The G 20 and a nice Pasta.

September 21, 2014

photoInterior

It is getting all too much. Nerve wrecking terrorism fears, and Putin coming to Brisbane. What will the neighbours think? Who would have thought a Russian President would ever visit Brisbane? I just can’t imagine him sitting around with all those other world leaders trying to act as nonchalant as possible. Their eyes scanning around while sauntering through those doors of the big-top with its clowns of leaders and performing big bears. They always seem to look so very ‘above it.’

I would not be surprised if they never go to toilets or wear underpants. It somehow seems that all domesticity has been overcome by them. Their digestive system has been conquered with all those weighty world responsibilities. Have you ever watched those G20 leaders making decisions so fastidiously resolute and unquestioning? They shuffle papers while wearing headphones, translators versed in foreign languages murmuring into grotesque pink ears just sitting behind them. The enormity of it all. Of course they don’t suffer from intestinal rumblings or dietary upsets. They have overcome their humaneness. It is all a circus with clowns and jugglers, masters of voodoo economics. Shifters of profits and taxation avoiding shysters.

imagespasta

As one gets older, those events just seem to repeat themselves into nothingness. A circular event that repeats itself ever year, every decade. So much remains the same yet so much is different. A callousness of spirit and calcified souls have grounded themselves into a permanent headstone of disregards and victim searching. It is, as always, the Viet-Cong, the Hutus, the Arabs, the Nazis, the Japanese, the Nigerians, the Boat people, those Terrorists. The clock (as always) just ticks in seconds. We have developed precise needle point methods of extermination. Laser guided and drone enhanced. We kill in real time TV with a blast enlarged in black smoke heading towards us on our comfy cushion softened settee.

And yet, what would we live for if not the enjoyment of a Sunday cooked pasta? I will never get enough of life if the pasta keep-on-coming. We all know that the fresh made is the best. The noodles cooked al dente and the sauce as always to include the hot blue smoke deep fried mixture of the chopped up garlic, rosemary and anchovies. Forget G20. A lovely well cooked meal makes it all still worthwhile.

A twenty minute of fame;”a beheading video” .

September 19, 2014

photo 1

Don’t get me wrong, I would not welcome a beheading nor a shark attack or a Thai hoe attack. But the beat up about the first has now reached apocalyptical proportions. Helicopters flying over-head. Serious looking police in riot gear being interviewed , a neighbour vouching she knew the people next door being immigrants. One wonders how secret all this was when the media was all dossed out with all the right gear and journalists focussing on doors being smashed down. People with pixelated faces herded up. Hapless victims being seen on the suburban grass verge, looking as if they had been woken up from a nightmare. We now cower under our doonas.

How surprising is it that with a 14% youth unemployment we get some foolish enough to answer the call to fight for a cause, (any cause really) and fooled into believing that joining a fight against the ‘evil West’ is somehow a better option that languishing in one of our deadly suburbs? Many are totally disillusioned with their present situation, a life devoid of a welcoming, all embracing, closely knitted environment that al least would give them the opportunity and dignity to work and earn a living. Alas, we now have a form of freedom and capitalism that makes its obscene profits from employing economic scientists/gurus feverishly working on how to employ the minimum number of people.

All those arrested yesterday were Australian born citizens. Yet, the medium, including Government representatives, were howling about ‘those Afghans, the Middle Eastern swarthy looking, hinting at ‘refugees and Islamic riff raff. Ramping up the ‘marketing’ of phantom fears. Yes, their parents or their grandparents might originate from middle east, so what? Most of us have a link to some other place. The only true Australians are the indigenous and they too can vouch for a somewhat ‘disillusioned’ acceptance by us, the true invading Euro terrorists. We still have not passed that bit in our constitution accepting them as ‘the first Australians’. How can we hope to impress our young when the in(un)justice of so much prevails still in our own domain and society?

It seems to be so attractive for our political leaders to exploit easy targets, whip up fears and get the so important votes.

