I Am Not A Monster

While I admit to being a senior citizen, model maker, and studio photographer – serious charges in themselves – I must deny the assertion that I am a monster of cruelty. I do not mock the afflicted nor harass the indigent. I am kind to animals, with the exception of mosquitos and cockroaches. I obey traffic signs and harsh words from the wife.

Thus, when I receive evidence that a friend has fallen for some sad internet hoax, I do not point the finger of scorn. I take pity upon them and remain silent. This is not the silence of collusion – it is commiseration. I, too, know what it is to be fooled by plausible tricksters…and I’ve lost money to them. The last thing I should want when I finally detect  fraud is to have to bear scorn as well as loss.

Friends – there are any number of trolling, fyshing, scamming productions that can come through your social media or through general searching on the net. Whenever you see something that is either too good or too bad to be true, it is just that. You do not need to fear, nor to react, to any of it. But if it helps to relieve a little of the tension, by all means open up the Snopes website and see if the thing that is troubling you has been debunked there. In most cases you will find that this is so.

Even with the most innocent of enquiries, answers can be harvested that will do you or someone else harm. The best thing to do is not give any answers on the net. Anything that you need to ask or answer can be dealt with between you and your physician, dentist, lawyer, religious adviser, or 6th grade home room school teacher. If it is really heavy-duty stuff you can call in a policeman or a magistrate. These are the individuals who have real power for good in your world. Depend upon them.

The internet has been a blessing for a lot of us – I mean, who wants to go out into the street looking for a cat on a rainy night when you can get a picture of one on Facebook? But it is a cursèd blessing, and the curse is the easy way it makes nonsense sound like truth.

Remember that if you forward this to ten of your friends, nine of them will wind the toilet paper the wrong way on the roll and the tenth will use bunched up newspaper…

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If You Don’t Have…

I’ve just seen one of those cooking sites that specifies extra virgin water grown on the slopes of the Gobi desert and kept under magical moonbeams for one of their ” signature ” dishes. I’m left with a number of questions…at least one of them pertinent:

a. What is a ” signature ” dish?

Is it a dish that has been signed? By whom? In what? Ketchup?

Would the bank accept a plate of ravioli at the bottom of a cheque?

Are there people who forge cutlets?

b. I get virgin. Not as often as I might like, but I do understand the concept. Something that has been previously untouched by human hands or any of the other parts. It’s a one-off thing.

But what is extra-virgin? Virgin on steroids? Virgin with attitude? The sort of virgin that marches in protests and yells at the police?

c. Water. It isn’t virgin now and hasn’t been for aeons. Every molecule going has been through something before: an animal gut, a pore, a plant tubule. Some molecules have been through every single Tom Cruise movie…but then you have to sort of admire that.

But all water is experienced. It knows its way around. It might appear in lite beer but not willingly.

It does appear in bullshit…and some cooking sites.

d. I’ve seen pictures of the Gobi desert. It looks like the Simpson desert or the Mojave. Without the taco stands. If you want water in the Gobi you need to order it waaaaay in advance. Like the Pleistocene era.

e. Magical moonbeams. Well thank God we’ve returned to sanity. I was starting to suspect a scam for a while there. No-one who has ever read J. K. Rowlings’ books …or for that matter her bank statement…could ever doubt the power of magic.

For my part, I prefer the recipes that allow some wiggle room in the pan. When they specify shrimp they will equally accept chicken or rat. I do draw a line at the medical advice columns that deal in substitutes, though. The one that said you could substitute wasabi for Murine wised me up.

On Ne Passe Pas

I just read several new posts on Facebook telling of incredible incidents…and I realised that I have been a Facebook criminal for many years.

The posts were from someone repeating posts from a third person, and were so vague as to be untraceable. That didn’t stop them from being sensational reading, mind – they spoke of stirring world events and social mores and the call to virtue and vice. All the good stuff.

The trouble was, they were very likely apocryphal. Legendary. Those are intellectual words for lies. Good lies, entertaining lies, educational lies – lies repeated by a person who is a very good person in other respects…but lies nevertheless. I’ve been seeing these lies for years – as long as I have subscribed to the main Facebook feed – and I’ve been complicit all that time.

