The (Second) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Marigold

Meget egnet søndagsunderholdning siger jeg bare. Feel-good over hele paletten. Jeg kan slet ikke få nok af Maggie Smith, og efter afslutningen på femte sæson af Downton Abbey har jeg haft abstinenser. Så er det godt, at hun fylder så meget i The Second Best.

Derudover er der jo farverne i det eksotiske Indien og de mange dejlige indiske skuespillere. For slet ikke at tale om den fantastisk flotte dansescene sidst i filmen. Dirty Dancing Go Home! Stemningsmæssigt minder filmen om Lasse Hallströms The Hundred-foot Journey. Hvis du vil have feel-good uden samtidig at få hjernen reduceret til grød, er det en god anbefaling. Vil du gerne have noget med dybde og noget at tænke over, så snup en anden film. Der går noget for enhver smag i Grandteatret. Etteren lejede jeg på Itunes.

Hvis du er ung, har du måske ikke opdaget, at filmverdenen for alvor har fået øjnene op for en relativt ny, meget købestærk målgruppe, gråhætterne. Det kan du overbevise dig selv om ved at gå en tur i Grand eller Dagmar. Kun ved ganske særlige lejligheder er flertallet af biografgæsterne under 40. Og flere og flere film har hovedpersoner, der selv er gråhætter.

Share

The imitation game

Overordnet set, er The Imitation Game en god film. Og den er en vigtig film, for alle bør vide, hvem Alan Turing var, og høre om hans frygtelige skæbne, så noget lignende ikke sker igen. Hvis man gider, får man også noget grundviden om, hvad en computer egentlig er for noget.

Alle kvinders darling, Benedict Cumberbatch, gør det virkelig godt som Turing, og der er generelt godt spil i birollerne. Jeg var særligt vild med MI5-fyren, der spilles af Mark Strong. Men han passer nok også bedre til mig, sådan rent aldersmæssigt…

Personligt synes jeg så, at det nærmer sig en dødssynd at have castet Kiera Knightley som hans sidekick. Ikke fordi en nørdepige ikke kan være smuk og dejlig, men altså – ikke hende, hun er bare ikke nogen god skuespiller!

De seneste måneder har jeg læst meget både skøn- og faglitteratur om perioden fra før århundredeskiftet og op til mellemkrigstiden. Det er min fornemmelse, at folk faktisk talte sådan med hinanden, som de gør i filmen, i intellektuelle miljøer.

I filmen (og i Wikipedia-artiklen) får vi at vide, at Alan Turing blev posthumt benådet for sin “frygtelige” forbrydelse, homoseksualitet. Og det kan jeg da kun bifalde. Men det chokerer mig lidt, at man ikke har valgt også at benåde alle de andre, der i den periode fik domme for gross indecency, som de kaldte det i England. Jeg synes, det ville være et passende signal at sende til Rusland og de mange andre steder, hvor homoseksualitet stadig er strafbart.

Share

Hvad sagde jeg?

Er der noget værre, end folk der siger, “hvad sagde jeg”? Det skulle lige være dem, der fastholder, at det er en grundbetingelse for at leve i et frit samfund, at vi hele tiden skal fornærme nogen, fordi vi kan. Nå men, det er en anden snak.

Jeg har jævnligt ærgret mig over, at jeg ikke har beholdt flere dokumenter fra mit lange arbejdsliv. Der var fx engang, hvor jeg ikke var i stand til at dokumentere, at jeg kunne skrive en pressemeddelelse, fordi de hundredevis af pressemeddelelser, jeg havde skrevet i Irmgardz-, Garden- og MNW-årene bare var røget i papirkurven. Og forleden faldt jeg over en notits i avisen, der igen mindede mig om, at jeg har været for lemfældig med at dokumentere min fortid.

