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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All adverts are lies

All adverts are lies. Let's ponder that for a moment.

Okay, we'll return to that later.

Meanwhile, Consumers International (who are unsurprisingly an international consumers organisation) have unveiled their list of the crappest products on the market worldwide.

Top of the tree are sleeping pills marketed at Japanese kids, closely followed by Coca Cola's tap water masquerading as spring water, Kelloggs' sugary breakfast cereals that pretend to be healthy, and shit Chinese toys sold by Mattell that fell apart and were full of lead.

Now, let's drop the shit toys from the list. What's so wrong with sleeping pills? Did they poison people? Did they not work and instead, like being sold cocaine instead of mogadon, they kept kids awake? No. They worked fine. They just weren't properly advertised.

And what's wrong with selling tap water? If people are prepared to pay a quid for something they can get out of a tap, bully for you (or in this instance, Coca Cola) for parting fools from their money. It's not like the tap water is bad for you.

Incidentally, Coke pull the same stunt in Ireland. Deep River Rock, the water you wear, is also the water you get out of a tap in Belfast. True.

As for Kelloggs' breakfasts, well, no doubt they're not the sort of thing that Mr Kellogg had in mind when he set up his healthfood company back in the Nineteenth century. But they're not bad products. They're simply sugary products that should be considered akin to sweets, desserts and other things that kids should only have in moderation.

So what do all these things have in common? They're not bad products, despite what Consumers International say (apart from Mattell's shit Chinese toys, which are genuinely bad products.) They're actually bad marketing.

Let's return to where I came in. All advertising is lies. It is. The next commercial break that comes along in your evening's telly watching, analyse the lies you're being peddled.

"Because you're worth it?" Says who? Worth what? Worth it how? What does it even mean?

Don't read into it, simply dismiss it as the lie it actually is - the lie that these mass-produced, morally dubious cosmetics products are somehow 'elite' and you are part of that elite and entitled to these unlikely expressions of luxury lifestyle.

There's the crux of the ad (not the science bit, which is total bollocks) and it's a fundamental lie.

Same with any of them, all of them in fact. All adverts are lies. Lies designed to part you from your money for something you don't need.

I previously highlighted my plan to fine companies 50% of profits if they can't prove their advertising claims. I still stand by that as a plan to universally improve the existence of pretty much every human being on the planet (apart from advertising execs and marketing scum, who we all know aren't human at all.)

Having established that all ads are lies, it's time to return to the bad products list and rap the knuckles of the Consumers International people for failing to notice that these are bad marketing stunts, not bad products, and also for failing to notice genuinely bad products out there.

Ryanair flights, for example. 'Booking fees' for concerts. Premium rate phone lines, especially on customer support lines. Ringtones. Dry cleaning. Luas tickets. Fianna Fail governments.

These are really shit products, and I hope to see them on the next Consumers International list, rather than products that are actually legitimate, but are merely the subject of bad marketing lies.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kill off the marathon cult

Today I got penned into the house by a horde of marathon runners. It was a bit like being stuck in the house on the 12th of July in the North, only without the sectarian banging of drums and alcoholism present.

However, the sense of smug and unwarranted superiority emanating from the sweaty, heaving throng of middle management jogging bores in shorts was just as potent as that which comes from an Orange Order march.

What is it that makes people, in this age of the combustion engine, want to run pointlessly for over 26 miles? Furthermore, why the fuck do they have to run past my doorstep and block the city up while they do it?

Fair enough, when Pheidippides first legged it from the site of the Battle of Marathon to Athens, he had a reason. He wanted to tell his pals that they had defeated the mighty Persians.

However, today’s numpties running in gorilla outfits or dressed as French waiters may be interested to learn that Pheidippides dropped dead on arrival in Athens.

No silver paper cape for him, no medal or commemorative T-shirt. No sense of palpable achievement. Just heart palpitations, the ironic words ‘Victory is ours!’ and then death.

Sadly, health science and medicine have improved somewhat in the past 25 centuries. Nowadays, even beer-bellied middle-aged men undergoing midlife crises can be cajoled to jog for 26 and a bit miles without death ensuing. More's the pity.

But that doesn’t mean that marathon running is good for you. It isn’t. The impact on the joints alone means that marathon running does more harm than good. Face it, the lesson of Pheidippides is that running for that distance is bad for you.

Of course, we live in a free society. If people insist on trying to add some challenge to their humdrum existences by running endlessly around various cities, who am I to try and stop them?

But can someone please explain to me the point of closing off the entire city for most of a day to let this cult of jogging loons have freedom of the roads?

It might be a bank holiday, but some people have work to go to, you know.

Others just want to go out and enjoy their day off without having to traverse their way through endless Garda diversions.

