Monday, February 28, 2005

(rubber) bands across america

Ok, before I start on this one, I would like to make one point : I think Michael Moore is an asshole.

I say this because I have a feeling that the views I am about to express may court comparisons between myself and his immenseness. To those people I say, the man does not hold any kind of copyright on Liberal opinion towards either Columbine or 9/11, nor does anyone.

The term "Synchronicity" refers to a "coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related". I know this not only because I'm a word-nerd, but also because the first music album I ever paid for myself had the same title and was produced by British pop/reggae trio The Police in 1983.

Here are two stories that I feel are causally connectable under the heading of "excessive paranoia".

In July of last year, I flew to America with my fiancee and my two children. Our itinerary included 3 days in San Francisco with my mother, a week in Eagle Point, Oregon with my father and his family, and four more days with Mom before returning to Ireland.

The stay in Oregon was of particular interest as it was only the second time I had met my biological father. I had "found" him via the internet a couple of years before. After a successful ice-breaking expedition on my own in 2003, it was time to bring my nearest and dearest over to bond some more and meet his extended family.

The week in Oregon was a pleasant one for all involved, especially for my (then) 9-year-old daughter, who was in a flood of tears at Medford airport, for all she wanted to do was go back to their backyard and dive into its swimming pool! Added to the tension of her not wanting to travel was the fact that our airline company had managed to completely snafu our entire series of flights, so suffice to say we had been on edge even before we set off for the airport that day!

As any airline traveler especially in the US the past few years will attest, the last thing you want is to be at the end of your tether in the tension stakes when you are about to go through a security checkpoint in an airport. Well, on this day, we were.

As for our travel documents, well I really thought I was the smarty-pants. I had everything pertaining to our trip; passports, emails from the travel agents, boarding passes, you name it, I had it, neatly wrapped in an envelope, bound with a rubber band. Since we could not board a plane anywhere without being asked for some kind of documentation several times, I figured that as long as we had this bundle, nothing could go wrong. Ha!

And so the four of us approached the barrier. I calmed my daughter down enough to let her and her brother go through first. Mission accomplished. Next, Sandra my fiancee went ahead of me. No problems there, she even remembered to take off her belt this time. Now me. I had cleared all my pockets of change, taken off my shoes, and placed my carry-on bag on the conveyor belt. The only thing I had forgotten was the documents, which I still gripped in my hand.

"Sir, you are too close to the girl in front of you, please pass through the barrier a second time."

When the official first spoke, I thought she was drawing attention to the documents in my hand.

I have no idea why I did this, but when I realized what she had actually said and that she was not paying mind to the bundle, my first instinct was to hand it to Sandra in front of me.

Little did I know that this gesture was a clear violation of Airport Security Protocol Number blah Paragraph blah Sub-section blah-blah.

"Sir I am going to have to ask you and the lady to step over here please!!!"

"Ok, but can my kids just..."

"SIR I will ask you a second time, PLEASE step over there and wait for inspection immediately!

Sandra in a blind panic went to hand the bundle back to me.

"MA'AM! Do not hand the item back! Go directly to that area over there! Do not speak, do not do anything but take a seat in that area!"

And so we had to sit in the two seats and wait about ten minutes, out of sight of both my children, until they saw fit to thoroughly search us both, while all the time reminding me how stupid (my word, but the true definition of theirs) my gesture was. We thought it wise not to comment. I also chose not to ask for my rubber band back when they had inspected the envelope.

And so my children, who thankfully had the sense to sit and wait patiently, got a lesson from their Daddy all the way from Medford to San Francisco about paranoia, and how what had just happened was understandable considering the events of 9/11.

About a week ago, in a high school in Orange County, Florida, a teacher spotted a particular pupil playing with a rubber band on his wrist. By the report that I read, when she asked him to give it up, he "tossed" it onto her desk.

After the incident, the boy received a 10-day suspension for threatening his teacher with what administrators say was a "weapon".

