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Friday, December 30, 2016

Changes in Sweden – Coming in 2017

Taken from:     29 December 2016

Photo: Per Wahlberg/TT

Internationals will be more likely to be out of work

In a less positive development if you’re an immigrant like many people at The Local, the coming year is set to see foreign-born residents make up 60 percent of unemployed in Sweden, while the jobless rate for Swedes sinks at the same time.
The figures come from Sweden’s Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) in their labour market forecast, which shows that while unemployment among Swedish-born citizens aged between 16 and 64 will soon drop from 7.5 percent to around 6.6 percent, for foreigners, it’s expected to increase.
So while currently around 50 percent of unemployed people in Sweden are originally from abroad, they will soon make up the majority, as the number hits 60 percent in 2017. It’s thought the rise is linked to rising migration.
Gee, you think?

The process of bringing back conscription could begin
Readers born between 1999 and 2000 may want to pay attention to this one. Earlier this year a Swedish government inquiry recommended that compulsory military service should be reintroduced in the country in an effort to plug gaps in the Armed Forces.
The proposal, released on September 28th, has been put out to a four-month consultation process, and if it goes ahead, young men and women will be asked to complete questionnaires for future recruitment to the Armed Forces from July 1st 2017 onwards.

Those selected from the questionnaire data would then be obliged to complete basic military training from January 1st, 2018. It is estimated that 4000 newly trained soldiers will be needed that year, and the number of people called to obligatory service will depend on the volume of standard recruits available.
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Self-driving cars will appear in Gothenburg

It sounds like something from science fiction, but self-driving cars are genuinely planned to be on the streets of Gothenburg at some point next year. Swedish car maker Volvo has been testing them in the city since 2014, and aims to roll the first 100 out to consumers both in the western Swedish city and in London in 2017.
“How will you use the extra time you’ll have when your car starts to drive itself? Relax with a newspaper? Meet those last-minute deadlines?” asks Volvo on its website. “Worrying about being in a self-driving car,” sounds more likely, at least initially.
The idea is that they will be safer than the current generation of standard, human-driven cars, and with scrutiny likely to be high in the early stages, we’ll certainly find out sooner rather than later. Something tells us the self-parking capacity will prove popular.

The Nobel Literature Laureate will finally make an appearance

Putting a certain US President-elect to one side, Bob Dylan may just be the most divisive American figure for Swedes in 2016. The songwriter became the first musician ever to win a Nobel Literature Prize earlier this year, and promptly responded by, well, not really responding at all, holding his tongue for weeks and making it difficult for the Swedish Academy which awards the prize to get in touch with him.

The elusive Dylan eventually formally accepted the prize a fortnight after it was announced, but when he subsequently explained that he would not come to the traditional December Nobel Banquet to accept it, critics of his reluctant response to the award only had more fuel for their fire.
Swedes will finally get to see their latest literature laureate in 2017 however, as he is booked for a set of concerts at the Stockholm waterfront venue on April 1st and 2nd, before playing Lund’s Sparbankens Skåne Arena on April 9th.

Whether he will also give his Nobel lecture during that period remains to be seen. The talk is a requirement for winners of the prize, and must be given within six months of it being awarded.

Photo: David Vincent/AP

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 8

The Bitch From Borlänge

By Ellie of Cameron & Smoothy


Chapter 8


Where was I? On the sidewalk in Rosengaard with Willie The Rat. We’d just found a copy of Aftonbladet and he read a semi accurate piece about my sardine caper, before eating the rest of the paper.

“I can’t believe you did that,” I hissed. “I wanted to look for something about the kat show. We have no idea where the damn thing is.”

“My bad,” he said. “Swedish papers are some of the best tasting news. Der Spiegel is to die for, but hard to find copies.”

“So what do we do now?”

“We’ll go and ask The Hound,” he said.

“The Hound?”

“Hound of the Basketballs,” he tells me. “Used to be a player before he got into the beer habit. He knows everything that’s going on in Malmö. I know where he lives.”

*           *          *

We found him at a cheap saloon, the Dog Tired, on the wrong side of the street. He was hanging out a sidewalk window with what appeared to be a serious hangover.


“Hey basketballs!” I called. That seemed to wake him up.

“Huh? What?” he snuffed.

“We’ve got a couple questions you might know the answer to,” I told him. “Where’s the FIFI cat show held in Malmö, also when does it begin?”

“Questions are free. Answers cost bones.” He was looking straight at me—the deep pocket. Rats don’t carry paper money. Some say they eat coins.

I tossed him a crumbled twenty kroner note.

“Umm. Let me think.” He passed the twenty to a poodle who was tending bar. After a pregnant paws he said, “It’s at the Malmö Konsthall. It starts tomorrow . . . runs all weekend.”

“What’s the address?” Willie asked him.

“It’s on Johannesgatan. Not too far from Pildammsparken. Going to take the rat with you?” He asked. “Good luck with that.” The poodle brought a bowl of beer and he buried his nose in it.

“Catch your act later,” Willie told him as we left.

“We'd better go there now,” I said. “We need to find a good way in—and out.”

“It isn’t far, Smooth—fifteen or twenty minute walk from here.” We could get something to eat on the way. You called him Basketballs? He might have taken that the wrong way.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge – An Apology

The Bitch From Borlänge – An Apology

Postcard from Ellie:

I’m so sorry there has been a pause in our story. We’ve had our first snow here in Sweden and I’ve been busy tracking the wild moose and also mountain climbing. We plan to get back to the story soon, but there is so much going on and now Christmas is coming. Ak!

Postcard From Smoothy:


Well, it’s true we have been busy, but snow is really not my thing — tends to be wet and cold. Fortunately the servants have built a glassed in gym for me on the back deck and I have been working out on the katapulter even though I don’t need to worry about keeping in shape. I think it’s my turn to write a chapter and I will get to it soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Talking During the Commercials – by Hal Sirowitz


Taken From Writer’s Almanac

Talking During the Commercials
by Hal Sirowitz

It seems like the commercials are getting longer,
Father said, & the shows are getting shorter.
This is the fourth one in a row. Don’t they
realize there’s a limit to our patience, & we’re
ready to pull the plug on the TV if they continue
to take advantage of us? I’d pull it out now
if you weren’t watching it. The only reason
I’m watching it is so we can talk. The TV
gives us an excuse to be together. Otherwise,
we a be in separate rooms. I’m sorry for
attacking the very commercials that enable
us to talk, but there’s nothing else to talk about.

