Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No bread? So why not just eat cake?

Scene:....... The Big Smoke.
Location:.. Pharmacy.
Time:........ Late at night.
Cast: .........Very Attractive Pharmacist, & Mine Host.

Action: Getting prescription filled 15 mins prior to closing time. Mine Host - the only customer - wanders around the shop. The place is empty, she did not say "come back later", perhaps she'll fill the prescription right away.

No sooner has Mine Host commenced idly browsing the perfume & hair dye aisle, than one of the assistants says "Sir, your prescription is right to go, whenever you are finished" (When I'm finished? Do they think lurking in their aisles & gazing idly at manicure equipment & band-aids is my preferred recreational activity?)

Whisking himself to the prescription counter (and to the pretty and oh so attractive thirtyish pharmacist) Mine Host makes a quip about how swiftly the prescription had been filled. With the ice thus broken, Mine Host continues on to reveal a snippet about his hometown that is always of intense interest to Pharmacists.

She doesn't pay much attention for a few seconds, proceeding with using the cash register etc, then the words click and she looks up, her pulse quickened & interest picqued, not quite believing what she has heard, and enquires again where Mine Host is from...?

As with many over-urbanised Australians, this lady hasn't the faintest recognition of Mine Host's province, never mind his hometown.

Nor does she care a whit about the nation that exists beyond the outer suburbs. This shows in her face. She is only interested (out of professional amazement) in the tiny fact about his locale.

Faintly grasping just how far Mine Host is from home, she enquires why he has come so far. Mine Host trots out his off-the-rack answer to this question: "To see solicitors, accountants and the like".

Her face (otherwise intelligent & exuding professional competence) showed such utter incomprehension as to why Mine Host didn't use law/accountancy firms in his hometown. (there actually aren't any)

This girl has been to university, gained professional qualifications, practised her profession for some years, has an intelligent face that says she is reasonably up to date with current affairs & the world around her, and that she has a carefully considered opinion on many of the issues of the day....

...But she hasn't the faintest clue that the services she takes for granted, and the facitilites available to her, are available only to the urban dweller, that the rest of us have to travel, sometimes for more than a day in each direction and at the cost of more than a week's wages, just to access these services.

Her face shows uncertainty & some disdain. She had thought him well adjusted & intelligent. She stares at Mine Host as if he just outed himself as one of the muttering homeless.

She stares because when one is a pretty & savvy pharmacist girl in the big city, one doesn't take their eyes off nutters who walk into one's pharmacy late at night. Just in case.

That Mine Host is of a different race was not an issue for her, only that despite exhibiting some apparent intelligence, he had come out with the obviously ridiculous statement that he had travelled perhaps thousands of kilometres to access professional services. She didn't curl up her top lip. She showed no contempt, merely pity & incomprehension.

Bigotry, no matter what form, is such a disappointing thing to be on the receiving end of - especially when the bigot is one who by dint of their education, upbringing & intelligence should know better.

And she had such kind eyes, and they reflected quite a lot of intellectual rigour, what a shame.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Horrific Workplace Injury (Part 2)

Cecil Steptoe made a common-law claim for workplace injuries.
This claim was lodged several weeks after he finished work.
No report of injury was ever made to his employer.
He did not seek initial medical attention for the injuries until Three weeks after he had ended his employment.
The claim was for $410,000 (Four Hundred and Ten Thousand Dollars).

His claim stated that he entered a guest room at the hotel, to replace a faulty castor wheel on the ensemble bed.
Using his knee to raise the ensemble bed a few inches, he unscrewed the faulty wheel by hand and screwed in the new one.
(This story is false. Cecil Steptoe didn't do any work even when specifically instructed to. He would never have done any work, no matter how minor, on his own initiative. Had he entered the room with his boss, he would have remained idle and watched sourly as the boss did the work.)

Some days after replacing the faulty castor wheel (according to his claim) he experienced pain & discomfort just above his knee, in the leg he had used to lift the ensemble bed.

The Medical Evidence stated that:
The injury was a non-specific soft tissue injury.
The injury was unable to be detected by any known diagnostic method/implement/device, not by sight, ultrasound, pressing to see if he yelled, x-ray, or any other method.
The injury did not manifest itself every day.
(This last was added when Mine Host, as part of discovery, put in his observation that Cecil Steptoe did not always limp, at least not on the same leg, and furthermore it hadn't prevented him on several occassions from playing cricket most vigorously on the beach with a group of schoolteachers)

Discovery, as part of the legal process, is nothing more than an innocent target being forced to tip off a vexatious or lying complainant about holes in their fake complaint, thus allowing said complaint to be adjusted accordingly.

