Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm all over the shop


I must apologise to my clamouring army of four readers for my hit and miss posting of late. I have contracted a dose of 'irregular bloggage' (from the latin ad ideas absentia) - which sounds like something a good dose of Bran Flakes would solve but alas, no, it's not that easy. Pesky fripperies like work and other annoyances like sleeping and rudimentary personal hygiene demands have left me with little time in the day for mooing off copious amounts of shite here on the wide wild internuts.

That's why I'm sat at my laptop at 11.30 of a Friday night explaining away my absence to anyone who cares, while decent right-minded folk are out getting plastered and earning an ASBO or two if it's a good night.

In truth I always knew this day would come; the day when I would start posting about my inability to post. I've seen genteel apologias like this on other blogs and vowed it'd never happen to me but I knew, deep down, that irregular bloggage would come and get me and so it has proved. I think I'm hanging about with Radge too much. I caught blogging urge (from the latin illusionus di importens) off him in the first place so it's only logical I should catch irregular bloggage as well I suppose (Radge blogs in accordance with lunar tides or something, I think). He actually asked me to go for a pint the other night but I was afraid of contracting all his many, many, many other diseases as well so I made up an excuse about needing to clean the ferrets out of my bellybutton. I'm off to his birthday bash tomorrow night, a rare enough excursion for me into Dublin city centre; sufficiently so, in fact, that I might even get a blog out of it.

Meanwhile I am mostly happy that yer man behind the campaign to bring back Cavan Cola paid a visit to Moo-Dog. This is confirmation that I now move in circles of influence with men and women of calibre.

Night night. We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, as Vera Lynn used to say but then again, her blog wasn't up to much either.
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cavan Cola!


West Cavan's representative literate person over at Cavantucky cheered me up no end today when I went there and discovered that a campaign has started to get Cavan Cola back on the market.

As the saying goes, I was reared on Cavan Cola. Most people say that sort of thing in jest or as a figure of speech but no, I really was reared on it as there was never a drop of milk in the house and my mother was big into smoking crack. Only messing.

For those of you unfamiliar and in thrall to sterotypes, it was just a harmless soft drink and not some crazy 90% home brew hooch distilled in the hills by barefoot, slack-jawed yokels in dungarees. Looking squinty eyed and lustily at farm animals.

Now I know 'Cavan Cola' doesn't exactly conjure images of some sort of elixir of youth but it was actually great stuff, a sort of Smithwicks for apprentices. It had a deep brown ruddy colour (like the local tap water) and a frothy head like the suds of a freshly poured bottle of Guinness. Legions of Cavan children grew up deliberately pouring it much too quickly into pint glasses before taking big mouthfuls and smacking the glass down on the table with a big 'aaahhhhhhhh,' before wiping their cola moustaches away and burping something about the saving the hay, as they tried to imitate their Daddies down the pub.

I don't know why they ever took it off the market, as long as kids love sugar, which is as long as wasps will, it was always going to keep selling. Then again, if it was turning profit they'd never have shelved it. Rumour had it that the dastardly laboratory boffins over in Brussels discovered banned ingredients in it and therefore ordered it out of production. Banned ingredients means E123, by the way, nothing sinister like turpentine or rat poison.

Never mind that kids had to be peeled off the ceiling after drinking a few bottles of it, this is part of our heritage. Well, my heritage really, but I don't mind sharing. Between Smithwicks being about as cool as being in the Girl Guides, and now Cavan Cola's continuing exile, I'm struggling to keep it together folks.

I think our only hope is that Lidl start making it in Estonia or something and then ship it in.

They'd never try this with Dubliner Irish Cheese I bet. Or Clonakilty pudding. Or Tipperary water. Yeah. Kick Cavan why don't yis, we're a soft target.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Swing the mood


I've just read back through some of my recent posts and have come to the conclusion that I'm a right crabby old shite and badly need to lighten the mood in here.

It's all well and good to vent and rant about things, but in a neat turning of the tables, today's post is about things I actually like. It took me quite a while (and therefore the post is late), but I came up with the following things that I am in favour of, on the whole:

Radiators: They keep us warm when it's cold. I'm beside one writing this and I can vouch for their credentials. Just don't sit on them or you'll get piles.

The sun: It's a grand yoke altogether, a big blazing friendly ould fireball that like radiators, keeps you warm, but unlike radiators, doesn't cause piles. It helps us make our own food by helping plants to grow, and helps plants to grow by helping them make their own food. Like how cool is that? It also gives people funny stripes if they try sunbathing with some bits covered up, such as pornstars with the milky white half-moon shapes on their boobies that always remind me of Mickey Mouse's ears, from a distance. And also, makes me wonder why sunbathing topless poses a moral conundrum for them when having sex with three oompah loompahs in a swimming pool full of lemon curd, while throwing hedgehogs at a musketeer's bare arse, doesn't. Anyway, the sun is great, just not to moles. As in the ones on your skin like. And come to think of it, the little blind ones that live underground as well, because let's face it, if they liked the sun they'd never live underground.

Cavan: You can say what you like about Cavan and most of you probably do, but it's a lovely place and we're not tight-fisted at all. Nor do we eat little children. We stopped all that last year, someone got food poisoning off a young one from Killeshandra. Where they don't wash their kids in dettol like they do everywhere else in Cavan. The filthy gets.

The History Channel: I never fail to find something good to watch on the history channel. It's the channel that keeps on giving. Except when you watch it for too long and by evening time you're looking at the same thing you watched that morning. Which still technically makes it the channel that keeps on giving but it's not as much fun. Which still technically makes it the channel that keeps on giving but it's not as much fun. See what I mean?

Cows: Ok ok, I've done this already and won't go into it all again, but if man's best friend is a dog, then cows are plainly just in a different league entirely. Now I will concede that cows aren't much good at rounding up sheep or fetching the paper, in the same way that say, pigs are useless when it comes to feeding goldfish, but cows are still great as they don't get hairs all over the couch, bite the postman, chase parked cars or hump your leg and lick their own (frankly, very disturbing) erections afterwards. I'm sorry but it had to be said.

George Formby: For some reason, I am comforted by the notion that there exist people so irrevocably happy that you could insult, annoy, or poke them with a big stick and then feed to a pack of rottweilers, and they'd just grin gormlessly at you and then launch into a song called "Oooooh my old aunt Maud has a big yella jumper, and swears she's the milkman's uncle."
I love George Formby.

The makeup women in Arnotts: It's so much fun trying to decide if they've overdone it with the foundation, or just spent the morning face down in a bowl of bolognese.

Now for you, there's seven things I like. More of this later, I actually quite enjoyed writing this. Bye now.
Monday, November 26, 2007

A dong for Ireland?


Wait till you hear this. Mispronounced song lyrics now have the power to change the outcome of important soccer matches.

