Halloween Monster Mash

Feel free to send the kids to bed early after playing this wonderfully horrible megamix! Mwahahahaha!

Dirty purses


The Midday women (The View / Loose Women in Ireland) are discussing how the average handbag / purse contains more germs than a toilet. Thank GOD these women have raised the issue themselves. They need to tidy themselves up, instead of having the men do all the work. 

People need to know from now on that if you come into my home, you leave your disgusting handbags at the door, or you won't get in.

I usually can't criticise the grime of these accessories, or I'm accused of misogyny. And they won't let me freshen them up, although I always offer. It's the third thing on the list. 

1. Coffee or tea? 

2. By the way, in case of an emergency, I've got some hygiene products in the bathroom cabinet if it's the time in your cycle and you're at a loose end.

3. Is there any possibility that you'd let me wash out your purse with some bleach?

It's just simple manners, ladies. Leave your nasty purse on the doorstep.

Filing things away...

For the last year or more, if I get a bill or a statement I tend to just throw it in the drawer and not even open it. If it looks like it's from the bank or the electricity people, what's the point?

Lately, the envelopes that come in are getting thicker. So now they're damaging the environment with all this extra bumf. Not only that, but recently the thick ones have been couriered to me (the last one was hand-delivered by a solicitor, no less) and I had to SIGN for them! No expense spared, what? It's all the same to me! Into the drawer they go!

Queen of Flowers and Pearls by Gabriella Ghermandi - Book Review

In 2015, Gabriella Ghermandi came to Ireland for a "narrative performance" of her work at Trinity College on Thursday, 29th October at 5.00 pm in the Douglas Hyde Gallery, in Clonskeagh on the 30th and for the Irish launch of her novel Queen of Flowers and Pearls at Hodges Figgis, 56-58 Dawson St, Dublin 2 on Halloween afternoon (Saturday 31st) at 2pm.

The debut novel from an Italian-Ethiopian performance artist, singer and writer ticks an awful lot of boxes. Drawing on the intercultural aspects of her own heritage, Gabriella Ghermandi ought to be any literary agent's dream signing.

Ghermandi during her last visit to Dublin in 2013.
The writing is qualitatively superb, the novel rich in story, description and detail. The framing narrative is provided by Mahlet, who - at the novel's outset - retrospectively details her childhood. Like Hosseini's Amir in The Kite Runner - a novel similarly dualistic in cultural terms - the young protagonist is a burgeoning storyteller, living near Addis Ababa (rather than Hosseini's Kabul).

Unlike Hosseini's novel, this work is not burdened by the self-absorption or outraged moralising of its central character. Introspection and self-awareness are encouraged here - through the advice of a religious leader - only so that the heroine can allow others - indeed, her 'Other', to subvert its conventional meaning - to better understand her. Such an attitude is contrasted, through this same mouthpiece, with the
selfishness of the colonialists of Ethiopia's recent past. It's a cogent criticism the reader doesn't have to confine to Italy, applicable to the self-interest prevalent in Western culture at large.

The novel, while never preachy, has many such didactic elements rendered abstract while retaining their educational impact, through fables or biographical detail of some of those elderly characters who insist to Mahlet that she will be the teller of their tales. Echoing the thinking of many a philosopher of recent times, as Mahlet tells us at the novel's end, they are our stories now too.

Many thanks to Rob O'Connor at Rocshot Photography for the above pic!

Gun control arguments on the social media...

Just a few points I made on social media about gun control I'd like to share. I will share more later. Many thanks to Maryland-based Frank Maguire, author of Lashback and various other publications, for inspiring the discussion, and to those who contributed.

Continued from here.


Argument for a ban on guns

After the gun controls come in, if the National Guard or the police call to your house, give them your frickin guns. Who's left?


The people who insist on keeping guns in their sock drawer and stay quiet about it and aren't registered gun owners, or are registered and have slipped through the net. They run the risk of prosecution, but hopefully we won't hear from them again, save for the odd killing spree by some mess of a guy, or a domestic situation.



But there'll be FEWER of them. Other people left with the guns are the gang members, and the smugglers, and the militias, and the Sopranos, and the punks. The point is guns = criminals. And if you meet Tony Soprano at the country club, or a drug dealer in the street, he's not about to shoot YOU. He's after Phil Leotardo, or the pimp who kicked him out of the brothel last night for dealing bogus crack to the johns.

