Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb


January 2014 in LA

Blink once; then, again.  Two decades gone –it seems like yesterday.

The date was January 17th 1994.  The location was my then house on The Strand in Manhattan Beach.  At around 4:31 AM, when the deep sleep is best just before the dawn, I was in the cozy embrace of a pleasant dream.  There is something special about sleeping by the ocean—the rhythmic rumble creates a strange stillness over the dark waves that is calming.  I was at peace in ‘never/never’ land.

Manhattan Beach homes on the Strand

Manhattan Beach homes on the Strand

THEN—the Pacific Ocean seemed to erupt in huge explosions, complete with sharp flashes of brilliant light!  Had the bombing started?  Was this World War III??  Was Manhattan Beach going to be the next Pearl Harbor???  My Dad watched the bombing of Helsinki.  Was his Daughter to witness the same here????  Was this my 1939 in the City of Angels?????  Would I become an Angel??????


It is totally amazing to go from ZZZZZZ to such thoughts while your body is catapulting itself out of bed and into the pretend safety of the door frame to hold on for dear life.  Holy Shnikey, where are my shoes?  I need to find my children!

The human mind has capacities unexplored … .

Californians are so familiar with the ‘rock ‘n roll’ of earthquakes they do not get too excited about a simple ‘shaker’.  But, when the shuttering house started twisting with the timbers creaking and the sound of glass breaking all around, it was time to get excited!  We have been waiting for the “Big One”—this one felt like “it”.

When an old house at the beach built on a ‘bedrock’ of sand gets whacked with severe, heavy-duty jerking, good sense suggests that it is about to come crashing down at any minute.  Turns out, those seismic ‘shock waves’ travel rapidly through all sorts of terrain, but come to a jolting stop when they hit sand—sort of like the car crash tests insurance companies like to put into commercials to convince you to buy a car with lots of air bags.  Since the house had been built maybe 70 years before, it did not come equipped with air bags, but it had survived some serious quakes before.  Tough timbers—real plaster.  Saved from a disaster!

Back In The Saddle Again…

This was not my “first rodeo”.  I do not refer to the horse-bucking sport, nor to the shopping venue in Beverly Hills.  Earthquakes teach many lessons.  After one quake in the late ‘80s in my office downtown where bookcases came crashing down on my desk and the loss of electricity stopped elevators from functioning, I decided having a portable, battery operated radio would be a must.  You really do need to find out how bad things are and what actions to take, roads to avoid, and when the ‘all clear’ signal will sound.  [Mind you, all this was before anyone knew what a cell phone was, let alone carrying one—no instant ‘AP’s then.  Dial phones (transmission line powered) were the norm.  Or, if you were ‘outdoorsy’, you might have a set of limited range ‘walkie-talkies’.  Going down to the ocean front wall in the yard to watch the sunset in my high heels at the end of a long work day was about as ‘outdoorsy’ as it got for this career girl.]

On that January ’94 morning, 6.7 on the Richter Scale was the most violent ground motion recorded in what would ultimately be the most expensive ($20 billion—with a “B” ) earthquake in Los Angeles to date.  Still they say, the “Big One” waits its day!

What is called the “Northridge Earthquake” lasted only about 20 seconds.  Maybe that was the time lapse in Northridge, but it felt like 20 minutes in Manhattan Beach.  How could my head go from a down pillow to fighting falling down in a doorway with all of those thoughts—and more, running through my head.  Yes, the mind is amazing.

On that January ’94 morning, 6.7 on the Richter Scale was the most violent ground motion recorded in what would ultimately be the most expensive ($20 billion—with a “B” ) earthquake in Los Angeles to date

On that January ’94 morning, 6.7 on the Richter Scale was the most violent ground motion recorded in what would ultimately be the most expensive ($20 billion—with a “B” ) earthquake in Los Angeles to date

Though it was named the Northridge Earthquake, the devastation was all over our City of Angels.  The telephone transmission lines were down and the exploding transformers took care of any standard electricity powered equipment, so my battery powered portable radio was really good to have.

