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Friday, April 23, 2010

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON: "An absolute tiger hearted John Servant? A conceited beautifully feathered upstart crow? Bombastic verse maker?"…"A genius rare."

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

Friday: Another one of those blurred day-night-days was my entrance to this new day of opportunity and challenge, being 'still up' till about two on this afternoon, celebrating my circadian chaotic rhythm, having managed to wrest some writing time on Venty Still out of the strained hours, as well as watering the bamboos and feeding the worm farms, among other things, including a 4 a.m. walk which took in feeding The Dear Leader's cat and putting his green wheelie bin down while he's away with Janny.

Our Cadury the former stray Celestial Kitty – 'Cadbers' – got a lot of cuddles upon my lap last night and playing with me out in the back garden this morning, and I finally got to speak to Janny in Balingup late morning, after her distressing phone call last night informing me of a bad fall she suffered at our friends' home in Bridgetown yesterday, landing heavily on her knees and onto her left arm, which might now have a torn muscle, given the size of an ugly lump that has grown in the upper arm area. Given her back surgery of many years ago any fall the poor thing has had since – and there have been several – fills us with a degree of dread. So much for my several times forbidding her ever to fall over again.

Her friends and her host back in BalingupMargie Kismikkin – showered her with a range of homeopathic remedies, and she is fortunately mobile today, against the odds, but in considerable pain despite some juicy strength white comforters.

So from the foregoing, several hundreds of millions at least out of my daily billions of readers will have gathered that my wife has left me.

She intends to come back to me – if she can still drive – on Monday.

Today was another of those matchless April days in Perth, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Everything perfect, right down to the patterns in the clouds.

When I dragged myself up a tad afore seven, it was in time for My Beloved, then Stateline, then The Collectors, a fine Aunty lineup if ever there was one; and may anyone who ever moves The Collectors from this time slot again –  as happened recently – live in interesting times…

Cadbers spent much time on my lap, as I sat in the yawning chasm of this empty house; actually, I am joking, lest anyone think it's hard on me: is there anything nicer sometimes than a few days of solitude? My wife is well known for her legendary ability to talk the back leg off a Border Leicester, and she does heartily approve of full attention when doing so, and so it's a rare occasion like this that gives my poor eardrums a badly need bit of rest and recreation, with only the contented rumbly purring of Cadbury to soothe my cauliflowers.

I tackled the dishes and kitchen bedlam after this Aunty indulgence, having put the kitten back outside for some rest and poocreation of its own, to try to be looking neat and tidy for the day long visit for VolksyBug work by The Babies Ink&Peggletter tomorrow, and got it half done by the time the next Aunty treat came on, 'Ladies of Letters'. Cadbury was back on my lap, and she remained there snoozing away while I watched Lateline and The Graham Norton Show, on which, in my humble opinion, the highly talented Ricky Gervais was too fired up, a bit too 'my chum Stephen Merchant is with me and I'm chuffed, feeling both invincible and obliged to show off'; however, I forgive him on several bases, not the least being the man's impressive self deprecating television output. Good on Stephen Merchant for buckling to the undue pressure from audience and peers and doing the 'cartwheel' he really did not want to do; it's a good thing his legs stayed low, for he would have taken out a million pounds of BBC studio lights (I'm guessing that it's filmed there?).

Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Simply attired in a dark blue satin long-sleeved blouse, ZERO jewellery and effortlessly getting away with it, loose falling flared hair, Ms Sales looked fresh and piquant, but a slightly lighter shade of eye liner and eye shadow would have been a case where less is more – those gorgeous eyes shine with very little assistance. Her two interlocutors for tonight's long interview, in the true combative spirit of the Friday night fight club were Parliamentary Secretary to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Senator Cory Bernardi, on-screen with a stony face that made Stalin look like his little known slapstick comedic twin brother, showing off a very groomed if vapid combination of grey suit and white shirt with a dull maroon tie evidencing the early stages of chicken pox, due to its sparsely arranged square spots, and Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Jason Clare, in-studio, whose attire was almost identically flavoured, but saved by a jazzy densely dotted ruby red tie, one that he'd have to do cold war battle with Mr Bernardi to keep, had they both been in-studio.

These two bucks were so utterly predictable tonight it was painful, although the hyperbole trophy goes to Mr Bernardi. I would be the first to agree that Kevin Rudd's Labor Government has performed badly in some important areas, but if Mr Bernardi is to be believed from his explications and his implications, everything without exception that they have so much as glanced at let alone touched has resulted in unmitigated disaster for Australia: "Everything they have touched has turned to failure." He seems to think that he is pitching to an unsophisticated electorate of pre-World War II mentality, and this excessively negative approach has been the hallmark of this smarting Opposition since they were turfed out almost three years ago. I seriously doubt that such blanket canning of the Government is in their best interests.

