Saturday, December 31, 2011

MODERN ARCHITECTURE WITH STYLE

This fairly new building connects well with the new and the past. It is a favorite of mine. It is a medical center  and a parking house.






Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

AMERICAN VOICES WE SELDOM HEAR IN EUROPE

In order to properly follow the Occupy movement  from Europe, one must find alternative American voices through the Internet (the traditional fare here  is usually only CNN). Here are some alternatives:
Rachel Maddow, A much respected Rhodes Scholar; educated at Stanford and Oxford, is immensely clever, charming and humorous. She is the ultimate research-based reporter. In this episode she deals with the influence of Rupert Murdoch in British and American elections.
Lawrence O'Donnell, with extensive experience in government, has an insider's outlook. He was a Producer of the highly successful television series, The West Wing. He can be extremely direct. In this episode he tells Mitt Romney off (in no uncertain terms) for having used a quote of president Obama out of context. 

Ed Schultz is somewhat older, folksy and the champion of the working class. Just watch!
Keith Olbermann is known for his straight talk. Here he is telling mayor Bloomberg off.

UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
This is a weekend show hosted by the young, super sharp and brilliant Chris Hayes. His guests are always interesting and the discussions at the level of the best BBC panel discussions.
Image from: http://www.chrishayes.org/about/bio/



Thursday, December 1, 2011

UNIQUE IMAGES FROM THE AMERICAN DEPRESSION 1939-1943

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
SEE ALL 70 PICTURES HERE!
Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
SEE ALL 70 PICTURES HERE!
The Faro Caudill family eating dinner in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress SEE ALL 70 PICTURES HERE!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

ABSOLUT OCCUPY?

Remember the clever ads for Absolut Vodka? (The shape of the bottle always played a part in every ad) The brand is no longer Swedish owned and the advertising obviously in other peoples hands. But it might be fun to imagine what ad they would have conceived on the OCCUPY theme. Any ideas?
More ads here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

OCCUPY INGENUITY: ENERGY BIKES

The OCCUPY movement, now a phenomenon all across America and the rest of the world, has shown tremendous innovation and creativity. What's next?
(Double-click to enlarge the films)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CHASING THAT GLOOM AWAY

As the days grow shorter here in Scandinavia, we buy comforting lanterns in masses. They used to be small, but they have lately become miles larger, often placed outside shops to tempt us to buy some light-comfort from the approaching winter darkness.




Saturday, October 22, 2011

DEAR DAHLIA

 The dahlias were beautiful and vibrant one day and gone the next. The frost. The poor dears thought they were in their native Central America and the flowering would go on a lot longer. But no. Sweden is on the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia, and the Gulf Stream does make our climate temperate, but when the frost comes, it is the end for the frost sensitive plants such as dahlias, beans and potatoes. 
But it was fun having you dear dahlia friends. See you next year. I will dig up your tubers and keep you safe over the winter and plant you in the spring when there is absolutely no danger of frost. Then we will have some more floral fun all summer long. Yes?

Monday, October 17, 2011

IKEA LOVE AFFAIR

An article this month in THE NEW YORKER confirms the fascination people feel for IKEA - what other company lowers prices when possible? They could pocket the profit instead of passing it on to you. And the prices are already low to begin with. But no, IKEA wants YOU to benefit from the saving they have made. It is a clever marketing device drawing attention to the lowered price, thus binding the IKEA-smitten customer ever closer. 

What I like about IKEA is that they do not pretend that their products are all made in Sweden. Instead they always, very honestly show in what country the product is made: China, Vietnam, india,Thailand, Poland and Turkey these are countries you see very often these days. Very few products are made in Sweden, some plastic coat hangers and napkins, that is all I have seen recently. I have some cups and saucers from 1981 that say "Made in Sweden". Those were the days. No more. Too expensive.

When you buy a stainless colander at IKEA one cannot help being impressed at the logistics of it all. Fifty years ago, simply put, every country had their own manufacturers making colanders for their own market. Now IKEA has one factory making uniform colanders (at the lowest price possible) for the entire world. If you don't think that impressive, what is? Machine production makes it possible for IKEA to mass produce colanders for everyone in the world, but there was once a product produced by IKEA many years ago that was not machine made. 
IKEA once sold hand painted Swedish Folk Art figures.The label said "Made in Sri Lanka", no doubt the cheapest place to have them produced. The Sri Lankan artists must have had some samples to copy.  And they did a very good job too. The figures in Swedish folk costumes looked lovely and vibrant with all the details perfectly copied. They varied somewhat from artist to artist, but they looked perfectly Swedish. With one exception -- it was not intended, only a natural instinct and nothing they reflected on: the noses. They looked much more Sri Lankan than Swedish and that is a wonderful, unintended message from these artists who probably would have preferred to express themselves creatively in some other way, but had to mass copy these figures for probably a very low but nevertheless welcome wage. 



