Category Archives: High brow

Self-care

There are some terms that you simply cannot help but chuckle when you hear them. Innocent terms like ‘pulled pork’, or common phrases like ‘polishing the Kaiser’s helmet’ contain sublimated double entendres which the brain cannot ignore.  Such is the case with the term ‘self-care’. In fact the first few times I heard the term, I thought the person saying it was literally referring to the onanistic arts without even the smokescreen of a euphemism.  Of course, self-care is only partly about rubbing one off, and or out.

In order to understand the full girth of what self-care is, we must first take a look at where it came from.  Millennials, defined by science as the generation born after drugs became harmful and before computers became cool, are the tallest generation in history.  With all this height comes a lot of stress.  Millennials are thus, not only the tallest generation they are also the most anxious.

Unlike their parents, millennials are raised to see their towering stature as a ‘privilege’ which is why you don’t ever hear millennials complain. So, where as their parents’ generation might have used complaining, alongside ‘buying rental properties’ and ‘The Beatles’ as an outlet to relieve stress, Millennials prefer other outlets.

These outlets might include ‘making short and pointless ‘Vines”, ‘growing a beard’, or ‘talking about being a vegan’.  Stress relief might also might involve doing little things for one’s self that makes one’s day a little bit brighter and thus releases a little of that pent up tension.

Drinking and taking drugs

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Beer.

The most common form of self-care is still ‘getting wasted by yourself.’  Alcohol is probably the most convenient and accessible way to do this, but pretty much any intoxicating substance will do.  As long as said intoxicant moves you from the state of ‘being anxious and/or stressed’ to the state of ‘closing off, or befuddling, the parts of the brain which generate these responses to the point where the brain no longer remembers to be anxious and/or stressed’ it will enable you to do self-care.

I like to incorporate drinking into other activities to enhance the self-care capabilities of alcohol, so I sit in the dark sending cryptic text messages to people.   The sensory deprivation of the darkness, the intoxicating effects of the alcohol, and the delicate mental gymnastics of coming up with bizarre non sequiturs to text to people is like a massage for the soul.

Now, I know what you’re saying “But doesn’t this encourage dangerous behaviour?”

To this I answer: “yes”

I also hear you saying, this time in a silly high-pitched whinny: “But I get high on life”.  Well my answer to this is “No you don’t; that’s not a thing.”

So go ahead and sooth your soul and expand your mind. Expand it so widely that it expands all the way out your mouth and all over the table in KFC.

Irritating people

They say that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. Well, the same Dearest Reader, applies to anxiety and irritation.  What you’ll find is, if you are feeling a bit annoyed yourself, annoying someone will make you feel a bit better and annoying everyone will make you feel great.

Irritating people is actually very easy.  This is because most people have very thin-skins and are basically powder-kegs of explosive rage. This of course, makes it all the more fun.  The best kind of ‘irritating people’ is the sort where it isn’t instantly obvious that it is intentional.  This way, people can’t rage at you and must simply turn the rage in on themselves, seething until they develop an ulcer.  This is the best outcome because no-one punches you.

Try ‘whistling tunelessly’ – whistling is basically the most casually irritating thing you can do without props.

Try ‘making clicking sounds with your tongue on the bus’

If you live in a flat with somewhat priggish house-mates, try ‘going to the toilet with the door open’.

You could even try ‘replying to everything someone says with “really?” but in a funny voice so the person you are speaking to can’t quite work out if you’re mocking them or not’.

Twitter

We’ve already talked about masturbation, but there is actually more than one way to ‘grease the family pig’. Obviously, sexually gratifying oneself manually is a good time and all, but what about the Choking the Chicken…of the mind?

We have discussed Twitter, or ‘cheep-cheep’ as it is often known, in a previous weblog bulletin but not in depth and we didn’t discuss strategies for using it.

Rather than using Twitter to read about important things babyboomers are doing, or keeping abreast of the latest pop music, Millennials seldom look at the ‘timeline’ area of Twitter at all; instead they simply stare at their own profiles while posting things as they come to mind.    This release acts as a type of self-care in both the double and single entendre senses of the term.  These are the three main ways to use Twitter for self care:

Non-specifically Positive Tweets referring to real, imagined or anticipated but equally non-specific achievements. Such as finding a sex partner or swimming with dolphins

Non-specifically Positive Tweets referring to real, imagined or anticipated but equally non-specific achievements. Such as finding a sex partner or swimming with dolphins

Equally non-specific vague and cryptic Tweets designed to hint at menace but not really . Designed to make real or imagined enemies or people who corrected your grammar ask "was it something *I* did?"

