Archive for June, 2009

A taste of his own medicine

June 29, 2009 3 comments

My neighbour started blaring his music again this evening.  I was trying to watch the evening news and could hear his music over my TV.  I just couldn’t be dealing with his loud music in this hot weather. I know he likes listening to rap, R&B and rock so I put on some jazz (Spyro gyra) at full blast until he turned down his volume.

I hope he finally got the message but I’m not taking any chances, I’ve got some opera ready for the next time he plays his music too loud.  I’m sure he’ll appreciate Andrea Bocelli as much as I do :mrgreen:

Now, why did I not think of this before?


Teddy Pendergrass: an unbreakable spirit

June 28, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s almost dawn and here I am, a glass of Pinot Noir in hand, listening to ‘This is the last time’ from Teddy Pendergrass’s ‘Joy’ album.  I tend to reminisce when listening to Teddy songs because some of them defined my teenage dating years. My first slow dance was to Teddy and Whitney Houston’s ‘Hold me’ and when I split up with my boyfriend, ‘This is the Last time’ was my crying song.  I recall many a time when a Teddy song expressed how I felt at that moment.   Teddy had break up songs and make up songs, songs for saying sorry and thank you songs, happy songs and sad songs….Teddy had it all covered. There was a Teddy song for every occasion.  For those too young to remember, Teddy (also affectionately known as  Teddy Bear or TP) was a sex god in the late 70s and early 80s. This was at a time when a hairy chest and a beard was masculine and so sexy (still is to me!). There was none of the chest-waxing, eyebrow-shaping male preening that is so commonplace now 😀  Here’s the man doing what he does best:

Teddy: Live in ’79 (singing ‘Close the door’)


Some of my male friends argue that Teddy’s songs were a bit on the cheesy side.  On the other hand, my female friends think Teddy could teach men today what romance is all about. But just when Teddy had the world at his feet, an accident on March 18, 1982 left him paralysed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound.  This tragic accident signalled a turning point in his life.  With the love and unwavering support of his family and friends, he made it through the lowest points of his life.  The first music video I saw of him after the accident was ‘In my time‘, which was deeply moving.  Here was a man, who was once so agile, now confined to a wheel-chair. If I found it difficult to watch, then I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been for him to make the transition from being able-bodied to being heavily reliant on someone else for his personal care.

In 2007, he gave an interview to mark 25 years of living with spinal cord injury – and what an interview that was!

Art Fennell interview with Teddy Pendergrass – Part One

Art Fennell interview with Teddy Pendergrass – Part Two

Teddy’s story is an inspirational one.  In his shoes, some of us would have spent the rest of our lives wallowing in self-pity or hoping for a miracle but Teddy has accepted that there is no cure and has learned to live a full life in spite of his disability. He works in conjunction with the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance to promote a good quality of life for people with his condition.

As a teenager, I loved his music and his rugged good looks.  As an adult, I also love his mind. I admire him for his determination, positivity, self-belief and intelligence. He was determined to make the best of the circumstances in which he found himself – and he succeeded.  Whilst he had support from friends and loved ones I believe, from personal experience, that one can only be helped if they want help themselves and are willing to accept help from others.  It takes great courage and tenacity to overcome such adversity and I think that he is, as he says, truly blessed.

Undercover boss – Stephen Martin

June 27, 2009 Leave a comment

I was flicking through TV channels few days ago and stumbled upon a reality TV show called ‘Undercover boss’.  The format is quite simple: a top manager of a company goes undercover in the guise of a regular employee and interacts with his/her Stephen Martinworkforce to identify any problems within the company. This episode featured Stephen Martin, Chief Executive of a construction firm called The Clugston Group.  I thought he looked slightly out of place as a construction site worker with his expensive glasses and ‘clean’ look but surprisingly, only one employee recognised him. Mr Martin  seemed like a really nice guy. However, by the end of the show, nice as he was, I was convinced that had Mr Martin not been doing this for TV, he would have handed some of them their P45s.  Call me a cynic if you wish but that is what really happens in the real world.  These programmes are just free adverts for the companies that take part in them.

I was somewhat bemused by Mr Martin’s surprise at the comments made by his staff about the general lack of care shown by the company towards its employees. Though Mr Martin had only recently been appointed Chief Executive, these are the kinds of comments made on a daily basis by staff in a lot of companies.  The reality is that people are always going to complain about their employers but in the case of Mr Martin’s staff, it was with good reason.

