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Monday, March 7, 2011

7.30: Sales plus Uhlmann equals quality current affairs, keeping Aunty at the forefront in Australia

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
07th March 2011

Monday: A new era began this evening as 7.30 replaced The 7.30 Report, and Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann replaced Kerry O'Brien, who had been anchoring the esteemed current affairs program since the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay.

I congratulate Ms Sales and Mr Uhlmann, as well as the ABC, for the excellence of this first offering, certain to be just one of hundreds, even thousands, to come of similar quality. Anyone who doesn't think that these two journalists don't represent much of the the cream of Australian journalism, hasn't assessed the alternatives nor followed these two for several years.

They are proving that given intelligence and knowledge, research and sincerity, honey catches more flies than vinegar. The exciting thing is also that they are young enough to refine and mature further for up to another thirty years or more.

I only wish I had more time to follow and post about their doings, as well as their many talented colleagues anchoring the other excellent ABC offerings, such as Lateline, Lateline Business, and Q&A, let alone the new Channel 24 line up. Alas, serious health and other issues have absorbed most of my discretionary time since last October.

However, much viewing can be done even when exhausted, and one's delightful pet cat on one's lap can add much balm to the experience.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: With this ring I thee...

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
08th February 2011

Tuesday: The Babies Ink&Peggletter came to dinner with us and Janny's father at our place, and announced that they were engaged two days ago, on their third anniversary of meeting. Janny and I are elated at the news; Baby Peggletter is one of those very rare people I like more each time I meet him, and I've met him now maybe a couple of hundred times.

I couldn't be happier than my only child will be marrying such a superb young man.

A unique and delicate ring now graces our beautiful daughter's delicate small hand.

A very special day.

Friday, December 3, 2010

LATELINE: As one door closes for Leigh Sales, a bigger one opens: Auf wiedersehen Kezza the Great!

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
03rd December 2010

Friday: To avoid a 20 to 30 minute queue later in the day, I stayed up doing various chores so I could drive to the service station with a good price 3 kms down the road; worth it, being on empty and being 13 cents lower than every one else within cooee. And so I hit the sack around 7 this morning.

I arrived at Guildford about 4 p.m., and my first call with Bob was Centrepoint in Midland to buy him his annual birthday cigar, being one week late this time. We then walked the John George Walk Trail, but my mind was racked with a very recent relationship issue, taking some of the tranquillity out of the beautiful walk. We finished with his swim at Swan Aquatic and the obligatory cup of tea at Fish Market Reserve on dark.

Once home I was pleased and surprised to reach Mum on her hospital phone, being close to 9 o'clock. She may come out tomorrow, but we all feel that would be too soon. We acknowledged Dad's passing 21 years ago today.

With Cadbury spread out on my lap, moulting a bit, I settled in to watch Aunty. Janny had returned The Dear Leader to his place a bit before 9.

Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: My 'In other news…' and Abecedarian Project websites went a little mad today, and the searches which brought the flurry of visitors were mainly for 'Leigh Sales'. And this is best explained by tonight's Lateline being her last: Ms Sales moves next year into the big chair being vacated by Kezza the Great this month, who has hosted the 7.30 Report since 1788, when he was a young starry-eyed journalist for the BBC, embedded with the First Fleet. Kerry O'Brien went on to cover many events of world significance, including the Voyage of the Beagle and the Sinking of the Rudd.

Ms Sales was in a buoyant mood, and who could blame her, with a couple of the Chaser's guests, Craig Reucassel and Julian Morrow, to interview for a review on the year in Australian politics in the main, and the inimitable Stephen Long for his opinion on the year to come for the global economy, though she did have a short serious interview beforehand with James Ball, who is working for WikiLeaks. (Mr Ball's archetypical geek appearance softened the cut of the subject matter somewhat, fortunately; he would've made a good companion for Godwin Grech in the cold damp basement of Treasury in Langton Crescent in Canberra, never seeing the sun other than on the desktop artwork.)

What an offer! Leigh Sales committed to put a word in for James Ball with Treasury, to try and get Godwin Grech's old office, 10 floors beneath Langton Crescent, Canberra

Caught out! Julian Morrow underestimated Leigh Sales' mischievousness, losing his hairpiece in a deft piece of handwork by the talented journalist
More story coming…


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'FREEDOM': Jonathan Franzen discusses his novel and the writing process with Leigh Sales on LATELINE

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
30th November 2010

Tuesday: But two hours broken sleep out of four in the cot, unable to sleep without eventually succumbing to my talking book and headphones.

Janny and I got to an appointment at Charlie Gee's by half nine, on this stinking hot day, high thirties Celsius. Before noon we were visiting Baby Inkletter in Adelaide Terrace, to drop of some supplements we'd been storing in our fridge for the last week for her, and we drove her to the Inglewood Library to save her bussing in the scorching conditions.

She finally has completed her assignments and exams for her Diploma of Education, which, assuming she has passed, will be her third degree; she will have to wear a triple deckered black flat cap at graduation.

Back briefly to Charlie Gee's for a prescription after dropping our precious daughter back home in the heart of the city, then finally home. I had to go to bed, and slept maybe another four plus hours till after dark.

Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Thank you Ms Sales for bringing us a superb interview with Jonathan Franzen, celebrated author, who has recently had his latest novel 'Freedom' published.

Mr Franzen was able to open up and give some exceptional insights, under the skillful questioning of Ms Sales, about the novel and about the phenomenon of writing. He wasn't afraid to assess the devaluation flowing from even interviews like the very one he was engaged in with Ms Sales, late in the time allotted: "But there is something about the process – particularly of doing interviews like this, frankly - that it begins to empty you out and you start to feel as if more of the language you speak is going dead on you." Give us more of this type of honesty and integrity any day!