Equally non-specific vague and cryptic Tweets designed to hint at menace but not really . Designed to make real or imagined enemies or people who corrected your grammar ask “was it something *I* did?”

Tweets telling everyone still up that you are going to quit Twitter. You have better things to do. Etc. And you'll really do it this time.

Tweets telling everyone still up that you are going to quit Twitter. You have better things to do. Etc. And you’ll really do it this time.

Go to the gym

It’s 4AM, everything is shut, but there’s a vending machine at the gym.  They have those weird biscuits you like. Well, you don’t like them per se, but you will eat them.

 

How to score

It seems these days that the ‘number three industry’, after making mobile phone apps and coal, is offering dating advice.  The problem with most of this advice is it is almost entirely low-level pop-psychology and really obvious body language tips.

The thing is, if you’d been paying attention in high school instead of doing maths problems and hiding from the Captain of the First XI, you should have picked these up for yourself. However, this is not to say that all of us don’t need a little romantic pick-me-up from time to time.

Finding oneself in the ‘Chum-zone’ with a lad or lass you want to have sex with is quite annoying, especially when you consider that you have no real problems in your life.

Not being able to move your relationship from the ‘Can I borrow the boxed set of the West Wing’ phase to the ‘Lets watch the West Wing together and do the voices’ phase can be a tough nut to crack.  Like a walnut.  A walnut of sexual tension and awkwardness.

The problem with most ‘How to date a person’ advice is it all relies on the assumption that the person you are trying to mate/date is dimmer than you are, and thus are unable to tell that you are trying to psychology them.  This is a strange assumption to make given that you are paying for advice in how to act around another human.

The long, hard fact is that most people who haven’t yet slept with you are probably smarter than you are which is how they have avoided sleeping with you up until now.  Most ‘dating advice tips’ also tend to make the assumption that you are a man, which many people are not.

Never fear though, your weblog comptroller is also a Level Seven Love Wizard with a power-up Orb of ‘Getting it On’ and he’s here to show you how to make that ‘Crush’ into a ‘Brush(ing of genitals)’. What’s more you don’t have to a man, or even male, to participate.

Power of suggestion

When people hear a word, they quite often do what that word is.  For instance, if you hear the word “car” in a sentence you will probably buy a car.  This is why car salesmen quite often say the word “car” or “automobile” when they are doing a sales pitch. You don’t hear that many of them saying “Taylor Swift” or “Jelly” in a sales pitch, unless it is to say “Taylor would be so jelly of you buying this Suzuki Swift car.”

The problem though, is just saying the word can be a bit too subtle. If you only have a few minutes in which to make the suggestion of a conjugal interlude, you may have to be a bit more direct. The key is to simply shout the suggestive term, loudly and pretty much at random, in the middle of a normal and unrelated conversation.

An example may help:

You: “It is a nice day we are having here waiting SEX!!  for the van to take us on the  ROOTING!! medieval festival.”

Now the object of your desire may be a little confused and maybe even question you on this:

Magenta (a person you like) : “Sorry, what did you say? What was all that weird shouting?”

But now the seeds of suggestion are planted in Magenta’s brain and they will fertilise slowly from here on in.  It is actually best now for you to deny you even shouted anything at all, and look at Magenta as if she’s a bit odd:

You: “What weird shouting? KISSING!! You are probably mistaken because of taking bath salts or something.”

Create mystery and create demand

Have you ever stared out the window watching the storm clouds roll in over the bay and wondered how Phil Collins could marry not one but several women? I know I have.

I mean he writes whiny songs about his exes so the next wife must know the same thing will happen to her, right? Well, I did used to wonder this quite a bit.

I say did because now I know why people kept marrying Phil Collins. He was a man of mystery and he created demand for the ‘Phil Collins brand’.

He pretty much pioneered the stark electronic drum-kit sound synonymous with so much of how we remember the eighties; he thus created demand. Not only was he in demand, but you never knew when a new Phil Collins record would come out, or quite often where he was quite a lot of the time.

Maybe a record every several years, and maybe he’s in the kitchen.

Maybe not one for ten years and maybe he’s on the roof.

Mystery.

You need to be like Phil Collins. I mean, not entirely, but in this very specific way.

Create a sense of mystery around what you are doing.  When your ‘coital mark’ asks where you are going, allude to somewhere very strange, but be vague enough not to have to actually lie.  Make out you have other people who want to be in your company, especially other potential suitors.

