Buying The Dream

Going to a car show is a little like being a psychiatrist; you see crazy people hear a lot about their dreams. Or, perhaps that should be changed – you see a lot of dreams and hear about crazy people. Sometimes there are couches involved.

Whichever approach you take to it, a car show is also a commercial affair – even in the simplest open park affairs there will be someone selling something. Insurance, ice lollies, or Isotto – Fraschinis. Or in the case of hot rod shows; spare parts, wheels, black tee shirts, and paint jobs. And also, apparently, the hot rods themselves. And I don’t mean just the owners who have put a cardboard sign of whatever price ONO on their half-finished project – the WA hot rod show had some pretty complete items for sale.

The sellers that caught my eye were a commercial firm of automobile retailers who maintain showroom premises in  two suburbs. One of the showrooms is not too far from my home and has been an auto site since before 1964. It used to sell Morris, Austin, and Wolseley – then Saab and Volvo – and now is given over to exotic cars from all sorts of makers. I don’t know if there is a new-car agency in it or not, but considering the nature of the vehicles it offers, it hardly matters. This is all enthusiast big-money stuff.

I’m not qualified to talk about big money, as I do not have any. Very few of the people I know personally do either, though I have met some people through my former employment that might. Or then again they might not…I remember meeting a high-roller and high-spender in the 1970’s that proved to be financially and morally hollow. Best not to go back to those memories nor speculate about current people.

But I can sort of wonder about who the customer for the yellow Chevrolet pickup that you see in this post will be. It was a noticeable feature of the Xoticar display, and for good reason; it was darn near perfect. Maybe it was entirely perfect – I did not get to see it driven in or out. But from the look of the finish I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The pictures and the sales board tell you as much as anyone could about the car, but the real questions remain unanswered. Who built it? How much did they sell it to Xoticar for? What can they tell us about the bits inside that make it go? Why did they sell it to Xoticar?

More. Who is the target customer?  Are there target customers for turn-key rods and customs as much as there are turn-key customers for sports cars and any standard vehicles? Speaking as a turn-key driver of a small daily-driver hatchback I can see where that is a perfectly valid model for normal transport, but I always associated rods and customs with people who built their own.

More, still – I associate rods and customs with people who design their own as well as build them. Tastes can be as variable as the wind, and the idea of buying someone else’s taste – or dream – seems strange. What if they did not do it the way you wanted? Would you have the courage to break it down again and build it differently? Or would that be like overpainting a picture in an art gallery?

And who has $ 94,888.00 dollars to play cheque book hot rodder? I’m a bit cynical about the 888 in the price because I live next door to Leeming and Winthrop, and the doors of my hatchback show it…but have my neighbours taken to rodding?

Will we see a flurry of moon disks and lakes pipes on the BMW and Mercedes? I tremble to think.

The Contented Shopper – Or How I Fed The Family For A Tenner

I am never.

No, never. Never never never.

Never going to go to the local fast food chicken take-out place again. Their rooster can be as red as they like to make it, and it will not attract my money. Not since the local supermarket started to do two full roast chickens for $ 10.

My wife was canny enough to see the bargain and quick enough to snap it up. I immediately froze the two cooked chooks and planned out the campaign.

Day One: unfreeze one chicken. Slice the breast meat and serve it for dinner with $ 7.50 worth of vegetables and fresh bread. Three people fed well for $10

Day Two: soup the remainder of the meat and carcase with leftover vegetables and noodles. Three people fed well for $ 7.00.

Day Three: Leftover soup and bread and cheese. $ 10, perhaps.

And that is how you get Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday  – 6 meals –  for the price of one pub meal…or for the price of two takeout chicken boxes. Admittedly one needs to know how to slice meat and vegetables and how to cook soup, but these things can be learned by attending a $ 500 Jamie Oliver seminar.

And there is still one chicken in the freezer.

The Conspiracy

Did you read about Big Oil? And Big Coal? And Big Gas? And Big Cheesecake?

How about Vested Interests? They were the favoured bogeymen of my old uncle Jude, the Montana cattle farmer. They apparently explained anything that he did not like. When it was pointed out that he had a vested interest in his farm, he went all morose.

” They ” of course, are prime suspects in the downfall of everything. The ” They ” varies according to who is doing the complaining. Men, Russians, the CIA, mysterious swarthy immigrants…all guilty of being ” They “. ” They ” are a pretty active and resourceful set of villains, and can be called upon to take the blame in many circumstances. Hard to actually pin thunderstorms or badly fitting sink gaskets on them, but useful for nearly everything else…

Whether it is spraying innocent populations with mind-altering substances like oil from leaking jet engines or poo from the airliner tanks, or smuggling hordes of tiny assassins in Post Paks, the forces of evil can always be counted on for a good topic at a party or public bar. They get more active after the third pint. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind man and tinfoil helmets are proof against most known germs…or is that Tea-Tree oil?  Wear both just to be safe.

PS: Don’t forget the Rumenati – the secret organisation of cows that controls the world…

” Not Working, Eh? “

” You’re retired? ”

Yes. Yes, I retired from a profession some ten years ago and a trade two years ago.

” So you don’t work? ”

Don’t work? Whatever gave you that idea? I work every day…and upon some days…all day.

