October Pieces Of My Mind #1

Satanic Men At Work in Umeå. (Actually, there's condensation on the other side of the sign, and the sun is boiling it off.)
Satanic Men At Work in Umeå. (Actually, there’s condensation on the other side of the sign, and the sun is boiling it off.)
  • Me: “subject”. Autocorrect: “Sibbertoft”.
  • Hey everyone who names your daughters “Chatarina”! I just want you to know that you’re stamping your kid with this big label that says “From A Home With No Language Skills”. It’s like naming her brother “Piliph”.
  • Huh? There’s an online service named Plurk. I have no idea what it does but it sounds extremely funny in Swedish. Plurk plurk!
  • Whenever I see a schnauzer dog I wish I could give its face a buzz cut.
  • Android. The bottom left button used to call up the options menu. Never used that. Then it did nothing. Now it calls up the task manager and is finally useful!
  • “Foxey Lady” is really oddly recorded and mixed. The instruments are fuzzy and centred. The vocals are super loud, super crisp and placed way out left and right. Sounds like two different recording sessions decades apart.
  • “The girl from Ipanema goes walking / And when she’s walking each one who sees her says / GNYAAAAARGLAAAAGH!”
  • Childhood buddy, last seen about 1985, resurfaces as columnist in Umeå entertainment paper.
  • Teaching helps make up for the fact that my kids are growing up strong & independent and don’t need me much anymore.
  • I took a look at the hit boardgame The Voyages of Marco Polo and felt instant revulsion. I think I’ve had enough of German-style cube-pusher games. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, their solution to the problem of unhappiness is based on the exchange of little coloured wooden cubes according to complicated rules, when arguably it isn’t the little cubes that are unhappy.
  • It struck me the other day that many of the more radical differences in ladies’ attire compared to men’s attire are intended not just to accommodate breasts, but to display them. And I am the last to complain.
  • When Swedish archaeologists who made an international impression on the discipline are discussed, among the first names mentioned you’ll find Oscar Montelius and Mats P Malmer. Both wrote mainly in Swedish and German, and so aren’t very accessible to today’s monolingual Anglophones. But now I’ve received a pretty sweet editorial commission: to put the finishing touches on a Greatest Hits volume of Malmer’s work, translated into English with commentary by the likewise legendary Stig Welinder!
  • When it came out that I own a small grater used exclusively for nutmeg, everyone realised that I can’t be straight. This impression was sealed decisively today when I bought a bar of lavender soap in a health food store of my own accord.
  • I wish you could get rid of academic job application referees on the grounds “That guy and I have a complete disdain for each other’s work and academic priorities”.
  • Manioc Maniax will be the next big thing in tuber-themed video games. Remember, you read it here first.
Tree house ruin on Neglingehöjden hill
Tree house ruin on Neglingehöjden hill

Author: Martin R

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

62 thoughts on “October Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. Ancient Minoans were cool. Too bad they, too, kept slaves (as revealed from Linear B).
    And too bad the sardinians were invaded by the Chartagians/ Phoenicians before their iron age culture could mature to a level where they could form polities able to fend off colonizers.


  2. Re : Golf. It involves so many joints and limbs being coordinated perfectly that a hole-in-one is a bigger miracle than the one about bumblebees being able to fly (we know the answer to that, BTW. It involves vortices).


  3. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians only did what the Romans would have done sooner or later anyway. And the Romans wouldn’t have given up if initially repelled – that was the thing about the Romans: they never gave up.


  4. And please don’t insult bumblebees by comparing them to golfers. Bumblebees are useful. Golfers are a plague.


  5. Though not a golfer myself, I agree with Eric that the skiing bit is good about golf courses. And though our local golf course replaced a big bog, valuable biohab, many Swedish ones are on land that would otherwise be used for intensive spruce wood farming. That is neither nice to look at nor very useful to ecology.


  6. But spruce is essential for making flamenco guitars! It is used to make the front face of the guitar. Other woods are unsuitable.

    Golf courses consume huge amounts of fresh water (perhaps not a concern in Sweden, but very many places have limitations on fresh water supply) and huge amounts of inorganic fertilizers, which wash into the waterways, resulting in algal growth, which has very adverse ecological effects.

    Golf courses also occupy huge areas of land. Maybe that is also not a problem in Sweden, but in Hong Kong large areas of land needed for housing for working class people are reserved as playgrounds for super-rich people. And as noted, they are an aide to cronyism so that the rich can make themselves even more rich at the expense of the poor.

    A tennis hard court consumes nothing much at all – no water or fertilizer. Almost everyone can afford to rent a public court for an hour or two, and they will get some real exercise while doing it. And you could fit 50 tennis courts into one small part of a golf course. They can also be made as multi-courts, so the net can be taken down to play basketball or whatever.

    I have seen snow precisely twice in my life and have no desire to see it again, so I am unable to comment on the value of skiing.


  7. Golf courses also occupy huge areas of land. Maybe that is also not a problem in Sweden, but in Hong Kong large areas of land needed for housing for working class people are reserved as playgrounds for super-rich people

    This happens in parts of the US as well. It’s not unusual for a mountain resort to have a golf course or two to attract people in the summer, when skiing is not available. Of course, in mountainous terrain, land suitable for building is at a premium. So, for instance, the Aspen-Snowmass area in Colorado has several golf courses, while the workforce has to live in Carbondale (about 40 km away) because almost nobody who isn’t filthy rich can afford housing in Aspen (even worse, almost all of the housing in that area is holiday homes–very few people live in Aspen year-round).

    On an earlier thread John and I discussed the idiotic but all-too-common (in English-speaking countries) practice of maintaining well-manicured lawns as house gardens. Golf courses take this idiocy up to eleven. All so that a few people can spoil a good walk. Martin and I live in places where land and water are plentiful enough that this isn’t a completely dumb idea. In the US the most likely alternative would be yet another shopping center with an oversized car park (as if we didn’t have too much of that already), and I’m not sure that’s ecologically better than a golf course. Car parks are another major source of water pollution due to runoff, they enhance flooding risk (at least a golf course will absorb rain; most kinds of asphalt don’t), and in snow country they have to be plowed and either salt or sand applied.


  8. Birger, if you haven’t seen it, you would enjoy the hilarious film “Caddyshack”, in which the clearly cognitively challenged groundsman Bill Murray wages war on the gophers which are damaging the golf course in plague proportions.

    It’s an all time classic.


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