March Pieces Of My Mind #3

Open day: they’re extending the Henriksdal sewage plant.
  • Fittingly, Linköping City Library was the first to enter my new book about Östergötland’s Middle Ages into the national bibliography.
  • Woah… Like… Dude! The box is made from the same plastic as the tooth picks. It’s a bunch of tooth picks packaged in more tooth picks. Mind. Effing. Blown.
  • Movie: They Shall Not Grow Old. Documentary about English soldiers on the West Front in WW1. Period footage has been given correct speed and colour. Voice-over is entirely interviews with veterans. Grade: great!
  • A common argument among American gun fanciers is that they want guns because they don’t trust the government. From my perspective, a person who is so afraid of the government in a Western democracy that they feel a need to arm themselves is paranoid. And paranoia is a very strong argument against letting a person have a gun.
  • Last year I was confused about a large sum of money that arrived in my account near the end of a month despite me not having applied for it. It turned out to be a so-called “monthly salary”, an unfamiliar concept to me after decades of subsisting on small grants. Now I’m coming to terms with a new oddity: I have frugal habits and don’t spend much of this “salary”, so my account is accumulating “savings”!
  • Distributed over 150 copies of my castles book now, plus 70 to the publisher’s storage. Starting to feel safe that the book won’t go out of existence any time soon.
  • Waiting for the meeting of the local Labour Party chapter to begin, I heard someone in the next room at the rec centre play Kraftwerk’s “The Model” on the sax.
  • Our neighbour the Chinese restaurant owner has joined the ranks of the beautifully bearded and now looks like a baseball-capped Taoist sage.
  • Was asked at a job interview recently to describe myself with three words. Blurted “Cheerful, painstaking, efficient”.
  • Sooner or later all fashions are abandoned. I wonder which will go first: the tails or the tux? The tails are way older than the tux, but on the other hand they are held on to by a lot of extremely conservative institutions that have never taken up the tux. I’m betting that the tux will go first.
  • Swedish sex-ed web site in foreign languages was set up for young asylum seekers, is hugely popular in their countries of origin.

Author: Martin R

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

17 thoughts on “March Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. “Was asked at a job interview recently to describe myself with three words. Blurted “Cheerful, painstaking, efficient”.

    From job-interview cartoons:

    Employer: Tell us something about yourself which we can’t find on the internet.

    Employer: What would you say is your greatest weakness?
    Candidate: Kryptonite.

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  2. Well, I remember reading of a statistic a few years ago that indicated 55% of the US public have a paranoid mentality about the government. We certainly can’t take away the second amendment rights of the majority of the population.

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      1. Actually the Bill of Rights can be altered by further amendments, at least as I understand it. But the present political situation makes getting such an amendment through impossible. The courts could reinterpret the application of the amendment, but given the current right wing partisan republican supreme court this alternative would seem impossible also.

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  3. The “well-regulated militia” is how I would deal with the existence of the Second Amendment. You want a gun? Fine, you are now a member of the militia, and subject to the military discipline that implies.

    The people who want to have guns in order to protect themselves from the government are not only paranoid but unrealistic. If the US Army ever starts shooting at civilians, the latter are unlikely to last more than a few minutes. It’s one thing to have concerns about what the government is doing, but thinking that a gun in your hands will result in anything being done to help those concerns is an utter fantasy.

    Oh, and in addition to an Army, the US has an Air Force. Which operates these things called airplanes. Which drop these things called bombs. Against which firearms are useless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly. The sole reason for having a militia is to provide cannon fodder and reduce pressure on the army. To achieve that, there should be universal conscription so that every suitable person can follow orders and operate weapons in a wartime environment. The only weapons permitted must be current military issue, and all persons who cannot qualify for the militia must be prohibited from owning guns. Naturally, there must be universal gun and owner registration, and the guns may only be used at the command of the government. Didn’t anybody think this through?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s not paranoia. It’s fear. There are a lot of people in the US who will wet their pants if you say “hola” instead of “hello”. Paranoia is a sense of disquiet, distrust and uneasiness. Fear is a raw animal reaction. That’s why someone will murder a guy at their door asking for directions or a policeman will gun down a twelve year old boy or accountant taking her license out of her purse.

    In the US, I think the tuxedo is going to stick around a lot longer than tails. It was invented here, and men still wear tuxedos for formal affairs like weddings, fund raisers and award ceremonies. I wear mine several times a year. Tails are for even more formal affairs, so unless you travel in old fashioned society circles, you never need to wear them. Striped pants, which are even more formal, are almost never worn these days, even at diplomatic functions. The tuxedo is probably going to stick around.

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      1. The funny thing is, people can only loudly proclaim their distrust of the government in a free and democratic society. Governments who genuinely can’t be trusted usually can’t be voted out of office, and come down hard and fast on loudmouthed dissenters.

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    1. There is a fine line between fear and paranoia. Fear is often a proper reaction to an unfamiliar situation: does that tiger want to eat me, or does that man with a gun plan to shoot me? But being in a constant state of fear is not healthy, and that’s why paranoia is a bad thing. The people who say they are so afraid of the government that they have to have guns typically have no reason to fear the government, at least to anywhere near the extent they do. Ditto the people who are so afraid of Spanish speakers, most of whom are perfectly willing to leave you alone if you leave them alone.

      Related to the above: The US does not actually have an official language. English is used because the overwhelming majority of people in the US speak English as their native language, but it’s not illegal for governments to provide services in other languages, and often governments do.

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  5. Masons wear tails, but Masonic Lodges are rapidly dying out.

    Going back multiple generations, all of the adult males on both sides of my family were Masons, with the exception of my father, who was a chronic non-conformist and non-joiner. They all used to look ridiculous heading off to Lodge night in their tails, looking like a bunch of oversized penguins, with their silly aprons.

    After I graduated, my paternal uncle, who rarely had anything much to say to me, loomed into my room one day and said in confidential tones: “You should join the Masons.” Me: “Why?” Uncle: “I can’t tell you. It’s secret.” Me: “I’m not going to join anything unless someone can give me a good reason for joining.”

    End of discussion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There used to be a thriving Masonic community in the area where I live. Back in the old days, the “tribal” aspect of initiation and ritual broke down class barriers, meaning that people from very different walks of life could meet on equal terms. Masonry also had a purpose similar to the Friendly Societies, providing support for members and their families during hard times. A friend of mine used to be a purser on various ships, and he knew that he would always receive a welcome, and if necessary assistance, at any port in the world where Masons could be found. In the long run, the reliance on rather pointless ritual, the secrecy and the increasing amount of government support for those in need made the Masons rather superfluous, although some Lodges are still very active.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. About the Peter Jackson film; not just the old boys who’d been there.
    They’d somehow got the lipreaders (born-deaf specialists) away from the footy and managers swearing in the dugout, and those words are the actual speech of the lads in the films, dubbed over with the accents appropriate to their unit.
    In one I suppose famous (to us northerner brits) sequence, they even picked up a hint of sedition. Lancashires, in a hollow-way at dawn before going over the top at Ypres. ” Well if they ask me agen, I shan’t be here; I’s’ll just bugger-off owt ‘o’ it.”
    Which nobody knew about till Jackson’s excellent work. We’d seen the pictures, but not the words.
    I think maybe a dozen of that lot survived. So the rest avoided Field Punishment for mutiny. Well done them …:¬[

    Although they still provide employment for belgian/french contract archaeologists now and then, so it’s not all bad.

    Liked by 1 person

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