Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A New Low - Daylight Robbery For UK Window Cleaner

A new low for window cleaners.
Thugs rob Walker window cleaner for ladders and takings - A window cleaner has been robbed for his takings in the rear lane between Welbeck Road and Middle street, in Walker, Newcastle, UK. A window cleaner has been robbed for his takings. Sometime between 6.30pm and 7pm on Monday thugs approached the man from behind, in the rear lane between Welbeck Road and Middle street, in Walker, Newcastle and knocked him unconscious.

When the victim awoke he discovered the money pouch he had been carrying around his waist had been stolen, along with his aluminium ladders. The man was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where he was treated for concussion. Before he was assaulted he noticed a man in a white flatbed lorry driving behind him down the lane and police are now appealing for anyone who might have been in the area and who witnessed the incident to contact them.

Northumbria Police’s East End Neighbourhood Inspector Deborah Alderson said: “This has been quite a nasty assault where the offenders have stolen this man’s takings for the day and the ladders that he uses to do is job. “We are carrying out inquiries to locate those responsible who clearly didn’t care about the welfare of this man at all, and left him in the road unconscious. We have extra officers in the area to reassure residents and anyone with information is asked to get in touch with police.” Witnesses are asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191, or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Window Cleaning News

Cleaning building windows ranked as least favorite job in Taiwan.
Cleaning building windows ranked as least favorite job in Taiwan (Taipei) - Cleaning the windows and exterior walls of buildings was ranked by Taiwanese workers as their least favorite job, according to a recent poll by 1111 Job Bank. Given a choice of several job categories, 45.4 percent of respondents chose window cleaning as a job they would not be willing to do. Some 41.4 percent chose being a fertilizer worker as an undesirable occupation, followed by 38.2 percent saying they would not want to be a livestock keeper and butcher, and 29.6 percent not wanting to be a maid and caregiver, the poll found.
Rounding out the top 10 least favorite jobs were funeral director and mortuary cosmetologist (selected by 25.4 percent of respondents), sewer worker (24.6 percent), cemetery worker (24.3 percent), mover (23.9 percent), boiler operator (23.6 percent) and nuclear engineering staff (22.9 percent). Lee Ta-hua, director of public relations at the job bank, said the jobs mentioned in the top 10 were the least preferred because they generally involved a harsh or dangerous working environment, even if they offer good pay.
A window and exterior wall cleaner, for example, can earn an average wage of around NT$50,000 (US$1,669) a month, with salaries reaching between NT$70,000 and NT$100,000 a month during peak seasons, Lee said. The starting salary for a Taiwanese college graduate averaged NT$26,722 in 2012. The poll, conducted from July 2-16, collected 1,120 valid samples from workers in Taiwan. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.92 percentage points.

Glass makers suspended over quality: Eight local tempered glass manufacturers were ordered to suspend production after failing quality tests, the city's quality watchdog said yesterday. Their substandard products are now being recalled, added the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau. This follows a spate of incidents in the city involving safety glass shattering. The latest occurred on Monday morning when a 3-square-meter glass door between a Starbucks outlet and other businesses in the Raffles City building at People's Square shattered. No one was injured.
The bureau checked 67 batches of tempered glass for construction use in its latest inspection and found eight had "serious quality problems" which posed safety risks. These included failing tests of fragmentation, surface stress and impact resistance. The Shanghai Shibei Glass Co Ltd failed impact resistance tests. The company says on its website that its glass is used in high-profile locations such as Raffles City, Westgate Mall and Shanghai Railway Station. The Shanghai Mingliang Tempered Glass Co Ltd failed the same test. It also failed fragmentation tests last year.
The eight producers will only be allowed to resume production after passing tests. And sales of their substandard glass have been suspended, said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the bureau. They will also face administrative penalties, Shen said. Monday's incident at Raffles City, which saw Starbucks evacuated, is still being investigated. Shen said the probable cause was poor quality glass in terms of fragmentation, surface stress or impact resistance.

Window Cleaner Accused of Stealing From Arlington, Fairfax Homes. Arlington police are asking for the public's assistance in locating Justin Honaker. A 33-year-old Falls Church man is wanted in connection with a series of residential thefts across Arlington and Fairfax counties. Arlington police are asking for the public's assistance in locating Justin Honaker. Investigators believe Honaker, who worked as a business and residential window cleaner, stole jewelry and prescription drugs from multiple Arlington and Fairfax County residences during work hours. He is wanted on charges of grand larceny and larceny with intent to sell, according to the Arlington County Police Department.
An exact number of victims wasn't available Monday afternoon, though police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said it's likely additional victims have yet to be identified. "We're just scratching the surface of this," Sternbeck told Patch. Honaker is about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs about 185 pounds, according to police. Police are asking anyone with information on Honaker's whereabouts to contact Arlington Detective Patricia Pena at 703-228-4183 or ppena@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, call the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-8477. Investigators are also asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim or anyone who had Honaker inside their home during a window cleaning job to contact Pena at the number or email above.

Revealed: How some Welsh MPs are earning thousands extra as storm rages over 10% salary hike: Calls are growing for a ban on MPs taking on consultancies and directorships as it emerged some Welsh MPs are legitimately earning up to £110,000 a year from second jobs – on top of their £66,000 parliamentary salaries. Latest records from the House of Commons show one Welsh MP receives £9,167 a month for 14 hours’ moonlighting – at a rate of £654 per hour – while another is paid £30,000 a year for a weekly column in a London-based newspaper. Among those profiting from political surveys was Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South Conservative MP Simon Hart, who completed seven surveys for £75 each, with each one taking “15 minutes” to fill in. Mr Hart said politicians such as himself saw the job as “an opportunity to give something back rather than an opportunity to earn a few bucks and climb up a greasy political pole.” He compared his outdoor education role to that of a firefighter who has a sideline as a window cleaner on a Saturday morning.

A quarter of cleaning firms are breaking the law: Over 25% of cleaning firms are breaking the law, according to an investigation by the social affairs and employment inspection agency SZW. Inspectors visited 1,450 cleaning firms last year, together with representatives of the tax authority, local councils and benefit agency UWV, and found that 27% are not keeping to the rules. Most of the offences occurred in small firms with under 50 workers, which are mainly active in the fast-food sector, transport, construction, hotels and window cleaning for private homes, the NRC reports. 
Fraud Offences included benefit and tax fraud, incomplete bookkeeping, low pay and exploitation. The inspectors also discovered 324 illegal workers: 41% from Bulgaria and 21% from Romania. In total, €37m was recovered or charged in fines. Large cleaning companies affiliated to the sector organisation are much less likely to break the law, the NRC reports. Last year saw a series of strikes by cleaning workers organised by the trade unions because of the poor pay and conditions.

