Tag Archives: Norway

An Interview With An Actual Norwegian!

My guest this week is, as the title implies, someone from Norway. Maja Asgautsen is a blogger from Norway. I became curious about Norway after getting regular views from Norway over the last several months and they weren’t all Maja. My curiosity about Norway first lead me to make fun of it and while doing that I realized how little I really knew about the country. Maja, who has a really great blog which you should go visit, was kind enough to agree to my “interview” about Norway.


1. What is the one thing you’d like people from other countries to know about Norway? That we are actually a country and not the capitol of Sweden, or a city in Scandinavia.

2. When people from other countries visit Norway what are they most surprised by? Many of the tourists, especially from countries outside of Europe seem to be very surprised by the fact that we don’t have polar bears walking up and down the streets (there are no polar bears on the mainland in Norway just on Svalbard, an island that belongs to Norway). Some also seem to be surprised by the winter darkness and midnight sun up north or they are equally surprised to find out that this only occurs in the North of Norway.

Northern lights

Northern lights

3. What differences do you see between Norwegian culture and those of other countries? Norway is a country where equality is very prominent, both in how our welfare state works and in the fact that we have come quite a long way in gender equality. Norway is a very democratic country and even if there are quite a few political parties they fundamentally don’t disagree on things as they do in many other countries, in an international scale they would be quite similar. This doesn’t stop them from arguing very passionately for their view points.

We generally are not that big on hierarchy here in Norway, at work we don’t tend to dress formally and most places we address our colleagues by their first name regardless of their position in the company or their title.

The “typical” Norwegian is quite taciturn. And we tend to like to keep to ourselves. You hardly ever see a Norwegian person sitting next to a stranger on the bus as long as there is a possibility of sitting alone.



We take great pride in winter sports and in the winter Olympics we tend to win a lot of medals especially if you consider that we are a notion of 5 million people. But most of our athletes are quite modest, the Norwegian way of thinking is that a person should never think he or she is better than anyone else. From time to time there are people that differ from this, but these are normally viewed as a bit un-Norwegian.

4. What is the best thing about living in Norway? For me the best thing about living in Norway must be the closeness to nature. You never seem to be far from a beautiful scenery with mountains, fjords and the like. I also don’t think we always fully appreciate how well our benefit system works and we have a lot of freedom that we often take for granted.

5. As evidenced by your blog, you obviously are very well versed in English. Are most Norwegians bi-lingual? Which language do you use the most? Thank you, you flatter me. Most Norwegians can speak English in varying degrees as it is taught as a subject in school, but it’s not like a second language to us. We can also choose to learn a bit of German, French or Spanish in school, should we wish. In fact in Norway we have three written languages and two spoken. Two of the written ones are a bit similar and is called bokmål (book language) this was heavily influenced by the Danish language from when they ruled us and so they made a new one called New Norwegian that is based on a collecting dialects around the country. The other language is not written or spoken by many, but it’s the language of the Sami people and it’s been given the status as an official language in Norway.

I own this tie and wore it today to support this post. I'm not kidding.

I own this tie and wore it today to support this post. I’m not kidding.

6. Besides Edvard Munch and you, who are some other famous Norwegians that people from other countries would know? The composer Edvard Grieg’s music is quite well known around the world. The band A-ha used to be quite popular. We have quite a few famous explorers some might have heard of Nansen, Amundsen and Thor Heyerdahl.  Jens Stoltenberg is currently the Secretary General of NATO. Magnus Carlsen is good at chess, Alexander Kristoff is good at cycling, Mats Zuccarello Aasen is good at ice hockey.  There are quite a few others you might have heard of depending of what your interests are. If you are curious a list can he found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Norwegians

Maja, thank you so much for taking the time to educate me and the rest of the world about your beautiful home country of Norway. Everybody go follow Maja’s blog for regular posts on life in Norway. Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Kind Of True Facts About Norway

Hei mine norske venner! My blog views by country typically go United States, European Union, England, Canada and then a handful from a random assortment of other countries. About 6-8 months ago Norway joined the list right behind Canada every month with 6-10 views and now it’s up to 6-10 views a day.  I’ve never written about Norway or any celebrities from Norway, so I was intrigued. In an effort to try to provoke a reaction or declaration of war from Norway I came up with this list of kind of true facts about the tiny island nation of Norway.

10. Everyone from Norway looks like the picture above: Yes, I did a little research and it seems that Norwegians are overly fond of plaid. And jumping.

9. Norway Hates Walmart: Norway as a country is not in trillions of dollars  of debt like the United States. Norway in fact has a s–tload of money and a few years ago it stopped investing in Walmart because Norway as a country thinks Walmart is a humongous jerk.

8. Norwegian Babies Get Too Much Parenting: In Norway fathers have 14 weeks of mandatory paternity leave when their child is born. In fact, Norwegians only reproduce just to get the time off from work.