Diversions which have been judiciously placed to ensure freedom of the city for the jogging nutters and utter frustration for those who have lives and want to travel across town in order to live them.

In short, there’s no good reason to pen people into their homes in order to facilitate this cult of crazies in their lung-busting attempts to kill themselves slowly.

If there must be a Dublin Marathon, let’s have it at four in the morning over the Christmas holidays when it will cause least interruption to the rest of us.

Oh, and let the cars on the road at the same time. At least, with the addition of a goodly few festive drink-drivers weaving their way drunkenly at night and at speed through throngs of mongs in shorts, the Marathon might finally become a spectator sport I’d want to watch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Pyjamas are our culture" - deadbeat Belfast single mum

According to the denizens of Divis Flats in Belfast, wearing pyjamas all day long, whether in bed or at the shops, is 'their culture.'

Jesus wept! It's the culture of these bet-looking harridans to scare the rest of us by appearing in public places wearing their spunk-stained bed clothing, is it?

This bizarre sartorial tradition emanates from two separate sources, one geographical and one relating to the predominant character trait in Divis.

The pyjama phenomenon first was noted in Dublin some years back. It has since been spotted across the British Isles, wherever chavs, spides, knackers and millies congregate.

The other place it stems from is the total fucking laziness of people too indolent even to change their clothes once a day.

It is generally a female phenomenon, whereby women of any age, although usually young single mothers on welfare, don't bother changing their clothes in the morning when they leave the house.

This phenomenon is not to be confused with similar incidents of public pyjama wearing across the globe, such as in Shanghai (where pyjamas are a legitimate form of public dress) or among Michigan students (because we all know students are lazy wastes of space.)

But it is part of a growing phenomenon of scumbags the world over not bothering to change out of their bedclothes when forced to leave their hovels, either to sign on the dole, collect the child benefit or buy more fags and booze.

Here's Americans at it (probably because they can't fit into normal clothes anymore.) And this phenomenon is long-established in the crappier parts of British and Irish cities. Many moons ago, the Dublin community blog highlighted the prevalence of public pjs in the fair city.

But until now, it has always been acknowledged that wearing pyjamas in public was a sad and tragic event related to deprivation, akin to begging on the street or drinking meths in the park.

Even the deluded attempts of some fashionistas to 'do' public pjs ironically backfired when the public rightly said 'Eeewwww!"

This isn't the first time that right-thinking normal people have objected to the public sight of septic belly-piercings poking out from the pasty white spare tyres of flab that the bedroom flannels have failed to cover up.

A few months ago, a Belfast school principal also objected to the sight of fifty of these welfare mums turning up at his school each morning wearing whatever they slept in.

But only the beleaguered people of West Belfast, the official MOST OPPRESSED PEOPLE EVER, could turn public expressions of slovenly laziness into a culture, and transform a polite request for them to dress properly in public into a fascist attempt to silence their freedom of cultural expression.

Can't we just cull them? Darwin would thank us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bye Bye, Stan

Steven Staunton (pictured right in his Aston Villa pomp) is going to be sacked as Ireland manager today for being rubbish! Hurrah!

However, apparently the FAI are skint and can't afford a decent manager, so they're going to give the job to David O'Leary instead. Boo!

Can't we just give Irish football to someone who could manage it properly, like the GAA or the nuns?

These bollixes just keep breaking my heart.

On a more positive note, if you google 'Steve Staunton', my now legendary post 'What is Steve Staunton?' is the second from top result after Stan's wiki page.

Please link now to 'What is Steve Staunton?' and let's make it number one!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Ulster-Scots Scam

DUP Minister Edwin Poots (the lad who looks like the FA Cup, on the right) has gone back on the St Andrews Agreement by refusing point-blank to introduce an Irish Language Bill for Northern Ireland.

Now, I don’t speak Irish and don’t intend to learn it. And I’m pretty disgusted at the amount of money pissed away on it in the Republic, where children for generations have been tortured by being forced to read about Kerry islander grannies with depression in a language that almost no one uses in day-to-day situations.

And don’t get me started on the jobs ring-fenced for Irish speakers, the subsidised TV station, the civil service sinecures and the ridiculous legal and police profession language requirements.

But it is a real language, and part of the heritage of this island, so if people want to learn it, they should be permitted to. And if it was part of the St Andrews Agreement to introduce the same sort of protection for Irish in the North, then that’s the deal and it ought to be introduced.

However, I’m prepared to back the Pootster on this one if in turn he’s prepared to put a bullet into the merry scam that is Ulster-Scots. Ulster-Scots is a random collection of some antiquated dialectal words masquerading as a language in order to line the pockets of those who propagate it.

It has existed for less than 20 years, yet draws down millions in state funding North and South. Kill off the Ulster-Scots scam, Edwin, and I’ll support your plan to cancel an Irish Language Bill.

