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Saturday, October 31, 2009

LOW FELL: Swanning about, Payton L. Inkletter had a light bulb moment, but the partial vacuum in his head soon put paid to the moment’s incandescence.

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

31st October 2009:

Saturday: For the untold millions among the billions of daily visitors to Fool’s Paradise – Infinity on a Shoestring family of sites, who are itching to see me write ‘It’s Sarrerdi!’, your cups now runneth over.

The untold story did last night’s kitchen clean up while I slept today, and then snuck in and reset my alarm an hour and a half later, so that I could get more badly needed sleep; she is a kind old dragon; I had estimated the alarm timing to give me temporal room to clean up before our special guests arrived for din dins tonight, The Chocson Two. So I hadn’t been up long, mid to late afternoon, when the Geralton Wax arrived back from a gallivant, ALONE, which rarity elicited a gushing explanation: Umple Dais had been assisting The Dear Leader to put a metal ramp over his front door step in preparation for the supercharged Renault Spider gopher that old kindly Maurice is giving to the senior of the aforementioned pair.

Less now to do, less time to do it in, the result was still a mad rush to help the kitchen contrary prepare for din dins, just to be with – wait for it – the FOUR of us, a rarity to reminisce over in hallowed tones in the future. Well before seven the Chocsons arrived, and while Reeve was recovering somewhat from his virus serious, Chocci was in the throes, this family infection being the reason The Dear Leader hadn’t joined us.

We had but three visits by Halloweeners, six kids followed by five kids followed by three, who all went away much the sweeter.

Our time with the Chocsons always flies by like a firefly, speaking of which, we watched most of the first episode of that TV series during the evening, the Chocsons having brought it with them; I’d never seen it before. It was after eleven when they left, and the dust settled on an enjoyable evening together.

After the dainty derringer was put to bed a while later, I hit the writing, researching, and walking; yes, I’ve been bitten again by the greater cicatrised overnight walking bug, having walked for half an hour most nights this past week, while listening – when the wind is low – to my favourite talking book. This walk, as with several this week, was chilly, which suits me fine: stinging hands are a small price to pay for a perspiration free body; I have the trade off to juggle: exhaustion sets in big time after the walks, but fitness has innumerable benefits, let alone the psychological boost of good old fashioned walking in the outdoors, and fortunately I’ve long overcome the initial safety fear of walking in the dead of night.

On my return I watched the recording of Lateline that the whimpering Winchester did for me last Wednesday night when I had to crash early: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: proving that some blessed women can look top notch in plain apparel, Ms Sales’ simple dark top with a small almost rounded opening was complemented by subtle make-up and a mildly loose hanging hairstyle, minus jewellery but for small earrings, and it all worked very well. Her major interview guest was Dr Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia's Foreign Minister for barely one week, and it was our at our ANU that he obtained his doctorate in philosophy. Dr Natalegawa was well presented, tiny framed as he was, his suit jacket so encompassing his puny pectorals that it barely revealed any of his white shirt and maroon tie; when he got speaking he struck me quickly as an asset to his Government.

His responses to Ms Sales’ questions, many of them appearing to be aimed at levering out something sensational on the asylum seekers’ issue current, were cool, calm, and collected, and I found myself thinking what a diplomat he was being; later I read online that he has fulfilled diplomacy roles for Indonesia, thus explaining perfectly his soothing and non-hysterical responses.

I wonder how many journalists who repeatedly push potentially inflammatory or controversial questions actually would do so if there was no pressure or expectation to do so for ratings or the prize of scoops? The push was on in this interlocution to get a reaction to something controversial such as a forcing of the asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking, or a refusal to allow them to embark on Indonesian soil, or some such; this said, I’m sympathetic to that spot between a rock and a hard place many of the more decent journalists find themselves in.

Sympathy notwithstanding, I did not find the Australian side of this interview as satisfying as I would have liked – as good as it was – and I’ll just use this one question that was asked of Dr Natalegawa as a rough generalisation and indication of the thinking that underlies my concerns: “But what benefit does this Australian policy bring to Indonesia, if asylum seekers are heading away from Indonesia towards Australia? Wouldn't it be easier for your country to simply let them go?’ That question is actually mildly ugly as well as flawed; it does nothing to enhance the reputation of any journalist asking it.

The Lateline bulletin tonight had several instances before this interview of the ugliness and softheadedness saturating the whole matter among the Australian body politic and public; I am disgusted by the Opposition’s approach of highly negative attack – continuing the only theme these moronic bad losers seem to know – on the Government as they struggle to deal with these difficult asylum seeker and refugee matters; they clearly don’t realise, or perhaps don’t care, that they are doing harm to Australia’s interests by being such trouble makers, and seem bent on extracting every drop of dubious political advantage they think they can get out of the problem; this difficulty calls for bipartisanship, and clearly also calls for greater men and women than currently occupy many of the seats in our Federal Parliament.

