19.10.18, I saw these pictures (below) as I was walking home from my swimming session and passing by the harbor. Not everyone is happy about the NATO exercise or that the US marines have established a base at Værnes (airport for Trondheim). The picture from the Barents Observer is rather funny because apparently what these Americans think is important to practice, is jumping into a pond of ice water with all your clothes and gear on. I don't see how this is relevant, as if you have a map and know how to read it, you go around the lakes. Falling into the water is not a frequent event when walking around in the Norwegian wild in the winter. Getting yourself wet like that in the winter is easily going to cause serious harm, and I don't mean only a cold or pneumonia, you can also get cold or frost injuries. If something happens, I wouldn't put my faith in these pond-jumpers as they wouldn't survive for a week in the wild. From Wiki I also learn that the US marines have had equipment stored in this area (Trøndelag) since the 80s. .

A nice day without any wind in Trondheim.

18.10.18, In the news: I just read that the first railroad stretch to be outsourced to private companies has been given to British "Go Ahead". This is part of our current right-wing government's privatization of what was formerly the state owned train company "Norske Statsbaner" (NSB). It isn't only the doing of our national government as it is also EU policy and the same thing is hapening or will happen in France under the Macaron, sorry, Macron. It wouldn't be any different if the left was in power as they'd just be taking orders from the EU, while claiming they had no choice but to accept as otherwise the EU would block our access to their markets. It is very upsetting to just have to sit and watch what has been funded and built by the taxpayers, be given away so that private companies can profit from it. The railroad workers have already been protesting this chopping up and privatization of the old NSB and having to apply to their own jobs. The new job they apply to will often have a lower salary, which is what made the private company win the "service contest". This is an attack on the workers for the benefit of private profit. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Usually, this sort of "service contest" is associated with high levels of corruption. It really makes my stomach turn as the prices will go up and the service will take a dive. I have taken trains in the UK and speak from experience. It is horribly expensive and there are always maintenance works. What little we have, they will take.

Art quiz

I just stumbled across postcards of works of Norwegian painters at the local bookstore and decided to frame them and use them as decoration. Since paintings are rather expensive, I have never been able to buy real ones and always picked out pictures from calendars or bought them as posters. I have always had Monet on my walls as I like his flowers and landscapes, and I could usually find a Monet calendar from which I could retrieve pictures. I tried having Munch's "the Scream" on the wall as I had found it at a poster sale in Cambridge when I was a student there, but I got too depressed from it and had to take it down. All the paintings I got as postcards look really nice when framed, and they really brighten up my mood. What I look at has a large effect on me, I notice. Makes me think that I should have thought about this before, but I haven't seen these paintings as postcards anywhere before. One of my Norwegian favourites is Nikolai Astrup. He is famous for painting lanscapes from the West coast of Norway, which is rich in mountains, fjords and fruit trees. My grandfather was from that region, and I used to go to the home of Astrup as it has been turned into a museum. Doesn't look like Wikipedia shows Astrup's best paintings, or the ones I like best. One gets a better impression of his work here.

When thinking of Norwegian painters, I also think of Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude who became famous for painting "Bridal Procession on the Hardanger". It's an example of romantic nationalism and was used to further the process of gaining political independence from our dear neighbours, the Swedes, who had been given Norway at the "Kiel Treaty". The word union always make people in Norway cringe and think of those horrible days of Danish and Swedish rule. For this reason, nationalism is still a positive word in Norway, unlike in many other European countries. We're not part of the EU as around 70-80% of the population is aginst entering into a union with the (assumed corrupt) European continent. Our dedicated politicians have still signed us on to the madness that is the EU through the European Economic Area agreement, and so we have to accept all rules and regulations passed by the unelected bureaucrats down in Brussels.

One of the more recent Norwegian painters, who have been hard to avoid noticing, is Odd Nerdrum. As I am not in the know about art, I never really understood much about him. He has appeared a lot in the media, but has seemingly been portrayed as a bit of an oddity, and lately also as a criminal since he allegedly committed tax fraud. From reading his Wikipedia page, I learn that Nerdrum has critiqued modernism, claiming it suffocates and impairs the freedom of painted art. I think I now understand why he has been given so much bad press. Recently, in 2017, Nerdrum was pardoned and relieved from having to serve time for the alleged tax fraud.

Quiz: Can you spot the Munch painting? Solutions are here. If you think you know Norwegian painters quite well, you can try to guess at the others as well, but for my international readers, these painters may be unfamiliar.

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