all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

18 July, 2014

Two Heartening Exhortations

On Facebook, and on other “social media”, people often post, repost and re-repost all sorts of encouraging axioms and other droll examples of wisdom; here are two recent examples:



How wise!  Consider, then, a consequent situation: 
In a grimy, urban garage in a large, formerly well-developed but increasingly decrepit city, a masked youth approaches a mechanic, lounging against a wall covered in painted and printed slogans. 
Masked Man:  I’m a friend of Mad Mo.  I hear you have some AK-47s you might be able to sell me, and ammunition, and stuff.
MechanicUh-huh.
Masked Man:  I could do with some guns and ammo, see, because right now there’s a convention of Jewish oil-men in a hotel in town—one owned by Jews, by the way—and I’d like, y’know, to shoot them.
Mechanic:  Are you sure you want to do that?  Would that be a wise or good thing to do?
Masked ManWhat are you?  A critic?  The world has plenty of critics already.  You should be an encourager.  Look, you have a poster saying so.
Mechanic:  True.  Sorry.  Right, I encourage you to run through all that again; how might I help you?
Masked Man:  If you have the power to make someone happy, you should do it.  The world needs more of that.  It would make me happy to kill quite a few Jews, and did I mention that it’s a convention of gay Jews?  It is.  Very gay and very Jewish.  And they’re climate-deniers.  Making profits from fossil-fuels, y’know.
Mechanic:  All right, I’ll grab you a couple of AKs and a back-pack of ammo.
Masked Man:  It would make me very happy indeed if you would arm me to the teeth at a considerable discount.
Mechanic:  Well, if it will make you happy.  Would you be happy if I threw in armour-piercing rounds and a reloadable RPG with a sixpack?
Masked Man:  Very happy indeed. 
Mechanic:  All right then, will do.

17 July, 2014

The Stupid ‘Carbon’ Tax is Gone

Finally

The Greens, of course, are aghast,
the ABC is downcast;
reality-deniers
must give ‘deniers’ a blast.


The act was by no means fast
but the legislation’s passed:
Gillard’s stupid ‘carbon’ tax
has been abolished at last.

26 June, 2014

Dear Power Company

I sent the following message to TasNetworks by e-mail:
This morning I received a glossy, expensive leaflet—with a fridge magnet!—from you by mail informing me that TasNetworks is now providing the electricity supplied throughout Tasmania but that it will mean no difference to my current supply or use or cost of electricity; in other words, your advertising is wastefully superfluous.  You are also broadcasting the same needless message by way of costly advertisements on commercial television.
How much did all that unnecessary advertising cost?  The mailing-charges alone for your glossy but redundant missives must have cost a hundred thousand dollars, surely.  Couldn’t you merely have ensured that brief notices accompanied forthcoming electricity bills?
What are the salaries of your executives?  Will they be listed on your website and, if not, why not?  Are your obviously overpaid but clearly under-educated executives making similar dud decisions involving the provision of electricity?  No wonder electricity prices continue to rise when power companies squander so much of their energy on (unconsciously) advertising their own incompetencies.

20 June, 2014

The Books of Leo Bruce

To commemorate the eleventy-first anniversary of the birth of Rupert Croft-Cooke (June 20, 1903 – June 10, 1979), I have established a blog, “The Books of Leo Bruce”, to publicise Croft-Cooke’s two series of detective novels which he wrote under that pseudonym.  Sadly, some of those books, too long out of print, are now almost impossible to find; I shall provide e-texts thereof—though, of course, whenever possible, readers really ought to buy copies of the novels.
I have begun by providing the first chapter of Case for Three Detectives; further chapters will be added later.

UPDATE I (22 June):  I’ve added to that site a “lost” Sergeant Beef short story, “Beef for Christmas”, hitherto found only in the 1957 Christmas issue of The Tatler and Bystander.

