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June 23, 2005

How a few ketchup splashes, a £4 bill and an e-mail have become the talk of the City

Jon Ashworth & Martin Waller

A CITY lawyer who made an office secretary pay £4 towards a dry-cleaning bill after she accidentally spilt ketchup on his trousers was paying dearly for his actions last night.

Richard Phillips, a senior associate with Baker & McKenzie, the world’s fifth- biggest law firm, sent an e-mail to Jenny Amner, a secretary at the firm’s London office.

Mr Phillips earns a reputed £80,000 a year, while Ms Amner earns about £25,000. The average profit share of a partner, one step up from senior associate, is £364,000.

“Dear Jenny,” he wrote. “I went to the dry-cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost £4 to remove the ketchup stains.” He wrote that it would be “much appreciated” if he could have the money back.

Ms Amner replied: “I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother’s sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your £4.” She went on: “I apologise for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary.”

Ms Amner’s colleagues offered to hold a collection to raise the £4 but she paid the sum herself — while copying her colleagues in on the e-mail exchange. It has since been widely circulated on the internet. A tabloid newspaper was offering to pay £2,000 last night for a photograph of Mr Phillips. Among many unanswered questions is how the ketchup came to arrive on Mr Phillips’s trousers.

Baker & McKenzie failed to see the funny side last night.

A spokesman said: “I can confirm we are aware of the incident. This is a private matter between two members of staff that clearly got out of hand. We are investigating so as to resolve (it) as amicably as possible. As I am sure you understand, we respect the privacy of our staff.”

Others were less guarded. One staff member confided: “She (Ms Amner) copied it to the whole floor and everyone was in stitches. She had come into work this morning to find a Post-it chasing her for the £4 after having the funeral the day before. He’s so tight.”

Mr Phillips’s areas of expertise include IT and media. He now finds himself even more intimately associated with both. As the e-mail exchange circulated last night, comments such as “great advert for lawyers”, “great PR” and “remember to be nice to your secretaries” were added. Another adds: “This chap should emigrate.”Mrs Amner’s husband and neighbours were not surprised to hear of the e-mail exchange. One neighbour said: “That’s just like Jenny.” When shown the e-mail Mrs Amner’s husband Colin laughed and told The Times: “That’s really good. Eleven marks out of 10 to her!” Mrs Amner, a slim bespectacled blonde in her 50s, looked embarrassed and declined to comment, directing all enquiries to Baker & McKenzie.

What happened next..

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June 17, 2005

Simpsons Quotes

This goes out to all the Simpsons' fans out there. Although I do believe that it is an adult programme in cartoon format and, therefore, not suitable for viewing by children, we are all adults here and some of these quotes are pretty hilarious :-).


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Stop giving me a hard time about being Single!


By Karen Salmansohn

If you're single, chances are you've been asked the following three questions:

Why aren't you married?
Why aren't you married?
and the very, very popular:
Why aren't you married?
... give or take another 999,999,997 more such questions.

Unfortunately, I can’t fix you up with any cute guys or girls to help you avoid these questions in the future. However, I can fix you up with some good snappy comebacks to fling at anyone who dares to question your single status.

So, next time somebody dares to ask you that “Why aren't you married?” question, pause, smile sagaciously (I love that word; it means “wisely”), and offer up one of the following. Or, just review them for your own personal satisfaction.

1. In the beginning, there were no elliptical trainers or low-fat/high-fiber muffins, and so people lived to only about 40-something. Maximum. Meaning, the pressure was on to get married before age 25. However, today, thanks to medical advances, we can all hope to live to 80. Easy. Meaning? Even if we marry at age 40, that's still 35, 45, even 55 years to be with a mate. Plenty of time to be married. What's the hurry?

2. Married people are not necessarily better catches simply because they were caught. I mean, have you taken a look at some of the married people out there? Seriously. Even Frankenstein got married. Obviously married people are not superior people.

3. Meanwhile, look at some of our cool single role models:

  • Catwoman: Single.
  • Buddha: Single.
  • The Lone Ranger: Single.

Actually, virtually all superhero types are single: Superman, Wonder Woman, Dudley Do-Right. And then there’s The Ultimate Superhero: God—also single.

4. Plus, when you think about it, there’s no such thing as a Stepford Single Woman.

5. Why limit myself to being dissatisfied by one relationship when I can be dissatisfied by an infinite variety?

6. It’s interesting how our culture has the expression “happily married,” but no expression “happily single.” And those words are 100% certified by the US Census Bureau. Statistics show that although married men are reported to be happier than single men (surprise, surprise!)—single women are reported to be happier than married women (also a big surprise, surprise!). Meaning? This only furthers the irony that single women are branded as "unhappy” and “lonely” and “loser-esque"—when single women are just boldly holding out for the right situation, rather than getting married just to get married.

7. It's easy to become married. Millions of people do it every year. If you want to pressure me to become something, hey, why not pick something a little more challenging—like an astrophysicist.

8. True love is rare. That's why it's called "love" and not "really like" or "settling." And why we don't say: "I’m settling for you, honey" over candlelit dinners. True love is worth waiting for…and that’s what I’m doing.

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June 06, 2005

Three Lessons

Three important lessons learnt this weekend:

1.     Everyone needs that one friend who doesn't mince words and tells it to you like it is.

2.     The people who comment on your blog are not the only ones who read it. There are a host of other people who read it on a regular basis but never comment, thus rendering their existence undetectable. Be careful, be very careful...

3.     Society is there to judge and, therefore, learn not to give a **** because people have too many opinions about how you ought to lead your life.

One last thought about Bunty aur Babli - I confess that it was not as bad as I made it out to be. In fact, I thought it was pretty good until Amitabh Bachchan came on to the scene. That coupled with the clichéd ending negated the effect of the first half. But Abhishek still rocked!!!

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