Monthly Archives: October 2008

In Praise of Pat

Many people don’t like Pat Kenny. They criticise his demeanour as a presenter and interviewer, saying he’s stiff and boring. My favourite comment about him was when a guy rang Ray Darcy’s Fix-it Friday asking “where can I buy a wooden Pat Kenny as featured on the Late Late Toy Show”. People just wish we had someone more dynamic and well, more fun as host of our most popular chat-show.

In fairness though, he’s never rung the answering machine of an elderly man and told him he’d shagged his grand-daughter. And then decided it would be funny to let it go out on air.

Sometimes you’ve to be careful what you wish for.

Six Months Gone

It’s six months today since I started this blog.

I’ve written 132 posts, many of them different. Some of them I’m quietly proud of, some of them make me groan aloud when I think of them. Some of them have been funny (many of these intentionally so), some of them have been angry, some have been full of self-woe. A number of them have featured a picture of Yelena Isinbayeva, often on the flimsiest of pretexts, and sure I haven’t put in a picture of her for a while, so here’s one now.

The blog probably would have been a lot more interesting had I started it last year when the blackouts were actually going on. You could have been regaled with the hilarious tale of my day in A&E at the Mater after I smashed my face off the Millennium Walkway, or the fortuitous story of how I blacked out while on the operating table in St Vincent’s just as they were going to put in a heart monitor to see if they could find out why I was blacking out (now that’s timing).

I still feel that one day I’ll say more about how I felt during last year, when I couldn’t drive, or swim, or walk anywhere alone, and every test that I was being given was coming up negative, but at the moment I still prefer to push last year to the back of my mind, and concentrate on the fact that everything worked out fine. Perhaps around the anniversary of the actual pacemaker operation (Tinman’s birthday, I suppose you could call it) I will do so.

In the meantime I’ll just potter along as I have done. I know it’s not Dickens, but he probably didn’t get too many blog hits either.

Slow News Week

Sometimes there’s just nothing to write about.

It’s mid-term break, so the Tinkids are basically sitting at home using about eleven pieces of electronic equipment simultaneously between the three of them.

Half the people at work have taken the week off.

Quick look at the papers for inspiration ….

Education cutbacks – too depressing

Nutters plot to kill Obama – too scary (and too dumb, why would you put it on your facebook page?)

50-stone man gets married – too … too … too just yuck

So I’m not writing a post today.

Except for this one, obviously.

Not Moving With the Time

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I’ve noticed that my pacemaker turns on for a few seconds at five-to-six each evening. It’s actually got to the stage that I could tell the time by it (though this skill is not too useful since it only works for that one minute in the day).

I can now report that I appear not to have been constructed with Daylight Saving Time in mind, since it now goes off at five-to-five.

If I’d had it when I was younger I’d never have missed Crackerjack on a Friday.

Talking Down to Us

The political commentators are not very pleased with us. They think we’re greedy, self-serving and unwilling to make sacrifices for the benefit of others.

They also think we haven’t a clue.

Political writer Stephen Collins says that “the ruled haven’t got the message and are showing no signs of being in any mood to face reality”.

Noel Whelan, political writer & former Fianna Fail election candidate, says “this country is painfully and slowly going to have to realise that it has real choices to make”.

Saturday’s Irish Times editorial told us that “the Government was trying to recognise the implications of this new reality. Those who oppose its measures will have to do the same”.

The Tribune’s Political Editor Shane Coleman tells us that at least TDs know how bad things are, and that “it’s questionable whether the same holds for the general public in relation to the state of the economy”.

And the Indo quotes Foreign Affairs Minister Mícheál Martin saying “we are in a very volatile period – perhaps the gravity of which hasn’t sunk in in society”.

But we know all this, and are perfectly willing to make sacrifices because of it. We have accepted the Income Levy, asking only that the very low-paid be exempted from it. We’ve accepted the VAT increase, coming in just 4 weeks before Christmas. We’re putting up with the increase in the drug repayment threshold, and putting up with the reduction in the tax repayable on our medical bills. We’re suffering cuts in child benefit, increases in petrol and motor taxes, and the imposition of largely pointless charges like the airport levy. We’re paying more PRSI.

In other words, we’re all going to pay higher taxes for lower services, and by nad large are putting up with it.

So just because we objected to the very worst parts of the Budget, and its effects on the elderly, the low-paid and the children, don’t tell us we don’t know how bad things are, or that we’re unwilling to face reality.

The customers in my local are ordinary hard-working people. They include painters, carpenters, mechanics, etc. The painters have no work. One of the mechanics is still employed, but two-thirds of the people that worked with him are gone. A labourer was let go at the summer holidays, and hasn’t worked since. A bricklayer now works in Tesco.

These people know all about the reality in this country. And they’ve known about it for quite a while.

Bound for Morningtown, Many Miles Away

I’ve taken tomorrow off, to turn the Long Weekend into a Long Long Weekend.

The great thing about it, callous though it sounds, is that none of the rest of my family have the day off. Tin children trudging dejectedly off to school, Mrs Tin plodding off her her part-time job.

My plan is to go to bed at the usual time this evening, and see what time I wake tomorrow.

I’ll be very disappointed in it’s any time in the morning.

Take Two

First the Medical Cards, then the Income Levy. Despite what Batt O’Keeffe says, the Education cuts will be next to go. It’s not just the teachers who are angry, it’s the parents as well, and he can’t fight everyone.

So this Budget was effectively like a first serve in tennis. If it gets in, well and good, but if there’s anything wrong with it you just forget about it and start again. They’ll head off now and have the details cleared up by, well, December, when the Budget was meant to take place in the first place.

And yes, I’m including a picture of Maria Sharapova. Not gratuitously. I just want to make sure you know it’s Lawn Tennis and not Table Tennis that I’m talking about.

Because there’s no second serve in Table Tennis. So that would be silly.

Keeping Us Regular

Ever since the “I don’t know what a tracker mortgage is”ad first came out, I had always imagined that the Financial Regulator was a person – some super-stern, hyper-knowledgeable sleuth protecting us from the machinations and scheming of evil financiers.

He’d have a flashy uniform, possibly involving a mask and a cape. You’d contact him by shining a giant lamp into the sky, featuring a silhouette of a moneybag with ‘SWAG’ written on it.

It’s been a bit of a let-down then to find that the Financial Regulator is just the name of another Government body, and that Pat Neary – a man who looks like the Chef Sauce chef after someone stole his hat – is it’s CEO. Especially since he spends all his time saying that both his office and the banks themselves have done nothing wrong and are in no way to blame for anything that’s happened.

Hard to see the banks running scared of him, then.

It’s a bit like finding out that The Boogeyman is actually a little family run business, and its Chief Executive is a guy called Denis from Portumna.