Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

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In Falun Mine with Legolas and other news from Sweden

September 1st, 2003 · 7 Comments

Yesterday, I explored the Falun Copper Mine–miles of cold and dimly-lit tunnels where the Swedes started tunneling and exploring more than 1000 years ago. Our tour guide looked just like Legolas. Instead of noble faraway look, he had a chuckle and a sense of humor, but I think that is a definite improvement.

I’ve been spending time here in the footsteps of Carolus Linnaeus––a Swede who created the double-barreled scientific naming system that Home sapiens has been using ever since. He did other good stuff too–for example, the original Centigrade temperature system had water freezing at 100 degrees and boiling at 0 degrees. Linnaeus had the sense to turn that scale upside down.  

Now, I’m not digressing, but do you have a big table for people to eat around–even a room or a big area of the kitchen devoted to housing that great big dinner table you need only when you’ve decided to feed a bunch of guests? Well, I do, but Linnaeus was smarter than that.

Linnaeus had a bunch of little tables around the edges of his dining room. Only when dinner time rolled around did he move just as many tables as he needed that very night into the middle of the dining room. He would stick together a bunch of little tables to make a big table exactly the right size that night.

Okay, forbid me for harping on this but the idea makes so much sense, I can’t believe Linnaeus thought of it 250 years ago and nobody bothered to tell me about it! A big dinner table that takes up a big fat space spends all its spare time bumping people who try to walk through said space. Furthermore, if you have 4 little tables instead of one honking big one, you can make 3 little separate messes–errr, I mean “work areas”–on the separate tables you don’t need that night.

So I’m not spending all my time gazing at Legolas and Galadriel lookalikes–although that would be tempting. I’m computing how much money Peter Jackson could have saved on blue contact lenses and platinum hair dye if he he’d come to Sweden….

Tags: Pilgrimages

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jr // Sep 1, 2003 at 3:18 pm

    Kinda makes you wonder what other wonderfull things you haven’t been told about.

    ps. I think I’ve seen Legolas dressed up as a pirate somewhere.

  • 2 The Children's Liberation Front (actually, Yule) // Sep 1, 2003 at 10:30 pm

    I have a weakness for shelter magazines and once saw a Swedish-designed “Gustavian” style dining table that was actually made up several tables which could be moved together or apart, as needed. The idea struck me as brilliant, but I had no idea its lineage was that dignified! This particular design had two demi-lunes at the ends with two rectangles in the middle. Each component was capable of standing on its own tucked against a wall. The two demi-lunes could be put together to make one small round table, while the two rectangles made one small square table. Together, they made up a beautiful large oval table. Totally neat. I’ve forgotten the name of the designer; it was a woman, and her stuff was for sale in the US, although she was based in Sweden. It was NOT Ikea.

  • 3 Betsy Devine // Sep 2, 2003 at 8:43 am

    It’s a good thing there are so many cool things we donät know yet–don’t you think so? Kinda makes you wonder why people who already know it all bother to get up when the alarm clock rings….

  • 4 Betsy Devine // Sep 2, 2003 at 8:45 am

    Yule, I wonder if that Swedish designer visited Linnaeus’s house like me, or if cool design ideas are part of the Swedish genome along with blond, blond hair and Legolas legs….

  • 5 The Children's Liberation Front (actually, Yule) // Sep 2, 2003 at 11:11 pm

    I couldn’t say …slept through my alarm clock !!again!! (Well, actually, I don’t use an alarm clock; I wait for the voices in my head to wake me…. Of course the bastards always forget to tell me when to go to sleep…)

  • 6 Betsy Devine // Sep 6, 2003 at 7:37 am

    I want the kind of voices in my head that characters have in Discworld, but usually I have to settle for voices whose main store of knowledge is alllll my past mistakes….

  • 7 Betsy Devine: Now with even more funny ha-ha and peculiar » “God created but Linnaeus organised” // May 20, 2007 at 8:31 am

    […] hard drive, according to its photographer. Linnaeus’s claim to fame was his simple method for organizing the vast confusion of plant and animal species, using two-part scientific names. One giant step for Homo […]