Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Playing at being Grown-Ups

Spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, Jen Psaki
This woman is 36 years old, has never held any previous job except as a political staffer, and thinks this is an appropriate response to a tense geopolitical crisis.

What fool appointed her to this position?

She didn't get to this level of stupid in one day, she'd have to have been exhibiting the signs for a long time, possibly all her adult life....
.... yet someone appointed her spokesman for the State Department.

What is next?
#Putin. ur like unfriended dude, take ur army guys home lolz @statedeptspox

Embarrassing for citizens of the U.S.A.
Comedy for the rest of us.  Well, it would be if it wasn't so serious.

This picture reveals a much deeper message about the Obama administration.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Never Seen One of These Before

Encountering as an adult, something we've never before imagined existed, is quite an experience.

Things that you never imagined - such as the time changing arbitrarily by an hour.  (Yes, some places in the world actually do this - a most surreal event to be present for).

And then sometimes you encounter an implement that you've never even seen used, but it can't be that difficult - surely?

Mine Host encountered this when once when the boss instructed him to use a pitchfork and move some hay.

Pitchforks are objects that appear in Little Golden Books, and nowhere else.
Actually using one is nowhere near as easy as it looks.
It's like fixing 4 x knitting needles 10cm apart, then with the resulting contraption trying to pick up a pile of drinking straws.

But pitchforks are a unique implement, used only in labour intensive farming enterprises.  It is to be expected that outsiders may be unfamiliar with them, and may take some time to attain basic proficiency.

However some implements are universal.  Or so you'd think.

Mop & Bucket, for example.

On the Wayside Tavern staff was an eager 22 year old Zimbabwen citizen.  He had speed, energy, enthusiasm, and if called in to work unexpectedly, would arrive within 20 seconds, still dressing himself as he ran down the stairs.

This particular day Mine Host had occasion to ask the lad to mop up a liquid spill.  It started well.  Young Mr. Zimbabwe dashed to the laundry, returning at a trot with a mop & bucket.

.... then it all came apart...  He had no idea how to use them.  Yes, he'd seen mops & buckets, but had not the faintest clue what to do with them.

... Turned out he had no idea how to use a broom either.  He didn't even know which way up to hold a broom, or anything else about it.  Keen though he was.

From this starting point, instructing someone on the use of a broom, is not all that easy.

The mop & bucket took quite a bit longer.

So goes life in the pub trade.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Market Evidence

"No worker on a 457 visa is paid a salary higher than the going rate for Australians doing the same job."

The above statement is proved by Immigration department (federal govt.) reports.

However it is not true.

Plenty of 457 visa holders are paid above the going rate.

Government reports are lies?  Hmmm.... well.....Yes and No  (in the best traditions of "Yes Minister").

Mine Host knows the government reports are falsified.  The government knows the reports are falsified.

How is this done?

As part of the application process the sponsoring employer provides "Market Evidence" of the going rate in Australia for similar positions.

However, sponsoring employers must not submit any market evidence that shows a pay rate less than the pay offered to the sponsored worker.

You couldn't make this up!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Journalism - the valueless degree.

Even the most inattentive could not possibly have missed the deplorable decline in the standard of journalism since it became a degree course.

The above photo and caption were published today on news.com.au.

The best the kid who wrote the caption can hope for is to use the excuse of "I made a typographical error and one word was omitted."

In which case they should be sacked on the spot, for using bad English.

Alternatively the (cough) journalist who captioned the photo is (as are 99% of "journalists") clueless on "army stuff" and has written the caption exactly as they intended.

In which case they should be sacked on the spot, for gross stupidity.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Enemy Within

In the state of (say) mighty Queensland, a position as (say) an Appeals Court Judge becomes vacant.

The Attorney-General of the state confers with the president of that same Appeals Court, regards who to fill the vacancy.

The President of the (say) Appeals Court suggests two "acceptable" candidate judges:
  1. Her husband, a (say) man, and
  2. One of her friends, also a bloke.
Subsequently the Attorney-General appoints someone else.


Incensed that her advice was treated as just that, the President of the (say) Appeals Court finds the nearest microphone and sounds off no end about how the Attorney-General has a "bias against women" pointing out that the A-G has just appointed a male judge.

Stunned at this effrontery, the Attorney-General points out that the President of the (say) Appeals Court did not recommend even one female for the vacant position, just her husband & her mate.

At this comment by the Attorney-General, the court President then hits the roof, as do half the judiciary.

How dare the Attorney-General reveal to the public the two-faced hypocrisy, cosy nepotism, and the complete lack of judicial neutrality that seemingly abounds in mighty Queensland!