UPDATE II (23 June):  Leo Bruce books in print:


UPDATE III (24 June)I’ve added the second chapter of Case for Three Detectives.

UPDATE IV (29 June):  the remaining chapters of Case for Three Detectives are all now available.

UPDATE V (3 July):  all chapters of another Sergeant Beef novel, Case with Ropes and Rings (1940)—which, sadly, is long out of print—are now available.

UPDATE VI (13 July):  all chapters of another two out-of-print Sergeant Beef novels, Case without a Corpse (1937) and Neck and Neck (1951), are also now available; furthermore, all chapters of the last Sergeant Beef novel, Cold Blood (1952), have been formatted and will be published on 1 August.

03 June, 2014

If Other Experts Were as Qualified as “Climate-Change Scientists”

On the ABC’s “QandA” an awarmist, scamming cretin, Bahareh Sarah Howard*, asked Sen. Cory Bernardi a stupid question:
Senator Bernardi, last week you said it was “good news” that the Federal budget had abolished the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and that the government was “still committed to abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation”.  As a researcher in climate change and renewable energy, I presume that when your car mechanic, your dentist, or your plumber tells you there is something wrong with your car, your teeth, or your pipes, you listen and act.  Why is it that you ignore the advice of climate change experts, from every corner of this planet who are urging us that climate is changing and we must act to reduce CO2 emissions now?  Australia is per capita the largest emitter in the world.
The silly cultist and aspiring hierophant fails to recognise that, currently, car mechanics, dentists and plumbers don’t duplicitously predicate their remedies on a scamming, self-serving, pseudo-scientific conjecture.  We may, however, imagine what a wonderful world it would be if tradesmen, medical specialists and various other experts were as qualified and as proficient as she and her fellow hoaxers:–

Visiting the new-age car mechanic:

Mechanic:  How may I help you?
Customer:  My car just needs a tune-up, I think.


Mechanic: Ho! So you think you’re the expert, eh?


Customer: No, I just—
Mechanic: We’re the experts here; now, your car obviously needs a new, non-polluting electric engine and, of course, a nice new, non-polluting, heavy battery will just fit into your boot very snugly.


Customer: How much will that cost? And where am I going to put the family’s luggage when we go on holiday if you put a great big battery—which is surely not as non-polluting as you say—in the boot?
Mechanic: First, apart from a few charges, imposts, dues, tariffs and levies, and a series of weekly payments, the engine is completely free—


Customer: Free?


Mechanic: Courtesy of the taxpayer, through the engine-change levy and the renewable energy subsidisation tax; and, as for holidays, you ought to know by now that going on holidays is very bad for the planet, so don’t.


Customer: But I can see from all the photos around this garage that you regularly fly overseas for—


Mechanic: That’s different.
Customer: How?


Mechanic: It just is.


Customer: Well, I don’t want to insult you or anything but are you a qualified tradesman?
Mechanic: Of course; I have an associate diploma in automotive studies from the Australian Climate Institute.


Customer: Right, well, I think I’ll drive away and have the car fixed later. You see, it wasn’t anything urgent—


Mechanic: Too late, under provisions of the engine-change legislation I’ve had to seize your vehicle and we’ve already started replacing your old, wicked, fossil-fuel engine.  Trust me, I’m a automotive-change expert.
Visiting the new-age dentist: 
Dentist: Before we begin, just sign these consent forms here, here and here.  Good, well done.  Now, what seems to be your problem? 
Customer:  My upper left premolar smarts, and I think it could do with a filling.  All my other teeth, thank heavens, are fine.

 
Dentist:  Ah, yes, they must be removed.

 
Customer:  They? 
Dentist:  Yes, all of them. 
Customer:  Don’t you need to take an X-ray or something first? 
Dentist:  No, modern dental-change science is beyond nasty, ancient and dangerous techniques now.  I’ll just ring the nurse and she’ll take you and your forms to the dental-change facility.

 
Customer:  Hell, what did I just sign?

