Clasting Icons For Fun And Profit

I have just finished a book by Bertrand Russell and have been surprised by three things; that it would ever end, that I would stick to reading it until the last page, and that I would thoroughly enjoy it.

It was written in 1930, and treats of happiness – in this case by seeking the conquest of it. It is apparently well within Russell’s style of clear composition presenting muddled thought. The stream of consciousness is not that muddy, however, and most of what BR has to say is pretty sensible. As he does not jolt upright and thrust his politics into the face of the reader more than 3 or 4 times, the main part of the essay is actually useful.

It’s certainly drawn an echo from some of the circumstances of my life, and I think the experiences over the years have opened me to be able to read him – where I threw his books in the figurative fire as a youth.

It’s rather fun to be able to read an English philosopher who writes in comparatively modern times and who can be seen to be wrong about as many times as he is right by his public pronouncements…and private secrets. One need not reverence him but can just pick the kernels of wisdom out of the unpopped thoughts.

I wonder if it is safe to read any of the rest of his stuff? If I do, I shall want the real thing and not a history teacher’s précis.

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Another Bluebird Of Happiness

Only this one wasn’t made by Datsun. This is a Morris Minor of 1953…65 years later. Lets face it, Folks…none of us reading this looked as good when we were 65, whether we were bright blue or not.

I’ve commented before in this column that it is surprisingly to see many of the cars that we were familiar with in the 50’s and 60’s here in Australia taken up in the hot rod or custom scene. Oh yes, there are Ford Customlines and Holden Fj’s and such, but the percentage of Dodge or Chrysler is low and the percentage of British or French cars that also get taken into the fold are even fewer. Least considered are the Japanese imports of the time. Hot rodding can be surprisingly blinkered.

This makes a car that is as well turned out as this Morris Minor a real pleasure to see. It is of a size that can lend itself to some of the smaller modern engines – my brother-in-law built a MM ute with a Nissan engine and he was the fastest old man in Mandurah for a while. But every project eventually gets finished and his MM finally was…and then interest was lost…

Well, thankfully the man who made this blue beauty carried it through to a magnificent conclusion. I envy him not only the finish but the practicality of it. That was meant to be a small commercial hauler and it still is – albeit a faster one, with better seats. Given the modern tyres as well as engine and suspension parts, this would be a magnificent wanderers van for Western Australian summers.

Winters, however, in cars of this vintage can be a damp and misty experience. Ask anyone who has travelled in Perth in rain with a tea towel to wipe the steam off the inside of the windscreen  and listen to the historic language. The 60’s saw a complete industry of add-on demisters and heaters and none of them worked a damn. Eventually you just wound down the side windows and froze or swam your way to your destination.

No Knives In The Heart Of The Empire…

It would appear that there is no possibility of carrying a knife in London – or possibly in any other part of the UK. They are so worried that the citizens will stab each other that they are removing all possibility of it.

Of course, this will be somewhat of  partial measure, as we have discovered – by careful scientific experiments – that it is possible to stab people with other things. The local criminals here in Western Australia seem to carry a great many screwdrivers and I daresay there are any number of sharp combs and other implements to hand nearly everywhere one goes. I favour my heavy brass-bound walking stick when dressed for an evening, and my Gerber folder when taping up wires and lighting rigs out in the photo world. At home, of course the good old butcher’s knife and the Swedish feather are always to hand. The swivel gun, mortar, rifled musket,and crossbow have all been sold off or given to other people so they do not figure in the equation. One hardly needs them in our suburb.

And that brings a question to mind of what sort of people are in the UK – to require such stringency. It cannot be a case of race – we have every variety of human in our street and we never stab each other. We do not run each other over in motor cars to promote religious belief, either, though I can count the adherents of 6 separate faiths in the street and can guess at a couple more. There is something to be said for living in the colonies…

I’m glad did my UK travelling some decades ago – when it was safe to walk the streets. I now quite prefer Singapore or Japan…where it is safe to walk the streets. Perhaps the British should think of importing more Singaporeans or Japanese to their island to improve the stock…

Old Time Radio

Do not laugh at Old Time Radio. Or Old Time Wireless if you insist on being British. One day you will be listening to it – if you are fortunate. The songs of your youth will buoy your spirits as they depress those of the other people around you. You can increase the irritation that the hit parade of 1959 will cause by singing along to the songs. And you need not be singing the lyrics of the music that is being played at the time…

We have a senior’s radio station here in Perth that broadcasts from a local studio. I keep my radios tuned to it for several reasons:

a. The irritation it causes as noted above. I can cause eye-rolls at 500 yards with my rendition of a Tina Turner song. 1000 yards if it’s ” Nutbush City Limits ” and the wind is right.

b. The advertisements are a hoot – dental implants, soft food sources, and retirement homes are the current favourites. All three of these advertisers are selling extremely expensive products so I suspect that they regard their target audience as suckers. This is a foolish assumption – old folks are likely to be tight-fisted. We may not be able to grip your hand strongly but wait’ll you see what we can do when we’re holding a dollar bill…

c. The music has melody and rhythm. Few of the songs celebrate killing police. We are not asked to hear about bitches, hoes, or people of African-American ethnic origin referred to in disparaging historic terms. In the case of most of the local audience, the N word is North Melbourne…Yo Ho is a sailor’s cry….

d. We can remember the songs and the lyrics of 50 years ago…inasmuch as we remember anything at all. Remembering where we left the car keys or what we had for dinner is another matter and some of us have come to the conclusion that there are things that man was never meant to know.

e. There is an episode of a melodramatic radio serial played daily. This generally has a trite hero, dastardly villains, and enough dated sexist and racist references to drive a millenial mad. It is one of the most endearing things about it.

