Monthly Archives: April 2009

Behind the Mask

Some thoughts, not so much about swine flu, but more about the mask pandemic which is sweeping Mexico and may soon take over the world…

1. Why aren’t pigs wearing the masks?

swine-flu-masks2. If you decide to cheer yourself up by decorating your mask, do you wear a second mask while you are doing so, or do you draw on it while it’s on your face using a mirror?

3. If, while travelling on public transport, you suddenly and snottily sneeze all over the inside of your mask, is it permissible to remove it, or do you have to sit in slowly-congealing discomfort until the end of your journey?

4. How did everyone get the masks so quickly? Is there a company which has been stock-piling them ever since SARS, quietly reassuring its bank manager “no, no sales this month either, but don’t worry, our day will come”? Is it the same company that has massive stocks of US flags in Middle East countries, patiently waiting for the next time people suddenly feel the urge to burn one?

I’m sorry, sometimes I have a low boredom threshold at work.

Yet Another Birthday


This blog is one year old today.

I can now celebrate the day I was born (my birthday), the anniversary of the day I got my pacemaker (Tinman’s birthday) and the anniversary of the day I started this (my blog birthday).

This means I have more birthdays than the Queen.

Therefore I’m entitled to have an Honours List.

mary-hanafinThe MBE (Miserable Bastard Entity): From a lengthy list of contenders (honourable mention here to Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe) I’ve chosen Social Welfare Minister Mary Hanafin, for the decision to scrap the bonus payment to Welfare Recipients at Christmas. She keeps saying that at least she didn’t reduce the rate, but scrapping the bonus week IS a 2% cut, and her refusal to accept that is typical of the type of word manipulation that Ministers are still using, failing to see that it’s this type of crap that’s so infuriating the electorate. Anyway, she’s altered the entitlement of pensioners to medical cards, and shortened the length of time for which you can collect Jobseekers Benefit, so she has reduced benefits, no matter what she says.

michael-fingletonThe OBE (Obnoxious Banker Entity): Yet another category in which the shortlist is actually a long list. Brian Goggin, outgoing Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland for example, for bemoaning the fact that his salary fell to below 2 million last year, and for the fact that, although he has retired as Chief Exec, he’s remaining on the staff of the bank till June, so he’ll qualify for his full pension. Seanie Fitz, of course, for single-handedly bringing our banking system to its knees through his reckless and quite frankly corrupt business practices at Anglo Irish Bank. The honour goes to Michael Fingleton though. The fact that he tried to pay himself a €1 million bonus despite having presided over a loss of €243 million shows that he has no understanding of what a bonus should actually mean, and was simply using Irish Nationwide as his own piggy-bank. The fact that Irish Nationwide facilitated Seanie Fitz in hiding his Anglo Irish Loans from the stock market is another shining example of the ethical standards of this man.

yelena-1st-birthdayThe CBE (Cute Babe Entity): Ah, Yelena. It’s been over three months since I’ve thought of an excuse to post a picture of her, but she is far from forgotten in my heart, and now that the athletics season is returning you can expect to see lots more photos of her midriff. Or sometimes her bum.

The Nighthood (Because they’re blood-sucking vampires): The politicians of this country, for clinging with their vampire teeth to their outrageous collection of benefits, add-ons and expenses, while all the while telling us that we must all accept the pain together. Chief among them though is Brian Lenihan, for continually trying to give the impression that they are actually taking cuts when in fact they are doing no such thing.

And finally, for running our country into the ground with his throw-money-at-everything-approach to government, for accepting handouts from anyone willing to give them to him, for allowing his poor secretary to attend a tribunal and try to back up the lies he was telling about never having lodged sterling into his account, for then attacking the tribunal when they exposed these lies, for finally trying to explain the money away by saying he won it on horses, and for his overall contribution to increasing the level of contempt and distrust with which politicians and therefore politics itself are held in this country, Bertie Ahern is being made a Dame, because, well, there is nothing like him.