I was arseing around on the internet (do you spell arseing with an 'e' or without?) and read about a gaffe made at the recent England v Croatia international game. Apparently, the poor man hired to sing the Croatian national anthem had some difficulty with the complexities of the foreign language version and ended up singing "My penis is a mountain."

Yes, you can see how he'd have trouble getting his tongue around it alright.

It seems he was supposed to sing "You know my dear how we love your mountains" but suffered a bit of a linguistic faux pas and ended up boasting about the size of his langer instead. The Croatian players all had a giggle on the field when it happened though, and they maintain now that it actually helped them relax enough to go on and beat England and knock them out of the tournament. To the extent that they want him to be made official mascot for next summer's European Championships.

With powers such as these, I now implore the FAI to book this guy in to sing our own Amhrán na bhFiann when we go to Italy for next year's World Cup qualifier. As most of you know, our anthem is called, in English, A soldier's Song, so let's get this bloke on board and he can belt out "A Soldier's Schlong" instead.

Italy 2 Rep. Ireland 3.
Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm going to be sick


If there's one reason not to like Christmas it's because it encourages clowns and idiots to foist dreadful songs on us in the hope of taking the coveted yuletide No.1 spot.

The latter years of Cliff Richard's career, for instance, were spent holed up in an underground bunker at an undisclosed location, where he would strain for 11 months of the year to distill all his dwindling creative powers into recording just one song that could be a hit at Yuletide. And invariably he'd manage it too the fecker, with his Mistletoe and Wine and Saviour's Day and Our Old Lang's Father Syne hybrid thingummy.

Anyhoo, I only refer to all this because I see that our own lite-version of Cliff Richard, Daniel O'Donnell (and there's a damning with faint praise if ever there was), is planning to release his version of Save Your Love, that old duet by Renee and Renato from the eighties.

I shall now pause here to give everyone reading this an opportunity to reflect and then projectile vomit.

In case you can't remember, you can relive this romantic tour de force on You Tube. Renato is the one dressed as a tubby golfer and looks like Bob Carolgees who used to perform with Spit the dog. Try and avert your gaze when he does the 'open crotch' stance beside the fountain. Ewwww my eyes! It burns! It burns!

Yes, it seems that this, the naffest, most buttock-clenchingly bad slushy shlock-song ever is about to be somehow rendered even more tacky with a thick application of fawning schmaltz by the King of Cheese himself, Mr. Daniel O'Donnell. Himself and Mary Duff are doing it. I mean, I ask you. Like, why?

The logic, if any, behind re-releasing old tunes like this is to honour a classic and reintroduce it to a new generation. However, this song is firstly, complete pants and secondly, all Daniel's fans are so old they will surely remember it from the first time, if they haven't descended into dementia. So what the hell is he thinking of? Combine all this with the fact the original song was sung by someone who looked like a poor man's Ron Jeremy and is now about to be resuscitated by a waxen Mammy's Boy of indeterminate sexuality, and the whole thing just lurches from the ridiculous to the horrendous.

In one way, I actually think fair play to wee Daniel, he's worth gazillions and certainly knows his market and how to milk it. He turns songs of cheese into milk and money, like a latter day messiah with a working knowledge of dairy bioscience. And sure he does the loaves and fishes thing every summer at his house in Donegal as well, where about ten billion pilgrimaging pensioners descend on inexhaustible supplies of tea and biccies, and get a rub of his relic so to speak.

Sigh. It's been a tough week. Kerry Katona, dead turtles haunting me and now this.

I wasn't going to, out of respect for the reader, but if you want to witness some of Daniel's limp-wristed, wooden stylings and drawlings, you can do so right here. It's like something out of Father Ted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCi50teu4vk">Go on! Punish me more please
Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tommy RIP


I'm feeling a bit guilty today. I've just remembered a pet tortoise that died in my care back in 1986.

I bought him because a petshop opened in the village and because this was as near to exotica as rural Cavan was ever going to get I wanted to buy something quickly before they packed up and left after realising that there was no demand for piranha and seahorses round our way. I wanted a rabbit or some Vietnamese fighting fish, or perhaps a baby elephant, but could only scrape up the money for a small terrapin after saving pocket money for months. I called him Tommy. I was big into alliteration back then and was mulling over Tina, Tony and even Taggart, (because he had wrinkly bags under his eyes like the dour detective on telly and his shell looked like the tartan on a kilt). I went with Tommy in the end though.

I was initially delighted with the purchase. Tommy yawned, stuck his head in and out and did little poos in his tank. I gave him food and he'd clamber up a little ramp to the feeding bowl and tuck in. He was great. For about three days. Then I had to wash the tank out and I must admit, scraping off tortoise poo was not something I'd bargained for when planning the purchase. He couldn't do any tricks either, such as handstands, overhead flips or water-skiing, he just pottered about and slept most of the time. I began to resent him because he wasn't an Andrex puppy. Tommy was losing his appeal so I just gradually abandoned him and let my Mum do the feeding and poo-cleaning and stuff. You know, sort of like she'd done for me for years, so I figured another mouth to feed and bum to clean wouldn't tax her unduly.

One morning I came down to breakfast and he was on his back floating in the water. I knew little of animal medicine, what with being ten and everything, but I was fairly sure that these particular symptoms meant he had a common but fatal condition known as 'being dead'. He had passed on, was deceased, he was a non-terrapin.

So anyway, I did the tactful thing like any ten-year-old would, and wrapped him in tinfoil and chucked him down the garden.

I was thinking about him today because, as I haven't spawned yet myself - i.e. no kids - I thought it might be nice to have a dog instead. Dogs offer a good substitute and are very like kids you know - there's the unconditional love, drool, poo anywhere tendencies and a predilection for eating almost anything. I think a dog would be good training for me ahead of the pit patter of little McDanger feet, but reflecting on my track record doesn't fill me with confidence.

I think I need to make my peace with the departed Tommy to move on. He would have been 21 next week, so I was considering putting this in the deaths section of the newspaper:

THOMAS (Turtle)
21st Anniversary. Late of a small tank - a water tank, not a military tank! - in rural Cavan. Died sometime in 1986. Much missed by Terence McDanger. Well, actually no, there's just a bit of guilt going on and he's trying to get past it so he can buy a dog.

"There are so many things I should have done and so many things I should have said. But it'll have to wait because this is costing me 10 cents a letter and that’s 44.70 so beta go b4 runnin
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kat Melojian


Up to now Kerry Katona was famous for miming repeatedly in a manufactured pop act, briefly staying married to Bry(i)an McFadden, allegedly snorting cocaine through a drainpipe and having boobs so big she could hide behind one of them while the other searched for her in vain. And also having foreign Man United fans think she was Eric Cantona's younger sister.

