Pie – the Sequel

And I’ll have the strawberry pie, thank you. No sour cream, please, I’m trying to quit.

“What’s with the pies”, you ask? Well, as it happens, Anna and I are both very fond of pie. We’ve always been partial towards the pie, but our fixation on said pastry has been intensified since we discovered  The Adventures of Weebl and Bob. My dear Swedish friend Lena (if you’re reading this – hi Lena!) brought my attention to this wonderful web animation, and Anna and I fell in love with it immediately. And inspired by Weebl and Bob and their love of pies, the word “pie” has gradually made its way into Anna’s and my vocabulary (much like the term “sju jætter” as described below) as a synonym for… well, anything good. Because, pie, as Weebl would put it, is “goooooood”. To put things more clearly:

Pie: [pi-], adjective, anglo-saxon origins, descending from sb. “pie”: A baked food composed of a pastry shell filled with fruit, meat, cheese, or other ingredients, and usually covered with a pastry crust. . Ex. “Joaquin Phoenix baked the pie.”. “Pie” as adjective first registered 2005, signifying: A thing, phenomenon, person, etc. that distinguishes itself by being gooooooooood. Ex: “Joaquin Phoenix is pie”. In some cases, the word may also serve as an exlamation. Ex: Person 1: “Joaquin Phoenix and I did some serious making out last night.” Person 2: “Pie!”.

There you are! Another Anna/Marie expression, just for you.

And while we’re on the subject of things that are pie: I just finished a radio project yesterday! Woo-hoo! It’s this radio concept, consisting of two interviews and some musical interludes, that I’ve been working on it for about a month along with two fellow students, and we’ve been totally stressed out about it. And I’m afraid that we haven’t exactly made radio history, but all in all I think we did a pretty good job. And we had fun in the process. And we finished it on time. And that, my friends, is pie.

/marie

PS: “What’s with all the Joaquin Phoenix”, you ask? To which I say: Well, look at him!:

Joaquin Phoenix

‘Nuff said. Pie.

March 31, 2006. Dictionary. 1 comment.

Pie

Yes…some raspberry pie would be nice. I have the coffee, thanks for asking.
/anna

March 29, 2006. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Television at its best

Last night I spent at my parents’ since I, as Marie, do not have a television… or that is I don’t have access to any television signal. And yesterday evening the Danish public service channel DR2 (also known as the egghead channel since it mainly broadcasts cultural and political programs) transmitted three programs about Rembrandt. One of them taking place in Statens Museum for Kunst where some of my colleagues were interviewed. Cool.
But…what I want to tell you about is the excellent news program that followed: “Deadline”. This evening they had called on the Secretary of Education and Church, Bertel Haarder and Ph.d. in history of religions and associate professor of the University of Copenhagen Mikael Rothstein. The two men were to discuss the future of the tuition of religion in the Danish elementary school and whether it is (as according to Rothstein) not secular enough.
Right wing Bertel Haarder is an old school Danish Christian which means that he is a tolerant protestant who cheers for the popular “Grundtvigianske” branch of the Danish church. He also believes, with some right, that Danish culture is inextricable from a Christian ideology, and he concludes: Danish kids should know their bible and secondly know something about other religions. In other words: he takes his double title seriously…
Mikael Rothstein: Atheist and scholar of various religions. He thinks it is problematic with a school focusing on one religion and doing it (according to him) with an intention of evangelizing.
What was so enjoyable (to an old atheist and socialist as myself) was seeing rock hard Haarder being humiliated completely. And not only humilitated but humiliated by the most cordial, nicely talking and hot looking humanist from hell Rothstein. Haarder is normally most eloquent but Rothstein’s charming way of attacking without making unjust allegations silenced the unbeatable minister. He kept summing up their differences of opinion and kept asking how Haarder could be a serious representative of the political sphere (not the religious) and the total Danish population and still wanting to evangelize. Haarder just looked more and more like a nervous ostrich (normally he just looks like an ostrich) and kept repeating the same sentences.
Oh – it was pure enjoyment. Of course intellectual and ideological enjoyment, but surprisingly enough also a visual enjoyment with the sweating Haarder and the wonderfully looking Rothstein. Just my idea of a hot man: highly intelligent AND good looking. Go ahead and google them;-)
Now THAT is television!
/anna

March 22, 2006. Reviews, Television. Leave a comment.

Sju jætter?

