Tag Archives: humour

The Swedish Reckoning

I want to keep the following thing I wrote from disappearing into the nether-regions of old Facebook posts, so I’m copying it here as well. This won’t make a great deal of sense to most people who come to this blog, so I will give a bit of explanation.

Last week, our youth group met at a different church (that is, not our church). During our meal together, one of the youth at my table noticed a clock that had the regular twelve-hour dial as well as the numbers 1-31 in a smaller size on the outside of the regular time circle. One of them wondered what those numbers were for. I immediately suggested that because of Sweden’s northerly latitude they had a different way of reckoning time than we do—that their day has 31 hours, rather than 24 (several of our local churches are of Swedish heritage).

This story kind of blew up from there (and I didn’t resist): I hammed it up during announcements, coming up with the phrase “Swedish Reckoning,” suggesting that there had been a great coverup by their parents and grandparents, and noting that the Dutch had been joking about the Swedish Reckoning for generations. Youth were searching Google for verification of the existence of the Swedish Reckoning and the 31-hour day. Of course, they couldn’t find anything because Sweden has sensored all Swedish Reckoning information and records, much like China exercises some control over the internet. 

The next day I posted the following on the youth Facebook page. I was quite pleased with what I wrote. Some people thought I was sharing facts—at least until the bit at the end about socks and sandals, which is a long-running inside joke at youth, and is the clue for them about the veracity of this story. In fact, to end on the words “socks in sandals” was perhaps the most satisfying part of writing this story. (One person jokingly [I hope] said I was abusing pastoral trust!)

* * *

Last night at youth, during dessert, I told the youth about the Swedish Reckoning (SR). They had no idea what this was, which doesn’t surprise me, as the history of the SR has long been covered up and distorted by half-truths and misinformation.

There is a remnant of SR at the New Sweden Church, where we met last night. There is a clock that has both the regular twelve hours on it as well as, in smaller numerals, the 31-hour clock, which was historically the Swedish breakdown of the day. In recent years, this has been denied and some have tried to explain the 31 numbers on the clock as denoting days of the month. Of course, this is a thin line of reasoning, as this would not account for nearly half of the months of the year.

No, owing to local Swedish mythology, which quite naturally grew out of their extreme northerly latitude, a day was divided into 31 hours. The clock at New Sweden reflects the desire of Swedish settlers to be able to communicate and engage effectively in non-SR cultures by including the 12/24 hour system. Today, SR is not observed anywhere in the world, other than for ceremonial purposes and at heritage sites, as well as a small sect which lives in a commune in the north of Sweden.

I bring this up because this weekend is the time change, where here in Alberta and across much of the world, we set our clocks back an hour on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Interestingly, the time change in SR was a little bit different than ours, and a lot more confusing. There was no simple “Spring Forward” or “Fall Back” for them, with a an easy adjustment of an hour. Instead, under the SR, in the fall their clocks would be turned back by three and a quarter hours and then three hours later, turned forward by an hour and twenty minutes. The procedure to move the clock forward under SR in the spring was so complicated that a 350 page book was published by the Swedish government.

Now you know!

As an interesting side note, twice each year a small community in northern Sweden celebrates the Swedish Reckoning in a ceremony involving 31 baked pies, a complicated dance sequence (“3.25 steps back, 1.3 steps forward”), and a public reading of Guidelines for Time Adjustment at Vernal Equinox Under the Swedish Reckoning, which has become a sort of religious document for this sect. Their ceremonial garb includes colourful robes, clock hats, and socks in sandals.

Scripture… as we live it

I came across this series of posts by Alan Knox in which he “get us to think about what Scripture says compared to how we actually live and what our traditions teach.” Here is the original post (#1). I haven’t read all of them (there are over 180), but as I started going through them, this one particularly caught my attention:

Now as they were eatinginstead of eating a meal, Jesus tookbreadsmall pieces of bread that had already been broken, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cupseveral small cups, one for each of them, and when he had given thanks hegave it to thempassed them out, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28 re-mix)

“Several small cups, one for each of them…” Funny ’cause it’s true.

The whole series is here… 

Supper Table Conversations: Laughter

Madeline: Luke started crying because I was making him laugh.

Luke: Well it hurts when I laugh.

Madeline: Luke, laughter is good medicine.

Me: They say laughter is the best medicine, Madeline. “It’s good for what ails ya,” as Opa used to say.

Madeline: What does “ails” mean?

Luke: Is it good for eczema?

Madeline: What does “ails” mean?

Me: No, but good question, Luke.

