John Fleming – Jerry Buttimer

THE ghost of Oliver J. Flanagan was surely in the ether, as deputy Seán Fleming of Fianna Fáil was reprimanded by Fine Gael deputy Jerry Buttimer for including the word ‘orgy’ in a jibe he made about the Government’s three-day debate on the Programme For Government. Seán described the event as an ‘orgy organised by the Government to congratulate themselves’. Jerry was sitting in for the Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, and he used his opportunity to rap Seán on the knuckles for using ‘unparliamentary language’.

Jerry was sitting in for the Ceann Comhairle, Sean Barrett and he used his opportunity to rap Johnny on the knuckles for using “unparliamentary language.” However, somewhere over the lunch break, the official transcript came back sanitised and harmless, now calling the event a ‘festival of praise and self- congratulations’. 

When the puritanical, old ways of Fine Gael bubbled up for a moment, we all laughed at the memory of the Laois/Offally Fine Gael TD Oliver J. Flanagan.This was the proud Irishman, who told the world, authoritatively, that there “no sex in Ireland before television.”

Oliver’s maiden speech in The Dail also contained some fiery political beliefs.

“How is it that we do not see any of these [Emergency Powers] Acts directed against the Jews, who crucified Our Saviour nineteen hundred years ago, and who are crucifying us every day in the week? How is it that we do not see them directed against the Masonic Order? How is it that the I.R.A. is considered an illegal organisation while the Masonic Order is not considered an illegal organization.”

Steady on Oliver. Antisemitism

In “neutral” Ireland in 1943 wasn’t very cool. But guess what, the following year he doubled his vote!

In 1947 Oliver J. caused  more excitement, when he accused members of the Fianna Fáil government, including Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, Minister for Justice Gerald Boland and Minister for Industry and Commerce Seán Lemass. Despite the judges’ conclusion that Flanagan had lied to the tribunal, his vote increased by 45% at the 1948 general election.

It isn’t any comfort to know that some politicians were llars, even back in Oliver’s generation. Maybe its because, Generation Now, seems to have a total disregard for perjury, which is now committed as nonchalantly as Bart Simpson repeating his mantra, “I didn’t do it.”

But back to the orgy. The man for the orgies was a politician, worse than anything we’ve ever had, Caligula, Emperor of Rome.

We don’t have anyone to match Caligula, but reading between the lines of his historical profile, there is as a composite of faces we recognize, who had a small shade of Caligula in them.

During his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor (as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate of Rome). There were no official pension funds at that time, so he would reward himself with acts of cruelty. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects, notoriously erecting luxurious dwellings for himself. However, he did initiate the construction of two new aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus.

Did you recognise Silvio Berlusconi and  Nicholas Sarkozy in that pen picture of Caligula? Me Neither. But, alarmingly, I thought I caught a glimpse of a few of our fellas, living an dead.

The good news for those in the Dail who abhor censorship, is that there are many ways around this Dail language problem, as there are plenty other word to describe different kinds of orgy.

GEORGY PORGY. This common or garden sex orgy, is regarded as an unspectacular evening of groups sex, between three or more people. Its akin to the human pile-ups that ensue from a Crystal Palace goal in the Premiership.

REVELRY. This Is a bit more of a light-hearted, orthodox party orgy, accompanied by much gaiety and merriment and achieving an over-all effect of a typical post-Ard Fheis gig, without the sex.

CAROUSEL Rugger-bugger types go for the Carøusel, which has an emphasis on drink. Those who like carousing tend to get noisy, quite quickly and before you know it, all the speakers are turned up to 11. The combination of drink and noise, often leads to riotous behaviours..Not for the deaf or the timid.

BACCHANALIA  Wine drinkers, this is the orgy for you. This was Caligula’s favourite, a social occasion, where you could discuss the quality of the different wines, whilst coupling recklessly with the next-door neighbours’s wife.

SATURNALIA. Now we’re getting somewhere. In Ancient Rome, around the Winter Solstice, they celebrated Saturnalia, a holiday which promoted excess, wild celebrations and as much debauchery as you could handle.

Saturnalia was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten, while the businesses, courts and schools were closed. It  sounds very like our Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, an ideal orgy for Ireland.

If Jerry wants to avoid the jibes of Johnny, when the next Government three-day meeting comes around,  he should alter “a festival of praise and self-congratulations” in advance and replace it with, ”A Saturnalia of Success and Self Satisfaction”

It’s the same bullshit, but with a prettier name.

