Sunday, September 24, 2006

More of John Blacksad, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and a cool car

Yesterday I was wondering if Guarnido and Canales, the author and cartoonist, the ARTISTS, of Blacksad, were film enthusiasts. (See the entry from yesterday.)

I asked Guarnido this, and yes, of course they are. He said they (Canales and him) like American film noir from the 1940s and '50s very much, and they are also quite familiar with film theory.

Well fitting in the scene, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade were the cool names of the silver screen he mentioned.

Outside the venue there was this car. This is the same car, the both sides of it. Can you believe that. The cartoon lovers are not tight, when it comes to imagination and creativity.

Soon after the Guarnido interview Miss Funnybunny and I had to leave for home. The festival was a nice happening, and lot of friends of ours everywhere, but it was very hot inside at the fever pitch area, and Miss F was getting very hungry. "What would you like to have"? I asked. "Let's go to a restaurant"! she yelled. "To restaurant, to restaurant!"

But no, we did not do that today, because yesterday we had had bad Chinese. Miss Funnybunny loves rice. For her, no sauces necessarily to go, with that sticky, white stuff. Just rice.

We had had lunch in a worst case restaurant called Dragon Inn, on Iso Roobertinkatu. Never go there. That was so tastless and greasy that I don't want to have Chinese for quite some time. But nonetheless, Miss Funnybunny loved it. Just rice. Lucky her.

At the end she wanted to lick her plate, silly girl.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Estonia and Blacksad. Film noir.

We, my colleagues and I, were at the Estonian embassy on Thursday, celebrating the new Travelling hero's book on the Soviet Tallinn (Sankarimatkailija Neuvosto-Tallinnassa), It has been nice to edit and publish that one. Otso Kantokorpi, who is posing in front of the embassy, is a writer of style and ambition. Go, Otso, go! And soon we will organise a tour to the Soviet Tallinn, again. We have already done those several times.

Estonia is soon to have a new president, Mr Ilves. His name means a Siberian lynx. But I know so very little about him – yet! But no problem, I just have to read tomorrow´s Hufvudstadsbladet. I'm counting on the good quality its politcal reports and reviews, especially on Estonian issues.


The annual Comics Festival is taking place now in Helsinki. We have been honored to have Juanjo Guarnido and Juan Diaz Canales as guests. Now I have the new Blacksad album, with great signatures. I am a huge fan of their work!

I got to meet them already yesterday at the Press Club bar, and today they were signing at the festivals. The line was long long long, hudreds of people waited for getting the cat picture into their books.

Blacksad 1: Quelque part entre les ombres (Kissa varjoisilta kujilta) is a good graphic novel. Technically, I see likeness to film story boards. They must have watched American film noir, of 1940's and 1950's. Welles, Sirk, Lang. (A good film noir page: And its film noir atmosphere with violent goons, dirty cops and sadly slaughtered naughty little starlets, and in the middle of this all, a private eye who is struggling on a thin line between the law and the underworld, all of this reminds me of the works James Ellroy. Perhaps Guarnido and Canales are Ellroy fans? I have to ask that tomorrow when they are interviewed, on stage.

(But sometimes, or actually, very often when I meet really great artists like these guys I am too shy to ask anything – except when do the interviewing as a hostess myself. We'll see. And I hope Miss Funnybunny lets me to concentrate on anything else but her active and demanding personality. Or, come to the Gloria Hall yourselves, to Pikku Roba.)

More information about the Blacksad series here: I have to buy them all now, the other two in French.

See you!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Smile, honey!

This fine photo was e-mailed to me by my friend M.U., who though there could be something for my blog. And there certainly is.

It just took me quite a while to figure out what to think about it, and I am still in the middle of the process of figuring this out.


We don't have a big Islamic, or African, community in Finland. Yet, and unfortunately, there are quite a bunch of stupid Finns who treat the few refugees with acts of racism and xenophobia, causing more and more problems. (Most unfortunately, some of these idiots seem to be working as politicians. Voted by whom? I wonder.)

Anyhow, I think the ones who are most scared of foreign cultures in Finland are equally scared of just ANY foreigners, no matter if the threatening ones have Islamic or Buddhist or Greek orthodox, or Swedish, or whatever, strange cultural background.

Unlike the Pope, who seems to have a major problem with accepting - especially - Islam.

Please bear in mind that we don't have a big catholic community here, either. Most of us Finns are (quite boring, not active in any sense) Lutheran protestants.


But I do find that photo so sad.

Do you remember an American film called Moonstruck (1980's or 1990's?): The mother of the house, played by Olympia Dukakis, used to ask repeatedly, "why do men chase women"?. And the answer she found in the end was that everything in weird male behavior has to do with men getting older and closer to death.

At times I sigh like Dukakis in the movie, and ask "why do men hate women?"

Women covering their faces and bodies, not going out alone, not going to school, not driving... Not allowed to do the former things. Women facing severe punishments in cases of (even suspected) adultery... Amnesty Reports are pretty harsh.

