How Good Are Leftovers?

As a child I hated leftovers…I accused my mother of buying them fresh frozen so that she could serve them every night. There I was…complaining about being fed so well that there was enough food for the next night as well…Yes, you can snort in derision.

Now I treasure them – as much for the time-saving of having a good meal that is 5 minutes away from hot on the table – as for the taste. The taste that in most cases gets better for a night in the fridge. I am talking spaghetti Bolognese, Texican beans, home-made Eternity soup*, casseroles, etc. I’ve even evolved a means for heating and serving day-old fish and chips that makes them good.

And I appreciate the savings of the thing. Part of my brain knows that I have paid for it all, but part of me pretends that the second night is free food. It is certainly better economics than if it were scraped into the recycling bin after the first meal.

I’m a bin. Scrape it into me.

I do not appreciate this approach when out for a commercial dinner or at some resort or conference. I’ve seen the recycling caterers at work at a big Eastern States do and learned not to approach the canapé tray after the first night – indeed not to approach the scrambled eggs on the breakfast buffet. If you want an egg, get it poached fresh.

But here at home, we do not let our food go over the ” Best By ” date by over 6 months. I regularly scrape and wash the cheese to get the green off. Also the bread. The old trick of calling it ” Dad’s fairy bread ” stopped working after the kids started vomiting.

I have been accused in turn by my daughter of overcatering in some things…oh, the irony. But I notice the L/O lasagna, spaghetti, beans, and Chinese food seems to disappear on a regular basis. So I am still going to play the kitchen by my own rules.

*  No soup ever really finishes or starts – there are elements of the things that have carried over several years – in and out of the freezer. No-one has died from soup yet.

 

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Which Is The Organ Of Truth?

And anyone who says ” Wurlitzer ” can leave the room.

No, which of our various parts can be said to be the best suited to determine truth or falsehood.? It’s a good question in an age riddled with fake news, click bait, and product-placement advertising. Here, hold my can of Valley Dew ™ sparkling pea-flavoured, famous throughout the world, beverage and I’ll type out the answer…

Is it the eyes? No, they are transparent structures – designed only to pass information in bulk as it is encountered. They make no judgements, being equally prepared to look at men, women, or Justin Trudeau. You can slip anything past the eyes.

Is it the ears? No again. The ears pick up anything within range – though there is the saving grace that they wear out faster than the eyes. The frequencies of sound that pass through them may stay the same but as people age, they are unable to hear the higher ones. If the makers of pop music and rap could be persuaded to raise their voices three octaves, we oldies would find the world a better place. We are prepared to help them to do this with a pair of bolt cutters.

Is it the sense of touch? Possibly – we can tell a rough surface from a smooth one for the most part, though again as you get older things become much the same. And as you become older, your opportunities to touch soft things diminish. A lot of us have to make do with cardboard cutouts of famous aviators and bagpipe salespeople.

Is it the sense of taste? Taste? That thing with the tongue? Have you ever tried some of the concoctions that a modern cocktail bar serves out? Raspberry Cointreau Rutabaga Surprise? I have no idea whether there was more surprise on the part of myself or the rutabaga. And who would willingly taste a modern politician? Apart, of course, from a White House intern…Ptui…

No, children, the organ of truth is the nose. When something you read, see, hear, or touch has an odour about it…whether it be an odour of fish, horse manure, or sanctity…it is false. Your nose does not lie – it can pick one molecule of rancid oil out of a million clean ones and the same with thoughts. If it stinks, it’s rotten.

Can you smell something? Is it my can of Valley Dew™?

Life Goals For The Cynical

1. To feature as a particularly unsavoury entry in the Urban Dictionary.

2. To win the Oscar Levant Award.

3. To be black-balled simultaneously from entry into the Ku Klux Klan, the Greens, the Black Panthers, and the Myers Christmas Club.

4. To discover a new food ingredient to which people can become intolerant. As discoverer you get to name it. I am going to incorporate Shirley Temple into the name. As people are bring violently ill in the gutter they’ll be crying out ” Shirley Temple ” !

5. To finance a re-make of “ A Night At The Opera ” with a script that makes it into a serious social documentary. But I’ll still keep the stateroom scene.

