Thursday, August 19, 2004

Disaffected but not Dispassionate

A week or so ago, commenter SP remarked, apropos this post that:

By my reckoning Gummo you must be cooking up a storm by now...

I am prepared to own up to creating a respectable low pressure system in the kitchen over the past few days. But, once you've used every clean mixing bowl and cooking pot you can find, you realise it's time to stop at least long enough to wash the large stock pot you'll need to cook the lump of corned silverside you're buying tomorrow. We've nearly used up last week's lump so it needs to be replaced; if it isn't there's half a large jar of mustard in the fridge that will just go to waste. That's not the sort of thing you can afford to allow to happen when you're on a tight budget. Plus there's always a moment of guilt when you throw away mouldy condiments for which those starving orphans in Africa would have given their eye teeth.

Give or take the occasional fit of stove rage - I'm having a few difficulties adapting to working with an under-powered electric stove after years of working with under-powered gas stoves - the activity in the kitchen has been a pleasant escape from sitting in front of the computer, cranking up the word processor and then staring at a blank screen for the next thirty minutes thinking so, what the bloody hell am I actually going to write then?

This whole kerfuffle over Mike Scrafton's recent revelations is a case in point; the Prime Minister lied, the Prime Minister knew he lied so what is there to say about it that hasn't already been said. In two words: sod all.

Actually, there's still some room to doubt the proposition that John Howard knew that he wasn't telling the truth, and you don't have to go through the sort of bizarre reasoning that Henderson, G produced in his weekly Fairfax column on Tuesday; According to Gerard, it wasn't so much conscious dishonesty on the PM's part as a failure of empathy and, despite the fact that the current law on detention of uninvited immigrants appears to be stuffed enough to have troubled a few of our High Court justices, we now have Amanda Vanstone as minister for immigration and we can expect to see her use her ministerial discretion with a compassionate, woman's touch.

As I said, there's no need to trot out such bizarreries as "it's not so much that the PM is a liar as a bit unimaginative and narrow-minded" to arrive at the conclusion that the PM didn't consciously mislead the Australian public. You might consider, as an alternative explanation, that the PM wouldn't recognise the truth if it came up and punched him on the nose. I think I've put just such an argument several times before; writing the previous sentence produced very strong feelings of deja-vu. This time around, it's looking like the truth might go in hard and give the PM a well-deserved slippering too.

I have this vague feeling that I ought to be getting more satisfaction, or at least amusement, out of Children Overboard II but at the moment it's all looking like a rehash of the original. Even the jokes, like Senator George Brandis' extended performance on Lateline last night, are being recycled.

No doubt about it, I've got a bad case of the henries. I think it's time to pop out to the supermarket and buy a pack of instant cake mix so I can benchmark the oven. Zeppo Bakunin suggested this simple test the other day; you get a pack of cake-mix and prepare and cook it according to the instructions on the pack (particularly with regard to the oven temperature setting and cooking time). If it comes out burnt or soggy, you know that your oven thermostat's a bit off and you can either abandon the idea of ever baking in it, or adjust your temperatures and times a little to compensate. Of course if the cake comes out more or less to the manufacturers specification, you might have trouble resisting the temptation to eat it. I think that rules out using anything with chocolate in it.

Afterword: I've just seen Max Moore-Wilton on The 7.30 Report paying out on Mike Scrafton. His concluding remark "I consider myself quite warm and cuddly sometimes" has me thinking that there's some hope that Children Overboard II might yet have some amusing surprises in store after all. If I had the funds, I'd put in a bid for the rights to do the soft-toy merchandising.

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