So, needless to say, it came as something of a surprise to me to learn that she has released a novel, Tough Love, not having struck me thus far as, how shall I put it, a woman of letters or possessive of a literary bent. I mean, this is the Kerry who bounded on to the Late Late show once and had barely settled in her seat before she crassly asked host Pat to hold her breasts for her. Bry(i)an sitting alongside was all too wearily familiar with the whole carry on and was probably just relieved that Kerry hadn't belched or mooned or something.

It definitely marks another abrupt plummetting in the standards of our already vacuous void of a culture that for no other reason than she's 'famous', some publisher thinks they can turn a few quick quid and so conferred the status of novelist upon her. Of the few blogs I actually know about, virtually every writer behind them would be more deserving of a book deal than Kerry Katona. In fact, if you sat down and tried very hard to think of the person most ill-deserving of having a novel published, you'd first consider standouts like Bertie Ahern, Kirk off Coronation Street and Brendan Kilkenny, but upon reflection you'd probably still pick Kerry Katona as there could be no worse 'author' to inflict on posterity than her. To illustrate, have a look at this excerpt from her book, starring glamour model protagonist Leanne and some, well I can only say strident intellectual, talking about, er, tits. There's a brief pause in the middle and then they start talking about, um, tits again:

+++++

‘You and me, Lee, we go back a long way.’ Leanne hated it when Jenny called her Lee. ‘And I’ve always said I’d be straight up and down with you, haven’t I, girl?’ Leanne winced. She wanted Jenny to get this over and done with, whatever she was going to say. ‘And I’ve always said, “Tits is tits,” haven’t I?’

And I’ve always wondered what the fuck that’s supposed to mean, Leanne thought but didn’t say. She wouldn’t. She was terrified of Jenny, if she was honest.
‘Well, tits is tits, but there’s younger tits coming through that door, if you know what I’m saying.’

‘Look, Jenny,’ Leanne’s voice wavered, ‘I offered to get a boob job and you said no, natural’s what everyone wants.’ She didn’t really want one. Her boobs were big enough as it was. She didn’t need ginormous plastic orbs bobbing around so she couldn’t see her feet.

‘That’s true, sweetheart. Natural is what everyone wants, but so’s young. And you might be young to some bloke in his fifties, but twenty-five’s over the hill to an eighteen-year old brickie who wants a quick lump in his trousers while he’s eating his corned beef sandwiches. You get where I’m coming from?'


+++++

Sweet divine, it's like tit central station in there! Boobs ahoy!

I despair utterly. Chick-lit has been with us for a while now but if these fast-buck merchants are going to start over-polluting the safe havens that are bookshops with this...this shit-lit...I think I will visit violence upon someone's person very soon.
It tells you enough that they're billing Kerry's book as a "fantastic blend of Shameless and Footballers Wives", which alone gives me a strong urge to decorate myself with fillet steaks and jump into a cage full of pitbulls, but then Kerry herself makes a bad situation worse, revealing how she had a "brill time" coming up with the storylines and is "dead proud" of her books. Nobody will accuse her of purple prose anyway.

I feel like throwing my arms to the skies in defeat and dejection, before solemnly performing a self-labotomy with a garden trowel so I'd be too dumb to care about any of this. I'd say Kerry has never even written a shopping list or so much as read the back of a Domestos bottle before drinking it and yet here she is with a book to her name.

It'll be bloody Jordan next. Oh no, wait...sigh, that's already happened. And her book was, according to the Guardian, outselling the entire Booker Prize shortlist combined at one stage. Probably still is.

Pass the steaks and the trowel.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Gardaí take Oz by storm!

Someone just emailed me this and I nearly hooped up my breakfast laughing.

Apparently, the buck eejit who owns this vehicle is an Irish chippy working somewhere in Australia, who decided to decorate his work van like a Garda paddywagon. Just for the craic like.

Quality smartarsery of the highest order. I wonder what the Aussies make of it all.



Monday, November 19, 2007

Crafty blogrush


Ah well, it seems my dastardly and fiendish plan to upset the boffins in Blogrush Towers has failed. I had hoped to leave them with some McDanger-type egg all over their smug false-promisey faces by posting a headline taking the piss out of them, which they would in turn 'syndicate' on blogs all over the world. Thereby sarcastically murdering themselves from within. As explained in Friday's blog, I was all primed to sit back and cackle like a demented megalomaniac, marvelling at my own ingenuity and wishing I wasn't allergic to cats because it's at moments like these that you need a cat about to stroke in satisfied triumph.

Sigh, no dice I'm afraid.

I think the canny folks at Blogrush have special software or something that recognises headlines with their own name in it, especially if there are words in close proximity like 'shite', or 'is full of crap' or even 'are a bunch of chancers.' Therefore, they didn't syndicate my headline.

I am somewhat deflated. I went out on a limb there and I have sensitivities about rejection and failure. I hate trying to be clever and then getting out clevered by computers that aren't supposed to be as clever as I am, even if I did have the last word by dumping the buggers off my site.

Sob. I'm off to the gym to laugh at the mad lad.

The Clinic


If only because a stopped clock is right twice a day, RTE are really doing something right with their Sunday night drama series, The Clinic.

I watch it as much as possible, and in our house where myself and Miaow Cow eternally squabble like angry turkeys over Reality TV versus the History Channel, it represents the third way, the middle path if you will. What I'm saying is that it strikes a happy medium of a Sunday night and I highly recommend striking happy mediums, especially that Derek Acorah chancer on Most Haunted who, let's face it, we'd all love to batter with a large shovel. Twice.

Liking The Clinic makes me feel like a better man you know. I think this is because in loose terms it makes me feel like a woman for liking its soapy melodrama, and because it's always the women in my life that exhort me to be a better man then I figure I must be doing something right by watching it. And yes, I haven't a clue what that last sentence means either.

Anyway, it's educational. I had, and I'm not sure of the precise medical terminology here, a really really sore arse there a few weeks ago. I tell you, it's damn dispiriting having a pain that sitting down and resting only seems to make worse. Anyway, I watched the physio on the Clinic doing a bit of pulling and dragging and yoga stuff on a patient's arse and I asked my osteopath about it the next time I visited. He ummed and ahhed knowledgeably like they do and then said it would be no harm to try it, and now I'm pleased to say that ones back cheeks are smiling once again. Apparently, I needed to stretch my 'glutes,' which sound like a homemade musical instrument, but they're actually the muscles in your arse. And if you hurt them you'll know all about it. So now.

The Clinic also features some nice ladies. Oddly enough for something on TV says you. There's the one who plays Daisy, which is as we all know a lovely name for a cow as well, but she's quite easy on the eye and in real life goes out with Brian O'Driscoll who plays rugby roysh. Keelin is the physio I was telling you about earlier, and she can do some deep tissue work on me any time she likes hur hur hur, while the head honcho is Kathy and she's a bit older and pregnant and stuff so it wouldn't be right to make jokes. There's a new one after joining it this year called Kara who's a bit Mumsy and straitlaced but my favourite Sex and the City girl is Charlotte so Kara gets a thumbs up as well.

