Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A wobble in the world

The classic
Originally uploaded by Pip.

Did I dream it or was there a play about somebody who placed lots of speak your weight machines at the north pole in the hope that they would attract lots of ships with their promises of substantial weight loss, and then the world goes into this wobble, and no longer spins evenly on its axis, and the seas pile up, and people on bikes going down hills go into a Kevin Kegan speed wobble, and the drums inside washing machine all become unevenly loaded, and the centrifugal force is such that the machines break loose from their attachments to the wall an bounce around the room like a bucking bronco. And lets not talk about gyroscopes guiding fighter planes, and spinning tops, and whirling dervishes, and protons in a cyclotron, and pity the poor man on the motor bike on the wall of death.

We just take it for granted that the world will spin on it's axis, and day will follow night, and as the earth circles in its orbit we will have one season after another. It is all so perfect.

Yes they say that at times in the past the globe has flipped and the north pole has become the south pole.

I read on the web... If you listen to Hopi Indian Legends at one time the poles flipped all hell broke lose, ocean waves as tall as mountains came crashing over the land, mountains plunged into the sea and the entire earth spun around aimlessly, froze over and even flipped over twice.

But we really don't need weight speaking machines to do the job for us. For on the radio I heard that the glaciers of Greenland are melting at twice the normal speed, and the sea level is estimated to rise by 7 meters.

Just imaging all of that mass disappearing from the north pole. It is enough to send the world into a speed wobble. As if God had unevenly packed his spin dryer.

Wouldn't it be just fine if the north and south pole ended up at the equator. That would really confuse all those birds that navigate by magnetic fields, and it might save us from the bird flu pandemic.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Knitting needles

Washboard sky
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
Sure the sky is big and it has got many colours, the yellows, reds and blues, and nobody asks who paints the sky those colours, and why on different days you get a different pallette, but what surprises me more, is who was the first person to knit?

I mean to say there were no shops to go out and buy knitting needles, and there were no handy balls of wool hanging about, wool that you could pick up at a jumble sale, or from a discount bin, so they must have used sticks or twigs or straws, and they must have had some sort of yarn, and why in the hell did they make long stings of wool, if not for knitting.

Then they had to go about inventing stiches, the purls and the plains, and using 5 needles to make a sock or a glove. Knitting must have been a really sophisticated skill, requiring more expertise than threading some sinew through a bone needle and sewing some fur together.

But today we have so many fabrics cotton, gore-tex, nylon, polyester, crimpalene, linen, and they are miraculously feed into machines that make us clothes, and we are not amazed that we can wear a down jacket to keep us warm in winter.

We take it for granted, just as the colours in the sky.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Baz before Rouge

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '05

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future.

Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts.

Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy.

Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults.

If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body.

Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance - even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions., even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.


Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Accept certain inalienable truths:

Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

What's my name?

What is the temperature.
-It is -10C
Drive to Pohjantori and we will wait. Even if we have to wait until 8 o'clock.
-That is about an hour away and the meter will be running.
Don't worry you will get your money. Put the radio on.
-What station?
Savelradio I like the voice of the man on there.
-Do you think you can tell something about a person from their voice?
-Why not?
Johnny Forsberg had a voice as warm as treacle, and it was impossible not to fall in love with him, but he was a rat faced runt, with long lanky greasy hair when you saw him up close.
-Marylin could do a dumb blonde voice but she was quite smart.
What do you think my name is?
Velma is not a name.
-Yes it is. All the gangster's molls were called Velma.
So you think I am a kept woman?
So what is my name?
Hell no!!!
Like the mystic nun from Bingen? Hildegard von Bingen? Triple hell no!!!
-So you know about mystical chanting from the midlle ages?
Get real, and say what brought you to Finland?
-An aeroplane.
What's the time?
We will give him another half hour then, and if he does not show, we go.
So you are going for the film stars now?
As in Dietrich? No.
Like Loren? No.
As in Diaz? No.
-Are you sure you want to wait? That clock is ticking and is racking up the euros.
Don't worry you will get your money.
From the Kalevela?
The one that killed herself because she did not want to marry that old shamman... no way.
Never heard of that.
-In Scotland they write Agnes backwards so there is a Scottish girl's name called Senga
Sounds like a strawberry.
-A strawberry blonde?
Turn the radio off and lets go.
-Where to?
Back to the place where you picked me up.
-Well that has been the most unusual ride I have ever had. That will be 40 euros.
Here's 50 and keep the change. Even priests get paid for talking.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What did you learn in the taxi today #1

1) A man from Oulu thinks Finland will win medals in the winter olympics.

2) Two old women say that no matter how nice they speak the Finnish language is so harsh that it sounds that they are arguing all the time.

3) A man with a hip replacement said during the operation the doctors put lots of leads and tubes into his spine. He was told one sensor monitored if he would feel pain and then it would control other pumps which would inject pain-killers into his spine so he would feel no pain during the operation.

4) Antti was mentally handicaped. He had an address in his purse and asked to be taken there. He gave me advice on how to get there. He pointed straight ahead and said turn right. He said turn left and pointed straight ahead. We arrived OK thanks to the on-board navigator.

5) A retired Prof told me that the northern lights was due to electro-magnetism. He lived in the shortest street in Helsinki. It was about 30m long and called Välikatu.
On the corner of that street is a red building with lovely curves. Looking at it made me want to live there. Some houses are like that. I decided to be on the look out for houses that made me happy.

6) Picked up a man from Vermo. He had been to the races and had lost 200 euros. He wanted to be taken to the Casino in downtown Helsinki so he could win his money back.

7) A woman told me she had gone window-shopping in her wheelchair and had a meal at Chico's afterwards. She was a sports fanatic and said the Finnish women's ice hockey team would win a medal at the winter olympics. They had already beaten the Germans 3-0.

8) Rich people are insulted if you ask them if they want a receipt. Rich people never ask for receipts.

9) THe last customer from Lansi Auto Arena said that the Espoo hockey team "The Blues" won 4-3