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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WITHAM: "He wasn't a bit scattered, nor a blue sky dreamer, rather he strutted his stuff and was all ears," gassed P.L.Inkletter inertly, to a seagull



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
30th June 2010

Wednesday: Rapidly shaping up to be our third driest June on record here in Perth, yet another dry as a bone day transpired, in the middle of winter. Not a good portent for our farmers, our dams, our forests, our gardens, our duckies…

I took Bob swimming, but not before we walked from Woodbridge to Viveash and back, at Bob's request, and despite it bringing me close to giving up the ghost, it was a delightful walk along the river, going further than we'd ever been before. I took many photos of him, to his unconcealed delight.

We even called by later to visit Duncan Moon's wonderful sculpture 'Arcanum', which inspired my short humorous story of late 2008, on our way to Swan Aquatic. I didn't get home till after 8 p.m.

Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: A minority of women are blessed with the features to look great with the simplest of physical expression – Ms Sales is one of these: tonight she had for jewellery but the tiniest of earrings on, a very dark round necked top, subtle effect make-up, and wonderfully convex flared loose hanging hair; that was it, and she looked wonderful.

Her long interview was with one of my most admired Australian politicians, Lindsay Tanner, Finance Minister. He was a delight to listen to, being a politician who talks far more directly, frankly, and honestly than most. It is a shame that he will be not recontesting his seat of Melbourne at the next election, but at least we've had 17 years of his service.

Ms Sales did ask many almost confronting questions, should I say prying, as is her right, and Mr Tanner, as is his right, deflected many, but in such a pleasant way that I for one wasn't left feeling cheated.

However, credit to him when he did not bluster when Ms Sales asked this: "Do you think Labor could suffer any sort of backlash from voters who feel that the way Kevin Rudd was ousted was ruthless and unfair?"

Lindsay Tanner: "To be honest I don't know…" Most of the lesser politicians in Canberra, many of whom get their several minutes of glory on this very program, would have bulldozed the point of view that nothing but positive results would transpire for their party from such an event. I admire Lindsay Tanner for his general habit of acknowledging the bleeding obvious, which does not come naturally to politicians when near a camera or microphone.

Another moment of maturity came when Ms Sales asked: "Do all four of you (Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Lindsay Tanner) accept equal responsibility for the decisions about policy and strategy that were made?"

Lindsay Tanner: "As far as I'm concerned, yes. If you're part of the decision-making process you accept responsibility for that. In the same way that I accept responsibility for Labor caucus and Labor Government decisions." What a breath of fresh air blowing through the dank corridors of power on the hill – a straight answer to a confronting question.

Mr Tanner's handling of the questions of Ms Sales concerning the ethics of the downfall of Kevin Rudd was inspired, and I all but totally agree with his considerations. He simply explained the harsh but necessary realities of the mechanics of the value of the individual in a position of power versus the structure which lends such power.

Ms Sales will sorely miss this gentleman of the Canberra mob, as will I, as will many. His family will be enriched by the extra time he will be devoting to them. I hope she gets many more interviews with him before he leaves, but time and circumstances will militate against this. She has just delivered another fragrant interview, and a hefty 15 minutes' worth; thank you both.

Let me have a bitch about Windows 7: every week some new episode of flakiness disrupts the illusion I originally began with late last year when I began using this latest greatest iteration of Bill Gates' operating system. The latest infuriating and disappointing problem is with Windows Media Center: a few weeks ago it decided it could no longer get a strong enough signal from SBS, whereas previously it was dandy. Yesterday it decided that it cannot get ABC's program guide information, reducing me to having to manually program all my favourite programs for recording, including Lateline. Damn. All with no explanation for the changes. Thanks Bill, I love you too. If it was legal, and reversible (I wish him no physical harm), I'd jam every version of Windows up his jacksie and see if the sun would shine through…
+paytontedwithlove+

Monday, June 28, 2010

VERSAILLES: "The unhappy compromise, a Carthaginian peace, you can only extract so much from the perpetrator before all lose again," warns PLInkletter



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
28th June 2010

Monday: My word my missus moves fast… No sooner had her kind brother, Umple Dais, given her $250 gift voucher yesterday, valid at Westfield shopping centres, than she had me taxiing her to a Westfield shopping centre but one day later!

