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A Different View

You need hands but don’t know what to do with them

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Hands waving at a concert prompted Dave O'Connell what to do with his

It was during a rare moment of reflection during a recent stand-up concert that my mind began to wander and I got to thinking – people really never know what to do with their hands.

The fully engaged fans were waving their paws in the air in time to the music, which was exactly the right thing to do.

But the more reserved spectators had them buried deep into the pockets of their jeans and the supremely self-conscious had them folded across their chests so that they looked like supervisors at a school disco.

The ‘hands buried deep in the pockets’ look used to be the preserve of bored or feckless teenagers; now we’re all at it. Which might just mean that all of those teenagers are now middle-aged and stuck in the habit – or we’re still struggling to find a use for them.

And when you actually think about it – which is something only those of us with sad lives have time to do – we’ve gone from the era of the bell-bottoms and three-buttoned waistline when it was the thumbs alone that acted as the hook to the pocket to keep the hands in place to a time when that practice was completely reversed so that you had the fingers in the tight pockets with the thumbs alone outside to face the world.

Today’s teens have taken the ‘hands in pocket’ look to new levels because they had to work harder to immerse themselves more fully than ever given that their trousers appear to hang somewhere around their knees.

But they can also manage this sitting down, particularly in the lecture hall and even in a classroom if a teacher doesn’t tell them to sit up straight and take their hands out of their pockets.

The reality is that if you saw someone with their hands straight down by their sides – the way that God and gravity intended them – you’d think they were slightly soft, unless of course they were Irish dancing.

And now with the evolution of Sean-Nós style, even the straight armed Irish dancer is under threat as the modern proponent has swapped the rigid stance – or the swan style of steady on top and paddling for all they’re worth down below – for a sort of human propeller.

Walkers use their hands for sure – again to propel them forward like the power-walking ‘ladies’ in Killinaskully – and inebriated people use them to keep their balance.

And sometimes we use them to hold hands with the other half or small children, provided of course they’re our own.

So hands clearly have their uses – and then they just get in the way. E

ven when we sleep, we don’t know where to put our hands – and that’s not a reference to keeping them over the bed clothes. In fact we’re so unsure what to do with them that we often sleep on them to keep them from doing damage.

Even when we’re sitting down, we’re twirling a pen between our fingers, twisting wedding rings, scratching, and occasionally clearing nasal passages – anything, really, other than the nightmare scenario of having nothing to do.

Newsreaders hold a sheaf of papers in their hands to give them something to do; they clearly never read them because they never look down at them – but there must be some reassurance in having something to hold when you’re reading the autocue.

Either that or it’s to prevent them from picking their nose.

See also ‘Work/Life balance’ in this week’s Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Homework only goes to prove parents haven’t all the answers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Anyone fortunate enough to be a parent will always remember the moment when their child transitioned from unqualified hero worship to thinking that ma and da, if not quite clowns, at least possessed feet of clay.

And that moment often coincided with the time you could no longer make head nor tail of their homework.

You were grand with addition and subtraction, even multiplication and basic division – but when theorems or algebra or physics or foreign languages came into the equation, suddenly your infallible status took a nosedive straight into the nearest bin.

The consolation is that we are not alone – because most parents admit they’ve forgotten even the basics from their schooldays, leaving them cruelly exposed when the teenagers come looking for help.

A recent UK survey asked 1,500 parents aged over 30 what they had forgotten from their schooldays.

Top of the list was algebra – forgotten by half of them – followed by trigonometry and Pythagoras’s Theorem. About a third of respondents could no longer remember how to do long division – or name ten or more elements from the periodic table.

A quarter didn’t know the difference between an isosceles and a scalene triangle, and almost a fifth had forgotten how to use a protractor. Most of those probably thought a compass was for pricking the back of the student sitting in front of you.

Other classroom classics now lost in the sands of time included a failure to recognise cloud formations, identifying an oxbow lake, remembering quotes from Shakespeare, or explaining the difference between volts and amps.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Everybody knows a Dave – but it still don’t make a storm

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s been a tough week for Ireland’s Daves and Davids – ever since we found out just how close we were to having our own storm, only to have it snatched away from us by a public vote that inexplicably went for Dudley instead.

It doesn’t matter than Dudley hardly even sounds like a gust of wind, let alone a gale force storm; it just conjures up an image of a drunken Dudley Moore in Arthur, meandering all over the place – more of a danger to himself than the roof of your house is.

The only consolation is that, if it wasn’t Dudley, it still wouldn’t have been Dave – because in compiling the shortlist, our own Queen of the Weather Forecast, Evelyn Cusack, made a stronger case for Storm Diarmuid, ahead of Dave, David and even Dafydd.

The Brits were keen on Storm Dave, but part of the reason that there is an annual debate among the Met Offices is to ensure a disparate selection, with something for each of the participating nationalities.

That’s why we got Barra, Pól, Seán and Méabh, and the Welsh got Arwen and possibly Gladys, and the Dutch got Vergil and Willemien, with a couple of crossover names like Jack and Kim and Ruby in there for good measure.

But when it came to Storm D, our Met Éireann boss wouldn’t even entertain Dermot as a compromise over Diarmuid, according to the correspondence on this year’s storm-naming process, as revealed under Freedom of Information this week.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter in the end because the people decided anyway. They were given a choice of Duncan, Dudley and Dafydd. . .and Dudley was the winner, perhaps – the commentators think – because of Dudley Dursley, erstwhile star of Harry Potter. As opposed to Dudley Moore.

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

Science proves kids were spot-on about the sprouts

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Turns out the kids were right all along – there’s an actual scientific reason why most of them can’t stand broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

And these researchers from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have further agreed that you can throw cauliflower, kale and cabbage into the equation for good measure – because enzymes from what are collectively known as brassica vegetables and from bacteria in saliva can produce unpleasant odours in the mouth.

“Interactions between brassica vegetables and human saliva can affect in-mouth odour development, which in turn may be linked to individual perception and liking,” revealed the researchers.

Adults on the other hand, educate their palate to tolerate the bad taste; after all they’ve already managed it with Guinness, because if you remember how your first pint of stout tasted, it was nothing to whet the appetite like it does now.

The study involved 98 pairs of parents and children aged between six and eight, to rate the key odour compounds – and very different response.

Their scientific explanation is that these veg contain a compound called S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide that produces potent, sulphurous odours when acted upon by an enzyme in the plant.

This is also the case for the same enzyme produced by bacteria in some people’s oral bacteria.

You can mask this of course with plenty of cheese sauce or whatever takes your fancy, but that’s a little like those people who tell you they love oysters when what they actually enjoy is the taste of lemon and tabasco sauce.

We all remember the days of our childhood when you were either force-fed veg or else had the guilt trip laid on you about children who were starving in Africa who’d give anything for a plate of broccoli.

Turns out now they probably wouldn’t, despite numerous surreptitious efforts to find an envelope to post the veg to a poor country in the hope that it would solve two problems – world hunger and an aversion to Brussels sprouts.

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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