Weather Alert

There will be weather.

This is the import of all the messages that have flooded the internet and the news broadcasts these last two days. The chatterers have screeched what they hope will be bad news at the top of their lungs – they’ll be so disappointed if no-one’s fence blows down. Likewise the emergency services are gearing up to pull trees off houses and houses off residents. They, at least, have some stake in the game.

We have rolled up the old awnings that tear in high winds – and cursed the fact that this will hasten their expensive replacement. We have put all the lawn furniture into the shed, and staked the rose bushes tighter. I advocated for tripod masts like a British battlecruiser but the gardeners saw it as overkill.

The damn cat – the most sensitive organism in the place – has opted to curl up on an outside sofa, exposed to the wind. I think it is bravado and misplaced contempt upon his part, but I will let him in when he realises his mistake. Master Of The Universe and Captain Of The Storm is all very well, but when you weigh 3 Kg it is a bit hard to maintain the facade.

Sex And Hot Dinners

When I was a callow youth, I once confided an interest in a shop-girl at my summer employment. The manager who heard me scoffed and said that she’d had more encounters of an intimate nature than I’d had hot dinners. I was never given a chance to compare notes, and it’s always been a matter of regret.

Now that I am older, and have had encounters of an intimate nature myself, I could make a more scientific assessment. But I’m afraid that I would start asking questions…What, actually, was for dinner? Were there seconds? Leftovers? Who washed up later?

Hot dinner comparison is particularly British, and of a period. It suggested that there was a paucity of hot dinners in the UK. I would not be surprised at this…I’ve been a tourist there and the options for food were pretty daunting. I remember a large pie emporium in Woolwich that had magnificent signage, comfortable seating, and nothing that resembled a pie – in any culture – at all. Yet they did a roaring trade amongst the locals.

I will let your curiosity off the hook at this point. I have had hot dinners. Plenty of them. Some were expensive and some were cheap , but they were all hot. They did me good. I look back on some of them with fond memories. I look forward to more in the future. If there is a tee-shirt with a meme for hot dinners on it, I will buy it.

My thanks to Lufthansa for the image of their in-flight dinner.

I Used To Be A Cynic…

But then I lost faith in the whole thing.

My childhood ambition was to be a Navy fighter pilot flying a jet armed with rockets that I could use to blast my schoolyard enemies with. It was probably a confused thought at the time. As I grew up my eyesight worsened and I realised that I would never be given my own Cutlass to fly…

However, as I read more and more humorists and columnist’s books in my youth a second dream slowly took form; I would be a Walter Winchell cynic; a gadfly who would blast those enemies* from closer to the ground. No rockets – just the darts of barbèd wit. By the time I finished high school I’d tried a few volleys and found they served well. I was too young to realise how blasting some adults could make them into hardened enemies and how they could revenge themselves decades later.

Then followed a long period of being kind, both professionally for a price and privately for  amusement. It was wearing but fortunately there was always the thought that I could fall back on ghastly behaviour in retirement. It’s here now and a kindly fate presented me with the platform and opportunity to write daily columns as my own editor. I look on each morning as presenting me with a new page, upon which I may write. Some mornings the inkpot contains perfume and some see it full of blood. I like the vitriol days the best, as you can wash anything in it and it comes out clean.

*  Who were they? I have no idea. I was ten at the time and foolishly failed to keep records.

I’m Worried About Sex

I took this to my therapist and she assured me that I was fine. Everyone worries about sex. Some worry that they are never going to get any and some worry that it is not going to stop. She just worries about finding her underwear later.

My own anxiety revolves around what I have been told about it. The instructions I received when I was 17 years old seem to have been changed considerably now that I am 72. I say anxiety, but really I am somewhat relieved that the etiquette and mores have been altered since 1965. I would run a mile to avoid a disco and the flared pants just get me laughed at.

Now, in the interim, I have married and fathered a daughter who is now hovering over me like a female Sikorski S-55. It is rather nice, and shows that she is a loving and caring person but it is making it darned difficult to slip out of the house and go to the hardware store. I just get to the door and I can hear the Wocka-Wocka of the blades coming up behind me with the question of what do I think I am doing…

But that interim… You woulda thought that I would have discovered the deep and meaningful message of sex in the 55 years, but I am still as confused as ever. Watching Jane Fonda movies didn’t help. I’ve watched ’em and I now know how to clear the breech on a North Vietnamese anti aircraft gun but I’ve no idea how you do the same to Jane.

There was a brief period in the middle where it all seemed to be opening up. The subject of sex, not Jane Fonda’s gun breech. Talk-dirty-to-me therapists were all the rage and there were sex shops and sex tapes and presumably trays of CWA Sex Lamingtons. I missed out on them all.

