Archive for January, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, January 17th, 2011
Today, the 17th of January, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  The following presentation, posted by Matt Peyton at The Bluevine Collective ponders the ongoing legacy of King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail through words and video.
The Bluevine Collective is new to me but I have enjoyed what I have read there recently.

Bread and cook books

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

BreadMaisie and I have been busy this morning making a couple of common or garden white loaves of bread, following a recipe from The Complete Cook, one of two very well-used Hamlyn cook books on our kitchen bookshelf.

It is a fine family cook book and encyclopedia that contains information on ingredients, tools & equipment, basic techniques as well as over 1,000 recipes across a range of many cuisines – including what one reviewers claims to be the best chocolate mousse ever.

The other is the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book, a birthday present from my Dad that even has his birthday card stuck inside.  Dating from the mid-1970s, when my foodie tendencies started to surface, it has some great highly styled photos of trendy dishes straight from the world of Abigail’s Party.

Say Anything

Friday, January 14th, 2011

This American Life is rarely less than great and this old episode from 2003, featuring the marvelous words of Michael Bernard Loggins, is no exception.

Eric & Ernie and Coronation Street

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Eric & Ernie

In the last 48 hours, I have had the pleasure of watching Eric & Ernie and The Road To Coronation Street, a pair of biographical dramas about two of the most successful UK TV shows of all time. Laced with Northern working class humour that had me laughing out loud. Without a doubt, these are two of the best dramas I have seen – and that’s from someone who loved The Morecombe & Wise Show but never watched an episode of Coronation Street in his life!

Both were well written, superbly produced and played by exceptional casts; a rare combination these days, it seems.  Daniel Rigby and Bryan Dick delivered stand out performances as the eponymous Eric and Ernie, with Victoria Wood and Jim Moir providing the backstory of Eric’s Mum and Dad.  While The Road To Coronation Street had a stellar cast of familiar talent from the last 30 years of British TV, it was Jessie Wallace, a former soap actress playing a soap actress from the preceding generation, who convincingly stole the show as Pat Phoenix.

There is very little that makes me homesick but the quality of these dramas does make me wonder what else I might be missing on the television in Blighty.

The Road To Coronation Street

Jimmy Carter vs. Sarah Palin

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Paul Thomas makes some interesting points on Palin’s comparison of Barak Obama to Jimmy Carter in his op-ed piece in Saturday’s NZH.

Since being unceremoniously ejected from the White House in 1980, Jimmy Carter has devoted much time and energy to making hellish parts of the world a little less hellish. Now he’s on the verge of a remarkable achievement – eradicating the guinea worm.

Palin claims that she is “very busy helping people and causes”, which is also true as far as it goes; the person in question being herself, the cause being her presidential aspirations.

It says something about today’s society that we hang on Palin’s every tweet and treat her as a serious political figure when all she seems to be good at, or interested in, is self-promotion, while continuing to deprecate Carter despite his measurable contribution to mankind.

The full piece is at  Paul Thomas : Hellishness on our roads and around the world.

MMR, autism and sadness

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

As a close relative of someone with an autism spectrum disorder, I read yesterday’s British Medical Journal article explaining in detail how Andrew Wakefield fixed his study and the case against the MMR vaccine with sadness.

Sad that, for whatever reasons, a consultant erred in his professional responsibilities, his consideration of his colleagues and his duty of care to his patients.

Sad for the vulnerable children who underwent unnecessarily invasive and distressing clinical procedures in breach of the guidelines of the ethics committee concerned.

Sad for families and patients who were ‘dishonestly and irresponsibly’ misrepresented in the study.

Sad for those who became ill or died as a result of refusing vaccinations on the basis of the study’s findings.

Most of all, I am sad for misinformed and confused parents the world over. The parents who just wanted answers. The parents who needed something to blame. The parents who will now always have doubts and will always remain unsure of what is best for their child.


Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours watching ‘Heartlands‘ last night. Rescued from the ignominy of the bargain bin, what a cracking little movie it turned out to be. A gentle tale of a quiet man who sets out on his moped to find his philandering wife and discovers there’s more to life than darts and beer along the way. Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) delivers a solid performance in the lead role, supported by old reliables Jim Carter and Celia Imrie and a great cast including nicely understated Paul Shane, Ruth Jones, Phillipa Peak and a softer than normal performance from Mark Strong. The only downside were the inconsistent dialects of some of the characters.  More than anything I’ve watched recently, this movie reminded me of England and the subtleties of the English sense of humour. Another cracking $4.99 bargain from The Warehouse.

Itchy feet or a nudge?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I had an interesting day with SWMBO today starting with an offhand discussion that started with us talking about moving our shed so we could paint the house.  This led to a discussion about whether or not to pursue the idea of buying a sleep-out to accommodate our growing band of teenagers. Before we knew it, we’d concluded that this idea had little merit and were driving up and down the Hibiscus Coast looking at properties.

While we’re blessed to have this lovely home and feel happy & settled here, our family is now effectively comprised of two mid-lifers, two young adults, a ‘tweenager’ and fast-growing primary schooler.  Similarly, with changes in schools and colleges, the geography of our life has subtly shifted and we now find ourselves spending a significant amount of time on the Hibiscus Coast.  So, while we have no immediate plans to move, we find ourselves thinking about shifting again and all that it entails.  I find myself excited in an unexpected kind of way and, in the light of a number of things going on in our lives right now, wondering if this is God’s prompting; definitely something to pray on and consider.

To end a lovely day, we ate freshly-caught kingfish fillets, care of our good friend and intrepid film-maker Tony, and the crew of the seafearing launch Ballistic.  I cooked mine to an authentic Cajun recipe that you can find on my much-neglected food blog, Big Boy’s Brunch.


Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Watched Gabriel but baled out at 20/28 as I’m clearly not in the mood.