Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Sunday morning was a cold start, with snow down to 300 meters on Mount Wellington. We drove in to church using my sister’s car since I wasn’t sure mine would start easily and we had to be on time - I was reading the Bible at the morning service.

Julie (above) read the text last week, and owing to a sudden change in the roster I stepped in to fill a vacancy this week. I had been through the passage from Genesis a couple of times [the end of chapter 1 and the start of chapter 2] and it wasn’t too bad - some of the Old Testament can be quite challenging to read aloud. There were a couple of places where the authors had put in what we’d call sidebar pieces, meaning that you had to pace your breathing so you didn’t run out of breath before you got to the end of a long sentence.

It went off all right and we settled down to listen to Robert’s sermon on the importance of human life. Christians, he said, can have nothing to do with the modern idea that some lives are worth less than others; anyone who believes this cannot believe in the teachings of the Bible.

Sunday afternoon we usually eat lunch and rest for a while, but that wasn’t the case this week. While we were still feeding Julie’s animals we received a phone call from her friend Helene - “don’t forget that you’re helping me photograph a wedding at the Town Hall today.” Whoops!

No time for Julie to rest her aching back that afternoon. There was just time for lunch and she had to head back into the city for her second visit to the Town Hall in 24 hours.

There’s no doubt it’s a lovely old building - just look at the photo Julie took at the concert - but you don’t necessarily want to spend Sunday afternoon trailing around it with camera equipment in the middle of winter.

If you’re interested in church architecture, Sunday on ABC-TV was the day for you. In the morning Songs of Praise looked at the reconstructed Spittalfield church in London. Then in the evening we saw Westminster Abbey briefly in The Queen at 80, a programme about 20th Century eccentric English priest John Cyril Hawes who designed and built scores of beautiful churches in Western Australia The Sacred Architect and finished off with Alain de Botton's quizzing the owners of a modern church in The Perfect Home about whether it really felt like a church.

King Features website last year cannily realised that there were people out there who’d actually pay to read comic strips and started a paid site called Daily Ink. After some muttering I signed up for it and have been quite pleased with the service.

Not only do you get all the current comic strips, you’re able to choose to see them at an enlarged size which is a bonus in this age of ever-shrinking newspaper strips. (Our local paper unveiled its “new look” this week and you guessed it, the comic strips are slightly smaller than they used to be!)

That would be worth the annual fee, but there’s also what the DVD makers like to call bonus features. This includes a “Vintage” section which gives you the option of seeing a small selection of old comic strips in addition to the current ones.

The daily and Sunday versions of The Phantom are probably great for people who don’t live in Australia where a local publisher has reprinted all the Phantom stories ever published, and it’s interesting to see the early days of Popeye from the old Thimble Theater strip.

But as the site went into its second year, without any fanfare they doubled the number of Vintage strips and there were some pleasant surprises. There’s the World War II fighting-the-Zeroes strip Buzz Sawyer, the original Beetle Bailey (before he joined the army!), the detective strip Rip Kirby (one of my childhood favourites) and best of all, the daily Flash Gordon strip starting from its first day in 1951.

I’ve only ever seen one of the daily Flash Gordon strips and, yes, it was this one. But I look forward to being able to follow it every day - this is from the period after the heyday of Alex Raymond’s legendary Sunday strip and reworks the characters into a more realistic type of space explorers, more in the mode of its rival Buck Rogers strip rather than Raymond’s extravagant swashbuckling adventures.

I’d better not wax too enthusiastic. If the Daily Ink proprietors read this they might decide to increase the membership fee!

No comments: