The Next Best Thing To Sliced Bead

The next best thing to sliced bread is not, as the advertisers would have you believe, a new electronic gadget or app. It is not an item of clothing or a kitchen appliance. It is cheese and pickle.

Thus another popular saying ( here in Australia ) goes for a Burton. North American readers can also go for a Burton but they’ll have to hunt out an English pub or beer shop to do it. Elizabeth Taylor went for a Burton…

Do you think that popular sayings and buzz-phrases are getting to be clichéd? You’re not wrong, Narelle. And we are being bombarded with more of them every day, thanks to the very screen you are looking at. They can become a burden after a while and we long for good old-fashioned communication like you got before the War. When men were men and women were women and the ABC announcers dressed up in suits and ties to read scripts over a radio microphone.

I think it is time to take back this level of earnestness and style. To re-assert the right of everyone to be elegant. Therefore:

a. Henceforth this column will be written while fully  the author is fully dressed. No more old green bathrobe and slippers. No more typing while wearing nothing but a wet towel. Or less.

b. No more buzz phrases – or at least none that are currently in use on Facetwit or that other slightly profane site; Instadamn.

c. All words will be correctly spelled and supplied in correct grammatical form. And the correct spelling may not be what the biased Spell Checker at the top of the WordPress menu would have it. I have been watching this suspect program and seen several howlers pass its scrutiny. It may be time to finally decide whether British English or American English is to prevail…though the Canadian compromise might be adopted for the sake of convenience. Whichever one is chosen, there will be protests from the grammatically arrogant.

d. Colourful local words and phrases like ” Crikey ” and ” Stone the crows ” will be permitted but must be put in the mouths of colourful locals. Direct quotes only, preferably from a scaffold.

e. I have no objection to foreign words creeping in as long as they then creep out again.

f. No-one would expect to have a brain surgeon or waist gunner perform their special tasks while eating a Subway  tuna-fish sandwich. Likewise the readers do not want their literature bedaubed with taco sauce or biscuit crumbs. Henceforth the desk will be cleared of plates while the column is being typed. This will have the added benefit of not requiring a new keyboard after Spaghetti Night.

g. I shall occasionally introduce a new word or phrase to cover a particular point of communication and then repeat it enough times over different platfoms to set it in the public mind. Most of this will be done in a spirit of jollity and kindness, with the appropriate amount of savagery. This process of forcing language upon the unwilling shall be known as motting the rubes.

I do not expect them to be grateful, but I shall be satisfied when they start doing it to each other.

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A Gentle Thank-You

a. To people who read my weblog columns and get the humour. And laugh.

b. To people who read the columns and do not get them and then grumble. This gives me an opportunity for laughter.

c. To people who still talk to me.

d. To people who have cut me dead.

e. To people who read my material in hopes that I will get better at writing. If it is any consolation to you, I hope I will get better as well. If there was a spell-Check for thoughts I might have a chance.

f. To the people who make Facebook as crassly stupid as it is. They do not raise any faith in mankind, but they let me feel superior to something. Not quite as good as canned chili but better than a suggested post.

g. To people who do not tailgate me at dusk when I am in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. May your tyres always maintain pressure and your seatbelt never pinch.

h. To people who keep appointments.

i. To people who help me with technical enquiries – but only if they are right.

j. To people who speak loudly enough to be heard and slowly enough to be understood.

k. To people who do not bring takeaway containers of coffee out and sip while we are in conversation.

l. To waiters and waitresses who do not hover. If I want another beer I’ll call for it; if I want a helicopter I’ll call Sikorski.

m. To book store owners who put good things on remainders tables at low prices.

” Now Hear This ” – The BGA Cures The Ills Of The World

Well, we’ve got the BGA booths into the train stations, malls, hospital waiting rooms, and fish and chip shops – now what is going to happen?

People will line up to enter the booth – their gold coin in hand for when they want to get out again. They’ll enter the darkness, snuggle up to the speaking tube, and start to tell the world what they want the world to know.

