Are You Sorry You Never…?

Yes. and no. When I consider the possibilities of what I might have done…or had done to me…I figure it is about a draw. I have never been as happy or as miserable as I might have been. Not that I did not try.

We can all remember chances we could have taken that would have resulted in vast wealth, fabulous sex, and untold acclaim.  The land we could have bought for a song, the partner we could have bedded, the position we could have stood for and won. But we have to be honest – if we pass the same period of time through our memory we can also list junk bonds and properties that we passed by, people who have turned out really rotten, and ventures that have proven to be toxic to all concerned. If we missed some, we at least avoided the others.

It’s been a constant meme that the saddest phrase is ” If Only…” but this is a crock. The wise person remembers the mixture of events and benefits greatly from the warm glow – in some cases of nostalgia and in the other of burning wrecks. In both cases you benefit from being far away and long after. Just remember the dumb thing and do the smarter thing next time.

But, but, but…what if there is no next time? What if you fetch up on the wrong side of 70 and all the bikini girls are 18? And what if there is no more land in Dalkeith for 5 Pounds? And you have retired from the Association Of Veeblefetzers long before you could become president and reap the bribes? How can you stop the gnaw of regret? Easy. Remember then, if you wish, and then look at now realistically.

Talk to an 18 year-old. If you can get them out of their iPhone long enough. Ask them about music or the movies. Be prepared to grit your teeth and/or other parts of your anatomy at some of the answers. Let’s face it – you’ll be lucky to resist the urge to order the kid off your lawn!

Fabulous land bargains? They come with fabulous land taxes and/or dealing with contractors to develop the dirt. They are the start of decades of worry, culminating in the fear of capital gains tax. You’ll get a six-foot plot of land soon enough…

Position and power? Over whom? The sort of people who have meetings, seminars, and workshops? The committees and subcommittees? The Annual General Meeting? You could wash out stale yoghurt containers and have more fun than occupy most powerful executive positions.

So do not regret. Leave that to others. If you enter into the thing at all, opt for being the person who makes them sorry for it all.

 

 

 

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” Pint Of Dog Slobber, Please. “

Do you frequent the bottle shop, as I do? And do you pass down the long rows of wine bottles to what is becoming equally long lines of craft beer shelves and wonder about the names? And about the people who named them?

Lets face it – booze is booze. It contains molecules that make us witty, great dancers, and desirable lovers. It lets us meet people like policemen and magistrates. It keeps us from wasting our money on good clothing or education for the children or a nice place to live. It is one of the most useful fluids there is, apart from cat wee.

But it all looks the same in the container. If the glass of the bottle is darkened you cannot tell whether the contents are red, white, or yellow ( the most popular colours ) and there is no smell to let you know whether the stuff is good or not. You depend upon the label.

Some labels are frank and brutal. ” Beer ” they say, and apart from the mandatory alcohol percentage and address of the conglomerate brewery they tell you nothing. You take it or leave it.

Some labels are very elegant – a simple name in script of a famous vineyard and a year announces all you need to know – but it presumes that you actually know a very great deal more. This sort of marketing also means you will pay a great deal more.

Some are just industrial warehousing codes so that the chain store staff can stack them efficiently. You might find as much information on a bean can label. Most of these fluids are fairly safe to drink but do not expect them to be a revelation of untold paradise.

But the real chancers – the lotteries of the taste buds – are the labels that the craft brewer ( read guys in Industrial Unit 83A ) or small winemaker ( Unit 83B ) nut out when they finally have the corks in and it’s time to fire up the printer. I will give them points for imagination and verve. Also for crass and edgy. But the problem is that “Harry’s Hop Swill ” or ” The Last Evocation Of Evanescence ” sound good when you’re sitting at the computer half-cut on the last of the vat, but they do not tell the customer a thing.

Perhaps that is the idea. Put out an alcoholic punchboard and let people take their chances with whatever the pin hits. As long as it is out of the unit and off the shelf, it is a win. The HAZMAT squad can always be bought off.

 

Am I A Clubman? – Part Five

The last question that you need to ask yourself is the first question you should ask. If you don’t know the answer you can call a friend. If you haven’t got any friends, you have your answer already.

