The Conspiracy

Did you read about Big Oil? And Big Coal? And Big Gas? And Big Cheesecake?

How about Vested Interests? They were the favoured bogeymen of my old uncle Jude, the Montana cattle farmer. They apparently explained anything that he did not like. When it was pointed out that he had a vested interest in his farm, he went all morose.

” They ” of course, are prime suspects in the downfall of everything. The ” They ” varies according to who is doing the complaining. Men, Russians, the CIA, mysterious swarthy immigrants…all guilty of being ” They “. ” They ” are a pretty active and resourceful set of villains, and can be called upon to take the blame in many circumstances. Hard to actually pin thunderstorms or badly fitting sink gaskets on them, but useful for nearly everything else…

Whether it is spraying innocent populations with mind-altering substances like oil from leaking jet engines or poo from the airliner tanks, or smuggling hordes of tiny assassins in Post Paks, the forces of evil can always be counted on for a good topic at a party or public bar. They get more active after the third pint. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind man and tinfoil helmets are proof against most known germs…or is that Tea-Tree oil?  Wear both just to be safe.

PS: Don’t forget the Rumenati – the secret organisation of cows that controls the world…

Too Slow…Too Old…Too Cheap…Too Bad

My stated purpose with this column is generally to entertain, not offend. But I am forced to the latter rather than the former when it comes to the subject of driving in Perth. Or, rather, whatever I say is going to be offensive…so I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, and at my age there is a lot more about me that suggests mutton.

I am guilty of several sins when it comes to driving:

a. I drive at a little bit less than the speed limit, if I can.

b. I drive with one car length between me and the car in front for every 10 Kph on the speedo. 80 Kph…8 car lengths.

c. I frequently drive with the headlights on and the radio off.

d. I wear a hat in the car.

e. The car is a little 5-year-old Suzuki Swift hatchback with no pretensions to glory or prestige. No personalised number plate. It is bright green.

In my defence, I keep to the left hand lane. I attempt to merge smoothly. I do not talk or text while driving.

But I will not be bullied into going faster than the speed limit to cater to the tray-top tradie or Daimler despot. If I am in the right hand lane going over the Narrows bridge and interchange – with an 80 Kph posted limit – I will stay there at that very speed rather than dive off to let some scofflaw past.

I have frequently raised the ire of the desperate and entitled when trying to negotiate unfamiliar suburban streets at dusk – the drivers returning home have had to cope with me seeking my way while they know theirs. No-one has mercy at 6:00 PM…particularly when they feel they are near home territory and can be anonymously aggressive. I avoid dusk trips for just this reason.

I am also not at all shy about calling out impatient or aggressive drivers who bully their way through car parks – these are hard enough to navigate when you drive a small car and must cope with being hemmed in by SUV’s on all sides. My car is highly visible, and there is no excuse for taking your half of the narrow lanes in the middle.

As you can imagine, all of the above is a red rag to a motoring bull as far as many other younger drivers go. You can read their snarls on Facebook every day. Fortunately I cannot read Facebook whilst driving and so they can snarl as much as they like.

 

A Modest Apology

I wish to apologise for a recent Facebook post that ridiculed Facebook posts. I have been brought to realise that one may ridicule the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Australia, or the Premier of Russia ( or is that President…? Whatever…) but one does not hold the most popular social media network on the planet up to ridicule. Not if one knows what is good for one…

My legal adviser has urged me to throw myself upon the mercy of the Court Of The Internet and plead for a reduced sentence. Okay, Manny, if you think that would help. Here goes:

I’m sorry that I laughed at the people who share things on Facebook. From early childhood we have been told that it is good to share. Fine advice, when it comes to making 7-year-olds cut a birthday cake into even portions, but not quite so good when the sharing involves foolish opinions and political propaganda. But who are we to say what is foolish? The opinions that are hawked about like broadsheet ballads by People Who Sit At Home may be correct, for all we know. They are not backed up by any personal experience or practical demonstration, but then neither is the selling spiel for a washing machine by some sales clerk in Harvey Norman – they just sell you the box full of white goods. Perhaps the political opinions of formerly successful politicians can wash clothes as well as minds…

Enough, Manny? No? What do you mean, No? Jesus, Manny….Okay, Okay, Moses, Manny, how much grovelling am I expected to do? I’m not Johnny Depp, here…

Take Two: I apologise unreservedly for laughing at the people who share things on Facebook. I realise that they do this for the good of the planet and my soul. I am infinitely grateful for the tired anti-Trump memes…

Manny?

Manny, why are you making that noise? I’m doing the best I can here. I haven’t mentioned Nerium face grease once in the whole apology, and at no time have I yanked the Meminist’s chain. I’m being as good as gold. With a bit of luck I will get through the whole weekend without being unfriended by anyone. What do you mean, you’re crossing me off your list? Crosses, Manny…?

Featured Image: Voting Booths for the constituency of Facebook.

 

This Is An Automatic Recording From…

I’ll bet all my readers have had an automated scam telephone call by now…or are about to get one. My home phone seems to be immune, but my studio gets them all the time.

Here in Australia the scammers generally use a script that says they are from the taxation office and threaten arrest and seizure of assets to get you to start on the telephone call trail that they hope will lead them to your bank account or credit card numbers. I gather than in the USA they use the name of the FBI, IRS, or other authorities to make their criminal threats.

The classic clues are there – the silent pause before the recording starts, the faint hiss, the ever-so-slightly off accent coupled with a plausible name. The automated ones are no fun to receive, however – past the theatre of it all – because you cannot play with a machine. I now hang up on them as soon as the clues start, and dismiss them from my mind in 5 seconds. I have never lost a necessary call.

