On Unplugging (At Least Sometimes)

I liked this article posted by author Nick Earls.

Nick Earls

Brisbane’s last walk-in video store is about to close. I can’t say I realised one was still open, but it’s not a bad time to pause and note the transience of an industry that started from nothing only 40 years ago, became a staple of suburban life, seemed irreplaceable as recently as the turn of the century and then skidded abruptly into the ditch of obsolescence.

It’ll be put down to streaming, but it’s more than that. It’s life. Yes, we stream, and we stream plenty (I’m sounding like someone with out-of-control rhinitis, but bear with me), but there’s more going on. We’re also spending time on YouTube and other infinite sources of online content, but there’s more to it than that too. It’s the arrival of a world of apps in our pockets, all on one convenient device. When the machines rise to take over, they will come in…

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Slow reading, slow blogging.

I see it’s been over three months since I posted anything here. It’s also been a while since I updated my “Books Read” list.

The latter is because my reading progress has been very slow recently and I’ve been struggling through some books of non-fiction, that while interesting, don’t have that page-turner nature.

Today I’m starting four week’s leave, so won’t have the opportunity to post anymore until I get back in mid January. However, I have been posting quite a lot on my “Onesimus Files” blog, where I’ve also set up several posts to be published over the next couple of weeks. See that blog here for writings about spirituality, politics, art – and other things that pique my interest:


Note that any comments submitted to this site during my absence will have to wait for my return before passing through moderation.


Baghdad Burning by Riverbend (Clashes and Churches).

I’ve now finished reading the first volume of Baghdad Burning, by Riverbend; the blog of an Iraqi woman published in book form.

The blog is still available on line at https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/

Whether in book form or the blog itself, I feel it should be essential reading: even compulsory reading for anyone who thinks the 2nd Bush war against Iraq was justified. However, anyone who takes that view, would be unlikely to have their opinion changed by the words of someone who was on the receiving end of Bush’s “crusade” who saw the effects it had on what was once a thriving nation (albeit one ruled by a malignant dictator).


baghdad burning

Last week churches were bombed- everyone heard about that. We were all horrified with it. For decades- no centuries- churches and mosques have stood side by side in Iraq. We celebrate Christmas and Easter with our Christian friends and they celebrate our Eids with us. We never categorised each other as “Christian” and “Muslim”… It never really mattered. We were neighbours and friends and we respected each other’s religious customs and holidays. We have many differing beliefs- some of them fundamental- but it never mattered.

It makes me miserable to think that Christians no longer feel safe. I know we’re all feeling insecure right now, but there was always that sense of security between differing religions. Many Iraqis have been inside churches to attend weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Christians have been suffering since the end of the war. Some of them are being driven out of their homes in the south and even in some areas in Baghdad and the north. Others are being pressured to dress a certain way or not attend church, etc. So many of them are thinking of leaving abroad and it’s such a huge loss. We have famous Christian surgeons, professors, artists, and musicians. It has always been an Iraqi quality in the region- we’re famous for the fact that we all get along so well.

I’m convinced the people who set up these explosions are people who are trying to give Islam the worst possible image. It has nothing to do with Islam- just as this war and occupation has nothing to do with Christianity and Jesus- no matter how much Bush tries to pretend it does. That’s a part of the problem- many people feel this war and the current situation is a crusade of sorts. ‘Islam’ is the new communism. It’s the new Cold War to frighten Americans into arming themselves to the teeth and attacking other nations in ‘self-defence’.

From the Baghdad Burning Blog (Saturday, August 07, 2004) full article can be found here:



I’ll get around to reading the second volume of Riverbend’s writings when I’ve had a short break to read other things. While the writing style is easy – the content is much more challenging to deal with. I could only read it in short sections – maybe one or two blog posts at most. The realities of what was done to Iraq and its people, all in the name of western political lies is hard to digest. And yet, if it was so challenging to read about – I can’t imagine what it was AND IS like to live through, day by day, year by year.

BB vol 2


Baghdad Burning : Girl Blog from Iraq by Riverbend

baghdad burningBaghdad Burning should be compulsory reading for every US, British and Australian citizen.

