Archive for the 'In The News' Category

G20 protesters face police with Tasers

March 28th, 2009

G20 protesters face police with Tasers

How the hell did the G20 protesters get their hands on Tasers?

All right, Goodwin, I think you know what to do

February 27th, 2009

I’m not British, but I lived in England for almost nine years, so I keep an eye on the BBC news. I was reading today about Sir Fred Goodwin. Fred Goodwin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004 for, let me check… services to medicine… no… services to the community… no… for services to education… no…. services to banking. Yes, that was it. Because becoming a multi-millionaire isn’t reward enough in itself.

Anyway, just under five years later, Sir Fred is on the naughty step for being the world’s worst banker (according to Newsweek).

What is making the news this week is not the Sir Fred’s failure at Royal Bank of Scotland, but the news that his punishment for such spectacular failure is a pension worth £16 million – a pension which he has refused to give up, much to the chagrin of people who want to see bankers pay for their mistakes.

Oh, for the days when a knight of the realm knew what was expected of him when he committed an unacceptable faux pas.

Death of a tycoon

January 7th, 2009

The Mirror on-line has reported the death of Adolf Merckle, a German tycoon who committed suicide after losing £2.4 billion in the credit crunch.

It’s a common mistake to think that people commit suicide because they are weak.

Putting aside suicide bombers and those who sacrifice themselves to save the lives of others, people kill themselves because their ability to appreciate their own value or their ability to understand the relative value of things in the world have become corrupted. Under severe stress, some people convince themselves they are such failures that the world and their loved ones would actually be better off without them.

Others experience psychological pain, which often expresses itself as acute physical pain, so severe that they become convinced that the only escape is death. Suicide is the ultimate expressing of self-harming.

Mr. Merckle’s sad case shows us how detached from reality many very rich people are. Apart from some notable philanthropists such as Bill Gates (yes, it’s fashionable to hate him as the face of Microsoft, but the man donates billions to good causes) and Warren Buffet, so many billionaires seem to see the amassing of wealth as an end in itself.

Think about it. What was Bernard Madoff planning to do with $50 billion? The number is so beyond normal comprehension as to be meaningless. It strikes me that it was not the money itself that was important to him, but the thrill of hoodwinking so many supposedly clever people.

And that brings me back to the late Mr. Merckle, who was not left destitute, by the loss of £2.4 billion, something which might test anyone’s sanity.

No, Mr. Merckle lost £2.4 billion of his £8.6 billion fortune, leaving him with a mere £6.2 billion on which to scrape by. Clearly a man who lost all sense of value a long time ago.

The real losers are his family and the poor driver of the train in front of which Adolf Merckle  threw himself. I don’t see that train driver feeling much sympathy for a man who was left with enough money to give everyone on the planet a pound.

I get those two confused all the time

December 24th, 2008

Gay and lesbian organisations around the world have been up in arms this week because of comments made by Liza Minelli which could be interpreted as homophobic.

It seems that in her end of year address Ms. Minelli said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. Naturally, the gay icons legions of fans felt shocked, horrified and betrayed and their reaction was understandable considering the high esteem in which they previously held the singer.

Wait.

This just in: it wasn’t Liza Minelli at all. It was the Pope!

Well, what the hell did you expect, gays and lesbians? He’s the Pope. He’s supposed to come out with stuff like that.

Get over it!

If the shoe fits…

December 17th, 2008

I have been reading with amusement the stories about the Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at George W. Bush.

There were two key points about the journalist’s actions. Firstly, he threw footware, which is highly insulting in Arab culture. Secondly, he called Bush a “dog”, which is highly insulting in Arab culture.

Of course, it’s not as insulting perhaps as blowing somebody up, so it left Mr. Bush with enough room to be magnanimous and “harbour no hard feelings.”

My view is that if you are going to bother insulting someone, you have to do it in their own cultural terms, not yours. Waving your shoes at a Westerner and calling him a dog makes you look like a character in a bad 1950s Foreign Legion movie, Mr. Zaidi. The President and his staff were probably laughing themselves silly all they way home. “And then he said ‘You dog!’, the President probably guffawed as his staff rolled around Airforce One in hysterics.

All except Dana Perino, of course, she was too busy applying a steak to her eye.

To properly insult Mr. Bush, you need to shout something like:

  • Yawl’s about as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party

or

  • The engine’s runnin’ but ain’t nobody driving

The one thing that Mr. Zaidi perhaps did not consider in his fury is that had he pulled that stunt with Saddam Hussein, he would have ended up wearing his shoes… on the inside.

It would appear that subsequent to his arrest, Mr. Zaidi suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding. Well, that’s what happens when you go throwing heavy shoes around.

Irish Republic recalls all pork

December 6th, 2008

Irish Republic recalls all pork

I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast yesterday, yet they expect us to believe that everyone in the Republic of Ireland is going to remember every bit of pork they have ever eaten?

I have been living outside of Ireland for some years now, but I am surprised I have not heard of any plans to inaugurate Pork Remembrance Day.

Top ten irritating phrases

November 7th, 2008

According to an article in The Telegraph in-line, Oxford University researchers have compiled a list of the ten words or phrases that irritate people most and it’s a nightmare.

At this moment in time, the list appears in a book titled “Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare“. I personally find most of them irritating too but perhaps I’m fairly unique. At the end of the day, though, it’s all down to personal taste and with all due respect to the researchers at Oxford, linguistic taste is as changeable as my underwear (that is, every ten years).

Still, I don’t believe you have to speak English correctly 24/7 but in business it is important, absolutely. It’s not rocket science.

I suspect, however, that the message is lost on many of you. Perhaps I shouldn’t of bothered.

Drug may reverse MS brain damage

October 23rd, 2008

Drug may reverse MS brain damage

I don’t normally include headlines about serious topics in my “Funny Headlines” section, and MS is a very serious subject.

But I’m afraid I couldn’t resist thinking about the brain damage I cause myself by bashing my head against the desk every time MS Internet Explorer crashes, or whenever I try to use numbering in MS Word, or whenever something crashes and I click to send the details to MS hoping to receive back some advice as to what I should do to resolve the issue – advice that never comes.

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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Air locks on airliners

July 26th, 2008

Airliners should have airlocks, in other words two sets of doors. That way when drunk, violent scangers try to open the door mid-flight, they get the inner door open, the flight attendants close that behind them, and then they can open the outer door as wide as they want without compromising the cabin pressure.

Makes perfect sense to me.

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