Grit-blasting robots clean Sydney Harbour Bridge: Australia is using two grit-blasting robots to clean the Sydney Harbour Bridge before it is repainted. The robots shoot out compressed air to cut through rust and old paint on the famous Australian landmark. The exercise is billed as one of the world's biggest maintenance programmes. Cleaning the bridge is considered dangerous, forcing workers into uncomfortable poses and bringing risk of exposure to asbestos and old paint.
The robots, which were developed at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), operate by scanning the area, creating a 3D map, and working out how much force they should apply using high-pressure cleaners to strip paint from the bridge. "We now have two [operational], autonomous grit-blasting robots on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is a world-first technology," Martin Lloyd from UTS said, adding that the blasters on the robots were powerful enough to slice through people's clothes and skin.
The operation is the result of a collaboration between the university and Australia's Roads and Maritime Service. "The job [of cleaning the bridge] is very risky [for humans] - the bridge vibrates because of the traffic and it has complex geography - which is why we approached UTS to see if a machine could do this kind of work," Waruna Kaluarachchi from the Roads and Maritime Service said. Nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its distinctive shape, the bridge was opened in March 1932. Repainting work is a never-ending task, and the two robots are to remain a permanent part of the maintenance team, our correspondent adds. Video recommended at link.

Herb Madara (right) with his wife, Kate, daughter, Charley, son, Herbie and employees, Michael Wright (far left) and Michael Huber, opened a local franchised window and exterior cleaning company called Men In Kilts whose employees wear kilts while they work.
Abington man ditches the hard hat, dons the kilt - Herb Madara’s doctor delivered the news a few years ago: If he kept working his physically demanding job as an electrical lineman, he’d need a knee replacement by the time he was 40. It was a troubling announcement for Madara, the father of two young children who was counting on his career to support his family. But ultimately, Madara ditched the hard hat and utility uniform for something a bit more fashionable.. a kilt. The kilt is all part of the package at Men In Kilts Window Cleaning, the franchise that Madara bought into after leaving his job as a lineman. Madara, 35, admits he was a bit skeptical when he first came across the idea. “I thought it was crazy,” the Abington resident said. “Who would do this? And then as I looked more and more into it, I thought it was awesome. (Window washing) is an untapped market. And I knew the kilts would be a hit.”

Herb Madara opened a local franchised window and exterior cleaning company called Men In Kilts whose employees wear kilts while they work.
Founded in 2002 in Vancouver, Canada, Men In Kilts now has four U.S. franchises. In addition to Madara’s franchise, which serves Bucks and Montgomery counties, there are locations covering the Jersey Shore, Boston and Seattle. Yes, burly men wearing green tartan kilts really do show up to clean windows and gutters and do pressure washing. And yes, the kilts are a gimmick. But, Madara said, the business is serious. “The brand gets us in the door,” Madara said. “But our service is what sets us apart from our competitors.”

Michael Wright, Hatboro, works for men in Kilts, a franchised window and exterior cleaning company whose employees wear kilts while they work.
Patrick Casey, owner of Vintage in Abington, said the kilt-clad cleaners have the restaurant’s windows sparkling monthly. “(The kilts are) a great marketing tool,” he said. “And they do great work.” Madara leaves most of the cleaning to his crew, which includes brother Mike Huber, “Big Mike” Wright and Ryan Barhart. But he’s at most sites overseeing the work. And Madara’s wife, Kate, and children Charley, 7, and Herbie, 17 months, wear their own kilts to help market the business. As for the answer to the age-old question of what’s under the kilt? Madara isn’t exactly telling. “What’s under our kilts is a whole lotta’ confidence,” he said. “But of course, when we’re on ladders, no peeking.”

Groovy grandads: Charlie Sheen has just become a grandad at 47. We meet other young grandpas who are down with the kids. Grandad of four Johnny Cooney (44), a window cleaner from Dundalk, says he's only too happy to help with nappies and night feeds. "When you first find out you're going to be a grandparent, it's a bit of a shock. "At 39, I remember joking with my eldest daughter Derval: 'I'm too young to be a grandad!' Secretly though, I couldn't wait. "Now I have four grandchildren: Lee (5), Jay (4), Tara-Lynn (3) and Penny-Rose (7 months).
"As a dad-of-five myself, I have great time for the kids. Your first grandchild is a bit like starting all over again. "They all live close enough by, so I can help out with the school run and babysitting. Or if I'm going somewhere and they want to come with me, it's no bother. "I'd like to think I'm a good grandad. I'm very close to all four children. Like most grandads though, your granddaughters are your little princesses!
"When we're out and they call me 'grandad', some people do look twice. But I just laugh it off. As a young grandad, with any luck, you get more time with your grandchildren. You get to see them growing up. "When my grandkids are in their 20s, I'll still only be in my 60s and able to do stuff with them. "I know lots of people who are older than me and don't have any children or grandchildren, so I consider myself very lucky."
A worker from the company that washes the exterior of the facility is trying to put a smile on patients’ faces. Boston has its very own super hero—one with the superhuman power of cleaning windows and making sick kids smile.
Click to enlarge.
Boston Children's Hospital: A Guy Dressed As Spider-Man Is Now Cleaning the Windows At Boston Children’s Hospital. This week, Boston Children’s staff decided to take a new approach to getting the outside of their facility looking spotless while easing the minds of young patients. Using their contracted cleaning company, Hub Window Cleaning, representatives from the hospital worked out a deal to have one of the window-washers wear a Spider-Man outfit as he took care of his job. “He was pumped to do it, he was definitely excited. We did a test run last week, and he was a really good sport. He has been waving at the kids who were on the inside, and it has been pretty cool for not just the patients, but the staff is also excited,” said Lily Albin, the social media specialist at the hospital.
Albin said this is the first time Boston Children’s has tried this technique, offering an uplifting experience along with some of the other programs they’ve rolled out for children staying with them for extended periods of time. She said all day Monday, as Spider-Man scaled the side of the building, children crowded around the windows to watch the superhero at work. “[It] makes it a little extra fun. Any time we can do something fun for our patients that are here all day everyday, and get a little more excitement—we do that in a number of ways—I think anytime we can add that element it’s always a nice thing to do,” she said. She said the hospital may consider bringing in some other superhero figures—like Captain America or Batman—to help get the job done in the future. The window washing at Boston Children’s is done once a month.
The decision to try the costumed approach, which she said was appreciated by hospital staff considering the summer heat, was part of a brainstorming project led by the hospital’s Patient Support Services division. The idea was taken right out of the book of other children’s hospitals around the country. The superhero surprise has been something facilities in Philadelphia, and the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis have been doing. People hanging around outside of the Boston hospital on Monday managed to spot Spider-Man way up high, scaling the building, as he tended to his window-cleaning duties. Others also tweeted about seeing the Spider-man-costume clad worker walking along the rooftop of the hospital, wondering if it was just an uber-comic fan. Turns out, it was a superhero of a different kind.