We cower under our doonas. I cower out of fear of Abbott and his cohorts.

The Escape from Suburban ennui.

September 17, 2014

It makes you think when an seventeen year old boy escapes home and joins IS in Syria. He could be concentrating on his stamp collection or help dad prise out unwanted grasses from the front lawn, couldn’t he? Surely there must be ways to escape from our much praised ‘own home on own block’ in those endlessly anonymously sun-lit streets of suburbia, without going to that extreme.

photo 3Kalancoe enlarged

I remember well my introduction to an Australian suburb after my parents in 1956 decided to buy a fibro asbestos dwelling in Sydney’s western suburbs. It was a devastating experience which, now at the age of 74, am finally accepting that it did happen, it was not their fault. I have conquered and overcome! It all came back last night when watching the excellent ABC TV documentary on writers/comedians/artists who not only overcame but became national Icons of art and culture precisely (bar for Robert Hughes)because of the dreariness and desolation of the Australian suburb. They escaped but used the experiences in ways that enthralled millions around the world for decades. There is nothing like a mirror being held up in front of us.!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/australia-culture-blog/2014/sep/17/brilliant-creatures-germaine-clive-barry-and-bob-review

It must seem like typical responses from the incorrigible Jerimiah Jacobson to finally have escaped England and rejoice in the sun and warmth that greeted Howard Jacobson in 1965 after sailing into sunny Sydney harbour. The gleaming whiteness of the Opera house a cheerful greeting card. He visible recoiled when ruminating over the dreariness and greyness of England’s skies heavy with sombre souls of past leaden Lords and hollowed out Timothy Thatchers. The cricket score on a Sunday afternoon, as exciting it could ever get. Waiting for the dreaded mid-night knock on the door. What Howard took delight in, the four giants of Australia’s own suburban making, escaped and flocked to Earls Court and at roughly the same time.

It just proves that changing and escaping from something might be an essential part of coming into one’s own. Even so, I do think that our architectural domestic way of housing ourselves leaves much to be desired. The fenced off and utterly lonely environment, the strips of bitumen snaking mile after simmering mile. Not a soul to be seen. Just metal boxes on endless journeys, but whereto and why? A Sunday afternoon, a solitary figure perched on a ladder clearing his guttering from errant leaves. I am surprised that young people can survive all that.

After every domestic murder, the usual responses; “Oh, such a lovely family amongst a close-knit community. We sometimes saw then and even said hello”! In the meantime some young people go to Syria and fight to get killed.

Dear Jesus!

September 15, 2014

Snail-eating in Spain or Phar Lap’s heart viewing in Australia?

September 14, 2014

imagesSCV0MAAY

Yes, that Rick Stein’s on TV showing his food show on mass snail eating in Spain really got me hungry, so I put on a large pork roast and barbequed it for two hours with lots of pumpkin and spuds. Loads of oregano. It was almost as nice as those snails in Spain. I got a bottle of Penfold’s, St Henri Shiraz for father’s day, a 2006 number which we will keep for our diamond wedding anniversary. Does anyone remember the date we got married?

Only the unadulterated happiness of the Spanish people could get 12 000 together in a mass snail eating event. Something like 12 tons of snails were consumed with lots of garlic, laughter and copious amounts of wine in between. I could not imagine anything like that happening here in Australia. True, since last week they have discovered new bits of Phar Lap’s heart kept for decades at another museum. I believe there are now queues of people lining up to see this special jar with his pickled heart now complete. I doubt though we could muster twelve thousand people together eating Big Ben pies or those delicious Lamingtons.

For those who are ignorant about our proud heritage, Phar Lap was a horse that could outrun all other horses. He was a true champion and regarded as one of our Icons not unlike the Big Banana in Northern New South Wales or the Big Merino cement sheep in Goulburn.

The big banana

Was it our previous PM John Howard, who insisted newcomers to this country had to know some of our glorious history including the weight of Phar Lap’s heart and able to recite a poem in reverence to his galloping stride? I have a gnawing doubt; Was it to do with cricket scores or something else instead?

