What Do You Do When The Hero Is A Zero?

We are in an age that presses awkward revelation upon us every day – secrets are laid bare for all to see about our favourite political and cultural figures.

Not a month passes when another icon is not clasted good and proper. And once this is done, they are blasted forevermore – or until someone else wants to sell books praising them at $ 39.95. That’s about the only chance of rehabilitation possible. Forgiveness is only offered when it makes for good press.

I don’t mind the blasting and clasting, as long as there is a shred of truth in it. I do get annoyed when the Russian, Iranian, Korean, or Nazi propaganda machines start to work and grind out endless reams of lies in an effort to swamp our consciousness. And I am rather puzzled as to what to do with the opposite to the blast and clast – if a noted figure is presented to us as a saint, martyr, or popular god – when normal observation would show us that they are not.

No names, no pack drill…but I would include nearly all the rock music, motion picture, and popular culture idols who overdosed on drugs and alcohol, committed suicide in bizarre fashion, or otherwise behaved like fools and morons. They may have been entertaining, if you are entertained by that sort of thing, but their demise seems to rather cancel out all the respect you once showed them. You need not hate them, but equally you need not worship them.

I would also include political idols who prove to be foul beyond recall. Of course you need to be able to judge whether they are so and you’ll need to do so from public record and private revelation, but do make such judgement on real court evidence – not tweets or scandal sheet bleats. A reliance upon hard court decisions and legally-verifiable published record is essential if we are not to be just a baying mob driven by other people’s agendas.

Can you make a moral judgement? You can if you know the difference between good and bad…and I credit most of my readers with being able to do that. If you do know and do judge, have the courage to stand by your convictions – at least while you have evidence that support them. If new evidence is presented and proved to be true, then you may freely change your mind. Just have the honesty to state your new opinion.

Note: I have made bad judgements in the past and need to revise them. I have also made good ones, and need to affirm them.

Advertisements

” What, Actually, IS Your Hobby…? “

Darned good question.

I’ve asked it of myself for about 6 decades – ever since I discovered that things you like to do are a hobby and things you don’t like to do are a chore. I’ve tabulated the former and latter and I’m happy to say that the first outnumbers the last – so I have a credit in my fun account.

How do you know when a mere experience or activity becomes a hobby? When you devote more than a half hour a day to it – this can be accumulated over a week to 3.5 hours or more and spent all in one go – attendance at a hobby club or social circle, for instance. The most it can be accumulated is a month –  14 hours  – and then it must be discharged.

Can a chore be a hobby? Only if you are very lucky or very unfortunate. That old saw about doing what you love so that you never work a day is somewhat true, but like all old saws gets rusty and loses teeth eventually. I know people whom I suspect have never worked a day in their lives because the thing the dearly love to do is sponge off others. That’s not a hobby – it’s a crime.

Can hobbies be fluid? Yes, and if the fluid you choose is brandy, don’t expect to get much done in the evening. But you can change from one hobby to another quite legally. It is not so easy in practical terms, however.

Hobbies cost money, time, and social effort. If you design to change, you are going to have to do something about the past expenditure you will be foregoing and the remnants of the thing. You may have left over equipment, projects, and people who are still valuable… And you’ll find it hard to give up valuables.

The thing to do is to meld – make one hobby flow into another. Take some of the gear and investment in whatever you did before and make it do now. Carry people over from one social group to another – the ones you value – and you’ll find that they are still a delight.

And occasionally you can return to an abandoned hobby and take it up again – it will be all the sweeter for the rediscovery.

 

You Want To Save The World? Part One

You want to save the world, or the planet, or the country, or humanity? Good  for you. Here’s a not-altogether-cynical guide to how to go about it. Today, how to save your neighbourhood.

a. Look left. Look right. Look back. Look in front.

Look at the buildings that form your neighbourhood. The ones that are already there before you decide to build your own structure.

Are they clean, sanitary, and wholesome? Are they proportioned to the space that is available? Are they safe? Are they attractive? Do they work, as housing or workspace? Do they help the people who occupy them…indeed do enough people occupy them? Are there trees and bushes, drains, gutters, electricity and gas? Are there public open spaces? Is there privacy without exclusion?

If so…emulate these designs when you add yourself to the milieu. Blend in, fit in, harmonise, and live happily with the neighbours. Do not press a Finnish reindeer shed into an English council estate.

b. Look at yourself. If you are a complete stranger to a neighbourhood, consider whether this is likely to continue forever..or can you introduce yourself gradually to those around you and come to terms with them and their lives. Or would you like to be a hermit, sore thumb, or pariah all the time and by doing so compel those about you to stand clear of you.

You can be a stranger in a strange land if you wish, but you cannot be one who demands that the land change for you at your whim. Even if your religious adviser tells you that you are entitled to it. You may find yourself getting with the pogrom…

c. You need not dress to impress the neighbours. You also need not dress to intimidate or offend the neighbours. If you dress in such a way that they are visibly amused, you’d better decide to change or enjoy the laughter.

