Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Archive for July, 2011

Norway bombing/shooting: “Don’t mess with my baby brother”

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Sympathetic outpouring for Norway from Swedes and anyone I know linked to Sweden is all over my social media regarding the bombing/shooting in Norway Friday afternoon (TL article link.)

While the attacks took place in Norway, Sweden is shaken as if the bombs were on Swedish soil. Norwegians are readily regarded as brothers and sisters to Swedes (as described by blogger CC Champagne this evening — link to entry).

Indeed, even foreign minister, Carl Bildt, tweeted earlier this evening, ”Terrorism has struck. Police confirms bomb in Oslo. We are all Norwegians.”

I’m still glued to CNN and BBC and Swedish news sources. I’m currently fascinated by the CNN need to untiringly speculate about the potential for an Al-Qaeda link despite repeated reports from all media that the man in custody is a 32-year old ethnic Norwegian. After all…a blond Norwegian could be sympathetic to Muslim extremism.

*insert saddened sigh*

Now, I know I don’t know who (if anyone) is behind this sole suspect but I’m guessing it’s a domestic protest. If you really want to cling to a fanatical Muslim connection you can hold out for a desperate hope to connect a very obviously political motive (well, of course the blond Norwegian could be protesting Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan or its ties to Danish/Swedish cartoons) I suppose you still have hope.

People will be trying resolutely to make this about crazed “others” rather than crazed “us.”

After all, “We are all Norwegians.”

For what it’s worth, I think it’s funny to hear the clarification that the Norwegian man is white and ethnic over and over again.

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Swedish media: Revising sensational account of skydiving accident

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

A tragic accident took the life of a fellow skydiver today. I didn’t know him and he wasn’t a member of our club but he was a member of a tight-knit community of skydivers and tributes and discussions have gone on all afternoon/evening on a variety of social sites.

The media eagerly features skydiving accidents even without a fatality. Fear and intrigue are easily riled up in the average reader by suggestive references to falling to one’s death (or nearly doing so even when it’s not nearly as nearly as suggested.)

Shock and horror capture our attention. We rush out to watch a fire, we stare at the strewn debris of a train wreck and we terrify ourselves trying to imagine the last moments before impact in airplane crashes. And skydiving accidents. It’s human nature.

Unfortunately for our sport, skydiving, it’s rather bad press. People presume that skydivers are all adrenaline junkies and irrational risk takers. It sets up the sport to be something akin to dancing with death and not a serious sport.

Certainly those personality types are attracted to skydiving but (in Sweden for sure) the community at large don’t fit well into that sweeping presumption. Safety is priority number one within the sport world-wide and especially in Sweden, skydiving is extremely regulated and taken very seriously.

Earlier today, Aftonbladet’s article featured a provocative yet inaccurate quote from a police officer describing the accident. After the journalists were forwarded the press release and most recent factual information about the accident (sorry, Swedish only) from the Swedish Skydiving Association, Aftonbladet very professionally revised the headline and took the time to better research the incident and the background around skydiving and the equipment.

Thank you Aftonbladet. BSBD


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Stockholm Commuter Rail v. Car: What do you think?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

You can take the girl out of Boston, but it’s hard to take the [Boston] driver out of the girl.

I’m a big fan of public transportation. 43 years ago, my parents chose their house based on its accessibility to pubic transportation (Waverly Bus to Harvard Square) after leaving Porter Square and their 2-minute walk to the T. My father commuted by T to downtown Boston every weekday until he retired just over a decade ago.

We chose our suburban home based on its 4-minute walk to the pendeltåg (Stockholm’s commuter train) after leaving central Stockholm and our life of exclusive usage of bicycles for getting around Stockholm.

And yet just a couple of years into our suburban Stockholm life, I drive. A lot.

This past weekend we needed to get to Nynäshamn for a cozy cruise on the Utö Express to our friends’ summer house in the gorgeous Stockholm Archipelago. The boat departs a 90-second walk from where the commuter train pulls in.

So in the spirit of saving the planet and all that environmentalist enthusiasm, we smugly opted to travel green and adventure by commuter train. It’s a big deal when braving the inconvenience of lugging a whole mess of gear (life vests for children, sheets for the whole family, beach towels, swimming floatie and 2 fishing rods plus specially ordered food provisions) while simultaneously tagging two tired children in tow.

The trip, while more than 1.5 hours by commuter train, would be nearly direct from our door to theirs (with a few hop off/hop on changes of trains and boats). Friday afternoon, ahead of schedule we excitedly awaited our arriving and on-time train. All systems were go and we were green.

Sparing you the boring details, I’ll summarize: we missed the boat. Our gracious hosts came to pick us up in their own boat after we arrived by a later train. All was not lost.

Recharged and a few shades tanner, we had nearly forgotten the averted disaster of a missed ferry and began our commute home optimistic that the return would be smooth and validate our decision to forgo our family wagon and ride the tracks.

Again, sparing you the boring detail, due to a child’s bad tummy we had to jump off the train a few times to find public facilities. And because the traffic is every 30 minutes, we lost nearly an hour. Obviously not SL’s fault this time but the final straw breaking our public transport with children spirit.

I will end on the Swedish hubby’s words of wisdom: “Kids & Cars works much better than Kids & Trains.”

Take a wild guess how we’ll get to Nynäshamn next time?

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