Theresa clears things up: A fairy story for our times

January 17, 2017

charismatic-leadership

 

Once upon a time (as all good stories start) there was a little girl called Theresa. She was brought up to be very well behaved and always did her homework, brushed her teeth and ate all her greens, even Brussels sprouts which she particularly didn’t like

 

Theresa was always top of her class and so eventually became a politician. Her nice-manners and retentive memory served her as well as her elegance of dress and footwear. So it was, she rose to the very top of her profession entrusted with making great decisions of state. Then there came a grave crisis to which there was no answer. At first, Theresa won time by reassuring words, such as we cannot reveal the answer because our enemies will turn it against us.

But as days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, the crisis deepened. Critics spoke out against her. Theresa had to come up with another plan. Eventually she and her advisors decided what to do.

“I will explain everything,” she said. “There are twelve principles, just like there were twelve Apostles, and the twelve days of Christmas and the twelve angry men. Just listen as I explain them.”

And then she went through them one by one. They were wonderful, and promised everything anyone could wish for.

“Oh, that explains everything” cried the grateful people “That’s alright then, you have saved us from the crisis.”And that was how Theresa became even more popular, and everyone lived happily ever after.

 

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Me and the Black Pudding man

January 10, 2017

img_0847

This morning I learned a lesson in customer service from Mike who delivers Black Pudding, a local delicacy, to shops in the North West of England

Our paths crossed when I came across his rather large van blocking my much smaller Tudormobile which was thus prevented from leaving a shared but tight parking area. As I approached, I could see indicator lights flashing the ‘I will not be long‘ message.

What might have happened

I might have uttered a cutting remark such as: ‘Prithee kind sir, canst ye not back thy wain,so as to permit me to go on my way?‘  But as the words (or something more churlish) were forming on my lips, a cheerful tradesman approached me, with a smile upon his face.

What happened next?

A thousand pardons, kind sir,’ quoth he. ‘I am Mike, of the Bury Black Pudding Company. I shall soon have ye upon thy way. But first, prithee, take this gift of my wares, as a token of my sorrow for the inconvenience thou hath suffered.

And at that, he thrust a small package into my hands.  ‘ T’will go very well with the egg and fried potatoes planned for our evening fare‘ I jested merrily.

On my return home, I found that I had indeed received the promised and tasty-looking morsel of black pudding. Its contribution to our repast will be reported in the goodness of time.

Disclaimer

This post was written in admiration for the manner in which Mike dealt with a situation which too often turns into blocked driver’s rage, a well-known clinical condition. I have not received any payment for its writing, unless you count the tasty-looking item of Black Pudding mentioned in my account above.


52 Tweets I won’t be favouriting

December 20, 2016

Caliban

 

Here are 52 tweets (minus URLs) I collected in a 24 hour period recently. They were chosen for the elitist rationale of a dislike for other people’s obsessions. Many are obviously click-bait. Most display interests which I do not share with the authors or with some target audience

If the tweets have been selected non-randomly through some Twitter Bot, there is something going seriously wrong with the algorithm.  The tweets are listed in the order in which I came across them, rather than in some kind of league table of level of nausea they produced. I have added a few comments which occurred to me and which stopped me getting too dispirited in my self-appointed task. I have retained some idiosyncratic grammar of the original tweets. On a recount, the number came to 53, which seems like a trifling discrepancy probably unconnected with intervention by a foreign government.

What happened when a man pulled a long hair from a pimple

Anything shocking about what a man sees in a photograph of his wife

Anything shocking about what a wife sees in a photograph of her husband

What putting vapor rub in your ear on a cotton bud overnight will do to you

What eating three bananas a day for a month will do to you

What happens next after letting your baby sleep with a very large dog/snake/combine harvester/blue whale

When someone puts socks on their wipers

When someone votes for Trump then discovers something shocking in his grits

When someone works out the manufacturing cost of an iPhone 7

Quiz telling me how dirty my mind really is

 

Picture of a man of eighty who hasn’t showered in sixty years

Picture of a man of sixty who hasn’t showered for eighty years

When a man takes a closer look at his wife doing something and is shocked to see…

When a Russian injects his semen into an egg (doesn’t say what kind) with shocking results

What Princess Diana might have looked like today

What any former celeb looks like today

How buying 100,000 twitter followers will change my life

What doctors revealed about strange marks on a son coming home after a party

Insane nail hacks

Twenty awesome things you would never believe happen without photographic evidence