For those of you who were not here twenty years ago, a re-cap of what was happening at that moment may be instructive.  Freeways were crumbling; homes, apartments, and stores were collapsing; trains were derailing; fire engines were pinned under their own ‘homes’ while over 800 fires were reported starting.  Terrible devastation and crumbling buildings in Santa Monica, the collapse of the 10 Freeway in the Fairfax/La Cienega corridor, a CHP (California Highway Patrol) Motorcycle Officer racing to report for duty in the pre-dawn dark drives off of a Freeway overpass that was there when he came home the night before—and so it was.  [If it were not real, Hollywood would have been accused of exaggerating in creating this nightmare.]  In fact, in the real aftermath, 57 lay dead or dying with more than 9,000 trapped or injured.

The news was not good, but it was good to have the news.

No News Is Good News?

Flash forward:  It is now January 2014—a busy news cycle is upon us.  Stop the presses!  Critical developments need to be heard by all!!

The “Breaking News”: A notorious baby-faced teen scofflaw had been reported to have graduated from driving 40 MPH in his 20 MPH gated neighborhood to throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house.  No word yet on whether the projectiles were cooked or raw.  “Stay tuned.  Details at 11”.

Like a Humpty Dumpty behind a wall about to have a fall, the devilish little celebrity has been formally accused of “egging” his neighbor’s house.  As in the children’s nursery rhyme: “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…” couldn’t put Justin in cuffs again.  But, in this ironical scenario, a dozen police officers arrived in an exclusive gated community and, based on evidence, secured and executed a search warrant on ‘star’ Justin Bieber’s home where they seized new evidence and arrested one of the Rock Kid’s friends for ‘public’ possession of a controlled substance [not eggs, so ‘it’ must have been in plain view!].


Sometimes I think that the News writers are trying out for Comedy Central!  A dozen eggs—a dozen cops—two felony arrests.  I cannot help but wonder if the ‘Keystone Kops’ swept in to the crime scene in vans shaped like the Styrofoam egg cartons chain grocers favor.  I wonder what was on the mind of the Security Guard as the gate was opened for the major ‘invasion’?

The human mind has some capacities probably best unexplored … .

The egg ‘egg-travaganza’ was all the over the ‘news’ for weeks.  The harassed neighbor claimed $20,000 in damage to his home, thus raising the purported offense to a felony level and earning free-lance legal commentators nice TV guest appearance fees.  [Really??  Could $20,000 be an ‘eggs-ageration’???  If not, the neighbor’s housekeeper, gardener, and painter surely cannot complain about their attorneys’ hourly rate!]  Apparently the ‘Kops’ had a search warrant to look for evidence of the crime: empty egg cartons, omelet leftovers, brown or white egg shells in the trash perhaps??  This ‘eggs-travagant’ use of Police resources seems a little over-easy …I mean, over the top!

As ridiculous as the prior paragraphs are, the “news” is straight out of the “Bad Boy” Celebrity School of Headline Generation Handbook—and, the ‘noise’ is certainly cheaper than taking out full page ads in the LA Times or signing on for a Super Bowl ad.

The ‘next chapter’ was back to doing 60 MPH in a 30 MPH zone with Daddy Bieber blocking the cross street with a SUV so Sonny can get arrested without dying—or, so it seems.  But then, when in Hollywood is anything quite like it seems?


They say Southern Cal has a 97% chance of being hit by a quake larger than the Northridge Earthquake in the next 30 years.  They keep saying the real Big One is coming—it is not “if”, but “when” they say.

Usually I ignore whatever “they” say.  Unfortunately, these “they”s are the smartest people in the World.  To work at Cal Tech [California Institute of Technology] rumor has it that even novice janitors must have at least PhDs from MIT!  Between big quakes when the red lights of the TV cameras are not blinking in their direction, these “they”s keep studying, analyzing, recording, and discovering supporting data confirming the same things.  “They” arrive at the same conclusions.  I believe these “they”s because they really know their ‘stuff’.

