“When there's nothing left to say you must simply walk away”
And is there anything left to say? Judging by his incoherent post-match ramblings I would say no. Giovanni Trappatoni's time is up. And he has to go now, not in three games time when yet more damage has been done to the fragile confidence of promising young players like James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman. But will he? Of course not, he'll see things out to the bitter end and most likely with the full backing of the FAI too. We've been here before though. A stirring second-leg display in the Stade de France quietened many of his critics and allowed him to begin the Euro 2012 qualifiers in good heart. But after the debacle of the European finals the country was magnanimous: get him out and let us start afresh.
The decent thing would have been to walk away, you got us to a finals you're a great fella now fuck off. But when you've got a juicy contract dangling in front of your nose you're hardly gonna turn it down; who cares what the punters think? Sure they'll come support the team no matter what. And once the World Cup campaign began things just got worse, an undeserved last-minute victory over the powerhouses of Kazakhstan was followed by our darkest hour: a 6-1 mauling at home against Germany. Surely this was the time, there could be no coming back from this. Wrong. On he went, mumbling about how our fate was still in our own hands, if our fate was in our own hands you would've been gone a long time ago boy.
Mathematically we can still qualify, victories in Austria and Germany could very well see us on the plane to Brazil, I can't see it happening though can you? Instead we'll endure yet more of this caveman football we've become accustomed to, horrible, prehistoric stuff, the tactics of a footballing dinosaur. All throughout his reign he has pointed to the lack of quality at his disposal, we have to play this way he says, we haven't got the players to y'know, play real football. Well pretty soon we'll find out if he was telling the truth. Because in a matter of months he will leave our shores for the last time - fat with our cash - and a new man will be at the helm. Then we'll see if we're good enough Trap, then we'll see.
Where's me dinner ya prick
Last week I spoke of the male populous of Ireland and how unsatisfied ye women are were with us. And now this week we hear that the number of men suffering domestic abuse is on the rise, hmm you do the Math – you're not happy with how we look so ye beat the shit out of us. We can joke about this and make light of it but over 5,000 calls were made to AMEN (support centre for male victims of domestic abuse) in 2012. The majority of these calls concerned cases of emotional or psychological abuse but over 1,500 of them came from men who had suffered physical harm at the hands of their significant other. Again the temptation is to laugh and tell these fellas to grow a pair - but therein lies the problem.
If you were suffering at the hands of your partner what would you do? Report the abuse? For most women the answer would be yes, it may take some time, but eventually you would say enough is enough and contact the authorities. But it wouldn't easy. Now think of a man in that situation. He has all the same problems as his female counterpart, but added to that is untold shame and self-loathing. Because who wants to be the man not strong enough to protect his woman? And not only can you not protect her; you can't even protect yourself from her! You may think that's an antiquated view and I am a misogynistic caveman but for all the advances society has made we men are still judged by our masculinity and this in turn reflects upon our worth as males.
You see certain things haven't changed at all: men wear the trousers and women control the purse strings. There are many different variants on this theme but for the most part that simple statement defines our attitude to relationships. Of course many men secretly fear their better half and, for the sake of a quiet life, reside firmly under their partner's thumb. But how do you get from that to becoming an abused spouse? I hope I never have to find out. These figures, and the sheer volume of incidents, are shocking in themselves, but when you consider that most men probably suffer in silence you can't help but wonder what really goes on behind closed doors in the average Irish household.
The times they are a' changing
I'll be honest, the first time I heard about smart watches was just this week. But apparently they're set to become all the rage, replacing the smart phone (ahh there's the connection) as the must-have accessory. So what is a smart watch? It appears to be a a fancy digitalised time-keeping device fastened around your arm, but one that also allows you to access your Facebook account, download apps and send emails. And despite all the new technology contained within the onus is still on making it look, and feel, like a watch. So essentially it's a smart phone that you can wear on your wrist, but with one exception: you can't make calls. Ah fuck, just when I was coming round to the idea. I had visions of talking to my arm like something out of a 1980s sci-fi movie, but I guess I'm gonna have to forget about that for now. It's a real shame though because the common wristwatch has almost become obsolete thanks to the wonders of mobile phones, and these new-fangled devices could have changed that forever.
Because one of the big problems with mobile phones is losing the little buggers. We've all been there, you wake up with your face glued to the pillow and one of your eyebrows missing and think things can't get any worse. Then you check your pockets, wallet: check, keys: check, phone: uh-oh. You've only gone and lost it. If only it had been attached to your arm. Apparently you can make calls via a smart watch, but only by syncing it with your smart phone. Um, what's the fucking point of that? I'm sure there's reasons why smart watches have been designed in this way, the multi-billion phone industry for starters. But just think how much easier your life would be if your phone was there, stuck to your person, on the morning after the night before.
He died as he lived; like a coward. His victims endured years in captivity, he barely lasted a month. For Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight the death of Ariel Castro brought an end to more than ten years of trauma and suffering. They will likely rest easier in the knowledge that he will never harm anyone again, but is this how they wanted it to conclude? Did they, like the rest of us, wish to see Castro suffer? To see him die miserable, old and alone in a cold, dark prison cell. Most probably. But they don't get to make that choice. More's the pity.
At his sentencing Castro avoided the death penalty and instead received life imprisonment without any possibility of parole. And as usual in cases as extreme as this one he was placed in solitary confinement with maximum security - no doubt his fellow inmates were queuing up to test said security. The cost of housing criminals like Ariel Castro is exorbitant, thousands of dollars spent on protecting someone who is universally loathed both inside and outside of the prison in which he resides. Money that could be used towards providing better facilities for those who wish to spend their jail time rehabilitating themselves so that they may one day contribute to society. I doubt very much that Castro had that on his mind as he tied the noose around his neck, but his final act of cowardice will hopefully benefit others in a way he never managed during his time on this earth.