Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For new readers: Gdańsk Zoo revisited

Read the groundbreaking and painfully honest report from the Gdańsk Zoo which earned me the Radom Zoological Society's 'Golden Gnu' prize for investigative journalism 2008. Originally posted on my previous blog on Motime in August.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CDHNs groundbreaking Christmas-modified First Aid course

With Christmas coming up, innumerable perils present themselves. We get stuck in chimneys, overdoze on marcepan pigs, suffocate inside our Santa masks, and the persistent noise of sleigh bells cause our ear drums to explode. But first and foremost, Christmas is the one time of year when we gather to celebrate our blood ties. Uncles, nephews and grandparents pop up from everywhere, with all the extra conflict potential that this entails. Your grandfather has just added Septic Arthritis to his already impressive collection of ailments – and this year he’s determined to take it out on YOU!

To prevent yet another unresolved inheritance dispute emerging around the Christmas dinner table from having fatal consequences, it is our sacred holiday duty to brush up on our First Aid skills. So take a few minutes to read this – the life you save might be if not your own then at least your third cousin’s.

Is it safe?

1. Safety First
"Professional rescuers practice universal precautions when providing medical care to victims."
Often ignored. If your uncle Viggo has been subjected to a severe thrashing from your other uncle Torkjell, reducing the former to a blood-soaked pulp whose only sign of life are some idiosyncratic movements bearing an ominously close resemblance to final death spasms, we tend to rush to help him. But don’t let your eagerness to help get the better of you. First you make sure that the source of danger, in this case the fierce Uncle Torkjell, is removed. But how to accomplish this? Uncle Torkjell has been nursing a fierce hatred for Uncle Viggo ever since the latter made fun of his cowboy outfit at his 11th birthday party. He genuinely enjoys beating up the hapless Viggo and will not hesitate to deal similarly with anyone that seeks to put obstacles in his way. Here I suggest as the only possible remedy: immediate distribution of Christmas presents. Uncle Torkjell might be no spring chicken, but boys will be boys, and the idea of unwrapping his new Sony Playstation3 will dampen his sadistic impulses – at least until the novelty fades off.

2. Determine if the Victim is Awake
"Probably the biggest indicator of a serious medical emergency is an inability to wake a victim."
How to determine if your ‘patient’ is sleeping? Here, paradoxically, the otherwise annoying phenomenon of snoring lends us a helping hand. Uncle Viggo – fat, drunk, unkept; your archetypical snorer. However, the ability to snore is also influenced by the position in which you sleep. If you sleep on your side, airways are more open and you snore less. Hence, to release Uncle Viggo’s snoring potential, we must put him on his back. His airways will then be partially blocked, which facilitates snoring. If snoring ensues, you can safely conclude that the 'patient' is not awake.

Or can you? Alas, you must be alert to the possibility that the 'patient’ might be faking injury just to make a fool out of you. Could it be that all the other family members have planned a little practical joke at YOUR expense? How to distinguish genuine snoring from fake one? Easy, dear Reader. Your Aunt Gunhild is a certified snorer whose nighttime snoring reaches such giant volumes that her husband Kåre had to seek refuge in a mental hospital. Drop a sleeping pill in her aquavit and place her next to Uncle Viggo. Then observe whether Uncle Viggo’s snoring is affected by Aunt Gunhild’s snoring. If he is just faking, he will have substantial difficulties maintaining his own snoring rhythm. So if his snoring becomes synchronised with Aunt Gunhild’s, we can draw the conclusion that Uncle Viggo has subjected us to inauthentic snoring.

(It must however be added that the current field of snoring science has not reached consensus on this issue. Researchers from the snoring laboratory at the Nelson Mandela College of Nocturnal Health points to the well known fact the menstruation cycles of two women who live together will be synchronized. ‘The same applies to two adjacent snorers’, they maintain.)

