Today's recipe. Take one lord, a helicopter and a generous round of golf. Mix it all up in an old colonial pile in Fanling and what do you get? The Hong Kong Monetary Authority. In his latest contribution to the HKMA's on-line newsletter, everybody's favourite madcap Monetary Authority chief executive, Joseph Yam, outlines the intense brainstorming that went into the creation of the august institution of which he is the head. 'It was a perfect day . . . hitting a hole-in-one on the short par-three, 13th hole of the new course at the then 'Royal' Hong Kong Golf Club,' he waxed lyrical. Hang on. What about the darkened rooms, sweating to meet the deadline and burning the midnight oil? 'The shortest helicopter ride I ever had was from Lo Wu to Fanling, [where] I had the privilege of a magnificent view of the vicinity.' Helicopter? Actually, Mr Yam and the then governor, now Lord, David Wilson, appear to have spent very little time indoors at all. Mr Yam launched into a Poet Laureate-winning description of the 'gentle breeze ruffling the many tall trees' and 'helping them shed more of their old leaves'. I don't know about anyone else, but Lai See thinks Mr Yam needs a strong wind to help him shed the bats from his belfry. For Sale. Slightly soiled spacecraft for the less than astronomical price of US$1 million. About a billion miles on the clock, paint has faded somewhat due to Mars atmosphere entry, but probably will polish up. One careless owner. This ad appears on the eBay Internet auction site Yahoo! News says, and it refers to the Mars Polar Lander which Nasa lost on Tuesday. The space agency managed to lose contact with the vehicle after it touched down on the red planet. 'Must pick up on Mars yourself!' would-be buyers are informed, with the small proviso 'item not actually available', a fact already painfully clear to Nasa. Apparently it has drawn at least three bids from eBay shoppers, on a Web site famous for offering the chance to buy everything from a human kidney to an Internet pet cemetery. Sounds like it's more of theworldsgonemaddotcom. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is offering the ultimate hamper to pamper your pooch this Yuletide. 'Delight pooches with a basket full of doggy treats and nibbles,' enthuses the leaflet for Heavenly Hampers. This being the season of goodwill to all men, and women, and pets, Lai See thought he'd use this opportunity to mercilessly tear the idea of a doggy hamper to bits. It contains: Christmas doggy slippers. That's two pairs of slippers for small nieces and nephews. Excellent. Mini dog brush. Good. Lai See's never seen a big dog in Hong Kong. Extendable dog leash. Only interested if it stretches from my armchair and around the block. Luxury pate, dark and white chocolate treats, and chocolate biscuit bones. Mmmm? Doggy towel. Oh I see. To mop up the results after the pooch has eaten the above and left its calling card on the hotel carpet. Doggy blanket. To smuggle the little blighter out of the hotel to avoid paying to get the stain out of the carpet. A Ritz-Carlton Lion. Huh? At $1,288 a pop, Lai See suggests the money would be better spent on a night on the town. Could make for a ruff morning though. Reader Nikhil SenGupta went off his trolley recently when confronted by the lack of duty-free outlets at the arrivals hall of Hong Kong International Airport. Apparently, Asia's premier aviation hub has a couple of poorly stocked plywood grog-shacks just before immigration, which only draws attention to its lack of planning. The crowning bug in the Martini for Mr SenGupta is the Airport Authority's new advert for duty-free shop SkyMart, which shows a happy shopper with a fully-laden trolley at an immigration counter. The advertisers appear to have forgotten that luggage trolleys cannot be taken through immigration for love nor money. Unless they're now available at SkyMart.