Sunday, July 21, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.


There are many vulgar phrases used to describe the private parts of the fairer sex. It'd be quite fun to list them here but perhaps I'll leave that for another day. Alongside those unsavoury, descriptive terms lie more socially acceptable names. Muff, that's a nice one, wholly inoffensive and even a bit cute if I do say so myself. Fanny? Hmm, tis a bit dated now really, nobody calls it that anymore. Nobody that is apart from Senator David Norris. Norris has always been a bit of a windbag, anyone that sat through the presidency debates of 2011 could tell you that. But he seemed harmless enough, until now.

Coming in the wake of another Daíl scandal - the now infamous 'lapgate' – Norris' outburst was the last thing the government needed. More to the point it was the last thing he needed. His reputation has always been built upon shaky foundations, the country as a whole got to know him better during his campaign for office and the majority did not like what they saw. Furthermore, as one of the few openly gay politicians in this country, he faces a higher level of scrutiny that your average member of Daíl Eireann. So it wasn't really in his best interests to launch a sexist tirade in the direction of Regina Doherty.

What does it say about the 'lad culture' in our government when even a gay man feels he can have a pop at one of the horrendously outnumbered women? True being homosexual doesn't automatically instill Norris with a better understanding of how women feel, but it does allow him to empathise with their plight as the clear minority in the Daíl. He must surely have faced the same kind of prejudice during his rise to prominence, and yet here he is dealing in petty insults and smutty innuendo. However I'm not sure what's worse, his complete and utter ignorance, or his use of a phrase that went out of fashion years ago.


We Irish are a cynical bunch, not for us yearly honours and the endless, meaningless letters after your name. No, if you wish to gain our respect you must earn it. You could say we're a nation of begrudgers. So becoming a national treasure in this country is quite the feat. Very few people reach this esteemed level of admiration, and even those that do are invariably loathed within months of doing so. Off the top of my head I would say that currently there are but a handful of national treasures in this country; Katie Taylor, Ray D'Arcy, Brendan Gleeson and Gay Byrne. Everybody likes those people, don't they?

But there is man whose popularity outstrips even that of Gaybo. This is a man who is loved by every man, woman and child the length and breadth of the Emerald Isle. And the crazy thing is he's long since retired from his profession and only comes to our attention when he's done something bad. But still we love him. And why wouldn't we? Sure isn't he the Black Pearl of Inchicore? Arguably the most talented sportsman to ever emerge from this tiny island nation, Paul McGrath. Our love of him is rooted in countless heroic displays for the Irish football team, but plenty of players have performed stoutly in the green without garnering the kind of affection Paul does.

You see what we love about Paul is how typically Irish he is, he may have been one of the first black men in Dublin but a more Irish person you couldn't imagine. Despite his mercurial talents he never quite believed in himself, and this was despite playing for the biggest club of them all, Manchester United. He seemed bashful when praised, embarrassed almost, gway outta that I was only alright. And when coupled with an almost crippling shyness what you had was an incredibly unassuming, gentle giant who just happened to be a world-class footballer. But like so many Irish men before him Paul sought to overcome his social awkwardness in the only way we know how, with drink.

Anyone that has read his autobiography will be fully aware of the tumultuous life of Paul McGrath, it's an astonishing read which leaves you in awe of the man. But by the book's end we are left feeling positive about the future, Paul is seeking help, everything will be okay, he won't go the way of Best and Gascoigne, thank God for that. Sadly in the life of an alcoholic nothing is ever that simple. And so it was that Paul hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons again this week: a public-order offence in which he was accused of acting in a “disturbed manner.” His 'punishment' was a day teaching young kids the finer arts of the game in which he so excelled. But more revealing was his excuse for his behaviour, he admitted to using alcohol as a way of overcoming his anxieties. The crazy thing is he was doing that twenty years ago, is this simply a man that is beyond help? All he want is to be sober and the entire country is behind him in that regard. But you can't help but feel you've seen it all before, and that you know how it ends -  badly.


