Friday, 30 October 2009

Financial Fascists.

Trying to save a penny here and there is most folk’s way of managing and saving for a rainy day. However in today’s society, it can be trickier than it first appears.

I try to pay with cash nowadays and stay away from using debit and credit cards for obvious reasons.

But it is galling to walk into my local arts and craft shop to make a minor purchase only to be told that the store has a minimum purchase policy. Currently this store insists that customers spend at least £5.00 when paying by debit card. Other convenience shops I frequent set their minimum limit at £10.00!
This is nothing more than blackmail. Faceless financial fascists dictating individual store policy on minimum purchases. Banks need to curtail the hefty but healthy - in their eyes - profits they are making from the racketeering fees they charge storeowners to process card transactions.
It is time to make a stand against these crooks in banking.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

When Tiger Gave 'em A Rest.

A few years ago Tiger Woods played a couple of rounds of golf in Ireland, and one evening after a round at a local course, his car broke down and he had to hitch-hike back to his hotel. A passing farmer stopped and picked him up. Not knowing who Tiger was, nor indeed, anything about golf, the farmer started a friendly conversation with the American legend.

Soon the talk turned to cars and Tiger told the Irishman about the car he drove in the States and how comfortable it was and the way it was easy on his legs and arms because of power steering, automatic transmission, cruise control etc. After a while the conversation trailed off and Tiger began to relax. He took a few golf tees from his pocket and placed them in the ash tray. "What are they "? asked the farmer. "They are my tees" answered Tiger. "Oh" said the country man "and what are they for?"

Tiger said, "They're for putting my balls on".

"Feck me" said the farmer, "youse Yanks think of everything!"

Friday, 25 September 2009

Graduating With Honours.

In recent years Ireland became a trendy venue for groups of young English people to visit for the weekend. Flights had become dirt-cheap, the natives were friendly and Dublin had wall-to-wall pubs. Stag partiers could slope through the streets and throw up without a care in the world and not worry about a Bobbie sneaking up behind them yelling “you’re nicked me son”. Soon a weekend in Temple Bar was not the same if you didn’t trip over a comatose limey in the gutter or see one tied naked to a lamppost with his genitals lathered in industrial soap.
The trend then began to spread, and just recently I read about a court case in Cork from a few years back, when two yobs were arrested for public nudity. “He was walking down the middle of Washington Street. He was totally naked as the day he was born,” said Garda Rice as he gave evidence in court. The report continued, “The two Gardai were on midnight patrol in the city centre when they came upon the two nude doctors. The two British doctors - a cardiologist and a psychiatrist, both of whom are due to sit examinations to be consultants - were in Cork on one of their stag weekends, when they walked about naked after midnight in the city centre”. I suppose it gives them something to do when they are not smoking.

To think that after all these years of attending clinics and hospitals, I was being treated by ex-medical students who probably still owe rent from their student days in the 70‘s and have more than likely defaulted on tuition loans by changing identities, and now sleep in their cars.

Also, if this is how British professionals have always carried on, how did the bastards ever build an empire?

Thursday, 27 August 2009

"Golf is a bourgeois sport."

Hugo Chavez president of Venezuela is on a nationalisation binge and is seizing the assets of foreign owned businesses but apparently he has only the people’s well being in mind as he brings the total of golf courses closed by him to nine in three years. The three latest closures were courses that were built near oil refineries so that American workers could have something to do in their spare time, besides rolling into the nearest village in search of drink and wimmin."I respect all sports, but there are sports and there are sports“ he chirped.

Mr. Chavez, admired by his people for his weekly live broadcasts, which can go on for days, went on to snicker at golf players who transport their balls around in golf carts and was quite haughty in his demeanour as he attacked the golfing world with the rhetorical “Do you mean to tell me this is a people's sport?". Maybe not Hugo, but please understand that golfers are not lazy. For example, bad player that I am, I use golf carts occasionally but only for the sake of my balls which, if you ever saw them and how bruised and swollen they become when I am finished with them, then you might understand and have a little more room in your heart for golfers and forgive us our little indulgences.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Great Supermarket Con Trick.

Now Tesco at Yorkgate, Belfast is refusing to provide plastic bags for customers. It is clear now that the stock control manager of their Newtownabbey store was lying through her teeth. She said, with a straight face, that her suppliers had let her down. A store like the Newtownabbey outlet would spend over £100,000 per year on these bags, so big savings for the local Tesco stores and when you multiply that with Tesco's other stores throughout the UK and Ireland, you are talking in the £millions. Meanwhile they have alternative "green bags" available for for ten or twenty pence each. Food fascists-it's buy our bags for your groceries or pack them into your pockets. So they are planning to actually profit from the recycling craze, as well as saving big.

