Da Vinci Hoopla


The past few days have been wedged with work. A new book on the Gnostic gospels has been engaging most of my attention. Among the other, far less interesting tasks, was the trial of reading one of the hottest books on the market.

I have to confess that, despite all of the hoopla surrounding Dan Brown’s 2003 blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code, I had studiously avoided reading it. While I’m usually quick to check out whatever has become the latest hot topic in popular culture (don’t get me started on the grueling effort it took to watch the first seasons of both Survivor and American Idol), in this case was hard pressed to care. After reading several reviews it was quickly apparent to me that Brown’s book was nothing more than a warmed over, fictionalized version of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a work I had read in 1989 or 1990 (the memory, thankfully, has faded with time). I had no time for rehashing old fairytales, so I eagerly passed and assumed that in time the interest level would fade.

Boy, was I wrong. The Da Vinci Code continues to come up in conversation after conversation, with even seasoned Christians asking me what I think of the outlandish claims that Brown and his characters make. In the wake of Brown’s success, publishing houses have gone spawned waves of books either extolling or damning the background to The Da Vinci Code. I must confess that my own humble work-in-progress would not have been likely had not the publisher seen the possibility of grabbing a piece of Da Vinci pie.

In one sense, I’m delighted. I’ve never had quite so good a reason to stroll into metaphysical bookstores and strike up conversations with complete strangers. Gnosticism has become a hot commodity. Harold Bloom may very well be right in calling it “the American religion”, for it certainly seems to strike a chord in our self-involved, authority-allergic age. At long last, a way to remake Christianity into a cult of self-knowledge as divine knowledge. I wouldn’t be half so concerned if it wasn’t that the typical evangelical is already mired in a kind of self-referential spirituality. It’s only a short hop-skip-and-jump from where we are to where Valentinus, Basilides and Marcion still hold court.

This week is all about the ‘detailed book outline’ (dum-dum-dummmmm!), but I’m hoping to get around to continuing the urban ascetic line of thought. Also, I’m sneaking in snatches of William Cavanaugh’s Theopolitical Imagination, which is very stimulating. I’d love to get some reaction to a few of the juicier bits.

One thought I’ll throw out right away; is a poor theology of sacrament, particulary the Eucharist, to blame (entirely or in part) for the inability of evangelicals (in the United States, to be specific) to resist being coopted by the dominant cultural and political values in American life? I’ll try to find a clearer way of expressing that once I have more than a few free moments.

Heel And Relax?


Always remember to dismiss your dog from a short training lesson so that he can walk along again and relax.

When you have taught your dog to walk at heel and sit reasonably well in a long straight line, you can teach him the right about turn. As you walk along, put all of your leash in the left hand. Put both of your hands down to the dog’s eye level and pat your right leg with your right hand a few times as you say your dog’s name and “Heel!” in an interesting tone of voice. The noise you make slapping your right leg should attract the dog to follow you around to the right as you pick up your feet on the spot. As soon as you have turned around, continue walking up the path you came down. Praise the dog as he turns with you, and keep the leash slack. It might be necessary to give the dog a jerk with the left hand if he does not obey immediately. When you have done the turn, put the leash back into the right hand. Do two of these turns about eight yards apart, continue walking for a while and do two more. This turn is very good for getting your dog to watch with interest which way you are going, and it is good for getting your dog to give you more respect.

The right-about turn: To capture the dog’s attention, use a most interesting tone of voice as you say the dog’s name and “Heel!” and pat your right leg with your right hand a few times. Praise the dog as he turns his head around, and keep the leash slack.

You will find this very easy after you have taught your dog the right-about turn, because it is only half the angle, namely, 90 degrees. You may like to try it in a park or on a marked tennis court by heeling your dog around a square or rectangle. The white lines on a tennis court help to keep you walking straight. Just do four turns. That’s enough. Too many turns will bore your dog. Don’t forget to get your dog’s attention before you turn your feet in the next direction.

This turn is even easier than the right turn because you don’t have to keep moving the leash from one hand to the other and back again. Carry the leash in the right hand all the time. To turn left, take hold of the clip part of the leash with your left hand for one moment, say “Heel!” very quickly and give a short jerk along the surface of the dog’s back. The dog will suddenly stop; in that moment, spin on the ball of your left foot and your right foot will come around automatically, taking the next step across the front of the dog. This shows the dog which way he has to go. And that is all there is to it. You could practice this turn in a square too, going around in the opposite direction. Four turns are quite enough. If you went around in squares all the time, your dog would become bored very soon. Now that you know how to go forward, do the three different turns and sit the dog, make it more natural for your dog by including the different turns in a short walk.

Having walked along the footpath, this young handler has decided to do a right turn to the curb and then cross over the road.

Walk your dog at heel along a path or sidewalk, do a left turn to the curb and get him to sit at the curb’s edge. When there is no traffic approaching, cross the street, turn right on the path and, after walking a little way, turn right to the curb and sit. When safe, cross the street again and turn left on the sidewalk. Somewhere along that stretch of sidewalk you could do two right-about turns. By training your dog this way, he feels as if he is going somewhere and you are putting in the different turns, the curb sits and road crossings as you go. Never let your dog sniff the ground when heeling. If he does, say “Leave!” and jerk the leash up with your left hand. As soon as his nose comes away from the ground, praise him. Remember that your dog must pay attention to you when he is heeling. If he is allowed to sniff around, he won’t be taking any notice of you.

Having crossed the street, the handler has decided to turn left along the sidewalk.

Printable Pet Food Coupons to Delight Your Pet with Delicious Food

If you have a pet dog, you have to feed him, just like you would feed your child. Dogs need special nutrients, so you cannot feed your dog with bones and leftovers.

Dog food is not at all cheap, so the best way to purchase affordable, yet high quality products is to get printable dog food coupons. You will be surprised at the wide variety of dog food brands that offer coupons. You can select the type of meat, the vitamins, even the protein content of the product you want to buy. There are numerous pet food manufacturers who offer printable coupons on their websites. All you have to do is find the ones that are accepted in the shops close to where you live or the ones that include free delivery (in case of online shops).

All you have to do from now on is to pick some Wellness dog food coupons each month and get the right food to make the life of your canine friend long and happy.