How is your money jar coming along? Getting nice and full in preparation for Christmas? Come on, don't pretend you don't have one, everyone does. Mine is currently full to overflowing and I badly need to cash in. At the moment I've even taken to pilfering the last remaining 50 cent pieces during the more austere times. The pennies and two pennies? I never go near them, why the fuck would I? The reason I wouldn't is because they are essentially worthless. Oh yes they're occasionally handy when you're in a bind but for the most part they never re-enter circulation once they drop into your pocket. That's right the majority of those little pieces of copper only end up being used in one solitary transaction. They either end up in the bottom of your money jar or back with the bank via one of those handy little money bags. Hardly seems worth the effort to even make them does it?

And when you consider that they cost as much to produce as they are actually worth then it's hard to ascertain why we even have them. Well thankfully they might not be around much longer. You wouldn't usually associate Wexford Town or it's denizens with anything approaching forward thinking but they are currently experimenting a system which dispenses with those pesky little coppers. And should this experiment be deemed a success then they will be officially taken out of circulation (the coins, not people from Wexford). The more mistrusting among us may question this initiative and wonder if it's not just another cunning ploy by our government, they're taking our pennies the bastards! But it is has already been implemented in Holland to great success so we can rest easy. Fuck knows how we'll manage at Christmas without our money jars though.


No jobs, no money, no women, no drink, the country is fucked, get out while you can. And many have, emigration is at it's highest since the 1980s and shows no signs of slowing down. Who can blame those who have fled in search of better fortunes? Good luck to 'em, we'll let ye know when it's safe to come back. What this has also meant is the slowing down of the mass immigration that occurred in Ireland during the early part of the noughties. No one wants to come here any more, we're fuckin' skint lads turn back. But on the other hand, thanks to the Gathering (aka; the shakedown) our tourism industry is on the up and up. They're falling over themselves to get here and sample our overpriced Guinness and intemperate weather. Why some of 'em are even paddling over on dinghies, from Dorset.

Yes one American man was so keen to set foot on our fabled land that hetook it upon himself to pop over on a little dinghy, sure 'tis only across the water I'll be there in a couple of minutes. It didn't work out like that though and the poor sod was found floundering in the Irish Sea just a couple of miles off the coast of England. Eventually, after much discussion, he was taken ashore and treated for severe sunburn. Maybe he has Irish roots after all, we're renowned for going a bit mad when the sun hits us. Details of his cargo were unconfirmed but he is believed to have had two flagons of Linden Village, eight luncheon sandwiches wrapped in tin foil, an Ipod featuring the hits of The Dubliners and a six pack of Tayto on board. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.


Alcohol and work don't mix, everyone knows that. You leave the drinking until the day is over, it's far safer that way. Instead you wait until the annual Christmas party which you mark by telling your boss what you really think of him before getting off with the overweight girl from accounts. You then spend the next few months avoiding both your boss and your smitten paramour before leaving for pastures new. Once you start your new job you make a pledge to never attend a 'works do', but it's only a matter of time before you relent and find yourself knee deep in the alcohol fueled debauchery. Eventually you will learn your lesson but by that time you'll be nearing retirement age and it'll hardly seem important any more.

And although the members of Daíl Eireann are charged with running this fine country they are, in essence, no different to any one of us. They all harbour secret desires, they all secretly resent that high-flying do-gooder and they all like a little drinkie or two. However they usually have the cop on to do what the rest of us do and leave the booze until the day's affairs have been completed. This week though they all had to do a bit of overtime, the poor feckers. And sure all that debating can be fierce tiring at the best of times. Never mind the fact that they were mulling over one of the most divisive topics in the history of the state, these lads and lasses were thirsty!

