Friday, April 30, 2010

Umbrellas

I just heard a new version of "Umbrella" - Elvis-style... If you haven't seen the video yet, you should have a look...



And then there's Bare Egil Band's version, of course:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Movie: The Twilight Saga: New Moon



Bella is in love with two guys. This may not be a totally original idea for a subplot of a movie, but here it is stretched into a full, two hour movie.

Why is this movie so popular? Well, it is a well-produced love story with lots of special effects and sexy, barechested guys. The actors are not bad at acting either.

For me, however, this is not really enough...




The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Movie: Kaméleon



Being stuck on intercontinental flights sometimes has the advantage of getting you to see movies you otherwise wouldn't. I rarely watch Hungarian movies (actually, the only others I've seen was Tamás és Juli, Simon mágus and Hukkle), but this movie was a nice acquaintance.

Two guys are in the business of tricking women into handing them their money, but - as in all such movies - love has a way of getting in the way.

I like the work of the actors in this movie, and the plot has sufficient twists to keep me interested...

Kaméleon (2009)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 73

"We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules." (Alan Bennett)

"Interpreter, n. One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said." (Ambrose Bierce (Devil's Dictionary))

"Let's get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini."

The priest and the missing bird

I found the following joke in my email inbox today - and thought I should share it...

The priest in a small Irish village loved the rooster and ten hens he kept in the hen house behind the church.

One Sunday morning, before mass, he went to feed the birds and discovered that the cock was missing.

He knew about cock fights in the village, so he questioned his parishioners in church.

During mass, he asked the congregation, 'Has anybody got a cock?'
All the men stood up.

'No, no', he said, 'that wasn't what I meant.
Has anybody seen a cock?'

All the women stood up.

'No, no,' he said, 'that wasn't what I meant.
Has anybody seen a cock that doesn't belong to them?'

Half the women stood up.

'No, no,' he said, 'that wasn't what I meant.

Has anybody seen MY cock?'

Sixteen altar boys, two priests and a goat stood up.

The priest fainted.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Movie: Analyze This



The first half was quite boring, but the second half was much better. Robert de Niro is indispensable in this movie as a former mafia boss coming out of prison, while Billy Crystal is less than convincing as his shrink.

I saw the movie on a flight from Beijing to Vienna, which explains why I kept watching despite a poor start.

Analyze This (1999)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This blog 5 years - the best from 2008-2009

I will continue my celebration of the five year anniversary of this blog, even though I've missed the actual date (which was February 28th). I celebrate by looking back at the blog posts for the five years and try to point to whatever I find interesting...

Of course, the main event of the year was the passage of the marriage law, with celebrations in Oslo and - a bit later - with my own wedding.

As always, I did blog about art this year as well. There are posts about Louisiana, Arken, Chinese art, a wall in the new Opera house, four museums in Monterrey, Mexico

There are also lots of postings on movies, for instance the great Norwegian gay movie Mannen som elsket Yngve and the documentary Porn star. I also revisited Cruel Intentions.

I didn't go to many concerts this year, but Jay Brannan was an exception. Great music, although better when he sings his own songs than when he sings Bæ, bæ, lille lam...

I argued that the choice of Sarah Palin as VP candidate was both bold AND disastrous - and gambling.

I've also blogged on great insults, Dima Bilan, Tutanchamun, the Roskilde nude run, the sexiest Olympic athletes and Alexander Rybak.

Oh, and this was also the year I started the Funny Quotes of the week thing. It's been going on every week since then.

I do notice that in periods when I have a lot to do, this blog tends to just feature the movies I've seen - and some funny quotes. And then it flows over of art museum descriptions and travel things when I have more time. I guess that's how it has to be.

This blog 5 years - the best from 2007-2008
This blog 5 years – the best from 2006-2007
This blog 5 years – the best from 2005-2006

Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie: Den siste revejakta



It’s 1979. Heroin is gradually taking ”market shares” from hashish in the drug-using part of the Norwegian population. Carl and Robert are trying to keep away from heroin smuggling, but find it increasingly difficult as they have to deal with people they don’t trust to survive in an increasingly difficult market.

The movie is fairly believable and the story (by well-known author Ingvar Ambjørnsen) is not without drama. However, I find it increasingly tiresome that the number of okay Norwegian actors is so small. Bjørn Sundquist has been playing in almost every Norwegian movie for years, and currently Kristoffer Joner and Nicolai Cleve Broch are everywhere to be seen. It is very refreshing when there are new faces in a movie, such as with surprise hit “Upperdog” last year.

