Privileged Misinformation

Also known as the luxury lie. The sort of news that you get when you pay a premium and can demand to be told what you want to hear.  Sound good? Well you’ve come to the right people. Pull up an overstuffed chesterfield and light up a sofa…or is it the other way round? No matter – if you’ve got money you can smoke any sort of furniture you like.

Of course the opposite does apply if you wish cheap out and just follow the broadcast news or use the free app on your tablet. In that case we select the lies and bias and you get what we give you. Don’t worry – it will be fast paced and there will be bright colours. You can be outraged and seduced at the same time…frequently by the same news. You will not have to spend a lot of time thinking about issues as we will provide the opinion we wish you to espouse. All you have to do is stay ready to erupt into the street demanding whatever we tell you to want.

The middle-of-the-road news consumer may be left out a little in the division of the media. The old-fashioned newspaper and magazine are becoming harder to sell and harder to buy. The articles contain less thought and more emotion than before and frequently it’s somewhat delayed. The really fresh stupidity has already flitted through the mobile phone and tablet networks.

Note: putting aside the fake news and disastrous internet social groups is also an option but one taken by very few. You can tell who has gone that route by observing their street verge. if they’ve put all the televisions, computers, and internet devices out there for council collection it’s a sign that they would prefer happy to woke. If it’s not even council collection week you’re dealing with a hard core old-school thinker.

 

Nutwork Marketing

We’ve all had the experience of seeing someone begin to participate in network marketing. Whether they were selling soap products, essential oils, bulk groceries, or 3.5″ mortar bombs, we appeared on their prospects list because we were friends or relations. In most cases it then became a race to see which folded fastest – the network marketing scheme or the friendship. In special cases the relationship to the in-laws could also be scrapped.

Was this necessary? did it have to be? Could it have been avoided? Would you like to try these essential oil soaps that come in 48-case lots? No?

I think it is time to step away from this model of seizing upon our friends and relations as sitting ducks for the benefit of shadowy pyramid schemes ( and that is really all they ever are in the end, after the denials and flapdoodle have evaporated…) and reverse the pitch. It is time that we annoyed the get-rich-quick confidence tricksters by turning our friends and rellies onto them.

Here’s basically how it works:

  1. You make up a list of your relatives and fiends ( I meant friends…) – from close family on out to second cousins. Do not neglect the odder ones – the creepy uncle who makes you uneasy at Christmas – the aunt who screeches – the sister who says she is a vegan but smells like sausage. Marshall all your resources and make the paper list a long, thin one.
  2. Get accurate email and postal addresses for each of them. Telephone numbers as well, and particularly mobile phone numbers. Put this on a separate long, thin paper list.
  3.  Place the two lists side by side with the appropriate information for each person beside their name.
  4. Now slip the right-hand list down one division. each person now has false details next to them. False, but not terribly far from the truth.  Photo copy this document and label it ” List A “.
  5. Now free up the right -hand list and slip it up one division. Photo copy this as ” List B “.

You are now armed with two lists of nearly-right information that differ in two directions.

At this point you select the group marketing scheme, pyramid, social network, or whatever they are calling themselves and settle into a good long session of sending them List A  as prospects for inclusion in their next round of scamming. You’ll be supplying addresses and round-the-clock contact information that will certainly connect, but to the wrong person. However, the person who is subject to this bombardment of  California sales hype and new York bullshit at that address or telephone number will stand a very good chance of knowing the person who the scammer thinks they are addressing. They will recognise the name of their cousin or friend or workmate.

And they will be madder than hell – ringing up the supposed dobber and giving them the serve of their life. However, in the meantime, this second contact will have been receiving the same commercial bombardment in yet a third name.

At this point – about two weeks after the initial plant, you take List B and send it to the scammers via another salesperson. Don’t be worried about finding one – the schemes have multiple teams that will target an area before the heat is on. This salesperson will do the entire exercise again, but with a different set of nearly-right contacts. Everyone gets pestered again but supposedly by a different relative or friend.

You will have achieved three very good things:

a. You will have annoyed your entire circle of acquaintance for a month without having to spend money on petrol or buy them meals.

b. You will have wasted the time of the scam merchants for a month. Often this is long enough for them to clap their carpet bag closed and get on the steamboat.

c. You will have sensitised your circle of acquaintance to the dangers of this sort of personal affront. They will not fall foul of it in the future. You will never be pestered to buy diet supplements, soap, or time-share holidays in Queensland.

 

Self-Promotion For Seniors

Just because you have gotten older doesn’t mean that you have to get wiser. Join the BGA Self Promotion School and make an ass of yourself just like you did when you were young. Bonus: Now you can make your children and grandchildren cringe, instead of doing it to your parents.

Here’s a few suggestions to get you started. We also have a few to get you stopped, but some of them are illegal.

A.   We have been told that we should be learning something all our lives. As we get older, that can be as simple and beneficial as don’t climb ladders to clean the gutters and avoid driving at night. But this sort of practical thing doesn’t generate government subsidies, so things like Universities Of The Third Age have been invented.

