I read recently that some Hollywood mogul or star…it may have been a star mogul…was arrested for indecent assault. I do not know the details of the allegation or the results of the charge, but I’m left with a puzzling question:
Is there such a thing as decent assault?
If there is, do you escape any penalty? Does the press hound you with congratulations and do other Hollywood stars rush to the talk shows to insist that you punched them in the eye too – and that they think all the better of you for it?
Now I’ve also heard the expression ” assault and battery ” – not an electrical term, but a differentiation in charge between someone who takes a swing at you and someone who connects. It generates the question of whether there is decent battery to go with decent assault.
I long to ask a legal expert, but they charge a lot to listen to a question…and lot more to answer it. And whether these are decent or indecent charges I still don’t want to pay.
Which to sell – essential goods or luxury ones?
Aye, there’s the rub – and it’s either with a velvet glove or a bastard file. You choose which division of commerce you think will be likeliest to pay and go with that. If you are right you rake in the cash and if you are wrong you rake leaves in the park.
Essential items are food, water, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and security. Thus we see sellers of prepackaged truffles, designer water, silk underwear, bespoke serviced appartments, day facelift spas, and bouncers doing very well indeed.
Luxury items are every blessed thing else. And not every venture selling these succeeds. However, when they do take off – the camera shop or the hobby shop come to mind – the sky is the limit. People will stint themselves of luxuries to buy essentials but that is called skimping and saving pennies – when it is the other way it works with hundreds and thousand of dollars. The trick of retailing is to be where the money ends up – not where it starts.
At least here you are. We live in a free country that will let you think what you like. You can also say what you like…but with a few restrictions to prevent harm to others. By and large it is a good system and altogether a good country.
But note: the freedom you exercise to think and speak is also granted to everyone else. And it goes further – we have a great deal of freedom to listen to what you say, to commit it to memory, and to think about it.
We are allowed to agree or disagree with you… and within certain limits to let you know that we do. And you, more or less, have to put up with either decision.
Which conflicts with the attitude and pronouncements of some people in the chattering classes. They form groups, collectives, and cabals that try to silence any dissent or disagreement. As these can be found in schools, universities, cultural institutions, and businesses, it can destroy the very freedom of speech that they cry for.
The humorous part of this – if hypocrisy is humour – is that they will insist that they be allowed public display and disruption to push their barrow.
Is there an answer to it all? Well, you’re reading it. the weblog column. The internet posting. It can be read by all – it can be criticised by all – it can be ignored by all. It hardly ever garners a legal protest or challenge and mostly just hangs around in electronic space to embarrass or discredit decades later.
Another answer would be a Speaker’s Corner in a central public park that could be open to all for untrammelled oratory. Of course that would mean that the speakers and listeners would have to abide by rules of conduct. We may be too far down the road to either political correctness or political chaos for that. Plus it would need two cops to oversee the venue.
Or Licensing And Testing Centre or whatever it is called. The place where you go to renew your car licence or get a concession on the price.*
I think I have the answer to cutting down road crashes and road rage. All you need to do is set up a license and facial recognition camera pointing at the one-way lane in front of the centre. The one ringed with ” Do Not Enter”, ” One Way “, and ” Go Back ” signs and arrows leading out of it.
Then clock the plates and faces of the drivers who ignore them and sail blithely up the wrong way to park astraddle two bays in front of the building. As they present themselves inside, match the faces and plates to whatever papers they are trying to shove over the counter. Then put those papers into a bin and set fire to them. Have the car outside towed away and dropped into a compactor. Direct the speechless applicant to the bus stop.
A win-win for us all…
- I found out that I could get my driving licence free and 50% off the car rego. Triple win.
We have road rules here in Western Australia that compel us to slow down to 40 km per hour as we pass salt mines or sweat shops when the slaves are being lead into or released from their confinement. It is generally thought to be for safety purposes in case one of the desperate creatures throws themselves under the car wheels in a bid to end their misery. This would be a major economic loss for their owners, as well as a jolly nuisance for the car driver.
Actually, though, I think it is to allow the people who see them trudging in long, sad lines to enjoy themselves and their own relative freedom from the torture. Nothing makes the heart gladder than the miseries of others, kept at a convenient distance.
The inmates of the slave farms are identifiable by their uniform clothing. The hilarious part of it is that the unattractive garments they are compelled to wear are not provided by the slave owners – the parents of the unfortunates are paying stiff little prices for everything they wear. And the clothing is generally marked so that it cannot be used for other purposes.
Of course there are always some down sides to any cheerful story. In the case of the slaves, some are being taught useful traders so that they can be on-sold after their indentures are completed. When they do successfully learn their trade they become cocky and arrogant. That is when they set the dogs on them.
The part that puzzles me is the provision that is made for guards to keep them from escaping during the transition from the slave factories to their hovels. They do not seem to be armed, apart from a set of flags or a staff that looks like a lollypop. Perhaps they carry guns or tasers under their fluoro vests. I know I would, considering what some of the smaller slaves look like.
First thing, let us get correct use of the English language out of the way. Specifically, ” lying ” and ” laying “. The former is what politicians do and the latter what hens and whores do. Choose your profession before you put up your sign.
