January Pieces Of My Mind #1

These individuals can neither deny nor confirm that there is any organisation called “Delta Green”.

  • Foreign cities or places I stayed in during 2022: Kraków, Łódź, Warsaw, London, Bornholm, Savonlinna, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Jena, Prague, Ostráva, Lecco.
  • “Dishing the Dirt / Starving Artist IV”: I’m gathering funding for an art project where I will visit homes and interview the inhabitants about their ideas around cleaning the dishes. In each home I will search through the plates, cups and cutlery in the cupboards for fragments of dried food and collect them. Finally I will cook a gruel from thousands of these fragments and make a video where I eat the gruel while clips from the interviews are played through weird otherworldly sound filters. The video will be played in the kitchen of the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art for seven months.
  • A memory from 1990, the intro lecture to History 101. One chubby bespectacled young man in the audience stands out. He interrupts the fairly boring lecture with entusiastic semi-irrelevant questions in an odd breathless monotone. “Excuse me are you a Neo-Malthusian? Because I’m not I think when we run out of resources on Earth we can go to Mars and extract more resources so we won’t really run out!” At a later occasion I saw him pulls the collar of his washed-out teeshirt down over his left shoulder and busily squeeze pimples there. I saw him in the hallways during most of my undergrad years but we were never in the same course.
  • Movie: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018). Six separate tales of death in the Old West. Grade: OK.
  • Tom Waits has acted in 50 films of various lengths.
  • Remember early 2020 when you suddenly lost elderly relatives and acquaintances in the West to covid? That’s happening now to us who have elderly relatives and acquaintances in China. Because the Party didn’t use its oppressive powers to vaccinate people, only to lock them down for three years.
  • Current US law mandates that NASA must send something (such as a crewed lander) to the moon on a huge SLS rocket at least once a year. Until this law is repealed.
  • Cousin E reports that yes, it’s true that the US only managed to beat China at the Maths Olympiad when they started recruiting contestants from China who almost made it onto the Chinese national team. Rumour has it that the Americans do this by offering these guys citizenship. 😃
  • Movie: Insomnia (1997). A disgraced Swedish homicide detective and his Oslo colleague are sent to Tromsø to help investigate the not very complicated murder of a highschooler. But things do get complicated. Grade: good!
  • The clown show over the Speakership is a particularly clear example of why the US needs proportional representation and a multi-party system. The reason that the Republican “party” can’t deliver a Speaker is simply that by most countries’ standards, the Republicans are not one party.
  • Maybe this has already been done. But I had an idea for a scenario: a future British Museum that uses a time machine to loot the past. Sometimes they pick up famous people as well and disappear them. The museum displays i.a. the full original contents of Khufu’s burial chamber in the Great Pyramid and the section of Phaistos on Crete that was eroded away in antiquity by a river. Jesus of Nazareth and Jimmy Hoffa take turns manning the entry ticket desk.
  • Movie: The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005). It’s an odd documentary where the subject has filmed and audio recorded big chunks of the historical material used, and is himself on screen in a lot of new footage, but is too mentally ill to provide more than a few brief soundbites. The massively creative and productive musician and painter Johnston died aged 58, fourteen years after the film was released. Grade: great!
  • I game-mastered a lot of roleplaying scenarios from age 12 to 22. Then almost none until age 48, the first pandemic year. Since then I’ve game-mastered about 20 four-hour sessions a year, way more intensively and focused than when I was a boy, and I’m having a blast!

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 “January Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. I doubt that story about the Maths Olympiad. The US has lots of Chinese immigrants and a lot of their kids are seriously good at math. I went to a specialty exam high school in NYC. Back then, it was full of the children of immigrants from Europe. Now it’s full of the children of immigrants from Asia. We had a kick ass math team. It was so good, that its [American] football team beat the debate team’s football team. I gather the current team is still pretty damned good, so I don’t think the US has to recruit overseas.


    1. One of the things you learn from being on a math team is that competitive math team stuff is not the same as doing math. It’s a whole different skill set.


  2. “Because the Party didn’t use its oppressive powers to vaccinate people, only to lock them down for three years.”

    Vaccines were available for those three years, and people could go to get them, without any problem. People were complacent because the lockdowns had worked against the original variant, Alpha and Delta, but they didn’t understand that Omicron had strains that are so wildly infectious that nothing can contain them. No one was expecting Kraken.

    When my daughter wanted a booster, she just went to the nearest hospital and asked for it, and they gave it to her straight away, complete with a vaccine certificate. She just had to pay a token amount of money. The difference is that the first vaccination she had was mandatory and free of charge.

    So the reason that only 40% of people in the Mainland 80 years and older have had multiple vaccinations is because they have chosen not to go and get vaccinated, and the various municipal governments have not forced them to because they have had no legal authority to make the vaccinations mandatory. 8 million people 80 and older in the Mainland have had no vaccination at all, and there is still time for them to go and get vaccinated, but it seems they are choosing not to do it.

    HK is not really in any position to look down on the Mainland. Only 60% of 80+ people here have had 3 vaccinations (which the local experts consider is necessary to give them adequate protection against severe illness from Omicron) and the government made it mandatory to have 3 doses before people could enter places like restaurants, to try as much as they could to force people to get vaccinated, but still 40% of this group resisted.

    The one thing that the government in HK and the governments in the Mainland will not do is try to forcibly vaccinate people, and as much as I wish that were possible, I think they are being very wise not to try.


    1. Still, the total number of fatalities from Covid 19 in China is expected to be less than in America, which has only ¼ of the population, because the lockdowns worked against the much more virulent but less infectious variants.

      The pandemic is not over in the rest of the world, by the way. Large numbers of people are still being infected, becoming severely ill and dying from it; it is just that people have become accustomed to ‘living with it.’ The public health systems in multiple countries have completely broken down, notably in the UK.


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