Christmas pedant found in Santa’s sack

It’s almost Christmas time, but don’t be fooled that it is the time for goodwill to all men (or gurus, for that matter). Never forget, goodwill would mean nothing without a Scrooge to spread some disharmony and highlight just how nice the aforementioned goodwill is.

You will be shocked to hear that despite the sacrifices Guru has made for the Greater Good, he too remains unappreciated in some corners, as this letter shows:

Dear Guru,

You write “No one is better qualified than the HR profession to comment on the amount of cretins that are in full employment”.

That’s ‘number’ of cretins. Presum-ably you were taught English in the 1960s when grammar was unfashionable and the distinction between singular and mass nouns was thought to be irrelevant.

For your education and future reference, mass nouns use ‘amount’ and ‘less'; singular use ‘number’ and ‘fewer’.

You can accuse me of being a pedant, and that it doesn’t matter, but the removal of the distinction would make the language more impoverished, and as someone who earns at least part of their daily corn by writing, you ought to care about it.

Yours, Mark Ashcroft.

Ouch. In response, however, it should be noted that Mr Ashcroft failed to put a colon after ‘you write’ in his first sentence. Hah!

While Guru blithely brushes off such criticism, it did make him wonder just how many other subversive agitators there are lurking out there. But rather than crush them all with a stroke of his pithy pen, he wishes to conduct a ground-breaking experiment.

Are there any other people out there who dislike/detest/despise Yours Truly? Mousemats for everyone with a valid complaint. As for everyone else, remember to keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

UK well behind in scandal rankings

Continuing this seasonal ill-will, you’ll be shocked and saddened to hear that Canadian authorities have missed a trick to plug a skills gap after they shut down a scheme to put an end to a domestic crisis – a shortage of exotic dancers.

In a scandal that shows just how uninteresting we are compared with other nations (this rather puts the Blunkett thing in the shade), immigration officials have stopped fast-tracking residency permits for strippers.

In 1998, the Canadian Govern-ment, in its wisdom, set up a system that allowed more than 2,000 dancers into the country to warm up its chilly residents with their antics.

One case in particular hit the headlines after it was revealed that the Canadian immigration minister had sorted out residency for a Romanian lady who had worked on the minister’s election campaign. Miss Alina Balaican was also electing to remove her clothes in a strip club when not furthering the democratic process.

Come on British politicians! Let’s have some real scandal. Everybody loves a rogue – take it from one whose indiscretions have done nothing to hinder his ascent to the top.

Winners conquer their verbophobia

Right then; here are the final winners of the book Can I Sack The B*****d? – A Practical Guide To Discipline And Dismissal by lawyer and consultant Kate Russell.

Guru asked you to tell him the first and last phobias alphabetically. Most of you correctly spotted that ablutophobia, fear of bathing, and zoophobia, fear of animals, were the right answers. The worryingly small number of correct entries makes him a little concerned as to how many of you employers out there want to fire your staff.

Several people thought the first phobia on the list was acarophobia, the fear of skin infestation by mites or ticks, while one disciple wrote: “I think I prefer zemmiphobia – fear of the great mole rat”.

Also full marks to Mark from Land Rover who suggested Zzzzzzzzzzzzzophobia – fear of falling asleep in meetings.

Anyway, here are the winners:

– Elle Davison, HR officer, FPR Europe

– Sarah Watt, HR co-ordinator, Sunrise

– Richard Copley, HR officer, Prismo

– Graham Curling, HR manager, Leeds East Homes

– Sheron Singh, HR executive assistant, Killik & Co

If you got the right answers and you’re not on the list of winners, seeing as it’s Christmas, e-mail your address to us and we’ll send mousemats to the first 10 replies.

Merry Christmas!

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