Pink Fire Pointer 2012

Akkadian Translation of Dirty Projectors Song


Assyriology graduate students at Brown University Willis Monroe and Zack Wainer recently translated a song by the Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger – into Akkadian." Willis wrote out the cuneiform using an Old-Babylonian lapidary script. In the video below you can see the translated lyrics scroll on the screen as the song is sung in English in the background. Enjoy! 

The Pain of God



The horror and pain across the country, and indeed around the world, is deep indeed. The Newtown massacre Friday killed twenty first-graders along with several of their teachers and administrators. On how the tragedy hits close to home, read Dean Markham’s commentary today (click here). For a good beginning take on a theological approach to the devastation, you might start with Michael Brown’s column today (click here).   

Prof. Lloyd “Tony” Lewis Retirement

Tonight we celebrated the retirement service and dinner of my colleague and friend, New Testament Professor Tony Lewis. The chapel and refectory were jammed packed with Tony’s many students, friends, and associates. I would imagine there were about 300 people present. Tony’s portrait was at long last unveiled: 



Received my Copy of Daughter Zion

It appears to be a great collection of articles. The biblio on my own contribution is:

“The Fecundity of Fair Zion: Beauty and Fruitfulness as Spiritual Fulfillment,” in Daughter Zion: Her Portrait, Her Response (ed. M. J. Boda, C. J. Dempsey, and L. S. Flesher; Ancient Israel and Its Literature 13; Atlanta: SBL, 2012) 77–100. 


Hello Again

After an embarrassing year and a half hiatus from book blogging (and a 10 month hiatus from blogging in general), I’m baaaack. As much work as reading, reviewing and updating a blog was, I really miss recording my thoughts and using TNATR as a pinboard for all my favorite book related things as well as the fun feeling of spreading the news about good books with my friends.

So. I’m back. Hopefully I can create and stick to a somewhat regular writing schedule. And even more importantly, READING schedule.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s post, which feels especially timely as this year winds to a close: Reading Challenges. Not “I tackled a challenging book”, but more along the lines of the yearly Goodreads Reading Challenges. Do you do them? I’ve kept and recorded all the books I read in a year informally since I graduated college and every year it’s fascinating to see the depth and breadth of books I’ve devoured in the past year. I always like to look at which months I read the most, how many non-fiction vs fiction books I read (spoiler alert, I BARELY read non-fiction) and how many of these books are graphic novels or comics.

Some years are better than others and this year was probably my worst in my 8 year history of record keeping. Right now I’ve read a total of 40 books. And if I was going to be really, BRUTALLY honest, I only finished half of 3 of those books before giving up but I wanted them off my “currently reading queue” so desperately that I just marked them as read and moved on. Those books are: Lonely Jim by Amis Kingsley (oh god, this was NOT as amusing as advertised), NW by Zadie Smith (I wanted to love it, I really did, but the characters were so one dimensional and boring) and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander (a good short story collection that I stalled out on because I hit a dull story and then the library book became due and I never renewed it. Embarassing.)

This year was such a whirlwind that reading fell by the wayside most of the year. When I got my new job in April, I was busy working hard and re-adjusting to what it meant to have a full time job again (meaning I had to wear REAL clothes during the day (!) and couldn’t spend all day reading in between applying for jobs). I also realized how difficult it is to balance work and life while training for triathlons and a marathon, which meant my free time to read completely disappeared in an effort to just function as a human being.

Now that I’m engaged and taking on the daunting and overwhelming task of planning a wedding without the luxury of an unlimited budget, I’m not really sure I’ll have any MORE time in the coming year unless I quit running completely (more realistically I may take a year off running marathons to keep my sanity), but I need to make a much more concerted effort to read. I realize that when I don’t read, something very fundamental about myself feels off and I slide into a weird quasi-depression without realizing what’s wrong. Inevitably it’s that I just haven’t had enough time to sit down with a good book and just READ. Does that happen to anyone? I know there are usually peaks and valleys with reading, but when your whole year is mostly a valley of crappy reality TV and falling asleep at 9:30pm, well, something is off.

Anyway, I’ll wait to post the finally book tally and statistics until the close of the year because I’m anticipating a small rally to push up my numbers a bit, but until then, how are the rest of you doing with your year-end book reading goals? Are you going to hit your number? Do you not care at all? Already thinking about your book goals for next year? Share!

Online Formation Resources for Advent 2012



I collected the resources of this post in preparation for a Forum Presentation on “Advent in Cyberspace” for St. Paul’s Church, Alexandria, on the First Sunday of Advent, 2012.

Video #1, The Paradox of Christmas, from Ignitermedia:

Video #2, You Don’t Know Jack About Advent, from Busted Halo:

The rose candle among the purple candles of the Advent Wreath is the Gaudete candle, from the Latin term “Rejoice.” It is for the third Sunday of Advent (this year, 12/16/12), which includes a reading from Philp 4:4-7, with the theme “rejoice.”

