Slingshot And A Bag Of Gravel

Let’s face it. There are a whole lot of difficulties that would dissolve if we were allowed to make more use of the slingshot and the bag of gravel.

a. Traffic holdups.

Not that the SAABOG would help if there are cars t-boned at an intersection or flipped over on the side of the road. But it would sure clear up a lot of those scenes where two entitleds are yelling at each other over a fender-bender.

Not to mention the bicycle riders five abreast.

b. Ethnic dancing festivals.

I like ethnic dancing and photograph it frequently. The best stuff is terrific, but the worst stuff is also terrific – using a more precise definition of the word. It gets bad as the tempo slows and once you have reached to point of art set to modern atonal music you can be forgiven for reaching for the SAABOG. A couple of well-aimed flints can start the slowest dancer and a wise shooter will drive them toward the exits.

c. ” You kids get off my lawn! ”

Don’t yell at ’em. SAABOG. No noise, no smoke, no smell.

d. Does the local dog chase you when you walk down the street? Have you tried politely asking the neighbours to prevent this from happening? Did they laugh at you? Were you embarrassed and distressed?

SAABOG.

There’s still gonna be embarrassment and distress, but now it’ll be a shared set of emotions.

E. Same neighbours?Same attitude? Wild parties every weekend that go until 4:00AM?

SAABOG. After the midnight cutoff point when the cops refuse to come out yet again, start firing gravel up into the air in a high arc from your darkened yard. You might   be horrified at the price of howitzer ammunition these days but gravel is cheap. Treat yourself.

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This Site Uses Cookies

They are used to keep the inner weblog columnist quiet long enough to get a post out. Otherwise it is whinge, moan, and whine all morning long.

Cups of coffee are also used as are cartoons and shots of liquor. Anything to make the news feed from Facebook or the quasi – left press on public radio acceptable. It has gotten a little easier in the last few years as retirement kicked in – no morning or afternoon commutes to inflame the soul – but there are still days that practically beg for a rifle and a water tower.

The preferred cookie is the Arnotts Venetian Biscuit or the Triple Choc Overload. Once the commercial bakers perfect the Quadruple Choc Overload the Triple will be relegated to history. There are technical difficulties – once you get past a certain percentage of chocolate in a biscuit you can’t get it out of the packet in cold weather. Not that it stops the dedicated – we’ve all eaten packaging in our time.

Tim Tams are the belly dancer biscuit. They can be induced to do nearly anything except quieten down with a pack of Tim Tams. Mind you, it’s considered bad sportsmanship to bait a three-gang hook with chocolate biscuits and then go trolling on stage at the dance shows. It looks bad when you are gaffing tribal dancers into the wings…

Home-made cookies, slices, and biscuits are, of course, generally preferred to the commercial offerings. But in the last decade it has become somewhat of a lottery – you never can tell when you’ll encounter the gluten-free, lactose-free, politically correct biscuit. And unless you are prepared for them with a hammer or a crucifix, they can be a frightening sight. It is generally best to approach a plate of new-age biscuits wearing a rubber lab apron and welding mask.

A final note for the people who wish to be superior. I read recently a sneering comment made by someone about commercial cheesecake and how horrible it was meant to be. Having eaten my share of cakes from the very shop that was being disparaged, I can say that the Facebook detractor is being precious. Cake is cake, and if you take it in small doses, frequently, and with adequate coffee, it is a wonderful thing. Commerce is not crime and neither is mudcake.

Dance For Me, My Pretty…

If someone were to say the words ” Exotic Dancer ” to you, what would you think of?

Would you think of someone doing a dance that is well outside of your normal culture? Perhaps a Middle Eastern dancer in the Persian, Turkish, or Egyptian Styles? Perhaps a Bollywood dancer in a brilliant costume. Perhaps an African doing a tribal dance. Perhaps an Israeli whirling in a hora. A Hopi dancing to ensure a good corn harvest…

Or would you think of a stripper? Boom dooma doom dooma doom. Bah.

Some people say it is the dance that has become corrupted, but I think it is just the imprecision of the language. ” Exotic ” means ” foreign ” – but the strippers who dance in our local clubs are really mostly domestic. I grant that ” Normal Dancers ” winking on a neon sign over a sleazy nightclub would not quite have the same pull as ” Exotic Dancers ” but really, after the outer garments were shed, the end result would be pretty much the same. Whether they start out wearing tracky daks and woollen jumpers or small triangles of sequins is just a detail.

” Erotic Dancer ” might be a better choice, but from all reports, the dancers don’t feel all that hepped up on a cold night out on the runway. ” Erotic Customers ” might be more accurate, though again reports suggest that it would be better to substitute ” Erratic “…

I propose that we change all the advertising. Instead of ” Exotic Dancers ” or ” Erotic Dancers ” we headline the bill with ” Mystery Dancers “. No-one will know when they sit down at the ringside table whether they are going to get Gypsy Rose Lee in a bikini or Harvey Weinstein on a bender. The anticipation should be electric. And no-one would know what was going to happen till the first pasty landed in the audience.

 

Dancing Need Not Be A Worldly Thing

Hello.

Good to see you back. You managed to get through the gloom and cynicism of yesterday’s column and decided to try one more time. Hope the hangover’s not too uncomfortable…because the good news is, there is hope.

Not for everyone, mind. Not for the people who are determined to stay on the treadmill. Not for the people who want to trade their life for baubles and bangles ( unless they are belly dancers, in which case it becomes quite a sensible choice…). Not for cowards.

Because this column is going to challenge you to change your choreography – to dance in spite of the world. If you are a spiteful individual, come sit right down beside me here and we’ll begin.

