Monthly Archives: May 2011

Racy Tracy

Mwa’s comment on my Snow White post about the paternity issues raised by Mamma Mia (apparently there’s a position called dot, dot, dot, Mwa) has reminded me of something that bothered me even during my own childhood.


This is Jeff Tracy:

He founded International Rescue, the organisation which used the five Thunderbirds to rescue people from impossible situations all over the world, the only condition being that each situation must be one which would involve a gigantic explosion just after the rescue had taken place.

And these are his five sons (from left to right, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John, I didn’t have to look that up):

Apart from a certain botoxicity about the forehead they don’t really look like him, do they?

But worse than that, they don’t even look like each other.

Mrs Tracy doesn’t appear in the series and you never hear her mentioned. She is the dark secret of this otherwise perfect family.

Mrs Tracy was beautiful. Jeff first met her when she was Rhapsody Angel from Captain Scarlet, and at first they were very happy. But building Tracy Island took Jeff Tracy many years, during which time Mrs Tracy lived largely on her own in an apartment in Manhattan. She wasn’t used to spending time alone and a girl has yearnings, even if she has no obvious places to feel them.

Over time the caretaker, the cable guy, the mailman, the pizza guy and a Jehovah’s Witness on his lucky day were all invited in for coffee. A certain amount of dot, dot, dot invariably followed and five times Mrs Tracy had to get Jeff absolutely hammered and drag him off to bed to hide her infidelity.

Tracy Island (with pool)

And it worked, but once Tracy Island was built she had to move there, and if she’d thought Manhattan was dull, being trapped on an island on the middle of nowhere was just too much. She eventually eloped with the pool-boy (we know they had one, the pool is where Thunderbird 1 launches from), fled back to mainland US and started a new life.

Jeff and Penelope

This may seem sad, but it all worked out for the best. Jeff found consolation with Lady Penelope (well, if he didn’t, he was an idiot), and if you feel sorry for the boys, just remember they had the coolest jobs in the world.

And Mrs Tracy has never been happier. These days she’s an exotic dancer (don’t forget she never looks any older) and calls herself The Thunder Bird, with the tag-line “The Thunder Bird’s a Goer”.

It’s her little joke to herself.

Muscled Out

I turned on my computer at 19.28 this evening to write today’s post. Just as I was starting a pop-up informed me that there were Windows updates available and, like an idiot, I clicked “install”.

It’s now 22.27 and time for me to start going to bed.

I know that you can work while updates are being installed, but they take up so much of the computer’s power that it’s just not worth it, you type words and there’s a two second delay before they appear on the screen, just half-a-second after you’ve decided they’re not going to appear at all and have typed them again.

It’s like being forced off the swings in the playground by the school bully, and having to play with that crap horse thing on the spring that rocks about two inches forward and backwards.

The good news is that Windows7 Service Pack 1 is now installed.

The bad news is that I have no idea what that means.




Homeward Bound

And here are last night’s unedited scribbles, as promised. I haven’t read it (& never will, it doesn’t seem such a good plan now) but I hope it’s not really (please regard that “really” as being in italics) bad…

There is a man sitting in my carriage, in a suit with a half-opened tie and wearing a trilby. He has just finished his third phone call, letting each person in tuen know that he is on the train. Apparently this is important.
If he makes one more call he’s going to be beaten to death with his own hat.
The fact that I am on the train that I hate so much tells you all that this evening (or yesterday evening, since I’m posting it this morning, or last Friday, if you’ve been on holiday and are reading this in early June) did not stop at two cocktails. To get home by bus now I’d have to get two of them, and I’m not sure that the first of them would arrive at the half-way stage in time to catch the second one.
We had a greta time (I noticed that typo, I’m not that pissed, but I’ve decided to leave it there, since it sums up the way I feel now, I’m on a crowded train while I just want to be alone). They showed us how to make a Cosmopolitan, then we all had a go, and drank the results while they set up the glasses for our next effort.
If you go to a cookery class your first effort may not be edible. This is not a problem in a cocktail class, no matter how badly we did it the result was drinkable. And very pleasant. They then showed us how to make a Mojito, and we had a go at that, then again got to drink the result.
By that stage we were not leaving, we were just starting to have fun. Though the class was now over and we were now spending our own money we were going to have more cocktails. A couple of the lads had a go at inventing their own, saying things like “I’ll have a measure of Cointreau, two measures of vodka, a dash of Cinzano (seriously, does anyone know what’s actually in that?), a splash of cranberry juice and a slice of papaya.” Hopefully the results were enjoyable and helped to kill the pain at the fact that a drink like that costs about 35 euro.
I went by a much more logical route. Firstly I had another mojito, to see if it tastes as nice with the one and a half measures of rum that it’s meant to have than it did with the two measures that I’d sneaked into mine. It tastes stronger, because they very cleverly don’t stir the crushed ice into it, so when you suck from the bottom of the glass (God, I’d no idea where that sentence was going for a second) all you taste is the rum and it seems much stronger.
I selected my next drink by handing the menu to one of the other guys and saying “pick a drink for me, anything that doesn’t have whiskey in it because that makes me sick, but don’t tell me anything about it.” I ended up with a thing called an Emerald Isle. It was the colour of the green slime in Ghostbusters, and since he indeed told me nothing about it I can’t tell you what was in it, other than a slice of kiwi fruit. This sank gradually t the bottom of the glass as I drank, and when I finally picked it out and ate it it was practically pickled, as indeed was I.
My final drink was called a Rhapsody, chosen purely because it had crème de banana in it (oh, and vodka).
By then I’d to leave if I’d to have any chance of getting home (there’s a lot of noise behind me, a load of young guys are being thrown off the train by security, God I hate the DART).
As I write this I feel terrific. I may not feel terrific as I post it, but have promised not to change it in any way, so I can’t let you know (strike the early part of that sentence, the man sitting opposite has just sneezed on my knee).
I hope you are all having a good morning. I just hope I am too.

