R.I.P Beatle George!

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Today, George Harrison of the Beatles would have been 70.

Beatle George

Beatle George

Harrison was the youngest member of the Fab Four and was known as the “Quiet Beatle”, being rather shy. He admired John Lennon and Paul McCartney and wanted to write music like them.

For the first few years, his compositions were summarily rejected and Harrison had to contend himself with playing guitar and singing lead vocal on a few Lennon/McCartney compositions. but from the album Help he would usually have two or three of his own songs on each Beatles album. Over time, his music would often be heavily influenced by traditional Indian music and Harrison became a skilled sitar player.

In my opinion, by the time the Beatles split up, Harrison’s songs were at least as good as those of Lennon and McCartney. Frank Sinatra called his “Something” (written for his first wife Patty) the best love song in the last half century. Ironically, George and Patty separated in 1974.

In 1988, Harrison got together with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne and together they formed the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. Handle with Care from the band’s first album features Harrison on lead vocal and guitar.

George Harrison died of cancer in November 2001. He is survived by his second wife Olivia and their son Dhani.

Reklamer

The Passing of our Dear Friend, Common Sense

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I nicked this from the net. Author unknown. It is just too good to not pass on.

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Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or plaster to a pupil, but could not inform the parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and your own.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I’m A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized that he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

False Mail from LinkedIn

OK, I admit! I almost fell for it!

I received a mail from the social network LinkedIn saying that a person I never heard of wished to add me to his contacts.

Or so I thought!

It actually looked just like a message from LinkedIn, except that it came from an address outside the linkedin.com domain. And that it had been sent to many different recipients.

But all links in the message (on “Go to the inbox”, “Log in to unsubscribe” etc.) really led to a website I didn’t know (given by an IP address – http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, not by a domain name) which I didn’t visit. I don’t trust my antivirus that far!

Fortunately Microsoft Outlook warned me that it looked like a phishing message, and so I noticed the danger signs.

So watch out! If you receive a seemingly genuine mail from LinkedIn, Facebook or other social networks, check the sender’s address and hover the mouse over the links in the message (but don’t click them!) to see where they really lead!

Let's be careful out there!

Let’s be careful out there!

“Let’s be careful out there!”

Exit the Chicken

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The latest trend in bicycling seems to be going on public TV and admitting to doping use…

Yesterday’s admission by Danish bicyclist Michael Rasmussen that he had been using doping throughout most of his professional career came as a shock to anyone who has kept their eyes tightly shut and held their ears whenever the discussion touched bicycling and doping.

Michael Rasmussen, whose nickname is “Kyllingen” – “The Chicken”, finally stopped living up to that nickname and publicly admitted what everybody must have suspected for years: That he had used just about every kind of doping in existence from 1998 until 2010. He was, he said, “clean” from the time he joined his present team.

Rasmussen’s best results were the world championship in mountainbiking in 1999 and winning the polka-dot jersey as “King of the Mountains” in the Tour de France in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he was leading the Tour after a spectacular victory in the 16th stage when he was pulled from the race by his own team Rabobank under suspicions of having given false information about his “whereabouts” to the doping authorities. These allegations were later proven correct – Rasmussen had told the authorities that he would prepare for that year’s Tour in Mexico but instead went to Italy. Thus the doping authorities failed to find him when they came for “Out-of-competition tests” and he wasn’t tested positive.

Michael Rasmussen

Michael Rasmussen in 2006

Instead of winning the Tour de France 2007, Rasmussen was given a two-year suspension which effectively ended his career as a top rider. He came back in 2009 and rode for smaller teams before helping to found the Christina Watches-Onfone team for which he rode until yesterday. His admission will cost him another two-year suspension which would normally be much longer, except for his willingness to cooperate with the authorities to identify dealers of doping, other riders who have been cheating, etc.

Ironically, Rasmussen’s exit from the 2007 Tour de France meant that the race was instead won by Alberto Contador of Spain, who later tested positive for Clanbuterol in 2009. The doping authorities didn’t accept his explanation that it must have come from a contaminated beefsteak and suspended him for two years.

Michael Rasmussen plans to work as a salesman for Christina Watches for the next two years before returning to bicycling (though not as a rider; by that time he will be 41 years old). I am increasingly pessimistic about there being any bicycling sport for him to return to. Even if the sport manages to survive its own attempts at self-destruction, he may find himself less than welcome.

Summer Soldiers, Sunshine Patriots, and the Sports Press

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I must admit that I was a bit nervous before the final on Sunday in the handball world championships for men.

The Danish team had won its first eight matches, including a spectacular win over the odds-on favorites from Croatia in the semifinal, and the entire Danish sports press more or less agreed that the final against the host nation, Spain, was a mere formality.

Which was the cause of my unrest. Experience tells me that when the Danish sports press becomes too cocksure and assures its readers that victory is assured in advance, the team usually loses, whether it be the handball, football, baseball or for that matter wrestling team. Sometimes the team loses quite badly to the supposed “underdog”.

