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Saturday, December 19, 2009

DUBLIN: “It appears that there is such a thing as a free Orbo lunch; if ever there was a time for it, it’s now,” P.L. Inkletter notes, shedding layers

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

19th December 2009:

Saturday: That’s right, it’s Sarrerdi! but that’s the least of the fossil fuel industry’s worries, perhaps…

Back in August 2006, I read a tiny article in our one of our weekend papers, dated either the 19th or 20th, which mentioned Irish company Steorn and their full page add placed the previous Thursday, the 17th, in The Economist. I was instantly fascinated, and visited their website, and have been following the goings on, the controversy, ever since.

About 3 a.m. this Saturday morning I got an email from Steorn announcing their demonstration of and CEO Sean McCarthy’s talk about their electromagnetic interaction technology later today in Dublin from the Waterways Centre. I have not had the obstinate almost doctrinal disbelief characteristic of the average physicist on the matter of ‘over unity’ physics, given my vague understandings of space potency's infinitely deep pool of primordial force ancestral to puissant energy ancestral to the gravity energies that so characterise our regions of space.

Magnetism is as mysterious as it is useful, and I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that magnetic phenomena are tapping the deep pool, somehow piercing through the fabric of space and feeding upon limitless energy; atoms – it seems to me – are mighty mysterious virtually perpetual motion machines, having little parts that don’t appear to slow down, rather are continually topped up with power while they do their work as the parts of the machine that is the atom; are the magnetic dynamo properties of some of the bits and pieces of the atom drawing energy deep beyond what we currently understand, to keep the little machines running? After all, every moving part within the atom is pushing through the molasses of the gravitational field, which takes work, but they don’t slow down and give up, they appear to me to be continuously topped up with the energy lost in their effort to move through the gravitational stew, not to mention the soup of the electromagnetic fields laying spider webs everywhere to be pushed through as well for all the electrically charged particles.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this work of Steorn actually did deliver the world, and soon, some large scale economic clean energy solutions to our looming apocalyptic-scale climate problems! Wouldn’t it be nice if this apparent defiance of the first law of thermodynamics is real, and cheap clean energy sources became the possession of everyone! It is nice to dream now and then…

The timing of this demonstration by Steorn to coincide witht final week of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen seems ideal from a PR perspective from where I sit in my crowded, dusty, and dingy little back room in Perth, watching these latest promos from Steorn on my monitor, the sun now up for an hour or so.

More story might just be coming…


Thursday, December 17, 2009

KILL DEVIL HILLS: “Here kitty kitty!” a gravity defying P.L. Inkletter called, lest the fur fly due the hawk nearby, surely a Wright mess would result

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

17th December 2009:

Thursday: Yet another night of little sleep, the second in a row when I had to resort to putting the headphones on and lay listening for hours to my favourite talking book while I lay waiting for Mistress Nodette to entice me into her blissful embrace, listening also to Missus Inkletter slumbering beside me (she invariably contests my observations the following day that she spends the vast majority of my sleepless stints asleep, maintaining that she was awake too; she certainly, if this be the case, does a very good imitation of soft sleep breathing.)

I in fact had come to bed at midnight, hoping to be more rested for today’s Walk through History at Guildford, but almost an hour later I arose realising the futility of my undertaking, and wrote and computed for two hours, as well as posted another picture, to The Abecedarian Project, the fifth in the indefinitely long series of the Lateline RESTRICTED interview that I started the other day, before trying to join the world of the sleeping again, yet it took several hours of my talking book again to finally slip into delta.

Somehow the quivering quail and I were ready when a little after eleven Reeve Chocson arrived, with The Dear Leader already picked up and loaded on board his Rodeo, and we were soon sailing along Marshall Road, past Whiteman Park, heading for Guildford. We are still functional vehicleless, with two crippled vehicles gracing our front patio, the venerable old Sigma GK – its manufacturing date being lost in the mists of time – being recently joined by the upstartish 17 year old Suzuki Swift.

The temperature was balmy to almost warm, and the sunny sky made it an ideal day to be shown the history of Guildford. Reeve began his Outabout Guided Walk just for us three at the Old Courthouse and Gaol in Meadow Street, on to Taylor’s Cottage and the Mechanics Institute Hall, the Post Office, then the Town Hall, Council Chamber, and Wesley Chapel, before the Commissariat (now the Garrick Theatre) and Fire Station, then on to the Guildford Hotel and Old Village Markets, back over the railway line to St Matthew’s Church and the War Memorial in Stirling Square, the grand old Riversleigh house, Padbury’s Colonial Stores then the Rose & Crown Hotel, St Charles Seminary, before ending at Moulton’s Landing on the Swan. We couldn’t have had a more delightful, informative, and professional guide, whose history and story telling skills left nothing to be desired. I have visited my disabled friend Bob every week in Guildford for the last ten years since he moved there from Ashford, and it turns out that I knew essentially nothing about the rich and fascinating history of the place.