If you're held up at gunpoint or shot, that's an aberration. In five years' time, when you're mugged by a guy with a syringe, you'll be praising the Lord that there are fewer guns.

And these thugs won't be able to hide behind the centuries-old Constitution-enshrined normalising of gun culture. They'll be easier to spot because guns are such a rarity. Police won't be shooting the fleeing violators of traffic infractions in the back either, what with being so jittery coz there's so many damn guns. They will shoot when shot at, like any well-mannered and respectable police officer should. And that will remove further gun threats, and you continue to chip away like that. And anyone found with a firearm is arrested, and they're prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Because it's NO LONGER NORMAL.

New Bond to be a toddler: Report

Lettuce

Electronic letters to a number of potential investors containing the crispy-fresh idea of having a toddler 007 found their way to a
young gossip, Ms Angela Daly, 22, mistress of an exiled Irish banker living on the Cape Cod coastline.

Reboot

Re-booting the franchise with a toddler clearly means that Bond's famed Walther will be replaced with a pacifier, and his Aston Martin db9 supplanted by an ApeX 3 Jogging Stroller.

Aggressive baby formula marketing

Thanks to a sponsorship deal with Nestlé's SMA baby formula brands, the child will continue to enjoy his Vodka Martinis; negotiations with Nestlé failed due to disagreements over how the chocolate and cereal blue chip continues to aggressively market its baby formula over more beneficial breast-milk in the developing world, while in the same regions, the priests prevent use of penetrative penile prophylactics between couples. 


Note that these are territories from where the very same toddler Jamie Bond would be very unlikely to emerge during the audition process due to poor English skills and / or racial discrimination and / or unnecessary bottle feedings when breast is best and / or too many brothers and sisters to support because of the pope saying 'Have big families', again limiting success from children of the Poor South.

The new Bond would be "between two and five years", claims the gossip, and "issued for a specified period", as she explains in emailed details gleaned from the production company.

It is hoped that the Bond will mature, resulting in profits for some investors - with the potential for further options.

The new three-to-five year Bond would hope to yield profits after the first three years of maturity, the investment letter claims. Those who want to retain the new Bond for longer would potentially find the deal even more lucrative.

New toddler Bond suggested for 007 franchise

One of the major problems faced by the James Bond franchise is the ageing of its Bonds. The youngest Bond was a 30-year-old George Lazerbeams On Her Majesty's Secret Service. 

Sean Gonorrhoea was 32 when he started out in Dr. No, the first Bond movie.

Roger More - even older than Gonorrhoea when he had his first Bond outing at 147 - bedded leading ladies ten zilths the power of googolplex his age when shooting his load of movies. 

Even the latest craggy-faced Bond fave, Daniel Craggy, was 63 when he emerged from the water in his blue underpanties, in a dig and a wrinkly wink at Ursula Undressed, the Bond girl emerging from the water in 1965's Whatever You Say It Is.

Pierce Brosnan was compelled to delay his arrival into the franchise because of other commitments to detective show, Gillette Chrome.

And what about Timothy Dalton? No: Seriously. What about Timothy Dalton?

Rumors from EON Productions of the possible release of Bond-backed movies with a toddler spy are therefore welcome among many 007 fans. More news on why the latest Bond is likely to be a toddler here!

The videoshoot for my new song Pooper Scooper

[TO THE TUNE OF ABBA'S SUPER TROUPER]

Pooper scooper,
Toxoplasma gondii

Shooting out my bu--
(Poop-p-perrr! Poop-p-perr!)







I will have the run--
(Poop-p-perrrs! Poop-p-perrs!)
Until the bleach's job is done...



  




I was minding a big 
fluffy ca-a-at...

when I came across an explosion,

His litter tray contained a ra-a-a-a-a-t,

And on the floor he'd had notions,

Liquid brown notions 'bove his station, yet I didn't 
reali-i-iiii-ise...

Using the 

Pooper scooper,
Toxoplasma got me!

 

Shooting out my...
(Poop-p-perrr! Poop-p-perr!)

Now I'm on the john...
(Poop-p-perrr! Poop-p-perr!)
til the bacteria's gone!

That's right, a 
Pooper scooper,
Yes, it's gonna blind me,

and thunder from my--
(Poop-p-perrr! Poop-p-perr!)

Where's the daylight gone?
(Poop-p-perrr! Poop-p-perr!)
And now I'm gonna 
[FALLS OFF TOILET SEAT ONTO FLOOR, UNCONSCIOUS.]

