The United States of America and all that stuff…

I, like almost all of you, looked on at the last month in the United States of America with a mixture of apallment, bewilderment, amazement, amusement and what the fuck-ment. You can certainly never charge U.S.A. politics with being dull, unlike (often) our own.

Before I move on, I have to disclose that I lived for 4 years in the U.S.A. very near the federal capital of Washington D.C., commencing the very week that Barrack Obama entered the 2008 primaries. I further disclose that I am in love with the United States, its people, generosity of spirit, cultural and racial diversity, magnificently photogenic wilderness and vibrant cities, New York Reubens (corned beef and sauerkraut toasted sandwiches with Russian dressing), and its vibrant and sometimes screwy politics.

Now I also have to disclose that I’m a not a big fan of the current president (at least current for the next 15 days), much the same as none of us are big fans of stepping in dogshit and inadvertently wiping it on the carpet.

But I do have a more optimistic and dare I say less jaundiced viewpoint on the state of the States and its recent brush with insurrection, than maybe many recent observers of the American body politic.

So may I point out some positives: I will mention that man’s name not at all, perhaps we can call him Pettigrew for the sake of further discourse:

  1. Pettigrew’s presidency finishes in 15 days. Yo! Someone else will be president for at least 4 years (almost anyone would have been OK but I think a very slow Biden is a plus), and an administration has been nominated on the basis of merit. This represents a return to a truer “American exceptionalism”.
  2. Pettigrew is now a one term president voted out of office, which by definition makes him a failed president. This puts a big smile on my face. I apologise.
  3. In no small part because of Pettigrew’s final uncontrolled communication outbursts about non-existent election fraud, the GOP has also lost the Senate, and with it any last control on the political agenda for a least 2 years. See point 2.
  4. American democratic institutions held fast, albeit after a brief period hiding under the senate benches. Elections were held, recounts conducted and numerous court challenges resolved, despite the awful shitfuckery concocted around clearly non-existent election fraud. Electors were duly certified, and the results then confirmed by the United States congress, despite what almost amounted to an armed insurrection encouraged in no small measure by Pettigrew. We still have an inauguration to get through, but I have every confidence that this will occur with a minimum of political interference and probably only a modicum of further shitfuckery.
  5. Pettigrew’s twitter account was permanently deleted. Now I really am rolling around on the floor.

In case, dear reader, you think I am an unapologetic apologist for America (with a penchant for repeating myself in a overly tautological fashion), I’ll throw caution to the wind and quickly list a few items which I think could do with some attention.

  • COVID; I ache with your pain.
  • Racism; Huge issue, but as an Australian am I the pot calling the kettle black?
  • Economic Disparity – there are too many people unable to make ends meet in a society which has great generosity of spirit and is brimming with plenty;
  • Health Care – I hardly know where to begin; in Australia with Medicare we find it hard to comprehend the absence of a universal health care system. Imperfect as it is, the Affordable Care Act is a good place to start.
  • Political Polorisation – no I’m not talking about giving away sunglasses with a $600 COVID relief cheque, I’m talking about the overt process of victimising, demonizing and denigrating people based on ideas and ill-perceived tribal memberships, and how can America return to the politics of the centre, or at least somehow accommodate differences in a spirit of love and peace (while continuing to call out those truly objectionable viewpoints based on race, gender, etc). I reluctantly conclude that the current media (and here I mean social and political as well as news media) inadvertently and often actively discourage a renaissance in this area. Please don’t get me started on those media outlets owned by THAT Australian. And somewhere somehow there’s got to be a problem within the American education system, excellent as it can be.

And with apologies to all you Aussies out there who just don’t get it, the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms is there to stay in the U.S. That genie, let out around 1774, will never be put back into a bottle.

Anyway, dear U.S.A., please stay woke (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woke). Or en-woken. Or keep your woke together. Or whatever, I’ve never figured out how to use the damn word.

A Garden Blog

I have almost decided to document, discuss, debate and razzle-dazzle over a 1 year, 365 day circular period about our garden, starting perhaps mid winter. Oh wow you may say, running screaming from the room. Well, I live in this extraordinary 2 acres of wild European garden and wilder Adelaide Hills bush, and I think I might share photographs, drama, pathos and the humour surrounding the seasonal changes and floral theatrics in this wonderful piece of the Adelaide Hills. Or maybe not. Still deciding. What do you think?

Here’s a sample of the introduction…..I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be a rose person, so when the previous owner during the purchase process asked me if I like roses, I looked out on the 220 odd bushes, vines, and climbers cunningly crafted into the garden matrix, and said doubtfully “I guess I do now”. Now was it love at first sight? Well, being late summer rather than spring, any existing blooms were wilting on the bushes, so I’d have to say no. And come winter, pruning 220 roses was an interesting exercise until I discovered the Zen of rose pruning and the frigid peace it engenders, minus the RSI in the wrist. But Spring! Oh my god. The previous owner had stuffed the Matrix full of the old fashioned triple formal romantic smelly wow what is that cultivars, resplendent in old world colours of pink, yellow, white and every shade in-between. Suddenly all the festering scratches and rose splinters started to seem worthwhile, and I realised I had swallowed the blue pill…….

Lamb stir fry with a tang.

Take a deep breath, about ‘alf a kilo of lamb rump (or fillet if it’s your birthday), a bunch of vegies made for stir frying (I particularly like red onion, savoy cabbage, carrots, snow peas and capsicum), selected spices (coriander stalks and cumin; maybe a small piece of star anise), lots of garlic, 1 or 2 lemons, a quazzle of honey, a fiery thai chilli, a good splodge of baby ginger and tamari to taste.  Combine these all in a food processer with a pint of milk….no of course not, silly.

Slice the lamb thinly, pound up the spices in a mortar, chunkily dismember the vegies and slice the chilli and ginger thinly. Open a crisp Watervale reisling, pour a glass and pause for reflection.

Having gained a measure of enlightenment, heat up some good vegie oil in a decent size wok (not olive oil or I will find you, and you do not want to enquire any further on what I will do), bung the spices and chilli in and temper, baby, temper. Throw in the vegies and stir, baby, stir fry. Upon the onion starting to turn translucent , in with the lamb and garlic and sizzle, baby, sizzle.

Juice the lemons, and just as the lamb cooks and the vegies start to soften, throw in the juice but not from across the room, the quazzle of honey (for you who are new to Barrien kitchen measures, a quazzle is somewhat more than a skiffle but less that a shit-load of) and Tamari to taste (and I mean you REALLY need to be able to taste it; if you underdo this I will find you, etc). Cook for a minute of so longer, and garnish with coriander, or even Thai basil. Serve with the reisling if there’s any left.