Sunday, March 30, 2008


I'm currently reading Margitt Lehbert's translation of Georg Trakl's poems and thought I'd leave this verse here
Amid red leaves hung with guitars
Streams the young girls' yellow hair
By the fence where sunflowers tower.
Through clouds a golden cart moves on.

Wonderful, though the imagery becomes a little more down to earth in the following verses!

I must be getting old

Because I've no idea what this caption is on about. Love the photo though.
What do you mean? Of course I've heard HHGTTG

Nicholas tell us..

..all musicians are jealous (with apologies to Tom Lehrer). See Overgrown Path's post on his (Sarkozy's) second and third wives musical connections. Doesn't look as if his first wife had musical connections - my last-exit player offered me a Carla Bruni track when I was at work this week - I was listening to Jacques Brel related tracks.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On its way...

- hat tip to Peter Ould..

The false God of certainty

We all have a hunger for certitude, and the problem is that the Gospel is not about certitude, it’s about fidelity. So what we all want to do if we can is immediately transpose fidelity into certitude, because fidelity is a relational category and certitude is flat, mechanical category. So we have to acknowledge our thirst for certitude and then recognize that if you had all the certitudes in the world it would not make the quality of your life any better because what we must have is fidelity.
- Walter Bruggemann - go and read the rest at Prodigal Kiwi

Giordano Bruno ignores

Roman market
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
I like this picture of Giordano Bruno studiously ignoring the market that's appeared behind his glowering statue

graphic bells and whistles

On my work laptop I've been playing with compiz for enhanced graphic experiences -

- note the glxgears running inside the cube for a fun addition!
though I like to have 4x4 workspaces for putting the running applications and I find that sometimes on changing a workspace I end up with no panel, no menu - so I assume compiz has crashed - can't replicate it easily but I think the secret in avoiding crashes is to move the apps to the workspace rather than going directly to the workspace and opening the app there.
Then I've found that the screen is getting garbled

- the above is screen shot of a web page in firefox - a bit of googling suggests this is related to using multiple monitors - yes I like 16 workspaces and 2 monitors! - I didn't see this before the end of last week when I installed some extra software including some fonts... so for the moment it's back to the more boring but reliable fluxbox!
At work I run fluxbox with an instance of X on each monitor - haven't worked out how to do that with gnome/compiz yet - gives a nice segregation of applications!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Croatian accordions

As spotted on Late Junction

though the track on the radio was a little more restful than this - Motion Trio's cd is accessible from asphalt tango

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Give me back my bugs!

I'm reminded by this story about microsoft access files being repackaged as virus attack vectors, of an incident that happened to me a few years ago-
I was working on a software application which saved files with an .adp suffix - something that is also used for Access project files. We were using outlook for email and I had a folder on the server with all the bug reports in - usually with example attachment files (obviously as our adp files).
One day, new version of Outlook tightened up security and - surprise - I wasn't able to download any of the files because the post upgrade outlook considered them risky!
Fortunately I was able to access the exchange server using a web interface and download the files (so much for security) but there were riskier ways of getting back access(!)
Be careful where you place your bug reports!


I can't remember how I came across Hello Kitty Hell but this entry is distinctly scary

The thought of having some 'Hello Kitty' in your computer without realising it...

Monday, March 24, 2008

For all cats watching

Yumm, squirrel! - thanks to Dave Walker - how did I miss this posting?!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Brain hurts..

No doubt the Easter holiday is scrambling some of this, but at the moment I'm confused as to how an 8 day away delivery can be a 3-4 day service and why the economy takes even longer than the free one.

looking at the logs

On consulting the referral logs for this blog, I see that someone got here through this search, they must have been sadly disappointed - I see I'm the number five hit for that search. Fortunately if you remove the 'Pier' from that first word this site is nowhere near the top

Halt, who goes there? - Baaaaaaa!

Following those two posts, this would be a good point to mention the last Silk screen showing of the season was last week. This film - The Dish - tells the story of the Parkes radio telescope's role in the Apollo moon landings - wonderfully funny!
Oh, and at the AGM - after the film - it was nice to see that Io non ho paura I recommended was the no 2 most highly rated film of the season.