But naive as I may be, I still think that if the conditions of (poor, uneducated) women are to be made better, women must be able to participate in the process. And furthermore, I think the conditions of men get equally better at the same time -- even if equality was still far ahead. There is evidence already: in Africa and Asia, for example, the number of HIV positive people dying of AIDS is getting smaller when women are educated. Please find interesting reading here:

Ok, so what can we do about it? I am not sure. Give money? Encourage women to fight back? Yeah, right. The more I try to come up with sensible answers, the more naive and stupid I feel. Who am I to tell other people, or even nations, how they should live and what they should be happy about?

But we all can be clever enough to ask the ones who suffer what they think should be done, and try to listen. And if they already are here in Finland, in Europe, near us, as refugees, perhaps, they have already made a statement by leaving. Or they have been forced to leave.


Please understand that I don't want to make gender inequality a problem caused by any religion. Cultural hatred sits deeply in traditions, and people are blindfolded by ancient viewpoints, in Finland, too. As well as in "free" and "liberal" North American culture. I see examples of that every evening. The American police tv crap we Finns are happy to watch every evening is full of cultural hatred and prejudices. And, in the popular culture of the Western world, women are posing half naked. All in the name of freedom. That's not so clever, either.

Whoa. Have to find the remote now and turn off the TV (and C.S.I).


Ps. M.U. is thinking about this stuff in his excellent novel "Amina" -- about which I want to blog later on! But I want to discuss that with M.U. first, and we will meet in three weeks.

Ps2, K.K., I would love to hear your opinion on this. You have a lot of experience of Kurdish and Turkish cultures.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Good heavens! "Wrong over Lebanon".

So, it is late now for the deceased. The injured or homeless are not too happy, either.

And, it was so sad to see, that even in Finland there were quite a number of people who seemed to be implying recent air strikes and missiles were for peace. (War is NEVER for peace, for cyring out loud.)

I still hope the Independent is doing a campaign for more rightful international politics, and not just campaigning against Blair. (Not so sure about his successor, either, whoever that will be. But I am not such a big fan of Blair's either.)

The Independent is here:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Parade and "development"

Helsinki ASEM meeting ended. The press release of the hosting Finnish government stated that

"The Heads of State or Government adopted two declarations at the summit. The aim of the Declaration on Climate Change is to add momentum to efforts to reach agreement in international climate negotiations. It supports the objectives of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change and other measures to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere."

IS: Seems fantastic. Something very blunt and real. But I doubt wether that will be enough, in order to prevent the Climate change from happening, or the Carbon dioxide emissions from increasing. But I am happy you at least recognised the problem, PAT PAT PAT [I'm patting the heads of the Heads of State or Government]. Let's read further:

"In the other declaration, the Helsinki Declaration on the Future of ASEM, the leaders set the guidelines for future ASEM cooperation. It also contains recommendations for practical measures for the development of cooperation."

IS: "Contains RECOMMENDATIONS for practical measures for the DEVELOPMENT of COOPERATION!" Congratulations! The annual How-to-write-stuff-that-seems-important-but does-not-say-anything-but-just-crap Award has just found its home. But please, enlighten us:

"The summit agenda covered other important European and Asian affairs, too. The leaders discussed, for example, ways to prevent terrorism and organised crime and to prepare for global health risks. The meeting reconfirmed its support for the fair, UN-based international system."

IS: Blah blah blah. So good that you discussed. (Don't have time to do any harm then.) BUT, the UN will be back, won't it? Or is just that you could not support USA or NATO directly, because soem non-European representatives were present? Perhaps our minister of Foreign affairs, Erkki Tuomioja, had something (good) to do with that part of this statement. (I like that man, I must confess. See the blog of his: Summary in English included.)

"The leaders also discussed the state of the WTO talks. The ASEM countries underlined that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) must be complemented and supported to allow the negotiations to resume."

IS: This is interesting. Now we just have to find out what the DDA is. This is what Wikipedia says:

"The Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations aims to lower trade barriers around the world, permitting free trade between countries of varying prosperity. Talks have been hung up over a divide between the European Union and the United States and the major developing countries (represented by the G20 developing nations), led and represented mainly, however, by the G4 bloc."

IS: BUT there could be something in here! The vastly expensive parade was not just for nothing. Please prove me right.

The press release as whole:

Ps: The second picture is "Helsinki By Night" from our bedroom window. The TV picture is about the show stopper of tonight: PSV Eindhoven - Liverpool. (Listen. You never walk alone!)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Being useful

Miss Funnybunny is a bit ill, still. It's just flu, but there was no way I could put her to her day care place. So we have been having a happy day together -- what could be a better way to spend a day at home, than making pies out of apples and berries? The ones we picked yesterday (see the previous entry at IStori).

But now Miss F is sound asleep taking her daily nap, and I am thinking about Beslan, again. Or New York, anniversary as it is. I wish so much that she will never experience anything like the inhuman and disastorous events we have witnessed, with the help of international media.

But I also wish she will always realise how lucky she is and will do something to help the victims.

Soon she will give those of her clothes that don't fit any more, and some baby toys, to refugees. A good start.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Old garden and apples. Beslan.

