Thursday, October 2, 2014

Verdens korteste krimi / World's shortest crime story

Crime fiction is more popular than ever & Nordic Noir is a whole new genre in books, film & TV. Stieg Larsson & Jussi Adler-Olsen are the leaders here & I do not doubt their mastery of the genre. I just don't want to read or see it myself. Two of Adler-Olsen's books have been filmed & in both cases the trailers were quite enough for me. In a word - yuck! The second started today, but friends who saw the first one have confirmed my first impression; dark & gruesome - yuck! Some thought it was great anyway. The English title is poetic: The Keeper of Lost Causes, but the Danish title says it straight - Kvinden i Buret / The Woman in the Cage.

In hard times, say the gurus & critics, crime fiction is especially popular because it presents an awful situation - not unlike one's own only with murder as the spice - but you get the solution at the end & if you've guessed right you get that warm 'aren't I clever' feeling as well. Yep, that's us anno 2014 all right.

A month ago the Svend Awards were awarded here in Svendborg. They are audience awards where just plain folks vote for their favorites, professional reviewers go hang. Two years ago the big favorite film got a hard time from the critics, so the director gushed, very understandably, "These are the real awards!" Okay, films are made to please moviegoers & pack the house, but if the critics like your film as well, even better. The big winner this year was - you guessed it - The Woman in the Cage. They even had to think up a new award - Best Non-Danish Actor in a Danish Film - so co-star Fares Fares could join the fun. I voted for the film that is the Danish entry for an Oscar, an intimate & painful story about the director's marriage & career in the years after his wife killed their infant daughter (off camera). The Danish title is Sorg og Glæde, Sorrow & Joy. Who knows how they will translate it, but as usual the Danish title says it straight.

But just to show that even a Scrappy Old Bat can be up on trends, I here present World's Shortest Crime Novel / Krimi, in both Danish & English:

DK: Den lyd igen – han stod som lammet, bange, skamfuld. Hun var på fri fod nu og ingen kunne vide hvad den skøre jaloux kælling, han engang elskede, kunne finde på. Søg i mørket, rystende. Opfør dig som en mand. Han tog et enkelt skridt frem. Deres tykke røde kat gled frem fra skyggerne og kiggede op på ham, undskyldende.
    ”Dumme kat!”
    Han grinede så højt at han slet ikke hørte suset fra hendes kniv.

GB: That noise again – he froze, afraid, ashamed. She was free now, and who knew what that crazy jealous bitch he once loved might think up. Search the dark, shaking. Come on, be a man. He took one step forward. Their fat orange cat slipped from the shadows and looked up at him, apologizing.
    “Stupid cat!”
    He laughed so hard he never heard the whish of her knife.

My copyright, everybody. Aren't I clever?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Autumn

Happy autumn everyone. Today is the autumn equinox & just here a beautiful day. September is my favorite month, with golden & gray days trading off, rain & wind too, a taste of what's ending & what's soon to come. Get very impatient with folks who say that now the sun's going the wrong way, boo hoo, but shouldn't because it's their problem.

Do wish we were saying farewell to Daylight Saving Time as in years past, but now Denmark has coordinated with Southern Europe there's another month to go. Very bad news for families with children, especially school children who leave home at 8.00 only it's really 7.00 & chilly, wet grass & semi-dark. They start the day with wet feet & a jacket that's too warm, which they then ditch at the first recess & usually before their feet are dry. Ah-choo! I ran an after-school program for 4 years & have firsthand experience.

