Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Joke Inside a Joke Inside A...

I have been a lazy, lazy blogger. For this there are no excuses, only explanations. I honestly feel like the well has run dry and, while there are some things, two specifically, I have wanted to write about, I have not. Instead I have posted the following video, which just goes to show what a vaudevillian freak show the Internet has become. There is no other space for crap like this. It's a joke upon a joke. The fact that this has shown up on the front page of Slate.com only underscores my point. We're supposed to take this seriously? If you can do everything, why do anything?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zlatan (Swedish Soccer star), Uma and that Guy From House

Clearly Zlatan is not going anywhere at Inter Milan, even with the new coach coming in and potentially bringing over all his darlings from Chelsea. This may be an example of how athletes are prized by their clubs as much for their "star power" as for their skill and athleticism. The drama of star athletes. Just look at Beckham! That advertising whore.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If it goes like that, it also goes like...

this. Is this what McCain thought of when he dreamed up campain finance reform? I know I am just an insignificant high school teacher, but isn't it fair to ask that you don't take money from people who not only exploit farmers in the banana trade but also those who don't crumble and hand over wads of cash to Columbian terrorists as defined by the very government you claim to want to lead? Just a thought.

And so it goes...

as mentioned before. McCain has a temper and is erratic and should not be in office.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Life at a Standstill Moving Right Along

Summertime, that rich luxurious time for teachers, breeds a whole new sense of self. One has the distinct pleasure of swimming through time, taking deep breaths to build up one's stamina for the future and feel the hydraulic push and pull of moments coming and going. I am completely lost in myself without the distractions of a school schedule, living each moment without the least bit of self-consciousness. Like working for oneself, to benefit oneself. I imagine that these times are what Aristotle alluded to when he spoke of pure contemplation (my phrasing, not his; my volumes of collected works are buried in the crawlspace). To not feel crushed in the machinations of duty. I wish I could share this feeling with the world! I think it would be a much better place if I could.

Recently I've been indulging in some new music, namely the reissue of Mogwai's Young Team, Sigur Ros' new one Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaustm and the most recent Andrew Bird Armchair Apocrypha. I had promised myself that I wouldn't invest in so many albums... But here I am again. All three have their own rewards, but I really like the joyful mood of the Sigur Ros and the dirging metal grind of the Mogwai. Life would be as dull as door sills without the extremes to un/balance us all out.

With Euro 2008 having slowed to a creaking halt of a bore-fest final, I have to find new ways to regulate my time and keep myself on some sort of schedule; yet at the same time, I want to feel like I have lived it up a bit this summer so I don't feel cheated when I return to school in the fall. Easier said than done. Time is and is not on your side.

Friday, June 27, 2008

TS Eliot vs. Portishead

The Wasteland set to a chilling backdrop. This some how defines the meaning of the word appropriate.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good Friends

Yesterday I had a great evening with a good friend, an old friend Charlotte, aka "Lotta" of Stockholm. We wandered the streets of Bucktown, hitting Broken Cherry's place and I picked up a bad ass belt buckle that says "Carpe Diem" but also "Made in Sweden." I think that sucker was made for me! We then hit The Northside Tap and because it was early, it wasn't replete with douchebags, After a turkey burger, we hit Reckless Records where I picked up the latest Andrew Bird (which I've listened to at least five times already a mere 20 hours later) and finally made it to some place on North Avenue that had lamps that looked like underwater creatures but had the best frozen custard ever! Overall, it was a nice time had and good to have a good friend when strolling through douche bag ville. She may kill me for this but here's a pictures of Lotta:

Monday, June 23, 2008

To Africa

My good colleague Diandra Jones and I Skyped each other last summer after I had just found a place in Stockholm (Solna, to be exact) and had begun to settle in. I remember waking up early one morning and jumping on line and finding her there. Then I was woken up again, in a whole new way, when she told me she had fallen in love with a man from Ghana, where she had been on a educational dance tour for AIDS. She and Apu married this past December and tomorrow she ships off for Ghana for good. To say I've been concerned about her safety would be an understatement. Yet I also trust her judgment and she reassured us on Saturday at her going-away party that she would high tail it back here should she feel the need. Good luck, Diandra. I haven't wished that much good luck to anybody ever!