Irish Government Fancy Parchment Firesale: Everything Must Go

The Department of the Taoiseach, in association with the Department of Transport, Tourism agus an Shpoorth, is selling 5000 reams of expensive parchment paper. The reams, bought by the state in 2008 for €60,000 at the height of the economic depths of the recession, are being sold on in thirty tranches of €438 billion bundles in an effort to plug a gap in the Nama books and the health service.

Parchment


Adults who collected "fancy paper" as children in the 80s are being targeted in the firesale.

However, a spokesman declared that the parchment is:
"[...] perfect for any interesting parties - such as a gay wedding for a Kentucky gentleman and his fiancé, struggling as they are to have the issuance of such licences across the Atlantic, what with the postmistress-general being ended up in the prison. We'd hold a big hooley in the function room of an Irish hotel, with below-cost line dancers, and of course give the wedding the state-sanctioned Tá. The parchment could be used as a kind of keepsake of signatures, and certainly the signings could be overseen by the secular officiator, who wouldn't ever be a priest. Also, we could have some wedding parchment napkins. Printed out on them, you know, Jefferson and Willard, or what have you, in a heart shape. And to be hung on the wall when they get back home, next to their His and His gun licences."

Parchment?

Gun control in the US - comments on social media


Just a few points I made on social media about gun control I'd like to share. I will share more later. Many thanks to Maryland-based Frank Maguire, author of Lashback and various other publications, for inspiring the discussion, and to those who contributed.

On the reason to own guns...

So the average person is at home, hears a burglar or a potential murderer enter the house, and the homeowner can reach a gun - kept under lock and key - to protect their family and property. Under what other circumstances are guns of value? Fighting the tyranny of government? Fighting an invasion? The Russians and Nazis both apparently considered a US land invasion in the past, but their generals realised too many American civilians had access to firearms, making such an operation prohibitively difficult. They never would have tried that stuff anyway. Look at how difficult it was for the Americans to push the Japanese back across the Pacific. And they ultimately chose the bomb over close quarters conflict in a land invasion. So such an invasion of anywhere is unlikely, with today's drones and lack of standing armies.

On how to stop guns being used

You could start imposing federal laws today, and the criminals who can still access guns will also get caught with them, and only - in general - use them on each other in the meantime, as they do today, in general. Correct me if I'm wrong on that. But statistically, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. The likelihood of Joe the Plumber being shot - someone who is not involved in gun crime or with criminals - is far less than those who are. But even if Joe likes to hunt, the likelihood that he will get shot in the head by his own shotgun is clearly higher. Do you vet every single person you allow in your home? Do you rely on friends to vet acquaintances who you let in your home? 

MORE criminals will have guns if more CIVILIANS continue to have guns. They're still being BOUGHT every day by reasonable people, but they're also still being stolen from homes, or car glove boxes or stores or gun clubs or wherever else you can steal guns, every day.

Do you ever get that, do you?

And now, a few examples of overuse of the phrase Do you ever get that:

1. I was on the bus and this guy had his earphones in his ears a few rows back, and the buzz off the iPod was so loud that it was like nails on a blackboard. Do you ever get that, with the MP3 players?

2. When foreigners talk, sometimes you have to wait until they reach the end of a sentence before you can make any sense of it. Do you ever get that?

3. I like proper coffee, but if I must have the instant, I prefer the granules to the powder. Do you ever get that? I don't mean the new powder, in the tin. That's usually even better than the granules in the jar. But real coffee's the best, definitely, once the beans are of a high enough quality. Do you ever get that, do you?

4. For the first time in the history of humanity, we're facing extinction-level events that are on a par with an asteroid strike. Do you ever get that?

5. Dan, honey, you need to sit down. Maria called from the hospital. Your father's taken a turn. They don't think he'll last the night. Do you ever get that?

6.Put your big pepper thing away! There's enough seasoning in this food already, yeh madman of a waiting staff person! Do you ever get that?


7. You know the way working class people smoke cigarettes in their track suits, instead of jogging and exercising? Do you ever get that?

