Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quote of the Day

Politics is the conspiracy of the unproductive but organized against the productive but unorganized.
- Joseph Sobran

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
- John Dryden

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia.
- Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.
- Charles Darwin

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

When I was a kid, I had two friends, and they were imaginary and they would only play with each other.
- Rita Rudner

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

In the first place God made idiots; this was for practice; then he made school boards.
- Mark Twain

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
- Franklin P. Jones

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some pics from Monday

Some pics I took of lake Randsfjorden when I drove home to Dokka Monday. I gotta say, it's really nice up here in the summer.

It was blowing pretty hard, so the waves were a bit choppy.


On the opposite side, the sun was playing hide and seek through the clouds.


Quote of the Day

Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage.
- Helena Blavatsky

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

While farmers generally allow one rooster for ten hens, ten men are scarcely sufficient to service one woman.
- Giovanni Boccaccio

Monday, August 11, 2014

A quick visit to Krautland

Last Monday around noon I set off from Oslo to spend a week in an apartment in Berlin. It belonged to some friends of mine, who had graciously agreed to lend it out for free (they must not know me very well). I set off and drove down Sweden and then through Denmark and reached Germany without any incident.

I stayed the night at the Ibis hotel just across the border with Denmark, ouside Flensburg. It was a very typical roadside hotel in that it was next to a gas station, was reasonably priced (at 10PM reception closed, but you could still check in via a machine) and that there was a sex shop not ten yards away from the hotel entrance. The one strange thing that befell me was that as I walked out of the gas station around midnight, having loaded up on snack and water, I was hailed by a young girl on roller skates. Apparently she was looking for a ride up through Denmark.

Tuesday morning I set off for Berlin, and I was actually in a fairly good mood as I entered the city. The heavens opened up as I started navigating the streets, but I managed to reach my destination in one piece. I parked on the street, grabbed my bags and hauled them up to the fifth floor apartment (narrowly escaping a heart attack) and then went to put money on the meter. And then hell commenced.

First, the center of Berlin has no free parking, absolutely everywhere is a payment zone with the same exact ticket machines. I quickly resigned to this, and was ready to fork over the 13 Euros (appx $17) it would cost me per day to stay in town. But, these machines would not accept my VISA card, nor my mastercard. I had no Euro coins on my person.

Cursing the poor state of German technology, I went to ask a policeman what to do, thinking that in such an advanced nation as Germany, any local representative of official Krautdom must surely be able to communicate with me in English. No luck. He pointed to the machines, but when I said it didn't accept my cards, he only shrugged. Thankfully, a random guy on the street overheard the feeble attempt at a conversation and was able to direct me to a place where I could withdraw Euros; the local post office.

I ran around the block (which was effin huge btw) and got out 250 Euros in paper money and went back to try and change some of it into coins. Just before the last corner, a disgusting little man who would not look out of place in a Gestapo uniform, came from the other direction. He was carrying a small apparatus that looked suspiciously like the ones traffic wardens in Norway have started to use to write out tickets with.

I approached him wearily, and as I suspected he spoke no English. I was able to ask him if he had ticketed my Norwegian car, feeling fairly certain that I could explain that I was coming back from taking out Euros and therefore was not to blame for the car's lack of a permit.

He answered, in German, that he had indeed ticketed me, and then proceeded to explain why. First, I did not have some sort of environmental sticker on my car, which apparently all cars of a certain age or model needed to have to drive in central Berlin. There was nothing, absolutely nothing about this on any signs along the main roads into town, at least not in English.

Secondly, and it was this that made me blow my lid, I had parked in the wrong direction.

Let that one sink in for a minute.

I... had... parked... in... the... wrong... direction...

This is the kind of insane attention to absurd rules and regulations that allow a nation to build BMWs and concentration camps. My opinion of Krauts and Krautland should by now be well known to most regular readers (both of you), and this was the final, fascist straw that broke this poor camel's back. I thanked him politely through gritted teeth, went to the car to find a ticket which consisted of two small, tightly written pages in German - not a word of English - climbed the stairs again, retrieved my bags and got the hell outta Berlin. I swore a holy oath never to return to that horrible country ever again, and I intend to keep it.

We bombed these fascist fucks back to the stone age not 70 years ago, I'd like to think primarily so that I wouldn't have to deal with the German language in our day and age. We fought a war; English won. Even here in potatoland Norway, we post signs in English along every road into Oslo about the fee you need to pay for driving with studded tires in the winter. And we were on the winning team.

