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The Selfish Idealist


When you do things for yourself, do you have to be destructive towards the world? Life can be made fairly good both for you and for the rest of us.

Maybe you'll not only help out, but even give everybody a good laugh from time to time.

Interesting books...on the outside of Bislet Bok, an independent bookshop in Thereses gate, Oslo.

Aesthetic violence

Oslo Posted on 04 Mar, 2020 02:22

Pardon my French, but this shit is what I really do not want.

For me, this is the real reason to oppose the whole plan, including demolition of the “Y block”.

Here is the rest.

News about the “Y block”

Oslo Posted on 04 Mar, 2020 00:27

The Norwegian government is demolishing this building, a government building which was also a target for Anders Behring Breivik. It is still possible to use, it was not severely damaged but the government argues that a bomb may be placed underneath, where there is a tunnel, a street.

They want to build completely new government buildings, which I feel will be completely dominating this part of town.


Oslo Posted on 03 Mar, 2020 14:36

Oslo has a streak of self-destruction, maybe like many cities, worldwide, these days.

One of the things happening right now is the demolition of one of the old government buildings, the Y block, named after the shape of the building, with murals inside and outside made jointly by Picasso and the Norwegian sculptor Carl Nesjar.

Picasso & Carl Nesjar

Oslo Posted on 03 Oct, 2019 17:52

I’m not sure I agree with everything they say, but I am certain that I do not want the new government buildings to be built. 

Our drinking water

Oslo Posted on 05 Aug, 2019 00:06

I met some tourists, I think Italian, in the local shop, and they were going to buy bottled water, as usual asking whether it had “gas or no gas”. I told them, just drink from the tap, it’s actually the best.

I think this is true. And it is free of charge, already paid for by their hotel.

Water supply is still part of our “social state”. In a private home it is a relatively small expense.

Our water is very drinkable, I think, it should be a tourist attraction in itself. Of course, you don’t drink from the tap in a toilet, but that’s only because you are in a toilet. The water is the same everywhere, pretty fresh and clear and by all means healthy. The only place I can remember to have seen those signs that say “don’t drink the water” is on the trains.

The only thing I forgot to tell them is, leave the tap open for a few seconds so the water gets cold.

When I was a kid we were told that as long as the water was moving, flowing, we could drink it, from brooks and rivers and lakes. Of course you had to, have to, check the smell and the look of it, but basically I think it is right to say that the water in nature here is clean.

I remember I had a wooden cup in the belt which I got as a present from someone, or drank from my hands. You had to be quick.

Tried the tap water in Spain too, when I was there, and it was quite ok. I didn’t get sick, it tasted a little like all those tapas dishes with somehow fried garlic. Both flavoured by the soil and the climate, or what?

Squeezing local business

Oslo Posted on 20 Mar, 2019 23:42

Olav Thon’s money 1 – Grünerløkka’s nice sides 0.

This shop has to move because businessman Olav Thon, who owns more or less half the town, raises the rent to a level local shops cannot pay.

They also help people in trouble by giving them work in the shop. It is run by an ideal organisation working with drug addicts.

Traffic in balance

Oslo Posted on 26 Jun, 2017 00:25

Oslo is
basically a pedestrian city, I am talking about the old, inner city. It’s
actually not that small, so you need
the tram to get around when your feet start aching after a day as a tourist or
when you’ve been shopping or walking from one appointment to the next.

Of course,
you have to be careful with cars, as you do in a city, but mostly, they behave
ok. Most of the streets are so narrow you can cross them pretty easily, and the
tunnels and toll plazas that surround us diminish the traffic a lot, to our
great benefit.

There’s less
traffic and much more quiet than it used to be.

Which means
many of us use the opportunity to cross the street whenever and wherever we
like. You have to check, of course, and after you have lived here for a while
you learn which crossings are safe, which are dangerous.

usually exists a balance between pedestrians and drivers, a certain agreement
both ways, but lately it has tipped maybe too much in our favour. I
don’t mind letting people drive, as long as the traffic is not worse than it is

I don’t own
a car, I find it a hassle and an unnecessary expense. I am lucky enough to have
the possibility of borrowing one whenever I need to drive.

Actually, bikes are almost more dangerous than cars these days, because many bikers
are both sportive (or efficient) and a little reckless. Some move pretty fast.

Some borettslag tips

Oslo Posted on 14 Jun, 2016 07:44

Many foreigners and young people have little knowledge and experience in running blocks in Oslo, borettslag (housing cooperative, so my dictionary tells me) and sameier (joint ownership), the two ways of organising things here. Here are a few points about how it was done the last time I lived in the city, in fairly good organised blocks.

Big decisions, changes in backyard or building design or projects concerning large expenses were always brought up on the general assembly. The board could not do any big things during the year unless they had been discussed and decided at the general assembly. Exceptions were of course for instance damages that had to be dealt with immediately, but things like that were usually discussed informally in the hallway or the inhabitants were informed through the mailbox. Sometimes an extraordinary assembly could be held, but that was a rare thing to do, as I recall it.

In general, the hallway, or wherever and whenever you met coincidentally, was a normal place and time for discussing things and asking questions to people on the board. Ringing the bell, phoning and sending e-mails were of course also accepted, board members had to be available for the rest of the people in the block for answering questions and discussing things.

New ideas were also brought out by word to neighbours. The board would never operate in any form of secrecy.

If you missed a meeting where things were discussed, you also missed the opportunity to influence the decision. A replay happened, but was actually a breaking of the rules.

But the decisions in question always concerned specific projects. General plans for the future could not be laid decisively in advance, and the board was never given carte blanche for decisions on extensive new plans or work.

The article has been edited after submission to the Internet.