I haven't written anything since last year. When I was travelling in CA and NYC during my winter break, internet access was a rare luxury. Once you are done with checking out my pictures, I'll get you updated.
Winter Travelling in US - Part 1
Winter Travelling in US - Part 2
Winter Travelling in US - Part 3
So when my friends Gunnar and Erik visited me, they realized I've adapted somehow to match a commoner's style in US. I started to watch sports, mostly NBA, and also Ivy League games cos I'm a Cornellian. I've also noticed the importance of economy to our daily life, following foreign exchange rates using the Windows Vista gadget on my desktop. One night in San Francisco, when I wanted to hide inside a bookshop from the windchill, I found this interesting book. It's called "Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street". In the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis in early 2008, the investmentbank Bear Stearns was among the first to fall. A few months before the financial apocalypse, Bear Stearns stock was valuable, with a prize of $133 per stock. In the end, when the Bear was being purchased, JP Morgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon set a prize of $2 per stock. The Bear, founded in 1923, had seen more than a handful of Wall Street companies rise and crumble. Just like any predator in an unforgiving, merciless process of natural selection, the Bear finally took its last breathe and joined the long list of casualties. Months later, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, pushing the financial crisis onto a whole different level. While this was happening, the common idiocracy in the liberal Sweden was trying to portray US as an empire in its last days, ready to be replaced by the "righteous" EU. What they failed to understand is the way world economy functioned. The American banks are "too big to fail"(a phrase popularized by Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of Fed. Congrats Ben for your second term!). When the big guys fall, they fall hard and crush the small men underneath their weight.
NBA is a good thing. It's the common denominator of Asians and Americans. In China, 9 of 10 guys either follow NBA, watch the game, or play basketball. Those 1 who dont are most likely the social outcasts. Besides, being a national sport in the states, there is no reason you dont know anything about it if you live here and are an Asian dude. Back in Sweden I only cared about World Cup, the Olympics and EUFA. The Swedish television never broadcast NBA games! They only show you soccer, handball and hockey. Hopefully, things are gonna change with one man: Jonas Jerebko, the Detroit Pistons' rookie, supposedly the first Swedish NBA player. (in reality, he's neither the first nor Swedish)
I found this funny article on Aftonbladet, the least credible paper in the world. Take a minute to read it.
If you can't understand Swedish, let me explain it to you in short. The author praised Jonas Jerebko's performance in a losing game, repeatedly calling his first game "an everlasting part of the Swedish sports history", and this guy the first Swede in NBA. The fallacies are:
Jonas Jerebko's father left Syracuse in his early years, moved to Sweden and got married. Ethnically, Jonas is only half-Swedish. Jerebko is not a Swedish lastname. The laughable word they used on Jonas is "västgöten", it's the journalist's lame attempt of putting him into the same category as the fictional "Arn the Knight Templar".
Per definition, if Jonas is a Swede, then NBA have drafted two other Swedes before Jonas: Joakim Noah and Maciej Lampe. I have nothing against Jonas personally. He played well as a rookie. If this guy keeps up, he'll probably even become a candidate for MVP in the near future. With him in NBA, hopefully the basketball will get more media coverage in Sweden, making it easier for me to talk about it with people once I go back. What keeps getting on my nerves is the Swedish way of enlarging the penis with magnifying glass. Since Sweden is a small country with limited influence, what people do to raise the publicity is pinpointing one or few Swedish figures in any field, where they are either relatively famous, or related to something/somebody famous(the latter case occurs more frequent). In music, we got ABBA, Roxette, and Young Folks. In bussiness, IKEA. We also had Ericsson, Volvo, Saab, ABB, Autoliv, but these companies have more foreign stockholders than Swedish. In Hollywood, Stellan Skarsgard and Peter Stormare have been around for decades and are still playing supporting characters. In fact, when "Mamma Mia" was in the theater in US, Stellan's name didn't even appear in the ad. Jonas Akerlund is a good MV director, however, he's not as famous as his music videos. The archetype of this sentimentality is perhaps the reality show, "Swedish Hollywood Wives", the most-watched TV show when it aired. So if you consider yourself less generic than the Americans just because you are Swedish, take a second thought. Cos we are not.
Considering NBA, when Yao Ming was drafted by Houston Rockets in 2002 as the first-pick, the NBA industry exploded with the billion-class viewers in China. Recently, the zeal of seeing a Chinese NBA player has died down. Partly because it's somewhat trivial now. Since Yao's year, China had sent more players into NBA. An Asian face in the court just doesn't make you feel the same anymore. Conversely, you can say: since US is dominating NBA and FIBA, they wont brag about having Kobe and LeBron. They are just two players of the entire league. The act of exaggerating Jonas Jerebko's role in the Pistons proves Sweden's lack of talent in basketball. If you go on, the list could be made much longer:
IKEA: the only rich, successful bussiness
ABBA: the only famous band
Volvo: the only car people knows is from Sweden
Fugelsang: the only astronaut
Jerebko: Sweden's only player in NBA
Zlatan: the only talented "Swedish" soccer player
Robin Soderling: the only active Swedish tennis player
Bjorn Borg: the only tennis world-champion
J-O Waldner: the only world-champion in pingpong
In the future, this might happen: if Jonas' team is doing good, the Swedish media will focus on the few shots and steals achieved by this guy, calling them the winning stunts. If his team is bad, then either NBA will not be mentioned at all, or the blame will be placed on his teammates, until Jerekbo gets traded. Oh, the last thing I want to mention is: after hearing the Swedish news reporter pronouncing NBA as N-B- "aaaaa" a dozen times, only idiots remain sane.