Please Undress In The Cubicle

And present yourself once you are ready.

There seems to be a great deal of fuss made about romance, love, and sex these days that is somewhat superfluous. Not that the subject is not delightful and horrid in equal parts, but the set of rituals that have developed around it are becoming increasingly strange.

Once it was simple. Arrive at puberty, find someone else also at that stage and contract a marriage. Gain permission to live together from whatever relatives were handy, pay a small fee to the local priest for magic words, and start living together. Some societies just did the pairing up for you – you were married to whoever the relatives or ruler said you would marry and that was the end of it.

Now you need to meet, fall in love, romance each other, inspect the goods, try the mechanism, and get a lawyer to draw up deeds specifying who gets the cat if you divorce. This is time-consuming, tedious, expensive, and no-one ever asks the cats’ opinion.

If you decide to skip the legal bit you’ll be presented with it later – and neither side will be happy with the division of anything. Dividing the cat will be the most distressing aspect, not least to the cat.

There must be an easier way. Of course fundamentalist societies revert to Plan A and then fight it out from there on. Hippy societies have no plan, and still fight it out, but with a messier result. We need the intervention of the Vulcans and their logic to solve the problems.

I propose that before the ship of eternal marriage sets sail, the local authorities inspect the lifeboats. There must be an adequate provision for alternate lovers and/or spouses before the first lot are wed. It should be simple to draw up a list of secondary and tertiary partners to whom the prospective lovers will be sent in case of a breakup. If these individuals are taken up in the meantime suitable alternatives must be inserted into their planned marriage contracts. That way there is no uncertainty about where the affections will be directed or the infections  contracted.


The Loss Of Something – The Return Of Something

Some years before I stopped my dental career and sold the practice I started to notice a diminished ability to see clearly. This was the ageing process at work – first there was the loss of fine focus and then the onset of floating shadows in the eyes. These are a natural thing in the body of the eyeball – frightening when you first see them but one eventually copes.

Then the increase of glare effects as cataracts started to develop. This has increased over years and will one day need to be addressed by an ophthalmic surgeon. I’m not looking forward to this, but it has been mentioned that once it’s done I may be able to dispense with eyeglasses.

I don’t know whether this is real – nor whether I think it an attractive proposition. I’ve been wearing eyeglasses since I was 8 years old in a family that also wore them. No stigma was ever attached, save that from yokels in the 8th grade – and they were not valid critics. Losing the glasses now would seem somewhat like losing a part of my personality.

I also can’t imagine the operation for cataracts being so flexible as to allow close distance focusing as well as infinity sight – I’d still have to wear spectacles for one or the other. I’d opt for glasses for close work as it is what I am used to. But the prospect of open-air infinity focus with no frames to limit my vision is a bit of a siren call. I see the world in a frame – Panoramas are taken in pieces. The thought of a sweeping vision…

PS: Don’t wring your hands for me – I can take my glasses off now when I build scale model airplanes and paint the things with infinite precision. And unlike smelly mouths, I don’t mind how close I have to peer at them to get it right.

The Pavise of Righteousness

If you don’t know what a pavise is, Google.

When I owned a reproduction of a medieval crossbow – legally, I might add – for a good purpose – legal, I might add – I often thought of making a pavise. I have passed from this phase of hobby interest for some years but I regret not giving way to that impulse at the time. It could have been a work of art.

As it is, I might still construct one, but on a virtual basis. There is still a need to shelter from the enemy’s fury as I reload my arguments and satire. The sound of other arrows and bolts thumping into the wood of a pavise while you were winding your windlass  behind it must have been grating to the artistic sensibility – particularly if you had an expensive picture of a saint painted on the front. But it would be nothing to the distress of having those same bolts landing in you.

The basis of the medieval pavise was a stout wooden shield that could be propped onto the ground with a back-stay. It had to be thick enough to take the shots but light enough to pick up and move forward as you advanced. If you were retreating it could be abandoned. This is a pretty good capsule description of a lot of political and moral positions these days.

I shall research a strong position on most controversies and paint a pious picture on the front of my virtual pavise to indicate faith in them. I’m a little doubtful about pictures of Trump, Biden, or Xi. And not a lot more comfortable with Merkel, Morrison, or Johnson.

I refuse to paint a picture of St. Jane of Fonda on the front of anything and I don’t have enough brown paint in the workshop  to do Dusky Justin credit. And pavises were vertical rectangles with a little dome at the top – not horizontal ones. No good trying to fit Clive Palmer on one.

