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Ode on an Ephesian Urn

During the last month I’ve enjoyed some Keats, and reacquainted myself with his famous Ode that I remember learning at school. What a picture he paints. Those lovers who grace the urn’s side, so close to sealing their affection with a kiss, but caught forever in the ‘potential’ and never in the ‘actual’. Are they…

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Nonna’s roast lamb

While I was doing some weeding in the church garden recently, I chanced upon a Nonna breaking off a few sprigs of rosemary. She’d not realized I was there, and a little flushed, explained that she needed some for her roast, and then added: “I think the baby Jesus would be very unhappy with me…

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The Knuckle-cracking Choir

I wish I could find a supportive scientific paper to warn others about the danger of knuckle-cracking. So far, all I’ve been able to find is a small study involving one parent and two children. In this study, which has been in progress now for approximately three years, the children are called the “irritants”, and…

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Naming rights

Apparently if you discover a new plant or animal, you have naming rights. Except there’s a convention that says, that whatever name you choose, it must be Latinized. Quaint really. The idea that the once proud Roman Empire can still lay claim to everything. Once upon a time it did. In fact, such was its…

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Storytime

A parable is a fictious story that is ‘cast beside’ (literally) a true story, in order to achieve a particular outcome. Sometimes to keep certain people out. Sometimes to ennoble a truth so that it can be better appreciated. Sometimes to function as a safe gateway for the genuine seeker to make further enquiry. George…

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Brothers in arms

There are many things to take into consideration when offering a handshake. The angle of engagement, the firmness of the grip, the number of fingers to commit, the exact place to press the thumb on the back of the other person’s hand, the number of vertical movements to perform, the length of the hold, the…

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Endless Variations

Toward the end of the eighteen century, when Mozart was about twenty-five, he wrote twelve variations on a tune that we know as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”. Variations are musical twists and turns on a basic tune, keeping always connected to the theme, but creating a rearrangement in double-time, or right-hand arpeggios, left-hand arpeggios, etc….

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The Resurrection of the body

Last week I saw my first moneybox in an antiques shop at the Blue Mountains. It was one of those metal ones issued by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. I remember the day I proudly took it to the bank as a boy, heavy with pennies. I remember bringing back home an updated version, with…

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Ok Campers. Rise and Shine!

I hadn’t seen it for more than twenty years. Groundhog Day. That rom-com built on the idea of a man stuck in the seemingly endless loop of a repetitive day. But my kids and I enjoyed it the other night, and I got to see it through eyes that now had twenty more years on…

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Free Solo

I don’t think I’ve ever held my breath for so long. Three hours and 56 minutes. The length of time Alex Honnold climbed from the base of El Capitan to its summit, solo, without a rope. El Capitan is the magnificent cloud-kissing marble boulder that rises in the midst of the Yosemite National Park, and…

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