Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Odds on

This list is from Amazon, with sources and all, odds that...

Your letter to The New York Times will be published 20 to 1
You'll get hemorrhoids 25 to 1
You'll hunt small game next year 54 to 1
You'll seek hypnotic therapy 79 to 1
You'll get Botox next year 102 to 1
Your tax return will be audited by the IRS 175 to 1
The person you're dating is a millionaire 215 to 1
Your book will be a New York Times bestseller 220 to 1
You go to a tractor pull or mud racing every month 311 to 1
You'll catch a baseball at a Major League Baseball game 563 to 1
You'll get botulism next year 2,300 to 1
You happen to be a private investigator 3,700 to 1
You'll pick a four-leaf clover on the first try 10,000 to 1
You'll die as a result of a major asteroid hitting Earth 20,000 to 1
You'll ever be a pro athlete 22,000 to 1
You'll ever date a supermodel (if you're a man) 88,000 to 1
Despite your efforts to avoid it, you'll actually get the plague next year 299,999 to 1
You'll be hit by lightning 576,000 to 1
You'll get bit by a shark 6,000,000 to 1
You'll win a Power Ball lottery with just one ticket 105,938,000 to 1

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This the season...

The Young Conservatives of Texas - University of Texas Chapter showed tremendous initiative and put up an ACLU Alternative Nativity Scene on campus earlier this month:
"Solstice barn" is very clever, baby Jesus is of course offered up for stem cell research, Gary and Joseph are quite touching, but my favorite is the terrorist shepherd - reminding us how all encompassing Christmas really is supposed to be...

On a separate, yet connected, note the BBC reports that smart children become vegetarians, which is all well and good (but they don't make more money than their carnivore counterparts, must be the altruism...), just a shame they run the risk of being gay too...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cecilieisms for today

Cheerfully kissing Lars goodnight: "Night night Lars, and make sure you don't throw up in the night!"

After a hectic weekend that ended up with Cecilie feeling a bit 'tired & emotional', I promised her at bedtime that tomorrow we would have a quiet day, just going to school, having lunch, the usual. She listened carefully, and then just before she nodded off, she mumbled "Are we going to have to whisper tomorrow?"

Even with a sugar overload and a sleep deficit, she's a special one.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas prep and St Lucia

Cousin Jack and auntie Chichin came over for some baking
Food coloring is declicious
St Lucia, with matching Kirsten doll, sweet sweetness...

Christmas prep

The crazy gang ready for baking
Lars, the explorer, at the mall - the day Santa was rejected (for emotional reasons)
Cecilie in a thoughtful moment
The family at the train displays at the local firestaion

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lists galore

So yes, Atlantic Monthly has tried the impossible: OK, top ten only below, but check it out on their website about the Top 100 most influential Americans of all time...

Enough or too many contemporaries, abolitionists, women (why isn't Oprah there...?), philosophers and authors (where is Jack Kerouac or T.S. Elliott)? Did they miss someone out completely: Joseph Smith (and Brigham Young...) and Mary Baker Eddy made it, but where is E.G. White?

I would of course be interested in your reading of this list (they are a bunch of liberals at the mag, but Reagan made it pretty high up...); they are happy to take your feedback too.

1 Abraham Lincoln
He saved the Union, freed the slaves, and presided over America’s second founding.

2 George Washington
He made the United States possible—not only by defeating a king, but by declining to become one himself.

3 Thomas Jefferson
The author of the five most important words in American history: “All men are created equal.”

4 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it.

5 Alexander Hamilton
Soldier, banker, and political scientist, he set in motion an agrarian nation’s transformation into an industrial power.

6 Benjamin Franklin
The Founder-of-all-trades— scientist, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country, he contained multitudes.

7 John Marshall
The defining chief justice, he established the Supreme Court as the equal of the other two federal branches.

8 Martin Luther King Jr.
His dream of racial equality is still elusive, but no one did more to make it real.

9 Thomas Edison
It wasn’t just the lightbulb; the Wizard of Menlo Park was the most prolific inventor in American history.

10 Woodrow Wilson
He made the world safe for U.S. interventionism, if not for democracy.

Friday, December 8, 2006

More movies than you can shake a stick at...

I realize it is a little bit risky, but you can see my ratings of most of the movies I have ever seen here.

Risky for a number of reasons, like:
1. How much time did he spend putting this list together? (try more than 10 years, I have been a member longer at IMDB than at Amazon or Hotmail)
2. How much time has he spent watching these movies? (someone else needs to figure THAT out)
3. His top rated movies suck! (well, that one has been up for discussion a number of times, so maybe not that risky, but 1118 movies -that's like bearing your soul completely...)