I don’t have a TV anymore. I’ve lived without a TV for two months now, mostly for financial reasons, and am doing just fine without it actually. No more postponing studies because I just had to watch That 90210 Episode in Which Brenda and Dylan Hook Up and then got caught up in a random King of Queens ep afterwards and eventually fell asleep on my couch with the remote control pathetically cradled in my hand. No more of that! Yay! It’s like being born again. (Of course, all that time I used to spend watching TV? I’m totally spending that surfing the internet now. But still.) However, looking back there are those few golden TV-watching moments that make me wish I still had a TV. And the one that shines the brightest in my memory is this TV-program that I watched five years ago, a Danish low-budget thing called (translated) “In the Singer’s Workshop”. The concept was this: In five different episodes, five different singers would work with and interpret an old Danish folk ballad called “Ramund”, and one of these singers happened to be Etta Cameron, an American gospel singer who lives in Denmark.

Etta Cameron

A word about Etta Cameron: The word is ubiquitous. Etta is everywhere. You literally cannot go to a civic festival in Denmark (not that you would want to do that anyway, because *shudder*. But still.) without seeing Etta there, clapping her hands and praising the Lord. And if you flip through the pages of the Christmas Edition of a magazine about interior decoration? There is Etta, talking about her Christmas preparations and her abusive ex-husband. Or if, for reasons I will never understand, you decide to watch the Danish version of American Idol? Etta is there, as one of the judges, smiling broadly and giving all the contestants top marks, even the ones that sucked majorly. Nobody knows how or why exactly, but you can count on Etta to be there. All. the freaking. time. Which is why I came very close to just switching off my TV and call it a night when Etta came on screen in “In The Singer’s Workshop”, but looking back, I’m so glad that I didn’t!  

Etta meets Ramund

The ballad “Ramund” tells the story of Ramund, a tough but fair man, who happens to come across seven old-Norse-mythology-ish giants (the Danish word for these giants being “jætter”). According to the legends, the giants spent pretty much the entire Viking Age harassing the perfectly nice Norse gods, who were only trying to do their jobs, bringing thunder and crops and hot lovin’ to the humans. The giants, in short, were bad news, and Ramund learns as much in the ballad, too. The giants tell Ramund that they plan to kill him, but the shrewd and strong Ramund is all “Um, no….” and then proceeds unto killing all seven of them with just one stroke of his sword. It’s a classical David-Goliath/Ulysses-and-the-Cyclops kind of story, and that’s really all there is to it.  A nice little humorous song with a pretty good tune about a man and his sword.

Subjecting gospel singer Etta to the song (and vice versa), however, proved to be an ill-conceived idea. She was lost as early as the second stanza, depicting Ramund’s first meeting with the giants. The lyrics in this stanza go (translated) “Ramund walked along the salt sea shore/there he saw sju jætter [seven giants, pronounced “shoe ‘yetter”] standing”. Etta looked up from the note sheets with a face revealing the utmost bewilderment. “Sju jætter?” she demanded at her pianist with her heavy American accent, “What is that?” The pianist made an attempt at explaining Etta the concept of jætter, but he obviously wasn’t successful, because Etta was merely horrified.

Very surprisingly, Etta, although completely ignorant to the concept of jætter until two seconds earlier, immediately made up her mind that her take on said abnormal creatures was that jætter are people too, dammit! And Ramund, consequently, was a murderer. And the ballad was, as Etta put it “a very, very sad song about a very cruel man”. She decided that her failure to understand Ramund was to be her predominant sentiment in her musical interpretation of the song, and I will never forget the look of sad confusion on her face, as she finally performed the song. She looked like Tosca singing “Vissi d’arte” the whole time, and she even went as far as to add improvised lamenting interlude in English: “Ohhh, Ramund… why did you doooo the things you did?!” Seriously, it was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen on TV. It was like the most sublime example of a cultural clash – Lord-praising gospel meeting jætte-slaughtering, sardonic, skaldic song. Both of them, gospel and Danish folk ballads, great concepts, but so very, very different. And it’s all compiled in that one question, the heavily American-accented “Sju jætter??”  Anna and I use the phrase whenever we’re confronted with something that is incomprehensible to us. In some cases the slight variation “Sju f*cking jætter??” comes in handy.

Example 1:Subject A: “Oh, look at that, Jack Nicholson is wearing sun glasses at the Oscar ceremony!”

Subject B: “…Sju jætter??”

Example 2: The Copenhagen Opera: “Yeah, so instead of using that really nice and subtle Striking-the-Match image as the trademark for our staging of Wagner’s Ring, we’ve decided to use a really corny and idiotically explicit woman’s symbol with photoshopped flames on it.”

Anna and Marie: “…Sju f*cking jætter??”   

We invite you all to adopt the phrase! It’s a very effective means of expressing confused frustration, and we won’t charge you anything, in terms of royalty and the like. Not much, anyway.

/marie

March 18, 2006. Dictionary. 3 comments.

The horror of Progesterex!!

