Archive for the ‘Switzerland and Swiss things’ Category

Picturesque Mollis, with helicopters

January 16, 2019

(After three weeks in the grip of infections, both viral and bacterial, some potentially life-threatening, I’m limping back to life and my blog, with a return, both sentimental and high-tech, to the ancestral home of the Zwickys, the village of Mollis, Canton Glarus, Switzerland.)

I’ll lead with a photo of impossibly picturesque Mollis in the summertime, when it’s green:

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Yet another Switzerland

December 28, 2018

In Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown S11 E4 “Armenia” (first aired 4/20/18), he travels from the capital, Yerevan, to Lake Sevan, which he characterizes as “the Switzerland of Armenia”. Ah, yet another (metaphorical) Switzerland, indeed yet another (snowclonic) Switzerland of X.

In general, wherever you have alpine terrain, especially with snow, forests, lakes, and quaint villages, you have another Switzerland.

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On the international waffle patrol

December 19, 2018

Better together: Belgian waffles and Israeli falafel. From several Facebook friends, a pointer to Tablet magazine ‘s “The Belgian Falafel Waffle: An edible miracle of modern science takes off in Rishon LeZion” by Flora Tsapovsky on 12/18/18:

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Nationality: the case of Albert Einstein

December 18, 2018

Einstein was born in Germany and lived there as a child. By the time he died, he’d renounced his German citizenship and acquired two other citizenships, first Swiss and then American, which he kept throughout his life. So it’s not at all easy to describe his nationality. (I’m on this case because of the Swiss part of the story, of course.)

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The Swiss diaspora: Steinlen in Montmartre

December 18, 2018

From Wikipedia:


(#1) Steinlen poster of 1896 advertising the Montmartre cabaret Le Chat Noir

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (November 10, 1859 – December 13, 1923), was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker. Born in Lausanne [in Canton Vaud in Francophone Switzerland], Steinlen studied at the University of Lausanne before taking a job as a designer trainee at a textile mill in Mulhouse in eastern France.

He then found his spot, the place that suited him in life: the Montmartre district of Paris.

And became Swiss French (in the narrow sense): a French person who emigrated from Switzerland. Narrowly Swiss French, in the way that distinguished 19th-century scientist Louis Agassiz was narrowly Swiss American: from my 2/7/13 posting “Swiss American”:

Agassiz was Swiss American in the narrow sense; he emigrated from Neuchâtel (in Francophone Switzerland) to Boston and took American citizenship.

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Four Swiss rolls

December 17, 2018

My pursuit of Swiss X, for various nouns X, continues with four Swiss roll chapters, starting with a cake roulade and going on to a rolled hair style; roll short for bread roll; and roll short for roll-up (referring to a bread roulade).

Bonus: the cake roulade is appropriate to the season, since a Yule log or bûche de Noël is one, just dressed up for Christmas.

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Regionally ambivalent Switzerland

December 15, 2018

Another chapter in the delineation of regions (areas, territories) — there’s a Region-talk Page on this blog listing my postings on the topic — prompted by my coming across various sites referring to Switzerland as a central European country. I was puzzled: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, maybe Austria, ok, but Switzerland? If Switzerland is in central Europe, what’s in western Europe?

The answer is: not much. France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, maybe Luxembourg. Having a coastline on the North Sea seems to be a necessary condition, but not a significant one: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden count as northern European (or Scandinavian), and Germany as central European. Whoa, Germany is in central Europe? What happened to the western European alliance, with the UK, France, and Germany as its major elements?

It’s a now-familiar story: different categories are delineated for different sociocultural — or other — purposes, with many transitional zones (lacking clear boundaries) and with political boundaries standing in, faute de mieux, for actual boundaries, though the categories cut across and subdivide political units.

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News for bears: cities of bears

December 8, 2018

On the 5th here, postings on the patron saint of bears and on Swiss saintly dogs (with a bow to the city of Bern(e)). Now: more on Bern; on the movie BearCity; and on two California cities of bears, Big Bear City in San Bernardino County and Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County.

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News for (massive) dogs: St. Bernard of Menthon

December 5, 2018

It’s about the lives of the saints (like some other recent postings); it’s about Switzerland (for some value of Switzerland); and it’s about dogs, really big dogs. St. Bernard of Montjoux, and the dog named after his 11th-century refuge for travelers in the Alps.

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Nur in der Schweiz

December 2, 2018

A report from Amanda Walker, one of our corresondents in Zürich, with news of a seasonal product promotion at McDonald’s. It’s gooey cheese time again!


(#1) “Der McRaclette ist zurück … Das gibt’s auch nur in der Schweiz”

It’s back, and available only in Switzerland.

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