What if the ‘patient’ is not your uncle, but your cousin’s sympathetic fiance Kasia? After choking on an almond, she is apparently lying unconscious on the floor. Or is she just observing the time-honoured tradition of female misbehaviour? If yes, you run the risk of ending up the laughing stock of the Christmas party by giving first aid treatment to a perfectly healthy person! Your duty as a first aid expert is to establish the truth value of her apparent lifelessness. Place both hands on her breasts and squeeze them firmly. Lack of reaction from the ‘patient’ points to loss of consciousness, and allows you to proceed to step 3. (Researchers from the First Aid Battalion at the Joseph Mengele University in Drammen, however, argue that it is still too early to proceed and that you should double check by touching other strategic parts of her body first. I will leave this to the discretion of the individual first aid expert, in the firm conviction that each will act in accordance with his or her conscience.)

3. A is for Airway and B is for Breathing
"If a victim is conscious, ask him or her to speak. The ability to speak directly correlates with an airway. If a person's airway is blocked, he or she can't speak."
A tricky one, as it poses no great difficulty feigning an unability to speak. How can we ascertain that we are not being made fun of yet again? A simple but effective method exists. Subject the ‘patient’ to prolonged tickling of armpits. If the idea of touching Uncle Viggo’s sweaty armpits with your fingers holds no particular appeal to you, I suggest that you uproot the Christmas tree and tickle him with it. The ‘patient’ will start laughing and beg you to stop, making it obvious for everyone that his so-called blocked airways were nothing but an evil lie.

If tickling does not produce the expected results, we might be dealing with a person whose airwaves are blocked. Place Uncle Viggo in the recovery position.

Again, if the prospect of dealing manually with Uncle Viggo’s obese body does not overexcite you, you can avoid direct body contact by putting on your Santa boots and try to kick your uncle into the recovery position.

Some individuals are not capable of producing coherent speech even if their airways are open, notably persons in a high state of religious fervour. If the sounds uttered resemble Arabic, we are in all likelihood dealing with a Muslim. If not, the God-fearing miscreation is probably a Pentecostal busying himself with speaking in tongues. The only way to deal with these deviants is to pull hard on their tongues with both hands until they come to their senses and realize that speaking in tongues is not protected by Freedom of speech.

4. C is for Circulation
"Look at the victim's color and feel his or her skin temperature to see if he or she has signs of circulation. If there is no breathing or circulation, start CPR."
The patient might need nutrition, so avoid spilling ketchup like the stupid person on this photo

How to administer CPR?

First, look around to see if there are any interestingly looking women (to whom you are not worryingly closely related) lying around who are also in need of first aid. Women have a longer life expectancy than men, so from the perspective of social and economic efficiency, there is a strong case for giving them priority. Uncle Viggo has only a few years left in the frozen food inventory at REMA1000, and so will only be a drag on the welfare state for most of the rest of his life.
If, however, after searching through the neighbouring farms you still haven't found any qualified female patient, you have no choice but to deliver CPR to your Uncle Viggo. But take precautions! Mouth-to-mouth is unhygienic and a recipe for transmission of diseases. Is lip contact needed at all? The Henry Rinnan Academy of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Levanger argue convincingly that a bicycle pump does the same trick. This method has the added benefit that the victim can work the pump himself. As the main expert on first aid, you must always be in tip top shape and cannot exhaust yourself unnecessarily by sitting there pushing a bicycle pump like some kind of Reodor Felgen.

If you happen to be dressed up as Santa Claus, make sure that you leave the room in a discreet manner and remove your outfit completely before administering CPR. How can you expect your little ones to continue believing in the existence of Santa Claus after they’ve seen him do all kinds of weird things with uncle Viggo’s inanimate body? Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s enough that you have one near dead family member lying on the floor; you don’t want a child’s broken heart on your record of Christmas-related crimes too.

5. While Waiting for the Ambulance
"As the ambulance is responding to your emergency, there are some things you can do to help emergency crews find you. Make sure to try to do as many of these things as possible to prepare for the ambulance's arrival"
With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, every family worth their salt has a basement full of fireworks, ideal for drawing the ambulance’s attention to your house. Let one of the kids fire up some powerful rockets so that the ambulance will locate you from afar. When the ambulance arrives, make sure to put away Christmas snacks, juleribbe and all the presents and hide your women from view. Ambulance personnel, severely displeased at having to work on Christmas Eve, might well conduct themselves like a unit of Red Army soldiers liberating their Eastern-European neighbours from the Nazis.

