Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ground source geothermal
or Why do Americans love oil burners?

Today’s entry arises because I began my dark winter day here in Sweden at 6 AM by reading the New York Times Editorial on Energy. At the point in the editorial where it was time for the NYT writer to use the obligatory words “renewable energy” the writer followed with the only two kinds the Times is acquainted with – solar and wind.

I have submitted 7 Letters to the NYT Editors asking if they just might insert Ground-source geothermal (GSG), and have written the same in every comment that the NYT has dutifully accepted – probably 15 to date.

So here, once again as on July 23d, a primer on GSG. But first a question. Why do Americans still love oil and natural gas furnaces? I lived for 40 years with oil burners in America and I never saw one I liked. The only kind word I can say about them is that unlike the natural gas furnaces in Brighton, New York where I then lived they at least the oil burners did not explode and destroy houses. Small praise.

The NTT's much loved solar and wind are just fine in their place but they do not work 24/7 and they are all too visible for some folks and even too loud (wind turbines) for others. Compare those situations with what you see here in several not very dramatic images. (Images may not all be here in first post, later!)


When you see this sign (here on Nov 11) you will know you are close
Apelgatan 7 silent heat exchanger
Lets’s  start at Apelgatan 7, where I live. It has been snowing hard all day but thanks to this little white box, it is warm here in my living room and there is a plentiful supply of hot water for showers or the like. The little box is a completely silent Heat Exchanger (HE). A few kilometers from here a state of the art Municipal Waste Incinerator burns the trash and supplementary fuel to heat water that flows through a pipe to my heat exchanger 24/7. Imagine! That little box about 3 feet high replaced a gigantic oil tank and an all too large and loud oil burner.
Why wouldn’t you choose the white box in an instant, if you had a choice?

Beats me.
Invisible borehole

Now let’s go next door to Apelgatan 9 or at least to the front yard as it looked this morning. Apelgatan 9 is heated by Ground Source Geothermal (Bergvärme in Swedish). The heat comes from a 120 meter deep drill hole next to the flag pole. Sorry, nothing to see there. As I said, invisible renewable is better. Inside Apelgatan 9 there is also a heat exchanger, more nearly refrigerator size than mine, but still clean and white and working 24/7.


So can some American please stand up and tell me why he or she would prefer to have an oil or natural gas burner rather than one of those white boxes.


You may think that Americans do not know that GSG and Municipal Waste Incineration systems have so much to offer. True, for the majority and especially for the NYT. Yet there is a ray of light as may be seen at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.

Consider this building Perry Hall Large, recently renovated, and heated (now) and cooled (then in July) by GSG. 

Perry Hall heated and cooled by what you see below - GSG
If you look very carefully on either side of the walkway you will see two well heads. Here is one of them close up. Ground water comes up through this well.
Well head
Heat exchanger
This water passes through this heat exchanger (to the right) in the basement, and is returned to the ground through the other well. Simple, right? Works 24/7 right? And as close to invisible as you can get without being completely invisible.

 Imagine the oil burner system this heat exchanger replaced. Why would you want that?

The State of Vermont is using this technology in Bennington and some day maybe Vermonters will decide that it is time to change. Maybe even you will consider it is time to change. Here’s hoping.

And as the song from my long-ago childhood told us  
"The weather outside is frightful, but the fire inside's delightful, 
so since there's no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." 

Even if the "fire" is without flame!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Corren, Linköping och Burlington, Vermont -Till min förvåning

Preface for you who do not read Swedish. This post was triggered by an Email from a Swedish musician in the group Vindra (find them on MySpace etc) who was replying to a Letter to the Editor of Corren, the local newspaper here in Linköping, Sweden. That Letter refers readers to my blog where, they are told, they can learn about the music scene in Burlington, Vermont.

Välkommna, Ni som kanske har läst Corren i dag 14/8 2010. Först tack till fotografen Ola Axman som tog en fotograf av en ensam människa med laptop (kunde varit mig) som sitter ensam vid ett av Linköpings tomma torg.

Nu eftersom jag just upptäckt till min förvåning att Corren publicerat insändare som jag skickade för kanske 3 veckor sedan, ville jag skapa post utan att vänta. Ni kan se bilder av Linköping i min post 7/8 och av Burlingtons musik scen med det senaste The 4th of July (Independence Day) och andra om Ni klickar på Older Posts.

Church Street (till höger) är världens bästa gågata. Färgrik, tusentals gående från tidigt på morgonen till sent på kvällen. Restauranger som Red Square här erbjuder Live Music för alla, inte bara för kunderna.


Från den ena änden av Church Street till den andra finns gatumusiker som visat Church Street Committee vad de är för musiker och vad de kan.

Här två tjejer (nedan till höger) som spelar dragspel och gitarr och sjunger med mycket bra harmoni. (Mina äldre inlägg visar ett litet urval av andra sorters musiker.)

Men det finns även rappare som den här killen till höger

Och till slut för i dag en bild av en Burlington Breakdance Group som gör breakdance till musik som får hela publiken att klappa för att uppmuntra dessa "wild and crazy" dansare.

