Hyphenate For Fun And Profit

Are you bored? Is the pace of daily life getting you down? Has all the Zip gone out of your Zipcode? Well do what trend-setting modern royalty do – hyphenate your name!

You don’t even have to actually be connected to a royal family – or a noble one – or any family whatsoever. In fact, if you have barred your door to all your relatives, hyphenating your name can be a fun way of sniping at them from cover.

Heretofore the hyphenated name was used by European nobility to notify their peasants that two groups of overlords were combining by marriage and that revolution was a bad idea because now there were two lots of armed guards on call. It worked well, and social media influencers ( aka priests and scribes ) were paid to insist that this gave greater dignity and legitimacy to the ruling classes.

It became such a sign of status that lower-born types also decided to adopt it. In Great Britain it became somewhat of a rage in the Victorian era as newly-rich landowners and ironmasters lumped together whatever surnames they had been given to make new imperial ones. The advent of Wilhelmine Germany and the realisation by the British ruling monarchy that that was, indeed, their circus and those were, indeed, their monkeys, led to the Anglicisation of Battenburg to Mountbatten and the brigading of the thing to the location of one of the castles – Windsor. Largely a public relations move, it was probably unnecessary as the British could have been counted on to die for the Manchester Board of trade or the London Stock Exchange just as well.

But what of today? If you have a reasonably presentable name like Smith and have contracted marriage or a social disease with a person named Jones you may apply to a magistrate to have it changed to a joint Smith-Jones….though the beak will probably smile at your folly. Don’t smile back. If you have a perfectly reasonable Indian name like Bhattacharyya and fall in love with a Finkleberg you can also brigade up the two but expect a louder guffaw from the magistrate. And from everyone else. Humans can be like that.

So ask yourself….

Will your new surname be a help to you in life? If you expect it will gain you admission to the Old Boy network if you are not one…no. The Old Boys and Old Girls know their own and guard the compound gates zealously.

Will it look well on a book cover? ” Tales Of Death And Bloodletting For The Shut-in ” will sell well in Japan but you need a local author’s name as part of it – consider marrying a Japanese person.

Will you be forever leaning over a clerk’s counter correcting their spelling of it? Wladislxvch Wczyzchchev-Prmzelyic led a life of hell when he moved to the Dutch East Indies…

Finally, think through your amours carefully before the first button is undone. If your surname is Getts and hers is Tuft, you would do well to shake hands now and part before morning.

 

At The Start Of The New Calendar Year

I wish to address my readership; friends, acquaintances, clients, and others who have been following my columns over the years. We have just survived a holiday period and entered into a new decade – the 2020’s – and I’d like to set matters straight at the beginning.

Firstly – if there is anyone who has been offended by anything I have written in the past decade – either here or in the commercial column I write – could they please contact me with details of the piece that caused the problem. Whatever it was – outrage, grief, melancholy, or  a vague sense of unease – just give me a brief analysis of the thing.

It is very valuable to know when a raw point has been touched – a nerve pinched or a powder magazine exploded. It allows for repeated and accurate targeting and really efficient destruction. Rest assured that any information is kept in the strictest confidence until it has been on-sold and a receipt given. The BGA is nothing if not professional.

Likewise, there are going to be topics which the users of this column long to read about. We’re not going to provide the winners of the 3:40 from Kempton, obviously. But we may do so for a cut of the profits. And it will be just the same with other things – if you want to read about something, just let me know. Any information will be gratefully received. If there is any story you wish me to suppress, just see appendix A. for the price list. Silence is golden, but misleading statements and rumours can be had for silver and copper.

Finally, some politicians have been concerned that they have been represented in a bad light throughout the last decade – made to look foolish or criminal or tawdry. They feel that their reputations have been tarnished here in the column by the inference that they  are vile.

