Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Tuesday 14 February, 02023

Find me in podcast-land

by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:20 pm

Sunday 20 December, 02020

A history of longing

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:41 am

Here’s a great lecture on the ‘American Sublime’ by one Jackson Lears. What we long for feels like some essential part of ourselves, but it might be the leftovers of some dude’s overcooked ponderings a couple of hundred years ago.

Featuring such artworks as:

Singing Beach, Manchester, Massachusetts
Singing Beach, Manchester, Massachusetts (1863) Martin Johnson Heade
Among the Sierra Nevada, California (1868), Albert Bierstadt
File:Frederic Edwin Church, El Rio de Luz, 1877.jpg
El Rio de Luz (The River of Light) (1877), Frederic Edwin Church
Icebergs floating in an ocean
Twilight in the Wilderness (1860), Frederic Edwin Church
File:Winslow Homer West Point, Prouts Neck.jpg
West Point, Prout’s Neck (1900), Winslow Homer
Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Ansel Adams
The Flatiron (1903), Alfred Stieglitz
Lillian Glish
Teddy Roosevelt in Kenya, 1909
Dionysius, 1949 - Barnett Newman
Dionysus (1949), Barnett Newman
Lichen on Round Stones near Flaajokull, South Coast, Iceland (1972), Elliot Porter
Dungeon Canyon, Glen Canyon, Utah * Cliff, Moonlight Creek, San Juan River, Utah (c1961/62) Eliot Porter

Lears warns that the sublime is coming back, ending with a bit of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets:

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.

Friday 20 November, 02020

Energy costs at the new house

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:43 am

Now that we’re well and truly settled in our new house (14 months in), I was interested to compare the energy usage here with our previous rental.

The happy gist is that the new Norway Street house costs about $730 less per year in energy (including heating, cooking, hot water etc), despite being about 38% larger in floor area than the Brooklyn rental. The new house also has the strange and wonderful feature of being warm everywhere in the house, all the time.

Our architects and builders put quite a lot of effort into making the house energy efficient, chiefly through air-tightness, insulation, window quality, and care with thermal bridging. Now it would be really interesting to compare the energy use with a similar-sized new house built closer to the standard required by the building code. Perhaps I can convince the neighbours …

Thursday 19 November, 02020

American Factory

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:45 am

American Factory' review: Obamas deliver nuanced Netflix doc - SupChina

American Factory, which is on Netflix, and which Dad tells me was funded by the Obamas, is very much worth watching. It’s the story of the Chinese resuscitation of a windshield factory in Dayton, Ohio.

The film is beautiful to look at, and offers many insights into what life might feel like for workers in the superpowers. Driving the film are the obvious clashes of culture and interests, plus a fight about whether to unionise (the Workers’ Paradise has strong feelings about unions not controlled by the CCCP). You can imagine how Trump might have some appeal in this world — ‘Make America Great Again’ might be heard as ‘put the Americans back in charge of our factory’ or ‘put our wages back up to $29/hour’ (rather than the US$14/hour starter rate under the new management). Amazing to me is the degree of access the filmmakers got — as well as the many interviews with people at all levels of the plant, you get to listen in (well, read the translation) when the Chinese boss explains to the Chinese portion of the staff how to deal with American workers who’ve been pampered since birth.

Michele Obama made the ridiculous comment that the film ‘doesn’t come in with a perspective; it’s not an editorial’ (and can you believe they call their production company ‘Higher Ground’?); much more illuminating is an interview with the filmmakers, Julia Reichert & Steve Bognar, by the Centre for Media and Social Impact, which I gather was published closer to the time of a previous film of theirs about the earlier closure of the same factory, when it was owned by General Motors.

Tuesday 09 May, 02017

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:54 pm

Tuesday 04 April, 02017

Something I made for Community Law Wellington

by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:53 pm

Sunday 18 September, 02016

Links of interest

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:06 pm

Psephizo: (How) does Acts 15 help us with difficult decisions? (via Peter Carrell)
John Smart: Your Personal Sim: The Brave New World of Smart Agents (video, via Richard Dennis Bartlett)
Renters United rank Wellington mayoral candidates
What you miss when you take notes on your laptop
Robert Fisk: Isis was quick to understand a truth the West must now confront
Greenpeace: Landcorp, NZ’s biggest farmer, quits palm kernel expeller
All the world’s immigration (2010–15) on one map (wassup Saudi Arabia?)


Friday 03 June, 02016

A few graphics for the NZ Council of Christian Social Services

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:49 am

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.47.02 AM

Monday 27 July, 02015


by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:06 pm

Barack Obama’s stirring, impressive eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney
How New Zealand’s missing the mark on climate change
The myth of the ethical shopper (via Craig Ambrose)
Anthony Cabraal reflecting on why he quit advertising six years ago to work in social enterprise

Saturday 18 July, 02015


by Matthew Bartlett @ 2:04 pm

This time last week we were at a church retreat on the shore of Lake Wairarapa. It was good. Great snacks. The content oddly orthodox & compelling: Jesus & St Paul. A good world marred. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. The word for that is sin. Both out there in the violent oppressive destructive alienating structures, but also right in here, in me, in everyone. So we have a problem. So God has a problem. God’s world’s not right. God’s mana offended. Jesus is the remedy. Jesus the man put to death in a religiously authorised state execution. The cross is mysterious and beyond final explanation, but many metaphors are used to try and get at it. Metaphors coalesce on Jesus being God; God in Jesus himself experiencing it all, humiliated, vulnerable, alienated; and that somehow dealing with the sin inside and out, redeeming it, putting things right. The word is next year will be about the resurrection.

Saturday 06 December, 02014

A sermon

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:19 am

A sermon from me for All Saints Sunday

Friday 05 December, 02014


by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:30 am

I’m having a good time building a WordPress website at the moment. I’m learning lots of bits and pieces along the way. About:

  • getting the site to look good on different screen sizes using css media queries
  • Google Chrome’s ‘device mode’, which lets you preview the screen shapes of various devices (e.g. iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy Tab)
  • using FontAwesome for icons
  • using a semi-transparent PNG image to give a div a translucent background (thanks minichate @ Stack Overflow)
  • having a background image change once a day by seeding rand() with today’s date (thanks Cronco @ Stack Exchange)

Saturday 04 October, 02014


by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:22 pm

Tuesday 26 August, 02014

What I’ve been working on

by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:18 pm

caring for people and money (FB)

More here


Tuesday 05 November, 02013

Pacifist Narnia

by Matthew Bartlett @ 5:33 am

Stanley Hauerwas: Could C.S. Lewis have imagined a world without war?