Uppsala, Sweden – 40 minutes from Stockholm

After Wednesday Night’s long and refreshing sleep – I was already to see some of Stockholm and some of Sweden. The plan called for walking about in Gamla Stan aka Stockholm’s once and forever Old Town. As the center island of the archipelago that makes up Stockholm – it was worth seeing. That is after Part One had been accomplished.

Part I of the day plan was to visit the town of Uppsala pronounced like the oo’s in hoops – ooops – Sah – Lah. Uppsala is a college town about 40 minutes north of Stockholm and is an easy ride on a commuter train. More recently, Uppsala was a location mentioned in The Millenium Trilogy.

The Apartment on Tellebruksvagen

The Apartment on Tellebruksvagen

So I left the apartment on Tellebruksvagen, made the 90 second walk to the entrance of the Midsommerkransen T-Bana Station.

The Midsommerkransen T-Bana exit on Tellebruksvagen

The Midsommerkransen T-Bana exit/entrance on Tellebruksvagen

How close was the station to the apartment house? You could see the apartment building to your right when you stepped out onto the sidewalk from the Midsommerkransesn exit.

I had a Starbucks breakfast in Stockholm Central Station. Coffee and a slice of the blueberry cake. I might just as well had a similar breakfast at the Expresso House – they looked similar.

The northbound train was sparsely populated. If you decide to make this trip on your own – buy a Second Class seat = 1) because there are no reserved seats on this train, and 2) It is only a 40 minute ride.

I just got off this train at Uppsala

I just got off this train at Uppsala

Uppsala is an old town notable for the University and for having the tallest church in the country. Having seen Cathedrals in New York, Paris, Rome, Milan, Sienna, Pisa, Venice, Lausanne, Barcelona, and Montreal – I wasn’t in all that much of a hurry to see this one. I settled for seeing it from a distance as the train approached the city of Uppsala.

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Florida to Stockholm Sweden – Getting There Can Be Fun


Departure Day was Tuesday the 10th of March. I would soon depart from sunny and warm Sarasota then Orlando for the North Countries, Norway and Sweden, on the other side of the pond.

The plan was to leave in the afternoon. Make the two-hour drive from Sarasota to Orlando, take in a movie, then have dinner, then a short drive to Orlando International Airport. This enable me to avoid almost all of the driving at night. The drive went off without a hitch. The GPS navigated perfectly to 9101 International Drive where I had chosen to see The Second Best Marigold Hotel movie at the Regal Theater. Review will be posted separately. I then had dinner at the Copper Canyon Grille.

Off to the airport. The North Parking Lot (The Blue Lot) is the first long-term parking lot you come to and is the closest to Terminal A. Short walk to the van and minutes later I’m at the check-in counter of Norwegian Air. The process was flawless and after I had waited for the lines to thin out a bit, I passed through security, with a minimum amount of stress (Are you sure you don’t have anything in your pockets? Back out and come through again.) it was about 9:15 PM. only an hour and a half before boarding at 10:45. Take off was scheduled for 11:30 PM.

The 787 Dreamliner is a pretty large plane and the flight was completely booked and filled. I had Row 8 Seat G – an aisle seat – in the second row just behind the Business Class seats. While not spacious, I had ample room considering I am just under 6’4″,


The cabin crew was almost entirely Thai, This crew worked a triangle of long hauls – Bangkok to Oslo, then Oslo to Orlando and back.The service was excellent as was the entertainments provided. Individual screens all operated via touchscreen on an Android Platform. No need for a bulky and awkward controller. Movies, TV, Games, and Music all available. I had to buy the audio earpods for $3 US dollars but I get to keep them, One might also use the same system to turn on the reading light, call for the cabin attendant, or order from the snack bar. I had opted for the flight with meals and that meant a hot dinner, then later a wake up meal. While no one is a fan of airline food the chicken with mushrooms came with green beans and a tasty pumpkin squash as a side, plus a salad and a dessert, and it was very good.

Well the best news is that at 11:31 PM,we pulled away from the gate, and 10 minutes later we were in the air. We were lucky enough to have tail winds most of the way. The route was to fly over the Eastern Atlantic states passing Charlotte NC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. With the favoring winds we were over Hartford, CT in about two hours. Next came a lengthy stretch of Canada’s Eastern Provinces before heading over the North Atlantic.passing south of Greenland then Iceland, then north of the UK before making land fall over Bergen, Norway. We glided in to Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport in just under 8 hours.

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Travel: Florida to Scandinavia

Travel Day is today – Stockholm, Sweden and then Oslo and Lillehammer, Norway are the destinations. Flying with Norwegian Air from Orlando, Florida to Oslo, Norway on the 787 Dreamliner,


787 Dreamliner cabin

787 Dreamliner cabin

then a second flight to Stockholm, Sweden. Flying time Orlando to Oslo 9 hours. I’ll have time for lunch at the Oslo Airport. Flying time Oslo to Stockholm is 1 hour.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

Leaving Stockholm via Intercity High Speed train to Oslo.

