DUSTIN The Turkey …

Ireland has won the Eurovision Song Contest so many times that it got too much for the tiny nation to cough up the dosh to make a posh do aka to arrange the competition year in, year out, so that the representatives selected on the same from the Emerald Isle have not done well at all for years and years.

But this year there is a very amusing entry, for the Irish voters picked the children’s hand puppet as the best of six finalists in a decision that is likely to ruffle some feathers – LOL!! — at the event in May. The entertainer’s song Irelande Douze Points emerged as a clear favourite in the weeks leading up to the country’s vote.

Dustin has been one of Ireland’s leading stars since he joined The Den with fellow puppets Zig and Zag in the 1990. He is no stranger to being in the limelight, having recorded six albums and performed a host of comical duets with artists such as Bob Geldof, Chris De Burgh, Ronnie Drew, Dervla Kirwan and the late Joe Dolan.

Dustin was plucked – HaHa!! very apt word as we are talking about a turkey — from six finalists to win a televised poll programme in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday night. And such is the contest’s reputation for successful novelty acts that bookmakers have made him 10-1 favourite to win in Belgrade in May. His song is entitled Irelande Douze Pointe, a reference to the maximum of 12 points which each country can award to a song.  Dustin’s song, sung in a North Dublin accent, urges the contest judges to “give douze points to Ireland, for its lowlands and its highlands, for Wogan’s wig and Bono’s leather pants. We brought you Guinness and Westlife, 800-years of war and strife, but we all apologise for Riverdance.”

The Eurovision Song Contest, now in its 53rd year, is known for its glitzy but tacky costumes, bizarre songs and outrageous performances. An estimated 100 million people from 42 countries watched last year’s gala, which took place in Helsinki.

The background of this turkey vulture loved by many is according to the Wikipedia that “Dustin was introduced as a character when one of the puppets, Zag, who was trying to join the upper classes, entered a golf tournament with Tony Fenton the 2fm DJ and came last. The prize was a Christmas Turkey, and a chance to meet movie star Dustin Hoffman.

It transpired however, that the turkey shared the name of the movie star and was not only still alive, but had a Dublin accent and his own building company. Zig and Zag intended to eat Dustin for Christmas dinner, and only changed their minds when a frequent visitor to the show, artist and children’s novelist Don Conroy, provided his taxonomical opinion that Dustin was, in fact a cross between a turkey and a vulture, and therefore unsuitable for human or Zogling consumption (Zig and Zag are aliens from the planet Zog). He makes appearances outside of The Den, including an annual appearance on The Late Late Show Toy Show special at Christmas each year.”

See for yourselves his remarkable talent in this video:.


Tis for now, Rii xx

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/24/neurovision124.xml

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=518091&in_page_id=1811

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dustin_the_Turkey

 

Favourite Fairy Tales: The Little Match Girl


“The Little Match Girl” Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne) is a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a young girl who dies selling matches during the cold winter. It was first published in 1848 as part of his fifth volume of Nye Eventyr (New Fairy Tales) as “Den Lille Pige Med Svovlstikkerne” (“The Little Girl with the Sulfursticks”).

It was night on New Year’s Eve, and a poor, little match girl was out on the streets selling matches. Although she was cold and hungry, with neither hat nor shoes, she was afraid to go home as her father would surely beat her when he found out she did not sell any matches that day.
In a nook between two buildings, she wanted to warm herself by lighting matches. In the light of the first match she saw a hot iron stove, but the fire was soon blown out by the howling wind. She lit a second match and saw a fully laden dinner table with delicious foods. (Wikipedia)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The Little Match Girl by H.C. Andersen (1805-1875)

This story is my most favourite fairy tale of all time and it moves me to tears to read this sad story with such a sad ending. The tale makes me think with empathy and compassion on people less fortunate than we are these days and it makes me help them actively. Here is the rest of the story in this link. Wikipedia article on the fairy tale is this:

“The Little Match Girl” Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne) is a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a young girl who dies selling matches during the cold winter. It was first published in 1848 as part of his fifth volume of Nye Eventyr (New Fairy Tales) as “Den Lille Pige Med Svovlstikkerne” (“The Little Girl with the Sulfursticks”). It was night on New Year’s Eve, and a poor, little match girl was out on the streets selling matches.