Where my fiancee and I were potential terrorists, this 13-year-old was a potential Columbine-esque mass murderer.

To exacerbate the tossing (or even the catapulting as some have suggested) into an offense that could warrant expulsion from the school appears at first extreme.

To play devil's advocate, however, I would be very surprised if the boy in question had an unblemished record of behaviour leading up to the incident. I also feel we are missing some very crucial facts about the case in question.

But as for the paranoia, we are left with this question. Who is to blame here, the people that have the paranoia, or the people and the actions that caused it? It is very easy to say "Aw, come on guys, show a bit of common sense!!!", but the events of Columbine and 9/11 took what was previously known as "common sense" and sent it several times through a meat grinder.

Were I a security guard at an airport post-9/11, I would look at all the faces of the passengers going through my station wondering, "it could be one of them, any of them."

Were I a teacher at a high school post-Columbine, I would look at the faces of all the pupils in my class wondering "it could be one of them, any of them."

I think I'd rather work at McDonald's than have their jobs these days.

Thank you James H Schott and Michael the ArchAngel for bringing this to my attention.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

...and then there were three

I must add this right-wing blog to the two I mentioned the other day. Allow me to introduce you to the incredibly named "Michael The Archangel".
He took the time to read one of my posts on Bleeding Heart Liberals, and graciously put forward a constructive and respectful argument in reply.
Having read several of his posts and seen how his views are often copy/pasted on other sites, I could possibly describe him as Blogland's answer to Rush Limbaugh. If you want to understand the 51% of Americans I was alluding to, I suggest you bookmark this blog.

Friday, February 25, 2005

a joke to lighten the mood

Q. How many bouncers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A. Sorry, can't tell ya - this joke is for regulars only!!!

six brave women

Last Wednesday, six women came down to Dublin from Belfast. It was not a shopping expedition. Instead of clothes and presents, they were after hearts and minds.

On Sunday, January 30, 2005, Robert McCartney was drinking in his local pub in the “Short Strand” area of east Belfast. Though a predominantly Protestant (or “Loyalist”) area, McCartney and his family lived and drank in a tiny Catholic (or “Nationalist”) enclave.

They were drinking to commemmorate the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre on the same date in 1972. It was an occasion that was meant to unite all Nationalists.

By the end of the night, McCartney was lying on a hospital bed with stab wounds which were never to heal.

Part of the trouble in Northern Ireland is a profound lack of trust in the Nationalist community towards the police force. This force was formerly known as the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) but as part of the Good Friday Agreement (1998) which was heartily endorsed by the people on the island of Ireland (71% Yes in the North, 94% in the Republic), the force was revamped in such a way that not only was its name changed to the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) but they were to embark on an aggressive campaign to recruit more Nationalists to the force.

Despite these efforts, The PSNI is still regarded the same way as the RUC was, and when they arrived on the scene in The Short Strand to investigate the stabbing, nobody was willing to give a statement, even though there were dozens of witnesses, as by all accounts the fight spilled out onto the street.

Robert’s partner and his five sisters came down to Dublin this week to urge the Irish government and indeed the Irish people as a whole to encourage those who know what happened to come forward.

“The police know who killed Robert. The community know who killed Robert, and we know who killed Robert. This can’t be allowed to go on.”, said his sister Paula in an interview with RTE’s Charlie Bird.

“It will give them a license to do it again,” added another sister Gemma. “A civilian (committing) an egotistical attack on a defenseless man.”

Here is Charlie Bird's news report. (you may get errors at first, it should come get through if you keep clicking play)


The very fear which they are trying overcome to find justice for the murder of their loved one only illustrates the sheer bravery they are showing to be so public with their plea. I salute them all.

How bitter is the irony that in a time of such intense conflict, it is those on their own "side" they must fear.

