Friday, March 30, 2007

Nearly choked over my breakfast..

from a letter in today's Church Times
Anglican leaders in Nigeria have been working closely to uphold human-rights issues in the proposed legislation on homosexuality.

Ha-ha-ha! How Michael Lawson, Ben Enwuchola and Chris Sugden can say that with a straight face, I don't know.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Your whole life in one night - Kid?

[or on re-reading the Reader (Bernhard Schlink)]

Been away and got around to re-reading this book that we had at BATS way back in 2004. Again moved by its honesty dealing with Germany's past. Reminded of another very different book that I've just finished - Jane Austen's Persuasion - another book dealing with what-if's re-meeting a person one loved years later, though Austen gives the happy ending. I'd forgotten the ending of the Reader and still found it as devastating! Hanna goes to her end during the whole of the second half of the book which is as inevitable as those of her victims - but in her case chosen.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A couple of links

I've now acquired a Samantha DVD - unfortunately it doesn't come with subtitles - even just French ones would be a help! A new DVD has just appeared -with a scene here.
Can't remember where I found this one - it could be OCICBW though he seems to have a different link in his article but there again OCICBW.
Finally - read Andrew Brown on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession:
He has now added to this a list of 30 other crimes and atrocities that he planned or put into action. It was published by the American government last week. There is nothing quite like this list outside the Moscow show trials that Stalin mounted; and if we accept Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession, we owe Stalin's ghost a handsome apology.

rmcr appear to be under the impression that KSM is also responsible for the accordion.

Round and round

I'm on an email list (one of many) for which yesterday I received over 80 copies of the identical email - well not quite identical the headers grew which each further email in the sequence and the emailer kindly added a footer to each telling you how to unsubscribe.
What caused amusement to me was an inspection of the headers, it looked to me as if part of the reason for the looping was that the email was regard as spam, the report started off as (34 lines 1321 bytes) as the following spamassassin report:

Content analysis details:   (-3.9 points, 5.0 required)
pts rule name description
---- ---------------------- --------------------------------------------------
-2.6 BAYES_00 BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 0 to 1%
[score: 0.0000]
-1.3 AWL AWL: From: address is in the auto white-list

but 80+ messages later (706 lines 18625 bytes)

Content analysis details: (-0.4 points, 5.0 required)
pts rule name description
---- ---------------------- --------------------------------------------------
0.1 FORGED_RCVD_HELO Received: contains a forged HELO
2.5 HEAD_LONG Message headers are very long
0.5 DATE_IN_PAST_03_06 Date: is 3 to 6 hours before Received: date
0.0 UNPARSEABLE_RELAY Informational: message has unparseable relay lines
-2.6 BAYES_00 BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 0 to 1%
[score: 0.0000]
-1.0 AWL AWL: From: address is in the auto white-list

so the more it looped and the spammier it got and more likely it was to it says
Message headers are very long


Charles Matton

Giornale Nuovo has some wonderful images of tiny architectural interiors of Charles Matton - go and admire them!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


From 'The Companion Guide to Umbria' (Maurice Bowdon 1969)on Perugia:
A long stone bench under it [the Loggia di Braccio Fortebraccio] usually supports old men spitting and gossiping, with pigeon droppings all around them

You're on camera!

Off last night to see Caché at the Silk Screen cinema. Not a comfortable watch and probably a puzzling one - you are recommended to stay to the end of the credits!. It tells of a presenter of a TV book show Georges (played by Daniel Auteuil) and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche) working for a publisher and the discovery of dark secrets. The way lighting was used was fascinating - but it starts with a long held shot until you wonder whether anything is going to happen. I was involved in setting up and thought we'd not got things correct!
It deals with guilt for colonial past and personal pasts - appropriate that I saw it just a few weeks after Maurice Papon's death who was Paris police chief at the time of the death of hundreds of Algerians by drowning in Paris. Georges and Anne start receiving videos of themselves and the house together with disturbing childlike pictures. Guilt, paranoia and non-communication take their tool.
from Reeling Reviews:
[Georges]finally admits to Anne that he thinks he may know who is sending the tapes, but he refuses to tell her who and his excuses for not doing so are weak. Anne goes into a tailspin and cries onto Pierre's [a male colleague] shoulder about the shaky ground her marriage is on. The tapes keep coming, the subject matter turning darker, and Georges, refusing to accept responsibility for prior actions, repeats the behavior that started the cycle, adding insult upon injury. The final results are shattering and Haneke makes the impact on the audience as shocking as it is upon Georges.

and from
what I would like to tell you is that Haneke is such a crafty guy that, by the time we're pondering that tricky final shot, he has maneuvered us into exactly the same spot Auteuil and Binoche are in. They are so focused on who is sending the tapes that they never do deal with their own lack of generosity and compassion, which is the reason they're in the spot they're in.

In that final shot, we are like them, so obsessed with finding the answer to the who-did-it question that we miss the more important issues. Unlike them, though, we have the ability to distance ourselves from the movie and think about what it's saying, and that's when "Caché" really takes hold. It has the power to keep you up at night not because it's so scary, but because it's so provocative. "Caché" is a movie that could give you thoughtmares.

