Sent down for downloading

My thanks to my good friend Liz for pointing me in the direction of this sad yet bizarre story from the United States.

A man has been charged with the murder of his wife with the key evidence being that he downloaded Guns N’ Roses’ “I Used to Love Her” track on the day of her death. This song, unfortunately for him, contains lyrics like “I used to love her/But I had to kill her/I had to put her, six feet under/And I can still hear her complain”.*

There is other evidence too – he was having four or five affairs and he owed tens of thousands on credit cards. And his wife had a $2m insurance policy out on her life (which he claims had actually lapsed as he had stopped paying it months earlier).

It was obviously enough for the jury who found him guilty just a few hours ago and he is due to be sentenced on Monday.

Now while it does seem that there was plenty of evidence there (all circumstantial), you would have to feel sorry for someone who is effectively convicted on the strength of a song they downloaded. Imagine the songs that could convict these people in the situations below…

The State vs Eddie Backslap
Accused: Bank robbery
Downloaded: “Money’s Too Tight to Mention” by Simply Red
Incriminating lyric: “I been laid off from work my rent is due/My kids all need brand new shoes/So I went to the bank to see what they could do/They said son looks like bad luck got a hold on you”

The State vs Denis Deadloss
Accused: Cruelty to a rodent
Downloaded: “Rat in Mi Kitchen” by UB40
Incriminating lyric: ” There`s a rat in me kitchen what am I gonna do?/I`m gonna fix that rat thats what I`m gonna do”

The State vs Alan Combover
Accused: Exposing himself in a public place
Downloaded: “Flash” by Queen
Incriminating lyric: ” Stand for everyone of us”

The State vs Captain Compass
Accused: Being captain of a ship that only hired people who were a bit foolish and then threw them overboard in to the sea
Downloaded: “Ship of Fools” by The Doors
Incriminating lyric: ” Ship of fools/Climb on board/Ship’s gonna leave you all, far behind.”

Cynthia Scampifries vs Steve Scampifries
Accused: Faking interest in the rockery that his wife was putting together in their garden.
Downloaded: “Live Forever” by Oasis
Incriminating lyric: ” Maybe I dont really want to know/How your garden grows”

I think the joke is getting old now…

* Ironically on GNR’s live album, Axl annonced that this was the only song that they have written that is written out of “fantasy and a joke”.

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Bizzaro world!

Mike Tyson wants to join Westlife. The Baddest Man on the Planet (TM) is desperate to link up with the Wettest Fish in the Solar System (TM).

Tyson visited Ireland recently to catch up with his boxing friend Joe Egan and say ‘Happy Mothers Day’ to Egan’s mum. In fairness to the convicted rapist he did take some time out to mingle with locals in the family’s bar.

But, yes, the most puzzling thing is that the man who broke a thousand bones would like to croon with the housewife’s favourites.

Egan said: “He loves their music so much he wants to be part of it. He’s not a Pavarotti or Domingo – but neither are the members of Westlife.”

Oooh, strike one. No one suggests that Cian, Davy (um…), Pat and Peadar (ok, I’ve given up now) are particularly talented singers but that’s just insulting.

He continued: “Mike’s asked me to make contact with Louis Walsh to set the wheels in motion. He’d be happy just to sing on the chorus of a track, but he could always replace Brian McFadden.”

Well that’s fair enough I suppose.

For their part a Westlife spokesperson said: “This sounds really interesting. The band are all fans of Tyson.”

<9lives slips in to a dream sequence>

Tyson: Hello, I am Mike Tyson. Da Baddest Man on da Damn Planet, beeyatch!

Cian: Hello, I’m Cian. I’m kind of in charge I guess. This is Davy, Pat and Peadar. I think. I got to be honest the only one I really knew was Brian. But he left.

Tyson: So I’d like to sing “Could it be Magic” with you motherf******.

Peadar: Right, sure that’s a great idea. That was a big hit. Can you sing at all there Mikey?

Tyson: Yes, I once did a karaoke version of “You Can’t Touch This”. I even wore the baggy pants. I think they ended up on my head by the end of the night.

Pat and Davy in unison: Wow, we’re big fans of that song. You’re the greatest boxer and singer ever!

Tyson (looking perplexed): Um, are you guys ok?

Pat and Davy in unison: Yes, we’re more than ok. We’re boy band singers with as many consecutive top five hits as Elvis Presley.

Tyson (getting worried): Eh, this is getting weird. Joe?

Joe: Yeah, Mike?

Tyson: Where’s the fat one?

Joe: Which one is that?

Tyson: You know, the one who played the piano in “Everything Changes”. Went solo but was duller than a dimmed headlight at night in heavy fog.

Joe: You mean Gary Barlow. Ah, right. He’s in Take That.

Tyson (clicks fingers): Take That! F***, that’s them. Not these wusses. Fly me to London!
Sorry about that. I’m avoiding study.

Hope you have a strong bladder

I promised myself that I’d blog after my first exam so within two hours…here I am.