8. You're not expecting a Distributed Denial of Service attack any time soon, from Anonymous? Do you ever get that? Are there any other espionage writers on this forum, who've accidentally figured out a government-sanctioned assassination plot, and incorporated it into their own novel plot? Anyone else in this discussion group a fugitive, other than myself? I'm glad I can make this comment on here, coz usually a message pops up saying "We've found you again" and then the screen just sort of melts and I have to leave before I hear the sirens. Does anyone else get that, or just me? I can't find a workaround, but I'm in a friend-of-a-friend geek's flat right now. (I logged on in a private window here. He has a proxy server thing set up, so I think it's safe. Do you ever get that?) Outside the window, a dark SUV has pulled up, and four guys in black suits are coming into the building. Is that odd, or do you ever get that? Oh no someone's breaking down the door send helEDJKEl/.LP;.\weje

DO_YOU_EVER_GET_THAT
DO_YOU_EVER_GET_THAT
DO_YOU_EVER_GET_THAT

9. A dog barked at me - but in a nice way - the other day, and he got me to look at his collar so I could phone his owner to pick him up. Five miles from home, he was. Do you ever get that?

10. Ever notice how the phrase 'Do you get that?' and its variants are a bit overused? Do you ever get that? Do you?

Down Solo by Earl Javorsky

A novel by Earl Javorsky, Down Solo - available at Amazon - features a hero whose death takes place before the novel opens. Charlie Miner wakes in a morgue, a hole in his head, dead. It's unconventional as far as books narrated by the Dead go, given the fact that the narrator has retained a corporeal form.

The hero's a private investigator. The plot has a touch of Chinatown about it. With the added originality of a dead protagonist, there are a couple of neat tricks employed - memory loss, and the ability to project astrally - to reveal or hide certain aspects of the plot from the reader. Charlie is keen to find his murderer. Flashbacks are thrust upon the hero, this trope a nice workaround to prevent backstory seeming forced.

The narrative style is first-person private dick fare, done well. Charlie's a functioning addict, crossing paths with the seedier elements of society, both professionally and personally. Beyond a couple of questions raised that are more than worthy of explanation - even with a line or two - the book has a richness in description, and a value for its very original premise in what is a tired genre. The frequently beautiful writing, while a joy to read - punctuates, and occasionally undermines, if one could be so critical - the frequently frenetic pacing. Overall, great stuff. Buy it on Amazon here.

Gun control arguments on the social media...

Just a few points I made on social media about gun control I'd like to share. I will share more here soon. Many thanks to Maryland-based Frank Maguire, author of Lashback and various other publications, for inspiring the discussion, and to those who contributed.


Alcohol, tobacco and firearms

To draw an analogy with drugs deregulation, if someone is searched by the cops in Colorado, and the cops find enough marijuana for personal use, they might let it slide without the need for proof of medical documentation. They might let it slide here too because it's "frivolous".


That's being normalised but there's a problem with that. The guy with the weed could be a dealer. We don't KNOW for sure, because it's sort of LEGITIMATE now. Black market joints, or Marlboros from Mexico, or moonshine in a Smirnoff bottle, they all look similar to the proper stuff from the dispensaries or the liquor store.

If I am walking along with a GUN in my belt in Ireland, and I am accosted and searched by a policeman here, I AM ARRESTED. Because WTF am I doing with a gun?
"I'm part of the Neighborhood Watch program."
"Well you can Neighborhood Watch yourself off to prison, Mr Rambo."

In Florida, I walk the street with a gun, and it's a similar scenario to having a bit of weed or a bottle of moonshine or a pack of cheap cigarettes smuggled in from Central America. But it's NOT the same.

In one scenario, I'm walking the street on my way to a party with my bottle of homemade hooch to have some fun. In the other, I could be on my way to kill my ex-wife's boyfriend and everyone else at the party, with my fully licensed firearm.

The cop will just say in ALL cases: "This is acceptable. Carry on."
How is gun culture so normal? It's ridiculous.

You can start by saying No guns for ANYONE. Hand in your guns ASAP. Exemptions for hunters, and you'll then have resources freed up to watch them like the protected hawks that they won't be allowed to shoot, coz so few others will have guns. 

But you shouldn't have a revolver or an automatic pistol or an assault rifle. Give those things up. Maybe, if they're very expensive, exchange them for tax credits, which will balance out on account of the fewer gun injuries and gun crimes and policing costs and prison and court time. It needs the blessing of every state and at local level for it to work. And you guys can make that happen. 

America is a more than capable country. The point is whatever the costs, the dividends down the line are massive. Like investing in education. Put a little funding into educating the autistic kid at five, and you won't be spending thousands teaching him how to fish when he's 30. Another message to get out is: GUNS ARE ILLEGAL. They're ONLY USED BY CRIMINALS now. You prosecute anyone who has a gun to the fullest extent of the law.

