Saturday, 28 January 2023

zรผndwarenmonopolgesetz (10. 504)

Having finally conceded to Swedish industrialist and con-artist Ivar Kreuger’s overtures (see link below for more on the Match King) for a financial lifeline to the struggling Weimar Republic (obligated to pay reparations for World War I with most other legitimate means of borrowing or issuing bonds severely limited), the Reichtag on this day in 1930 passed the Flammables Monopoly Law (see previously), awarding exclusive manufacturing rights to Kreuger and his subsidiaries. Quotas at fixed prices were extended to factories that bought into the scheme and were sold to the public at a set price, generating revenue to repay the bond instalments with interest, an arrangement which otherwise would have continued in perpetuity but debts were settled finally in 1983 by West Germany, the East having no truck with this deal.

Friday, 30 December 2022

krig, kriser och klimatdebatten (10. 372)

Annually Sprรฅktidningen magazine in collaboration with the Swedish Language Council publishes a list (previously) of a few dozen choice neologisms that help define the year informed by war, crises and climate debates. Among the new terms selected for inclusion for 2022 are jury favourite epadunk—a musical general that references the “epatractors” that rural youths are able to drive on public at age sixteen and the sound systems that they need to devise in order to hear over the loud tractor motors—matfattigdom—that is, food poverty, munkmodell, living an ascetic lifestyle for the sake of the planet, klickkemi or click-chemistry for constructing complex molecules and individualised drug treatments from modular building blocks and some more that have entered common-parlance through the news and current events, like kamikazedrรถnare, Putinprise, Permakris and smygflation (a portmanteau for stealth inflation).

Sunday, 6 November 2022

king gustavus adolphus day (10. 278)

Celebrated annually on this day in Sweden (Gustav Adolfsdagen), Finland (Kustaa Aadolfin pรคivรค) and Estonia (Adolfi pรคev), becoming popular first in the nineteenth century some two centuries after the king’s death on the battlefield in Lรผtzen on this day in 1632 (OS 16 November—see previously). Whereas formerly observed with patriotic parades, contemporary traditions primarily consist of pastry-consumption, centred in Gรถteborg (a city founded by his person, styled Gustav II. Adolph) which has sold this confection known locally as Gustav Adolfskaelse since the 1850s and hosts a yearly competition to honour the best version without the royal, bas-relief portrait.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

the commodordion (10. 273)

Fellow Internet Caretaker Miss Cellania directs us to the latest project by Linus ร…kesson (see previously here and here) with eight-bit modified accordion made with two Commodore 64s and a bellows made out of floppy disks. We suspect that ร…kesson’s next ingenious instrument will be C64 bagpipes after this exercise and master-class. More at the links above.

Monday, 10 October 2022

sweded (10. 210)

Via ibฤซdem, we quite enjoyed this essay from Douglas Hofstadter whose on-again, off-again relationship to the Swedish last came out of its dormancy with his mind, heated from the task of reading exercises, conjuring up Swedish nonsense words, which the author marshalled into a kind of verse, Wacky Jabber, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s experiment. Feeding the stanzas to the top tier, artificially earnest and intelligent—see also here, here and here—to limn the limits of the adage of GIGO (garbage in/garbage out). Compare these three results, from the wholly pseudo-Swedish phrase, “Det var sรฅ att sรคga hultsamt och multsamt, och รคven ypperligen gnรฅlfritt,” poetically intended as, “It was, so to speak, hultish and multish, indeed—supremishly gnoll-free.”

Google Translate: “It was, so to speak, merry and merry, and also excellently free of whining.”
DeepL: “It was, as it were, hulky and overcast, and also exquisitely whine-free.”

Baidu: “It was so to speak hulled and mulled, and also excellent whining-free.” Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves. Much more at the links above.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

7x7 (10. 136)

ernie-vilg: Baidu enters text-to-image generating AI—reinforces government censorship  

kusugibashi: a rebuilt bridge washed away in 2018 combines traditional carpentry (see also) with computational design technology  

naysayer: exocentric verb-noun compound agents 

if you give a bot a cookie: pop ups are ruining the internet experience—see also—outside of walled gardens, via Digg  

we’re making earth our only shareholder: founder of Patagonia gives his billion-dollar company away to combat the climate emergency 

bademaschinen: floating saunas for Oslo harbor—see also   

nervous laughter: researchers hope to deliver more natural human-robot conversations

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

i let the music speak (10. 067)

Released as a record album at the end of November 1981 and the groups last studio album for four decades until their 2021 reunion, ABBA’s The Visitors was among the first to be digitally mixed and recorded and on this day in 1982 became among the first to be pressed and issued in CD format (Polygram Records also put out a disk of Chopin waltzes and Phillips would be releasing a tranche of some fifty artists including Billy Joel available in stores in the autumn). Despite personal conflicts that strained their professional relationship and musical partnership, this final collaboration was a success, cathartic and critically well received. Still getting accustomed to the new technology, the sound engineers thought the recording to be too clean and missed notes and beats would be harder to overlook.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

feel the beat on your tambourine (10. 065)

