Monday, June 29, 2015

Quit When You Are Ahead

A very pretty young speech therapist was getting absolutely nowhere with her Stammer’s Action Group. She had tried every technique in the book, but still they stammered and stuttered. Finally, totally exasperated, she said: "If any of you can tell me where you were born, without stuttering, you can come out with me for an evening at a nightclub."

The thought of going out with such a pretty lady got then trying really hard to beat the stuttering.

The Englishman immediately piped up:
"B-b-b-b-b-b-b-irmingham".

"That's no use, Trevor" said the speech therapist,
"Who's next?"

The Scotsman raised his hand and blurted out:
"G-g-g-g-g-g-gl-lasgow".

“That's no better either, Hamish. Now, how about you, Paddy?”

The Irishman took a deep breath, counted to 5, clenched both fists at his sides and eventually blurted out:. . . . . “London ".

“Absolutely Brilliant, Paddy!” said the speech therapist."You win the night out".

..."d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-erry".

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Toilets With A Difference

For those who like an audience...
or it that where the queue starts?

Some people do things half heartedly

Is this a man's revenge for constantly being
reminded to put the seat down?

Communal living has never appealed to me

My wife and I do everything together..
well not quite everything

This is the love birds edition

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Things I Know...

Wisdom is like money, a little more is always useful.

I like to help others but I definitely need more discernment in deciding when I should help and when to let others get on with it. Your sincere efforts can come back to bite you.



One side of the story is sounds convincing but then so does the other side too, when you finally hear it. 

Someone I know once criticised his wife over how she handles money and he was so convincing. I later got her side of the story and he was as bad - if not worse - than she was in that area.



Be a good forgiver for we all need to be forgiven at times.

It surprises me how few can pull this one off. People can hold grudges mercilessly. A successful marriage for example is dependent on being forgiving, as of course any relationship. As a bonus, it is so good for your health too.

Telling the truth is the best policy in the long run.

When I dealt with customers I always told them the truth even if I felt embarrassed by it. It was surprising how well people took it when you sincerely confessed an oversight. I recall a colleague lying to a customer and getting into a mess trying to dig herself out of it when the customer smelt a rat. One lie led to another.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

National Culture US v UK.

Nations have cultures that squeeze people into its mould. It's only when people travel that they see other ways of doing things and that maybe the culture in another place is more to their liking. So how would you compare the culture of the US and the UK? It's complex but we will look at one aspect.

Scenario #1: Many years ago I spoke to a man who worked at an airport. He said back in those days he would watch an aeroplane approach the runway and would know if it was a US or UK national doing the flying. He said a UK pilot would carefully follow corridors that were assigned the craft. The US equivalent would come swooping in, cutting corners on his flight path.

Scenario #2: More recently I saw a television programme about a large building project in the US and a camera crew followed the owner around in a reality show format. The building site foreman was flown from the UK every week and back again for the weekend. The owner was asked why he went to such trouble and he replied it was because a UK foreman would make sure high standards would be enforced.*

Conclusion: Considering even just one aspect, we can see how nations can vary greatly in their culture. How things are expected, or accepted, can affect how things get done. Once ingrained, it becomes the way things are.

PS. To see how a culture can be established, simply click here.

*What he meant was shown when a truck driver entered the site the wrong way. There was a one way system but he found it quicker not to use it. The foreman went over and ordered him to turn around and enter the correct way. He was told if he did it again he would be barred altogether.

It's All For Our Good...Yeah, Right

Do you get taken in by PR spin? As an example, I will talk about TVNZ, the provider of two free to air TV channels in New Zealand. They started up an OnDemand service where if you miss a TV show, you can go there and watch it later. I would click on my favourites bar and I was there. Go into the show menu and hit the title and voilĂ ! As you watched your show, there were advertisements to make some money and fair enough. So simple. Who could want anymore? TVNZ.

They promoted big improvements were coming. The first one was everyone had to sign up to get in. If you didn't want the hassle, too bad. I know why. Because once you are signed up, they monitor your preferences and when you arrive you are bombarded with suggestions for TV shows. If you go to those, more time spent there and more advertising revenue.

OK, but not everyone wants the hassle of registering each time with passwords etc. Not everyone wants to be peppered with suggestions. So  I fired off an email and said "I don't want to sign up to anything just to watch your shows. Is this new wonderful on demand like everything else on the internet where you want info? Can't I just watch a show?"

