izmeina: (Don't panic)
Evil Izzie has done the deed. After days of dithering choosing between the path of spineless jellyfish or evil bitch, we have chosen to follow our true nature.

Last Tuesday, the infamous luminous green memo from Dolores appeared.
In large bold font and capitals, it announced



The Serpent strikes back )

So - today - after finally getting confirmation of the legal position - based mainly on 'contract by conduct' since the Iz does not actually have a written contract of employment but has had the same two days off for the last ten years and has never done night shifts during any of that time - the Iz decides that it is time to write our own little memo - also on luminiscent green paper - this time a post-it note

(*followed by Izzie's muggle name*)

Izzie stuck this little calligraphic creation in the roster next to her name which is just below Makende's which has all his shifts blocked out and 'resigned' written in the blank box on the right for notes. Izzie aligned it with the blank boxes so that all the shifts are still visible without removing it. The big advantage of putting it in the roster is that lots and lots of folks will see it - even the dopy doormat Josie - and so by the time that Dolores gets rid of it - it will be almost as infamous as a certain interview in the Quibbler.
And she won't be able to say that it is bad mannered and rude as it is written in such a similar manner to her own precious epistles. She cannot also claim that we should have approached her personally concerning the night shifts as she and her minions did no such thing for us.

So - tomorrow will be D-day. Assuming she is still there by the time Izzie starts the 4pm shift - wonders if we will be getting one of those infamous phone calls.
But Izzie does know one thing - will say as little as possible as quietly as possible - refuse to negotiate and casually mention the dreaded U word and 'contract by conduct' See - dearest Dolores just might find herself wondering what other tales this treacherous rat has been telling about her to those uppity union elves.
So all we need now is the guts to stand up to the bitch and not to be intimidated by her demented aura and evil eye or the phone of doom.
And at last, we might get some moneys's worth for those $$14 fortnightly union fees that we could not really afford. Strange - if Dolores only knew - the Iz had seriously considered leaving the union in April as we no longer needed to be in it since we had such a decent manager who mainly used consent and co-operation to run things with conscription and use of Boss authority as the very last resort.
izmeina: (Default)
After Izzie's recent recovery from a rather nasty attack by Dementors, been able to turn up to work and do our elvish duties with the detached indifference required to maintain sanity.
While adopting some of Kreacher's delightful habits in our campaign against the Bitch - the Izzie policy is to be as helpful as possible and to do little extra things for fellow elves but do nothing as a favor for the old bat. So while we are quite happy to swap shifts with other elves if they need a time off for some particular reason, any requests to work double shifts or to stay until 4pm because some one has rung in sick or whatever is met with a flat refusal.(When some one with a long shift calls in sick, they try get some staff member to stay longer and give the agencies the short shifts because agencies are much more expensive) And this from a critter who back in March actually volunteered to postpone one week's holiday because we were very short staffed. Teresa (the boss we had for 3 very short but wonderful months) had the decency to notice and to thank the Izzie for it but it was no big deal - being just one of the many of the little acts of goodwill that we were happy to provide.

Even on the occasions that we did not volunteer, the Iz would nearly always say yes to stay longer or to work on one of our regular days off if asked. But that all changed in April.
Dolores does things like take shifts off some elves once the roster has come out. Did that to a girl the other week - took both her Friday evenings and gave them to some one else who did not turn up one week and walked out the next one. And guess who they rang both Friday evenings when they realized they were going to be one elf short? She couldn't believe that had the audacity to do such a thing and said no on both occasions.

So today, two days in a row half of the morning staff are agencies as well as the two new Chinese elves who can hardly speak English and who are here on some sort of exchange scheme which involves them working through some agency and getting paid peanuts. So they are getting dumped with lots of double shifts - like 7-11 and then 2-8pm and are not getting their four days off per fortnight.

Izzie was rostered on 7-4pm today and it wasn't too bad at all except for the fact that Dolores and Penguin and the rest of her inner circle were present and seemed to be scheming more than usual.
It was only when Sandra who started at 2pm asked if we had seen the latest memo that the Izzie ears pricked up. Oh a new one? Haven't had one of those for a long time - last one was back in May when she announced that a nursing home with 66 beds (15 in the new building are still not yet filled) did not need laundry or cleaning done on weekends and these were to be immediately discontinued. There was certainly no new ones at lunch time and Sandra is not the sort of elf who makes up stuff.

So, Makende and Izzie potter off down to the staff room for a peek around 3pm. There it is spellotaped to the table and pinned to the wall in all its evil green glowing glory
A lime green fluorescent A4 page - Izzie does not have the exact words - will get ourselves a copy on tomorrow's evening shift


Yesssss. The whole thing was written in bold CAPITALS, size 16 font - and don't tell the Izzie that these idiots don't know the rudimentary basics of netiquette - it's not online but in any context such use of capitals can be seen as screaming and shouting - oh and Iz just LOVES the 'thanking you for your cooperation' bit
Co-operation??? - this thing has just come out of nowhere with no hint of consultation
Any normal boss would first ask for volunteers to do night shifts before resorting to conscription - (in most nursing homes folks who do night shifts do those only and no day or afternoon shifts at all) and of course - never once accepts the reason for these shortages is that she keeps sacking the night staff - the latest after only 3 days - or pissing them off so that they resign of their own accord.

Oh boy. There'll be a much much bigger staff shortage by the time the evening elves have all gotten to read this particular Managerial Decree.
So, Izzie was hoping to get the reaction from the 3 elves starting at 4pm to this little act of diplomacy but unfortunately Dolores and her minions were sitting outside smirking and smoking - probably amused at the consternation they were causing.
But we did get to peek at the roster - the issue we were discussing being whether or not they would be making changes to the roster starting tomorrow which has already been up for two weeks or so. No they hadn't but they did have the following one (28 Sept to 11 Oct) hidden in the back of the folder. The Iz took a peek. The first four shifts 28 Sept to 1 Oct, the Iz had been given night shift - four damned nights in a row. Makende got dumped with 3 and another elf who Dolores hates and is always bullying got dumped with 3 also. Others got filled by two day staff who had already indicated that they were available for nights.
And of course - La Diosa and La Diabla - the terrible twins who are unofficially running the place and already commandeer the cream of the crop (all the 8 hour weekend shifts - all weekends and both days which pay much higher rates than Monday to Friday) - how many night shifts did they get? Not a single solitary minute between them.
Now if this is not provocation, we don't know what is. Like do they care that some of these elves have families and young children? Izzie doesn't have such commitments but that is still not the point. The issue is that they are nasty noxious arrogant nazi filth so drunk on power that they insist on treating other human beings as objects to be used in whatever way they see fit. Stupid shit kicking elves too dumb to be worthy of any respect.
So, subject to finding out from the union if this sort of thing is legal, the Iz has to decide if we are going to have a show down and if so - what are our options. They know it is a bit harder to sack folks who have been around a bit longer than 3 months but they can always do things like suddenly giving you ten four hours shifts per fortnight in order to starve you out.
Like -even if the Izzie just loved night shifts - that is not the point - it is the fact that they are getting more blatant with their utter contempt for the elves and feel no need at all to consult with us as if we exist only to fulfil their miserable management needs. And this is before the infamous October IR laws get tabled in Parliament.

So - it's just over two weeks to D-Day where Izzie has to decide if she will give in and do those night shifts or say No - we are not doing them and prepare to face the possible consequences. Or of course - we could stop being lazy and procrastinating and get out looking for a Goblin job.
Dolores and Izzie have hated each other's guts for a long long time - and since the funeral of our favorite hobbit last year - this had turned to pure and utter loathing. So putting Izzie on night shift may be just the provocation she is seeking.
Izzie is so so seeking advice for the coming showdown with the Beast
izmeina: (Don't panic)
Things is all topsy turvy in Izzieland. Should be slinking around the Izzie Lair slaving over a hot abacus rather than squiggling in Secret Diary Land.
Lately the Izzie has been working Wednesday evenings and therefore has to rely on nasty netcafes to lurk online. But today got a 7-1 shift which was handy for having a nice sunny afternoon free for useful activities such as procrastination but was a bummer having to get up early after having broken the vow of NO online lurking after 11pm until after Monday 22 November.