 
Dentist:  This is permission to hold you in detention for six months on an anascorbic diet; that one’s garnisheeing your wages for the next fifty years; and that one’s subscribing to a monthly recipe service for nutritious vegetable smoothies.

 
Customer:  Hey, what?  What, what’s an anascorbic diet when it’s home?

 
Dentist:  Well, we remove Vitamin C from your diet so that you develop a therapeutic form of scurvy, which allows all your diseased teeth to fall out naturally and relatively painlessly.  Then, if you recover, you’ll enjoy for the rest of your days slurping nutritious vegetable smoothies or soups without ever having to chew like a beast of the field ever again.

 
Customer:  What about false teeth?  What if I want to eat a steak?

 
DentistAll teeth (97% of dental-change scientists agree) are bad for the planet, and so is eating meat:  it’s murder. 
Customer:  Look, are you a qualified dentist? 
Dentist:  Of course; I have an Bachelor of Arts in Dental Studies from Swinburne. 
Customer:  Who were your teachers there? 
Dentist:  An accountant, an archæologist and a career politician.

 
Customer:  Look, I think I want a second opinion. 
Dentist:  Too late.  The science is settled and, anyway, you’ve signed all the forms already.  Bye.  Take him away, nurse.  Next!
 A visit from the new-age plumber: 
Plumber:  Here I am at last. 
Customer:  Good, there seems to be a leaking pipe somewhere, because our garage has been flooded for the last couple of—

 
Plumber:  Wait, I’m the plumbing-change expert; I tell you what’s wrong. 
Customer:  Plumbing-change expert?  So you’re not an actual plumber with a trade certificate? 
Plumber:  Ah, far better than than that, I have a masters degree—in the media’s acceptance of global plumbing change.

 
Customer:  So you’ve studied the history of plumbing rather than learn how to mend broken pipes and such? 
Plumber:  Who said anything about history?  We studied models at the Institute for Plumbing Change!


Customer
:  Okay, so how will you mend my pipes?
Plumber:  Mend them?  I’ll get a team of young migrants to pop by in a few weeks and they’ll tear out all the current plumbing and install new stuff.

 
Customer: Why? 
Plumber: Well, just looking at this sink here I can tell you that it has to go. 
Customer:  Why? 
Plumber:  It’s made of stainless steel, you fool!  Do you know how wicked it is to source the components of a stainless steel sink?  My god, man, it even has carbon in it! 
Customer:  I should have thought you’d support a carbon sink.  No?  Anyway, you’ll replace it with ceramic or plastic—

 
Plumber:  Ceramic? Plastic? What are you, a lobbyist for the evil mining or fossil-fuel industries?  Wood, man; the sinks, basins, pipes, sewers and all the rest must be replaced by ethically-sourced, sustainably-harvested wood products.

 
Customer:  Wooden products?  How will they last?  Stainless steel is used precisely because it doesn’t corrode, and the same goes for plastic pipes; what will stop the wood rotting? 
Plumber:  Since you’re so bloody well-educated, can’t you think of anything else which doesn’t corrode? 
Customer:  Don’t tell me that wooden pipes will be gold-plated? 
Plumber:  Ethically-sourced, of course.  Look, trust me:  I’m a plumbing change expert.
who intends to “develop scenarios to determine carbon dioxide emissions involved in the transition to a 100 per cent renewable energy sector in Australia and the world”, whose “passion is in social and environmental entrepreneurship, which has the potential to have a broader, multidisciplinary positive impact on the global level.”  Ah, yes, researchers no longer have boring old interests or specialities but, being so unscientific, irrational, eager and fervid, they have passions.
†  a lie:  see “Australia the Highest Emitter of Carbon Dioxide?” at Impact of Climate Change.

UPDATE:  see also by “Dean, King, Krauss and Bernardi on Q and A” by Matt Hayden.

