
Debra Messing as Lori
Mark Rydell as Al

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

First prize... :-)

I've just received my first "prize"... Thanks to Popnography for awarding me a gold medal for Best Olympic Web Site... :-)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Movie: Dan in Real Life



I think this must be the first time in my life that I've seen a movie based on knowing only who made the soundtrack. This is Sondre Lerche's first soundtrack, and in my opinion, he's done a good job. In addition, the movie ends with his hit "Modern nature" (not written for the movie) - so the music is well taken care of.



What about the rest of the movie? Well, it's an enjoyable small thing about the love lives of an extended family. Dan Burns is the columnist who suddenly has to try out his "wisdom" "in real life". That's not easy, of course, and he has some hurdles to pass...

Charming and lightweight, it's a nice movie for getting a tiny bit happier.



Dan in Real Life (2007)

Director: Peter Hedges

Main actors:
Steve Carell as Dan Burns
Juliette Binoche as Marie
John Mahoney as Poppy

Sex in the olympic city

In an article in The Times Online, Matthew Syed, former olympic athlete, describes the "sex-fest" that occurs in the olympic village every olympic games.

"Barcelona was, for many of us Olympic virgins, as much about sex as it was about sport." "[...] once we were eliminated from our respective competitions, we lunged at each other like suicidal fencers. There may have been a fair amount of gay sex going on, too - but given the notorious homophobia in sport it was rather more covert."

"I am not implying, for one moment, that every athlete in Beijing is at it. Just that 99 per cent of them are."

Of course, there's nothing surprising in that (mostly gorgeous) young men and women who are locked up together, will eventually have sex. The surprise is that it is so rampant - and never mentioned.

It actually fits nicely with research done in Norway which shows that single-gender sports is an important arena for experimentation with gay sex - even though it's always thought of as just a little "locker room fun", not as having anything to do with sexual orientation. And obviously, this has been kept a secret by most until researchers started to collect anonymous data...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Magnus is number one!

According to the unofficial Live Top List, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen is currently #1 on the world ranking in chess. Congratulations!

An incredible achievement - and of course, the whole world now assumes that he will be #1 on the official list (published only four times a year) quite soon, and World Champion within a few years.

See
Susan Polgar's blog
ChessVibes
Nettavisen

(Not surprisingly, the main Norwegian newspapers, such as VG and Dagbladet do not seem to have picked up the news. Maybe there was a soccer player coughing, needing all their attention...)

(*Update: A bit later in the evening, Dagbladet had realized that something newsworthy had happened.)

(*Update number 2: In the middle of Saturday, VG has also heard the news. They even discuss whether Magnus is the most famous Norwegian alive.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Movie: Once



A likable chap and a likeable movie.

"Guy" works in the streets of Dublin playing his guitar, "Girl" sells magazines and other stuff in the same streets. Both have complicated love stories behind them, and both have a passion for music. When they meet, their lives change their courses.

Does this sound pathetic? Well, it could be. However, due to good actors and the all-important good music, it's rather less sugar-sweet than it could have been. However, I do not feel totally blown away - I guess it's just that I feel I get to know the main characters a bit too little for my taste.



Once (2006)

Directors: John Carney

Main actors:
Glen Hansard as Guy
Markéta Irglová as Girl