Some people are born clubmen or clubwomen. They are loud, make friends easily, are unruffled, take hearty exercise, eat breakfast, produce bowel movements every day ( frequently at the same time…), and are kind to animals. They can stand for office, scrutiny, the flag, or any other thing that the club needs. They are extroverts. indefatigable, ineffable, and impossible to have anything to do with. You’re soaking in one now…

Other folks are born to be recluses – hermits – loners – individuals  – eccentrics – etc. They are generally distinguishable by the simplest senses – silent to the hearing, invisible to the eye, clammy to the touch, and slightly odorous. No-one has as yet tasted one, and no-one is about to start…

And there’s a lot of people in between. Most of us have aspects of each of these types within if we would only see and admit to them. And most of us can choose a club or organisation to suit our real personality. It might not be a fashionable or distinguished society we move in, but if we find genuine correspondence in a group – that is the one we should join. Here’s a few checkpoints for you when trying to match yourself to others:

a. DO I ENJOY LOUD NOISE? If yes, take up shooting. If no, take up reading. Read about shooting if need be.

b. Do I enjoy working with my hands? If yes, carpentry, model making, and any number of crafting clubs are ready for you. If no, run out on a field and hit a ball somewhere with something.

c. Do I enjoy thinking? Yes? Literary and intellectual clubs, political parties, business clubs call. No? Singing and drinking, eating and dancing are for you, and there are people who will help you do it.

d. Am I artistic? Yes? Go to the art store, spend a week’s wage, take the resultant small paper bag to an art society, and ask for help. No? Gardening’s for you – Nature will make what you cannot, and you can eat some of it.

e. Am I an opinionated smart-arse who wants to best everyone in argument? Yes? Become a member of a debating team or get your own secret identity as a troll on internet forums. No? Have you thought of joining a religious order? Or the Asian version…a religious suggestion?

f. Do I love sports? If the answer is yes, join a sports club. If the answer is no, get a competent surgeon to tear your cruciate ligament for you. The cost of the year’s membership to the sporting club or the operation will be about the same and the hospital is quieter than the club rooms.

I’m Going To Tell You Again…

Like I told you before.

And ain’t I a fool for doin’ it? If you took no blessed notice of me last time, what on earth makes me think that you are going pay attention now?

What? The tyre iron. I just had it in my hand. It was the closest heavy object I could pick up. And they took away my boarding pike when the neighbours complained. I miss that pike.

So let’s start over. I am the person who owns the house – the householder. Even if I do not hold the house all the time, I am allowed to fondle it some of the time. And when I do I want it to be a clean and neat house. Uncluttered. Not hung round with spare newspapers and pizza advertisements. No offers to sell it or buy it. No flyers promoting mulch or religion. No chemist’s fridge magnets. No council elections letters. Nothing.

You see, I only have so much space in my recycle bin, and the council is going to reduce the number of times per year they empty it, and if you and your commercial friends fill it up with advertising paper, there will be no room for the household paper. Then I will be forced to use either Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A is to bring all of the extra paper that you force on me back to your premises and dump it in your reception area. As I cannot visit all the firms that inundate me., I will have to select one firm a week to receive all of the rest of the paper. One week it will be you…

Plan B? Ah, we come to the tyre iron. You may feel it better to pick that pizza pamphlet back up out of the letter box and pedal off. Bon Voyage.

Did You Hear Something, Watson?

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That faint sound of a destroyer siren at 10 paces?

I think it’s the car insurance company again. This time it is another pleasant young man from Manila…taking up the slack where the last pleasant young man left off. He has apparently been in contact with PYM1 and is going to contact his manager to see if he can secure an insurance quote for me that is as low as the insurance quote that his firm already sent to me in the post…

Say what?

Yes. Indeed. Over the weekend the insurance quote has climbed from $ 606.43 to $ 739.00 – but he will do his utmost to try to persuade the manager to only take $ 606.43.

We’re talking about a 5-year old Suzuki hatchback here – my wife’s one-month-old car was also insured with the same firm for $ 606.18. In one case an old car that rates at $ 9500 and in the other a new car at $ 30,000… Same address, same drivers…but the same premium. Say what?

I do wish they would turn off that diving klaxon so that I could think…

A round of the local internet has turned up insurance with the same specs for the old car for from $ 440 to $ 534. Major player firms that pay up on claims properly. Firms with which I already deal in other insurance matters.

