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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
November 30, 2020

Danish Hygge Is So Last Year. Say Hello to Swedish Mys.

The essence of mys is the feeling of warmth. And the best city to stock up on mys-making supplies is Stockholm.


Denmark introduced the world to hygge, the national pursuit of all things cozy and enjoyable. Something of a survival mechanism for Danes during the winter months, hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) often involves an abundance of candles, crackling fireplaces, comforting foods and the company of close friends. In Sweden, where the winters are even longer, darker and drearier, the concept is called mys (pronounced mees) — or the adjectival mysigt. And although the terms are very similar, Swedish mys refers more pointedly to an ultra-cozy atmosphere.

“Hygge is much broader than mys,” said Malin Lindqvist, a Swedish fabric designer who moved to Denmark seven and a half years ago. The essence of mys is the feeling of warmth, like being wrapped in a woolen blanket amid lighted candles while sipping a steaming mug of tea with a purring cat on your lap. The best city to stock up on mys-making supplies is Stockholm, and the highest density of small, aptly cozy, independent shops and boutiques can be found on the streets near Nytorget, a square on the southern island of Sodermalm, far from the city’s bustling central shopping district.

The front room at Tambur, which is styled like a kitchen and dining area.

A good starting point is Tambur, a boutique filled with things to make every home homier. Inside the two-room shop, the front room is styled like a kitchen and dining area, where woven baskets are strung from the ceiling above a rustic wooden table set with ceramic bowls and platters perfect for serving hearty pasta meals. The back room is filled with piles of fluffy linen pillows, a soft beige couch, subdued lighting and plaid orange-and-gray blankets made with wool from sheep on the Swedish island of Gotland. It has the vibe of a very plush living room. “The feeling I want people to get is that they’re coming home to me,” said the owner, Anders Widegren, while seated in the back room. Among the many covetable items on display, two particularly mysigt picks were a copper oil lamp from the Swedish brand Klong (2,749 Swedish kronor, about $324) and a special cast-iron pan for making plattar, thin Swedish pancakes the size of a coaster often served as a cold-weather dinner in short stacks with butter and jam (529 kronor).

On a corner three blocks away, Esterior is an interior design studio and shop with a more eclectic, playful style. The spacious store is filled with a mix of midcentury vintage furnishings and lighting, fuzzy Moroccan rugs and piles of striped velvet cushions for cozying up a couch. For low-fi entertainment by candlelight on a wintry night, maybe pick up an elegant chess set or a classic backgammon board (450 kronor each). Younger shoppers will find mys in their size at Beton, a serene children’s shop a block and a half away. This is the place to stock up on corduroy bonnets (170 kronor) and knee socks (65 kronor) in neutral earth tones. Instead of bright colors and plastic toys, the shelves are filled with wooden rattles, woolen overalls and soft leggings in muted hues from small, hard-to-find brands. “To be unique in Stockholm is important,” said the owner, Petra Gardefjord, who earned a following selling hand-sewn leather moccasins that she taught herself to make for her own children.

Young shoppers will find mys at Beton, a serene children’s clothing shop.




Mys is all about making time for family and friends. It’s easy to get addicted to the buzz of social media but the Swedes say it’s crucial we make time to relax and socialise. Rather than sitting on Instagram or Facebook on their lunch break, they'll take a stroll or meet a friend for coffee and spend the evening reading a book or attending a fitness class. They swear by the app Forest, which gives users virtual coins for taking a break from their phone, and the coins are then used to plant real trees around the world.

The Swedish approach to food is all about seasonal, local and organic produce. Making meals with seasonal produce benefits health, the environment and your bank balance. 'Eating foods when in season means that you’ll be eating the way nature intended it,' explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns. 'Summer fruits and vegetables tend to contain higher amounts of water, which dilutes their nutrient content. Compare this to winter fruits and veggies and you’ll find they’re richer in nutrients such as vitamin C and contain more valuable fibre.'

Part of ‘fredagsmys’ is to indulge in junk food, but the average sugary or carby treat can send your mood plummeting after the initial ‘hit’ has passed. Swedes swear by dark chocolate – especially made with raw cacao – can actually have longer-lasting benefits for your mood. Swedes have a saying that suggests that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing, so make it a priority to wrap up when the colder weather hits. So, when you next use the excuse that it’s too cold to go outside and exercise try to motivate yourself by simply dressing for the weather.

Achieving a good work/life balance is a significant part of the Swedish culture and they even previously trialed a six-hour working day. To avoid feeling overwhelmed try to prioritise what actually needs to be done and then what can wait until tomorrow, everyone needs some time out.