Video #3, Advent in Two Minutes, by Busted Halo:


For the online Advent Calendar mentioned in the above video, click here.  For a Church of England Advent Calendar, click here. For a Liverpool Museums Advent Calendar, click here.

There are some nifty 2012 iOS Advent Calendars available:


You can check out the two apps pictured above in the iTunes store, by clicking here and here.

Video #4, “Advent,” by Spirit Juice Studies:

Video #5, Worship Fully, by Advent Conspiracy:

Video #6, The Advent Conspiracy, by Advent Conspiracy:

Advent Conspiracy has a remarkable Advent Calendar this year, which you can interact with using your phone as a QR-Code scanner:


To access the calendar as a PDF, click here. (Calendar detail shown above.)

Video #7, A Child is Born, by Igniter Media:

The Algonquin Bible

The Bodmer collection in Geneva loaned the exhibit this "Eliot Indian Bible." John Eliot constructed the vocabulary and made the translation between 1649 and 1659. The work was the first Bible to be printed in North America.

A Reformer Reads Hebrew!

This 1534 bilingual copy (Hebrew/Latin) of the Old Testament was printed in Basel and owned by the Zurich Reformer
Heinrich Bullinger, who purchased it for 4 Pounds and 10 Schillings, about half the monthly earnings of a country parson.

At the University of Chicago with John Yieh

We travelled south of the Convention Center to see the Swiss Treasures exhibit.

Three New Books

Cool: Three new books at the SBL book display, each with a new essay I've contributed, Daughter Zion, ed. Mark Boda, et al; Social Theory, ed. Saul Olyan; & Levites and Priests, ed. Leuchter and Hutton.

Ezekiel 47, The Temple Rivers

One fascinating talk but I heard today was by Daniel Bodi, of the University of Paris, on Ezekiel 47. He argued Babylonian tradition entered into the text at vv. 9-10 with the dual Hebrew term "rivers" and the motif of the many and various fish.

Guest Wednesday! - Les Anderson: Tales of Life in North Saskatchewan

So last week was our Summer Reading Club's last week for 2012, and we were graced with our last Guest Wednesday as well. Last week we welcomed Les Anderson to the Beaver Valley Public Library. Les shared with us the incredible stories of his life and childhood as he grew up in the wilds of northern Saskatchewan!

Les was such a great story teller, he told stories from when he was young ranging from having a pet bear, to his brother having a hunting gun as young as 9 years old! :O

I think it was great for the kids to learn about Les' life and how different the times were. No TV, no iPods, no One Direction! Shocking! Even Rhonda and I had our mouths agape in wonder and awe!

One cute story he told us was about his first pet cat that he and his brother found in the wild, which turned out to be a skunk! And not once did their little skunk spray or stink up their cabin!

After listening to all his wonderful stories, the kids were asked to draw something about what they had heard that day! We had lots and lots of cabins with skunks and bears! Here's some of their creations!

Here's Zoe with her cabin and extra scary bear! RAWR!

I'd like to thank Les Anderson for his visit to the library! It was so nice to have met him and to hear of his extraordinary life!

Thank you friends, and happy reading! Tomorrow is my last day at the library!!!! 

Week 7 - Scary Monsters!?!? with the Young Professors!

So last week the day before our big Park Party, we had a final meeting with the Young Professors! Unfortunately we only had 2 in attendance! Which mad me a little sad, but if was nice! We had Zoe and Chesney at the library and we had lots of fun reading stories about monsters and such!

We started of talking about monsters and playing some games! We read "Kat Kong" by Dav Pikey, which I remember having and reading extensively as a young kid. That book is hilarious! And I love everyone King Kong inspired.

We also read "Where the Wild Things Are" which we all agreed was awesome!

I then unleashed the two Young Professors onto Rhonda's White Board that we set up in the library. I told 'em to draw and create some monsters! and to tell a story about them! Watching them draw, I decided to set up a quick science activity since there were only 3 of us! So as they continued to draw I set up the H2O2 activity that I did with the Mad Scientists during Science Week, you can see the post where I talk about that activity in detail here:

Once I had set up for the science, I got the kids to tell me about their scary monsters, who were absolutely covered in eyes, one was named Giant eyes and ate books and planets (quite the varied diet) and Hundred Eyes who was a very very scary monster!

And then we went into our science experiment! The kids had lots of fun being my assistants and playing with the soap foam!

We used differently sized bottles and Erlenmeyer Flasks and a huge Graduated Cylinder that the kids thought was awesome!

And since we were so small in number I gave some safety precautions and let the kids play away, since we mostly used very weak H2O2.