I should state some of my opinions on this issue, rather than hide them: every nation in the world has the justifiable right to control movement of people to and from its borders; geographical location places real obligations upon a nation; asylum seekers have no right to demand transfer to particular nations; every nation has the justifiable right to try to maintain and improve the wellbeing of its own people, but not at the expense of other nations; the plight of massive numbers of people is terrible, and the right thing to do is for all nations to always keep working to alleviate this unacceptable suffering; the numbers of people in desperate need is so huge that, most unfortunately, a great many almost certainly will never be acceptably helped for the foreseeable or short to mid-term future at least; this sobering fact behoves the nobler citizens of each nation who are materially blessed to maintain an attitude of gratitude for their lot, and to live in such a way as to contribute to a net improvement for all in the great family of nations – a type of good old noblesse oblige, in fact.

A tad more of my opinion: not that it pleases me, but no-one has the right to occupy indefinitely a ship they don’t own when care is being offered off-ship; contrary to the P.J. O’Rourkes and Paul Howes of the world, the extent of the effort expended and the dangers battled to make it to Australia are neither sensible, pragmatic, nor valid criterions for accepting people to become a part of our country, or any country.

I kept on watching the recording, and beheld that pre-eminently professional journalist, Ali Moore deliver another Lateline Business, even though it was from the mid-week 28th October broadcast: The Ali Moore or Less: Ms Moore, as with Ms Sales earlier, presented herself very simply attired, her short sleeved dark top completely unadorned, without even any décolletage to adorn, and her trademark subtle make-up and simple loose hanging hairstyle complement the picture so very well.

Her major interview guest tonight was the Business Council of Australia's fresh out of the oven President, Graham Bradley, who sartorially presented himself excellently, his dark suit and white tie being set off so well with a yellow and orange dappled dark tie that you’d crawl backwards over broken glass to own, even just catch a glimpse of. I’ve not heard anything of the fellow, but I like him greatly on the strength of this interview alone. Ms Moore demonstrated her dedication to research, just as Ms Sales does, and was impressively up with the issues pertinent to Mr Bradley’s new role, and was able to saliently rejoin on the fly to his remarks. Mr Bradley strikes me as a fine representative with high ideals to grace the top job of such an important body, and I liked his answers, some rather excellent, to Ms Moore’s probing questions. Thank you both for the pearl of an interview.

I can’t leave this one without a word about a glitch in the editing, which did not remain on the podcast version: Ms Moore interrupted Mr Bradley at one point to suggest he wipe some sweat from his upper lip, and it wasn’t edited out; I, and doubtless countless other Aunty viewers, after this rare frisson had subsided, took it in our strides, for it was all very polite and proper, as well as human (try roasting under studio lights without perspiring you naysayers!), but Ms Moore apologised at interview’s end to the audience for the ‘shocking’ edit; her choice of word was a harbinger of something ominous to come: when she signed off, missing was her trademark smile to die-to-stay-up-late-to-see, and I thought to myself, God help the poor bastard responsible for that edit, he’s going to get a mauling, possibly a castration, for Ms Moore is one very unhappy double-X-chromosomed chappy! If he had any wits, he’d have taken off before the show’s end, and faced her tomorrow (Thursday that would have meant; better still, called in sick, and not had to work on Lateline Business till Monday, by which time the glamorous queen of late night current affairs would have had time to notice again the charm of the forest formed by the trees.) Even the iView version of this night’s Lateline was not available when I checked this evening, which would by rights have contained the editing glitch (Moore’s the pity, for there was a stretch in her market wrap chat with David Halliday where we were treated to some of the most divine smiling responses from the lady to a quip Mr Halliday gave: “there’s not a (Suncorp-Metway’s Patrick) Snowball’s chance in Hell…”; I say again, God help the poor bastard…

After watching this midweek recording I returned to writing in my sanctuary, and it was after dawn when I slipped into the warm soft arms of the jettisoned jewel.


Friday, October 30, 2009

VANTAA: “The eyes have it!” a sparking Payton L. Inkletter crackled, adding cryptically “Granite may be hard, but squint carefully and it’s colourful”

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

30th October 2009:

Friday: Against the odds for an erratic sleeper, part time insomniac, I got through the whole night from before nine, with only a few short stretches of wakefulness. So with a couple of hours of pre-noon day to go, after the laborious and long winded process of waking up, energising up, I rebooted the poota, it having succumbed to short power cut, according to the marvellous materfamilias, about four this morning.

My visiting of three computer outlets yesterday, incidental to my visit to Mum’s to take her to the doctor yesterday, failed to find any with a PCI SATA controller card in stock, and this meant that I still did not have my main disk, with all my precious data, research, writing, and web site work of the last year or so, online (at home in my poota ‘online’). It occurred to me to refit the card that ‘failed’ Tuesday evening, on the off chance that it would work again; well, it damn well did, and voila! my terabyte disk came back online, with all my precious data! Silicon soothes in mysterious ways. I’m sure many of my billions of daily readers would appreciate what a relief that was. I next dutifully did some backing up of the most important of this data to another disk, my next oldest, an IDE 500 Gb mother (this is an old motherboard system, without built in firewire support).

After this dabbling in the internals among the metal, and then in the OS among the zeroes and ones, it was approaching two in the afternoon. The kindly kapitan set off to visit Meg Deeler, who is not faring well under her latest round of radiotherapy for her neck cancer, poor thing, with some gifts and a catch up, before calling at the Malaga Op Shop to drop off some bags of clothes and things we don’t need; this small act of charity possibly had some consequences that I’ll enlarge on later…

I embarked upon a gargantuan kitchen clean up which I had been stockpiling – the dishes and pots and pans and whatnot – in the bathroom like the archetypical male, having been too exhausted to get to it all these past two days what with working with Bob on Wednesday and spending the day helping Mum yesterday; eventually, after a couple of hours, I had it fairly spick and span.

