Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Wednesday you'll be thanking me for introducing you to ANOTHER amazing singer from Sweden: Cecilia Nilsson, a.k.a Cissi or "See See"; Cecilia will sing two songs LIVE on Radio P4 Gavleborg on Friday at 15:30; @CissiNilssonn, @andreasjismark, #inmyroom

Cecilia Nilsson YouTube Channel video: 50 seconds of Cecilia Nilsson singing her first single, "In My Room." Uploaded May 10, 2013. http://youtu.be/0SjBQnl1FNU
Written by Cecilia Nilsson & Andreas Mattsson

Sunday brought some very positive and interesting news from Sweden concerning a Friend of the Blog, Andreas Jismark
So good, in fact, that he also shared the news via his Twitter feed, shown below.

The good news concerns a very talented young female singer from Gävle who's part of his talented music stable, and whose first single will officially be released on Wednesday.

To prime the public interest in her, Andreas has teased us, Sweden and the larger world with a clip featuring some of the first single. 

Not too much, lest we get a sugar rush or brain freeze, but just enough to give us a taste and keep us interested in seeing how the story ends on onsdag, Wednesday.

Andreas wrote...

This bit of news follows closely on the heels of the blog post that Andreas had written back on April 29th titled, quite cleverly, Goodbye, See See, Hello Cecilia Nilsson, which detailed some of the very hard work over the past two years that she's put in to make this moment possible.

Last Fall, some months before I traveled to Stockholm in January and met with Andreas and another great music talent whom he manages, the amazing Anni Bernhard, i.e Full of Keys, whom you'll be hearing more about in the coming days here at the blog, I'd watched this video of Cecilia quite a number of times, since by now you all know how much I love context.
I was looking for clues and hints of things to come.

As it happens, the video is in Swedish, but I still think you'll enjoy it as she speaks about herself and her music interests and desire to write songs that are honest and that will connect with people.

It was recorded mostly at her home in Gävle, a very middle-class Swedish city in the best possible sense of the word, and one that I've written about a few times here in the past, which has not always had the easiest go of things.

Just like growing-up or living in Baltimore or Pittsburgh or Indianapolis makes you a little more in-touch with the rest of the country than would be true in Santa Monica or Bethesda or Brookline, her town is a much-more accurate barometer of daily life in Sweden than many of the sweet upscale neighborhoods in Stockholm that I spent a lot of time in back in January.

Places where money and some degree of influence often helps keep some social problems at bay a little bit longer than it does in Gävle, where you take life as it is.

To me, at least, that means that any songs Cecilia writes and sings will be much more in-tune with the average listener's personal experiences than if she'd been born or raised in Södermalm, and had parents who pushed her around in one of those amazing $800-plus German prams they sell at Nordiska Kompaniet, which I spent some time eye-balling on my last day in Stockholm.

That came after I'd spent time walking at night from my hotel, The Omena in Norrmalm, down to the Royal Palace and then headed back to the hotel via the Kungsträdgården ice skating rink one last time and then the central downtown business district.

NK has an entire area of the store on the 4th Floor not just dedicated to upscale Kids, but to what seemed to be designer baby strollers, complete with a video showing German soccer Moms putting them thru their paces in Frankfurt.

(And do the well-educated Moms ever love to show those prams and their babies off at their nearby coffee shops! Or even the "Social Media" McDonalds I was at.
That is a whole 'nother blog post entirely -upscale Swedish soccer Moms!
They were everywhere! 
Not that I was complaining. )

And, now that it occurs to me, this film was recorded back when Cecilia's hair was much-longer than it currently is, which I know causes her some small distress, something I know about and recognize from having grown-up with two attractive younger sisters with beautiful long hair.

Andreas Jismark YouTube Channel video: See See (Presentation). Uploaded September 5, 2012. http://youtu.be/0syxcoAblN8

Some of Cecilia's hard work and preparation came just a few weeks ago when she spent some time over in Gotland, where Andreas lives, where she rehearsed and even performed at Hammersmith Odeon Visby, which you'll recall is also where Anni/Full of Keys performed, as I mentioned here on the blog at the time.

