The Icono-c/b-last

The English language has this thing for making things seem more important than they really are. ” Iconoclast ” for instance. Look up the definition in whatever dictionary you possess, but the essential thing revolves around the destruction of cherished religious institutions.

Yet no-one goes further – and takes the language of science to construct a word: ” Iconoblast “. The person who sets up or builds these structures. Martin Luther was both clast and blast and probably a hell of a lot of fun at a petting party, as well.

I refuse to destroy people’s faith in established religion. It is cute and colourful and very useful in getting them to give away their money. I support all established religions  – particularly those who collect weekly dues and are prepared to invest that money in Guild activities.

I would, however, like to be a successful iconoblast. If I could set up faithful religious worship of myself – open to all people of good, but dim, character – I could build up a real bank balance. If you look at the current religious societies you’ll see that they possess land, business assets, and treasuries that are rarely accessed and never depleted. I am not greedy – several millions squirrelled away in a secure Swiss bank would do me – and I am more than prepared to dispense salvation, approval, or any other nebulous benefit to get it. If you want to be forgiven, I forgive readily, and issue receipts.

Suppose your crime of sin is so bad – so heinous – so vile as to surpass the limits of human or divine comprehension. Yet you still want to be free of any blame. Let me introduce you the Ye Premium Service…

 

” I Don’t Have Enough Money “

Well let’s address that problem, shall we?

a. Make some. Get access to a computer with Photoshop Elements, an inkjet printer, and a ream of good quality double-sided matte paper.

Design suitable bills in denominations that you can conveniently spend. Don’t be greedy – few people will have change in the till for a $ 10,000 note and you’ll be standing there forever while they send out for it. Choose smaller numbers -the $ 7.00 bill covers most fast food burgers and you can get a good goon for $ 19.95, so print a bill for that. No need to make the money even-numbered – 5¢ saved is 5¢ earned.

As you are designing your own currency, you get to choose who you feature on the front and what landmark you’d like on the back. There are plenty of politicians in history who have never made it to the money and lots of places that would pay you to illustrate them.

As for whether this is legal tender…well, it certainly is tender…if you can find anyone tender enough to take it in exchange for goods or services. A good money designer who is also a good salesperson will be able to pay for anything based upon the attractiveness of the bill and their own charms. When in doubt, show cleavage.

b. Steal some. This is marginally less legal than ( a. ) above, but can result in coins as well as bills. Church poor boxes, passengers on railway trains, and convenience stores are all traditional sources of ready money – but beware of the church that is more desperate than you are, the railway coach packed with smelly customers, or the corner grocery store run by an old Korean ex-marine who can knock you into next week with a stick. You may well end up paying them to let you loose.

c. Beg some. This is degrading only until you have your first $ 1000 in the bank. Then it becomes a valid form of theatre played to a gullible audience. Hint: don’t have yourself incorporated as a proprietary company and don’t give receipts. It’s efficient but you’d be surprised how the pennies dry up.

d. Inherit some. Those of you with rich old uncles will have this one sussed out already, but  there is still hope for the lonely souls as well. No matter how big you are you can still dress yourself in a nappy, lay down in a basket on the doorstep, and ring the bell. A tearful note pinned to your diaper asking that you be taken in and made prosperous completes the outfit.

It doesn’t work every time. It doesn’t work most of the time. But all it needs to do is work once and you are made. Hint: James Packer’s doorstep is currently unattended. Wait until the light goes on before you wail piteously.

e. Marry some. Go down to the station, early in the morning. See the little gravy trains, all in a row. See the stationmaster pull the little handle. Chug chug, glug glug. Off you go.

 

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.

Home Port

I was always impressed with the Panamanian merchant marine. And that of the Bahamas and Sierra Leone. I had grown up supposing the most powerful merchant fleets were from Britain, the US, or other allied countries – but so few of the ships that came into port seemed to be registered there. The Sierra Leonians and Panamanians had advanced to being the sailors of the world…

The penny dropped later – the ships were registered in countries that demanded no taxes from the owners, yet benefitted from whatever anyone else did as far as maritime organisation and safety. It was surprising that so few of them were not home-ported in Switzerland or Leichtenstein…

It all worked until this year when the Asian virus was found to infect the ships of the cruise lines. We’ve seen the horrid results of ships refused entry and stranded off any number of out-of-the-way ports. They’re gradually repatriating the passengers, well or otherwise, and the crews are being kept abord many of the vessels.

