George Hook's blog

George Hook is having problems coping with the summer heatwave

12/07/13 at 09:11 AM | 0 Comments

Am I the only one who cannot stick this ridiculous heat? This is Ireland. We are not made to live in temperatures beyond a comfortable 17 degrees.

Don't get me wrong, I adore the sunshine as much as the next man and I find the bright weather has a wonderful effect on the Irish psyche, but 30 degrees in this country and we might as well be living in a microwave.

Tuesday morning, 27 degrees in the middle of Dublin. I haven't felt so uncomfortable sitting into my car since the time I overstayed my welcome in a Las Vegas steam room.

I felt like I was roasting in an oven as I made my way along the Stillorgan dual carriage way, sweating like a baboon in a duffel coat. I was desperate to cool down but nothing I tried was any use. The air conditioning simply blew hot, sticky air from outside back onto my face, leaving my cheeks looking like a pair of inflated whoopee cushions. Not even the shrieking shrill of the Beach Boys Good Vibrations could cheer me up.

Banning alcohol sponsorship at sporting events would cause more damage than good, says George Hook

05/07/13 at 09:02 AM | 0 Comments

On Tuesday afternoon the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications produced a report which said that a ban on the sponsorship of sporting events by the drinks industry should not be introduced.

The report recommended that an addiction fund be set up to help reduce the abuse of alcohol but highlighted that the sports industry would suffer significant financial pain if such a ban was introduced.  

The committee sat down with numerous sports bodies, including the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU and examined the impact that such a ban would have on their bottom line. The Representatives from the drinks and health organisations were also consulted. In conclusion, the committee suggested that any ban on sports sponsorship by alcohol companies would have to come from the European Union.

George Hook: 'Forcing kids to wear school uniforms is counterproductive and cruel'

28/06/13 at 08:56 AM | 0 Comments

Back to school check list: Grey slacks? Check. Woollen grey jumper? Check. Faded white shirt? Yes. Stringy tie? Check. Frown and disgust on the face of the child? You better believe it. What have the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and the majority of Irish school children got in common? They all wear uniforms.

I absolutely detest school uniforms. I hate the sight of them. They are ugly and repressive and I am convinced that forcing kids to wear them is counter productive and cruel. Uniforms serve little purpose and I am calling on the department of education to ban them immediately.

One can certainly see the logic in sending army platoons out on manoeuvres in the full cover of camouflage. There are also valid arguments to keep the members of the defence forces in full brigade. But school children? Really?

Compared to JFK, Obama is an opportunist who will use Ireland for his own best interests, says George Hook

21/06/13 at 08:45 AM | 0 Comments

This week has been a tale of two presidents; one alive, one dead. Barack Obama was in Ireland for the G8 conference and in a metaphysical sense John Fitzgerald Kennedy was returning home. It prompted me to compare the two men that entered office with the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.

Fifty years ago JFK came to Ireland and, before or since, no Pope or politician has had such an impact. Only old age pensioners have a clear memory of the visit and it is important to put it into context. 

Kennedy's decision to travel to the land of his forbears did not have universal support in the State Department. Many Americans were not happy that Ireland had stayed on the sidelines in World War Two and Irish Catholics were not in the positions of power they hold today. 

The Irish Sports Council does the best it can, says George Hook, but there must be other ways of compensating Ireland's incredible boxing talent

14/06/13 at 08:32 AM | 0 Comments

We have greatness walking among us and most of us wouldn't even recognise them if we passed them in the street. I'm talking supreme talent here, the very best in the world. Last week, Ireland coach Billy Walsh took a team of ten boxers to the European Championships in Minsk. (AbovePaddy Barnes, John Joe Nevin, Jason Quigley and Michael Conlan in Minsk, Belarus. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE) The lads fought like lions over a long and brutal seven days and the team returned home with two gold medals and two silver. It was a magnificent achievement.

