The Haught guide to procrastination

Procrastination rock

How long have you been working on it?

Or – I suppose – not working on it, more to the point.

You know what I’m referring to. That one piece of work you’ve been putting off for so long you’re starting to think it might be best to never think about it again and hope everyone else at work does the same.

Nah, come on – I know it’s embarrassing, but don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m on about. I can see your eyes darting and an unnerved quarter-smile forming on your face even from here. And by “here” I mean in the past. (Yes, your guilt is that obvious.)… Read the rest

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My email to the people of Sydney

Sydney, home to Ferry McFerryface

Yesterday, it came to light that a $100,000 public competition to name Sydney’s new harbour ferries had been overridden by the minister in charge of public transport, who had ignored the people’s wishes and chosen to call a boat Ferry McFerryface

The statutory authority responsible for public transport in New South Wales warned the minister of “satirical naming campaigns” and the “the highly publicised mishaps in the naming of ships in other jurisdictions” many months before the vote. They apparently went about creating a competition that “mitigated” such risks.

And it worked. 

The names of notable people were far more popular than the highly original joke namesCatherine Hamlin, Fred Hollows, Victor Chang, Pemulwuy and Bungaree were selected for five of the six new ferries. Ian Kiernan received more than 2000 votes and was told he would also have his name grace a ferry, but this decision was suddenly changed when the New South Wales Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, took it upon himself to choose Ferry McFerryface, a name that had received just 182 votes.

Channel 9 undertook a freedom of information investigation and now the story’s all out in the open and the Ferry McFerryface name is getting the arse.… Read the rest

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Preparing for Trump – a time capsule piece

Imagine the smell

It’s been exactly a year since Donald Trump took office as the most powerful man in the world. 

Here’s what I wrote just a few short weeks before that fateful day. As with many things I write, it was intended to be exaggerated, sarcastic and silly. I noticed as I was re-reading it, it doesn’t really seem like that in hindsight.

I wonder if there’ll even be a second anniversary on which to read it again.  


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On Leonard Cohen

Poet, writer and musician Leonard Cohen died on this day a year ago.

He was not a man for varnish or facades. His metaphor for the world of everyday work was “Boogie Street”, a place of traffic jams and ugly commerce. 

On these pages over the past five years or so I’ve recommended that you follow the lead of The Bush Tucker Man, my infant daughter, the grossly incompetent manager I worked under at the Burwood Smorgy’s, the entire 1980s, the old Italian men who sold grapes from the vacant block next to my old home and me. But if I had to settle on a single, quite serious (for a change) role model it would be Leonard Cohen.… Read the rest

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The Haught guide to Big Brother watching you

If you haven’t set up a system East German style surveillance in your office, you’re derelict in your duty as a capitalist.

If I had to name the two things that have got me to where I am today it would be:

  1. Stupendous talent
  2. Unyielding and repressive scrutiny from my superiors

I’m not afraid to admit it: I loved being surveilled at work. Without Big Brother having watched my every professional movement from one of his infinite telescreens, I would have frittered away my career to date on inefficient activity and unorthodox thoughts.… Read the rest

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ParentHaught: Lucy’s Salon

lucy's salon

Date: July 2016

Age: 2

 

Lucy: I do Memmeh’s hair?

Me: Are you a hairdresser, Lucy?

Lucy: Yeah. I cut a da hair with brushes.

Me: Do you need two combs?

Mum: Of course she does. This a very prestigious salon. Lucy’s the best.

Me: I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t realise.

Lucy starts brushing Mum’s hair.

Lucy: Papa? [handing me a comb]

Me: Oh! Lucy. I’d be honoured.… Read the rest

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Haught Take: Sponke the monkey

sponke the monkey

Yesterday, people in parts of western and south-western Sydney were exposed to a brochure telling readers “Do not vote Labor” and listing a series of reasons relating to “protecting” families, masturbation and homosexuality

The advertising became instantly notorious for this dire warning: “DO NOT VOTE FOR LABOR IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO SPONKE THEIR MONKEYS”.

No person or organisation put their name to the propaganda, but Haught can exclusively reveal exactly how the above flyer came to be:


Read the rest
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My email to the Marriage Equality Straw Man

by Haught 0 Comments

marriage equality straw man

Dear Marriage Equality Straw Man,

I have it on good authority that you are being very rude to a group of people who have done not the slightest thing to deserve your animus. 

These people – I’d call them my clients, but I’m working on their behalf without payment or even consent, so that’s probably a very small step too far – merely wish to exercise their democratic right. Their right to deny others rights. 

And dignity. 

And a sense of equality, and so feeling of belonging in society. 

How dare you roll your eyes at their beliefs. How dare you scoff at their values. How dare you spit at their feet just before they lycra up and get sweaty with their cycling chums. How dare you drown out their voices by firing rainbow Kalashnikovs into the sky whenever they begin to proffer their opinion and by sending a glitter-encrusted wrecking ball through the spires and minarets of their places of worship whenever they mention their religious convictions… … Read the rest

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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.

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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.

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