Category: culture & society

“The Financial Crisis in Terms I Can Understand”

Not sure who wrote this (if you know, please put the credit in the comments), but I like it. Received it today from a friend in London.


“The Financial Crisis in Terms I Can Understand”

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers – most of whom are unemployed alcoholics – to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi’s bar.



Life Is Beautiful

Rob and Hugo
Rob and Hugo

Fourteen months have gone by since I wrote the following letter, on December 21, 2008, the day after my wife Susanne’s godfather, Hugo, died, at his home in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I’ve wanted to share it for a long time as a memorial to Hugo and to remind myself, and maybe help others remind themselves, that life is beautiful, that we need to cherish it, be kind, pay it forward, live in the present, and generally try to do no harm and leave this earth better than we found it.

The reason I publish this letter today is two fold:


First Post From the USA and First Post From the New MacBook

Just time for a quickie:

  1. NYT: Bailout Plan: $2.5 Trillion and a Strong U.S. Hand
  2. NYT Graphic: The Government’s $8.8 Trillion Bailout Tab
  3. Nouriel Roubini: Treasury’s Financial Stability Plan: Will It Work?
  4. Nouriel Roubini: It Is Time to Nationalize Insolvent Banking Systems
  5. Video and My Comments: Obama and Henrietta Hughes at Town Hall Meeting

UPDATE: Two additional articles:

  1. NYT: Stopping a Financial Crisis, the Swedish Way
    (September 2008)
  2. Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini: Nationalize the Banks! We’re all Swedes Now (current)


Gearing up for Obama-Rama-Palooza in DC

Yesterday, sitting here in Sweden and emailing my friends back home in Washington, DC, is when the adrenaline-pumping excitement really hit me (for the second time — this was the first).

We are at:

  1. The end of a dark era that spread fear, turned “us” against “them,” and “we” into “me.”
  2. And the beginning of a new era!

While I know it won’t be easy, I believe Obama and his team represent the best — by far — that we could hope for right now.  It’s a tough job, and I know it’s not possible to please everyone inside America, let alone also outside America, but I believe he can/will do better than any of the others could have.


New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Gothenburg, Sweden

This was one of the best displays I’ve ever seen — and I’ve seen a bunch of good ones on the National Mall in Washington, DC on July 4th. These Swedish guys rocked it! See this video of the grand finale (click “watch in high quality” mode, expand to full-screen mode, and turn up the sound).

The last pic is from our balcony about 8 minutes after midnight, after a 15-minute barrage of fireworks from everywhere (all over the city). The fireworks were going all night up to the midnight finale (video clip shot from our balcony).

The four  bonus pics after that are from our New Year’s Day walk.

Overall, it was a great New Year’s Eve with Annica and Henrik and a great New Year’s Day with Birgitta and Roy!  Happy New Year to you!


Käringön Island (Sweden) Christmas Party

Another great Jul Bord at Peterson’s Krog. There were about 21 of us this year, with 19 of us closing the place down. I don’t know what time we went to bed (around 3:30 or so, I think).  Jorgen didn’t teach any new words this year, but Anna taught us how to say “marsipan gris” (“marzipan pig”) in Danish.


PS: I was kind of hurting this morning, but thankfully Martin hooked me up with one of his Hustlers. Not the Larry Flint kind of Hustler, but some crazy energy drink they got here. BTW, Maria is somehow related to Larry Flint, so maybe he did hook us up with these power drinks, I have no idea. I’m just glad I was able to start my day with a Hustler and some Advil Liqui-Gels, washed down with some cold San Pellegrino. Ah!


How to Export Your AOL Address Book

2010-1-8 UPDATE: Good news!  According to one of our commenters, AOL has added an “Import/Export” option under the “Tools” menu when you log in at  Just log in and select Export from the Tools menu.  Then select your file type, such as CSV, and download.  Done!  Check it out and let us know how it worked for you.

2009-5-14 UPDATE: Gmail just made it super easy to switch to Gmail and import your mail, contacts, everything!  See this post on the Gmail blog and this post on TechCrunch.

(Skip down a few paragraphs to get to how to export AOL contacts.)

I hesitate to post this, as it both dates me and exposes me as someone who (still) has an AOL email address (also I rip into AOL pretty harshly).  In my defense, I’ve had (and used) many other email accounts for many years, and I registered the AOL email addresses way back in 1993, the year the Mosaic web browser came out and when:

  • computers ran at 0.01 GHz, not 3 GHz
  • there was no such thing as Internet search engines, social networks, or blogs, let alone Google, Facebook or WordPress
  • there was no broadband Internet access
  • people used pagers instead of cell phones, and
  • kids still got their p0rn from magazines (I hear)

Man, talk about the stone ages (see Wikipedia’s History of the Internet page).  It was nice, actually, but that’s another post.

Before we get into the tirade, it might be good to review the ad hominem fallacy fallacy.  Also, a disclaimer: This is just an opinion piece, and my opinion is that AOL sucks.  Your opinion may differ.

Back to AOL, which does indeed suck…