Blogging the 2010s — 53 — June 2010

Venison in Bondi

A very special Sunday Lunch today, in part in honour of Lord Malcolm who dined here with Sirdan a few years back.

Penny, B and I were treated to oysters (well they were), venison and a killer dessert. We had Zuppa Inglese.

icebergsIt was here that we had lunch:



Mormon Prof Mauls Monckton

Whatever else you may say about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, support for left-wing plots is not something that comes to mind. It is interesting, then, that Barry Robert Bickmore, a professor in the department of geological sciences at Brigham Young University, gets stuck into the egregious Lord M.

Recently, Prof. John Abraham criticized Lord Christopher Monckton for citing scads of scientific papers to back up his opinions about climate change, but when Abraham actually looked into those papers, it often turned out they didn’t support Monckton’s conclusions, or they even contradicted those conclusions.  Prof. Abraham also criticized Monckton for improper citation of others’ work and data, often making it difficult to figure out where he was getting his information.

Given his rap sheet (including numerous infractions mentioned on this blog), I thought it would be fun to start examining Lord Monckton’s recent testimony before a committee of the U.S. Congress.  What if I were to scan through the document, randomly pick one of Monckton’s claims that I don’t know much about, and start investigating the literature he cites?  Would I find that he makes reasonable points, or that he has continued his nearly unblemished record of propagating scientific-sounding nonsense?  Tim Lambert has already shown that Monckton’s testimony was flamboyantly incompetent about three issues (solar brightening, ocean acidification, and Snowball Earth), so I picked another topic that has to do with variations in the radiation output of the Sun…


The blog where this is posted is Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah.

I’ve recently been involved with other scientists and scholars in Utah trying to stop the spread of outright lies, half-truths, abuses of data, and distortions about climate change.  Much of this disinformation is coming from (or through) some Republican members of the Utah Legislature, and the other Republican (and some Democratic) members have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.  A few local media outlets, like Provo’s Daily Herald, have also been active participants.  Climate change is not just a global or national issue–it will also be played out at the state and local levels.  Therefore, I see a need for some watchdogging specific to our neck of the woods.  (In addition, I’m a Republican myself, and it galls me that my own party has locally fallen for a bunch of conspiracy theories and scientifically incompetent trash.  In my opinion, something has to be done to save the party from disaster in the long run.)

This blog is meant to 1) archive a record of the ongoing disinformation campaign in Utah, and 2) examine it in detail.  Democracy depends on accurate information being readily available to the public, and I see people who propagate such disinformation campaigns as enemies of Democracy.

Can anyone take Monckton seriously and keep a straight face any longer? See also Lord Monckton: 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, King of Fantasyland.

Performance poetry has its place

Benjamin Solah posted Performance Poetry: The embarrassing cousin of literature? on 15 June. He has recently discovered the phenomenon alive and well in Melbourne and has been participating.

In the past couple of months I’ve performed on the open mic at the Brunswick Hotel three times as part of Passionate Tongues Poetry and really enjoyed it. It’s become a regular thing and I can’t see myself stopping open mic poetry for a while at least and I’ve quickly incorporated it into my repertoire of writing.

But the thing is, there’s this niggling feeling that the medium is less respected, seen as the embarrassing cousin of other writing. And at the Emerging Writers’ Festival, two poets spoke disparagingly of the Australian poetry scene in general which got me thinking…

Well, I have certainly enjoyed performance poetry and have happy memories of Glebe’s Harold Park Hotel in the 1980s. Indeed, I took my Class of 86 there after the HSC and they enjoyed it too. But they had in Year 11 been introduced to this lively art, as one recalls:

Your classes in 1986 in preparation for our HSC 2 unit English were a real standout. There were many great memories, but in particular, “The Sh*t poem”, your readings in Welsh, and the way we all agreed that Dicken’s Great Expectations was how should I say, of poor quality.

Chris is wrong about the Welsh; it would have been Old or Middle English. But he’s right about “The Shit Poem” by Jas H. Duke.

I’m in the shit business
I work for the sewerage department
I analyse experiments
I draw graphs and flow charts
and conclusions
today I was sitting at my desk
trying to explain
the dissolved air flotation process
where streams of little bubbles are released
into a tank full of sewerage
to float the suspended solids up to the surface
to be skimmed off
but what I was really thinking about
was lunchtime
the canteen cook
caters to the ethnic multitudes
by putting on Italian eats most days
I was thinking of ravioli
with meat sauce
but I was writing things like
“The sludge produced by this process
is grey-brown in colour
and does not produce
offensive odours
provided anaerobic conditions
can be prevented”
the sludge is really composed of
my used ravioli
and the Boss’s used steak
and your used hamburger
and the vegetarian’s used brown rice
all mixed up together
and when it gets in this state
no one wants to know about it
except me
I don’t find shit offensive
most people do
they can’t wait to push the button
or pull the chain or something
and then they think the shit has vanished
into the centre of the earth
it hasn’t really
it just floats up somewhere else
it’s all biodegradable
I reckon most people think
that shit is the most deadly poison
on the face of the earth
they’d rather face ten tons of plutonium
than half a bucket of shit
even their own
no curse in the English Language
is complete
without “shit” included in it somewhere
lunchtime arrived
I ate my ravioli
I had a shit
it was brown in colour
I felt a lot better

That really broke down entrenched dislike of poetry, that did! From there we could move to “higher” things, but in my opinion that is one very fine poem, of its kind.

One thought on “Blogging the 2010s — 53 — June 2010

  1. Pingback: Blogging the 2010s — 57 — June 2014 | Neil's Commonplace Book

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