When I was a kid around 1980 me and my buddies used to play in small tracts of woodland around where we lived. There we sometimes found woods porn, Sw. skogsporr: damp and fragmented pornographic magazines. We learned quite a lot from them that stood us in good stead later in life.
Back then, before porn went digital, woods porn was ubiquitous. Woodland deposition in fact seems to have been a major culturally sanctioned way to get rid of unwanted porn. It’s easy to imagine scenarios that would have given rise to the custom: you need to (use and?) get rid of something discreetly, you can’t leave it anywhere near your home or workplace, and you can’t draw attention to it by burning it. But though almost everybody I’ve talked to about woods porn has found some once, I have never heard any rumour from a person who deposited woods porn. Who were they? All I know is that they must have been older than us kids in order to be that interested in porn and to be able to afford it. And they probably weren’t comfortable talking about porn.
I knew some grown-up porn buyers: my friend’s big brother, their dad, another friend’s mom & dad. They all kept their porn in their nightstand drawers, quite unabashedly. I can’t really see why they would have hidden some of it in the woods. They were probably not woods porn depositors.
Do you, Dear Reader, have any tales to tell of woods porn deposition?
Image from Martin Nilsson’s blog.
This is the view from the staff break room in the humanities building at the Kalmar campus of the Linnaeus University. To the lower left is the university building. I haven’t been here much during the 14 months since I began my stint as some-time lecturer at Linnaeus. Most of my teaching has been at the other campus in Växjö.
A few things surprise me about this break room. For instance, I am not used to having colleagues showing up and joining me for tea and a chat. It’s nice! Also I haven’t seen a training tower for sea captains anywhere else – top right in the picture. And perhaps most surprising is the fact that though my foothold here is tenuous, this is actually a university campus where I work. The lunch dude asks ”Are you a student?” before I pay, and it always gives me a little thrill to reply, ”No, I’m a teacher.”
Here are two pages out of this week’s Swedish crime chronicle, showcasing the rare beauties of the small-town criminal mind. Both remind me of the movie Fargo in different ways.
- The first one is awesomely stupid. Wednesday shortly after noon a young couple were driving through the outskirts of Fagersta. Two police officers recognised them and flagged them down as the driver was known to have no licence.
The couple gets out of the car and starts arguing with the police, and then the man grabs one of the officers in a stranglehold and starts banging her head against the car. The woman hits the other officer on the back of the head. All this in broad daylight and in full view of many three-story apartment buildings! Both get pepper sprayed and taken into custody.
The man is now held in suspicion of attempted manslaughter, threats against an officer of the law and aggravated driving without a licence. The woman is held in suspicion of violence against an officer of the law. Both are suspected of being shatteringly stupid rural meth heads.
And Americans, take note. See how these things play out in an environment without many guns?
- The second one is more kind of sad but also amazing. After a burglary in Höganäs Tuesday or Wednesday, the police managed to chase the three burglars down. To their surprise they found that one of the three, a woman of 40, was in an obvious and advanced state of pregnancy. She told them that she was feeling labour pangs, and they rushed her to hospital. Luckily, it was a false alarm and she could soon join her confederates at Helsingborg police station.
Wolf warrior David Huggins reminded me of the greatest conundrum in finer etiquette: how a gentleman should behave when approaching the lower end of a narrow staircase while in conversation with a lady.
All men know that it is courteous to hold open doors and allow others to pass before us, not only ladies but anyone really. But the staircase imposes a separate and sadly little-known rule.
You do not walk behind a lady up a staircase, because this will give the impression that you are ogling her legs/posterior.
The problem has no solution unless you are willing to ask the lady every time which of these two etiquette rules she is aware of and which of them she feels has higher priority. You can’t excuse yourself and flee every time there’s a staircase in your path to dinner. On every narrow staircase, with every lady, you will wonder either “Does she think I’m staring at her ass? Hey, nice ass, come to think of it” or “Does she think I’m rude for barging away onto the stairs and leaving her behind?”
