Naming And Shaming

I sat down the other day and wrote out a list of people I know. Not just ones I recognise on the television or have run across in a shop, but people I am personally acquainted with. I wished to name and shame them…or at least threaten to do so. I hoped to elicit money from them to suppress the evidence.

I was saddened to realise that:

  1. I have no evidence on the moral ones. These are the people who would be desperate to pay me off. With no juicy scandal, I have nothing to lever the money out of their pockets.
  2. The ones who are not moral leave great trails of shame behind them, but feel none of it themselves. They would not only welcome my trumpeting their sins to the world, but would probably benefit from it.
  3. None of them have enough money to be in a position to hand it over in unmarked paper bags. I steer clear of most of them because they are looking for loans. And I can only do that old trick with the $ 6.00 bills so many times…

The history of commercial silence ( AKA blackmailing ) abounds with stories of successful stings. Incriminating notes and photographs are hinted at, the hint takes hold, and the cash flows out. Occasionally the victim resorts to the police and occasionally to a revolver. The really courageous ones go on national television and confess their sins with tears and sobbing. If they are good at it – really good like some of the TV evangelists – they can come out of it better off than before. And very little of the new money that flows into them through true believers will then go to the blackmailer.

The ideal thing is to find a rich person who fears poverty ( well, they all do…) and realises that shame will be bad for them. They are willing to pay to stave this off. Of course, if the price is too high or the scandal too deep, they are also willing to pay to have the blackmailer rubbed out. You need to look at the figures closely before you make that first telephone call.

Note to overseas readers: It is futile to blackmail an Australian with threats to reveal their convict ancestry. They revel in it. It is hard enough to threaten them with a convict future…

When The Bait Falls Off The Hook

Getting a lot of booster advertisements lately from Facebook –  that wants either $ 22 or $ 49* to promote a standard Facebook posting to more people. So far I have not bit, nor will I chase the bait in the future.

I write for me, and share it to others – I hope they like it. If I had to pay them to like it, the thrill would be gone. I already have to do that for so many other facets of life…and the process of giving them money is bound to be all computerish and complicated. It’s not like just leaving money on the mantlepiece in the morning…

So, no. No, I won’t give a multi-billionaire my money to pester other people. I can pester them myself for the cost of a bus ticket and a bag of rocks. And let me tell you, a busted window at 3:00 AM is far more memorable than a Facebook post.

*    Magic numbers. Just small enough and odd enough to make you think that they are genuine…

 

Three

Three.

That’s about all the hobbies one person can handle at any one time. Keeping in mind the formula that says a half hour per day ( 3.5 hrs per week ) you have to figure that the tri-hobbyist will be carving 10.5 hours out of what might be a working or family week. This amounts to 546 hours per year and that’s a lot of time.

Also you have to account for the expenditure. Taking a simply complex hobby as an example – model airplane building – you could figure about $ 20 a week on the average for a steady adult – $ 30 for the wild-eyed enthusiast. $ 1000 to $ 1500 per year plus the storage space needed. Of course there are far dearer hobbies and far deeper purses to support them, but even a small expenditure adds up, year by year.

Multiply that by three hobbies and see where you are. You are carefully hiding the bank statements and credit card demands from the spouse and looking to see if you could sell one of the pets or children to support next year’s hobby conference…that’s where you are. Embezzlers who pilfer company funds to support a gambling habit look good beside you…

When you choose your hobbies ( As opposed to the occasions when they choose you. ) you can either pick ones that seem to flow into each other and combine your efforts or you can go for three disparate things. I cannot say which approach is best. You may get a force-multiplication effect for your money if all three things are related, but then you need to look at it to see if they are indeed three separate things.

If you spend your time and money in three separate directions you’ll necessarily have a  smaller footprint on each strand but it may be a clearer one – and the differences in the activities may refresh you more. We cannot drink one thing for every meal – we must needs rotate between cider, beer, and wine. Which can be a hobby.

Note that the cheapest hobby so far – if you disregard the price of the computer – has been internet writing. So far I have not paid the WordPress people anything – though that may change if I reorganise my columns into one with divisions.

I used to glory in not paying Adobe any more money for the image editing programs but have come to realise that a little yearly expense does bring a world of benefits.

 

The Big And Tall Shop – Retail Clothing Part Six

I do shop at the big and tall shop, even though I am not. However, other family members are, and the fact that you have to go to a special retail outlet to clothe them says something about the general clothing retailers. It says that they are basically stupid.

When customers have to go 5 miles out of the city to a specialist store to get the sizes they need, they are doing it because the major retailers will not supply them. In turn, when the customers go out there, they take their money with them and spend quite considerable amounts of it . Considerable amounts that do not go into the big store’s till.

Helloooo…Anyone there from the accountancy department? Anyone…?

