Gone 'West Wing', Young Man

Guest post are like buses, it now seems.

Although not those buses where the drivers jump out and shake your hand, apparently.

No, they're just like buses because you wait an age for one and then two come along in a minute.

After guest posting (sort of) at Sharp Words yesterday, today I'm over at 'Inside Government'.

I did a guest post over there before and it was fun. In this one I'm belting on about how 'The West Wing' has made me think I know everything there is to know about American Politics. Honest to God, I am.

So if you want to see me, once again, wading gleefully out of my depth then that's the place to go.

Normal service resumes...

PS - Thank you to 'Windmill on the Hill' who has made me their blog of the month for this month. Sweet!

Sharp Words Exchanged Whilst Digging 'The Graveyard Book'

Catherine at Sharp Words has once again asked me to help her to review a book.

Okay, that's just a big fat lie. I asked her. I begged her.

Last time we did 'The Book Thief' and it was great fun and got a fun reaction. This time it's 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman.

When it comes to the book, I really really think that it_

No... wait. Nonononono.

Click here and read our review.

Well, really it's her review with me throwing random stuff in here and there.

You know how I go on.

The Game of Twenty Five

(To the tune of ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rogers)

One Dark Winter’s Evening on a bus bound for Sligo
An old man sat beside me, he smelled a bit like wee
I tried hard to ignore him, working hard at my crossword
But he jabbed my in the ribcage and commenced to speak to me

He said son I’ve made a life out of going round the card drives
Knowing who had good hands and who had only shite
And I can see quite clearly that it’s all red twos in your hand
So for a sip of your Fanta, I’ll tell you how to do it right

Well I told him he could feck off still he drank down my last swallow
Then he stole two Polo Mints, a Snickers, and my pen
He said Poker is for losers and Old Maid’s just for children
So if you’re gonna play a game, boy, Twenty Five’s the game of men.

You've got to know who the chumps are, know what the trumps are
Know when to run away and know when to drive
You never poke at a five when there's a twenty at the table
Or else things might get unstable in the game of twenty five

Every player knows that the secret to the winning
Is holding all your good cards ‘til the fools have shown their face
Cos every Jack of Trumps can be beaten by a eejit.
And the best that you can hope for is that no one will hit your ace

And when he’d finished speaking, I turned back to the window
Pulled up my parka hood and tried to fall asleep
And somewhere outside Boyle they threw him off the bus for fartin’
But I found his deck of cards stuck down the crack of his seat

So now I know who the chumps are, I know what the trumps are
I know when to run away I know when to drive
I’ll never poke at a five when there's a twenty at the table
Or else things might get unstable in the game of twenty five

Or else things might get unstable in that game of twenty five

Limerick 2 – The Epilogue

Hey, thanks for playing, you guys are the greatest!

I sometimes get to thinking I’m pretty good with Limericks and then you guys just come along and kick my ass in the comments section (the most sensitive place of the ass). Really, great work.

So, there has to be winners and there has to be… people who don’t win but are still great.

Here’s the five answers to my limerick puzzles.

1) King Kong (why did they build a wall to keep him out and then put a gate in it big enough to break through?)
2) Body Heat (I spelled Matty wrong, ‘bet that what’s threw y’all off.)
3) High Noon
4) The Towering Inferno
5) Casino Royale.

The first person to get them all right was Hope.

Well Done Hope. May you spring eternal. 500 EC are on their way to you. Hope also gets an extra 100 EC for guessing Fiendish’s fiendish limerick.

As for the other questions:

Bruce Willis deserves a mention in the High Noon rhyme because, in Die Hard 2, when the odds are stacked against him, he is asked ‘What are you going to do?’ and our Bruce memorably replies ‘Whatever I can’. Catherine at Sharp Words came close enough to bag herself 200 EC.

The Towering Inferno claimed a lot of A-List stars during it’s running time. Sadly many of the survivors have passed away for real in the intervening years and that was the gist of my bittersweet doggerel. miss tique identified Richard Chamberlain, O. J. Simpson and Faye Dunaway as people who are still surviving the movie. More power to them, I say. She gets herself 200 EC and muchos respect around these here parts.

