Now I understand the Viking Era

So I’m sitting here, looking out my window at the 3-foot snow and the 5-foot icicles, reverting to ancestral type. Thinking:

“Fuck this. Let’s go sack Miklagard.

43 thoughts on “Now I understand the Viking Era

  1. Yeah. With all that snow and ice there was nothing better to do than to pillage and plunder. Just imagine how much calmer they’d be if they’d lived in a place with palm trees and white sand beaches… ;)

  2. No, no Jay.

    The reason why Minnesota and Wisconsin were settled by Norwege and Swenske isn’t because the other cultures couldn’t hack the winters.

    It’s because compared to 19th century Norway and Sweden, Upper Minneosta and Upper Wisconsin are *paradise*.

    “Look! Farmland! Lakes for fishing! Timber and lumber to build from! And no morass of petty aristocracy to tell you no. And, hey, it only snows for five whole months here! They won’t believe THAT back in the old country!”

    The only reason there weren’t more of them was because a lot of Norski STILL remember the marketing flimflam that was Greenland. They had a completely justified 900 year old mistrust of ANYONE telling them about ‘great farmland, only snows for five months of the year, plenty of timber…’

  3. Yeah. With all that snow and ice there was nothing better to do than to pillage and plunder. Just imagine how much calmer they’d be if they’d lived in a place with palm trees and white sand beaches… ;)

    Thailand is Sweden’s official sister country (don’t have a source, but I read it in the paper a few years ago). Go figure.

    Actually, we are buried in snow right now too and still calm as sheep. Social Democracy is Prozac…

  4. I grew up partly in Gallitzin PA. Snow drifts used to reach almost to the power lines in the mid 70′s and early 80′s, it was common. Every house had a reinforced awning for a very good reason, so you could open your front door and begin to tunnel out. The pitch of the roofs made each house look like an arrow, I can remember my parents heating our attic so the snow and ice would run off.

    This created an interesting network of tunnels just to venture to the store. Often, it would warm a little, then freeze and get even colder overnight, creating a very thick layer of ice (reinforcing said tunnels).

    I remember our mail man falling in to a cut off section of those tunnels and being lost for nearly two days. I also clearly remember seeing the mayor of the area being interviewed about snow removal and asking the press “What the &#$* do you want me to do, eat it?”

    At least you have power, internet and a stocked fridge :) I remember a year when we were dangerously low on coal with no hope in sight.

    Try to not go nuts.

  5. Too bad you don’t drink alcohol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulled_wine was invented for more or less this kind of situation – and exactly for this kind of mood.

    For those that don’t partake in alcoholic beverages, I find mulled apple cider to be a suitable substitute.

    Mmmmm…

    Too bad I can’t seem to get good apple cider where I live these days. :( They only have the ordinary pasteurized variety sold in the grocery stores down here. You can’t get the good stuff they sell at the cider mills up north.

  6. >Too bad I can’t seem to get good apple cider where I live these days. :(

    If you ever visit Pennsylvania, try some Ziegler’s. Local brand of cider associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch; best I’ve had anywhere. It’s possible there might be better in New England or Washington State, but they’d truly have to work hard to top Ziegler’s. The locals here take it for granted, and probably shouldn’t.

  7. Actually,Publix, Winn-Dixie and Wally World all sell Ziegler’s. It’s not bad, but it’s pasteurized and has that “processed” taste. I’ll bet the Ziegler’s they sell in Pennsylvania at the cider mills isn’t anything like it.

  8. Polynesians aren’t all that peacefull. They’re on the flip side of the Viking situation.

    They live in paradise. Nothinig bothers the livestock. The food crops crowd out the weeds! It’s sunny and warm all day. It’s……. BORING!

    So, they took up humanity’s usual hobbies: talking, war, and eating. Sometimes they combined the last two.

    Polynesian languages take forever to say anything, but they sound great, even when they’re insulting you. They *have* forever.

    American football is a lot like war, except you don’t get killed quite so often.

  9. I’m reverting to type as well. Like my Jewish ancestors, I feel the pull to move to Florida.

  10. I’m reverting to type as well. Like my Jewish ancestors, I feel the pull to move to Florida.

    Muahahahaha…. my evil plan is working!

  11. According this story on National Proletariat Radio, which was just posted on Slashdot, the government is planning to create a National Climate Service, which will “be somewhat analogous to the National Weather Service in providing information for people to use to make decisions, but in this case, about longer-term events instead of the shorter-term events that characterize the weather”. I guess someone needed to hire those ex-CRU employees…

  12. TO: The Viking Wannabe
    RE: Actually….

    ….they’d just get drunk and s**** the women they’d seized from Ireland the Summer before. It being too miserable to get into the boat.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a Viking to raze a village!]

  13. Ya, by this time of year I used to sit around muttering to myself and sharpening my axe, but I’m much happier now that I spend winters in Terlingua.

  14. “”So, they took up humanity’s usual hobbies: talking, war, and eating. Sometimes they combined the last two””

    That’s right. Some of my ancestors may have eaten some of your ancestors and vice versa….

  15. Bwahahah! Pa slaget, svaerd i handet! Buiadh no bas!

    (Genetic Scot, married a Dane. Hoping eldest son will bag a Mongol chick so we’ll have all the great barbarian races covered, and grandkids will conquer the world. Or, you know…just fight and drink a lot…)

  16. Actually, it now appears that coastal Greenland WAS green – just like Denmark – during the Medieval Warm Period 950 to 1300 or so and then it got colder and made farming impossible and killing off the viking population.

