1 October 2015

Christmas is already in the air: the funeral office magazine and julmust are here!

The summer vacations are barely over, but Christmas is already in the air. Quite early this year in fact. But how do I know that Christmas has already arrived in Sweden? Well, there are two things that give it away:

First, it's the Julmust.
The other day I went to the supermarket and saw that they were already selling Julmust, i.e., "Christmas Sap" or Christmas Drink. Basically, it's like coca cola, but much sweeter. Like coca cola, it also comes in diet version, with nutra sweet. Wikipedia thinks that  "Julmust is mainly consumed in Sweden around Christmas". So, this is indication no. 1 that Christmas is already here.

Second, it's the funeral office magazine.
Around Christmas time, the Funeral Office Association of Sweden sends us their magazine called "Memento". As I wrote before, several funeral offices in Sweden are uniquely interesting because they advertise their funeral products. Last year, the magazine came around Christmas time. This year it came to us a week ago. Summer vacations are barely over, but Christmas has began. Dying in Sweden is also quite unique. First of all, dying during the summer should be avoided at all costs. Second, people like to talk about death. Third, committing suicide is fine, people won't talk about it anyway. Nobody cares.

The magazine is promoting death and death culture. Let's look at some its contents a bit more closely.

Here is the cover. Below the title "Memento" you see the subject of its main article: "When sick children die". You can also see that the magazine is not free. It costs 70 Swedish crowns (about 8.50 US dollars)--it's not cheap! It is sent to us for free (lucky us!) well in advance the festive season. Come to think of it, however, there must be people who do buy the magazine!

On page 4 we see the photo of a luxurious coffin surrounded by flowers. The caption below says "the feeling of a summer meadow".

Page 6 has the photo of a Mohammedan cleric with spooky looks and then a vast graveyard full of Christian crosses. I guess this says that the magazine is politically correct. It's ok for both Mohammedans and Christians to but the magazine.

On page 7, here is again "Eulogica", a death management operations software. We also saw it in last year's issue. "A new generation program and services for the funeral industry". I wonder if it exists as an app so I can download it on my mobile and have some fun.

The article on page 8 is titled  "Some children may die but not mine""In barely six months a  four-year old developed cancer. Not until the very end could Jenny believe that her daughter could actually die". In this way, I guess, the magazine tells parents to support the funeral office industry financially because their children may die. Makes sense, in a business world.

Pages 14-15 are devoted to a "Graveyard for dreamers and cat lovers". It talks about a cemetery that you can visit when you're feeling romantic. And if you're a cat (not a dog!) lover, take your cat along, and have fun thinking about your burial place.

The article on pages 18-19 is an impressively original idea. It's an idea for a party. A party where you invite your friends to talk about death and how they would like to be buried. The article's author asks:
Isn't it a good idea to invite people to a party and talk about death and how they like to have their funeral?
What a great idea indeed! How come nobody had thought about it before? This magazine is a real treasure. This is why I can't find people to come to my parties. My themes are not good enough. But if we talk about death then I'll get many people over. A caption of a photo in the article says:
Sandwich with herring is good, but we would like to have real food for our funerals.
Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Would you like to be buried with only a sandwich? I have a further idea for the party! We could rent coffins and play dead. For example, we could place a bottle of vodka in a coffin and wait for one of our guests to be lured. When he/she (or it) gets in, we slam the cover down and nail them inside. We then enjoy having the person beg for his/her release. It's a real simulation of what a burial is. In the very spirit of the magazine!

Page 24 has a full-page picture of urns in many colors. An urn is a vase where you stuff the ashes after you bury a dead body. But these urns advertised here are called "NatureUrns" and they are approved by the "Green Burial Council". That is, they are ecological urns, they're good for the environment. Good to know, eh?

Page 26. Article about the burial of an 8-year old girl. 

Pages 13 and 29 contain advertisements of the hearses of Mr. Nilsson. Their unique feature is that they are environmentally friendly. We are informed that they emit only 117 grams of Carbon Dioxide per Kilometer and so they are Europe's best. But Page 28 advertises the hearses of Mr. Eriksson that are classified as "extra long". They burn 149 grams of Carbon Dioxide per Kilometer. That's bad. Sorry Mr. Eriksson, you lose.

Then there is a cartoon about various characters talking about their death wishes.

All in all, an excellent magazine, given to us for free, just in time for Christmas. I will enjoy reading it while drinking Julmust.


  1. Did you mean to say bizarre? Because, as I told you, there are many bizarre things here, especially during Christmas. Here's another totally bizarre thing done simultaneously by several million Swedes at the same time during Christmas.



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant