Monthly Archives: August 2013

Busy doing nothing


Brilliant weather … hot Saturday afternoon … August … school holidays … beaches crowded … right?

Not on the nearly secret beach.  We sat peacefully on the sand swapping news, the only sounds ourselves and the waves.


The rules require beach art, preferably minimalist.


When you have made a sand tile, how can you display it on a beachful of sand?


Black as black


but light reading.


The themes were a bit grim in this Russian-set mystery.  I don’t know how good it was as a description of modern Moscow, but I certainly felt I had gone somewhere different.

Of course detectives these days have to be gloomy, double gloomy if they are Russian (or Scandinavian), and the humour was black as black.

Ebionism, paradosis, halakic, midrash, apotropaic,


eidetic, ekpyrosis, peripety, qurban, akedah, pericopae, perichoretic, enhypostatic, siglum, soteriology, parenetic ….


Not a theologian; I read this one with Chambers on one side and the laptop on the other, and I’m forgetting some of the definitions already.  The chapters are the tidied-up lectures of multiple speakers from a couple of theological conferences in the US, and their source shows in the technical content mated with a relatively informal and occasionally rhetorical presentation.  The Ten Commandments are considered for their theological significance, and for their relevance to the Western (mostly American) church and society.  It was solid going –  I had rests between commandments (if you can call chasing spiders out of the greenhouse a rest).

An early treat was C. R. Seitz’s cheerful dismissal of ‘an extreme reading of Paul’ as ‘background noise’, and I also rather cherished T. C. Odens’ mischievous remark:  ‘My only promise – constantly repeated since the seventies – is that I will say nothing new or personally creative … ‘  The first chapters, reflecting on the First Table of the law, were (appropriately) the most theological and the hardest work.  The the next few sections felt much thinner, but the book returned to form with a chapter on Mammon, where R. R. Reno introduced Piers Plowman into his analysis (always an encouraging thing to see) and produced a lapidary conclusion:  ‘Because we find intolerable any suggestion that our social existence is vicious, we conclude that what is necessary must be virtuous.’

I’d like to think that I will read this again one day and understand it properly, but I’ll have to get my strength up first.

Fourteen mosquitoes


It was a good science talk:  a diagram labelled in Japanese to remind us that measuring particles doesn’t mean we understand them; the Archbishop of Canterbury imported as a ranging pole into a photo of part of the Large Hadron Collider; the formerly unimagined usefulness in particle collisions of fourteen mosquitoes if only they could be trained to fly in exact formation; the spark chamber brought on purpose to show us the rain of muons under which we were sitting.

tried to keep up.

Sleeping under the stars


There was 80% cloud cover last night for the peak of the Perseids. so putting the chair in the garden was an act of faith.  An hour later, I was snoozing under the blanket.  The sky progressed to 60% cloud cover, Pegasus rose, and I could just see the Andromeda Galaxy. Final score:  twelve Perseids, plus one meteor from the awkward squad heading from Andromeda into Perseus.