A sickening thud down the street boded badly about a quarter to five, and what appeared to have happened was a motorbike travelling down the avenue hit a car turning into the side road not far from us. I heard no braking, which meant he – for it was a he – hit the car at full speed. A crowd was there in no time, and Janny was the first to call an ambulance, and the triple zero staffer advised her, on our cordless, of some basic measures to attend to for the fellow, who was in the middle of the road with blood trickling down the street; she managed to relay these first aid instructions to the helpers attending to him.

An ambulance arrived, sirenless, very quickly, for one was in our suburb or an adjacent one apparently, fortunately. What we think happened was the woman driver of the car had not seen the motor bike, for the sun is treacherous this time of day and year, shining directly and low into all traffic coming up the hill towards our place, which makes that corner a dangerous one to turn into at such times, as well as the fact that it is on a bend, making oncoming traffic down the hill invisible beyond about two hundred metres maximum.

The ambos worked on the young man on the road for almost three quarters of an hour it seemed, and the police blocked the street till well after 8 p.m. while they did their investigations. So our drive was blocked by a police car and several other vehicles crowded our verge while all this work was being done. And so The Babies Ink&Peggletter had to park some houses away when they arrived with Pa pree, for our scheduled dinner together. My habit, as with many others, when a accident or siren is heard, is to express to our Maker the desire that all goes well for the hurt and comfort for the sometimes bereaved.

Our street has had a few nasty crashes over the years, as well as violence, and the death of a child crossing the road with her mother at the hands of a speeding driver, and they’re just the ones we know about; life hangs by a thread, it is so precious… Janny learnt from one of the police later that this fellow will be okay, having smashed his legs up badly, but his torso and head appeared to have gotten off lightly, so that’s a positive. If the woman driver indeed couldn’t see well, or has some other mitigating circumstances, or even if it was pure carelessness or inattention, I’m nevertheless very sorry for her too, for she’ll be carrying a burden out of this.

The meal was delicious, despite a drama or two during its preparation: one part was almost burnt, causing a meltdown in my wife momentarily, and then the rice cooker gave up its ghost early in the cooking cycle, but all came up roses in the end.

Now what were those quinceconses I alluded to earlier repercussing from the opportunistic oligarch’s dropping off bags of things to the Malaga Op Shop? While based in Busselton for their week’s holiday last week, the little people bought up big at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory for a gift for The Babies, and Janny planned to give them a bag of goodies tonight. Well, after turning the house upside down, we could not find it; earlier today I loaded the car for Janny with a line of bags she had put in the passage for the Op Shop and had asked me to carry for her; said goodies were in a grey plastic shopping bag, as were many of the donation bags; I dutifully did as I was requested, carrying half a dozen bags at a time to the boot, and Janny put them, after her visit with Meg, into those big plastic wheelie bins at the Op Shop; we think the staff tomorrow if not already will have gay abandonment brown smudges all over their faces. The Babies took the news rather bravely, but might be crying their eyes out overnight.

I consoled my darling delinquent later after the visitors had departed, and mentioned what a minor thing it really is, and considering the bad day that motor bike rider had. The money spent on the choccies and other goodies was substantial for us, and Pa pree and Umple Dais had contributed also, but I pointed out that we’ll be laughing about the mix up soon, if that’s what’s happened (it would explain our inability to find the goodies in this small house).

After we had eaten the main course we played a new game – for Janny and me – with The Babies, called Skybridge, with Pa pree watching by choice, and we each won a game out of the four rounds we played; it was a lot more interesting than it might at first appear, and was fun.

I watched the remainder of That Mitchell and Webb Look when they left, and then caught Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Ms Sales looked vibrant in an azure blue blouse, simple but very effective,

More story coming…


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CINCINNATI: “Are you aware,” asks P.L. Inkletter, “that dear ‘Old Probability’ is the godfather of all little boys and girls who lie after the news?”

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

28th October 2009:

Wednesday: Try as I might to be up by half nine, I ended up asking the vivacious vixen to leave me another half hour, and when the luscious lollapalooza suggested an hour, I agreed, in a delta stupor, with unseemly haste; the developments of the previous day and night had me going to bed after dawn, and it took some time to shift my mind into alpha gear and wind down to desirable and badly needed delta; what were those developments did I hear you asking?: Oh, only a total inability to boot the computer early evening yesterday.

After trying a million things from within my limited knowledge, I phoned my sister in Broomehill, Helena, to confirm that I had permission to fire up her old computer I’ve got stored here for emergency use, format the HDD, install Win XP, and try to revive my system through use of this new system disk. This okay was immediate, but during the hour long catch up conversation she insisted that rather than waste a minute longer than necessary, this event would bring forward her long hatching plan to see to it that I got a Christmas present this year from my mother in the form of a new computing system.

