Valhalla, Ken is coming!

(This is the followup to an earlier post, which you can find here.)

“Call no man happy until he is dead”, Herodotus quoted Solon as saying. I first heard that quote in junior high, when teenage boys are most prone to accept facile philosophical aphorisms as THE PURE AND COMPLETE TRUTH, and it scared the CRAP out of me.

For whatever reason, a part of me always worries that no matter how awesome things are, no matter how lucky I am, something so awful will come along that it’ll all seem crappy in retrospect. Maybe something awful but ridiculous, so I don’t even get the dignity of, you know, suffering manfully. Something like WAKING UP ONE DAY AND REALIZE YOU HAVE THE GHOST OF A FREDDY MERCURY MUSTACHE PERMANENTLY IMPRINTED ON YOUR FACE AND YOU ARE WORTHLESS FOR THE PURPOSE YOU’VE SERVED ALL YOUR LIFE.

This is at least part of the reason that Kate’s incredibly sad picture of the patchy, ridiculous Ken dolls she got in the bottom of an Ebay lot were so poignant to me. Call no Ken happy until he is dead, because look at those poor bastards. Who would want them?

Well, the auction has ended, and I’ll tell you who wants them. FINLAND WANTS THEM. It’s official — Patchy-head Ken and Freddie Mercury Mustache Ken are off to the land of the ice and snow, to the midnight sun where the hot springs blow, etc.

To celebrate, I made them some suitable badass Nordic accessories and took this picture, which is how I will choose to remember them:


Godspeed, you two. Say hi to the Viking kittens for me.

UPDATE: Wow, I was kidding about Findland’s ties to grim, brutal, campy death metal, and the grim, brutal, campy costumes that are worn up there. But while doing a GIS for that snow-covered-tree background behind Ken and Ken (it’s a picture of Finland), I found out about grim, brutal, campy death metal band Lordi. Oh, Lordi! Oh, Finland! IT’S ALL TRUE. (Warning: unlike the kittens video, Lordi’s website contains skulls and aluminized boobies.)

11 responses to “Valhalla, Ken is coming!”

  1. Perish the thought! I just assumed that all Scandinavian Kens (or Kenns) know how to ride dragons, and wear huge, spike-encumbered shoulderpads. The gentlemen from Lordi certainly do! Kenn, I’m sure you have spiked shoulderpads hanging on your hallway coat tree.
    I’m filling my first p8tch order to a customer in Mäntsälä, Finland right now. I went to the Mäntsälä website, and discovered that the GUITARIST OF LORDI went to high school there!
    Oh, Finland, you never fail to surprise and delight me.


  2. Having made 5 visits to Finland in the last two years I can confirm that everything you believe about this weird and wonderful place is true. Consider these fine facts:
    -Every male over the age of 30 is passionate about death metal
    -They eat reindeer for breakfast
    -Finnish teenagers are the smartest in the world despite starting school at age seven and getting no more than a few minutes of homework a night
    -Children sleep outside in the cold
    -Speeding tickets are based on how much money you make:


  3. Todd, I feel like the kid in The Nutcracker watching the Christmas tree grow. You mean Finland is even MORE amazing than all the amazingness that I’d made up in my head?


  4. OMG OMG OMG Petri, the p8tch customer in Mäntsälä, says that s/he will TAKE A PICTURE OF THE P8TCH at the Lordi Memorial outside the Mäntsälä high school. The memorial is called “hard rock”, and it is, in fact, a rock. Wow, today is a day for some incredible harmonic convergence.
    Dig the high school pictured in Lordi’s “goth girl vanquishes the zombie cheerleaders” anthem Hard Rock Hallelujah:

    Do you think the high school in Mäntsälä is the inspiration for this?


  5. Umm… Those are VINTAGE Ken dolls… What collector wouldn’t want them? Tell the dumb-ass Kate to send them over to me if she doesn’t want them!
    (BTW… I’m Finnish. :D)


  6. Sebastyne, I read your comment aloud to Kate, who said drily: “Tell her the dumb-ass Kate was hoping to get more than three dollars on eBay!”
    Both Kens were in sad shape — patchy, oily, mildew-y, stuffed in the bottom of a job-lot of partial Barbies. I blogged at the time that the saddest part was the look of surprise on Kens’ faces. Kate crafted a nice eBay listing for them.
    We got a very nice letter from their Finnish savior, once they arrived in Suomi (I had really wanted to make a box in the shape of a viking ship.) She gave them baths, and wrote us that they cleaned up quite nicely.
    Bald Ken (the one on the right in the picture above) is now wearing an original “Touchdown” outfit, since the helmet covers his baldness. Freddie Mercury Ken has become a wild west bandit, with a bandana covering his marker mustache.
    I’ve been learning that death metal and Barbie are both big hobbies in Finland. In fact, I’ve even learned of the existence of the Finnish “Crüe Slut Barbie.” This is relevant to my interests: PLEASE SEND PICTURES.


  7. Hope to see more pics of them Kens after savior. Very lucky buyer, those weren’t that bad, sad though. I would’ve bought them too, with pleasure.
    About the blue backgroung, it is real, especially in Lappland it’s very blue during winter. Here in the middle of Finland wintertime it’s most of the time just pitch dark, muahaha. Some blue moments I have experienced though. Regards from Finland, please, be welcome to spend some holiday time in the far North!
    (Small correction, Vikings = Norway? I’d say.)


  8. Avotuli, you are absolutely right about the Vikings, of course. I was granting myself the liberty of lumping “the frozen north” together in one big Scandahoovian snowball.
    I only visited Helskinki once as a kid, on a Franklin Mint Collector’s Society cruise of the Baltic. My dad was the editor of the Franklin Mint Almanac, and so was the marshal of an army of American septuagenarians. I was the lone ten-year-old, a single excited electron orbiting a huge, slow-moving nucleus.
    Anyhow, on that trip we saw viking ships (I think in Norway), and the little mermaid (in Denmark, of course) and it’s all been conflated into a big jumble.
    I certainly do remember the l-o-o-o-o-ong days in Helskinki! Kate has lived in Alaska, so she knows all about l-o-o-o-ong nights, too.
    I shall carefully update my “frozen north” stereotypes, separating the Vikings from the Finns, 🙂


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