Archives: April 2004

Yes, it’s official!

Principal Skinner: “We have no funds for extracurricular programs. Are you willing to spend an extra $1.27 in taxes per year to fund these programs?”
Homer: [spitting in disgust] “No! I’m saving up for a speedboat!”

The Howard Government’s expected generous tax hand-out in next month’s budget faces a sceptical electorate, with 75 per cent of voters saying they would prefer more spending on services to tax relief.


An Australian institution. A bit late, but you can practice for next year, and they are a wonderful thing for winter, rich and golden and a bit chewy in the middle.

1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup “soft pack” brown sugar
3/4 cup dessicated coconut

2 tablespoons of golden syrup
125 g butter (half of a small block)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50 ml (2 tablespoons) boiling water

If you don’t live in Australia, I don’t like your chances of finding Golden Syrup (not Molasses), which is pretty much peculiar to Australia, and I think the desiccated coconut is different too.

First, predeploy – sorry preheat – the oven at 150 degrees C. Secure key infrastucture (grease/line baking sheets).
Sift flour and mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan. Boil the water while you’re doing that. (Watch the butter and syrup mixture – turn the heat off before it becomes a quagmire.)

Now the fun bit!

23 Apr 2004, Comments (0)

In my own words (I think)

Author: Helen

Don’t get me wrong. I think plagiarism is a very serious matter. For writers.

Politicians recycle language. If the plagiarism in question was very severe and blatant, then it could indicate poor character and integrity. If the politician’s communication is so poor it indicates stupidity or confused thinking, then I’ll note that. But if it’s just the usual level of sloppiness we’ve come to expect from the politician type, well, it’s very sad, but: News flash: they often aren’t that good at expressing themselves. Have you noticed?

Although I’m not impressed with politicians’ lack of originality and love of buzzwords and cliches, I look at a politician from the point of view of what policies he or she is talking about. Like, education: Free, secular and compulsory, yes I know it’s a hackneyed phrase but I’ll accept it from politicians if they mean it. Yes, it would be good if politicians were erudite and creative and witty — surely a politician with stilted language is placing him/herself in a mental harness. But, in general, I don’t expect them to be Tim Winton.

21 Apr 2004, Comments (0)

It’s about oil: Again

Author: Helen

Can nations be selfish? Bloody oath they can!*

I remember someone saying that seeing Rumsfeld or Bush on the TV made them want to chuck a pillow at it. I think she was being much too nice. Next time I see Alexander Downer on the TV, I’ll be sorely tempted to shoot the thing, Elvis style. It’s just lucky for everyone I don’t own a firearm.

On Monday afternoon in Dili, a crucial meeting began. It is the second in a series to discuss the demarcation of a permanent seabed boundary between Australia and East Timor. This apparently simple matter is complicated by a great deal of history, politics, economic interests, legal disagreements, commercial rivalries and diplomatic manoeuvres. At times it even looks like threatening the relationships between the two countries.

In a nutshell, we (that’s Australia, as presented to the world by our wonderful representatives) want to manipulate the seabed boundary so we get the lions’ share of the oil and gas reserves.

The people of East Timor fought with Australian soldiers in World war II, many of them losing their lives in the process. In the 1980s and 90s we looked away as Indonesian militias intimidated and attacked the Timorese population. It took a major bloodbath in 1999 for the Federal government to reluctantly go in and help (compare and contrast their defence of the US “preemptive Strike” policy on the basis that the Iraqi population was suffering under Saddam Hussein).

Yet a smug, overprivileged Australian is seen bullying the Timorese to get an 82-18 share – that’s in favour of Australia – of the Greater Sunrise oil and Gas reserves. Here’s a transcript of Downer monstering the East Timorese PM Mari Alkatiri in 2003.

And they’re doing it again in 2004.

16 Apr 2004, Comments (0)

Pollyanna in Iraq

Author: Helen

I haven’t blogged about Iraq for some time, one because of the ongoing renovations, and two, because other people are doing it so much better than I would. I’m not going to start on the escalation of violence in Fallujah and elsewhere. I just want to ask, have we really made a difference for the better in peoples’ daily lives in Iraq?

Since most sensible people dropped the “9/11 connection” idea, the conservative view has been that the Coalition invasion has all been worth it, because we are now giving them democracy and freedom. Sure, we might have made a big mess of it all, but now schools are being re-opened and many Iraqis and expats are saying that everything is much better. (Conversely, if you doubt this at all, you’re labelled pro-Saddam; Rightwing commentators, while being as cunning as all getout, pretend that more than two extreme positions on any topic are impossible.)

15 Apr 2004, Comments (0)

Another Test post

Author: Helen

This site is still not ready to take over from the old Blogger site. It’s the usual renovation scenario; Architraves falling on my head in a cloud of plaster dust; Can’t install actual Cast Iron Balcony (posh header gif), but we will get there. I think I have fixed the Archives problem but will have to refresh the cache to see. Of course, in the tradition of home reno’s, there is at least one non-related disaster to slow things down — e.g. the renovator accidentaly deleting her entire profile on her local drive (ahem).

Claire of Loobylu blogged about Moomins a while back, proof positive that her winning Aussie Blogger status is well deserved. I remarked then that I always wanted to be Snufkin as a kid, but Iíve ended up as Moominmamma.

Kip of Long Story, Short Pier has discovered a charming ìWhat kind of Moomin are youî quiz, which is from Russia and is charmingly translated by Babelfish, ìI will repair hair-do, will tint cilia. Suddenly precisely today to me will arrive flying prince on the white cloud? It is necessary to be in the form!!î

It seems Iím not Moominmamma, I’m the Muskrat. Hmmm. Well, I suppose I do have Muskratty qualities. ìYou know many clever words and them you frequently use.î Thatís pretty close. However, ìThose surrounding consider you philosopher and they relate to you with the respect.î Oh, I wish! In the words of the Babelfish, ìDisgrace, in this agitated family eternally something occurs!î

4 ondatras! !

You know many clever words and them you frequently use.
Those surrounding consider you philosopher and they relate to
you with the respect.
Who you in the Mumi- portion?

Click here to find out who You in the Mumi-Portion.


6 Apr 2004, Comments (0)


Author: Helen

I’m here!

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