Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Piling snow up high

For a long, long time many things have been prioritized in my life before this Blog of mine, but I have often during this time thought about what I wanted to blog about. I have had many ideas but never actually sat down to write anything.

Sometime ago, last spring I think it was, I even thought I would be back, but then never got round to it. But as so many people still seem to visit here, I made a resolution to myself, to blog at least once a month about something, anything. And maybe in time, as I did from the beginning, I might get caught in the wind and do it more often.

Anyway, yesterday, actually…I found myself once again wondering about the meaning of things. This year we have had exceptionally more snow than usual, I mean now during the time I have lived in Finland. And very cold weather for a very long period. Snow arrived earlier than any other year, way before Xmas last year and has stayed with us since. So getting to the point now, as more snow falls down from the sky, more snow piles up. Well, this has of course to be cleaned away but still the snow tends to pile up without us noticing it with sometimes inches of ice below our feet on top of the pavement and asphalt.

The snow that gets cleaned away from streets and pavements has to be dumped somewhere and this seems to be big trouble. Cities have special snow dumps and I know that the city of Helsinki for instance dumps lots of their snow in the sea. I am not here going tell you my opinion about this, you might read it in between the lines, and this was not really my point, but slowly trying to target in on it.

Yesterday, as I said, they had two big wheel loaders scraping off all the ice both our back and front yard. There were inches and inches of thick ice and they scraped it all off the asphalt so the surface of it was visible for the moment it took for it to get covered by the new snow falling on top of it and covering it.

Now to the point, the removed snow and ice was piled up on outside the asphalt. They actually went on all day with it. Big, huge 4 to 5 meters high piles with ice and they had to be dumped somewhere, but that is on the lawn where they dumped it. And where the bushes and shrubs are in the summertime and big piles of ice take months to melt. Loads of snow to melt an turn into water, watering the lawn that gets all soggy and wets it up, never dries up and smells like it does in the spring and to the enjoyment of us all, what in the winter is covered in snow well be coming out in thaw in the spring and we all know what that is, what a joy to look forward to. The smell.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Presumed consent

On August 1st 2010 Finland got a new legislation concerning organ donation.

Earlier you always needed expressed consent of the deceased in order to use organs in transplantations, but from now on you are presumed to have given your consent for organs to be used, if there is no knowledge of you having being opposed to organ transplantation. Here you can read more about it, if you’re interested.

In a worst case scenario, if you have stated being opposed to organ donation in a will, and even made your will known to your nearest family and had it registered in your medical files, Finland has not yet got any electronic patient record database covering all health care units through out the country, so until then, when ever that may be, people are encouraged to keep a donor card with them at all times to express their will for, or against, organ donation.

So, where do you stick it in a skimpy two piece swimsuit?

You don’t usually even carry your ID when swimming; at least I know I don’t.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Heavier taxation on sweets

The Finnish Finance Ministry has made a proposition on an additional tax on candy and sweets, sweetened soft drinks, chocolates and products containing cocoa taking effect by beginning of next year.

The proposition is based on the risen consumption of confectionery, obesity and deteriorating dental health becoming more common amongst the young during the past ten years and a similar tax was actually already in force in
Finland between the years of 1926 and 1999.

This additional tax on sugar is estimated to bring in about 120 million more euros a year to the state budget, and also hopefully leading to decreased consumption of confectionery with it resulting in long term savings in dental and health care.

What I wonder here is, why only these items? Why not tax all un-healthy foods more? The higher consumption of junk-food must also have deteriorating effects on the health amongst the population. And why not lower the taxation of healthy foods?