At the old house of my late grandparents there are apples and plums. A lot of them. Miss Funnybunny enjoyd her day in the countryside. The day was as beautiful as it can be.

When I was nine I wrote a poem about this place. It is describing a dream, sort of:

In Moonlight

I walk in the garden, in moonlight
When I awas five, it was mine
my old playground, I remember it all
this is where ran with my ball

I would give anything
to get back again.

(the same in Finnish:)

Kuljen yksin kuutamossa
näen vanhan leikkipaikan jossa
viisivuotiaana leikin, pihapuutarhaan palloni heitin

Vaikka mitä antaisin
jos pääsisin mä takaisin.

This is a sad poem, but sometimes even little kids think they are getting old and the days of happy childhood will be left behind forever. The saddest point being that they are right.

But the kids who were at the school #1 Sept 1.-3. 2004 in Beslan have grown up too fast -- the ones that survived. And I so much wish there is something we can do to make their lives better, for the sake of less violence and terrorism in the future.

Overview of Beslan catastrophy with portraits of survivors. And hope:

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Conferences, demonstrations and chanterelles

There is a big EU SUMMIT in Helsinki, and of course there have been demonstrations in the center of Helsinki. The police are dumbfounded, they have surrounded some 100 youngsters at a square in front of Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma, and the main Post office.

Our President, Ms. Tarja Halonen, was interviewed today on TV and she said demonstrations (and the state "allowing" them) is a sign of normal, democratic society. I second that, but I'd like to add they are also a sign of people wanting to change things.

Please, do demonstrate! Go on! Show them! Ask for... No, do not ask but DEMAND world peace and human rights. There is so much to do, in order to make things better, or to stop them from getting worse.

But Mr. HP and I went to pick some chanterelles. Or any eatable kinds of mushrooms, but chanterelles were the only mushrooms we came by. REALLY.

In the meantime miss Funnybunny was at her granny's and now she is a bit sick. She has a cold a keeps sneezing and looks very tired. I feel so guilty for not having been with her the whole day.

But following the world leaders and telling them how to behave is excellent and even necessary. I'll join you soon when Miss F is better.

Please see the beginning of the ASEM SUMMIT press release. Seems pretty important happening, doesn't it? I just hope it has some (good) impact on anything. Or perhaps the poor buggers have to stage the show so people will think global politics and policies are taken care of by politicians, instead of market forces.

The older I get, the more cynical I am becoming.

**** The EU and Asian Heads of State or Government to attend the ASEM Summit in Helsinki

On 10 and 11 September, Finland, the current holder of the EU Presidency, will host the ASEM Summit, bringing together European and Asian Heads of State or Government in Helsinki. The parties involved in ASEM cooperation process are: the Member States of the European Union, the European Commission, the 10 ASIAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), China, Japan and Republic of Korea.

The Summit in Helsinki will mark the tenth anniversary of the cooperation process. It will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Finland, Matti Vanhanen. The ASEM 6 Summit will be the largest ever meeting of Heads of State or Government hosted by Finland, bringing together some two thousand participants. It is also estimated that around a thousand media representatives will come to Finland to cover the summit.

The summit will focus on ways to respond to the challenges of globalisation. The issues on the agenda include global security threats, energy security, climate change, WTO negotiations, ways to strengthen cultural dialogue, competitiveness and the structural changes in global economy. The meeting will also consider the future prospects for ASEM cooperation on the basis of a joint research project by Finland and Japan, entitled "ASEM in its tenth year: Looking back, looking forward", published in March 2006." *****

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Art and condolences. KUMU, Tallinn.

Sometimes it is hard to put into words the helphul condolences for a friend who is going through agonising times right now. Let me just say I hope things will get clearer and better soon. (Needless to say, there are friends if you need us. And even when you think you don't.)

Art, especially paintings and music, makes me feel comfortable and clear-minded. I would like to recommend those, if you think it could be helpful to get other things, but not necessarily calming, things into your mind. One of the best places where you can enjoy the 20th and 21st century art, is Eesti Kunstmuuseum KUMU, Art Museum of Estonia.

Not all art is serene and beautiful: Taking a deeper look into history can be painful, if history in full of oppression and deportations. War. Violations of human rights. Genocide. Understanding this, it was not so surprising for me to see on elderly man cry when he was looking at

photos of mass deportations carried out by the Soviets (Red Army and KGB) in the 1940's. One of the biggest acts against humanity was Operation Priboi (check this out: Every third of the deportees was a child.

Some of these Soviet style paintings look ugly, or ridiculous. But listen, everybody, go and visit KUMU! The museum as a whole is wonderful. The outskirt are most beautiful; Kadriorg park, little hill, and the ceiling of the gound floor exhibition hall is under the lawn, really!

The web pages of Kumu here:

And there is much more to see than just the Soviet stuff. Something to make you feel better, or even to make you laugh, I hope. War

As for music, what could I recommend?

Anssi Tikanmäki. I have just been thinking about bying tickets for his concert (with Trio Töykeät), in Savoy Theatre 24 Sept.

Let's go and enjoy that.