Tag Archives: idiots

Traffic Jam

The Tincar’s NCT Certificate has expired.

As has been well advertised, from May 1st we can get 5 penalty points for driving without an NCT Cert. That’s because, as we all know, not having a little piece of paper stuck on your windscreen is two-and-a-half times more dangerous than driving without a seat-belt, using a mobile while driving or failing to obey traffic lights, all of which carry two points.

Anyway, we have now been given a date for our NCT test.

It’s on September 16th.

Sorted.

Think of a Number

Here is a test.

Think of a number.

Double it.

Add 22.

Multiply it by four.

Add seventeen zeros to the end of it.

Take away the number you first thought of.

Ring the Government and tell them the the figure you have now is definitely, positively the final additional injection of capital that you’ll need to keep your bank afloat.

If you’ve passed the above test you are as fit to apply for any of the several vacant Chief Executive jobs at our banks as were the people who held them in the first place. This week, seven months after the banks first admitted they were in real trouble, it’s been reported that Allied Irish need a further €1.5 billion in bail-out money and Anglo Irish need €2.5 billion, because they still haven’t figured out just how badly they’re really doing.

And remember, these are the people who opposed the Government’s €500,000 cap on bank executive salaries. The Government introduced this cap in an attempt to assuage public anger, which might otherwise have led to people storming AGMs and carrying bankers off to use them as toilet brushes, but the banks, showing a staggering lack of cop-on, said that it would prevent them from hiring the very best, which presumably means people like they have now.

You couldn’t make it up. Except that increasingly it looks like that’s exactly what they do.

Atch-OOOO!!!!

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.

Dog Eat Dog

On this morning’s Irish Times website a headline “Visitors flock to Mountjoy while sniffer dogs go for lunch” was followed by this teaser for the actual article:

“A ROW over a €13.70 lunch allowance has significantly reduced the operating hours of new sniffer dogs that search visitors for drugs in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison.”

I was intending to try to write some sort of humourous piece speculating about what sort of lunch the dogs were enjoying that cost €13.70 each day, but then I read the article in full, and it’s just too depressing to joke about.

Essentially these dogs handlers were getting over €65 a week tax-free to eat lunch. Now that’s been stopped. So instead of either (a) protesting about it, (b) accepting that the times have changed, and this sort of thing can’t go on any more or (c) leaving, they have opted to do their job in such a way that’s it’s now useless. And still get paid.

Their job is too important for messing like this. If they’re not willing to do it properly, they should be replaced by someone who will.


A Portrait of the Taoiseach as a Stung Man

In years to come, the “Portraitgate” saga will be used all over the world in PR classes and tutorials as THE prime example of how not to handle a minor inconvenience.

cowens-paintingA mildly interesting story which would already have been forced out of the news by other events has become a world-wide story out of which Brian Cowen comes across very badly.

He himself has said very little about it, and it’s possible that he is looking on in horror as a succession of people trying to help him simply make matters worse, creating an image of him and his government as humourless, draconian, anti-democratic and completely out of touch with what is really important.

Much of this image is, of course, accurate. You have only to watch his bad-tempered, hectoring attitude to the opposition, his goverment’s habit of announcing policy at press conferences rather than in the Dáil, and his refusal so far to bring in any change to the number of his army of Junior Ministers and Committee Chairs to realise that. But the sheer ham-fisted, over-the-top reaction of his fellow TDs, RTE and the Gardaí has re-inforced this image, and has caused it to be broadcast worldwide.

TDs of all parties have circled the wagons and united in condemning this “insult”. By doing so, they reveal how insular, precious and thin-skinned they have all become. Senator Donie Cassidy says that “the Taoiseach is a public figure, but his wife and family are not, and everybody should bear that in mind.” Only a person far too long in politics could come out with tripe like this. Everyone has a family, and if we followed Donie’s logic no public figure would ever be criticised.