Jeg arbejdede hos Nordisk Film som pressechef fra 1997 – 1999. Da jeg startede derude, måtte jeg vente flere dage på at få en computer, og da jeg så fik den, var der ikke rigtigt nogen, der kunne se, hvorfor den også skulle være forbundet til Internettet. Nå men, det blev den så efterhånden, og jeg advokerede ihærdigt for, at Nordisk Film da burde have en hjemmeside. Der var ikke stor opbakning til projektet, men til sidst fik jeg bevilget en bette sum, og med den – og den enorme prestige, der er i Nordisk Film navnet – fik jeg et velrenommeret bureau til at påtage sig opgaven. Jeg synes faktisk stadig, at det var en flot hjemmeside, vi fik lavet (den er nok heller ikke dokumenteret…). Men man mente, at jeg gik alt for højt op i det dér med Internettet og ikke gjorde nok ud af traditionelt pressearbejde. Det havde “man” jo nok ret i. En af de ting, jeg forsøgte at trænge igennem med, var, at vi skulle påbegynde en digital registrering af alle de gamle film i arkiverne og lægge dem i en database, så de kunne blive søgbare – både til kommerciel og ikke-kommerciel brug. Det var så meget en taber-idé, at den ikke engang kunne komme op på ledelsesniveau… Behøver jeg sige, at jeg blev fyret kort tid efter?

Nogle år før (1992-94 tror jeg) arbejdede jeg for pladebranchens organisation IFPI. Dengang lavede IFPI også andet end at forfølge folk, der downloader musik fra nettet, nok mest fordi der slet ikke var noget net på det tidspunkt. Jeg fik lov til at deltage i en konference i New York om musikkens fremtid, nu hvor musikken var blevet digital og solgtes på CD i stedet for vinyl. Det var en vanvittig spændende konference, og der var mange oplæg fra smarte tech-fyre om, hvad man ville kunne gøre med digital musik lige om lidt. Fx fortalte én, at man snart kunne lave digital radio med et uendeligt antal stationer med musik for enhver smag! Vildt!

Jeg tog hjem og skrev et alenlangt oplæg til IFPI’s bestyrelse om alt det, jeg havde hørt, og om hvad det digitale kunne komme til at betyde for branchen. Svaret på det oplæg var – larmende tavshed og not in our lifetime. Hvor har jeg dog mange gange ærgret mig over, at jeg ikke tog en kopi af det oplæg med mig, da jeg forlod IFPI!

Jeg lover, at der ikke kommer flere udokumenterede “hvad sagde jeg“-artikler fra min hånd, men jeg kunne ikke nære mig!

Share

Smagsdommerne i 10 år

drk_logo

Jeg har ikke været, hvad man vil kalde en trofast seer af Smagsdommerne, men jeg har dog set en del af programmerne. For mig har kvaliteten altid været afhængig af, hvem der var smagsdommere i den pågældende udsendelse.

Jeg er ikke ude i at anmelde hverken programmet som sådan eller det specifikke jubilæumsprogram, der blev sendt forleden aften. Men jeg vil gerne komme med et indlæg i den diskussion om programmets form, der lå sidst i programmet. (Hvorfor kunne jubilæumsprogrammet ikke være længere, når nu studiet var fyldt med spændende mennesker?). Deltagerne var Politikens alt-mulig-brokkehoved Henrik Palle, Berlingskes udlandsredaktør og kulturforbruger Anna Libak og (igen!?) Politikens litteraturanmelder Lilian Munk Rösing.

Henrik Palle er sur på programmet, fordi det, stik imod sin titel, sætter folk, der IKKE har forstand på en genre til at anmelde den. Han kalder de ikke-kvalificerede anmeldere for “klarinetspillende tandlæger”. Det er jo sjovt – Henrik Palle er næsten altid sjov – men er det også rigtigt, at man ikke får noget ud af at høre en arkitekts anmeldelse af en bog? Altså, det var da sjovt at høre Bjarke Ingels anmelde opera, som han virkelig ikke brød sig om, men jeg synes faktisk ikke, det var programmets “finest hour”. Til gengæld elsker jeg, når anmelderne “investerer deres subjekt“, som Lilian Munk Rösing så akademisk udtrykte det, og oprigtigt forsøger at få en ukendt eller afskyet genre ind under huden – at gå ind på dens præmisser. Et godt eksempel var BTs Simon Andersen, der nærmest fik tårer i øjnene over den ballet, som han havde givet en chance. Med den tilgang tror jeg, der er en chance for at lokke andre kulturbrugere til at prøve noget, de ellers ikke plejer at bruge tid og penge på.