Varje dag, flera gånger, det bästa som finns














  
Det var Burlington, Vermont under ett par timmar på
The 4th of July

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Magda's aria - So ends kammarmusik festivalen

Outside Styrsö kyrkan on the First Day of August in the Year of Our Lord 2010 the scene is serene leading perhaps to thoughts of Elegy in A Country Church Yard.

Within the church, the full orchestra has gathered to carry us and Susanna through to the end of these three evenings of sheer delight.


Here a small sample of orchestra and soloist on this concluding evening.

video


We who filled the church this last evening need just one more song, the encore or "extra nummer" from soloist and orchestra. Our applause and foot stamping - a Swedish custom - brings results and Susanna explains to us that she is going to sing an aria that we perhaps have not heard so often, "åtminstone inte på Styrsö"


The aria is "Chi il bel sogno di Doretto"
"Who can interpret Doretta's dream?" and it is Magda (Susanna) who tells those around her that in the dream Doretta remembers a student who kissed her and, in this remembrance, Doretta realizes that "love is the key to happiness". The music alone opens the floodgates for many listeners, and now, "Even On Styrsö" we know Magda's aria. Act 1 of the opera, La Rondine, ends with Magda disguised and leaving alone, perhaps hoping to find true love now that she is in disguise.






Here is our Styrsö Magda, alone and waiting for the true love that Doretta's dream holds before her. And, yes, this is a fairy tale, so our Magda's true love soon appears to the left on the steps.



Our Styrsö Magda then spreads her wings taking flight - like the swallow (Forse, como la rondine) that fortune teller Prunier has told her she can become - and she is last seen high over the island where all this magic - hers and others - has taken place.

Footnote: I tried to enter the YouTube URL that would take you to Leontyne Price's version of Magda's aria but blogspot would not let me do that. You can find it and other versions.







.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kammarmusik 31 juli Lennie mm


video  
What I love to hear
Here in the video clip you see my good friend, Lennie, who, like I, landed in Sweden as a result of marrying "en göteborska". He gets to start this clip laying out one of the themes for you to hear. After awhile, konsermästaren Josef is given his place in the sun playing this theme - and then, what I love most is Lennie taking off in rush and, at the right moment, known only to the others, they come in and we are off on the chase. So since this is all very personal and my chance to thank people, "tack Eva", I have been endlessly happy that Lennie is on this side of the Atlantic.
video
 And here, to my surprise (uploading and placement are two blog processes that have minds of their own, so although my good intentions were that Susanna and violinist (Josef, I think) would appear at the end, here they are in the middle.Click and you shall see - and hear!

Here yet another gem, violinist Ingrid with the Keith Jarrett of classical piano, Terése, directing at the piano. (A footnote that is inserted here because I do not think blogger allows for footnote - If I have named someone incorrectly, if you wish to correct or delete anything I have written or shown, just let me know at lwlundgren@gmail.com and I will correct  - edit - the post.        
So all you wonderful people out there, I hope you were as happy on this Friday evening as Ingrid and Terése were when you showed them what you thought of their performance. I am having, as usual on Friday night, a ball!





                                                                                                                                           n

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bara på Styrsö-Only in Styrsö kyrkan


Som sagt tidigare, efter Burlington, Vermont, saknade Linköping något. Live music perhaps. Yet a solution was at hand. Go west "young man", go west to västkusten Göteborg och vidare ut till Anns ö, Styrsö. There all one had to do on Friday evening to solve the music withdrawal problem was to take a walk.

The first song I learned in Swedish when in Oulu Finland in 1968 was Vi skall gå hand i hand, genom skogen du och jag (We will go hand in hand, through the forest you and I), and here is the forest called Arbores skog (a "lund" actually from which you learn the meaning of the first part of my last name, Lundgren). But I digress.

At the end of the trail, we have "gotten to the church on time" where we open the iron gate and enter Styrsö kyrkan under the 1752 telling us that the church is more than 250 years old.


Well inside, we are welcomed by Minister Agneta with the same words "...Ni är varmt välkommna..." with which she has welcomed her flock - and more - during the preceding eight years and this time to Styrsö kammar musik dagar 30, 31juli och 1 augusti 2010.

Here in this first post you see small samples of what Prästen Agneta, herself a trained vocalist, has brought to us Only in Sweden, Only in Styrsö kyrkan, with the support of who knows how many others. Fråga inte mig.

Terés and Johan
Charlotte
All I can do here is show you what you have missed. For the most part you must use your imagination to hear the music, all of it at the highest level, making every moment a Magic Moment (an LWL - that's me - coinage)






And to close this first effort, only a picture of soloist Susanna Andersson
Det skulle ha blivit video här men jag kunde inte upload. ADDED 5 AUGUST - I WAS ABLE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO TO MY FACEBOOK SO IF YOU ARE A FACEBOOK FRIEND YOU CAN LOOK THERE. OR SEND ME EMAIL AND I WILL LINK YOU TO THAT VIDEO IN WHICH SHE IS SINGING PUCCINIS Oh mio babbino caro.


