Which to choose when you want to fleece the rubes – it can be a vital business decision.
The simple pea and shell game ( variation for industrial towns – pea and thimble ) is fast, cheap, and always effective for an operator who can palm effectively. It is the sort of thing that can be easily mounted on a bar table and doesn’t need a portable stand. The betting can be as simple as needed for the intelligence of the crowd, and like many bilks, it is perfectly suited to a con and shill team as well as a single operator.
It does fall down a little in states where they regularly carry sidearms. A pistol can make operation awkward – the wise worker carefully gauges the time to pocket the shells and fade – five minutes more has been a fatal temptation for many a Texas grifter.
The Three Card Monte table seems more suited to the city alley than to the county fair. Urban rubes always fancy they know cards better than their country cousins – and perhaps the taint of sin doesn’t enter into it as much for the towns. You need a folding table that will come up to waist height for a good monte and wise operators know that occasionally you’ll have to abandon a setup – so don’t buy an expensive table.
On the other hand, buy the best cards you can find and monitor them for wear. Replace them at regular intervals or when any form of scuffing starts to show. There is nothing worse than a palm shift being stopped by a card that sticks – people have been detected and knifed because of it. Moral: buy good cards.
Of course neither of these two cons should ever be attempted by someone who is not perfect in the art. There is nothing at all, save a jail term or a slug, to be gained by trying to train on the job. If you wish to enter the pea or monte industry, set aside enough time and money to train yourself properly and practise in every spare moment. After all Heifetz or Paderewski did not play scales to their audiences on the stage of Carnegie Hall.
I am going to try a new one on the South Asian phone scammers.
When the next one rings up – and there will be a next one, no fear – I am going to offer to send them money. I shall be polite and sincere.
It should lead to them ringing off instantly…as it is far from what they have been told to expect from their victims. If they are intrigued and ask how much or how I will send it to them, I shall offer them $ 1000 – and ask to which postal address it should be sent. This, again, should lead to them ringing off in confusion.
But there may be a newbie in the stream room and they might give me their address.
Oh Boy, could I have fun with that…
We should all be prepared to realise that the things we write on the internet:
a. Will never go away, unless they are useful and vital to our well-being. Then they’ll vanish without trace.
b. Are overseen by any number of state and private agencies and snoopy individuals.
c. Are carefully noted when they contain trigger words that deal with state security or criminal activities. Even if we innocently write the words ” bomb plot ” or ” My Kitchen Rules ” they will trigger an automatic recording by someone in Langley, Virginia, Beijing, and Moscow. Also probably in Pyongyang and possibly in Canberra. They will certainly be noted in Bombay and used to provide the telephone scammers with a target.
This is a problem for those of us who routinely write about shelling the local council offices with a howitzer because we can never tell whether the federal government snoopers will think it a bad idea…or a good one. I guess we’ll find out if someone leaves a free basket of 250mm shells at the front door tied up with a pink ribbon and bearing a ” Thank You ” card.
My chief fear is that the things that I write will lead to my friends being arrested, tried in secret, and jailed for long periods. And that I won’t be there to see the fun.
Still, there is always hope – you are reading this right now, and your internet address has been sent to a group of hackers in Athens. With any luck you should be getting your ransom demand in a couple of hours. They are not greedy – you can pay in moussaka and retsina.
I love pirates. From Johny Depp as Jack Sparrow to Errol Flynn as Captain Blood they have swashed buckles and shivered timbers from Tortuga to Tahiti. Even Aardman had wonderful pirates as animated characters.
I’m even more impressed with the ones off the Horn of Africa who try to zoom aboard passing merchant ships and rob the crews. And I just loooove the way the US, Britain, France, and the Russians treat them – from opening up on their tin can boats with autocannon to boarding them and blowing them up with satchel charges.
I note that the Iranian floating terrorists are now entering the game and stepping up the pace with ship captures and mines.
Please, let us return to the days of the Caribbean and the Royal Navy sinking pirates on sight. And Wapping Stairs, please. In chains.
Rules of engagement for countering pirates: There’s one, open fire.
PS: Let the air squadrons play too. If they can’t get a Warthog that far out from the coast, surely someone has a spare gun pack in the stores they could clap onto a Hornet.
Pirates are ALWAYS freie Vögel…whether they have a mullah or a mad king at their back. And eventually you get to storm their pirate nest and burn it to the ground. It took care of Port Royal and Cartagena…and Bandar-e Abbas is no different.
Have you ever been horribly kind? It is one of the most delicious pleasures that a treacherous person can enjoy.
We don’t mean kindness in the ordinary sense – holding a door open for a person struggling with parcels or speaking to the neglected at a party. These are all very well, but you can rarely twist them to your own ends -they are kindness wasted, as it were.
No, really treacherous kindness can be practiced only after studying your victim and the general circumstances closely. You need to know when to help to do the maximum damage.
The prime example of this was in Huysmann’s novel ” Au Rebours ” where his protagonist pays for a poor gutter-boy in Paris to be given good food and clothes and to be treated to the affections of expensive ladies for three months – and then to be turned out of doors penniless thereafter. His benefactor then contemplates the ruin of the boy’s life – spoiled for any pleasures save those that cannot be had, and doomed to a life of crime to try to obtain them again.
I do not suggest that you ruin anyone, least of all with ladies, but do give some thought to encouraging the weak to overexert themselves and the shy to obtrude where they are bound to receive contempt. Do it with a polite smile.
If you are compelled to be kind and it cannot be avoided, be kind to those more fortunate than yourself. Do it with a modest ostentation that cannot fail to be observed and resented. Offer charity to those who take pains to show that they never need it, and offer it when others can see.
Note: If you do hold the door for the person with the parcels, check and see whether the return spring on it will be fast enough to catch their heel before they get over the threshold. Remember to say ” Whoops A Daisy “.
The BGA wishes to call for submissions from concerned Australians that can be used to allude that Scott Morrison colluded with the Royal Ruritanian State Security Service ( RRSSS ) to influence Saturday’s election.
We are particularly interested in any packets of letters sealed in wax that may have been couriered between Canberra and Strackenz in the period leading up to the polls. Pencil sketches of hooded riders galloping along dark roads in the dead of night will be particularly useful.
We have selected Red Green to act as Special Investigator as soon as he finishes his Lodge meeting. While Mr. Green is not an Australian citizen, we feel that his name alone should be sufficient qualification to put him in good standing with at least two of the disappointed political parties – the Greens and the Socialist Alliance.
During the period of this investigation we will be issuing calls for writs of impeachment, impearment, and …in honour of Queensland…impineapplement. As well, we will be including macadamias and the chief produce of Kingaroy in the mix.
Think of it as a fruits and nuts campaign.
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.