They say Southern Cal has a 97% chance of being hit by a quake larger than the Northridge Earthquake in the next 30 years.  They keep saying the real Big One is coming—it is not “if”, but “when” they say

They say Southern Cal has a 97% chance of being hit by a quake larger than the Northridge Earthquake in the next 30 years. They keep saying the real Big One is coming—it is not “if”, but “when” they say

So, expecting that the Big One will be upon [+ under, around, and beside] us one day or night when we least expect it, what will it feel like?  Our Cal Tech experts explain that each whole number on the Richter Scale marks a 10 x increase in quake magnitude.  Thus, a Magnitude 7 (considered big) is 100 times bigger than a Magnitude 5 (considered moderate).  [7 – 5 = 2; 10 x 10 = 100]

If Northridge At 6.7 Was Not The “Big One” …

Remember when I said the “official” Northridge Earthquake time lapse was 20 seconds but felt to me like 20 minutes that early AM in Manhattan Beach?  While Cal Tech does not do the arithmetic this way, my simple mind figures with a 1Richter ‘point’ increase, 20 seconds becomes over 3 minutes [20 x 10 = 200; 200/60 = whatever that equals, but it is over 3] which would feel like more than 3 hours of shaking.  Truth be told, I could probably handle a ‘real’ 3 minutes even if it seemed to last forever, but the multiplier refers to force, not time.  That is beyond my comprehension –or even contemplation!

So, What Happened Next in ‘94?

Anyone who has experienced a major earthquake (…or any other natural or man-made disaster), knows that the end does not come when the shakin’ is done.  After a few deep breaths and a mini-prayer of Thanks, the adrenalin recedes and a different shaking takes over.

If you are still standing, you collect your thoughts and composure enough to reach for the shoes and flashlight you know are [supposed to be] under the bed at all times.  You take stock of your immediate surroundings to determine whether there are imminent dangers or other urgencies requiring attention before taking your first steps into your newly shattered world.

I found the shoes quickly, but the flashlight had ‘moved itself’ to a nearby bookshelf.  At least it was close by.

Shoes on and light in hand, I began the necessary ‘sniff’ and ‘scan’ tests to determine whether there was fire, a gas leak, or other hazards that dictated an immediate survival response.  Only when that hurdle has been crossed do you even notice overtly the shambles surrounding you.  Losses/breakage of ‘things’ are noted somewhat abstractly as the ‘emergency checklist’ you never wrote out is traversed as properly progressive as possible under the circumstances.  Near the top of that list is finding the battery powered radio to get news reports that describe the facts of the moment—as best they are known.  Done.

The news was bad—frightening, to be frank.  Southern California was in shambles.  The infrastructure lay in ruin.  Our little corner of the world was a developing disaster and serious aftershocks were expected.  In other words, things were likely to get worse—and, better was not in sight.

Despite urgent Emergency System warnings to stay inside and off of the roads and sidewalks because of debris and downed power lines, a Mother’s “1st Responder” instinct propelled me to where my children had spent the night—at their Dad’s house a bit over a mile away.  With the power off, my garage door opener was worthless but I knew the ‘secret’ cord to pull to manually lift the heavy door.  Done.

The car started—and I had a full tank of gas.  First light was dawning so I did not have to rely on my headlights to spot the downed power poles or the high voltage wires they were supposed to support.  I decided to drive because of my panic-fed urgency, the distance, the danger—and because I could.  I figured I would drive as far as I could and walk from there.

Surprisingly, the trip was uneventful.  There was no traffic, period.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I made the final turn and saw that the newly built house was still standing and was not on fire.  The entry gate was electric, as were the intercom and the door bell.  With no electricity to call in on the intercom and no way to get past the iron gates to the front door to knock, I tried shouting my childrens’ names but the triple pane windows that were meant to keep the street sounds out did just that.