If you’d like to do a certain dance in a certain way, and no-one else will reward, criticize, approve, or profit by  your performance…you are in a fair way to becoming a personality. If you go right ahead and do that dance, you’ll be a professional. If you do not care or notice anything that occurs after your performance, you’ll be an artist.

If your dance is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or just sliced bread, or not quite as good as sliced bread…and you are still determined to do it…good on you. Even if it is mouldy bread you are on the side of the angels… you can make penicillin out of it.

Dance for you. Dance where only you see the performance. Dance until you are satisfied with the steps, the metre, the music. Dance for God, and not His creatures. He’s a better audience…

Blindsided In The Big Bed

Some Sunday afternoons are dull times…particularly when the weather has closed in and there’s nothing new to see. You sort of languish. So you can understand why I was delighted with an invitation from one of Perth’s belly dance sorority to call at her studio and take some pictures of her class teachers – she said they were to be casual ones for studio records. No need for me to bring the entire lighting suite…

Well, you can’t be too casual. I worked out a good travelling two-light setup with the new camera and packed it into the car. I noted that there were a few cars out on the parking area at her place but whose they were didn’t register. I walked to the front door and rang the bell that didn’t seem to ring. Just as well someone was going by the hall at time and saw me waiting patiently on the doormat.

Well, I was ushered in gracefully by Belyssa and directed to go set my camera and lights down. She’s got a big, purpose-built, studio space in her home that has an exotic theme – it looked like there were plenty of spaces for a decent posed group once the others arrived. I asked, in a professional manner, how many were to be expected.

And that was the signal – Belyssa gave the high sign and they all flooded out of the kitchen. And I was gleefully informed that it wasn’t a professional call-out, but a party given in my honour. And that it was I that was to be photographed…

I take these things well – rarely falling to the floor unconscious. I also take well to a glass of red wine and a plate of snacks and the cheerful conversation of people who I had photographed in the dance business for many years. And there were a number of war stories about theatrical performances and costume embarrassments.

Then they dressed up, and dressed me up, and packed into the spare bedroom set and sat me up at the top of the bed and that’s the last thing I remember. I’m told I had a good time, and I’m prepared to believe it.

I shall never look at Sunday the same ever again.

Hold Me Close – Stab Me Deep

I am somewhat amused to see that Bette Midler and Donald Trump do not like each, though I am not surprised by it. Even if they shared the same political affiliations – which I take it they do not – there would still be ample cause for them to be at each other’s throats – the chief of which is they are both overbearing…and do not appreciate it when they cannot dominate each other. As it is, they both have a very good thing going in their animosity – it assures them of a place in the news sheets and the social tweets. And they both want to be in all the news all the time.

This closeness that they do not admit sharing is also seen in many other arts and crafts – dancing has it, painting has it, sculpture has it…as does any other art you care to name. I can find you collectors of model cars who would stab each other with a 1:43 scale Morris sedan if they could get away with it. Rivalry, angst, bitchiness, treachery, and deceit can be found everywhere.

It can be petty, like the person who falls upon spelling or grammar errors to score points. It can be serious, like the glaring matches that break out at amateur dramatics between sets of parents. It can be useful…though frequently useful only in starting an even bigger fight. And sometimes it can be profitable.  Send me $ 15 in used notes and I’ll tell you how…

I used to be horrified when a friend betrayed me. Then I discovered that after the world had come crashing down around my ears it could be set back upright – and frequently looking a bit better – within days. And the terrible act was somewhat of an inoculation – no-one could ever do exactly the same thing again. Oh there would be new betrayals to conquer, but that particular one was a dead issue. One less person and/or circumstance to worry over.

Is this to be taken as an encouragement to be horrible to others? No, you should still be as kind as you can to everyone. But it does put a lot of the things we see into perspective, and if it helps us to genuinely shrug off a hurt, it is valuable.

 

The Five-Ring Circus

OlyI am glad to be safe from any interest in Olympic sports. It is not because I dislike sportspeople, or other countries, or healthy exercise – far from it. Some of the cleverest people have been sportspeople, as long as they were not Yogi Berra or O.J. Simpson. Other countries are the mainstay and staple of tourism, whether they are sending theirs here or absorbing ours there. And healthy exercise is good for you and bad for the medical profession.

No…I am estranged from sports for the same reason I avoid video games; I hate wasting time in pointless activities. The zealots who will leap into the air and trumpet how important and costly and glorious sports are must finally come to the kernel of the thing; most sports are based upon moving something somewhere in defiance of someone else or doing a pointless thing better than someone else. The only sports that seem to have an anchor in reality were formulated to develop skills shooting firearms and that just raises a squawk these days.

Other people who follow international sport will parade flags, slogans, and traditions in an attempt to prove their national superiority over others. They would be ashamed of this braggadocio if it were done with brown shirts and political armbands but they are cheerfully prepared to do it in tiny bathing suits. They tell us that people really do care about the fastest person in a swimming contest without seeing that it is only vicarious nationalist pride. I can’t help feeling that they would cheer sending an Olympic gun battery to produce an artillery barrage provided it was a sufficient distance from them that they need not fear counter-battery fire.

Ah, you say, but The Spectacle! The sight of all those people marching! The Colour! The Atmosphere! The Emotional High! And the Money! The Money…!

Yeah, the money. Funny how it always comes down to the money. We could spend the same amount of money doing lots of other things that could raise a cheer and improve the country, but we don’t.

For instance we could take a census…*

  • It’s an Australian joke, folks, like drop bears and raw prawns…