How priviledged are you?

Meme picked up from the Singing Librarian and Aphra Behn, a.o. As several have noticed, some country-specific differences do show up along the way

  1. Father went to college

  2. Father finished college
    In fact, he was the first with a degree in that branch of the family, making me only a second generation academic. Gee.

  3. Mother went to college
    Did she actually start? Can’t remember. Anyway, she set up her own small business and ran it until 1–2 years ago. She’s 80 this summer…

  4. Mother finished college

  5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

  6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
    Not that it was anything I even remotely thought of – but same, probably yes.

  7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

  8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
    I think – must be thereabout. I know that we have more at home now. Books are good :)

  9. Were read children’s books by a parent
    Actually learned to read before starting school by sitting on my father’s knee and following the small black thingies on the paper while he read to me. Books – and also Donald Duck every Tuesday :)

  10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
    Piano – which I have since given up in favour of CD player and, now, iPod which I’m far more adept at.

  11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18

  12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

  13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
    Can’t have a credit card in Denmark until you’re 18, so no.

  14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

  15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
    Well, yes and no. First of all, you don’t pay to go to university (college) in Denmark. So the “entrance fee” was paid for by Father State. I lived at my parents’ until I graduated – so my living costs were covered by them. Books etc I financed myself from the money I earned doing student jobs.
    The end result was that I got out of university debt-free which was an extremely good head start – one of the major things I thanked my parents for in my wedding speech and one that we do plan to do whatever we can to repeat for our kids.

  16. Went to a private high school

  17. Went to summer camp
    Yes, the scouting variant. Still do:)

  18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

  19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
    We didn’t really go for very many organised summer 1–2–3 week vacations. But when we did, we did stay at small hotels or inns in Denmark or hotels when abroad.

  20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
    Only child…

  21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

  22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
    Mainly some reproductions – but at least one original (haven’t got a clue who the painter was) over the sofa in the living room.

  23. You and your family lived in a single-family house

  24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

  25. You had your own room as a child

  26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
    Wonder what today’s kids will answer? Yes, I have my mobile phone in the room…?

  27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course

  28. Had your own TV in your room in high school

  29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college

  30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
    My Dad went to conferences now and then and occasionally, my mother and I went along. I remember being in Vienna, Warsaw (behind the curtain! big experience) and Reykjavik at least.

  31. Went on a cruise with your family

  32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

  33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up

  34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

So, in conclusion, I’m solidly in the surburban upper-middle class category. Well taken care of – but also early on earning and learning the value of my own money.


Devised by PhD students at Indiana State University - Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka. If you participate, they ask that you please acknowledge their copyright.


Spring - the green & white carpet is rolled out

Anemone carpet

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The Ecojustice ‘08 Challenge

How would you go about getting lots of people to start doing something positive to the health of the Earth? It seems that gasoline prices are doing something on their own – press reports today at least say that sales of trucks and SUVs in the US is falling while (previously laughed at) sub-compacts are up.

But doing something active? Based on beliefs, consideration, intent? Emily has thrown a challenge to all of us out in the blog world:

Thus, this challenge began brewing in my mind. Maybe through this wonderful resource the internet, an international group of us could band together to challenge ourselves to live our lives just a little bit differently. Maybe some of us would be willing to make some choices that might not be the most convenient or the most comfortable but that wouldn’t be completely inconvenient or uncomfortable, because we care more about saving the planet than we do about our own conveniences and comfort. Maybe each of us would tell at least five friends about the challenge, who would then pass it onto others. Eventually, maybe, we could begin to change things for the better. Maybe future generations, then, won’t have to clean up such a big mess.

An avalanche could be in the making – at least with a little bit of luck and some push and shove.

Please go read the full challenge here.

The action points so far listed are (in my shortened words) -

  1. For one day a week, don’t use your car
  2. Choose one ‘black out night’ per week
  3. Choose two days a week for eating only organic and/or locally grown
  4. Walk or bike to anyhting within a 2–miles trip radius from your home
  5. Read a book that challenges your thinking about the environment
  6. Buy only things sold in recyclable packaging – and recycle that packaging!