Is it goodbye to cash? Cash still governs the world of small businesses but new technology means this could soon change, writes Global Payments UK's Chris Davies (pictured). As digital technology becomes more ingrained in our way of life there is a gradual shift underway to paying by plastic. Few of us would find it strange to pay for a coffee or a few groceries by card, especially now that contactless cards are so commonplace. However, one space that has remained governed by paper money is the world of mobile businesses. Despite handling, in some instances, relatively large amounts of money window cleaners, florists, hairdressers and handymen are still often paid in cash. This is despite growing demand from both business and customers for card payments as wider usage of plastic grows. For mobile businesses cash has an invisible but heavy cost; in banking, security and even the complications of tracking cashflow through the business. In addition, mobile businesses can often miss sales from customers who are not carrying cash and have to refuse card payments. 
A recent survey of 1,000 micro-businesses (those with 10 employees or less, of which there are 4.6 million in the UK) conducted on behalf of Intuit found that only 19% accepted cards but 50% wished they could. So why have window cleaners, for example, historically not been able to accept cards? Card acceptance has been difficult for small businesses owing to a number of factors - cost and complexity being the most significant. One of the main barriers is the unpredictability of how many customers they will have paying by card, and the small size of transactions overall, both of which make signing up to a subscription package unworkable. Card processing usually works by paying a monthly subscription fee to a provider, as well as renting a terminal. Some businesses might only need to take one card payment a week for example, which makes these costs unrealistically expensive. These elements have combined to keep card payments as the preserve of larger companies.
However, technology now looks set to democratise card payments for small businesses, no matter how tiny they are. The catalyst here has been the explosion in the use of sophisticated internet-enabled smartphones. With a small, inexpensive card reader and downloadable app the device can be turned into a chip and PIN compliant card terminal. The reader "talks" to the phone through a Bluetooth connection and the cardholder enters their pin on the device. The cardholder's details are kept as safe as a regular terminal that you might expect to use in a supermarket or restaurant. This is an interesting development because it means that the individual effectively supplies their own hardware - instantly cutting the rental costs that small businesses find difficult to bear. Instead, most of these new payment systems require only an upfront investment in a card reader with PIN pad (usually at around £49) then fees of around 2.75% per transaction.
Relative to the cost of handling cash and lost custom from not being able to accept cards this level of fee introduces a realistic card payment option where none have existed before. As new entrants such as Intuit and PayPal bring their solutions to the market 2013 could be the year that card payments finally reach the great and the good of small businesses. Next time the window cleaner calls you may find yourself reaching for your card to pay rather than your loose change.

The Rise of Virtual Retirement Villages: Each virtual retirement community varies depending on the people involved, but they share some common traits: They offer a list of preferred service providers for residents. That makes it easy for residents to hire any vendor, from an arborist to a window washer, knowing they have been vetted by the community. Nearly a quarter of village members need help with household chores, and about 14% require assistance for personal care, the Rutgers study finds.

New research reveals that car salesmen have the priciest profession when it comes to getting car insurance. According to Confused.com, data analysed over the past 12 months to March 2013 showed that motor traders’ annual premiums top an astonishing £10,000. The results also revealed that car salesmen pay 13 times more than the average annual cost for fully comprehensive cover. But it’s not just vehicle salesmen who receive these high insurance quotes. The data also revealed that ‘car valeting’ is the second most expensive profession, with an annual cost of £4,943 to cover their vehicle. Next up is ‘window cleaner’ and then ‘professional football apprentice’, which pay an average of £4,830 and £4,038 per year respectively.

Pets fill Santa Cruz Animal Shelter: A dozen people filed into the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter on Thursday afternoon, browsing the kennels, looking for a potential friend. The facilities for dogs, cats and rabbits are at capacity this month. The shelter is offering half-price pet adoptions for the remainder of July in an effort to free space for the next wave of animals. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter provides animal rescue, adoption and temporary care for about 6,000 animals a year, according to its website. The nation celebrated the sights and sounds of the Fourth of July earlier this month. But the season is notoriously frightening for pets, Sobel said.
Stray pets account for a fraction of the shelter's animals. If a pet owner is arrested or dies, the shelter will look after the animals. It is key to have a constant outflow of animals to make room for unexpected arrivals, Sobel said. Last November, the shelter rescued 80 cats that were living in a one-room trailer. More recently, the shelter took on 61 roosters that were confiscated from a cockfight. The shelter counts on frequent adoptions so it can be prepared for special circumstances and crowding. Now that Mike Burkett, 46, is back from vacation he is ready to adopt another cat. As a self-employed window washer from Prospect Heights, he has time to spare to make a new pet comfortable. 

Lightning strikes house, leaves a hole in bathroom: Kahului resident Uilani Endo was standing in her bedroom Monday evening, contemplating what she needed to take downstairs, when she saw a bright blue flash of light crash through her bathroom just 15 feet from her. A deafening boom shook the house, she heard glass shattering and then everything went dark. Endo grabbed her daughter from the next room and ran out of the house, screaming. "It was like a blue line that went right through my bathroom, it streaked right through the house, I yelled for my daughter and told her we had to get the hell out of the house," Endo said, as police and firefighters responded outside her home on Kipapa Place. 
Endo's house was hit by lightning at about 6:15 p.m. Monday, as Maui residents began seeing the first signs of Tropical Depression Flossie's late arrival. Kahului and Wailuku firefighters responded to the 6:17 p.m. alarm, finding a hole about 5 inches in diameter that went through the roof, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. The lightning struck through and shattered a glass window louver located high above the bathtub in the master bathroom on the second floor of the home, Endo said.
She, her husband, daughter and tenant were inside the house when the lightning struck. "I was just freaked, all I could think of was to get my daughter out of the main house," Endo said. Her daughter, 21-year-old Kanoe, was in the next room when the lightning beamed through her mother's bathroom. Just five minutes earlier, she had been texting on her cellphone inside the bathroom where it struck. "I was just thinking, 'Oh my God, oh my God,' " Kanoe Endo said. "I never thought that would happen in my life." "It's pretty terrifying," said Bill Tavares, who spoke to The Maui News from his home in Kuau as lightning thundered down 5:45 Monday evening. "It's the loudest thunder I've ever heard in all my life and I'm almost 92."

Family's loving tribute to 'the very best of men' - The heartbroken parents of a young man who died after getting into difficulty while swimming in a Chirk river last week have said their son was “the very best of men”. Anthony James Lawrence died after an incident at the confluence of the rivers Ceiriog and Dee, near Pont-y-Blew, Chirk, last Tuesday evening. Paying tribute to the 21-year-old from Oswestry yesterday, his parents Dave and Denise Lawrence said their son was “committed” to his family and friends and had a talent for Japanese manga animation, a passion he hoped would take him to Japan.
Father, Dave Lawrence, 44, who was introducing his son to the family’s window cleaning business, which he runs with Anthony’s 24-year-old brother, Dean, urged other parents to take every opportunity with their children. “I have got no regrets with Anthony. Even to the very end we were together and enjoying ourselves – that is one thing that has helped me through this. “You can’t wrap them up in cotton wool, they have got to live, but make the most of it.” Mrs Lawrence, who the couple said was Anthony’s closest friend, added: “Don’t take each other for granted - have a really good relationship with them because they are so precious.”

