Whoops. Or whoopsie-daisy for the more formal amongst us. I seem to have made an error.

I was able to recognise it because I remember making one once before – 1959, I think. The things crop up every so often. In this case it was a mistaken coat of paint on a model airplane.

The plane was fine to begin with and so was the paint in the jar, but the application was done thoughtlessly – and the result showed it. A botched piece of art, without even the saving grace of a high price tag.

Mistakes are one thing, mistakes when you know the proper thing to do are another- and I did know what to do because I’d read the proper procedure and had done it before. This was careless error.

I paid for it – with a couple of hours of gnawing dissatisfaction and then a further hour of hard work scrubbing the whole mess off the model with methylated spirits. Yesterday I spent more time carefully re-coating the plane with the undercoat and then carefully spraying layer after layer of thin paint with plenty of drying time between coats. Today there will be further masking and detail painting, and tomorrow I’ll be where I could have been two days ago.

Moral? And it’s one that you can apply to every facet of life:  Do it right the first time or the last time. If you’re smart these can be the same occasion, and then you’ll have more time to do more fun things.

Team Building Weekend

AKA load of horse shit fobbed onto the management by some pseud who they have not had the good sense or courage to throw out of the building.

I have never been on a team-building exercise – to the best of my knowledge I have never been on a team. And no part of my psyche seems to have suffered.

I have been part of a workforce in a company, and part of a student body on many occasions. I have been the principal of a practice. I am a husband and a father and have been a son and grandson in the day. None of these involved crawling under barbed wire or sitting in a sauna or confessing my flaws – indeed the success of a number of these positions involved hiding them. Whatever I am or am not now has been a result of me and not the team.

If that sounds arrogant – it isn’t. I’m not a very big hill of beans. But the beans are me, not some construct of a psych department attached to a promotions company. If you hired me you got me…not anyone else.

Please Undress In The Cubicle

And present yourself once you are ready.

There seems to be a great deal of fuss made about romance, love, and sex these days that is somewhat superfluous. Not that the subject is not delightful and horrid in equal parts, but the set of rituals that have developed around it are becoming increasingly strange.

Once it was simple. Arrive at puberty, find someone else also at that stage and contract a marriage. Gain permission to live together from whatever relatives were handy, pay a small fee to the local priest for magic words, and start living together. Some societies just did the pairing up for you – you were married to whoever the relatives or ruler said you would marry and that was the end of it.

Now you need to meet, fall in love, romance each other, inspect the goods, try the mechanism, and get a lawyer to draw up deeds specifying who gets the cat if you divorce. This is time-consuming, tedious, expensive, and no-one ever asks the cats’ opinion.

If you decide to skip the legal bit you’ll be presented with it later – and neither side will be happy with the division of anything. Dividing the cat will be the most distressing aspect, not least to the cat.

There must be an easier way. Of course fundamentalist societies revert to Plan A and then fight it out from there on. Hippy societies have no plan, and still fight it out, but with a messier result. We need the intervention of the Vulcans and their logic to solve the problems.

I propose that before the ship of eternal marriage sets sail, the local authorities inspect the lifeboats. There must be an adequate provision for alternate lovers and/or spouses before the first lot are wed. It should be simple to draw up a list of secondary and tertiary partners to whom the prospective lovers will be sent in case of a breakup. If these individuals are taken up in the meantime suitable alternatives must be inserted into their planned marriage contracts. That way there is no uncertainty about where the affections will be directed or the infections  contracted.


I Need To Talk To Me

But will I listen?

Taking advice from yourself is not as easy as you might think. Sure, you’re available 24/7 to consult, but by the time you’re an adult, you will have grown accustomed to the sound of your own voice and you might have gotten into the habit of ignoring you.

The best way to break this is to find something that you can deal with that really does benefit you. Then tell yourself to do it, do it, and realise that you were right. Back slapping congratulations might throw out a shoulder, but you can be quietly proud.

My latest revelation to myself is to realise that when someone says or writes something to be annoying…and it succeeds in annoying me…they benefit and I lose. And every recollection of it just renews the distress.