“Talking During the Commercials” by Hal Sirowitz from Father Said. © Soft Skull, Press, 2004. Reprinted with permission.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Things You Can’t depend On

Good as Gold

I’ve been watching gold . . . for the last 30 years—longer than that. My first awareness of gold was in a silversmithing class I took in college. Students could by precious metals. Gold was thirty two bucks an ounce. I was working with silver which sold for much less than that, four dollars an once, or less. I wanted some gold, just to have it, but the cost seemed too extravagant. I graduated and never thought about gold for a long time.

When I was in my late 40’s I had a decent job working as a contract electrical designer (Contract means no benefits, no health care, no sick days. A soon as the job is finished one is out the door—but the pay is very good. It’s a little like prostitution.) I decided I should have a pound of gold as a back up, my own golden parachute—one I could hold in my hand, just in case.

I bought my first ounce, a South African Krugerand, for six hundred dollars—mid seventies I think, and continued buying one or two coins a year. But no more Krugerands. They were politically incorrect. I felt guilty about it and now my coins were Mapleleafs, Canadian. The price kept going up. I paid over eight hundred each for the next coins, more than that a year or so later. I got up to eight ounces in 2008 and found suddenly found myself out of work—now in my middle fifties. I was unemployed for three years, worked a few backbreaking temp jobs, to keep from going nuts. Six bucks an hour they paid. The coins got cashed in, one by one. The price was dropping. I got 350 bucks for the last one.

*       *       *

But I never gave up. I started again in 2006, with the same goal. I had a straight job by this time. A high school teacher with a retirement and health plan, but still wanting that pound of metal. I started slowly buying coins again, at almost the same price as before, around $600. And the price went up again as I bought one or two a year. As a years passed the price went nuts. I bought the last coin for $1,800, then I retired and moved to Sweden where I watched the gold price drop like a dead monkey. Seems like it got down to around $900. But I’ve still got ‘em this time. Eight of them, eight ounces. Never made it to the pound, but now the price is going up—and down, but mostly up. $1,250 today I think. It’s been a fun thing to watch. Security is an illusion.


I think about people like myself, and people far less fortunate than myself. People just trying to get along, who keep losing in some mysterious way. Trying to save a little something. The banks used to pay interest for holding our money. Now they charge us to keep it. When I was teaching we were giving to opportunity to switch our retirement money into a stock market plan. I didn’t go for it, but some of my best friends did, and lost more than half of what they had accrued in decades of hard work. These are people who played a straight game—worked twenty years or more. Good, honest lives, and then the hammer fell. These are some of the people who are very pissed. Angry enough to play the wild card, and without a hell of a lot to lose. These are not all the ignorant crazy people we see so much of on TV. I doubt it does much good to paint them as such. It’s sure as hell not going to make them see our point of view.

So what have they given us?  A sideways look at the man: Trump has put on a hell of a show. He had to. Who would have paid attention to him if he’d played it straight? In learned debates with Hillary, the immaculate insider? She who knows the ropes—a politician all her life. She lived in the Whitehouse. He got attention by acting nuts, and maybe he is. We will see. It will be interesting to watch this guy. He isn’t stupid by a long shot, and he’s tough, he loves a fight. Let’s put him in the ring, see what he does before going though a lot of ‘pay back’, marches, lawsuits, and demeanings. Let’s get on with it. See what the politically incorrect bastard does. I think the mask is coming off. Let’s see what we’ve got.
Our One Eyed Jacks
We’re going to see the other side of his face.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Thoughts in passing: Trump – (Follow up from Monday’s post.)


Could this be it? 

More Hillary e-mails. The other shoe at last?  I don't think so. Just another distraction to keep us away from anything relevant we might be discover. What we are discovering is just how rotten the whole thing is. We are almost afraid to look, but watching. This insane reality - better than fiction. So much of it is fiction.

Thoughts in passing - 25 October 2016

Trump and the other shoe.

I keep waiting for some kind of huge surprise in the election. Nothing would surprise me. It’s weird what Trump does. He feeds on negativity. He probably eats Krypton for breakfast. This is what got him where is in the first place. He’s been called every name in the book, but the names where called on prime time TV—again and again and again. Mass media is eating it up. The news is more entertaining than prime time TV. Trump has gone out of his way to alienate the press. Now why would a candidate do that? Journalists are pissed and slamming in into him with such obvious gusto, one would have to admit is biased, even if true.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge - Chapter 7


The Bitch From Borlänge

By Ellie of Cameron & Smoothy

Chapter 7


I took a walk in a nearby park to let my dye job set, read the paper and plan my next move. There was a crime report on page 2, posted by Inspector Johansson I suppose. It gave a description of Smoothy which might be helpful—or not. I doubt if the Rosengaard kats would be interested in helping the police as no reward’s been offered, but whatever.

I found an interesting notice on page 4. “FIFE International Cat Show, Malmo. Famous kats from around the world,” it said. A Persian glamour kat, Lulu Rashid, is expected to appear this weekend wearing a diamond collar worth millions. A bejeweled Siamese named Magnolia will also be showing off.

Sounds like Smoothy’s kind of bag, but will he dare to show?  It’s worth taking a sniff.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 6

The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 6


The Bitch From Borlänge

 Ellie of Cameron & Smoothy


I know a gig you might be interested in,” Snot barks. “Big Kat Show – Malmo, coming up. Some of the more famous felines will be wearing diamond collars. You could pull off a Kim Kardashian snatch, only for real.”

“We’ll think about it.” Diamonds are a Kat’s best friend
“I know a fence, a weasel with a pawn shop.” Snot tries to scratch an ear that he can’t reach. “He doesn’t ask a lot of questions. If you dudes get lucky. . . .”

“Yeah. We’ll let you know. This conversation never happened. Keep me posted . . .  anything you hear about the Bitch.”

“I loved her,” Pug slobbers. “She was—”

“Never mind. If she shows up you’ll get second chance,” I tell him as we leave. “Keep your eyes open.”