Hemel Hempstead window cleaner took his own life after heated row with on/off girlfriend: A man took his own life after a booze-fuelled argument with his on/off girlfriend, an inquest into his death heard.  Kevin Alderman and Magrieta Smith - better known as Maffti - had a row which escalated into violence in the early hours of January 22, 2012. Window cleaner Kevin, 31, of Leighton Buzzard Road, Hemel Hempstead, was left with two small abrasions on his face - Ms Smith told the inquest, held at Hatfield on Thursday, that she had scratched him.
Kevin left her home when she threatened to call the police and he went to his sister’s house. In a statement read out by Herts Coroner Edward Thomas, his sister described him as upset and ‘crying his eyes out’. Before heading home he told her: ‘This is going to be my last night’. In the morning when Ms Smith went to Kevin’s home she looked through the window and discovered he had hung himself. She got back in her car and went to friends for help before the police were called. “I just wanted to go and get them and make things better,” she said.
Mr Thomas said that even if Ms Smith had acted straight away it would not have made any difference as Kevin had been dead for some time. A post mortem examination revealed alcohol, cocaine and cannabis in Kevin’s system, although the Class B drug can remain present for up to two weeks after using it. “There was alcohol and cocaine and the effect of both can make you very low,” said Mr Thomas. “If you are miserable it can make you more miserable.”
He recorded that Kevin died of asphyxiation and had taken his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed. Mr Thomas said: “It is very sad because he was obviously someone who, most of the time, was great fun to be with.” He told the family that a note had been left on the kitchen side by Kevin and handed it to his parents in an envelope after closing the inquest. 

Bogus window cleaner steals cash: A bogus window cleaner carrying a red bucket and a squeegee stole cash after calling at two houses in Basingstoke. The first theft took place at 1pm on Thursday, July 18, when the man walked through an open front door of a house in Cliddesden Road. A 73 year old woman, who lived at the house, confronted him before he offered to clean windows. She declined but later found £20 was missing from her handbag.
The second theft took place at 11.30am on Monday, July 22. The man called at a sheltered housing complex, again in Cliddesden Road, and asked a 57-year-old man, who is vulnerable, for a drink. He then took the man’s wallet, which contained £300 in cash and bank cards. The man is described as white, 5ft 9ins tall, of medium build with short, dark hair. The woman described him as wearing a red t-shirt and jeans with a tattoo on his upper right arm. Police are linking the two incidents. A 32 year old man from Basingstoke was arrested in connection with these incidents but has been released with no further action. Anyone with information can contact PC Craig Bannerman at Basingstoke police station on 101.

Update - Bogus window cleaner tricks vulnerable people: Police have released further information about a man who has been posing as a window cleaner to steal from elderly people. On Thursday, 18 July at 8.50am a 98-year-old woman in Barking opened her front door to a man carrying a bucket who claimed to be collecting money for her window cleaner. The man has been described as charming, polite and believable. The man asked for £3 and when the victim went inside to get her purse the man followed her into the lounge. Not having enough change to hand over the £3, the suspect said he would take a £20 note and return with change in half an hour. After the man left, the woman checked her purse and saw that he had taken two £20 notes. He did not return as promised. The suspect has been described as a white male, 6ft tall, aged 30-35 years, of slim build with cropped fair/mousey hair. He spoke in a local accent and was wearing a copper/orange jumper with dark navy jeans. He is known to have called at the following addresses also:

 - St Awdrys Road, Barking on 8 July
 - The Avenue, Hornchurch on 10 July
 - Maplestead Road, Dagenham on 15 July
 - Valence Circus, Dagenham on 15 July
 - Howard Road, Barking on 17 July
 - Wedderburn Road, Barking on 18 July

Investigating officer Detective Constable Gemma Townsend of Barking and Dagenham CID said: “This man is relying on the trusting nature of our most vulnerable residents. Please make sure that any elderly people that you know or care for are aware of this despicable crime. “It is okay to be suspicious and to tell strangers to come back when a friend or relative can be with you. If they are persistent please shut the front door and dial 999.” This suspect is believed to be responsible for a number of identical offences in Barking and Dagenham and a further offence at The Avenue, Hornchurch. 

Fake window cleaner robs 93 year old woman in Lynstead near Sittingbourne: This man is being hunted after a 93-year-old woman was robbed by a fake window cleaner. She was targeted by a man who stole £300 when he burst into her home in Cellar Hill Lynstead, near Sittingbourne. The victim was in her living room when he came in through the kitchen door and told her he was collecting money for window cleaning. She stood up to confront him, but he pushed her down and forcibly held her in place before stealing her purse out of her knitting bag. The offender ran out of the door with her purse, containing bank cards and £300.
Police said the offender is described as white, with dark short hair and a "longish face". He was clean-shaven and thought to have been in his late 20s. Detectives have now released an efit of a man they want to speak to about the incident, between 1.55pm and 2.07pm on last Tuesday. DCI Ann Lisseman, from Kent Police, said: "While the victim suffered no injuries, we are classing this as robbery because the offender used force to restrain his vulnerable victim. "Someone out there must recognise this man and I'd ask you to call into us as soon as possible. "Targeting an elderly lady and stealing her belongings is a despicable thing to do and we are following up every possible line of enquiry to find the offender and bring him to justice. "Despite her ordeal, the victim has shown remarkable courage and fortitude in helping us compile an e-fit, and I'd like to commend her for her bravery."

Fairfield Police Warn Residents About Scams - An in-person scam was attempted on Saturday in the area of Nepas Road. A resident told police a man went door to door with a woman to talk about window cleaning. The report said that they had no documentation to verify this. If residents are concerned about a possible scam, they should contact the Fairfield police at 203-254-4800 and file a report. 

More woe for families as benefits cap is rolled out (UK): The bedroom tax has already hit residents in the pocket with one Stafford man saying he is struggling to afford food. And plans to introduce a Universal Credit system, which will see benefits paid monthly, and a benefits cap, could leave many in hardship, Stafford and Rural Homes bosses have warned. One 35-year-old resident, who asked not to be named, told the Newsletter the bedroom tax was crippling him. The Exeter Street resident was signed off work 14 months ago due to medical issues. He previously worked as a grounds worker and window cleaner.
He said: “I lived with my mum in a house but when she died I asked to be moved to a two-bedroom flat as I have two children who sometimes stay. “When the bedroom tax came in I suddenly had to pay £50 a month. I can’t afford it. I will often miss out on either some food or put off paying the TV licence to buy food. I’ve sold some belongings to make money. I’m on the list to get a one-bedroom place but it will be difficult if my children stay. “Monthly payments are worrying because I don’t know how I’ll survive and make it last. I’m struggling now. I’ve run out of bread and milk and have £7 of elec- tricity to last me until next week.”

Fast-Food Restaurant Workers In Some Cities Plan To Walk Off Job: Don’t expect to have it your way Monday at some fast-food restaurants across the country. Workers at the nation’s best known fast-food restaurants in seven cities across America are planning to walk off the job Monday to protest what they say are wages that are too low to live on, Fox News reported.
The Washington Post reported that the protests will take place in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Flint, Mich., involving workers at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC. Some employees at stores including Dollar Tree, Macy's and Victoria's Secret are also expected to join the protesters in several cities.
"A lot of the workers are living in poverty, you know, not being able to afford to put food on the table or take the train to work." The workers are calling for wages of $15 per hour, more than double New York's current minimum wage of $7.25. “SEIU members, like all service-sector workers, are worse off when large fast-food and retail companies are able to hold down wages and push benefit standards for working people,” Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, told the Washington Post.
In New York City, the protests were organized by a group called Fast Food Forward, which states its Twitter account: "No one can survive on $7.25." Some Kanawha County residents agreed. "Me and my wife both work and we struggle to make it by every week, so it would definitely help a lot," said John Fields, a window washer who makes $10 an hour.

