The death of a trade

I little while ago I mentioned a bit about my misspent youth.

Actually, I mentioned it over six years ago.  Doesn't time fly when you're having fun?

Basically the gist of my reminiscences was that I drank quite a lot.  Weekends had but one function and that was to down the pints.  Great craic.

I remember [most of] those weekends well, and they all had one thing in common – the packed pubs.  The order of the day was to start drinking early or you had fuck all chance of getting a seat let alone a table and a few chairs where a group could sit.  If you were a regular then ordering a round was easy.  You just waited to catch the barman's eye and that was that.  If you weren't a regular you had to fight your way to the bar and then wait patiently while the barman served everyone else but you.

I mentioned that I was in a pub last Friday.  I mentioned it wasn't my regular, which is small and friendly and shunned by a lot of the village.  This pub is more your modern Irish pub with televisions everywhere, piped music, no smoking, dark and full of chrome and glass.

We arrived there around nine.  It's a big place and was full of empty seats.  I would say there were around ten people at the most.  We went out the back where they generously provide very uncomfortable steel chairs for those of us who like a pipe with our pint.

At intervals, I went back into the pub for an order or a piss.  Two people!  Not the same two people [they must take shifts?] but from around ten 'til midnight there was never more than two people in the entire vast lounge.  And this was a Friday night?

I went back the next evening to see if my pipe had turned up [it hadn’t] and once again the place was almost empty – no more than ten at the most and the staff were just hanging around, picking their fingernails and staring at the silent flickering television screens.  And this was now Saturday night?  The traditional night for a pint?

Pints haven't increased that much since the seventies, relatively speaking.  They still cost an arm and a leg so there's nothing new there.  Some will blame cheap drink from the supermarkets, but unless you like gnat's piss beer the prices aren't that hectically cheap, and anyway drinking at home isn't for those who like to socialise.  Others will say it's the clamp down on drink driving.  Possibly that would deter some but not an entire pubfull?  Still more will blame the recession, but that's a load of bollox.  The decline started before the peak of the boom years.

It's strange though how the massive decline in pubs started at a particular time?  It started in early 2004, long before the crash of '08.

I wonder what the hell happened to cause that?

 

 

Unacceptable

Apparently a bar opened a couple of nights ago in Australia.

As part of the grand opening festivities they had some slightly unusual plates for fruit for the punters.

Fruit Platter

Now I would be only too happy to pluck a grape off that, but it seems some people were somehow offended.

In fact Melanie James considers this "unacceptable".

Why?

Hot on her heels comes Sandra Eckersley who considers it "TOTALLY unacceptable".

Why?

Then there is Helen McDonald who describes it as "horrifying".

Why?

Who are these paragons of virtue who set standards for what is acceptable and what isn't?  What fucking business is it of theirs? 

I note these Twitter users [and they are indeed almost the very definition of the Twitter Great Outraged] use one of those tags "#destroythejoint" which surely implies incitement to violence?  I find that TOTALLY unacceptable.

I will assume for the sake of argument that these fruit platters were not drugged, were happy and willing to do the job and were well paid so I can't see what can possibly be unacceptable about anything?

Possibly these moral police were pissed that there were topless blokes there but who weren't acting as plates?  Hence the claim of "classic misogyny"?

There is a very good reason why women are suitable as plates and men aren't.  You see a man can lie prone and have fruit placed all over him including his floppy parts.  But a situation might arise where an adjoining platter may give him a seductive wink just as her strategically placed bunch of grapes is removed, or indeed some innocent customer might give one of his plumbs a gentle squeeze, in which case his floppy bits may suddenly cease to be floppy and he might rise to the occasion?  Someone reaching for a banana might find themselves holding something quite unexpected?

We couldn't have that?

That would be unacceptable.

Personally I think it's a brilliant way to get people to eat more fruit?

I just wish they'd introduce it here.

It would give a whole new meaning to my "5 a day".