Eat your heart out, her singing of this well known song was gorgeous and since she is looking in Sture's direction I am reminded as always of an American Standard, They're writing songs of love, but not for me, she's singing songs of love but not for me. Jag återkommer. Just a simple country boy.
To be continued, förhoppningsviss

Med ett stort tack till Ann på Styrsö, kvinnan som bodde alldeles ensam i ett ensamt hus på en öde ö

Friday, July 23, 2010

Even in Burlington, Vermont

Three or four summers ago –long ago to put it simply-I sat up on Mount Philo in Charlotte, Vermont and looked out over this scene.  Lake Champlain and beyond that out of sight the Adirondack Mountains of New York State and directly below me many large and expensive homes on broad expanses of grass

A beautiful view, every day, but I had other thoughts arising from the fact that I live in Sweden where the word “bergvaerme” (geothermal energy from bedrock) is a household word. Why so? Because in a country of 9 million people there are to date 370,000 geothermal energy systems in use. "Only in Sweden", I thought.

My next thought was: “I’ll bet that all of these expensive homes are heated by oil or natural gas.” Why so, if the USA is in such great need of freeing itself from fossil fuel dependence.?

 I wrote a letter to the Burlington Free Press (BFP) and sent Emails to five University of Vermont Professors. My suggestion that geothermal might be an alternative was ridiculed in the BFP. No professor answered my Email. Geothermal?  “Never in Vermont” apparently

In my city in Sweden, Linkoeping, the oil burner is practically extinct. My home, like most, is heated by hot water piped from a high-tech municipal waste incinerator. My neighbor’s home, like many others is heated  by closed-loop geothermal.

Now  these many years later there are small signs of hope blowing in the wind – no wind turbines below Mount Philo, you may have noted. The most visible sign of hope came from an initiative taken by the Senator from Vermont, the honorable Bernie Sanders who held a forum in 2010 where geothermal was mentioned for the first time. But talk is not action.

And then, in this the summer of 2010, I found two signs of actions taken. 

The first I discovered – thanks to my UVM daughter number one – was the well hidden existence of a geothermal system at the Vermont Vietnam Memorial on Route I-89 just after you enter Vermont from New Hampshire. Here it is. Have you been there?

If you have I will bet you never knew that the beautiful building is cooled and heated by geothermal energy. No oil, no wind turbine, no chimney, no smoke -  a geothermal system is invisible. You won’t learn much about geothermal there, but maybe that can change. “Never in Sweden” a welcoming rest place with free coffee,  I might add.

But now, July 2010, Eureka. I visited  Champlain College in Burlington and found a professor to whom I posed this question: “Do you know where the geothermal project is. He (Name to be added if I can find his card) said, yes, follow me, after a short walk he pointed to this building, Perry Hall, soon to be the new Admissions Office complete with brand new geothermal  system. Nice place. Cool in the both the  geothermal sense and the vernacular.

Today I close by showing you the two essential elements of a geothermal system used here (open-loop system is the term). More  another day. 
 
In looking at these two small elements you will realize, I hope, why geothermal goes unnoticed and unremarked. On the left, the source well, with the bottom deep in the bedrock below the site. Cool water is pumped up from this well and into the heat exchanger and heat pump system in the basement of Perry Hall.

On the right, the return well through which the slightly warmer water is returned to the bedrock.  


Water in, water out. More another day. It works. In Perry Hall, at least, the oil burner is extinct. And in signing off, thanks to Michel George of Champlain College who in good time will tell you the whole story at the Champlain College web site. And if any UVM Professor reads this, Why not "Even at UVM"?

Footnote added 24 July 2010 The Champlain College web site has a complete photo album on Perry Hall but no photos of the geothermal system. Therefore the two above can serve as a complement and soon additional photos in a new post on the system inside. The URL is:


http://www.champlain.edu/News-and-Events/News/Perry-Hall-June-2010.html

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On July 14th , if you read New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s column Seduction, Slavery and Sex, you were quickly be led to not one but two Only in Sweden phenomena of interest to columnist Kristof.

His opening line? “Against all odds, this year’s publishing sensation is a trio of thrillers by a dead Swede relating tangentially to human trafficking and sexual abuse. ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ series tops the best-seller lists (in the USA)”

You do not know what and who he is referring to?

Here is some help. Walk into your nearest Borders Bookstore and here is what you may see (what I saw in June in Borders in Burlington, Vermont). THE TRIO!




And, if you have not met the heroine of the novels and the films then here she is, Lisbeth Salander in the (Swedish) films, Noomi Rapace as actress and Swedish citizen.

 


He continues by noting that “ A trio of best-selling Swedish novels, along with legislation, are shining a light on human trafficking and prostitution”. He neglects to mention that trafficking in Sweden was first put in the spotlight by the Lucas Moodyson (also Swedish citizen) film Lilja 4-ever. But what about the legislation?

The legislation to which he calls our attention is the “sexkoepslagen” The law dealing with payment for sexual services. Since he realizes that few women who have been trafficked have the resources and the will to deal with abusers as Lisbeth Salander does, he recommends that legislators in the USA and elsewhere consider adopting the Swedish law as a step toward decreasing trafficking.

