The feature humor item you’ll be seeing everywhere this holiday season is about a drastic shortage of butter in Norway occurring just as the Christmas season is at hand.
The journalists are telling us that the scarcity is the result of recent high Norwegian butter consumption resulting from a fashionable low-carb, high-fat diet on top of reduced production caused by a shortage of hay due to an unusually rainy summer growing season.
Profiteers are reported trying to charge as much as 350 euros ($465) for a 500-gram (1.1 lb. or 1 lb and 1.6 oz) packet of butter.
Ho, ho! Isn’t it funny?
None of the features on this news item I have found, however, notes that no butter shortage exists elsewhere in Europe or in the United States. But the AFP story offers a clue:
Last Friday, customs officers stopped a Russian at the Norwegian-Swedish border and seized 90 kilos (198 pounds) of butter stashed in his car.
The butter shortage obviously is not result, in a modern world, of a local dairy feed shortage, or of local supplies being exhausted by unusual demand. With rising demand and consumers willing to pay higher prices, the supply would be being met by enterprising Russians trying to make a kroner, if government were not standing in the way.
It is obvious that some kind of Norwegian limits on butter importation, doubtless in place to protect Norwegian dairy farmers, prevents legal access to supplies from abroad.
Norway’s holiday problem isn’t really about diet fads or rainy summers. It’s about government doing what government likes to do: delivering favors to special interests at the expense of society as a whole.
When Anders Behring Breivik was not plotting mass murder and fine-tuning the bomb he detonated here last week, he was busy playing video games and blogging, listening to Euro pop and watching episodes of â€œTrue Bloodâ€ â€” except on Sunday nights, when he usually dined with his mother. …
For years, Mr. Breivik, who is 32, participated in debates in Internet forums on the dangers of Islam and immigration. It is not clear at what point he decided that violence was the solution to the ills he believed were tearing European civilization asunder. Before the attacks that he has admitted mounting on government buildings and a childrenâ€™s summer camp on Friday, he was careful never to telegraph his intentions.
â€œHe didnâ€™t say anything you could remember,â€ said Stig Fjellskaalnes, who knew Mr. Breivik when he was a member of Norwayâ€™s conservative Progress Party in the early 2000s. â€œHeâ€™s one of the crowd, if you know what I mean. You forget him.â€ …
With the 1,500-page manifesto, which he said took three years to complete, Mr. Breivik endeavored to find common cause with xenophobic right-wing groups around the world, particularly in the United States. He quoted extensively from the anti-Islam writings of American bloggers, and cut and pasted a whole section of the manifesto written by Theodore J. Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, into his own, replacing â€œleftismâ€ with â€œmulticulturalismâ€ as the object of aspersion. …
He attended the elite high school where the countryâ€™s current king, Harald V, and his son once studied. Former classmates remembered him as quiet but intelligent, with a small rebellious streak: he was a prolific graffiti artist. …
To earn money for the attacks, he wrote that he had started a company that earned him millions. Neighbors cast doubt on this claim, however, saying that they thought he had inherited some money from relatives.
As he went about gathering six tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and turning aspirin powder into pure acetylsalicylic acid for his bomb, he led an active life online, railing against Muslims and Marxists in debate forums.
He once approached Hans Rustad, the editor of a popular conservative Website called Document.no, with a proposal to create a pan-European movement modeled on Tea Party groups in the United States.
When not surfing conservative blogs, Mr. Breivik was fighting virtual demons, ogres and other fantastical creatures in online role-playing games. He was a regular in talk forums for players of â€œWorld of Warcraft,â€ using a busty female as his avatar and the handle Conservatism.
Mark Steyn was annoyed to find himself quoted in Breivik’s manifesto and points out some of the illogic of the commentariat’s reaction.
It is unclear how seriously this â€œmanifestoâ€ should be taken. Parts of it simply cut and paste chunks of the last big killer â€œmanifestoâ€ by Ted Kaczynski, with the occasional [insert-your-cause-here] word substitute replacing the Unabomberâ€™s obsessions with Breivikâ€™s. This would seem an odd technique to use for a sincerely meant political statement. The entire document is strangely anglocentric – in among the citations of NR and The Washington Times, thereâ€™s not a lot about Norway.
