15.3.03

I've been using Lavasoft software for some time now to check my computer for spyware. It's free and works well. An upgrade has been announced and can be obtained from several download sites. You might get a surprise when you run it, if you haven't used something like this before. It can be set to run automatically or by choice. The new version found things on my computer which the earlier one didn't.

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12.3.03

Darren at A space for Life is reading Isaiah and posting his comments. His comments on Isaiah 9 are interesting. He contrasts the shalom there with conditions today. He mentions not only the conditions but also the motives and sentiments of people today. He asks why we continue to work towards what seem to be opposite purposes to God's intentions. I think the answer lies in the generally accepted one - sin. Now this is a simplistic answer. Darren recognises that his sugggestions may also be simplistic. However, many of us do not always see God's purposes and do not always wish their fulfilment. We are told to love our enemies and to do them good. I think that spindoctors have worked hard to obliterate the thought of "enemies." Instead, we have "the enemy" and even Saddam has, I think, been affected by this change. It is much harder to think of "the enemy" as persons similar to each one of us. The USA speaks of collateral damage, another impersonal term. We are at odds to God and his purposes . Even as Christians we struggle to see his purposes and to help fulfil them.

When I first started a journal and called it shalom, I used the word as a metaphor of my own personal journey to wholeness, healing, integrity and peace. I continued the name when I started blogging. As I reflect on that journey, I see that I still use it in that way. However, the concept has developed. I have found myself influenced by the word itself. I have tried to write entries in accordance with its spirit, although sarcasm gets the better of me sometimes. I have also tried, with varying success, to bring that spirit to what I say to others in the blogging world. I have tried to be irenic and encouraging in comments. More than that, I have found the influence of the word on me has grown and that too is part of my journey. I would once have avoided controversy, even if I felt that I had something to say. I know that many bloggers oppose the proposed war and have spoken out. I have found that I too have spoken my thoughts which I would once have hidden. Some of this has earned me some strife. I think I was the first to link to the article by Campolo which has been taken up by several here. I didn't get any comments, but I did get some flaming email, calling me names I won't repeat and directing my attention to aggressive, confrontational sites, ugly in presentation and feeling. So ugly that many times I could not read them even to find out if what they said was true.

To be true to , I have needed to take this stand. May we all continue to discover God's intentions and then work towards them.

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in an effort to create more parking and to relieve traffic congestion at the Vatican, an underground carpark was to be constructed. Plans are now onhold as excavators have unearthed amphorae and graves dating from the time of Nero. One of these belnged to his secretary. The Vatican stated that no archeological finds would be destroyed, although other Vatican officials told reporters that ancient ruins were uncovered anytime anyone dug anywhere in Italy and these did "not seem that important."

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11.3.03

As I sat outside to eat breakfast this morning, I was transported by the melodious song of a currawong from my suburban setting to the unspoilt, bushy beach where we spent our summer holidays when i was a child. Instant nostalgia. I could smell the sea and hear the waves as they hit the end of the beach which was exposed to the open sea.

I find many triggers to memory. Sausage rolls and pea/ham soup take me back to what we children called "cracker night." This was our celebration of what was at first known as Empire, then Commonwealth Day. We had a half holiday from school with a bonfire at night which we had built in the afternoon, with our own fireworks at home. Soup and rolls to finish.

Even perfumes have their memories. As a child, I believed Cashmere Bouquet soap to be the height of elegance. When we went to the mountains in the winter, I used to buy myself a cake of this soap as a treat. One whiff now and I am in that outhouse bathroom with the little chip heater enthusiastically heating the water for the bath and filling the room with a moist heat as I stuffed it with twigs.

Wood smoke from a fire, particularly at the beginning of winter, is evocative of the little cottage we stayed at. We children slept on the open back verandah. In winter, condensation dripped from the rafters onto our faces as we slept. My sons used to complain about it a generation later. Despite a heavy frost, I would be up early to collect starting wood for the stove from the block next door where my parents eventually built their retirement home. I would have the stove roaring hot before my father arose to make porridge for breakfast.

