Be Kind To The Indian Scammer

I might not have written this a year ago, but this has been an unusual time for us all.

Much more for the Indian population than for the Australian one – and particularly for the people of Western Australia. Sealed away from most of the infection as we are, we can afford to be kind to those who are more exposed…as long as that sealed border exists.

The Indian call scammers are always going to be with us in some form or other. Amazon, Telstra, ATO, DHL…all these names have been used as ploys for scam calls. There will be many more as local business changes. The one constant in the calls seems to be the steam-room noise behind the caller’s voice, the South Asian accent, and the false name given. It is always vaguely European in nature but pronounced so quickly that you cannot be sure you heard it.

The calls dropped dramatically as the Covid 19 virus hit India and some form of quarantine or lockdown happened there. They have now started again, and I fielded my second one just recently. I was not angry at receiving it, nor did I treat the caller with derision. Their plight is bad enough without me adding scorn to it.

Perhaps they will get angry – if they can recover from the Chinese biological weapon that hit them. I suspect they were one of the main targets for this virus, and I cannot imagine that they do not feel the same way. I wonder what the travel time for an IRBM would be over the Himalayas?

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.

Being Fruitful And Multiplying

This is apparently a good thing, and recommended by a number of religious texts. In the nature of religious texts, they are being delicate and trying to mean one thing by saying another. Generally being fruitful means having sex, getting pregnant, and giving birth. Fruit has very little to do with it. A tomato is a fruit and the thought of tomatoes and sex is a little disturbing.

Now multiplying suggests that the sex business causes a numerical increase all out of proportion to the two bits that are put into it at the start. I’m not going to explain the process, but I can assure you it takes more than two bits. For two bits you don’t get any sex at all. Try pricing flowers, dinner, and bottle of wine these days and see what sex costs. And remember that you sometimes need to do sex several times to get a result – It’s like trying to start an old computer or a used car. Press that starter and pump it with your foot…

But you cannot exist on fruit alone. You need vegetables as well. Very few passages in the religious texts deal with vegetables, which I think is a sore failure on the part of the ancients. It leaves vegans sort of out in the cold, sex wise.

I do not intend to lower the tone of this column by making zucchini jokes.

Can I Get My Virtue Changed? The Filter’s Clogged

I used to be such a nice little boy. Of course at the time Diefenbaker and Eisenhower were the leaders of Canada and the USA respectively and virtue was worth something.

You had to work pretty hard to be good in those days. I wasn’t allowed to smoke marijuana or crack cocaine and heroin was frowned on at the Boy Scouts. I was not allowed to steal mobile phones or cars and gang warfare was restricted to Chicago where it could be done by professionals.

Don’t get me wrong – being virtuous was not without its rewards – the chiefest being itself. That’s what they told us, anyway, and it probably saved a lot of money for our parents. Still, there was the occasional model airplane or candy bar in the offing so it paid to be nice. Kids who were virtuous got bibles to tell them they would be damned anyway and the occasional book about missionaries who were piously slaughtered. I could hardly wait to grow up and run as far away from the place as I could get.

Well, I did grow up and I ran to Australia – jut about at the time when virtue was being taken off the shelves as unsalable. I missed the early Swinging Sixties and was a disciplined student during the latter part of the decade. As a result I never learned to swing. I had to make do with marriage and a settled life  – in retrospect it seems to have been a good idea as I have not been confined to an institution or ruined, and most of my swinging parts still swing.

I do run foul of the Visibly Virtuous these days but it is less of a concern than I thought it would be. Television-virtue is as short-lived as any other entertainment on that medium – two seasons or less sees most people lose concentration on the leaders or movements that march across the screen. They only really revive in interest when the principals of whatever they are stand exposed by the hopefuls of the next cultural movement. And it’s movement after movement – rather like digestion, but on a less appetising scale.

One thing I’ve learned with social movements – never look in the pan. Press the button and wash your hands and just get on with it.