The Opposition needs to calm down, accept gracefully that they lost the last election, and relax, because they will rule again one day, possibly later this very year. They could well use their time off the reins of power learning maturity.

They are taking the implication in their title, the 'Opposition', too much to heart, spurred on by their leader Tony Abbott, but he is only carrying the torch as high as Malcolm Turnbull, who led from the front a most negative group of parliamentarians. Perhaps they should consider their title to be the 'Alternative' Government, and drop this oppose and fight till the last breath mentality. And if for no other reason than to stop presenting themselves as idiots, or at best, feeble minded, if their words are to be illustrative of their minds.

Take interest rates as a prime example: it took Mr Clare to correct Mr Bernardi's repetition of his party's spin that every time the Reserve Bank raises rates it's entirely due to the overspending of the Government; it means nothing to the Opposition that the Reserve Bank has been trumpeting continuously that the rates will be returned to neutral levels as soon as possible, and we are still below that level.

Mr Clare got no comeback from Mr Bernardi specifically to this point he made: "…the cash rate at the moment is 4.25 per cent. That's the lowest that it ever got to under John Howard. So under John Howard, 4.25 per cent was apparently terrific and under us, apparently it's terrible." To be fair, Ms Sales did push on to another topic, but it would have been entertaining to hear the Senator's attempt at addressing that one. Mr Bernardi would do himself and his party some credit to state the truth that the Labor Government's spending is but one factor contributing to the rising rates and the speed at which this is occurring. Why fear the facts?

Mr Bernardi did deliver a solid punch however with his rejoinder: "You want to know the difference between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party? The Liberal Party always end up repaying Labor's debts." The hypocrisy of another of his remarks was lost on himself though: "…the Rudd Government … only knows that it needs to throw money around in order to buy themselves an election victory." The great John Howard will be remembered for doing exactly this several times, and including the worst of wastes, Government advertising, to the tune back then of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Further on the subject of hypocrisy, another piece of drivel from Mr Bernardi: "I understand Jason is dutifully trotting out their (the Government's) lines". Well if he understands that, which is true, then he can understand that he was being equally a puppet for his mob.

Mr Clare did a fair job of trying to match Mr Bernardi's excoriation of everything Labor by sugar coating and highlighting the good in all his side is doing, but he at least did admit to failures: "We don't get everything right. We've made mistakes, no doubt about it. And some of the things that you're alluding to there are situations where we've made mistakes. The important thing is to fess up to it and get on and fix it."

I think that Mr Bernardi did have some integrity behind his attack on the home insulation tragicomedy, however.

Was Mr Clare letting a cat out of the bag with his remark "We're only a couple of months away from an election and the Liberal Party are all negativity"?

Ms Sales' job was easy – and she did it well, given that she kept the banter moving and covered a lot of ground – with these two boys, because they didn't overtalk each other to any extent, in fact, they behaved with dignity even though some of the things said almost reached up into the lower realms of stupidity, thanks to Senator Bernardi.

By now I was badly in need of a dose of Stephen Long: The (Stephen) Long and Short of It: Mr Long chose a dark suit this evening, set off with a pale lilac finely striped shirt, and a rich purple maroon and cream spotted tie with a more advanced case of chicken pox than Senator Bernardi's, and a set of closely cropped curls, which must have been a disappointment to his Mum, who I have it on good authority doesn't speak to him for a couple of days when he has a hair cut.

The main subject Ms Sales invited Mr Long to wax economical upon, was Greece's dire sovereign debt problem escalating to the decision to take the EU and IMF loan package. Stressful times for the Greeks in the years ahead.

Mr Long outlined the pain the citizenry can expect, the problems exacerbating it – "they have virtually no tax base; they have very few exports" – and the risks nevertheless of a default yet to come. The real issue, Mr Long informed us, and I have no doubt he's right, is to attempt to quarantine the contagion of sovereign debt, to protect the wider world.

They went on next to discuss briefly the atrocious behaviour of Goldman Sachs in the lead up to the GFC, when Ms Sales asked "What's your take on this deal that Goldman’s did that the regulators see as fraud?" Mr Long's take was like a ray of sunshine breaking through into a mouldy cellar: "I don't know whether it's illegal, but you think about it… (brief and excellent description of particulars followed) but whether it amounts to something that should be considered fraud, I'd say yes…"

During Mr Long's 3¾ minutes of glory we were treated to two memorable smiles: the first from Ms Sales, in response to Mr Long's observation that Prime Minister George Papandreou made the announcement "in wonderful Greek style" from a holiday resort that the Greek Government was enacting the emergency loans, and the second from Mr Long at chat's end, when he gave us one of his legendary Rottweiler puppy dog bared teeth smiles as good as any he's ever given.

Believe it or not, Mr Ripley, I went to bed about 1 a.m., for two reasons, the first being the most sensible: I could hardly keep my eyes open, the second: The Babies Ink&Peggletter were coming in the morning to spend the day working on the Bug in preparation for selling it.

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