Many of the 162 readers agree with him and express in their comments their strong support for taking such action. As one of the 162, and as far as I can tell the only one writing from Sweden, I support his goal but suggest that much more careful examination of the effects of the law are needed before taking such action.
The law says that it is a criminal offense to pay for sexual services. This in contrast with an older view that it is a criminal offense to sell such services. The law has been in effect since 1999. The question is the same as with all well intentioned laws – has it significantly decreased prostitution or more specifically trafficking? Kristof says that it has but cites no sources.

A counter view is widely held, one that says that the law simply motivated sellers and buyers to move even more quickly from the street to the internet. I cannot provide sources at this writing providing data, but I take this opportunity to call attention to a serious study of the larger subject, prostitution in Sweden, a study that undoubtedly bears upon the law against the selling of sex and on trafficking.

First the study, then a closing note on a current court case.

The study is a Ph.D. dissertation with title (in translation from the Swedish) “Is sex work? Swedish and German Prostitution Politics Since the 1970s.” The author is German-born Susanne Dodillet who now holds a Ph. D. from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden after successfully defending her dissertation in 2009.

As I understand from the extensive coverage of her dissertation, she is convinced that her research shows that the German policy of legalizing prostitution is the better approach to dealing with both trafficking and the abuse of women who sell sexual services.

(She has kindly provided me with an eBook of her dissertation, which is some 600 plus pages long, so I eventually can correct the simple assertion above.) Since her dissertation is in Swedish, anyone interested in learning more must turn to possible future publications in the peer reviewed English language literature or contact her directly.

The goal of this post is in principle to note that Kristof and readers seem to have an overly optimistic view of the beneficial effects of the Swedish sex law. In my experience, especially before I moved to Sweden in 1996, I all too often held such optimistic views about human behavior in Sweden.

There is at this time a case that went to trial on July 5th in Sundsvall, Sweden, that is already shaping renewed discussion of the sex for pay law. A man has been held for managing the sale of sexual services provided by five women for at least 400 men, all via the internet. Here are 400 men each of whom potentially could have been charged under the law but who, of course, were not. What conclusions might be drawn about the effectiveness of the law from this case? We shall see.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Yes, Only in Sweden finns the Magnum Gold Ice Cream Bar

If you have read the last two or three, you understand the theme. Some things happen Only in Sweden, others Never, things such as the masterful playing of fine music on the street.

Men eftersom det är fredag kväll på den dagen då man ropar högt TGIF tänker jag visa alla något som bidrar till ett fint firande av TGIF, något som finns Only in Sweden.

The object of my affection, which contributes so much to celebrating TGIF is called Magnum Gold, created just for the Summer of 2010. So look at the picture, and, if you happen to be on the - in this case - wrong side of the Atlantic, eat your heart out.

Or better yet, contact the manufacturer and open a franchise in the US of A.

Here it is, with its more ordinary partner, whose name I have never mastered. And now that Friday the 23d has passed, I can reveal to you what is inside these packages. It is true that svenskheten (Swedishness, a beloved concept in the debate section of newspapers) really requires the consumption of large amounts of alcohol on Friday night.

But since I am Swedish in name only, my excess is in the consumption of the two forms of ice cream shown in the pics to the right. In the Hokanson, Jaederqvist, and Lundgren families  who emigrated to America in the 1870s, svenskeheten was synonymous with being absolutist, which means the total avoidance of alcohol. Thus every Sunday was celebrated at my great aunt Hokanson's house by indulging in the consumption of 10 different kinds of ice cream. I keep that tradition alive, but only on Fridays.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Linköping 8 juli - tystnaden och tomheten

Jag antar att du som kan läsa svenska har tittat på föregående post (Church Street 4th of July) från Burlington, Vermont. Om du inte gjort det föreslår jag att du först titta på dem. Bilderna visar vad man upplever där sju dagar i veckan fast med nya musiker - för att inte prata om Break Dancers - varje dag. Jag kommer att visa Break Dancers i en ny post inom dem närmaste dagarna. Jag tillbringade 3 veckor i Burlington.

Tillbaka i staden Linköping där jag bor i Sverige gick jag direkt till Centrum för att se vilka som spelar där.

Två bilder tagna på samma dagstid som dem i Burlington talar sitt eget språk, därför behöver jag inte skriva mer.

                                          Gyllentorget kl. 16.10 8 juli 2010 - Linköping, Sverige


                                        Trädgårdstorget kl. 16.00 8 juli 2010 Linköping, Sverige

Monday, July 5, 2010

Church Street - "Doing" on the 4th of July

Yesterday I wrote that what I want to do is show what people are doing on Church Street and who is there on  Church Street. Here is a moment on time on the 4th of July, a moment lasting long enough for me to move from one point to another. More slowly than normal, I might add, thanks to a protesting thigh muscle damaged in the Clarence Demar Memorial 5 km race in South Hero earlier in the day - 8:30 AM to be exact.

So let's get down on Church Street, seen from Brueggers Bagels at a rare instant of pedestrian free pavement. To my left at that moment was a very fine guitarist (Eric LaFave)  playing his own music entirely for his own pleasure - and ours. A bit further along the street we are in another musical world, that of Johan Sebastian Bach played from memory by a very young violinist.

Eric LaFave suggested that I also wander up or down Church Street to find an accordion player he thought well of. Up around Borders Books I found a fine accordion player although apparently not the one he had in mind.


