Old Coot On The Road

Old Coot here. How ya going?

I’m the maddening character in the little car at the front of the traffic queue going very slightly less than the sign-posted speed limit. The one in the hat with both hands on the wheel. If you’re polite to me I’ll be in the left-hand lane for most of the journey.

Note: I write from Perth, in Western Australia, where the left-hand lane is the curb-side slow lane. The middle and right-hand lanes are for the people who wish to go faster and I wouldn’t dream of interfering with them as they do.

My little car is bright hi-vis green so that you can see it and dodge round it when you are racing toward your next amphetamine delivery. Don’t worry about me racing you for it…I hate to wear rubber off the tyres needlessly. And there is no need to flip fingers or scream obscenities out of the windows. I am perfectly willing to regard you as obscene under any circumstances.

No good looming up behind me to terrify me. I’ve worked retail for years – I can stand a looming that would crush a battlecruiser. I won’t speed up at all for tyrants, whether they are at a counter or a steering wheel. Being retired, I rarely need to get anywhere on my own time, let alone anyone else’s. And I like to use the exercise of driving to give me time to think. Time to think of my Super-Power…Old Coot Super Power.

Old Coots have been here before – sometimes here was better before, and sometimes it was worse – we have a comparison to go by. If it is worse now we are prepared to do something to make it better, and if it is better now we are prepared to take the time to be grateful.

We have seen better people than you do worse things, and as we are still here driving, we know how to cope with it. As conceited as you may want to be, you are not our worst nightmare. In fact a lot of us have taken up the nightmare business ourselves and we know how to do a lot with very small resources. And we are always looking for something to fill the day in between the morning radio serial and the cocktail hour.

Old Coots know that one day it is all going to end. And we’ve generally racked up enough time already to free us from regret if the one day turns out to be next Tuesday. Threatening us may seem all gangsta until you find out that we don’t care – and the man who doesn’t care is a floating sea mine with one bent horn. Steer clear.

Old Coots also can be very kind. We will change tyres for the helpless, guide the lost, and provide lunch for anyone. There is a price – we will talk while we do it. And the topic may not be apposite to the problem at hand. Don’t feel that you can ignore us – there will be a quiz later, and half your year’s marks will depend upon it.

Old Coots will rarely cuss you out, and if they do the terms they use will most likely sound quaint. They’re not. If an Old Coot calls you cowardly son of a bitch, he means it, and you are. Old Coots operate on simpler vocabularies.

If an Old Coot thanks you or praises you they also mean that sincerely.

 

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The Authentic Fake News Site Vs The False-Flag Rumour Forum List Meme

If we were asked to characterize the social media that we use – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. – in terms of food, what would we make it out to be?

a. Facebook: A crusty stew with appetizing aromas at the edges – aromas that never actually seem to be there when you search for them. The occasional bubble in the centre indicating heat. And a roiling mass of unsavoury ingredients just under the crust. Cat hair here and there. And unicorn glitter.

b. Twitter: A Pez dispenser. You poke the ornamental head at the top and a hard pellet of opinion is popped out of the screen. Some of the pellets taste like sugar and some of them taste like horse shit. None of them do you any good at all.

c. Instagram: Magnificently plated, superbly coloured, and unavailable to someone like you at this time. Just look and envy.

d. Pinterest: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and so is the food. The reason is mould. Subscribe now.

e. The personal blog: Someone’s home cooking. Not necessarily bad, but nevertheless someone else’s pots and pans. Taste at your peril. They may not be a good cook. You may not be a good eater.

If we had been presented with today’s social media news in the 1950’s or 1960’s we would likely have recognised it for what it is – propaganda and commercial promotion. The flimsiest of the flam. Those of us who saw the lies when they came on newsprint and left ink stains on the fingers…or who waded through innumerable cigarette advertisements in magazines…react entirely differently to those who have only ever seen a screen. We may not know how to turn that screen on and make it dance, but we know when to turn it off and do our own thinking.

Of course we can be wrong when we do that – original thought can be as bad as the store-bought stuff – but as we use simpler ingredients and have less access to processors, it is likely to be fresher and tastier. It may lack the salt and scandal that is added by unknown hackers but it nourishes us just the same.

Bit riskier when we send it to our friends and neighbours, though. As our own thoughts are unlikely to be covered by the legal indemnities enjoyed by professional liars, we are in danger of being detected and having our opinions challenged. Most of us have no biased reports or dodgy scientific studies to back us up and common sense has long been discredited as a way of living. The best we can do when some other madman challenges our own mania is throw out a smokescreen of kitten and Hitler memes and close the account.