Never mind the corrupt wrong-doers like Seanie Fitz or Fingleton. Plenty of other public figures often face ridicule. Remember the dog’s abuse (much of it from TDs) heaped upon Gerry Ryan, simply because he didn’t want to take a pay-cut? Or upon Steve Staunton, just for being a poor soccer manager? Or even, to be fair, upon John “Bloggers Can’t Write” Waters, purely because he wrote a dreadful Eurovision entry? All of these people have families too. Did Donie, or any other TD, have anything to say about that?

And then, oh God, there was the Garda reaction – swift and effective, with a detective, no less, being sent to a radio station to demand details of emails from the artist. Did no-one see how this was going to look in a country where there are now daily shootings, where ordinary people were chased and beaten by drunken scum in Tipperary on St Patricks Day, and where people whose greed has brought this country to its knees face no charges at all?

And having caught their man so quickly, they charged him with … “incitement to hatred”. Ah, here.  It’s a picture of a man on a toilet, for God’s sake. Inciting who, and how?

Last year Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar suggested that non-nationals who lose their jobs should be offered money to go home. The possible reaction of some members of the public to those who might turn down such an offer and remain here drawing the dole didn’t seem to occur to him, or to bother him. Noel O’Flynn and Ned O’Keeffe have called for a review of the issuing of work permits to non-EU citizens, clearly implying that they’re taking our jobs. Conor Lenihan made his famous “kebabs” remark in relation to Turkish workers, and was rewarded by being made Minister for Integration (and people said Bertie had no sense of humour).

Are any of these cases “incitement to hatred”? Apparently not. Lively political debate, apparently it’s called, when they say stuff.

If Fianna Fáil have PR advisors they should fire them. The government press secretary, whose complaint to RTE was so badly thought through, should either seriously apologise to the party or go too.

The original paintings weren’t especially funny. They certainly weren’t satire – if the toilet roll had, say, the Plain People of Ireland written on it, implying Cowen wipes his arse with us, that might have been satire. But that doesn’t matter anymore.

Thanks to the stupidity of the reaction, Irish political life has ridiculed itself far more effectively than any clever satire could.

Being Egged On

I was walking home last night when I suddenly heard this crack against the wall right beside me.

Someone had thrown an egg at me from a passing car.

Now, kids throw eggs all the time. Our neighbours’ kids used to throw eggs at our house. Mrs Tin mentioned this to our neighbour and was assured loftily that her children were not involved. She obviously checked this with her children, however, and to her eternal credit they turned up at our door about ten minutes later to apologise.

They were about ten years old at the time, though, whereas at least one of the people involved last night is old enough to have a driving licence and access to a car.

Which raises some questions:

How small is that person’s brain?

Is he ever going to grow up (can’t imagine it being a she)?

And why does everyone I tell the story to start laughing?

We R D Greens, U O Us Tax

mary-whiteGreen Party deputy leader Mary White has suggested a one cent tax on text messages, calling it a “relatively painless and fair way of making money in tough times”.

Since a one cent tax is at least a 10% cost increase, and since texts are used more by young people, including schoolchildren, than other sections, it is hard to see how it is either painless of fair. Mary, however, explains it by saying that “people don’t have any regard for ‘brown money'”.

What this means is that, since the 1,2 and 5 cent coins are now largely worthless, they should be given, without complaint, to the Government. Possibly so they can keep themselves in expensive travel (any comment from a Green Party member about Martin Cullen’s helicopter trip to work, Mary? Thought not).

The Irish Times calculates that such a tax would bring in €91 million per year, based on a figure of 25 million text messages sent each day. They got the texts-per-day figure by ringing (or texting, who knows) ComReg. Mary reckons it will bring in €146 million per year. She’s basing this on four million people sending 10 texts per day, every day of the year.

Our population is four million. So she’s expecting ten texts a day from every one of us – babies, the elderly, trappist monks in silent orders, people who don’t own a mobile, people in jail (wait, she’s probably right there), Johnny NoMates’s, and people who just prefer to speak in person rather than text.

The funniest thing about all of this is that the figure of €146 million is “revising her original estimate of €1.4 billion”.

I get the feeling that our Green friend is using a wind-powered calculator while sitting indoors.

Pro Bono

This is unlikely to be the most popular post I’ve ever written, as in it I’m going to stick up for Bono.

