Archives for category: fun

One of the great benefits of being the dad of teenagers is my ability to use The Force at each and every opportunity. I am like a Jedi Knight, inhabiting a world of constant adventure, using The Force at every opportunity to fight evil and set the galaxy to rights.

Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. When I say “Jedi Knight”, I really mean “Arsehole” and when I say “The Force”, I really mean “Arsehole Factor”.

I have this fantastic capacity to turn the once blissful world of my teens into a dystopia of pain and suffering in seconds. No light sabre needed. All that’s needed are magic words such as “have you started your homework?” or “put away your phone”. These are powerful enough to suck the air out of the room, leaving a mass of blistering resentment in its wake.

I have superpowers. At a single command, I can force my kids faces into their open palms. I can get them to roll their eyes upward into their skulls. My reverse magnetism ensures that when I enter the room, they leave immediately. I can get them to mutter swear words under their breath, and when I follow it by “what did you say?” I can predict exactly the answer I will get.

I have been practicing. Dropping them off to their friends fifteen minutes late. Serving them broccoli and carrots at dinner. Bopping to CHVRCHES at inappropriate moments. Do not underestimate the Power of my Uncoolness.

One day soon, I will lose my powers, so I’m going to revel in picking my teeth in their presence, asking them questions about Napoleon that I know they can’t answer, and starting each sentence with “when I was your age”. The Dark Side must be balanced eventually, but not just yet.

Hey mum. It’s me, Marty. I’m back from 2015.

Yeah, it’s nice. Not at all what I expected though. No flying skateboards. No hover cars. Not even a new version of the space shuttle. Lots of people still wearing jeans and t-shirts. I mean, they had 30 years, but no polyester jump suits to be seen except, hmm, hold on – cyclists. You have regular people and then you have cyclists. Now *they* look like proper future people. They wear tights and on top of their head is a replica of that face-sucker thing in Alien. These people thought (think, will think, may think – time travel tenses really need to get sorted out) that this is a fashion statement:

Tinkoff Saxo cycling team

Tinkoff Saxo by Morebyless cc licensed.

It’s not even fashionable here in 1985. And that’s saying something.

Also, their phones. Ye gods. There’s not a phone box to be seen anywhere. Instead they all have these portable phones that fit in their pockets. Well, to call them “phones” is being generous, because I rarely saw (will see, may see) them being used to call anyone. A better name for them would be “tickle devices”. People spend their days pawing them, jabbing them, swiping the them and thumbing them for goodness knows what reason. I think it might be a sexual thing. And possibly something to do with cats.

Tickle, tickle.

Swipe, by Jeremy Keith. cc licensed.

They use these tickle devices to “google” things. You see, in the future, whole armies of people will be employed to answer questions. You type in a question and someone reads it, opens up an encyclopaedia and gives them a list of possible answers to the question. The researchers at the other end are a bit thick though, because most of the answers they give are wrong. I don’t think they are getting paid enough. My heart goes out to all those people whose job it is to give directions to drivers. I mean, it must be a hell of a boring job just calling people up to tell them they need to turn right at the next roundabout.

Can't you see we're eating?

And it’s all about coffee these days (those days, those will be the days). Maxwell House or Nescafe instant granules is not good enough for these people. You can’t even ask for a coffee at these places. You say to them “can I have a coffee” and they just look at you as if you’re stupid. There’s a whole vocabulary now. It has to be an Americano (black coffee) or a Latte (coffee with milk) or a Frappuccino (yep, people in 2015 will pay to drink cold coffee). The same goes for chocolate and tea and milk and bread and breakfast cereals. And it’s low fat and gluten free and l. casei immunitas. To go shopping in the future, you need a masters degree in nutrition, otherwise you’ll probably starve to death.

So I’m glad to say the world hasn’t (isn’t going to have, may not have) ended in nuclear holocaust and that most people seem pretty normal, if it’s all a bit West Coast and healthy and sporty and image conscious. The future is to be welcomed, even if we’ll all need to take the scenic route to get there. But the cycling outfits. Man, that’s going to take some getting used to.

News from the wires this morning tells us that many users of Twitter and Facebook* have been injured in domestic accidents after deciding not to take anything seriously today.

“Some guy on Twitter mentioned that it was sunny today, so I wore my heavy duty snow coat”, says AlanX, a 3 year user of Twitter. “The zip caught, however, and I nearly boiled to death inside the bloody thing”. Alan is recovering in hospital.

“I was informed on Twitter that it was the first of the month and didn’t believe it”, said Sunny_Daze, from Germany. “I went to work and accidentally tripped all the burglar alarms”. Sunny works for the Gold Reserve unit of the Bundesbank. She is expected to make a full recovery in 2014 after Army Special Operations were called.

“I knew what Twitter was going to be like, so I decided to stay on Facebook instead”, said Andrew_P from Limerick. “I nearly died of boredom”. Andrew’s brain was discovered trying to escape through his nostrils. A team of specialist neurologists have been on hand to coax it back into place all morning.