*         *          *
“Let’s go get some sushi,” I tell Willie as we step outside.

“Yeah, works for me. You want to watch some car fires after? Gonna be some.”

“I don’t know. I watched one burn last night. What’s that about?”

“Somethin’ to do, I guess. A kind of protest. Not so many of us happy here in Rosengaard.  The ones fell though all the safety nets, no skills, no education, families blown away to shit . . . this true for some of us. Some of us criminals already. Not much hope of glorious futures, but we make this place our own. The burnings just remind the others that we’re here, and pissed. Cops can’t do anything that’s not politically correct. The race card trumps in Sweden.”

“Umm. The Kat show might be easy money,” I tell Willie over salmon, sake, and some tako served with rice.

“We’ll check it out. See how things look. Those Kat shows usually run a couple days—the weekend. We’d have time to plan.”

“You doing to eat those Californa rolls?” he asks. Willie the Rat. He never stops eating—as for me, I watch my weight. You wanna be smooth, you gotta have a body that can back it up, and I’ve got that in spades—just sayin’.

“So.” The Яat’s cleaned both our plates and chewing on a chopstick. “What should we do next?”
I take a snort of nip as I get up.“Let’s go” I tell him. “We need details. A computer maybe.”
“You should have a cell phone, Smoothy. “You could look it up.”

“I don’t do cell phones. You get phone calls all the time, and cops can track those things—find out exactly where you are in real time.”

“Yeah. I don’t have one myself—the fees. I barely get enough to eat.” He snatches a discarded copy of an Alphbloreer newspaper somebody left on a three legged chair. “Might be an advertisement for the Kat thing here.” We pause for him to shuffle though the pages.

“Oy, look it’s you!” I see it without sitting down. Kat Burgler Hides in Rosengaard district—Police Baffled.

“There’s a picture of you.”

“Could be any Kat,” I tell him. “Яead what is says.”

“Ah . . . they’ve hired somebody, an investigator—female.”

“Well, that’s Sweden for you. What else does it say?”

“They are looking for a famous Scandinavian Kat burgler who pulled off some kind of international commodity crime—something to do with a hundred tons of sardines.”

“A hundred—really. Well, they do exaggerate, sometimes by underplay, or not . . . depending.”
“They go on to say he’s wanted for a dozen other crimes he perpetrated while in Germany and France. He sometimes poses as a suave, good looking, and well heeled, aristocrat with money stashed inside the bank of Kathmandu, Nepal, and—Oy! Here comes the worst part . . . name is Smoothy. Gives your weight and color—Black.”

“The racist bastards.”
Continued Weekly

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 5

Chapter 5                                                                                                                 10 October 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 5

By Ellie of Cameron    & Smoothy



You can run, but you can’t hide.

I’m on the edge of the Rosengaard district. Going in might lead to trouble. A disguise might work, but what? Need time and space to think.

A bistro called, The Dog House, looks good for openers—an unpretentious sort of place, but clean. There’s a few bitches sharing opinions and dogwater at the bar—mixed breeds. A Rottweiler I recognize is sitting alone at a small table. Met him in Amsterdam last year, good looking dawg, but I ignore him, and he doesn’t notice me. I order snacks and sit down with the girls who sniff at me with curiosity.

“You new in town?” one asks while looking at my coat—appraisal.

“Yeah, just passing through. I’m looking for a kat. I think he’s somewhere inside Rosengaard.”

“Best you stay out of there,” a bleached blond poodle yips. “Bad dogs.”

I buy a round of bones and listen as the poodle yaps about a boutique where she gets her hair done—boring, but she gives me and idea. A die job might work. A dog in black, unkempt . . . a hippy hairdo.

“It’s divine,” she says—still running on. “It’s called, The Hair After.  Totally cool styalists It’s worth a grooming just to get a look at Mauice —from Paris. Hes an older dog, but very hot. Distinguished.”

“And gay as springtime,” says a basset sitting next to her.

“It’s getting late,” I told them. “Got to see a man about a dog.”

Hours later I came out of The Hair After a new hound, black hair, no curls— so sad to get them straightened out. I’m wearing an un-hairdo, wet fur outside air-dried. Hope no one I know will see me, but it’s doubtful they would recognize me if they did. Maurice is sniffing at me.

“Zo, perhaps when you arefinish with zis new look, you come back? I make your beauty once again appear. You are a hot dog, as they say in the U.S.”

“Sounds good” I tell him. Love his accent. Is he young enough to learn a few new tricks? I’m thinking as I hit the sidewalk. And what next? I ask myself. I need a cover story, reason to be here.

To be continued      Weekly instalments

Friday, October 7, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 7 October 2016 – Bath Night.

Postcard from Smoothy:

Well, this is so weird I have to share it with you. Tonight was Ellie’s bath night. It happens two or three times a month and I get to watch Mom work on her—makes the high light of my week.


The hound doesn’t seem to mind, but I don’t think she knows I’m watching— probably has soap in her eyes. Ellie is a very strange dog, but fun to watch.

So what are you looking at?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 4