Metal baton used to fight off others during melee in Street: A window cleaner took out a metal cosh from his car in a bid to protect himself as he was under attack from two other males after a family birthday party in Street. Benjamin Allan got involved in a fight with his girlfriend's father and brother and took out the weapon from his car and used it during the melee. When police were called to the incident they searched the area and found it hidden in a nearby hedge and the defendant was arrested. The 26-year-old, of Barlinch Close, Taunton, pleaded guilty to being in possession of an offensive weapon, namely an extendable baton, in Street on June 15 when he appeared before District Judge Maurice Champion sitting at Yeovil.
He said: "Things got out of hand between the family members and at some point during a fight it transpired that Allan took an extendable baton from his car and this was used in the course of this fight. "When the police attended the scene it was found hidden in a nearby hedge and it is accepted by Allan that it belonged to him and that he took it out of his car saying he had it for self-defence purposes." Defending solicitor Robin Weelen said that there was a history of bad feeling between Allan and his partner's father and brother who were the other two males involved in the incident. Allan went back to his partner's house after the party but then said he was leaving as her brother and father were there. "Her brother then came out and punched Allan through the car window and the father also came out and my client tried to drive away," he said. "However his car windscreen was then smashed by the brother and Allan, who had a metal cosh in his car, was being attacked so he picked it up and was trying to ensure that nobody else was going to do anything to him."
He added that Allan had the baton as he used to live above a shop which sold similar items including samurai swords and he was given some of them. He had been living in a tent at the time so kept the baton in his car. He added that the defendant worked as a window cleaner in Taunton and his employer had now lent him the money to buy himself a caravan to live in. The judge accepted that Allan had been caught up in "exceptional circumstances" and fined him £200. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Another Window Cleaner Dies - More Accidents - More Idiots

A 78-year-old window washer was fatally injured (died).
Window washer fatally injured in fall: A 78-year-old window washer was fatally injured in a fall this morning at Christian Theological Seminary. According to an IMPD spokesman, the accident occurred about 10 a.m. at the seminary, 4251 N. Haughey St. The fall, said IMPD spokesman Michael Hewitt, “appears to be accidental. According to supervisors, there does not appear to be any foul play.’’ The man’s name is not being released pending notification of relatives.

Window washer falls to his death at CTS - Indianapolis (WISH) - IMPD officials say a man fell to his death while washing windows at the Christian Theological Seminary. Officials say the 78-year-old man was washing windows at CTS, which is just off Butler's campus, when he fell from the third floor. The man was pronounced dead on the scene. Officials say foul play is not suspected. This appears to be an accident.

Also see here for HEALTH & SAFETY DOCUMENT CODE of PRACTICE .

A broken handrail at the Harbour View Thai Restaurant on Addison St shows where a window washer fell this morning.
Window cleaner injured in Addison St balcony fall (Illawarra, NSW, Australia): A window cleaner has been airlifted to hospital with a serious head injury after he fell from the balcony of a Shellharbour restaurant. The man was washing the side glass partitions of the Harbour View Thai Restaurant, on Addison Street, moments before he fell four metres into the gutter, taking part of the balcony handrail with him.

New South Wales Ambulance paramedics came to the aid of the man, 42, from Flinders, shortly after 8 o'clock this morning. He lost consciousness in the fall and was confused and disoriented when paramedics arrived. He was transported to Illawarra Regional Airport then airlifted to St George Hospital, where he is undergoing treatment for a possible fractured skull. He remains in a serious but stable condition.

Hamburg City - sure is different. A window cleaner is balancing around 13 meters height on a ladder, while his colleague is holding the rope that secures him. But in an emergency.. both fall.  A reader-reporter photographed this dangerous game, saying.. "That's just crazy."
Dieter Gottschalk (63), operations manager at the Heidmann Building Cleaning Ltd., was horrified... "They were employees of a subcontractor of us. "We will be calling our sub-contractors for a conversation."
These window cleaners have no pane! (No shit!) - Oh man, the reckless! Two window cleaners doing some gymnastics on a 13 meter building. One secures the other with a rope. Just stupid.. he himself is totally unsecured at the roof edge.  If the lower man falls, he takes the upper man with him.  To make matters worse, the man on the roof is on the phone. The office building "Schaumburg Hof" in downtown Hamburg.  A reader-reporter photographed this dangerous game, saying.. "that's just crazy."

When these images were shown to the window cleaning company afterwards, Dieter Gottschalk (63), operations manager at Heidmann Building Cleaning Ltd., was horrified. "They were employees of a subcontractor of us."  "The window cleaner on the roof would have to be secured with a separate belt system and a rope also."  "He is disregarding the accident prevention regulations of the trade association." "We are going to call our sub-contractors in regard to this conversation."

Friday, 26 July 2013

Forbes Features Men In Kilts

Men In Kilts go from strength to strength, Tressa Wood center, Brent Hohlweg Left. Click to enlarge.
Will Kilt-Wearing Window Washers Be In Your City By 2017? - If you want men in kilts standing on ladders as they wash your windows, you may be able to rent them if you live in the right North American city. The company behind this innovation is Men In Kilts that describes itself as “a franchised window and exterior cleaning company whose cleaning technicians wear kilts while they work.”

As I learned from interviewing its founder Nicholas Brand on July 25,  Brand was born in Vancouver, BC and his father immigrated there at age 25 from Aberdeen, Scotland. Men In Kilts — they do not ‘go commando’ — is already in nine north American cities — with 66 more by 2017.

He decided to start a business in 2002 when he was 24. As Brand explained, “In high school, the teacher who inspired me most had a successful tourism business and one of my uncles had run a successful business and retired at 50. Six years after high school, I was working at a Vancouver Boston Pizza and decided with my wife’s support to start a business. I thought about three possible opportunities: landscaping, painting, and window washing.”

The lack of competition and the low entry barriers steered him to window washing. “Landscaping was too competitive and painting required too much technical skill. There were no window cleaners in the market, and I only had a few hundred dollars in my bank account,” explained Brand.

The company has a good story behind its name. Brand said, ”Right from the beginning, we decided to have our men wear kilts. My friends and I were at a bar and one of them thought that kilts would reflect my proud Scottish heritage. Kilts have been worn for hundreds of years; soldiers wore them into battle in World War II; and everyone knew the movie, Braveheart [a 1995 movie about William Wallace, a kilt-wearing Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks].”

The business started gradually. Brand said, “My wife and I started walking around Vancouver handing out flyers and for the first few years we lived off her salary from her job at a paper company and ate macaroni and cheese. Each time I hired a new worker, she sewed him a new kilt.”

In 2008, Tressa Wood, former VP of Operations at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, was on maternity leave. She read an article in the local newspaper about Men In Kilts and its interest in franchising the service. As Wood explained in a July 25 interview, “I would see the guys from Men In Kilts around town with their truck wrapped in tartan and it would make me smile. I contacted Nicholas and talked about how I could help with franchising. I joined as CEO in 2009.”

