The author tree is not exactly a distinct botanic species. Author trees can be Elm, Maple, Oak, or any large deciduous variety. In tropic and hot climates Palms and Baobab trees have been very successful author trees. Pine and Fir are less common, though the Giant Redwood of California would be very suitable, if a little deadly.
You see an author tree is a tree which the author of a book that is not selling well will use as a marketing tool. He packs a bag with copies of his book, climbs up the tree, and shinnies out on a limb that hangs over the sidewalk.
When a suitable victim walks under the tree the author drops the book on their head and then pops back into the foliage. The person below suffers a surprising blow on the head and then looks around to see who threw a book at them. Very few ever look up. Then they pick it up and see what it is. In most cases they will start to read it…and if the author has been careful the start it put with a zinger like a murder or a girl taking her clothes off, chances are the sore head will wander off reading the book.
It was not a marketing strategy without risk. Pamphleteers and writers of short stories bombarded the populace with no qualms; their writings were lightweight and safe to drop. Others, like Tolstoy or Zola, caused fractured necks and worse. This explains many of the periods in their lives when they took rapid vacations into the provinces.
Of course you have to make some sacrifices for your art, but these days sacrificing strangers is not viewed well by the authorities. Philistines to a man.
a. Invest in a scanner, computer, and printer. Scan your local currency and print the resulting files with the printer. Glue the front and back of the bills together. Scrunch up the result.
When you try to pass this counterfeit money do not be surprised if you are detained by the police and jailed for the crime. Or get away with it for years. It all depends on the people you shop with.
b. Sell people courses in how to sell courses.
This is the ” daisy chain ” theory of economic success. If you do not understand what a daisy chain is, you are a better person than I.
c. Threaten to expose people’s seamy history unless they give you money.
If they actually do have a seamy past, this is called blackmail and like ( a. ) above, will eventually lead to jail time. If they don’t, you just make one up and publish it anyway. This is known as investigative journalism and earns big bucks from tabloids.
d. Sell a food. Well, actually just sell the idea of a food. What you are selling need not actually be edible or nutritious or even safe. Let’s face it, you can serve nuclear waste dipped in weed killer to the right market – my local kebab shop does a big trade Friday night.
But if you are selling on-line you need something that can be shipped without leaking. Dried food powder is a good choice, and you can dry and shred gerbil droppings on a very economical basis. Then all you need is a slogan and a website.
e. Become mystical. Mystics can sell things for $ 39.95 like crystals, books, and healing incantations. Why people fall for this is a mystery, but as long as they are willing to act as cash cows, you just keep pulling the teats.
Or the Kalahari. Or the Gobi Desert.
Have you dreamed of a career in the mining industry – but have been put off by the appalling conditions in the places where the ores and minerals are to be found? Has the sight of the human slaves of the Brazilian gold mining industry endlessly struggling up out of craters in the earth horrified you? What you need to do is join BGACO – the commodities division of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia. We can get you digging without all the flies, heat, and armed guards.
The multi-national data mining industry is one of the most energy-efficient ways of making money known to man. We do not need giant ore trucks, wheel excavators, dynamite blasting, or underground boggers. We don’t need to fly in and out constantly nor do we need to sleep in dongas. We don’t have to listen to an overfed chairperson tell us to tighten our belts while they pour themselves another champagne.
You can work from home, or the local library, mall, or coffee shop. You can work late at night without disturbing the neighbours. You have no-one trying native title rights claims on you and there is no Occ Health And Safety officer. You can live in a wet mess all day, if you wish.
All you need to start is a computer, tablet, or mobile phone and an enquiring mind. You simply think up an intriguing question, quiz, game,or challenge that will require people to divulge their secrets to you. If they do so to the rest of the planet is irrelevant – as long as you get the information about them you have a salable commodity.
Like zinc or copper ore it must be concentrated to make it worthwhile shipping. This is where you do the most work, compiling lists of the most relevant details for each person and putting these into blocks of information. These blocks can then be shipped over the internet to the advertising corporations who convert them into commercial weapons. What they do with those weapons is none of your concern. As long as they pay you per delivery that is all you need to know.
Occasionally you will encounter the information equivalent of iron pyrites – details that look like gold but are just valueless. Even here some profit can be made by connecting these individuals with the worse dregs of humanity – you’ll have a goodly dreg supply along with the paying customers. Eventually the word will get out that it is safer and easier to tell you the truth…
How could I be happy if nothing happened? Where was the joy in that?
a. I was not being bombed or shelled by anyone. No-one hates me enough to bother with the ordnance, let alone the targeting.
b. Nothing broke. Neither the legs nor the washing machine nor the car nor the airbrush.
c. No-one stole anything from me or my house.
d. No-one sent me a bill.
e. The Facebook pests that perpetually swing their little axes in my face had other things on their minds.
f. I was not on the Freeway for morning nor afternoon rush hour. So none of the sirens were for me.
g. The cat did not put a dead rat on the doorstep.
h. I did not lose another pair of panties to the elastic monster.
