A “news article” on BBC Breakfast last week caught my eye. A bride had issued a distantly-related couple with an invoice of $70-odd for the food at her wedding because they had not showed up. Yep. *rolls eyes*
This is the link to that “news article”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34432595
The crux of the problem seemed to be that they had RSVPd ‘yes’ for the wedding and then had not contacted anyone on the day to cancel.
One talking-head they had on telly to give his opinion was a self-styled ‘Etiquette Guru’ *rolls eyes* who I’d usually have no time of day for, but who made a point that the people who RSVP and don’t show up are usually people who are never hosts themselves.
I see this as parasitic behaviour, defined in a biological/ecological sense; i.e. parasitism as a non-mutual symbiotic relationship between species, where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host.
As the host of more than 100 events for Manchester Hiking, I often see this kind of behaviour. It is very rude in this era of mobile phones and internets not to let people know if you are going to stand them up and inconvenience them and others. Most will agree that any group is better off without such parasites. Thankfully there are also a lot of members who understand the spirit and ethos of a volunteering group and pitch in with time and effort once they get familiar.
Posted by naz on 6 October, 2015
Act I, Scene I
Actor: Hello, Chris Tarrant’s home.
Agent: Chris, it’s Dan here.
Actor: Sorry, who?
Agent: Dan here. From NMP. Your agent.
Actor: Oh, hi Dan, sorry, I didn’t recognise you there… err… (pointedly) It’s been a while. A long while.
Agent: Right.. er.. yeah.. talk about it… Anyway, we’ve got something new and interesting for you.
Actor: Great news! That’s what we bloody want to hear! What’s it about?
Agent: This’ll be just the thing to get you right back centre-stage!
Actor: Brilliant! So.. what’s it about?
Agent: Are you free this pm? We can get the papers looked over and signed asap.
Actor (suspiciously): What’s it about then?
Agent: It’s a brand new documentary on Channel 5..
Actor: Channel 5? Jeeez! Ok, what’s the documentary about? I always fancied myself as Sir David’s replacement [chuckles].
Agent: Oh, it’s not animals. Oh no, far easier to work with. It’s a new documentary about trains.
Actor: Trains? I hate trains! And what’s new about trains?
Agent: It’s a brand new documentary.. called Extreme Railways.
Actor: Extreme Railways? Extreme?? What’s new or extreme about trains?! Jeez! Is there really nothing else.
Actor: But I hate trains! And they’ve been done to death. It’s always “Railway this” and “Railway that ” wherever you look on the telly.. I’m frankly sick of hearing about them! And I’m hardly the most natural choice to present this, am I? It’ll seem desperate!
Agent (mumbling): This is a different angle.. brand new concept..
Actor: And Channel 5? Jeeez!
Agent: Listen, Chris, nothing would give me more pleasure than to bring you a new show to host, but offers aren’t coming in. Of any kind. The barrel’s empty Chris.. the barrel’s empty… and you’re right, I’ve scraped right through the bottom here, but it’s still telly work…
Act I, Scene II
Actor (To camera): Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by the railways, the throbbing lifeblood of a nation..
I imagine that’s how we got this:- http://www.channel5.com/shows/chris-tarrant-extreme-railways/clips/series-trailer
Posted by naz on 6 July, 2015
I used to think that the idea of everybody believing the same thing was preposterous.
But now I’m coming around to it.
Imagine the whole world united, believing the same thing!
Everybody in harmony.
Everybody in touch with their better self.
Everybody reading the same
Over and over again.
Everybody in tune with the right opinion, handed down.
Everybody eating pancakes on a Tuesday.
Everybody munching beaver during Lent
Everybody doing the same damned thing.
(Oops, can’t say “damned”)
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Imagine you try to do a Jihad on your neighbour, and he’s doing one on you!
Imagine you go knocking on someone’s door, and meanwhile they’re round at yours, knocking away as well!
What a kerfuffle!
But a price worth paying to see everybody bowing their head in the same direction.
Some art will have to burn.
Couple of museums as well, actually.
And yes, there will be those oddballs that will need dunking to check for witch-hood.
Hellooo! Oddball Alert!
I can’t believe nobody’s tried this before(!)
Posted by naz on 23 June, 2015
The quote goes: “XXXXX is like sex with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you want to stop, you stop when the gorilla wants to”.
As a child I loved the imagery of the ‘sex with a gorilla’ part.
Nowadays I struggle to recall which gorilla is taking its time with me.