Links on Jodrell

These two may be of interest

Jodrell Bank

You may have seen the recent news that e-MERLIN funding for Jodrell back likely to be withdrawn with the following possible consequences:
- Astronomers would be unable to exploit an £8M upgrade (due to be completed in 2009) which will make e-MERLIN the world’s most powerful array of radio telescopes.
- The UK will lose its major observational capability in radio astronomy, a subject which UK astronomers pioneered more than 50 years ago and in which we still play a leading role.
- The UK will no longer participate in European and global networks of large radio telescopes.
- The UK will risk losing its world-leading role in this area of science and innovation.
- At least six radio telescopes will be closed down (the Mark II at Jodrell Bank and the telescopes at Pickmere, Darnhall, Knockin, Defford and Cambridge).
- Since e-MERLIN is the main activity at Jodrell Bank Observatory, it would place a serious question mark over the sustainability of the observatory as a site for active scientific observations.

I won't mention the live heritage nature of that site..If you wish to register your objection to this proposal this might well be a good place to visit!
I find it hard to believe that the government would allow this to happen in view of the iconic nature of the site but the proposal and intention appears to be there!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Old Maids cycling to church

(™ John Major) Are rather transformed in Andrew Rilstone's take on Sharia. Well worth a read!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ink blots

Wonderful Rorschach 'test' at today's Astronomy picture


'Mon cadavre est doux comme un gant' by Poulenc
beautifully performed by Kristina - I recommend her other two YouTube videos too.
I was actually looking for a video of Poulenc's Derniere Poème - still looking!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


but not very


Oh, good grief
Perla Pavoncello, 24, asked the media mogul how she was supposed to start a family or get a mortgage without a job, only to be told: 'You should look to marry a millionaire, like my son, or someone who doesn't have such problems.' He then added: 'With that smile of yours, you could even get away with it.'
Opposition politicians slammed Berlusconi as Italy's answer to Marie Antoinette and forms quickly appeared on the internet to fill in and send off to Berlusconi's eldest son asking for his hand in marriage. Piersilvio Berlusconi, 38, declined to say if he was open to offers.
I'm still looking for one of those forms...ah try here - acquired via this blog - a postcard from your honeymoon would be appreciated!
Berlustconi doesn't seem to get enough google hits at present.
This is a better link - I didn't think English that weird was possible but I see it's a machine translation.

A night with the magician

To the RNCM last night to see a Ravel double bill:

L'heure Espagnole and L'enfant et les sortileges. I'd not really appreciated L'heure Espagnole before, maybe you need to see it - apart from its overtones of Brian Rix (somewhat to my surprise he's still going and is Baron of Hornsea - which has a pottery whose dishes we've been dining off for the last 25+ years). The continual presence of the clocks was caught to perfection in the RNCM performance. L'enfant et les sortileges is wonderful - various movies for example here on You Tube - childhood though the eyes of a master. Two more performances - hurry! - we bought the last 3 seats last night so spent the evening scattered over the theatre.
Can one know the length of a dream?
I've seen it before but I was still enthralled, the teapot and cup got a lot of the applause (apart of course from the boy) but I was very taken by fire's performance

The Olympics

Spot on from Mad Priest:
When they decided to give the 2008 Olympic Games to Beijing, they were fully aware that China was second only to the United States in their abuse of human rights, and they were fully aware that Tibet was an illegally occupied nation state that was being systematically denuded of its culture and native population. Yet they still did it and now the free nations of the world are, once again, faced with the decision as to whether to boycott the games or not.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Britannia Music

I used to be a regular customer (and an appreciative customer) of Britannia Music until it folded last year - yesterday I received a letter from a credit agency (intrum justitia) claiming I owed them (as administrators) some unpaid money (> £30) supplying an 0870 number as a contact! Sifting though my orders I find the exact amount ordered (and paid for) back from March 2007. A web search appears to give lots of other folk with similar letters - the letter was quite threatening - if you receive one, do check that it is not for an amount that you have paid!
Either Britannia music's credit systems were in a mess when they folded, or the credit agency has a similar problem, or someone is seeing how much they can recoup by threats.
Fortunately I have the emails from Britannia recording my payment!
Later - as this posting is fairly high up the google hit list for likely search terms or other letter receivers, let me also recommend this thread and this phone number 0151 4732626 quoted in the thread, as an alternative to the 0870 rip-off number.

In case you've not seen this

Postman Pat does rural evangelism.
Via Elizaphanian

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thought for the weekend

Our essential orientation to life is a consequence of the stories that form us. A genuine story will not leave us alone. It insists, sometimes in the most impolite terms, on changing us
Daniel Taylor The Healing Power of Stories quoted in Ann Morisy's Journeying Out. No doubt it will find its way into the talk on Sunday morning for Palm Sunday - last time I preached on Palm Sunday was 2003 - when there was some chance of optimism about the future of Iraq - how things have changed. Also thinking about personas and anonymity for Sunday..