Today was Public Relations, a less bullshit subject than it sounds. I entered the exam with the words of my lecturer ringing in my ears: “No waffle…” (queue dramatic echo of the word “waffle”).

Let me take a step back for those who are not sure what my education history is. Just briefly, I promise. I’m one of those computer whiz guys, degree in IT, loves starting at screens with a frown on my face hoping that my features say “I’m very challenged at the moment but just you wait, I’ll solve it”. And then of course I do solve what was probably a very simple problem and everyone goes “wow, did you see the frown? It must have been a very complex technical issue.” Hehe…

So I got disillusioned with IT – and specifically working for big business – so I decided to go back to college in the evenings and do a post-grad in journalism and media. I’m 2/3 through now with one more semester from September – January ’07.

That’s the history.

Today’s exam really opened my eyes to a few peculiarities. First of all nothing is allowed in the exam room except for your pens, watch, wallet and any food or drink you might have (I don’t think that includes a pint and a chicken curry). You have to bring any bags, coats or personal belongings down to a “cloakroom”. I put it in quotes because most cloakrooms I use have a ticket service that means I’m the only one who can claim by own things back. This is just a free for all. On the wall is a sign that says “items left in this room are at the owners risk….blah blah blah”. So the college force you to put your personal belongings in a room that people have unfettered access to but then tell you that if anything gets taken, it’s not their problem? So, ok, I could leave my mobile phone and mp3 player at home but what about my coat? And what about girls who are wearing skirts and have no pockets? They have to leave their keys down there too. And why should I leave my phone/mp3 player at home?

Sorry, really pissed me off. I think I’ll have a word with the powers that be next week and suggest that it’s gonna end in tears for someone with their policies the way they are.

Secondly, it was announced at the start of the exam that “due to complaints” people will not be allowed leave the room for ANY REASON during the first hour or the last hour compared to the first and last half-hours for previous exams. There’s me downing a litre of water and I’m expected to rely on bladder control for that last hour. Completelty over the top, ridiculous. All that happens now is that instead of 100 students going out for a slash during a two hour period, they’re now going out during a one hour period.

If this lot had brains, they’d be dangerous.

Here’s the home run. The girl in front of me COMPLAINED to the invigilator that I was chewing my gum too loudly during the exam. Can you believe this? Of course at the end of it she was all apologetic and stuff, and that’s fine, I don’t hold grudges (DIE DIE DIE!!!).

What’s next? “Excuse me invigilator but could you ask the guy in front of me to use mind power to transfer his words to paper as the stroking of his biro on paper is giving me a migraine.”

In between all the moaning, the exam went fine.

Phew.

Guilty until proven innocent

The radio is always good for a bit of entertainment. While I’m a big music fan, one look at my profile will indicate that few bands I like ever get played on it. So I really only listen to talk radio. In Dublin that means Newstalk 106. Fine station, it is.

Sean Moncrieff is the afternoon entertainment on Newstalk.

One of the best parts of his show is the vox pop where well-spoken reporter Henry McKean goes out on the streets to see what real people think of real issues.

Of course, hilariously, he almost always goes in to the under-privliged areas to interview, shall we politely say, the less educated of our real people.

Yesterday’s topic centered around the issue of the number of crimes being committed by people who are out on bail. 11,000 crimes a year, apparently. The solution that Enda Kenny (leader of the Government opposition) has come up with is the tried and tested “tagging” system where suspects out on bail are electronically tagged in an attempt to ensure the furthest they wander is down the chippy for a kebab.

Anyway the working class of Dublin’s inner city had all sorts of suggestions for us.

Our first gentleman seemed fairly well up with things in a general way. He suggested that people shouldn’t object to being tagged if they’re not guilty of anything as they would have “nothing to hide”. He then described being stopped by the GardaĆ­ himself the other day and asked to empty his pockets. He had no objection since he had nothing to hide.

“So, you’re not a criminal then?” Henry asks in his brassy “To The Manor Born” tone.

“No,” replies the man sharply. “Sure I don’t agree with what half of them do.”

Which begs the question – just what half of the criminal fraternity do you agree with? Rapists, murderers or just good old fashioned burglars and con men?

There was utter bemusement at one woman who managed to use the word “thing” in a sentence about six times. The sentence was only ten words long.

Always good for a laugh, Henry bluntly asked one rather dodgy sounding guy if he knew anyone who committed crimes while out on bail.

“Ah yeah,” he said. “Sure I know a good few who are out there robbin’ houses and breakin’ in to cars for car radios, you know?”

“And how much would you get for a car radio these days?” Henry enquired, clearly enjoying the fact that he’d met an aspiring Godfather figure.

“Twenty, thirty euro. Enough for their next fix,” the criminal fountain of knowledge replied.

If Henry had made his way over to my part of town I would have gladly given my views. Do away with bail, lock them up in a dungeon – but don’t throw away the key. No way – there’s still a chance someone could find it. Melt it down in to a little silver spoon shape that can be used with my Haagen Dazs. I find those wooden ones very unsatisfactory.