Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Latest Money-Making Scheme

As many know because I've been complaining incessantly, a large problem has beleaguered my very existence: there are no Swedish t-shirts. When I say "no Swedish t-shirts" I mean t-shirts I would actually wear. For the record, I would not wear a t-shirt with a giant Swedish flag emblazoned from neck to belly-button. First off, I would not wear anything emblazoned at that scale because I do not endeavor to look like a human lollipop with a head. Second off, I'm not Swedish. 

Last year, I was in Sweden and the only T-shirts widely available were ones that said, "New York City." I did not find this advantageous in any way. At one point, I spied a mens t-shirt featuring the Gothenberg lion. Although it was kind of cool, I refused to purchase it because, first off, it said "Gothenberg" and not "Göteborg." As a rule, I do not purchase tourist gear. Second off, I'm not a man.

After three years of pathetic online and offline shopping with nothing to show for it, I decided to make my own fucking t-shirt. And as long as I was making my own fucking t-shirt, I would make it exactly the way I fucking wanted to make it (just so the whole start-to-shopping cart didn't take more than 15 minutes because I am very busy today.)
The Ultimate Swedish Blacksmith T-shirt
"For the smithy, the most important tools are the hammer and the anvil."

It is brilliant, I know you're thinking right now because that's what I was thinking when I hit "submit." And then a wondrous thing happened. A pop-up window inquired, "Do you want to sell your design?" Ho ho ho, but of course.

The website asked if I would enjoy writing some ad copy and I dove right in. Here is my ad copy:

The ultimate gift for Swedish Blacksmiths! 

"For the blacksmith, the anvil and hammer are the most important tools." 

Order now and be the first on your block to own a Swedish Blacksmithing t-shirt! 

This is the t-shirt for blacksmiths to proclaim their love for hot-rolled steel. Order now if you happen to be a Swedish blacksmith. 

You can also order if you are a non-Swedish blacksmith with a thing for sill och potatis, or a non-blacksmith Swede with a thing for blacksmiths.

If you are none of the above, no worries. People who are not Henrik Lundqvist wear t-shirts with his name on the back all the time.

I am totally on to something big, I know. I keep hitting "refresh" in case the orders start rolling in. Any minute now...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Swedish Midsummer in Battery Park 2014

photo credit Consulate General of Sweden in New York
Lots of feet, an ass, another ass, the sky, Andrew's ear, garbled polka music. "It's hard to frolic and take movies at the same time," complains Tom. He sadly deletes his footage of Swedish Midsummer 2014. 

Inarguably it's difficult to capture a thousand swedes holding hands and hopping like little frogs of anarchy. Video simply cannot capture the full impact of the "no ears, no tail" reptile shout out. 

One gripe: WHO EATS POTATO SALAD THREE FEET FROM A MIDSUMMER POLE? It's more dangerous than hang gliding or going to a hospital. Last year, I stepped in plate piled high with potato salad. It was an Extreme Ooze situation and treacherously slippery. I'll never forget the death glare of the ex potato-salad eating woman hunkered down nearby.

After three hundred people skip over your potato salad, just maybe you think to yourself, "huh, perhaps I should not have plunked my ass down in the shadow of the midsummer pole. I see now that I am in a really fucking bad spot. Perhaps I should relocate." 

But apparently that's just me and I'm not a real viking so what do I know about holiday traditional open warfare. 

This year, I wore sneakers and I laced 'em up tight.

The Late, Great Left Eye from TLC
Because his gently booming voice is the only vestige of sanity holding the madness from full eruption, I considered rushing the lead polka singer, Ross Sutter. I would have breathlessly asked if he would autograph my bandaid. I had a mole removed from my face and am currently running around looking like Left Eye from TLC. 

On his website, Ross is billed as a Pole Dance Leader. I'm a fan of that business card.

One of my favorite moments was when dancers were instructed to "Partner up with someone your own height."  Tom swung right by me to take a reel around the pole with Andrew.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy Midsummer 2011 recapped here: Heja Sverige! You might also enjoy Andrew's comment immediately upon arrival: "I haven't seen this many white people since that Nelson concert in 1995."

Heja Sverige! Glad Midsommar Allesammans!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Istanbul in the Round

My entire knowledge of Istanbul came from the latest Rick Steves paperback. I easily know enough to author a facebook comment, even one in ALL CAPS. I am eminently qualified to spray my point of view globally.

I've been thinking about circles since we returned from Turkey, where we had spent 6 days pillaging Istanbul with our eyeballs.

Things that are Round in Istanbul

Penmanship. The old Arabic letters are inarguably round. And Turks favor a chubby, lovable font even today.


Whirling Dervishes
A chat or a sales pitch can spiral in a circular fashion.  This can go two ways. The discussion can be a kind of crowdsourced merry-go-round. Or it can be a lot of standing around with eyebrows raised while some whirling word dervish flattens a little patch of dry ground.


Aya Sofia
Domes are round. Buildings sporting domes are also round. I read that Mohammed had blood made of divine light. Pictures of holy personages are forbidden. It would be offensive to insinuate that such immense spirit could fit inside shabby little human bodies.

I was thinking that a dome could contain a great spirit like the shell around an amazingly lush air watermelon.

simit istanbul turkey
A very delectable and circular simit

City Blocks and Street Food.

Istanbul has no city blocks. They are city circles. There are no squares on the map. The straightest path anywhere is kind of shaped like a bagel, or a simit, which is some seriously awesome Turkish street bread.

Protection against evil looks

Nazar Boncugu.

A powerful and inarguably round pendant for protection against evil forces, evil looks, greed and other non-desirables.

The Super Spirograph

We shambled through the Grand Bazaar, a seedy and glorious institution constructed in 1455. The smell of Turkish coffee and spices pleased my wondering nose. Tea runners with copper trays and medieval heritage clattered through crowds. Vendors hawking super spirographs beckoned from every corner.

I admired their entrepreneurial spunk at the same time that breathtaking and ageless Ottoman tile, silver and gold and moonlit blood-red velvet crumbled to plastic and fake Mark Jacobs handbags.