Here is a "For the 4th of July All American Accordion Player with Ten Gallon Hat". Having just finished a rousing Stars and Stripes Forever complete with the closing piccolo line she moved on to Irving Berlin, Dancing Cheek to Cheek. A song like that from the American Songbook does not leave people unmoved, as you see here from a dancing duo who had no truck with that "Cheek to Cheek" approach.
I myself would rather have been dancing than photographing but photographing gave me the chance to close by showing you two of the many attentive listeners and watchers. 

Only a small figure here in the background, a woman who came to the USA from Cambodia via Vietnam twenty years earlier, finding herself on the 4th of July in Burlington with a very small child as attentive as anyone else at this end of Church Street.     
 
Here she is, small child born in the USA!

Closing notes. Anyone who is shown here and wishes to have his or her picture removed let me know. LWLundgren@gmail.com

And, as you can see, I am not yet conversant with formatting within blogspot. The layout I see as I write isnot the layout I will see in Preview and therefore not in the posted form. So bear with me, I can only improve "eller?"                                                                                                                                                     .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Doing and being

As you may have figured out, I am photographing life in Burlington as seen on the street and in the parks. You cannot have figured out that back in Linkoeping, Sweden I will do the same thing at the same times daytime and early evening in Linkoepings corresponding public places.

There are two or three things on my mind, as you may also have figured out. Here are two.

What's happening?
What is going on out there? What are people doing on a Friday and Saturday in a small city in America?
Who's there?
Who are the people out there? Bystanders, watchers, performers - people

Here are samples. Then I am on my way back. No time to be hanging out creating blog posts but a sample might be worthwhile.

Here is Sid, 14 years old. Playing Miles Davis Four, for example.

Here is a face, on paper. The original will be revealed tomorrow, perhaps.

And to close this off for the afternoon, here is a face and a bass.

American faces, American music - Only fitting given that it is the 4th of July tomorrow. I will celebrate early since the Clarence Demar Memorial Race takes place in South Hero at 8 AM.

Stay tuned.
July 2d - Let Me Count the Ways Continued.

In the beginning of July 2, I found Michel George of Champlain College in a transformed ice house on Battery Street. More about that another day. On leaving the Ice House, I was faced with this question- What's your passion?

I won't transcribe what I wrote but the words are the skeleton of a text on counting the ways.

Friday night on Church Street defies description. Images not yet edited will tell part of the story sometime. They will help to tell the story answering the question "What is the central experience that life in the USA, at least Church Street USA, offers that is an alternative definition of American Exceptionalism?" Not to worry, no pedagogy tonight.

Here you simply see the place to which I retreat when sensory overload threatens. Muddy Waters Coffee House on a Friday night at about 8 PM - three people, one of them in the middle with Sicilian background supplemented by St. George backup, who asked the simple question, "What pictures have you been taking?" The answer will begin tomorrow.

For the present, just wish yourself to be in this picture and say to the man in the middle "Small dark here."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let Me Count the Ways

I promised on the 19th of June to start writing and now on July 1 I understand that I will have to go into retirement to write everything that I want to tell the world (my one blog reader, if that). The Sufi "mystic" Rumi wrote in Farsi (Persian) that there are a hundred ways to pray, and English speaking poets have taken the liberty to express that as "There are a hundred ways to kiss the earth."

In a sense, they are one and the same statement as I hope you can see from my annual homage to my mountain, Camels Hump Mountain in Vermont. The picture was taken today at the summit but the wind was blowing so hard and the rain was driving horizontally that I only had one chance and had to take shelter a bit lower down.

That is one of the ways I love Vermont or being in Vermont.

Another way I love Vermont is that in Burlington, Vermont, I am given endless opportunities to enjoy environments like this one, Speeder Earls Coffee on Pine Street. Never in Sweden, sadly.

And here at Speeder Earls I take chances and occasionally ask a question as I did just now - no picture. A woman was engaged in discussion with two young women with magnificent corn rows (there may be a more accurate name but that is the best I can do) who looked as if they might have African roots in the sense that they, unlike the standard African-American, were born there. I asked and I was rewarded. The three were discussing something planned - perhaps - by the Vermont Multicultural Alliance for Democracy. My question always is - What languages do you speak? Here part of the answer was French, Swahili, English, and ?. Now you, my lonely reader can place them in the country to which NPR has devoted much of its day, the country freed from King Leopold Fifty years ago. They are not (yet) in the picture.

So let us hope the pictures appear here, then I must leave. But stay tuned!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Never On Line

I'm in the USA now and enjoying every minute of it. I have promised various people that I will start writing again here but not quite yet. I am on the Massachusetts coast - with luck there will be a pic or two here to prove that - with one new family member arriving each day. So with so much to talk about, serious blog entries will have to wait. Perhaps if I list what I want to write about I will force myself to act.
1) Enjoyable experiences without exception at each medical caregiver I visit. (Since I benefit from the USAs "Socialized medicine" called Medicaid, I make the most of the chance to check up on everything while I am here, all at no cost.)

