Too much time wasted on one man.

Having some “free” time this morning before the Wren Boy run at the local GAA ground, I was browsing The Guardian online and completed “The Donald Trump Quiz of the Year”.

The object is to answer 10 questions on “The Donald”. Here’s the link.

Being a competitive sort of individual I was disappointed that I started badly but I really couldn’t imagine Trump admitting to “a bad hair day”. I was correct with the other nine answers.

The paper concluded,  “I worry that you have not quite managed to break free of Trump’s vice-like grip on  the world’s attention. You have been thinking about him too much. Remember, that’s what he wants.”

Our civilisation seems to be controlled by narcissists, encouraging the rest of us to either join them in their self-centred universe or be subjugated by it.

The Brexit politicians and the 45th President are not people who appear to put “service before self”, they take little or notice of what I think – perhaps I have been guilty of paying them too much attention.

From today I will be spending far less of my time on them.

I suggest you do the same.



“Seasonal Associate’s” Greetings to Amazon.

We want the service but we don’t want our children to work there.

A review in the FT of “Seasonal Associate” by Heike Geissler – available from all good bookshops…

“…..This is one of the themes of the book: how it feels to work in a job that has no use for your sparks of humanity, and will certainly be done by a robot as soon as it makes financial sense. The feeling seems to rub off on how people treat each other. Towards the end of her stint at Amazon, Geissler’s protagonist wants to hug a new colleague, Melly, who says hello and offers her name. “Until that moment no one working near you has even introduced themselves.” The same day, a woman in a green security vest appears and rummages in the recycling box, checking that her colleagues haven’t hidden anything in there to smuggle out. She doesn’t even look at them…”

…”For Henry Ford the fact that workers were also consumers was a reason to double his employees pay in 1914, so they could afford the cars they were making. Today, for jobs at the bottom of the economy, it feels like that process has shuddered into reverse.”…

The Monday Morning Quote #514

“Even a correct decision is wrong when it was taken too late.”

Lee Iacocca

Open your mouth and let the wind blow your tongue about…..

Oh really boys? It will be that easy? 

War and Peace 45 years on…

It’s never too late to set new goals or to revisit old ones and, as long as you persist, just about anything is achievable (even passing A-levels).

I eventually passed my A-levels in August 1973, (with grateful thanks to the lecturers at Harrogate Tech). I asked my father if he could get me a copy of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, the book, or rather books as there were two volumes, was published by William Collins for whom my Dad worked, based in their office in the Corn Exchange in Leeds.

Then, as now, whenever I buy a new book I sign my name and the date inside the front cover.

The scrawl has become more flamboyant and less decipherable over the years but is still recognisable.

I had started to read Tolstoy’s Magnum Opus at several times since then, but never got beyond the first chapter. This summer, 45 years on from that date in August 1973 I determined to get through both volumes, in all 1443 pages, by the end of the year. I put aside 30 minutes after lunch and when I had finished work every day whilst at home, but as I travel a good deal there were gaps between sessions. Thankfully there are relatively short chapters so it was straightforward to complete the day’s task at convenient points.

This “small steps” approach did the trick, I was able to get involved in the plot lines and the characters  of the novel without having to rush. Tolstoy’s writing is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of Russia in the first two decades of the 19th Century. It’s a great book and I recommend it to you, there are lessons to  learn that still apply to each of us in our daily lives.

The point about goals being 1)Specific, 2)Measurable, 3)Achievable, 4)Relevant and 5)Timely, is well made. In this case, I wanted to read the book from beginning to end, so that takes care of 1) & 2). I can read and short of going under a bus (or my finding the book unreadable) I knew I could manage 3). It was relevant to my overall life plan 4) which includes tackling some “big” reads and 5) I set an end point of December 31st 2018, knowing that if I had to do some catching up I had the Christmas period to complete the task.

Should you be setting goals in your business or personal life then I hope this might inspire you.

PS when we moved into our home in West Cork five years ago, there were no fewer than three separate volumes of War & Peace amongst our books – the enthusiasm had obviously been there but we had allowed life to get in the way.

Little by little – Happy Winter Solstice.

Happy Winter Solstice! Don’t worry I’m not going off on a Pagan kick just taking sometime to enjoy the bleak midwinter.

Today, December 21st, is the shortest day of the year. Where I live the daylight will last for 7 hours 49 minutes and 18 seconds. As I used to tell my son, before he could scientifically argue back, today is the day when the sun packs its suitcase and starts heading northwards and Summer is on the way.

Tomorrow there will be 7hr 49min 19s of daylight, the day after another 7 seconds and on January 1st we can enjoy all of 7hr 55min 21sec presuming we’re awake by 8.02am , by the time we reach the Summer Solstice there will be 16hr 38min 48sec.