Reeve then put double cream on an already iced cake by taking us to meet the astonishingly talented Michael Buzza of the Academy of Taxidermy in the Museum of Natural History on James Street, and to me it was a revelation seeing the cornucopia of taxidermed animals, insects, and beasts of mysterious kinds. Michael generously answered at length some probably unusual technical questions about the process of taxidermy from me, as well as being a stikingly deep well of information about the animals themselves, their endangered status, and so on; he was a completely generous host, having stopped his current taxidermic project, popped it into the freezer, and showed us around, despite being an incredibly busy man with an enormous waiting list of work. I cannot recommend this amazing place enough, and the fee? A princely $2 a head! I’ve driven along James Street times almost without number, and did not know the place existed – there must be many other Perth citizens who have not experienced the magic of this incredible place: it hits you before you’ve barely stepped into the old building when you behold the amazing sleeping dog

This chauffeur driven day concluded when Reeve drove us home, a bit of it through the snarl that is Reid Highway these days, and then had to rush off about half four to his little green bagChocci – who had phoned him earlier and read him the riot act concerning chores waiting for him at home in The Vines, including setting up the Christmas tree, stashed somewhere in the bowels of their garage.

The Dear Leader was first to be delivered home, us second, and after a quick ‘lunch’ at almost five, we both hit the sack for we could barely keep our eyes open. Janny got up after an hour or so, but I couldn’t surface till about ten.

It was soon time for some current affairs courtesy of Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: looking very smartly attired, Ms Sales conducted one long interview tonight with none other than Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard, also very smartly turned out (is it my imagination, or is Ms Gillard changing her style lately? Particularly hair style?)

(As an aside, poor old Aunty clearly needs more resources, so that it can get it’s transcripts up as soon as an interview is aired, and it would certainly help the likes of squares like me, who, if trying to do a review quickly, like to read them after watching the particular interview on screen.) Ms Sales valiantly tried to get Ms Gillard to answer her question on what the cost to families would be of the Government’s proposed ETS would be, even a general averaged range, by repeatedly angling the question differently, dumbing it down as far as politely she could, and Ms Gillard just as deftly tried to avoid giving any distinct answer, finally using a vague reference to ‘in the hundreds of dollars’. Of course this is one of the perennial activities of politics, that is, the avoiding of answering questions that are electorally fraught, and Ms Gillard showed she is about as skilled as the best of them at it; in general, today’s politicians win these on-air battles almost invariably, but do they win the war? I think the voter calibre is gradually increasing to the point where most of us expect the obfuscation we get, know when we’re getting it, and keep these things in mind somewhat when we vote.

I note that Ms Gillard has absorbed a phraseology mistake that Kevin Rudd regularly makes, for she said in speaking about the woes at the moment of the rapidly coming to an end Copenhagen Conference, of the need to strike an agreement: “But we’re not trying to gild the lily here, this is tough, it’s tough work”; I’m sure that ‘sugar coat the problem/challenge/job/…’ is what she means, for I understand gilding the lily to mean adding unnecessary or superfluous enhancement to something already splendid.

I liked Ms Gillard's line: “The challenge for Mr Abbott isn't to come up with a one-liner here; it's to give some content to the policy he now says the Opposition has.” The trouble is, that habit is shared more or less equally by both sides when it suits them, but yes, it happens to be a valid criticism of the Opposition at the moment.

The two interlocutors covered other things, namely national literacy standards, threatened strike action by Qantus and N.S.W. bus drivers, and Ms Gillard's recent past assessments of the character and colourful idiosyncracies of new Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, which she managed to handle to her advantage in the end, under a bit of pressure from Ms Sales.

Overall, Ms Sales did not act overly generously towards Ms Gillard in this interview, and that was good, for our Acting Prime Minister was doing a fine job of mainly talking a lot and saying very little.

Characteristically of Ms Sales, she ended the interview with her distinguished guest most graciously, with sincere thanks for Ms Gillard's interviews over the past year and best wishes were exchanged for the Christmas sabbatical for their respective families; this was a most fragrant and suitable reciprocated note to end upon. In fact, it hardly matters at times what they talk about, when you put two high calibre people together like tonight's dynamic - the experience is edifying to all who appreciate civilised and polite exchange.

