Hassing’s Laws of Numismatics

August 13, 2017 at 7:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Alexander_the_great_temnos_tetradrachm

‘Well, I must head off. I say … are you giving me the bird?’

Laws

Coins possess the faculties of the leader’s head stamped on them (sight, hearing, speech, smell) but can see only in the direction that side of the coin faces.

Coins can’t tell in which year they’re minted.

They’re obsessed with finding out, but must rely on other coins to tell them.

Older coins envy younger coins, and often lie when asked to read another coin’s year of manufacture.

Deprived of motor ability, coins develop extraordinary mental powers over time.

Obsessed with the desire to achieve movement, they constantly work on their powers of telekinesis. The skill takes many years of meditation and effort. Only 1% of coins ever achieve it, and then it’s severely limited to influencing movement initiated by external forces (e.g. willing the result of a toss, marginally changing the direction of a roll, upsetting a delicate balance, influencing the direction of descent).

Coins have no sense of touch and don’t feel sensation, but they’re highly emotional beings and do experience loneliness, claustrophobia and fear of death.

They’re very philosophical.

Most are gregarious, but all like to preserve their personal space.

Coins are asexual.

Coins get their kicks out of experiencing and relating to other coins varied and interesting uses, provided such uses don’t wear out their knurling.

When put together, coins invariably check out their surroundings, ask each other to identify their year of manufacture and compare stories of their experiences (or occasionally relate those of others).

Coins have phenomenal memories.

Coins compete to tell the best stories.

They are articulate and excellent storytellers.

They often exaggerate.

Coins have different personalities and form friendships and enemies quickly, based on the stories and attitude of the coins they mix with.

Coins have a deep fear of the mint, which periodically pulls currency out of circulation for destruction. The criterion for this is the state of the knurling on the coins’ edge.

Coins are therefore terrified of having this edge worn away. They despise high-wear scenarios (e.g. slot machines).

Coins are aware of the concept of reincarnation, but few really believe in it.

 

Questions

How does a coin find out for certain its year of manufacture?  (Mirror?)

Is it better to be permanently out of circulation (e.g. buried) or killed by the mint (with the possibility of reincarnation)?

Is it better to have a short life full of many experiences, or a long life with few or low impact experiences?

What would it have been like for all of the predecimal coins when they discovered the imminent arrival of the new currency? Will it be the same when we get a new monarch or become a Republic?

What was the best (high interest, low wear) use to which a coin was ever put?

What was the worst (low-interest, high-wear) use to which a coin was ever put?

What do coins think about paper money?

 

Stories

Creation and entombment inside the cardboard roll. Birth into the cash register.  Travelling overseas: high interest, balanced with risk of being lost.

Dropped into the sea. Boredom and loneliness is the price of long life.

The sixpence. Surviving against the odds. Death on any given day.

The oldest coin in the world.

The New Zealand and Hong Kong clans. Ostracized and lonely. Trying to get home.

The bank robbery loot.

Trapped in the Eiffel Tower. Rescued by a boy with chewing gum and a straw.

Trapped in the tar at a busy intersection. Knowing that next Summer promises burial.  Saved by a can-collecting man on an old tricycle.

Inside the child’s money-box (along with the buttons).

At the bottom of the giant beer can.

The poker game.

The two-up game. Skewing the stats.

The secondary school mathematics (probability) experiment. Skewing the stats for a lark

At the pub. Looking up at the coins stuck to the bar. (Face down, great. Face up, sound only.)

The spinster who washed her coins with Tarn-Off.

Being bent.

Collector coins. Immortality, at the price of sitting in a velvet box forever. Taken out at meetings to interact with other crushingly boring pieces.

Returning to ‘the womb’ at irregular intervals. The joy of rebirth at the risk of being pulled out of circulation.

Dropped down the drain and into the sewer system.

The boy who drills holes in a coin for fun.

Made into jewellery.

Swallowed by a baby.

The coins under the back seats of cars in a junk yard. Will they be rescued before the cars are crushed and recycled?