Part of it will be confession – the murders, robberies, and lustful thoughts of the week. Part will be profession – who they hate – Donald Trump, the brother-in-law, etc. Some will take the opportunity to brag about the size of their private parts, and some will tell the truth – in neither case will anyone out in the waiting line believe a word of what they say.

The trained counsellor will interject with helpful things like ” My, my.” and ” Well, I’ll be darned, eh? ” or just sit there making soothing noises as the professor gets more agitated. If they are asked to forgive the professor they will do so immediately, knowing that everyone else in the surrounding area that has heard the news will be ready with cudgels and handcuffs as soon as the curtain slides back. No sense being judgemental when you don’t have to be.

There will be no penances awarded – people can leave the booth feeling cleansed and free. Of course they may then be collared by the police or attacked by an enraged mob, but that is no business of the BGA. We will only step in when someone admits to a fiscal sin that has resulted in the accumulation of a large amount of ill-gotten gain in a Swiss bank account. The only thing we need is the special number and then you will be free to go.

The effect of this open-ended opportunity to get it off your chest will be to free up the psyche of individuals and let them get on with their lives. Of course, some of the less cautious ones may be devoting a great deal of those lives to running and hiding, but then they would have been brought to that eventually. We give them a clean chance on the starting blocks.

But what if you do not have any sins? Or any money, for that matter – is the BGA booth going to be any use to you? You bet it is – and you’ll read about that in our final chapter tomorrow.

The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia – A Guide To Salvation Through Publicity

We mentioned the Catholic confessional yesterday but forgot to say that it is considered to be a sacrosanct thing. The admissions that people make in there are generally supposed not to be blabbed about by the priests. This has lead to a number of melodramatic Hollywood movies and even more melodramatic government enquiries and media reports all over the world. And that has given the BGA an idea.

We are going to introduce a variation upon the institution of the confessional but with a few operational differences:

a. The BGA version will be available in more places – not confined to the premises of a church or cathedral. BGA booths will be set up in railway stations, shopping malls, and sports arenas. In country towns they will be attached to the pub or the petrol station. The Guild has a long-term aim to make sure that no Australian is more than 500 metres from a BGA booth wherever they live in the country.

b. BGA booths will be manned by a trained counsellor, though in some cases the training that they have received may be in naval gunnery, bartending, or double-entry book keeping. In any case they will be people who are prepared to sit there and listen. They will be paid, of course.

c. The booths will be properly curtained, with a darkened interior and a grillwork between the impenitent and the professor – we’ve learned that much psychology from the church. People will only start talking when they feel safe. Or when they are full of sodium pentothal. Curtains are cheaper than hypodermics.

d. The booths will have an internal sound tube and megaphone attached so that the sounds created inside are amplified and sent out over the surrounding area. We were contemplating a modern microphone/amplifier/speaker system but the technical experts pointed out that the power requirements and maintenance would make this impractical – certainly if we are to have a large network.  And the costs involved would push the project well over budget.

e. There will be no time limits set upon the BGA booths – neither frequency of attendance nor time inside speaking into the tube. There will be a hook provided in the counsellor’s tool kit to allow them to remove people who are just in there sleeping or making a nuisance of themselves. In really troublesome areas no seating will be provided apart from a central spike.

f. Most of the BGA booths will have a charity box attached to them. It will swing in on a steel hinge once the curtain is pulled across and will not swing back out of the way until a gold coin is dropped into the slot. There are fishooks set in the slot of the box to make sure that voluntary contributions go in and not out.

But enough of the mechanics of the booths. Read tomorrow to see how the BGA professional will help the people.

 

The Confessional And The Professional – A Modest BGA Proposal

Or ” How To Give Yourself Absolution In Three Easy Lessons “.

Faithful Catholics have a really good feature built into their choice of church – it includes an untimed private session with a trained psychologist every week. They can get whatever they want off their chest and the person who counsels them about it does not go out and instantly write an article for a learned journal from what they have heard.

In many cases the counsellor gives good advice and the person using the service goes away feeling better for it. Of course they may also go off with a giant flea in their ear and the obligation to perform good deeds on a massive scale.