Although she was cold and hungry, with neither hat nor shoes, she was afraid to go home as her father would surely beat her when he found out she did not sell any matches that day. In a nook between two buildings, she wanted to warm herself by lighting matches. In the light of the first match she saw a hot iron stove, but the fire was soon blown out by the howling wind. She lit a second match and saw a fully laden dinner table with delicious foods.  (Wikipedia)

And here is a You Tube silent black & white movie on this book:

What is Your Favourite Fairy Tale?

        Tis for now, Rii xx 

CHILD MATTERS or Slavery in Modern Times


“Twice a year in Carrickmacross and surrounding towns a fair was held where men and girls rented their labour to well-to-do farmers for six months. It was Ireland’s version of the slave market.”
(Patrick Kavanagh ‘The Hired Boy’)


As you know by my blogs, that I do have varied interests in life and the living all the way from fashion, humour, blondes & photos, even frogs et funerals to anything in-between to the more serious matters of current affairs, politics and policies, so here is a more serious one on this Children’s Day in Finland. This is an updated entry of autumn 2006.

A Few Facts on the Child Labour/Slavery
:

  • Child labour is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. (World Bank Org.)
  • Children work the longest hours and are the worst paid of all labourers (The International Labour Office ILO in the World Bank Study Bequele and Boyden 1988).
  • Just 5 per cent of child labour worldwide is for the export industry. The rest is for local agriculture and domestic work in people’s homes. (The International Labour Organisation estimate)
  • One in eight children (179 million) around the world are involved in the worst forms of child labour – work which is hazardous to their physical, mental or moral well being. (The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimate. BBC article(old) estimate 246 million (from years ago).
  • In Africa one in three children have jobs.
  • There are an estimated 500,000 child soldiers worldwide.

CHILD LABOR: ISSUES, CAUSES AND INTERVENTION (World Bank Org.)

I did some research into the matter, so I decided to compile a few thoughts and facts on the same. First of all, it is not a new phenomenon but has been since time immemorial in almost every country in the world. We in the Western Europe do not have it blatantly into our face presently, but nevertheless it is there, as more and more of these children are smuggled into our towns and even into our neighbourhoods.

Secondly, as we see from the Facts above that I listed: only 5 per cent of the child labour is involved with the export business in the countries, the rest being in the domestic trades in their respective nations. This piece of news is most certainly ‘news’ to me for I have thought that the children would have been the main slave labour for producing export goods.

Anybody who has read/seen the films about the Dickens’ books like ‘Oliver Twist’ is acutely aware that the west has had their share of the children being treated as ‘nothing, nobody’ until the compulsory education, the child allowance and the general benevolence towards children became more of the norm. I am using that expression because as we know the child abuse is still rather widespread – but just in another way. The opening quote on this entry by Patrick Kavanagh was true to many other nations’ children in the times past, including Finland.
Even more facts:

  1. The International Labour Organization in 2005 estimated at least 2.4 million people have been trafficked.
  2. The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million children under 16 are trafficked worldwide each year. (Daily Telegraph article online 4.6.2006)


UNICEF CHILD LABOUR QUIZZ in this link.

Fired Up Blonde, Riihele xx


The solution to this problem lies in my mind:

1.)

With the LEADERS of these nations who have the power to change the circumstances of these children through the legislation via education to empower them. Also, the children’s allowance et cetera to make it worthwhile, so that the parents need not ‘sell’ or be forced to ‘hand over’ their children to this slavery. (It is the relatives in many cases who are forced to hand in the children as pawns for life because of debts accumulated.)
There is no excuse to say that there are no funds; I will not buy into that as other nations have done it with the means that they had at the time e.g. Finland from 1948 started to pay children’s allowance even though it was only three years after the wars while at the same time still paying both to Russia (reparation) and USA (loan) huge amounts of money and after losing tens of thousands of men in their best working age at the WWII.
2.)

