One of the things that interests me - and I am interested in everything - is the difference that scale makes.
For example, one person leaves a tap running when they leave a house - there's no major harm done. But if everyne left their taps on 24 hours a day, full blast, we'd seriously drain our water supplies. One person drives to the corner shop, and they're only out of pocket a little, and they don't miss EastEnders. Everyone makes unneccessary journeys and we're depleting the world's fuel resources at an enormous rate.
As has been noted, I work for a global evil multinational, in a bizarrely ethical capacity, and among other things my jobs include giving away free money that actually belongs to pensioners to people who complain that we are not psychic when they haven't filled in a form correctly. We've recently had some announcements that some people that we've never heard of are leaving and being replaced by some other people we've never heard of. Minion is not happy.
"Why do they bother telling us these things, and tell us them so much?" she cries. "Surely they know that we don't care about them? What makes them think they're so important?"
In a sense she's absolutely right. There are three layers of management between her and the Board, and the changes will have no immediate effect on her. By the time the changes get to her they will be sanitised and organised and presented, and her life will skim along happily like a mayfly.
I reckon that the board of any company think they're the heart of it. They set the direction, they decide policy, they represent the company in the rariefied world of the press and the markets. But while they're completely right they're also completely wrong. The heart of the company is people like Minion, people who deal with customers, people who deal with complaints, people who just turn up and do a job.
And just like anyone with two hearts, big multinationals sometimes get attacked by Giant Spiders, collapse, and then get up later looking very different.
But I digress.
A Working Lunch viewer has alerted the BBC to a potentially harmful chemical found in bottles of Madeup mineral water.
The company says it is taking the matter very seriously.
The chemical, known as Dihydrogen Oxide is perfectly safe in small quantites, is found naturally in the human body and is indeed believed to be a basic requirement for human life. However, in large quantites, it can lead to a bloaty sensation, and immersing the human body in this chemical for a protracted period of time can lead to breathing problems and ultimately death.
A government minister was heard trying to get this awful substance banned, or at least covered with safety warnings and instructions for use. A "serving suggestion" was not deemed a sufficient warning.
No representatives from Madeup were available to comment this article but an interested onlooker said "that's just silly."
Following the massive increase in the number of birds arriving in the glorious Republic of Ireland (not technically a republic apparently but never mind) Bord na Mona has announced that all importing of birds is to be banned.
So far so good, but birds are famous for flying, and while many of them these days use Ryanair, due to its cheap flight policy and the fact that they like it's no-nonsense attitude, a significant number of birds are still adopting the traditional route and flying using their own wings.
This has led to the rather controversial proposal to ban birds flying in to or out of Ireland.
"Obviously," said Roisin Ni Mhurrie, spokesman for Bord Gais, "we will be asking birds to comply without having to take any drastic measures".
The drastic measures proposed involve activating the Republic's laser defences. These were originally constructed in the 1980s as part of the American government's Star Wars proposals. Ireland was used as a test bed for the technology, perfect as Ireland is a neutral country and therefore has no enemies at all. Now this technology will be used to shoot down unlicensed birds attempting to enter or leave the Republic.
"It's not inhumane," said Darrragh O'Rrrrrragh of An Bord Pianola. "And we're not a bit mad at all, no matter what they say. We have to protect our Irish birds from disease and suffering." As he said this, he looked at his pet jackdaw "fluffy". Who sneezed.
We live in a world where sometimes a place can have two names. Geography gets overlaid with politics, and the names and words that we use to describe things can become emotive and leave raw nerves.
An example would be, say, Canada. People who live in Canada are known as Canadians, and although they live on a continent called America, they are not Americans.
Actually, to get a bit more precise here, they live on a part of a continent... and the bit of continent that they live on is called North America. So when we talk about North Americans we're being inclusive, and while I have no doubt that there are Canadians who will take exception to this, on the whole the distinction works pretty well
Listen carefully people, particularly if you're Irish. Ireland is the second largest of the British Isles. Geographically.
This does not mean that people who live in Ireland are British, but it means that people who live in Ireland are in the British Isles.
The largest of the British Isles is Great Britain. The island of Great Britain covers some 216,777 square kilometres, and contains most of Scotland, England and Wales. But not all. Picking a few at random - Skye, Anglesey and the Isle of Wight.
This doesn't excuse the ignorance of people from Great Britain who don't understand that Ireland is different from Britain. It doesn't mean that they can refer to Great Britain as "the mainland" without deserving censure. But it does give a way to refer to the whole group of islands, and if other people use the term correctly, and in good faith, aiming to be inclusive and conciliatory, then it's only polite to be polite.
An interesting additional point
One of my African friends has pointed out the following additional interesting points.
Technically also, Mexicans are North Americans.
This fact was explained to her once by a Mexican who was very annoyed with the term Americans being used to refer to citizens of the United States when in fact it refers geographically to a much larger body of people.
Also, on a somewhat related topic, African doesnï¿½t mean black. Despite what some people think.
When the BBC announced that they were to make a new series of Doctor Who, I was initially sceptical. I can't really help it, it's the way I'm wired. I never expect anything, and that way I'm seldom disappointed and often delighted.
