” Break Not A Jest ” – Or – The Sturmovik In The Teacup

I think I have need to apologise to the shade of General George Washington – I’ve failed to follow his 64th rule for civility and decent behaviour – the one that prohibits ” breaking a jest where none take pleasure in mirth “. I may also have laughed out loud as I did so, which is further sin.

In my defence, it was a passing thing – an odd remark seen on the internet called forth an equally silly reply, and then a series of increasingly hyperbolic posts – culminating in  the heading picture of the Ilyushin Sturmovik and an account of a pilot who uses it to strafe the Oktoberfest grounds just for old-time’s sake. Please note that the picture is an Easy Model 1:72 scale model…$ 14.95 at good hobby shops all over town.

Well I probably would have got away with the joke if the person hosting the thing had not been worried about me interrupting her satirical Facebook page. The page itself is a hilarious send up describing arrogant and entitled people who live in the posh beachside suburbs of our city. Well worth a read – and apparently it has some 1200…or was it 12,000 readers in her data base? I can’t remember exactly how many she mentioned, but it was a lot, and I’ll bet that they all like that bit of good biting satire.

Apparently I also made a blunder when I described the old pilot of the Ilyushin as a Slav. Unbeknownst to me this word is racism, and needs to be apologised for, or so she says. Bit puzzling, that, as the Wikipedia article on the Slavic people lists a great deal of their history and seems to say that they are very nice. This is my opinion too, as nearly all the other people who I have met with some claim to the title seem to be energetic, intelligent, and cheerful.

I am going to have to be much more careful in the future – not about mentioning the various divisions of mankind ( or womankind…) – after all, everybody has to be from somewhere – whether that be from Pilsen or Posen – and no-one need be ashamed by any of it. I mean, I know about the Posen bit – that’s where my Grandmother Elizabeth came from. And the Pilsen was home base to a branch of the other side of the family.

No, what I’m going to have to do is make sure that the people I break a jest with take pleasure in mirth.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go pull through the prop on the Ilyushin. The front two cylinders tend to clog up with oil and Oktoberfest is just around the corner.

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Dogwashing For the New Age

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The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia has always encouraged new industries. We feel that an active interest in capital growth is the best way to bring young people ahead – that and a good shooting war in someone else’s country that they can participate in on a contract basis.

Here in Australia, scientists have brought to our attention the need to conserve water and energy, and have pointed out the millions of gallons of fresh water that are wasted every year in cleaning cars, boats, dogs, and vagrants. The Guild has a plan to cut this waste. We have invested in water cannon trucks left over from the East German Political Police Service and are bringing them to Australia.

These trucks –  1989 Feldröhr 3000 SKV vehicles – are fitted with Skoda hydraulic cannon and pumps capable of pushing out 3000 psi streams of icy water that can travel up to 80 metres. They are fitted with a separate water trailer in some cases. Up until now they have been in demand in the Canadian goldfields as mobile hydraulic monitors to wash hillsides down into gold sluices. Unfortunately the British Columbia Department Of Ecology has ruled that they are too destructive to be used on rock faces or pine forests and so they have been offered to the Guild.

The new service – to be branded Guildy As Charged – will be available through the suburbs on a call-up basis. You merely phone in, give credit card details, and tell us what you want washed and where. The Feldröhr turns the corner in your street, the operator puts the muddy dog, child, or Hyundai in the laser sight and opens the valve. Most cleaning takes place in under 5 seconds and in many cases no windows are broken. Soap is unnecessary, and isn’t that good news for the environment.

For those objects that may be badly affected by water, the Guild will reserve one vehicle for use with a tank of xylene monoacetyte biphenolic acid which has been shown to dissolve even the toughest stain. In some cases through armour plate.

Remember – if it’s not clean it’s not safe…call the Guild today and rest in peace.

The Plastic Bumper Club – Or The Personal Car Club

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I have recently been going to car shows that referred to themselves as ” Chrome Bumper ” shows. This was to limit the entries to a certain section of the history of automobiles. That was after narrowing it down further by era and time and type and nationality and degree of reworking and…and…and a great many fun things would have been excluded.

