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Scripturient: Digging and dying

About an hour after I started playing Minecraft for the very first time, I died. As game experiences goes, that sucked. Not exactly a “thanks for your purchase” ingame welcoming message from Mojang Not that I’m unaccustomed to dying. In most computer games I’ve died: Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft, […]

Scripturient: The Missing Frankenstein Movies

I was worried when I saw a new package for the Frankenstein films in WalMart recently. Labelled the “Complete Legacy Collection,” it offered eight original films on the Frankenstein theme, from 1931 to 1948. I snapped it up and read the back. I had to have it. (I always check the films they bring in […]

Scripturient: Anthony and Cleopatra

While Julius Caesar is my favourite of all Shakespeare’s plays, I think Anthony and Cleopatra is my second favourite. I know it’s hard to choose any favourites from his plays, they’re all so good, but this one seems to resonate with me more than most others, enough to encourage me to reread it this week. […]

Scripturient: Goodbye, Cleo

Cleo was an accidental member of the family. Twelve to fifteen years ago – long enough that the exact date is hazy in my mind – she came to us. Well, she was delivered, actually. And yesterday she left us. One late winter day, back then, I was at home, getting ready to go to […]

Scripturient: Reading Tennyson’s Ulysses

Last weekend, while watching the delightful movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I heard Bill Nighy make a wedding speech that included lines from one of my favourite poems: Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson. I recognized it immediately and it made me open the poem and read it again. The poem was written by […]

Scripturient: Two New Posts on the Municipal Machiavelli

I added two posts today to my blog about Niccolo Machiavelli, the 16th century political philosopher. These are: Machiavelli: The Graphic Novel – a short piece about the recent publication of Don MacDonald’s exciting new graphic book. and Atheist Machiavelli? A longer piece on the debate about whether Machiavelli was atheist, pagan or Christian. Enjoy! […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: May’s Breads and Pasta: 1

So far this month, I’ve made two loaves and one batch of pasta. But the month is barely started, so I have lots of time to make more. The breads so far were nothing spectacular – acceptable, reasonably tasty, but hardly exciting. I’ve made better. The pasta on the other hand, is getting quite good and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Count of Monte Cristo

Many of us grew up on the stories of Alexandre Dumas; from cartoons to comic books, TV series and movies. And, yes, books, albeit often abridged for the young market, with drawings of swordsmen, women in flowing dresses, and the court of kings. Swashbuckling adventures, romances with honour and swordfighting. We may not have always […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Making Pasta

Last year I decided to start making my own pasta. Seems a natural extension of my bread making. But it took several months before I could get started, what with personal issues and, of course, the holiday season interfering. This week I finally took the step. As usual with me, I did a lot of […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Too Many Books?

Tim Parks* wrote an intriguing essay in the New York Review of Books last week with that title. My first thought on seeing it was to wonder if one can ever have too many books. But of course, Parks – an author himself  – is looking at the bigger picture, not the ever-growing collection that […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Rest In Peace, Mary Chadwick

Mary Bernice Chadwick passed away quietly in the morning of April 13, 2015 in her room in the Tony Stacey Veterans’ Care Centre. She had awakened that morning, and spoke briefly to staff, but nodded off shortly after. She never awoke. She was 95 years old and lived a full, rich life, one of remarkable […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lovecraft’s Tales of Terror

No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace. Ex Oblivione, 1921. Along with Edgar Rice Burroughs, my teenage reading covered a lot of genres, but I gravitated to scifi and fantasy. Fantasy in those days didn’t offer the same overflowing bookshelves of cookie-cutter tales we find in today’s bookstores. But they […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Spring Breads

It’s been a while since I wrote about baking bread. During the election campaign last fall, my baking was sidetracked somewhat, but I did manage to get a few loaves in. Last month I got back to baking in earnest. However, along the way, I ignored my levain and it went off. I had to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: ERB and Barsoom

Tara of Helium rose from the pile of silks and soft furs upon which she had been reclining, stretched her lithe body languidly, and crossed toward the center of the room, where, above a large table, a bronze disc depended from the low ceiling. Her carriage was that of health and physical perfection—the effortless harmony […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Thurber’s Writings & Drawings

Books of James Thurber‘s cartoons and writing were always on the shelves at my grandparents’ home, as well as on my parents’ bookshelves. I read them, as I did everything else on those shelves, when I was quite young. I still remember his odd, eccentric cartoons with their primitive lines but sharp and bizarre wit, although […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Two New Ukulele Reviews

I just added two new reviews to my ukulele site: the Kala Eight-String mahogany tenor and the Vorson Electric, solid-bodied, steel-string tenor. You can find the site here with all the reviews and other information: Or jump directly to the new reviews themselves: Kala Eight String Vorson Electric

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Family, a Century Ago

The gentleman in the uniform on the right is William Gordon Pudney, Chief Petty Officer and engineer on the cruiser, Niobe, one of the earliest ship’s in Canada’s fledgling navy. William (Bill) was born in Canada, in 1893. He is perhaps in his early 20s in this undated photograph, taken a century or more ago, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ukulele Workshop Today

I just returned from Orangeville where Broadway Music hosted a two-and-a-half hour musical workshop this Saturday by Manitoba Hal today (which will be followed by his concert tonight from 8-11 p.m. – try to attend, if you can: he’s very talented). Very informative and well worth attending. Interestingly, at least half the participants were my […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Internet TV and Roku

I picked up a ROKU streaming stick this weekend at the local Staples store to get access to some internet TV. The box advertises 500+ channels, while the boxes for the upscale models 2 and 3 offer 450+ and 1,000+, respectively. However, the official webpage for Roku says you can get more than 1,800 channels in the US […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Ampersand, Etc.

Among my many iPad apps is a simple one called ‘Ampersands.’ All it does is display, in large format, numerous ampersands from different typefaces. A brief introduction tells the viewer it was the designer’s intent to show how the character had become art in it its own right. It accomplished that to some degree, but it […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Revised CPLUG Ukulele Song Book

I spent the past couple of weeks diligently working on updating and expanding our Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group (CPLUG) songbook. I’m happy to announce it is completed – and that I can get back to my regular blogging. I had put together two smaller songbooks previously for group use, as well as sent along several […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Book List Game

In a recent story titled “Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read,” the eminent astrophysicist listed his top eight book titles – from a Reddit conversation that was going on back in December, 2011. Here are the books he chose back then (check the linked story above […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The WOW Factor

After two years away from the game, I was recently convinced by a friend to return to World of Warcraft again and play in the fantasy universe of WOW. At 10 years old, WOW remains the biggest, most-subscribed, most popular MMORPG, with around 10 million subscribers. By technology’s rapid-aging standards, WOW is a grandfather game; maybe […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: 200,000 Thank Yous

It seems that only yesterday I was saying thank you to my first 100,000 unique visitors at this blog after just over two years of writing. That was at the start of March. Now, 10 months later, I want to say thank you to more than 208,000 visitors for coming here and reading my humble […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Few More Uke Arrangements

Lately, I’ve been redoing all the arrangements of songs I put together for the Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group (CPLUG) this year, as well as arranging some new pieces for the group. I’m working on a new layout for the tunes that makes them easier for beginners to follow and makes the songbook somewhat easier […]