Are you a racist now, Father?

A few points struck me recently while having a chinwag with Sociology PhD candidate Yaqoub BouAynaya

(That links to his photography site - he's a snapper of some talent too. Multimedia makes up a portion of his thesis.)

More on this story later!
Yaqoub had spent some time in Japan and he made the point that he could almost as easily identify as Japanese as he does as an Irishman. I had read somewhere (uncorroborated) that the Japanese had made a big brouhaha over the introduction to their Diet of the first "Chinese" parliamentarian a couple of decades ago. It may have been mentioned in Will Ferguson's Hokkaido Highway Blues. (It's actually a very funny read as I look it up again, but I can't find the source and I'm not buying it again to find out.)

Whichever author made this claim suggested that the Japanese were racist. I want to add that the Chinese politician wasn't Chinese-born - he was half Chinese, or of Chinese heritage. But he had been born and raised in Japan.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar
We're not that bad. We don't make a big deal about the recently-uncloseted Minister for Health being half-Indian. We couldn't care less where gay politician Leo Varadkar comes from, as long as he does a good job at the health department.

He'd like you to know that he's doing a good job. As Social Democrats candidate and local councillor Cian O'Callaghan pointed out eight months back, the Department of Health doubled the expenditure on public relations to €1.5 million while frontline services continue to be curtailed. If you're hearing any good news from the Department of Health these days - despite the hospital trolleys and waiting lists - it's probably thanks to that big PR drive!
Whatever way you want to spin things, a few of the doctors and nurses Leo himself is clamouring for could be brought in using this €700 or 800 grand PR increase in order to actually improve things, rather than give the appearance of a well-run healthcare system.

Arguments for US gun control 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.

On the issue of kids being raised as killing spree punks, and the availability of guns...

Family break-up is a Western problem as much as an American one. Children aren't being raised the way they used to be. I'd suggest that they're given the freedom to express their views, which can lead to critical thinking or turn them into punks. I believe the previous generations' education far better than mine. Standards are slipping with each generation in many respects, and kids can speak out in class in ways that would've got me into detention as a kid, and the previous generations caned, or whatever else. But the old ways included more kids with learning difficulties being overlooked or left behind. The old ways included abuse.

It goes without saying that a criminal accesses handguns more easily in Ireland than I could. There are gangland shootings here and in the UK every week. 

We read in the news about people getting shot in Ireland all the time. Broadly speaking, the general public does not have guns here. I am sure we have our fair share of teenaged lone wolves who struggle to meet girls, and disgruntled postal workers who've been made redundant. There was a poor young man here who killed two of his younger brothers recently, and an inquiry of some kind into it. The kid had schizophrenia and he was adopted; his brothers weren't adopted. I don't know what was going through his mind. But he didn't have the option of going into a shop and stocking up on armaments, or even reaching into a parent's bedroom safe. 

Why not take away the guns from EVERYONE, and start now, through harsh punishments for those found with guns, or those who use guns? A firearms offense carries less leniency in the Irish courts than an assault with a stick or a knife. You punch a guy and break his arm, you're likely to walk. You SHOOT a guy in the arm, and he gets a flesh wound, that's jail time.

You have the same or similar family and education issues in all of the Anglophone territories today. Canada, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand. There are punks everywhere! But there aren't guns everywhere. And it's the country with the most guns that has the most gun crime.

Good education rather than gun control?

Like alcohol and weed and chocolate, you can't abuse something if it's not in the house. Speaking of chocolate, the Swiss are among the most armed nations in the world. Yet they're not the society of wackjobs that the rest of us seem to be. We need to figure out why, but a far quicker solution is to take away guns. There are problems with our culture(s) that we're all figuring out, and a lack of gun control does not help. How long will it take to adopt the Swiss model, or the Swedish model or whatever model, when it comes to education and respect and parenting, if that starts tomorrow? And how many more decades will we continue to have people with this sense of entitlement who think they can turn up at school and shoot up the classrooms? One decade? Half a decade?

If good education and parenting started tomorrow across the board, you'd still have as many guns, and the kids might be more responsible three or five years from now. But that's long term. The underpaid, under-resourced, fully-armed teachers would do their best to employ new education techniques, and parents might start raising great kids through community initiatives. But what about the punks who've already left school, already forgotten by the system? The disgruntled employee? The spurned lover? The diaper-wearing astronaut? The radical fundamentalist? The child who thinks it's a toy? They can still get the guns. If you start taking the GUNS away tomorrow, there'll be far fewer accidents and incidents.

Difference in outlook and Seasonal Affected Disorder

This is the view towards the west in the morning.

This is the view towards the east.
This is literally looking from left to right across a canal on the north side of Dublin. The photos are untouched; I snapped them because I couldn't believe how stark the difference was.