Milo

Milo

Our own little Icon is Milo. His only demand on us is accepting his total disregard for any order or expecting obedience. He insists on total obstinacy as his right and refuses to do as asked. In fact, he delights in the opposite. We now try and trick him by asking the opposite but I am sure he will soon discover the answer and do a double disobedience in reverse. ;)

So, we are getting ready to travel to Venice and Milo once more will have to accept the care of the Dog Kennel. He gets his alpaca home knitted cushion while we are away. I think he knows we do care. He gets his chicken neck and that’s the main thing.

photo 2

The Venice adventure looming.

September 10, 2014

imagesvenice

We thought it wise to continue our travelling. The seventies are marching on and one just never knows. We still have all our limbs and can walk unaided. But for how long? Our intestinal organs are floridly in good health and have kept us away from any precarious situations so far. Lately though, I have found myself scanning available public toilets. Just in case! I would hate to be running through Venice and over a steep bridge, in search of one. I remember vividly and was desperate for one in Paris. No paper, no water and just my cheque book slips for use while squatting above a very odoriferous and gloomy hole. I had trouble contemplating over the beauty of gay Paris. It took a train trip to the Château de Versailles and gazing at chandeliers to get over that one. I even had a full plate of ‘Raw Steak Tartare avec un raw egg’ after that.

From our last trip to Bali and the lack of food and water, we will be sorely tempted to fly a plane whereby the passengers will be kept alive as much as possible. The worst aspects are the miles and miles of walking through the acreages of getting through customs,, the ignominy of taking belts and shoes off, the padding up, down, and across, then, to the gates and again be padded down before traipsing inside to the plane. The hoisting of bags over-head and selfish knees protruding in such limited spaces. Duty free emporiums, and the hopping about in socks and dropping trousers before even getting on the plane. Why can’t the duty free be separate from the airports for those keen on buying yet another watch or pearl earring? Do people travel now in order to do the same as at home, ‘shopping’?

Soon there will be airports where people can mow a lawn or put out the garbage, pay the rates and go to Aldi.

Venice is beckoning as never before and am already speaking per favore et grazie to our postman who comes from Messina. We are prepared.
We can’t wait!

The New York steak makes US all good.

September 7, 2014

imagesNewYork steak

There is nothing more unreliable than the memories of writers. Remind them of what they wrote last year and they will vehemently deny it. Such is their hold on facts. No sooner have they put down their feeble thoughts and their mind’s shredder takes over and it all ends up into oblivion. Forgetfulness is their raison d’être for writing things down. Forget about vivid evocative pictures as absolute truth.

That’s why my posting the link to Dutch Professor’s Cees Hamelink’s ‘Apology to Putin’ ought to be taken in the same obscure vein. He might well fall in the category of being a nutcase. His writings as short-lived as a fly spinning around on the floor in a last frenzy. It is my own default position; Why not those of others?

Even so, I don’t think America was all that pleased with Mr Fidel Castro either, perched on their side of the world. I have some sympathy for Putin being chagrined about sharing a border with a Pro-West leaning country. Can you imagine the Golden arched Big M in front of the St Petersburg’s Winter Palace?

I am sure the US was miffed with the leftists governments in South America. I have seen enough Oliver Stone movies to consider that the victims of Pinochet, the uprisings of Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, many of the Latin Countries, opposed by the CIA and their induced bloody adventures, would far outweigh anything that has happened so far in the Ukraine. Don’t get me going on Colombia and their past pro US dictators. Garcia Marquez wrote all about that.

It is after all Father’s day.

As early as yesterday I was treated and feted as a good father. I chose New York Steak with peppery sauce. It was fabulous and America is the best country in the world. I haven’t had such a lovely meal for a long time. Sorry vegetarians, I admit to liking a meaty dinner but as a concession and feeble purgatory aim, I have also doubled my vegie and fish intake.

