I Want A Job As A Test Pilot

A test pilot in a toy factory. Or a book store. Or a pin-up studio. Something with dignity, intellect, and a big tray of cakes for morning tea.

I did health care until I didn’t care anymore – I’ve done retail sales until they took sharp things away from me and started making soothing noises. I’ve done studying until I couldn’t see straight. I’d like something different.

” Oh “, I hear you say, ” You’re retired now. It is time to take a trip around Australia towing a caravan or go to the Greek isles and look at tourists. Or potter in a garden. ” Do these two fingers mean anything to you?

I like to think of it as retyrement. A fresh set of treads and an opportunity to do burnouts at the lights. Old enough to know better but not inclined to pay attention to the voice of reason. It is partly the reason that I write these weblog columns and entirely the reason I write them the way I do. I detest a day without doing, and I am getting to the point where I am not that fussy what or who it is I do…

It is just as well that I realise the need to be canny with money – if I were flush with cash all Hell would break loose. And the funny thing is, I would not have as good a time with unlimited spending as I do under the current regime. There is comfort in frugal endeavour and delight when it actually succeeds.

Note: I would accept employment in a suburban bank, as long as I was allowed to serve at the window and actually be there when people started to queue up. I detest the modern bank that has no serving officers in the teller’s cages. I’d love to bring back the old days of face-to-face cheque and passbook work.

Advertisements

Not Covered In Event Of Nuclear War…

I was always puzzled by the clause in standard insurance policies that excluded me from collecting any money from the company if they, I, and everyone around us, had been vapourised by a Soviet hydrogen bomb. You don’t believe me – go look out your policy on anything from a house to a pushbike, and there it’ll be.

Good move on the part of vanished people who cannot pay something that has no value to people who cannot claim it. A triumph of some lawyer’s need to bill someone now… and by the second.

If nuclear war occurred, no-one would be sending bills to insurance companies. The ones who had not died instantly would be occupied with the business of dying slowly and would not have time to post in forms. Because there would be no post boxes. Or time to wait for a reply from other dead people…

I am not decrying general destruction of the species – Lord knows there are days when I long to take H.L. Mencken’s advice to raise the black flag and start slitting throats myself – but the business of making pettifogging monetary rules about it seems to be somewhat stupid.

And there is a clear opening for any insurance company going to make a good profit by promising what others would withhold – by all means promising that if a Russian nuclear weapon detonates down the end of your street, a team of dedicated professionals will come out and talk to you about it. The insurance people could charge handsomely for that promise, and then spend the money on liquor and paid women. NO-ONE would be left to chastise them. It’s money for (horribly radioactive) jam.

Cooking Classes For The Tasteless

We are always being bombarded with the phrases ” Good Taste ” and ” Bad Taste ” but the people who scold us about these things never seem to be able to offer a practical way to differentiate the two. Often it amounts to waiting until something goes from one to the other – and there are instances of some things switching from one camp to the other several times within a century. You need to have some way to predict which side of the fence you should be on when it blows down.

Here is the current BGA guide to Good and Bad Taste:

a. Name calling is always in bad taste unless the name is really quite clever or trendy and you have a position as a sometime journalist with a small suburban paper. As no-one really reads the thing before they wrap cat scraps in it, you can use it as a platform to be as rude as you please.

b. Bullying is similarly in bad taste. The unfortunate thing is that there is no direct opposite to the word ” bullying ” that can be praised as good taste so the campaigns to stop it can be a little weak. It’s hard to tell someone to take to their tormentors with a fire axe and make it sound like good taste…though it may be good fun.

c. Beige is nearly always good taste and nipple pink nearly always bad. But here again real life can be maddening – at one stage of the Second World War the British experimented with painting some Spitfires ” Nipple Pink ” as a form of dawn camouflage.

d. Nutritionists and health writers are fond of telling us that anything fried is in bad taste. Cooks, on the other hand, frequently fry things and make them taste very good. A case of reality being falsely advertised or vice versa.

e. Comedy is often in bad taste – and jokes in good taste are frequently so weak as to expire before any resuscitation can be attempted. They are greeted with fashionable silence. The cry of ” Quieter and Sadder ” may come from the back of the hall…

f. Anything that involves excretions is in bad taste – the equipment, the occasions, the produce. Just a bad idea.

g. Kittens and puppies are nearly always in good taste. Small owls and otters as well, though the latter may leave damp patches ( see (f.) above. Use your discretion and have a cloth handy.

h. Self aggrandisement, boasting, skiting, bragging, and generally arrogant behaviour is in bad taste until one becomes media promoter, entertainment celebrity, or political candidate. Then it becomes a good idea, if not exactly good taste.

 

Warning: Trigger Language.

The heading image is heavy rain falling from a grey morning sky somewhere on the North Atlantic in 1944 – as observed from the conning tower of a surfaced German U-boat.

Here is a second image with an added element: an RCAF Bristol Bolingbroke patrol bomber. It is painted all white underneath and the fitters have deliberately left the British red/white/blue roundels off the wings.

Notice that the only things you can see clearly are the anti-icing boots on the front of wings and horizontal stablisers? And if the wheels were up, you’d not even be able to see the tyres? And the airplane would be able to bring your death by machine gun or depth charge out of the rain all the more easily?