The Bitch From Borlänge – Chapter 4

By Ellie of Cameron & Smoothy

Smoothy – 4 October 2016

It’s early morning. Brilliant winter sun spills shadows over Rosengaard. Been here a few times, like I said before, I’ve been around. I’m on my way to one of those never-closed bars where you can do whatever you want, and others can do whatever they want to you. The Katacombs Klub. I’ll need to watch my back, but it’s a good place to find out what’s going on and safe enough for a kat like me. I’m totally not worried, padding down the street.
I was about to go inside when—“Hey Smooth.”
Can’t see who it is at first. Sun’s in my eyes.
“It’s me. Willie the Rat.”
“Hej, Willie. Been a while. Thought you were dead.”
“Not yet,” he says. “But not for lack of tryin’.”
Willie’s a Norwegian rat who fled to Sweden to avoid prosecution, or persecution over some kind of old cheese deal he made. He’s also wanted here, something about a passport—papers. Never asked him for the details. Better not to know. We did some business, couple years ago, but nothing big time.
“Looking for some action?”
“Looking to avoid someone who’s looking for me. Kind of like yourself,” I add. “But always curious. How ‘bout we go inside?”
It’s bark. My eyes had just adjusteb to the sun. I’m blind again, but now things start to come in focus. There’s some ominous pit bulls at a tadle chewing bones and talking—looking our way now.
“Keep moving,” Willie tells me.
A dozen kats are scattered here and there, some on the nod from too much nip. The others watch with blurry curiously. A pair of possums are doing sour apples at the end of the bar next to a bulldog, and a boxer— Pug I think his name is. Seen him around few times. There’s an empty space next to them and Willie seems to know the dogs. I’m not surprised.
“What up Snot?” He asks the bulldog.
“Not too much. You buyin?”
“Yeah, why not.”
We get sushi some and some ribs for the dogs, then share some Afghan nip which doesn’t seem to do much for the hounds.
“You boy’s lookin’ for something?” Snot asks.
“Maybe.” I say. “Right now we just want to be unnoticed.”
“This here’s Smoothy.” Willie introduces me to Snot, and Pug who’s staring at his dish as if it might give answers to his life.
“I well know everybody lookin for the Rat,” Snot tells me. “Who be after you?”
“The Bitch.”
“Snot drops his bone. “She here?”
“Not yet. That’s what I need to know. If you hear anything— I’ll throw you a few bones for your effort.”
“I hope you don’t mean that bitch. Ellie? One from Borläng?” Pug comes back to life.
“Yeah. That’s the one.”
“Oh, man. You’re fucked. That bitch is bad. Went a few rounds with me, then disappeared. No forwarding address. She was hot, good lookin, but a little over weight. Good nose. She’ll track you down. She bit my ear.” He show’s me what’s left of a califlower ear. “She’s vicious, and she’ll find you. That’s what she does.”
“Nobody’s found me yet. I’m slicker than most, and smother than the rest. But keep your good ear open. Like I said, might be a T-bone in it for you.”

Friday, September 30, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 27 Sept – The Bitch From Borlänge Ch. 3

Oh my god. It’s happening already. Smoothy has altered the plot, and he’s been grabbing all the best adjectives! I’m either stuck with, ’me too,’ or that’s something ‘I am not, or can’t do.’ Superkat—indeed. I need to make The Bitch stronger than that, more than a superhound. Does he hold some kind of masculine advantage? Muscle strength? This won’t be easy work, a cunning adversary, and clever. Hmm, perhaps too clever. Curiosity can work out poorly for a kat—it’s common knowledge. Kats sometimes climb trees they can’t get down from. I am still well in the game. Where is he now?
I’m guessing Stockholm or Upsalla. Denmark maybe. Norway? Why would anyone go there? I’m guessing Stockholm, maybe Malmo, some big city waste land anonymity.

The Bitch From Borlänge
By Ellie of Cameron



Chapter 3

Erickson met me at the station—a bone in his mouth as usual. He always has a bone in his mouth. It’s almost Freudian or something, but whatever.
“Tip came in,” he tells me. “One of those cell phone things. Kid took a movie of a burning car and caught this kat— Rosengaard district, Malmö. He shoved a photo in my hand and drooled with modest excitement. “Look familiar?”

It’s a slightly overweight, male, with white socks and a coat that’s 50 shades of gray. “It looks like we got lucky.”

“Good police work,” Erickson wuffed.

I told him, “All you did was sniff at your computer. Never even had to move your ass.”
Well someone’s got to do it,” he says. “Not as easy as it looks.”
“I know. You’re right. You are the gears of the machine. You’re indispensible.” That seems to satisfy him and he wonders off, back to his desk— sits on the floor and does his best to look alert. Some males are easy to get on with, others not so much.

Rosengaard – 28 September.

I’m in Rosengaard, a Swedish tide pool reeking life. 24-7 mid east western: outlaws, priests and bullies, and good people—mostly poor people hanging on to see what happens next. Survivors.
I’m uneasy, and a bit excited. Totally alert. This might be dangerous, these streets . . . good looking gal like me. I asked Inspector Johansson for some back up.

“Oh.” He scratched his ear. “No way. Short handed as it is. They keep on cutting back, replacing us with bureaucrats. Gas for trip to Stockholm. . . . 13,12 krowns a liter. There’s no way.” He sat on the floor to scratch an ear. “I’m paying you from the emergency fund. Keep that to yourself,” he sniffs.
I will. I feel a little guilty. I’ve been lucky, have two servants and a good life when I want it. Sleuthing isn’t work for me, it’s what I am, and danger is my pleasure—keeps a dawg alive

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 25 Sept – The Bitch From Borlänge Ch. 2


The Bitch From Borlänge

By Ellie of Cameron


Smoothy Intro: – 25 Sept 2016

Part 2

I should say right off I have a bit of byslexia—you’re going to see typos . . . part of my charm. I can read and speak Swedish, English, German, and some Spanish when I’m in the mood. I write English with a Chicago 50’s accent, and have the grace of an Olympic athlete, gymnast, poetry in motion. Strong. I lift my own weight without effort—straight up, tree high, leap across large spaces in a single bound. I’m Superkat. Catcher of flys—that fast, and fluid, mercury in motion. In a fur coat I call vintage noir, spectrum of black to gray, hard to see in the dark, and softer than cashmere—this above white socks. Totally cool.

I’m tellin’ you all this so you know I’m not a pussy, and can smell a rat a long way off. I live on sardines, and am willing to work for sardines on occasion—short term jobs, if you know what I mean. I stay up late and don’t mind the odd snack at an all night diner. Scrambled eggs and toast are good. I’m curious about taste—curious by nature, one might say. I work with an extensive cognitive map that needs to know where things are—behind closed doors. It’s hard to keep me out of where I want to be.

I heard Johansson hired The Bitch. Word gets around. I call her Ellie, that’s her name. Good looking for a bog. A decent coat, although some think it could de thicker—I’m just sayin. Ellie’s good at sniffing, trying to sort out where I am by now, I guess. She’ll de a worthy challenge, fast across an open field. I don’t do open fields. I’m more an inside sort of kat, but I digress. The hound is looking for me. I can almost hear her snuffling. Time for me to hide.

