Archive for November 2009

It’s not personal, it’s business

November 29, 2009

The title of this blog is Al Pacino’s famous Godfather quote before he gunned down a New York Police Captain. I am in a quandary of the same sort however I won’t be shooting any policeman that’s for sure. My problem is all about misunderstandings.

The header at the top of this page shows a photograph of my hard working secretary climbing the mountain of paperwork. She’s a bit of a dare devil and I always worry that she might fall. She doesn’t believe in harnesses or ladders. However, to any casual reader who stumbles across these economic articles they might think that she is me. I could be mistaken for a woman.

Having never worn a kilt in my life- it’s only the haddies from the highlands and east coast who don this- and not having a preference to wear make-up or high heels, to clear up any confusion I am thinking of dropping her from the page. This is a very hard business decision and could be referred to the Financial Services Authority. I’m also having nightmares of what work would be like without her.

There is a more serious misunderstanding.

My wife has visited the office a few times and she has told me to get rid of my secretary. I try to explain to her that good secretaries are hard to come by and there is nothing funny going on between us. Disastrously, my wife called one day when I was “lending a hand” to help my secretary up the mountain.

As you can imagine marital relations were strained for awhile. Poor JW was cooking his own meals and banished to the spare room. My Pacino impersonation and “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business” cut no ice with the frosty missus. Running out of ideas as a last resort I had to tell the truth. She’s only a random cut and paste photograph on a blog page and I don’t know her name or favourite colour or anything.

Relenting slightly, MrsW concurred that the secretary is good at her job and the company is rather busy at the moment. Phew! My next problem is telling my wife we’re so busy I might be employing another secretary. This lady’s CV was very impressive.


Cereal Wars

November 25, 2009

Breakfast is the first meal of the day and the most important. Some like it hot but the “coldy” breakfast foods have raised the temperature in their struggle to win the Battle of the Cereals. Billy Joel referenced the Cola Wars- a subject dear to my heart- in his historical epic We Didn’t Start the Fire; this will need to be changed in re-issues to reflect the current cornflake, I mean conflict.

Aggressive advertising to entice floating oatmeal eaters began when the leading producer of convenience foods, Kellogg’s, signed American rapper 50 Cent to sing/rap a new song about their products . Eat my Cereal looks destined for the top spot in the charts and there’s a good chance it will be sung at next year’s Superbowl.

(The big fella after scoffing his Frosties)

Half the song by half a Buck is bleeped out on account of the word count of *bleep*. (Eminem, eat your heart out). What are interesting about the lyrics are the diverse words that rhyme with cereal and fit into the song. Menial, magisterial, bacterial, imperial, genial, custodial, serial (bet that one took him awhile) gubernatorial and my favourite, Presbyterial. Well done, Ten-Bob. Weetabix, not to be outdone, have asked Dollar (80’s pop group) to appear on their adverts singing their classic tune- Weetabix gotta hold on me.

Naturally the milk industry is staying neutral and gave out a Mooted response. A slightly acidic comment, off the record, by an insider said “Who eats cereal dry? Answer-no one. Milk and cereal go together like pepper ‘n salt, fork ‘n knife, tongs ‘n hammer, Dec ‘n Ant.” Bemused I vowed that one morning I will eat my porridge dry ‘n cold.

The supermarket shelves are awash with a massive and diverse cornucopia of cereals. With so many options little wonder there’s a lot of snapping, crackling and popping or tonging ‘n hammering in this market. Cereals have come a long way since their humble beginnings with the vegetarian movement of late nineteenth century. In this aisle of plenty I could not make my mind up what cereal to buy. So the butcher’s and the morning fry-up was the winner.

Big Ben’s little brothers

November 16, 2009

The luxury watch maker appropriately named Swatch Group, famous for the brands Omega and Breguet, reported that demand is picking up as high earners start to spoil themselves again. The high rollers love nothing more than a fancy timepiece on their wrist and a Swatch will do nicely. As a neutral commentator on this issue I have to swatch what I’m saying but I do wear a Rolex myself.

The simple and effective naming of Swatch leaves you in no doubt of what they make. Other companies should follow suit, what price- Schairs, Spaddling Pools, Skinsurance, Scairlines, Telastic bands, Avandals and Esajollygoodfellow making it on to the footsie 100 index.

Dipping low in the lap of luxury the Omega watch is a smart piece of technology. It is waterproof, dust proof, scratch resistant and almost foolproof. No one has dared drop one yet to test the resilience of its mettle. One more thing in the watches favour, apparently it can also tell the time but then so does a three bob ticker bought from a Spiv at the market, well for a week anyway.

In this digital age it remains a mystery how the “before its time” digital watch never took over the world. A useful invention for people who didn’t understand the Roman numerals on their dial or the intricacies of hour and minute hands, the digital version had in some versions red neon numbers. A special button also illuminated the watch in the dark. And the stopwatch, wow, this was ground breaking stuff. I used to time my 100 metres sprints in those days. However, the only record breaking done was when I sat on a Duran Duran 45.

Everything is to do with time, nowadays, time waits for nobody. Time for breakfast, time for meetings, time for lunch, time for guitar lessons, time for supper, time for the pub, time for big Archie to shout “No more orders finish up NOW!” It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times.

All that glisters is not Gold

November 7, 2009

The news that India’s central bank bought 200 tonnes of Gold has sent the price of the precious metal soaring to record prices. India’s decision to exchange $6.7bn for Gold has sent the message that Asian countries have had enough of the US currency.

I tried to obtain an interview with the country’s Finance minister but his burly bodyguard Oddjob threw me a wicked stare. Warily I watched him tinker with his metallic razor sharp bowler hat and decided that all the Gold in the world wouldn’t entice me to raise a finger against this chap. I was shaken and stirred, I tell you.

Why has Gold always been the number one gemstone? Platinum is rarer and more expensive but Gold has an affection all of its own. She has a heart of Gold, not a heart of potassium. Silence is golden, not silence is zinc. And as for the myth about finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, sodium to that. I journeyed to rainbow’s end one day and bungled upon a zippy rugby ball and a pink hippo called George.

If you buy Gold why does it have to be coloured Gold? If I bought a pair of football boots I could get them in a kaleidoscope of shades. I can dye my golden hair into Angus Ancient tartan if I so wanted. A lick of paint on my golden Labrador and he’d be…down boy, I’m only kidding. My bone of contention is why can’t I buy Gold in, for talking’s sake, blue? I love blue.

(Angus ancient Tartan)

The ascent of Gold shows no sign of abating. Shiny, lustrous and superficial the big bullion has decimated his poor cousins Silver, Bronze and Nickel. The recent upsurge in Gold stocks could also be attributed to my karaoke renditions of Spandau Ballet’s Gold. After a few McEwan’s Export’s my golden tongue wraps itself around the AUsome lyrics.

Always believe in your soul
you’ve got the power to know
you’re indestructible