Feast of St. Matthew. Backstory. Books and film.

September 21, 2007

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Mt 9:9-13

Want to hear the funny backstory to my cycling accident? I wasn’t even on a work-out ride. Last week, the Make Weekend Project was the Foxhole Radio, a sort of improvised radio that works without batteries, similar to a crystal radio set. With a minimal parts list and no soldering required, I figured it was within my realm of expertise. You need to use an earphone with it, but it can’t be one of those little beige freebie ones that used to come with every radio ever sold. It has to be a piezoelectric earphone (of the high impedance variety). I don’t have anything like this rattling around the house so I consulted Google Maps, and found that a Radio Shack was located only about 4 miles away.

In a burst of eco-smugness, I decided to ride my bike to the store, pick up the earpiece and some insulated wire (for the coil) and return well within an hour. Except, of course, I never made it to the store.

The next night, Saturday, was a homeschool potluck picnic, and it wasn’t long before I was relating the story to one of the other dads. At the end of my tale, he asked where I had the accident, and where I was heading. When I told him, he shook his head.

“There hasn’t been a Radio Shack over there for some time. It’s a Dollar General now.”

Strike one.

A few days later, I stopped at a mall on the way home to check with their Radio Shack. They had the wire, but not the earpiece. I tried a second mall and ‘Shack. Same.

Strike two.

I went home and queried the RS website, figuring that even if the part wasn’t available in the store, it surely must be available via mail order. Nope. Not in their inventory at all.

Strike three. Sit down.

So not only did I not make it to the store, there was no store at all. And even if I had, they wouldn’t have had the part I sought. Lovely. Somewhere in all of this, there’s a lesson. It could be a meditation on the journey, rather than the destination, or perhaps God was telling me something about my presumed abilities. Or maybe the lesson is simply “call ahead for availability first.”

In any case, the project is here and I ordered some of the crystal earpieces from Tubes and More. When they get here, I’ll put this radio together. And just for spite, I’ll only use my bad arm to assemble it.

Books and whatnot: Jonathan Strange started to get a little dull, but is picking up some speed now. Touchstone also did a nice little review, presumably for the recent paperback release of the book. I’ve not finished it, but my verdict thus far is that it could have seriously benefited from some editing. 800+ pages is a fairly ambitious first novel. It’s good, but the pace sometimes starts to plod a little for my tastes. Also, no matter how hard one tries to write in a period style, the modern sensibilities of the author creep in and start to distract a little.  At the halfway point, however, I’d still give it 4/5 stars.

Ezmerelda just finished Alexander McCall Smith’s Tears of the Giraffe, which is the second novel in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. She liked it, and I’ll probably start it before too much longer. She started reading through a Wodehouse collection. I’m looking forward to that one, too.

For movies this weekend, we have The Prestige and Kind Hearts and Coronets.


One Response to “Feast of St. Matthew. Backstory. Books and film.”

  1. josephmcbee Says:

    There is a lesson in there…somewhere. When you figure it out, post it for us. You will enjoy The Prestige. It is really a very good movie, lots of suprises along the way. And no, in case you were wondering, I won’t leave a comment on every SINGLE one of your blog entries 🙂 Have a good weekend.

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