Let me illustrate point with an example:

Gwylim (a person you are keen on): “I am thinking of going to that anti-water fluoridation rally later on, are you going to go to that?”

You: “Maaaaaaybe…” Now you look at your watch… You: “Is that the time, I have to go and sort that, well, you know, things to do people to see…and maybe…kiss.”

Leave it hanging on kiss.

Gwylim: “Oh yeah, what are you up to?”

Now you just burst into a maniacal cackle and walk off briskly muttering safe in the knowledge you have created both mystery as to what you are doing and an allusion to other people who demand your time. Your sexy time.

Disrupt social patterns

The thing about the attractive and the desirable of our species, and indeed most species, is they have a lot of social engagements with a lot of people.

You may be chums with the ‘the one you thirst for’ and you may well hang out frequently and do the normal day-to-day social things with them but you can bet your last whisky dollar that this person does a lot of the same things with a lot of people. Many of those people will be funnier and smarter and less of a dick than you.

You can’t, or up to this point won’t, make yourself funnier, smarter or less of a dick so you need a Plan B. If you can’t make the company (you) stand out, make the event stand out.

Instead of going to the movies, suggest playing lawn-bowls in a car-park. Instead of going to a cafe or bar, suggest drinking beers in a car-park. Instead of going to a goose farm, suggest stealing road cones and arranging them in a car-park.

Soon the ‘apple of your eye’ will associate you with doing exciting and interesting things, and they may take a second look at you, over-look your many shortcomings and consider moving things to the next level.

Peacocking 

As well as disrupting your routine, at some point you need to disrupt everyone’s perceptions of you. A way to do this is what is often referred to as ‘peacocking.’

Invite that ‘hot thang’ out to a fun car-park drinking session but tell him to meet you there much earlier than you intend to show up.

As well as creating mystery, you will also be buying yourself some time to break into his house and release a peacock into his bedroom.  A peacock is best because it correlates with the title of this section but any big, easily spooked, and destructive bird will do. Maybe a goose from one of those trips to the goose farm you used to do.

Then you show up at the car-park. He’ll be wondering where you’ve been but he’ll be impressed at how little regard you have for his time. Do your platonic but slightly quirky social thing and then he goes home.

What happens next is a sure fire winner and best illustrated by an example:

Your phone buzzes hotly in your pocket. You see it is Terrance, the one you burn for. Answer it.

Terrance: “Fuck, there’s a massive fucking peacock in my bedroom and its slashed up my duvet, and its shat everywhere!”

You smile knowingly. Don’t worry, he can’t see you; you’re on the phone.

Terrance: “I’m not going back in there, its fucking crazy. Can I ask you a favour, can I stay at yours tonight…”

dot dot dot indeed.

Social media

Social media is important.  Quite often you’ll be at a meeting and someone will say “blah, blah, blah social media presence” or “Blah blah, blah, stop arsing about on Facebook we are discussing pivot tables!”

If you don’t understand social media all that conversation will sound like to you is “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” and you’ll look like an idiot, even though you are wearing a tie or a nice dress.

But what is social media? Well, it’s similar to computers, which we discussed way back in the mists of time. But it’s not computers. Social media is on computers but it is also on your phone. Whereas computers are on desks and some people take them on the bus, computers aren’t on phones.  It is like the media, but whereas the regular media is on the telly or the newspaper or jostling politicians, social media isn’t on any of those things.  It’s on computers and phones.

I can see you are getting confused.  This is because it is confusing. Then so is knowing what to do with a hot-air balloon and we covered on this weblog. So stay focused because your weblog author is, what the trendy kids say ‘A social media kaiser’.

Learn what the things of social media are and get them.

Social media isn’t actually a thing. You can’t walk into a shop, even a flash one or a technology one, and ask for “one social media please”. You’ll get punched, or at very least sneered at derisively because you are clearly not up with the play about the fact that social media is actually a high level name for Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Twitter and Google +. You have to ask for those things if you want to ask for some social medias. Don’t be an idiot.

Learn the lingo.

