Monday, January 26, 2009

Desperate Times In Dublin...

The Indo, having spent several years acting as a cheerleader for the property industry has now lurched to the opposite extreme and is promoting desperate schemes to restore national prosperity:

ADVICE on how to beat the recession has come from the unlikeliest of places.

The Naked Cowboy, now world famous for playing his guitar in Times Square wearing nothing but his hat, boots and underwear, has jetted in to offer the despondent Irish public advice on how to beat the credit crunch.

While I don't doubt Mr. Burck's entrepreneurial skills I have two major reservations about all this.

Firstly I have to wonder whether naked cowboy busking is what the business school guys call a 'Scalable Business Model' - If all of New York can support one naked singing cowboy could one scratch a living in Ireland? Could we replace the jobs Microsoft provide with people doing this?

The second problem is that the Irish have already gone beyond Mr. Burck's old fashioned play-songs-and-make-money-while-looking-silly business and moved into the high concept and very Celtic Tiger area of Human Statues, in which people stand in Grafton Street and expect to get paid for doing nothing...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not So Stupid After All...

Imagine, for a moment that you are in a charge of a large public financial institution. Nice isn't it? Corner office, flash car, all the perks and benefits that go with being a "Titan Of Business".

But there's a problem. A fairly serious one. Actually a very serious one. And this problem has friends. And you know that when all your problems come out into the public eye things may get a bit .. legal. Not circuit court legal. We're talking about not having to worry about being housed and fed for a few years because the Minister Of Justice will be looking after that side of your life.

So what do you do? Obviously you hire really good lawyers. But then what? You could become a fugitive but that involves running away and leaving all your nice toys behind.

You could try being a visibly nice guy - visiting orphanages, hugging kittens, that sort of thing. But it's very unlikely to work.

Or you could go on national radio and do an interview in which you announce that Child Benefit and Pensions be means tested, along with pretty much every other program the government has for the less-than-very-rich. Of course doing this will make everyone, and I mean everyone, hate you.

But it will also make it really hard to find an unbiased Jury who are smart enough to understand the kind of financial shenanigans you were involved in...

Maybe that interview wasn't such a dumb thing to do after all...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Passing the Fintan O'Toole Morality Test...

In today's Irish Times Fintan O'Toole argues that George W. Bush isn't the worst president in history because all US presidents are bad and the US is an irredeemably bad society. You really have to wonder about Fintan - does he really believe this stuff? If so there's clearly hope for us all as apparently having an arm's length relationship with reality doesn't prevent you from holding down a job at the IT. I penned the letter below but then decided to put it in my Blog instead...


Fintan O'Toole argues that the historical treatment of
Native Americans by the United States was an act of
evil that permanently disqualifies the United States
from any sort of moral leadership. But if we are to
follow his reasoning who can assert such leadership?
Britain, France, Belgium and other former colonial
powers are obviously disqualified. Russia isn't going
to pass the test. Let's not even mention Germany. Or
Austria. Sweden might be peaceful and fun loving now
but applying the O'Toole test we have to count them
out due to a long track record of military adventurism
in neighboring countries. And while we're on
Scandinavia what about those vikings? That means we
can rule out Denmark, Norway and Iceland as well. We
have to pass on Central and South America due to all
those nasty Juntas, which involved the locals
oppressing each other, albeit with outside assistance.
Since South American generals kept their money in
Switzerland we 're going to have to make them
ineligible as well. Wait! The Canadians! No, they club
baby seals to death. How about Africa? Granted the
invention of the Kalashnikov and the demented national
boundaries dreamed up by imperial mapmakers haven't
helped but the place wasn't exactly a garden of eden
before the Europeans showed up, as the slavers could
rely on the Africans to catch other Africans for them.
What about China? No, the Dali Lama just objected.
Wait! Nepal! No, they have some weird stuff with
Maoists and a Royal family. We're going to have to
pass on Japan - all that 'Co-Prosperity Sphere' stuff.
Maybe somewhere in the Middle East? No. Drew a blank
there. How about the Pacific Islanders? No - 'Not
Being Eaten' may not be an enunciated civil right but
they used to do it and it's probably covered by the UN

Coming back home Ireland doesn't count, because the
Irish spent several hundred years providing the
manpower to expand the British Empire before they got
down to the real business of fighting each other. De
Valera's signing of the condolences book when Hitler
died doesn't really help either.

The bottom line is that no nation passes the "Fintan
O'Toole Moral Superiority Test" - and if we find one
that does it's only because they haven't been given
the opportunity to fail it yet.