Are you lonely? But your relatives just want to talk about that election, and your friends about their problems, and your work colleagues about your boss? Then dial The Swedish Number, get connected to a random Swede and talk about anything! (Call charges apply. A service provided by the Swedish Tourist Association.)
The Norden is a Finnish TV series, taking Americans and introducing them to their profession within the Nordic countries. First, James Conway, retired Superintendent of Attica Correctional Facility in New York, visits four Nordic prisons and facilities. An excerpt, and the full episode with English subtitles. [more inside]
Where a journalist tries to identify TheIneffableSwede, an online commenter on the Guardian website and elsewhere online. A journalist from the Guardian adds more context.
It's that time of the year again, when the (television network) continent of Europe comes together to sing, wear interesting clothing, and gyrate before an enthusiastic/baffled world. [more inside]
The festive season is approaching, so it's time for everyone's favorite giant Swedish straw caprid to suffer from repeated attacks. Already ("The front hoof smells of petrol") this year's goat at Gävle has been attacked. Of the 76 goats to date, 33 have been burnt (includes goats burnt down more than once and goats only partially burnt), 7 vandalised (includes goats thrown in the river), 1 run over and 1 stolen, giving a survival rate of 45%. The goat attracts international attention and attacks; in 2001 a tourist from Cleveland, Ohio was jailed for 18 days [Swedish] [English] for igniting the goat. Last year's goat survived to December 2nd (traumatic video). Gävlebocken is 13 metres tall and consists of 3.6 tonnes of straw. While intact it tweets, and blogs in Swedish and English. [more inside]
The BBC explore the olfactory delights of rakfisk, "trout sprinkled with salt and fermented in water for up to a year." But is it as smelly as Surströmming, fermented Baltic Herring from neighboring Sweden, or as extreme as the Icelandic Hákarl, basking shark buried in a hole and fermented for several months and tasting "similar to very strong cheese slathered in ammonia"? [more inside]