Freshly baked bread! Now there's an aroma to stir the memories. Bread baked in the wood stove. Bread risen so high that I had to scrape it from the roof of the oven. That place of ours burnt down in the bad bushfires of 1994. Bread straight from the baker's cart, home delivered. I sometimes used to pull the loaf apart and eat the fresh dough, much to my mother's annoyance. She relied on a full loaf to make school lunches for us. Hot cross buns, an early product of my experimenting with yeast cookery in my teens. Full of spice and fruit and a wonderful aroma not matched by shopbought goods, laden with preservatives and on sale from shortly after Christmas.

Not all perfumes bring happy memories. I was a sickly child and had many operations. Even now, the faintest whiff of ether, immediately brings back memories of hospitals and even worse, memories of a mask saturated in ether being held over my face.

But my life would be the poorer, if I did not have these memories. I'm thankful for the senses which can trigger them. It's five years this week since my dad died and I've been spending some time thinking about him. Bittersweet memories as he had Alzheimer's disease for the last decade of his life. He did not recognise me for at least five years before his death. Yet he had been a strong, intelligent man who delighted in showing his children the wonders of the Australian bush, in recounting history to us. A teacher, he constructed high school timetables that worked, well before there were computers to help with them. A horticulturalist and artist, he did paintings for his grandchildren of flowers and trees, botanically correct and beautiful. Still treasured.

All this came back to me as I listened to the currawongs this mornng.

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I've always been a fan of Warner Bros cartoons rather than the insipid Disney ones. Today's Herald suggests that such shows as Roadrunner had a devastating impact on some children. Roadrunner? It was my favourite cartoon. I admired Wily Coyote's persistence in his pursuit and admired his ability to rise above a few trifling setbacks such as being blown apart by one of his own gadgets designed to trap the speedy bird. I don't think I ever confused the show with reality. I always knew that what I was watching was the product of someone's imagination, not real life.

According to the article, adult violence was predicted by children's exposure to violence and their identification with aggressive TV characters, coupled with a belief that violent shows depicted true life. However, it was also noted that exposure to violence in news and current affairs progeammes was even more credibe to children than cartoon violence.

The report still begs the question ... why do some go on to violence while others are apparently unaffected?

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The minnow and the whale
A small computer retailer in Sydney has been selling secondhand, legal, software on eBay for some time. It has now been withdrawn by eBay and the retailer is suing Microsoft in a district court in New South Wales for the princely sum of $3000 (Aust) as compensation. Microsoft believed it was selling pirated copies because original packaging was not supplied and pointed to the certificate of authenticity on the spine of the box. Lawyers for the retailer claim that nowhere does it say that the software must be sold with the box as well. Indeed, "a cardboard box does not constitute intellectual property."

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10.3.03

Here's an interesting link.

The Dialectizer translates English text into dialects (?) such as Cockney and redneck. I think quite a few pages I've been referred to or have seen recently, must have used this latter translation.

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I had a great night last Friday. I went to a meeting at Macquarie Uni for Ancient History teachers. I don't quite fit this category but am a trained Latin teacher as well as a couple of other languages so I fit in. It was a swords and sandals film evening where some film "loosely" from ancient history is shown and laughed at. The last one I saw was The Fall of the Roman Empire with David Niven, Omar Sharif and Sophia Loren. More fiction than fact. This one was The Revenge of Hercules. It wasn't as old as the earlier one, but the special effects were totally pathetic. More bathos than anything else. We all had a good laugh. Great way to end the week. Somewhat like spaghetti westerns.

I'm going to another of their meetings this week. Dr Chris Forbes is speaking on the James ossuary. This is actually sponsored by the Society for the Study of Early Christianity, but the two societies have overlapping membership. The Ancient History department at this Uni is very strong and has a good reputation for scholarship and research. Many of the lecturers are christians. If you've ever used Stephen Llewellyn's books of documents from the period, they come from this department.

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I need to play around with my template. Something has happened to it and I've lost blogroll and a couple of other things aren't right. What a pain.

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