Fabulous Flamenco Friday

Made in Medina

I have ABC Classic FM on at the moment, with some wonderful flamenco being played by Paco Peña

so, I thought to moiself, let’s have a Fabulous Flamenco Friday evening.

There’s plenty of sangria to go round


(or order what you will at the bar)

plus a good batch of this, piping hot and ready to eat

Flavours of Spain

Put on your dancing shoes and your best bib and tucker, and let’s trip the evening away . . .

Shit, or get off the pot, Malcolm.

Turnbull potty Complete with Text

Bolt today:

“Turnbull must virtually start all over again, but not just with a new team.

Now, with just three months to go before his first Budget and only eight or so until the election, he must find a new economic plan.”

Yes… well… uhm… d’errr.

The amazing thing about the public is that it has given Turnbull the Big Tick because they want to believe that a new captain – with virtually the same old team – can turn the side around from wooden-spooners to premiers in the space of a couple of months’ brainstorming.

It happens in schlok Hollywood baseball movies about baseball and gridiron – the new man, now off the booze, inspires a gaggle of numpties and misfits etc. – or every now and again in, say, an ice skating race – where you’re so far behind that when the rest of the competitors fall over each other you’ve got enough time to coast around them and win gold.

Not so often in real life.

Of course we are not addicted to real life. We are addicted to Reality Life, which is different.

In real life you work hard to achieve your goal. You genuinely innovate, “do the math”, “work the problem”, “science the shit out of” your predicament.

In Reality Life, your little brother dies, you write a song about the poor little blighter, go onto to Australia’s Got Talent and wow the judges (who look about as un-real as can be managed, which means they are “Reality Real”). You can’t write. You can’t sing. You can’t dance. But the promos for the show make out you aced it, all the way to the semis and then the finals. All it needed was a bit of a tragedy, mixed-in emotion and a modicum of good looks. And the inspiration to believe you could do it. It’s All Australia’s “Must See” episode.

I used to write here that Australia lacked confidence. Years of pre-Treasury Joe Hockey droning on about “debt and deficit disasters” and “School Hall” waste finally convinced the punters that we could have survived the GFC simply by simply inspiring ourselves to do it. His (and his cronies’) “relentless negativity”, as PMJG put it, got the idea into the voters’ minds that there probably hadn’t been been a GFC and, if there was, it was in the Northern Hemisphere. It didn’t have anything to do with us. Labor just liked racking up debt and spending our money for its own sake. As a result the nation lost confidence in its economic management (which had, in fact been the envy of the world).

Come Tony Abbott, with Hockey his John the Baptist hailing the advent of a Three-Word Messiah, and we made-believe that it was Muslim boat-people, Pink Batts and shoe malfunctions that caused our woes and the reversal of these would restore confidence. With an economy that was ready to boom with mining money and China’s insatiable urge to Buy Australian, all we needed was the confidence thing.

“Now there’s yer problem!”: now we have too much confidence.

Turns out the Chinese fascination with all-things-Oz was waning, their economy was finally levelling out, permanent growth was exposed as an impossibility and we found ourselves with a lot of holes in the ground that other people were making money out of… but only because they didn’t pay their taxes.

The Coalition’s Surplus fetish (and Labor’s half-hearted participation in it during a precariously hung parliament), borne of a classic tail-wags-dog belief that the government’s over-taxing of the people and under-management of their basic services brought prosperity for all (and votes for the government) just made things worse.

Enter Sir Galahad, Malcolm Turnbull. The Turnbull Renaissance was at hand. His witty insouciance, his urbane but cruisey style got the punters to thinking that all they needed to put the mix together was a businessman who could cut red tape, beat unwilling heads of slow thinkers together and Go For Growth via Ideas.

Unfortunately this was the bloke who had shed ideas and ideals like a snake with sunburn: the Republic, a decent NBN, gay marriage, Climate Change and many more. There wasn’t a Turnbull passion that couldn’t be discarded in the pursuit of office. But we – and I use “we” with obvious exceptions – loved him for it, or at least became infatuated. Here was another Easy Way Out: we’d charm our way back to prosperity… even better… Malcolm Turnbull could do it for us.

No need to work, or really innovate. Just talk about it and it would be so. Someone else, anyone else could take care of the details.

What no-one twigged to was that “innovation” is not an innovative idea. Innovation is “core”. It’s basic. You have to have it or you may as well not get out of bed in the morning. Talk of innovation being the new “thing” shows how much of a failure the Coalition’s time in office had been. But let’s hang onto it. Maybe something will happen, something new like innovation.

We had the confidence at last, but where was the other bit? Don’t know what I mean? It’s the Economy, stupid. The Coalition’s negativity finally bore fruit: they went out of their way to fuck the economy by talking it down. and they succeeded, just in time for them to win office.

The solution was easy: just talk it up again. All their mates were in on the scam. It was like the annual Lurk Merchants and Sleeve Tuggers’ Convention.

