Archive for the ‘Online’ Category

The Money Lenders & The Temple

Monday, November 14th, 2011


A little light web wandering this evening brought me to this pointed observation by Scott Paeth.

“It’s always instructive to see how religious heirarchies are likely to respond to movements for social change. Religion is often, though not always, a conservative force in society, so that militates against the possibility of Anglican officialdom siding with the Occupy movement. But beyond that, it seems that religious leaders only really start to lead when they’re forced to follow the most radical implications of their traditions. And it’s fortunate that there are many Christians in the square outside St. Paul’s who are more than happy to remind the men in the great big building behind them that the building itself was erected in honor of a man who overturned the tables at the temple, who preached good news for the poor, and who died horribly at the hands of the representatives of the official party line.”


From How Radical Can An Established Church Be?

If you click through, do listen to the excellent Woody Guthrie track embedded in the same post.


The Important Field

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

I hear in some places, you need one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.

from the ever-intriguing and often hilarious XKCD.

A picture…

Monday, October 17th, 2011

…speaks a thousand words.

Screenshot 02

A great photo by Fairfax Media’s Mark Taylor of Dagg escaping the clutches of Cooper.



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.

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.

Book Burning

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

A funny from the always excellent but sometimes unfathomable xkcd, coinciding nicely with listening again this week to the thought-provoking story of Carlton Pearson in the Heretics episode of This American Life.

Bob Goff’s Upside Down Charity

Monday, June 7th, 2010

In Bob Goff Turns the Idea of Charity Upside Down, a guest post on Donald Miller’s blog, Justin Zoradi gives us cause to reflect on our attitude to giving and charity.  Subverting the usual story of us giving to them, the post describes how former child soldiers in Uganda decided to donate some of the profits of their project to benefit Miller’s The Mentoring Project.  After reading the short post and checking out the project’s website, take a few minutes to think about how this challenges our fundamental view of ourselves as donors and the effects of our charitable giving.

Catch up

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Life has been busy since my last post and I have had a fair amount to occupy my time. Consequently, blogging has taken second place to real life but, in the fashion of my good chum David, here’s a quick visual catch up.

Home made Cornish Pasties

SWMBO is a great if somewhat reluctant cook and regularly surpasses herself in serving up just the right dish at the right time.  In recent weeks, we have been treated to a few dishes and flavours that recalled memories of our life in England. One of these greeted my nostrils when I arrived home one evening recently.  A great and enticing smell wafting from the kitchen heralded a great supper of homemade Cornish Pasties which tasted as good as they looked.

Homemade goodies were supplemented with a few bits and bobs from the shops. On a recent trip to Countdown, our local chain supermarket, she picked up some English Marmite which, in my opinion and those of most other UK folk I know here, is far superior to the Aussie and Kiwi varieties.  However, even this tasty surprise was trumped by a lovely chunk of Tuxford & Tebbutt Cheshire cheese.  While the Kiwis make some good cheeses, I do miss the drier, crumblier and saltier British cheeses like my Dad’s favourite, Wensleydale.

Fush without chups

We headed into our local pet store a couple of weeks ago to check a few things out, little knowing that they were having an open day.  Having successfully deflected pleadings for another kitten or puppy, we left an hour later with a starter cold water aquarium but no fish.

The instructions from the very helpful fish lass in the store was that we set this up in the family room for a week, filling and treating the water so it could get a good stock of healthy bacteria in it before we introduced this fish.

Last week, SWMBO returned with the smallest of our four to choose the occupants and came home with a bug-eyed black eyed fish and a white and orange bug-eyed fish (the proper names elude me).  These were joined a few days back by the last of the additions to our menagerie, a skinny golden algae eater who vacuums the glass and stones free of algae.  There was a mild panic earlier today when this little fellow went missing. Presumed eaten by the other, he was eventually traced to the interior of the tiny amphora we had picked up for a dollar and sunk in the tank. Hopefully, he’ll come out before he grows too big to do so.

Never say never

With redundancy a real prospect later this year, I have started to be a little more intentional about seeking alternative work.  I have a few avenues to explore including a secondment that will see me working in a different area of my field in a very different environment.

To aid me in this and keep things neatly divided, I have grabbed up an HP Mini 210 netbook running Windows 7.  This is my first purchase of a personal computer running Windows in about 7 years. I like the form factor with the 10″ screen being a good compromise between the 7″ of my Eeepc’s and my iMac’s whopping 24″ screen.

It is early days yet but Windows 7 is also proving to be more user-friendly than the XP of my employer-supplied Omnibook or the Vista machines that friends moan about.  I am also trying to keep the apps to a minimum and use web-based stuff where possible, keeping the reasonable resources freed up for document writing, PDF work and the multi-tabbed browsing of desktop research.

The Agile Three

After church, SWMBO and I took our youngest to Scruffs, a local fun dog show.  We got there pretty late but had enough time to enter our Jack Russell/Maltese Terrier cross Abby into the scruffiest dog competition and give her a run out around the agility course.  In two clear runs around the course, Abby managed to reduce her time from 45 seconds to a very creditable 39 seconds, giving all three of us humans a brief but energetic workout at the same time.

We rounded off the day at a friend’s place, eating barbecue and salad whilst catching up on news and swapping offspring horror stories.

Dear Kristine Elizabeth Hoffman

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Dear Kristine Elizabeth Hoffman

I love the occasional and unintended glimpses of other people’s lives that I find in the second hand books I read.  I have been idly wondering about how many degrees, in this internet-connected global village of ours, separate two complete strangers whose only connection is a paperback book.  For instance, take the book above, Anne Lamott’s Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.  It was one of three I received as a birthday gift a few weeks back, purchased by my wife in New Zealand over the internet from a secondhand bookseller in the US via the Amazon website and shipped via a friend’s address in the UK.

Why am I telling you this?  Because earlier today, halfway through chapter twelve, I came across a Delta boarding pass with your name on it. This, together with the window sticker that dropped from between the last few pages when I first opened the book a week or so ago, is the just sort of happenstance that intrigues me.  Are you a die-hard Lamott fan or a first time reader?  Are you strong in your faith or working through years of stuff like me? Do you ever wonder who else reads the books you read?

I’m no Sherlock Holmes but from the boarding pass it would seem that in late June. last year or the year before – the boarding pass is not yellowed or overly faded – you flew Delta between Salt Lake City and Atlanta.  Did you fly as a crew member on standby?  The pass is marked ‘NRSA’ which, Google tells me, stands for Non Revenue Space Available and means free seating for airline personnel and their family members. As for the ‘Montana Native’ sticker, who knows?  Maybe you’re a native Montanan flight attendant who deadheaded out of Helena down to the Atlanta hub via Utah after an early summer family reunion.

Oh, I almost forgot to ask – do you wear Vera Wang perfume?  I only ask because, when I checked the other two books, I found a ‘Bouquet’ perfume tester card wedged a third of the way through Grace (Eventually).  There again, there is every chance that book is part of an entirely different person’s story.

Blessings and happy reading!