Posts Tagged 'fine dining'

Pepsico management, enterprise databases and Nicole Kidman are like drunk Vikings. I think.

Which element of this picture is the enterprise database?

Enthusiastic Talknormaliser Marc alerted me to a tweet earlier this week from IDC:

jbozman It’s becoming very clear that enterprise apps and databases will be the “straw that stirs the drink” in the enterprise server refresh cycle.

I’m delighted to hear it. I just don’t really know what I’m hearing. I was worried that everyone else knows what being a straw that stirs a drink is and I didn’t, so when I started to type the phrase into Google, I was pleased that it immediately suggested, from previous searches, “what does the straw that stirs the drink mean?”. Educate us, bountiful internet:

The urban dictionary suggests that it is a term used to describe someone who is the life of the party, and suggests Party Viking as an alternative – which I like much more, as “databases will be the ‘Party Viking’ in the enterprise server refresh cycle” suggests your software is even now wearing a little plastic helmet with horns on it. It is stripped to the waist and barfing behind your data center’s sofa. I don’t think that’s what IDC means, but I wish it was.

The journal Strategy and Leadership has an article about Pepsico management, which uses the straw-drink analogy as its title. The abstract explains the process of being the straw that stirs the drink as: “Strategic Planning is clearly a line function at PepsiCo”. Clearly this concept is not all about Viking hats.

Over at eLearn University, I consulted “The Defining Moment: The Straw That Stirs The Drink Of Motivational Leadership” to learn that “There are three ways to transfer your motivation to others. Give them information, make sense…” and then I gave up before I got to how to tell the story of your Defining Moment, lacking as I was in motivation to finish the sentence. They tell you this at Leadership University? God knows what they teach at Leadership Remedial School.

And I also find also that, according to The Hidden Meaning of Birthdays by Nancy Arnott, Geminis are this type of straw – as long as they are Geminis who were born on 20 June. Think of the Party Vikings she suggests like Errol Flynn, er, Nicole Kidman or, um, Lionel Ritchie. According to Arnott, people born on this day are inevitably straws that stir drinks, which suggests a possible management fast-tracking strategy at Pepsico: get Ritchie in. He’ll kick ass All Night Long.

But back to the 20 June Geminis: “Expressing your passionate feelings tends to churn up strong emotions in those around you… every event at work and on the home front elicits a Richter-scale reaction from you,” she says; which sounds about as unlike Kidman or Ritchie as it’s possible to get.

But what do I know? I don’t even understand a phrase that can be variously used to describe acting like a Viking, the process of strategic planning at a multinational consumer packaged goods company, talking about yourself under the pretence that you’re inspiring people, exuding earth-trembling passion in the style of Nicole Kidman or, to bring us back to where we started, making it obvious to people that their old computers are too slow.

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Rooney, jazz or pork: which has most class?

Class is permanent

Is Wayne Rooney world class?

For those of you who don’t like football (and gosh, aren’t you going to have a miserable summer as a result), this might seem a pointless, irrelevant or even irritating question. He’ll do exactly the same thing in South Africa whether he is world class or not. But we’re a class-based society, and so we can’t let him out of the country until he has been graded.

It’s not like sport, and football in particular, is in need of another measurement system – what with goals, wins, losses, draws, points, tournaments and cups. World classness, though, has two advantages: it can mean anything you want, and you can apply it to anything or anyone if you’re lazy enough. It is a cross-sector measurement system which helps us to pat ourselves on the back in a non-specific way: if you describe yourself as world class on your web site we might think you’re a fantastist, but we can’t take you to court for it.

At least, not until I’m making the laws.

And so in world classness news this week: is Miami a world class city? Will the UK’s high-speed rail project be world class enough? When ESI Expands Its Singapore-Based Operations to Support Its Asian Micromachining & Passive Components Customers, does this enhance its position as a leading supplier of world-class photonic and laser systems? I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you the answer.

As world classness has become a de facto global ranking system, I thought I’d make use of it. So I Googled news for what is “world class” today and picked the first two non-sporting products I could find to compare to the Little Ginger Wizard. Using this I can get some kind of insight into Rooney’s world classness in a wider context.

Which is why I am the only blogger, today at least, who will give you an analysis of how Rooney rates against jazz music and the US National Pork Board.

Like England’s Great Hope, jazz music inspires strong emotions. Let us not forget that, in December 2009, an attendee at a jazz festival called the police when he heard Larry Ochs play. You decide if he was justified:

But is jazz as a whole better or worse than Wayne Rooney? And are both of them classier than The National Pork Board – after all, pork is a controversial meat that has been dividing selectors’ opinions ever since Deuteronomy didn’t pick it all those years ago.

For Rooney, jazz and the Pork Board I divided the number of articles each year that claim world classness by the number that didn’t. First, the good news. Rooney’s becoming more world class:

But as you can see, opinion is volatile. Not so with jazz, which is consistently accorded world class status far in excess of that of England’s Pugnacious Goal Machine:

Jazz has shown staying power, but there’s a lot of people claiming to be world class these days. Rooney might be scoring at will, but in the run-up to the World Cup he’s still not as consistently reported as being world class as The US National Pork Board:

Next time an England football fan tells you that “I think we can win it this time, Rooney’s world class”, just say to him that it’s a good job we’re not playing the Game of Bacon against team USA on 12 June. On the other hand, we could take them at jazz. That Larry Ochs is rubbish.

