Sunday, 31 January 2010

Warning! Art!


© 2008 Bjørn Clasen. Use only with explicit permission.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Multicolouredness Of A Multilingual Blog

There is a bit of everything on this blog, and it contains posts in no less than 22 different languages. To give you an overview, and a quick access to all the subjects, click on the labels below.

There are of course some overlaps, and subjects like ‘philosophy’ and ‘sociology’ are interpreted broadly as they touch so many aspects of life. On the other hand ‘coaching’ and ‘communication’ are recently-added labels, and you will find posts on these subjects in other categories as well.

Happy reading! There's a lot of fun in here! And, oh, you might learn something new ;)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

My Wish List :)

Electronic stuff
Phone headset with mute (for example Plantronics S 12)
Small and practical webcam for a Mac laptop
Navigation system with TMC, 44 European countries (and maybe North America) and MP3 player (if possible including headphone jack) — for example Mio Moov Spirit Flat S 568 or Mio Moov Spirit Flat Full Europe (ask the dealer what the difference actually is) or something from Becker + holder kit for the car
…and of course a car for the navigation system :)

Dark Star
Der Lehrer — Die Komplette Serie
Heroes — Season 1 (or the whole series, i.e. Season 1 through 3)
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Monty Python: Almost The Truth — The Lawyer's Cut
What About Bob?
Kvinden Der Drømte Om En Mand

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives: Communion
Ian Brown: My Way
Kent: Röd
Steffen Brandt: Baby Blue
Meiko: Meiko
Githead: Landing
A Place To Bury Strangers: Exploding Head
Florence + The Machine: Lungs
Sandra: Reflections — The Reproduced Hits (Special Edition)
Institute: Distort Yourself
The Dodos: Time To Die
Au Revoir Simone: Still Night, Still Light
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Girls: Album
Secret Machines: The Road Leads Where It's Led
Secret Machines: Secret Machines
Rivers Cuomo: Alone — The Home Recordings Of Rivers Cuomo
Rivers Cuomo: Alone II — The Home Recordings Of Rivers Cuomo
Jason Lytle: Yours Truly, The Commuter
Erasure: Nightbird
Reverend & The Makers: A French Kiss In The Chaos
Coconut Records: Davy
Madness: The Liberty Of Norton Folgate
Smith Westerns: Smith Westerns

Václav Havel: Leaving
Klaus Fischer: Fallrückzieher Und Mehr…
Dirk Unschuld: Als Der Geißbock Moped Fuhr
Aryanne Oade: Starting And Running A Coaching Business
Cora Besser-Siegmund: Erfolge Zum Wundern
Co-active Coaching — New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life
Live & Work In: New Zealand
Moon — Living Abroad In New Zealand
Shelagh Young: How To Be A Successful Life Coach
Ruth Pink: Denken — kreativ, professionell und systematisch
Hüther: Männer – Das schwache Geschlecht und sein Gehirn
Louise Purwin Zobel: The Travel Writer's Handbook

Practical small file or something, to sort business cards

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream (not) on Wikipedia

I added the below paragraph, which apparently is not considered relevant as it is just one of thousands of adaptations. Personally, I still believe it is of interest, as it shows how Shakespeare's work lives on in our post-industrialised and globalising society.

An argument was also that it is not mentioned in academic sources. Well, I must have misunderstood what Wikipedia is all about, as I thought that — as opposed to conventional encyclopædias — it was supposed to be for everyone, and by everyone. Pity. Wanted to share this interesting piece of information.

===Modern performances===
Numerous are the inventive and alternative performances of one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. One example is the multilingual ''Dream 2007'', which the [[New World Theatre Club]] set up under the direction of [[Tony Kingston]] as part of the [[European Capital of Culture]] festivities in [[Luxembourg_(city)|Luxembourg]]. Although set in a post-industrial environment, the original dialogue was kept for the fairies, and translated into German for the upper-class Athenians, Luxembourgish (the first known translation into this language) for the lower-class, whereas the songs were in French, thus depicting the multi-cultural nature of contemporary Luxembourg and Europe, and its conflicts and misunderstandings.[ New World Theatre Club: Dream 2007]; ''352'' issue #176 of 19 April 2007 p33 and #189 of 19 July 2007 p20; ''France News'' September 2007 issue

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Das IST verdammt lustig! — Woollily funny!