The thing to do is to block the annoyance. You can do this on the crudest level by blocking the pest. Drop their acquaintance, real or electronic. Do it for a day, a month, or forever more. If someone is such a pain as to provoke this, you will not regret their removal.

A more sophisticated method is to let them continue holding forth but cease noticing the attempt. Regard them as you would a maniac howling at the moon. Nearly all comments, however delivered, can be ignored.

If you have time and patience you can respond minutely to each irritation. Do so blandly, politely, and literally. Never ignore them, never ignore their grammar or spelling. Politely correct them, and suggest that they are wrong…but you forgive them. You’d be surprised how fast people flee from you when you forgive them publicly.

” Educating The Public “

Or ” How I learned to justify my hobby by pretending it was educational “.

I am a hobbyist. At any one time I am deeply engaged in some expensive pursuit that does nothing whatever for the rest of mankind…but pleases me thoroughly. It has been model boats, ships, cars, old-fashioned firearms, dress-ups, studio photography…etc, etc, etc. No money has been made through these activities but no-one has died, either. I have largely been kept off the streets and the local retailers have benefitted.

The various activities have always been designed to please me – and to some extent have done so – and haven’t been too injurious to the environment. They have been – in the words of the philosopher ” innocent enjoyment “. That should be the whole of it…but people being who they are, this is rarely satisfactory…we are constantly trying to justify our fun by pretending that it is educational for the public. Here’s the flaws in that:

a. It isn’t. Watching you run a toy train through a plaster landscape doesn’t make anyone smarter…unless they were primed beforehand to see a specific detail of your layout. You cannot preach to the congregation – only to the choir.

b. The general public is fed on the production of the television and at the lowest pressure of that, as it is. You cannot compete on any level of stupidity with ” Big Brother” or ” Celebrity Chef ” no matter how low you sink. Do not try.

c. Your presentation of anything is a secondhand, thirdhand, or hired hand performance. What you learned from a book – flawed as it was – will become worse when you do it. You Are essentially inbreeding information that will not improve the species.

d. The public doesn’t participate in the benefit of what you do…and there is a real, real benefit for you. They also do not participate in the expense. They are just there to jeer, and you are generally not allowed to insult back – they are the great public, after all. You can be on a hiding to nothing from the start.

So. So what to do? How do you justify your hobby?

You don’t. You tell the truth to yourself – it is a study for yourself – an intellectual pursuit – a game -a collection or workshop or encampment for you alone. You will pay for it, do it, learn from it, not learn from it, or be disgusted by it in turn. Do not try to hang anything on anyone else – good or bad. Just do it for you. You’ll appreciate it all the more.

I’ll Tell You A Secret

But I won’t realise I’m doing it.

Just follow my posts on Facebook that ” share ” other messages. I will post them thinking I am telling you a great deal about the state of the world. In reality I’ll be telling you a great deal about the state of me.

I may not actually be a great deal…or even in a great state. But I will have provided either enticement or warning by re-posting whatever has come lately to my attention. You can agree with me, in which case you enter into the Blessed Lands Of Joy…or you can disagree with me, in which case I get to damn and blast you. To be honest, I prefer the latter to the former as it gives me more opportunity to vent my spleen. You can build up a lot of pressure in a spleen these days and any opportunity to release it is welcome.

Of course, things may change. I may become happier. I might find love, or at least sex. I might find $ 20 in an old coat pocket. I might lose 10 kilos and fit into my jeans. In the event of any of these, I will start to share happier memes and I expect you to like them just as much as you did the nasty ones.

Otherwise there will be trouble. I many not know where you live, but I do know where you socially post.

Funny Is Dangerous

I have discovered that funny is dangerous. Bit late, I hear you say, but remember that I was brought up on funny that had great timing and pauses between gags. And no bad words. Funny that wasn’t drunk at a pub.

Now I’m not talking about making fun of others – mocking them. We all know that’s dangerous when done in the wrong way or to the wrong person. There is even danger in doing it with the attention of the wrong audience. Instant retribution can erupt, the clockwork  of delayed revenge started, or one’s personal reputation demeaned. In some cases this is just punishment – in others it’s something gone horribly wrong. There are times when something genuinely is just a joke.

