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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Fount of Money We Have Not...

...So says Britain regarding the "Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain." The fountain was originally budgeted at $5.2 million (Not sure what the pound conversion rate is. The AP writer didn't feel the need to check that.) Now it has splurged to $9 million for various reasons, including well over a million pounds on the VAT (Value Added Tax) that some no-hoper bureaucrat forgot to include in the original cost.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee says that the cost overruns are due to "basic project management failures" but rumours abound that the actual additional costs are due to special features put in the fountain:

  • Sprays a jet stream of hot water at Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, whenever she passes by. This little extra was personally commissioned by Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Fountain switches from spouting water to spouting Guinness whenever Prince Harry is within a 100 metres.
  • When Prince Charles approaches, a life-size anamatronic statue of Diana rises up out of the granite and gives him the "up yours" sign.
  • Special Elton John lighted spectacles that sit on top of the fountain and switch on at night.

To reduce costs, the name of the fountain is being changed to the "Princess Di Thingy", which will save nearly 150 pounds on the engraving and signage. The other option was to sell the naming rights to the highest bidder, but local residents objected to the fountain being named the "Emirates Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain and Football Stadium."


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