Thursday, August 12, 2010

You Know You're Cooked To Perfection When Your Lips Are Nice And Crisp

For hundreds of years Finns took pride and joy in their national sport – sauna bathing. A sauna was a small room with a couple wooden benches and a huge furnace with rocks on top. Into the furnace the wood would go, and onto the rocks the water would be thrown. Bliss ensued. The old saunas smelled of the forest, and were a pure joy. They got very hot, but never too hot. Everything was perfect.

Then one day out of the blue, some guy called Benjamin Franklin flew a kite and discovered electricity. (Although I do believe that people like Edison, Tesla, Ampère, Ohm and Faraday might have had a hand in the development of electricity in other forms than deadlier-than-sin-lightning.) Nevertheless, Finns, realizing the huge potential here, immediately decided that the sauna needs to go electric. They took a big metal box and chucked a generator in it. Then they threw a couple resistors in with the generator, and connected everything with lots of exposed wire. Next, they placed a couple stones on top of the resistors, and plugged it in. No one’s ever accused Finns of being cowards, so while the sparks were still flying from the wires, the Finns got undressed, took their birch whisks and threw a gallon of water on the contraption.

They all died.

But since then, the electric sauna has come a long way, and today almost every Finnish house and apartment has one. This is the sauna M and I have in our apartment.

I was first going to post a picture of me in it, but M talked some sense into me and told me no one wants to see me naked. Very true indeed.

Don't mind the wires at the bottom, they're perfextly safe.

The old wood-burning ones are still the best, though, and almost every little summer cabin in the archipelago has one. Wood-burning ones are also used in the World Sauna Championships. The World Sauna Championships are held every year in Finland, and won almost every year by a Finn. Except this year when the one of the two finalists died (that would be the Russian, Vladimir Ladyzhensky) and the other one is still in a coma (that would be the slightly tougher Finn). Personally I could think of more effective ways of committing suicide, but to each their own, I guess.

Experts have ruled that “hot steam was likely the cause of death.” You don’t say? In a sauna bathing contest, the sauna is heated to 110°C (230°F) and 0.5 liters of water is thrown onto the rocks every 30 seconds. For those of you who are not scientifically gifted, I can tell you that water boils at a lower temperature than that. I can also tell you that the steam is therefore hot, and will hurt. I like to keep my sauna at a comfortable 70 or 80°C (158-176°F), which you’ll notice is considerably lower than the 110 it takes to kill a Russian. And that’s not because I’m less tenacious than a Russian, I just like my skin attached to the rest of my body. *


  1. "I was first going to post a picture of me in it, but M talked some sense into me and told me no one wants to see me naked. Very true indeed."

    I don't know what M does for a living, but I assume it has something to do with lifting heavy rocks. My God, woman, has M heard of Nicky and Linda? They'd get that photo enlarged and framed, and hang it over their respective beds, illuminated by a red spotlight. This news may break their spirits, having been so close and yet so far from achieving a dream.

    Anyway, I don't understand the Finnish obsession with saunas. I know it's cold over there, but it's cold here, too, at least in states like North Dakota and Michigan. But we don't have saunas all over the place, and almost never in our homes. I suppose the Finnish fondness for saunas stems from their historical hatred for Russians, hence the untimely death of Vladimir Ladyzhensky, who I assume worked with M at the quarry until he got cooked. I've read that the Fins are conducting an investigation into Ladyzhensky's death, but I'm guessing it's more like a party.

    "Good work, Haapajärvi, that's another fucking Russian idiot gone! A few million more and they won't have enough people left to form a decent army and take Helsinki! Finland will be free forever thanks to our greatest invention, the sauna of death!"

  2. Ziva, I cannot thank you enough for emailing that wonderful and gorgeous photo of you in the sauna! You are beyond my wildest dreams! Never have I viewed anything quite like it. And Darling, thank you so much for not posting it here. It's almost a religious experience to view it and I'm glad all the masses are not cheapening it with their googly eyes. I have a place of honor for it in the red room of course, right over the bed. And I'm taking it in tomorrow to a gallery to have it framed in solid gold (with a little platinum detailing to go with... well, you know.) Anyway, my sweet, the red room is ready for you and Nicky's arrival. I simply cannot wait.