The Constitution Says…

” The Constitution clearly says I have a right to get polio or smallpox if I wish. And to pass it on as a heritage to my descendants. For as long as there are any.”

No, it doesn’t. The Australian Constitution says nothing at all like this. It is a political document and doesn’t control public disease prevention.

” Well the American Constitution does. ”

No, it doesn’t. And you’re not in the USA.

” Well, Magna Carta, then…”

Black Plague back at you. Go get your shots and take your kids as well, and stop being an infective pain in the arse. And stop waving Facebook at me.

Dead Quiet

At the start of the current Viral Follies I noted a series of intense postings on social media from friends who wanted to educate us – to the dangers, what to do, how the world would be…

These seem to have disappeared, and I am curious. We live in a state that has had a very small Covid impact so far. So the very worst conclusion – that the social media experts have died from it – is not likely to be correct. Lord save us that this doesn’t happen to them in the future. But why are they silent?

Are they confident that official pronouncements are now sufficient to alarm and depress the population – and their own efforts would be superfluous? Or do they defer to those who have the official figures and can post them daily?

Have they been silenced? Some of them work in areas that spin closer to the virus than others…but they may have been told to not post on social media for some reason.

Have they lost interest? Have they decided that the dumb can die and the canny survive? I should not approve of that, but I do. Washing the dregs out of the pot occasionally means a cleaner social soup. But I wish to be able to decide who is dregs and who isn’t.

Don’t worry – if you are reading this and approve of me, you’ll be saved and washed clean. Promise.

The Back-Of-The-Cabinet Cocktail Book

Did you know you can make mixed drinks with leftovers?

Not meatloaf or old sushi, perhaps, but with the liquids that have accumulated in bottles at the back of the drinks cupboard. I use the term ” liquid ” because some of them may not have started life in that form. The expedition to the back of the drinks cabinet makes discoveries that would frankly have shaken Charles Darwin.

It is rendered fun and nutritious if you have other members of the family – lady members –  who have collected potions over the years. They buy things on a whim or are given alcoholic presents by people who have no idea whatsoever. If the liquor is sweet enough, or is sold in an attractive bottle, or has a twee name, it is going to end up back of the cupboard.

Most ladies do not drink a great deal. Indeed, I remember going on dates in my youth when they did not drink enough – or at all. They were moral times, I can tell you. But even now, in the sanctity of the home, the girls will buy some horrid bottle, sip it, and then leave it to rot. The only use to which this can be put is to mix it up as a speculative cocktail and gag it down.

Some discoveries are pleasant – a hazelnut liqueur in a silly bootle is unappealing as a straight drink but becomes fun when you mix it with ice and milk and pretend it’s an alcoholic milkshake.

Some are iffy – coconut vodka sounds as if it would make a good tiki drink, but it reminds you of CWA lamingtons that have been left in a fly-blown cabinet overnight. At least you do not have to pick coconut out of your teeth but it is still little fun.

Some things – like aged Catalan creme liqueur with floating things in it or the advocaat that will not move – are an aid to sobriety.

The very best thing that can be said about the Back Of The Cabinet Bar is that you will eventually drink through the bottles and can throw them out without feeling that you have wasted money. And then you can go out and buy decent whiskey, gin, rum, and brandy and return to the land of reality. You can break out the Savoy Cocktail Book and not feel that you are trying to entertain yourself in the lab at Porton Down.


Sexual Favours – The XXX – Rated Piñata

We’ve all read that term;” sexual favours  ” and thought we knew what it meant. Ditto ”  sexual harassment “, ” sexual content “, etc. I put it to you that we have all been remiss in our reading – there are far more sexual phrases that need to be incorporated into our daily conversation.

a.” Sexual healing “.*

It really does have a place in medical textbooks. If you have just been through a six-month course of antibiotics, surgical drainage, and splints, you are entitled to use the term ” sexual healing “. Otherwise you are just singing a rather drippy pop song.

Don’t sit near me, if you please…just in case.

b. ” Sexual Slave “.

