January Pieces Of My Mind #1

Lake Lundsjön
  • When I was a teen, I saw people around age 50 as solid authority figures. Now I’m a 50ish university professor, but I find it hard to believe that anybody would see me that way.
  • Jrette had a disposable analog camera this summer. The image quality makes her and her friends look like 1980s teens.
  • I’ve been habitually in online forums for over 30 years. What does everybody do with their sudden ideas and jokes and puns when they can’t splash them across a message board?
  • That’s a first. The tube in my rear bike tyre is undamaged, but it is swelling out of a rip in the tyre.
  • Jrette reports that it’s way easier to explain what your parents do when they are clearly labelled “archaeologist” and “psychologist” than if they do something with IT or finance or are “consultants”.
  • The German pronunciation of Lodz is unexpectedly “lottsch”.
  • Crows and magpies treat pheasants with scaredy respect under the bird feeder.
  • When my Kindle needs WiFi, it doesn’t ask “Turn on WiFi yes/no?” It asks “Turn off aeroplane mode yes/no?” Confusing.
  • Most people probably encounter parodies of Gothic horror long before actual Gothic horror.
  • Jr. came home from a year in Tokyo yesterday, happy and speaking rapid-fire fluent Japanese.
  • Met a house cat in the woods near Markus & Karin’s house. Its huge winter fur made it super chonky. It was very friendly, purred and allowed me to cradle it. Its paws were very wet from splashing around in puddles. Then it climbed a small tree for fun.
  • It’s almost irrelevant to me that the Kindle has a lot of storage space. Because I see few days without wifi, and where there’s wifi the Kindle offers millions of books.
  • Peaceful transfer of power is a main requisite when judging whether a country has democracy.
  • Despite today’s fascist clown insanity, I am super happy about the news from Georgia. Both chambers of the US Congress and the White House will be Democrat-controlled for at least two years, possibly much longer! Let me tell you, it’s a huge relief to anyone under the US’s nuke umbrella.
  • New COVID-19 ICU cases per week continue to drop in Stockholm County since the peak four weeks ago.
  • Robert Heinlein famously said “An armed society is a polite society”. Suddenly it strikes me: that’s a really shitty argument for lax gun control.
  • Beloved children’s author Edith Nesbit was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
  • Wonder if people have gone through all the pasta, flour and toilet paper they hoarded back in March.

Author: Martin R

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

11 thoughts on “January Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. I’ve been habitually in online forums for over 30 years. What does everybody do with their sudden ideas and jokes and puns when they can’t splash them across a message board?

    My first wife asked our neighbour what her husband (i.e. another neighbour, not I!) used to do before he had a computer and played video games. She paused a bit and said that he used to sleep a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One option (although I guess that technically counts as a “message board”) is to send them to Twitter, where I (a while ago) was observed noticing that if they’d been formed on Arrakis, the band “Spice Girls” would’ve been very different.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert Heinlein famously said “An armed society is a polite society”. Suddenly it strikes me: that’s a really shitty argument for lax gun control.

    Asimov noted that the political persuasion of Heinlein changed when he changed wives, to match that of his new wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Heinlein famously said “An armed society is a polite society”.

    Well, unarmed peasants were always very polite to their well-armed landlords. To their face, anyway.

    Now, between equally-armed people… If depended on the type of teacher or role-model they had, I guess. Some would see it as quite gauche to decapitate a guest for using the wrong table utensil.
    Renaissance noblemen were well-armed and quite prone to draw steel on the flimsiest of excuse, if I am to believe Alexandre Dumas. Or the actual historical chronicles.

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    1. “An armed society is a society where any dissatisfaction gets internalised until the pain of keeping it contained overwhelms the risk of being killed by the individual to whom you express it”.

      On some level, that is a more polite society. On other levels, it is a society that permeates assorted mental problems. It also creates yet another dividing line between haves and have-nots. You would face less risk expressing your views if you were substantially better at handling weapon(s) than the average and specifically if you know that you are substantially better than the person you’re expressing your opinion to.

      All in all, sounds like it’s pure surface and probably worse, over-all than an unarmed and impolite society.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. This is one of the things that Heinlein was wrong about.

      It makes sense to carry weapons if you live in or travel through a place with a significant risk of encountering large, aggressive wild animals. Then it becomes a matter of self-protection. But it says something dark about society if the large, aggressive wild animals you are likely to encounter are other humans. That is the difference between Svalbard (where there are lots of polar bears about) and the libertarian paradise of Mogadishu.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another odd thing about that quote is that RAH had very little experience of physical violence as an adult. He was a naval officer in peacetime and then a research scientist in WW II and then a dweller in suburbs, and while he was verbally aggressive I never heard of him punching a critic. Citing him RAH on violence is like citing one of those 18th century men of leisure on what it is to be a true samurai.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One problem a lot of young people have is that they maybe know 30% of the available job categories, so when they think of careers, they tend to go for something they’ve seen in a video or read about in a book. This isn’t something new. Back in the 1960s, Mad Magazine had a funny article with parents trying to explain their jobs to their children.

    What did people do with jokes, puns and observations in the good old days? If the US NHANES time use data can be believed, they spent a lot of time socializing with their friends, and I’m pretty sure this included sharing jokes, puns and observations. By the 1960s, people started watching television instead of spending time with their friends. It was almost an hour by hour shift in time use. Now, people probably watch streaming and spend time on social media. (I don’t have the attention span needed for social media, so I just spend time with my friends, but I’m probably an exception.)

    Yes, we’ve gone through the flour, pasta and toilet paper we stocked up on back in March. We’ve restocked too. We didn’t buy all that much, but we go through a lot of flour and pasta. We have Japanese style toilets with built in bidets, so we don’t use a lot of toilet paper. (About a month ago I bought a steam oven, so now I’m baking credible sourdough bread.)

    It’s interesting how we date people from different eras based on the media they are usually portrayed with. I remember seeing some color movie footage from World War II. Who knew that Charles deGaulle was in color? Back in the 1960s, someone modified a film chain to adjust the film speed for older silent movies, and suddenly people from 1905 learned how to walk smoothly instead of jerking around. Now, computers let us use the artifacts of media as an artistic device, so programs like Final Cut and Premiere have 8mm Kodacolor, 1930s B&W and 1980s analog video filters

    I could never get into Heinlein. His heroes were always self righteous assholes. When I read The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress back in the 1970s, I assumed he was a Marxist. His politics, I gather were incoherent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Back in the 1960s, someone modified a film chain to adjust the film speed for older silent movies, and suddenly people from 1905 learned how to walk smoothly instead of jerking around.

      Heh, my understanding (as a lapsed cinema projectionist) is that the old jerky silent movies, when shown, were exactly as jerky as what you are accustomed to see (the “24 images per second, double or triple flashed” has been with us for a LOOONG time). They were mostly filmed in 14-20 frames per second, hand-cranked, partially because film was expensive, partially because keeping a steady cranking rate is more difficult the faster you have to crank. And if you gear the hand-crank too highly, it gets too hard to crank it at all.

      Like

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