Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011.... The year of the ‘Twit’

Forewarning: This article is not about me!

The Chinese may have deemed 2011 the year of the rabbit, but for the rest of us it was undoubtedly the year of the ‘Twit’... pardon the pun, but it was also the year that the current darling of social media, Twitter invaded the celeb world yet again!

Once renowned for informing us what Britney Spears had for Breakfast and what Lindsay Lohan didn’t (I mean who’s even interested!), Twitter is now a forum which celebrities utilise to confirm that they indeed have questionable levels of intellect! I thought it would be fitting to share some of the best tweets of 2011 with the nation...

‘Just landed back in LA, so happy to hear the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. He was the face of terrorism and such....’
This tweet came from none other than brains herself, Miss Paris Hilton! The fact that she feels the need to state that bin Laden was the face of terrorism is one thing, but the face of terrorism and ‘such’... I only wish Paris would have elaborated by what she meant when you used the word ‘and such’...ah, the mind baffles!

 “OMG! President Obama talked about us on Leno last night!”
Kris Jenner revels in the fact that Obama knows who the Kardashians are! In fairness, every second reality TV show involves them, and every second magazine cover bares their face (botoxed as it is)! Sounds like world domination to me, eh Kris! I just wonder what it was Obama had to say about them – probably wanted to thank them for their outstanding contribution to the.... showbiz world?! Hardly, worthy of a Nobel prize but hey you know how to market each of your daughters Kris! Long live the Kardashian brand! And Obama – next time you mention them, please ban them from our TV screens!

 “Room service uuuuugh! I hate when I order fruit and I can taste the other food they cut with the same knife. Beef flavored pineapples”
My heart bleeds for you Kanye West!! Room service, what a hindrance! I rarely avail of the service for the same reason detailed above! When life’s little hardships involve the drawbacks of room service, you should really count your blessings! As for next time Kanye, just go and chop the damn pineapple yourself!  And to those he continues to order room service from in whatever 5 star hotel he rocks up at – please use the beef flavoured knife to cut the pineapples!

“Just when we thought we couldn’t feel any more blessed, it seems the universe has plans to give our daughter a sibling… #humbled”
Bet you’re not missing Dawson’s Creek anymore when you read tweets like the above! All the way from our beloved Dawson, James Van Der Beek – we understand you’re delighted at the impending birth of your second child, but really?! ‘The universe has plans to give our daughter a sibling’ – No James, yourself and your wife had plans to give your daughter a sibling! We were all aware as a 30 year old, you played a teenage character in Dawson’s Creek... but surely you’re not still that naive?!

 “Love is like a brick. You can build a house, or you can sink a dead body.”
When Lady Gaga provided us with her take on love, we were hardly surprised! With a name like Gaga she was bound to have an alternative take on what love means to her. Building a house whilst an unusual description of love is somewhat more acceptable than the alternative of ‘sinking a dead body’ – Gaga indeed! Maybe someone should enquire about the whereabouts of her ex-boyfriends – I heard a few of them went MIA after the relationship ended!

“Why do we have only 1 day for giving thanks? Is that why so many people feel unappreciated? Make this 1 of 365 days of Thanksgiving!”
Demi Moore was possibly hinting to Ashton about feeling underappreciated. In his defence though, kids can be rather ungrateful these days and aren’t as thankful as they once were! Side stepping this remark, is there a reason Demi still goes by the name @MrsKutcher? That union has well and truly ended! @Cougartown could be a possible replacement though, if she’s looking for ideas that is!
There are a few tweets however which are laden with comedic value!
‘Ohh oh… Lock up your sons.. Sinead O’Connor is on the loose again’
Hector is generally known for his quick humour, but we can sense an element of fear in this tweet! And so there should be! Fresh from her ‘drive through’ wedding in Vegas, a mere 16 days later and the wedding is off and according to Hector’s tweet Sinead O’Connor has resumed her man hunt! Men of Ireland…. Be afraid, be very afraid!
 “Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber adopted a dog. Not to be outdone, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie adopted Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. "
Jimmy Fallon is quite the comedic genius posting a tweet like this! I just hope the likes of Paris Hilton and co. weren’t following him, as they’d probably have believed this to be true! Brad and Ange could succumb to Bieber fever after all – I’m sure they could do with adding to their brood!
It is important not to let the countless tweets by celebs overshadow the benefits associated with Twitter. It is the immediacy, brevity, reach and the social connections it offers, which have drawn in millions of users. These benefits result in social networking sites like Twitter doing a better job during emergencies than the traditional media outlets. The American Red Cross, for example, use Twitter to exchange minute to minute information about local disasters which include statistics and directions. It was even the medium which broke the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death (not the Paris Hilton tweet though!).
But alas, despite the many benefits, we are still bombarded with tweets from those celebrities, informing us of their glamorous lifestyles (sense the tone!). But let’s face if it doesn’t make the main evening news... you should be pretty sure, we’re not interested!!
Ashton Kutcher, please take note!!
The Forgotten Irish Graduate, 29 December 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My letter to Santa...