I retreated from the Mom’s Panic Mode when I realized that my ‘babies’ were inside a safe house that had survived the quake.  Actually, I learned later that both had slept right through the whole episode!

On the Road Again

A long recovery in the City of Angels left most of us thankful just to be alive.  Each time we make it through the experience of a serious earthquake or a wildfire we give Thanks and ‘book’ some more important lessons on preparedness.

New technology presents new opportunities—and new threats.  Even with a new, fully charged cell phone we may or may not be ahead in our Wi-Fi world when the “Big One” hits.  If cell phone ‘repeater’ towers go down or fiber optic lines are severed, we could be ‘off line’ for some time.  Additionally, our dependence on computers and the Internet for so many basic functions could bring horrendous problems.  Consider: Having a gas generator to power your computer and charge your cell phone will not help you get cash out of a ‘dead’ ATM.  Proper preparation requires that each of us consider how we will operate for 3 to 30 days without anything electric or electronic: —no Clouds—no Net—no nothing.

A Few Personal Hints*

Have a portable battery operated radio, a flashlight, and some hard soled/easy-on shoes under your bed and in your car. [Keep fresh batteries on hand at all times.]

Know how to shut off the gas and water to your house.  [Be sure to have any tools needed at the ready.]

Have an ample supply of candles and matches.  [Caution: Remember to thoroughly do the “sniff test” to check for any gas leaks before lighting up.  Mistakes can be fatal!]

Order medicine re-supplies so that you always have a reserve.  [While it is important to keep medications secure, be sure you can get to them when the roof falls in!]

Know how to open your garage door without electricity.  [Practice without your car in place so you know how it will work—no need to dent or scratch your vehicle now.]

Know how to use what is in your first aid kit (home and car) and/or add things you may need that you can handle.

Have a sharp knife (puukko) and a can opener that you know works [not electric].

Always have enough gas in your car to get you way out of town.

Have a wad of cash stashed.  [ATM/credit card machines will not be working.]

*  Get and follow LA City/County disaster supplies recommendations for water and canned goods for each person for more than several days.

An Early Warning System

There has always been talk of developing an early warning system for earthquakes.  So far that has not worked out, but progress is being made.

“Now scientists at Stanford University and MIT have figured out a way to use ocean waves to simulate the ground motion that occurs in real earthquakes…
The “virtual earthquake” technique is being used to better understand the effect of shaking…
When the “big one” hits, it could create shaking in Los Angeles that’s three times stronger than in surrounding areas…
Ocean waves create seismic waves billions of times weaker than the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.
Together, these waves are known as the ambient seismic field, but scientists have another word for it: noise.”
LA Times 1/27/14

A Finnish Early Warning System

The best earthquake warning system I have heard of was a cat—a Finnish cat, of course.

Pauli and Marja Uskali (former owners of Design Finland) credit their cat Misu for saving their lives during the Earthquake.  Misu’s insistent meowing woke them from a sound sleep and got them out of bed just before a very large armoire crashed onto their bed when the quake hit.  But for Misu, they would have been crushed where they lay.  The Uskalis’ home and store were near 3rd and Robertson in Beverly Hills—closer to Northridge than my Manhattan Beach home.


Animals do seem to have a ‘sixth sense’ in predicting earthquakes.  Soooo, if you do not have a pet, get to know your neighbors—or, at least be nice to their dogs or cats.

Or, move to the beach and sleep with an ear to the sand!!

Shifting Gears

All this serious talk about natural and numbskull disasters reminds us that we must also occasionally switch gears, ponder our perseverance, chill, and –when all else fails, have a party!

After all, with January temperatures pushing 80º F, there is no Winter in our City of Angels.  This is the Season of Awards, Red Carpets, Film Festivals, Super Bowl Parties, and, of course,  Valentine’s Day.

This is the Season of Awards, Red Carpets, Film Festivals, Super Bowl Parties, and, of course, Valentine’s Day

When you come to a party at my house, you will almost always find gravlax and deviled eggs on the sideboard.  My newest version was inspired by this month’s egg breaking incident and researched with ever-present Finnish spirit.

