Last Night in Sweden…

…Kickstarter project update

As of this evening (04.13.17), the project has been funded!  The first two of the three stretch goals have been met, as well.  Hooray!

The third stretch goal, a major traveling exhibition consisting of the 50 best images, is within reach (Note to organizers:  a visit to the RTP area is expected as you do have a consulate here).  The goal is SEK 350,000. Currently, the pledged amount is SEK 337,489 or $38,423.  The project is short SEK 12,511 ($1,384 +/-).

Of course, one can make contributions at any level.  In terms of rewards, the lowest tier is a pledge of SEK 200 ($22.13 +/-) which will yield a copy of the book in either Swedish or English (supporter’s choice), along with the satisfaction of knowing that this pledge contributed to reaching that magical, third stretch goal.  Only 63 additional people are needed to make this a reality.

Alternatively, if one is feeling unusually generous and/or slightly cheeky, one could opt for the next level by contributing SEK 1,000 ($110.65 +/-).  With that, your name goes in the book and when your copy arrives, you will see it.  WITH YOUR OWN PEEPERS (eller med egna ögon – and I will continue to slaughter Swedish until the third stretch goal has been reached).  Do you know who else will see your name? Orange Foolius and every member of the European Parliament. Mmmhmmm.  Only 13 relatively big spenders are needed in this category.

For those with some serious cabbage, a commitment to the arts, a love of Sweden, a deep respect for journalistic integrity and possibly a pinch of spite, there’s the next tier which requires a pledge of SEK 3,000 ($331.94 +/-).  It comes with all of the bells and whistles offered at the lower tiers along with the signatures of every photographer contributing to the project.  Oh yes it does.  Only 34 remain at this level.

There are only 14 days remaining.  Alternatively, there are 14 days left for nagging.  Do the right thing, please.  :flutters eyelashes:

Last Night in Sweden…

…a shameless plug.

The Swedes are a curious lot; thoughtful, considerate, kind and very concerned about the welfare of others.  They are also fiercely patriotic and damn all to hell if you criticize their society or country.  Not only will they reject such criticism, they will go to extreme lengths to correct the erroneous assumption.  Once finished, they will kill you in your sleep.  Need proof?

So, when President Orange Foolius decided to besmirch their reputation, Sweden reinstitued conscription.  IKEA laced its köttbullar with horsemeat.  There was no sharing of the semlor.  40,000 ocean containers full of Kalles kaviar were dispatched to the US disguised as Easy Cheese.  The government hired scores of actors to set fire to certain areas of Stockholm for the sole purpose of giving Katie Hopkins something else to bitch about.  And for all of the Trumpeting Deplorables hoping that any of this is true:  the conscription happened well before your Dear Leader opened his foodhole, the horsemeat scandal was from 2013, you don’t deserve semlor, Katie Hopkins is a cunt and if there is any justice in this world, you will be eating Kalles (and nothing but) for the rest of your miserable existence.

Seriously, though, Swedes have had it with Donald Trump‘s misinformation campaign about their country.  HAD IT.  Over it.  And an angry Swede is not something you want to deal with for the angry Swede is not only incredibly stubborn and relentless, it’s slightly cheeky, too. Also, largely emotionless but very dignified.  The angry Swede will not wrinkle its clothes or muss its hair in battle.

To that end, a Kickstarter was born.  The project is titled “Last Night in Sweden – The True Story.”  The scope is to compile pictures of everyday life throughout Sweden between the hours of 18:00 – 0:00 (or 6pm to 12am for the unable-to-tell-time Deplorables).  These pictures will be taken by award-winning photojournalists.  That’s right.  They mean business.  These pictures will not be taken by suburban women who have their part-time “photography business” focusing primarily on children or families in bucolic fields, newly engaged couples in burnt out parts of cities and babies in wooden barrels.

Once the photos have been selected by a jury, they will be compiled and published in book form.  The first copy of the book will be presented to Shitgibbon, himself.  Stretch goals are listed on the project’s page and they’re pretty damn nifty, too.

So, for all of you truth loving folks, why not chip in and support this project?  If you love Swedenland, why not help portray it in its wonderfully magical form?  If you want to tell Donald Trump to eat a bag of dicks, kick in a few kronor – or kick in several kronor and your name will be printed in the book.  If your name is American enough, Foolius may even understand it when his grandkids read it to him at bedtime.

Supporting the arts is never an exercise in futility.  In the United States, supporting the arts is going to become the provenance of the private sector so why not get a little practice in entering that credit card number right now?  You can also consider this a multicultural endeavour as you channel Swedish customs: enforcing the truth via art and very dry humor while not taking shit from anyone who doesn’t understand their society.