Workcover (the insurers) and their legal firm, both contacted Mine Host. After rapidly dispensing with their rantings, ravings & threats over the employer having not submitted any paperwork, or even filled out an injury report (the employee having never reported the injury didn't seem to readily register with them) they then got down to brass tacks:-

There would be a "conference" between Workcover & solicitors on one hand, and on the other the Claimant & some slimeball personal injury lawyer. A lady from Workcover telephoned Mine Host & informed him that it is "nice" if the employer can come to the conference, and "input from the employer" is appreciated in such conferences.

Mine Host raised the spectre of the cost (in time & money) that would be incurred were he to travel to Brisbane for this conference. The Workcover lady was unable to process the concept that not eveybody lives in, or within easy reach of, the capital city.
She became even more unsettled when Mine Host gave some idea of what his input would be:

Mine Host provided a quick opinion on the probity, ethics, & usefulness to society of the slimeball law firm representing the Claimant (it was obvious that Mine Host, were he to be present, would "unload" this character opinion at the conference) also gave an (accurate) character reference on the Complainant, followed by a rather acidic observation on Workcover themselves, who were not even challenging the (cough) medical evidence listed above.

This all made the Workcover lady most uncomfortable, especially when Mine Host stated that Cecil Steptoe "wouldn't be forgetting which leg to limp on" - that was, not if he rode up to the conference in the same lift as Mine Host.

When the conference occured it was without Mine Host being present - the invitation probably got lost in the mail or something.
The claim was settled for circa $150,000 - Mine host's worker's compensation insurance consequently went up by $20,000 per year (due to Mine Host's newfound bad workplace injury record)

Workcover did not provide any information to Mine Host about his options for appeal, or to force a review of the matter. That these avenues had even existed was only discovered some years later. This omission was deliberate.

The legislation which allowed this type of claim to happen was brought in by former Premier Peter Beattie. Mine Host struggles with the idea that someone deliberately created legislation that does little but provide a fat living to lowlife personal injury lawyers, at the expense of the taxpayers of Queensland. The Queensland Worker's Compensation scheme is now broke. All the money has gone in uncontested payouts in cases such as this one. Most of the money goes to personal injury lawyers, who could not get such cases off the ground without a medical professional who is prepared to perjure themself.
The supine staff at the worker's compensation scheme are just as complicit in this, and more so those who call the shots at Qcomp.

It is enough to cause people who actually work for a living to vomit.

This claim is far from the largest that has been claimed from Mine Host. None of the cases involve someone who was actually, you know, injured at work.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Horrific Workplace Injury (Part 1)

In recent decades one of the more intelligent moves by the UK was the exporting in the 1960's & 1970's to Australia of one of the less desireable cohorts of society. Once ensconced in the promised land, this cohort manifested itself as the "whingeing pom" or "pommy trade union leader".

Most migrants are motivated by a desire for an opportunity to have a better life.
This cadre were sour & disgruntled with their perceived lot in the UK, and no less sour & disgruntled upon discovering that Australia too placed some priority on "work" instead of "rights".
How much a better place Australia & Australian society would be today were it not for the arrival of this particular lot of freeloading rodents. Endless shame they bring to those of British origin, by dint of a shared land of origin.

One of these oxygen thieves, hired as an assistant manager, was the catalyst for a change in Mine Host's recruiting policy.
The policy change: Nobody is hired without first a photograph being sighted.
Mine Host's heart fell at the very instant he sighted Cecil Steptoe alighting from public transport. Had he first seen a photograph of this fellow the unhappy scenario in Part 2 of this post would never have unfolded.

Cecil Steptoe was tall, thin, cadaverous of complexion and indolent to the extreme. He looked every one of his 57 years + another 57. Lack of character shows in the face; the visage of Cecil Steptoe was one of sullen, sour blandness. Mrs. Steptoe too fitted the stereotype, right down to the dressing gown, slippers, hair curlers & meek personality.

The unfair dismissal laws of the time prevented Mine Host taking the common sense way out. However it wasn't difficult to get rid of Cecil Steptoe, as he didn't take kindly to constant suggestions that he do some actual work. Notice was soon given, though the Steptoes remained occupying staff accommodation (and kept hoeing into staff tucker) for some days between finishing up his "employment" (when describing the actions of Cecil Steptoe the word "work" could never conscionably be used) & catching onward transport.

During this time of departure hiatus Cecil Steptoe exhibited a slight limp, which Mine Host didn't think much about, except to note that the limp would manifest itself in either leg. (It says something of his mentality that though he was faking a limp, he didn't pay enough attention to it to remember which leg was supposedly the afflicted one).

