There are many different techniques for a hunter when they are trying to get the game to show itself – some adopt the sneak-and-creep approach that tries to blend in and give the prey a false sense of security. Others use the big-noise ploy to frighten the animals into leaping from cover. Some just throw out chum – chopped-up whitebait, packets of hot chips, or free tickets to Johnny Farnham concerts. All three are valid propositions.
One of the best new approaches is for a hacker to tell everyone that they are in terrible danger from hackers, and to direct them to a site that will protect them by harvesting private numbers and passwords. If this sounds a little like the federal government, you have to remember that both the hackers and the politicians learned their trade in the same private schools and may well end up sharing their experiences in the same cell.
The business of computer and internet security is so complex, of course, that it defies normal understanding. Like the mysteries of religion, this creates an opportunity for a priestly caste to step in and control the confused. The fact that the saviours are also the people who invented the danger is sometimes overlooked, in both circumstances.
To some extent this priestcraft is a good thing – if you are prepared to go blindly along with the directions of the experts you will eventually get somewhere – just be careful who you follow. The same principles apply to computer expertise and turf consultancy, and in some cases it seems to be done by the same people. If you are a fan of three-card monte games played in a doorway off a side street you should be perfectly at home.
Where the idea of priestcraft can be seen to be turning to more general benefit is in the fact that there are still several major electronic religions. You need not worship at the same keyboard altar as the person in the next cubicle. The teams can be played one against the other for the benefit of the perplexed. If one discovers a vulnerability of another, they will trumpet it in the mainstream long enough for the guilty party to either slink away or invent a repair for the problem.
You cannot stand firm upon ancient belief when it comes to computers – some prophet is always coming down off a mountain with a shining face and two more tablets of silicon – in many cases the glory turns out to be residual radiation and the wild hair is the result of opening the back of the desk-top a little too early. In any case, you are going to have to adapt, adopt, and update every so often – just do so at the behest of reputable firms and not Flash Harry. As irksome as they can be at times, the major suppliers like Apple and Microsoft really do maintain their own demesnes eventually.
I have been resigned for a long time now to the sound of the telephone ringing just before tea-time. It’ll be the land line – not the mobile – and it will have the classic silence and clicking before a subcontinental voice comes on and lies to me.
The lie will be one of the classics – Telstra Technical Department, Microsoft Technical Support, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Federal Police, roof solar panels,etc.
It will commence with the voice asking me if I am Mr. Stein, or the householder. I have learned to ignore this question and ask directly to whom I am speaking. Generally they will give a first name and a slightly mumbled organisation name. Very few of them ever admit to being a Gupta or a Ranjit…it is always a Brad or a Janet. In many cases you can hear the Hindi being screeched in the background and in one instance I could swear I could hear the humidity…
I’ve tried everything. Abruptness, sugary sweetness, baffled confusion, a heavy German accent…none of it seems to stem the flow of bullshit from the receiver’s earpiece. It’s only a whim or the effect of the afternoon cocktail that makes a difference between swearing at them and singing to them. But I grow tired of it – especially when I have better things to do.
So now I am going to start firing off a series of letters of complaint to the only authority who can put a stop to it – the Indian government. If they are going to host these electronic bedbugs, they can be held up for airing as well as the bedding. I’m sure it will be for the most part futile, but the pleasure to be had in abusing a dignitary for a dollar is cheap enough amusement.
In an exclusive interview with anyone who would stay still long enough, famous Hollywood mathematician, Louis C. de Nominateur, has admitted that he has been guilty of transversal since the early 1990’s.
This confession comes on the eve of revelations by a number of female academics that de Nominateur used his position as Monomial at Berkeley University’s Nonial Institute to press them for favours. The fact that he was contented with favours from a Cracker jack box is neither here nor there. If he was going to whistle, they were determined to decide where it would be.
The use of improper fractions has also been cited as the reason so many of the complainants failed to gain tenure at the University. There have been rumours of trinomials.
The law firm of Scalene, Johnson, and Congruent has been engaged to prosecute the case in California. As soon as the plaintiffs decide how much money they would like to possess, writs will be served on the defendant. The first hearings are not expected to take place until the internet has delivered a judgement favourable to the complainants and there has been adequate time for the memes and outrage to take effect.
Here at the headquarters of The Australian League Of Virtuousness we have a motto:
” One Born Every Minute, And Five Born To Administer Them ”
It is engraved on the doorpost of the entrance*, and again on the lintel across the entrance. It is embossed on every chair in the visitor’s lounge, every place at the director’s 20 metre mahogany dining table, and every stall in the Executive Washroom. Nothing will wash it away, though, God knows, we’ve tried. Especially after Champagne Night.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not decrying the basic sentiment – it is just that it limits the number of divisions into which the contributions might be made. What do we do if we engage more staff members. The motto specifies five, but there is room in the stretch limo for more…and Bubbles, Brandi, and Trixie promise to be tireless workers in the cause.
