Finland’s love affair with Donald Duck

One recent late night, when I should have been writing, and was instead scrolling up and down my Facebook page, I saw the status of an acquaintance of mine – a Formula One reporter on Finnish TV – in which he wrote: “Heard that a version of my name may have been used in the Donald Duck magazine. Can anybody confirm that?”

A couple of days later, I asked him if he’d heard anything. He hadn’t. Then I asked him why he had asked that. 

“It’d be a great honor to be featured in the Donald Duck magazine,” he said. 

We go back a long way. This is the oldest toy I have left.

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Culinary time travel

Erik Haag and Lotta Lundgren went time traveling and spent time in the 18th and 19th century, in the 1940s, and the 1970s. They didn’t use a DeLorean. They used food.

Maybe this is the last year we all walk around carrying takeaway coffee cups, sipping our lattes, and using coffee shops as our offices away from our home offices. It doesn’t seem likely, but surely there must come a time when our nutritional habits have changed so much that even an idea of somebody eating on the run seems odd, let alone that they would carry hot, addictive liquids with them.

“Food is culture,” says Lotta Lundgren, a Swedish food writer, and one of the two stars of Historieätarna, a TV show about Swedish food – and culture – in different eras.

And since food is culture, it’s apt to change.

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Fear of speed

Tachophobia is the condition of having an abnormal, extreme, and persistent fear of speed, that is, the experience of traveling quickly.

Each new generation seems to be moving faster than the last one. Take any sport, for example, and you will see world records broken, even if they seemed impregnable when they were set. Yes, Jim Hines, the first person to run 100 meters in under ten seconds, held his world record for 15 years, but his time of 9.95 seconds at the 1968 Olympics would have landed him in sixth place in Beijing 2008.

We are always trying to go and be faster. Faster is the first word of the Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius – Swifter, Higher, Stronger. Almost as soon as we learn to walk, we start to run. Just ten years after Henry Ford introduced the Model T, attempts were made to build a car that would fly. And with his Model T, Ford developed the assembly line, a method of faster, uniform production that revolutionized manufacturing.

The Finnish Flash.

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Anger management

Below is a story I wrote for Profile. Also, in the issue, there’s a fairytale version of a version of this. Check it out*.

According to legend, Icarus didn’t listen to his father and flew too close to the sun, melting his wings. Angry Birds are ready to take their chances to become legendary. Then again, they aim for the moon.

Peter Vesterbacka has been called the most connected man in Finland, which, at face value, might not seem like much. Finland is, after all, a country with just a little over five million people. Vesterbacka’s rolodex, however, is not limited to just Finnish-sounding names.


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“Agoraphobia is a condition where the sufferer becomes anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Triggers for this anxiety may include open spaces, crowds (social anxiety), or traveling (even short distances). Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public.”

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