Yes, it's really that big

Yes, it's really that big

Ok, to the few of you still reading, I know he can be very up himself, I know he can be bombastic and irritating. I know too that the Massive Head model of his head is actually life size. But I think that a load of the stuff talked about him is just crap.

During the week a group of idiots called the Debt and Development Coalition Ireland held a protest outside the Department of Finance. The coalition contains such organisations as Trócaire, Oxfam and various Catholic missionary orders, and campaigns on issues relating to the developing world. Was the protest about the €95 million cut in Overseas Aid announced by Brian Lenihan on February 3rd?

Well, no. It was about the fact that U2 moved their publishing arm to the Netherlands, because the tax treatment of royalties is more favourable there.

A Bono impersonator called Paul O’Toole did an unfunny re-working of the lyrics of I Still haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, posed with a mock-up of a donation to the world’s poor in one hand and a large sack of unpaid tax in the other, and made the rather offensive accusation that “Bono talks about dead kids, but he won’t pay a penny towards it.” Really? Bono has never contributed one penny towards combating poverty? Does O’Toole know that?

DDCI co-ordinator Nessa ní Chasaíde said that “U2’s tax avoidance measures deprive the Irish exchequer of taxation revenue that could be spent on development aid.” Yes, it could be. Does she really believe that it would? And anyway, U2’s tax avoidance measures are supplying the Dutch exchequer with taxation revenue that could be spent on development aid. Has she checked if that is happening?

And today the Sunday Indo devotes a whole page to how U2 are letting down the Irish people, and shows that in a poll 84% of people answered Yes to the question “Should U2’s business operations be based in, and pay tax in, Ireland”.

Interestingly, they didn’t publish a poll asking “Should Intel shag off home and pay tax in America?” because somehow that’s different.

Bono is not a tax exile. He still lives here, and still pays tax here. A decision was made, presumably by the people who actually run the business side of the U2 company, to move part of the company so as to pay less tax. Paying as little tax as is legal is what all of us do.

If Bono was a tax dodger who paid no tax anywhere then you could call him a hypocrite for preaching about world poverty. To say, as the headline in the Sindo does, that “Bono’s preaching is a bit rich given the band’s efforts to pay less tax” is bollocks. It makes as much sense as saying that any of us who have ever got tax back by claiming for our medical expenses should not be allowed to criticise the state of the Health Service.

And now he's Pope

And now he's Pope

There are tax exiles. One of them is Denis O’Brien, who was given the right to the second mobile licence (and consequently turned into a billionaire) by Michael Lowry in circumstances which have been investigated by the Moriarty Tribunal. Mr O’Brien has added greatly to the cost of that Tribunal by fighting it at every turn. Still we regularly have to listen to his opinions as to what our country is doing wrong, including this laughable piece in last August’s Irish Times where he refers to what “we” (who’s “we”, paleface?) can do to improve the economy.

Why don’t the DDCI protest about him?

Gallows Humour

It’s mid-morning on Friday, and an office full of people who may only have one-an-a-half working days left is hushed, filled only with the sounds of typing as these people carry on doing their jobs with a professionalism that would make you well-up with pride, and with affection,  and with sadness.

I’d love  Mark Fielding and the ISME gobshites who called us all malingerers to come in here and see what the employees of this country, of all nationalities,  are really like.

Meanwhile, everyone is putting on as brave a face as possible, and gallows humour is creeping in. We’ve discussed a sit-in, a la Waterford Crystal. There is a group of eight of us who are acting as go-betweens between staff and management, forwarding suggestions & concerns to the bosses & vetting communications that they are sending back, and, although the eight have no actual role in the selection process and are as liable to be made redundant as anyone else in the company we are referred to as the Firing Squad. One area of the office, where everyone in it reckons they’re going, now call their section The Departure Lounge.

