13 Feb 2008

Bear Baiting

Early Bird
Originally uploaded by ru_24_real.
A chill wind is gently blowing in the financial district: bonuses are down, budgets are flat and haunted-looking strangers riding the elevator down from the 47th floor mumur of bears glimpsed prowling the far away corridors of the C-suite. Quite nasty-looking bears

Oh there's nothing certain, but still, but still : headhunters are no longer calling up vice-presidents with talk of silly salaries, hiring is curtailed and plans for dreamy beach houses on quiet Long Island shores are shelved

But, Hey! Not everything in the world is gloomy. One of our friends tells us she has commissioned a bronze bust of, well, of her bust; and I have a new squeezebox :-)

I never heard of such a thing before - have I spotted a new micro-trend?
When it's completed, I wonder whether it will be polite - or not? - to comment on the quality of the likeness.

10 Feb 2008

The American Way

squeezed lime
Originally uploaded by jspad.
If it was Super Tuesday it was New York City.

At JFK, very late at night, I squinted, bleary-eyed into the webcam and pressed my left index finger hard down on the glowing red fingerprinting square: the visa waiver programme is no longer the shoe-in it was in the nineties. "I am English" I murmured, "You know? The only country on your side in the War on Terror? Now introducing Sharia Law in the Home Counties?"

The crew-cut young immigration official remained unimpressed
- "Business? So what do you do?"
- "You work for a bank, OK, but what exactly do you do?"
- "Waddyamean, 'indescribable'?"

Reader, I tried to explain but it was no use; eventually we settled on 'rogue trader', my passport was stamped and I was in, yellow-cabbing excitedly toward the Mid-Town Tunnel, tracking my progress, while updating my Facebook profile, on the on-board cab computer.

I love America!

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and also domain of No Loitering Laws.
So how does that work? You can be arrested for standing still?

I didn't stand still. After work I had to visit Abercrombie and Fitch (again). All the way to 57th Street and back in time for dinner.

You can eat a lot of dinner in New York, and in Dos Caminos on Wednesday night, I ate a lot of dinner. I was excited! I think I have found the perfect Margarita. I asked our wait staff person the secret - was it the more expensive Tequila she had upsold us? No, she said, it was the very freshly hand-squeezed lime juice. How fresh? Well let's just say twenty bucks changed hands and we were led, with some trepidation, down to the basement where we found a team of sub-prime borrowers squeezing limes for minimum wage. It's the American Way, she explained: needs must and money talks.

Back in the office, time is money, and I saw the coolest labour saving device ever: A digital photo frame with a remote control. You never need to lean forward again. Only in America.
What will those crazy Americans think of next?

119/365: No Loitering
Originally uploaded by Mr. Guybrarian.

2 Feb 2008

Ward Wars

You thought the class war was over? Well, not on the Flower Blossom Paediatric Ward, which is nothing less than a Level 1 Conflict Zone. All between the patients, of course.

There was only four beds there in the small ward last Thursday evening, but the noise was defeaning. A Wii Tennis tournament conducted in Bay 1 competed with seventeen partying visitors in Bay 2; the whole crowd determinedly drowned out by the coach party visiting Bay 3 for Eastenders at volume 11.

On our side of the curtains three of us were huddled around the patient, offering comfort and support. I cheered everyone up by bellowing exerpts from Paradise Lost

It was a Dot Cotton monologue. I remembered watching one of those twenty years ago.

Our patient was miserable; We had a TV on a trolley and inserted a DVD; on other side of the curtain Dot Cotton was boosted to 12. In the next ward a parentless baby cried alone, and somewhere far away an alarm bell rang.

I pressed the nurse call button but no one could hear.