Five for Friday: Swedish Meatball Confession, Annoying Laugh Track, Changing an Alphabet

CHICAGO, IL (May 4, 2018) – Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos that Covenant News Service believes may be of interest to others. Each Friday we post five of them. Following is a sample of those submissions—their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Covenant of any views expressed.

Swedish Meatballs Actually Turkish

The Swedish government acknowledged a dark side of its cultural history this week when it officially acknowledged through its Twitter account that Swedish meatballs actually originated in Turkey. (What is it about governments now using Twitter accounts?) The tale of how the Turkish meatballs have become so identified with Sweden includes its failed military conflict in the 1700s. Now people are wondering what this might mean for Ikea. So the next time your church has a Swedish buffet, will it include Turkish meatballs?

For what it’s worth, the Allrecipes website has a recipe for Turkey Swedish Meatballs. Perhaps that’s a compromise.

From the article: “But Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) President Serdar Cam, who parlays between Turkey and foreign countries, criticized IKEA for selling its now-clarified Turkish meatballs. … ‘By selling these meatballs as Swedish meatballs for years in their chain furniture store, they are also saying forget the furniture, I can even sell your meatballs as if they are mine, through my marketing and distribution organization,’ he tweeted.”

The Man Who Invented the Laugh Track

Charlie Douglass is the man to blame for this ubiquitous practice on comedies. Is it any wonder that he wouldn’t talk about it? It can be hard to admit our “sins.”

From the article: “I recently listened to one of Douglass’ laughs that was often heard through the late ’60s and ’70s, including in the pilot for MASH. I especially love the laugh that trails off at the end. It tells a story. There’s a joke, but one guy in the audience doesn’t get it right away. He’s a split second late, and then he laughs a little bit longer. Charlie Douglass wasn’t just a sound engineer; he was a psychologist.”

Holocaust Study: Two-thirds of Millennials Don’t Know What Auschwitz Is

Perhaps it’s not millennials who are to blame for the lack of knowledge but the people who fail to impart it.

From the article: “Twenty-two percent of millennials in the poll said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it — twice the percentage of U.S. adults as a whole who said the same.”

This Awesome Periodic Table Tells You How to Actually Use All Those Elements

This article makes what is almost surely a false assertion: “Thanks to high school, we’ve all got a pretty good idea about what’s on the periodic table.” Perhaps if you consider knowing four or five elements – which is about all I could name on my high school test that I so ingloriously flunked. Perhaps it’s never too late to learn if someone can make it this fun.

From the article: “Lucky for us, Keith Enevoldsen from has come up with this awesome periodic table that gives you at least one example for every single element (except for those weird superheavy elements that don’t actually exist in nature). There’s thulium for laser eye surgery, cerium for lighter flints, and krypton for flashlights. You’ve got strontium for fireworks, and xenon for high-intensity lamps inside lighthouses.”

The Cost of Changing an Entire Country’s Alphabet

The United States stubbornly refused to switch to the metric system. The Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan is changing its alphabet from Cyrillic script to the Latin-based style favored by the West. That’s going to cause a lot of headaches in the country where nearly everyone speaks Russian. Imagine having to change the spelling of everything in the country. Remember when the United States refused to switch to the metric system? Change is hard.

From the article: “So far, state media has reported that the government’s total budget for the seven-year transition – which has been divided into three stages – will amount to roughly 218 billion tenge ($664m). About 90 percent of that amount is going to education programmes the publication of textbooks for education programmes in the new Latin script, including for literature classes.”

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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