Monday, July 30, 2007

When A. the TV producer was a little girl, she was cast as an extra in Fanny and Alexander, which I saw in Toronto when it was first released in 1983 - I suppose it was one of the only things Swedish that ever stuck in my mind in all the years before I moved here, the part in the movie when the whole family dances through the grand apartment hand in hand singing "nu är det jul igen."

Which means I would've seen her long before I met her - a strange thought, that.

But A. wasn't in the movie because she got the flu, and Bergman didn't want her on the set. Still, she remembers talking with him before she got sick.

Me, I've never met him, I've just seen a couple of movies and a play... I suppose one of the few advantages of knowing this obscure language is being able to see Ingmar Bergman pieces and not need subtitles.

But now there won't be any more plays, since Ingmar Bergman died today. I guess he's gone to the big green room in the sky where difficult and demanding directors go.

The Swedish word for the day is geni. It means genius.

- by Francis S.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wow. Apparently, the fact that when I'm drifting off to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night with an irrepressible urge to move my legs is due to my broad complex-tramtrack-bric-a-brac-domain 9 gene. Says the New York Times in an article about the discovery of the connection between the broad-complex tramtrack-bric-a-brac-domain 9 gene and, er, restless legs syndrome:

The new findings may also make restless legs syndrome easier to define, resolving disputes about how prevalent it really is. The disorder is a “case study of how the media helps make people sick,” two researchers at Dartmouth Medical School, Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz, wrote recently in the journal PLoS Medicine. They argued that its prevalence had been exaggerated by pharmaceutical companies and uncritical newspaper articles, and that giving people diagnoses and powerful drugs were serious downsides of defining the elusive syndrome too broadly.

Discovery of the genetic basis of the disorder “puts restless legs syndrome on a firmer footing,” said Dr. Christopher Earley, a physician at Johns Hopkins University who treats the malady.

Don't you love Dr. Earley's little joke? The copyeditors at the Times are obviously slacking off on their job to be as stuffy as possible.

I wonder if I'll get more sympathy from the husband now. Doubtfully, since he's the one who really suffers.

The Swedish word for the day is ben. It is both the singular and plural form for leg.

- by Francis S.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I think I've recovered from midsummer.

It only took me over a week. I guess that's what happens when you get old and you go to a party that lasts 15 hours, complete with princess and television personalities and minor celebrities of one sort and another, a liberal sprinkling of Monagasques, guests who arrived by helicopter, dances round the maypole, competitions that included one of the guests ripping off her top to reveal her (very expensive) perfect breasts as she hammered a nail into a board, screaming like a Valkyrie the whole time, lots and lots of herring (which amazingly, I think I'm starting to almost appreciate), barbecue, five hours of dancing wildly in a barn done up for the occasion, and lots and lots and lots of alcohol, almost too much in fact, I thought, my head on my chest and eyes closed as we made our way home in a taxi at 4:30 a.m. in broad daylight.

My friend the cat doctor, who had come along for the ride at the behest of A. the TV producer, was entranced, having me take pictures of him with the princess (to my husband's everlasting humiliation), yakking it up with people who are world-famous in Sweden unbeknownst to him, giving advice on a cat that was shown to him ("It looks like it has allergies, but perhaps you should have a vet look at it..."), trying to avoid an expatriate Swedish woman with a bit too much silicon in her lips who periodically terrorized him.

Me, I had a marvelous time, I haven't danced that much in ages.

The Swedish phrase for the day is helt utmattad. It means completely zonked.

- by Francis S.