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    Gaute Z points out that the LA Times has a feature story on Oslo's heroin issues. It's over-the-top melodramatic, and contains the mandatory mention of "Scream" by Munch, but it adresses some important issues that Norway seems to have a full-time job forgetting throughout all seven days of the week.

    Natt & Dag

    Hvis dere plukker opp det nyeste nummer av landets store ironiformidler, gratisavisen Natt & Dag, og slår opp på side 25, da vil dere finne et lite intervju jeg gjorde med Patrick Lundberg. Det heter, ironisk nok, "Oppriktig talt."

    Jeg har jobbet i Studentradioen i Bergens jazzprogram, Jazzonen (hvermandagklokkenattennullnull104komma1-106komma1-107komma8), i to og et halvt år (eller er det tre år nå?), og har i den tid gjort en hel del intervjuer med forskjellige jazzmusikere. Jeg vil ikke gå så langt som til å kalle meg selv en ringrev eller noe slikt, men jeg føler meg iallefall ikke lengre akutt ukomfortabel i intervjusituasjonen. Allikevel var det veldig uvant å drive intervjuvirksomhet med notatblokk istedenfor mikrofon. Jeg syntes nå ikke resultatet ble så verst, så jeg kommer forhåpentligvis til å drive på med det en del i fremtiden, siden jeg slutter i Studentradioen rett over nyttår. Også ros til Eivind Senneset som tok noen fremragende bilder til intervjuet.

    Det er herlig å endelig drive litt i det private næringsliv igjen etter et lengre opphold i Det Offentliges klamme favn. Håper det blir mye mer av denslags.


    Library proposes jail time for overdue books

    How about we just cut off their heads? I mean, God forbid that people actually read books. It' s not like libraries are there for the sake of people, is it?

    Bramsejl splittet

    "Så der var vi, midt i en orkan i Biscaybugten, uden selv en eneste dråpe rom at drikke."
    "Men i havde da vand?"
    "Vand? Ingen tænker da på at vaske sig midt i en orkan!"
    -Kaptajn Haddock-

    (siteret frit efter hukommelsen)


    The absence in question is caused, in part, by the fact that we have moved. Together, as it were. Into an apartment that at least one of us actually owns. We have many books but no bookshelves. We're living out of boxes, eating instant noodles using the footstool for a table and taking perverted pleasure in running our crockery through The Dishwasher (our Moscow, come to us at last).

    Moving joy is mitigated by the fact that we've both been sick, but things are settling down now, as are we, and looking good.


    The forest of rhetoric.


    Express train of thought

    An interestingly fruitful random chain of thought, starting with the last entry:

    Speaking of Eliot: Part III of the Wasteland is called "The Fire Sermon." I've heard people tell me that this is a reference to a sermon held by the Buddha to a group of fire-worshipping monks. I've always wondered what he said. A quick dash to google presents me with the following little rhetorical treasure:

    "Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye -- experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain -- that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs."
    (The Fire Sermon. Excerpt)

    Which made me think of Heraclitus' fragment 20: "This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or humans has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever will be an ever-living Fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out." (41 is also very good).

    Which brings me full-circle, because Eliot uses Heraclitus as the epigraph for Four Quartets. A connection established between three great writers and thinkers across 2500 years. Not bad for a random three-minute walk through the internet, if I should say so myself.

    Interesting: Buddha and Heraclitus were born within 6 years of each other. Maybe they were both influenced by the same thinkers? I know people have thought so.

    Poetry intermission

    This seems to make more and more sense, lately.

    Burnt Norton (excerpt)
    by T.S. Eliot,
    from Four Quartets.



    At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
    Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
    But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
    Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
    Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
    I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
    And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
    The inner freedom from the practical desire,
    The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
    And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
    By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
    Erhebung without motion, concentration
    Without elimination, both a new world
    And the old made explicit, understood
    In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
    The resolution of its partial horror.
    Yet the enchainment of past and future
    Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
    Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
    Which flesh cannot endure.
    Time past and time future
    Allow but a little consciousness.
    To be conscious is not to be in time
    But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
    The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
    The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
    Be remembered; involved with past and future.
    Only through time time is conquered.


    Wow. Glad I never tried that.

    Sexual physics:

    Q: My boyfriend, Terence, is an adventurous physics student always looking
    for new ways to improve our sex life. Recently he has been talking about Einstein and relativity, suggesting that we should try having sex at the speed of light or faster. But I am worried. If we were to engage in consensual sex at faster than the speed of light, would I go back in time, so that he would end up having sex with a 5 year old girl? And what are the potential legal implications of this?