2)The well known friendliness of all kinds of people, something that is experienced most dramatically before, during, and after each 5 km race I take part in. So far Day of Portugal last Sunday and tomorrow, the 21st Father's Day Race in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

3)My endless unsuccessful efforts to get the New York Times to accept and publish a letter from me in which I use Sweden as a guide for Barack Obama's Clean Energy Policy, which so far is only a phrase.

So let's see if I can sign off with a picture of my beloved Horseneck Beach. There is what I see as I walk from the dunes to the beach. And perhaps there is even me in my traditional stance - celebrating!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Time to talk about Energy, Swedish style

Added 18:07 Swedish time - At the bottom of this post is the URL to the comment on the Friedman article in the New York Times to which I refer.

On the other side of the Atlantic the two major news items of the day - 5 May 2010 - are about the BP oil-rig failure in the Gulf of Mexico and the capture of the Pakistani-American said to have admitted being the "Times Square (almost) Bomber."

The BP oil-rig failure has given at least some of the "Drill baby, drill" (for oil that is) enthusiasts cause for pause. Arnold S. (the one in California) has proclaimed "Not here, not now, never." Sarah Palin has not been heard from as far as I know.

This has led me to try to find a few free minutes to begin again my small-scale campaign to find someone in The Green Mountain State (Vermont), my home-away-from-home who is truly knowledgeable about what is called here in Sweden "bergvärme" and in the USA by some as ground-source heat.

I have sent a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times (always an exercise in futility), inquiries to the Burlington Free Press (only residents may have their letters published), and even to Senator Bernie Sanders who at least seems to know what geothermal energy means.

In today's New York Times OnLine I have already read Tom Friedman's plea for serious energy policy och till min förvåning see that already the Times had approved 32 comments. (Usually no comments get approved until around 7 AM Eastern Time). I have submitted mine. Let's see what happens. (Added 18:07 - The Times readers liked my comment)

Stay tuned

URL to my comment on the Friedman article recommended by 31 of the 109 and selected by the site.

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/opinion/05friedman.html

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marja, Afghanistan Reality

Yes, three weeks have gone by since I could report on something completely enjoyable. Since writing that entry I have listened to many of the tracks on Live at the Black Door and have ordered Tony Whedon's book from Amazon. These pleasant interludes are always played against a darker background, the daily reports of an America that seems more and more dysfunctional at home, yet fully willing to wage war half a world away.

Therefore I enter my comment just submitted to the New York Times "At War" section - NYT must approve every entry so if you were to go to the NYT OnLine and then to At War (today a box shows down on the right hand side on the first web page) you might not see my comment. I enter it here to tell anyone who might read this that that person would be well advised to go to the NPR URL further down the page and listen to one of the few people I would trust to report from Afghanistan, NPRs Soray Sahaddi Nelson who speaks Farsi and Dari and is therefore far better qualified than most to know what is going on there.

Submitted as Comment to the NYT At War

The At War entries are essential reading and should be given Front Page position. This particular entry originally titled Who Are We Fighting in Marja (still the title seen on the first web page) now corrected to Who Is Fighting in Marja is important and, of course, leads many commentators to raise the question “Why Are American Military Fighting in Marja?”

I recommend that you who are reading Who is Fighting in Marja and my entry here go ASAP to the following URL

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123898317


where you will be taken to both the transcript and the podcast of the gifted and brave Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson of NPR who reports in this podcast from her position as embedded reporter in Marja. You will hear her report on the death of a young Navajo American not long after the picture of him was taken that appears in this story.

Then you will hear something expressed by her that Barack Obama should have considered before he, Nobel Peace Prize winner, decided to become the War President in Afghanistan. Sarhaddi Nelson first corrects one military estimate that it will take 30 days “to clear” this area, stating that the estimates she heard from military officials were 60 to 90 days.

Then, much more important, she addresses the question “What exactly does ‘cleared’ mean?” She says that the supposedly cleared area is still occupied by IEDs in the ground – a few feet away – and by people – call them what you will – who are shooting from scattered locations within the cleared area. Call it \"cleared\" if you will but consider carefully what that might mean.

In short, what happens the day the military leave? I asked my Iraqi friends and my lone Afghani friend on Friday what they think. The Afghani said – leave now. Many others said that Barack Obama, who first gave them some hope, should never have made the decision to send the 30,000 even though it might well have meant he would be only a one-term president. I agree.

Larry Lundgren only-neverinsweden.blogspot.com

Linkoeping Sweden - US citizen, however.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sound of Surprise(s)

Whitney Balliett, long the jazz critic for The New Yorker, once, long ago, wrote a book The Sound of Surprise. That phrase SoS is never far from the surface in my memory because it so well captured what jazz has meant to me – there is always a surprise waiting just around the corner precisely when you thought the corner would not be taken by surprise.

So this is about a series of surprises that have captured me Body and Soul these last 72 hours. (Also at the surface of my memory are a thousand song titles, with lyrics to match – no chord progressions sad to say, so why not recycle them, titles and lyrics?)

"It’s Three O’clock in the Morning” on January 30th, and I am sleeping but in which state of sleep I do not know. Sounds are pouring in, however, sounds from Vermont Public Radio (VPR) OnLine, sounds that were first, when I was falling asleep those of All Things Considered.