English translation:

‘No, we did not notice. We do try to count if everybody's home, but usually we fall asleep.’

‘Just like that.’

(v)on Nichtlustig

Monday, 25 January 2010

Ny rejseform inden for EU

Hvad er det for et grænse-los, man får, hvis man rejser til flere lande?

fra siden EU i kontakt med borgerne

Sunday, 24 January 2010

‘There is nothing like real homegrown spaghetti’

Click on the picture below to watch a hilarious, short clip on spaghetti harvest:

And I used to make people believe that pasta actually grows like wheat on fields, macaroni being the shell and spaghetti the inside. One learns every day…

Background of the clip

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Kongelig privilegeret (eller privilegeret kongelig)

Også på det sproglige område har det danske kongehus i århundreder nyt særlige privilegier. Det viser nedenstående spørgsmål til og svar fra Udenrigsministeriet angående skrivemåden på ambassadeskilte (og øl).

Mit spørgsmål

For nylig var jeg i byen Gdańsk i det nordlige Polen, og lagde tilfældigvis mærke til, at Danmark har et konsulat i byens hovedgade. Hvad jeg også lagde mærke til, var stavemåden på det officielle skilt (det ovale, røde med rigsvåbnet, som man også ser det på ambassader) — her stod nemlig »KONGELIG DANSK KONSULAT«.

Er dette ikke en fejl? Da »konsulat« er et intetkønsord, ville jeg mene, der skulle stå »KONGELIGT DANSK KONSULAT« på sådanne officielle skilte. Jeg har diskuteret det med flere sprogkyndige bekendte, og samlet er der tvivl; måske der er en særlig regel for ordet »kongelig«, at det i dette tilfælde fx ikke er et egentligt tillægsord, men en slags sammensætning med ordet »dansk«?

Svar fra Udenrigsministeriet

I forbindelse med Udenrigsministeriets overvejelser af dit spørgsmål […], har vi konstateret, at der ikke er tale om en fejl, men om en ældre form, som også findes i fx ”Kongelig dansk Gesandtskab”. Som forklaring på fænomenet har bl.a. været peget på den udtalemæssige lighed mellem –t og d- i hhv. kongeligt og dansk, som udtales på samme sted i munden, hvorved der opstår en tilbøjelighed til at ”trække de to lyd sammen”, sådan at den ene, altså –t i ”kongeligt”, forsvinder. Vi har dog ikke villet svare uden at forhøre os hos Dansk Sprognævn, som [forklarer fænomenet] som en ældre form, hvor ”kongelig” optræder ubestemt, muligvis understøttet af en tryksvag udtale, jf. […] ”LEVERANDØR TIL DET KONGELIG DANSKE HOF”.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Ton intégrité est à toi — Your integrity is your own

»Je devrais me priver de faire ce dont j'ai envie, juste parce que ce n'est pas ce que l'on attend de moi? Me l'interdire serait aller à l'encontre de mes convictions.«
Sophie Cadalen — auteure, actrice et psychanalyste
dans Psychologies Nº292 — Janvier 2010
‘I should deny myself what I feel like doing, just because it is not what is expected of me? To forbid myself from it would be to go against my conviction.’
Sophie Cadalen — author, actress and psychoanalyst
in Psychologies #292 — January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

James Cameron's Avatar is a stylish film marred by its racist subtext

This brilliant, thoughtful and only slightly satirical journalist does hit the nail on the head, writing exactly what I thought when I watched the for some reason so highly praised 'Avatar':

Avatar was a spectacle, I’ll grant you that. The film’s 230-million-dollar budget guaranteed extravagant and often beautiful 3D special effects. But as I left the cinema last night, I couldn’t help questioning the weird mind behind it all. Was it James Cameron’s intention to be so nauseatingly patronising? And how could the famously Left-wing director have failed to pick up on his film’s racist subtext?