From the mass pile-on against the Attorney-General, one cannot but conclude that Judges consider themselves above the ethical standards that apply to the rest of us.

Gee, what a surprise!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Slowpokes on the Information Superhighway

This arrived in the mail on the 28th of January.  It is from a doofus corporation who can't seem to get much, if anything, right.

The address wasn't even correct.  (They are somewhat inept at that corporation).

It was a bit of a tedious grind in the office on the 28th of January, so Mine Host, seeking distraction, decided to give Trip Advisor (a doofus corporation that can't get much right) a call to see what they wanted.

The phone number didn't work.   Just how inept is this corporation?

Why send it at all if it arrives a month after the expiry date of the enclosed offer?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reason #1 for banning email

My email inbox, a couple of days ago:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Express Service II

Every now & then dumb backward easily-fooled yokel Mine Host is telephoned by a certain (unnamed) sophisticated smart suave hip saavy Credit Card company.

This (unnamed) credit card company uses high pressure sales techniques and suggestive terminology to pull the wool over the eyes of dumb easily fooled backwooks Hick McGullible Yokelman Mine Host.

The calls always come from the (unnamed) credit card company's call centre in the Phillipines and go exactly like this:
"Hello Sirrrrr, this is Mariel from (unnamed) express business services, I see that remittances to you from (unnamed) express have been declining"

"Very observant of you Mariel, to notice that"

"Sirrr, Yourrrr business is declining..."

"No business is not declining, just that less business is put onto (unnamed) express credit cards"

"..... Hmmm.... Sirrrr... I am here to help you, that is what (unnamed) express is all about ([choke, splutter]) do you have signage outside yourrrrr business announcing that you accept (unnamed) express?"

"No signage outside"

"Ah, well Sirrrrr, if you had signage displayed outside yourrrr business you would not be missing out on all that (unnamed) express custom.  Passing cardholders would see signage, and bring theirrr custom to yourrrr business"

"No, I get the customers regardless.  This is a hotel, it is expected that we accept all major credit cards"

"..... I see Sirrrrr.... do you have signage at the place where they pay?  So that people know they may use (unnamed) express"

"No, no, and no.  Most of my customers are account customers, & pay direct into my bank when I send their monthly bill.   Those who do pay by card on checkout usually ask which cards I accept, then riffle through a tight packed card folder & get out a card.  They barely notice which card it is"

"..... Sirrrrr, are you saying that people are carrying more than one brand of credit card?"

(Where do they get 'em from?)

"Yes, as does just-about-every-person-on-this-planet.  Usually if anybody is concerned about the card, they ask which has the lowest credit card surcharge"

(Now we're getting to the heart of the matter)

"Sirrrr, do you charge the same fee for (unnamed) express as you do for other cards, say Master or Visa?"

"No I do not charge the same fee, I charge double for your card, because your fee is double"

"...... (pause)...... Sirrrr, if you reduce your surcharge for (unnamed) express to the same rate as other cards, there would be more payments made via (unnamed) express."

"Undoubtedly, but I'm not going to reduce my surcharge for your card, and I get the payments anyway, just via a more palatable card"

"....Sirrrr... you would increase your business through (unnamed) express if you did reduce to the same rate as other cards"

"Me reducing the fee is easily done, when you reduce your fee, I'll reduce mine.  Simple"

(This technique must work on some dupes, as they really push it hard)

.... (Dialogue now repeats the above 4 lines for several minutes).....

So continues life behind the front desk.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Express Service

Picture is a generic sample only, and is not intended to represent the Credit Card company referred to below.
A considerable chunk of the Wayside Tavern's income is via Credit Card.
All credit card companies charge the merchant a percentage fee on every transaction.  The amount of this fee varies between card companies.

Getting to the bottom of various "credit card plans" is akin to comparing mobile phone plans.  The more one looks into it, the more complex you realise it is.  Mine Host has at times thrown his hands in the air in exasperation.

Not widely known, especially among those shoppers who object loudly and publicly to the credit card surcharge, is that the fee to the card company is only half the cost of accepting credit cards.

The other half is fees to the bank.

A certain Credit Card (which shall not be named) used to charge 6% and took several days to pay.  Thus many merchants flatly refused to accept it.

When this card company (nameless) reduced their fees, promised swifter payment, and at the same time the law changed to allow collection of a "credit card surcharge", more & more merchants began to accept this card.

Historically that credit card company has been very difficult to deal with.  This has changed, as they were losing merchants (and cardholders) hand over fist.

However, their fee is still double that of any other card.  This presents them with some commercial difficulties.

How does the credit card company handle this?  Cluelessly.

