large positive Arctic anomaly

It’s finally coming to an end, the coldest winter in Stockholm for decades. No extreme temperatures but we had snow more than three consecutive months which is unusual nowadays. And here comes the challenge. Will we be able to concentrate on the problem of global warming in spite of this recent fluctuation? The warmest years in recorded history have all occurred very recently. This climate threat won’t go away by itself or by wishful thinking.


the exception

We got ourselves a new Minister for Foreign Affairs today. A career diplomat, currently President of the UN General Assembly. Once a personal advisor to Olof Palme, he’s been around for a while. A highly qualified candidate as far I can tell.

So why am I surprised? Why has it become unusual to have a minister who is actually qualified within his area of responsibility? Why does Jan Eliasson have to be the exception to the rule?


the times they are a’changin’…

In a CNN ranking of the 10 most popular new cars in the US, Toyota takes six spots. Hottest among them all is the gas-electric hybrid Prius.


hello Equinox

Tuesday morning (0314 CET) it’ll happen again. We in the northern hemisphere leave the darkness behind and enter the brighter half of the year. I’m not sure why I’m more dependant on daylight than I used to be. On Sunday we’ll even set our clocks for daylight savings time. Lots of good news this week! Could I ask for a slightly cooler summer as well? That’d be a real jackpot as far as I’m concerned.

Update: Apparently it's Monday March 20 at 19:26 CET. I should have finished that astronomy class...

Update #2: Hey!? That's today, half an hour ago. We're almost into summer already!


still a fan

It’s that time of year again. Tonight in Stockholm Globe Arena – Melodifestivalen, the Swedish preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest. With its ups and downs, it has been a remarkable success. Name another fifty year old TV event that everyone (and I mean everyone) has an opinion about!

I used to follow EuroSong closely. Missing the event was unthinkable. Every year resulted in two additional video tapes in my collection, one for the Swedish preselection and one for the finals. Well, no more of that. I dislike some of the recent changes. I miss the orchestra; miss the days when the artists, backing vocals and orchestra were actually performing live. I think the lyrics in the Swedish competition should be just that – in Swedish. And all in all, I think the jury system gave us better songs than today’s phone voting. I guess I’m just getting older.

So I won’t be watching the spectacle tonight, might tune in to the radio coverage though. I’ll read all about it in my newspaper tomorrow and I’ll definitely buy the double CD with all 32 Swedish songs. The discs from last year are running non-stop in my car these days.

And there you have it. I’m still a fan. Like most of us. And I still think Martin Stenmarck should have won last year.


wrong focus

Systembolaget, the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly, exists for one reason only: To minimize alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive.

That’s the official tag line, at least.

So, are we debating the purpose of the Monopoly? Are we discussing how Systembolaget fulfills it purpose? Are we considering the leadership of Anitra Steen?

Of course not. We’re busy contemplating her future pension. Wrong focus. Again.


what a difference a year makes

I don’t remember what made me write this one year ago. Maybe I was trying to pep myself up before leaving base camp for climbing my private Mt. Driving License.

Looking back it’s been a remarkable year. I returned to the University. I found a new job. I got my first car. No big deal? Well, in my life it is.

So what are you waiting for? Go make a difference in your life. Now when you can. Don't wait. Franz Schubert didn't.


four or five glasses

Liberal spokesperson Karin Pilsäter is back at work after having been charged with drink driving. Is that right? Politicians are subject to entirely incompatible demands and expectations. On one hand they’re supposed to be just like any ordinary citizen, live the kind of life most of us live. On the other hand they should be role models. So whenever they fail in moral judgment some people start asking ”what signals does this send” and so on. You can’t win’em all. The voters should pass their judgment.