The show confirmed what I suspected – many senior management don’t know what’s going on in their companies.  Employers tell us that we should feel free to approach them when there’s a problem but in reality, they really don’t want to know. It’s like the whisleblowers’ charter which tells us that we are protected if we reveal, in good faith, malpractice taking place within the company but the experiences of Derek Pasquill and other whistleblowers tell us that whistleblowing can get you fired and destroy your career.  While one in four of us is aware of illegal or unethical practices where we work, 52% of us now know that it’s wiser to keep our mouths shut.

It would be interesting if some top level management go undercover in the real world but given the spate of dismissals based only on comments made by bloggers outside office hours, I don’t think employers are ready to hear the truth or even if they are ready, many don’t to be lumbered with the task of sorting out any problems so it’s easier for them to act like these problems don’t exist.

Society – death and respect

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

I thought it was inconceivable that two icons of my time could die on the same day but that’s what happened. Farrah Fawcett had been battling cancer so her demise did not come as a surprise to me but I still felt a sense of sadness at her loss.  My initial reaction to the passing of Michael Jackson was one of disbelief. This was an entertainer whose UK tour had been widely publicised as his big comeback and Diversity, winners of ‘Britain’s Got Talent 2009’, were scheduled to perform.  There had been a scramble for tickets to his concerts and the future was beginning to look bright for him so there was no reason to think that Death was lurking around the corner. Farrah Fawcett

The first time I heard of Ms Fawcett was when I watched an episode of Charlie’s Angels.  At the time, the focus was on her looks and her hair.  She was a beautiful woman but it was in her later years that I began to admire her due to her active involvement in charity work and it wasn’t the ‘look at me, I’m a good person’ kind of charity work that some celebrities indulge in these days.  Once we were privy to the fact that she had cancer, I knew it was a matter of time before she passed over. I wish she had had the chance to marry Ryan O’Neal before she died but it was not to be.

Though not a fan of his, I saw Michael Jackson as a gifted songwriter who delivered phenomenal performances. Following his death, one can understand that people would want to discuss his life and the allegations of paedophilia which were a part of that life, after all, the latter part of his life was plagued with these allegations.  While he had loyal fans who adored and supported him in spite of these allegations, there were also people who believed him to be guilty of these allegations and detested him for that.  However, I think it’s a real shame that his death is being trivialised with tasteless jokes, most of them based on these allegations.  Here’s one I came across and I was not even looking for it:

As we all know Farah Fawcett passed away yesterday. When she got to the pearly gates god said “because of all the charity you did through your life, I’ll give you one wish” …. so she asked for all the children in the world to be safe….next thing you know Michael Jackson is dead!

Michael Jackson

…and that is one of the nicer ones I’ve seen.  I must be getting old.  I was raised never to speak ill of the dead.  While I think Michael Jackson had some problems,  I do not believe that paedophilia was one of them.  Following the ‘Living with Michael Jackson’ documentary by Martin Bashir in 2003, Paul Valley wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph which sums up my thoughts on Michael’s behaviour.  Of the documentary, Mr Valley writes that,

The tabloids, of course, concentrated on the sex. Understandably I suppose, since after allegations of child abuse in 1993 he paid $18m (£11m) to 13-year-old Jordan Chandler after being accused of molesting him. Jackson maintained to Bashir that he had settled just to get the matter dealt with swiftly. After all, what’s $18m when you have trillions in the bank? Yet there was something preposterously innocent about the man. Mad, yes. Sad, yes. But, bad? In the end I somehow believed that Wacko really did invite kids over to see his orang-utan and take a ride on his massive empty ferris wheel and then tucked them up in bed with “milk and cookies”.

Being in bed with children, he said, was “very beautiful”. Very worrying, said Bashir. No, said Jacko, “It’s very right. It’s very loving. That’s what the world needs now – more love, more heart.” No doubt this is weird. No doubt if your kids went on a sleepover and you heard that their friend’s Dad had slept in the same bed with them all night you’d be asking questions.

And yet every parent knows the pleasure of being woken in the middle of the night by the tapping of tiny feet across the landing and the expectant little face appearing at the side of the bed asking: “Can I get in with you?” There is something about the unconditional love that a child offers and craves which touches

to the deepest part of what it means to be human. Even if it does mean a restless night. Part of Jackson’s disjuncture with reality is that he doesn’t seem to understand that you are only supposed to do this with your own children. But that shows only that he’s weird rather than wicked.