November 29, 2020

Final county recount leaves Miller-Meeks (R) 6 votes ahead of Hart (D)


The Clinton County auditor confirmed with KCCI on Saturday afternoon that (R) Mariannette Miller-Meeks received an additional two votes from their recount. This results in Miller-Meeks being six votes ahead of (D) Rita Hart in Iowa's second congressional district.

Miller-Meeks released the following statement: "While the race is extraordinarily close, I am proud to have won this contest and look forward to be certified as the winner by the state's Executive Council on Monday. It is an honor of a lifetime to be elected to serve the people of eastern and southern Iowa. Iowans are tenacious, optimistic and hard working, and I will take those same attributes to Washington, D.C., on their behalf."

All three members of the committee have signed off on the results in Clinton County. Clinton County was the final county to perform a recount for Hart and Miller-Meeks' race. Clinton County is Hart's home county.

More than 300,000 Iowans cast their ballots in this race. The Iowa canvassing board is expected to meet Monday to certify the results of the race.



SIX votes

I can now give a final tally for the House

222-213 Democratic majority.

5 defections and we cannot pass things (provided all the Rethugs hold together)

Net minus 19 from the 241 we had after 2018.
November 27, 2020

When will the American Empire collapse?


Every so often I come across an interesting piece on the cyclical nature of empires. How often they disappear. How frequently they show the same signs before falling. It’s all very fascinating. One naturally looks to the current political situation and finds parallels. You start to imagine that the American empire will collapse some day as well. But there’s a problem, I often find myself wondering…When? WHEN will the U.S. empire slip into the pages of history? In this article, I’m going to total up various estimates and theories on when the empire will collapse to come up with a “best guess” date.

List of Estimates and Empire Collapse Theories:

Sir John Glubb, The Fate of Empires — In this work, Glubb estimates that empires last about 250 years (10 generations). If we use 1776 for the start date of the United States empires, that would be 2026 as an estimated fall date. (Celerity's own add - I place the beginning at 1789 when the Constitution was adopted, so 250 years is 2039)

J. D. Unwin, Sex and Culture— Here, Unwin estimates that it takes about 75 years — 3 generations — after unrestricted sexual access for a culture to collapse or be conquered. If we use 1970 as the start of “free love”, that puts us in 2045.

Currency Dominance — The dominate currency of the world goes through various transitions — on average the baton passed about every century for the last 600 years. This would spell trouble for the US Dollar in the next ~30 years. If we use the Bretton woods agreement as a start date, that would put collapse around 2050.

Peter Turchin, Secular Cycles and Cliodynamics — puts the millennial generation as the upheaval generation, with major events taking place from 2010–2050.


much more at the top link

November 25, 2020

The Atlantic Daily: Our Guide to Cooking in Isolation

Cooks and non-cooks alike from around our newsroom share their best tips for navigating this strange Thanksgiving.


By now it’s a well-worn cliché to say that 2020 has been rough, and that the holiday season will be no different. Indeed, many Americans will likely (and should certainly) not be celebrating this Thanksgiving, that fraught annual feast, in the traditional manner. There aren’t any mashed-potato recipes good enough to fully distract us from how difficult and isolating the coming months will be, or to make up for not seeing loved ones (especially those we’ve lost). Without the ability to gather en masse, and against the backdrop of a still-worsening pandemic and crushing economic crisis, the search for a sufficiently comforting dish can feel almost existential.

But as we barrel toward the end of the year, I’ve thought a lot about something Ina Garten told my colleague Sophie Gilbert just a few weeks into the norm upheaval of quarantine. There’s something about a grilled-cheese sandwich, the Barefoot Contessa noted, that’s “not just physically satisfying; it’s somehow soul satisfying.” While scanning a slew of food magazines, blogs, and cookbooks in search of the perfect recipes for my own pared-down Thanksgiving, I kept coming back to the simple pleasure Garten described months ago. And though I probably won’t be serving up cheddar on sourdough, this year I’m hoping to find some comfort in the mundane repetition and small revelations of cooking itself. Below, cooks and non-cooks alike from around our newsroom share their best tips for navigating this strange Thanksgiving.

Don’t make a traditional meal.

As far as I’m concerned, the best part of Thanksgiving isn’t turkey and gravy—it’s spending all day in the kitchen, doing the kind of cooking we have time for only once a year. So dispense with tradition (this is the year!) and make whatever special, project-y meal your heart desires. In my house, it’ll be Julia Child’s coq au vin, crusty bread, and lots of wine, but in yours it could be bo ssam, carnitas, sabzi polo, or homemade gnocchi. Or, for that matter, boxed mac and cheese and a really indulgent, baroque dessert, such as baked Alaska. The only rule is that there are no rules.

Or make the whole feast anyway.

