Elf's Treehouse -> Archives -> 2009 -> January

Happy New Year

2008-12-31 20:05:53 - 1 comments    |     Archives

2009

Happy New Year to all my flickr contacts, blog friends, facebook friends, irc friends and other people.

Fireworks

Fireworks

Fireworks

That was Xmas

2009-01-05 13:32:01 - 1 comments    |     Archives

Xmas is thrown out my home, office and blog. I really like Xmas, but it's good to get rid of it once the new year sets in, and it's back on the thread mill again. Then the decorations only serve as a constant dull reminder that it's all over.

Xmas was really, really good. My parents came down and stayed for a week (22nd - 29th) and it was wonderful. Mum cooked on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, and I got to cook for them on other nights.

Håkon was with us, so there was all four of us here in my flat. On the 3rd day of Xmas we went and took in what seems to become the biggest Norwegian film ever, Max Manus (I wholeheartidly recommend it). On the 4th day I had my usual Xmas dinner for friends. As usual I served three courses, and I will give you the recipes at the end of this blog post.

My parents left on the 5th day and it was back to work for me on both the 5th day and the 6th day, as well as on New Years Eve. I also did a wedding shoot on New Years Eve. On the 6th day I served my legendary fish soup for some other friends.

Apart from that, I managed to relax, not work out and generally stuff myself with good food, drink and literature and movies. I only did an assignment for the local paper on Xmas Eve, but it was no big deal. In conclusion: It was just as Xmas should be.

Here are the recipes promised: More -->

Gaza

2009-01-09 02:00:11 - 1 comments    |     Archives

I'm tired. Not because of work, but because I've been in debates most of the week. Not only about the war in Gaza, but also other things, but mostly about Gaza. So I'm clarifying my views here. There seems to be a misconception among people that you can't keep two thoughts in your head at the same time. More -->

No Criticism of Religion Allowed

2009-01-26 14:26:08 - 0 comments    |     Archives

Come February, it will be 20 years since Salman Rushdie had to get full time protection from Muslim extremists, a protection he still lives with today.

We like to think that our society continuously evolves in to a more civilised place, but twenty years on, it's become so dangerous to speak your mind against Islam that a book like "Satanic Verses" never would have been published today.

We've become so afraid of insulting someone's precious religious feelings that we've started a form of self censorship that is in the process of strangling our freedom of speech. A German opera was cancelled because of fear of upsetting Muslims. Publication of the book The Jewel of Medina was cancelled for the very same reason, and the British publisher's house was fire bombed. And these are just two of many examples popping up in only the past two years.

In the view of all this, it's incredibly worrying that the Norwegian authorities are proposing a law that will make it possible to press charges if someone has made a "qualified attack on your personal beliefs." Not even the people who have made this proposition can give a clear definition of what a "qualified attack is."

Astri Aas-Hansen, a representative working in the Norwegian justice department, says that it's not personal feelings that will be a criteria for conviction if someone press charges against you for offending their personal beliefs. Excuse me? How can being offended not be a personal feeling? What sort of objective criteria can you use to measure the level of how much you've insulted someone?

So far the only support for this proposition has been from Astri Aas Hansen and, naturally, the Norwegian Muslim Council.The latter should not come as a surprise when you take in to a account that the Muslim dominated UN Security Council last year decided to begin the process of killing free speech. You see, you can't criticise Islam, because then you insult them. And you shouldn't be allowed to do that.

Now, as a heathen and a believer in freedom of expression, statements like that insults my personal feelings Where can I press charges?

Please sign the petition against the newly proposed law here.

Health Minister, Heal Thyself

2009-01-28 03:46:55 - 0 comments    |     Archives

Two years ago, there were calls for the resignation of South-Africa's minister of health after she gave the advice that eating garlic and beetroot was the best treatment for AIDS and HIV. Some people laughed and said "oh, those superstitious Africans" and such things, while others said the minister was an embarrassment for South-Africa. Now it turns out that the Norwegian minister of health is no better.

A biography about a self-proclaimed Norwegian healer was published last November. It's been a phenomenal success, rocketing to the top of the book charts, and is currently on its third pressing. It's claimed that this 80 year old healer has healed over 50 000 people in the past sixty years or so, and that he can predict future events. He has proclaimed that he will be retiring as of February, and this has lead to hundreds of people seeking him out before it's too late.

Naturally, there are no solid statistics to back up the claim of 50 000 people being healed. It's only anecdotal evidence where people are claiming he healed them. The Norwegian state channel offered to test the healer to see if he indeed had healing powers, but as most of these self proclaimed healers do, he declined to be tested.

A couple of days ago, our minister of health told the media that said healer had healed his son for colic in the late 90s. His son had been in pain since birth, and fifteen minutes after a phone call to the healer, the baby released huge amounts of gas, and calmed down. A few days later the infant was in pain again, and another phone call was made. Fifteen minutes later: More gas.

My son was also in a lot of stomach pains in the first months after his birth. And you know what? He too released huge farts, and calmed down afterwards. Maybe I've got healing abilities? Or could it be random chance? Could it be that this is quite normal for most babies? Could it be that our minister of health is very gullible and jumps to conclusions way too quickly?

Now, I don't expect every common person to have a huge a grasp of medicine, science or critical thinking. It's easy to understand why people jump to simple conclusions that they feel fit their world view. But our minister of health is the very same person who's supposed to make sure we have a modern and effective health system. He is supposed to rely on science, research or at least the advice of people who do understand that one can't make conclusions based on one single case. Especially a case where the evidence is circumstantial at best. Our health minister is, just like South Africa's minister, a person who turns to superstition when he's own narrow little mind can't fathom basic scientific and medical principles.

Naturally, several people from the medical field have reacted in a very negative way to the minister's support of healing by telephone. Last night, during a television debate with some of them, the minister had the following message to people working in our health system: "The general public understands that it's not the end of the world if the minister of health calls a healer for help."

I hope he's right, because I don't have much hope for the world when people like the ministers of health in South-Africa and Norway can reach such levels of power and influence.

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