I won’t spoil the plot, but here’s the basic set-up: a group of mercenary humans have colonised a faraway planet, called Pandora, in order to extract an enormously valuable mineral found there. Pandora’s “natives” – a race of tall, blue-skinned aliens called the Na’vi – live on an area of land which is set to be mined. They won’t relocate, so the humans attack.

But the Na’vi aren’t your average extra-terrestrials. Blue skin aside, they’re essentially a childish pastiche of the “ethnic”, with recognisably human features. They wear Maasai-style necklaces and beaded jewellery which Cameron has borrowed from tribal East Africa. Their long, dark hair is dreadlocked. Their clothes are apparently Amerindian. They are armed with bows and poisoned arrows, and wear facepaint into battle. The main Na’vi characters are voiced by four black actors: Zoë Saldaña, C. C. H. Pounder, Laz Alonso and Peter Mensah; as well as one Cherokee, Wes Studi. The evil humans, needless to say, are white, male and middle-aged.

James Cameron has been very open about the politics behind Avatar. It’s about how “greed and imperialism tend to destroy the environment,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s a way of looking back on ourselves from this other world.”

If we look at his version of our planet, however, the view is overwhelmingly repellent. Pandora is to Cameron what Africa was to Joseph Conrad – it’s another, fictional ‘Heart of Darkness’, a place where a cruel imperial power subjects what is (perhaps unwittingly) depicted as a lesser race. Chinua Achebe, Conrad’s fiercest critic, wrote that “Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as ‘the other world,’ the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality.” Almost the exact same could be said of Avatar.

Take, for example, the relationship between the ethnic Na’vi and the animals which inhabit Pandora. Every interaction between them involves an act of quasi-consummation. The “natives” attach a spindly appendage to whatever raging animal they are trying to tame, resulting in a short struggle followed by an almost post-coital quiet. In another scene, one of the Na’vi is warned not to play with the same appendage or, he is told, “you’ll go blind.” The hint is heavy enough – it’s the same “triumphant bestiality” which Achebe criticised in Heart of Darkness.

By far the most contemptible theme in Avatar involves the hero, a young disabled American called Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington. Before the humans declare war on the Na’vi, Sully is sent to them (in the form of a blue-skinned avatar) in a last ditch attempt to find a diplomatic solution. But, lo and behold, he becomes one of them – sympathising so much with their plight that he decides to lead them into battle against the humans.

As Left-wing conceits go, this one surely tops all the others: the ethnic Na’vi, the film suggests, need the white man to save them because, as a less developed race, they lack the intelligence and fortitude to overcome their adversaries by themselves. The poor helpless natives, in other words, must rely on the principled white man to lead them out of danger.

Yuck. And there I was, thinking this sort of patronising world-view was dying out. But plainly it lives on in Hollywood. Avatar is artistic evidence of the ugly mindset which underlies so much of Left-wing thinking today: the belief that only the superior Western liberal is fit to lead the world into a better future. Other than a whole lot of style, this is all Cameron’s film has to offer – so I make that 230 million dollars wasted.

Will Heaven
in The Telegraph

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Für Lakritzen-Lieber… — For Liquorice Lovers…

…gibt's ein kleines Geschäft in Köln, das dieses „schwarze Gold” aus aller Welt importiert:

(das Logo könnte ich übrigens gut für meine Coach-Praxis gebrauchen…)

änd nöw in English:
…there's a little shop in Cologne that imports this ‘black gold’ from all around the World.
(actually, I could use that logo for my coaching business…)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tid ER vist penge — Time DOES seem to be money

fundet på

(The text reads:
Save 1h 5m!
3992 Danish kroner [some 535 €] in supplements’)

Monday, 18 January 2010

Just a precaution

An entrance ticket for the Eiffel Tower. The one in Las Vegas, that is. Notice what's marked in red.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

‘Learn Languages the Right Way

Language acquisition games and abstract communicative method are bullshit. The second-best way to learn a foreign language is alone in a room doing skull-numbing rote memorization of vocabulary, grammar, key phrases, and colloquialisms. The best way is in bed.’