Since the last goblin exam is on Monday and the following Monday Izzie is rostered on for another morning shift, that means that yet again the Iz will be deprived of her weekly visits to Chatland. So so unfair. Looks like we will have to resort to using the netcafe during weekdays instead.

It's so so strange. Just cannot get in the mood for serious study - like actually sitting down and doing questionses to see what the Izzie really knows rather than the rather ineffective trick of just reading stuff in the textbook. But luckily a lot of the stuff in managerial accounting builds on things we have learned before. In fact, this unit is much much easier than the stuff we did in Managerial Accounting 101 which is supposed to be a prerequisite unit. I guess it's because there's lots of managerial waffle and weasel words - stuff like 'cost centres' and their absolute favorite 'responsibility accounting'. A pathetic mixture of bean counting with some management motivation 101 rubbish tossed in. Total crap. But at least the Iz knows where she stands with that one. Got 25.4 marks in the bag and another 70 are up for grabs in this exam. Since the unit has a pass mark of 50%, technically the Iz can get less than 50% in the exam and still pass the unit. But really - we are aiming a bit higher than that. 45/70 would be just about right. Well certainly 40 anyway. It sure takes a lot of pressure off. Maybe too much in fact.
It's the other unit that is the real black sheep. Or as Donald Rumsfield might say "The known unknown"

The exam is worth only 40% of the whole course. But we will be all turning up on Friday at 3.30 pm (what a waste of glorious sunshine) and none of us have any clue whatsoever what marks we have accumulated up to that point. And due to the lack of correct procedures concerning privacy for the student assessment forms that the Iz mentioned the other week, Iz would not put it past these bastards to be utterly petty and vindictive and to take the opportunity to be rather nasty to Elizabeth and Izzie who gave them a very hard time by not behaving like decent members of the Cornelius Fudge adoration and appreciation society.
In spite of the constant harping about the need for critical thinking and justifying one's position, they displayed a distinct lack of interest in seeing such activities actually practised in their class room.

Iz has never once felt it necessary to ever appeal any of her results with the examinations boards. We are hardly going to complain about that handful of 90 pluses but there also was the odd 53 and 55 in there too. But Izzie knew that she stuffed up those particular exams and had no one to blame but herself. But this time just might be the exception.
So instead of lurking around St Brutus Secure Centre for Incurably addicted Muggles and lovers of spooky artefacts celebrating 11 years in the land of the Rainbow Serpent - yes. It was Friday 19th November that the Iz arrived here - and being the exact day and date and everything - would have been the perfect excuse for a sunset picnic. But Cornelius Fudge has stuffed up those plans. Instead we will probably get to squiggle a whole pile of crap about Socrates, utilitarianism, universalism and John Rawls's theory of Justice.
Pity. Just like last years potential brilliant "Strategic Games", this unit about ethics in business could have been truly fascinating and educational instead of a ridiculous waste of nearly 800 silver sickles and countless hours of precioussss serpent time. Izzie is only lucky that she is interested in this sort of stuff anyway so studying for this particular exam is not a chore at all.
In fact, it is so so true what one of our economics lecturers once said that one of the best ways of learning economics is simply to read the financial papers and business pages of the regular newspapers because it gives you an idea of how the stuff works in practice and after a while you begin to notice certain patterns emerging.
And it nearly always impresses examiners to give concrete examples of concepts fresh from the Financial Review that very morning because you obviously couldn't have crammed or rote learnt the stuff and you show that you can apply the concepts learnt outside of the narrow limits of the course. But we will have to stay away from the disgustingly sad James Hardie asbestos saga because every Tom, Dick and Harry will be mentioning that story in connection with 'stake holder' theory and 'corporate social responsibility'

Mentioning Halliburton, Lockheed or Bechtel may also be rather risky as Cornelius and Co have left it in no doubt that they are members of the GWB cheerleading squad.


Nov. 12th, 2004 06:18 pm
izmeina: (oro)
Many moons ago, Izzie found herself asking the question "Is it better to take a chance and be disappointed than to play safe and spend the rest of your life wondering "What if...? or even worse "If only...."?"
The boring job Izzie had back then in 1988 had a shelf life of 12 months and after that, it would be time to go looking for another one. But while at this job, a letter came from a cultural exchange program where you could get a 12 month work placement in Germany. Accomodation would be provided and the jobs would be fairly unskilled with house elf wages. It was not necessary to be fluent in German to apply for such jobs because the whole point of the exercise was to live and work in a foreign country and pick up the language at the same time.
But like the job Izzie previously had, it would be valid for only 12 months as the purpose was to then give another newbie a chance.

Iz had always been a shy and ever so unadventurous little mouse and this sounded all a bit too out of the Izzie comfort zone. But at the same time, Iz always had imagined how wonderful it would be to live in a foreign country as a resident rather than a tourist. In the end, Iz resorted to one of her favorite decision making devices - asking the question "How will you feel about your decision ten years from now?"

So Iz packed up her bags and in February 1989 arrived alone and friendless in D'land to be met by the couple who had organized and arranged this particular job placement which was in a nursing home run by the local church in a little town about an hour's drive west of Hamburg.

Iz knew nothing about them except their names and address but it was so so strange. Iz felt instantly at home with them. She was from Scotland so it was nice to have some one to speak English with. Iz soon began to regard this lady as her fairy Godmother and it was this wicked woman who corrupted Izzie into reading the adventures of a certain pagan Godless wizard boy! This was years later of course - we were keeping in contact by letter and phone. It was so so uncanny their resemblence to the Weasleys and it was not just the Izzie who noticed the amazing similarities.

The Izzie sister who was working as an au pair in Paris came over to visit in the summer. Iz managed to get a week off work and suggested going to Berlin but the Izzie sister said she could only afford it if we hitch hiked. No way was Izzie interested in that particular mode of transport so we just stuck to catching trains to local places like Hamburg and Bremen.

Then in October, Iz had been in the job for just over six months and had requested three weeks holiday so that an old friend from the last job could come over and visit and we would do the grand European tour together.
Once again, Iz suggested Berlin but in those days if you wanted to go east you had to spend a ridiculously high amount per day at outrageous exchange rates. Aside from that, you would get there and return and had to go through lots of red tape to stop anywhere east of the border so it was all too much hassle. In the end we decided to go to Munich instead and visited Bremen, Hannover, Heidelberg and Hamelin (of Pied Piper fame) along the way.

That was late October 1989 and that was when Iz realized how low her house elf wages really were. We had a wonderful time but there was so much month left at the end of the money.
Came back and went to the airport to say goodbye to this girl and then returned home to the prospect of one more week of holidays but not a silver single sickle left. Well - one or two. So Iz moped around and had herself a grand pity party. By then it was the second week of November. After months and months of news stories of Czech and Hungarian people escaping over the borders in hot air balloons and numerous novel ways, suddenly the unexpected happened and the DDR Government decided to open the Wall for a day. Little did they know just how long that day would last.
So there was Izzie living about eight hours away from where it was all happening and too broke to be able to get a bus or train to join in the party.

It was pretty annoying but I then thought - Now imagine if you had played it safe and not gone to Germany. You would be spending the rest of your life in regret thinking "If only. If only"
While not actually being able to get to Berlin until the following November (and visiting this Satanic City five times since)Iz had been in Germany long enough to be able to follow all the news stories and to realize just how significant the whole thing was.

Iz did find another job before the end of the twelve months but because of the Wall and the massive immigration from both East Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia, the cost of housing had simply gone through the roof and become totally unaffordable for unskilled workers such as Iz. So we had to get one of those nasty house elf jobs where accomodation is provided and where you invariably get screwed by the boss which is exactly what happened. But that is another story altogether.
Iz did leave Heil Hilde's hell hole in Hamburg and returned to the little town where she had been before and got a job as a kitchen elf. All in all, ended up staying just under five years in Germany. There was no future there for the likes of Iz so we decided to pack up the bags and head off down under to be re-united with Ma and Pa Dursley.