In the spirit of the age I used the term ‘lingo’ instead of ‘language’ or ‘vernacular’.  In the twenty-first century and to a lesser extent the twentieth and the nineteenth, buzz-words are the new knowledge and language.  Social media is full of buzz-words and slang. Saying ‘social media’ itself is a bit ‘square’ – you should call it ‘social meeds’ or ‘s-meeds’ even.  There are literally trilliosn of slang terms and buzzwords in s-meeds but here are the main ones:

Twitter – ‘Twitts’, ‘T-wit’, ‘the Blue Bird of talking’, ‘140 yo’ and ‘cheep-cheep’

Facebook – ‘Facies’ (never call it ‘Facetime’ however, that is another computer thing) ‘F-Bomb’ ‘The Blue Monkey’, ‘Winklevosses Lament’ and ‘FaceMethamphatamine’

Google + – You never have to talk about Google +

LOL – is something you add to insulting statements to passive-aggressively make a person think you were joking

: ) – shows the social media viewer you are a moron or temporary incapacitated

ROFL-copter – is pretty much what it sounds like it is.

Attract acquaintances

The currency of social media is people looking at the stuff you post. The more people doing that, the more social media important you become. In order to get people to look at your social medias on the regular you need them to ‘like’, ‘follow’, ‘friend’ or ‘engorge’ you on one or more of the social media platforms.

“What’s the best way to do this?” hear you ask yourself, shielding your face from view with a manila folder?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Say inflammatory things

The best way to get attention is to say something offensive. It is best because it is far and away the easiest. Being inflammatory actually works best when there is little to no basis to what you are saying because there is no chance anyone else will come along and agree with you and make your point better than you did.

This is why you would say “Adam roots fruit” rather than “I don’t really like Adam’s reductive views on the causes of the Great Depression” – the first point is shorter, catchier and in no way in need of qualification. The latter is longer and probably needs to be explained.

Politics and Religion

Much like saying inflammatory things, making statements on social meeds about politics and religion are polarising, get people’s attention, need little to no qualification and have the added benefit, just by virtue of your venturing an opinion, of sounding clever.

“The thing about the left is they tend to take an over simplified view of the economic mechanisms behind a sophisticated modern economy”

That statement up there, sounds very clever. But get this: I MADE IT UP OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. It took LITERALLY three seconds. It took actually longer to TYPE than to think!

“The Republicans have been sliding towards an Armageddon of polarisation since, well, for a generation”

Ditto.

Very personal shares

Sharing way too much of yourself is to social media what car/pug/Hitler pictures are to the internet at large – the ultimate milkshake that brings the sympathy boys and/or girls to the emotional yard.

At its heart social media is about you; your foot-print on the internet. No-one wants to see the self-satisfied, neatly-cobbled brogue-print of shit-togetherness: boooooring!

People want the rubbed red raw barefoot of dysfunction. The break-up, the drunken arse picture, the long diatribe about how no-one respects you at work. How hard university is. That is the stuff of social media legend!

Bragging

Social media however, is a polarised place. On the one hand, no-one wants to know how great your day at work was and how much you love your colleagues; they want to know how much smarter you are than the idiots you work with, how much your job is beneath you, and how much you ate a spider by accident. On the other hand, however, they also want to know about how much better your life is than theirs is. Self-satisfaction is a snore, but self-aggrandisement is a loud, cocaine-lobster-bisque-and-Congac-fuelled cheer.

Flash holidays, photos with celebrities, jewellery, animals you’ve shot, performance cars you don’t actually own, or bags of drugs. Talk about your sexual conquests in great and licentious detail. Always, repeat, always brag about how much you drunk and never, ever talk about being home on a Friday or inside on a day deemed sunny enough to be outside.

So, that is basically it for s-meeds. Go forth and function.

How to get rich. Part Two

Continued, oddly enough, from ‘Part one’ 

Sort of invent something but not really

Now, I can hear you sitting there saying: “But he said at the beginning of this weblog bulletin that innovation was hard”

Well, to you I say: “Shut up you dingus. What I meant by ‘innovation’ was real innovation; actually coming up with something ground-breaking or useful. What I mean here is coat-tailing a useful development with a largely pointless knick-knack and monetising it. God you’re a muppet, really, just, stop, okay.”

You’d probably then say: “Okay dude, chillax to the max, I was just saying. Take a chill-pill and cool your jets brosif.”

To which I’d say: “You’re right, that was an overreacting. I’m sorry, but my point is…”

…of course real innovation is hard, but using someone else’s innovation making a minor ‘value-add’ to it that is probably unnecessary and then selling it is a good way to make it rain.

Make it rain money.

For every Thomas Edison, Karl Benz and Marie Curie there are a thousand other people who see a brilliant idea, slap an offensive slogan, and before they know it you have a massive Money Tree growing in their back yard*.  That they never need to water. A Money Cactus.

Someone else invented the potato chip, you invent a new FLAVOUR of potato chip.

Someone else invented spirituous liquors, you COMBINE said liquors in a FLOURESCENT CAN.

