Archive for July, 2011
Breaking news! It must be a slow day at Expressen newspaper’s headquarters.
Either that, or everyone already went out of town for the vacation and left the interns in charge of picking the most important news.
Today’s top story: “Here’s where Swedish couples have sex outdoors. Campgrounds, beaches, parking lots.”
The article includes a map, in case you’re so horny that you can’t wait to get home.
Earlier this year, I wrote about how excited I was to see one of my favorite bands, Skert. As you may recall, the band played two shows in Stockholm. The Sunday night show was your standard 18-and-over event, while the Monday night show – for which I was able to get tickets – was an all-ages engagement.
I’m 41-years-old (that’s 34 in metric), so I was one of the tallest people at the performance. Luckily, I wasn’t in the “oldest at the concert” group, on account of some attendees being accompanied by their parents.
Having to attend the all-ages show was fine with me. In fact, it was fantastic. The room was filled with youthful enthusiasm that mirrored my own excitement. Based on the band’s reaction to this warmth, it’s possible that the previous night’s 18-and-over show was not as energetically received.
Youthful enthusiasm, however, is not always a good thing. In this rock concert setting it worked out great. However, in places where adults like to do adult things, youthful enthusiasm can be the arch-enemy of a good time.
If you have a baby â€“ which, if you’re Swedish, is a genuinely high possibility â€“ I hope you have the common courtesy to keep it away from the following situations: restaurants, cafÃ©s, air travel, your place of employment, other people’s places of employment, public transit, the whole world outside of your house.
I said “if you have a baby” but what I really mean is that “if you have a child who is not yet old enough to know how to behave or shut its mouth” … then I hope you’ll be polite enough to keep it away from people who do know how to do these things.
I’m thinking particularly about youths who are in the 0 to 15 age group. Margin of error +/- 3 years, actually just +3 years.
It has been said that people don’t hesiate to bring their babies to restaurants for one simple reason: if the kid has already ruined your life, it doesn’t much matter if it ruins my dinner. I think it has been said by me.
Because of this premise, I would like to propose an amazing new revenue stream for owners of airlines, restaurants, and virtually every other place where screaming at the top of one’s lungs for hours on end, is inappropriate. Let’s call it The 18 & Over Flight.
We’ve gotten rid of smoking in these places, isn’t it about time we put an end to the shrieks of death, the smashing of crackers, the running through the aisles, the kicking of seats, and the relentless stomping and chasing in circles?
Parents need to be held accountable for how annoying their kids are. And businesses need to begin laying down the law by disallowing young children during certain hours or in certain rooms.
As much as the 18 & Over Airline may be a pipe dream, I think 18 & over timeframes at restaurants would be an immediate success. A truly happy hour: no kids after 6:00 pm.
I also think that callous, cranky, A-holes like me would be happy to pay a premium of at least 25% more for this luxury.
Most businesses should be delighted to pull in an extra 25% profit for providing the same services without the disruption and distraction, and I have a feeling their employees would share that delight.
As I’ve been writing this article, it has been brought to my attention that a restaurant in Pennsylvania has taken the bold first move.
In an email sent to customers, Mike Vuick, the owner of McDain’s Restaurant in the booming metropolis of Monroeville, announced that children under 6 were no longer welcome in his establishment:
“Beginning July 16, 2011, McDain’s Restaurant will no longer admit children under six years of age. We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children.”
The food is sounding better already.
“Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”
Amen, brother. Mike Vuick is like the Jonas Saulk of our time. He has found the cure for absurd, unreasonable nonsense.
Hearing about a restaurant in Pennsylvania reminds me of a local delicacy they have in that area of the country. It’s called scrapple.
About fifteen years ago while on a tour in America, we stopped in a late-night diner to have some food. That was the night I was introduced to scrapple. None of the people I was with knew what it was. So we asked.
Our waitress replied, “If you don’t know, you don’t want it.” Wow, what a sales pitch!
She went on to explain that it’s a Pennsylvania Dutch treat made of leftover pork waste from the kitchen. Mmmmmm.
Officially, scrapple is “cornmeal mush made with the meat and broth of pork, seasoned with onions, spices and herbs and shaped into loaves for slicing and frying.” Hold me back.
I checked out McDain’s menu online and they don’t have scrapple, so it must be a pretty nice place – especially without screaming kids everywhere.
If Mr. Vuick can get that age limit up to 18 or so, it might be worth the trip from Sweden. That eggplant parmesan and ravioli-of-the-week look pretty tasty.
I have heard tales of this elusive beast for many years, but I received proof of its existence today. Text message spam has now manifested itself in my life. Either that or I’m the most cynical 1.613 millionaire you ever heard of.
Don’t be fooled by the inflatable swimming pool. This is not a photo from West Virginia. It is Tranholmen, an island near Stockholm.
The real purpose of this image is to show the immense security measures they have taken — a gate and a row of low bushes — to keep people out of the yard.
Good luck getting past that, Ocean’s Eleven.
These billboards are now up in the Stockholm subway system, inviting tourists to come back to Egypt and Tunisia.
The one for Tunisia advertises that they’re ready to welcome winter-frozen Swedes to their new country.
One part reads, “Culture and narture’s beauty are a part of our history, like the long road to democracy whose story lives in every breath.”
The ones for Egypt are simply images and the slogan, “Egypt: Everything begins there.”
Several days of the year are designated as flag days in Sweden. On these days, such as National Day on June 6, citizens and businesses who own flags are encouraged to fly them outside.
The public transit buses in Stockholm participate in this observance. On these days, the tops of all the buses are adorned with two flags on the front.
This we we had just such a day, the crown princess’ birthday.
Victoria, the crown princess of Sweden, who was married last summer (o a commoner! gasp!) turned 34 on Wednesday.
My 34th birthday was celebrated in much the same way. Oh wait, I’m thinking of something else. Never mind.
I went to the toilet without expectations of poetry or someone’s bullshit summer backpack diary. Obviously, the Internet is a much better place to write the stupid things you think about.
I’ve been seeing this poster around Stockholm for a few weeks now. I’ve been so distracted by the cute girl that it has taken me several weeks to notice what a total choade the guy on the right is.
“God, it sucks being in a popular band with a cute girl. I hate (“love”) getting my picture taken. I just want to go back to my high-tech (“low-fi”) home studio (“HP laptop”) and write meaningful (“derivative and intentionally weird”) songs about my awful fight (“tending to a Nightliner tour bus full of muffintop indie girls with bad tattoos”) against the jagged swords (“400 thread-count sheets”) of life’s bitter agony (“4-star hotels with clean showers and mints on the pillows”).”
Okay. I have to be honest. I don’t know anything about this band Crystal Castles. I just don’t like their name or the look on that guy’s face.
But in order to become a certified spokesperson on their career, for the purpose of this writing, I Googled them and spent up to one minute skimming their Wikipedia page.
As you know, Wikipedia pages are written by unbiased third parties and highly-accredited investigative journalists who have no interest in furthering the band’s hype. They only want to uncover the facts and present informations for the greater cause of expanding the realm of public knowledge.
Think of Wikipedia as the “60 Minutes” of shit nobody cares about. (Why, there’s even a Scott Ritcher page on there, regularly updated, no doubt, by people who are the go-to authorities on all matters concerning me. This means you. Go ahead. Have at it!)
A reviewer’s quote on Crystal Castles’ Wikipedia (“search engine prison”) proclaims the band’s music to be “ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast that pierces your skull with their sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever.”
Oh Jesus. I think I’m finished with this now.