We visited Whitfords City Shopping Centre, and I escorted the material girl upstairs to Lincraft, and an hour later I was staggering out, ten steps to the left, seven to the right, under the weight of 68 one hundred gram balls of pure wool, plus a bonus pattern book for spending so much (I kindly chipped in a bit of gold shrapnel on top of the card).

And to rub it in to her susbservive mates at the Mt Lawley Caffissimo knitting group, she took some for a new project. I dropped her off there about 7.15 p.m., and travelled on to The Babies Ink&Peggletter's pad in Adelaide Terrace, to while away two plus hours, doing the jobs with the plants and fish for while they're away in Thailand, and then a solid hour of paperwork I took for the occasion, before a twenty minute rereading of Anne Enright's 'The Gathering' – read it!, elegantly sipping a warmed – in the highest mounted microwave I've ever encountered – red grape juice.

Baby Inkletter would have to sprout wings, and hover to use it, parked in a cupboard above the fridge.

I picked up my darling wife at ten, to witness her give a lovely white crocheted shawl to Anita, one of the sweet attendees – she was highly appreciative, if thrown and nonplussed.

Home in time for Lateline:
More story coming…
+paytontedwithlove+

Sunday, June 27, 2010

PÈRE LACHAISE: "At a stretch, Sophie's a prime example of uniqueness of insight flowing from exclusion," suggests PLInkletter, vibrant with her memory



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
27th June 2010

Sunday: Watching the evening news on My BelovedAunty ABC – the disturbing news of the boat collision in Thailand near Koh Samui met my ears: 7 Australians injured. I informed Janny, we phoned our daughter's mobile phone and left a message, and I went to the internet to do some research. It worried us that she did not answer.

I found the travel itinerary that The Babies Ink&Peggletter left with us, and my heart sank as Koh Samui leapt off the pages: they are staying on the island until Wednesday, since last Thursday. I rang the federal consular help line, and gave our daughter and her partner's names, and was highly relieved to be told that they weren't on the injured list.

Later in the evening, after more phone calls to our daughter's mobile not responding, the niggling thought grew in me that all this is relying on a correct or complete passenger list. Back on the internet at midnight, one of the news reports, from Radio Australia in fact, greatly increased my anxiety: 'Seven Australians sitting at the front of one of the boats were thrown out. Initially authorities thought that two people were still missing but now police say all passengers are accounted for. They're checking whether anyone has failed to return to local hotels just in case.'

Janny had retired, very anxious, and I didn't want to burden her with this report, so I found the number of their hotel; fortunately they had put that information in the itinerary. My first call ramped up my concerns: no one by my daughter's surname in the hotel!

I phoned back, and they found her partner's surname, and switched me through to their room, at about half eleven p.m. their time. It rang for an awful stretch of time… then it picked up, but silence. I spoke, and what an enormous relief when Baby Inkletter answered!

Parenthood has no equal.
+paytontedwithlove+

Friday, June 25, 2010

MOTIHARI: Always Blair, informed by tramping it, he alerted us to doublethink, prolefeed, and newspeak, warning of Big Brother and the Thought Police.



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
25th June 2010

Friday: Today happens to be an anniversary of the happiest and profoundest day of my life. Nothing has eclipsed it yet. It also happens to be the third anniversary of the launch of my first Fool's Paradise web site.

Off I set on this frighteningly summery bright day in this dry month in the middle of winter, to Melville. If we don't get decent rains in the next three months, we will be facing yet another under average year. Tarnation skies, bring rain, and plenty of it! (Pretty please.)

I picked Mum up and we arrived at Dr House's practice a few minutes early, and he soon checked Mum's left lower eyelid, the one he operated on last week. The biopsy confirmed that it was a skin cancer, but it had all been excised; the healing was progressing well. So, good news. "I'll see you next year for a check up."

I took Mum straight over to Medicare in Garden City Shopping Centre, and then she treated the apple of her eye to a Miss Maud's sweet potato and pumpkin roll, washed down with a cloudy apple juice.

We shopped in a couple of places, got her prescriptions, and before I left her at her place I wrote a short note with paperwork for sister Helena, to mail for Mum.

Next I arrived in Adelaide Terrace in Perth city, and collected The Babies Ink&Peggletter's mail, fed their fish, and watered their plants. I finally got back home about 4 p.m.

We phoned The Babies in Thailand, six days into their 12 day holiday, but could only leave a text message.

