Old folk at lunch

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A busy Sunday


The basic reason why I make these personal notes is that I forget most of my life with great rapidity.  I seem to have forgotten at least 99% of my life.  So much so that I can have an enjoyable dinner with friends and relatives and not be able afterwards to remember one thing that we discussed.  If I make my note of the occasion within about an hour afterwards I can remember a bit but after that I am pretty sunk.

And that arose the morning after the dinner that I put on for Nanna's 93rd.  By the time I wrote the memoir of it I could remember little of the occasion.  So when Joe and I met for our usual Sunday brunch I asked him what he could remember.  He was pretty vague too but remembered that I talked to Kate about feminism being misleading to women and causing them to make unrealistic relationship decisions.  As Kate does have some feminist sympathies I was a little embarrassed as I probably seemed a bit of a bully.

Anyway, that led into Joe and I making feminism the main subject of our morning deliberations.  Although Joe and I have very similar views on most things political, I tend to be a bit more extreme than he is.  And on feminism, my views are well out of the mainstream: I think feminism is a low-grade mental illness.  That flows from the fact that the defining mark of mental illness is loss of reality contact. And a rather clear example of such loss is the central feminist claim that men and women are not really genetically different -- though, rather confusingly,  men are still the "enemy", the "patriarchy" or some such.

Joe argued for a more moderate view -- that feminism is just another example of Leftist devotion to the Marxist view that all men are equal. The American revolutionaries  thought that in a sort of a way too -- but they attributed the equality to exist only in God's poor vision. God apparently needs optometrical assistance.

And Joe is of course right to see feminism as just a branch of Leftism  -- but I think that belief in human equality is pretty deranged too.  But Joe has the probably correct view that the Left can see reality but just don't want to.  And various Freudian mechanisms such as denial, compartmentalization and projection enable them to serve that need.

Another thing I mentioned to Joe was that I had kept the receipts from the night before and that I was a little surprised to see that the bottle of Mawson Sauvignon blanc that I had bought on recommendation had cost me $26, where the shop price is $14.  That is of course routine for a restaurant but I had some vague recollection that clubs don't usually mark up so heavily.  The wine was however perfectly nice and I would buy it again.

And after most of the morning discussing heavy subjects, Anne and I had an afternoon outing. It was to celebrate a great Saxon occasion:  The first  successful break with Rome by Christians -- at the hands of Martin Luther and his King, Frederick, "the wise" of Saxony -- 500 years ago.

So together with Anne's sister June we went to a "Praise Fest" at St Paul's Presbyterian church in Spring Hill.  It is Brisbane's grandest Kirk. It is a large church but it was full of geriatrics for the occasion.  So Anne and I fitted in there.



The point of the occasion was to sing Protestant hymns, which must seem rather mad for Anne and me, seeing that neither of us  I are believers these days.  But we both enjoyed our time as Protestant Christians greatly, particularly the hymns. And we still sing them together at times. We even sing them in the bedroom, which is probably bizarre but neither of us care much about what others think.

I am obviously completely incapable of judging hymns as music objectively but I do enjoy them as much as I enjoy Bach and Mozart so maybe that means something.  Bach often based his chorales on hymns, of course.

Anyway, the occasion was rather disappointing to me.  It was put on by some teacher lady who could not resist the urge to teach.  So for about half the afternoon we got lectures about the history behind the hymns rather than just singing the hymns.  I would have preferred more hymns and a lot less talk. I wished to myself that she had followed the Biblical instruction:

"Let the women keep silent in the congregations. For it is not permitted for them to speak". -- 1 Corinthians 14:34, NW.  See also 1 Timothy 2:12 .

It is an amazement to me how alleged Christians pick and choose what to believe in the Bible.  They say the Bible is God's word but seem to think that they are capable of editing God. The same goes for homosexuality, despite 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1: 8-10, Romans 1:27 etc.

And the woman conducted the gathering as a service, with prayers etc.  But as far as I can gather she is not an ordained Presbyterian minister so that seemed impertinent to me. I suspect she is an attention-seeker.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

The birthday celebrations continue


On Monday, Jenny put on a dinner for Joe and myself at her place.  Joe's birthday and mine are only 5 days apart s celebrating both together makes sense.