Dear Santa,
Let me begin by expressing my apologies for the lack of contact over the past number of years, but in my defence letter writing is a dying art, it’s all about email these days!  Anyhow, it’s been yet another trying year for our little nation but despite that I’m pretty sure I’ve been good enough and so undoubtedly deserve the following:
A triple A credit rating reinstated to Ireland and each Eurozone member state the same.
A reversal in the hike in VAT, applying 23% to most non food items is unreasonable. 21% is just fine.
A complete overhaul of the public sector by an outsider, who has no previous government involvement – strip it back to what it needs to be, ensuring the right people with the right skill set are deployed to the right areas without excess baggage and overtime bills! The outsider should preferably hail from the private sector; possess the capability of tearing a dysfunctional public sector down, banishing the inefficiencies and creating a public sector fit for purpose!
A reversal of the increase in education fees outlined in Budget 2012 – quite frankly, the empty promises of the Labour party have been laid bare! Their promise not to raise third level registration fees was a mere election ploy, unfortunately it was not laden with veracity. Punishing the youth with a desire to educate themselves for other generation’s failures and faux pas’ – I for one can’t see the justice in that decision. The future of our country should be able to flourish in an egalitarian environment as opposed to exhausting all avenues to see if it is indeed possible to afford the registration fees for university tuition.
On the topic of an egalitarian environment – how about a few thousand jobs for the young graduates who are unfortunate to graduate at a time like this, and now must carry the burden of the economic crisis on their backs and spend their days, post honours degrees and Masters degrees, in a local shop, cafe or bar, in an attempt to make a basic standard of living whilst their true potential lies untapped and wasted.... Maybe you could have a word with Enda, and request he give a few cabinet seats to those young graduates worthy of them!
Instead of pausing the disability allowance measure as detailed in Budget 2012 undo all amendments proposed. Targeting the vulnerable youth who are faced with a struggle on a daily basis by cutting the allowance from €188 to €88 per week is quite simply callous.

Supply our poverty stricken nation with a proper summer please (i.e. 30 degrees of sunshine on a daily basis!) or leave the price of home heating oil unchanged - otherwise send me a hot water bottle! Regarding the imminent increase in petrol diesel and motor tax, can you instead of forcing me to trade in my banger, send me a bicycle - as I don't think crippling petrol prices and motor tax will suit me.
DIRT to rise from 27% to 30% will not serve as an incentive to spend – I mean where are young educated graduates expected to get the income to do so - for that reason, could you do me a favour and see that it is unchanged, as I’m almost certain most are saving for a boarding pass to leave this debt ridden country behind.
And finally, one last item, a competent government capable of piecing our broken economy back together!
Alas, if the above aren’t possible, I’ll settle for a surprise from you, but please be a dear and mention them to Enda and his merry elves!
Until next year,
The Forgotten Irish Graduate, December 2011
P.S. Please keep Brian Cowen, Bertie Ahern, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Fingleton, and all corrupt bankers and politicians alike on the naughty list this year and for the foreseeable future– god knows they do rightly deserve it!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Banishing those L Plates!!!

