Archive for July 2006


July 31, 2006

Obeying the call

“Jesus said: ‘Come.’ And Peter left the boat…” (Matthew 14:29)

Why is the world’s best-selling chair a La-Z-Boy recliner? Because we are addicted to comfort! In fact Karl Barth says: “Comfort is one of our greatest siren calls.” Are you familiar with the term “couch potato”? We,the disciples who stayed on the boat out of fear were “boat potatoes”! They enjoyed watching in comfort without actually doing anything! Sounds familiar? Now before you judge them too harshly, have you considered that you might be a “pew potato”? That’s somebody who goes to church for comfort and a little spirituality, but won’t take the risks and challenges involved in actually following Jesus. […] Today, God is looking for disciples who are ready to leave the boat. People who are willing to say, “Lord, I may be small potatoes, but this spud’s for you!” So how about it? Are you going to play it safe, or are you ready for a water-walking adventure with the Lord? If you are, you’ll never regret it.

Taken from The Parish Magazine, Bloxham, Milcombe & South Newington, 2003.

Thinking outside the picture

July 24, 2006

It would be easy to feel helpless in a vision-based universe where you’re surrounded by idiots. Their sheer numbers would guarantee that you can’t escape their impact no matter how clever you are or how hard you work. But I predict that will change.

Prediction 65: In the future, science will gradually free us from the optical illusions that restrict our view of reality.

Scott Adams, The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century.

Won’t somebody please shade the children?

July 18, 2006

You should be able to see and spread the cream very easily.

But don’t be fooled into thinking you can slack off on sun watch.

If [your children] are a bit older, use [the hottest part of the day] to take them sightseeing indoors to galleries or museums.

It may be cloudy or windy, but this “invisible” sun can cause unexpected sunburn even on overcast days.

Sunburn can occur on overlooked areas such as shoulders, ears, nose, lips, cheeks and feet. Make putting on suncream fun, too. Coloured sprays, roll-ons and face sticks are a great visual aid for you, and put an end to glum faces when Mum says it’s time for more lotion!

Excerpts from “Your Childproof Safe Suncare Plan”, Boots Health and Beauty, Jul / Aug 06 issue.

Good behaviour

July 11, 2006

How could I think of a word worthy of his attention? […] As I leaned beside him, the ache of pride and shyness drove me into the farthest depths of silence.
‘Don’t try,’ Hubert said that first night before dinner. I felt his constraint and anxiety. ‘Just be your natural self,’ he advised. So I was not any more the happy joke he and Papa had invented. Desperation filled me. Right, I thought, I can’t talk. But I can eat. I can be the fat woman in the fairground; the man who chews up iron; the pigheaded woman; anything to escape from hopeless me. So, at that first dinner before the first ball, I wolfed down sensational quantities of food. Almost  a side of smoked salmon, and I ate a whole lemon and its peel as well; most of a duck; four meringues and four pĂȘches melbas; mushrooms and marrow on toast; even cheese. ‘What else can we find for her?’ Richard asked Hubert. ‘She really is a great doer.’ They cheered me quietly. I was a joke again. I was a person. I was something for them to talk about.

From Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (1981).

Coming over here, putting food in our mouths

July 5, 2006

The immigration debate on this morning’s Today programme followed the usual pattern. It had a posh guy on one side, and a not-so-posh guy on the other. The posh guy was someone who has done a lot of charity work, and he talked about the statistics in a calm way. The other guy had pretensions to be an ordinary working man, and he completely failed to pick up on any of the actual points the posh guy made, choosing instead to ramble in a manner he no doubt thought was “straight from the heart” or some such shit.

What made this debate different was that Jack Dromey and Sir Andrew Green were on the wrong sides for the genre. Dromey’s ramblings about his dear family, and how they built this country out of oats and leather, were actually in support of immigrants. Green’s slightly exasperated talk of employment statistics was building a case for tightly controlled immigration.

I love it when they shake up the format like that. Maybe tomorrow they’ll have a mouthy libertarian asserting his right to breathe clean air in his own pub, and a whey-faced hippy saying that trying to give up smoking makes her feel sick.

Bacon, grilling

July 4, 2006

W: What’s your name, boy?

B: Dr Poussaint. I’m a physician.

W: What’s your first name, boy?

B: Alvin.

[This is, of course, an exchange between a white policeman and a black man, on an American street.]

Source: Ervin-Tripp, S. (1972) “Sociolinguistic rules of address”, quoted in An Introduction to Language and Society, Martin Montgomery. (1986).

Better than shouting

July 3, 2006

The priest understood no English and did not know what she was saying, and she knew no other language than English, and therefore they spoke through an interpreter, a man who told each of them what the other said.

Then she prayed the priest, in the name of Jesus, that he should make his prayers to the blessed Trinity, to our Lady, and to all the blessed saints in heaven, also urging others who loved our Lord to pray for him, so that he might have grace to understand her language and her speech in such things as she, through the grace of God, would say to him.


Desiring to please God, he followed the advice of this creature, and he prayed to God as devoutly as he could every day, that he might have grace to understand what this creature would say to him, and he also got other lovers of our Lord to pray for him. They prayed in this way for thirteen days. And after thirteen days the priest came back to her to test the effect of their prayers, and then he understood what she said in English to him, and she understood what he said. And yet he did not understand the English that other people spoke; even though they spoke the same words that she spoke, he still did not understand them unless she spoke herself.

From The Book of Margery Kempe. (Penguin Classics edn.)