Rest assured that is not the case – they are vile because of their behaviour and their reputations are non-existent. If anything, we’ve made them look better…refuting that old adage about not being able to polish a turd. You can indeed do it, but it’s still hard to find buyers…

Naming And Shaming

I sat down the other day and wrote out a list of people I know. Not just ones I recognise on the television or have run across in a shop, but people I am personally acquainted with. I wished to name and shame them…or at least threaten to do so. I hoped to elicit money from them to suppress the evidence.

I was saddened to realise that:

  1. I have no evidence on the moral ones. These are the people who would be desperate to pay me off. With no juicy scandal, I have nothing to lever the money out of their pockets.
  2. The ones who are not moral leave great trails of shame behind them, but feel none of it themselves. They would not only welcome my trumpeting their sins to the world, but would probably benefit from it.
  3. None of them have enough money to be in a position to hand it over in unmarked paper bags. I steer clear of most of them because they are looking for loans. And I can only do that old trick with the $ 6.00 bills so many times…

The history of commercial silence ( AKA blackmailing ) abounds with stories of successful stings. Incriminating notes and photographs are hinted at, the hint takes hold, and the cash flows out. Occasionally the victim resorts to the police and occasionally to a revolver. The really courageous ones go on national television and confess their sins with tears and sobbing. If they are good at it – really good like some of the TV evangelists – they can come out of it better off than before. And very little of the new money that flows into them through true believers will then go to the blackmailer.

The ideal thing is to find a rich person who fears poverty ( well, they all do…) and realises that shame will be bad for them. They are willing to pay to stave this off. Of course, if the price is too high or the scandal too deep, they are also willing to pay to have the blackmailer rubbed out. You need to look at the figures closely before you make that first telephone call.

Note to overseas readers: It is futile to blackmail an Australian with threats to reveal their convict ancestry. They revel in it. It is hard enough to threaten them with a convict future…

The Proper Nostalgia We Used To Get

Not the stuff they dish out nowadays. Proper nostalgia from cans. With a good layer of fat and bugs on top…

I am not a particularly nostalgic person…because I have a pretty good long-term memory and can remember what was bad about the old days as well as what was good. It may not have been as tough for me as it was for other people, but on my personal scale I could tell the difference between misery and joy.

Being fair to life in modern days as well as to myself, I must say it is better now. Food is available in greater variety and is, for the most part, safer to consume. Our water supply prevents most of the young from getting caries in their teeth – I have a mouthful of posterior teeth that are filled. But I have ’em.

Our houses are sturdier now than they were – go whack an old fibro and frame one with a hammer and see what happens. What happens is a cloud of fragments and asbestos dust…and you won’t get that in a modern dwelling.

You won’t get a face full of tobacco smoke on the train, bus, or airplane these days, either. Nor in a restaurant or bar. – at least not in Australia. You might have to run a stinky gauntlet of the inconsiderate as you go into a public building, but once inside the laws  protect your lungs.

I’d like to think laws protect schoolchildren from bullying, but they don’t. However, public pressure may eventually lessen it. Hopefully it will also be reduced in workplaces, though there again you run up against resistance to decency by the indecent.

My quiet joys today are at least as easy of access as they were when a child. I had a little world that welcomed me and I still have one. I just need to adjust my mind to accept it.

So there’s no need to get all nostalgic and retro about Good Old Days. They were good in parts and bad in others. Better to concentrate on increasing the one and reducing the other right now.

 

Dietary Requirements

I’ve got an invitation to a works party at the end of the month – oddly enough very close to the American Thanksgiving – that looks good. The people there will be jolly sorts and not at all stuffy. It’ll be perfect for the old ” exploding turkey ” gag. You can do a power of damage with a 25-pounder Butterball, particularly if you choose the H.E. variety.

I will probably take a pot of chili – though the hostess says she’ll have enough food there. The thing is that it may well be edible, but it won’t be FOOD. It will be party food. And I’m not a Party member…

The note inviting me has a subscript that asks me if I have any dietary requirements. The fact that I’m gonna arrive with a cast-iron kettle of chili and cornbread pretty well answers that. But of course she meant other things:

Do I have religious restrictions that prohibit me from eating things that taste good, based upon commandments from the Middle Ages? Well, yes, I do, and mine go back to the Bronze Age. But the Bronze Age was a very long time ago and a very long way away and I do my own grocery shopping here in Australia at IGA.