I set to in the back room writing and researching after this, and attending to a backlog of emailing, while being treated to Clare Bowditch performing on Live at the Basement.

I created my sixth photo for the Lateline RESTRICTED interview series and uploaded it to my Abecedarian Project, before later going for a three a.m. walk.

A major kitchen clean up took a lot of time through until the sun rose, and I managed to water the back garden by hand. I phoned Mum to learn that she thinks she suffered a mini stroke last Wednesday, but didn't tell me in my subsequent phone calls to her. She has had numerous of these over the past five or six years, fortunately not affecting motor skills; my mother has had the lives of a cat, brushing with death so many times and defying odds that claim most people much sooner in life or leave them incapacitated mentally or physically or both.

This morning I have been solicitous for my sister Mary, who was undergoing day surgery at St John of God Subiaco, and Mum phoned me again to let me know her daughter, my dear niece Elizabeth, had picked her up to drive her home, so all was proceeding smoothly, thank God. We four siblings of course are now well and truly in the age group where everything will begin falling off, apart, or stop working.

A third phone call about midday from Mum gave me the very happy news that our transport problem was close to being solved, which was very happy news indeed, and a major blessing for Janny and me. In fact, this current waking stretch has another wonderful thing being done for me personally over in Osborne Park, due the generosity of Mum and the advocacy of my sister Helena, with the result probably being ready early next week; stay tuned. I have been blessed with two very loving sisters, and one very loving mother, who have been very good to me my whole life.

I was in the throes of one of those marathon awake sessions where I didn't sleep all night, nor the following morning, nor half the next afternoon, and in fact it wasn't till well after two in the afternoon that I finally got to bed, officially on Friday. Poor Janny had developed a severe migraine during the morning and returned to bed at midday, so I let her have the bedroom for the couple of hours during which she slept off the worst of it. She got up and I then claimed the bed for my shift.


Friday, December 11, 2009

LATELINE: Leigh Sales conducts RESTRICTED interview with Mark Arbib and Scott Morrison, demonstrating that boys will be boys...

Be all that as it may, still, you be the judge:

11th December 2009:

Friday: It’s not often that the Canberra pollies loosen up enough to show their private selves, but see if you don’t agree that Leigh Sales, the ABC’s Lateline co-anchor, successfully wiped clear a fascinating, if risqué, window into an unseen side of Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib and Opposition Spokesman on Immigration Scott Morrison during a rare RESTRICTED interview after the standard palaver tonight...


DOVER: “Be it jumping cannons, or postulating big bangs, it’s in the starlight, stupid!” shines P.L. Inkletter, adding “Oh, Be A Fine Girl - Kiss Me!”

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

11th December 2009:

Friday: The first hints of the heat wave coming this weekend were loitering around today. I surfaced early afternoon, unable to sleep any more but badly needing to: story too often of my life.

Baby Inkletter called in for an hour or so for dressmaking, and even took her mother to the local shops. I put 1.4 Gb of Radio National mp3s onto her thumbdrive for her, and that’s only those that she’s asked me to get in the past month or so; the little cube (you can’t get squarer than a cube) didn’t fall far from the fatherly tree.

Later on I managed, after being ravished by the wanton woylie, to get some preparatory hand watering done of the bamboos ready for the heat.

The budding marathonista and I went for a walk about nine in the cool of the evening to the local park, despite both battling to keep our eyes open through Aunty’s early evening offerings, including our favourite The Collectors’ final episode for the year. I hope The Sydney Institute’s Gerard Henderson was sedated when he watched Kerry O’Brien do not one, but two infernal non-political interviews (how dare the journo!) – literary reviews as Henderson calls them – first with architect Frank Gehry, then with film director Peter Jackson on tonight’s 7.30 Report. In yesterday’s entry I noted Henderson’s feeble minded criticism of this mixture of politics, literature, and comedy, and I suggested he might try to align his mind more with the age of his body. I almost always thoroughly enjoy Mr O’Brien’s occasional relaxed interviews, as obviously he does, and I am not riven by the lack of fixity upon one genre only for The 7.30 Report’s focus. Henderson makes himself appear foolish by making it an issue – speaking of which, he waxes hysterical on this matter in Issue No. 38 of his Media Watch Dog, although I don’t recommend you waste your time.

The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Ms Sales was a portrayal of prettiness tonight on Lateline, sporting a fetching red bolero style top with stitched matching flowers along the neckline over a black camisole, flattering slightly flared hairstyle, ideally subtle effect make-up, tiny earrings, that trademark glow, and a delightful demeanour that put a dash of magic into her two in-studio interviews this evening.