You'd be hard pushed to find a bigger linguistics bore than me, frankly. I love languages and linguistics. But Ulster-Scots is not a language at all. While Irish is an actual language with thousands of years of recorded history, Ulster-Scots is simply an excuse to extort money from the EU, and the Irish and UK governments.

Let’s look at some examples of this alleged language:

Here’s a nice poem.

And here, for those non-existent people who don’t speak English in Northern Ireland, is some crucial information about water charges in Ulster-Scots.

Someone made a tidy bit of state funding out of ‘translating’ that little number. And this is how the scam goes.

A Scottish comedian on the television one time described Ulster Scots as a mixture of "English and Buckfast", and now I reckon you can see why.

Ulster-Scots, according to its own proponents, is a photocopy of Middle Lallans, a Scottish dialect of English once used by poet Rabbie Burns. It’s a fine literary tongue, but nothing to do with Northern Ireland, where between zero (the number of native speakers the EU found when they came looking) and 2% of people speak it.

In fact, there is a local dialect in Northern Ireland. Middle Ulster English is the language of the North, the rich dialectal linguistic and literary heritage that has been underfunded and ignored while chancers, perverts, bigots and buffoons defraud the Exchequer to the tune of millions for their taxi rides and their trips to sexually abuse American kids.

In case you didn’t know the fine people behind the Ulster-Scots scam, let me introduce them to you: Former Ulster-Scots Agency chief exec Stan Mallon got busted for trying to line up sex with a 14 year old in the United States. He claimed, risibly, that heart tablets made him want to have sex with a child. That makes him a pervert in my book.

Current chief exec George Patton was formerly Worshipful Brother George Patton of the Orange Order, and was prominent in defending the disgraceful scenes at Drumcree. That makes him a bigot in my book.

And John Laird himself is responsible for no end of lunacy, from taking taxis to Dublin from Belfast at taxpayers expense because 'wearing my kilt could get me attacked on the train' to organising Lambeg drumming sessions in the House of Lords. He's a definite loon in my book.

The establishment of Ulster-Scots is the result of fake mythology by Ian Adamson which has been discredited, that was created as an origin tale for Ulster Unionists in order to provide a separateness from the rest of Ireland.

Funding sought for Irish under the GFA led to John Laird and his merry gang of chancers, perverts and bigots abusing that situation to pay for their taxi bill.

They've now been left with a task of manufacturing a language out of a Scottish dialect (not a local one, of which there is one, lying around unfunded and unloved) in order to justify their stipends.

The net result is a ton of money lost to exchequers North and South (ie us, the taxpayers, covering John Laird's kilts and taxi bills) with no justification whatsoever.

I know many, many Ulster people, from dissident Republican to Loyalists, and none of them give a crap about this nonsense except for those who are directly employed in the Ulster-Scots industry. And it is an industry. No one sees this as an 'integral part' of anyone's culture. It was invented to get funding for sinecures via the Good Friday Agreement.

Now, there is a case for doing something to highlight the Scottish heritage in Northern Ireland. Just as there is a case for highlighting Irish heritage in Scotland. And I'm also enormously in favour of people finding out what their actual heritage is in Ireland. It's vastly more complex and interesting than what they think it is, I tend to find.

But the Hamilton Montgomery plantation (and yes, it WAS a plantation, not a settlement) has bugger all to do with this linguistic sleight of hand that funds Lord Laird and his pervert, bigot and loon cronies. Those people who came to Ulster from Scotland at the time of the plantation spoke English in a Scottish dialect.

Some of that was passed down, some of it wasn't. But using some obsolete words does not a language make. If I say Gadzooks does that make Elizabethan English a viable current language separate from modern English?

Ulster-Scots didn't exist until Lord Laird saw an opportunity to graft a language onto Ian Adamson's Cruithin mythology in order to extort money from the British and Irish exchequers to fund his taxi bills. But it's no more a language than Scouse or Nortsoide Dubbalinese is. In fact it’s much less, because it was entirely fabricated.

This is not some 'Ulster Unionist' claim for parity of linguistic esteem except insofar that a tiny coterie of wideboys led by Laird decided to make use of the GFA to make a tidy profit by creating sinecures for perverts and bigots.

Furthermore, while hiring perverts and bigots to run the show has done them no favours, it is the sheer fact that Ulster-Scots was invented, and is based on a lie that it is a long-lost, suppressed language of the Ulster people, that truly discredits its continued funding.

So come on, Edwin. Show some real political bravery and cancel the funding of this pathetic farce.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Palestine Ghetto Wall

Another eye-opening visual comparison from Fionn MacCool from Politics.ie. This one reveals the direct similarities between the Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1940 and the Israeli apartheid wall running through the West Bank today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Unbirthday

My favourite bit of Alice in Wonderland was always the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, so reminiscent in its chaos and suppressed aggression of Skinner family dinners when I was a youth.

