Note: The older the entry, the unlikelier outside links are to work.

Oct. 31: Halloween
By: Jani | Archives

Today's the day when... who knows what today is for? Say "Halloween" to people, and most of them will probably think of kids trick-or-treating, or dressing up as a serial killer or carving a pumpkin head with a candle inside. For most people (and I'm referring to us non-Americans here), none of these things are a part of our own childhood. They're just images that keep being bombarded by American media on us. So we know all the great Halloween traditions, and we might even buy a glow-in-the-dark ghost because today is Halloween. We might even think we've missed on something because we haven't had Halloween as kids.
Which is exactly why Halloween has become so "popular" throughout the world. If there was nothing in it for anyone, why would we need to absorb a tradition that's silly and has not been a national tradition earlier? It's because those glow-in-the-dark ghosts and other crap needs to be sold. Shopowners are wild about the possibility to sell stuff some months before Christmas, stuff that they'd never get off their hands otherwise. So we have an artificial amount of advertising reminding people that it's Halloween, making them somehow think that it's something they should participate in by buying vampire fangs.

The same thing has happened with Valentine's Day: because the whole idea of the day is to send mail, postal companies are thrilled about it. In fact, in Finland it's gone so far that the day is called "Friends' day," meaning that you should send a post card to all your friends on this special day, not just your lover. Of course, the postal service won't stop reminding us that it's an obligation we just have to do. Because it's Valentine's Day. Sorry, "Friends' Day". What a great tradition. Although maybe next year the postal companies won't be so thrilled about the extra millions of envelopes that could be carrying some white powder along with the nicely-decorated card.

There is one positive side of Halloween marketing as well that I should bring up: it postpones Christmas marketing nicely. In countries where Halloween is still not a big deal yet (like Finland), the Christmas marketing can start in October already. By the time December comes along, you've had it with the color red. With Halloween, you'll at least be able to see some orange before the red hits in.

Oct. 30: Moments before the Masquerade
By: Tero | Archives

It seems there will be no Halloween festivities for me this year. There were many invitations to party up in the capital, but where I am now there is absolutely no chance in hell to be part of a scary costume party or similar nonsense. Well, I must admit that the thought of having to spend Halloween in Southern Chile, with the nightly temperatures approaching 0 degrees celsius, and where nobody is organising any type of party at all, is scary enough. But if you need a mask, try finding one here.

Now that CNN and all other major media is full with news of war, a refreshing approach is found on Russian newspaper Pravda's homepage. Check it out, there are some hilarious stories.

Oct. 25: WTC-humor revisited
By: Jani | Archives

Thanks a ton to all contributors, I'm starting to own a decent collection of Bin Laden-, WTC- and Pentagon-humor. Unfortunately, since the web space that the service-provider for Morg gives is so limited (5 lousy Mb), I'm never going to have enough space to post them all here. So either I'll a) open a free account somewhere and post them there or b) ask someone with a credit card to sponsor me with $19 so that I can open up sometime in the near future. If you feel like you have too much money on your bank account, send me a note :-)

*NEWSFLASH* It's official: you've just witnessed the first use of a "smiley" on Morg. I promise I'll continue avoiding them in the future *NEWSFLASH*

With the few kilobytes left on my account, I'm able to share two pictures with you: WTC Puzzle (yes, the name pretty much gives the joke away...) and Who Wants to be a Millionare. Also, a joke that in clinical studies has proven to be very laugh-inducing:

The year is 2025. A father and his little boy are walking through Manhattan. The father points out a site and says: "Son, that's where the World Trade Center used to be." The little boy asks: "Daddy what's the World Trade Center?" The father says: "They were the two largest office towers in the world until they were destroyed in 2001 when the Arabs flew some airliners into them." The little boy thinks for a minute and says: "Daddy......what's an Arab?"

Heart-felt apologies to all offended parties.

