March Pieces Of My Mind #1 – Polish Edition

Łódź’s street grid was superimposed 200 years ago on farmland and woods that were already subdivided into plots on completely different orientations. And these plots survive inside many of the city blocks!
  • Pleased to see that the city of my new workplace, Łódź, is not zoned on the Atlas of Hate. The closest municipality to receive a motion on the issue is rural Ksawerów, and they decided to not even accept it onto their meeting agenda.
  • Duolingo just asked me what my wife is like. Probably wants to know if she’s a goer, a sport.
  • Strange coincidence: the ancients name a moving star God the Father, and thousands of years later it turns out to be the biggest planet in our solar system.
  • Friendly whippet poked its head repeatedly around the subway seat to sniff my hand and get a good head scratch. ❤
  • My castles book from last year has so far been reviewed in five journals and four languages. Two of the reviewers make the same odd comment. ”This stuff about castles in one Swedish province is mainly interesting to Swedes, so why is the book in English?” 1. I am bilingual in Swedish and English. 2. Swedish is a small language. 3. All Swedish academics read English. 4. Duh.
  • Polish cash machines have a cool feature that Swedish ones lack. You just need your bank’s app to withdraw cash, no plastic card. You ask the app for a six-digit temporary code and punch it into the cash machine, then you confirm the withdrawal in the app.
  • Ice cream with poppy seeds, raisins and candied orange peel. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!
  • Lovely name for a publication series: Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis. Can you figure out which German place name (not in Germany) this refers to?
  • Act of quiet resistance: when Moscow declared that all Polish cities had to rename their main streets Stalin Street, the mayor of Łódź did not rename Piotrkowska, the obvious main street of the city. He renamed a less important street that happened to be named Main Street at the time.
  • To me there’s an important difference between lying and making a claim despite not knowing anything. To 45, this distinction doesn’t seem to exist.
  • Amazing how Google Maps allows you to use public transport in strange cities optimally and at a moment’s notice.
  • The student dorm where I rent a room when working in Łódź is named for St. Balbina.
  • I was recently made moderator of a closed Fb group where every posting has to be OK’d. I’m using my power to delete every single “Thanks for letting me in” posting.
  • In the interest of gender equality, a Danish university is removing words that they feel are typically masculine from their job ads. Such as excellent, competent and analytical. *slow clap*
  • The forest in Robert Holdstock’s 1984 fantasy novel Mythago Wood measures only a bit more than 3 km across in the mundane world.
  • How much carrion baggage is allowed on Finnair flights?
  • In Mythago Wood, sections 1 and 2 have numbered chapters. Then in section 3 the chapters have names instead.
  • Instead of rice (imported), potatoes (don’t keep well) or pasta (bland), I eat a lot of boiled whole wheat, Sw. matvete. And mixed in with the wheat grains I usually find a few intrusive seeds from another plant. They’re very hard, nutty brown, 2-3 mm, almost spherical, with one small depression. My paleobotanist friend tells me they’re from cleavers, Galium aparine.
  • Do you want to know how on top of my shit I am? When other people have trouble filing their tax returns because they’re doing it too late, I have trouble filing mine because the IRS WEBSITE HASN’T OPENED YET FOR THIS YEAR! On top. Of my shit.
  • The Sumlen restaurant in the National Library’s basement is named for Johannes Bureus’s enormous work notebook. The word means “The Collection”, cf. Sw. samla. Bureus was the first really notable runologist and developed over his lifetime into an increasingly crazed and megalomanic occult mystic.
  • One of the main ways of apologising is to say that you apologise. I wish that would work for vacuum cleaning as well.
  • Rock journalist Fredrik Strage wrote in 2004 about the band Monster Magnet that while many grunge bands sang pained songs about being sexually abused by their parents, “Dave Wyndorf preferred to write party tunes about being sexually abused by intergalactic demons”.
  • Movie: For Sama. Autobiographical documentary about raising your first child at an improvised hospital in besieged rebel Aleppo while Assad bombs you. Grade: Amazing, grips you by the throat, makes you want to punch Nazis.
  • Antibacterial silver compounds mess up sewage treatment plants.
  • Drove Jrette’s moped to the repair shop and realised that driving a moped is like sitting still outdoors in a strong wind. Taking me hours to get warm again.

Author: Martin R

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

10 thoughts on “March Pieces Of My Mind #1 – Polish Edition”

  1. 5. Those two reviewers are wrong – the castles book has very wide interest and appeal in my opinion. That stuff transcends boundaries.

    My sense is that they were just looking for something to snark about, and that was all they could find – it’s a stupid comment. Yeah, like, I really don’t want to read anything about medieval Swedes because they were, like, so totally different from all other people living in medieval Europe as to be, like, totally irrelevant to anything I’m interested in, dude.

    Colour me irritated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “How much carrion baggage is allowed on Finnair flights?”
    Don’t know. We haven’t got anyone dead yet. But the local pub propietor mentioned that sales of Corona beer have increased.


    1. There was a survey in the US that found that 38% of respondents would not drink Corona beer for any reason. TBF, only 4% of the respondents cited the association with coronavirus. Corona beer did not have a good reputation in the US, even compared to other Mexican beers.


  3. Just started reading Hegré’s biography by Pierre Assouline. On page 17 there are two pieces of advice:
    (1) Give the public a character who finds himself in a ridiculous and embarrassing situation;
    (2) it’s even funnier if the ridiculous person, in spite of everything, refuses to admit that anything extraordinary is happening and stubbornly maintains his dignity.
    Something in that made me think about Trump.

    …and the advice was given by Charlie Chaplin.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Instead of “How much carrion baggage is allowed on Finnair flights?”, I’d ask “How much caribou baggage is allowed on Finnair flights?”

    As for finding “galium aparine” mixed in with your wheat grain, it always has been hard separating the wheat from the tares. It’s even in the Bible.

    Also, Jupiter is one of the brightest objects visible in the night sky after the Moon, and Venus. (Mars can be as bright as Jupiter, but only when it is close to Earth.) It’s not surprising it was considered one of the most important planets. Mercury is barely visible since it never gets far from the Sun, Saturn is both smaller and farther than Jupiter.


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