Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book: The Comfort of Muddy Saturdays

I love the books by Alexander McCall Smith. Of course, my love started with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but also the 44 Scotland Street series and the Sunday Philosophy Club series are great.

One of my other favorite authors is Milan Kundera, and while reading The Comfort of Muddy Saturdays I started to think about Kundera. Of course, Kundera's books often take place in the dramatic circumstances of a Communist Czechoslovakia, while McCall Smith's books describe peaceful and democratic Scotland or Botswana, but they have the same way of breaking into interesting discussions of philosophical problems almost unrelated to the story at hand.

McCall Smith is also terribly good at creating people who are interesting and that you want to follow. Isabel Dalhousie is such a person. I will certainly read the next book in the series as well...

(This book is, moreover, the first book I've bought in the epub format and read on my Sony digital reader instead of on dead trees. Worked fine.)

Cool naked ad

Hm... I wonder when this was made. (Thanks to Hjorten.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 61

"You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred." (Woody Allen)

"It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it." (Attributed to American humourist Sam Levenson.)

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." (Oscar Wilde)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Movie: Okuribito

This movie was considered the best non-English language movie in 2008 by the US Oscar jury. That may seem surprising when the movie is mostly about caring for the dead. But beside being a good movie about important and serious issues, it is also funny at times.

When Daigo gets a job - to prepare the dead before the funeral - he is disgusted. But he finds that the job is important for the people who are left behind - and maybe even for himself.

It is a quiet movie without the big car chases or shootouts - but the drama is surely there anyway.

Okuribito (2008)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Olympics coming up II

Here are a few more of the athletes representing Norway in the winter olympics...

Magnus Moan
Petter Northug

Do I want an iPad?

A lot is written about iPad already. Some think it will be cool for reading books, and will mark the beginning of the end of books made of dead trees.

In my opinion, four criteria are important for a device that wants to convert people to read books digitally:
* size
* access
* ease of use
* comfort (for the eyes)

The iPad is clearly less bulky than having a laptop in your hands for hours, and is therefore a good candidate. It will have unequalled access to books and other materials (Apple is good at that). It will be very user-friendly. However, how will the eyes feel after three or four hours of reading? My guess is that reading for long periods of time will not be a pleasure - and if there is one thing we do not want to experience when we're reading a good book, it's that we have to put it down because our eyes are hurting.

So for the time being, I will keep to my Sony PRS-505, and maybe buy an iPad later for other purposes than reading.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Olympics coming up

Thomas Northug yesterday won a gold medal in junior skiing world championship, thereby following in his brother's footsteps. Petter Northug is a favorite to win gold medal(s) in the Vancouver olympics, which starts later this month. I'm looking forward to that!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Movie: Godzilla

The world is facing imminent disaster, but Matthew Broderick is there to save us. No, this is not WarGames, but instead yet another Godzilla version.

Of course, the main actor in the movie is Godzilla him/herself. I am aware that such movies are mostly made to show off what the computer graphics guys can do, but this aspect of the movie doesn't really work that well on my small TV set. Other than that, it's a well made movie based on an often tried formula. The actors are perfectly okay and everything runs along smoothly enough. No problem. The only little thing is of course that I've seen the same thing so many times before.

If it's your first Godzilla/King kong movie, I'm sure it's swell.

Godzilla (1998)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Jay Brannan song: A love story

One of my favorite artists, Jay Brannan, has posted a new song on YouTube. Have a look!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 60

"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult." (Charlotte Whitton)

"It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information." (Oscar Wilde)

"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself." (Sam Levenson)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Movie: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I have strong opinions on how the world of Harry Potter should look, and I think that the filmmakers have done a decent job, although for instance Voldemort is more scary when you make up your own image than in the movie.

I think the actors also do a decent job here, considering their age. But nothing will beat reading the books for the first time. Watching movies based on books I have read is rarely as good as the first read anyway. But a good effort.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 59

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures." (Oscar Wilde)

"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today." (Laurence J. Peter)

"Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?" (Woody Allen)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nude foreign minister

Norway's foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre is shown naked in a Dagbladet article today.

Which other foreign ministers are there nude photos of?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Movie: Piano

This movie, which got the Palme d'Or in Cannes, has long been on my list of must-see movies. It tells the story of a woman that travels to New Zealand to marry a man she has never met. It is a story of sexual abuse - and the sad moral of the story is that if you sexually abuse a woman long enough, she may come around to love you. I find that rather disturbing.

