Barking Mad, Mad About Bark

Well, this was just a beautiful story to start the day.

“My math teacher just stripped naked during class and was arrested! Go MSU!” one student wrote on Reddit, posting a blurry cell phone snap of a nude man sitting in the school hallway.

“Halfway through class he started screaming at us, swearing left and right….. He then started slamming his hands on the window and pressing his face against it, still screaming. Eventually he walked out and down the hallway to the end, all while screaming. He then then came back into the classroom and took off his clothes, except for his socks.”

From a story about a professor gone barking mad, to a nation absolutely mad about bark.

I loved this story in the Times about “National Firewood Night,” a twelve-hour program broadcast on Norway’s national television network. The show spent four hours featuring people cutting and stacking wood, then twelve hours watching a single fire burning in a wood stove in Bergen.

A full twenty percent of the population tuned in, and many weighed in on the unseen fire-tender’s technique.

“We received about 60 text messages from people complaining about the stacking in the program,” said Lars Mytting, whose best-selling book “Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning” inspired the broadcast. “Fifty percent complained that the bark was facing up, and the rest complained that the bark was facing down.”

He explained, “One thing that really divides Norway is bark.”

I would probably categorize myself as something of a wood dork. We use firewood as the primary heat source for our farmhouse, and I am of course the primary (only) chain-sawer, splitter, stacker and stove stoker. So for me this is absolutely fascinating stuff.

I could not figure out the embed code in Norwegian, so this link to a (truncated, alas) fireplace video will have to do. Also, here is one of the regular episodes of the show.

Barking Mad, Mad About Bark

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