Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 6, 2011

Tuesday 3rd May – Friday 6th May – Notes and news, one day at a time

Slipping up a bit this week, have not been here for a few days, so it must be catch up time.  Most of the week’s news  has understandably centred on the Osama Bin Laden killing in Pakistan – accusations, recriminations, praise, jubilation, anger, and so on, the method of operation, whether the attacking forces went in with the intention of executing him [this is denied of course], and so on.  Debate over this will continue for some time – certainly, it has left a bitter taste in my mouth, not so much because the man didn’t deserve some kind of punishment, but at the method in which it seems to have been carried out.

Then again,. Had he gone to trial, I wonder how many years that would have dragged on, and what kind of repercussions would have been created from terrorist circles.  I guess we can still expect some ‘payback’, but President Obama has argued against displaying photos of the murdered Bin Laden  [which have been called for, to provide proof that he is actually dead] on the basis, that to do so would only inflame the passions of his supporters and terrorist elements to an even greater extent than is already happening. I presume also, that the purpose behind the ‘burial’ by US forces of his body at sea has denied him a proper Muslim burial and the potential for some kind of martyrdom of the man. Anyway as anticipated, I’m sure this weekend’s papers are going to be dominated by stories from every possible angle.

My own week has not been a particularly  ‘happy’ one [at least up until Thursday evening] with concerns over Susie’s situation, and her current ‘loss of interest’ attitude in her studies, and in generally communicating with the family, her Dad in particular !  Impression is that she is seriously thinking of giving away those studies, but is not actually saying so!  So that has left me feeling somewhat inadequate, with her home most of the week, and  not really venturing out anywhere. That ‘mood’ hopefully had improved a little by Thursday, and last night I had my first uninterrupted sleep [even if only 6 hours] for quite a while.  Susie went back up to Bendigo during the day, presumably with some commitments of the university needing attention. Meanwhile, youngest daughter Jodie reminded me overnight,  that  ‘You shouldn’t worry so much, you really  don’t need to’. Probably true, but as parents, it is not something so easily put aside, irrespective of the ‘children’s’ age!  Anyway,  Thursday’s happenings allowed me  to go out to tonight’s Radio Committee meeting in a more relaxed frame of mind.

Quite a useful meeting again also – plenty of problems to deal with, as with any organisation, but we currently have a cohesive and  strong working team on this committee [bit of a contrast to the argumentative makeup of a couple of years ago], and it is an environment in which cooperation is much more likely to eventuate. One little interesting sideline –  since early Summer, the outside of the studio has been plagued by a nest of bees just outside the door, which we thought we had got rid of a couple of times. But the little beggars kept returning.  However, the ‘exterminator’ returned this week, and did just that – destroyed the next and ‘exterminated’ the bees. Oddly, myself included, most of the committee felt this was an unfortunate action to take – I guess we had assumed the nest would be moved to another location or given to some local beekeepers!!  A bit like the spider that encroaches into one’s house  –  ‘sorry little spider, but you have overstepped the mark, if I can’t remove you back outside, I’m afraid it’s the end for you’!!!

Wednesday night found your personal essayist in no mood for doing very much himself – watched an episode of my favourite TV police series –  East West 101 on SBS –  then, without really thinking, sat down and started to watch a Spanish movie, called Camino from 2008. If I had of looked at the TV guide and noted that this movie  did not finish until 12.30am, I would not have even switched it on!!  But, once started, it ‘got me in’ and that was the end of another attempt  at an early sleep [which would have failed anyway].


Camino. An award-winning Spanish drama, directed by Javier Fesser, and  starring Nerea Camacho, Carmen Elias & Mariano Venancio,  Camino is the story of a brilliant 11 year old girl who is facing two significant events in her life at the same time – falling in love, and a film is based on the real story of Alexia Gonzalez-Barros, a girl who died from spinal cancer at the age of  fourteen in 1985 and is currently in process of  canonization. Apparently, the film had some controversery, as Alexia’s siblings objected to Fesser’s use of Alexia’s full name in his dedication, despite him having undertaken not to directly identify her. He calls her Camino (‘the way’) in the film, referencing ‘the way’ to sainthood she apparently undergoes. As presumably depicted accurately in the film, Caqmino manages to shine bright and overcome the darkness that tries to stifle her desire to live, love and be happy.  The film won six Goya Awards, including best picture, best director, and best original screenplay, and is perhaps best summarised through the following online review.