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh go on!

Sometimes some schmaltz is nice

I'd lose the female string band though! The other YouTube copy looks too much like a shampoo advert losing the darker words - though the final transition is nice!

Spamming google

Whilst searching for words to Hallyday's Un jour viendra, googles summary gave -
We couldn't find any jobs for un jour viendra.... Please check the keyword terms you entered.
Courtesy of a myspace site...I won't supply a link!

Free phone

Don't think I've mentioned that David Shenton's cartoons are on the web and I loved today's

Get one's tribute in early

It brings a warm glow:
The mad privatiser who held a quasi-religious belief that the market was the ideal mechanism for social organisation, who thought naked personal ambition was fine, who crushed the unions, who knew how to appeal to our basest desires, who turned us into a nation of selfish toads.

from Michele Hanson in today's Guardian.
Curiously I read this (for, I think, the first time) last night:
This woman is headstrong,obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cleaning up the Bishop (and his mitre)

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Uploaded this a few months back and am gradually getting around to cleaning some of the noise and dirt off that slide scan. The latest version is here - I hope that's an improvement though the top left is still rather bitty.
For those expecting an ecclesiastical post - the mountain just to the right of the centre is the Bishop and the one in the centre is the Mitre (Mt Collon is to the left - photo taken in 1971 on a walking holiday)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

We went!

Bit of a busy week - hence the slowdown of blogging - on Monday I went with BATS (the church book group) to MADS (I see a javascript banner is that a firefox isn't the browser I'm expecting artifice..?)the local amateur dramatic society - to see Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular a rather black comedy but an interesting study of 1970's kitchens. I thought the ending was weak but the getting there was enjoyable. Inevitably some of the acting was better than others but the cast carried it well.
Wednesday night was Io non ho paura at the Silk Screen - I was one of(?) the recommenders of this film - so in spite of having a meeting afterwards I thought I'd better turn up. I saw this back in 2004 at the cornerhouse ( appears to have gone now)-
seeing it again, I though some bits were slow but once it got to the combine harvesters and the rush to the climax I was absorbed and moved. Half the fun earlier was waiting to see the audience jump when the kidnapee first appears...
Then Thursday night was 'Waiting for Godot' at the Library Theatre in Manchester
. Definitely played for laughs even at the most desperate moments. At the start of Act 2 one of the audience just in front of us, stifled a sneeze and David Fielder's Vladimir, milked the moment. I'd never seen the play before - though I had acted a bit of it as an Easter Saturday epilogue back in 1982. I'd urge you to see it but I think tonight is the last night! - nothing happens, waiting for night to fall. The play's text is available here. Also I remember the spontaneous applause at the end of Lucky's monologue and Pozzo's repulsive Churchill. An interesting counterpoint after seeing 'Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead' in the same theatre last year.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Stepping back a bit

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
On the way down to the station and getting a bit brighter. I thought it was quiet so that I'd get a picture of the whole hill with noone visible but someone just rounded the corner as the picture was being taken!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Honor Moore

Anglican future has some sensible words on the Paul Moore story.

The Wii Generation

.. for today's pun

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bollington Chamber Music

Off to Bollington to see the Elias String Quartet in a concert of Haydn, Bartok and Mendelssohn.
Started with the Haydn Emperor - showed wonderful sense of ensemble and the the Bartok 4(the principal draw as far as I was concerned) wonderfully carried off. String quartets have a reputation of being very abstract and cerebral but the feeling I took away - from all the works was the physicality of the medium. The Bartok 4 is now 100 years old - this year - and is still a challenge! I felt the difficulty of the pizzicato movement - with bows, you - as a player - get a physical clue as to when the other players are about to hit their strings, with pizzicato it is far harder, and the wonderful rumpus of the last movement - you could almost see the Hungarian village band! (then there was the achingly beautifully played solos in the central movement). I've only heard one Bartok Quartet live before - the 6th played by an amateur(!) ensemble at Cambridge.
The Mendelssohn they've recorded. I felt the first two movements rather dull but enjoyed the last two with a fugal subject dropping from the sky. With the last movement I felt the Violin Concerto was hovering there in the wings.
The bar at the Bollington Arts centre has a price list for wines - one column for 'house wines' the other is labelled 'posher wines'!
We went to a Chamber Concert many years ago in Bollington (the Sorrel Quartet I think) I hope it won't be as long before we go again!

Read the source!

On this page - a really secure password - see the fun on this at The Daily WTF's So You hacked our site