Here she is with another former Northtown Academy colleague, Mario Ortiz.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I thought I was dead, too, but then I realized I was just in Kansas."

--Little Bill Dagget, "Unforgiven"

Notes to Self -- June 22, 2008

In on-line dating, don't be shocked at what shows up.

Don't waste your time watching Italian national football matches unless you want to watch the team they are playing and maybe not even then.

Here's the story of one of humanity's loneliest people.

Don't expect any politician, even the one that you really want to believe in, to be 100% that person you want him to be. You will only be disappointed. (This is more of a warning to self rather an a reflection on recent events.)

Drink more margaritas and/or bloody marys. It's summertime!

Expect ghosts, even if you don't believe in them.

Greet the ghosts that you don't believe in. You will like that they like that.

Listen to more Bob Dylan but don't be sad when you realize he's not the genius that so many think him to be.

Keep enjoying your reading. Enjoying reading is one of the greatest things one can do for oneself.

Just because you can watch unlimited movies from Blockbuster.com, that doesn't you have to.

Don't forget that we're all pretty sure that we only get around but once. Don't live like you're going to die tomorrow, nor in 400 years.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In the Most Burning Moments of Sunshine, I like the Music of the Dark

I don't really get it. I've never been a true goth kid, even as a teenager. I started to see a pattern a few years back after seeing Radiohead on a torpid and steaming summer night in Grant Park downtown Chicago and seeing them again two years latter, once again in the heat of August humidity so thick you felt like you were swimming with every step. The weather was recurrently quintessential Chicago summer; the tone, upbeat. The following summer when the weather warmed again and the barometer registered high humidity I craved that dark, crepuscular tone that pulled me into myself like a Swedish winter. No! Too much light. I need me some darkness with my sunburn! Once again a few years back, school lets out and the new Tom Yorke (Radiohead musician) CD (The Eraser) finds the light of day in the mushy June heat and beacons me into the darkness of June. This year, school lets out and humidity sucks me in and wave after wave of Radiohead and Mozart's Requiem and Grizzly Bear and Elliot Smith and Jose Gonzalez make their way to my car CD player, iPod and desktop to be pumped out the speaker system and push back the waves of humid heat. Sure, I'll take it again, and again, apparently.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Svensk tjej/killlar...

You should be able to get something out of these, even if you're not a speaker of Swedish.




Monday, June 2, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A List: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Here is the list. Here is the related NYT article debating it's worth, purpose and agenda. It's too damn big, cumbersome and confounding for any individual personality to accept as a guide to reading, which is good, I guess. I like that it shows a rising respect for writers like Stephen King and John Le Carré, while unfortunately it continues to raise Don Delillo up on a pedestal, a writer who I believe has long been overdue for a re-evaluation for overestimation of his talents. It's all interesting and will get the literary wheels turning nevertheless.

If you were planning on seeing the new Indiana Jones movie, be prepared for a fun nostalgia piece, not much else.

I am heading out. The weather is too great not to be out cycling for at least a couple of hours today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Location, Location

I have now lived in Chicago again for nearly three months, and life seems somewhat normal again. I will continue to be subleasing my condo out until through next March. A good friend of mine likes to recount one of Nietzsche's comments about criminals being transformed into law-abiding citizens if only they had the environment that would properly stimulate them. He often brought this up when discussing my need to move to Sweden. Environment, the underlying truth seems to suggest, allows us to become better. Nurture over nature. Chicago has allowed me to develop in ways that may never have happened in Sweden, and Sweden, no matter how brief the time, had allowed me to spread wings and simultaneously leave behind/revisit roots that kept me grounded/grounded me from flight. This push-pull provided me the pain to beget growth but also the distance to create perspective. For instance, I recently stumbled upon the following Web page that culls Chicago-speak into one list, albeit not one I would consider comprehensive, even if it makes up for it with a depth in local color. My experience teaching English in Sweden made me slightly self-conscious of my American English and this site underscores certain local tones that some of my students picked up on. Yet now finding myself on this side of the Atlantic after having spent an extended period of time there, I find myself looking at Sweden with different eyes. At The Local they recently ran a story that highlighted the Web cameras set up around the country. I see these images anew as of late. Stockholm still makes me feel warm and fuzzy and yet it also has a hard reality behind it now of economics, social relationships, weather, and albeit to a lesser degree, civic life. I guess this needed to happen. Some (and perhaps all?) allusions are meant to be wiped away, so one can see reality for itself again. Eventually it's going to catch up to you in most cases anyways. Why not embrace it?