The woman is also dumb, for no apparent reason apart from her being stubborn. I also find that a rather strange premise for a movie.

So, in all, the movie was a disappointment to me, although the woman's connection to the piano, through which she was able to "speak", was well portrayed.

In 2003, I sat in the boat used in a key scene in the movie (in Rotorua, New Zealand). Here's a photo:


The Piano (1993)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian

Check out The Onion's fabulous news story "Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian"!

At first glance, high school senior Lucas Faber, 18, seems like any ordinary gay teen. He's a member of his school's swing choir, enjoys shopping at the mall, and has sex with other males his age. But lately, a growing worry has begun to plague this young gay man. A gnawing feeling that, deep down, he may be a fundamentalist, right-wing Christian.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 58

"People who get nostalgic about childhood were obviously never children." (Bill Watterson)

"When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out my room." (Woody Allen)

"Funeral (noun): A pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker, and strengthen our grief by an expenditure that deepens our groans and doubles our tears." (Devil's Dictionary, Ambroce Bierce)

Movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

This was one of those movies I just stumbled upon on TV - and I didn't even start watching it until a bit into the movie. Which of course sort of invalidates any comment I might have on it. Anyway, it is a charming enough movie - unless you're Greek, I suppose. The Greek characters were stereotypical in a way that I wouldn't be surprised if someone found insulting.

There's not much to the story either - two persons of different backgrounds fall in love - and then try to face the consequences. It is a comedy, by the way, even though the really big laughs are a bit far between...

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Monday, January 04, 2010

This blog 5 years – the best from 2007-2008

I'll continue the "celebration" of this blog's five year anniversary by writing blog posts summarizing each of the five years. The year from February 28th 2007 to February 28th 2008 was a varied one. I travelled quite a lot, and blogged a bit about it.

In March of 2007, I had some posts called funny stuff. Now, I've decided to try to be funny without having to explain that that's what I'm trying to do... Later, I made three attempts at making comics: Number 1, Number 2 and Number 3.

I blogged a lot about art: The National Gallery, Olle Bærtling, Sally Mann, Statens Museum for Kunst, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Kiasma and Ateneum, Trades Fair Palace, some art in Bergen, Oslo by night, Death in Theben, Les Éphémères, Peter Pan, Splender of the Baroque and Beyond, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and Nico Widerberg.

Nico Widerberg
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.

In addition to all of these, I also blogged about my trips to Beijing and Taichung.

Kina 060gimp
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.

As usual, I blogged about most (or all?) of the movies I saw. Among the movies I mentioned were Eating Out 2 and Eternal Summer. I also posted some useless statistics on all movies I've seen.

I blogged a bit about chess (Magnus Carlsen, that is), for instance Carlsen-Anand in Morelia. In April, I tried Facebook for the first time! And I blogged about Oslo opera house.

I also wrote a life list of things I wanted to do in my life.

And as usual I've blogged on underwear, swimwear, pride parade, Roskilde nude run, nude sports and more nude sports, sexy men (and more sexy men), porn (or not?), YouTube videos and podcasts.

My photos have been linked to from different places, and I provided a list of these in a post.

Moreover, I preferred Barach Obama as US president. I still think that was a good judgment.

This blog 5 years – the best from 2006-2007
This blog 5 years – the best from 2005-2006

Movie: Sherlock Holmes

I have read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and short stories about Sherlock Holmes. As many others, I have enjoyed his ability to solve mysteries based on deduction alone. There seems to be little reason for this movie to take the title "Sherlock Holmes" - he is put in a "Da Vinci Code" kind of story and uses his fist as much as his brain.

But, trying to forget the title of the movie, it is an okay action/thriller thing. There is a bit of humour, there is great action parts (in beautiful locations) and there is twists and turns keeping the audience guessing. So I'm not too unhappy with it. It's just very, very far from what Conan Doyle wrote.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 57

"What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet." (Woody Allen)

"Friendship (noun): A ship big enough to carry two in fair weather, but only one in foul." (Devil's Dictionary, Ambroce Pierce)

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." (Oscar Wilde)

Sign here, please

Hjorten posted this photo - do celebrities do this a lot?

(Debbie Harry and sexy guy)