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Finland for Thought » 2008 » July | 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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31.7.2008

Forest fire in Espoo

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 4:55 pm

Just took these pics from on top Nokia House’s parking garage in Espoo, looks like a little forest fire…


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29.7.2008

Bigoted Finnish Lutheran Church

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 12:39 pm

Two official complaints have been made against a Lutheran minister in Espoo who blessed the union of two lesbians.

[...]The complaints, which were submitted on Monday, state that Tuovinen’s actions violated official policy of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and that she should be punished.

Ugh…If any other company or organization in Finland were to “punish” those who included gays and lesbians, those responsible would quickly find themselves in court, and maybe even in prison. Yet, how does the Finnish state react to this illegal homophobic behavior? They shower them with riches of course! Yes, your tax-money goes to pay for the state-supported bigoted Finnish Lutheran Church.

Sure, in one verse, the Bible prohibits homosexuality. The Bible also prohibits: eating pork, eating shellfish, shaving your beard, using two types of seeds in your fields, and yes, even encourages slavery…! Jesus fucking Christ!!

“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.” (Leviticus 25:44-45)

Support the separation of church and state. Let the homophobes and sexists run its’ hate-club on their own dime.

25.7.2008

Road Church

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 11:28 am

Honestly, are these signs really necessary? They’re freakin’ EVERYWHERE! We could feed a African village for an entire decade with the money used to produce these signs. I just can’t imagine a scenario where somewhere is driving along and suddenly in desperate need for a random church…

“I’m in some serious need for a prayer, but I don’t know where to go!”
“Oh look honey, there’s a road church ahead, make a left here.”
“Thank fucking God for these signs!!”

For real, how many Ned Flanders’s driving down Finnish highways!?

22.7.2008

Finland: A Nation of Progress!

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 12:38 pm

During my almost six years living in Finland, I’ve seen this country progress immensely – Case-in-point: Dr. Pepper.

When I first arrived in Finland, Dr. Pepper was only a myth, it was found nowhere. Soon we found single cans of Dr. Pepper sold at the occasional grocery store at outrageous prices, like $3 (USD) a can (and we happily shelled out the cash)

And now for the first time ever, we find six-packs of the Doctor’s famous drink at our major supermarkets (priced at $9.19 USD)!!

What’s next? Dr. Pepper in 1.5L bottles?! Dr. Pepper from a soda fountain at Hesburger!?!

“Finland: A Nation of Progress!”

21.7.2008

School is out and it wasn’t a shooting and no youtube…

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 5:59 pm

Last Saturday evening at 9pm a 14-year old girl from the local basketball club was stabbed fatally when she was alone practicing at a basketball court in Savio. ( For our international readers – 9pm this time of the year is still “in broad daylight” ) The girl managed to drag herself into the yard of a neighbouring house but perished before the EMTs arrived. The police caught the same evening around 10pm an 18-year old male who later confessed to the stabbing. According to the police the suspect investigated for murder had been seeking for a(ny) victim for about 3 hours before he randomly picked up on the girl – as for his motives the police said he had given a “sociopolitical motive”. Being a Finn I just have a hunch the perpetrator will be excused due to his mental instability. Somehow I feel it would be right in these kind of cases of the people who let these kind of loose cannons roam the streets should be the ones accused along with them.

Now Savio is a few klicks south of Jokela which surely had hoops and whistles going on about a young man with sociopolitical motives. No doubt if the situation had involved a gun and a school there’d be international vultures homing in on social porno news. But a lonely schoolgirl on a basketball court in an adjacent park to her school is not worth their time, fortunately considering their insensitivity in the media. But the underlying question is – what is making these young men on the northbound track towns commit such mindless killings? Is there something wrong with the water? Is there something wrong with the sociopolitics? Or what is wrong?

The family and friends of 14-year old Emilia who had just celebrated her confirmation a few weeks prior definitely would not want to be asking.

Field required: Choose State

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:00 pm

Don’t you hate it when you’re signing up for something online and you’re REQUIRED to “Choose State”!? Grrr!!! It makes me embarrassed to be an American knowing my fellow countrymen/web developers never thought that someone outside the U.S. would visit their site.

When forced to choose, I always choose Alabama. Not only because it’s laziest choice at the top of the list, but because I think it’s the closest state to Finland. Geographically speaking.

20.7.2008

I began swearing even more when I moved to Finland

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 12:00 pm

I swear a lot. I think swear words are funny. I love to write and I need my swear words. Young Ralphie’s quote about his father from “A Christmas Story” sums up my feelings quite well…

He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master.

A swear word can easily turn a boring sentence into a funny sentence. For example: “I gotta go to the store.” (boring) -or- “I gotta go to the fucking store” (kinda funny!). But don’t use swear words too often – fucking like when every other fucking word is fucking ‘fuck’, then you quickly sound like a white trash moron.