I am going to award to 500 EC for Best Limerick to Fiendish for this one:

Too young to write for Rolling Stone
Our hero was nonetheless shown
How to tour with a band
Write a full feature and
Fall in love, save a life, then go home

Perfect meter, a movie summed up with affection and wit plus she left the name out. What more could I ask? 500 EC to Fiendish. (In case you don’t know, Fiendish is the only blogger I know who I have ever actually met in person and, God knows, we meet often enough. Thought I should mention this in case someone cries ‘skulduggery’, of which there is none). Incidentally, she is also one of the most exciting new young writers I have seen, so watch out for her.

One final award. 200 EC goes to Reese for playing the game as hard as it could be played and just getting pipped by Body Heat. You Rock, Reese!!

Did I miss anyone? Did I mess up? Let me know, I’m sure we can work something out. Oh yeah, I have to write a rude and disgusting limerick about Hope now? Anyone want to have a go in the comments section. I will have a think and post my own attempt there soon.

Let's do it again sometime, eh?

Limerick Competition 2 – The Revenge

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Internet...

You shouldn’t really be surprised.

The comments on the first Limerick Competition Post were such good fun that there simply had to be a sequel.

(Well, Cecilia told me there had to be.)

Of course this one may have more bangs and crashes but, ultimately, it just won’t be as good as the original.

But here goes anyway.

The most fun we have around here often has to do with things such as movies and… em… Limericks. So I thought why not throw the two in together? Why not write some Limericks about movies and ask the lovely visitors to write a Limerick about a movie too. More - I'll try not to name the movie in the Limerick, then fun could be had in trying to guess the movie. (All right - it was a slow night in Ideasville).

So I wrote a few and stuck them in below. The result is a bit like a series of Limerick Movie Riddles… very easy ones.

Will you do me an honour and write one of your own and put it in the comments thingie? I’d be eternally grateful, so I would.

As before, I’ll give 500 EC to the one I judge to be the winner plus a good link in the sidebar for a few months. (See Canucklehead over there? He won last time and it changed his life… he swears a lot more now). If you don’t use EC, you can have the link anyway and that amazing buzz that only comes from being the very best… that’s what I hear anyway.

For the first person that names the five movies I am Limericking about – all five, mind - I will try to write a copiously rude and disgusting Limerick about them as a special treat (can you wait?). Watch out for the fifth one, it’s a tiny bit tricksey - by which I mean it is not 'Gone With the Wind'. If you only get four, put them in anyway, you might win.

If you can also be first to explain why Bruce Willis warrants a mention in Limerick 3, or name three actors who are still surviving the movie in Limerick 4, I’ll also give you a wee few EC into the bargain.

It’s all in the name of fun. Roll up, roll up. Put your rhymin’ hat on.

The Natives don’t know what to do
The Beast has just munched one or two
Yes, the wall was secure
But they installed a big door
Large enough for the king to break through

When the heat wave got into my head
I went where that femme fatale led
And though Mattie may lie
Still one bad man will die
For no reason but we want him dead

The men of this town were not super
When there was trouble, they hid in the pooper
So it falls to one man
To do whatever he can
Not Bruce Willis, fool, Gary Cooper.

The fire was deadly… and high
And an A-List of stars had to die
Now the death toll’s grown steeper
For, in real life, the grim reaper
Took the survivors as well, by and by

Along came a new secret man
He was dangerous, quite violent, yet calm
But his girl Vesper Lynd
Thought it was ‘Gone with the Wind’
When he said, “Do I look like that I give a damn?”

There... surely you can do better?

If I’m lucky enough to get a few comments, I’ll hold them in moderation for one day so you can fool yourself into thinking you're first with the answers and get all excited.

Odds are, you will be.

Oh, by the way, any Limericks you may write in my comments section remain the property of the person who wrote them - always – just in case one of them lands a movie deal or something.

UPDATE: Let's clarify the prizes: 500 EC, kindly donated by Jena Isle for best limerick (plus a link here), 500 EC for all five answers (or closest) to the movie/limerick/riddles and 200 EC each for first correct answers to those little questions I posed.

