Archive for the 'Rants' Category

Oh, for God’s sake!

September 21st, 2008

“Panini” already is plural, people!

Childish nations

September 1st, 2008

Recent events in Georgia have reminded me just how childish nations are.

Various news articles have tried to explain Russia’s actions by stating that Russian pride has taken several severe knocks since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with many of its former subject nations rejecting Russia and joining the EU, applying to join NATO or otherwise looking to the West. Thus Russia took this opportunity to restore its national pride by taking action in South Ossetia.

National pride.

That’s a phrase that should be saved for the Olympics, or cheese, or beer or even (choking back the nausea) the Eurovision song contest.

When national pride results in guns being fired, how is it different from the violence that erupts when one street gang offends another’s pride?

Let me answer that question for you, just in case it is in any way unclear in your mind: there is no difference.

Of course, all the hypocrisy has come out. Great Britain and the USA, among many others, have remonstrated with Russia for using military force. These are two other countries that have a tendency to use their military as an expression of national pride.

Let’s invade Panama because their President shafted the CIA in a drugs deal!

Let’s go to war with Argentina over some windswept islands in the South Atlantic (or let’s go to war with Britain over some windswept islands in the South Atlantic)!

Let’s bomb the crap out of Iraq because Sadaam Hussein has WMDs or is in league with Al Qaeda or because it’s Tuesday or because we are GREAT countries and that’s what GREAT countries do to prove their GREATNESS… they bomb the shit out of people!

What does it say about a country that continues to formally label itself “Great”?

What does it say about a country that constantly has to tell itself that it’s the “greatest country in the world” (which, if it’s true, doesn’t explain why I have never, ever seen a clean taxi there)?

National pride.

National pride is nothing more than the insecure trying to prove to themselves that they are worth something after all by dropping bombs on children.

Type “proud to be Irish” into Google and you’ll get around 218,000 hits*. That’s 218,000 pages of utter crap.

I’m Irish. I like being Irish. I am pleased to be Irish. I am not ashamed of being Irish (as many my age or older used to feel). But proud to be Irish? What? Was it something I somehow achieved through the sweat of my brow? I would happily wear a shirt that says “Irish” on it, just as long as it is not preceeded by the words “Proud to be”. No, I am not proud to be Irish and anyone who says they are is only one step away from the Georgians who dropped bombs on the South Ossetians just because they don’t want to be Georgian, or one step away from the Russians who dropped bombs on the Georgians because they haven’t been feeling too good about themselves over the past twenty years.

Awwww… How do you say “Diddums” in Russian?

The more I see world leaders on TV, the more I see them as damaged children desperately seeking approval. And they are willing to kill to get it.

No country is so great that they need to shout it from the mountain tops. No country is so great that they need to fire assault rifles to prove it. Leave that childish nonsense to gang-bangers

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August 22nd, 2008

I’ve been confused lately because I have been receiving e-mails that display a paper clip icon as if there is an attachment but I can’t find the attachment.

Then I noticed that such e-mails all have one thing in common: they have their company logo and slogan embedded into the body of the e-mail, which shows up as an attachment.

It’s irritating. I often need to search for an e-mail from a particular person which I know has an attachment. However, Outlook doesn’t distinguish between e-mails with a genuine attachment and those with an image embedded.

I know companies have this thing about their brand and making sure their brand is represented consistently and making sure anyone who receives an e-mail from them gets to see the latest flavour of their branding.

Here’s the thing though…

Nobody cares.











Nobody cares.

Of course, the branding people know this, but they don’t let on because they like their cushy job picking out colour schemes and fonts.

Get a real job, you layabouts!

Sabrina Dent has an excellent post here on e-mail signatures.


August 22nd, 2008

I have Windows Vista.

I know, I know.

I didn’t choose it. It came with the laptop.

One of Vista’s interesting “features” is a pop-up to tell you that you have plugged in a jack whenever you plug in a jack. I’m struggling to see the benefit of that. It’s like your house telling you that you have opened the front door as you step over the threshold.

Imagine the irritation of your kettle constantly saying “You have unplugged me” and “You have plugged me back in again”.

It’s not like when your car tells you that one of the doors is open. That’s useful, because you might not be aware that one of the doors is open. But announcing “Someone has indicated left” when you have just indicated left?

Someone at Microsoft has too much time on their hands.

They have even chosen to use the passive voice.

As if someone sneaked up behind my laptop, concealed themselves behind a pad of Post-It notes and slipped me the jack while I wasn’t looking.