It wasn't long before my plans to do a big kitchen clean up for Janny were sunk, for a phone call let us know we would have friends call by in 15 minutes. Meg and Murrah Deeler called in, as a boost to Meg's spirits, for she had had confirmed that she needs another very strong dose of chemotherapy, due to cancer reappearing in her neck; but only if her heart and lungs can cope, which is to be checked. She still looks very worn down by her long illness. She has been through hell this past two years. Murrah looked a little like the wild man from Borneo – like I always look – since he left work to care for Meg full time.

While the Deelers were here The Babies Ink&Peggletter returned our call, and we were able to wish Baby Inkletter a happy 26th birthday. Our one and only precious child is 26!

My day today had started at 8 a.m., after 8 or so hours sleep, yet as is usually the case when I start the day about the time normal people do, I can barely keep my eyes open come early evening. And so I asked Missus Inkletter to tuck me into bed, fully clothed (it is very cold! plus it affords me increased protection should the gorgeous devil take designs upon me while I slumber), for an hour's nap. She woke me from a deep sleep in time for the new Aussie comedy, :30 Seconds, and I barely could register it despite the nap.

Lateline was next, but I had to record it, and retire, being so weary it wasn't funny. (And so, here is my review gleaned from watching it next day:) The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Circumstances dictated that Ms Sales would not be in the Lateline chair on the day that Australia received its first female Prime Minister; instead, one Tony Jones had that honour yesterday. But I wonder has fate's fickle finger brought Ms Sales one step closer to being Australia's second red headed female Prime Minister one day?

You smile, incredulous reader, but such developments are well within the bounds of possibility. However, if it is to happen, Ms Sales not only would have to throw her hat one day into the political ring, she would have to force feed her inner mongrel, and that could be hard for some of her fans to handle. Her colleague Maxine McKew, whose tush used to warm the very seat she now occupies, decapitated no less than John Winston Howard, second longest reigning incumbent Prime Minister at the time, from his long held seat of Bennelong, and now is in her third year of representing the citizens of that seat. Concerning IMQs, take Kerry O'Brien, whose IMQ, inner mongrel quotient, I've assessed as 10 before today, while I've assessed Ms Sales' IMQ as 5, but I'm thinking now that I've been a bit harsh there: perhaps it is closer to 3. Paul Keating, former Prime Minister had an IMQ of around a 100, yet it didn't keep him in the highest office for long, so high IMQ scores might get you into Parliament, but they're no guarantee of keeping you there.

Now a little bit of self glorification for a moment: the night of Labor's election win back in 2007 I was most impressed with Julia Gillard's bearing and comments in response to the unfolding victory her party had one, late in the evening of the ABC's television electoral coverage (whose else could an Inkletter ever watch?), and was struck with her sincerity and humility, thinking that she would be a good candidate for Australia's first female Prime Minister one day. And then there is my comment 'My word, wouldn’t Gillard make a potentially excellent Prime Minister one day?' in my blog entry on 16th June 2009, titled enigmatically, as is my wont, 'STURT: “I’m pyneing for explorers to find an inland pea; political bean counters double crisscross,” says Payton L. Inkletter, wolfing into a dessert.' That opinion I expressed after watching Ms Sales do a Lateline interview with Deputy Prime Minister Gillard on that evening last year, no less.

Now let me confirm how superb Ms Sales can make simple attire look, by simply being inside it! All she wore (from the desk up: I dearly hope, and expect, she had something concealing her virtue below that plane!) was a shirt, charcoal grey, no jewellery around her neck, just her flawless white skin barely showing through the narrow unbuttoned sliver, and the most subtle effect make-up on her face, tiny earrings, and that fetching convex flared hairstyle that so flatters her face.


The combatants for the Friday night fight club were that old faithful, young Scott Morrison for the Opposition, and Chris Bowen for the Government, even younger. Both the bucks chose dark suits, and made their individuality contrasts tonight with their shirt and tie combinations, with Mr Morrison opting for an asparagus green striped tie fronting a self striped white shade shirt, Mr Bowen a palest of blue gingham effect patterned shirt behind a sapphire blue patterned tie. And as most always, they looked jaunty, holding the banner high for well dressed male parliamentarians.
More story coming…
+paytontedwithlove+

Thursday, June 17, 2010

GRENFELL: "I'll bet you a tenner that while Mrs Byers' silent billy boiled, he was composing 'One Hundred and Three'," PLInkletter told the loaded dog



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
17th June 2010

Thursday: I barely slept an hour, despite trying for several, but hey, what's new? I dragged myself up at the alarm's insistence, and got ready like lightning, taking a mere one hour and forty minutes – I know – to be in the Swift heading with trepidation into rush hour traffic, southwards, to arrive at Mum's in Melville about nine, on this cool cloudy occasionally drizzly day.