"Midnight..." An Extract

As discussed somewhere previously, I don't ever talk about what I'm currently writing.

I don't talk much about things I've finished writing either.

I don't really talk much about writing at all. Which is odd, because I thought I would.

Anyway, here's a short extract from one of my more recent theatre plays for teens. It's called 'Midnight in the Theatre of Blood' and it isn't exactly about what you might guess it is about.

That's the original cast, by the way, on the right.

A merry cohort, I'm sure you'll agree

SEAN: Tess...

TESS: Hi. You wanted me, after the loo. God that sounds so wrong.

SEAN: I wanted to ask you...

TESS: Yes?

SEAN: Just...

He pauses, kicks around the hall.

TESS: I'm getting old here.

SEAN: No, feck it. I can't.

TESS: You have to. I'm hanging now.

SEAN: It's just that... God, it's like cutting open the metaphorical feather pillow out of a first
floor window.

TESS: You're doing it again.

SEAN: What?

TESS: 'Mr. Obtuse.'

SEAN: Sorry. What I mean is; If you throw all of the feathers out of the window, you can try
and try but you'll never get them all back in the pillow . The garden will never be
the same again.

TESS: You're afraid of opening Pandora's Box.

SEAN: Exactly. God you're...

TESS: Stop! If you say I'm clever it will imply you didn't think I was clever before and
Pandora's Box will be well and truly open.

SEAN: Right, good...

TESS: Well?

SEAN: Yes...

He kicks around a bit more, struggling.

TESS: Ever hear of Morrissey?

SEAN: Who?

TESS: Morrissey...

SEAN: Weird kind of guy. Branch in his back pocket or something... 'Meat is Murder'!

TESS: That's him. He had a song when he was with 'The Smiths'...

SEAN: And?

TESS: It fairly aptly addressed our situation here, I think. It went...

TESS speaks the next lines kindly.

TESS: "Shyness is nice but... shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to..."

She starts to sing, softly and quite sweetly.

TESS: "So if there's something you'd like to try, something you'd like to try, ask me I won't
say 'no' how could I...?

SEAN: I...

TESS launches into a manic little version of 'Ask Me' dancing and all.

TESS: So... ask me, ask me, ask me...

SEAN: I...

TESS: ...ask me, ask me, ask me...

SEAN: I love you.

TESS stops dancing abruptly.

TESS: Sean...

SEAN: Shit, shit shit shit. I did it.

TESS: You did what?

SEAN: I cut the pillow, I opened the box. The feathers are everywhere.

TESS: Poor Mr Obtuse. Listen the feathers might be out but... they don't look so bad.

SEAN: Don't they?

TESS: No. They look... kinda nice... decorative... like snow... all around the garden.

SEAN: Yeah? So...?

TESS: Maybe though, just for a while, we could pretend they're not actually 'feathers'.
Maybe they could be just a sort of 'synthetic foam stuffing' - or something - until we
see how we... get on... And then we could worry about them turning into actual feathers...
at some... unspecified... later date.

SEAN: That sounds good to me.

TESS: Does it?

SEAN: Yeah.

TESS: That's good (laughs) 'cos I don't have a bloody clue what I just said.

SEAN: It's okay, I do, it was just a bit obtuse, that's all.

(c) Ken Armstrong 2008

PS : Here's the song, in case you're wondering...

Stumbling Upon Ghosts

On Christmas Eve 2008, I decided to post one of my stories here on the blog.

Here it is, in case you missed it.

I thought it was a Christmas-ey kind of thing to do and I reckoned the story contained a measure of sentimentality and creepiness which might befit the season.

(Photo by Vidiot)

Since Christmas Eve, that post has been viewed... (goes to check)... 34,123 times. That is a lot of views, as far as my little blog is concerned.

Turnip of Power - who has forgotten more about social networking and blogging than I will ever know - has kindly posted an article about my holiday visitor phenomenon today. The post takes the form of an interview with yours truly. Perhaps go and have a look.