It’s not hard to see why. You don’t have to believe that he was telling the truth about his plastic surgery – he’s only had two ops, he said, on his Concorde-shaped nose, and that was to help him sing high notes – to accept that in his core he is very mixed up about the business of childhood. The interview revealed just how brutal a bully his father was. That combined with a relentless Jackson Five showbiz itinerary robbed him of his childhood. What he is doing now – with the aid of his vast fortune – is to attempt to recreate that. The experience of touring as a child star and having to pretend to be asleep while his brothers brought girls back to their bedroom for sex is enough to arrest the sexual development of many people.

Michael JacksonMichael appeared to be a man who never grew up – he had the innocence and naïveté of a child.  I believe that he needed to be protected, not vilified but then the tabloid media has always been able to spin stories whichever way they want just to sell papers.  Being a public figure does not give people a free pass to mock him. Are we so devoid of compassion that we ignore the fact that this was someone’s father, son, uncle, brother, child, cousin or loved one? Do his loved ones not deserve to grieve without the added pain of these insults? What does it say about us as a society when,  even in death, we see fit to ridicule someone this way?  It is at times like this that I truly despair of humanity. What makes this situation even worse is seeing the irritating Uri Geller crawl out of the woodwork (where I really wish he had stayed) to tell anyone who cares to listen about his close friendship with Michael. In addition to being a world-famous ‘spoonbender’, Uri is supposed to be a psychic so why didn’t he foresee Michael’s demise?

The deaths of these two entertainers are a stark reminder of our own mortality and for each one of us, the end is inevitable.  May fond memories of them be a source of comfort to their family, friends and fans and I hope that, in death, Michael Jackson has finally found peace that he sought, but could not find, in his lifetime.


Farrah Fawcett (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009)

Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)


People seem to forget that he was abused as a child.

To clean or not to clean?

June 22, 2009 6 comments

I went to see my doctor today. She now wants me to go for some blood tests to find out if there’s anything else going on with me besides the stress that I’ve been under. After my doctor’s appointment, I could not face going home and watching day time TV so, though I felt very tired, I decided to take a long walk.

Yoyo Bitters

Yoyo Bitters

My walk took me to a beauty salon where I ended up getting my nails done and my eyebrows waxed! After that, I did a bit of grocery shopping. I popped into an African store to buy some okra. The shop owner told me “You look very tired.  See those bags under your eyes”  (Diplomacy is not one of her strong points). I told her I was feeling very tired and she suggested I try something called ‘Yoyo Bitters’. It’s supposed to be good for cleansing the system. I did not believe her but I thought I would try it out just in case it was the miracle cure for my constant exhaustion.  I could not wait to get home to try my Yoyo Bitters.

Well, as it turns out, it was so bitter that I had to have some chocolate to get rid of the taste.  To make matters worse, it was only after drinking the Yoyo that I found this story someone had posted online.

I Drank YOYO Bitters today and today is my first time…
Since morning i have been in the toilet, gassing out junks into the WC.
This made me not to go to training today.
What do i do now?
N.B: (only my pals should respond to this confession, NO mongopa’s)

Manfred Starger A.K.A mstarger

I hope I don’t have the same problem. Next time when I want to cleanse my system, I think I’ll go for a colonic irrigation instead.

British Airways

June 17, 2009 Leave a comment

I just stumbled across this news article in The Guardian

Willie Walsh, the struggling airline’s Chief Executive, has already announced he will not take his salary in July. Keith Williams, the airline’s chief financial officer, will also be working unpaid for the month.

The airline announced that staff will be able to opt for one-week blocks of unpaid leave or unpaid work, with salary deductions spread over three to six months.

BA’s in-house newspaper, British Airways News, made the announcement to staff.

“Colleagues are being urged to help the airline’s cash-saving drive by signing up for unpaid leave or unpaid work,” it said.

Quite frankly, I think some employers are using the current economic crisis to take advantage of employees. I guess if the employees don’t agree to the Chief Executive’s half-baked suggestion, he’ll start dropping that dreaded word – redundancy.

A few of my favourite Dilbert strips

June 13, 2009 Leave a comment

I think any IT professional who has worked in a corporate environment can identify with these strips.