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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Biblical Revelations

I’ve been reading the Bible in its entirety for a while (since 2005, on and off) in the Authorised King James Version. I’ve finally finished it, pleasingly enough, on the 400th anniversary of publication. It’s an experience I’d recommend to anyone, particularly Christians.

It’s a phenomenal book, a crazed mash-up of history, mythology, poetry, philosophy and law. It spans a vast range of human experience and ranges from the ecstatically beautiful to the downright vile.

From an atheistic point of view it is virtually impossible to derive a coherent morality from the entire stew, except maybe that circumcision is for some reason a Very Good Thing. For every "love thy neighbour" there’s a "slaughter the heretics", and the split between old and new testaments is not as clear-cut as mainstream theology would have you believe.

The various books can be broadly categorised as:

1) Rollocking good stories (Genesis, Exodus, the gospels)
2) Loony prophecies (Isiah, Revelation)
3) Gorgeous poetry (Song of Solomon, Proverbs) – KJV essential here
4) Obnoxious lawmaking (Leviticus, Deuteronomy, much of the Pauline epistles)
5) Really boring bits (the Apocrypha, most of the NT between John and

My favourite books are Exodus, Song of Solomon, Matthew and James – all highly recommended.

Also recommended is the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, a somewhat OCD record of the bible with descriptions of every morally outrageous instruction, blatant internal contradiction and laughably idiotic claim.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sprog Rock

My iPod shuffle threw up a song I’ve never really listened to before the other day, "Charmed Life" by The Divine Comedy. It’s a very sweet song addressed to his daughter, and pretty well reflects my views on how life has turned out for me, ie extremey fortunately.

It got me thinking about songs addressed to musical offspring.

John Martyn ups the saccharine quotient even further, but just about gets away with it (if you have the aural equivalent of a sweet tooth) in “My Baby Girl”.

Jarvis and co go for the self-loathing option in Pulp’s unutterably gorgeous “A Little Soul”, also featuring a guitar solo that I find inexplicably tear-jerking. If they play this when I see them on July 3rd my head may melt.

And finally, trust Shaun Ryder to take us down to the gutter in the classic opening verse of Happy Mondays' “Kinky Afro”.

What have I missed?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nana in Oz

Mum’s visit was a pleasure for all concerned. It’s great that we see so much of her and she is such an important part of the kids’ lives.

She spent a few days acclimatising in Sydney before we headed off on a wonderful trip that took in Canberra, the ski resort Thredbo and Robertson in the picturesque Southern Highlands.

A few highlights.

Questacon is the wonderful science museum in Canberra. The Bs would have been happy to spend days there.

Thredbo is a lovely town in a gorgeous area, and out of ski season you can get a very swanky apartment at reasonable cost. The Bs are still talking about it several weeks later, the most common themes being the toboggan run (B1) and the chairlift up to Mt Kosciuszko (B2).

M&I have spent time in the Southern Highlands before, but it always a pleasure to reacquaint oneself with the area...

...with the notable exception of Robertson’s “Big Potato”, truly an abomination of a tourist destination and known to locals as the Big Turd.

Alright, I admit it, I kind of liked it.

Now to start getting organised for Big Trip 2011.

Many more photos at