Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Snippets - gardens, a loss, problems with policy and management, all with a dash of schnapps

I have been away, and just catching up. The hose is on kvd's garden bed kvd gardenwatched by his and LE's chairs. kvd sent me  some photos of his son's garden bed. This is one sample. Now that's what I call a garden bed! Feelings of inadequacy?!

Having explored the concept of elegance, (Elegance and tennis), our Polish-Australian blogging friend AC has been out exploring the Australian countryside: Getting to know Australia – Thredbo. I really have to visit the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery.

Ramana, another of our blogging friends, has suffered the loss of his sister-in-law, A Death And A Reconnection, although Sudhira's death re-established old connections. It's a bit sad that so often this has to happen through deaths and funerals. Perhaps something to think about there?

My post on the current Australian curriculum review, The Pyne curriculum review - Dr Donnelly's challenge, has continued to attract visits and comments. Neil Whitfield wrote in a comment:

I am getting weary of this..... we are all wasting our time and energy on this tripe. If I can stomach it I may do a post along these lines soon.

I can see his point of view. However, I would argue that one of the key things with questions like this is the need to delineate the issues. Otherwise it becomes one set piece in opposition to another set piece.

It seems that the Indonesian Government has sent a warship to protect its southern boarders against Australian incursions. Meantime, the Australian Government has apologised to Indonesia- again.Indonesian foreign minister Natalegawa, Juile Bishop

In writing on this topic, I have tried to make a difference between the stop the boats policy and the way it is applied, focusing my criticisms on the second.

This photo from the Jakarta Globe (link above) shows Australian Foreign Minister Bishop meeting her Indonesian counterpart on 5 December.

Look at the body language. It must be bloody uncomfortable for Ms Bishop to deal with all this. How often can you get on the phone to say sorry?

In a comment on Problems with project management, DG pointed me to this paper by David Gadiel and
Jeremy Sammut, How the NSW Coalition Should Govern Health: Strategies for Microeconomic Reform. I haven't had time to read it properly yet.

As it happened, over coffee on Saturday I was trying to explain the failures in current management (public and private) and policy development as I see them.  Yes, i know that this is a hobby horse of mine, but I so hate inefficiency. Still, I will let that hold to a later post.


Neil said...

Thanks for the reference, Jim, though I fear my point may have been muffled by problems of tone/humour in comment threads! (Why we need emoticons?) I was simply trying to say that at the school/classroom level the National Curriculum as is may mean rather less change than people either fear or hope for. Hence my Shakespeare example.

I still haven't got a post to go -- I am busy sneaking up on Australia Day. Have you noticed?

I would like to point out though that here in NSW the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (another mad political rebadging exercise) has been furiously consulting and working National Curriculum reference into now quite well advanced draft syllabuses. And they are doing a good job too, from what I have looked at.

What happens to all this work and the money spent on it if the review, as I suspect it will, rubber stamps what Christopher Pyne really wants. And -- depressing thought -- is this government member an aberration or is this level of "thought" par for the course?

Jim Belshaw said...

I had noticed Australia Day, Neil. If you look at the comments on that Facebook page, not all are silly. You can't win by lambasting people. You have to force them to look at the issues.

Neil said...

Jim, it is true that there are good comments on that page. However, only a dropkick of the most obvious kind could have read the really quite clear description of the unit referred to in the National Curriculum as advocating paganism. Sorry, but a fool is a fool is a fool. I am not lambasting; I am describing. He simply has failed Comprehension 101.

Neil said...

I just added to the good comments.

Jim Belshaw said...

FB comment noted, Neil. I see that Minister Pyne has his say in today's Fairfax press.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim

I started out this a.m. with every intention of distracting you, but instead got distracted myself.

In searching for a reference to my intended distraction, I somehow ended up on which of course meant that I had to refresh my understanding of participle, and that lead me somehow to JS Bach's "it's not difficult - you just have to hit the right note at the right time, and the organ does the rest" - which itself is quite a remarkable view of genius - no?

And the above voyage took a little over an hour, before it struck me that what I was doing was 'mind sailing' - a phrase I now claim authorship of (noting the dangling, but ignoring it for the moment).

Anyway, what I wanted to mention was a small book I've just finished reading which I think you would find quite interesting: "One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw" by Witold Rybczynski. Do make a note of it; one hundred pages of enlightenment about the evolution of a very common household and workshop tool.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to say thank you reproducing my photograph: evidence yet again that there is no job too small that it can't support a supervisor or two :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Good morning, kvd. This comment deserves a full response. That will come tonight.

Neil said...

Jim, I am beginning to worry about all this talk of gardening. Are you sure you are not a closet Gaia worshipper?

Anonymous said...

'garden' is mentioned 7 times in the Australian Curriculum, Neil. Compare/contrast 'koala' once, 'kangaroo' thrice, 'Uluru' once, and 'budgie' nowt.

Can't find pumpkins or carrots, but they make a nice mashup; lettuce leave Jim to his diversions, shall we?


Jim Belshaw said...

No, no, Neil. But I have always liked the system concept. Made a kind of sense, and I was into systems at the time.

Like the idea of gardens being mentioned in the curriculum, if only seven time. Mow that would actually be a nice cross-curriculum integrating theme. History of the garden, the science of gardening, etc. All very wholesome and practical!

Rummuser said...

Thanks for the plug in Jim. I would not be surprised if I had been the unsung visitor!

Jim Belshaw said...

That,Ramana, would have been a very satisfying result!