Iz is getting all slushy and nostalgic because it was Friday 12 November 1993 when she said goodbye to her Fairy Godparents and Germany. It may be 11 years ago but we can still remember it as if it were yesterday.
The ma keeps saying that going to Germany was the worst and stupidest thing that the Izzie ever did in her life time and that nothing good came out of it. Iz did have some horrid times there but learnt stuff that she never could have learnt any other way and was there at a most amazing time. It was truly amazing visiting all those places in the East such as Quedlinburg and Wittenberge and even the utterly awful Dresden and Leipzig. This was all before the Wessis took over and turned some of them into tourist traps and they still looked like movie sets from the 1940's. It truly was like living in a time warp.

Iz especially loved the Brocken, Quedlinberg and Thale and could easily imagine just why these places had a a reputation for magic and mystery and plain old witchery. The Quedlinbergers were quite happy to have broomsticks, cats and cauldrons in the shop windows but were not too keen to admit that this place had one of the worst reputations in all of Europe for witch burnings. Iz knew this stuff because she had read all about it in her flobberworm days and it was one of many reasons to visit the place.
Another being the castle which used to be rather important during the days of the First Reich (The Holy Roman Empire) and had acquired a reputation as a favorite lurking place for some rather unsavoury characters from the Third Reich.

It is hard to believe that it is now 15 years ago since the Wall came down. It's hard to believe now that it even existed. And Iz is happy to say that she is glad she didn't play safe and have to spend the last few days thinking "I could have been there too"

Although it is now 11 years since last seeing Molly and co, they will always have a special spot in this serpent's heart. They have had an influence on the Iz that they can only begin to imagine.
izmeina: (oro)
Izzie slinks into the darkness of Secret Diary Land. So so much gossip but so little time. So much stuff happening but work and evil Goblins keep getting in the way. Yessss. In less than two weeks, the Izzie has the very last two of her Goblin exams and should not even be darkening the doors of diaryland at all. But serpents always seem to be linked to temptation.
Today was also D-Day at St Salazars when the new building finally got opened and two thirds of the residents had to be moved in. Izzie was asked to start at 2pm instead of the usual 4 or 5pm which meant there'd be no visits to the Ministry for free access to those Cyberian portkeys. Instead, would have to make do with the nasty net cafe and PAY for the privelege.

Iz was intending to give that update on the Cornelius Fudge School of Ethics - the little incident with the various definitions of 'power'. Got around to posing the question but never got back to the rest of the story. Funny how the ever so innocent Cocytusian Cat automatically thinks of electricity and not the One Ring.

Well actually - like a lot of things - the obvious meaning is often quite difficult to put into words and being a course on so called ethics - it would obviously be power of a political or managerial sort of nature. They did not actually want us to go and look up some dictionary for the following week like they did with some of their silly sayings and proverbs but wanted to know just out of curiosity what we thought power might be at that particular point in time.
Izzie's preferred definition is the ability to get other people to accept your point of view as reality (in preference to their own) and the lecturer's definition was the ability to get some one to act in a way that they otherwise would not have chosen - ie like working instead of lurking and chatting. Izzie hates to admit it but does rather like their definition. Other folks said wishy washy stuff like 'authority' which is not very helpful because it is just switching one word for another without actually explaining the concepts behind the words.

They did not care too much for Izzie's example which ran along the lines that they could decide whatever definition for power they wanted and if we did not agree and write about that one in the exam questions they could fail us. They seen it as an accusation and said that we would be judged not on parroting their opinions but justifying our own and it was outrageous to suggest otherwise. Izzie replied that she was not suggesting they WOULD necessarily do that (though we do have our suspicions) only that they did have the POWER to do that if they so chose - in the same way that an employer has the power to choose the employee that says two plus two is five or whatever the boss wants it to be rather than what it really is. A really stupid use of power but one that is very tempting to many people who are more concerned with social approval than truth.

It's funny that Izzie gets her 'definition' of power from an itsie bitsie story only a couple of paragraphs long and which is just simply one of the best examples of real versus wannabee power in action. Iz is talking about the little argument between Jesus and the Devil in the desert where the devil is trying to set the rules of the game - if you are really powerful, you will do X, Y and Z and Jesus who refuses to play the game by saying that he does not accept those rules but has his own. In other words, anyone who has to demonstrate their power to prove it, probably does not really have it at all - or rather, has just given it to the one who demands such proof.

The second version is the one that gets things done. The first is nice if you can get it because then you can get the poor bastards to do stuff for the Boss willingly and on the cheap and they will be convinced it was their idea in the first place. The first also works when the boss is not around dangling carrots or speaking softly while waving a big stick.
izmeina: (oro)
Just when you thought it was safe to turn the lights back on )

And it gets better.
Izzie wonders what Cornelius Fudge and Dolores Umbridge would think of this nice little earner.

So, all you young management graduates don't bother with Harvard and Wharton, here's the Lazy Manager's Guide to Corporate Success, first, stock your Board with senior government servants. Next, stock the government with members of your board. Add oil and stir. When no one can tell where the government ends and your company begins, collude with your government to equip and arm a cold blooded dictator in an oil-rich country. Look away while he kills his own people. Simmer gently. Use the time collect to collect a few billion dollars in government contracts. Then collude with your government once again while it topples the dictator and bombs his subjects, taking to specifically target essential infrastructure, killing a hundred thousand people on the side. Pick up another billion dollars or so worth of contracts to 'reconstruct' the infrastructure. To cover travel and incidentals, sue for reparations for lost profits from the devastated country. Finally, diversify. Buy a TV station, so that next war around you can showcase your hardware and weapons technology masquerading as coverage of the war. And finally finally, institute a Human Rights Prize in your company's name. You could give the first one posthumously to Mother Teresa. She won't be able to turn it down or argue back.

Invaded and occupied Iraq has been made to pay out 200 million dollars in reparations for lost profits to corporations like Halliburton, Shell, Mobil, Nestle, Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Toys R Us. That's apart from its 125 billion dollar sovereign debt forcing it to turn to the IMF, waiting in the wings like the angel of death, with its Structural Adjustment program. (Though in Iraq there don't seem to be many structures left to adjust. Except the shadowy Al Qaeda.)

These evil seditious quotations have been brought to you courtesy of one Arundhati Roy -International Terrorist and Enemy of Freedom
izmeina: (goblinsnake)
Ickle Izzie is feeling sort of strange today. Grumpy and cranky and extremely irritable. It's especially annoying to find a nice quiet little computer lab and then to have one's space invaded by a bunch of squawking gits. Oh. The evil eye must have worked. They have just pissed off.
Was supposed to go to the annual Frogfest over at one of the nature reserve lakes on the other side of Dursleyville. Was last there two years ago. There's a special walkway through the swamps and marshes so you can get right in the middle of froggie territory and then afterwards they have a barbecue and sausage sizzle. Iz even put on her proper shoes today because the area is notorious for tiger snakes. Wearing sandals would be pretty silly even for a creature like Iz who likes the dear little things. Not only are they venomous but they are sort of snappy and like to stand their ground rather than slink off unobtrusively like most serpents.
But the Iz felt so frazzled and frumpy that we ended up not going in the end.

The ma has been reminding the Iz with great glee about how many weeks are left of the Izzie goblin days. And today it was sort of strange. At 11.30 today was Izzie's very very last Goblin class. It was managerial accounting.
In two weeks time will be the exams and some time after that, the ickle Izzie will be cast into internet exile. Will no longer be able to save stuff except in LJ and will not even be able to download any attachments in email except in the weekly visits to the ma's place.
Been looking through the questionses trying to work out where the instructions are for LJ picture hosting but have found absolutely nothing at all.
So we'll soon have to start moving stuff onto one of those USB thingies or saving all the Izzie goblin files as geekmail attachments.

