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Pfizer- Allergan Merger Sets a Trend

30 Nov

Amid all the controversy surrounding Irish company Allergan’s proposed takeover of the much bigger Pfizer in a move designed to slash the combined company’s tax bill, a trend is becoming apparent. To find out more, I caught up with Paddy O’Shaughnessy, whose company “O’Shaughnessy’s Used Cars and Small Engine Repair” has just announced its agreement to take over General Motors of Detroit. We met at the proposed new HQ of “O’Shaughnessy International” in the Fiddler’s Elbow pub in Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon.

Critics of the deal have leveled the accusation that it is an outrageous scheme to stick it to the US taxpayer, but, over a lunchtime pint of Guinness, O’Shaughnessy vigorously disputed this claim. “Combining the two businesses makes a lot of commercial sense. They’re complimentary, you see. If you turn up at the head office of General Motors in Detroit today looking for a used Ford Transit van, you’re basically out of luck. Same thing with a broken lawn mower. Nobody there can repair it. They’re turning away business. Under the new arrangement, they could bring that lawnmower to us and Seamus will have it fixed within five working days or your money back, provided it’s nothing difficult.”

When I suggested that this was a pretty flimsy pretext for a dodgy deal, O’Shaughnessy became irate and pointed to a man sitting at the end of the bar. “If it’s dodgy deals you’re after, why don’t you go and talk to Michael over there?”

Michael was just about to leave, but he agreed to be interviewed as we walked to his shop in the company of the young lady who had been sitting next to him in the pub. I asked him if he knew what was behind the O’Shaughnessy – General Motors merger. “Sure, it’s obvious. He’s had a thing for Siobhan here for ages. Thinks his multi-billion dollar deal is going to impress her with what a big man he is.”
“And will it?” I asked.
“Fat chance,” he scoffed, opening a door beneath a sign reading “Michael Gallagher Greengrocer, Head Office of Coca Cola, Inc.”

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Poet at Work

23 Mar

When business is slow, I know what to do
Get up from my desk and go to the loo
And when I am half way through doing my thing
It’s a hundred to one the darned phone will ring

Can’t you hang on before bending my ear?
On-time delivery’s happening here
Yes, customer service with me’s number one
Even when number two’s being done

Having noticed that there is not enough poetry written about work these days, I have determined to remedy that. Please feel free to add verses.

Suis moi jusq’au bout de la nuit

14 Feb

If I ever write the most beautiful and moving song of my generation, and the smart money is betting that it’s only a matter of time, I will deliver it to the rapt audience with great simplicity. My hands will be in my pockets and I won’t move at all. When you have something as good as my song is going to be, histrionic gestures, or indeed any gestures, serve only to get in the way of the emotional impact.

If someone in the vast arena accidentally drops a pin during my song, hundreds of faces will turn to him, fingers raised to their lips. Nobody will want to miss a word, a note or a heartbeat.

In the light of the foregoing, it should be no surprise that on Saint Valentine’s Day I find myself strangely drawn to this old video of Serge Gainsbourg and Franco-Danish songbird Anna Karina singing Gainsbourg’s “Ne Dis Rien.”

Couldn’t be simpler, or cornier, or sexier. Of course, it helps that I can identify with Gainsbourg, We are both ugly chaps with big noses who seem to have somehow scored with a beautiful girl from a foreign land with long dark hair and a way of smiling with her eyes. That’s all you need. No fancy camera work, just two people dancing, apparently in a bar, barely moving. You’re a lucky man, Serge, and so am I.

Ce jour de Saint Valentin, me suivrais tu  jusqu’au bout de la nuit comme à Bruxelles en 1992?

Vote for Augustus Gump for the FIFA Executive Committee

26 Sep

A performance bonus to UEFA president Michel Platini, who is refusing to return the $25,000 watch he received from the Brazilian Football Association at this year’s World Cup. To be fair, Mr. Platini was not the only one to receive the lavish gift in a goodie bag left for him in his hotel room. Other recipients included 32 heads of football associations, 28 members of FIFA’s executive committee and 5 other members of South American associations. But what has earned Mr. Platini his performance bonus is this quote.

“We receive many watches, just like journalists – you receive many watches. Just like the associations receive watches. Yes, yes, you receive watches occasionally. Every now and again, you do receive watches.”

Some might claim to detect behind the eloquence of this statement a suggestion of just how detached the bloated plutocrats running football are from the realities of the game and indeed the world, but I would contend that Michel has hit on a universal truth. Every now and again you do receive watches, I myself received one only last year for my birthday, and I am jolly glad that it didn’t come with an envelope containing $24,975, which would have left me open to allegations that my family was trying to buy influence with me.