'Long Distance' was written in 1991 and has been published in various places since. The idea used in the story has been more recently echoed in movies such as 'White Noise' and, to wonderful effect in Conor McPherson's brilliant play, 'The Weir'.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that they got their ideas from me - they didn't. EVP was well written-up back when I wrote the story and it's not hard to see the dramatic possibilities it offers.

So thanks to everyone who came to look at my little Christmas offering.

It demonstrated something to me. This medium, within which we write, may be just a pool that we sit on the edge of and wiggle our toes in... but it is a deep pool and there are lots of little fishes down there.

On Being Hypnotised

Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by Hypnosis. As a teenager, I sent away for several mail order books on the subject, read them cover-to-cover, then impressed my friends with ill-advised exhibitions of suggestion. Hands were inexplicably locked together, pendulums were swung, maidens swooned… it was fun.

So when I got the opportunity to be ‘stage hypnotised’, I was excited and jumped at the chance.

Before we get too far into it, I was a little reluctant to write this post because Dear Debbie as Wisdom Hypnosis is a good friend-in blogging and I worried a bit that I might be belittling the profession at which she excels by prattling on about my stupid stage-hypnosis experiences. Then, last week, Debbie posted positively (she always posts positively) about her own recent experiences on stage as a subject so I felt silly for worrying – I should have known better…

During my second year of college in Dublin – I was seventeen - a well-renowned Stage hypnotist began a run in the famous Olympia Theatre. Being dead poor, we couldn’t afford to go but everyone who got hypnotised on stage got free tickets to come back and see the show another night so we acquired some of these free tickets on a promise that we would do our level best to get ourselves entranced, score some further free tickets and then give them back.

My pal Feargal and I were committed to volunteering ourselves while Damian and Bernard were intent on watching the show. Bernard was a worry because he needed some ammunition on me and anything stupid I did would doubtless be thrown back at me in multiples in the weeks to come.

Fergal and I managed to get ourselves on stage with a bunch of other audience members. We both must have done well in the suggestibility tests because we somehow stayed on while other less apt pupils were sent back to their seats. Finally there was fifteen of us left. We were provided with low lights, atmospheric music and gentle suggestions until finally we were deemed ‘ready to play’.

The hypnotist (I won’t name him – he’s passed away since but he was really very good) had lots of fun with us. He made us act out being chickens, I was encouraged to milk a cow (and it didn’t look like any cow-milking the audience had ever seen, I am told), I was also told I was a secret agent and that I would be shot and, when I died, the hypnotised ladies would run to my side and minister to my dying needs – which, at seventeen, would have remained strikingly similar to my not-dying-needs. Unfortunately, I took far too long to die and, by the time I finally hit the floor, all the ladies had gone to minister to the good looking bloke over at stage right… so I died alone.

The little knowledge I had of hypnosis meant that I went into this experience with great comfort – I believed that I could not be made to do anything I was not comfortable doing and this was proved for me when the hypnotist suggested at one point that we take all our clothes off. The stage was quite cold and I hadn’t a notion of standing around in my ‘smalls’ for ten minutes while Bernard took mental pictures. As a result, I had only managed to get my sweater off by the time Feargal and most of the others was gleefully down to little more than their socks.

The funniest moment was when we were all told to be ‘fearsome monsters’. Feargal and I pranced around being generally terrifying and we were in full swing when the order came to ‘Freeze’. I froze facing Feargal and could clearly see that he had stalled in a most unfortunate position. His mouth was fully agape and his head was tilted forward, a spotlight gleaming on his terrifying face. The hypnotist set off on some kind of history of mesmerism while we remained frozen. Slowly, terrifyingly, a long string of drool started to roll its way from Feargal’s fearsome jaws down to the stage. He knew it, I certainly knew it and the audience came to know it. I found it hard not to laugh but I was, after all, frozen.

