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Showing posts from April, 2022

Out of the darkness.

We haven't held this Easter vigil for two years, the church closed down by the health bureaucrats who fear that faith and spiritual succour is a threat to their earthly ersatz-religious diktats. The church was plunged into darkness. Candles were lit from the brazier, bathing the timber and columned interior in a faint glow like dying embers in a cave. The baritone sang the fifteen minute praeconium, an invitation to the light. The Exultet Paschal Praeconium hearkens, alive like a bloodline running a jagged line down through history, from some seventh-century French or Italian composer. A chill ran through me. The voice was accompanied by that aggressive, clashing, almost classical guitar style that punctuates rather than caresses the vocals, medieval-style. The lights came on. Two thousand years melted away. Happy Easter.

Dream of reading every crime and mystery novel in world fades.

Buying retro crime and mystery can be a gamble if you don't know the author. Of course there are many sources of information and websites such as this one provide much information via reviews and are also quite frightening in the sense of revealing the sheer breadth of authors and titles one has yet to read. There is a certain irony in the fact that that website could now itself be regarded as 'retro', still carrying an early 2000s banner and scroll style. (A search for James McKimmey's The Long Ride led me to the site.)

Saints all over the airwaves for Holy Week.

It's been wall-to-wall The Saints records this week on 3PBS-FM and 3RRR-FM following frontman Chris Bailey's death earlier this week at 65. Tributes are all over the web and the 'greatest' accolades are not hype. The Saints' most well-known song - (I'm Stranded) - was voiced by the late Mr. Bailey, and I was honoured to list it at No. 52 in my list of one hundred favourite songs of the twentieth century. Look for more Saints programming in the next few days across the PBS and RRR schedules especially Neon Sunset at noon on RRR.

“Don’t ask me”: Australia’s chief medical officer.

The Australian reported yesterday on the strange inability of Australia's chief medical officer to identify fifty percent of the nation's population: Australia’s top health bureaucrat has been slammed for refusing to provide a definition of the word “woman”. ... Liberal Senator Alex Antic posed the question to Health Secretary Brendan Murphy ... “Can someone please provide me with a definition of what a woman is?” he asked. ... The question was met with uncomfortable silence. ... "Department of Health? Definition of a man, definition of a woman? Anyone? Professor Murphy?” Senator Antic said. Finally the chief medical officer ventured a timid reply, like Oliver Twist asking for more porridge or a juvenile delinquent owning up to stealing a pig: “Look, I think there are a variety of definitions ... " "Look" ? That sentence prefix is shorthand for 'I know this is a pathetic answer but I'll give it anyway'. The CMO can't define a female but if w

International Carbonara Day: yes, it is a thing.

There are now 'international days' for literally everything. The concept of the 'International Day of' (or 'for') started in the middle of the last century as a promotional tool designed to advertise an issue instead of dealing with it, an idea that is now known as the largely useless modern invention of 'raising awareness’. I had to laugh, metaphorically (I didn't actually guffaw) when I was informed that today was International Carbonara Day. I'm not sure who issued or initiated the day (once again, I don't know the correct verb for the invention and dissemination of an 'international day') but it appeared in an email I receive occasionally from a magazine about Italian food. The article went on to prescribe the correct recipe for the apparently often badly-made dish, which is a simple combination of pasta, egg yolks, and cheese; or, more specifically, pasta, guanciale, egg yolk, grated pecorino, salt and pepper. 'There is no compro

Meursault gets a bad rap: The Outsider revisited.

Yes, of course, the central character in The Stranger by Albert Camus, gets a bad rap. Meursault is sentenced to be executed. That's as bad a rap as you can get. I first read it (in French: L'Étranger ) in high school. It took me several decades to read it again, in English this time, one sweltering day on a beach under a torrid late summer sun, comme un été en Algérie. Plot: Meursault's mother dies, but the vague telegram by which he is informed leads him to be unsure of the date of her death. This fact causes Meursault's growing reputation as indifferent, dispassionate and even heartless. He is surrounded at her funeral by an assortment of ugly characters whose piety nevertheless raises them Pharisee-like above Meursault's supposed detachment: a priest who calls Meursault 'my son' even though they've never met before; an aged 'boyfriend' from the mother's nursing home who ostentatiously doffs his hat; the funeral director, 'a little ma