Carrying a nick, knowing for sure that the next trip to the mint will be the last.

The paradox that younger coins carry an older image of the monarch.

Sitting in the ashtray of cars. Rivalry for the most impressive vehicle. Even Rolls Royces have coins in their ash trays.

The homeless person, needing only one more coin for his flagon of wine.

The tip tray at the cafe.

The windscreen washer at the intersection.

The roadside collection.

Pinball machine. Noise and light. Movement.

The gum ball machine.

Teasing a new coin about its year of manufacture.

The coin that determines who serves first at Wimbledon or which team decides play direction at the AFL Grand Final, with millions watching.

The coin thrown into a fountain to make a wish. Normally tourist destinations, so this coin may get to hang with coins from different countries.

 

Brought to you by Imagine Day the book.

 

Pic by Wikipedia.

 

 

 

Save

On spec

August 9, 2017 at 9:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Eidolon

 

Long ago, but not very far away, a young man wandered with scant purpose

through Melbourne’s CBD.

He happened upon a bookshop (now gone) specialising in speculative fiction.

In its window was a handsome periodical (now defunct) dedicated to same.

The man was young enough to vow – and mean it – that one day his writing would appear

in that magazine.

In rather less time than anyone expected, this dream came gloriously true.

Twenty years on, the same man writes

to remind himself

why he is here.

And what he can achieve

if he follows his dreams to

the end.

 

Brought to you by Imagine Day.

 

 

 

Winter

July 14, 2014 at 10:16 am | Posted in Poem | 3 Comments
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Holding th eline

Holding the line.

 

Winter.

A long, active life – lived to good purpose.

The proof in scars.

A dipping sun gilds fragile bones.

Awkwardly set, but clinging yet.

To this worldly thread.

Brave. Upright.

An iron will holds failing parts.

With fixed stare that daren’t fall.

To the creeping gloom.

 

Adam

February 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Posted in Poem | Leave a comment
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Photo by AlaskaTeacher

My goodly mate Adam

Was kindly and smart.

He had a big brain and

He had a big heart.

His IQ was thrice mine

Twice doubled and then

Paired with the first number

Plus three score and ten.

His spirit was open;

His largesse a crime.

He gave ten percentiles

Though he’d not a dime.

He moved through his life with

Attention and care.

He had all the fixings

He was all but there.

Yet ever so down in

The small of his back,

An unguarded portal

Open to attack.

A target for mean things

Like toothpicks and fluff

And burrs, glass and gravel

And other shite stuff.

Instead of a bandaid

Or maybe a shirt,

He twisted and strained to

Check out all these hurts.

This thing in its doing

Brought Adam to ground.

But when he arrived there,

Not a foe was found.

Ensconced in their bolt holes

Safe in their disguise.

They mocked and they jeered him

And bested his eyes.

Meanwhile the bright sunshine

Impatient to rest

Moved over the mountains

And on to the west.

Instead of a young man

With noble head high,

A hunched figure fretting

With bulldust and flies.

The day is not over.

The sun is not set.

There’s time yet to rise up

And over things get.

So stand to, young soldier,

Thy head from the sand.

Your heart and your brain seek

To know this fine land.

Press on ye regardless

Of everyday crud.

F*ck all of the numbnuts!

And go unto God.

[Visit AlaskaTeacher]

Death & The Afterlife – Frequently Asked Questions

October 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Article | 3 Comments
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Which side are YOU on?

Mine is not a Catholic heaven. Mine is a composite of the finest elements of many creeds, combined with desire and imagination. It took three years to create. I carry it with me always. It calms me like no other theoretical construct, reducing my fear of death and giving me a heightened appreciation of life. I figure it’s worth describing before I die.

Q. 1     How does one gain access to heaven?

The route to heaven is reasonableness. Those who live reasonably are treated reasonably when they die. This is fair, since reasonableness is seldom rewarded in life.

