November Pieces Of My Mind #3


  • As a small finds specialist, I gotta say if you can’t tell whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not, then you need a much tighter type definition.
  • Call me slow, but I just realised today that nationalism is way more of a call to actually do something big when you’re a crowd of small principalities in 1800, like Italy or Germany, than when you’re France or Sweden. I mean, you’re already France or Sweden regardless of any nationalists.
  • Realisation: For all their revolutionary rhetoric, Mao and the CCP never actually participated in any revolution in the sense of overthrowing a government. They emerged victorious out of decades of civil war and the World Wars. China was then functionally Communist for only thirty years before shifting into the current long period of capitalist single-party dictatorship.
  • Following the Hate & Gasoline Party’s success in the recent Swedish elections, the EU majority has lost faith in Sweden as an effective participant in political measures against the climate emergency.
  • Sometimes when I request a book from the stacks at the research libraries I use, I’m done with it efter 15 mins. But I delay returning it as long as possible, so the librarians won’t feel that I’m wasting their time.
  • Just back from a happy week in Lecco on Lake Como in Lombardy with wife and grown-up daughter. Long scenic sunshine walks, good meals, museums, churches, learning to play scopa. We rode the new sleeper train from Stockholm to Hamburg and back. 28 hours from Stockholm to Lecco, about a third of which I spent sleeping. The ride cost three times the cheapest air fare.
  • I’m launching a new e-book format where each book is a large video file of someone paging slowly through a paper book. To read a page you click “pause”. Gonna be rich!!!
  • Reading Bill Bryson’s 1998 book A Walk in the Woods, I came upon some odd figures. He says that it usually takes five months to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. The trail’s website puts it at five to seven months. The trail is about 3530 km long. A month is on average 30.63 days. This means that a normal “thru-hiker” averages a speed of 19.2 km a day, every day for half a year, carrying a heavy backpack. That’s pretty fast. But of course, this is a case of survivor’s bias. The numbers only apply to thru-hikers: people who actually succeed in hiking the entire trail. And they aren’t typical hikers.
  • Augerum near Karlskrona in southern Sweden is not a famous place. It’s mainly known for a modern cemetery. Vendel Period scholars know it for a 6th century jewellery grave in an unburnt boat, excavated by Oscar Montelius. But now Augerum has a new claim to fame. A major meth lab has just been busted there!
  • Movie: Despicable Me (2010). Two hi-tech supervillains compete for who can shrink and steal the moon. One of them adopts three little orphan girls as part of a scheme to steal the shrink gun. Lots of minions! Grade: great!

Author: Martin R

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

6 thoughts on “November Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. The first President of the Republic of China lived in Hong Kong for a while, when he was being hunted by the agents of the Qing before the revolution. I have passed the house he lived in multiple times, although it is off the beaten track for most people.

    He is revered by both the Mainland and Taiwan as the father of modern China.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Sometimes when I request a book from the stacks at the research libraries I use, I’m done with it efter 15 mins. But I delay returning it as long as possible, so the librarians won’t feel that I’m wasting their time.” Yes, returning books got so much easier when our university library changed to the impersonal mode of getting your books from lockers and handing them in on a conveyor belt.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Twelve miles a day sounds about right for the Appalachian Trail. That’s six to eight hours of travel a day. The trail goes up and down a lot of hills, but it’s pretty easy going. I’ve only hiked bits and pieces of it in New England and New York. It was one of the few trails you could get to via NYC based mass transit. Some crazy Belgian hiked it in 41 days.

    There were all sorts of factions in China when the Revive China army deposed the emperor. There were communists, and it’s not like they went away when Sun Yat Sen took over. After World War II, they took over. You could argue, as many in China did, that Sun Yat Sen was a western puppet and deposing the emperor was just a colonialist plot. You would not be totally wrong.

    If you look at patterns of European unification and expansion, it’s hard to miss the pattern. First Spain unified and then established an empire in the New World. Then France and England went through their own wars of internal unification and established even greater empires in the New World. More recently, Italy and Germany fought their wars of internal unification and attempted to establish their own empires in Europe and Africa. Follow this on a map and then watch Poland and points south carefully.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I assume you mean the plot of A Walk in the Woods. Sorry, but I’ve never read it. On the other hand, I’ve read a lot about the Appalachian Trail.


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