Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 2, 2012

Monday, 30th April 2012 – International Jazz Day

It was friend Heather in Ballarat, who reminded/advised me via text this morning,  that today was the inaugural International Jazz Day. April 30 was recently proclaimed by UNESCO as ‘International Jazz Day’ with plans of it becoming an annual event each year. In conjunction with that, Herbie Hancock was recently named as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue, and his first act in this position was to instigate the UNESCO International Jazz Day, today!!  Many countries were already involved in the celebration of that occasion, and I noticed there was a 2 hour program concert at Melbourne’s City Square at lunch time today of jazz performers.

Well of course, with that news, I immediately decided it was necessary to make a small addition to tonight’s ‘Smorgasbord’ program, and to include early in the show, acknowledgement of the Day [and of my Ballarat friend’s advice thereof] – I included a track from Herbie Hancock himself – ‘Canteloupe Island’. I always play jazz tracks during the final 30 minutes of the show, after 11.30pm, but am always keen to find an excuse to add a little extra of that ‘genre’ throughout the program. Must admit, I was a little distracted at one point in tonight’s program –  the exchange of text messages with said friend, I guess a preferable alternative to those on-air presenters who find themselves caught up in phone conversations during their programs. Meanwhile one of my other Monday night segments ‘of world music’ included a track from the Royal Scottish Fusilliers, bagpipes and all, called Bonnie Galloway – played that one especially for Jayne out there at Glenhuntly, who continues to be a loyal listener of the station despite now having being through over 12 months of illness and pain, a problem which the medical people she goes to can’t seem to fix!!

Earlier today, had a rather ‘tough’ session at the gymnasium [first visit since this time last week], followed by an hour of ‘banking’ etc in the town before I could finally get home. Was pleased to hear later in the afternoon, that the letter note & card I’d sent to Heather, just yesterday, arrived in Ballarat today. A bit of a contrast to the now obviously ‘lost in the mail’ item she had sent me ten days ago!

Meanwhile, my weekly email from the coach of the Carlton Football team arrived today – well, I can’t claim it was sent personally to me, more a generic correspondence to members etc, however it is constructed to be of a personal nature almost!

Certainly, an efficient means of keeping in touch with the club   membership and internet based supporters, while enabling a close watch on the   coach’s thinking on games past and future.

‘Dear Bill
Friday night’s eight-point victory over Fremantle was a huge result for us given the disappointing loss of six days before. The win was the first for any visiting team to Patersons Stadium in the 2012 home-and-away season, and to be truthful we really thought we were up to the task. We’re generally pretty confident whenever we go on the road because the whole experience seems to bring us closer together.
Undoubtedly, the key focus for “Freo” was our approach. That was the one thing we could control. We couldn’t control the crowd numbers or who was supporting who over there, but we could control what we were doing and it was more about effort than anything else.
Another message related to responsibility when in possession of the ball and composure when dealing with the numbers up the ground. It was also about knowing that when one-on-one or two-on-two scenarios were “on” in the forward 50 this was the right time to go in.
Though a few unnecessary risks were taken once a reasonable lead was established late, the boys were for the most part tremendous in the way they played on what was a 24-degree night with a six-day turnaround.
On a personal level, I managed to get the “red-eye” safely home, arriving in Melbourne at five o’clock on Saturday morning – just in time to be with my wife Jo for the birth of our little daughter Tilly at 8.16am. Before I’d departed for Perth, Jo and I had spoken at length to the doctor and thankfully the birth went according to the “gameplan”.
At the time of writing I’d had about an hour’s kip on the return flight with a 40-minute powernap on Saturday afternoon and a spasmodic sleep through Saturday evening. But I can rest easy knowing that mum and baby are fine.   The game of football and of course the four points are pretty important. But there are moments in life that are very special, you can’t get them back and sometimes you do have to stop to smell the roses because it all passes so very quickly.
Nobody wants to be in a place where they one day reflect with some regret . . . and I’m just so rapt that the events of the weekend worked out so perfectly.

Kind Regards

Brett Ratten
Member #1018372’

From football, to politics, and as referred to over the weekend, things are heating up ‘again’ in Federal politics for the Labor Party, and I thought the following Editorial from today’s edition of the Australian Financial Review provided an interesting perspective and one view of the current situation. Headed ‘Too long to fix Labor’s festering mess’ it went on to say:

‘Julia Gillard moved to clean up a huge political mess ­yesterday, but once again belatedly, and a mess that is largely the result of her own missteps. She should have forced the suspension of Craig Thomson from the Labor Party some time ago and it is increasingly clear that Peter Slipper should never have been elevated to the Speakership of the Parliament.

Ms Gillard says she took action yesterday because of her view of what’s best for the Australian people. “I understand the matters concerning Mr Thomson and Mr Slipper have caused Australians to become concerned about standards in public life today,” she said. But this is very hard to reconcile with her protection of Mr Slipper and Mr Thomson thus far. She was much closer to the mark when she suggested, in contradiction, she acted because the Australian people had been disgusted by the stinking mess that props up her government.