Anyone who either agrees or disagrees with this will be instantly defriended with the prickly end of an emoji.

Red Or White? And What Calibre?

I am going to have to screw up my courage here and admit something that few adult Australians ever say; I have no idea about wine. None. None whatsoever.

I know people who are experts. Not just family party experts, but earn a fortune and drive wonderful motor car experts…on the subject of wine. People who can tell you the truth about wine. Indeed, they could tell you lies about wine and you would still believe them…they are that good on the subject. But not me.

I have wondered about it – recently I decided that it was the result of my upbringing – a product of the times and places that formed me. This has made my ignorance sweeter to bear, as it has excused me from feeling that I have let the home team down. The truth is that the home team couldn’t care less about wine.

Let me explain. I am the product of a childhood and youth spent in western Canada in the 1950’s and 1960’s. My parents drank alcohol – responsibly – and taught me to do so as well. They depended upon the native produce of the places where we lived, and this was never wine. Western Canada produced moose, petroleum, and grain, but it did not grow vines. The winters saw to that.

Thus, the drinks of Canada were beer, rye whiskey, and whatever the Yugoslav migrants  decided to distill. The first category was taken care of by Molson and Labatt, the second by Seagram, and the third by Josef Bosich and his mates in the back shed. You could still get conveniently blasted on any of these liquids, but none of them had a hint of overripe passionfruit mixed with dark oak and cinnamon. None of them were a grande cru, and none of the Canadians cared.

Oh, you got fussy rye whiskey drinkers who insisted on 12-year-old Crown Regal and  Bloor Street manners, but a couple of highballs into the evening and it all went to shit anyway. I suppose you can get wine drinkers now that Australia and Croatia export the stuff to the dominion…but those of us who learned to sneak nips from the sideboard in the 50’s and 60’s generally ignore it.

If you want to codify wine for Canadians:

a. Drink red wine with things that you shoot with a rifle.

b. Drink white wine with things that you shoot with a shotgun.

There may be a bit of confusion when it comes to 12 gauge deer slugs in a pump action, but you can always fall back on CC and Molsons and really it all works out even in the end. If you are wondering what you should drink with stuff you have shot with a slug in a .410, you would be better off with a white wine spritzer…

Reforming The World

A number of my friends would like to reform the world. They wish others would think, vote, spend, and behave in a way that seems correct…to them.

This has become evident in conversation and in reading the things that they have written. In some cases they have undertaken concrete action to try to initiate changes, but I do not know if there has been much success…time will tell.

I have few such ambitions – my desires for fundamental world-wide changes sort of peak at hoping people will not park too closely in shopping centres or leave chip wrappers on my lawn. This may seem sad or pathetic, but it at least has the advantage of providing daily reward – when my car doors are undented I sleep in peace.

My ability to affect Theresa May, Kim Jong Il, Donald Trump, or even Justin Trudeau is equal to my ability to juggle dugongs. I hesitate to even consider the mechanics of the thing. Any anxiety on my part about what they do remains untreated and untreatable. I could as easily alter the second law of thermodynamics.

So…what do I do when I want to do a bit of reforming…a bit of activism…a bit of righteousness? I turn to the nearest sinner and grasp them firmly by the conscience and turn on the guilt lamp – turn it up high until they start to sweat and twitch and gibber. Then I compel them to tell me all their misdeeds and browbeat them until they are a nervous jelly. By the time I am finished they have surrendered their entire psyche to me and are ready to be moulded anew. I demand – they obey. It is like training animals in a circus – a flea circus.

Of course I need hardly tell you that the nearest sinner to me is…me. It is a very efficient process – I know my peccadilloes intimately and can go right to the heart of the dirty little matters. No good pretending to me that I wasn’t there – I know where I was and I can prove it. If there is any argument I give myself a quick cuff round the ear and yell at me. It works every time.

And the great thing about it is…I never learn. I’ll be doing things that are worth sneering at for years to come. I can be as domineering to me as I want to and there is nothing I can do to stop me.

Browse the Shelves

Want to find out all about someone? The real info – the skinny – the down dirt?