I do follow strict religious law whenever there is nothing else on the table or when my well-meaning friends make a fuss of it. I’m particularly annoyed when they mention that I won’t be getting any of the bacon or prawns or stroganoff sauce or whatever but I can make it up on extra bread or lettuce…

I plan to bring along my own Dead Sea Scroll with newly-discovered texts that allow everything except eggplant, kidneys, or liver and specifically command the faithful to serve these in double helpings to the everyone else. I shall be generous to all.

As far as chemical imbalances, colonic triggers, or frank allergy, I’m fine. I do like to specify that the food be dead, or at least moving slower than I am. This is to allow me to catch it more easily. I look somewhat askance at mock foods that pretend to be something other than themselves. They may taste fine, but they would eat as well if they were honest about what they are. Frequently the word -association between the real ingredients and the supposed dish are enough to spoil any pleasure. I defy anyone to enjoy mock-tripe, cooked how you will.

I suppose one day I will finally give in to my baser instincts and take some poor woman up on this dietary  requirements thing. She will be thinking pizza squares and cheese on a stick followed by a sausage sizzle and I will demand ( with a doctor’s certificate ) treble-refined Patagonian fleedleberry purée over non-organic turnips. The only downside to the whole thing is if she manages to cook ’em…

 

 

British Independence – Part Two – The Opposition

The opposition to the British BREXIT decision taken some time ago seems to have been set along party lines – as so many social questions are – and further connected to a number of interest groups. Whether they might be said to be special interest groups or not is up to the reader to decide. I counted :

  1. Some youth groups  – who were horrified that the easy access to Europe for jobs and/or vacations might be compromised.
  2. Some immigrant organisations who feared that the nation’s gates would swing shut  and prevent their clientele and relatives from coming to the UK and staying there.
  3. Some organisations opposed to nationalistic sentiments or actions of any kind – good or bad. Not ALL nations, mind, but the UK version was to be abhorred.
  4. Some companies who could see financial loss or inconvenience caused by having to move their headquarters out of the UK or their manufacturing plants into it

I’m sure there were many others, some with genuine concerns for the country and some with genuine concerns for their own concerns.

But have we considered that some of the opposition to an independent Great Britain may come from the rulers of the place? They have been used to a populace that does what they are told – they have been told what to do all the way from William The Conquerer to the last speech from the Crown Prince – and the idea of the locals getting free of the Germans and the French might start them thinking that they’d like to be free of the rulers…

You can’t sing  ” God Remove Our Gracious Queen…” with quite the same poetry as the current words, but then you could always write a new piece of music to go along with it. I don’t think the British populace would think about this at all, but they could change their minds when Charles and Camilla ass-end the throne.

The British And Independence – Part One

I am starting to think that the British have a problem with independence…in all its many forms. And I suspect that they have had the trouble for a long time.

This has been in my mind as I watch the reports on the BREXIT business – reports that have been coming in from them and their erstwhile EU colleagues for the last two years.

They’re in a mess. They seem to want to be an independent nation – they say ‘ once more ‘ – but have not figured out how to implement it. They seem reluctant to even declare it clearly. But I think that this is a hangover from their history of dealing with other people who wanted to be independent.

The case presenting most clearly is the United States of America. They wanted to be independent in 1774 and made the effort of fighting a successful revolutionary war to achieve it. The fact that they won this against Great Britain told heavily in the UK and its echo still is there in the minds of the British people.

The French revolted against themselves  – again successfully  – a few years later and this also tells in modern Great Britain’s mind.

And finally, some former colonies of Great Britain – their overseas empire of resources  – also declared themselves independent after Great Britain spent itself poor in half a century of modern war. And the UK could do nothing but pretend that they agreed…being powerless to prevent it. This is the latest and most acid memory.

Perhaps there is more…tomorrow.