The Peter Principle

If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.

“In any corporation, people tend to get promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.”, so said Dr. Peter

If you’re good at your job, then hopefully this will be noticed. Perhaps someone will say “Well done!”, maybe you’ll get a small pay rise. In most cases the best that’s likely to happen is that you’ll get promoted.

Thus your reward for being good at one job is to be forced (bribed) to do a completely different job, to which you may or may not be suited and which you may or may not like. If you do like it, odds are you’ll be good at that job too. This will be noticed and you’ll get promoted … as it goes. Of course, sooner or later you’ll end up doing something to which you’re not suited or you just plain don’t like. This is where you’ll stay for the rest of your working life, if you’re lucky. This is the Peter principle. It’s his fault and he has a page on facebook.




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The answer is “yes”


The Sun Dies in the East

We’re on the road and we’re gunning for the Buddha
We know his name and he mustn’t get away
We’re on the road and we’re gunning for the Buddha
It’ll take one shot to blow him away

(Gunning for the Buddha – Shriekback)

There are many citations and opinions on the net as to what this song means. I prefer the zen koan, which goes something like: if you see a Buddha on the road shoot him because he’ll almost certainly be a false prophet (I guess a Buddhist would say you’re meeting your ‘inner longing’ or ‘desire’; personally I just like non-prophet organisations.).
If you’re interested, there’s a sweet little blog about this kind of thing : Shoot the Buddha

Other Shriekback reviews: Mercy Dash, Gunning for the Buddha, Hand on my Heart, Nemesis.


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Turkey Light

There’s a reason Turkeys prefer to live in Norfolk …


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American Institutions #7 : The FAA

‘Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 666 to Hell and Below. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt, and if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.’

Whilst Americans are now totally aware of the many factors which can cause an


airplane to crash – e.g. Afghans OR Taliban OR Iranians OR Iraqis OR Cubans OR Communists OR Domestic Terrorists OR Africans

OR pilot error
OR computer failure
OR operator error
OR Air Traffic Control error / overload / meltdown (anywhere in the world)

... and those of you on the right of the aircraft, please look left!

OR weather balloons (military, civil, Mythbusters)
OR flocks of birds / skeins of geese
OR volcano ash
OR The Day After Tomorrow

What they might not know is that, all that aside, the ONLY thing stopping them from a fiery exothermic explosion

Isaac Newton produces a reaction

10 times worse than Napalm-with-fairy-liquid-extra-from-a-great-height type of death, is  an uneasy coalition of semi-proven British and Italian Science, to wit a “Law” of Newton and a “Principle” of  Bernoulli (you can tell which is which as Italians don’t have laws and the English don’t have principles)

The Law of Newton’s at work here (his third, for those of you who are sufficiently relaxed to count – or care), is what provides the forward thrust. It involves lots and lots of barely controlled exploding unstable chemicals, loosely directed towards the rear or the aircraft, which provide the action to which the forward thrust of the plane is the opposite (and equal, give or take), reaction. These explosions are courtesy of aviation “fuel” which is stored in those slightly curved longish structures left and right which are the only thing between you and an abject lesson in terminal velocity (remember the one with the cannonball  and the feather? – substitute fiery ball of molten metal and your head).


Of course, with all those pesky uneven surfaces between one place and another (rivers, mountains, freeways, cities etc.), some elevation is required. This is where the Italians come in. Those curved longish fuel tanks (a.k.a. “wings”),  are curved for a reason. The distance from the front of the wing to back is longer on the top (the curved bit) than the bottom, and if one thing travels a further distance than another in the same time, it follows that the first thing must be travelling at a faster speed. In this case, the first thing is the air above the wing, and the second is the air below it.

This causes a lower pressure region above the wing and a higher pressure below, which, in turn,  produces lift. There are other factors, but basically that’s it.

As scary as that may sound, the good news is that the science seems to hold good most of the time, and the laws of physics are more resilient than most laws you’ll fall foul of during the course of your day.

So there it is:  on the average flight all you’ll have to worry about are the drunken, bored, sensory+sleep deprived morons (the passengers), the fascist waitresses (‘Dinner’ – ‘What are my choices?’ ‘Yes or No’) excuse me hostesses excuse me “flight attendants”, the failed window-dressers who “like to pack” and the altogether too relaxed pilot  (‘Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land.’) …




.. and provided that none of the (vital) parts are non-genuine “economy” parts fitted by Big Mel in Manilla (or Seoul, or Mexico City or Toronto or …)

… and the navigation system wasn’t really designed by Microsoft …

… then

‘Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride and the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of us.’ .