Since becoming a double retiree I work for my family. I make sure that we have clean clothes, good food, a tidy house, and security. And we have those things every day. In fact we have them to a more satisfactory extent than ever before – more care is taken and it leads to better results.

” But you don’t get a pay cheque…”

I don’t need a pay cheque. Nor do I need the governance of the person who signs it. Oh, I thought I did when I first began this second retirement…I thought I would be huddled over a meagre fire of twigs, lost and alone. I was wrong.

” But what is the point of your day? ”

I’ll give you a little time to re-read the paragraph about working for the family. Done? Well add to that my participation in two forms of art and one form of literature…and the occasional visit with a friend…and I’ll think you’ll find that my days do really have a purpose. I have found new vistas to view, and I’m enjoying it immensely.

” But don’t you want a job? ”

No.

 

The Football Final

Every year I see advertisements for the football finals and then the preliminary finals and then the grand finals. And it is all a fraud and a bitter disappointment – they come back again the following year. It never IS final…

In some respects it has grown a little easier here in Western Australia with the passing years – the WA Football League has taken a back seat…somewhere beyond the Black Stump…to the Australian Football League and the flood of multiple games played at ovals around the town on Saturday afternoons has tapered off to a little dribble. Of course there is the televised AFL footy game in the afternoon and this is blared over screens in every pub, but at least the roads are clearer.

We pay the price when the game comes to Subiaco Oval, and will pay a worse one when the new Burswood stadium is built, but it is not as frequent as when we had a dozen teams in the city. I pin my hopes for happiness on the fact that the land that will house the new stadium was once a riverside rubbish dump and there is a possibility that subsidence or methane venting will cut the fans down.

There is also the consolation of knowing that Melbourne has more of this than we do – more fanaticism, more expense, more disruption. Possibly more methane…

 

Do It Yourself Blasphemy Kit

I have often wondered if you could make a decent income selling a do-it-yourself blasphemy kit by mail order. I’m not entirely sure what would be included in the box – because let’s face it – there so many different gods that seem to be able to take offence – but I am sure there will be people in various religious organisations who can advise me.

I am prepared to accept the fact that it will be a difficult product to sell in certain markets. Saudi Arabia for one…Arkansas for another. Ireland seems to have laws against it, though I suspect that they are only concerned that it may affect the quality of the Guinness. If that is actually the case I would be loathe to risk it there.

I am uncertain about another aspect of the business; why an omniscient and omnipotent being should need protection from something as frail as a human voice or pen. Indeed, why does the Divinity ( of whatever stripe ) not strike the blasphemer dead with lightning, or volcanos, or goldfish…instead of relying upon priests, mullahs, rabbis, and Irish courts to do the punishment? A good public lightninging would do more for public relations than a cartload of writs.

Of course it has been pointed put that anti-blasphemy laws are really there to prevent distress to humans who don’t want their invisible friend in the sky sneered at. In that they are kind, but I am wondering if they would be as kind to believers of different religions – protecting their invisible friends as well. I suspect not, given that the adherents of one friend generally try to slaughter the adherents of another friend, and frequently succeed. The invisible friends never seem to step in to prevent it…one wonders whether or not they actually enjoy seeing it take place. Is there a rather cruel reality show taking place on Divine Television Network and the contestants are winning coffins…?

I must investigate the business of blasphemy kits further – selling them may be a simple as mailing out religious texts…

Collecting Things For Gumtree

I have started to collect things for Gumtree sales – or I might opt for eBay.com.au. I’ll get the daughter to show me how to do the registration and presentation and then I’ll get rid of a few things that are surplus around here.

First off I’ll find the box that my Giveashit button came in and repack it. I don’t think I have used it for about 5 years and I might as well get some money back on it before it becomes obsolete. It was in constant use until about 1985 when I shut down some of the North American links. Every year since then I’ve disconnected some of the wires to former professions, businesses, or acquaintances and now it works less than 10% of the time. Oh I try – I do press it whenever someone puts up some anguished meme on Facebook in an effort to make myself explode with either rage or delight. But most times all I get is a clicking sound. Maybe someone younger and with more passion will get some fun out of it.

Then I am going to try to get some return from the anxiety collection. I got some of them as a child – presents from relatives – and then was able to add something new each year as I grew up. My Fear Of Russians cards are still in mint condition – some of them have never been removed from the cellophane packets. With the way the Russians are behaving these days I should be able to get the entire purchase price plus a bonus back. I didn’t save my Moko Lesney Matchbox cars, but these cards should more than make up for it.

I do feel a little bad about the old shoebox full of religious feelings. I kind of hate to let them go. They were like a coin collection – you could take them out on a rainy day and play with them – looking at all the arcane writings engraved upon them and wondering where they came from. In my case I suspect from the Bronze Age. I intend to sell them outright – I don’t want to trade them for someone else’s shoebox.

I’m in two minds about the clothing. The Suit Of Ambition doesn’t fit all that well any more – I have outgrown the waistline on the trousers – and the Cloak Of Humility smells a little – but I still have a feeling that there will be some place I can wear them. But as I really don’t fancy intensive night life, I can’t really think where.