Colm O'Regan's blog

"This year, children, there’ll be no spring until summer." Colm O'Regan on climate change

05/04/13 at 09:03 AM | 0 Comments

Irony: It’s a word often misused and shoehorned into places it shouldn’t be. Like “austerity” it has become a catch-all for many things that are really just a pain in the hoop. There is an old truism that virtually nothing in Alanis Morrisettes’s song ‘Ironic’ was ironic. (Although writing a song called “Ironic” that isn’t ironic could itself be regarded as ironic, but I don’t think that was her intention). 

For cosmic irony - which in essence means the Gods having a good old laugh at our expense - you wouldn’t have to look much further than this year’s spring.

Latest data from Met Eireann indicates that our weather at the moment is cold – and when the figures are seasonally adjusted it’s even colder.

All Property Accounted For: Colm O'Regan on assessing your home for the Local Property Tax

22/03/13 at 08:59 AM | 0 Comments

You clearly don’t mess with people’s bank accounts in Cyprus. It was like a scene from the film 300, except instead of Spartans going around without their tops on, Cypriot politicians, kicked the sleeveen emissary from the ECB down a well and Shouted WE. ARE. CYPRUS!

Taking money from poor people’s savings is not an avenue Cyprus wants to go down. We’re more relaxed about it here. Last weekend, many Irish self-imposed a 7% levy on their own bank accounts… and then spent it all on drink.

And a week before that, Revenue said they would collect any unpaid Local Property Tax from your bank account as well. Revenue are not implacable however. Because, as they admit themselves, up to half of their house-value estimates may be wrong, householders will have to try and work out themselves how much their own house is worth. But how did they get it so wrong?

Benediction: Colm O'Regan imagines the Pope's diary during his first week of retirement

08/03/13 at 09:07 AM | 0 Comments

Thursday February 28th

The last day! It wasn’t too hectic. Most of it just Handover stuff and most of that was in one file: “InfallibilityForIdiots.doc”. Then I started composing my Out Of Office Reply until I realised I’d need a new email address. Apparently pope@vatican.va will be needed for the next guy, so I’m stuck with benedict17@gmail.com. I couldn’t even get benedict16 – which would have suited me but it was gone. Who are all these Benedicts?

There wasn’t much work done in the afternoon. There was some muttering about the fact that I wasn’t having a “Leaving Do” but I didn’t even know you were supposed to have one. No one has ever left this job before. Usually the Leaving Do and the Funeral are the same event. Anyway – I heard about Berlusconi’s one and that’s the kind of carry-on we really don’t need now.

 

Trip Advisor: Colm O'Regan's guide to dealing with holiday snobbery

22/02/13 at 12:50 AM | 0 Comments

“What do you know about Bratislava?”

“Yeah – sounds... authentic”

I clap my hand to my mouth in horror. Oh no! what have I said?

The traditional February fatigue has set in and thoughts have turned to holiday fantasies. We’re planning to travel around a bit of Europe by train and wondering where to stop. The world isn’t really our oyster. We don’t have the financial muscle to go on planes with tellies so we’ve decided on a short flight to visit the local continent. My wife is naming cities and I am responding.

Like a vestigial tail, the “authentic” response is the shrivelled remains of the extreme holiday snobbery from which I used to suffer.

Thread Needle: Colm O'Regan makes his annual trip to a gentlemen's clothing store

08/02/13 at 08:56 AM | 0 Comments

Don’t get Ketchup on your good shirt now.  

Too late. I had woken up that morning with the unmistakeable craving for a sausage sandwich. Not porridge and egg and a refreshing smoothie but a dirty, succulent, corpulent sausage sandwich. The one concession to health was that the sausages sizzled on our George Foreman. The alternative: getting one at a petrol station deli counter with pork content so low it could actually be halal.

I’m paying for this indulgence now as the ketchup comes sailing out on that first reckless bite, landing on my only clean shirt.