I could not think of a better ABC journalist, a better qualified one, to conduct an interview like this. Being very widely read, intelligent, and with a satisfyingly broadening insight, Ms Sales helped her honoured guest share much of value, and much of unusual but fascinating interest.

For example, Ms Sales asked Mr Franzen whether he missed his characters when he finished writing a book, and he gave a wonderful analysis of what leaving his characters be, when he pens his final lines, means to him.

For this line from Mr Franzen alone, thank you thank you thank you, Ms Sales: "You know, once it's passed a certain hour in the evening it's time to be reading… because I need that time alone to commune with a book."

I imagine interviews like this one are like getting a favourite dessert after a long and punishing diet for the likes of Leigh Sales, who, for her bread and butter must spend mind-numbing hours grilling mediocre politicians who are all mouth and trousers, these connivers, shallow-minded common scoundrels in suits.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday 29th November 2010

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
29th November 2010

Monday: This is not a short story (although it may well become the fodder to write one):
He was running late as usual, as damn usual – ask his Missus – and so to stop for a hitchhiker was not going to help the deadline; his wife wanted to go to her knitting group at Caffissimo's tonight, and he wanted her to go, because it was soul food for the poor thing, overworked, underappreciated, and discounted regularly by certain close ones.

But to make the trip worthwhile, he needed to be back at maybe ten past seven at the latest. That was going to be a challenge, because it was Bob's afternoon out in Perth today, and he liked to make the most of it. Not helped by the party in full swing, with tables groaning under the weight of goodies, at Bob's Guildford house, with more social trainers and their bosses than you could poke a stick at milling about, most of whom he knew, and felt obliged to acknowledge and chat a tad with.

He had even joked as he walked into the main room "How did you know it was my birthday?" He reminisced at length with Maxine, rarely seen these days, as she had been promoted 16 months ago to some arcane position in the mysterious corridors of the DSC. A favourite supervisor of his for years over Bob and all of his outings with said rascal. All the while Bob was finishing his 3 o'clock smoke and having a private cup of tea in front of his TV some metres away. A tonne of food, one of Bob's reasons for living next down the scale from tobacco, and he was determined to have a cup of tea on his own…

And so we left for the train into Perth even later than otherwise, due to the obligatory socialising to be done with colleagues old and new.

What of the hitchhiker, did you ask? Yes, powering along Marshall Road, the wonderful Whiteman Park's four thousand hectares on his left, he may as well have been a thousand miles out of Perth. There on the left, a woman in her forties, under a lone tree a few feet off the tarmac, hand out for a lift. Bloody hot, at least 35 Celsius.

Probably 15 years since he last stopped for a hitchhiker, he felt a sudden twinge of concern for an older woman, alone, in this heat, stuck out here, needing a lift somewhere. Pulled over, after some thinking time, overshooting by a hundred feet, maybe two hundred.

While she was hoofing quickly up to the passenger side, he was hoisting about five bags of things from off the seat and the floor, not quite moving it all by the time she arrived, opening the door, and hopping in as he just got the the last of the paraphernalia onto the back seat.

She had a small bag in her hand and a very low cut blouse, a plain faced woman. As he began asking "Where do you need a lift to?" she said, having just sat in the seat, "I'm a hooker. I'm from Sydney and need money."

This took the man by mild surprise, not shock, likely because he hadn't processed it fully, but he quickly said, with the mildest of irritation well concealed, "I'm running late for work, and I thought you needed a lift somewhere."

Just exactly what was said in the ensuing moments and in what order is a bit jumbled in his mind, but he got to reiterate his need to keep moving, and she got to imply that she didn't need to go to any place in particular but to get money, and it by plying any of the various skills of an ancient trade.

And so she politely vacated the seat, and he wished her well. He genuinely did. Not angry about what she did for a living – he felt sorry for her for that – but now under more pressure time-wise and for no noble outcome, like helping a fellow human being in need of a lift on a hot day.

As he digested what had just happened while he drove on to the controlled riot at Bob's digs, it dawned on him that she likely misunderstood one thing he said in repetition, as she faced him sporting sizeable in-your-face white breasts half covered, "I'm off to take out my intellectually disabled friend, who will be wondering where I am," touching his forehead. She said something he could not recall, but putting the pieces together she likely inferred that he was saying that he himself was intellectually disabled.

No argument from his wife on that one…
And by the way, Bob took his time in the city, we called on Baby Inkletter at her place in Adelaide Terrace (first time in about 14 years or more since they last met), and I did'nt get back home till a quarter to eight. I convinced Janny to go nevertheless to her knitting group, but she refused to let me drive her and wait for her there.

Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Former Prime Minister John Howard should feel grateful at how pleasantly he was treated by a professional Leigh Sales during her long interview tonight. He came across more reasonably than usual, certainly better than his self serving debacle with Tony Jones on Q&A to flog his autobiography Lazarus Rising.

Ms Sales asked a lot of good questions, and didn't tear him to shreds like Kerry O'Brien would likely have. This resulted in a better interview, because we mug public can suss out the pricks whether they're being treated nice or nasty.

One of my main bugbears with John Howard began early on in his prime ministership, when it became apparent that he was as conniving a politician as the rest of them, while having portrayed for ages the illusion that he was a cut above, of a higher calibre concerning integrity and such. It quickly became obvious that he was yet another ordinary polly with whom you had to study the fine print, and that he was set apart mainly by ambition. Common as muck; sorry Howard lovers.

If he had not placed himself on an integrity pedestal, I would not be making such complaints. An ordinary politician is nothing inspiring, but there is something inspiring about an ordinary politician who does not pretend to be extraordinary.

I finished reading Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' today: a powerful book, well worth the experience, and I adored the last paragraph, laced with insight and anticlimactic.

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