Noget andet er så, at den diskussion peger på, at vore dages kulturforbrugere- og udbydere absolut skal befinde sig i forskellige kasser, og ikke må stræbe efter at være “renaissance-mennesker”, der interesserer sig for alt muligt, både litteratur, videnskab, kunst og design. Næh, vi er enten læsere eller kunstudstillingsgængere. Jeg læser netop en biografi om Georg Brandes, en mand der var litterat først og fremmest, men som gik på kunstudstillinger, i teatret, etc.  – og skrev om det – som den mest naturlige ting i verden. Mange fra den tids kulturelite, på tværs af kunstarter, overværede Brandes’ berømte forelæsninger om “Hovedstrømninger i det 19ende Århundredes Litteratur”. Det er svært at forestille sig i dag, men derfor kan man jo godt drømme!

At “investere mit subjekt” er jo sådan set også, hvad jeg selv prøver på med denne blog, hvor jeg, der er rimelig ignorant og i hvert fald uuddannet på stort set alle områder, alligevel påtager mig at delagtiggøre uskyldige forbipasserende i min uforgribelige mening om alt fra dokumentarfilm til installationskunst. Jeg forsøger at forklare, hvorfor jeg synes godt eller mindre godt om et kulturelt produkt i det lønlige håb at inspirere andre til også at interessere sig for det. Nogle med mere forstand på de enkelte emner er altid velkomne til at forsøge at kvalificere min mening med noget indsigt!

I øvrigt fniser jeg lidt over, at Henrik Palle selv har læst litteraturvidenskab og i sin karriere har anmeldt både film, mad, øl og TV samt været IT-skribent…

Share

Zusa Street – dokumentarfilm

ZUSA STREET official trailer from Roaddox on Vimeo.

Lørdag formiddag var hele familien i Grand for at se en dokumentarfilm om en af Københavns tidligste graffiti-kunstnere, der fik sclerose i 90’erne, men som har nægtet at opgive sit livsværk.

Navnet Zusa kommer af det tyske Zusammen, der bl.a. hentyder til, at Anders Thordal ikke kan klare sig uden sine hjælpere. Den fem år yngre Tao Nørager har lavet filmen – han har fulgt Thordal med sit kamera, siden de begge var drenge. Nørager tog jobbet som handicap-hjælper for Thordal for at kunne lave filmen. Det skønne ved den er, at selvom der ind imellem tales ret indforstået hiphop-graffiti-sprog, så er det mere en film om subkulturer, venskab og livsmod, end det er en film om graffiti og sclerose.

En anden ting, som jeg blev glad over, var, at Thordal er levende interesseret i andre kunstarter og lader sig inspirere af både “traditionel” malerkunst og af litteratur. Hans allerstørste idol er Alfons Åberg. Det’ fandme i orden!

alfonsI firserne levede jeg selv i en subkultur, der forløb ret parallelt med graffiti-kulturen, og der var da også visse overlap, så jeg genkendte flere ansigter, både i filmen og i biografen. Det synes Jr., der er meget optaget af street art, var ret sjovt.

Senere samme dag gik vi en tur ude på Nordhavnen. Der kom vi forbi dette:

2015-01-17 16.09.452015-01-17 16.09.41

Filmen kommer på DRK på et tidspunkt. I filmbladet Ekko er der et interview med de to. Følg evt. Zusa på Facebook og Instagram: @Zusastreet.

Share

Genetic Me af Lone Frank

Sammen med filminstruktøren Pernille Rose Grønkjær har Lone Frank lavet en film om sit yndlingsemne, genetik. Hun har tidligere skrevet den glimrende og meget oplysende bog Mit Smukke Genom om samme emne.

Det er blevet en let og lys film om tunge emner. Lone Frank tager uden tøven fat i sine svære barndomsminder og beretter skånselsløst om sine egne menneskelige begrænsninger og tunge sind. Vi følger hende på besøg efter besøg hos forskere, der kigger nærmere på det menneskelige sind fra meget forskellige vinkler, både psykologer, psykiatere og neurologer får vi besøgt. De må være nøje udvalgt, for de er alle gode formidlere. Man kan som videnskabsperson nok godt synes, at Frank i alt for høj grad tager udgangspunkt i sig selv, men hvis der skal formidles effektivt til et ikke-videnskabeligt publikum, så er det et godt startsted!