Someone else invented the t-shirt, you invent printing ‘Amy’s Winehouse’ ON t-shirts and selling them.

I came up with those, like, very quickly. It’s easy.

You need to find your own offensive, socially irresponsible snack food product.

Live at home with your parents forever

Let’s boil this all down to brass tacks: you need to ask yourself what it is about being rich that is desirable.  Now, some of you might say “wealth is a means of keeping score on my personal achievement” and others of you may say that wealth creation enables you to go and do great things, help people, and make a difference.

Both of these things are wrong.

Basically you want to be rich so you don’t have to worry about money. You want to have enough money they you can do something other than work or attend the sort of parties where you have to network.

While being actually rich with money is the best way to make this happen, there are ways of simulating being rich that don’t involve you having very much, if any, money at all.  You can live the rich lifestyle of getting smashed all day and sitting around in your undies playing video-games, and effectively have a servant, or servants plural, simply by never leaving home.

People that live at home with their parents, parent, or sponge off of any other well-meaning family member their entire life are effectively rich because they have everything a rich person has without needing money.

Not only this but any dollar they do acquire from writing weblogs or delivering flyers two days a week has a greater real value than the dollar we make because it doesn’t need to go towards rent, utilities or fixing our own toaster. It can be spent on rich person stuff like a sweet, sweet ride with mad subs in it, or a thirty piece drum-kit.  There is a fine line here though: most adults who live at home with their parents, or parent, want to be independent, get a job and support themselves. You need to differentiate yourself from this majority because otherwise mum will always be on your case about moving out.

No, you have to make it clear that you aren’t even trying.   Then they’ll give up and accept you’re there forever. Like a couch.

Far from ridiculing people who live with their mum well into their twenties, thirties, forties or even fifties; we should revere them as we revere the aristocrats of old.  They are rich without even needing money.  The only problem is if it ends, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: if your mum and/or dad will let you live at home until you are 25 and you haven’t even tried to become independent, they’ll basically let you live with them forever.

Really, this is what it is all about Dear Weblog readers.

That and getting mum to make you cheese toasties whenever man.

 

 

 

*Note: I know I referenced Marie Curie, but please don’t make your idea “Putting an Offensive Slogan on Penicillin” – that idea is more confusing than anything else.

How to get rich. Part One.

Quite often you hear people say “Money isn’t everything” or “I don’t care about how much money she has, I like her emerald green eyes” or even “I hate this money”.

The problem is, only one of these statements is correct when taken in context: Sure, he likes her eyes but as much as seven BMWs? Doubtful

Sure, she hates that money, but what she hates about it, is that it is covered in last night’s lasagne. She is not making a wider socio-economic point; she is merely annoyed someone spilled Italian food all over her purse. Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s nothing a bit of money laundering won’t fix.

Money isn’t everything, but it is loads of things.

The problem with money is it is quite sought after. After ‘stylish hair’ and ‘diamonds’ it is probably the most sought after thing.  Like all sought after things, there is a hard way to get lots of it; to become, in effect, ‘rich with money’.  This hard way includes hard work and thrift, clever and calculated risk, creative innovation or inventing a mobile phone app.  Like everything we focus on in the weblog, there is also an easy way. Or several easy ways.  Let’s say, four.

Now the feedback I have received for this weblog has tended to fall into two distinct categories:  “You’re shit” and “You’re amazing, but your weblog communiqués are too bleedin’ long!”

So I have decided to ignore the first kind of feedback and, at least while I remember, take the second kind on board.

So this is part one. Part two will be the second part, a timeframe after part one.

Inherit money

This is the easiest way to become rich.  It is also what happens to most money: it moves from one relative to the next. You don’t even have to do anything.

This is why people who inherit money are always the most highly respected people in any culture: everyone else makes a big flippin’ deal about money, saying “Oh look how hard I’m working” or “Oh, I don’t have enough money for boat shoes” but they just cruise on in and are all “Hey, I’m totally chill, want to go to the yacht club or something”. And they say it in a posh voice.

Because they aren’t forced to work or do inventing, people who inherit money are free to do as they will: which is mainly ‘get totally smashed’, ‘play arcane sports only they know the rules to’ and ‘hard bondage’.

The problem is most people don’t have parents wealthy enough for them to live solely off of inherited wealth. Some may get something later in life and some may assume they will only to get a massive shock (See also: mooching off of your parents well into your thirties).

For most of us, we can only dream of being eccentric, drinking ourselves to death in a penthouse apartment, or attending cocaine and amyl nitrated-soaked masque orgies.

