Sunday, May 06, 2012

And so to some thoughts on raspberry jelly and gluggy hospital porridge ...

(Above: French hospital food. Wouldn't you know it, there's a tumblr dedicated to the subject of hospital food).

At the moment the pond is fully occupied preparing a far-reaching treatise on hospital food.

The blandness is intoxicating. Who knew that sugar was a health food as presented in raspberry jelly with shards of desiccated fruit, the flavour on the back palate redolent of nineteen fifties oak? Who knew that garlic and chilli were dangerous additives that threatened the stability of Bob Menzies' government and the survival of patients' stomachs?

It seems there are two messages embedded in the jelly. If you don't get better, get well right this moment and leave hospital at once, we will kill you with blandness.

But if you happen to stay, because you happen to be malfunctioning, we will whisk you back to a time when all you needed was limp veggies and a little meat, and flavour was a dirty, filthy European word. Ever wondered what hospital food in France tasted like? Or Mexico?

Never mind, may the long absent lord bless the good and kindly folk of Royal Prince Alfred, and long may a public hospital system continue, whatever the flaws and the garlic-laden jibes (but how sweet that first hit of Thai tasted).

It will be awhile before the pond returns on a daily basis, and in the meantime much has been missed.

At last - in the form of Clive Palmer - the antipodes has its very own billionaire Donald Trump buffoon to do comedy routines and enliven the public debate. The pond earnestly commends a hair job to Mr. Palmer so he can achieve the gravitas of the Donald, or at least Shane Warne. If the Ten network needs a way out of its ratings hole ...

But the real opportunity missed was the chance to call that prissy poodle Christopher Pyne a liar. Which is to say a man who's told a fib, a purveyor of a porkie. Lie:

1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

As Quintillian once said, a liar should have a good memory.

Why do politicians do it? Bill Clinton was perhaps the most egregious example, with his 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman' routine, which has curiously led to a generation of young Americans thinking that fellatio isn't sexual relations.

If you reel away from a politician with a mouthful of warm semen, do you think it's not a sexual relation? Is it actually no different to eating hospital porridge? (The pond couldn't pick the difference, it's true).

Of course Bill really got into trouble with the lie about the lie, persecuted by the likes of arch-hypocrite and liar Newt Gingrich. So it goes in the United States, where lying is a highly esteemed art form ...

But back to the liar Pyne. Why did he do it? Well clearly he hoped, expected, that the email that proved the lie wouldn't turn up in the public domain, thereby allowing the pond to call him a liar without fear of defamation ... because he told a lie.

But Mal Brough is even worse. Here's the man contending for Peter Slipper's seat turning up and offering help and counselling not just once but three times, with his wife as an allegedly independent witness. His wife!

He could have said first up 'look I'm clearly conflicted, this will not help you - and incidentally it will not help me', but he went back to the well at least two more times ... with a witness.

Now Brough can take full credit for the failed, inept invasion of the Northern Territory as a cynical pre-election ploy - as if the Howard government hadn't had a decade to implement better policies - and it's to the Labor party's shame it continued the folly.

But amazingly these days, Brough is being touted as a senior Liberal with leadership abilities.

In the old days, a genuine leader knew style, and when it was right to step outside the tent for a little while.

And that's the problem. A little discretion, a little style, and the matters involving Mr. Slipper and Mr. Ashby could have been dealt with in appropriate forums using appropriate methods, with both parties given appropriate - and neutral - support.

Instead we have the spectacle of Mr. Pyne lying, and Mr. Brough acting yet again as a sanctimonious, righteous goose, with obvious political venality dressed up as humanitarian concern, and a mission for justice.

And for what? Only out of concern for Mr. Ashby and his complaints?

Not even a hint of a grubby desire to get down in the gutter and out-slipper Slipper?

And so we once again have the sorry spectacle of Tony Abbott being economical with the truth, or perhaps more accurately economical with words, because of his slip-sliding underlings and their slippery ways, and so the wondrous canard of 'specific' knowledge ...

And for what? It's obvious that the coalition will form the next government. They have the chance to bring some dignity and some decent policies to the table, and instead they're bringing a liar and a goose ...

Here's the lie:

Mr Pyne last night told The Australian: "I did not email Mr Ashby after March 19th. I've never had any contact of any nature with James Ashby in relation to the Federal Court action." (May 4th 2012, no link, there's a paywall, don't ya know)

And then to the various backdowns, equivocations, and amendments to the lie as outlined in Pyne email surfaces as 'cover-up' claims persist.

As for the sanctimonious Brough, clutching his wife like an icon, does it get more oily than this?

Despite initially being "suspicious", Mr Brough met the parliamentary adviser on three occasions in March and April - each time advising him he "needed to sit down with a lawyer". (May 5th 2012, uh oh paywall blues again).

Three times to tell a man he'd better get a lawyer, get a real good one? You can get that level of advice by listening to a good pop song ... once.

What a pity there's no really good pop song called 'I'm conflicted, get me out of here'.

Sadly the Labor party has been down in the gutter with Craig Thomson for way too long, and it's lowered the tone of the government at every turn. But the opposition keeps on showing the same devious intent and unhealthy lust for power that undid Malcolm Turnbull in his fatal miscalculation over Gordon Gretch ...

Will anyone show any class or will the relentless drift to the US political style continue apace?

Well I guess it keeps the likes of Vex News in the business of idle speculation.

Not to worry. Enough one-fingered typing. Time for a serve of hospital porridge. Add a little milk and you'd swear it tastes just the same as the sleazy slush served up by Australian politicians ...

Suddenly hospital food and a decent public health care system doesn't seem so bad. At least until jolly Joe gets his paws on it ...

Stay bright and cheerful, and thanks for the kind notes. So many loons, and so little time as the sand rushes through the hour glass ...

(Below: Mal Brough with independent witness).


  1. What a pity there's no really good pop song called 'I'm conflicted, get me out of here'.

    Ah, but there is a Led Zeppelin song called 'Dazed and Confused', which is as good a summation of Brough's behaviour in the whole matter as anything. The man should be disqualified from standing on the basis of stupidity. Although if we brought that rule in the ranks of all the parties would be dramatically thinned.

  2. By the way, welcome back :)

  3. Actually Green Day had the right angle in their song Homecoming:

    Somebody get me out of here
    Anybody get me out of here
    Somebody get me out of here
    Get me the fuck right out of here

  4. Oh, and on the subject of Hospital Food, there's a soundtrack for that, too:

  5. Welcome back Dorothy, get better quickly so we can share your insights.

  6. Is your spell-checker still ailing, DP?
    You wrote we have the spectacle of Mr. Pyne lying when, surely, it was his testicle, or his spectacles, that lied.

  7. Hi,
    Could you not arrange for your Significant Other to smuggle some takeaway from one of the excellent Newtown restaurants...

    Get Well

  8. Hello Dorothy
    Glad your on the mend. Now I don't want you missing out on your Sunday dose of Jesus so I hope this puts a smile on your face!
    Get well soon.

  9. Put me right off porridge.

  10. Welcome back.

    It was tough but we survived...

  11. Oh Davo I'm so sorry. I usually love my purritch. I blame the anaesthetic ...

    And thanks Anon for the news that Angry Sydney Anglicans are cowboy mad. How did you know that I was in bed watching Anthony Mann's The Man from Laramie with James Stewart? How many Sydney Anglicans were watching with me? Spooky ...

  12. Welcome back DP. You were missed.

    Maybe there is a an opportunity for a major black market within our hospitals for spices? Its off to St Vinnies for a trench coat and Ikea for some spice racks and the "commercial fit out" is complete. Perfect captive audience.

  13. I'm glad your back, DP.

    A suitable song for Brough, btw, might be the Bobster's "All along the Watchtower":
    There must be some way out of here
    Said the joker to the thief ...


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