Father’s Day Has Come And Gone

And there will have been many who made a spectacle of themselves thereupon. I did not, being sensible. I stayed home, visited with a friend, and completed self-assigned tasks.

I fed my family a good dinner and made sure that the rooms we live in were heated – it is a cold spring day in Australia.

I kept the magpies, crows, ibises, and dugites from the door. Of the species listed, only the dugites are friendly.

I preserved a high moral tone all day, in spite of the temptation to run amok. One day a year is small enough price to pay for being seen as virtuous and you can always compensate for it later in the week. If you are squeamish steer clear of my suburb from Wednesday on.

I did think of my own father, and my grandfathers. I have very little basis to extend my thoughts further back, but they must have been fathers all or I wouldn’t be typing this. Congratulaions and thank you, ancestors.

I’m certain that there are people who detest this day, and who probably hate Mother’s Day as well. Perhaps they extend their distaste to the various Grandparent’s or Children’s days that other cultures celebrate. This is sad, but not my problem.

And yes, I did get four new model airplane kits, a paint rack and three month’s supply of espresso coffee pods. I am delighted and will buy my own socks and hankies in the future as needed. You don’t need a lot of hankies if you’re not fussy…

The card is from the socially-distanced daughter who draws penguins. When I was her age I only drew fire…

You’re Entitled To Your Opinion

At least here you are. We live in a free country that will let you think what you like. You can also say what you like…but with a few restrictions to prevent harm to others. By and large it is a good system and altogether a good country.

But note: the freedom you exercise to think and speak is also granted to everyone else. And it goes further – we have a great deal of freedom to listen to what you say, to commit it to memory, and to think about it.

We are allowed to agree or disagree with you… and within certain limits to let you know that we do. And you, more or less, have to put up with either decision.

Which conflicts with the attitude and pronouncements of some people in the chattering classes. They form groups, collectives, and cabals that try to silence any dissent or disagreement. As these can be found in schools, universities, cultural institutions, and businesses, it can destroy the very freedom of speech that they cry for.

The humorous part of this – if hypocrisy is humour – is that they will insist that they be allowed public display and disruption to push their barrow.

Is there an answer to it all? Well, you’re reading it. the weblog column. The internet posting. It can be read by all – it can be criticised by all – it can be ignored by all. It hardly ever garners a legal protest or challenge and mostly just hangs around in electronic space to embarrass or discredit decades later.

Another answer would be a Speaker’s Corner in a central public park that could be open to all for untrammelled oratory. Of course that would mean that the speakers and listeners would have to abide by rules of conduct. We may be too far down the road to either political correctness or political chaos for that. Plus it would need two cops to oversee the venue.

 

 

 

Re Tales – Part Two – ” I’ve Changed my Mind “

” And now I’m going to change yours…”

The bane of retail trade is the changer. Whether it is a mind-changer, a shape-changer, or a money-changer, they are trouble as soon as they come over the door sill.

a. Customer buys goods. They are good goods and will do him good. The price he has paid will do the shop good. The money enters the till or bank account by whatever means and starts to make a numerical mark in the accountancy system. All is well, and no further operations need be contemplated.

Until customer comes back next day and tells the shop assistant that they have changed their mind and want to return the goods. From here the trails wind deeper into the bushes:

  • Have the goods been removed from the packaging? Some packages are a one-way affair and will never reassemble.
  • Have the goods been marked? Some changers will insist that they were marked when they got them. Custom factory scratches, missing parts, and loose screws are a special order and you have to indent for them for just months. Most retailers just stock the plain old undamaged goods…Funny how Mr. Changer got the special edition.
  • Can the goods be resold as new? Well, no. They have been in Changer’s hands while he did several things – maul them and then search on the internet for somewhere in China that will sell them cheaper. As much as you might value his money, he could have done that before he walked in the first time…
  • He? Did I write he? Please forgive me. Changing is a gender-neutral game. She will be as keen to screw over the retailer as he will and probably more indignant and entitled as she tries it. They don’t call ’em Karens for nothing…
  • Can the financial trail that the original sale opened be accessed again to clear it? Some accountancy systems require vast amounts of data entry to reverse anything – it can be uneconomic to even try. Which leads us to say to the changer…

No. No, you can’t change the goods for other goods. You can’t get your money back. Not if the goods were in good shape when they left the shop, are working correctly,  and are suitable for the purpose for which they were purchased. Those are the only grounds upon which a legal entitlement to repair, change, or refund exist.

They do exist under a state law, as well as a warranty for a certain period of time. But do not try to quote Magna Carta or lines from The Godfather to try to stretch the law to suit yourself.

You bought something in good faith with the ideas that were riding inside your head yesterday, now go use that mind today to make use of what you bought.

As far as threatening to never shop here again…considering your performance regarding returns…make our day…

I Plan To Be A Wunderkind

But I’ll need to wait until I’m older.

