Friday, November 28, 2008

Inconsequential Trivia

Back in 1966 I started to keep a record of the magic shows that I performed; details of venue, times, audience, effects performed and income generated.
Apart from a total number of shows for each month and then year, I kept a running tally of the total number of performances.

This week I passed the 4,000 mark.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Curious Irony

A Curious Irony ~as a computer virus affects hospitals

The Royal London Hospital is among the three hit by the computer bug 

Three London hospitals have been forced to shut down their entire computer systems for at least 24 hours after being hit by a virus.

St Bartholomew's (Barts) in the City, the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green are affected. A spokesman said well-rehearsed emergency procedures were in place. Theatres and outpatient departments had remained operational, and patients with appointments were still being seen. The spokesman said walk-in patients were being accepted at accident and emergency, and processed using manual back-up systems. But ambulances were being diverted to neighbouring hospitals to ensure that seriously ill patients did not suffer as a result of the slower manual systems being used. The patient transport system used by elderly or disabled patients to attend routine appointments has also been disrupted. The spokesman said the virus was "not malicious", and the infection was "self-contained".

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Credit Crunchie

Following the problems in the sub-prime lending market in America and the run on HBOS in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan.

In the last 7 hours Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches. Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.

Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black. Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.

Courtesy HoaxSlayer

Monday, November 10, 2008

Speak up about dumbing down

The great thing for TV, is to get people who will embarrass themselves for the entertainment of others, whether it be marriages that are on the rocks discussed in a public forum; sad 'z' list ex-performers who get into reality show in an attempt to revitalize their careers; nice old codgers who really can't cut the mustard in ballroom dancing; performers who get it spectacularly wrong, or a performance that is simply edited to show the worst bits ~ all in the name of entertainment. Paying a class act would be far too expensive! I guess this is what is meant by dumbing down. Even experienced broadcasters can sink to the level of leaving messages, in bad taste, on an elderly actor's answering machine and we all saw where that led!

It must be a sign of getting mature when one harks back to days when entertainers were skillful, fun, but not always 'novel'. How I still enjoy a classical piece of jazz or a routine by Victor Borge (Who? you ask; it's an age thing. C'est la vie)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Anonymous commentator & 0870 numbers

In reply to my entry about Olympic Airways I received a response from 'anonymous'.
As a general rule I do not encourage anonymous postings/replies; after all I've put my name to what I've written, why can't others do the same.
The poster comments about the excessive charges of an 0871 number and that it shouldn't be a premium rate number.

In reply all I can say without fear of contradiction is that I called it from a mobile in order that I could put it on a speaker to save me getting arm ache as I waited for a reply ~ a reply which, in fact, never came! Further I saw the phone bill for this singular call, £1.43.

I take the writer's point that it is the mobile phone company who are 'ripping' subscribers off with their excessive charges.

I feel another rant coming on about 0870 numbers and would point you to a web-site about this very subject.

Why Olympic Airways are Total Rubbish

The following correspondence is probably self -evident to explain the title:


Subject: Re: Your flight has been re-scheduled

Date: 11 September 2008 17:40:12 BDT


September 2008 David Weeks London UK

Dear Whoever you are at Olympic Airlines ~ no name given,

My name is David Weeks but you only seem to think of me as 'Dear Passenger',

I am deeply disappointed in your totally inconsiderate behaviour.
I book a flight on your airline because I have no choice ~ you have a monopoly control of flights in and out of Kalymnos.
In good faith I book a connecting flight from Athens back to London allowing enough time to make the change at Athens.
You now inform me that for 'Operational reasons' which in fact means absolutely nothing apart from, because you feel like it and you can, because you have no opposition. nor competition to consider, change the time of the flight so that it arrives in Athens after my London flight has departed.

You say:

We apologize for any inconvenience, this may have caused you and thank you for your understanding.

Your apology is meaningless, the inconvenience and extra expense you have no idea about, and no, I do not understand, because you do not explain.

When I ring your office in London (£1.43) I am told without any hint of an apology that you have the 'right' to change booked flights, everyone has the right to change booked flights and there is nothing I can do about it. Further that you have no responsibility, whatsoever, for the considerable inconvenience and expense (an overnight stay at the airport £128.34, and £171.20 to change the onward flight) that you now cause this passenger. It is a "tough luck for you" attitude that simply makes me want to vomit.

Having changed my Athens to London flight I phoned you, Friday 25 Jul at 11:01, to double check that the flight was still booked for the original date. After 33 minutes (00:33:40) having been held in a queue, then told I was next in line to be answered I got taken back to the back of the queue. All this on a premium rate number (08712000500). How pathetic that you cannot attract passengers and resort to charging premium rate numbers to deal with enquiries.
The fact that you didn't deal with the enquiry but charged me £7.14 in return for nothing, speaks for itself!

Your complete inefficiencies have cost me £308.11. You may be quite sure that I will never travel anywhere using your airline, ever again.

What compensation are you going to offer me?

Despite the new time you sent me, the flight, in fact landed late at Kalymnos and then took off late too.

Olympic Airlines does not, in truth, have a good reputation ~ I wonder why? You now have another dissatisfied ambassador who will not hesitate to tell all his friends and acquaintances of the totally shabby treatment that he has received at your hands and that travellers should rather go by boat than suffer the ineptitude in both service and customer relations that you presume to offer. In telling everyone I meet about the fantastically low quality of your outfit I have discovered a whole range of other horror stories relating to Olympic Airlines. The sooner you cease trading the better it will be for the planet, and for all travellers.

One very disgusted ex-customer,

David Weeks.

On 25 Jun 2008, at 03:51PM
Re-scheduled Flight
Booking Reference: RXKU8H

Dear Passenger,

There is a schedule change on your flight(s) booked with Olympic Airlines due to operational reasons.

Your flight OA13 on 08SEP originally scheduled to depart from Kalymnos Island to Athens at 07:15, has been now changed to flight OA15 08SEP, departing from Kalymnos Island at 16:35 and arriving in Athens at 17:35.

We confirm your flight details, as follows:

Your Flight
FromToDepartureArrivalFlightTravel Category

Kalymnos IslandAthens08SEP 16:3508SEP 17:35OA15ECONOMY

We apologize for any inconvenience, this may have caused you and thank you for your understanding.

Should you have any further questions, you are welcome to call your local Olympic office.

Have a nice flight,
Olympic Airlines

Over a Month later I receive a reply:
Dear Mr Weeks,

Thank-you for your email letter dated 11th September 2008, which I receivd today from our Athens Head Office.

Naturally it is always our intention and desires to operate each of our flights in accordance with published schedules, and we are concerned when circumstances beyond our control prevent us from doing so.

The airline industry and its operations are notoriously affected by multiple uncontrollable factors and for this reason timings are not guaranteed and the airline cannot be held liable/responsible for connections or separate contracts, with independent travel insurance being the only possible avenue for restitution.

There is no compensatory factor applicable to such circumstances under EU regulation EC261 / 2004 as more than 14 days notice was given.

We ask you to accept our repeated apology for the inconvenience encountered.

Yours sincerely,

Tony D Little

Customer Services & Administration Superintendent

So now we know why the mess happened; why we get no compensation; why the customer service is non existent and why I shall never ever fly with this rubbish outfit, ever again.