*          *          *

It’s 3 a.m. in the Rosengaard district—Malmö, a good place to hide. Police don’t go here, and the locals don’t ask questions. Even rats are tolerated; some are members of the infamous ‘Survivors Club,’ an easy group to join, but hard to leave. A kind of blood-in, blood-out thing. I’ve never been a joiner.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Observing Sweden – 25 September 2016 - No-Go Zones

Embassy: No-go zones ‘do not exist in Sweden’

Taken from: The Local
Published: 23 Sep 2016 15:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Sep 2016 16:37 GMT+02:00

Sweden’s embassy in Budapest has sharply rebuked Hungary after an official leaflet claimed that Stockholm and other European cities had become “no-go areas”.

Flyers warning of “hundreds of no-go areas in European cities”, which highlighted Stockholm along with London, Brussels, Marseille, Berlin and the Copenhagen-Malmö area, were this month sent to millions of households in Hungary ahead of its referendum next month on EU refugee quotas, reports the Financial Times.

The leaflets claimed that migrants have overrun hundreds of “no-go” areas in Europe which “the authorities cannot keep under control” and where “the norms of the host society (…) barely prevail”.
Counsellor Anna Boda, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in Hungary, told The Local via email on Friday that representatives from Sweden, as well as Germany and the UK, have been in contact with Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto to protest against “the false information”.

“It is important to us that accurate information about Sweden is given to the citizens of Hungary. The embassy has therefore had reason to object sharply to a map of Europe with red markings in a handful of member states, including Sweden, in which the Hungarian government claims that so-called ‘no-go zones’ exist, where police and the state have no control over citizens’ safety,” she said.

Meanwhile, in the Reality Zone

Swedish police lose control amid refugee crisis as number of ‘no-go zones’ rises to 55

The number has risen from 50 in February, when the police last gave a comprehensive report on the issue, and last week, when the law enforcement agency gave an update. According to media reports, the service is facing a major crisis of self-confidence, with as many as three officers on average asking to resign on a daily basis. Internal polls say four officers out of five have been considering a change of profession lately.

“We have a major crisis. Many colleagues are choosing to quit,” police officer Peter Larsson told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “A drastically worsened working environment means many colleagues are now looking for other work.”

If officers go into a no-go zone, they risk being verbally attacked or pelted with stones. Patrol cars may be set ablaze or stolen.

Crime rates in the blacklisted areas are on the rise, the police report said. The offenses range from vandalism to drug crimes to sex assaults and gun violence. One particular example is Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, where more than 70 cars were set on fire by arsonists over several days. The police managed to arrest only one suspect while investigating those attacks.

Ironically, after the Hungarian government used the existence of no-go zones in Europe to promote its cause for an upcoming referendum on EU quotas, the Swedish embassy rebuked it saying that no such areas existed in their country.

“It is important to us that accurate information about Sweden is given to the citizens of Hungary. The embassy has therefore had reason to object sharply to a map of Europe with red markings in a handful of member states, including Sweden, in which the Hungarian government claims that so-called ‘no-go zones’ exist, where police and the state have no control over citizens’ safety,” Anna Boda, the Deputy Head of the Swedish diplomatic mission in Budapest told The Local.

No-go zone” is a loaded term with no clear definition and caused division earlier amid the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. Last year Paris wanted to sue Fox New for a report, which said no-go zones existed in the French capital.

Earlier today in Malmo

Four men injured in scooter shootout in Sweden
Posted about 5 hours ago

Four men have been injured, one critically, in the centre of Sweden’s southern city of Malmo, in what police said appeared to be a targeted attack by gunmen riding scooters. The shooting broke out shortly before 7:00pm (local time) in a street in the southern city’s Fosie district. Police in the area evacuated one of the injured to the city hospital.

“The three other injured were able to make their own way to hospital,” police said in a statement.
According to witnesses interviewed by the SydSvenskan newspaper, local residents were able to take the injured to hospital in their cars before emergency services arrived.

“The attackers were able to flee on scooters. An inquiry has been opened for attempted murder. No suspect has been apprehended,” the police statement said. Multiple eye witnesses told Swedish media that there had been a car chase, with the four victims in one vehicle and two scooters pursuing them.
The car ended up ramming into a tree before multiple individuals on the scooters, who all had their faces covered, opened fire on the vehicle, shooting off some 20 rounds, local media reported.
“They were firing automatic weapons,” an eyewitness said.

One of the victims was hit in the head and remains in critical condition.
While Sweden is generally a peaceful, safe country with low crime rates, police have had difficulty addressing violence in poorer neighbourhoods in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.
In recent years, there have been grenade attacks, shootings and incidents of car arson.
At the end of August, an eight-year-old child was killed when a grenade was thrown into the apartment where he was sleeping.

One of the people registered at the address was a person who had been convicted for murder in a settling of scores between members of the Somali community in Gothenburg.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 24 September 2016


 Postcard from Ellie: 24 September 2016

This is so weird. Smoothy got upset because I used his name in my story. Now he wants to write the total Smoothy part of my book. I don’t know, sounds complicated, and a giving up control of plot. Where will the story go?

“Come after me,” he says. “Chase me with words. Come play with me. As smooth as silk, I slip away, or reappear to play with you.”

I said okay. I’ll take a chance. But it could ruin the story. Simply kill it—it might simply end in space . . . or could be fun. We’ll see what happens, but I’m saying right now, and in print, I take no responsibility for anything the Smoothy character says or does within the contents of my book. The Smoothy character will be beyond my fictional control—or not. We’ll see how this goes. I guess we’ll hear from the fictional Smoothy next. As for the real life Smoothy—He can run, but  he can’t hide.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Postcards From Another Point of View 23 Sept 2016


The Bitch From Borlänge

By Ellie of Cameron

Part 1

Stockholm – 22 September.

Inspector Johansson was a nervous sort, paranoid and not well suited to police work, but it ran in the family. He was desperate, as usual, and had called in the B team to help unravel the case. Lindberg was there, a flighty Irish Setter with an accent, had his hair and nails done twice a week. A stuck up, pedigreed sort—good at sitting, but not much else.

Erickson, the crime team’s bloodhound, was curled up on the couch with a bone in his mouth. Also present were two dachshunds, Fritz and Max, who had connections in low places. They only spoke German, and some bad English, but Johansson could understand most of what they said . . . or pretended to.

“I guess you’ve all guessed why you’re here,” Johansson started out.

