Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Time for the annual change to the biography column at the left.

The Swedish phrase for the day is tiden går. It means time passes.

- by Francis S.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

As I sat in the dentist's chair at 8:15 this morning, the left side of my mouth not quite numb enough to prevent me from feeling the dentist's drill and nearly flying out of the chair and seriously injuring the dentist, but managing to restrain myself to a pathetic whimper, the kind you make when your mouth is full of dental instruments and your eyes are tearing, I thought to myself how interesting it is that torture seems to be all the rage on American TV these days, and how curious a mirror television is, held up to American culture.

Of course, by all the rage, I mean one episode of a TV show that we saw a couple of weeks ago: A character whose backstory is that of a former Iraqi military officer forced to torture a fellow Iraqi officer by his American captors, tortures another character in a situation in which TV viewers are nudged into thinking that the torture is probably a good thing under the circumstances.

Isn't TV wacky?

Anyway, it gets my conspiracy-theory juices flowing, making me wonder if the producers of "Lost" have been hanging out with Alberto Gonzales, the latest in a long line of nutcase- uh, I mean, outstanding Republican U.S. Attorneys General that would include John Ashcroft and Ed Meese (who famously said in the 1980s: "I don't know of any authoritative figures that there are hungry children. I've heard a lot of anecdotal stuff, but I haven't heard any authoritative figures...I think some people are going to soup kitchens voluntarily. I know we've had considerable information that people go to soup kitchens because the food is free and that that's easier than paying for it...I think that they have money.")

Actually, it doesn't really get me thinking conspiracies, it gets me thinking that there really is no excuse for torture. That's why they call it torture.

My mouth is still kind of sore.

The Swedish word for the day is häftapparat. It means stapler.

- by Francis S.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Woe is me.

Five days ago, they closed a Stockholm institution, the Lydmar Hotel. Kinda funky, definitely hip in its way, nice lunches, great for afternoon drinks, and we put up my family there when they came for our wedding.

According to the husband, the bank that owns the building wanted the space for offices, or something like that. Which is typical bank behavior, actually.

Why wasn't I notified?

The Swedish phrase for the day is vad trist. It means, more or less, how depressing.

- by Francis S.

Monday, March 13, 2006

It is amazing how a little 12-pound human package that basically drinks, sleeps, shits, cries and smiles can create so much work while simultaneously making you fall profoundly and hopelessly in love. And I got the worst case of uncle-tourettes, saying my two-month-old nephew's name over and over (Owie, Owie, Owie!) just because it cracks me up, and repeatedly telling his parents that he is going to grow up to be a cowboy (on account of his initials are O.K.) while doing that really annoying thing where you point your fingers as if they were guns and then blowing away the pretend smoke.

In between perseverating on my nephew's name, feeding the boy countless bottles of breast-milk (those breast pumps are pretty scary devices) changing a diaper (I only had to do that once when I was babysitting alone), eating dinner at two very fancy schmancy restaurants, freaking out while sitting in Washington Square Park and eating a falafel from Mamoun's (it was altogether too much like some creepy drug-induced flashback to my college days at NYU), going to the doctor so Owen could get his first vaccinations (which was a big deal due to his hemophilia, but which came out fine), attending a naming ceremony at the gay synagogue that my beloved little brother and his wife belong to (why they belong to a gay synagogue is a story for another time), watching the Oscars at an apartment on the upper east side somewhere because my brother doesn't own a TV (we left before seeing Brokeback Mountain lose to Crash) and taking Owen for his first big art experience, the Met, through which he dutifully slept while my brother and I checked out room after room of Greek urns and drinking cups, (while being checked out ourselves by countless fellow artgoers who obviously had decided that Owen Has Two Daddies), I managed to have drinks and dinner and more drinks with the marvelous Mr. Justin Kerr Sheckler, who instantly became a friend (it was a case of extreme like at first sight), and having a brief coffee in Union Square with Eric, who is not only a high-quality individual, but wonderfully like his writing (I somehow never got around to telling him he really should try to write for money) and has scary stories about Danes.

New York has definitely not lost the ability to boggle the mind (You can get any food you want delivered just about anytime you want it!) The only bad thing about the whole trip was that in my mad rush to get to the airport (after an afternoon of walking around and last-minute shopping, we arrived home ten minutes before the car was due, and I hadn't packed yet), I somehow managed to leave my phone at my brother's.

The Swedish word for the day is parenteser. It means parentheses.

- by Francis S.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

How many times do you think one can play Bach's English Suite No. 2 in A minor on the piano before one has completely squandered the good will of the neighbor who slipped the note under the door saying "I'm always so happy when I hear you playing the piano when I walk past your door," not to mention the goodwill of the neighbors above, below and next door?

It's a lovely thing, the suite, but forcing it on everyone within hearing distance once a day for a month is probably cruel and unusual punishment. And whoever wrote that note is no doubt wondering whatever possessed her to write it, and sending a wide range of colorful curses in my general direction.

The Swedish word for the day is besatt. It means obsessed.

- by Francis S.