Tuesday, March 25

Sub prime fiasco

Who’s to blame for the subprime fiasco.

Not the valuers who inflated their worth
Inflated a bubble that only could burst
Creating a dream for those who have less
Without the checks, to create less mess

Not politicians because the Feds been too lax
Not Banks who approved just the loan facts
Not Brokers who brought in the business
Paid in incentives with super commissions

Not borrowers, who don’t bother with fine print
Or the Wall Street Brokers just part of a link
Or traders who sold them on 4 more times
And were too busy to read between the lines

Or the rating agencies who gave them a tick
It must be okay, just houses and bricks
It must be okay, the world bought our stock
But no one expected those house prices could flop

It’s all happened before, its part of history
The percussions will continue, those guilty found out
Breathe sighs of relief, it’s the end of the route
It wasn’t an axis of evil’s monetary tree
Just old fashioned greed and naivety.

Monday, March 24

Tenebrae at Eltham

We gathered to meditate on the most sacred day of the year. The focus of our ceremony was the seven sayings of Christ uttered when he was dying on the cross. Through a series of psalms, reflections and sacred music, we were led to the foot of the Cross.

later in the darkened church the lighted candles represented our world about to be plunged into darkness.

The lights were gradually extinguished throughout the ceremony until only one flame remained, symbolising Christ. When the last light disappeared a loud noise (strepitus) was made to remind us of the earthquake on that fateful day on Calvary.
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Sunday, March 16

Crazy Whist Card Game

Last evening we conducted a Malawi Crazy Whist fundraiser card night which was enjoyed by everyone, including many who had not previously played and learnt to play for the first time. We had a practice session beforehand. We provided prizes for those with the highest points (although you play in pairs each person keeps a score sheet).

In Crazy Whist winners after each hand is completed move to the nearest adjacent table whilst losers remain. However no one remains in the same position as you’re constantly playing againt different partners. Losers will eventually be dealt an unbeatable hand and become winners; also pairing against other winners of varying abilities ensures it all evens itself out after several hands.

We provided 7 prizes, for the best 5 scores and to add interest for the worst 2 for being such good sports.

For those interested here is how to play the card game.

The classic game of Whist is played with 4 players of 2 partnerships. Partners sit opposite one another and the game is played clockwise.
It is best to sit the fours at separate card tables.

A standard 52 card pack is used and the cards rank from the highest to the lowest, Ace, King, Queen, Jack ,10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 6, 2. Each player receives 13 cards after removing the Jokers.

The cards are cut to determine who deals; the player with the highest of the four cards becomes the dealer. The cards are shuffled and the dealer deals out 13 cards.

The player to the dealers left leads the first card.

The game is based upon SUITES, e. g Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades and No Trumps. You must follow that SUITE if you have a card in that SUITE. If Hearts were the nominated SUITE you need to follow on and play a heart whenever you have a heart card.

When playing each hand you and your partner record a win (called a TRICK) when either has the highest card in a particular SUITE (Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades) which are called TRUMPS.

TRUMPS are nominated before the cards are dealt. If Hearts were TRUMPS the Ace of Hearts is the highest TRUMP, then King, Queen Jack 10 9 etc.

1 point for each TRICK taken, which will be the highest card in that SUITE but when there is no TRUMPS left (Hearts) then the highest card will take the TRICK.

Any card (before the trumps are all extinguished) that is not a TRUMP will be beaten by a TRUMP.

If No Trumps is the suite than it is the highest card in any suite that always wins.

After each hand the winning partners move to their right to the next table.

In Crazy Whist you can make the scoring more complicated by adding in different variations before each round , adding 4 to those who have a winning trick with a particular card not in the given SUITE etc. You announce the SUITES before each hand.

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Friday, March 7

Canorion Cymreig Victoria Welsh Choir

After prompting from a Welsh member of our parish I finally attended rehearsals with this choir and recently successfully auditioned to join as a Second Tenor. The choir was formed in 1980 by 7 expatriate Welshmen, and performs at least 25% of its repertoire in the Welsh language. It is quite a large male choir with 80 members made up of Bass’s, Baritones, Second Tenors and Tenors with a good sprinkling of those originally from Wales. Choir recitals are challenging since the choir sings without the aid of written music and consequently it takes a long time to learn the harmony sufficiently well from the music and to memorize all the words, before you’re competent to participate in concerts.

Nevertheless I intend to persevere with this rather full commitment (2 nights a week rehearsals and extensive touring to give concerts) and see what transpires. To date I have found the choir to be a grand group of very committed people with extensive talent covering a large repertoire of traditional choral, contemporary and operatic music.

I attended their recent St David’ s Day Concert at Monash University which was very good and featured a number of well known artists including their guest Welsh conductor who is in great demand overseas.

Apart from the choir the concert also featured a prominant harpist and a Welsh folk group called Pendragon Dreaming (Pendragon was the name given to King Arthur of the ancient Britons) with a didgeridoo, harp, guitar, flute, bass guitar and vocals. The Concert began with Welsh dancers demonstrating their traditional dances including jigs, reels, and hornpipes.

Click here if you would like to read about the recent St David’s Day Concert, or about the choir.