Poor old Mum was nervous, for I was taking her for surgery at the Eye Surgery Foundation in West Perth, to remove a suspected basal cell carcinoma from her left lower eyelid, against her tear duct.

We arrived ten minutes early, and before long she was being prepared by a nurse for the local anaesthetic operation to come. I was allowed to stay with Mum until she was about to be wheeled into the theatre; this suited both Mum and the nurse, for I was able to help fill in forms and answer medical questions and such like.

The nurse took my mobile number, and on her suggestion, I walked over into nearby Kings Park for an hour and a half. I enjoyed exploring the walking trails, going further than my last foray last month – which walkies on that Sunday was my first bush walking in this park in 25 years (it's odd how life works this way: something rare happens, and then within a blink of an eye it happens again – and the coincidence doesn't expire yet, for while today Mum was going under the knife while I was strolling the forest, back on that Sunday last month, Cadbury, the Celestial Kitty, was going under the knife at the Cat Haven, having her only pair of gonads removed forever) – yes, a longer walk this occasion, being surrounded by refreshing moist undergrowth and forest litter, seeing just a few hoomans, and the very occasional small birdlife. The only downside was entering the southern section which is still regrowing from the arson of a year or two ago; with almost no undergrowth, a burnt out forest too much resembles a desert; however, hats off to Australian ecology, because a slow but sure explosion of regrowth and new life unfolds after even the fiercest conflagration.

The mobble did ring, and the nurse let me know that Mum was being prepared for discharge; I let the nurse know that I would be half an hour, for my enthusiasm to explore, and the fact that I had taken a wrong turn in the wilderness, had conspired to make me run out of time. As it turned out, I got back, tired and perspiring, to find Mum had not been fully processed to be let go yet anyway.

Her eye looked much better than I had feared: nevertheless, there was an area of missing skin in the lower corner of her lower eyelid, and it would need careful attention for a couple of weeks to keep it from bleeding and infecting. What amazing things surgeons can do, using their microscopes to operate!

I delivered Mum back to her place in Melville, saw her in and settled, and made my way home. Missus Inkletter was surprised to see me back mid afternoon, expecting it would all take longer. She gave me a huge snack of savoury thingamajigs, and then put me to bed until My Beloved time.

Try as I might, I could not keep my eyes open for most of Voyage to the Planets: Pluto & Beyond, the final, and none of Simon Schama's final of The American Future: A History, so I'll hope to catch a repeat on Aunty one day.
+paytontedwithlove+

Monday, June 14, 2010

PHILADELPHIA: "Thirteen stripes, thirteen stars, this we know," mulled PL Inkletter, "but I'd wager a quarter cask of the public wine 'twas Hopkinson…



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
14th June 2010

Monday: Phew! It's 2 in the afternoon, and after waiting a year, six 180W PV panels have been installed on the roof this morning, and all wired up and are already producing power – despite the overcast and drizzly conditions – which is feeding into the house and when in surplus, the grid.

Clear Solar had quite a few delays to contend with, including the Federal Government's battle last year with processing the huge flood of applicants for its Renewable Energy Target legislation offers in the first half of the year. Anyway, I am very happy that it is installed and tested and functioning all within three hours. The installers were a family team, a father, Leigh, with his two sons and daughter, and they were most agreeable folk, a pleasure to have working on our house. The next fellow, Luke, another electrician, was most accordant also. And so, it's done, and even Cadbury survived the influx of tradespeople all around and on top of the place: she hid away behind the shed in a sheltered area from the drizzle, and thus wasn't under anyone's feet.

Where was Missus Inkletter did I hear a crowd of blog visitors ask in chorus? After making the family team a hot drink while they worked, she set off on a marathon Op Shop-a-thon and crawl, possibly all the way up to Yanchep with The Dear Leader, given that the less of us in the way of the tradespeople would be the better situation; thus she would occupy said hairy one, and get a badly needed fix from the Op Shopping, as well as do a bit of sightseeing up yonder.

