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Finland for Thought » Phil | 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

Moi! Thanks for visiting!
I have a new blog: BETTER! FUNNER! - come say hi!
Be sure to check out my new book: "How to Marry a Finnish Girl"
And find out more about me: www.philschwarzmann.com



My new blog: Better! Funner!

Tags: Everything — Author: @ 7:22 pm

Okay, so it’s clear I’m not blogging on Finland for Thought anymore, but I think seven years about Finland is plenty. I published a book, escaped to San Francisco, drank heavily, and launched a new blog: Better! Funner!

It’s written and curated by yours truly. You’ll find funny original pieces, some not-so-funny pieces, plus stuff that made me laugh from around them internets. Would love to hear what you guys think. It’s hopefully better and funner than this blog. :-)



Mr. Hakkarainen goes to Helsinki

Tags: Politics — Author: @ 8:57 pm

Check out this idiot from Perussuomalaiset, Finland’s racist party…


CNN’s Richard Quest reports on Helsinki’s snow battle

Tags: Helsinki,Life in FI,Video — Author: @ 11:25 am


The A-Team of Finland

Tags: Video — Author: @ 11:44 pm

From Sunday night’s Simpsons. Watch this before YouTube take it down…


Finnish or retarded?

Tags: FI vs. Foreigners,Video — Author: @ 8:48 pm

From last night’s season 3 premiere of Tosh.0 – Is this guy retarded? Or just speaking Finnish?


Bring Conan to Finland!

Tags: USA! USA!,Video — Author: @ 5:06 pm

Jimmy Fallon sucks. And so does Jay Leno. There is only one late night talk show host: David Letterman. Oh, and Conan.

After Conan O’Briend’s departure from The Tonight Show and move to TBS, no Finnish broadcaster has yet to pickup Conan’s new show. And the Conan fans in Finland (the ones who don’t know how to use BitTorrent) are mad, real mad. So mad they’re organizing a rally tomorrow (Friday) in downtown Helsinki.

And Conan has a personal message to everyone attending…


Why do Finns eat meat drowned in marinade?

Tags: The Welfare State — Author: @ 2:06 pm

…supposedly this book will tell you. “Quasi Democracy: Finland’s Fall From the Cradle of Innovation To the Abyss of Stagnation” was just translated into English and is available to download for free.

“What has created this culture of forced uniformity? We believe that the crisis has its roots in the era of so-called Finlandisierung, or Finlandisation.”

This book is the long-awaited abridged English translation of Lumedemokratia (Quasi-Democracy, 2008), which sparked a vivid debate about the nature of Finnish society, from recent history to the present day. It condemns the economic policy pursued during the great depression of the 1990’s and Finland’s continued failure to revamp its suffocatingly rigid labour market structures.

The authors, Katja Boxberg and Taneli Heikka, claim that Finland still lacks essential elements that earmark a genuine Western democracy and true market economy; for this, they argue, we have to thank the ubiquotous Finnish consensus and the disgraceful era of “Finlandisation”. This is a book for anyone wondering why Finns “eat rubbery cheese, dull plastic-wrapped bread, and meat drowned in marinade”.


Dennis Miller rips Finland on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Tags: Politics,Ridiculous,Video — Author: @ 9:02 pm

“The best part about living in Finland is that they don’t get Newsweek magazine”


Westend – Bitchin’House [VIDEO]

Tags: FI vs. Foreigners,Ridiculous,Video — Author: @ 6:44 pm

You’ve all seen the viral video of the Rastafarian who shows off a house in Westend, Finland’s poshest neighborhood? Well the real estate agent, Lea Jakama, got a few of the translations wrong, so I fixed them… :-)


How-to throw a Finnish party

Tags: How-to,Life in FI,Ridiculous — Author: @ 6:50 pm

Yo, I think a party’s about to break out… (is marijuana legal in Finland now, and I didn’t know??)

Photo from my local KK-Market


Kimmo Wilska does stand-up comedy!

