Monday, October 29, 2007

Herr Nilsson not just a digital friend...


Ten years ago I crossed one of the side roads to Blvd de la Croissette in Cannes, at one of the 60 events I have attended, in the South of France. Having “bumped” into a variety of celebrities during my time there none delighted me more that this particular old lady who was walking on her own without any bodyguards or without any entourage. She was just an old frail lady, whom to the crowds was a nobody. But to me, she was the ultimate superstar...she was the only person I have asked for an autograph she was simply Astrid Lindgren…

Astrid Lindgren wrote some of the classic Swedish children stories of our times from Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump), Emil of the Maple Hills (Emil i Lönneberga) and Karlsson on the Roof (Karlsson på taket). Astrid took time and had a chat to me, a simple Swedish boy, whose claim to fame was to ride the blow up goose as a child. However it was in one of those stories, the story of Pippi Longstocking that Herr, or Mr Nilsson, came into play. The trustwordy friend, in this case a monkey, to Pippi appeared. After watching these stories as a child and later on, to delight of my daughter, I thought that everyone should have a Mr Nilsson and I am so very pleased to be able to say that I have one…

Of 40 years now I have had, and still have, my own Mr Nilsson, he is just my best friend of all times. We went to school for some 11 years, before that we managed to swim in the sea, burn down the local forest, getting married, not to each other but to separate women. He married Mrs Nilsson and I married Mrs Ericson. Out of all friends I have, Mr Nilsson, who should not be confused with Pippi’s little monkey, as my Mr Nilsson does a very bad job climbing trees and eating nuts. However my Mr Nilsson does provide everything that friendship should do, updating me with the local ice hockey results from the Tigers home games, provide Peugeot and Renault support over the phone, far better than any local dealership and best of all…he listens when I have something to say.

Does he care that I have met the Status Quo…well in fact he does, he wants copies of any freebies that I might have been given, but all in all he is very much like me, he likes that it the winter it snows, and that in the summer it is hot…he likes a good BBQ, no chicken included though as he is allergic, but he loves a SAAB 96, and if you ask him, he will write you an essay on how too increase the engine size and what carburettor to use, plus he would probably drive to Austria to participate in classic rally only to find out that he did not bring the wiper arm to the motorized wipers which eventually made them to pull out of the rally…

Sebastian Loeb might get a bit upset of his Citroen team arrived without wiper arms to his WRC car, but in this case it was Mr Nilsson…he worked everything out even down to the replacement handbrake wire…but left the wiper arm at home…None of the team got upset they just went on with the rally, when the snow was too heavy the SAAB 96 had to pull out and retire, the team enjoyed a couple of days of R&R and talked about how next year they might bring another wiper arm…

This week I have had something new to celebrate, Mr Nilsson my childhood friend has finally arrived into the 21st century, today, by means of digital communication I received my first ever email from him…albeit it being 27 images from a snowy classic car rally in Austria doesn’t matter…the fact is that I did receive an email…so from now on my childhood friend and I will move our friendship into cyberspace…I am the luckiest guy in the world…

This is the fact of life…get yourself a Mr Nilsson, hang on to him and in time your friendship will move from analogue to digital communication…a far cry better than when you start from a digital position…

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Swedish King in tax probe...


This is a story which would have got the hardest royalists quaking in their boots. Imagine charging someone $101million in tax…well Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI does not need to worry to much as it is not his name on the writ. The tax bill has been issued to a Mr. Berth Milton Jr. head of Private Media Group and is also known as the Swedish Porn King.

Mr Milton Sr. started his little publishing company some 40 years ago, and with liberal pornography laws in place in Sweden he managed to grow is business at a phenomenal rate. Today Private Media which is run by Mr Milton Jr., is the largest adult library in the word. It is available in 37 countries in the world, 680 registered mobile users and with 180 countries visiting their websites daily. This, my friends, is a multi million dollar business.