There's men in it also but I never pass much remarks of them because they're not women.

Anyway, in a desperate bid for summation, I venture that RTE getting it right with the Clinic is an allegory for our similarly and generally hapless government being able to do likewise with the health service. Or is that too much of a leap there?

Edit@2.41pm - I'd like to make it clear that the last paragraph is not in the slightest bit in earnest. I should have taken the piss more but forgot. By the way, did anyone see Mary Harney on last night's episode?
Friday, November 16, 2007

Don't click me, blogrush is shite!


I've had the 'blogrush widget' on my site for a while now and I feel the need to report on its effectiveness.

My articles have been 'syndicated' about 10,000 times and how many people do you think have clicked through? A few hundred? No. A few thousand? Nope, not even close. Give up? I'll tell you how many. Feckin' none. Zero. Squat. That's 25% of sweet fiddledy fuck, which is, as we know, a quarter of sweet fiddledy fuck which is, like, nothing. I think.

Anyway, what a load of arse it turned out to be. I pasted in that code after the stringent approval process lasting, phew, at least 15 minutes, and sat back awaiting the flood of traffic. I'd have it all, world domination, untold riches and yes, why not, a few phone numbers from sexy, nubile soap opera-loving virgins who felt compelled to offer their cherries to me after reading the laugh riot that was my appreciation of Sally Fletcher. Huh. Even an email from some old boiler pretending to be Heidi Klum would have been something.

But no. Not so much as a twitch on the wire. So now, I take my revenge and post this article in the hope that very soon, blogrush will festoon thousands of blogs with a headline proudly proclaiming themselves to be worse than useless.

And who in their right mind thought up the name 'blogrush widget' anyway? It sounds like something you stuff up your arse when you've a dose of the shkitters or something.

Hrrrmmmpph. I'm in just dandy form today altogether.
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Slice of magazine


When Miaow Cow goes off to bed early some nights, I make sure she's asleep and then steal a furtive look at her magazines. This gives me a minor thrill I must admit, all this doing something that technically I shouldn't be doing, what with me having a willy etc. Not that Miaow Cow would mind anyway, it's not as if I'm putting her mascara on my nipple hair and trying on her knickers and high heels, is it? Nope. I did that with my last girlfriend and gave it up after trying on her tights and losing blood supply to my lower legs for a few hours.

Anyway, it does a man no harm to check in on women's magazines once in a while. They're a useful insight into the soul of woman, a finger on the pulse of her myriad hopes and dreams, a beam of light on the impenetrable darkness of female mystique. And sometimes, hur hur, you get to see some boobs.

However, you will also have to wade through about forty pages of lumpen thighs and wrinkly bottoms as various celebs are photographed out in the wild - shopping or walking the dog to you or me - with a big yellow arrow and a blown up section highlighting the offending area. Revealed - Mel B has cellulite. Colleen McLoughlin has cellulite. Rod Stewart's daughter has sooooo been working on her abs, but...look below and yep, there it is, she has the cellulite too. Britney Spears is cellulite. This goes on for about ten pages. Just pages and pages of women's arses and stretchmarks and cellulite. What's the obsession, is it a feel-better-about-yourself-because-that-rich-bitch-has-cellulite-too sort of thing? I just can't relate. Well not really. I only ever knew one person with cellulite, and that was a bloke. He was tubby lad called Hutch who roomed with me at the Gaeltacht years ago and every morning the back of his legs always looked like he'd slept on a colander. He was exceptionally fat and flabby though, he sat down too quickly one day and injured himself sitting on his own balls. Try complaining about that one in Irish.

Reality TV is also a staple in every woman's life so the mags absolutely go to town on this. Dirty Dancing, Come Dancing, I'm a Celebrity, America's next top model, Pop Idol, Wife Swap, Brat camp, Hell's Kitchen, Celebrity Midget Tossing on Ice, they're all in there, getting the full coverage, all-out treatment.

Then there's the regular section for sexual gymnasts, and this month's grappling contortion is called the 'Erotic Accordion'. Yes. The Erotic Accordion. There's two words you never thought you'd see in the same sentence. Now I'll never again be able go to a Fleadh Ceol without wondering about the sensual acrobatics they get up to back stage. Such as violating a squeeze box and singing Boolavogue at full pelt as the instrument inhales and exhales its wails in tandem with their excitement. The Erotic Accordion? Sounds like the name of Richie Kavanagh's new album or something.

The last time I'd looked in one of these was about 20 years ago. It was my Mum's Woman's Weekly and back then it was all knitting patterns and short romance stories about handsome doctors proposing on horseback while picnicking near a lake. There was nothing sexual about an accordion and cellulite was something you sprayed on flower beds, or at the very least, kept well covered with industrial-strength underwear or if unavailable, body hair.

I worry about the world. I'll stick to loaded and FHM from here on, clearly superior reads.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hot or not?


I just don't get people who like hot food.

Tell me this, how in the name of Jasus can burning the hole off yourself at the dinner table enhance the dining experience?

Lots of people in my family and a good few of my friends love hot and spicy food. This means that when I go for a meal with them they're all there merrily tucking into dishes like the Flaming Jalapeno Revenge of Ganesh with Extra Chili and there's me sweating in a corner over a namby-pamby Korma. While they all poke me with sticks and laugh at me. Fine, but I really struggle to see the appeal in eating overstrength toothpaste as the highlight of a social occasion.

Seriously, what's it all about? Can someone tell me how dripping sweat into a meal enhances the taste? What's to be gained by having to stop eating to blow your nose every 30 seconds? Why wolfing down the equivalent of a bowl of Deep Heat muscle rub is some people's idea of a good night out? Isn't food supposed to be enjoyable and not an endurance test?

I think it must be a macho thing myself. As in, not only am I richer and have the prettier wife, I shall now bolt down this triple-strength vindaloo without so much as blinking and furthermore, won't even deign to have diarrhoea afterwards. Pah!

I also hear that hot food is actually like a drug. The more you take of it the more you need to take to get the 'effect' next time, whatever the hell that might be, but presumably it's like having someone squirt acid down your throat with a fire hose.

I'm not completely sure this is genuinely true though. Occasionally, I have tried building my tolerance level and opted for the 'mild' dish at Indian restaurants, and despite a few dizzy spells and a glistening brow by the end of it, I came out unscathed at the other end and no incendiary farts escaped to terrorise the neighbourhood. It tricked me into a sort of confidence and next time, sufficiently emboldened, I went for something a little bit stronger. And alas, alas, I wound up up screaming with all my fillings in meltdown as restaurant staff ran to break open the emergency yogurt for me to bury my face in. That finished me with the hot food I'm afraid.

