How state of the art is state-of-the-art?

Collins Dictionary states “If you describe something as state-of-the-art, you mean that it is the best available because it has been made using the most modern techniques and technology”
(Source:, which should at least in theory place companies with such infrastructure on a par if not ahead of their competition.  So why did 104 workers at Dawn Fresh Foods, an affiliate of  Q.K. Meats Group, Ireland’s largest privately owned agri-business, lose their permanent jobs yesterday?

The closure of a “state of the art” food production plant at a time when the Irish Government and related State agencies are pushing the line that food exports are our future with strategies in place to increase our current export reach from 36 million people to a staggering 50 million by 2020 just does not cut it.

Yes, the Dawn Fresh Foods (see brand has likely been tarnished by the recent horse meat scandal, but if this is the real reason for the closure surely then a wholesale product re-branding would be more appropriate in light of the potential job losses.

A “state of the art” food processing facility doesn’t just close overnight without “The Minister” being made aware beforehand, and once again we have a Minister expressing shock at the news from his own constituency.

Not exactly a confidence booster for the future success of our food industry if our “state of the art” food production facilities are going out of business, unless of course this particular state-of-the-art has little in common with how things work in the real world.

Unlucky horseshoe
Unlucky horseshoe

Memory retention: “The ability to forget is a token of true greatness”

Wow! Just finished my twenty-fifth attention-grabbing and hugely entertaining John Grisham book ‘The Litigators’ (in which once again having thought I’d figured out the complex plotting I was wrong).

So what about the previous twenty-four equally absorbing page-turners? How many of the tales and characters in a long list stretching back to 1989 can I recall?

The answer is I am having difficulty recalling the story line of just one of them. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed what I read, I would be hard-pressed to describe too much about any of one them; they all kind of run together.


Given that feasting on a John Grisham novel has become an annual Christmas tradition since first heading eastwards in the late 1980s, what’s with the low memory retention rate? Should I be concerned?

I am quite sure if someone asks me about ‘The Litigators’ a year or two from now, I won’t remember all but the broadest facets of the tale, but still it was a pleasure to devour. In fact, it is wonderful to be reading, and finishing, “a book” again, to close out what has been a tumultuous 2012.

I believe such, for the most part fictional, books are not designed for recall, unlike education-related reference, or instruction handbooks. Each book has its own moral and morsel of insight feeding my brain with an awareness of humanity and the world we live in which I previously may not have had. Certainly not mindless entertainment, I have learned something. I don’t have to remember the whole story.

I’m already absorbed in my twenty-sixth John Grisham page-turner, the riveting ‘Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer’!


A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness.

– Elbert Hubbard ( American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher who was aboard the torpedoed RMS Lusitania which sank 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland on May 7th 1915)

Read books by John Grisham:

  1. A Time to Kill (1989)
  2. The Firm (1991)
  3. The Pelican Brief (1992)
  4. The Client (1993)
  5. The Chamber (1994)
  6. The Rainmaker (1995)
  7. The Runaway Jury (1996)
  8. The Partner (1997)
  9. The Street Lawyer (1998)
  10. The Testament (1999)
  11. The Brethren (2000)
  12. A Painted House (2001)
  13. Skipping Christmas (2001)
  14. The Summons (2002)
  15. The King of Torts (2003)
  16. Bleachers (2003)
  17. The Last Juror (2004)
  18. The Broker (2005)
  19. The Innocent Man (2006)
  20. Playing for Pizza (2007)
  21. The Appeal (2008)
  22. The Associate (2009)
  23. Ford County
  24. The Confession (2010)
  25. The Litigators (2011)

JC come back and we’ll play a different tune

JC come back and we ll play a different tune

Those who knew JC, and who should have known better, didn’t pursue him, they left him alone. They said JC has gone away to Thailand with his buddy J, wait for another day, he’ll come home. That was in 1996. J never came home. I took charge of his funeral in Bangkok.

JC was all about reassuring the people who knew him “I’ll see you soon” … “I’m going away to find a place to stay, I’m going to dance on the Moon” … “One of these days when I change my ways, I’ll come back home”.

I have finally deciphered JC. His purpose of being in Thailand is to be a nobody in the way of a terminal alcoholic. Such a role is too stressful back in his utopia of origin up North. Blind to the fact that it is his addiction and its consequences that are making him miserable, JC falsely believes that the drink is the only source of comfort and security available to him in a cruel, cruel world.

You see JC has been telling me for three years that he is perfectly aware he has a drinking problem, that he does not intend to let it get out of hand, and that he will be taking steps to control it. He has been adamant that he can and will deal with it by himself rather than seeking any kind of professional or support group help.

Yet, as an alcoholic JC still doesn’t understand the nature of his alcohol addiction and still supposes his recovery to be merely a matter of will power. He doesn’t have the courage to ask for help from others for what he feels he ought to be able to do by himself.

In Thailand JC always has a cheap bottle he can turn to, and he has been turning every day… Long hard drinking.

The bottle doesn’t take effect the way it used to and he’s hurting in old familiar ways. It has let him down and JC has gone beyond the point of no return. He has lost his self-esteem and just can’t find the will to stop.