But Doctor Who reappeared, and it was pretty good, and there was something for everyone in there - lots of death, a bit of posession, some flesh on show, Billie Piper and the Moxx of Balhoon. And now, apparently there's an adult spin-off coming.
Now, at this stage it's only mentioned in one newspaper, and there doesn't seem to be a press release on the BBC's web site, so I am still sceptical. But if it's true - and it probably is, let's be honest, then it's an interesting and unusual twist and I'll look forward to watching it.
Update: The BBC has issued it's Press Release. Bizarre bizarre bizarre.
"Dr Oddverse, I left a note for Derek to say we'd call at Nine - can we sit down in a second and plan our approach?"
This is Keith. Keith started a month ago, and although he doesn't report to me, he has quickly worked out that as far as getting stuff done is concerned, it's much better to talk to me than to our boss.
Dermot has been working here for a few weeks longer. He's pretty much in awe of me when it comes to work. He's noticed that I'm busy all the time and that people come to me all day to tell me things, to ask me questions, and that I never seem to have time for any of them.
Part of this is pure show, obviously. Part is the basic fact that I am damned good at my job. But I'm not as good at it as people think I am. And I tell people that. But they don't believe me.
There's a lesson for us all here, and I'm not quite certain what it is. I think it is that Knowledge is Power. And that sharing that knowedge is even more power. I am pretty sure I've said that before though.
It's been quite a week. Nice, different, and unusual.
As I didn't buy a lottery ticket this weekend, I didn't win, and so won't be setting up my own country. I've been thinking about how I would do it if I did.
It's been suggested that I should set up a benign dictatorship. I don't think I could do that.
On the surface, i don't really have a problem with being a benign dictator. I'd be liberal and open-minded, and I would only really interfere in the lives of my subjects if it was for the good of the society as a whole. Now, while I am an arrogant person in many ways (as I hope to write about later this week), I'm aware of the fact that ultimately everyone is different. I spend half my life at work here, arguing in favour of the general good of employees, customers and the company, but the people that I argue with are only interested in themselves, and simply can't see the broader picture. It's infuriating to be in the position of permanently explaining unpopular decisions. So there are two ways round that.
Either you make the tough decisions and don't explain them, or you don't make the decisions at all.
I suppose I could go down the first route. I don't think I could really then call myself benign, but I'd be a fairly liberal dictator. That wouldn't make me popular, not unless I'd personally interviewed all the subjects, but that would leave a fairly narrow society. It's nice to think that there could be a society where people co-exist just by basically being nice to each other, but that's not the way that humanity as a whole is wired. Everyone has a self-interested core, without exception.
So if I didn't make any decisions at all, I'd be presiding over something between an anarchy and a true democracy. Again, I don't think I could make that work, because at the end of the day, sometimes the things that we need to do are the things that are hardest to do, and unless we are forced to do them by someone who knows best we won't do them.
So thank you for your offer to lead you. I must decline. I will spend my twilight years raising vampire pomerarians, thank you and goodnight.
My head is full. I need a new one.
My plans for this weekend are to win the Lotto, give up work, move out of this shitty country and set up my own, turn back time, bring a new age of peace and prosperity to the world, and maybe read a newspaper.
We won the table quiz last night. Little bit of background here.
I work for a small company. Two years ago we were a larger company, but we sold off most of the company to another company that can't be named. We still work with our old colleagues, but the working relationship is best described as "a strain". So the bit of the company that we sold off were having a quiz night and invited us to submit a team, because basically we still like each other. Nonetheless, it's a bit rude of us to win it.
For the second year in a row.
We took our winnings and put them behind the bar - it's only polite after all.
We arrived back from our holiday late on Sunday night. And back to work on Monday. It probably took us both Monday and Tuesday evenings to get back to some sort of state of normality and then last night, we got awfully, terribly, blindingly drunk.
I had an excuse, of course. Office night out. On a Wednesday, I know. Food was awful but the company was grand so it was.
I was so trying to be good. I left early. I bought some wine on the way home. Big, big mistake.
Tonight, I am going to a thrilling and exciting table quiz. It will be fun. I'm good at table quizzes, assuming that they ask about the five times table.
Tomorrow, I will be having lunch with some of my colleagues to celebrate the fact that one of them is leaving for pastures new.
On Monday I'm going to a conference, coming back on Wednesday. On Thursday, myself and the usual suspects are going out for dinner.
On the following Saturday, we're talking about having people over for dinner. It's a heady social whirl. I need another holiday. Fortunately, it's happening in November.
At the end of the day, they would sit inside the bar and look out over the harbour. Always inside the bar, not just because the drinks were cheaper than sitting on the terrace, and not just because it was handy for the one tiny cubicle at the back. Inside the bar was where the locals hung out - tourists did the terrace. And so they could watch little stories unfolding. The corner where satan and his father drank in their matching biker jackets, the odd hairstyles of the bar staff, and the strange parade of red-shoed men walking along the quayside - sometimes singly, sometimes together.
There were couples, so many couples. Usually both men, one older, one younger, neither saying much to the other. Perhaps the couples were truckers, stopping for the night and drinking in the only bar in town with a late licence. Perhaps they were father and son - but perhaps not. And perhaps this sleepy one-pub town was where the intergenerational gay couples convention was. Who could say?
They sipped Stella Artois and watched the sun go down over the Calliope.