Besides which, it would be an arrow and bolt trap anyway…


Modifying A Hoax – A Modest Proposal

The Facebook Hoax No. 135 has just surfaced again. You know, the one that tells you that you need to copy and paste something that looks like a legal document to prevent Facebook doing something. In this case it has been rigged to make you afraid that all your postings from the past -including pictures – will become the property of Facebook and that they can sell them off with no mercy.

Don’t be sad if you fell for it…people do fall for these sorts of thing. They come so close to our fears of either missing out or being targeted for lawsuit that we instinctively panic. The hoax – and hoax it is – then circulates further when the frightened individual cuts, pastes, posts, or does whatever other ritual the thing suggests. It is a good thing that the hoaxes do not involve hot soldering irons and ears or the emergency rooms would be full in a day.

Mind you, Weller would probably approve…and that’s where the BGA steps in. Note: the BGA frequently steps in it.

What we propose is that the maker of any product enter into a contract with us. ( pentacle, candles, dagger, etc. ) to promote their product. Whatever it is we analyse it and devise a way to tie it into the primitive portion of the reader’s brain. Then we craft a suitable meme or notice and start it out with our team of influenzers*. They insert it into their Facebook pages and direct it to the most gullible of their friends. From there it is transmitted for free  throughout the world, frightening people into buying and using the selected product.

It is not so much an advertising campaign as a form of social media terror. People will go faster if driven than lured and the faster they will go to the store with their wallet open, the better for the client. And remember that the BGA is ethical in this – we do not take a cut of the profits. Our fees are substantial, but one-time. In this we hold a higher moral position than the mafia.

*  So named because we spread internet hoaxes like a debilitating virus. You’re soaking in one now.

The Delight Of Being Needed

Say what you like about the delights of sex, drugs, rocks and roll, or the 1953 Standard motor car – or about family and friendship and little bluebirds chirping – there is nothing quite as good as being needed.

It quiets the mental worm that gnaws at us; why are we here? Even if for only a short period of time we are here to help.

And it doesn’t really matter if we succeed. The thing is, we were called on. Even if we make a sad hash of whatever we do and make matters infinitely worse, the need was there and it was us that was needed.

This was the basic drive that made Boy Scouts stand at street corners and eye off old ladies. We were priming ourselves to swoop and help them across the road. As we got older and progressed from Boy Scouts to scouting for girls we used this early training on the street corners. We were extremely vigilant for a chance to help younger women into bars and into our cars. There were no merit badges on offer but we occasionally had things pinned on us.

Ethical Mortar Bombing

If you put a little effort into thinking, you can make any human action or emotion ethical. If you’re prepared to dress up you can make it ethnical.

I often do this when I want to drive my enemies before me and hear the lamentations of their women. I’ll qualify that – I don’t actually enjoy hearing women lamenting. They do it with a professional vigour that I find wearing. In a lot of cases I let the women drive themselves and me and the enemies just sit around drinking.

Your ethics are what define you – and I have met any number of people who defy definition. Just as you think you know what they think, they read another Facebook post and go off on a tangent. Then you either follow them, at the risk of seeming to agree with them, or oppose them, at the risk of being right. Both pathways are fraught with dishonour.

I have endeavoured for years to free myself from ethical thinking or behaviour. Rather than take a hard stand on any moral issue I have waited in the wings until the debate was finished and the winner declared before declaring my support for them. Even then I have reserved some disclaimers in case they fall out of favour. It was a little hard to wriggle out of Watergate but I managed in the end when Carter took office. You could get out of anything with Jimmy Carter at the helm.

Am I firmly committed to the path of righteousness and truth right now? In as far as the keepers of that path are prepared to play me, I am. I do not demand money; sex, drugs and rock and roll are acceptable substitutes. I can also be bought for scale model plastic kits.

Ask me later and I’ll give you a list of the ones I haven’t got.


Hoards For The Hordes

I shall no mention toilet paper in this essay. It is a subject I put behind me.

I have been a hoarder in my time. The objects I collected were books, large format cameras, and model airplanes. I say were, but in two cases, the process is still going on – the large format cameras have long been disposed of to fund digital equipment. that is a story for my photographic column, so go there and lurk…

The concept of the hoard is actually complex. The computer’s dictionary defines it as a stock of valuable objects that are hidden away. This is partially true for the model airplanes but not at all for the books. I have them prominently on shelves and dive into them all the time. I lend them out and sometimes they are lent on or purloined by those who have received them. They are a resource, but a fluid one.