So nothing for it - we are now saving daylight until Halloween, but autumn in all its beauty is here. If you think that's cause for grouching, Get Over It.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sympathy in disguise ISN'T

Just read TIME magazine's coverage of the shooting of an unarmed 18-yr-old black guy in Ferguson, Missouri a couple of weeks ago. After the article 3 individuals expressed their sympathy & thoughts on what Americans should do to prevent this sort of thing in the future. One comment was by Rand Paul, Republican senator from Kentucky. We choose our sides, so I didn't expect anything intelligent, but this was even worse than I expected.
     Rand Paul blamed the whole thing on 'Big Government'! Huh? you say (anyway that's what I said), big ...? That's sure not what America has. Still, he feels the Obama government has "militarized the police" by helping the municipalities directly. Veeery interesting because even Rand Paul had to mumble something about the divide between poor blacks & rich whites, rich & poor generally. It is this divide Obama has been trying to close ever since his first day in the White House. His legislation has consistently sought to level the field just a bit & give the poor a break. Rand Paul & his cronies have blocked every move, unfortunately a time-honored tradition of the privileged. Yep, never miss a chance to bash the president, even if it has nothing to do with the actual topic. Basic selfishness has always been a strong motivator. Bad enough, but when it comes disguised as sympathy it's even more disgusting. 
     I am more & more sad & mad about the shocking division of American society. It can't be only Republicans whose dicks are too short & have to compensate, but that's the way it looks, it really does.  This comment on a tragedy takes hypocrisy to a whole new depth. I sent a shortened text of this post as a Letter to the Editor of TIME. Don't know if it will end up in print there, so here it is.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Movies & Poets

Just enjoyed a lovely visit from my absolutely better half's younger brother & his significant other. Relaxed & laid back, everyone just needed down time so DVDs were the best entertainment. I hauled out our films about poets + one policeman: From Hell, the story of the search for Jack the Ripper. A lot of research behind the story but the conclusion was just one of many possibles. Very convincing though. We didn't have time for The Raven but it's a big favorite of mine. Nobody knows how Edgar Allan Poe died & the movie's solution is not the least bit convincing, but suspenseful good fun. Somewhere in the literary oversoul Poe is high-fiving all those minor writers who will never be portrayed by John Cusack.
   We saw Finding Neverland too, where J.M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, takes the beauteous form of Johnny Depp. (A bit of a switch for Depp from the psychic cop in From Hell.) Both Edgar Allan Poe & J.M. Barrie were - by our standards - little squirts. Johnny Depp is middle sized, John Cusack very tall dark & handsome. (Off the subject - Michelangelo was an even littler squirt & I have never forgiven 20th Century Fox - Hollywood at its worst - for casting that  big dumb moose Charlton Heston to play him in The Agony & the Ecstasy in 1965.) Depp & Cusack are terrific as Barrie & Poe. So is Ben Whishaw as John Keats in Bright Star. He actually looks a bit like  Keats & is properly small, pale & delicate. Who else could you cast in that role? He reads the poetry beautifully too. Made me want to read it all again. I haven't seen Howl, but more of same - James Franco as the young Allen Ginsberg. Maybe Ginsberg was handsome when young, but I remember him as fat & hairy; gross-looking, no matter what you thought of his poetry. James Franco looks yummier than spaghetti carbonara & soulful as well.
You know, I really love it that poets & writers get movies made about them with gorgeous intelligent hunks leading the cast. High five, Edgar; 2 thumbs up, J.M.; ooooh John; what a hoot, Allen! There are all sorts of heroes & now even movie studios have figured it out. Who's next? I suggest Eric Bana as James Joyce in The Dubliner. What a cool mix of dialects. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Help the men!

