Tag: Ireland

Greetings Anne Cooper

I will never, ever tire of the wonderful connections made by this blog!

Connections brought about by the almost universal love for dogs! But not to the exclusion of cats. For we still have three cats, all ex-rescues from our days in Mexico, and it is a cat story that Anne presents for you all today.

It went back to an email that came in to me earlier this February:

Hi Paul,

My name is Annie and I blog at catobsessed.com.  Since I am a new-ish blogger (well, my cat site is new but I’ve been writing elsewhere for years), I’m hoping to make connections with more established pet bloggers to help get my name out there.

I love your site Learning From Dogs – although I’m obviously more of a cat person, our family has a mini schnauzer back in Canada.  I miss her! Your website vision is very thought-provoking, I hadn’t really considered how much we learn from our pets before.  I was wondering if you’d consider accepting a guest post from me?

I was trying to think of a topic that would bridge our two websites and I had an idea – something about pets and human relationships?  I met my husband through his cat, to be honest!  The fact that he was an animal lover was one of the main reasons I accepted a date with him.  The schnauzer in Canada was a gift to his parents too, so I knew he was a keeper!

I haven’t got a strict post outline in mind but I’m excited to ponder more on the topic of cats, dogs and human relationships.  Since my husband was a pet owner, I could explain the type of personality traits I inferred from that.  We also have the fact that I’m a huuuuge cat person and he is a dog guy so we had to compromise (if having two cats is a compromise LOL)

What do you think?  If this doesn’t suit, I could come up with something else 🙂

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Well, how could one resist such a charming request. Not me!

So it is with great pleasure that I present Anne’s guest post.


Why Pet Owners Make Good Life Partners.

by Anne Cooper, February 22nd., 2017.
loveFirst of all, I want to thank Paul for inviting me to share my thoughts on his wonderful blog. Reading through his past posts got me thinking on the topic of pet ownership and human relationships.  You see, I met my husband through his cat.  It sounds funny I know but let me explain.

Back in 2013, I had just ended a serious long-term relationship.  It ended for many reasons but one thing which made me particularly sad is that the guy didn’t want any pets.  Animals are one of my top three passions in life.  My former partner would get annoyed when I’d bring strays inside for a quick bite to eat and a bowl of water.  It didn’t happen that often but what filled me with joy was just an annoyance for him.

So when I was back on the dating market, settling down with an animal lover was a top priority.  Sure, I could live without pets, but I’d rather not.  They really improve my quality of life, cheer me up when I’m feeling down, and allow me to be part of the lovely pet blogging community online.

Thus, when browsing through dating profiles, one really caught my attention.  Not only did he sound like he had a lot in common with me – he actually owned a cat!  She was a kitten at the time.  A lovely white fluff-ball.  I arranged to meet him immediately.

The rest is history.  We were married in November 2015 and have now expanded our feline family to two.  We’re hoping to add a dog to the mix soon.  What I want to talk about here is why I was so eager to set up that first date, and the qualities I inferred from the fact that my future husband owned a cat.

  • Pet owners are responsible

Unless you own a pet yourself, it’s hard to understand the amount of commitment involved.  You can’t just take a weekend away to visit friends anymore.  You need to arrange a sitter for the cat, and if you can’t, you’re staying put.  You also need to research practical things like pet insurance, safe toys and snacks … the list is almost endless.

  • They have a nurturing instinct

Taking in an animal – especially a helpless kitten – is an act of kindness. Cats don’t always give much affection back to their owners so I knew that my hubby was a generous and giving soul.

Don’t get me wrong, dogs are amazing too, but there are lots of great reasons to own a dog.  They help you get fit by making you walk with them outdoors.  They protect you and shower you with love on a daily basis.  Cats on the other hand are happy to take your affection but some won’t even sit on your lap!  I think it’s safe to say that most cat owners don’t mind giving without receiving.

  • They don’t mind cleaning up a mess

As much as I love our little Saus, she was a nightmare in her first year.  She had a hard time using the litter tray and used to pee all over our house.  Shedding fur is an ongoing issue too. Don’t even get me started on fleas and worms!  Instead of letting it get out of control, my husband armed himself with a super-powered vacuum cleaner and a cupboard full of pet-friendly solutions and sprays to keep everything spotless.  Pet owners aren’t scared of a little mess – I knew I could depend on him to help out around the house.

  • They don’t let other people’s opinions get to them

I don’t know about where you’re from, but in Ireland where my husband and I met, there’s a massive stigma against cat owners.  As a cat lover myself, I was branded with the “crazy cat lady” stereotype.  I was openly jeered in work.  In the early days of dating my hubby, I turned on the car radio to hear a talk show saying that single men who own cats are basically weirdos.  I couldn’t believe it!  It makes me so angry, but sadly it’s the pervasive opinion in my home country.

The fact that my husband owned a cat and proudly shared her photos on social media showed me that he was confident and self-assured.  Owning and loving a pet is nothing to be ashamed of, and anyone who thinks so can take a hike.