10 April, 2014

Peacock on Eating and Drinking

From Headlong Hall (1815) by Thomas Love Peacock, Chapter II:
“In the controversy concerning animal and vegetable food,” said Mr Jenkison [the statu-quo-ite], “there is much to be said on both sides; and, the question being in equipoise, I content myself with a mixed diet, and make a point of eating whatever is placed before me, provided it be good in its kind.”
In this opinion his two brother philosophers practically coincided, though they both ran down the theory as highly detrimental to the best interests of man.
“I am really astonished," said the Reverend Doctor Gaster, gracefully picking off the supernal fragments of an egg he had just cracked, and clearing away a space at the top for the reception of a small piece of butter—“I am really astonished, gentlemen, at the very heterodox opinions I have heard you deliver:  since nothing can be more obvious than that all animals were created solely and exclusively for the use of man.”
“Even the tiger that devours him?” said Mr Escot [the deteriorationist].
“Certainly,” said Doctor Gaster.
“How do you prove it?” said Mr Escot.
“It requires no proof,” said Doctor Gaster:  “it is a point of doctrine.  It is written, therefore it is so.”
“Nothing can be more logical,” said Mr Jenkison.  “It has been said,” continued he, “that the ox was expressly made to be eaten by man: it may be said, by a parity of reasoning, that man was expressly made to be eaten by the tiger:  but as wild oxen exist where there are no men, and men where there are no tigers, it would seem that in these instances they do not properly answer the ends of their creation.”
“It is a mystery,” said Doctor Gaster.
“Not to launch into the question of final causes,” said Mr Escot, helping himself at the same time to a slice of beef, “concerning which I will candidly acknowledge I am as profoundly ignorant as the most dogmatical theologian possibly can be, I just wish to observe, that the pure and peaceful manners which Homer ascribes to the Lotophagi, and which at this day characterise many nations (the Hindoos, for example, who subsist exclusively on the fruits of the earth), depose very strongly in favour of a vegetable regimen.”
“It may be said, on the contrary,” said Mr Foster
[the perfectibilian], “that animal food acts on the mind as manure does on flowers, forcing them into a degree of expansion they would not otherwise have attained.  If we can imagine a philosophical auricula falling into a train of theoretical meditation on its original and natural nutriment, till it should work itself up into a profound abomination of bullock’s blood, sugar-baker’s scum, and other unnatural ingredients of that rich composition of soil which had brought it to perfection, and insist on being planted in common earth, it would have all the advantage of natural theory on its side that the most strenuous advocate of the vegetable system could desire; but it would soon discover the practical error of its retrograde experiment by its lamentable inferiority in strength and beauty to all the auriculas around it.  I am afraid, in some instances at least, this analogy holds true with respect to mind.  No one will make a comparison, in point of mental power, between the Hindoos and the ancient Greeks.”
“The anatomy of the human stomach,” said Mr Escot, “and the formation of the teeth, clearly place man in the class of frugivorous animals.”
“Many anatomists,” said Mr Foster, “are of a different opinion, and agree in discerning the characteristics of the carnivorous classes.”
“I am no anatomist,” said Mr Jenkison, “and cannot decide where doctors disagree; in the meantime, I conclude that man is omnivorous, and on that conclusion I act.”
The Reverend Mr Portpipe in Melincourt (1817) by Thomas Love Peacock, Chap. XVI:

“When I open the bottle, I shut the book of Numbers.  There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it.  The first is obvious, mechanical, and plebeian; the second is most refined, abstract, prospicient, and canonical.  I drink by anticipation of thirst that may be.  Prevention is better than cure.  Wine is the elixir of life.  “The soul,’ says St. Augustine, ‘cannot live in drought.’  What is death?  Dust and Ashes.  There is nothing so dry.  What is life?  Spirit.  What is spirit?  Wine.” 