Time for them to go home. Not to Miami or Sydney or New York. Not to the ports where they hoovered up the money. To the ports where they cached it – their tax-free home ports. That’s where they said they were from, and that’s where they can finish up. The various governments that were taking the registration fees and banking the profits can now spend that money cleaning out the ships and turning them into low-cost floating housing for their citizens. Like the Queen Mary.

Or do a Queen Elizabeth and have a mysterious fire start in the harbour…

The Hoard

In light of the current panic buying triggered by fears of coronavirus, I have decided to open a Hoard Store. It is the ideal place where greed meets greed.

I shall take consignments from manufacturers and wholesalers of goods that they cannot shift – the old stock, the marginal stock, the damaged and ugly stock. I will warehouse it in buildings that are designed to create a sense of fear – fear of disease, fear of other people, fear of missing out. A few good signs around the place and a some heavy fencing to give the sense of impending doom.

Then I will set my team to work on the internet – all the social media platforms and news sites, creating a sense of panic that whatever I am trying to shift will not be available in the future. I’ll invoke the fear of disease, war, famine, and creeping supernatural horror to activate the deepest level of people’s minds. They will be rushing the doors and bearing off whatever I shove onto the counter at whatever price I care to set.

I’ll further whip the audience into a frenzy by showing empty shelves and then notices that you need to stock up before rationing begins.

Few will notice that I am bulk selling safety pins and castor oil. If I can get Chicken Little onto the screen we’ll have the sky falling in no time. Have you got your helmet? We have them for sale…

Faint Praise Grows Ever Fainter

My local old-folks radio station has an hourly segment of what they like to call national news. I think it’s probably compiled by students in some eastern-states technical college as a part of their journalism course. The presenters and the material they deliver seems to follow a university pattern – some science, some politics, and some student whining.

I don’t mind – there might be few new insights into the world to be got from it, but it does allow me to hear various university professors try to justify getting their next grant. It makes a nice change from the advertisements for used cars or dental implants. And the student presenters are no worse at it than our local volunteers.

However, I did note a story that flitted through this week that seemed to report the Google search engine company is to be compelled to reveal the source of an anonymous posting on their platform. It was a scathing review of a dental practitioner in regard to tooth-whitening procedures and the fang bosun took exception to being criticised. The whole incident serves as a notice for those of us who write on the internet that money not only talks, but does so urgently when it feels threatened. I shall take note and amend my essays.

I’ll cease calling people monsters of depravity and festering sores on the bottom of humanity. All except for one person. And they know who they are…

Instead, I shall praise all – and praise fulsomely. Compliments and endorsements left, right, and centre. The slightest hint of any public presence will call forth a torrent of worship. It is much the safest form of abuse.

Don’t Mind If I Do…

That’s a persistent buzz phrase and meme that we use whenever we luck into something. We discover a free feed or booze-up – a discount or special price – or a chance to have a good time. It’s a cheerful event, and we’re celebrating it.

But what if other people mind if you do? Even if it is none of their concern, your good fortune is a canker to some folks. While they might not go out of their way to be mean to you, the sight of you having a good time is and unpleasant reminder that they’re not.

We may never know of their distaste. It’s not something that they bray about, unless within the safety of their own computer they can be snarky and anonymous at the same time. If we never see their feed, we may go through life not realising their enmity. The best thing to do is to be philosophical about it…as the late Eugene V. Debs admitted – ” You can’t displease all of the people all of the time. “. Accept the fact that there are secret haters out there that you’ll never get to know about and just be grateful for the sound of teeth grinding in the dark.

Note: When Fate, Heaven, and serendipity combine to supply you with a Boston Cream Pie just when you are hungry and you find a fork ready to hand, you would be a churl to refuse the treat. Accept that good things can happen to bad people like you and just eat the pie. Or throw it, if you get half a chance.

The National Day

On the national civic* day – 26th of January – we had become accustomed in the past few years to being bombarded by ambitious politicians, academics, and advertisers for their various purposes. In many cases this was driven by lust for power and money. At least when the CWA and local kindergarten were involved.

Then there was a spate of excoriating those with European background for not being Australian enough. Or for being British. Every sin and misery for the past two hundred -odd years was seeded home to the Dreadful British and compensation demanded. Compensation, guilt, and obeisance. If you couldn’t manage the guilt and obeisance, at least cough up the money…the lawyers had sent in their bill.