…the horror, the terror, the recovery.

This escaped me and I do not understand how.  As a reader of several Swedish news sources, I do not understand the delay in reporting such a catastrophe in the era of the 24-hour news cycle.  I suppose, with things on a scale as grand as this, the media was simply performing its due diligence and not alerting the general public until it had thoroughly researched every fact before going to press.  Maybe this is the media’s correcting its behavior as it relates to all of the fake news stories it has been printing since The Angry Yam descended the escalator in Dump Towers and declared his intent to drive the world into the ground.  Or, perhaps, an agreement has been reached?  No news regarding the safety of human beings shall be dispersed to citizens until Our Dear Leader, Orange Foolius, informs us directly, preferably at a rally at an airport with only his most devout followers in attendance.

Imagine my emotional state when I discovered that my second country, the place that occupies my heart, the home to many of my dearest friends was attacked.  Attacked in a manner so violent, the newly sensible media thought about the general public for once and chose to withhold all reporting and publishing of photographs to keep us snowflakes from being triggered.

My friends, shaken to the core and traumatized so significantly, were unable to utilize Facebook’s safety check feature.  From what I have been able to ascertain, neither Kitten nor Blitz were able to access a cellphone signal on Friday night.  Their social media platforms were silent from early Friday evening until midday Saturday.  I can only deduce that PM Löfven is working in concert with the Tang Tyrant’s administration – withholding details until Our Dear Leader addresses his public first.  After all, we’re living in an America First era.

A friend of mine is an editor of a fairly large news outlet which provides news for expats in English in multiple countries in the EU.  It was only this morning that I managed to obtain two pictures of the damage to Sweden on Friday night.  I may be at risk of breaching trust but I understand the source of the photos has been thoroughly vetted and I fundamentally believe they must be shared with the general public.  I do not understand how and why the Short-Fingered Vulgarian is not allowing the New York Times or the Washington Post to print them. From a different source, I managed to obtain a copy of Kim Jong-un’s media management strategy guide which is circulating through the upper echelon of Our Dear Leader’s administration.  This will be shared at a later date, when my request for asylum has been granted.

I hasten to add, the images you are about to see are not appropriate for children.  If you find yourself easily agitated, you may want to stop reading at this point.  And, as I said on one of my social media platforms, when the Red Cross begins its text message drive for donations, please, please donate.  Sweden is a country of 10 million.  It has resources and a very strong social welfare system.  But, it will still need assistance from generous donors in order to appropriately distribute tools for clean up, medical services, water, etc…

snökuken Göteborg

snökuken Göteborg

snökuken Göteborg, recovery & clean up

snökuken Göteborg, recovery & clean up

Jag är Sverige för alltid.

There is a Place on a Small Island

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There is a place on a small island.
A place so full of stories and feelings,
That it feels heavy with them.
Like its history has gravity and weight,
And you can feel the very pull of it.
Reminders are everywhere.
Piles of obsolete household items.
Old rowboats and oars.
A boathouse with an ancient padlock.
The company that made it no longer exists,
But it still works.
And every now and then,
Some surprising and special,
Piece of the past is rediscovered.
Like a horse-drawn buggy,
Forgotten in the corner of an old shed.
Long dead are the horses that once pulled it.
As well as the person who put it there.
Other reminders aren’t so well hidden.
Old farming machinery lying exposed,
In the fields of grass that used to be wheat.
The Old Man and his wife used to make bread,
From their own milled wheat flour.
Until eventually they stopped farming,
And he left the machines lying there.
Gathering rust, abandoned to the elements.
Maybe the Old Man meant to remove them,
But eventually became too infirm,
And died before he had the chance.
Now those rusty skeletons adorn the landscape,
Like pieces of modern art sculpture.
Permanent artifacts, telling tales,
Of the island’s agricultural past.
However, not everything has changed.
The sheep are still there,
Still kept in a two-hundred year-old barn.
And still eating the same grass,
That countless generations,
Of their ancestors ate,
At the place on a small island.


Assembling Gävlebocken.

Assembling Gävlebocken.

It’s the most glorious time of the year!  Gävlebocken has returned!  I feel reborn.

It's a beautiful burn.

It’s a beautiful day…to burn.

Important reference material:

Twitter Feed

Shimmering in the darkness, begging to be ignited.

Shimmering in the darkness, begging to be ignited.

