Monday, June 18, 2007

A short post

Made it to Chicago OK. Discovered what a hick I have become. The air seems thick and brown and nearly unbreathable. Ah, give me the country life. The chores - the stores - Fresh Air - Ohare!

Green acres we are there - or at least wish we were.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Friday Evening

The Tiny Toads
Originally uploaded by g5inger
Even though I didn't get to Friday night's street dance, I heard it was a success. By Saturday evening everybody in Lindsborg, it seems, came to love Tiny Toads. We even changed the words to Små Grodorna to Tiny Toads, Tiny Toads, är lustiga att se. But I was just two people away from Jerker and Petter. They didn't change. They sang Små Grodorna the way it is usually sung. Tradition! Alf Brorson taught his sons to be good traditionalists, despite the rock and roll futures they're carving for themselves.

Thanks to Julie Ann's flickr page for the photo!

Midsommar Days 1 and 2

I've already posted one about Tiny Toads. I'm pretty pooped right now. We leave tomorrow for Chicago, Sweden, Chicago, Minnesota. I'm pretty much packed, but probably not as well as I should be. I say this as a way of explaining both my somewhat rambling posts and as a way of saying that I'll be posting less frequently in the next few weeks.

If I can find places to download photos, I'll do that. I have video of Alf's entire Friday presentation, and I'll edit that in Mid july when I get home.

It was, overall, a good midsommar, though I got overheated. It's funny what happens when you get over heated. The least little comment can make you take things seriously that aren't meant seriously. The heat also makes you say things you otherwise wouldn't have said.

But it was a good day for Rotary. We probably made enough on Midsommar that we'll be able to fund our Bethany College Scholarship from this one event. It's a small scholarship, but we're proud of it.

The Folkdanslag acquited themselves well, I thought. Dr. Frederickson keeps us on our toes, and so does Charlotte.

The Toads got to rocking in the Heritage park.

The Majstång went up with no one being crushed under the weight of the pole. Lots of people came out and danced.

So it was a good day. Tomorrow comes the rain.

I'll try to keep friends and neighbors posted from the road and read comments, but it won't be as often as I would like, Anybody who needs to keep us all up to date on something happening in Lindsborg, please add it to the comments section. Particularly updates on Damn Yankees. Folks out of town are reading to keep up with the show.

See you in a few weeks.


A little crow eating

Before I go on to Midsommar festivities, I need to make a public apology. Julie Ann pointed out that the Lindsborg News Record did publish my article on Cody Whetstone and Damn Yankees on page five of this week's LNR. I have egg on my face. I have to eat crow. I am sorry. Whatever I need to say, it is now clear that it was NOT personal. The LNR did include Broadway RFD. Whatever I was feeling is my own paranoia and not reality.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's beginning to feel personal

I glanced through the Lindsborg News Record today. I may have missed it, but I didn't see anything about Damn Yankees, the summer 2007 Broadway RFD production. I wrote and sent a press release to the LNR - or at least I think I did - I used the same e-mail address I used last summer.

The LNR refused to publish anything about Talley's Folly, the show I directed for the college. That was frustrating. I was told that they didn't publish because we mentioned prices and hadn't purchased an ad. Bad journalism. Almost every paper I know of keeps a dividing line between the business and the news, so that we don't have all the news that money can buy. The exception was the LA Times a year or two ago. A new publisher wanted to do what the LNR does as a matter of policy, and the journalists at the paper raised a stink. So did the Columbia Journalism Review and a number of other journalism commentators.

However, knowing the policy meant that I would abide by it. So I sent a press release about the show and the Membership Party on Sunday, June 23rd. Nothing about money in the release. In fact, the Membership Party is free and open to the public. I sent a photo of Cody Whetstone. I got the release to the paper early - Wednesday morning. Nothing. So, is it me? Am I on a banned person's list because I dare to say that there are things about the New Record that could be improved. I also defend some of the things that others criticize. But I have to wonder if it is a personal issue.

I have sent another press release for next week's paper. This one is accompanied by a photo of Rachel Bouza, the same photo I've posted here. I won't be in town to see the photo, so somebody tell me whether or not it shows up in the press. Then I'll know that it wasn't me, but a genuine news judgment that kept notice out of this week's paper.