“A jack has been plugged in,” Vista helpfully informs me.


Will I ever learn?

August 14th, 2008

I am a business process consultant by profession, which means I help companies improve their business processes. It’s a job that suits my character and type of intellect in that I am analytical and logical and I am a friendly enough person who likes to help people out. When I am working for any customer, I genuinely want to help them succeed.

I’m not one of those consultants whose ego is more important than the success of their customer and who would rather bluff it than say “Actually, this is outside my sphere of expertise.”

Because the way I act as a consultant is as much a product of my character as my training and professional experience, I sometimes offer free consultancy to friends and even strangers.

Yesterday, for example, I was in a lift (that’s elevator, if you don’t speak English) in the UK, and I was talking to a woman who had been waiting for the lift with me. After a couple of floors, a colleague of hers joined us and shared with us the startling news that she had made herself a piece of toast that morning only to find she had no butter! We were aghast.

That was when the Good Consultant reared his smiley head. Good Consultant likes to help people and where he thinks he can help, he will pipe up and offer a suggestion. So I thought I might offer her some advice, based on my experiences in Spain, that might be of use to her in such circumstances. So I suggested, in a friendly tone, that if she had a tomato and some olive oil, she could cut the tomato in two, rub its juicy innards on the toast, then drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt over it. A great alternative to butter if you don’t have any or just feel like a change.

How did she reply?

“That sounds tasty, I’ll give it a try tomorrow.” No.

“That does sound interesting, but I’m afraid I don’t like tomatoes.” No.

Any other reply that would demonstrate even rudimentary social skills? No.

Yeah, but I like my butter.

That was the reply.

That’s when Evil Consultant tried to rear his scowling head. Fortunately, Good Consultant held him down.

“You have already stated that you didn’t have any butter, you fucking ingrate! Butter is not a feasible option when you don’t fucking have any!” EC spluttered as he tried to wrest himself from GC’s grasp, “What’s the fucking point of hanging on sentimentally to an old process when you no longer have the means to implement that process?”

Fortunately, Good Consultant clamped a hand over his mouth, smiled at the woman and bade her “good morning” as he alighted the lift.

“Afraid to embrace change! Afraid to embrace change!” EC taunted as his better half dragged him away by the collar.

“You are just too intolerant,” GC gently chided.

“Will you ever fucking learn, you cretin?” EC retorted, “Some people just don’t appreciate help.”

Consideration for parents

August 8th, 2008

I’ve just got off a flight from the UK and seated behind me was a mother and her two children aged roughly three and six.

She did a great job of managing them during the flight and the toddler only kicked my seat around twenty times (although the mother did yank on the back of my seat several times as she got in and out of their row).

Anyway, I began to think of how many things I have to remember when I am just trying to get myself out of the house and to the airport, so how much harder must it be for a mother on her own, trying to remember all of those things and get two small children ready. She couldn’t possibly think of everything. It occurred to me that I could do more to help, perhaps by carrying one or two essentials that the travelling and weary parent might have forgotten.

So next time, I’m carrying a roll of duct-tape in my hand luggage.

Is discrimination so bad?

June 29th, 2008

I have always thought the Northern Europeans were a fairly sensible lot and if asked for an impression (no, I’m not going to break into the “Swedish Chef” from The Muppet Show), I would say that they are less prone to political correctness than the Irish and (in particular) the British seem to be.

However, I have just read an article on the BBC website, which tells the story of a school in Sweden which has complained to the Swedish Parliament about an eight year old boy because he invited all but two of his class mates to his birthday party.

According to the article, the school said that “if invitations are handed out on school premises then it must ensure there is no discrimination”.

No discrimination? None at all?

The etymology of the verb “to discriminate” is that it comes from the Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare, from discrimin-, discrimen distinction, from discernere to distinguish between.

And before any smart-arse points out that they would have said it in Swedish rather than English, the  Swedish for “discriminate” is “diskriminera”, so the etymology is the same.

There are several related but subtly different definitions. Let us discriminate and choose the meaning that most closely fits the circumstances described in the article:

“to make a difference in treatment or favour on a basis other than individual merit”

The child invited everyone in the class but two. That certainly sounds like discrimination as defined above.

And what is so wrong with that?

There is no hint in the article that the two uninvited children were of a different colour, gender, religion, number of heads, language,  football team or anything else that might normally be associated with unfair discrimination.

There’s a key word in that last sentence: unfair.