As always I am up for corrections, both taking into consideration my change in taste over time and user error, it has been a while since I have reviewed the whole list, so your input would be appreciated!

My only beef with IMDB is that it shows a movie's original title, which makes foreign titles hard to give a quick once over (but I have come to accept that this is the best way to do it); apart from that I find it an invaluable resource for movie watching past and future.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The last of the Nilsen Pettersen pictures

The only picture we got of Thomas and Lady Cecilie together (with August taking the picture)
Cecilie and August in that pile of leafs Captain VictorMexican Thanksgiving
What happens to your fingers when you eat too many olives

Didn't make the Christmas Card, but cute non the less...

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Thursday, November 30, 2006


According to an English survey detailed in the Daily Mail today women spend an average of eight and a half years of their life shopping - which is good to know...

And here is the break down of the largest categories:

Trips per year
Average time spent per trip in minutes

Clothes 30 202

Shoes 15 162

Gifts 19 115

Accessories 18 98

Food 84 68

Window shopping 51 57

Toiletries 27 39

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Things to do in Oslo

The Norwegian press is all aflush today, with reports on this travel report about Oslo from LA Times.

Having not spent any considerable time in Oslo for well over 5 years I was interested to read details of the new Nobel Peace Center and Villa Grande with its Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, which both sounds like interesting additions to my travel itinerary for my next visit.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Kids rooms

Cecilie's has the distinction of being done (minus a lampshade or two.) It's a yellow house "first"...

Lars is missing lampshades too, and has inherited most of his stuff from Cecilie's nursery in Sonning. But it's very cute nonetheless.

Family pic at the garden of lights

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Lars wins his first fight

To kill off any rumors that Lars is a weakling (see last blog...) the dad can proudly announce that Lars has won his first fight with a non-member of the family.

The episode took place at IKEA yesterday, as we were finishing off our lunch. Lars was having a grand old time with a little cart he was pushing around, and around, and around in the play area.

In the middle of his game he was accosted by a larger kid, trying to pry the cart away from him; I was about to step in telling the kid to find other hunting grounds, when Lars took care of business on his own - he pulled the handle back, flipped the boy over (in a move commonly referred to as a Half Nilsen) and I could sit out watching the grandma of the bully having to do emergency services...

Was it evil of me to smile at this? Should I have apologized on behalf of my son? I don't know, but even if it was a little evil... a gesture of complete gentlemanliness, as we were leaving a few minutes later, Lars pushed the cart towards the boy, smiled and said: "thank, done" (that's about his whole vocabulary right there...).

I think he's a little too young to be maliciously rubbing it in, so I feel that mr Lars made up for the possible sins of his father right there, but
the boy turned away in a humph...!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lars was on Greys Anatomy!

Ok, not my Lars.

One of the patients on this week's episode got "man boobs" [chest implants]. When asked why, he explained that his girlfriend had gotten a new trainer at the gym named Lars. "What kind of a name is Lars, anyway?" he asks. And sarky Dr Karev snorts and says "You got plastic surgery because of a guy named Lars?"

And oh yeah, Lars is intimidating. Not. The writers should have checked with Cecilie on that point. According to her, Lars is just "icky."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veterans Day

Being a fan of any federal government holiday because my commute is cut in half aside, I am a big fan of Amanda's thoughts on the day!

Since I don't know many veterans (and shame on me for that...) I hope I am not too out of line when suggesting that all service personell, regardless of their status, should be honored (or "remembered" if you like) today.

Here in the US we have Memorial day which gets more attention (it happens to mark the beginning of summer -and we all get a day off, not just those working for the federal government...). In my mind that day is even more limited in scope as it is intended as a "day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service" - no survivors or indeed veterans living or dead...

I motion that Veterans Day gets renamed Remembrance Day and gets bumped up to full public holiday status. If you are serving your country you deserve a special thank you, more so if you are alive than dead, and if you can only get one day of honor then it should be a full day for all to observe!

So, this shout out is to all of you; being a pacifist makes me all the more humble about your service and sacrifice!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Ooops, they did it again...

...those Norwegians are topping the HDI Statistics for the second time running (that would be the list of the best nations in the world to live in, according to the UN...)

Wikipedia has the quick rundown, if you don't want to read all 440 pages.