In completely unrelated news, my sister and I attempted to walk the Why Me? Breast Cancer Walk last week. But as you can see, the Chicago weather, in all it's gloomy potential, made it's claim on the day:



















We made the best of it and had a hearty brunch.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sign the Petition: Save Chicago Promotion

On May 14th, 2008, at 10am the Chicago City Council will vote on Chapter 4, the "Promoters' Ordinance."

This ordinance will force independent promoters to become licensed, regulate the kinds of events that are allowed and change the face of independent Chicago music, arts, and culture.

If you are a promoter, an agent, an artist or a fan, please, please contact your alderman. Their votes are the only chance we have to voice our opposition to this Ordinance. We suggest writing an e-mail, an actual letter, calling their offices or scheduling meetings within the next few days e-mail a personal letter to voice your personal story against the Promoters Ordinance.

http://savechicagoculture.org/2008/05/09/stop-the-promoters-ordinance/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv9j3xuEEvI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H00L45_9AqQ

Sunday, May 4, 2008

If Your Retirement Fund Looks Sad...

I know I've been posting a great deal of video as of late. This is partly because I am feeling a bit like I don't have much to say right now, but I think it has more to do with the rising rate of intriguing video available on the Net. Sure there is plenty of crap, too; yet, video has blossomed on the Net and on the whole, I think this is a thing of the good. More people than ever can report and document just about everything. The funnies
improve in their animation and the Net's allowance for the short-film format. Take this one. I haven't had anybody put my own pension fund into such comic relief before.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Too Weird and Too True to Not Be Good

Let us now behold the grandeur of the bizarre and the sublime:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Forwarding Thinkingness or Just Avoiding the Obvious

My days as a sub have been half-full, at best, whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. The up-side of this lies in all the time I have to read news and essays and articles of all sorts—-football, hockey, cycling, politics, literary, whatever current of interest I find myself on in my surfing. Like most things, there is a good side and bad side and both can be found in the same place. After all, just how much does one want to consider the current financial woes and throes the country and thereby the world is in? True enough, I do want to remain wide-eyed and sober when shit hits the fan, so that I won't rage into a hysteria which large numbers of us are bound to be doing. Yet I also don't want sink into the mire of information glut. As a result, I find myself dodging here and there, as if to avoid the stuff that may sink me beneath my feet.

I came upon one article that discusses the detriment to health that my recent favorite breakfast does to one's body: Why the great British breakfast is a killer. I happen to enjoy a good English breakfast, but like many things we want, it is not may not be good to us in return. The calorie intake alone should send off alarm bells. Yet I don't care. I'm still gonna have one now and again. Yet I'm also not going to be what I eat, and life does have a smörgåsbord of offerings. I want them all!



The forward-thinking Dutch continue to take a progressive stance on cycling; however, this may be a bit much. An out-side car airbag for cyclists that the car may potentially hit. I don't know if this is an invitation to hit cyclists or an "OK" for having done so. The picture is good for a laugh if nothing else. I do know I wouldn't give it a test drive.