Madeline: What does “ails” mean?

Me: “Ails” means something that makes you sick or hurts you.

Madeline: Well, laughter ails Luke, so…

Me: Good point, Madeline. I guess laughter is the best medicine except for when laughter is the thing that is hurting you.

A Joke from Maggi Dawn

Saint Peter is watching the gates of Heaven, but he really has to go to the bathroom. He asks Jesus to watch the gates for a few minutes, and Jesus agrees.

As Jesus is standing there, he sees an old man leading a donkey up from Earth to Heaven. He notices the old man has carpenter’s tools with him. When the old man gets to the gates, Jesus asks him to describe his life and explain why he feels he should be admitted into Heaven.

The man explains, “In English, my name would be Joseph, but I didn’t live in America or England. I lived a modest life, making things out of wood. I’m not remembered very well by most people, but almost everyone has heard of my son. I call him my son, but I was more of a Dad to him — he really didn’t come into this world in the usual way.

I sent my son out to be among the people of the World. He was ridiculed by many, and was even known to associate himself with some pretty unsavory characters, although he himself tried to be honest and perfect. My single biggest reason for trying to get into Heaven is to be re-united with my son.”

Jesus is awe-struck by the man’s story. He looks into the old man’s eyes and asks, “Father?”

The old man’s face brightens; he looks at Jesus, and asks, “Pinocchio?”

UPDATE: Oops. Credit where credit is due: “The Greatest Story Ever Told?

Dress up day and appropriate drinking

This week the kids spent some time at a friend’s house and made some masks. This morning they dressed up with clothing appropriate to their costumes. Madeline is a cat; Olivia is a bat; and Luke is a pumpkin.

Dressup

With lunch, they decided that they should drink something appropriate to the animals they were dressed as.

Madeline, being a cat, wanted milk.

Olivia, being a bat, wanted to drink something red like blood, so she chose cranberry juice.

Luke, being a pumpkin, wanted iced tea, which is brown and is therefore, in his own words, “worm poop juice”.

Some lists

Every so often, I return to McSweeney’s Lists for a good laugh. Here are some of my favourites of the ones I read today:

SPOILERS I’VE DELIVERED TO ENGLISH LIT MAJORS.

~By Gladstone

Godot never comes.

Bartleby is a lot like humanity in his preferring not to.

Peyton Farquhar sure has an active imagination at Owl Creek.

Your close reading skills and knowledge of symbolism will not be rewarded in your job as a lawyer or coffee barista.

* * *

PHILOSOPHER FINISHING MOVES.

~By Pravasan Pillay

The Aristhrottle

The Wittgenspine Buster

The Figure Four Ankle Locke

The Reverse Spinning Kickegaard

The Top Rope Over-the-Shoulder Thoreau

The Pulling Down of the Lyotard

The Feuerback Breaker

The Unemployment Clothes Line

* * *

RADIOHEAD AT THE CULINARY INSTITUTE.

~By Jimmy Chen

“Everything in Its Mise en Place”

“Fritter, Happier”

“All I Knead”

“Bones”

“My Waffle-Iron Lung”

“High and Dry Rub”

“Knives Out”

“Caramel Police”

“Black Star Anise”

“Weird Fishes”

“Crepe”

* * *

PALEOLITHIC BRYAN ADAMS: A PLAYLIST.

~By Josiah Lindsey

“Cuts Like a Hand-Sharpened Piece of Flint”

“Run to You Across the Bering Land Bridge”

“Hearts on Fire (Which Few of Us Can Make)”

“(Everything I Do) I Do It for Scavenged Mammoth Meat”

“Summer of 6”

There is more fun over at McSweeney’s Lists.

Evening conversations (England edition)

(I should add, by way of making sense of this conversation, that we are flying first class, where we will enjoy a variety of complimentary things.)

Me: [with some excitement] “I wonder what movies they’ll have on the airplane.”

Dixie: “How many times are you going to ask that? I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Me: “Have I asked it before?”

Dixie: “Several times.”

Me: “Well, I’m excited. Free movies! Free booze! Do you know what this means?!”

Dixie: “Yes. You’ll have to drink $8,500 worth of alcohol each way to get your money’s worth.”

East Coast Literature

Remember that time that I posted about how much I like melancholic maritime fiction?  No, well, I did.  Today Rilla posted this on my Facebook wall.  It is both AWESOME and hilarious, mostly because it’s an incredibly accurate summary of the genre. In other words, it’s funny ’cause it’s true.  Of course, if you’ve never read any of this type of lit, it won’t seem like such a big deal: