Matthew Henry John Bartlett

+64 27 211 3455
email me

Saturday 28 November, 02009

Questions our rented feijoa tree provoked this morning

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:34 am
  • There are lots of waxeyes hanging around our feijoa tree. The tree is in flower, so I wonder — are they drinking the nectar and helping pollinate it? There is a family of bumblebees who live in a brick wall at our place, but I don’t recall seeing them hanging around the feijoa. Can birds assist pollination?
  • The flowers of the feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana) look a lot like pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) flowers, though the leaves are quite different. Are they related?
  • In a non-evolutionary framework, is there any such concept as species being related to one another?

Sunday 22 November, 02009

Getting 10:10 to New Zealand

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:40 pm

10:10 is a campaign to get individuals, businesses and organisations to commit to reducing their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. It was started in the UK by the excellent director of The Age of Stupid, Franny Armstrong. Chris Laidlaw interviewed 10:10 manager Daniel Vockins a couple of Saturdays ago (download it here). 10:10 has had quite a bit of success in Britain, with about 50,000 committed so far, including celebrity-types, MPs and sports teams. Vockins said if 1,010 New Zealanders sign up on the 10:10 global website they’ll launch it here by Christmas. I have signed up, and I think you should to. If you sign up you’ll receive pointers on achieving the cuts. Although individual consumption choices dictate only a small percentage of total emissions (see graph below – as Alex Steffen says “the parts of our lives that actually fall within our direct control are the tips of systemic icebergs”), the campaign has the potential to build a movement that would show politicians and industry (who can actually make the necessary reductions), as well as the public itself, that there is widespread support for real change. There’s lots more guff about 10:10 on the Guardian website if you’re interested.


Saturday 21 November, 02009

In case you were wondering what to buy me for my birthday, …

by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:01 pm

… which is on December 17 (every year – though this one is particularly special as I’m turning 30), I would like vegetable seedlings, a baby bike seat for my bike (like this), a helmet for Elke, a beard trimmer and some books from my Amazon wishlist (wow, dig the potential erudition in that list).

Sunday 15 November, 02009

A sermon from me on the ‘Little Apocalypse’ of Mark 13

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:53 pm

Sermon for St Michael’s, Kelburn
Psalm 16:5-11; Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14,18; Mark 13:24-32

Today I’m going to concentrate on the Gospel reading. It’s difficult material on more than one level. There is a lot of strange stuff about the sun and moon going dark, the stars falling out of the sky, and the Son of Man coming in the clouds – what, if anything, does this have to do with us, sophisticated city-dwellers, university students and graduates in the 21st century?

Wednesday 28 October, 02009


by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:14 pm

The antibiotics didn’t work, but I have seen a humpback whale, two bottlenose dolphins, four dugite snakes (venomous but shy), some bluetounge and other lizards, hundreds of quokkas, pelicans, more than two ibises and many other birds besides.

Wednesday 14 October, 02009

Sign on

by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:18 am

Eliza asked everyone in our street to Sign On yesterday, and most of them did.

Tuesday 13 October, 02009

To Perth

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:06 am

We’re off to Perth for a holiday from Thursday. My workmate leant me Dirt Music for the trip. I got up at 5.20. I have been cutting my hair. It looks about 6/10. I’ve had some toothaches. The antibiotic I’m on for an abscess above a tooth is responsible (via use by vets) for wiping out India’s vultures, wikipedia tells me. Land comes in huge tracts. Vegetation comes in vast swathes. Eliza found a large mirror in good condition in a skip.

Sunday 13 September, 02009

Being yourself

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:40 pm

I was thinking about the idea of ‘being true to myself’. I will grant for the sake of this exploration that my self is accessible to me and can give me useful guidance. But there are still forces acting on my self that are at more or less beyond my control or even awareness. These include my upbringing, physiology, class, and perhaps especially the ideas-environment my society (mediated by e.g. friends, church, the internet, ads, books, tv) provides me. My self is at least partly formed by these things, and perhaps is the sum of all these influences. So if I consult it, I’m not necessarily hearing from a more authentic or reliable guide than e.g. 3 News. (more…)

Friday 11 September, 02009

Climate change &c.

by Matthew Bartlett @ 5:38 pm

It’s all go at

Friday 28 August, 02009

Making Google Gears work with Firefox 3.5.2

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:39 am

You can make Google Gears work with Firefox 3.5.2 by adding browsing to about:config and changing extensions.checkCompatibility to false (or adding it if it doesn’t already exist). Presumably Google will release a new version of Gears soon. I missed my offline Gmail. More info here

Saturday 22 August, 02009

Truth to power

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:58 pm

From Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which I recommend:

It was an ancient custom in the funerals, as well as in the triumphs, of the Romans, that the voice of praise should be corrected by that of satire and ridicule; and, that in the midst of the splendid pageants, which displayed the glory of the living or of the dead, their imperfections should not be concealed from the eyes of the world. This custom was practised in the funeral of Julian [the Apostate]. (more…)

Sunday 02 August, 02009

Smacking referendum

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:04 pm

Despite the Returning Officer Robert Peden’s words “Voting in the referendum is easy”, I am conflicted about how and whether to vote. Smacking is not necessarily abuse, and the current law is bad law. But New Zealand’s problem with violence against children is shameful, and the law is likely to have a good effect: gradually changing the culture so that physical abuse becomes less acceptable. So I don’t want to see the bad law overturned, and therefore I don’t want to vote No. But Jesus’ command to tell the truth (e.g. Matthew 5:37) means I ought not to vote Yes either.

Sunday 26 July, 02009


by Matthew Bartlett @ 6:27 pm

I’m following a reformed chap’s ambivalent travels through Yoder’s Politics of Jesus (which you ought to read). He quotes Yoder thus:

In correlation with our sense of impossibility we tend to think of “apocalyptic” promises as pointing “off the map” of human experience, off the scale of time, in that they announce an end to history….Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom was unacceptable to most of his listeners not because they thought it could not happen but because they feared it might, and that it would bring down judgment on them.

Sunday 12 July, 02009

More Dear HP Compaq Notebook PCs Email Support

by Matthew Bartlett @ 4:45 pm

Can you update me with progress on this issue? What did the concerned department find out?

Best regards,

Dear Customer,

*** Please do not reply to this email. This email is not monitored. ***
Thank you for emailing HP. Your incident is closed or could not be found.

HP Email Support


Friday 10 July, 02009

JHY for the day

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:38 pm

John Howard Yoder’s book The Original Revolution arrived in the mail a few days ago, care of (the apparently a bit neglected & imho foolishly volunteer-staffed) goodbooks. Treat. Here’s a cracker quote from chapter 2, The Political Axioms of the Sermon on the Mount:

As the parallel statements in verse 45 and in Luke 6 make clear, we are asked to “resemble God” just at this one point: not in His omnipotence or His eternity or His impeccability, but simply in the undiscriminating or unconditional character of His love. This is not a fruit of long growth and maturation; it is not inconceivable or impossible. We can do it tomorrow if we believe. We can stop loving only the lovable, lending only to the reliable, giving only to the grateful, as soon as we grasp and are grasped by the unconditionality of the benevolence of God.