Does anyone remember SARS?

This mighty disease appeared out of nowhere in 2003 started, by the sound of it, by pirates. It briefly threatened to conquer the whole world, then faded into obscurity, like a medical version of Oasis.

Our wonderful government’s reaction at the time was to ban the Down Syndrome children of five countries from participating in the Special Olympics here, an event for which they had presumably been training for years. This action might have been deemed harsh but prudent if they had followed this argument to its logical conclusion and banned all travel to and from those countries, but businessmen were still allowed to go where they wished, since business is more important than, well, life.

Is he laughing or sneezing?

Is he laughing or sneezing?

And now we have the swine flu sweeping in from Mexico (I can’t hear the phrase without imagining Inspector Clousseau sneezing and then muttering “shvine fleu”).  More potent than SARS, more threatening than bird flu, apparently deadlier even than manflu, impossible though that sounds.

Expect our government to ban us from wearing ponchos or using piggy banks.

Oh, and people at the Munster v Leinster match on Saturday will not be allowed to do the Mexican wave.

Blinded By the Light

So, back to work this morning after my brief and futile attempt at winning Housewife of the Year.

My body clock was all messed up, so I woke at four and lay there till ten to five, then in sheer frustration decided to get up.

This meant I was in total darkness for the first time in ten days. I crept and felt my way along to the kitchen, then turned on the light.

I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to hear your pupils contracting.

Future Shock

Premium mobile phone line Irish Psychics Live (tag-line : “experienced psychics are waiting to take your call”. Why are they waiting? Should they not know when you’re going to ring?) is to pay refunds to a number of its users, and will take “immediate steps to ensure it applies with the industry code of practice”.

Bet they didn’t see that coming.

Desperate Houselives, Day 4

There is an episode of the Simpsons where Marge’s sisters mind Bart & Lisa. When Homer arrives to collect them they rush to him and cling to his shins, and he has to walk out with them still clinging on like cricket pads.

Mrs Tin returns home tonight and may well receive a similar welcome from the Tinkids, as they look forward to dinners which contain fresh vegetables, and which don’t loosen their fillings or taste predominantly of black.

Ok, I’ve tried to be cynical about the week and paint it as a week of endless drudgery and domestic incompetence, but here’s what really happened.

1. I got to get up two hours later than usual each morning (which meant I got up in daylight);

2. On Tuesday I read my newspaper sitting in the sunshine;

3. I drove Tingirl to school each morning, and therefore had 30 minutes of chat with her that I rarely get;

4. Today is Tinson2’s birthday, and I hadn’t already left for work when he woke;

5. I read an entire book;

6. I cooked for my children, and got to hear them say “thanks”, and sometimes “that was really good”, and I have decided to ignore the slight hint of surprise in their voices whenever they said it.

In other words, I’ve had a great time.

Having said that, I’m really looking forward to work next week.

Desperate Houselives, Day 3

Ironing is not as much fun as I remember it being.

Back when Mrs Tin and I were both working outside the home I used to do most of the ironing in the evenings, and found it quite therapeutic, since it involved no thought at all and was different in every way to my day job.

In those days, of course, there were fewer of us, and therefore the pile seemed quite finite.

Now I could iron for the next twenty-two days and the pile would still be the size of the EU’s butter mountain, though containing more single socks.

It’s also harder when your pacemaker turns on at 9.56 each morning and you’re trying to iron smoothly while half the muscles around your shoulder are in spasm.

And the iron we have now is crap – much lighter and less steamy than the one we used to have, which I could have used to flatten out a Volkswagen Beetle.

Still, at least I now know what to get Mrs Tin for her birthday.

(That’s a JOKE, by the way).

It’s All About Me(me)

I have been meemed by Holemaster.

