Riding The Horse – Part Ten – Genug Ist Genug

How do you know when enough is enough? And what do you do about it?

If you are sitting at a dining table you’ll know. One of two things will happen; either your plate will be empty or you will be full. It is a blessing when these things are simultaneous. If there is a discrepancy you’ll feel like something is wrong. And this is where we turn to either our intellect or our emotions.

When you use your senses  for anything – seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling – you experience a rising sensitivity, a plateau of appreciation, and then a decline. Your mind knows when it has had enough of any particular stimulation, and reduces its response to it accordingly. In the extreme, it turns to a part of you that deals with disgust and sounds an alarm bell. Enough! Genug! No further!

The wise hobbyist will see this same cycle happening with their pursuits. They’ll start with a tickle of interest, then a rising rush of exploratory lust. Then comes a period of direct reward for effort – the plateau. Finally, however, the interest slackens and the amount of effort put in does not yield an increase in pleasure or knowledge. If they are not careful they get to that alarm bell and start to hate what they once loved. Recognise this cycle, and you can start to control how it affects you.

Start out with a notion. A curiosity about something. A flash of something bright in the water. Pursue it. Start to become enthusiastic – then studious – then fascinated. Then gain a mastery of it – and share your pleasure and pride with others.

But when the interest starts to flag…when the rewards decline but the cost and effort do not…realise the fact and set a careful plan in motion. Analyse how much further your hobby can go for you. How much you can give it and how much it will reward you. Be realistic. See ahead to when you will have had enough. 

And then make a plan to quit it in good humour just at this point. If you need to leave some goal that you can never achieve untouched, do so. Take away a set of fond memories of the hobby before you hear the alarm bell. You will have done your mind a favour and not have wasted all the time and money heretofore spent on the hobby.

Your dinner will have done you good.

The Bus Tour – Route 33 – Somewhere, Eventually…

If you want to test your character as well as your stamina, get on the wrong bus. I did recently and found out a lot.

The basic problem was the Sunday schedule of the Transperth buses brigaded up two quite different routes at the same stop. And, as I was unfamiliar with the stop and did not look at the reporting sign on the front of the vehicle. I stepped blithely aboard the first one that presented itself.

I travel free on Sunday as a senior, so no money changed hands.

But when the bus turned off the main highway into the backstreets of a suburb, I guessed instantly what I had done. And then I examined myself to see what I thought about it and what I planned to do. I found that I was fine with the whole thing – I have all day to sit in the air conditioning on the bus and wherever it ended up, it would eventually return to where I got on. Or perhaps I could amend the problem half-way along. SI I settled for the ride.

Eventually it debouched me at our Technology university – at a bus port designed for what must be thousands of weekday commuters. It was deserted, but the bus driver was able to point me to a stand where I might catch another onward. With less than 10 minutes’ wait, a bench to sit on, and a magazine to read, it was no disaster. Eventually another bus I had never travelled on took me to a train station I recognised and I could resume what I started.

What did I see? I saw the densely packed housing around the university, the sprawling campus ( as always, under construction…) and the far reaches of 1930’s suburbia. When you can look out of a side window you can see far more than driving a car.

I have had a small adventure, and it suggests further ones spent on the public transport during weekends. With no anxiety about parking or traffic jams on the way, lots of destinations take on a new appeal – and if there is time to spare everything you see is rewarding.

Open Slather

Open slather is a phrase that has always fascinated me. It seems so decadent and worldly, and there are any number of things with which I would welcome being openly slathered. I often loiter by vats of chocolate making eye contact with slatherers, but so far to no avail. Unfortunately if you slather yourself, Security takes you away.

Perhaps I have been mis-hearing it. Perhaps it is ” open-slander “, which is much more up my alley. Up until now I have been forced by the law to do my slandering and defaming on a quiet basis. And I’ve had to be careful to whom I have distributed the material. I keep a journal with a careful note of what was said about someone and to whom, so that I do not repeat or contradict myself. Nothing worse than finding that you have done a subtle job of faint-praising someone and discover they have taken it at face value and been delighted. Then you have to start all over again. Remember to save your work.

There is also the thing where we have to consider the phrase and turn it about…is there a ” closed slather “, and who does it to whom? And can you see it on YouTube?

I also wonder at the word “slather ” and wonder if it is derived from the word ” slat “? A slat being a small strip of wood or other material. Does a slather slat something?

I’m going out to get a 2 x 4 and experiment on the rest of the family.


Telling Lies For Fun And Profit – Part One

I just realised that the title of this essay may be misleading. It is not meant to be a guide for popular journalism or entry into Federal Parliament. It is dedicated to a more private level of vile behaviour.

The novice who wishes to take up untruth as a hobby or part-time job needs to make it clear in their own mind whether they expect to obtain money, advantage, or other valuable consideration from the act – or whether they just wish the thrill of the thing. Either approach is quite valid, but newcomers make things much more difficult if they try to mix the motives too early in their career. Advice: pick one and stick to it.

First off – the pure lie – told with innocent grace and kindly intent. ” Do these pants make my bum look big ? ” is often a good place to start. Even if they make the wearer look like a Pickfords van backing out of an alleyway, always say ” No “. After all, the wearer is responsible for the bum; the viewers responsible for the derisive laughter. You are just a middleman and need not concern yourself with the consequences. Think of yourself as fashion version of Werner von Braun – you just shoot them up and need not concern yourself where they come down…

If this seems to be dangerous -after all the pants wearer may well turn on you – consider putting on an Akubra hat and a pair of moleskins and lounging around a venue popular with Asian tourists. If you are sufficiently wrinkled and tanned, tourists will take you for a local and ask for directions to the botanical gardens or their consulate. You have a wonderful opportunity to direct them to the worst parts of town in the safe knowledge that they will be far away when they discover they have been had.