Any country which has supposedly been an ally of America for nearly 70 years, but where its officials still speak no English, yet insist on giving tickets for completely absurd reasons to foreigners, can go fuck themselves, in the ass, with a blunt object. Meanwhile, I shall plan all my future holidays around Germany - literally.

Quote of the Day

Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up.
- Wilson Mizner

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities.
- Sigmund Freud

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
- Mark Twain

Pics from Denmark

I had a quick, aborted trip to Krautland earlier this week (more about that in a later post) and I took some pics on the way there, driving through Denmark.

Lovely skies in the evening.

Notice the cloud pattern, it's almost like a heavenly Giant's Causeway.

Ish phunnee. ("Fart" means speed in the Scandiavian languages.)

Here's why I love the Danes and hold them as my favoritestest people in the world (alongside the Americans and the British): They have a smiley system for roadworks. This one started with a sad smiley at 10 km and ended with a happy face and "god tur" (have a good trip).

Friday, August 8, 2014

Quote of the Day

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
- Bill Cosby

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they are or people might think we're stupid.
- Jules Feiffer

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quote of the Day

Leaders keep their eyes on the horizon, not just on the bottom line.
- Warren G. Bennis

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

No sane man will dance.
- Cicero

Monday, August 4, 2014

Quote of the Day

Art is long, life short; judgement difficult, opportunity transient.
- Goethe

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.
- Mark Twain

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Quote of the Day

Popularity comes from allowing yourself to be bored by people while pretending to enjoy it.
- Karol Newlin

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
- Plato

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quote of the Day

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.
- Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
- Molière

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

Nihil tam absurde dici potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum.
[Nothing can be said that is so absurd that it has not been said by some philosopher.]
- Cicero

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Some odds and ends from Great Britain

Just some random pics to round out my many posts about the latest trip to Scotland & England...

I bought this t-shirt and lots more at the Monty Python reunion show on July 5 in London. I have been informed that the bird is in fact a macaw, not a Norwegian Blue, a fact which I shall do by best to forget.

This tree is called the Fortingall yew, and is reputedly one of the oldest trees in Britain. Local propaganda tourist information suggests that it's 4-5,000 years old, but it's probably closer to 2,000.

Dull, the little place in Scotland where the Highland Safari Park is.

At the hotel in Lincoln they knew about my interest in toilet paper folding and the maid had even made me a paper swan. Awwwww.
paper swan

A lovely double rainbow that appeared above the place where I had dinner in Lincoln.


Quote of the Day

Metaphysics is almost always an attempt to prove the incredible by an appeal to the unintelligible.
- H.L. Mencken

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

Legend: a lie that has attained the dignity of age.
- H. L. Mencken

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quote of the Day

To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia--to mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess.
- H.L. Mencken

Orford Castle

The final post from my trip to Great Britain, is from Orford Castle, which lies out by the coast of Suffolk. The castle was built in the late 1100s by Henry II to give him better control of what the Earls (later Dukes) of Norfolk were up to. Today, the outer fortifications are gone, but the keep remains remarkably intact and is considered one of the most remarkable in all of England.

The structure is quite unique in construction; it has a round tower in the middle, with three interclasping towers around it.

The keep as seen from the parking lot.

The fireplace on the first floor.

The shitter. You knows you wants it.

There's a stone missing approximately in the middle of the picture, with darkened stones below it. This was a urinal, with the hole in the wall leading to the outside of the castle. It saved the commander of the castle from having to descend to the lower levels to take a leak.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sutton Hoo

After the pleasant, if unexpected, detour to Framlingham, I set course for my original target: The Anglo-Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo. It's not far from Framlingham - I think it took me appx. 20 mins to drive there. There's a large hall that contains replicas of the original findings (which were donated to the British Museum) and models of how they think various items such as houses might have looked in days of yore. There's also a building which houses the ticket sales, the museum shop and a fairly large cafe. It's a ten minute walk from these structures to the actual burial sites, which can be seen as mounds in the landscape.

Higly informative and highly recommended for an hour or so, but not more unless you're really, really, really into the minutiae of speculation around Anglo Saxon Britain.

What they think the burial chamber of the richest grave might have looked like.

This is a silver replica of a helmet they found in the grave. The original was of iron and was badly shattered.

The graves.

The shipgrave mound.

Quote of the Day

Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.
- H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
- Henry L. Mencken

Framlingham Castle

On Saturday I had planned a trip down to the digs at Sutton Hoo, but on the way there I happened to see a sign for some castle I'd never heard of, so I took a detour. The weather was warm, though largely overcast and I had plenty of time to spare. Well, the castle was Framlingham Castle, and shame on me for not having remembered it in the first place. It is one of the most historically important in all of England, as the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and also as the place where Mary Tudor held residence when she became the first female ruler of the kingdom in 1553.

