Archive for July, 2004

I hate insurers!

End of July. For the last few years it’s always been a time I’ve feared. Why? Because for the last 5 years or so, that’s when the renewal for my bike insurance arrives. So today it arrived and stupidly enough I expected it to be around what Aon Bike Care (my broker) had quoted me over the phone; €1300. So, when a demand for €1799 arrived on the doorstep this morning, the first thing I did was ring Aon to demand answers. But of course they were all gone home.

Five years no claims bonus accounts for fuck all apparently. They (Aon) recently moved to AXA from Hibernian, maybe theyre charging me for moving? Maybe it’s another one of those 35-40% price hikes they pulled off this time last year? Maybe it’s just more money-grabbing. Come Tuesday, I’ll find out.

Cork beat off Antrim

The All-Ireland hurling quarter final went Cork’s way yesterday, beating the Antrim team 2-26 to 10 points.

Antrim boss Dinny Cahill had said during the week that his side could both beat Cork and win the All-Ireland.

Eat your words much?

The $1m tip

When shoe shop assistant Sarah Ryan was handed a $1 million tip, it seemed the Waterford woman’s life had just mirrored a Hollywood blockbuster.

But while feelgood films like It Could Happen To You end on a high note, Sarah’s Hollywood script was always going to have an unhappy ending.

Especially when there is no such thing as a $1 million note.

Still, Sarah felt a bit like actress Bridget Fonda for a while, whose cafe waitress character received a mammoth tip from a cop played by Nicholas Cage.

Sarah, a 20-year-old trainee teacher, was given a $1m note as a tip from a very grateful US visitor on Monday evening. Yesterday she was desperately trying to find out if the note was a fake or not.

But even the prospect of the note being real and an opportunity to escape the July rain had her dreaming of what might be.

“It’d take me a lifetime as a teacher to earn that kind of money. I’m in third year at Mary Immaculate in Limerick. I probably wouldn’t go back.

“If the note is real, and I seriously doubt it is, both I and my twin sister Gemma will be on the first plane to the Bahamas,” the assistant at Clarks’ Shoe Store in Waterford city centre said.

“I’d also buy a BMW convertible – a black one. And I’d give a chunk of the money to my mum, Mary. My dad, John, would also have to get his share,” she added.

The customer walked into the Barronstrand Street store yesterday with his wife. The man, in his late 50s, asked to see some sandals in a size eight.

“He eventually bought a pair in size seven. He didn’t chat too much. He paid for them at the counter, they cost €50, and went away. He returned a few minutes later with a note. He just put it in my hand.

“I told him that we were not allowed to take tips but he insisted. I thought it was a $1 note and I put it in my pocket. I later found out it was a $1m note. I still didn’t think it was real.

“It wasn’t until my Dad started making calls about it this morning that I began to get a bit excited.” But Sarah’s suspicions were confirmed yesterday when bank officials confirmed there is no such thing as a $1m note.

I feel compelled to ask, how stupid is it possible to be? Maybe the middle-aged American got his million dollar note from Monty Burns?!?

Insurance on the other side of the pond

More of that proof that we’re being ripped off. As if we didn’t know it already. Taken from today’s Irish Examiner opinion section;

I LIVE in California where the motoring world is a very fast jungle.

I have had no speeding tickets in three years.

I only pay $200 a year for each of my vehicles, a 1970 Volkswagen pop-top Housekamper, and a small 1989 Honda Civic. Unlike Ireland, as my cars grow older, the insurance costs go down.

I have no clue as to why Ireland has such outrageous premiums, especially for older cars that are not vintage.

I wouldnt mind paying €200 to insure my bike for a year.

Best two interviews

Well I’ve got that kick ass job I went to two interviews for. No more bog washing, no more contracting and having to put up with piss-artist students and whiny teachers. As Homer Simpson once said “Goodbye mind-numbing, back breaking labour – hello dream job in paradise”

Michael Moore, propagandist.

Is Michael Moore an America hatin’ mutant? Jim Malo (whom I presume to be a republican) thinks so…

I have not (and will not) see Michael Moore’s movie, Fahrenheit 9/11.Those who have seen it describe it as a cleverly-done propaganda by someone who hates his own country, and happens to be a Democratic party activist.

Looking at some of the editorials, articles and letters in your online newspaper, I’m reminded of some of the stuff I hear coming from the Democratic party in this country. When I talk to US military personnel returning from Iraq (I encounter them at work), I get an entirely different picture from that presented by most US media sources, and particularly the international media.

And now a few words in response from someone who isn’t a raving lunatic.

