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Archive for September, 2010

I’m nothing if not helpful.

There’s really no point in just sitting down and complaining about the state of our economy.  It’s time to get off our collective backsides and do something.  I suggested previously how we might torch Anglo Irish Bank premises to make some quick cash.  Ingenious, I think you’ll agree.  Don’t fear, though, that I am a one-trick pony as far as economic stimuli are concerned.  I have, in fact, a fund of creative and innovative ideas to get the ball rolling and stimulate the hell out of our economy.

Tourism:  Invite fact-finding missions to come and observe us.  Economists could come and study how we got into this mess and have a bit of a giggle at our ideas to get out of it.  Psychologists could study how on earth a race with the world’s highest per capita consumption of tea could have been persuaded to spend nearly a fiver on a feeble latte.  Fans of the British Empire could be invited to just walk around tut-tutting at the state of the place.

Film Industry: Make zombie estates around the country available to film companies who needs sets for futuristic, postapocalyptic, dystopian dramas.  Kurt Russell could probably shoot the forthcoming blockbuster “Escape from Ireland” entirely within a two mile radius of Kinnegad.

TV: “Fair City” should be shown five times a day, every day.  There would be work for unemployed actors taking on all the new topical characters – the guy who reposesses 4x4s, the suddenly very busy shoe repair guy et al.  Unemployed carpenters could also be employed to make backdrops for all the new premises that spring up around Carrigstown – the Lidl, the Social Welfare Office, the Cash for Go ld shop and so on.

Manufacturing: Open a factory that sells voodoo dolls bearing the likeness of politicians and senior banking figures. This would have the ancillary benefit of stimulating the needle industry.

Construction Industry:  Build public stocks.  (Self-explanatory)

Also, we could retro-fit zombie hotels to turn them into prisons for when heads start to roll over this mess. *

Service Sector: Hire astrologers and other new age types to determine the best direction for our economic policy.  They couldn’t do any worse that the people in charge now, their dress sense is better and it would be a laugh.

Set up mini-counselling booths on street corners (or we could house them in unused retail units in cold weather) for members of the public to rant about how we are all doomed.  We wouldn’t have to employ real counsellors, of course.  Anyone thick-skinned person with time on their hands would do.   I can imagine plenty of estate agents would fit that description right now.

Well, there it is.  My economic stimulus package.  I can hear the green shoots sprouting already.

I’m busy at the moment with work and the kids, so the Nobel people would have to mail me the cheque for my prize in Economics.  I’m not doing it for the money, of course.  It’s mostly just for the glamour.  And because, like I said, I’m helpful.

* There will be no investigations, much less any arrests, and no heads will roll.  This one was a red herring to see who amongst you was paying attention.  Sorry.

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Here are my thoughts on Brian Cowen’s Interview on Morning Ireland.

Maybe the country is in the mess it’s in because Brian Cowen was sober for all those years.  So let’s not rush to judgement here.  If he wants to give drunken carousing a whirl, what have we got to lose?

The Minister for Finance and my arch-nemesis, Brian Lenihan, is suffering from cancer and I imagine is also very tired from stealing all my money.  But the man is always sharp.  If  someone trying to defeat cancer can summon the energy required for mental clarity, so can everyone else.

Anyone else could probably have got away with blaming the flu.  You have to have a bit of a reputation for this stuff to stick.

A lot of the people throwing stones at Brian Cowen are hypocrites.  Boozy hypocrites.

Finally, other than a somewhat somnambulant quality to his speech, there was very little to distinguish the content of what Brian Cowen said on that day from what he says on any other day.  And that’s not a thought that’s going away any time soon.

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Remember that famous line of Princess Diana’s?  She gazed all doe-eyed and vulnerable at us and said “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”  Well, that’s what it’s like in our house.  Except it’s not Camilla, of course.  There’s me, my Present Husband and our recently arrived cohabitee, Brian Lenihan, Minister for Finance.  And let me tell you he is a high maintenance partner in our relationship.  Quite intrusive.  Such are the conversations that my Present Husband and I now have:

Me:  What did the garage say about the broken window mechanism?

Present Husband:  It’ll be about €160 to fix.

Brian Lenihan: No, you can’t afford that.   Get them to haul the window back manually into the closed position and you can just survive without fresh air.

As if that wasn’t that cheeky enough, he often bypasses my Present Husband completely, which I feel is quite a presumption.  That’s my job.  So Brian and I have conversations that go along the lines of:

Me:  Husband dearest, if the big boxes of washing powder are on special, will you get a few packs?

Brian Lenihan:  No, you can afford just one this week, that’s it.

I can’t quite figure out where he is getting the time to run the economy (into the ground?) because he seems to spend all his time around at my house ruining my fun.  He is like a spoiled child.  So far this year, he has ruined my plans for a new coat, various paint jobs on the house, trees for my garden, dental work, new runners, new shelving,  getting my car window fixed (see above), getting my NCT (see above ) and I can’t even remember the rest.  He regularly throws tantrums in the middle of routine purchases like groceries,  petrol and car tax.  I shudder to think how badly he would behave if I wanted to spend our hard-earned money on something preposterous like dinner and a show.

I’m not entirely sure how to manage this new and highly demanding presence in our house.  At the moment, he holds all the cards.  (Literally –  my Visa and Laser are entirely useless!)   We have no choice but to give in, regardless of the indignity.  But surely we have to fight back, otherwise he will never learn who’s boss.  What’s a financially strapped couple to do?  We have tried ignoring him, but it seemed to only make him intrude more aggressively.  Thus, the pension levy.  We tried reasoning with him.  But no.  That just lead to threats (ones he doesn’t even have the decency to veil) about water charges and property tax.   Finally, we tried faking it.  But that just caused him to throw more of our money at Anglo Irish Bank.  So we are all out of options.  This seemingly genial man is in fact a remorseless money- grabbing machine.  He has taken up permanent residence in our house and has seized control if not of the means of production then certainly of the fruits of it.   I can only hope that he will eventually tire of us and move on to another – younger, richer – couple and leave us in peace.   In penury too, I suspect.

On the plus side, he is causing me to have a renewed appreciation of my Present Husband.

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Purloin:  verb – to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.

Perspicacious: adjective – having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning

Commodious: adjective – spacious and convenient; roomy; ample or adequate for a particular purpose.

Turpitude: noun – vile, shameful, or base character; depravity; a vile or depraved act.

Your homework is to use these words in a way that does not make you sound like a pretentious fossil.  That’s harder than it sounds.

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At what point in your life do you discover a talent for escapology?  And how?

Ditto setting crosswords.  When do you find out that you are a sadist who can make money from getting strangers to torture themselves?

I love Stephen Fry.  On balance, slightly more than I love John Stewart, but it’s a close run thing.

The only way we as Irish taxpayers will ever get any money back from bailing out Anglo Irish Bank is if we torch their premises and claim off the insurance.  We could get even more money if we opened it up to anyone who wanted to come along with a Molotov cocktail and kick in, say, a tenner for one throw.  But then that raises the problem of how we’d keep the thing secret for the purposes of insurance fraud, because in all likelihood we’d get thousands turning up.  You can see why finance is such a complex area.

You can never go wrong in any situation by quoting Oscar Wilde or Fr Ted.

You disagree?  Down with that sort of thing!

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