Why Brithenig Ain’t an Engelang

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On a whim I visited the Conlang List website a couple of nights ago.  I was surprised to see the thread with the above title.  When I have a subscription to the list I keep my account as Nomail because I don’t want the high amount of traffic in my inbox.  While there was some discussion of my work on Brithenig the discussion had moved on before I had noticed.

On physical examination of myself I found that neither of my ears were burning.  If my right ear was warm then I guess somebody was praising, if my left ear then somebody was dissing me.  I’m still breathing, and I think I can find a pulse, I’m not very good at finding that.  No contact had been made to me by the members of the discussion.  I had become an observer on people talking about my work, even though I’m not dead yet.  Is this how Jesus feels?

I only glanced briefly at the discussion.  I had come to the conclusion that the creation of a posteriori language creation is a weak form of engelang as much as it is an artlang.    The criteria for it to be aesthetically pleasing is subjective.  Brithenig has rules  of historical soundchange that dictate the appearance of the language.  The distinction to me is blurred and borderline, and irrelevant.  Mind you, I am not a student of the distinctions between artlang, engelang, nor auxlang.  They don’t interest me.

NO SWEAT! Rutherford Waddell and the Sin of Cheapness


“The working class don’t go to church because the capitalist class pray for them on Sundays and prey on them the other six days of the week”

Rutherford Waddell

A Christian socialist he rejected materialist socialism and anarchy.  His Christian socialism appears to come from a concern for the development of character.  Was this what the German society of his age called Bildung?  Literature was the meat of his thinking, his influences were George Elliot and Browning, Tennyson, Ruskin and Twain.

In contrast the common sharing of literature and information has become a gated community, we seek out knowledge as individuals, not as a society.

His younger years were spent on self-pleasing and enjoyment.  In his later years in ministry grew an interest in Scripture and the apocalyptic presence of Christ; the advent of the reign of the Lamb.  Was this imminence part of his Christian socialism?

Waddell woke New Zealand from its economic slumber with his passion and forceful personality.  Since then we have turned over and gone back to sleep.  Doing public theology is exceptional, especially when it accomplishes what he did.

Just two things that could have been oversights from the conference: the Christian inheritors of old St Andrew’s, St Michael’s Coptic Church were not included in the conference, a shame as they love the legacy of the place too; and the Mission Hall on Carroll Street is now Te Hou Ora Whanau, did no one think that there was opportunity for a powhiri including them in the day?

I hope that there will be a publication from the conference!

Fighting the Cheap Sweat Trade in the Nineteenth Century

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In case people are looking for me tomorrow I will be at this:

Perhaps I might see some of you there?

Preparation for Father’s Day

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Balloons were handed out at church today.  They were entitled with attributes people associated with fathers.  They were given out to the men of the congregation.  I ended up with “understanding” and “patient”.  I thought about the scans of the slides that I have that my parents made.  It is nearly 30 years since my father died.  There are images in my family slides that I haven’t considered in the same length of time.  Recently they have been scanned and I have seen them again.  I have them printed out, four envelopes, waiting to be described and protected in an album.  I am surprised by the images of my father because there is a lot that I have forgotten in that time.  There is an image of him supporting a trailer with  four sons and at least two cousins in it.  He is smiling and his head is thrown back, a pose I have seen my brother assume countless times.  He is a man in his maturity and full of life.  You can forget things like that.

I didn’t name a word that described fatherhood this morning to be written on a balloon.  There were a lot of words contributed.  I decided that my word would be “lively”

I visited the Church today for a concert.  Locals will know the place I mean.  It used to be a Methodist Church on Dundas street facing the Northern Oaks Rugby grounds.  Since it closed it has been a cafe of various names, The Pickled Penguin and Saint Lea’s come to mind.  The current incarnation is called the Church.  There was a concert put on, Chamber Vulgarus.  It was incomprehensible.  Students and others putting on original works.  The programme became confused and at times I was lost.  I never understood who was the man in whiteface.  At the same time there were wonderful original pieces for flute, string quartet and gamelan.  I admit it was the pieces for string and gamelan that provoked my curiosity.  And there was In the Shape of Trees, hacked electronica creating its own soundscape.  That was interesting.  It ended with a performance by Strork, a string ensemble were anyone can pick up an instrument and join in.  I don’t think you can walk away from a performance by Strork.  Because there’s no such thing.

