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.

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