I’ve to link to him (done that), list the rules (doing that here), mention six facts of absolutely no importance about myself (can’t see that being a problem, have you read the rest of this blog) and then tag six others (the difficulty here being that HM has taken about half of the bloggers I know).


babys-bottle1. Back in the 1950s babies’ bottles were made of glass. My brother (aged 1) smashed me (aged 2 & a half) across the nose with his. I still have the scar.

kylie-in-neighbours2. I fancied Kylie before the rest of you did. I thought she was gorgeous as Charlene in Neighbours, even in her mechanic’s overalls. My friends used to laugh at me.

3. I once met a woman who looked familiar in a bookshop in Bray, decided she was a friend of my mother’s, and chatted to her for ten minutes about my mum. After I left the shop I realised she was actually the American actress Dana Winter, who was over here in Bracken at the time.



4. I don’t like spaghetti bolognese, and therefore have never learned to cook it. I may be the only person on the planet who’s ever been a student and can say that.

5. There’s a scene in High Anxiety where Mel Brooks is so afraid of heights that in a shopping mall he inches along beside the windows of the shops so that he won’t get near the big drop in the middle. I actually have to do that if I’m on the top floor of the Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre.

ghost6. While I certainly didn’t weep uncontrollably at the end of Ghost, I was glad it was dark enough in the cinema that Mrs Tin couldn’t see my eyes.

Now the hard part. Sorry guys, but I’m picking






and Monkey Balls.

Over to you lot.

Desperate Houselives, Day 1

While Mrs Tin has been away since Thursday, last week the Tinkids were off school so they didn’t really need me at all. This morning they’re back, so this is my first day as a real house husband.

I’ve made sure they were all up, got their breakfasts, doled out money for a number of suspiciously unlikely-sounding reasons, sent the boys off in time for their bus, driven Tingirl to school, gone shopping in Tesco so early that some of their stuff like potato salad wasn’t even laid out yet, put away the shopping, tidied up after breakfast, and now I’m staring at the washing going around in the machine, waiting for it to stop so I’ll have something to do.

It’s eight minutes past ten, and I’m not due to see another human being for five hours.

On the plus side, the off-licences open in twenty-two minutes.

I’m gonna buy me a bottle of gin.

Getting Your Own Back

I was talking to the Tinkids this morning about political correctness, and about how it can sometimes be somewhat misguided, so I told them about the “sport” of Dwarf Throwing in the US, and of how, when PC determined that Dwarves should be referred to as Porgs (Persons Of Restricted Growth) one town changed the name of its contest to the Porg Throwing Contest, thus missing the point that the throwing of someone might actually be more offensive than what you call them while you’re doing it.

I then decided to look it up on Google to see if I could find out more about it. I typed in “Porg Throwing” and, to my surprise, about half way down the page I got a link to a post from last April by our own Twenty Major, with this excerpt:

There’s a place in the US where they have Annual Dwarf Throwing Contests. … growth) got the contest’s name changed to the Annual Porg Throwing Contest. …

Here we go, I thought, let’s see what Twenty said about it, I bet it’s really funny.

So I read the post, which is about the dumbing down of Newstalk, and is indeed really funny. But it doesn’t mention Dwarf or Porg Throwing. So the reference must have been in one of the 202 comments.

With the beginning of a sinking feeling in my stomach I read through the comments, and eventually found this:

There’s a place in the US where they have Annual Dwarf Throwing Contests. When PC came in, however, dwarves – who now insisted on being known as Porgs (persons of restricted growth) got the contest’s name changed to the Annual Porg Throwing Contest. Seemingly it was the name that was humiliating, not the fact they were being thrown.

(I always start to giggle when I think of this story, which is really, really mean, coz I’m only five foot five).

And yes, as I had feared, it was written by me.

In the interests of honesty I’ve printed the comment in full here, including the bit about the giggling. I know it’s wrong, but try to picture the contest in your head for a second.


Anyway, I had no recollection of writing it till I read the next comment, which was from Jo (who I hadn’t met then) and said “Tinman, are you Bono?”

So there. Whenever you use the Internet to back up a point you’re making, make sure it’s not yourself that you’re quoting.