Chuck Thompson
in ‘Smile When You’re Lying — Confessions Of A Rogue Travel Writer’ (p 219)

Review of the book

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Red pesto pasta sauce test

3 stars — Pesto Pomodoro (bio-verde)
The taste of olive (oil) shines through, giving this pesto a distinct, almost bitter taste, which is not very subtle. The consistency seems a little dry. bio-verde's Pesto Puttanesca will do in an emergency but is only recommended because it is bio.
Price: 3,99 € for 200 ml

4 stars — Pesto Puttanesca (bio-verde)
When you first put this sauce into your mouth, what meets you is a surprisingly delicious and fresh taste of olive. Soon, this gets monotonous though. The consistency is suitably greasy without going over the top. A decent pesto, especially for small portions.
Price: 3,99 € for 200 ml

Friday, 15 January 2010

Once again: It is as simple as this

‘The starting point for any communication campaign must be its message. Based on policy priorities, the message must be simple, honest and have an authentic human side. Target groups must be identified; attempting to communicate to everyone at the same time can backfire.’
Alexandra Culliford
‘The new media ecosystem — American lessons in communication’
in Commission en Direct #537

Thursday, 14 January 2010

De kedelige 80ere

»Hvis ikke vi var blevet reddet på stregen, var 80'erne blevet århundredets kedeligste årti. Men der skete mere i 80'ernes tre sidste måneder end i hele resten af årtiet.«
Steffen Brandt, 1990
ifølge Gaffas 25-års jubilæumsnummer (#9/2008)

Solicitud del empleo de Cantante de rock
en fiestas de pueblo

Desde los años 50 estoy melenudo, y entonces soy el pionero de esto peinado absolutamente necesario para ser un cantante creíble de rock.

En 1960 fundaba un grupo que se llamó «los Beatles». Fue un éxito mediocre, pero escribió unos canciones que Ustedes quizás conocen, como «Ayer», «¡Hola Jude!», «El Submarino Amarillo» o «El Grupo De Los Corazones Solos Del General Franco».

Pero después de unos años entre groupies y droga me sentía un poco aburrido, y decidí aprender a cantar. Mis trés primeros profesores ahora están en clinicas psiciatricas, y como yo pago sus tratamientos puedo decir que estoy contribuyendo mucho a la beneficiencia.

Sé que las fiestas de pueblo que Ustedes organizan sirven para recaudar dinero para la beneficiencia, y estoy seguro que mis experiencias en el rock y en la beneficiencia son exactamente lo que Ustedes están buscando.

© 2010 Bjørn Clasen
Ejercicio del curso de español — «Imagina que quieres conseguir [el trabajo de] cantante de rock en fiestas de pueblo. [...] Prepara una presentación [...] (exagera todo lo que quieras).»

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Perfect Moments in real life and in fake non-fiction

‘The trouble with Perfect Moments is that they never come at the end of the trip. They come somewhere in the middle. Or the beginning. As a travel writer, you get to cheat. Rearrange chronology. Take your Day Two dinner with the college kids and turn it into the last paragraph, your final hurrah. It’s fake, of course, but so is a lot of travel writing, so what’s the difference?

Actual travelers don’t have this luxury. Actual travelers exist in real time and have to deal with the kinds of troubles that don’t end up as body copy between splashy photos of a beach at dawn and coconut-encrusted prawns in honey-melon-okra dipping sauce at cocktail hour. Actual travelers have to deal with actual travel. Often, this leads to the kind of trouble the travel industry would just as soon pretend doesn’t exist.’