Finally, there is Russia, the once-Cold War enemy who since having taken a dip in the world-wide Super Power Standings, has resurfaced due to their mercurial leader Putin and his sham-election which placed another face in front of the camera for him to speak through as puppet master. In hard times like these, we want an enemy; they provide us with a point of focus which allows us to concentrate on competing and thus improve ourselves in relation to them. Russia served as this during the cold war and they are rising to the occasion again, as China, despite so much discussion of being the next Super Power, seems feeble at times, with their quasi-comic dominance of Tibet and embarrassing environmental problems. Russia, on the other hand, has shown a resurgent economy and nationalism that has bordered on the fascist. Somehow my father has instilled in me a distrust of Russians; having been raised in WW II Sweden, it makes sense, and their mafia's encroaching on Finland and Sweden with their prostitutes and stolen car rings confirms their contemporary shiftiness/shadiness. Yet consider this video as presented by the New York Times. Not only do their thugs bully the surrounding countries (i.e. Estonia, Finland, Poland, etc) but their own society conforms in ways that could make any American go, Say what? I thought that we, as species, had surpasses this on some level. I guess I thought wrong. I'll not forget this, nor get bogged down all the obviously depressing and pressing issues we all need to consider, but I'll also try not to forget that no matter how much I overlook the obvious, the obvious remains where it always was, right under our noses. There's a delicate balance there.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pragmatic Wisdom on the Recession

1) Beans are an excellent sources of protein

2) Life goes on even when Rome is burning

3) Maybe Rome is better after it has been burned

See the article here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Are we the turners or the turnings?

"No matter through whatever turnings nor how many of them. Till our turns comes at last and our turn passes."

--Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses, p. 231.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Three Feet High and Rising, Or That Sinking Feeling

I have to start with a potentially annoying meta-thought about why I have titled this entry. I have to do this because my indecision in titling this entry serves as a metaphor for a general lack of certainty, which is what this whole entry is really about. So there's a clue.

I first wanted to write an entry titled "Three Feet High and Rising" because it is that time of year (spring) and I like that Johnny Cash song of the very same title. The other day I took a ride through the forest preserves near my dad's house and took a right and headed down the hill to pass under a bridge that I normally pass under while on this path and found that I couldn't because of this:



The path once sidled along the river there!

So that's the one half of the entry's title.

But then I started to do some mental feng shui with that title at the center of my mind's room and realized that when the river is rising and it's hard to see the rising but it's fascinating because you know what's coming and so you can't turn away because our natural desire to watch destruction (perverse, but true), and when you have "that sinking feeling," it is in fact nearly the same feeling. Even if the river is rising and your feeling is sinking. (Weird paradox there.) Both of these experiences say, "You know it's gonna happen but you can't do a thing about it."

There are two reasons why this pertains to the here and now.

1) The full thrall of Spring is on it's way and it will soon be whipping us out of our collective frozen stasis.

2) More importantly, I really enjoyed George Saunder's essay "The Braindead Microphone," an essay that covers our mass media and their collective ability to shut down compassionate and ethical reportage by drowning out any thoughtful voices like an idiot with a megaphone at a cocktail party of otherwise intelligent sentient beings. As much as I liked this essay, it, too, brought on this sense of not being able to do anything about something you know is happening and can't really do a damn thing about. In fact, if you were to try and struggle with it and really attack it and set your foot down and scream out boldly, "No more!" you'd have that feeling more than ever. That problem is of course the media and it's compulsion to entertain rather than inform and obfuscate instead of clarify. Saunders' whole argument stands on the premise that the media inundates us with bits of information so meaningless we feel stupid for not saying anything about its aptitude after recognizing how banal and useless it is. As a result of this, we give up our own thoughts because the status quo has eviscerated their relevance by shouting them to shreds. Brute force. This got me thinking...

3) (Yes, I know I only said two reasons earlier, but this is more of a continuation of #2 really anyways.) ...about how there are whole chunks of our personal time (and by this I mean the quality time that allows our internal lives to flourish) that get dedicated to equally numbing and meaningless tasks (and modern life has a boat load should you think you're going to sneak away), which steal away not only our minds, but by extension, our senses of selves. After all, if we are not voicing forth our minds, are not our minds--the very casks of our selves--in turn not pouring forth us to the world, to the very people we know and speak to intimately and cherish? This is a dark alley to go down, I admit, so get out your flashlight. Yet here we go: If then we accept that ourselves are not presented in their true form to the world, then aren't we also saying that we are not in fact free to be ourselves on some fundamental level?

Now you tell me, what's the better title for this entry?


