December Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • If you’re a bricklayer with unusually high qualifications, being unemployed is frustrating. But very few customers in the construction business make any kind of public promise to always employ the most qualified bricklayer. Now imagine that they did. Imagine that it were illegal for builders to employ anyone but the most qualified bricklayer. And imagine our bricklayer’s frustration when poorly qualified colleagues, who didn’t even quote a lower price, got the jobs anyway. Imagine that. And welcome to academia.
  • Let’s all refer to the 19th century historian C.G. Styffe as “Stiffie”.
  • Much-needed encouragement: a colleague wrote me to ask if I would please do this small job that not many people have experience of, and also give a talk about some relevant work of mine to a crowd of contract archaeologists.
  • Swedish mountains are kind of wimpy. Norway’s highest peak is almost 400 m higher than our highest one.
  • Played Jeff Buckley’s recording of “Hallelujah” to Jrette and she put her head on my shoulder.
  • Looking at the distribution of some find categories across the 14th century fortified manor Bjärkaholm. Documentation of where each individual find was made was completely ad hoc. No grid system. For find #405 for instance, a piece of Korsbetningen type lamellar armour, the find context is given as “Between the long cut. Near αα. 1914?”. *facepalm*
  • The scenic yet inconveniently located Lännersta Inlet keeps me from taking a long walk northward from my home.
  • Saw a teenage girl walking around outdoors while reading a 1980s copy of Ende’s Never-ending Story.
  • I once met a weed-smoking Dutch lawyer with only one ball.
  • My wife invited an Hazara tailor from Afghanistan and his family plus their interpreter friend over for lunch. Lovely people. Kids speak excellent Swedish. I taught them Pitch Car and Qwirkle. And I was particularly pleased to meet interpreter Ali again. He’s picked up Swedish in no time.
  • The Swedish Skeptics are the subject of a long attack feature in the current issue of the country’s biggest extreme-right hate paper. We are all very proud!
  • Dreamed that I had hair again. And that I parachuted into a city wearing only my dressing gown. When I landed I asked where I was. “Latvia”.
  • Saw this ~28ish guy in elaborate punk costume on the train. His jacket celebrated the Swedish punk band Asta Kask whose first EP appeared in 1982. Under it he wore a G.G. Allin teeshirt (obiit 1993). How does a young man become a punk antiquary?
  • Time spent doing research on tax-free funding cannot be discounted when the unemployment fund determines whether you have worked enough in the recent past to qualify for the dole. Time spent in forced treatment for drug addiction, however, is discounted.
  • When you’re doing something fiddly with one hand and realise that you’re making some spazzy random gesture with the other. Embarrassing. (Yeah, yeah, nudge nudge etc.)
  • This is really badass. I’ve never seen this before. A scientist has retracted a journal paper — not because of scientific fraud, but simply because continued research has disproven the paper’s main claim! Respect!
  • So folks didn’t like 2016. Do we expect celebrity deaths and brown-shirted politics to respect the calendar year? Of course not.
Abandoned club house, Svartkärrsberget Hill
Abandoned club house, Svartkärrsberget Hill

Author: Martin R

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

8 thoughts on “December Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. “Swedish mountains are kind of wimpy. Norway’s highest peak is almost 400 m higher than our highest one.”

    The highest place in Finland is only 1324m from sea level, and it isn’t even the top of that fell, which is in Norway.

    The idea of adjusting the border as a 100th birthday present to Finland didn’t work out. But who cares? The border is open, and there is nobody to stop you if you want to walk to the top.

    The 100th year celebrations of Finland will last for the whole year, starting in a few hours within a walking distance from my home (about 15m above sea level).


  2. New year, new films I do or don’t look forward to.

    Films 2017: Ghost In The Shell:

    The Great Wall
    Quote: “Zhang Yimou’s sprawling historical fantasy epic The Great Wall has been hit with early backlash over its casting of Matt Damon as the star of what’s otherwise an eastern narrative. But the film has an intriguing (albeit a little ridiculous) idea: The Great Wall of China was built to keep out more than just unwanted *human* neighbors.
    The story was created in part by World War Z novelist Max Brooks, whose book segments about China’s part in the zombie apocalypse were criminally underserved in the cinematic “adaptation” of his story, so this could be a point of serious creative redemption. Plus, the promotional materials have shown some ambitious special effects and stunts, and Bourne hero Damon’s had some strong action successes in the past. From everything we’ve seen so far, The Great Wall will at least be a spectacular showcase of effects-heavy cinematography.”

    Meh! Alien: Covenant is just Prometheus Part 2
    Avoid like the plague!


  3. Ghost in the Shell looks intersting.

    If Max Brooks has zombies occasionally popping up from the steppes north of China, he needs to provide a credible explanation to why the human race has not long gone extinct.
    Maybe the zombies have their own parasites that surge during a high zombie population density? That is the way I would go if I made the film. There are in fact, specific parasite parasites in nature.

    BTW -We will get the final chapter of Milla Jovovich fighting zombies on the screen.
    Suggested next MJ film: post-apocalyptic story set in post-Trumpian America!


  4. The mountains around where I live are pretty wimpy, too. The highest is about 1900 m above sea level, and there is a road that goes to the summit (I have driven that road myself).

    There is a mountain in North Carolina which is a bit over 2000 m, but if you want to find mountains higher than 2100 m, you have to look in the western US. There you can even find cities at higher elevations than any mountain in the eastern US: New Mexico’s capital, Santa Fe, is about 2100 m above sea level, and Leadville, the principal city of Lake County in Colorado, is more than 3000 m above sea level. Furthermore, Leadville is on a valley floor (the Arkansas River, a major tributary of the Mississippi, runs through the city).


  5. History fan finds medieval settlement after spending his life savings on Welsh field – video -Possibly the town of Trellech

    Swedish queen says royal palace is haunted by ‘friendly ghosts’
    …no comment.


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