I am obscenely busy these days (that is; very busy. Not busy doing obscene things.), but I thought I’d just stop by and share a little experience I had with you. You see, two days ago I got an e-mail from a friend – it was an e-mail that she had obviously gotten from another friend and had forwarded to me and all of her other female friends. The message of the e-mail was this:

According to Police and Hostpital, a woman was abducted from a nightclub, raped several times and abandoned. She was incapable of remembering what had happened, but medical examinations betrayed the repeated rapes, and along with traces of Rophynol in her blood, Progesterex was also found, which is a small sterilisation pill. The drug is now being used by rapists at parties to rape and sterilize their victims. Progesterex is available to vets to sterilize large animals. Rumour has it that the Progesterex is being used together with Rohypnol, the date rape drug. As with Rohypnol, all they have to do is drop it into the girl’s drink. The girl will then be unable to remember any of the events that took place on the night before. Progesterex, which dissolves in drinks just as easily, is such that the victim doesn’t conceive from the rape, and the rapist needn’t worry about having a paternity test identifying him months later.

The drug’s effects are not temporary – they are permanent! Progesterex was designed to sterilize horses. Any female that takes it will never be able to conceive. The scoundrels can get this drug from anyone who is in the vet school of any university. It’s that easy, and Progesterex is very likely to become big in the night life. Incredible as it may sound, there are even sites on the internet, with instructions on how to use this drug. Please forwards this to everyone you know, especially girls. B careful when you’re out and don’t leave your drink unattended. Kindly share this with everyone you know, and guys – tell your lady friends. Kind regards, Bobby Knudsen.”

(There was then an address for this spokesperson who claimed to be from the security insurance company Falck, and two phone
numbers, his private and his work number were added.)

My initial reaction was one of pure terror. I felt chilled to the bone and was actually so startled that it took me several minutes to start considering the whole thing logically. Then, however, I started asking the questions that seemed ridiculously obvious. First of all: When has a rapist ever – since, like, the Middle Ages, that is – been identified by his victim having his baby? Thinking about it, of course I couldn’t remember a single case where a rape victim having a baby nine months after her assault as had been part of a potential police investigation. Medical examinations of the girl revealing semen etc. would give the rapist away long before a Rapist Jr. might do so, and really, in these days off free abortion and morning-after pills, how many women would carry a baby to term that was conceived as a result of rape anyway? For a rapist to fear such a thing would be completely out of the blue. And then there was the matter of this alleged employee at an insurance company, spreading the word via forwarded e-mails like chain letters. It did not seem quite credible to me that that would be the way the authorities would handle the situation, should a new and dangerous drug appear in night clubs. Surely the press and news agencies would be notified? So I did a few quick searches at the search engines of some news sites – with no results whatsoever on the word “Progesterex”. Fully convinced by now that this was a hoax, I did my last round of checking by going to snopes.com – the brilliant urban legend site that deals with the origins of urban legends – and sure enough; the “Progesterex” story has been popping up in people’s mailboxes online all over the world since 1999 with little or no varieties, and it is nothing but a hoax. There is no pill by the name of Progesterex, no veterinarians use pills as a means of sterilizing horses, and there have been no cases of rapists trying to sterilize their victims.
/marie

March 15, 2006. Internet Findings. Leave a comment.

….or, well, the power of urban legends.

….Blah blah pop-psychologycakes about the concept and nature of urban legends. I’ve deleted this post of mine for the moment and will put it back up when I have the time to rewrite it properly. To sum things up: an urban legend is a powerful thing because it speaks directly to your emotions – and very often to your fears -, which is why it took me so long to realize that the Progesterex thing had to be a hoax.

Oh, and for more information on urban legends, I recommend the webpage snopes.com! Very interesting reading.

March 15, 2006. Internet Findings. Leave a comment.

Grumpy old men I

One of my colleagues, 30 years my senior, and what you may call a grumpy old man (or middle-aged), is my co-fan of classical music. He has been fond of this genre since he was a teenager and has an enormous collection of lp’s. Until last week he didn’t own a cd player. But then he had met with a friends’ friends’ friend in a street behind the Royal Theatre where he had exchanged 100 kr (about 13 €) for a used cd player. It all sounded a bit black market, WW2, occupation, sort of transaction, but anyways – he got the gear. After having struggled for an hour he managed to hook up the player with his loudspeakers and I was kind of impressed it didn’t take him longer (he is the type sobbing when he can’t find the word document he just closed: “it’s gone for ever, I’ll have to start all over”). And then he called me (and another colleague too I later discovered) to share his triumph. “It’s amazing – how long will it go on? It’s been playing for ever now!” – remember this is a man used to turning lp’s every 20 minutes. I assured him it would go on for about an hour and he was astonished.
Then when I met him some days later he was still talking about it but now the grumpiness had gotten hold of him. And mind you – he is not any old grumbling, he is an intelligent one. Thus: “It’s typical of modern society to invent the cd player. You can actually just skip to the part of the piece you want to hear. Always making it so easy. Like this you will never be forced to listen to the whole piece, you just skip right to the place you want to hear. It’s outrageous. This is what it has come to, the world is in an absolute decay. No one wants to put some effort into their lives. Education is non-existant and culture is on it’s way out”. I was a bit silent after this, not really knowing what to say other than “I will lend you some of my cds”. It is a typical comment from this man, he is a master in the art of combining everyday issues with universal tendencies and political and social movements in a level where you are left with your mouth open. But hey, maybe his is right on some strange level. In a parallel world… or I mean.
/anna

