The Boot On The Neck

How many of us have a boot on our necks? I would say most of us – at least most of us within Western society. And in many cases we have paid the cobbler’s bill.

Consider – here, right now, as I type this in Perth, Western Australia – I have the following overlords:

  1. The Australian Federal Government – who will prevent me from selling my land to overseas buyers without scrutiny, from importing cigars without a tax, and divulging military and naval codes. They may also prevent me from tearing a tag off a mattress, for all I know…
  2. The Western Australian State Government – who will regulate my ability to make liquor from toenails and to sell it to prospective clients, and who will also want a tax for every piece of paper I touch. I am not sure if they tax toilet paper, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
  3. The Melville City Council who demand obeisance for every bit of building I wish to do on my lot and who send snoopers with cameras to make sure that what eventuates is to their taste. I look forward to my encounter with the next snooper – I have a camera too and a website that can mock him.
  4. Every trade and professional guild and self-interest group that have gotten a charter from the state government to fix prices and exclude foreigners from their specialty. They have immense and frightening powers – and I am free of them all…having retired.
  5.  The Cat. There is no appeal against the judgement of Cat Meow. If he decides that you will sleep rigid for 8 hours to provide a convenient resting place you must resign yourself to it. So far there has been no demand for human sacrifice but it is early days…
  6. My hobby club. I don’t know yet the extent of the control it will exercise – but there is a constitution with numerous clauses on discipline. Only hobbies could engender such control…

Note that there are no secret societies, religious organisations, or ex-service clubs included in this list. I do not think I could bear the burden if there were. As it is I am doing research to see how I may free myself from passwords or other forms of electronic pavlovism.

Stay calm. I intend to keep my clothes on…

 

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The Centrelink Visit

Note for Out-Of-Australia readers: Centrelink is the Australian federal government office that dispenses welfare payments to many people for many reasons. Much of what it does is possibly duplicated or overborne by the Repatriation Department and the Native Welfare Department, but it still has the bulk of the administrative tasks.

It has a spotted name amongst the people who access its services – some of them want more help than they get and more money than they receive. Some complain of long delays and administrative cock-ups. Others find that it is very helpful. The prospect of approaching it can be daunting – there are horror stories of what seems to be enmity between this office and the needy.

This year I experienced my first contact with it. Heretofore I have never interacted much with our federal government – I was not judged eligible for any student loans nor wanted for the navy. I paid taxes regularly but received no pension at all. But this time I was prompted to apply for a senior’s health card as an assistance to general living. It won’t mean too much – a few dollars off medicines – and I don’t take many medicines. A few dollars off a driver’s license. Perhaps a few more marginal perks. But I was terrified at the possible bureaucracy that might be entailed…Like I say, you hear stories.

The approach to the counter was normal – the ID procedure quite sensible with my Medicare card and a driver’s license – and the waiting room chairs in the big centre quite comfy. Lots of people and an hour’s wait, but no real hardship for a man with a book to read.

The one real hiccup was the procedure of calling my name – instead of using a tannoy or notice board, the staff member who was to deal with me came out the front and called it out. If they had a soft voice or my earwax was bad, I could have missed the chance.

As it was, the young woman dealt with the form work very efficiently  and with good humour. We awaitd the outcome of the application for a few weeks, but the experience of the federal department interface was quite positive. Perhaps Centrelink does not deserve the bad rap.

Addendum: The health card came through on schedule and has been invoked to deal with some of the rates on the house and part of the car insurance. I may not need to pay for my next driver’s licence. I am as happy as I can be.

Racialism

Please read carefully. You don’t want to stumble over the rest of this post. I wrote it carefully because I didn’t want to stumble either…

We often hear people being accused of racism. Or things being referred to as racist. Both are deemed wrong and unacceptable. A great deal of writing and speaking, as well as legislating and litigating, is done to eradicate this. Time will tell whether it will be successful, though I have my doubts when this might be achieved entirely.

But how about eradicating – or at least reducing  – racialism. That’s what I call the all-pervasive concentration upon race and upon ethnic matters so that it becomes the pivotal point of all thought and behaviour. Not just seeing black and white things as black and white, but deliberately turning down the saturation on the rest of the world so that there is nothing to see but black and white.

Don’t believe it can come to that? I have heard people make a racial fuss about sandwiches, numbers, and hair styles. I have heard people make a racial matter out of the choice of a colour scheme for a new car. God knows what they would do if someone asked them to buy a non-racist, non-sectarian, gender-neutral water pump.

I can even do it. I can look at certain teeth in certain jaws and even if I cannot see the rest of the person, I can tell you whether it’s likely they come from Beijing, Leeds, or Dresden. ( Though I was fooled by Cyril von Shanghai once…)

The main effect of racialism upon me is boredom, and a feeling of dread. It is an indication that the conversation will be directed to take a decided turn for the worse at every possible opportunity. That every pathway will be a political one and none of them will be worth treading. It will as if the old bolsheviks and their fellow travellers had risen and gained traction again. The brave black – and white – banners will be flying and it will only be a matter of time before they break out the bayonets and the marching songs.

Bah!

( Not baa, or baa baa, because that would suggest black sheep and we would get nasty notes from the NAACP, the Farmer’s Federation, and VMF 214… I could stand the first two but the thought of Boyington’s ghost terrifies me)

Car Park Thieves

We seem to have a form of thief who preys upon people attending funerals. At least, that was the impression a sign at a suburban crematorium and funeral centre gave – it had dramatic warnings about leaving valuables in the car. Presumably the vehicles are targeted by criminals who figure that the owners will be essentially locked into a ceremony for an hour and unable to respond  – even to mobile phone car alarms.

