Scandinavian archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music
August Pieces Of My Mind #3
Today is the big book-selling festival on Drottninggatan in Stockholm, “the world’s longest book table”, which is probably true since the term “book table” is almost unknown outside Sweden. I’m bringing a backpack and the names Bengtsson, Bujold, LeGuin, Maugham, Paasilinna and Piraten.
Several book sellers at the festival have told me “He’s great but nobody reads him any more” or “She’s great so I’m certainly not selling those” when I’ve asked about my favourites.
I’m really interested in new ideas and methods in my discipline. But it annoys the hell out of me that what we mainly get is new buzzwords. And people pick them up in the most inane and transparent way.
Lyric themes that put me off a song #1: whatever goes on on the dance floor.
This piece of abyssal plain really isn’t very good. In fact, it’s quite abysmal.
I thought Edward Sharpe was singing the words “undead audio” on his song “Brother”, so I checked the lyrics. And it turns out that he actually does.
So funny with group pictures where people are leaning into image centre and the photographer leaves this huge empty space around them.
Cousin E reports that his Chinese middle school English vocabulary does not include the word “pear”, but it does include “cannibal”.
I just realised that I logged my 900th geocache during that rock festival in Dalecarlia, on the 11th! Took me over 11 years to get there.
I’ve taught Cousin E seven boardgames since he arrived. Not only were they new games to him: several represented completely unfamiliar game mechanics. With four of these games, Cousin E won on his first try against seasoned grownups, some of whom really know these games.
Apparently there’s a fad among Western geek kids to learn Japanese. The Stockholm Scifi Book Store has study materials dead centre in its display window, between Erik Granstrom’s new fantasy novel and Tintin’s rocket.
Dreamed that my wife had vandalised all our brass candlesticks, hidden some of them and thrown the rest openly in the trash. Recalls the broken-off handles for candlesticks that I’ve seen in Fb’s metal detectorist groups lately.
Eng. howitzer and Sw. haubits both go back to 15th century Czech houfnice, “crowd cannon”, “formation breaker”.
A strange recurring trait of the Japanese short stories I’ve been reading lately in English translations is this childish guilelessness: an absence of irony, an apparent ignorance of Western literary clichés. “That Ainella is one tough customer, Yutaka thought.”
Haven’t played Vector Race in over a quarter century. We all drove straight off the track in the first curve.
If you find a dock when excavating in the Old Town of Stockholm, then it’s really hard to relate it to shoreline displacement. Because many docks were built on high-organic landfill that has been dramatically deflated by dehydration and microbial activity over the centuries. This means that your dock is currently at an unspecified much lower level than when it was built.
That night the Baron dreamt of nary a woe / And none of his warrior-guests were at all be-nightmared
Hunting laws regarding wolverines mean that they run a much greater risk of getting shot in Norway than in Sweden. They are however not smart enough to avoid Norway. On the contrary, they see Norway as a nicely empty area where it’s easy to find territory. So the net migration goes west.
I like to refer to my inner Celt as “latent La Tène”.
Two ticks bit my bottom when I went geocaching last Saturday. Bastards.
Leftovers lunch: * A soggy vegetarian Vietnamese spring roll. * Rice with curry sauce that once contained chicken. * 1/3 kipper including roe.
King Valdemar IV of Denmark in 1360: “Spy, bring me clandestine drawings of Visby’s defences! I will have that town!” Spy accidentally falls through a time warp and returns to the King with a copy of Emil Ekhoff’s 1922 volume documenting in detail the state of Visby’s ruinous town wall.
“Manic Depression” would have been so much better if Hendrix had sung “your can of beans” instead of “your kind of scene”.
I enjoy cleaning the sieve at the bottom of the dishwasher. I do it pretty much after every time the machine’s been run.