A few minutes later consciousness began to take over, opened up by jazz from somewhere by somebody – the first of the surprises – and then, the second surprise superimposed on the first, a poetic voice - soloing. Now, briefly, short-term memory took over to remind me that I had read at VPR OnLine that a jazz and poetry group, PoJazz, would be performing live at VPR’s studio in Burlington, Vermont. All that a recently sleeping brain could take in at the time was impressions, mostly impressions of wonder and a question: "How was it possible for this to be happening – northern Vermont is not NYC but it sounded that way.

A few hours later – maybe 5 or so – my morning story began by opening George Thomas page at VPR to get a glimpse of the sources of my surprises. A few hours later – 7:30 AM Vermont time/13:30 Swedish time, I was composing an Email to Tony Whedon, trombonist and poet and leader of the group PoJazz. Then that Email was on its way across the Atlantic that my grandparents (some of them) and my great grandparents (some of them) had crossed a century and then-some ago.

Exactly one hour later there in my Gmail was the most delightful reply anyone could ever ask for – from Tony Whedon in little Johnson, Vermont, starting his day with words of surprise and coincidence. What surprise, what coincidence? How had he been starting his day?

Let him speak: “I’d been listening to Monika Zetterlund singing “Waltz for Debbie” with Bill Evans…it’s just beautiful”

Well Monika Zetterlund is, of course, the Swedish jazz singer who became a soulmate to Bill Evans. Coincidence right from the world of Paul Auster - Tony Wehdon gets the first Email in his life from Sweden while he is listening to Monika.

So lets let her (in Swedish) and Bill Evans (universal piano language)help you to understand how Tony Whedon started his day by hearing a voice from where I was writing (Sweden) with a piano “voice” from where I used to live (the US of A), two voices brought together here thanks to YouTube.

I have been able to embed the polished in-performance version, but the rehearsal version is blocked from embedding. (It is 23.00 here in Linköping and I have just come home from orchestra and am listening to the rehearsal version at the bottom of the post. I suggest you go down and copy the URL at the bottom of this post and just get lost listening and watching - if this does not speak to you, nothing will. But it will.)


Here is the URL to the both beautiful and touching session where Bill Evans and bassist Eddie Gomez are in the foreground and Monica Zetterlund is taking in what she hears before telling them OK "nu kör vi". I started by writing that jazz is about surprise but here you can see and hear that it is also about listening - so don't miss it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tp-nbchmHU&feature=player_embedded

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vi är bara - eller först och främst - människor/individer

Klockan är bara 6:23 på en mörk - what else is new - måndag morgon i det långa landet och jag har just läst en sådan fascinerande blandning av mejl och Facebook från 6 INDIVIDER att jag skriver några meningar medan jag väntar ringa en av mina döttrar. Jag skriver i fall Wide kollar bloggen innan jag hinner skriver något seriös.

Wide vi kan ej kommunicera via inlännings blogg som heter inlanning i html världen eftersom hon är på väg till Bangladesh och sannolikt har inte tid att kolla vad vi skriver där. Men jag gick tillbaka till boken Who Speaks for Islam och sedan till motsvarande OnLine bok som handlar om muslimer i USA för att se om forskarna vid Gallup Institute USA hade förklarat var gränsen gick när de valde "muslimer" som skulle intervjuas.

Så långt jag kan se har de inte förklarat men ett par intressanta fakta dök upp. I USA är muslimer genomsnittligt bättre utbildade än den genomsnittliga amerikansk medborgare. Det var nummer 1. Nummer två, de har högre inkomst än "the average". Never in Sweden, det är jag säker på.

Varför skulle du eller jag eller någon bry sig om någon är 100% muslim (kristen, jude osv) ellet 25% eller vad? Jag skall fråga mina vänner. Men jag vet att inom vissa kretser - judiska och islamiska - får man inte lämna den religionen man är född i. Jag googlade lite efter "apostasy" och man snabbt hittar seriösa artiklar som visar vilket stort ämne det är.

För mig borde var och en läsa On Identity av Amin Malouuf och försöker leva som han lever. That's all for now.

jag anger min alternativa epost adress temporärt Lawrence.Lundgren@tele2.se

Friday, January 15, 2010

Allt om muslimer i det långa landet

TGIF så bara ett litet inlägg för att hänvisa en tänkbar läsare till en som vet "Allt om muslimer i det långa landet".
http://inlanning.blogspot.com. Jag upptäckte hennes blogg då jag läste om 10 muslimer i Svenska Dagbladet. Hon har en fot i tre olika länder (kanske fler) och det innebär att hon har tre fötter. Länderna är Pakistan, Sverige, och Kanada.

Det pågår i Sverige just nu en sorts debatt om Who Speaks for Islam (jag skriver titeln till den bok som hittills finns bara på engelska). I Sverige verkar det som om olika regeringar lyssnar bara på självutvalda representanter som Dilsa Demirbag-Sten döpt i debatt artikeln i DN 10/1 Skäggiga män (jag fixar bättre senare). Dokumentär filmaren Evin Rubar erbjöd en suverän film som gav fyra sådana chansen att "put their feet in their mouths" (vet inte vad uttrycket heter på svenska. Men SVT tagit bort.