This will be explained in tomorrow's post.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Melbourne - Boganville

Mine Host survived a recent foray into the land of the Philistines:

Scene: Streetfront Coffee Shop in Melbourne CBD
Cast:  Mine Host
          Super hot ethnic lady owner   (long in the tooth, but still of breeding age, just)

Hot babe coffee shop owner:  *indeterminate grunt*  accompanied by a lovely smile.
English language translation:  "What'll you have love?"
Mine Host:       "Cup of coffee please"
Shop owner:     "How do you want it?"
Mine Host:       "Long black please"
Shop owner:    (grabs jug and commences frothing milk)
Shop owner:    (still frothing a jug of milk - but with a slight frown)
                         "What did you say you'll have?"
Mine Host:       "Laaaawng black please"  (actual pronuncation in Mine Host's native accent)
Shop owner:    (curtly putting down the milk jug)
                          "Well, there's no need then for me to be frothing milk then, is there?"

This happened every time Mine Host ordered coffee in Melbourne.

The supposedly sophisticated coffee culture of Melbourne does not exist.
They drink it with milk.


Casual readers of lifestyle sections in major newspapers, or watchers of the odd bit of fluff-TV, are given the impression that way down in the deep south of this great nation, in the city of Melbourne there is a sophisticated, modern, developed coffee culture.
In fact this is one of the best con-jobs pulled on a population since the Ozzi people were told Australian wine is the best in the world.

For coffee shop baristas reach for a jug of milk & be halfway through frothing it before it dawns on them that they have a customer who has actually ordered black coffee, every last order must be for coffee with milk poured into it.


Never again will Mine Host allow anybody to get away with using the words "Melbourne" and "sophisticated culture" in the same sentence.


Friday, January 17, 2014

You've got to be Kidding?

Workcover, Queensland's compulsory worker's compensation scheme, has demanded of Mine Host some information.

Mine Host's accountant has confirmed that under the prevailing legislation Workcover is entitled to demand certain information, and Mine Host is required to pony up this information, under threat of legal penalty.

The (bizarre) demand?

That Mine Host justify/explain the amount he spends each year on inward freighting of liquor.

I'm not making this up.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Office Work

Scene:  The Wayside Tavern office.
Time:   2:00 a.m.
Cast:  Mine Host,
          One female staff.
Costumes:  Mine Host in usual office wear (polo shirt and elastic shorts)
                   Female staffer in nightie (not a slip-on, but a button-up)

Action: Female staff enters the office, pointedly closes the door, managing to undo a button or two in the process.  Proceeds to the desk, where Mine Host is seated and rather than sit opposite, sits to one side, with no furniture or other objects between her and Mine Host.

It is quite obvious she is wearing nothing beneath her nightie.

"Good morning Miranda, how may I help you?"
"I just came to talk to you"
"What do you want to talk about?"
"Nothing in particular, just that we should do more.... talking... (purr... purr)"  (wriggles a little on her chair)

"Hmm, okay, please go and open the door."
"I'd rather... talk with the door closed (purr... purr)"
"Miranda, open the door. Now"
"But I want to... talk.. to you"  (pout)
"Miranda, it is two o'clock in the morning, you are dressed borderline indecently, I am busy, this is a working office. So...Open-the-door-right-now!"

She stands, re-opens the office door, managing to do up all buttons in the process.
She then returns not to her seat, but to one on the opposite side of the desk, chats inanely for about a minute and a half, then leaves.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Late for work = Early check out.

7 a.m.  -  Two girls do not report for work in the Laundry.
9 a.m.  -  Two girls vacate their room.

They and their meagre possessions land on the street.  Their room key and uniforms are already returned, they've been refused breakfast in the staff mess, and are now pondering what to do next.  It is one week to Christmas, they are 10,000 miles from home, they've no money, and nowhere to go.

Their choice.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stamford Hotel, a BYO pub.

Returned from several days in the Big Smoke, Mine Host is able to report that the Stamford Plaza, in contrast to the Brisbane Hilton, does restock the minibar, and is very prompt and efficient about it.

The let down however, is the Stamford Plaza does not replace the soap in the room.

Not once.

Each day the room is carefully made up, the minibar is restocked, the linen & towels are changed, the (huge) bathroom (yes, it has a great big bathtub) is like new, but...... no soap.

This was not a mistake.  It was every day.

Mine Host, who doesn't mind the Brisbane Stamford, will henceforth be sure to bring his own soap.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Single or Double?

Mine Host, in the Really Big Smoke on business, books a room at his preferred pub, the Stamford Plaza.

Booking online, Mine Host is faced with a choice of the following room rates:

Double occupancy (with breakfast): $366 per night.
Single occupancy (sans breakfast): $385 per night.

