Friday, January 28, 2011

David Clune is the NSW Parliament’s Historian and an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Government at the University of Sydney. He has written widely about NSW politics and history David Henry CLUNE

David Clune OAM with his wife Rosalind

David Clune OAM with his wife Rosalind

THINK NSW politics is colourful now? The antics of Kristina Keneally and co pale in comparison to some of the political anecdotes stored in the memory of NSW parliamentary historian Dr David Clune. Like the duel fought by the first NSW Premier Stuart Donaldson with his Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell in 1851.
“They both shot and they had near misses, and then, like good British gentlemen, they shook hands and forgot about the whole thing,” he said.
Clune recalls political colour

It is better to learn from the mistakes of others than to repeat their mistakes ourselves. For politicians this is certainly a truism. How to Succeed in a Hung Parliament;
The Worldly Art of Politics is informative and highly readable, for the most part,
thanks to some well-known contributors. Art and Politics: Carrying the dreams of another

Andrew TINK: “Four T’s” of time, talent, touch and treasure Nation built on second chances
On January 22, 1788, governor Arthur Phillip christened Sydney Cove after Britain's home secretary. Most people aboard the First Fleet, which arrived four days later, believed the governor's gesture was to honour his political master.

But Phillip had two political masters - the home secretary, Lord Sydney, and the first lord of the admiralty, Lord Howe, both of whom were cabinet ministers. As governor, Phillip was responsible to Sydney but, as a senior naval officer, he answered to Admiral Howe. So why did Phillip, who had spent his entire working life in the navy, choose to name the cove, around which the settlement was to be built, after a career politician? And why was the name of the renowned fighting admiral relegated to a speck of an island in the South Pacific? It was Sydney, rather than Howe, who had chosen Phillip as governor. Although talented, Phillip had always been on the outer in the Royal Navy. But Sydney had come to respect Phillip's abilities when he worked part time as a spy for the secret service, run in those days from the Home Office.

• Andrew Tink, a former NSW MP, is the author of the award-winning William Charles Wentworth: Australia's Greatest Native Son, and biographer of Lord Sydney. Best Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee ever ; My time in Australia will be for heart touching, heart moving delight Aust Day is about mateship [ Best in Blogosphere ; Top 100 Australian Blogs ]
• · KRISTINA Keneally's chances of leading Labor in NSW beyond the March election have narrowed dramatically after a summer of strategic blunders that have further eroded the state government's voter support. Keneally done for as rout looms ; Labor headed for NSW electoral oblivion
• · · I cannot recall a single instance in the past 10 years when a government minister or backbencher from Labor or the Coalition has criticised the police. Because they can do no wrong and have an immunity from criticism, a minority element treat politicians, Parliament and ultimately the public with a kind of contempt. Politicians still dancing to the beat of the blue light disco; In terms of blogs, look at things like Slate Magazine, which is basically a political blog, and many other blogs and Web sites have stepped into the mainstream in terms of journalism and news reporting. Students can get real world experience doing this Can Blogging Make a Difference?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This …
BUSINESS and politics are full of surprises—and a near certainty. Whether they are politicians, bankers or trade-union leaders, men nearly always meet other men in suits. The uniform of capitalism has conquered more of the globe than capitalism itself. When Barack Obama first visited Hu Jintao, paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China, the men were clad in near-identical dark blue suits, white shirts and red spotted ties dRESS Rolling Stone's July 8 Lady Gaga cover was the top-selling issue of the year for the magazine - Lady Gaga was a newsstand hit in 2010, while Central and eastern Europe Bombed

A Little Good, a Little Evil, a Lot of Ritual Still on the Road
Jesse Baker says Nick Denton's observation -- made on "Morning Edition" (audio and transcript available) -- shows that even the bad boy of online snark is starting to sound suspiciously grown up. The Gawker Media founder wants his sites to show the full range of content, from scurrilous and sensationalist through to beautiful and uplifting.