Easy to see how somebody traveling to work heading one way every morning might be more miserable than someone heading the other. Insert your own appropriate metaphor here.

Thanksgiving Tradition Thursday: The Hairy Man

The best Thanksgiving tradition is that of the Hairy Man – or the
ear ye man – who comes around to everybody’s houses to warm their beds on blustery Thanksgiving evenings.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four,
The Hairy Man will warm your bed,
’Fore you lay down your weary head.
He calls to the door at ten o’ the clock,
Takes off his shoes but leaves each sock.
Gets under the sheets for a short while,
Then leaves it warm with a broad smile.
To the next family with cold beds,
He calls before they rest their heads.

One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four…

And so on.

Top 5 Advocacy Posts in The Social Media This Thursday

WTF? Why was everyone wearing poppies for Heroin Awareness Week? Isn't that throwing it in our faces?
The UK's Unaware of the Outside World Drugs Awareness Group, which celebrates its Heroin Awareness week during Remembrance celebrations.

4Thanxgiving shave ur head. Remove skin. Expose skull. BThankful it didnt happen more often or U wouldnt be here! & GTF off my lawn. The Native American Campaign for Diversity Awareness.
While they're boiling, adding salt can extract the moisture out of a vegetable, so what you're left with is a lovely fluffy potato.
-from the Forum for Potato Cruelty

Tip: Beat up a beggar today so bad he ends up in the hospital for a few nights!
-Institute for the Advancement of Non-Homelessness

Pop Ya Colla! Such a shame we no longer have Cantona, with Usher burning up the charts back in 2001!
-Manchester United Fans keen to see a return to the year 2001.

Clean as Gold Pants? Spinning Around

The Andrex ad shows a bunch of adults grimacing when they're asked how clean they feel after they've taken a dump. Then they ask a bunch of Andrex-using kids the same question. 

There are surely a number of problems with this. Kids are WAY worse at wiping their asses than adults, and it's the adults who are grimacing.

One kid says he feels "as clean as a crocodile."

Like crocodiles are clean? If you get even a graze from a croc, their teeth are so riddled with bacteria that the blood poisoning will kill you if the croc doesn't eat you.

Gold pants are clean too according to the ad. One kid says he feels as clean as gold pants?

Certainly not the gold pants Kylie bought from an Oxfam shop and wore in the Spinning Around video in 2001. 'Magine how much worse they must be now!
The moral of the story is we shouldn't be taking advice from barely toilet-trained children on how clean our asses are.

UK Reality TV roundup

I've just realised where I've seen I'm a Celebrity's Lady Colin before:

I'm not saying she looks like Planet of the Apes' Hira PHYSICALLY. She's a good looking woman -  although that argument could be made. But all of her mannerisms, sass and attitude are PURE Dr. Hira.

 Also: Here's what they should do on the Xtra Factor. Get Rolf Harris to Skype in every week from
prison. The problem with the X Factor is the absence of Louis Walsh.

Who doesn't miss Louis's cheeky innuendo?

So rope pervy old Rolf in every week, from his cell or his Ebola ward, to talk about his didgeridoo or his wobble board or whatever.

Poor Simon - the traditional figure of hate on the show - has been humanised in recent times, right? Because of all his wife-stealing.

So ROTFL Harris can use the Web 9.6 technologies to become the new villain to sink our teeth into! That'll drive up the ratings again. Added bonus: His fee could go towards maintaining his

Too Hard to Handle By Anamika Mishra

          Too Hard To Handle
Anamika Mishra

ISBN:  9788178359946

Publisher: Kalpaz Publications

MRP:  250 (paperback)

Blurb: Anushree Sharma is twenty five, uninitiated in the matters of love, and endlessly confused about her life’s decisions. She is getting married to Vivaan Mathur. But after getting officially engaged she realizes that vivaan should know about her past which is full of blames on her, series of misunderstandings, betrayal from friends, innocent crushes, stupid decisions etc. She is in dilemma till she finds a way out –a diary. But there is something else written in her fate!
How fate turns up out of the blue and how it can change one’s life forever is the story of Too hard to handle.

A sweet, simple yet an intriguing novel trying to find out what is more important in a relationship –Past, Present or future and what happens when you try to mess with the flow of life.

About the Author: Author of 'Too Hard To Handle', Anamika is writer and motivational speaker. Being a full-time blogger, she is also an unbound traveller and an amateur photographer. Writing is her first love. When not writing, she loves to play with her pet, scribble in her Blog , click photographs and travel across the nation.Too hard to handle is her debut novel. It is an irresistible and witty novel with an essence of philosophy. There are many e-books to her credits amongst which 22 Golden Keys To A Happy Life is very popular with youth.