Takk for Kvikk Lunsj!

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Aside from the whole “bringing the world together and inspiring harmony and interconnectedness” thing and shopping, the Internet is great precisely because of articles like the Robyn Lee’s recent piece on the Norwegian version of the Kit Kat bar, the Kvikk Lunsj, at Serious Eats.

kvikk lunsj by roboppy on flickr.com, via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives license.

I mean, aside from focusing on one of the finest confections around—I ate Kvikk Lunsj bars weekly for five years when I lived in Norway—the author even provided side-by-side illustrations of the Kvikk Lunsj with the US and UK Kit Kats and a taste test:

Across the board, tasters thought Kvikk Lunsj had the creamiest, milkiest chocolate. Some also thought it was slightly salty compared to the other bars. Its wafer was noted for being super crisp and having a nutty flavor.

I have to agree with this assessment, having sampled all three manifestations of the chocolate covered wafers (though admittedly not at the same time). It’s not just a chocolate bomb but rather a more complex interplay of salt, sweet, crunch, and smoothness. It’s a considered candy bar, not a gullet-filler.

Candy bars, with their claims on our youth, should be worth remembering, and though it’s been a decade since my last Kvikk Lunsj, I still recall them fondly. Woe betide children who grow up with junk chocolate. I wonder if this Internet thing will let me order them. Hmm . . .

(Image courtesy of Robyn Lee via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives license.)

Station to Station: Bergen to Oslo on Film

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This, then, is the brilliance of publicly-funded television: Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) produced a documentary of the train ride from Bergen, on the west coast of Norway, to Oslo (original, non-translated link), to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Bergensbanen. But rather than an overview of the route, they showed the whole thing — the entire seven plus hour journey.

Bergensbanen on flickr.com by abbilder via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License

This, too, then, is the brilliance of publicly-funded television: more than a million Norwegians watched it.

Or maybe this, then, is the brilliance of publicly-funded television: NRK has released the footage they took from the front of the train to the public under a Creative Commons license.

Now we want to give the material to our viewers, the whole thing, for download.

The documentary had picture-in-picture clips with videos about Bergensbanen, a reporter interviewing people on the train, music and two cameras pointing to the sides of the train. Because of rights, we had to remove the music and many videoclips, so we decided to make a clean frontcamera version for this download.

The footage is a real gift and an example of a public institution serving the public.

(Via Boing Boing, via Espen Andersen)

(Image courtesy of abbilder via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License.)

Ja, Vi Elsker The Simpsons

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Coming to Homerica,” the season-ender for this, the twentieth season of The Simpsons, uses as its foils the Norwegian immigrants who inhabit Springfield’s neighboring town of Ogdenville. What follows is a traditional Simpsons send-up of Norwegian-Americans and Norway in general, from aquavit and the inward-breathed “ja” to a strange fondness for the Minnesota Vikings. While this season has been uneven at best, the season finale should be remembered as one of the stronger episodes this year.

Simpsons go Norsk!

Of note, though, is the original U.S. air date for this Norsk pastiche: May 17, 2009. May 17th is Norwegian Constitution Day, the Norwegian national holiday. Whether this confluence of the episode’s air date and its content was intentional is unclear—my money is on a happy coincidence—but it still stands as a nice touch and adds another layer of depth to the episode.