Men In Kilts stumbled with its first franchise in east Vancouver — but the learning was valuable. According to Brand, “We wanted our new cleaning technicians to spend two to three weeks shadowing the experienced ones so they could learn how to clean windows as we had done before we started franchising. But in a new territory, there were no experienced people. So we had to improve our training.”

Men In Kilts is now in nine cities. “We are in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia and the Jersey Coast,” said Brand.

The cost of a Men In Kilts franchise is fairly low and the possibility of earning back the franchise depends on revenues and cash flow. As Wood explained, “The start-up fee for a franchise – given out by zip or postal code — varies between $45,000 and $150,000 depending on the number of households — $20,000 per 100,000 households — and the number of trucks. We also charge a [7%] royalty fee and a [6%] fee for handling inbound calls and scheduling. And the annual revenues of our franchises varied from $100,000 to $3.5 million.”

Wood looks for people who are comfortable wearing kilts when she looks for someone to lead a franchise. “We look for people who really want to take control of their futures; have a strong customer-service orientation; are outgoing enough to like the attention they’ll get when they wear a kilt; get the job done efficiently; solve problems on-the-fly with a MacGyver-like mindset; have the energy to take advantage of all the opportunities in the residential and commercial markets.”

When people call in to its central call center, Wood notes that most of the callers are female. “Overall, 60% of the calls are from women and 40% from men. Residential callers tend to be more skewed towards women and commercial callers are more often men,” she explained.

Men in kilts washing windows on ladders could lead to awkward moments but Brand has a handy response: “People ask me: ‘What happens on windy days?’ I tell them, ‘We let the wind answer that.’”

How to Balance a Gimmick With Serious Business. Tressa Wood pictured center.
How to Balance a Gimmick With Serious Business: By Tressa Wood (CEO, Men in Kilts) - Back in 2009 when I first told people I was joining Men In Kilts and we were planning to franchise, some people said, “Really, Tressa? Isn’t that just a gimmick?” Gimmick is defined as, “an innovative stratagem or scheme employed especially to promote a project.” Another definition is, “a unique or quirky special feature that makes something ‘stand out’ from its contemporaries.” We definitely stand out and I would agree that we are unique, maybe even quirky. People stop, look, and smile when they see us. That is pretty powerful. But how do we ensure the perceived gimmick is more than just that? We put it aside, and built our business strategy and systems as if the gimmick did not exist. We quickly got to the point of, “Forget the kilts. How will we become the leader in this market, even if we were ABC Window Cleaning franchise?” Here are some ways to help your seemingly off the wall name or idea becomes more than a gimmick: 

FOLLOW UP WITH CUSTOMERS IMMEDIATELY 
We found that most of our competitors did not make it a priority to respond to customer inquiries within the day, let alone within minutes. We built a centralized customer service and sales center where our team answers customer calls from across North America in less than 60 seconds. Market research is an important first step as this type of strategy would have been difficult to implement after franchising had begun.  

BUILD AN “EXCEED EXPECTATIONS” CULTURE 
 It really is the little things that matter. Our teams are on the lookout for opportunities to provide a little more than expected, in any situation. The question is always: what can we do that’s even more unique than the kilts we’re wearing? For example, changing a hard-to-reach light bulb for a customer while we’re cleaning their interior windows, getting involved in the community and supporting a charity, or even stopping to help someone change a flat tire. We encourage everyone at Men In Kilts to go the extra mile and do more than people would expect from a window cleaning company.  

MEASURE FEEDBACK 
We’re not perfect and if we make a mistake or someone isn’t happy with our work, we want to know so we can make it right. We follow up with customers after every job, we use the NPS (Net Promoter Score) system to measure where we stand in terms of service, and we listen to our customers. We also guarantee our work. If businesses are not accountable to delivering what they say they will, customers will not stay loyal.  

AS THE CEO, STAY DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO CUSTOMERS 
The CEO needs a direct line to the customer. It is not something you can pass off. The NPS email goes out from my alternate email address, so customers can respond to me directly. I have a copy of every NPS response delivered to a folder in my inbox, which I review weekly. Considering happy customers are critical to our success, I make it a priority to stay connected.  

LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY … and keep your growth plans in mind. 
Every role in our company can be done from a home office. This mobility allows us to keep overhead down, attract great people and remain flexible and responsive as we grow and navigate our way through start up. We also ensure we are respectful of the Scottish culture, and we wear our Wallace tartan kilts with pride. We make every effort to manage the brand and never cross the line from being fun to being “sexy,” which can be a challenge. We once had a women call us to try and book our service during a wedding shower, which we respectfully declined. Don’t get me wrong, while it takes a lot more than just wearing a kilt to make customers happy, we leverage the kilt angle as much as possible. It makes marketing virtually a breeze and the PR is fantastic. So if you are thinking of ways to stand out and be different, make sure you do it with taste and purpose.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

One Stop Shops - Look No Further?

They may be a place for all your needs, but do they have the experience or know how to carry out the job?
Look no further: If it happens outdoors, and it happens on your property, Serene Surroundings boasts a specialist to get the job done. The Plymouth, Mich.-based landscape design and maintenance firm works hard to “go deep” with customers. Eric Lloyd, one of three partners in the firm, says it’s not how long the customer roster is, it’s how many services each person buys.

This means a focus on truly being that one-stop property maintenance shop and building strong relationships with customers. “We are continuously developing the landscape company to offer more services within our core,” Lloyd says.

Currently, the company’s service menu includes the staple lineup of landscape design/build and maintenance services, including hardscape installation, lighting, tree and shrub care and fertilization. But the list goes on – snow removal, gutter cleaning, holiday lighting and window cleaning. Rather than choosing one service and specializing in that alone, Serene Surroundings figures it has the customer base. Why send them elsewhere for a service?

Of course, this business model comes with a price. Serene Surroundings must hire versatile employees, and good people are hard to find. But the benefit of providing a diverse service mix is added protection against recessionary swings. Serene Surroundings, a $1.5 million firm, has grown every year since it was founded in March 2004, Lloyd says.

Cross-promoting services - Before Serene Surroundings was a name, Lloyd and his partners, Paul Opdyke and Matt West, started Serene Surroundings and another business, Adventure Window Cleaning out of their home. The window cleaning client base was a mix of homeowners who bought the service once or twice each year – generally spring and fall – and commercial customers who contracted with the company for cleaning every year or two.

Lloyd and his partners later purchased a lawn care company and another window cleaning company as they grew. “The price was right as far as acquiring the lawn care company, and I had a background in landscaping,” he says. Most of all, he adds, “we had the customer base.” So Serene Surroundings became the lawn service portion of their operation – a separate venture that fits into the big picture of total property maintenance. The two distinct services have always been marketed separately, but they are cross-promoted.

For example, on Serene Surroundings’ website, one of the service tabs is labeled Adventure Window Cleaning – and the same goes for the window cleaning site, where a Serene Surroundings tab guides visitors to the landscape side of the business. The websites play a key role in linking the two different services, and spelling out the volume of offerings that Serene Surroundings offers clients. The company has invested the time and resources in its online marketing efforts.