    A: (...) there might be even more severe complications with this scenario. If we extend the general trend of length contraction (from your point of reference), then your boyfriend’s penis will gradually appear to get shorter and shorter as he speeds up, until at the speed of light it will appear to have no length at all (size does matter). But beyond the speed of light, things get even stranger, and your boyfriend’s penis will actually attain imaginary length (that is, it will have a length equal to the square root of a negative number). And from the relativistic prediction of mass increase with speed, this imaginary oscillating penis will attain beyond infinite mass, essentially becoming a black hole. This penis/black hole complex will generate an intense explosion, attracting anything and everything towards it through the curvature generated in space-time. Ultimately, you and your boyfriend will be inescapably pulled into the centre of this penis/black hole, ripped apart into your constituent atoms, and regurgitated out of the penis in the form of electromagnetic radiation. It would be interesting to see how sex could be performed under such circumstances, but my guess is that it couldn’t be. In response to your original question, you would not go back in time, and he would not end up having sex with a 5 year old girl; but you have good reason to be worried! Don’t let
    your boyfriend pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do.

    I like it. This should make being an academic a kazillion times easier.


    And on that note: a man was in Salt Lake City sentenced to 55 years in prison for

    ...wait for it...

    selling small bags of marihuana to a police informant.

    The judge had earlier in the day sentenced a man to 22 years in prison for beating an elderly woman to death.

    I swear, I'm not making this up.

    Now, if someone could just explain to me how come the US imprisons the greatest percentage of its population of all countries in the world. With these sentencing laws, I don't get it.

    "Inventive" kids litterature: It's just a plant.

    "What's that, Mommy?" Asked Jackie. "Are you and Dad smoking a cigarette?"
    "No, baby." Said her Mother. "This is called a 'joint.' It's made of marijuana."
    "Mar-a-whah? What's that?" asked Jackie.
    "Marijuana," smiled her Mom "is a plant."
    I don't know whether to resent the lousy writing and pictures, or praise the fact that someone is taking drug information an iota more serious than the usual scare tactics. I remember some vaguely authoritarian teacher at Goleta Valley going on and on about how heroin, LSD and amphetamines were the immediate next step after taking your first puff off of what he called, with elaborate diction so that you could hear the hyphens, "mari-hu-ana cig-garettes." But at least in the states, they mostly pretended drugs didn't exist. After I came back to Norway, it was all about how dangerous and evil they were.

    (Not that drugs are good, mind, they're just not uniformly bad, particularly marihuana. In fact, the application of current law to marihuana is so hurtful, it's much like curing a headache by having one's head cut off with a dull and rusty saw sans anasthesia.)


    Drøm om eksamen

    Inatt drømte jeg at poeten Henrik Nordbrandt (som foriøvrig i drømmen ikke så ut som Henrik Nordbrandt, men som jazz-bassisten Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen) stod og snakket i telefonen i sin triste, 50-talls blokkleilighet et eller annet sted i Danmark. Han snakket med naboen over (som også var poet, og som foriøvrig lignet veldig på den amerikanske poeten Maya Angelou som jeg ikke vet noe om, men så i en film en gang) om det innbruddet de nettopp hadde hatt i sine leiligheter. Han sa til meg at det hadde vært tre tenåringsjenter som hadde hylt og båret seg, så hadde de begynt å knuse ting og skjære seg opp og truet med å ødelegge verden. Det lå knust glass overalt.

    På vei opp til leiligheten skar jeg mine bare føtter opp på alt det knuste marmor og glass på stentrappene, og jeg blødde ut over hans skitne gulvtepper.

    (Dette er hvorfor jeg aldri står opp så tidlig.)


    Mussolini wasn't all that bad, when you think about it

    Intermission websurfing whilst exam-writing:

    A Harvard study (of Harvard students, mind) has concluded that almost three quarters of the respondents would allow racial profiling of airplane passengers if it would save 60 or more minutes of time.

    Put another way, most of these people find fascism an okay thing if the trains run on time.

    Feel *this,* ad writers pt.II, the saga continues

    The "caucasian" part of that same ad, sent later on Launchcast:

    "Therefore it is with great pleasure that I'd like to welcome blabla to the board of directors of Majorcorp Unlimited Ltd. Come on up!"

    "Thank you. These great times are presenting great challenges to our corporation. We need to downsize and outsource the jobs of..." (fades)

    (whispers, back of room)

    "Wow. This is just great for him. You know?"

    "Yeah, really."

    "He's done such a great job. You should have heard his speech to the board the other day. He's very articulate ... (pregnant pause) ... for a black man. Y'know what I mean?"

    (With "um's" added to emphazise that this isn't being read aloud from a script.)
    "Um. No, Bill. I um...really don't know what you mean."

    (Deep, serious voice)

    "The first step to fighting racial prejudice is taking a stand. And also perpetuating the self-fulfilling narrative of black people as illiterates who are only interested in hip-hop and basketball, while portraying the typical white man as a board member of a big corporation. This ad paid for by bla bla bla."
    (I paraphrase.)


    Feel *this,* ad writers!