From Nightmare Abbey (1818) by Thomas Love Peacock, Chapter II:
MR. GLOWRY:
You are leaving England, Mr Cypress. There is a delightful melancholy in saying farewell to an old acquaintance, when the chances are twenty to one against ever meeting again.  A smiling bumper to a sad parting, and let us all be unhappy together.
  

MR. CYPRESS (filling a bumper):
This is the only social habit that the disappointed spirit never unlearns.

THE REVEREND MR. LARYNX (filling):
It is the only piece of academical learning that the finished educatee retains.

MR. FLOSKY (filling):
It is the only objective fact which the sceptic can realise.
  

SCYTHROP (filling):
It is the only styptic for a bleeding heart.
  

THE HONOURABLE MR. LISTLESS (filling):
It is the only trouble that is very well worth taking.
  

MR. ASTERIAS (filling):
It is the only key of conversational truth.

MR. TOOBAD (filling):
It is the only antidote to the great wrath of the devil.

MR. HILARY (filling):
It is the only symbol of perfect life. The inscription ‘HIC NON BIBITUR’ will suit nothing but a tombstone.
If I Drink Water while This Doth Last” (words by T. P. Peacock, music by Deadman Turner):
If I drink water while this doth last,
May I never again drink wine:
For how can a man, in his life of a span,
Do any thing better than dine?
We’ll dine and drink, and say if we think
That any thing better can be;
And when we have dined, wish all mankind
May dine as well as we.

And though a good wish will fill no dish,
And brim no cup with sack,
Yet thoughts will spring, as the glasses ring,
To illume our studious track.
On the brilliant dreams of our hopeful schemes
The light of the flask shall shine;
And we’ll sit till day, but we’ll find the way
To drench the world with wine.

27 February, 2014

“Zero Discrimination”

A man, John, wearing obviously expensive but garishly tasteless clothes is ambling along an inner city street near lunch-time.  Suddenly, a bright figure appears before him; it’s a genie:–

Genie:  Congratulations, man, you’ve been selected at random to bring joy to another human being, and to yourself.  I grant you the power to give another deserving human being a great boon.  When you next meet a person you may grant him or her a great gift and, whatever you deem worthy to give you will receive in double measure.  In other words, should my meaning be insufficiently plain, if you give the next bloke you meet a million dollars you will receive two million; if you choose instead to provide him a furnished house you will receive two furnished houses; if you give the next cove you meet a Bugatti Veyron 16.4, you receive two!  Right, we’ll put this sticker on your lapel; there, you have the power to grant one generous boon!  Give wisely, o mortal.  Farewell.

The genie disappears, and John continues walking.  Soon he encounters two people who appear to have been quarrelling for some time.

