Sunday, May 20, 2007

Greek salad again. Summer IS coming! Weekend in pictures.

We were five people from Finland and Russia who went to TN's island yesterday. An amazing place, truly.

It is located in front of Helsinki, or should I say between Helsinki and Tallinn. Surrounded by the Baltic Sea.

Lots of sailing boats around.

There were peaceful, big eiders nesting, with their big eggs they let us accidentally see.

Accidentally, because we came too close as we could not see them and then they rushed away – but came back to lie down soon after we were a bit further.

There is an eider nesting in this very pic, see? Under the tree, a bit to the left. If you can't see it, click this picture bigger.

TN's family dacha, with my shadow.

Greek salad again, like in a gloomy winter evening at HH's when we were mourning because of Anna, and wondering what is going on in Russia.

This time we did less mourning (too beautiful a day for that), but an equal amount of wondering.

Salad was made by NF again. HH brought lamb meat and home-made quacamole. I came with the falafels, and cheese pastries – not homemade!

And, wherever there are us, Finns, and Russians, there must be a...

...sauna! It was not this dark – it was not dark at all. It just seems so dark here because it's so hot!

Coming back home. There's some Nokia for you. The Nokia headquarters are the three buildings on the left, and next to it is the energy monster Fortum, and Kone somewhere in between. Horizon is a bit shaky, isn't it? That's because our boat was jumping over the wawes.

Home at last. And see, the summer of 2007 is here!

This beautiful tree is blooming on the opposite side of our house in the backyard.


About the stuff I was thinking about the other day:

* Must get to know more about the recent Matvienko case. Was there an attempt to assasinate her? And who are the lads now being locked up in jail? Are they being tortured? If so, there will soon be "confessions" and "testimonies" which prove... absolutely nothing.

* No, I am not jogging EXCUSE ME, running yet, But I will start day after tomorrrow. That's a promise. Tomorrow I will be working like a little ant. (Or a big ant. I am working daily, and during night time too!)

And I already told you summer has come. And yep, they did sack Wolfowitz, who will remain on the spot like a lame duck until 30 June. Yet getting rid of Wolfie proved that somewhere there still is some justice. Only that they should not have tipped him so generously, just for resigning.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Say hello to Princess Leia!

I took an interesting test, "What Fantasy/Scifi Character are you?", recommended by Vaiheinen.

I have always thought I am exactly like Princess Leia. (NOT!) Oh, she is described so beautifully: A strong-willed herald of causes against injustice, you passionately strive to right the wrongs around you. "Somebody has to save our skins!"

(And rather with that hairstyle, instead of the buns over ears...)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I wonder...

A lot going on right now. Many questions drifting in my head:

1) How will the Summit go in Samara? Will the EU be able to discuss anything peacefully and with understanding and co-operation with Russia? Will the meeting have any influence on anything? What are the EU bosses, led by Angela Merkel, going to say about the discrimination of the Russian media and the very violent and undiplomatic scandal over the Bronze Soldier Statue in Tallinn?

Mind that Merkel knows a lot about the Soviet culture, East German as she is.

2) When will the summer of 2007 really start here in Helsinki? Please. It's still so cold here. (And do not give me anything about the Climate Change. I just want the summer to come.)

3) Will the World bank sack Wolfowitz? Or is George W. really of some help? (I would think it's on the contrary...)

4) If I started running, could I actually run? Do I need to take it easy at first – or am I not fit enough to actually run? Am I crazy, even if I'm just thinking about that? At least now that I have so good shoes. Not the FeelMax everybody has been talking about.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And twelwe points go to...

Et douze points...


Thanks, Marija Serifovic, you made me rich! And I finally even listened to the song, too.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Carnivals. "Finland upsets Russia." We love the Finnish lions.

Finnish Lions (Leijonat), our national ice hockey team won today in Moscow their though and hair-risingly overexciting game. That was something! Mikko Koivu, we love you.

The following is from Canadian CBC pages:

Finland upsets Russia

Finland has won in shootout and overtime in its two games in the elimination round.

Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu scored at 5:40 of the extra period in the win over Russia. It was the first time a Russian team had lost on Moscow ice at a world championship since 1957.


As you see, we have carnivals here! But the main reason is not Finland qualifying to the ice hockey finals, but the Eurovision Song Contest.

International artistic co-operation at Kolmen Sepän aukio, by the Statue of Three Smiths, in front of the Stockmann department store.

The Senate Square was full of people already in afternoon, because of the concerts.

Miss Funnybunny, Mr HP, all these people and I were listening to
Värttinä. See a good video here.

One did not have to go near the stage. You could see the artists everywhere. And


See you there tomorrow, HG and PH with your kids, and PG, and everybody: Den glider in! Vi ska kämpa, vi ska ge allt det vi har, vi ska ta guld igen!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Camp. Eurovision "music".