British Journalist Nick Denton is giving his Gawker media empire a facelift and unveiling it later this month. His family of websites has helped make snark a defining feature of the blogosphere. Denton says there will still be plenty of "nasty" left on his blog but he says readers want more than just brief caustic postings

Gawker boss: ‘People can’t live on snark and vicious gossip alone’ ; We've only had photographs for about 170 years and we're more reliant upon the camera to confirm our existence than at any other time in human history. We must have our memory in the raw with an intermediary Memory in the Raw [Books we love: Like many bookworms, once or twice a year I am struck down with reading doldrums. Then the stash of paperbacks on my bedside table seems less a collection of future delights than a useless repository of dust. Nothing pleases. ; Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation
Brace yourself for five piping-hot minutes of inertia: learning the true meaning of farce]
• · 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology Technology; Some areas of the brain, if not stimulated, will atrophy and die This Year, Change Your Mind
• · · Every day, Norman Mailer wrote in his small, stifling attic. Amy Rowland tried to write in the same place, but failed. It’s hard to write in another writer’s house... Attic; Resentment is not a zero-sum game because there is an infinite supply of it. A billionaire can resent just as well as a pauper: and, of course, vice versa... Pauper
• · · · Does he admire his characters or pity them? It’s never obvious. And that dark irony, that pitiless gaze that make him truly our contemporary Anton Chekhov is a mystery; There aren't an infinite number of ways a 19-year-old Brown University student can get a book contract. Going undercover as a student at the largest evangelical college in America is one. Roose spent a full semester at Liberty University in Virginia, founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, making friends with Bible-toting students, singing in the choir and getting an evangelical education — foreign territory indeed for a representative from one of the most fastidiously liberal schools in the nation. He even had an opportunity to interview Falwell himself, shortly before the pastor's death. Roose brought a secular perspective to the experience, which he said he undertook to help understand the evangelical movement. Of course, Becoming a published author before you graduate college is nice too
• · · · · X erotic interest was not lurid, voyeuristic, or morbid, but human: alert to desire, joy, longing, torment, and despair... Ruben is six foot three, 225 pounds, neck like a waist. You can hire him: $1,000 for every bone he breaks in his victim’s face ; A city compounds many worlds in one place. Rebecca Solnit’s poetic atlas of San Francisco isn’t a guide, so much as it’s a provocation Infinite City
• · · · · · Is this the year of the small press or what? The Pulitzer Prize went to Paul Harding’s Tinkers, published by Bellevue Literary Press (yes, as in the Bellevue Hospital), which also publishes one of my favorite journals, Bellevue Hill 2023 Literary Review ; To me, the sign of a good book is one that you want to give to everyone you like! Someone Knows My Rich Name
• · · · · · · Whether a person can escape Iron Curtain, even after crossing it, is arguable … Yes, what can a book review do for a book? ; I’m tired of my life, my clothes, the things I say. I’m hacking away at the surface, as at some kind of gray ice, trying to break through to what is underneath or I am dead. I can feel the surface trembling—it seems ready to give but it never does. I am uninterested in current events. How can I justify this? How can I explain it? I don’t want to have the same vocabulary I’ve always had. I want something richer, broader, more penetrating and powerful. If I could only forget myself and work! That’s how things are. More Saltier Cold River Bits

Monday, January 03, 2011

I wish for all of you the happiest and most hopeful of new years. May you laugh often, cry only when you want to, and never be bored in MMXI! Happiness seems an unintended side effect, like hives or a dry cough, the occasional byproduct of right living ;-)
And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not…
Is happiness ever unmixed, a pure state like pain or terror? And doesn’t it tend to evaporate as we become conscious of its presence? It’s not synonymous with pleasure, though like some pleasures it seems dependent on self-forgetting. Aquinas says happiness is rooted in "goods of the soul." Davis’ idea that being in a Haydn symphony may constitute uncomplicated happiness is suggestive. Being in implies not passive hearing but engaged listening – but listening to what? Music that is elegant, ordered, intelligent and spirited, with an impression of unlikely inevitability. Davis’ friend Edgar Bowers put it like this in From J. Haydn to Constanze Mozart (1791):
I carry one small memory of his form
Aslant at his clavier, with careful ease,
To bring one last enigma to the norm,
Intelligence perfecting the mute keys.
Many ideas we once thought were true turned out to be hard to unlearn...
History should never be used to inculcate virtuous citizenship. Yet it offers the richest imaginable source of moral examples – The essence of great fiction, drama, and life itself

The old year passeth Earlier the roadside dust was sweet. The fermented fruit, the brandy, is sweeter still, carried into the world on the walker’s boot
This has been quite a year for Mrs. MD and me, in some ways challenging, in others gratifying.