Now, for the important stuff:  Gävlebocken Incineration Sweepstakes is underway on Facebook.  If you wish to participate, leave your desired date of destruction in the comments.  I will let you know if your selection is available.  The prizes:  one beautiful, sparkly virtual trophy and the right to gloat for one entire calendar year.

Please, please burn me.

Please, please burn me.

Call to action:  Gävlebocken must burn this year, motherfuckers.  Do not allow the kommun to break it down and ship it to China (or anywhere else, for that matter).  Do not allow it survive.  Burn this bastard.  Make it so.  Deliver your offering to the High Priestess.  She rarely asks for anything, after all.

Every family has that idiot cousin who has to be invited to all the celebrations. This is Gävlebocken's. He should burn, too.

Every family has that idiot cousin who has to be invited to all the celebrations. This is Gävlebocken’s. He should burn, too.


…did not burn this year.

Okidoki.  It’s Monday morning.  It’s raining.  Apparently, I’m the only douchewad who is working today.  And, the fucking goat did not burn. Why not run over one of my cats (hipster crazy cat lady) and make this day a complete exercise in suckitude?

For those unaware, I have a marginally unhealthy obsession with the julbock in the town square of Gävle, Sweden.  A julbock (Yule goat) is a symbol of Christmas in Scandinavia. Present day, it is a Christmas ornament made of straw and bound with red ribbon.  One could hang small versions on a tree, place larger ones around the base of the tree (we put ours on the mantel because…cats) and insanely large ones are erected in town squares. Here is a picture of Gävlebocken in its unnatural state – intact.


Why so obsessed with a straw goat, you ask?  Well, it’s not because it’s huge and weird. It’s because since its inception, people have tried to destroy it.  This is some insight into Swedish humor (and the Danes say they have none).  A brief (and most notable) history of the destruction for your edification:

1966:  First goat – set on fire.
1968:  Rumor of a randy couple engaging in naughty behavior one evening.
1969:  Set on fire.
1970:  Set on fire a mere six hours after being assembled.
1972:  Collapsed due to sabotage.
1976:  Hit by car.
1978:  Kicked to pieces.
1980:  Burned on Christmas Eve (See, even Santa wants in on the fun).
1983:  Legs destroyed.
1987:  Goat was fireproofed.  Burned down week before Christmas (Nelson Muntz ha-ha).
1988:  Nothing happened.  Hmmm…I was in Sweden in 1988, although not at that particular time.  Maybe.
1992:  Burned after eight days (a Chanukkah miracle).
1995:  Norwegian arrested for attempting to burn it (See how well Norwegians and Swedes play together?  Swedes assign blame to Norway). Actually incinerated on Christmas Day (Again, go Santa).
1997:  Damaged by fireworks.
1998:  Burned in a major blizzard (I admire the dedication to the cause).
2001:  Goat set on fire by American tourist who was jailed for 18 days, convicted and ordered to pay 100,00 SEK in damages.  The court also confiscated his lighter.
2003:  Burned.
2004:  Burned.
2005:  Burned by vandals dressed as Santa and the Gingerbread Man.
2009:  Burned after the webcams were hacked and knocked offline by a DoS attack (yay hacktivists).
2011:  Burned.
2012:  Burned.
2013:  Burned.

For years, I have been watching and waiting for the destruction of this glorious monument constructed of straw.  Each year, we hold the Goat Incineration Sweepstakes where each participant chooses a day when the goat is to be destroyed.  The prizes:  a virtual trophy, pride and the ability to gloat for one entire calendar year.  Some people go fucking apeshit for Christmas.  Some lose their marbles for Chanukkah.  I, on the other hand, freak the fuck out when julbock time arrives.

With the Goat Incineration Sweepstakes of 2014 underway, each morning I wake up and check the webcam.  I also check it each evening before going to bed.  For 28 days, the goat stands – mocking me, giving me the proverbial goat middle finger, suggesting that I suck its proverbial goat dong.  I make notes of who has been ousted from the sweepstakes.  I realize something awful has happened:  we are all losers. The goat that should look like this:
??????????????still looks like this:

What.  The.  Fuck!?!?!?  This is entirely unacceptable.  This is not how I want my winter to begin.  This is not the Yuletide season I know and love.  This is…this is…this is fucking goatshit!  Action must be taken.  I begin to wonder how many frequent flyer miles we have when reality settles in – my fucking passport expired so if anyone is going to do it, it’s going to have to be someone from Team Sverige.