Do crime

Whoever said to you that crime doesn’t pay was filling your head with poppycock. Crime most certainly does pay.  Look at the Mafia, and people who make Mafia themed movies and television.

Of course, like most things you have to apply a degree of nous to doing crime.  Not all crimes pay so it pays to focus on crimes that do. Drunkenly stumbling around kicking rubbish bins is ‘crime’ but it also very difficult to monetise. Not impossible, but difficult. Stealing diamonds or priceless works of art however, do pay: you get some diamonds and priceless works of art and you don’t have to pay anything for them. One hundred per cent profit.

The key in crime is ambition: don’t just steal a Cherry Ripe bar; they are gross and not very valuable. Steal a house.

Criminals are respected in modern society: just look around at men’s fashion.  Everyone is wearing ‘hoodies’, ‘backward baseball caps’, ‘baggy 1930’s pin-stripe suits’ and ‘black leather bomber jackets with ‘crime’ emblazoned on the back’.

Dot. Dot. Dot. *suspenseful music playing. Like, classical, or opera or Muse or something*

And here is Part Two. I told you there’d be another part didn’t I. Ye of little faith.

Gifts for people you don’t like

There are many reasons to give a gift to someone. Maybe you want to show that person that they are special, maybe you feel guilty about running over their pet snake or sister.  A gift can be used to deflect attention form some other aspect of your life: the sparkle of a diamond ring or sheen of a new pet snake can figuratively blind someone to your more nefarious behavior.

Of course we all know what to give as gifts to people we like, love or wish to deceive but what about gifts for people we either don’t care about or don’t actually like.

“Why would I buy someone I don’t care about or don’t actually like a gift you total spanner?” I hear you mumble through a mouthful of complimentary biscuits.

Well, we all have to that’s why. Stop eating all those biscuits. While I know there’s no sign specifically saying ‘Only Take One Biscuit’; it is sort of implied by social convention.

Quite often we are faced with having to buy a gift for an estranged family member, colleague, client, friend-of-a-friend, or local baron that we don’t actually like.  For reasons of social convention, pecuniary advantage or familial loyalty, however, we have to keep them placated and the best way to do this is to buy them something.

Graphs I have seen show that over fifty percent of all capitalism is insincere gift transactions.  Without them, the system would fail, or at very least flail.

Insincere gift-buying however, is this weblog contributor’s specialty.

Extremely expensive gifts

The thing about buying presents for people you don’t like is you want them to feel uncomfortable by the gift. An expensive give can make someone uncomfortable by making the recipient feel ‘ashamed’ and ‘indebted’.

Toyota hatchback

Toyota hatchbacks: Not just convenient, ‘zippy’ and reliable cars; they are built to make people uncomfortable.

If someone bought you one of those pointless desk toys with balls on strings that bash together, sound like a metronome, and always end up getting tangled up; you buy them a 50 inch television.  Someone gets you a set of ‘very designy’ coffee-cups that look good for about a week, but the design fades you immerse them in detergent; you get them a Toyota hatchback.

The reason you do this is so they, firstly, feel ashamed that their gift was so paltry and secondly, feel a little bit uncomfortable that someone they hardly know/don’t really like bought them such a lavish gift.  Next will come the creeping suspicion that you may want something from them and that they are, by accepting your gift, very indebted to you.

Help egg this feeling on by mentioning the very expensive gift each and every time you see them.  If you have a thespian streak, try incorporating an intense look into the mix every time you remind them of the gift.  This will freak them out like its nobodies business.

Pointless tat

Toe shoes

Toe-shoes: When you have ceased to manage and ceased to care.

Of course, buying an extremely expensive gift for each and everyone you don’t like or care about, but , for reasons of social cowardice still have in your acquaintance circle, could get very expensive. There’s also the possibility that the person doesn’t feel embarrassment or shame. It might be why you don’t like them.  Just as an aside, a good way of telling if someone doesn’t feel embarrassment, shame or really anything, is if they are wearing ‘toe shoes’.

This is where pointless tat comes in. This is a gift that not only does the recipient not want but nobody has ever wanted. Here’s some main ones:

Scented candles – extra points if the ‘scent’ is either overpoweringly pungent, or actually some sort of ‘organic and all-natural’ pesticide.

Scented candle

Scented candle: This one is marketed as having the enchanting aroma of five-day-old, Dominos deep-dish pizza

Cushions – Nobody who doesn’t already own cushions wants cushions.

