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A Different View

Conflicting emotions on the season of Christmas

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Is there a person out there who hasn’t conflicting views about Christmas? On one hand, you have the hard sell, the commercialisation that begins as soon as Halloween is over – down with the fake cobwebs and witches and up with the Christmas trees.

Long gone is the notion that the Christmas spending season starts on December 8 – the game is well into the second-half at that stage.

And you spend money you can’t afford on things you don’t need, and you swamp the kids with things they never asked for – only for the chickens to come home to roost with the credit card statement that drops in the letterbox in January.

And yet – it’s Christmas.

It’s a child, wide-eyed with the sheer anticipation of Christmas, telling Santa their inner-most secrets – along with a few white lies about how good they’ve been all year long.

It’s making that list, whoosing it up the chimney in a cloud of smoke, and getting to bed early to make sure that Santa doesn’t get a glimpse of your while he’s trying to set up your brand new bike.

Christmas is for children – it always has been and it always should.

But that’s not always easy on families either, because we live in a material world – and not everyone gets the same lorry-load of toys under the tree on Christmas morning.

The St Vincent de Paul predicted over 50,000 calls for help in the run-up to Christmas – that’s 50,000 individuals and families in trouble in a country of four million people.

They won’t be the only charity who will save Christmas this year – and for those they do help, are those the Christmas memories you want to create….the year that the man delivered a few bits and pieces to the door?

They’ll tell you it’s just another day, but it isn’t.

You can’t ignore the build-up because it’s so commercialised and in your face; you can’t ignore the day itself because everyone else is celebrating and you don’t want to see like Scrooge.

So it’s hard, is Christmas – hard for those struggling for financial survival, those who don’t have their own roof over their head, those who are missing loved ones who are gone forever or just not able to make it back.

And yet it’s also the time of year when it only takes one wandering soul to return to the bosom of family for everyone to feel better about themselves.

Standing at airport arrivals; or waiting for a train to pull in – or, like those ads that show the dad driving the son home in the old family car, up a windy road as mam takes the steaming mince pies from the oven.

Go to an airport during December – particularly in the days before Christmas – and it’s full of parents waiting for children and grandchildren to fly in for a few days that make everything seem whole again.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Always someone waiting to be the new kid in town

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The person who invented the flip phone probably thought that they were made up for life – and they possibly were because they’d have made a lot of money in a short space of time, but if they spent it as though this was a bottomless pit, it might not have been enough to last a lifetime.

We’d come from a time when the cutting edge of communication technology was a mobile device that was literally as big as a brick – so a little fold-away phone that doubled in size when you opened it out, or one of those where the mouthpiece slid from the back of the main phone, made us feel like things would never be the same again.

And then you discover that’s only the start of it; long before the iPhone came along with the whole world stored in the palm of your hand or an Android device allowed you to access all you’d ever need to know at the flick of a thumb, the flip phone was the dog’s proverbials.

But then so too were Amstrad computers, the budget option that made Alan Sugar a very rich man – wealthy enough to buy Tottenham Hotspur and discover that football is a way of leaking cash as quickly as computers might generate it.

Go back through recent history and you’ll find it’s littered with breakthroughs that seemed to take the world to a place that could never be bettered – only to find themselves on the technological scrapheap before the decade was out.

Telex machines, faxes, tape recorders, electronic organisers, camcorders, video players, floppy disks – all developments that looked set to make our world forever only to discover they were just another stepping stone on the way to hi-tech heaven.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Phone zombies add additional degree of difficulty for walkers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time that students communicated with home about once every blue moon – and only then if they’d ran out of money. There was no real point in writing or phoning home for any other reason.

But now it appears they can’t be out of contact for more than a minute – or at least that’s how it looks if you try to negotiate a way through the hoards of them that stride four-abreast down the street, not one of them looking in the direction their feet are taking them.

They are on their phones, communicating with someone although probably not home – because they give off an intensity and urgency that suggests this messaging couldn’t possibly have waiting until they reached their destination.

Either that or they have become so dependent on Sat Nav that they fear they wouldn’t find their way to college without Google Maps – and so they walk, head down, staring at the screen, oblivious to other pedestrians or even telegraph poles.

And as you dodge around them, you wonder what’s so important that it won’t wait until they’re sitting down somewhere; have they a shares portfolio that has taken a hammering on the morning’s trading?

More likely, they’re watching TikTok or videos on YouTube, while wandering in public spaces like the last of the headless zombies.

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

Twenty one years after the day the world stood still in horror

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s hard to believe that this week marked 21 years since we were stopped in our tracks at the sight of two planes exploding at full speed into the sides of the Twin Towers – not alone taking down part of New York’s iconic skyline but rocking our world to its core.

We may have missed the first plane, but every one of us can remember exactly where we were as the second plane followed suit, careering through the smoke of the first crash to explode in front of the eyes of the world.

It was so shocking it was difficult to even take in; the first incident might have been a tragedy caused by pilot error or illness – but there was no mistaking the deliberate intent when the same act of terrorism was repeated just 17 minutes later.

And this time the terrorists had the eyes of the world on their act, because we’d tuned into the live pictures of the smoke billowing from the North Tower – to see the hijackers crash UA Flight 175 into floors 75 to 85 of the South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

I was working in the Irish Star at the time, where we had one television halfway down the newsroom. With the time difference between Dublin and New York, it was just coming up to 2pm, when the management team met to discuss the news stories for next day’s paper.

It didn’t take a brainstorming session to work out what would fill the paper, and the global news agenda, the next day – except it was already impossible to annunciate just what had happened live on every television station on the planet.

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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