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Daily Archives: December 19, 2009

Blogging the Noughties: 6 — 2004

 grumpy

Yes, believe it or not, I have been blogging for the whole decade! This is the sixth of a series.

No guarantee the links still work! These are taken directly from copies of the old Diary-X blog.

Entry 127: Miserable git writes entry.

2 June: A short one today — possibly a relief to my readers after the past couple.

I still feel like death, a bit of a contrast to last Wednesday, eh! It’s ironic that this cold (flu?) came on the very day I was meant to be having a flu shot at the Salt Mine, but even I knew it is foolish to have a flu shot when you are already fighting off an infection. Madam cheered me up no end by telling me that Jerry had a flu shot and was dead two weeks later…

I may give in and go to the doctor today. So far I have only missed one day at the Salt Mine, as Monday I don’t work anyway and today there is a strike. We’ll see if I am up to going tomorrow, but I certainly won’t go coaching this afternoon.

At least one consolation is that the broken tooth (it fell apart during Sunday’s lunch with the Empress and Sirdan) is not hurting, but I can’t do anything about that anyway until I am over this present episode.

Delenio greeted me via ICQ last night — first time for ages. Sent get well greetings, as he apparently still reads this diary. He is deep in some essay on historiography and finding "poor historians" (both Keith Windschuttle and his haters) very frustrating. Last time Delenio and I talked about this he was rather taken with Sir Geoffrey Elton on this subject.

Elton’s view of the nature of history and its study had a very simple starting point: in the past there were people like us, reasoning people with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, concerns and problems. These people lived and made choices and what they did produced the events, effects, creations and results which is history. When people acted in the past, exercised their will and made choices they made their futures and created our present. History for Elton was explicable, but the varieties, complexities and vagaries of human reasoning and thinking in diverse situations made it unpredictable.

… Elton was above all concerned to assert the responsibility of those who study the past to acknowledge its humanity: ‘The recognition that at every moment in the past the future was essentially unpredictable and subject to human choice lies at the heart of a study which respects the past and allows it a life of its own. If men (and women) are treated as devoid of choice, their reason is demolished; the product is a history which dehumanises mankind’.

… In Elton’s concept of history as a story of human existence and activity there was little place for those large-scale forces, trends, structures, and patterns beloved by social scientists. Everything in history–the events of the past–happens to and through people. Sociological categories may be useful descriptive shorthands of movements and outcomes over the long-run, but they remained abstractions unable to explain specific actions and events–the details and particularities of past happenings created by real people doing something. ‘History deals with the activities of men, not abstractions’, Elton wrote.

Conservative but sensible, I would have thought.

Well, that’s it again. Told you it would be shorter. See you tomorrow if I am still vertical 😉

(Wonder how this would look written in the International Phonetic Alphabet?)

Later

Doctor Banquo tells me 1) I’ll live and 2) to go to bed for the next couple of days. Well, I’ll do that, kind of… 

Entry 128: Miserable git recovering…

Con-Dopey.Ch 3 June: I am still vertical after all, even if still feeling a bit as if hit by a truck. The Salt Mine is doing without me today, though I guess given what I said last week about the peculiarity of my Wednesday/Thursday arrangements I could be said to be still on strike… Tomorrow we shall see. The Rabbit gave me a call last night to see how I was, and I was I hope articulate: very happy to have had the call, Mister R 🙂

Speaking of being hit by a truck or car, there was chaos in Cleveland Street (just around the corner from here) this morning as a power pole was almost snapped in two by an early morning collision. As of 10am they are still doing the final touches on the replacement pole. Power lines on main roads should be underground, don’t you think?

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2009 in blogging, decade

 

My favourites from 2009: 4

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CIMG3655a

Eddy Avenue 1 December

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2009 in photography, Picks from 2009 photos

 

“Guest post” – Clover Moore

Thought I’d share the latest from our Lord Mayor’s newsletter. For updates on Copenhagen see ABC News.**

CITIES WILL ACT ON GLOBAL WARMING

The pivotal role of cities in fighting global warming has been acknowledged in drafts, but the fair, ambitious and binding deal needed from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen is not yet assured.

I participated in the Copenhagen Mayors’ Summit this week with 80 city leaders from around the world to urge national leaders to commit to ambitious targets with the confidence that cities will deliver if supported. The deep cuts needed to avert dangerous global warming require low-carbon cities and action already underway can be accelerated.

