Why I’m concerned about Pokémon app’s series of unfortunate events

I love technology just as much as the next person; I love my phone and I love that it keeps me connected to my family, friends and the rest of the world; however this bloody Pokémon Go app lark – a game users with too much time on their hands are downloading to their phones – is really getting on a very sensitive part of my anatomy!

  You see folks, since its release to around 38 countries last month, we’ve had dopes of every description dropping everything to risk their lives in a bid to engage in this game. However, for those of you who’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about…let me enlighten you. 

  In order to get involved in the Pokémon Go phenomenon, players must first download the app, which taps into your mobile phone’s GPS and camera to make Pokémon cartoon characters appear as if they are literally part of the background of the user’s surroundings…do try to keep up with me here…and then, like zombies, the users physically wander aimlessly around real-life world locations in search of the little virtual monsters.

  Now, I know this initiative is a great way to get couch potatoes and those with absolutely nothing to do with their days to increase their overall movements, encouraging otherwise sedentary individuals to get up and get out into the fresh air; and that’s great. And sure didn’t the Irish Mirror report that Wicklow man, David Brennan, who says he travels nearly 50 miles a day up to the big shmoke to play the game, impressively manage to shed nearly half a stone in one week, explaining: “On the Monday I spent about six hours (walking around), Tuesday – five, Wednesday and Thursday four each, Friday about six again then Saturday three.” Well done to him.

  However, the fact is, there are major drawbacks to this game and I’d advise parents to please keep an eye on kids who may be spending too much time getting absorbed by the new-fangled, nine-day wonder, and, for obvious reasons, never allow them to drift off alone.

  Since its launch, I’ve been reading about (to quote author Daniel Handler under his nom de plume Lemony Snicket, and his most famous book) ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ associated with users. Things like muggings, injuries and car accidents have been linked to many players who take to the streets and get distracted, showing a total disregard for their own and other people’s safety in their bid to catch the little cartoon characters. In one of the worst incidents, an 18-year-old teenager from Guatemala was actually shot dead as he and a mate were reportedly playing the game when, I suppose thinking it was okay to trespass on someone’s property, they  broke into a home in a bid to catch one of the virtual monsters. Now how utterly tragic is that? 

  Last week, while driving slowly through Roscommon town, as I passed by Boots pharmacy on my left, a male teenager, hand-held mobile device up to his face, totally oblivious to his surroundings – even more engrossed that he would possibly become while texting some cute girl in his class – without any warning, in a remarkably close shave, eyes glued to his Pokémon prey’s location, dashed straight into the path of my car. Luckily I had spotted him out of the corner of my eye and had slowed down to a complete stop; however, the car coming in the opposite direction hadn’t and the dozy kid was nearly struck. I can tell you he got a right mouthful from both me and the other driver who nearly hit him. His reaction? Too absorbed by the game, he cursed us for making him fail to catch the elusive Pikachu. 

  Now I don’t know about you folks, but hunting down these fake monsters in an augmented  virtual reality has got me concerned about certain safety issues associated with the real world; so while players may meet friends, lose a bit of weight and get fit, at this rate they mightn’t live long enough to enjoy the benefits.

A brutal crime committed by cowardly sleazeballs

I know the Ninth Lock Road in Dublin quite well; it’s a busy, bustling road linking Lucan with Clondalkin and the popular Mill Shopping Centre where, for four years, myself and himself – often under severe threat – as volunteers, ran a nightly mobile veterinary clinic for pet owners who were unable, for whatever reason, to afford private veterinary care for their fur babies. It was a public service for those who needed it and we were happy to provide it.

  It was on this Ninth Lock Road last Thursday that a young woman, in the early hours of the morning on her way home, was attacked by three thugs who lay in wait to ambush, violate and savagely rape her. The close-knit community, I won’t lie, has its fair share of, let’s say, social problems, i.e. a few scumbags prowl locally. But there are also good decent people there, and sure what community doesn’t have its share of colourful characters and hard nuts?

  In fact, a couple of times, when treating sick animals, and within view of the Garda station, we were actually threatened at gun-point by plonkers looking for drugs and syringes…they got nothing!   However, the decent people living in the Clondalkin area are rightly repulsed by this horrendous, forceful, sickening, highly intentional attack on a defenceless young woman. It is this local repulsion and anger that’s proved invaluable to investigating officers and calls began to quickly flood the Ronanstown Garda Station information line, where within hours, detectives arrested persons of interest and I have no doubt, given the CCTV footage from the nearby Esso service station, DNA and other forensic evidence it won’t be long before the perverted, deviant, cowardly sleazeballs ressponsible for this crime get their comeuppance.

  In the meantime, I hope this young woman receives all the help, love and support she deserves in her bid to deal with the heartache and torture of her trauma. Her feelings may run from anger to fear, to guilt and to self-persecution. However, this was not her fault, she did absolutely nothing wrong, she did not deserve this brutal attack and degradation; she is entirely and wholly innocent.  I wish her light and healing.

CBB – a crippling addiction to fake tan, Botox and the banal!

The usual crew of clashing personalities that is the annual nut, slut and arrogant weirdo-fest began last week. Er, no, the Dáil didn’t reconvene, I’m talking about the nonentities, the botched plastic surgeries and the bankruptcies that make up the  Celebrity Big Brother line-up; I mean who the hell are these people anyway?

  Seriously folks, I once interviewed George Clooney via satellite and re-homed a shelter dog with Bono’s missus, so perhaps their people will call my people because if having a scant association fifty times removed from a celebrity makes you eligible, I should be a shoe-in for next year’s line-up. Watch this space!