March 11, 2006. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

To cheer up everyone

Oh Marie, that is awful. I know the feeling – you just know that something is phony, but then what to do with these professionals.
So you, attacked by pickpockets and me, covered with snow – I think we need something to cheer us up.
Today I was crying with laughter as I listened to Edvard Grieg’s “I Dovregubbens hall” from Peer Gynt Suite no. 1, also known as “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. Dovregubben is a mountain king from Norway, and that means he is a troll king.
And I wasn’t laughing just because it’s delightful music, but because my treasured colleague and friend was with me and had just told me that this piece of music some times was ringing in her ears as she beheld our boss moving down the hall way at our work. And yes indeed – he is the personification of Dovregubben! He is big (not fat); tall and broad and with lots of dark hair with a touch of grey. And not only: he seems to have some slight sort of motor difficulty. It seems like he has never realised his own size.
My friend and I imagined him dancing wildly in his office when the door is closed and that just spurred the tears!
I haven’t read Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt”, so I don’t know if Dovregubben is bad or good – but the Dovregubbe in my work is a very kind one.
Listening to “I Dovregubbens hall” having this guy in mind gave me at least an hour more lifetime. If you belong to those that believe laughter prolongs your life.

Please listen to this:
Dovregubben
And then add that the music goes on and gets faster and faster!

/anna

March 6, 2006. Music. Leave a comment.

A letter…

Dear Two Men Who Stole my Wallet at Nørreport Station Yesterday,

I salute you. No, really. No, really. I think you guys are awesome. I mean, just think about it. Single-handedly, two grown men, you guys managed to sneak the wallet out of a single young woman’s cheap pleather bag. Just like that! And the way that one of you blocked my way when I tried to get on that train, thus distracting me while that other one of you got hold of my wallet? Brilliant! Very, very sophisticated! I mean, wow… just, wow. That’s teamwork! That’s working together as a group! And seriously, as regards boldness, as regards bravery, it’s right up there with those 30 courtiers who kidnapped that little 15-year-old girl in Rigoletto. In fact, are you guys in the same union? I bet you are! That is so cool. I bet your union is called CCU (Criminal Cowards United), and I bet you’ve got this really neat slogan, like, “Don’t let people screw you over – that’s your job!”.

Blasé cynics might argue that it was somewhat stupid of you to try to press my security code at an automat so many times that the card was automatically blocked, but really; how were you supposed to know that that’s not the best way to go about breaking a code – pressing random numbers? There was really no way you could know that. I still say you guys did a great job and have reason to be proud of yourselves. You rawk.

In fact, what are your MSN IDs? ‘Cause I’d love to add you to my contacts. I’d love to discuss all kinds of things with you. Like, how you spent my 100 kroner bill and all! That would be so cool to know. Like, I was going to spend it on something like food or maybe medicine for my incurably sick hand, but I’ll bet you guys made much better use of it! E-mail me!

Kisses!

Marie

March 6, 2006. Letters, Rants. Leave a comment.

Snow. Again. For ever.

This afternoon when I was having my afternoon coffee with my colleagues at work I was… well taking my time. Hoping. Longing. Dreaming. But no. That snow just wouldn’t stop pouring massively down. It looked very pretty from my warm and dry position, coffee cup in hand, but then I knew that the only way home was by bike. So finally I took a decision and put on my coat.
When reaching the great outdoors it had just gotten worse. But nothing should get me down. I tuned my iPod in on Carl Nielsen’s summer songs and went out. The snowflakes were bean size as I mounted my bike. And then I went. The first two meters were alright until I realised I could see absolutely nothing. So I slowed down. Not that it helped. It was like the new paralympic disciplin: biking for the blind. I was definitely ready for the Torino games – I mean it did include snow! And while fighting for the gold I slowly but surely sank down to a different mental level. The level where Anna thinks “this is not happening. No, I am just looking at snow, I am not part of that. Looks funny though with all the white people. Strange, now that it’s actually summer. I know that what Inger Dam Jensen is singing right now is the truth. “The branch of the apple tree blushes with flowers. Oh, summer is here”. True, true, keep singing for goodness’ sake!”
When I reached home I was covered, and I mean COVERED with sticky, wet snow. But only on my front. The back was just wet.
Anyone in for emigration?

/anna

March 3, 2006. The course of the year. Leave a comment.