Good one Liberals! Good one Nationals! All hail the troglodytes! The village was destroyed in order to save it. Their recovery plan? Flog everything off. Reward their mates and party donors. Re-establish the old order. Telstra’s on top. Rupert’s still in charge. Miners are ripping squillions out of our earth. Transurban’s putting up its tolls and having a bumper year. Tony Abbott still lurks. What’s not to love about any of that?

But digging holes for one-time sales of dirt, building toll-roads to nowhere, selling off The Farm, applying duct tape to Foxtel cracks only puts off the inevitable crunch. Even the well-worn observation that we were “starting again” – two years into a government that said it had all the ideas ready to go in 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 – but which had systematically cut the country off at the knees as a favour to vested interests in fields as far apart as media, communications and even the education industry – should have rung hollow.

“Can’t bat. Can’t bowl.”

Sadly, to a nation addicted to the quick fix, the easy solution, the Grand Scheme where the other bloke has a go while you coast along doing the same thing you’ve always done, the appeal of Malcolm Turnbull was irresistable. Our national torpor could be maintained, and we could afford to wait for another miracle. Someone else had come along to save us. No wonder we gave him the Audience Vote. He let us believe it was just a matter of snapping our fingers and telling ourselves destiny was on our side again. An innovative new idea: “Innovation”.

I’m surprised the Stump-Jump Plough wasn’t trotted out. Or the Hills Hoist. Instead we got how wonderful the CSIRO was in detecting gravitational waves… omitting to mention that the branch that helped do was was sacked en masse years ago. Tomorrow it’s the Climate Change’s mob’s turn to join the Centre Link queue.

Where to now? Looks like Waffles’ polls are going off the boil, and the cavemen thirsting for revenge in his own party will be salivating. A bloke that was good at kicking helpless boat people around in secret isn’t exactly shining when it comes to sophisticated economic management in public. The commentators are getting bored (it was going to be so exciting). The ministry’s in a shambles. The nation’s going nowhere, with no plan and no leadership. All that excitement for nothing. As we enter the cold months ahead, there’s not even a Budget plan on the horizon. The back benchers must be restless. They’ve seen all this before. And they don’t like it.

Sure, Bill Shorten’s always good for a “question that must be answered”. “Labor waste” will be produced. Newspaper editorials will still give Turnbull the benefit of the doubt, but there’ll be less “benefit” and more “doubt”. Our Messiah, in that hesitant, “I-could-say-so-much-but-I’ll keep-it-simple-for-you-little-people” way he has of talking, will continue to pretend it’s all part of The Plan. Let’s have a Union Bashing recovery.

There’s a firey red Federal Police car parked on the corner outside the Turnbull residence in Point Piper. Who’s it there to protect him from?

Malcolm, there are so many threats, and so little time. Please shit, or get off the pot.


The Year of the Monkey


This post was inspired by Sally Baxter’s delightful piece earlier this week, Monkey business ahead for Malcolm, Bill and Tony:

It’s the Lunar New Year, the most important festival on the Chinese calendar with many attendant traditions, all designed to maximise good luck in the year ahead. In the Baxter household we’ve been cleaning, sweeping away cobwebs and making sure that everything is pristine and welcoming for the new year.

With that important task concluded, it’s time to reflect on what might lie ahead in what promises to be a chaotic year, ruled as it is by the impetuous, clever Monkey. What does the Year of the Monkey have in store for 2016? Since it’s an election year I thought it would be fun to check out the Chinese horoscopes for our political leaders.

Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was born in the Year of the Horse; the leader of Her Majesty’s (for now) loyal Opposition Bill Shorten was born in the Year of the Goat; and the unofficial leader of the disloyal opposition Tony Abbott is a Rooster.

Like Sally, I thought it would be interesting to check out both the characteristics of each of the leaders’ signs, and their career horoscopes for this Year of the Monkey.

So, Malcolm Turnbull – the Year of the Horse (1954) . . . hmm, same sign as OH, though OH is somewhat older . . .


The Horse’s personality:

People born in a year of the Horse are extremely animated, active and energetic. Horses love to be in a crowd, and they can usually be seen on such occasions as concerts, theater performances, meetings, sporting events, and parties.

With a deft sense of humor, Horses are masters of repartee. They love to take center stage and delight audiences everywhere.

Sometimes, the Horse is a little self-centered, but it doesn’t mean that s/he can not be interested in others’ problems. Horses are really more cunning than intelligent, and that is probably why most Horse people lack real confidence.

What Are the Best Careers for Horses?

Jobs involving communicating with others attract Horses most. The Horse sign stands for leadership, management, and decision-making. Horses dislike taking orders.

The Horse can make it in any career that demands neither solitude nor meditation, for he is an extrovert and he needs to be surrounded by people who approve of him and flatter him.

Good career choices for Horses include: publicist, sales representative, journalist, language instructor, translator, bartender, performer, tour operator, librarian or pilot.

2016 for the Horse:

People born in a Year of the Horse will have good fortune overall in this Monkey Year. In particular, they will have better achievements in their career and win a lot in wealth.

However, everything has two sides and although things may run smoothly, they may also suffer from disruptions. Therefore, it will still be necessary for them to be on the ball.