Nest of vipers

Twenty awesome things you would never believe happen even with photographic evidence

What happens when you rub stuff on to your face\anywhere else

Quickest and heartiest way to get rid of bad breath\bad neighbors\bad thoughts

Ways to cool down my burning tongue\burning anywhere

What amazing thing happens when you press your forefinger for sixty seconds

See what happened to a painful bubble on her skin which continued to grow

The best and easy way to get rid of blackheads

Eight craziest things to come out of the human body

Fatal Selfies taken just before death that will give me goose bumps

 

Things to do to my penis so I won’t need Viagra

The something miraculous which happens if you put an onion in your ear over night

What you shouldn’t let grow out of your nose

Perfect response on Facebook to rude woman calling you a “dirty biker”

Instagram star with 70 inch booty shares video to silence haters who cry photoshop (took a while to translate, but still no thanks)

Baking power has miraculous powers to cure diseases, it even whitens teeth

The simplest way to remove blackhead and get a glowing face

After losing forty five pounds this guy played the most epic prank on his parents. (Did he crawl in the cat flap with a sub machine gun?)

Book Review WET DADDY

Girl proves that big boobs are useful

Winter of discontent

Bizarre photos that will make you say WTF

How to Get Rid of Cysts without Surgery with these Simple Tricks. Goodbye Cyst

Man Wants To Be Buried Like A Pharaoh. But His Wife Has …

This Is What Those Weird White Dots On Your Face Mean

Men Can Have Superpowers Right Away. Amazing Ways To Become Extraordinary (next tweet about women?)

If You Put A Clothespin On Your Earlobe For 5 Seconds, This Is The Incredible Effect

It’s Very Simple! Learn To Pop A Pimple Without Leaving A Scar

People Come From All Over The World To Cuddle 500 Kitties At This Cat Sanctuary

Disgusting Medical Treatments That Could Save Your Life

Get Rid Of Inhalers! This Miraculous Juice Will Totally Cure Asthma Attacks

“The one thing that could improve the health of all Canadians”, see Dr. Danielle Martin’s fine new book.

 

Dirtiest Parts Of Our Body. Mouth May Be One Of The Grossest Thing Of Our Body

Velvet drawstring shorts. Use code TIGER for 15% OFF Order now

Nigel Slater’s chipolata and cranberry batter pudding recipe

 

For the serious-minded media studies student

 

There is a promising research topic here. Talk with your tutors about Research design, qualitative research methods, saturation of constructs, research questions.


The Charismatic League Tables for October 2015

October 6, 2015

Alexis TsiprasThis month, media attention turned to new entrants Nigel Farage, Andrew Castle, Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson and Tony Pidgley. But the award of charismatic leader of the month went to the re-elected Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras

The results were based on news stories studied in September 2015

Prime Minister Tsipras received the award for the manner of his re-election and his skill at maintaining his credibility over a period in which he went from leader of the opposition to austerity measures to the  leader in charge of enacting them. Technically he was elected leader of his party and then leader of the Government in a coalition.

Stories were also found which resulted in a reappraisal of the positions of politicians David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump, and football manager Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho has jumped to Division One for the manner of his interviews defending his lack of culpability over Chelsea’s bad start to the football season

Arsene Wenger, one of the butts of Jose Mourinho’s jibes, and also of Sir Alex’s recently published remarks, always defends himself logically in public, but with little charisma, and so enters in Division Four.

His former protagonist Sir Alex Ferguson returned from a period outside the headlines with a new best-selling book on business leadership. The vibrant illustrations of his leadership style indicate he exercised powerful influence although he denies being ‘a monster… in my reign’  [in his Reign.! Hmm] One to watch for a revival of his charismatic interviews which may even take him to the Premiership  of the Charismatic League, where he would surely want to be.

Jeremy Corbyn has attracted considerable media attention, and has been described as charismatic. His self-effacing style is unusual and he may well be a member of a rarer category of leader with some charismatic aspects yet perhaps closer to the leader of ‘humble style but with fierce determination’ written about by Jim Collins.

Nigel Farage made a strong charismatic impression on his UKIP conference audience,  and enters the tables in Division One.

Donald Trump has strengthened his position in Division One after several high impact performances where he cheerfully defends the  indefensible.

