“It wasn’t me,” said Larry Goodman to the Financial Times. So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. Larry did not put the horse meat into your favourite beef burger. Larry has not spoken to the media for twenty five years, not since the last time there was a “Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Processing Industry,” by Liam Hamilton, President of the High Court, but he came out of his self imposed silence when horsemeat was found in beef burgers all over Ireland and the UK.
What a way to cut costs. Someone told me the other day that there are 7,000 unaccounted for horses in Ireland. That’s a lot of beef burgers. If you take the average horse at 800lb weight, that’s 3,200 of 4oz burgers per horse or 22.5 million burgers if that is the fate of all 7,000 horses. We’ll all be eating horsemeat for the next five years. “Neigh, we won’t.”
As Declan O’Brien put it so succinctly during the week, “Findings sure to take a bite out of Ireland Inc's credibility.”
Do you know what is in your average burger? Well then, read this culinary delight.
“An eight-pack of Tesco Everyday Value Beefburgers, one of the products cited as potentially containing horse flesh, contains 63% beef, 10% onion and unlisted percentages of wheat flour, water, beef fat, soya protein isolate, salt, onion powder, yeast, sugar, barley malt extract, garlic powder, white pepper extract, celery extract and onion extract.”
So far so good, but wait to you read the definition of meat.
“Under European law, the term "meat" is defined as "skeletal muscle with naturally included or adherent fat and connective tissue" which has not been mechanically stripped from the carcass.”
In other words, all the fat, muscle and any other old rubbish that comes of a cow (horse) can be put into a beef burger.
Guess what I won’t be eating for lunch on Sunday.
And by the way, did you notice how many “extracts” there were in that list? What is a celery extract or an onion extract?
And the Americans love their burgers.
Pres Obama's new cabinet
image from www.npr.org
All Male & White
While we’re talking about the Americans, don’t you love Obama! You have to hand it to him; he knows how to insult a few people, well, millions actually. President Obama will be sworn in for a second term of office on Monday. And guess what, he has named an all male, all white cabinet. No women, no blacks, no Hispanics not even a token gay, married or single.
"Now a lot of those females who supported Barack Obama are scratching their heads, and they're saying, 'Whoa! How come there is so much testosterone in the Obama Cabinet and so little estrogen?'" said Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor on his radio show.
Obama beat Romney 55 percent to 43 percent among women, according to Reuters/Ipsos exit polling on Election Day. He also won large majorities of the African-American and Hispanic vote.
The only black person in a senior position is Eric Holder who is the Attorney General. One thing no one ever thought off: perhaps Mr Obama chose the people on merit.
Everything is done on merit....or so it should be.
Meaningless is the word for
image from www.nydailynews.com
On Your Bike...
Lance Armstrong raced in four “Tour de France” races before winning his first. He finished 36th in one of them. In the other three he was unable to finish for whatever reason. Then he won seven in a row. Now that is some change of fortune, from nowhere man to winner.
But now he has confessed. What priest did he choose to hear his expression of repentance before God and man? None other than Oprah Winfrey, High Priestess of the Public Confession and dispenser of absolution to the rich and famous.
What is it about people that even when they are caught cheating they still have to try to justify themselves? The game is up, you got caught, hold your head up and off you go and rebuild your life. I for one am not in the least bit interested in why Lance Armstrong took drugs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that millions of pounds is a mighty incentive. Ah yes, ‘greed’ never seems to be far away.
The media is quick to call him a cheat etc but in this world of dodgy banks, corrupt politicians and corporate greed, who expects anything else. That’s the way of the world. When there are millions of French Francs, Euros and Dollars at stake, people are going to do these things.
If you’re thinking to yourself, what about example to the young, then we would need to close down banks, parliaments and businesses all over the world.
image from www.standard.co.uk
Little Lost Puppy...
On the subject of closing, there has been quite a bit of that this week. Blockbusters are gone from the English high street; the poor wee dog shall never again hear His Master’s Voice. I can see him patiently waiting outside his wee gramophone and no sound ever coming again.
The UK is really beginning to be hit by the recession now. For a couple of years with quantative easing and other measures the UK has been able to hold the wolf from the door, but that is no longer the case.
Quantative easing is when a government releases money into the economy to stimulate growth. But Quantative easing needs to sell newly made goods and with the whole world in recession, this ploy only worked for a while.
Poor Bobby has lost four grand!
“The starting salary for police constables in England and Wales is being cut by £4,000 to £19,000, the home secretary has confirmed.
Theresa May has accepted recommendations on reform made by the Police Arbitration Tribunal.”
We in the UK are spending at least 10 billion a month more than we are earning and some sort of cuts are going to have to be made. The British have always been ruthless in doing what needs to be done to protect their economy. Watch state pensions and benefits over the next few years. It will not be a pretty sight.
image from www.aveleyman.com
On the subject of sight, I saw four deaths this week that caught my eye. The first was Robert Kee, the historian who wrote the book on our wee country; Ireland, a History.
Kee wrote and presented the documentary series: Ireland – A Television History in 1980. The work received great critical acclaim and was widely shown both in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Our Robert was also involved in the launch of TV-AM in 1983 as one of the "Famous Five" along with David Frost, Anna Ford, Michael Parkinson and Angela Rippon.