Now, nearly everyone I know, with one notably cynical exception, will have to go and google at least one of those references to see what the joke is about. Thus I have done my part today for wider education in a post-literate population. It will last no more than the time that it takes for the next mental squirrel to scamper across their vision, but if I do it often enough they will eventually be curious enough to dial up a page on ” Brainy Quotes “.

And then I’ll have em…

 

What Grade Are You In?

One of the primary questions of our childhood. It determined how we were going to be treated by the other kid – if we were a rank up, we had to be deferred to – if a year down we could be dominated. Thank goodness that sort of thing stopped when we entered tertiary education, the military, or a corporate structure and were all mature and kindly adults…

Okay, okay, that was heavy-handed. Not everything can be rapier wit around here. Sometimes the bludgeon is closer to hand.

There were all sorts of rules about school status – and this in North American public education where equality was meant to rule. God knows how it must have been for the post-war British coping with their societal changes. As it is, their adults didn’t manage so well, let alone the kids.

Now, in Australia, there is really only one effective gradation system – money. No matter who or what you are, if you have it, you advance up the ladder. In most cases there is no sense of noblesse oblige so you needn’t be concerned with being seen as good or moral at the same time. All you need is the perceived ability to pay – you’ll generally not be required to do so. That’s how money works – it sticks to the fingers that have it.

But there is one out for this – the power of money and the status it confers can only extend to those who have it and those who want it.  Outside of these two groups, everyone else can see it with a wider vision – they can live life in spite of, and despite it. And none more able than the retiree.

Retirees – as distinct from railway hoboes – are people with enough money for their own purposes, but who may have no actual purpose. They are people freed from the clock. Of course the cosmic one still ticks, and they are a damn sight closer to the alarm going off than their younger counterparts. But until then, they can look at their nominal superiors and inferiors with a mild eye. A mild tongue too, if they are not provoked.

They can converse with the multi-billionaire easily – given that there is no prospect of any of the billions drifting their way. They need pay no lip service. In most cases they have seen it all before, and in many cases it was better done. They can be prevailed upon for advice and give it freely – not having to be responsible for it after it leaves their lips. It is not that they do not care – but they may be opting for a bit of destructive experimentation. Do not ask a retiree which wire to cut…

They can be kind without fear of reprisal. No-one expects them to be competent. No-one suspects them of it either…

It is a delightful time of life, if only people would realise it.

Slugga Rye

The old movies were right. A slug of rye whiskey is the best way to solve the world’s problems. Or cause a bar fight.

The fact that a bar fight is the best solution to international tensions and the post-existential angst of shifting paradigms™ says a lot about the state of human relations. I find it a comfort in a changing world. The slugging and crashing of wooden chairs – the bartender ducking down below the line of fire – and the drunk being hurled through the window into the street gives me a warm glow. It’s been that way since kindergarten.

For a time there it was hard to find a bar in Perth that would serve straight rye. I tried the Victoria Hotel in Subiaco in about 2012 and got refused service at 1:30 in the afternoon based upon asking for a simple shot glass of whiskey with no water or ice . Apparently it contravened the state government regulations of Liquor, Gaming, and Making People Feel Uncomfortable. Times have changed, and I might have better luck in Perth today…though probably not at the Victoria Hotel. I’m not fashed – it’s hard to get parking in Subiaco anyway.

Most local Dan Murphys and Liquor Barons can now sell quite decent rye. There is still not the selection than a North American customer might find, but the situation has improved vastly. A home consumer* can feel comfortable.

The link between rye and prohibition is undeniable – just as it is with rough gin. That’s one of the attractions to it. It can be made into sophisticated and seductive solutions like the Manhattan or bashed down in shots like a cowboy or a gangster. It can be a highball anywhere on the North American continent. The Europeans probably look upon it with disdain, but what have they not? They would probably sneer at God and good health if they thought they came from the New World…

As an Australian who migrated from North America – a person who has not only one but two new worlds between him and the continental pig pen – I can celebrate the joy of rye whiskey. Smoother than scotch, devoid of the flavour of burnt moss. More masculine than gin, and more feminine as well. Possessed of a colour and an opinion that vodka never has. And free of the class snobbery of brandy. The only brother spirit is rum, and I say no bad thing about that. Rum and rye can sing together and damn the Governors!

