Here is a link to a recent documentary (a little over an hour) about Viking enthusiasm in Minnesota, concentrating on the Kensington Rune Stone. I am not in it; I was in the throes of graduate school when it was made. But several friends and acquaintances of mine are featured. I missed the Midwest Viking Festival this past summer, but hope to make it again this year. See it here.
Tonight I cooked one of my brother Baal’s purple potatoes for supper. Did you know there are such things as purple potatoes?
It tasted like a potato. No surprises there, thank goodness. But a purple potato is deeply disturbing on a fundamental level. It’s purple inside and out, with thin of sheath of white between the “meat” and the skin. It looks like some kind of unnatural hybrid of potato and beet, and you can’t help thinking that it’s going to taste like something approved by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Visual cues mean a lot to most of us, and by that standard, I just don’t… (ready for this?) dig purple potatoes.
But it was interesting. Definitely interesting. Maybe three-year-olds will like them, if you tell them they’re dinosaur livers.
Rodham Devon, it was cold today. Cold out of a clear cerulean sky, so that if you kept your window shades open you got a nice solar rebate on your fuel oil bill. But the ambient temperatures more than adjusted for that. On a day like today, there’s nothing between us and the interstellar wastes except a little rind of planetary atmosphere. The sunlight drops in and bounces right back where it came from. Minnesota. A nice place to visit, but even sunlight doesn’t want to spend time here in the winter.
Lots of talk about the Iran Study Group report today. From what I hear and read on the web, it seems pretty much like what everybody expected.
I keep flashing back to my childhood. Elementary school. Green chalkboards and linoleum. A “cool” teacher telling the class, “Today we’re going to have a discussion on current events.”
And he would ask our opinions on how we thought various issues in the news ought to be handled.
The answers were always the same.
In domestic affairs, the answer always was, “The government should make a law…”
In international affairs, the answer always was, “We should sit down with other countries and talk about it.”
“That’s very good. Very thoughtful,” the teacher would say.
(Thomas the weird kid, of course, would say something like, “I think we ought to drop an atom bomb on ‘em.” But the teacher would tell him sternly that if he had nothing appropriate to offer, he should just be quiet.)
Fifty years later, it seems like most of us are still trying to impress that teacher.
Maybe it’s because our culture has bought into the myth of the Wisdom of Children (an opinion that seems to gain adherents as the birth rate decreases).
Or maybe it’s because we’re just culturally stuck in an infantile mode, dressing even in middle age like kids in an Our Gang feature, and bragging loudly about the toys we’ve accumulated (like Viking live steel gear, I know).
But I think a lot of us—even the old codgers of the Iraq Study Group—stopped refining our thinking about public affairs back in elementary school, and we haven’t noticed that the world is a little more complex than we knew in fifth grade.
What was your suggestion again, Thomas?