Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photo Thursday - Valokuvatorstai, 117: Many

If you came from Facebook and now look for a meme, "25 Things About Me", please find it two posts downwards, so keep scrolling.

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In Photo Thursday the challenge #117 was the word "moni", many.

My response was shot with camera phone. Basic Nokia with 2.0 Megapixel camera, nothing fancy.

Did you realise there are many different magazines on window painting; two of them called Fensterbilder imported from Germany?

Window painting!?
My goodness.

You – yes, YOU – Are Being Cheated. Nuclear Waste Dumping and Pirates.

You came from Facebook and look for a meme, "25 Things About Me"? It is the post before this one, so please keep scrolling downwards.

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The world is full of lies. BIG ones, too.

Huge lies, created by governments and super powers. Let's take a look at some of the old ones before proceeding to the newest.

* The beginning of "the War to End All Wars", World War I
, was based on a lie: an archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to throne of Austria-Hungary was assasinated with his wife in Sarajevo. And then Austria-Hungary declared a war on Russia, despite of the fact that is was the Serbian Military Intelligence who were behind the murder. And soon after the French mobilisation, Germany declared war on France. What, why? According to British historian Jonathan Glover all this escalating so far was based on intentinally false presumptions. Each one of the countries involved thought the others will lose, and that the war will be over quickly, and the war was very much wanted.

* The "War Against Terrorism"
was based a big fat lie. Nuclear weapons in Iraq? (George W. was "disappointed" when none was found.) And who were behing the 9/11 attacs? I don't know about the mysterious conspiracy theories of the buildings being bombed from the inside, but the official explanation given by the Bush administration was based on a conspiracy theory par excellence: Al-quaida + Axis Of Evil + Afganistan + Pakistan + Osama bin-Laden...

* The Second War against Chechnya was based on a cruel lie: Putin used the bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow and Ryazan as an excuse to start bombing Groznyi. Later a lot of evidence was found on the fact that the bombs were set by the Russian Security Service, FSB.

* Who killed Kennedy? Marilyn Monroe? Politkovskaya? Litvinenko? I don't know. (But what I do know is that Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Kennedy did NOT commit a suicide.)

...and here is the newest example of the immoral ignorance I have heard in today's Europe and Africa:

Johann Hari, the Independent starts his excellent article with the following lines: "Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labelling as "one of the great menaces of our times" have an extraordinary story to tell – and some justice on their side."

And the beef in brief:

* The ugliest forces in the Western world are stealing the food supply on Somalia and dumping nuclear waste in their seas.

Mr Hari continuing: "Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply."

Please read the Hari's article as a whole in here (this link taking you into the Huffington Post site).. And thanks, dear TN, for noticing this.

What I am afraid of, is that soon someone is using the Somali pirates as an excuse of the war against Africa. Or are we there yet?

World War I recruiting poster.

25 Things About Me. (A meme)

This crazy meme was sent to me in Facebook, but from now on I'll try to write more of my blog and less Facebook stuff, so here we go.

"You are supposed to write a note with 25 random things about yourself. At the end, you choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you."

I'll try to keep this trivial, non-political and light-hearted but sincere. No whining about Putin, Bush, climate change and human rights this time. (But trust me; more posts on those coming up!)

1. Those are my eyes.

2. I just dyed my hair a bit darker, so I guess my hair colour is now "dark blonde". And I guess my original hair colour is a very Nordic "Messy Darkish Blondish": I get blonder stripes easily in summer because I swim outside whenvever I get an opportunity, and I have hints of red pigment, too. But here are the News: I have huge stripes of grey above my left ear.

3. I am a Helsinki girl. My grandparents lived here, too. Most of my relatives live here. I love travelling, but I have never actually wanted to move elsewhere.

4. Of all forms of arts, music and literature are the most precious to me.

5. I like music which is composed and played skillfully. Soul, jazz, "classic" progressive rock... "Complicated" music, like Mr HP put it. When driving I usually listen to Groove FM and sing all the soul classics so dear to me. At home it is nice to listen to classical music, but in the car I get a headache if I listen to classical piano.

