So I'm ashamed to say that what with all the recent excitement, I entirely forgot about Euroviisut (as the Finns say) until I cracked open my copy of the New Yorker (shut up) this morning to find a fucking hilarious article on this year's contest by Anthony Lane. A taste:
"A deranged Estonian pianist smacked his keyboard with one raised fist, like a butcher flattening an escalope of veal. A pair of ice-white blondes, one with a squeezebox, decided to revive the moribund tradition of oompah-pah--or presumably, because they were Finnish, oom-päa-päa [sic]. A Belgian boy came on to croon 'Me and My Guitar,' otherwise known as 'Him and His Crippling Delusion....A smirking Serb of indeterminate gender, wearing a tailcoat, sang flat, hiccupping now and then for dramatic effect. Order was at first restored by Marcin Mrozinski, from Poland, who was backed by five demure women in national dress, and then destroyed as two of the women tore the white blouse off the third, to reveal a sort of peasant boob tube. An old Eurovision trick, this: the mid-song strip, timed to coincide with musical fatigue."I could go on. Of course, Lane is British, and states this from the outset, because while people there feel about it much like I imagine Americans feel about, say, White Castle, a disgusting yet irresistible part of their national landscape, it is absolutely verboten for anybody outside the EU to diss Eurovision. All the same, the Brits are EV snobs, and, oh, never mind. The whole point of this (just typed "pint") is to say that I'm realizing how this move to the U.S. feels like I'm one step farther away from Finland, where, by the time I left, I'd spent as much time as in my precious Toronto. Adding to the uncanny effect is the media buyout of this (June 28) issue of the New Yorker by Canadian advertisers, to draw attention north to the G8, an event that is, IMHO, even more ridiculous than Eurovision.
One of the things people ask when they learn I lived in a foreign-speaking country for that long is, How is your Finnish these days? While based in sheer interest (or politesse), surely, for me it's a humiliating question: given that I have occasion to use Finnish outside Finland approximately once a year, when addressing Christmas cards to family there, "my Finnish" is suffering. I've resorted to carrying around my Finnish-English dictionaries, each of which weighs approximately as much as a two-year-old human child, from apartment to apartment as penance, in hopes of maybe coming across a word that needs translating.
Even Mr. O is losing the Finnish fever that attacked him so near-fatally in our first years in Toronto (to be fair, he did admit he would rather have made such a move as a younger man, before he was so set in his ways). Over the last few months, with New York on the horizon, he made overtures to our future return to Toronto, or Canada in general, a permanent settlement which he once in an argument accused me of holding behind my back like a secret plot or an ace of spades. I offered to put it in writing that such plot did not exist, and that Finland was certainly a first choice should we ever have kids that needed to be educated, for instance. I mean, who could deny a child such a cultural cornucopia as the lyrics to Latvia's 2010 entry "What For?":
I've asked my Uncle JoeIn closing I'd like to announce that Mr. O got his SSN card yesterday, which brings with it many happy things including a paycheck and a large dose of relief that somehow motivated me to start up this blog again after thinking about it for weeks. We're going to celebrate by getting blasted on vodka and eating meatballs and herring with a good Finnish friend at a Nordic restaurant tomorrow night, in honour of Juhannus or midsummer, an unforgettable Finnish holiday. Kippis.
But he can't speak
Why does the wind still blow?
And blood still leaks?
So many questions now
With no reply
What for do people live until they die?
Only Mr. God knows why
(But) His phone today is out of range.