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That's a good one.

When I was growing up, I read all kinds of mythology, and I think I liked the Norse best because it was so different and when Lewis talks about Northernness, I know just what he means. It is quite weird. It exceeds other mythologies in weirdness. You can visualize the weird things in other mythologies much more easily than the Norse.

About 20 years ago when I was reading a book about the different "discoverers" of North America, there was a passage from one of the eddas that fascinated me, and I read some other eddas, and enjoyed them, but all I remember is the story a woman, perhaps Gudridur, mother of Snorri Thorfinnson, who may have been the first European child born in America. The group she was with came across some Indians who were going to attack them, and she rose up, pulled out her sword, drew it across her bare breast, and scared the daylights out of the Indians, who ran away. Or something very like that. ;-)


Yes, that is pretty much what I said, but I do think that the humour which comes from the differences in the sexes is another thing, and I enjoy it. One of my beefs with the current feminist movement is that it pits men and women against each other. It's like racism in that way. The humour, unless it is just mean, tends to draw us together, I think.

That is a great quote from Grumpy.

I love the train picture.

The cover of that album reminds me of a girl I saw in North Carolina when I was visiting Sally. We went to a poetry reading at her friend's coffee house. It was an initial effort and turned out to be Sally reading two very good poems, and then an outpouring of young adult angst which was really prose recited as poetry, but hopefully it will grow into something better.

There was a beautiful young girl there with what may have been tattoos on her face that made her look something like a cat. It made me want to weep. I'm hoping it wasn't permanent.

That music almost immediately evokes the spirit of David Lynch in a big way.


As you may have noticed, that song is some kind of collaboration between the singer and Lynch. I feel pretty sure her face tattoos are not tattoos.

Ouch--that story about the Viking woman. If you are so tough that you scare those northern Indians who had dreamed up the tortures used on the Jesuit martyrs, you are scary indeed.

I kind of feel the same thing about Northerness. I don't know why. And it's odd that contemporary Scandinavians, and their descendants in this country, seem so mild. There is a very funny bit in one of the Hitchhiker's Guide books, maybe the first one, about a mild-mannered civil servant who now and then when annoyed wants to paint his face blue and slaughter people (or something like that--been a long time since I read it).

On Netflix here there's a Norwegian series called Norsemen, which spoofs series like Vikings. It's very variable, and basically three jokes stretched out and reprised in various ways, interspersed with slapstick – but near the beginning of the first episode I thought it was very funny when the returning war chief says something like "You don't think I went too far, there? It's not really my thing, that style of leadership by fear."

[laughter] Sounds like a more sophisticated version of Hagar the Horrible.

Yes, I suppose so. But it strikes me now that having the Viking chief pastiching the language of managerial self-assessment is basically this joke in a different form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ

That's great. I see Norsemen is on Netflix here, too. I think I'll give it a try.

I haven't seen Vikings, though. Possibly some of the jokes will be references to it. I don't usually do very well with movie and TV humor that depends on references to movies & TV.

I think I now understand more about where the gruesomeness of Nordic noir come from.

Interesting point. I hadn't made that connection, but then I haven't read/seen much Nordic noir. The first episode of The Bridge just arrived from Netflix.

I haven't seen "Vikings" either (an interview with one of the writers about how "We don't really know what happened in that period, which leaves us free to make up what we like" decided me against it). Perhaps I would have enjoyed "Norsemen" more if I had.

Not surprised. It really makes me grit my teeth when a character in a historical drama acts and speaks like a contemporary American (or European). "Just follow your heart" and that kind of thing. Or just idioms, like an upper-class 19th c English woman saying "I need you to support me on this."


It's also like that when you see a quote attributed to an author or a saint that expresses a sentiment that wasn't present in the consciousness of people in their time.

There was a quote going around supposedly by Catherine of Sienna, and it was such a 21st century concept that I knew it couldn't be right. I finally figure out it was from a recent poem written, supposedly, in Catherine's voice.


I may have seen that, too. I remember having a similar thought but I don't remember the details.

In the "you need to" case I'm also bothered by what seems to be a missing preposition. Seems like it should be "I need for you to..." I don't know if that's grammatically required but it bugs me.

You need her to correct her usage.


"You need to do such-and-such" is normal usage where I come from. Perhaps it used to be UK English and then crossed the ocean. But I know the feeling; once or twice I've corrected students about some horrible-sounding "mistake" only to find that they'd picked up some common feature of US English which I didn't know about.

(I took up teaching English as a side job a while back and have turned into a professional grammar nazi as a result.)

I found an interesting quote about Sigrid Undset today from a book called Faith Experiences of Catholic Converts by Rawley Myers.

She sensed that the religious beliefs of a large number of people were ridiculous. Religion is not a matter of a person's making up his own rules. It is, rather, following God's rules. Sigrid was seeking a religion where authority came from Christ, not from human beings, and, because the Catholic Church was the most ancient of churches, she began to seek out the Church's claims . . . .


I think there's something very much like that in her Wikipedia bio. I say that because it seems familiar and I read that page while writing that post about Master of Hestviken.

"You need to..." is pretty standard here, too. That doesn't bother me. It's the "I need you to..." vs "I need for you to..." that seems wrong, but I don't know if it is. I have the heart of a grammar nazi but have occasionally embarrassed myself by saying something wrong when it wasn't, according to actual grammarians. So I usually don't give it free rein.

I don’t like that use of "I need you to" because it attempts to hide what is really a command. Also makes the person being commanded look like a potential meanie. Wonder if it all started with psychotherapy.

True Marianne.

I have quit correcting people's grammar because at this point I am likely to make a grammar error while in the process of correcting someone else's error.

On the other hand, I managed to use italics twice in my earlier comment without italicizing the entire blog. I consider that a good day.


If Google Books is to be trusted, "I need you to [verb]" only became a common turn of phrase at the end of the 1970s (rather older are devotional and romantic turns of phrase "I need you to guide me", "I need you to drive the blues away", with the emphasis on you).

Interesting. I guess grammatically there is no difference between "I need *you* to guide me" and "I need you to support me on this."

I think it safe to say there's a pragmatic difference.


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