Tag: Finland

The Russian Vozhd is the sick man of Eurasia

Friday, 16 November, 2018

Hadn’t heard of the Barents Observer, but it’s one worth bookmarking. What it does is provide “daily news reports from and about Scandinavia, Russia and the Circumpolar Arctic.” It’s also “a journalist-owned” online newspaper. Top story today: “Finland accuses Russia for disruption of GPS signals.” Quote: “Jamming of GPS signals first came known to public when the Barents Observer on November 2 could tell about pilots on a civilian passenger plane in Norway’s Troms and Finnmark region reporting about loss of satellite navigation.”

Back on 2 November, the Barents Observer did indeed publish a story about the jamming of GPS signals in the airspace between Kirkenes and Lyngen. Snippet:

“As previously reported by the Barents Observer, the Foreign Ministry brought up the question with Moscow after a similar jamming in March this year and requested Russia to halt such jamming. Last week, Deputy Director of Communication with the Foreign Ministry, Kristin Enstad, was not willing to share with the readers of Barents Observer what was said in the dialogue with Russian authorities.

Lina Lindegaard, press-officer with regional airliner Widerøe, told Barents Observer about one of their flights losing GPS signals. ‘Our chief operating officer got a report from a captain about loss of GPS signals,’ Lindegaard said. She underlined that the crew in cockpit always have alternative procedures on how to navigate if satellite signals can’t be received.”

Putin’s Russia is truly an evil entity and it’s determined to destroy what it can before it descends into complete decrepitude. Emmanuel Macron’s “European army”, which right now couldn’t fight its way out of un sac en papier in Brussels, will never be a match for the Vozhd. There’s no there there.

Gin of the week: Helsinki Dry Gin

Saturday, 9 December, 2017 0 Comments

The Helsinki Distilling company was founded in 2013 in the capital of Finland by three entrepreneurs: Kai Kilpinen, Mikko Mykkänen and Séamus Holohan. Thanks to them, Helsinki’s first distillery for over a century is located in Teurastamo, a former slaughterhouse that has become central to the city’s food culture.

Along with akvavit and applejack, Kilpinen, Mykkänen and Holohan also produce liquors, including the very tempting-sounding Puolukka Gin-Likööri, but pure gin is their premium product: “Helsinki Dry Gin is an artisanal, premium gin distilled with nine choicest hand-picked botanicals including the Arctic lingonberry. Blended with the purest Finnish water, Helsinki Dry Gin is full-bodied and balanced, with aromas of the Nordic forest and floral citrus flavours.”

We purchased bottle number 33-717 to celebrate Finland’s 100th birthday on Wednesday and everything about the experience, from removing the stylish glass stopper to inhaling the first rush of timberland aromatics, was sublime. As this Gin Foundry review from 2015 puts it:

“Helsinki Gin has bright and light floral aromas of citrus, rose, fennel and a verdant juniper on the nose, which are echoed upfront on the palate. The piney elements of juniper come to the fore alongside sharp coriander, presenting an unmistakably ginny profile. However, lingonberries and fennel take it in new directions while a delicate citrus zing balances out the gin. The finish is evocative of walking in a deep Nordic forest with mossy herbaceous tones emerging.”

Helsinki Dry Gin

Note: Helsinki Dry Gin is the sixth in a gin series that began with Blackwater No. 5, was followed by Friedrichs and continued with Dingle, Bulldog and The Botanist.

#Suomi100: Olet mun kaikuluotain

Wednesday, 6 December, 2017 0 Comments

Finland is 100 today and we’re celebrating with Ville Valo, best known as the lead singer with the hugely popular Finnish gothic rock band HIM. Ville’s life is a very Finnish tale. He was born in 1976 in central Helsinki to Kari and Anita Valo and the family then moved to the suburb of Oulunkylä, where Anita worked in a shoe shop. Kari was a taxi driver, but he gave up that profession to open a sex shop in downtown Helsinki, called Aikuisten lelukauppa (“adult toy store”), where Ville worked occasionally as a teen.

