Wearing Your ” Special ” Suspender Belt…

The one you only wear when you go out to ” special ” places. And do ” special ” things…

Generally you do these things in the dark with a few flickering lights. And a pulsating musical beat in the background. If you’re lucky you get to have a few drinks first, though you don’t want too many because that would affect your judgement and dull your senses. If you are going to wear your ” special ” suspender belt, you want to feel everything.

Of course there are people who tell you that this is all wrong. That you are doing something immoral. But they would tell you that if you weren’t wearing your ” special ” belt, so you might as well get used to it. Some people take entirely too much interest in the affairs of others.

Not me. I do not judge. I can see the sort of pleasure that this behaviour brings you, and as long as no-one is permanently injured I say go to it.

After all – where would the motion picture industry be if we did not all go to our local cinema and suspend our disbelief…?

Care for some popcorn?


Riding The Horse – Part Fourteen – Just A Hobby

Lou Jacobi had a skit on the LP Record “ The Wonderful World Of Being Jewish “ where he told of keeping bees in a jar. It was his hobby to go out and collect bees and put them in a jar and watch them. The straight man in the skit asked him if he put holes in the top of the jar – Lou said “ No “

“ But then the bees would die! “ said the straight man. “ So what, “ says Lou “ It’s just a hobby…”.

No hobbyist should ever adopt the attitude that whatever they do is “ just “ a hobby. It may not be their prime activity in life, and they are wise to recognise the whatever as a hobby, but there is no reason to reduce it with the qualifier “ just “. For a real hobbyist the activity is also a real one and valuable to them beyond many others.

Once you start to reduce your desire for information, activity, precision, reach, and success, you might as well give it up as a bad job and spend your time in the pub looking at the televised horse races. Your mind and body will rot in there, of course, but you’ll be no worse than the careless dilettante who loses interest in their hobby.

Give me the enthusiast, fanatic, or club bore any day of the week. They may be intensely painful, but at least they are alive.

Off With The New – On With The Old

I am currently shopping for a white, flowing robe with long sleeves. I’m not an expert at fabrics so I’m not entirely sure if it should be linen, cotton, or muslin. But it has to have a lot of folds and flow smoothly.

I’ll also need a belt or rope of some sort to gird it round me – a gold colour would be best.

The third article needed is a trumpet. Not the valve sort like Louis Armstrong played – the long thin version you see in renaissance paintings. Long and thin and bright brass.

I’m going to become a herald angel. I plan to adopt the name of Hark. On Christmas Eve I will go from door to door announcing two things:

  1. The birth of an important religious figure.
  2. The idea that I will keep on playing the trumpet until they give me gold, frankincense, or myrrh. I have located a woman who says she can resell the spices on eBay, and I can deal with the gold myself.

As this is just the first year of operation for the racket, I will keep it to Christmas and see if the returns cover the equipment and costume outlay. Then I can expand it to cover other religions and the birthdays of their major figures. I may need to have multi-lingual signs made for the more obscure ones.

Let’s face it…no matter how much reverence you have toward the founder of your particular faith, it rarely extends to listening to trumpet fanfares at 2:00AM. You’d pay to have that cease.

Note: I do not know how to play a trumpet, which should make it perfect…

Hide Your Tattoo

I have a tattoo. Which is a no-no for people of my ethnicity. If we follow the bronze-age rulings ( or is it just one of those things that came up in the commentaries…? ) we are not allowed them.

Of course, some have had them forced upon them…a sad and terrible time, and one upon which I will not comment.

I hope to escape criticism; my tattoo was inadvertent. I stuck my hand into a cupboard in the art room at school and connected with a steel-nib pen that was charged with india ink. After howling and picking it out of my hand, I found I was left with a permanent reminder of the incident. No picture, just a 3mm dot on one finger. As well, for years I had some black powder fragments driven under the skin when a loaded frizzen went off close to my elbow – but these have been gradually rejected by the body and do not show any more.

I’m drawn to these thoughts upon reading an article by someone who has deliberate patterns of tattoo on their various portions – and who seems to draw the ire of the righteous over it. Whether the critics are offended by the patterns or the parts where they are imprinted is uncertain – but the tattoo wearer has been ordered to cover them up. I think this is a load of hooey.

You don’t draw any picture – in any medium – to hide it. You draw it to be seen. However it comes out, if you have been diligent and artistic enough to do it, you should be given the respect to let it be seen. The viewer may like it or not, but it is ultimately no more of their concern than if it were on a canvas stretched on a frame and hung in a gallery. You don’t like it? Walk on in silence. Go see a picture you do like.

If you are angry and offended that pictures exist for others to like, then there is something  very wrong with you.

Perhaps you should be covered up…?


Riding The Horse – Part Ten – Genug Ist Genug

How do you know when enough is enough? And what do you do about it?