Other sources : rte1 rte2 rte3 guardian bbc

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

a closed mouth doesn't get fed

Here's a story which I feel encapulates what it is like for me caring for my 95-year-old grandmother.
Thursday nights I have my two kids over - on the Friday morning, I bring them to school. Gran is usually asleep so I leave a flask of coffee on her bedside table and leave the day's newspapers at the end of her bed so she won't have far to go should she wake up while I am gone.
The week before last, the morning went as it always had. When I got home from dropping off the kids it was about 9:30am, and sure enough Gran was sitting up in bed reading. I looked in on her, and set upon the day's tasks.
Friday night is the one night I go out or at least do something with my finacee. I meet her from work at 5 and we go off from there. Friday afternoons, therefore, are spent preparing the place for Gran to be able to to relax without feeling the need to do any unecessary chores herself. I have also agreed to take the kids for Friday afternoons after school in exchange for a reduction in maintenance.
So from 9:30 to 4:30 I felt I had completed what I thought was a worth-while afternoon's work between household chores, picking up the kids, preparing a dinner for Gran to leave in the microwave, and preparing myself for the evening out. Throughout the afternoon, I would look in on her and even brought her lunch around noon time.
So when it came to 4:30pm, I was showered, dressed and ready to go out the front door. The kids had their coats on and had already said goodbye to their great-grandmother. All that was left for me to do was pay one last visit into my Gran's room to let her know we were going and hand her my printed up-date stating where I was and how I could be contacted while I was gone.
"Here's your update, we're going now", I said, as I handed it to her. 4:35 actually at this stage; we'd really better be moving!
"OK Jeffrey, goodbye," she said, then just as I left her room she said, "Oh, Jeffrey?"
"Yes?"
"Did we by any chance get any newspapers today?"
"WHAT???? I'VE BEEN RUNNING AROUND ALL DAY WHILE STILL LOOKING IN ON YOU FOR THE PAST SEVEN HOURS AND YOU ONLY TELL ME YOU DIDN'T GET THE PAPERS NOW????"
Oh, no, there she goes.
"I'm sorry, Jeffrey, I know I'm such a burden...."
Deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth, count slowly to five.
Turns out the papers had fallen from the edge of her bed when she got up in the morning; the paper she was reading when I got home was the previous day's. I placed them gently into her hand, repeated my goodbye, and proceeded out the door.
"Why were you yelling at grandma?" asked my daughter.
"Because I'm a cruel, cruel, man." came the reply.


Click here for a full list of the "Lifeslice" stories

you're indecisive, dear henry, dear henry, dear henry

I sent a cheeky email to NewsTalk 106's Moncrieff program yesterday, featuring a spoof skit of their reporter Henry McKean's daily voxpops on the issue of the day. To my amazement, Sean Moncreiff read it out verbatim doing a passable impression of Henry in the process. I suppose the poor guy was subjected to awful abuse from his co-workers, because he took the time to personally send me an email saying "Thanks for that".
Classic Henry McKean vox-pop today!

Issue : Is it black or is it white?

Voxpopper # 1 : Well, I've thought a lot about it, and I believe it to be black.

Henry : Really? But surely it can't be black because all the evidence points to it being white!

Voxpopper # 1 : Em, er, well, erm....

Voxpopper # 2 (who had been standing behind #1 all the time) : I know it's white, it's gotta be white, no doubt about it, I've always believed it to be white!

Henry : Really? You think it's white? But as the person before you rightly pointed out, it could very well be black!

Voxpopper # 2 : Em, er, well, erm....