Deviled eggs are always an ‘any party’ hit because they look nice, are tasty, are compact, are ‘hand held’, and they can be stuffed into your mouth ‘whole’ when that someone you wanted to avoid comes up to talk with you.  Besides, they make those cute little plates with ‘indents’ to hold—and show off, your Finnished product we are about to make together.

Rosolli is not just for Finnish Christmas anymore.  Last year I used it (finely minced on rye squares) for open-faced sandwiches that I took to the Finnish Lutheran Church for the after-Service social.  The new sandwiches seemed to be a hit with the congregation.

This dish is a pretty item to serve at a ladies luncheon, a bridal shower, a Valentine’s party, or even your Oscar bash.  It may be too ‘girlie’ in its pink incarnation for the Super Bowl party, but if the game is good/close or the commercials are provocative, the guys will never notice!  [Your excuse, if you need one, can be that the rosolli-type garnish makes it very Finnish.]

Deviled “Just(In)”Time Eggs


Red Carpet Rosolli Eggs

1    Dozen Eggs

¼   Cup Mayonnaise

1    Tsp. Horseradish

2    Medium Sized Beets (roasted or canned); Minced Fine

2    Boiled Carrots; Minced Fine

1    Dill Pickle; Minced Fine.


White Pepper


Fresh Dill

Boil room temperature eggs to hard stage [about 15 minutes].  Plunge into cold water.  Peel.

Boil room temperature eggs to hard stage [about 15 minutes]. Plunge into cold water. Peel.

Boil room temperature eggs to hard stage [about 15 minutes].  Plunge into cold water.  Peel.

For ‘pink’ eggs: soak peeled eggs for several hours or overnight in a bath of beet liquid (drained from 2 cans of beets) and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

For ‘pink’ eggs: soak peeled eggs for several hours or overnight in a bath of beet liquid (drained from 2 cans of beets) and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

For ‘pink’ eggs: soak peeled eggs for several hours or overnight in a bath of beet liquid (drained from 2 cans of beets) and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

Cut eggs in half length-wise and remove yolks.

Cut eggs in half length-wise and remove yolks.

Cut eggs in half length-wise and remove yolks.

Mix yolks with mayo, horseradish, and about a tablespoon of beet liquid –salt and white pepper to taste.

Fill egg white halves with the mixture.

Fill egg white halves with the mixture.

Fill egg white halves with the mixture.

Chop 1 tablespoon of the dill and mix with the minced beet, carrot, and pickle.

Chop 1 tablespoon of the dill and mix with the minced beet, carrot, and pickle.

Chop 1 tablespoon of the dill and mix with the minced beet, carrot, and pickle.

Artfully add the mix to the top of the deviled eggs.

Artfully add the mix to the top of the deviled eggs.

Artfully add the mix to the top of the deviled eggs.

Garnish the ‘mince mound’ of the filled eggs with fresh dill sprigs.

Garnish the ‘mince mound’ of the filled eggs with fresh dill sprigs.

Garnish the ‘mince mound’ of the filled eggs with fresh dill sprigs.

End Note

Southern California is a fabulous and fun place to be any time of year.  Occasionally bad things happen here, as elsewhere.  Your scribe has lived, raised my family, and worked in Los Angeles for a lot of years.  Sharing the good, the bad, and the fabulous/ugly is what AROUND LA WITH AVA® seeks to do.  All things Finnish are celebrated just ‘because’.

Ava Anttila

Ava Anttila

ALWA topics are catholic—work, play, sight-seeing/sightings, local ‘hang-outs’, public/social service, travel, faith, food, people, LA life, fun, events past and pending, history, …whatever.  Whether you are a celebrity or just one of us; a visitor or just one of us; a ‘mover’ or just one of us ‘shakers’ welcome to AROUND LA WITH AVA®—please proceed with ‘eggs-tra’ caution when the alert sounds and do your best to avoid ‘eggs-tra’ noise.