Chuck Thompson
in ‘Smile When You’re Lying — Confessions Of A Rogue Travel Writer’ (p 23)

Review of the book

Monday, 11 January 2010

Women's Volleyball and Team Spirit

Over the weekend, Luxembourg hosted Novotel Cup featuring four women's and four men's teams. As Denmark played in the women's tournament, I went to watch the match (my country of residence vs my country of birth), to get some impressions, to shoot some photos ...and to learn something.

As you see, it is a bit of a challenge to take photos of such a fast-moving sport. That's why the ball is not actually on any of the pix...

Denmark won by 3 sets to 1 (27:25, 22:25, 25:22, 25:16) in an even match over two hours. The star players — to someone who does not know a great deal about volleyball — seem to be the continuously concentrated captain and motivator Mia Kloth-Jørgensen (who with her 1.69 m looks very small next to the generally very tall players), the straightforward smasher Lykke Degner (1.91 m of sporty beauty!), as well as athletic Hansen and elegant Kyhn. Those were the names on their jerseys; I am, however, not sure of their correctness as there are discrepancies between the official tournament programme and the Danish Volleyball Association's website.

The real star though is the team itself. Volleyball is a team game in its purest sense, and if you are used to for example soccer, it may seem confusing that the team members get together between every single ball, won or lost, to bond, congratulate, motivate, keep up team spirit no matter what. Given that most ball exchanges last around 5 seconds till one team scores a point, and rarely over 20 seconds, the bonding ritual is very frequent.

A lot of teams, not only in sports, can learn from this!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Create an exhibition for Galería Studio Cerrillo!

Call for PROPOSALS PIC 2010

In 2010 Studio Cerrillo plans to offer a year of performance, conceptual and installation art.

We are seeking an original concept created for our gallery which is 4.6 x 4.6 x 3.2 meters, 15 linear meters of exhibition space, a small back patio, and the street which is easily closed for the day and night of the inauguration, thus allowing the connected spaces to serve as an excellent venue for the artist.

Projects submitted for this year of alternative art need to be performance, installation or conceptual to be considered. We are specifically seeking original works that are designed for specifically for our space. We want ideas that pushes the edge of each individual artist and the audience. Whether MODERN, SEXUAL, SATIRICAL, REACTIONARY, POLITICAL or PROHIBITED, we want each artist to explore the outer edge, to create a new work and to have fun.

More info here


Llamada para PROPUESTAS para PIC 2010

En 2010 Studio Cerrillo tiene planeado ofrecer un año dedicado al performance, la instalación y el arte conceptual.

Buscamos conceptos originales creados para nuestra galería la cual tiene las siguientes dimensiones: 4.6 x 4.6 x 3.2 metros, 15 metros lineales de espacio para exhibición, un pequeño patio trasero, y la calle que puede fácilmente ser clausurada para el día y la noche de la inauguración; estos espacios interconectados otorgan al artista excelentes posibilidades.

Los proyectos que se recibirán para este año dedicado al arte alternativo deben entrar en la categoría de performance, instalación o arte conceptual. Buscamos específicamente trabajos originales diseñados exclusivamente para nuestro espacio. Queremos ideas que lleven al límite al artista y su público. Ya sea arte MODERNO, SEXUAL, SATIRICO, REACCIONARIO, POLITICO o PROHIBIDO, buscamos que cada artista explore los extremos externos, que sea capaz de crear un trabajo nuevo y que se divierta.

Más información aquí

Saturday, 9 January 2010

How helpful

Screenshots and quotes from a normal day at the (Microsoft) Office...

‘Windows Media Player encountered an unknown error.’
and then, when clicking for Help...

Windows Media Player Error Message Help

You've encountered an error message while using Windows Media Player. Additional information is not currently available for this error.

Additional Assistance

For information about obtaining technical support from Microsoft, see the Troubleshooting Windows Media Player page.

