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A Different View

Remembering two legends of Ireland’s media business

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Michael Kerin from Bushypark, Ciara Hartigan, Galway Branch Treasurer of Down Syndrome Ireland; John King of Energia and Irene Walsh of Down Syndrome Ireland’s Galway Branch, pictured at the presentation of a €1,000 cheque to the Galway branch by the energy provider.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

I can still see Tony Fenton standing in the middle of a massive dump outside the Nicaraguan capital city of Managua.

The smell from the dump was putrid and the aroma from the rest of us, seared within an inch of our lives in temperatures that would cook a chicken, wasn’t a whole lot better.

It was back in the eighties and we were a motley crew drawn together by Trocaire on a fact-finding mission to Central America where we could see first-hand what wonderful work that Irish development agency was doing in that part of the world.

I was working with the Star at the time, reporting back home with the help of our battle-hardened photographer Noel Gavin.

Tony was phoning in to the Gerry Ryan Show and between us all we were heightening awareness for the charity in advance of the Lenten collection.

Gerry – always the divil – had asked Tony to go because the show wanted someone who was well known but so far out of their comfort zone that it would make for good radio, not just worthy radio on the work of Trocaire, but a bit of entertainment stirred up by Gerry in studio, aided and abetted by Tony on the other side of the world.

And it worked.

This particular day, we were seeing how many families lived on this massive dump, scavenging through other people’s rubbish to eke out a pittance from selling bits of metal, bottles or plastic to someone else.

Tony’s natural environment was the nightlife of Dublin – the VIP clubs that we only knew by name; his best buddy was Jim Corr and he name-dropped like an Olympic champion.

He was king of 2FM’s Hotline at the time and one of the best known voices on the radio – as parodied for his Smashy and Nicey patter as he was loved.

We honestly didn’t think we’d like him – expecting a diva from the radio – but Tony Fenton was one of the nicest, funniest guys I’d ever met.

And when we stood in that dump and saw the detritus of other people’s lives being recycled by those who had nothing at all, Tony took it all in – and then offered an observation from left field.

“Would you say the sun is past its highest point in the sky?” he opined, looking at the ball of fire that was roasting us to a frazzle.

When we agreed that it might well be, Tony ventured: “I think that makes it time for a cold one.”

The chances of a warm one were remote, but a cold one in a Nicaraguan dump was as likely as a Presbyterian Minister saying Mass in the Vatican.

Tony Fenton was a funny man and he died far too soon last week; he was at home in the world of celebrity and he loved it. Music was his world, radio was his passion and he was grateful for every minute of both.

He was a terrible gossip but equally he never took himself seriously.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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