Pieces Of My Mind

These days I usually stick short updates of things I’m thinking about on my Facebook feed, and use the blog for longer pieces. But some of those snippets make me kind of happy, so here’s a selection of recent ones.

  • I never give money to beggars. Instead I make an annual donation to Stockholm’s biggest organisation for meals, showers, beds for homeless people. Right about when it starts to get cold and nasty outdoors.
  • Why is a Swedish dance orchestra playing a slow boogie version of “Anarchy In The UK” in my head?
  • OK guys, here’s the deal. An elite is a group of people. If you’re talking about its members, they are not “elites”. They are members of the elite. The plural of this word can only be used if you mean several distinct groups, as in “The political elites of many Western countries like Sponge Bob”. My buddy and his brother may be members of the elite, but they certainly are not elites. Learn this now. Thank you. That’s all.
  • “Wannabe scientist” is Möchtegern-Wissenschaftler in German! Ausgezeichnet!
  • The Big Two card game is known as da lao-er, “big dick”, in Mandarin slang.
  • Is it possible to know God in the Biblical way?
  • Grödinge parish used to be named Grodunge, “baby frog”.
  • I want to feed tamarind to tamarins sitting in tamarisks on the River Tamar.
  • Nerdy gamer clubs completely rule the Swedish system of publicly funded youth groups, once set up to encourage sports teams.
  • I’ve finally realised why Christian fundamentalists oppose gay marriage. First I kind of assumed that they find it much more palatable that gay people are sexually promiscuous than that they form stable pairs. But that didn’t quite sound right. Then it struck me. Christian fundamentalists hate the idea that anybody is having gay sex. And they think that nobody has sex outside of marriage. So if gay people can’t get married, nobody will ever have gay sex!
  • D’oh! A deer, a female deer
  • What would the Danish conference series Det Tværfaglige Vikingesymposium be called in English? Fag is easy as that is the same in English. Tvær is quer in German, that is, queer in English. So the conference is called The Queer Fag Viking Symposium. Cool.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

19 thoughts on “Pieces Of My Mind”

  1. “I want to feed tamarind to tamarins sitting in tamarisks on the River Tamar” I’ve always wanted to do that too!


  2. your first one is stupid. If the organization can provide XYZ for less than the normal market rate, then they could just charge what they need to to the homeless individual; in other words go into the business of providing showers etc.

    When you give money to an organization like that, they have the power. When you give it to the person, they have the power. When an organization has the power the government has most of it, because an organization like that is mostly under control of the surrounding society, obeying various societal norms etc. that are expected, whether they make sense to provide showers effectively or not. There is also a lot of administrative overhead.

    Part of the major barriers that homeless people face is the location and opening hours, rules and company in/of these facilities that supposedly provide essential services as last resort providers. The company in particular, is impractical to deal with by funding an organization. Lumping all homeless people together produces a dangerous environment where most of the people who are most interested in actually advancing their lives but just in a tight position or have been unlucky, are squeezed out by the druggies etc.

    You would be better off to identify some of the unfortunate homeless types and give them the money directly.


    1. You’re making two unfounded assumptions here. One is that the homeless people are rational actors. Actually, the main reasons for them to be homeless at all in high-taxes, good social services Sweden are substance abuse and mental illness. The other assumption is that I am acting entirely out of concern for the homeless. Actually, I am partly motivated by the desire to make begging unprofitable, since it’s fucking annoying.


  3. “Is it possible to know God in the Biblical way? ”
    -Since there is a passage in the Old Testament about a guy wrestling someone who turns out to be God, I am reminded of an.episode of South Park. Butters sees his dad go to a “Sauna Club” and peeks through the window. Later, he reports to his mom about seeing his dad “wrestling, naked”.


  4. And fundies also think teenagers will never have sex if they get no sex eduaction. SYSTEM ERROR.
    I will sign my fan mail to Svante Pääbo “Möchtegern-Wissenschaftler” from now on.


  5. Actually, what the teens do if you don’t educate them about these things is follow the call of the wild, that is, have clumsy enthusiastic unprotected procreative sex.


  6. “clumsy enthusiastic unprotected procreative sex” …and nine months later there was this kid in Betlehem.


  7. I read somewhere — maybe it was on Ophelia Benson’s blog — that the reason the fundies can’t abide the idea of same-sex marriage is that both partners would be intrinsically equal. Not owner-chattel, like God intended.


  8. Peter,
    Decoding the thinking of fundamentalists is like trying to figure out the logic of Aztec sacrifices. Your explanation might be correct. Myself I think the fundies don’t want gay people to exist, and granting them the right to marry would acknowledge their existence as human beings.


  9. As knowing God in a biblical way typically involves being slaughtered for some transgression or another, I skip that privilege.


  10. Is the dance orchestra actually inside your head (like some advertising jingle you can’t forget)? , or does it actually sound like it is coming from a radio or something. I wondered because that happens to me a lot whenever there is steady background noise like a fan or passing traffic. It is almost always very BAD music, like a dance band playing “Anarchy in the UK”, for example.


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