6. When I was 17 I borrowed the ID of a friend of mine, because I had to get to Tavastia, the number One rock club in Helsinki, to see Pekka Pohjola's gig. The bouncers were, and still are, well-known of the fact no minor can sneak in. The music was excellent! (And my classmate had a driver's licence, so she did not need the papers. Well, neither did she want to see Pekkis, either.) For me, that one was only the first of many Pohjola gigs, I tried to be in Tavastia every time he played there.

7. I cried last November when I was in Berlin and heard Pohjola had passed away.

8. I cried at the Pohjola Tribute gig 14 January.

9. Enough of all this crying: I laugh a lot. I enjoy being with friends who make me laugh and who enjoy laughing. For example, the gang with which we travel to Football events are like that. I love telling and hearing jokes. I am constantly trying to learn new ones and pass the oldies forward!

10. I can't draw. Not at all. Or maybe I could if I really tried, but I am not interested.

11. I can't cook anything fancy. Or maybe I could if I really tried, but I am not interested.

12. I am really, really good at baking! The sweet buns I make are most delicious. I can do cakes, too. And bread. With freshly baked, hot bread the best topping is real butter.

13. I love jams. Cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant jam, and marmalades... I have to have several in the fridge all the time. And I can't picture pancakes without my favourite: apple jam!

14. I have never been in the USA. And neither in the Southern America. Been to nowhere in America! But I'd very much love to go.

15. The most famous person by whom I have been kissed is Francis Ford Coppola.

16. I hate warm milk in most of its forms. Except that sometimes I like drinking a cup of hot chocolate, but it must be self-made with lots and lots of cocoa (so that I can't taste and smell the milk).

17. Usually I don't like soups, because very often there is warm milk in them. Though I do like Russian-style selyanka (which I have in Estonia all the time) and bortsch.

18. I love pickled cucumber, made in Russian style, but I do not like the sugary, Nordic versions of those. I hate the Felix crap.

19. When I was a kid my mom took me to cinema every other weekend. When I was 5 my favourite film was "Sleeping Beauty" because the dress of the Princess changed colour in the final scene.

20. I stopped being religious at the age nine when I saw a film on the life of Jesus. (To tell ou the truth, I don't think I was religiuos before, but I migh have thought there could be something like a God somehere.) In this film the Son of the God was so human, so likeable, so wonderful guy. I even read the Bible after seeing that film - and immediately realised I truly am interested in history and fairy tales, but the God is not speaking to me, because there is no god. No God could make his beautiful, loving son suffer like that! And much later I learned this breath-taking film was directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

21. I fell in love with mr HP when he told me one of his favourite directors is Pasolini.

22. One of my favourite directors is Francois Truffaut. One of my favourite actors is Juliette Binoche. Other good ones: Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti, Gerard Depardieu, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, Monty Clift, Ava Gardner, Tauno Palo. And Liz Talor! And John Wayne. I love everything with John Wayne. Actors everyone else seems to love, but whom I don't find particularly good: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner (and he is not a good director, either).

23. I love the French language. Sometime I want to see some French film just because I enjoy listening to that beautiful language so much. I am refreshing my own language skills in a funny but very productive way: I sing French children's songs. With this.

24. I get bored easily, if I have to wait or just sit or stand still for a long time. That's why I always have a book or two with me everywhere I go. Or three. (And that's why I never carry too small a hand bag!) Should I forget those, I write myself. I aways carry a note book or two with me. Or three.

25. I wish I could be a bit more Buddhist and deeply understand how the inner strength is everything you really have. How happiness, confidence, beauty and peace do not come from outside, but they are resting inside you all the time. A lot of work required here.

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I'll "tag" more of You in Facebook. Here I forward the challenge to Timo Virtala, Mane the Mean, Tiina Kaarela, Sedis, Oderazzi, Halo Efekti (Except that she has already done this!) and of course, Vaiheinen.

I was tagged by PG, who will be informed through Facebook as well.

Friday, January 16, 2009


You know what is to happen after 3 days 2 hours 25 minutes 47 seconds have passed? Or now it's 3 days 2 hours 19 minutes 25 sec. And now it's 3 days 2 hours 16 min 36 sec. And now--

It's the ...

Go, Obama, go! I wish you best of luck. May the force be with you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bloggers from the Other Side the Wall

Famous but anonymous artist "Banksy" drew on the Apartheid Wall.