Released to the UK and Europe this day in 1976 following its domestic debut the day before, the lead single from ABBA’s fourth studio album Arrival was an international chart topper, this Europop interpretation of American disco about the joy of dancing considered among the best musical numbers ever produced. Under the working title “Boogaloo,” early sessions contained the draft lyrics “Baby, baby—you’re out of sight. Hey, you’re looking alright tonight. When you come to the party, listen to the guys—they’ve got the look in their eyes…” Developed in the mid-90s following the registry standard for printed materials—the ISBN—the first International Standard Music Work Code (ISWC) was assigned to “Dancing Queen” with the unique identifier T-000.000.001-0.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

8x8

morning chorus: a suspended hotel suite in Sรกpmi cladded with three-hundred fifty birdhouses 

meanwhile margaret atwood says hold my beer: teach and student, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, spar over which dystopian vision is more plausible  

don’t say g*y: Disney introduces its first openly closeted cast of characters  

makeup and monobrow: a quick survey of the female eyebrow in art 

border and backsplash: the mosaic tile museum of Gifu—over ten-thousands exemplars, many rescued from buildings slated for demolition 

i had hoped that god would work one of his signature miracles and spare me from is also signature “horrible pain in childbirth” curse: the Virgin Mary reclaims her nativity narrative  

stonk-and-go: the US Securities and Exchange Commission weighs sweeping change to curtail meme-driven trades  

a doghouse for eddie: charmingly, Frank Lloyd Wright (previously) builds a home for a canine and his human companion

Thursday, 5 May 2022

diggi-loo diggi-ley

Winning the twenty-ninth installment of the Eurovision Song Contest (previously) hosted by Luxembourg City on this day in 1984, the clean-cut Swedish trio of the brothers Herrey were referred to once by fellow contestant and performer Tommy Kรถrberg (Anatoly from Chess) as the “dancing deodorants” which stuck in the press and followed them their whole career. An English-language version was released as “Golden Shoes” at a later date, the more expository title affords non-Swedish speakers a glimpse into the lyrics about the lead singer discovering a magical pair of shoes that make him dance in the streets and wishes everyone in the world could have the same experience. In 1985, the group—the original boy band ahead of the later boom—won the Sopot International Song Festival with “Sommarparty,” and was the first Western band to be invited to tour behind the Iron Curtain.

Monday, 11 April 2022

tryzub

Officially adopted by the Rada after independence and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992 and with historical precedence going back to the Ukrainian People’s Republic of 1918 and in the historic seals and brands (tamga, ๐ฑƒ๐ฐข๐ฐ๐ฐ€, from the Old Turkic to mark the property of nomadic peoples—see also) of the Rurikid rulers of the Kyivan Rus, the country’s coat of arms, the Emblem of the Royal State of Volodymyr the Great, is described as a “trident” of gold (ะขั€ะธะทัƒะฑ) on an azure shield but likely was intended to represent the Trinity in the form of a stylised gyrfalcon (like this one from outside of St Petersburg connected to an eighth century Viking trading outpost on Lake Lagoda at the other extreme of the Rus’), consistent with the iconography associated with the Scandinavian extraction of the ruling dynasty.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

my, my—how can i resist you

Recorded on this day in 1975 during a session with the band at Stockholm’s Metronome Studio (today Atlantis) and generally bundled with the b-side the instrumental “Intermezzo № 1,” “Hey, Hey Helen,” or “Tropical Loveland” to illustrate their musical variety and originally offered to the British pop group Brotherhood of Man to produce and perform—who turned it down, the lead single from ABBA’s eponymous third studio album was an international hit when released later in September of the same year. Despite its global acclaim and reception, it is ABBA’s seventh most popular song.

7x7

w / n / p / a/: the beauty and brutality of the natural world—via Web Curios   

fly around: a happy tune from Bill Wurtz—via Waxy 

skramm-ellegepladser: what Scandi culture can teach the world about fun and playfulness 

 theatrum orbis terrarum: the first modern world atlas, created and published in Antwerp in 1571 by Abraham Ortelius 

llรชn gwerin: illustrated Welsh cats from 1910  

grand tour: visit the great cities of Europe all within the confines of Ohio—see also  

best in show: a selection of the superlative entries for the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards—some are quite accidentally like a Renaissance painting

Sunday, 27 February 2022

freden i stolbova

Concluding the Ingrian War that began nearly seven years earlier on this day in 1617, the Treaty of Stolbovo was negotiated and agreed upon between Czar Michael I of the Russian Empire and the Swedish military leader Jakob De La Gardie. Establishing the Empire of Sweden’s influence in the Baltic, the leaders met on the shores of Lake Ladoga outside Saint Petersburg, King Gustavus Adolphus—still chuffed with their victory in Novgorod and in the push for unity under the Peace of Kalmar—eventually relented during the two months of talks for their demands to make all Russian trade with Western Europe pass through Swedish-controlled territory, demands reaching far north as the port of Arkhangelsk in part due to the intervention of a team of Dutch and English mediators who didn’t want to see a Swedish monopoly on commerce and to install as Swedish duke as czar, but final terms did include Russian terroritorial concessions in Ingria and Karelia plus indemnities, and in exchange for renouncing claims to Estonia and Livonia, effective locked out of the Baltic Sea, Sweden returned Novgorod to Russia. Michael of the House Romanov was recognised by all parties as the rightful ruler and tariffs were normalised so as not to further cripple the Empire’s economy.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

year of the wood boar

Becoming the first Western musical act to appear in concert in China since the break-through performance of George Michael a decade earlier, the Swedish pop duo Roxette rang in the new year on this day in 1995 in the Bejing Workers’ Indoor Arena as part of their Crash! Boom! Bang! world tour for their album of the same name.

