Thursday, August 30, 2007

Recent comments / Sidebar problem

EH made me aware of that the recent comments field in the sidebar doesn't work anymore, it seems like blogger can't read its own rss-feeds anymore. RSS-readers, like the ones mentioned here can keep you updated with the comments though. I'll will take a look at the sidebar problem in a few days.

(Listening to while posting: Michael Manring - Bad Hair Day)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Jackson Mood

Wow! Lately I've been in a MJ mood. I used to hate him and never thought to listen to his music. But I finally did and fell in love with them. I'm not a huge fan of him or how he looks now, but back in the 80's he wasn't so bad looking and he had the voice and moves to capture millions of people, including me. As many say, he his the king of POP! And come on, with all those amazing dance moves, you seriously can't think that hes not amazing! :P

And with his skin thing, rumors say that he has a skin disease that makes the pigment in your skin disappear, whether this is true or not, I don't know. But he did get a nose and chin job, which is too bad...:( And this whole child thing, I'm not even going to get into that right now...

But I think that he should make some new vids or come out with another wonderful album, instead of sitting on his butt doing stupid things.....But anyway, I'm caught in the Michael Jackson groove...:)


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Geology

Stamp of the Day today is from Åland, that little island between Finland and Sweden that has some independence but not complete. Featured theme is geology, for two reasons - I feel like a slick stone in this hot and humid weather on the east coast of USA (just horrible), and I am on my way tomorrow to a very geologically interesting area - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. Geysers, hot springs, volcanic eruptions every 600 00 (=now) years, petrified forests and so on. More reports on Yellowstone later. On the stamps are features left from the ice age - large boulders moved by the ice, 'jättegrytor" (= giant's pots), and pillars shaped by melting glacier water. It is nice to see stamps of natural features that are real and not just pretty (as opposed to butterflies and animated movie stars).

Attacked by the corn smut

This is our corn from our garden - not a very nice-looking thing after being attacked by the fungus called corn smut. The interesting thing is that this pest is a delicacy in Mexico, where the infected large corn kernels are cooked and eaten as huitlacoche. That Spanish words comes from an Aztec word meaning raven's extrement. Nice! You can buy it canned too. Some recipes are here. The infected kernels start out yellow, become large and engorged, then turn bluish, and eventually they blister open and lots of black spores are coming out. People eat them before they sporulate. I pickled them in lab ethanol instead, to use in teaching in mycology and ethnobotany. Oh, all the nice things you can find on your garden. Even if it is kind of annoying that some crops 'fail', it is interesting to see all these unexpected events. I think our garden is a pest-haven after all problems we have had this year, but maybe it is because I refuse to spray with pesticides and fungicides.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Sailing

First stamp of the day from Finland (I think), showing a family out sailing in a modern sailboat. It even is at an angle, they must have nice side wind. This is from 2007, note the Euro postage, no more Marks for the Finns.

This stamp is in honor of EH's sailing trip of course.

Stupid (or Intelligent) Design?

Just watch this and keep the intelligent design (creationism) debate in mind. Hilarious!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mmm, pie!

A photo of our tomato-mozarella pie right before it went into the oven. It was delicious! Easy to make to0. The crust was whole-wheat with Keso (cottage cheese). Let me know if you want the recipe...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Zipcode

Here is a stamp I didn't expect to find - a celebration of the zipcode, those 5 numbers that come before the state in the address in USA. In Sweden it is also 5 numbers, but it comes before the city, and is called 'post nummer'.
How do you like the 70's art?


I went shopping as usual a few days ago at the local Super Stop & Shop, and went into the 'seasonal' aisle. There, over two months before it is actually happening on Oct 31, were two giantly long shelves filled with Halloween candy and decorations. First, who needs all this candy? Second, who buys it over 2 months before the only day it will be handed out on? It kind of sickens me, both the useless waste of resources on marketing and how people are fooled into buying too much of what they really don't need (like wooden or plastic monster decorations made in China that will fall apart after one week outside). I think this symbolizes so much what is wrong with modern holidays and their marketing in USA. I don't mind Halloween at all, what I do mind is the mass-produced fake excitement about them. Bring me locally made pumpkin pie, some candy corns, and a witch hat and that is all I need. And a dark night of course and two kids in tow. Trick or treat!

Harry Potter-themes are used a lot in Halloween candy today, like these Blood Pop
(strawberry-flavored lollipops). I just finished volume 6 of Harry Potter last night. Dumbledore is dead, Snape is in hiding, Harry broke up with Ginny... what is going to happen!? Don't tell me!