The International Community at large through e.g. organizations* to implement pressure on the leadership in these nations to stop treating their young worse than cattle and give them life as a human beings fully participating in their own life and living.
( aka *ILO, World Bank, UNICEF et cetera)

I have already quoted articles by The World Bank, ILO – The International Labor Organisation et cetera – meaning: they know the problem and it is the high time to do something about it all instead just compiling more figures of the same!!

There are other things as the international business and manufacturing industry that many mentioned in the comments previously: yes shame and name them.

This will solve the other 5 per cent of the actual problem.

NOTICE:
Only 5 per cent of the children are made to work in the export trade. That means that the 95 per cent are not. (These figures by ILO = The International Labour Organisation).

Child Matters pun in the name is this that a CHILD DOES MATTER; and also ‘matters’ as in subjects, issues, items, topics, questions and things concerning children.

Incidents & Such Like: EEJIT!

This is an Incident that happened many years ago in Ireland.

I have divided The Incidents into The Comical, The Dangerous and The Thinking About Them Ones. This one belongs to the first mentioned ones The Comical. The story is like this:

We have this Irish/American family as very good friends and we were used to spending a lot time with them while they lived in Ireland as well. She – the Lady of the Family – is and was one of the greatest RT-therapists of all-time and we did have such time-consuming sessions of the same female pursuit. My daughters were no problem to have tagging along as they are so into the RT- retail therapy themselves; the trickier ones were her three sons that failed to see, neither to understand the finer points of the said pastime. They had to be bribed to not to complain nor to sigh deeply every five minutes, never mind not to have fits and so on. That was always the hardest part of every shopping trip.

We were going to head one morning to a session and to make the experience smooth for all, we got the older boys to agree to be at their best behaviour but the last and also the toughest one to convince was always, Daniel, the youngest son of just a bit older than one year but who had such an amazing command of words for his age.

Daniel in his diapers, cherubic as always, was there leaning on the counter looking like a casual cowboy while drinking his morn bottle when we were going to put clothes on him, telling him at the same time that how great he was and what a brilliant time we were all going to have and did the marketing-the-idea-bit to him to the T; as we thought anyway.

Saying:

“If you are a really, really good boy in the shops, you will get to go for a ride in the Postman Pat Wagon in the shopping centre!”

Daniel thinks and ponders for a moment, takes off the bottle of his lips, still leaning casually and says:

“Postman Pat is a Flippin’ Eejit anyway!!!”

Am afraid we lost the plot at that stage for we started to laugh in hysterics and he won that round.

Anytime after that when we see the toy or the programme on TV, what Daniel said pops to our minds and makes us roar laughing once again.

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

* Eejit is Irish expression for Idiot.

ARISTOCATS – The NOBLE CATS

Marie of Aristocats

This is one of the very favourite children’s videos that I love since
I first met these noble Aristocats through my children when they were small.
I particularly like this part of the film where all three kittens:
Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse barge in through the cat-flap,
and what Marie says about ‘Ladies’!!

“The Aristocats is a 1970 animated feature produced and released by Walt Disney Productions. The twentieth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, the story revolves around a family of aristocratic cats, and how an alley cat acquaintance helps prevent a butler from kidnapping them to gain his mistress’ fortune. This film is noted for being the last film to be approved by Walt Disney himself; he died in 1966, while the film was still in early production. It was originally released to theaters by Buena Vista Distribution on December 11, 1970.

Set in Paris, France in the year 1910, this is the story about a mother cat named Duchess and her three kittens: her cute daughter Marie, and her two sons Berlioz and Toulouse. The mother cat faces many obstacles raising her children. They live in the mansion of retired opera singer Adelaide Bonfamille, along with her evil butler Edgar who has a big nose, Frou Frou the horse, and Roquefort the mouse, who is a good friend of the cats. ” (Wikipedia)

The title is a pun on the word aristocrats.