Max broke an uncomfortable silence that followed. “Ja, sure. Das herring thing,”

“Exactly. Yes,” Johansson barked. “Twenty tons of herring stolen from Arlanda Airport. It was being shipped to Japan, but never got on the plane.”

“That was almost two months ago.” Erickson dropped his bone in an ashtray and sat up straight, doing his best to look intelligent. He loved attention.

“Ja. Precise!” Johansson sat down on his desk. “The A Team has been working on it, and we have a name.

“Well done!” Lindberg wagged his tail. “We knew you’d get him.”

“But, we didn’t get him . . . yet. The newspapers are hounding me. There was an article in Aftonbladet about the case lasts week. We know who it is, and that’s the problem. Déjà Vu again for me. It’s that infernal kat burglar. Smoothy.”

“Ah. Dat Smoothy is a hard one catching,” Fritz sniffed.

“Tell me about it. It’s been eight years and as many thefts. The golden carp stolen from the Uppsala  Museum, that copper Dingus from Falun, The Platinum Bone of Contention—taken from the King’s bedroom for God’s sake. I could go on, but you all know the story. The papers are killing me.”

“Well, we all know what newspapers are good for.” Erickson growled.

“The reason I’ve called you here today . . .” Johansson paused as if reluctant to continue. “I am bringing in, The Bitch, from Borläng. She’ll be on a short leash, but you’ll have to work with her. I know it won’t be easy, but she may well be our only chance.”

“No way. Are you now forgetting how she friggen bit me,” Lindberg yowled.
“You need to learn to keep it in your fur,” Johansson said.

“I only gave ‘er a bit of a sniff,” the setter argued. “She was in heat, and comin’ on so charmin’ and all.

“She’s a good looking bitch. I’ll giver her that,” Said Erickson.

To Be Continued

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 18 September 2016

Postcard from Ellie 


It’s been an excellent day here in Sweden, cloudy but comfortable. I was on a morning tour with mom, down by the Darlarna River where I often find inspiration.

I was sitting on the pier, just thinking about life in general when it came to me. The title for my new book! I’m going to call it: “The Bitch From Borlänge.” It will be based on my experiences with the Major Crimes Squad here. An incredibly cool police hound tracks down dangerous criminals the Swedish cops are unable to apprehend. A Scandinavian thriller! I can’t wait to start. Smoothy has borrowed my doggenkeyborden so I can’t begin right now, but that’s okay. It gives me time to work on a plot.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 17 September 2016


Postcard From Smoothy                                                            17 September 2016

Ellie’s been barking about how she’s going to be a police dog and write crime stories between photo ops and modelling. The mind boggles, but whatever. She’s a good hound and lets me use her Doggenkeyborden to work the computer. I wish her well.

As for me I’d rather be at home, inside the house, or out on the yard when it’s nice, but it’s getting colder after five warm, sunny days. Speaking of house, I wasted two more flower pots, and another lamp. It’s not my fault. I was chasing a fly and those damn plants got in the way. The ‘thing on a string’ thing is fun, but nothing beats live meat. Flys are great, and spiders are fun to torture, but I haven’t seen many of them. To tell the truth I’m a little bored today.

I’ve been thinking about starting an advice column for kats. I’ve been around the block a few times — my 5th incarnation this one. The column would be strictly for felines, of course . . . maybe the odd dog if one was having problems with a feline house-mate. Not for human consumption. I should put that under the title of the column.  What would I call it? Dear Tabby? Yuk! Info For Felines, might work.

I have some interesting friends. Psycho Kitty for instance. Not sure I’d want to meet him in person, but he would be fun (and safe) to read. My other friends are relatively sane, but also interesting. Gracy, Shy and Abby live somewhere in Kansas. They might write. And there are others: Boots, Dolly and Felica. Lulu, Foxie . . . Snooky. No idea where they live. And Libra—wonder what she’s like. Cooperative? Fair minded? Indecisive?

The female servant’s out with Ellie on one of their neighborhood tours. They walk ten klicks some days — a Swedish mile. Forgetabout it! Male’s upstairs again. There’s not much going on this gray sky, late September afternoon.

I think I'll run this up the flagpole — see if anyone salutes.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 15 September 2016


Postcard From Ellie:

Well, it’s like I’m having doggy-vu again. Another contest and no ribbon. A stuffed shirt English judge this time. Seemed a bit far back, if you want my opinion. He’s said my coat was too thin, then added I was “An exciting youngster,” and gave me another “Very Good” rating. Yuk.

I still don’t have a Hollywood agent, but there was some good news yesterday. I went to a special police dog training class. We are learning about following scent, which I am already good at. They hid goodies in various boxes for me to sniff out. I made it look harder than it was. There will be more advanced training next week. I wouldn’t mind doing some police work. It could be a big help with writing my crime novel and I’m pretty excited about it. We Scandinavians have a special talent for that sort of thing. I’ll probably get to wear some kind of uniform and work on interesting cases.

Below is a photo taken at my sniffing class. It’s not  a very good one because you are not supposed to take pictures there. It’s all very secret. This photo was taken by a puppyrazi poodle I met in Stockholm.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 10 September 2016


Postcard from Smoothy:

Ellie was at another training class last night, but she won’t tell me much about it. Something to do with investigation, she says. The hound is a Pandora’s box of possibilities.  Today she’s is off to another contest and I’m at home guarding the house, which is a good thing because I saw this very long green snake in front of the house. It didn’t dare come closer when it saw I was watching.

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 14 September 2016

Postcard from Smoothy:  Bio


I should right a bio, since you read my words, and see my photos. I’m Swedish of course, and bilingual, as are most Swedes. I learned American (Not English) from an xpat Main Coon kat, named Shank. Shank knew my mom ‘in the carnal way’ as they say in the bible. He and his servant were on the run from someone in New York. I never asked who it was, or why. Sometimes it’s better not to know things.

Sometimes I think of Shank as my dad, but it’s confusing—there were so many involved. There was something with a Rag Doll. Grandma? Very flexible, a high priced call bitch. Ah, those Rags. I feel her in me. I can go limp anytime I want, bend over backwards, left or right —270 degrees, 300 on a good day. Humans will never know what it is to go limp in a lap, and be stroked gently. As good as it gets. Sometimes I over relax and go to sleep.

