Archive for the Advice Category

Hail Mary

Posted in Advice, Conspicuous Consumers, Food & Drink, Shopping, Words on April 1, 2010 by Johnnie

This blog has already warmly welcomed the Green Party’s proposal to introduce tax incentives for vegan converts but not even the most militant plant-eaters among us could have predicted it would receive the support of Mary Harney TD.  While I and many others are still more than a little worried about the content of her forthcoming statement on the issue, word from government sources is that Ms Harney’s conversion to the cause is “deadly serious”.  If so, this will represent the single most positive step she has taken in her tenure as Health Minister.

Besides the Harney’s heavyweight backing, other mooted proposals include using celebrity vegan and former Miss World Rosanna Davison to front a campaign aimed at school children, where re-education on popular myths, such as the health benefits of dairy products, is already well underway (I for one am absolutely delighted my daughter is now receiving soya milk in class), as well as subtle condemnation of lazy parents who hold children’s parties in burger joints. 

While this will inevitably wind up ICSA members (as well as countless others, like those who are already gearing up to protest against the forthcoming ban on cruel, outdated “sports” like horse and dog racing), it’s truly wonderful that the government of Ireland is actually putting the health of its citizens ahead of commercial “imperatives”.  I Have Grave News salutes all concerned for their magnificent efforts in trying to change the way we think, eat and farm, especially in this gruelling week of NAMA horror.  Continue reading


The ladder that spawned a thousand lightbulb jokes…

Posted in Advice, Grave News on February 16, 2010 by Johnnie

Regular readers (reader, maybe) may recall the recent escapade involving my office’s purloined toilet seat, and its eventual, painstaking replacement by the baseball-capped, bluetoothed, jobsworth pain-in-the-arse who looks after such things in this industrial park.  Well, here I present more photographic evidence of his utter inadequacy.

The vertically-challenged amateur pedant and his careless-in-the-community sidekick were in our office not two weeks ago to effortfully replace several blown lightbulbs.  Not only did they utterly fail to perform this task with anything suggestive of competence, they also neglected to take their ladder with them, preferring instead to abandon it in the corridor.  Continue reading

You can’t always get what you want, but…

Posted in Advice, Grave News on December 16, 2009 by Johnnie

In 2004, I elected to take voluntary redundancy from a job which had sapped my personality, soul and energy for too long.  Ultimately, while others just got on with things, I thought too long and hard about them, became too bitter, narky and spiteful.  I had an imperceptible patience threshold which too many people took to be the limit of my personality.

I took this period not to be The End, but, in the immortal words of the sadly mortal Stephen Gateley, “time for a new beginning”.  I learned how to use a ‘puter properly; I found a job where I could use it better; I began to write for fun; soon after, I started to write for money.  Not a lot, but I was paid.  What’s more, people actively sought me out.  They asked for my opinion.  Some of them even paid for it.  For a while, I was having the time of my life.  I don’t say that lightly either.  I used to go to bed thanking my lucky stars each and every night. Continue reading

For Whom The Annabell Tolls

Posted in Advice, Grave News on September 14, 2009 by Johnnie


Like many parents, I’m often concerned about the effect TV advertising has on my children.  Now, this isn’t simply me being tightfisted and worrying about the ‘pester factor’ when trying to do a supermarket shop (“Daddy, can we have a Barbie?  Can we have a water cannon?  Can we have a Black & Decker chainsaw?”), but just what messages the advertisers are subliminally putting into their suggestible little heads? Continue reading

Designate the Fate of your Pate

Posted in Advice, Grave News, Star "Style" on July 29, 2009 by Johnnie
BALDI love adverts for “miracle” baldness cures.  They’ve fascinated me since I was a child, chiefly because my dad was convinced I’d be a slap-head by the time I was 19.  In fact, everyone was convinced of this, mainly because my dad was very convincing – and talkative.

As a teenager, I “articulated” these deep fears in an appallingly-drawn cartoon strip entitled The Onset, in which a bald man, short on confidence and money, goes to buy a toupee.  Looking at the available range, including “The Elvis” and “The Jimmy Savile”, he has to settle for the cheapest syrup in the shop – “The Pedal Bin”, a horrid, nasty rug made out of two Brillo pads, strung together into the shape of a comb over. Continue reading

My Lovely Horsey Weekend

Posted in Advice, Travel on April 17, 2009 by Johnnie


(From Evening Herald HQ article “Cheap Tricks”, 16th April 2009)

Day one: I wake up to my youngest daughter singing Barbie’s annoyingly catchy dirge (I Feel) Connected.  Barbie is, of course, the ultimate consumer chick, but we’re having none of that this weekend.

Our challenge is to have three days connected to nature, away from mod cons and money grabbing. Back to basics, if you will. Children don’t need to understand recessions, you can’t moan that the Government’s emergency Budget was designed to screw us all into penury – it just requires a collective change of tactic. So, we’re at their grandmother’s isolated home in the [English] countryside. It’s the ideal place to experiment with frugality; no shops, no internet or mobile phone signal, and the telly and DVD player are conveniently “broken”.  Daddy’s iPod is nowhere to be found either. All we have is the great outdoors and the limits of our imaginations. Continue reading

The Radio Contributor Cliché Drinking Game

Posted in Advice, Words on April 17, 2009 by Johnnie


Here’s a fun drinking game for any housebound people (e.g. the elderly, the unemployed, freelance hacks or waiters actors) sitting listening to the wireless of a morning/afternoon.  Your drink of choice could be anything at all – Vodka, Mi Wadi, tea, Jeyes Fluid, the floor’s the limit, really.

The rules are simple enough.  Continue reading