I began swearing even more when I moved to Finland – It’s got nothing to do with the welfare state, it’s just that Finns find swearing funny too! Well, swearing in English that is. I’ve tried switching to swearing in Finnish and suddenly the Finns start calling me a “white trash moron”. I guess swear words in your second language aren’t quite as obscene as those in your native tongue.

And therein lies the problem – The Finns find my swearing “funny” rather than “inappropriate”, leading to all sorts of moronic white trash comparisons when I return to the states. Swearing is like smoking crack, it’s addictive, and you can’t lay down the crack pipe even when kids are around. I was back in Baltimore for a few days in June and slipped the F-bomb way too frequently at a family BBQ, it was a little embarrassing for me. I kinda felt like some sort of…uhhh…caucasion, poor, idiot, or something.

But I think comedian Lewis Black speaks my mind the best…

I realize I use the word fuck a lot, and I’d apologize for that, but I don’t give a shit.

19.7.2008

Finland’s little secret: No one actually likes winter sports

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 7:31 pm

I used to say, “Why would anyone want to leave Finland in July? The weather is so perfect!” After yet another cold, wet summer, I say that no more…

July has been unseasonably wet in Finland this year. Northern Ostrobothnia and Kuusamo have been hit especially hard. [...]Meteorologists say July hasn’t been this cool since 1993, and hasn’t been this rainy since the years 2004 and 2007.

Let’s all put our patriotism and blind devotion on the shelf for one second and be honest with ourselves…Finnish weather is pretty much shit, all twelve months a year. We all just pretend it’s okay cause we’re stuck here, whether it’s because we’re born here, or have a serious boner for a Finnish girl.

The “summer” months are overcast and rainy, this year averaging around 15C (59F). April/May can have some deceivingly warm days, then comes a cold and wet June. September can have some nice days, but you can’t stop thinking about the six months of winter ahead – from October to March we have darkness and a consistent drizzly +2C every day.

During the six months of slush we partake in cold weather activities like skiing, skating, sledding, and drinking. I’m going to let you in on a little secret – No one actually likes winter sports, we just do them to pass the time and deter us from suicide. We’d all give up this shit to be outdoors in shorts on our bicycles with an ice cream in our hand.

It’s like asking an inmate what his hobbies are: the prisoner gleefully replies, “Gang rape”. Now he doesn’t actually like gang rape, if he were on the outside he’d prefer bike shorts and ice cream, but since his only other option is “Getting stabbed”, the gang rape becomes something of a hobby for himself, he might even take home a bronze medal in the activity.

But whatever…it’s still better than living in NEBRASKA!! LOL!!

18.7.2008

If jobs move from the U.S. to Finland

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 12:12 am

Propganda video warns of U.S. jobs moving to Finland. So basically the message is, “Fuck other countries!!” ?? But point taken, the American education system is seriously messed up…


Hat Tip to z zz for the link!

16.7.2008

A couple of videos for you…

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 8:55 pm

Check this out – Longtime Finland for Thought reader and friend of mine, Vilja S., was at The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and he did a little bit on Finland! Cool!!

And check out this handsome devil introducing Nokia’s latest application… :-)

15.7.2008

Otto visits Finland

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:52 pm

Saw this while driving in Espoo today – I think Otto the bus driver from the Simpsons got way too stoned this time, and took a wrong turn… LOL!!

14.7.2008

The U.S. Federal Government spelled Espoo with a ’5′

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:12 pm

Haven’t posted anything in forever, apologies to all of you (and YOU’RE WELCOME to others :-) ). I just received my portion of George Bush’s $145 billion economic stimulus package…well, $300 of it. I’m rich bitch! HONK!!! I think I’ll buy a big bag of crack, that’ll help the U.S. economy! Or maybe I’ll spend that $300 here in Finland, that’ll help the U.S. economy equally.

So you think the government is retarded for giving out billions while racking up trillions in debt, right? How could they make it even more retarded? By spelling “Espoo” with a ’5′, check it out below…

LOL!!! I’ll be “laughing all the way to the bank” when I cash this thing. I’d like to think George Bush himself wrote that check. Reminds me of Mr. Burns’ illegitimate son spelled “Yale” with a ’6′ in his Yale application. Too fucking funny, man.

No minimum salary, but minimal salaries.

Tags: Uncategorized — Author:   @ 1:34 pm

Finland has no mandated “minimum salary”. Someone asking that question will get the question back – “what will you be doing?” as the minimum salary in each job is more or less mandated by the comprehensive union agreements that differ a bit if you’re working in the public or private sector and also between industries (A lot of strikes recently have been about a job being outsourced and the new company having a different union agreement, cooks of bank cafeterias and cleaners at the paper factory come to mind). So everyone gets “union wages” in Finland.

