Perhaps it is the Irish blood flowing through her veins, but Phil Linehan’s sweet, demure exterior bears little resemblance to her feisty wit as reflected in her prose. A master of the English language, this petite journalist-author-translator projects a sharp satirical edge to her biting op-eds. Although not in limerick meter, her rhyming observations range from the very timely criticism of Uruguayan soccer player Luis Suarez (who has cultivated the habit of biting his opponents on the soccer field), to more pressing issues related to current events.
Here are a few examples of her humor.
Oh Luis! What Big Teeth You Have
People everywhere are enthralled by sports greatest display
with supporters far and wide intent on making hay.
When their team wins the celebrations become intense
and out of the window flies commonsense.
The World Cup is what causes such a hullabaloo
as fans watch the tele while imbibing their favourite brew.
Players make dramatic dives right into the dirt
hoping the referee will believe they have been hurt.
That might get their opponent a yellow, or even a red card
and who from the game will then be barred.
The referee sometimes is unaware of a real infraction
and is booed by the crowd for his inaction.
A special case is that of Luis Suarez who plays for Uruguay
known to his opponents as a special kind of guy.
He thinks that instead of playing football with his feet
he can better beat them if he uses his teeth.
An Italian opponent suffered his latest attack
as Suarez’s incisors left their imprint on his back.
When Giorgio Chiellini felt the gnaw
He thought he’d been bitten by a macaw.
Now Suarez, for the third time, has been banned,
Against which ruling he and his country have taken a firm stand.
He claims that he simply tripped
And his opponent’s shoulder with his teeth accidentally gripped.
Once out of the Cup he had to leave
And what really happened we shall never perceive.
In Montevideo, where the reaction is seen as a misconception,
He was greeted with a hero’s magnificent reception.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Linehan boasts an impressive resume with jobs in several international organizations and diverse media (including television and print), globe-trotting from Geneva to India to Yugoslavia to Denmark to Sweden to New York, ending up in Mexico. Nothing escapes her tongue-in-cheek critiques including herself! Here’s another sampling of her cunning take on things.
Twitter, Twitter on the Wall, Who is the Sexiest of them All?
What is it with men in positions of power
who seem to inhabit an ivory tower?
They believe they are kings of their castles
and think of women as their vassals..
Tiger* and Dominique** are names that spring to mind
and there are many others of a similar kind.
Arnold*** of course we should not forget
who, just like the others, his behaviour must now regret.
There’s Governor Mark Sanford who mountains could shift
when he flew off to Argentina to give his soul mate a gift.
When to his wife he became a traitor
he moved the Appalachians south of the Equator.
Then they become indignant and cranky
when someone discovers their sexy hanky panky.
The latest would-be Lothario to be found out
is now seeing his career go down the spout.
Anthony Weiner hoped to become New York’s next big shot
before he got his boxers twisted in a knot.
He didn’t know that Tweeting is a dangerous game
especially when one uses one’s very own name.
What made him think the sight of his underwear’s bulge
would induce women with him in virtual sex to indulge?
A quick glance at the asset of which he is so proud
is enough to confirm he’s not that well endowed.
Any young woman would become dismayed
when seeing the photo of the face he displayed.
There’s no way she would yearn our hero to hug
once she got a good look at his unprepossessing mug.
How come the man who turns out to be such a louse
usually has an intelligent and attractive spouse?
Is it because deep in his heart
he realizes he’s the one who is not that smart?
The moral of this tale is very clear
and I am glad I can repeat it here.
Any man who plans to cheat
must learn how to control his Tweet.
Another timely poem, this time making fun of global warming:
And Pigs Will Fly
As the global warming drums are beating
and temperatures go right on heating
not all are scared of climate change
or even weather they admit is strange.
In England, in counties near to France,
wine growers are preparing to seize the chance
to compete with the very best Bordeaux,
perhaps even from a famed chateau.
Though English wine may seem unthinkable
there is such a thing, but it’s quite undrinkable.
Producers welcome the longer, hotter summers on the rise
that will rid them of their permanent grey and leaden skies.