You could have knocked me over with a baby’s sneeze, for I’ve been struggling with old and slow and flaky systems for over a decade, notwithstanding the significant advance this current system was for me last year when Baby Peggletter kindly passed it onto me from his work place when they upgraded their systems; nevertheless, there has been some glitchy gremlins in the metal of the current system that have caused too many sudden reboots, no boots, to boots, and numerous quirky and inexplicable happenings. I have tried to blame Bill Gates for as many of them as possible, as all good wannabe Linux sympathisers, and Cyrix and AMD and general underdog supporters should, but further developments overnight suggested that maybe I can’t lay this one on my girl Bill.

Anyway, I just digressed… After I picked myself up from the floor, the phone handpiece having hit me on the bonce about the time of contact with said nether house regions, I fought the proposal of my dear sister’s as long and feebly as I could; while on this long phone call, I would occasionally enter this option or that choice into the boot up sequences – the computer shares the same desk and the back room phone – and lo and behold, safe mode finally succeeded. However, most forebodingly, my major disk with all of my latest documents and research of the last year and more was not online, was missing, vanished… GULP!

We finished the call with this update of the missing disk and data to Helena, who encouraged me to let her know tomorrow what the outcome of any further progress – or the absence thereof – might be with bringing my system back to flaky ‘normal’, and the commitment to arrange an early Christmas present should I but whisper the idea. How nice a problem to have! I would never have asked in a million years; rather I would have struggled along, and when I could afford to I’d go for some barebones system and engraft my bits and pieces of this system to it.

Anyway, and meanwhile, back at the branch, the branch being this backroom, I spent the whole night establishing that there was nothing I could do to bring my terabyte WD HDD back on line, having opened up the box and finally disconnecting it and removing the PCI card which allows this SATA drive to work with this old PATA system. It just might be that the card has given up, even though it is barely a year old. I am hoping against hope that this is the case, because then when my terabyte WD HDD is reconnected minus the dead card, either to this system with a new card, or a modern system direct to the PATA slots on the motherboard, I’ll have all my data and blood sweat and tears back, including zillions of hours of Fool’s Paradise – Infinity on a Shoestring web sites’ work.

I did get the sytem working again minus the big disk, which fortunately is not my system disk (in fact, being an old motherboard, it can’t put the operating system onto a PATA HDD), and went online during the wee small hours to research possibilities for the Christmas present: I’m only human after all, and my missus would say that I’m still a little boy playing with my toys.

And so now my billions of daily readers know why I did not fight the delectable dollybird when she suggested I sleep in an hour more till half ten today. However, this meant I had to motor like the flipping klappers to do what needed doing today, which if most folk really knew, it would move them to mirth or disgust, for it wasn’t much objectively, but for this sick and tired old bull koala, it was flat strap mode.

My plan was to clean up the kitchen for my darling derringer, to give her the chance to work on a quilt job she’s doing for Chocci Chocson, and then before taking Bob swimming at Midvale, I wanted to pick up a book on crocheting I’d forgotten I’d ordered for the Celtic character at Angus & Robertson at the Galleria in Morley – which I did – as well as buy fruit and vegetables at that venerable institution for providing affordable fruit and vegetables for the masses, Benara Fresh in Beechboro – which I also did; this meant, however, that I didn’t get to Bob’s till half three, but he was happy, and we painted Swan Aquatic red, or rather, he did, being a naughty boy today and doing some splashy dives in direct defiance of my telling him he wasn’t allowed to (Bob is 56 years old mind you).

We finished with a dusk walk along the river front at Fish Market Reserve, and Bob had his cup of tea while I had my cup of hot water to cap off a pleasant late afternoon. I got fuel at Altone Road on my way back, and wasn’t home till New Inventors time, having missed Kezza the Great’s interview with Thérèse Rein (but I did phone the Birmingham beauty and talked her through the recording procedure so we both can watch it together at a later time).

After I ate my din dins kindly served me by the loving loquat, watching Spicks and Specks with her, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and she insisted I go to bed; I insisted she record Lateline for me…


Thursday, October 22, 2009

ENTIAT: “The King who sucked lemons had method to his madness; rawing the secret: ‘Don’t cook your greens!’,” so says a scurvyless Payton L. Inkletter

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

22nd October 2009:

Thursday: I arose late in the day to a back room not humming, in fact permeated with an eerie silence: the power cut of this morning forcing the rare situation of not having the computer on, for it has run 24/7 for almost every day of the last 10 years. Being a flaky system, it did not want to start, but persistently rebooting and jumping into and out of the bios without actually changing settings caused it eventually to fire up – thank heavens – sparing me resort to more drastic measures.

It put the fear of Gates into me enough, however, to immediately do a Paragon system backup, followed by a backup of 25 Mb or so of my latest documents onto my thumbdrive, which Baby Inkletter gave me early this year.

As the daylight was almost over, I set off to walk to Umple Dais’ place to check his mail box and see that things were intact, before walking back to The Dear Leader’s house to water plants, feed the cat, and clear the mail. I’ve only one more day of the bliss of freedom from the beasts, and it has been a form of heaven, fleeting though it has been.

So I got nothing done in the back yard weeding wise before it was time to chow down with tuck tuck during My Beloved and The 7.30 Report. My billions of daily readers will have long ago realised that I am a creature of Aunty, our ABC, the greatest entertainment and current affairs institution Australia has left and has ever had; also, it is probably the only hope for the maintainenance of cohesiveness for our nation, even though it will have to fulfil this work through a minority of the population who are its regular viewers; but in this minority are thinkers, movers, and shakers; doubtless there will be many who think I’m attributing far too much influence to Aunty.