Big tall people and big fat people do not fit into the tiny sizes that the major retailers order from the sweatshops of Southeast Asia. Yet they still want fashionable and decent clothing…which they can get from the big and tall shops. The wise management of the B&T have contracted with their sweatshops to make things on a bigger pattern – and charge more for it. If a major player store has more money to negotiate with than the little retailers they could do exactly the same thing but better and faster. But they don’t.

While they have been selling the populace the lie that everyone is either size 8 or else they don’t deserve to live, the buying public has been exceeding this number and saving their money. All they have to do is make bigger clothing and that money comes to them. Bugger fashion parades and the starved model. Build an empire on the need and wants of the actual customers – like Trump’s wall, they’ll help pay for it!

I Want A Job As A Test Pilot

A test pilot in a toy factory. Or a book store. Or a pin-up studio. Something with dignity, intellect, and a big tray of cakes for morning tea.

I did health care until I didn’t care anymore – I’ve done retail sales until they took sharp things away from me and started making soothing noises. I’ve done studying until I couldn’t see straight. I’d like something different.

” Oh “, I hear you say, ” You’re retired now. It is time to take a trip around Australia towing a caravan or go to the Greek isles and look at tourists. Or potter in a garden. ” Do these two fingers mean anything to you?

I like to think of it as retyrement. A fresh set of treads and an opportunity to do burnouts at the lights. Old enough to know better but not inclined to pay attention to the voice of reason. It is partly the reason that I write these weblog columns and entirely the reason I write them the way I do. I detest a day without doing, and I am getting to the point where I am not that fussy what or who it is I do…

It is just as well that I realise the need to be canny with money – if I were flush with cash all Hell would break loose. And the funny thing is, I would not have as good a time with unlimited spending as I do under the current regime. There is comfort in frugal endeavour and delight when it actually succeeds.

Note: I would accept employment in a suburban bank, as long as I was allowed to serve at the window and actually be there when people started to queue up. I detest the modern bank that has no serving officers in the teller’s cages. I’d love to bring back the old days of face-to-face cheque and passbook work.

The Autumn Sales Are On

In case you haven’t noticed, there are four seasons in the normal year – Winter Sales, Spring Sales, Summer Sales, and Autumn Sales. These are caused by the planets, tides, and accountants.

They are also caused by Adam Smith, Milton Keynes, and Warren Buffett…or so we are told by the economic press. The economic press is a group of people who have no idea what the economy is going to do in the next few months, years, and decades, and who make a decent living proving that to you. Wise people do not allow financial advisers anywhere near their money. Especially in the Autumn of their lives.

It is not that I think that they stupid – it is not that I think they are mistaken. It is that I think the experts are lying. Operating a mathematically based system of shamanism, witch -doctory, and highway-robbery upon the people who fall into their toils.

They are aided and abetted by government, who would cheerfully reduce the entire population to slavery if it were not that slaves have to be fed – and they don’t want to feed anyone. So there is a vastly over-complicated national accountancy system to navigate and the result of that complexity is the transference of vast sums to those who would like to have it and keep it.

I suspect they keep it elsewhere and will go to join it if they think they have been tumbled. I should welcome some form of international outrage that would lead to the cops poking a hole in Switzerland, Monaco, Panama, the Cayman Islands, and Lichtenstein…and letting the money pour out the bottom.

The Little World – It’s Only A Hobby – Part Two

” It’s only a hobby ” as a defensive statement can cover a multitude of situations. I’ve heard it in real life ( not on a comedy record ) as a slogan of pride and an excuse for shame. Can’t tell you which was the most disturbing:

a. The person who received a genuine complement on their models – a series of scratch-built boats – and modestly said that it was only a hobby. I was engaged in the same sort of modelling at the time, but without the spectacular success of the other chap. I was a little ( a lot…) jealous of his skills and thought that the answer rang false.

It seemed like a boast that he was better at other things, and that the modelling was some sort of lesser thing. It wasn’t a lesser thing for him, or for the rest of us that were doing it. It was the life and blood of our out-of-work hours. It was our art, and deserved a better reference than that.

b. I also remember a person in the same club who responded to criticism of his cruder models with nearly the same response – that it was only a hobby. Here the clear inference was that it was not an activity that had to be done well – it could be a mere bagatelle and done in a sloppy fashion.

That led to the conclusion that there was no point in him doing it at all. He could go off and do something more important – something that was important enough to do well. But I suspect that anything that he tackled would have had some small taint of the attitude. I wonder if anything was ever satisfying for him?

I wonder if the flaw inherent in both yesterday’s and today’s column is the word ” hobby”. If people substituted other words or phrases; ” activity “, “job “, ” pursuit “, or ” avocation ” for the word ” hobby “, would the uneasiness arise? Could people excuse themselves for anything if they were more serious about it – or more light-hearted.

For my part, I regard my Little World as real. For me it has more actuality than many other places on this planet that are merely internet reports. As creator, I take pride in it, and do not count the costs of the effort made in detailing it. I do count the costs of costs, though, and look at economic ways of having my fun. I try to keep my big spending for things that truly do make a difference.