The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

someone with a clue

I'm not hugely familiar with Sean Cusick's work, I have a couple of his tracks on various cds and they seem pretty good... and this interview as well as his review of BT's latest collection mark him out as someone who has some idea of the artistic root of music. I think however what impressed me most was his turn of phrase particularly this little gem from interview above talking about the cult of the new and mix cds

"It deflates the power those tracks would have had if people experienced them the way they were suppose to be experienced first; in a dark club, on drugs, surrounded by naked midgets marching in unison and bathed in lavender scented baby oil... "

a better description of the contextual nature of music i've never read or heard... i'll be one the look out to see if mr cusick is going to be heading our way anytime soon (knowing my luck i'll have missed him just like I missed bill hamel)


Not much to say of late... well that isn't really true, lots to say, no motivation to say it ;)

anyway... on the meal theme of the blog... culinary crimes funny... and informative.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Free Trade Agreements

So we've got one, unless congress decides they don't like it, so what does it mean?

Its a little unclear at the moment... Our government tells us that the PBS is safe and the only thing we missed out on is sugar. The US reckon that there will be important changes to the way the PBS works, as well as getting nearly unlimted access to markets for their manafacturing. It also involves changes to our intellectual property laws, such as copyright and patents.

What to make of all this? Well I'm fairly sure I don't like it all that much, over and above the opinion that FTA's essentailly create barriers to trade with third parties and are therefore not "free" (as mentioned below Jan 27th). I'm not sure what to make of it so I've put together a few links to what people in more informed positions than i think, and I'll make my judgement later...

There's a whole lot more written in Australian papers than US ones, the only things I could find in the Washington Post and the NY Times were simply outlining the facts of the trade. Probably because an agreement with us isn't going to have huge impacts on the US economy, it will impact hugely on ours and so there were a number of comment and opinion peices in the major Australian newspapers.

Firstly i'll look at the pro free trade columns. Firstly Gerard Henderson weighs in with his support, hardly a surprise as I can't recall an article penned by Gerry which hasn't been supportive of the present Governments foreign policy. Greg Sheridan's support is also hardly surprising as anything which brings us closer to the US is always ok by him. Another article supporting the FTA is written by Phil Scanlon who is the founder of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue and in that role hardly impartial. Alan Oxley of Monash University had some good points, and doesn't have the obvious bias the other commentators appear to have. Also Jane Drake-Brockman of the Australian Services Roundtable had a few interesting comments, more an outline of the things that will change, but not necessarily making any value judgements.

On the opposed side there is an article by Ross Garnaut who has previously been an adviser to Bob Hawke and Embassador to China and is currently the head of Economics and the ANU. Ross makes a couple of good points, the first is that since the Canadians signed a similar treaty with the US their exports to Europe and Asia have been significantly reduced, the second being the absence of sugar and other agricultural goods from the FTA seriously reduce the expected benefit which was talked about in promoting the FTA. Another Academic Ann Capling a political scientist from the University of Melbourne presents her arguements against, mostly that the gains achieved by the agreement are not likely to outweigh the negative effects of allowing the worlds biggest economy free access to our markets.

For me I think i'm inclined to agree with the latter articles. Although the true impact won't be known for years, and the real details of the agreement will not be released for a month so there's not much else to go on other than what they want us to know about it. So watch this space I guess.

Being Nice

Its a little wierd, yesterday I did something very small... hardly any effort at all, couple of numbers typed into a web browser, one or two emails... and I was able to secure for a friend something which they will absolutely love and could never have got without my help...

its the best i've felt in a long time..

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Ode to Libraries

A poor indian guy lamenting his countries lack of bibliographical respect. I love libraries, I can remember better times during my undergraduate days than winter mornings in the warm window seats at the National Library putting in my book order, then catching around forty or so winks while waiting for my books to arrive. There was something about those windows which made the Canberra sun seem like it worked (which is rare for the sun in Canberra between May and September). Also it was great, because I was working towards my essays, but still doing absolutely nothing at the same time, sort of a built in procrastination while waiting for the books which made it easier to work after you got them.