George Hook's blog

George Hook wonders just who sees the benefit from the GAA ahead of a contentious replay

29/08/14 at 01:11 AM | 0 Comments

Transparency lies at the heart of any modern successful organisation. Governments, societies, clubs and charities must operate in an open manner, where the truth is readily identifiable and the objectives are clear.

One of Ireland's most identifiable and popular sporting organisations, the GAA, has been smothered in criticism this past week.

On Sunday evening, a most exhilarating and enthralling championship match ended in a draw. The GAA announced that Mayo and Kerry would have to replay their All Ireland semi final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick next Saturday evening.

Our government has failed, and continues to fail, by ignoring the issue of abortion says George Hook

22/08/14 at 12:06 AM | 0 Comments

The apathetic and the agreeable tend to carry themselves in silence. Unfortunately for the commonsense argument, positive, forward thinkers are often the least pro-active when it comes to airing personal views. If intelligent, thought-out opinion goes a long way towards framing rational debate, Ireland continues to languish in the murky pit of an incestuous past.

We are all suffering for our subservience. Why does an issue as important as abortion, which goes to the heart of fundamental human rights, continue to be fudged and shirked by successive Irish governments? How is the screaming mob of the minority allowed to continuously disrupt the course of reasonable debate? In this country, it appears free speech is only tolerable if the hardline traditional conservatives have the final say.

George Hook is blown away by the prodigious Rory McIlroy - in spite of all his achievements are his best days yet to come

15/08/14 at 12:37 AM | 0 Comments

 "We may never see his like again"

The drama that was the final round of the USPGA Championship in Valhalla on Sunday night played out to a comfortable script. Casual Irish viewers scrambled anxiously for chinks in Rory McIlroy's armour as he bounced from tee box to green on each of the back nine holes. But, to the trained eye, there was only ever going to be one winner.

His second shot to the par-five tenth was like something out of a computer game. After a front nine that bore frustratingly little fruit, despite his best efforts, McIlroy whipped out a three wood and struck it all of 288 yards to within eight feet of the hole. He marched to the green, sank the putt and the rest is history.

George Hook wonders if Barack Obama will find sanctuary in life after the presidency.

07/08/14 at 11:39 PM | 0 Comments

Carry me to my grave on a shield of my victories and leave my failures far behind. On humble grounds I will meet my maker and eye to eye I will plead my case. And should He deem me fit to pass, I will rise as tall as mountains. For a man must stand on where he has been and not the path he should have taken.

I wonder if Barack Obama will find refuge in retirement or sanctuary in life after the presidency. It has been a difficult few years for the man who would be king; a journey of self examination, full of challenges but with pitfalls with obstacles at very turn. Now his political journey is almost at an end.

Where will history place the first African American President of the United States of America? Will the road behind him bear the proud scars of battles hard fought, or will he glance back, over his shoulder with the sting of bitter regret?

We all know being strong is better than being skinny, says George Hook, but how do we convince our kids?

01/08/14 at 12:52 AM | 0 Comments

Amanda Byram says "being fit is better than being thin". She is absolutely right, of course. In fact, in seven short words, she has forced a very serious issue into the public domain. Byram recently posed on the cover of Women's Health Magazine after two months of intensive training with a personal coach. Her message in the magazine feature is simple: being strong is better than being skinny.

I would have imagined that most people share this same view, but apparently that is not the case. Last week a British newspaper carried a story which featured a 49-year-old man with multiple Guinness World Records for strength and fitness. A large photograph of ex paratrooper Paddy Doyle, topless in a press up position, accompanied an extensive and mind boggling list of his physical endurance achievements from over the years.

80% of statistics are conjured out of thin air says George Hook... and only 55% of people out there know this.

25/07/14 at 12:28 AM | 0 Comments

The manufacturers of beauty products and cosmetics have come up with a cute little scheme to enhance their product appeal. You might have noticed during a few recent television commercials, that statistics will pop up on screen to attest to the strength or reliability of a particular cream or lotion. Generally this takes the form of a survey which might say: "78% of 174 women agree".

The first few times I noticed this, I thought the figure was a bit strange. I mean, why test 174 women? Why not 200? Seems a bit random, no?

But then the lovely Ingrid, clever and pharmaceutically astute as she is, pointed out that the companies involved probably used the highest return quotient when reflecting their survey.

In underage sport, does it really matter who wins and who loses?

18/07/14 at 12:35 AM | 0 Comments

It has been well documented that experiences during childhood carry over into adulthood. As a general rule, positive experiences leave happy memories and encourage development, while negative or bad experiences hamper growth and result in a tentative approach to future dealings.

Children learn as they go along. They pick up things from parents, siblings, friends and the people they meet along the bumpy road to adulthood. Every lesson learned during childhood is a recyclable resource to be drawn upon when needed.

Most kids follow the example they are shown, not the example they are told. If a parent tells a child not to spit while gobbing out of the other side of their mouth, the child will pay little heed to the warning. But if an adult instructs a child to behave at the dinner table, while showing exemplary table manners, the child will follow suit. Kids are smart that way.

The Garth Brooks fiasco presents Ireland as a backward haphazard place in which to do business, says George Hook

11/07/14 at 12:30 AM | 0 Comments

Cards on the table first: I find Garth Brooks' music as appealing as the sound of fingernails scraping across a blackboard. Country 'n' Western music is to me what rap music is to Tchaikovsky. The simple truth is that I was brought up with better taste and the whiney pang of a badly played guitar with a bunch of hillbillies dancing in a line is not for me. Blame it all on my roots.

There is nothing 'artistic' about country infestern music. From the awful checked shirts to the ridiculous mullets, it's stars resemble something out of a new age circus.

The cotton pickin' lyrics are tantamount to a five-year-old expressing his infatuation with the new girl in school, only less articulate. Generally the songs ramble on in the same meaningless mumble for too many verses, with the listener no wiser to any actual meaning at the end.

If rap is a poor man's pop, Country 'n' Western is the last refuge of the musically destitute.

George Hook loves Americans, although there's at least one who isn't too fond of him.

04/07/14 at 12:51 AM | 0 Comments

God bless America and all who dwell within her hefty bosom. If America was standing in front of me right now I'd kiss her hard on her big red lips. My love affair with the Stars and Stripes goes back a long time and I refuse to apologise for my hopeless infatuation. Ingrid has George Clooney as her free pass, I have the United States of America.

America gets me. She accepts me warts and all, and even embraces aspects of George Hook that the lovely Ingrid still finds appalling.

My bulky, awkward frame fits perfectly with America's oversized chairs and baggy pants. My unhealthy appetite for fried food and ice cream coincides wonderfully with America's insistence on extra large portions and second helpings. America gets me and I love her for it.

If prison is punishment for the guilty, it must be unimaginable torture for an innocent man

27/06/14 at 09:35 AM | 0 Comments

Last Sunday, half way through his 61st year, Gerry Conlon passed away. A man for whom life was an unending struggle with demons and regret had little strength to fend off his final maker. Illness broke his body; the last surviving shell where once a spirit shone. Gerry died a free man, burdened by the unrelenting bitterness of a lifetime in captivity.

I remember the day the bomb went off. Back then, Guildford was more familiar to me than most amid long days driving across England in a former life as a salesman. I, like the rest of the country, squirmed in disgust and shame as the horror of that night revealed itself in shocking images of a burning building and bodies being carried out in faceless, white sheets.

Policemen at the scene looked pale, ghostly even. Firemen struggled to contain the blaze as onlookers huddled shivering under blankets. Friends and relatives cried out for victims lost.

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