The value of both these forms of collectible is possibly something that you could calculate, but I’ll bet any figure you set on them would be wrong. Goods are only worth what people will pay for them and my experience of people who get secondhand books or plastic models is that they try to pay mere pittances. So it is not a hoard of potential gold that I hold. It is a source of pleasure.

And that probably cancels the name ” hoard ” and the negative connotations. No one buys and I do not sell. I am in no different position than a state art gallery that exhibits for pleasure and edification. Of course they have boards and accountants that probably slaver and gobble over the rise in price of whatever they hang, but they rarely sell to anyone else.




Just Perfect

It all has to be just perfect.

Just a perfect day. Just a perfect place. Just perfect people doing perfect things with perfect possessions. Holding perfect opinions.

This is the theme of many stories and advertisements – whether they are printed or screened – and many people have taken the idea to be…well…perfect. They seek to do, be, emulate, simulate, possess, and achieve that portrayed perfection.

There is also perfection in the plant and animal world – perfect examples of genus, species, and family that express the clearest examples of anything. No flaws – no imperfections – no deviation from the norm.

You can see them in bottles in the Natural History Museum or pinned to boards in display cases…

Perfection. A key to immortality.


Faecal Fun For Formal Parties

If you have just opened this page from an internet search because of the tag words, I apologise. This is not a porn site. Nor does it contain any conspiracy theories or advice on any question of voting. It is not selling you anything…except possibly a membership in the Backstabbers Guild of Australia. Good day and good luck.

Now, as you have continued reading, let me cast your mind back to a motion picture called ” Caddy Shack “. A teenage comedy confection of 1980 that had bad taste as the prime goal and succeeded marvellously. The scene involving Bill Murray as the maintenance man cleaning out a supposedly-contaminated swimming pool is possibly the funniest faecal joke in cinema. Just as the baked bean scene in ” Blazing Saddles ” tops the record for the celebration of flatulence. I am unsure about urination, but there must be a definitive joke about that on the screen somewhere. I only know a printed version involving Wilson Mizner.

Aside: Wilson was real, and a Bad Boy when that was not good. At one reform school where he was sent he discovered the janitor had secreted a case of beer behind the furnace and was drinking it day by day. Wilson commenced prising the top off bottles  and drinking the beer himself …and then filling the bottles back up with urine.

Eventually he was caught by the school authorities and hauled up for discipline – drinking beer on school grounds. He insisted that he drank no beer. The Principal accused him of lying, saying that the bottles were full of beer. Wilson said it wasn’t beer.

Whereupon the Principal angrily unstoppered one an took a long swig to prove Wilson wrong.

Wilson was right.

Anyway, back to the pan. Do not believe any of that old guff about Glad-wrapping the toilet bowl at a party. It is an urban myth. No-one ever fell for that one.

However, it is entirely possible that an enterprising member of the BGA could go to a joke shop and purchase a fake turd. Made of plastic, rubber or plaster, these can be remarkably realistic. The Mexican ones are best as they really know the genre.

Drill a hole in the turd and load it with lead shot or ball bearings. Seal the hole. Convey it to someone’s party when you next go out and slip into the loo when no-one is looking. Drop it into the toilet, where it will sink to the bottom like a German dreadnought in Scapa Flow. There it will stay, with no amount of flushing able to shift it. Everyone who visits later will have to gaze at it and wonder.

You need not stay for the whole party, but the time you spend there will be rewarding.

I Hope To Interest Science

I hope to be of interest to science. Not in the path lab specimen jar sort of way, but as an interesting study in psychology. The problem that I have right now is deciding whether I wish to be a shining example or a horrible result.

Good has its attractions. You spend less time in court or on the gallows and history is kind to you. Of course, if you are skilled at doctoring history in the first place you can pretty much please yourself what you do in your spare time.

Evil is a difficult thing to present to others – they always seem so judgemental when you are a mass murderer or sell fat-free grills on the Shopping Channel. The old excuse of being mis-understood has largely gone by the board…when you explain yourself it all sounds so much worse. Best to just destroy civilisation and keep silent about it.

Science has gotten a bad rap lately with the anti-vaccination zealots and the electronic virus conspirators. Even proving mathematical formulae can lead to you being stoned in the marketplace. Don’t mention the sun or the planets…

But I still hope to be given my own place in the species charts when they re-do the scientific classification of the world. I cannot say whether it would be better to be an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral, but whichever I end up being I hope to have a cool-sounding scientific name. One that people can spell correctly.