Good Career Fortune

People born in a Year of the Horse will be very confident in their career during this Monkey Year, and they will be able to make great progress when they get the opportunity. However, they will be distracted by something and will be unable to fully concentrate on work, making it hard for them to reach the expected outcome.

However, they will still reap the rewards at the end of the year due to help from friends. In the fifth and tenth Chinese lunar months, they will have the most disruptions, so they should increase their awareness and beware of loop-holes in their business.

In contrast, they will have good opportunities in the first, fourth, eighth, and eleventh Chinese lunar months, which they should make full use of.

* * * * * * * * *

The former PM, Tony Abbott, is a feather duster Rooster (1967).


The Rooster’s personality:

People born in a year of the Rooster are very observant. Hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented, Roosters are very confident about themselves.

Roosters are always active, amusing and popular among the crowd. Roosters are talkative, outspoken, frank, open, honest, and loyal individuals. They like to be the center of attention and always appear attractive and beautiful.

Roosters are happiest when they are surrounded by others, whether at a party or just a social gathering. They enjoy the spotlight and will exhibit their charm at any occasion.

Roosters expect others to listen to them while they speak, and can become agitated if others don’t. Vain and boastful, Roosters like to brag about themselves and their accomplishments.

Their continually seeking the unwavering attention of others annoys people around them at times.

What Are the Best Careers for Roosters?

Roosters are more motivated than other animals in the Chinese zodiac, making their careers a priority in their lives. Roosters are hard working, multi-talented, and can deal with a variety of jobs.

Good career choices for Roosters are newsreader, sales person, restaurant owner, hairdresser, public relations officer, farmer, athlete, teacher, waiter, journalist, travel writer, dentist, surgeon, soldier, fireman, security guard, and police officer.

2016 for the Rooster:

People born in a Year of the Rooster will have mixed weal and woe in this Monkey Year. This is mainly because both lucky and unlucky stars will shine on them.

Good Career Fortune

People born in a Year of the Rooster will make good achievements in their career this year if they take the initiative. Businessmen will get plenty of money, officers will be promoted, and job hunters will get higher positions. However, they must pay special attention to workers around them, and avoid disputes relating to relationships and money.

They will turn calamities into blessings and get good outcomes from misfortunate events if they do everything carefully in the first and second Chinese lunar months. Everything will go extremely smoothly in the fourth, seventh, tenth, and eleventh Chinese lunar months.

* * * * * * * * *

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten – a Goat (1967) . . . as am I, though 12 years older.


The Goat’s personality:

People born in a year of the Goat are generally believed to be gentle mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

They have very delicate thoughts, strong creativity, and perseverance, and acquire professional skills well. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts.

Though they prefer to be in groups, they do not want to be the center of attention. They are reserved and quiet, most likely because they like spending much time in their thoughts. Goats like to spend money on fashionable things that give them a first class appearance. Although goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.

What Are the Best Careers for Goats?

People born in the year of the goat prefer to work in a team. Their best work partners are Horses. They are not crazy about status and power. Unless asked, they won’t ever volunteer for anything and act as leaders. Good career choices for goats are pediatrician, actor, daycare teacher, interior designer, florist, hair stylist, musician, editor, illustrator, and art history teacher.

2016 for the Goat:

People born in a Year of the Goat will have a prosperous fortune in 2016. They will turn calamities into blessings and be content.

Good Career Fortune

In this Year of the Monkey, people born in a Year of the Goat will have great developments in their career. They will complete work with ease and yield twice the results with just half of the effort. They will also receive guidance and instruction from the right person. Therefore, it will be a good time for them to carry out their great plans.

Their career will go extremely smoothly in the first, second, seventh, ninth, and twelfth Chinese lunar months. They should make full use of this opportunity. For the rest of the year, even ordinary working-class people will be hopeful of being promoted. When conversing with others, they should be cautious about their choice of words, or they may cause damage to their career.

They will encounter lots of disruptions in their career in the fourth and tenth Chinese lunar months, and will need to increase their level of vigilance to deal with them.

* * * * * * * * *

Just for the hell of it, I thought it would be interesting to look at the “personality” and prospects of . . .

The Coalition government – a Snake (2013).

Fujimini Island

The Snake’s personality:

In Chinese culture, the Snake is the most enigmatic animal among the twelve zodiac animals. People born in a year of the Snake are supposed to be the most intuitive.

Snakes tend to act according to their own judgments, even while remaining the most private and reticent. They are determined to accomplish their goals and hate to fail.

Snakes represent the symbol of wisdom. They are intelligent and wise. They are good at communication but say little. Snakes are usually regarded as great thinkers.

Snakes are materialistic and love keeping up with the Joneses. They love to posses the best of everything, but they have no patience for shopping.

Snake people prefer to work alone, therefore they are easily stressed. If they seem unusually stressed, it is best to allow them their own space and time to return to normal.

2016 for the Snake:

Overall Fortune Trend for Snakes in 2016 — bittersweet.

* * * * * * * * *

Nova Online

(I am indebted to China Highlights for the horoscopes.)