I think Dunedin Time runs about 20 minutes later than when the programme is scheduled to begin.  That happened both on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  In contrast church services begin on time, although when they might end is anyone’s guess.


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I attended the Vertical Aerial Dance Studio’s performance of Grease last night.  That was truly 3-dimensional as it involved athletic young women, and one brave young man, shinnying up and down poles and putting on poses to music.

The guest from the juggling club and the belly dancer who performed in the intermissions were also enjoyable parts of the night’s entertainment.  I would like to know if I could learn how to tumble my fedora down my arms like the juggler could do with his trilby.  I think it would be too old and floppy now as I’ve had it for several years.  He recovered from his mistakes by smiling at the audience, shrugging, and continuing with his performance.  That takes confidence.  Perhaps some of them were deliberate, allowing him to flip his batons from the floor with his feet.

Watching the belly dancer reminded me of the performances of the Khamzin Tribe that I attended with my late friend Grace Gardner.  I’m starting to notice the different moves that a dancer can perform.  It takes time.

Our erstwhile volunteer from the Archives was not performing last night.  She was about the studio working as the stage manager.  She tells me she will be performing for the next concert Superheroes.

I need to remember not to hurry to be early in attendance.  Their organization for time is pretty relaxed.

Made sure to be at the Farmers Market today as the Blue Oyster Art Space Project was the sponsored charity at the market this week and they were selling carry bags, a good chance to add to my collection with a uniquely decorated bag.  I came away with one labelled Berry Hadron Collision by Kristina Marotzke.  There were ten printed of each of six designs and I have number nine of that design.  I guess they had keen support from their supporters.  Apparently the ice cream in that flavour will be available next year.

Friend-Link were “at home” at Donald Beasley Hall to celebrate 20 years of their organisation  and I made sure to visit them at lunch-time while my friend Graeme Russell was there.  I spoke to him and he is looking well.  I stayed half an hour before leaving to get home and do some washing.  I may have missed out on the better weather of the day which was in the morning.


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WordPress tells me that this has been the 34th time I have used this title.

I’m looking at my diary now.  There have been a week of events to report.

  • I went to Te Tumu at Maori Studies at the University for the launch of Mana, Maori and Christianity.
  • At the weekend I travelled to Invercargill for the annual meeting of Presbytery.  I was an overnight visit and I didn’t see enough people as I would have liked.  I heard through the grapevine that my mother in Invercargill is not so much unwell as in advanced old age and not seeking the help that she should.  That’s a bit of a worry.  I phoned her while I was there but did not see her in person.  We are both looking forward to the beginning of the Metropolitan Operas in November.  As for Presbytery, I don’t know if enough business was discussed to make it worth the amount of travel involved.  I did spend some time at the Queens Gardens, a childhood landmark.
  • Irish and Scots Studies had a lecture by a visiting professor from Glasgow on Robert Burns in the 21st Century.  Move over, Buck Rogers, the Bard is back and as bad as ever!
  • Theology and Public Issues talked about fair trade.

Those were the high points.  The weekend looks good too.  I can think of three evens on which I can look in.

Re-defining Marriage

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Jason has reminded me that I said I would publish a report on the Centre for Theology and Public Issues’s forum on marriage equality.  I thought that this topic was excitable and would attact a range of opinions in attendance and made sure I arrived early.  Surprisingly people were arrived in smaller numbers than I expected.  Critics of marriage equality were conspicuous by their absence.  Does this mean that they have abandoned the Centre of Theology and Public Issues as errant, liberal and leftie?

The marriage act in New Zealand law does not specifically say that marriage is between a man and a woman.  When this was challenged in court the courts of New Zealand agreed that the marriage act is based on common law, which does define marriage as between a man and a woman, and this is reflected in the rules of consanguinity cited in the marriage act which list the female relatives and in-laws a man may not marry, and for a woman the same relations of affinity among male relatives and in-laws that she may not marry.

I suspect that these laws of consanguinity were originally established by settler religious communities.  Anglicans were well presented on the forum panel.  I suspect that the Church of England and its relationship with government was a significant provider of these rules of consanguinity.  There was no representation of church history is speak for other churches.  The Presbyterian Church had its own rules of consanguinity.  Indeed differences of rules between northern and southern Presbyterians was a hurdle to creating a united national church for the Presbyterians in New Zealand until the beginning of the twentieth century.