First Class seat ticketed by RailEurope. Travel time 5 hrs and 44 minutes. Stockholm Central Station to Oslo Central Station. Wi-fi on the train.



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The Good Wife: Season 6 Episode 14 – Mind’s Eye


The Good Wife Season 6 Ep 14 aired last night. The official episode title is Mind’s Eye. It occurred to me that I could call it Saint Alicia Goes to Fantasyland to Find Herself. Basically the episode was an interior take with nothing much happening, and most of that was played out in Alicia’s head.

Maybe an easier way to describe it was that instead of Alicia just doing a voice over telling us what she’s thinking about, or struggling with, it is visualized. She has three or four things on her mind that can be designated with the term ‘of paramount importance’.

First is the later that day interview with potential backers. Alicia is worried about how she will respond to possible questions that could come up:

1) Her son Zach (away at Georgetown University) had impregnated his girl friend. And with Zach’s help, the girl had an abortion. Alicia thinks this is generally not widely known but this information could be damaging if she is either dishonest about it, or conversely, honest about it. The girl was just 15 at the time.

Alicia has a recurring image of Zach (in her mind’s eye) as being both a college dropout and homeless. Just the kind of person you hope won’t sit next to you on a park bench.

2) Lemond Bishop had told her that he’s funding a Campaign PAC for her.This has all sorts of negative repercussions. Alicia is backed by a drug dealer, Alicia as State Attorney might be lenient toward Bishop on drug charges.


What if she is asked directly if she has any knowledge about Bishop funding the PAC. As a candidate, she is not supposed to know anything about the who and what of the PAC. Communicating with the PAC could result in her being removed as a candidate.

But, in the truest sense, Alicia does not REALLY know about the PAC. Bishop only told her that he was going to fund the PAC. Alicia can honestly say – that to her knowledge she does not know anything.

Second is her love life which has been dormant – except for thinking and fantasizing about Finn and Johnny Elfman as well as not being able to finally let go of Josh who inhabits her dreams, even now. Tied to this is the thought of Kalinda and Peter. She has not forgiven Kalinda as of yet, and in her thoughts today Peter appears and says something like (how is it okay for you but not for me?).

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American Crime: New ABC TV Series

In 2000, Michael Douglas starred as a respected conservative judge who was asked by the US President to head up a task force on the war against drugs. This judge in the course of doing his job would discover that his own daughter was a drug addict. The film was called Traffic.

In 2004 a film called Crash, a winner of 3 Oscars, came into our film theaters and our lives. It was a multi-family story about Los Angeles citizens who led vastly different lives, but who’s lives collided in the aftermath of a car crash.. The film interweaves their stories about race, loss, and redemption.

In 2006, another film, this one called Babel, got 7 Oscar nominations (winning one) played on our movie screens. This film was about a married couple on vacation in Morocco when tragedy struck. The event touched off an interlocking story involving four different families living separately across the globe.

At the place where those three movies intersect, comes the brand new ABC-TV Series called American Crime. The show premiered just a few days ago on Thursday, March 5th. While film has readily embraced the multi-family format surrounding the topics of culture, race , and crime – prime time TV has mostly avoided doing shows that address this country’s changing cultural, racial, and ethnic mix. One might look backward and point at HBO’s The Wire, as an example, but finding and naming other shows, of this type, is not an easy task.

So the series opens with a voiced caller to 911 reporting that his neighbors appear to be dead. Cut to a man being awakened in the middle of the night. This is Russ, he says. A policeman on the other end of the phone is calling tp request that he come to Modesto. They need a positive identification of a body, who might be his son.

Russ, his last name is Skokie, arrives in Modesto by air, and two detectives are at the gate waiting for him. They take him to the morgue, and tell him that behind the window blinds there is a body. They’ll open the blinds when he says he is ready.

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Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain

Eva Gascon: Your factory is choking this town…
Warren Anderson: But this factory feeds this town

She was a life-style photo journalist from Paris Match magazine. He was the Chairman of the multinational Union Carbide. They met in Bhopal in the Indian state Madya Pradesh. Anderson was there in the fall of 1984 to rally the troops (the staff at the Union Carbide factory) and to have a look at how the factory was doing. Eva was there to take fashion and lifestyle photos.

At the time when the above conversation took place, in the back of a motorized 3 wheeled rickshaw, aka a tuktuk, neither knew what the future would hold.

The film is called: Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain.

Anderson knew that profits were down. Down because of an excessively long drought. Without rain water, crops could not grow. If crops were not growing, then farmers were not buying the pesticides that Union Carbide was manufacturing right there in Bhopal. Sales were in a steep decline.

In short, all the ingredients were in place.

A Town Desperate For Work

As Sheen’s character Warren Anderson would describe it, India was open for business, and he wanted Carbide at the heart of India’s green revolution. AS he put it, We’re going to build a better farmer.The parent company, Union Carbide, set up a subsidiary called Union Carbide India Ltd. This did two things

1) Union Carbide: Would build the factory then reap the profits (when and if), and
2) The subsidiary: Would carry out the manufacture of the pesticides, the maintenance, the safety, and also bear the legal responsibility.