That’s it, dear Reader, 5 simple steps towards a casualty-free Christmas this year!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CDHN's very special Babórka-present to its readers: THE MINERS

On the occasion of the annual Miners’ Day here in Poland, the glorious Babórka festivities, CDHN is proud to announce the publication of its first ever poem. The reading of the poem should preferrably be preceded by a toast and 3 times hurrah for our underground working class heroes!


The fireplace roars, laughter abounds
Ten miners at Gunnar’s place
Perfect bodies, no abundant pounds
A mere pimple would be a disgrace

Well-built men in the prime of their lives
Gathered on Friday night
And no, they do not miss their wives
Amidst male buttocks so tight

Gunnar’s wife Astrid briefly appears
To leave a cookie tray
Gunnar commands her: ‘Bring more beers
And then be gone far away!’

For in the company of mates from work
Wives are but a waste of space
‘He who chases women is a jerk!’
Declares Truls with a dignified face

‘Kåre, let a log on the fire be thrown!’
Says Gunnar, unbuttoning his shirt
‘Behold, pitmen! See how my biceps have grown’
From digging out coal in the dirt’

Nine pairs of eyes in amazement stare
As the shirt is consigned to the floor
An immaculate chest all covered with hair
Can a collier ask for more?

‘I took evening classes in the history of art.'
Says Torleif, wiping sweat from his brow
‘Hence, I have knowledge to impart
If the company may kindly allow’

‘I’ve seen ancient sculptures in Greece and Rome
Of consummate beauty and grace
Yet, why did I stray so far from home
At perfect proportions to gaze?’

‘When my workmate’s body is a masterpiece
To which no sculpture can compare
Let fire swallow my books about Greece!
For the beauty I seek is here’

‘And I’, says Einar, ‘have read them all
the sagas the Icelanders wrote
But neither Rafnkjell, Egil nor Njål’ –
Einar pauses to clear his throat –

’Exuded such power, such vigour, such force
As Gunnar in topless state.’
Kjetil interrupts with a voice so hoarse:
’He resembles Alexander the Great!’

Kåre announces, ‘Kjetil, my friend
in the sauna you showed me your chest
Why not display it once again?
To its splendour I gladly attest’

Kjetil obeys, followed by Truls,
Viggo, Reidar and Finn
Sweaty miners, mighty as bulls
Eager to show some skin

Shirts discarded on wooden floor
But helmets remain on heads
‘Trousers’, says Viggo, ‘what are they for?’
And throws them on the bed

His thighs are the talk of the mining town
The mining season’s number one hit
The excited colliers gather around
Like they once did down in the pit

Last week in the mineshaft he flashed his thighs
For all his colleagues to admire
Legs worthy of the Nobel Prize,
Thighs that can trigger a fire!

Many a miner in bed that night
To that perfect moment return’d
Two muscular thighs; a splendid sight
Ah! How the miner yearn’d

Once more to lay eyes on such flawless limbs
To revel in their beauty anew
More muscular than anything seen at the gym’s
Legs to which eyes stuck like glue!

Today the prayers of men have been heard
As Viggo at last understands
With legs like his, it is indeed absurd
To walk around wearing pants

By his workmate inspired, with flames in his eyes
Kåre the driller bursts out
‘Underpants are shackles in woollen disguise
Not fitting a miner so stout’

‘Begone! Ye chains around my legs
I curse you in Scargill’s* name
My athletic body for freedom begs
It refuses to hide in shame’

‘We, Prometheans from the bowels of the earth
The noble excavators of coal
For cent’ries the upper class ignored our worth
Our bodies they sought to control’

‘By wrapping us in trousers, sweaters and socks
Our nakedness hidden from view
But now the collier, as strong as an ox
Nudism seeks to pursue!’