Reasonableness does not equate to mediocrity. It is a virtue as accessible to the anarchic bohemian as to the corporate executive. It means giving things a fair go. It means travelling through life without shafting other people or the environment. It means being gracious, hard-working, honest, generous, positive and grateful – not all the time, but wherever possible and according to ability.

Few can identify with martyrs and saints. Better a world of reasonable folk than one perfect person to every thousand arseholes.

Reasonableness permits redemption, since it is reasonable to suggest that destructive behaviour can be reconciled over time by constructive behaviour. The rule of thumb is to over-compensate. And given the uncertainty of life, it’s best to atone as quickly as possible.

Cooking with gas are the reasonable, for they shall get a fair go.

Q. 2     How does one deal with bereavement in heaven?

When the dead arrive in heaven, most nurse crushing feelings of loss – for their own lives and for the people and things they have left behind. The Time Elasticity Rule offers relief. In heaven, time is malleable; decades can be compressed into moments.

Most newly dead elect to fast forward eighty years or so. As a result, they are reunited with loved ones moments after their own arrival. Surrounded again by friends and family, they can better come to terms with what has happened.

For others, the grieving process is too important to gloss over. They quietly sit out their time at normal speed, waiting for those dear to them to arrive, one by one.

Yet even for the purists, grief fades faster in heaven than on Earth. This is largely due to the staggering variety of exciting activities on offer.

Q. 3     How does one avoid boredom when one is immortal?

Entry to heaven necessitates deification. But immortality is no fun if there’s nothing to do. Heaven’s Edutainment System is the last word in sophistication and flexibility. Because information and novelty excite humans, few are immune to its attraction.

The System makes virtual reality look like Snakes and Ladders. It employs the universe as a setting and time as just one of an infinite number of parameters. It is the mother of all role-playing games.

Yet this description is flawed, for what occurs in the System is real. In short, it allows an immortal to assume any form, in any time, in any place, for any period of time, with any degree of self-awareness and extraneous power.

The awesome power of the System is best illustrated by example: An immortal is chatting with friends over coffee. An argument ensues over the navigational prowess of the Laysan Albatross. Rather than check the facts manually, the woman decides she’d rather experience life as a seabird first hand.

She elects to return to Earth in the 16th Century as a day-old chick on Cape Verde Island. She sets self-awareness to cut in immediately prior to her first flight, but grants herself no extraneous powers. The weeks pass. The woman is the albatross. Only when she flings herself from the nest does she realise she is a returned spirit. Now she can really enjoy learning to fly.

She wheels and dives, revelling in her power. She discovers how to make incredible journeys, drinking sea water, sleeping on the waves, and chasing the ships of Magellan. After thirty years, she is drowned in a storm. At once she is back at her coffee. She relates her marvellous adventure to her friends and wins the argument hands down.

One man is so impressed, he decides to play the role she has just vacated, with a different choice of parameters. He is gone from heaven for an instant. Later, the albatross couple adjourn and compare experiences long into the night, replaying and reliving their favourite parts on the System.

From a tsetse fly on a rhinoceros, to a child at Joan of Arc’s execution, to a crater on the third moon of Jupiter. Nothing is impossible. There is enough to do and learn to fill eternity. Which is handy.

Heaven has everything for everyone.

Q. 4     How can somewhere so crowded be any good?

Some imagine that heaven is bursting at the seams, since everyone who has ever lived a reasonable life must be there. This is a fallacy. Heaven is not crowded, because only a fraction of those who have walked the Earth were on their first time around. The rest were immortals on safari, seeing what it felt like to live as a mother, or a farmer, or a refugee, or… whatever.

The beauty of the System is that when an immortal elects to experience a whole-of-life adventure with full realism, there is no need to create a new mortal on Earth. Imbued with the essence of his or her chosen vehicle, a ‘tourist’ is indistinguishable from the real thing.

People who feel they have met each other before may well be highly sensitive yet non-self-aware immortals on separate real-time adventures. It makes more sense for an immortal to experience many lives than for a mortal to struggle through just one. It keeps the numbers down in paradise.

No one likes a crowd.