Do not hesitate to lie to children and the elderly in the mistaken belief that they are frail or innocent. We have seen what both groups get up to when no-one is looking, and you need have no qualms. It will be difficult enough work as the young believe nothing and the elderly hear nothing. A lie shouted is never as satisfying as a whispered one.

Do not lie to policemen, doctors, or judges as they all three hold more punishments in store than you really want to investigate. You may lie to lawyers, real estate agents, and used car salesmen all you like. They will be doing the same to you and the exchange can be refreshing and artistic. You may both burst out laughing at times.

Next Essay – Lying For Money.



Stein’s Guide To Social Success

To achieve true social success one must remember a few rules – and be aware that they may not apply in different societies. If you are uneasy, just stick to the local one…

  1. Always allow someone who asks a rhetorical question to reply to it. They do not want you to supply an answer – they wish to hear themselves do that.  It is polite to pay attention while they do, though you need not obey them after that.
  2. ” Do I look like a fool? ” sounds like a rhetorical question, but in fact the speaker wants you to say ” No “…even if they do indeed look foolish.
  3. When confronted with a statement that is pure nonsense but apparently means a great deal to the speaker, do the Manitoba Shuffle: ” I’ll be darned, eh? ” will temporarily stop the clockwork in the fuse and give you time to get out of blast range.
  4. Remember that you must not decry another’s religion – whether that be worship of a deity, popular media figure, or political opinion. Any opposition to their belief will draw an argument that will be pointless and tiresome. It is a free country, after all.
  5. Offer to send them to Brunei, Iran, North Korea, or Burma with the injunction to repeat their creed on a street corner. That should sort the thing out neatly and you need not get your hands dirty.
  6. Quoting Latin, Shakespeare, or Trotsky in cocktail party conversation will never prove  useful. Should you fail you will look like a prat, and should you succeed you will find yourself in the company of lifetime tweedy academics, high-school English teachers, and would-be communists
  7. You cannot sell your friends into slavery. There are statutes forbidding this…more’s the pity. You can, however, pocket a finder’s fee if you get them to sign up for multi-level marketing and this is nearly as good.
  8. We are what we eat, wear, drive, and avow. And this changes in fashion hourly. Learn to dissemble.
  9. Also learn to dispose of the digested food, outworn clothing, jalopies, and popular philosophies so that nothing can be traced back to you.

Kinda Canada, Eh?

I once lived in Canada – for about 17-18 years. Then I moved to Australia and have racked up another 50+ years here – with time out for a working holiday in England. Thus I have the basic qualifications to be horribly wrong about three countries. I make the best use of whatever false insights I have made over the years.

Note: I also lived in the USA for a couple of years as a youth and a student. So I can be an instant expert about the place, too. If I am dreadfully wrong, it can be no worse than most of the overseas posts and news reports you read anyway.

All this leads me to a question; how long does one have to actually be in a country to be able to make a rational judgment on and useful report of it. How long does one need to form real memories – as opposed to the ones the glimpses airports and freeways give. How far down the biological and social chain does one need to go to reach the real experience? And is it worth going there?

Well, if your entire experience of, say, Canada was an arrival at Vancouver airport, transfer to a cruise ship and up the coast…then a quick trip to a ski resort and back to the airport…you might be forgiven for a really distorted view of the country. It might have been a pleasant holiday – in between two horrendous airplane flights – but you’d have no idea of summer in the fire season or winter on the prairies or the smell of hockey skates drying in an enclosed space. The same could be said for the tourist who comes to Australia  – though most of the North American visitors spend more time here than we do there. It’s the Asian tourists who do a quick round of casinos, beaches, and wildlife parks and then scatter back to their homes. Possibly with a glazed look in their eyes.

Does anyone ever take home a real view of a real place?

” Not Known To Me “

Spoke with a friend regarding the success of a new book he has written about his childhood. It was far away and long ago, but he does have a good memory and clear writing style. The people who lived there then and still do now are buying the book and, presumably, enjoying it.

One reader, however, had to chime in with the fact that the writer was not known to him – perhaps the most superfluous comment of the year. There are nine billion people on the planet who are not known to me, and I am satisfied with it. But the phrase is no more than a conventionality to garner attention – and it leads me to speculate upon the other phrases of this sort that we encounter:

  1. ” At this point in time “. If you’re giving a history lesson and are tracing the Peninsular wars month-by-month, the expression is excusable. If you’re merely trying to make yourself sound big instead of saying ” Now”, it is not.
  2. ” My good lady wife “. As opposed to your other one who is bad, or a trollop, or merely a scrap of meat on the plate? Does she describe you in similar terms, and you just haven’t been there to cringe at the time?
  3. ” I’m putting you on notice “. The speech of the headmaster when he cannot control the class. The vague threat made vaguer by the grammatical pointlessness of it. Throw a rock at the pompous ass.
  4. ” I hear what you are saying. “. As opposed to tasting it? Or smelling it? As this phrase is invariably followed by ” But…”, perhaps it is the smell that features large…
  5. ” It is what it is “. Oh thank God for that. I have been in terror that either it is what it isn’t or it isn’t what it is. Existentialism was never this hard and we wore raincoats for that.

My thanks to another weblog writer  – Tony – for sensitizing me to baloney. But bad news, Tony. Here in Australia it is sometimes spelled ” Polony “. Same gritty luncheon meat but cruder packaging.