The statistics in New Zealand reflect that about 20% of marriages take place in a registrar’s office, 30% by communities of faith, and 40% by marriage celebrants.  The practice among New Zealanders, at least outside communities of faith, is the marriage is a public act of commitment to an existing partnership done for the witness and celebration of family and friends.

The Holy Bible is conflicted about same-sex partnerships.  It condemns homosexual practice: male temple prostitution is not practiced among Christians.  At the same time the bible celebrates close same-sex relationships: David and Jonathon; Ruth and Naomi; Jesus and the beloved disciple.  That’s without recognising the text fragment, the Secret Gospel of Matthew as historical.

Maybe the marriage act needs to be taken from the hands of the Churches and other communities of faith.  What would happen if civil marriage and religious marriage were distinguished as separate ceremonies.  God and government make different demands on the marriage ceremony.

If the marriage act is changed to re-define who can marry under the act, then Jason left me with one final question from the evening forum: What is the rights and responsibilities of the state to its citizens?

Manly Affections: The Photographs of Robert Gant by Chris Brickell

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Tonight’s enjoyable activity was to the Launch of the book of the above title.  Chris Brickell (Associate Professor Brickell in Gender Studies to his friends) produced Mates and Lovers: A History of Gay New Zealand.  So the release of this book added to my bookshelf, alongside my copy of his earlier book and the programme from its adaption as a stage play which was part of the Fringe Festival in 2011.  I’m developing a collection. 

Robert Gant appears in the earlier book.  An English immigrant to New Zealand in the Nineteenth Century he worked as a chemist in Masterton and created around himself a masculine society that transgressed boundaries with images of homoeroticism, fantasy and theatrical drama in early pioneering New Zealand.  The term homosexuality, and presumably heterosexuality with it, only became common in the latter part of his lifetime.  Did the fluidity of sexuality in their social group allow Gant and his chums to be comfortable in the identity they created for themselves.  Most of the men went on to marry and become family men.  It was one of those families that preserved the photographs.  Gant himself remained with his partner, one of these men, until his death.  Another, a rugby-player, remained single all his life, eulogised for his ‘jovial disposition’.  Reading the text will tell me more.  For now I’m enjoying the images displayed in the book with their combination of innocence and innuendo, from an age when innuendo was yet to become explicit.

The occasion allowed for a bit of cosplay, which was fun.  Photos, or tableaux vivants, where taken in period costume.  I went prepared.  Things lurk at the back of my wardrobe: a wing-collar shirt, Smith tartin tie (yes, it exists!), my favourite waistcoat, fob watch and arm-bands.  I made sure to get in early for my photo, which I expect I can download from facebook next week.  I’m looking forward to finding a new identity photo among them. 

Actually, when I think about it, the cosplay we were doing could have been more restrained that what Gant and co had done.  We affected to dress like him.  Even with the delightful cross-dressing that was happening there were no pirates or beheadings or the drama and sensuality that he included.  Now there’s a challenge. 

Interestingly enough Leif Jerram in Streetlife observed that male homosexual identity is easier to document in modern history than heterosexuality or female homosexuality; and that’s in the context of modern European urban history.  Is this a universal trend?

For now I shall enjoy the book, and treasure the company of friends.

A Summary of July

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I went house-sitting with three cats for a month.  This took me away from my computer, and postings became irregular during that time.  It was interesting that that time took me away from regular activities and there were encounters with people in North East Valley that I don’t usually meet.  Well, obviously, because my flat is outside of that area.  It allowed me to be closer to Opoho Church and I made the effort to get to events happening there to which I don’t usually travel.

Study group has started for August looking at ‘dirty words’.  Last week we did discipleship and disciplining.  This week will be faith and doubt.

There was a talk at the local baptist church about the TroppoDoc Charity.  As this had appeared in the Knox College alumni magazine last year I went along to hear its founder speak.

At the end of the month Bishop Willimon from America is talking about Being Christian in a Postmodern World.  I suspose his lectures work if the over-arching theme is the one he is talking about, and it is accepted that he is talking around the individual lecture titles.

On the last day of house-sitting I was invited out to lunch at the University Staff Club.  That was an interesting meeting.  I had not been there before at that time of day.  Usually I don’t go out from work at that time of day.

Now I’m home again.  The wind and rain is outside.  Everything is folded and put away.  Books are closed.  I sit back and wait to see what will happen next.