Now you cannot prevent yourself from falling down a fire-belching crack in the earth when it appears under your feet. If you are from New Zealand this may be during a morning trip to the grocers – you either perish shrieking or climb out and retrieve your string bag. This event is so common as to account for the laid-back nature of a lot of Kiwis.

But you can stop yourself from the fate by looking carefully at a map, noting if any streets are marked ” Fire-Belch Lane “, and then planning your shopping elsewhere. Smart money plays the odds. Equally so, you can plan your comedic sallies with an eye to where they go. If someone is a notable Basilisk, treat them with seriousness. Save the yoks for those who know how to smile.

I’ve misread maps before and ended up wrong. The comeback after a failed joke can be a cold journey – rough and comfortless. But you can come back, even if it is just yourself and your string bag. And you come back with information that you can mark on your social map. ” Here Be Dragons ” is knowledge that is hard got, but very valuable.

Do Not Click On This Link

If you do, you will be unhappy. You will lose time, money, or patience with humanity. Or all three. It is known as the Imperfecta…and unlike multiple bets on horse races, it is extremely easy to win.

If you have read this far it shows you have a desire for either punishment or humour. I like to craft my jokes so that you cannot have one without the other. In this I am aided immeasurably by the social media outlets. They allow me to step in a tilt someone’s mental bowl of soup off the table into their lap.

I am not alone in this. Just today I clicked on an innocent picture of soldiers preparing for an army exercise in one of our suburbs. I imagine it will be the infantry – and I would not be surprised if they pop off a few blank rounds while skulking through the paddocks. The horses agisted around the area may object, but the local dogs will have a good time. If it turns out to be the artillery exercising I’m going to get a bucket of popcorn, a big orange drink, and enjoy the show…

However – the Facebook post that warned local residents ( probably with a repeat in the local press and over the television ) drew forth a number of trolls from other parts of the country who were able to conflate the army exercise with the current state of Covid 19 lockdown in Victoria, vaccines, sheep, and new world order conspiracies.

I would normally avert my eyes but in the case of a few of them the grammar, spelling, and sentiments were such as to suggest professional comedy writers holed-up on a hotel room with the mini-bar open. I honestly cannot tell whether the posters are real or really good at appearing to be stupid beyond belief.

I am hoping that is is art, which I applaud. If it is science, I am gloomy, and if it is life imitating either of the other two named, I am saddened.



The Constitution Says…

” The Constitution clearly says I have a right to get polio or smallpox if I wish. And to pass it on as a heritage to my descendants. For as long as there are any.”

No, it doesn’t. The Australian Constitution says nothing at all like this. It is a political document and doesn’t control public disease prevention.

” Well the American Constitution does. ”

No, it doesn’t. And you’re not in the USA.

” Well, Magna Carta, then…”

Black Plague back at you. Go get your shots and take your kids as well, and stop being an infective pain in the arse. And stop waving Facebook at me.

I Hope To Interest Science

I hope to be of interest to science. Not in the path lab specimen jar sort of way, but as an interesting study in psychology. The problem that I have right now is deciding whether I wish to be a shining example or a horrible result.

Good has its attractions. You spend less time in court or on the gallows and history is kind to you. Of course, if you are skilled at doctoring history in the first place you can pretty much please yourself what you do in your spare time.

Evil is a difficult thing to present to others – they always seem so judgemental when you are a mass murderer or sell fat-free grills on the Shopping Channel. The old excuse of being mis-understood has largely gone by the board…when you explain yourself it all sounds so much worse. Best to just destroy civilisation and keep silent about it.

Science has gotten a bad rap lately with the anti-vaccination zealots and the electronic virus conspirators. Even proving mathematical formulae can lead to you being stoned in the marketplace. Don’t mention the sun or the planets…

But I still hope to be given my own place in the species charts when they re-do the scientific classification of the world. I cannot say whether it would be better to be an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral, but whichever I end up being I hope to have a cool-sounding scientific name. One that people can spell correctly.