Article Written by Shay Healy 
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail 
Saturday 1st March 2014 
 
Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99
 
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Khan Do….

“Who can’t stop drinking may get drunken three times a month. If he does it more often, he is guilty. To get drunken twice a month is better; once, still more praiseworthy. But not to drink at all – what could be better than this? But where could such a being be found?”

Where indeed. The Dail Bar? Doheny & Nesbitts? St. John of Gods?

It was actually one of your ancestors, who posed that question, one of the most skilled military tacticians and politicians of his day, Genghis Khan. This extraordinary man united the disparate factions that surrounded him and became the very quotable ruler of the world’s largest empire.

Old Genghis was a great man for the copulation, so much, so that .o5 of the world’s male population, 16 million, can be traced back directly to the Mongol Warlord.

Where did the great Mongol leader get the time time or the energy, to do so much siring. He must have been “on” something other than alcohol. I wish we could find a bit of whatever it was. It might be a good substitute for the drink and would ensure that responsible politicians would never again have difficulty negotiating blocked up, city streets, or worry about booby-trap early morning radio interviews.

“An action committed in anger is an action doomed to failure” is another of Khan’s quotable quotes. It is pithy but apt. How can the Alan Shatter-Martin Callinan tag-team wrestle effectively with the Simon O’Reilly-Shane Ross duo, without anger, when more dirt continues to come tumbling out. Of course we know that wrestling is a scam, with everything choreographed to the max, so that we can only conclude that the reason everything has been kept quiet for the last two years-some say eight-was because they were still tinkering with the script. This hiatus, or these hiati if you’re picky, allowed things to simmer gently and gave everybody a chance to cool down.

Ghengis in battle, was formidable. They say he was the Roy Keane of the Mongolia. He said, “if you’re afraid – don’t do it, – if you’re doing it – don’t be afraid.” Michael Martin looks like he is using Khan’s philosophy and finally growing into the role of tough guy, as he chews on a veritable Breakfast Roll of garda goodies, with more recipes for disaster surfacing daily. The question is, can he get the food straight into his mouth, without getting blood on the tracks, or ketchup on his pristine white shirt.

In Genghis Khan, the Blueshirts would have been inclined to think they had an ally. He employed an extensive spy network and was quick to adopt new technologies from his enemies. Of course this was back in the Middle Ages, long before mobile phones and bugging equipment, but the well-trained Mongol army of 80,000 fighters were still able to co-ordinate their advance with a sophisticated signaling system of smoke and burning torches. (In the 21st Century a well known Irish international statesman tried a variation of this, which he called “smoke and daggers.”It went horribly wrong and for his trouble, he got stabbed in the front, back and sides.)

This week Genghis Khan has been branded the greenest of the greens. Slaughter of the vanquished was Genghis’s modus operandi, which efficiently helped him forge the biggest empire in history between the 13th and 14th centuries. The incidental deaths of 40 million people, meant that large areas of cultivated land grew thick once again with trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and all the people who got carved up along the way, helped remove nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

What we need now, obviously, is a new Genghis Khan. But where can we find him. Well if Genghis is supposedly linked to 16 million men, should we not look at The Dail and see if anyone bears any resemblance to Genghis, the great warrior.

A geneticist tell us “It’s the first documented case when human culture has caused a single genetic lineage to increase to such an enormous extent in just a few hundred years.”

If we’re looking for culture, that eliminates the Healy-Reas and Jimmy Deenihan immediately.Mick Wallace makes the right kind of noise, but the hair colour is sadly not very Genghisy. Enda is a pocket rocket, who would need Big Phil, even more than he does now. As Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte deserves a shot, but he might not be prepared to slaughter everybody in RTE.

I can’t even guess at Leo Varadkar’s lineage, but I like the cut of his jib. He’s a Khan-do kinda guy and he is pragmatic, authoritative and I imagine he’d look good in Mongolian attire. Leo could definitely be a player.

And speaking of players, ten days ago, Manchester City striker, Mario Ballotelli, went out and had Genghis Kahn’s most famous quote tattooed on his chest.

“I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

Looks like Mario has opened up a whole new khan of worms. If he doesn’t start scoring goals soon, it could backfire badly.

