During December I’m running an Advent Calendar Blog. A sort of a blog in the form of an advent calendar but with cartoons instead of little windows. The theme is ‘Advent’, and will be not particularly in-depth but slightly more in-depth in some places than others.
The first cartoon will be posted in an hour or so and from then on daily at about 2am. That’s not to encourage people to stay up late but rather to make sure that it is available in Australia around lunchtime whilst not being available in the UK the day before because that would be cheating. Do you see? No, nor do I really. I would like to make it clear that I will not be staying up until 2am doing the posting – these days you can get a machine to do it.
Hope you enjoy it.
Update: Simon asks in the comments whether I have started 4 days too late. It’s a popular view, with respected analysts like Diamond Geezer thinking the same. I’m afraid I go with tradition though – Advent Calendars have historically had 24 windows, one for each day in December rather than one for every day in Advent.
I couldn’t think up 27 drawings anyway.
Posted by Dave at 11:02 pm on November 30, 2005 and filed under Cartooning, Cartoons.
Christian organisations have been keen to make the most of opportunities offered by the forthcoming Narnia film the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (US website / UK website which on my computer does nothing but rotate a door handle).
In the UK Christianity Magazine has produced a comprehensive set of resources for churches, including ’10 Narnia-linked Ideas’, ‘A Christmas Carol Service with a Narnia Theme’ and a list of web resources. Premier also invites you to ‘explore the opportunity‘.
But not everyone is so enthusiastic. I came across an article on ‘Leadership blog’ entitled ‘Marketing Narnia: Is the Church Being Used?‘ which may well have a good point.
In the last couple of days a letter written by CS Lewis in 1959 has been published in which he makes it clear that he would be unhappy with a TV version of the Narnia stories and the implication is that he would therefore have been unhappy about the film. I’m not so sure. If you read the letter I think it is the prospect of a human Aslan in a costume to which he would be so strongly opposed. My own feeling is that could he have seen the special effects that are used these days he might well have approved, a view shared by a number of commenters on TallSkinnyKiwi’s blog.
The aspect which he might have found the most unpalatable, one suspects, is all the associated merchandising. As the Guardian reports in its article ‘CS Lewis feared film would ruin Narnia’:
Disney has signed a string of tie-in deals with companies from Kodak to McDonald’s, and more than 60 licences have been granted to manufacture everything from board games to replica swords.
Update: A few more resources:
ReelIssues from the Bible Society has a worksheet-type thing you can download as a free sample.
I was contacted about a Narnia Wiki here. To quote ‘R’ who told me about it:
We already have a lot of content up there (it’s all free) and the wiki can be edited by anyone. We are trying to create a community where Narnia fans can come and share information. If you can help us get the word out, we could get TONS of people to add their thoughts about Narnia!
I’ve reposted another post I did here so it’s all on one page for those who’ve surfed in via Google and places:
Rejesus has quite a number of articles, for example:
What’s the link between Narnia’s world of fauns, witches and magic, and our world? How did CS Lewis want his books to be read?
The Catholic Enquiry Office have this extensive page as part of their life4seekers site.
There’s also Into the Wardrobe, a C.S. Lewis website. There are many I’m sure, but this is the one recommended by Douglas Gresham, step-son of C. S. Lewis.
Posted by Dave at 12:18 pm on November 30, 2005 and filed under Current events.
I’m still not feeling very well, but don’t worry, nothing you can catch by visiting this blog.
In an attempt to ease my troubled mind I had a look at the National Rail Live Departure Boards, which tell you whether trains are going to be delayed. I think it could be quite useful if you are, for instance, going to a station to collect someone who has just arrived on a train. I typed in a few stations and found that there are, for instance, minor delays this lunchtime at Birmingham New Street if that’s of use to anyone out there. There are of course always delays at Birmingham New Street, it’s just a question of whether they are minor or major.
But as Paul (via whom I found the link) notes:
What this service doesn’t tell you is whether the staff at a station know which train is which, whether your friend has been put on a London train instead of a Manchester train. It’s also ignorant of whether the replacement bus service they’re on has just glanced sideways into a tree.