     My center recently scored 2 fair-sized bags of money to fund programs for women. One is just for a weekend trip (to a Boy Scout cabin) for women & children - Danish & immigrants - who cannot afford a summer holiday. We have done this 3 times before & it's a big success.
The other is more serious: a 2-year program called Woman, Your Life is in Denmark. The goal of this program is to bring immigrant women out of their isolation & into activity, a network of new friends & new skills - like just taking the city bus alone. Too many immigrant women, especially from small immigrant groups from Asia & the Middle East, have such a strong wish to get back to where they came from that they are in denial. Almost total denial. The 2 most common ideas are
1. just a few years, then husband will earn enough money to move back home & buy a new house or
2. just a few years & the political situation will change so we can go home to the house we left ...
away from rain rain rain, cold dark winters, a difficult language & people whose idea of humor is giving each other a hard time. They usually end up in a Danish nursing home many years later with their non-existent Danish & sorrow because their children are busy westernized adults with no wish to install old mum in the extra room.
    Most of us working on this program are well-integrated immigrant women + the odd token Dane. How I hope we succeed & reach a large group. Ours is one of many programs for immigrant women all around - you might have heard of one or 10. I sure have, but I know of exactly one (1) program for men in the same group. Some years ago I taught Danish to immigrants as a semester substitute because their teacher - male - had a workshop class where the language teaching was part of a practical course with carpentry & general do-it-yourself skills in focus.
      We need more like that. A lot more.
      It's easy to feel sympathy & want to help women from macho societies, lack of education & skills, low status & often tyrannical husbands. Just as easy to despise the husbands, the bullies, big jerks, big jokes in the eyes of westerners. Why can't they see our way is a lot better since they all want to charge right up here & make a buck? If they can't figure it out why don't they get their sorry asses back where they came from? Not even their children can respect them when they grow up.
        Right - & neither can I. But ... I can see why they don't have a clue, feel terrified of losing all their status & respect - like the Burmese refugee who was told hitting children is illegal here.
       "How will I keep discipline?" he asked. A smack was the only method he'd ever heard of. Big jerk, big joke ...
      Many refugee women who come alone with or without children beg for a women's only asylum center. I'll say I can understand their wish, but also why it will never happen. Then the men would be even more of a problem, say the authorities. Help ...?
      The problem will never be solved until both sides get our attention. Anybody can figure that out, not? It's just so much easier to concentrate on the women, the repressed ones, the ones who don't make a fuss & admit they need help. Easier, yes, but I think their men need it more now. The ones with jobs do have that status & work is a terrific way to promote integration. Sports likewise, & school, but immigrant girls do a lot better than boys in school so there's one more area of insecurity & loss of status for many men.
      Don't know what to call a helpful program. Man, Get Your Head Out & Stop Acting like a Jerk would be tempting, but don't think many would sign up. Uh ... Man, Guide to Success in (fill in the blank) Society. That might work. Something has to, or else. Male teachers, coaches & pedagogues GOOD IDEAS PLEASE!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Oh, Mother-in-law(s)

Oh mother-in-law, sweet mother-in-law,
Forgive me for being so petty.
My baby son is 3 hours old
And I hate his wife already.

Author unknown; I read that in a women's magazine 100 years ago & thought it was funny, but I was young & had no experience. Thought of it just now because I've been having some fun with poetry - sublime & sappy - in my last posts. I am happy to say it is NOT the case with me & my oldest son's wife (but is she really good enough for him?) & certainly was not the case with my own mothers-in-law. Mea culpa - I've had 3. Two now deceased & I hardly ever see the first one because she lives in Tucson & we don't have a lot in common anyway.
     Mothers-in-law are very important when you move abroad & marry a native. Families-in-law generally, but especially mum. One of my friends married a single mother's only son, won the ongoing struggle after many years but it sounded exhausting. My first Danish mother-in-law was a wonder of sweetness & support, even though I often felt like Motor Mouse bursting into Bambi's quiet clearing; there was such a difference between my American decibel level & the Jutland reserve. We stayed friends long after her son & I called it quits & found better replacements. I loved my next, longest lasting mother-in-law dearly, but I was glad she wasn't my mother. (They did have a fair amount in common.) She was interesting, inspiring even, entertaining for sure, noisy, excellent company for adults. When I made the move to Denmark I also made the entirely bratty statement that now I was a suitable distance from my mother, but I wised up & got more tolerant when I became a mother myself. That does tend to happen, not? You say - if you're like me - "I'm sure not going to ........... (fill in the blank with whatever mom did that drove you right around the bend) .......... when I have kids!" Right. I didn't either - I just did other original stuff that was equally irritating. At least I said I'm sorry.
      My mother-in-law never ever said she was sorry. She DID often say outrageous things straight out, things that could really hurt, but somehow she always got away with it. Somehow it never seemed malicious; it was just the way she saw things. It was of course very funny when it was aimed at somebody else or at herself, not so much when it came straight at me or mine - especially my husband, her son, who I always defended when she criticized him because he seldom gave her any sass, conditioned as he was from childhood & a mild nature generally.