Complicit? Why? Because I have just let them pass – pass along to the next person. Pass along to someone who might believe them and then pass them further. Some of the lies won’t do much harm or much good, but the constant stream of them must wear away any support for truth on the internet and eventually for truth in general society.

I repent of my crime. I shall reform. I will adopt the motto of Robert Nivelle. In the future the lies shall not pass.

Heading Image: A fine painted model French Poilu from the 2017 plastic model exhibition.

The Fraud Guide – Brought To You By The BGA – Part Three

” Oh what a tangled web we weave – when first we practice to deceive… ”

Take heart. if you put in enough dedicated practice, you can straighten out that web and make it tough enough to act as a crash barrier. Lies need not be complex nor involved – they can be simple and straightforward. And people appreciate this – they will reward your efforts to make up things in a way that is easily understood. No-one likes confusion – if you can make falsehoods regular and simple you will be doing a public service.

Lies should not be big to start with – and the best ones need never grow to unmanageable proportions. Take the business of Father Christmas.  Stripped of all the commercial hype and cultural nonsense, Santa Claus becomes a simple cautionary tale that can be used to keep the children quiet for at least one month in the year. You needn’t embellish it with science and computer letters to the North Pole. Elf On The Shelf is seasonal totalitarian oppression, and is not needed. It is far easier to just threaten the tykes early in the piece and let imagination do the rest. If all goes well they will be cowed into obedience for 30 or so days – if it goes badly you can save on the cost of presents.

The really interesting thing is the business we alluded to in the first post – the bit about ” wrongful ” deception. It argues that there is also a  ” righteous ” variety. And the “criminal ” part can also be counterbalanced by the thought of ” legal ” deceit. If something has to be defined carefully as bad, there must be good as well. All we need to do is find it.

I should start looking at the local council level – at the bit on the rates notice you get each year that refers to ” Security “. Have you ever stopped to think about exactly what security your local council provides? These are the people who cannot collect a bin from the verge on time and without spilling the contents. People who are not sworn police officers. People who start at 9:00 and finish at 5:00. They are likely to be kind and decent people, while the criminals who steal and assault you are not. Guess who is more likely to turn up at your door at 2:00 AM…

Yet…we pay the levy for security and we pretend that it exists and that we are reassured by it. Deceit with a receipt.

There are any number of deceptive practices that are served to us as ” services ” by other institutions in our daily lives. We are told of ” products ” that have no more reality than a scheme of words of paper. In some cases they never actually make paper – they are just a series of dots on a phosphor screen. Nearly all of them are sanctioned.

The role of the BGA in these things is not to debunk nor to promote them. It is simply to make the Guild member aware that there is a world of possibility between the dawn and the dusk, and a wise explorer looks carefully before he steps.

BGA Guide To Fraud – Part Two – Deception For The Perplexed

Note for the gentiles: A lot of guides for the perplexed were written. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t. The fact that people are still reading them tells us that there are more of the latter than the former…

So – Deception.

Deception defined: a fraud. The act or fact of being deceived. We start to get into a circular word whirlpool here as most of these terms have come up before, but to help you out, let us say that a deception is a lie that worked. A bluff over which we have driven the buffalo of your belief. A trifling amusement that allows all the rest of hell to rise from the ground.

Are we often deceived? Are you reading this on the internet? Do you take a daily newspaper or watch a television? Must this be spelled out? Yes? Very well:

YES

Yes, we are often the subject of deception in political, moral, financial, and artistic matters. We are deceived by others, we deceive ourselves, and we deceive others. Some of the deceit is done for good purposes – we throw up Santa and his elves to compel children to good behaviour. Some is done for bad – we see gangsters promoting fundamental religion to gain political power. Some is done to obtain money – this is called mainstream advertising. And some is done for fun – sophomore student pranks and the vast majority of romantic courtships. It often works – indeed it may be said that deception works more often than bald truth, and is a kinder social phenomenon.

