January Pieces Of My Mind #1 – Polish Edition


  • “In November, North Korea threatened Japan with a ‘real ballistic missile’ and called Prime Minister Shinzo Abe an ‘imbecile’ and ‘political dwarf’, accusing him of mislabelling its latest weapons test.” /BBC News
  • My son goes to Tokyo for six months today. ❤
  • A Chinese acquaintance stayed with us for some days in August and left behind a lot of food. Including stuff that none of us really knows how to cook or eat. I am manfully working through the millet. Turns out you can cook a bland porridge with it that goes well with some butter, apple sauce and milk.
  • Saturate your home environment with ambient reading glasses.
  • żółw, turtle. zh-oo-w-v. żółw!
  • Checked whether this big Polish bank has any Swedish branch offices. It has one. Whose postal adress is “c/o Some Guy”. And whose premises are, according to Google Street View, a dry-cleaner’s. 😀
  • I blew the young waitress’s mind completely by asking for milk and then POURING it straight into my FECKIN CUP OF TEA like an INSANE PERSON!!!
  • Finished my annotated Nils Mattsson Kiöping translation, sent manuscript to prospective publishers!
  • Am I Polish yet? I’m eating kapusta (shredded fermented cabbage) straight from the package as part of my breakfast.
  • Museums are closed Mondays. Mixed feelings. On one hand, I can’t go to any museums. On the other hand, I am under no obligation to go to any museums.
  • Can’t tell the two houses of Polish Parliament apart? Oh well, sejm sejm.
  • Epiphany procession through city centre, huge number of people singing, wearing cardboard crowns.
  • The state student loan authority just broke up with me over email after more than 29 years together!
  • One snapshot of current urban Polish attitudes to Jews: Arthur Rubinstein’s statue is on Lodz’s main street and people touch his hooked nose for luck.
  • Germany and Poland are a striped region. Both countries have a poor and backward east half.
  • I learned from George Uki Hrab’s podcast that the Ukrainian national anthem begins “Ukraine is not dead yet”. Now I find that the Polish one, though the rest of the lyrics are different, begins “Poland is not dead yet”.
  • I’m on M/S Wawel, currently in the mouth of the Dead Vistula.
  • Had some excellent tripe & chicken soup from the ferry’s breakfast buffet.
  • Bheum bheum bheum bheum / I want you in my rheum
  • I’ve got the swell of the Baltic Sea stuck in my head after 18 hours on the ferry.
  • I’ve reached the point where Polish spelling is starting to look no weirder than Swedish. I mean, Swedish spells one single sound either as J, SH, SI, SJ, SK, STJ or TI for historical reasons, and which sound this is varies widely with dialect and sociolect. It considers ÅÄÖ completely distinct from AAO. As for Polish, SZCZ is just what every Anglophone says in ”fresh cheese”. Fresz czeese, everybody! That is, świeży ser.
  • There’s a tiny mosquito-like saxophone way back in the mix on one channel in the Stones’ “Brown Sugar”.
  • Movie: A Special Day (1977). Brief warmth between a disgraced radio broadcaster and an unhappy mother of six during Hitler’s state visit to Rome in 1938. Big reveal about why the man is disgraced falls flat in 2020. Grade: OK.
  • Pix from Łódź here.

Author: Martin R

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

7 thoughts on “January Pieces Of My Mind #1 – Polish Edition”

  1. Łódź Has some rather interesting looking structures, including that thing that looks like a watchtower, except for the colonnaded bit perched on top. Definitely ‘different’ architecture.


  2. I thought I’d paid them off in ~2000, then got an email (yep) in 2010-2011 (I think) basically going “hey, you have $smallnum of your loan left and $bignum in interest”, to which I replied “I thought I’d paid that off?” And then I went “how much do I need to give you to make it go away?” and then I gave them several thousand pounds, and whatever few kronas ended up surplus after the currency conversion.

    I am quite happy to mostly not have to consider them ever again, except when I get reminded of their existence.


    1. Annoying! Still, I consider the Swedish student loan authority a reason for national pride. So many countries where you need a rich dad, a trust fund or you have to beg for a grant.


      1. Oh, given the choice between CSN on one had and the Anglosphere system on the other, I’d pick CSN as the perfect model of enlightened student funding, every day.

        Liked by 1 person

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