They could dominate the airwaves by replaying old quiz shows, radio programs from the 30’s and 40’s, and bluegrass shows.

f. None of the names of the bands and singers are embarrassing to hear. No-one is called ” The Regurgitated Lunch ”  or ” The Infected Scar “.

g. Most of the music selections finish in under 5 minutes.  The back announcement go on for so long we can go to the toilet between songs. A valuable thing in cold weather.

h. No-one is very political, with the exception of the fake news that comes on every two hours from the volunteers of the leftist university media courses. And they are so blatant as to remove all power to enrage…It’s sad to hear professors trying it on for next year’s budget.

i. Between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM we get an automated cartridge playout that can fill insomniac hours.

j. The public service announcements are comfortingly amateur. We can go to bingo, morning teas, or afternoon dances. We can go to CWA talks. We can go to the Sally Ann shop for old clothes. It might be small stuff but a lot of us are small people.

 

 

 

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.

 

Two Wheel 2018 – Part Two – To Hell In A Handbasket

Well, once I had seen the first lot of motor scooters, it sensitized me to the sight…and I found more as I went along. These were back in the yellow entry hall. I can recognise the genre – the English visitor to the show would have had a ball with these.

If you are going to be deliberately foolish in a particularly British sort of way, why not burn the back of your legs as you do it?

Or become terrifically fashionable while you do. Stripped of my sarcastic remarks, this is actually a very nice looking scooter.

And then there’s the full on Tommy/Quadrophenia version. No snippy captions with this one as the total picture says more than I could write. The only thing I have to note is the depiction of the Union Jack with the scooter parked on top. Poms scorn Americans for taking pride in the Stars and Stripes, and then they do this…

Exercising My Uncivil Rights

I am going to make an assumption here than may prove to be incorrect. I don’t mean it to be, but I am somewhat unversed in the law and so must feel my way.

I am an Australian citizen, in Australia. I am not in the military – and so not subject to military law – and I’m not a prisoner of a state or federal institution – so presumably have all the civil rights that the next person has. They have not been suspended.

I would like to think at this point that I share this happy state of affairs with Americans, Canadians, and Britons, as well as any number of people in Scandinavian and European countries…but I know at the outset that there can be widely differing rights. We can’t own a military rifle here in Australia except in some especial cases – in the USA they can. They have other restrictions from which we are free ( we can ask for black or white coffee and get it without a racial argument ). And so on though each nation. Different cities have different civilities

I wonder if this applies in converse – are there different uncivil rights for each country?

” What is an uncivil right? “, you may ask. Broadly speaking, it’s the freedom one may have in a particular place to be unpleasant, unhelpful, unwashed, and undesirable. Add to that unthinking, ungrateful, and unintelligent. Really…all the horrible fun stuff.

Of course your uncivil rights may impinge upon other’s civil rights. The oaf on the train roaring and reeking comes to mind…though not to the attention of the transport police often enough.

Unpleasant speech is proscribed at various levels – here in Australia we’re not allowed to incite racial, religious, or ethnic hatred under penalty of law. It may also apply to inciting sexual or political hatred as well, but there seems to be a lot of this passing back and forth anyway. I think you are still allowed to incite hatred for inanimate objects like publicly funded sculptures or for food like liver and lima beans.

You are allowed to speak in an unpleasant manner as long as the words that issue are legally defensible. No-one has yet been able to legislate an accent.

You can certainly be unhelpful and get away with it…though not in life-threatening situations or those where a citizen is expected to assist the police with their enquiries. Then you have to do wheat you think is the right thing and trust that  lawyers will later think of it in those terms. But you are allowed to watch as people are drenched by water at bus stops or become tangled with the dog and the groceries.

Lack of hygiene is so common that it nearly escapes censure. Unfortunately.

Unintelligent? Well, if you pass below a certain level you are entitled to sympathy and assistance and no-one should deny it you. If you are in the operational range but decide to remain stupid this is not as civil – but again you can restrict yourself if you wish. Unthinking is no crime…if it were, would most popular music of the last century exist? Indeed, sitting on a porch in the evening with a long drink and no responsibilities is a delightful form of unthinking until the cat drags in a half-dead rat.

Ingratitude rarely collects an earthly punishment. It’s one of the deadliest of ancient sins, and one of the keenest cuts that can be perceived. The mistake the ungrateful make is to think that they get away with it unnoticed. It is never unnoticed, and never forgotten. Perhaps we should put it in the category of a bad purchase – you’ll regret it when you finally pay for it.