Jenny made that great family favourite for dinner:  egg-rolled pork. It is a regional Korean dish and by far the best rissoles you have ever tasted.

Jenny also gave me a bottle of my favourite jam: Cumquat. It is not usually commercially available so is a great "craft" product.  I actually have a thriving cumquat tree in my front yard but its crop so far is too small to do much with.  Leaving the brilliant yellow fruit on the tree does however make the tree very attractive-looking.

Then today was my birthday offering for Joe.  Seeing this birthday is his 30th, I thought he should have a big family dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant.  Wisely, however, Joe is a pretty private person, so that did not appeal to him at all.  Instead he asked for just the two of us to go down to Wynnum for a sandwich lunch -- which we did.

I made four good sandwiches of 4 different types and guess what we had for drinks? A thermos of tea? coffee? beer? mineral water? -- or Joe's addiction -- flavoured milk?  No.  I took two cans of Coke. Joe drinks heaps of Coke and I also drink it at times so that's what we had.  Unpicnicy?  Probably.

Anyway, the tide was in, the day was fine and we found a fairly secluded seat overlooking the water. It was very pleasant.  And as usual we talked almost entirely about politics.

We even got into political history, with me updating Joe on some of the less-known facts about Abraham Lincoln, the Horace Greeley letter, for instance.  I also updated Joe on the economic reasons behind the uncivil war.  We got onto that topic because Joe asked about it. He recited a sarcastic parody of the Gettysburg address at one point.

I don't like upsetting Americans as they are mostly good people but they sure have been taught an incredible load of bull about their past.

Then tonight I put on a dinner for Nanna to celebrate her 93rd. Rather amazingly, she is still going pretty well at that age.  I took us to the Yeronga RSL, which has a very nice family atmosphere.  It was buffet night, which Nanna particularly likes. I think it is the best smorgasbord in Brisbane, as a matter of fact.  Joe and I just pigged out, as you would expect, and even Anne went back for seconds.  But I didn't overeat.  I still felt comfortable afterwards.

I discussed with Kate her Catholic background but very little of it seems to have remained in her head.  She comes from Canberra, where the real religion is Leftism. She was dressed nicely in a midnight blue outfit.

Joe didn't say much, as is his wont. He talks plenty one-to-one but doesn't like group conversations.  I don't either.

Jenny talked mainly about shopping.  She is an expert at that. I still get her to buy presents for me to give to others.  She does it far better than I would.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Griffo's "Pik a hot Pak"



About 55 years ago when I was about 20, I had a job selling transmission machinery from a shop in George St., Brisbane. It rather strangely had 3 names: Gearco, Irvine's and Munro Machinery. That is such a strange job for a literary type like me that I think I should say a few words about how I got that job.

There were not many jobs advertised in the local paper for experts in Middle-English poetry -- which is what I knew most about -- so with supreme optimism I applied for job as an engineering equipment salesman.

I was interviewed by Harry Beanham, who owned a chain of similar shops in other capital cities. I turned up for the interview in a green suit wearing a green fuzzy felt hat. That was not a good move. But Harry was a cautious man so he just asked me two questions which should have sent me on my way. He asked: What is a tap and what is a reamer? Being a country kid I answered both questions correctly. And if you think a tap is something you get water out of you don't know engineering machinery. Harry was so delighted to meet a kid who actually knew something that he gave me the job straight away.

And I vindicated his faith in me.  At one stage I made a big sale of diehead chasers  -- which are sort of complicated things.  Apparently none of Harry's other people were selling diehead chasers so Harry gathered together his whole stock of them and sent them up to Brisbane for me to sell.  In his mind I became the diehead chaser man.  Which actually served me well on a later occasion.  But that's another story.

Anyway, while I was working there in the shop, most people in the area seemed to know of a Greek cafe nearby called "Griffo's".  And people flocked there to buy a lunch called "Pik a hot pak".  It was yummy.  It was basically a toasted bacon & egg sandwich but with other stuff in it as well. At that time in my life I was busy saving money so my lunch was usually a cheese and pickle sandwich that I brought from home.  But the Griffo's product was so attractive that I did splash out on one at times.