Arrived late? Not British? Never had a hand in oppressing anyone? No matter. As long as you had money they’d let you on the tumbril.

However.

This year it seemed to be different. Very few ambitious local councillors fronted the television cameras weeping. Few calls for the scrapping of the day emerged, and those that were repeated came from the established disestablishment. Most people seemed set to do their citizenship ceremonies, watch the fireworks, get drunk and sunburned, and let it go at that.

My local hobby club even garnered an award from the city of Bayswater for not being as dangerous as they might have been. I shall share in the honours as long as there is cake and coffee involved.

*  The national military day is later in the year and it will have it’s own set of special detractors – though oddly enough there will be many of the same names bitching about the past then as do now.

How To Apply For A Grant Without A Revolver

Well, I said I was going to write on the subject, didn’t I? When I promise something I always make good on it, even when it is something bad. That’s what being a long-time parent can teach you.

Leaving aside the question of whipping the children with scourges – a fine leisure activity – let us get to the question of the grant. We generally understand this to be a sum of money or credit given to us for some good purpose. Education, health improvement, housing, etc. have all been subject to this sort of thing in the past. Indeed there have been grants of land and other titles made by authorities ever since the first tyrant rewarded the first grovelling minion with slaves and fields. It’s not quite that obvious these days, outside of the Balkans or South Asia, so we’ll just consider the money grant.

The first thing you need to do to get one, is to find out who has the money in the first place. Favoured sources are federal, state, and local governments – we’ll just lump them together and call them the Tyrants. They have money because they have found other victims before you and accumulated a store of the stuff. Note that it is no good trying for grants from organisations that are themselves begging.

The grant is frequently a way for the Tyrant to purchase fealty and/or safety from the masses. They remember how they got the money in the first place and it is only by sending back little parcels of it that they can ensure that their head is on the stamps, not on the pitchforks.

Start by writing in for The Form. There will be one. Then sit down and read it carefully. It will promise money but demand something in return. Your first-born child or your soul are frequently mentioned – all good there. What you really have to be careful about is if the form asks for repayment of the money over a period of years with interest added as time goes on. This is the triple-gang hook of finance. It never works its way out…

If possible, make your request for grant money sound like you are going to do some worthy thing with it. Of course you need not do so – it can all be shovelled into your pocket as ” operational expenses “, but make a little paper sign that says” Goode Workes And Godley Virtue  ” then put it beside the pile of coins and take a picture. It looks good for the press.

And think of making a grant yourself. Perhaps your local bottle shop needs to sell a couple of cartons of full-strength beer – you can help by taking some of your grant money down there and giving it over. Everyone will be happy.

Riding The Horse – Part Thirteen – The Call Of Cashthulu

Sooner or later in your serious pursuit of a hobby the temptation to make money with it will arise. Money Imps are everywhere; witness the internet. Every second communication you receive is urging you to monetise what you do. All you’ll need to do is send the person who wrote it your money….

It can be less sordid than that. You might be asked to take up prostitution or drug dealing, and what could possibly go wrong there? Or it might be as simple as someone remarking that your hand-sewn mechanical intestines are really very authentic and you should offer them to other gut-lovers. They’ll snap them up, if snapping intestines is a thing.

I write from experience. I was very good at making leather soldier’s accoutrement in the 1990’s. Cartridge boxes, belts, canteens, food bags, etc. I did a steady little trade in these for re-enactors in the black powder hobby, both in my own metro area and interstate by post. I even went round as a drummer for the business on one holiday trip – a lesson in itself. People paid their bills with admirable promptitude and I was able to make a tidy little loss on my investment.

Loss? Loss of money, as the price they were willing to pay was that of the items demanded in American catalogs or by Indian sutlers. I was buying raw materials at Australian prices. When the sources of cheap leather dried up there was no profit at all in it. Add to this the costs of postage…

Also loss of time and enthusiasm. Sewing 20 cartridge boxes for your own re-enactment group is one thing – sewing the same number for others where there is no profit, quite another. Eventually I was blessed with an opportunity to hand the business over to someone else who had just lost their day job – I could get out honourably and they could try to carry on.

 The same would be the case in every division of every hobby. As soon as it was converted into a commercial proposition – however sketchy – the thing would become a job. It would take on the form of a task rather than a pleasure and the time spent doing it would be robbed from the day, rather than adding to it. Far better to do nothing for gain, and spend the time doing it for fun.