Now We’re In Business.

11 January, 2009; 12:00 1 comment

posh-airline-seatsIf you’ve ever flown in a Boeing 777, which is Boeing’s most recent commercial jet airplane in production, you probably remember walking through a section of the plane where instead  of proper rows of seats, there is what looks like an array of empty cubicles for elves. Every other seat faces opposite each other, some toward fore and some toward aft, and there are plastic dividers that wave their way between them. In the eyes of a conventional coach traveler, it just looks bizarre.

Read more…

Categories: travel

Phone Number in the U.S.

9 January, 2009; 20:01 Leave a comment

Speaking of travel: as long as things go according to plan, I can be reached in North America at the following temporary mobile number:

(206) 384-3640

Categories: contact info, travel

2008: The Year of Travel

4 January, 2009; 12:19 7 comments

Happy New Year! On the global stage, 2008-2009 already feels like it will be a period of change, much like the period 2000-2001 was, owing not only to changes in the U.S. presidency but also to events outside of the direct control of the U.S. president.

Aside from those world-changing events, if there is any one thing that most characterized 2008 for me it’s the many short trips I’ve taken to other cities around Europe. Of course, this was one of the draws of moving to Stockholm — I’d be a lot closer to a whole range of places on a continent less familiar than my own. So, inspired by Matthew Yglesias (who was, in turn, inspired by Jason Kottke), here’s a quick run-down of my trips in 2008, with asterisks for places I hadn’t been before (at least, as an adult). It all started, of course, with New Year’s Eve visiting friends in Seattle:

  • Seattle, USA — New Year’s Eve with friends
  • London, UK — Christina’s PhD defense party
  • Munich*, Germany — conference
  • Berlin*, Germany — meeting up with Joshua and visiting Anton
  • Copenhagen, Denmark — meeting up with Max & Kari
  • Florence*, Italy — meeting up witih Christina
  • Birmingham, UK — meeting up with Mom
  • Vienna*, Austria — conference
  • Padjelanta National Park*, Northern Sweden — backpacking
  • Geneva* & Lausanne*, Switzerland — meeting up with Sonja and visiting Frank
  • Amsterdam*, Netherlands — conference and visiting Debbie
  • Rome*, Italy — meeting up with Diana & Fred
  • Umeå*, Northern Sweden — Christmas with Daniel’s family

So, that’s 13 distinct trips (I returned to Stockholm between each of those)! I’m not quite sure how that all happened — it’s not as if I set out to pack in more than one weekender per month. But I will say I took just about every little excuse that came up, to go exploring.

But not to be outdone, 2009 is starting off with a bang: a 3-week trip around two coasts of North America for a variety of reasons, including conference, family, friends, and the Presidential Inauguration. I’ll save writing it all and just copy and paste the list below, where you can see where I’ll be and when — and if you see I’ll be near you, then pop me an email! After this trip, though, I’m hoping things calm down a bit for 2009.

Categories: travel, Uncategorized

A Glance Back in Time: Election 2004

20 October, 2008; 13:42 Leave a comment

A Swedish friend of mine reminded me today of a long-sprawling email conversation that I (for better or worse) started the day after the Presidential Election of 2004 (otherwise known as the Great Despondence). Actually, now that I look back, that email conversation was actually instigated by a comment that the same Swedish friend made at the time. 

Anyway, my basic theme in my…well, rant, you could say…was that morals trumped issues in that election because the liberals did not talk about their issues in a way that demonstrated their strong moral foundation — even though I believed that that foundation was stronger than the moral foundation of conservatives’ positions.

It’s now a fascinating read, not least because it elicited some very insightful responses from various friends (shown in the comments section). It’s also interesting to see how things that I thought would become important never quite did, and how the history that has actually happened had a lot more to do with things that would have been difficult to predict, such as Katrina, the current financial crisis,…oh, and my own move away from American soil.

Categories: politics

Interview on SR

16 October, 2008; 7:42 Leave a comment

SR

I was interviewed, as an American about to vote, for Swedish Radio yesterday, to find out what my thoughts were in advance of the third presidential debate.

You can listen to the interview by clicking here. This will open a new window (which your pop-up blocker might block) for the radio archive. As long as you have Real Audio or Windows Media Player installed, you’ll be able to press play and listen to the whole 10-minute hourly newscast. To skip ahead to the part about the debates, move the slider to exactly halfway, and let it play from there.

Then you’ll get to hear me say some not-terribly-intelligent, but also not-idiotic things about the debates, including a similar comment about the Swedish debates to what I said a few days ago. Enjoy!

Categories: politics, radio

Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureatte

13 October, 2008; 11:21 Leave a comment

Paul Krugman certainly deserves it for all the proper reasons, given his contributions to theories of global trade and economic geography. But I can’t help but think there’s also something to the fact that he’s had his head on straight about the current financial crisis since long before most people took it seriously.

You can read here his columns and blog, at the NY Times.

P.S. I am so going to his Nobel speech in December.

Categories: awards, politics

The Debates

12 October, 2008; 19:01 1 comment

Imagine for a moment the following:

You turn on the TV on a Sunday evening, to find a political debate. In a TV studio, there are two panel tables that face each other, and another small table between them and toward the back. At the right table sit three people: John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner. At the left table sit Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. At the center table is Gwen Ifil, the moderator.

They are debating. They’re talking about tax policy, which happens to be the subject of this debate. Barack Obama speaks, for about a minute, then Gwen Ifil names John McCain’s name to speak next, and we hear his response. The two tables face each other, and the groups of three speak not only to each other, but to the things that the others are saying.

They go back and forth for 10 minutes, all on the subject of an equitable tax policy, particularly the burdens on students, the retired, the poor, and the unemployed. Whatever the original question was, it’s been forgotten — more important now is the particular point that the discussion has come to, and they go back and forth on that point of disagreement. Mostly, we hear from McCain and Obama, but from time to time we also hear from the congressional leaders. After about 10 minutes discussion, Gwen Ifil chimes in with another question. Not a new question, from a list of pre-approved topics. Rather, it’s more like an interview follow-up question — it’s one that she just proposed, based on the discussion, to help probe deeper. They continue on that for a while. There must be a clock, but we as the viewers aren’t keenly aware of it. 

This is what I’m watching right now — except that the people involved aren’t the ones I named above, but the equivalents in Swedish politics. The right table has the four leaders of the four governing coalition parties, and the left table has the three leaders from the main opposition. And I have to say, this is a debate.

Categories: politics, tv