Ian O'Doherty: Damn and blast. And damn again
I probably, in a strange way, have more interest in American politics than our domestic version.
The Irish players are all so beige and half of them seem to constantly wear an expression that suggests they have just eaten something truly horrible.
Also, as much as we like to sneer at the loopier end of politics Stateside, how do you think they would look at us?
After all, we have a former multi-millionaire, tax-evading property developer sitting in our national parliament -- as a socialist.
So, for the last few months I've been staying up 'till four in the morning, glued to the American news networks and their endlessly fascinating coverage of the election.
Would it be Barack the black, Muslim communist? Or would it be Mitt the mad Mormon with the magic underpants?
So, on Tuesday night, I sat down in front of the box, a cold beer in my hand and settled in for an evening of momentous political events. The wife faded some time after midnight. I called her a wuss and loftily informed her that, as a journalist, it was my ethical and professional duty to stay up all night.
And just around 4am, shortly before Obama was declared winner . . . I fell fast asleep and missed the whole bloody thing.
Yup, ace reporter indeed.
Well, that's just great news
As I wrote the other day, the weather plays an inordinately strong impact on my mood.
I'm hardly alone in that. In fact, if anything the Irish seem to be rather obsessed with the weather.
So I remember with dread the winter of a couple of years ago when the whole country was covered in a horrid blanket of snow and ice for what seemed like months on end.
What was initially a novelty soon became a living nightmare with people completely snowed in and freezing. Our road was utterly impassable by car and trying to walk it was like going ice skating in your slippers.
Even worse, the feckin' snow kept accumulating on my TV's satellite dish, losing the signal. And that was the worst bit.
So you can imagine my good cheer at two stories yesterday. The first was the news that that postman who always pops up at this time of the year with his folk weather predictions forecasts a snowy winter.
Then came the news that the bookies have slashed their odds for a white Christmas.
Great, just what we need.
However it's not all doom and gloom going into the winter.
Nope -- sure don't we have that lovely budget before Christmas to look forward to?
Can we have some peace and quiet please?
On Tuesday, I met a mate of mine for a couple of pints and a natter. We did the usual things blokes do when we meet for a beer -- discussed football, music, movies and what had been annoying us the most.
I was telling him about a house in my area that has been undergoing extensive and extremely loud building work and it was driving me mad. Let's put it this way -- nobody wants to be woken up at nine on a Saturday morning by the sound of builders at work.
The pub we were in was a proper old-school Dublin boozer, where people mind their own business. As we sat in the snug, putting the world to rights, a gang of young women came in.
Now women of any shape or form are rare beasts in this establishment but they settled in and nobody paid them any attention.
And then it started -- our conversation was suddenly interrupted by a really loud ringtone of a song by the appalling Rihanna belonging to one of the girls.
Except it wasn't a ring tone. In fact, the gaggle of girls were actually playing one of her songs on their phone and were simply listening to it.
Now, I know at some point I mutated from an Angry Young Man to a Grumpy Old Fart, but what class of a person goes into a pub and starts playing loud music on their phone, ruining the peace for everyone else?
Back in my day . . . bah humbug etc etc etc.
And he calls himself Irish? Tsk
Anyone who was involved in The Usual Suspects is pretty much forever okay in my books.
And Gabriel Byrne (pictured) went even further higher in my estimation this week when he slammed the paddywhackery that is 'The Gathering'.
The whole thing is a nauseating marketing campaign that ranks up there with buying a certificate to 'prove' your Irishness as something that manages to combine both mawkish sentimentality and gross cynicism at the same time.
Byrne has quite rightly dismissed it as an excuse to fleece the diaspora and he has been hammered by some people for taking this stance.
According to one commentator: "We snigger and be dismissive -- but we do it in private."
Ah yes, the Irish way -- say what you really think in private but when in public always toe the party line.
Is it any wonder we're in the mess we're in with that attitude?
Something to look forward to
I watched the first few episodes of the first series of Love/Hate and never bothered returning to it.
So I didn't pay much attention to the second series until a friend of mine informed me that it was one of the best things on the box.
And while I only caught a bit of it before that season came to an end, it was bloody good.
So good, in fact, that it didn't actually look like it was made by RTÉ, but by a proper television company.
The new, and third, season comes back on Sunday night and I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I know exactly what I'll be watching that night.