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VHS tapes, Nortel, Woolworths, and Ricardo Montalban

VHS tape

VHS tape

In the spirit of Jeopardy: “What is buried but once treasured?”

I read an article over the New Year holidays which stated that the last remaining distributor of VHS* tapes packed things in at the end of 2008. Gone forever now are the days of tapes getting tangled in the machine, or kids fitting the sandwiches into the tape slot, or horror! having to rewind after the movie finished (a distinguishing feature of VHS tape decks became how fast they rewound).

DVD rules! Oops, sorry, I mean Blu-Ray rules!! Ah, wait a minute, those are probably going extinct in a few years too (to be replaced by super tiny hard-drives, high capacity SD cards and internet connections for downloading movies on demand). Good riddance – many of the discs that come in the post from our movie rental outfit are scratched which means they skip – HD (high-definition) becomes LD (let-down). Won’t it be interesting if we get back to the Atari 2600 days of buying a cartridge that we plug into the “console” to watch movies and shows?

HMRC Letter requesting eight grand because they don't like Nortel and Deloitte's tax calculations

HMRC letter requesting eight grand because they don't like Nortel and Deloitte's tax calculations

Spot the sunshine.

Spot the sunshine.

Speaking of let-down, how about the loss of the once mighty brands? Woolworth went belly-up in the UK this month and Nortel went into administration (bankruptcy filing).

Spokespeople from Nortel are always so cheery even in the depths of gloom for the company….the falling sky will be a good thing, you see, because Nortel is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunity this affords them to make the sun shine brighter out of all our asses tomorrow. I sure wish I had moved my pension funds out of them long ago (I did move a fair bit, but I bought into their happiness, and kept some in. Now that’s gone). Update: the latest (last?) CEO just quit – with the “classic Nortel flourish“.

FAQ from HMRC about why they want eight grand from me because of Nortel and Deloitte's money manipulations

FAQ from HMRC about why they want eight grand from me because of Nortel and Deloitte's money manipulations

Oh yes, and HM Revenue and Customs (the tax folks here in the UK) just sent me a letter to say that they disagree with the “interpretation” Nortel and Deloitte made of the UK tax laws while I was an expat in the UK with them. Joy. I have been told to cough up money to pay for Nortel’s (and Deloitte’s) money manipulations back in 2003 (plus interest since Jan 2004).

Any other ex-Nortel expats out there get the same or similar letter?

Welcome to Fantasy Island!

What's your dream holiday?

All this makes me want to take a holiday to Fantasy Island. If you were in North America in the 1980s then you’ll know the TV show which offered an escape to rich travellers from their unfulfilled American dreams. The actor who played the island’s host, Mr. Roarke, died earlier this month – the end of the innocence? Time to face reality?

We hope that you enjoyed your stay!

We hope that you enjoyed your stay!

When interviewed (before his death) he described the allure of the TV show thus: “What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy it becomes a reality, and that reality is not as exciting as your fantasy. Through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities.”

Today’s weather: dull grey with a bit of rain. A spot of sunshine is coming out my ass, though.

*VHS – video head system; Follow-on technology like VSS, VKS and VTS (video shoulder-knees-and-toes system) didn’t catch on.

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "VHS tapes, Nortel, Woolworths, and Ricardo Montalban"

#1 Comment By AndrewRH On 26 January 2009 @ 12:36

Just heard from Deloitte UK — seems I’m not alone: “[Deloitte are] not clear on how Nortel will be progressing with this issue- the Revenue are in the process of issuing a large number of these assessments to Nortel assignees who received a particular type of accommodation benefit from Nortel whilst in the UK.”

#2 Comment By Colin McCormick On 1 July 2010 @ 17:36

Hello from another ex-Nortellion.

I had patchy colour on the right side of my HP 2605dn. A test print indicated that it would have required at least two defective toner carts (cyan and black) to cause this, so I pulled the thing apart and cleaned the mirrors. I used video head cleaner sticks which are ideal since they are flat faced and dust-free, and I cleaned all the prisms as well as the mirrors. There was a fair bit of dust in there.

The result? Exactly the same. Then I did what I should have done earlier, I changed the cyan cartridge. The problem was completely cured. Oh well, at least I sorted the dust problem for a while too.

I’m in some kind of denial about my Nortel pension. I moved my pre-existing private pension funds into it and so bought 11 years of service when I first started. Not a good move in the event! And Nortel shares? Oh don’t make me think about it, I would rather just pretend it never happened.

Do have a look at my web site, you can see what I do now. All kinds of video cassette to DVD and computer… that is all kinds of video cassettes, even the most obscure ones which hardly anyone has ever seen. I’ll bet you’ve never seen quite a few over them.

Anyway, thanks for the printer info, I’ll refer back to it again when I come to clean the printer out once more. In the mean time, I will stick to using heavy grade 90gm paper in it, I suspect that better paper produces less dust.

All the best,


#3 Comment By AndrewRH On 13 July 2010 @ 09:32

The Nortel pension in the UK is getting the attention of the UK pensions regulator – an article in the 9 July 2010 edition of the Daily Telegraph newspaper says, “Nortel faces £2.1bn demand by pensions watchdog – The UK Pensions Regulator has set its sights on failed telecoms group Nortel Networks by calling for £2.1bn to be paid into its former UK pension scheme before it enters the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).”