October Curiosity

Bucks Pump

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Amber’s Swedish History – Chapter 10

Amber History 10

Erik Gets Married

Erik had ambitious marriage plans. He sent his ministers to proposition every single queen and princess they could find. Both Queen Elizabeth, and Mary Stuart (Scotland) turned him down. He fooled around with mistresses while waiting for a wife, and fathered several kids. One of the peasants who took care of them was red-haired Karin Månsdotter. She also gave birth to one of his children, Gustav, when she was sixteen.

Erik became more and more paranoid. He thought some of the nobles were plotting against him and had them thrown into prison. Four of them were murdered there. Then Erik disappeared. They found him wondering the hills with some serious mental problems. Karin Månsdotter was the only person able to calm him down. She finally got him calm enough to marry her in the cathedral at Stockholm in 1568. It was a good career move for Karen. She was now eighteen, and queen of Sweden.

Erik’s family and high nobility did not accept the marriage. This turned into a revolt led by two of his brothers. (Paranoia is often a heightened state of awareness.) They surrounded the castle in Stockholm and Erik’s supporters decided it would be better to support someone else. Erik was force to hand over Jöran Persson (Erik’s Evil Genius – Chapter 9). The rebels had a good time torturing him, then chopped his head off. Jöran had it coming, then they killed his witchy mother for good measure. Erik was deposed and spent the rest of his life imprisoned in both Sweden and Finland.

Karen almost went to prison, but the new King, Johan III gave her a nice estate in Finland. Erik was poisoned while in prison almost ten years later, and son Gustav died outside of Moscow.

Johan IIIJohan III

The fancy hat he’s wearing means he was a college grad, and had a doctoral degree. People still get doctoral degrees, but the hats have gone out of style. Johan was fairly weird. He kept a silver hammer hanging from his belt and threw it at anyone who came with bad news. Sometimes he hammered on the table with it. He was smart, but impractical and clueless about money.

Johan III CopperCopper Coin From Johan’s Reign

Johan liked to build things. He assembled master architects and artisans and involved himself as much as he could in their work. They built castles in Stockholm, Kalmar, and Uppsala, and built churches everywhere. His wife, who was eleven years his senior, died when she was forty-six. He then married a sixteen-year-old, Gunilla Bielke.

Gunilla BielkeGunilla Bielke.

Gunilla talked him into becoming a Protestant, and he made many new rules about religious services. Clergymen were forced to iron their shirts, and stop wearing boots and spurs to church. They were no longer allowed to throw their caps and mittens on the altar.
Johan built many monuments as well, and royal graves. He never worried about cost. The economy suffered. Inflation got as high as 100%, but nobody mentioned this problem to the Johan. They were probably worried about the hammer. He built more than any other king of Sweden.

When the Polish throne became vacant in 1587 Johan put forth his son, a crown prince named Sigismund, as a candidate. He was crowned in Cracow. Poles remember him as being stubborn, sluggish, and silent. Johan died in 1592, and Sigismund became King of Sweden.

King SigismundSig Coin

Sigismund Coin

Next Week – Sigismund and Civil War

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

San Francisco Sixties Poster – 10


SF Poster 1968 A

SF Poster 10 B007


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Poem by Joseph Mills – From: The Miraculous Turning – Press 54 – 2014

Posted by The Writer’s Almanac this morning.

First Skating Party
by Joseph Mills

Dozens of kids circle
the worn wooden floor
on old rental skates,
and none of them wear
helmets or pads,
so when they collide
or fall or stop themselves
by the simple technique
of steering straight
into the cinder-block barrier,
you can feel the pain
of the parents
who watch from booths
by the concession stand;
they know their children
have bones of balsa
and skin that tears
as easily as a napkin,
but they can do nothing
except yell, Be Careful!
and make hand gestures
to slow down
—Slow Down!—
as the ones they love
strobe past them
faster and faster
just beyond their reach.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Swedish For Immigrants – Week 9

Musings on a day off.

