” Contents May Have Settled “

How often do you see this on the outside of a packet of food; ” Contents may have settled in shipment. “. Whenever I encounter it I am beset by a number of questions:

a. Was the box or packet ever full at the start of the process? Or did you throw the cornflakes in from across the room in the hopes that they would form a magical geodesic structure and support the inside of the box?

b. Was the box designed for the contents or was it designed just to be as big – as well as brightly coloured  – as possible…to attract the eye of the unsophisticated shopper? We’ve all seen the laundry detergent packets.

c. Is ” content settling ” the same as crumbling to powder at the bottom of the box? Did we buy the breakfast equivalent of a spoonful of sugar spun into cotton candy – only to have it resolve itself back to the spoonful as soon as heat or moisture hit it? Do we, in fact, have any right to corn flakes or just to corn powder? Is powder considered to be just tiny little flakes?

d. Why does raw liver never settle in the packet? Why is it always bulging out there?

e. What do you expect us to do with the packet that has settled? Are we to turn it upside down, shake it, and magically it will become filled again? Tried that once with dynamite that had sweated out of the sticks and you can swim in the crater after rain fills it.

f. How far do you have to ship stuff anyway? Can we not make food closer to home so that it doesn’t have to travel three seas and five roads to get to us? Is it time to go back to eating what is local? ( The answer to that is yes, and for a number of reasons…)

g. Why doesn’t liquor settle in bottles – so you could skim off the water on the top and pour out the good stuff from the bottom.

 

 

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Headin’ South

I rarely ask people to pay attention to my underwear. They are rather private garments and normally there is room in them for one person only – me. Today is different. I think I could fit about four of you in here. The reason is I have tried to go a day too long – a waistband too far…and the elastic has given up the ghost. I have had a day of especial discomfort.

Those of you who have felt the elastic go at some stage of the game know exactly what I’m writing about. All of a sudden any movement whatsoever sends your nether garments heading for the nether regions and it doesn’t make any difference if you are on parade or lounging in your boudoir – nothing feels right. If you had obeyed your cautious instinct and discarded the pair of shorts or knickers this morning – and put on the fresh pair that was sitting there in the drawer – you could stride out with confidence and pride. As it is, most of your day will be split between grimacing and excusing yourself to go to the loo in an attempt to produce a workable wedgie.

As the day progresses the vicious garment gets worse and worse. You look at your ankles to see if it has reached there and is showing under the trousers. You are convinced that it is going to entangle your knees and throw you sideways into the path of oncoming traffic. And you are also convinced that everyone sees your plight and knows what is happening. The day gets longer and the hours drag more.

The only answer is retreat. Go home at the end of the day, if you can walk while clutching your knees together. Remove the offending article. Throw it in the bin. Put on your pyjamas and make a cup of tea and a soft-boiled egg. There is no more dignity in the world for you today, and you might as well retreat into the comforts of childhood.

Wait a minute. Could it be?

Is the elastic on the pyjama bottoms going too…?

 

I Am Not A Monster

While I admit to being a senior citizen, model maker, and studio photographer – serious charges in themselves – I must deny the assertion that I am a monster of cruelty. I do not mock the afflicted nor harass the indigent. I am kind to animals, with the exception of mosquitos and cockroaches. I obey traffic signs and harsh words from the wife.

Thus, when I receive evidence that a friend has fallen for some sad internet hoax, I do not point the finger of scorn. I take pity upon them and remain silent. This is not the silence of collusion – it is commiseration. I, too, know what it is to be fooled by plausible tricksters…and I’ve lost money to them. The last thing I should want when I finally detect  fraud is to have to bear scorn as well as loss.

Friends – there are any number of trolling, fyshing, scamming productions that can come through your social media or through general searching on the net. Whenever you see something that is either too good or too bad to be true, it is just that. You do not need to fear, nor to react, to any of it. But if it helps to relieve a little of the tension, by all means open up the Snopes website and see if the thing that is troubling you has been debunked there. In most cases you will find that this is so.

Even with the most innocent of enquiries, answers can be harvested that will do you or someone else harm. The best thing to do is not give any answers on the net. Anything that you need to ask or answer can be dealt with between you and your physician, dentist, lawyer, religious adviser, or 6th grade home room school teacher. If it is really heavy-duty stuff you can call in a policeman or a magistrate. These are the individuals who have real power for good in your world. Depend upon them.

The internet has been a blessing for a lot of us – I mean, who wants to go out into the street looking for a cat on a rainy night when you can get a picture of one on Facebook? But it is a cursèd blessing, and the curse is the easy way it makes nonsense sound like truth.

Remember that if you forward this to ten of your friends, nine of them will wind the toilet paper the wrong way on the roll and the tenth will use bunched up newspaper…

The Ever-Present Danger of Happiness…

Some days it doesn’t pay to let down your guard – the moment you do something nice happens to you and then the rest of the day is shot.

This is a real problem for grumpy older people who try to maintain the rage but find that they can’t get the parts any more. They are sometimes forced to abandon old grudges and either go out and buy new ones or just give up the sport altogether. This might sound like a good idea, but what do you do with all the clothing and accessories you’ve acquired to do it with?  There is only a limited market for poison darts at garage sales in this country.