The work needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will only get harder if we delay. Deep and fast cuts in the order of 25 to 40 per cent, as recommended by the UN IPCC, are needed to keep warming below 2 degrees. The growing scientific consensus suggests even this may be too little.

The hopes of the world rely on significant progress during the final day of COP15 negotiations. There are some signs of optimism that the 120 heads of state, the largest group gathered for these climate negotiations, may find the courage and political will to break the deadlock.

Our Mayors’ Summit communiqué, delivered on behalf of the 700 million city dwellers we represent, affirms that the battle against global warming will be won or lost in cities. Cities are home to over half the world’s population and responsible for 75 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

An inspiring Summit program has been provided by our host, Ritt Bjerregaard, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen. The centrepiece was city leaders reporting on innovative and practical action to reduce emissions, and I presented on our work creating and implementing Sustainable Sydney 2030. There is extraordinary consensus on what needs to be done.

We attended the high level opening of COP 15 at the Bella Centre,hearing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and COP15 President Connie Hedegaard. We met with Sir Nicholas Stern and were presented with new research supporting cities’ role addressing climate change. Our hosts launched the "Copenhagen Wheel", a hybrid bicycle that we hope to introduce to Sydney, and I drove an electric car in a parade of new models as part of our commitment to make this sustainable option a practical choice in Sydney. The opportunity to see practical solutions in action was inspiring, such as a site visit to the Western Harbour redevelopment in the Swedish city of Malmö, with a renewable energy system, district heating and cooling, and renewable biogas facility. Jan Gehl walked me around his home town to show me the practical results of his decades of work reclaiming Copenhagen for pedestrians and cyclists.The City of Copenhagen has set up a stage and huge illuminated globe in the city centre outside the Town Hall, with public art installations focused on climate change. The city has a celebratory feel with live outdoor concerts each night. Only in Copenhagen could you see thousands dancing outdoors in below zero temperatures with their bicycles parked nearby covered in snow!

At a magic Earth Hour in the Town Hall square on Wednesday evening, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen and I addressed a crowd of around 6000 people amid swirling snow, surrounded by historic buildings. Earth Hour was launched in Sydney in 2007, the idea of WWF, supported by the City and Fairfax media group. In 2009, people from 88 countries and 4400 cities turned their lights off for one hour to send a powerful message to national leaders that they want action to address global warming.

As the week progressed, Community representatives have been increasingly locked out of the COP15 centre at a time when negotiations are stalling and delegates need to hear citizen’s voices. Community consultation initiated by the Danish Board of Technology, which was conducted simultaneously in 38 different countries with 4,400 randomly selected participants in September, found that 91% of people around the world want immediate and urgent action on climate change.

Despite the mounting tension and security difficulties, the sirens and the protests, it’s been inspiring to see thousands of cyclists braving the weather and commuting to work in the dark and the snow. Families on the streets with babies in prams mingle with the climate activists who’ve flocked here, many dressed as polar bears and pandas.

As the Mayor of Seattle reported, 1016 cities across the US committed to meet Kyoto protocol targets, going further than their federal government and paving the way for the their nation to go further. With or without binding national targets, the cities of the world will continue working to reduce emissions on a major scale.

Information: * Mayor’s Summit: www.kk.dk/climatesummitformayors.aspx.

** Update 11.30 am

Tim Flannery’s response to the Copenhagen deal.

Leading Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery says he is happy with the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations.

World leaders failed to secure a binding agreement instead opting for a non-binding accord which relies on countries setting their own emissions targets.

Professor Flannery says while the current commitments are not enough to halt dangerous climate change, the outcome is an important first step.

"My overview would be in the absence of any shift in the American target we’re likely to be a few gigatonnes of carbon short of a satisfactory target for 2020," he said. "[It] doesn’t mean we won’t achieve it. The agreement as it looks at the moment is good, but not perfect."

The former Australian of the Year says that it will take a few days for the full implications of the accord to become apparent.

"I think that these sort of agreements in the details really only become more evident with time," he said. "Perhaps in the next few days we’ll get to see a little bit more of precisely what has been agreed, and what it means overall. [But] if I was to sum it up in a single phrase I’d say this has been a good, successful meeting. It’s only one step on the road but we are now really in the throes of tackling this very difficult problem and this meeting has been a very significant step forward. I wouldn’t like anyone to undersell what’s been achieved. I think it is very significant."