This was a day full of the noticeable absence of stressful excitement. It left space for food and drink, hobby work, and writing. I would like to achieve an entire week of this boredom some day.
For the one person on the continent who has not seen the YouTube video of the glitter bomb parcel that punishes package thieves, we’ll suspend this column and wait…
Okay. Back again? Good wasn’t it? You really wanted it to work, didn’t you…including the fart spray?
But did you notice a few things about the thieves? Some were black and driving around in packs, but some were white, driving an expensive car around alone…but still stealing parcels. The couple out for a stroll in the neighbourhood were just getting good exercise…while they stole parcels. The constant factor for Winnetka, Illinois ( where it was filmed ) is that people steal parcels.
Here in Perth I daresay we have some parcel thieves as well – from druggies and vagrants to bored teenagers and hunter-gatherer packs from squalid suburbs. But it may be less of a problem due to less packages being left. I spoke to a friend in the courier business and he detailed some of the problems there can be in actually getting things to the doorsteps of houses that will not allow a close approach – but who still want unattended drops. Some of the recipients sound like they are not thinking the thing through.
Again, there can be some delivery firms – thankfully not the one that my friend works for – that have a cavalier attitude to actual delivery. They may skip up to the door and ring the bell, but run away without waiting for the arthritic or hard of hearing to get to the door. Then the sequence of trying to collect a parcel from some distant depot starts, and you wonder if any on-line shopping is worth the hassle.
I’m lucky, my parcels are generally delivered by a very nice Indian man who waits for me to get to the door and passes the time of day with me as we sign for things. I can feel confident that he does not leave me in the lurch. And I will have no need to develop my own glitter bomb. Though I may make up a few fart spray presents for birthdays. People do appreciate an effort…
I take no interest in screen crime – and only marginally more in the detective novel stuff. There’s a warm spot in my heart for Kinky Friedman, Father Brown, and Hercule Poirot but that’s about it. However I have an intense interest in our local criminals who prey on shops.
I don’t work in a shop anymore – and we didn’t have much shop crime at any time – but I do visit our local hobby store. And their experience with criminals is affecting me.
They are in a nice new set of tilt-up premises along a major highway. They share the complex with a couple dozen good shops. But they seem to be the target for break and enter thieves. Ever since they opened – and that was just a little over a year ago – they have had 11 break-ins at the front of the premises. The thieves want the expensive radio control gear, drones, and other salable goods. Presumably there is a criminal trade in this for the holidays.
Now there is a new determination on the part of the management to resist this sort of thing. They’ve added steel mesh to the front glass window of the store and completely covered the inside with a wooden framework and panelling. It has unfortunately reduced the lighting to the in-store fixtures with no window light to supplement it.
And it has cost – I don’t know how much the previous breakings have netted the thieves or cost the owners – nor do I know the price of the alterations. But I know it all has to be paid for by someone – and that someone is the legitimate customer. We pay a premium price in the cost of goods because of others’ criminality.
Well, let us hope it stops and the economic pressure reduces. I support the shop and hope they will do so well now that the prices can be capped. It is too much to hope that the police will catch the would-be thieves, but perhaps the scum will target someone else now. Or finally achieve their fatal overdose.
The crime of theft from the front doorsteps of Australia is on the rise – the holiday month plus the increase in on-line shopping means than more and more deliveries are being made…and more and more delivery personnel are discovering that no-one is home.
Some of them make this judgement after ringing the doorbell and knocking for 5 minutes. Some make it from the street as they drive by at 50 kph. The second types are generally Australia Post contractors who just take the parcel back to the local depot and leave it for you to seek. The ones who invest a bit of time at the front mat may to leave the goods under it or behind the potted palm and then buzz off.
Here is where the parcel thieves succeed. They trail delivery trucks until they get one of these unattended drops and then swoop on it after the courier has driven out of the street. The goods are gone and the intended recipient may have a miserable trial trying to get anyone who handled them to admit to it.
The Guild Solution to this is BGA Couriers. In our distinctive cars and vans – we have a magnetic sign that can be whacked onto the doors of any car…and as easily removed again – we drive through the suburbs until we pick up a ” trailer “. There is a list of likely suspects circulated daily and any old Commodores or Hyundai sedans with oxidized paint panels are instantly recognised.
A house is selected – preferably with an open driveway, closed garage doors, and a porch easily seen from the street.. The BGA Courier goes to the door with a temptingly large parcel. The courier seems to ring the bell, but no-one answers…so they prop the parcel in full view of the street and drive away. With a bit of luck the thief swoops, collects the bait, and is off and away.
What’s in the box? Anything we fancy. Old laundry, used, and well past saving. Commercial leaflets that have been accumulating for the last three months. Pistachio shells and glitter in an unsealed bag. Dust from the Hoover. Just anything…
After all, it is the holiday season and in this case we are far better giving than receiving.