  17. Miklagard indeed.

    And the hammer of the gods will push our ships to new lands.

  18. I’ve read somewhere that Minnesota & Wisconsin were sold to the Scandinavians with the assertion that it was “the same latitude as Paris” or somesuch (it’s 44 N, Paris is 48N, close enough). So they expected _nice_, middle-European weather.

    I think the Scandinavians are there now because they 1. were total fatalists in accepting their situation and 2. were the only people who could survive it in any case.

  19. >….they’d just get drunk and s**** the women they’d seized from Ireland the Summer before.

    I fail. I don’t drink, and the blue-eyed fair-skinned redheaded lass I woke up next to this morning is not genetically Irish.

    I think I can hold my head up in the shagging department, however. More to the point, so does she.

  20. >And the hammer of the gods will push drive our ships to new lands.

    /me puts up a sign that reads “NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!”

  21. My heritages are warring with each other right now, stuck up here in my first Michigan winter. My Irish side wants to build a circle fort to keep away the fookin’ Vikings and my English side wants me to provide the Vikings with a map. My very small Spanish heritage couldn’t care less what those loonies up north do to themselves. And all of them want to get very drunk.

  22. Jay Maynard: Please! For God’s sakes understand that Minnesota was also populated by the English, Irish, Danes, Germans, and even some Scots; look at the history of Stillwater and the APA vs. the IRA. My Goodness, someone had to make food other than Lefse and Lutefisk, our church smorgasbords would have failed miserably otherwise. The only place where the Swedes and Norski’s were in the majority was near Chisago City! Also, don’t forget about the Iron Rangers, mostly displaced Socialists from Eastern Europe and Finland.

  23. Ah yes, the Vikings, who sailed across uncharted waters, traveled to a new, unexplored land, made their way across hostile territory until they found a place that was just as fucking miserable as the one they left!

  24. Actually, back in those days, you didn’t go raiding in the winter. You went in viking in the summer season. It’s a common mistake to refer to the vikings as a people. Being a viking was an occupation – that of a raider or pirate. The Norse would be vikings some of the time, and farmers for the rest of the time. While you were staying down on the farm you were not a viking.

    ESR says: It’s pedants like you wot causes distress.

  25. Looks like this round just missed northern Delaware.. I saw some flakes but nothing annoying..

    (Of course, now that I say that, it’ll drop a foot in my driveway overnight :p)

    ps: What’s the difference between Norwegians and Swedes? Norwegians have good neighbors.

  26. I see I’ve been instalanched today (25 Feb). Glenn appears unaware that the “Let’s sack Miklagard” post is two weeks old.

    The 5-foot icicles all melted away days ago and about all that’s left of the 3-foot snow is heaps of the stuff where the plows threw it. It’s snowing lightly outside but the ground temperature has warmed enough that it’s not sticking.

    6 to 12 inches predicted for tonight, which would be a major fall here any other year. Now I’m just laughing. No need to bite my shield rim yet, and a good thing too because the bicycle tire I have bound around it would taste terrible.

  27. Poul Anderson, who probably had as good
    a grasp of Norse culture as Grendel :)
    had one of his characters say:
    “It is well enough to go in Viking as a youth,
    but later one realizes that the real wealth
    is here, in the land.”
    PA’s “Hrolf Kraki’s Saga” is worth a read

  28. >PA’s “Hrolf Kraki’s Saga” is worth a read

    Damn straight. I’ve read a lot of pastiches of saga literature by modern authors, from H. Rider Haggard’s “Eric Brighteyes” on forward, as well as translations of many of the sagas themselves. I am speaking as a connoisseur and a domain expert when I say that no one has ever played this game better than Anderson, and Hrolf Kraki’s Saga was the best of the Anderson pastiches.

  29. DN Says, “Genetic Scot, married a Dane. Hoping eldest son will bag a Mongol chick so we’ll have all the great barbarian races covered, and grandkids will conquer the world.” Man, thanks for the laugh… that was good! Gotta tell my Danish mother and brother. Stop in Elkhart, Iowa sometime at the Danish Windmill (imported brick by brick from Denmark and rebuilt), and buy their “Viking World Tour” T-shirt, has a mob of Vikings on the front, a list of places they raided on the back.

    Doug, you are so right… no wonder the Norsemen were in such a foul mood all the time. It wasn’t only the weather, it was having to choke down all that God-awful Lutefisk!
    Well, they’ve always got those goreous (often blond) Norse women to console them.

    KevinBaker, “Ah yes, the Vikings, who sailed across uncharted waters, traveled to a new, unexplored land, made their way across hostile territory until they found a place that was just as fucking miserable as the one they left!” Right! My Danish family members all live in Arizona.

  30. the blue-eyed fair-skinned redheaded lass I woke up next to this morning is not genetically Irish

    We bleed for you. I won’t say from where.

  31. The Viking heyday was in the earliest part of the so-called Medieval Warming period.

  32. ESR says: It’s pedants like you wot causes distress.

    You force me to erect a totem pole of insult dedicated to your destruction. (Egil’s Saga gives a complete howto on that.)

  33. so you pillage and you plunder and fall in love with the 3-foot snow and the icicles and decide never to leave for samoa

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