Tag Archives: yelena isinbayeva

Visions of Sugarplums

Just three days after I mentioned 1985’s Moving Statues of Ballinspittle in my blog, the front page of yesterday’s Irish Times carries the tale of the village church in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, where 2,000 locals have signed a petition to prevent the removal of a tree stump, because it depicts an image of the Blessed Virgin, as illustrated below:

Virgin Mary treeWell, I’m convinced.

Meanwhile, in Stockton, California, a tree knot has been spotted which looks like a young Michael Jackson….

Michael Jackson tree

Felix Garcia, the guy who spotted this, reckons it’s Jacko at about 20, though to me it looks like him at the age XBox’s baby is now.

Anyway, since I’m not one to miss a chance to ride a bandwagon for all it’s worth, here is a picture of the tree in my front garden:


Study the picture carefully and tick off one by one as you find each of the following:

  • The Blessed Virgin
  • Karl Malden
  • The spaceship Battlestar Galactica
  • Wally
  • A wombat’s sphincter
  • Susan Boyle
  • The company logo of the Nakatomi Corporation
  • One page from the Dead Sea Scrolls, translated into Irish
  • A miniature, to-scale model of the Battle of Midway
  • An ent from the Lord of the Rings (a bit of a cheat, this one)
  • Ludwig von Beethoven
  • The poster of the girl in the tennis dress, scratching her arse
  • Moldova
  • Harry Potter, while wearing his Invisibility Cloak, but as a toga
  • Windows’ Mystify screensaver
  • And finally, the ever-lovely Yelena Isinbayeva (actually, don’t bother looking for her, I haven’t posted a picture of her in ages, so here’s one now).


    She's back...

Of course, now that my tree of visions (sorry, my Tree of Visions, hype is everything in these situations) has appeared on the Internet, I’ll have many pilgrims flocking to my door, so I’m converting my garden shed into a small and tasteful souvenir shop. People will be able to buy blossoms from the tree, dog-poo from the garden (kindly donated by my neighbours’ dogs), and a range of buttons and T-shirts (“I saw JC in Tinman’s tree”).

I was also thinking of trying to get a drinks licence, but that would be gilding the lily. People who can see the Virgin Mary in the top picture here don’t need alcohol.

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.

In Loco Parentheses

Since I’ve been unexpectedly off work for a couple of days I’ve been looking back over some of my old posts (yes, I know that makes me terribly narcissistic and yes, I did have to look up how to spell narcissistic).

Anyway, I’ve realised that I use brackets quite a lot, so I feel a poll coming on (and the poll is a joke, you don’t have to tick any of the boxes), so here goes:

(And that reminds me, we are 16 days into 2009 and I haven’t posted one yet, so here we are and Happy New Year Yelena):


And as for the poll, I think this post alone answers the question.

(And BTW, this is my 200th post).

Just Like a Woman

On Saturday K8 the Gr8 mentioned a Blog Gender Analyzer (http://www.genderanalyzer.com/), where you type in a blog address and it tells you whether the blog is written by a man or a woman. I entered mine and was informed that there is a 77% chance that I am a woman.

Clearly therefore I am not posting enough pictures of Yelena Isinbayeva


or Maria Sharapova


Clearly also I am not using the words poo, tit, bum or fart enough. Fear not, all of these flaws will be remedied from now on.

Yesterday, though, I forsook the delights of the Manchester derby followed by Chelsea v Arsenal to spend the afternoon at bowling-then-pizza with eight 12-year old girls. Then came back home and ooh’d and aah’d at the bracelets, nail stuff, etc that Tingirl was given by these girls. And then, because it was her birthday, when she put on “The Winner Takes it All – the Story of Abba” I didn’t flee to the kitchen to blog, but stayed and watched it with her – and really enjoyed it.

So I don’t dare take the test again today.

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.

Frozen in Time

Down in my local (the source of my solace and, increasingly, my material) one of the guys reckons he’s going to get himself cryogenically frozen, so he can be revived in 100 years after they invent a procedure to cure whatever it is he dies of.

This idea has been doing the rounds for many years now. It is widely believed that Walt Disney had himself preserved in this way, though this is in fact untrue (which is a pity, for if it were true then Disney on Ice would surely have been the most tastelessly named show of all time).