Anyway, today is the car free day for the 11th time in Finland, a day people are encouraged to leave their car at home and use the public transports, go by bike or walk instead. According to what I’ve heard, today, in the city of Jyväskylä 3000 free bus tickets are handed out, and public bus fares are available at a reduced price in the capital region . This in order to encourage better health and exercise routines, as well as being more friendly to the environment.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Finland’s second female prime minister

I just came to think that Finland now has its’ second female prime minister. And this is the second female prime minister in two consecutive cabinets of the same political party. In the year 2003 the Centre Party won the elections resulting in Finland’s female prime minister, who was in charge from mid April to end of June. This is the shortest period for a cabinet to exist, as cabinets tend not to resign until they have been beaten in the elections.

The first female prime minister had to resign because of leaking some secret documents, with a male prime minister to follow from the same party. The male prime minister held his position for 7 years through out the next elections and formed a new cabinet, this time co-operating with a couple of parties.

He in his turn claimed health reasons when announcing his resigning at Christmas time last year, and has now been replaced by the second female prime minister in Finland, who was elected at the Centre Party congress in end of June 2010.

Anyway, I have noticed that there will be an election here in Finland next year. With more than 200 days to go I think that is in good time to get a real electoral campaign going, beginning it in time I mean.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

World’s oldest existing champagne ?

A sunken boat was discovered in the Baltic Sea, in the Åland archipelago, in July at 45 meters depth by some divers. The boat is estimated to have been built during the first quarter of the 1800’s, and was carrying about 5 cases of champagne.

The champagne perhaps predates the French revolution and to many people’s surprise, it is still potable. According to the Finnish wine-expert that has tried it, “the champagne has not at all deteriorated, but has kept well as a red wine safely stored in a wine cellar”, and that “the aromas were impressive”. The bottles or some of the bottles maybe, are now being analyzed in France, and if their age is confirmed, it would be the World’s oldest existing champagne.

Nothing for us commoners that is, we couldn’t afford it.

Monday, 16 August 2010

How to bathe or not to?

Friday, was a Friday the 13th, I was trying to blog but had computer trouble all day, and as a matter of fact almost the whole weekend went to getting it working again. I really don’t know what was a miss, but that is life from time to time, so here I am now, pretending this is last Friday, and blogging about the things that I was on about.

The Sauna world championship was held for the 12th time in Heinola during the first weekend of August. The competition ended in tragic, both finalists crashed in the sauna and were rushed into hospital, one of the seriously injured, the other one dying.

The city of Heinola announced on its’ website that this will be the end of the Sauna World Championships, but just days after the statement a known Finnish merchant announced his intentions to arrange it next year. From the beginning the police did not suspect any foul play, but now they are investigating the case closer.

I like it steaming hot, the sauna I mean, but I stay only for short periods of time, go out for a while, cool down having a cool drink followed by a dip in the lake, or a roll in the snow during the winter, when given the occasion. Even with hot temps, my time spent in the sauna is never long but still, for me it is a place to relax so I think it is a stupid thing to compete about. I know people who spend hours and hours in the sauna, but then the temperature must be quite modest, for one to endure. Actually, I have noticed that spending time in the sauna on a hot summer day makes you think the hot weather is cooler than it really is when you come out. Sounds strange, but it really works!

Anyway, the kindergarten next door opened after the summer vacations, the kids outdoors blocked the noise so I did not even notice the first sign of fall, the swallows disappearing all of a sudden. The swallows moved despite the fact that we still had hot weather here in southern Finland during the weekend. I still wonder about what makes them disappear and re-appear every year.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Right to wed?

The majority of the Finns are Lutherans, even though not many seem to practise their religion much, except maybe when getting married and having their offspring christened.

If I have not got it completely wrong, in Finland the church and the state have been separated from each other since the reformation when Finland was a part of Sweden.

According to an interview in a newspaper the bishop of Oulu thinks that “the church should marry couples of the same sex, if Finland is to have a gender neutral marriage law”, and adds “this should be done for the church to save its’ right to marry people”.

I am here not taking any sides on the issue about people of the same sex getting married or not, neither am I talking about them being wed in the church. I am just wondering what the church has to do with the state, as they are separated, that is not married so both can go either way, so to say, if you know what I mean.