All through my evening on stage I was asked to do things I wouldn’t normally do and I did them and I enjoyed it. But was I hypnotised? Well, yes, I believe I was. Yet the majority of people who left the stage that night were sure that they had not been hypnotised, not even a little bit. They felt that they had simply ‘gone along with the show’ for the fun of it. I think this signals a key misunderstanding about hypnotism. Old movies and stories would have us believe that a hypnotist can have their subject in thrall to such an extent that every command is an imperative which simply must be obeyed. This is not the case. I see hypnotism as more of an ‘enabling’ process than a ‘commanding’ process. That’s how it worked for me that night anyway. Whenever I was asked to do something, it wasn’t like ‘I_MUST_OBEY…’ it was much more like, “Hey, that sounds like fun!”.

But, you might well ask, if that’s the case, what makes me feel that I was hypnotised at all? All I really managed to do was milk an invisible cow and remove my jumper seductively.

Well, no, not quite… I did two things that night that I don’t believe I could ever do under normal circumstances.

The first simply related to the stance which the hypnotist required us to take when we were told to ‘relax’. He would touch our heads and we would tip at the waist, head down, legs straight with our arms almost touching the ground – and we would fall into this position with great ease whenever required. Here’s the thing; when the interval came, we were put into this ‘relax’ position and - get this - we were left there on stage for the duration of the interval. I couldn’t hold that position for more than a minute in normal circumstances but it was no problem to me that night.

The second was my big moment of the night. I have no doubt that the hypnotist set me up for this because he saw me for what I was – a positive ‘open’ subject. He called a little girl onto the stage and told her she would be the hypnotist for the next few minutes. She would go around all fifteen of us in turn, touch the back of our heads and tell us to relax and we would ‘relax’ into that flopped-over position.

I was the last of the fifteen. I watched the little girl move along the back of the line, watched each subject tilt over as she touched them, saw the delight on her face… and I said to myself, ‘there is no way I am not going to relax when she tells me, no way in the world…”

There was only three of us left. The hypnotist said to the little girl, ‘let’s do the last three really quickly relax relax relax.” And so she did, relax, relax… and that’s all I know. Apparently, when she touched my head, I fell forward and collapsed full-length, face-first onto the stage. I was left there for a while and then brought up again, safe and sound. I honestly have never had any memory of the period between just before she touched me and the time I was woken up.

I think this illustrates a point. The more open to positive suggestion you are, the more they can touch you and move you and reach you. That’s what I took away from it anyway.

Finally we were left with the mandatory post hypnotic suggestion. What good stage hypnotist will not leave his willing subject with a key word or action which will trigger some amusing reaction in them after the show seems to be over? We were told to go back to our seats and know nothing of what was to come but when he clapped his hands a little green man (a Leprechaun, I hesitate to say) will jump up from under our seats, we will chase him, capture him and bring him home with us to stay.

I was sitting beside Bernard and I could tell that this ‘Leprechaun’ would be his crowning moment. If I did this, I would never win a verbal battle again. Waves of poorly-suppressed glee were rising off him like steam off a racehorse.

The command was given and I chased my little green man, caught him and then took the opportunity to show him to some of the more attractive members of the audience. After that, I took him over to meet Bernard.

“Wanna see my little green man?”

“Yes please.”

I extended my palm.

“There he is.”


“Isn’t he? Tickle him under the chin.”


“Tickle him, under the chin, he likes that.

Bernard extended his finger and tickled the air six inches above my palm.

I put my other palm out – 12 inches above the first one.

“No Bernard, he’s ‘that’ tall.”

Then Bernard knew that there was no little green man in my hand – and that I, and the rest of my subjects knew that there was no little green men in our hands.

And then Bernard went away.

Nice Evening

I had such a nice walk around by the swimming pool tonight.

It's a lovely time of year for walking - cold, foggy, quiet, magical.

You can sometimes get to feel like you're the only person alive in this dark dark world.

To the young guy who just drove past the swimming pool - and me - at a speed where he could barely keep his wheels on the road, I would just say this.

It's such a lovely winter's evening, try not to die on it.

And, if you must, try not to take me with you.


Say, Who Are The People...?

One thing I'm always doing is seeing people who remind me of other people. I'm always saying to my friends, "Doesn't he look like...," or, "isn't she the absolute image of...?"