For general information about using Windows Media Player and other Windows Media technologies, see the Windows Media Player FAQ page or the Windows Media Knowledge Center.’

Friday, 8 January 2010

An American view on Europe

‘Europe will probably have to burn itself to the ground once again before it completely gets over World War II.’

Chuck Thompson
in ‘Smile When You’re Lying — Confessions Of A Rogue Travel Writer’ (p 272)

Review of the book

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Was eine Mannschaft ist — What a team is

„Mannschaft bedeutet für mich einen Verbund von Personen, die in bestimmten Aktivitäten als Einheit auftreten und geschlossen gemeinsame Ziele verfolgen. Jeder muss seine individuellen Stärken der Mannschaft zur Verfügung stellen.”

„Eine Mannschaft sind Personen, die gemeinsam ein Ziel vor Augen haben und es gemeinsam erreichen und teilen wollen.”

im GeißbockEcho — das Clubmagazin des 1. FC Köln, Nr. 9 vom 20. Dezember 2009

‘To me, a Team means a co-operation of individuals who engage in certain activities as a unity, determined to follow common goals. Everyone must put his individual strengths at the team's disposal.’

‘A team is a group of persons who focus on a common goal and who want to reach it together and share it.’

Quotations from players
in GeißbockEcho1. FC Cologne's club magazine, #9 of 20 December 2009

Eine Frage der Werte — Questioning values

"Ich wollte Spaß und Freude vermitteln. [... I]ch war oben angekommen, und vor der Tür stand ein Mercedes. Aber das alles hat mich nicht glücklich gemacht. Ich habe mich gefragt, war’s das jetzt?"
Sebastian Deisler
zur Frage "Welche Dinge haben Sie gesucht?" — Interview in Der Tagesspiegel
'I wanted to promote fun and joy. [...] I had arrived on the top, and in front of my door I had a Mercedes. But all of this did not make me happy. I asked myself if this was it?'
Sebastian Deisler
on the question 'What did you look for?' — Interview in Der Tagesspiegel

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Hey Mister Tangerine Man

Photo © 2009 Julie Clasen — Artwork © 2009 Bjørn Clasen

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Jennifer Aniston in her football outfit
— Jennifer Aniston i sit footballtøj

When the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet wrote about the movie ‘The Break-Up’, starring Jennifer Aniston and her then-boyfriend Vince Vaughn, they used this photo. The caption reads ‘Vince Vaughn opens his eyes wide as Jennifer Aniston shows her new 'look'. (Picture from the movie)’.

The choice of photo is somewhat a disappointment (except maybe for certain fetichists), as the article was titled ‘Aniston clean-shaven and naked in new movie’. Now, even if she is clean-shaven underneath that football gear …which one is Jennifer??

Da Ekstra Bladet i sin tid skrev om filmen ‘The Break-Up’ med Jennifer Aniston og hendes daværende kæreste Vince Vaughn, blev ovenstående billede brugt. Lidt af en skuffelse (undtagen måske for visse fetichister), idet rubrikken på artiklen var ‘Aniston glatbarberet og nøgen i ny film’. Hm. Selvom hun skulle være glatbarberet under det der footballudstyr …hvem af dem er så egentlig Jennifer??

Friday, 1 January 2010

When decision-makers keep forgetting the people

‘If on the way we have lost the hearts and minds of many Romanians, it is because the bureaucrats from both Bucharest and Brussels forgot how important public awareness and public education are. This mistake should not be repeated.’
Adrian Severin, Member of the European Parliament
on the question ‘Looking back now, how has joining the European Union changed Romania?’
from ‘Remembering the Romanian Revolution’ — interview in ‘Commission en direct’ #539, 11-17 December 2009

This goes for most political projects, and can thus be generalised into:
‘If on the way we have lost the hearts and minds of many individuals, it is because the bureaucrats and politicians forgot how important public awareness and public education are. This mistake should not be repeated.’