I have had a very restful and yet sociable weekend.

This is a lovely combinertation in my view.


(Excerpt from The Warlord’s Cook)

I had this story from my mother.  She said it was from a book that was burned, but she read the book many times before she was fifteen and swears this is how it went.

Once upon a time, there was a man seeking employment speaking gibberish.  He could have gone into guild politics, and it would have been easier yet to go into religion.  He was an honest speaker of gibberish, nothing more, and he asked only that he be given an opportunity to practice his trade.

It was his job to hang around a certain rich man (actually, it was a group of rich guys who took him on as a kind of time share court jester but that only becomes relevant in a different story)- and while he was hanging around a certain rich guy, he was brought into the company of those who, for whatever reason, the rich guy wanted to mock and bewilder and otherwise mentally mess about with.

In those days – which weren’t that long ago, truth be told, although how far away it seems now for those of us too young to have been there – the rich man would have business meetings and the man who spoke gibberish would sit in a corner of the room, out of the way, and occasionally say something quietly but clearly in gibberish, and the rich man would pause, and say, “I will definitely have to consider that.”  The negotiations, of whatever form, would stagger along for a few moments and then there would be another outburst from the corner.  The rich man would pause, and say something soothing again. The fourth time this happened the rich man looked at him and paused long enough to eat a whole nut, and then said,

“Now Blib, you’re disturbing the work we’re doing. You’ve given me enough advice for tonight.”

Glaring (he had a ghost white face and big googly eyes) Blib would leave the room, looking like he was ready to kill someone.

“I hope he doesn’t mean to come back,” the rich man would say and then only the strongest minded individual would be able to continue along the path he had set for himself prior to the meeting.

Blib had similar sorts of jobs with other rich men, and he would sometimes pretend to be a soup-spilling waiter who also spoke gibberish, which caused no end of hijinks.

Abruptly one day the rich men all decided they wanted to spend the same amount of money for different things.  Blib had no work. One by one each of them turned to paying someone else to amuse them.  One preferred sex with men, one sex with women, one took up exotic drugs, one consumed more alcohol, and the last became depraved in the company of sheep. The moral of this story is very simple.

Depending on rich people is like building on sand.


If I think the warlord is being an ass I tell him one of my mother’s Blib stories.  She had a lot of them and they all ended the same way, hell for Blib.  He always managed to get another job though; Blib had a facility for survival that I always admired.


If I ran a grocery store…..

Customer service rules for Allegra’s grocery store

1.  We’re here to sell you items and services you need at a sufficient profit that we can pay ourselves, our suppliers and our taxes, and do it at competitive prices.  When prices are higher than at competitors, we want to believe that this store, as a shopping and working environment, is worth the extra money.  If you think it isn’t, we believe you have the right to shop elsewhere.

2.  Everybody who walks into this store is assumed to be a decent human being.  If you act as if this isn’t true, you will be directed to this code of conduct and you may be asked to leave.

3.  The washrooms and a glassed-in soundproof box (The Silent Zone) are close to the front of the store.  The washrooms are there because the older the managers get the more they appreciate a clean handy washroom.  The glassed in soundproof box is for those times when children and persons with developmental or psychological disabilities just decide to scream for a while or need to be in a less stimulating environment.  It has reasonably comfortable plastic chairs, there’s nothing in there that can be broken (easily) and no piped in music.  It is not a place to park unsupervised children.  It is a place you can go sit down if you feel dizzy or tired.

4.  The staff in this store are trained and expected to be clean, courteous, accurate and professional.  Let us know if they aren’t.  Complaints about piercings and tattoos will be cheerfully ignored.

5.  The staff is encouraged to make decisions concerning their own safety and the safety of patrons in accordance with their training and their best judgment.  If you are stealing, hitting children, or doing anything that will make you famous on the internet, please don’t pull that “The Customer is Always Right” nonsense.

6.  The music in the store is chosen by agreement among the staff, as they have to put up with it for long shifts.  You only have to put up with it for an hour.  There are studies that show that canned music makes patrons spend more money, but our goal is to have happy repeat customers, not shave every dime we can from every person who comes through the door.  If the music is particularly bothersome please ask a cashier to reduce the volume.

7.  Studies have shown that you make more money if you put the highest markup items at eye level.  This store is set up so that the most commonly purchased items are between eye and waist level on an average adult.  We face up the goods so you can read them easily and will do our best to accommodate shoppers with special requirements.

8.  Persons caught consuming non-prescription drugs, tobacco or alcohol on the premises will be fired or banned.

9.  Please have your money or payment method ready when you come to the till.  As far as we’re concerned you can take your time, but the customer behind you will want to kill you.

10.  To the maximum extent possible, this is a no drama zone.  We all want to get in and out of here as fast as possible.  Feuds and domestic disagreements will be asked to move into the Silent Zone, and from there, right out of the store.

11.  Every staff member who deals with the public gets one free “Go F*ck Yourself” every year.  This means that if you are particularly threatening, physically dirty or notably unhygienic, creepy, homo-, xeno- or transphobic, sexist, trying to convert anybody to any religion, racist or otherwise persistently obnoxious, they may tell you in colourful language to leave the store.  If you get two free “Go F*ck Yourself” moments from two different staffers, you will be photographed and permabanned.

12.  Yes, there are security cameras.  They are kept in good repair, and they overlook the parking lot as well as the store.  They are reviewed after every incident and we keep copies off site for three years.

13.  Serving public employees in uniform and staff members get free coffee.  Everyone else will be asked to purchase their coffee or tea.

14.  Tampering with or damaging goods, whether you do it or someone in your care does it, means you have purchased them.  Repeat offenders will be banned.

15.  Persons who are arrested for theft from this store, or pass bad checks, will have their pictures posted and be asked politely to leave if they are foolish enough to come back.

16.  Patrons must wear footwear and keep what goes under a bikini covered while in public areas of the store.  Two seconds of nipple while nursing an infant gets a hall pass; anybody who complains about women nursing their infants will be cheerfully ignored.

17.  Consensual sex in the store or the parking lot which makes it onto the security cameras will be viewed and mocked by a select group of employees. Participants will be banned. Non-consensual sex will be immediately reported to the authorities.

18.  There are two ways of framing the golden rule.  Do not treat other people how you don’t want to be treated yourself, and behave to others as you want them to behave to you.  We want this environment to be safe, clean, welcoming, honest and, dare we say it, fun.  We will take health and safety seriously, and pledge to do our best to be honest and kind.  So, no firearms.  Please.  Except as carried by on duty professionals.

If you don’t feel obliged to hold up your end of this, Go F*ck Yourself…. and have a nice day!