Posted by Dave at 1:29 pm on November 29, 2005 and filed under Mundane.
I’ve been slightly unwell today so no particularly in-depth analysis on tonight’s final programme in the ‘Priest Idol’ series.
Tonight we saw the preparation for the ‘Church Lite’ launch events. The PCC were trained in sales techniques and 3000 lightbulbs were delivered around the parish. All in all it was very successful, with 300 people coming to the launch social and a packed church and raving reviews for the launch service with a gospel choir and comedian Jimmy Cricket.
Overall a good programme which raised plenty of issues about how we communicate the Christian message and / or promote the church today. It will be interesting to hear how various blogs respond to the fact that the strategy did seem to work. Already posters on one fairly well known bulletin board have changed their tune somewhat, having started out condemning the programme out of hand and now… well… not condemning it out of hand. (I told you I was too ill to write anything decent.)
There was an interview with Fr. McCaskill on the Channel 4 website which was quite worthwhile. The transcript will be somewhere here shortly I think.
Update: Richard has some more useful thoughts. But then hopefully he is in better health than me.
Update 2: Some good thoughts from Steve Tilley, though this caused me to raise half an eyebrow:
I would love to have seen how a sensitive evangelical minister woud have made a difference, helping people to tell their stories and blending biblical teaching with catholic tradition and symbolism.
But perhaps he raises an interesting question. What do you think?
Posted by Dave at 10:39 pm on November 28, 2005 and filed under Church.
A lot of people are beginning to think about buying Christmas cards, and who knows, one or two people have probably already bought them. But why not make your own? Here are one million ideas to get you started – 10 ideas for materials, 10 for tools to use, 10 for subjects, 10 for colours, 10 for sizes and shapes and 10 for messages, making a total of one million combinations in all.
10 unusual materials to use as part of your Christmas cards
Leaves or other things found in the garden
Material (cloth etc)
Pictures cut out of magazines or junk mail
Pasta (dry) or something else from the kitchen cupboard
Extra pieces of card to make pop-up cards
Sand and glue
Supermarket carrier bags with Christmas messages on
10 useful tools or stationery items you could use to make Christmas cards
Unusual coloured pens
Scissors with wavy edges
A can of spray paint and templates
Tub of glitter
Stamps (with ink)
Permanent acetate pens
10 possible subjects for your Christmas cards
Shepherds on a hillside and / or angels
Kings / wise men with or without camels
Snowy scene with or without snowman
Bells, holly, candles or combination of these
Something entirely unrelated or abstract
10 colours that you could use for the basic card bit of your Christmas cards
(Assuming you use card at all of course)
Pale church noticesheet blue
10 possible sizes or shapes for your Christmas card
A5 folded in half
Gift tag size
Tiny (stamp size)
Long and thin
Tall and thin
The shape of the stable or other element of the picture
Massive (eg A2 folded in half)
10 messages that you could use inside your Christmas card
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
A Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year
Joyeux Noel (or other greeting in your own language)
Long hand crafted message tailored to the individual
Have a cool Yule
Go on – have a go! I’m aware that some readers use charity Christmas cards, but that needn’t stop you – you could always make a small donation to the charity as well.
If you like the idea of making your own cards but really think your artistic skills might not be up to the job then the previous post ‘Using CartoonChurch.com images for your own Christmas cards‘ might be of interest.
Posted by Dave at 10:02 pm on November 27, 2005 and filed under Art.
I’ve had one or two people ask me about using my cartoons in their own personal printed or photocopied Christmas cards, especially in the light of the fact that I’m not producing Christmas cards for sale this year. Well, you’d be most welcome to do so with one or two conditions. If you already hold a CartoonChurch non-profit unlimited use licence then producing cards is included in your licence. If not then I’d ask you to make a payment of £10 via the single payments page. In either case a credit on the cards along the lines of ‘Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find lots more at www.CartoonChurch.com‘ would be most appreciated. If you have any questions about this than please do get in touch.
All the possible Christmas card images are to be found in the Christmas resources section of the site. In particular the Shepherds and Contact lens cartoons might be quite good ones.
