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Thursday, October 15, 2009

GUILDFORD: “Smiles came forth, including Bertie Wooster, Galahad Threepwood, Oofy Prosser, Pongo Twistleton, Gussie Fink-Nottle,” waxed P.L. Inkletter


Be all that as it may, meanwhile:


In other news…

15th October 2009:


Thursday: A busy time for we possums, with The Babies Ink&Peggletter and The Dear Leader coming for dinner, and a command had been made last week by one Baby of the feminine gender to cook a rotisseried chicken or two, using the oven’s attachment of the same semantic field’s denominator, reinforced by email, and finally checked upon today by phone.


Now what’s the big deal, one might reasonably ask? Simply that in the four or five years since we mortgaged our souls and bought our swanky Miele oven, we’ve never used the rotisserie attachment, the luscious luddite being content to have learned just the arcane art of auto roasting, and a few other basics, and to leave the other rocket science it can perform alone. So she was in no mood to start trying to get this additional hifalutin cooking method fired up under the pressure of first-time-must-work. So it was my job to set the gadget up, and it was a frustrating episode drawn out during most of the afternoon.


The problem was that the instruction book, ja, from Miele, nein, it didn’t have a diagram showing the way to fit the gadget into the drive mechanism at the back of the oven, instead relying on one lame line: ‘The rotisserie fits into the motor slot at the back of the oven.’ Well, yes, it did, but there are two slots that must be engaged as it turned out, and they can’t be fully engaged if the side rails are left on the telescopic rack – thanks Miele for making that clear, as well as the cruciality of the second slot. I was having such a problem I resorted to phoning Miele in Claremont, and the person there had never heard of our model: “How old is it?” “Four or five years.”


Switched through to Canning Vale, and no-one could be found there who could help me; switched through to Melbourne, and after retelling the story at length the same situation: no idea! So I was given a commitment that a techie would phone be after half four when he came out of a training session.


So back to study the oven, and I noticed said second slot, and worked out that it had to engage as well, which led me to remove the rails which prevented the fuller depth engagement, and voila!, it worked. That phone call never came by the way – maybe tomorrow; I tried to phone Miele back after five when all this fell into place to let them know that I’d solved my problem, but alas, they were closed.


I said problem solved, but all I’d achieved was making the axle turn. The butterfingered blissbomb and I still had botch ups to add to the drama: we didn’t skewer the two squabs properly with the double prongs at each end, and forgot to tighten their clamps onto the axle, so by the time we got all these things attended to, half the cooking was over, the hapless plucked birds were a tad scorched on one side, and much stuffing had fallen out onto the splash tray; I was thankful it wasn’t my own stuffing, for poor Missus Inkletter has been under a lot of stress these past several weeks, and this week has seen it ramping up, and today more so.


Well, you’ll be relieved to know that the chickens were cooked beautifully as it all turned out, and so said all of us, The Babies, The Dear Leader, and we two middleaged attractive lovebirds. After our main course we played the coloured play-dough game in which one makes a shape and your team mate has to guess it before the other side guesses their’s, whose name escapes me, in which we two lads trounced the two ladies – The Dear Leader retiring to the lounge leaving us young things to playschool it up on the kitchen table – and this victory was won despite the blatant cheating by the fairer sex.


The lemon meringue pie of the delicious delirium’s making was toothsome, and it wasn’t long after we’d sunk this creation that The Babies left, taking The Dear Leader home on their way. I caught the last ten minutes of Q&A, and I must try to get the download from Aunty to watch it all. Then it was Lateline time:


The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Looking quite a vision this evening, Ms Sales had chosen a dark striped jacket with a well contrasting green top, unadorned decolletage, make-up leaning to the subtle side, eye shadow nicely echoing her top’s colour, small earrings, her hair worn out but moussed close to her face; a hint I would give regarding this hair style is to consider the slimming effect vertical stripes on clothing have for the heavier framed among us, and then note that this effect can be too powerful for the thin, then apply this observation to facial type. Her in-studio guest tonight for an interview on the economics related speeches by Glenn Stevens and Ken Henry, was Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner; Lindsay and I go back a long way, from when, a thousand years ago, he answered a question of mine at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre – I would have been but a furry dot in the distance high in an indoor bush from his and Bob McMullan’s vantage. Mr Tanner looked very sharp: dark suit and white shirt, gold tie, but it was a tad too light and didn’t lift off the shirt quite enough; making up for this was the care with which he had arranged his nineteen strands of hair.


This was a fifteen minute interview, giving Mr Tanner ample opportunity to explain his points of view; Ms Sales politely and skillfully put quite a number of questions to him, keeping him from becoming too comfortable, and to his credit, he didn’t try to take that position at all; instead, he ploughed on earnestly answering and remarking upon the issues, saying nothing meaningful a couple of times here and there as all savvy politicians seem to be able to when the issues are too incendiary; in general his was a sensible voice, which has long been a trademark of his.