“We do have a social media marketing and website management staff that is dedicated to (online marketing) and on the payroll,” Lloyd says of the company’s web developer and marketing manager. “That makes a big difference in terms of contacting clients.” Because the business model for Serene Surroundings is to capture more business from existing customers, its online outreach plays a critical role in executing that vision. All customer information, and their all-important e-mail addresses, are recorded in a marketing-driven database designed for the green industry.

Every Friday after lunch, customers receive a “non-invasive” educational e-mail from Serene Surroundings. Depending on the season, the topic may focus on planting annuals or keeping gutters clean. “While my partners and I are out in the field estimating, we keep an eye out and note overall problems in the area,” Lloyd says of gathering relevant content. For example, spring in Michigan brings winter thaw and drainage issues for many clients. So the topic of one e-newsletter may address solutions for this problem.

While visiting customer properties or suggesting enhancements, Serene Surroundings team members are trained to suggest other services, including window cleaning. This is often how the window business is introduced to landscaping clients. As for the window cleaning side of the business, the focus, again, is on marketing to existing clients. “Window cleaning is typically done once or twice a year for most residents and every one or two years for commercial, so we stay on top of the last time we were on every job,” Lloyd says.

The company initiates some campaigns via local magazines and offers 10 percent discounts for referral business. The goal is always to draw more of its landscaping clients into the window business, as well. Balancing the mix. These days, landscaping services represent more than three-quarters of the overall business. “In recent years, commercial window cleaning has suffered – companies cut it out of their budget in lean times,” Lloyd adds, noting how the balance of services has allowed the company to thrive even when certain segments are down. And in the landscape design/build sector, the bulk of Serene Surroundings’ work is property rehabilitation. “There wasn’t as much new construction work to be had when we started the business, so we focused elsewhere and (landscape rehab) has been good to us,” Lloyd says.

The key, again, is getting the same customers to keep buying more services that Serene Surroundings offers. “When we do a design/build job, we want that customer to stay with us for lawn care treatments, maintenance, shrub trimming, all of those things,” Lloyd says. There isn’t a (direct) discount for buying more services from Serene Surroundings – but the incentive for clients is the ease of calling one service provider to handle many needs. “We have a full-time office staff to answer questions and deal with issues, and me and my partners are very available,” Lloyd says.

As for building a staff that can manage all of the company’s offerings, Lloyd says that Serene Surroundings looks for employees who can be flexible. Sometimes, the company hires people with green industry experience – other times, they hire hard workers and develop through a training program. Plus, the company relies on its vendors to provide practical, field and classroom training experiences for workers.

And, when planning which crew to send out on a job, Lloyd always considers the strengths and skillsets of employees. For example, on a landscape rehab job that requires gutting the property and making irrigation and lighting adjustments before the landscape design can be implemented, he’ll make sure he has strong lighting and irrigation crewmembers on staff.

By investing in employees and deepening relationships with customers, Serene Surroundings continues to grow each year. Plus, customers are willing to pay for the convenience of a single contact for property maintenance, Lloyd adds. “We don’t compete on price with other companies in our area,” he says. “Sometimes our prices are better, but that is not why we are hired. People choose us because of our customer service, we’re a one-stop-shop and the relationships we build with them.”

James Crew has set up 'Blue Sky' - a mobile cleaning business.
Months of unemployment have spurred on two friends determined to find work to start up their own mobile cleaning business. James Crew and Scott Ransome, both 24 and who were friends together at Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School, have launched their Blue Sky Mobile Cleaning business. It will operate in the area between Hunstanton, where they both live, and Lynn and offers a service to clean anything from cars, caravans, patios and windows using, where appropriate, specialist high-pressure equipment.

“We have both been trying to get a job without success so we decided we would like to set up our local business,” said James. “The main point about this business is that we are mobile and we can go out to our customers wherever they are and provide a high level of service. “If someone goes out shopping, for instance, we can arrange to meet them and valet their car while they are busy. We can be totally flexible.”

They anticipate that car valeting wll play a key role in the business, but equally they are willing to do all kinds of cleaning, from caravan exteriors to garden paths and patios plus window cleaning. Car valeting starts from £12 and could go up to as much as £60 for a large vehicle inside and out; house window cleaning starts from £5; patios, depending on size, from £10; and caravans, again according to size, start at £5 each.

Jack Of All Trades, Master Of One: Entrepreneurship (By Adario Strange) - A few months ago I had dinner with a business associate at one of Tokyo’s better Thai restaurants and as the empty plates stacked up, the conversation turned to the topic of life strategies and execution. Specifically, how life treats those who specialize in one area to the exclusion of all others, as opposed to those who take a kaiten-zushi approach to life and try their hand at a wide variety of professions and skill sets.

Running down the list of major professions, it soon became obvious that while the vast majority of careers advocate a singular dedication to one area, many of history’s most notable innovators in the field of business were curious polymaths who endeavored to crack the mysteries of any market or product space that interested them, only delegating certain entrepreneurial investigations to others when the niche ran so deep that a specialist’s eye was required.

While the oldest, most referred to examples of such individuals bring to mind the names of Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, identifying similarly brilliant figures in contemporary culture who are still in the process of burnishing their legacies can be somewhat challenging. Extraordinary business leaders like Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson and Tesla’s Elon Musk certainly fit the bill, but as they represent the extreme exceptions and not the rule, the topic of the modern Renaissance man remains framed in skepticism by those who adhere to more conservative approaches to education and business leadership.

In the course of this friendly restaurant debate, my associate dropped the dreaded “jack of all trades, master of none” chestnut that has been used for ages to describe the unfocused efforts of those who attempt to taste many disciplines without ever excelling at any one in particular.

It was this conversation that brought to mind a paper I’d read a few years ago by former White House economic advisor and current Stanford professor Edward Lazear. His paper “Balanced Skills and Entrepreneurship” brought a rigorous scientific approach to the notion that the often derisive “jack of all trades” moniker is, in fact, the very profile shared by many of history’s most effective business leaders. Needless to say, I was quite pleased when Lazear gave us his permission to republish his paper in the Journal. In Japan, there is still so much to learn and integrate into one’s American business mindset, but Lazear’s paper helps remind us that the West’s “jacks of all trades” are indeed masters of one: entrepreneurship.

"Jack of all trades, master of none" is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills but is not necessarily outstanding in any particular one. The earliest recorded versions of the phrase do not contain the second part. Indeed they are broadly positive in tone. Such a Jack of all trades may be a master of integration, as such an individual knows enough from many learned trades and skills to be able to bring his or her disciplines together in a practical manner. This person is a generalist rather than a specialist. 

The 'master of none' element appears to have been added later and the expression ceased to be very flattering. Today, the phrase used in its entirety generally describes a person whose knowledge, while covering a number of areas, is superficial in all of them, whilst when abbreviated as simply 'jack of all trades' is more ambiguous and the user's intention may vary, dependent on context. In North America, the phrase has been in use since 1721, typically in its short form. The phrase is occasionally extended further into a rhyming couplet which restores the earlier positive meaning...