Andrew Castle attracted much criticism for his tennis commentaries particularly in the Davis Cup match between England and Australia. He seemed to have failed to engage viewers positively. He inspired the Face Book page Shut-Up-Andrew-Castle-you-know-nothing-about-Tennis Sorry Andrew. It’s Division Four for you, when you are keeping Tim Henman company.

Tony Pidgley of The Berkeley group received media attention for a life style that has a decidedly charismatic flavour to it, as he battled with activist shareholders who were seeking a more conventional leadership style of corporate governance. A worthy entry into the league tables.

The tables will be revised monthly until further notice. All proposals will be examined carefully by the editor of LWD before changes are made. The editor’s decision on such changes will be final. This utterly undemocratic process is one designed to avoid entryism, and other attempts to influence the league tables for personal interests.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Charismatic League Tables September 2015

September 2, 2015

Donad TrumpSince the last publication of the charismatic league table, a league structure of charismatic individuals has been instituted.

Relegation  and promotion based in the latest news stories of those individuals nominated for inclusion who are still generating media attention

 

The tables are designed to encourage discussion about our beliefs on charisma, and no scholarly claims are made of their reliability or validity.

The tables will be revised monthly until further notice. A rather old-fashioned spreadsheet is under preparation.

To avoid entryism

All proposals will be examined carefully by the editor of LWD before changes are made. The editor’s decision on such changes will be final. This utterly undemocratic process is one designed to avoid entryism, and any such attempts to influence the league tables in underhanded ways.

Read  on to see the five league tables for September 2015.

Read the rest of this entry »


Boris Johnson’s speech to the Conservative Conference raises morale

October 1, 2014

It is widely reported that Boris Johnson is positioning himself to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and then Prime Minister. His Conference speech illustrates why.

His speeches are coded messages. They are also irresistibly witty. Today [September 30th 2014] he addressed the Conservative Party annual conference. You can see a report of the speech here.

On the eve of the Conference, UKIP announced the defection of a Conservative MP Mark Reckless to its Party. Boris brushed aside this near-crisis PR story with a humorous nautical riff about throwing the Kippers overboard along with [Alex] Salmond.

Boris banishes bad thoughts

The assembled Party activists roared their approval. Boris had banished bad thoughts. Wit had magicked away melancholia.

Compulsive watching

It was compulsive watching. Like any great performer, he succeeded in captivating his audience. I suspended disbelief. I warmed to Boris’ World.

The world beyond Boris

But I didn’t believe a word in a world beyond Boris. Particularly when he outlined why there was the only one man to lead in Europe. He was building up to saying that man was David Cameron. And he did, with a touch of irony suggesting that his words are funny and charming and not to be taken literally.

And I did find his words funny and charming and not to be taken literally. And if I had been in the Hall, I would have smiled and clapped. Just like David Cameron did.

These are my leadership questions

Will Boris influence the influencers? Will The Conservative party decide it needs Boris as leader before the General Election? Will he be in good position to take over from David Cameron if the Conservatives lose the next election?

Perhaps. And if so, he will deploy an unmatched skill at making people forget their problems. Until, sadly, they have to re-emerge from Borisland.


Thoughts on a chocolate teapot

September 22, 2014

Teapot
Chocolatiers in York have produced a chocolate teapot that can be used to brew tea. A very English project?

York, home of the Chunkie bar, can lay claim to being one of the two great chocolate centres in England, the other being Birmingham, home of the venerable Cadbury site at Bournville.

Chocolate is a wondrous material for product development, being perfect for liberating the creativity of food technologists in ideas for a near infinite array of shapes, sizes, flavours, colours, and fillings of chocolate products.

The uselessness of a chocolate teapot

The uselessness of a chocolate teapot has become an ironic saying about futility. Another example is the uselessness of a concrete parachute.

The chocolate challenge

Anyway, there were these food technologists who were challenged to make a chocolate teapot to see if it could do the one thing it was reputed to be useless at, namely brewing a cup of tea.

Cue for action. With no little ingenuity the techies produced a chocolate teapot that could hold an infusion of tea leaves in boiling water until ready for pouring. The result, a nice cup of tea with a slight chocolate favour. Well done all.

The impossibility of uselessness

When gainfully employed as a new product team trainer I liked to argue for the impossibility of uselessness. A chocolate teapot might not brew a cup of tea but it might be a nice retirement gift, or a present for the cricket captain too often found in the double teapot pose.

Not so impossible, and a nice exercise for creativity workshops

Next week

Thoughts on a chocolate chess set