This silly subject - managerial accounting has 30% of the mark as assignments and stuff and a ridiculous 70% for a two hour exam. That is really simply outrageous. Last time the Iz had an exam worth 70% was also last November. It just happened to be the third day of a stinking heatwave with 80% plus humidity. Iz got 70% in the mid semester exam that was worth the other 30% of the total mark and there was no reason why the big one should have been much different. Well, there would have been no reason if the Iz had not spent the night awake because it was so damned hot and stuffy and then turns up to the exam brain dead and totally stuffs it up. Somehow managed to scrape a 53 in Taxation. But that was cutting it pretty damned close.
Well. This time will be going into the exam with 25.4 of the necessary 50 marks to pass already accumulated so that is pretty reassuring. So it should not be too difficult to get 25 out of 70. Of course we are aiming a bit higher than that. 45/70 is what the Iz wants and if she stops procrastinating, it should be quite possible. Especially as this is what Iz calls one of those buzzword bingo units.

Cornelius's class has an exam only worth 40% of the total. Of all the subjects that the Iz has done, this is the only one where we are going into the exam without any feedback at all. We have not received one single mark for anything. This idiot is coming up with all sorts of excuses why and for the first time, just about everybody is pissed off with him and not just Izzie, Megan and Elizabeth (also known as the Axis of Evil) He will simply not listen when we were all complaining and saying that we need to know where we stand going into the exam. He keeps saying that marks are not the main thing. This fixation of students on marks is extremely unhealthy and that there should be other reasons for learning.

Will get back to Fudgie boy later. It just so happened that yesterday was the day that we got to mark him and it wasn't just Izzie filling in lots of 2's and 3's out of 10 in the various parts of these silly student assessment surveys. Not only are they supposed to be anonymous but every single other teacher has had a student collect all the forms and place them in an envelope and seal and sign it and hand it to a rep from Student Services so that the teacher never gets their paws on them. He never did that. He did leave the room and got his partner in Crime to put them in the envelope. She was glancing at them 'to make sure that no one had forgotten any questions' They did also have special comment forms that are optional. Unlike the others, these are not designed to be scanned by a computer in the Department of Student Services but are a chance to give direct feedback to the teachers. Anonymous of course - well as anonymous as hand writing can ever be.
You can fill them out with suggestions about what was good and bad and what improvements could be made. Iz had considered at one stage filling one in. It's one thing doing it when you have already accumulated 60% of your mark but when you don't know what that mark actualy is, it would be like kissing a tiger snake. You would never be able to prove that they didn't fail you out of sheer malice. And since there's not many folks in the class, it would not be too hard to guess who had written which comments.

The ma was always telling the Iz not to rock the boat and bite the hand that feeds her but the Izzie attitude is that she will not sell her soul and be a brown nose. Especially when they make a big thing about wanting us to think about issues and that you can say whatever you like as long as you can justify your position and back it up with logical argument. They did not actually like it at all when any of us did just exactly that but they did not have a leg to stand on because we were playing by the rules.
izmeina: (oro)
It is time for Izzie to abandon her convention of referring to the present incumbent of the White House as King George. He might often act like an omnipotent emporer but even taking into account the incidents of those missing 58,000 ballots in Florida and other unusual discrepencies, with a margin of 3 million or so of the popular vote, he has finally earned the title of President for the next four years.

Well. So the moral majority has spoken. It is reassuring to know that 52% of American voters approve of good old fashioned moral values such as state sanctioned post natal abortion, torture and detention without trial, government being economical with the truth and increased corporate welfare.
These activities are infinitely more preferable to such degenerate activities as prenatal abortion and state sanctioned same sex marriages.

It is especially welcomed, the return to good old Biblical Values of an eye for an eye and 100,000 lives for 4,000 lives.(and still counting) Let us just hope for the sake of the American public and the rest of the planet that other religious fundamentalist state sanctioned or private enterprise terrorists around the world do not adapt the same accounting standards as President Bush.

Maybe it is just as well that President Bush continues to drink from the Chalice that he poisoned himself. He does have a rather bad habit of making messes and then demanding that others clean them up. John Kerry is disappointed today but maybe he was lucky to miss out on that job after all.

As a citizen of the soon to be 51st state, Izzie does hope that we too will adopt that very wise piece of US legislation that prevents a leader standing for more than two consecutive terms. But then maybe, when the President has finished branch stacking in the Senate and Supreme Court, he can copy the noble example of Aleksandr Lukashenko and over rule those pesky checks and balances and declare himself in a referendum to be President for Life.

Have fun with the next four years of Constant Vigilance.
izmeina: smiling serpent (zmeya)
There is no good and evil. There is only profit and those too weak to seek it.

Let our friend Cornelius put that in his pipe and smoke it! Yesss. Izzie has been slaving over a hot keyboard trying to write a coherent answer to the vaguest dumbest subject matter that she has ever ever been given for an assignment.
Did mention it somewhere else here but cannot find it. Izzie would give a Z minus to idiots who write such wishy washy questionses

"The Author of the text writes that 'a course on the ethics of business should be both rigorous and fun' You hear other people say that the phrase 'business ethics' is really an oxymoron. What do you understand by that term? Do you think studying business ethics is fun? Maximum length of the paper is four to five pages double spaced. You will find that writing a short essay is more challenging than writing a longer one. Allow yourself plenty of time to write a well considered, reflective and thoughtful essay"
(also allow yourself plenty of time to work out just what the f&*#% these incompetent morons want you to write about)

But the Izzie has one question. We are supposed to reference our work. So Iz goes and snatches a wonderful quote from the Great White Witch and changes one single solitary word. Now how is one supposed to attribute this? We could always take the easy way out and give the credit to the most prolific character in all of literary history - a certain A N Onymous. But that's cheating and Izzie does not want to cheat!

One good thing is - this double spacing business - did a test run and turns out that an essay the length of the last Izzie bitching post about Cornelius and Co is about one page over the required five pages. Wonder if they would appreciate a bit of bait and switch? Iz must have at least 6 journal entries dedicated to their antics.

Oh and stolen from Abovetopsecret - where the serious conspiracy theorists lurk
Be Afraid. Be very afraid
izmeina: (Big Bad Bill)
Izzie has been lurking and slinking around and generally doing nothing today. This lazy serpent got up at 11am and did the weekly washing and stuff and decided that today would be spent lurking in the lair and pulling up the weeds. The other major job coming up is the evil nasty tax return. Really must get the damned thing done soon. Don't want to be ruining the Izzie holidays with yet more procrastination - especially as there is two more assignments and stuff still due.

In spite of it being payday yesterday and a gorgeous sunny day today, Iz just did not feel too inclined to go on grand adventures. Not just because we had that silly class with Cornelius and co at 5.30pm but mainly because there will be lots of time from next Tuesday when the Iz is on House elf holidays yet again. Seemed no point in paying bus fares to go to some distant cafes when the Ministry has the very nice Kirribili cafe on campus which is not only quiet with decent and reasonably priced coffees but you can sit outside in the sunshine too. But the biggest attraction is they have lots and lots of newspapers to read. Not just the local daily and the usual Murdoch muck but "The Age" and "The Australian Financial Review" (Goblin porn) and papers from the previous day or two.
Since Iz discovered that Michael Leunig is the resident cartoonist - "The Age" is now compulsory reading - well the letters pages anyway.

It was a perfect day for the beach but we will go there tomorrow.
The first bit of interesting gossip was when Izzie's partner in crime from the enormous auditing assignment popped by and said that the results for the managerial accounting project were online. Iz had been expecting to have to wait until the actual tutorial tomorrow to get her results and was more than a bit nervous at the prospect. We needs at least 14 to keep the grade point average at over 70%.
She herself had got 17/20 and was quite happy with the result.
So Iz pottered off to the Abacus lab 30 mins before class and after much clicking and snooping finally found what she was looking for. A big fat juicy 16.4/20. Most delightful indeed. Of course a 17 would have been nicer but Iz knows for a fact that this other girl (who looks remarkably like one of the elves from Lord of the Rings)spends ooodle and oodles of time and effort on her assignments. Infinitely more than Izzie. So it was a pretty good return on investment. Much much better than that damned auditing assignment.