But what set Robert Kee apart and showed him to be a man of integrity was how he successfully campaigned for the release of the Guildford Four, the Maguire Seven and the Birmingham Six, joining the campaign at a time when doing so was not popular.
Natalie Wood died thirty one years ago in one of those boating accidents that leave more questions than answers. It now turns out the Miss Wood may have had bruises on her body before she fell into the water.
She was accompanied on the boating trip by her Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken in 1981. Her death was ruled to be an accident, but the inquiry was reopened in November 2011 because of new evidence.
In a 10-page addendum to Wood's autopsy released on Monday, officials said the actress might have had bruises on her arms, scratches on her neck and grazes on her face before she drowned.
However, the coroner in the US has said that there is nothing in the findings serious enough to warrant a change in the original finding of accidental death. But don’t you love a good mystery!
But there was no mystery following the deaths of two friends in Dublin earlier this week:
“Two friends whose bodies were found in a council flat in Dublin's north inner city died from the cold. Post-mortem examinations on the bodies of John Glennon (67) and Debbie McEvoy (63) established yesterday that the cause of death was hypothermia,” wrote the Irish Independent.
Imagine people freezing to death in a home in modern Ireland. Can you imagine the outcry that there would be if someone turned off the heating in the Dail on a really cold day? There is something wrong, Enda. I’m only a stupid Nordie, but even I can see that people should not be dying of cold, in their home, in 2013.
I was going to attend a funeral on Sunday of a good old freedom fighter (of sorts) but it was a bit too far. An Irishman who took the fight against authority overseas was being re-interred after having been hung in Australia in 1880.
The only thing I really ever knew about Ned Kelly was that Mick Jagger acted as Mr Kelly in the film about his life. It turns out Ned had a very bad habit of shooting policemen, a crime for which he was sent to the great shooting range in the sky.
Australians are divided as to whether or not Ned was a hero. Some say he was a ruthless killer, others that he was fighting a corrupt system.
"It's good to see that Ned will get the funeral he finally deserved in the first place," says Anthony Griffiths, the outlaw's great-grandnephew.
But the figures don’t look good for poor Ned. He only killed three policemen. Would hardly merit a mention on a west Belfast wall!
Homelessness in Ireland
image from www.guardian.co.uk
It’s a Rating Matter
Mind you, the figures do not look too good in the north either.
“Hundreds of people in Northern Ireland are facing the prospect of homelessness in 2013, the Simon Community has said. A total of 5,047 households presented as homeless to the Housing Executive during April to June 2012. This was an increase of 878 compared to the same quarter in 2011.
The charity said action was needed to stop the issue getting out of control".
There are so many empty houses around the country that I think I would squat if I finished up homeless. One good thing about squatting is that you don’t have to pay any rates but sure half the country doesn’t pay then anyway.
The rates arrears in the New North have doubled in the last five years to £160 million. We can’t pay to have our bins removed, our swimming pools kept open and our councillors fighting over flags.
Gold nugget - weighing 5.5kg
found in Australia
image from english.sina.com
How’s This For a Find
Returning to the land of Ned, where our former colonial friends have designed their own flag which they fly on whatever designated days they choose, an amateur prospector has found a gold nugget weighing 5.5kg and has a value of almost £200,000.
"I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the last time a nugget over 100 ounces (2.8kg) has been found locally," said Cordell Kent, owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop.
You can almost hear the frustration in poor Cordell’s voice. Imagine prospecting for twenty years and in comes some amateur and makes a fortune overnight. I know what I would do with his gold nugget!
Cordell Kent would probably say that he does a fair days work for a fair days pay.
And we should all try to give employment to others if we can. That’s what one big hearted American software worker did recently:
A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China. The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and eBay. He reportedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his job.
Wasn’t that nice of our American friend to let the little Chinese man share in the American dream-if only from a distance.
But wait till you read this bit, as reported in the press:
"Authentication was no problem. He physically FedExed his RSA [security] token to China so that the third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the workday. It would appear that he was working an average nine-to-five work day," he added.
"Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area. All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about $50,000 (£31,270) annually."
The article also said that the American worker was a quiet, inoffensive man....Here’s proof that it’s the quiet ones you always have to watch for!
Brazillians with Creative
image from www.nesta.org.uk
Creative Business Practices
Business brings out the best in people. Say what you like about our American software man, he was certainly inventive, and what is business if not inventive. Take Brazil for example.
Brazil is now one of the major economies in the world. For an economy to thrive you need inventiveness and creativity and to be able to communicate with your customers.
Brazil is hosting the 2014 world cup and in order to be able to communicate with their customers effectively, the ladies of the night are being given free English lessons. While the conversation in such business transactions may be limited at least the price has to be agreed on properly.
Business also brings out the worst in people.
Brian Cowen is trying to stop the press in the Free State reporting on how he spends his 3,000 euro a week pension. It appears that other political and banking figures are trying to stop the media doing likewise.
If you weren’t ashamed of how you earned your pension, you probably won’t be ashamed of how you spend it either.
So that’s another week over and I ask myself if I have learnt anything this week. Perhaps I have.
If you read this article next week and you find reference to Beijing, a Great Wall, Tibet and Chairman Mao, remember that your Uncle Turlough may have done a spot of outsourcing!
“Our God is a great God.”
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published in Observer Newspaper group, N.I.
24th Jan '13