Love the show really folks, just havin a laugh, keep up the good work.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

when bein green don't sound too clean

Now I am well aware of the good intentions behind the concept and I whole-heartedly endorse them, but SURELY they could have come up with a better name for the product than "Re-Cycled Toilet Paper"???

sinn féin under attack

Questions And Answers last night was fascinating. A negotiator for Sinn Féin was subjected to a barrage of abuse from representatives of the government, The Labour Party, The SDLP (Fine Gael and The Unionist parties conspicuously absent). I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

Sinn Féin organized themselves and capitalized on voter apathy in last year's council elections and showed themselves as a significant growing threat to the sitting government coalition between Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats (aka "The FF National Front"- my words). Taoiseach Bertie Ahern then assembled his party at Inchydoney, West Cork, to discuss a new direction that they would be taking to rise to the challenge set by the electorate.
They came out of their think tank supposedly embracing a new philosophy, with the leader even going so far as to claim he was and had always been a "socialist". What I contend is that this was not their main point of discussion. I suggest they came to an agreement that it was about time the rise of the militant Republican Party was nipped in the bud once and for all.
The peace process came to a historic brink before Christmas. The DUP with their demagogue leader the Rev Ian Paisley came incredibly close to actually sitting down with Sinn Féin, something that was unheard of in the previous thirty or so years. Having both walked to the edge of the abyss, however, neither militant faction in Northern politics was willing to jump first, and the process collapsed due to a row over a photograph.
And so the process had finally derailed on the issue of "decommissioning". I still cannot fathom how this condition had been accepted by the parties in the first place. Supposedly the IRA putting their weapons beyond use was the key to a resumption of the Legislative Assembly in Stormont Castle. But how many weapons would satisfy the Unionists? Why was decommissioning never publicly quantified before it became a factor in the peace process? Eventually Paisley's ridiculous demand for a Polaroid snapshot to be placed on his desk for his own perusal was to virtually end the role of decommissioning as a negotiating tool, at least for the time being.
Then came December 20, 2004. £22million sterling stolen from a bank in Belfast. It was an early Christmas present for the anti-Sinn Féin parties. With decommisioning no longer effective as a stick to beat them with, we now had a new word - "criminality". Surely only an organization such as the IRA would have been capable of pulling off such a heist and that this money would be used to re-arm?
So here we have a perfect chance for the lions to feast on Sinn Féin's supposed wounded carcass. But where is Paisley? Where is Trimble? Where is Donaldson? The only ones feasting from where I can see are parties on the Republican side. I suggest the robbers are not the only ones laughing all the way to the bank.
I sent an email to the Q&A debate as a contribution to the first question put to the panel, which was "Is the Northern Bank raid Sinn Féin's Watergate, and if so does it go all the way to the president?".
My email read : "The peace process cannot and will not move forward until after the British elections. The parties involved should not speculate who did what to whom until there is hard core evidence either way and stop scoring cheap political points off each other. If only!"
This point was eventually made anyway by panellist Brian Feeney, Head of the Department of History at St Mary's University College Belfast and Irish News columnist who has written an extensive history of Sinn Féin.
********************
THE COMMISSIONER'S NEW CLOTHES
The Irish Minister For Justice Michael MacDowell (seemingly pronounced mac-DOOL) and the British Minister for Northern Ireland Paul Murphy, were at Hillsborough Castle in the north yesterday to sign some kind of accord between the police forces north and south. Also present were the commissioners for the two forces in question. Obviously the media attention was focused on MacDowell's allegations that the leadership of Sinn Féin were also members of the IRA's war council.
I would be more interested to know why the Commissioner for An Garda Siochana (southern Ireland's police force - Irish Gaelic for "guardians of the peace") was wearing civilian clothes while he was signing the accord.

Monday, February 21, 2005

who's fooling who

In an attempt to re-intellectualize this blog after yesterday's Spongebob review, I was reading over my recent batch of letters and emails to and from my mother and was reminded of this famous quote :
“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Popular opinion attributes this quote to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, though this fact has often been called into question.
Personally, I don't care who said it first; it is a brilliant quote, and still rings true today.
Happy President's Day to all my fellow Americans out there!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

a must sea


It's a whale of a movie!

It will earn its plaice in film history!

It's the current box office smash!

It's a masterpiece in all departments, especially the whiting!!!