Star Wreck is a series of Finnish Star Trek parody movies started by Samuli Torssonen in 1992.The first movie, simply named Star Wreck, was a simple Star Control-like animation with three ships shooting at each other, but later movies featured 3D CGI, animated characters and, in the latest films, live actors. Often Star Wreck is used to refer to the latest and most popular film Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning.

Star Wreck relates the adventures of James B. Pirk (named after the Star Trek character James T. Kirk), Captain of the starship C.P.P. Potkustartti (English C.P.P. Kickstart). Other characters include Mr. Fukov, Mr. Spook (Finnish: Mr. Spökö), Mr. Dwarf (Wuf), Ensign Shitty and Mr. Info (loosely based, respectively, on Star Trek’s Pavel Chekov, Mr. Spock, Worf, Scotty, and Data).

Star Wreck (fulllength)


Star Wreck has enjoyed a relatively large niche following among sci-fi fans, but it was only the latest movie that really pushed it into the limelight. Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning was downloaded over 700,000 times during the first week after its release  and the current estimates by the hosting service, Magenta sites, are between 3.5 and 4 million downloads, including mirror sites. This has been claimed to make In the Pirkinning the most popular Finnish film of all time, topping the movie theatre viewings for Tuntematon sotilas (approx. 2.8 million viewers); the comparison, however, may not be particularly meaningful. Numerous TV and magazine interviews of the film’s authors have been published, both in Finland and abroad.

Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning has also been shown on Finnish national television, YLE TV2, on the Belgian national television channel Canvas, and Italian TV-channel Jimmy.

A new Imperial Edition DVD has also been released by Universal Pictures in Scandinavia. With the Imperial Edition release, all the space scenes with Star Trek or Babylon 5 ship models were removed and completely remade.

In 2012 a spin-off called Star Wreck 2π: Full Twist, now! was released. It is made by Swiss film makers, but Samuli Torssonen and Timo Vuorensola will have a guest appearance in their respective roles. There is also a spin-off animated Star Wreck, created by a different author who has no relation to Torssonen’s team, called Star Wreck Asskicker which tells the story of the C.P.P. Asskicker.


Toivo Uuskallio:Visionary or Mercenary?
The story of Penedo, Brazil’s only Finnish community

By Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

Toivo Uuskallio in Penedo, Brazil

Visionary Toivo Uuskallio, his wife Liisa, Frans Fagerlund, Enok Nyberg, and Eino Kajander arrived in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, 1927.  Soon after they settled in a German boarding house in downtown Rio and enrolled at a local school that taught Portuguese as a second language. Within months of their arrival (and with very limited Portuguese), they took an 82 mile train ride to the town of Barra Mansa where they would find work at a farm named ‘Três Poços’ (‘Three Wells’).

Toitvo Uuskallio had left Finland with a mission: to find the perfect place for a religious, vegetarian and alcohol-free community where life could be spent in harmony with nature without the burden of a money-driven society blinded by consumerism, and drenched in the blood of war.

Penedoon lähtijöiden jäähyväishetki Helsingissä

“I received a divine call to leave the homeland and emigrate to the distant South. Certainly in the minds of many I was completely crazy to invent that sort of thing. It was not surprising that my followers and I were subjected to so many reproaches. Maybe they thought I was a bit soft in the head. To my great joy I also found friends whose minds were open to this brand new concept.”

Toitvo returned to Finland in 1928 where he published the book ‘Matkalla Kohti Tropiikin Taikaa’ about his experiences and his intentions to found a Finnish colony in Brazil. Aided by Lutheran pastor Pennanen and by Mikko Airila, he begins an intense and successful campaign to gather funds and followers.

Toivo Suni was amongst the first to arrive in Penedo

He returns to Brazil a year later with a considerable amount of cash and a handful of followers, and begins location scouting in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo. He then learns of a 3,500 hectare farm by the name of Penedo, part of the municipality of Resende, that was for sale. Penedo had an abundant supply of natural water that could be used to irrigate a vast agricultural area, and represented a perfect locale for a vegan society.

