April Pieces Of My Mind

Kew Gardens, Temperate House
  • Routine health check-up. Told the nurse that my junkie identity is entirely built on Lipton and Tetley products.
  • Funny / annoying intrusion of politics into a project I’m consulting on. A farmer suddenly retracted his permission for four politically unaffiliated non-profit associations to sponsor fieldwork on his land. Turns out this was because the chairman of the local We Hate Foreigners Party chapter had talked enthusiastically about the project online. No political party was actually involved in the work.
  • Clicked “Like” on Linköping Cathedral, because who doesn’t like Medieval cathedrals!? Turned out to be a mistake, because I started to get daily updates on current religious activities in the building. Hello? My interest ends roughly in 1789, OK?
  • You know the people who respond to interviewers’ questions that schools should not teach Arabic numerals? I’d like to hear their opinion of Indo-European languages spoken in hallways between classes.
  • It’s only gaslighting if you’re not actually insane.
  • Documentary movie: Hired Gun (2016). Interviews with professional US rock musicians who tour with big acts but are not official members of a band or recording artists in their own name. Grade: good!
  • I learned about metal guitarist Randy Rhoads’ death at age 25. It’s a particularly pointless rock star death since it had nothing to do with any irresponsible behaviour or substance abuse on the part of Rhoads himself — he just got onto a small airplane whose pilot was an irresponsible daredevil and got himself and two additional people killed with his stunts.
  • I wonder if US voters who play the card game MTG are more or less likely than average to support MTG the congresswoman. The game has grown fiendishly complicated over the decades. I have a hunch…
  • Hey humanities people, help me out. What do we call current work that does not cite French 1960s philosophers, does not contain a lot of trendy jargon, and does not deal with meta issues?
  • The café waitress is from Białystok. She’s never heard of Łódź.
  • There’s a rose breed called Brother Cadfael. See Venn diagram of a) rose fanciers, b) readers of murder mysteries set at Medieval monasteries.
  • The breakfast room is decorated with Olympic posters, including the Unaware of World Wars Games, the Nude Swedes Games, the Trench Traumatised Belgians Games, the Nazi Games, the Never Actually Occurring Because Of Nazis Games and the London in Ruins Games.
  • A long time ago sometime checked in on Facebook while in London. Millions of people followed. Most don’t seem to have noticed or cared that the first guy spelled Unıted Kingdom with an undotted Turkish ı.
  • I can never remember if it’s the bay leaf or the bailiff that goes into the stew pot.
  • DVD store clerk, wearing a mask and speaking with a hint of Cockney: “It’s got Renée Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio!” Me: “I’m sorry but are you speaking Greek?”
  • Hyde Park: ravens, grey squirrels, noisy green parakeets.
  • I don’t know if the (black-clad, band-logo festooned, bearded, chunky) stoner rock fans at the festival look surprised to see me a) because I’m dressed like an escaped member of the Stone Roses or b) because of my rockabilly sideburns.
  • My wife has no idea about the weekend of total hedonism I’ve embarked on. I’m drinking tea several times a day. Last night I had a veggie Indian dinner — with a cucumber raita. Today I’m going to Kew Gardens!
  • Imagine a Dyson sphere around a sun that collects its whole energy output. And then there’s a second sphere around it, consisting entirely of Dyson Airblades, all powered by the sun. Amazing.

Author: Martin R

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

5 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind”

  1. “ravens, grey squirrels, noisy green parakeets”; I’m confused, you probably mean that the parakeets are the odd one out, but my mind keeps returning to another categorization: that only ravens are native species?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Hey humanities people, help me out. What do we call current work that does not cite French 1960s philosophers, does not contain a lot of trendy jargon, and does not deal with meta issues?”

    I’m confused? The first is “not old-fashioned.” The second is “clearly written and reasoned.” The third is “outdated” or “amateurish.” If you can’t cogently explain the issues dating the LBA / EIA transition in West Eurasia, or the problems interpreting numbers in ancient literature, or what typologies of material culture are, you are not doing good historical science.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m used to the study of later people’s ideas about antiquity being called reception (unless those later people were scholarly enough in which case its research history). That is the specialized subclass of Ancient World Studies so it gets its own name.


  3. Many musicians die in small plane crashes. Much of it is because touring schedules, especially in the US require covering a lot of ground. A small plane can get your from point A to point B 200 miles (320 km) away in an hour or two. Depending on the details, it would be three to five hours by car. There are lots of little charter operators out there, and, like the local one I often use, they have competent and careful pilots, but small planes are small planes, and the whole point is to avoid major airports even though they have better IFR support. Wasn’t the “day the music died” in the song American Pie about a plane crash that killed three musicians?

    What’s the problem with 1960s French philosophers? They are as incoherent as most philosophers. For some fun, check out the web comic Existential Comics. Philosophers take a lot of things seriously that most people don’t even notice let alone care about. I remember reading a book by one of my math teachers, Giancarlo Rota, and he was a philosophical type involved in the debate on the reality of numbers and mathematical concepts. I take a practical neo-Kantian approach and ignore the reality issue by assuming mathematical reality, as constructed by my human mind, is as real as anything else outside my own skull.

    You are probably talking about at a narrow base of humanities researchers who are very big on being obscure and get lost in their own logic or more stylishly view everything through a pseudo-Marxian lens. There are still lots of humanities sorts studying, research and teaching about literature, the visual arts, music and history. That’s what they are still called. Being meta is a mixed bag. If you never step back and try to figure out what one is doing in the big picture, you can lose opportunities, insights and perspective. On the other hand, if all you do is step back and stop actually doing things, you become irrelevant. I’d probably move history out of there as the 1960s French historians did a lot of work turning history into a hard humanity, analogous to the soft sciences.

    Now I’m wondering what Dyson air blades would do in a vacuum. I assume that the motors would burn out as the lack of air resistance implies a lack of back current. AC motors are finicky that way.

    Liked by 1 person

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