Scandinavian archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music
August Pieces Of My Mind #3
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Reading Grant Allen’s 1897 story collection An African Millionaire, I was surprised to find him referencing “L.s.d.” He describes a Tyrolean nobleman as being absolutely adamant about L.s.d. After some googling I realised that it meant “librae, sestertii, denarii”, or pounds, shillings, pence: simply money.
Movie: Streets of Fire (1984). Young love, rock ‘n’ roll and motorcycle gang violence on romanticised mean streets some time in 1954 or 1984. Grade: good!
Listened to a really good podcast about the Norwegian resistance during WW2. I knew very little beforehand and learned some bizarre & fascinating things. 1) The most effective resistance cells in terms of committing sabotage successfully and avoiding capture were communists. They were considered highly problematic in the movement. 2) A small proportion of the movement was Norwegian and Swedish pre-war Nazis who considered themselves racially superior to Germans and did not want to be ruled by them. 3) Unlike the Danes, who helped all their Jews flee to Sweden before the Holocaust had even begun, the Norwegian resistance was not very interested in the Jews, and only 60% survived.
An odd memory surfaced. Somewhere in my childhood reading, I came across a description of the practice of newspaper masthead collecting, Sw. samla på tidningshuvuden. Apparently the idea is that you cut away the top ribbon from the front page of newspapers and collect them. Googling around in Swedish and English, I find that this must have been super obscure already in the 1980s and is even more obscure today. One of very few references I can locate is from respected Swedish author Pär Wästberg, who did this in his teens in the later 1940s. Hey everybody, let’s not collect newspaper mastheads!
Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys is one of my favourite musicians. Bizarrely, he’s the grandchild of a first cousin of the enormously influential logician Willard Van Orman Quine.
True story from a Swedish county museum. They have a number of 11th century coffins, quite a rare find category because wood rots and churchyards are extremely unsafe places to rest in where new graves are dug all the time. Now, for decades the museum has been unable to exhibit one of the best-preserved coffins. Because somehow it got stored in the boiler room. And then somehow big Bruce-Willis-in-Die-Hard ventilation ducts were installed there. And it turned out to be impossible to get the coffin past the ducts and out of the boiler room.
I learned long ago that noël is the Francophone ruin of an original Latin natalis. Still, I was shocked to find out just now that Etienne is a (probably severely inebriated) French attempt to say Stephanos.