The Rankin Files: Exit Music

Cue the Doors classic--- 'The End'. John Rebus has reached retirement. 30 years on the force. He's long in the tooth, and slow on the draw..... albeit he never carried a weapon. He drinks too much, has become too cynical, and doesn't go to church anymore. He's overweight, underpaid, and out of time. But there is still life left in the old dog, even if you can't even get him to learn old tricks, never mind new ones.It is not an easy thing to finish strong and well a long running … [Read more...]

The Cambridge Chronicles: More Ely

Ely Cathedral has a very nice stained glass museum which you access by climbing the stairway to the clerestory on the left side of the cathedral. It is an interesting collection of ancient and modern stained glass, much of it taken from now defunct churches and preserved here. For reasons I do not understand, this was the one part of the cathedral they would not allow pictures in, though they only told me this after I took the first picture... below.The most ancient stained glass was … [Read more...]

The Rankin Files— The Naming of the Dead

Writing is sometimes like playing a sport. Even though you may always have the same skill level, you are not necessarily always on your game. You have days when you perform in inspired fashion, ideas come easily to you, but there are other days when this is definitely not the case. Whilst Fleshmarket Close was not Ian Rankin's finest, The Naming of the Dead, the 15th full novel in the series, must be near or at the top of the list of must reads by this prolific author. It has everything one … [Read more...]

The Cambridge Chronicles: Part Five

Only fifteen minutes up the road by train from Cambridge is one of my favorite small towns--- Ely. The thing is, Ely has a big cathedral, thanks to Etheldreda founding a monastery here back in the 7th century A.D. which led to a Saxon, then Norman, then post Norman church. What we see today in Ely is a composite of various centuries of additions and subtracts, including major additions in the roof of the nave and the spectacular octagonal lantern which distinguishes this cathedral from … [Read more...]

The Cambridge Chronicles: Part Four

There are in fact many educational institutions in Cambridge, including a huge number of foreign language schools. People come to Cambridge to learn English, particularly in the summer. Then there are the Evangelical institutions like the famous study centre--- Tyndale House on Selwyn Gardens. Here are a couple of pictures---Several of the scholars at Tyndale House do in fact do special teaching for Cambridge U. On top of that there are Anglican training schools in Cambridge … [Read more...]

The Cambridge Chronicles: Part Three

It has been said that Cambridge is the place where British eccentricity goes to die or at least where the odd get even. I can well believe it. There are a lot of wild and wacky, interesting and strange things, and people in Cambridge. Take for example the clock above. Yes, that is a clock with a gigantic bug on it, moving the seasons along. Some eccentric man agreed to donate pots of money to a particular Cambridge institution provided they would install and display this Oriental clock of … [Read more...]

Despicable Me 2—- Less Despicable, More Me are usually not equals of the first go around with a particular kind of movie, but sometimes you get a surprise. Despicable Me 2 is not as original as the first film of the series, but it is just as much fun, and just as lovable. Gru, no longer a villain, now runs a jam making company. But alas, the jam is not very good, and his right hand man (played by Russell Brand) Dr. Nefario is tired of not doing any devilish deeds.While the … [Read more...]

A Ride Through History—- In Honor of the Fourth

Time and again people have asked how I learned how to write and when it all began. In cleaning out my mother's house I found a hand-written essay of mine from elementary school days at Northwood Elementary in the early 1960s, perhaps when I was eleven or twelve, though there is no date on the paper. In other words, this is a story I wrote at least fifty years ago.I do not claim this is a great story or great literature, but it provides some clues about the gift of writing God gave me from … [Read more...]

The Rankin Files— Fleshmarket Close

Fleshmarket Close is the fifteen John Rebus adventure, but it does not match up to the very high standard Ian Rankin had set himself from about Black and Blue onwards. Here is a summary of the plot from the Amazon listing of the book..."An illegal immigrant is found murdered in an Edinburgh housing scheme: a racist attack, or something else entirely? Rebus is drawn into the case, but has other problems: his old police station has closed for business, and his masters would rather he retire … [Read more...]