Then, several days after finishing work, this blight upon the nation finally boarded public transport (spouse also) & departed.
Possibly the laziest person one would ever encounter, Cecil Steptoe was entirely devoid of initiative. Were he to walk past, say, the front gate banging in the wind, he would pass on by leaving it as it was, rather than latching it open. (For very good reason the previous sentence was written with "were he to walk past..." rather than with "were he to observe as he walked past....")

Every cent of pay he received was received under false pretences, every morsel of food he ate was undeserved and would have been better used by being fed to a dog.

Ever since, all job applicants have been requested to provide a photo.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Evil or just plain Stupid?

Animal activists provide video footage to a television current affairs programme.

The footage, of the inside several Indonesian abattoirs, shows cattle being maltreated horridly, then slaughtered in a most inhumane manner.

These are allegedly cattle sold from Australia to buyers in Indonesia.

Otherwise somnambulant members of the viewing public are horrified by the video footage, and demand that all sales of cattle to Indonesia cease immediately.

The government halts all cattle sales to Indonesia.

Thus purely as a reaction to mob outrage, the government switches off an industry just as thoughtlessly as one would switch off a light. A mob outrage that was in turn fuelled by something they saw on their TV screen, footage that the programme had possessed yet not broadcast, for several months.

The government is supposed to be a steady hand at such times. To not give in to uninformed dribbling by urban ingenues.

Putting people out of work, destroying an industry, causing hardship on an epic scale, all in one move, is an act of such gravitas that it demands careful consideration before enacting. Instead it was done with callous disregard for consultation or due process. It wasn't even an informed decision.

This action, if the Prime Minister knew the implications, was an act of pure evil. is the Prime Minister's job to appraise themself of the implications of any such action.

The entire northern part of the nation is reliant upon selling young feeder cattle to Indonesian buyers. There will be bankruptcies galore, privation & poverty among some of the hardest working & most self-reliant people the nation has.

For the cattlemen of the north, there are no alternative markets. They are doomed.

Oh, and Indonesia will have its nose out of joint. Our 2nd nearest neighbour, prickly to deal with at the best of times, has just had trade cut off (guillotine fashion) without even consultation.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Inferior Beings

The Bank Manager returns from an overseas holiday.
He is no sooner back at work than he is dismissed.
He was informed via email.
The message was in his inbox, the first morning back at work.

There are entities who don't do things as well as Mine Host does.
The bank has just joined this list.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ropes were Invented for This

Armed Robbery in progress at a Queensland pub. An attending policeman is shot in the face with a shotgun.
This is the sort of crime for which ropes were invented.

Three suspects are banged up the next day. It is not known how many more were involved.
The three, if they are guilty, won't receive anything like what they deserve; for Madame Hemp no longer reigns supreme in today's watered down legal system. (Having experience with the Qld judiciary, and with Qld's Crown Law, Mine Host is no longer comfortable with the term "justice").

Mine Host has always been very aware of just how many Pubs in the state are knocked off at closing time. In his first year in the industry it was 92 (for the year before). From the moment he gleaned this statistic Mine Host has had little sympathy for the bleatings of the Bank Employees' union, & their input. For they are not the ones at risk. It the working stiffs in pubs & service stations who have to face armed robbers.

And we are the people the government has disarmed. Robbers have acute risk analysis skills. If they stand a chance of being shot dead on a job, they cry off.
Pre-1996 gun laws, there was a chance that a pub had a shotgun under the counter. There was a stronger chance that some of the customers had a rifle in their Toyota. (Indeed, one of the staff was once saved by exactly that).

Now that Australia has universal strict gun laws, under which legal ownership of a gun isn't easy, and any publican caught with a firearm would be risking his licence to operate. Robbers know this. Not being restricted by the law, they are free to own all the firearms they wish.
Armed robberies at pubs are now a regular feature in the news.

The world is nowhere near as safe, neither for pub staff, nor those who come to their rescue. And someone has died because of it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Fast Worker

New chef is a bit of a bad boy. Not remotely the type one would want their daughter anywhere near.
With his first couple of pay packets under his belt, he became quite jumpy, wanting a few days off to "settle a few things".
Unless Mine Host misses his guess, New Chef had to settle a few debts of such a nature that they were better settled while his limbs were still intact.

Returning much happier after his week away, he was standing in a small group near to the cocktail bar. A not unpresentable blonde lady approaching the bar stopped to wait her turn to talk to one of the group.
As she waited New Chef asked her would she like a drink?
"No, not interested in drinking tonight" she said.
Without missing a beat he enquired/stated: "Well, let's go somewhere then".

So they left. Together.