George Hook's blog

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within one’s means; saving for the rainy day; or giving a fair day’s work in turn for a fair day’s pay are considered out of date and old-fashioned.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.

Like it or not, says George Hook, we still have an awful habit of judging books by their covers - something overweight people know only too well. But who's to blame?

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

First impressions take seconds to make and can last a lifetime. Experience should teach us the value of a considered judgement but more often than not, the more we learn, the better equipped we consider ourselves to be entitled to make a snap judgement.

The reasons for this are pretty self explanatory. It is impossible to ignore gut instinct when appraising another human being. The old mantra handed down from early childhood of 'trust your gut, follow your instincts' holds firm in later life. If instinct and experience rule the formation of a first impression, most of us are bound by what we see.

"How does the rest of the world approach a resolution?" asks George Hook as he contemplates the latest ISIS atrocity

05/09/14 at 12:48 AM | 0 Comments

When I was a child, I leaned on my father for advice. He had an incredible way of soothing any doubts and fears that I might have had with a few considered words. As I got older, I learned that his pearls of wisdom came from a combination of books and life experience. It was my father who gave me a ferocious appetite for literature.

One afternoon I came home from school upset. A new boy from another class had been giving me a tough time over a number of weeks and, despite my best efforts, I could not shake off his unwanted attention. Things finally came to a head and we sorted it out as boys generally do.

I was physically bigger than my opponent and I used my size to come out on top, but the whole experience shook me and I rushed home that afternoon in search of my father’s solace.

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.

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