You couldn't make it up!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You Think You're Hard Eh?

Scene: Beer Garden of the Waysider Tavern. Time: Mid-evening.
Cast: Assorted onlookers
          Handful of bikies (all aged 45+)
         Hard-looking manual labourer. (aged 55+)
Action: Bikies lounge around suggestively, making the most of the new street cred they have courtesy of the state govt's groovy new anti-bikie laws.

Hard-looking manual labourer glares at them.
Bikies hesitate a little, then muster a return glare. (The manual labourer has the appearance of one who is dreadfully physical, and the look of a one who has very fast reflexes and plenty of match practice when it comes to brawling.)

Hard-looking manual labourer speaks, in a very very thick Irish accent: "So ye think ye're hard ones do ye?"
Total silence from the bikies.
"Ye wooden know wot hard is, boys"
At this stage one of the bikies points out their pedigree, and their "reputation".

Like a crack of lightning the labourer is on his feet, his chair flies backward several feet.
"Ye think ye're as hard as the IRA do ye?"
"Do ye even know what is the IRA?"
"Well, are ye hard like ye sayz? I don't think ye're hard, I think ye're so soft I could clean the lotta ye up, on me own!"

This assertation is not contested by the bikies, who've already taken a collective few paces backward.

None of the bikies dare meet the Irishman's gaze.

A few minutes later the labourer is back to softly chatting with his friends, the bikies have slunk off with tails firmly between legs, and Mine Host is busy burning the security camera file to disc, for later viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I only did what you Told Me To!

A line Chef has similarities to a production line worker.  They will perform one task in a line, that alone will not make a meal, but contributes merely a part of it, put together finally by the Senior Chef on Duty.

(There are some...er.... issues surrounding Chef performance - being as most at the Wayside Tavern have come from countries where labour is cheap.)

One particular morning the Exec Chef details Chef to unpack a freshly delivered pallet of foodstuffs,  store it ".....then get back to watching your grill plate, mate."

Some many minutes after completing the unpacking line Chef is observed by Exec Chef to have not done another stitch of work.

Furthermore line Chef is observed to have adopted a most strange stance............ resembling that of a diligent watchdog.

..........He's.... (would you believe it?) ...."watching" the grill plate.  Standing there...... doing nothing but..... gaze at it.

So continues life under the big tall white stovepipe Chef's hat!

Friday, October 25, 2013

You'll Never Please 'em all.

A newly checked-in guest presents at the restaurant for dinner.

From Singapore, with limited English, he is a specialist tradesman, here to perform one task for his company.

Dismissively sneering at the menu he instead demands to eat some obscure dish from his homeland.

It is the Head Chef's first night, and a particularly busy one too.

Cooking an off-menu dish is quite an undertaking.  It upsets the rhythm of the kitchen, as nothing is prepared, laid out, defrosted, etc.

However, the Head Chef, a Chinese, says he can do it.

As the guest strolls back through the reception area, Mine Host, puffed up with pride at the ability of the staff to meet seemingly all demands, enquires of the gentleman how was his dinner?

The reply was most abrupt:
"Too slow, in Singapore that usually served in two minutes."
The guest then stumps off unhappily to his room.

So Mine Host adds Forty Dollars to the guest's dinner bill.

Thus continues life behind the bar...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There are actually Three different forces you know

The seemingly complete and total cluelessness of journalists about military matters ("army stuff") is one of the sadder aspects of the output of the modern university journalism courses.
Anyone who is aware there is an Army, a Navy, and an Air Force is ahead of many journalists.
Examples abound of instances where journalists can't tell a machine-gun from a mortar, a Sergeant from an Admiral, or a submarine from an aircraft carrier.  (If you think I'm joking, you need to pay more attention to newspapers/TV)
But they can still tell the Army from the Navy, can't they?   Who knows, but try this one:
Favourite part of the recent International Fleet Review?

For Mine Host this was in the ABC TV coverage, which at one point ran a short magazine style story on "Women in the Navy", consisting entirely of footage showing ladies dressed in the uniform of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Screenshot taken by Mine Host, during ABC-TV "Women in the Navy" clip.

Monday, October 14, 2013

President Obama proves he CAN seal the Border!

The borders of U.S. National Parks that is.

In what will become the defining image of the USA for 2013, the world is being treated to the spectacle of open air monuments being barricaded off and placed under armed guard.....

..... to "save money".

It would make as little sense to barricade off telegraph poles, and station armed guards around 'em.

The real damage?  To the image of the US National Parks Service.

American Taxpayers paid for this

Instead they get this