Tuesday, May 23, 2006

rough reviews

For those of you who are interested Jacob has posted two new reviews on Lumiere; 'Dog Day Afternoon' and 'All the Presidents Men'. Both are special edition DVD releases. Jacob would like to preface them with the following comments...

"bear in mind that they are edited, a little, by him and that I was really over them by the time I finished late at night so didn’t proof them very thoroughly – as you know usually I would get someone else to have a look and then come back to them myself with a fresh eye a day after finishing the actual material.) Basically (as you will also be aware but I cannot stop myself from doing it!!) I am trying to give a justification for the fact they are a bit rough and I know it."

Monday, May 22, 2006

plaguing thoughts...

For those of you who were apalled or amused by the talking jesus doll, check this out:

Ten Plagues Finger Puppets

(I found the link via dissonant bible)

'There is NO DOUBT about it. KIDS LOVE the story of the 10 Plagues... Here is just the right thing to keep your children interested in the Haggadah... and GUARANTEE they don't fall asleep... Our 10 Plagues Puppets.'

Hmmn yes, maybe if you never want your kids to sleep EVER AGAIN!

If only I had found these before we started our 'Mo'town' series, they could have come in handy, or not...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

the likeness of God

“For where shall the likeness of God be found? There is no quality that space has in common with the essence of God. There is not freedom enough on the top of a mountain; there is not glory enough in the silence of the sea. Yet the likeness of God can be found in time, which is eternity in disguise.”

Abraham Heschel
I found this quote in a book I've been reading and it has been occupying my thoughts for a few weeks now. In context Heschel is talking about the centrality of the Sabbath to worship in Judaism. Not because the Sabbath is the day we attend synagogue/church, but because the suspending of our time/week is in itself an act of worship.
Time really is sacred.

seacows/badgers/porpoises/fine leather

I found this rather amusing link to 'dissonant bible' via Maggie Dawn's blog. I laughed out loud so hard I thought it only fair to share.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

morning communion

It is time to drink coffee. Dear God, we praise this drink and give thanks for its discovery and development. We salute the coffee bean; its delicious aroma. Beloved provider of caffeine and giver of life.

Giving and giving and giving.

The scent of its bean is promise and rapture.

Rejoice and rejoice! Celebrate the dark, sweet and yet slightly embittered soul of caffeinated goodness. Behold the delicious flavour! Behold the soft caramel crema that swirls through a sea of perfectly frothed milk. Let us rejoice! Let this rejoicing be our thanks for coffee.

(Shamelessly ‘adapted’ from Michael Leunig’s prayer for tomatoes in ‘A Common Prayer: a cartoonist talks to God’)

I think it’s fair to say that without coffee in the morning, I am, well, less than pleasant company. As evidenced by the rather icy reception
Brett received Wednesday morning around 7am, when he ‘bounced’ into Canteen (a café on Enfield St in Auckland city) with a smile on his face. I didn’t feel the need to return the gesture. Needless to say, my coffee had not yet arrived. Despite that I did manage to crack a smile by the end of the conversation, though not without the revelation of particularly good news. In truth, it didn’t really sink in until around 8:30am, when I found myself feeling ecstatic. I guess the caffeine had actually started doing its job.

I love coffee.

My favorite morning ritual, is sitting in the study with
Jacob before we leave for work, drinking our morning coffee, slowly waking up, and doing our scripture readings. Our morning coffee and readings has become a part of the fabric of our life. Drinking coffee together, enjoying the coffee and one another’s company; reading God’s word together, and wrestling with the hard bits, together; these are defining features of our relationship.

Recently though, the coffee has been leaving a slightly bitter taste.

Not in my mouth.

In my soul.

Every morning, as I inhale that first beautiful aroma of freshly perked coffee, drifting from the kitchen, across the hallway and into our room as I finish getting ready for work, I find myself pondering not just the wondrous creation that is the coffee bean, but the awful plight of so many of the people who work to harvest it.

It’s not the first time I have thought about this. Jacob and I have experimented with numerous varieties of coffee beans, including various certified fair trade and or organic blends. But until recently the verdict has always been ‘too awful’ or ‘too expensive’. The result has been that we have tried to stay faithful to smaller New Zealand suppliers (like Coffee Supreme, Café L’Affarré, Atomic and Allpress) who import green beans themselves. While this doesn’t guarantee that all the beans are strictly ‘fair trade’, it does mean that a much higher percentage (estimated 70%) of it is bought from co-operative growing ventures that guarantee a much better return for harvesters. (If you want some stats on this you can get a lot of info from the company websites – Jacob and I also have a couple of articles, one specifically on NZ coffee industry which I can send your way if you’re interested.) So having done a little research, we rested easier. We were at least contributing something positive to the coffee industry.

Then I read Hope’s post on Fair Trade Chocolate.

It got under my skin.

Was it really enough just to do ‘something’? Could we try harder? Should we try harder? Maybe if Hope was 19 I could have delivered my complicated moral arguments about why it was ok for us to keep consuming as we were. But the idea of trying to deliver them to a 9 year old seemed unconscionable. Not because she wasn’t capable of understanding it, but because deep down I knew that the fabric of my argument was just too thin. Hope would be too clever not to see through it.

So we did some more research. Well, Jacob did some more research. (Librarians are kind of good at the whole research thing!) Eventually, after much discussion we have decided that it was time to change supplier. So as of the end of next week the Powell’s will be serving nothing but Havana. 100% fair trade*, 100% non-inflated prices, 100% fabulous coffee.
(*Havana sell some beans/blends that are not certified ‘fair trade’. Fair Trade certification is not just a set of standards you have to meet; it is also something you have to pay for. Some growers in poorer countries can’t afford to pay for the right to label their products ‘certified organic’ or ‘certified fair trade’ even when they meet the agreed standards.)

I’m not sure why we didn’t think about going with Havana a long time ago. We have been long time fans of Fidel’s on Cuba St in Wellington. I would rate Fidel’s, who serve Havana coffee, as one the best coffee experiences to be had in NZ. But you don’t find many places that serve Havana here in Auckland, and the beans aren’t right there in front of you to buy off the shelf in the supermarket. However, you can buy it direct from the supplier; which is exactly what we are going to do. Freshly roasted coffee delivered on an overnight courier. It’ll probably be fresher than the beans we currently buy. Nice.

Supply and demand. We demand something better…for everyone, and, voilà – supply.

Monday, May 01, 2006

bringing home beaver...

For those of you who are interested, Jacob's latest offering to Lumiere reader has been posted. Just click on the link below and you will be transported...somewhere...