Taxi: In the back or in the front?
Magdalena Ribbing at daily Dagens Nyheter, knows manners like it’s nobody’s business. So when somebody asked her whether one ought to sit in the front or in the back when one rides a cab, we pricked up our ears. Ribbing's answer to the question is: “Sit in the back!” The front is often considered working space for the driver and should only be used when absolutely necessary. This harks back to the time of horse-drawn cabs, when the driver always sat alone in the front. Many readers of Ribbing’s column rebel however, calling sitting in the back “upper class manners”. Finally a cab driver was asked. Sigge Baranjuk at Taxi Stockholm said that approximately 50% of all customers preferred to sit in the back, and that for him as a driver it “didn’t matter at all” where they sat.

Lack of judges in Sweden
It has become very difficult to find judges to the courts in Sweden. The situation is so serious now that the Court Administration has decided to investigate how to improve the situation. Also in the more popular big city courts there are problems to recruit. More over-time is used than before and retired judges are often asked to do extra work.

“Secret” book about the king
There’s a new book in the making. A “secret” book about the king. Mid-November it’s time for this year’s most secret project to be published. Thomas Sjöberg, Tove Meyer and Deanne Rauscher have for two and a half years worked on an unauthorized biography on King Carl XVI Gustaf with the working title “The Reluctant Monarch”. Publishing director Kristoffer Lind at Lind & Co. the publishing house that’s publishing the book, says that it’s the greatest event ever for him: “The book is associated with some very difficult considerations that are related to publishing. There’s information in it that one could possibly consider calling slander. Some people who are in the book might think of it as… not so nice.” The book consists of two parts, one about the king’s childhood and life until he became king. Part two is about what is “for the majority of his subjects, unknown parts of his private life”. Thomas Sjöberg has already written biographies on Ingvar Kamprad and the porn king Berth Milton. He admits that it was a conscious decision to wait to publish the book about the king until after the wedding between Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling. “We didn’t want it to be viewed as a lampoon or a pamphlet. We hope it contributes and adds to the discussion about the monarchy, but it is in no way a scandalous book,” he says.

A kiss for the Princess
Voilà! The French know how to greet a lady. And this is what it looked like when French President Nicolas Sarkozy (with wife Carla Bruni by his side) welcomed Victoria and Daniel to Paris the other day. Some 50 journalists had gathered outside the Elysée Palace, and at times it was quite chaotic. “It’s a bit messy here,” said Daniel. The meeting and dinner was also Daniel’s big test as newly minted prince. Victoria and Daniel took the opportunity to make a quick visit to Pau in France, where Victoria’s ancestor Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was born in 1763, as this year marks 200 years since he became Sweden’s Crown Prince. Sarkozy let Victoria and Daniel borrow his own presidential airplane for the trip to Pau.

Licorice brownies
Are Swedes addicted to licorice? Sometimes we think so. But while salty licorice can be a bit of an acquired taste, the sweeter kind is easier to adopt. If you know where to get sweet, chewy licorice candy (it is readily available in most parts of the US) then try this licorice brownie, courtesy of Ingredients: 200 g dark chocolate, 200 g butter (room temperature), 4 eggs, ¾ cup sugar, 1 cup flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 6-8 pieces of chewy sweet licorice (licorice wheels or something like that, more if you like licorice, less if you’re hesitant). Bake the cake a bit longer than stated if you want to eat it the same day, it might be a bit sticky otherwise. Instruction: Preheat oven to 390F. Butter a round springform pan. Melt the butter in a pan, break the chocolate into smaller pieces, add to the butter and melt carefully. Stir until even and let cool. Beat the eggs along with the sugar and add to the chocolate mixture. In another bowl, mix flour and salt and add to the chocolate mixture, stir until even. Cut the licorice into smaller pieces and add to the mix. Pour the batter into the buttered pan and put in the lower part of the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. It’s best if you put the cake in the fridge over night before serving.