‘Soon, fellow miners, on the May day parade
We will march for the 6-hour day
Red flags, banners will all be display’d
But clothes will be put away’

‘Only our helmets will remain
Safety must come first
That apart: not even the heaviest rain
Can stop us; or may we be cursed!’

‘Indeed, the bashful days are gone,’
says Finn, ‘Let’s march down the street
With nothing but our helmets on
And give the public a treat.’

‘Let eyes feast on masculine flesh
Revel in our dangling jewels
Relish the sight of male meat so fresh
Adore our reproductive tools’

‘In triumph we will stroll down the street
And gain the people’s respect
But for our strategy to succeed
There is one thing we must not neglect’

‘Practice! Let’s commence without delay
To our boxers bid a last farewell
May we start rehearsals for that glorious day
When miners ring the victory bell!’

*Arthur Scargill, legendary leader of the British National Union of Mineworkers from 1981 to 2000.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Catholic World comments on Obama

Regardless of political sympathies, if Obama’s victory and his brilliant acceptance speech didn’t fill you with awe, then you have no sense of what constitutes a great historical moment and should seek employment in the Norwegian daily Dagbladet, whose main headline after the fall of the Berlin wall was an interview with a psychiatrist who thinks swearing is healthy for kids.

Obama’s overwhelming victory (including 43 % of the white vote) proved that the American political system has a capacity for change. Its sclerotic Italian counterpart has no such thing, but Italians are blessed with other talents. This gentleman and many others, armed with freshly printed white sheets of paper, took to the streets to defend the President Elect after Berlusconi made a joke about Obama being ‘young, handsome and a litte bit tanned’. In his eagerness to stand up for America’s future president, the sensitive Italian to the left did some interesting things to his face.

Trying to imagine what goes on inside this person’s head poses a challenge for the most imaginative mind. Was he trying to profit from affirmative action laws and get admitted to Harvard?

We know that the family is the cornerstone in Italian society and if you have seen the Godfather you know that family gatherings don’t include just Grandma and Grandpa, are treated with utmost seriousness and if you’re not up to the task it can have fatal consequences for you. Are we dealing with a dedicated family man who takes his role as Santa Claus on the annual Christmas family dinner so seriously that he regularly practices climbing down chimneys?

Or could it simply be Roberto Saviano, the Italian author who is hiding from the Comorra mafia, doing his best to conceal his identity so that the bloodthirsty mafia will not recognize him? Like he’s poking his nose at his persecutors: ‘Look, here I am, right in front of your noses, but because of my brilliant disguise you’re missing out on yet another chance to take my life.’

As so often in life, Donald Duck comes to the rescue. Our politically conscious Italian friend looks exactly like a citizen of Duckburg who has just survived an explosion. Is he a member of Brigate Rosse who has just returned from an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the Milan headquarters of Berlusconi’s media empire?

While we ponder our elusive Italian friend’s motives, let us move to that other Catholic superpower in Europe, The Republic of Poland. Artur Gorski, a parliamentarian from Poland’s 2nd largest party, PiS, shared his views on the American election with his colleages in the Polish Parliament, referring to Obama as ‘The black messiah of the new left’: "Obama is an approaching catastrophe. This marks the end of the white man's civilisation.”

This has had some coverage internationally, but most English-language media seem to leave out my favourite part.
In Obama’s office hang four portraits: Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Judge, Muhammed Ali, the black boxing champion, Mahatma Gandhi, the great champion of peace, and President Abraham Lincoln, who crushed the American South and abolished slavery. Today, with the votes of his electorate, Obama, the black Messiahs of the new left, crushed the Republican candidate John McCain.

Mr Gorski, who has a doctorate from one of Poland’s Catholic universities, is doing his best to make the most cryptic Medieval scholastic seem like a model of clarity compared to himself, but what I think it boils down to here, is that Obama’s admiration for Lincoln should be used against him. Thanks to Mr Gorski’s attentive mind, the world now knows that Obama cannot be trusted on the vital issue of slavery. He might even be against it, like his idol Abraham Lincoln.