MUST....STOP....FISH....RELATED....PUNS!!!!!!

Seriously though, "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie" is a Perfect Two Hours Wasted for the kid in all of us. Which is a good thing. I just got back from the cinema with my two and I strongly recommend it.

What? You mean you ACTUALLY want to know the PLOT?

*sigh* ok....……

The Evil Plankton steals King Neptune's crown and Our Heroes Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Starfish set off on a daredevil mission to get it back from Shell City.

Oh, and David Hasselhoff makes a right (and a left) tit of himself.

the toss of a coin

I take back much of what I said the other day about English football fans being somehow morally superior to Spanish ones - what was I thinking?
In yesterday's Everton v Man Utd clash in the FA Cup, a game which was already contentious as the home team sold their wunderkind Wayne Rooney to the Red Devils back in August, the Everton fans became frustrated when they were losing 2-0 and started throwing various objects onto the field. Please keep in mind that these hurlers are mostly grown men who are well aware that the game is being broadcast live on national television. The Man United goalkeeper Roy Carroll was struck in the back of a head with a coin, but apparently even mobile phones were not exempt from chucking.

kiss me kate


Watched "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" last night on DVD. It is not exactly a classic, but one thing you have to say, it engages you throughout. It stars Jim Carrey and the beautiful Kate Winslet, who has just regained No 1 slot in my current sexiest movie stars list; she also made me wonder why she ever stopped being there in the first place!

The plot centers around the relationship between Carrey (a troubled writer/artist which makes me think the writer of the film is talking about himself) and Winslet (a fun-loving thrill-seeking neo-hippy). Basically she gets bored with their association and employs the services of a psychiatrist who apparently (and here's the reality suspension part) can erase a person's memories of a relationship permanently. He finds out the hard way that she has done this, and thus insists on having the procedure performed on himself, only to discover half way through it that he doesn't want to forget her after all.

The action takes place mostly in his mind, and it's up to you to work this out. If you don't, the whole plot will fly over your head. All in all it's an original concept and leaves me wondering if the writer was ever able to forget the girl in question after all. My guess would lean toward the negative.

Friday, February 18, 2005

spanish inquisition

What is it with Spanish football fans? Before I go on, I KNOW natives of Barcelona do not consider themselves to be from Spain, but my point here goes well beyond that.
The Nou Camp Stadium, home of Barcelona FC and easily one of the most impressive sporting venues in the world, recently hosted a charity match in aid of tsunami relief :
First, only 40,000 went to the 90,000 seater venue for the event, and there are serious doubts that they all paid for their tickets; many were reputed to have been given "freebies" to boost the numbers.
As if that wasn't bad enough, not only were there reports of booing during the game (I can't for the life of me imagine why an exhibition game for such a worthy cause should illicit booing), but the entire crowd seemingly did a MEXICAN WAVE during the contest! A tad heartless, methinks!
And all of this in the wake of the unfathomable racist taunts of the black England players back in November :
It seems to me that the general public on the Iberian peninusla need a serious education about the world and how it works. But are they to blame? Is it simply a lack of education? It beggars belief.
I would be loathe to toot the Irish and British horn too loudly, for they like everyone have their own issues on the racist front, but I am almost certain that a charity football match in aid of Tsunami relief that was played at Lansdowne Road, Old Trafford, Hampden Park, The Millenium Stadium or any such stadium (even Croke Park!!!!) would have hosted a night to remember before a packed house showing the utmost respect and raising the optimum amount for the aid effort in question.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

plenty of strings attached

Just saw "Team America - World Police". Brilliant. It may have been seriously tongue-in-cheek, but the speech about dicks, pussies and assholes has a hell of a lot of truth to it. Fuck, yeah!!!!

Forget about "White Noise" and "Meet The Fockers" though, they both suck.