“We need to pursue a natural lifestyle without worrying about trade and consumerism. A family needs to be able to grow all their food in their own garden while breathing  air with no pollution; enjoy the sunshine and live in peace, away from conflicts and wars”, Uukallio advocated.

Kyllikki Pohjola and Penedo founder Toivo Uuskallio

Nile Valtonen Penedo arrived in Brazil in 1932 at the age of 19. He had been sent by his father to collect money Uuskallio borrowed from him during the campaign of 1928. But, after failing to collect any money and with no means to return to Finland, he was forced to stay.

Martti-Aaltonen, Penedo, Brazil

The following is part of an interview Nile Valtonen gave to a local newspaper in 2007:

“I never wanted to join the colony. I just wanted to recover the money that my father had given him and that Uuskallio had already spent. It was meant to be a loan. I got the wind that Uuskallio was travelling in the United States to raise more money, so I decided to travel to Brazil to be there when he returned. But, he came back penniless. He did not get any of the money he was trying to get. And I had no money to go back to Finland. The money I had I spent trying to get from Rio to Penedo. I was hoping that he would pay me back, so I waited. But, I was never paid, not even after a hard day’s work.

Group Photo, Penedo, 1960

He was both a deceiver and an idealist. The idea of only eating vegetables did not work because there was nothing there. All we had were beans and rice he bought on credit at the store near the train station. Fagerland, who was a very close friend and arrived with him in 1929, gave all the money he had, more than 100 thousand marks, and never earned one piece of land. Toivo Uuskallio wanted to control everything.

I married in 1939 when I realized that I really couldn’t return to Finland and there was war. When I got married, I wanted a piece of land to settle down with my wife at the location I was already living, but Uuskallio would only give me a piece of land on the outskirts of the property. Later on a group of Finns sued and we won. I got the place I wanted. My friends and I deserved one-third of the farm (200 acres), but we were given 70 acres instead. The cost for my piece of land was based on the money my father gave him as a loan.

I never saw my father again. He died in 1960, and my mother followed him soon thereafter.

Toivo Uuskallio died when he was 60 years old. He died of starvation. He firmly believed in fasting and that not eating is a healthy thing to do. I remember one time I saw him with banged knees and scrapped elbows. He was very weak. He told me that he was feeling ill because of contaminated food and that after fasting he would get better. He ate a lot of bananas, but bananas alone can’t sustain a man.”

It is estimated that 300 Finnish emigrants joined Toivo Uuskallio in Penedo.

Penedo is located on the outskirts of the Itatiaia National Park in Brazil

After heavy cultivation of the soil and fires that devastated the region, Brazil’s only Finnish colony begun seeking alternative ways for making ends meet.

Tourism became an alternative that worked very well as the small town of Penedo is now a tourist attraction with a network of hotels, restaurants and an array of shops that attracts more than 240,000 visitors per year. In 2005, Penedo was chosen as one of the seven best tourist destinations in Brazil by the Brazilian Tourism and Culture Agency (Movimento Brasil de Turismo e Cultura).

Waterfalls in Penedo

Penedo, Brazil

Penedo, Brazil

Penedo, Brazil


City of Penedo, The History of. (
‘Finland of Brazil’ by Diego de Assis
Finnish Migration Institute

Thanks to Irene Nousiainen.


Satumaata etsimässä – suomalaisia utopia yhteiskuntia (in Finnish)
Kaikkoavat Paratiisit (in Finnish)
Kaikkoavat Paratiisit (in Finnish)
Finns Abroad (in English)
Articles of Siirtolaisinstituutti
Suomi-Brazil association (in Finnish)
Links of Suomi-Brazil association



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Tomi Hinkkanen being interviewed by Carl Pellonpaa (in English and Finnish) from The television program ‘Finland Calling’ (Suomi Kutsuu) filmed at Marquette station WLUC-TV in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. ‘Finland Calling’ is the only Finnish-language television broadcast in the United States; it has aired since March 25, 1962. It is the longest running talk show in the US and is certainly the longest running foreign television show in the US.