They know they would have much to gain
if they could produce a bubbly like Champagne.
And oh! What joy if they could grow
a grape to compete with a good Margaux.
They long for the day when Canterbury’s bells
will announce the Nouveau Tunbridge Wells
and they can unveil to the world their proudest brew
known as Dover Castle premier cru.
Their dreams are easy to comprehend
as they gloomily taste their inferior blend.
But the odds are their hopes will surely fail
so they would be better advised to stick to ale.
The English flee their soggy shores, cross the pond,
and head for Calais, Paris and beyond.
There they dine on food they consider fine
which, as they put it, is washed down with wine.
That the reverse will occur is hard to believe
for it is improbable that anyone could conceive
of the French enjoying meals that are overdone
and often ending with a sticky bun.
However much English vintners plan and scheme,
sow their grapes and optimistically dream,
they’ll not see the day when their neighbours rush hell bent
to quaff a claret made in Kent.
Things I Will Never Know
So many things leave me in doubt
that I am totally ignorant about,
I fret when I realize of the answers I will never be aware
and end up in the depths of despair.
Among the many things I do not know
is why we call claret the wine that comes from Bordeaux.
Why did a lake in Chile go out of sight
when it suddenly disappeared overnight?
Cosmologists claim sapient beings exist far away from our Sun,
but if they are intelligent, would they not this planet shun?
Did the geniuses who said the moon is shrinking
make that announcement when their classes were clinking?
Are we to believe life exists far beyond the stars
and there shopping malls on Mars?
One claim I find very hard to swallow
is that the Earth is hollow.
I thought Newton on gravity said the last word
but that, of course, is quite absurd.
It seems Einstein had something to say about gravitation and flat space
and many others have now joined the race.
With no knowledge of this or that esoteric theory
I can tell you that, when on a cold winter morning I lie weary,
there is no greater gravitational pull
than a warm bed covered with blankets made of wool.
Did the universe begin when the Big Bang occurred?
It’s a theory about which some have demurred.
I can’t imagine why they don’t agree.
It’s more impressive than with a whimper it seems to me.
With so many UFO sightings being seen
are the observers drinking too much vodka or caffeine?
As they keep their eyes glued to the sky
could they be charged with the crime of SUI? *
But my real concerns are more mundane
and the ones of which I most complain.
Why can’t airports be prepared for snow,
and why do men wear ties, are the things I really want to know.
* Sighting Under the Influence
Linehan, who continues to work as a freelance translator, is the author of a book entitled Plain Speaking – A Reporter’s Conversations with President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Conversations with Wife Cherie (available on Amazon and Kindle) unlike the versions by Tony Blair, George W. Bush and now Dick Cheney, telling her version of the story of what led us into the Iraq war. Her satirical humor is timely and right on target. Can’t wait until she publishes an entire book full of her fun lines!
Thanks as always for bringing a smile to my face, Phil!
And lastly, Phil on Phil!
Readings from authors who the English language best wrote
including a mention or two of some witty quote.
There are so many names from which they could choose
and below are mentioned a few they might want to peruse.
There are Synge and O’Flaherty, Behan and Yeats
to name just a very few of the greats.
Another fine author who should not be left out
is Francis Mahoney, aka Father Prout.
If it’s comedy they want they might suggest to their boss
that he allow them to quote the ladies Somerville and Ross.
There are so many others by whose works we are beguiled
such as O´Casey, Jonathan Swift and, of course, Oscar Wilde.
If they decided they would like to air a humorous voice
Oliver Goldsmith would be a most suitable choice.
If they wanted an erudite audience to draw
they could hardly do better than quote Bernard Shaw.
If ballads were needed there would be nothing more sure
than to delve into the romantic works of famed Thomas Moore.
James Joyce of course must not be left out of the mix
as his writings would surely the viewers’ transfix.
Ending on a more contemporary note
there is someone else from whom they could quote.
Phil Linehan’s satiric verses would probably make most listeners smile
although, to be honest, in some others they might produce bile.
The list goes on and on but I now discover I’ve put myself on a spot –
to say that every author mentioned is Irish I simply forgot!