Here Come the Swedes

It's been Swede day. Started out with a normal over tasked day - my own fault as usual. By the end of the afternoon I'd been out teaching Mark Ahlseen to drive a stick shift - Swede Number 1. The I met Tommy Linnel of Tiny Toads - and the rest of the band followed along - at the Grocery story. Swede number 2. Scott's is a great place to meet and greet. He approved of my translation.


The evening the local Swedophiles were over at the Charter School for an introduction to Learn Sweden, an online enrichment learning site. There I met Stigh Sameland - who actually grew up in Sami land, and Torbjörn Bergsdal, Swedes number 3 and 4.

I came home and checked other online Swedish language learning sites. There's nothing as complete as the offering of Learn Sweden. If you want to practice your language, learn the language for the first time, or learn Swedish cooking or about Swedish famous personalities, this is the place to do it. They use Moodle, which might seem intimidating at first, but really isn't difficult to learn. Moodle is easier than Swedish.

The Favorite's roll has increased by two. A more personal blog from Julie Ann Neywick and her photo pages from Flickr. One Swedish American supports another.

Tomorrow (Friday) begins the weekend's madness. Alf Brorson at 10 am, shopping for Rotary's food booth at 11 am. And on and on. I'm looking forward to Saturday, but with a bit of dread as well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Rachel Bouza, a Bethany College rising sophomore, is playing the part of Lola, in Broadway RFD's production of Damn Yankees.

Bouza's from Tonganoxie, Kansas - another small town with an odd name. She's had lots of experience on stage and behind the scenes at her High School, but due to scheduling difficulties she's only worked behind the scenes at Bethany. She designed hair and makeup for Talley's Folly and worked on choreography for Godspell.

My favorite role, among her many, was her role in Philadelphia Story. There she played the Katherine Hepburn role, Tracy Lord. There are several reasons that connection is amusing. One you'll have to google for yourself (or your can check it out on IMDB). Spell the first name with an i and add an S to the last name.

The movie Philadelphia Story, however, is on my list of movies to study to try to understand comic views of Swedish Americans. In this movie the reporter, Elizabeth Imbrie, (played by Ruth Hussey) has a line about being impervious to criticism because she comes from Swedish stock. That's off the point, but this is a blog and anything is fair game for blogging.

So, little Rachel is playing Little Lola, who gets whatever Lola wants. This is, she says, a bit of a stretch. She has the self confidence to play a seductress, but she needs to "fine tune" some of the moves of seduction.

She's got a good grasp of character. She sees Lola as growing through the play - not being a Margaretta (this is an adaptation of Faust, says Director Whetstone) - but Lola grows from being Applegate's tool to being a fan of the game to being in love with Joe Hardy. That should be an interesting transformation to watch on stage.

It almost makes Damn Yankees Lola's play.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Damn Yankees, Week 3

We have to get ready to enthuse the crowds this week. Cody Whetstone's chorus director, Ryan Holmquist gets the crew ready for "Shoeless Joe." They come a long way pretty quick with Ryan's direction. It's going to be an untempo musical. You be the judge:

The stage painting has begun. The singing is being sung. We've got a month yet before opening, but the show is beginning to take a nice shape. Hope you'll see a story in the Lindsborg News Record about the members party this week and next. The members party is Sunday, June 24th, 5 pm - at the Baseball field. Bring your glove and your hunger for great American food! It's Hotdog, apple pie, baseball - you bring your Mom, hear!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Warm Up for Saturday

It's going to be a busy day next Saturday, with Tiny Toads, children's games, food and dancing, dancing, dancing.

At the end of the day we'll have everybody gather round the Majstång, the May pole, at the Heritage park. The Lindsborg Swedish Dancers, and the Lindsborg Folkdanslag will both perform, the pole will be raised, we'll march around it and then do Små Grodorna and Prästens lilla kroka and other songs everyone should know. These are called, in Sweden, "Stamsånger" or "Group Songs." According to the Swedish Wikipedia, these are the songs that everyone in Sweden should know and be able to sing. The songs include "Du Gamla, Du fria" - the Swedish national anthem and "Kungssången", sometimes known by its first line, "Ur svenska hjärtans djup en gång", a phrase I would not attempt to translate. Stamsånger include the Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Icelandic national songs. That's like asking Americans to sing "O Canada." I mean, I like O Canada and always appreciate hearing it sung at hockey games, but I can never get past "O Can a da, my own my native land," and then I have to hum the tune. It's the same with "Ja, vi elsker detta landet", the Norwegian National Anthem. After the first five words, I have to keep the paper in front of me.