'Beware the hand that gives.' George Hook offers some advice to Ireland's latest lotto millionaires

07/06/13 at 08:00 AM | 0 Comments

Imagine how Kevin Gheoghan and Carol Loran are feeling this week. Last Wednesday, Kevin and Carol were just another ordinary couple struggling to get by. This week, they are multi millionaires. The Mullingar pair scooped over €10m in the National Lottery when their €4 quick pick came up trumps. Wednesday's draw was one of the biggest roll-over jackpots in this country for some time. Now they plan on splitting the winnings.

Their story should give everyone a lift. Kevin, 46, and Carol, 39, only began seeing each other a few weeks ago. Both have children from previous relationships. From the information in the newspapers over the last few days; it seems like the money will be put to good use. From Wednesday, nothing will ever be the same for them again. This money will change their lives, for better or for worse.

To suggest that "lads mag" models are being exploited is, quite frankly, ridiculous, says George Hook

31/05/13 at 09:14 AM | 0 Comments

Women, know your limits. Do not concern yourselves with trifling matters like politics and general knowledge. No, that simply would not do at all.  Instead, try rolling playfully with a cute little puppy dog on a couch or ponder the pretty rainbow up in the sky over there. Leave the important stuff to the men. It's what we do best, after all. You just have a seat there and try and look your best, while we guys adjourn to the drawing room to smoke cigars and address some urgent social issues. Isn't life just wonderful...

What's all this hullabaloo about lads mags? You know the ones... titles like Zoo and Nuts with big breasted women staring provocatively from the cover? We've all seen them. Well, apparently these magazines are in danger of breaking the law. Feminist groups in the UK are up in arms about what they claim is the blatant exploitation of women in newsagents and supermarkets. They want something done about it.

A weird name does not change a baby's future, but it can certainly shape their journey, says George Hook

24/05/13 at 09:01 AM | 0 Comments

What's in a name? Quite a lot, actually. A person's name is their mark.  It's the star by which they travel. A bad name does not destroy a person, but it can certainly shape their journey. Our own personal limitations do not necessarily confine themselves to the sound or shape of a name, but our perception of that name carries consequences. Many of us know this. But some, Wayne Rooney included, do not.

I woke to the newspapers the other morning to see Manchester United's Wayne Rooney staring back at me with a sheepish grin. The reason for his daft facial expression was tagged along the bottom of the photograph. "Wayne and Coleen Rooney have welcomed baby Klay into the world." Klay Rooney? Seriously. I chuckled into my coffee.

Donal Walsh's struggle to survive deprived him of a normal childhood, says George Hook, but it also focused his mind on other matters

17/05/13 at 09:08 AM | 0 Comments

Donal Walsh on RTÉ’s The Saturday Night Show in April. Picture: RTÉ

We knew him only for a very short time. And even at that, few of us really got to know Donal Walsh. His life was short, yet he managed to touch the lives of so many through his words, through his actions and ultimately, through his suffering. His funeral on Wednesday morning drew friends and admirers from all walks of life. Rugby players, GAA stars, politicians and those compelled to celebrate him turned out to support his family on what must have been the most difficult of days. 

The first time I heard him speak, I struggled to take him in. A 16 year-old child, conveying the wisdom and grace of a man fifty years his senior.  He had a maturity that was beyond his short time here, yet somehow, none of what he said seemed out of place. 

Technology is a gift, but use it in the wrong way and it has the power to destroy your life, says George Hook

13/05/13 at 01:07 PM | 0 Comments

Tuesday night, May 7th, 8.30pm. The Twitter machine goes into overdrive as rumours start flying around that Alex Ferguson is on the verge of calling it a day at Manchester United. Ripples become splashes, splashes turn to waves and before anyone can stop the madness, we have a tsunami of comment and opinion. Seasoned sports hacks express their disbelief as they scribble furiously on laptops in case the news is confirmed before the papers go to print. Bookies release lavish statements and press releases of odds being slashed and bets being suspended. United fans speculate on who will take over as enemy ranks praise Jesus and Allah that the master is finally on the way out after 26 years. During all the madness, the silence from Old Trafford is deafening. We wait over our machines with baited breath.

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