I did my language school interview today and have officially been assigned to the lowest level B class which is listed as, B-. I assume there is also a B, and a B+ class. The B+ class must be for students far ahead of me. Three teachers will be co-teaching classes. They will rotate and have specialties. One does reading, one does writing, and one does talking. I think the ‘talking’ teacher is the one who taught our class once before – the one who refuses to speak any English. It will be like learning German from an SS officer. But not a bad thing. Buddhist monks have written about choosing a master, someone who would pretty much take over their lives, in order to get them on their way to enlightenment. It’s like a marriage without the option of divorce. Some monks don’t choose the teacher they like best, one that they get along with. They chose the opposite, I guess thinking, “This bastard will make me learn.” I think there is some truth in that – the teacher without mercy.

Today was interesting. I drove to school some forty minutes early, for this morning’s interview, thinking I would hang out on the hallway couch and read while waiting. Teacher was in the hallway looking slightly pissed when I arrived, and looking for a student whose appointment time it was, the time slot before mine. Some students haven’t gotten used to the idea of being on time. Time hasn’t been all that important where they are coming from. Because they had more of it there. Perhaps more than they will ever have again as they become accustomed to ‘the good life’ and begin consuming, TVs, P/Cs, cell phones, houses, condos, furniture and cars . . . stuff. This 24-7 world, where it seems there is never enough time. I thought I would have so much time when I retired. Seems like I have less. Some of you will be familiar with that observation. Days fly away like crows at night.
Teacher asked if I would mind taking my interview early. I said, sure. We went into the classroom and took chairs at her desk. As usual I understood about 20% of what she was saying, but I was familiar with the subject. I was shown my test scores, average: 60%. Exactly what my own estimation has been.


She was enthusiastic, happy about my progress, asked what class division I thought I should be in, which of the three Bs. “Low, low, bottom!” I leaned of the chair and reached down to the floor. She got the picture, easily agreed, but in a complimentary way. She drew a graph of my scores, a line going up at a thirty degree angle. Easy to make progress when you start at zero. I am still so far away from understanding. I watch Swedish TV shows and news. Understand a word or two, like him and her, conjunctions, good and bad, the most common cuss words, and anatomy and clothing . . . Death is, Dod. I love it. Death is easy –  life is hard.

This missing student arrives fifteen minutes late. Teacher is up out of her chair – pissed off again. She tears loose a paper that has been tapped to the wall with the individual student’s times to appear for their interviews, a list in 36 point bold. She remanded us to look at it every day last week, and asked everyone if they understood. We all said, Ja. She opens the classroom door and lets go on this guy, who is also her best Student, who always has near perfect scores. Always the best in class. She whales into him in Swedish which, of course, I cannot understand. But he does. He will wait and take his interview when I leave.
Teacher comes back and removes a form from her basket, lays it on the desk. It’s her analysis of me, in Swedish. Once again I am clueless, but I get the drift. The one important thing is that I get into a SLOW class. B- will be fine with me. That’s about what I got out of college with. Looks like a done deal.

She walks me to the door when we’re finished, attempting to make small talk. Something about the next classes being mostly immigrants from Syria. That figures. I was watching TV news about Syria last week. Something like 100,000 we’re running from ISIS, fleeing the country, in an attempt to stay alive. Now Turkey has stopped letting them in. Guess they will all want to come here. I would if I were them, best deal available. Sweden or U.S. America first choice, of course, but Sweden is nice, good benefits and closer, and easier. The Somalis think I’m nuts for leaving the States; sometimes I agree with them.


I thought Swedish for Immigrants – Week 8, was going to be the last of these posts, but maybe not. They have become a sort of diary, or notes to something I might use later, or not.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 10 Comments

Fabulous Fighting Fish Fotos

These incredible photographs and more of same were taken by Visarute Angkatavish.

Fight Fish 1

Fight Fish 2

Fighting Fish 3

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 6 Comments

The Middle East Explained

The Middle East Explained
Aubrey Bailey

Are you confused about U.S. involvement in the Middle East? Let me explain.
We support the Iraqi government in the fight against the Islamic State. We don’t like IS, but IS is supported by Saudi Arabia who we do like.

We don’t like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not IS which is also fighting against him.

We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government against IS. So some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends. Some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less. And all this was started by us invading a county to drive out terrorists who weren’t actually there until we went in to drive them out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 8 Comments