If my memory serves me correctly, I don’t think I’ve ever actually identified what ‘My Beloved’ is, preferring instead the mischievousness of its possible reference to my better half; this much I’ll divulge in the interests of diminishing crypticity: it might refer to a regular program on Aunty between 7.00 and 7.30 in the evenings, except for a mad experiment some decades ago – by some fool in a high place, who apparently was later hung, drawn, and quartered by a mob of Aunty’s regular viewers – with an earlier timeslot (I assume this was a nationwide experiment; it may, however, have been just for Western Australia).

May anyone who tampers with the health of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (I preferred the name ‘Commission’ in the good old days) live in interesting times...; may your testicles wither or your breasts reach your knees, may your teeth fall out, may your hair disappear, may your humour leave you, may your name be acid rain…

The More O’Kerry (O’Brien) Volume: Any time the venerable Kezza, Mistah O’Brien to you, interviews the Prime Minister, it’s a big thing, for he’s a busy and powerful person – Ruddy, I mean – but oh what a bore! Kevin Rudd needs to have a twin, one behind the scenes improving our nation with his leadership, the other doing the media circus, with the naturalness and danger of a Paul Keating or a Bob Hawke or a John Gorton; anyway, thankfully we had Clarke and Dawe to look forward to at half hours’ end.

I caught Catalyst, and then hit the writing for a little while, before sitting down for Q&A, which I don’t think was helped by that buffoon John Elliott, even though his presence contributed considerable levity. Before I knew it it was Lateline time: The Tick(y Fullerton) Check Mark: yes I’ve used the analogy before, that the sun rose a second time today, but I have to use it again, for Ms Fullerton radiated, her golden hair billowing like clouds of promise out and down upon her shoulders, her blouse the same fetching black and white striped number she had on when I made a pictorial for The Abecedarian Project back in early September, with its patchwork patterning making for a captivating outfit; I admire her very subtle effect make-up, with nothing overdone, and her only jewellery tonight was a pair of tiny earrings: see what I’m carrying on about here.

She had a wonderful interview with Sir Harold Evans, the 81 year old Editor at Large of The Week magazine, and he has recently had published his memoir, ‘My Paper Chase’. I endured a sustained low level of stress during this meeting of young and old journalists due my fear that Sir Harold might die during the interview, but the old fellow must be made of rugged material, for he is married to a woman about 25 years his junior, Tina Brown. Perhaps my consternation was fuelled by the inch and a half of sumptuous cleavage Ms Fullerton had on show, for as delightful as that was, I had no desire to see the old boy cark it on screen, especially for two reasons: he is one of the few living people who saw the introduction of Gutenberg’s press, and regardless of what else he’s like, he was sacked as Editor of the Times by Rupert Murdoch, which achievement has earned my admiration.

Regarding the cleavage: let me be conservative and note that it was fine to be so mildly revealingly attired for such a restful, fun even, interview as tonight’s, but that it would not be advisable for an interlocution where some bastard had to be forced to spill some contrabandestine beans, such as a politician or a smarmy business person; women in this early era of humankind’s recent emergence from the cave still have to push water uphill to be taken seriously, and revealed cleavage doesn’t assist in this noble endeavour: rather it tends to their objectification, especially – of course – by men; neither do bare arms, nor severe chest hugging tops, nor glaring make-up; I consider tonight’s interview comparable to an evening wear night at the theatre, while many to most Lateline, Lateline Business, and The 7.30 Report interlocutions are more the power-dressing business meeting event types.

Sir Harold gave a rollicking account of his views about all things newspapers, the electronic media, and the internet; Ms Fullerton clearly enjoyed every moment of this interview, and I both don’t blame her and am happy she got the opportunity to be the ABC journo who got this one; it was a delight to vicariously enjoy Sir Harold through her.

I was spellbound as Sir Harold waxed lyrical, as an 81 year old mind you, about how wonderful and rapid research tool he finds the search-engine-accessed internet is; I and millions of others couldn’t agree with him more, but more power to him for embracing it so wholeheartedly as a fellow of his vintage.

Good on him for calling spades spades, as with ‘My days as an editor I used to say, "Why are these bastards lying to me?" I mean, the point about a press - it has to be alert’; ‘I think the terrible Mao Tse Tung, who some idiot has been praising according to what I've just heard on your show…’; and ‘…we are in danger of losing, especially when idiots in various newspaper ownership start cutting editorial, we lose the real reporting, the day-to-day reporting but also the investigative journalism.’ Straight talking beats political correctness any day.

Good on him for decrying beauracratic excess in the BBC: ‘I do think the BBC's expansionism and the gross bureaucracy in the BBC - you know, I think they have got 60 people earning more than £800,000 a year. That is ridiculous’; and that esteemed institution’s lowering of standards: ‘I also think it was a terrible mistake myself for the BBC to get ratings mad, so lowering standards to get a mass audience was a mistake. To the extent they have done that – they haven't done it entirely – to the extent they have done that, that's been a big mistake.’ Hear, hear!; (Auditory focus, auditory focus!)

I liked his natural if restrained – lest he fall off his perch – laughs, and I haven’t seen Ms Fullerton smile so much in an interview for ages, and thankfully the old gentleman did get to the end of the chat still alive, even if he had me wondering a few times whether he’d suddenly expired upright.