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Arne Dahl: A Nordic TV Series

Ever heard of Arne Dahl?

One true answer is that the name Arne Dahl is the pen name for Swedish novelist Jan Arnald. Another answer is that 5 of his novels have been made into a tv series named… Arne Dahl.

That’s right. Scandinavia continues to turn out top-notch thrillers and mysteries. If you liked the films made from the Millenium Trilogy beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or TV Series like The Bridge, The Killing, Dicte, or the series called Annika Bengtzon, then Arne Dahl is a series that you should see.

The first five novels penned by Arne Dahl have been made into this TV series. Each of the five stories has two ninety minute episodes. That means the first season is five 3 hour mysteries.

This Swedish crime thriller series is about an elite team of detectives, hand-picked for their varied skills. They will be working under the command of Jenny Hultin, a senior detective. Of course these detectives will all come from different parts of Sweden, they’ll have different skill sets, different ages, and temperaments.

They’ll function as a major crime unit handling the highest profile, the biggest, as well as the most important cases that have impact both within Sweden as well as internationally. Besides Stockholm and other key places in Sweden., these detectives will find themselves in places like Italy, Holland, Germany, Tallinn which is the capital of Estonia, New York, Kentucky, and other Scandinavian locations.

Hultin has the command and that means she’s the one that will have to go toe to toe with the ‘suits ‘ upstairs who want results and quickly, as well as the bean counters who have to worry about budgets and the cost of solving the cases.


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The Good Wife Returns: Season Six Episode 13 – Dark Money

Saint Alicia aka The Good Wife returned to the broadcast airwaves last night for its Spring Premiere entitled Dark Money. This was the first broadcast of TGW since January 11th – a span of 7 weeks, and only its 3rd broadcast since last Thanksgiving.

I hate to say this (or maybe really I don’t hate saying this) but there’s no way to avoid it. This was one of the worst TGW episodes ever. I know, having already consulted various blogs and recaps, that this is not a singular thought expressed only by me.

If there’s a torch-light demonstration to be held in front of the CBS HQ, I’ll be there in spirit if not body. Maybe the show’s creators Michelle and Robert King have been replaced by some bizarro look-alikes. Or maybe they’ve been brainwashed and can no longer properly judge a good crisp script from the merely typed, collated, and stapled pages that they handed off to the actors and production staff in lieu of the aforementioned good crisp script.

Let me count the ways in which this episode failed. One possibility is that it was typed in total darkness. But I am willing to call that only an extremely remote possibility.

First, is Alicia so hell-bent on becoming the Cook County State Attorney that she’d allow herself to be pawed and groped by the likes of one grotesque character – one Guy Redmayne? He’s a guy who gropes, a guy who likes to put his hands on women he’s just met, a homophobe, and that’s on top of being an old fart and a filthy rich prick. Ed Asner, who has the Redmayne role, is the former Lou Grant character back in the days when he starred with Mary Tyler Moore, is now 86 years old.

Kudos to him for remembering his lines and for speaking clearly as the revolting Redmayne.

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I recall reading about Edward Snowden‘s revelations concerning the NSA and the surveillance apparatus only AFTER he arrived and set up camp in Hong Kong. The reality for me was that despite living in the US all my life, I knew far more about Hong Kong than I did about either Snowden or ‘big brother IS listening’.

That said, I spoke to a trusted source who said he had seen Citizenfour and considered it one the best films he had seen in quite some time. So to get this review up and running with only a little more background, I had spent about 4 plus days in South Carolina during the week before last week. But I left Beaufort, SC, on Saturday the 21st of February, to make the 425 mile drive back to Sarasota, so I’d be sure to be home for the Oscar broadcast last Sunday night.

When they announced that Citizenfour had won the Oscar for Best Feature Length Documentary I learned the name Laura Poitras. Hers was not a name that I knew. In fact, before Citizenfour, I was completely unfamiliar with any of her works. For the record, I had no knowledge of the names Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, or William Binney either.

Then I was lucky enough to be able to see Citizenfour the very next day, Monday the 23rd when it aired on HBO.

What I did know was the Mira Hong Kong Hotel. The hotel is located on the corner of Kimberly Road and Nathan Road, literally just a few steps from the most northerly exit of the Tsim Sha Tsui, MTR stop in Kowloon. I’d walked past the hotel on numerous occasions and I’m sure it was conceivable that I might have gazed up, at the upper floors of this hotel,where much of the film was shot, from standing on either a walking path in Kowloon Park (across the street from the hotel), or from the corner of Haiphong Road and Nathan Road, where the MTR exit was, and just 3 very short blocks away.

For me, the impact of the film was far greater than whether or not the film was either entertaining, or something to see for its style or amazing cinematography. The fact is that Poitras’s film showed, at least to me, what I hadn’t previously known. Yes I knew that Edward Snowden had revealed via copied documents, the inner workings of the security and surveillance apparatus ; and when he touched down in Hong Kong – it made the front page of newspapers all over the world.

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