Article Written by Shay Healy 
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail 
Saturday 15th February 2014 
 
Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99
 
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Sting

sting and trudieIn a country, where, once, eight pints and a bun burger constituted foreplay, I was fascinated to read, in this very newspaper, that when it comes to burning calories and losing weight, in activity terms, foreplay is the equivalent of running for the bus. How did Sting and his wife Trudie Styler survive their bouts of Tantric sex that sometimes supposedly lasted eight hours? All that “running for the bus” must have had them fit as fiddles and thin as rakes.

“Running for the bus” might well become a useful bit of shorthand for stressed out couples, who have to commute to work. Long hours and tired bodies are hard on relationships. With no real time to spend on romantic niceties, the male in the relationship could cut to the chase. “How’s about a bit of running for the bus and a six minute journey?”

In the old days, women were much more circumspect and not so outspoken and frank about sex. The female might acquiesce, by saying something like, “the bus is waiting to be serviced.” Or conversely, she might find an exit strategy by saying the “mechanic” has a headache.

Women deserve better information. Scientists have proved that female orgasm can relieve migraine and intense headaches, sometimes eliminating them totally, because an orgasm sends a greater flow of blood to the brain and ameliorates the intensity at the expense of the headache. So, on further examination, it might be better for a woman to allow the “runner” catch up to the bus.

I started wondering, whether, at the time of their experiments, the scientists had worked on the basis that everyone’s speed in “running for the bus,” was uniform. If they did and you liked your vice to be versa, this would appeal to you as a sexual variation of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. You can know where the “runner” is, but you can never know at what speed the “bus” is coming. If the guy they used in the measuring experiment of “running for a bus” was young and fit, he was going to “run for the bus” quicker than the middle aged and old men. In fact, the greybeards often lose out by having no input into the “running for the bus” debate and just get fatter and more unfit, cowed by the tyranny of the all-purpose, passion-killing ”headache,” which scotches all hopes of losing a few ounces, courtesy of amour.

All this scenario is short of is a sign over the bed that you are more likely to see in certain bars, where they don’t cash cheques. WE HOPE A REFUSAL WILL NOT OFFEND.

Women should be told more often how much benefit comes from orgasms. The pleasure chemicals kick in, especially oxytocin, which works as a bonding agent and creates feelings of fondness that make one demonstrably affectionate.

Regular sex is credited with stimulating the brain’s pleasure centre, which produces oxytocin and dopamine and also creates the desire to return to your partner, again and again. The good news for men, especially older men, is that regular sex, if you can find it, cuts down on the instances of prostate cancer in the ancient geezer department, which where I now reside. The word from researchers is that ten ejaculations a month will act as a barrier to cancer.

If there was any chance of a ten-times-a month quota being imposed, I suspect Eamonn Gilmore might have to bring back Bill Clinton and George Mitchell to handle the negotiations with the womenfolk. Bill has oodles of sexual information to dispense and George could be the decommissioning hand on men with over enthusiastic hormones, because in the hands of the menfolk, emotional blackmail would become rampant on the lines of  “would you rather I got cancer than you come running for the bus” with me for the “six minute journey.”

And before anybody writes this off, there is a beneficial effect from such frequency. Mens’ plumbing is not as complicated as womens’, but its clunky enough. The honourable member can become blocked and the sperm can be reabsorbed by the prostate, which apparently is not good for you. Experts say that sperm needs to be flushed out regularly, the same way you would maintain the pipe under your kitchen sink. The cleansing allows new cells replace the older cells, which may turn cancerous.

A study conducted in America found that the men who had the most orgasms, earned themselves a better chance of avoiding prostate cancer, by as much as thirty per cent.

And what about the “six minute journey” I mentioned a couple of times earlier. Well in Canada, they say an act of congress, can last for up to thirty minutes, but I think that’s because there’s nothing else to do in Canada. Elsewhere, including us, the average is estimated to be about 15 minutes. At least we thought it was, until the ubiquitous, pesky researchers, queered the pitch once again, by establishing that six minutes is the mean average time.

A nine minute discrepancy is hard to swallow. I can only conclude that these researchers skipped the “running for the bus” and climbed straight  on board.