"Racing Stripes" is good for the kids, kind of National Velvet meets Dr Doolitte.

dodgy deals

I HATE I HATE I HATE buying a used car. But fuck it, I did it. At least I paid less than the sticker price, and got a decent warranty. I won't dream of posting what I bought or how much it was for fear of all the comments about me being ripped off. Yes, I know, I'm a straight bloke who hates haggling. Shoot me. The whole process shows capitalism at its worst. God forbid I actually pay what a fuckin car is worth. Oh yeah, that's what makes life interesting, isn't it? Isn't it? I really really really HATE buying a used car. Today's one could very well be my last.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

bloghopping

Good sweet holy mother of jumpin JAYSIS there's a whole lotta different blogs out there! I just clicked "Next Blog" a couple of dozen times and saw all sorts from all kinds of fascinating people. And mine is so GODDAM BORING!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

blown away

Had a classic "Meldrew Moment" this morning :
Before I start this story I want to make it clear that I really don't have a problem with Sandra's new room-mate, a tall relatively good looking bloke. There is a little discomfort however, and this did not help this morning's episode.
I stayed over in Sandra's place last night, as is usual for Fridays. This morning, I left about noon. We were all sitting around the kitchen before I left, we being me, Sandra, Bernie (other roomate), Bernie's sister, and that bloke Stephen. He leaves the apartment to go down to the shops, but he has already said that he will be there in the flat all afternoon, while Bernie and her sis were going out somewhere. Since I had to come back here for a few hours, I knew that Sandra and yer man would be alone for a couple of hours, which didn't really bother me at the time, but I did take note of it.
ANYWAY - when I leave Sandra's flat, I have to go down to the front gate and stand there waiting for her to let me out via the buzzer. On more than one occasion she has forgotten to do so, so I often say as I am leaving the front door "Don't forget to let me out", and she has recently started to get annoyed when I say this, so I SPECIFICALLY did not say anything this morning, I just assumed she would let me out. It was raining, and there was driving wind, and I was standing down at the gate for a couple of minutes like an absolute lemon with Superquinn shoppers passing by all the time who can see me standing there like a wet windswept prisoner on public display.
I eventually had to trudge all the way back up to her apartment and bang on the kitchen window, through which I could see her chit-chatting away to Bernie without a care in the world. Already getting soaked and already frustrated, my anger got worse as I saw Bernie laughing ( albeit understandably) at the wizened shape at the window.
Sandra then opened the front door, didn't say sorry, and offered me an umbrella. I just said "You just forgot about me!" , to which SHE got annoyed and gave an extremely insincere "sorry". So then I was made out to be the bad guy, and as I went downstairs, of course your man Stephen was on his way back up, and all I could think of was the four of them all sitting around having a good laugh at my expense. And what's more there was fuck all I could do about it that would not have made me look even worse. How goddam frustrating is that?
So anyway, on the way home I sent her a text saying how annoyed I was, and I eventually got a reply which contained a much more genuine apology, so then I decided to leave it be and post the incident on my blog for posterity. And so I have!

Friday, February 11, 2005

a cyber what?

I have been working on a script for a mini-tv series based around a sports store for the past six months or so. I have the overall plot in my head for the first 10 episodes, and have written the first 2 and a half in full. I decided to publish the scripts on their own blog in small chunks, so when they catch up with what I have done I may be inspired to bring the 10-part series to its conclusion. I thus decided to call the project my "CyberSoap". It's called "The Gear" and you will find it at http://thegear.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

case # 225/05

I finally took the first big step in filing for my divorce today. I brought all my papers to the Court of Family Law office in Smithfield downtown, and obtained my reference number for the impending hearing. Once some formalities have been carried out, which should take a few weeks, I hope to receive a date for my day in court. I can then focus all of my attention on wedding number 2!!!!
It would be easy for someone to assume my putting it off to date was down to my not wanting to get divorced, whether in general or specifically to Ruth. In actual fact, the long finger was used simply because I suffer with a condition which I call "ignoraphobia", ie, a fear of anticipated situations in which I know I will have no idea what to do or how to proceed. I had a similar episode last week when I was bringing my daughter to her friend's house in Knocklyon; I freaked out a couple of times.
At least now the ball is finally rolling anyway!!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Monday, February 07, 2005