  • They’re patient

In her early days, Saus loved using her claws and teeth.  I was her favorite victim!  I don’t think she was being malicious – rather she didn’t know how to play safely.  Instead of getting angry with her, my husband was patient.  We needed to keep her claws short to prevent damage but using the clipper on her was a battle!  We had to wrap her up in a towel to stop her attacking us.


So that’s my take on what makes pet owners so special. What do others think?

Annie Cooper blogs at catobsessed.com.  She lives in Australia with her husband and two very fluffy felines.  Apart from cats, Anne loves traveling, DIYing and all things cute.


Wasn’t that a great guest post! Sincerely hope we will be hearing more from the “crazy cat lady”.

P.S. The following photograph was taken here at home last night.

Araña, one of our three cats, sleeping next to Pedy. (Araña is the Spanish word for spider.)
Araña, one of our three cats, sleeping next to Pedy. (Araña is the Spanish word for spider.)

Araña is one of the remaining three cats from the original seven ex-Mexican rescue cats that came with us back in 2010 when we moved from San Carlos, Mx. to Payson in Arizona.

And another postscript!

Further reflections on Tom’s essay Is Climate Change a Crime Against Humanity?

If you are new to this thread then drop in here to read the essay and here to read my postscript from last Monday.

This further postscript is founded on a recent email from Dan Gomez that included two stories that seemed relevant to the theme.  I’m going to reproduce the email as Dan sent it to me.

Idealism, Pragmatism, Irony and Hypocrisy

Two short stories attempting to explain why everyone should think twice about their leaders, their promises and their intent regarding climate change and money:

Story One

The guy who just made the big global warming/climate change announcement, President Obama, today [Dan’s email was dated 7th July] flew into Los Angeles at around 5PM, rush hour. At a cost of $6M and unbelievable amounts of expended carbon matter, one B747 and two C-141 four-engined jets landed at LAX. LAX TCA [Terminal Control Area] was tied up for hours. And this is to say nothing of the traffic disruption caused by multiple street shut-downs as everyone headed home.

The C-141 delivered Marine One, Obama’s helicopter; a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King. After assembly, Obama flew 12 miles to a hotel in Beverly Hills. This only cost several thousand dollars and just a bit more hydrocarbons.

Why did Obama come to LA? To raise Money. Really? Millions to raise a million?

At a Beverly Hills hotel, and after several SUVs, also flown in, dropped off the support team, Obama and his entourage delivered a dinner speech to many wealthy Hollywood types to raise money for the Democratic Party. Most expensive “donation” – $38,500 per plate. Just think, all this public money spent for a partisan political campaign revenue event.

This is the guy who the day before claimed that “climate change” and CO2 contributions were causing the destruction of the planet. In one event, over a couple of hours, he wasted millions of tax payer dollars and injected a shit load of carbon into the atmosphere to wine and dine a few very wealthy party donors.

Why the press does not point out this obvious hypocrisy, I’ll never know.

Why the public and climate idealists who live the dream cannot understand that their leaders are as greedy, corrupt and egocentric as any Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager, I’ll never know.

Anyway, this is the guy who everyone loves and ostensibly believes has the best interests of his constituency and the future of the world at heart. Right.

Story Two

Last week, Toyota announced it was vacating California for Texas after more than 50 years running its USA business from Torrance, CA. Taxes and local EPA regulations finally drove them out. Over the years, all of Toyota’s production lines were developed in other business friendly states. With HQ finally debouching, 3,000 good paying jobs are gone, mostly due to strict environmental regulatory laws harder and harder to comply with.

Now, Tesla, the new, tax-payer supported, alternative car company, who has declined to build any manufacturing plants in California is being aggressively wooed by Governor Brown. Brown wants Tesla’s battery technology to be manufactured here. Fits with his idealistic view of California’s future. Only thing is, Tesla wants no part of this due to the same issues that Toyota, a conventional auto builder, has stated. It’s too expensive in California with too many regulations and unknown future regulations. California’s predatory regulatory agencies are now “bending” all the rules to try to get them to come into California. Irony and hypocrisy, all rolled up in one.

Crazy world.


Reminds me of the old saying, “There are lies, damn lies, and politicians!”


It also reminds me of that wonderful Irish response to a young Englishman who was asking an elderly local how to get to Tipperary in Southern Ireland.  The old Irishman pulled at his grey beard for a while, looked the young man full in the face and said, “I’ve been thinkin’ about it and have to tell ‘ee, me young man, that if I were going to Tipperary, I wouldn’t been startin’  out from here!

So whatever the rights and wrongs of Dan’s two stories, core issues, as in deeper, more fundamental concerns, override them both.

More on the theme tomorrow.

The day after April 1st!

When it all gets real close and personal.

I have been a great fan of the BBC’s business editor, Robert Peston, and read his Blog as often as I can.  Recently, the focus has been on Ireland.

A few days ago, before the announcement by the Irish premier and finance minister as to their vision for the future of Ireland’s banks, Robert penned a post that started as follows:

The unbelievable truth about Ireland and its banks
Ireland’s central bank and new government will confirm on Thursday that the hole in the country’s banks is even wider, deeper and darker than seemed to be the case last November, when those bust banks forced the country to go with a begging bowl to the eurozone’s rescue funds and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 67.5bn euros (£59bn) of rescue loans.