Article Written by Shay Healy 
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail 
Saturday 15th February 2014 
 
Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99
 
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Philip Seymour Hoffman

philip eymourhoffman with capote capoteIt came as a surprise to read that Philip Seymour Hoffman was only 46 when he shuffled off his mortal coil, earlier this week. The ease with which he inhabited his various characters suggested he would look credible playing anywhere between the ages of 36 and 76. Actually I lie. He was short on ”ease”genes. Legend has it that he was one of those actors who immerse themselves totally in the role they are playing. Once he had been to wardrobe and make-up, Philip, apparently, stayed in character all day, even over lunch-break. It worked for him. His Truman Capote was an exquisitively nuanced performance that never toppled over into campness or impersonation.

There is a fascinating story about him that I find irresistible. In 2005, I went to see a Sam Shepherd play, “True West” at The Peacock Theatre, in the basement of the Abbey Theatre. The backbone of the script was an exhausting bout of bickering between two brothers. The dialogue was rapid-fire and frequently verbally violent.

philip seymour hoffman oreilly posterBack in 1985, Hoffman won a Tony Award on Broadway for his part as one of the brothers in True West and you’d think that winning a Tony would be enough for any man, but not for Philip. Playing the other brother was pug-nosed John. C Reilly, who you would recognise instantly from his many appearances in countless movies as an “Oirish” cardinal, bishop or just plain priest. To avoid boredom setting in, Hoffman and Reilly would swap roles, for a night. Or two nights!

philip seymour hoffman oreillyWhat an astonishing coup de theatre to pull that off. The acuity required for such an unlikely exercise, smacks of the picaresque rather than showing-off and this impishness tallies with many of the tributes from fellow actors attesting to Hoffman’s reputation as a “funny guy”off screen. How tragic that a man gifted with such mental agility, couldn’t act his way out of his predicament with addiction.

ronnie o'sullivan snooker v pool notes & queriesThen there’s the astounding Ronnie O’Sullivan, a man who can, at the highest level, play snooker with both hands,. His left hand doesn’t have quite the power of his right, but the ambidextrous brilliance which he brings to the snooker table, is a tour de force of geometry and mathematics.

ronnie sullivan playing left handedHe plays quickly, but he has an extraordinary ability to read angles, do instant computations on the value of the balls left on the board and when safety shots are called for, he is a master of pace as well. These talents are not available to the Joe Soaps and at this year’s Masters, O’Sullivan, hammered his opponents, into the ground, with a display of unparalleled snooker genius.

Ronnie first displayed his ambidexterity in a match against Alain Roubidoux in the 1996 World Championship. The Canadian accused O’Sullivan of disrespect and he responded that he played better with his left hand than Robidoux could with his right. There was a disciplinary hearing, in response to Robidoux’s formal complaint, where O’Sullivan had to prove that he could play to a high level with his left hand. He played three frames of snooker against former world championship runner-up, Rex Williams, winning all three. Case dismissed.

Marvin-Hagler-Tommy-Hitman-Hearns posterWhenever boxing fans sit down together to discuss the greatest fighters of all time, in the Middleweight division, a quartet of names pops up that is nothing short of enthralling. Marvellous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns. They nearly all fought each other at some stage, but Hagler was the reigning world champion for a record six and half years. The ultimate fight between Hagler and Hearns happened on April 15th 1985, and it was aptly dubbed “The War.” The fight lasted just short of three rounds, brutal, furious rounds, with both boxers throwing punches, not in short flurries, but continuously.

And then, Hagler pulled off the move that changed the fight and gave him the critical advantage that allowed him end up the winner.

marvin hagler-hearns in lockcolourHagler was naturally right-handed, but like O’Sullivan, he could fight southpaw, equally well. He switched his stance from orthodox to southpaw, which opened Hearns up more to Hagler’s menacing right hand. This move showed off the power of the psychology of the  World Champion, Hagler. He put Hearns on the canvas towards the end of Round 3 and even though “The Hitman” managed to struggled to his feet, he was in no condition to continue.

These three stories are unrelated except they all offer tantalizing glimpses of what our brains can do The only common denominator is a kind of mental and physical ambidexterity and try as they might, scientists and their technology will never, in my opinion, achieve the ambition of creating an artificial brain equal to a human brain. How can any machine predict when Ronnie is going to play left-handed.

