Saturday, 3 January 2009

Saturday 03/01/09

I’ve had a gander at Norwich Union’s website to try and identify the rationale behind their re-branding. The explanation they give is that, “We've joined up with Commercial Union and General Accident and we've got that bit bigger. In fact, we're now the fifth-largest provider of insurance, savings and investments in the world.”

They go on to say, “We've got to know our customers, and have found that the best way to provide financial services is to treat every person as an individual. That's something we're definitely not going to change.”

In response, I’d defy anyone to name a single instance of a company getting bigger while simultaneously managing to treat customers as individuals. Big business engenders rationalisation and cost savings in the pursuit of greater profits, which in turn mean call centres in Mumbai and treating the customer base as an unfortunate necessity. I wonder how much that TV advert cost?

Going back to polar bears; did you know that polar bears that live in warmer areas turn green? Apparently the hollow guard hairs on their coat start to grow algae inside them.

I once served in a container ship that was taking a family of polar bears from Hamburg Zoo out to a zoo in Japan. In order to keep them cool, the bears had to be hosed down a couple of times a day when we were going through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Given that ships’ hoses pump out seawater and that the bears were in steel cages, they naturally started to turn a somewhat rusty colour as the rust from the cages rubbed off on them. By the time we got them to Japan they were bright orange and looked like punk polar bears.

I’m certain the papa bear was quite insane by the time we got to Japan. He was in a rather small cage and spent all day repetitively rocking from side to side against the cage sides while glowering at any passer-by. He was obviously upset and suffering deep anxiety. We used to have parties on the ship when in port and would invite nurses from the local hospitals. The chat-up line we used was, “Why don’t you come down to the after-deck to see the polar bears.” Worked a treat.

Hay and I were having a discussion yesterday on the subject of relationships. I contended that once a woman has caught her man she then sets about changing the very things that attracted her to him in the first place, the purpose being to stop other women being attracted to him. This invariably results in her ending up detesting him, as he is no longer the man she was originally attracted to. Hay argued from the other perspective, in that once men have settled into a stable relationship they no longer felt it necessary to do the stupid things they once did to attract a female – such as riding motorbikes, living bohemian existences on boats and generally being disreputable and exuding an air of danger. Once they’ve dropped the previous lifestyle, they blame their women for the change which they themselves initiated. Which argument do you subscribe to?

I hear Mamma Mia! has become the fastest ever selling DVD in the UK. Can anyone tell me why? I can’t think of a film I’d be less willing to see – except perhaps an Ingmar Bergman film.


  1. The kids have bought Mamma Mia which has meant that I have had to endure watching it (in the company of the Mother In Law to compound matters further).
    Verdict - absolute dross!

  2. Re Relationships CB, I seen that happening to my brother, you have never seen anybody be so happy to be under the thumb of a woman, I did try to warn him not to marry her (really not a good looking girl, what he sees in her I do not know, must be the big baps)but he ignored my advice (stupid git)and must have told her what I said she has never liked me :-) When ever I get him pissed at the pub he gets picture no sound for about two weeks, I just do it to piss her off :-)
    Cheers and happy new year lad.