Posted by: jkirkby8712 | September 22, 2011

Wednesday, 21 September 2011 – a few meandering midweek thoughts!!

Not sure what I would think of this, but I can imagine the reaction of some friends  –  from the ABC site, news that British philosopher and public intellectual AC Grayling is considered the “nice guy” amongst the world’s leading “anti-religion” advocates … less cool and clinical than Richard Dawkins and more polite than Christopher Hitchens. Now, the mild-mannered atheist author has created a secular Bible, distilling the wisdom of the great non-religious traditions as a guide for life.   When it comes to God, Grayling is doggedly opposed. But he doesn’t put his book in the same league as Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and Hitchens’ “God Is Not Great”. It doesn’t attack religion and is unfailingly optimistic, for one. But that doesn’t mean it won’t upset many Christians.   “The Good Book” is a manifesto for rational thought, but mirrors the Bible in both form and language. Grayling explains he has spent several decades on his ambitious project, distilling what he considers “the best that has been thought and said by people who’ve really experienced life, and thought about it”.  Anyway, apparently he spoke at this year’s Sydney Writers Festival, and was reasonably well received.  I imagine that before I can give an honest opinion, I should try and read the book. Do I want to bother?  Probably not!

Incidentally, AC Grayling is an author, a United Nations human rights activist and professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has been a regular contributor to many UK newspapers and a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television. Grayling is the author of thirty books including “Thinking of Answers”, “Liberty in the Age of Terror”, “Descartes”, “Toward the Light of Liberty” and “Among The Dead Cities”.   I can’t claim to have read any of them [yet].

I listened to a brief video tape of an interview given to CPA Australia’s Alex Malley tonight – wish there had been a printed version of his comments available. If there is a current Australian I admire above others these days, it is Tim Costello, current CEO of World Vision, Australia  [and brother to former Liberal Treasurer, Peter Costello].  The interview included reference to his ‘foundational’ childhood, which often included two-hour discussions of ideas, at the dinner table with his teacher parents.  Tim noted that his 10 year school mates considered his family ‘strange’!!  He also explained how the whole concept of justice has always been a driving force for him.  Short but interesting perception of this man to continues to try and do so much good for others in need.

The new Spring season of horse racing basically gets underway this week, and while I have not been following the form as closely this year, apart from the odd bit of interest, it is always an exciting time of year here in Melbourne. I took a phone call yesterday from a former housing tenant committee member, with whom I used to engage in an occasional chat about the horses, and the best tips for the coming weekend or whatever. Admittedly that interest occupies large part of Geoff L’s life these days, so it was no surprise that he was overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement for the next couple of month’s horse racing. Thankfully, on this occasion he was actually ringing to speak to somebody else, so I didn’t get caught in a long discussion about hot tips and best chances.  With a large number of Group 1 races due over the next few weeks, there will no doubt be more coverage than normal on free to air television.

Meanwhile, I have been following the progress of the Australian Football League through the season, the National Rugby League is also well into it’s finals part of their season, and in fact Melbourne Storm is featuring in final this weekend, which if they win, will put them into the Grand Final.  They have already won the Minor Premiership this year, a great effort after being suspended for the season in 2010 [as far as earning any points was concerned]  and being stripped of their two previous premiership wins – because the Club had exceeded [deliberately, it seems] the relevant player salary caps].  Some might have expected a quite different outcome in 2011 after the drama of last year, but no, they continue to prove what a magnificent rugby team of players they are, a team that doesn’t need to depend on cheats at the administration and management level. While on the NRL, there’s another story happening this weekend, hopefully not with adverse consequences.  As reported online,  Brisbane Broncos playmaker, Darren Lockyer, faces insurmountable odds to play in this Friday’s Preliminary Final against Manly. Medical experts have warned Lockyer against playing, as further damage to his fractured cheekbone could result in potential damage to his eyesight and damage him for life. In recent times, Brett Kimmorley received similar injuries in 2009 as the Bulldogs made their charge towards the finals. After initially being ruled out for four weeks, he only missed one week – Lockyer has less time to prepare.  To illustrate the serious nature of the injury, Lockyer has been advised by medical specialists not to fly. But in true superstar fashion, he has arrived in Sydney by helicopter. Current odds for the match are Manly at $1.55 and Broncos at $2.45, but if Lockyer is ruled out the Broncos are likely to go as high as $3.  Lockyer is generally treated almost like a ‘god’ by his fans after a very successful rugby career. One hopes he is not taking too great a risk in not wanting to disappoint his team, fans or himself, by risking more serious injury.

Tonight was  Family History Society general meeting night – would have preferred to have remained at home, but duty called!!I did find it quite interesting, although these days, sitting around listening to other people talk about their research, does tire this member out rather quickly. Interestingly, Peter Free [our Chairman] gave me a loan of a bulky folder all about the Pennyweight Children’s Cemetery, near Castlemaine, which permanent readers will recall I visited a couple of weeks ago. A brief glance through the quite detailed contents, confirmed the opinion of the researcher at the Castlemaine Historical Society, on the 1st September, that there was no recorded record of the death and/or burial there, of my ancestor William Kirk’s first child, Mary, who according to her Death Certificate, was buried there. A disappointing little aspect of that part of the research. Nevertheless, it looked as though I had some rather fascinating ‘historical’ reading ahead of me.

Today’s Rugby World Cup result, just the one match – Tonga defeated Japan 31-18  –  as we start to get close to the end of the 1st round of qualifying matches



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