It's been a while since I lived in Norway, so I am really in no position to brag, and I am not unnecessarily envious either (after all I COULD live in Norway if I wanted to - but that would mean I would likely be bragging right now, and I tend to get ugly when I brag, so it is probably all for the best).

Anyways, somehow Norwegians manage to complain about their lives, which proves the old adage, I think it was Churchill who said it: "Some people just never get enough"

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Parties and politics

I heard an interview last week of a voter in Ohio, and the leading question was: "Are you an issues voter or a party voter?"

I am a believer in ideology and it is with sadness I accept that ideology plays no, or at best a very small part of modern political life. Never mind the fact that I was not eligible to vote yesterday. I grew up thinking that populism was a bad thing, but I have come to understand that it is the only way to efficiently run a large democracy (if nothing else it makes for some entertainment...).

However, I am regularly challenged in finding a party, even in a multi party environment like Norway, or indeed a candidate that is a fit for me: and therefor I count myself among the disenfranchised...

I've got parties (mostly birthday parties) and I've got issues, and here they are, prioritized for you to pick on at your leisure, and give me guidance as to who I should (have) vote(d) for:
1. Civil liberties (including the right to tote guns and NOT recycle)
2. Family values (most importantly: free health care for everyone under 16, and creating an environment supportive of children and their development)
3. Fiscal responsibility / small government (yeah I know, makes free health care for every one under 16 a challenge, but that's the point of a prioritized list)
4. Individual economic freedom - a.k.a. liberalism, free market

2. and 4. has switched for me the last few years (I suppose I have gown soft or something), a living breathing beast this ideology thing of mine, not sure if that is good ideology...

Monday, November 6, 2006

Cecilieisms, hurrah!

Important background to the story: Cecilie is completely obsessed with Sound of Music. She & her Farmor spent many happy hours memorising the lyrics to all of the songs. She entertained my uncles on her birthday serenading them with 'Doe, A Deer'.

On the downside, 4 has been, shall we say, oppositional. Today I found myself in a ridiculous argument with her about whether she would play in jeans or in a dress. This was shortly after we got all calmed down from the tears and drama of finding out her Norwegian National Costume has bit the big one (fabric too old to repair, crazy story). So I hear her humming " When la la la..., when la la la..." to herself - then she bursts into song: "when my bunad tears, when my Mommy-says-I-can't-wear-my-yellow-dress, when I'm feeling sad, I simply be-member my favourite things, and then I don't feeeeeeeeeeeel so baaaaaaad!..."

She got a little self conscious when she turned around to find me on the floor in hysterics, and my mom trying to keep a straight face.

The other high point of my day was finding her with one of my silver choker necklaces on her head, and asked what the heck she was doing. She looked at me with utter scorn and said "I'm being a holy angel, of course." Then she offered to make Lars a holy angel, but he was off like a shot.

A Nilsen Weekend

Reflecting on the title of this blog, it occurred to me that lots of our headings are self-referential (Nilsen Weekend, Life at the Yellow House, etc.) If you'll indulge me in a little bit of pop psychology, it seems glaringly obvious that we are downright delighted to be a little nuclear family again. It may be that the novelty will wear off in a while and we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming of sarky in-joke headings.

Speaking of returning to regularly scheduled programming: I was talking about our weekend. Sheesh.

This was the weekend of Princesses on Ice. BFF Lauren Mattison and her dad joined Cecilie and Torbjorn for an expotition into Baltimore to see Disney's finest. Ariel was the headliner, given that she's the most recent re-release on Special Edition DVD, but all the ladies were there, even a pumpkin coach made of gold. But before they could even rub the fairy dust out of their sleepy eyes, they were treated to a Princess Wake-Up Call: Cinderella called Cecilie, and Aurora called Lauren. I'm not sure what all was said, but Cecilie could not be convinced that it wasn't Lauren disguising her voice. By all accounts, the show was all that with a side of fries, dragons and evil stepmothers notwithstanding. Top it off with a giant pretzel and hot dogs, and you've got a perfect Saturday morning.

Lars was absolutely bereft, being left behind by his dad & sister. So Dad made it up to him with a long leaf-raking session, and Lars was careful to sweep them carefully back into place.

Then we headed South of the border to the Slears for a home-cooked pot roast, train building, and camping in the tent in the basement.

All this, and its only the end of Saturday??? I don't believe it.

Sunday meant work for Kirsten (and dinner with co-workers afterwards!), Sunday School and Grandma's house for Cecilie, and sweaty man work for Lars & Torbjorn around the homestead.

So there ya go - a few high points & special treats, and plenty of the mundane as well.
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