Lifestyle my arse

I had a little bet with myself a month or so ago.

I won!

I was betting on the number of entries into the blog awards thing.

You see, they gave 18 categories, where you were either a specialised site or you weren’t.  There were categories for Automotive and for Diaspora, but none for Personal.  There was Beauty and Innovation but none for Humour.  There was nothing for the Newcomer but Youth was included.  And if you weren’t specialised, you were all lumped into Lifestyle.

Lifestyle includes [apparently] Dating, Dieting, Gardening, Eco/environmental, Interests or Hobbies, Gender Issues, Pets, Interior Design, Finance, Sport, Money Saving, Architecture, Personal Blog or Weddings.  Quite an eclectic mix?

So my little bet was that “Lifestyle” would be grossly oversubscribed, and I also had a side bet that Beauty and Fashion would also heavily outweigh the others.

The “Long List” was published yesterday and I did a quick count of the sites in each category –

  • Art & Culture – 64
  • Automotive – 3
  • Beauty – 120
  • Diaspora – 28
  • Digital & Tech – 8
  • Education & Science – 23
  • Entertainment – 35
  • Fashion – 100
  • Food & Drink – 67
  • Health & Wellbeing – 63
  • Innovation – 15
  • Irish Language – 3
  • Lifestyle – 201
  • Marketing & Comms – 8
  • Parenting – 46
  • Photography – 25
  • Travel – 30
  • Youth – 43

Or, to put them in order of numbers –

  • Lifestyle – 201
  • Beauty – 120
  • Fashion – 100
  • Food & Drink – 67
  • Art & Culture – 64
  • Health & Wellbeing – 63
  • Parenting – 46
  • Youth – 43
  • Entertainment – 35
  • Travel – 30
  • Diaspora – 28
  • Photography – 25
  • Education & Science – 23
  • Innovation – 15
  • Digital & Tech – 8
  • Marketing & Comms – 8
  • Automotive – 3
  • Irish Language – 3

So I win my little bet.

Funny how the crowded categories [apart from Lifestyle] are Beauty and Fashion?  Very pink?  Nah!  That’s misogynistic.  Just my imagination.

If anyone wants to see the long list, it’s here, but it isn’t much use because there aren’t any links.  Someone ought to tell them that the Interweb is all about links?

I don’t kid myself.  I won’t win and that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  There are more important things in life like regular readers and maybe giving the odd chuckle from time to time. Apart from anything else, this post would have sunk any chance I might have had!  I couldn’t afford to go anyway at €75 a seat.

But from now on I will be writing exclusively about cars.

In Irish, of course.

Lukewarm boiling water

There is a plague in modern society that seems to go largely unnoticed.

For once, I’m not on about the Nanny State or the Prohibitionists.

I refer to the plague of litigation.

There was a time when people would sue their employer if they lost an arm or a leg in an avoidable industrial accident.  That’s fair enough – if an employer is cutting corners and being negligent then a certain amount of compensation is due.  In the last couple of decades though this “compensation culture” has crept into our every day lives and like it or not, we all suffer because of it.  People are now suing for just about anything and everything.  You only have to trip and fall these days and you can sue someone, whether it’s the council, your shoe manufacturer or the pub that sold you too much drink.

Virtually every aspect of our lives now has to be insured just in case we are deemed responsible for some imaginary hurt.  A branch falls off one of my trees and scratches someone’s arm – I can be sued.  Someone trespasses on my property and falls in the lake, or scratches themselves on a bramble – I can be sued.  People are suing for the most incredibly banal and trivial reasons and there seems to be no end to it.

There is a case in the courts at the moment.

A ten year old was on a flight to America.  She was asked what she wanted to drink and she asked for tea.  Fair enough.  The girl then spills the tea on herself and sues the airline because the tea was hot!

Naturally the kid is “going to be scarred for life”.  Naturally she suffered “mental anguish and embarrassment”.  And for this, she is demanding $75,000.  What the fuck?