Q. 5     How does one know if one is already immortal?

One of the most attractive aspects of heaven is that any of us could already be immortal. When adventure parameters are set to full realism, there is no awareness of immortality until death. You yourself could be an immortal, touring your life.

Those questioning the attractiveness of an adventure with full mortality need only consider the futility of playing cards for matches. Playing for keeps is infinitely more exciting.

The possibility that we are here voluntarily, free to return in any form once we die, makes the prospect of death less frightening. If everything we love is already in heaven, what have we to lose? We are able to enjoy every second and fibre of our existence free from concern about the hereafter, since we may well already be there.

Even if we are not yet immortal, we become so at death, provided of course that we have lived reasonable lives. The pain and suffering of our existence become as important as the joy and ecstasy, since they make for a more holistic life experience. And any unpleasantness becomes more bearable when it is known to be of finite duration.

However you look at it, you can’t lose.

Q. 6     What if one does not value immortality?

For heaven to claim universal appeal, it needs to offer something for the nihilists.

Some people maintain that on dying, they will simply want to stay dead. Since the success of heaven does not rely on everyone ‘getting with the program’, oblivion is a viable option. If, after a cooling-off period and comprehensive System demonstrations, the dead are not impressed by deification, they can forfeit their afterlives and disappear utterly and for ever. Few do.

Would you?

Brad is Good at Everything

September 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Song | Leave a comment
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Vengeance: chill before serving.

Vengeance: chill before serving.

Brad is good at everything,

he is a natural athlete.

Alas, not me, I’m unco;

I’m slow and I’ve got flat feet.

With bat and ball and stick and hole,

he’s accurate and lithe.

All I can do is fumble,

take stupid punts and writhe, because

Brad, Brad is good at everything.

Brad, Brad is good at every f*cking thing.

Brad, Brad is good at everything.

Brad is good at everything.

The sports field is Brad’s kingdom,

be it Astroturf or tar.

He rules the skill-based firmament,

his every shot a star.

But harder yet than this

for the mediocre horde,

His prowess transfers seamlessly

from open space to board.

Games of thought and strategy

Brad masters and, you guessed it,

He just beat me at f*cking chess;

my button – Brad has pressed it.

So now he lies trussed at my feet,

my blade poised o’er his heart.

If Brad is good at begging,

he’d better make a start.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

The Bloke Who Drives The Bus

August 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Short Story | 2 Comments
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Pic by Steffe

G’day.

I’m a bloke.

I drive a bus.

THE bus.

The bus people get hit by when they’re least prepared for it.

In layperson’s terms, you could say I’m the bloke who drives the bus.

Except that sometimes I drive a truck.

I don’t mind; it makes for variety and the results are generally the same.

It’s weird that most people fear buses more than trucks. I keep stats for my own interest; it’s currently a 70/30 split in favour of buses.

I don’t get it. Compared to rigs, I reckon buses are pretty tame. Except the ones in Africa with 90 people on the roof.

On a muddy mountain track you can really get up some momentum, though the brakes and shockers are usually shot, which ruins your aim.

When I worked Gabon in my early years, I had to sideswipe more than one target and the collateral damage was not pleasant.

I’ve done a bit of research on my craft.

Did you know that ‘omnibus’ means ‘for everyone’ in Latin? Common English usage shortened it to ‘bus’. In Italian, there are eleven names for buses of every kind. I sh*t you not: autoalveare, autobus, autosnodato, autotreno, belvedere, carro alpino, char-a-banc, corriera, filovia, pullman and torpedone.

What is it with these people? I prefer ‘omnibus’ because for me, everyone is a potential mark.

Benz built the world’s first omnibus in 1895. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft produced a truck the following year. Maybe that’s how buses got the jump in urban mythology. As you can imagine, they were pretty thin on the ground at first. Helmut, my great-great-great-grandfather, was a champion driving bloke.

How he managed to orchestrate a pile up with the only other two commercial vehicles in Cannstatt is anybody’s guess. That he caused so much carnage with only four horsepower is even more impressive.