It’s easy enough to avoid happy people in the shopping mall or the airport – anyone offering religious tracts or flowers can be seen at a distance and you can steer round them. If you are riding a gopher mobility cart you can steer into them but be prepared for sympathy and hot cups of tea from the security staff. Fortunately, security staff never seem to be happy in themselves so you can hang around where they are and cash in on the negative vibes. Just don’t make any sudden moves.

Being unhappy at home takes a little more effort. If your favourite television program is on in ten minutes and you have a fresh cup of coffee and a plate of biscuits you might as well sit down and get it over with – postpone your moaning until the advertisement breaks. If you’re lucky* these will be every five minutes. And then there is the telephone with telemarketers and scam merchants ringing up during the best part of the show – you can kill happiness efficiently there.

Sometimes all it takes to develop a really good grump is to review the daily news. Of course, if your side is winning this is no help at all. Then you are forced to go further into the paper until you get to the art or food reviews to get your boost o’ sadness. At least the average modern reviewer can be depended upon to be disappointed in something. It’s the reason they never get into Heaven…God is afraid they’ll take away one of his stars.

If all else fails you can sit on the front porch and yell at people to get off your lawn. In Australia we’re not allowed M1 Garands so we can’t go the full Clint Eastwood on the local teenagers but there is nothing to stop us planting double-gees in the grass and that keeps ’em off, no fear.

*  There’s more than one kind of luck…

 

 

” Based On Your Facebook Profile… “

We suggest that you bathe more regularly and stop calling for the Dalai Lama to be impeached. Despite what you say, he was born in Hawaii and has the hula moves to prove it.

We appear to have had all our Facebook information sold to people who want to sell us time-share tea tree multi-level sweepstakes tickets to help starving kittens. I, for one, am keen to participate. I’ve made that clear in the Facebook profile picture that shows me standing next to the howitzer and the vat of warm glue. It’s no mystery, and no-one need apologise for the transaction. Indeed, I have been getting a great deal of pleasure looking at the advertisements that want to hook me up with a Russian sheep.

I’m a little less sanguine about the side-bar that reports the news of the world. If I wanted news I’d buy a newspaper or a copy of Poor Richard’s Almanack. If I wanted science I’d read the Political Review Daily and if I wanted politics I’d read Scientific Zambian. No, what I want from a sidebar is the real stuff – opportunities for online gambling and pictures of leprechauns. I’m a big boy now –  make that gambling leprechauns in onesies.

I admire and respect Mr Zuckerberg for apologising for something that he got caught at…particularly as he owns all the money in the world anyway and he got a lot of it by doing exactly what he’s apologising for. What’s the bet that he’ll make money out of the apology…

I’m thinking of starting a social network up our street. I already know when the neighbours fight and what their favourite foods are – because they cook a lot of them with the lids off and frankly from some of the odours I don’t thing they have a painted wall left inside their houses….

We do not need to share things as we already share cats…or the cats share us. I have a lot of posts I’d like to suggest and a lot of people I’d like to be suggestive to.

I think that we need to chill out for a bit and just regard the social media like Facebook and the others as on-line versions of a Cirque de Soliel. It has plenty of colour, an unpronounceable name for each new show, and a French Canadian who can balance on a bucket. What more could one possibly want?

Phrases We Never Really Want To Hear

” Instead of toilet paper…”

” Not until you use the old one up completely…”

” Had a lot of trouble with that model…”

” I didn’t use an undercoat…”

” It normally has sauce…”

” Special colour not available in your state…”

” Pre-zip design…”

” I’ve got this rash…”

” It’s a blue envelope with a government postmark…”

” Good Evening, Driver…”

” Hello, hello, hello. What have we here…? ”

” That’s odd…”

” It’s an old map…”

” You may want to sit down…”

” Hey, Mate, gotta…?”

” Did you not receive our letter? ”

” What is your full name? ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Your Internet Will Be Cut Off…”

It was one of the Indian scam callers. You know the routine as well as I do:

a. Dead silence.

b. Pause.

c. Sound of a busy steam room in the background and a small woman’s* voice.

d. ” Hello this the Technical Department of Mumblemumble. My name is Vaguely Western Sounding In A Hindi Accent. How are you? ”

At this point in these calls I become ” Kindly Olde Uncle Dick ” – those of you who know what this involves may want to close and dog the hatches and pressurize the turret.

Kindliness and age mean that I am slow. And simple. And polite. It is by far the best way to encourage effective communication with the sub-continent and my days are open to amusement anyway. I want this one to last…

e. ” This is to inform you that your internet will be cut off .”

Goodness, that sounds serious. Is there anything that I can do to prevent this. Tell me what I need to do…

Now at this point I would expect to be told to go to the portal button and begin the process that would let the caller control my bank account. Or send iTunes cards to an address in Dacca. Or any number of suitable stings. And who better to fall victim to it all – an old, bumbling person who is at home in the middle of the day and is ready to obey instructions.

But what does she do? She hangs up. And no call-back from the next level up in her scammer’s organisation. Nothing. I’ve never been so annoyed in my life…

Am I not good enough for them? Do I not sound stupid enough to fall for their tired routine? Am I not frail or aged enough? What do I need to do to be scammed?

What sort of incompetents are they hiring in Indian scam rooms these days? Have they no pride in their work? Where has good old-fashioned patient malignance gone these days?

DO I HAVE TO ROB MYSELF, HERE?

Service! Service…!

*  Presumably Mother India. Or, if she was ringing Samuel L. Jackson, Motherf*****g India…