We've seen a hundred movies, dozen of plays, read every Vanity Fair magazine (the Spectator or the Financial Times if time permitted,) taken a full-fledged vacation, driven up to Kings Canyon and Uluru, spent a wonderful month in the red center reading books and more books ....
What Mrs. MD and I won't do is take our good fortune for granted, starting with the astonishing fact of our being together. It is, I suspect, exceedingly rare for two people in the middle of life to make a marriage as close as this one has become. When you survive Iron Curtain, every day is a surprise and a blessing. Like Theodore Dalrymple we have never been a one-book reader, devoting attention to a single volume at a time:
Often I read more than one book at a time. When I tire of one I fly to another. This is because the world has always seemed to me so various and so interesting in all its aspects that I have not been able to confine my mind to a single subject or object for very long; therefore I am not, never have been, and never will be the scholar of anything. My mind is magpie-like, attracted by what shines for a moment; I try to persuade myself that this quality of superficiality has its compensations, in breadth of interest, for example
Like Dalrymple, we are no scholars of anything but enjoy learning something about almost everything. Shakespeare was the keenest of cullers, and in that we also recognize ourselves. To cull is to select with discernment, whether the sweetest blueberry or the tartest book.
No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing? Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fanatical optimist?
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (May John Hatton Movement rocks in 2011)

... Turn the clock to zero, honey [How AK-47, more than A-bomb, changed history: If somebody were to tell you that the long tragedy of human warfare entered a new and deadly phase in the fifth decade of the 20th century, the historically literate mind almost certainly would jump to the invention of the atomic bomb, which ushered in an age of anxiety and the long balance of terror between the United States and the Soviet Union. Avtomat Kalashnikova - How the rifle I used in Czech Army change the history of the world ; The man of science, like the man of letters, is too apt to view mankind only in the abstract, selecting in his consideration only a single side of our complex and many-sided being. Hopes for 2011]
• · Father Dionigi recognized in his charge’s spirit a state similar to that of St. Augustine in his youth. He gave Petrarch a pocket copy of the Confessions, which the poet had not read. The book was Petrarch’s cherished companion for forty years. It journeyed with him to a mountain top, and once, in its owner’s pocket, it was near drowning with him in the sea. The Nativity of Our Common Adam; As Much as Can Be Made of Life Here’s a profound hole, yet no deeper than a coffin
• · · “To light a fire is the instinctive and resistant act of men when, at the winter ingress, the curfew is sounded throughout nature. It indicates a spontaneous, Promethean rebelliousness against the fiat that this recurrent season shall bring foul times, cold darkness, misery and death. Black chaos comes, and the fettered gods of the earth say, ‘Let there be light.’” Voltaire possessed an endless appetite for putting himself in harm’s way: duels, insults to nobility ; We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute -- the foundation of the human condition -- and should be better. What makes music sad
• · · · Art as Empathy,” David Foster Wallace noted in the margins of a Tolstoy essay. Wallace’s archive shows he was not such an abstruse postmodernist…While many children are capable of conjuring imaginative tales, the grade-school Wallace has an unusual empathy for the adult double-bind of finding purpose in a job that also brings misery Art as Empathy ; On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer? Cold River or computer?
• · · · · With Amazon, publishing is now beholden to one profit-obsessed company. What happens when you sell a book like it’s a can of soup?...Where once a publisher had to worry about competing for shelf space, now its entire list of books could be available to customers. Amazon; Depressing Russian Literature
• · · · · · Describing the paintings in words risks sentimentality or banality, which they never possess And thus abstract art is brought to shame, Even if we do not deserve any other; Ever dream of quitting your job and moving to a farm? This book will make you rethink that dream. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love