Well we’re really into the Mills and Boone bodice ripping here, aren’t we. Try not to slaver when you say it.

c. ” Sexual Appliance ”

If you think we are talking about something in a plain paper wrapper, let me explain. Sexual appliances are large stainless steel or white enamel machines that do dishes, bake dinners, wash laundry, and dry clothing. They are referred to as ” sexual ” because people of any sex can operate them to make the house cleaner and the dinner more nutritious.

d. ” Sexual Politics ”

Wait till you see the picture on the ” How To Vote ” card…Cor…

*  “Sexual Heeling ” …now we’re getting somewhere. Is that a stiletto heel you’re wearing or are you just glad to see me…?


” I’m A Professional “

Don’t be proud – so was Jesse James.

So was the hangman that the British prison systems once employed to execute people. Apparently quite good at the business and extremely professional in his behaviour. I do not know whether he belonged to a professional association of ‘ special ‘ civil servants, but it would not surprise me.

I was once considered to be a member of a learned profession and later a participant in a commercial trade. As I have long retired form the former and lately from the latter, I might feel the lack of an honourable status in the community. We’re warned that this sort of thought, once lodged, is a very dangerous thing – it can lead to depression or worse; political ambition.

I have decided that I am going to have to construct a social plinth upon which my psyche can be mounted for display. Whether or not people will actually gather round it and admire the thing is irrelevant – I will have re-established my place in the world. To this end I have been experimenting with phrases:

Troublesome Codger – Good, and accurate, but hardly likely to get me invited to address dinners.

Senior Consultant – This has a vaguely medical flavour – rather like those disinfectant lozenges they gave you to suck when you had a sore throat. As long as I do not state the subjects upon which I may be consulted, I should get away with it. I can throw in things like studio photography or scale model building in case there is any interest. Which I doubt.

Wise Elder – Awkward. This not only suggests that I know what I am doing, but that I know what you should be doing as well. Also, ” elders ” are generally associated with tribes but I’ve seen some of the local ones…and want no part of them.

Lurking Menace – Well, now we’re talking. I can lurk with the best of them. Bushes, street corners, public libraries…you just assign me a beat and I’ll hang round and peer at things.

Unexpected Visitor – This is fun, but with the decline in home baking, not as rewarding as it used to be. The modern day biscuit tin is likely to be filled with commercial packet cookies if it is filled at all. You hope for home-made chocolate chip and end up with Milk Arrowroot. At the price of petrol to go visit, you are on a loser.

Good Drinking, 99…

If you are going to drink, you need to do it cleverly, lest it overwhelm you. This is bad, though not as bad as drinking and finding that it underwhelms you. Once you lose the taste for anything the world turns a little greyer.

As you get older – older than 19 years – you’ll discover that there are better things to drink than Porphyry Pearl. There are better things to drink than Fosters. But be careful where you search for alternatives – the gardening aisle in Bunnings is not recommended.

Someone once said that you should only drink the finest liquors. As these are the most expensive ones, I suspect the person giving the advice was in the pay of the brewery or distillery. Of course you can drink the lesser liquids. They are as much a vehicle for the ethanol as the pricier ones, and often approximate them so closely that you begin to suspect that the vat has two spigots – only one of them has to pass by the accounting department before it gets to you.

If you drink good wine, drink it slowly and savour it. You will never become a drunk, as the wine is too expensive and you will be too slow.

This also applies if the wine is the cheapest and sourest vin ordinaire. Drink it slowly to avoid the taste. You’ll be just as sober and not so out of pocket.

It’s only the middle ground vintages that are dangerous. You can afford enough to drink them fast and they will overtake you on the road and hit you with a short club.

Finally, do not be surprised at anything that happens to you while you are drinking. You may fall in love or lust – you may see the vile nature of your desires – you may have a brilliant idea for losing money. None of these emotions or thoughts came from the alcohol – it merely dissolves the paint coating over them and allows you to see them. They are in you all the time.