First off was the locking of combs between two youngish cockerels of Canberra, Opposition Spokesman on Immigration Scott Morrison, and the Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib; these lads were smartly turned out, wisely – naturally – sporting dark suits, white shirts, and fairly unadventurous but acceptable ties, to complement their superlative grooming. This interview was more notable for the lighthearted and jovial vibe which permeated the 16 minute discussion than for anything of substance spilling from either of the pollies; in fact, this interview was as good as any Leigh Sales has done in the class which indicate that she is a downright nice person, in addition to her considerable interviewing abilities – I would be battling to identify a more unaffected journalist. Perhaps it was the approach of Christmas, the holidays, perhaps the chemistry with the two lads, but whatever it was, here was a relatively civilised and decidely agreeable encounter from the two sides of Australian politics, which engendered oodles of the the typical and predictable silly and false dichotomous ‘we are right, and your lot are wrong’ bombast, the usual black and white depictions and to hell with the greys, yet as I said, it managed to be very entertaining as well as pleasant.

We the faithful Aunty viewers were next treated with a tiny morsel of meat to balance the porridge just served, when Stephen Long gave us three and a bit minutes of his wisdom: The (Stephen) Long and Short of It: Ms Sales welcomed – with her trademark sincerity plus a glint of mischief – my favourite economics journalist, who was his usual excellent statement of grooming, choosing a subtle striped white shirt as somewhere to knot his lilac tie, perimetered by his trademark dark suit jacket; does he wear trousers for these late Friday night trysts in the Ultimo studios of the ABC? – I guess we will be left guessing; I do have it on good authority that his Mum tousles his gorgeous curly hair most every day, causing extra work for the make-up slaves doing their best to add that little bit extra to what nature provides our Aunty’s on-air staff; as I was saying, Mr Long was welcomed with a request to share what he made of Senator Barnaby Joyce’s remarks today on U.S.A. debt and Chinese investment in Australia.

While I agree with Mr Long that it is very unlikely that the North Americans would formally default on their national debt, however, there is more than one way to give medicine to a cat, including up its backside. The debt position of the U.S.A. is horrendous, to put it bluntly, and only great pain for its citizenry can and will come during the eventual prosecution of its solution, as well as the millions upon millions of people internationally who owe their prosperity to the trading transactions and tourism of the Yanks. The basics are no different to those for a heavily overindebted family. Before we in Australia think it doesn’t affect us, that is not so, for even our national, business, and personal debt levels, as comparatively proportionally small as they are in toto, are vastly beyond what is prudent, and our thrifty forefathers would be turning in their graves to know how we have come to live on credit to such an alarming extent. Also, an economically gravely ill ally of the stature of the U.S.A. is no laughing matter for us.

I think Mr Long’s suggestion of the possibility of the U.S.A. having to buy its own bonds to help raise the unprecedented trillions of credit it needs on top of the unprecedented trillions it already is in hock up to its eyeballs with owed internationally, is not so far fetched at all, and a certain terrible controlled economic pandemonium could easily flow from this: take the huge devaluation of their currency alone that would inevitably occur on top of the well established downward spiral it is already on towards the gurgler; an extremely low value greenback would force the nation to become small international spenders (savings would gain real momentum), and flood the global market with ultra cheap U.S. exports: now wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events, with profound effects upon the economies of many nations?

As always, Mr Long was a font of wisdom well worth listening to, and the chemistry between him and Ms Sales in their all too short minutes once a week was as delightful as ever. And don’t leave without catching a glimpse of Ms Sales’ outfit tonight.

About 3 a.m. I could be found walking the streets of the local suburb, listening to my favourite talking book, before returning to write and research till well after daybreak.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

SANREMO: “The Big Bang Query, what a Nobel idea!” smoulders Payton L. Inkletter, “And may he rest in Peace, prize possession and legacy of fraternity”

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

10th December 2009:

Thursday: As I write in my sanctuary, aka the back room, the store room, the freezer room, the sewing room, the office, the computer room, it is after midnight (technically therefore it’s Friday), I am being entertained by Deni Hines and Christine Anu, four feet from me, on Live at the Basement, on the 27 inch TV that Baby Peggletter gave us as a second set last year, and which has been invaluable for me to catch Aunty broadcasts when the little people are being inculcated with their miscellaneous American soaps in the lounge; I couldn’t begin to tally the towering talent that Live at the Basement has showcased down through the years.