Will any of these savings be passed on to customers?

No chance. A shameful practice by a company profiting from the global warming and recycling con trick.

In retaliation I have just emptied the contents of a couple of aerosol cans into the atmosphere from my balcony.......just in case it is true what they say and I can hasten the comming of Global Warming-or help create it. We could use some good weather here in Ireland, because we deserve it for having zillions of gallons of rainwater dumped on our heads for thousands of centuries.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Belfast, Too Big For Its Britches.

Built on a bog, Belfast has a large circle of admirers, lead chiefly by itself and seconded by none, and is currently suffering from illusions of grandeur as it tries to spend its way into sophistication and to stake its claim on the European stage of great cities. With money kindly donated from Europe, London and Dublin and the USA, it is currently trying to spend its way into sophistication and elegance through the “do it rightly brigade”, led by, so it seems, Larry Curly and Mo.
Its biggest canker now is Victoria Centre; a multi layered and sugar coated cake, which is slowly melting in the Belfast rain and haemorrhaging money at the speed of light. Since it opened two years ago, this white elephant has been an embarrassment to all concerned as it has seen tenants vacate at rates, sometimes of up to four businesses a week.
Meanwhile the proletariat’s favourite, Castle Court shows no signs of slowing down and, has even seen new tenants move in over the last couple of years. Also, the fishwife’s darling, Primark, continues to go from strength to strength and battleaxes from all over the country continue to flock to the Royal Avenue fortress and lay waste to the clothing displays and by end of each day’s trading the store looks more like Tommy Murray’s* on a bad day.
In the midst of all this bloodletting, the food and entertainment concerns in the city are coping in a fair-to-middling fashion as Belfastians return from abroad and, having experienced an eye opener in Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA are expecting good food from a varied menu, service with a smile and value for money. Having tried a few of the eateries at the Victoria Centre, I discovered that most of them are living up to expectations with only a few hiccups which in all fairness can easily be rectified with better staff traing and acquired knowledge through on-the-job experience.
Simultaneously the City’s habit of closing early must surely be a money-losing tactic and more risks need to be taken by businesses that are willing to extend Belfast’s limited hours of trading and serving if they are to make sustainable profits. At present “late night shopping” until 9.00pm is only operating on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, though most restaurants open for an hour or two longer. Heck, we don’t even have one all night diner in Belfast, and a city with a population of over 1/2million could surely justify the operating of at least one all night greasy spoon.

* Tommy Murray’s: An old rag store on Belfast’s Donegal Street-long since closed.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Free Wheeling Dutch.

The Dutch are a nauseatingly healthy and happy people. This is the conclusion I came to after my first and only visit to Amsterdam a few years back. They are very fond of bicycles, all of which seem to be of pre-World War 2 vintage and is proof that the Dutch were hiding more than fugitive Allied Airmen in their attics, thereby denying the Germans much sought after souvenirs. They have bicycles galore: trains, bicycles, streetcars, bicycles, petrol cars, bicycles, diesel cars, boat taxis and bicycles. Casual in fashion and in outlook, they are the tallest race in the world with slim waistlines and they walk with long strides - when not riding their bikes - and always seem content and the entire population seems to speak fluent English, which is more than can be said for Belfast.
I stepped onto a bike lane one morning and was promptly warned off by the sound of a bell by a smartly dressed woman, pedalling furiously on her way to work in the Red Light district. As she passed, she muttered something definitely unchristian, I believe, but as she was speaking in a foreign language, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, sucked in my Guinness six-pack, and continued on my way.
With this incident echoing around in my head, I was beginning to despair for the Dutch and their healthy and robust lifestyle and their apparent lack of recreational fun when, one night while walking up a darkened lane, I came across a bar which was heaving with humanity. Apparently the clientele were watching a major soccer match, so I did a double take and took a closer look. As I did so, a drunken face was gaping back out the window at me and in the dim light an instant but unlikely Rembrandt was created. He grinned and his moustache rode up to both of his ears, then he made a beeline for the door and out onto the street after me. Not being fluent in Dutch and unfamiliar with the English language as spoken by a drunken Dutchman, I took myself and my beer belly for a sprint up the lane. In the interest of international relations, I didn’t look back as he babbled out, what was probably, the latest score in the game.

As I said, the Dutch are a friendly people.