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.

28 February, 2014

Leunig the Ochlophobe

The “morons” whom Leunig feels he must despise
might be the folks his supporters organise.
The “barks” which the ochlophobic bigot hears
could be servile laughter, not those whom he fears.

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”.

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’

for I have designed
a quick test: misspell their names

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.

UPDATE III added this:

A Message

I, for one, delight
in seeing our wonderful
language used quite well;

yet we may enjoy
the ‘cool web’ of English and,
at the same time, tell

this Stephen Fry cove,
“Precision does have a place.
You can go to hell.” 

01 February, 2014

Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young at Sea

In a Senate committee, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young insists that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection should stop using neuralyzers on illegal aliens to wipe their memories, and asks some hard-hitting questions:-
Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young:  I’ve been watching quite a few television programmes lately, just for purposes of research, mind, and it seems that we don’t even need to use old-fashioned ships any more because we can travel even into outer space using Transporter beams, and into other planets using a rediscovered technological apparatus, which the ancient Egyptian rulers used, called “Stargate”.  So, my first question is: why isn’t Big Ted from “Playschool” here today to answer questions when I’m sure I put him on my witness list; and why isn’t Squadron Leader, I mean Lance Corporal, of course, or, no, why isn’t Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart here to tell us whether aliens really do pose a threat to our borders, and just how many Daleks are left in the universe (because I’m pretty sure I insisted that UNIT release him for this inquiry); and—

RAN personnel preparing to use neuralysers on unlawful aliens seeking illegal entry

UPDATE I:  to assist Sen. Hanson-Young, here’s a list of border-related entertainment she might have been trying to remember:
“Border Patrol” is a reality television series from New Zealand which features the work of New Zealand’s Customs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Immigration Service—the show has no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
“Border Security: Australia’s Front Line” is the Australian reality television series which features the work of officers of Australian Customs and Border Protection, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
“Border Watch” is an adventure module for the rôle-playing game Dungeons & Dragons—the game has no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection; The Border Watch is a newspaper based in Mount Gambier, South Australia—the newspaper has no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
“Coastwatch” is a reality television series from New Zealand which features the work of New Zealand’s Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime Police, Coastguard, Navy, Air Force and police dive squad—the show has no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
“Coastwatch Oz” is a reality television series from New South Wales which features the work of NSW’s Department of Primary Industries fisheries officers and Marine Area Command Police—the show has no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
“Patrol Boat” was an Australian television drama series—i.e. it was not quite real—which featured the activities of the crew of a Royal Australian Navy patrol boat patrolling Australia's coastline—the show (produced, in 1979 and 1983) had no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection; and
“Sea Patrol” was an Australian television drama series—i.e. it was not quite real—which ran from 2007 to 2011, set on board HMAS Hammersley, a fictional patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy—the show had no connection with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
UPDATE II (4 February):  Sen. Hanson-Young has complained to The Daily Telegraph:
I am writing to comment on the article printed in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, 3 February 2014.
To set the record straight, my line of questioning was in regard to the Channel 7 program ‘Border Security’ and the same channel’s new reality show ‘Coastwatch Oz’.  I was simply pointing out the fact that the government is promoting and publicising the activities of border security operations on the one hand while, on the other hand, refusing to answer questions about illegal operations it is undertaking on the high seas.
It was Mike Pezzullo, CEO of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, who raised the television program ‘Sea Patrol’, about which I made no reference.
While I know it’s unlikely that the Daily Telegraph columnist will check his facts with me in the future, I will continue to point out the dangerous and secretive nature of this government’s policies.
Sen. Hanson-Young had said in the Senate’s committee hearing, “We have a TV show publicising techniques you are using for border security at airports.  We have another TV show, of course, about coastguards.”  The show  “about coastguards”, which she now identifies as “Coastwatch Oz”, features NSW Department of Primary Industries fisheries officers and Marine Area Command Police without input from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.  Personnel of the Royal Australian Navy differ from NSW fisheries and police officers but, to be fair to the inaccurate senator, they all wear uniforms.
What the senator terms “illegal operations” on “the high seas” are operations which comply with Australian and international laws and they are, accordingly, perfectly legal; however, to be fair to the erroneous senator, the non-citizens wilfully trying to enter Australia in contravention of Australian and international laws (whom RAN personnel have been encountering and assisting professionally and humanely) are in fact involved in “illegal operations”.

UPDATE III (5 February):  Sen. Hanson-Young’s grasp of reality might be well represented by her choice of pictures:

her profile picture on Twitter

 her reality v. her fantasy (from the last election campaign)