    "Yo, waddup homie! You down wid dat white boy comin' to our meeting?Waddup wid dat, dog? Juz cauze he be playing basketball or thinkin' he can rap an' all, dat don't make him one of us, you feelin' me?"

    "No, man, I ain't feelin' ya."

    [Deep, serious voice]
    "The first step in fighting racial prejudice is taking a stand. Imagine the power of one voice. This ad paid for by bla bla bla."

    I swear to god, I actually heard this on Launchcast. They were also playing this thing about a pot calling a kettle something or other.


    I vinden

    Min elskede er i anledning sin nye bok, "Ikke mat sjimpansene" (skrevet av henne, Hilde Hagerup og Charlotte Glaser Munch) mye i media for tiden. Idag er hun i TV2 Nettavisen og Avisa Nordland* (som foriøvrig har et særdeles vakkert bilde av henne). Snart blir det både Dagbladet, Dagsavisen, frokost-tv på NRK onsdag morgen, Guru, og ikke glem å se henne på Tid for Hjem Torsdag kl. 8, der eksleiligheten hennes blir pusset opp.

    * A note for the Norwegially challenged: My girlfriend is the cute one in the topmost picture on this page. That's basically the content of the above post.


    Late afternoon scatterbrain

    • Some funky photos by many different photographers.
    • I still can't believe half a country could be so dumb.
    • There's a stomach parasite going around Bergen. It came from our drinking water. There's been more than a 1000 cases so far, so it's a regular epidemic. I'm right smack bang in the middle of the risk area, too, so I may already have it. It gives people diahrrea etc, so 1/200th of the city (roughly) is down with the runs at this very moment. It's enough to have one in stitches, if one were into that sort of thing.
    • I just got my exam topic. It says "write something about the stuff we've been talking about in our class or something." (I paraphrase).
    • I'm writing my exam on (I think) Eco vs Rorty on the question of infinite semiosis. If you don't know what that means, then don't worry, because I'm not sure I do, either.
    • I may have a cool, new, writing gig. More on this later.


    Jeg ved nøjagtig hvordan han har det

    Året har 16 måneder: november, desember
    januar, februar, marts, april, maj,
    juni, juli, august, september, oktober,
    november, november, november, november.

    (Henrik Nordbrandt, fra Håndens skælven i november)


    After living for years on the mountaintops of joy and the depths of despair, the king tired of his life of extremes, and asked his advisors to bring him a magic object that would make him happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy. He gave them six months.

    His advisors retreated and spend many months labouring to create or find such an object. They searched the breadth of the country and searched the depths of the pages of their books of wisdom.

    When the alloted time drew near, the advisors gathered in the king's hall, and the Grand Vizier came forward and presented the king with a plain gold ring.

    The ring's inscription said

    "This, too, shall pass. "

    Dear America:

    I'm not mad. Just disappointed.

    No, who am I kidding? I'm mad as hell and disappointed. You've elected a man who misleads you, takes your jobs, throws away the very institution he has sworn to defend in the name of power, money and his belief in himself. A man with innocent blood on his hands. You gave him your trust and you gave him your vote.

    I really expected better from you, America, and while I still love you, and miss you, you've made a very, very bad choice, and I am afraid that we will all suffer for it.


    Last words before the storm

    Woody Allen once wrote

    "More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads
    to despair and utter hopelessness. The other to total extinction. Let us pray we
    have the wisdom to choose correctly." (Side Effects, 1980)

    It is in the spirit of that statement that I now urge those of you who can, to choose correctly. I'm talking about the elections, of course. I ask you on behalf of the rest of the world, i.e. me and everyone I know. Let's consider the options, in a fair and balanced manner:

    George W. "Miserable Failure" Bush:

    Bush seems like a nice enough guy, if you like his type, but his administration has been, and continues to be, a miserable failure. His war on terrorism has been largely unsuccessful, and has shown complete disregard for human rights. The American military continues to be bogged down in Iraq with no end in sight. It was an unneccessary war which continues to cost innocent lives. All this while insisting on driving the economy into the ground. His administration has been perpetuated by it's uncritical support in the media, but does not deserve your extension of its mandate.

    And then, there's John Kerry:

    A sensible guy who wouldn't have done all of that. Not so much the best option as the only option.

    That means: if you're a conservative, please don't vote. If not for me, then for your children's lives. If you're a democrat, please, please, please, vote for Kerry. If you're Green or Libertarian, or something similar, let me put this in the (slightly paranoid, but apt) words of William Gibson:

    This isn't the election in which to make the quixotic but satisfying point that you'd really rather vote Green, or the quixotic but satisfying point that you'd really rather not have to vote for any more white men in tight blue suits at all.

    This is an election in which to vote for *the greater likelihood of there being more elections in the future*.

    It's too close to call, even now. That means that every vote counts, including, and especially, yours. Thank you. Now, go vote. Y'know. For Kerry, not Bush.