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Finland for Thought » 2008 » June | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

Finland for Thought
             Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States

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Digging up old crap

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 3:23 pm

There is an old saying: “The manure pile won’t stink unless you go poking it.” and it seems there is nothing better to do than go poking during the summer. In the beginning of the summer there were some remarks made of doping in Finland, and as a few former skiers denied vehemently the use EPO-hormones or any knowledge of blood-doping – last week the ex-coach Kari-Pekka Kyrö came forward making a number of statements implying that the Finnish Skiing Association wasn’t as clean as they presented themselves during the 2001 Lahti Hemohes scandal. And his stories have been corroborated by others, so the story is opening up daily. As the Finnish News Agency chief editor and reporter were convicted of libel in 1999 due to claims of doping that were at the time “unfounded”, the NBI has reopened the investigation. Better late than never I guess.

Another case not as ancient re-surfacing is the infamous Sonera-book which the supreme court returned to the assizes overturning the inadmissibility of evidence. Now the public opinion on the case would be rather than trying to find the author to find “Where disappeared the money of Sonera” as the book title reads. They bought some air in Germany if I recall it correctly.

Maybe I should start a properly to go with the retro feelings and buy a Jopo.

Fortress Helsinki

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 2:51 pm

When I was a little boy, I got to play in old trenches that were virtually in my backyard. And no, I didn’t live in Suomenlinna. Back in 1914-1917 the Russians fortified an important naval base, Helsinki, against the German threat. The fortress was never used in action, except for some skirmishes during the civil war and parts of the underground bunkers used by the army and some locations as AA-turret bases in WW2.

So, if you have a day to spend in Helsinki and you think you’ve seen it all, go see the Patterimäki between Pajamäki and Pitäjänmäki, take either the bus 14 to the terminus and or the commuter train to Pitäjänmäki station and take the bridge over the tracks towards the paint factory and continue straight up the hill, there are two AA turret bases on top along with trenches and bunkers. The Helsingin Sanomat has a number of pictures in a reportage they made of the current remains of the fortress along with maps, and theres a website, also in English, dedicated to the fortification with more old pictures Krepost Sveaborg. The fortress line winds more or less along what now is Ring I, so a little off the road into the forest there might be something interesting.


Nobody drowned this Juhannus

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 8:17 pm

And I’d say this is a pretty remarkable piece of news. Traditionally the combination of alcohol and boating has resulted in at least half a dozen drownings. The statistics this year weren’t looking good as the thin ice caused a whole lot of fishermen to get into peril. The least drownings during Juhannus was in 2003 when the toll was four.

Otherwise the death toll so far has been 6 people. The most violent incident was in Kouvola, where three army conscripts were stabbed, one fatally and another in critical condition. A middle-aged couple had a beer-fuelled argument and the woman stabbed the man dead in Helsinki. The heavy holiday traffic went relatively safely but with several accidents, two fatal, and the police otherwise has been kept busy by drunk drivers. In Keuruu two men were found in the sauna, one dead and the other unconcious – possibly from cabon monoxide poisoning. Another man was found dead on a beach in Lappeenranta ant the police state they’re not suspecting a crime.

Otherwise the country has been doused with rain and hailstorms, maybe inhibiting the partying a bit. The police has had its share of domestic calls, and a man was shot in the leg while threatening the police with an axe. While the police say the amount of calls has been regular for a midsummer, the Coast Guard has stated it has had approximately half of the amount of calls to assist boaters than usual.

Update: By Sunday the death toll has risen to eight with another stab victim, and of a boating party one man found drowned and another missing – so that makes the inevitable drowning statistics. The Finnish swimming and lifesaving association’s spokesperson says that the bad weather did contribute, but he says he hopes that the downward trend is due to the efforts in public awareness as well. The return traffic is expected to be slightly congested even most people have started their summer vacations.


They ain’t pikeys, are they?

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 11:03 am

The Helsingin Sanomat has written about some British & Irish paving labourers who apparently have not had “trouble finding work without speaking any Finnish”. So that proves false the assumption Finns are discriminating xenophobes and racists. Doing a paving job for 3500, sans receipt, when the Finnish quote is 8500-10K and the material cost alone is between 2-3K though might have something to do with the equation. Also the claim that Finnish officials are xenophobes and racists is proven wrong, as if a local Finnish resident would be driving drunk, stealing and doing black labor without paying the social fees and VAT; they’d be in serious trouble. But EU citizens are free to do whatever they effin please. So apparently there is a “need for workers” in Finland indeed and the EU has once again proven to be the source of multiculturalism that enriches the nation. Again three basic theses regarding immigrants in Finland have been proven wrong. I find this quite hilarious, though there’s an owner of a campsite full of complaining Finns (as opposed to whining foreigners) that might not think I am so funny.

Cliff notes: Snatch in Järvenpää


You adults better check what your kids are doing on the net!

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 1:19 am

The Helsingin Sanomat today reports of a court case where two teenage boys aged 15 and 16 were sentenced for “sexual abuse” though “performed as a young person” so they got 50 day fines each and to pay damages amounting to 1600 euros. A slap on the wrist maybe, as 50 days amounts for 300 euros, but…  The boys had enticed a girl aged 10 to strip on a webcam through the “Messenger” net.  The details shall be obscure as the case was behind closed doors and the court records sealed until 2068.  Now I just wonder where is the responsibility of the parents letting their 10-year old strip on a webcam?


Finnish people are overall more attractive

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 9:13 pm

Been in Sweden the past two days on business – Studies have proven that Finnish people are overall more attractive, but Sweden has alot more people that make you say “God Damn!!!!!” when you they walk by.

