Archive for the ‘Switzerland and Swiss things’ Category

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.


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.


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.


Swiss Tasmania

November 29, 2018

The raw material: a poster on Pinterest, which led to photos of a quaint village:

(#1) Mt. Ida and Lake St. Clair, in the highlands of central Tasmania

(#2) The faux-Swiss village of Grindelwald, near Launceston, TAS


On the Swiss poster patrol

November 27, 2018

… from a hundred years ago. Two items that popped up on Pinterest a while back after I posted about things Swiss:

(#1) Pilatus Railway poster (unknown artist for Burlingham Travel Pictures, 1918)

(#2) Swiss military “Flag Guard” poster from 1914, the year the Great War began


Wisc Swiss music

November 20, 2018

From Joe Salmons on Facebook a few days ago, this arresting photo of celebratory alpenhorns indoors:


Two things: the occasion and the instruments.



November 19, 2018

A tribute to the great Swiss natural historian — in fact, polymath — Conrad Gessner (in the biological literature, Gesner), whose name has popped up in my life three times recently: in connection with the striking plants known as gesneriads (among them, African violets); as an early chronicler of mountain climbing (specfically on Mount Pilatus in Switzerland); and as the source of the first description of the alphorn, or alpenhorn (the musical instrument).

Gessner and some of his subjects, as depicted in a set of commemorative stamps issued by the African nation of Guinea on the 500th anniversary of his birth:


Gessner himself might have been archetypically Swiss, but the gesneriads are tropical plants, of Africa and South America.


Swiss art supplies in the morning

August 31, 2018

Today’s morning name: Caran d’Ache. A Swiss art supplies company specializing in pencils. With a complex linguistic and social history behind its name. There will be cartoons as well. (No food, sex, music, or plants, but you can’t have everything. On the other hand, there will be clowns and some chemistry / materials science.)

(#1) The box for a 40-color selection of pencils, proudly flying the Swiss flag


The Gay Village, Swiss Chalet, poutine

August 8, 2018

Further notes on the 31st motss.con in Montréal (which came to an end with a stragglers’ breakfast on Monday); background in my 8/3 posting “The rainbow pillars of Montréal”. And further explorations of things Swiss, or at least things called Swiss, in particular that Canadian institution, the Swiss Chalet restaurant chain. Motssers on holiday in Québec, food: that means poutine, (by report) consumed often and by many during the con.

Brief visual background on the con’s location, the Gay Village of the city:

(#1) Aerial view of Rue Ste-Catherine E. in the Gay Village, with its overhead rainbow-colored balls (from Chris Ambidge)


Swiss National Day! (with a query)

August 1, 2018

Today, August 1st, is the National Day of Switzerland, a day to fly the big square flag:


On the flag and on the holiday, to come. But first, a query to readers. I ask that you respond only to this e-mail address: (so that I don’t have to try to collate responses sent to seven or eight different places). And I ask that you read the query and guve your immediate reaction to it (without looking things up or consulting other people or musing about what the “right” answer would be). Below the fold: