Recently Amanda Vanstone asked her listeners to send in suggestions as to what might help make Australia a better place.
The pond is always interested in ways to make Orstralia a bloody beaut better place, and thought for a nanosecond about the wisdom of suggesting that she was one of the least useful hosts of Counterpoint imaginable, and that the asterisk-sized audience for Radio National, if not Australia in general, would be in a better place if she took another gig, perhaps in Italy.
The problem was how to make it sound non-snarky, in some way sounding as if the pond wasn't channelling that master of negativity, that doctor of dourness, the one and only Dr. No.
Vanstone presents as perfectly amiable and on occasions she even sounds as if she's willing to engage with her guests ... before the inner politician's desire to hear her own voice takes over.
Spending half an interview reminiscing about her time in political power, or why she's down on academics and students, or harking back endlessly to her time in Italy, or pressing her own views rather than those of her guests makes her radio techniques sound unnervingly like those of Phillip Adams (except of course he talks of more than Italy, the entire cosmos, the universe is his sand-pit).
The pond knows about relevancy deprivation syndrome - try being reduced to blogging about loons - but Vanstone, Jeff Kennett and other retired politicians should have a special home made available for them.
Perhaps instead of the "adopt a greyhound" campaign run by a guilty dog racing industry, we could have an "adopt a politician and stick them in the back shed with plenty of food and water" campaign. Whatever. Just keep them off the radio ...
There's no wonder conservatives carp about the ABC. If Vanstone is the best talent they can dig up, then conservatives must indeed be an abject, wretched breed who like to bloviate far too much.
Which naturally brings us to this Saturday's session of watching of the watchers, and the pond's recent bet that the media couldn't help itself in calling a campaign when ostensibly no campaign yet exists.
Yep, from the date that Gillard announced the date, in the eyes of dullards everywhere, she'd embarked on an extended election campaign.
That was Fairfax joining in the general fever.
Naturally The Australian was eager to confirm that the entire country is in election mode and will stay that way until September (and naturally this was a defeat for Gillard):
Yes Ms Vanstone, make sure you provide equal time!
Dennis "the tie" was chomping at the bit, frothing and foaming about the upcoming election, and filling the void with endless, dreary, cliched, stereotypical notions about which way voters will swing.
(screen cap only, no hot link, because it's behind the paywall and there it should stay. Linking to mediocre minds that say it's said only encourages to say more of what others have said).
It's the second of February, the election is on September 14th.
Can they keep it up? Of course they can, because in their dreary political lives, they've got bugger all else to write about.
Naturally the Daily Terror was also out of the blocks fast with a story about Tim and Margie and the key roles they'll play in the campaign:
Guys, guys, guys, how to put this politely and discreetly and elegantly ...
It's the fucking second of fucking February. The fucking election's not due until fucking September 14th.
Are we going to cop stories about Tim and Margie for the next seven months?
On and on it goes.
The Terror also began its detailed election coverage with a story about the Federal seat of Greenway. The header says it all: Federal seat of Greenway is Labor's litmus test for the 2013 Federal Election.
What was great about this story was the pic used.
It seemed to show some slatternly office cleaner or polar fleece-wearing demi-monde dweller shuffling along the pavement, oblivious to the demonic gaze of Tony Abbott and the manicured smile of the woman on the poster.
Sweet long lost absent Jesus, it seems this might be a typical Greenway voter off to play the pokies.
Not everyone led the same way.
The HUN was interested in other things, leading with another Jill Meagher related story, the Courier-Mail was preoccupied with the floods, and the best the Adelaide Advertiser could find for top of the digital page was a pure piece of abject fluffery:
Actually Susie - may we call you Susie - it's stories like this that raise eyebrows - so much fluff, and in such little space (here it is)
The old 'Tiser isn't the rag it once was...
But to be fair to good old Susie, she could write this sort of drivel any old time, and it's just fortuitous that the glasses wearing coincided with the announcement of the start of the election campaign. Cue a despairing story about how women need glasses too.
The West Australian also left the federal "election campaign" in relative piece, preferring to put a story about the Peel Heath Campus whistleblower at the top of its digital page.
Which raises the question ...
Is it more than a coincidence that the two most rabidly pro-Tony Abbott, anti-Julia Gillard feral, frothing and foaming rags in the Murdoch stable have already presented themselves in warrior election campaign mode?
Can they keep it up?
Well the Daily Terror and the lizard Oz have been on a war footing in favour of Abbott since the last election, so of course they can. That's like asking if a sociopath can maintain the rage ...
But here's hoping it leaves their readership bemused, if not disgruntled, when they realise that it's only the fucking second of fucking February, and they'll have to put up with this slavering and slobbering about a two dog race for month after month after bloody unendurable month ...
Is there any relief, any light at the end of this very long tunnel?
Well the good news is that today Christopher Pearson disappeared up his navel, or his fundament, or domestic South Australian politics, in a long, rambling, incoherent review of why Labor keeps winning and the Libs losing, including a tendency to lose leaders (Crying out for a Lib who can lead, behind the paywall to spare the world from too much suffering).
Pearson ends thusly, more in hope than anything:
Downer has repeatedly said he's not interested, although there's a school of thought which says he wants to make the local Liberals beg him to take the baton, thus ensuring he can lead a united opposition with authority.
It was with a poignant, heavy heart that the pond then read this report:
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has chosen former foreign minister Alexander Downer as her second representative on the board of oil and gas explorer Lakes Oil.
Mrs Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting company snared an 18.6 per cent stake in Lakes Oil earlier this week.
As part of the deal, Lakes Oil agreed to appoint climate change sceptic and mining geologist Professor Ian Plimer to its board. Lakes Oil said today that Mr Downer had also been nominated by Hancock Prospecting to join the board as a non-executive director. (here)
There you go, a prime example of fleas of a feather flocking together ... and whatever you do, please don't mention climate science. It's so upsetting ...
Meanwhile, it seems that Mr. Downer, too busy cosying up to Gina and Plimer, has endorsed Steve Marshall (Alexander Downer endorses cleanskin Steven Marshal, behind the paywall, as if you care).
So much for Pearson's school of thought, but it does confirm the pond's golden rule.
You'll always learn more by not reading Pearson.
And now it seems, the South Australian Liberals are on a campaign footing, for an election campaign which will take place next year, and is possibly therefore only a year away.
Why it might be in March 2014. Quick, quick lads and lasses to the barricades. Raise the alarums, tell the stories.
Why the pond knows for a certainty that it's said that middle South Australia makes or breaks a government. Never has this been more apparent than in the upcoming SA election, in what will be a battle for the hearts and minds in suburbia ...
So it goes, and no, there's no chance anyone will shut up. It's known as Vanstone syndrome ...
And now, since we mentioned Phillip Adams at the start, how's this for a sight?
The pond stumbled upon it, and it seems it's Adams from around 1970 (the pond disclaims any liability for any emotional distress).