Psotaday 20whatever

As I have said before I bring my netbook with me to work each day and write on both the way in and the way home on the bus.

This evening, in a few minutes actually, some of the company are taking part in a cocktail masterclass in the restaurant below our office. You pay 30 euro (our company’s paying half, bless them), you learn to make coktails and you get finger food and two free cocktails.

This might be very civilized, or might get very messy. We might decide that what would finish off the evening nicely would be another cocktail, with a cocktail to wash it all down and a cocktail after that as a nightcap.

So I was reluctant to bring the netbook today, since I reckoned I probably wouldn’t using it for the journey home. But I’d have had nothing to do on the way in so I brought it anyway.

And now I’ve decided that I will write something on the way home, and am pledging to post it in the morning without correcting or amending it in any way.

It might be legible, if things have gone quietly.

Or I might get investigated by the CIA, in the belief that I am writing in code.

Over and Over Again

WordPress asks What film have I seen more than any other.

What do you reckon? The Lord of the Rings? The Great Escape? Citizen Kane? One of those black-and-white indecipherable yokes where nothing happens for hours, the screen suddenly goes black and the word “fin” appears?

You forget that I am a parent.

I have seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarves about 150 times. As a baby Tinson1 loved it and all weekend every weekend we watched it together.

They say that you can have too much of a good thing, and in this case they are not wrong.

It‘s a film that does for feminism what Sex and the City does for, well, feminism. The heroine is gushing and simpering, she falls in love with the first bloke she ever sees, moves in with seven men she knows nothing about and, although those men beg her to let no-one into the house while they hi-ho off to work (they owned a diamond mine, by the way, surely they could have afforded to take even one day off to protect her), she ushers in the first woman to turn up wearing a face full of fake warts. She accepts an apple from this woman, fully believing that she is an apple-seller making a living in a forest entirely bereft of humans.

When she bites the poisoned apple and falls to the floor, you have to be a true saint not to think “well let’s face it, you asked for that”.

The queen then hardly advances the argument for feminine intellect by running from the dwarves to the very top of a cliff. In fairness to her, though, she is merely following the gene built into people throughout movie history, the one which makes them flee upwards until they are trapped. James Cagney in White Heat, Alan Rickman in Die Hard, the bad guy in the Enforcer (can‘t remember his name), King Kong in King Kong, all take flight upwards to a height from which the only means of escape is flight. Or falling, the option they invariably go for, which is quicker though less successful.

I may seem a bit callous in pouring scathe upon one of the most beloved films of all time, but you have to remember that I saw it about four times a day for many months.

Walt Disney only saw it once and had himself cryogenically frozen rather than have to watch it again.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

Tiny is an interesting topic. Really tiny involves atoms, or microbes, or germs, all of which are beyond the scope of most cameras, let alone my mobile (I am now determined to continue this task for the rest of the year without using a proper camera). I did have the idea of persuading one of the Tinkids to sneeze (the persuading may have had to involve the sudden application of pepper), and trying to film the tiny droplets of the sneeze, but a person unable to capture a photo of a bird in flight is probably unable to catch the contents of a sneeze, except in an unplanned and yucky way. Perhaps I should film the side of my head and talk about the size of my brain.

Less tiny involves dust, or woodlice, or those really small spiders, none of which are ever found in the Tinhouse.

So I’ve taken this photo of this older photo, taken on the 2nd or 3rd of December, 1996:

It is the moment at which Tinson2 first met Tingirl. We had brought her home from hospital just a couple of hours earlier in the basket in which so little of her head is visible and I had just collected him (and his toy Power Ranger) from my sister-in-law’s, which is why he is wearing the huge coat, the red face and the matted hair.

Virtually every picture that we have of Tinson2 as a toddler shows him as gleefully happy, and indeed he mostly was. But he did have one brief difficult phase (i.e., we were afraid of him) and this was that time, so we were a bit worried as to how he would react to having this new baby in the house.