      But ... I do the very same thing & get away with it too - time & again.  There's a trick to that but I can't really say what it is because I/we aren't/weren't tricky. If we were it wouldn't work. We're not 'cute' either, but must be somehow appealing, not often negative & also appreciative of the good stuff in others. We dare say nice things straight out too. Maybe that's the secret. Older & wiser, sure, but like mother-in-law I seem doomed to be "spontaneous" until I gasp my last - silently, I hope. What if I blat out some ancient secret that's best kept secret? (Do I even have one?) A lot of people do that. It makes for interesting books & movies, but has to be major trauma for whoever hears it. Then they can't apologize because they're dead. It's important to apologize when you really step in it. I didn't apologize for the worst thing I've ever said, but wish I had. That arrow landed smack in my mother-in-law's heart. All wide-eyed & only the tiniest trace snarky, I asked her what possessed exactly her to have 6 children (with 2 men). I really was curious; couldn't figure it out at all. It's the only time I ever saw her at a loss for words. She looked everywhere but at me & then answered, "Uhhh, everyone else was having children, & it went quite all right". (Alle andre fik børn, og det gik da meget godt.)  I only realized later what a rotten thing that was to say, but she forgave me before I realized I needed forgiving. She was generous & we loved each other best. She also loved me for loving her big gangly son. Two scrappy bats joined the same belfry. And then, after she died, my husband & his sister figured out what possessed her & it was not mother love - but that's another story. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

They were also environmental back in the day ...

Lovely summer so for some reason thinking of silly poetry from my childhood & youth.
Author unknown from an anthology for kids:

I love the good old world, I do.
I sing its praise in song & sonnet.
Strange it's not a whole lot worse,
With everybody picking on it.

That about says it today, not? Then there's that classic of sappiness & inverted tree-anatomy that we all had to study in grade school: Joyce Kilmer's TREES, which starts

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

It gets even dumber because if the tree's mouth is at the bottom, that "nest of robins in its hair" must be pubic hair, since apparently the tree is standing on its head on Mother Nature's boobies. You don't think about that stuff in 4th grade, but the sappiness comes through & we all ran around making up parodies (which I have mercifully forgotten). But what can you expect from an unfortunate whose mommy named him Joyce? He is at least modest enough to admit, "Poems are made by fools like me". I do remember the brilliant poet of silliness Ogden Nash's inspired take: The Song of the Open Highway

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
In fact, unless a billboard falls,
I shall not see a tree at all.

Ah yes, they were also environmental back there in the 50s when we thought it was all about progress & earning a bundle after the war. Which inspires me to compose my own poem, on the subject of the TV programming here in Denmark. Meaning no disrespect for the brave soldiers & civilian sufferers of that colossal tragedy, but:

I think that I shall never see
The final documentaree
About horrific World War II,
But think it's about time,
Don't you?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Granny again