Truth be known, it was also good that the impossible non-consanguineous contrarian left for the day, as we were getting mightily on each other's nerves after a testy half hour of: male member follows up a conversation of last night with a logical request for more information, should it be possible to have the tradespeople relocate inverter thingy; female member suddenly forgets last night's expressed preference for change of position of inverter thingy ever having occurred; no problem, unless one or either party then wants to make it become a problem; alternatives: quick acknowledgment by forgetful party of forgetfulness followed up by required information regarding new and preferred position, or, dig in and deny, defend, rewrite history, silence, you name it…

I heard the car pull in earlier than expected, and the wayfaring wanderlustrous was back, and ALONE, to my surprise, given the curiosity that the solar panels installation had stirred up in The Hoary One. She had decided not to venture further on to Yanchep, dilly dallying instead at Joondalup. We unloaded the spoils from her reconnoitring-turned-capture, lape, and pirrage, then had a mid afternoon snack together while I rendered the good woman an expeditionary debriefing (not what you're thinking!). And so, absence had made our farts grow stronger, or whatever the saying actually is.

I retired for a couple of hours napping, but maybe achieved only one. In a quiver of love for my Missus I had offered earlier to drive her to, and return to pick her up from, a knitting group get together at Caffissimo's in Mount Lawley tonight, for she would not drive herself until she'd been once, due to her anxiety with parking and such. And so that was the first job I attended to after arising, and I met one of her friends from her Dianella Spinning Group, Angeline, leaving her in what had every appearance of a friendly harmless group of anti-subversives, adding to the fragrance of our free society. Having said this, I wondered, as I drove home, whether they in fact are sending evil messages to each other by stitches.

On my return home about 8.15 I phoned Mum and relayed the details about her eyelid operation on Thursday, which I got from the Eye Surgery Foundation today by phone for her.

Then it was a hearty tuck in to the magnificent meal Janny had left for me before I took her to the meeting of knitting guerillas, and I barely got it down (I'm a slow eater, like most everything else) before setting off again to pick her up. The meeting was still raging, with about as many subversives still there as when I dropped her off, even though a couple of faces had changed (stashed in green wheelie bins out the back of Caffissimo's?) Janny said she had a most pleasant time, and would like to attend as often as we can manage. I would like for that to happen for her sake also: it is a little badly needed and deserved soul food for the poor overly-harassed thing.

Eyeliner-mascara can be too dark for some
We watched Lateline on our return, with Cadbury C.K. Inkletter on my lap, purring like a cat possessed. The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Wearing a simple sapphire blue shirt, no necklace, slender earrings, and convex flared hair with full forehead – thus far looking superb – tonight Ms Sales spoilt her potential for a knockout with heavy eyeliner-mascara. Some women's faces withstand the demands that heavy eye make-up make upon their faces better than others; it should be used with great care, in my arrogantly humble opinion, otherwise certain women's facial lines can so magnify their eye decorative exertions such that hints of the archetypical wide-eyed aliens or praying mantises and such like are suggested. Masterful subtlety is safest for many.

Hair and eyes would be the two most fraught regions for women from the neck up with their presentation endeavours, poor bloody things, which is one of the reasons I'd never swap to be a woman for all the panties in China.

The long interview tonight, about 11 minutes, was with Martin Indyk on-screen from Washington, former (twice) United States' Ambassador to Israel. Looking older than his 59 years as well as a good candidate for David Letterman's brother, Mr Indyk chose a grey theme, light grey for his jacket, a striped grey tone shirt, and a boldly striped dark on light grey tie, and while it looked neat and crisp, it needed colour to give some lift to the tired looking old negotiator.

Ms Sales' subject matter she discussed with Mr Indyk was based upon the recent Gaza flotilla raid. She gave him plenty of uninterrupted time to put his considered points of view across.

My view is that while the injuries and loss of life from that public relations disaster for Israel are awful (and surely were avoidable by a different approach?), there was not enough attention (was there any?) in tonight's chinwag to the impossibility of a two state solution when one state is committed publicly to the removal/annihilation of Israel in the land of Palestine. Two state solution yes – to me that means a form of sharing of the region given the tiny distances and areas involved – but both states must be civilised and credible, that is, have civilised and (humanitarian) mature views towards all other peoples. The Hamas Government doesn't hold such views; the Hamas Charter makes sobering reading.
+paytontedwithlove+

Friday, June 11, 2010

WINTERSET: "I eat as much as I ever did, I drink more than I should, and my sex life is none of your goddamned business!" from a stagecoach in the sky



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
11th June 2010

Friday: Have you ever had the feeling that comes with reading the last line of a great book? That happened for me today.