I can sing all of Du Gamla, du fria, du fjällhöga nord", both verses. I think I might be able to recognize the Danish national anthem. I have no idea about the Finnish or the Icelandic tunes.

So it's time to warm up for Saturday. Google "Du Gamla, du fria." The words are in Wikipedia in both English and Swedish, including a never sung 3rd verse, so it's a good source for the Swedish national song.

In the meantime you might also want to learn the final "Stamsång" of the evening, "Vem kan segla", "Who can sail without the wind." We sing it at the end of each Midsommar. There's a nice piece of sheet music with an English translation - though not the one we sing here, at this link "Who can sail".

You can also take a look at a little Danish folkdancing. Here's our group performing Danish sextur last Saturday in Wichita:

On the other hand, here's a Swedish dance group performing in Stockholm.

It's pretty short, but it gives you an idea of the difference between Swedish American folk dancing and Swedish Swedish folk dancing.

Thursday Dancing

Thursday, the Lindsborg Folkdanslag got a first chance to warm up for midsommar.

As I look at last year's video of the folks from Mora, Sweden, I am gratified to know that the same place we often go wrong in this dance, they went wrong. The most difficult part of Åttamän engel is keeping your head on when you're spinning. The dancers have to chain in one direction, spin with their partner and go back the same direction they came. See if you can spot the error

Ready to Dance I

We've been busy over the weekend and I haven't posted. One of the things that occupied a fair amount of time were "warm-up" performances for Midsommar. We danced in the street on Thursday night, and in the church fellowship hall in Wichita on Saturday night.

Here's Charlotte and Sarah Anderson playing Charlotte's "Church March." The great irony is that many of the pious Swedes who came here would have frowned upon this kind of music (the fiddle was the devil's instrument) and on dancing. Gustaf Fröding's poem "When beauty came to town" details the opprobrium that would have fallen on dancers like us in the 19th century. Roger Hinchcliffe recorded it. His recordings are available online.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Who are the Tiny Toads?

That's the band that's coming to play at Midsommar. Tommy Linell, guitar; Michael Åkerlund, keyboards; Jerker Brorson, bass; Petter Brorson, drums. (I downloaded the photo from their web site - the same place I got the notes about the band.)

They seem to be a band on the rise, playing the festival season in Sweden. The group began in 2003 when Tommy had a record in mind, a record he says he could have called, "All My Songs are in English." He knew he wanted to work with Petter Brorson, because he was a great drummer and knew how to laugh. Petter brought his brother, Jerker, on board. At that point the group, says Tommy, could have been called, "The Best Band I Never Played With." By the fall of 2003 the group had added Michael Åkerlund and the band was fully formed - but un-named. Tommy explains that the name came just before they got ready to play a gig.

"The name 'Tiny Toads' (klena paddorna) . . . came when I looked in a lexicon. The word Toads was the first I laid eyes on, Tiny the second. Petter laughed the whole day at it. . . There you are, we're Tiny Toads and we laugh a lot! That's what's close to our hearts, laughter and music."

If you want to hear their music go to the musiken page of their web site: "Click Musiken" to see the sample tracks the band has online.

The English page gives you some information, but you can't navigate back to the main pages from that English site.

The Lindsborg News Record

Yesterday's LNR included an egregious slam on the College's press office, and a nostalgic hyllning of the college's two former press officers.

The slam, in Marty Hardy's gossip column, was egregious because it was based on ignorance. Marty defended the paper's lack of coverage of President Leonard's arrival at the college. The college was responsible for the lack of coverage, Hardy maintained, because the college hadn't gotten news of the new president to the local paper of record until the Monday prior to the event. Why, back in the old days, when the college was really linked into the town, this wouldn't have happened. And, Hardy further implied, the new President should get rid of the dunderheads who failed to let the Lindsborg News Record know of this event in time to meet the paper's schedule.

What's egregious about this slam is the ignorance. There's no indication that Hardy even attempted to do what an actual reporter does - check facts before writing the story.

If the announcement of the new President was embargoed until Monday by the Board and the President, for example, then the press office is not responsible for the timing of the story. If the press officer was simply swamped by other demands, then the late announcement, while still the college press office's responsibility, is at least understandable.

And what happened to reporting on the event? What prevents the newspaper, which surely knew an announcement was imminent, from doing the job reporters have always done and going to get the story rather than waiting for the press release?