There are already a number of proposals to join the list – listing just a few:

  • Composting
  • Grow vegetables
  • Line dry clothes (aka skip using that tumble-drier)

All of which makes a lot of sense. I’ll add one of my own -

  • Bake your own bread

A major corporation’s motto surprisingly feels right here: Just do it!

(Thanks to Aphra Behn for bringing this on her blog)

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New apparel :)

Got my DespairWear™ T-shirts yesterday :)



This wonderful sad, sad company just doesn’t miss a trick to tell you how bad life is. “Clothes make the man. These clothes make the man sad” as their clothing motto goes.

And you have to check out their… let’s call it customer service motto, not to spoil the fun ;)

Where do they all come from?

Drove home early from work today – maybe shortly before 15:30 (3:30 pm for those of you so inclined). That’s something like an hour and a half before usual.

The motorway was solid queue! As they say in the traffic announcements “Motorway O3 has sold out in asphalt”.

Who are all these people, on their way home at afternoon coffee but there’s still time to finish a letter, talk to this guy and check the E-mail one more time today o’clock?

And no, it wasn’t an accident, just afternoon traffic.


Do I have the wrong job – one where you do not get to go home early and enjoy the sun in the garden with the kids the dog? (the kids are getting bigger – they’re not home yet anyway ;)


Good error pages

When your web presence is down for some reason or if your visitors make a go for a page no longer there, you can basically tell them in two ways: Good or bad.

Netvibes is down today for a server upgrade. Their error page tells it all – the graphic alone is class and the message is clear and friendly.

Netvibes error page

Bloglines is another one that does it well (I love their plumber :).

Does yours?

(hangs head – knowing that there is no such thing as customized 404 pages on the sites that I webmaster…)

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Read about press responsability - and have a laugh at the same time!

I’ve posted in a related vein before – Tim Robbins says it quite a lot better than I can:

You have the power to turn this country away from cynicism. You have the power to turn this nation away from the hatred and the divisive dialogue that has rendered such a corrosive affect on our body politic. You can lift us up into a more enlightened age. Or you can hide behind that old adage; "I'm just a businessman, I provide what the audience wants." Well, I'm here to tell you that we don't need to look at the car crash. We don't need to live off of the pain and humiliation of the unfortunate. We don't need to celebrate our pornographic obsession with celebrity culture. We are better than that.

This doesn’t just go for the US of A – everywhere, I strongly believe, we need the press to wake up and remember that thing about the 4th power.

More here (you have to go here to get the laughs ;) :
The Power and Responsibility of our Nation's Broadcasters


Beach at sunset

Sunset beach 1

Sunset beach 2

Sunset beach 3



A thing I miss

Several otherwise unrelated things - the US primaries, upheavals some months ago in the Danish political world, some friendly teasing of a (now ex-) colleague as well as a general wish to procrastinate over a cup of coffee after lunch - made me re-read the ChangeThis manifesto.

And right in there, it says:

"We're unique in our ability to consider thoughtful arguments and change long-held beliefs. This flexibility is at the core of our democratic ideals. All too often, though, we're led to change our minds on the basis of charisma, not facts. People are so easily influenced by a charismatic leader, the kind of person we'd be eager to befriend, to have dinner with, to follow. We choose someone based on his personality and then do whatever he tells us to do.

It seems easier that way, and we all do it. We do it for the right boss or the right mate or the right political leader. We go to war or create a new product or move to Jonestown."

Isn't that - on average - frighteningly true? Didn't we use to have at least some voices who stood up and said: "Could you please explain that? Again? So that we all really understand?" Some more of the wee boys in 'The Emperor's New Clothes'?

I miss them. I miss some with the audacity to stand up and say "Hey, we won't let you get away with a soundbite. We want to know what you want/are there for/plan/think...!"