There was a nice article on Cecilia that appeared in one of the local Gotland papers at the time of her trip and it includes a nice photo of her and the band rehearsing, including Andreas on guitar, which Cecilia also plays.

Stjärnskott i Visby i helgen (Shooting stars in Visby this weekend)

One of the quotes I love is where Andreas, a music veteran in all sorts of important ways -as a performer, teacher, promoter, producer and manager- says the following:
Jag har aldrig stött på en elev som ens är 30-40 procent så bra som Cissi, säger han.
which means that he's never worked with anyone who has even 30-40% of Cissi's natural singing talent and ability, which is really quite something to say for this lover of all things Depeche Mode.

The article headline is a reference to Cecilia being a "shooting star" and encouraging people to come and see her perform now while they can in such an intimate atmosphere, before she hits it big in show biz.

Here's another photo of her and the band rehearsing that same day that's on her Facebook page
and later at Hammersmith's:

I last mentioned Cecilia Nilsson -a.k.a. Cissi or "See See"- in my April 9, 2013 blog post titled, If Miriam Bryant isn't on your musical radar yet, she ought to be ;)  Miriam Bryant - Push Play (Official), Finders Keeper (Official); @MiriamBryant
wherein I wrote:
Miriam, from Göthenberg, had a gig on Friday in Tranås at Babar, as did another young singing dynamo from Gävle I've been keeping close tabs on by the name of See See -a.k.a. Cissi Nilsson- pictured below, whom I'll be writing about in more detail soon.So much sheer musical talent in Sweden, it's hard to believe sometimes! 

Andreas was actually able to record one of the songs Cecilia performed in Tranås at Babar before Miriam came onstage to perform later, and it's a tune some of you might recognize:

Andreas Jismark YouTube Channel video: Cecilia Nilsson "Never Let You Go" -LIVE at Babar in Tranås, Sweden. April 5, 2013. Uploaded April 6, 2013.

Here's a nice newspaper article on Cecilia that ran on Friday in her local newspaper, Arbetarbladet, which has done quite a number of stories on her over the past few years as she's sung and performed at many events all over the area, and developed quite a great reputation with a killer voice:
Hur känns det att släppa en singel? (How do you feel about your first single coming out?)

Friday, Fredag, Friday, Fredag...
For those of you reading this in Sweden -or elsewhere, but who want to check her out via the InternetCecilia will be performing two songs LIVE on Sveriges Radio, specifically, Radio P4 Gavleborg, on Friday at 15:30 Swedish Time, which is 9:30 a.m. Eastern U.S./Canada.

Please take a listen to her via http://sverigesradio.se/gavleborg/ and let me know what you think.

But if you miss her, you WILL be able to listen to Cecilia here on the blog at some point soon, because one of the very best things about Sveriges Radio is that they make almost everything they air available online, and best of all, with embeddable code for blogs and websites.

(You longtime readers of the blog will recall that I've posted lots of SR audio material here in the past for Timoteij, Full of Keys, First Aid Kit and other singing artists, as well as various pieces they've done on Melodisfestivalen.)

So, even if you miss her, I'll have her right here where you can take a listen just as soon as it's humanly possible, more than likely, this weekend.

Wednesday morning update:

Cecilia Nilsson - In My Room (Complete Song)

Cecilia Nilsson YouTube Channel: Cecilia Nilsson -In My Room. This is Cecilia's debut single. Uploaded May 13, 2013. http://youtu.be/r3MUHpMTAao

Cissi's new single is available on both iTunes and Spotify.

There's just no substitute for sheer talent!
And when you add a great work ethic to that, the sky is the limit.
More info at: https://www.facebook.com/cecilianilssonofficial

Andreas Jismark Management 
@andreasjismark -https://twitter.com/andreasjismark 

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.