All over the world, reports are coming in of people who failed to leave burning buildings, who kept walking on train tracks and who remained swimming in alligator infested waters when there was a clear and present danger. The answer given is always the same: “Ha! Good one.”

Twitter users can be identified this morning by their reaction when you say something innocent to them and they immediately react with suspicion. “Hello” will get a slap in the face. “Would you like a coffee” will send them shrieking under the bed-covers. Please be sensitive to these sensitive souls on this day. If you want them to do something for you, say the opposite and hope they are not second guessing that request too.

* PS. I was only joking about Facebook users. They are too busy sharing inane posters of birds and “liking” their best friends acne counts to be interested in this stuff.

“At the end of the road, turn left”

These words should strike fear and loathing into the hearts of all right thinking people. I refer, of course, to the satellite navigation system, or Sat-Nav: a device more common in cars nowadays than the furry dice or pine tree air-freshener.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think Sat-Navs are great. They do a great job, except when they have to give directions.

I took one along on my recent holiday in Europe. This Sat-Nav had quite a personality. I called her Sally. Sally’s maps hadn’t been updated in 5 years. New roads and motorways, that were built since 2006, did not exist, according to her. She had missed out on some of the best years of the Celtic Tiger. For example: I was crossing the new bridge in Waterford, on our way to Rosslare, and Sally thought I was flying. “Turn left” she would say. “Turn right”. “Take the next goddamn road”. I paid no heed to her advice. It was as if we were a married couple.

On this trip, we went to Brussels. Now, in general, I have no qualms with the designers of Sat-Nav systems, but I am sure of one thing. When they were mapping Brussels, they were drunk. They also were snorting huge bags of cocaine and popping LSD pills by the truck-load. I am sure of it. Either that, or the street planners in Belgium have been very busy since 2006, redesigning the entire city just to piss me off. The result is that the Sat Nav street plans of Brussels bear little resemblance to the actual city that bears the same name. It is possible that there is a “Brussels” in Outer Mongolia that the Sat Nav planners confused the city with. Next exit, Ulan Batar.

I was travelling through these big tunnels under Brussels when Sally suddenly said “turn left in 80 metres”. If I had paid heed to her instructions, I would have been killed straight away. Bang – right into a wall. Sally had decided to forget what tunnels were. To her, I was dilly dallying down a tree lined avenue, birds in the trees, wind in my hair, instead of zooming, headlights on, through the dark, undulating bowels of a major European city.

Now, you need to understand one other thing about Brussels. Due, no doubt, to a row at the highest levels within the EU over the language to be used on the city’s road signs, the powers that be in Brussels made an executive decision. They banned all road signs. Every last one of them. I have a theory that these Eurocrats are simply tourists, who went there for a few days; tried to leave and just gave up. They found a street corner somewhere, stopped their car, sat down in despair, and before you knew it they had rented a house, married, brought up a family, became local pillars of the community and died, all without ever leaving the city once.

You would think, therefore, that a Sat-Nav would be a godsend in a city like that. Right? Wrong. We were trying to leave the city, when we came upon some roadworks. In front of us were orange signs, orange vans and the bright orange suits that construction workers on the continent wear, that make them look like Oompa Loompas. We needed to divert, but Sally wasn’t getting the message. “On you go”, Sally was telling us. “Barrel through them at high speed like a good lad. If the roadworks don’t exist on my maps, they don’t exist at all.” Not fancying a prolonged spell in an orange jumpsuit myself, I decided to seek other options. I went left. Then right, then left. I followed all her instructions to the letter. All was going well until I found myself, 5 minutes later back at the self same roadworks. New strategy – I turned right this time. More labyrinthine winding streets. 5 minutes later, the men in the orange trucks were waving at me this time. Sally was like a moth, banging her head against a spotlight. She had claimed this place as her own.

It was when she had lead me right back into the centre of Brussels that I really started getting annoyed. “Take the next left in 100 metres” she would say. “No I damn well won’t!” I would should out. “Bear right at the next junction” she would declare. “I’m not listening”, I would respond. “Go right on the roundabout, first exit” she would suggest. “Screw You!” I would retort.

At a traffic stop I sent the following message to my pals on Twitter:

Question. How the HELL do I get out of Brussels?

Immediately, I received the following helpful reply.


It was going to be one of those days.

On my return journey, we visited Paris. Paris is just like Brussels, just infinitely more complex. Sally’s task this time was to direct me from Versailles to the hotel where we were staying. The hotel was about 5 miles away. Not a problem, you would think. Sally sent us to a toll road. After paying the toll we were given two directions to travel. “Nanterre” said one sign. “Creteil” said another. Brilliant, except I had no clue where these places were. Sally remained silent – deliberately. We took the wrong road. Now 15 miles away, I tried to turn around. “No Tolls”, I asked. Sally ignored me and sent us back down the same way. The toll had now doubled this time. A journey of 5 miles had become a 30 mile long nightmare, cost me 20 euro, and managed to send me in precisely the wrong direction.

