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Well, would you look at that, I have a blog now, isn’t that a delight? Before I belt, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the one who made this possible: A certain Alaskan acquaintance of mine known as Voxumo. He had won a six-month premier membership voucher in a contest and decided to give it to me since he was already a Premier Member. I'm grateful to get this opportunity, or I would be if I honestly felt like I had a whole lot to say. I probably don't, but some worthwhile blurbs are bound to be rolling around in my head. So we'll see how many of those I can get on here in a proper and orderly manner. Now, with that said, I’d like to start on a strong note, and I know just the thing, we’re in the middle of December, after all, and that makes the perfect opportunity to tell all you guys about someone who’s extremely important to me. Before anything else, just take a listen to this: What’d you think of that? Was it cute, comforting, serene or horrendously chaste? Music is pretty subjective, after all. Well, to me, this sound is synonymous with the Christmas spirit… and with one of my all-time heroes. Say hello to Shoemaker Andersen: This guy… oh man, this guy. He’s from a Norwegian Christmas series that roughly translated is called “Christmas at Shoemaker’s Street”, and it’s a holiday tradition in my house to view it every Christmas. Every day from the 1st of December to Christmas Eve, Andersen counts down the days to Christmas with us, taking a paltry 15 minutes of our time to share the day’s quaint, simple little lesson of the day. And every year, I swear, ever single year when he squints through his glasses and says hello to me, an esteemed member of the viewing audience, I feel something warm and fuzzy tingle through me. There’s just something about that warm smile of his that never ceases to make me feel indescribably good in return, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Shoemaker Andersen is a simple and gentle soul, and he never turns away someone in need, he always has time for other people, and he’s never unwilling to lend a helping hand to those who need it. Shoemaker Andersen’s earnestness and simple outlook on life is a blast to experience, year after year, as I delight in the charming environment he inhabits and the slew of other memorable characters that he interacts with: Like the mail man, who no matter how busy he is, knows that there’s always a warm cup of coffee waiting for him at Andersen’s. Or Police Chief Klinke, who secretly plays board games with Andersen once a month. And let’s not forget Tøfflus, Andersen’s sentient slipper, who lives in his desk and whose favorite food is parsley (which is just fun to say and funnier still to type). Shoemaker Andersen is one of my heroes; he’s someone I strive to be more like, for he’s a genuine inspiration to me: such kindness, such love he shows for his fellow human beings. So a happy December to all, remember your heroes, because everyone needs them. Best wishes - Ole Fredrik Skjegstad