I want the ones asked to give answers. I'd actually not mind at all if they were to show doubt or a need to consider. I want us all to take time to read, ask and listen.

I wholeheartedly like and support the ChangeThis cause. But somehow I (cynically?) also think that despite the intentions, they'll end up preaching to the exisiting choir. Because the ones - the very many ones - that need to change are so far out of the habit of taking time to read, ask and listen that they wouldn't know the existence of ChangeThis.

So how do we get someone with bandwidth and credibility and - hell, yes, - charisma enough to make people drop just following the (very same) charisma and restart reading, thinking, asking and listening?

Now I've asked and you've read. Is that a beginning?



(cross-posted with some delays from H2G2 Journal Entry)

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Clear sign of spring

…the anemones are out, covering the forest in their blanket of green and white :)

Anemone blanket in green and white

The wee black thing is Corto the Dog – looking intently towards where I have just thrown a dummy for him to fetch. But not until I give the word, of course.

(I did – he’s not still sitting there ;))

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Played rapid-tourist in Amsterdam yesterday - found myself with some time to spare on a late afternoon out by Schiphol and quite easily made my way into town on a combination of hotel shuttle and Dutch trains.

As usual, the good camera resides at home (*sigh*) and the phone camera does not do Amsterdam the justice it ought to do - but here are a few glimpses anyway:

Bicycle parking
All those small critters on those ramps are bicycles. I'd be hard pushed to find equally massive bicycle parking in Copenhagen - which also is a bicycle-heavy city.

Canals and the houses along them
Quintessentially Amsterdam-ish. I probably could say Dutch -but then, this was the first wee attempt ever I've had on playing tourist in the Netherlands.

Not-coffee shops

With my USAian amd UKian friends, discussions has sometimes touched on the topic of not-oregano. Amsterdam is rather full of coffee shops, proudly marketing not-exactly-coffee. For all I know, they do serve coffee - although a colleague also has recounted his experiences of having a cookie in such a shop and "feeling funny" afterwards :)

OK, this one doesn't actually say 'coffee' on the facade... Many others did.

Red lights
Then, by random wandering, I ended up in the red light area. (It's already been pointed out to me that the number of men who don't know where they're going, yet ends up there, is staggering beyond statistical credibility - but on scouts' honour, it was random...)

The, errrrmmmm, lighter brigade markets its offerings more visibly in Amsterdam than in most other places - behind windows, scantily clad ladies try to attract punters' attention. Old enough not to blush terribly, I nevertheless did not go as far as photographing the phenomenon.

But this shop I had to take a picture of - even in liberal, pragmatic Denmark, I have not yet seen a sex shop combining that offering, no doubt tourist oriented, with that of bicycle rentals...

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This could very well be addictive!


Even for those of us who actually like Clippy… ;)

(and yes, I have realised that it misses an 's'... Or, for that matter, an 'a ')

Found at ImageGenerator via The Blogess.

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The art of direct mail

There’s probably both science and art in writing good direct E-mail newsletters.

I do not claim perfection in any way in this discipline – but over time, I guess we all see examples both on excellence and, ermm, not quite so excellent.

In the latter category, I received one today from a leading Scandinavian airline.

This issue of the newsletter - which I receive because I have signed up via my membership of the frequent flyer programme – has as the subject line: “Become a member and get 2.500 extra points”

Huh? Become a member? Sent out to, I assume, the full member list? What percentage of current members might say “OK, this issue is not relevant for me” and discard it directly?

I’d probably say that such a message should go to a filtered list where all the already-signed up members were filtered out. And then tailor an issue with relevant news for members to them. After all, that’s what databases are supposed to allow you to do in marketing. Or?

The sender and reply-to addresses are also worth a study. The newsletter is sent from an “info-(airline)@fly(airline).com” E-mail address. And then, below the sender address, in a nice box, it says: Please respond to “no-reply@fly(airline).com".

Reply to “no-reply”? Would you? Or would you be confused? I am…

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Test run off USB Stick

Just a little nerdiness…