I was just now doing a Google search for Kerry O’Brien’s age, not content with the Wikipedia entry from way back, for there’s nothing like a bit of corroboration, and in the process I discovered Gerard Henderson's (Executive Director of The Sydney Institute) Media Watch Dog site. The reason for my searching for a seconding of Kezza the Great’s being 64 was a moment in his interview on Monday with Martin Seligman, when Mr Seligman made reference to Mr O’Brien’s age thus: “…I know you're not my age yet, but I think there's really hope even for people in their 60s…”: this struck me as curious, indicating that Mr Seligman assumed Mr O’Brien was in his fifties, as said journo could carry given the rude health of that thing on his head, and I was also remembering that Wikipedia places him as a ’45 baby.

So what, if anything, am I getting at? Only this: after digesting his recording of his correspondence with Amanda Meade on the matter of Mr O’Brien’s age in his Media Watch Dog issue 13, I glanced at Mr Henderson’s latest issue 38, and read his remarks about last week’s 7.30 Report. He seems bothered by that program not quite being, in his view, categorizable, for it covers “current affairs”, “literary review”, and “comedy”; I began to smell pettiness, but wait, there’s more… Mr Henderson then described Clarke and Dawe’s Thursday skit on the Liberal Party’s turmoil which had climaxed on the Tuesday with the election of Tony Abbott as leader.

He noted that Clarke, as Tony Abbott, ended the skit by blowing up the studio in a suicide bomb attack. What he wrote next is so precious I have to repeat it: “Pretty funny, eh? John Clarke is now into murder as comedy. Around the time that the 7.30 Report was going to air, a real suicide/homicide bomber murdered 19 civilians - including three Somali government ministers - during a terrorist attack on a medical graduation ceremony in Mogadishu.

Murder may be suitable material for comedy at the ABC Studio in Sydney’s Ultimo. But terrorism is not a suitable topic for humour in Somali.”

Now I suppose I must have been living under a rock, for I don’t recall ever reading anything by Gerard Henderson, but if that drivel is indicative of his style and his grasp of reality, then I haven’t missed much. What he wrote there is so stupid and flawed that I won’t bother thoroughly picking it apart, which I could.

There is limitless humour to be harvested from tragedies and wrongdoings, as just one of the fertile fields for tickling our funny bones and safely discharging nervous and emotional energies. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither Clarke nor Dawe knew anything about the Mogadishu tragedy unfolding, but even if they did, it makes not a dot of difference; their employment of the suicide bomber skit was clever and funny, two essential ingredients for successful humour.

Using Henderson’s rule, given that some variation of almost every sad event a human can experience is occurring somewhere at all times, no such comedy could ever be enacted. Twenty years ago this month I was emotionally fraught at my 63 year old father’s bedside in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital as he took his last breath at sunrise, crippled by a massive stroke a month before. However, I wouldn’t have dreamed of objecting to then, nor now, comedy incorporating the death of a father. Get real and grow up please, Mr Henderson.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CAMBRIDGE: A pure unmirrored pattern, and of prime hardyness, a sanguine P.L. Inkletter reflects on the stumping of an extremely kind-hearted bachelor

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

01st December 2009:

Tuesday: What a memorable day for challenging reasons: Baby Inkletter woke me with a knock on the window, and shortly was informing me Janny and The Dear Leader had had an accident down at Turana: no-one seriously hurt (an extremely close shave for Janny and a shopper though), and several cars damaged.

She drove me down there, and it was all over, The Dear Leader taken by ambulance to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for seven hour’s observation, being shocked and bumped and with a small but bloody cut on his elbow. Janny was quite shocked by it all herself: her unlicenced father had, upon his own initiative, decided to move the car in the Turana shopping centre’s carpark out of a tight spot caused by a neighbouring car having parked too close for Janny to be able to enter the driver’s side. Within about three seconds he had stoved in the entire driver’s side of the Suzuki, the rear and side of a parked car behind, and this car bumped into another parked car.

We now are without transport (a different kettle of fish in Australia to most of the densely populated Western nations), and possibly without insurance cover due to the licence status, with the subsequent possibility of The Dear Leader (sparrow-poor like us) being sued for damages. Life’s interest level has just ratcheted up several notches, with less time being available to do the things I enjoy, such as write for my blogs.


Friday, November 27, 2009

UPPSALA: Whether freezing one’s nuts off a tree, or boiling and sweating like a piggy, it’s good to know there are but a hundred degrees of separation

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

27th November 2009:

Friday: Kindly, the devoted dabchick left me longer – till almost noon – in the cot for some badly-needed, doing the kitchen clean up for me that I normally would have done but have failed to do most days this week, having been thrown out of energy and time kilter with Mum’s hospitalisation and operation.

