The Heatless Wave Gripping Australia

Here in Australia we are tortured and mocked every day by North Americans and Europeans with their news reports about heat waves. As we sit shivering over a meagre fire or try to stave off freezing by wrapping several dogs around us, they bask in the sunshine that is rightly ours and then have the temerity to complain about it.

Even the cartoonists and comics are on the game of complaining about heat. In some cases it is reasonably decent – over 38º C and a comfortable operating temperature. One could go around without a jumper and not feel the chill. In other instances it sounds like they are just bleating for the sake of hearing themselves. 35º for a week? In our summer we dream of this sort of comfort.

Well, it is almost August and the trough of winter is nearly gone. Soon it will be spring and we can all sit laughing at the hay fever sufferers as the Wattle Bomb detonates. And those of us who depend upon warm, dry weather to do airbrushing and painting can start our seasonal binge. I can hardly wait.

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Plead The Fifth

Every time a US senate enquiry tried to pin mobsters and communists down about their activities in the 1950’s the parties being grilled recited a prepared statement that they respectfully declined to answer the question on grounds that it might tend to incriminate them*. The amendment is worth reading in total, but the small part they were using applies to testifying against yourself. ie don’t admit nuthin’, Salvatore. Make ’em prove it.

I respectfully suggest that whenever Facebook asks you any question at all – however innocent it may seem – that you take the Fifth. Any information you give about yourself – your history, your family, your likes and dislikes – can, may, and probably will be used, sold, traded, abused, and otherwise bandied about. You will do yourself no good whatsoever by responding to any of the questions, quizzes, games, or provocative statements.

This also applies to posts and shared memes put out by the trolls within your Facebook friends list. And we’ve all got ’em. Those of you who insist that all your friends are innocent may have two or three of mine, free…

*   A wonderful red flag, if red flag be needed, to alert the authorities that more investigation would be fruitful.

Piracy On The High Seas

I love pirates. From Johny Depp as Jack Sparrow to Errol Flynn as Captain Blood they have swashed buckles and shivered timbers from Tortuga to Tahiti. Even Aardman had wonderful pirates as animated characters.

I’m even more impressed with the ones off the Horn of Africa who try to zoom aboard passing merchant ships and rob the crews. And I just loooove the way the US, Britain, France, and the Russians treat them – from opening up on their tin can boats with autocannon to boarding them and blowing them up with satchel charges.

I note that the Iranian floating terrorists are now entering the game and stepping up the pace with ship captures and mines.

Please, let us return to the days of the Caribbean and the Royal Navy sinking pirates on sight. And Wapping Stairs, please. In chains.

Rules of engagement for countering pirates: There’s one, open fire.

PS: Let the air squadrons play too. If they can’t get a Warthog that far out from the coast, surely someone has a spare gun pack in the stores they could clap onto a Hornet.

Pirates are ALWAYS freie Vögel…whether they have a mullah or a mad king at their back. And eventually you get to storm their pirate nest and burn it to the ground. It took care of Port Royal and Cartagena…and Bandar-e Abbas is no different.

When The Bait Falls Off The Hook

Getting a lot of booster advertisements lately from Facebook –  that wants either $ 22 or $ 49* to promote a standard Facebook posting to more people. So far I have not bit, nor will I chase the bait in the future.

I write for me, and share it to others – I hope they like it. If I had to pay them to like it, the thrill would be gone. I already have to do that for so many other facets of life…and the process of giving them money is bound to be all computerish and complicated. It’s not like just leaving money on the mantlepiece in the morning…

So, no. No, I won’t give a multi-billionaire my money to pester other people. I can pester them myself for the cost of a bus ticket and a bag of rocks. And let me tell you, a busted window at 3:00 AM is far more memorable than a Facebook post.

*    Magic numbers. Just small enough and odd enough to make you think that they are genuine…

 

Highball

I went into the first floor cocktail bar of the Intercontinental on Collins Street in Melbourne at 5:00 one afternoon. A day of shopping – mostly successful – and I was ready to sit down and peruse the iPad. And I needed perusal oil to do it with.

I went to the bar and asked for a Highball.

The look of confusion on the face of the young man there should have warned me.

” You want a highball glass? ”

Yes, with a Highball in it. It transpired eventully that while he was familiar with the glassware, he had no idea what the drink for which it is named was made of…

So I told him – ice, rye whiskey, and ginger ale. In a highball glass…

He rose to the challenge, though his inexperience caused him to put two shots of rye in the glass before the ginger ale. I did not think it right to complain.

The next day the highball was served by a more experienced man – and it contained only one shot of rye. Ah, well, you can only win some of them.

Highball: rye, ice, and ginger ale. Named after the American railroad signal that all is clear and you can go ahead at full speed. The British railways do it with a whistle and a flag and the German railways do it with a red disc on a paddle. The American railroads do it with a lantern.

I do it with rye.

 

The Screech Of The We’re-Idiot

The Irish used to fear the screech of the banshee. So did the landing crews of the HMCS BONAVENTURE, but that was a slightly different matter. The wailing and unearthly sounds in both cases portended doom and disaster, but in the case of the Canadian aircraft carrier it was their jet squadrons landing back aboard…

Now we have a new fear to chill us in the night – the we’re-idiot who uses Facebook as a sounding board for their political and religious opinions. You may not hear them, but you see them, and the sight of yet another Anti-Trump rant or Millenial Moan is enough to drop the social temperature a good ten degrees.

We’re -idiot? Derived from the expression ” We’re outraged “.

It will only get worse – though I’m happy to say that the very worst of it will echo overseas. The American election will occupy the net for months and while our local were-idiots will foam and snarl, it will be as nothing to the exchanges in the USA. We’ll get the occasional echo here as the locals try to develop adequate outrage, but by and large it will be small stuff directed at a Prime Minister who is made of beige in a parliament that is painted taupe. We lack really savage causes, even though we do have some pretty classic savages.

The best we seem to be able to do lately is to foam about a football player who is a fundamentalist. Many of us do not care for his opinion nor for his attempts to collect sympathiser’s money, but then many of us do not care for the witch-hunt that has prompted this, either. We would be happy if he, his detractors, and his supporters were to take their money and their memes and go away. We will not pursue them.

 

The Final Superhero Movie

I have just watched the final movie in the Captain Lichtenstein series and feel satisfied that the entire thrilling story has finally been told. It is based on a comic book drawn from the annual reports of the Swiss Bureau Of Economic Planning and has become somewhat of a cult classic. It is one of the few superhero movies that features double-entry book-keeping.

I was a little worried when they discovered the June 1978 journal with the missing receipts but this was explained satisfactorily when the alien space shop landed amid the gasoline explosions. The audience in the cinema with me – a firm of chartered accountants – heaved a sigh of relief. You can tell a good film maker – they engage the soul of the viewer.

Hard to say what the studio can do to top this one. I believe they are working on a mini-series that involves the competition between two dynasties of industrial chemists. They sneaked a trailer into the last credits of Captain Lichtenstein showing lab samples of paint drying. I think it’s a hint.