I finished Anne Enright's 'The Gathering'. You get increasingly apprehensive for several reasons: how will it end?; will it tie up ends?; will it satisfy?; how will you feel knowing there's no more thrill and education and entertainment and amazement waiting just over the page…?

Payton, what relevance the pills?
I want to reread it, it is so good. It did win the 2007 Man Booker Prize, so others must concur regarding its quality.

I finished it in fact at Swan Aquatic while Bob splashed about like a duck long dispossessed. I also had the pleasure of another catch up with Allan Schintu, and had the opportunity to learn of a manuscript he has begun about his recent experiences in life, including two near death occasions; I encouraged him with his writing, which he appears to have quite a flair for, judging by some sample sentences he shared with me – but then 30 years of journalism couldn't hurt! – and I look forward to reading his published work one day. It is wonderful to see how people vivify when talking about something dear to them.

We human beings cannot truly live by bread alone…

More story possibly coming…

+paytontedwithlove+

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BIRMINGHAM: "He was born with ants in his pants!" observes P. L. Inkletter. "So much expanded: consilience, eusocialism, epic, forests now, humanism…"



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
10th June 2010

Thursday: The big dry continues in Perth and neighbouring farming regions… Oh, and it's just the middle of bloody winter.

I shared a treat with umpteen other thousands of Aussie folk today: a wonderful interview on Lateline: The (Tony) SilverToes aka Tojo (Jones) Assay: His guest for the long interview tonight was Geoffrey Cousins, and while I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary when it started, I was close to spellbound before it was but halfway.

Mr Jones' couture did not disappoint, as it never does: he had donned a faintly pinstriped arsenic suit, white shirt, and a complex banded purple themed tie, with thin white diagonal stripes layed across Byzantium and black purple bands. On the other hand, Mr Cousins went rather casual, if you consider a missing tie and open shirt casual; he looked great regardless, in his slate grey jacket and white shirt, and skin as smooth looking as a baby's bottom – not bad for a fellow who may well have negotiated at the Eureka Stockade.

I declare that the rapport that developed was brill, and, under Mr Jones' barely-there massaging, Mr Cousins freely related an account of his own patrician yet persistent exertions, over recent years, to bring about the capturing of a highly desirable social licence for the Gunn's company, to operate a pulp mill in Tasmania and log the forests. I think Tony Jones was the perfect fit for drawing Geoffrey Cousins out on this subject; I think the male to male chemistry was right also; the provenance these very two have with the issue helped greatly as well.

There was no edge to Mr Cousins, no hysteria, no hyperbole, just a softly enunciated intelligent narrative of how to lift the game, in terms of corporate responsibility, by a company that has great power for good or bad. He told us how this transformation was brought about, the heart in the mouth moments, and even though blood was spilt on the boardroom floor in the end to achieve the seachange within Gunns, you could be forgiven for feeling that if you had to be murdered, Geoffrey Cousins would make it pleasant for you.

Thank you Tony Jones for bringing us this fabulously informative interview on the subject of improving a company's commitment to its stakeholders rather than only one cohort, the shareholders, and thank you Geoffrey Cousins for two things: what you helped engineer with Gunns and its prospects for sustainable and responsible forestry in Tasmania, and for telling us all so openly and eloquently, naturally and soothingly, dignified and debonair, here on Lateline. A very special interview has now been tucked away in my archive.
+paytontedwithlove+

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

LONDON: "Oh what a tangled web we weave!" P.L.Inkletter declared between googles. "Mmm… 'tim tam'… 'burner'… 'leeside'… recipe…"; "Mmm… 'koala'… '42'…



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
08th June 2010

Tuesday: As I heard the news coming from the lounge room my heart sank, for it unfolded into what it sounded like: we've lost two more soldiers in Afghanistan.

And the sad event was invested with much more intensity when Lateline's Leigh Sales conducted an interview with Chris Masters, a veteran ABC journalist for over forty years embedded with the two soldiers' very unit in Tarin Kowt. Yesterday Afghani time, Darren Smith and Jacob Moerland died due to a roadside bomb, one dying at the scene, the other in a nearby medical facility.

As it turned out, Mr Masters had come to know these men personally, having been assigned to the unit of this very pair, in fact sharing their tent.

