Monday, March 30, 2009

Amazing Dog Recovery

I love British comedy, from the Two Ronnies to Monty Python, to Fry & Laurie and many others.

When we're ready to get a dog, I'm definitely doing this as the children and I are on the way to get the dog.

I need a good backstory, though -- any creative ideas out there?

On another note, it can be crushing for folks when their pets die. In the midst of someone sort of musing on the idea in a theology class, "are there dogs/cats/parakeets" in heaven, a friend helpfully mentioned that actually for many people the loss of a pet is a source of great sorrow. He said that while he never speculated as to whether Fido or Fluffy was in heaven, he could say with confidence that all that God has created is in His hands. I'm more on the side of giving thanks for the creature whose companionship we enjoyed, but it was a helpful statement that sort of popped a hot air balloon of theological arrogance. Ah, seminary!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boat Race Prediction

I'm going out on a limb here with my stance that underdog Cambridge will win this year's Boat Race.

The primary reason: Yes, it is generally an advantage to have a heavier crew and Oxford has the heaviest one in the history of the Boat Race. (The reason is that you race downstream on the Thames and there's a certain amount of oomph that weight provides.) Yet Oxford has a guy who weighs 16st 10, which is 234 lbs. But they also have a guy who weighs only 187 lbs. And they have a giant and a short guy (short in this context is 6'1"). I don't think that boat selection is going to work out for them.

So while the Dark Blues have more internationals with Olympic and World Championship experience under their belts, Boat Race stuff is weird, so cheer on the good guys in Light Blue to victory, I hope!

Now I have to figure out how quickly Sunday morning's service needs to be so that I can watch it...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Silent Monks

A friend sent me a rather amusing video of "Silent Monks" performing the Hallelujah chorus.

What I like about this is the level of complexity and preparation that followed on from a simple idea, drawing out a joke over a few minutes with laughter increasing along the way.

I happened to be talking with someone about ordination in the Church of England after the Christ Church evening service. And how bizarre the pre-ordination retreat was in the Diocese of York. The Anglo-Catholic guys had this sort of weird macho drinking thing going during the retreat, where they would gather at night with scotch and then get up early for morning prayer in the way that I think of college athletes having a game after a night out. The strange part was that they got together for drinking sessions during the two days of the retreat that were silent. Sort of "pass me a tumbler" with hand signals. The silent days were the best part of the retreat...

Any experience of silent monastic communities out there? --- I actually like these sorts of retreats sometimes if they are simple and not giving the impression that one is extra holy when not talking.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Elvis has left the building

...for six days.

Blog will resume next week, dear Reader.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Encouragement for a Clone Trooper

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Romans 8.1,2

Picking up the thread of an earlier set of postings on this blog, I do think that it is a turning away from the truth about ourselves to say "I have no regrets". A Christian will have regrets, but these cause him or her, once again, to marvel at the liberty from being in Christ Jesus. No guilt! No condemnation (from God, self or others)!

Does the Clone Trooper have a soul to be saved? Discuss.

Click the title of this post to see an example of freedom in the midst of suffering...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Encountering John the Baptist on a crosstown bus

I was taking the two older girls sledding in Central Park, each of them with a friend from school. For us, that means taking the crosstown bus (at least until we move closer to the Park, a hope for next autumn!).

Several weeks ago my friend and former colleague Justin spoke about John the Baptist and what it would be like to meet a prophet today. With these four little kids in my charge, we had that experience on the bus.

A man with ragged beard, impossibly strange hat covered with odd buttons, clothes and hair in disorder, wearing one child's Spiderman glove, and asking loudly of everyone as he came down the aisle of the bus: "WHERE'S THE MOON? WHERE'S THE MOON?".

He came and sat amongst us and our toboggans. My first instinct was to move the children away, particularly those that didn't belong to me. But I figured two things: one, this guy hadn't done anything other than ask a strange question; and two, we had five seats together, which wasn't going to happen further up the bus!

It transpired that his question "WHERE'S THE MOON?" was based on the sculpture of the Earth outside the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle (at the southwest end of Central Park for the readers from Europe, the Middle East, or New Jersey).

He was asking a question to provoke a question (as prophets do) in the mind of his hearers: "What do you mean, 'Where's the moon?'" My second daughter asked this question of him, and the prophet began to speak in very lucid terms indeed.

The 79th Street Crosstown Bus prophet had measured the size of the globe outside the Time Warner Center and calculated that the moon would be on 63rd Street and Central Park West. He explained that he was seeking planning permission from the Central Parks Conservancy for the task of putting a moon up with a sign, as a way to teach children the scale of the solar system.

The prophet was most impressed that my daughters and their friends could name all of the planets in the solar system. Someone even asked what school they attended...

Everyone on the back of the bus started to chip in with the fact that Pluto lost its status as a planet, but no one knew the name of the two new ones added in its place. It became a very jolly conversation as the prophet explained that the size of the galaxy would take us up to far Upstate New York (an impossible distance from the view of Manhattanites).

The man even helped the children un-wedge their sleds from the seats.

Now, I don't think every encounter with an odd man is going to go this way, but this one did. Neat to see what a little bit of interest in what someone had to say did in terms of opening things up. That was a child's initiative, not mine.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Scrubs and Sesame Street

The television show Scrubs has much to recommend it.

If you click on the title of this post, you can see a video summary of the instances when Sesame Street characters come into the show! (

For a couple of seasons it became a bit sleazy, on the orders of the network who wanted to boost ratings. But it settled down again in the main, and while it's not a show for kids, it is very amusing indeed.

And poignant.

There are instances where it can move from the ridiculous to the sublime, often with the use of music. Here is the list of songs on the best of Scrubs album:

MP3 Track Sample1.Superman - Lazlo Bane
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample2.All in My Head - Shawn Mullins
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample3.Fresh Feeling - Eels
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample4.Good Time - Leroy
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample5.Good Life - Francis Dunnery
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample6.New Slang - The Shins
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample7.Beautiful World - Colin Hay
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample8.Hold on Hope - Guided By Voices
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample9.Fighting For My Love - Nil Lara
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample10.Dracula From Houston - Butthole Surfers
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample11.Hooch - Everything
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample12.Hallelujah - John Cale
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample13.Have It All - Jeremy Kay
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample14.End Credit Score - Jan Stevens
Windows MediaRealAudio MediaMP3 Track Sample15.Overkill - Colin Hay

It somehow works to blend the silliness of having the Muppet characters in the daydream sequences of the show, alongside instances of sadness and joy in suffering and struggle.

So the point of this post is....I really like this show. So does the Authoress for that matter. What about you -- favourite Scrubs moments?

In the words of the Todd, "Blogger Five!"