George Hook's blog

Just how far is the Russian president willing to go in his pursuit of Ukraine and beyond, asks George Hook

07/03/14 at 10:09 AM | 0 Comments

Human beings naturally fear the unknown. A shadow lurking in the back garden changes from menacing intruder to a swaying tree branch in the blink of a porch light. A stranger approaching in a dark lane turns from potential danger to next door neighbour in a matter of strides. The unfamiliar can often be threatening until it is shown in a more familiar light.

Where people are concerned, the potential for menace often coincides with a lack of familiarity.  The more two people get to know each other, the less likely it is that one will feel threatened by the other.

Think back to your childhood and the school yard bully. Think of how that bully cast a shadow over everyone else; even the bigger, stronger pupils. Bullies are often so effective in their intimidation because of a combination of physical strength and psychological instability.

It isn't that a bully can beat me up, it is that he is more likely to do so.

"Time has the ability to catch out even the best liar," says George Hook, "I know this because I was one."

28/02/14 at 09:18 AM | 0 Comments

Is it ever okay to tell a lie? Of course it is, because everybody does it. People lie every day without even realising it. Politicians lie, teachers lie, lawyers lie, even priests lie. Lying is so common place that it has almost become part of our subconscious.  

Like most things in life, lying becomes easier with practice. The more a person lies the more they believe the falsity of what they are saying. A good liar will actually convince themselves that what they are saying is the truth, no matter how far removed from the reality of what really happened.  Thus, good liars are very difficult to spot.

Climate change is a global responsibility and we all have a duty to protect the next generation from potential disaster, says George Hook

21/02/14 at 08:01 AM | 0 Comments

The quandary of coincidence; easy to suggest, difficult to prove. Coincidence relies on the coming together of incident, time and place in exactly the right order at an appropriate moment. A coincidence ventured in unusual circumstances can just as easily be dismissed as embraced, depending on its relative merits. At its most basic level, however, coincidence is an excitable justification for an unusual sequence of events.

Scientists often use coincidence to dismiss emerging or unproven scientific theories. Often, senior medical professionals will turn up their noses at a new treatment until they are shown the evidential factors and root causes behind its success. A one-off therapy to relieve a serious ailment can often be attributed to coincidence or other external factors. In the medical profession, in particular, scepticism over any new breakthrough has become a necessity to guard against mediocrity or even malpractice.

Cowardice travels in many forms, says George Hook, but I have yet to find a match for the low life cretiny of the internet troll

14/02/14 at 10:20 AM | 0 Comments

Any man that has my measure, come and meet me, face to face.

Then, with tools of our displeasure, let us roll about the place.

Do not distract us, one and all, our fate it rests on other's arms.

For who shall stand and who should fall, is left to draw on other's charms.

Through word or fist, or knife or draw, the world will show us in our shame,

And we shall leave from whence we came, our heads held high with our good name.

 

My father always told me that a man's last stand is a reflection of his character. When all reasonable options expire, he said, face your tormentor and trust the plant of your foot.

Despite the assertions of Panti Bliss, Ireland has a record of fairness in debating contentious issues, says George Hook

07/02/14 at 09:34 AM | 0 Comments

Going to court in Ireland on the issue of libel is a risky business. Irish juries have awarded millions of euro where they felt the injured party’s good name had been damaged.

Despite the huge awards the legal costs can dwarf the damages. It is a principle of law that the costs of both the plaintiff and defendant are borne by the loser. For an individual it can be ruinous and seriously damaging to the balance sheet of a company.

In the last week, RTE paid an €85,000 libel settlement to journalist John Waters and the Catholic think-tank, the Iona Institute. The state broadcaster was slated for what was seen as a hasty action.

'For rugby fans, this is as good as it gets.' George Hook is optimistic about Ireland's chances in the Six Nations Championship

31/01/14 at 09:26 AM | 0 Comments

The pot simmers over a cauldron of fire as six hungry nations sharpen their knives in anticipation of battle. Here, on the eve of this great tournament we lie in wait, resting our bodies and saving our energy for the madness that is to come. The players will carry us on the shoelaces of their boots during each of the forthcoming five rounds of international rugby; we will crunch and squirm with every tackle and celebrate and roar with each magnificent try. At the end of it all, one nation will rise in glory. One nation will stand alone as champion while the rest will look on in envy and regret.  Yes my friends, the Six Nations Championship is upon us once more and for rugby fans, this is as good as it gets.

The support of interested parents is vital to a young athlete, says George Hook, but at what point does nurture become torture?

24/01/14 at 10:49 AM | 0 Comments

Gary Player, one of the greatest golf players of all time, has a fascinating theory on sporting excellence. The South African believes that nature and nurture will only take a talent so far; but hard work and something else indescribable, 'it', will stand a person apart from the rest of the field.

The 78 year-old contends that only true champions will ever get to discover what 'it' is and even at that, most will struggle to put 'it' into words.

Player's advice, though stern and abrupt, is to be respected. The nine time major winner had to scrap and fight for every ounce of his success in one of the toughest disciplines. He knew the difference between success and failure, between becoming a legend and being cast aside as an 'also ran'.

The bars we set for ourselves are constantly moving, says George Hook, so how can any of us be truly happy?

16/01/14 at 10:26 PM | 0 Comments

The moral in the famous story of the Tortoise and the Hare didn't appear out of fresh air. The hare, in his haste and naivety, sprints off to try and win a race while the sturdy old tortoise trundles along at a slow and steady pace. We all know what happens next. The over confident Mr Hare takes a rest by the side of the road while the tortoise continues along at his own rhythm, eventually crossing the line to win the race. Children listening to that story take the most obvious lesson away: finish the job no matter how far in front you are and never allow yourself to get too cocky.

'Just say yes!' George Hook on making making the most of 2014

10/01/14 at 08:38 AM | 0 Comments

One of the funny things about superstition is that it only holds power over a willing vessel. If a person gives no weight to superstition, it cannot be allowed to work.

Another other funny thing about it is its unlimited potential for variation. For example: if I absolutely believe that bad luck will strike me if I walk under a ladder, and nothing particularly bad happens for a period of time, the scope to attribute that ladder incident to bad luck will continue until I find sufficient cause to justify my belief.

If I walk under a ladder tomorrow, and then happen to lose my wallet next year, can I reasonably expect to connect the two incidents? The stronger the belief in superstition, the more scope there is to check it off, no matter how random, or lose the connection.

A generation of kids is being shackled because of our compo culture, but Ireland has a worthy hero, says George Hook

19/12/13 at 07:06 PM | 0 Comments

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, take a bow. Last week, the President of the High Court threw out a case taken on behalf of two-and-a-half-year-old Robyn Behan by her mother Vanessa. The Behans decided to sue a fast food restaurant in Dublin over an injury that their daughter suffered on the premises back in September 2011.

Robyn, 11 months old at the time, got her finger stuck in a sugar dispenser at an Eddie Rockets store in Blanchardstown. Despite several efforts by staff on the premises to remove the finger from the dispenser, Robyn was taken to hospital where a surgeon managed to set her free. The girl's mother told the court that her daughter suffered extensive bleeding during the incident and still has a small laceration on the end of her finger.

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