Independent press, reporters, human rights activists, investigatiors and observers are not allowed by the Israeli administration to enter Gaza. The medical aid -- for the hundreds of injured or half-dead -- is given by too few professionals, lacking medicine and equipment.

Yet there are ways how we can dig into the news and reports spreading from the closed city. Bloggers among those.

These few contacts were distributed by Finnish peace activists. I have read them with great curiousity and sympathy, and I highly recommend you do the same.

Notes from Palestine
* Two bloggers representing MECA, the Middle East Children's Alliance + other contributors. Well-written, edited and most interesting.

"In my house we can't get basic needs. No food. No bread. No fuel. No future. Yesterday, my father went to the bakery at 5 AM. He waited 5 hours to get one loaf of bread, which is not enough for my family because there are 11 of us. So today it was my turn. I went to all the bakeries -- all were closed.
There is no safe place we can go. We cannot communicate with our relatives and friends -- networks are down as missiles rain on our homes, mosques and even hospitals."

Moments of Gaza
* Several bloggers. Well-written and very interesting.

"What the Palestinians in Gaza are getting used to on a daily basis are things like these:
...the smell of gunpowder in the air
...the sound of ambulances here and there
...the sound of fighter jets and helicopters in the sky
...the trembling, terrorizing sound of bombs far and near
...the sounds of baby cries
...the the news of people dead, injured, lost or homeless
This is what we're getting on a daiy, but even hourly basis...for the past 2 weeks. To me, this is not life. This is death in the making."

Sabbah's Blog
* Shocking photos, be aware! But also live-feed, accurate figures and news footage.

"If such a massive genocide of a trapped civilian population by air, sea, and land was committed by any other nation the world would launch a massive investigation into this crime against humanity and hold the leaders of such a nation accountable in the International Court of Justice. In a just world Israel would be charged with crimes against humanity as was Serbia and Rwanda.

Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot
* Tear down this wall!

"This blog is written by 2 friends. One lives in Sajaia refugee camp in Gaza and the other lives in Sderot, a small town near Gaza on the Israeli side. -- Many have been killed and many have been injured. The media coverage on both sides has been extremely biased. Our Blog is written by 2 real people living and communicating on both sides of the border."
"We have said from the beginning that violence will bring more violence.
I hope the world will understand that’s there people want to live safe with dignity and peace. I hope I will have the chance to write you again."

From Gaza, with Love
* Heartbreaking agony. Must be sincere, but yet it's more then a bit unclear at times. Worth reading, still.

"Women, health, children and human rights in Occupied Palestine. A blog by Dr. Mona El-Farra."


This wall was supposed to stay there for couple of hundreds of years! At least! But strange things happen if the world just decides to change for good. (Or some millions of Berliners just want to be living together inhabiting the same soil, instead of being half-neighbours.) And this wall has its foundations in the aftermath of the WWII, too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hey you, President, listen

This was then: Chevron named oil tanker the "Condoleezza Rice". Rice, as well as Dick Cheney, used to work for Chevron oil company before the Bush administration started needing their talents. (Ever wondered why the harder limits for CO2 emissions have not been on their agenda?)

And here we go again. You lame duck, mr. president Bush, were referring to Iraq: "Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way."

A SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT? Were you, stupid blood-hungry cheater, "disappointed" because they did not have any nuclear weapons in one of the poorest dictatorships in the world? Well how stupid is that. Or did you plan that Iraq could/would/should have nuclear weapons, if you now regret things did not go as planned?

Actually it does not matter at all what you just said in your last press conference as a president of the US. Goes without saying that before starting your ugly war you knew quite perfectly well they do not have anything of the sort, as that was what Hans Blix and other UN investigators told you.

(I just can't get it: how could someone say, even in his dreams, that not finding a nuclear horror has been disappointing?)

But there is a disappointment all right: You and your politics have been the biggest disappointments for the whole world, and the negative consequences will excist for a long long time.

So, thanks for nothing, and do no waste time with leaving the office asap.

Thus spoke IStori (like already years ago).

Friday, January 09, 2009

Photo Thursday - Valokuvatorstai: Smooth Way

The topic of the Photo Thursday (Valokuvatorstai) of this week was a line written by Vexi Salmi for a late (Finnish) pop musician Irwin Goodman: "Silirimpsis, sileä tie". (Could be something like "Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep, smooth way". But this is a very loose and over-creative translation!)