Let’s leave aside the emotional attack involved in this or the emotional response of the mourners. Let’s consider how it might be remedied:

  1. Do exactly what the sign says and strip your car bare of all valuables when you leave it. Presumably that includes turning down the rear seats to show the thieves that there are no goodies secreted in the boot. The possibility of vandalism can then be reduced by leaving the doors and windows open to prevent frustration on the part of the crims. Or would it…?
  2. Provide a lock-up car park.
  3. Provide a security patrol that is out in the car park when the services are going on and has the training and permission to whack the offenders into next Wednesday with a stout iron-bound oak stave.
  4. Dogs. Hungry dogs.
  5. Television surveillance and monitoring all the time the service is going on.

I should opt for the No.3 solution, and add the costs of it onto the service fees for the funereal centre. These could be passed into the clients via the funeral directors.

Or dedicate a police undercover team to the cemeteries for a month with subsequent trial and jailing of the offenders. The word would go round.

Or just arrange a good haunting.

” We Make Everyone Faster…”

” …With Injected Twisted Face. ”

This was a sign on a building seen yesterday as I drove to the hobby shop. Not a small sign, either – big one. Had I not been in traffic I would have driven off the road in amazement. As it was, the puzzling message dogged me all through my shopping  – so much so that I deliberately drove back to stare at the sign. The other signs on the building gave it away – the place is a golf shop and apparently injected twisted face technology is something that makes you a better golfer.

Indeed, the internet reveals that this technology is legal as well as technical…to quote TODAY’S GOLFER magazine…

” In 2018 TaylorMade made headlines with their new ‘Twist Face’ technology in the M3 and M4 drivers. This year, they’ve improved upon that technology in their newest M5 and M6 models by coming up with a way to make every driver face they produce on the legal limit of COR (coefficient of restitution). ”

I have not gone past this statement for fear of cooties. The fact that there is a coefficient of something, and that there is a legal limit to it and that this is connected to the pastime of hitting a white ball over grass into a hole seems both diagnostic and sad. I should be ashamed to associate with any sport that needed to be regulated by lawyers, no matter how good the drinks were at the bar when you finished it. The legal eagles might be in there seeking restitution…

There would be the constant danger on the links of either flouting the sports law deliberately or worse  – adhering to it zealously. Soon you would be watching others to see that they were not gaining an advantage by invoking clauses and torts and one day you would stand up in the bar and cry ” Mr. Chairman! Point of order! “.

And the portal of hell would open and swallow your soul. And your twisted face golf club.

PS: Have you got your legal qualifications to allow you to read weblog columns? Have it ready for when The Inspector calls.

I Only Mentioned The Whore Once…*

But I think I got away with it.

You would be a brave person these days if you held anyone else** up to contumely and ridicule on a public stage. Far more so if it was the internet and the social media. The gaff that you inserted into your victim would be as nothing compared to the gaffe that you would put into your own career.

The lawyers would have a field day. They would look at you, at the social media site, and at the electronic servitors who had broadcast the slur to the world. Their gaze would fix upon two things; your guilt and who has the money. Were you just a beggar in the market place shouting imprecations they would be satisfied with whipping you and then moving on to the real sources of compensation. If you had money you would also stand the ire of injured reputation and moral outrage.

Perhaps they would be right to do this. After all, we should not defame others. Perhaps their efforts would only be to right a wrong and prevent a sin. When you think about it, Torquemada had only the spiritual interests of his victims at heart when he lit the fires under their stakes.

I am not brave. I quiver at the least danger. So I never publish scurrilous attacks upon people – even when they are patently deserving. I forebear. I forgive. I just keep watching them to see their next stunt. Eventually what I essayed to do will be done by the mainstream press and possibly the magistrate’s court – and then I can be virtuous and moral. And when they are finally cut down, I will ask for a piece of the rope as a remembrance.

*  Before you pop a vein and write to the editor, it’s a reference to ” Fawlty Towers “…If this show has not been seen in your section of the Ozarks look it up on Netflix.

**   You can do it to yourself and make a good deal of money from the networks…

The Pea And Shell Game Vs Three-Card Monte

Which to choose when you want to fleece the rubes – it can be a vital business decision.

The simple pea and shell game ( variation for industrial towns – pea and thimble ) is fast, cheap, and always effective for an operator who can palm effectively. It is the sort of thing that can be easily mounted on a bar table and doesn’t need a portable stand. The betting can be as simple as needed for the intelligence of the crowd, and like many bilks, it is perfectly suited to a con and shill team as well as a single operator.

It does fall down a little in states where they regularly carry sidearms. A pistol can make operation awkward – the wise worker carefully gauges the time to pocket the shells and fade  – five minutes more has been a fatal temptation for many a Texas grifter.

The Three Card Monte table seems more suited to the city alley than to the county fair. Urban rubes always fancy they know cards better than their country cousins – and perhaps the taint of sin doesn’t enter into it as much for the towns. You need a folding table that will come up to waist height for a good monte and wise operators know that occasionally you’ll have to abandon a setup – so don’t buy an expensive table.

On the other hand, buy the best cards you can find and monitor them for wear. Replace them at regular intervals or when any form of scuffing starts to show. There is nothing worse than a palm shift being stopped by a card that sticks – people have been detected and knifed because of it. Moral: buy good cards.

Of course neither of these two cons should ever be attempted by someone who is not perfect in the art. There is nothing at all, save a jail term or a slug, to be gained by trying to train on the job. If you wish to enter the pea or monte industry, set aside enough time and money to train yourself properly and practise in every spare moment. After all Heifetz or Paderewski did not play scales to their audiences on the stage of Carnegie Hall.