Friday, February 26, 2010

A question of geography

Listening to late night radio the other day, I heard an extract from the American "Celebrity" edition of the show "So you think you're smarter than a fifth-grader" (better known in the UK as "So you think you're smarter than a ten year old"). The celebrity in question, Miss X who had, I understand, recently come third in America's version of "The X factor", was asked the question "Of which country in Budapest the capital?". Her thought process in attempting an answer, ran as follows:

"I think they speak French there. (pause) I'm gonna say France. (pause) Is France a country?"

I may be mistaken, but I believe she is from Iowa.

The following day, again on the radio, was a discussion about Sarah Palin, discussing whether she may re-emerge as a serious future Presidential candidate. In discussing her fitness for office the following facts were revealed:

She had no idea that there was a North Korea and a South Korea.
She thought Africa was a country.
She believes gay people can (and should) be "cured".
She has inspired a country music song........

.... part of which they played and which was such a bag of sychophantic horse-shite that it would have been vomit-inducing even if it had not been presented in the country format.

The first question to arise from all of this: Is geography a subject not particularly valued in the States? I have caught some of series 4 of the Wire which is based around the education system, but I can not recollect seeing a geography class at all. Or in High School Musical.

The second question: Given that America is a super-power and given the fact of globalisation, is it acceptable that, for the purposes of choosing it's leader, it has adopted a system in which a/ Miss X has a vote and b/ Sarah Palin may be a candidate?

Would it not be preferable to adopt a new system to elect American Presidents, one in which all the citizens of the world who can demonstrate they are likely to be affected by decisions made in America had a vote so long as firstly, they can name at least three continents with no mistakes and, secondly, they think broadly the same as I do about all other matters?

The new world order system could be rolled out to all emerging superpowers (China next, I think) in order to maintain stability and good sense.

I have today written to my own Member of Parliament to ask him whether he is aware that Africa is a continent.

Otherwise for the benefit of Miss X:

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is not to be confused with Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
France is, indeed, a country.
The capital of France is Paris.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Nightmare Before Christmas

That which I could not mention has now been resolved, although I am still fuming that this particular piece of nonsense took seven weeks to sort out.

My son, D, works as a trainee manager for a well known supermarket chain. By all accounts he is highly thought of and popular with customers and staff alike. He had also met the love of his life through working in his particular store as she also works there part time. Since he met her he has not so far as I am aware looked twice at another female – and has in fact been known to row with his younger brother if in his opinion his brother was being too friendly with another female because his brother is also in a long term relationship and D is firmly of the opinion that you must never flirt with anyone else when you have a Significant Other.

So therefore it was, to say the least, something of a shock to us all when D, was suspended from work two days before Christmas (a Wednesday) due to two young girls alleging he had sexually harassed them.

On the Tuesday evening D had been working and these two girls were supposed to have been stacking some shelves. Over the course of the evening, D kept having to speak to them about their complete lack of progress. I gather they did not take kindly to being told their work was not acceptable.

The next day D went to work as usual, but was summoned to the office and told serious allegations had been made against him. He was suspended on full pay until a hearing set for 6th January.

Naturally he was absolutely distraught, but his major fear at first was not that he might loose his job, but that he might loose his girlfriend. Luckily she knew him well enough to know at once that it was all lies, and an attempt to get back at him for the words that were exchanged on the previous night.

Now of course D is my son, and I love him dearly, and we all hear mothers of vile men announce to the world at large that they know their son and he would not do whatever it happens to be that he stands accused of. I would always defend him even when I might fear he had done wrong. In this instance though I did not for a single second consider there could be any truth in this at all and I never doubted that that would be proven to be the case. I was however incandescent with rage that such allegations had been made, although I understood why the store had to suspend him pending investigation of the claims.

What I suspect is that the girls aim was to cause trouble between D and his girlfriend. This suspicion was somewhat enhanced when the first thing one of them did was to contact D’s girlfriend via Facebook to detail in gory detail what D had been doing to her. I don’t think they had the faintest idea that their accusations would lead to a major investigation which would eventually lead to practically every member of staff being interviewed by Head Office employees.

I told D to just treat it as unexpected paid holiday over Christmas, and to try and put it to the back of his mind. Easy for me to say of course, but we did succeed in having a good time over the Festive Season, whilst mentally crossing off the days till 6th January when all would be resolved.

Expect that on the 6th January we had snow. We had so much snow the guy charged with doing the investigation could not get to the store to see D and the meeting was cancelled.

I will not go into detail about what caused further delays but they included sickness, incompetence and holidays. Finally – this Wednesday just gone -D was told that he was completely exonerated, not a scrap of evidence having been unearthed to show that he had done the things they alleged, or even that any other colleagues considered him capable of acting in such a manner.

It might be supposed that as the investigation dragged on and on I might have had second thoughts about whether there was in fact a shred of truth in what they said D got up to but I never did. Partly I never did because I know D, but a major part of why I never doubted him was because of the words of the girls themselves.

In written statements and in their Facebook exchanges with his girlfriend they declared that there was a pattern to his behaviour and that the sexual harassment which began about last September always occurred on a Tuesday.

The Tuesday of the dispute over the shelf stacking was the only Tuesday D had worked for the past six months.

Oh, and on Wednesday but before he had heard that he was fully cleared, he had a call from the manager of another store who had heard what had been going on (what price confidentiality eh?), but thought it was a load of shit, and asked D if he would consider coming to work as his deputy (ie, a promotion from his current role) and with better shifts that he has been working at his store. Not surprisingly, D has accepted his offer.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Suggestions for Valentine's Day.

Moving on to the subject of romance - what with it being in the air and all that, if you are really lost for an original Valentine's Day gesture, how about wining and dining her at the Northampton/Aldershot match for a mere £99.00 for the two of you? If you think that sounds a bit expensive do keep in mind that it includes a cash bar in the price - generous huh?

But if you think that's bad, Reidski is threatening to get me a brick.

He received this tempting offer from Celtic:

Hello Reidski from Celtic Football Club
Are you looking for an unusual gift for yourself or your loved one?
If the answer is yes, then look no further! Celtic Football Club are offering you the chance to buy a limited edition porcelain brick in the tunnel!
A unique gift that lasts for years and that any Celtic fan will be proud to own. Very limited, very exclusive and very memorable. Be with the Bhoys as they stand shoulder to shoulder readying themselves to take on the best of the rest.
As part of your limited edition brick package you will receive a free adult tour ticket with a full paying adult tour ticket to enable you to see your brick once it is up.

AND ONLY £120!!!!
I haven’t mentioned football much recently. As you may recall I did not buy a season ticket this year and have only actually attended two games this season – both of which were entirely dreadful. I’ve actually quite enjoyed the sensation of not having the majority of my life organised around the necessity of going to the football.

I was far from being the only person who did not renew their season ticket after the debacle that was The Cobblers 2008-2009 season, but of course a club needs its season ticket holders to underpin all its financial planning and to give credit where it’s due, it does seem some time and imagination has been spent by the club wondering how it may win us disillusioned fans back.

I have received this from the club.

If I purchase a season ticket before 31st March I get a free holiday. Flights not included but nevertheless a week’s self catering in Tenerife or Spain could be mine just for the outlay on the ticket.

There has to be a catch I thought to myself. And of course there is the fairly obvious one......

You have to watch the Cobblers play 23 times next season :-)