If you are sitting at a dining table you’ll know. One of two things will happen; either your plate will be empty or you will be full. It is a blessing when these things are simultaneous. If there is a discrepancy you’ll feel like something is wrong. And this is where we turn to either our intellect or our emotions.

When you use your senses  for anything – seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling – you experience a rising sensitivity, a plateau of appreciation, and then a decline. Your mind knows when it has had enough of any particular stimulation, and reduces its response to it accordingly. In the extreme, it turns to a part of you that deals with disgust and sounds an alarm bell. Enough! Genug! No further!

The wise hobbyist will see this same cycle happening with their pursuits. They’ll start with a tickle of interest, then a rising rush of exploratory lust. Then comes a period of direct reward for effort – the plateau. Finally, however, the interest slackens and the amount of effort put in does not yield an increase in pleasure or knowledge. If they are not careful they get to that alarm bell and start to hate what they once loved. Recognise this cycle, and you can start to control how it affects you.

Start out with a notion. A curiosity about something. A flash of something bright in the water. Pursue it. Start to become enthusiastic – then studious – then fascinated. Then gain a mastery of it – and share your pleasure and pride with others.

But when the interest starts to flag…when the rewards decline but the cost and effort do not…realise the fact and set a careful plan in motion. Analyse how much further your hobby can go for you. How much you can give it and how much it will reward you. Be realistic. See ahead to when you will have had enough. 

And then make a plan to quit it in good humour just at this point. If you need to leave some goal that you can never achieve untouched, do so. Take away a set of fond memories of the hobby before you hear the alarm bell. You will have done your mind a favour and not have wasted all the time and money heretofore spent on the hobby.

Your dinner will have done you good.

The Letter of Endorsement

Think of the times that you’ve seen framed letters in the offices of commercial firms – letters from satisfied clients who wanted the thank the proprietors for some good job done. Sometimes I wonder if they have been penned by the Advertising Department in an effort to fill wall space…but I’m willing to grant that a lot might be genuine. There are satisfied customers out there and some of them are nice enough to write in about it.

But recently a salesperson for a caravan firm pointed out that the letters contain more clues than we think. Specifically, we should look at them to see what the date is that they were sent in. And keep on looking until we find the latest letter.

That will tell us when the last time someone was satisfied with the service…if it is years ago, that’s a pretty good warning about what the firm has become. Everyone was happy with the airplane flight until it hit the mountain.

It’s also a funny commentary on those wine and brandy labels that show gold medals from World Fairs and exhibitions. Frequently you find that they are from Europe in the 19th century. An awful lot has happened to the vineyards since  the Paris Exhibition of 1888 and if in the interim the place has been full of artillery shells, crashed planes, and mustard gas, the quality of the booze they can stomp out of the grapes may not be quite as high.

As well, ask yourself if a person writing a laudatory letter actually has any claim to judgement. I could write in to Victoria’s Secret praising the peek-a-boo underwear, but it would be purely fervent imagination.

Mind you, I am prepared to sample the merchandise if they will send some of their girls out wearing it. Must be open to these things.

Stein’s Guide To Social Success

To achieve true social success one must remember a few rules – and be aware that they may not apply in different societies. If you are uneasy, just stick to the local one…

  1. Always allow someone who asks a rhetorical question to reply to it. They do not want you to supply an answer – they wish to hear themselves do that.  It is polite to pay attention while they do, though you need not obey them after that.
  2. ” Do I look like a fool? ” sounds like a rhetorical question, but in fact the speaker wants you to say ” No “…even if they do indeed look foolish.
  3. When confronted with a statement that is pure nonsense but apparently means a great deal to the speaker, do the Manitoba Shuffle: ” I’ll be darned, eh? ” will temporarily stop the clockwork in the fuse and give you time to get out of blast range.
  4. Remember that you must not decry another’s religion – whether that be worship of a deity, popular media figure, or political opinion. Any opposition to their belief will draw an argument that will be pointless and tiresome. It is a free country, after all.
  5. Offer to send them to Brunei, Iran, North Korea, or Burma with the injunction to repeat their creed on a street corner. That should sort the thing out neatly and you need not get your hands dirty.
  6. Quoting Latin, Shakespeare, or Trotsky in cocktail party conversation will never prove  useful. Should you fail you will look like a prat, and should you succeed you will find yourself in the company of lifetime tweedy academics, high-school English teachers, and would-be communists
  7. You cannot sell your friends into slavery. There are statutes forbidding this…more’s the pity. You can, however, pocket a finder’s fee if you get them to sign up for multi-level marketing and this is nearly as good.
  8. We are what we eat, wear, drive, and avow. And this changes in fashion hourly. Learn to dissemble.
  9. Also learn to dispose of the digested food, outworn clothing, jalopies, and popular philosophies so that nothing can be traced back to you.