Crawford Review of Sport Update

My last post on the Independent Panel’s Report was on 26 December 2009. There has been relatively little public action linked to the Report since then.

These are some of the articles available:

8 March Govt AWOL over sports funding (AAP)

27 February Show Me the Money (Dan Silkstone, Sydney Morning Herald)

19 February A task of Olympian proportions (Dan Silkstone, Sydney Morning Herald)

No date Getting everyone to play nicely (Russell Hoye and Matthew Nicholson)(accessed 12 March 2010).

Photo Credit

Powerhouse Museum

Synoptic Vision, James Hansen and Tony Fitzgerald

It has been a busy week for me but it has been bracketed by two remarkable Radio National items. On my drive into Canberra early in the week I heard a delightful interview between Phillip Adams and James Hansen.

The podcast is trailed with this summary:

A discussion with the prominent NASA climate scientist about his journey of scientific discovery, the gradual process by which he became convinced of the science of global warming, and how he believes scientists need to address current public doubt.

On Thursday, on my drive home, there was a fascinating report on PM about Tony Fitzgerald‘s commentary on the state of Australian government. The transcript of the program includes these introductory remarks:

  • The community is ill served by this escalating transfer of power from the public to the dominant political parties and the party’s disinterest in ethical constraints and resistance to oversight and accountability even by independent anti-corruption bodies.
  • Without satisfactory legal and ethical fetters, the political process like all human constructs can be and is manipulated and exploited to advance personal and group interests.
  • A political class has evolved which is interested in little but the acquisition and exercise of power.

A transcript of Tony’s Fitzgerald speech can be found here on the Accountability Round Table website.

The combination of both programs left me wondering how an open society might bring about change that goes beyond what Pat Riley describes as the disease of me: “the disease of me starts when people start behaving selfishly, believing that they are more important than the team”. They left me wondering too about the kind of biographical experiences James and Tony have had to lead them to such remarkable synoptic vision.

I wondered how in a return to innocence we might be able to use such profound insights to transform our practice, our environment and our lives. I wondered too about if we can ever overcome the Tragedy of the Commons and celebrate the joy of a Common Wealth and celebrate the innocent climb.

Photo Credits

Mike Baird Coastguard

Steve Took It Spring

Cyron Water is Life

Engaging Readers

This week I have been introduced to two delightful writers. I met their work through Radio National programs. I have been thinking about writing a great deal recently in my role as supervisor of a number of student theses and research projects at the University of Canberra. I have been thinking about engaging implied readers too. Ironically this is a post about writing stimulated by being a listener.

On Tuesday Richard Stirzaker was a guest on Bush Telegraph and was interviewed by Michael Mackenzie. The interview celebrated Richard’s ability to explain scientific principles to a lay audience. The interview centred on Richard’s book Out of a Scientist’s Garden. A trail for a book launch noted that:

Out of the Scientist’s Garden is written for anyone who wants to understand food and water a little better – for those growing vegetables in a garden, food in a subsistence plot or crops on vast irrigated plains. It is also for anyone who has never grown anything before but has wondered how we will feed a growing population in a world of shrinking resources. Although a practising scientist in the field of water and agriculture, the author has written, in story form accessible to a wide audience, about the drama of how the world feeds itself. The book starts in his own fruit and vegetable garden, exploring the ‘how and why’ questions about the way things grow, before moving on to stories about soil, rivers, aquifers and irrigation. The book closes with a brief history of agriculture, how the world feeds itself today and how to think through some of the big conundrums of modern food production.

This the YouTube presentation by Richard.

On Wednesday Phillip Adams interviewed Jonathan Gold. This is the trail for the interview:

In the US, food critic Jonathan Gold has a cult following, not just because he is the first food writer to win a Pulitzer prize, and not just because he won it while working for a free, alternative newspaper, LA Weekly, but because his reviews embrace both high end cuisine and low rent neighbourhood joints. His reviews are equally riffs on food, music, politics and art; his tastes are bold and adventurous. Just don’t ask him to eat a scrambled egg.

The interview led me to Jonathan Gold’s writings in the LA Weekly and a real desire to find out more about the riffs that so captivated Phillip Adams. I liked  The Gorbals: Stomp, the Restaurant as an introduction to his writing. This is the opening paragraph:

The Gorbals, perhaps, is a restaurant that should not be seen by the light of day, when the boxy tables look like a shop-class project, the artfully scuffed floors look worn, and the back-room speakeasy vibe is overtaken by the thought that the dim space may have once served as an industrial laundry room. The music is still good, various Iggyisms and post-Iggyisms and proto-Iggyisms, but you get the feeling that the chefs would rather be sitting on a couch smoking cigarettes rather than flipping matzoh brei, and although the $5 Bloody Marys with fresh horseradish are of a strength that you may not have experienced since sophomore year in the dorms, on a Sunday morning the staff may be as hungover as you. As crisp as the blintzes are, as rich as the latke-studded pork belly hash can be, the Gorbals is not a fluffy, happy place to brunch.

Jonathan Gold’s book Counter Intelligence (Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles) was written in 2000 and is a collection of  “over 200 of Gold’s best restaurant discoveries–from inexpensive lunch counters you won’t find on your own to the perfect undiscovered dish at a beaten-path establishment”. It is available as an e-book. This blog post (from if it’s hip, it’s here) celebrates Jonathan’s Pulitzer Prize and links to a Washington Post article that is a delightful account of his work. This is the set of works that was considered by the Pulitzer Prize judges and this some biographical material about Jonathan Gold.

Richard and Jonathan have distinctive approaches to writing and sharing experience. As a supervisor of student work I am keen to share different forms of writing as a way of stimulating voice in writing. My hope is that by providing a diversity of forms each student’s voice can be enriched by access to writers such as Richard and Jonathan who offer thick description of the worlds they experience.

Photo Credits


Jonathan Gold

Road to Heaven