Current Events

Finnish Independence Day

The Finns had a rough go of it winning their independence from the USSR. It was just 70 years ago so the wounds are still fresh. The commemoration is more of a memorial in honor of those that served in the bitter civil war than the Norman Rockwell-like celebration that I am so used to in the United States.

Perhaps it’s the passing of time but I think it’s more the Finnish character that cuts out the pomp and circumstance of the independence day parade. Look at the Finnish flag. No noisy Stars and Bars, just a simple, austere blue cross.

Sisu indeed.

Current Events

Friendster Ruins Uncovered

The Onion takes a crack at what future “internet archaeologists” from the “Friendster Excavation Project” discover when they run across the ruins of the ancient online civilization, Friendster.”

One day users were posting a seemingly endless stream of bulletins about “awesome parties” and “cool shows” and then, nothing. Total silence. . . Their lives come to a complete stop, live flies trapped in amber.

Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins Of ‘Friendster’ Civilization

I rarely delete any of my social networking profiles but I deleted my Friendster profile just last week after reading the news of it’s sale to a company in Malaysia. Truthfully, I never really used the service and was only reminded of it when one of my contact’s birthdays was coming up.

My favorite profile was Andy’s but with the redesign my old link no longer works.

Does AppleCare Cover for That?

Blam! That was how Israeli security forces took care of Lily Sussman’s Macbook at the border. “I’m sorry. We had to blow up your laptop.” After two hours of questioning her they took her laptop out back gave it three bullets .

Macbook Blown

They missed her hard drive so the data is apparently safe and reading comments on the post (450 and counting) it appears like she will get compensated as well. I realize tensions are high in the region but they could have asked her first.

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Current Events

Santa Lucia

It’s cold and dark in Helsinki.  Minus 10 Celsius with a bitter wind blowing off the Baltic. Snowing too. Coming down sideways, blinding at times and so cold the snow doesn’t really collect on the ground but just blows around like sawdust that squeaks when you walk on it. The sun doesn’t make an appearance until 9 am and then slinks back down around 3:30 pm.

Santa Lucia Festival, Helsinki

At this time of darkness, when the pagan calendar marks the longest night of the year, towns all over Scandinavia crown a local beauty that year’s Saint Lucia. Last weekend Tyler and I braved the cold outside of Helsinki’s Cathedral to watch the procession.

It’s a beautiful ceremony. Rich with tradition and history. We arrived at 5 pm to an almost empty square and watched as torches were lit and friends gathered. By 6 pm a small crowd had gathered up near the Cathedral door, mostly for warmth as we huddled together and tried to stay warm.

When she emerged it was unworldly. A band played softly the traditional procession march (oddly, it’s the Neapolitan aria Santa Lucia) and her train slowly marched down the Cathedral steps. All dressed in virginal white with candles in her hair. The light, the light! The crowd was transfixed by the silent beauty and hope that came from this simple ceremony in the dead of Winter.

It’s good to know that the days will be getting longer now, the sun sticking gaining strength.  That night, along with the rest of Finland, we celebrated turning a corner.

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Current Events

Fun with Google Text-to-Speech

UPDATE: Bummer, looks like it no longer works.

Fooling around with Google Translate and their 100 character Text-to-Speech engine I strung together a few lines from Eric Schmidt’s editorial in The Wall Street Journal.

Eric Schmidt! WOW! Welcome Google to Argentina! =)
Image by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via Flickr

Click on the following links in order.

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. Four
  5. Five
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Merry Christmas from Improv Everywhere

The folks at Improv Everywhere give the Salvation Army bell guy a helping hand.

Current Events

Berlusconi Pizza with Reindeer

Finnish humor at its best.

The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was famously quoted as saying he had to “endure” Finnish food during a visit several years ago. So it certainly amused me when I found out that the a Finnish pizza chain has named one of their pizzas in his honor.

Thumbing their noses squarely at Berlusconi, this version of the Italian specialty features Red Onions, Mushrooms, and Smoked Reindeer. We ordered two pies the other night and they were delicious.

I’m pleased to read that news of this has reached the Italian papers. I’m sure the Prime Minister had a good laugh when he heard the news.