Professor Flannery said amid the commentary on whether or not the deal should have been binding, it was important not to lose sight of the gains made at the conference…

 

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My favourites from 2009: 3

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from George Street, Haymarket

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2009 in photography, Picks from 2009 photos

 

Blogging the Noughties: 5 — 2003

Yes, believe it or not, I have been blogging for the whole decade! This is the fifth of a series.

January 09, 2003: This afternoon did not disappoint.

chris_and_dim Cafe Max – Madam and Dimmi 2003

Nina, Trevor and a friend of theirs from Wollongong arrived at Cafe Max on time, and Mr Rabbit met Sirdan for the first time, after which Mr R had to scuttle off to the city for a time, but not before being somewhat taken with Nina’s amazing vitality and tales of salsa dancing in Cuba. Madam at Cafe Max won some new converts to her special Caesar Salads with edible baskets. While the Wollongong contingent went off to see Waiting for Godot, Sirdan and I went home and then to the Norfolk, where Mr Rabbit joined us.

Wanting to give Mr R an opportunity to beat me at Trivial Pursuit (which he almost did) he and I set off home to await a call and also the end of the play, which was apparently excellent, but the Wollongong group could not join us for coffee as they had a train to catch. Mr R set off a few minutes ago to catch another train, pleased with his day which was far from over.

Excursions both to the South Coast and to Sirdan’s (once he has de-mined his living quarters*) seem highly likely in the near future. Both promise to be excellent.

January 11, 2003

This is all a bit paradoxical really, but that’s OK. Life often is. Reflecting on the richest and most deeply satisfying experiences I have had in recent years, I find they are in doing ordinary things, especially in the right company. Much better than getting pissed in a gay bar, or feigning amusement at some piece of bitchiness, or suffering the percussive assaults that pass for music in too many gay venues. Yum Cha is of course one such time of pleasure, but I refer to even more ordinary things, like the Trivial Pursuit games that get mentioned here from time to time, for example. And so much more. One paradox is an old dog can learn new tricks, or relearn the value of old ones. Another is that the freedom we enjoy as gay men to be ordinary (and, in the best of all possible outcomes, to find a loving partner) only exists because of the dedicated noise and activity of our more Dionysian brethren (and sisters). Yet each of us must pursue happiness where he finds it, and for me that is not really on the gay scene (in the full sense of the word) – which is not to deny the good it has done me and the companionship I have found there. Told you I was being paradoxical. Funny thing is, M (much more Dionysian than I am) probably agrees with me too.

Writing about last night’s dinner is difficult. M and Y were the hosts, and their flat looks lovely now, particularly the roof garden. Y did the cooking, and, as great a fan as I have been of M’s cooking, I have to say (but so does M) that Y is just superb. Thousand-years-old eggs were among the delicacies on offer.

Two of my fellow guests were old friends of M: A (who had a heart attack just two months ago, had a stent put in, and has been in hospital twice); B, a delightful man who works in the field of education administration. The third, C, came with me and had been specifically invited by M. Had the dinner been last Monday, much of what happened would not have happened. Now if there was anyone in that room whose prospects for living seemed very much in the balance, it would have been A, but this fact really did seem to get lost. Mind you, alcohol rarely makes people more perceptive. M’s application of the responsible service of alcohol rules to a domestic dinner was actually quite masterly, I thought, and prevented things degenerating further than they did.

To be fair to C, I don’t know how I would cope with his recent news, and it is very fresh; there has hardly been time to cope. Everyone in the room was inclined to be sympathetic, but C does tend to go on when sloshed and becomes increasingly, well, boring and overbearing; I have seen this before. I was watching A particularly, given A’s situation; he had a need for a relaxed dinner with friends, not to be treated to various diatribes, however understandable their origin. I was also concerned that M would be annoyed with me as I had brought the spoiler into the feast. He probably is, but my role will be to defend C, who does indeed deserve to be defended, under the circumstances.

"I am being a good host; now you try to be a good guest," M said at one point in the evening.

M delivered some other very insightful statements, and I think he really did C a lot of good, and I have to be happy about that. C certainly was, and thanks to M’s strength of character — and Y’s — C left in better condition than when he arrived, and I am glad about that. But I don’t think it was the dinner M and Y planned. As I say, the food was to die for — no pun intended.

25 October 2003  M’s comments did do a lot of good, and relations between M and myself, strained severely in this incident, have much improved since.

* I really don’t remember what that meant at the time! — 2009

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2009 in blogging, decade