Jeg så filmen sammen med den 13-årige ved et Politiken Plus arrangement, så han trak aldersgennemsnittet kraftigt ned. Synd er det, at ikke flere unge kommer til den type arrangementer. Journalist på Politiken Niels Thorsen interviewede Lone Frank bagefter, og de brugte i særlig grad tid på at tale om, at bare fordi man har “dårlige gener” behøver man ikke sætte sig hen i lænestolen og tilbringe resten af tilværelsen på overførselsindkomst og i fortvivlelse. Der er noget, man kan gøre. Ens personlighedstype er forudbestemt, men man kan stadig handle frit, og man bestemmer selv, hvordan man vil agere i livet. Det førte til en god snak med Jr. om determinisme. Er alt eller intet forudbestemt? “It’s all chance, Mum”, mente han.

Thorsen spurgte Frank, om hun havde været i stand til at omsætte den viden til noget brugbart i sit eget liv, hvortil hun, uden vaklen, svarede, at ja, det havde hun. Og så fortalte hun om sin kærestes død af kræft for kun seks uger siden og om, hvordan hun tidligere ville have siddet i fosterstilling i månedsvis, fordi hun troede, at det var hendes eneste mulige måde at reagere på, men at hun i dag ved, at hun, i en form for kognitiv terapi, kan tvinge sig selv til at tænke på noget andet i lange perioder og dermed trække sig selv ud af den negative spiral.

Quod erat demonstrandum, må man sige!

Filmen kan stadig ses på DR’s hjemmeside. Gør det.

Share

Mr. Turner

Rain Steam and Speed the Great Western Railway
Den fantastiske britiske maler Turner (1775-1851) har i offentligheden lidt en skæbne, der minder lidt om Monets. Nemlig at være romantiseret til døde – næsten – på viskestykker, kagedåser og dækkeservietter. Og det er synd, for hans malerier er fantastiske, og han var langt forud for sin tid.

Nu har den britiske instruktør Mike Leigh, som jeg må tilstå, at jeg ikke er udelt begejstret for, ganske ukarakteristisk lavet en film om Turner. Det pirrede min nysgerrighed fra starten, fordi det altid er interessant, når en kunstner forsøger sig inden for et nyt felt.

Filmen, Mr. Turner, er en af de allerbedste jeg har set inden for genren – dvs. filmportrætter af store kunstnere. Der er kælet for hver eneste frame, så de fremstår i fantastisk lys og med endeløse detaljer fra perioden. Men samtidig er der på ingen måde tale om et udstyrsstykke, og vi får noget, der føles som et meget ægte indblik i denne kunstners liv og personlighed. De udendørs naturpanoramaer ligner selvsagt noget fra Turners egen produktion, mens billeder fra gader og stræder hele tiden fik mig til at tænke på Eckersberg. Det er faktisk et utroligt originalt greb, fordi de fleste andre på Turners tid malede i samme stil som Eckersberg, mens Turner selv foregreb impressionismen. Sproget i filmen holder på imponerende vis balancen mellem et moderne, forståeligt engelsk og det farverige, blomstrende sprog, som var udbredt i kunstnerkredse i England på den tid. Lydsporet er på alle måder en fryd, der matcher billedsiden!

Turner var temmelig grim og ucharmerende, ja, ifølge filmen svarede han på 2/3 af alle spørgsmål med et grynt, der bestemt ikke var uligt det fra en gris, hvilket Leigh også understreger med en kostelig scene i starten af filmen, involverende et grisehoved. Han behandlede heller ikke sine omgivelser – når bortset fra hans far, hvem han var inderligt hengiven – særlig pænt. Især går det hårdt ud over tjenestepigen.

Alligevel når vi i løbet af filmen ind til Turners poetiske og faktisk meget store hjerte – ikke mindst i hans forhold til Mrs. Booth, som han møder sent i livet.

Man behøver ikke være kunstinteresseret for at nyde denne film, for den er aldeles usnobbet i sin tilgang, men det hjælper selvfølgelig.