Rustic food preparation devices that have long since been replaced with something better – We’re talking ‘lemon squeezers’,  an ‘on-stove whistling kettle that can’t turn itself off, just keeps boiling and boiling and eventually burns your house down’ or ‘a mortar and pestle’ (especially if the recipient doesn’t take, sell, or manufacture drugs.)

Any nick-knack described primarily as being ’funky’ or ‘kitsch’.

Vouchers

This is a hackneyed one, so we won’t dwell on the fact that you are nominating someone’s exact worth in a currency that can only be spent in a handful of places.

More trouble than its worth

This is the gift that seems thoughtful on the surface but is, in actual fact, a lot of commitment.  This includes kites, any model anything, anything you have to plant, tend to, or slaughter yourself and any very potent narcotic or psychedelic drug.

If the intended recipient is over twenty-five years old you can throw in any musical instrument or sporting goods – extra points here because these things may just remind them of their fast-fading youthful dreams.

Snark

Most of the gift ideas in this weblog bulletin have focused on very general gift ideas: gifts that will generally make someone uncomfortable, ashamed, make them put in a lot of effort, or are generally thoughtless or pointless.  The thing that will really get under the skin of someone you are giving a gift to though, is something that is calibrated to their personality.

The best gifts are calibrated to the intended recipient’s character failings

If someone is painfully shy, get them a toy loud-hailer. On the surface of it, a funny, practical gift.  The thing is you can then make them use said loud-hailer in the office.  That will make them very uncomfortable.

If someone is unadventurous with food because of dietary issues; get them a gift certificate for a lovely ethnic curry.

If someone thinks going to the theatre is for drop-outs and communists; get them tickets to the longest, most avante garde, and most French play you can find.

If someone doesn’t like poor people or Africans; get them one of those things where rather than giving them a gift you use the gift money instead to buy a starving family in Africa a goat or a duck or something.

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The Home-made Gift Certificate Hinting at Something Missing from Someone’s life: No gift is so bitter-sweet.

For a while, amongst caring people, there was a fetish for making up ‘gift certificates’ for things like ‘hugs’ or ‘compliments’ or entitling the bearer to have ‘one nice thing done for them.’ The gift certificate idea can be used for less cloying purposes though too, particularly if the gift certificate is for something the person receiving it needs, but cannot possibly redeem.

How to win a debate

In a previous weblog we discussed, very articulately I might add, how to win a conversation.

The hyperlink is here but I will recap for those of you who made an arbitrary rule never to click on hyperlinks when using the internet.  I know I did, back in 1997, and while it makes using the internet hard I have never caught a Trojan virus from the world wide web and neither has my computer.

But I digress.

You win a conversation by scoring points based on glib retorts and insults.  When the conversation is ended, the person who got the most ‘zingers’ in, wins. We all know that this works for day to day tete-a-tete but what of a more high-brow discourse?

A ‘debate’ is different to a conversation. For a start, it is usually on an important and serious subject like politics, economics, whaling, or which Smiths record is the best. You will be talking in a different voice too; probably a concerned voice or a put-on British accent. Even if you are British you will probably put on a better British accent.

The principles of winning a debate are different too: the aim of a debate is to win by forcing the other person to agree with you or to make them stop talking.  When you win a debate you are correct,  the other person is wrong, and there can be no further debates on the subject ever.

Winning a debate then, is more important that winning a conversation with your friends where the only real prize is the knowledge that you insulted them more than they insulted you. Like anything in life that is worth winning however, a debate is hard.

However, like anything hard, I can tell you in approximately five bullet points how to wriggle around it without putting in any real effort.

Statistics

Until 1995, if you had statistical evidence to back up your argument in a debate you automatically won.  This was because all statistics came from the one book and there were no variations.  The problem back then was the book was seldom on-hand when you were having a debate; no bars, restaurants, bus-stops, or student unions had a copy, so there was always a possibility that the person quoting the statistics had got them wrong and there was no way of checking.

Nowadays statistics are on the internet and because the internet is available all the time from your phone, tablet computer, lap-top and even some cuts of meat, you can find statistics any time.  The problem now is that, rather than there being one big book with all the statistics in it, there are now lots of websites and Tweets with DIFFERENT statistics in them.

In a lot of ways, statistics are pointless unless you frame them in such a way as they are vague enough they can’t be refuted:

“The number of whales maimed, killed or cyber-bullied by the Japanese increased over 20% according to the most recent figures.”

That statement firstly uses a non-specific figure: “over 20%”. That could be pretty much anything not LESS than 20%.  Secondly, the reference to “most recent figures” means, even if someone has different statistics, you can argue yours are the newest ones.