What of the future? Well Jane is no longer as exciting as she was…unless you are into political protests. I daren’t go to the pole dancing bars in case someone spots me and forces me to get up and spin round. I may have to continue writing steamy literature and let it go at that.

The Haircut

I’ve just been for another Mickey Spillane haircut – the first venture into a barber’s for several months.

There was no sitting down in waiting room chairs – they taped them off. I picked a time when I could walk straight in and be seated in the cutting chair. The prescription was easy, now that I know it; N0.1 comb at the side, N0.2 on top, and chase the eyebrows and ears until they are run to ground.

It will be a further 2 months before I need shearing again. I have not got the courage to do it myself, but if I ever do work that up…

The Biscuit Scale

You can tell what the state of the economy/world/universe is by the biscuits in the local shops. Never mind carbon dating and astro-physics – these are mere whims. Biscuits* tell the truth.

The current viral panic has led to a number of changes in the grocery store. No toilet paper, socially distant markers on the floor, and different biscuits. I’m not so sure about the first two things, but I’m red-hot on the biscuits.

Let me explain this by making it into an open letter to the grocery store. Sirs…,

a. I do not need biscuits than cost $ 7.00 a packet, any more than I need $ 15 bespoke cups of coffee. These may be superb things, sourced from El Dorado and conveyed to me by limousines, but at that price I am not going to dunk anything in anything.

b. Equally, I do not need Milk Arrowroot or Nice or Wheat Thins biscuits. No-one does, with the possible exception of medieval torturers or people who need to replace the filter on their vacuum cleaner.

These are not biscuits. They are impositions. Jokes played upon the masses. Disgusting objects. Save your shelf space.

c. Chocolate biscuits are very pleasant but you must distinguish between real chocolate and brown industrial sludge. By all means spread the first about as far as you like, but avoid the second like poison. We buyers will, and you’ll be the loser.

d. You can make composite biscuits by layering anything.

e. $ 2.00 packets of biscuits will sell, even if they are made of sawdust and horse dung.

f. National biscuits will sell better than imported ones in the future as we become more used to checking out where food comes from. If the RSL tries to muscle you over a copyright on Anzac biscuits just call them something else. Don’t take it personal – it’s just South Chicago in the biscuit aisle.

g. Once a biscuit gets over 10cm in diameter or 3 cm in height it is a cake. Still delicious, possibly, but not the sort of thing that you can balance on a saucer. Dunking invites dry cleaning.

h. There is, to a certain extent, an inverse ratio between the taste of the biscuit and the amount of advertising on the packet. The introduction of supermarket-brand stock may upset this, but you only have to buy one packet to find out the truth.

*  Cookies for the North Americans.


Picking Up The Breadcrumbs

Picking up breadcrumbs is an innocent enough thing unless you are trailing Hansel and Gretel – then it becomes harmful. A Grimm event…

Jokes aside, picking up snippets of information is a very useful way for an author or spy to gain useful information. The spy can piece together the movements of an army or the operation of a new secret weapon – the author can gather enough material to write a biography of someone at a distance. You may toss up for yourself which is the more dangerous practice.

Everyone drops breadcrumbs – bits of information about themselves that they either announce or write down. In our information age we are constantly filling in forms or supplying details to the nosy. Just this week I sent all my banking details to Berserkistan when they phoned me up. I’m sure it’s all legit – what could possibly go wrong? I mean, it’s not as if I told them the real numbers.

Coming back to the idea of the biography – think of the books you have stolen from the library. Some are marked “authorised biography” – some are marked ” unauthorised biography” or ” independent biography “. These divisions are arbitrary – all the books have been written by an author and the only difference is the quality of the lies. The unauthorised and independent ones have juicier stuff  – and strangely enough are likely to be closer to the truth. More people can remember more things and all the author needs to do is be a diligent collator and curator – eventually the truth will appear between the connected dots.

And then there is the autobiography…like auto-eroticism, it can be a lot of fun but you have to be careful or the pages stick together…

The Emotional Support Caterpillar

I am locked down in viral-fear prison and look to be so for weeks, if not months, to come. I can’t afford an expensive dog and the cat provides no support at all. Yet I need someone to talk to.

How fortunate for me that I found Curley. He was out on the brick pathway yesterday between rain showers roaring along toward the bushes. When I saw him he stopped dead. I think that’s a defence mechanism – apparently a successful one as Curley is about the size of a Volkswagen. I have no idea how big a butterfly he’s destined to become but I’ll bet he needs a thick runway to take off.

