Monthly Archives: January 2011

Choice Among Delights

This morning, I accepted an invitation to participate in another collection of essays on music and theology. I can’t assume it’ll count toward my REF contribution, so I can’t afford to devote much time to mastering an oeuvre with which I’m not already thoroughly conversant. Now I have to figure out which artists’ work I know well enough, and have something to say about that’s adequately theologically-illuminating, for me to decide on a topic.

Hey, By The Way

My landlord, BAFTA award-nominated filmmaker Andrew Bonner, is crowd-sourcing the project on which he’s currently working. Give a struggling filmmaker a break, and help him finish this feature! Plus, if the crowd-sourcing and the resulting film work out, maybe he won’t want to move back to Glasgow and we can stay in this flat indefinitely. Maybe it’ll be a huge hit, and he’ll show his appreciation for my blog-flogging by awarding us this quiet, modern, wonderful-neighbourhood flat as a friendly gesture. (Well, probably not, but it’s worth a try.)

What’s Happening Now

A million things, but evidently I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging them. I’ll put a large part of it all down to the malignant influence of Facebook; I’m in more immediate touch with more people there than here, so although Mark “Man of the Year, Ho Ho” Zuckerberg controls everything in their databases, it’s vastly easier for me to drop a couple of sentences into Facebook than to sit down and compose a coherent link-filled blog entry.
My secondment to the Uni’s Learning and Teaching unit has amounted to an overtime commitment all year, and I still have not heard back about how this will be sorted out. I’m working on a poster for the Enhancement Themes conference in Edinburgh in March as my colleagues put together a questionnaire relative to the role of teaching assistants in inculcating the University’s newly-minted Graduate Attributes programme. Meanwhile, I’m trying to set up a couple of meetings to introduce the Attributes to the College of Arts staff.
And my colleague Mahdavi and I have received a grant to assemble a handbook to the main plot lines of the Bible, which we’re cobbling together from public-domain sources. And there are numerous occasions to celebrate, from colleagues’ birthdays to Burns Night to Thursdays (in general) or any other occasion for merriment.
Margaret is head-down, full-speed-ahead working on her dissertation. She’s an unstoppable force once she shifts into “determination” mode (it’s as though she has an Accomplishment Buff that starts her radiating productivity). All this, despite her pre-Christmas ear infection’s unwelcome recurrence, and now a sharp pain one of in her feet!
I have two or three grant ideas to begin rustling into submittable shape. Maybe four. This is vitally important here, because it turns out that the main function of staff in a British University is attracting grants; students, sadly, come in a poor third to grant-attracting and technical-research publishing. So my grant-applying and reasearch-writing claim another proportion of my time. Then there’s also my responsibilities as Clerk of Trinity College, and I’ll be preaching on the next three Sundays.
There’s more, but that’s a taste of current events. And, perhaps, to help restart the habit of leaving things in the blog now ad then.


I’m eager to hear what DavidToo Big To KnowWeinberger thinks about Jonah Lehrer’s article in the New Yorker about problems in proving scientific claims. Lehrer provides quotable lines (“It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable”) and a compelling narrative that touches on some of the points David focuses on in the book.
(Yes, I haven’t been blogging much of late. I’m pondering that.)

NYTimes Catches Up

Just for the digital record: Yesterday’s story in the Times covers many of the dimensions of what happens to our digital legacies when we die. It is — as the lengthy report suggests — a complex topic, and they appositely contact Dave Winer and mention the case of Leslie Harpold. They might have noticed that Joi Ito, David Weinberger, and I began talking through this online in 2003 (and it was the basis for the France 2 interview with me a couple of years later).

Hack, Hack, Déjà Dit

The embattled resistance forces of the cold/flu that has, ahem, plagued me for the past week or ten days has devoted all its infectious energies to the pulmonary front. I’ve been hacking and wheezing for several days and (especially) nights, now, and since I feel OK I’ve been loath to use meds to suppress the coughing. After last night, though, when both Margaret and Pippa were subjected to intrusive sound effects every few minutes, I’ve conceded the point and will allow myself some cough suppressant. Anything to get past this holdout symptom.
And in passing (hat tip to Alan Jacobs), Tim O’Reilly restates what has often been said before, and yet has gone unheeded. “Books give people information, entertainment, and education. If publishers focus on how those three elements can be performed better online and through mobile, innovation and business models will follow.” Yes, and that’s as everyone should expect it to be: business models will follow from the demonstration of an innovative, effective medium for publication. We can’t expect to succeed by constructing a business model first (or inheriting a model that depended on obsolete material circumstances of production), then turning it loose to attract customers and generate productivity.