It’s a pity it didn’t fall on The Fleece.

Telly Binge: Colm O'Regan on the new national sport: competitive television watching

25/01/13 at 09:31 AM | 0 Comments

It’s the week of Blue Monday – and I don’t mean a week of celebrations to commemorate New Order’s seminal 1983 hit. Statistically, the third Monday of January is the most miserable day of the year. Even children are likely to feel the gloom, with Madame Snow once again toying with their emotions.

“Hey kids wanna play? You like snowmen and snowballs? Of course you do! But you don’t always get what you want do you? Here’s a thaw to teach you about disappointment!”

As adults eat the last desolate orange truffle in the box of Roses on the empty desk at work and children struggle to pack one last wodge of wet Mr Freeze-style snow from the roof of the car into a miserable icy snowball, the only refuge is watching the telly.

Or rather a form of telly-watching. 

Destination Nation: Colm O'Regan on how to entertain your Gathering visitors

11/01/13 at 09:03 AM | 0 Comments

A few days after the New Years Eve fireworks, the reality is dawning. SOMEONE – don’t ask who, it wasn’t me - is after inviting a load of visitors to come to Ireland this year. I wish we’d been given more notice. The place is in a bit of a heap. And what’s worse, the visitors are returning emigrants and you know what they’ll be like. It will be all comments like: “By hand?! In Australia we have a machine to do that” and “Is that your tallest building? My poolhouse in Fort Worth, Texas is at least a storey higher.”

The Gathering has begun. People from all over the world have been invited to stay during the year. In order to give us a chance to make the tea and see if we’ve enough mugs, it’s best to do what you would do with any visitor: Take them away out for a spin somewhere while we sweep the floor.

Forward thinking: Assuming there is still a world in 2013, Colm O'Regan looks ahead to see what it might be like

21/12/12 at 06:08 PM | 0 Comments

Forward thinking: Assuming there is still a world in 2013, Colm O'Regan looks ahead to see what it might be like... 

January

Phil Hogan, following the example of Shell Corrib Gas Tunnelling machine (called Fionnuala after the children of Lir), announces plans to name other unpopular measures after Irish mythical figures. The Household charge is renamed The Deirdre of The Sorrows Charge  - because it was doomed from the start.

Meanwhile the government sells the rights to drill gas in Dublin Bay - in exchange for a handful of beans - to a man they met on the way to the fair. The proposal to plant the beans and scale the resultant beanstalk to retrieve the Giant’s gold hits a snag as An Bord Pleanala reject the massive green swaying structure as being “unsympathetic with the skyline”. 

 

February

Present And Correct: Colm O'Regan's guide to thoughtful Christmas gifting

07/12/12 at 09:03 AM | 0 Comments

You’ve kept it hidden during the month of December, or perhaps the twelve hours between when you bought it and Christmas morning. You’ve carefully wrapped it with some paper that is both aesthetically or emotionally resonant with the gift itself. Or else used the trimmings from a sibling’s gift-wrapping session.

Either way, the moment of handing over the present is at once exciting and terrifying. More often than not, the moment is a let-down. Not necessarily because they don’t like the present but because they can’t register a reaction quickly enough as they try to figure out what it is you’ve  bought them.

In Tweetment: Colm O'Regan's guide to understanding social media

23/11/12 at 09:38 AM | 0 Comments

“And would you have much to do with this oul Twitter?” Chances are some of you may have uttered or encountered this sentence recently. A similar question has been asked about previous innovations over the centuries. It usually occurs when the public and private chatter about a new paradigm has become impossible to ignore. It has been heard from the start of this century “I suppose all of your friends now have these mobile phones.” right back to antiquity “And would you have much to do with this oul Fire?”. At some point the curiosity of the majority is piqued. This point is often where ‘The New Thing Now’ very publicly collides with a bastion of What We’re Used To.

Now that time has come for Twitter and the one single event that made it relevant? When it got Pat Kenny into trouble.

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