But what are the wages then like? Taloussanomat did a survey on the average wages in Finland according to the average salary statistics by job classification and by gender, and compared the lowest rung of the ladder to the higher within the same profession. (The categories are by the Finnish Statistics Centre). Now it is said that the “wage differences in Finland are not that big”. Lets rephrase that, about as like the “cars are the cheapest in Finland” it makes everybody laugh as you need to remember the taxes on top. So the wage differences of the bring-home-pay are not as big in Finland – due to the progressive income taxation.

So who has the suckiest average salary doing a regular 9-5 workday your 38-40 hours a week? (Military not included.) A fraction under the 1600 euro limit would be for women a “farmhand” and for men a “laundry worker”. Thats about the lowest you can get… even a “cleaner” gets in the ballpark of 1700 euros average. But does education help? Do specialists get more salary? Do managers? That again depends on your profession. The lower rung of the specialist ladder is again farm work, a seminologist is in the 1700 euro ballpark. And if you get into mismanagement, the worst salaries are in the hotel- and tourism business.

Now as we’re talking of average salaries the survey also looks into the highest salaries. A stock and currency exchange banker or then your chief surgeon might get into the 5000 -6000 euro category, but thats the top end of the average “rich guys” salary. So what is the salary difference like? According to the nifty tax calculator provided by VERO ( just ballpark figures counted with 13 mo salary ):

1600e/month your income tax% is 16,5, take home pay ~ 1336 euros a month
6000e/month your income tax% is 36,5, take home pay ~ 3827 euros a month

So before taxes the income is 3,75 times, after taxes only 2,8… yay, socialism! BTW the SDP party secretary makes 6900 euros a month… yay socialism!

9.7.2008

Plods want your print

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 1:29 pm

Travelling especially to the USA got a bit more interesting now that all new passports should be biometric. When I heard first of this biometric thing I was wondering if they had a strip of my DNA there like in every half-decent sci-fi movie or at least a retinal scan like they have in every spy movie, but the “biometric data” is as boring as a mugshot, and starting later next year fingerprints.

Or are fingerprints boring? They’ve been used for over a hundred years in forensics to identify people, as fingerprints are unique to each person. You have every other crime movie out there having someone dusting for fingerprints, even in CSI they still do it though it requires super glue and and hot air. So its definitely something even your average joe on the street recognizes whats it for.

The Aamulehti today ripped a headline over the newly appointed Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero wanting to form a fingerprint registry of Finnish citizens. Within ten years all adult Finnish citizens would be fingerprinted as fingerprinting would be a prerequisite of getting a passport (and probably ID card as well) The reason given is that with the registry it would be impossible to use forged passports and of course it would enable the police to find out their perps quite effectively. The Data Protection Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio is all against the idea of establishing a national fingerprint register.

In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people’s windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.

    8.7.2008

    Phils cousin gets the cheap chicken

    Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 8:16 pm

    Growing up in Finland I heard a lot from the politicians “its a lottery win to be born in Finland”. When I had grown up I realized “you require a lottery win to be able to live in Finland”.

    Things are expensive in Finland – maybe not that expensive in comparison with the other Nordic countries with a similar taxation and geographical structure, but expensive to the average consumer as the purchase power in Finland is low. The Finnish financial magazine Taloussanomat wrote about the purchase power in Finland earlier this month. According to the article , “Finns are paying themselves sick” for goods and services. Lack of competition is given as one of the a reasons why for example groceries in Finland cost one fifth more than the EU average. Finland has been quite notorious for keeping foreign competition out, and now that there are no more barriers it seems nobody is really interested in coming over as the volumes aren’t there. So Finland remains a keskolandia.

    Now being somewhere at the EU average is one thing, but starting to compare things globally doesn’t make the prices look any better. When Phil goes to buy a chicken in Finland, his cousin in the USA can buy four chickens with the same price! The Iltalehti had a comparison of prices for groceries in Helsinki, Stockholm, London and New York, and it seems in the UK and USA (and London and New York are expensive cities), you can get by with about half of what you pay in Stockholm or Helsinki. Of course one explanation is the sheer volumes that bring the prices down, but it still is peculiar while milk or potatoes cost approximately the same, in some products, like meat, the price differences can be quadrupled.

    With the global food shortage being blamed on the biofuels is causing food prices to go up, it still doesn’t quite explain why in Finland you need to pay your ass off just to buy your basic stuff. Then again if Norwegians come to buy “cheap booze” from Finland, we can say theres a place where things are worse. Or are they – the purchase power in Norway is higher than in Finland . Your avarage consumer is faced with the problem of rising prices and already now the shopping habits of people are changing. Maybe next year this time I’ll be sharing a potato and brown sauce recipe.

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