I think that we need to take a broader view…and I have a black book full of broads’ names to hand. There is no sense restricting our activities to just the poor or downtrodden. The rich and arrogant are also in need of virtuousness and can afford to purchase a better quality product – or at least a lot more of it. We have contacted Kargotich transport for a quote on their high-capacity dumper trailer to haul more virtuousness as there is bound to be a saving in bulk. As yet the council has not replied to our enquiry about whether it is legal to dump it on the verge.
Goodness and mercy have often been said to follow the virtuous and this may very well be so. To that end we are suggesting that members of The League take sensible precautions and change their mode of transport and route frequently to elude pursuit. It is no good getting complacent about this sort of thing – if you are always kind and helpful you are one day going to be caught out at it and then where are you. Canonized, most likely. And some of those canons have a fierce recoil.
* At an angle of 45º.
Of wherever the latest horror has surfaced.
The Australian League Of Virtuousness scans the world’s press daily looking for the worst atrocities, natural disasters, repressions, tyrannies, scandals, and sports results. We have teams of dedicated memeists ready 24/7 to rush a soothing coloured filter or image of a candle onto the pages of social media as soon as the debris stops falling from the smoke cloud.
Note: We do regret posting the candle and picture of a guiding lantern as a response to the great Fire of Chicago. Also the photo of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was a mistake.
We are also ready to collect canned goods, canned money, blankets, woolen money, old clothes, old money, and any other money needful for these occasions. The fact that we then distribute it to the members of The League for their use at the beach house over the holidays is neither here nor there. We give the public a chance to be charitable and a place to be charitable at. And beach houses can be desolate places at times.
We are not judgemental about the amount of charity that people can give is – we are as happy to take the widow’s mite as we are to take the iron-ore mining tycoon’s million dollars. We just adjust the difference by calling round the widow’s place a little more often with a little more forceful approach. It all adds up to the same in the end.
Don’t let yourself be fooled that all of the money goes in administrative costs, either. A lot of it goes on liquor and paid companions, and this has nothing at all to do with administration. We also maintain strong presents in the United Nations to ensure the smooth running of the political machinery. And we wrap those presents, too.
Remember that now is the time to give, and give again. Give until it hurts. We feel your pain, and we will think of you and pray that it continues.
The Australian League Of Virtuousness is going great guns. Enquiries about membership are pouring in from around the nation as do-gooders who are dissatisfied with the current level of exposure that their deeds have attracted seek a new alternative. The ALV is just the chance they want – and cheaper than taking a billboard advertisement on Stirling Highway.
The League directors – oddly enough also the guiding lights of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia – know well the need of the righteous to be seen to be so on a regular basis. We recognise that it is not only good morality but also good business to be in the forefront of charitable works – particularly if you can also be the directors of the charity. Of course there is a time to be modest as well – generally about a week before the auditors enter the office is good – and the timing can be critical. The matter of a few days can be the difference between 3-5 years of porridge or the same time with caviare.
But enough of food. Man does not live by bread alone, nor by rolled oats or fish roe. The food of the soul is charity…and who better to exercise it than the League of Virtuousness. Members will have opportunities to be charitable at very reasonable prices, with full internet coverage and a 24-hour meme service to keep them in front of their Facebook friends.
No disaster or atrocity will occur in the world un-noticed as The League rushes their healing rainbows, hearts, prayers and thoughts to the keyboard. A simple payment to the Treasurer of the League will ensure that your name is emblazoned on the Facebook feed of everyone in your address book. For an extra fee, you can appear in the side bar, and if you would like to make over your estate to the League in toto, we will make an on-line game of you.
No need to hide your light under a bushel. No need to torture yourself with false modesty. We can do it for you with real modesty and real torture. And our racks are dishwasher-safe.
As Right Evil Bastard of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia, I take great pleasure in announcing the formation of the newest of our branches; The Australian League Of Virtuousness.
The League, as a division of The Guild, will be responsible for promoting goodness instead of badness – virtue instead of vice – and justice instead of tyranny. This will take place on alternate fortnights or on occasions when The Guild is absent for holidays.
Of course, revenue generated by the League will revert to The Guild and be distributed accordingly. As it is expected that the customers for this new service will be in a proportion of 1:5 – as per the Barnum ratio – there may be a considerable time before excess profits are available to return to The League. But we have hopes that light will prevail over darkness eventually at a rate higher than C.P.I.
Aspirants to the League will be required to demonstrate their committment to social justice, temperance, and anything else that can attract dollars or attention. At this point of time we do not plan to practice any religious ceremonies beyond passing the plate.
Please note that virtuousness is not connected with virtuosity. Virtuosity plays on the violin – we play on the nerves.