Share

A Film Meme

I’ve been tagged by my friend Gabs. She’s a real film buff and we used to go to the cinema together at least once every week…

She stole the meme from a British blogger, a Labour MP by the name of Tom Harris (can’t say I’ve ever heard of him, but then he’s from Scotland…)

It’s about the 25 films Obama gave Prime Minister Brown on his recent visit to the White House. Have we seen them? Do we own them?

Here’s the rules: Take two points for every film you own and have seen (only one if you own it but haven’t got round to watching it yet), one point if you’ve seen it but don’t own the DVD, and no points for those you haven’t either watched, purchased or been given.

Actually, I’m not keen on owning films, since I’ve noticed that I very rarely watch them more than once or twice, so I don’t really approve of the idea that owning it is worth as much as having seen it – what if you’ve seen it many, many times, but still don’t own it? When we left Denmark we gave away quite a few films and since then we’ve only bought a few, mostly for young son.

Anyway, a rule’s a rule, so here goes:

Citizen Kane – exactly as good as it is made out to be.

The Godfather – and that goes for this one as well. Btw, if you’re a fan of the Godfather films, you’ll truly enjoy this article from Vanity Fair about the making of the first film. Truly amazing!

Casablanca – this one has become somewhat iconic, so that the iconic stands in the way of our appreciation of the film, don’t you think? But heck, I like all films with good  old Humphrey in them!

Raging Bull – This one I’ve strangely managed to avoid all these years. But I will see it one day.

Singin’ in the Rain – saw it as a child, remember it quite clearly.

Gone with the Wind – this one too, and again as a young girl.

Lawrence of Arabia – great film – still good.

Schindler’s List – very touching. Pity there weren’t more good Germans around then.

Vertigo – probably my favourite Hitchcock, only surpassed by Rear Window (which I do own).

The Wizard of Oz – never saw that one.

City Lights – oh yes, still brings a tear to my eye.

The Searchers – great Western. All young people should see it. First then do they know what A Western is. You want to get a horse and ride out there with them.

Starwars: Episode IV – don’t know!? Cant’ tell one episode from the other. I’ve seen 2-3 of them??!! (just checked on ImdB – this is the first one, only later renamed Episode IV. So I have definitely seen it.)

Psycho – yes. Not a favourite.

2001: A Space Odyssey – yes. Ok. Not wild about Sci-Fi.

Sunset Boulevard – Had to check this clip from the film to see if I’d seen it. Can’t remember it, so probably haven’t.

The Graduate – well of course.

The General – not sure I ever saw this one. But since I’ve translated this brilliant book into Danish I know a lot about it – and about a lot of the other films on this list.

On the Waterfront – Shame on me. I never saw it!

It’s a Wonderful Life – If you haven’t seen it. See it. It’s just eh, just eh, hm. Rent it, buy it, whatever. See it.

Chinatown – Seen this one at least 10 times. Always good.

Some Like it Hot – saw that when I was a child. Not sure if I’ve seen it since. When MM enters the screen you know right away what made her such a superstar.

The Grapes of Wrath – yes. And read the book. Book made a huge impression on young, impressionable me.

ET: The Extra-Terristrial – quite a few times. Just said to my husband the other day that we should get it on Film on Demand for young son – he’s got just the age (7) for it.

To Kill a Mockingbird – I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever actually seen this film? It seems very familiar, but I remember the book so clearly that it may stand in the way of remembering the film – if ever I saw it. See this trailer for the film. The art of making trailers has come a long way…

Time to add up the points. I’ve seen 20 of them. So that’s 20 points. And I own On the Waterfront (which I haven’t seen, silly in’it?), Citizen Kane, Schindler’s List & Lawrence of Arabia. That’s 4. 24 points in all.

Now, who should I tag? Hm. OK:

Onesentenceafteranother – H. is a sweet New Zealand girl whom I’ve met here. Now she goes back to NZ, so I’m hoping to keep the blog-contact by harassing her like this…

And Josh Ganz – he’s also down under, an economist who writes about that (economy…) and children and has recently published a book about the combination called Parentonomics. Read his funny post about being obsesses with Amazon’s ranking.