Granny again - this time it's number 5. Good number. My daughter is the mum-to-be. Even better. I thought she had decided not to have children; she thought I would not approve if she got going any earlier.
    WATCH WHAT YOU SAY TO YOUR KIDS - you never know how your words will be taken. But ultimately the kids do what they want & that is just as it should be.
    Now the words have been said & the baby is on the way. My first thought was, "Yikes - I'm going to be an old granny," my second was pure elation & that's still IT.
    We live in the best & the worst of times. Our poor old earth groans under the weight of us all; we're changing the climate, chopping down the forests & overfishing the oceans. And we know it. So we are also recycling paper, metal & general garbage, replanting the forests & imposing some stiff environmental standards on shipping & fishing. Young people can't be bothered to remember anything by heart because they go around wired to their smartphones & computers, but Avaaz can collect a million signatures to let politicians & law enforcement - most recently India's new prime minister, who is not too concerned about gang rapes - know they can't hide anymore & just-plain-people power can unseat tyrants too. Not every time, for sure - check out Syria - but before everybody got connected it was almost never.
    It's the best & worst world our grandchildren take over, but they know more than ever before & when they have wonderful parents they will be empowered & ready. (The ones with rotten parents will be part of the problem, as always, but there is more effort to help now.) That's how I see it - even though I'm a granny who tends to worry. On the other hand, is there any other kind? There is still no finer word than "grandparent".

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Shop second hand - 2: Garden Aid

Little feathered swine. Since our cat passed on around 2008 we have a lot more birds in the yard & we love that. We enjoy watching them & we feed them all year. I tell them "howdy" when I come out in the mornings & they don't even seem frightened. Why then, must the blackbirds ravage my new planted seeds & sprouts? Okay - because that's their nature, of course, & it looks like a lot more fun to freak out birdbrain style & toss the dirt all around than to politely peck at what's in the feeding bottle or on the ground. Talk about down & dirty - they almost burrow into the boxes & patches, even pull up my baby spinach. Spinach! Blackbirds! I never knew they had those appetites.

The long & short of it is, the seedlings need shelter. I always shop second hand, so off I went. Had to go 3 places before I found a great big lace curtain for 30 Dkr. or about $5. I am sure that's a lot cheaper than anything they would sell off a roll in a garden center or hardware store. I cut off big strips & covered 2 beds plus 2 flowerboxes. There is still plenty left. It looks appealingly tacky - big lace flowers among the real flowers - & it does the job.

So there it is again. SHOP SECOND HAND  & do our earth a favor. It saves money & I suspect I am the only gardener on my street with a lace curtain doing bird duty. Silly - absolutely - but it IS kind of fun to be the one with the good ideas, not? Especially at this age. Creativity counts, besides which, I have never grown my own spinach before. No blackbird is going to spoil that!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Poetry for May

Here's a little poetry to celebrate the arrival of May; 2 poems by 2 poets I go back to again & again, but it was not always thus.
        I fell for Robert Browning as a teenager in high school & Pippa's Song was most likely the poem that did it. Moving on, I wrote my university thesis on his dramatic monologues, the ones where the speakers are Italian renaissance artists - Fra Lippo Lippi & Andrea del Sarto. Checked out their lives & paintings too, so the title was something like Browning as Art Critic. He was an astute critic as well as brilliant poet with an understanding of & affection for humanity & its little ways. I appreciated his own love story, the way he spirited his true love away from her domestic prison & off to Italy where they lived, thrived, reproduced & wrote, but ...
       Elizabeth Barret Browning's poetry did not move me. Her poems seemed either self-consciously pathetic or plain sappy. The sonnet below headed the second category. I would never slip it into my own true love's valentine; it was too much, too sentimental, too quasi-religious, too - sappy. I said that to my teenage sweetheart's darling mother, who was an older lady & a teacher.
        "Honey," she protested, "That girl was in love!"
        Well, that much was obvious & did not change sappy.