After a good relax I turn on the after burner, run around the house and tease Ellie.  She can’t catch me. I’m much faster in the house, but she might catch me in an open field—or not. I can turn faster than a rabbit. I play ‘chatch the thing on a string’ with the servants when I’m in the mood. It’s fun and gives me opportunity for major flexing and high jumps. I can do a meter and half now, both straight up and horizontal, one place to another. Lamps keep getting in my way, but there are fewer of them now.

I can’t spell worth a damn. I should tell you that. This is my 5th incarnation and I’ve never learned. I’m also a bit dyslexic, but if you get what I say, it doesn’t matter. Kats have 9 incarnations. You’ve probably heard the old “nine lives” bit, but it’s not what you think. The real meaning was written by the Egyptians, a long time ago, when kats were worshiped. The wise guys knew kats lived through 9 incarnations . . . with spaces between. You have to wait your turn, which isn’t bad. Floating around in space—without a body is relaxing.

 After the 9th incarnations I get to make a move, up or down the chain of consciousness. Being born kat it petty good. Not many entities as slick as us. Human form is as good as it gets, I guess, but being born a kat’s not bad. Some people think dogs are smarter than kats. How can they think that? Anyone can to what they’re told. It takes brains to do what you’re told not to do.
More of this later. Ellie’s barking at the door. Probably nothing. Ellie hears things.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 8 September 2016

Postcard from Ellie:

I got my SAG card today. I am so pumped! Now I am ready for the Hollywood. I haven’t shown it to Smoothy. He wouldn’t understand, and to tell you the truth he can’t read.

I’m on my way to another training class this evening. Another competition coming up this week end, after that I need to find an agent. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 7 September 2016

Postcard from Smoothy:


It’s a nice fall day in Sweden. I’ve been hanging around the yard with Ellie  – patrolling the fence. She had a birthday this week. Ellie’s two by human reckoning; I’m not sure what that is in dog years.  She’s been running on about Hollywood again. Somebody got her a SAG card, she says. I haven’t seen it yet.

We went back inside for lunch, and as you can see she’s hogging the dog food bowl. “Another contest this Saturday,” she tells me. “I need to bulk up.”

Whatever. I climb the tree to my food on the counter which is dog proof. Kats rule!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View – 4 September 2016

Ellie - Mom - Best 
Postcard From Ellie – 4 September 2016

Well, were back . . . without much to brag about. Another ribbonless event. It was a hard go from the git go. We arrived a bit later than intended and our location from the ring was too far away to see what was going on. Then it rained and we had problems setting up the tent. Mom got stressed and when she gets stressed I get stressed. Our tour of the show ring was nothing to write home about, but we did okay . . . and I did not become distracted. Even so, I only got a “Very Good.” This was my first “Very Good.” I’ve always gotten “Excellents” before. The judge was Irish and looked like she was having a headache or something, but whatever.

Two more shows to go this season, starting with next weekend. We’ll be ready for it.
Still no word from Hollywood, but I expect an e-mail soon.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Postcards From Another Point Of View -1

Bruce & Smoothy - Fix 20 Aug 2016 
Postcard From Bruce:   3 September 2016

This is our third week with Smoothy. He’s doing well, growing, and purring a lot, and loud. He sleeps in the top of one of our two cat trees, preferring the one by the window at night. Daytimes naps are taken in the other by the kitchen. He is happy to sleep in our laps, and be petted. This is something wife and I both wanted. Smoothy used the sandbox from the first time he saw it—no problems there, but nothing is easy. His claws and teeth are like needles. Collateral damage so far is: one lamp that used to sit on a window sill, wife’s scratched wrist, water soaked desk and papers. One of the bedroom curtains is down, along with the rack and screws that held it, pulled out of the wall. Not sure how to repair. We need to keep the cat out of our offices and bedroom.

My wife and Ellie are off to a dog show today, sixty or so competitors will come from all over Sweden, Germany and Denmark. People bring tons of gear to these events, brushes and combs and dishes, food bowls, plastic poop bags, water, small tents . . . leashes. Raingear— always good to have in Sweden, documents and forms filled out, cages with wheels—and locks.

There was a dog napping at one of the last contests. Owner left her dogs inside their cages in a locked station wagon. Someone, or ones, grabbed them, cages and all. She is heart broken, all her work, and loving care, and training grooming—gone.  I feel so sorry for her. Owners and their dogs— intensity of love is scary. Gossip theory is, the dog-napped dogs, two Labradors, would probably be shipped to Russia, where they would have their I.D. chips removed, and resold.

Smoothy Ellie Meet Best 
Postcard From Smoothy:    3 September 2016

Everything is going well. I’ve pretty much scoped out the house, but there is a blocked off area—closed door opens to a garage and stairway. What the hell is up there? The two rooms with desks are more or less off limits. I knocked over a small flower vase, full of water while I was using the keyboard on mom’s desk.

The bedroom is also off limits. I was climbing a curtain and the whole dam thing came down. It might have killed me. I was able to get under the bed before it hit the floor. Housewoman was pissed, but she got over it pretty fast.

Ellie’s okay— an ego as big as Brazil, but she’s nice, polite you might say, except when it comes to her food. She’s a bitch about food, but we’ve been getting friendly, and we play sometimes.  Ellie and mom are at a beauty contest today. The houseman has used the door to the garage and gone upstairs. What the hell does he do up there?

Poem taken from Writer’s Almanac

I fell in love with this one:

Future Plans
by Kate Barnes 

When I am an old, old woman I may very well be
living all alone like many another before me
and I rather look forward to the day when I shall have
a tumbledown house on a hill top and behave
just as I wish to. No more need to be proud—
at the tag end of life one is at last allowed
to be answerable to no one. Then I shall wear
a shapeless felt hat clapped on over my white hair,
sneakers with holes for the toes, and a ragged dress.
My house shall be always in a deep-drifted mess,
my overgrown garden a jungle. I shall keep a crew
of cats and dogs, with perhaps a goat or two
for my agate-eyed familiars. And what delight
I shall take in the vagaries of day and night,
in the wind in the branches, in the rain on the roof!
I shall toss like an old leaf, weather-mad, without reproof.
I’ll wake when I please, and when I please I shall doze;
whatever I think, I shall say; and I suppose
that with such a habit of speech I’ll be let well alone
to mumble plain truth like an old dog with a bare bone.