Friday, 10 December 2021

nobelfesten

Cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, normally the Nobel Banquet (previously here and here) is held annually on this day (the anniversary of the death in 1896 of its benefactor, inspired to become a philanthropist after reading a premature obituary of himself that described him as a war profiteer, indeed having amassed his fortune from dynamite), the fรชte hosted in the Blue Hall of the rathaus of Stockholm for 1971 would have included amongst its guests Willy Brandt, chancellor of West Germany, Pavlo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, Simon Kuznets, responsible for turning economics into an empirical, cyclical science, and Gรกbor Dรฉnes, inventory of among other things holography.

Friday, 17 September 2021

the persuaders!

Last in the line of a spy, crime adventure syndicate that began in 1960 with Danger Man, The Prisoner, The Avengers and The Saint, the charismatic action-comedy vehicle of Tony Curtis and Roger Moore was first simulcast on ITV and ABC to UK and US audiences on this day in 1971. Though considered a crowning, ambitious and concluding series and played well in foreign franchises, dubbed as Dos Tipos Audaces (Two Bold Characters in South American markets), Minden Lรฉben Kรฉt Kanรกl (Two Spoons in Every Soup in Hungary), Snobbar som Jobbar (Snobs on the Job in Sweden), Amicalement Vรดtre in French-speaking areas (Amicably Yours) and Die Zwei in the Deutschsprachrรคume (one of the best titled cinematic adaptations The Sum of All Fears is plaintively called simply Der Anschlag, The Attack in German) the production of Baron Lew Grade (also behind the series of Supermarionation shows) about two individuals from starkly different backgrounds that have been reluctantly teamed together to solve international cases that the authorities cannot disappointed domestic viewers and was cancelled after one albeit complete season. The opening title sequence (see also) features music by John Berry.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

functional discourse

We quite enjoyed this latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Word Matters podcast with veteran podcaster (going on fifteen years, from back when I had a couple of Ricky Gervais episodes included on the MP3 playlist on my TomTom GPS navigator) Mignon Fogarty (also known as Grammar Girl) and the panel discussion on an approach that’s neither pedantic, precious nor prescriptive about language but rather focused on inclusivity and clarity as language is not about cultural, class signalling or shibboleths but rather getting one’s message across with minimal distraction for the recipient. That said, we particularly liked learning that one only throws down the gauntlet (a piece of armour meant to protect the wrists and hands) to issue a challenge to a duel whereas one runs the gantlet (from the Swedish gatlopp for a street run) as a form of hazing.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

looking out for a place to go

Topping the charts in the United Kingdom on this day in 1976, the single from the album Arrival (previously) reached the number one spot in multiple countries, retaining that position for fourteen weeks in Sweden and thirty-two in Norway. A early version called “Boogaloo” on a demo tape contained a second verse that was dropped from the final version: “Baby, baby, you’re out of sight / Hey, you’re looking all right tonight / When you come to the party / Listen to the guys / They’ve got the look in their eyes…” Like the ISBN system for books and printed material, the International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) under ISO 15707 first implemented in 1995 assigns to Dancing Queen T-000.000.001-0.

Friday, 30 July 2021

tgif

Twin brother and complementary to the Norse goddess Freyja (‘Lady’ and name-giver to Friday) the fertility deity Freyr (‘Lord’) is the patron of virility, sacral rule—in other words theocratic kingship whereby the monarch is also priest and judge—as well as fair weather, a good harvest, peace and prosperity.  Granted domain by the gods over รlfheimr, realm of the light elves as an infant as a teething gift, Freyr’s steed is a mechanical boar called Gullinbursti, a tribute from the dwarves and from the magic of Odin the fine ship Skรญรฐblaรฐnir that can be folded up and kept in a pouch when not in use plus arms including an enchanted sword that fights on its own.  Having little truck with man, Freyr seems a mythological figure belonging to the other legendary races and perhaps signals the weekend for elven kind.  In one of the better attested sagas, Freyr is besotted with a giantess named Gerรฐr (Old Norse for Fenced-In). His advances rebuffed, Freyr grows despondent and lovesick and recruits one of his footmen, Skรญnir, to go to Jรถtunheimr (the Realm of the Giants) to woo Gerรฐr on his behalf. Even though as a Vanr is gifted, cursed with foresight and knows bereft of his magic sword his fate is to be vanquished at Ragnarรถk, Freyr promises it to his surrogate as a reward.