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A Different View

Cars and technology show their strength in numbers

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are many different ways in which we get hung up on numbers – did you ever, for example, wish a woman a happy fortieth and live to tell the tale? But while the sands of time can apparently be held back by shedding the odd digit, marketing relies more and more on ever-increasing numbers for its success.

Take the iPhone or iPad – no sooner has the iPad 2 or iPhone 5 hit the shops than the expectation begins for the iPad 3 and the iPhone 6. And just because the delay may prove unbearable, there’s the iPhone 5S model coming down the tracks to bridge the gap.

Of course the reality is that the differences are minimal, more often than not, an extra button here a half a millimetre shaved off there, a gimmick or two…..and you have a whole world of people with a year-old phone who now feel they possess the modern equivalent of a Betamax video recorder.

And yet if you look at the iPhone, apart from a couple of minor advances, it still does what its predecessors did – it makes and receives phone calls, it has internet access, allows you to take and store pictures, to download music and videos and read your emails.

But it’s all down to the number – which is why we are now just over a month from a change in car registration, so that instead of waiting for the end of the year, we now have new numbers every six months.

Motorists didn’t want to buy a 13 car six months into the year – but the motor dealers hope that a 132 car will hold the same appeal as a new car in January held since we moved away from our old Galway IM and ZM number plates.

You’ll actually be buying the same car in July as you were in May, but it will feel different – and possibly cost more – because it has an extra 2 on the registration.

This works in movies and music too – once upon a time, there was an album called Now That’s What I Call Music!, a compilation of big hits from that not-so-golden generation for the industry.

The first Now! album – released towards the end of 1983 – featured such luminaries as Phil Collins, Kalagoogoo, Howard Jones, UB40, Limahl, Heaven 17, Bonnie Tyler and Culture Club, with eleven numbers one on the double album.

So almost 30 years on, Now 84! came out in March with 43 tracks from people, most of whom weren’t born when the original came out – with the obvious exception of Fleetwood Mac and the Justice Collective who re-recorded He Ain’t Heavy for the Hillsborough Fund.

But Pitbull featuring TJR, Wiley featuring Chip, Rudimental featuring John Newman & Alex Clare or Devlin featuring Diane Birch? They may be the latest stars of Now! but they could equally all be living across the road from me in blissful poly-habitation, for all I know.

When the first Now! came out, they probably hoped they’d knock six albums out of it, but such is its instant recognition now, those who still buy albums don’t even need to see the track listing – they know Now 84! is newer than Now 83! and that Now 85! will be here in plenty of  time for Christmas and that 30th anniversary.

Rule of thumb then for a happy life – numbers are always better and more appealing when they’re on the increase….except when it comes to a woman’s age.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents may well be the greatest gift of all

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

My mother-in-law is the greatest grandmother on earth, although she’s the only one who doesn’t know it. Not because she’s modest – although she always was – but because she has dementia and struggles to know her own family, never mind their children.

Yet she was there, every step of the way – not just for our two, but for every single one of her 19 grandchildren; minding them, nurturing, entertaining, caring for them, for well over three decades from oldest to youngest.

Kay wasn’t alone for the most of that journey, because Tom in turn was the best grandfather – doing all of those things too, and also instilling a love of simple things into another generation . . . birds, flowers, cats, songs about townlands.

He also embraced things unfamiliar to his world – Thomas the Tank Engine, the Teletubbies, even PlayStation although that remained largely a mystery, as did the fact that anyone would watch soccer when there was a chance to enjoy hurling.

“You’ve been watching this for hours and there isn’t even one score. If this was hurling, you’d have seen 50 of them,” he’d tell the Liverpool fans, enthralled by another scoreless classic.

The beauty of it was that the Kay and Tom got to meet, enjoy and educate every single one of those 17 grandchildren, and there will be no more – because even science can’t produce surprises like that at this stage.

They also got to know a few of their great-grandchildren, although dementia for one of them, followed too quickly by death for the other, didn’t really allow them to pass on the great gifts they had already imbued in their grandchildren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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