The fact is that her protection of both men in order to retain enough support to hold government has made matters worse for the Labor Party. Mr Thomson offered to stand aside 12 months ago. And Ms Gillard should not have been blind to Mr Slipper’s self-confessed colourful background before appointing him as Speaker, and not pushed for his return in time for the budget once the travel abuse claims were decided.

Rather than taking the honourable course and cleaning up the mess of Mr Thomson at the start – he has been accused of misuse of Health Services Union funds and has been the subject of an investigation by Fair Work Australia – Ms ­Gillard let it fester because it suited her own purposes, as Mr Thomson’s continued presence on the government benches secured enough votes for Labor to retain government. And instead of asking Mr Slipper to stand aside while the sexual harassment and travel entitlements abuse allegations are ­settled, she originally wanted his return to the Speakership in time for next week’s budget session even if the harassment claims were still ongoing. It is hard to believe she only recognised after returning from overseas that the Australian people are becoming increasingly revolted by this situation.

Until now Ms Gillard has given her unwavering support to Mr Thomson, ostensibly to back the principle of the presumption of innocence. However, she showed no apparent concern in the face of credible evidence that Mr Thomson and his fellow ­cronies had plundered the union that helps prop up Labor, to the cost of low paid and mostly female workers.

After ditching her promise to Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie to enact poker machine reforms in return for his support for minority government, she then had to find another vote and did what this newspaper then described as “the dirty deal” of installing Mr Slipper, the former Liberal, in the Speaker’s chair. Yesterday Ms Gillard talked about the importance of respect for the Parliament, but she in fact showed contempt for the people by installing such a dubious figure into what should be one of the most unimpeachable positions in Australian parliamentary democracy. The line she says has been crossed is the public disgust over her ­handling of parliamentary matters.

When asked yesterday whether Australia would be better served by an election, she suggested that it would be better to allow the government to pass legislation such as the budget and then dwelt on meetings with leaders in Singapore and Turkey and the renewed weakness in the British economy. But after the bitter divisions over Kevin Rudd, the latest imbroglio is ­turning Australia into an international laughing stock and confirms that a vulnerable minority government is not best placed to insulate us from the shock waves of budget austerity in the northern hemisphere.

This minority government has been a mess. One of the key independents, Rob Oakeshott, who originally proclaimed the new political paradigm could be “beautiful”, last week said these have been its darkest days.

Labor has rebutted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s demand that Mr Thomson shouldn’t have a vote by arguing that he has not been proven guilty of anything and to withdraw his vote would invite more charges against others. There is strength to this argument, but there are larger matters to consider. The Thomson affair should have been dealt with years ago, and Mr Slipper should not have been installed as Speaker in the first place.

We are left with a government of enormous precariousness. With Mr Thomson on the crossbench, Mr Slipper not voting and Labor MP Anna Burke in the Speaker’s chair, the Coalition, with 71 votes, has more numbers in Parliament than Labor, with 70.

Labor’s continued need to secure enough votes to hold government and pass legislation has left it more ­distracted and vulnerable than ever.’

The same newspaper had an even more balanced article, which from my point of view provided a good summary of the whole range of sagas referred to in the above editorial. Titled ‘Storm began brewing nearly 10 years ago’ and beginning with the paragraph that ‘Craig Thomsom was not yet an MP and Peter Slipper was still firmly in the Coalition camp when the saga started….The saga surrounding [them] has all the drama, intrigue and lurid detail of one of Gore Vidal’s epic novels about politics, sex and power. As Prime Minister Julia Gillard attempted to rescue her troubled government by distancing itself from both men yesterday, the two MPs maintained their innocence and each said they hoped they would soon return – one to the ALP and the other to the Speaker’s chair. If, as Gillard observed, the Australian public looks at Parliament and sees a ‘dark cloud’ over it, then it is a storm that started brewing a long time ago’  –  for my own interest and record I would have liked to have copied that article to these pages also, but it seems I need to be a formal online subscriber of the Financial Review. I find many of their articles extremely interesting but I’m not quite ready or in the position to pay for a daily subscription, only buying the paper on the occasional basis.

Anyway, back to mundane matters – as indicated earlier, another enjoyable on air program tonight, and home soon after midnight, where I then sat down for an hour watching a taped version of a show called ‘Revenge’ which I seemed to trapped myself into following – I think it’s getting close to a climax and ending, I notice there is an extra screening this week, on Wednesday night! Earlier in the day, Bill’s ‘good nature’ was called upon again, with Shirley asking me if I could drive her to the local Day Hospital early on Thursday morning next. No problem of course, she has done the same thing for me over recent years irrespective of our ‘separation’, although I did indicate that a gym session between 9-10 am might coincide with her return home – we would sort that out at the time.  In the meantime, I reminded myself that nephew Duncan’s ‘Class of ‘59’ rock n roll touring show is on at the Crown Casino in Melbourne this Friday and Saturday nights, and while my original intention was to go and see it in Bendigo in a few weeks, I did give some thought to going this weekend.  I actually promoted the show on the radio tonight.






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