I’ve suddenly and catastrophically gotten tired of most of my favourite podcasts, removing them from the subscriptions list in Podkicker on my smartphone. It’s a lot like breaking up with friends of many years, except that the podcasters’ feelings are unlikely to be hurt by my faithlessness. Dear Reader, you know me. Tell me what podcasts I should try!
Last winter I was amazed by the poor upkeep afforded to buildings in central Marrakech. I spent part of last week in fascinating Istanbul, and there it was again: plentiful ruins of recent buildings in the middle of busy shopping and hotel districts. Istanbul is in even worse shape than Marrakech. Many older houses are only maintained on the ground floor. There may be eight ruinous floors on top, eroding steadily and falling piecemeal into the street.
Many property owners in Istanbul fit their buildings with horizontal metal-grille shelves sticking out from the facade above the first floor. This keeps bits of a building from falling onto the tourists frequenting the street-level shops that pay the rent. The grilles and their installation must cost a pretty penny. Still owners prefer them to putting the money into renovation.
Again, I wonder about the economics of this. Is the dilapidation a result of some poorly worded rule intended to protect historic buildings? Are the property owners waiting for the old buildings to collapse so they can legitimately tear the remains down and build higher and more profitable structures?
Or is there insufficient demand for housing and office space in central Istanbul, so that the only parts of the buildings that actually pay for themselves are the ones catering to tourists?
Then I thought maybe the problem with getting property owners to pay for upkeep isn’t insufficient carrot, but insufficient whip. Perhaps the reason no Stockholm property owner behaves like this is that if she does, she will get her ass kicked by the authorities. So I asked the city planning office of Stockholm municipality, stadsbyggnadskontoret. And they kindly explained that there are two levels of whip on these issues in Stockholm. The Planning Code demands that you keep your property in good shape: if you don’t, the city planning office will tell you to either get the problem fixed or pay a fine. And if, as is common in Istanbul, your building becomes so decrepit that it’s dangerous to people in or near it, you will no longer be allowed to use your building, for instance by letting out shop space in it.
Or maybe it’s neither carrot nor whip, but a culturally established readiness to see buildings in severe disrepair, combined with a unwillingness or inability to invest now for long-term profit.
I’ve got a lot on my mind.
- Bronze Age deposition book: visiting some sites on Friday, data collection almost done, have started doing stat analysis and writing interpretations, need to write gazetteer entries while I remember details of how I’ve managed to pinpoint find spots.
- Also time to decide what my next project will be! I had hoped that a new place of employment would guide me in this decision. But no. Strategically, I should probably write something about the High Middle Ages or the Early Iron Age now to continue broadening my scope. Can’t do Mesolithic, would have to learn to knap stone first.
- Fornvännen: summer issue is with our graphic designer and I’ve begun copy editing the papers for the autumn issue. Looking forward to staff conference trip.
- Teaching: end-of-course seminar on the Heritage Site Communication next week, need to book a time slot for a teleconferenced end-of-course seminar on the Tourist Site Production for May.
- Västergötland barrow finds: will soon spend two months at 50% classifying and interpreting the finds from the first major Iron Age barrow excavated in that province for a long time. It’s a rare treat when somebody asks you to do that one thing very few other people can!
- Academic job search: I’ve got an interview on Monday but so has up to seven other people. Not sweating it though: funding deities have smiled upon me.
- Family: very worried about ailing kid. Need to help mom put her boat into the sea now that the ice is gone. Looking forward to Lincon gaming convention with Junior.
- Swedish Skeptics: looking forward to dropping some admin load on the Stockholm chapter once they get a board elected. I’m good with admin but I don’t like it. Like me and small talk, actually.
2009. University of Lund publishes the PhD thesis Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Created Agricultural Wetlands, dealing with biological diversity and ecosystem services in ponds in the agricultural landscape (and commented on here).
2013: Same department advertises a post-doc in the field “Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services in Ponds in the Agricultural Landscape”.
Because in the Scandinavian countries’ public sectors, you always have to go through these elaborate charades to suggest that you’re really looking open-mindedly for the best candidate for a job, not simply for your buddy Herman.