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Finland for Thought » 2008 » December | 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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And find out more about me: www.philschwarzmann.com



Christmas Casseroles

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:33 pm

Today was Christmas food day in the cafeteria – my first Christmas meal of the year and I’m already sick of it.

The traditional Christmas casseroles had no identification, so I had to guess what they were: mystery orange, mystery light-brown, and mystery dark-brown. Yum! Reminded me of that buffet scene in “Vegas Vacation”, skip to 0:52 to see what I mean… :-)


Funniest video of 2008

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:32 pm

This man will store anything for $10.99/month…


How to get engaged in the States and Finland

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:29 pm

The differences in culture and tradition are vast… :-)

United States Finland

At what age to get engaged? After
As a teenager
How long to stay engaged? 6-12 months Forever
What to get for the engagement?

A diamond ring

Where to get engaged? Restaurant, romantic location, or baseball stadium In your bedroom
How to propose? Get down on one knee…in front of all your friends and family Discuss, debate
Females propose to males?

Wtf? Yes, sadly
Why get engaged?

Cause you’re drunk, or you’ve been living together for 15+ years
How to tell others about your engagement?
Pompous announcement to the world Quietly wait until others, even your own parents, see a ring on your finger

Cost of the diamond?
3 months salary Whatever is cheapest
The rings? Diamond ring at engagement, wedding bands for marriage Engagement bands a few days after proposal, diamond ring at marriage
Ask the father?


Where to get gifts? Engagement Party Future brides go door-to-door with a pillowcase to receive gifts


Megapussi or Minipussi

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:27 pm

It’s been a year since my best friend’s passing. Just found this photo of him on Facebook, he thought our Finnish potato chips were so funny he brought them to his home in Korea.

Which is better? Megapussi? or Minipussi??


Yellow Pee

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 10:21 pm

Yesterday I swung by the all new soon-to-be-failure-because-lack-of-quality-stores shopping mall, Entresse, in Espoon Keskus. Here’s where I parked my car, it’s easy to remember – parking section “Yellow P”… LOL!! :-)


Happy Independence Day!

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 3:15 pm

Happy Independence Day! Sucks that it falls on a weekend this year, so no days off for us. Did anyone notice that Alko closed early yesterday? I arrived around 18.00 to join the dozen others staring aimlessly at the closed liquor store.

Here’s a comparison of American and Finnish Independence Day I recycle each and every year…

Date of independence
December 6, 1917
July 4, 1776

Solemn, commemorative,

Boisterious, casual, informal
What to watch?
Presidential ball
What to drink?
What to do?
Where to go?
Home, graveyard
Park, neighbor’s house
What to light up?
Two blue/white candles
Who gets invited to a party?
The President’s friends and the Finnish elite
Whom to honor?
Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
Day after independence
December 7th
My birthday



I’ll stick to marketing rather than acting…

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 1:30 am

Nokia launches Maps 3.0, cool!! Check out the ugly fucker in the intro video – As of noon today there was just one comment for this video in YouTube that simply said, “your stupidface”. LOL!!


The Grass is always Greener in British Lapland…

Tags: Uncategorized — Author:   @ 5:24 pm

Check out the pictures that go with this story!  Apparently, a new Lapland Christmas theme park in the U.K. opened to dismal reviews, and hundreds of complainers are demanding a refund for their £25 per ticket.  How much would you be willing to pay to experience the pristine white Christmas that we naturally have in our very own beautiful Lapland?   I suppose 25 quid is a lot cheaper than a VR ticket or flight up to Kittilä, but, would you sell out and settle for something like this for the kiddies if you didn’t live in Finland?  Lapland is still on my to-do list, but you can be sure that there is no substitute for the real thing.   I wonder what the Sami think of this!


Quirkiness among Finnish men is a positive trait

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:11 am

Finnish men can be some quirky dudes. If you’re unsure of the adjective “quirky”, you should look it up, you’ll quickly understand what it means cause if you’re Finnish, as your father is probably a quirky guy.

The quirkiness in Finnish men seems to grow as they get older with their behavior lying on the border of being humorous and being strange. Some examples of Finnish male quirkiness include:

- Partaking in nonsensical, annual traditions like traveling alone up north into a cold forest at the same time each year
- Involving oneself in some unusual hobby like creating strange things out of wood
- Some sort of strange exercise routine like running long distances in the rain instead of taking public transportation
- Being proud of your strange attire, like always grinning while wearing a goofy hat.
- Obsessing over something bizarre like collecting and holding onto some old worthless junk.
- Entering an unhealthy endurance competition against yourself, like seeing how long I can go without ________.
- And just all-around peculiar social skills.

You can’t blame Finnish men for their quirky behavior, they inherited from their fathers who in turn inherited it from theirs – I think a synonym for this is “sisu”.

In the states, these men would be laughed at, ostracized, and probably imprisoned – But how fortunate for Finnish men that their entire country supports their quirky behavior, it’s even looked as a positive trait.

“Oh that’s just Pekka, he’s always doing that! LOL! He’s such a character!” BTW, being called “a character” in English is not a compliment as characters might think. If someone says, “you’re a character” they really mean, “you’re fucking annoying”.

So what other quirky behavior does your father, errr, Finnish men, do?

Digesting the Headlines…

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 2:02 am

Finnish cello metal band, Apocalyptica, which originally was known internationally for playing Metallica covers, has surpassed Metallica, and gone to the top of the U.S. rock radio charts with their new single, “I Don’t Care.” Discuss.

