Sunday, September 25, 2005

Writings on the wall

A band, two sailors from the Faroe Islands, about twenty-five average students and fifteen litres of wine. This appears to be the recipe for a decent nachspiel.

The birthday wall of fame from Friday was improved upon, and the last human specimen left the scene around 7AM. Thanks for all vulgarities, compliments, aphorisms, German quotes and unsubstantiated allegations.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Growin' up

Saying no to beer is not one of my virtues. Somehow I managed to do just that yesterday. So today I've had eight hours of sleep, the mind is clear, the sun is shining and there's literally not too many clouds on the horizon.

I'm celebrating one of my birthdays tonight, so the prospects for this Friday are better than in weeks. A quick board meeting, a small trip to town and a proper dinner for once seems like a doable schedule. Student life isn't so bad, after all.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Times is a-changing

I love the New York Times. Not because of its brilliant and professional news stories, but because the paper's op-ed section is among the finest in the world.

The disappointment was huge when I realised today that I now have to pay for the cold insights of Tom Friedman, the always enlightening analyses by right-winger David Brooks and the biting sarcasm of Maureen Dowd. The Times now charges online readers 50 annual dollars for its op-ed pieces and other services.

The sum seems small, but in the Internet jungle of opinions the NY Times's columns are not worth paying for. Since the US is the bellwether for the western world, we'll just have to hope that the trend doesn't spread too soon and too extensively to Norway.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Don't mention the war

Being abroad clears up the mind and invigorates the spirit. And it was comforting to see that even the German trains don't run on time.

But the disappointment upon arriving in the former Western German capital of Bonn was still the most overwhelming impression from my latest journey: an anonymous train station, no shopping street and the sense that you were in a village more than a city.

A German soon explained the mystery for the unhistorical Norwegian: When Germany was forcibly split by the Allies and the Soviets into east and west after the Second World War, some (French?) voices in the former bloc thought that a sentralised and strong Germany had proved not to be a very good idea. At least not for its neighbours. So administration didn't end up in Berlin or Frankfurt, but in Bonn. When the capital was moved back to Berlin after reunification, government, embassies and commercial life also left the city in the Rhine valley.

When I got around to seeing the city a bit, Bonn wasn't actually that bad. Beer was cheap and tasty, the disco I visited didn't play too loud, and the the city isn't in Eastern Germany. The kebab I had on my way home from town to my youth hostel was also terrific. As for the elections, it could seem that the Christian Democrats'll win. We'll see tomorrow morning.