Tags: Bad Boys, Bad Boys,FI vs. Foreigners,Finns,Video — Author: @ 11:07 am

So just 24 hours after Kimmo was fired from YLE after many long years of service, he takes the stage at the English Comedy Club at Manala in Helsinki to tell his side of the story, answer some questions from the audience, and do a little stand-up comedy!!

And of course I recorded it and put it on YouTube… :-)


Shame on YLE! Support Kimmo Wilska!!

Tags: Finns — Author: @ 10:43 pm

If you’re a foreigner in Finland, you’ve seen or heard Kimmo Wilska. Known as the “Barry White of Finland” thanks to his deep, sensual voice, has been the voice of YLE’s English radio and TV broadcasts. And loyal readers of this blog know Kimmo well as he’s been an active commenter since Finland for Thought’s early days.

On this morning’s broadcast, during a segment on Finnish alcohol licenses, the always jolly Kimmo Wilska apparently played a little joke for his colleagues, which accidentally got caught on air (see video below). The state-run YLE promptly fired Wilska for this funny mishap.

Like you need yet another reason to not pay your TV license, here’s another. Shame on YLE after the years of service he’s given. If you feel the same way, be sure to join the Kimmo Wilska Support Group on Facebook. 23,000 fans and growing! With skills and a voice like Wilska, let’s hope there’s a silver lining here and he lands his own talk show!

UPDATE: YLE has forcibly removed the YouTube video claiming copyright law, even though there are GAZILLIONS of other YLE videos on YouTube. They seemed to be particular angry about this one, but here’s another version…


Performing Stand-up Comedy on a Helsinki Tram #FAIL

Tags: Culture,FI vs. Foreigners,Ridiculous,Video — Author: @ 11:05 pm

What would happen if me and two other comedian friends performed stand-up comedy on a tram in Helsinki, Finland? …in the middle of the day?? …in English???

Part of Helsinki’s Culture Tram (sponsored by Korjaamo), myself, comedian Louis Zezeran, and comedienne Zoë Chandler perform an hour of stand-up on the 7A tram line during afternoon rush hour last Tuesday.

We document what happens (booing) and what doesn’t happen (laughter)…


Why Swedish-speaking Finns are better than Finnish-speaking Finns

Tags: FI vs. Foreigners,Finns,Sweden — Author: @ 11:25 am

Roughly 5% of Finns are native Swedish speakers known as the “Swedish Finns” or [confusingly] “Finnish Swedes” or [more accurately] “Swedish-speaking Finns” or [Swedishly] “finlandssvenskar” or [Finnishly] “pappa betalar”.

You’ll find most of them located on the southern and western coasts of Finland. They came over centuries ago from Sweden as part of the country’s crusade to spread Christianity and more importantly, expand Sweden’s borders. While most are bilingual, speaking both Swedish and Finnish, you will find a few hillbillies up north who only learned Swedish, essentially quarantining themselves off to a very small part of the country.

They have their own political party which unsurprisingly gets roughly 5% of the vote during elections. They even created their own flag. (identical to the Finnish flag, but with bright red background and Ikea-yellow cross). They have their own semi-autonomous islands, the Åland Islands, located southwest of Finland, but actually much closer to Sweden. Rumor says when all good Swedish-Finns die they go to Åland, or “Finlandssvenskar heaven” – it’s kinda like South Florida for American Jews.

Swedish-speakers are far superior to the Finnish-speakers in every way imaginable – They’re wealthier, they’re more educated, they’re more cultured, they’re more sophisticated, they’re more international, they’re have better social skills, better clothes, better looks, a wayyyyy better language (and easier), they don’t get drunk, they all drive Mercades, they all have boats, they all have summer cottages in the archipelago for their boats, their language is pleasing to the ear, they throw crayfish parties in the summer where they systematically throw expensive crayfish into the trash and giggle while drinking schnapps, their language doesn’t sound robotic drone from the 1950′s. I could go on and on, but you get the picture: Swedish-Finns are better. (once more: Jews)