Anyway, John Denver wrote Annie’s Song in 1974 and in 1976, the year when Ville Valo was born, a man by the name of Hector Finnish (!) repurposed it into Finnish with the title Olet mun kaikuluotain. Happy #Suomi100.

What is the Finnish word for scam?

Saturday, 30 January, 2016 0 Comments

On 28 November 2014, we posted an item titled Jolla is pronounced “yolla’. It was about a Finnish startup, “which topped the crowdfunding target it had set for its Sailfish OS tablet in just two hours. Now, almost $1.3 million has been pledged and the campaign has 12 days left.” The Indiegogo crowdfunding platform said a total of $2,571,382USD was raised and the “Original campaign was 479% funded on December 9, 2014.”

And now? “Dear Jolla Tablet supporters and other Jolla followers, Happy New Year! Together, let’s make this an ever better one than last.” So began a post that appeared on the Jolla blog on Thursday. The date was 28 January, but Antti Saarnio (“your Jolla captain”), awakening from his Nordic hibernation, did not seem to think that it was a bit late in the month for greeting 2016. That should have raised a few red flags. The post was titled “Jolla Tablet: Aiming for Closure” and it contained the following disclosure:

“We have been analyzing different alternatives regarding the Jolla Tablet project situation. But no matter how you come at it, the tight financial situation remains a major constraint and therefore a main driver of the solution. Furthermore, due to the delays in the latest financing round it has simply become too late to produce all the tablets for the project. The supplier no longer has the needed components and many of them are no longer available. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done now to change this.”

Jolla said that it had shipped 121 of the tablets and it will deliver another 540 units next month and that will be the end of “the world’s first people powered tablet.” Everyone else will be offered refunds, but “Due to the financial constraints this will happen in two parts: half of the refund will be done during Q1/2016, and the other half within a year, our financial situation permitting.” Good luck with that.


Note: The Finnish word for word for “scam” is huijaus (noun), and the verb to to defraud or embezzle is vedättää. This does not suggest that the Jolla founders intended to scam, defraud or embezzle, of course.

Jolla is pronounced ‘yolla’

Friday, 28 November, 2014 1 Comment

Your blogger once committed the mortifying faux pas of pronouncing the name of the affluent San Diego neighbourhood La Jolla as if it rhymed with “jolly”. However, when Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landed in San Diego Bay in 1542 and claimed the entire area for Carlos I de España, he ensured the Spanish pronunciation of La Jolla.

Which brings us to Jolla, the Finnish upstart startup, which topped the crowdfunding target it had set for its Sailfish OS tablet in just two hours. Now, almost $1.3 million has been pledged and the campaign has 12 days left. Move over Nokia, the Jolla looks far cooler than your N1. By the way, Jolla is pronounced ‘yolla’ and is Finnish for dinghy.


Haavoittunut enkeli (The Wounded Angel)

Friday, 27 December, 2013 0 Comments

“He watched and was made cognisant of another image, of the Finnish painter Hugo Simberg’s wounded angel, carried by two boys, a painting he had seen as a young man in a Helsinki summer long ago, and which forever changed the way he saw the world.” Submergence by J.M. Ledgard.

Haavoittunut enkeli (The Wounded Angel) is the most famous work by Hugo Simberg, and was voted Finland’s “national painting” in 2006. Simberg declined to offer any deconstruction, suggesting that viewers draw their own conclusions, but it is known that he had suffered from meningitis, and that the painting was a source of strength during his recovery. There is a metaphorical reading in which meningitis causes neck stiffness, which is exhibited by the boy on the right, and if the wings are seen as lungs, an ailment such as tubercular meningitis, which causes abrasions to the upper lungs, might be involved in Simberg’s mysterious, moving painting.

Fallen Angel

Kimmo Pohjonen: The great Finnish accordion driver

Saturday, 7 December, 2013 0 Comments

Taking an accordion down to the farm and mixing its output with the sound of agricultural machines might strike many people as a bit far-reaching, but it’s the kind of thing Kimmo Pohjonen relishes. His “Earth Machine Music” project is a series of live events featuring farms, farmers, balers, tractors, accordion and related noises. For some Finns, the earth moves when he plays.