Motoring facts: Racing stripes


Racing stripes on small cars - such as a Mini Cooper - do in fact make the cars go faster.

Car software has become so sophisticated today that engineers admit that the car has the capacity to "feel it has an edge".

Such a car is given a "confidence boost" with the stripes, and is therefore able to accelerate at a slightly faster rate than its less stripy cousins.

For more amazing motoring facts and driver rules, see here.

Why I haven't messaged you for three weeks

You know when you are shifting between panes, and a video starts somewhere, and it's the seventh pane you check for the second time, coz the video is halfway down the page?


And then, the whole browser goes to NOT RESPONDING coz your computer can't handle moving pictures and accepting new cookies and updates and the CIA looking at you, coz you've just written the letters CIA in that order, and you have a post with two photos ready to go in a silly window, with a URL, and elsewhere you're mid-email, and you want to make sure they're okay?

On balance of probabilities, there is at least one message that is certainly not being saved as a draft.

And then your work in other applications is slowed down because the browser is so upset that it unsettles the whole system, and, like [DOWN WITH THE KIDS INTERROGATIVE STATEMENT] not just the browser? And then the browser? disappears? and like, W...? T...? F.? there was other stuff you meant to do? including that message?[/DOWN WITH THE KIDS INTERROGATIVE STATEMENT]

All that stuff that happens to you happens to me too. And my message to you disappeared today. So I will try and catch you tomorrow before all that stuff starts happening to me again.

Sportsfans United!

I told a guy in the pub this evening that I wasn't into the rugby coz it's not as egalitarian as the football. He went straight out to his car and returned with a cricket bat and hit me over the head.

While I was trying to get up, he went and got a baseball bat and knocked me down again. 

Then he asked me which bat I found more "egalitarian" on my head. 

I had to admit, he used the flat side of the cricket bat so it was a little less brutal than the baseball bat. He said he had only been out for a few pints, and that he hadn't intended to go clubbing on a Sunday night.

Fungi the Dolphin killed in Lightsaber accident



A freak laser-sword incident has resulted in the death of an Irish celebrity dolphin. Fungi, a mammal who frequents the waves around Dingle Peninsula, was eviscerated last weekend on the final day of shooting in Irish waters for the Star Wars franchise.

The tragedy – involving actors shooting the greatest space fantasy of them all, undermined by mediocre prequels – took place off the coast of Shkellig Vickle, an island some seven miles from the Irish mainland, where the Star Wars cast and crew had established themselves for a number of weeks.

Fungi the Dolphin – by all accounts a very popular attraction amongst tourists and locals around Dingle Peninsula – was slashed apart by an “eight-bladed lightsaber”. The weapon – an Octosword - is said to have been spinning above the water when it struck the sea mammal, which had leapt unexpectedly out of the sea in greeting shortly after the arrival of the boats containing actors and Irish extras – many of them homeless – in Jedi and Sith costumes.

“The dolphin back into the water with him, so he was, only quarthered into three parts,” a local pollock fisherman claimed. “But twas an accident for sure. I love this Star Wars crowd. They’ve been good to us.” The old fisherman – revealed to be homeless – was seen in Dingle hours after the accident, attempting to sell dolphin meat at a fishmonger’s.

The weapon responsible for the attack is one of three “real” lightsabers used by the Star Wars production. The Sith tool is believed to have continued on over the water until it struck the engine of a barge used by the crew, from which a number of people and props were transferred to a skiff being employed by the actors before the larger craft was consumed in an explosion. Two droids were pushed into the water, to be later picked up by an Irish coastguard helicopter using magnets.

Voice actor and puppeteer Mr Frank Oz, 71 – famed for voicing Master Yoda, as well as the Muppets’ Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy – had been trapped in a cumbersome Hutt costume. According
to local authorities, Oz was the last member of the crew to be located, as he floated into Cork Harbour “under his own steam, and fair play to him an’ anyway” in what became, for Oz, a huge “slug-like life preserver” yesterday morning, very near to where the Titanic made its final port of call before sinking.

Location shooting has since moved to a disputed region of North Africa, where director JJ Abrams intends to reduce the need for CGI by filming desert crowd scenes of a destitute people in dire need of rescue in an actual sandy landscape.