George Hook's blog

There is a line across which, even at the height of fervour, decent people must not go, says George Hook. When peaceful protests become violent, that line has definitely been crossed.

20/11/14 at 11:58 PM | 0 Comments

The borderline is an invisible line between right and wrong; an undocumented barrier to anarchy and an important marker between respect and intolerance.

It’s a wavering line that serves as a hidden separation between two frustrated parties and it provides a subconscious division between what society deems to be acceptable and what it does not. Without such a borderline, society's morals would be fudged into confusion and lawlessness.

The defining characteristics of this line in any one individual are determined by a number of factors, including education, integrity, empathy and the subjective power of conscience.

Where the latter is concerned, a show of restraint in the face of overwhelming anger and frustration might allow two sides to engage in a meaningful and productive debate that may not have otherwise been possible.

We are becoming a nation of softies, spoiled and cossted by modern conveniences and ruined by the ‘quick fix’, says a highly evolved George Hook.

14/11/14 at 12:04 AM | 0 Comments

In tandem with the advances in toilet paper over the years, we have all been getting softer with time. Time was, when I was a lad, I could walk into a cubicle in a public house and wipe my backside with the front page of the Irish Express and I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

Today, my delicate posterior wouldn't survive two aggressive scrubs with such coarse material without an inevitable outbreak of piles.

No, today's George Hook is pampered with lotions and oils to protect his sensitive buttocks from the horrors of rash and abrasion. I demand a certain standard of tissue on my derrière and I refuse to suffer an inferior product.

My younger self would consider the present day Hook a snob and a wimp. But today, I am as rational and reasonable as the next alpha male. Society has universally shifted its standard of living from basic necessity to spoiled pomposity in a matter of decades and we are all the softer for it.

The weather has been unseasonably mild of late, but as we face into the inevitable chill George Hook implores us to be mindful of those for whom winter is hardest

06/11/14 at 11:42 PM | 0 Comments

A bitter cold snap is fast approaching. As I write, forecasters frown with solemn faces, warning of change, imploring us to brace ourselves for the inevitable.

By the time you read this, Ireland may have already switched from bright skies and Autumn ease to grey gloom and depressing dusk. Weather, like time, waits for no man and with the passing of the hours and the changing of the sky from blue to grey, we wait in anxious anticipation for the arrival of Jack Frost.

Winter, this year, has waited patiently for long enough. With each passing week since the end of September, we have all been living on borrowed sunshine. It was beautiful and it was welcome while it lasted as the warm glow and extra heat gave an unexpected lift to the country.

'Something is rotten in the State' says George Hook, who has no stomach for the aroma of hypocrisy

31/10/14 at 11:32 AM | 0 Comments

Nothing suffocates the senses quite like the overwhelming stench of hypocrisy. It is a strange sensation, uncovering a hypocrite; like a gush of revulsion seeping from one’s pores. The human system struggles to process hypocrisy because it carries at its core an unnatural shiver and it cuts across the very essence of mankind.

Hypocrites are liars. They say one thing and do the opposite. Hypocrites preach the gospel before supping with the devil. Theirs is an eager voice until their falsity is exposed. And then, like the naked emperor laid bare on the street, the rest of us can see the truth behind the fake bravado; the depressing reality behind the mirage.

Having been MC at Google's Silver Surfer awards, George Hook has a new appreciation for how some members of his own generation have developed a mastery of computers and the Internet that could put their grandchildren to shame.

24/10/14 at 12:03 AM | 0 Comments

Ireland is going to hell in a hand basket as callow politicians are failing to live up to their responsibilities in their frantic need to get elected. There is a generation of Irish men and women who made this country by dint of their application of what are now seen as redundant principles: Living within one’s means; saving for the rainy day; or giving a fair day’s work in turn for a fair day’s pay are considered out of date and old-fashioned.

This week, I was reminded of the great strengths of that generation. I saw their ability to adapt, their unwillingness to give in and above all an astonishing faith in the future, which was inspiring. As regular readers of this column know, I am very strong in my belief that being involved with young people is the only antidote to ageing badly. Sometimes, however one needs a reality check. It's good to see how my co-pensioners are doing. 

