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.



Hunting Wabbits


I like to stalk big game, and there is no bigger game than other photographers at car shows. Particularly the professional ones.

It can be dangerous sport. You get a person who has been up for 27 of the last 24 hours carrying a tripod, two cameras, three flashes, and a half-eaten sesame seed health bar and you’ve got a wounded creature. No knowing which way they’ll break and when they charge it is all over in a flash. Either they savage you or they fall over and go to sleep.

This car show I found two of them in the wild; John and Brad. Brad was focussing his Canon so hard on the general crowd he didn’t even notice when I took $ 20 out of his pocket. He’d been going at it pretty solid for days in an effort to get all the cars covered for publication. I hope he wasn’t counting on that $ 20 for food.

John, on the other hand, was easier to find as he had girls around him. I think he had them in tow for artistic purposes. The first stand I saw him swoop on was the Japanese Mooneyes exhibitors. They were bemused but took it in stride. Next time they’ll be faster to scramble out of the way.

As there were more girls – a lot more girls – in the pin-up and promotion business at the show I’ll bet he was busy for the rest of the day.

The smaller game – the amateur shooters who were trying to get the cars on their DSLR, mirror-less, and compact cameras – I left alone. They were doing their best to cope with the crowds* and the light but very few of them were making the most of their opportunities ( apart from the scrum around John with the girls ). Most failed to use flash even if they had it as pop-up on their cameras and I am willing to bet 99% of them had the cameras set on Auto or P. I hope their chosen manufacturer had a provision in the cameras to run a high enough ISO to succeed.

The mobile phone shooters added unsteadiness to all the other handicaps that small camera users face. But that is alright because most of them will lose the images they take when they drop or lose their phones. It is just passing pixels.

Note: I am actually very grateful to John – a friend – who gets me in to the hot rod show as one of his photo team. I never stalk him when he is seriously busy or seriously stressed. I do not take money from his pocket because there is none in there.

*   I cope with crowds by finding the position I need for the car shot, then setting all the controls, framing the shot, and smiling sweetly. If you stand there long enough smiling even the hardiest crowd gets nervous and goes away.

The Casting Crouch

I see that there is yet another flurry of outrage about a caucasian actor in Hollywood being cast to play an asian character from a comic strip. Of course there is outrage – I should expect no less from the entertainment press. They are doing their job and doing it well…

Fortunately this problem has been headed off in the 2018 re-make of ” Gettysburg ” as the studio has wisely decided to cast Wesley Snipes in the role of General Robert E. Lee. Statues are being prepared now for erection in the southeastern states in time for the summer season.

I’m not so sure about the Goldfische Studios casting for the re-make of ” Midway “, though. I am all for inclusivity but the planned use of Judy Dench and Ellen DeGeneres as Admirals Yamaguchi and Nagumo seems a little risky. And filming aboard a Caribbean cruise liner docked in Florida seems a poor substitute for the AKAGI and the KAGA. Might work  for the SORYU but not if they leave the cocktail decorations up.

Personally, I’m hanging out for ” Peanut “…the musical about George Washington Carver with Johnny Depp as the lead character. It’s a sure Oscar. Oscar Meyer…


Smart Bombs For Dumb Targets

dsc_0171The aerial bomb is a very useful for people who wish to kill other people who are far away and largely defenceless. It loses something of its charm as the distance between the combatants decreases and if the bombees can effectively shoot at the bombers with artillery or rockets the attempt to use it can become dangerous and worrisome.

The aerial bomb also started out as a pretty inaccurate thing – one could heave it over the side or let it fall from the bottom of an aircraft but there was very little chance that it would actually hit the enemy personnel, rather than just the enemy geography. Clock mechanics and telescope makers teamed up with bomb-droppers to see if they could figure out a way to make sights to improve this but it was still a hit and miss proposition in most cases. Once the bomb was on its way, it was only physics and coincidence that might give it any military relevance.

Then came the smart bomb. Electronics allowed computers in the bomb to see red laser spots that were projected on the targets and then to move steering vanes and tiny rockets to guide the explosive pot to the very spot it was needed. sometimes even smaller bombs and fewer of them could accomplish whatever destruction was desired, and fewer airplanes were needed to dump bombs over wide areas. A little late for the residents of Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo, but then you can’t have everything…

Away from the business of killing people on the ground, we come to that of killing them in the newspaper or on the internet. Well, not killing them per se in a bodily sort of way, but killing their reputations and credibility. The sort of homicide that is morally acceptable except if it happens to you.

