Be Kind To The Indian Scammer

I might not have written this a year ago, but this has been an unusual time for us all.

Much more for the Indian population than for the Australian one – and particularly for the people of Western Australia. Sealed away from most of the infection as we are, we can afford to be kind to those who are more exposed…as long as that sealed border exists.

The Indian call scammers are always going to be with us in some form or other. Amazon, Telstra, ATO, DHL…all these names have been used as ploys for scam calls. There will be many more as local business changes. The one constant in the calls seems to be the steam-room noise behind the caller’s voice, the South Asian accent, and the false name given. It is always vaguely European in nature but pronounced so quickly that you cannot be sure you heard it.

The calls dropped dramatically as the Covid 19 virus hit India and some form of quarantine or lockdown happened there. They have now started again, and I fielded my second one just recently. I was not angry at receiving it, nor did I treat the caller with derision. Their plight is bad enough without me adding scorn to it.

Perhaps they will get angry – if they can recover from the Chinese biological weapon that hit them. I suspect they were one of the main targets for this virus, and I cannot imagine that they do not feel the same way. I wonder what the travel time for an IRBM would be over the Himalayas?

It’s All A Conspiracy

And what a conspiracy. I’ve found leads to the New World Order, Old World Order, And Hungry Jack’s Lunchtime Bargain Order. The first two are unattractive but I am looking at the cheeseburger with interest.

Conspiracies are the flavour of the month, year, and possibly decade. We have them in all varieties and sizes – right-wing, left-wing, and the sticky bit in the middle as well. They are useful to pin blame, explain the inexplicable, and excuse our own failures.

I’ll amend that… the excuses are necessary for your failures. You are the reason we can’t have nice things. I suspected you all along but until I saw the ABC/CNN/FOX News/BBC/RT exposé on you and your kind I could not hate you precisely.

The internet is a wonderful resource. It can bring unease and accusation to us wherever we live and unlike the old business of printed books, it can be altered before our eyes. It has experts we never suspected and suspects we never thought of. If the devil or the mean girl in the sixth grade whispered in our ears it would not be half as effective as a cobbled-up construct hedged with advertisements for spinning tops and faux-leather luggage.

You must excuse me – I need to get back to the Karen and Sharon network and see which evil influence is dominating the world. No sense opposing the winner, eh?

Honest Behaviour – Whatever That Might Be

Have you ever been guilty of honest behaviour? Don’t be afraid to admit to it here…no-one is listening to us. Regard this as a confessional but with better seating.

I’ll be frank – I’ve been honest before. I’ve been kind. I’ve done the right thing…and worse. I’ve refused to believe and applaud unproven propaganda even though it was really what I wanted all along. It’s sort of like forcing your mind to take a cold shower instead of a warm bubble bath.

Of course I’ve been punished for it – no good deed ever escapes that, as Wilde wrote. But the price was not that high and I had a discount coupon anyway. And fortunately the incident passed over with little notice.

I’m afraid, however, that it may not be the last time – I doubt I can keep myself from it in the future. The discipline to keep on being mean to every one is a very hard one – you need infinite vigilance and a really good nail on a stick. And your concentration just slacks off in good weather.

If I were associated with the late General De Gaulle or Jane Fonda or Clive Palmer the task would be so much easier.

Ah well, I must stop blathering on. Back to the grind. I have several noses and a whirling stone and no time to waste…

 

Are You A Secret Soviet Spy?

Take our simple quiz to find out.

a. Do you support Vladimir Putin?

b. If you answered ” yes ” you may go.

c. If you answered ” No “, drink this…

In spite of my cynicism about the Russians I have to admire the way they control what the rest of us see of them. It speaks of a large and effective machine to manage international press coverage. Of course it is matched by an equally efficient division that manages internal information – that has been a feature of the nation since well before the October revolution.

The various Czars’ police forces worked throughout their land on a regular basis, regardless of who was on the throne. You might regard them as sort of social gardeners – weeding out any opposition. They had it easier in the 19th century – the monarchy was single-minded who the enemy was and could apply constant pressure. They were wrong to do it but right in their perception of the threat. It eventually bit them in the ass and shot them in the basement.