She claims she was not warned that the tea was hot.  It was tea, for fuck’s sake and any twat will tell you that the water has to be boiling to make tea.  Not tepid, not simmering, but boiling.  If the water is anything less than boiling it isn’t a proper cup of tea, but Idiot Child seems to think it necessary to be told this every time she is served with a cup.

Naturally our kid has to be highly successful at something as she has to have a future career that is now ruined forever.  In this case she is “a successful amateur competitive surfer”.  God give me strength!  That makes me a successful amateur competitive tin can kicker I suppose?

The flight attendant placed the cup of tea in a cup holder on the girls tray.  Next thing, suddenly and mysteriously this cup jumps out of the tray and deposits its contents on the girls lap.  Was the cup spring loaded?  Did it have wondrous anti-gravity properties that no one noticed? Or could it just be that the kid was clumsy and knocked it over herself?  Surely that couldn’t be the case, otherwise she’d have to sue herself, and bang goes her dream of $75,000.

You may think this is a trivial case that should be thrown out of court, and you’d be right, but it has consequences.

Firstly it has to go to court in the first place and that incurs costs, ultimately paid for by taxes and higher air fares.

The most important consequence though is that all industry is now running scared in case some trivial case is brought against them, and as a result we have soaring insurance costs.  Also, just to be on the safe side we have all these irritating little signs warning us that knives are sharp and that we shouldn’t play with chainsaws.  Buy anything these days and there is a list of potential and often ridiculous dangers attached to it.

I suppose next we’ll have signs on the sides of kettles?

“Danger!  Boiling water may be hot.”

 

 

Inside the mind of a psychotic

I came across a website a day or two ago.

It gave me a good laugh and I played with it for a long time – at least ten seconds – before getting bored with it.

Now we are all familiar with the concept of searching for a shop that sells an item which we wish to purchase.  The Interweb is awash with sites that will find your desired item and point you to the nearest and/or cheapest retailer.

The site I came across does the opposite.

This site tells you where you can’t buy something, namely tobacco.

The site is interesting from two different aspects.

If I want to buy a packet of cornflakes for example, where do I go?  I go to a shop that sells cornflakes presumably.  It doesn’t matter a damn to me if they also sell butter as I don’t need butter and I shall just pass by that aisle.  So why on earth would I go online to find a shop that specifically sells cornflakes but not butter? 

The most interesting aspect of the site though is that it gives a glimpse into the twisted deluded mind of the Anti-Smoker Fanatic.

I would hazard a guess that 99.99% of the worlds’ population doesn’t give a flying fuck about smoking, cigarettes of tobacco.  They either smoke or they don’t and the only time anyone actually turns his or her mind to the subject is when he or she is about to light up.  The Fanatics are doing their best to remind everyone of the subject by plastering signs everywhere but they are now so ubiquitous that I doubt anyone even notices them these days.  They are also doing their best to indoctrinate kids with their fanaticism which will indeed increase awareness and more than likely will have the opposite to the intended effect – make kids aware of something and they’ll want to try it out of pure curiosity.

Our Fanatic though seems to spend every waking moment obsessing on the subject and is under the insane illusion that everyone else thinks the same way.

How many people are going to use this site?  How many sane rational people are going to actually go to the trouble to find a shop that doesn’t sell a particular item?

I presume the concept is that shops will suddenly discover a drastic fall off in trade due solely to this website and that they will close their tobacco section in order to reclaim their lost trade?  For this to happen, virtually the entire customer base would have to play the game and by using the website would transfer their shopping elsewhere. 

These people are certifiably insane if they really seriously think that people in their thousands are going to go out of their way to avoid a shop simply because it sells tobacco products.  If the shop down the road sells what you are looking for, are you seriously going to travel to another far less convenient shop just on the basis of a deluded principle?

These people really seriously need some professional help.

What they need is a nice quiet little room with nice soft padded walls. 

Maybe a little tablet or two?

And a cigarette to calm their nerves?