The key to statistics debates then is never be specific.

Anecdotal evidence

Research is hard and dorky.  It is also totally unnecessary for formulating a debate argument. Why bother finding specific and referable examples to support your arguments when you can just use anecdotal examples waffly and fuzzy enough never to be really refutable and based on experiences you can’t really qualify?

The three main types of anecdotal evidence are: the ‘general example from your own life’, the ‘overseas experience example’, and the ‘amputation’.   I will explain with examples:

General example from your own life

“I run a business and employ 12 people…” Okay, this only works if the person doesn’t actually know you very well, I forgot to mention this… “so I know that most of my employees actually PREFER not to have paid sick days.”

Perfect for the internet-based debate, this statement first sets up your vague, unverifiable qualification, then makes a vague reference to a numerical preference.  We all know it is UNLIKELY this statement is true: what if one of the employees gets diarrhea or breaks their foot? However, we don’t know who these employes are either, so we can’t really refute the statement.  Debate gold!

Overseas experience example

“I lived in Britain for 10 years and I never saw any crime. People in this country have no respect.”

Okay, we’ve all seen Kidulthood so we know that this statement probably isn’t true but the person saying it lived there. Lived experience is anecdotal gold because, lets face it, the person may not have seen any crime. We don’t know, were we there with them?

No.

Also, the crime statement sets up the vaguely drawn conclusion: I never saw any crime there people here (where presumably there is crime) have no respect (which is a bad thing, and crime is, apparently an indicator of that.) Boom.

The “I lived in Britain…” line does not work for culinary-themed arguments.

Amputation

The Other Person: “A flat income tax rate would encourage investment and stop the wealthy fleeing overseas.”

YOU: “I had my leg amputated.”

On the surface of it, your leg, amputated or otherwise, has nothing to do with ‘flat-tax policy’. However, if you have no leg, you automatically win the debate. Even with the most heartless of people. Even, in fact, with people who argue for a flat income-tax policy.

Note: If the person is in the room with you when you use the Old Amputee Slam-dunk you may have to pretend your leg is a prosthetic. Unless you have, in fact, had your leg amputated.*

Make out the other person is angry

Winning a debate is not like ordering photocopying paper over the phone: losing your temper will mean that far from getting what you want, you will lose. This is why smug, emotionally disconnected and privileged people usually win debates: unless the debate is about the price of cravats or how to get port wine out of tweed they have nothing to get wound up about so they seldom do.

The problem is, most people know this and will keep their cool even when debating a subject they are quite hot about.  To win a debate quite often you will have to imply that your opponent is losing their temper when they are not. This is easy to do, and an easy way to win a debate when there is an audience you can appeal to:

Your scarf-wearing opponent: “‘The Queen is Dead’ is a far superior album to ‘Meat is Murder’ which is full of dinky little novelty tunes.”

YOU: “Woah, woah, buddy, calm down. Shit, I was just expressing an opinion, no need to get angry” *looks at other people at the table smugly* “What’s with this guy? Is he crazy?”

Your scarf-wearing opponent: “I was only expressing an opinion too but…”

You: “Hey, hey, don’t hit me!”

You win because you implied the other person had lost their temper, even if the measure of temper-lose-age was entirely established by you.

Get personal

While a debate is generally considered to be a high-brow exchange of reasoned arguments there is, in fact, some room for a well targeted jab of white-hot spite.  The key is you get one shot and it has to be a surprise. If you just keep lobbing insults at the other person like they are potatoes you are going to look like you are lowering the tone, and if it is expected it may be parried away like a rusty, sword in a duel.

If, like me, you are a generally spiteful person, people will be expecting you to use aspects of their personal life against them to win any argument regardless of how important it is so they’ll be ready for you.  What you must do then, is make something up.

The other person. They have a stupid pony-tail: “But what is ‘fascism’ really? It is just a well-ordered state that defends its people against outside invaders and parasitic internal forces.”

YOU: “I had sexual intercourse with your wife last night.”

The other person. They have a stupid pony-tail: “Sorry, what?”

YOU: “You heard me. By the way your pony-tail makes you look like a snake is eating your head from behind.”

Pony-tail there, was making a point about fascism and you cold knocked him off his stride with the ‘wife sex’ call. That’s how its done!

So now you know how to debate, and whats-more, you know how to win, and what’smore-more you know how to do it with the ease of a stroll in the park and a warm shower afterwards.

 

 

*Never get your leg amputated to win a debate