I wrote and researched the entire night until well after dawn. I received a reply from artist genius Charles Bragg senior to my initial email to him, his email address kindly given to me by his son, Charles (Chick) Lynn Bragg, also a brilliant artist.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HUNSLET: “Thanks to Joe we got Granny’s line ‘cee-ment pond’: his 1824 patent really rocks, you should read it,” maintains a limey Payton L. Inkletter

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

21st October 2009:

Wednesday: For some reason I woke earlier than I was expecting, based on how little sleep I’d had – it had been daylight for an hour when I finally had skin meeting low thread count poly cotton – and I could quickly tell I wasn’t going to manage to return to the embrace of Mistress Nodette. So I arose to start day four of the complete absence of the delinquents, not counting Saturday, the day they left for their week in Busselton; the bliss of the solitude is easy to bear, but it will be over very soon…

I attended to a number of computer housekeeping jobs, laying low when the Mormon boys knocked the door (they tried to pin me down twice yesterday – I just can’t spare the time at the moment to either chat about beautiful things, or be subject to a description of the glories of joining the most correct church of all on earth), and finally got to do some badly needed weeding-brush-forest removal – take your pick – deep in the depths of the backyard in preparation for the summer fire season, as well as other sundries to do with worms, mulch, and potting aloe vera plants into worm castings compost filled pots.

Well, time flies when you’ve got a lot to do and not enough time to do it in, and so it was soon dark and My Beloved time, the house still having the lovely absence of the sound of the pitter patter of silly feet carrying small concerns. Not that I had the energy to do any more outside anyway. Kerry O’Brien, white shirted tonight on The 7.30 Report, sported a red flavoured tie again – can’t for the life of me understand why the old Bluey should favour that colour – and thus turned himself out very acceptably; in fact, this tie was so vivid and striking it could be used on top of a fire engine! The story on the threat to Australia’s birdlife was a worry, for this old native bird lover from way back, who even used to feed wild blue wrens cheese from his hand; but I am a sucker for interviews: The More O’Kerry (O’Brien) Volume: a not as snazzy, but snazzy nevertheless, Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Evans, joined Kezza on-screen, and kept his super cool as he discussed the Oceanic Viking matter and the asylum seeker issue in general, and spoke to the issues using both deft political side-step as well as moderation. The best line from the whole interview came from Mr Evans, after being asked by Mr O’BrienIs it any more humane to call them illegal immigrants than to call them queue jumpers?”: “Well what I'd say Kerry is it's how you treat them.” I wish more of our politicians spoke like Chris Evans, with the careful ease with which he does, saturated with moderation and sense.

I walked to The Dear Leader’s house at half eight to feed the cat, empty the mail, and water the garden, and on my return did some writing before Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Wearing a black top contrasting stoppingly against her white skin, Ms Sales also had a tight necklace of small coloured stones which worked very well, her hair hanging loose and gently flaring midway to good effect. Inevitably the asylum seeker issue was going to feature prominently tonight, and this was the subject discussed and reason why the Shadow Minister for Immigration Sharman Stone and a Hard Place was Ms Sales’ on-screen interviewee.

Almost the only good thing I can say about Ms Stone this evening is that she was very attractively dressed, in a dark-striped jacket with double pink stripes setting off the lapelles, and with a pink modesty panel and very subtle make-up conspiring to make her look superb. I’ve heard Ms Stone say some contradictory things on Aunty before (take her nonsense back in May on Q&A during which she wanted to have her cake and eat it too when she railed against the Government’s ‘cash splash’ and in the next breath interjected that “$900 doesn’t go far”with respect to the handout to tertiary students), but tonight she wanted all the kudos for her side and could find utterly no good thing to say about the Government’s handling of the asylum seeker situation since assuming power.

The woman was all over the shop, and full marks for Ms Sales’ sufferance; I feel sorry for journalists when they have to endure interviews like this one, listening to endless criticism at all costs of the other side while hearing that ours is, or would be, the perfect approach: poor Ms Sales. I’m searching for a way to explain some of what Ms Stone was spruiking: she seemed to be maintaining that everything bad happening now is solely the result of Kevin Rudd’s policies, with no regard to the ‘push factors’, but then she contradicted herself with these foolish few sentences: “But if it's just about the push factors as this Government suggests, why haven't we got those Eritreans, the Sudanese, the Congolese all in these boats? Because that's where the biggest growth in numbers of asylum seekers are.

They're not on the boats because they can't afford the cash required by the criminals, the smugglers and they haven't got the contacts.” My word, talk about mounting an argument against your opponent, by outlining in this case the African push factor upsurge, and then giving one of the reasons why this cohort is not represented in the arrivals. And this woman could be Immigration Minister one day!

Ms Stone seems to believe – or why else do it? – that the more bucketing she can give every aspect large and small of what the Government is doing, the better she and her party look to the electorate as an alternative government; I would love to know just how many Australians buy this criticise-and-criticise-harshly-at-all-costs-and-regardless-of-merit approach, which curiously has malignantly infected a substantial bloc of the Opposition since it lost its right to and born to rule suzerainty; I suspect, regardless of which flavour of politician indulges in it, that it has a limited purchase.