Until they come up with a southpaw-left-handed-citeog computer, they will never manage to subsume us into their cyberworld, a logarithmic nightmare, where wearing headphones is an incurable addiction and an app’ a day keeps the doctor and his fellow medical investors chomping at the bite to get in on the ground floor. 

phillip seymour oscar

 

Article Written by Shay Healy
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail,
Saturday 8th February 2014 
 
Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99
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LUKE.

pete seeger1Two of the great pillars of folk music of the last century, were remembered this week for the integrity and steadfastness of their politics and  for their ability to inhabit a song in a very special way, a gift that is only given to the few. Pete Seeger, the great folk activist died on Monday and Thursday was the 30th anniversary of Luke Kelly’s demise.

luke kelly banjo1Watching some the pallid fare at the Grammy’s, earlier this week, I thought how sad it was that Luke Kelly hadn’t a chance to even be nominated for one. The Dubliners just didn’t happen in America and so all those musical peacocks were deprived of the privilege of hearing one of the greatest folk voices in the world and seeing his individual style, a dynamic presence which reeked of authenticity. He would have rocked them back on their heels.

peter paul and mary puffPete Seeger was in at the start of the folk revival in America, along with artists such as Joan Baez, Tom Paxton and Peter Paul and Mary, Seeger’s politics didn’t sit well with the American authorities, but he was still singing at the age of ninety one. He was blacklisted during the vicious right wing McCarthy era in America, when anyone with socialist or communist leanings were hounded, as Hollywood stars ratted on each other like the Stasi in East Germany. Some were even chased into exile, but Seeger survived by singing in schools and colleges.

Tall and scrawny, Seeger was troubadour to the the American civil rights movement, singing We Shall Overcome. Small and scrawny, Luke our cantor of hope in the Sixties and 70’s sang that same song with his own special fervour. He had sat at the feet of Ewan McColl, who was the pre-eminent folk writer of his day. Luke leanrt well and had s travails.

luke kelly independent article 1984I heard one of The Dubliners’ archivists telling the story of how he was sitting at the bar of the Royal Hotel in Howth, “when a fella pointed his finger and said to me ‘dy see yer man?’ I followed his finger and down at the far end of the bar Luke was sitting alone having a pint. ‘That fella could take the froth off yer pint at twenty paces.’  It was a very apt description of Luke’s voice. It used to shoot out from his mouth like a laser beam, a very subtle laser beam. Luke was able to pitch it as strongly or as sweetly as the song demanded. Contrast the tenderness he brought to ‘Scorn Not His Simplicity’ with the raucous, smiling vivacity of ‘Take Me Up To Monto.’

I knew Luke well, but I wasn’t a bosom buddy. Paddy Reilly, who along with John Sheahan, was one of Luke’s best friends, says it is a bit like putting up with all the fellas who claimed to have been in the GPO, in 1916.

“You could fill Croke Park with fellas who said they were friends with Luke,” says Paddy.

One of the regrets of my life s that I never pitched a song to Luke. Instead, I found a solution of sorts to ease my regret, by writing a song about him for his 30th anniversary.

paddy reilly lp coverPaddy Reilly has retired from performing and recording, but I nibbled away at him for months and months and finally one day we set off for Roundstone and there the song came alive through Paddy’s singing and Bill Whelan’s piano playing. The first time you hear your song coming out of a great singer’s mouth is a pleasure unparalleled in my experience. To hear Paddy’s strong, clear voice telling Luke’s story, was a great thrill. While I was writing the song, I was wondering what would Luke be like if he were alive today. I venture he would be incensed to a point of spontaneous combustion. Having been a two-time emigrant himself, his unruly mop of red hair would surely blaze furiously, as he railed at the plague of emigration, which continues to put a blight on so many families’ lives.

luke kelly  paddy reilly legends of irish folk lpAnd where are Luke’s old friends the “working class? They got lost in the dazzle of the boom, flying high and flying blind and when they got to close to the sun, their wings melted and they fell down only to find themselves up to their oxters in crippling debt or on welfare.

Luke used to sing a song revived by his mentor, Ewan McColl, from a Rabbie Burns poem. Its called A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation. I substituted  “European” for “English” is this last verse and even though the Scot may never have set foot in Ireland, he has captured our boys rather splendidly.

O would, ere I had seen the day


That treason thus could sell us,

My auld grey head had lien in clay,

Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!

But pith and power, till my last hour,

I’ll make this declaration;

We’re bought and sold for Europe’s goldof

Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

Article Written by Shay Healy
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail,
Saturday 1st February 2014 
 
Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99
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Biter: The GAA’s new Black Card is mighty welcome……

NewRules_Cards2014The introduction of the card is an attempt to take the cynicism out of hurling and football and the it will be shown for deliberate fouls, tripping an opponent , body checking a player after the ball has been played, directing abuse or gestures at other players and my favourite, abusing match officials.