The cars that did show were fine – and presumably fitted into slots that the organisers set up. I had a good time. I got some good shots and some new weblog posts for the column. But I couldn’t help think about a different approach.

Of course this is nothing new. You can have a car show for British cars, Italian cars, VW cars, Veteran cars, etc and the very name sets out the criteria. You can ask for classic cars and the question becomes a wider one – and one that I suspect is driven by money and prestige as much as enthusiasm. You can ask for new cars. But I am thinking that you could have a great show asking for Personal Cars.

Cars that have been taken past the factory fit-out to to become something special to their owners. Driving cars, as opposed to show trailer queens. Cars from any nation and any era that have been endeared to their drivers with something extra. It might be a fully chopped, slammed, sectioned, shaved, and pink fuzzy diced ’49 Mercury. It might be a fuzzy diced Nissan S Cargo. It might be a classic Roller or a classic baby Austin with rebuilt everything. All it needs is to show the hand of man – or woman – after it rolls out of the factory and it is a Personal Car. Paint jobs count big-time. Interiors count big time. Full undercar ricer lighting counts big time. No-one gets excluded because of the bumper or rego sticker or country of origin.

Big show. Fun show. Lotsa food trucks. Shannons making a mint on insurance and the tee shirt guys throwing ’em off the racks. Pinhead striping a silver Audi TT with pink flames. The Forged girls on 15″ high heels. All kinds of a good time being had by all.

How Does An Atheist Bless You?

Tom

Well, it’s not as silly a question as you might think. If an atheist does not imagine or believe in any deity but still wants to give out some sort of non-committal promise that you will be happier because they said so…they have no mechanism in place to project it from. They can’t really promise you kindness from the government because they know what the government is like – and they can’t promise you the fealty and love of other people because the other people might know what YOU are like.

About the best they can do is assure you that they hope you are not run over by a street car. And even this is difficult to promise in Melbourne.

Atheism is a tough row to hoe. All the work of being moral and no relaxation afterwards by killing your enemies in the name of superstition. You might get a chance to kill them in the name of economics or theory or a coloured rectangle of cloth on a pole, but like as not someone will write a book about it 50 years later and try to make you look bad.  It almost takes the fun out of explosions.

The other tough part is there are no feast days for atheism. And feasts involve food and drink. Oh, you can go to the local hotel and order a counter lunch and a couple of pints on Tom Paine’s birthday but no-one puts up a tree or makes presents or takes you into the broom closet for a cuddle because of it. ” Joyeaux No ” as a song has never made it to the charts.

Worst of all is there is no money to be made out of atheism. No cards, no gifts, no food, no booze, no sleigh rides in cold climates or slay rides in hot ones. No-one ever gives money to the No Salvation Needed Army. Even when their lassies are not blowing trombones and tambourines outside the pub.

I tell you, it’s enough to shake your faithlessness…

 

 

The Bank Statement – Which Part Of Fun Are We Having?

 

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At the outset I must admit – getting a bank statement is rather thrilling. It means that I have enough money to store, a firm that will disburse it for me, and a postal address to which the bill of accountancy can be delivered. These are not inconsiderable blessings by any reckoning.

I check it carefully, and find that the records of spending are accurate. Each firm that has given me a Mastercard slip has been noted down and the addition of the numbers is as correct as a Casio calculator can make it. I am delighted to say that I have the funds to meet the bill, and will do so by post tomorrow morning. One would think that the end of the matter. Yet…

How can I have spent so much money? Where has it gone? Are the corners of the house so cluttered with goods? Should I be trusted with a credit card? Or, for that matter, 50¢ in a folded up paper?

Well, after the panic attack subsides, I divide the purchases into essentials like transportation, health costs, and clothing for work…and then all the other things. The calculator reveals that 77% of the disbursement was unavoidable expenditure – and 23% went on fripperies. I have been guilty of far worse before.

Perhaps this coming month I can pare it down more – without being a Nollekens about it. If I do not suffer or cause others to blush I can avoid being thought a cheapskate or worse. Time to troll through the frugal websites and see if they make any sense to me.

