Date: Thur., 3 July 1999 00:08:21 -1500
Off the desk from an un-named reliable source at the Government Information Bureau.
The Dáil (Irish Parliment) committee on Value-for-Money in Government overnight, in another effort to reduce Government spending, passed a resolution today to downsize the solar system.
According to an unnamed PD representative on the committee it was felt there has been "too much redundancy in the solar system" and that streamlining the 4.5 billion year old planetary system is long overdue. Such action would give the Irish Space Agency fewer places to go and this would allow the agency to carry out its space exploration goals within the limited funding profile that the Dáil proposed earlier this summer. "Look, we have three terrestrial planets" the spokesperson said "and only one of them really works! So why not get rid of the other two and clean up the sky?"
Most committee members felt that while downsizing was definitely in the cards, eliminating both Mars and Venus was going too far. "There are too many EU commitments to Mars "said a spokesperson for the committee.). "So I think we should keep Mars and dump Venus. Its too hot to live on, and Green Party members keep using it as an example of what global warming can do. So from a political and practical point of view, Venus has got to go."
Also at risk is the planet Mercury which lacks support because of its small size, poor visibility from Earth, and lack of development potential. "Who needs it?" asked the chairman of the committee.). "Have you ever seen it? I haven't. So what good is it? We just don't need useless planets. And speaking of useless planets, what about the asteroids? If you've seen one, you've seen them all. So I say we ought to get rid of the little beggars once and for all."
However, the downsizing recommendations do not stop with the terrestrial planets. The resolution also calls for a reduction in the number of gas giants which contain most of the planetary mass in the solar system. Most committee members favour retaining Jupiter and Saturn, and eliminating Uranus and Neptune. "Jupiter employs the most molecules, and Saturn has those pretty little rings everyone likes." said the spokesperson "On the other hand, Uranus is a bore and its rings are dirty. And Neptune, for God's sake, is just too far away. So begone with those ugly bruisers." But the influential, chairman of the committee has publicly announced he will fight to eliminate Saturn. He is especially miffed by the Agency's success thus far in keeping its EU grant funding for the next mission to the Sun alive (despite commitments to further savings by going at night,) which he feels is waste of taxpayers money. The committee members also expressed concern about sending spacecraft with Italian surnames to the outer planets (The Galileo spacecraft was sent to Jupiter). No craft with Irish surnames have left the launch pad to date.
The committee was unanimous in its views towards Pluto, which they deemed a moral misfit. "Now here's a planet we can definitely do without." continued the spokesperson. "A few years ago, it was farthest from the sun. Now itís not. Itís just too confusing. And now they tell me its really two planets instead of one. What the hell is going on here?" The resolution must now be presented to a full Dáil sitting, where it is expected to pass easily since only a minority of TDís have constituents on the affected planets. The Agency Administrator Mr G.O'Morphology has vowed to resist any further reductions to the solar system, saying that "The Irish Space Agency has expended considerable effort to make the planets cheaper, faster, and better. Much of this work would be wasted if the solar system were downsized".
Critics say, however, that reducing the number of planets will not produce the expected savings to taxpayers. Textbooks, they note, would have to be revised, both in English and Irish, to reflect the new arrangement, and facilities would need to be constructed to remove the planets themselves. It is not clear whether EU Structural Funding would be available for such work. The resolution is also likely to draw strong opposition from religious fundamentalists who have long opposed the elimination of any of the biblical planets. Thus, the matter is far from resolved.
And another efficiency drive for christmas . .
Consultants Report Re-Examines 12 Days Of Christmas...
In light of increased competition and global challenges, this report recommends the following economy measures, effective immediately:
The partridge should be retained, but the pear tree hasn't turned out to be the cash crop previously forecasted. It should be replaced by a plastic plant.
The two turtle doves are simply not cost-effective, and the positions would have otherwise been eliminated had they not been eaten by the Celtic Tiger.
The three French hens should remain intact - our recent time-motion-profitability study proved that using migratory fowl, particularly of some overseas varieties, can be extremely profitable as it eliminates the company's need to provide employee benefits.
The four calling birds should be replaced by an Eircom automated voicemail system, with Call Waiting option. An analysis would determine whom the birds have been calling, how often and for how long. Once this information is determined, the Accounts Department can deduct the costs of any inappropriate non-business calls from their final pay cheques.
Maintaining a portfolio based on just one commodity (five gold rings)could have negative implications for institutional investors. Recommend diversification into other precious metals, Esat Telecom shares and Nasdaq Internet-related stocks.
Re the six geese-a-laying, the production rate of one egg per goose per day represents a major decline in productivity. Three geese should be let go immediately.
The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in pre-Celtic Tiger times. Their function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans should be ordered from Viking Direct the office suppliers.
The eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the Employment Equality Agency. A male/female balance in the workforce should be sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility.
Nine ladies dancing: also to be phased out (older members can no longer do the steps).
Ten Lords-a-Leaping: pure overkill. The high costs of Lords, on top of the sheer expense of international air travel, prompted our recommendation to abolish the Lords forthwith.
Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a very bad case of "too many cooks". A substitution with a string quartet is in order.
Furthermore, our latest consultant report indicates that stretching deliveries over twelve days reflects poorly in terms of "customer churn". If we can ship in one day and begin to move towards a full online ordering system, service levels will be improved and we can expect a substantial reduction in the use of part-time personnel.
Yours etc etc
P.S. A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time.
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