May Pieces Of My Mind #2

Eagles of Death Metal
  • Reading the local newspaper, I’m reminded that people aren’t always that great. Two months ago a fire broke out in a tenement block near where we used to live. While very drunk, a tenant had lit a barbecue in her apartment. As the flames spread, she fled the building, hoping that the fire would put out itself. When questioned by the police, she explained that she alerted none of her neighbours, because “They should obviously take care of themselves”. Four floors worth of neighbours living on top of the floor with the fire. The woman denies criminal wrongdoing, commenting that “People cause mishaps and mistakes are made”. The fire brigade put out the fire before it spread beyond the apartment. The woman is now being charged with aggravated arson.
  • Depressing “feel-good” news item from Ukraine about soldiers digging trenches who found amphorae and took them to a museum. They’re trashing an archaeological site. It is not good news.
  • During the Swedish invasion of Poland after 1700, farmers would routinely bury their food stores and the Swedes would routinely torture them to get the food. Wonder if these grain storage pits are archaeologically visible.
  • I’m not used to discussing with people who don’t understand arguments. It’s bewildering when it happens in certain online groups. Instead of exchanging views about A and B — possibly in complete disagreement — you get these strange men who show up and make confused statements about C and D.
  • The first car with an internal combustion engine was in 1885 and the first Mars helicopter in 2020. I wonder what extraterrestrial helicopter probes will look like 145 years from now. That Mars helicopter will soon be seen as an extremely primitive first attempt to build a new class of machine.
  • 145 years isn’t a super long piece of space history any more. The first V-2 rocket left the atmosphere (and came down again) 78 years ago.
  • Interesting to see Russia punishing Finland by refusing to sell them the only commodity Russia can still find a buyer for.
  • Movie: The Ritual (2017). This rather formulaic English horror flick interested me because it is ostensibly set in the sublime Sarek National Park, Lappland, Sweden. The dialogue and the acting are fine, and I appreciated the Northern accents. But almost none of the action is in fact shot in Sarek. It is shot in what, to my local eyes, is clearly a 50-year-old spruce plantation at much lower altitude – in Romania. And that is not scary to me. Grade: Fail.
  • Reading about the Swedish navy in the late 1600s. Things that are really odd to a modern mind are that a) the government was often months or years late with wage payments, b) it nevertheless took ages before the employees gave up and left government projects.
  • I’m reading that Tolkien fans are up in arms over some TV production. Relax and just re-read a few of the books, folks.
  • About Sweden joining NATO. I don’t know what the practical consequences will be of joining formally after half a century of informal NATO protection. And I don’t think the people online who are cheering or protesting the decision know either. This is one of the many issues that I am happy to hand over to technocrats with specialist training. I’m saying this as a member of the Swedish Left, waaay outside the entire US political spectrum, and as someone who has for years become increasingly appalled by the US.
  • Reading about the 1676 sea battle where The Crown keeled over and exploded from mishandling of sails and rudder. Really hard to understand the after action reports until I suddenly realise: they’re jockeying against the enemy over who gets closer to the wind. These ships can’t tack against it. Also their shipbuilding was highly tentative and improvised. They would build an enormous warship only to discover that it did not respond to the rudder and had to be steered with the sails!
  • Caught a brief glimpse of the cookbook Taco Mexican Style on a shelf, read it as Tao Mexican Style. That actually sounds like a more interesting book.
  • Hope the Ukrainians win the war and that, if they join the EU, they cause less trouble than the neighbouring member states have.
  • I know the guy who keeps the church bells ringing and the tower clock showing the correct time!
  • A memory: my first wife didn’t have bad hair days. She preferred to call them bog-body hair days.
  • Movie: Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). A Chinese American family tries to deal with their damaged relationships and their failing laundromat business in an extremely psychedelic, funny and large set of parallel worlds — while mixing English and Mandarin haphazardly. Grade: great!!!
  • Isn’t it time that pharmacology figured out what the various medically useful compounds in cannabis actually do, so the world can end the medical marijuana charade? I mean we aren’t eating foxglove for heart problems anymore.
  • Embarrassing: you need to talk to a land owner or a tenant farmer for some fieldwork, so you look their phone number up online, and it turns out that every cellphone in the family is registered on the dad. So you end up calling like their 11-y-o daughter in your attempts to reach the landowner.
  • Usually you’re willing to pay more to get more. Not true with novels. When the page count goes past 600 and continues to increase, my willingness to buy the product decreases.
  • Dea Matrona from Belfast, the rockingest young Irishwomen you’ll ever hear!
  • Confession: only very recently did I get the joke: EoDM are death metal’s equivalent of The Eagles. And they sound nothing like The Eagles or like death metal.

Author: Martin R

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

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