It reminds me of the one sure way to achieving and continuing success, small constant increments. Many of us start by presuming we will experience the “big bang” at some point and finally reach success will be ours. The truth is far more ordinary, small incremental changes for the better is the way to attain success. Read about Dave Brailsford’s work in cycling, look at the vast majority of successful enterprises and you will see that little happens overnight rather it is the gradual progression that gets results.

Progress does occur, there will be setbacks of course but by focussing on making every day better than the one before then you will move forward into your particular sunshine. One where we are not obliged to head backwards after June 21st.

Take some time over the holiday period to ask yourself what you want your changes to be this year. What’s your 2020-Vision? What are the steps you must start making?


40 years on M.K. still asks hard questions.

Forty years ago I was four and a half months in to my first job as one of the two “Resident House Surgeons in the Dept of Oral Surgery” at The London Hospital, now The Royal London. I am still amazed that I got the post, the story of my interview is worth hearing if only for the informal way the “second half” of the interview was conducted.

I was on the lowest rung of an impressive ladder at the London, with an SHO, three registrars, two senior registrars, a senior lecturer, two consultants, a Reader and the great Professor Gordon Seward at the top of the ladder.

It was the most intense period of my career, rivalling the first 18 months of practice ownership. At the London I was learning clinically whilst as the owner of two squats I was painfully cutting my teeth on business. I was privileged to see a huge variety of work, to straddle the divide between in and out patient care and to be on the “staff” of a major dental school and hospital.

One of the individuals from the Dental Hospital I encountered in the tea room was a young Irish registrar from Athenry with a great sense of humour who questioned everything and went on to great success.

It is no surprise then, that Martin Kelleher (for it was he), is now questioning the current explosion of tooth moving encouraged by American Corporations with an eye on the bottom  line. In this blog post from Kevin O’Brien (adapted from an article in Dental Update) he eloquently seeks answers to questions that seem to have been overlooked amidst the sales and marketing hysteria.

Worth a read and a touch of reflection.

“The race to the bottom for the quickest, allegedly ‘great’ or bargain deal in orthodontics has reached a place that few would have thought possible even five years ago. This gradual ‘uberization’ of orthodontics
 has produced a raft of new and largely unproven claims for treatments. These are promoted with gushing enthusiasm and superficial short-term evidence of their supposed long-term benefits for patients.”

Continues here.



Is it me or am I in a supermarket checkout time loop?

Headline from yesterday’s Guardian:

“Removing sweets from checkouts could help tackle obesity – study”

Every dental professional who ever lived will probably shake their head and roll their eyes, (not a good look), when they read this, and mutter, “Isn’t that what we have been trying to achieve for years, or is it decades?”

Back to Google:

The Sybil Fawlty award this time goes to the research published in PLOS (Public Library of Science) journal. I apologise to the good and diligent researchers who have shown again that putting sweets and snacks in close proximity to people means that those people will buy them – or pester a parent to buy them; and that removing them is good for our health by leading us not in to temptation but delivering us snack free at the exit.


Removing them reduces the risk of the supermarket making sales and therefore risks their profit margins.

We know all this. We all know this.

We know what causes/contributes to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes etc

We know that avoiding snacking is good for us….and have done for decades.

We know that checkout snacks are tempting and not a good thing.

So what will happen? Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful / dreadful thing.


Merry Christmas from ASDA (has this stuff got relatively cheaper over the years?):






HPV vaccination (yet) again

July 2018: The Words:

UK Government advisers have recommended extending funding for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to boys.

The HPV vaccine was previously offered to girls aged 12 to 13, with the new recommendation meaning 400,000 boys will also benefit every year.

All UK Governments took on board the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunsation’s (JCVI’s) advice.

‘The JCVI’s advice that boys should be vaccinated is very welcome news for boys and their parents,’ HPV Action campaign director, Peter Baker, said.

‘It will also benefit those girls who, for whatever reason, have not been vaccinated against HPV.”

December 2018: The Reality:

Steve Brine MP has said there will be no catch-up HPV vaccine programme for boys.

In a letter to the shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson, he argues boys will benefit from ‘herd protection’.

However, the BDA believes up to 2 million boys will remain unprotected from HPV without a catch-up vaccine programme.

‘The latest data on vaccinations among girls illustrates precisely why we’ve needed a gender-neutral approach, Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association (BDA), said.

‘It also shows why penny pinching on a catch-up programme will leave many school-aged boys unprotected.

‘There can be no guarantees of “herd protection” when nearly one in five girls are missing out on the vaccine.

‘A catch-up programme remains the best way to protect all our children from this cancer-causing virus.’

….and many still believe that this bunch will come up with a fairer NHS Dental Contract.

The Monday Morning Quote #513

“We’re not in the coffee business serving people,

we’re in the people business serving coffee”

Howard Schultz (Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks)



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