If you lie to someone, it is usually seen as a bad thing – generally by people who feel themselves in danger of falling for that lie themselves. If the lie is successfully absorbed, though, the condemnation is diffused and may ultimately disappear. The way to make it disappear quickly is to cut the moralists in on the takings.

If, on the other hand, someone lies to you, you are entitled to be outraged and to take the moral high ground. High ground is often thought to convey a superiority to an army – but remember that high ground silhouettes you against the skyline and may make it easier for your enemies to pick you off. Consider carefully before you turn the spotlight of goodness and morality on anyone – it’s easy to hit a spotlight with a bullet.

In the end, truth will out – like a belly button. And what a disgusting sight that can be. The best plan for Backstabbers is to concert an agreement with their enemies as to just how much truth and dignity is going to be thrown about. Limit the morality and you limit the damage – and you leave more time free to attack your friends.

 

 

The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia’s Guide To Fraud – Part One

A quick google of the word ” fraud ” will turn up definitions that include the terms ” wrongful “, ” criminal “, and ” deception “. The writers say that this is intended to result in financial or personal gain and apparently they are against it. Fortunately the Guild is here to help our members combat this sort of prejudice and negativity.

There are also legal definitions held in various statutes that seem to be equally discouraging – but the good news is that any thing that is written down and formally sealed in a legal sense is a known fixed position…and the sensible Backstabber will know how to circumvent this.

Let’s take the word ” wrongful “. A quick review of history shows that what is considered wrong in one society is very often considered right in another. The ancient Greeks disposed of unwanted babies by letting them die on cold hillsides – this is frowned upon today. A Po’Boy sandwich welcomed in Biloxi would be instant cause for a religious riot in Riyadh – but then would so many other things…

Wrongful is as wrongful does and the things that evoke the word are generally only wrongful to one of the parties: the one who benefits least. Deciding what is wrongful then becomes a case of numbers on a balance sheet. All we need do to reverse the decision is change where the numbers go.

Note: Still wrong to kill Greek babies. But if you get pickles and coleslaw with that Po’Boy, no-one could possibly complain. Goes well with a couple of beers as you chill out at the mosque.

” Criminal “? Well that refers to crime and crime refers to something that someone in authority wants to control. And that control can be for morals or moolah.

Is running a two-up game in Hay Street on Saturday morning a crime? Sure is. Is running a two-up game at the Burswood Crown Casino at the same time a crime? Not at all. The only difference is the fact that in one case the state government gets a cut of the takings and in the other they don’t. And as the state government has the handle on the law switch, they get to say what a crime is.

Let’s hope reading this weblog column does not become a crime.

More on the subject in the next column. Stay tuned to discover how you can deceive for fun and profit.

 

 

SOBCoin…You Knew It Was coming

Now that the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia has launched the BGAcoin it was only a matter of time before it released the next in the series – the Bitscoin. This should be carefully distinguished from Bitcoin by the fact that there is an ” s ” in the middle and by the fact that we only accept cash in a brown paper bag to pay for it. Or chickens. Or S&H coupons.

Let’s face it…we’ll take anything.

And that’s the problem. The cryptocurrency market needs respectability and dignity, and the BGA keeps very little stock of that. So we are going to introduce the ultimate respectable and dignified business scheme that you just read about on our cellphone screen – the Bitscoin.

To help us market this easy passport to financial success ( ours ), we have engaged Sunova Marketing Associates to lay the proposition before the public. They’ve agreed to lend their name to the project – we are proud to announce the Sunova Bitscoin.

There will be several levels of marketing available for this product – all the way from the Simple Sunova Bits to the Complex Sunova Bits. Those of you who have ever taken apart a Holley 4-barrel carburetor will know exactly what we mean. There will be Mean Sunova Bits and Lying Sunova Bits available, too, but only if you are over 18. We anticipate a good market in Canada where this sort of thing has been a long-established tradition, eh?

Remember that you will never forgive yourself if you do not buy Sunova Bitscoins now. Tomorrow will be too late, and it may be difficult to contact our representatives. If we play our cards right…