May Pieces Of My Mind #2

The boats came with the summer. Goodbye, Stocksund!
  • Summer thunder woke me this morning. Deliciously unfamiliar.
  • Two herons flew past our house last night as I came home from Linköping, both headed towards the lake.
  • I love this time of year and I strongly oppose all other times!
  • The Sabbathy metal band Black Label Society have released an album named Grimmest Hits.
  • Whenever I meet Stockholm’s talkative, businessminded, frank and outgoing hijabi ladies, I think to myself that the people who read the hijab as a sign of patriarchal repression simply cannot know any of these women.
  • I think it was in 2001 that I made the acquaintance of a Swedish antiques smuggler who often travelled to China to buy looted finds. He was quite open about this and told me about his trade the first time I met him, despite knowing that I’m an archaeologist. We had a falling-out after I gave his contact info to a scholar who studies illicit trade in antiquities. The guy then broke up with his partner, with whom I’m still friendly, and I haven’t heard of him since. Until I received a link today to this blog entry from November 2016. Though he was apparently a respected expert by that time, he got convicted of fraud for faking a provenance to make a looted piece sellable. I get the impression that he may also have dealt in modern fakes.
  • Love being able to get all the old episodes of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast straight into my podcatcher now! Going to start listening back before I came on board.
  • If “Incels” think sex is a common resource that should be shared equitably, shouldn’t they all be ready to comfort lonely gay men?
  • Desirée means “the wanted one”, “the wanted child”. A loving name to give your kid.
  • Finished my high school teaching gig today, neatly tying up all loose administrative ends. It’s been fun! Next week I’m starting a new interesting job in a sector where I’ve never been paid to work before.
  • Waved at some guy from my car in the parking lot. Thought he was a neighbour. Dude walks up, opens passenger door, takes a seat. Smiles uncertainly at me. “Are you the guy?” “Nope, sorry!” We laugh, I slap his shoulder, he leaves.
  • Observant Swedish Muslims are in for a rough Ramadan. Extremely long daylight this time of year. No food from 01:30 am to 09:30 pm.
  • Things have been pretty precarious for me since my adjunct teaching gig in Umeå ended in January 2016. It’s been a time of financial shakiness and repeated kicks in the groin from academia. It would have been really bad if I hadn’t had my wife and kids to hold on to, not to mention if my health hadn’t been so strong. I still feel like a steel ball bouncing around in a pinball machine, and I don’t know where I’m going to settle, eventually. But my money situation is finally solid again, and I’ve secured jobs in three separate extramural sectors in less than seven months. So I’m optimistic.
  • Went to bed early, got up at 03:30. Watching the sunrise, enjoying the quiet.

Author: Martin R

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

113 thoughts on “May Pieces Of My Mind #2”

  1. From The Daily Mash: ‘Duchess of Sussex orders it moved to California’
    “Please do Trump next”, Irish women told
    ’21st-century teenager has no idea of 19th-century workplace awaiting him’


  2. Roseanne Barr has thoroughly self-destructed by making a racist rant. Unlike DT, she was in a business where acts have consequences.
    Meanwhile, Berlusconi is ready for a comeback.
    This is why garlic and wooden stakes are important.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The fictional rodent for whom Roseanne worked until today is very sensitive to its public image. Disney (which owns the network on which the show was aired) wants to project an image of being friendly to all families, not just those consisting of two white parents and their 2.4 kids. There are times when Disney is evil (e.g., they were the driving force behind the most recent copyright term extension in the US, which had the intent and effect of preventing the aforementioned fictional rodent from falling into the public domain), and they were not acting altruistically (corporations never do), but they did the right thing here.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Went to the doc and had my third round of face surgery, plus some cryotherapy on a few places, including the edge of my ear, so maybe I might lose a bit out of that if it gets frostbite, but what the hell (really nervy moment when the nurse was pouring liquid nitrogen from this huuuge container into a much smaller squirt bottle sitting on the floor that could easily have toppled over while she was doing it, plus it didn’t help that she was obviously nervous about doing it – definitely not a safe operation, but nothing bad happened), caught a taxi home, and when I went to get out the driver said in a very kindly voice: “Slowly. Take your time. Be careful.” I thought: “WTF is up with him, being so nice?” and then I thought about what my face must look like; plus maybe I was looking a bit more shaky on it than I thought I was. Duh.