Dorthe må lide under, at hendes blog har nyhedens interesse for mig – jeg har kun lige opdaget den og er ret begejstret. Hvorfor skriver jeg nu det her på dansk? Jamen, det er jo fordi Dorte skriver på dansk…




Share

Twitter and more on online safety for children

After months of hesitation and no-saying to Twitter I’ve given in. As I understand it, Twitter can be more useful than Facebook when you want to promote your blog and/or other writings to a larger crowd. And of course I want that – otherwise I wouldn’t be writing, would I? I’ve read up on Twitter recently, here and here. There are a few things that irritate me about Facebook, although it’s also fantastic to re-connect with old friends and acquaintances. Funny how some people who used to be mere acquaintances are now candidates for friendship and how some who used to be friends, now have come off the radar, somehow.

If you want to follow my Twitter feed, my screen name is labeet.

On Boing Boing I just read this great little story about how to monitor you child’s online presence. Here’s a Dad who takes his responsibilities as a parent seriously and at the same time realises that we can’t use the same template for our children that our parents used for us. The world has changed and we must change with it. But we should also remember that it’s mostly the outer world that’s changed. The world of feelings, morality and right vs wrong hasn’t changed half as much. A good deed is still a good deed and love, indifference, arrogance or selfrighteousness are still the same feelings they used to be. But you knew that, of course…

Completely unrelated – I’m happy that Slumdog Millionaire (which we accidentally saw Saturday afternoon!) won lots of Oscars – it’s a great film. Happiest I think I am for the music score Oscar, since I particularly liked that. Very original and very in-your-face without obscuring the film. Also it’s great that Anthony Dod Mantle, who’s a little bit Danish, haha, won an Oscar for the cinematography. He is good.

Oh, and just read this. What are we to think? Was he a terrorist all along or did Guantanamo make him one? I think four years there could have made me one…

Share

Close to home

Ripley bonfire 2008
Ripley bonfire 2008

Yesterday was Ripley Bonfire Night – one of the year’s biggest events in our neighbouring village where Dane goes to school. The entertainment starts with a procession of floats through the town. It’s not a very big town, so this year’s five floats were a record, I heard. Dane’s class at school were in charge of the school float. The chosen theme this year was to celebrate that the school has become a Primary School, so it was something with launch and rockets… The parents – some more than others (find me in the latter category) – worked hard on creating a spectacular float. Unfortunately we didn’t win the float competition. The girl scouts (called Brownies in this country) won with a float on the theme of the Narnia Chronicles.

The floats just finished - five hours before the procession.
The float's just finished - five hours before the procession.

There were around 10.000 people in Ripley, so there were a lot of spectators along the way. After the procession the bonfire was lit and then there was an impressive fireworks display. After that we were tired and went home for some tea and cheese sandwiches – with sore feat after hours of standing.

Dane with sweet teacher Mrs. G.

Today the weather has been really, really awful – although it’s cleared now and there’s the most spectacular sunset – so we’ve stayed in all day. First it was the usual – a couple of hours of Sunday Times. Dane has worked out the Catch up TV, so he spent the morning catching up on his favourite programmes on CBBC. Then we played Star Wars monopoly for I don’t know how many hours. Dane won – without cheating on anybody’s part. Now it’s time for me to get out of my chair and into my kitchen. The menu says Vietnamese prawn and cauliflower coconut curry. Hope it’ll turn out as nice as it sounds. Then it’ll be time for some serious TV watching – all the programmes we’ve recorded in the past week. First and foremost Merlin, a wonderful series for the whole family on BBC. We enjoy every minute of it!

The central cast in the tv series Merlin
Share

Copyright and airport security

What do they have in common? On the surface of it, nothing. But I see two things. One – they’re both sign o’ the times. Two – they appear on my blog in the same post…

I found a link to this film on Boing Boing. It’s Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Gilberto Gil and Cory Doctorow in a film about the end of (some) copyright. Good! This article, also from Boing Boing is also about copyright. Are we allowed to sell our old CDs?