It clearly describes how those nations helped destroy peoples’ lives and culture, all in the name of family Bush and those nations who followed them based on blatant falsehoods.

The book should be compulsory reading for political or military leader who think their invasion of another country is in the best interests of the people of that country.

While published as books in two volumes, Baghdad Burning was originally written as blog entries, as events unfolded, by an Iraqi woman as the life she knew was destroyed by the Bush family invasion of her country and its aftermath.

Well written. Grippingly informative. Devastatingly frank. Even at times joyful and humorous.

It’s not easy reading.  It can’t be read quickly. It requires regular breaks to reflect on what has been said. To reflect on the injustice, outright criminality and corruption all carried out in the name of “freedom” and “democracy”.

The blog is still available on line, don’t forget to start at the beginning by using the menu on the side bar, and don’t read in reverse order by starting at the opening page and working downwards.



However if you are interested in the books volume one is available here, at the time of writing this it was half price: https://www.bookdepository.com/Baghdad-Burning/9780714531304.

Volume 2 almost half price: https://www.bookdepository.com/Baghdad-Burning–v–2/9780714531335

BB vol 2


Baghdad Burning

An article in the Guardian, “Top 10 books about the Iraq war”* made me aware of the Baghdad Burning blog:

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/BB vol2BBurn vol1

The blog content has been released in book form, with two volumes. After reading through the first few entries on the blog I didn’t hesitate to order the books.



Thursday, August 21, 2003 posted by River


Most of the emails moved me to… gratitude. Thank you for understanding… no, thank you for even *trying* to understand. Other emails, on the other hand, were full of criticism, cynicism and anger. You really don’t have to read my blog if you don’t want to and you certainly don’t have to email me telling me how much you hate it. It’s great to get questions and differing opinions- but please be intelligent about it, and above all, creative- if I want to hear what Fox News has to say, I’ll watch it.

And keep one thing in mind- tanks and guns can break my bones, but emails can be deleted.



* https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jul/13/top-10-books-about-the-iraq-war-chilcot-report



Since I started my “books read” list in November 2009, I’ve read 298 books (as of today).

That means I’m only 2 books away from the triple century milestone and have read an average of 40+ books per year for the past 6-7 years.

Now, what do I do?

Just continue reading and ignore the “significance” of my 300th book? Or do I make sure I hit that target with a book of significance? But what would be a suitably significant book to read as my 300th?

I don’t have much time to make the choice. I’ll be starting book 299 today.




Risky Reading (and blogging)

There are clear risks for a Christian to have a book blog, particularly when the majority of books mentioned (and included on my reading lists) are “secular” books.

Now that word “risk” may seem a strange choice – what risk could there possibly be?
Well… some people like to dig around and find “evidence” they can use to discredit the blogger elsewhere. It’s happened to me in the past, when I was a frequent contributor to a Christian forum. One of the other contributors visited the blog I kept prior to this one, and saw something I’d written about a Stephen King biography – BINGO! – They had “evidence” to prove what a compromised Christian I was, and therefore whatever I wrote on that forum couldn’t be trusted.

A similar thing happened this week, when a poster on a Christian forum pointed out that I’d read five secular books so far this year (clearly finding that information on this blog) , presenting that as evidence of a compromised spiritual state, attempting to invalidate what I was saying in the discussion underway.

That kind of thing is something I have to weigh up before posting anything to this blog – but to date I haven’t held back anything I’ve wanted to say and I haven’t left any books off my “books read” lists to hide my reading material. I have no need to be dishonest about it.

The only concession I make with regard to this issue, is to limit links from my other blog, (one that deals more specifically with Christian matters) to this one. I find I can’t trust some people to put aside religious narrow mindedness to appreciate the reasons for what I read, and the subjects I write about here.

On the other hand, I have no reticence in sending traffic from here to there. In fact I’d like to think that people, who may come here through an interest in books, could also be interested in visiting that other blog and be exposed to a more targeted Christian viewpoint on a variety of issues.

Here is a link to that blog