Before that, I received a watch from my grandmother in or around 1983. I don’t know how much it was worth, but it had great sentimental value until I lost it in 1984. Since then, I have been terrified of wearing anything of value on my wrist. The current $25 beauty, which replaced a $5 model bought at a market in France that actually stopped working while I was still at the stall, is easily the most expensive I have had in thirty years.

Free Pies

Which leads me nicely to the point I am trying to make. In the interests of economy, I think that I should be appointed to the FIFA Executive Committee. Think of the savings on watches. According to the BBC, the budget for watches to give to delegates to the FIFA Congress in Sao Paolo in June was $140,000. If elected, I promise to trim that budget by 90% for the next congress. I have already picked out quite a nice model at Walmart. The savings could be passed on to fans in the form of free Bovril and pies.

If my proposal is rejected, I have an alternative suggestion. Great economies of scale could be achieved by standardizing on an official FIFA watch to be given to all delegates. It would include several FIFA-specific  features, such as an alarm to notify you when it is time to meet a man about a bribe, a built-in fan to keep you cool during the two minute walk from your limousine to your air-conditioned VIP box at the Qatar World Cup and a voice-activated dictionary containing useful phrases such as “in a plain brown envelope would be best, Ivan.”

Vote for Gump

So I am making a plea for your support. I know it’s a long shot. As someone who has actually played football (badly), knows a little about it  and has a deep love of the game, I am hardly FIFA Executive material, but please don’t let that stop you. Use the comment section below to indicate your support. If I can get even a couple of actual football fans behind me, I will already be more popular amongst those who care about the game than Sepp Blatter.

And that watch from my Granny that I lost in 1994 – it went missing at Old Trafford during this Manchester United vs Dundee United match in the European Cup Winners Cup. How many current FIFA Executive Committee members can say they lost one of their hundreds of watches in such honourable circumstances.

 

Now about that performance bonus for Michel Platini. What can we give him? How about a nice watch?

Ask a Literary Giant

11 Nov

One aspect of life as a literary giant is that people tend to assume that you lead a fascinating life and have a wealth of interesting views to share on a wide variety of topics. I am pleased to be able to inform you that, at least in my case, this is actually true. Not only that, but in a characteristic display of generosity, I am willing to share some of my accumulated wisdom with you, the lucky readers.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce the latest feature of my website Ask a Literary Giant. Here you can ask me anything about my books, my life as a literary giant or anything else. Got a particularly thorny business or work related problem that requires outside the box thinking? Ask me about how T. John Dick would tackle it. Know someone who deserves a performance bonus or written warning?  Let me know. There is even a comment section, which I can see being used mostly by anyone who just wants to tell me how great I am.

So, don’t hold back. Head on over to Ask a Literary Giant and fire away.

Please. I’m going to look pretty stupid if nobody does.

Not having coffee in Huesca

10 Jul

In my last post, I pointed out a stark contrast between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself – that I am a literary giant, while he was a silly ass. This time, I thought I’d point out an equally fascinating and significant similarity between two literary giants, George Orwell and yours truly. Like Orwell, I have never had a cup of coffee in Huesca.

During the Spanish Civil War, the Republican forces, including a young George Orwell, laid siege to the city of Huesca, which was in the hands of Franco’s Falangists. The besiegers would remark to each other, at first optimistically, later, as the siege dragged on, ironically, “Tomorrow we will have coffee in Huesca.” None of them did, least of all Orwell, who was wounded during the siege and evacuated. “If I ever go back to Spain,” he was later to write in Homage to Catalonia, “I shall make a point of having a cup of coffee in Huesca.”

Finding myself in the town, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to also not have a coffee in Huesca. So I stuck to wine. It was the least I could do.

To capture the occasion when one literary giant saluted another, my daughter took this photograph, which features a man in the distance possibly drinking coffee in Huesca.If you look closely you will see that it is not me, and it is certainly not George Orwell. I think you will agree that this is a fitting commemoration of a very special moment in literary history.

ImageTo the left of the picture, you will see several chairs with nobody in them drinking coffee, which I found very moving.

 

A special Christmas offer from Mainland Press

2 Dec

Just in time for Christmas, Mainland Press, publisher of the T. John Dick books, is offering a great deal at their website. Just enter coupon code FAS121203013659 at checkout to get an extra $3.00 off per book. That’s on top of the 20% discount they already offer and free shipping by US mail. It’s a great chance to get that relative or friend of yours who works in an office the gift they don’t yet know that they want. And, of course, they’ll never know you got it at such a great discount, so they will think they’re even more special than they are. www.mainlandpress.com

Well, here we are…

9 Nov

At last I’ve yielded to the pressure from literally several fans and started a blog. Apparently you can’t be a literary giant without one.

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