*  ie a person not out on the roads. A person who can have another of the same and do it legally and safely. That second drink is the dangerous one – it either makes or breaks. Truth, sorrow, and appearances before the magistrate occur when the cork comes out for the second time. I only pull the cork twice when I am at home on front of my own hearth.

Old Time Radio

Do not laugh at Old Time Radio. Or Old Time Wireless if you insist on being British. One day you will be listening to it – if you are fortunate. The songs of your youth will buoy your spirits as they depress those of the other people around you. You can increase the irritation that the hit parade of 1959 will cause by singing along to the songs. And you need not be singing the lyrics of the music that is being played at the time…

We have a senior’s radio station here in Perth that broadcasts from a local studio. I keep my radios tuned to it for several reasons:

a. The irritation it causes as noted above. I can cause eye-rolls at 500 yards with my rendition of a Tina Turner song. 1000 yards if it’s ” Nutbush City Limits ” and the wind is right.

b. The advertisements are a hoot – dental implants, soft food sources, and retirement homes are the current favourites. All three of these advertisers are selling extremely expensive products so I suspect that they regard their target audience as suckers. This is a foolish assumption – old folks are likely to be tight-fisted. We may not be able to grip your hand strongly but wait’ll you see what we can do when we’re holding a dollar bill…

c. The music has melody and rhythm. Few of the songs celebrate killing police. We are not asked to hear about bitches, hoes, or people of African-American ethnic origin referred to in disparaging historic terms. In the case of most of the local audience, the N word is North Melbourne…Yo Ho is a sailor’s cry….

d. We can remember the songs and the lyrics of 50 years ago…inasmuch as we remember anything at all. Remembering where we left the car keys or what we had for dinner is another matter and some of us have come to the conclusion that there are things that man was never meant to know.

e. There is an episode of a melodramatic radio serial played daily. This generally has a trite hero, dastardly villains, and enough dated sexist and racist references to drive a millenial mad. It is one of the most endearing things about it.

They could dominate the airwaves by replaying old quiz shows, radio programs from the 30’s and 40’s, and bluegrass shows.

f. None of the names of the bands and singers are embarrassing to hear. No-one is called ” The Regurgitated Lunch ”  or ” The Infected Scar “.

g. Most of the music selections finish in under 5 minutes.  The back announcement go on for so long we can go to the toilet between songs. A valuable thing in cold weather.

h. No-one is very political, with the exception of the fake news that comes on every two hours from the volunteers of the leftist university media courses. And they are so blatant as to remove all power to enrage…It’s sad to hear professors trying it on for next year’s budget.

i. Between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM we get an automated cartridge playout that can fill insomniac hours.

j. The public service announcements are comfortingly amateur. We can go to bingo, morning teas, or afternoon dances. We can go to CWA talks. We can go to the Sally Ann shop for old clothes. It might be small stuff but a lot of us are small people.

 

 

 

” Once In A Lifetime Opportunity “

Versus ” Once In A Lifetime Experience “.

This is all a load of hooey. The opportunity that is always being offered is to give your money to someone else. This is not once in a lifetime – this sort of thing comes up all the time. All day long people want your money.

The experience is also common – that of being bilked. Whatever the hype promises, the hyper will not deliver, and the hypee will not receive. The best outcome for most once in a lifetime experiences are that you don’t have – or want – to do them ever again…

Example? Having your wisdom teeth out. Getting a mouth ulcer treated with silver nitrate. Visiting Vancouver. Death…See what I mean?

I would suggest an alternative approach for advertising people who want to take home the money that you arrived with. Instead of promising singularity, they should promise the same old thing day after day. And use the same colouration, typeface, and phrasing for it.

Not only is going to be a saving for them in writer’s fees, ink pots, and paper stock, but there is a much better chance that you’ll become so desperate that you’ll throw your wallet at them just to escape. No expectation of satisfaction or a refund there.