The human-contact scammers are more entertaining, as you can sometimes get one of them who has had a bad day, or a sour curry, and gently goad them into rage. I do it by being attentive, kind, and pleasant. A little vague, perhaps, wittering away now and then, wandering from the point but never too far. I play the role of stupid old white guy perfectly, as I have studied the part for years…I must sound like the fattest and slowest duck on the pond.

I’m sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned house with a drink in hand, and I’ll bet they’re not. The longer they are forced to talk to me to persuade my obviously senile mind to click on the Windows link…and I never quite seem to be able to grasp how to do it…the closer they are to lifting their safety valve. I have been able to stretch it to 10 minutes before a monumental burst of Hindi oaths terminated the conversation.

If I’m pressed for time – cooking or some other task in hand – I just say to them that they are violating the moral precepts of their religion and that they should be ashamed. It is not rude to say that – it is the truth. Maybe one day one of them will reform. Or maybe I will.

I know who to bet on…

 

 

The Football Final

Every year I see advertisements for the football finals and then the preliminary finals and then the grand finals. And it is all a fraud and a bitter disappointment – they come back again the following year. It never IS final…

In some respects it has grown a little easier here in Western Australia with the passing years – the WA Football League has taken a back seat…somewhere beyond the Black Stump…to the Australian Football League and the flood of multiple games played at ovals around the town on Saturday afternoons has tapered off to a little dribble. Of course there is the televised AFL footy game in the afternoon and this is blared over screens in every pub, but at least the roads are clearer.

We pay the price when the game comes to Subiaco Oval, and will pay a worse one when the new Burswood stadium is built, but it is not as frequent as when we had a dozen teams in the city. I pin my hopes for happiness on the fact that the land that will house the new stadium was once a riverside rubbish dump and there is a possibility that subsidence or methane venting will cut the fans down.

There is also the consolation of knowing that Melbourne has more of this than we do – more fanaticism, more expense, more disruption. Possibly more methane…

 

High Culture – Low Culture

And what about middle culture? Why is it ignored? What does the bourgeoisie have to do to get a little respect?

Try saying the word ” bourgeois ” in any social group and see what happens. Do it – if you possibly can- in a dead flat monotone and a context that hints no judgement of the actual word. It is the nearest thing that you can do these days to dropping a hand grenade into a koi pond.

No-0ne likes the bourgeoisie. No-one respects them. No-one has any faith in their tastes, judgement, intelligence, or morals. None of their history is pointed to with pride. No-one wants to admit to knowing them and certainly no-one wants to be considered to belong to the group. The reason for this is simple: no-one knows exactly what the word means – it is as nebulous as the word ” sin ” or the word ” goodness ” and no-one really knows how to use it Not until now. But this all changes – the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia will provide that definition and a clear guide to the whole concept. Bourgeoisism will come of age.

BOURGEOIS: Middle class – the one that the peasant owes money to. Oddly enough, also the one that the lord owes money to. A social creditor, without being a supporter of Social Credit.

You may also add capitalist in there somewhere. In any event the bourgeois is in a position that raises the jealousy and ire of everyone else for two reasons: They have property and they have independence. You might not think the latter when you see the extent to which rules are demanded by the peasants and imposed by the lords on the basis of ownership. There is a commonality in both high and low – they want that property but can’t quite figure out how to get at it.

The bourgeoisie is derided for their taste in clothing, architecture, music, and literature. No-one thinks well of them for what they choose, though in most cases the highs and lows will try to emulate them when they can. The most infuriating thing about them is they can pretty well have what they like, because they can pay for it. Those who can’t or won’t regard this as a reminder of their failings.

But the thing that should really make peasant and lord angry is the realisation that most of the actual productive thinking – as opposed to the military posturing of king and  indolence of pawn – comes from the bourgeois and their propensity to do more than people have done before. They might want to profit, but at least something other than battles and beer barrels come of it.

Or to put it in more refined terms; the upper classes cause shit, the lower classes do shit-all, and the middle classes do shit and make shit.

Collecting Things For Gumtree

I have started to collect things for Gumtree sales – or I might opt for eBay.com.au. I’ll get the daughter to show me how to do the registration and presentation and then I’ll get rid of a few things that are surplus around here.

First off I’ll find the box that my Giveashit button came in and repack it. I don’t think I have used it for about 5 years and I might as well get some money back on it before it becomes obsolete. It was in constant use until about 1985 when I shut down some of the North American links. Every year since then I’ve disconnected some of the wires to former professions, businesses, or acquaintances and now it works less than 10% of the time. Oh I try – I do press it whenever someone puts up some anguished meme on Facebook in an effort to make myself explode with either rage or delight. But most times all I get is a clicking sound. Maybe someone younger and with more passion will get some fun out of it.

Then I am going to try to get some return from the anxiety collection. I got some of them as a child – presents from relatives – and then was able to add something new each year as I grew up. My Fear Of Russians cards are still in mint condition – some of them have never been removed from the cellophane packets. With the way the Russians are behaving these days I should be able to get the entire purchase price plus a bonus back. I didn’t save my Moko Lesney Matchbox cars, but these cards should more than make up for it.

I do feel a little bad about the old shoebox full of religious feelings. I kind of hate to let them go. They were like a coin collection – you could take them out on a rainy day and play with them – looking at all the arcane writings engraved upon them and wondering where they came from. In my case I suspect from the Bronze Age. I intend to sell them outright – I don’t want to trade them for someone else’s shoebox.

I’m in two minds about the clothing. The Suit Of Ambition doesn’t fit all that well any more – I have outgrown the waistline on the trousers – and the Cloak Of Humility smells a little – but I still have a feeling that there will be some place I can wear them. But as I really don’t fancy intensive night life, I can’t really think where.