This is just a small part of one of the aisles - multiply this with about 6 and you get the total Halloween shopping area in this supermarket. That is more than the total shelf area in a Swedish country store. And what do they do with the stuff that doesn't sell? Save it for next year? Give it to pigs? Send it to the poor in Africa? Burn it up?

Cheezus LS, Halloumi cheese!

Halloumiost, en cypriotisk hårdost som man hittar vid feta- och fårost i affären, är jättegod att skiva, marinera i lämplig marinad och grilla. Alternativt kan man skära kuber och grilla på spett tillsammans med champinjoner, lökbitar och små tomater. Pensla då allt med olja/marinad.

Halloumi, cypriotic hard cheese is tasty to cut up and grill with some suitable grill marinade.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Picture of the week update

Since the family is filled with photographers, I decided unanimously and solitarily by myself that we will have three Picture of the week side bar photos managed by the three administrators, EH, O.K. and myself. Now there will be even more to see. All photos will still go into the history of the picture of the week blog post. Happy posting says the salamander (from an earlier Picture of the week)!

PS. Also took the freedom to post O.K.'s first independent picture of the week. Eggplant anyone? O.K., feel free to change it to some other artsy, fartsy, windy, skimpy, limpy, sloppy, droppy picture...

What do you know?

Soon the American colleges and universities will be filled with students that are first-timers, the freshman. Someone put together a list of how they see the world (and assumingly, most of highschoolers and our kids too)., and it is quite different from us. They don't get references to 'old' literature, movies and historical events, because many have never heard of them. Test yourself and see if you see the world differently here. Of course this is US-centered, but somethings are probably valid in Sweden too.

Some examples:
What Berlin wall?
They have grown up with bottled water.
Rap music has always been mainstream.
Being “lame” has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.
Most phone calls have never been private.
Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.
MTV has never featured music videos.
Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.

Now, I am starting to feel like I am no longer in the 'young' generation. I remember the Berlin Wall coming down, I remember phone booths and sitting in the closet at home talking on the phone in secret, I remember when rap music didn't exist, when you drank water out of streams and couldn't buy it, it was free even in stores if you brought your own bottle, right out of the tap, I think I remember the first music videos ever. It makes me think that the students I teach really don't know much about the world at all. I hope my kids get some idea about connections to the past and aren't so contemporary-time-focused...

Underground living

Amazing underground cities
I never knew anything about this:
"Eventually, spelunking archeologists found a maze of connecting chambers that descended at least 18 stories and 280 feet beneath the surface, ample enough to hold 30,000 people – and much remains to be excavated. One tunnel, wide enough for three people walking abreast, connects to another underground town six miles away."

from a fellow Blogger...

Stamp of the Day: Chocolate

This is a real stamp, not just a piece of chocolate! This is what you need in this kind of weather we have right now, rain, rain, rain... Sit inside, with a good book, some great music, a cup of Lapsang tea, and maybe a piece of chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate, but anything will be OK except for cheap American chocolate (like Herseys).

1000 people.... and counting

According to ClustrMaps (see right column on this blog) we just passed 1000 visitors since it started counting. Welcome all of you all around the world that visit this blog!

Running total of visits to the above URL since 10 Aug 2007: 1,012.
Visits on previous 'day': 138.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good, homemade American food

Here is what we had for dinner on Friday, very traditional Southern food. From top left, fried chicken, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and collard greens (=cabbage leaves). Really good, and a lot better than Kentucky Fried Chicken. Maybe some of this food doesn't look that appetizing, but it smells and tastes wonderful!

Before frying the chicken you marinate it in buttermilk or yougurt+milk, then dip it in egg, and then in a flour+spices mixture. We used ready-made batter mixture, from the Whistle Stop Cafe in Irondale, Alabama, of Fried Green Tomatoes fame (a real food movie). The box had a steam train on it and was of course a present to PP.


Mmmm, vind i seglen...! Båten tar fart och det stänker om bogen. En vindby pressar upp båten i vind och jag styr den rätt igen..oops, där fick visst rodret fnatt, rena ketchupeffekten på denna Bavaria35. Inte mycket känsla i ratten. Husvagn på sjön, stor och trög som vår ciceron Martin kallade det. Men en trevlig båt att vara på som var utmärkt för vårt stora sällskap på 9 personer.

Skön kväll med tapto vid solnedgången samt flagghalning.



On request, the 8-legged horse...and it´s name was not Octane...believe it or not.


Piggly wiggly munsbit!

Appetizing appetizers!? What do you think?

These are scorpion appetizers and part of National Geographic Society's on-line image archive.

