Pink Fire Pointer December 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: