Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Still Here

I have been rather quiet on the blogging front, primarily because I am so busy for work. I have been very busy with this new US initiative, and it is rather overwhelming. I must resist the urge to procrastinate. I am almost exclusively biking to work these days, but little else. Today the temperature was in the mid-40s, but at least it was dry.

The US ambassador embarassed himself by complaining that Norway's import tax that favors diesels discriminates against US automakers. I don't know what kind of drugs this bozo is taking, but who in their right mind wants or needs an American car in Norway? There are extra taxes on engine displacement and horsepower--- and probably weight. The speed limit is 90kph maximum. Roads are narrow. Cars are so expensive anyway that people finance them for up to 10 years. Most American cars are lucky to last that long.

How does someone even define a US-made vehicle in these age of globalism? Saabs are now Mazdas with a touch of GM. Volvo are Ford. Opal is GM. Mercedes is Chrysler. It never ends, and I am probably wrong about at least one of these relationships. Adding to the absurdity of his statements, Norway has the population of Wisconsin or Minnesota. I don't think a country of this size will help GM dig themselves out of their own grave.

As I close, I want you to close your eyes and imagine the following scenario. Actually, keep your eyes open so you can read the rest of this, first. Imagine if the income of each US citizen was posted on the internet for the entire world to see. Sound crazy? Well the annual tax list was released last week in Norway, and the national past-time of looking up everyone's income has begun anew. Thankfully I have zero income for 2005 in Norway, so you can move along. The media publishes lists of all the local richest people. It is all quite perverse in my estimation, particularly in a culture that avoids conspicuous displays of wealth (unlike the US).

On a related topic, the IRS doesn't like how we claimed my wife's student loan interest for 2004. I will have fun tracking down that documentation after moving across the world. She attended school in the US, but the loan origninated in Norway. If I recall, I claimed it for 2005 as well. Oh well...

We are finished painting, finally. New we can live in our house, rather than work. We are lucky to have a house! Already, it seems prices have risen dramatically. It is almost impossible to find anything that is not an apartment for under 3 million nok these days. Recently, a house went for over $100,000 more than its asking price. Land use is so controlled around here that it is doubtful that the real estate market will ever collapse.

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