But seeing as they were working through the night and the accepted closing times for Irish pubs of a week night is 11.30 they would just have to go without a little stiffener to keep 'em going, right? Nope. They have their own special bar don't ya know. A bar that can stay open 'til whatever fuckin' hour it wants, and why not? So while the abortion bill was being discussed at length by our beloved TDs more than one of them was skulling back pints in the Daíl Bar. Beggars belief doesn't it? In truth it was only the small minority, they're not all idiots, but the very notion of having access to alcohol while in the workplace is ludicrous. And the fact that this is not any old workplace makes it even more so.

Thankfully this should be the end of 'refreshments' in Daíl Eireann. Tom Barry saw to that with his drunken mishandling of Aíne Barry which was rather brilliantly caught on film. It makes you wonder what else goes on away from the cameras though. After a few whiskeys even Mary Harney is going to look good. Maybe the Daíl Bar should be left intact but just with one small addition: a hidden camera network which provides Big Brother style coverage of life inside.


There was once a time when those in the public eye used their position for the greater good. John Lennon famously staged a bed-in for peace, Marlon Brando sent a Native American to collect his Oscar and Tommie Smith and John Carlos championed the civil rights cause with their famous black power salute. Nowadays the majority of celebrities have far more important things on their mind. Oh yes you still have the holier than thou Bono and a few others but most of these seem to take as much satisfaction from the acclaim their actions bring than the actions themselves. Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def) on the other hand is slightly different.

Anyone with even a passing interest in rap music will be aware of who Mos Def is, his 1999 album Black on Both Sides stands up there with the very best the genre has produced. But there has always been a lot more to Mos than just music. Yes he is also an actor but it is the content of his work which reveals the most about the 39 year-old Brooklyn native. As part of a swathe of conscious rappers that came to prominence in the late nineties Mos Def sought to educate as well as entertain his listeners. His recent output hasn't quite lived up to the high standard he set himself but while the strength of the music has wavered the message hasn't.

I haven't always agreed with the sentiments expressed by rappers like Mos Def but I can't help but admire his most recent political statement. The plight of those housed in Guantanamo Bay is not something that overly concerns me, but maybe it should, I don't know. However having watched Mos Def undertake a procedure which is part of the daily life of Guantanamo's inmates I now find myself taking a keen interest in their situation.


It was a prank so ludicrous that it would surely never come off. Were it to happen on your local radio station you would scarcely believe it, but Fox News? No way could they fall for it. But they did. Hook, line and sinker.

The plane crash in San Francisco this week shocked and saddened us all. The death of three people as a result of the Aisiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash is a tragedy within itself, and the fact that one of those deaths came at the wheels of a fire truck rushing to assist other victims even more so. But when you watch the video below it's hard not to stifle a laugh regardless of the subject matter. You know you shouldn't but inevitably you succumb. You laugh in spite of yourself and feel guilty for doing so. But then you console yourself with the knowledge that it's not your fault those presenters and their researchers are so dumb. Although the death count in the wake of this disaster has remained mercifully low it may yet be added to as heads will surely fall within the corridors of Fox News following this monumental cock-up.


Oh remember that summer when we little lads, roasting it was! Every day the sun split the stones. It seemed like it would last forever. Oh them were the days. Well lo and behold here we are smack bang in the middle of 'the days'. In years to come people will hark back to the summer of 2013 as the benchmark against which all other summers must compete. 'Tis hot but 'tis nothin' compared to '13, we'll say as we mop the sweat from our brows, now that was a fuckin' summer. We'll forget about the cloudy days, the chilly days and even the rainy days. Twas three months of unrelenting heat the likes of which you wouldn't get in the Sahara desert, animals were dropping dead in front of our very eyes, our skin blistered the minute we went out the door, the beer gardens were full from opening 'til closing. Some feckin' summer that was.

That's what I'll be tellin' 'em anyway. And why wouldn't I? We've already had a week of it and by all accounts we have another week to come. A vintage summer that's what it is. The kind of summer that'll go down in legend. The year Ireland transformed from a rainy outcrop on the Atlantic to a tropical island near the Equator. Everyone was so happy. Everyone that is apart from the miserable bastards who spent the whole time repeating the same phrase over and over again “It's too hot”. Those people won't recount this year's heatwave with quite the same enthusiasm as the rest of us. Instead they'll be sat indoors with big miserable pusses on 'em recanting their mantra to anyone who'll listen “It's too hot.” 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.


