Does Islam have televangelists?

One question which popped into my head as we holidayed in the world’s most populous Islamic nation (although Bali is ~90% Hindu and only ~5% Muslim) is “Does Islam have televangelists”. Is it just a bizarre Christian thing, or does it extend to other religions?

Red Son

Phil was telling me about this really interesting sounding comic book, called Red Son, which is an official DC Comics alternative history based on the premise that Superman’s capsule lands in the Ukraine instead of in Kansas, and Superman grows up to be the great protector of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (communist Russia). It just sounds fascinating, and I would quite like to find a copy of it at some stage.

In the interim I thought I would share the idea with you all. Perhaps you will be interested by it too.

Back in town

We are back in town safe and sounds and with considerably heavier bags, although seeing as I have gastro and Simone has a cold and we are generally a little tired following the flight as well, it may be a few days before we get around to contacting people or putting photos etc up on the website. Hope you understand…

Overwhelming emotional contradiction

This afternoon I arrived home after the post wedding lunch, and almost burst into fears.
Everything was finished, and I had such astonishingly contradictory emotions flowing through me.
On the one hand I was happy because all the planning for our wedding and the event itself had gone off without a hitch and l was now married to Simone.
On the flip side all my geographically diverse friends, whom I miss immensely at the best of times, had converged on me and had spent a few day with me. This had added a special additional glow to the days leading up to the wedding, but it also made my heart almost break to have to watch them all depart again, not certain when I would next see many of them.
The wrenching back and forward that this created left me tired and susceptible to a bout of blubbering, which eventually was what happened.

What can I say. I like my friends and I miss their company.

The old familiar sadness

My friends are all slowly departing, and I find myself confronted with that old familiar sadness I have felt many times before at the end of a good thing.

I felt it when I left highschool and I left them all behind in Wellington to go to university.
I felt it at the departure of my flatmates from Dunedin at the end of our degrees.
I felt it (possibly most prominently) at the end of my first spectacular summer in Canberra, where I had formed an intense new set of friends, and we had to go our separate ways again so soon.
I will no doubt feel it again at the end of this year when I graduate med school and all my friends spread across the world for work.

Some times I think that people in villages in the middle ages must have lived significantly happier lives, because while their lives were significantly harder, and filled with real dangers and hardships, they grew up with, worked with, lived with and died with all their friends and family (love ’em or hate ’em) near by and geographically unchanging. What I wouldn’t do to have all my friends in close proximity so I didn’t have to say goodbye to them for such long periods at a time. It always leaves me feeling deeply saddened and a little poorer each time we part.

Winners are grinners

It never was a competition or a race, but I won, and got the girl. Yay for me.

(I suppose you could equally claim that the girl got me, but really would you wish that fate on your worst enemy?? :-p )

Three good things to do on your wedding day

While of course the aim of your wedding day should be to get successfully married, I have found on the way today three other things which have been fun and exciting and which have each added to the day:

  1. Play a quick 18 (mini golf that is) – This actually worked out to be a great way to both fill in a few hours in the morning while the girls were getting their hair/nails/lips/faces/etc… done, and also to discover that your 3 year old nephew may be the next Tiger Woods.
  2. Change a tire – On the way up to our pre-wedding lunch at the pub my best man’s hire car basically exploded it’s tire, and after getting a little confused as to why he had stopped following us, we turned around and went and changed their tire for them. To give them credit they had already started changing it themselves, but were making slightly slow work of it as they had not seen the particular style of jack before, and so were using it wrong. Anyway, it turned out to be a great way to show off my technical skills a bit, and work up a good appetite for a beer in the process. Good thing we then went straight to the pub (do not pass go….)
  3. File a lawsuit – This final item arose once we arrived at the pub and started reading the paper I had bought that morning. On the front cover was a photo of Sadam in his underwear, which is basically a spectacular breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. As such we got all fired up and decided that we were going to have a talk to some people and try and take the paper to court. I have yet to hear how things went in this, but if/when things happen be certain that I will let you know.

From there the wedding happened and everything went was it was supposed to, but the three things still added invaluable spice to the lead up.

How pineapples “Work”

While out and about doing pre-wedding stuff today I got a call from Chantelle asking if pineapples grew in trees or on the ground. Apparently pineapples from any source other than a supermarket was a new experience from her, and so I assume that having driven past a field of pineapples growing she got into a “discussion” with the other occupants of her car about whether the funny squat spiky things on the ground were in fact pineapples or not.

So as the resident Queensland expert (???) I got a call to be asked to explain how pineapples “worked”. I assured her that they do indeed grow on the ground, although “Quite well” might have been a good answer too.

Explosive financial diarrhoea

It’s two days before the wedding, and while it would be fair to say that everything is sorted and there are no remaining loose ends to be tied up, we are down to doing the last things which need doing, and I am just frankly tired of it.

As such I have been experiencing what I think could only be described as explosive financial diarrhoea, where I have been spending money in a manner which seems to fit the description of hand over fist, because whenever a problem or situation arises I have taken to going the easiest (but not necessarily wisest) route and just throwing money at it to make it go away. This works very well, frankly, but I suspect I’m going to get a fright when I see my next credit card statement.

The sufferings of Anakin Skywalker

Today we went and saw Star Wars episode 3, and god it was awesome. In the Oxford English Dictionary “Awesome” is defined as “Inspiring reverential fear or wonder”, and in this instance it was a wholly accurate description.

I had of course sat and cringed through the first two star wars movies, and I would almost go so far as to say that it was worth watching them (and remember, they really were both god awful pieces of cinema) so they could set the scene for this piece of cinematic brilliance. Even taking the first two into account the third one does such a good job that I would without reservation say that the first three as a trilogy was worth buying and watching again.

It was sweeping. It was dramatic. It had presence. It had characters with depth. It was dark, and brooding, and full of intrigue and injustice and sorrow. And yet it was also full of premonition, and hope, and positive foreshadowing.

Most of all, and what I felt made it most worthwhile, it left me feeling profoundly sorry for Anakin Skywalker as he was driven with almost no control towards his eventual transformation into Darth Vader, because during the process, which he clearly did not want, he lost so much, and was manipulated and used and hurt and punished so much, and for no reason on his part other than because he was powerful and he was fearful.

For a film maker to be able to elicit such lasting empathy for a character who is shown at other points in the movie mercilessly murdering children really says something. The movie universe was also rich in a level that the previous episodes I think had missed out on.

The final comment I would like to make is that one of the closing scenes involves what I think is possibly one of the most beautiful funeral scene I have ever witnessed. I can’t say any more, as I feel inadequate to describe it using merely my humble vocabulary, but needless to say when it comes out on DVD I will be watching that piece again by itself, many, many times.