With the rise of citizen journalism, and the Lindsborg News Record's policy of only printing the news that's paid for, the LNR runs the danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant to the younger generation - people who get more of their news from the web and less of their news from print.

Hershey Track Meet

Wednesday, June 6, the Lindsborg Parks and Recreation Department - i.e., Thad Morical - held the annual Hershey Track and Field meet at Anderson Field on the Bethany College Campus. Here's a short video.

The guy who's not 14 is Gavin, not the boy you see when I say that! Ooops. I didn't get the details on the meet - I'm just a guy with a camera and not a reporter. Sorry parents.

How come there were so few kids at the event? One of the reasons might be that you saw nothing about it in the local newspaper. Maybe Thad needs to do more publicizing of the event - but maybe the local paper of record needs to do a little more reporting.

For more information about the Kansas meet visit the Hershey Track and Field Kansas site.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It's the Wind!

I had some trouble holding the car on the road. Sitting at a stop light in Salina my little Volkswagen shook and rocked. It's wild! It's the wind!

Back in town, there were lots of small limbs down. This is the tree I found that lost the largest limb, at the Esses' on the corner of Saline and Second. (Formerly the Kozubowski's, before that a Torstensen?)

Esses' Tree

Later tonight I hope to have a post up with the Hershey Track meet. The question I heard folks asking was, "Why aren't there more kids at this thing?" I have an opinion about that that I'll share later - or tomorrow.

Tonight is our 15th anniversary celebration and we're going out for dinner!

Damn Yankees, Week 2

Have you ever noticed that when you feel rushed to get a project done, the technologies that are supposed to help get in the way? I don't want to sound like Andy Rooney whining my way to some trivial insight, but I had a heck of a time getting this simple file ready to be posted.

We had a board meeting for BroadwayRFD last night. After the meeting I went to talk to Tyler Johnson and Thomas DeWitt, who play Mr. Applegate and Joe Hardy, respectively, in the musical Damn Yankees. That Mr. Applegate is a devilishly suave fellow, as you'll see.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bethany Church Yard Sale

Okay, so this is as much a commercial announcement as it is a news bulletin.

And, in the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you that I am a member of Bethany Lutheran Church, a congregation I've come to love dearly. But I'm willing to use this blog to publicize other people's events, for free, including video.

I believe in local news, local shopping and local institutional support. It's one of the reasons I won't shop at Sams Club, Wal-mart or Target for things I can get at Scotts. The bargains at those places are a false bargain. First, in pure dollars, you save, at most, pennies on the dollar. Second, you work against your own best interests. Imagine this town without a grocery store - or with a much smaller and more limited grocery store. You've got a Sterling or a Chapman, two places that were once wonder places to live, but now have become economically distressed places to live and work and shop and raise a family.

I want a grocery store in town, so I shop at Scotts for everything I can buy at Scotts.

I want churches in town, so I attend a church in town, a church I like, filled with people who are warm, friendly and welcoming.

Here's the commercial

Monday, June 4, 2007

Midsommar Arrives

The Lindsborg Folkdanslag lowered the Majstång in Heritage park tonight, and worked on dances for this week and next. Midsommar celebrations are almost here.

There will be changes this year. "Tiny Toads," a variation on the "Små grodorna" theme, will be doing a street concert as well as playing at the festival in Swensson Park. That´s different. The same dance groups will be back, but Folkdanslag has at least one new dance to bring to the performance. I don´t know about the Swedish Folkdancers, the high school group.

We won't have a Swedish dance group this year. Here is video of the Mora Folkdanslag of Mora Sweden from the 2006 festival performing one of my favorite dances, "Schottis i tur." It's a fun dance to watch and a fun dance to perform.

There will be at least one change in the food at the festival park. The Rotary club will be offering a Swedish Meatball plate or an all American Hotdog (it'll be a Nathans).

And there will be a Swedish Vespers service, with Alf Brorson preaching. You'll remember Alf. He's a frequent visitor to Lindsborg, from Sunnemö, Värmland, Sweden. He'll preach, but I don't know who will lead the liturgy. Charlotte Anderson is going to be gone. I'm going to be gone. We're running out of Swedish Speakers willing to lead the liturgy.

Well, it will be Midsommar i alla fall.

Sunday Evening Bits and Bytes

It's either the end of a week or the end of the beginning of a week. I've been out and preached again in Chapman, so it feels like the end, rather than the beginning of the week. The following is a compendium of reports and observations.