Hear me out: Thanksgiving is so well loved because of the food, so what’s the point if you’re not going to have the turkey and the gravy and the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes and the green beans and the cranberry sauce and the rolls and the pie? I’ve done Thanksgiving with just my mom for several years now, and we still cook the whole shebang, just on a smaller scale. Buy only your favorite piece of the turkey (we do the breast), use fewer potatoes, just bake your one must-have pie. Regardless, still make more than you need, because we all know that the best part is really the leftovers.

Compromise: Focus on the sides...............

November 24, 2020

Right-Wing Social Media Finalizes Its Divorce From Reality

Fox News acknowledged Trump’s loss. Facebook and Twitter cracked down on election lies. But true believers can get their misinformation elsewhere.


When Fox News called Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden shortly after the polls closed there on Election Night, right-wing social media erupted in fury. Fox is the most conservative of the nation’s major news outlets, and its aggressive Arizona call—which most other national outlets did not follow for days—left true believers on the right feeling betrayed. On the social-media app Parler, which has been gaining popularity among supporters of President Donald Trump, posts alleging electoral irregularities mixed with assorted hashtags decrying Fox itself: #BOYCOTTFOXNEWS, #DUMPFOXNEWS, #FAKEFOXNEWS, #FOXNEWSISDEAD, and #FOXNEWSSUCKS. Throughout Election Day, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube had been cracking down on a flurry of allegations about voter fraud in Arizona; the platforms quickly applied warning labels to new posts containing false or disputed information and reduced the distribution of groups spreading them. In response, pro-Trump influencers exhorted their followers to congregate on Parler, which tells users to “speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being ‘deplatformed’ for your views.”

In the hours following the Arizona call, a paranoid conspiracy theory spread rapidly on Parler and in other right-wing online forums: Voters in conservative counties had been given felt-tip pens that supposedly made vote-counting machines reject the ballots that they marked for Trump. The following night, Trump supporters protesting what came to be called #SharpieGate gathered outside the Maricopa County ballot-counting facility in Phoenix. In a development previously unthinkable to liberals who have long dismissed Fox as state media for the Trump administration, the Arizona protesters began chanting, “Fox News sucks!”

Trump’s clear loss in the presidential election has precipitated a deep rift in the right-wing information ecosystem, as media outlets, tech platforms, and individual commentators have been forced to choose between upholding reality and indulging those who insist that the president actually won. On November 7, Fox News was among the major networks that called the election for Biden, its news stories now refer to him as “president-elect,” and even the pro-Trump Fox commentator Tucker Carlson has challenged absurd claims being made by the president’s lawyers. The major social-media platforms—which for years boosted sensational propaganda and Trump-friendly conspiracy theories such as QAnon—have been remarkably active and admirably transparent in preventing the spread of misinformation about the 2020 election. As the president continues to rail against his loss on Twitter, the mainstream social platforms have continued to label wild claims and false allegations and reduce their spread; Facebook has taken down some of the more extreme communities that have sprung up among its users.

Yet reducing the supply of misinformation doesn’t eliminate the demand. Powerful online influencers and the right-wing demi-media—intensely partisan outlets, such as One America News and Newsmax, that amplify ideas that bubble up from internet message boards—have steadfastly reassured Trump’s supporters that he will be reelected, and that the conspiracies against him will be exposed. No doubt seeing an opportunity to pull viewers from a more established rival, One America News Network ran a segment attacking Fox’s Arizona call and declaring the network a “Democrat Party hack.” The president himself, while tweeting about how the election was being stolen, amplified accounts that touted OANN and Newsmax as places to find accurate reporting on the truth about his election victory. And on Parler, the conspiracy-mongering has grown only more frenzied as Trump makes state-by-state fraud allegations: In addition to concerns about Sharpies, the social network abounds with rumors of CIA supercomputers with secret programs to change votes, allegations of massive numbers of dead people voting, claims of backdated ballots, and assorted other speculations that users attempt to coalesce into a grand unified theory of election theft.


November 24, 2020

Hillbilly Elegy Is One of the Worst Movies of the Year

The new Netflix film is a think-piece trap—shiny on the outside, hollow on the inside.


“Everyone in this world is one of three kinds,” declares Mamaw (played by Glenn Close), the wise grand-matriarch of Ron Howard’s new film, Hillbilly Elegy. “A good Terminator, a bad Terminator, and neutral.” I hate to correct Mamaw, who is trying to encourage her impressionable grandson, J. D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), to follow a righteous path by invoking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s beloved action franchise. But there is no such thing as a “neutral” Terminator; those cyborg heroes exist to either protect or destroy. I cannot imagine what a neutral Terminator would do, save sit in a chair and remain forever shiny and inactive.

