God of Wednesday:

I think the brilliant character of the giant Utgard-Loki, with his wry attitude toward that little fellow Thor who “must be bigger than he looks,” is a stand-in for Snorri [Sturluson] himself. They share the same humorous tolerance of the gods. There is very little sense throughout the Edda that these were gods to be feared or worshipped, especially not the childish, naïve, blustering, weak-witted, and fallible Thor who is so easily deluded by Utgard-Loki’s wizardry of words. What god in his right mind would wrestle with a crone named “Old Age”? Or expect his servant-boy to outrun “Thought”?

It also fits with why Snorri wrote the Edda: to teach the 14-year-old king of Norway about Viking poetry. This story has a moral: See how foolish you would look, Snorri is saying to young King Hakon, if you didn’t understand that words can have more than one meaning, or that names can be taken literally? The story of Utgard-loki is, at heart, a story about why poetry matters.


Compared to the colours of flags which are brash in their symbolism, the map-makers colours are indeed more delicate. They reflect the precarious and unstable nature of countries and borders as defined by the changing character of those states. In some ways these delicate colours contradict the bold and simple ones of flags, challenging those who stick their flags in a new region of the map, by that means trying to claim it.

slow reads:

Something you don’t see in a Christmas pageant: the slaughter of the innocents. But there it is, in the middle of Matthew’s account.

When Bethlehem’s young children were slain, Jesus was in Egypt. Joseph had been warned in a dream.

But Moses was already in Egypt. As an infant, he escaped by water, the means by which his pursuers were to perish.

Matthew’s baby Jesus is peripatetic, dodging bullets & fulfilling scripture. “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Luke: baby Jesus with the lambs. Matthew: baby Jesus on the lam.

Creature of the Shade:

So why water? Things present themselves most intensely right at the edge of their absence. This is the intrinsic drama of the urban waterfront — so much complexity right up against what reads to us as vast emptiness. Touching a large body of water is a contact-with-the-infinite that intensifies my sensation of the richness of the finite. So, after touching the water, I turn back — to the city or landscape that was behind me — and can how feel (not just know) that I’m seeing something that is vulnerable, contingent, even doomed sooner or later, and therefore real.

It’s almost too perfect.

The roar of the presses that ruled these rooms has been replaced, just as we all suspected, with the calculated silence of the conduit that carries our data. This data, in fact. These very photos.

100 years from now, when another one of you goes spelunking around this basement, that data, those bits, today’s moments, will likely be long, long gone.

But the women on the wall might still be waiting.