The Haught guide to learning fast

The kodiak bear, native to Alaska, can smell a mound of discarded roast pork, curdled custard and overcooked carrots in the Southern Hemisphere

Newcomers to Benign to Five, a column which I occasionally transpose into blog form for your delectation, may not be aware that, for a short period in the 1990s, I worked at the all-you-can-inhale restaurant, Smorgy’s (Burwood). Patrons entered through a fibreglass volcano and every three to five months thick black smoke spewed from its roof; these two facts were entirely unrelated.

In my 35-day period of employment at this venerable house of engorgement, I learnt almost everything I’ve ever needed to know in my professional career.… Read the rest

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Pranker or wanker? (I still don’t know if I was being stooged)

practical joke zing

Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched at work? Or at least felt that the client, colleague or customer you were dealing with was such a clown that you must have been the butt of a practical joke?

More than a year ago, I completed a ‘collaborative project’. Collaborative project is the term foisted upon the debacle by others. In fact, it was an encounter with a person apparently dragged out into reality, through the fourth wall, from inside a very badly written comedy television show dealing in the most facile stereotypes. 

I appreciate little in the world more than mischief. And a really sophisticated practical joke is one of the ultimate expressions of mischievousness. So I spent many quiet moments during this futile assignment excited by the possibility that I was being stooged.… Read the rest

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Remembering (Healthy) Harold and the Life Education van

Healthy Harold

“Harold, Invictus”, by Jonathan Rivett, 2017

I’d always known him as plain old Harold. 

Apparently at the time of his death, he was going by the name Healthy Harold. In any case, I was shocked to hear of his demise at the age of just 39 yesterday. 

I was very pleased to hear of his return from the dead, just a few hours later. 

If you have no idea who I’m talking about, Harold was is a giraffe. He is, as far as I know, a minister in the Uniting Church. In 1979 he moved from Ethiopia to Potts Point in Sydney and shortly after founded a group called Life Education with fellow minister at the Wayside Chapel, Ted Noffs. 

I first came into contact with Harold in a darkened van. 

That sounds dodgy, and quite frankly it was a bit, but not in the way you might think. … Read the rest

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Haught Take: Personal Branding

In 2017, personal branding has earned a special significance in the world. It’s at least as important to humans as a healthy endocrine system and will presumably one day replace our need for a beating heart. 

It’s also a complex subject, and I’ve taken that complexity into account when fashioning my rules for improving your personal brand. This is one you might want to set aside a good 45 minutes to read:… Read the rest

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My email to you (about why I’m on Instagram)

Haught Instagram

 

Dear devotees, stalwhaughts and innocent bystanders,

I’ve called this an email in the heading, but it’s not really. It’s more like an open letter.

To be honest, I don’t like open letters; they’re all for show. Open letters are flamboyantly hurled into the ether in a show of look-at-me self-gratification. Emails, by contrast, are sent directly to a recipient and are supposed to be read by that person. My emails are genuine attempts to make contact with an individual or entity about a topic of gravity and immediate import (it’s not my fault if other people want to electronically read the beautifully written correspondence over that recipient’s shoulder). 

And here’s my problem, and the reason for my non-email. In the case of most of you, I’m unable to get into direct contact. (In fact, many of you who should, by rights, be reading this, aren’t – a jovial un-hello to you.)

In short: emails get to people – this piece of correspondence will miss a huge proportion of you. 

Let me explain it as simply and un-boringly as possible:… Read the rest

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Haught Take: is the rudest word “cunt”?

I’ve just got on to the The Allusionist, the best words-related podcast I’ve found. I highly recommend it.
 
I decided to start from the beginning and the fourth episode from back at the start of 2015 is all about profanity. Host Helen Zaltzman takes a poll on what people think is the rudest word in the language and the winner by a long way is “cunt”.
 
It got me thinking about what I consider to be the most offensive item in the modern Australian lexicon.
Read the rest
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The Haught guide to end-of-year parties

Don't dance at work parties

This may be my last post of the year before Jesus turns 2017, so I thought I’d give you my tips on resurrection from death.

Only joking – that’s blasphemous and requires many more than 500-odd words to properly explain.

I’m actually going to give my advice on end-of-year work parties. I wrote down 16,000 during my lunch break – here are ten of the OK ones:… Read the rest

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