What people often forget is that the Hatter is celebrating his unbirthday, which he rightly points out is a much more sensible thing to do than to note the passing of another uneventful year since birth.

Today is indeed my unbirthday and I intend to celebrate it later.

However, it would be lax not to note that this little blog is a year old today. Yup, one year and 209 posts since we began, tens of thousands of readers, a couple of Irish blog award nominations, and a lot of ground covered already.

On the other hand, there remains an exponential growth in things to be angry about in today's Ireland, so I've no intention of stopping now.

But tomorrow is another day. Now is time to celebrate, and I want to mark the passing of my unbirthday by buying a car.

So, what should the Skinnermobile be? Any suggestions as to model and make? Four doors good, two doors bad? Gas guzzler or eco-freaky electric lawnmower?

Or should I just wait til next year for the new Delorean to come out?

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Worst airline ever

I had a great conversation with a colleague yesterday who had the ignominious experience of being treated like a terrorist by Delta Airlines in JFK airport last week.

In short, she was isolated, searched, her bags examined for explosives, her shoes forensically tested and all the while provided with neither courtesy, respect nor explanation for the behaviour.

What she then witnessed on the plane home, in terms of treatment of passengers, was beyond belief. She has now vowed never to travel with Delta again.

It got me thinking about producing a shit-list of airlines that people refuse to fly with.

I have previously mentioned why Ryanair are scumbags. Obviously they're on my list. But top is a surprise entrant, Iberia. Spain's national carrier has now severely buggered me about on three separate occasions.

Firstly, on a flight to Mexico, a man died in the row behind me, and the aircraft staff attempted to deny this and cover it up. They even brought in paramedics when we landed to stage a charade of attempting to revive the hours-dead corpse.

Then there was a shouting match when they overbooked the flight home. They threatened to bump me off the plane I had booked onto, refused to provide overnight accommodation and suggested I stay in the airport.

Finally, on a flight to Pamplona in Spain via Madrid, they actually sold me the ticket then cancelled the route on the same day, so I arrived in Madrid having bought the ticket only hours earlier to be informed that I would now be flown to Bilbao instead!

That trip got worse when they ferried us by cab to Pamplona, and the cabbie refused to let me off, en route to the airport, at where I wanted to go. Obviously, when we then arrived at Pamplona airport at 11pm at night, and the whole place was shut, he had a captive market in ferrying me back to where he had previously whizzed past, charging me €50 for the privilege.

So that's my nomination. Iberia are the worst airline ever. What's your worst airline flight ever, and what airline would you never fly with again?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Grass up this nonce

This piece of walking faeces has been raping young boys for years and posting the pictures for other perverts on the internet.

Interpol are very keen on finding him, so much so that for the first time ever they've publicised the pictures of him.

If you know this man, or know where he is, or can identify him in any way, please contact your local cops ASAP.

Or, if you prefer, simply torture the prick to death, since he clearly doesn't deserve to live. No jury on the planet would convict you for doing that.

Eco-idiots, plane and simple

Eco-morons are currently preventing passengers at Manchester Airport domestic terminal from getting onto planes.

These delusional hobbits apparently believe that stopping people from going about their business (businesspeople being far and away the biggest travellers on domestic flights) is going to convert millions to their 'return to the Middle Ages' ethos.

Perhaps they should have turned their attention to the low-cost airlines that ply routes abroad instead, since that is where the bulk of so-called 'binge-flying' actually takes place.

But that would make sense, and these morons rarely make sense. As one astute London blogger has spotted, the last time these freaks held a protest, they protested in the wrong place.

Instead of targetting Easyjet, instead they targetted a completely different company. And now we see them, arm in arm in armtubes, blockading the wrong terminal at an airport.

The best thing about global warming is the prospect that these idiots will fry.

Friday, October 05, 2007

When is torture not torture?

When it's conducted by the American government, of course!

If I kidnapped you and held you against your will, slapped you repeatedly about the head, held you in freezing conditions and plunged your head regularly under water threatening drowning, you wouldn't be best pleased.

In fact, you might well describe such behaviour as torture.

And it would be, as long as I'm not a member of American security forces. If I was, then I could slap you around the head all I want, deprive you of sleep, humiliate you, keep you in freezing cold conditions, and simulate drowning by holding you underwater as much as I liked.

And it would only be 'taking action to protect the American people from further attack.' And I would be a 'highly trained professional interrogator', not the medieval torturer you thought I was.

Glad to have cleared that up for you all.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I always tell the truth, even when I lie.

Is there any other possible explanation for Bertie's continuing, conflicting, fairytales about his financial dealings?

Thanks to Armchair Activist from Politics.ie for the photoshop!