That article then led me to Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight’s economics editor, who also writes a Blog.  He wrote on the 30th March,

A short summary of the Euro snafu that’s about to happen:

1) Tomorrow Ireland publishes the results of bank stress tests. It has to find – or the EU has to find – another E18-25bn to shore up its failing banks.

etc., etc.

Again, while the article is interesting, the whole point of this Post was one comment made to that Paul Mason piece.  Here it is,

At 00:47am on 31st Mar 2011, tawse57 wrote:

I am bored with all these posts about the economy now. Can we go back to cheese and crackers and the mysterious case of Paul Mason’s mobo contacts?

I was just talking with a 35 year old young man who is married and has a young child.

His wife, quite rightly, does not wish to move away from the place where she was born and brought up – Cornwall.

But he tells me that, despite almost saving £100,000 by putting in every hour they could in working and saving, that they stand no chance of ever owning their own home.

He says the house that he rents have asking prices of about £450,000 despite most of them just sitting on the market for years because no one, no one local anyhow, can afford them. What does sell goes to rich Londoners.

He is destined to pay out most of his wages in private landlord rents. He can’t get into a Council house or a Housing Association property because they either no longer exist or the waiting lists are measured in decades.

He is not prepared to have such a millstone of stress, worry and financial drain around his neck. It would kill him. I don’t blame him.

His story is one of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in the UK today.

I mention this as the bank stress tests are directly connected with the massive credit bubble, much of it a housing bubble of liar loans, that brought the global economy to its knees, bankrupted banks and still threatens to bankrupt nations.

All of us on here know this. We are an enlightened bunch.

But I think it is worth remembering that the affects of the global credit binge are still directly affecting so many in this country.

The UK is almost alone in the World in not yet seeing a massive housing crash. The Government and the Bank of England have gone out of their way stop it happening in order to protect the banks who so stupidly, but also so greedily, loaned so many liar loans on bricks and mortar not in other countries but here in the UK.

Those UK banks that keep threatening to leave our shores are up to their eyeballs in global liar loans. You name a country in trouble and you can bet your bottom dollar, which might be the only thing most of us have left soon, that British banks are at the heart of it all.

It is long overdue that this giant house of cards came crashing down. It is long over-due that, as a Society, we cut out the cancer of dirty banks and dirty bankers from our lives and from these shores.

They are leeches on the souls of Men. Gosh, I am getting poetic in my anger. It must be that teaspoon of Jack Daniels I put in my midnight cocoa.

So what if the banks fail their stress tests today, next week or next year. It won’t make a squat of difference to that couple in Cornwall. It won’t make a squat of difference to most of us.

The worst thing that can happen is, as Alistair Darling so panicked, that the ATM machines run empty. Well, what would happen then? Would the sky fall in? Would us polite British all sit at home and do nothing.

Or would we take our cue from the Egyptians, the Tunisians and all the rest?

Perhaps what this country needs most of all is for another even bigger banking crisis? If it happens I think I would feel safer being one of the masses instead of one of the banking elite.

I do hope the banks fail the stress tests. I do hope it brings about another crisis. I do hope that, this time, the People say enough is enough and that this rotting cancer within Humanity is lanced with a fiery lancie thingy.

I could murder a bit of cheese on a nice cracker now.

Whoever you are tawse57, I like your style.  Very powerful words.

“It is error alone which needs the support of government.  Truth can stand by itself.”

~Thomas Jefferson (third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809)

But really the Irish are no fools!

Ever wondered how the Irish bailout really works?

I posted a rather tongue-in-cheek item on the Irish situation yesterday.  Anyway, a good friend, Peter M, sent the in following to illustrate both the complexity and, in the end, the delightful simplicity of the Irish bailout.  Read on.

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit.

The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town!

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

"Money in circulation!"

Thanks Peter – a wonderful tale!

By Paul Handover

It’s all Irish!

But this time it’s NOT Irish humour.

Brits will be well aware that the Irish have been the source of many funny stories and ‘Irish’ humour is still a favourite with the English.

But this piece from Baseline Scenario is very troubling, and that’s putting it mildly.

The excellent article, as they all are from Baseline, is here.

I stole a small extract to underline the import of what BS are writing about.

However, let’s be clear: Europe’s headache remains large, and this should concern all of us – just look at Ireland to see how misunderstood and immediate the remaining dangers are. Ireland’s difficulties arose because of a massive property boom financed by cheap credit from Irish banks. Ireland’s three main banks built up loans and investments by 2008 that were three times the size of the national economy; these big banks (relative to the economy) pushed the frontier in terms of reckless lending. The banks got the upside, and then came the global crash in fall 2008: property prices fell more than 50 percent, construction and development stopped, and people stopped repaying loans. Today roughly one-third of the loans on the balance sheets of major banks are nonperforming or “under surveillance”; that’s an astonishing 100 percent of gross national product, in terms of potentially bad debts.

(That’s my italics, by the way.)

Anyway, do read it in full – it’s got important implications.

And then give yourself a proper laugh at the wonderful sense of humour that comes across from the Irish Sea ….

By Paul Handover