Lying can lead us to all sorts of trouble when we are detected in it by others, or when we do it so successfully that we start to believe it ourselves. Either occurrence leads to loss of our dignity – and the appearance of dignity is what allows us to manipulate others. Dignity and sincerity are essential to successful crime.
How to start lying for money? Well, start small. You won’t make much in tips or favours by being a bellhop or waitperson in Australia -we are not really a tipping society. But you can go to a racecourse and tip or recommend horses all day with no fear of being abused. If a horse wins you sidle up to the successful punter and remind them that your advice was invaluable. If they lose you don’t bother to sidle. Occasionally you beetle out the gate, but then hanging round too long at a party is never good manners.
Or become an usher at your local church and assist in passing the plate around for contributions. Plates are notorious for tipping and spilling money into pants pockets. Practice angelic looks in the mirror until you get them right.
Can you lie with a straight face to a government employee? If you are a government employee can you lie with a straight face to a client of an agency? GO’s and NGO’s are looking for you right now. A bland smile and a grey sleeveless sweater are advantageous at the job interview – they like talking to one of their own.
People have told me that there is no need to feed road rage – it has its own sources of nourishment. I am astounded by this – when I take my Toyota Crown 2000 along the Old Coast Road at Easter time towing the Blockmore caravan at 35 Km per hour I never see any rage. I’ve taken off the towing mirrors and I never look back.
Recently a person who was a great deal more Asian than I am was behind my little green Suzuki in a grey Subaru – a big one. I suspect I was not going fast enough to satisfy him – though it would have satisfied a magistrate, as it was the legal limit. In the brief glances I took into the rear-view mirror I could see lights flashing and violent gesticulations on his part. This may have been a folk dance, but if it was, the folk were unhappy.
I made sure I kept strictly to the road speed limits and drove safely – using my turn indicators at the proper distance as required in the Act. My stern companion may not have read the Act, nor approved of it, as he kept repeating his light show. Perhaps there are different rules in the Dutch East Indies or French Indo-China regarding road use, and he has not had time to learn ours. In any case, when he peeled off to do important things elsewhere and I continued on to do trivial things in my part of the world, I reflected upon the lessons:
- Road rage sits beneath the surface of many psyches wearing many suits of clothing. You cannot assign it to any one group.
- It manifests itself when the practitioner is under stress – they are late – they have had a bad day at work – they are under financial pressure. Stress = rage potential.
- The trigger for the rage can be anything that frustrates them. If you drive at the legal speed in a lane within which they wish to break the law, you are target for that rage. They want to gamble with the laws and the Multinova fines. If you prevent this, you are culpable.
- The road-rager is better than you. Richer, stronger, handsomer, more powerful, etc. Some of this is in their mind and some of it may, indeed, be true – but if you do not allow them to show it, they are ANGRY. Arrogance only works if it is shared.
- You cannot satisfy the road-rager. Not by any means, whether that be defiance, or ignorance, or grovelling apology. The road rage is not directed at you – it is an inward attack that continues until the person has exhausted their fear and sorrow. You cannot make it better.
- You can, however, make it worse. If your behaviour has provoked the rage, the best and most sensible thing to do is to intensify it until the emotion rises to the point of psychotic and murderous mania. Until it is fury beyond boundary and stress beyond bearing. Get the road-rager to this stage, judge it accurately, and then slowly motor away. If you can pull into the forecourt of a hospital or police station – both well-provided with security cameras -and quickly go inside, you may be rewarded by the sight of the culprit exploding in the arms of authority. Be kind. Tell them to hold their temper…
Of course it goes without saying that you should make careful note of the licence plates of any offenders – these can be reported to the police or to people who will extract a suitable revenge for a small payment.
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:
- 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…?
- Provide a lock-up car park.
- 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.
- Dogs. Hungry dogs.
- 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.
Establishing and ensuring privacy in the modern world is more difficult than it used to be. We are subject to enquiry and observation in nearly every aspect of our lives. People have written in to the BGA Advice Bureau seeking ways to reduce this – we are happy to help. Here is a list of practical measures that the householder can take to increase and maintain their privacy:
- Do not put a number on your house. People who wish to find you based upon your physical location use this to pinpoint you. If you talk your neighbours into adopting the same measure, the entire area can be impossible to decipher.
- Maintain several names. Give one in one location and another at a different venue. Keep a notebook to accurately record who you are at any one place. Do not deviate.
- Avoid using banks to store money. They always take far too great an interest in you once you lodge funds with them, and they can be coerced by the Taxation Department into telling about it. A large safe set into the ground is he best alternative, though you’ll need to pay for the safe in cash and haul it home and imbed it yourself. Place no faith in mattresses as cash receptacles.
- Pay for everything you buy in cash. If the item is too expensive for this method, consider stealing it or going without.
- Use false names on the internet. They should not be spectacular. And never post anything that is so offensive or controversial that the media watchdogs batten upon it.
- Act strictly in accordance with all laws – including traffic laws. This will attract no interest form the police and unless you are selling doughnuts, they will take no notice of you.
- When you go to confession, get the priest to tell you his sins.
- Vacation in-country, preferably in town, and possibly in the house. No travel, no passports or documentation.
- Marry someone who is very secretive, but never ask them why.
- Wear unobtrusive garments bought from goodwill shops. Make no eye contact.
- Become Vice President of the United States.
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.