Sadly, however, Griffo's eventually vanished, as so much does over the years. As one gets older, however, one does tend to reminisce about "the good ol' days" a lot and the memory of Griffo's came to me recently.  So I decided that I would try to recreate a "Pik a hot pak".  I am of course not sure how close I got to the original but the taste is at least pretty similar -- and super-yummy.

So what's in it?  The first constraint was that it had to contain pretty familiar ingredients.  Any "foreign muck" would not have been well received in Brisbane of that era.  So I used absolutely routine breakfast and lunch ingredients as I knew them at that time.  So it is something that any cafe would be able to put together for you to this day.

It is simply bacon, fried egg, cheese, sliced tomato and fried onion topped by a small dab of tomato sauce all piled together into an ordinary toasted white-bread sandwich and cut into four. My local cafe puts it together well for me and it's the best toasted sandwich I have ever had!  So some long overdue thanks to Griffo's.

Warning:  If you try it you could become addicted!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A week that was



Both Joe and I have birthdays in July so various activities were entered into by way of celebration.

Last Tuesday Anne made me a dinner at her place of corned beef fritters, which were absolutely perfect.  She makes such good fritters that I am making them my equal favourite dinner alongside French (lamb) cutlets.

Then on Friday Jill & Lewis accompanied Anne and myself to the Sunny Doll Japanese restaurant, where everybody agreed the food  was outstanding.  I had the curry, Anne had the Wagyu beef and Jill and Lewis both had the Teriyaki chicken Don. Japanese curry sounds an odd idea but Japanese curry is in fact as good as any.

After dinner we adjourned to my verandah to cut my birthday cake, a rich fruit cake with white icing. Joe and Kate came in for the cutting as well but had to go out after that so didn't stay for the coffee.

Then on the Saturday evening Anne came over and cooked me French Cutlets, which has long been our favourite dinner.  Anne also brought over Sydney rock oysters to start. Anne even got my candleabrum going for the occasion so we dined by candle-light. I opened one of my last three bottles of Barossa Pearl. I think it's a brilliant wine  -- slightly sweet, with a slight sparkle and quite fruity -- so it seems crazy that they have discontinued it.

Then on Sunday morning Joe and I had our  usual 9:30am  brunch together at the pie shop We talked (of course) about Mr Trump and politics generally.  Joe was a bit ill but was nonetheless in a good mood for conversation.  We didn't get home until about 11:45.

Then on Sunday night I arranged a secret men's business dinner on my verandah.  Ladies have lots of ladies' lunches so we men need to catch up.  I got my friend Graham up from down Melbourne way and both Joe and my brother also attended.  As well as being a most insightful psychologist, Graham is also an absolute guru in martial arts, Western and Eastern. So he very kindly brought up with him a big armoury of swords to show us.  They were blunted practice swords to avoid mishaps but were otherwise authentic.

He said the sabre is the best all-round sword. And he didn't think much of the katana (Japanese samurai sword).  He said that most Western swordsmen could defeat a Samurai.  I mentioned the Klewang to him, which has a record of outclassing a katana but he had not heard of it and said he would look into it.  I asked him about the Gladius but he said it was only useful in the Roman style of fighting behind big shields.

My brother is also a martial arts enthusiast so he and Graham had an interesting time discussing and practicing unarmed combat moves.  From some moves that he showed us it is clear that Graham could break someone's neck in a matter of seconds.  Luckily he is a peaceful and ethical soul so he is no danger to anyone but the baddest of baddies.  I certainly learnt a lot about both swords and unarmed combat.

Then on Monday night Joe and I were ready for our usual expedition to Nandos but went to the Sushi train instead as Joe needed to be in time to pick Kate up afterwards.  Sushi is the ultimate fast food

Monday, July 17, 2017

My expensive new watch


This is it:



It is a Braithwait slimline classic, selling for just over $200.

I actually bought mine from Target for $15 but it is exactly the same as the one above.  It is made in China and keeps perfect time.  My previous Chinese watch lasted for years until someone stole it.  And it kept perfect time too.

You might guess that I don't understand the expensive watch scene

I mentioned the matter to Anne's son Warren, who is an expert in expensive trinkets.  He sells them.  And he said that he personally preferred the very simple style such as is featured in my watch. Maybe he was just being polite but I also like the minimalist style in lots of things so I believe him.