In conclusion, I don’t see any significant reason to see this movie if you’re not more than average interested in Norway. For Norwegians, it has the added bonus of giving a glimpse of Norway (and Oslo in particular) thirty years ago – which is always fun.

Den siste revejakta (2008)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 72

"Heaven, n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own." (Ambrose Bierce (Devil's Dictionary))

"Committee - a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done." (Fred Allen)

"Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event." (Oscar Wilde)

Best depiction of Hell since Dante

xkcd has come up with a brilliant picture of what hell would have been like:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Best of Eurovision 2010

In two posts I've looked at and listened to the Eurovision contestants in the two semifinals. Now, I will summarize - but first I have to look at the ones that are directly qualified for the final, of course:

France Jessy Matador - Alllez Olla Olé
Cool, simple and happy. 4p

Germany Lena - Satellite
Cute accent and catchy melody. 5p

Norway Didrik Solli-Tangen - My Heart Is Yours
A beautiful song when he hits the right notes. 5p + 1p for charm and beauty = 6p

Spain Daniel Diges - Algo Pequeñito (Something Tiny)
Life-embracing circus theme. 4p + 1p for smile and charm. = 5p

United Kingdom Josh - That Sounds Good To Me
Okay pop song with irritating rhythm box and a few sour notes. 3p + 1p for looks = 4p

So I end up with the following on top three:

1. Belgium Tom Dice - Me And My Guitar 6p


2. Norway Didrik Solli-Tangen - My Heart Is Yours 6p


3. Lithuania InCulto - East European Funk 6p

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie: Pappa kom hem



This is a documentary following the son of Cornelis Vreeswijk, the Dutch/Swedish singer, as he and his friend travels in Cornelis' footsteps to northern Norway. It turns into a road-movie, where the breathtaking nature plays only a small part compared to the son's journey into his father's past.

This all sounds very serious and profound, but it is also funny and - of course - Cornelis Vreeswijk's music is ever-present. We get to know him and his music a little better in the process.

I rarely see documentaries that are this beautiful.

Pappa kom hem (2010)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alexander Rybak on Norwegian stamp

On May 18th, Posten will publish a series of stamps with pictures of Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest personalities. The stamps will feature Bobbysocks (winners 1985), Secret Garden (winners 1995) and Alexander Rybak (winner 2009) in addition to Jahn Teigen (never a winner, even though he participated several times).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sexy Christiano Ronaldo



I don't see many fashion advertisements. That's why it was actually a (welcome) surprise to me to see the Christiano Ronaldo ads for Emporio Armani. These photos got a dedicated wall at Rome's international airport, and was thus a nice start of a weekend there...

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 71

"Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another." (Ambrose Bierce (Devil's Dictionary))

"Practical politics consists in ignoring facts." (Henry Adams)

"Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace." (Oscar Wilde)

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Best of Eurovision 2010: Semi Final 2

Following up my earlier post, here is my opinion on the songs in the 2nd semi final:

01 Lithuania InCulto - East European Funk
This is cool, unexpected and funky. 5p + 1p for the guts. = 6p

02 Armenia Eva Rivas - Apricot Stone
Pretty voice and oriental sounds. 5p

03 Israel Harel Skaat - Milim
Slow in the beginning and too dramatic in the end. 3p + 1p for sexy singer = 4p

04 Denmark Chanée & N'evergreen - In A Moment Like This
Sounds a bit too calculated. 3p

05 Switzerland Michael von der Heide - Il Pleut de L'Or
A bit boring, even though the video focuses on the profile of his body a lot... 3p

06 Sweden Anna Bergendahl - This Is My Life
Lots of energy in this voice. Not bad, but a bit boring chorus. 4p

07 Azerbaijan Safura - Drip Drop
Boring at times, but a catchy chorus. 4p + 1p for obvious grab at the gay vote with the five barechested dancers. = 5p

08 Ukraine Alyosha - Sweet People
A voice with much energy and pain but little beauty. 3p

09 The Netherlands Sieneke - Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie)
Could have won in the 60s. Now feels a bit old - even for all its happiness. 3p

10 Romania Paula Seling & Ovi - Playing With Fire
Loud but not beautiful. 2p

11 Slovenia Ansambel Žlindra & Kalamari - Narodnozabavni Rock
Is it out of tune or am I just imagining things? 2p

12 Ireland Niamh Kavanagh - It's For You
A nice pop song - and a bit like the Norwegian one. 4p

13 Bulgaria Miro - Angel Si Ti
Too noisy for me. 2p + 1p for cute singer = 3p

14 Cyprus Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders - Life Looks Better In Spring
Video makes you want to go to Cyprus and the song is okay. 4p + 1p for romance = 5p