So Izzie was feeling rather pleased with her beans and then got another pleasant surprise when she got upstairs to be presented with a package from Cornelius Fudge's partner in crime. It had been given to them to give to the Iz on behalf of Elizabeth who is also in the class but was not here this week. Elizabeth just happens to be the one other person in this class who gives these two a run for their money and constantly challenges their copious quantities of absolute crap. A veritable Axis of Evil we are between us.
Last week the Iz gave Elizabeth a copy of the three plays of Sophocles - Never did read the other two but Antigone is the absolute favorite play of all time for the Iz and is just ever so relevant for these troubled times now that as our lecturers like to say "Things are different now"
We both seem to be from the same planet and her favorite writers are Dostoyevskii and Tolstoi. The book she gave Iz today with a little squiggle inside the cover is her favorite of all time "Anna Karenina"
Iz really must get her email address or other contact details before this course is over because such folks are most rare indeed in Dursleyville.
Izzie felt sort of bad because the book she had brought last week - got for about 50 cents at that second hand book sale. Really must think of another one to get her that she would definitely like. One of Izzie's favorite books of all time is yet another play - the one from Dorothy Sayers but Iz does not know if this Elizabeth has any interest at all in Christianity because she wouldn't like it if she didn't. There's always good old fashioned Anthony de Mello or even Michael Leunig but that is getting a bit too decadent.

Well. It did not take too long for the usual crap to hit the fan today. For some inexplicable reason, they did not gloat too much about the result of this week's election but we did get onto the topic of that other election and they were asking us who we thought would win. Izzie says she thinks George W will because the real power in an election is not held by those who cast the votes but rather by those who COUNT them.
They were disgusted as usual with the Izzie cynicism and proceeded to ask us all what we thought the two parties in the US represented. They began with the Democrats. Iz says "Big Business" Oh no they say. They represent the working class. Well folks. What can you say about such unadulterated innocence? "And what do you think the Republicans care about" Iz replies "OIL" Lots of folks were rather amused by this.
What is so so frustrating - there is only about 3 or 4 people in the class who ever say anything or who seem to ever listen to the news or read papers or stuff. No one except the Iz had any idea which big wig 'philosopher' died this week or about that nice Anglican bishop who was calling Prince Charles a public adulterer and some other guy - probably Archbishop Carnley a 'theological prostitute'.Nice term of abuse that one. Must use it some time.

But the absolute classic of the day was the little hand out of the day with the pink and fluffy MISSION STATEMENT!!! Iz looked at this thing with amusement and then seen the name of the company - Lockheed Martin. Oh my God. What the F&*^%% Is this official "Piss the Izzie off" Week or what? No way were they going to get away with this abomination. I mean - LM can get all pink and fluffy until the owls come home to roost but one would think that of all the companies on the planet - an ethics lecturer of all people would choose something somewhat more benign unless the actual intention was to bring up this very issue of big versus small picture ethics which in their case it most certainly wasn't.

So Iz retorts ever so sweetly in her best Dolores voice "It's a bit rich of a company that manufactures WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION to be all concerned about ethics" "Like - it's morally wrong to steal the company's paper clips but perfectly acceptable to blow the hell out of other people"

And then they reply "Oh so do you think weapons are bad? You do know there was a case last year where a student came to the university of Melbourne with a gun and shot and killed two students and a teacher....Do you think it is not right for others in the class not to defend themselves?" (Er...what sort of logic is that - it's the guy with the gun who is the problem here. They seem to be following the "What if an Iraqi raped your daughter " line of logic.
Iz replied to the effect. Well he was the one with the gun and would you like it if every single student here came to your class with knives and Uzi machine guns. (implying that instead of disagreeing verbally with your stupid statements we would just mow the shit out of you) How would you feel?. Izzie for one is glad that we don't yet live in a society like that. Oh God. It would have been so much fun if Elizabeth had been here. She definitely would have known just who our little friends in Lockheed are and we would have got a bit more mileage out of their pathetic waffling gobbleydegook.Iz wonders if they actually knew just what sort of business Lockheed is in. They certainly didn't seem to care and Iz can be damned sure they expected none of us would know or care either.

At one stage they asked us for an example of a personal situation involving moral choices. Iz decided to let some one else have a go for a change. This girl came up with the scenario of choosing between getting a real job or staying on to do an honours degree! Woooowww. Hard one that is. After much discussion, Iz of course decided to liven things up a bit. Now what if you didn't have to worry about money during your honours year because you have been offered an all expenses paid scholarship by Philip Morris.
Oh this was most entertaining. Turns out Rothmans had offered the University funding for that very purpose. Iz asked if they were offering to fund the School of Public Health;) No - it was something to do with business and public relations. But the best is yet to come. The University did turn down the funding because as the Iz put it "Research designed to make their company look good will make the university look bad" Even if the money had no strings attached whatsoever - it would not appear that way to the outside world. Well that was the argument of some committee or other formed to make such decisions. Our dearest Cornelius tells us that he would have approved of the funding as it is a legitimate company selling a perfectly legal product. But he got outvoted and was a bit disappointed at the outcome. After all - it would have been a win win situation for everyone!
So there you have the measure of the man.

On a related topic, all employees here have 9% of their gross income paid into superannuation funds. Izzie's fund like most gives you a choice of cash, shares or a mixture. Iz chose the Eco-pool which for a long time had been getting lower returns than the main fund. But Izzie does not mind. No Monsanto, Lockheed, Rothmans or South East Asian sweatshop is ever ever going to get a cent off the Izzie as a consumer or investor. In a free enterprise system - the cash register is the ballot box. We cannot complain about the lack of ethics of certain companies if we then invest in them simply because they produce those magical high shareholder returns.

Sieg Heil

Oct. 9th, 2004 10:50 pm
izmeina: (Scabbers)
It looks like our Prime Mendacious has been diligently studying the words of the Master himself to great effect.

"All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying"

So once again this policy has reaped dividends.
So once again a certain saying has been proved true.

"Only three things will govern a people - fear and greed and the promise of security"

Dorothy L Sayers
izmeina: (Scabbers)
The clock is ticking by ever so slowly. Soon we shall see. Soon we shall know. Three more years of lies, grovelling and vindictive pettiness. Lies we will get in any case. The question is only the quantity and the quality.

Izzie may soon have to consider dusting off that ickle green passport. Or rather renewing it since it expired back in 1999. This place cannot yet be compared to Nazi Germany. Things are nowhere near that bad yet. But the ways and means of power are eternal. If the only thing standing between yourself and absolute power is the rule of law then the rule of law must be perverted. There are always hordes of willing Wormtails out there ready to do the bidding of their master.
Izzie was going to say "If the 'green card' is good enough for Ken Bigley, then it's good enough for the Izzie" But it seems that he might now have been murdered after all and these killers were just playing a particularly cruel game. It is hard to know what is worse - to have no hope like the families of the American hostages who were killed or to have false hopes - continually raised and dashed again. How anyone can endure such a thing is beyond the Izzie's ability to even imagine.

But while the likes of Ken Bigley may have had to pay with his life for the indirect consequences of Tony Blair's actions in Iraq, and Mr Blair is fighting for his political life over the whole invasion business, and even King George is beginning to feel the heat, over here our prime mendacious declares that we have moved on (while continually indulging in 'glory' by association with soldiers who fought in wars before he was even born)and that he has nothing to apologize for. He made the right decision based on information available at the time. Never mind that alternative sources who questioned such information at the time were given the silent treatment, ignored, pilloried and subjected to all sorts of questions concerning their sanity and national allegience.