Ms Sales could get Ms Stone to own nothing, and in order to get her to explain her side’s alternatives she literally all but had to squeeze blood from a Stone. Take this: Ms Sales: “Every time you're asked that question (didn’t the Howard Government’s policy amount to locking up people indefinitely?) you don't actually answer it. You say what Kevin Rudd’s doing is no good, you say that he's softened the policies and therefore opened the doors to asylum seekers. But you stop short of saying that he should re-embrace the measures that you had that you claim are more successful. Why is that?

The answer was typically amorphous, so after Ms Stone dropped this one: “We aren't in government, Leigh. I can't get out there right now and ...Ms Sales tried to get something concrete from this focus of fuzziness with this salient interjection: “But you are criticising Government policy without offering an alternative.”

Her answer was essentially that all was honky dory on the asylum seeker boat people front when Howard left office, and Ms Sales’ point that there has been a 30% increase in total refugee numbers globally since 2006, and thus Australia could surely expect an increase in boat arrivals, made not a dot of difference to Ms Stone’s impenetrable barrier to any explanation that reflects less badly upon the Government.

P.J. O’Rourke’s mad judgment on Q&A back in April (“I mean, it's just - the thing is when somebody gets on an exploding boat to come over here, they're willing to do that to get to Australia, you're missing out on some really good Australians if you don't let that person in.”) was cited by Ms Sales for Ms Stone’s opinion, and I think this was one of the rare moments when she offered some consistent sense with her reply. Mr O’Rourke preempted AWU National Secretary Paul Howes, who on Monday this week was widely reported as saying “these people fleeing persecution, are putting their lives at risk . . . I think we should put out a red carpet and welcome them with open hands if they are that desperate to become Australians.Mr Howes thus talked himself into the corner of irrelevance to the sensible handling of this issue, which he can share with Mr O’Rourke; imagine the number of people who would put themselves and their children’s lives at risk in unseaworthy vessels if Australia made a point of accepting those who survive and reach our shores or sea-based assistance as new citizens on the basis of such acts of desperation.

It must have been a relief when Ms Sales could put a line under this interview. Tonight must have been the night for frustrating interviews, because it was Ali Moore’s turn next on Lateline Business: The Ali Moore or Less: Almost without fail Ms Moore turns herself out immaculately and appropriately for the role she fulfils as anchor of serious current affairs, her specialty happening to be Business, however she not infrequently sits on the hallowed cigar smoke and Drambuie soaked leather of Kerry O’Brien’s chair at The 7.30 Report, and tonight was no exception: a fetching dark striped jacket with pleated lapelles, and white modesty panel, tiny necklaced ornament, subtle effect make-up and gorgeously arranged hair, diminutive earrings finishing the vision. I was fixated by her interview on-screen from Perth with the Chairman of Qantas, Leigh Clifford, not because he brought anything noteworthy to the intersection of their ten minutes together, apart from being smartly dressed, but because Ms Moore pursued him relentlessly, though with professionalism and calm, about executive pay issues at Qantus. I could write a lengthy tome about how this big man squirmed repeatedly out of illuminating what smells like a tawdry bit of fat cat mutual nest feathering, but time does not allow; but I will say two more things: Ms Moore did an exemplary job pursuing this obfuscating executive while remaining polite well beyond what he deserved, and Mr Clifford’s performance in this interview should become an archetypical training piece for university student ethicists in what constitutes the unpleasant odour of an executive trying to justify executive controlled and sanctioned executive remuneration excess. Thank you Ms Moore for your courage to pursue this issue and this fellow, and thank you Mr Clifford for being far more transparent than you probably realised.

I wrote and researched all through the wee small and dark hours before finally getting to bed well after dawn, hurried along by an ugly sounding transformer zapping not far away from our house which plunged the computer into silence, the lights out, the fridge and freezers off, kaput.

I must mention that I received tonight a kind reply email from the brilliant artist Charles (Chick) Lynn Bragg, son of brilliant artist Charles Bragg – no guesses needed for where the son’s genius might have had its wellspring – offering to pass my original email on to his father, whose accurate contact details I had not been able to find.


Monday, October 19, 2009

PONTYPOOL: “You can be sparkling, even Eveready, alkaline, or lithium, even in an Urry, but your light will eventually go out,” mulls P.L. Inkletter.

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

19th October 2009:

Monday: After another all night writing and researching saga, I was not up till mid afternoon, and the house was quiet…

Most everything has a reason, and this quietness was not hard to explain: I am enjoying day three of life without the little people, who on Saturday morning embarked for a week long holiday in Busselton, they being The Dear Leader, Umple Dais, and Missus Inkletter; I cannot find the words to describe the bliss of absence, the sweetness of the solitude from small concerns, the lack of the sound of the pitter patter of silly feet.

I received, however, a phone call from the holidaying harasser, on the subject of an email of mine causing offence to one Baby, and said lolling layabout suggested I might explain further in another email; later overnight I did, but it should not have been necessary; many folk read with filters that block the communication’s clear intent and motivation. The katzenjammer has come about due to my cancelling of all routine activities away from here for the week the brats are away, to give me as few distractions and exhaustions as possible, that I may concentrate on some important paperwork, fire proofing preparation of the back yard, and writing, among other things. The week will fly by anyway, and so I don’t see what the fuss is about, and normal routine will return before all of us know it.