Before plunging in the details of New York Steak, I believe it is known as Porterhouse in England and in Australia. It is the short loin section at the back of the cow. I suppose ‘New York’ steak adds weight and ..above all prestige…Some of my best friends are American and I have always revered New York ,even considered visiting it many times.

An impression once caught sometimes lingers forever while others end into oblivion. I am sure that my New York steak with peppery sauce has now made me benevolent, even more determined to visit that lovely country. We might even go far South to partake in a piece of grilled, honey glazed honest Kansas Steak.
How about that?
It’s delight will last forever.

Australia’s treatment of refugees on Manus Island .

September 6, 2014

5724960-3x2-940x627Manus Island detention centre

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-06/manus-island-whistleblower-describes-filthy-conditions/5725042

Whistleblower describes ‘filthy’ conditions inside detention centre

By Andrew Greene and Benjamin Sveen

“A former detention centre guard says he is not surprised an asylum seeker has died from an infection he caught at Manus Island because he witnessed filthy living conditions inside the facility.

Hamid Kehazaei cut his foot at the detention centre about three weeks ago, developed septicaemia and was sent to Brisbane’s Mater hospital.

The 24-year-old suffered a heart attack, and was later declared brain dead.

His family in Iran made the harrowing decision to switch off their son’s life support late Friday.

Former Manus Island detention centre employee Beau Mitchell has told the ABC he is not surprised at Mr Kehazaei’s plight after recording evidence of poor hygiene inside.

“There’s no air conditioning, the beds are extremely close together. The living standards are pretty quite filthy,” Mr Mitchell said

“Often they’d be standing on concrete to have a shower that was literally falling apart underneath them, just completely rotting away.”

An apology to Mr Putin. (food for thought)

September 5, 2014

imagesCees Hamelink

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/25981/53/

“Dear Mr. President Putin,

Please accept our apologies on behalf of a great many people here in the Netherlands for our Government and our Media. The facts concerning MH17 are twisted to defame you and your country.

We are powerless onlookers, as we witness how the Western Nations, led by the United States, accuse Russia of crimes they commit themselves more than anybody else. We reject the double standards that are used for Russia and the West. In our societies, sufficient evidence is required for a conviction. The way you and your Nation are convicted for ‘crimes’ without evidence, is ruthless and despicable.

You have saved us from a conflict in Syria that could have escalated into a World War. The mass killing of innocent Syrian civilians through gassing by ‘Al-­‐Qaeda’ terrorists, trained and armed by the US and paid for by Saudi Arabia, was blamed on Assad. In doing so, the West hoped public opinion would turn against Assad, paving the way for an attack on Syria.

Not long after this, Western forces have built up, trained and armed an ‘opposition’ in the Ukraine, to prepare a coup against the legitimate Government in Kiev. The putschists taking over were quickly recognized by Western Governments. They were provided with loans from our tax money to prop their new Government up.

The people of the Crimea did not agree with this and showed this with peaceful demonstrations. Anonymous snipers and violence by Ukrainian troops turned these demonstrations into demands for independence from Kiev. Whether you support these separatist movements is immaterial, considering the blatant Imperialism of the West.

Russia is wrongly accused, without evidence or investigation, of delivering the weapons systems that allegedly brought down MH17. For this reason Western Governments claim they have a right to economically pressure Russia.

We, awake citizens of the West, who see the lies and machinations of our Governments, wish to offer you our apologies for what is done in our name.
It’s unfortunately true, that our media have lost all independence and are just mouthpieces for the Powers that Be. Because of this, Western people tend to have a warped view of reality and are unable to hold their politicians to account.

Our hopes are focused on your wisdom. We want Peace. We see that Western Governments do not serve the people but are working towards a New World Order. The destruction of sovereign nations and the killing of millions of innocent people is, seemingly, a price worth paying for them, to achieve this goal.