The company is registered on Nasdaq and the profits looks good. So what has Mr Milton done to upset the system…well he did what everyone else does who becomes a little bit too greedy. Instead of embracing the country whose liberal laws made it possible for his family to earn the money from their chosen trade, he moved his business to Barcelona, Spain. Now we all know that Sangria, a couple of weeks in sun looking at the pretty girls sunbathing, not that this would bother Mr. Milton as he has probably “seen it all before”, is relaxing and enjoyable. But living there? Lunch from 1 – 4, then dinner at midnight? Service in the utilities companies? Call the telephone company to complain and you get someone who always answers mañana…I don’t think so Jose…you would not get any business done.

You see Spain is not known internationally for business. First of all they speak 6 languages there or six versions of one. Their biggest revenue stream is tourism, when tourism started to drop it became real estate which was so corrupt that old Deidre and Alan from Worcestershire lost their dream villa as it didn’t have the correct local planning permission, they were not the only ones. I am sure that one of the richest politicians in Spain might be the guy who handles the building applications.

Now Mr Milton thought that this would be an excellent place to run his business from so in 1989 he declared that he was leaving Sweden. There was only one little snag…he did not have a permanent address in Spain. At the time when he was living in Spain he oversaw the redevelopment of his property in Sweden. “The King” and his family lived at luxury house in the archipelago of Stockholm and at the same time as he supposedly was enjoying the Spanish customs he had a number of cars registered in Sweden.

The Swedish board of taxation takes a dim view of people like this and started proceedings against Mr Milton, an enquiry, which has taken years to complete and last week it was decided Mr Milton need to pay up…

I am not sure if I am going to laugh or feel sorry about Mr Milton? The simple mistake he did was not to buy a small hacienda… It now looks like this mistake will cost him some $101M, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly find that your subscription of “Naughty Knockers” is going up a few quid…

What is amazing in all of this is the fact that pornography is now part of mainstream business. It is no longer dealt with at small printing shops on some dodgy printers; it is a high tech, well organised machine. I would have loved going to school knowing that my rich classmates’ dad was a pornographer…what a hoot…

Photo © Ninci @ www.sxc.hu

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Mama Rosa is going Digital...


The other day I drove down to my Mother-In-Law, Mama Rosa, to see her before we make the BIG move. I was surprised to see in her living room was a Pace Sky Digital box, providing her with numerous amount of channels ready for the digital switch off…

Now let this be clear that Mama Rosa is not what you would classify a wealthy woman, nor is she what you would consider a compulsive television viewer…Deal or no Deal, Who want to be a Millionaire?, plus some other early evening programs is her forte. Mama Rosa hits the sack early and is not up watching Northern Babes on Sky channel 946 nor is she sitting up at midnight with Euro News, Russian Daily News, France 24 or CNBC…

Somewhere along the line Sky digital television has lurked their grubby little hands into this living room, without checking needs and usability and grabs £21.00 every month for the viewing pleasure, which by the way, looking at her selection of preffered channels are totally free via analogue television until 2011, in her area…

I blame no-one, no family member or television sales rep nor do I blame myself for not being there earlier to use my knowledge to eradicate the gross injustice being done to Mama Rosa. Someone here is ripping off her and her puny pension and I know who it is…

Ofcom who is behind the digital switchover have made a complete mess of the information packs sent out, is it satellite, terrestrial, cable…who knows? I know cause I work in the business and I can bore you to death with a 15,000 word essay about it, but at the end Ofcom has responsibility of handling the digital switch over and ensure that vulnerable people, and with those I mean anyone who has no clue what the digital switch over means, and who it will effect…remember in all of this you have already paid for a licence and been granted the right own a television set, whoopee, I am so privileged…I believe that if you issue a license you should have clear instructions explaining what you can do with it…like, with this license you cannot drive a space shuttle…simple…

So here we are, 4 years away from the switch and Mama Rosa, would spend £21.00 x 48 months = £1,008 on a set of channels she doesn’t have to pay for. So therefore I have now taken it upon myself to hire a television company to check her terrestrial aerial for its digital switchover feasibility and if it is OK we stick with it, if not we get a new one for £90.00. Then there is the digital box, between £25.00 - £50.00 and that it is…no more charges and you know what? Mama Rosa can watch the channels she did before and have £21.00 left over from her pension to spend on what ever she wants for herself...