Listen, it's basically like this. Each to their own and all that, so you nutjobs can put salsa and tabasco all over your cornflakes if you like, but I'm having a salad and don't expect me to sympathise when some night you're out and your internal organs shrivel up and drop out your bums, s'all I'm saying. So there.

That will be all for now.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cheeky Dunnes


Dunnes Stores are a right shower of sneaky hoors. How they continually get away with ripping off the packaging and marketing ideas of their biggest rivals is beyond me.

There I was flicking through the papers and I came across this big full page ad for grocery products. For a good 30 seconds or so I was convinced it was for Marks and Spencers but on closer inspection, it was actually an ad for Dunnes. Carefully disguised as an ad for Marks and Spencers.

It was advertising their 'Simply Better' range of food, the Dunnes' response to similar 'high end' product lines in other supermarkets, and they've basically half-stolen the logo and colours and packaging from M&S as well, putting little Christmassy type stars everywhere. Hrrmph. I'll give them high end. As in my foot will be high in their end sort of thing.

I can't tell you the number of times I've been in Dunnes and have picked up what I thought to be a specific brand of something or other only to look at it more closely and realise that it's actually the Dunnes stuff instead. The feckers are absolutely shameless. I've seen them selling this cereal called, cough, cough, 'Krisp Rice' in a blue box very similar to Rice Crispies. Years ago they introduced a lemon and lime flavoured fizzy drink in green cans, and called it, ahem, Fizz Up. Their Parma ham is in almost indistinguishable packaging from the real thing being sold right alongside. They tried something funny with Utterly Butterly too, Spluttery Butterly or Fluttery Butterfly or something, I dunno I can't recall. I'm sure there's lots more products that have been given the treatment as well.

Anyway, I'm not a brand snob and I'm sure the Dunnes stuff won't kill you but I object to this hoodwinking of people in a hurry or those with dodgy eyesight. Plus it's downright brass-necked to be hitching a parasitic ride on the success of main brands by trying to pass off your own as being of similar taste and quality. When you think about though, Dunnes are really just admitting that their own brand stuff isn't exactly the best when they feel compelled to dress it up as someone else's to inveigle it into your shopping basket.

Fair play to Karen Millen anyway, and other fashion designers who took Dunnes to court recently, alleging that their clothing designs had been copied. Judge for yourself from the picture above, the Dunnes product is the one on the right.

Down with this sort of thing.
Monday, November 12, 2007

Drink your diesel

I was down in Cavan at the weekend and meself and Miaow Cow were propping up the bar in my local when it suddenly hit me how unfashionable I am.

I hadn't come out dressed in clown's shoes and a pink leotard or anything, I was actually suitably attired, perfumed and coiffed, as one must always be when socialising in the highly urbane rural Cavan. Pun intended.

No, clothes-wise I'm not too badly off I think, it's the drink you see. I looked about the bar and there were the usual clutch of Guinness drinkers and another few guzzling pints of lager of various affiliations. Herself was having a vodka and the other ladies present were all drinking similar, while the younger set were all leaning louchely against the walls with their bottles of Miller, Corona or y'on technicoloured sugar-muck for people who want to drink alcohol but don't like the taste of alcohol.

Then I looked at my own glass and realised that I was the only one there drinking pints of Smithwicks. This is always the case and I'm starting to think they only get it in for me. Nobody who wants to be cool drinks Smithwicks it seems. It's a relic of old spit n'sawdust Ireland when all there was on tap in most bars was stout and ale - so you could have a pint of anything you might care to name as long as it was stout or ale. Guinness however has stood the test of time and is still very cool to drink, manly and almost a rite of passage. But I tell people what I drink and I can see them doing the social arithmetic and in two seconds flat they have me all worked out - big feckin' ould farmer.

It'll probably tell you all you need to know that Guinness is known as black gold, lager as the amber nectar and Smithwicks as, er, red diesel.

Pah. I don't care. I chug it down quite happily even if it's a lonely place sometimes, out here on Smithwicks island. But maybe it's cool not to be cool. Who knows, I might even become a minor cause celebre some day as curious young folk come up to me in pubs to inquire about my strange little drink, and then sit at my feet, rapt as I tell them about the dangers of Heineken and how to get a little squirt of Guinness in the top of the pint to give it a nice creamy head all the way to the bottom of the glass. Ideally, I'd be smoking a pipe as I tell them that as hangovers go, it's probably the most genteel and that unlike the noxious, glowing and possibly radioactive concoctions they drink, it's red hues are all natural. And I'd also remind them that it's environmentally friendly, because unlike Guinness, you won't be dropping farts the next day that would shrivel a small rain forest.

You know now that I think of it, these things are all cyclical and there will come a time when Smithwicks will be cool all over again and men of experience such as myself will be in a clear position of advantage. There'll be nobody laughing at me then. Ha.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The mad lad at the gym


There's a couple of characters that go to my gym that completely crack me up, but one in particular completely takes the biscuit. Actually, I'd say he completely takes quite a few biscuits judging by the pork on him but that's besides the point.

He's 50-odd (very odd) I reckon, balding with long straggly hair at various locations around his head, a little bit short and tubby. He was there the other night, wearing his headband and droopy shorts and absolutely doing his thang. This amounts to lazy pootling around on various machines while delivering passionate renditions of soft rock classics like 'Fool for Your Lovin' no More', 'Livin' on a prayer' and his latest hit, 'Rockin' all over the World.' There's definitely some sort of air-guitar hero thing going on and in fact, I think he refuses to sing any song that doesn't have a verb somewhere in the title with a 'g' missing at the end. All rock gods are into droppin' their gees man.

So there he is throwing the head back and screeching about how we gotta hold on to what we've got (cos' it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not), and all the while he's getting funny looks from the corners of peoples' eyes and there's a few titters down the back and stuff. He remains supremely oblivious to the lot as he digs deep and lets us know that he la la la likes it, la la la here we go-oh! rockin' all over the world. You get the picture. Eventually though he runs out of breath - not from the exercise, it's the high notes that kill him - and so he wanders off and sits down and reads a magazine for a while.

