George Hook's blog

Childhood is supposed to be about innocence and education, not mascara and bikinis, says George Hook

27/09/13 at 09:55 AM | 0 Comments

Ever heard of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Neither had I until a few weeks ago when I accidentally switched on the entertainment channel TLC. No, "Honey Boo Boo" is not some new preserve made by crying bees, it is a reality television show starring a seven-year-old girl in the United States. The girl, her hyper obese mother and her slack-jawed yokel extended family spend their time rehearsing for and competing in child beauty pageants near their hometown in Georgia. With an average audience of 2m viewers per episode, the yanks seem to lap it up.

The programme is as disturbing as it is tacky. Honey Boo Boo's mother bears an uncanny resemblance to a paper mâché head that I made when I was five. None of her features seem to fit in the right place and she always looks like she is suffering from constipation. The rest of the family wouldn't be out of place in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

As politicians return to their benches, George Hook suggests a refresher course on The Three Rs

20/09/13 at 09:05 AM | 0 Comments

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when our hard working politicians must return from their summer recess and reapply themselves to the business of mastering the “3 Rs”. No, not the “Readin', 'Ritin', 'Rithmetic” of our school days. It’s more the stuff of domestic economic programs like those that were introduced in the United States between 1933 and 1936 by F. D. Roosevelt in his “New Deal”. That is, of course, the politician’s ‘3Rs’ of Relief, Recovery, and Reform: Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat recession.

George Hook contemplates the end of an era and what it might mean for Irish rugby

13/09/13 at 09:32 AM | 0 Comments

Here we are, then.  The Heineken Cup as we now know it is on the verge of extinction. The greatest club competition in world rugby has been plunged into chaos following Tuesday’s announcement that the English and French sides have given notice to withdraw from the tournament at the end of the current season.  

Months of negotiations with ERC stakeholders over qualification standards and financial dividends has left all parties no closer to resolving their differences.  As it stands, the Heineken Cup is on its last legs.  A breakaway competition for 2014 has been proposed by the English and French clubs, with an option for the Celtic and Italian sides to join.  The clock is ticking.

Jamie Oliver is right, says George Hook, a tight budget is no excuse for a junk food diet

06/09/13 at 07:46 AM | 0 Comments

Jamie Oliver was right. He was bang on, 100%, completely and utterly correct in what he said last week and he should be commended for having the balls to say it.  The reaction he got was typical of the nauseating hysteria that seems to pass for modern decorum these days.

In a radio interview to promote his new TV series in the UK, Oliver said (and I'm paraphrasing) that the main reason poor people eat a lot of junk food is because they are too lazy to put their time into proper cooking. Cost isn't an excuse, he added, because it is actually pretty easy to eat well on a tight budget.

If a man can afford to turn down a job paying €13 an hour, says George Hook, something is rotten in our society

30/08/13 at 08:15 AM | 0 Comments

If the government wants to get unemployed people back to work, it must remove the incentive for them to stay at home. There is very little point putting time and resources into expanding job creation if the very people targeted refuse to sign up.  How do we do this? By cutting social welfare.

The first time I encountered the law of diminishing returns was in the gym. I was a young rugby player bursting with enthusiasm and I had figured out that the best way of claiming my starting place as a second row in the St Mary's team was to build more muscle. I knew nothing about lifting weights so I threw myself into it as best I could.

After about three weeks of furious bench pressing, one of the trainers in the gym came over to me and quietly whispered that I was wasting my time. "Why"? I had asked, slightly taken aback. As far as I was concerned, I was getting stronger by the day.

"The most sexist, chauvinistic piece of clap trap since the dark ages." George Hook is not a fan of The Rose of Tralee

23/08/13 at 08:30 AM | 0 Comments

The Rose of Tralee (insert year here)

Act one, scene one.

(Insert host name here)

"Would you look at all of those lovely girls. There they all are, dressed up in their pretty little gúna's with a smile that would melt butter. Aren't they just wonderful? Oh wait, here comes a song and a dance. Better take off the high heels first! We wouldn't want you falling on your pretty little faces now would we? Hahaha. Off you go, dance away while we all clap. Wonderful! You were super!

Now, on to the serious business. What's your favourite colour? Pink? Isn't that gas altogether! And what's your favourite thing to do on a Saturday? Shopping? Oh aren't you the right little spender! Hahaha!

Have you got a boyfriend? What does Daddy think of him? There he is, hello Daddy!  And Mammy? Sure she doesn't count, eh? Hahaha...

George Hook on Chris Froome's bittersweet Tour de France victory

26/07/13 at 09:02 AM | 0 Comments

The Tour de France finished up at the wonderful Champs Élysées in the middle of Paris on Sunday afternoon. The winner, Chris Froome, battled through three crippling, hard weeks of pain and suffering to claim the most coveted of professional cycling prizes; the yellow jersey or maillot jaune.

His victory was almost guaranteed by the start of the third week. Incredible performances over the first fourteen days set him apart from his fellow competitors.  Froome dominated his rivals from start to finish and together with last years winner, Bradley Wiggins, he gave team Sky back to back victories on the Tour. It was a magnificent achievement for all involved. Thousands lined out on the streets of Paris to welcome the riders in and when Froome made his way to the winners podium he looked happy and relieved that cycling's most punishing race was finally over. The race is now finished, but many questions remain unanswered.

George Hook on the religious orders turning their back on Magdalene Laundry survivors

19/07/13 at 09:13 AM | 0 Comments

The government redress scheme for the survivors of the Magdalene laundries will stand alone in its composition. There will be no financial assistance from the guilty parties and government ministers remain powerless to compel cooperation from the few responsible for the neglect and suffering of many.  Instead, the religious orders involved have offered to "help in other ways".

You really don't seem to get it, Sisters. Nothing speaks louder than a muted, selfish response and judging from your latest token effort, the silence is deafening. As Sisters of Mercy, you had an opportunity to do the right thing, yet you chose to turn the other cheek in order to protect your financial comforts. Mercy, it seems, does not extend to financial sacrifice.

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.

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