Ms Sales began on a humorous note, asking Mr Tanner if Labor was “the Paris Hilton of Government spending?”, in the inference of Malcolm Turnbull, and soon the questions turned to some of the points made by Ken Henry; I thought Mr Tanner’s answers were reasonable and completely free of hysteria; however, his multiple uses of ‘Ken’ when referring to Dr Henry will do nothing to deflect the conservatives’ charges that Ken Henry is favourably disposed towards the Labor mob. The talk by Mr Tanner of his Government’s determination to return to a budget surplus is soothing music, and I hope it materialises, and wouldn’t it be a boon if it was sooner than later?; the direction of several of Ms Sales’ questions were toward the likelihood of it being sooner than the current Treasury projections.


I think that Mr Tanner’s answers to Ms Sales probing questions prompted by Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens’ speech were good, and temperate, again hallmarks of Mr Tanner’s style; these questions of Ms Sales were focussed upon the opportunity to tweak fiscal initiatives more than appears to be happening, given the beginning of the tightening of the monetary environment; yet Mr Tanner’s explanation sounded quite reasonable, and it included mentioning that fiscal cutbacks are already occurring, such as with the first home owners’ grant reduction.


I liked Mr Tanner’s assessment of the Australian public’s understanding of the economic issues and the challenges the Government is wrestling with; I hope he’s right, and the public are savvy enough – not for the sake of this or that political party’s fortunes, but for the sake of a more sophisticated Australian polity’s establishment and development.


The latter end of the interview saw Ms Sales’ bias emerge again, à la last night’s interview with Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans, regarding the Sri Lankan refugee boat now in the control of Indonesia. Firstly, I’ll note that I think Mr Tanner fudged around the issue such that he didn’t speak to the humanitarian point that I’m sure Ms Sales wanted to address, even though he said much that was solid and proper. Secondly, Ms Sales gave away her stance – and dare I say misunderstandings of the deeper issues of sovereignty and responsibilities involved – with interjections such as “Then why did Kevin Rudd get on the phone then to President Yudhoyono?”, “Didn’t he ask Indonesia to intercept a boat that was in Indonesian waters?”, and “Well why did Kevin Rudd then ring the Indonesian President about a boat that was in Indonesian waters?” He gave an impressive reply to these interjections, maintaining propriety, despite the relative naïvety within her objections. What I think Mr Tanner was saying – and if so I agree with him – was that it is right and proper and responsible and mature of Indonesia to take over the management of the boat of potential refugees found in their waters, rather than let the problem go elsewhere; this is part of the heavy load of being a member of the global family of nations. What I think Ms Sales was getting at was the plight of these unfortunate people, and that their prospects for immediate care and longer term resettlement in a kindly nation state would be better had Australia intercepted them in our waters; if so, she’s undoubtedly right; nevertheless, this doesn’t remove the naïvety of that position, while noting the admirable humanistic concern saturating such a stance.


I said ‘misunderstandings’ when referring to Ms Sales’ posture because it appears that she is confusing two very legitimate issues, but they are definitely distinct, as Mr Tanner clearly understands – demonstrated by such expressions of his as ‘bilateral cooperation’ and ‘a specific mutual problem’ – while constrained in his responses given that he is a politician who has to keep one eye on the sensitivities of the voting public in all that he utters. I can discern her attempt to keep the politician out of his comfort zone, but this latter episode in this interview was a misapplication of the technique.


Sadly – sadly beyond what is bearable if we dwell upon it – we live in a tortured global era when, I have no doubt, half of the world would flock to our shores if given a decent chance (I admit I would want to come too, with my family, if I was fated to find myself one of this impoverished and downtrodden mass); this would destroy Australia if it happened, and remove the appeal that underpinned the desire of the billions who would move if they could. We just cannot – tragically – responsibly deliver justice and care to all those who need it; the size of the problem is too vast.


I do think that Ms Sales’ question about Kevin Rudd’s language these past couple of days when in front of a microphone were warranted: I’ve also been having a problem with the PM’s repeated use of the word ‘hardline’, for it has an unfortunate flavour among its linguistic stable of meanings including ‘inflexible’, ‘uncompromising’, ‘unyielding’ ‘aggressive’, as well as the more admirable ‘firm’; it would be better that Mr Rudd stuck to terms such as ‘firm’.


I next watched Letterman, the Fuji apple having gone to bed, being so tired she could hardly blink. I thought Letterman’s guest Tina Fey dressed very well for her slot with him, unlike so many of his female guests. Mika was quite an entertaining act at program’s end.


I spent the remainder of the black hours writing and researching, struggling meanwhile with a computer having decided to institute a go slow in everthing, making the job take a lot longer, or to put it another way, causing me to achieve less for my time at the keyboard. Bill Gates, may you live in interesting times…

+paytontedwithlove+

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