I'm sure you'll be fine



… sometimes pirate music is cool

When the world stops turning

then I’m Going Back Home






Mick Green 1944 – 2010

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Mona’s Bar


Jack couldn’t get a handle on Vegas. In the 6/10ths of a second it took the lift to descend to the lobby, he tried to orientate himself. On the cab-ride to the Bellagio, he’d seen Paris, Venice and Egypt all within a buck-fifty of each other. He needed  to ground himself in the banality of a faceless hotel lobby. Not a chance. The lift opened to a cacophony of bells and whistles which in London would have drawn the homeless from 6 counties. He looked for an exit. Bad idea – the heat hit him like a holiday in hell. He retreated into the hotel and was immediately confronted with a Roman centurion. Jack just didn’t get it. There was more money here than in Dick Whittington’s A-Z but everyone dressed as though they’d just come from an audition at the circus – and they didn’t get the part. Americans, it would seem, liked their fun. He found another exit with taxis within snorkeling distance and asked for the Mona’s Bar. The driver smirked but said nothing. He didn’t have to – it was that kind of town.


The bar was small; so small Jack was glad no-one in the band was playing the trombone. He ordered a vodka coke. It came in a glass which looked as though it had recently housed goldfish and tasted like the thing that killed them. She was sitting at the far end of the bar absorbing light without putting on weight. She was blonde: it looked natural and so did everything else. She was dressed in a green Chanel suit that looked as though it had clocked up air-miles before it hit the store and cost more than a first-class ticket. She turned slightly to flick the ash from her cigar and her jacket moved just enough to prove that gravity is a law made to be broken. Her skin was that special kind of white that’s usually reserved for the best china and her eyes had an Asian tilt although they were the same colour as her suit – she probably ordered them to match. She blew smoke in Jack’s direction. A lot of people had been doing that recently and not one of them looked as good as she did. Jack moved the length of the bar in about two steps.

‘Mona Mind’ was all she said. It was all she had to. This was more than sexual chemistry; they both immediately recognised something in the other – something put there by the hand of Dr. Marten. So this was why he was here. There were things to be discussed, much to be learned but first things first: This was, after all, Las Vegas.

(Tim Shreeve)


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Forget the French … listen to the Irish

George Best (1946-2005)

All the existentialism you’ll ever need.

“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”


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Round the Mulberry Bush

Monday        I’m a creationist; I refuse to believe that I could have evolved from man.

Tuesday        I know it all.  I just can’t remember it all at once

Wednesday      I doubt even my doubts.

Thursday        I think I’m doing fine, method-acting in my own life … and then it hits me: this is what I have become and this is really real.

Friday        The only reason I’m not angry all the time is lack of enthusiasm.

Saturday        I fully realise that I am depressed because of my inability to construct a future.

Sunday        I used to get high on life but lately I’ve built up a resistance.

Monday (again)    I’m a creationist; I refuse to believe that I could have evolved from man.


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More from Jon’s Uncle …


… where a fly without wings is a walk.


WANTED: ELECTRIC KILN for school, big enough for 40 children.

click to enlarge

WANTED: Self-storing aluminum window salesman.
WANTED: Woman to share flat. w/ washer and dryer.
NOW ACCEPTING applications for cooks between 2 and 5.
HAVE FAMILY, would like to exchange for home in Amsterdam.
EXTREMELY INDEPENDENT MALE. 17 years old, needs to rent room.  Call his mother on 0493-612837
2 YEAR old teacher needed.  9-6.  Experience required.
AVAILABLE.  French speaking secretary who speaks floorless English.
AVAILABLE.  Work skills: Strong on interpersonal relationships, typing,filing, and reproduction.
3-ROOM FLAT. incl. heat, hot water, stove, refrig., smoke alarm, single female.
DEWHURSTS due to staff problems : Typewriter: works for only £10. Nobody can beat our meat.


FOR SALE: Bull dog.  Will eat anything.  Loves children.
FOR SALE: 9-volt smoke alarm with silencer.
MUST SELL: 3 grave spaces in Gorleston-on-sea, very reasonable.  Plus air-conditioner.
MUST SELL: Health food store, due to failing health.
FOR SALE: Instant coffee table.
FOR SALE: Gent’s upright urinal; also microphone, stand, and amplifier.
LOST: 2-year-old brown male Datsun, very well behaved and friendly.
FOR RENT: Bridal suite.  Adults only.
FOR RENT: Fully furnished house.  Includes three toilets.  £200 per wee.
FOR RENT: Front room, suitable for two ladies, use of kitchen or two gentlemen.
PART-TIME HELP WANTED.  Must have creative skills, drivers license, and car with outgoing

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