How Much Is Your Name Worth?

If it is Elon Musk or Richard Branson, apparently quite a lot.

If it is Harvey Weinstein, somewhat less…

And for those of us in the middle? Well, it’s worth just what other people think it is. And therein lies the danger. If you have been a good person forever and are a good person now, your name and reputation will still be available for people to throw darts at as long as you are within range. You are not in control of the darts nor of their throwing arms – you can only control the range.

This is a sad thought if you are a people person. If your life needs human contact and constant approval, you are always going to be within range of the very human trait of animosity. You need not provoke it – it is there all the time ready for use. Sort of the frozen pizza of emotions. Just stand still for long enough, close enough, and there you go.

How to protect yourself from it? Either stay far enough away from others so that you never fall under their notice, or please everyone in every way all the time, or put safeguards in place. Never see anyone alone. Never say anything remotely objectionable to anyone. Never borrow anything , nor lend it. Never win a contest. Never write a book, blog, or laundry ticket. Never ask and never tell. Never know.

For those of you out there contemplating sex, forget it. Cold showers and prayer are your only recourse. Shun dating, marriage, adultery, celibacy, and strip joints. Avoid the movies, particularly if you are producing them. Do not send pictures of any portion of your body to anyone at all, ever. Avoid stimulating foods like lukewarm gruel and dry toast.

As far as finances go, remember about not being a borrower or lender. Also do not spend any money and take particular care that you are not seen to be saving it – you would be a miser.

Of course politics are a minefield of offence. Minefields are also a minefield. In fact just plain fields will get the more committed ecologist quite livid with anger. You may be wise to curl up under your desk and make no sound whatsoever.

But cheer up – do all this and you will have a good name. King Tutankhamen has been quiet for centuries and no-one has a bad word for him.

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Cooking Classes For The Tasteless

We are always being bombarded with the phrases ” Good Taste ” and ” Bad Taste ” but the people who scold us about these things never seem to be able to offer a practical way to differentiate the two. Often it amounts to waiting until something goes from one to the other – and there are instances of some things switching from one camp to the other several times within a century. You need to have some way to predict which side of the fence you should be on when it blows down.

Here is the current BGA guide to Good and Bad Taste:

a. Name calling is always in bad taste unless the name is really quite clever or trendy and you have a position as a sometime journalist with a small suburban paper. As no-one really reads the thing before they wrap cat scraps in it, you can use it as a platform to be as rude as you please.

b. Bullying is similarly in bad taste. The unfortunate thing is that there is no direct opposite to the word ” bullying ” that can be praised as good taste so the campaigns to stop it can be a little weak. It’s hard to tell someone to take to their tormentors with a fire axe and make it sound like good taste…though it may be good fun.

c. Beige is nearly always good taste and nipple pink nearly always bad. But here again real life can be maddening – at one stage of the Second World War the British experimented with painting some Spitfires ” Nipple Pink ” as a form of dawn camouflage.

d. Nutritionists and health writers are fond of telling us that anything fried is in bad taste. Cooks, on the other hand, frequently fry things and make them taste very good. A case of reality being falsely advertised or vice versa.

e. Comedy is often in bad taste – and jokes in good taste are frequently so weak as to expire before any resuscitation can be attempted. They are greeted with fashionable silence. The cry of ” Quieter and Sadder ” may come from the back of the hall…

f. Anything that involves excretions is in bad taste – the equipment, the occasions, the produce. Just a bad idea.

g. Kittens and puppies are nearly always in good taste. Small owls and otters as well, though the latter may leave damp patches ( see (f.) above. Use your discretion and have a cloth handy.

h. Self aggrandisement, boasting, skiting, bragging, and generally arrogant behaviour is in bad taste until one becomes media promoter, entertainment celebrity, or political candidate. Then it becomes a good idea, if not exactly good taste.

 

No Fool Like An Old Fool

We old fools are well served by that folk saying – it has the right ring about it to let young people laugh and lose interest in us. And then we can carry on with our nefarious plans. By the time they realise how dangerous we are it is too late.

Now I don’t want to alarm people – old folks are not demons incarnate, unless you are speaking about Rolf Harris, Bill Cosby, or Hilary Clinton. Most of us are cuddly and lovable and do not make stains on the carpet. But we are dangerous enough in our own right to require a bit of caution. Above all we should not be left unattended near the bookshelf or the computer. Some of us cannot be trusted.

The young have the advantage of us in that they have stamina, health, and sex to look forward to. We have the counter in that we had sex and it was better than the stuff you get nowadays ( including the nice-crispy sex you got before the war ) and that stamina and health are over-rated. Being sick means you get to do a lot more complaining.

We are allowed a great deal more latitude than the young, but they don’t realise that in most cases we do not need it. If people are going to be so indulgent as to forgive us our foibles that is all well and good – but they fail to understand that we don’t care whether we are forgiven or not. We are content to have a good time ( before 8:30 in the evening ) and let it go at that.

Folly, as it happens, is generally a youthful activity. They can love and hate and invest and war and over-eat with little sad consequence – we have learned differently, and know that any deviation from good sense brings bad times. So we are wise in spite of ourselves. It doesn’t preserve us, of course, but it does make us quieter in public places.

Dance For Me, My Pretty…

If someone were to say the words ” Exotic Dancer ” to you, what would you think of?

Would you think of someone doing a dance that is well outside of your normal culture? Perhaps a Middle Eastern dancer in the Persian, Turkish, or Egyptian Styles? Perhaps a Bollywood dancer in a brilliant costume. Perhaps an African doing a tribal dance. Perhaps an Israeli whirling in a hora. A Hopi dancing to ensure a good corn harvest…

Or would you think of a stripper? Boom dooma doom dooma doom. Bah.