He is, however, merely girding his loins for the main part of his session. His self-designed weights and stretching programme is a heady mix of step aerobics, Freddie Mercury's stage routine, a few of the stunts off Charlie's Angels, choreography from Grease and curiously, impressions of Wonder Woman. I'm not messing here, you should see this guy. He'll grab a small dumbell and stand there throwing it from one hand to the other for about two minutes like he's kneading dough for a pizza. Then he'll walk towards one wall and sprint backwards - yes, backwards - to the other wall, looking almost rapidly over either shoulder to make sure nobody is in his way.
Then he starts charging about with his head down like a bull before stopping without warning and stretching his arms to the heavens, holding the pose for about ten seconds. Like Andy Dufresne outside Shawshank. Just when everyone thinks it can't get any more surreal, he then stands in front of a bench, adjusts it to waist height and starts roundhouse kicking over and back like he's Chuck Norris on speed. This goes on for about five minutes before he flops face down and panting on the bench with his arms and legs dangling over the side like a limp cloth. And I swear to Jesus he doesn't move for about ten minutes and sometimes people have to go over and ask is he alright.

He'll then finish off with his great compendium mish-mash where he combines every piece of physical movement ever known to man and brings all the disparate strands together in a great orchestra of absolute nonsense. He'll begin by using floor tiles to measure out a square and starts hopping from one corner to the other and stretching his arms above his head, puffing his cheeks and making little 'Huu-awww' noises as he goes. Then he'll pirouette for no given reason and start trying to touch his toes, before straightening up for a bit of shadow boxing and then dropping to the floor for three press ups. Up he'll get again for some jogging on the spot and then he starts windmilling like crazy and once he did a goal celebration that I last saw at World Cup in Mexico 1986, no shit. Finally he'll finish off with some, oddly enough, warm-up exercises and one of his favourites is to crouch on the floor in a ball and slowly rise to a standing position while extending all his limbs as far as he can.

I'm almost certain that this is the 'Acorn becomes the Oak' game that we used to do at Playschool in 1980. God help us all.
Thursday, November 08, 2007

Collapsible goats. Whatever next?

I've decided that I want a new pet - a fainting goat!

For those of you unfamiliar with the species, the fainting goat is a basically like your average normal goat, except it freezes rigid and then keels over any time it gets a sudden fright. I don't normally opt out by posting you-tube videos but this is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen: (edit: if you can't see video below here's the URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we9_CdNPuJg)



There's endless possibilities offered by owning a herd of farmyard animals that fall over like they've been shot any time you so much as look funny at them. All you have to do is give them a small scare or show them some food, this makes them all excited, and pop! Down they go. It's not even cruel. It's an hereditary condition apparently, and their muscles just freeze up for about ten seconds so they fall over for a little while and get back up again and run off. Before some joker hops out from behind the wall and pop! Down they go again.

I'm thinking I'd like to get about a hundred of the little critters lined up in my garden and leave them there grazing, all content and unsuspecting. Then I'd burst emphatically from the shed screaming and hurrooing and watch amazed as scores of goats collapse in front of me like deckchairs in a gale. Or more elaborate, why not have fainting goat domino displays? Put them all in a line, fire a cannon off a nearby turret and then watch those little beggars falling over into each other in an increasing crescendo of baaaaaaaaah. Or why not pack them all on a ghost train or a rollercoaster and film it, that'd be hilarious. I'm even thinking that'd they'd make a great recurring joke on a comedy sketch show. 'Guard Goats' we could call it, the punchline every week being how they sneak up on thieves raiding the farm but unfortunately lapse into paralysis just before they raise the alarm and save the day.

Fuck this, I'm off to get one.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cinema bastards


Today I will be mostly firing up my fires of fiery ire in relation to people who go to cinemas and ruin the experience for everyone else by having manners more at home in a farmyard than a movie theatre.

I'm not happy. I go the cinema very regularly and every time I go - and I mean every time, no messing - there's a bunch of knuckle-heads somewhere in the theatre laughing, talking, throwing food, chatting on their mobiles, kicking the back of my chair or going in and out to the toilet so often I wonder have they got prostate problems. Even the girls. They're always there, just the numbers of them vary. And they're not always teenagers either.

I went to see Death at a Funeral there last week and would have thoroughly enjoyed it but for the crew of thundering gobshites that decided to join me and natter their way through the entire film. I could see why they were there; the posters said it was a comedy so these neanderthals all came in expecting Superbad and fart gags and when they hadn't all seen a pair of tits by 15 minutes in they were getting decidedly edgy.

Not that it bothered the three girls in the corner right behind me who giggled and cackled maniacally at absolutely everything that happened - you know, laugh out loud, kick your heels up moments like the opening credits and the bit where the Irish Film Board classification rating appears. All of them were in the usual seating position as well - slumped down, with their feet perched on the back of the chair in front, jigging away and annoying the screaming bejasus out of the entire row. Part of me wished I had my cat o'nine tails so I could exact stinging retribution by flaying them to bloody ribbons but alas, I had left it in my other trousers and had to make do with glowering over at them instead. Which caused them to hyperventilate even further.

Eventually the film picked up pace though and themes like drugs, unrequited boners, gay dwarfs and old men shitting themselves began to emerge. This had a calming, sedative effect on the gallery of chattering monkeys, lulling them into gormless grins of contentment at finally seeing something on screen they could relate to. The appreciation was evident as most of them would gurn at intervals and nudge the simpering idiot beside them, at which stage both would point at the screen and go "uh huh huh huh."

It didn't last however, and eventually the movie veered towards 'boring' topics like sibling rivalry, property and other, 'adulty and mature people's lifey' things. The attention span of the skangers and their burds began to wane dangerously and soon we were back to conversations being held across the aisles, endless rustling, beeping mobiles and "argh fuck dis shoigh, I'm goin. Yiz comin?"

Meanwhile, the laughing gas crew to my rear (I had that typed before copping the double entendre. I'm leaving it in) were by then almost in need of resuscitation. At one stage someone turned around in frustration and said "er, it's not a funny bit yet girls" and this sent them into such a paroxysm of hysterics I nearly called an ambulance. Except of course, I had my phone off.

It was still a good movie overall but I'd have enjoyed it even more if I wasn't straining my ears to hear over the racket caused by people who should go to a pub and watch the telly if they want to act the eejit.

The cinema owners of course were too busy counting the profits from 600% markups on bags of popcorn to give a damn. It's €20 just for two tickets for me and Miaow Cow to go to the flicks and with these sort of ill-reared wankers steadfastly taking over unchecked, I'll be sticking to DVDs at home before too long.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sally Fletcher, an appreciation


It was with shock, disappointment, sadness and a profound sense of loss that I recently learned of Sally's intentions to leave 'Strailyan soap opera, Hymen Wye.

Sally is one of just two original cast members still on the show; the other is the routinely apoplectic and incendiary Alf Stewart, who is probably 'blowing his top' over the news right now, and calling someone a 'flamin' mongrel' as he struggles to come to terms with it all.
We've all grown up with little Sally on the show and life won't be quite the same without her. She became the first in the show's lengthy parade of foster children when she was taken in as a little 'un by Tom and Pippa Fletcher. Tom and Pippa were benevolent souls who loved collecting troubled kiddies and stashing them away in caravans on a sprawling 1000-acre park out the back of their house. Some of them never saw the light of day again but died happy in the knowledge that at last they had found a home they could call their own, however fleetingly.