He is not above seeing which way the wind blows. Stealing policies from politicians who may have been narrowminded and petty but at least had guts and integrity and then getting his minders to do the dirty work and destroy them.
He is even above the ancient law of the sea. National Sovereignty (ie his chances of re-election) is considered a higher principle than the noble and ancient tradition of rescuing passengers on ships in distress. The refugees on the Tampa that did not end up in concentration camps in this country ended up shipped off to Nauru where they remain to this day. The Rodent is glad to have got them out of his back yard. Out of sight is out of mind. The Nauru government is glad to be the recipient of ridiculous quantities of cash as a bribe to keep these people.
And then there is his unending compassion. A refugee residing in Australia was told that his temporary residency permit would be revoked if he left the country. That is the usual and expected rule. But the man needed to go to Indonesia to attend the funeral of his three children who drowned in mysterious circumstances while enroute to Australia on the ill fated boat known officially as SIEV X.
King Creon would have been proud of our little Johnny. A most worthy disciple indeed.
And now the audacious little bugger is phone spamming the long suffering population in one last desperate attempt to fuel his addiction to power.
Anyone who is that desperate to maintain power is by definition, unworthy to possess it.
And the greatest insult of all is that he thinks that no one even cares about any of these outrageous abuses as long as they have an extra 30 silver sickles in their pockets at the end of the day. He thinks that we are all as mean, petty and heartless as himself. And sadly, he may just be proven yet again to be right.
izmeina: (oro)

"Only three things will govern a people - fear and greed and the promise of security"

Dorothy L Sayers
izmeina: (Default)
Another lazy day in Izzieland. Been staring at the screen for the last two hours and pottering around aimlessly when the Iz should have been doing online research for boring stuff like pricing strategies for coffee beans. The real scary bit is that the detailed listing in the marking guide - between referencing, formatting, executive summaries, readability and grammar and other such stuff - presentation accounts for a ridiculous forty percent of the total mark for this stupid assignment and the whole thing in itself is only worth 20 percent of the total unit marks. The exam is an outrageous 70 which the Iz does not like at all at all. Too many eggs in one basket.

In spite of holidays and everything, Iz is just having such a hard time getting motivated to do her Goblin assignments. So it seemed sort of silly to visit the Hilton Hotel today which was hosting a post grad exhibition with all the various univerisities trying to promote themselves. Most of it was boring old MBA courses. From what Iz knows of MBA's they are theoretical sorts who are immune from any intrusion of reality. They insinuate themselves into positions of power and influence and then go around chopping heads and tossing shit everywhere, only to leave with big fat bonuses after all the damage is done.
Iz was amused to discover in the midst of all this MBA muck were some rather interesting other options available like Diplomas in Health Economics and Degrees in Forensic Sexology!!! (Yesss. What the Fuck? is exactly what Izzie thought too)

Bugger the sex. Izzie wanted sushi so she slinked out of the building and headed off to Jaws Kaiten Sushi bar for Happy Hour where you get free miso soup and 30% off all sushi. Tasty little morselses. Izzie is particularly fond of the rice and nori rolls with slimy green slivers of seaweed on top.

For a change there is no report from the Cornelius Fudge School of Ethics for the simple and wonderful reason that they had a guest speaker for most of the evening. Not that they didn't use their fifteen minutes of fame to make dumb and insulting comments about some Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur which they had recently visited during the study free week (last week)While not being a Muslim herself and having absolutely no desire to be, if folks are going to make statements about other people's religions, especially derogatory ones, at least they can get their facts straight. Same as people who go on and on about Papal Infallibility. Iz happens to think that the whole concept is a proverbial crock of shit but most people are under the mistaken impression that this doctrine applies to every single utterance from the Pope. It does in fact have a very limited application. While most people who mistakenly believe that it applies to a much bigger area of belief than it actually does, probably would also be just as against the whole idea regardless of the extent of its claims, the point is that if you are going to argue for or against some particular issue, it does help to be debating the actual issue rather than the one you would like it to be.

Izzie still cannot make head nor tail of the silly blurb that is supposed to be the subject of an essay due at the end of October. But for the moment the Iz is supposed to be taking care of those beans and this stupid subject can wait until after 5pm on 24 September.
Just to show how woolly headed and wishy washy Cornelius and his cronies are - here is the blurb that we are meant to use as a basis for an essay worth 30% of the whole unit mark.

The author of the text writes(iii)that 'a course on the ethics of business should be both rigorous and fun'. You hear other people say that the phrase 'business ethics' is really an oxymoron. What do you understand by that term? Do you think studying business ethics is fun? Maximum length of the paper is four to five pages double spaced. You will find that writing a short essay is more challenging than writing a longer one. Allow yourself plenty of time to write a well considered, reflective and thoughtful essay.
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie has been slaving over a hot keyboard for the last 60 minutes typing out her commentaries on articles for Cornelius's class.
Iz never did like saving stuff here because it just gets too crowded and we got to scroll past it all and can never find it later. But then Iz thinks - well that's what the sidebar is for you silly thing and you can always put stuff in Memories if you don't want to go looking for it.
Yesss. Looks like Ujournal has well and truly gone the way of the Dinosaurs. U journal rant )
Seems to be down for over 3 weeks now and Iz was grumpy over here when she was without her LJ fix for just 3 DAYS!
Iz would be so so lost without her online portable Pensieve.

Well, that's given Izzie's blood enough time to cool down after nearly reaching boiling point about 3 hours ago. Iz can think of at least 2 people she would love to ship off to Guantanamo Bay for a fair and balanced trial. As far as Cornelius and his assistant are concerned, David Hicks and Mahmdu Habib are guilty merely for being in Afghanistan when they got nabbed by those Americans and of course he is going to get a fair trial.
Izzie said that not only has he not killed or injured any Americans but the laws that they got him under are retrospective which makes them as good as worthless. Not to mention the whole outrageous business of tearing up the Geneva Conventions with these pathetic 'enemy combatant' classifications when these people should all be treated as prisoners of War.
They replied that things are different now. How would you feel if those planes had crashed not in New York but downtown Dursleyville. Iz replies "I'd be pissed off as hell but the whole point of the rule of law is to keep emotion out of it. That's why folks whose children have been murdered or daughters raped are not allowed to dispense their own justice to those accused of the crime."
Iz continued her rant about how the deaths of these particular 3,000 people have been used to justify all sorts of things. But at least another 3,000 people got killed on September 11 way back in 1973 but they didn't matter because they were only Chilean. Iz also added that Osama Bin Laden and the rest of those accused should be tried for murder under international law and it should not be left for one country to just go bombing the hell out of where ever they like as an act of impotent revenge.
They then started going on about just wars and name dropping stuff like Thomas Aquinas and God knows who else. Izzie replies that the best definition she has ever heard of a just war was in a Michael Leunig cartoon where a little boy is asking his father who is reading the newspaper "What is the difference between 'a just war' and 'just a war' and the dad replies 'A just war' is one that we are going to take part in and 'just a war' is a war that has already happened."

Actually, before all that stuff got going they were discussing the difference between pragmatism and moral absolutism and gave some example of the Catholic Church declaring that it is always wrong to kill regardless of the circumstances. Iz retorted that is not quite true as she has seen plenty of news reports where bishops and priests have blessed not only soldiers going off to war but even the bombs they were using!
"Oh but that's POLITICS. We are getting off the subject." Iz was pretty damn peeeeeved at this point
Oh yess. Of course. Politics and ethics have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other!"

The other thing Iz found strange was that they kept going on about the price of petrol going over $$1.20 a litre and how it was going to get worse because of those Arabs (Especially the Iraqis) Iz couldn't help but get the impression that they considered it justified to use force to get OUR OIL from these unreasonable Arabs.
They are also not averse to making rather insulting and generalized remarks about Arabs and Muslims in general which the Malaysian and Indonesian students pull them up on. This is rather unusual as these folks are normally so quiet and docile. But even the nicest folks who just want to get on with their studies and cause as little trouble as possible can only put up with so many insults before biting back.

Izzie does not expect folks to have the same values as her - especially the dark green ones and can easily understand differences on issues such as abortion, the death penalty, gay rights and what constitutes reasons for a 'just war' but does find it scary when people think that the rule of law and fair trials are utterly expendable values to be dumped at the slightest moment that they prove to be inconvenient.