It was also Boing Boing that pointed me to an Atlantic article that I hadn’t read yet, although I’ve just downloaded the most awesome application to my Iphone, which – among a zillion other things – allows me to read the Atlantic on my phone. Wow!!!! The article is written by a journalist who – at the risk of getting arrested and prosecuted – shows how airport security is much more show than it’s actual security. Really very scary! One of many holes he uncovers, so to speak, is this:

To slip through the only check against the no-fly list, the terrorist uses a stolen credit card to buy a ticket under a fake name. “Then you print a fake boarding pass with your real name on it and go to the airport. You give your real ID, and the fake boarding pass with your real name on it, to security. They’re checking the documents against each other. They’re not checking your name against the no-fly list—that was done on the airline’s computers. Once you’re through security, you rip up the fake boarding pass, and use the real boarding pass that has the name from the stolen credit card. Then you board the plane, because they’re not checking your name against your ID at boarding.”

And now for something entirely different. On The Long Now Blog I found a link to something new. Crowd powered translation. Whenever you have five minutes, you can go there and help out. You can choose something to translate that’s important to you and then just do as much as you can that day. I just tried it and translated a bit of a discussion between Will Wright and Brian Eno into Danish. Click here and see my just translated text as subtitles to this video (only the first two minutes – must do more soon). It’s a cool tool. Imagine an organisation with an important video they want to get out to as many as possible, quickly. They send link – e.g. through Facebook – to the video’s transscript on this site and members from all over the globe can translate it quickly. You can then load the video onto Youtube and from there redirect people, who don’t understand the original language. Cool tool!

It was quite a nice day today and we took it veeery easy. Read the Sunday Times for a couple of hours and then went to Wisley, as we quite often do. It’s nearby and we’re members. They had a farmers’ market and pumpkin carving for children. So Dane carved a small pumpkin, which is now guarding our front door. And David bought dinner, a freshly made game pie. Uhm, it was nice. Dane found some bread in the restaurant and we went to feed the ducks. But it turned out to be more fun to feed the fish! The top picture is made entirely of Wisley’s own apples by Wisley employees. Apple Owl. Looks good, tastes good and even sounds good!

Share

The bailout

Here’s the latest news on the development from Forbes. Both congress and senate seem to be dragging their feet.

And I think that’s a good thing. I’ve decided that there is probably more of a libertarian in me than I’d thought. I read through Paulson’s plan when it was first launched, long and dead-boring as it was. And I just couldn’t agree with the man. I haven’t read Dodd’s counter plan, but had it explained here.

Here’s a couple of good quotes that pretty much sum up my feelings on the matter:

Tyler Cowen, professor of economics and prominent writer, explains the difference between the two plans:

Think of a barrel of apples, some good, some less good.  To oversimplify, the Paulson plan has the government buy some of the bad apples.  The Dodd plan has the government buy a 20 percent share in the barrel.  In both cases government buys something.

He points to this letter signed by a host of economists:

As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses.  Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If  taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

3) Its long-term effects.  If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America’s dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity.  Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.
 

In today’s New York Times there are several good articles and an interesting op-ed. The Economix blog, economy writer Vikas Bajaj’s very informative piece “Plan’s mystery (…)”

And there’s another thing that I can’t help thinking about. What about the US’ economy in general? If this bail-out goes through, half the American economy will be based on loans in foreign currency. Most of it in yuan (Chinese money). Is that better than having some banks and some mortgage brokers go under?

Here’s a quote from BBC:

Ballooning state debt: The plan would swell the budget deficit, which could fuel inflation, economists warn (Mr Paulson has asked to raise state borrowing to $11.3 trillion, from $10.6 trillion).

A picture of Meg Ryan from The Women? Oh no! No pictures of face-lifted women on my blog. So here’s cute George. Picture borrowed from Styletraxx.

OK, some of you would probably much rather know what I thought of the film The Women, which I saw yesterday. Well, it stinks! I remember being pleasantly surprised by The Devil Wears Prada, which I watched on one of the long-hauls on our trip. Entertaining, funny and with a bit of bite. This one was/had neither. And tooooo looooong! My fingers were literally cutting through the air in some scenes… So, don’t go there. But I saw trailers for two films that I’m longing to see: Brideshead Revisited (oh, how we swooned in front of the TV, when the series was shown in the 80’s!). And the new Coen Brothers film. I’ve seen all their films and I just looove them… and George Clooney ;-)

PS: You’ll want to be wary of the above Wikipedia links (economy). All the articles are highly controversial. So – if you want to go in-depth with any of this, seek other sources as well.

Share