The current Czar has been on the throne for some 20 years or so, and has made arrangements to continue for the foreseeable future. The peasants support him as they are generally uncomfortable with short-term change. He also has the support of the orthodox church, as he allows them to have the souls of the peasants and a dip of the coffers every now and then. The aristocrats support him as he does not enquire into their souls and allows more dips, more often. The military support him because he will let them buy more sabres and rattle them. He’s also found them a soft target that they can shoot up to their heart’s content.

There is a small matter of the occasional poisoning of an opposition politician…but this is done on a far less frequent basis than the old Stalinist purges or the Romanov pogroms. So, apart from the EU and the BBC squalling, it can largely be ignored.

Well, that cleared that up. I’m glad my cynicism has gone away. I think I’ll have a vodka and tonic.

Funny Is Dangerous

I have discovered that funny is dangerous. Bit late, I hear you say, but remember that I was brought up on funny that had great timing and pauses between gags. And no bad words. Funny that wasn’t drunk at a pub.

Now I’m not talking about making fun of others – mocking them. We all know that’s dangerous when done in the wrong way or to the wrong person. There is even danger in doing it with the attention of the wrong audience. Instant retribution can erupt, the clockwork  of delayed revenge started, or one’s personal reputation demeaned. In some cases this is just punishment – in others it’s something gone horribly wrong. There are times when something genuinely is just a joke.

Now you cannot prevent yourself from falling down a fire-belching crack in the earth when it appears under your feet. If you are from New Zealand this may be during a morning trip to the grocers – you either perish shrieking or climb out and retrieve your string bag. This event is so common as to account for the laid-back nature of a lot of Kiwis.

But you can stop yourself from the fate by looking carefully at a map, noting if any streets are marked ” Fire-Belch Lane “, and then planning your shopping elsewhere. Smart money plays the odds. Equally so, you can plan your comedic sallies with an eye to where they go. If someone is a notable Basilisk, treat them with seriousness. Save the yoks for those who know how to smile.

I’ve misread maps before and ended up wrong. The comeback after a failed joke can be a cold journey – rough and comfortless. But you can come back, even if it is just yourself and your string bag. And you come back with information that you can mark on your social map. ” Here Be Dragons ” is knowledge that is hard got, but very valuable.

” Tell Me A Blatant Lie! “

” You want a Blatant Lie? You can’t handle a Blatant Lie ! ”

I may have nodded off there during the Tom Cruise movie but you get the main idea. Truth-telling is rife in the courts and something needs to be done about it. Magistrates need to be given the power to have people who tell the truth locked up until they can come up with a better one.

I, myself, find it is wise to be economical with the truth. By all means have a store of it to hand but deal it out in very small quantities and be careful to whom it is told. It can have a very long half-life and be dangerous for decades.

At the same time do not be cynical when others tell you their truths, or half truths, or fibs, or lies, or campaign promises. You can laugh sardonically at protestations of love – as long as they do not require blood tests you are safe. But treat everything else with gentle amusement and a kindly smile. And make sure that you take the time to write down the pertinent details for later checking. You never can tell when someone will let a really valuable piece of information out inadvertently and you’ll kick yourself if you can’t cash in on it in a few years time. A cross-indexed file is the most valuable part of the furniture in your lair.

Some truths are self-evident – these are mostly the ones that concern gravity and red-hot objects. These bits of information are hard to deny or ignore, forcing themselves upon you as suddenly as they do.

Oddly enough, some lies are equally clear. Catching your significant other in flagrante delicto  with someone who isn’t you means you won’t have to pretend to believe the story – not while the flurry of shrieking and zipping is taking place in any case. No need to suspend judgement.

The funny little ones in the middle that might be true or might not are the awkward part of the business. If you can suspect someone, do so – most times you’ll be right. If they are proved innocent it will be a lovely surprise and you can all sit round the rack laughing at your suspicions. Otherwise you’re in a convenient position to give the wheel another turn.

Your Emotional Laundry Is Ready For Collection

As a child in Canada I got used to the houses we lived in having a clothes drier. Not all of them did, but you could see why it was a pretty essential part of life if you didn’t have a basement with a furnace in it – you can’t hang wet laundry out on a Hills Hoist at -4º.

I loved the driers that were in the kitchens because I could play in there and get blasted by the warm air coming through the system. As the rest of the house might be heated by a furnace that sucked all the moisture out of the air, the laundry vapour was actually soothing.