I’ll also have to find a reliable source of wunder. My wunder tub has run empty in the last few years and I’ve had to resort to dogged persistence. The dog is getting sick of me…

I do remember thinking that I would be a big deal when I was a callow youth. I’d won a gold medal for being the best pupil of 1964 in a little Canadian high school and gotten a job with the local weekly newspaper as a result. Had my family stayed there in that little town, who knows to what heights I could have risen. As I still had a year of high school to go, I might have been brought down smartly with a bump the next year.

As it was, it took several years of dental school here in Western Australia to do that. I discovered that the academic prowess I was supposed to have was really like the prow of a barge – it pushed through the sea of learning very slowly. Fortunately the dental racket is 75% hand/eye ability and only 20% academic. The other 5% is business acumen and I never had that at all – which meant I sold my practice when I was 60 and took up trade. And never looked back.

Do I still have time to be a wunderkind? Well, at 72, I’d need to be looking forward to living past 100 to qualify for unexpected youthful success. I think I had better settle for a different thing: wunderalter. If I aim to be a surprisingly bright and successful codger, I may make my mark on society yet. If I cannot manage bright and cheerful I can at least be diabolical and dangerous.

I’ll get into a different section of the history book, but get in just the same.

Adjusting The Lens

You can see clearly, in most lights, by simply paying attention to how you adjust your lens. This also applies to projecting your image or opinion on others – focus carefully upon what you wish them to see before you switch on your lamp.

You may live a life of luxurious misery or one of desperate happiness. Or board at any house in between. It is generally your choice how happy you are with where you are.

Please don’t imagine I’m trying to make you contented with being exploited or demeaned.  Cry to heaven for surcease if this is the case, or start slitting throats if you decide you can’t wait – it’s all up to you. You are the captain of your soul and the commander of your destiny. Mind you, so was Captain Smith of the TITANIC, and didn’t that work out well…

But look carefully at how happy you are as compared to how happy you expect to be. If you are not in deficit, take some time to count the blessings. You need not prepare an Excel spreadsheet nor account to any government department for most things that make you genuinely happy. You may be surprised at the quantity and variety overlooked in daily life.

Be careful that you do not feel compelled to be as happy as someone else – you can’t see all their soul’s secrets and cannot know, in many instances, whether they are really happy or sad. Leave that to them.

Be especially careful not respond when someone tells you how happy you need to be. This is generally a softening-up procedure for an advertiser. They are eventually going to try to sell you something or force you to do something. You’ll be supplying money, sex, work, or obedience to them under the guise of making you happy. In any affair like this go in with your eyes wide open, or at least squinted slightly into the eyepiece of a gun sight. Beware of recoil.

Permanently Wrong

Are you in danger of becoming permanently wrong? Take this simple test to find out:

a. Are you male or female or not? If you can say yes or no to any of these three, mark your scorecard with a ten.

b. Look at the colour of the skin on your right forearm. If it is any shade between palest white to deepest black mark another ten on your scorecard. Then look at your left forearm – if it is 15 shades darker than the right one you might consider not driving with your arm out the window. Reverse this in the UK, Australasia, Singapore, and Japan.

c. Are you old enough to vote? Mark another ten.

d. Did you vote? Ten again.

e. Do you hold a religious belief of any kind, or do you avoid any belief? Ten again, and now you can add up your score.

You should have 50 points. This proves that you are wrong. If you have less it proves you are wrong and dishonest, and if you have more than 50 it indicates that you are stupid.

How do we know? We have the internet, social workers, political parties, teenagers, and the leaders of think tanks to tell us so. No good you protesting that you can live your life perfectly well with whatever shape, size, colour, or ethnicity you have – you are wrong, and must be made to pay for your error.

The payment will be in guilt ( we’ll tell you what you are guilty of ) and fear ( again depend on us for this ) and money. The money will produce justice for everyone whom you have wronged. We’ll keep it in Switzerland or the Cayman islands so it is safe.

Pay up.

 

Evidently A Good Person…

How often are we greeted with this over the morning egg and coffee? In most cases it is quite the opposite – a beloved entertainment figure is held up to scorn and calumny for some sexual offence – a local official is found to have stolen money – the schoolmaster is pictured dressed in an SS uniform at a Christmas party. It is not so much a case of shaking our faith as preventing it from developing in the first place.

I am always willing to assume the worst about people…but secretly hope that I am wrong. I would be delighted if the monster that is booed from the political platform was kind to puppies. I might not be prepared to vote for them, but I would trust them to walk the dog.

Equally, I am fair-minded when it comes to actual criminality – as long as it can come before a magistrate who is not elected by the local community. I have faith in the British system of justice, though the British can give me an ache in the pancreas as often as not when they start to spout John Bullshit. Done fairly, the British court system does mete out justice in most cases.

It depends upon evidence – evidence that can be clearly presented, seen by the magistrate…and everyone else in court…and that can stand the test of proof. The cases where there is a lack of evidence are harder to deal with, but I still think that they err on the side of caution enough to allow justice to prevail. Unfortunately they can also err on the side of the ruling classes in more cases than you’d think, but this is dying out.

I should still prefer to stand a trial in front of a standard magistrate here than the Supreme Court of nearly any other nation in the world.

