World Sauna Championships

My apartment neighbor and I had a yard sale yesterday.  Bad call, brutha.

It was sooooooooo humid!  I love summer and heat, but moist heat is just icky, unless you’re in a sauna (and it’s not 230°F…more on that later).   The temperature was only about 85°F when we started, but the humidity was 70%!  It was frakin miserable.  Luckily we have a North-facing apartment, so we were in the shade for the entire day, but still schweaty grossness ensued.  There were two …count ’em two… deodorant reapplication breaks yesterday.  Neighbor and I were hit on by one dude about three hours into the ordeal and we were thinking, “Man, how desperate must you be to think we look sexy right now?”

Our yard sale

But the good outweighed the bad.  Neighbor brought out frozen green and red grapes, which yesterday were a little slice of heaven.  By the end of the day we both had gotten rid of a lot of unnecessary junk, and as soon as we finished packing up the unsold items for Goodwill we went down to Lake Calhoun to go swimming.  The water was indescribably refreshing.  And Neighbor and I made enough money to go out for margaritas and Mexican food afterwards!

So we didn’t have it so bad.  I mean, you wanna talk humidity?  Instead of sitting in the shade eating frozen grapes, we could have been in the World Sauna Championships in Finland this past weekend. 

World Sauna Championship photo source

This “championship” seems to be less of a artful mastery of one’s chosen sport, and more a willingness to suffer extreme pain and injury in the name of being able to say “huh huh!  Look I did it!”  Look at these rules, from Wikipedia:


  • The starting temperature is 110 degrees Centigrade. Half a liter of water will be poured on the stove every 30 seconds.
  • Use of alcohol is prohibited prior to and during the competition.
  • Competitors must wash themselves beforehand, and remove any creams and lotions.
  • Competitor must sit erect, their buttocks and thighs on the bench.
  • Ordinary swimsuits must be used. Pant legs in men’s swimsuits may be up to 20 centimeters long, and women’s shoulder straps may be up to 5 centimeters wide.
  • Hair that reaches the shoulders must be tied into a ponytail.
  • Touching the skin and brushing is prohibited.
  • Competitors must not disturb each other.
  • When the Judges ask, competitors must show that they are in their senses with a thumbs up.
  • Competitors must be able to leave the sauna unaided to qualify.
  • A breach of the rules results in a warning. Another one results in disqualification.
  • The last person in the sauna is the winner.

All one has to do is sit still and endure heatstroke and skin burns.  This contest is so stupid, I’m amazed it didn’t originate in the US or Japan.  Seriously, at least in American Gladiators and Japanese game shows there’s some running around, balancing and wrestling.  Hell, even a lot of the Jackass stunts require more agility and physical prowess that sitting in a hot, steamy room and trying not to pass out. 

Well, now it’s over.  The World Sauna Championships have been suspended – probably for good.  Again, from

On 7 August 2010, Russian finalist and former third-place finisher Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finnish five-time champion Timo Kaukonen, passed out after six minutes in the sauna, both suffering from terrible burns and trauma. They were both rushed to the hospital but Ladyzhensky died en route. Kaukonen was reported to suffer from extreme burn injuries, and his condition was described as critical, but stable.

I don’t know anything about the World Sauna Championship except what I’ve learned today.  And I’m all for people spending their time, money and physical health in whatever ways they like as long as it doesn’t hurt other people.  I’m not making a statement about the way this gentleman died; people die in professional sports all the time.  Athletes are aware of the calculated risks they take when they engage in their sports.  This is an unfortunate accident and I feel for the guy’s family, friends and those who enjoy the World Sauna Championship.

But if this “sport” seemed stupid before, doesn’t it just seem even more awful that it’s unentertaining and deadly?

World Sauna Championships

Vree Vree: A Horror Story

Vreee, Vreeeeee!   That’s what I think a dentist drill sounds like.  And this isn’t really a horror story, so much as a gross, annoying story. 

I set my alarm for 5am this morning so that I could be on time for a 7am appointment with the dental hygienist.  I didn’t drink any coffee because I thought it was really nice that another human being would poke around in my saliva-y mouth at 7am, and my gift for this generosity was a lack of coffee breath fumes wafting into her face.  photo source

I let the dental hygienist talk me into a fluoride treatment, which cost me $42 out of pocket…grrr…being a grown-up sucks some days.  I remember fluoride treatments from when I was a kid: The dentist squirts the foam into the squishy mouth-guard thing, you sit for 30-60 seconds and then you can’t eat or drink for 30 minutes.  No biggie, right?

But now they have this brush-on crud, and emphasis on CRUD.  She brushs this nasty “mint” paste on my teeth (I don’t know who thinks that tastes like any mint found in nature or lab), and then tells me to avoid brushing my teeth and drinking hot liquids (READ: coffee) for FOUR HOURSI shell out my $42 and shamble out to the car.  I run my tongue lightly over my film-encrusted teeth and shudder.  All I want to do is spit and spit and spit; there’s no way I’m swallowing with this crap in my mouth.  How am I going to last for four hours at work with this crud on my teeth? 

I’m driving toward work and I notice the roof of my mouth feels filmy, so I take my index finger and rub the soft tissue.  I look at my finger, and it’s covered in this white stuff that looks and feels like candle wax…ewww, ewww, ewww!  I get to work and everywhere the smell of coffee calls to me.  The gentle sound of water flowing through grounds into coffee pots tickles my ear.  And my mouth tastes like waxy rot.  Mint-ish waxy rot, but waxy rot nonetheless.  I look at my watch…only 3 1/2 hours to go. 


Three minutes later I emerge from the bathroom – toothbrush in hand – with clean, smooth, shiny teeth.  My mouth is now filled with the familiar chemical-tasting mint of my regular toothpaste, and I’ve just washed $42 worth of waxy fluoride paste down the sink.  I’m divided in my emotions – sad that I’ve wasted four movies worth of money (or a new snorkel for dive class), happy that I can have coffee and not be grossed out by my filmy, wax rot teeth. 

And then I start to wonder: Did she say four hours…or for an hour? 

photo source


Vree Vree: A Horror Story