Tis for now. Rii xx

Motherhood Finnish-Irish Style

MOMS
“The art of motherhood involves much silent, unobtrusive self-denial, an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute.”
Honore De Balzac

The brilliant thing about an international motherhood is that you can take the best of all the worlds and combine them into a tasty mixed salad of varied ingredients. That is: when both the parents are from the different nations with the clan roots of each one going to a whole lot of other nations. Also, when both have lived in various nations it all adds up to a pretty interesting mixture all-in-all!

When I got pregnant with my first baby, I took it for granted that the maternity care and the whole set-up would be like the Finnish one – the previous link tells the official Finnish Government information about the topic and this one is about the system in Finland – this link tells about having a baby in Finland written by two American journalists. It was published in The Washington Post in 2005. But, oh, how wrong I was! The antenatal care of the newly-baked mother begins well before the birth in Finland as one is to register in the Maternity and Baby Clinic within a few days of the confirmed pregnancy. That is the why that the lowest mortality rates in the world are in Finland for both the mother and the baby. In the clinic there are the midwives that are main caregivers and only if there are major complications or other health reasons, such as diabetics, does the mum-in-waiting be referred to the doctor for the all the care needed for during the pregnancy and the delivery of the baby.

The brilliancy of this system is that the clinic and the parent/s get to know one another really well and the aftercare – the postnatal care – is of a much higher standard when people are familiar with the whole situation from beginning to the end. The midwife is actively involved with the mother and the baby for the first few years of the child’s life – again adding to the continuation of the care.

The system in Ireland – the links tells about the Irish point of view into matters of maternity care and delivery of the baby – is not like that, but one has to go – as in my case – privately to the special doctor, that is the obstetrician – the link explains what is all about – to ‘get the show on the road’ – to have the baby-project going to its final end for the entire nine-month period of expecting the baby. Also, in Ireland you do not see neither meet the midwife until on the D-day. Some people do the home delivery-thing but for me the reason that the birth mortality rates have gone down in the west and elsewhere is the very fact that there are the modern hospital facilities at one’s disposal right then and there. In my case that is the only reason we – the babies and I survived – there would have been no change of survival otherwise!

These people at the La Leche League of Ireland were of great help to in my early days of motherhood in the alien land. One time I had some difficulties with Becki crying all evenings for days on end so that this new mama was absolutely shattered, through the grapevine of this organisation, a person living locally was dispatched to see what the situation was and she had it sorted out in a few minutes. The trouble was that Becki was sucking too greedily and getting a build-up of excess wind in the tummy which caused the crying. The remedy was to let her suck each time for 5 minutes only, then taking her off the breast and winding her and after that she could suck as long as she wanted. That was it. It stopped then and there for good.

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.
Meryl Streep

This for now, Rii xx

The photo is off the net.


Winnie-The-Pooh: Wise Words from a Little Bear

Winnie the Pooh

I am very fond of The Winnie-the-Pooh. I got to know him and his pals – the link is into just-pooh.com – through my daughters while they were young. The story has the most marvellous fictional personalities like: Winnie-the-Pooh, Roo the Kangaroo, Owl the Old Wise One and The Always-Depressed Eeyore. Many a time I ask people which one of them is their favourite one – I have found that it tells a lot more of the person in question and their personality than one thinks. It is sort of a mini personality test of its own kind.

Here is the New York Public Library link to more trivia and interesting details of the story of the Winnie and his friends. My favourite character by a mile is Tigger – the link is into just-pooh.com – that bouncing, flouncing tiger of the happiest disposition ever! He makes me laugh so much. The actor who does Tigger’s voice is spot-on with the drawn picture of him. This is the way he often introduces himself:

“Tee aye double-guh err, that’s how you spell Tigger.”

I was reading today the book by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard called –Winnie-the-Pooh’s Little Book of Wisdom* – (The Methuen Imprint by Egmont Children’s Books Limited.) Here is a link to where the ‘original’  Winnie is at present. This tells more about the author and this gives background information to the story of the Winnie-the-Pooh.

I found such wonderful pearls of wisdom in this book which has this other title as well:
Wise Words from a Bear of Very Little Brain. Here are some pearls, the first 3 have been in an earlier entry as well but I like these very ones the best:

Don’t Procrastinate
If you are always saying, ‘We’ll see,’
nothing ever happens.

Insight
It’s best to know what you are
looking for before you look for it.

Organisation
Is what happens when you
do a search and you don’t all look
in the same place.

Don’t Worry
When you get a sinking feeling,
don’t worry, it’s probably because
you’re hungry.

A Little Philosophy
Sometimes, the more you think,
the more there is no real answer.

Companionship
It isn’t much good having anything exciting,
if you can’t share it with somebody.
It’s so much more friendly with two.

Take the Initiative
Like Rabbit, never let things come to you,
always go out and fetch them.

Gastronomic Disappointment
A Very Nearly tea is one
you forget about afterwards.

Manners
Always say Goodbye-and-thank-you
-for-a-nice-time.

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Clan Gathers & Gatherings

RIVER TORNIO

”The lack of emotional security of our American* young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit.
No two people – no mere father and mother – as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.”

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)
Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (1932)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1938)

It has been both fashionable and popular to have these meetings of people related to one another in Finland, and our clan, for example, has been having these gatherings for over twenty years, but for me the Clan Gathering of summer 2004 was my first ever. It was amazing to be together with about 100 plus of one’s own flesh and blood! Our clan is much, much larger than that and spread all over the globe. This number – 100 of those present – is really only chicken feed compared to ALL the relatives that belong to our clan, although for whatever reason they did not come to the gathering in Lapland, nor to the latest gathering we had last weekend in the Northern Finland. The Clan Gathering of 2004 was in our home village of Ylitornio, Lapland, and this year it was not as far north.

The photo was taken in the middle of the night and I think it was about or after midnight. It was so bright with the sun still not gone to bed. The sun does not go-to-bed there for several weeks over the summer months. It is also hard for the humans to hit the sack, as it is simply too sunny right through the night to even feel tired. It was so exiting to be back in our home territory, where we were born and where we grew up. You might be aware of this, that Lapland is called the Land of the Midnight Sun. Yes, all of Finland is claiming that title, as a matter of fact, though not quite so! SORRY, Suomi !! That is Finland in Finnish.

I have posted this photograph as my very first photograph in my very first blog, because this is where my story began all those years ago. My younger sister took it in Ylitornio, the place where I was born and where I grew up ’til I was eleven years old. Or should I say, as it says, in my passport, though in fact, I was born in a town nearby called, Tornio. The area in Lapland , where these places are situated, is right at the Swedish border. It is said to be the most peaceful border on the globe. There is great action happening across the Väylä – the Tornio River- that separates the villages of Finnish Ylitornio and the Swedish side of the village called – Övertorneå .

I have been back since the move from Lapland in Ylitornio a good few times and one of the times we stayed in a cottage of a resort there for a spring holiday. I had thought that I had forgotten how to ski with no chance to ski in other countries I had lived in – but on that break, I realized that what one learns while young, stays in the noggin well! I did enjoy the skiing at that time, for I used to dislike the skiing at school because it was terrible to nearly kill oneself with all that exercise and then after showering, having to go into the class! Phew. I would have loved to be able to just chill and do après ski…

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
Jane Howard

The following visit there was not until this Clan Gathering our clan had there in the summer of 2004. It was the most interesting time to meet so many of the cousins and the other relatives that I had even never seen before. The emphasis of that gathering was on our branch of the clan – that is my maternal granddad. Our locally living cousins had prepared a most detailed and varied programme to take in as much as possible of the life and happenings of his life into it.