The prompt reply was "We're changing TVNZ OnDemand to make it work better. There's a few reasons why we've needed to make registration (and login) compulsory. 

The changes will help make the site work better and give you a more personal experience. Like creating a watchlist, setting up your favourite shows so they’re right there and ready for you when you log in and enabling you to use our shiny new ‘pick up and play’ feature.

If you're confused about something or want more information, we've put some FAQs together below. If your question isn't answered here, send us a note using our Contact Form and we'll do our best to answer it and add it to this list."

They needed to make registration compulsory to make it work better and improve my experience. I like the idea of a shiny new feature. Maybe I'm confused, and I was because they didn't mention the improved monetary gain that it would give TVNZ. 

So I replied again: "I have no doubt many will like your 'personal experience'. You didn't need to make this compulsory, you chose to do it. I don't want it and I am sure in this hi tech age, you could have an opt out button. So I am curious for the real reasons, not the PR spin ones. 

I spend most of my TVNZ viewing on demand, but will not be registering. Please let me know when I can opt out because then I will get the experience I want, not you want. 

Kind regards"

No reply to that so maybe they will be no opt out option just yet. I do feel the need to get people registering has commercial benefits. Why can't I just go to a TV site and watch a show with attached adverts without another password, if I don't want the 'benefits'? To make more money of course, or was it just to improve my experience? Maybe they were right an I'm confused. I must check those FAQ's. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Waikawa Bay

At the north east of the south Island of New Zealand is the town of Picton. Drive east onto the Port Underwood Road and Waikawa Bay is on the left side. As one comes into Wharetukura Bay which is part of the larger Waikawa Bay, the view on the pictures below appears on your left side. Finding a safe parking spot is necessary and then that is the reward.


Monday, June 8, 2015

"Our Zoo" (in Chester)

A picture of the zoo when I visited some years ago

In New Zealand we are about to finish viewing an excellent television series, Our Zoo. Set in Cheshire UK, it is about a man who fights to establish his own zoo that will be humane to the animals, without bars and the animals given fair treatment. Unfortunately some of the locals are anything but fair in trying to stop him. I must say the BBC did a wonderful job in the production of this drama. I won't say more in case you ever see it.

I was there some years ago and visited the zoo as I had relatives in the area where I stayed. It is well worth a visit if in the north east of England. You can see more about the zoo by clicking here. The series is viewable on YouTube at present. The preview is viewed by clicking here and series one by clicking here. The latter isn't great size or quality but OK.

Przewalski's Horse. Notice how nicely they can be viewed

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Renting A House With 12 Children

A man and his family needed to move but he was having difficulty finding a new home. When he said he had 12 children, no one would rent a home to him, fearing the wear and tear such a large family would have on the house. He could not understate how many children he had for that would negate any agreement.

He had an idea. He sent his wife for a walk to the cemetery with 11 of the children. He took the remaining one with him to see homes with the real estate agent. He liked one of the homes and the agent asked "How many children do you have?”

He answered  "12 children”.

The agent asked "Where are the others?

The lawyer answered, with a sad look, "They are at the cemetery with their mother”.

He got the house.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Finding Joy : Scenario #2

In the 1950's a man was travelling around Africa, interviewing leaders about life under colonial rule. On one of his journeys, he was going to meet an official when the train he was on stopped. News got through that a train further down the line had derailed and a long delay was expected.

It was hot and people got off the train as they waited. The man was upset at the time it was taking and how it was making him late. He observed the African people around him were happy as they talked. He decided to ask why they were happy when their journey was disrupted for so long. In reply it was explained that they were happy because they were not on the train that had derailed. A six hour wait was much better than possible injury, or even death.

So here was a traveller annoyed about the time they had to wait and the locals were glad to be well and unhurt. Life throws up unexpected events, and plans are affected. However, there are always more than one way to look at the situation. Either we can see how we have been affected negatively, or appreciate that it could have been a lot worse. Besides, getting frustrated at something we have no control over is pointless, even unhealthy.

The man learned a lesson. The local people maintained their joy while they waited. He had lost his over something he could do nothing about. We could always see how circumstances could have been better, and get wound up. Instead, we could reflect on the bigger picture. Accepting that things go wrong and finding an upside to what happened will lighten our mood. In that negative moment, we might even discover there is something to be joyful about.