My only point of criticism to Mr Gorski is this: If you sat on this piece of information, why did you keep it to yourself until after the election? If the American voters had known that the Democratic candidate does not stand firmly behind the institution of slavery, they would have kicked Obama back to Chicago/Hawaii/Indonesia/Kenya where he belongs.

CDHN has a theory why. Two years ago, Mr Gorski headed a group of 46 parliamentarians who wanted to crown Jesus Christ Poland’s eternal king. However, this brave bill was rejected by the majority. Although this constituted no impediment in his political career - the industrious Gorski was duly given a second term by the voters in last year’s Parliamentary elections – it must have left him with a sense of bitterness. ‘I came up with this great bill and they didn't even pass it.’ Perhaps this lingering bitterness explains why he chose not to disclose information that could have saved the White Man’s Civilization from impedning doom.

Our final Catholic stop is Austria, who are struggling hard to improve their image after certain family-related incidents last summer. With this statement from Klaus Emmerich, the former news editor of their national TV station, they seem to be on the right track. Well done and keep trying, Austrians!

Klaus Emmerich (left) taking advise from Austria's new image consultant.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The All-time Top 25 Countdown: Number 19

(for the previous entries on the list, see my old blog on motime, www.coldhot.motime.com)

We've only just begun-The Carpenters, 1970

If you are told to think of something repulsive, what mental image makes its terrifying appearance? A maggot? A man’s hairy bottom? A potato-sized pimple that changes colours every five seconds? The combined audiovisual impact of the singer Anastacia making you want to poke out your eyes and amputate your ears? While there is common agreement that these things are indeed vile, their obscenity pales in comparison with the latest universal object of disgust: The bank manager. The financial wizards who stole our savings. The kind of monsters that would never sell their grandmother: No, they would lend her out at an extortionate interest rate to make even more money on her and use her mohair beret to blow their cocaine-stuffed noses.

However, it is easy to forget that however much these degenerate monsters have tried to make our world inhabitable, they once created 3 minutes of exquisite, undiluted beauty. A person who can listen through The Carpenters' 'We've only just begun' without feeling almost intimated by its beauty, is a person whose sense of aesthetics has more than a little in common with that of a dung beetle.

Karen and Richard in the White House on behalf on the carpenters' trade union to conduct the difficult but ultimately successful annual wage negotiations.

What am I driving at? This divine song, dear Reader, started out as a commercial jingle for Crocker National Bank in California, before it was discovered by Richard Carpenter, who, together with his sister Karen, rendered it timeless. While the Carpenters certainly deserve the major part of the credit, this record would never have seen the light of day had it not been for the bank management’s degenerate desire for profit. Thus, our most evil instincts can inadvertently produce something beautiful.

What moral lessons can we draw from this? Are we suppose to consider financial asset managers human beings now? Like invite them to our birthday parties and let them marry our daughters and stuff? Of course not, they are wicked beasts capable of acts of such depravity that an award-winning serial rapist would recoil in horror. But something which is subjectively evil can sometimes produce an objective good. After all, without greed there would be no Capitalism, and without Capitalism we would still be living in stinking plague-infested mud huts together with our pigs and hens and half-dead grandparents and would have to get up at 4 in the morning to help the family cow get rid of its constipation. So while the financial sector (which by the way is not the entire economy, as some commentators seem to think) certainly needs to draw a lesson from the latest events, society should not try to abolish greed, which after all has given us both prosperity and the otherworldly beauty of ‘We’ve only just begun’.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Norwegian ‘hyttetur’ Russian-style

A couple of months ago, Times London could report that Russian oligarchs are upsetting the real estate market on the French Riviera, by insisting on paying millions of Euros more for a house than the seller asks for, and arranging parties where they amuse themselves by throwing 500 euro notes up in the air while the staff wait patiently around to sweep the ashes. One mysterious unknown Russian beat all records by paying 500 mill Euro for one single property.

