Monday, 21 December 2009

White Christmas

This year we will be celebrating a white Christmas here in Finland, and as it looks the same goes for many places elsewhere as well.

Heavy snowfall and blizzards have delayed air travel and caused many road accidents also here in Finland. It is hard to fathom that the climate is warming up watching the news when heavy snowfall has hit areas where there normally is hardly no snow at all.

It is sad that the Copenhagen climate summit did not turn out well and result in anything substantial, like a treaty or something similar. Yes the industrial revolution and the Western world is to blame for most of the global warming, but who knew back then what would come out of it? That the resources were not everlasting and that nature could not cope with anything? Should then the developing countries be repeating the same stupid mistakes now, today, instead of doing something differently?

People always tend to try to figure out who the culprit is, which in this case is a huge waste of time. We might not have another year to waste until the next climate summit in Mexico next year...and we should everybody begin to do something for it...but what?!?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Ham or not?

Traditionally ham is eaten at Christmas in the Nordic countries, so also here in Finland.

At this time of the year the supermarkets are full of hams in all sizes, ecologically grown and traditionally grown from various manufacturers salted in different ways and the prizes may vary quite a bit from where you live and which supermarket you shop in. This year the prizes may drop even more than previous years as we get closer the Christmas.

All that is Finnish has been considered as better, cleaner and safer than anything imported from abroad and so far that has been the same with the traditional Christmas ham. This year it is not discussed whether or not to glaze the ham or in what way to do it but whether to get a ham or not and many hams might not be sold at all as Finnish pig meat, or the pig farmers have lost their good image.

An activist group called "Justice for animals" secretly filmed Finnish pig farms two years ago publishing their filmed material, which was not nice to look at. The condition of some of the pigs were, well, I'd rather not mention it here so I guess you get the picture. I am sad to say I do not anymore recall what, or if anything came out of their action then, as I doubt the details of the farms in question were ever made known to the officials. But when doing the same thing this year again the Finnish Food Safety authority did inspect the farms in question and found major
negligence in half of them.

Anyway, protests are rare in the middle of parliamentary sessions here in Finland, but earlier this week one took place, and this when TV was broadcasting the discussion that was taking place at the time. Two persons hung a streamer from the second floor balcony stating "Is this what we want to do to the animals?" together with a picture of a pig lying down for all the world to be seen.

Strangely enough, the pig industry was granted government funds to clean up the image of Finnish pig meat not too long ago...and this prior to these incidents as far as I know. So the funds might come in handy for a campaign for improving the image, but what I am really concerned about is the conditions of the pigs...not the farmers that treat them badly.

So the big question in Finland this year is not whether to get an ecologically grown ham but if to get a ham at all for Christmas...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Sunset all day long

Only one week to go before Christmas, and you can tell that when shopping, all shops are filled with shoppers and there are long queues at the check outs.

At least the pre-holliday panick has not yet stricken, that is normally not detectible until next week, the day before Christmas Eve itself, and on Christmas Eve morning, the last desperate rush before the shops close for the hollidays. Spouses who have forgotten to get the other half anything, or just late shopping as in not enough time.

I have luckily been able to get most of my shopping done already, just had an item to get for Saturday's birthdays party. Sad to be born so close to Xmas especially when a child but we all have to be born sometime.

Until recently the skies here in southern Finland were overcast for weeks, it was wet and murky which made me sad and depressed. Now with the weather colder, actually colder than normal for this time of the year in the whole country, when one gets to see the sun and sky makes one, at least me, much happier and more content with life. It is nice to know that on Monday the light changes and we will be having more daylight time every and each day, as now it looks more like it is sunset all day long.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Strikes in season

Apart from the ginger bread and mulled wine this year's holiday season seems to have a new thing that is trendy and that is having a strike.

Not like going bowling but as in walk out from your job.

The financial industry is planning to begin their next week, as they want their fair share of the companies' profits. The union says that the cash machines will be running and that the wages and pension are to be paid to their due accounts despite their possible strike if the transfers are made before hand. Remains to see the result.

Last week the aviation baggage personnel walked out of their jobs at Helsinki airport in protest with it resulting in flights being cancelled and a luggage clog up with thousands of suitcases still to be sorted out .

