Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not gone quite yet...

I had to share the following from the Telegraph:
A town in Sweden plans to become the first place in the world where corpses will be disposed of by freeze-drying, as an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation or burial. Jonkoping, in southern Sweden, is to turn its crematorium into a so-called promatorium next year.
Swedes will then have the chance to bury their dead according to the pioneering method, which involves freezing the body, dipping it in liquid nitrogen and gently vibrating it to shatter it into powder. This is put into a small box made of potato or corn starch and placed in a shallow grave, where it will disintegrate within six to 12 months.
People are to be encouraged to plant a tree on the grave. It would feed off the compost formed from the body, to emphasise the organic cycle of life.

More hiatus...

Hi folks...

Going travelling again, so don't expect much for the next week and a half, or so.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


To everyone's great surprise I'm not dead. I'll refrain from blogging the details of some very messy DIY plumbing.
Thanks to Cnytr for the best Latin joke I've heard all week.
A Jesuit and a Franciscan priest were walking together in the forest, and the Jesuit wanted to see whether there was an echo. So, he called out in a loud voice, "Quod est Franciscanorum regula?" And the echo came back, "-gula, -gula" Then the Franciscan calls out in a loud voice, "Fuitne Judas Jesuita?" And the echo came back, "-ita, -ita".
In the Telegraph we have the obituary of Lord Kingsale (Kinsale?)
The 35th Lord Kingsale (by his own reckoning; by others the 28th or 30th), who died on September 15 aged 64, was Premier Baron of Ireland; his varied career included spells as a kitchen fitter, film extra, silage-pit builder, white hunter, plumber, proprietor of a dating agency in Brisbane and bingo caller in Birmingham before he retired on invalidity benefit to sheltered housing in Somerset.
Lords Courcy of Ringoane and Kinsale sat in the Irish parliament as late as the reign of James VI and I. But the family had a knack of backing the wrong side; its fortunes declined inexorably until, by the beginning of this century, the principal asset of Lord Kingsale was the right (unique in the peerage) to keep his hat on in the presence of the sovereign.
Kingsale once undertook a sponsored slim (losing four stones) in the hope that it would give him a better chance of picking up a wife. Securing a spouse and heir was a constant ambition, consistently thwarted. In 1965 the Daily Express announced that he had become engaged to Caroline Graham Porter, a debutante whom he had met at Cowes Week, but nothing came of it.
After that, Kingsale frequently declared his eagerness to wed but, despite being, as he once put it, "the only middle-aged heterosexual bachelor in a 30-mile radius, which has made me a must for any dinner party", matrimony eluded him. He advertised for a wife on several occasions, and got a letter a day from candidates. In 1989, while working as a wine-waiter and butler for hire at £25 a night (including washing up), he became optimistic about a "40-plus, leggy blonde of Hampshire naval stock", but was disappointed again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Burning philosophical issue...

I overheard some young people talking recently and noted that the more conventional verbs of communication have been replaced by the verb ‘to be.’ For instance it’s not uncommon to hear such sentences as:
I was ‘Get out of here.’
He was like ‘What are you doing?’
Now, what I want to know is whether this is indicative of the increasing reluctance to admit ontological considerations as constitutive of the essence of personhood? Have these young people reached a greater awareness of the symbolic nature of human existence and our capacity to express meaning in the manner in which we live out life? Are the distinctions between being, knowing and comminication drifting into oblivion? By virtue of authentic existence, does the barrier between message and messenger cease to be? What are the implications for Christology and a Theology of the Incarnation?

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Obituary Column...

The Telegraph's obituary column is usually worth a look. Otherwise I'd never have heard of blues artist RL Burnside:
Described by Fat Possum's founder, Matthew Johnson, as "a happy-go-lucky nihilist", Burnside became the label's best-selling artist. He also found an enthusiastic following among young rock fans, thanks to his association with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, with which he collaborated on an album - A Ass Pocket of Whiskey - in 1996. (When Burnside's wife heard it she asked him: "You mean you do that stuff in public?")
After Burnside returned to Mississippi, he shot a man who, he claimed, had been attempting to run him out of his home. Although he was convicted of murder, the story goes that he had served only three months in jail when a plantation owner persuaded a judge to release him, saying he needed Burnside to work during the cotton-planting season.
"I didn't mean to kill nobody," Burnside later said of the murder. "I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord."
RL Burnside is survived by his wife, Alice Mae, and 12 children. In later life he was nostalgic for the old days, before civil rights improved the circumstances of black people in the Deep South. "The biggest change I've seen in my life is more crime," he said in 1999. "A 15-year-old chopped up his grandmother here so he could pawn her TV set. That don't look like progress to me."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Totally superficial film judgement

I've not yet seen the new Pride and Prejudice film (but hope to soon) but I have seen the trailers and something is bugging me. If you look at these publicity shots you might (or might not) see what I mean. For some reason the two leads Keira Knightly (Elizabeth Bennet) and Matthew MacFadyen (Darcy) just look too modern. Something about their hair and faces seems to speak of the 21st century rather than the 19th. Does anyone else see what I mean?


Or at least I think so: Voltage & Sockets info for around the world!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

When academics snark...

Commenting on 2 Corinthians 11.22 and Philippians 3.5f. Rawlinson writes: "St. Paul's emphatic claim in Philippians 3.5 and 2 Corinthians 11.22, to be a Hebrew suggests that his opponents had attempted to deny his affinities with Aramaic speaking Judaism and rank him exclusively as a Hellenist." Many modern scholars would apparently find Paul's opponents very congenial company. - WD Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism (pp 2-3)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Damask and Watered Silk...

The Oligarch recently made a comment about certain similarities between Orthodox Judaism and Catholicism which reminded me of this section from Ecclesiaticus which would seem to be Old Testament POD:
He exalted Aaron, the brother of Moses,
a holy man like him, of the tribe of Levi.
He made an everlasting covenant with him,
and gave him the priesthood of the people.
He blessed him with splendid vestments,
and put a glorious robe upon him.
He clothed him with superb perfection,
and strengthened him with the symbols of authority,
the linen breeches, the long robe, and the ephod.
And he encircled him with pomegranates,
with very many golden bells round about,
to send forth a sound as he walked,
to make their ringing heard in the temple
as a reminder to the sons of his people;
with a holy garment, of gold and blue
and purple, the work of an embroiderer;
with the oracle of judgment, Urim and Thummim;
with twisted scarlet, the work of a craftsman;
with precious stones engraved like signets,
in a setting of gold, the work of a jeweler,
for a reminder, in engraved letters,
according to the number of the tribes of Israel;
with a gold crown upon his turban,
inscribed like a signet with "Holiness,"
a distinction to be prized, the work of an expert,
the delight of the eyes, richly adorned.
Before his time there never were such beautiful things.
No outsider ever put them on,
but only his sons
and his descendants perpetually.
His sacrifices shall be wholly burned
twice every day continually. (45:6-14)