"Jack of all trades, master of none,  Certainly better than a master of one"

Other versions appear as:

"Jack of all trades, master of none, Often times better than a master of one"

"Jack of all trades, master of none, Better than Jack of one trade, master of none"

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Obama Calls Window Washing Union To Hire More Cleaners

"Let's just say the window washers union had better start posting help wanted ads now." The Strategic Dome Initiative offers $1 billion in funding to erect a translucent, impenetrable dome over the continental United States that would not only deflect missiles launched from anywhere in the world, but also meteors falling from the sky and other as yet unidentified apocalyptic events.
Obama Okays Giant Dome Missile Defense Shield (Washington D.C.) - President Obama has announced his support of the Pentagon's latest plan to provide a missile defense system for the United States, even though it does not include lasers, invisible jets, or invisible jets with lasers.

The Strategic Dome Initiative offers $1 billion in funding to erect a translucent, impenetrable dome over the continental United States that would not only deflect missiles launched from anywhere in the world, but also meteors falling from the sky and other as yet unidentified apocalyptic events. "I prefer to think of it as more of a, uhh, force field than a dome," Obama told reporters. "Think Star Wars, not New Orleans Saints."

He demonstrated by tossing a dart at an upside-down glass salad bowl and shushing everyone to listen to the resulting plink as the dart bounced off the glass. "That's the sound of American lives being saved," he added. Obama pointed out that not only will SDI provide a defense system unparalleled in American history, but also a multitude of jobs to design, create and maintain what's being dubbed Operation Freedome.

"Let's just say the window washers union had better start posting help wanted ads now," he noted. Critics are calling the plan's feasibility into question - most notably the fact that the dome won't cover either Alaska or Hawaii, instead using the two outlier states as an "early warning system" so the Pentagon knows when to activate the Freedome over the mainland. "Come on, let's be serious: a dome that reaches all the way out to Hawaii would have to be ginormous," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. "There's no way we could build something that big. "Besides, Alaska has that really odd shape that just doesn't lend itself to good orbicular qualities,"

Panetta added. Panetta acknowledged that future defense plans could include mini domes for Hawaii and Alaska, "assuming they don't get blown out of the water before we can get them built." The White House has commissioned a number of environmental impact studies and has promised to publicize all the favorable ones before construction gets underway later this year.

Critics of the unique plan believe the dome-like structure will turn America into an undesirable artificial environment without wind, rain, snow or excessive hot and cold swings, like living in the Mall of America.
Obama Borrows From Reagan’s Star Wars Plan to Build Global Warming Defense: Lame duck President Barack Obama got tree huggers all hot and bothered when he focused more time on fighting global warming than any other single issue during his ill advised inaugural address. But don’t expect a an old fashioned Al Gore video assault on SUV drivers. Obama is going back to the future to steal ideas from Ronald Reagan’s famous Star Wars plan to fight the sun’s warm rays.

“Most people don’t realize how far ahead of his time President Reagan was,” said an Obama science adviser. The media painted him as an out of touch old man talking about shining cities up on a hill, but he was really on to something with his Star Wars plan…. he was just a President way ahead of his time.”

PalookavillePost.com has learned that President Obama is planning to construct a giant dome-like structure over the entire United States to stop the effects from the warmth from the sun. Obama’s high paid scientists believe Reagan’s Star Wars plan will work because fighting global warming is a hot war, and Reagan was mistakenly trying to use it in a cold war battle.

Critics of the unique plan believe the dome-like structure will turn America into an undesirable artificial environment without wind, rain, snow or excessive hot and cold swings, like living in the Mall of America. Others believe the dome could create unintended hazards to people the White House has not considered.

“When I was a kid we used to take a magnifying glass to burn up ants when we focused the sun rays directly on the little creatures,” said incoming White House Chief of staff Dennis McDonough. “It sure was a lot of fun, but seeing that kind of power from the sun did make me very, very humble…. I just hope the sun doesn’t burn us to death like those poor little ants.”

Early proponents of Obama’s plan say that this enormous construction project ties together perfectly with the President’s plan to make all Americans working Americans, even though it is probably not what they understood the President meant when he said he planned to lower unemployment rates, and that the top 1% would take care of their needs.

Done before.. the Simpsons also featured an episode when a giant dome en capitulated the city.
“The President said up front that he plans to fundamentally change America and we all must chip in to see his vision come to fruition,” said White House spokesman Art Carney. “Workers on the new construction project will receive room and board and a few hours off each day for rest. And the food won’t be bad because Michelle Obama is in charge of the menu.”

After President Obama downsizes the armed forces to practically nothing, old military bases will be used as something called “Konzentrationslagers” for the formerly unemployed workers to live in, and enjoy peaceful comradeship as they prepare to  contribute to society as a whole instead of selfishly satisfying their own needs. Cell phones will be included.

“President Obama is combining several of his favorite artistic works together to create an American Utopia that no one but he could ever imagine,” Carney added. “Combing great works of art into a single vision is a stroke of genius… aggregating ideas from films like Star Wars and The Truman Show, with books like Animal Farm and Mein Kampf, with songs like Back in the USSR and Back on the Chain Gang will make Obama’s new world a place people cannot refuse to live in…. pretty soon Obama’s America will live up to it’s enormous potential.”

The Palookaville Post has learned that there are no plans to hire Al Gore or any other super stars of the over the top environmental movement for a public campaign on the suspect dangers of global warming. President Obama plans on promoting the plan and overseeing construction himself from a his Western White House in Hawaii, which will be conveniently excluded from the confines of the devilish Star Wars Dome. The President excludes himself from Obamacare laws too.

Stranger than fiction.
Under the Dome revolves around the residents of Chester’s Mill as they are suddenly sealed off from the outside world when a giant dome mysteriously forms around the town. Nobody can get out and nobody can get in. President Obama has been left on the cutting room floor of new CBS drama, Under the Dome. In the pilot of the new drama, an audio clip featuring US president, Barack Obama was supposed to feature in a fictional news broadcast, however, it has since been decided that the clip is to be cut from the episode. UK broadcaster, Channel 5, has acquired the exclusive UK broadcast rights to the upcoming CBS drama, Under The Dome.

Click to see in action. Note where it ends - perhaps that's why NZ is experiencing it's earthquakes?
Missile Shield Anomaly in the South Pacific? I started checking for electromagnetic sources like HAARP signals but could not find a source that would explain the anomaly. Then, I remembered what the famous electrical energy inventor, Nikola Tesla, said he could make for the United States to defend it from airborne threats. Tesla said he could make and electromagnetic 'shield' over the country that would prevent foreign aircraft from entering our airspace. His idea was to establish a harmonic field emanating from a central broadcast point. Over a period of a few days the field would store electromagnetic energy in a dome-shaped field of standing waves. 

The theory proposed that any aircraft flying into that field above a certain speed would experience electrical shorts throughout circuits and would thus crash and burn. I remembered that his field would also generate an antipodal node/field on the other side of the planet from the transmitter. For an American based transmitter this would produce an antipodal field in the South Indian Ocean between Australia and South Africa. Suddenly, I wondered what would be the antipode of the temperature anomaly I was detecting in the SW Pacific. To my surprise it was a location in Romania. When I zeroed in on that location I discovered it is the site of the new US/NATO Missile Defense Shield at an abandoned air base near Deveselu, Olt, Romania. This wave might explain many of the anomalous electrical events people are reporting across the planet.

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