As I watched him I noticed that he did not move at all, though exposed. Once I picked him up he rolled into a ball and when I deposited him on the surface of the photographic table he still stayed curled. I reckoned he couldn’t stay that way forever so I turned the nice warm lights on and readied the camera. Eventually I got bored and went to put on a cup of tea.

I was only gone a couple of minutes  but when I got back Curley was headed off the edge of the table. He’d seized his chance. As soon as I saw him, he froze again – and didn’t move at all, even though he was half off the surface.

Not wishing to terrify the grub any further, I rolled him up and put him into the bush he was first heading for. He’s welcome to eat it all and eventually fly away. My only regret is I shall not see him do it.

Who says they are mindless? Curley knew what he was doing.

Proof Positive Of The Conspiracy

Look at the heading image. It is a portion torn off a cardboard box of tissues, recently purchased here in Australia. It clearly delineates the world-wide conspiracy against us. It is time for people to wake up.

The colour of the rectangle that contains the store name is red. Need we remind you that this is the colour of the old Soviet flag and also features prominently on the Chinese flag. And ask yourselves whether the logo for Coles is ” accidentally ” printed with the ” C ” the same size as the rest of the letters. Afraid to anger the proletariat, were they? Creeping socialism in the graphic design office.

This is positively confirmed by the next line: ” FACIAL TISSUES “. Just substitute an ” R” for the ” F” and remove the ” T” and there you have it – a blatant attempt to start a race war in the countryside. They might as well have started shipping hand grenades to Adelaide.

The next line is no better, if you know what to look for. Why are the tissues free of fragrance? Because they are made in a slave factory where the workers – chained to their benches by the commissars – are forbidden any form of perfume or scent. It is as clear as the nose on your face. The dripping one.

You might think that the specifications at the bottom are innocent. That’s what THEY want you to think.

2 Ply? Wasting trees. Trees that could well have been made into cricket bats for people to use beating up foreigners.

20cm x 19.5 cm? Not good enough that you use metrics, Comrade? You have to make the size an odd one? Is this how you plan to subvert the schoolchildren? And the ANZACs? And the CWA?

We’re on to you, you godless, communist bastards. You won’t be blowing the noses of Australia if we get our hands on you.

Good Morning. This Is Your Scammer Speaking.

During the current virus lockdown many of you are staying home and re-arranging the canned goods on the shelf, organising your sock drawer according to colour, and hemming the lawn. While these activities are beneficial, we at the BGA Department of Scamming feel that more could be achieved. Here is your guide to creative scam-based  activities that every householder can do.

a. Commence transferring your money assets from one account to another. This will enable you to escape from the Mandatory Handover Of Savings that we phoned you up about last week. To do this you click on the link below and type in your account and PIN details. The Department will take care of the rest.

Act now an qualify for a set of steak knives.

b. Home schooling is going to be big for the next few terms and this is your opportunity to become an educator without the tiresome business of Teacher’s College or certificates or books or anything. All you need to teach your children is a blackboard and chalk. Try to get the kind that squeaks as you write with it. Children appreciate having their nerves scraped raw.

You can teach whatever you wish in the next few months. If you enjoy mathematics, you freak, then you could teach that. If you feel the children would benefit from a comprehensive course of getting up on the roof and cleaning the gutters with a teaspoon, boost the tykes up the ladder and lie back with a cool drink telling them what to do.

This approach has the advantage that you can do it from a social distance and therefore offer your services to the neighbours as well.

c. On-line and internet trading is a big thing and the awkward thing of people coming to your house when you offered old furniture and stuff on Gumtree is largely gone for the moment.

Remember that whatever goods you offer need not actually be good. If you are on one sie of a country that is in state-border and airline lockdown, you can send out whatever you wish with no fear of consequences. Indeed if it is cheap enough, no-one will even bother to return it.

Your real profit can be gleaned from the ” shipping and handling ” charges that you attach to the goods. The actual cost of sending something through the post office can be surprisingly low, as long as you do not opt for first-class delivery or insurance. But who is to say how expensive your hands are and how much handling you have done to cram the porcelain figurine into a thin envelope and push it through the post box slot. ( ” Tinkle…”) Do not undersell your expertise.

d. Charity begins at home, and the wise scammer makes sure that it is someone else’s home. Register yourself with the BGA as a charitable institution and we will issue you with a full kit of begging letters, posters, and one-way plastic collection containers. For an extra $ 100 you can also get official-looking vests with the name of your charity so that when you send the children from door to door they will look the part.

Remember that charity, like fallen leaves, frequently collects in piles. Churches and Salvation missions often have collection boxes or poor boxes at the front of their premises and these are sometimes not fastened securely. A screwdriver and a few minutes work may pay off handsomely.