I do agree by going freeview she will be unable to watch “Discovery Turbo Channel” about cars, but then looking at the Nissan Micra in the drive…I have a feeling that she was not too keen in the first place….

Where does this leave Sweden and why did I take this up in my quest about the Greatest Britain? Well Sweden switched off the last analogue television channel last week and now the country is completely digital, and guess what??…The viewers were told what they needed to do and what the cost was…

So now…Mama Rosa will do “Deal or no Deal” but via a terrestrial digital television instead and do you what?? She will view it for free…
Photo courtesy of © 2007 Roland Andersson HD

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Is The Greatest Britain cheating?


Ever since arriving in the Greatest Britain I have been harping on about some old scores. They are great to mention over a pint or two when discussing sport with an Englishman. You see the Greatest Britons like to mention various results such as the Greatest Win in 1966. That Sweden were second in ’58 and third in ’94 doesn’t count, but as the qualifying results for Euro 2008 are coming to an end, England has to dispose of Russia on the newly laid Tiger Turf in Moscow and Sweden has a stroll to clear off Northern Ireland and the Swedes will again be there ready to take on England, a team, to which they have not LOST since 1968. This little fact is niggling away at most supporters, I have heard rumours that some will not even ride in a Volvo or sit in sofa bought at IKEA.

The other Swedish record sitting nicely in Britain is the fabulous five in row wins at Wimbledon by Bjorn Borg. Bjorn was there this year to witness his record being equalled by Roger Federer, so whilst it still stands the likelihood is that it will go next year, so we will need another record we can shot about and I have found it…

The Eurovision Song Contest…

You see the Swedes take this quite seriously. Try to go out on the evening of the song contest and you will have to learn to dance the slow fox by yourself as the Swedes are at home glued to the television. This is a phenomenon which has not spread to the Greatest Britain, yet…Just so that my Swedish readers understand the Brits have to drag some poor bastard out from a lunatic asylum, dress them in funny clothes looking like airline stewardesses and then get them to sing the silly song in front of four television viewers and two television presenters, who later between themselves will choose which one of the silly tunes they are going to the contest. The result is of course a song which is pretty bad, outfits that are hilarious and eventually they get no points and no viewers. So why do they do it? Well you see the Greatest Britain automatically qualifies for the competition as they are one of the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, EBU, so they can’t even get out of it if the wanted to.

In Sweden on the other hand it purely a matter of life and death. All other news is pushed off the front pages, radio stations do not report on anything else and television time is allocated to the selection process, the Swedish competition and even backstage the programmes. You will read stories such as, “The viewers did not rate the dress the presenter was wearing”…get it wrong and it can ruin your career.

Today on the 16th of October, 2007 (7 months before the Eurovision song Contest 2008) Sweden had a press conference announcing the Swedish competitions 28 participants which will be battling out for a place to go to the Eurovision song contest in Belgrade on the 24th of May, 2008???

There will be 6 competitions held in Sweden all over the country, called the Swedish Song Contest. These will be held in large arenas where you will have up to a 50,000 strong live audience, millions watching on television. This year there was 3434 entries which the panel of judges had to go through in order to narrow it down to a “manageable” 28 entries (and the arguments have already started)…you can start buying tickets for the competition from Thursday, ticket prices range from £15.00 - £22.00 for a rehearsal?? The actual show will set you back £26.00 - £35.00…then if your favourite wins…you’ll have to fight it out with the Serbians who is staging this year’s competition in the Belgrade Arena, a venue which seats 20,000 people.