‘Fesser portrays the Catholic organisation,  Opus Dei, in a negative way, depicting it as an extreme cult destroying families. Fesser suggests that Opus Dei manipulated the tragedy of the young Camino’s painful death for its own ends. Her elder sister is an Opus Dei acolyte, deliberately kept from contacting her family. Suppressing open signs of normal maternal grief, the mother seems almost inhuman in urging her dying daughter to ‘offer up’ her suffering for Jesus. The father struggles to protect his daughter from a concerted effort to canonise her (even before her death) by his wife, elder daughter, and Opus Dei officials. Even the hospital medical staff seem to be complicit in this.  In a subversive irony, Fesser suggests that Camino’s ‘Jesus’, whose name she invokes, is not Christ, but a teenage boy named Jesus (a common name in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries) on whom Camino has a normal schoolgirl crush. This is shown in dream sequences she experiences throughout the film’.

Despite the ‘happy nature’ that this girl  tried to maintain through her difficulties, it was certainly not a happy film to watch, and this week of all, was also a bad choice. However watch it I did, and despite the late finish, was well impressed [if not depressed] by the outcome!

On the political scene, we have this week had the State budget for the next 12 months brought down –  lots of the Liberal’s election promises from last November seem to have found their way into the document, but my work organisation very quickly noted that there was little in the Budget for our area of interest –  public housing, and in fact, funds overall for housing had dropped. Perhaps my retirement at the end of this year, is coming at an opportune time, as there may well not be an ‘organisation’ continuing!!  Anyway, it is the budget time of the year, because I think it is next week that the Federal Budget will be delivered amidst much speculation, and I believe, many deliberate ‘leaks’ about the contents!!  And once again,. I’m afraid that Opposition leader Tony Abbott is on the negative attack ‘before’ the budget has even been presented. I find it difficult to agree with this particular slant of his – I’d much prefer to have him attacking the government by countering with specific policies and proposals for corrective procedures.  So accordingly, his ‘message’ in a speech to the Victorian Employer’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry a couple of days ago was all about giving the government four tests to pass!!!

  • Can the government demonstrate a real rather than just a rhetorical commitment to spending discipline;
  • Does it have a credible strategy to pay off debt as well as to return to surplus;
  • Does it come clean about the costs of it’s policy failures; and,
  • Is it capable of being honest about the real costs of its policy initiatives such as the National Broadband Network and the carbon tax?

‘And he went on to say that if Wayne Swan [Treasurer] and Julia Gillard [PM] fail these tests, they will reinforce the view that we are a great country with a lousy government. A failure to be honest about the carbon tax in this Budget will reinforce Julia Gillard’s failure to be honest before the election. An honest government would use the Budget to detail a credible energy strategy and a time-frame to return the Budget to surplus and pay back the debt’    Well, I’m sorry Mr Abbott, but your approach to these matters and your use of the Opposition tactics and in the absence of clearly defined alternatives, are beginning to wear a bit thin in these humble eyes, and I’m becoming convinced [a little different to my views of  12 months ago, that the Coalition cannot win government while you are the leader.  You came close last August, but not close enough, and I think you have now missed your big chance – especially if Kevin Rudd regains the Labor leadership, eventually, which I actually consider he will  – like John Howard’s book,  there is another ‘Lazarus arising’ in the pipeline!!   .

Meanwhile, the ‘GET-UP’ organisation is on another campaign trail I notice, this time to save the depleted forests of Tasmania. It makes quite interesting reading, though of course only presenting the environmentalist’s viewpoint of the situation, and while I don’t always so along with some of the more extreme and outlandish views of the ‘Greenies’, I think there is some merit on this particular issue, although the following jargon is presented in a very emotive manner.. This is a summary of Get-Up’s latest email, which I received on Thursday……………………‘Archaic Tasmanian laws mandate that an area 100 times the size of Melbourne’s CBD must be logged every year. Environmentalists, unions and the logging industry have formed a rare agreement to save most of these ancient forests. But because of the Tasmanian Forestry Act 1920, these trees will be felled anyway — unless the Federal Government can step in and buy out the logging licenses.  Time is running out: this once-in-a-generation deal is about to fall apart. Environmentalists are under pressure to walk away from the deal because trees are still being logged. Industry players are ready to walk away because some are facing uncertainty and bankruptcy. Our forests are the greatest carbon sinks we have. They are the living lungs of our nation and home to hundreds of native species. In order to save them we need to make sure that timber workers get a fair go, the opportunity to develop skills in new areas, and job security — rather than an industry that is collapsing before their eyes. \We know this is affordable. For much less than the Federal Government spends on advertising each year, Tasmania’s iconic forests could be saved for all Australians, now and into the future.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to preserve our irreplaceable forests, wildlife, water catchments and help save our climate……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
The Get Up organisation has had some success with various political agendas, and has a reasonably large support base, but I’m not always so keen on the obvious one-sided nature of their approach in each instance., as in this case for eg, they remind us that archaic Tasmanian laws mandate that an area 100 times the size of Melbourne’s CBD must be logged every year!………………………………………………………………………….

