October Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • Movie: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). Two goofy high-schoolers are close to failing their history class. George Carlin gives them a time machine and they recruit some historical celebrities to help them ace their presentation. Grade: OK.
  • Here’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle providing a style template for H.P. Lovecraft in his 1910 story “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”. “A thick, black cloud swirled before my eyes, and my mind told me that in this cloud, unseen as yet, but about to spring out upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe. Vague shapes swirled and swam amid the dark cloud-bank, each a menace and a warning of something coming, the advent of some unspeakable dweller upon the threshold, whose very shadow would blast my soul.”
  • Creative people often describe an urge to make whatever they make. I’ve reached an age where I’m at peace with the realisation that I’ve had extremely ample opportunity to learn a few creative skills that were once vague ambitions of mine, yet I never did. The reason that I never learned to play an instrument well, write code or write novels, then, is not that anything kept me. It’s that I didn’t care enough. What I care about doing, the evidence of decades suggests, is apparently writing scholarly studies and popular outreach.
  • Dreamed about a Star Trek episode where everyone is ordering delivery food and they all want various types of high-end sausage.
  • Someone should establish a new field of research: the Codicology of Word Processor Files.
  • Interesting academic tradition in Łódź: the university offers its staff free candles to be lit on the graves of deceased colleagues for Hallowe’en.
  • Seven years ago I published a book on the landscape siting of Bronze Age artefact deposition, a.k.a. sacrifice. Then I’ve done other things. But now I’ve written a paper on Bronze Age hoards because one of them popped up near Stockholm. So I’ve read up on what’s happened in that field since 2015. I’m very pleased to find that one thing that’s happened is that colleagues have started citing or even quoting my book!
  • My attitude to politics has changed in the past decade. It’s become clear to me that in politics, you can’t expect rational fact-based argument. You have to deal diplomatically with a lot of people driven by fear, anger, ignorance and internet propaganda. 50% of them have below median intelligence, 50% (not the same subset) have below median education. I am way too impatient and contemptuous to function successfully in that arena. A case in point: when I was on the municipal school board, I once exasperatedly told another representative during a plenary session that the long-winded argument she kept making time and time again was pointless and counterproductive. And she was on that board for my own party.
  • Every country that legalises recreational cannabis should require beverage producers to label their bottles and cans RECREATIONAL ETHANOL.
  • My spoken Polish may be crap, but I cook a pretty decent żurek!
  • When I’ve hung laundry to dry and I take my stuff down and fold it, I always feel a little happy and excited like if I had received gifts.
  • Poland is an Eldorado for beautifully conserved top-quality industrial brick masonry architecture, old factories now being used as malls and gyms. I just discovered that we have something similar at the Hjorthagen gasworks in Stockholm.
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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.

4 thoughts on “October Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. On the tradition of leaving candles by graves of deceased colleagues. There is a tradition in both the Latvian association of archaeologists and the National history museum to as a group visit graves of deceased archaeologists once a year or so, clean up a bit if needed and exchange stories about them. It´s not tied to Halloween, though.

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    1. Cool! The only Swedish archaeologist’s grave that I’m aware of anyone visiting is that of Oscar Montelius. Because the monument itself is full of material references to archaeology.

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      1. I had to check how Montelius grave looks like now. Impressive, and a happy mix of elements from different periods put together there.

        Liked by 1 person

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