Well you see the Swedes are organised, taking a professional approach so how are we doing in the scores? Sweden has managed four wins; ’74 ABBA, ’84 Herreys, ’91 Carola and then ’99 Charlotte Nilsson. The Greatest Britain; ’67 Sandie Shaw, ’69 Lulu, ’76 Brotherhood of Man and ’97 Katrina and the Waves…so the score is a draw…

This year though I am sure that the Greatest Britain will have the upper hand. It has not gone for the 28 entries to choose from and 7 months to prepare, no because it would be totally impossible to find 28 lunatics to sing the songs, they are more sneaky than that…they didn’t have an Empire for nothing you know…No this year The Greatest Britain has imported half a million Polish people and an unknown number of Romanians to even out the old eastern block voting…I shall be writing to the Eurovision secretary to see if it is allowed according to the rules…

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Water pipes in need of a by-pass...


Reading a story in a Swedish newspaper about the state of the water pipes made me think about the water being transported from the water works to our taps in the Greatest Britain. This summer we have had some enormous rainfall resulting in flooding and despair for thousands of people. Those who did not loose their positions like my friend Mr JW. He saw his pride possessions in a converted Barn sitting pretty in 4ft of muddy water. Imagine when you have just one floor, no upper floor, the amount of items which are below 4ft…crazy…

Mr JW is pretty cool about it; he handed over the keys to the builders who kindly told him “see you in a year” and moved to London into rented accommodation which the insurance company pays for. He is one of the lucky ones. I imagine there is a huge amount of people out there, which cannot get any insurance, to cover them in these eventualities.

I did not suffer very much, the extent of damage was two pots in the garden which now have some unsightly white marks indicating the level of the water when it was at its worse. I decided not to call the insurance company as the value of the pots was less than the payment I had pay them for claiming…so from now on we will have a reminder of the water every time we look at these pots…perhaps they can be washed, the are made out of plastic you know…anyway…back to water…

We did have some inconvenience with regards to the flooding; the water was shut off for a fortnight, very inconvenient. The water works was flooded so they could not pump clean water to the taps. We ended up receiving water bottles on a daily basis, to use for drinking, cooking and flushing the toilets…as I have perhaps mentioned earlier I have a swimming pool so I was able to bail out water from the pool to use for flushing toilets…annoying though, that you had to take perfectly nice water and flush down when I could spend time in the pool instead…

Once the water returned to the taps it came out all funny…brownish sludgy and not very appetising, but hey we had water again…it occurred to me that the Greatest British water companies such a as Severn Trent Water and Thames Water has always complained about the state of their pipes and how many leaks there are…”They are from the Victorian times” we are repeatedly told…”difficult to repair”...expensive more likely which is why you don’t do anything about it…

Well looking at the picture from a Swedish cast iron pipe recently dug up in Southern part of Sweden. I think we should start worrying about what the heck we have in the pipes…

The pipe in the picture was put down in the 30’s, this having served just 70 – 80 years providing to happy Swedes with drinking water…well it appears to me that the artery network of water is clogged and perhaps a by-pass is needed.

Don’t you just wish we had the ability to see the Greatest British pipes and the state they are in? Well perhaps not, we still have to drink the water….

© Barbro Hallin, Helsingborgs Dagblad

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Role of a Parent



When enough is enough…

Following the recent shooting in Sweden, where a farmer after two years of harassment, decided to take the law into is own hands, it has today become quite clear what has been in going on in Rödeby a small community north of Karlskrona.

It is strange that harassment, bullying and mindless bored youths get into the same troubles irrespective of borders, background, language or culture. In this case we have a group of kids…all in and around 15/16 years old who has started to harass a family, using violence, intimidation and the internet to harass. Below is a selection of incidents which has been reported.

They posted the family’s telephone number on a Swedish networking site encouraging people to call; preferably at night, the family reported it to the police. Action taken by the police: None

Their car is vandalised, graffiti sprayed all over it, the family reported it to people with a list of suspects. Action taken by the police: None

The son has his moped vandalised in a theft attempt which is disturbed, when he comes out of a shop a group of youths are hanging around laughing and is taunting him. The family reports it to the police with a few names being forwarded as suspects. Action taken by police: None

The son was out driving his moped when he was hunted down by a gang of other guys on mopeds. The harassed and taunted him; he felt threatened and told the father who reported it to the police supplying them with names. Action taken by police: None

