Sunday, October 23, 2011

He has endured 12 premiers, eight speakers and sat through countless debates - and scandals - in the bearpit in Australia's oldest parliament. After 21 years, the reign of the longest-serving Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Russell Grove, will come to an end when he retires on November 4. Russell Grove has been Clerk of the Legislative Assembly since 1990, having entered Parliamentary Service in 1971.

I've enjoyed every single day of my working life. I'm very fortunate in that regard.

Reflecting on how the parliament has changed in the four decades he has worked there, Mr Grove said there was ''probably more camaraderie 40 years ago. Civility is a big issue in politics internationally. But there is also more pressure on MPs''.
In the public gallery during the tributes were Mr Grove's wife, Frances, and daughter, Sarah-Jane.

Afterwards MPs joined Mr Grove for morning tea in the Speaker's Garden and he received a standing ovation at the end of question time. Mr Grove said he would tackle a pile of political biographies, but has no plans for a tell-all book of his own. On what makes a good clerk, he said: You just need to keep your mouth closed

It has been a great honour for me to have Russell Grove and his wife, Frances, as my constituents. From their location in Springfield Avenue in the heart of Kings Cross they have given me feedback about the night-time activities in Central Plaza. We also have a common interest in the Pearl Beach area. I know that although Russell is retiring I will still see Russell, Frances and Sarah-Jane.

Over this long period there have been great challenges and many changes. Throughout these times I have come to the view that only by having confidence in itself, and an ability to adapt to the new challenges while respecting the value of past practices, can the House survive as the sovereign body of our State. Unwarranted and unfounded criticism from whatever quarter should not deflect Members from their important duties and responsibility as representatives of the people of New South Wales ... To some extent we are honouring today the man who was not there. The fact is that the officials who sit at the table of Parliaments like ours in the place are invisible. Parliamentary Marco Polo

CODA: The Ghost of Grahame Cooksley is haunting Homer's Springfield...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.
-Alfred Hitchcock

The 19th-century social network. To enjoy the crowd, Baudelaire told us, one must have masks. His love of observing was at war with his fear of being seen...

We live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning?

Pinker the Prophet The Better Angels of Our Nature
Hitler, Stalin, Mao – three reasons to question moral progress. But has cynicism blinded us to a worldwide decline in belligerency?

WITH THE United States fighting two wars, countries from Tunisia to Syria either in or on the brink of intrastate conflicts, bloodshed continuing in Sudan and reports that suicide bombers might foil airport security by planting explosives within their bodies, it is hard to be cheerful. But Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker tells us that we should be, that we are living in the least violent era ever. What’s more, he makes a case that will be hard to refute. The trends are not subtle—many of the changes involve an order of magnitude or more. Even when his explanations do not fully convince, they are serious and well-grounded.

Why Violence Has Declined [ Showmanship and luck, but also a taste for secrecy and controversy. Most of all, be a blank slate: What makes a good prophet? ; The Alice books have been interpreted to death: an allegory of Darwinism, a tale of toilet training, a story of sexual desire. All miss the point. Tolstoy of the nursery.; Politics of personality. How to explain William F. Buckley? He had ideas, of course – 50-some books. But what mattered was his charm]
• · . The Jewish wit and the morose anti-Semite shared a friendship and a compulsion: extreme frankness. When Groucho Marx met T.S. Eliot; For Philip Larkin, letters were a crucible in which to refine his poetry. They were also the venue for airing regrets... I’m sorry that our lovemaking fizzled out
• · · Politics between the sheets. Revolutionaries must be monomaniacal, it’s said. But what is a revolution without sex? Without art? failure ; My brain made me do it. Can neuroscience distinguish between an automatic impulse and a self-directed action? Mike Gazzaniga chooses to weigh the evidence Decoding the Brain’s Cacophony
• · · · Take a clear-eyed look at the book biz. Only two major players, Amazon and Google, are still standing. Everyone else is looking for the best way to go bankrupt..; The great illumination. Streetlights changed everything, a fact not lost on those who prefer the dark: thieves, prostitutes, drunks, students...
• · · · · Hemingway’s later years: Ill health, night terrors. Forgive him anything. He writes like an angel ; Why do we exist? asks Richard Dawkins. Why are we here? For the 70-year-old biologist, a compelling answer: to continue deft battle withm intolerably conventional wisdom
• · · · · · Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. The Internet makes it hard to concentrate. Good, says Cathy Davidson. Disruption and distraction spark innovation and creativity ; Fashion, Kant wrote, belongs “under the heading of folly.” But men, it seems, have always been bemused by catwalk-gazing fashionistas
• · · · · · · Ours is a culture of whateverness: Disbelief trumps belief; opinions, buildings, behavior are trivial curiosities. Enthralled by ephemera, we’ve become idea surfers... ; When Ariel Dorfman fled Chile, he left his library behind. His years of roving were shaped by the books he could not read... Exile and identity

Thursday, October 13, 2011

After two hundred twenty days or seven months around the world, from NY to Mexico Argentina, Bohemian Czech land of Prague, Spain and much much more Gabbie is back to swim the Sydney beaches ;-)

The Power of a mistake
Note from NZ When I started my career at Mary Quant in the 60s I was schooled in the fail fast, learn fast, fix fast, mantra. Lines went from conception to launch to discontinuation at lightning speed; it was a great place to discover the power of a mistake as a way of learning and improving.

In a similar vein Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman says he learns more about the human mind when it makes mistakes than he does when everything is working perfectly. Kahneman has been studying intuitive thinking for 40 years, and said this at the start of a recent master class on the science of human nature:
If you want to characterize how something is done, then one of the most powerful ways of characterizing the way the mind does anything is by looking at the errors that the mind produces while it's doing it because the errors tell you what it is doing. Correct performance tells you much less about the procedure than the errors do.
We focused on errors. We became completely identified with the idea that people are generally wrong. We became like prophets of irrationality. We demonstrated that people are not rational. The Power of Failure

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sitting with my gin or whisky afterwards I would often manage to get into conversation with some lonely man or other--usually an exile like myself--and the talk would be about the world, air-routes and shipping-lines, drinking-places thousands of miles away. Then I felt happy, felt I had come home, because home to people like me is not a place but all places, all places except the one we happen to be in at the moment.
Anthony Burgess, The Right to ...

Steve Jobs, Bohemian Revolutionary

He personified his industry in a way few people do today. Not even Bill Gates has the star power of Jobs. Gates is more of a pure businessman (and now philanthrophist), while Jobs always seemed to be the innovator, the rock-star genius revolutionary. Who is the universally recognized person at the head of the American automobile industry? I guess you could say Rex Tillerson at Exxon-Mobil personifies the oil industry, and of course Warren Buffett is ultimate investor. But by and large, corporations and entire industries are faceless, ruled by come-and-go CEOs Tribute to to a guy who created home for many of us - Steve Jobs

Now we know that the presentation was taking place while the company's co-founder, the man who was the inspiration for everything that Apple did, was in his final hours. As the noted blogger Robert Scoble wrote, apologising for his own harsh words about Tuesday's event, that fact must have been known to Tim Cook and his closest colleagues. Think different and follow Robert Scoble admit to mistakes

Steve Dared to Think Different