So due to having less to do, I got to Bob’s about 2.45 p.m., to his, and my, surprise. I even managed to pick The Dear Leader up and drop him back to spend the rest of the day with Janny, as well as a phone call before I left to Andy B., who is trying to see if his company can put together a custom computer system for me, on sister Helena’s recommendation. My first suggestion list he can’t do, due to not dealing with AMD, so it was back to the drawing board for me late last night, googling up the Intel offerings. He was flat stick out on the road today, so we’ll discuss my second system suggestion on Monday.

It was Bob’s birthday yesterday – reaching a mere 56 as it turns out, after telling me for years that he was a year older than he actually was – and as I staggered up to his house groaning under the weight of the chocolate cake Janny made for him, all he wanted to know was where was his birthday cigar? So I handed that over with a card, and it was instantly secreted away in his room somewhere. Then we set off for the city, training from Guildford station.

I’m glad I chose thick jeans, a singlet, and thickish shirt, predicting that by day’s end it was likely to be cooling uncomfortably, and it was; we’d best lap it up, for some hot mothers are surely around the corner. Bob enjoyed our outing, and he suggested a couple of variations to our routine, which is extremely unusual for him, the creature of habit that he’s proved to be these past two decades.

My rarer sorties into the public space these past years make me the more observant of my fellow man, and it is fascinating to behold the ways we behave, attire, and speak; largely far more transparently than most of us realise or would wish. I suspended some of my on train reading to listen to the conversation of two professional men opposite, not to invade their privacy (they were speaking quite audibly after all), but to behold their expressions and concerns; the one asked whether the other’s firm would be “holding a Christmas bash this year?”, and in the answer the other fellow lamented that his office protocol had become to refer to it as an “end of year event” due to political correctness infection, out of naïve concern for the various cultures working there: he has my deepest sympathy.

I left Bob’s with the sun setting, and once home the lovely lady fed me while we three watched Kezza the Great’s out of the weekly routine 7.30 Report: The More O’Kerry (O’Brien) Volume: Mr O’Brien interviewed Saint (Nick) Minchin on screen, followed by an in-studio with Malcolm Turnbull. My only comment, at least for now, is: my how much softer Kezza was on Mr Turnbull tonight than in recent interviews; maybe the fact that he was within strangling distance moderated the legendary ginger-hoary old journo, for surely he would not want to be remembered for killing a guest on his show, and maybe Kezza senses that he might not be interviewing Mr Turnbull as often –or at all – soon.

I took The Dear Leader home after Australian Story, another out of routine scheduling broadcast, and managed on my return to have a catch up chat with the crystallised honeypot, who has had a lot of extra aching joints and muscles, poor teapot, these past several days, plus weariness, before doing some writing, before catching SBS’ news (having missed My Beloved tonight), before that low grade comedy ‘Little Miss Jocelyn’ and its questionably talented comedienne star Jocelyn Jee Esien, before Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: attired in a smart dark jacket with green camisole, tiny earrings and eye shadow to subtly match her camisole, Ms Sales looked most up to the task for the two long interviews tonight, and no guesses needed for the subject matter of one of them, and the other was held over from last night in fact.

Ms Sales’ garb tonight were in fact the same threads she had on for her Canberra interview yesterday with U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, which was a sensible deference to continuity, and she had the pleasure of speaking to this fellow who not only was superbly turned out, with a massive tiny dotted red base tie leaping off his crisp whiter than white shirt, corralled by a dark suit jacket, but his visage was also patriotically set off with a book or cover in the background to his right titled ‘The Constitution of The United States of America’, out of focus but as imposing as any bloke’s mother-in-law nevertheless.

I think this interview was a very good one, and not only for the impressive but always appropriate politeness Ms Sales maintained, but also for the charm that she elicited from Mr Bleich, as well as the fact that she managed to cover some touchy subjects such as Guantanamo Bay, David Hicks, and anti-Americanism, which were the only moments when Ambassador Bleich moved ever so slightly into a very mild discomfort zone.

Although this was an interview that has to be classified as political, it was a refreshing change from the usual combativeness that many political interviews contain; this was more a get to know the person chat, and considering the importance of this man’s role in oiling the bonds at the highest levels between our two nations, and the fact that our respective countries could be served by him for some years, this is well and good.