____________________________________________________________________________

On a completely unrelated note: now that Liverpool have defeated Arsenal in the Champions League on a fluke penalty call, Go Liverpool. First they must crack the robotics of Chelsea and with the soul and resiliency they showed yesterday against Arsenal, they should do it. Then they bust pick one of two more difficult and complicated locks, either Manchester United or Barcelona (hopefully the later as opposed to the former). Then the will have unlocked their rightful victory and their place at the top of Europe again, which for some mysterious reason, they keep achieving.

Why Are You So Angry, Senator McCain?

I have watched this video a few times now. It leaves me with two questions: Why are you so angry? If you're that hard of hearing, broken-down, befuddled and incoherent, should you be in office?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools

I thought this article must surely be some sort of April Fool's joke, but there are no further indicators that it in fact is. The site hasn't retracted it nor has there been a spoiler. It seems as if this would be a bigger deal, if it were real. No other football sites seem to be publishing it, including the official site of Euro 2008. If this is in fact an April Fool's joke, then it has failed because it caused no stir in the media. If it is in fact real, then it is a shame that sports in Europe are also buckling due to financial reasons. This move simply puts money before good competition and no real football fan should stand for it. There's only power in numbers, people!

Update: this has been revealed to be an April Fool's joke. Ho hum. Aren't these supposed to be funny or entertaining?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweden Vs. Brazil

On Wednesday I watched my first match of the Swedish National team play, but from outside of the country, since moving back from Stockholm. I had friends with me, which was great, but it wasn't the same as being in a bar full of Svenskar full of "Heja Sverige!" Of course, this wouldn't be the same but it was still great to be able to see a match, thanks in large part to it being Spring Break and the time difference not being an eternal drag for us footballers over here.

The match itself was anything but boring and for the most part, Sweden rose to the challenge, save for one ugly moment where my hometown club's new goalie performed an egregious error. Here, is a youtube.com clip of the play, but here he responds to this critics:

video

I was proud of the way Sweden played, stepping up their game to take on a team that dominates just about everybody they play. Mellberg, Ljungberg and Rosenberg looks solid but I think the stand out performance may have been that of Sebastian Larsson who has recently taken on duty with the national side and served up several tasty crosses from the corner that provided true scoring opportunities had they been finished better. This is to say that Sweden did not look like the weaker side, defending well against Brazil's one-on-one play style and shut down their joga bonita passing game. Isaksson flat-out robbed Gilberto from point-blank range, proving who the number one goalie should be, especially after Shabaan made such a silly mistake. He now has to go out and prove himself at Hammarby and I can't wait to see what he does. The Allsvenskan seasons kicks off this weekend.

In other football news, the US dominated a Polish side that has shown itself to be very strong in the European qualifications. 3-0 not only shows a good attacking side but solid defense and that's exactly what we want as we go into the Olympic qualifications and World Cup preliminaries in the near future. Here's the write up. Here are the three goals on video should you so desire to see them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Last Days in Stockholm

These past few weeks since I returned have been a blur and have provided little time to think, let alone post on my blog. There was so much to say before I left and only more since then. I have found myself in a pretty good place since I arrived back in the States, comforted for the time being, if not completely comfortable, having found myself in yet another life much like the one I left behind last summer but new in very good ways. I feel like a different Pete than the one I was. Even my old haunts feel strangely unfamiliar but this is perhaps for the best. I wanted change when I left and I happy to have found it back here where I find myself again. I feel invigorated in my job search, with a few healthy leads, and happily subbing in my old school district and a familiar district that I subbed in before I officially started my career as a teacher. Before I move further into the future, I would like to share a bit about my last few days of Stockholm, checking the past before venturing forward into the semi-known unknown.


The week before I left I visited my dad's hometown Norrköping where I regrouped with cousins, which was a good experience after having my immediate family lessened by one. Here I am with my dad's cousin Eivor and her daughter Lena (my cousin) and her husband Kennet. My cousin and her husband are both teachers, in adult education for autistics and gymnasium-level science, respectively. Although we didn't have much shop talk this time, it felt good to see education in the family. Incidentally, Eivor served in the local school cafeteria and is a proud Social Democrat, too!