“Future Plans” by Kate Barnes from Where the Deer Were. © David R. Godine, 1994. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ellie's Diary - 30 August 2016

A Dog on Floor

Well, you’re probably wondering how I did at last week’s contest. This was my first big city contest—Stockholm. You will not believe what happened. I was disqualified! I can’t believe it. I was doing okay, going through the routine: sit, stop, turn around, back up . . . all that kind of stuff, when a couple good looking dogs walked past the edge of the field.

“Whose that blond bitch?” I heard one of them bark.

Well naturally I had to look to see who they were talking about, and it broke my attention. Next thing I knew my leash was pulled tight and that was it. When the leash goes tight it’s over. I was so embarrassed!

Lou Ellie Contest 27 August

The long ride home to Borlänge took 3 hours. I was wasted by the time we got back and Smoothy wanted to play. He’s just a young cat with more energy than a gerbil on crack. To tell the truth I’m really not that into kat play, though it’s fun to chase him around the house once in a while. I finally made it to the sleeping room and jumped up on the bed for a long nap. End of story.

Another contest’s coming in September. I’ll be ready to go again by then, and promise to ignore distractions.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ellie’s Diary – 27 August 2016

Ellie Hair

Well, here it is Saturday and another beauty contest coming up. I’m having a bad hair day and can’t really say I’m ready for this competition, but that’s show biz. It’s been a stressy week with a new kat in the house. Smoothy’s okay, but so hyper, jumping all over the place, and he seems to think my tail is some kind of kat toy.

No time to tell you more. I’m getting blow dried now and the man is loading the car. He and Smoothy are not coming with us. Thank God for small favors.

Smooth and the man

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ellie's Diary - 22 August 2016

Ellie's Diary - 22 August 2016

Smoothy Ellie Meet Best 

Smoothy has arrived! This photo was taken at our first meeting. It was quite exciting actually. He seems like a good kat, though a little frantic if you want my opinion. He’s running all over the place and the worst part of that is he’s so small he gets into places where I can’t follow, which is frustrating, but maybe for the best. I worry a bit about the Maine Coon part of his linage. They get so big! See photo below.
Coon Kat 

This is Smoothy now. He’s not a bad looking kat and seems friendly enough. He’s not afraid of me and we’ve been sniffing each other now and then.

Smoothy - Eating 

I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Taking A Closer Look At Nothing - Part 1

Taking A Closer Look At Nothing

Looking for nothing Image
Taking a closer look at nothing

I’ve been thinking a lot about nothing lately, and assumed I was pretty much alone in this pursuit, but there are others, far more learned and affluent than myself in search of nothing. These are serious and expensive endeavors. Scientists spent 6 billion dollars and change to build the Hadron Collider to help them look for nothing, or to find the first thing after there was nothing. How did something happen?

The collider’s made of steel and concrete walls yards thick, a huge galactic, microscope extremely good at finding questions, not so many answers—lots of theories.  Seems like understanding nothing should be easy, but it’s not. The Hadron gooses protons ‘round it’s seventeen mile track at near the speed of light, in temperatures hotter than the sun . . . slamming them into one another. An atomic train wreck parts of particles get splattered everywhere, smaller and smaller.

Chain reaction image 
Particle Accelerator Accidently Deletes The Universe - Artist unknown

Protons are whales in the subatomic sea of quarks, and leptons, pions, kayons — bosons. We’ve been looking for a boson called the Higgs. ‘The God Particle,’ scientists  call it. The creator of matter. The thing that made something possible.

We weren’t always sure we believed in the Higgs, but the collider produced an enormous data base of collision results, as many as grains of sand it would take to fill a swimming pool. Out of this swimming pool of sand, they found less than a teaspoon of Higgs bosons. But they did find some with the help of  80,000 computers interconnected  in a private Internet. Now we believe in them . . . I think.

The Boson is described as a field that glues particles together, thus creating mass. Theorists suppose there might be several kinds of Higgs, possibly five of them. They say it would require more than a single cosmic task to glue the universe together, and suppose a single Higgs is just a one trick pony. They’ll continue to study the Higgs, or Higgses for years to come and probably discover they’re made out of something . . . else. When do we get to, “There is nothing here.”  It’s hard to believe in nothing.

Astronomers are interested in nothing. They’ve been looking for it looking for it with telescopes so powerful they can see into the past—time travel in 2-D. We can observe galaxies that existed when the universe was only 800 million years old. A long way back, but never quite to the beginning of it all.

Some astrophysicists on coffee break decided to focus on a spot in the universe where they were almost certain there was nothing. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field Project chose a black spot near the big dipper, its size visually comparable to a grain of sand held at arm’s length—those grains of sand again. They were astounded when the telescope revealed a megatude of galaxies.
Is nothing possible? Seems like there’s always something left, but scientists predict they’ll find it sometime in the next ten years. Better particle detectors will enable them to see even smaller things, and finally that first bit of matter that appeared the moment after nothing happened — when something appeared.


After hunting for the earliest clues about the evolution of the universe for more than four years, Europe's Planck Space Observatory has gone dark.
Officials with the European Space Agency sent the Planck observatory its final command on Wednesday (Oct. 23, 2013), marking the end of its prolific mission. The space observatory launched in May 2009 on a mission to scan deep space for the faint relic radiation called cosmic microwave background — the oldest light in the universe — created 380,000 years after the Big Bang. 

Next week: Almost nothing about something.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ellie’s Diary – 15 August 2016-08-15

I’m just back from another beauty contest, and it isn’t easy, I can tell you that. It takes a lot of preparation. The photo below is me at the hairdresser’s.

Ellie and Barber 
It takes a about an hour – boring, and they taped one of my ears back. Yuk. I can’t really feel it, but it’s embarrassing to walk around like that for days before the show.
Whatever. Things went well, I got three ribbons.

Ellie Ribbon 3

 The blue one is the most important. If I win one more of those I will be classified as a Swedish Champion. I still haven’t heard from Hollywood, but am adding this shot to my SAG file. (Screen Actors Guild).