An issue I would take with the Ambassador on behalf of his President is that of the hidden repercussionals of his glowing reference, viz.: “The reception to his (President Obama’s) Cairo speech, the reception to his speech in Tokyo”; I think Obama doesn’t understand well enough just what the U.S.A.’s multifarious enemies respect, and this crucial omission will thus lead him and that nation (Australia sadly is no different, judging by the pandering our leaders have long been indulging our enemies) as far along a precarious path of strength-letting as they can, before using force to finish the job. Even with those matters that don’t involve militarism or terrorism actions, such as the financial indebtedness to Japan and China (floating around the U.S. $800 billion mark to each) I think vastly more ill-will might lurk behind the smiles from the government officials of these nations than their smiles imply.

Japan is a good case in point: the recent change of government there ended an almost unbroken 54 years of rule of the Liberal Democratic Party, and the now newly ruling Democratic Party of Japan under Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama appears to have the interests of the U.S.A., this nation’s unparalled benefactor of the past seven decades, far less at heart; it is looking to reduce its proportion of U.S. currency reserves, thus lending less to them; it is forging an independent foreign policy, even planning to reduce its military assistance as a base for U.S. facilitation of its various endeavours; article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is increasingly being seen as just so much of an unfair constraint to this industrial powerhouse that has the capacity and materials to produce thousands of nuclear weapons within a short stretch of the yea.

As for the Cairo speech: I do think that Obama is to be admired for extending the hand of friendship to the Islamic nations, but he is to be condemned if he doesn’t keep a vice like grip onto a bloody big stick with the other hand at the same time. There are huge numbers of Islamists the world over who would like nothing more than for the demise of the United States of America (and Britain, Australia, …) based on stubborn and fossilised religious ideology, and won’t be satisfied with anything less than the transformation of this rapidly weakening infidel stronghold into an Islamic theocracy, regardless of how many deaths nor how much misery are exacted along this ‘divinely sanctioned’ trajectory. So, beautiful words are good as far as they go, but one must know what one’s enemy respects and, sadly, be prepared to apply it when necessary, just as they surely do.

If I had a personal criticism at this stage of my near zero knowledge of Ambassador Bleich, it would simply be that he waxed a tad too star-struck about Barack Obama; he should honour and respect the President, but not worship him. Ms Sales finished on a lovely note, discussing the Ambassador’s hobby of collecting Elvis memorabilia. Ambassador Bleich obviously was grateful for the top rate treatment he got at Ms Sales’ hands, as his parting remarks evidenced: ‘I'm sure I will and thankyou so much, Leigh, and I look forward to working with you in the future - talking to you. Bye-bye.’ She continues her long established practice of interviewing her interlocutor having done her research well, and it certainly shows.

The earlier interview was with a couple of journo intellectuals, The Financial Review's Laura (Eucalyptus frissonii vr blondus) Tingle, and The Australian's Peter van Onselen, all about the Liberal Party kerfuffle over the leadership, triggered and propelled by the ETS amendments vote-to-come. Ms Tingle, on-screen, looked most business like and dapper, as didn’t Mr van Onselen, who, as an in-studio guest, either cannot afford a tie, or thinks it doesn’t matter not wearing one, pink shirt notwithstanding. It didn’t interfere with his high quality articulation, but such a small visual thing makes a real difference, and he should know this.

These three certainly covered the matter with intelligence, aided by Ms Sales’ questions, but the savvy and cognisance of her two guests certainly produced a high quality discussion that was a pleasure to follow. Yes all this intrigue and drama in Canberra is politically very interesting and stimulating, but philosophically, the individuals hardly matter. Turnbull or Hockey or Abbott, they’re just idiosyncratic humans like most of us, but what does matter is that Australia’s effective Westminster System continue to improve and prosper, giving us stable government upon a foundation of civilised conduct, without the bloodshed that mars so many other parts of this troubled world. And so an effective Opposition is crucial, whoever the dupe or sucker or champion is that has a turn at leading it.

I withdrew to my sanctuary to write and research after midnight, punctuated by a walk about half two, after some struggles with my chronic health problems, but the walk is always worth the effort; the night air was still cool, but I think the heat is not far off arriving, so I am lapping up the comfortable walking conditions for now. I was still writing as the sky lightened with dawn’s arrival and transition into the new day.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

UNITED KINGDOM: Natural selection is undeniable, but the origins of speciousness à la Dawkins makes P.L. Inkletter wonder if Professor’s read the book

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

24th November 2009:

Tuesday: Although I had told Mum last night I would be in to see her after her operation today, I had already decided to come in well before, to comfort her. And so, having had maybe four hours of sleep, I got myself presentable and set off by 7.20 a.m., braving the nasty traffic snarls of Perth; the run was reasonably good, for I was early enough to well and truly beat the worst of it, and arrived in Mum’s room about 8.10; she was pleasantly surprised to see me.