And this morning BlondieBird sent me this:

Actual Answers Given by “Family Fortunes” Contestants:

Name something a blind person might use… A sword

Name a song with moon in the title…Blue suede moon

Name a bird with a long neck… Naomi Campbell

Name an occupation where you need a torch…A burglar

Name a famous brother & sister…Bonnie & Clyde

Name a dangerous race…The Arabs

Name an item of clothing worn by the 3 musketeers…A horse

Name something that floats in the bath…Water

Name something you wear on the beach…A deckchair

Name something Red…My cardigan

Name a famous cowboy…Buck Rogers

Name a famous royal…Mail

A number you have to memorize…7

Something you do before going to bed…Sleep

Something you put on walls…Roofs

Something in the garden that’s green…Shed

Something that flies that doesn’t have an engine…A bicycle with wings

Something you might be allergic to…Skiing

Name a famous bridge…The bridge over troubled waters

Something a cat does…Goes to the bathroom

Something you do in the bathroom…Decorate

Name an animal you might see at the zoo…A dog

Something associated with the police…Pigs

A sign of the zodiac…April

Something slippery…A conman

A kind of ache…Fillet ‘O’ Fish

A food that can be brown or white…Potato

A jacket potato topping… Jam

A famous Scotsman…Jock

Another famous Scotsman…Vinnie Jones

Something with a hole in it… Window

A non living object with legs…Plant

A domestic animal…Leopard

A part of the body beginning with ‘N’…Knee

A way of cooking fish…Cod

Something you open other than a door…Your Bowels

It’s the first time I’ve really laughed in a week.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

shivering-snowmanOn Monday evening I got I worked late, got off the DART at Bray in the snow, and went outside to find another car parked beside mine, right up against the driver’s door.

There are two keys for my car – the main one, with one of those remote things that you press and it opens all doors, and a secondary one, which just opens the driver’s door, and I’m sure the fact that I am telling this story at all probably gives away which key I had on me (since all the blackout stuff, Mrs Tin is now the main driver in our house).

If  I’d had the other key I’d have simply opened all the doors, got in on the passenger side, and shimmied across to the driver’s seat with no worse hassle than an attempted probing by the gear stick.

Now, though, before I could undertake this exercise I had to get the passenger door open, and the only way of doing this was to get the driver’s door open far enough to reach a little button near the wing mirror adjuster that opens all the doors.

I slid between the two cars, turned the lock and opened the door. It opened about four inches. I closed over the wing mirror of the other car (I hope he was in his car with his seat-belt on and already driving before he discovered that) and found the gap had expanded to about six inches. I leaned in as far as I could, but couldn’t reach.

It was snowing quite hard, but I had no choice other than to open my coat, and when I still couldn’t reach, take it off altogether. This was followed by my jumper, and, since I couldn’t reach far enough into the car to store them there, I had to leave them on the roof in the snow.

Finally I slid in again just in a t-shirt, and could feel every inch of the roof against my back and the door against my front as I squeezed along. (This suddenly reminded me of something that I’d obviously pushed to the back of my mind about my stay in hospital. Before I got the pacemaker fitted NiceNurseNicola said “I’m sorry,  I’m afraid I’ll have to shave your chest, but luckily there’s not much there.” “God, NNN,” I replied, “would it have killed you to say I’ll have to shave your manly chest now, if I can actually find a way to scythe through such a massive growth.” She just laughed, which hurt even more.)

Anyway, I was just starting to feel that I might actually have to shave my own chest (it grew back, you know, sparse as it was) to see if that could get me the final few centimetres when the tip of my finger reached the button and I heard the passenger door open. I slid back out (far too quickly, of course, and scraped skin off both back and front) retrieved my soaked clothing, slid into the passenger seat, underwent the brief proctology, and fell into the driver’s seat.

And what about the other car? Did I leave the strongly worded note that I’d been writing in my head all through the ordeal? Did I just write the word “gobshite” in the snow on his windscreen, as I’d finally settled on as being both cutting and succinct enough?

Well, no, because of course I should really have done one of these things before I got across into the driver’s seat, coz now that I was there and out of the cold there was no way I was getting back out again.

So, although I know there is no realistic chance that he will read this, Dear Mr 02WW5884, may your wipers wither and your fanbelt fester, you Micra-owning Minghead.