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American Pancakes & Election Woes

Here’s me this morning after a most sumptuous breakfast. I’m feeling more American right now than I have in many years. I’m excited. The election is nearing and it’s nothing short of a thriller! With the crazy-ass, winner-take-all system, where all the votes from a state’s electoral college go to the winner of the popular vote of that state, how can it not be the most exciting happening of at least the last four years? Last time around, Trump won the electoral vote after losing by 3.000.000 in the popular vote.

As if that exciting enough for us, we also have the virus, Macron stirring things up in the Middle East, a devastating earthquake in Turkey/Greece, the climate stuff and, not to forget, how shops in Beverly Hills and elsewhere are boarding up their store windows ahead of what many seem to think could be a looming civil war.

Anyway…

There are times when I question my judgment. Some would probably argue that I don’t do this enough. I think a little self-analysis is a sign of relatively good mental health. I’m doing a lot of that these days. Time seems to stand still in Vejbystrand so there’s plentiful time for introspection, taking inventory, and judging one’s ideas, perceptions, and conclusions.

In any case, like most reasonable people, I too have moments where I question a very hardline opinion I have about something or someone. Like the ongoing debate about who is best suited to steer the US of A out of these abysmally seeming troubled times.

There have been a few occasions recently when I needed to ask myself if I was absolutely sure that I was actually “getting” Trump. Could there be a slight possibility that he is in fact a good guy, just a different kind of good guy? A leader that we’ve never seen before and feel unaccustomed with. An oddball business tycoon that can cut through the cocktail murmur and just get stuff done faster without worrying too much about polish or finesse. Or about tomorrow. A man at the moment, so to speak.

Perhaps I am judging Trump too much on appearance and his inability to communicate with tact and intellect. Maybe Fox News, all those right-leaning activist groups like Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, and the minions of Trumpsters are in fact looking out for the country’s best interests. Maybe all the rest of us are just plain wrong and too blind to see it.*

But even if my judgment has been unfair, that I’ve been biased in part because the transition from the decent, rhetorically gifted Obama to the bombastic Trump has been too much to absorb, there are still just too many people way, way smarter than me that are in total agreement; Donald J. Trump is by far the worst president in modern history. He’s bad for the country domestically, bad for international relations and goddammit, bad for the reputation of the presidency as the highest office in the land and something all Americans should admire, respect, and perhaps, at least at some point in their lives, even aspire to hold.

Still, I have hope. Hope that I would have all the necessary ingredients needed to make simple American pancakes in the kitchen when I woke up this morning. And low and behold, I did! I did! Here are the recipe’s ingredients:
1 cup flourAmerican Pancakes
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or Oatly’s iKaffe.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mix it all together and then make yourself some thick cakes in a scorching hot, buttered skillet. While the first side is being fryed, I added thin slices of banana and a few sprinkles of cinnamon for extra yum.


The Art of Living

They say that after you turn 25, not much of your character changes. Thirty-two years later, I can’t but agree with that statement.

I clearly live a healthier life in 2020 than I did in 1988 when smoking, snuffing, and drinking was all part of my daily diet. I never got into drugs, at least not the illicit kind in power form. I’ve always exercised regularly, 90 minutes of Qigong&Yoga this morning) but also fall into spells of spectacular indulgence. As I near my sixth decade, I realize that I still spoil myself regularly and enjoy much of the same stuff as back in my youth. Like the IHOP breakfast above which I ate with great vigor while waiting for a friend up in the Bronx a couple of years ago.

In 1988, I spent the entire summer unloading bananas off rusty boats from Central America (mostly Panama) which arrived weekly in Göteborg’s commercial harbor. Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries were seemingly insatiable when it came to bananas at the time. Each Friday, a freighter chuck full with about 130.000 cardboard boxes of bananas colorfully branded Uncle Tuca, Del Monte and Chiquita would dock and wait to be unloaded the following Monday morning.

At 18.4kg per banana box, placing a few thousand of them onto a conveyer belt from deep inside the vessel each shift was intense. But in retrospect, the job provided me with humbling insights into the world of the working class. Like many other labor-intensive jobs, the fruit company that hired me and my “banana boat” colleagues (which in the summer consisted mostly of students, struggling musicians, and artists) eventually automized the entire unloading process.

In October that year, I flew with Yugoslavian JAT to Thailand and worked for 6 months at the Golden Sand Resort on Lamai Beach, Koh Samui. Upon returning to Sweden in April, my brother Nick called to ask me if I wanted a bartending gig at a hotel in Riksgränsen, way, way up in Lapland towards the very tip of Sweden’s northern border – real close to both Norway and Finland. Financially depleted and desperate for work, I got on a rickety train from Göteborg where spring was abounding and arrived approximately 24 hours later in Riksgränsen where it was still midwinter.

If the lifestyle I had previously been leading – culminating with several seasons working in a bar at a ski resort – was formative, the time I spent in Riksgränsen surely solidified much of it. It took me several years to leave the restaurant business and embark on more creative, less destructive endeavors. But in essence, I’m still more or less the same guy as I was back in 1988. Just older on the outside.

Here’s an interesting documentary from the BBC about the art of living where the team has met a ancient folks living in a remote mountain village in Italy and how their lifestyle has promoted mental and physical health and longevity. As usual, I’m caught between being inspired and realizing how boring that would be.