7. There’s a town in Norway called Hell: I’m pretty sure it freezes over all the time. What do they say in place of that “Hell freezes over” joke?

6. There Are No Famous Norwegians: I looked up “famous Norwegians.” On the first list I found, three of the top 12 were two “YouTube stars”, one didn’t even have a picture, and a 15 year old blogger who has only been blogging since 2013. Amateur. I considered contacting her for an interview as a representative of Norway, but she writes her blog entirely in Norwegian! How is that going to help anyone? I tried to contact Norway’s most popular comedian, Espen Eckbo, but he’s either dead or can’t read my e-mails written in English.


5. Norwegians have funny names like Espen for example. I don’t know why they don’t name their kids something normal and cool like Pilot Inspektor or Fifi Trixibelle, or maybe North West.

4. In 2008 Norway knighted a penguin: Hey, if Donald Trump has a shot at being President, why can’t a penguin be a knight. It sounds like the conclusion to a Disney movie doesn’t it?

3. Norwegians are trying to fool everyone: Voss “artesian” bottled water is just tap water from Iveland, Norway.


2. Lutefisk is an aphrodisiac: The fish, native to Nordic waters, is believed to enhance the sex drive of both men and women. Unfortunately lutefisk has a disgusting gelatinous texture so no one eats it. If all the Norwegians ate lutefisk and reproduced correspondingly there would be enough Norwegians to take over every country in the world.

1. According to scientists the zombie apocalypse “most likely” to begin in Norway: Due to the constant permafrost, bodies buried in Norway don’t decompose, meaning that with the right conditions and after a good Spring thaw they’re ready to get up and go.

If anyone from Norway is reading this, say so in the comments and leave your email and I’ll interview you. As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please share it with your favorite Norwegian by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog button below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

2016 Predictions From a Legit Psychic


Last year about this time I revealed myself to the world as a psychic. I don’t show off or talk about my prodigious prognostic abilities very much. You know me, I’m the most humble guy in the world. On Dec. 30 of 2014 I posted Ten Incredibly True Predictions for 2015.    Before I give you this years predictions, lets take a look at how I did last year so we can establish my credibility as a soothsayer.

A lot of people and religious gurus like to predict the end of the world every year. Not me. I’m not afraid to swim against the current. I resisted peer pressure at all the psychic meetings and held fast to my prediction that the world would not end in 2015. Phil-1, rest of psychics and religious zealots- 0. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m going to point to the left field bleachers and call another anti-apocalyptic shot: The world will not end in 2016. Make your plans accordingly.


I predicted that President Obama would smoke marijuana in the White House. He hasn’t been caught yet, but last March he said that if enough states decriminalize marijuana the federal government might change the law. Oddly, recreational marijuana use became legal in Washington D.C. in 2015. Sure, he wasn’t caught, but if you put the puzzle pieces together it sounds like the Oval Office might be getting a little trippy now and then. Prediction: In 2016 the legalization of recreational marijuana will not happen, but it will be a major topic in the Presidential election.



Here’s my most specific and accurate prediction from that post a year ago. I predicted that Kourtney Kardashian would dump her troublesome husband, Scott Disick, and take up with musical moron Justin Bieber. Go on, click that link above and read prediction #7 from a year ago. Then click this link from October. Nailed it. Here’s my prediction for 2016: Justin and Kourtney will marry, creating a blockbuster media bonanza for the Kardashians and Justin Bieber. Bieber will then collaborate with Kim Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, on what will become the most popular album of the year.

So, I nailed three of 10 predictions from a year ago. Here’s a few more predictions for 2016:

1. Norway will become a world power and The Phil Factor will become your source of Norway news. Over the past year two specific and unusual groups of people started visiting my blog: Hindi’s looking for love (you’re afraid to click that link, aren’t you? Go ahead, it’s ok. I promise.)  and Norwegians. The rise in Norwegian Phil Factor interest can only mean one thing: hot Norwegian singles near you are reading #ThePhilFactor. For all my new Norwegian friends I’d like to say Godt nytt ar! If you know how to say ‘The Phil Factor’ in Norwegian please put it in the comments, and come back in 2016 for all your Norwegian dating needs.

Picture courtesy Filmation Assoc.

Picture courtesy Filmation Assoc.

2. The End of Isis: First off, is it ISIS or ISIL? I’ve seen it both ways. Is it an acronym for something, or are they just ripping off the mid 1970’s TV show The Secrets of Isis? Here’s my prediction: The makers of The Secrets of Isis show will sue the terror group over copy write infringement and win, causing the terror group to have to use another acronym, which no one will be able remember, resulting in the demise of the group. See? Lawyers are good for something!

What do you think of my predictions? Do you have any of your own?

Happy New Year to all of you. I look forward to another 365 days of us being virtual friends. Also, thank you to the National Security Agency for following The Phil Factor. Thanks for keeping us safe. You guys and gals rock.

Have a great weekend! ~Phil