Forget the internet. Forget the public record office. Don’t hire a private detective – save your money. All you have to do is look for a bookshelf. People can hide everything from anybody nowadays but they can’t conceal a thing from long-dead authors…

a. If there is no bookshelf in the house, because there are no books in the house, you know a very valuable thing. The householder probably doesn’t, but…

b. If there is no bookshelf in the house but there are piles of books lying about the floor and on every available horizontal surface you know a different valuable thing. Look at the books – if they are dust-covered and uncut, you may be in the presence of a collector, a publisher, or a dolt.

c. If the books are pawed – spines broken, jammy fingerprints on pages, bookmarks everywhere, marginal notes in pencil, etc. you can ask the householder questions and are likely to get useful answers. If the marginal notes are written in lipstick or blood, don’t ask the questions.

d. If there are numerous bookshelves with books neatly arranged, a big wing armchair by the window, and a smell of coffee and cinnamon buns in the air – do your utmost to ingratiate yourself with the householder. It will be worth it.

e. If, in addition, the bookshelves are labelled, numbered according to the Dewey decimal system, and sport signs reminding you that you are being watched, try not to rattle your teaspoon in your cup of camomile and be careful of making eye contact.

Now – all the above having passed, look at the titles of the books. The books most important to the householder are likely to be those closest to hand. The first three show you their mind – if you need to know it, study those books carefully. What you do with the knowledge is your own affair.

Note: To be fair to my readers I will list the three books I keep closest to hand:

  1. George Washington’s Rules Of Civility And Decent Behaviour.
  2. Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack.
  3. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. This volume also contains The Rights Of Man and The Age of Reason

You Won’t Believe What They Found When…

When they clicked on the next 15 links after the original bait. At least we hope you won’t believe it. Because if you do we’re all screwed.

If you really are as stupid as this we have been wasting half our time here in Macedonia. Not that we haven’t been paid  – a bit of money, a bit of hash, a few drinks, etc. No, that’s fine. We are happy to make up bullshit for the rest of the world on that basis. It saves us from trying to go out and rescue the country from our parents.

What we are really worried about is whether we have spent too much time with well crafted semi-plausible come-ons and conspiracy stories when we could have just thrown out memes with cats and bat children in caves. Have we spent our time making good-quality bullshit when we could have gotten the same pay with poor-quality stuff? It’s a maddening thought.

Fake news and propaganda is not as easy to concoct as you might think – particularly when government agencies are engaged in the very same process. They have access to actual fresh facts, which they can distort in a far more convincing fashion. We’re limited to wild stories and bigotry, and while this is good reliable stuff, it lacks the finish and detail of the official lies. You can’t fake fake.

Of course we are grateful to the Weather Bureau for delivering a hot end to summer in the northern hemisphere. And with the bonus of a hurricane through a heavily armed section of North America. We are hoping that the Texans do not disappoint us in regards to shooting looters on sight. In fact, we count upon it, and have prepared the outrage vats in anticipation. Let ‘er pour, Baby.

Likewise we would like to express our deep appreciation to the under 30’s of the western world who raise howls of protest against anything that they do not understand or have experience of. It is heartening to have such a resource on hand to offer to our backers. We need quality raw material to do good work. And we have some of the stupidest and easily led resources since the 16th century.

Watch this space.

Whut?

Australians all, let us rejoice, for we are young and…

Whut?

The formation this week of the Australian Council of Idiots has come as welcome news for those of is who think for a living. Whether we are writers, artists, scientists, administrators, or teachers, we have all longed for some organisation that can take the  unnecessarily stupid under their wing. And herd them away. I think we will all benefit.

In this, of course, I must exclude those who may be genuine idiots as per medical definition. They are a gift from God and deserve our care.

No, I am thinking of those who are a gift of mindless television, mindless sport, mindless political influence, and mindless consumption. You may have detected a commonality there, and it is that factor that the ACI will address.

Don’t misunderstand me – the ACI will not attempt to improve the intelligence or fortunes of their members. No evening classes in punctuation or electrical engineering or political science will be offered. The ACI will deal with the herd upon the same basis that a farmer does dairy cattle. It will push them down the road in the morning and push them back up it in the evening, and occasionally pull their teats. They can moo to their heart’s content and anything else they deposit will be scooped up and sold to fertilizer firms.

If the members get ill they will be given a salt block to lick and if they swell up with gas ( always a possibility at election time ) a sharp hollow spear will be thrust into them to let it out. They will be expected to be grateful for this, though I’ll bet we’ll hear ” I don’t like it! ” from one individual…

Every so often, the ACI will ” service ” them. You can watch if you like, but don’t stand too close.

I am thinking of joining as an affiliate member. I am practising my ” Huh? ” for the summer gathering in Canberra.