The notion is very popular with people who have seen a lot of Sci-Fi, and who believe that the only differences between 2108 and now are that in 2108 everyone will wear one-piece tacky clothing, that machines will speak in soothing female voices and that people will drive really cool cars on surprisingly clear roads. The cryonees will awake, cash in their substantially-increased nest-egg, and slip effortlessly into society.

The sheer awfulness of the reality could not be more different. Just imagine that you had done  this in 1908 – after dying of pneumonia or flu, the two biggest killers at that time, at the average life-expectancy age of 47 – and were awakened today. Ireland is a very different place. The British are gone, our currency is different (indeed, the decimal currency has come and gone during your Big Sleep) and the entire culture has dramatically changed. How would you deal with cars, computers, TV, mobile ringtones, showers instead of (infrequent) baths, pooing indoors?

Olympics 1908 style

Olympics 1908 style

Yelena - again

Yelena - again

Speaking to women in the way you were accustomed to will now earn you a smack in the face. The world’s first female mayor was elected in 1908, but women still didn’t have the vote. <- This photo shows the archery team at the 1908 olympics. What would you make of the way athletes like Yelena Isinbayeva – sure let’s show a picture of her – dressed in this years? How could you watch the beach volleyball without having a seizure?

Leg of what?

Leg of what?

Imagine shopping. In 1908 marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstores in the US. Good luck with trying to buy some today. Everything else in the shops would be a nightmare. “Where can I buy a strop for my razor?” “Call these underpants? They don’t cover my legs.” What is a skinny latté? Sushi? Broccoli? Imagine the first time you went to a kebab shop. One look at that thing revolving behind the counter would give you nightmares for ever. If that’s lamb, how bloody big are the sheep these days?

Even when you thought you were right, you’d be wrong. You’d look at a map of Europe, see all the same little countries that were there in 1908, and think “well, at least world politics stayed stable while I was gone.”

The Taoiseach

The Taoiseach

So now imagine that you do it today, and wake in 2108.  Getting the one-piece tacky clothing will be fine, as long as Champion Sports is still in business, but I haven’t enough imagination to predict all the other changes, and I don’t think anyone else has either. There may be robots, we might all live in the ocean, or on the moon. Global warming may have dramatically changed the planet, or it might all have turned out to be crap.

There are one or two things you can be sure of, though. The life-expectancy will now be 147, so you’ll have to work to support yourself. What will you be qualified to do? Exactly. Welcome to your job in Spar.

There will be four thousand TV channels, all showing Premier League Soccer. The only programme you will recognize will be Coronation Street, but of course all of the characters will be different, apart from Ken Barlow.

Classical music radio stations will feature the works of Dylan, Led Zeppelin and, rather strangely, McFly.

The average height of a human grew by 8cm (almost 3 inches) in the last 100 years, so if that trend continues everyone in 2108 will be taller than you.

And as the number of Christians is declining and the number of Muslims and Hindus is rising, you will by then be a member of a minority religion, if someone hasn’t proven it all to be rubbish by then.

So there you will be in 2108 – a talentless, shortarse member of a religion no-one believes in.

A sort of 22nd Century Tom Cruise.

Shaving It Close

Once upon a time (way back in the last millenium, when the world was in black-and-white), razors came with one blade. Then someone invented the two blade razor, then the three, and at the moment the best one available has five.

This contest between Gillette and Wilkinson Sword, creeping up one blade at a time, reminds me of the way Yelena Isinbayeva has set the last 12 world records in pole-vaulting. Though she could probably clear the bar by about a foot, she just keeps raising it by one centimetre at a time.

I think it’s time one of the companies upped their game to try and finish the opposition for good. After all, face-shaving is a macho thing, and the product should reflect that.

“New, from Gillette – the RazorBurn!! Are you man enough? Is your stubble tough enough? Only a Flame-thrower could do a better job! Fourteen blades at the front, four more at the back, to leave your skin feeling like a Baby with a Brazilian!”

No need to thank me, Gillette.

And no, this post is not simply so that I can put up a picture of Yelena Isinbayeva.

Though here’s another one.

Just in case you don’t know who I’m talking about.