Fillings?

[Picture of sandwich sandwich board in Glasgow]A SANDWICH BOARD FOR SANDWICHES SEEN IN GLASGOW RECENTLY HAS CREATED SOME DEBATE AMONG THE LOCALS.

Please take a look at the picture (double click on the image to see an enlarged view). This is what it states:

DAILY BAKED WARM
BAGUETTES
CHIOSE OF FILLINGS

MEXICAN CHICKEN    SANCHEZ
CORONATION CHICKEN
DELI REUBEN     BIG BIRD
MARIE ROSE PRAWNS
OR
MAKE YOUR OWN

I am almost prepared to forgive the dotting of the capital letter “i” and the odd spelling of “choice” with an “s”, because the whole thing is just astounding.

What on earth is “Sanchez” (I shudder to think), and although the corned beef and saurkraut on rye or pumpernickel is a classic American sandwich known as a Deli Reuben, I have never heard of it as a sandwich filling on its own.

I have heard of Prawn Marie Rose (isn’t Marie Rose Sauce the classic prawn cocktail sauce?), maybe that’s the same as Marie Rose Prawns sandwich filling, but it’s a rather odd, in my opinion, to eat a prawn cocktail in a warm baguette.

[Picture of Big Bird from Sesame Street TV]However, I think the scariest baguette filling possibility is “Big Bird”.  I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t eat a whole one!

The strange statement at the bottom suggests that you can make your own sandwich all by yourself. It seems to me that if you could make your own sandwich, then you would have done so — and would therefore not be out looking for something to eat at lunchtime!

Things are getting worse when one cannot understand a simple sandwich menu!

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Handbags for Him!

[Picture of Big Jessies with handbags]HANDBAGS FOR MEN?

This was ridiculed back when it was first proposed in the 1990s along with men’s face creams.  My, how we once laughed at those European men with their manbags.

We never thought it would happen here, but suddenly, it seems to have caught on in Glasgow.  Yes, Glasgow — the city known for calling a man a “poof” just for having an umbrella.  A place once proud of using plastic carrier bags in lieu of a proper hat.

[PictuGone are the man bags (such as attaché cases, briefcases, sports bags and rucksacks), it’s all full-on handbags nowadays.

I guess they need somewhere to put their cosmetics!  They certainly do not need a bag to carry CDs or tapes because we have MP3 players now.  The next thing is to have gents’ trousers and jackets with no pockets (you heard it here first).

Spin The Bottle?

spin the bottle]SPIN THE BOTTLE IS A RISQUÉ ACTIVITY USUALLY DISCOVERED IN THE WHITE HEAT OF ADOLESCENCE.

The idea is to drink some alcohol, then use the empty bottle in a game.  Everyone forms a circle and the bottle is laid down and spun.  It eventually comes to rest pointing at someone.  This is the selection process.  What happens next depends on all sorts of things — use your imagination; it’s an alcohol and hormone driven game of chance!

The first thing that occurred to me when I came across this “game” in a toy shop, was that it was too risqué for kids.  Then I  realised that it taught them the game, that it “formalised” it.

Things are getting worse when people can even think of buying such a thing — think people! All you need to play this game is some imagination and a bottle –there is NO NEED TO BUY A SPECIAL “SPIN THE BOTTLE” BOTTLE!

Good grief!

Scandalous: Council Secret Sell offs!

“DIRECT AND CARE” IS AN ANNOYING NAME FOR A COUNCIL DEPARTMENT BUT IT IS NO LONGER!

When I poked fun at “Direct and Care“ on this site, little did I know it really did have a bad name.  Not just that it was badly named, but that it was causing all sorts of financial trouble for the council.

I checked the City’s website this morning, and was surprised to see an entry dated a few days ago (31 October 2008 to be exact) regarding “Direct and Care”.

This is an amazing tale, and it demands your attention for a host of good reasons, not least of which is that almost no-one knows anything about what is going on!

Here’s the deal: “Direct and Care” grew to be one of the biggest council departments, with a staff of about 8000 civil servants.

Now, as you can imagine, all City councils are legally obliged — and committed — to meet financial targets set by the main government.

Back in June 2007, it was noticed that the so-called “Significant Trading Operations” (or “STOs”) of Glasgow’s “Direct and Care” department was in bad shape. Even their targets were to be met over a three year period, they were not on track to do this, they were heading for disaster!

So what to do?

The Executive Committee immediately asked for a “review” — they needed suggestions, ideas, and most of all, they needed answers — and fast.  They needed to get out of this hole — somehow.

So with Grant Thornton and Burness solicitors, a review of different options for getting out of trouble was produced.

The option that was decided upon was to privatise the department — something they had done before with “City Building”, “Culture and Sport Glasgow”, and “Glasgow Community and Safety Services”.  The council’s website puts it like this:

“Members of the Council’s Executive Committee today (Friday, 31 October 2008) approved a business plan to turn the department into the Council’s latest arm’s-length company

The move means Direct and Care will have more opportunity to grow as a business by targeting the external market and should become more competitive in the longer term.”

Basically, there was no way this department was going to toe-the-line financially.  It was a huge money-pit.  There was no way the department would match the cheaper costs in the private sector — but they couldn’t just sack everyone, close down the department and put the workload out to competitive private tender. The City Leader, Steven Purcell said:

“If no action was taken by the Council it’s likely that we may have had to put these services out to competition, and winning contracts would be very difficult.”

Not one civil servant is made redundant, and the newly formed company will continue to provide the expensive and inefficient services we have come to expect — it’s just that because they are no longer aprt of the council, the targets are avoided and the council’s legal obligation evaporates!

Amusingly, the “business plan” produced as part of the review shows the new company becoming profitable in it’s FIRST year! It did not explain why it could not become profitable when run as a council department!

The company formed is a limited liability partnership, so if anything goes horribly wrong, the damage (liability) to the council will be limited — the council being in partnership with the private company — in that it provides work and money for the company but doesn’t take profits!

Things are getting worse when councils can do such significant things without asking the people who voted them into office and who pay for it all.

Things are getting worse when a loss-making department is turned into a loss-making company when the best way to serve the people would be to (a) run the departments better, or else (b) scrap everything and get quotes — the private companies quoting would obviously be unable to meet the sudden demand, so they would naturally have to employ experienced and qualified people — in other words, those who used to do the job for the council department.

This would separate the wheat from the chaff, and we’d get the best people for the best money, but no, we’ve got the wrost people for the worst money — and the government mechanism put in place to make councils more cost-effective has been by-passed.

Taxi “Enforcer”

[Picture of council taxi enforcer van]TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE ENFORCEMENT UNIT — YES, THAT’S WHAT IT SAYS ON THE VAN.

I saw a Glasgow City Council Taxi and Private Hire Enforcement Unit van today, and just had to take a photograph of it; no-one would believe me if I didn’t have evidence to back up the existence of this council-tax paid council department.

What on earth is going on with Glasgow City — are they all mad? If you can remember our post on the obscure department called “Direct and Care“, then it will come as no surprise that there exists a Taxi Enforcer!

Yes, things are getting worse! Oh, and enjoy the fireworks and bonfire at Glasgow Green tomorrow (everywhere else in the UK celebrations are tonight, but Glasgow is doing it tomorrow because Celtic and playing a game of football tonight in the city — maybe the council is touchy about celebrating the burning of a Roman Catholic [Guy Fawkes] on the night of a Celtic match)!

Dental Toys!

[Picture of Play-Doh Dr Drill 'n Fill toy game]DENTAL OR MENTAL? — YOU DECIDE.

Look at these toys (click on the pictures to enlarge). Play-Doh’s “Dr. Drill ‘n Fill” sounds delightful fun for 3-4 year olds! The picture on the box shows all the great dental fun you can have — there’s a mouth full of bad teeth for you to DRILL and FILL! The drill apparently makes the lovely RR-RRR-RRR sound we have all grown to know and love from years of NHS dentistry. Ah, bliss!  Mind you there are other bits of kit on the box that only an expert dentist would actually know about.  The only other thing I recognised was the toothbrush and paste!

[Picture of Crazy Dentist toy game]If £13 seems a little too much for that “ideal” dentistry Christmas gift, then what about “Crazy Dentist” at a fiver.

Unlike “Dr. Drill ‘n Fill”, “Crazy Dentist” is about destroying teeth, apparently with a small hammer!  What fabulous Christmas fun!

I don’t know; maybe it’s me.  Am I alone in thinking things are getting worse when we buy dental themed toys for children at Christmas?  What kind of monsters will we have in the years to come?  What kind of monsters do we have now?  Will we be reading about people getting their teeth smashed by hammers?  Heaven forbid!

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