Coded green.

Tuesday 7 November 2000


Pic of the day: You may or may not see it, but I've had a sorely needed haircut.

No election here

Much as I'd like to catch up with politics and philosophy after all this time, I just have to chronicle the few small things that actually happen in my life (such as it is) while they still register on my crowded and disorganized brain.

I've called my best friend, the Superwoman. As I feared, she had tried repeatedly to call me when she came back from Africa, and got no answer. I thought I had set up the phone to redirect calls to my mobile phone, but of course mobile coverage is spotty at best among the high mountains on the rural west coast. Be that as it may, we had a long talk. But of course we could not even begin to tap into the adventures she had experienced in the Tanzanian wilderness, working in a primitive bush hospital. She'll bring loads of pictures home for Christmas.

It seems we are still friends, despite my comments about how many more hits her sister would bring to a website. :) Not that I am going to display any pics of them here. It's my diary, and there won't be many other people on it ever. This time I didn't even take any photos of my brothers and their families. (About two dozen people in all.)

I have of course fretted about Interflora and whether or not they managed to deliver the bouquet of flowers to G.E.M. on her birthday. Seems I have worried for naught: The flowers were there on time. Goody. G.E.M. is a great friend and I feel that I have really not shown enough appreciation of her before, because I was too shy and embarassed by her overwhelmining femininity. Now that I'm growing old it takes a lot more to overwhelm me, so I guess I should try to make up for the lost years somehow. I'm still not used to talking to women, of course - I tend to treat them like comrades. Luckily at least some of them are, too.


I also saw something instructive in the city yesterday. There was an old, old man in a brand new bookstore. And here is my advice to you, dear readers: Don't ever try to lean on an automatic sliding door.

For my own part, I managed to spend ca kr 1000 (currently $108) yesterday. But most of this was on a new bus card and a haircut. Since I am the Very Important Person here in the world, the national broadcasting today have made a big issue of how expensive collective (public) transport has become, and particularly bus in the cities. How nice of them to focus on my problems. They correctly reported that the politicians for 10 years have told that they prioritize public transport, while gradually weakening its economic foundations.

I personally do not believe that the government should spend any money to subsidize public transport. Instead, drivers should be presented with the bill for the health costs their driving creates. Car drivers, being typical humans, must be assumed to be stupid until proved otherwise. They probably think that the public costs related to car driving is simply the cost of building and maintaining the roads. I've certainly seen statements to that effect, and I am not surprised. How could they possibly know when nobody has told them? The exhaust and the dust from the roads incur huge health costs in the cities, along with less important problems such as excessive maintenance costs on buildings. These costs must be paid by someone, and the likely candidate would be those who drive in heavily populated areas.

In Norway, we have already toll on the roads into the main cities, and some others. This has so far been used to finance more roads. This is good as far as it goes, reducing congestion somewhat. But it's time to slap the full costs of city driving in the faces of the people who insist on driving their lunch bag to work every day. Fair is fair. But we have to explain it to them. Only one in thousand can think of this on their own. It is not reasonable to just tax people and say "well, we have the power so we tax you". That breeds resentment. Humans, unlike most other species, remain childlike throughout our lives. Teach them. Explain, explain, explain.

OK, so I could not resist the temptation to think. Back to reporting. I also spent ca $8 on the October issue of Scientific American. I'm sure that there must be a cheaper way to get the magazine 6 weeks delayed, but the dominating kiosk chain Narvesen take advantage of their near monopoly. But enough is enough, I think. Time to take out a subscription. Too bad I can't just download it into my e-book reader, the way I do with Slate. (And Slate is free, too, but not extremely informative the way Scientific American is.)

Of course, me being the Very Important Person that I am, fate's retribution hit Narvesen today. I heard it on the news: They will be merged with the REMA chain of cheapie grocery/general stores and cease to exist as an independent economic entity. I am not at all sure that this will give cheaper American magazines, but one can always hope. REMA specializes on cheapness. Of course this could mean no SciAm at all. We shall just have to wait and see.


Regular readers probably wonder how my mother fares - is she still alive, and such? Well, I don't know a lot either. When I was there, the doctors seemed to be in no hurry, as the cancer in her brain is very slow-growing. Presumably it will take a few weeks before treatment starts, if they dare to do it at all. Not like they can lose a lot by trying out new techniques - malign melanoma is not a cancer that comes and goes, you know.

Makes me very content that I'm having my own spots checked at the end of this month. An ounce of prevention, as the saying goes.

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