In English:

In Finnish:

Watch Finland Calling

Carl Pellonpaa Awards

Michigan Finnish Website

A little history about Carl Pellonpaa and Finland Calling

Request a copy of Finland Calling


Q&A with multi-talented Finnish actress, singer-songwriter

Reporter: Tomi Hinkkanen, Los Angeles
Photographs by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

Irina Björklund by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

You are known primarily as an actress – how did your musical journey get started?
IB: I wrote my first song at age 7, years before I started acting. As a child, I played piano, violin and guitar. For the past few years I’ve finally had time to concentrate more on my music again – I feel it goes hand in hand with acting. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to be one self on stage, especially since the texts are all my own.

If I am correct, “Chanson d’Automne” is your third album. Why a French language record and tell us how you learned to speak French?

IB: I grew up in France as a child, even graduated from high school there. To me, French is the most natural language to write in, and it allows one to speak about big feelings without making it sound cliché. And France being known for it’s “art de vivre”, it allows one to contemplate over the philosophy of life – about what things in life really are important, after all. It’s also such a universally accepted language, musically speaking. After gigs people in the audience would often ask to buy “the album with most French songs”. I simply felt it was time to write and record an all French album. My previous 2 albums were in 5 different languages.




by Tomi Hinkkanen
Photo Credits: Tomi Hinkkanen

Julian Jones was born in Finland and came to the U.S. with his family at the age of five. His father Markku is a well-known photographer, his mother Anne is an art director, and older brother Tomi is a graphic designer. Julian found music as a teenager and has written songs ever since. Julian’s debut album, ‘Julian Jones’ Gentle Parade’, came out this Summer.

The record launching took place in Malibu. Tall and slender 23 year old Julian sings and plays the guitar. “Come and spend some time with me down by the water…” His music is melodic, with influences of folk, pop and rock. Themes of the songs come from Julian’s own life. They deal with relationships, beach, friends, struggles with Finnish and American identities. Even the Northridge earthquake in 1994, a traumatic childhood memory that has stayed with him to this date.

“I had only been in Finland, and I had never heard of earthquakes. I did not understand what happened. I was pretty horrified by the following couple of months after the incident”, Julian recalls. The band does two sets and gets an enthusiastic applause from the audience. We sit down to talk. His Finnish language skills has remained smooth thanks to the childhood Summers spent with grandparents in Tampere.

“At home we speak Finnish. Fortunately, it was important to my parents that I maintain good Finnish language skills and visit Finland regularly, so I know where I come from,” he acknowledges. “Upon arriving in America, Julian started school right away. Fortunately, he had attended an English preschool in Finland which eased the transition into the American school system. “I didn’t have many friends initially because I did not speak English as well as they did. It was also difficult to get accustomed to the pace of the school. It took a couple of years before I understood the language well enough to adapt and to make more friends. I became more American,” Julian says. He certainly considers himself first and foremost a Finn.

Music arrived in his life by chance. “I had a really good schoolmate with whom I hang out on a daily basis. One day we started playing with guitars in his parents’ house and then I realized how much fun that was. I went home and began studying the music of the Beatles and Oasis. That’s how it started.”

Through devoted determination, Julian trained himself to become a musician. “I read books, studied sounds, listened to songs and started to play along. Playing and singing came easily for me. It’s probably why I became interested in them more than other hobbies. It was easy to continue on the musical path, learn more and enjoy it.”

He graduated from Calabasas High School at age 18 in 2005 and enrolled in Santa Monica City College.” I wanted to study music, because I just started to play a couple of years earlier. I wanted to learn how to read and write



Produced by Tomi Hinkkanen
As shown on Finnish television
(in Finnish and English)