  3. Oh, and it sucks that the Russian dude died and the Fin is in a coma. What a uniquely stupid thing to do.

  4. You have saunas in your homes? Wow.

    I'm so jealous.

    We are lucky if we can find "wet spa" at a health club.

  5. Yes, thank you for sending Linda and I your picture Lemmikki! I had it special printed onto wallpaper, which I have now put up in my bathroom so it looks like a sauna with you in it and every morning when I take my hot, steamy, soapy shower...well, never mind. I wouldn't want M to drop a rock on himself.

  6. Okay, Nicky and Linda, you can stop it now, especially with the hot, steamy, soapy shower stuff. None of that works on me or M because we have willpower. Right M?



  7. Michael, you will never understand the true bond that we women have. Quit trying. We don't want you or M to drop rocks.

  8. MikeWJ: While you might be on to something there, killing off Russians one by one in a once-a-year kind of contest might not be the most effective way to get rid of them. No, what we need is something big and powerful that will invoke fear in every Russian, big or small. I know you're thinking what I'm thinking.

    We need Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    Linda: I've been trying to comment on your blog all day today and yesterday, but Disqus keeps telling me there's an error with my request! So I'm not ignoring your blog, I just can't comment. *crying my eyes out*

    Seriously though, I'm so glad you liked the photo. Isn't it cute that Mike's so jealous of you and Nicky?

    Reffie: You're welcome to use our sauna whenever you're in Finland!

    Nicky: You're very welcome! Now I just need a picture of you that I can hang in the sauna...

  9. Ziva, that happens to me too, but then it clears up. Sweetheart, I love the photo! It's exquisite and erotic and actually just plain hot! Nicky and I both particularly love the close of... well, we love the photo!

    Michael was driven to calling us bad names last night in his frustration over not getting to see what we did. I hope he's not pouting today. (But actually, he's kind of cute when he pouts.)

  10. You teases go ahead have your fun. M and I will break out the X-Box and play "Call of Duty" or something, right M?




    I've got to tell you, M is not turning out to be most supportive XY chromosome buddy here. Ziva, you're cheating by using your feminine wiles on him, arent' you? I don't think I can compete with femine wiles.

    *pouting now*

  11. Tyrannosaurus Rex and a few tank busters, Ziva.

  12. Mike, I'm firing up the X-Box, I won't leave you here to be teased by all the girls ;P

  13. I had a friend whose parents had a sauna right off their indoor pool. We'd bake for a good 20 minutes, then dive in. As someone who hates cold water, lemme say that the shock was horrible, but I'd oddly happy to have had the experience.

    Your sauna looks awesome.

    Now you've got to install Disqus so that I can easily reply to all those comments up there about pictures and stuff.

  14. Linda: He sure is cute when he pouts. And disqus still won't let me post comments on your blog. I might have to kick some Disqus ass if it doesn't let me comment soon.

    MikeWJ: I never cheat, I've told you this before. And I never lie either.

    M: You traitor, are my feminine wiles not working properly?? But you're forgetting, we don't have an X-Box. And the Nintendo Wii is not nearly as manly.

    mike: You haven't experienced cold water until you've swam in a hole in the ice. That said, I have to confess, I hate cold water too. I don't even swim in the sea unless it's a good 24°C (75°F).

    I've thought about installing Disqus, but since I'm having problems commenting on other blogs with Disqus, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

  15. M: Thank you, buddy. Those women and their teasing. Who needs it, anyway? I'd take a bottle of vodka and a good movie over soft and cuddly any night. Most nights. A couple of nights a week. Once in a while.

    Women are such a bother.

    Ziva: You're right, Xbox sounds so much more manly than Wii.

  16. Ziva, not only does he pout, he whines too.

  17. In high school, we used to party at a very big house with a pool and sauna. Said teenager of said house would order several kegs of beer and her teenage guests would BYOP.

    We would smoke said pot in the sauna, while drinking beer, and then jump into the pool if we hadn't already passed out on the sauna floor. It's a miracle that no one drowned or ate the coals.

  18. Lauren: Sometimes I wonder how we all survived being teenagers. That said, I bet you had an amazing time, though!

  19. Too amazing! : ) Then I turned old, crusty, and stale. But I still like saunas, pot, and beer.



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