Saturday 25 November 2017

People are talking... An implausible conception

Old hand: Christina Hendricks has turned 40, give her the granny role
Old hand: Christina Hendricks has turned 40, give her the granny role
Child's play: Rosanna Davison's wedding planner told it like it is
Shock footage: The queen and family in Nazi salute
Good for you: Kissing

Julia Molony

It's a funny old world, Hollywood. The normal rules of nature don't apply there. It's a world where women can have babies when they are babies themselves. Like Angelina Jolie, for example, who played Colin Farrell's mother in Alexander when she was just one year older than him.

Or Sally Fields who, playing the mother of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, would, according to the standard principles of reproduction, have still been pre-pubescent when she birthed him.

But then, we are talking about a place where people routinely age backwards. And not just fictional characters like Benjamin Button. But the real ones too like Madonna and, oh, just about all of the Kardashians. The older they get, the tighter, tauter and more unlined they become.

So when Christina Hendricks recently explained on the Late Late Show with James Corden how she came to be cast as the mother of a character played by Charlize Theron (eight months younger than her) in new film Dark Places, almost nobody batted an eyelid. Only her companion on the couch Laverne Cox seemed surprised.

Hendricks later explained that her character is seen in flashback. So plausibility has triumphed, for now at least. Because, now that Hendricks has turned 40, she can reasonably expect the offers of grandmother roles to begin.

Denis is right to focus on seagulls

You know things aren't going well when we start talking about seagulls. Fianna Fail Senator Denis O'Donovan showed that the Seanad is still up for the big issues last  week, when he put on the record his opinion that seagulls are actually endangering society.

Leave aside the danger to society posed by Fianna Fail Senators for a minute and look at the bigger picture. Denis is doing us all a favour with his hilarious pronouncements on the menace in the sky. Because any topic is good these days as long as it distracts us from the weather. Denis took his lead from no less a person than the Prime Minister on the island next door. After news that a flock of seagulls had pecked a poor little dog to death, David Cameron said it was time they had a conversation about seagulls in Britain. As a consummate politician, he knows that the government tends to get blamed for everything, including the weather. As a former PR man, Cameron knows the power of distraction. So, let's talk about seagulls. We're glad to join in.

Things are so bad now that you've probably noticed a weird pattern forming in the weather forecast. Joan Blackburn or Jean Byrne comes on, looking sheepish, and in their introduction say that there will be some nice sunny spells in the coming days. Great! Then they give the actual forecast, which is so bad that you'd half expect them to announce a plague of locusts sweeping across the midlands. This is just the kind of terrible summer that could derail our economic recovery. Let's do our patriotic duty. Let's talk about seagulls.

Pat Fitzpatrick

Leave Those Kids At Home

A wise man once said 'kids are like farts, you can just about stand your own.' With this inarguable maxim in mind we must heartily agree with Tara Fay, Rosanna Davison's wedding planner, who last week decreed that children should not be allowed at weddings. Because, as super cute as they look in tiny suits and flower girl dresses, and although it's unlikely anyone will jab them in the ribs and say 'you're next!', children can really poop the party on the  big day. Poop being the operative word.

There are so many reasons for this: They're unlikely to know which parts of the best man's speech are supposed to be laughed at, they have zero scruples about upstaging the bride, they tend to give terrible home-made presents, and have a tendency to fall asleep after a feed, which can set a dangerous precedent for any impressionable adults trying to stay awake during the speeches.

Really, however, it's not the children per se that are offensive but the smugness of the grown-ups in charge of them that presents the problem at weddings: The interminable child-centred conversations (yes we agree he/she probably is a genius), the casual appearance of a feeding boob ("we're on our starter, why does he get mains?"), the refusal to drink properly because there's possibly another kid on the way (why not go further than Tara and ban the unborn from weddings too?).

It all adds up to something less than a good time for the non-breeding pairs in the bunch. And it leaves those pairs who have bred but forked out for a babysitter feeling a little hard done by. So, to paraphrase Pink Floyd, hey people, leave those kids at home. And we will find somebody else to blame our farts on.

Donal Lynch

Yes, the camera does lie

Whoever first said "the camera never lies" was a big fat liar.  Even before the advent of Photoshop when a picture "spoke a thousand words" there was no guarantee that any of them were the truth.

And so to the shock footage of the Queen, the bally Queen by Jove, doing a Nazi salute in the garden at Balmoral. Never mind that the Queen was not the monarch at the time but a small girl whose uncle was going to be King. Never mind that it was 1933, six years before the outbreak of World War II and 12 years before the end of that war when the extent of Nazi atrocities would become known. No, instead the British Press responded with hysterical coverage that reminds People Are Talking of the 'Father Ted is not a Nazi' episode of Father Ted. The Palace quickly released pictures of Prince George and basically said, "Stop looking at that ancient black and white film, look at this lovely colour photo of the royal baba, he's gorgeous and most definitely not a Nazi."

Another black and white picture emerged last week of three Victorian women looking as miserable as sin which collector Seamus Molloy claims are the Brontes, based partly on the fact that there's three of them and they look miserable as sin. Experts and historians dispute this claim. The Queen is not a Nazi, those lassies are probably not the Brontes and the camera rarely stops lying.

Anne Marie Scanlon

Smooching is good for you

More than half the world doesn't care for kissing. At least according to a new study in the American Anthropologist Journal. I can see where they're coming from. There are few things that get my goat more than public displays of affection (PDA), especially when it's two lovers locking lips on  the train, flaunting their bloody happiness in everyone's face. It's worse if they're ugly, although I'm not too sure why, maybe it's because I'm as shallow as a kiddies' paddling pool.

Kissing can also be very dangerous. It can spread the Ebola virus, which always makes me think about the Zombie virus and how in 28 Weeks Later Robert Carlyle brought about the apocalypse after smooching his wife. So not only is it dangerous, it may threaten humanity's very existence.

But puke-inducing PDAs and apocalyptic doom aside, I must admit that kissing ain't all that bad. It's pleasurable, when it's done right, like sucking a mint after a Chinese dinner. And maybe that's it, maybe half the world isn't doing it right and making bad excuses, like the teenage boy with a big crush who gets shot down and says he didn't like the girl anyway.

Christopher Jackson

The west is best for TDs

There was an old feminist slogan in the '70s that went: "If we can send one man to the moon, why not them all?"

A similar thought surely passed through many people's minds last week on hearing that the Government had upped sticks and moved en masse to Sligo for a few days in order to hold a special one-off Cabinet meeting in luxurious Lissadell House. If we can send one politician there, after all, why not them all?

Not that the north west has done anything to deserve having a job lot of unwanted TDs dumped on it. In fact, the county has already suffered enough recently, what with that whole business about the French sneakily fobbing them off with some random bones rather than the mortal remains of poet WB Yeats. Le cheek!

But you know, lads, sometimes you just have to take one for the team. Sligo's loss would be the other 25 counties' gain.

Cabinet ministers certainly wouldn't object. Last week they got to stay in a nice country house at someone else's expense, with food and drink thrown in, and a bit of sightseeing on the side, while still being paid for doing the day job. Good luck trying to get the boss to agree to that if you work as a binman or on a supermarket checkout.

It's like the St Patrick's Day junkets all over again. The ministerial jet set are fond of pretending that's "working" too.

What's more, they'll soon have broken up for the long Dail recess, when they can blag themselves even more free short breaks around the country under the pretence of attending those cushy numbers otherwise known as "summer schools". Irish politicians have so many holidays, it's as if they think they're teachers or something.

As the old song says: Nice work if you can get it.

Eilis O'Hanlon

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