These days we use the house clothes drier to supplement what can mostly be done on the line out back. Western Australia has more good drying days than not and I always figure I’m getting good value for no money by taking advantage of them. I wish I could say the same for that other staple of modern life: Facebook.

I appreciate the fact that sometimes people need to vent on Facebook. You open the page and there is a full rant about someone’s emotional grievances – whether you read it or not, at least the posting of it might have done them some good. But it gets a bit fraught when people are doing personal laundry 24/7 and running the loads through every day. You can only take so much warm, wet air with vague odours before you become  tired of it. Then you find yourself switching off or switching over. You start granting the laundry worker repeated 30-day vacations. And sometimes you just stop taking the service.

After all, you have your own wrinkles to iron out without having to scrub someone else’s life as well.

Permanently Wrong

Are you in danger of becoming permanently wrong? Take this simple test to find out:

a. Are you male or female or not? If you can say yes or no to any of these three, mark your scorecard with a ten.

b. Look at the colour of the skin on your right forearm. If it is any shade between palest white to deepest black mark another ten on your scorecard. Then look at your left forearm – if it is 15 shades darker than the right one you might consider not driving with your arm out the window. Reverse this in the UK, Australasia, Singapore, and Japan.

c. Are you old enough to vote? Mark another ten.

d. Did you vote? Ten again.

e. Do you hold a religious belief of any kind, or do you avoid any belief? Ten again, and now you can add up your score.

You should have 50 points. This proves that you are wrong. If you have less it proves you are wrong and dishonest, and if you have more than 50 it indicates that you are stupid.

How do we know? We have the internet, social workers, political parties, teenagers, and the leaders of think tanks to tell us so. No good you protesting that you can live your life perfectly well with whatever shape, size, colour, or ethnicity you have – you are wrong, and must be made to pay for your error.

The payment will be in guilt ( we’ll tell you what you are guilty of ) and fear ( again depend on us for this ) and money. The money will produce justice for everyone whom you have wronged. We’ll keep it in Switzerland or the Cayman islands so it is safe.

Pay up.

 

Negativity Is Your Friend

Do not be bullied by Facebook contacts who post bright and shining memes every day. They are just trying to jolly you into feeling good. On the contrary – pay attention to the serious counsel of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia. We would never lure you down the path of happiness and then abandon you smiling.

You need the bad news in your life and you need it first. It can make all the difference to whether or not you’re going to be able to recognise good news later on. Remember a spoonful of bile helps the sugar go down. And we are here to make you bilious.

Let’s take a concrete example. Suppose someone told you that a harbour cruise with business associates would promote team spirit and help you with your commitment to the family. Sounds good. Then they tell you it will be with Cousin Salvatore and Three Finger Louie Custozza and the concrete will be setting around your feet in a bucket…If they’d have mentioned the specifics of the thing first you wouldn’t have had to smile and make small talk while they tied the ropes.

Let’s face it  – good news brightens a moment but bad news works far longer.

If you want to be pessimistic yourself – either on a professional level or in the amateur league – you have all the vast resources of CNN News, the ABC, and any number of chaired academics to draw upon. You will not have heard of the academics before, but if you stand still long enough and pay them enough for appearance fees they will become a household name. They hope.

In any case we’ll all be ruined, says Hanrahan*, and we can accept this as authoritative since it has been the steady verdict since 1919. That’s a hundred years of dismal and you can’t ask fouler than that, can you…

*  North American translation – famous Australian bush poem. Go google.

 

Those Damned Re-Writers…

Just when you think you have the perfect slogan for your propaganda campaign – ideal size, catchy words, simple sentiment…the damned opposition re-writers get ahold of it and turn it against you.

Then you have to make a whole series of ancillary statements to try to turn the attention back to yourself and to your creed. And none of those extra statements really do it – they cannot erase the connection between the re-write and the original propaganda slogan. They just dilute it…

An example? The dear old Nazi slogan ” Eine Reich, Eine Volk, Eine Führer ” played well pre-war and in the early days when they were winning. But all you have to do is show an aerial view of the ruins of Berlin being shovelled into handcarts by the surviving civilians and add a sign above it : ” Keine Reich, Keine Volk, Keine Führer ” and it all collapses.

Another example is current. You’ll have seen it…and the re-write. Infuriating, isn’t it?