My friends rarely agree with me.

Because of this 'seeing dead-ringer-people', my town sometimes seem largely populated by reluctant celebrities. I see them all the time and it's just a little bit strange.

Here are a few of the people in my neighbourhood:

Buzz Lightyear
I didn't see this one until someone pointed it out to me and then it was *so* true... God.

Johnny Cabs (from the movie Total Recall)
This is not a likeness. The guy in my town really is Johnny Cabs - he's got to be.

Ron Jeremy
No I don't know who he is either. You back me up and I'll back you up.

Margaret Thatcher's Spitting Image Puppet
Poor old lady, she shouldn't have ended up looking like this... I want to offer to carry her bag but I'm laughing too hard.

Michael Flatley
Oh no, wait, it really is Michael Flatley that I see. He regularly visits Westport and joins Matt Molloy in a flute-playing session in Matt's fine pub. He's a great ambassador for Irish Culture but am I the only one who is reminded of Bugs Bunny whenever he dances?

I know this would be infinitely more fun if I had some actual pictures of my local look-alikes but have you any idea how much trouble I'm in around here already?

Do you see any celebrity looky-likeys moving through your community? I'd really like to know. Who are they?

The people that you meet when you're walking down the street...

Blue Moons and New York Minutes

Don Henley has a fairly good song called 'New York Minute'.

I was reminded today what a 'New York Minute' actually is so I thought I would share this information with you.

The term 'New York Minute' refers to a very short space of time. The definition was eternally enhanced by Johnny Carson some years ago.

He explained that a 'New York Minute' was the space of time which elapsed between an NY traffic light going green and the car behind you beeping its horn.

So now you know.

And because (in fairness) that tidbit is, at best, only moderately interesting, here as a bonus, is another song title explained.

The term 'Blue Moon' turns up in many a good old song including that perennial favorite 'Blue Moon'. Yes, it's in there somewhere, take my word for it. But what exactly is a 'Blue Moon'? Not everyone knows. Even if you, apparently, do.

Sometimes you get two full moons in one calendar month, particularly if the first full moon occurs on the first or second of the month. When that happens, another should come along about 28 days later.

The term 'Blue Moon' refers to the second full moon in a single month and, because it is a bit rare, the term 'once in a blue moon' refers to something that doesn't happen very often.

And there you all thought that you were finished with learning-and-such.

Can you perhaps explain any other song titles to me?

I quest for lyrical knowledge.

Plus I might get another quickie post out of what you tell me.

Ah Sweet Mysteries of Life…

I love it when life throws up a little mystery or two for me to mull over.

Margaret at Eyespi20 mentioned one the other day. A guy pulls into her car park at 7.00am every morning then naps for 45 minutes before going off again. Why does he do it? Why doesn’t he nap at home?

I suggested a rather mundane answer to this but I really hope and pray that Margaret will shoot my theory down. I want there to be some ‘back-story’, some odd-and-intriguing reason why he does it.

I tend to nurture there little 'mystery obsessions' of mine because I sometimes find that they are an acorn from which a story might grow. For me, stories often start with some innocuous little detail noted in the back of my head. I’ve learned to encourage that pricking feeling I get which is sometimes the harbinger of a story idea. I think Margaret’s napping man has a story in him. I don’t need to know the truth of his existence or even why he really does it… I just need to wait and see where my interest in him might take me.

I’ll keep you posted.

Some mysteries in my life don’t lead to stories. Sometimes they just amuse me to think back on them.

Like why that bus driver acted as he did, in Dublin a few years back?

Let me tell you about it, perhaps you’ll have a theory.

Trish and I went to see the very first International Soccer match in Dublin’s Croke Park between Ireland and Wales. (So that puts the events of this ‘mystery’ on 24th March 2007, perhaps that’s a clue?) Afterwards we had a drink in 'The Shelbourne Hotel' – much posher than I’m used to – and then we decided to get a bus to Ballsbridge – which is exactly as posh as I’m used to, the bus not the location.

We waited, alone, at the bus stop and, soon enough, a big yellow-and-blue double decker rolled up the road. It stopped, the doors hissed open… and some people got off – that’s relevant, I think... some people got off.