We have all seen massive area-bombing press campaigns in the last few months of the American election – both sides droning over the territory and dumping vast loads of something onto their enemies. The collateral damage to the patience and good will of non-partisan voters was enormous, and as most of the world had an opinion that did not count, it was also needlessly widespread. I saw casualties on my own Facebook feed that had to be mercifully shot to end my suffering…the carpet-bombing approach was truly horrible.

When I was confronted with a local target preening and prancing above the electronic parapet I badly wanted to score a victory, but did not want to blast all around him needlessly. So I launched a Mk. 39 Guided Jibe with flexible flying surfaces at him – I gushed coyly at what a good person he was and how much everyone admired him – and said that he would be able to convert a local publicity stunt into a ticket into state parliament at the next elections  ( As I strongly suspect will be done…). I waited for the explosion…but waited in vain.

The people who praised him inordinately were thrilled and rewarded the sugared sarcasm with likes and stars. I thought I was dropping an incendiary device and it appears that they have treated it like a basket of sandwiches…

It’s enough to make you spit. Bring me an eye, and I will…

Going Forward From Being Right To Being Righteous

sitting-duckRelax, folks. This one isn’t about politics. Not unless you want to write a hidden agenda yourself. If you need to do that, copy and paste the text into a Word program and increase the spacing to double – then type whatever you want in the gaps between the lines. Send me a copy – I like a bit of reading before bedtime.

No, it is not about politics. Or religion. It is about sex. And now that you’re awake…

I noted on my Facebook account recently that a Perth hotel made a foolish decision to promote themselves for New Years Eve beer sales by pretending to hold a ” Frat Party ” – complete with tasteless signs displayed from the balcony of the Edwardian-era building.

They were promptly bagged by the local media, and then by everyone who reads the local media, and then by everyone who reads the re-posts of the people who saw it first…The whole episode has blossomed into a shitstorm of bad publicity and outrage. And we here at the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia can only applaud all parties involved – everyone has gotten what they really want for Christmas with this one. To wit:

a. The people who become righteously outraged at insults to women are righteously outraged at this obvious insult. No need to footle about. This one is out there steaming on the footpath.

b. The people who want to write something on Facebook can get a good one in with ” What She Said ” and other such sentiments.

c. The jobsworths in the city council have a lever against the publican. Archimedes himself couldn’t make a better one, and he only had to move the Earth. Publicans have more money than the Earth…Let’s see what happens when we heave…

d. The other publicans in the area can sell beer or mimosa cocktails to protesters who flock around the first pub and get thirsty.

e. The righteous are right. They now have a licence to stand on the street corner and pray. Or at least on the electronic street corner. Cyber-Pharisees, if you will.  I have been searching the dictionary to see if there is a ” wrongteous ” but so far no luck. There may be something in another language…

f. The spokesman for the venue has apologised. To no avail, of course, because something this good/bad/good/bad cannot be allowed to languish until the last drop of social justice has been wrung out of it. Heads must, with any luck, roll – and they must roll, with any luck, publicly. And the righteous will, with any luck, be there to kick them along the street. As far as they can be kicked.

g. And finally. Finally. The pub has the loudest publicity of any beer joint in Perth two days out from one of the two biggest beer-selling nights of the year. A month away from the other one. They could not have purchased media coverage like this for a million dollars. And it is all being trumpeted by the righteous. For free. Gordon Gecko sinks into the shade.

Note: Next year they should do a Salvation Army Party on New Years Eve. Complete with burlesque. As long as the bonnets and bosoms hold up and the tambourines and tits can stand the strain they will be making big money.

As Macbeth said ” Is this a crock I see before me? “.



Why Wasn’t I Told…


That phrase in Australia, said with a high-pitched voice, gets you a wry grin.

It’s been forever linked to Dorrie Evans – a character in a 1970 television soap opera called ” N0.96 ” – who was played by a great actress, Pat McDonald. She’s long gone by now but the phrase – her catch cry when she wasn’t able to snoop successfully into something – has remained a standard within the national consciousness.

I was guilty of it myself yesterday when I opened my Facebook and discovered that a shop I write for has opened a new branch without letting me know in advance. As I tout their wares on the net, I figured that I should have been in on the secrets before the doors were thrown open – if  for nothing more than to get publicity shots for advertisements.

I suspect that the thing advanced faster than the management publicity machine could cope with. The outward calm of a commercial venture as is sails on by is frequently the result of frantic paddling below the waterline.

I shall visit the place in the next couple of hours to get material to write about. I expect calm chaos, and I will be prepared to make the most of it. As a matter of professional courtesy I will not attempt to increase it.