memory for the thanks

No matter how hard I try, I can't stop myself from saying "Thanks a lot" to people when completing a transaction in a shop. This may sound trivial, but you have never heard me say it with my American/Dublin4 quasi-twang accent! It really sounds like I'm taking the piss! I'm aware of it to the point that I know I've done it right after I say it, but I can hardly go back and say "Excuse me, but you know the way I said 'Thanks a lot' just there? Well I really meant that you know, I wasn't being smart, you really did provide an excellent service!"
I have tried to modify it to a simple "Cheers!" but this evolved into a "Perfect!" which was just downright silly. I'm not one to say the old boring run of the mill "THANK YOU" but perhaps for simple peace of mind I should start trying it. It annoys me as much as it does when I hear people answer the phone with the word "Yellow" instead of "Hello"...what's THAT about???

politics : definitions

According to www.dictionary.com .............

pol·i·tics (pl-tks)n.

  1. (used with a sing. verb)
    The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.
    Political science.

  2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
    The activities or affairs engaged in by a government, politician, or political party: “All politics is local” (Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.). “Politics have appealed to me since I was at Oxford because they are exciting morning, noon, and night” (Jeffrey Archer).
    The methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government: The politics of the former regime were rejected by the new government leadership. If the politics of the conservative government now borders on the repressive, what can be expected when the economy falters?

  3. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political life: studied law with a view to going into politics; felt that politics was a worthwhile career.

  4. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power: Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government. Office politics are often debilitating and counterproductive.

  5. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political attitudes and positions: His politics on that issue is his own business. Your politics are clearly more liberal than mine.

  6. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society.

As far as I am concerned...

Politics is the process whereby the debate over who gets to perform a task seriously impedes the efficient accomplishment of the task itself.

© JL Pagano 2005

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

seasonal adjustment

If you read even a sample of my blog writing, you will notice that although I share my identity with both Europe and the USA, my loyalties if pushed would lean toward the former. There is one debate, however, where I have to say the Yanks have it right. According to the Irish, yesterday, February 1st, was the first day of spring. To para-phrase Montgomery Burns, that is utter "pish-posh".
The math is quite simple; there are 12 months, there are four seasons, thus there are roughly 3 months per season. Of course the weather does not instantly change on the 1st of the month, but if you had to name 3 months which could be categorized as "summer", they would have to be June, July and August. Any good weather after that, and the summer becomes Indian! Given that, the other months fall into line. September, October, November are autumn, December, January and February winter, and March, April and May are spring. Believe me I KNOW it's annoying to concede superior knowledge to Uncle Sam, but in this I fear we have no choice.
THE COMFY SLACKS OF AN ERSTWHILE SLACKER
My jeans size was 32 when in my 20s and over the years that number has crept toward the 40 mark. I bought a pair of blue jeans size 38 while in the USA last summer [July/August ;-) ], and was disgusted that I didn't get anywhere near to fitting into them, so I decided to draw the line at 38. I will only buy trousers of this size in future and if they don't fit, it's time to get fit. My subsequent jogging and minding my diet finally paid off yesterday when I was able to comfortably pull on the Old Navy jeans. Woo hoo!!! Next target is to get my weight under the 18 stone mark.
GOOD NEWS DAY
Sandra was made permanent in her job yesterday, which is great news considering all the hassle she has had over the past few months there. Now she at least has job security, time for me to follow suit! My achieveing that goal was made easier by more good news yesterday; I learned that my grandmother is entitled to her husband's full pension, which will bring her income from €300 per month to a much more healthy €1000. Maybe if I can promise to sign this over to somewhere like Donnybrook it will be do-able. Fingers crossed!