Showing posts from April, 2016

Happy 70th Carl-Gustaf, King of Sweden!


MASS MoCA is marvelous!

Hej everyone!  We headed out to MASS MoCA over spring break. If you haven't been yet I highly recommend it for all ages. We love going there.  It's an art space housed in an old mill in North Adams, MA renovated to house contemporary art exhibits with a freewheeling, fun approach to modern art (and a wonderful gift shop and brewery on site to boot!) This is a smattering of what we saw this time around - a Sol LeWitt retrospective (what a perfect place to view it!); and Alex Da Corte's "Free Roses" show, a provocative exhibit exploring banal items under neon lights.  The museum's website states -Da Corte is particularly attracted to objects, which, in his words, “he doesn’t understand or doesn’t like.” He tries to strip his work of his own distaste to study how others find pleasure in the form, color, or composition of even the most mundane elements. Wonder what he thought when he put the fake dog on the AstroTurf, under the pink neon light?  Who knows, but a…

Interview with Martin Molin, maker of the Marble Machine

Martin Molin is being interviewed now on Swedish Radio station P3's program "Musikguiden".  He grew up in Karlstad where there wasn't much to do, and his childhood was full of bicycling and music.  His father sang a lot and there was an old piano that Martin liked to hit, hard.  Here is one of his musical inspirations (he was born in the 80's) by the Swedish band Roxette's "Dressed for Success". It reminds him of middle school and puts a big smile on his face.  Rage Against the Machine's  "Bombtrack" is another inspiration.  This is the real deal folks, I'm translating it for you as they interview him on the radio.

ESL or Speak Swedish!

George Bernard Shaw, the famous British writer and Nobel Prize winner, was so annoyed with the irregularities of the English spelling system that he left all his money after his death to reforming it! His most famous example is the following word he created out of the way parts of different words are pronounced: ghoti.  Strange as this word looks, it's actually easy to read if you can decipher the pronunciations he was mocking: The gh is pronounced like the final consonants of enough. The o is pronounced like the middle vowel of women. The ti is pronounced like the middle consonant of nation. Did you get it? If not, here's a hint: It's a kind of creature we often find swimming in water. Yes, it's fish! Tee, hee.

Perhaps you would like to learn another language since English is so cray-cray.  If so you may want to give Swedish a try.  Things sound like they're spelled and it's got a lot of root-word similarities with English, for example, "House - hus", &quo…

Do not jump the queue!

#5 of the the ten "weirdest taboos in Sweden" is a deal breaker for me.  I get LIVID when I am in Sweden and someone tries to cut the line (that's what we call it in the States).  It's part of the American culture too.  Believe me, I work at schools and no where else is the line more closely monitored by guards and "inmates" (AKA children) than there. :-)  "She cut the line!", "He cut!" These cries bring a shiver to my spine.  Ugh!  And it's even more infuriating when grown-ups try that ****.  So just don't and definitely not in Sweden where they will appear to be casually queuing up but actually everyone is zealously guarding their spot in line.

Community Living

Photo by Fotograf Kim Fristedt Malmberg - Sofielunds Kollektivhus Here's an interesting read for y'all.  I hope that this Sunday morning finds you well, happy and full of coffee.  It is a sunny day here, and almost everyone at Huset Lagom is happy, except teenage son #1. That's OK.   We'll wait him out. ;-)  This article on community living is really interesting for me because I've always been slightly interested in living this way.  Not enough to actively pursue it, although I did attend a local meeting about 5 years ago with people who wanted to create a similar community. It never got off the ground and honestly I wasn't really into it.

But this place called Sofielunds Kollektivhus sounds cool though. It's in Malmö.  You make dinner for 65 but since there's 45 apartments and meals are only served three days a week, so I'm guessing it must be about once every three months or so that you have to make dinner. The rest of the time you probably don&#…

Ring, ring it's Sweden calling

Something fun from the Swedes! Every wondered about Sweden?  NPR tried this for us and this is what they report - 
Sweden got its own phone number and invited the world to call. As a way to "spark people's curiosity about Sweden" and foster communication between people from different countries, Sweden's tourism association launched "The Swedish Number," a project that connects anyone in the world with a phone to a random Swede. Swedes participate by downloading an app that patches the calls through to them. The premise is simple: 1) Call Sweden's phone number — keep in mind it's international; 2) Chat with a Swede about anything you want — suggested topics include meatballs, darkness and feminism. Even though it was nearing midnight in Sweden, this blogger gave it a try. A few rings, and then, "Hello?" I reached 19-year-old Artur Söderlund, a teacher who lives on the island of Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea. If calling up a strange…

Hunky Swede in The Legend of Tarzan

Turns out that super hunk Alexander Skarsgård got roughed up a bit by Jane, played by Miss Margot Robbie.  "My husband is no normal man" she says in the trailer.  Um, got that right.
Here's what The Local has to say on that:
Born and raised in gender-equal Sweden, Skarsgård told the entertainment magazine that he loved acting against Robbie's Jane, who trailers hint is far from Hollywood's average damsel in distress, waiting for her husband to come to her rescue after she's kidnapped by villain extraordinaire Christoph Waltz. "It was very important that we didn't want it to feel archaic or dated, where it's like, tough guy has to save the poor girl. You have to feel that she's strong and independent, and when you cast Margot, you'll definitely get that," said 39-year-old Skarsgård.


It's snowing here, and I can't wait for spring.  The daffodils, which were just about to bloom, are covered in snow.  The magnolia tree by the City Hall which was ready to put out its beautiful blooms looks cold and shivery.  The tulips had poked their little stems out of the ground but are quickly getting cold feet.  April is a cruel month this year.  I can't wait to see the flowers and especially the lilac growing in the back yard.  I love the scent which reminds me of graduation time in Sweden.  It reminds me of sun and freedom.  I'd love to have a lilac covered bench in the back corner of the garden where I could drink a cup of coffee.  This is called a Syren berså in Swedish, or lilac arbor. Here's some interesting facts about lilacs:  the purple ones have the strongest scent; they are edible; and there are superstitions surrounding lilacs that have to do with seeing ghosts at the same time on Sundays in the lilacs.  Who knew? Time to dream of summer and lilac…

Johan at your feet

What is up with this weird ad campaign?  Let's discuss Johan and Gevalia.  What do you think?  I feel like it's a strange twist on the Swedish blond stereotype.  Fika is a coffee break, a time to socialize with friends, co-workers and family.  This Johan guy makes it sound like something "snuskig" (naughty) don't you think? Now watch this TV ad which ran in 2012.

Here's Johan getting off a Gevalia plane and being handed a cup of joe, or as he likes to say it "a cup of Johan".  Notice the stewardess giving him the once over?  Next he talks about massaging your feet and the ticket agent also looks at him longingly.  He's going to talk about feelings with you.

As he steps into a cab he hands his associate the half drunk cup of coffee and she's thrilled.  His assistant, secretary, hook-up what?  Why is she so happy to get his germ ridden cup?  This ad is so rife with old musty stereotypes it's gross.  And what's up with his hair?  What …