15 Croatia Feminnem - Lako Je Sve
Female singer singing her heart out. Powerful but still boring. 3p

16 Georgia Sofia Nizharadze - Shine
Quite ordinary. 3p

17 Turkey maNga - We Could Be The Same
Refreshing with hints of rap. 4p

Top four:
01 Lithuania InCulto - East European Funk 6p

02 Armenia Eva Rivas - Apricot Stone 5p

07 Azerbaijan Safura - Drip Drop 5p

14 Cyprus Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders - Life Looks Better In Spring 5p

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Movie: Alice in Wonderland



Tim Burton. Johnny Depp. Helena Bonham Carter. Based on the classic books by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson). Can it possibly go wrong? One wouldn't think so.

For me, this is a good candidate for Disappointment of the Year. Much of the wit of the books have been removed. What remains is a fairly boring story - and I was more interested in looking at all the similarities with Wizard of Oz than really following the story.

Granted, I was a bit tired, and the 3D glasses made the cinema even darker than usual, making it even more difficult to keep awake. So maybe I should watch the movie again some other time.

Or maybe I should instead read the book again.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

The 18 best gay movies

Here's a list of the best gay movies I've seen. If you have advise on other great gay movies, give me a hint in the comments field!

(I'm using a broad definition of "gay movie". Maybe I should rather have called them "queer movies", but as I have very few lesbian movies included, that would have been even worse.)

1. A room with a view
The author was gay, the director was gay, one of the main actors was gay and the main theme of the movie is that you should grab love wherever you find it. Therefore I must be allowed to call this movie - which is my favorite movie regardless of genre - a gay movie...

2. Rebel without a cause
The socalled "friendship" between the characters of James Dean and Sal Mineo (who both were queer in real life) has always been interpreted in queer terms by a hungry gay audience. And it's a beautiful movie...

3. The Birdcage
A hysterically funny movie, even if the story is borrowed elsewhere.

4. Death in Venice
A very beautiful (although slow) movie with Mahler music in the background.

5. Beautiful Thing
A feel-good-movie which was released just when I needed it.

6. Summerstorm
A wonderful gay coming out-movie.

7. Shortbus
A film that does not deny itself anything - here are full-frontal sex and lots of other activities. Uncompromising and very good.

8. Transamerica
The relationship between a father/mother and son is beautifully portrayed.

9. Maurice
One of the classics of queer cinema - and with the love of my teenage years (Rupert Graves) in an important part.

10. Another Country
Another British gay classic.

11. Mannen som elsket Yngve
A good portrayal of adolesence in Norway in the 80s.

12. Lilies
Canadian art movie which is beautiful.

13. Patrik 1,5
Swedish adoption comedy. It is a good sign that we have moved beyond the stage where all queer movies were about coming out or about aids.

14. Hedwig and the angry inch
This musical is wild and crazy - and I'm growing more and more fond of the music.

15. Nowhere
I remember this music movie as quite nice.

16. Fucking Åmål
The Swedish youth movie that showed how life as a lesbian in a tiny Scandinavian town van be like.

17. Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss
Funny.

18. Alt om min far
A good portrayal of Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad and his family.

Other good gay movies:
A Beautiful Mind
A Single Man
An Englishman in New York
Beautiful Boxer
Bent
Brokeback Mountain
C.R.A.Z.Y
Crustacés et coquillages
Der Bewegte Mann
Different for Girls
Eating Out
Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds
Edge of Seventeen
I Think I Do
Ich bin meine eigene Frau
In & Out
Juste une question d'amour
La Mala educación
Latter Days
Le Placard
Milk
My Own Private Idaho
Relax, It's Just Sex
Sebastian
Sex Life in L.A.
Shank
Sheng xia guang nian
The Dreamers
Three to Tango
Torch Song Trilogy
Touch of Pink
Trash
Wilde

(I have only included movies that I thought were good, and skipped all the once I've seen but didn't like that much...)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

New photos from Ewoud Broeksma



Ewoud Broeksma has posted a few more photos on his website - of Gert-Jan Wassink and of Luciano, keeper FC Groningen (above). Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

My most interesting photos

Again - here are my "most interesting photos" - chosen partly with the help of Flickr's "Most interesting" feature.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Best of Eurovision 2010: Semi Final 1

In a few posts I will look at (and listen to) the main competants of 2010s Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Oslo this year (after Norway's impressive win last year - remember Alexander Rybak?) As usual, there will be two semi-finals, and here are the ones in the first one:

(I give up to 6 points for the music and then bonus points for whatever I want.)