Those merry days seem so far away now, as the stock markets nosedive like a mole who mistook a Swiss cheese for a parachute and the financial institutions collapse like drunken cows on ice skates. Will the joyful Russians prevail through the crisis? And maybe even more importantly, will they continue to observe the grand tradition of reckless overspending? Will they continue to liven up French coastal life with their Euro-fuelled antics? Or will they be forced to depart with their spirit of mind-defying happy-go-lucky wastefulness in favour of a dull measly approach to money that bears more resemblance to Uncle Scrooge?

Only time will tell. However, what can we do to pay honour to the name of these fun loving oligarchs? I am directing myself primarily to the Norwegian readership , or anyone familiar with the Norwegian concept of ‘hyttetur’, ie ‘trip to the cabin’. (Of course, this phenomenon is by no means exclusive to Norwegians, but I think it is a more central part of Norwegian culture than for most nations.) Can a tradition created by Russians on the French Riviera be transplanted to Norwegian soil? More precisely, can we, packing our rucksack and sleeping bag to take our annual autumn trip to the family cabin, let ourselves be imbued with the cheerful spirit displayed by our Eastern cousins on the Mediterranean coast? What follows are a few practical suggestions on how to turn this autumn’s ‘hyttetur’ into a celebration of wealth worthy any Russian oil magnate.

Now that winter is approaching, the damp basement of your cabin is likely to be visited by mice escaping the cold. You employ a Bengal race cat to exterminate the annoying rodents. If the cat is not up to the job (a quite likely scenario since race cats are the feline equivalent of the nobility in the Feudal era, whose daily work consisted mainly of choosing which whig to put on), you leave a solid piece of Bjørsholm moose cheese, at $500 per 450g, in the mousetrap, which the little fourlegged cheese connosieurs surely will find it impossible to resist.

It is October and the season for moose hunting. You order a heat seeking missile from the States to take down the moose. If the stubborn beast refuses to die, you finish it off by strangling it with a Gucci tie .

Should the ‘King of the forest’ still show signs of resistance, you drag it by its horns to your $1 billion jungle reality park, where you have imported rain forest vegetation, snakes, monkeys and various endangered species to create an authentic jungle in the middle of the Norwegian forest. The Norwegian moose has never been exposed to a jungle climate and will struggle to stay alive for more than a couple of days. When it’s finally drawn its last breath, you dismantle the entire jungle park, because your wife claims it blocks the passage to the 'utedo' (a kind of shack used as a toilet).

The king of the forest - the laughing stock of the jungle

Although the high season for collecting blueberries might be over, you and your family don your rubber boots and go to the forest, equipped with 4 Louis Vuitton bags to gather blueberries in. It is advised that you stick some holes in the bags, this will help keeping the blueberries fresh.

Finally, Friday night arises and it’s time for you and your wife’s weekly sex sessions. Your youngest kid is a nuisance and starts to weep loudly just as you have placed yourself on top of her (i e your wife). At that point you charter a special luxury plane and have the 3 tenors (Pavarotti and the 2 other ones) flown in to sing lullabies for the little troublemaker, leaving your wife and yourself alone to ‘roll in the hay’ for 3 minutes until you have your orgasm and fall asleep immediately.

It’s the end of October, in other words, you can expect the first signs of snow. As the head of the family, you are the one responsible for snow removal, so that the family Lada doesn’t get stuck. What better tool to use for shovelling snow than the British artist Damien Hirst’s stainless steel construction Lullaby spring , which was sold for 14,2 million Euros at an auction in London last year.

No cabin trip is complete without a visit from your half-blind uncle Kåre. His favourite pastime is playing dart, so you place your Mona_Lisa original on the wall to use it as a dartboard. Due to his handicap, Kåre is not a skillful dartplayer. He gets himself drunk on homebrew and pukes all over the ‘utedo’. Alcohol is known to be a disinfectant, so you give your wife 5 bottles of 1990 Roederer Louis Cristal Champagne to clean the utedo with. Just make sure that the incorrigible Uncle Kåre does not drink it all before your wife has finished cleaning.

And with that CDHN wishes its cherished readers a nice cabin trip this autumn!