I am grateful to PYM1 and PYM2 – they have provided me with a timely reminder to be vigilant and prudent in my financial dealings, and as there is a month to go before I need the new cover, I should be able to make a sensible decision.

My goodness those fire alarm bells are noisy. And where did all the ” Achtung: Minen ” signs come from? Is there a message here?

There Must Be An Easier Way To Do It The Hard Way

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I have discovered several new rules. They are so new that they are ancient.

a. There is always an easier way to do things. It goes by several names; sloppy, incomplete, and shoddy are just three of them. You can think of more.

b. The easier way is cheaper until they send you the credit card statement at the end of the month. Notice that little 18% interest fee they charge you? It is the modern equivalent of the iron collar they used to put on serfs in the Middle Ages. And they don’t even have to heat up iron in a forge to do it…

c. Everyone wants an easier way. If you can find one, you can sell it to them. Even if it is hard to get and hard to do, they’ll want it.

d. None of the great art, architecture, science, or technology was done using the easier way.

e. If George Washington had clothes dryers for winter in 1776, Valley Forge would not have been so miserable.

f. Most military campaigns can be made easier by killing unarmed civilians. If you can find them in your own neighbourhood you need not march long distances. You can kill more people on a cost-effective basis and in some cases you can thin out the relatives as well.

g. Dogs and cats do it the easy way.

h. The easy way means that you forget how to do it the hard way until the bearings on the flux capacitor go and then you have to start forging iron all over again. Wise people keep a supply of coal, iron, and blacksmiths in reserve.

i. The easy way uses up 300% more materials than the hard way.

j. The easy way tastes like corn starch and saccharine.

k. The easy way has potholes, detour signs, and no petrol stations for 45 miles.

l. You can never do it the same way twice with the easy way because they change the software daily.

m. Before you know what the term “software” meant you were smarter and harder and faster. Now you know you have surrendered a lot of your own skills.

n. The easy way feels slightly immoral, even if you have no morals to begin with.

o. The easy way stalls in the rain and cracks in the sun and looks bad in bright light.

p. The easy way is out of date. Passé. It needs to be updated more often than the calendar.

q. Lazy people spell ” the easy way ” as ” the ezi way “. Soon they will reduce it further to ” TEW ” on their cell phones.

r. Then the European phone designers will put an actual TEW button on the phone.

s. Then Chinese copy bureaus will make it a touch screen icon.

t. Then the Japanese design bureaus will make it a CUTE touchscreen icon, and produce a series of animé, manga, stuffed toys, and consumer electrical goods featuring the icon. It will either be lime green or pink.

u. Then the Chinese copy bureaus will copy the cute icon toys.

 

 

 

Steee-rike Twoooo…

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I wrote about going to three car shows this week. Two occasions have passed and I can’t decide whther to dread the third one or not.

The Veteran car run that took place two days ago was actually pretty nice, if your idea of nice is sitting inside an oven with the gas turned on to 9. The suburb it was held in was inland and the only breeze that will blow there this week will have come from fire trucks rushing through it to put out someone’s blazing paddock.

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Twenty of the brave old cars filled with 40 brave old souls apparently started out from Perth and headed for the hills. Some pegged out ( the cars…) but quite a few made it. I got smart – I photographed them as they arrived in case I was overcome by the heat. Bless them, they parked under the tres and stayd for 45 minutes before driving or trailering home again. I salute their stamina.

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Tonight’s Monster Beach Party with all the hype was to be down at an Indian Ocean beach – lots of adverts for pre ’85 cars and transistor radios tuned to a special rock and roll station. It promised to be cool…so I motored down right on time.

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Good thing I did. There is no better way to blow away the cobwebs after a hot day than driving aimlessly around a series of carparks, freight terminals, and beach apartments looking for Where It’s At. And finding Where It’s Not. I did see one chap driving a black ’32 roadster who was doing the same thing – at least there was one lost, frustrated, cynical kindred soul out there on the road. I can’t think when I have enjoyed a drive home again quite so much…

I still have faith in Big Al’s Poker Run. It has never disappointed in the 5 years I’ve seen it. There must be a pot of something at the end of this week’s rainbow…