They appear to be old folks clubs that pretend to intellectual pursuit. I would be willing to bet that tea and scones features prominently in the academic program. In any case, most of the codgers know most of the stuff that they try to teach – and know it because they did it themselves earlier on.

B.   Are you the sort of oldie who wants to become involved in volunteering? Have we got a treat for you…With the proposed cutback on illegal Asian slave labour for the market gardens and other processing industries – and a subsequent crackdown on slave smuggling through the airport – the fields will become bare and unproductive. Here is where a senior can step in – All you need is a straw hat, a pair of overalls, and a cotton sack. The tanned complexion will be provided for free and you can qualify for fried chicken and watermelon by singing work songs and spirituals. Yassuh…

C.   Are you good with children? Are you good with grandchildren? How do you define good? Could you pick one off at 300 yds. over iron sights? The Education Department would like to talk to you about our new sniper course.

D.   Men’s Sheds have become extremely popular as places where men can go, build furniture or model airplanes, and complain about the Government and women. We propose to open a similar chain of venues called Women’s Drawing Rooms. In them, women can meet to do arts and crafts and complain about the Government and men. Those who refuse to deal with anything in life on the basis of gender will be accommodated by a neutral meeting place where they can do nothing and complain about the Government and boredom.

 

 

The Birthday Howitzer

Or the art of dropping on people at short notice.

It is an art. A black art, mind, but notable nevertheless. In Australia it’s been been refined into folklore. The ” Sundowner ” was an itinerant who turned up at stations looking for work just at sundown…when hospitality would not be refused but no actual work could be done. The nearest modern equivalent is the person who calls at tea-time, sees you trying to prepare the meal, but will not go away. They stay until you give way and invite them to a meal.

Then they complain about the cooking…

The Birthday Howitzer is somewhat similar except it is fired when there is a family celebration in the offing. The gunner arrives at the start of the family party with a gift…and therefore cannot be refused entry. The gift can be as tawdry or cheap as you like – the $ 2 or Reject Shop is a good place to stock up. The wrapping can be terrible. It need not be appropriate in any way for the recipient. It can even be horribly offensive – the salient point is that it is a present, and thus a key to all the food and drink on offer. A good Birthday Gunner can consume half their weight in barbeque and beer before the cake comes out. If there are take-away lollie bags for the kids, several of them can be snaffled as well.

A very special variant of the BH is the hospital visitor that brings in a magazine that they got out of the waiting room but stays to share morning tea and lunch and then departs with the patient’s fruit bowl.

You must excuse me -I’m feeling a bit peckish and I heard the rustle of a crisp packet opening…

What Does A Popular Culture Icon Do On Holiday?*

For that matter, what do they do when they are finally clasted…as every icon eventually is. Milli Vanilli went down in flames after they only pretended to sing badly. Had they lip-synched to the ” Horst Wessel Lied ” it might have been a fair cop, but as it was, the outrage over their pop antics was a little silly. However, it was effective – they rarely perform on the stage anymore…

Currently we have no end of entertainment icons floating about. Some, who may have been connected to dodgy politicians or procurers, are paddling as fast as they can for the horizon in hopes that the furore will die down behind them before they are dragged back.

Some icons are up there in the limelight right now; virtuous, visible, and vociferous – still rising and trying for the crowning halo of television publicity. I suspect that many of them are hoping the negatives have been burnt, the files deleted, and the receipt books thrown into the harbour. Some, like Einstein, may become beloved memories. Some, Teller and Oppenheimer may not be so beloved. And some may not leave a memory at all.

That’s known as getting away with it.

*  Practise her scowl.

The Welcome Wagon

As a child we moved about North America a great deal. It was my father’s work that occasioned this. No, not train robbery…that was never work as such…more a hobby. I mean heavy construction, mining, and dredging. Its the sort of profession that whirls managers and engineers from one job to the next and can uproot their families 3 times a year for decades.

Every time we arrived in a new city or town there seemed to be a Welcome Wagon. This would be generally ladies meeting my mother and bringing cake or cookies  plus what seemed to be special gifts, but were in reality advertisements from the local tradespeople. In many cases the Welcome Wagon ladies were the wives or employees of the tradesmen. This was in the days before professional girlfiends so there was never anything juicy in the gossip line.

My mother would have them all in, serve tea, coffee, and whatever was in the kitchen at the time. The ladies would introduce themselves and then gently probe for answers – much like Facebook does now. Age, marital status, education, children, hobbies, income, religion, politics, preferred brands of tobacco or liquor, etc. The answers would then lead to additional probes and/or discrete advertising for whoever had filled the Welcome Wagon basket.

I listened to my mother respond to some of this; fence with some questioners, answer others,  then supply them with what in retrospect was a very friendly form of obfuscation. I think she would have been good in front of a Royal Commission or Senate Enquiry. It was the time of  Senator Joe McCarthy so I think she realised the value of keeping family information private.

In any case it was always the same – as soon as the welcome ladies found out that we were birds of passage, likely to be there for only a quarter of the year, the welcome mat would be rolled up and they would vanish. To be honest, even though I was only about 7 or 8 at the time, I got to be quite cynical about the whole exercise. I got far better treatment from teachers ( and far worse from students ) at the schools I went to.

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.