It was in the caravan park that little Sally met her best friend ever, the terminally stupid Lance. Prior to this, Sally had only been friends with invisible dairy farmer Milko, who only she could see because as well as being a clever, intelligent and well-mannered child, she also had superpowers and second sight.

Sally grew up to be a model foster-child, encouraging Tom and Pippa to take in more and more strays. Bobby and Carly and Frank and Steven and Danii Minogue were just some of the troubled teens that passed through and Sally was a surrogate mum to them all just as much as Pippa was. Helping to raise 48 foster brothers and sisters brought its strains however and she went off the rails, just once, and got plastered drunk at a beach party. She was caught 'red-handed' in her inebriated state by an incandescent Alf, who completely blew his top and called her a flamin' mongrel and this put her back on track quick smart.
Sally was distraught when Tom died after injuries sustained when he went to the fridge in the middle of the night for some OJ and tripped across a family of Vietnamese boat children sleeping on the living room floor. Poor Tom went headlong through a window and went to the great caravan park in the sky. It later took Sally some time to warm to Pippa's new beau and Tom's replacement, Michael McBoatyard, who won her around by telling her that he wasn't Tom's replacement.

Lil Sal was very good at the books and went on to Uni 'in the city' where Samma Bye's smartest characters went when seeking to further their education or when Yabbie Creek wasn't exciting enough. Sally came back all grown up and business-like to manage the Bonza Burger outlet at the local Surf Club. This was where Samma Bye kids used to hang out all day grunting over really small weights in the gym and playing pool very, very poorly indeed. She did this with typical diligence and then got into teaching at Samma Bye Hoi where she used her superpowers to rapidly ascend to the post of Principal within three months.

At one stage she went off to Ireland for a while and came back with a boyfriend called Kieran but he wasn't treating her right so she gave him the arse. She then married some bloke called Flynn despite the fact that he had seemingly killed the original Flynn and took his place, with nobody noticing although he was shorter, stockier and didn't have long blond hair. The same thing had happened Pippa years earlier even down to the shorter, stockier dark hair bit but Sally never batted an eye, prompting speculation that Sally may have been a body snatcher from Mars. Never subsequently proven.

She's now getting married again but fans will nevertheless be upset at her leaving the show. She has become a staple in all of our lives over the last 20 years. Indeed, Hymen Wye fans don't react well to change, as shown when they revolted against the recently re-recorded theme song at the end of the show. Ronan Keating did the vocals and predictably sang through his nose and lishped alot so the tune was quickly re-recorded after Alf Stewart blew his top when he heard it and called Keating a flamin' mongrel and an 'accident looking for a place to happen'.

Sigh. Goodbye Sally, you can finally be with Milko now.
Monday, November 05, 2007

Top 10: Reasons why cows are better than women


I love cows. Just look at them rocking out to some heavy metal music in the picture there. A cow kicking back after a tough week in the field and giving it socks with his pals truly is a sight to behold. Cows are just great craic altogether, there's no better company on a night out.
I've a soft spot for women as well mind you. I spend alot of time thinking about women too and although they're not as good at the ould dancing and can sometimes ruin good nights out with their complaining and breaking wine bottles across the back of your head for falling into some other girl's cleavage, I'm somewhat attached to them as well. However, if forced to decide between the two, it's the cows for me every time. For the following reasons:
  1. You can tell a cow that she is "a right fat old cow" and instead of cleaving your head off with a claw hammer, they will just stare serenely at you and may even take it as a compliment
  2. You can slap a cow roughly across the arse and pass it off as merely agricultural appreciation on your part, women for some reason would see this as grounds for sexual harassment proceedings. Similarly, you can gaze at another cow's teats for ages and the cow beside you won't mind a bit
  3. A cow can multitask by going to the toilet and walking at the same time. The merits of women being able to do this may seem dubious from a hygiene perspective but men who have had to wait on their other half outside shopping centre toilet while doing Christmas shopping will at least pause here for thought
  4. The Bull Run in Pamplona just wouldn't be the same fun if people were being chased by angry women instead of cows. Ditto for the bullfighting elsewhere in Spain. A mad old biddy chasing someone round the ring with a rolling pin just doesn't have the same gravitas
  5. Cows have no interest in and therefore do not perpetuate the existence of Reality TV shows like 'What not to wear at Big Brother's Celebrity Come Dancing Wife-Swap on Get me out of here Love Island'. Or something.
  6. When cows go loopy you can have them put down humanely, if a woman catches BSE you're stuck with her
  7. There is less bitchiness between cows competing in a Lovely Cows competition at an Agricultural Fair than there is, for example, at the Rose of Tralee. The cows don't recite a shite 'funny' poem or croak their way through some Oirish ditty and I bet there's no backbiting in the barns before going on stage either.
  8. Cows have made a stellar contribution to the vernacular lexicon with such gems as 'How now brown cow' and 'Holy Cow' and 'Don't have a cow man.' Therefore, elocution lessons, and episodes of Batman and the Simpsons, would have suffered greatly if cows never existed and the same just cannot be said of women
  9. All you need to keep a cow placid and happy is a large grassy field and some electrified fencing. By contrast, the riot police wouldn't keep manners at a hen night when the stripper comes in
  10. You can give a cow a girl's name like Buttercup, Betsy or Daisy but unreasonably, women won't allow this to work both ways and will have a pink fit if you call them Charolais, Heifer or Aberdeen Angus. The cows.
Friday, November 02, 2007

The Famous Five made me hate my life


J'accuse.

The Famous Five are a bunch of bastards and they ruined my life. I used to love those kids, but not any more. I read all the books about ten times over, watched the TV series avidly and worshipped Enid Blyton. They could do no wrong. But I was just a mere innocent. How was I to know the books were stealthily filling my head with unrealistic expectations of how I should behave or how life should be? I went from being a happy go lucky youngster to a bitter disenchanted individual and it's all because of Julian Dick and Ann, George and Timmy the do-o-o-o-og.

Firstly, half past eight was always, to me, quite a respectable hour of the morning to be getting up. Especially if you were on school holidays. But not for the Famous Five apparently. Oh no. They'd wake up at 8.30 and start flagellating themselves with bull-whips for being so lazy. "Oh my goodness we're such sleepy heads, look at the time!"
Eh, what?? Half eight is the middle of the night when you're seven years of age for God's sake and I'm there reading and thinking I must be some sort of festering bed-bound sloth because 8.30 was the earliest I ever got up for school.
It has stayed with me all my life. I'm 31 now and when sleeping off a hangover the spectre of saintly Julian shimmers into view and reminds me sternly that this fondness for the scratcher isn't exactly Famous Five type behaviour, all this lounging about when there's an international smuggling ring that needs accidental uncovering and the criminals brought to justice.
Every Bank Holiday Monday I have half a notion that instead of catching up on some shut-eye I should find an Aunt that doesn't mind me calling her Fanny and offer to weed her flowerbeds like a good boy. Honestly. It's never left me. Scarred for life.

