Friday, December 23, 2005

Guns, Sweat and Skis

They put eggs in their coffee, wage war on skis and spook Bill Gates so bad he pees a little -- that's right, it's the Finns! And they're cuh-raaaazy!

I'm thinking about Finns because my friend and I were trying to figure out if the sauna at the health club is really good for anything. Wikipedia's answer, more or less: "Eh, who can say?" But it does inform us that the Finns are internationally notorious saunal fanatics (or fanatic saunists?):

"Finnish soldiers on peacekeeping missions are famous for their saunas; even on the UNMEE mission in Eritrea [avg annual temp 86°] a sauna was one of the first buildings [the Finnish contingent] erected. (A second world war-era Finnish military field manual states that a rest of eight hours is all that is required for a battalion to build saunas, warm them and bathe in them.)"

Then there's the egg coffee. I learned about this from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, in which Bobby Shaftoe makes some for his bipolar (no, really?) Finnish girlfriend Julieta. Instead of pouring through a filter, you add a raw egg to settle the grounds.

I can't even begin to get into everything that's incredibly cool about the Winter War, but it has inspired a new Wackapedia feature: Six Degrees of Procrastination.


Six Degrees of Procrastination: Dragon's teeth
(Finns : Winter War : Mannerheim Line : dragon's teeth : and sort of Phoenicia)
Dragon's teeth were lines of cement cones that blocked tanks in WWII fortifications. But here's the cool part: They're not called "dragon's teeth" just because they're pointy, but because some nameless European military engineer knew his Greek mythology. In the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece (and a similar myth from, yes, Phoenicia) the hero sowed a field with dragon's teeth and a legion of soldiers sprang up. Which is a pretty evocative metaphor for a harried WWII fortification designer to come up with. He must have been French.


Comments:
You know, of course, that they built the Mannerheim Line with Mannerheim steamrollers.
 
Eggs in their coffee? bleah.
 
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