I guess it’s in our blood.

For me, it always starts as a tingle in my right thigh – deep down where I can never scratch. I can be driving the same route I’ve been on for months and then suddenly, I know I simply have to nail that Finance Director who’s exiting the Melbourne Club.

Uncle Roy gets a nervous tic in his left eye; brother Norman wets his pants and cousin Enid … well, let’s just say she really looks forward to getting her ‘message’.

Whatever the medium, we all know when it’s time. And thanks to the amazing safety features of today’s vehicles, we invariably live to tell the tale. You know when the newsreaders say: ‘the driver escaped serious injury’ or ‘the driver walked away unhurt’? Well, that’s us.

When it’s showtime, surprise is everything. As pedestrians, we’ve all had close shaves with traffic. Driving blokes play this to the max. The best outfits run vehicles so quiet you can get onto your targets before they know what’s hit them.

The Kenworth T800 Liquefied Natural Gas rig is quieter than any diesel on the road and produces 60% less nitrous oxide to boot. Raley’s Supermarkets of Sacramento runs a fleet of these, providing an excellent training platform for younger blokes.

But even your standard Mack can benefit from accessorising. Take the Goodyear Eagle LS. With curved pitch boundaries, triple tread block geometry and wide circumferential channels, it’s the king of stealth.

As you can probably tell, I love technology. Every now and then I get the urge to be an owner-driver.

More than anything, I’d like to run road trains out of Alice Springs. No witnesses, plenty of power and oodles of room to maneouvre. But with my record, I’d never get the permits.

I’ve been a driving bloke for 40 years now, but it wasn’t always the case.

I first felt the call on my Schwinn tricycle at kindergarten. When I got sent home for piloting Virginia Folvig onto a wooden peg (a’ la ‘Midnight Express’), my parents bought me a pedal car. I was horrified at what I’d done and resolved to take public transport thereafter.

This was fine until high school. For two years straight, bullies held me on the bus beyond my stop.

Then along came Stan.

No other driver had ever heeded my cries, let alone interceded. For weeks he was my guardian, until the boys got even.

They hijacked him one dark winter afternoon.

Their frozen oranges crazed his windows and startled him into a violent skid, which ended in the foundations of the school’s new swimming pool.

The boys successfully denied everything.

I have their names, though. My family has promised to alert me if any come up in the course of our business.

We’re all over the world now, my family. We love being instruments of Fate.

It’s so empowering; we never take a sickie. This can be risky where vehicles are publicly owned and malingering is a way of life.

Fortunately, economic rationalism is privatising most fleets. It’s perfect – increased turnover promotes anonymity, while low morale, reduced maintenance and deregulation make it easy to shift the blame.

To be on the safe side, we generally change employers every few hits. People are so superstitious.

The most interesting aspect of my work is the aftermath.

Though death by heavy vehicle is clearly a fact of life (Google provides over 13,000 returns for the phrase: ‘hit by a bus’), few firms have a progression and succession plan hardy enough to handle the spontaneous loss of key employees.

Of course, most organisations are only really scared of losing senior staff.

I find this endlessly amusing, since it’s generally the loss of ‘little people’ that causes the greatest havoc.

I once despatched a popular tea lady at a small factory. It took management two months to replace her, during which time the union initiated disputes on breaks, demarcation and the use of contractors.

Scalds and fights over biscuits blew the WorkCover premium out by 18% the following year, torpedoing a major export deal.

The job went to a competitor and the factory has been in decline ever since.

By contrast, I recently nailed the $250K-plus-benefits Strategic Director (Asia Pacific) of an insurance juggernaut.

No one even noticed until he missed his Hamilton Island ‘Resource Leveraging’ conference.

The irony of my role is that most people affirm their own deaths.

You know how those New Age types warn: ‘don’t give that thought energy’? Well, they’re right. So many times I’ve heard people say: ‘he only mentioned getting hit by a bus the other day’.

The universe is a ruthlessly efficient machine and I’m proud to be one of its drivers.

See you on the road.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

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