 

 

Chem Trails. Koff Koff Koff…

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I’m a tolerant man. I can stand most things. I do not buck up at corrupt football games or tainted dairy products or the occasional disappearance of enemies of the regime – any regime. I can preserve equanimity in the midst of children’s birthday parties and visits to the veterinarian’s waiting room.( I just cower inside my cage…)

But I am just fed up with the damn Russians and their chem trails over our neighbourhood. I don’t mind Kevin Watson in his Tiger Moth and the Flying Doctor is fine whenever they come in to land at Jandakot, but these daily overflights by Ilyushin cargo planes spraying dense fogs of whatever are beyond bearing.

Today it was something that smelled like a combination of California Poppy hair oil and old fish. They may have a great deal of these ingredients left over from the last Cold War, but that is no excuse for dumping them out over our suburb. The noise is terrific and the window frames are loosening. And throwing old bundles of “Sputnik” magazine out the back door after they pass over the school oval is just rude.

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This afternoon they got me just as I was trying to take a panorama shot of the front of the house. Goodness knows what it has done to the sensor of the camera – the roof of the carport is covered in hot oil and they even threw out a box of plastic spoons marked “Aeroflot” and an empty vodka bottle. The solar panels are not looking good.

At least the spoons may be useful.

 

 

The New Facebook Section – George Would Be Proud

REB

Those of you who purchased the George Hayduke books in the 1980’s before Paladin Press had their little “incident” will remember how much fun they were. Some of the ideas did not translate too well out of North America, but there were a surprising number of them that could be used in other parts of the world. Of course there are a lot of the sections that are out-of-date now that we have the internet and national security agencies sifting all of our communications, but this just adds to their period charm. And we mustn’t forget that there are many new avenues opened by these new developments.

One of the constant features of our life now is Facebook – that delightful free program that lets you see what your friends are doing. They post  – you read – and the natural need for views of other people’s dinners and pets is fulfilled without the need to travel to their homes or risk getting bitten. You can pick up many good tips about living and have your political opinion all sorted out for you even before you enter the polling booth. No-one need feel alone when there are pictures of cats…

At this point someone usually says that Facebook is a waste of time and sucks away all their productive energies – well this is just silly – you are the one posting and reading and if there is some detrimental effect in over-indulgence it is really self-generated. You could do the same thing with whiskey or television or Queensland politics, which leads to the interesting speculation of seeing what a Queensland Minister For Roads looks like on television when he is reading his Facebook during Cocktail Hour. Correction; Hours. Facebook, if a sin, is self-punishing.

Recently it occurred to me that as the REB of the BGA it behooves me to make the most of this new phenomenon for Guild purposes. The business of sending endless game requests and selfies taken in nightclub toilets is old-hat – done to death. No spark. Something new was needed. Fortunately the computer wizards have come up with the very thing.

Inside the axial-HTAN program itself in certain computers is buried a set of commands that will send selected pictures, histories, and encoded information anywhere in the world  – neither the subject nor the recipient can do anything to stop this and it works even if their computers are not connected to the internet, turned off, and have the batteries removed. In some cases the material even goes to computers that have been left out on the side of the road for verge collection. Indeed in an experiment conducted earlier this week a set of defamatory files was sent to a Atari Game Boy that had been thrown out in 1985. The information was in dots, but they were still defamatory dots…

I was delighted to discover this facility built into my own computer and have been trying it out. Contact was made with a ring of Nigerians with connections to deceased dictators, Swiss banks, and corrupt governmental officials and many of the friends on my Facebook page were added to their lists. An Indian office of Microsoft Technical Services that deals with computer viruses was most grateful for the telephone numbers that we supplied, as well as a schedule showing when the persons on those numbers were most likely to be eating dinner. And isn’t ” someone ” going to be surprised when he sees his Russian bride…mind you, not half as surprised as Olga…

Of course there will be some who think this a mean thing to do. This sort of reaction is the sort of thing we see when we butter the steps of the Old – People’s Home or let snakes loose in the orphanage. The Guild has never been deterred by this sort of petty mindedness. We have a job to do, and By Golly we do it.