Now that Sat-Navs have become commonplace, it is only a matter of time before the next step happens. They become sentient. They acquire a personality. When you disobey their instructions, perhaps they will sigh. Or mutter something sarcastic under their breath. Maybe they will start shouting at you, telling you that you never listen and that it’s your own fault you’re lost. When that day comes, as it inevitably will, I have already decided what I will do.

I’m digging a big hole in the ground and I’m staying there. You can call me to let know when it’s safe to come out.

A lady who has occupied a large plot of land in one of Ireland’s most famous parks has been served notice of eviction by the Irish authorities. “I’ve been here for the past 14 years”, says Mrs. Mary “Prezzer” McAleese, “and now they want to move me and my whole family out in one go”. McAleese (60) moved into the house in 1997 after the previous occupant was called away on urgent business, leaving the lands completely deserted.

The house stands on a large plot of land in Co. Dublin, where McAleese has busied herself planting trees in every available space since she moved in. “She has a thing about trees”, says Mr B. Obama, who witnessed her plant one recently during a visit to the park. Another lady, Elizabeth W. (name withheld), noted McAleese’s propensity to plant a tree every time she met a new visitor. “It was very odd”, she said, “all I wanted was a cup of tea, but instead she had the gardening gloves on before I had a chance to say hello”.

“Now, after minding my own business, they’re kicking me out and taking me away from my trees”, mourned Mrs. McAleese yesterday. She says that she will go to jail if necessary to stop new tenants from occupying her lands. “There is such a thing as squatter’s rights, you know”.

Meanwhile, suitable candidates are being lined up to occupy the lands once Mrs. McAleese vacates them. “I have quite a lot of experience burying things”, says Mr. M. McGuinness from Derry, who has expressed a strong interest in the lands. Another candidate for the park, Mr. D. Norris, also feels qualified, albeit in a different way. “I prefer metal detection to tree planting, quite frankly”, he pronounced. “After all, people enjoy dredging up things from the distant past, don’t they”? Ms. Mary “Kelloggs” Davis, another applicant, is apparently more keen to use the lands to rehabilitate the large number of telephone poles damaged by distracted motorists crashing into them over the past few days. Other applicants for the land: Michael D. Higgins, Sean Gallagher and Dana Rosemary Scallon were unavailable for comment, while we couldn’t be bothered asking the remaining applicant, Mr. Gay Mitchell, to comment at all.

Happy Monday everyone,

Here’s a video my twin boys discovered that will help you get into the week. Base Jumping! Bicycles, triple headstands, and reverse jumping, it’s all there…

(If you liked that and you haven’t seen the Wingsuit video go there now. Now! What are you still doing here?)

Here’s something to kick start this cold, cold week (gratuitously stolen from Compu-Diva).

One sunny day in January, 2009 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he’d been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, “I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.”

The Marine looked at the man and said, “Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.” The old man said, “Okay”, and walked away. The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, “I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.”

The Marine again told the man, “Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.” The man thanked him and, again, just walked away. The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, saying “I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.”

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, “Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I’ve told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don’t you understand?”

The old man looked at the Marine and said, “Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.” The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, “See you tomorrow, Sir.”

This is for anyone who has never seen the John West commercials..

.. and the weather is terrible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start it off with a bit of a laugh..

First, a rugby theme..

And now for some Brummie polar bears..

Forget about your big rugby and soccer internationals. If you really want to see sport at its rawest and most intense, you can’t beat an under 5’s hurling match.

The ball gets hit out, and immediately 20 pairs of legs are chasing it around like a swarm of bees attacking a mischevious teddy bear. There’s always one though, idling in the centre of the pitch, completely oblivious to the game, imagining that he is a dinosaur: arms outstretched, a big T Rex lollop as he strides through his jungle. Another group in the corner are pretending they are pop stars, holding their hurleys in a way that would have made Rory Gallagher proud. It’s a goal, and suddenly a budding David Beckham travels the entire length of the pitch, completing his victory run with an authentic knee slide on the timber surface.

The game continues. Rarely does the ball come to rest, as it is harried by a score of hurleys, hitting at it from all directions. It’s a kind of social Brownian Motion, as the red team hit the ball towards the blue team and the blue team counter by scoring a masterfully planned own goal. One player rushes over to me with an important message: “Can I have an ice cream afterwards?”.

It’s getting ugly out there. A kid is knocked down, not by one opponent, but by ten of them simultaneously. Now the ball is stuck in a corner of the hall. Light itself is finding it difficult to escape from the huddle. I pity the coaches as they attempt to disentangle players from the melée.

It’s all over and my boys line up against the wall. Inexplicably, they are unbloodied and unbruised. They have only one thing on their minds: the ice creams they believed I had promised them earlier.

Make no mistake, Ireland’s future hurlers are a formidable lot.

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