Here's another photo with me and the cousins, taken by Kennet:



I also had a fun time hanging out with Lena's son Robert and his friends, eating tapas and attending the aforementioned Kent concert. Robert's a pretty interesting guy. He's backpacked Nepal and India and stayed on a kibbutz in Israel and traveled South Africa. I am currently helping him (with his English) apply for a Doctors Without Borders to serve as an ambulance driver, which is what he does in Sweden. He also teaches emergency care and CPR at Linköping University and has been a course leader in Manchester, England. His sister Maria works as a geologist in Göteborg (Gothenburg) and was recently working on a deep tunnel project to build new train lines in Stockholm.

Here's shot of the main square downtown Norrköping, opposite the train station (jarnstation):



The week after my weekend in Norrköping was my last in Stockholm and at Viktor Rydbergs Gymnasium. I've put in a few miscellaneous photos below of my classes and co-workers. I only wish I'd gotten some action shots of our last football match, which left me limping and with a lumpy shin still to this day.

My students in small-group discussions:


Some of the most fun and sharp classes I have ever taught:





My American co-worker Howard (to the right) and Paul, my replacement chilling over a cup of tea in the teachers' kitchen:



Two shots of colleagues at work: first Richard and Alexandra and then Jeanette and Howard:





Here are some shots of the school: the wing (flygen) to the right was the gymnasium's, the administrative building, and the head building in which our offices and some classrooms were located:







Finally, here is the tower where poet and school namesake Viktor Rydberg wrote his works (or at least some of them):



The Friday before I left I got to see one of the best little-known acts of Sweden, Love Is All. Read about them here. Listen to them here. See them there:



The very next day, Saturday the 23rd of January, I attended my cousin Helena's son's Christening (dopp). Here is Eugene (grandpa/morfar), Helena (mother/mor), the new little one, Ian (the dad/far) and morbro/uncle Henryk:



At the same event I saw my cousin Philip, his wife Annette and their daughter:



That same evening I had an avslutningsfest (going away party). Here are Jenny and Frida getting goofy and trying to avoid the camera lens:



Richard in the guise of his transvestite compatriot Dame Edna:



Åsa, Jonas and Frida at the party:



A haggard-looking Howard, ready for the sporlov (Sports Break):



Frida, Christian, and Richard at the Ljunggrens after the party:



Richard, myself and Frida at Ljunggrens after the party:



My last day in Stockholm, I saw my former roommates Mehdi and Carlos, from Paris and Peru, respectively. On the way I saw this protest on the platan in Sergelstorg, which is where most public demonstrations take place. This particular one was unclear to me. I can't identify the flag in the background. Anybody have any ideas?:



On the way to my former roommates I traveled via my former T-bana station Västraskogen (Western Forrest), which has the deepest escalator in the city and looks like a space ship:





Lena and Lars Åkerberg, my cousins who I ate a tastey meal of one kile of muscles the night before I left:



Finally: when I left Stockholm, it looks like this outside:



However, the morning after I arrived in Chicago, it looked like this:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Kent, Norrköping

Kent rocking Norrköping's Himmelstlunds Idrotts Plats (sports hall). Kent is a Swedish band that sings in Swedish (as opposed to the hundreds who sing in English) and reminds me a bit of Radiohead and a bit of The Smashing Pumpkins. But rather than listen to my blather, listen to them.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Leaving Would Have Been Easier If...

everybody weren't so damned nice to me. Not only did my co-workers surprise me on Monday with a Hammaryby jersey, a cookbook for baking, and plenty of salt licorice, but they also wrote a song and sang it to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." I had a hard time to not cry. Then today one of my classes brought flowers and a cake to class and then sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." Again, I did my best to keep it all in. Here's a couple of photos. One of the alien cake I received (a marzipan Princess Torta, yummmm!) (and any of my former classes would know why the alien was such a special choice) and the other one is of the class hard at work on a self-evaluation.

I do feel loved.




Monday, February 18, 2008

Das Efx

In case you were wondering, Whatever happened to that talented rap duo, Das Efx? ...They are playing my dad's hometown Norrköping, Sweden soon:

Whoa!

