Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
A thing to ponder:
There are no objects, only time-delimited assemblages of particles.
I don't know who said it, but it is pretty true, isn't it? But you have to think pretty long-term for some things, like when you think about a gold nugget or other rock, hardwood floors, and plastic-based diapers. Then there are the ephemeral things that changes and decomposes/rusts/withers/disassembles quickly, such as books, clouds, wool mittens, and pizza. It is pretty amazing that all these things are made from the same thing - particles of elements.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
When it is gray and dreary outside, then you can melt some crayons and make things like this! This is by an unknown artist, and I saw it at an art gallery in Newark, NJ, in 2008. It was amazing. The sculpture was much larger than this photo shows (look here), and was all made from melted crayons. Fascinating! Like a wonderworld from Dr. Seuss.
Monday, March 23, 2009
New York Times has an article today about SAAB, titled:
Sweden Says No to Saving Saab (let me know if you can't see the article).
This weekend we saw a fantastic movie called Yank Tanks, about Cubans repairing and maintaining 1950s American cars with no parts or supplies at all. Cuba is the largest living car museum in the world. The documentary film is a must-see, not just for car fanatics, but for the people it portrays.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
...is a place worth visiting. It is in northern New Jersey, and has a Swedish connection. It competes with the Swedish mine Långban in being the place with the most found minerals in the world. The Swedes and the Americans seem to still argue over who the winner is. I was there in June 2008, and enjoyed it a lot. See more photos here.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
I have a new on-line toy. If you haven't seen Biogeomancer, try it! You can search for any place name in the world and get the it mapped on a Google map, and get the latitude and longitude coordinates too. Amazing, I just found out there is only one 'ärla' place in the whole world. A place I know very well. And 'Vattungarna', which means 'the small water islands' or something like that, occurs in three places, all in the Baltic archipelago, twice in Sweden and once in Finland. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
You can zoom around, move the map, check it mapped on satellite or as a topographic map and find new names of places that you have never heard of before such as (in Swedish): Inre Håkansskär, Tjockö, Velen, and Flaten. For you English-speaking, how about these (from United Kingdom): West Ella, Horkstow, Scunthorpe, and Swinhope. Happy geography hunting!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So, if don't have green fingers, a lot of money, and suffer from a lack of time, but still want a bonsai, here is the perfect book for you. The art of the bonsai potato. The kit contains everything you need except the potatoes, which I assume means just the pot. You can grow the potato even without water, at least for the first week, until it shrivels up and turn into a wrinkly ex-potato.
The photo of the plant of the cover looks a bit alien, like something from Mars or The Triffids. Would you want one of these in your window?
OK provided the photo. Great find, OK!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Near us in Princeton is a fantastic little European-style food store (Bon Appetit) that sells the most unusual things (in USA, that is). PP and I went there a few weeks ago to look for licorice candy for my class (you need handouts when you talk about beans, ie., Fabaceae, to undergraduates and to keep them awake on Monday mornings). We also got some other goodies, such as oil-cured olives, some great cheese, mints made locally in Hopewell, and then we found.... black squid ink spaghetti. 50 cm long! We just had to get that too. A week later PP made this fantastic dish of this black pasta mixed with creamy tomato sauce with shrimp, scallops, lobster, and squid. Oh, it was yummy! This is how it looked (I think it really looked better than this, my camera was acting up).
Monday, March 9, 2009
In June 2008 I visited the old, abandoned parts of Ellis Island's hospital. Ellis Island was the immigration center for New York and northeastern USA, and 12 million people came through here. With hardhats on we walked through old mental and infectious disease wards, corridors, the laundry rooms, the morgue, and the furnace rooms. So much is still the way it was when it was closed in mid 1900s, with doors, some furniture, and lamps, but a lot has been removed.
Many windows are broken or bordered up, but you still can get that feeling of history, how people were moved through this place to be treated for common ailments, give birth, or, if they weren't 'fit enough for the new world', then deported back to their old country. I don't know if any of my relatives came through Ellis Island, but it is possible. If we knew their names, we could look it up.
It was the best public hospital of its kind in America, and all free. Many doctors requested to do their training here because you got to see so many kinds of problems and learn cutting-edge treatments. We saw padded rooms for mental patients, an infectious disease ward with washable subway-tile walls, and the demonstration room in the morgue where they could to autopsies. Amazing enough, very few people died on Ellis Island, our guide told us, but in Wikipedia, the truth about everything, it says about 3000. More people died on the way over. Many children were born on Ellis Island , and most people that were sick were treated and then released to go on and live in America. If those walls could talk, imagine what stories they could tell!
PP and I finished watching the movie Golden Door tonight, about an Italian family leaving Sicily, traveling across the ocean and arriving at Ellis Island. It probably gives a rather realistic portrait of how life could have been. The movie is definitely worth watching, but it is slow. But the slowness creates a special feeling, and the filming and music is great.
I have posted my Ellis Island photos on Flickr, in this album: link.
Crazy fact: "Although Ellis Island is federal property and has always been historically considered in New York, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1998 determined that part of the island was territory of New York while most of the island, which was added after 1834, is within the territory of New Jersey."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
We had a race on the road by Barking Dog Plaza yesterday, me and the kids. The 6-year old was the fastest, of course. I didn´t stand a chance. But it was just as fun as when we used to ride our "sparks" as kids.
Today I have muscle ache..but I don´t mind. It was fun!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
PP and I spent last Friday in New York, to walk around in the old neighborhoods where he spent a lot of time in the last 35 years. Mainly we were in the Flatiron District, the Village, and in Soho, all on the southern part of Manhattan. I got to hear lots of stories about how it used to be in the past, such as trucks falling through the sidewalk into basements, toy cars with rockets landing on neighbor's roofs. Many of the old neighborhood joints are gone, replaced with expensive fancy stores for rich people, but some gems are still left. It was a great day, and total decadence - fantastic lunch at Mesa Grill with cactus pear margarita, amazing cappuccino and espresso at Caffe Dante, great smoked mozzarella at Joe's Dairy, an old-fashioned Italian cheese shop that is still around (thanks!), and an Italian neighborhood food store with pasta in wooden drawers. We went to several old historical bars to take in the ambiance and just talk (I told you, decadence), and then to Balthazar, an amazing French restaurant. But we didn't eat dinner there (= more decadence) just had a drink. Dinner was at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central to celebrate EW's 50th birthday. A fantastic day and lots of new memories. I have uploaded photos on Flickr and if you click on the photos here it will take you to the big photo with more explanations. All you Swedes, next time you come here, we will take you to some of these places. Enjoy!