George Hook's blog

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.

To buy into this World Cup is to condone an organisation that has its foundations in greed and gluttony, says George Hook

20/06/14 at 09:55 AM | 0 Comments

For the first time in my life, I have no interest in the showcase spectacular of the beautiful game. I won't watch a single match or participate in the wheezy fervour that constitutes World Cup excitement.

Save for the obligatory token mention of the goings on in Brazil on The Right Hook over the next four weeks, you will not hear me discussing the World Cup.

Why? Well, it all seems so utterly dysfunctional and hypocritical. The centre piece of FIFA's unending dinner party continues to gorge itself on the fruits of shocking corruption and sleazy back handers and I am not prepared to be just another cheerleader to the madness.

That we all continue to buy blindly into this farce is a disheartening testament to our ambivalence to justice and equality.

Our religious background has forced Irish people into believing we are no good, says George Hook

13/06/14 at 09:41 AM | 0 Comments

Why are Irish people incapable of accepting a compliment? What is it about the Irish psyche that forces us into dizzying discomfort whenever someone says something nice about us?

"Mary is that a new hairdo? You look fantastic"!

"Jesus this old mess, Betty? I just threw it up in a bun this morning, the state of me!"

"Lovely new car Mick, where did you get it?

"This yoke?? Ah sure it's only something to get me from A to B, never mind that, how's your brother?"

Most of us do it. We swat away a compliment in a dismissive growl of self deprecation and fumble immediately for a change of subject. It is almost as if we don't consider ourselves worthy of praise.  "Don't single us out!" we implore, "we're not worthy!"

Contrast Ireland with the American approach. 

"Wow that's quite a vehicle you have their, Chad. Is it new?

"Some of the most successful people I know failed the Leaving Certificate." says George Hook. "Some of the biggest morons I've ever met still refer to it."

06/06/14 at 11:46 AM | 0 Comments

Extricating ones self from a moment and considering the long term consequences of an action represents one of the great challenges in life.

Decisions are always easier with the benefit of hindsight but being able to predict the future is a skill none of us have so far been able to master. As life trundles along we learn to trust our instincts and develop an understanding of our inner selves, so that we may try to follow the right path and choose the best road to take us along our journey.

Negative reflection is a useless and damaging past time. We cannot change the past, so looking back in anger only builds resentment and frustration. I have learned over a number of years to focus on the future and control only what I can control. 

For those about to sit the Leaving Certificate exams, I offer the following advice.

 

Stay calm.  

I did wonder if I would be alive to see the day when Sinn Féin topped the poll, says George Hook, yet last Friday, their supporters voted in their hundreds of thousands

30/05/14 at 09:25 AM | 0 Comments

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it."

Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

Colonel Nathan Jessop in the above mentioned film was undone by his own arrogance. His famous courtroom speech, which still stings in my head from the bitter force of Nicholson's masterful delivery, was to prove his undoing. As the highest ranked officer in the military, Jessop personified Caeser's wife and believed himself to be above reproach. He acted on the instinct of his own gut and let morals and ethics fall by the way side. He neither took advice nor sought consultation. Ultimately, his pig headed defiance cost him his freedom. 

After dragging its heels for far too long on the issue of player concussion, the IRB is finally beginning to do something about it, says George Hook

23/05/14 at 09:57 AM | 0 Comments

Saturday nights Pro12 semi final at the RDS restored my faith in the game of rugby union. As Brian O'Driscoll lay slumped in a heap in the middle of the pitch after smashing his head in a tackle, I questioned whether the Leinster medical staff would do the right thing.

Would the great centre stagger to his feet and insist on playing on for the rest of the second half, as he has done on numerous previous occasions, or would the experts intervene and demand that he come off for treatment?

Thankfully common sense prevailed and in spite of his protests, O'Driscoll was helped off the field of play.  There was little doubt about the seriousness of what had happened; the Ireland centre took a heavy blow to the head in the act of making a tackle and he appeared to be concussed. His head came in direct contact with an opposition players knee and in the sixty seconds that followed, O'Driscoll was unable to move.

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