This masterpiece was in ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art, in London. The name of the exhibition was THE SECRET PUBLIC. The Last Days of the British Underground 1978-1988. I have a soft spot for 1980's, like I already have revealed. And in this mental-hospital-like atmosphere even Margaret Thatcher seems somewhat cute. (But Maggie looks a bit worried. Perhaps she has just heard about Chernobyl contaminating Scotland. Or that the miners are not going to work tomorrow, either.)

Today's theme in Photo Thursday is camp. Not camping, but camp like kitsch. Or like the Eurovision song contest. I know it might be a bit unfair to call a serious work of art camp and even compare it to the worst kind of so-called music, but can't help it: anything with Maggie is camp!


Yesterday TN, EN and I set our bets on who are going to win the Eurovision song contest. Two winners, each bet cost two euros. EN said the winner is either Russia or Latvia, TN is betting for Iceland and Sweden, and I am supporting Estonia and Serbia.

What makes this betting so funny is that TN is the only one of us who has actually listened to any Eurovision songs. I was even terrified when she asked if I would like to hear any of the "music" before betting. "No way", I said. "Listening to any of those would be unbearable suffering for me. And then I would certainly refuse to bet!"

And EN said she would fall asleep.

So, EN and I chose the winner by using our very strange political standards. Very strange: "Russia and Latvia". "Estonia and Serbia"!

The lucky winner will profit eight euros. If there is a winner among us. If not, the money will go to charity. (TN has all the money now. But we will be watching...)

Way to go Estoniandserbia, way to go!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

100. To your health, za vashe zdrovye! To the world peace, za mir!

It has been a challenge to come up with what should be the 100th blog post of IStori, as at the very same time I am doing this, my friends are waiting for me to read the today's outcome. So perhaps this should be like a speech. (To tell you the truth, we have already had some.)

The evening in short:
(Please mind the fact that there have been several glasses of wine spent!)

*** We know who killed Olof Palme and why. Was not that difficult to figure out, now that the sharpest brain cells of the most quick-minded people got together and put some effort into it. (Kära vänner i Sverige, dear Swedish friends, this has really been bugging us here, too.) But as it is a most complicated thing to explain, I will not include the answer here. But our theory is complete.

*** Drug / drugi (friends) in Chechnyan language is dothrhrhrhr / dothrhrhrhri

*** We must do the right thing. And, we are doing it. In his speech, Mr HP made a good point by saying behind everything we do, the most important things are political. That, it is political, all we do. And we are not hesitating to admit that. (He is the love of my life! And a most wonderful thing is to realise it, day by day.)

... and to say something really good, I have to step into much much bigger shoes and quote my favourite poet:

Our Native Earth
Anna Akhmatova 1961

We do not carry it in lockets on the breast,
And do not cry about it in poems,
It does not wake us from the bitter rest,
And does not seem to us like Eden promised.
In our hearts, we never try to treat
This as a subject for the bargain row,
While being ill, unhappy, spent on it,
We even fail to see it or to know.

Yes, this dirt on the feet suits us fairly,
Yes, this crunch on the teeth suits us just,
And we trample it nightly and daily --
This unmixed and non-structural dust.

But we lay into it and become it alone,
And therefore call this earth so freely -- my own.


Thanks, friends. Kiitos, ystävät.

To your health, za vashe zdrovye! To the world peace, za mir!

Ninety nine. Let's have some wine.

Yesterday IStori went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma, with her Russian friends.

The white wine is in the fridge, red on the table. Soon we are to meet with some 10–20 friends. And I want to ask them if they have any clue of what's going on.

Do people realise when they are living some phase in particular (and there always is some certain phase in particular) that "this is the time we are living in"?

I mean, did people know in Austria and Germany in 1930's that "these are the actions and political motions that will lead to the World War II"?

Well, probably not. But little tears and drops became vast rivers and the world was about to end.

Now Russia is provokingly showing it is a superpower, openly willing to have a say in Eastern European politics – in Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia... Finland? Maybe. The gas pipe lines give Russia various possibilities.

Russia is showing its back-to-the-USSR attitude towards its own citizens, too. That's why all the control over the media and individual journalists, as well as over NGOs, is so important to the Kremlin.

And the EU is in trouble with all this. This kind of hostile political atmosphere is a new thing. And it is a big deal.

But before I go polish the silverware I reveal what I will be blogging about between the blog posts #101-200, the next one being the 100th!!!!

* Miss Funnybunny getting cuter and cleverer and bigger day by day (and one day her meeting a little girl called Anna in Moscow).
* My Russian skills getting dramatically better (will attend some tough university courses this summer. Goodbye, holidays!)
* MR HP and his plans about quitting all his businesses and becoming a farmer. (But there's nothing new here. That's what he has been talking about for years and years. STILL: it is hard, but not impossible any more, for him to admit that over the years he has learned to love Helsinki....