Here they are, his & hers, wonderful. As for Pippa's Song, yes, I still believe God's in his heaven but would hardly claim All's right with the world. It isn't. It can look that way on a lovely breezy day in May in a country where most people are quite all right, thank you, or at any rate can choose their own direction to a very great degree. That is not the way most of the world is.
       Sonnet XLIII (From the Portuguese) expresses a love as passionate as childhood faith that yet might have been lost with childhood's lost saints. Wow! That moves me now. I had to reach a certain age & also, of course, a long running relationship - otherwise it was just another love poem. Wouldn't it be nice to maintain our childhood faith unquestioned? It would, but don't know anyone who has; I sure haven't. Some saints got lost, though God's in his heaven (doing what, forcryingoutloud?). Some saints stay to call on when all is not right with the world (but they can't change it). Both things must be accepted, thought through, wrestled with even. Wouldn't it be nice if love had only ups & no (crashing) downs? We think so, but maybe that would just be boring. It can last - that's the thing - & now I can love Elizabeth as much as I do her husband.
           Enjoy the poetry. It doesn't get better than this:
 Song from Pippa Passes - Robert Browning
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heaven;
All's right with the world.

Sonnets from the Portuguese, XLIII  - Elizabeth Barret Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pancakes for Breakfast

Our grown children (4) plus 3 significant others & 3 grandkids here for Easter. I am well aware how privileged we are that they want to come home & even be seen with us in public. Daughter + main squeeze already here so today I made pancakes for breakfast. I operate on the principle stated by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's mother: "They only have no calories if I make them for you."
    A bit of a shock to my system nevertheless, because we fasted all day yesterday, as in: several glasses of water & 3 cups of herbal tea, period. It was Good Friday & I usually do fast - not a lot to ask given the reason we celebrate Good Friday - but it's as much cleansing as Christianity. Always send a thought to the millions fasting because they haven't got food. Here it's 'interesting' to experience actual hunger, because we wellfed westerners have pretty well forgotten what that's all about. It does feel good too - afterwards.

   Give it a try & have a Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Suad & Amanda - safe after Somalia

Almost quitting time last Thursday, then Suad showed up, looking worried. We had met Suad twice before, both times with her husband. They are Somali immigrants newly arrived in Svendborg & needing some local guidance. Both speak Danish but Suad is very fluent, very lovely & pleasingly plump. (Does anybody still say that? It describes Suad.) Her hair is the original afro, bleached orangey at the tips, no headscarf. Thursday she showed up alone, bruised after a beating - not the first - by her husband. She had left in a hurry while he slept & wasn't about to go back. At the volunteer/self-help center where I work we offered food, tea & sympathy & an hour later got her on her way to a women's shelter. We enjoyed imagining her husband's rage & frustration when he realized she was gone, out of his clutches, away from the repression he thought he could keep up in Denmark. Dream on, fanatic - that's not how women behave in the west. HA!
Of course Suad is the lucky one here. She gets all the sympathy; he gets despised & laughed at. What a dickhead. Did he really think he could keep a bright woman down? When will those idiot Muslim men ever learn? If they can't deal with western values, they can beat it back where they came from. Good riddance. They are all terrorists at heart anyway, aren't they?
       Yeah, I think they are, but I begin to understand the mechanism. In the case of Somalia, it's very clear. Not only is there a civil war on & no functioning government, but their livelihood was smashed when French fishermen violated Somalia's territorial waters & other nations followed their example. Most Somali pirates are ex-fishermen out of a job; that's why they know the territory so well. The lucky ones get to Europe or the US & some do really well - like the successful Somali enclave in St. Paul, Minnesota. Four young men from that community played the pirates in Captain Philips & one was even nominated for an Oscar. Then there are the others.  
       A culture that doesn't drink even a beer & forces its women to wander around in their own pup tent is as not-Danish as you can get. There has always been plenty of sympathy for the women & children, while the men were despised. Needless to say, this makes integration a whole lot tougher than it otherwise might be, & not only that. This attitude often makes the men even more repressive to their women - who figure out fast enough that western societies are going to be a lot more fun than what they came from. Here in DK girls get better educations than boys - really keep at it & are rewarded, especially if they ditch the Muslim headscarf - which of course keeps the vicious circle turning. There are jobs for immigrant women, mainly in the public health sector. Read: nursing homes. Everybody figures women from backward cultures are born caregivers at a time when there is a shortage of young people here & a crowd of oldsters needing care. Guys aren't so lucky. There's not the big demand for unskilled & semi-literate; besides, they repress their women. Yes, it's the only way they can feel just a bit manly in a country where they are not popular, but that won't get them any points & shouldn't. They have to change their ways.