Apparently the school said there should be “no discrimination”. Not that there should be no unfair discrimination. No discrimination. None at all.

What utter crap.

The article goes on to paraphrase the offending boy’s father, who supposedly said that “the two children were left out because one did not invite his son to his own party and he had fallen out with the other one.”

So, I’m not inviting you to my party because you think I’m a bollix and and I’m not inviting you over there because I  think you’re a bollix*.

Is not wanting someone at your party because you think he’s a bollix discrimination? It certainly is.

Is it unfair discrimination? Absolutely not. It’s nothing more than inviting only your friends.

I hate it when words get hijacked by the politically correct. And yes, Brother Francis who used to beat us with a cane for making spelling mistakes in primary school and who told us that it is wrong to hate, I do mean hate.

So if you are politically correct, you can fuck off.

As for the Swedes, why the hell didn’t the school head not discriminate against that teacher for being a gobshite*? Why the hell did the Parliament not tell the school to piss off and stop annoying them? Sweden must be a brilliant place to live if that’s all they have to worry about.

I wonder if that school in Lund, ever gives gold stars to children who do particularly well in class. Discrimination? Surely not!

For the benefit of the Swedes, here is a list of valid reasons for discriminating against someone:

  • They fart like a cowboy
  • They regularly punch you in the face
  • They chain smoke and you are asthmatic
  • They only listen to Country music
  • They wear counterfeit designer gear ^
  • They sell drugs
  • They are bollixes
  • They think you are a bollix

* If you are not Irish and you wish to gain a greater understanding of the usage of these terms, please refer to Introduction to Dublinese #1.

^ And no, not because that makes them cheap… because that means they are breaking the law. Ha!

The Do Do’s and the Do Not Do’s of Airline Travel

June 6th, 2008

Life can be trying enough, but when you are an arsehole, life becomes even more of a challenge both for you and the poor bastards who have to be in close proximity to you. Remember that if you are a human being, the probability is that you are indeed an arsehole. You might not be aware that your arseholian traits become exaggerated when you use public transport, particularly aircraft.

Here are some helpful tips that can help you make the travelling experience less trying for, well, me really. I don’t care about you, because you’re an arsehole.

Do Not Do…

  • Abandon your luggage trolley at the boarding gate so that it gets in the way of the people behind you.
  • Stomp up to the boarding gate when they are boarding group A, even though you know you are in group B.
  • Sit in my seat then expect me to to simply swap seats with you because you couldn’t be bothered getting off your arse or even reading your boarding pass.
  • Fart on the plane, man in seat 21F!
  • Stampede like cattle towards the boarding gate as soon as you see a staff member approach it.
  • Elbow me in the head again when you are reaching for your luggage if you know what’s good for you.
  • Talk to people excitedly about your trip when you can see that they are trying to read. Clue: if they are reading the safety card over and over, they don’t want to talk to you!
  • Recline your seat without having the courtesy to ask the person behind you first. At the very least, this will ensure you don’t whack them in the face as they lean forward to get something out of the magazine pocket, woman in seat 14B!
  • Take it out on the flight attendant because the airline messed up the schedule.
  • Edge nervously away from every brown person as if they are planning to blow the plane up. Believe it or not, most Asians are just trying to get somewhere.
  • Yank on the back of my seat as a means of lifting your lazy, uncoordinated, fat arse out of your own seat… especially on overnight, long-haul flights, lazy, uncoordinated, fat-arsed woman in seat 42F.
  • Abandon your trolley behind another abandoned trolley at the boarding gate. They do fit together, you know.

Do Do…

  • Wash before you travel, preferably the same week.
  • Store your baby in a soundproof container, like another aircraft.
  • Make your back-of-the-seat-kicking brats sit behind you, instead of in front of you. They are more likely to reach adulthood and increase your blighted clan that way.
  • Remember to take off all your jewellery and hair clips before going through the metal (the clue is in the name) detectors, hideously over-dressed woman who acts as if she has never been through airport security before.
  • Consider staying at home.

Call hating

February 29th, 2008

I hate call waiting.

I don’t use it.

I don’t like it when other people use it.

When you use call waiting, you are effectively saying to the other person:

Someone else wants to talk to me, I have no idea who they are or what they want, but chances are they are more important and more interesting than you.

In my opinion there is only one response to someone who puts you on hold because of call waiting… hang up.

Paris Hilton can fuck off as well!

February 3rd, 2008

Which is pretty much what her grandad said.

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