Some people say it is the dance that has become corrupted, but I think it is just the imprecision of the language. ” Exotic ” means ” foreign ” – but the strippers who dance in our local clubs are really mostly domestic. I grant that ” Normal Dancers ” winking on a neon sign over a sleazy nightclub would not quite have the same pull as ” Exotic Dancers ” but really, after the outer garments were shed, the end result would be pretty much the same. Whether they start out wearing tracky daks and woollen jumpers or small triangles of sequins is just a detail.

” Erotic Dancer ” might be a better choice, but from all reports, the dancers don’t feel all that hepped up on a cold night out on the runway. ” Erotic Customers ” might be more accurate, though again reports suggest that it would be better to substitute ” Erratic “…

I propose that we change all the advertising. Instead of ” Exotic Dancers ” or ” Erotic Dancers ” we headline the bill with ” Mystery Dancers “. No-one will know when they sit down at the ringside table whether they are going to get Gypsy Rose Lee in a bikini or Harvey Weinstein on a bender. The anticipation should be electric. And no-one would know what was going to happen till the first pasty landed in the audience.

 

With A Cherry On The Bottom

We are often presented with some grandiose scheme or excessive product and told that it is glorious because it has everything plus a cherry on top. Pooh. This is nothing but commercial hype – and puerile hype at that.

It is postulated upon the idea of the ice cream sundae – layers of bad dairy decisions topped with watery chocolate and a preserved Maraschino cherry. The sort of thing that looks better in 1940’s illustrations than ever it does in real life. Well, you can put it out of your mind.

If you want the best experience, lower the cherry. You can still have the artificial fruit but remove the ice cream and substitute 2 ounces of rye whiskey, one ounce of red vermouth, and a dash of bitters. It is called the Manhattan cocktail and it will do more for you than the ice cream ever would. You can still get fat on it – it has as many calories as the soda fountain concoction – but you will have a much better chance to get drunk, wise, and laid. Believe me, all these things are better than ice cream.

Note: One good Manhattan is not enough and two are too many. The same is true for a good Mint Julep. Years of experimental work are recommended to discover how to achieve a perfect balance. You may not end up a scientist or a natural philosopher, but you will have had decades of enjoyment. They’ll bury you with a smile on your face.

The man or woman who invents a practical use for the cherry stem after you have finished the cocktail will win the Nobel prize for happiness.

What Women Really Want

Okay…if you are reading this you are alive – If you are a platypus or a member of Federal Parliament…or both*…you are excused from having an opinion. The rest of you are going to have to pay attention.

You are going to have to do that dear old pulp-magazine thing of deciding what it is that women really want. ( Note the emphasized italics. This computer program will do that and it’s a lot of fun.)

Lay aside your critical faculties for a moment and indulge in internet mind-sludge. Open your eyes to the side-bar of things that are too good to be true and too true to be good. In a word; wallow.

We’ve been seeing headlines, leaders, paragraph headings, and footnotes for years that ask us to consider what it is that women really want. Then, after asking the question in bold yellow billboard type, the authors of the various pieces have told us what they want. The conventional wording of the essay pretends to put this into the mouths of the female sex, whether the writer shares those chromosomes or not.

The cynical amongst us are starting to believe this sort of journalism is no more that a mask for speculation and political footling – because who can speak for half of humanity spread over an entire planet? We cannot speak for our parents or our children, and frequently cannot speak for ourselves…even if we are the only ones listening.

So, how do you take the question? How do you answer it?

You take it person by person. If you want to know what one woman wants, ask her directly. What she wants may not be in your power to grant, but you can at least make an effort to try to supply any polite social request, and make it a personal thing. If she asks you what you really want, tell her. That’ll bring both of you to a point of actual  human contact.

Leave the slogans and memes to others.

*  Have we told you about the dual citizenship thing yet? The one that spans two or more species? Pull up a nest and sit down…

Checklist For Anzac Day March

With the recent theatrics of the ” Anti-Australia Day ” march in Melbourne in mind, the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia has prepared a useful checklist for protestors who wish to stage an ” Anti-Anzac Day ” march later in the year. Feel free to download it and add anything that you feel may improve the affair.

a. Remember that it may be a march but it is not in March. Try as you might, you can’t re-write the fact that the assault at Gallipoli really was on April 25. If you come down the main street in town a month early with protest banners and scarves wrapped around your face in anticipation of tear gas, no-one will take any notice of you.

b. When you howl in outrage and curse the 1915 soldiers of the ANZAC you will be safe from retaliation by the original people. They are no more. Their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great etc., are, however, inconveniently alive…in large measure because of the original people’s war service.

That means you are not quite as safe to insult and degrade the memory of old service people as you may think…

c. If you plan to make your protest a step in your political career, be aware that steps can go down as well as up.

d. Likewise, if you plan to make your ” anti ” march a theatre of sexual protest and anti-male propaganda, keep a wary eye out for the ex – servicewomen who are there. If you are too offensive, that eye may collect a fist from one of them…not all aunties are anti.

e. If you plan to complain about the Anzac Day march from the point of view that the Australian forces were harsh to the enemy…well that’s fine. They were, on many occasions, and on a professional basis. That’s why the big chap up the front of the parade is still carrying the Australian flag down the main street of an Australian town a century later…

f. If you plan to protest current wars instead of past ones, remember that you may be seen as espousing the cause of current enemies. If you try to make this clear to all around you with foreign flags and banners, expect unofficial as well as official attention.

g. Don’t wear bogus service medals anywhere on your person during your protest. Not even if you wear them in the correct position. Nothing will earn you more lasting contempt and damaging notoriety.