After that I got the kids sitting in our chairs and took out a big dinosaur bag that I had filled with goodies, it had: a mask, a necklace, a few animal toys, a hair flower clip, a journal, and other random things.

Chesney, Zoe and I then took turns reaching in and getting an object! Once you had an object you had to make up a story to go with the object! It was lots of fun! I told the story of a Indian Prince who wore a special heirloom necklace from his family and how he ended up lost in a forest, eventually losing his prized possession: his necklace! He had to eventually give up his search and realize his necklace was lost and he made a new friend who gave him a special necklace, though while it wasn't as beautiful and grand, it was simple and the thought was what mattered.

Chesney played the game a few times, he really liked this game. He told the story of a ghost who lives in a journal and sucked up all the writing that anyone would write in the journal! :O (very Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!)

And that was our last meeting with the Young Professors! It was lots of fun!

Happy Reading!

Week 7 - Scary Monsters!?!? AKA Cupcake Madness! with the Little Einsteins!

Mrs. Giles playing some silly monster games with the Little Einsteins and special Guest Spiderman!
So this Tuesday marked our last visit from the Little Einsteins for the Summer Reading Club! Rhonda went all out with the stories, crafts and snacks for this one! And wow! There were a lot of Little Einsteins for today! We had 19 kids and their parents/guardians join us in the morning, and what a lovely day it was!
Little Veronica roaming the shelves
Rhonda started things of choosing some classic songs from her usual repertoire of kids' songs! Then moved on to some games she had prepared that went along with our theme for the week!

After their singing and once the kids had settled into their seats once again Rhonda went on to read a couple of monster books to the kids!

It's so fun to watch Rhonda reading to the kids, the Little Einsteins totally soak it all in and Rhonda is so animated and fun!

One of the books she read through was a Sesame Street book from Grover called "The Monster at the End of this Book". This book is ridiculously hilarious! The first page starts with Mr. fuzzy Grover heeding a warning to the reader, and totally breaking the 4th wall, that their is a monster at the end of this book! :O And Grover warns you, don't turn the page! If you don't turn the page well, then you won't have to see the monster! Right?

Seriously I need an adult size version of that Spiderman hoodie, adorable!

But no no no, Rhonda turned the page, and AH! that definitely makes Grover very anxious and border-line mad!

It's hilarious and the kids loved it! Every page would end with NO! DON'T TURN THE PAGE!!!!! and Rhonda would ask, "Well, should we turn the page!?" to which the kids would all scream "YES!"

In desperation, Grover tried blocking the reader from turning the page, he ties string and even cement bricks the pages, but nothing can withhold the screams and commands of the Little Einsteins!

On and on it went and I won't spoil the story for you! Try looking for it at your local library! I know we don't have it at our library at the mo' but after reading Rhonda's copy of it during the Little Einstein program, we just might be ordering in our own copy for the Beaver Valley Public Library! Hurray!

After our Strange meeting on Sesame Street, Rhonda moved on to a Mo Willems book called "Leonardo, the Terrible Monster"

The story follows Leonardo, who is a young monster who is terrible at scaring people, and this makes him quite sad. This is a great story about friendship and kindness! Such a lovely book!

After Leonardo's story Rhonda played some games with the kids, which included using the felt board to create some fearsome and terrible monsters!

And another game which involved trusting our Little Einsteins to close their eyes, as a monster was hidden under a certain coloured bed. Once the monster was securely hidden, eyes were opened and the hunt for the monster began!

Seriously though, how adorable is Cohen in his little Spiderman hoodie! Love it! 

Then it was time for mingling and crafts! Tuesday's craft was so cute! Rhonda choose to make foam monster visors with the kids! And apart from some gluing trouble, the visors were a huge success!

Here's little Corbin with his finished chapeau!

After putting on their monster visors, our library was full of little monsters. Some monsters even seemed very antagonistic towards each other! Here's brothers Corbin and Chesney causing a monster ruckus!

Little Miss Lauren with her lovely visor!
Here's some group shots of Lauren, Corbin and Chesney posing with their finished crafts!

And of course Veronica with her visor!
Ben did a good job on his monster hat!
Once crafts were done, the kids joined Rhonda back on the floor for some more songs and games!

After that was done the kids were rewarded for a summer of fun with some delicious cupcakes that Rhonda had so generously made and brought that morning! Needless to say the kids were quite ecstatic!

They did manage to make quite the mess with their cupcakes, getting icing everywhere, including their faces!

And that was our Summer Reading Club for the 3-5 year olds, the Little Einsteins! Done and done! We still had the Summer Reading Club end of Summer Party to look forward too!

Happy Reading my little munchkins! Rhonda looks forward to seeing you all during the Fall Programming. A little birdie let slip that the theme is going to by "Underwater Adventure" which sounds AWESOME!