Le Coup – Deuxième Colonne

The written coup is a more interesting intellectual exercise than the spoken one – requiring as it does the same motif but adding the need for writing ability, opportunity, and method of delivery. It can be a rarer and more dangerous thing.

a. Direct letters from you to the person you wish to cut are not very common. Few people choose to send a direct confrontation that brooks no misunderstanding. Letters expose your intention, and can be kept for evidence. They invite return communication in a way that a spoken cut does not.

They have the advantage of being private if you so direct them – registered mail to be signed for with an external note that it is private and confidential usually succeeds in this. Placing a sealed envelope directly into the hand of the victim is even surer.

Any disclosure of the contents is then for the recipient – they may wish to explode publicly or privately. But they cannot accuse you of defamatory publication.

b. Public posting is much more dangerous, as it can lead to legal action. If you make your cut public knowledge you cannot retract it or hide it – the best you can do is make it vague. This is the basis of any number of social media posts.

Some people do need public posting, particularly if the public needs protection from them. This is rarely the job of a private person, though, as they generally do not have all the facts of a case, and in any case do not have the authority of police or court to back them up. In all instances it is best to discuss it with the staff at the police station desk and be guided by their advice.

c. Official complaint is not really within the purview of this column’s subject, but if you need to make one, make it through the correct channels if possible. Start low and polite and if you are taken notice of – be satisfied with that. Quit there. If you are ignored, go one step higher, but still be polite. Arm yourself with the name and rank of whoever failed to address your first approach. You may find that you have to climb many administrative steps to get to a real response, but remember that in Australia a real response is possible.

If you are a crank, ignore the above advice.

 

Advertisements

The Club Rule

The club rule is that the club rules rule. If a club rule has been ruled by the club the rule of the club is ruled, club, rule…club, club, club…

This started out well, but seems to have gone off the track.

We all live by rules. Every day Commonwealth, State, and local statutes govern where we can drive, what we can eat, who we can shoot, etc. For the most part we accept the existence of these and obey or break them as our character dictates. We pay enormous sums to politicians to invent or remove them, and for the most part they do it somewhere else, so we are spared the sight of the process. A blessing.

Today I ran foul of a club rule – a club for people who collect toy cars – by not having my paper membership slip pinned to my shirt when I visited a toy collector’s fair. The punishment for this breach was the loss of a $ 5 bill. I still benefitted from the toy fair as I found several models to help me complete my scale airfield, but the episode of the $5 paper badge rankles.

Even the intervention of the club president did not sway the jobsworth at the entry desk. Apparently that paper badge and the unwritten club rule has more power than he does. A daunting prospect.

Well, I shall make sure that I have the badge prominently displayed on my person in the future. Laminated to a large metal tag and possibly slung around my neck like dogtags. I wonder how many more fiscal rules have been written into the club book?

One good thing. They never do get my name right – even when they presented me with a trophy for an exhibition model last year they spelled it wrong…but the paper card is closest that they’ve gotten yet. I live in hope.

Your Email Of The 15th Inst. Has Been Noted

And unlike previous forms of communication, will not be considered to be private, inviolate, confidential, or secret. It will, indeed, be copied innumerable times, and made available to anyone who bears you a grudge. Prospective grudge-bearers who wish to invest in material for future use will also be accommodated at a special early bird rate.

Please note that the privacy disclaimers and instructions routinely included on the bottom of all official forms from this office are for theatrical and humorous purpose, and should in no way be construed as legally binding unless you have more powerful lawyers than we do. In this context, ” Three Finger ” Louie Custozza and the Boys From Missoula are considered to be a legally practicing entity and can be cited in negotiations.

As it is impossible at this stage to determine what the year’s cause célèbre or political opportunity will be, we would like you to send a great many more communications on the computer. It would be appreciated by our Chief of Blackmail if you would moderate your use of stimulating substances before typing, as some of the spelling can be very difficult to deal with if you go past certain limits. Please feel free to express yourself as violently and controversially as you wish as this makes for juicier scandal. Photographs are always welcome. No need to dress…

 

 

The Health Inspector

I think if I were inclined to go to work again I should like to be a council health inspector. But with a difference – I would do domestic premises rather than commercial ones.

In case you are horrified by the thought of some jack-in-office barging into your kitchen and lifting up the lids on your pots, consider that there is probably adequate provision for this now in council by-laws. There certainly is when it comes to the garbage, as the current trial of recycling wastes is proving. We are told that the inspectors will be going about taking mobile-phone pictures of our bins ” to improve understanding ” but it is probably to give them a chance to scold us for putting the wrong things in the various containers. Or it might just be to frighten us into putting less in anyway – with no answer as to what to do with the extra garbage.

In my case I should like to extend the surveillance to linen closets, desk drawers, and round the back of sofas – the places where small change and unused postage stamps are likely to accumulate. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned, and a penny stolen is even better. And I should be incorruptible, at least until the stakes were high enough.

Health is one of those topics that we all agree is essential…without being able to actually put our fingers on what is healthy. Robust and shining in Ulan Bator looks like terminal disease in Coolangatta. Vermin in Violet Town are considered livestock in Venezuela. You should see the thundering herds of beefrats at round-up time. The gauchos mounted on Jack Russells can be a bit startling for the novice hand, but you get used to them.

