Archive for the ‘Switzerland and Swiss things’ Category

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.


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.


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