Journal Entries

Be it known

That with the addition of the west wing (hereinafter known as 'The Bedroom') last February, Fort Gosho will hereinafter and hereto be renamed Castle Gosho, nothwithstanding and heretofor.

That is all.

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Latest reply: Yesterday

Never look a gift horse in the mouth

Or judge a book by its cover. Or something.

I got a piece of junk mail from a company by the name of Arbitron (it was printed on the envelope). My first reaction was 'Fer cryin' out loud, who dreams up these awful names? It sounds like a...' but I never actually worked out what it sounds like. A planet saved from annihilation by Dan Dare? Some kind of weapon from Patrick Troughton's period as Doctor Who? An automated justice delivery device invented by Douglas Adams?' (that's my odds-on favourite, by the way).

My second reaction was 'Junk mail, toss it in the recycling box'.

But my hand was stayed by the words "A media ratings leader since 1949" on the envelope. The date is unimportant, other than thinking that I doubt anyone would have thought of calling their business 'Arbitron' in 1949*. I have to find out what kind of tosh this is. Dear Bob in heaven, how I despise marketing and market research in all its forms.

So I opened the envelope, ready to vent my spleen at these pillocks when what do I find in there? Well, it looks like a pair of dollar bills. Hold it up to the light, put my stronger glasses on... it doesn't look like schneid rhino to me, I think it's real.

And then I read the accompanying letter: "The enclosed two dollars is our way of saying thank you for considering our request." So it *is* kosher! *THINKS* Maybe I'm not the only person in the complex who got one of these but maybe I am one of the few people who bothered to open it. *MORE THINKS* A week or two ago when it was cold I took a load of junk mail from the recycling bin next to the mailboxes for burning in the fireplace, and when I picked up my mail this morning on the way back from buying some food, the bin was overflowing. I could be quids-in if only 10% of the people tossed away their Arbitron envelope smiley - wowsmiley - run

Alas, that wasn't the case (although I do now have a nice big pile of paper ready for burning should it turn cold again). I suppose if they're bunging two bucks into envelopes such as this they probably don't send one to every apartment in a complex like mine, just a few randomly (maybe not so randomly?) chosen households smiley - sadface

*They didn't. According to Wikipedia, "It was founded as the American Research Bureau by Jim Seiler in 1949 and became national by merging with Los Angeles-based Coffin, Cooper, and Clay in the early 1950s. The company's initial business was the collection of broadcast television ratings. The company changed its name to Arbitron in the mid-1960s, the namesake of the Arbitron System, a centralized statistical computer with leased lines to viewers' homes to monitor their activity." and "On December 18, 2012, The Nielsen Company announced that it would acquire Arbitron, its only competitor, for US$1.26 billion. The acquisition closed on September 30, 2013, and the company was re-branded as Nielsen Audio."

Discuss this Journal entry [5]

Latest reply: 2 Days Ago

Plus ca change

"It will unjustly deprive children of their honest livelihood and would drive them and their families into the workhouse."

"Working from a young age is good and develops useful and industrious habits, and is much better than letting children wander around in idleness."

"The entire mining industry will collapse if it isn't allowed to use child labour."

Those are some of the reactions to the first report into child labour, instigated by the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury and published in 1842. And he only wanted to limit the amount a child could work to ten hours a day. Does any of it sound familiar?

The modern equivalent is the mantra trotted out by anyone with business interests whenever the idea of paying a fair wage, or implementing anything that's going make things better for the workers, like a safe working environment, or any kind of new regulation is put forward - "This will mean job losses and/or higher prices".

And then there's that other mantra that, it seems, no politician can make any kind of utterance nowadays without including - hard-working.

We've moved on significantly in the past 200 years, and yet the same attitudes, albeit modified by modern times and mores, are still there in the minds of people who see unfettered free-market capitalism as the only thing that matters, and it often feels to me as if we've slipped back to pre-Victorian practices in the way workers are treated now, with cost-cutting the be-all and end-all, spreadsheets more important than employees' welfare, squeezing everything that can be squeezed out of workers who are seen as little more than another piece of expendable machinery rather than actual human beings, zero-hours contracts, businesses paying their workers so little that they have to depend on government handouts to make ends meet (or the charity of their fellow workers), and at the same time the government coming up with schemes to have unemployed people working in shops and factories to earn their benefits (which they'll lose if they don't do it), as a publicly subsidised workforce for companies who are, essentially, getting labour for free, paid for by you and me.

Discuss this Journal entry [6]

Latest reply: 2 Days Ago

I've just seen the most bizarre thing

It was in the middle of a documentary about debutantes (which in itself was a bizarre ritual), made about 12 years ago.

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (Andrew Cavendish and the former Deborah Mitford, both now brown bread) were talking about the balls and parties that Joe Kennedy used to throw when he was the American ambassador in London before the war. They talked about JFK, and about his sister Kathleen, who married the Duke's elder brother and would have been the duchess had her husband not been killed four months after their marriage, on the Belgian front (and she died soon after the war in a plane crash).

Any road up. The conversation somehow got around to Prince Aly Khan, and it then took a sharp turn to the surreal. I'll try to reproduce it here as best I can - there's much talking over each other going on, and they're being completely serious about it all.

Duchess: And then he married beautiful Rita Hayworth, the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life I think. She had charisma, would you say? But I suppose Jack [Kennedy] of all the people we've ever known had the most.
Duke: As had Winston.
Duchess: Winston.
Duke: Yes.
Duchess: Charisma?
Duke: Yes.
Duchess: Do you think?
Duke: Oh certainly, yes.
Duchess: Oh. *Slight pause* Lester Piggott.
Duke: Oh no.
Duchess: He's got charisma.
Duke: Oh no, no.
Duchess: Oh he has, he just has.
Duke: Oh he certainly hasn't.
Duchess: He has. I suppose Uncle Harold [Macmillan] in a sort of way did.
Duke: Well he had style, it's not quite the same as charisma.
Duchess: No, that's right.
Duke: He certainly had style.
Duchess: He was beautiful to look at, and erm... oh well, Elvis of course. Although I never met him.
Duke: He was your hero.
Duchess: Yes, he was my hero.
Duke: Was it better not to have met him?
Duchess: Yes that's what I wonder. Is it better, perhaps.

Lester Piggott? Elvis smiley - cdouble

I also find it interesting that Deborah describes Rita Hayworth as the most beautiful woman she's ever seen when her sister Diana, who married Oswald Moseley, was widely regarded as the most beautiful woman in Britain.

Discuss this Journal entry [7]

Latest reply: 2 Days Ago

No, no, no

Both the act and the word are thoroughly unpleasant smiley - yuk And banned from these pages smiley - cross

Discuss this Journal entry [4]

Latest reply: Last Week

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