December And January Pieces Of My Mind

Life Plaza, HZ
Hangzhou’s Life Plaza
  • Everyone needs a champagne whisk made from a Finnish bear’s penis bone.
  • I just got a (1) job application turned down. Spent some time believing that this means that I am unemployable and everyone thinks I’m a nutcase. (I currently have two employers, but never mind.)
  • I’ve been editing a couple of quarterly journals for years and years. Let’s just say that I have issues.
  • This is big! Golden rice, genetically modified to include vitamin A, can prevent 3rd World blindness. And now it’s finally been approved to sell as food in Australia and New Zealand.
  • OMG my kid has a beard
  • The Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays feud is unknown in Sweden. Because we all say “Good Yule”. And because we’re mostly secular.
  • I’d like to see humanities scholars accept the unknowable and non-interpretable to a greater degree. Please write “This means nothing to me” in your next few papers. (Ah, Vienna.)
  • A memory. Junior is like five and his buddy comes over to play, proudly brandishing a huge realistic gun replica. I disarm him at the door and put the gun on top of a very tall closet next to the hat rack. We all promptly forget about it. Weeks or months later I find the gun and quietly throw it away.
  • Movie: In the Heat of the Night. Urban black Philadelphia homicide detective reluctantly takes part in murder investigation in rural 1967 Mississippi. Grade: Pass With Distinction.
  • When writing about Swedes in English, I tend to forget the genitive apostrophe on their names.
  • The Chinese government blocks access to the Internet Movie Database. But not to Goodreads.
  • Erik Nylén, a towering figure in post-WW2 Gotland archaeology, has died aged 99.
  • Idiotic new fee for daylight metal detecting in Sweden. This only punishes the good guys. In other news, it will also cost €70 to buy a lottery ticket to perhaps be allowed to visit Birka, Glimmingehus or Drottningholm.
  • The Manson Family’s murder spree is often described as evil. I think it’s more aptly described as confused, crazy and kind of daft. The motive was to spark a racial war, hide in a cave and come out afterwards to assume a position of power. The whole thing was ridiculous.
  • My current study debt: $2100 = €1700. Not too steep for a PhD.
  • There are eight places named Turbo in Sweden.
  • Movie: Moonrise Kingdom. Unmistakable Wes Anderson tightly stylised mescaline-tinged hyperreality. Grade: Pass With Distinction.

Author: Martin R

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

96 thoughts on “December And January Pieces Of My Mind”

  1. Sadly, one cannot afford to be naive when interacting with other homo sapiens…
    — — — — — —
    “We are all Florida now”
    Over at the Miami Herald, there is an article about “Twenty life lessons to be learned from the Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump affair,
    P Z Myers comments: ‘The author is…Carl Hiaasen. I read it, and it suddenly sunk in that this situation is exactly what would happen in a Hiaasen novel: bumbling, incompetent crooks, corruption at all levels of government, and now I expect a resolution that does not involve the wheels of justice grinding towards certainty, but chance and chaos terminating a series of coincidences. ‘
    My comment: The Donald would actually fit better into a setting with subtropical swamps , hooch and alligators than in his current habitat. Add some Klansmen with banjos and it will be perfect.


    1. I liked this zinger:

      You can’t treat a prominent porn actress the same way you treat your electricians and drywall contractors.

      I disagree with PZ about the affair being something out of one of Hiaasen’s novels. As an author of fiction, Hiaasen is constrained by plausibility in a way Donald Trump is not.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The bloody NE wind brings all the crap from the air polluting industries on the eastern side of Shenzhen. When there is no wind, just all the crap from local older generation commercial diesels on the roads is enough (supposed to be phased out by whenever; I’ll probably die of lung failure before then). The air quality is actually the best in summer when the SW monsoon is blowing, so it’s pushing the airborne much from Shenzhen away from us, plus clearing away a lot of the roadside air pollution, and it has been raining; the rain actually removes a lot of the respirable particulates from the air.

      You’ll notice from that article in the Guardian that the clever little buggers in the company I work for chose “Dr Marmot” as the cute cartoon mascot for the project to relocate the sewage treatment works (burrowing Asian, see – very clever; everyone loved that idea). When I found that out, I was like “Um, guys…Bubonic Plague…Black Death…Yersinia pestis…” but it was too late; already out there.

      The existing sewage treatment plant doesn’t smell that much, actually – you need to be pretty close to it to smell it. My wife thought it was the smell of the horse poo from the horses at the horse racing track next door to it – she wouldn’t believe me when I told her it was from big tanks full of human excreta. The main issues are (1) it needs to be enlarged and upgraded, and there’s no more space available to do that, and (2) relocating it underground will release a large piece of real estate right on the river (after the site has been cleaned up/decontaminated), which will be used for housing and public recreation. Relocating the plant underground is a brilliant scheme and everyone loves the idea, but it’s going to take a bloody long time; digging (actually blasting) the caverns will take about 3 years, but then there is all the fitting out to be done. Then it needs to be commissioned and working before the existing plant can be shut down, obviously; otherwise we would all have to stop going to the toilet for an uncomfortably long time.


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