Gangsters, bishops, letters and tea pots

Terms of endearment

In an age of modern communications styles of address have shifted. Communicating via email is also difficult when the gender and name of the recipient is unclear. There are some openings though that are crystalline. Recently, we received a letter with the opening volley, ‘YOU IGNORANT BASTARD!!!’. While we empathised with the sentiment, few were willing to own the letter.

Anonymous letters often arrive from Disgusted, Disgruntled and Dissatisfied. Less frequent are those from Dismembered, Dissociated and Disorganised. And rarest of all are ones from Relieved, Reformed and Reconciled. Perhaps they are too much at peace to take up their pens.

Smashing idea

The best of our letters are brought to morning tea. This doubles as an unofficial editorial meeting, staff assembly, television and film review group, book club and neighbourhood well.

Instituted and most often hosted by Eureka Street’s publisher, the event is occasionally punctuated by the sound of smashing crockery. This is followed soon after by an expedition to the local IKEA in search of a replacement tea pot.

IKEA stores are houses of torment. Those who can control their panic as they search for an exit sign, clock or daylight, deserve a reward. Those who make it to the checkout without losing their temper,  mind or child, deserve a medal. Those who claim to be able to assemble the object once at home, are lying.

Masochism, however, pays. The stores seem only to be growing in popularity. Swedish business magazine Veckans Affarer claims that IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad has unseated Bill Gates as the world’s richest man.

Eureka Street is pleased to contribute in some small way to the meteoric rise of Mr Kamprad.
Tea anyone?

Back in the saddle

The Australian Bishops are just back from their five yearly accounting in Rome. Last time, they returned with lead in their bags—the Statement of Conclusions that seemed designed to nobble the Australian Church.

This time, they came back smelling of Spring Carnival roses, and bearing praise from John Paul II. He commended them for their advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers and of Indigenous Australians.

Fine fellows

We were surprised to hear prayers offered recently for peace in the Gangland community. Peace, yes, but community wouldn’t have been the first word that came to mind.

The Gangland community certainly lacks some of the connotations of the Latin original, notably fellowship and solidarity. But words like community always become inflated in political contexts, and end up forgetting their origins.
Augustine, for example, did a job on the pretensions to glory and respectability of the Roman state. He took the current definition of this sacred word, and showed that it could apply equally to a band of robbers. This, he surmised, was also probably the most accurate description of the reality that underlay the myths of Rome.

So maybe in being located so surprisingly in Gangland, community and fellowship, too, have not forgotten, but returned to their origins.

Clean as a whistle

Remember Marge from the Palmolive ad in the 70s? ‘You know you’re soaking in it!’ She is now passée. According to the New York Times single men are the new target for soap sellers. As the product wrappers change from pink to blue, and the stomach churning scents from pot pourri to ocean breeze, Procter & Gamble have hired a consumer psychologist to advise on the cleaning habits of men. Men, it seems, cannot distinguish between detergent and dishwasher soap, wash dusting cloths or determine when the sheets need washing.

Such earnest endeavour spawns acronyms. Tom McNulty, author of Clean like a man: Housekeeping for men (and the women who love them) confides that he has learned to work one room at a time, assisted by his MCU—mobile cleaning unit. This marvel of technology comprises a basket with dust cloths, Windex and Nifti ‘that operates as his basic handyman’s kit in each room’. Oh, pass me a bucket.


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