Thursday, January 18, 2007


Yes there has been some reading during the last few months. I've just finished Michael Grant's Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, which I've meant to read for many years. It's written from the point of view of a methodological naturalist, so it is not sympathetic to Christianity's claims for Jesus. Nonetheless, Dr. Grant found ample room for describing the career, philosophy and tragic end of Jesus. He even grants that the empty tomb is historical.

Now I'll move on to A. N. Sherwin-White's Roman Soceity and Roman Law in the New Testament, which I read some years ago. I'm on a Jesus, History and the Resurrection kick now.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Christmas Presents

It's odd for me to be talking about Christmas presents. I don't usually make a big deal about what I want for Christmas. I will just point my family to my Amazon wish list--to no avail. This year I was a little anxious, however.

I listen to a number of podcasts on my computer: Catholic Answers Live (a re-broadcast of their daily two-hour call-in radio shows, focusing on apologetics), EWTN Openline (ditto, only one hour though), Heart Mind & Strength Radio online (by Dr. and Mrs Popcak, call-in show with psychology and counselling the focus), Daily Breakfast (a true Monday to Friday Podcast by Father Roderick: geek issues, tv, movies, whatever), Catholic Exchange Today and Rock Solid (weekly and every few days podcasts respectively: news, interviews, thoughts of the day), the Rosary Army Catholic Podcast (a catholic couple from Conyers, Georgia twice weekly podcast: motto--Make Them, Pray Them, Give Them Away) and the multiple intermittent feeds from SQPN: Catholic Insider (Father Roderick's initial foray into podcasting: travelogues), The Secrets of Harry Potter, Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars (each movie series examined from a Catholic perspective).

And how do I listen to all this while chained to my computer? Simple: I don't. I miss quite a number of the podcasts week by week. So I decided to buy an iPod so I could take these on the walk to work and elsewhere. But Momma (my wife to those not in the know) expressly forbade me to buy one. The strong implication was that it was coming to me under the Christmas tree. So I suffered through podcast loss for several months waiting anxiously for Christmas morning.

All I really wanted (besides my two front teeth) was a Shuffle, the smallest and newest of the iPod line. What I got, however, was a full-size iPod (30 G). It seemed like overkill, but I have been very happy anyway.

Now I discover that SQPN is venturing into video podcasting, starting with Catholic Minute. Wow, I can actually watch Father Roderick while he's walking around Amersfoort looking for a copy of Zelda for his Wii. Neat!

And then I find out that a cable is available that will directly download photos from a digital camera into my iPod. So let's say you were going on a long cruise and had wife who was camera crazy. She could take as many photos as she wanted. We could simply download them onto my capacious iPod and never run out of room for more photos. Well, well.

So, well I got a number of lovely gifts this Christmas (also unusual for me) this gift stands out. May my family (my daughters in particular, who did the actual purchase) be blessed many times over.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rip Van Winkle Wakes Up!

Ok, it's been so long since my last post that my news aggregator has greyed out Ephemeris. There a a couple of excuses for the silence. There have been a number lot of pending things that I had mixed feeling about and so didn't quite know what to write and when. And the other excuse is that I'm now living a life newly structured and seemingly less interesting. So there seems to be less topicality in my day-to-day life.

Some things appear to be resolved. I won't be going to University this term. I was signed up for an online Psychology course. But events overtook the plan and I cancelled the course. University is on hold until the Summer semester in May.

The event that overtook this plan is a cruise from Tampa to Venice. I had carefully planned a Panama Canal cruise that would have fit in between the school terms (late April and early May). But the wife has a love affair with Europe and a sale came up just days after I signed up for the Psychology course. It was actually cheaper, even air fare included, to do the Trans-Atlantic cruise. So off to Venice we go.

We'll be at sea during Holy Week, not touching land until Easter Monday (the Azores). That's a bit of a downer, since Holy Week observances (Palm Sunday, Mass of the Last Supper, Stations of the Cross and Good Friday Service, and, the highlight of the Church worship, Holy Saturday Vigil Service) are a family tradition. Fasting on Good Friday while at sea trapped on a ship overflowing with delicious food will be a penance indeed. I've repeatedly warned the Mrs. that this is the absolutely last trip to Europe. She laughs and points out that that was what I said the last time. True enough, but I'll be seriously broke after this adventure, so it is true this time.

And I will have to sign up for my Summer course probably during the Trans-Atlantic trip. We'll see how that works. I do have the ability to sign-up online, so it's theoretically possible. Wish me luck on that one.

What little news there is I'll save for another day. Happy New Year to all and I hope that everyone's Christmas was Merry.