It was quite amusing actually. Some folks joined in the bitching session and others just looked dumbfounded that some one would DARE question the wisdom of our all knowing lecturers. Iz was delighted afterwards when another student came up to her at the end of class and says "I saw a movie recently that I know you would just love. It's "The fog of war"" Iz asked if that was the one with Robert McNamara and we then got on to discussing Noam Chomsky and stuff and she was telling Iz more about the movie. Iz added it was nice to know that she was not alone and that years ago the thought of doing such a thing in a class would have been utterly unthinkable. (That dreadful Dursleyish influence) She added - oh I know just what you mean. I guess it comes with age." She was one of the older ones there and had added her two silver sickles worth during the discussion.

Izzie still cannot get over how they can have such pathetic creatures running this course who are constantly contradicting themselves and insulting as many people as humanly possible. But then again, Iz has come to expect nothing less from the School of Management where the last time Iz had a tutor from there he was telling us how stupid the teacher was who squealed on one of her students for blatant plagiarism. It was a very big scandal way back in 2001. This poor tutor got hauled over the coals and got no support from higher management while the sneak and thief slinked back to Singapore with her cheat's degree and her pathetic sob stories about dying dads and car accidents. I mean, the bitch had been caught cutting and pasting on numerous occasions and if she really did have family problems, she should have got a deferral like everyone else does in such situations.
His opinion was that the tutor was an inexperienced young thing who should just mind her own business and not rock the boat.
izmeina: (bigsmilie)
Izzie is a bad bad serpent. She should be writing some silly summaries of newspaper articles for yesterday's stupid class instead of bitching about what a pompous bunch of condescending gits they are.

But we actually did something really useful and interesting this week. In other words we had 30 minutes or so less of their mumbling which they replaced with yet another of their video collection. Mind you - Iz would be quite happy to watch such videos all day. Mr Alan de Botton may look rather like a yuppie but he really is quite sweet and he certainly knows his stuff which is more than can be said for the pair of clowns that claim to be teaching us some sort of excuse for philosophy and ethics. They really are far more interested in name dropping, mentioning boring conferences, complaining about today's students' dismal lack of knowledge of the classics and showing off that they can write one or two words in Greek - alphabet and all.

This week's video was about Epicurius. The poor bugger obviously got on the wrong side of the advertising and public relations mob because Iz always associated Epicureans with hedonism and unadulterated gluttony.
Actually - it seems nothing could be further from the truth. In his search for happiness, he came to the conclusion that three main ingredients were necessary and money was not among them.
Friends, freedom and fornication. Yessss. Izzie lied about that last one. We like to keep the lurkers guessing.
Actually Izzie thinks that Anthony de Mello has got it down even simpler to just one ingredient - "All you really need my dear to be happy - is something to be enthusiastic about.

Alan de Botton interviewed some twit of a hair dresser who was a compulsive shopper. His motto seemed to be - "Had a bad day at work? Take it out on your credit card!" The two lecturers asked afterwards if we were sorry for this poor guy. Iz just replied "Not at all. He's just a dickhead"
He had a wardrobe full of clothes he never wears and about seven watches - all designer labels of course.
The bit that Iz really liked is how Mr B goes to an advertising agency to get them to come up with an anti-consumerism campaign. The result was a massive billboard poster with an enormous manor with gardens and sports car parked in front with the small print in the lower right hand corner with an asterisk *Happiness not included

Mr E and Mr B weren't saying so much that money and possessions WON"T buy you happiness but rather that they might or they might not. There is no guarantee.
But Izzie does know one thing. It is very hard to be happy if you watch a lot of television or read those glossy magazines like Vogue full of adverts for must have gadgets like the Hermes compass which costs a mere 1,400 silver sickles.
Iz was gawking at one of these magazines today in a cafe because the newspapers had disappeared. It was amusing to see pages and pages of things that the Iz is perfectly happy without.

Well. Iz won't be happy if she walks home from the Min and gets dripping wet so she must be off now to be in time to catch the Knight Bus and to listen to the interminable whinges about lazy students from our dear driver whom Iz has nicknamed Argus Filch.
izmeina: (Greengoblins)
First things first - a philosophical quotes quiz

We have much to be confident about in America. Yet our economy and our country need one more kind of confidence -- confidence in the character and conduct of all of our business leaders.

All investment is an act of faith, and faith is earned by integrity. In the long run, there's no capitalism without conscience; there is no wealth without character.

At this moment, America's greatest economic need is higher ethical standards, enforced by strict laws and upheld by responsible business leaders,"

Izzie is having a wonderful time this semester with some extremely amusing subjects.
Apart from the fact that the two fearless group leaders are a pompous patronising pair who think that all students are by definition - insufferably STUPID - it is proving to be a most entertaining evening indeed on Thursdays.

Iz was hoping they would show us the Alan de Botton video about Epicurus. At least HE knows what he is talking about and is kind of cute in his own way even though he does look sort of yuppieyish. But they have saved it for next week instead.
So they started by asking who had come up with translations and explanations for last weeks Mysterious Phrase "Primum non nocere"

Four of the forty of us had. Izzie was one - not because she is a brown nose but she is curious and had worked out the first two words but was clueless about the last bit 'nocere' So they asked for a volunteer to explain it to the class. Iz did not get picked and was a bit annoyed with how they kept correcting the poor guy speaking because he could not pronounce 'Hippocrates' properly. A bunch of Latin grammar snobs by the sound of it.
They then asked each of the other three of us if we had anything to add to what had already been said.

Evil Izzie added that it would serve as a very useful decision making device when presented with a whole bunch of alternatives and being unable to choose which one was the most ethical and that there is a big difference between choosing what will cause the least harm or the most good -especially when the parties that benefit and those that suffer are often not the same group of people.
Turns out that evil Izzie had unwittingly indulged in a bit of a pre-emptive strike as that is exactly the point that they were going to make but probably take an hour or so to do it.

They then got on to discussing stuff in the news and asking if anyone had heard anything of particular relevance to the course lately.
Izzie can only conclude that folks in that class are either very shy or don't read the papers or listen to the radio as once again after a period of silence it was evil Izzie who tossed in another two silver sickles with her mention of James Hardie - who have been caught in the act with dodgy company dealings all based on the desire to avoid making payments to victims of asbestosis caused by people who used this company's products at a time when the company knew of the dangers but left the stuff on the market.

Another student added that surely if the company is morally obliged to pay for the mess they have made, the government too should also have had a role in not allowing such harmful substances to remain on the market after the dangers of its use became more widely known.
The Fearless Leaders gave her a totally pathetic and patronising answer about the different philosophy of the two major parties - ie that the Liberal Party is Laissez faire and likes to keep out of business as much as possible and that the Labour party is more interventionist and concerned with issues such as welfare. The fact that the so called "Free market and laissez faire' liberals aren't averse to a bit of corporate welfare did not seem a fact worthy of mentioning.

They then put up some silly overheads with bubbles and captions with lots of arty farty words such as ontology, metaphysics, axiology and epistimiology. Izzie and a few others had the bad manners to know what most of these meant which seemed rather unexpected. But they seemed to be working along the theory - if you can't baffle them with brilliance - bamboozle them with bullshit.

But following the philosophical thread, we got onto the predictable issue of the infamous Protestant work ethic. And yet again it was time for another quiz. They asked us to guess the identity of a group of hard working people whose society was based on the Protestant work ethic who became very rich and successful.
There was the usual guesses of Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. At that point they told us we were getting close. Since none of our guesses were correct they told us that the people they had in mind were the Boers of South Africa.

This was too much for the Iz who commented in a rather contemptuous tone. "Yesss. But they CHEATED!"

And what was their reply? Something along the lines - yess they did have some problems with the locals but that is another issue and is not relevant to this discussion.
Reminds Iz so much of the lecturer who she dubbed The Herald of Free Enterprise who claimed that there was nothing unethical in the behaviour of the tobacco companies as there is still no scientifically proven link between smoking and cancer!