       Suad is safe now; her husband is frustrated & pathetic. Canadian Amanda Lindhout is safe too, after 15 months of Somali captivity, starting in 2008. More on that next time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Unforgivable - Utilgiveligt

There is one statement that is completely unforgivable: THAT'S JUST THE WAY I AM.

Read: I know perfectly well I should confront the characteristics that make it necessary to say this, but I am too
1. lazy
2. conceited
3. afraid
4. all of the above - however paradoxical it sounds. The human mind is capable of all sorts of excuses & self-delusion. That's just the way it is. So DO something. Even if psychoanalyzing yourself seems obnoxiously egocentric & the quest can give some silly-sounding results, it's worth it. It will eventually get you there.
THAT'S JUST THE WAY I AM is unforgiveable!

Der er én erklæring der er fuldstændig utilgiveligt: SÅDAN ER JEG BARE.

Læs: Jeg er udmærket godt klar over, at jeg burde arbejde med mig selv og de karaktertræk, der gør denne erklæring nødvendigt, men jeg er for
1. dovn
2. indbildsk
3. bange
4. dem allesammen - selvom det lyder paradoksalt. Menneskesindet er i stand til alle slags undskyldninger og selvbidrag. Det er bare sådan det er. Så GØR dog noget. Selvom selv-psykoanalyse kan virke som værre navlepilleri og søgen kan give nogle skæve resultater, er den det værd. Du når det til sidst.
SÅDAN ER JEG BARE er utilgiveligt!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Overpopulation - scary stuff, that. Anyway it scares me. A lot of us enlightened westerners imagine modern utopias where the local society is as connected & supportive as back in the bad old days, back when being pushed out meant death or at least misery. There will be roof gardens with beehives, solar panels & a big windmill at the end of the road. Homegrown produce, recycling, zero growth, fellowship. It's already happening here & there. Neighborhood dinner clubs, urban greenhouses, electric cars, clothes & tool swaps, people taking care of each other. Even old fogies get a chance to form elder communes - olle kolle in Danish - that will stave off the inevitable trip to the nursing home. It's beautiful.
       It's also exclusive. Many million people on the planet are nowhere in these cozy plans. The planners ignore them because there's nothing else to do. They/we/I wish they would just go away.
Of course they won't. They will keep on keeping on as they always have, having many children, using up all the resources they can find, settling in nature preserves & burning the wood, poaching, generally making a mess. They are a whole lot better than the mining, logging & oil companies out to grab whatever they can, aided & abetted by various multi-nationals & corrupt governments, but they are still in the way of the modern utopia. They are just so annoying.
       The best thing for the planet would be to exactly achieve zero growth, stop producing a bunch of useless luxury products, dumb-ass toys no kid would miss, gas guzzler cars. And pop off half the population. Robots are going to take most of the jobs anyway, not? So as a little mental exercise, who has to go?

       We'll start with pedophiles, human traffickers, wife-&-kid beaters, tyrants & torturers, rapists. No protests there, right? Moving on to terrorists, bigtime bullies & fanatics of every stripe, swindlers, gangsters, psychopaths (one might be your boss), the mining, logging & oil companies + those who cooperate with them (okay - going to be impractical), corrupt politicians generally (there went the entire governments of India, Pakistan & points east + some of ours), drug dealers, the wolves of Wall Street & the fashionistas who tell perfectly normal girls they are fat.