I am a little unclear as to what the procedure is if I discover a violation of the health regulations. Do I ask for the envelope of cash before or after throwing the rat on the counter? Are cats actually edible? Is mould considered a religious sacrament in some cultures? I’ll need to consult the department on these matters.

Meanwhile business owners, private citizens, and hospitality industry members may slip as many fat envelopes as they wish under the departmental door – our concern for health is paramount 24 hrs a day, or at least as long as the bottle shop is open.

Security Breaches, Or How To Panic The Game Into Breaking Cover

There are many different techniques for a hunter when they are trying to get the game to show itself – some adopt the sneak-and-creep approach that tries to blend in and give the prey a false sense of security. Others use the big-noise ploy to frighten the animals into leaping from cover. Some just throw out chum – chopped-up whitebait, packets of hot chips, or free tickets to Johnny Farnham concerts.  All three are valid propositions.

One of the best new approaches is for a hacker to tell everyone that they are in terrible danger from hackers, and to direct them to a site that will protect them by harvesting private numbers and passwords. If this sounds a little like the federal government, you have to remember that both the hackers and the politicians learned their trade in the same private schools and may well end up sharing their experiences in the same cell.

The business of computer and internet security is so complex, of course, that it defies normal understanding. Like the mysteries of religion, this creates an opportunity for a priestly caste to step in and control the confused. The fact that the saviours are also the people who invented the danger is sometimes overlooked, in both circumstances.

To some extent this priestcraft is a good thing – if you are prepared to go blindly along with the directions of the experts you will eventually get somewhere – just be careful who you follow. The same principles apply to computer expertise and turf consultancy, and in some cases it seems to be done by the same people. If you are a fan of three-card monte games played in a doorway off a side street you should be perfectly at home.

Where the idea of priestcraft can be seen to be turning to more general benefit is in the fact that there are still several major electronic religions. You need not worship at the same keyboard altar as the person in the next cubicle. The teams can be played one against the other for the benefit of the perplexed. If one discovers a vulnerability of another, they will trumpet it in the mainstream long enough for the guilty party to either slink away or invent a repair for the problem.

You cannot stand firm upon ancient belief when it comes to computers – some prophet is always coming down off a mountain with a shining face and two more tablets of silicon – in many cases the glory turns out to be residual radiation and the wild hair is the result of opening the back of the desk-top a little too early. In any case, you are going to have to adapt, adopt, and update every so often – just do so at the behest of reputable firms and not Flash Harry. As irksome as they can be at times, the major suppliers like Apple and Microsoft really do maintain their own demesnes eventually.

Putting You On Notice…

One of the classic phrases that comes up repeatedly in Australia is ” Putting someone on notice “. I don’t know whether it also occurs in North America, Europe, or Asia, but here it has been constantly in the mouth of every level of officialdom.

We’ve just had it again from a local politician – possibly a state minister for police, or justice, or traffic revenue, or scolding…whichever – in her case it was to warn motorcyclists that there is now a jury-rig camera system that takes a picture of the back of their motorcycles as they pass it by. So they dare not speed.

Riiiight.

The phrase is nothing more than one of those high-sounding concoctions like ” At this point in time ” or ” It has come to our notice ” that make the person using it sound like a prat. An official prat, but a posturing prat nevertheless. In other, more honest contexts, it could be seen as a threat or bullying tactic.

What should you do when someone uses it to you? Well, do take note of whatever threat they are trying on and plan how to counter it, but also let them know that you think them hackneyed and trite. And that you will be watching them to see if they become worse posers with time – and making sure that others laugh at them.

In short…put them on notice.

The Drones – Part Five – The Innocents

Want to know how to get in trouble with four different levels of government at one time in the comfort of your own suburb?

Buy a balsawood airplane kit, build it, wind the rubber band motor inside it, and let it go on the school oval at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon. No matter how deserted the suburb is, before that propellor stops turning and the thing starts to glide into the bushes you will have the school principal, the council ranger, the local police sergeant, and the deputy head of CASA chasing you across the oval. You have offended local, state, and commonwealth rules – mostly by trying to have fun. Don’t be angry at the bureaucrats – they live for this sort of thing.

That’s a $ 29 Guillows kit – imagine how much trouble you can get into with a $2000 electric drone.

And therein lies the sad tale of our society. Logic would say that the open oval would be the perfect place for a youngster to fly the toy airplane or drone he gets for Christmas. But government in all its forms says not, and I’ll bet that they will be running kids and their parents off the ovals all over Australia on Boxing Day. And the kids will be trying to fly from the streets and backyards and crashing, intruding, and losing their Christmas presents all over the place.

Oh, someone will come out with a solution – a sand paddock 50 kilometres outside Perth where they can purchase temporary permission to fly the drones for ten-minute periods ( book your ten minutes by filling in a form at the shire office between 9:00 and 5:00 and have your $ 20 ready ) before being turned off again. There will be a Shire Drone Flying Officer and he will be a serious man.

Is it any wonder that the hobby of drone racing has stalled? Is it any wonder that kids are not building R/C aircraft?

Bring back innocent fun, and take away the impetus for the other sort.