Somebody has to stop the madness of referees being harried by players, when a decision goes against them, or when they don’t get the free or penalty, they think they deserve. Hopefully, the Black Card will add to the ref’s arsenal of options, but I think the authorities will have to add a Hannibal Lecter clause to the new rule.

jason whelan-ballymun-dublinOmerta, GAA style, was finally broken this week, when Dublin player, Jason Whelan, was banned for eight weeks for biting a DCU player and “inflicting injury recklessly.” It was appropriate that Whelan came out with his hands up, as a conspiracy of silence taints everyone on both teams and the county officials as well.”

But there’s another biter out there Clarice, who is really silent. Last April, player Patrick McBrearty, a Donegal player, was badly bitten on the arm in a match between Dublin v Donegal in Ballybofey and Luis Suarez and Mike Tyson were nowhere to be seen. GAA Supremo, Paddy Duffy was greatly angered by the incident.

“No one was proved to have inflicted the bite simply because no one admitted to having done so and because the player who was bitten decided not to attend a hearing on the case. The counties involved may have chosen to deal with this incident solely in terms of their own interests.”

This is in contrast to GAA President Liam O’Neill’s position stated earlier this week.

liam o neill gaa“If you don’t follow through, it really is better not to make it,(the allegation)” O’Neill said. “If you don’t follow through, it is very unfair to make it in the first place. There is a collective responsibility on players to follow through.” This seems to be letting county officials off the hook, firmly putting the onus on the players It sounds unfair to players, but it they’ve only themselves to blame. In every code, refs are now experiencing more aggro than ever before.

New York City is not exactly an obvious place to go looking for someone to come up with a way to help, so I was totally surprised, a few years ago, when chatting to an “Irish” cop” in New York he divulged that he was also a soccer referee. I arched my eyebrows at this unlikely revelation , until I realized I had overlooked the Latin factor, the huge communities of South Americans that love in the city.

“Those South Americans are tough” he told me .

“How tough?

“Tough enough that I had to wear my .38 in a holster around my calf.”

Now that’s a proper referee. Take no crap from anybody. Its outrageous to watch the behaviour of supposedly professional, premiership players, as they cluster threateningly around the referee, every time a free is awarded against them.

The stupidest thing of all though is the waste of energy expended in complaining. Maybe I missed it, but in my lifetime of watching football, I have never seen a referee reverse his decision in a premiership game. And still they persist, week after week, harassing and haranguing the ref and the Fourth official.

Managers often fan the flames in their post -match interviews, cribbing and moaning how they were playing against their opponents, plus the referee. This endorsement of anger directed at the ref, spills over into the dressing room and onwards onto the pitch. I have seen a ref looking genuinely frightened and I think there is more than a good chance that someday soon, one of these overpaid, hotheaded footballing cockerels, is going to stretch out the ref with a punch, or a Glasgow Kiss.

black cards5 in a rowSo before that happens, I think the premiership should experiment with arming the refs, maybe not as drastically as the New York cop with his .38 gun, but with something like a small Taser, or a cattle prod That would be ideal for the job. In fact they could take a leaf from the GAA’s book of rules and introduce the Black Card. The constant sacking of managers is bringing cynicism to new heights. Instability doesn’t help a team to knit very well , especially when you don’t know whether the manager is going to last longer than six months.

Sadly, the bad example of the loutish element of soccer millionaires has begun to infect the gentlemens’ game of rugby. The players are becoming increasingly mouthy with referees.
It must burn their buns that 100,000 a year is about as high as their salaries are going to go,. for playing in the maddest contact sport in the world, whereas the lowliest footballers in the premiership wouldn’t get out of bed for less than about 30,000 per week.

Hail The Corinthian spirit of the GAA.