” Don’t be Ashamed Of Your Urges. “

Some people are hard to startle. SAS sergeants, nuns, cess pool cleaners… They have seen more than you will ever been exposed to and are still sane. You would be silly to try the title of this essay on them, expecting them to jump. They would take it calmly and just punch you.

On the other hand, there are people who are ready to jump 10 feet in the air, turn left, and explode if you merely look at them and smile. While it’s a lot of fun to do so, it’s really tame sport – you are facing no challenge. Better to look for someone in the middle and exercise your talents on them. Here are a few suggestions:

a. Schoolteachers.

The masters, mistresses, heads, principals, or whatever of the education system might be thought of as hardened as our aforementioned SAS sergeant. After all, they face the enemy every day of their working lives. But you only have to ask them a question particularly attuned to their speciality to watch them wind up like an alarm clock. You may have to do a little research into whichever discipline they teach, but once you get there you’ll discover that there are pits of lava and landmines everywhere.

At a noisy cocktail party ask a mathematics teacher if they read the news article today that said a teacher in Adelaide has successfully squared a circle and proved it. Use the noise of the party to make your getaway, but be assured that your victim will be awake and at their desk at 4:00 AM trying to figure out how.

Or ask an English Lit teacher to justify Barnaby Rudge in the context of existential slavery reform. You can toast marshmallows on the resultant heat.

Or just mention that there was a parliamentary petition in Facebook to reduce teacher’s salaries to a sensible level and that you signed it…

b. Health professionals

You can torture a biochemist with anti-vax memes but this is tame game. You can annoy a dentist by challenging them to defend the practise of root canal therapy ( and there are some good pamphlets available likening it to poisoning wells…). You can freeze a physician by asking them to justify their practice’s rate of death and disfigurement over the last three years in light of recent discoveries. But the most fun of all comes when you find a marginal worker who massages spines or prepares dilute water drinks to cure broken legs. Then you don’t deride them – you praise them – and ask them to publicly declare their faith to all the people around them. Some will start to do so…

c. Sales persons

It doesn’t matter what they sell – they have been compelled to tout some dud of whatever object or service in which they deal at some time in the last three years. Ask them about it…and then challenge them to defend their decisions.

Cold sweat is a marketable commodity. Have a mop and a jar ready to collect stocks.

 

Negativity Is Your Friend

Do not be bullied by Facebook contacts who post bright and shining memes every day. They are just trying to jolly you into feeling good. On the contrary – pay attention to the serious counsel of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia. We would never lure you down the path of happiness and then abandon you smiling.

You need the bad news in your life and you need it first. It can make all the difference to whether or not you’re going to be able to recognise good news later on. Remember a spoonful of bile helps the sugar go down. And we are here to make you bilious.

Let’s take a concrete example. Suppose someone told you that a harbour cruise with business associates would promote team spirit and help you with your commitment to the family. Sounds good. Then they tell you it will be with Cousin Salvatore and Three Finger Louie Custozza and the concrete will be setting around your feet in a bucket…If they’d have mentioned the specifics of the thing first you wouldn’t have had to smile and make small talk while they tied the ropes.

Let’s face it  – good news brightens a moment but bad news works far longer.

If you want to be pessimistic yourself – either on a professional level or in the amateur league – you have all the vast resources of CNN News, the ABC, and any number of chaired academics to draw upon. You will not have heard of the academics before, but if you stand still long enough and pay them enough for appearance fees they will become a household name. They hope.

In any case we’ll all be ruined, says Hanrahan*, and we can accept this as authoritative since it has been the steady verdict since 1919. That’s a hundred years of dismal and you can’t ask fouler than that, can you…

*  North American translation – famous Australian bush poem. Go google.

 

Arranging Adequate Outrage

If you wish to draw attention to yourself – for commercial gain or personal pleasure – there is no better way these days than to demand that people be outraged. The way society has been carefully prepared and cocked, they are all to happy to be triggered off by something. Anything. Everything.

If you are an artist and your work is selling badly, or not at all, you would be well advised to arrange to become a victim of something. Then demand that others be distressed at your plight. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there who will be incandescent with rage about whatever you set in front of them. They would have been equally so at the sight of a tram ticket, but that is beside the point – you want their angst in a pressure vessel that can be sprayed onto the market garden in hopes of a crop of money or publicity.

If you are not particularly arty – perhaps you are a maker of water pipes or own a firm that resurfaces driveways – but still want to benefit in a commercial way from the instant publicity of a lynching or sexual misconduct allegation, you are going to have to become artful. The capture of the mob mentality is certainly possible, but you need to appeal to their best worst instincts.

Attach the name of your product to some currently popular concept. Animal kindness and/or cruelty or gender politics ( and let me tell you, their how to vote card is a steamer…), or the canonization of Che Guevara. Then complain that someone will not let you do something. Cite the vested interests or the police or the church or Woolworth’s. Cite anything at all, but get the readers to groan with the perceived injustice of it all.

Remember, every Facebook like, emoticon, share, or angry response is money in the bank. Not yours, necessarily, but someone’s. And some of it may overflow like lava onto you. It’s all hot sugar and somewhere there is a mountain of it just laughing to itself…