What's more I can honestly say I haven't enjoyed a good meal since I welcomed these adventurers into my life. I've had plenty of good meals, I just haven't enjoyed any of them. And why? Yep. Those Famous Five fuckers again. I've been at some sumptuous spreads it must be said but they pale besides the grub put away by these kids because when they sat down to eat they practically needed planning permission. I had to make do with porridge and a cut or two of homemade brown bread with corned beef, but this crew used to regularly tuck into something way out of that league called a 'High Tea.' Yes, it does make you think of hash straight away but come on, these were innocent pre-pubescents so High Tea was basically like normal tea, except with portions that would knock a small horse. "Oh we're simply ravenous Fanny," the fivesters would chime (Timmy would woof and wag his tail) before descending on a heavily-laden and creaking table to mow their way through salad, egg, hot and cold meat, potatoes, buns, scones, cake, tea, ice cream and jelly and yes, of course, lashings and lashings of ginger beer. Bloody hell. I was far from malnourished or anything but I couldn't help thinking my parents were like total stingy bastards at tea time when compared to the bacchanalian excesses enjoyed by the Famous Five. I went off my mother's home cooking a little bit because of it. Oh and I didn't speak to my parents for about six years. These books were slowly driving a wedge between me and the people closest to me.

Then there was the simply unmatchable all-round virtuosity of the five. Julian was the leader of the pack, all politeness, charm and calm command. Every book described him as a "fine boy, tall and strong with blond hair and blue eyes that always reassured adults," which was great, and as an added bonus he also met Hitler's criteria for membership of the Aryan race. Although Blyton generally skimmed over this. Anyway, he was basically Mr. Perfect and Dick was more or less the same, just a little shorter and if possible, hungrier than the others. Ann meanwhile was every mother's dream and sought out housework and cleaning jobs with a zeal that was almost OCD-like.

George however was a bit of a rogue. Most will recall that she really wanted to be a bloke as boys got to do much cooler stuff than girls. Or to put it directly, she was a rampaging lesbian who didn't wash under her arms and even wore a prosthetic penis, with the secret intention of violating poor Ann while she bent over to get the Domestos out of the press. She had a bit of a temper on her as well - 'mutinous' it used to say in the book when she had a strop on (that's an 'o' not an 'a' you filth bags) - which was just George's inner rage at her sexual dysfunction coming out.

Nonetheless, take George out of the equation and the Famous Five, Timmy included (because he might have chased rabbits alright but he never actually killed any) were all fairly good eggs and the sort who became prefects at boarding schools and organised village fetes. By contrast, I never once solved any mysteries, had trouble learning to tie my shoelaces and regularly got kicked out of class for farting. There was also that time the headmaster caught me robbing strawberries from his back garden. So as I read and read in thrall at the simply marvellous high achievers in the Famous Five, I gradually began to feel worthless. I didn't even like ginger beer, local crime lords refused to take me seriously and I didn't have a gender-confused cousin I could call my own.

So there you have it folks. I loved the Famous Five like my brothers, sister and, um, apprentice transvestite, and all they did was hold up an ideal I could never ever aspire to and a mirror where I didn't like what I saw. Those little bastards ruined my life.
Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sneezing stories


I used to like sneezing when I was a kid. How stupid is that? For some reason there was an element of pleasure for me in the tell-tale nose tingle, the slightly watery eyes and then massive explosion, that made me look forward to it all.

It's all different now of course. I relish my daily quota of sneezes like it's a session of electric shock therapy. It's damned annoying, the nasal irritation, the runny nose, the streaming eyes, the sniffiness, the looking like you're having an epiphany moment when instead you're staring up up at the light bulb for the last 20 minutes to coax the bugger out.

I think it was developing hay fever and allergies in my early teens that did it for me; not only did I get an itch in my nose, I would actually get one inside my head, deep in my ear canal or down the back of my throat where I'd never be able to scratch it. How infuriating is an itch you can't scratch? I often woke up in the middle of the night with this maddening, torturous tickle somewhere deep in my brain and I sooooo wanted to saw off part of my head to allow me get inside with a toothbrush like in the Reach ads and scrub it all away. And all the while I'm sneezing sneezing sneezing and swallowing repeatedly as it was the closest I could get to scratching the itch in my throat that no man could ever scratch. It nearly drove me loopy.

Sneezing styles vary of course. I favour pitching mine somewhere beyond reserved but well short of a lion's roar. My grandfather was on the other hand not so much unique in style but was rather prolific. He would always sneeze uncontrollably after drinking whiskey so every Christmas in our house we'd all sit around watching him and waiting for the show to begin. His record was set in 1992 when he sneezed 27 times in succession, no word of a lie, I was there. Counting. He said "excuse me" after about the first five but then just abandoned all pretence of manners and was soon going "Achooooooo ya fuckin' bastard ya" before pausing and delivering the next one "Achooooooahhhh fuck it anyway" and then "Achoooooo Jasus Christ whaddefuckin bastard" and so on. The one that cracked us up was "Achoooooothefuckdoyouthinkyouare for fucks sake."

That was a great Christmas.

Timid people choke their sneezes, usually in public places, but not my Dad. My Dad bellows out his sneezes no matter where he is. If you're not used to it he'd frighten the shit out of you. I was on the phone to a girlfriend once in a room at one end of the house and my Dad sneezed downstairs and she could still hear it. "What was that?" she asked. "The dog barking," I said, mortified, hoping she knew of a dog that sounded like a volcano erupting when it barked. There were other times when I looked at Hurricanes on the news and wondered did one of my Dad's sneezes inadvertently contribute to climate change.

Then there was the lad at work who absolutely put everything he had into his sneezes. He'd shatter the silence of the workplace about five times a day with these abrasive interjections and everyone would look over at him and shake their heads and mutter. His sneezes made a very deliberate high-pitched whoop noise, it was extremely distracting. I asked him about it one day and he told me that he sneezed like that ever since the day he was in school and he tried in vain to hold back a sneeze and ended up blowing snot all over his hands. He lived in fear of a repeat from then on. Everyone in the office understood straight away and let him get on with it, we'd all been there.

Anyway, I hate sneezing now. They say it's one tenth of an orgasm or something but I neither feel or look at all sexy while sneezing and grandad didn't seem particularly turned on back in 1992 either, and he'd just had 2.7 orgasms. Which was some going for a man of 83 who, now that I think of it, hated whiskey. Hmmmm.