Archive for July 3rd, 2006


I have no time for resentful petty-bourgeois whingers who complain about the fact that some minor celebrity or other gets an honorary degree from their university, while they have had to slog valiantly for three years, smoking rolling tobacco and forgoing expensive cocktails, in order to receive the same piece of paper. An honorary degree isn’t generally recognised as a qualification, so it’s not as if you’re going to be competing with Roy Keane Ph.D in an interview for a quantity surveying postion, kids. True, said whingers may be a media fiction, but they are annoying nonetheless.

However, I think that honorary degrees should conform to some sort of standard, especially in Northern Ireland, otherwise they just make a joke out of honorary degrees. I mean, Eamonn Holmes. It seems to me that he just received it for being (a) well known; and (b) from Northern Ireland. This just devalues the gold standard for honorary degrees. Once upon a time these degrees meant something, like the one they gave Pat Jennings for his big hands and unfathomably deep voice. Nowadays, they give them to the presenter of the National Lottery, for ‘never forgetting his roots’.

Some suggestions for coming graduation ceremonies, providing they don’t forget their roots:

Her off Big Brother who ran about in the buff;
Derek Dougan, UKIP representative;
The one off Silent Witness;
That guy from Portstewart who’s famous for being funny in Australia;
Ruth Kelly, Opus Dei member;
Yer man who plays Conor in Neighbours

It is important, after all, that the achievements of people from Northern Ireland are appropriately recognised.


Pollo Senza Diavola

I used to have a recurring dream when I sensed the presence of the devil. Like most of my manifest dreams, this one is pretty short on detail. I’m standing outside a petrol station, and there’s a van parked, with a hole punched in the side of it, darkness inside, and a whiff of rotten eggs coming out. That’s it. This was enough to induce a sense of deep anxiety and terror. At this point, I would realise that it was a dream and wake up.

The other day, I took a packet of chicken fillets out of the fridge and pierced the wrapping with a sharp knife, and I was assaulted by the foul stench of death – a noxious amalgam of carcass and chemical preservative. It lingered for a second, and was gone. Yuck.

The point is, I can’t be doing with satanic associations every time we decide to prepare arroz con pollo.

Yesterday I went to a barbecue where all the meat was halal. The chicken legs were exquisite, as was the steak and the lamb chops: it all tasted clean and fresh, and certainly not possessed by the devil. I was very impressed. After that, I don’t think I can go back to buying the other stuff. From now on, Dunnes Stores’ chicken fillets are strictly haram in my house.

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything

After a toothless World Cup campaign, where the English press had hyped the team’s prospects, where the manager had used up a squad position to a 17 year old who had never played a senior team game for his club, where the team had shown an utter lack of footballing intelligence, where the players were unable to cope with the pressure of a penalty shoot-out, where the captain’s performance was uniformly mediocre, where the best player was rushed back from injury and forced to play out of position, where aforesaid best player chose, in the course of his team’s most important match for four years, to stamp on another players’ testicles, only one person can truly be held to blame for England’s failure: Cristiano Ronaldo. Bringing a serious foul to the attention of the referee, and then having the gall to wink at someone minutes later: these foreign players have no sense of fair play.

The most ludicrous argument I heard for Rooney’s behaviour was that he may not have known that the other player’s groin was in danger of being crushed underfoot as he lowered his studs. This is one of the most skilful players of his generation, with remarkable powers of balance and awareness of what is going on around him, but we were invited, by Johnny Giles, Eamonn Dunphy and others, to consider the possibility that Rooney may not have known where Carvalho’s groin was in relation to the rest of his body. There are none so blind as those who would not see.

For a series of turgid performances, England did not deserve to get as far as the quarter-finals, and they certainly did not deserve to win the match. They were simply not good enough, but a bout of scapegoating foreigners will do much to obscure this painful reality until the Premiership starts again.

Update (borrowing heavily from Frank): Rooney-Ronaldo Rift Rumours Rebutted. Will Winking Wantaway Winger’s Weasel Words Wash?

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July 2006
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