The plight of the Ortolan

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My ginormous Book of Birds tells us that the Ortolan (Emberiza hortulana) is a bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a passerine family. The bird’s common name is French, from the Latin hortulanus, the gardener bird, (from hortus, a garden).

It’s a cutey. What a nice little beak it has.

Apparently it’s also very, very tasty – in a weird French cuisine sort of way…

Ortolans used to be netted in great numbers, kept alive in an artificially lighted, or darkened room to disrupt their feeding schedule, and fed with heaps of oats and millet – sometimes the odd fig. In a very short time they became enormously huge – a bit like my big Book of Birds.

They are then drowned in Brandy, roasted and you pop them in your mouth – whole.

Chowdown and swallow the lot.

In 1976 Craig Claiborne, the New York Times food critic, made a winning $300 bid in an auction for a dinner for two, courtesy of American Express, at any restaurant in the world that takes Amex. Claiborne selected Chez Denis in Paris for a $4000 meal that included a course of ortolans. It led to a front-page story, and some controversy.

It’s illegal to catch and kill the Ortolan – but it’s not illegal to eat one. Oh, only the French.

It’s black and white!

I’m a proud Pies supporter tonight. Thanks for all the jokes, cartoons and the fun things you Sainter and ABC barrackers have been sending my way of late. Collingwood at least, and at last, have shaken the mantle of wobblers. It wasnt the Pies that choked today. No room tonight for graciousness, in such a commanding and sustained performance. Get your hot Pies here.

Tomorrow the smugness will abate, but I will put my mind to back-to-back cups in 2011! You can knock Pies supporters all you like, question their legitimacy and call their Mum bad names – but can never, ever question our passion and loyalty. It’s black and white.

Half time at the footy

I am a Collingwood barrack-er.

We got the wobbles at the first Grand Final.

The Saints they had heart, and fought back after The Pies dominated the first half.

But the black and white lads couldn’t withstand a spirited attack and the Saints got in front.

Then it a was one-pointer with a minute to go, and then a draw.

Back again next week…

One team will win comfortably. Until Saturday evening I thought the Pies would do it easily.

But perhaps the Pies are yet to really turn it on…perhaps they will run away with it second time around and be easy winners – with all that Grand Final experience they got last week.

No, you are doing it all wrong!

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Minority Federal Government in Australia should be a great event  in our history.  A chance to start the move from major party dominance, in all our parliaments.

Tony Abbott has other ideas. Those ideas don’t include the brave new, cooperative paradigm.

They are not going to pair the Speaker, so a vote is lost for the Government, unless an Opposition member should absent themselves on a vote – to balance the numbers.

Harry Jenkins, Victorian ALP member for Scullin, will become Speaker and perhaps Alex Somlay (Federal Liberal Party Member for Faifax in QLD) becomes Deputy Speaker. Will Alex not vote on no-confidence and supply votes, allowing the Rainbow connection in Government to get a bill or two through? Who knows what these dastardly members have in mind.

The glitter of a new paradigm in co-operative and productive government was blown away on the wind.

So what have we got? No true debate, little if any compromise, and proper government stops listening to the many representative voices, and deal more in back room stitch-ups.

The Opposition, still smarting from being outplayed in the minority Government stakes, now reveal their true intentions. Enter stage right an obstructive and destructive Coalition rabble, that seek to disrupt our system and force us folk back to the polls. Well bad move Tony,  your welshing on the pairing will bite you hard come the next election.

Musings from a hill overlooking the D'Entrecasteaux Channel