The Swedes and Finns are obviously quite similar, but the two glaring differences are…

1) Their self-confidence, they have a lot of it, Finns don’t (or is it “self-esteem”?) – You can just see it in the way they walk. I think this is one of the reasons why Finnish ad/media agencies haven’t had success beyond Finland, an agency needs to have strong self-confidence in order to sell their ideas to clients. Swedes are good at this.

2) Their sense of style, they’ve got a lot of it. While here I’ll try to bring back some fashion trends, cause everything trendy in Stockholm will hit Helsinki in about three years. The Swedes dress well and don’t necessarily wear expensive clothes. It seems like they just throw on whatever, and they look good no matter what, especially the fellas. Meanwhile Finnish guys seem quite content in wearing whatever their wives bought them at Dressmann three years ago. But then again, Swedish men dress and look extremely gay.


“Theres no corruption in Finland”, besides which we’re on holiday.

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 10:43 pm

FFT has been somewhat silent of the recent politicial events in Finland. Of course this is smoking gun evidence of censorship, but as the reality is not quite as sinister I’ll do something to rectify the situation now that the database has finally stopped hiccuping.

The proverbial shit hit the fan in May,  from a very offhand statement over election funding. The law passed in 2000 states that MP’s should make a public notice of donations that were over 1700 euros from a single donor.  The Centre parliamentary group leader Timo Kalli went ahead and made  a statement in A-studio tv talkshow that he hadn’t  disclosed  some of his biggest donors – and wouldn’t – as there weren’t any sanctions for not disclosing the donors.  Now a parliamentarian who had himself been drafting the very legislation  showing such a disrespect to the law got people, both in the parliament and the public, to demand if not his head on the platter some other organs put in a vice.

After Kalli had let the cat out of the bag, several more MP’s got a miraculous cure from amnesia and  donors started to appear on the lists.  A curious  “association”  that had donated  money to several Centre party candidates was  “Kehittyvien Maakuntien Suomi” (Finland of Developing Provinces) that after several weeks of  hounding by the press was shown to be made up at the Centre party office, and the funds it redistributed were mainly by a quintet of businessmen with their hands in real estate and other development projects in the “provinces”. Now having a “friendly politician” has always been a businessman’s wet dream, and even if it was only dreaming, a few statements that have been published make the ties too close for comfort.

There were a few other than Centre party candidates who got money from the association, but most of the money was channelled to the Centre. The Centre party claimed to have had no knowledge over the dealings, until it came into public that not only the Centre party officers had been involved in the association, but namely the head of development had been in access of the bank accounts and made money transfers.  Of course, both the head of development and the party secretary have taken a sick leave. The prime minister has distanced himself from the scandal and is now in Japan learning the art of public harakiri.

The public uproar has achieved something – there is an agreement of donation caps, 3000 euros in the municipal elections and 6000 in the parliamentary. As a gentlemen’s agreement it is to be passed as a law – though if there will be sanctions that remains to be seen.

There is a lot of articles on ths case and its slow unfolding and the squirming of politicians in the HS International Edition.  The latest one today, but theres going to be a lot more unraveling. The question of the opposition trying to topple the Prime Minister isn’t quite out of  the question, and the Centre Party is having its own annual meeting shortly and the discussion there can also get somewhat heated.


Full Fart

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 1:11 pm

A Swedish-language children’s DVD – story about the morning after I spend an entire day drinking beer out in the hot sun…

Stephen Colbert is a libertarian!

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 12:52 pm

Stephen Colbert talks to Bob Barr about his Presidential run, and speaks of his own desire to remove age limits on board games… LOL!!

Hat Tip to Kourtney W. for the link!


Rich Lyons, full time American comic in Finland

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 8:52 pm

Rich Lyons’ Finnish skills are as bad as mine, but that doesn’t stop him from being a full time stand-up comic in Finland, the country’s only fulltime English-speaking comic. If you haven’t checked him out, you should, he’s great – most of his material surrounds Finnish and American culture, so anyone who reads this blog will surely enjoy him.

There’s a great article about him in Better Than Sliced Bread, you should check it out… (and another lengthy article from 6d)

And then there is Finns and hangovers. Finland has to be the only place in the world where people plan their hangovers. “Can we go bowling on Sunday?” “Nah, sorry, I’ll have a hangover then. Let me check my calendar – yup, there it is…” And can you imagine when a dark-featured – well, gypsy-looking – guy like me goes to a store: there is this visibly heightened alertness among the staff. “Yes sir, you can find the men’s jackets over there, if you just walk past the security cameras…”

I’ve always wanted to try stand-up at least once, it’s on my (very short) list of things I need to do before I die…

1. Do a stand-up routine
2. Write a book
3. Publish a board game


Sampo Bank sucks

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 7:31 pm

Anyone who is a client of Sampo Bank better check their account statements now if they haven’t already. I assumed I was immune to all the problems they’ve been having, as I was able to login to their new website just fine – but we just discovered that they took an extra 500 euros for our house loan last month for no apparent reason. Normally I just assume they take the correct amount so I don’t check it, but my recent statement included about 10 “deleted transactions” which raised my suspicions.

I recently received a letter from Sampo apologizing for all the problems they’ve been having, and as a compensation they’re giving me four months without fees (2.90e/month value). Needless to say when I meet them this week I’ll be asking for a much larger compensation, or I’m leaving. Of course Nordea isn’t an option as they don’t (as of a couple years ago) offer some insurances to fucking foreigners. Those Swedish banks spoke English to me and treated me well, maybe I’ll move my loans to them.

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