The Dáil giveth and the Dáil taketh away...George Hook breaks down the budget and concludes that all is not as it seems.

17/10/14 at 01:12 AM | 0 Comments

Survival in politics is a bit like plotting a way through a night at a casino. Politicians gamble all the time. They study the odds, count the risks and roll the dice in the hope that their calculations come up trumps. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but with every gamble there is risk and reward. Get it right and the rewards come in. Punt the wrong way though, and the house takes all; and you might just lose your seat too.  

Watching the Minister for Finance deliver his budget speech in the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't help but feel that the Irish government was taking a gamble without knowing too much about the form.

The give-aways rolled off Michael Noonan's tongue like chips on a roulette table. Decreases in tax rates here, cuts in levies there...the only ones to feel the wrath of his words were the last of the Irish smokers' club who buy legally.  

'Lies, damn lies and statistics' draw the ire of George Hook this week, as he contemplates the findings of a recent survey concening the driving ability of young women and men.

09/10/14 at 11:49 PM | 0 Comments

I think we may have finally reached the stage where a survey result carries about as much scientific weight as one of Hans Christian Andersen’s finest. In fact, I would argue that attaching any kind of serious research results to a survey these days only serves to devalue and dilute the whole process.

Surveys are a marketer’s dream and it is not difficult to see why.

Any company can commission a study and slant it to serve its own ends. Said company can then publish the findings in a skewed, yet subtle, process of statistical conclusions using smoke and mirrors and hey presto! The company achieves the desired results.

With enough imagination and creative analyses, one can pretty much prove anything.

Take the latest findings in a Trinity College Dublin study that found 80pc of females aged between 17 and 22 improved their driving behaviour after receiving feedback, compared with just 20pc of males.

Regressive attitudes and relics of a bygone era continue to hold us back, says George Hook, particularly when it comes to sex, sexuality and the human body.

02/10/14 at 11:30 PM | 0 Comments

How many prudes does it take to spoil an advertising campaign? Just one, apparently.

There are conservatives, there are right wing extremists and then there is one member of Ireland's population who saw fit to complain about a Newbridge jewellery ad campaign. According to this poor unfortunate, the sight of Roz Purcell's "poses, facial expressions and clothing" were too provocative.

The ad poster and short video, in case you haven't seen them, depict the Irish model in a series of poses to showcase the latest range of jewellery from Newbridge. The pictures themselves wouldn't look out of place above the dinner table in a convent, while the video showcases Purcell's modelling talent in an eye catching, but tasteful manner.

After one solitary complaint from an unnamed individual the ad was canned. Money, time and a lot of effort went down the toilet to appease the conscience of a disgruntled nay sayer.

There's more to sport than simply outplaying a team, says George Hook; you have to out-think them too

26/09/14 at 12:08 AM | 0 Comments

Last Sunday afternoon, at a bustling, sunny Croke park, the Kerry senior footballers found a way past an unbeatable system. The 2014 All Football Ireland final was a fascinating encounter for many reasons, but alas, for the majority of GAA purists, it wasn't even worth their time of day.

Neutrals and armchair pundits blasted the game as boring; a spectacle unfit for the icy winter afternoons of the O'Byrne Cup, much less the season ending showpiece in the summer sunshine.  Instead of praise for the victors and consoling pats on the back for the losers, both sets of players were widely condemned for their mediocrity. It was sad to see.

As contests go, I thought Sunday’s game was absorbing and engrossing in equal measure. Two teams, evenly matched in skill and stature, picked each other apart from the opening exchanges in an enthralling battle of wits.

Idiots and gombeens must be avoided at all costs, but the trick is to recognise them.

19/09/14 at 02:57 AM | 0 Comments

A long life of observation has given George Hook a keen insight into other human beings, and he's come to the conclusion that a great many of the other human beings on the planet are intolerable, worthless wastes of time and space. Here's a handy guide to what not to do to if you want to stay on his good side!

Life, as we all know, is desperately short. How effectively we use what little time we have separates the efficient from the inefficient. Time is a precious commodity that appreciates with age and as I have grown older my tolerance for idiots and fools has dropped to below base level. I have now reached the point where anyone that attempts to steal away what little time I have left with stupidity and nonsense is left to one side and ignored.

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