No I’m not talking about a weekend in Kilkenny.... this ain’t a hen party!

Instead this is a graduate’s attempt at learning how to drive!

Lesson 1: What side of the road do we drive on?

INSTRUCTOR: What side of the road do we drive on here?

ME: Eh... obviously the left hand side.

INSTRUCTOR: Good. So why are you driving on the right??

ME: Eh.... because my first driving experience was in a field where sides were unimportant? There are no line markings on the back roads of Cavan? Because I’m originally from France? Are you buying any of these excuses?

INSTRUCTOR: Not one.... just keep left and drive!

Lesson 2: Speed Limits are there to be obeyed!

Ah, the age old adage! We’ve all struggled with this one. Reigning the speed limit back in to 50km in built up areas is trying for most – but not for me! Building the speed up to 50km was my downfall. Although when my driving instructor kindly informed me that it is possible to fail your driving test for lack of progress, my foot was firmly on the accelerator!

Lesson 3: Mastering the art of driving!

When conducting the 3 point turn in a housing estate, it is not acceptable to use someone’s drive way (In my defence no one told me I couldn’t)!!

Rear view mirrors are not purely for vanity purposes!! (Can you blame a girl for wanting to look her best?)

It is important to overtake slow moving vehicles but NEVER overtake a hearse! (It could very nearly happen!)

There is NO reason to be staring out the front window of your car as a means of observation when reversing around a corner! (The back or side window is obvious answer to this one – just not as obvious to me!)

When overtaking a vehicle or cyclist on the LHS of the road, check the RHS mirror NOT THE LEFT there very well could be something overtaking you (you are going at 30km after all)!!!

And lastly when you ask your instructor what can happen if the steering wheel feels loose and he informs you that it means it will fall off in your lap... please sense the tone! It’s called humour – the steering wheel won’t be going anywhere soon!)

Lesson 4: Sound effects are unnecessary!

Your driving instructor does NOT want to be deafened during your lessons. So on all occasions whether there is an obstruction, you’ve ran a red light, you’re too close to that damn cyclist, or you’re in a yellow box and most definitely shouldn’t be..... refrain from SHRILLING!! It will not improve your driving, and it will certainly not increase your instructor’s desire to give you another lesson.....

Lesson 5: Bad rehearsal means a good show, right?

One final lesson before the test they say it’s a good idea, but when you’re entire knowledge of driving crumbles you aren’t so sure! Forgetting to use your mirrors, forgetting that stop signs mean you must come to a halt as opposed to cruising on, conking the car as you attempt a hill start, mounting the kerb during your reverse around the corner, and a near collision with a van on my route home (thank god for dual controls in the instructor’s car... otherwise there would definitely have been a dint in his car and my ego!) doesn’t exactly instil much confidence in you during your pre test lesson!! And when your instructor jokingly reminds you that a ‘Bad rehearsal means a good show, right?’ BELIEVE HIM!!


When the tester informs that you that his career means he is just as disliked as you (Cheers mate..I'm a banker after all), contents himself with looking out the window for the duration of the test, and seems relatively confident of your driving ability – you know what, it ain’t all that bad!

You begin to realise when you’re instructor informed you that despite being hell bent on driving on the RHS of the road, you are much better than you think.... he may not have been lying! Your fate lies in a series of mirror, signal, and manoeuvres, reactions to hazards, a hill start, a reverse around a corner and a three point turn. A mere 40 minutes to prove that like the car you’re driving, that you too are road worthy!!

‘There are things you need to work on, but for now, you’ve reached the level of competency.’

Yes, despite all of the above, on December 1st I managed somehow to pass my driving test and banish those L plates.

Bad rehearsal mean’s a good show? There must be some truth in that saying after all!!

On a final note, please notify all other drivers, that I have now been deemed road worthy! If you don’t, fear not, as I’m pretty sure AA will give me a shout out for one of my hazardous moves in the near future!

Until I dint the rear of your car.... or knock your wing mirror off,

The Forgotten Irish Graduate December 1st 2011