01 Moldova Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira - Run Away
Quite ordinary disco-pop. 3p

02 Russia Peter Nalitch & Friends - Lost And Forgotten
Without the guitars, it could have been church music. 3p

03 Estonia Malcolm Lincoln - Siren
Not the ordinary ESC song. But not exactly beautiful. 4p

04 Slovakia Kristina Pelakova - Horehronie
Gives me Enya wibes - but with East European language. 4p + 1p for strange but cute dancers. = 5p

05 Finland Kuunkuiskaajat - Työlki Ellää
Catchy Eastern folk music. 4p

06 Latvia Aisha - What For?
Quite ordinary but nice ballad. 4p

07 Serbia Milan Stanković - Ovo Je Balkan
Light-hearted folk style. 4p + 1p for gay dance and hairstyle. = 5p

08 Bosnia & Herzegovina Vukašin Brajić - Thunder And Lightning
Sorry, a dramatic pop song without a clue. 2p

09 Poland Marcin Mroziński - Legenda
Strange song which tryes too much. 2p + 1p for sexy (although heterosexual) video = 3p

10 Belgium Tom Dice - Me And My Guitar
Simple and beautiful. 5p + 1p for being cute = 6p

11 Malta Thea Garrett - My Dream
Liza Minelli-lookalike in classic ESC style with lots of voice. 4p

12 Albania Juliana Pasha - It's All About You
Okay, but forgettable. 3p

13 Greece Giorgos Alkaios & Friends - OPA!
Very Greek, danceable and leathery. But still not my style. 3p

14 Portugal Filipa Azevedo - Há Dias Assim
Quite beautiful song, actually. But tries to show off her voice a bit too much. 4p

15 F.Y.R. Macedonia Gjoko Taneski - Jas Ja Imam Silata
His voice is not very nice, but we hear a lot of it... 2p

16 Belarus 3+2 - Butterflies
Refreshingly quiet and soft. 4p + 1p for cute singer. 5p

17 Iceland Hera Björk - Je Ne Sais Quoi
If only the rhythm box in the background were killed, it might have been better... 3p

Top 4:
10 Belgium Tom Dice - Me And My Guitar 6p

04 Slovakia Kristina Pelakova - Horehronie 5p

07 Serbia Milan Stanković - Ovo Je Balkan 5p

16 Belarus 3+2 - Butterflies 5p


And as a bonus: here is one of the hosts of the finals:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was the home of the emperor of China for centuries, and it is still an impressing site with all its buildings, even though most of the art has been moved to the National Palace Museum in Taipei long ago.

I've been to the Forbidden City once before, but that was in December and was a tad too cold. This time it was much better, and it was possible to sit down and relax without freezing. I clearly see why the Forbidden City is Beijing's most important tourist sight.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Funny Quotes of the Week 70

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (Douglas Adams)

"Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music." (Marcus Brigstocke)

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." (Oscar Wilde)

Movie: Scary Movie 3



David Zucker has been involved in many funny movies, such as Airplane!, Top Secret! and The Naked Gun. Scary Movie 3 fits well into the pile - it is of course a parody of a well-known genre, and with plenty of sillyness all around.

I enjoyed the conversation on the phone where the killer wants to tell the victim that she has only seven days to live, and the victim starts discussing whether Martin Luther King day should be included in the seven days. There are lots of small, funny things like that, which makes the movie okay to watch, even though there are also plenty of silly things that are never really funny. At least if you really have nothing else to do.

"I found their weakness. They're powerless without their heads!"

"and now the killer video that kills you seven days after you watched it, we're the only station that has it and we are showing it all night"

"Cindy: I'm looking for something more than just good sex.
Brenda Meeks: I know. You want commitment.
Cindy: No, I want great sex."

Scary Movie 3 (2003)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at Collectorz.com.)

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Great Wall of China

Last week I went to the Great Wall of China again. It is an impressive piece of work, especially when you see it disappearing in the distance and you know that it goes on and on and on...

I've read that the wall is very crowded (near the main tourist entrances), but that must be in the weekends and in summer. Now in March it was no problem, and last time I was there - in December - it was even less crowded.

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