Miscellany


I’m conscious of not having posted for quite some time: things to see, places to do, people to go.

So I thought I’d whip up a brief and far from comprehensive list of bad films I’ve seen, rated from more to less entertaining; more or less. It is a very approximate list: as I recollect the various qualities of each film, the more their ranking fluctuates.

The Room
Birdemic
Megashark vs Giant Octopus
51 (After Dark series)
Monster
The Revenge of Dr X
The Blood Waters of Dr Z
Cosmos: War of the Planets (more…)

Some Christians assert that Christians shouldn’t dance because it could stimulate sexual urges. I reject this assertion – that Christians shouldn’t dance – for several reasons:

Some acts are wrong for Christians, like using pornography, which is intended to stimulate lust; but other acts, not wrong in themselves, could lead to sin, like comparing our lives to those of others could lead to ingratitude. If dancing can lead to lust, this doesn’t mean dancing is in itself wrong. Dancing can also lead to having fun, making friends, getting good exercise, and learning a skill.
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On a wall in Constanta, a city in Romania, on the coast of the Black Sea.

ma gandesc

For those who weren’t there (and the photo isn’t great and it had been raining), it reads:
Mă gândesc la tine în multe feluri foarte des.

For those who don’t speak Romanian, it means:
I think of you in many ways very often.

When was the last time you opened the silver paper on the top of a bottle of booze only to be confronted with a cork that you can’t pop out, because it doesn’t have a muffintop? All you have to do is use a…. Oh, you don’t have a corkscrew.

No problem. Just push the cork inside the bottle – very gently.

As to how long the cork can stay in the plonk without affecting it, I don’t know. If you empty the wine bottle, I don’t think you’ll need to worry about it.

Romania, like everywhere else if you look hard enough, is a country of contrasts. The first impression you get, on leaving Otopeni International Airport, is of coils of black-coated wire cabling hung up on the posts, as if the installation company thought it was a good place for storage. The second impression you get is of buildings of every kind: some aged with discoloured concrete and rusting metal; others brand new with modern design and architecture. Many times they are right next to each other.

Infrastructure
In some areas, quite a few of the buildings exist in a state of semi-repair, or demolition, or construction, or at least looking as though they need repairs, or tenants. For some buildings, only the concrete frame is in place. Very close to the centre of town there is a block (as in a city block of land) with four enormous buildings, stately, with fluted columns at the front. Apparently Ceaucescu intended them to be Romania’s radio city, but they are empty shells, still looking majestic but friable along the edges.

On the whole, the impression you get of Bucharest by a glance at its infrastructure is of trying to start an old car on a cold day: it won’t at first; it tries and fails, but with care slowly comes closer to starting up. The idea that it will start eventually is because of the modern high-rise buildings and businesses that are operating in Romania. Not just McDonald’s either – thankfully, there seem to be few of these – but there are many clothing retail chains of all kinds and styles, from high-end to be-sloganed teeshirts. Then again, I’m comparing Bucharest with Perth, the cultural Rip van Winkle of cities. (more…)

The book that made your world: how the Bible created the soul of Western civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi.

Whatever you think of the Bible and Christianity, you can’t deny they’ve changed the world. I knew this, but I never realised in what ways and to what extent, until I read The book that made your world.

The Bible gives a particular view of the world – it is not divine, nor a living entity; it is able to be understood and investigated – and of humans: by nature equal, but because of pride and selfishness, socially unequal; born to rule the world but not to abuse it; the crowning glory of creation but rebels against the God who made us.

Manglwadi notes how this unique view of the world and humanity shaped the Western view of life; of humanity, education, technology, science, finance, work, heroism, ethics, equal rights, charity, justice, and compassion.

Considering just one topic, technology, he notes that Korea had movable metal fonts two centuries before Gutenberg developed wooden ones, and that China had developed the printing press before 1000 AD, and Buddhist monasteries contained 130,000 pages of writings; so many that they also developed rotating bookcases. In six out of ten monasteries you could hear the bookshelves revolving day and night – not because the monks were reading the books, but because they were meditating on the sound of the turning bookcases. This was because of their worldview, which sought to stop thought, not encourage it. A culture of sharing information only develops if there is a reason to share information.  (more…)

If Sauron had won the War of the Ring.

The lembas of the Orcs.

The lembas of the Orcs. 

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