However, nothing had prepared me for the team suffering the worst defeat in any world championship final ever. 35-19 to Spain, do the math. Denmark lost by 16 goals. The explanations and excuses were many, and predictable. Fact is, the team had a collective off-day which is sub-optimal in any situation, and especially in a final for the world championship. One reason may be that the coach, Ulrik Wilbek, was sick on the day and had to stay at the hotel.

But if nothing had prepared me for the devastating defeat, I knew immediately when I saw the result what the press’ reaction would be:

The team was the worst in the history of the world, and the coach was a disaster. The fact that he had been sick and couldn’t stand on the sideline was nothing short of high treason.

The eight victories against Qatar, Russia, Chile, Iceland, F.Y.R Macedonia, Tunisia, Hungary, and Croatia were forgotten. The only match the journalists remembered was the last one. Which is typical of sports journalists.

I think it would suit the sports press to remember two things: 1) No match, especially a world championship final, is won before it has been played, and 2) Before you can lose a final, you have to actually QUALIFY for it! Which the team did in a convincing way.

It’s too easy to criticize someone for not going all the way and winning the gold medals, while “forgetting” that they did take silver.

Merry Christmas (with a twist of wicked;-)

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‘Tis the season to be jolly, so they sing. So I am taking a moment to wish my readers a very merry Christmas, irregardless of faith. (Just because I lack faith doesn’t mean I ought to wish anyone an un-merry Christmas, I think!)

Please promise me you won’t show these to your children:

Santa and the Huntsman

Santa and the Huntsman

A Chimney too Far?

A Chimney too Far?

Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂

Signs that the World has ended

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According to the Mayans (so many people tell us), the world will end on December 21st. Here’s how you can tell if the world has ended on the morning of the 22nd:

  • You wake up with one hell of a hangover and think … “Hey, I didn’t drink anything yesterday!”
  • You look for your slippers on the floor and notice that your bed is gone … that the floor is gone … and that the ground is gone, too!
  • People are running past your window. You live on the fifth floor.
  • Some guy wearing a white sheet and wings on his back is playing a trumpet really loud.
  • Your neighbor is making a frightful racket. When you go to complain, you find that his house has been replaced by a volcano.
  • The sky is full of yellow spaceships marked “Vogon Demolition, Inc”. For some reason they make you think of the number 42.
  • The weather forecast predicts temperatures in the mid-2000’s, with ash cloud cover and rather heavy wind.
  • The authorities are loudly proclaiming that “The situation is fully under control, and the world has NOT ended!”
  • Your house is swaying. When you look outside, you find it’s because it is floating on the sea. You used to live far inland.
  • A bunch of small, red fellows with horns and pointy tails are telling you to come along, because “The boss has an offer you *cannot* refuse!” You get a nasty feeling that the time you spent learning to play the harp was wasted.
The End!

The End!

An Offer the Politicians Cannot Refuse! (But They Will!)

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Throughout the last 11 years, I have constantly heard politicians telling me about the necessity to send Danish troops to fight terrorists and evil dictatorial regimes, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. The troops were to kill some people in order to set other people free. The theory was that, once we had removed the evil oppressors, the survivors would hail us as liberators, elect enlightened democratic governments like the ones we have in the west, and be happy ever after.

And they would never develop weapons of mass destruction like the ones Saddam Hussein was KNOWN to have – honest! He had hidden them so well that the UN inspectors couldn’t find them, but it was dead certain that he had tons of nukes and nerve gas hidden away in the Iraqi desert. (In fact they were hidden so well that the allied forces haven’t found them after nine years’ search in Iraq!)

Furthermore, we would soon kill off that wicked man Osama bin Laden, thus bringing an immediate end to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Which we did – after ten years of warfare in Afghanistan the American Navy Seals managed to kill Osama. Of course there was the embarrassing detail that he was killed, not in Afghanistan, but in neighboring Pakistan, which is one of our gallant allies in the war on terrorism and which we therefore (and because they have weapons of mass destruction; nuclear ones to be precise) don’t dare wish to invade.

But on to my main point: Since the politicians believe it is absolutely essential that we, for our national safety and in order to set the locals free (or kill them), invade nations halfway around the globe, I am prepared to make the following offer to any politicians who voted in favor of the Danish participation in the wars against in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since I do not have unlimited means, the offer is limited to the first five politicians who accept:

  • A one-way ticket to whichever country the politician feels is in need of being liberated from evil oppressors.
  • A return ticket on any date one year or later after the politician’s departure. I think a one-year stay should be minimum, given the importance of the issue.
  • Should the politician be killed in the line of duty, payment for the return of his or her earthly remains to Denmark at any time.
  • Personal equipment corresponding to that given to Danish soldiers serving in Afghanistan at this time.

That is my offer to those politicians who believe that others should put their lives on the line – while the politicians stay at home in safety! Here is a chance to practice what they preach.

Given that “we have to” liberate the suppressed and unhappy people from their evil oppressors (and, in hundreds of thousands of cases, liberate them of their lives), one would certainly expect politicians to line up outside my door.

Anybody want to bet there will be no takers?

Bombing

Peace in Pieces in Iraq