Photo by Anne Garofalo.

Have you all had any interesting appetizers lately?

{Munsbit = bite-size portion}

Judging a Book By its Cover

If you do at least you have a lot of covers to choose from! What do the ones from China and Bulgaria have in common?

On The Road

Blown away III: Untied

I´m sailing....

A snapshot from the sailing weekend...just a pre-taste, more to come, maybe tonight (swe time). I had a wonderful weekend! Good food, good sailing, good company.
Doubleclick for bigger picture.


Feeling hungry?

Watch a movie about food.
There are lots of them... mmmm!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tongue, the meat that tastes you back!


Blown away II, "Uppblåst"

Hair-raising horn music !


Stamp of the Day: Satchmo

Keeping with the ongoing topic of music, Stamp of the Day today is the best trumpeter of them all: LOUIS ARMSTRONG. He was born in 1901 in New Orleans in Louisiana, in a very poor neighborhood.

I recently heard him in a recording with my favorite Monica Zetterlund - both were great! She deserves a stamp too, but Sweden hasn't gotten to that yet. I think she just died a year ago, in a terrible fire in her apartment. Both Louis and Monica were in many movies too.

Louis didn't need fifteen trumpet bazookas, he did great with just one. :)

Wet summer

Rain comes in many shapes and forms. These pictures are from a heavy, straight-down summer rain a few weeks ago here in New Jersey. With a long shutter speed it looks nearly like snow or hail, but is just large water drops.
Our steps. The bucket is there to catch rain water for the flowers - right above there is an unofortunate spillover in the gutter. We collect the remains of our mollusc-eating habits on the steps outside, together with some driftwood and bricks found on the shore.
Rain on the screens that keep out both water and insects.

Listening to while posting: Slow rain outside.

Next on to-do-list: Make tomato tart, buy The Tree of Life book on Amazon, and clean up my desk. It is a lot more fun to cook than to clean up my desk.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Blown away

Don't mess with guys with horn bazookas, or your ears will be blown off!

"Are you honkin' at me? Huh?"


Garden accessories - Boots

Kneepads and flower boots, the perfect gardening outfit?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hot pepper glands

If you ever wondered where the capsaicin, the hot pepper taste, comes from, look at this photo by aroid of the small glands inside the fruits next to the seeds

Funny place names: Buttzville, NJ

In central-western New Jersey, rather close to the Delaware River, there is a town between the towns of Hope and Hazen having the maybe unfortunate name Buttzville (at least it made us chuckle). When we drove the kids home from camp, we just had to take a little detour to check it out.
Turns out it is just a regular little village, very small, and with a very cute post office that appears to be in an old gas station along the main road. Note the blue roof tiles, they are quite unusual around here. 4387 people live in Buttzville township. (photos by AREA)
It is really close to Oxford too, you can see it on this map. The little place is named for a person named Buttz, of course. As usual, NJ is flooded with history, wherever you go you run into former presidents, battlefields, old mills and abandoned railroads.
"The old town at this Warren County intersection, however, is called Buttzville and our river cuts right through the center of the little village. The beginning of a settlement here was a grist mill and a small house in which the miller and family lived. In 1839 the miller sold his house and business to Michael Robert Buttz. Buttz prospered and several subsequent generations of the family lived here and worked here. In anticipation,no doubt, Michael Robert Buttz named this little settlement Buttzville and that is its name today.
No members of the Buttz family live here today but several are buried in the local cemetery. River current is strong, anxious to get to the Delaware, and the area has some first rate trout fishing. Local historians attest to two notable fishermen, President Herbert Hoover and baseball's home run king, Babe Ruth, who fished in the Pequest in this area with great success." link

Stamp of the Day: Big Band (and a drummer)

This is the only stamp I could find that featured a drummer, OK, he is in the background, but he IS there. This stamp is part of the US Millenium set that featured major events and issues in the 1900s. This is only part of a big band orchestra I think.

I like Glenn Miller's big band music, like the Chattanooga-Choo-Choo, with lyrics like this:

Pardon me, boy
Is that the Chattanooga choo choo?
Track twenty-nine
Boy, you can gimme a shine
I can afford
To board a Chattanooga choo choo
I've got my fare
And just a trifle to spare
You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner
Nothing could be finer
Than to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina

When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are

Chattanooga is a city in the south of the US, in Tennessee, right here. I have never been there. But they have an incline railway up Lookout Mountain (funny name for a mountain!).