Two of my most favorite contemporary acts! Ted Leo remixes Spoon's "Did You Evah." Dig it! here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reminder!

Don't forget that your freedoms should not to be taken for granted. See here. And for the Olympics, too! Damn them!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Keep Going, Guy!

Peter --

The votes will be counted into the night and into tomorrow, but today we won states and we won delegates in every part of the country.

As of right now, we have won more states and delegates than Senator Clinton. It's a remarkable achievement we can all be proud of.

Tonight, we know one thing for sure -- our time has come, our movement is real, and change is coming to America.

At this moment in history, the stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result.

This time must be different.

There will be those who say it cannot be done. But we know what we have seen and what we believe -- that when ordinary people come together we can still do extraordinary things.

Yes, we can.

Thank you so much,

Barack

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hard to Believe...


that in just about three weeks from now to the hour, I will be standing in the passport line at Ohare International Airport with so much before me that I had not ever anticipated five months ago. Back in Chicago. To live. Wave after wave of emotion have flowed over me, so much so at this point, that I cannot tell one from the other. I cannot say that I am excited to leave, nor can I say that I am not excited to return to the familiar. I am happy to return to my friends and family and yet I am not returning to the exact life that I had just one year ago. I am returning to have to rebuild something. This both excites me and slightly depresses me. But I am ready for it. I am ready for battle.

I have not experienced a least a little of Swedish winter now, as made evident by photo. Now I need to prepare myself for the deep Chicago freeze.

Be Independent! Vote For Who You Choose!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Go!

My least favorite team of the English Premier League, Manchester United, has remained my least favorite team for three reasons: 1) they are the NY Yankees of the league, cashing in big bank to rake in top players to bring them to the, you guessed it, top of the league; 2) Wayne Rooney, the thug with a teenage brain; and 3) the amazingly flashy Portuguese brat Cristiano Ronaldo, who for reasons unclear to my own reasoning ability, annoys the crap out of me. He's good, but he knows it. He's disciplined yet cocky. He's flashy yet sometimes without a point. He gloats. Oh does he gloat. Nevertheless, there are headlines which make an virulent non-fan feel a bit chipper at the sight of his shiny face (pictured below). This article relates his mother's wish, for him to play for Real Madrid before she dies. Who will be first at her door to make sure she's at her deathbed? I hear flights to Lisbon are cheap these days! In any case, Cristiano, you're mamma's wish awaits! Go!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Feeling Like a Blackhawks Fan Again

I never really gave up on them for another team, but now, that won't happen.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Heavy Boots

I am currently planning to teach my English A course (that's my first-year gymnasium students here in Sweden for those non-Swedes reading) a novel called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by the contemporary American author Jonathan Safran Foer. It was a prescient choice. (I selected it a few months back.) It tells the story with an eleven-year-old NYC boy named Oskar Schell who is grieving the death of his father who died in the September 11th attacks. I initially came to read the book a few years ago because I thought it showed a large heart, for reasons greater than the obvious. You see, I'm pretty sure Safran Foer is Jewish, but he clearly picked a German, atheist boy as his main character whose Grandfather was himself ruined by the bombing of Americans in Dresden, Germany. This seemed like a conscious choice and to me represented some sort of forgiveness, but maybe also something ultimately warmer than that, some form of healing, too. Since returning to read the novel I find it especially involving at times because I now feel the same "heavy boots" that Oskar bemoans as he starts to feel his heart weighted down when missing his dad. Since my mom died two weeks ago today I can relate more than I wish. It seems the hole is left when the physical person is gone only manifests itself as hole inside of those who are left behind. As Oskar tries to fill that hole up inside himself, he follows clues to things that reveal aspects of his father or what he himself thought of as his father. (That is always a dizzying difference, though, isn't it?) No search ever leads us to what we think we want. Yet the process does help. Thanks to everybody who has helped me with this process. I'll keep reading along with my students and following Oskar through the streets of NYC once again, and no doubt that process will help, too.

Thanks again, everybody.

I miss you, mom.

RIP Susan Marie Eriksson
November 6th, 1942 - December 30th, 2007