Fifty Shades of Autumn in Helsinki

Ticket to Adventures

Autumn – the most beautiful time of the year in terms of colours – is here in Helsinki and nature has now completely changed its colours from green to all shades of yellow, orange, red and auburn.

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This playful game of changing of the colours is what we call ruska in Finnish. The peak season normally only lasts for a couple of weeks in October. During the past few weeks mother nature has really given its best here in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.

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Home is Behind; the World Ahead

Jennifer Bresnick

IS5eqngy07rd5k0000000000I visited New York this weekend, for a short but multi-purpose trip back to my ancestral homeland.  As many of you know, I spent the first 17 years of my life on Long Island, in a bustling yet somewhat brutal suburb of the great City itself.

New Yorkers are generally very proud of where they live, and remain proud of where they come from if they happen to move away.  They retain their stereotypical attitude (which is, if anything, underplayed in the media) and their propensity for tailgating on the highway.

They can never eat a bagel or slice of pizza without loudly proclaiming its inferiority to the cuisine of their youth (it’s the water, don’t you know), and they will forever be shocked that businesses, restaurants, and public transportation options close before midnight in towns that approach life at a slower pace.

While I’m certainly guilty of maintaining some of these…

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If you’re going to wear a poppy, wear a white one

Wee Ginger Dug

Every year the poppy parading gets earlier and earlier like Christmas adverts. The poppy police have been out in force since mid October, complaining that there are people on the telly not bearing the obligatory badge of British militarism. If you don’t wear a poppy you don’t support the troops, and if you don’t support the troops then you’re practically a member of ISIS.

It’s not enough to remember the dead in your own way. It’s not allowed to light a quiet candle in your heart. It’s not permitted to make a donation in private to a charity of your choice. You have to make a show of it. You have to make a public display in an establishment approved manner, a way that doesn’t challenge or question, a way that won’t rock any boats or change anything that the powerful do. Poppies are the regimentation of remembrance. We remember…

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I don’t wear poppies, and this image perfectly encapsulates why

Another angry woman

Content warning: this post discusses death and war

The Royal British Legion tweeted this image of a fundraising event. Look at it.

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In the image, four children aged around twelve stand, holding gigantic plastic poppies. Three of the children wear t-shirts saying “Future Soldier”.

The poppy was once a symbol to remind us of the senseless massacre of millions upon millions of people in muddy fields far away from home. The poppy was supposed to say never again to the horrors of a spat between politicians murdering a generation. What it is now is a symbol of militarism, and standard used to recruit children to don a uniform and go off and get themselves killed. It means the opposite of what it is supposed to.

I admit I’d stopped wearing the red poppy about six or seven years ago. I am not sure if it was because my eyes opened to…

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From “CHOAM” to “Chewbacca”: 10 Ways to Create New Words for New Worlds

Word Jazz

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/insidethemagic/5737573149/ Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/insidethemagic/5737573149/

Imagine you are some deity about to create a new universe from scratch, including all of its stars and planets, mountains and oceans, plants and animals. You’ll probably start with a handful of subatomic particles, a sprinkling of energy, and give it all a good mix together. If, as is more likely, you are a writer trying to build a new universe on your typewriter your building blocks are going to be different. To create a new Star Wars galaxy, or the desert planet of Arrakis, or the island of Westeros, you’re going to need new words – and more than just a few of them…

2015 is quite a year for science fiction fans. This December will see the release of the seventh chapter in the Star Wars series, The Force Awakens, one of the most eagerly anticipated films of all time – and

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Sitting in Bryant Park With You

Dropped Calls

bryant9791

Sitting in Bryant Park With You

Is even more fun than singing Bon Jovi
with Puerto Ricans in Old San Juan,
or faking my German through East Berlin
clubs, or even ditching out of the studio,
my vintage Fender guitar still buzzing through
the neglected amp as I dashed out
on my friend to meet you in Washington Square.
Partly because in your red summer dress
you look like a happier St. Anne
(saint of the childless), partly
because of my infatuation with you,
partly because your love of donuts,
partly because of the descending fountain,
men playing bocce, the impromptu reading room,
the elegant NYPL standing sentinel over us,
partly the secrecy of our smiles,
like we know something
they don’t.

It is hard to believe when I’m with you
there can be anything as still,
as pleasantly definitive,
as absolutely rooted when we are right
in front of…

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