The Guardian gets to the nub of the disturbance
It is a casual critical truism when talking about voyeurism in the movies - discussing, say, Michael Powell's Peeping Tom - to say that it implicates the viewer. Until now, I have always felt like replying: speak for yourself, mate. Yet this really does implicate you. You feel like you too are participating in this terrible, remorseless destruction.

Caché is Michael Haneke's masterpiece: a compelling politico-psychological essay about the denial and guilt mixed into the foundations of western prosperity, composed and filmed with remarkable technique. It is one of the great films of this decade.

In the introduction last night the reviewer said the conclusion was inevitable as a Greek tragedy. Here's a long discussion on a blog.
I'd watch it again - though sometimes hiding behind the sofa!
[I've edited some of the quotes to get the names consistent between French and English]

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Back from a uk.r.c meet in Chesterfield where we managed a trip up the tower of the church to see the twisted spire. Camera (or the memory card) is still misbehaving but I managed to rescue this one. High Anglican church - something that doesn't exist in this corner of Cheshire with some wonderful stained glass and a Saxon font.
Full album of all photos that don't cause read errors is here

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Don't say the text, vic!

I've just been reminded from a discussion elsewhere of this Monty Python Sketch anyone saying "don't say the text, vic" at a certain point in the service on Sunday morning will not be popular! Someone has already planted the concept of a takeaway in my head (we're doing an extended communion)
Non-working monkey has a picture of individually shrink wrapped carrots in this posting - if you are ecologically aware and of a nervous disposition don't go there. I thought the Dutch were better at reducing waste than us...If you want unsuitable fruit you can't get much better than DH Lawrence
Spent the morning trying to persuade the work laptop to talk to their exchange server - no clear idea why it wasn't and when it started working even less idea what had happened. Maybe someone somewhere in the work network turned on a tap?
I had a link to a Stephen Hough article in the Times I was going to quote, but firefox crashed and then when restarting due to a misclick I closed the window with all the useful tabs, but thanks to google and Catholic Sensibility I have:
Caravaggio’s religious works are greater than William Holman Hunt’s not because he was a firmer believer than the good Englishman but because he was a better painter — and his infamous case is, delightfully, the exception which proves the exception: “God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends his rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew v, 45).

Artistic genius, and our delight in what it produces, is an example of the profligate overflow of God’s grace and goodness, given without limit or condition. In fact, an artist’s complacent confidence that his faith and good behaviour will lend him God’s help in a special way is likely to be the very obstacle which gets in the way of greatness — a log in the artistic eye preventing him from seeing the “world in a grain of sand”.
Even physically, we play our instruments better when limbs are free and loose, and people regularly report an increase in physical and mental energy when they start to pray or meditate. In addition, prayer can form in us an inner silence which is an essential part of concentration. To be able to hear each note, each bar, each phrase, both individually and as a related whole, requires an ability to see and to hold many parts in unity — a key to any life of contemplation. Avoiding distractions, creating new and better material out of mistakes, balancing self-demand and self-esteem, are all qualities which unite a musical and spiritual life. The hidden, daily annoyances of cancelled flights, noisy hotels, bad food and inferior pianos, are a constant ascetical challenge; and the patience required in the course of a tour to meet, with kindness and attention, hundreds of new people backstage or at receptions is a real call to holiness — much like a priest at the door of his church who tries to greet each person as if they were the most important in the world . . . at least for those few seconds.

I see that Hough is giving a master class over in Heswall tomorrow, if only I had the time!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

firefox annoyance at last killable

This page has the answer to a firefox problem that sometimes causes me great grief. Just occasionally I middle click on a bookmark folder rather than a bookmark and *wuumph* all my open tabs vanish. If you visit the link you will find out how to prevent this annoyance!
I suppose it has been killable all the time I just didn't know where the big red button was.

The power of language.. summon up images - but not always the images intended!

thanks to Geoff Coupe for this!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The biter bit!

Got one of these from Aria today - partially to annoy the cat - but she's taken to it and started picking it up and throwing on the floor by herself which starts it up! The music seems to have stopped working but maybe that's now just as well!

Crime and Punishment

Completed the Winter Classics challenge - Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment at a bit after 11pm last night- just in time. I read this last (I think) back in 1970 and much enjoyed the re-read. Highlights for me included
  • the death of Marmaledov
  • the last few chapters - before he hands himself in
I regretted the casual anti-Semitism that sometimes was just incidentally mentioned. As a study of guilt and it's reactions to it it was superb. The Penguin reading guide asks:
Who is the real criminal? Marmeladov, for abandoning his family? Luzhin for exploiting Dunya? Svidrigailov for murdering his wife? Sonya for prostituting herself? The greedy pawnbroker whom Raskolnikov murdered? Or, to turn the question around: Who among us is not a criminal? Who among us has not attempted to impose his or her will on the natural order? Furthermore, we are made to understand that Raskolnikov's true punishment is not the sentence imposed on him by the court of law, but that imposed on him by his own actions

It was interesting to read this alongside Wright's study of St Paul and reflecting upon Paul's agonising in Romans 7! This book comes in at no 27 in the survey for World Book Day which I found surprising!
(Steppenwolf - No 4 of this challenge - was completed a bit back and blogged upon here on my other blog.)