Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Handel and the Skeptics
On Saturday night Anne and I went to St John's Cathedral to hear Handel's Messiah. It was a bit early this year. It is usually in December. As usual, it was put on by the Bach Society. The Bach choir always puts out a good sound despite most of the members being fairly elderly and the soloists were excellent this year. I enjoyed every minute of it. I go to it most years. The photo below is one internal view of St. John's -- with the current architect in the foreground.
Anne and I had decided to wait until after the performance to have dinner but the performance went from 7.30 to 10.30 so a lot of restaurants had closed by the time we got to Southbank -- which is probably Brisbane's busiest restaurant precinct. We eventually found a Chinese that was open, however, and their food was excellent. I had Satay chicken.
On Monday night I gave a talk on global warming to a meeting of the Brisbane Skeptics. There were about 50 in the audience. There appeared to be a few who already were skeptical about global warming so I hope I added a few more of those attending to the ranks of the global warming skeptics. I think there were quite a few who went away still true-believers, however. Skepticism has its limits. My talk seemed generally well-received. I described environmentalism as a return to mankind's original religion of nature worship and said that global-warming belief is so counterfactual as to prove that environmentalism is a religion.
I did not prepare my talk. Even when I was a university lecturer with an auditorium of 1,000 students in front of me I never prepared anything either. I have always felt that if you have to prepare a lecture you don't know your subject well enough. And speaking extempore always engages the audience more. There is nothing more boring than having a lecture read to you. To speak well extempore you have to be the type to whom public speaking gives no jitters at all, however.
On Tuesday night, I went out to Anne's place for dinner and she cooked us some good roast turkey in her recently acquired Schlemmertopf. I stopped at the big bottleshop on the way over and found some South African pinotage which I grabbed. South African pinotage can be very good. This one was a Nederburg, however, and had too much tannin in the aftertaste. KWV does a better job.