Article Written by Shay Healy
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail,
Saturday 25th January 2014 
 
Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99
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As Hogan cracks his eggs we find he’s no Fanny Cradock…#Irishwater

phil hogan - phanny dradock 4 shot chefsOh no! Not another celebrity cookery show. Hulk Hogan’s Omelettes De jour will see Phil joining Nigella, Nevin, Dylan, Marco Pierre and all the other kitchen icons, in the frontline of the food business. But for the show to be a success, it is crucial how The Hulk pitches himself. Should he be amiable like Jamie, unfussy like Rachel, eccentric like Marco Pierre, nice as Nevin or should he just play himself as the Minister for the Environment, who always seem to be one intake of breath away from saying “f…k off the lot of you.”

phil hogan cold tap waterThe Hulk is getting a hard time from the media at the moment. He apparently broke too many eggs and didn’t use his head to keep an eye on his ingredients, which resulted in a very unsavoury omelette that cost us 50 million of the 100 million spent so far on Irish Water. Hulk hadn’t noticed the 50 million euros were used for advice and consultations with outsiders. Confident that it wasn’t his fault, Phil pointed the finger at his kitchen cabinet. The Hulk wasn’t going to allow himself, as minister, to fall into the trap of becoming The Little Red Hen, having to do everything himself.

Of course there was a simple answer as to why The Hulk didn’t know.  As a busy executive chef, Phil says he doesn’t micro manage what goes on in the kitchen. He doesn’t need to know what’s in the fridge or the freezer. When he’s not there, his kitchen staff run the business and knowing how much pressure he has to soak up, they spared him the gory details of this storm in an eggcup.

phil hogan - eggs pan - failureWell I’ll tell you straight Phil, your omelette is dire and unfluffy and perhaps a bit more attention from you as to what’s going on in the heat of the kitchen, would mean a better omelette. None of this might have happened had Alan “Iron”Dukes not being so arrogant. He was first elected to the board of Anglo Irish Bank as the “public interest” representative. He must have underestimated our interest, because I don’t remember him ever piping up on our behalf. Anyway, he went on to become the chairman of the board at the failed bank and now he works for IBRC (Nama) as non-executive chairman. But he will be remembered most for his smug taunt to the media, from the loftiness of his high intellect, when he said they were ”not asking the right questions.”

After several denials. Dukes admitted that he had known about the Anglo tapes since last Summer, but he had done nothing about them. Sinn Fein’s “Joan of Nark” Mary Lou McDonald, demanded details of when and how “Iron” Dukes had found out about the tapes and why he had done nothing about them.

Dukes’s old compadre from the Dail, Michael “Millins” Noonan,  jumped rather ungracefully to his rescue.

“The Gardai are the people who investigate crime in this country. They have a statutory right to gather the evidence and other people shouldn’t be mucking around in Garda business because there is the risk of contaminated evidence. “

A lot more than the evidence of the Anglo tapes has contaminated Irish business, banking and politics, so it was a thrilling surprise when Sean O’Rourke, on the radio, unexpectedly avenged the “Iron” Dukes’ taunt, broke the spell and asked the RIGHT question of Irish Water “Head Bottlewasher” John Tierney. Almost gauchely, Tierney divulged that of the 100 million Irish Water had already spent, 50 million euro was expended on consultants.

phil hogan front page daily mailHulk Hogan’s lack of awareness of the 50 (now €88m) million spend on consultants, found him wrestled with the English language, as he explained on tv how he was too busy to know what was going on in his own department. espite our happiness on discovering that our minister is working so hard, when Phil started breaking eggs and making omelettes, the merde collided with the fan. Maitre D, Enda “Pimpernel” Kenny, told patrons that he had carefully scrutinized the Hulk’s menu and as far as he could see, it was good value for money, as he always knew it would be.

phil hogan -  prepeare to be forked picA good result from the brouhaha is that the Head Bottlewasher declared that Irish Water will not be hiding behind the FOI. Everything to do with the business will be as crystal clear as the water we’ll pay for. No secrets, no top-ups, no ancillary payments. Well not quite. The workers in Irish Water will receive a €7000 bonus at the end of the year, which the Head Bottlewasher told us was 10 percent of the average salary.

An average salary of €70,000.  Smell that gravy. But, what do the staff have to do in order to earn such a bonus.

“Every one employee has the opportunity based on performance,” Mr Tierney said. “If somebody competes in an open competition for a post, they apply and compete on the basis of the conditions set within the structure of Irish Water for the post.”

The Head Bottlewasher said it was “quite humbling” to work with such motivated staff.

Maybe its just a typo, a H instead of a B.

phil hogan -  ramsay the crab is so uundercooked

Article Written by Shay Healy
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail,
Saturday 18th January 2014 
 
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