The castle was the stronghold of three influential families; the Bigods, the Mowbrays and the Howards. The penultimate duke, Thomas, was the uncle to two of Henry VIII's wives (Anne Boleyn and Cathrine Howard). It caused the building of a royal castle nearby - Orford Castle - so that the king could keep an eye on what the mighty Dukes of Norfolk were up to. The castle was rebuilt and modernized several times, but was more or less abandoned after Mary went to London and it was eventually turned into a poorhouse. Nowadays it's run by English Heritage, meaning I spent not a dime to walk in and spend 90 wonderful minutes there.

The main entrance.

The poorhouse. The buildings were put up in the 17th and 18th centuries and today contains a small museum, a shop and probably some offices as well.

The last owner of the castle was Sir Robert Hitcham, who was one of the earliest known rich guys with noble yet largely futile ideas about edjumacating the lower classes.

The Dukes' private lodgings used to be connected to the formal gardens by a bridge, the foundations of which still stand.

The Howards had airs of royalty. They invoked Henry VIII's wrath by incorporating royal emblems into their heraldry and would build chimneys that led absolutely nowhere just because they'd seen it on royal castles.

There's a small lake just outside the castle. It was much larger in olden days, and would provide the inhabitants with fresh fish for Fridays (try saying that fast, ten times) when, by papist tradition, they could not eat meat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
H. L. Mencken

Lackford Lakes

On my way from Lincoln to Bury St Edmunds I happened upon a property owned by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, more specifically Lackford Lakes. Having some hours to kill and wanting to get an anthropological take on one of the most British of all species - the birdwatcher - I went in. I spent a surprising (and exhausting in the summer heat) couple of hours wandering about the area, taking pictures of birds, blending in with the birdwatchers and sweating my way through fields, mud and deep, dark forest.

This picture, to any sane man, is not worthy of anyone's attention, certainly not for more than a few seconds, precisely to establish that nothing of interest is happening. Yet, when I arrived at the shelter (they call it a "hide") from where these pics are shot, there were about half a dozen geezers with cameras and binoculars watching intentfully. I shudder to consider how boring my life would have to be before I took to watching birds. Then again, there are probably those who feel the same way about my interest in US politics...? Nah, that's crazy talk.

This series of a swan climbing up on a platform and cleaning herself was the most exciting thing that happened all day. I kid you not.

Stretching. You can feel the suspense rising can't you?

OMG! She's cleaning herself! Like, far out, man!

And some black bird has landed and is flashing the lake. This is too hardcore for me!

There were people sitting in shelters with thermos flasks and packed lunches. Some had huge telelenses on their cameras, staring out onto what, to me looked like perfectly still, utterly dull ponds. I have no idea what they were hoping to see, as pretty much all the wildlife in those ponds were sweltering under the same heat I was, and thus had no inclination to make any public appearances.


I've been to Lincoln before (here and here), but this time I decided to expand upon my inquiries and to that effect I took at 45 minute guided bus tour. I didn't go into Lincoln castle this time, since they were in the final stages of building the famed visitor center which will open next year. Woe is me as I shall then have to return to Lincoln. Woe indeed. Yep. Woe, woe, woe.

Anyways, the tour was pleasant enough, mostly in bright sunshine, and I later spent a couple of hours foolishly sitting in the sun, to the point that I spent the next day dizzy from being sunburnt. Feast yer eyes on these pics I took while I was still somewhat mentally alert.

The towers of the mighty cathedral.

This is a funny image. The tableau originally showed English kings... and their respective queens. The heads of the latter were later erased and made into new kings. So there are several dodgy figures up there with a woman's body and a man's head.

This image, found on the walls of the cathedral is said to be Edward I, aka Longshanks, aka "The Hammer of the Scots", aka "cunt" and his wife. I've written before about how Eleanor (whom he married when he was 15 and she 13) died in Lincoln and a grieving king erected a cross at every place they spent the night, until they reached London, where she was buried at Westminster Abbey. There's some doubt about wether the figures depicted are actually connected to Edward & Eleanor but to that I say pfffffffth.

The very pretty area down by the Brayford Pool (fed by River Witham) is now Lincoln's city centre, aka "downhill". The area by the castle & cathedral is "uphill".

Up at the public toilets outside the castle, I saw this ingenious system. The bottom button is for soap, the middle is for hot water and the top button starts a fan to dry your hands. Wheeeee!