Unfortunately my partner is a Finnish-speaker, so I won’t ever inherit a boat or a cottage in the archipelago for that boat – so here’s some nasty stereotypes Finns say about the Swedish-Finns: they’re snobs, they think they’re better than everyone, they’re gay, they’re Swedish, they don’t allow Finnish-speakers into their cliques, they don’t give jobs to Finnish-speakers, they control all the power in Finland, they force people to learn Swedish, they have an easier time getting into schools cause the requirements aren’t as hard, they’re loud, at pubs they feel the need to sing stupid songs in unison, they bribed Google Maps to display only Swedish city and road names, handball is lame. I could go and on, but you get the picture: Finnish-speakers are jealous.

I kid, I kid. But it’s all true: There’s probably know bigger taboo in Finland than the relationship between the Finnish speakers and Swedish speakers. You’ll never hear the feeling of animosity discussed publicly. When the two groups are together they’ll never say anything mean, but get them each alone and they’ll…make subtle, caddy comments. But in reality, they’re all just one big unhappy family.

This car is clearly owned by a Finnish-speaker, as it’s an Opel and not a Mercedes.
Photo from Pavel Trebukov


How to avoid serving in the Finnish army

Every male Finnish citizen must join the army or face the consequences. It’s 2010, yet the country still fears Russia could invade at any moment (after their embarrassment during the winter war, the Ruskies willl be sure to attack during the summer) …yet the Russians haven’t scared the Finns enough to join NATO – so at about age 18, fresh out of high school, Finnish boys leave home for the first time and spend six months running around in the woods.

The women folk say, “They leave as boys, and come back as men!”, but it’s more like, “They leave as boys, and come back as alcoholic boys.”

Why don’t Finnish women have to join the army?

Finnish law states that Finnish women are paid 20% less than their male counterpart for doing the exact same job. (Also, “periods” and “childbirth” are cited as being tougher than joining the army)

This sounds like a shit deal – how do I weasel my way out?

Most Finnish boys join the army fresh out of high school, right before their first year in college (or working at Hesburger), so they don’t piss away six months of their life later on, when life really matters. Finns have up until their 30th birthday to join or else they’re sent to prison. But if you have trouble holding on to slippery soap in the shower, here’s some army alternatives…

Civil Service – Would you rather fingerbang your girlfriend than sleep in tents with boys? Well then join the civil service…and everyone will say you’re “gay”! Or you’re “a communist”. Instead of six months in the forest, you’ll spend one year performing some meaningless task for the state. You get to enjoy yourself like any young adult should, but the entire Finnish society will ridicule you until you die: Your father will be ashamed of you, your friends will make fun of you, your neighbors will talk behind your back, and your future perspective employers will turn you down from jobs.

Become a Jehovah’s Witness – All other religions must do their civic duty, but somehow the Jehovah’s Witnesses are immune because violence is against their religion. Do you also believe in non-violence but don’t believe in some sort of magical sky daddy who won’t wake you from the dead until the Earth is free of sin? Tough sky-shit! But the JW’s have a civic duty of their own: knocking on stranger’s doors and handing out copies of The Watchtower. I don’t know about you, but I’d take six months in the forest or a lifetime of being gay over that!

Don’t be Finnish – If you’re a foreigner in Finland, and you’re thinking of applying for Finnish citizenship cause you met some cute blonde chic, and now you’d like to impress your friends back home with dual-citizenship…wait until your 30th birthday – then you don’t need to join the army. It’ll take you until you’re 30 years-old anyways to learn Finnish to pass the citizenship exam, so don’t worry. (or in my case, until I’m 90)

Flee the country – Definitely the longest alternative – some have chosen to flee the country for several years hoping that their prison sentence will have expired upon their return. …just like Bill Clinton.

Don’t Pass Go, Go Directly to Jail – Finnish prisons aren’t so bad. In fact they’re some of the finest in the world. There’s more freedoms than North Korea, cooler weather than Afghanistan, and better food than Great Britian. Zing!

Tell’em you’re gay! – Wrong country, that only works in the United States.

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