Here’s a picture of the Bolingbroke with the landing light on, coming back from the mission later in the day. Not a great deal more visibility, but at least there is something..

I post this, not warn U-boat crews to be more vigilant, but to warn drivers of white, silver, or light grey motor vehicles along Perth’s freeways in the winter rains.

IF YOU DON’T TURN ON YOUR FUCKING HEADLIGHTS YOU ARE INVISIBLE!

Death can find you at the Armadale Road turnoff just as easily as it can find you off Iceland. Death is looking for stupid people right now – people who are stupid enough to travel at high speed in the rain with no lights.

Turn on your lights.

So Who Knew, Zealand…

I have just been looking at Facebook and apparently there is a problem occurring within the cartographic world – New Zealand is being left off world maps. And some people who live in New Zealand are distressed about it. This is all very wrong.

The people in New Zealand should be overjoyed. Being left off the world map is wonderful. If they play their cards right they can be left off any number of world charts – the ones that enroll them in bogus UN-ternational organisations for a start. The ones that seek to tell them how to live their lives in their own country for another. The ones that look for natural resources to exploit. The ones that want charity money to distribute amongst the tinpot* rulers of the world.

Exclusion from these lists is like a dream come true. What a blessed relief.

God send that they are able to opt out of the Commonwealth, the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Anti-Hegemonist World Socialistic People’s Church of the Kims, and any other grasping, seething, load of horseshit that comes along. They have already been politically snippy to America, and we look forward  to them turning their tiny little sights on us next. They’ll close the consulates and evacuate the Kiwis from NSW. Possibly on canoes.

For my NZ readers – some of whom are friends –  do not take this badly. I do not wish to drive you weeping to the shore and throw you into the sea. You are wonderful people and as long as you keep your cans of Toheroa soup to yourselves you are welcome to stay. If you want to can something, can the haka.

*  I nearly wrote shithole, but apparently that is subject to copyright.

The Little World – The Yellow Pups

I have had to make a New Year resolution for my Little World – to only do one project at a time. It will be a serious brake upon my personality as I can be to sort of hound who goes howling off in all directions after different game…and sometimes ends up catching nothing.

The project for this year will be airfields. I think I have accumulated enough die-cast and plastic aircraft in my collection to provide suitable models for photography. They just need a setting and a story.

The first is to be RCAF Wet Dog…out on the Alberta prairies in 1943. The field is concerned with training as well as ferrying aircraft, so I will get to make quite a few different models. I say ” make ” though in some cases it will be just buying die-casts that fit into the scene perfectly. Otherwise, I must turn to the kit shelf and the airbrush.

Fortunately, the first trainers I am embarking upon are well represented in the model kit trade – the Harvard and the Tiger Moth. And as I am just regaining modelling skills in this small scale, I have opted for the simplest of paint schemes – Trainer Yellow. Also, fortunately there were few markings –  so a judicious use of decal sheets should make things look good.

Dedicated aircraft modellers will pick holes in what I do – so will diorama makers and award winners. No matter – it is my Little World and I will appreciate it.  My other readers may be sickened by the flood of tabletop photography, but that is fine too.

Note: I hope to use a trick to model time as well – you’ll see it if it succeeds.

Heading Image: it’s 40º out in the shed and I’m not there…but the paint dries a treat.

The Little World – Christmas Train/Tree/House/Missile Silo

Well, it is that time of year again – when we get out the old plastic tree, dodgy string of lights, tinsel wreath, and all the unwanted gifts that have lain in storage since last year. A quick re-wrap and some new address cards and they are going to be ready to be launched again.

The shortbread may be a little doubtful by now – the use-by date starts with 19…- but the mechanic’s knitted sparkplug cosies should be no problems. And the soaps never go out of date – you just splash them with California Poppy to freshen up the aroma and no-one knows the difference.

It’s also time to get out the Christmas centrepiece – something to go around that tree or to sit on the table during The Big Lunch. Trains are traditional around a tree, gingerbread houses for the table. But this year I am going to introduce a new tradition – the Christmas missile silo. A gaily decorated hatch in the centre of the dining table that fires a fully cooked turkey when you press the launch button.

Can you imagine the look of wonder and anticipation on the faces of the kiddies as the warning Klaxons ( 190dB ) go off and the red lights flash. The armoured doors slam shut and the steel bolts shoot home. The liquid oxygen fumes rise up from the table and the  hatch swings open… The countdown  10..9..8..etc. and at ” Zero! Launch The Bird! Ignition! ” the 15 kilo butterball rises on a column of flame and gravy until it hits the ceiling.

With a deafening roar it strikes the overhead light fitting and explodes ( careful segmenting of the bird as it is roasting plus thin strings around it to take the initial launching forces ), raining drumsticks and dark meat down over the screaming diners. As they dodge potatoes and stuffing a cloud of green peas drifts toward the lounge room and drops onto the latecomers. Never mind a tablecloth – they never had a tablecloth at Bikini Atoll.

You’re always looking for a way to make Christmas more memorable for your children? They’ll never forget this one. And the good news is that they will always have a reminder – the half-life of fruitcake is longer than most people care to admit.