March Pieces Of My Mind #3

Warsaw, Średnicowy bridge
  • Poland’s eastern border is pretty interesting right now. The northern part towards Lithuania is an open border inside the EU. The middle part towards Belarus is (yes, still) a militarised zone under unconstitutional martial law in order to keep a few thousand of Lukashenko’s weaponised Muslim migrants out. The southern part towards Ukraine is an open outer border of the EU where over two million war refugees have recently been welcomed, no questions asked.
  • At the Univerity of Łódź’s Musum of Natural History, my boreal home woods in Nacka are a diorama next to the savannah.
  • As I understand the peopling of North America, it helps to stop thinking about it as a journey between two places. Beringia itself was a place to live long-term, and a pretty good one at that. Its inhabitants did not feel that East was where they were going and West was where they had come from. They were born in Beringia and most of them never went anywhere.
  • Strange to be walking in Warsaw, which was bombed absolutely flat for resisting the Nazis, and then faithfully reconstructed — while Putin’s Russia is shelling Ukrainian cities some 100s of kilometres away.
  • Imagine you’re a psychiatrist examining a patient suspected to be a psychopath, and you realise that he’s actually a psychopomp. He doesn’t murder people, he just aids their souls on the journey to Hades.
  • Walked about 15 km today from Warszawa Gdański station through the Old Town, along the river, through the big parks and finally the recent office and hotel suburbs near the airport.
  • The term “mass grave” calls to mind mass execution. It seems that what’s happening in Mariupol is largely disposal of civilian casualties from indiscriminate shelling. Same death, less intimate setting.
  • Movie: Kung Fury (2015). Loving parodic homage to cheap 80s direct-to-video action movies. Grade: great!
  • A memory: my school friend gets a bike when we start middle school, Sw. högstadiet. He rides it happily for a few months and then has a flat tire. Nobody in his family apparently knows what to do about this. The bike is left leaning forlornly against their garage wall. For the next several years until we graduate high school he hitches rides on the luggage carrier of my bike.
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters has put my annotated translation of Nils Mattsson Kiöping’s 1667 Asian and African travelogue online for free! Click the discreet PDF button.
  • A man at the café smelled of yesterday’s hard drinking and chain smoking. Not great and thankfully quite rare these days.
  • Raised on a diet of Tolkien, my primary school friends and I read everything fantasy that we could get hold of. But there was one kind that we really avoided: allegories. We called it “symbolic fantasy”.
  • Zuckerberg’s algorithms just decided to serve me an ad for the Swedenborgian cult. Slow clap…
  • I am disproportionately enthusiastic about tea, soup and bread. If there’s cake as well I basically have a small meltdown.
  • Having failed to recruit me into the Swedenborgians yesterday, Zuckerberg is now running a misspelled ad to make me a mormon. ”Klicka för att boka en tid för att besöka tempetsområde!”
  • Struggling to make a good joke on panelist and penalist.
  • Movie: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021). More than just an amazing music festival movie from Black Woodstock, this documentary also offers rich imagery and incisive commentary on the general situation of African Americans in 1969. Grade: great!
  • 4.5 years ago I drove Junior to uni. Today Jrette is driving with her friends to Linköping for recruitment days at uni. ❤
  • Several Black 1969 concert goers in the ”Summer of Soul” documentary were not enthusiastic about the moon landing. They suggested that the money should have gone to combat poverty instead. A space geek’s standard response is that the Apollo program was immensely cheaper than the Cold War and the Vietnam War, and that though the military did offer employment to Black people, Vietnam also tended to kill them or leave them traumatised for life. 18 years later, Prince sang “A sister killed her baby ’cause she couldn’t afford to feed it / And yet we’re sending people to the moon”, so the attitude persisted. Even though nobody was actually sending anyone to the moon.
  • Saw an amazing hair style in the audience in “Summer of Soul”: the Male Pattern Baldness Afro. Awe and respect!
  • 15 years ago since the “Windows Genuine Advantage” spyware made me switch to Linux. Very rarely have I needed to use Windows since.
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Author: Martin R

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

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

  1. What about the norhernmost border towards Russia?

    IIRC, the Polish never accepted renaming Königsberg to Kaliningrad. They kept calling it King’s Mountain.

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    1. Haven’t heard anything about the Kaliningrad border. Hard for me to tell how many Poles say that name and how many say Królewiec. The name has 425,000 Google hits, but it refers to four different cities.

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  2. I appreciate that spectator sports are not favoured on this blog, but people in Poland could be talking about this anyway – a 20 year old Polish woman has just become the world’s No. 1 ranked female tennis player.

    Iga Świątek.

    If I got the squiggles in her name wrong, you can bite me.

    Fan trivia – before matches she listens to AC/DC.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah – commentators have been pronouncing it as something like Shviahntek, which is probably as good as they can do.

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  3. Dear Professor Rundkvist:

    After reading only several entries in your blog, it became clear to me that one of the principle motivators of your interest in archaeology must be sheer interest in human nature (and how it manifests itself in the relics of the past). Like Herodotus, you appear to be a great lover of your kind. At this point I will not presume to guess whether you believe that human nature — speaking strictly of homo sapiens — has remained fundamentally unchanged throughout its existence, or not, or something else again.

    Thus I wonder if you would care to give an opinion on the major points of view expressed in a most fascinating subreddit, r/aznidentity. As you are an academic, I’m sure you could skim through enough posts to sufficiently comprehend those points of view in a half-hour or less. Naturally you might also want your wife’s input for a bit of cross-cultural perspective, and it is highly likely she will have something very interesting to say.

    Best regards,
    Max

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