Friday, November 27, 2009

November Fart of the Month

This months featured fart is the Utfart, or Outfart, meaning exit, in particular where you drive your car out of someplace. This should be an easy one to remember given the fact that whether you are thinking in english or swedish, an outfart is going to represent some sort of an exit. The utfart is a common thing and something that most people encounter daily, however not everyone is comfortable with using them, or with how others use them. Misuse of the utfart can lead to a messy situation, so as with most forms of fart, caution is the key. As we discussed last month regarding the farthinder, fart can be a very good and useful thing as long as it’s used in the appropriate manner and location. It should not be used carelessly and that is why you see so many various signs instructing us on how to use and manage fart. The utfart is no exception. One cannot just fart ut any place one chooses. Rather you should only fart ut in designated utfart locations, otherwise it can lead to chaos and property damage as well as put the health of others at risk. Try farting ut in the wrong place and and you are sure to annoy if not anger someone and maybe even get a ticket. It can be rather uncomfortable and even stressful when you need to utfart but cannot find the place to do it, however utfarts are usually clearly posted so this is seldom a problem. There is a clear need to regulate utfart and I feel these signs are are a responsible use of tax money. Remember to look both ways and make sure the coast is clear before you decide fart ut, because once you commit to it there’s no stopping.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Swedish Pizza

In a word…not that good. But at least it’s easy to find. Based on the number of pizza restaurants here, I think it’s more popular in Sweden than it is in Italy or Chicago. If you want to know the population of a town, all you have to do is count up the number a pizza joints they have there. The ratio seems to be roughly 1 pizza establishment per 1,000 people. For example, the town I live in has about 20,000 people and boasts no less than 20 pizza places, and this seems to be a pretty average proportion across the board. Quite a high density considering the quality of the product. The menus at these pizza places feature about 800 choices, but among those I have yet to find a pepperoni pizza. Or sausage. I always thought of pepperoni as the common go-to pizza choice but apparently not here. However, if you are pregnant or maybe high on something and are craving a shrimp, banana, peanut, jalapeno, mussle and egg pizza with a curry sauce you are sure to be able to find that. I did have a Hawaiian pizza the other day but that was kind of weird too. Instead of big slices of ham and little chunks of pineapple, it had a few tiny slivers of ham and two huge pineapple circles in the middle. So four of the bites were entirely pineapple and the rest had none. Hardly any sauce or cheese but it did come with one of those thrilling ”pizza salads” which is like some kind of cole slaw or something with a lot of vinegar. And why would you ever cut the pizza into slices? That would just be silly. And it doesn’t appear that the pizza box manufacturers have ever had a dialogue with the people who make and sell pizza. Maybe that’s because, well let’s just say that there could often be a language barrier. But in any case, if a standard size pizza here is a 14”, then the standard size box is made for a 12” because they never fit. The sides of the pizza are always folded up to fit in the box. I’d be lying if I said I missed Dominos but I could sure go for a deep dish Chicago style with extra sauce (pizza sauce I mean) that was cut into slices and served with a cold beverage that maybe even had ice cubes in it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Designer Ball Hats

If you want to be cool in Sweden one thing you can do that seems to be popular is to wear a designer baseball cap, preferably New York Yankees. But not a real Yankees hat, rather one that looks like it came out of a rap video. Take, for example, the above picture. If you took the colours from the hat on the right and inserted the logo from the middle one, you would have what a Yankees hat should look like. But that just wouldn’t be stylish now, would it? A cool hat can have either the teams logo OR colours, but never both. Bear in mind that by wearing a baseball cap you are in no way implying that you are a fan of that team, or that you know the first thing about baseball, which Swedes do not. The other day a friend of mine here was sporting a pea-green NY hat so I made a comment about the Yankees winning the World Series. He gave me a blank stare. No clue. The most popular caps here seem to be any variation of a Yankees hat, but for some reason L.A. Angels hats are also a hip alternative. I’m not sure why but what do I know? I only wear a Minnesota Twins cap with the real logo and correct colour scheme so I obviously don’t have my finger on the pulse of fashion. Take your coolness to the next level and sport your orange or camo Red Sox hat with a perfectly straight brim twisted to the side and the shiny size stickers still on it. Then combine that with your tight jeans tucked into your socks and pulled halfway up to show off your Björn Borgs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dagens Lunch

Just wanted to tip my hat to what I consider to be the best niche of the Swedish food culture. You hear a lot of talk here about fika, and one can't argue its importance as it's practically the backbone of Swedish social life. Fika is a beautiful thing and I wouldn't want to take anything away from it, but I think the whole phenomenon of the "lunch of the day" deserves a little more praise. Go to almost any restaurant here and they will feature a great, full-course meal for their lunch special, usually with a couple of choices. Many times it's an all-you-can-eat buffet. And I don't mean a crappy chinese food or KFC buffet. For an average price of about 75 kronor (around 10 bucks) you'll get a real meal with a pair of meat choices, potoatos or pasta, salad, bread, a drink, coffee and dessert. I hit the jackpot the other day at a local establishment that was serving porkchops AND meatballs with mashed potatos and a dream of a sauce. The time before that it was ribs and chicken. So skål to dagens lunch. If you visit Sweden be sure to take advantage of it, it's the next best thing to your moms homecooking and it sure beats the heck out of a burger and fries.

Happy Swedish Fathers Day...

To all you fathers out there. Especially to my own Dad, all my buddies that had kids in the recent months, and to my co-writer of this blog who will become a dad in a couple days. Hope you all have a great day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Swedish Toilets 101

The Swedes are widely known for their engineering prowess and I think a good example of this is their toilets. Overall I would have to say that the Swedish toilets are superior to their North American counterparts, however there are some things to keep in mind in order to make the most of your experience. The best characteristic of the Swedish toilet is the high pressure flush, especially if you opt for the "full flush". They use a lot more water and the result is a more forceful, thorough flush. Pluggings are almost non-existent, I don't even own a plunger here. Some toilets offer the user the option of the forementioned full flush or else the half flush. I don't really see the logic in this. Why would anyone pick the halfer when the full flush button is right beside it? Maybe if you're really environmentally friendly but I choose other ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I'd recommend the full option everytime. The thing you want to be cautious of with the Swedish toilets is the low resting water level. The diameter of your water target here is going to be about 20cm versus maybe a 40cm standard with a North American toilet. This may seem unimportant, but unless you are right on target, you are going to have some collateral damage outside the water limit. Streaks that are often not eliminated despite the powerful flush. So although you can probably get by without a plunger, a toilet brush is an absolute necessity. Without one you are left with more creative and less appealing options of which I'll spare you the details.