More about making Christmas cards coming shortly…
Posted by Dave at 7:20 pm on November 27, 2005 and filed under CartoonChurch progress, Cartooning.
I looked around me at the crowd as the lighting rig pointed at the audience during Highway 61. Huge numbers of people were standing there with their eyes closed, their hands held high, shaking their heads in time with the music, ecstatic. And I thought to myself, these are awfully thin foundations upon which to build your experience of transcendence.
The Recusant Rector goes to see Bob Dylan.
The Observer review is rather different.
Posted by Dave at 12:33 pm on November 27, 2005 and filed under Sundry posts.
It’s the weekend which means boring technical posts and repeats.
Click below to read my not particularly interesting analysis.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Dave at 8:00 am on November 26, 2005 and filed under Technical.
I came across this article in the Gwinnett Daily Post, a newspaper that I must confess seldom receives attention in these blog pages.
The report talks about the decline of newspapers in America and why, even in the age of the blog newspapers are still vital:
A so-called “victory” for the blogosphere vis-a-vis declining newspaper readership is very much a defeat for the freedoms we take for granted.
Newspapers serve their communities in ways that can’t be replicated by bloggers —noble-spirited, smart and entertaining as many often are —or by anyone else. They not only help define a given community, but also serve as both government watchdog and information conduit. They have the resources to investigate, to report, to inform as no other entity can, does or will.
I suspect that the wider availability of newspapers online and 24 hour TV news channels is a far greater influence on the decline of the newspaper than bloggers. But in any case, whether bloggers are to blame or not it is the newspaper cartoonist who suffers:
The decision to eliminate the in-house cartoonist symbolizes a lack of understanding among those who hold the purse strings about what’s needed to save newspapers. Cartoon and column space can be filled with syndicated material, but the human quality is diminished when a paper’s own in-house voices are lost to the cost-cutting void.
Very true. But all the more reason for cartoonists to look for new ways to sell their work. I like to think that the blog is one of them.
Posted by Dave at 3:14 pm on November 25, 2005 and filed under Blogging, Cartooning.
Mark has kindly provided me with a link to the Royal College of Art secret postcard sale. The idea is that one can buy postcards for £35, not knowing whether they are by a famous artist or someone entirely unheard-of. I like it – the novel idea that art should be about what the piece looks like rather than the name of the person who has created it.
If I was a famous artist who was part of this I would do a really rubbish picture in an attempt to fool people. Or perhaps a really good picture as a double bluff. But there again my idea of a good picture might be everyone elses idea of a rubbish one.
The sale started this morning and ends tomorrow (Saturday 26th November). Obviously if you observing Buy Nothing Day you can’t take part.
Posted by Dave at 1:52 pm on November 25, 2005 and filed under Art.
I’ve made various changes to this site which, though small, will make life better for us all.
The site now runs using 3 blogs, one for the blog itself, one for the content and now one for the front page as well. The addition of the front page blog is to make everything match and look nice as well as to make it easier for me to manage the site and make changes easily, but if you’re reading the site via RSS feeds the ‘content’ and ‘blog’ sections are the two sections worth following, though in fact I do flag up all changes to the ‘content’ section on the blog. Make sense? No, I thought not.
I’ve also added a few sidebar sections to the blog pages (down there to the left). These are ’5 popular cartoons’, ’5 good blog posts’ and, for the sake of balance, ’5 rubbish ones’.
Posted by Dave at 9:51 am on November 25, 2005 and filed under CartoonChurch progress, Technical.
I’ve added a new worksheet to the main site, this time on the subject of ‘John the Baptist‘ (sample image above). The Bible passage it relates to is Mark chapter 1, which is the Anglican lectionary reading for the 4th of December, the second Sunday of Advent. It could of course be used at any time and might be suitable for youth groups, homegroups, discussion starters or as something to print on the back of the notice sheet. As per usual if you photocopy the worksheet I ask you to buy a licence, which can be done online via Paypal or by sending a cheque by post.
Ok, commercial over. Thanks for listening!
Posted by Dave at 4:49 pm on November 24, 2005 and filed under Worksheets.