Yesterday in Hufvudstadsbladet, sandwiched between serious international headlines from Bangkok to Seoul, comes news from Motala, Sweden, that little Freddy Karlberg, voted by his classmates to be the Lucia this year, will not be allowed to do so, not due to gender discrimination issues, insists the headmistress, Birgitta Wessman, but because she was not aware of the boy’s candidacy to stop it ahead of time, and that The Södra school is a traditional one, needing a traditional, and female Lucia. The uber modern citizens in Stockholm must have their panties in a twist.

It also seems that Finland scored highest in an international study index when it comes to one-night stands, attitudes to casual sex and the number of sexual partners, it is claimed. The survey was sent to over 14,000 people in over 48 countries and was conducted by Bradley University in Illinois. Well, we didn’t win Eurovision this year, but hey, women are so liberated here. Yay and yawn. However, I can’t find which world sex survey at the moment, as I don’t recall the year, but I do remember my friends at the time teasing me that Finland and Russia were among the least satisfied with the quality of their sex lives among respondents in Western nations. What good is a lot of casual sex if we can’t get no…..SATIS-FACT-ION!!!?


Finnish Engrish

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 6:17 pm

I love Engrish.com, don’t see much of it in Finland ever, but here’s the instruction sign from Formula Center karting in East Helsinki, where allways “if you bumbing” you don’t drive…

Next photo to be uploaded: A Megapussi potato chip bag, LOL!! Six years later that bag still cracks me up.

Rape or murder but don’t screw the government

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 4:34 pm

Today a verdict came down of a heinous crime of smuggling in snuff in the Pietarsaari area. Now for the background, snuff is illegal in the EU except in Sweden. Its illegal to export from Sweden or sell outside Sweden commercially. So you can go to Sweden on a boat and bring in a roll, but thats it. However in certain regions, especially Ostrobothnia the snuff was already a part of the culture so these restrictions were seen unfair and the system continued.

For smuggling in some 500 000 cans of snuff the main culprit was sentenced to two years four months unconditional jailtime, and to pay the government 1 084514 euros of source tax along with his codefendant who got a two years probational jail sentence. Some ten gas station owners were sentenced to probational jail time and day fines for entry on smuggled items, selling substances prohibited in the law etc.

Meanwhile elsewhere a gang who raped a 15-year old girl got 2 years ten months and to pay 24 000 in damages… a drunk driver who ran over and killed a pedestrian got 2 years in jail, added with the probationary 60 days he got two days before the accident for… drunk driving…

While bringing in snuff is worth a bit over a million, burning a church when you’re 18 brings you 6,5 years in jail and 4,3 million euros in damages. If you keep your flame under the lid and molest a number of 6-12 year old children in the time frame of 10 years you get 7,5 years in jail and to pay 80 000 in damages.

Liberty and justice for all.


And the Pikku Joulu Season begins….

Tags: Uncategorized — Author:   @ 12:18 pm

Aside: When I arrived in Finland, almost four years ago, I remember suddenly being terrified in a corner as I awaited my first “white Christmas” and was making the rounds with the fiancé’s relatives who warmly grunted something between approval and tolerance in a way of a cheerful Christmas greeting.

This very tall Viking looking man with squared off shoulders approached me, and, (here’s where the terrifying part starts) he clears his throat, and harrumphs, saying, “You Americans.”

I start batting my eyelashes as my face and chest flush, (which he immediately notices), and I begin thinking of excuses and other heritage 300 years back that I can claim, and think, “Oh God, what have we done now.”

“You know, YOU are getting into lot of trouble in international community. This Guantanamo, this TORTURE. It is big problem.”

He points his finger in my face for emphasis, and maybe notices me squirming by now.

I start thinking of ways to apologize for my countries’ war crimes and abysmal human rights violations that are in the press.

“You force these people to eat pork? You force them to drink alcohol? And you force them to have sexual relations? This is horrible.”

He puffs out his chest a bit more and cracks his knuckles. Now, he pulls his shoulders back, now showing me his full height.

“Here in Finland, we do not call this torture. This is called, Little Christmas, it is THE Pikku Joulu!!!” he claps my back, harrumphing, laughing, and choking on his glögi almond all in one go.

Now I can laugh about it. Then, I think I was close to having a heart attack. But there is something revealing there in that joke that Jari told me so long ago. I have since experienced a few very hedonistic Pikku Joulus myself, and my parents worry that I’m living in a Godless, pagan country when I have tried explaining the concept behind these “parties” that I’ve attended. (For work teambuilding purposes of course.)

As the holiday season approaches, all women between the ages of 18 and 84, beware the wandering “pikku joulu hands” that get a little too friendly with the holiday spirit. They don’t belong to Santa’s helpers, but possibly alcoholic versions of Santa himself, minus the long white beard and the suit of red.

I have a new boss this year, and am not so sure how loose we are really going to let loose next Thursday. I am still not used to the common and completely normal sight of possibly seeing someone who you usually see in a suit in a strictly professional capacity possibly dancing on a conference table with plastic boob earmuffs on his head. We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll keep you posted. Plastic boob earmuffs and all.

The Longhorn has landed…

Tags: Everything — Author:   @ 12:09 pm

Huomenta and howdy!  Just wanted to quickly introduce myself before my first official post.  I’ll be guest-blogging as Megsu, a native old New Orleanian, who has spent a lot of time in the great Lone Star State of Texas, and now have (usually) happily resided in Helsinki for about 4 years.  Helsinki is about as far as you can get culturally from my roots, and I find myself residing somewhere in the middle of the two cultures–but it makes for some interesting and hilarious situations.  I hope to add some spice to Phil’s already wonderful blog, writing with a female perspective, and representing the Southern U.S.  Kippis!

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