Perhaps I should let go of this incident, but I can’t.

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Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

I have no way of knowing for certain if I was the first ever, but I do believe I was one of the earliest people to suffer the inconvenience of having a dog eat their homework.

The homework in question was a Biology assignment: it involved the simple cultivation of fungi. Our biology teacher, Mrs Rowlands, provided detailed instructions: clean the two Petri dishes (one of them was the control), prepare the gelatin solution, swab for germs and allow time to do the rest. We also had to provide a written record on the progress of these personal ecosystems. …


I thought I was too smart to get scammed. I was wrong.

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Photo by Author

While I waited in the departure hall of the Jose Marti International airport in Havana, Cuba, I saw a group of irate elderly tourists jostling with airport staff over a suitcase quantity of confiscated rum. “They promised we could take it onboard,” they screamed, as their gentle pink complexions turned aggressive red. They had clearly fallen prey to the tricks of an enterprising and dishonest local vendor who had convinced them that airplane liquid regulations on Cuban airlines did not apply to Cuba’s national beverage. I tut-tutted at them and wrapped myself in the conceit that I would never fall…


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Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

I just received the most shocking news from Ted and Karen, a couple I have seen for the last three years. They’re leaving me. They said their relationship has got to a point where they don’t need to see me anymore.

I’m devastated. I thought Karen, Ted and I were forever.

This is a new professional low for me, and I can’t believe I let them slip through my fingers. They were dream clients: wealthy Baby Boomers who were more interested in hearing themselves talk, instead of actually taking the steps to improve their emotional well-being.

It’s exceedingly easy to…


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The collapse of civilization — giving all this away no strings attached. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

In the liberal enclave of Burfinta*, population 31,419, people just received their last check of $1,000. For the last two years everyone in this town, regardless of their income level, has received this monthly payment.

This was the largest ever recorded trial of the Universal Basic Income, or UBI, which reads a bit like a venereal infection — and giving free money to people for nothing, is exactly that.

Supporters of the plan claimed it was a necessary humanitarian gesture and the injection of capital would boost a stagnating economy into a prosperous one.

It did not. As expected, all…


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By Tom Murphy VII. Licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode. Unmodified

It’s lovely when friends or family come from abroad to visit and there are clear advantages for both parties.

The visitor gets a place to crash, and you get to put someone in the spare room, which is officially a study, but no-one ever goes in there and it’s probably costing an extra $900 monthly in rent.

They get a personalized tour guide, free of charge, and you get to try restaurants that you’ve secretly been wanting to go to, but haven’t because they’re considered “only-for-tourists”. …


How to sound fluent in a foreign language

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

I’ve spoken intermediate Mandarin for many years now and the Chinese people I encounter are incredibly generous with compliments when they hear me speak their mother tongue. In fact, many of them think I speak Mandarin fluently. What they don’t know is that I have employed some methods, which could be used in other languages, to enhance this deception. Here are my five methods of trickery:

1. Enunciation, don’t

There’s no way better to indicate you’re comfortable with a language than by not really pronouncing the words properly. Keep the sounds lodged deep in the back of your throat and proceed to ‘gargle-speak’…


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Photo by Gage Skidmore

We shall furlough them in the parks

We shall furlough them in the museums

We shall furlough them with growing confidence from the schools and hospitals

We shall defend our country whatever the cost may be to our reputation

We shall furlough them in the airports — but it would be great if TSA staff would come to work anyway because I really want to get out of Washington.

We shall furlough them in their cubicles

We shall furlough them in their mini-kitchens

We shall furlough them at their switchboards

We shall never compromise.

And even if, which if I…


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Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

I initially found it very strange when I learnt there was a hospital named after Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco.

“In Australia”, I told my American friends, “we don’t name our hospitals after people we name them after…” I paused as I attempted to recall what non-personal name we give to our scalpel-wielding centres.

I had a quick think and then I remembered that the hospital I had once gone to in Sydney to remove some glass from my hand — bar fight, nah just kidding, glass blowing accident… ok, bar fight — was called the Royal Prince Alfred hospital.


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Photo by Scott Jackson on Unsplash

I took a trip recently to a small tourist-friendly country and before leaving I was given what I thought was some friendly travel advice.

Dude, when you trek up that mountain don’t just take photos in front of the pagoda, everyone does that. Take this small path that you won’t see at first because the opening is concealed by palm fronds. It’s right next to this shiny coffee stand that some brilliant entrepreneur set up. The coffee is Illy and it’s fair trade — 50 percent of the profits go to the farmers. Walk along the path for about 30…

Lincoln Daw

Australian. Now living in Oakland, CA. Before in China for 5 yrs. Dappler in stand-up comedy for many many moons. Somewhere between dilettante and professional.

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