January Pieces Of My Mind #1


The National Museum in Stockholm has re-opened after a long period of renovations. Endless treasures! Here’s a detail of the background on a 16th century Madonna & Child.

  • Woah. Checking my calendar. I have nothing planned from mid-summer until retirement. Except monthly meetings with the municipal education board.
  • Havande is an old Swedish cognate of having. It means “pregnant”.
  • If you’re the kind of voter who falls for fascist strong & stupid men, what’s the next step if one disappoints you? Abandon strong & stupid men or transfer faith to a new one?
  • Snow dusting in yellow sunshine on the grey gneiss scarp at Stubbsund made it look like limestone. Foreign.
  • You should always consider carefully before building an unstable interdimensional transfer portal. Because as the poet reminds us, “See how the void gates that held back the Chaos foe / Shudder and shatter, an entropy overload”
  • Wonder if the resin caulking rings found as remains of bark boxes in Early Iron Age graves also contain lots of human DNA from a chewing process, as has recently been shown for Mesolithic pitch lumps with tooth marks.
  • Some people think NASA should not call anything Ultima Thule because the Nazis used that name. That’s like refusing to listen to the Beatles’ White Album because the Manson cult did. Ultima Thule was first mentioned by Pytheas in the 4th century BC.
  • Movie: Annihilation. Lovecraft’s “Colour Out Of Space” + Tarkovsky’s Stalker + Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Grade: OK.
  • Wife horrified & scandalised to learn of my perverted hedonistic pleasure: I put some peanut butter and salt in my hot chocolate.
  • Yay! The County Archaeologist in Linköping has agreed to publish my forthcoming book on the Medieval castles of Östergötland!
  • 2019 will be my last year of paying back my study loan. I currently owe SEK 9,600 = USD 1,070 = € 940.
  • Free Swedish lesson! Unlike German, Scandy languages hardly ever pronounce an S as SH. Neither skål nor smörgåsbord has a SH. Repeat after me please: SSSSSCORL. SSSSSMER-GORSE-BOOED. SSSSSS.
  • I once tried sailing my space ship in 80s Elite straight away from the star. After a long while the star simply flipped from being behind me on the scanner to being in front of me. The same star.
  • How to identify a female Medieval scribe’s burial: lapis lazuli powder in her dental calculus.

115 thoughts on “January Pieces Of My Mind #1

  1. Yep, this is as ‘exciting’ as golf gets, confirm fans
    Royal car intermezzo: The Duke of Edinburgh’s impulsive attempt to bag a ‘bloody cheeky’ grouse with his Land Rover was successful, he has confirmed.


  2. -“Civilised ‘conscious uncoupling’ is now out of control” (actually, this seems like a nice idea)https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/18/celebrity-conscious-uncoupling-anna-faris
    “Trump told Michael Cohen to lie about Trump Tower Moscow: Report”
    Of course he, did, but without a tape recording, Mitch McConnel will never back impeachment. Scratch that, he would dispute the recording as “unfair”.
    “John Bolton insists Iran likely harboring dangerous terrorist Osama Bin Laden”
    The last one was satire.


  3. Too funny for words.

    “Interestingly, in a 2015 US poll of 532 Republicans, 30 per cent said they would support bombing Agrabah. There is, it seems, also a two-way influence between fiction and the real world.”

    ‘Agrabah’ was the name given to the fictional city that was the setting for the Disney cartoon ‘Aladdin’, Baghdad being deemed to be too touchy to use because the first Gulf war was in progress at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did the poll takers ask about regulations on dihydrogen monoxide? Some parts of the US do not have enough, and others have severe ground contamination from it, leading to serious structural damage to people’s houses.

      As usual with polls, the result would probably depend on phrasing. Many Republicans are reflexively opposed to environmental regulations, so would be in favor of businesses being allowed to dump as much DHMO in the environment as they wanted.

      Liked by 2 people

    • If I was a tedious person who won’t let go of an argument, I would use this as an example of why adherence to facts in films that purport to be historical is important – because most people learn their ‘history’ from movies, not from reading history.

      But I’m obviously not a tedious bore, so I won’t mention it.


  4. The US government shutdown is starting to have serious effects in my world. NASA, NSF, and NOAA are all in the part of the government that is shut down. That means that research involving people from those agencies is not happening, and grant awards/renewals are not being processed. Manuscript reviews are also being delayed because people who work at these agencies may be editors or reviewers.

    NASA has started to announce postponements in proposal due dates. My field is not yet affected by that, but it’s a matter of time.

    The part about grant awards and renewals not being processed is the part that is already affecting me. I have to worry about where my paycheck will be coming from starting around April.


    • Difficult and worrying times, Eric.

      I’ll be honest. I don’t like Nancy Pelosi, from when she was posted to HK as a US trade representative. Compromise and negotiation are two words that don’t exist in her lexicon, and her manner when here was strident, demanding, ugly and bullying, insisting on total capitulation to US global hegemony. And it was spectacularly unsuccessful with the Chinese. She didn’t last here long, and was replaced by people who were a bit more conciliatory and willing to negotiate. IOW, she was an abject failure in that role.

      But I have to conclude that, in the current situation, she is the best weapon to use against Trump, and her refusal to consider any form of compromise or seek to negotiate a solution will ultimately prove to be the right position to take. But it will necessarily prolong the current situation, so shorter term there is going to be a lot more pain and ‘collateral damage’.


  5. George Bush had a plan to get his infamy to outlast all rivals; he allowed Cheney to talk him into disbanding the Iraqi police, with well-known consequences for the museum for the birthplace of mesopotamian civilisation.
    Just as the Parthenon bears a lastning scar of the wars between Turkey and western powers, so the gap in museum collections will bear testimony of the Dubya war a thousand years from now.
    Yes, I know that *some * items have been returned. Too bad about the base that bulldozed parts of the Babylon site to get more space. And a million other horrors.


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