We, the people of the Netherlands, want Peace and Justice, also for and with Russia.
We hope to make clear that the Dutch Government speaks for itself only. We pray our efforts will help to diffuse the rising tensions between our Nations.

Sincerely,

Professor Cees Hamelink “

Doing the ‘Custom and Border protection shuffle.’

September 4, 2014

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If you think that hours spent on a flight is less than riveting, spare a thought of what now goes on before the flight. I am not surprised people are flying less. This is our story.

You arrive with the minimum luggage. A back pack each or just a shoulder bag. The waiting at carousels after a long and dry flight is hardly encouraging to take suitcases or as I saw, huge surf boards or jet skis. Before one just used to go through the immigration or custom officers and get your boarding pass and number. Not anymore now.

The first hurdle is to get your ticket validated. After that the immigration or custom procedure. This is were I was astonished beyond and from behind. Fair enough, the luggage (Shoulder bags) were put through a scanning device. A tray was handed in in which to put all metal objects such as watch, coins, jewellery and electronic devices. All apparatus operated by batteries had to be switched on before the scanner, proving their function as legitimate. I know that bombings are to be prevented but does anyone know of a single aeroplane that came down as a result of a passenger blowing up the plane while travelling?

The worst is yet to come; There is always a tension, palpable amongst all plane travellers. The atmosphere is thick and hanging heavily and not a word is spoken. With all the instant news on terrorism and beheading videos, one scans nervously for any sign of a sword or machine gun. Not a tree or blade of grass insight. Nothing to give visual comfort to the hapless traveller now asked to go personally through a scanner as well. ” Take your belt off and place in the tray, shoes too.” Men and women in separate rows now. Husbands, wives and children are now put about 10 meters apart and a female starts to pat down the rows of females and a man the men. Shades of Buchenwald arise in this traveller. Men are shoeless and holding up their pants. All their belongings now disappear into the darkness of a scanner together with their jackets and pullovers.

imagesHHK8BQMOthe patting down

After the patting down, no machine gun comes out of my trousers, which, because of my skinniness has to be held up by both my hands. I have no hips. I hop towards a personal enclosure where I see a man holding up both arms while a sinister custom officer is looking at a screen. I finished the hopping and enter the steel enclosure where I am told to put my socked feet on a painted space on the floor indicating a left and right foot. Hold up your arms and look straight ahead, the man ordered. My pants slid down at half mast. “You still have metal somewhere”, the man stated. I pointed to my hearings aids which have batteries. “Take them off and re-enter again, he ordered.” I bend down to lift my trousers glad I wasn’t inspected internally or worse, given an spontaneous colonoscopy on the run. I got through and was met by hordes of men tucking in shirts and arranging their private parts in a certain order. Putting on shoes and belts. The relief was instant. One man cracked a joke and another giggled nervously.

Women were busy squeezing hair shampoo and conditioners into smaller 100mil bottle avoiding having to surrender anything larger than a 100mil container. One women was scooping Nescafe into small bottles. She had bought a half kilo of Nescafe. Don’t ask me why? Was she thinking of selling or making coffee on Jetstar? Another sign of a traveller’s frugality was toothpaste being squeezed and divided into smaller bottles. How do you get toothpaste out of a bottle. Do you scoop it onto a brush with a match stick or suck it out? Huge bottles of Eau de Cologne were confiscated together with tins of Arnotts biscuits. One man was travelling with cigars. All taken away. Only duty free goods and securely and officially wrapped was allowed through.

images the hapless traveller

The flying is a breeze compared getting on or off aeroplanes. I wonder how far this hysteria is going to go? Will we be asked to bring a sample of a stool next? ( they too can be pretty explosive) Will we finally be subjected to such lengthy and personal procedures that only the most foolhardy will fly. I know they are trying to avoid disasters but I haven’t yet heard of single plane being blown up by a passenger on board. (Perhaps excluding above Somalia or Liberia)

Surely crossing the street while texting is much more dangerous.


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