I have had difficulties to decide on which one of these two ways is smoother, so I have two photos with which I respond to the challenge. The first one being a nail studio:

"Tulevaisuus on kynsissäsi. Silirimpsis, sileä tie."
"The Future's On Your Nails. Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Smooth Way Ahead."

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I had to take this one very quickly, because there was a young man being interviewed and I was being watched from the inside. So excuse me but this one is a bit blurred, please double-click it so it gets bigger. The company in question is headhunting waiters and cooks; mainly staff for restaurants and catering services.

"Yhtä henkeä haetaan, hälle silirimpsis, sileä tie."
"One Person Needed. Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Smooth Way Ahead."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Auld Lang Syne!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

– Robert Burns, in 1788

(See the end of this post for the rest & link.)

"When will Santa come?", Miss Funnybunny kept asking, with a demanding tone in her voice. Every day, several times a day. Starting in mid-November.

Before Christmas of 2008 I was very tired. The whole autumn had very rapidly moved forward to the most hectic pre-Christmas time, and I felt I am dragging myself somewhere behind. I was working all the time, and being seemingly active, but my mind was occupied in other things: A new writing project had started to haunt me. Miss Funnybunny had grown, got cleverer, really thus funnier, but still with little toddler's tantrums, and she required more and more of my attention after work.

And I wished I could have a holiday.

Finally: It was Christmas! Even though I am not at all religious, I understand the value of peace and quietness, and making the "holy" days more preecious with decorations and presents. At least for a few days.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs with its Christmas decorations on the other side of the bay.

... and a window from where we can take a look at it.

My feet resting when I am watching Titanic. Never seen it before, and I got my chance when Mr HP and Miss Funnybunny went to visit grandparents in the countryside for a couple of days. Me leaving home in the middle of the most beautiful and peaceful time at home? Never! With some wine and chocolate even a film as predictable and boring with not-so-good actors (except the villain = the guy who is to marry Rose) as Titanic was bearable. And with "predictable" I do not refer to the fact that the ship finally did sink. (Boy, was I waiting for that.)

After the holy days: New Year's Eve at friends' house, at a most stylish love birds' nest in Töölö. With Miss F, Mr HP and a bunch of jolly people. (Although we did not experience the very beginning of the year 2009 here, we were watching the great fireworks near the Cathedral of Uspenski.

Finally, Listen to the happy politicians singing and sing yourself with the SPECIALISTS, ie. Scotts! Plus there seemed to be a person from England, too. I also highly recommend you read the praising, tearful comments below the video: "Obama should do the same in the US senate"...

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne!

(And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.)
Please see the poem and song as a whole in the Wikipedia site.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Berlin at the end of Nov 08

Hello, Franz Biberkopf, here we come! (The main character in Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz)

In the Berlin web site they say that

"some call it wild, colorful, and full of surprises, while others find it a little too hectic and gruff. Berlin is intriguing because it is so versatile and so multi-faceted. Differences are more extreme, conflicts more tangible, and problems larger than they are elsewhere. Yet even Berlin’s contradictions are part of its appeal."

Maybe that's why I had to organise a trip there. I have been there twice: once travelling through East Berlin in 1988, to Chechoslovakia and further down to Budapest, and in 1991 when I participated an international Nuclear Phase-out Conference (the real name of which I fail to remember). The most memorable moment then was a Buddhist ceremony on the minefield in the midle of the wall area. I think it was somewhere near the Potzdamer Plaz and Reichstag.

Seeing the area(s) now, there is absolutely no way I could tell.

Culture! Among several museums we managed to visit the main building of Faculty of Arts. Why? Because we needed to walk through it to the Jewish monument.

... which is right here. Very still, very moving.

And walking through it was not as easy as it seemed at first.

Books were burning, as everything else, under the WWII.

Ku'damm and its festive decorations.

The splendid life of the Finnish publishing editors does not require sparkling wine only.

Mr HP and I had to visit this place, too. First time in Berlin, for MR HP, it was. And at the Checkpoint I was thinking about the Len Deighton books.

Time to go back to Tegel ad take a plane to Helsinki sweet Helsinki. Editors would have wanted to edit this sign a bit.

We saw none of these guys at the airport.