It was compassionately arousing to listen to Mr Masters' account of how he'd yarned with these fellows, and the blow their deaths are to their mates.

Back here in Australia, Darren Smith is a priceless loss to his wife and son, while Jacob Moerland is a priceless loss to his fiancé. Mr Masters' account was simply heartbreaking. What a hell the families must be enduring.

Only last night I lamented, listening to Tony Blair's impotent reply to a prescient question of Ms Sales regarding the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan: "What will be the signs that your purpose has been fulfilled?" – Tony Blair: "I think when you see the signs of political and security stability taking root and developing in the country", I lamented that the values gulf in the populations is so vastly different to our Western values that the problem is unsolvable with the current methods.

Now another two young people have been snuffed out doing the shambolic bidding of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, and now Kevin Rudd and his replacement heads in our allied countries.

Mr Masters pointed out that "It's equally frustrating for the soldiers to recognise that they're there to help people who on certain occasions will turn against them in a vicious way." The original invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 appears to be based upon vengeance for the Twin Towers attack in New York, but was destined to fail, given even but one intractable fact: the harboring and succour by bordering Pakistan of the Taliban. Without equal pursuit of Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces there with the equal commitment by the government of Pakistan, it could not succeed. Then there is the issue of the values gulf.

How apt of Mr Masters to describe the process we're engaged in over there as "a war of inches".



Now we and our allies are dying a death of a thousand cuts, and all to prop up 'democracies' in Iraq and Afghanistan, to support their 'freedom' to elect totalitarian Islamic regimes if they choose, to treat their women citizenry as tenth class citizens, to prohibit the practice of other religions, to put to death Islamists who leave the religion, and so on. We are sacrificing the lives and health of our young, not to mention billions of dollars, to try to secure 'freedom' for mass mindsets that are likely in the next little while to be marching in their millions chanting 'Death to the West' or some variant thereof.

I long have winced every time I might learn of one of our soldiers so much as stubbing a toe in these foreign cultures. We will almost certainly eventually leave these countries in a shambles – having bled ourselves dry and lost many fine soldiers, and sustained the maiming of many more – and their populations who have no experience with, nor great respect for, liberal democratic values and institutions will quickly revert to the barbaric and medieval practices that they've long nurtured.

If New Zealand was invaded by the Taliban, yes, it would be entirely appropriate to flock militarily to our neighbour's support, due in the main to the essentially complete sharing of basic values. Our sacrifices, should we prevail, would be rewarded by that nation's return to a base of values mirroring our own.

Ms Sales was right to finish thus: "Well Chris Masters, I wish we weren't speaking in these circumstances. It's obviously just a terrible event. Thank you very much for making time to speak to us tonight." Thank you Mr Masters, for bringing this awful event so much more alive to us far away and in our safety, to allow us the more to summons compassion and seek for solutions to reduce the inhumanity of this sad world.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

YELBENI: "It might take a while to catch 'em, but with training and dedication, holes in one are sure to follow, even in a gale," reckons PL Inkletter



Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
07th June 2010

Monday: As I write well well, long long, way way, after the end of this day, I'm stuffing my jowls with Missus Inkletter's homemade rocky road, or 'locky load' as I usually call it in when in my oriental mode. I would like to think that my modes are excitingly uncertain, but I would wager that if you enquired of Missus Inkletter, she would assert that they're as predictable as a red blooded man's focus upon the chest of a jogging woman passer-by. Be that as it may, I mightily enjoyed my pig-out, and now am debating with myself the worth of a session of guilt…

If confronted by the slumbering sweetmeat, and asked to account for the smeared chocolate all over my chops, should I invent some kind of incident, such as having been kidnapped briefly during my late night constitutional by a rabid divorcee, and subjected to having to lick her clean of chocolate from her belly, at risk of harm to Missus Inkletter if I refused? Maybe not.

Well, what a 'day'! To bed from the previous 'day' at half eight (in the morning that is, after a marathon all nighter including a walk after three a.m. and a three dishwasher fills kitchen clean up, many luv luvs with Cadbury, and computing), fitful and shallow sleeping until eleven, barely two hours later, and then up to prepare for the fambly to have lunch with us.

The Dear Leader came with Umple Dais, followed by The Babies Ink&Peggletter, and we all enjoyed a banquet courtesy of the blood sweat tears and skill of Missus Inkletter, an angel formerly known as 'Cherub', displaced for a time here on earth in human form. Who by the way, did not eat all afternoon, as is her habit, being but a breakfast and dinner lass since embarking upon the Byetta regime.