Good stuff, but you need a big infrastructure to support it – a complete church building, a wooden box with two cubicles and curtains, and someone willing to sit there in the dark listening to you blather onwards without giving in to the desire to reach around to your side of the curtain and punch you. This may be a big ask these days. I propose that we substitute a WordPress special app for the normal Catholic procedure – and that we all make use of it.

Note: I wondered if any of the other religions had a similar procedure in place, but as I am not a member of what Tom Paine referred to as the Jew church or the Turk church…or any of the other organisations…I cannot say. The Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and other eastern groups may have similar arrangements.

I do know that I used to tell my sins to my mother when I was a kid and she gave out vigorous absolution with a rubber cake spatula. To this day I cannot pass the kitchen drawer containing the baking implements without a sense of trepidation. Morality has many a strange fount…

But enough speculation; gather up your sins and peccadillos and have them ready for tomorrow when the Backstabbers Guild of Australia shows you the way to salvation.

The National Day – Part Three – The Plural Of Day Is Not Daze

Okay. Here you go – the calendar of national days for Australia. This schedule contains all the fun, celebration, liquor, politics, and ill-humour that you want or need for national happiness. Anyone who is not happy with it is entitled under the constitution to be sad. The only thing that the Committee asks is that they be sad quietly.

January 1 – Australian National Day. Commemorating the establishment of the 6 colonies as an independent nation free of rule from Westminster.

January 26th – First Fleet Day – celebrating a successful amphibious assault upon Botany Bay.

April 25th – ANZAC Day – celebrating a failed amphibious assault upon Gallipoli.

First Sunday in July – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day – leading into a themed week called NAIDOC week. Invite the immigrants to the party.

September 1st – National Immigrant Day – Everybody dig out the clothes and food from their various Old Countries and take a day off work. Invite the indigenes to thee party.

November 11th – National Armistice day. When Europe paused for 21 years to reload.

Now you can stack whatever religious feasts and sporting events you like in between the national days and mix and match them to your liking. If you select the right religion, the right community, and the right mate, you can be overfed and queasy for 6 months out of the year. And none of this interferes with tax time, EOFY sales, or the school year.

But it does remove the platform and propaganda that the lobbyists and professors use to keep themselves – like flies –  in the public eye.

 

The National Day – Part Two – Independence Day Or Dependence Day?

Remember I mentioned that most national days commemorate someone declaring themselves to be independent from someone else? And determined to govern their lives on their own terms?

Unfortunately for Australia, the events of 26 January, 1778 were rather in reverse. The local people were free before the fleet rocked up but not after. Think of it in terms of a D-Day landing but instead of the British, Americans, and Canadians storming ashore it would be the Wehrmacht. Possibly with better air cover…

Well, 230+ years have rolled away since then and there have been other amphibious assaults to thrill and entertain the citizens. Not all of them successful, but that doesn’t stop the national desire to march and cheer. But that idea of thinking that nationhood came in boats full of convicts under musket guard is starting to be a bit suss. And it begs the question that is answered everywhere else by a definite set of criteria; when exactly did Australia become independent from the guards with muskets?

You’ll be pleased and horrified to learn that it was on the 1st of January 1900. Pleased because it happened without bloodshed, and horrified that no-one now wants to have it as the national day. Why?

Because it is on one of the New Year’s days. The one that is recognised by most of he population, but is already surrounded with boozy celebration and hangovers. Hardly anyone has the energy to be patriotic after a night on the tiles. So the day is shifted to 26 January, by which time livers have uncurled.  No-one wants to have to be sober and proud next morning when there is avocado dip in their hair. ( Presuming that it is avocado dip…)

And now the indigenes are unhappy and the immigrants are unhappy and the cheap journalists and cheaper council politicians make a fortune of money and publicity out of stoking that emotion.

What to do? Well, first of all recognise exactly what the truth is about the current day. And decide what a national day really should be. And then unravel the story so that everyone can read it. In the phrase beloved of all bureaucrats: ” Bring us into line with other nations “.

Tomorrow? The new days planned for Australia.