I pull up the webcamera this morning and receive this message:  Tack för ett fantastiskt år! Vi ses igen första advent 2015.  Translated: Thanks for a fantastic year.  See you again on First Advent, 2015.  O rly?  My hopes rise.  Did someone burn the goat?  Could 29 December 2014 be the day that lives in goat infamy?  Immediately, I head over to t3h g00gl3z to search news.  My heart is racing and hopeful.  There is a slight smile on my face.  No one from our sweepstakes would have won but that’s not the spirit of the exercise.  The true meaning of the Yuletide season is scorched goat.

Article from Sweden’s government radio is the first to pop up.  The news…unwelcome. Heresy, actually.  The lede reads:  Gävlebocken monteras ner – får nytt liv i Kina. Translated:  Gävlebocken dismantled – given new life in China.

Holy shit.  There are so many levels of wrong with this. First – it’s not even New Year’s and they dismantled the goat?  Those of us hoping for destruction had three more days.  Gävle cheated!  It cheated us out of our inalienable right to set that bitch on fire.  And sending it to China? To its twin city, Zhuhai, because 2015 is the year of the goat?  Give me a fucking break.  Oh no, Gävle, you’re not that nice of a kommun.  You’re simply a scared, pissy little hamlet and you’re afraid that your precious julbock is going to be incinerated…as it should be.

I look down upon thee, Gävle.  Nästa år.  Nästa år…

How to Buy Cheap Wine in Sweden: Go to Germany

One of the things about living in Europe is that due to the small size of some of the countries, it’s possible to leave one country, drive all the way through another, and then into a third country all in one day. That’s what we did on Saturday.

We wanted to get as early a start as possible, so Daniel and I got up at 4:45am. Hans wanted to hit the road at 5:30, although we ended up leaving closer to six. He drove the three of us through the pitch black of the early Autumn morning to the Scandlines ferry terminal in Helsingborg. It took about two hours to get there, and the sun was just rising as we arrived at about eight. Daniel paid for our return ticket to Puttgarden, Germany, and we drove our rented pickup truck onto the ferry. This was a very short crossing, only about 15 minutes, barely enough time to use the bathroom and browse the tax free shops. I only had time to purchase two bags of Halloween candy.

We got back in the truck, drove into Helsingor, Denmark, and continued on our way. Daniel took the wheel for this leg of the journey, where we passed through very flat but beautiful Danish countryside, with its endless fields of yellow rapeseed blossoms destined to be made into cooking oil. In another two hours we arrived at a second ferry terminal. Once again we drove onto the ferry, but since this was a longer crossing we had the time to do a little duty free shopping. Hans bought some red wine, which seemed rather foolish because after 45 minutes, we arrived at Puttgarden and the enormous border shop contained in a barge floating in the harbor.

It was about the size of an Ikea, four stories high, with a different type of alcoholic beverage on each floor. We started with the wine floor and began filling up our three shopping carts. Daniel and I bought forty boxes of wine equivalent to 125 bottles. Each box was at least a third, and in some cases a quarter, of what we would have paid for similar wine in Sweden. This is how you recoup the cost of the trip itself.

After we paid for our wine, we pushed our carts out to the truck and loaded it up with our combined eighty boxes. Then we headed back into the shop to fill up on beer and liquor. Everything was half the price you would pay at Sweden’s alcohol monopoly, so we stocked up on bottles for the pub in our house (the only “real” pub in Alvesta) and for Christmas and New Years. The boys are experienced border shoppers; we packed all the bottles in boxes we found in the shop, and cushioned them with pieces of cardboard for the drive home.

At this point it was about three in the afternoon, and it was time to head home. We drove our booze-laden truck onto the ferry and then, at last, we were able to relax and eat some lunch. Five hours later we arrived back in Alvesta, unloaded all our boxes and crates and bottles, and stashed them temporarily in the garage.

So now I can say I’ve been to Germany. Well, at least to a very small part of it.

The Importance of Eves

The day right before a big holiday,
Is a very important one for Swedes.
That’s when the party gets underway,
And the next day is what a Swede needs.
Because of the usual hangover,
From the party the evening before,
A Swede needs a day to recover.
That’s what the holiday is, nothing more.

My Name is Not Gven

Living, as I do, in Sweden.
I’ve often heard and often seen,
That Swedes don’t care,
Or aren’t aware,
That V and W are different.
Whilst seeking out a library book,
After a long and thorough look,
One may find that one,
Can locate none,
Of Wordsworth, Wells, or Whitman.
Try going back one letter, please.
They’re probably within the Vs,
Right next to Verne,
Since Swedes don’t discern,
There are two different consonants.