OCCUPY ART

In years to come, there will probably be plenty of books and films produced about the OCCUPY movement of 2011, perhaps looking back nostalgically and romantically - the way people today look back on Woodstock of 1969.
Attention will no doubt be given to the Art produced by the Occupy movement -- the many free posters donated to the movement by various artists. See all posters here. Maybe art collectors should be downloading them while they are still free?



Saturday, October 8, 2011

A STREETCAR NAMED DAVID

In Tennesse Williams'  play "A Streetcar Named Desire", the street car is called just that, Desire, but a street car named David? Well, you have to go to Gothenburg, Sweden for an explanation to that one.

The people of Gothenburg  love their trams so much that each tram has been given a name -- names of famous people. That is why you can find a tram called David Carnegie there. And who was David Carnegie you might ask. That question could have a local historian talk for hours about David Carnegie and the many other Scottish immigrants to Gothenburg but a preface from "Scots in Sweden" sums it up pretty well. Read here.
Some more info about David Carnegie here and here.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

THE PEOPLE'S MICROPHONE

An interesting aspect of the Occupy Wall Street protest now spreading across the US, is the people's microphone. Due to city regulations, the protestors are not allowed to use bullhorns or loud speakers, so the protestors came up with a solution: The people around the speaker repeat every sentence as it occurs so all can hear. The speaker has to wait until the sentences are repeated by the group, and of course it takes longer to deliver the message, but the collective, ritualistic and evocative chanting quality of the repetition process, is strangely moving.
Listen to the people around Michael Moore repeat his message, sentence after sentence.
The protestors meet every evening and have developed their own democracy in dealing with various practical matters -- many American TV commentators have been moved and impressed by this. 
The protestors have their own homepage and people from all over the world support them and send food to be delivered to them.
More info:
-Article from  Chicago Sun-Times
-Many pictures from Flickr. New pictures added all the time. Slideshow.
-Article: "How the People's Mic Works"
-Keith Olbermann reads the first collective statement of Occupy Wall Street.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

JONATHAN FRANZEN AT THE GOTHENBURG BOOK FAIR 2011

When Jonathan Franzen, the popular American author visits the Gothenburg Book Fair  this year, he could devote some time to his hobby of bird watching. I recently discovered a couple of eagles nesting outside this magnificent doorway at the Old Telegraph Building in Gothenburg, built 1912. Earlier this year some lovely swallows were spotted on this fine building.

Image from Gothenburg Book Fair



I first got interested in Jonathan Franzen, lauded as a great contemporary American author, while watching this video that he very reluctantly participated in. I felt sorry for poor Franzen sitting there all forlorn in front of the camera -- like a bedraggled wet dog  forced to take a bath against his will -- protesting against recording this particular video which his publishing contract, no doubt, forced him to make. After registering his protest he chatted on about his book, not cracking a smile. This got me interested and I read and very much enjoyed two of his novels (THE CORRECTIONS and FREEDOM -- only recently translated into Swedish).

The Gothenburg Book Fair's theme is German literature this year. When Jonathan Franzen (who incidentally also speaks German)  comes to Gothenburg, the home of the car maker VOLVO and the publisher LEMONGULCHBOOKS, he will enjoy a charming city and is almost guaranteed anonymity as he is hardly known here yet. Plus there is plenty of Nature around. Maybe there will be some time for bird watching too?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

CLEVER SWEDES: MEDICINE DISPENSING


People who take many medicines can sometimes miss taking their medicines or take more than they should. Nurses can also make mistakes. In order to make dispensing medicine easier and safer, Swedish doctors can, if they wish, use the service, APODOS, that eliminates these mistakes. All medicine is packed in a long roll of small tear-off pouches for each time of day the medicine is to be taken. It is fantastic!
Here is the tear-off roll with the various medicines in small pouches.

Each pouch has the patients name and social security number and the name of the medicine as well as the day and time of day the medicine is supposed to be taken.

This pouch has seven different pills. Imagine how easy it is to forget one of them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DOING MORE WITH LESS

The free IKEA FAMILY LIVE magazine arrived today. The issue deals with the challenge of living in a small place, but people today by no means face the same housing shortage as Britain did after the First World War. The 1920 Yearbook of THE STUDIO deals with "The Decoration & Furnishing of Small Rooms" and building economical concrete homes. 



The text above, and the illustrations, show he influence of the Arts and Crafts movement.

 

How many of these houses remain today?

Monday, August 29, 2011

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY IN SWEDEN?

Yes, there is indeed a Statue of Liberty in Gothenburg Sweden. It is not as big as the original, in fact it is so small that it is hardly noticeable. It can be found in a sculpture originally called The Five Continents 1927 by Tore Strindberg. The sculpture is placed on the fountain in the Iron Market, celebrating the Swedish iron trade.
Let's go looking for The Statue of Liberty...

Here in the hands of the woman representing the continent of America is the very small Statue of Liberty.

You have to be very observant to see it.

Note the American Indian feather in her hair. Below are pictures of women representing the other continents.

 Asia

Australia

Africa

Europe