Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 year old boy billed for missing birthday party...say what?

At some point in a life, people miss attending a celebration that could be attributed to unforeseen circumstances including a sudden illness, wrong date, traffic jam - your normal, every day reasons. However - it's always the howevers in life that get you in the end - a missed birthday party  is being considered as a reason for legal action. Really.

Our story begins innocently enough as many stories do, when five year old Alex Nash of Cornwall, England, was invited to a birthday party by someone in his class. Having given permission for Alex to attend the party that took place before Christmas at a ski centre, his father forgot that he had made prior arrangements to visit his grandparents. Upon his return to school, a bill for £15.95 or $24 was slipped into his school bag as a birthday party no-show. Again, really.

Anyway...assuming the bill was a joke, Alex's father met with the mother of the birthday boy and was informed that the bill stood and that he (Alex) would have to pay up for none-attendance. According to information gleaned from news articles, the mother of the birthday boy claims complete details of the party were on the invitation including a contact phone number.

What started out as an innocent invitation between class friends has turned into a cause celebre, replete with a detailed invoice and threats of court proceedings. The story is also generating interest outside of the country focusing on the validity of billing a parent for what basically was a kid's missed birthday party. Makes one wonder if there still would have been a charge administered if a child was, say, ill or for whatever reason couldn't make the party. The issue seems to be that no notification was made to inform the birthday boy's parents that Alex would not be attending plus the no-show charge.

For their part, the ski center's manager is attributing the incident as a dispute between parents since they had no part in the billing procedure. Their policy is a small deposit to hold the booking and to confirm the attendees forty-eight hours before the party. The centre doesn't have a no-show fee.

Believe it or not - again we're talking about young children who most likely would not have thought twice about Alex missing the event - the parents of the birthday boy are contemplating taking the matter to small claims court. Really.

It will be interesting to see the legal aspect of this case should legal proceedings be pursued. Hopefully not. What do YOU think?

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Something definitely fishy here

Chances are that at some point in our lives, many of us have been caregivers to a few goldfish swimming around in a bowl. They do offer some visual entertainment, although limited, floating around in circles or going through decorative fish accessories, spitting out stones and related activities. As is the case with all living creatures, the specie can acquire ailments that affect their survival. - not that they live long in a bowl anyway... But I digress.

A goldfish aficionado living in Norfolk, England, who was obviously very attached to his pet - pet name not supplied - noticed that his fish was ailing. Tropical fish can acquire a large variety of illnesses including the very common ich, fungal ailments and a whole host of other syndromes. Some are treatable while others fatal, resulting in the commonly held one-flush-toilet funeral. Cheap but effective. But I digress - again.

Rather than send the fish for that final big trip through the sewer pipes, the owner took his fish to a veterinarian for an assessment and cure. The diagnosis was - wait for it - the fish was constipated. Thinking further, one wonders how the veterinarian came to this conclusion since a physical examination wasn't possible. I mean, one can't palpate a fish to reach a prognosis. Maybe through an X-ray...Go know. Moving right along...

In any case, the conclusion reached was that there was a lump in the fish's anus requiring intervention that included anaesthetised water (am I really writing this?) to remove the blockage. The bill in the end in the true sense of the word, was £300. All's well that ends well but upon evaluation, £300 would buy a lot of goldfish if you get my drift.

Here is a photo of the now un-constipated fish: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-30655444

Talk about fish brain...

Yet another fish story with a happy ending. Seems that George, a goldfish living in Australia, has recovered swimmingly (couldn't resist using that word) from an operation to remove a life-threatening brain tumor on top of his head. It was reported to be a high risk operation and given that George was ten years old, one has to wonder the practicality of surgery for the senior fish, especially since the operation cost $125. So let's see now...goldfish cost $5 each divided into $125... The owner was given the choice of operating or putting the fish to sleep. The fish is expected to live another 10 years.

Here is a photo of George: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-george-the-goldfish-has-high-risk-brain-surgery-2014-9  My philosophy in as far as distinguishing goldfish is once you've seen one, you've seen them all.

Fishy go walkies?

I dunno. There are inventions that really help mankind and then there those that make one utter, "huh?" or "say what?"

A design firm in the Netherlands has created, would you believe, a prototype smart fish tank that travels on wheels, enabling a fish to take a walk...or swim a walk. So this leads one - me - to wonder the rationale behind taking a pet fish for a walk, anyway. Given the danger of encountering fish lovers like cats for example whose relationship with fish is limited to that of a food snack, perhaps the fish walker idea should be confined to indoor trips. Further thought (too much time on my hands) - did anybody think as to whether fish want to be taken for walks? Maybe they would prefer to stay in one place and watch the world go by.

Here is a clip for people who might be interested in finding out more about the fish walker:

Last but not least - a shrimp work out

There are always scientific studies being conducted with the focus being to learn or improve the human condition. Many are funded by grants as is this one focusing on studying the effect of shrimp and crabs on treadmills. I mean, go figure that shrimp required exercise and even more surprising, on a treadmill no less. One would surmise that walking on the ocean bottom would offer some type of workout. Anywaaaay.... according to the researchers behind the study, there's more to it than a mere treadmill workout.

The shrimp treadmill was created out of spare parts with the idea behind it being to study how recent changes in the oceans could potentially affect the ability of marine organisms to fight infections. Given that the shrimp catching is a multi-million dollar industry, this could be a reason for conducting the study. Then again, really can't see how watching shrimp do their thing on a treadmill can help the experiment. Just thinking...I wonder if the workout develops shrimps swimmerets, which they use to get around.

For those interested, here is a video of shrimp on a treadmill accompanied by an explanation following the video as to the reason and rationale for the research. Whatever...


To quote Herbert Hoover: All men are equal before fish.