Nevertheless, Breivikâ€™s manifesto seems to be determining the narrative in the anglophone media. The opening sentence from USA Today:
Islamophobia has reached a mass murder level in Norway as the confessed killer claims he sought to combat encroachment by Muslims into his country and Europe.
So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, thatâ€™s now an â€œIslamophobicâ€ mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder. Yet the Associated Press is on board:
Security Beefed Up At UK Mosques After Norway Massacre.
But again: No mosque was targeted in Norway. A member of the countryâ€™s second political party gunned down members of its first. But, in the merest evolution of post-9/11 syndrome, Muslims are now the preferred victims even in a story in which they are entirely absent.
It took almost a day for some on the left to start blaming Sarah Palin for what happened in Norway. It probably took a while for them to get over their cynical shock that it actually was a white guy this time.
I will note, though, as an aside, that like school shootings in â€œgun-free zones,â€ this was another catastrophic failure of gun control. Just a few rifles in the hands of the older kids on that island, with training, would have ended this pretty quickly. Instead, they were fish in a barrel for him.
The Escapist describes the mysterious sign that appeared in the Norwegian skies, appropriately timed to mark Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Astronomers and Norwegian citizens alike have been baffled by the appearance of a strange blue spiral light in the sky above the Scandinavian country last night: Was it aliens, evil Russians, or just a Dante’s Inferno marketing stunt? …
Witnesses in the north of the country reported an unusual atmospheric phenomenon that began when “what appeared to be a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain. It stopped mid-air, then began to circulate … Within seconds a giant spiral had covered the entire sky. Then a green-blue beam of light shot out from its centre – lasting for ten to twelve minutes before disappearing completely.”
The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was hammered by a flood of telephone calls after the light show had concluded, though astronomers say that the startling display was not connected to the Aurora Borealis.
Daily Tech reports that Russian news sources have identified the source of the phenomenon, and it had nothing to do with peace.
on Thursday the Russian newspaper Vedomosti cited a military source as saying the phenomenon was caused by a failed test launch of a intercontinental missile, dubbed Bulava. Past launches had failed on the first stage, but this launch reportedly went off without a hitch, before experiencing the strange failure on the third stage.
The Russia armed forces initially denied these reports. However, another source, stationed in Severodvinsk, told newspaper Kommersant that the Russian nuclear sub “Dmitri Donskoy” launched Monday for a program of test launches at sea. The “Dmitri Donskoy” is reportedly the only sub capable of launching the Bulava missile.
On Thursday, more than 24 hours after the incident Russia decided to take responsibility for the incident. The Ministry of Defense’s press service told ITAR-TSS that the strange show was indeed generated by a third stage failure of the missile.
There are still unexplained details about the event that are sure to excite conspiracy theorists. First of all the blue-green light would suggest the presence of copper(II) chloride in the rocket flame. However, copper chloride, while commonly used in pyrotechnics, isn’t hasn’t traditionally been used in rocket fuel (though it has been reportedly investigated as a catalyst in propellant reactions). Also strange is that a similar spiral and explosion occurred over China last year, according to the Daily Mail. If it was indeed the third stage that caused the scene over Norway, and no previous launch had made it past the first stage, it’s unclear what might have caused the similar scene in China.
So, this man in Portugal buys a farm (as opposed to ‘buying the farm’, as it were). Apparently the property owner died and the farm was put up for sale. Pretty satisfied of his purchase he wanders about the property sizing up what might need attention. An old, unused barn that will probably need cleaning out was part of the deal. Upon making his way inside the barn he finds that, indeed, the place needs more than a little cleaning…
The story was originally linked from this Dutch site, which has since removed the link. The Dutch site led to a Norwegian Mazda owners site (Google-cached version) leading to the conclusion that the lucky buyer was Norwegian.
It is still unconfirmed, and an urban legend/hoax of some kind is suspected, but the story is he found 180 vintage cars.