One funky drummer less

Ok, so Max Roach might not be called funky, but he sure had style. One of the last surviving founders of bebop passed away yesterday, 83 years old. I really like the recordings he did with Clifford Brown and those with Dizzy Gillespie, but just like Miles Davis he kept on moving to new areas in music.
Although he isn't among us any longer his music still is.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Linnés wisdom

I have during the summer walked a little bit in the footsteps of Linné here in Sweden. It´s 300 years since Carolus Linneaus was born so there is a Linné haussé here in old Sweden. This sign I found in a garden, I believe it´s a true quote from mr Linné.

I think he has a good point, so therefore I´m heading for bed now in hope of "8 hours of sleep, an equal time of work and the rest of the day in fresh air". I´m going sailing tomorrow! with coworkers and friends. Back from the archipelago on sunday evening.

Be well! E.H.

Funky Drummers II

Biggel, fastel, loudel! Japan rocks!

(Listening to while posting: Nile - The esssential salts)

Snapshot: Funky Drummer

Tungan rätt i mun. Funk it!

Found on Anders blog

För ni som kan läsa svenska, Anders har en kul blogpost om vin (påhittat av någon annan för jag har läst det förut, men kul iallafall!)
[For those of you that can read Swedish, Anders has a funny blog post about wine and other drinkable things...]

In Memorian and Stamp of the Day: Elvis

Today it is 30 years since Elvis died, and I remember it clearly, even if I was only ten years old at the time. The whole family was out sailing in our little boat Bris in the Stockholm archipelago somewhere, we were out in a big open area between islands and we heard it on our little radio, in the news right before sjörapporten (the coastal weather rapport). Do you remember this, EH, O.K., and AnS? You were there too. I don't remember if we got upset or had expected it or anything, just that he had died.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Garden accesories - coffee pot fountain

How about this garden fountain? Coffee pot and all? I didn't take the picture, but I forgot where I found it on-online (apologies to the photographer). The whole assembly looks a bit precarious.

Label: La Bomba

Unopened/Pin not pulled

The latest purchase in the "Italian scooter-coffee" category. And with a name like "La Bomba" it calls for an african coffee machine, right?


Snapshot: Defying gravity

Not really doing Mach 2, though.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stamp of the Day: UFOs

I don't know if there are any aliens out there, but of course there are Unidentifiable Flying Objects, which really can be anything you can't identify, right? But until I have seen an alien, I won't believe in them. But I do believe there are some stamps that depict various UFOs, because these stamps have been seen, right here on this blog. (Lively dinner and lunch discussions here at home lately, with a variety of opinions... :) The stamps are supposed to show different UFOs seen over America, especially in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. I have no idea why Tanzania would print these stamps, maybe so they could corner a new market in philately? The science fiction-stamp collector cross-over? My favorite design is the bottom middle one.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Aliens Are Here!

Most of the time when you think about aliens your brain screams 'War of the Worlds! AAAAA!', but people who actually believe in extra terrestrials (ET's, UFO's, whatever the heck you want to call them) their brain gets exited and says 'Quantum jump in humanity! Yay!' or 'Non-polluting energy source! Yay!'.
Over 70% of all amercians believe that there is a government cover-up.......and they would be right. That's right, I said it. No I am not insane. Yes, I'm quite sure. The government wants to leave the public in the dark when it comes to the fact that there is really faster-than-light moving, soundless, massive objects that are flying in earth's atmosphere. Take a look at and you will know what I mean. It contains thousands of down loadable reports of 'Unauthorized flying in a restricted area' where, coincidentally, that object is going twice the speed of sound and is defying gravity.
But why? I mean, why us, out of probable billions of other life-forms? Two words: Nuclear Weapons. Ever since we discovered that by using decaying plutonium and uranium we would be able to create the most power full weapons in the world, the Aliens have screamed 'Oh my god! The kids have the matches!' In short, they are trying to keep us from destroying ourselves. But why not just land in Washington DC with thousands of antimatter laser cannons equipped to ships, and demand the cease of nuclear weapons? 1: It could cause intergalactic war. 2: They don't want to directly approach us for fear that either us or their fate might match that of the fabled do-do bird.
So, in total, anyone who denies the fact that Aliens have visited our planet (Whether you are a FBI agent or a common civilian), you will miss out. ALOT.

Stamp of the Day: Mushrooms!

These stamps speak for themselves - excellent forest food! They are issued by Åland, which is not an independent country, but an island between Sweden and Finland that is partly self-governed. Note the Euro mark on them - does this mean that you can mail letters with Euro stamps from any EU country in Europe that uses Euros now?

Photoshop magic

The results of a contest where you take nature photos and change them in photoshop by including art, can be seen here. Quite cool!