Remember when you were a little 'un and your Mother told you not to play with (insert name of local ruffian here). You dutifully obliged like the good child you were, but all the while you wondered what it was about that boy/girl that made them so undesirable. Occasionally you'd question your Mam and ask why you couldn't play with him/her, to which the response would be “You just can't, that's why”. Now that I'm older I understand why I couldn't play with that little scamp, it was because he was a menace to society and spent his evenings terrorising the local village folk. Thanks Mammy, I would have hated to spend my formative years in a young offender's home.

But our mothers didn't make those decisions flippantly. Oh no. They knew every kid's family background inside out and their suitability as a friend was based on their findings. On the rare occasion that you made a friend whom your mother knew nothing about she would spend a few minutes assessing his character before passing judgement. If he said please and thank you and looked like he'd bathed within the previous week then he usually made the cut. But do you know what the funny thing was? Even as children we were aware of class, albeit subconsciously. Think back to the kids that were your best friends when you were lickle – they invariably came from a similar environment to you. We naturally gravitate to those we feel most comfortable with, see Mammy all your fretting was for nothing!

But our mother's should consider themselves fortunate – back then we were all either called Johnny, Jimmy, Micky or Paddy, so the notion of avoiding someone based on their Christian name was unheard of. It's a lot tougher these days apparently, take poor Katie Hopkins (no seriously take her), she has an awful time deciding which children are worthy enough to spend time with her precious offspring. Luckily she has a foolproof method which ensures no scallywags come within ten feet of Poppy and India. By simply ruling out children who possess a 'working-class' name she ensures that her own little angels remain unharmed and oblivious to the evils of the world.

So if you're called Tyler, Chardonnay or Brandon this is your lucky day, you're not going to be invited over to the Hopkins' for afternoon crumpets and tea. Phew. Lucky escape there. What the tiny-minded Katie fails to grasp is how damaging this is not only to those children whom she so fecklessly labels but also to her own. What kind of world are they going to grow up in? One where they're taught to turn their nose up at those who are inferior to them. The saddest thing is that those precious little minds which are so eager for information will eventually be polluted by their idiot Mother, until, a few years down the line, they are preaching the same shit to their own progeny.


I don't particularly like rugby but I can still say without any hesitation that Brian O'Driscoll is one of, if not the, greatest Irish sportsmen of all time. Very few Irish athletes reach the pinnacle of their sport on a global scale, even less stay there for a protracted period of time. He has been universally regarded as among the best in his sport for the past ten years, in recent times only Roy Keane and Padraig Harrington could lay similar claims. 'BOD' is one of our nation's favourite sons, at least among the rugby fraternity anyway. So when another Lions tour trundled round there was much talk of O'Driscoll finally laying to rest his own personal ghosts. It would be his fourth, and last, tour and his final opportunity to actually win a series.

A less than stellar performance in the second test was summarily dismissed, “you can't drop BOD, it's unthinkable”. But someone was thinking about it, and he just happened to be the most important man of all. Warren Gatland must have expected some raised eyebrows when he shunted O'Driscoll out of the squad for the final test, but the shitstorm that followed must have exceeded his very worst expectations. Like I've said previously I'm far from what you'd call a rugby fan, therefore it's not for me to weigh up the merits of O'Driscoll versus some Welsh meathead. But what I can weigh up is the sheer idiocy of the moronic masses.

These are the same people who campaigned for Ireland's game against France to be replayed in the wake of Henry's infamous handball. These are the same people who spout the same reactionary bollocks every time something not to their liking happens in the sporting world. Off they go creating their Facebook groups, brandishing everything 'an absolute fuckin' disgrace' and generally frothing at the mouth at the sheer injustice of it all. Numbskulls. Football has become infested with nu-age fans with little or no understanding of the game and now it appears to be rugby's turn.