Posted by naz on 10 May, 2015
In business school we were taught that there were two approaches to conducting business; one that focused primarily on making the most of the transaction each time, and one that focused on building a relationship geared towards increasing number of transactions.
We were told that, broadly speaking, the relationship-based model was favoured in the ‘Orient’ (an example being the Asian corner-shop who will often allow a payment shortfall in the knowledge that the customer will clear it the next time around), whereas the transaction-based approach was synonymous with a ‘Western’ approach to business, (imagine Tesco doing that!).
In reality, of course, mixtures of both should be and are used. But is the situation read correctly each time?
The smart negotiator is one who makes sure the other party has a reason to come back to the table the next time. This would encourage a relationship-based approach. Unless there is a certainty that the other party will/can not come back to the table again. In that case, negotiate for the best deal possible at the time.
Recognising this, is it in the best interests of both parties to pretend to be in for the relationship while hoping to conduct a single transaction?
Posted by naz on 10 May, 2015
More and more professions in the world are getting highly specialised. This is very true in the case of research and practical sciences; and therefore it seems that apart from any gains to be made from one particular field, progress is more likely to come from combining and borrowing works from several, probably disparate fields. These works can be for example technical advances such as measuring / detection methods, engineering advances such as materials / procedures as well as strategies and theoretical frameworks.
In such a climate it would seem that only ‘multi-disciplinists’ or ‘generalists’ will possibly be able to spot opportunities for ground-breaking collaboration between various fields by connecting the nodes at the ends of different branches.
If there is any advancement to be achieved in this manner, two things are required:
1. Each specialised field to contribute to a shared body of work that explains key concepts of their disciplines in a manner accessible to the layman and a updated register of key contacts within each sphere.
2. A mechanism to select and enable potential collaborative ventures and to allocate funding from a joint revenue.
Both of these will require the services of what I call “Sci-fis” (Science Facilitators) to bring about.
Seeing as it’s my idea, can I be one?
Posted by naz on 9 May, 2015
Evolution sceptic: Professor Haldane, even given the billions of years that you say were available for evolution, I simply cannot believe it is possible to go from a single cell to a complicated human body, with its trillions of cells organised into bones and muscles and nerves, a heart that pumps without ceasing for decades, miles and miles of blood vessels and kidney tubules, and a brain capable of thinking and talking and feeling.
JBS: But madam, you did it yourself. And it only took you nine months.
-Taken from Richard Dawkins, “The Greatest Show On Earth: The evidence for evolution”
Posted by naz on 2 May, 2015
“..I looked at the hardness of my own heart and I looked at this great capital city, where we have no leaders and no one to admire. Our government ministers are fraudsters, liars and deceivers without conviction, whose only ideology is to cling to power; our captains of commerce are wolves dining out on blood and bone; our religious prey on small children and feed us stories of nightmare; our media poison us with consumerism, a hideous bloated worm eating its own tail; our football heroes beat their wives and rape young girls; our movies stars and our models are junkies and drunks; our poets are incomprehensible.
I rage! I do! I rage when I see the lives of ordinary people squandered. The lives of young men and women, weak like me, going under the tidal sludge of drugs spilling across the sink-estates of the nation; the homeless drifting like wraiths; people eating themselves into oblivion and doping themselves with bad television; brave boy soldiers sacrificed in deserts for the ambitions of the insanely rich. I do rage! I weep! To see life held so cheap! And all I have as antidote as I stand lost in the middle of these leaders who are not leaders, these demons hidden in the souls of men and women, are my humanity and my rage.”
I could not help typing these words out.
Posted by naz on 21 March, 2015
There was a time not so long ago when it was of value to a company when a friend of yours recommended that company’s product(s). It may still be..
But in this age of hyper-customisation (of many products, not all), a friend’s recommendation doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.
1. Recommending has become easier, and it’s not always done for the reason you care about i.e. that the product is good. And that your friend has you interests in mind.
2. Products can often be tailored on an even more granular level than your commonality/match with your friend, what they like no longer falls within the same crude group as what you like.
3. There’s probably some shift in “individuality” vs. “peer grouping” to be mentioned here.
Posted by naz on 19 January, 2015
Ready comprehension is often a knee-jerk response and the most dangerous form of understanding. It blinks an opaque screen over your ability to learn. The judgmental precedents of law function that way, littering your path with dead ends. Be warned. Understand nothing. All comprehension is temporary.
-Mentat Fixe (adacto)
Posted by naz on 1 January, 2015