Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bishop Robinson's Lambeth Blog

I've been engrossed lately in reading Bishop Gene Robinson's Lambeth blog, which you can find here. I recommend it to everyone. Though he has been, sadly, excluded from the formal proceedings, Bishop Robinson has managed to connect in a positive way with many, many people who are showing support. Please join me in praying for a successful journey for him, and a bit more tolerance on the part of certain Bishops I will not name. But we all know who they are.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Big Read revisited

I just found this on Closeted Pastor's blog, and thought it might be fun to pass along. I will never live long enough to do all this reading, I am sure!

And, before you ask, just seeing the movie doesn't count! I was already tempted by that!

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE (I’ve used an asterisk instead)
4) Reprint this list in your own blogs

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien*
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*
6 The Bible*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens*
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott*
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy*
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier*
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien*
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger*
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot*
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy*
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy*
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan*
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel*
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold*
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy*
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt*
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens*
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro*
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare*
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I guess I should start reading now!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

And now for something completely different ...

I'm hastily getting ready to go to Portland, Oregon, to a professional convention ... so I thought I would leave a little musical fun for you all while I'm gone. The group below is known as Joe Trio (I'm not sure why, because none of them is named Joe). They're based in Vancouver, BC, but tour all over. Check out their web site, which is is lighthearted and full of animal noises.

The Youtube selection below is described as "a Joe Trio take on Led Zeppelin's Black Dog and various JS Bach themes combined." The performers are, from left, Cameron Wilson, Allen Stiles, and Charles Inkman. Charles is my neighbor's brother, and a lot of fun to hang out with.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

What I did on my "staycation"

That's the new buzzword now, right? "Staycation"? The word for time off when you can't afford the gas to go anywhere ...

Well, I recently took a week off, having realized that I was going to max out my vacation time and stop accruing new days otherwise. J. took a few days off, too, and we did day trips. We didn't especially save on gas, but at least we could sleep in our own bed at night and save a lodging fee.

The first day trip was to Cape May, NJ, an old Victorian resort still largely undiscovered by the condo builders (shhh!...). This is one of my favorite places in the world. The "boardwalk" is made of concrete. The carnival rides are nonexistent. It's very quiet. The picture above was taken as a storm passed by offshore. I love the dark sky against the sea!

We had a nice lunch (far too much food, but what the heck!) in a restaurant located on a pier.

Later in the day, it cleared up a bit. J. doesn't much care for the beach, so he went blissfully to sleep on a blanket while I roamed the shoreline, picking up the inevitable stones. The shoreline is segmented by jetties, I suppose to prevent erosion of the sand, and some surfers were attempting to ride the (rather small) waves near one of the jetties. My image of the surfer-boys did not turn out, but here is one of the jetties.
The waves are, admittedly, somewhat minimal, even with the storm offshore. But that's the East Coast, I guess. Not too many Hawaii-style waves are to be found here.

A couple of days after this trip, I got it into my head to go canoeing, because I know how J. loves the woods and lakes. So I rented a canoe from a rental service in Chatsworth, NJ. After an hour in the car, we finally found the place. The canoe rental fee was quite reasonable, and they hauled us out to the launch spot and picked us up three hours later.

We were canoeing the Wading River in the Wharton State Forest, part of the Pinelands National Reserve. If you're interested in the history and ecology of the remaining wilderness in South Jersey, be sure to read The Pine Barrens, by John McPhee. I read this many years ago, when I first moved to the state. It may be out in a new edition.

In any case, the Wading River is aptly named, because under normal conditions it is never more than three to four feet deep. This is fortunate for me, because I managed to lean back to avoid an overhanging branch, and dumped myself into the water! I still have the bruise on my leg where I hit the edge of the canoe on my way out. It was an occasion of great hilarity for both J. and me, and in view of the heat, a great relief to be standing in waist-deep water (even with things -- snakes? fish?-- slithering around my ankles).

It was so quiet there. I could almost imagine myself a member of a Leni-Lenape tribe, paddling silently along. All we heard was birdsong. A large buck came down to the water to drink, but by the time I got the camera out, he had retreated in haste. He was lovely -- with a full set of antlers.

We canoed for the full three hours of the rental. I was surprised at how well I did, not being very athletic. I guess a little weight loss did not hurt! When we saw the second bridge, we knew it was time to beach the canoe and wait for our ride. This was the scene at the end of our journey.

Our ride back to the car came promptly, and before we knew it we were headed home. we stopped at a rural diner on the way, and talked about how we would like to have our own canoe, and do a lot more exploring of the Pine Barrens.