Thanks to the success of the Irish teams in the Heineken Cup rugby is now more popular than ever. And with popularity comes new supporters, people with high expectations and little or no patience. I'm sure most time-worn rugby fans accepted Gatland's decision to drop O'Driscoll. They might not have agreed with it but they understood it and saw the reasoning behind it. And I'm almost completely sure that those same dyed in the wool supporters cringe every time they listened to another outraged caller calling for Gatland to be hung, drawn and quartered for his crimes against humanity. Imagine if the Lions had lost the final test. Imagine how happy those imbeciles would have been. How justified they would have felt. As it was the Lions romped to victory and O'Driscoll got the honour of contributing to a test-winning team. So really everyone's a winner. Except Warren Gatland, 'cos he's a cunt. Right?


Who'd be a football referee eh? 22 tosspots acting the maggot on the pitch and thousands more giving you grief from the stands, it truly is a thankless task. FIFA constantly harp on about respect within the game but let's face it referees are treated like shit by players and managers alike and that's unlikely to change any time soon. They could always follow rugby union's lead and issue the refs with microphones so we can listen to Ashley Cole's foul-mouthed tirades but even that is unlikely to change things. No, what's needed is a more hands-on approach. For too long these overpaid nancy boys have been taking liberties with the man in the middle. My suggestion? Corporal punishment.

Let us arm our referees. That's right arm the poor sods. How many times have you watched a footballer eyeball the man in black and wonder how on earth he can restrain himself? Well now we won't have to wonder any more. Before each game they'll select their weapon of choice, whether it be a tazer, a cattle prod, pepper spray or maybe just a big fuck off stick. And then, with their armament carefully concealed in their shorts, they will take to the pitch ready to do battle with anyone stupid enough to question them. This new legislation should be trialled at an El Classico in Spain, and of course the players shouldn't know anything about it.

So two minutes in Ronaldo takes a theatrical dive and straight away the ref is surrounding by the loathsome Busquets, Ramos and Pedro. Back off he'll say (or whatever the Spanish equivalent is), back off lads I'm warning you, but it's no use the whinging little fuckers are waving imaginary cards, doing that tiresome pleading to God gesture and generally being a pain in the arse. Then BAM! A tazer to the chest. Down goes Ramos. And for once he's actually hurt. Immediately all the rest of the little shites go on the retreat. No more nonsense.

So what brought on this idea I hear you ask? Take a look at this story. This was a referee that truly meant business. But bringing a knife onto the pitch is a step too far in my opinion. That's just asking for trouble. I mean that's the kind of thing that's likely to get a fella beheaded - or something like that anyway.


Sadly we're unlikely to see football referees armed with anything more than a whistle and a few pencils for the foreseeable future. But one establishment that has access to a veritable cornucopia of artillery is the US police force. And by fuck they're not afraid to use it. The debate on American gun law and it's effect upon society seems to intensify any time some fucked up teenager goes on a killing spree, but it's essentially become a Catch 22 scenario and stripping the police of their firearms is not the way to go. However in saying that they should be taught to exercise a little restraint when engaging with the general public, and nothing underlines that point more than the following video.

Horrible to watch wasn't it? I don't have access to US police protocol but if it really says 'shoot a poor defenceless animal if it barks at you' in their rule book then it's probably time for an update. Their motto is “To Serve and Protect”. Who was being served or protected by that cowardly act? It could be argued that the dog was a threat and therefore had to be pacified, but shooting it? Come on. I refuse to believe that the officer in question had no other option. That he couldn't have reached for his pocket and produced something other than a deadly weapon. That he couldn't have subdued the dog in another, non fatal, way. The officer in question has been taken off the streets indefinitely, finally some justice. 'Fraid not – he has been removed for his own safety and has received the full backing of his superiors.