Sådana som bloggaren inlanning (som är muslim) och jag som inte är muslim vill försöka förklara för den stora gruppen som anser att muslimer är en homogen grupp att de har fel. Det är poängen med boken Who Speaks for Islam: What One Billion Muslims Think. Boken publicerades i USA där det finns många muslimer som talar ut som inte tänker som dem skäggiga gubbarna. Och inlanning kan säkert berätta eftersom hon är kanadensare att det finns kvinnor i Kanada som tänker fritt om Islam - fråga henne.

Jag tror att vi vill bara säga till var och en - försök hitta två muslimer som du kan prata med och bara försöka lyssna på dem och hoppas att dem kan lyssna på dig. Bara fråga dem - vad är några viktiga delar av ditt identitet?

Try it? Now TGIF som betyder Thank God Its Friday which translates into - enjoy yourself as I am writing this at 21.28 in Sweden where det är fortfarande skäggiga gubbar som media, regeringar (pluralis), och tidningar anser Speak for Islam. Om du säger så till mig säger jag tillbaka, Genenoni, genenoni!

Have a good one!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alone and Mindful in Sweden - Abraham's Children


My reflections Alone and Mindful in Linköping, Sweden just as the Oak Tree in my Facebook Photo Album was Alone and Mindful on New Year’s Day 2010.

In Rochester, New York the families closest to me/us were either all Jewish or were families with either a Jewish husband or wife. I/we had the chance to get to experience the extraordinary range in some of these families – Orthodox to Reform to Secular – and something about their traditions and customs. One of them, our neighbor Nathan, born in Poland had fled from the Nazis and in Iraqi Kurdistan had had his life saved by Kurds who made it possible for him and his family to continue to India and eventually to Rochester, New York to become our neighbor.

In Linköping, Sweden the families closest to me have their roots in Iraqi Kurdistan and in African Eritrea. Some are Christian, some are Muslim. As I got to know these families I often commented that their family gatherings reminded me most of my Jewish friends in Rochester.

One of the great gifts given to me as a result of moving to Sweden was the chance to work at the Red Cross helping and being helped by people of all faiths and no faiths who have fled war and persecution to find refuge in Sweden. One of them, Ala B., is an Arab from Jerusalem who has been one of my windows into that world.

My message is very simple. We are first and foremost human beings (människor) who by the accident of our birth were brought up in an environment that was shaped in part by Judaism, Islam, or Christianity. All of us are in that sense the Children of Abraham (see Bono project in New York Times today 3 January 2009). None of us is better than the other because of that. Each of us is perhaps better at doing something we have learned to do thus far in life. We can use my good friend Sonia as example – she sings a lot better than any of the rest of us – and in more languages than you can imagine. She sings so well, not because of her religion or "nationality" but because she has worked so hard.

So read the excerpts from this story published in the New York Times on New Year’s Eve. Then just ask yourself – please, snälla – can I take a little step to try to understand someone who is different from me and then see if by getting to know them what human qualities we have in common. And if that someone needs help I might give, can I give it?




Marya in wheelchair (born a Palestinian Muslim) and Orel (born an Israeli Jew)
(Neighbors and close friends - in Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem)

Marya, her 6-year-old brother, Momen, and their father, Hamdi Aman all are in Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem as patients

Orel and his mother Angela Elizarov, á surgical nurse, share a room in the same hospital. Angela’s husband, Avrel, works with children, and comes as often as possible to the hospital. The couple came to Israel from Azerbaijan

All quotations from NYT story - see NYT 31 December 2009

“Friendship often starts with proximity, but Orel and Marya, both 8, have been thrust together in a way few elsewhere have. Their playground is a hospital corridor. He (Orel) is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. She (Marya) is a Palestinian Muslim from Gaza paralyzed by an Israeli missile. Someone forgot to tell them that they are enemies.”

“When Orel arrived here a year ago, he could not hear, see, talk or walk. Now he does them all haltingly. Half his brain is gone--- Marya’s spinal cord was broken at the neck and she can move only her head. Smart, sunny and strong-willed, she moves her wheelchair by pushing a button with her chin”
“In a way, a friendship between two wounded children from opposing backgrounds is not that surprising. Neither understands the prolonged fight over land and identity that so divides people here. They are kids. They play.”

“But for those who have spent time in their presence at Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, it is almost more powerful to observe their parents, who do understand. They have developed a kinship that defies national struggle.”

Angela Elizarov (Orel’s mother): “The wounds of our children, their pain, our pain, have connected us,” …“Does it matter that he is from Gaza and I am from Beersheba, that he is an Arab and I am a Jew? It has no meaning to me. He sees my child and I see his child.”

Hamdi Aman (Marya’s father): “(He) is asked how he can live among the people whose army destroyed his family. ‘I have never felt there was a difference among people — Jews, Muslims, Christians — we are all human beings,’ he says. “I worked in Israel for years and so did my father. We know that it is not about what you are but who you are. And that is what I have taught my children.”

My (LL) final comment. These people are human beyond belief. They are role models functioning at the “angelic” level that few of us perhaps can approach. But each can try to move in that direction – one step at a time.

Larry
Linköping, Sweden early Sunday morning the 3 of January 2009.