The mother is shopping at the local supermarket and when she tries to exit the car park some youths throw a large bin in front of the car stopping the mother from exiting the car park. The incident is reported to the police. Action taken by the police: None

Then we have the fatal day of the shooting, the father had had enough so he drove into the small town centre to seek out the kids to speak to them about the harassment they have inflicted on his family. Instead of a sensible conversation with the youths, a lot screaming, foul language and continuing harassment ensued so the man left and drove home. Then at 2.30 in the morning the gang arrived at the family home and banged on the door. It was at this time the farmer came out with his shotgun and fired. Result? One dead 15 years old and a seriously injured 16 year old…

I look at the facts as they have been reported and I cannot understand why society today is so reluctant to take charge and deal with incidents when they happen. No matter how small or large the incident is, if it socially unacceptable, the deal with it…

Needless to say that the relatives of the youths have been speaking to the press to say how utterly shocked they are and that their kids are angels…wouldn’t hurt a fly…

Is it time that we start to question the role of the parents and the police in incidents such as this?

It is interesting to read the role of the Swedish police and not feel that this farmer and his family has been let down

The Role of the Swedish Police
The role of the Police is to prevent crime, oversee civil order and safety, seek out criminal activity and investigate such activity.
The Police Law (1984:387) describe the responsibility of the Police accordingly:

As part of society to ensure justice and safety the work of the Police shall be to oversee civil order and safety and ensure public safety and offer assistance.

Responsibility of the Police:

1. prevent crime and other disturbances and ensure civil order and safety
2. protect civil order and safety interferences stop potential disturbances in interfere in such disturbances once they occur or occurred
3. prevent and investigate crime which can be put to a prosecutor
4. provide the public with protection, information and other assistance when applicable
5. fulfil other tasks which falls under the protection of society

Now where is the similar breakdown for the role of the parents?



Photo © RPS

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Farmer shoots vandals


A farmer in Sweden who has had his property destroyed repeatedly and who’s lightly handicapped son has been bullied by young 15 – 16 year old morons, decided to put an end to it last night when they attacked him one too many times.

The idiots arrived last night starting their mindless vandalism so the farmer took his shotgun, threatened them and shot. The result one 15 year old vandal is dead, the other a 16 year old is in hospital being treated for shotgun wounds to his stomach.

To everyone in the Greatest Britain this will ring a bell, I shall keep you updated on the outcome…

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Firemen in hot water...



How can I put this to you…Gay sex in Bristol got Firemen in Hot water…

This blog does not need to make things up for your entertainment because stupid people out there do it for us. The latest incredible but true story is about Bristol’s finest firemen who in the big shiny red truck decided to flush out some people in an area in Bristol known as Downs…no this is not a joke

The area is well known locally as a place to go dogging…for you who are not kept up to date with the latest… it means a place where you can go and have sex with strangers. In this case “The Shirtlifters” gather there and engage in what would be a crime…committing an act outraging public decency. The law is there to protect people like you and me…we don’t really want to walk around and see people buggering each other in public…don’t these people have a home?

Well the Bristol and Avon Fire department stopped by and shone their torches/flash light on the blokes humping and practising their sword swallowing in the lay bay…

No police were called and the aroused “doggers”, who suddenly found themselves illuminated, centre stage dispersed…that should be the end of that, no one was physically hurt, as far as we know, their pride took a dent, possibly.

Then a group of the men who were caught out, decided to complain to the Terence Higgins Trust, about how unfairly they were treated by the “fireboys”…so in today’s politically correct society, when the doggers should hang their head in shame, instead on instructions of the trust, they made a written complaint to the Fire Chief at the Fire department complaining about their “treatment” by the Fire Officers.

The Fire Boss got so worried about what he heard that he started an internal investigation which resulted in the suspension and fines for the Happy Fire Fighters with their shiny flashlights…

The Doggers…well they are probably back in the lay bay happy that “justice” has been done, safe in the knowledge that in today’s politically correct society no one dares to criticize anyone who is gay…

Lets just hope that the Firemen are to busy should the doggers houses catch fire one day…

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