Category Archives: Norwegian stuff

Norway celebrates!

Norway celebrates May 17th

They call it Syttende Mai, which translates at May 17th. Norwegian Constitution Day. The equivalent of the 4th of July in the USA. Some other thoughts on its significance. (From Norwegians in Texas!)

And they celebrate the holiday in Brooklyn, NY, as well.

Have the party while you’re alive

A friend’s sister recently died. She was 51. Killed by cancer. Leaving behind a husband and three young sons and two sisters, a brother, and her father.

The wake was in a town about an hour west of Boston. I drove there through a light rain, following instructions printed out from Google Maps. The funeral home was the last house on the edge of town. An old Victorian, converted. A man holding an umbrella directed me to park on the lawn.

There was a long line of folks inside. Photos of the deceased and her extended family covered a bulletin board set up on a tripod in the first room you came to. Looking into the reception room, I saw my friend standing with her siblings. She seemed to be holding up well, but you never know exactly how people are feeling. They have to pull themselves together for the wake. They’re on display. They have to be strong for everyone else.

There were lots of people there, many of them related to each other and many of whom who had not seen each other in a long time. And for some of the young children, perhaps their first encounter with some of their aunts and uncles and cousins.

There was a feeling of a family reunion about the whole thing. (Except, of course, for the dead person in a casket in the main room.) And I kept thinking to myself, ‘wouldn’t it have been nice for all of them to get together while she was still alive?’

Of course, people do have family reunions. But that only includes family. And I don’t know anyone who wants to spend a lot of time with just their family. In Norway, where most of my extended family lives, people tend to have big parties on their 50th birthday and then every 5 years thereafter. Those parties include family and friends; all the people who would come to your funeral. It’s the same as a wake, except no dead people attend.

The odd thing is, people are probably not going to travel that far for a party every 5 years. Particularly if they have a lot of friends who don’t live near by. But they are still going to travel to the funeral. My brothers and I have gone back to Norway for the funerals of aunts and uncles. Each time I’ve done that, I’ve thought: “Why didn’t I come back a year before this, while he/she was still alive?”

Have the party. Invite family and friends. Tell them not to bother to go to your funeral. (Though they will anyway, unless you outlive them, of course.) Much better to say good bye while you’re still alive than after you’re dead.

Norwegian stuff

I’ve got a category here at erikorama called “Norwegian stuff.” My family is/was Norwegian. My two older brothers were born in Norway, and my parents emigrated to this country in the early 1950s. Then I was born. And while Erik Hansen is the most Norwegian of names, at least in America it didn’t seem that weird. My dad’s name was Torleif. That was a tongue twister for many of the folks we grew up with in Northern New York. (Not upstate! Northern! Think Southern Canada.) While I am an American, and glad to be, I am still attached to my Norwegian heritage. I also think there are some interesting things going on in Norway. They did get involved in the Middle East peace talks. They do require that boards of directors of companies have at least 40 percent women. And they seem to be weathering the current economic crisis quite well. See this article from the NY Times.

Of course it’s a tiny country. And they’ve got a massive amount of income from oil wells in the North Sea. Still, they seem much more thoughtful about a long-distant future than many other countries. We’ll see…or our offspring will see.

Vikings acquitted

So there’s this recent revelation that the second woman buried with the famous Oseberg Viking ship was not in fact murdered and sent to the hereafter (Valhalla!) with her queen. This all seems a little sketchy to me. Revisionist history. So how did she die and why was she buried with the older woman–thought to be a queen–who may have died from cancer.

This is bad news for the Viking brand, right? These guys were known for murdering, raping, and pillaging. And this recent discovery seems to be trying to make then out to be sensitive guys. Forget it! They were Vikings!

Norway prepares for the apocalypse, at least food-wise

1963107norwegian_flagoslo_4I read about this seed vault and all I can think is that it will be the subject of an upcoming James Bond film, in which the evil powers will either try to steal all the seeds or contaminate them with some left-over plutonium from one of their other nefarious projects.

But you read the article and realize how much biodiversity we’ve lost and it is frightening to consider.

On another front, one of the driving forces behind the project died recently. You’ve got to love that first name, Bent. Bent! You just want to say that out loud: “Bent!”

And what if you need someone to ask Bent to come into your office? “Get Bent,” you say. Which then leads into this whole (rather unsavory) discussion about the phrase.

Norway goes carbon neutral?

So originally Norway had pledged to go ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050 and then later changed that deadline to 2030 (only 22 years away!), but it seems that a lot of this ‘neutrality’ is based on growing trees in Africa or other 3rd-world places, according to this article in the New York Times. Problem is they haven’t figured out how to decrease their own carbon emissions. And my guess is that innovations related to energy will not occur in Norway. It’s not a nation of entrepreneurs. But it is a rich nation from all the oil out there under the North Sea. So they’ll have to buy that technology when it gets invented.

Norway says cars aren’t “green” or “clean”

Bente Oeverli, a senior official at the office of the state-run Consumer Ombudsman in Oslo, says that “cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others” in this article from Reuters.

So they’re asking carmakers not to use phrases such as “green,” “clean,” or “environmentally friendly” in advertisements for their cars in Norway.