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Friday, November 20, 2009

HELSINKI: “Till death do us part and let no man cut the mahogany asunder maybe was not very west of the mark from the start,” suggests P.L. Inkletter.

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

20th November 2009:

Friday: An exhausting day for us, with part of it spent in the roof cavity, of all places, by me, handing down storage items from a thousand years ago not long after we moved in here; thankfully it was a cool day, and fine – I had slid back a number of tiles for light – after yesterday’s beautiful rain. I also managed to mow the front weeds with the sand still moist, minimising dust. However, I was one aching puppy by dusk, even though the actual time spent active might have been only two hours. Janny and I are glad to finally have cleared the roof space of our storage, one step closer to preparing this place for our possibly leaving the city one day; a dream of ours. And I would be very happy never to have to enter the hell hole that is our roof cavity again; it was bad enough when I was a young rippling stallion, but it’s tragic now.

A couple of serendipitous discoveries warmed our hearts, including Baby Inkletter’s footprints we’d done and forgotten about, perfectly preserved, while most else had silverfish and other vermin damage.

We had the salesman from InsulAustralia of Tuesday call back to talk turkey regarding the roof insulation scheme within the the Government’s Energy Efficient Homes Package, which requires a bit more discussion, but likely to be agreed upon early next week; this prompted our tackling the removal of the roof space storage at long last.

I spoke to Mum this morning, and arranged that I’ll see her after her admission to Murdoch Hospital late Monday for her ovarian cancer operation, but she doesn’t know yet that in fact I’ll take her hours earlier to her anaesthetist appointment in Nedlands and take her for the admission process myself; sister Mary and I agreed we’d not let her know of the change of plans (Mary was to have done all this for Mum on Monday, but I’ve offered, and Mary gratefully accepted, to give her a break from the many days of taking Mum to medical appointments of late), for this knowledge would likely throw Mum off balance somewhat, for she wouldn’t want me to hear some of the answers, if truthfully given, regarding her smoking rate to the anaesthetist. This week has been, and next week especially will be, very busy times for we offspring, Helena and Mary by far the most, not to mention the fearfulness of my mother with what she’s facing.

I somehow stayed awake during the early evening, and the shower I had at half eight after an hour and a half of Aunty perked me up enough to take the potential pentathlete for a walk to our local park, our third this week, in the hope of getting her fitness levels trending upwards and her blood sugar levels downwards. It’s a beautiful little park, and a gem to walk in at night. I don’t feel afraid, but the doubtful doll has been apprehensive; I am, after all, the fellow who has walked these backstreets hundreds of times after midnight over the past few years alone; one reason I enjoy it is that there is little traffic to prevent me hearing my talking book, given my hopeless cochlear doodle doo dahs, another is the coolness, and yet another is the total lack of worry about sun damage to skin excessively overexposed in my youth.

We watched That Mitchell and Webb Look, a repeat we’d seen before, and then it was Lateline time: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: the long interview tonight was with a pair of opposite spectrum pollies inhabiting the surreal halls of Canberra, Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton, who I have yet to be convinced isn’t a mere career politician, and Small Business Minister Dr Craig Emerson. All three were smartly and appropriately apparelled, anchor plus ward-heelers, but I’ll have to give special mention to Ms Sales’ radiating eyes, which adds a layer of delightfulness to what can be otherwise depressing affairs with these political stoushes.

Predictably, both men painted ridiculous extremes to represent the doings of the other side – and tonight’s subjects were essentially but two, the ETS impending vote and the asylum seeker issue – yet fortunately there were a few memorable moments among the dross. I was very tickled by Mr Dutton’s calling of Dr Emerson a ‘drama queen’, and so was Ms Sales as well as Dr Emerson; but I was put off by Mr Dutton’s rancorous language, so typical of the Opposition since losing the last election, to describe anything Government, tonight’s main target of his vitriol being Kevin Rudd: terms such as ‘fake’, ‘fraud’, ‘hypocrite’, and ‘phoney’, while indeed coming from a truly muddied Prime Ministerial pool, are, when used so sweepingly, over the top to such an extent that the credibility of the likes of Mr Dutton and his cronies is compromised. Yet I do think Prime Minister Rudd demonstrated embarrassing national leader weakness with the Oceanic Viking matter, and is deserving of criticism for that, and is receiving it in buckets from the deeply embittered Opposition. And yes, Mr Dutton’s observation that Mr Rudd holds those who differ with his opinions regarding climate change with ‘contempt’ also approaches a non-edifying reality.

Ms Sales kept admirable control of these two roosters, overtalking them with power and control a few times when she had to, and she clearly wasn’t in the mood to take too much of their unbridled political spraying of the other side.

Dr Emerson’s gave another of tonight’s gems with his astute descriptor ‘the killing season’, in regard to Tony Abbott’s breaking with Mr Turnbull’s ETS negotiating stance. Later, I think Dr Emerson got his tongue tied with his Oceanic Viking Sri Lankan asylum seeker issue anti-Opposition directed remark “…consistency’s the sign of a small mind…” he must have meant ‘inconsistency’; of course, only robots could never make a mistake in thick of the pressure of interviews. However, he was sadly close to the mark when he used the term ‘hatred’ to describe the machinations of the Opposition; I think this bunch of whingers recently removed from power will in time be judged as behaving in a most small manner across a spectrum of issues over their entire term of Opposition, however long that will be.

Thankfully we had Economics Correspondent Stephen Long’s weekly wind up chat with Ms Sales to look forward to after the predictable bellyaching of the politicians: The (Stephen) Long and Short of It: Mr Long spoke about the general state of the U.S. economy one year after the election of Barack Obama, and it certainly sounds fragile, or at least a rather joyless, and jobless, recovery. The United States Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, got a mention, regarding the tenuous looking hold he currently has on his position.

The Government stimulus money apparently is the main cause of the weak recovery in place of continuing recession, but a bearish Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke nevertheless seems to think the recovery will keep rolling along when the stimulus peters out. Mr Long used a lovely word late in his 4 minutes of glory, ‘scupper’, when referring to the distortionate practice of those institutions borrowing at zero per cent in the U.S.A. and investing in growing economies, causing harmful bubbles there: “What one country does in its national interest can scupper other countries…

As always, these few short four minutes listening to Mr Long proved to be at or near the top of the best analysis for the week on matters economic.

I wrote and researched over night, broken with a 3 a.m. walk, and it was very cool, most refreshing. I searched the front yard for the main half of our missing just delivered two parts paper, eventually finding it way down the street; the previous fellow who delivered the papers never failed to lob them in the centre of the yard, rather than on the sloping drive where now they can roll away till gravity gives up.

Margo Reymundo sent me a kind message, and I listened to another masterful employment of her voice as an instrument at her Facebook site, and this rendition not long after cancer treatment. I sent a reply of encouragement for the challenge she is meeting.

It was well after dawn, maybe three hours, when, like a block of ice, I slipped in beside the warm woylie, and she kindly cuddled the warmth back into me, with the occasional protestation when my cold hands were too much, even though they were only holding her arm across my chest, honest.


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