Cadbury joined us indoors for much of the afternoon, gamboling about in the lounge chasing the cat toy we all had turns with boinging around for the little celestial kitty's delight. She was in her element, and rapt with all the different faces to perform for. She appears to be all but completely healed from her degonadification under the knives of the big bad vet docs at the Cat Haven 15 days back.

Mid afternoon the sibling and farter of my good wife left, and The Babies Ink&Peggletter stayed on for another couple of hours and more to play a great little card game called 'No Thanks'. We had a wonderful time, and it was a treat and a blessing to have these two inspiring young people spend their time with us.

I was ravished briefly by my wife before she put me to sleep about six (the poor thing has her needs), and woke me about half ten – otherwise I might have fallen off the perch – in time for a late din dins and Lateline: The (Leigh) Sales Graph: Ms Sales looked so good tonight, and she must have charmed her distinguished on-screen guest from London somewhat, Tony Blair, in her dark quietly pinstriped jacket with fern green underbodice, her effectively understated make-up, catching and matching green enamelled earrings, and superbly flattering loose-falling convex flared coiffure, who, the poor old bugger (Tony that is), was really looking his age: either that, or he'd been up all night having another of his long dark nights of the soul, and paying for it with a haggard face this mid-morning in London.


As an aside before I speak of this interview, it was good to see Peter Lloyd reporting again, on an earlier story, after the turmoil and pain he's gone through recently.

Mr Blair was smartly if insipidly turned out in a slate grey suit and white shirt, with an emaciated cardinal red tie desperately trying to spice up his sartorial lack of splendour.

Ms Sales started off in safe territory, inviting Mr Blair to discuss his Faith Partnership's new alliance with the University of Western Australia, and finished the interview with it, much to his satisfaction and relief. I hope that he makes intelligent progress with his foundation, because the world needs as much maturation as possible among the various religions and their pitiful and dangerous divides.

Well done Ms Sales for extracting 14 minutes from the former British PM, and it was soon evident that she put him at relative ease; nevertheless, her charms and charming ways failed to draw him out, 6 disarming minutes in, on that elephant in the room, Britain's support of and involvement in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ongoing war to the present day, with his blessing as serving Prime Minister. He fudged around giving feeble excuses, and made no helpful comments. I suppose that it would take a near divine degree of maturity and humility to admit that a massive and deadly mistake had been personally made. And how would George W. Bush fudge around similar questions? John W. Howard?

Yes, not even the leverage of cleavage from Ms Sales' outfit could win the requisite analysis out of the former British top poodle on the ongoing debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think their discussion about the Israel-Palestine problem was sensible: a two state solution is a pragmatic aspiration, for the alternatives are horrible. So more power to Mr Blair to help achieve the decent and mature sharing of that region by its inhabitants. However, there is that little intractable issue of one state wanting the destruction of the other, that must be changed first…

Ms Sales did draw him out slightly on one of the icky issues he wanted to avoid with this question: "How will Britain know when it is time to pull out of Afghanistan?"

Tony Blair: "I think - I mean, look, this is not my area of policy anymore and let me be careful in what I say here, but my view about Afghanistan has been the same all the way through which is that we are there for a reason and a purpose. We have to see the purpose fulfilled.

And it is that that determines when we withdraw or not. What is really important is to send an absolutely certain, clear signal to the people we're fighting there that we intend to see the issue through.
"


Next came a perfectly reasonable and crucial question: Leigh Sales: "What will be the signs that your purpose has been fulfilled?"

And then the dismally useless and disconnected answer, which amounts to wishful thinking and little more: Tony Blair: "I think when you see the signs of political and security stability taking root and developing in the country."

The whole shemozzle of both Iraq and Afghanistan is unsolvable by the current methods by the Western occupying nations, with the biggest root problem being a massive gulf in basic values between the populations of the nations, and Tony Blair is either deluded if he doesn't know this, or circuitous if he does, and I'd plumb that he does.

A valuable interview, and for not the least reason that Ms Sales permitted Mr Blair to share a project dear to him (expiation?), as well as demonstrate his hypersensitivities. He was one of the most powerful forces in his time for changing the globe, and it remains to be seen just how positive or not that change was. Rarely does great good come from a CLASH of Christian (or Judaic) and Islamic mindsets.
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