Well - back to those quotes which Izzie is sure you have all guessed by now. That too was most entertaining. When they put them up Iz suggested Warren Buffet or Alan Greenspan. Some one said Kennedy and another jokingly added George W Bush to which most of us laughed ourselves silly and Iz added. For Gods' sake - he couldn't even pronounce those words and others said that he didn't need to be able to spell them as he had speech writers anyway.
So for the curiousss. Here is the original in all its glory and an added commentary
The pair of them seemed to think that the content of these speeches was proof of the high ethical standards of King George. Iz wondered what exactly was entailed by the responsibility of business leader - responsible for maximizing shareholder value most likely and was also rather curious about what they thought of the implications of his close associations with such paragons of virtue and impeccable business ethics like Kenneth Lay and Dick Cheney.

The other thing that shocked the Iz was their assumption which they posed as a question - asking if we were studying business because we all wanted to become rich and make lots and lots of money. Two of us actually said we weren't interested in making loads of money. Sorry - Iz just cannot help being an iconoclast. The other student who was the same one who asked about the role of the government concerning the asbestos story said that she wanted to work for the World Bank to help developing countries. The pair of them were cynical and realistic enough to say that the World Bank probably does more harm than good. Iz was not sure if they said that because they actually believe it (They do not seem the sort) or because they wanted to rain on her parade. (When Izzie finally goes over to the Dark Side - the World Bank would be just the place to start on the path of world dominion. The place is too miserable even for happy sorts like the Dementors)

They concluded with giving us more information about one of our assignments. What in the unit outline is supposed to be critical evaluations of 12 -15 articles from the press about business ethics, they are now telling us it is suppposed to be some sort of journal and can be based on events in on the news, movies, cartoons, or even personal experience and does not have to be written in academic third person style but rather as personal observations.

Izzie thinks she will stick to the assignment as explained in the unit outline and not their airy fairy wishy washy interpretation. But Iz is such a dedicated student that she has decided to do both. Little do they knew that Iz is keeping a journal on this very topic but using their moronic mumblings as source material. And most educational and thought provoking it is indeed.
Oh and must not neglect to mention when they handed out samples of suitable sorts of articles just to give us an idea - after Iz had accumulated five A4 sheets of such articles and there still seemed to be no end in sight - Iz remarked while passing on the stack of next instalments to the students beside her "Some poor tree had to die for this" And Iz was most amused and surprised that they had overheard this remark and made some comment about it later.

Yessss. Iz is smart assed and opinionated and proud of it!

More tasty tidbits about that speech
If only

That energy company - playing at a theater near you

And something old from 2002 that Iz has to keep here because she doesnt't have bookmarks
More sneaking and thievery
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie has had a few adventures today. With the best of intentions, Iz is getting an early start in reinforcing those long dormant domestic tendencies. No one could ever accuse Izzie of being a spare rib from Stepford. But finally bit the bullet and got around to defrosting that 1950's fridge. The seal is getting a bit old and crumbly and really needs to be replaced but it may end up costing more to do that than the fridge cost to buy in the first place. Iz keeps intending to ring and even has the Fridge Seal magnet stuck on the Fridge door. But making phone calls has become something of a ritual that tends to be forgotten as too much hassle since getting rid of that landline last year.

Next step will be more tidying up bits of paper and books and tackling that nasty tax return.
But the main event of the day was this evening's class with the Goblins. Izzie was in the Abacus computer lab near the library and should have left at 5.15 in order to get to her 5.30 class in time. But Iz got carried away with the adventures of a certain bunch of geology undergraduates on a rather interesting field trip and did not leave until about 5.25 or so. It was raining and miserable and for some inexplicable reason - the classroom for this 'ethics in business' unit was nowhere near the Min of Fin but rather as far away from it as it is possible to be and still remain on the campus - almost as if they were afraid of getting contaminated.
Iz finally arrives at building 501 five minutes late but it looked like lots of other folks got equally as lost. Izzie also suddenly realized that she had found the location of the mysterious third Abacus computer lab which was on the ground floor of this very building and unlike the other two - actually has toilets where you don't have to leave the secured section to access. Izzie hates having to swipe her ID card all the time. Seems that not many folks know of this place at all. It is virtually empty. Next week, will be able to come straight here and potter online and then get the lift upstairs without worrying about being wet or late like today.

It certainly got off to a promising start. We began with an Alain de Boitton video about Socrates. Iz did think it was a bit silly having him lurking around the streets of Athens in imitation of his idol - approaching people and asking stuff like "What is the meaning of life?" and "What is justice?" in English as if it's the most natural thing in the world that Athenians all speak English. In fairness, he did hang around a lot of touristy looking spots and was able to ask such questions in French to the French speaking tourists that he found.

The two lecturers then introduced themselves and got to asking what we thought of the video and stuff and what we thought were the most important points. When they got on to the topic of logic - Iz couldn't resist asking about the logic of charging law subject prices for a unit run by the School of Management. They were not particularly interested in answering that one and just as evasive as the bureaucrats behind the desks last week.

The assigned essay for the unit asks among other things if the term "business ethics' is an oxymoron. They asked what an oxymoron is and for any examples. Iz was ever so glad to oblige - 'a contradiction in terms' and gave as an example as well as the usual well worn 'military intelligence', "John Howard and the truth"
Then there was a whole bunch of famous quotes on the first few pages of the unit outline. Iz got asked about "Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?" which like most of the Latin quotations did not have a translation. They really were rather surprized that she had not only heard of it before but also knew what it meant.

They got various folks to read out some of the Latin sayings and got great delight in correcting their mispronunciations and giving the general impression that the standard of education has slipped immensely since Latin got taken off the curriculum.
The one that really peeved the Izzie was their comments concerning "Fiat justitia, et ruant coeli" which goes something along the lines of "Let justice prevail, even if the sky is falling down" which they said meant that justice should be observed at all costs, no matter what the circumstances. Izzie adds "Yesss. Like in Guantanamo Bay"
They replied - "Oh you are trying to provoke us. This is supposed to be about ethics, not politics" and made some other comment implying that they believe that what is happening in Guantanamo Bay is in the interests of maintaining justice.
Iz was just so so flabbergasted that she was lost for words and is wondering if these two just happen to be graduates of the Cornelius Fudge School of Ethics.
As far as Izzie is concerned, politics has everything to do with ethics - especially where the abuse of power is concerned.

It is quite surprising - not sure if it's because folks are shy or simply haven't heard of most of these proverbs that so few people seemed to know anything about those quotes or the people who made them like Cicero, Jeremy Bentham, St Augustine, Socrates or even the more recent Henry David Thoreau.
I guess a lot of so called general knowledge is not so general anymore. But this looks like it's going to be a fun class and will be a chance to meet folks interested in talking about the meaning of life and stuff. It will also be an opportunity to suss out the two lecturers to see what makes them tick. In spite of talking about the virtues of Socrates - question everything, don't take some one else's word for anything just because they have authority and don't follow the crowd etc etc - they do seem to have some old fashioned "The government always knows best" attitudes.
But anyone who considers Alain de Boitton videos to be educational and useful cannot be too bad after all.
The last phrase on the list of important terms along with 'corporate social responsibility','organizational values', 'utilitarianism' and 'universalism' is another of their Latin favorites "Primum non nocere" which they want us to find out for next week among other things.
Iz figured the first bit was well "First no something or other" but did not know what on earth 'nocere' could possibly be. But Iz consulted the all knowing Oracle of Google to find out that it was none other than the Hippocratic Oath "First do no harm"

So the next few weeks activities will include finding lots of newspaper articles about unethical behaviour in business (or even ethical behaviour - but that may prove to be too challenging) and writing critical evaluations of the aforementioned articles. Any links to the evil doings of the Litigious Bastard and the darkest deeds of Microshaft will be most appreciated. ;)
Izzie also has to do a five minute speech on Friday 13th for that public speaking group - on the topic of "I get the point" and remains totally uninspired at present.


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