    So anyway, got home and decided that it really is time that I added some of Neil Young’s music to my current collection in electronic form, having been a fan for a long time. Well, good luck with that – damn, that man has been prolific.

    Birger – suggested reading:

    Click to access marcus-aurelius%27-meditations-tr.-casaubon.pdf

    Wade through that lot, and then see if you think he comes across like someone who would even boast that he was going to carry out genocide as PR, let alone do it (try Fourth Book para. IV, for example). Promise to push Germanic people out of northern Italy, maybe, after they had been permitted to settle there, but then some rebelled and occupied Ravenna – that seems just about possible, because he was evidently worried about it. But he didn’t manage to do it before he died, and that was the beginning of the decline of the Western Empire. The Antonine Plague (which could have been two separate epidemics – the suspects are measles and smallpox) was named after him (his family name was Antoninus), and maybe what took him out, and as shown by the Greenland ice cores, it caused the economy to plummet, and it never recovered.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s been a while since I have been allowed to play with liquid nitrogen. It’s cool stuff, in multiple senses of the word, but it can do nasty things if you aren’t careful with it. Yes, frostbite is one of those things–not so bad if you wanted to remove that bit of skin anyway, but it’s not exactly discriminating. Human skin was definitely never designed for exposure to 77 K.

      I hope you recover quickly.


  4. Thanks, guys, I appreciate it.

    I’ll be fine, but I’m going to look bad for a while, until the frozen parts heal up. Everyone around where we live is currently being extra nice and thoughtful to me. That’s because I look like shit.

    When my mother got old, she became rabidly racist (or maybe always was, but when she was younger she hid it), which got progressively worse with age, and she got a real hate on for Chinese people (despite my wife being the best daughter in law to her that anyone could ever hope for). She kept asking me repeatedly “whether the Chinese have a word for compassion” (don’t know why, but she had got some conviction from somewhere that Chinese people collectively don’t have any such concept). She never heard of Guanyin, or what a big fanbase she has. People who have no concept of compassion wouldn’t be able to conceive of someone like that, let alone invent her.

    In Sanya on Hainan Island, there is an absolutely huge statue of Guanyin, 108m high, that was completed in 2005. It’s enormous, one of the tallest statues in the world. I took so many photos of it that I lost count, trying to capture the awesomeness of it. You need people around it on the base to give it scale, but they come out looking like ants, barely visible. The people you can see in this photo are actually still a long way away from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the days of my youth it was “common knowledge” that the Chinese invented the Death by a Thousand Cuts and the Bamboo Pill, and that they would stand by and watch someone drown, rather than take responsibility for altering somebody’s karma. The feeling was that in general the Chinese were cruel, inscrutable yellow devils, BUT at the same time they were hard working, friendly and good neighbours. Humans are weird. You can be a member of our tribe and an enemy at the same time, and most people can’t see the conflicts inherent in that way of thinking. My Dad, like your Mum and many others, became more hard line anti-Asian as he aged, though I think at least part of that was from seeing Australia becoming progressively “asianised” over the years. Yet he still enjoyed Chinese food and got on well with Chinese shopkeepers. Sometimes I wonder if the only thing that marks us as a species is our incurable contrariness.


  5. Best wishes, John.
    Re. statue…is the region around Hainan seismically stable, so you don’t get tsunamis? Ordinary hurricanes (typhoons?) might not shake it. Also, concern about the corrosive effect of salt water spray/wind erosion.


    1. Thanks Birger.

      The biggest tsunami risk would be from a magnitude VIII or greater earthquake in the Manila Trench, and yes, they would cop it, Sanya especially. It has the Vietnamese worried. But the statue itself is on a high pedestal, so probably high enough, and the pedestal is very solid – in the event of a tsunami, I think she would be the least of their problems. They do get typhoons occasionally, but the big girl has already weathered at least one pretty bad one that I recall without any problem. She looks pretty solidly built to me, and above the salt water splash zone.

      All of those high rise blocks of flats and five star hotels facing the ocean – I’m not so sure. I couldn’t give a damn about the golf courses.

      Liked by 3 people

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