The end of days

Too many dates can be confusing

I’m not sure if you noticed that last week (19 November, to be exact) we celebrated International Men’s Day. I was surprised: what with being paid more to do the same job, possession of the TV remote and no requirement to wear high heels, every day is essentially Men’s Day. Except for 8 March, of course, which is International Women’s Day – which, despite being a holiday on half the planet, British men ignore every year. Maybe we’re just doing the pretend-to-forget thing, like with anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine’s Day.

Unaware of the correct way to celebrate International Men’s Day, I checked on every ignorant journalist’s go-to resource: Wikipedia. The entry from 2008 tells us only that “University of Kent students celebrated International Men’s Day at Mungo’s Bistro on the university campus”. I can’t imagine how I missed that item on the news.

Thanks to the vacant minds of some people in marketing departments globally, every day is basically International Something Day (ISD). Competition for ISDs is so intense that some are Trade Marked. Imagine if a rival band of angels decided to steal International Angel Day (TM) for example. On the other hand, you’d have thought that the angels among us would have been able to sort this out amicably.

The food business is a great creator of ISDs, because it encourages us to buy things to eat when we’re fat and not hungry. If you like bacon, chefs, sushi, beer, pickles, waffles, picnics, cachaca, fruit or goats, there’s an ISD for you. I’m not sure if you are meant to eat the goats or save them on International Goat Day, but take it from me: they’re really tasty in a curry.

Causes love an ISD, and have grabbed special days for ozone, the Poles (just one for both North and South), democracy, mountains, nurses, blondes, lighthouses, bogs, the dawn chorus and ponchos. Even jugglers have an ISD, which makes me want to slap them even more.

Like the nude charity calendar ISDs have also become a joyless way to commercialise sex, so there are ISDs for whores, fetishes, kissing, orgasms… and firefighters.

And of course there’s the niceness industry, equally divided between making us better people and the need to sell us things that exploit our self-loathing and consequent desperate desire to improve. For this try International Hug Day, or the ISDs for understanding and jokes or, for those who like to celebrate the truly meaningless, International Awareness Day.

Then if you are one of the few people on the world for whom a PR company has not created an ISD, why not simply piggy-back on someone else’s:

In celebration of International Waffle Day, Radical Breeze is offering discounted packs of their software for MacOS X… “Every year on March 25th, people around the world eat waffles. Lots and lots of waffles. Stacks of waffles,” stated Bryan Lund, president of Radical Breeze. “This beautiful day must be commemorated. And what better way to do so than to offer stacks of great MacOS X software for a low price?”

Then there’s the merely baffling. I’m hoping that the first International Accreditation Day (9 June 2009) will not be the last. Who could possibly miss the opportunity to take part in

a global initiative jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities.

Instead of this piecemeal approach, let’s get organised and sell off the calendar properly, day by day. It would give the people who organised International Organizations Day something useful to do, and it might show us how important accreditation really is. We’d have to ring-fence important stuff like  Christmas and International Weblogger Day (oh yes, we have one too), but the others should just go to the highest bidder, no more than one day per group. Then we could stop messing around with greetings cards and parades and make some serious money out of celebrating the anniversary of nothing in particular by marketing 365 separate franchises and suing the hell out of each other. In this case every day would be International Lawyer’s Day (currently limited to 5 April), but that’s a small price to pay.

If you work in some brass instrument public relations capacity and you were the person who scheduled International Tuba Day for the first Friday in May because you were flat out of ideas and nobody cares about tubas, this might seem like bad news. In PR, one of the few reasons to create an ISD is that nobody owns the days of the year: your ISD may be pointless but it is very cheap, so clients like it.

Global capitalism solves this problem. A clever entrepreneur could pick up one of the cheaper days and resell it at an affordable price moment by tedious moment, so 3am to 4am on May 18 can be international Kilt hour, rather than the entire day it is given currently. Nobody want to celebrate the kilt for an entire day, not even kilt manufacturers. And for pointless imagination-free PR-driven celebrations of nothing (whoever came up with International Crochet Day, I’m talking to you), two minutes a year ought to be more than enough.

Pizza muco caldo

Talknormalism also takes in the appropriate naming of foodstuffs on menus. At least, it does now:

four cheeses

Fine dining on Delta

This is what Delta Airlines rather fancily calls a quattro formaggi pizza (that’s four cheeses). Maybe someone at Delta thought the name was exotic. I checked on the back of the packet, and indeed it does have vanishingly small amounts of four different cheeses listed on the ingredient panel. So Delta is not breaking any laws, unless it’s against the law to serve foul-smelling warm goop to starving passengers trapped in a small metal tube thousands of feet above freezing water who don’t have any choice.

As you can see, I still ate it. Don’t blame me. I’d been on the plane for seven hours. I was institutionalised. I’d have eaten a microwaved gerbil if they had served it to me. In fact, I’d probably have chosen it in preference to this.

If I named this pizza, I’d have gone for something more honest like pizza muco caldo*.

* Translation available here.

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