The employees of one of the mobile phone operator walked out today and the IT sector have been negotiating for some time now about a pay rise.

Maybe this is a new way to get more time off before Christmas for them who have jobs as they are envious of the others who have been being laid off and made redundant?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Reckless drivers

Traffic accidents with young adults have lately been on the rise in Finland.

Alcohol is unfortunately all too often involved in the serious accidents involving younger people and sadly enough you too often read or hear about accidents with young men as drivers. Young men with fresh driver's licenses here in Finland, at least according to statistics, seem have a knack for driving fast and recklessly. Therefor it now is discussed whether or not to, reinstate the 80 kms per hour limit with a label about it on the rear window that used to be the standard for fresh driving license holders in this country.

And the pro's and cons for this seems to go on endlessly. I am told that some driver's used to get a compulsion to overtake cars with these speed limit labels on the most dangerous road stretches, and that many did not bother to keep their sticker on the window of their cars.

But then on the other hand, more experienced elder drivers are no safer with impaired eye vision and longer reaction time.

New flagging day

The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was born on the 8th December in 1865, and from the year 2011 this will be a national flagging day to commemorate his birth.

Sibelius composed many music pieces inspired by the Finnish national epic Kalevala, as many of the artist of his time. His most famous work is Finlandia which by many Finns is considered to be the real Finnish anthem. Finlandia was apparently from the beginning called "Finland awakens" and strangely enough, it seems to even have been the national anthem of some African nation for some time in the late 1960's, or so I have heard.

Well so the celebrations of the Independence Day are over and done with, the TV repeatedly runs clips of the reception and media still relishes on who did what, and wore what yesterday, the same annual discussion and procedure as every year.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Two plates policy

Since Finland joined the European Union the president has been able to take part in the summit in addition to the Prime minister at her own request, and the number the plates laid has so far been two, one for each partaker, the so called "Two plates policy".

With the EU Lisbon treaty having been reinforced yesterday, a decision upon the issue has to be made as the number of participants has been specified to just the single one from each of the member states.

So the hot topic for the last week or so has now been about the two plates to be laid at dinners. Or rather who has the right to attend in the first place, the President or prime minister of Finland.

Here the President and the Prime minister seem to agree, on disagreeing on the issue.

The Finnish President claims she has constitutional rights to attend to the summits, and the Prime minister contradicts this in his turn in concordance with the constitutional committee that he is to attend. The constitutional committee has for some time now been considering changes in the Finnish constitutional law with this amongst other issues.

The problem was apparently vented, according to the media, when the freshly elected EU president visited Helsinki yesterday meeting with the Finnish President. His only comment was, that the issue it has to be sorted out between the two themselves.

Following the development of the two plate policy, and maybe even the end of it, will at least be some change from the pig flu news that has been on all the time and become a bore.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Get to see your doctor

I really hand another subject in mind when beginning to blog today but today's subject just took overhand of my writing.

I had a call from a girl friend of mine about her husband who had noticed change in his behaviour of passing water as well as he's "the right age" and that's when you should see a doctor and so he did.

Or at least he tried to. He called his doctor to get an appointment but could not make an booking until the next day (which is today so I still don't know the outcome) as the booking system could not give any appointments until today, the beginning of the month. And as it is not considered as urgent, (which it might not be but still might as well be very urgent) he probably wouldn't get to see his doctor for at least a fortnight, he was told. But how on earth can you not book appointments for more than one single month at a time?

What kind of stone age booking system is that?!?

According to my experience, men tend to take their time to get an appointment to the doctor even when concerned with minor things as a common cold, and when they think it might be something wrong, as in a case as sensitive as their prostate, even more so.

Taking in concern the threshold for a man to call about his prostate and being ready and willing to go and have it handled, maybe even tampered with, his most private parts, well that's completely another thing than the annual visit for us women to our gynecologist, the old usual bore, so I think it was urgent and should have been taken more seriously.

This worries me quite a lot, not his prostate, but the way the health care act. First they want to educate us about what to look out for, then when you notice what you hopefully should not see, then you act as you have been told, and the result still is null and void. So in the end, what's the use? Given a little time you get used to the nuisance and forget about it.

And this is just one single case, how many are there out there?

Yes, you might save your life if you get to see the doctor but you might die trying to see him.