Mamaw is entitled to her bad movie opinions, of course. But this monologue is the kind of speechifying that rings hollow throughout Hillbilly Elegy, an adaptation of Vance’s best-selling 2016 memoir that debuts on Netflix tomorrow. When it first arrived on bookshelves, Vance’s story was celebrated as a glimpse into an oft-ignored pocket of America: the white working class of Appalachia and the Rust Belt who swung to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Hailed as an “anger translator” and cited by Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, Vance wrote about growing up poor, living with a heroin-addicted mother, and clawing his way into Yale Law School. The book arrived at a seemingly serendipitous moment, offering a bleak but candid view of communities gutted by drug abuse and poverty.

Hillbilly Elegy the memoir has since been dissected, challenged, and eviscerated. It largely focuses on the virtues of hard work and perseverance, launching vague broadsides against the American welfare state; the author often appears uninterested in interrogating deeper systemic issues. In adapting the book, Howard and the screenwriter Vanessa Taylor have gone even further, stripping the text of anything that might feel remotely controversial or pointed. Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy is an Oscar-friendly narrative of personal triumph in the face of great hardship, a movie designed to end with an uplifting epigraph; it is also one of the worst movies of the year. Stuffed with A-list stars and tearful monologues, it is a neutral Terminator of a film—polished yet utterly inert.

Howard, a filmmaker whose work I often enjoy, has a practiced hand with true-story movies (he directed Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Rush, among many others). But those stories usually have an incredible hook at their centre, whether it’s the space chaos of Apollo 13 or the bitter suffering that the Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda experienced while pursuing victory in Rush (the latter might be Howard’s most underrated accomplishment of the past two decades). But in writing Hillbilly Elegy, Vance was pitching his tale not as extraordinary, but as merely one of thousands—his journey is inspiring, but it’s part of a larger social fabric, made compelling by the author’s pronouncements of how an entire generation of Americans had been left behind.

November 21, 2020

The Tories' 'chumocracy' over Covid contracts is destroying public trust


Lord Bethell and Dido Harding, Parliament Square, 17 September 2020: ‘As the junior health minister Lord Bethell recently told the House of Lords, the government relied on “informal arrangements” to fulfil urgent needs for PPE.’ Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Under the cover of an emergency, the government awarded £18bn in coronavirus-related contracts during the first six months of the pandemic, most with no competitive tendering processes. Meanwhile contracts totalling £1.5bn have gone to companies with connections to the Conservative party. Call it a “chumocracy” or straightforward incompetence: it’s clear there’s been a woeful lack of transparency when it comes to how taxpayers’ money is spent.

The more information we have about these contracts, the more complicated it becomes to piece them all together. As the junior health minister Lord Bethell recently told the House of Lords, the government relied on “informal arrangements” to fulfil urgent needs for PPE. One such informal arrangement was a phone call in April between Lord Bethell and Meller Designs, a company owned by a prominent Conservative party donor who has given more than £63,000 to the party. The company, which usually sells home and fashion accessories to retailers such as Marks & Spencer, was later awarded PPE contracts worth £163m.

This is by no means the only Covid contract with a whiff of cronyism about it. But it can be difficult to grasp the significance of these contracts unless you step back to see the bigger picture. As a political scientist with a background in maths, my first instinct was to start building a dataset. After all, even the most complex networks can be distilled to a list of nodes and the connections between them. A few lines of code are all that’s needed to bring that dataset to life, like a hi-tech version of the evidence board in Line of Duty. The result is an interactive graph that, tongue-in-cheek, I’ve named My Little Crony.

With this visualisation, we can explore a whole web of connections at once. Take, for example, Lord Feldman, a wealthy donor and former chair of the Conservative party who was elevated to the House of Lords by his old Oxford chum, David Cameron. Feldman began serving as an unpaid adviser to the Department of Health in March, and in that capacity attended meetings with a firm called Oxford Nanopore, which has been awarded government contracts for Covid testing. Shortly after Feldman left his role in government, his PR firm, Tulchan Communications, had taken on Oxford Nanopore as a paying client.


Benji303 & Lee S. - Fuck The Tories (Sterling Moss & Mark EG Fuck The 303 Remix)

November 21, 2020

Republican David Valadao defeats TJ Cox for California seat in Congress, analyst says


Hanford Republican David Valadao’s lead in the U.S. House District 21 race shrunk Friday, but a political analyst has called the race.

Valadao, the challenger for the district, leads Rep. TJ Cox, D-Fresno, by 1,618 votes after the latest update from Kern County. Cox trimmed 178 votes from Valadao’s lead on Friday.

With the number of votes left to count from Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties dwindling, the lead was enough for Dave Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and NBC News contributor.


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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
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Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
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