Note that they need not dress to please you, or your religious advisers. If they comply with the civil law of the land, that is all that is needed.

d. If you have a structure that is new…ie. under 200 years old…do not pull it down to erect a set of jerry-built flats to resell the land at a higher price. You will waste all the energy, materials, effort, thought, and design that went into the original structure. You will further stack more into the waste-fill dumps and cost an entirely new cycle of rebuilding. If this is just chasing money, you completely negate any other environmental savings that you will ever make in your lifetime. You might as well smoke asbestos cigars and grind the butts into the faces of your grand children.

Think of that perfectly good house on a perfectly good suburban lot as a healthy tooth in your mouth. You would be a fool to have it pulled out and substituted with some artificial thing, no matter how sophisticated the operation.

 

Standing For Parliament

Standing for Parliament costs money – a fact that all people understand. The corollary is simple; not standing for parliament saves money. Particularly if that includes not standing for the policies and imposts of the parliament.

I do not suggest that people should revolt – there are far too many people on my Facebook feed who are revolting enough as it is. But I do think we should refuse to pay.

Refuse to pay the enormous salaries that parliamentarians get…and then refuse to pay the pensions, perks, and golden handshakes that usher them out the door. At very least, expose the entirety of their financial dipping and slurping while they are in office.

The two and a bit party system provides a certain amount of jealous spite to do this – but it is always tempered by the knowledge that once one lot succeeds in driving the other from the public teat, they can fasten upon it and suck  as hard as possible. It ain’t morals that drives the moralists – it’s the desire to get to that teat.

Note: This week there is a petition to the Australian parliament to get rid of an Australian parliamentarian because of his crass statements after a terrorist attack in New Zealand. So far it apparently has some 850,000 signatories. For a land of some 20 million people – most of them pretty conservative and politically apathetic – that’s actually pretty big beans. As both major parties are going to make a censure motion on the individual in the Senate, it is a very big beans indeed.

The Federal Office Of Lickspittle

Once there was a country full of people. And they had a Prime Minister who was also full – but instead of being full of other people, he was full of himself.

This did not bother the people as they were told that the Prime Minister was the best thing since sliced bread. He was the toast of the country…though eventually a lot of people wanted to toast him…some over slow fires.

The PM went from strength to strength, appearing in many different places in many different guises. He espoused many different causes. He wore many ethnic garments. He held a great many plates of what we were told was ethnic food – for the benefit of the press photographers. Whether he ate any of the stuff is unknown – no-one knew if he actually ate anything at all.

He was a good Prime Minister, as Prime Ministers go, and in the course of time it was hoped that he would go. Eventually enough scandal and dishonest dealings were uncovered  to allow this to happen, and he was relegated to the position of not being as good as sliced bread. It remains to be seen if he will be remembered for anything, though we will remember the sliced bread.

Eh?

The Outlet Store – Retail Clothing Part One

Our city has a fairly new set of clothing stores located on industrial land adjacent to the domestic and international airport. Heck, it might be Commonwealth airport land that has been sold off or leased to the new occupiers.

In any case, they are a set of shops that bill themselves as direct outlets for fashion goods – clothing shoes, accessories, and probably a lot more. Their opening day was apparently grand – in the sense that the crowds going to visit blocked the highways around the airports and prevented people from getting to their planes on time. This also happened when a big Ukrainian cargo airplane came to visit Perth a couple of years ago. We’re sometimes starved for amusement of a weekend…

I am not one to decry initiative and hard work – nor to put a brake on trade. And I recognise that new clothing is a good thing. But looking into my clothes closet and set of drawers that hold more cloth than I could ever wear, were I to live to 100, tells me that shopping for more would be folly. And I wonder how many people are in the same boat? Not just old coots like me…young coots  as well. How many new shirts is enough?

If you are a profligate, the answer is ” too many “. If you are not given to washing and mending what you do own, you are going to be the natural prey of the retailer. Likewise if you have a mind that can be swayed and swooshed by every new fashion that the makers would like to be paid for…well, your wallet is open to their fingers.

And it doesn’t matter whether the clothes you buy are at a discount factory outlet or the twee-est boutique in town. You will still pay as much as you can for as long as you can whenever they apply the electrodes or air their advertisements.

The Crayfish Pot

Lobster pot to the readers in Maine. The underwater fish trap that lets a crayfish in but doesn’t let it out again – until it is hauled up to the surface and boiled alive. I have just received a mild boiling by my bank.

The bait was the Mastercard that I use for so many transactions nowadays – petrol, liquor, overseas purchases, dinners, etc. My habit is to pay it off regularly once a month – pay it to the penny, and incur no interest charges.

Then in December I looked at my Mastercard statement and misread the required amount – misread it by $ 2.70 and underpaid it. In the month that has passed an interest charge has accrued of $24.70…

It’s all legal, and it sits there biting and biting and biting each day that passes. And it is what bites people into irrecoverable debt. Trapped in the crayfish pot.

I shall not take the tinsnips to the Mastercard. It can ride with me in my wallet for the emergency aid that it might be – but I am headed back to the bank with my chequebook to  pay the entire debt I owe – as of this day – and will not be using it for transactions that can be done with cash in the future.

It’s probably a $ 35 dollar lesson in economics by now…but I’ll pay it and remember.