I was disgusted by the letter from American Jim Malo (Irish Examiner, July 8) calling Michael Moore unpatriotic and accusing him of hating his own country.

When are Americans going to stop preaching about being the Land of the Free and spouting nonsense justifying the war in Iraq on the grounds that civil liberties were at stake.

This would be fair enough if the US even practised 10% of what it preaches. The letter from Mr Malo is a huge disappointment. I thought that freedom of speech was part of the US constitution. Maybe I was wrong. I am not anti-American in the slightest indeed I have many relatives there. I just feel it is ridiculous that no one is supposed to criticise the Bush administration.

I am not the biggest fan of Michael Moore, but he has the right to say what he wants. I am an Irish student in Germany and international relations is a huge talking point here.

I love Ireland, but I will criticise the Government when I feel they are not doing a good job.

This does not make me hate my country and no one should have the right to say something like that to or about me. Neither should Mr Malo say it about Michael Moore.

Sorcha Healy

Question: What will all the “Bush can do no wrong” crowd do when Kerry gets elected?

Give smokers a choice

Tom O’Leary of Dromore West in Co. Sligo writes in todays’ Irish Examiner (my little sarcastic comments in bold).

FAIR play to Fibber Magees. Perhaps this is the start of Ireland’s own battle against prohibition, although in this case, smoking tobacco isn’t illegal.
So… it’s not really prohibition then is it. Because alcohol was illegal, wasn’t it?

As a matter of fact, the Government welcomes tobacco companies to sell their product in every nook and cranny in the country. Seems hypocritical, doesn’t it?

When smokers visit friends’ or relatives’ houses, sometimes they are allowed to smoke inside.

Other times they are advised the host would prefer that they smoke outside. Either way, it is always the call of the host. I don’t see why a publican can’t have the same host authority. By designating pubs as smoker-friendly, or not, smoking and non-smoking owners and customers have options. Any other approach discriminates against one group or the other. Tell you what then. Next time you walk into a pub and want to light up, you have to do the rounds and ask every single person in the pub if they mind you smoking. After all, we are the guests.

While tobacco remains a legal, consumable product, there is no fairer approach. By the way, I smoke, but I’m not allowed to do so in my house or car.

My wife is the hostess in our house. And is clearly the pants wearer.

Why is it so difficult for all these whiny smokers to get it into their smog laden brains that bitching about a ban isn’t going to reverse it. If you want to smoke, find yourself a beer garden; that’s YOUR choice. If you can’t live with that, quit smoking. I’m obviously not alone in my passion for not wanting to have to constantly inhale lungfulls of your toxic secondhand smoke. Take it outside nature boy!

Hey, you could always go up north of the border and smoke in their pubs. Get up there while the goings good though. It may not be too long before the ban comes into effect in the UK also.

Crafty publicans shot down

This is old news by now, but I felt it merited a comment. Publicans of several bars decided to break the smoking ban by allowing their customers to smoke last week. The always slow to act health boards eventually pounced on the landlords with threats of fines and legal proceedings; by which time the ban had already come back into force.

Of course, the word of the only smoking pubs in Ireland hit every major media and the crafty old publicans got instant nationwide free advertising on TV, radio and newspapers. Bus loads of nicotene addicts flocked to once again enjoy a cancer stick with their pint, without having to stand outside like the second class citizens they keep claiming to be.

Were any publicans actually fined? Will any of them be under fierce scrutiny by the health boards when it comes time for license renewal? I’d be surprised. For their “we can beat this ban” attitude and blatantly flaunting the fact that they allowed smoking, they should recieve a hefty fine alone. I mean, if smokers keep moaning about how they are being treated like second class citizens, all us first classers might just start believing them.

M.I.A.

Long time no update. Spent all my online and therefore free time on ebay lately looking for a GPS handset. Now that I’ve found and bought a Garmin V, I’ll have a bit more time to spend on other things, such as this blog for example.

I’ll be back after the Bubblegum Run.

UniPhar makes Walsh a millionaire

Martin Walsh, the man behind the Walsh Pharmacy group (and the guy I used to work for all those years ago) has sold his chain of 15 shops in Cork and Tipperary to Uniphar; a deal which is believed to be worth between €50m and €55m.

Martin, who holds a 70% share in the group, pockets a cool €38m from the transaction. His wife, with 5%, gets around the €2.1m mark, while his parents earn their 25% shareholding.

All 155 staff will be retained by UniPhar.

So, €50m in the back pocket: I’d already be living it up in Monte Carlo (or have spent it all on cocaine and hookers)