I managed an hour outside till dark doing weeding in the backyard, or should I call it brush or forest management? Tucker time coincided with My Beloved and The 7.30 Report, with a smartly turned out Kerry O’Brien: The More O’Kerry (O’Brien) Volume: a blue shirted and vividly predominantly red-striped tied Kezza, interviewed Ian Chainsaw Macfarlane first, then Penny I’m Always Wong second, on the negotiation procedures that have at long last begun between the Government and the Coalition; these were enjoyable interviews, and not only because Mr Macfarlane kept smiling about things for reasons best known to himself, and I even caught Ms Wong cracking a smile or two similarly – that’s an event, for she is generally a serious visage on screen.

Kezza the Great’s last story resonated with me: the slashing of prices received by Tasmanian dairy farmers from the Kirin subsidiary National Foods; I hope the outcome is not the loss or reduction of dairy farming there; the farmers can sell to any buyer they like, so long as it’s National Foods.

I caught Media Watch, and collapsed when I saw Jonathan Holmes in a jacket and tie; was it because he interviewed the big man, Mark Scott? Anyway, Jonathan, make it a habit please, you look so much better with a tie. (See what you think, but you'll have to remember what he looks like without one.)

I walked to The Dear Leader’s place and attended to the cat, the mail, and the garden, and once back I did some writing before Lateline: The Tick(y Fullerton) Check Mark: shining in her glowing orange-red top, her lovely hair flowing over her shoulders, Ms Fullerton took on a pair of pair of pollies to discuss the ETS developments, videlicet the amendments proposed by the Opposition, namely Deputy Leader of The Greens, Senator Christine Milne and the Opposition's Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Greg Hunt, both on-screen. Mr Hunt was smartly turned out, with a barber’s pole tie good enough to suck, and Ms Milne looked brilliant in a bright blue jacket with a black and white scarf.

Early in the interview, Mr Hunt anthropomorphised the four winds, stating that “All that the atmosphere knows is emissions reductions targets”, which was nicely caught by Ms Fullerton on the run, saying “What the Minister wants to know about is what this is all going to cost?”. Throughout the interview Mr Hunt had the solution to everything on behalf of his compadres on his side of the House, while Ms Milne, predictably, peddled the line that ‘We’ll all be rooned said Greensahan before the year is out’; having said this, it is refreshing to hear from her, for it’s usually old Bob who we hear from in these fora. Ironically Ms Milne used a term, ‘browning down’, as a criticism of the Government’s reductions in its goals for emissions: I refer tongue-in-cheek to her leader’s surname.

Ms Fullerton gave a gem of wisdom soon after with ‘Of course, pragmatism is the art of politics”, noting that Penny Wong and Ian Macfarlane have sat down to thrash out the amendments but a day after the Coalition’s party room hootenanny shindig.

My word Mr Hunt is another one of those people who rarely cracks a smile; I think he managed one, perhaps two, the entire interview, but you wouldn’t want to put your money on him in a smiling competition: what a serious face this fellow has, and his smiles are over as soon as they’ve burst forth with all the force of a falling marshmallow; he reminds me of myself during my high school years, when I was a most serious fellow while at school in the last years.

Ms Milne did put a very good point with her argument about the opportunity cost to Australia by not acting soon enough, and we’ll be buying back, unnecessarily, technology from overseas for sure that we could have developed ourselves. She went off with the fairies just a little bit after this, and then complained that we must get back to what the climate and science demands, rather than what the Government and the Coalition demand, to which Ms Fullerton masterfully rejoined that “The Government and the Coalition is the real game in town at the moment”, while throwing the next question to Mr Hunt.

Next the discussion was about good faith negotiations versus filibustering, which I don’t take any notice of coming out of the mouth of any politician whatever they commit to; this led to the possibility of a double dissolution, which Ms Fullerton suggested would suit The Greens, and I respect Ms Milne’s remark that no, “The Greens want this Government to run its full term’; so do I: I despise early elections, and the sooner all the States, Territories, and the Federal Government pass legislation to fix their terms the better, and they might as well be for at least five years, to reduce the waste of governing always for the short term, one eye on the next election just around the corner.

I think this interview was handled very well by Ms Fullerton, given the challenges of the issue and the ‘we have the best answers’ mentality of her interlocutors so ubiquitous in virtually all political engagements. But to be fair, both pollies did have some sensible points to make – thank heavens actually, or otherwise these gabfests would just be pure entertainment.

Yet again, on Lateline Business, Ali Moore demonstrated yet again that she consistently chooses the best combinations, make-up, styles, of all the ABC’s women of the night, looking simply magnificent, AS USUAL. The informality of Kathmandu CEO Peter Halkett, who she interviewed on-screen, compared to Ms Moore’s appearance was a good example of the power of dress.

I wrote and computed all the rest of the night, as well as sent an email to artist Charles Bragg senior, but had a break to watch Letterman, with his guest Tim McGraw – don’t you just want to tip his hat up so you can see his eyes and forehead when he’s talking? – who also sang with his band of about a thousand performers – did I count eight? – and also Uma Thurman, who, this night at least, was elegantly and relatively modestly attired in a dark dress, unlike many of the women who smear themselves all over Letterman’s set.


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