Across The Pondby Paddy Duffy
- Conor Cusack, John Murray and Ireland's continuing crusade for mental health awareness
- Seven things the Irish learned thanks to the Senate referendum
- Mayo have an All-Ireland ancient curse similar to the Red Sox jinx
- Remembering the radiant Mira and her buzzing modern Facebook shrine
- Remembering two giants, Seamus Heaney and David Frost
Of course, it’s been anything but quiet this year, although those in power really could have done with shutting up more. I’m looking at you, government. This was the year where the wheels finally came off the stainless steel, gull-winged jalopy we used to call an economy, where instead hovering into the future we were dumped unceremoniously back to the fifties, with tracks of fire everywhere. At least we have a grey-haired man with glasses and a distinct speaking voice to help us through: Oli Rehn.
That the EU and the IMF have landed the mothership over the puny earthling repository we call Dáil Eireann is a bit embarrassing considering a few years ago we thought we owned the universe (yes, I’ve moved on from time travel and I’m on to space metaphors now). On the plus side, it’s nice to have someone competent in charge. Brian Cowen and the Keystone Cops he calls a government have done their level best to look as publically and emphatically stupid as possible, and in that at least they’ve done an incredible job. Among the nominees for best performance in a crowded field are Brian Lenihan doing his best Ralph Bellamy in Trading Places, Ivor Callely doing a particularly obnoxious Leo Di Caprio from Catch Me If You Can, Mattie McGrath’s unhinged Crocodile Dundee and Paul Gogarty, who in simply being himself seems to play more roles than Eddie Murphy in Norbit. But, the award this year goes to Oliver Reed himself, Brian Cowen, who made a holy show of himself on Morning Ireland after a Rat Pack night with the press pack.
As time went on my political consciousness expanded, initially through the Irish Democrat prism. But I soon moved beyond the Kennedys and found myself having more of an affinity with the likes his 1960 Primary opponents Hubert Humphrey and Adlai Stevenson, as well as FDR and Harry Truman before them. Yet while my voting profile would be largely that of your classic New England leftie liberal communist gun-hating egghead, one of my favourite ever Presidents was, in fact, a Republican.
There’s little you can’t admire about Teddy Roosevelt. A sickly and weak child, he worked hard at strengthening himself and became a fearsome boxer. He overcame enormous personal tragedy (his wife and mother died on the same day) to forge a successful military and political career. He was so successful as Governor of New York, in fact, that the party bosses he had so successfully taken on had him shunted to the political Marie Celeste they call the Vice Presidency. William McKinley’s assassination promoted him, and he became the youngest person to become President, and quite the President he turned out to be.