It was brilliant, ooh so marvellous, to hear my first language and old dialect – Meän kieli – again after all these years! We did not call that dialect with that name while living in there, it was only known then as “to speak with the letter H” or something like that. Only recently have I heard that new name for the language. Our cousins used it with relish in their guiding the party all around Ylitornio and Tornio, – on the Finnish side of the river, and Haparanda and Övertorneå – on the Swedish side of the River Tornio. We had a delicious dinner in Aavasaksa and a tour of the site and plenty of photographs were taken there. It is a most wonderful feeling to be part of a family, a clan and people that have common roots and common blood. Yes, it does give one a marvellous sense of security of belonging and not being an alien in an alien land nor a stranger in a strange country!

I was told by one of my slightly older cousins that I used to speak, as he put it – a colourful language – when I was small!! That means that I was effing and blinding** as the Irish say, like a twenty-stone dock worker. This cousin reminded me of an incident that happened when I was six-years old: our Granny had given us cousins, about ten to fifteen of us, just a few pence to buy sweets. All the other grandchildren of hers were overwhelmed with thankfulness, except me.***

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past,
bridge to our future.

Alex Haley
Tis for now – Riihele xx.

* I would say: The whole Western world, and not just America!

** = cursing and swearing
*** What I did state after receiving that morsel of a pocket money from poor Granny was:

“One cannot even buy s**t with this!!” We, as in my siblings and I, were used to receiving much bigger pocket monies. So, knowing what one could get with money …. My, my what a brat!! I remember that our usually so patient and kind to me Granny went ballistic and just screamed for help to the other grown-ups.

JOKE: FLYING PIGS

Flying Pig

“Why
or
why
do pigs
fly?!”

Lynne did a blog entry on her daughter’s why’s on June 8 2007, and it made me remember what my words were for the daughters, when they were in the ‘why’ age (2-5) maybe even slightly later. This was my comment on her entry on the same:

‘This makes me SMILE for when my girls where younger and in this ‘why-stage’ – they knew WHEN to stop these why’s at the point, when having answered a zillion of them, my answer became:

*Oh why, oh why do pigs fly?!!*

I sorely needed a break off the why’s for a while and at that point they got the hint – every time!!’

The most amusing thing about all these why’s and questions was that, when most of the time I did know the answers, their comment was an admiring:

“WOW Mum, you know EVERYTHING!

Then those times when I did not know, their comment was a very blunt:

“YOU know NOTHING!”

“When pigs fly” is an idiomatic way of saying that something will never happen. Pigs are heavy animals, without wings, and cannot possibly fly. So “when pigs fly” is a time that will never come. The phrase is similar to others such as “when hell freezes over” and the Latin phrase “ad Kalendas Graecas.

The idiom is apparently derived from a centuries-old Scottish proverb, though some other references to pigs flying or pigs with wings are more famous. Here is one such reference from Lewis Carroll:

“Thinking again?” the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.

“I’ve a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.

“Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs have to fly….” —

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, chapter 9.” (Wikipedia)

Possibly the first occurrence of a pig actually flying occurred in 1909 when the British aviation pioneer Lord Brabazon made the first live air cargo flight with a pig in a basket tied to a wing-strut of his airplane. (Wikipedia)

Tis for now. Rii xx

The picture is off the net.

Irish Humour: PUT THE KETTLE ON!

Kettle

In Ireland years ago, when the workmen came to
do their jobs in one's home,
the very first thing they'd say was:

*Put the kettle on*, Missus!!

They would not do a tap without a pot of freshly brewed tea first!
Nowadays, they are far too busy – as in ‘time is money’ – to do that.

Aaaah, ‘times they do change.’

You have surely heard of the ‘Polly Put the Kettle on’
and here is the history behind this rhyme:

“Polly put the kettle on” was published in 1797.

The origin of “Polly put the kettle on” was based on the author having five children – two boys and three girls. There were constant arguments as the boys wanted to play soldiers and the girls wanted to play house!

When the girls wanted to play without their brothers they would
pretend to start a game of tea party

“Polly put the kettle on” and the daughter, called Polly,
would put the toy kettle on! As soon as the brothers
left Sukey (or Susan) would take it off again!

Their father was so amused by this ploy that he set it to words
and added the music which were subsequently published.

Tis for now. Rii xx