* More about music, books, films, and of course, football (especially in 2008 when we go to Vienna)!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Poetry. Screaming emptiness. Under the Greenwood Tree

Loud Ashes

What is it – what are we most afraid of,
you ask.
No, it is not pain.
Losing you? Yes, close.
Losing myself? Quite so.

The scariest thing of all
is the emptiness.
The total, still
– nothing.

Let's wish it will be empty enough
for us not to hear
the screaming silence.

IStori, 3 May 2007


Soon, after two more blog posts there will be the ISTORI BLOG POST NUMBER 100! Yippee, woweezowee, it's a partyyyy!

That's why I had to contribute NOW and write a poem for Poetry Thursday. A decent blogger must try everything at least once; before the 100th post I mean: Poetry Thursday, Photo Thursday and even a meme (did that, too, some blog posts ago).

As you could guess, this week's theme was "Emptiness" (tyhjyys). Sorry, it is a sad one, but I just couldn't help it. And I am a Finn, we are sad and melancholic by nature, all the time.

But there you go: more art for you, and happier, too. An excellent Finnish band Breadmachine has just published its newest work of art. I am biased, have been in the process, too. Lovely experience. Hello, music business, here I come!

Under the Greenwood Tree
by William Shakespeare

Under the greenwood tree,
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleased with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back from datcha. Good luck, Estonia! (No more riots, please.)

A... hmmm... work of art in the National Estonian Art Museum KUMU, Tallinn. I don't think this painting is currently there, so don't rush to admire this! But it was there in September when there a was a special exhibition of Soviet art.

So, the Pronkssõdur Statue is gone. Or moved. Riots hopefully fading in Tallinn, leaving many angry drunkards in jail, some of them probably without an idea why they were locked up in cells in the first place. One person dead. That's sad.


These beautiful photos of the Finnish countryside are just referring to how we spent our (very short) holiday before May Day. In our datcha, of course (– and I am not referring to the sort of datcha I have mentioned before)!

But. I was furious for not being able to get news from the internet (did not have any sort of connection in the countryside.) Had many friends in Tallinn, of course, and on TV it looked... bad. (I hope you guys are ok.)

Better later than never, I have to add some strong words to the dispute over the Bronze Soldier (I have written about it earlier, too).

And now anti-Estonian reactions are boiling in Moscow, with a lot of drumming and all sorts of fireworks. Could it get even more ridiculous? (Probably.)

Please, all the wise Top Hats of powerful governments, please help the little Estonia! Russia is twisting the arguments so fallacious, in hair-raising way.

IStori being very compassionate now:

*** It does not matter what has been the original purpose of the statue. To the Estonians, during the past decades it has come to symbolise violent oppression. (Or so I have heard from various Estonian sources.) Should this be the case, then it is a miracle that this dominant, ugly statue has been able to occupy its central position for so long.

*** The Statue is in Tallinn, Estonia. Then it is up to the Estonians to decide what do with it. Not up to you, Russians, or to us, Finns, either (– but we Finns do not want to decide on anything! We just support you, our Southern brothers and sisters, and clap our hands)!

*** Yes, there is a huge Russian minority in Estonia. Right. But minority is a minority, and in democracy it is not enough. It's the majority that rules. (I am NOT referring to Bolsheviks, just drawing the basic lines of democracy!) The new, very respectful mesta for the Statue a little further from the center of Tallinn should be suitable for the (big) minority, anyway.

*** And, all of you/us outside Estonia, please do check out what it actually means to live in an occupied country. Occupied especially by the USSR. Deportations, anyone?

For example, in 1949 Operation Priboi was carried out, and then close to 100 000 people were deported from the Baltic states to the USSR, every third of them being a child.

"The deportation of Estonian people to Siberia started during the eve of June 14, 1941. 490 railway carriages were kept ready on branch lines. According to the lists made up in counties 11,102 people were to be deported from Estonia. -- Altogether over 10,000 people were deported from Estonia. Most grown-up men were declared arrested and were separated from their families. Their itinerary continued in overcrowded carriages through Narva and Irboska to Siberian death camps where most of them soon perished or were executed. By the spring of 1942 out of 3,500 men taken to these camps only a few hundred had survived. Women and children were sent to exile to Kirov and Novosibirsk oblasts. Hard work, hunger and exhaustion soon became fatal for half of them, and after the war 49% of those deported succeeded in returning home.

In March 1949 the next extensive deportation campaign was conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Soviet authorities decided to deport forever 22,326 people from Estonia to the remotest areas of the USSR. The total number of innocent people intended to be deported from the Baltic States amounted to 100,000."

(The text was from the Tartu City Museum web pages. A good Latvian source on Operation Priboi is here.)