Homeless Man:  No, I’m not begging because of my laziness; my family was defrauded by a shonky union executive, and we lost all my savings.  My young daughter died from eating a badly-prepared meal but, having lost all our savings, her mother and I couldn’t find a lawyer to sue the Rather Happy Crab restaurant chain and shortly afterwards, my wife, her mother, died in a mysterious accident.  I am, as my sign says, looking for work, and I’ll do anything within reason. You know, the same could just as easily happen to you.
Rich Chap:  Oh, I think not, Lazybones.  In addition to my vast inherited wealth, I happen to control 51% of Rather Happy Crab Holdings.  I’ll never be reduced to such smelly indigence as you seem to enjoy.
John:  Excuse me guys, but I need to give the first person I meet a great boon, but I’ve met both of you simultaneously.
Homeless Man: Well, with respect, I’m undergoing severe hardship, here, so I’d certainly appreciate a helping hand.
Rich Chap: Hang on, there, my greedy friend.  I too could always do with a little more.  My wife got a new diamond pendant the other day so now my girlfriend wants one too.
John:  This is tricky because, like Kaleidoscope Australia, the Human Rights Foundation, I believe in “zero discrimination”.  I can’t prefer one over the other.  That’d be wrong.
Rich Chap:  You what?
John:  Zero discrimination.  I don’t discriminate, and I certainly don’t discriminate against LGBTIQ—um, I’ve forgotten the other letters—anyway, I try my best not to discrimate—ever.
Homeless Man:  Wouldn’t trying your best thereby constitute discriminating between three or more choices of conduct?
Rich Chap:  More to the point, you ought not to discriminate between one smelly blob of human filth lazing on the footpath and one fragrant go-getter who just stopped to supply him munificently with convivial conversation (but no change, Beggar-boy, because I have nothing smaller on me than a fifty dollar note).
John:  You’re right, I shouldn’t discriminate at all.
Homeless Man: You can’t, for instance, be at all picky when offered a choice between a refreshing glass of 1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, a mug of cold vomit and a beaker of prussic acid?  Do you not discriminate between eating tasty, nutritious food and rancid swill?
Rich Chap:  More to the point, you couldn’t give me two good tickets to the Melbourne performance of “Wicked” tonight, could you?  I’m flying to Melbourne later this arvo to test my new jet, but one of my idle secretaries forgot to book some seats, and the wife loves that show.
John:  I honestly don’t know what to do, since I cannot discriminate.
Homeless Man:  Perhaps, if you were to wish for something we could share.  How big is this boon you mention?  Would it extend to ordering a banquet for all of us?
John:  Well, I don’t know really.  I could give you a car or some money, I seem to recall, but I don’t want to discriminate between passing thoughts and accurate memories because I believe in zero discrimination.
Rich Chap:  Don’t waste time thinking, just give each of us two tickets to tonight’s performance of “Wicked”.  Plus, I’m gay and so is my wife.  Don’t discriminate against us!
John:  All right, though I don’t know how—  Oh, look, I have four tickets in my hand.  There you go, two tickets to “Wicked” for you, and two for you.  Hey, wow!  I’ve got another eight tickets for me!  Weird.
Rich Chap:  Well done.  Thanks.  See you at the show, friends.  Gotta zip.
Homeless Man:  Well, I can’t get to Melbourne tonight and I doubt I could find anyone around here wanting to buy these tickets.  Could you, by any chance, exchange them for a dinner?
John:  No, I already have more that enough rather useless tickets and, you know, that does sound a lot like discrimination—whereas I believe in zero discrimination.  Enjoy your gift.  Bye.

Kaleidoscope Australia won’t discriminate against bad logos.

14 February, 2014

Valentine’s Day

Roses are rose

Roses are rose, and violets violet,
hence their respective names.
We singles might say, on Valentine’s Day,
“Enough of childish games.”


Roses are red

Roses are red, violets also are red,
daisies are red, and marigolds as well,
and so’s that living oak.
Either this whole world is burning like h—
or I’m having a stroke.

Roses are yellow

Roses are yellow, purple, white too,
as well as red or rose,
but poor old violets are just the one hue;
it seems I’m one of those.

See also “Love Among the Roses”.

UPDATE I:  added “Roses are yellow”.

UPDATE II:  
Roses are dear

Roses, choccies, pendants, expensive rings…
I must buy my putative girl such things,
messages advise, gratuitously;
but, in all these tips to buy girlish stuff
(I’ve observed in various vendors’ puff),
none suggests buying anything for me.

06 February, 2014

On Anti-Pedantry

The Toolbox
 
Whether cutting jew’ls,
wood, rugs or verse, good workers
must know all their tools’


customs; tongues have rules
too—which will guide the learnèd
as they order fools.*



A Test

 
If you have a mind
you can prove anti-pedants’
inconsistency


for I have designed
a quick test: misspell their names
deliberately


and you will soon find
some laws are good. Try spelling
“Stephen” with a v;

he won’t be so kind,
I warrant, to those who would feel
that convention-free.

Douglas Bader: “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”
†  these verses (in slightly different form) were originally posted as a comment, at Catallaxy Files, on a rant by Stephen Fry against grammatical pedantry.

UPDATE:  I added what is now the last verse.