        Next? This is where innocent people take a hit. Very retarded or senile & others who are almost or completely helpless + anybody dying of AIDS - or anything else, I guess. Then who? Well, here we come to the great mass of foreign humanity with no prospects, a gang of kids they can't care for or educate because they are ignorant, lazy or out to breed a million little Muslims; people I will never get to know. (The very few I do know - because they made it up here - I often like a lot.) I don't want to think about them. They are just in the way. Dang, that's annoying! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Philip Seymour & the 10 others

Just read - a week after the fact - a heartfelt tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman in Time magazine. It's written by his friend & fellow addict, the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. It's down to earth & sincere & made me feel marginally better. A Late Quartet finally got to Denmark & I had just seen it when I heard the news. (My favorite remains Almost Famous. "Of course I'm home on Saturday night. I'm not cool.") Sorkin quotes Philip Seymour in one of those eerily astute statements that turn out to predict exactly what happens.

"If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won't."

Doubtless absolutely right. My daughter - who was also a big fan like me - summed it up well & directly: "What a dickhead." Yep - that he was. Even so, I wish Philip Seymour hadn't & the other 10 had. Truly unfair thought & I know it, but I also know I am not alone. Okay, 'thought' is probably the wrong word; it's something more basic, something we all feel sometimes. My further thoughts on this sort of thinking are the subject of the next blog.

Dang, Philip Seymour! I would have liked to see your King Lear.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Justice in India / Retfærdighed i Indien

Nice to see that 3 men were arrested for the rape of a Danish woman in New Delhi. Nicer still that rape is now a capital offense. Nicest of all if this is actually enforced when Indian women are raped - even though they don't bring in tourist dollars. And imagine if Indian society takes a long hard look at their view of women, now that India is the new Silicon Valley, the big I in BRIC & even Bollywood films depict women with brains & influence as well as amazing beauty.

This time I hope life imitates art!

Godt at se at 3 mænd blev anholdt for at have voldtaget en dansk kvinde i New Delhi. Endnu bedre at voldtægt nu er anerkendt som en alvorlig forbrydelse. Allerbedst hvis denne lov ren faktisk bliver håndhævet når indiske kvinder bliver voldtaget - selvom de ikke trækker turist dollars til landet. Og bare tænk, hvis det indiske samfund kigger alvorligt på dets kvindesyn, nu hvor Indien er den ny Silicon Valley, den store I i BRIC og sågar Bollywood nu viser kvinder med hjerne og indflydelse oveni forbløffende skønhed.
Denne gang håber jeg at livet efterligner kunst!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Resolutions

How goes it with your New Year resolutions? My main one is that I still want to be here this time next year & in good health. Not so complicated, that one, even from this guilty segment of society known as the Elderly Burden. Yep, not only are there waaay too many of us aging Baby Boomers, we're also poised to go on & on. Last week we lost Peter O'Toole at 81 & Joan Fontaine at 96. (No, they have nothing to do with Boomers, but I was a fan of both.) Now I'd rather copy Ms. Fontaine, who died at home, presumably just from old age. Selfish, that, but I'll try to Make a Contribution to the local society along the way. That's also expected of this generation, mainly in the form of volunteer work. Fair enough.
     Other New Year resolutions? Drop a few kilos & take a load off my arthritic knees. Write more, write regularly, do an online course if that's what it takes. Exercise regularly is a no-brainer but luckily that just comes naturally. If you're hyper, you're hyper & it doesn't stop because you pass 65, you just tire out faster. I know because I am & I do. Take up yoga. Write more. Said that last year too - & the year before that. This year I'll take it more seriously because of a couple of concrete projects that augur well. Meditate more & get to the bottom of my penchant for wasting energy on regrets about stuff I can't do anything about anyway. My daughter gets after me for that - clever girl.
      All my December/Christmas To Do Lists start with "Cook a lot & love everybody" because that way I know at least one thing will get done. Keeping that thought too, all year. Write more.