A hot day was brewing outside, for it reached about 36 Celsius. The nursing staff intermittently attended to various pre-opterative procedures with Mum, who had not had much sleep at all overnight. Sister Mary arrived, and before long Mum was being wheeled off, about 10.15, the seventh patient, very anxious but sedated, to theatre. I did my best to comfort Mum, and held her hand in silence a fair bit of the time as well, reassuring her that she was in two very good pairs of hands in Doctors Hng and Leung. She had a bit of a cry earlier on while sitting in a chair in her room with me.

Sister Mary returned home, and I braved the furnace outside to fetch a bag of my bits and pieces from the car, then settled in to the waiting lounge on the second floor of Murdoch Hospital, listening to my favourite talking book, but occasionally dropping off into micro sleeps, and also having conversations with our Father of all.

At noon I returned to Mum’s room to watch the ABC’s Midday Report, getting the dirt on the excitement in Canberra over the freshly negotiated Wong-Macfarlane ETS deal that Malcolm Turnbull had presented to his party room.

About 1 p.m. Mum was wheeled back, and I was shocked at how good she looked, for she had just had a hysterectomy for ovarian cancer, having been as a life long and present heavy smoker at 78 years of age, when she was wheeled into theatre, and already a survivor of three separate cancers, including lung cancer, and several strokes, over the previous decade and more. I spoke with her intermittently, for she was drifting in and out of consciousness, but suffering from nausea, almost vomiting several times. Not until about half an hour after the nursing staff added an anti nausea drug to her drip did she settle into longer bouts of sleep. I just held her hand.

Sister Mary came back, having done some washing for Mum that she took from the hospital when she left this morning. I had phoned her, sister Helena, and Aunt Elsie with the news of her safe arrival back from theatre.

I was very tired when I left a little after six in the evening, amazed and grateful at how well Mum had fared.

My quenda queen fed me, and we watched a special Western Australian version of The 7.30 Report, from an obviously enervated and emotionally excited Kerry O’Brien, who can no more keep out of the thick of Australian politics than the quendas can keep away from the Murdoch Hospital’s kitchen (a fellow, who looked like he was probably a doctor) told sister Mary and me yesterday as we were leaving at dusk, but stopping to read the information sign on these lovable little bandicoots, that the closer to the kitchen they are the fatter they are; I saw my second one ever ‘in the wild’ at this time, out on the lawn grooming itself, as fat as butter and as big as a half sized rat; my first sighting was a couple of hours earlier when I brought Mum in and helped admit her to the hospital for today’s surgery; I knew nothing of the quendas or the Murdoch Hospital’s colony at that stage, and told Mum I had just spotted a rat in the gardens near the main entrance; an inspiring start to a modern hospital experience.)

Aunt Elsie rang us at home here about this time, back from an evening visit to Mum her next oldest sister, and told me something utterly amazing: the doctors Leung and Hng both visited Mum while Aunt Elsie was there, and let her know that there was no ovarian cancer present at all! The pain she had been having for some many weeks was from something like a twisted ovary (no doubt we’ve not absorbed that accurately, but that’s what Aunt Elsie remembers). I haven’t met Dr Leung, but I took Mum to Dr Hng the anaesthetist yesterday in Nedlands, and found him to be a gentle, patient, and caring man, who took all the time in the world to answer Mum’s questions, query her regarding her health history, and try to put her at ease. He was most fascinated that 8 years ago she had had, and survived, lung cancer, just from radiotherapy, telling Mum she was “very lucky” (I told him nothing about the natural therapies I got Mum using, and Mum doesn’t even know of the prayers my friends offered on her behalf); he appeared quietly shocked to learn that Mum still smokes, a packet a day, but simply asked her to try to cut down before the operation and for some days after, to lift the oxygen supply in her blood; I think he was processing internally and came to a conclusion that even the mildest of berating was going to be counterproductive, but I think he was a tad torn and somewhat saddened about it all. When we left, as we drove away along a side street we say him walking in the hot sunlight, eyes down and apparently deep in thought, and his face spoke to me of deep concern. I wish that every doctor could be as nice as this fellow. He also told us that he would not be charging anything above what Mum’s fund, HBF, paid him.

I could barely keep my eyes open after this, and so the whip cracker sent me to bed. I had mentally prepared myself to no longer have a living mother by this day’s end, but against the odds Mum came through it all. This time twenty years ago Dad was dying of a massive stroke he suffered after surgery of three weeks earlier, in Charlie Gees, lasting only a bit more than a week longer.


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