August 17th, 2003

happyfindus

ANIMAL PLANET

At a crayfish party tonight, the discussion somehow turned to whether hedgehogs eat meat or not, (turns out they do, even though they're classed as insect-eaters), and after talking a little bit about what strange names they have both in English and Swedish, I started to make a joke that Sweden doesn't have much in the way of fun animals. One woman started to get offended, saying, oh yeah, you have everything in America.

And I thought, well, we DO. At least, I mean we have all the animals that Sweden has, and then some. I didn't mean it in a MEAN way, but I do think it's true that Sweden doesn't have a huge variety of native animals. That's not a big deal, really, but sometimes I think it's sad that my kids won't grow up seeing chipmunks or black & gray squirrels (or any squirrels since they're so shy and uncommon here) or blue jays or cardinals or skunks or raccoons or porcupines, to name a few.

The one thing I noticed quite early about animals in Sweden is that the rabbits (or hares, if you want to be picky) and the birds are HUGE, and the deer are TINY. (I'm not talking about kronhjort, but about rådjur) There are always lots of giant birds all along the edges of the roads and highways: ravens, rooks, crows, jackdaws and magpies. Magpies are so beautiful, all that glossy blue-black and white.

Once, on the train going up to Stockholm, I saw a hare racing the train. It actually kept up with it for a short while. :)

Last year when we were in the States, driving around, I kept feeling like something was missing. Turns out it was the giant birds along the roads. Once I realized what it was that felt wrong, I could relax. Weird what you get used to.

***

Just looked at my quickly growing friends list and wanted to say hello to kissekat, dawnm70, carrieb, inflammatio and opheliasphoenix. I know some of you have come through storybookland, which I'm really enjoying, or Amerikanska. :) Welcome!
  • Current Music
    No Doubt—Don't Speak
happyfindus

TRIVIAL PURSUIT

Things I've learned from reading Smithsonian magazine today:
  • Every year the U.S. Federal government holds a Federal Duck Stamp contest for painters

  • The Tour de France turned 100 this year

  • Mummified pharaohs in ancient Egypt protected their toes with thimbles of gold

  • Robert E. Lee had tiny feet that he loved his children to tickle (not sure I wanted to know this)

  • Standing water in containers as small as a child's beach bucket or plastic car is enough to provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes

  • I have no desire, whatsoever, to ever visit Korea
Got some helpful advice from thesidhe (thanks!) and realize I need to hit the craft stores again for better glue and fixative. Then made the sad discovery last night that all my old tubes of watercolor paint and several ink jars have completely dried up due to years of neglect, so add that to the shopping list. Page 1 is nearly complete so after the current bout with glue dries I'll do some scanning and see what you all think. :)
  • Current Music
    buzz & whine of motorcycle racing on Eurosport
happyfindus

ENGLISH: A DREADFUL LANGUAGE

Someone sent this to me, knowing I love this kind of stuff, and I've decided to use it in next month's AWC newsletter. If anyone tracks down the actual author, I'd be very grateful. :)

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, tough and through;
Well done! And how you wish perhaps
To learn of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it's said like bed, not bead
For goodness sake don't call it "deed".
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose
Just look them up and goose and choose,
And cork and work and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart.
Come, come I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive
I mastered it when I was five.


-Author Unknown
  • Current Music
    Sesame Street—Fuzzy and Blue (aaagh!! I can't get it out of my head!!)