Oct. 16: Random humor
By: Jani | Archives

When there's precious little time that Jani spends on the Internet, when there's no acute editorial that he has on his mind, when he's only waiting for that fixed-line cable-modem internet access before doing anything major on the site, you know what to expect: Random humor!
Tero mentioned crazy things Finns do, and humppa is a very important addition to the list. Read, listen and weep (from laughter or sadness, your call).
I also came across a site over the weekend that has some pretty funny MP3s from "Weird Al" Yankovic and Adam Sandler, among others. Some of my favorites: The Severe Beating of a High School Science Teacher and Cats in the Kettle.

I also have enough material to do a revisit to WTC-related humor. If you've come across any new pieces, keep sending them to me. I'm thinking about establishing a library for them (how does sound?) For now, I'll hold on to the ones I've got until my next panic attack that something should be added to the site. 2000 visitors -mark about to break...

Oct. 10: Rumours & Myths
By: Tero | Archives

Each passing day there are more and more paranoid people out there, worrying if their drinking water is drinkable or if the Big Mac has anthrax. Although I personally believe that the Big Mac actually contains worse things than that, it is besides the point here. The point I am trying to make is that during difficult and scary times such as the world is living these days, people tend to get over-geared and over-paranoid about everything. Sure, if you had your office on the 97th floor of the WTC, I can't blame you, but for the rest of us (a few billion I think?) it should not be so black and white. The fact is that a few more police officers or national guards will not be able to stop the next wave of fork fielding hijackers, who are out there for sure, just waiting for their chance. So, what can we do? Ground all planes and go back to good old steam boats? Not really, they can be sunk too. The most sensible answer on how to deal with the current situation is to not spread rumours, not be paranoid about everything and use your common sense in dealing with day to day matters. I.e. avoid McDonalds!
Anyway, to help you out, read about some urban legends on the recent terrorist attacks and other issues. If you feel like really sinking into it, check out some of the myths about Atlantis. Here you can find some good general info on all those computer hoaxes and viruses.

I am sure you have always wondered how it would be possible to combine the two things you love so much: Soccer and Swamps! Now you can! For the Finns (who else? They hold air guitar championships as well...) have created a tough sport called swampsoccer. Good choice for those who still get Mom to do all the washing.

Oct. 5: Euro is a-coming
By: Jani | Archives

I'd wanted to write something about the euro when there were 100 days left to its "birth", but then the shit hit the fan (or rather, the plane hit the building) and I've been busy and bla bla bla. So, to commemorate "80 days til the euro", here's a short commentary. For facts, check out the official euro website. It's in 11 languages, so you don't have to continue reading this imperialistic language that even Morg has succumbed to.
To tell you the truth, I think the euro is going to have a much larger effect on the world as a whole than the WTC attacks. And imagining how big those effects are, that's saying a lot. But like the attacks were unique in many ways, the euro is in even more ways. Never have several countries given up their own currencies to create a completely new currency, which they all have as much (or as little) control over. And we're talking about major currencies here, like the French franc, deutschmark, and Finnish markka. What's more, the currency-area is expected to grow in the near future and include new countries within Europe. So almost by default, the currency is going to gain increasingly more weigth. Although several countries are adopting the dollar as their currency, they don't gain any control over it, but give up their fiscal policy to the US Federal Bank. The European Central Bank, however, is at least expected to somehow represent all the nations using the euro.
The effects of the new currency work on so many levels - personal, national, regional, global - in so many ways that, although the currency has existed for almost two years already, it's amazing how few people have taken notice of it. Of course, to most people the personal is the most important level, and that's going to be affected really only once the cash gets into circulation.
What's my point? I don't know, what am I saying? The euro is an interesting experiment and event, well worth observing. It might fail horribly, but I hope it's going to be a success. And all those people that are whining that losing their own currency is killing their "national identity" should think how strong is a national identity based on some coins and notes. National identities aren't going anywhere yet, much more is needed to wipe them out: common defense, common language, common government... Sorry, was I daydreaming?

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