Look at his happy little face. As they grew together in childhood, just 19 months apart, they were the closest pair of kids I’ve ever known, and while teenagership has cooled their apparent attitude to each other they still head off to school each morning chatting away, at least until they each meet their friends and then ignore each other for the rest of the day.

As babies they were not especially tiny. Tingirl was 7 pounds 8 ounces (about 3.4 kilos, says Google) and Tinson2 (two weeks late, which explains so much about how hard it is to get him up in the morning) was 10 pounds (4.55 kilos, which still makes women blanch when we tell them). There are lots of tinier things I could have shown.

But I am using the word in the time sense. This photo shows one tiny split second out of the millions of seconds the two of them have lived so far, yet it is a tiny slice of time we will never forget, and tells you so much about their life together.

Press Release

Our company has been in the news a lot recently. It seems that we are going to create 180 new jobs by the end of next year and in a country full of most bad news this has attracted a lot of attention.

It will come as a surprise to most of you that this is happening in a country run so economically disastrously that Ireland is essentially Argentina with less skilful footballers. And indeed those of you who’ve been hanging around here long enough will remember just over two years ago, when 21 of our company’s staff, many of them good friends of mine, had to be let go, and you will be even more surprised that we’re now doing so well.

And a third surprise is about to come. I work in an IT Company.

Many posts have been published here (and many more written and lost somewhere inside this netbook, it’s only the size of a desk diary, it must be full of them by now, I bet if I knew how to open it they’d all fall out) telling tales about my computeristic incompetence. I hope none of you now feel that I’ve been making any of them up.

Believe me, I would never be let do any programming, or offer technical support, or indeed touch anything more hi-tech than the office kettle (and ever since the time I filled it, dropped it onto the counter and blew every fuse in the kitchen, there is some debate about letting me do even that).

Just as a play needs more than actors, there are more than IT people in an IT company, and I am one of those people. I am not quite at the level of being the guy who refills the soap dispensers, but if I continue to work hard I might one day be.

Anyway there is apparently a boom in the IT sector, and we are a boom within a boom, like a babooshka bomb (that sentence means very little, but it was great fun typing it).

So in the last couple of weeks my boss has been on TV and radio, has been interviewed in the press and last week was at the Guinness Storehouse visit of the Queen, where he met David Cameron and William Hague ( it shows how full of ourselves our company has become that we were disappointed that he only met the UK Prime Minister).

And last week he was interviewed by the Sunday Times (not the Irish Times, the other one, the one with the crossword where all the answers are in Swahili). The interview was put up on the notice board in the kitchen and since I was off for three days last week I only got to read it yesterday.

This is the headline:

It turns out it’s because our boss does hill running, but just for a second I thought it was about me. I thought my contribution to our success was at last being recognised.

After all, those toilets don’t clean themselves.

Visitor Relay

World leaders are like twins. First you don’t have any, then two come along together.

Thanks to

Last week the Queen was here, a roaring success of a visit thanks to the well-chosen schedule, the joy of the Irish at meeting her, and her own good-naturedness and astonishing tirelessness.

This week we got Barrack Obama. Well, by this week I mean today, he arrived this morning and is leaving tomorrow (or perhaps now tonight, because of fears the volcanic ash might close the airports). It originally seemed like one of those visits you make to an elderly aunt when ordered to by your mother, you spend as little time as possible there.

But that’s not how it turned out. Just like last week’s guest, he was brilliant.

He was to spend just half an hour in Moneygall, from where his distant relatives hail, but spent nearly an hour in the streets, meeting, smiling and chatting. He was offered Guinness (the only way we know how to welcome people) and he drank it. So did Michelle, and we were hooked.

And thanks to the Irish Times

And the people flocked to his Dublin public address, thrilled by the chance of seeing this man who is already a piece of history, the US’s first black president, a lesson to us supposedly superior Europeans that the supposedly hick Americans are more fair-minded and liberal than we snootily think.

His speech was terrific, and then again he roamed about him, shaking hands, waving and looking like he was having a really good time (the clip where he took a mobile phone from someone in the crowd and chatted briefly to the person at the other end will be shown for years).

I’m glad it all went well, as well as last week. We needed the good news of these visits, as we have had so much bad news here over the last couple of years. We needed the kind and stirring words from each of them, the reminder of how much influence this tiny island has had on the whole world in so many fields, the encouragement that we can make things right again for ourselves.

We need some of our confidence restored, since it has been so badly shaken. And these two terrific people helped do that.

A Load of Tat

WordPress asks If you got a tattoo, what would it be?

A big mistake, Mrs Tin would kill me.

If I was getting one, though, it would have to be the Tinman (though I’ve just typed “Tinman tattoos” into Google Images, believe me they aren’t great).

Where would I put it, though?

My chest is a mess of scars and a visible pacemaker, my puny biceps (this week’s Photo Challenge is “Tiny”, I might take a picture of them) probably aren’t wide enough to fit a tattoo onto, and I’m not showing my bum to any man for any reason.

Guess I’ll have to forget about it.