Despite those people getting off, the bus was still packed. Passengers were standing almost right up to the side of the driver’s little cabin.

I stood at the entrance to the bus and shouted up to the driver.

“Sorry,” I said, “can I just check that you’re going through Ballsbridge?”

What happened next has never happened to me before. I would guess it has never happened to anyone before but you might be able to tell me different.

The bus driver broke into a huge smile, threw his gears into neutral, opened his little cabin, jumped out, bounded down the steps of his bus, grabbed my hand and started shaking it furiously.

He said, “I heard you got hitched, congratulations.”

“Thanks.” I had indeed got ‘hitched’ - about fifteen years before.

“Are you in town for long?”

“No… just tonight.”

“Right, right. This bus doesn’t go to Ballsbridge, sorry, you’ll need the next one.”


“I’ll go so…”


And then off he went, with a bus full of people smiling back at me through his windows.

It’s an odd little mystery, completely true. What was he doing? Dublin bus drivers, in my experience, are businesslike, friendly – yes – but I’ve never heard of one bounding out of their seat to greet a stranger.

Perhaps someone in Dublin is familiar with this type of behavior and can help solve the mystery for me. Here are some of my theories:

1) He mistook me for somebody else.
2) He was mad.
3) This is a new Dublin tradition that wasn’t around when I lived there in the Eighties.
4) (And this is the most likely one by far) He was giving me a sarcastic ‘friendly-greeting’ for the entertainment of his sizable Saturday night payload.

I think this last is the truth of the matter but there a few reasons why it doesn’t fully stand up. For instance, I may be a country-boy now, but I’ve lived in cities most of my life and I don’t really stand out as a blow-in to be mocked. Also, importantly, I didn’t wave down the bus to ask if it was the right bus, people were already getting off it at my stop.

When I tell people about this, they tend to shake their heads and say, “This stuff is always happening to you.”

They’re right.

In closing: All this talk about mysteries reminds me of the conundrum of the man who came home from work every day, got the lift to the fifth floor, then walked up the last three flights to his apartment on the eight floor. He always got the lift all the way down when he was going to work but only ever went to the fifth floor when he came home… except, that is, when somebody was with him – then he went all the way to the eighth.

If by any chance, you haven’t heard this before (unlikely, I know) and you become tortured for an answer, look to the housemates in the new British Celebrity Big Brother TV show for a little clue.

A little clue...

Should Have Gone to Edith?

There’s been a bit of an uproar lately over the use of an Edith Piaf recording in a 'Specsavers' advert.

In the radio version which I’ve heard, dear Edith is heard singing ‘‘Je Ne Regrette Rien’ while her words are translated (by Harry Hill, I think) as saying she does regret one thing… she should’ve gone to Specsavers.

Oh look, here's the TV version of the ad.

This doesn’t annoy me as much as it obviously does some people.

In a funny way, it helps to keep the music alive. It makes it accessible to the younger audience who seem to follow advertising music with a tangible mania.

This as was also a bit of a laugh, which is always good.

The bottom line is that the estate of Edith Piaf must have okayed it. So the rest of us can enjoy or hate it as we see fit. It doesn’t matter overly.

The estate of the late great Johnny Cash were not so forthcoming with their permissions for our old friend ‘Preparation H’ - the scourge of Haemorrhoids the world over. Well, maybe not ‘scourge’ exactly (winces).

Apparently, the makers of ‘Prep H’ decided that Cash’s seminal hit ‘Ring of Fire’ would be a great tune to have on an advert for their Piles Ointment and, let’s face it - well, maybe not 'face it' (winces again) - it would have been great fun.

But the Cash Estate said ‘No’, so we’ll just have to make do with Edith for now.

It all set me thinking, though, as to what popular songs I might use to sell particular products. I only came up with one, really.

Here’s the product:

And my proposed song for the Advert is by Billy Ocean…

It’s called ‘Love Really Hurts without You’.

Oops, here it is:

So... any other good suggestions?

Oh, all right... any good suggestions?