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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LARGE MAGELLANIC CLOUD: "Kaboom! Pow! Poof! Flash! Zap! Light bulb moment! Woosh! Illumination! Crackle! Bang! Holy moly!" P.L. Inkletter star-struck.

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
23rd February 2010

Tuesday: The ovenlike conditions are beginning to crank up, and fortunately I managed to throw some water around courtesy of the ¾" garden hose in the backyard before retiring well after dawn this morning. My bamboo worries me, for so few of the clumps have put up new culms this season; there must be something they want that I'm not giving them.

And so the day proper began late for me, mid afternoon, and after a rare and enjoyable chat with my brother-in-law Phamajames in Broomehill by phone, I set to outside watering the peripheral bamboos that I hardly ever get to, as well as the heavy duty worm farms sunk into the ground out in the deepest wilderness of the backyard.

It wasn't till about six that I got to start doing this week's most important outside job: selecting things to put on the verge for the bi-annual junk collection next week. Our approach always is to put out the most useful stuff first, which in fact we've been doing a bit of for a couple of weeks now, resulting, to our joy, in everything put out so far being taken by someone; we prefer this by a long shot to having it buried.

Moving from a hoarder to a clutter free bod is a difficult process for me, but I'm getting there VERY sloooowwwlllyyy; Missus Inkletter is most longsuffering, and can hardly contain her happiness to see me doing this. One day we actually won't deserve the moniker Steptoe and Son.

I came in for din dins and My Beloved, then enjoyed the second part of Kerry O'Brien's interview with former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, on The 7.30 Report. Mr Fraser has become far more likeable over the decades, but I still think he is too blinkered and starry eyed with his views on multiculturalism. For the record, I advocate strong and dynamically rich and changing, laterally very broad monoculturalism, if one's linguistic toolkit can sustain the stresses of the former expression, rather than 'multiculturalism', which is so badly applied in Britain and Australia, witnessing too many home grown and academic Australians, who should know better, praising and encouraging certain citizens who adopt a ghetto-type fragmentation that is increasing in this nation. The worst by numbers and obviousness are Muslims, far too many of whom segment themselves in a manner unhealthy for our nation, rather than strive to assimilate into the Australian way of life. This includes dress standards, but extends to much more important things such as support for principles like separation of church and state, mature toleration of different and non believers, and such like.

Poor Janny has been rather unwell today, so I watched the remainder of Insight with her on SBS before doing another couple of hours outside on the carport under lights, inching my way through a thousand years of accumulation, uncovering items surely of interest to the Antiquities departments of innumerable institutions around the globe.

I returned to the relative clutterlessness of the lounge to eat a huge plate of apples and cheese while watching Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Looking highly professional with the simplest of couture, Ms Sales radiated with subtle make-up, beautiful hairstyle, and a dark sleek jacket complemented with the simplest thin necklace and tiniest jewel. Her co-interlocutors for tonight's interview were ANU's Professer Hugh White, smartly turned out with his blue grey tie contrasting and complementing his jacket and shirt well, reminding us that he is one of the most well groomed bearded older men in Australia, and a younger Dr Carl Ungerer of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, resplendent in an unbuttoned suit jacket with a huge blue with light dots tie strangling his neck, looking unintentionally like Gomer Pyle. The subject was today's counter-terrorism white paper released by the Federal Government.

Ms Sales was obviously aware that this pair of gentle gentlemen were not going to engage in a stoush, and so we were treated to a civil discussion, if a tad bland, but there was a matter raised here and there that animated me by way mainly of agreement. The only things I'll mention for now are, firstly, how much I agree with them both that the highly questionable military involvement Australia is engaged in in Iraq and Afghanistan have no meliorating effect upon the terrorist threat against Australians at home or abroad.

Secondly, Hugh White raised the sense of marginalisation felt by many Muslims: "…a large number of Muslims around the world feel that their faith and the culture that goes with it is marginalised by the global order. Now, I don't think that's right, but I think we have to take seriously the fact that many people believe that…" Yes we do, but the job is so much harder because the philosophy of the religion encourages the self creation of significant barriers between the believers and unbelievers (and it is not the only one: take fundamentalist Judaism for but one other example). For a minor example, we have had near neighbours for over ten years who are Muslims, but long ago I gave up trying to wave to the wife of the family, simply due to the fact that she is so covered up that I cannot reliably identify whether I'm waving to her or a woman visitor who I don't know and thus somewhat spook. What a pity, for one of the basic nice rituals of life is sending a greeting to a neighbour across the street.

Mr White went on to say "I don't think we see nearly enough of Australian politicians today reaching out to the Islamic community and doing a kind of an overt series of gestures to make Islamic communities feel engaged, feel wanted in Australia." Probably so, however, the best way Islamic communities can feel engaged and wanted is to be less Islamic communities, and more Australian community. Not politically correct perhaps, but political correctness is more the tonic of the timid and the irrelevant, and of actual danger when tackling genuine national security issues.

I had a very late walk around half two on this devil windy night.

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