Marlay and me . . .
Published 19/02/2013 | 17:00
Spring is nearly here and the weather was lovely at the weekend.
And it was in this newfound spirit of energy and renewal that we decided to bring the dogs to Marlay Park on Sunday.
Okay, that decision might also have been partly down to the fact that there was no football or rugby on the telly on Sunday afternoon, but I prefer to think that we were all determined to have a brisk, healthy walk in the great outdoors.
I've been going there since I was a kid – either playing football, walking dogs or, when I was a teenager, (unsuccessfully) courting girls.
In fact, there is something both bracing and relaxing about this spectacular park at the foot of the Dublin mountains.
And the main attraction of the place is the dog run, an enclosed area where you can let your pets off the lead and allow them to play with other mutts.
It's like a DMZ for dogs and their owners and I've never seen any aggression between the animals – they all just seem to love it.
In fact, it was all quite blissful.
And then it happened.
As I walked I felt the squelch. I had just stepped into a gigantic, steaming dog turd.
Now, the whole park is festooned with signs warning against not cleaning up after your dog but, really, who bothers to bring their pet to a dog run and then can't be bothered cleaning up after them?
Honestly, I despair of the Irish at times.
The family that stabs together
As you know, funerals can be tense affairs.
Indeed, I remember being accosted by someone who started berating me for something that happened years ago and, frankly, it was almost as if they were waiting for a funeral to reopen their old wounds.
It was a rather odd and disconcerting experience, to be honest with you, but when I was telling some friends about it, they all had similar horror stories from funerals they had attended.
But I doubt any of us could top the case of the aftermath of Tom Ward's funeral in Mayo.
The family went on a drinking session afterwards and the dead man's brother, Charlie, has just been handed an 18-month sentence after he stabbed another man who had allegedly insulted the dead man's memory.
That's bad enough but it gets truly weird when it emerged that his mother, Brigid Ward, had heard the apparent insult from the assault victim, then approached her son and told him to attack the man.
The son, being a good Irish boy, did what his mammy told him and promptly took a large knife from his pocket and stabbed the guy, leaving him requiring stitches.
The whole saga begs many questions but one immediately springs to mind – who on earth brings a big bloody knife with them to a funeral?
I mean, I know I've had words with people at such events, but I've never heard of someone bringing a knife.
Maybe we're just posh.
Well, that would be racist, innit?
I don't care whether the European Court of Human Rights makes a decision I fully agree with (decriminalising homosexuality, for example).
No, I would simply prefer that we solve our own problems without being told what to do by Europe.
And they're having the same problem in Britain where only 15 of 200 foreign criminals convicted of violence during the London riots have been deported, while the rest have been allowed to remain because of their human rights.
Home Secretary Theresa May has criticised the judges who have made these decisions and this was immediately denounced by numerous human rights lawyers who accuse her of being racist.
But ask yourself this – if you or I go to another country and get involved in crime, if we're caught we know we're going to be deported.
So how is it racist for the Brits to want to get rid of foreign trouble makers?
After all, talk to anyone who lives over there at the moment and they will assure you that they have enough home-grown menaces to be dealing with without letting foreign ones stay.
Here we go again – will someone think about the children?
Whenever I see stories of the State getting involved in people's private business, I get rather antsy.
On a practical level that is because the State, regardless of which agency, invariably buggers things up.
But even more importantly, there is a fundamental objection to the Government having any role in the lives of free citizens.
And now that Iceland has been talking about a complete ban on online porn, other countries are looking at following suit.
Now, nobody wants to see kids looking at stuff that is patently unsuitable for them – and I would include pretty much every modern pop video in that category – but I was particularly amused by the comments of anti-porn campaigner Dr Gail Dines who opined: "You cannot leave it to parents."
Wow. There was me thinking that the whole point of being a parent was keeping an eye on what your child is watching.
No, let's get the Government in to raise our kids.
Because they have done such a bang-up job on everything else.
You sure about that?
I have never watched Tallafornia. I will never watch Tallafornia.
Indeed, I have friends and family who live in Tallaght and they are livid about the show and all the stupid stereotypes perpetuated about the area.
But I saw a really quite worrying quote yesterday from one of the producers who claims that: "The show is a guilty pleasure. I have had High Court judges tell me they watch it as their guilty pleasure."
Now I don't want to come across all old and cranky and stuff – but if I am up in court on serious charges, I would really prefer a judge whose mind is on weightier issues than what is going on with the likes of Kelly (pictured, with boyfriend Dave) and the Corminator.
I have genuinely never watched an episode.
So how the Hell do I know some of these people?
I need to lie down.
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