Flood reports
The trip home from Chapman led us through Salina by the old road, through much of Dickinson County. New Cambria is up and unflooded, but many of the fields along the way are still waterlogged, if not downright flooded. This is going to be a banner year for some farmers and a disaster for others. It certainly seems that the next two weeks of drying will make a major difference in crop conditions. Of course, that's pure speculation. I have no actual idea whether or not the next two weeks are crucial to crop conditions. It just sounds good.

But what do I know? I'm a city boy.

So are the folks who are commenting on India's shift from an agricultural to an industrial/technological/pharmaceutical economy. "How the World Works" on, observed about India:

"The rich, industrial nations that have contributed the lion's share of greenhouse gas emissions are also, by virtue of their advanced, non-agriculturally dependent economies, the most well-positioned to adapt to climate change. While those who did the least, and are still largely agriculturally-based, stand to get hammered by adverse weather disruptions. And that poses a paradox: does it make sense to help the developing world cope with climate change by encouraging the kind of economic development that by its very industrial nature generates even more greenhouse gases?"
"How the World Works"

Perhaps the writer was joking. But it seems to me that we all need to eat, and the coming climate change is going to affect food supply for everyone, but the poorest nations will be hit the hardest.

Doris Swenson
We received a call from Maridene Lundstrom that Doris Swenson, wife of Pastor Vernon Swenson, has passed away today. Blessed be her memory.

I did not know this Doris Swenson, but I've come to know and admire Vernon Swenson as a man of great integrity and Pastoral wisdom. I now have five volumes of his in my library, including Brother Timothy's Practice of the Presence of God. He is much in my mind tonight and much in my prayers.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Maihaugen Again

In my last post on Heritage Square History park I mentioned Maihaugen, in Lillehammar, Noway. Here is a photo from the farm I mentioned, the one where the actors live full time for three months, farming as if it were 1850's Norway.

Somewhere in my files I think I have scans from an early 20th century book showing how things looked a Skansen every summer. Artur Hazelius brought folks from the villages and farms to live in the park. It was a way of showing the city dwellers the spirit of folk culture. I know I scanned the pictures, I just have to find them.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Where Were You When?

A little exercise I do in Speaking and Listening is called, "Where were you when?" In the exercise each person in the room is encouraged to talk about where they were when something significant happened in their lives. Prior to September 11, 2001, everyone talked about where they were when the Columbine shootings occured. Prior to that it was the Columbia shuttle disaster. For my generation, the Kennedy assasinations were the defining moments.

I can't recall where I was when Robert was shot. I know exactly where I was when I heard about John's death. I was in Mr. Gesheidle's woodshop, struggling my way through another day of my clumsy attempts to square a board with a hand plane. Our principal, Froggy MacNamara, announced over the loud speaker that we were all going to be dismissed, because the President had been assasinated.

I also recall where I was forty years ago today, when Sergeant Pepper brought the band to play.

Yes, unrepentant Hippies everywhere, today is the 40th annivesary of the record album that changed record albums forever. I don't think I heard it on its first release day, but I know I heard it shortly after that. My room mate that year, the spring of 1967, was John Greenwood, a crazy wild hippy kid who never surprised me - because nothing he ever did ever surprised me.

It probably wasn't until fall of 1967 that I heard it, but I'm sure I heard it first on John Greenwood's stereo. Or maybe it was on George Bailey's stereo. Forty years ago next fall I began my sophomore year in college, at Dear of Augustana (another Dear Old Swedish Lutheran Institution).

Forty years ago today. Just think of it. And what's become of us since?

And where were you when you first heard Sergeant Pepper's?

NPR did a very nice story on the appearance of the Record:

The Whole Story

This longer video, posted on my Podshow account, gives the whole story of yesterday's introduction of President elect Leonard. It's 23 minutes and includes President Leonard's speech, introductions, presentation of gifts, the Bethany Alma mater and Rockar Stockar.

If you want to see more of the Podshow videos, including the commencement addresses, take yourself to my Podshow site. There are two of them, the Master Kalle Oskar site and Kalle Anka and Quacks, my podcast collection. Visit and enjoy. The videos are located at: The Podcasts are over at: The labels are a little deceptive, but there are several fun shows. The "undefined" show is Jill Warner's podcast on International Students at Bethany, for example.