But  to more important matters – sporting issues. The controversy over jumping horse races has raised it’s head in Victoria again, at the Warrnambool annual racing carnival this week. A racehorse died on the first day of the carnival, on Tuesday, while yesterday, in the principal jumps race in Victoria [the Grand National Steeplechase], a starting field of just eight horses saw only two of them finish the race, the rest threw their riders at different stages. Even more serious, one of the riderless horses, decided to jump over one of the external fences of the racecourse – into a crowd of spectators, seriously injuring a number of people including a two year old child! And the reactions from the racing community  – 

  • The race was a farce, although jumps diehards described it as “exciting”, “unpredictable”.
  • RVL chief executive Rob Hines was horrified by the carnage but defended the race. A freak accident: ” … it was a hell of a spectacle.”
  • “He is just a great jumper. It is his forte and he played to his strengths,” Maher said, adding he “didn’t breathe” as the seven minutes of calamity unfolded.
  • “Obviously a few made a few mistakes, you don’t see that in the Annual very often,” he said.
  • Maher said Al Garhood, now the only horse to win two Brierly Steeplechases and two Annuals, might return at age 12 in 2012.
  • Winning jockey Steven Pateman offered a simple explanation for Al Garhood’s incredible win.
  • “That’s what this race is all about. There are 33 obstacles and they all have to be jumped,” he said.
  • Robbie Lang, whose three horses failed to complete the race, had a similar sentiment.
  • “It’s a tough game and you have to stay on your feet,” he said.

It is these ‘few mistakes’ that are costing race horses their lives  – but both sides are determined to prove their views are correct – as reported in the Herald-Sun newspaper   –  ‘Whether jumps racing can stay on its feet is up to the minister (an unabashed jumps fan), and RVL, which seems far more tolerant of it now than a year ago. Supporters will point to the scoreboard after yesterday: no horses dead, no horses injured. Detractors will point to the race – the most iconic and important of all the jumps races in Australia – and say it was ridiculous’.  Or as someone else suggested, a ‘farce’!! I’ve suggested before that it is not a question of whether jumps racing will be banned in Victoria [Victoria and South Australia are the only two states in which the jumps are still permitted]  but when it will happen – the outcome will inevitably happen one year. I wonder how many more horses will die however before that occurs.  It was in 2010 [or perhaps 2009] that three horses died in three days at the Warrnambool carnival!!

As for my football team,  all 22 players from Carlton’s victory over the Sydney Swans last weekend,  have been named in the 25 man squad for the round 7 match against St Kilda  to be played on Monday night, of all times.  Joining them in the squad of 25 are Lachie Henderson, Matthew Watson and Chris Yarran.  Yarran was a late withdrawal, due to hamstring tightness, from last week’s game against Sydney. Matthew Watson made his AFL debut in round two in Brisbane and played the following week in the blockbuster against Collingwood at the MCG. He was rested for the next game and has played the last two in the VFL [the equivalent Reserves competition].  Henderson, who had an interrupted pre-season, has played one AFL match this season. Jordan Russell will play his 100th AFL match in the game on Monday night, becoming the 160th Carlton player to play 100 games for the Club. He is one of just 21 players to play his 100th game and make his debut against the same team, and only the second to do both against St Kilda. The squad will be finalised on Saturday afternoon, for Monday night’s game.

Susie returned from Bendigo early this evening, and not long afterwards went out to have a meal with a girlfriend. Her younger sister Jodie, called around not long afterwards [with James’ dog ‘Murphy’]  to use Susie’s computer [hers is out of action apparently] – I think she thought Susie might have been home. Stayed for a couple of hours – think she was preparing a job application while I tried to keep the dog calm and not too excited [and to keep him separated from the two cats!!].  I didn’t really mind having James’ dog here, although I don’t think he has yet got him properly ‘house trained’ so I am always a little apprehensive about where the dog is at any point in time!  He behaved tonight!!


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