United States

All posts tagged United States

Welcome to Sweden, Mr President

Published 09/04/2013 by MoonieZ

Ok, my first post for September just happens to be written the same day as the current President of the United States, Barack Obama is visiting our country. Landed about 1 hour ago and is now getting ready for his day of meetings and dinners in Stockholm.

Regardless of politics both domestic and foreign, I’m happy to be alive in this historic moment. Swedes are not used to visits by US Presidents. So I believe most Swedes are thrilled no matter what their views are regarding the United States and/or its politics.

I understand that this visit does not matter much in the USA or elsewhere but here it is a rather big deal.

Yet, I’ll be watching it on television. I could have been out in the streets of Stockholm to perhaps catch a glimpse of it all but since the traffic situation will be somewhat difficult I have decided to stay in my suburban part of town.

Also, I have a lot of things to do.

That’s all.

 

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Television

Published 07/11/2012 by MoonieZ

I don’t watch a lot of television. Not for a long time have I watched any TV on a TV set. If I watch any television, I watch online, on a computer screen. I prefer it that way. Most shows can be seen online, some live streamed and some can be streamed whenever I feel like watching.

For a number of years before watching streaming video online was possible, I still watched very little television at all. Mostly I’d watch the news and maybe some live broadcast entertainment show but that was it.

However, while I grew up I watched a lot of television.

Favorites then: cartoons, movies and comedy shows like Roseanne, Cheers and The Wonder Years. Also some other series like Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Falcon Crest, Dallas, Dynasty, L.A. Law and later NYPD Blue.

You have to remember that I grew up in a time and a place where there were only two channels of national public broadcasting available to watch, unless you were fortunate to live near a border and be able to also watch the national broadcasting of the neighbor countries Norway, Denmark or Finland.

When I was in my teens, there were cable television and also satellite television on the market but it was rather expensive and not widely available.

So the shows I watched were the ones the national broadcasting company decided to buy and include in their programming.

Usually they offered very few of these foreign (American) shows at a time and often they started  showing them after they had already been running for years in the US.

Still the kind of shows that were produced in Sweden directly for the audiences here were not bad in those days. In fact many were very expensive productions and featured only the best domestic actors and other talent.

Only problem was that we, the audience, mostly prefered to watch the American shows.

I still do.

The kind of television shows I watch these days are almost only American ones. To mention a few I have enjoyed: Game of Thrones, Dexter and Louie.

EDIT: Forgot to mention the many British television shows I used to watch while growing up. Swedish public television has always broadcasted a lot of British shows, series and other programs over the years. I don’t know how I managed to forget about them.

I watched Monty Python‘s Flying Circus even before I found it to be funny. I loved Fawlty Towers, Not The Nine O’clock News, The Young Ones and Black Adder. Also liked a lot of the British crime shows, especially Cracker and Prime Suspect.

Ten years ago

Published 09/11/2011 by MoonieZ

Ten years ago today. I was at home. It was the day before my birthday. I had almost recovered from the first round of problems with my legs and had started working again. At least part-time. One would think it would be easy to remember all the details of that time but all I really remember is how hard it was to believe what I saw on the TV news that afternoon.

We were in the kitchen. My mother was there and my aunt who had come to visit for my birthday. We had been getting things ready for my birthday dinner when the reports came in over the radio and we had switched on the TV set in the kitchen. None of us could understand how what was happening right before our eyes could possibly be true.

The first news I heard about a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center buildings I thought it was an accident involving some small private aircraft or helicopter. Then when I learned it was a hijacked commercial jet, a Boeing, I could no longer believe it was really happening. That it wasn’t an accident ,that somebody had flown the plane deliberately into the building, was impossible to really understand. Then I saw the second plane crash into the tower in real-time on TV and just felt horror and sadness.

Peace.

 

Nostalgia

Published 02/04/2011 by MoonieZ
Lives in the Balance

Image via Wikipedia

I remember the early February days back in 1986. Last half of the last year of highschool had just begun.  Walking home from the bus station after having gone through another day of school. Probably thinking of some movie I had seen – or some book I was reading. Hearing the sound of some song in my head. Softly singing the words to myself. Might have been some tune off of Jackson Browne‘s album Lives In The Balance but it may also have been one from Steve Winwood, John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen. The full catastrophe of our prime minister being shot dead in the street while on his way home from a cinema had yet to hit the nation. Things were pretty good and as normal as normal can be.

Why do I think of this now ? I was watching  music video clips on YouTube today and suddenly had some flashbacks from when I first heard the songs.

In those days  I was often thinking of some story to write. Settings, characters and themes, bits and pieces of dialogue were floating through my mind  while I walked the 2ooo meters back home. Also I was most likely thinking of a certain blonde girl in my class whom I happened to have a big crush on at the time. I had just begun to communicate with her through old-school hand-written letters sent by postal mail. That’s what people did back then. They actually sat down with a pen and paper and wrote letters, folded the paper, put it in an envelope and mailed it. Then they waited a few days for the receiver to read and respond to the letter.  It wasn’t all instant like today’s email, chat, twitter and Facebook. Anyway, I had probably just gotten a letter or just sent one and had to think about what would happen next or what the response ought to be. It would still be more than  a month before I would get the letter that would shatter my hopes and dreams but for the time being I was happy to have the connection I had.

What else was I thinking about? Probably politics. I had just recently begun to take an interest in political matters and my freshly formed and rather shallow political views were decidedly left-wing. That was one reason why I bought Jackson Browne’s album. Also I had begun to pick up on some political currents in the music of Springsteen and Mellencamp.

Sweden back in those days had a political climate dominated by the ruling Social Democratic Party (Arbetarepartiet Socialdemokraterna) and the mood  of the society has since  been described as rather dull and  bland. However , I liked living in Sweden back in those days. Unemployment was almost zero, taxes were high but the standard of living was also at the absolute top among the nations of the world. Things worked back then. Life was safe and secure and you didn’t have to worry as much as today. Sure there were only two channels of national public service television available and not too many radio channels. But it worked. It was stable.  The future looked bright as a job would not be too hard to find once school was finished.

While being a rather dull and bland society, Sweden  was and is heavily influenced by American popular culture. To the degree that some critics were saying even back then that Sweden ought to be the 51st state of the United States of America.

We have most of the fast-food franchises (not as many then as  there are today), are influenced by American cuisine, we listen to American music, read American books and magazines,  follow American sports, watch American TV-shows and of course lots of American movies. We wear clothes influenced by American fashion and we are generally skilled at speaking English.

Being a teenager in Sweden was hence not much different  from being a teenager in the United States. At least that was what many  of us believed since not many had actually visited the United States or had any real knowledge of what it actually is like to live in the American society. Our image of American life was formed by TV, music and movies and while not entirely false it was by no means realistic. It was a dream or perhaps a kind of illusion we all  willingly indulged in. Even those of us who  were opposed to the American influence upon the rest of the world.

I’m not sure where I am going with this post so I might aswell end it before I digress further.  At least it is a sort of glimpse of a time long gone. Perhaps.  Maybe only a lot of words.

R I P – Dennis Hopper

Published 05/29/2010 by MoonieZ

Just heard the news – actor Dennis Hopper is dead.  The cancer finally won the battle.
All I have to say is Thank You for all the great movies. You helped change the movie business by making Easy Rider. I will always remember your performances.

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