Friday, May 31, 2002

Thats enough of work for this week. We have a big weekend of sport ahead. Theres the Ireland Cameroon match early tomorrow and the Mayo-Galway GAA match on Sunday. And it's a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland so postings will be scarce until Tuesday.
The World Cup - the greatest sporting tounament on the planet is now up and running. And in classic style the first match has produced a shock result. Senegal have beaten France 1-0. However there is a tradition of eventual winners struggling in the early stages of the competition. Don't be surprised to see France go all the way again.
Something you might need to blogger code is B2 d- k- s+ u- f+ i o- x e- l c++
New Carlsberg advert:
Mick McCarthy doesn't send players home - ...but if he did they'd probably be the best players in the world !!

Thursday, May 30, 2002

A little bit of good news for a change. A breakthrough has been reached in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
Good World Cup blog. Check it out.
Lileks has a great bleat today in which he constructs an elegant economic allegory from Dr. Seuss' "Ten Apples Up on Top".
Another dream last night. This time I was trying to get a logon for the Ford Motor Co. website in order to interface it to an application I was developing. In reality of course I'm not a developer, and my work has nothing to do with automobiles. What could it all mean?
I went to see 'Attack of the Clones' last night with the reasonable expectation that at least it should be better than 'the Phantom Menace'. Well it is. But as a movie it's still shit shit shit shit features the most unconvincing goulash of cliches that has ever been presented as a love story and the Federation/Republic conflict storyline is confusing and impossible to follow. I admit the action sequences look good and trump those in the last movie. However even the late appearence of Christopher Lee reprising his role of Saruman in LOTR isn't enough to save this turkey. This review in Salon pretty much agrees with my thoughts on the film. They should seriously think about bringing back Harrison Ford for the next one ...or at least Chewbacha.
John B. Keane, dramatist, novelist, poet, publican, and one of Irelands greatest characters died this morning at the age of 73. Keane is probably best known internationally as the author of the work on which the film 'The Field' was based.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I had a weird Blog related dream last night - I was looking for the meaning of the word "samizdat" but couldn't find it in any of the dictionaries I had around me. I think there was a World cup connection too but I can't really remember it.
Well here's something I never knew - It's illegal to sell dildos in Texas. Read Tristan Taormino's amusing story in the Village voice. Via Vodkapundit.
REM are distributing free via the web a remix album of tracks from Reveal. Personally, I thought Reveal was the most disappointing album of last year and one of the worst albums REM have released...(it's up there with 'Monster' in my estimation), so my expectations for REM-IX are low. At least it's free.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

I just read a program for this years Galway Arts Festival. The music line-up is absolutely fantastic - probably the best ever. The Dirty Three, Steve Earle, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci are all playing (the latter two in support of the Frames). Also playing are Sigur Ros and best of all Lambchop (with Eileen Rose as support..and in St. Nicholas' church as well). Fuck, I'll be getting tickets for them all asap....
I read an interview with Roy on Sunday where he said that Jason McAteer was a great guy but he had a big's proof.
The world's smallest website...I guess someone had to do it.
For all you Jamie Theakston fans out there, Joel Veitch presents the rather good Jamie and his Magic Todger.
Fintan O'Toole writes in today's Irish Times about a true World Cup tragedy.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Thats it from me for a few days. The usual service will resume next Tuesday.
A nation in crisis! Ireland has been engulfed in a paroxysm of anger, grief and confusion. When people ask 'have you heard the news?' you know there can only be one story they are referring to. Roy Keane has been kicked out of the Irish world cup team. The greatest Irish player of his generation, Keane was the lynchpin of Ireland's hopes to progress in the tounament. He had threatened to leave on Tuesday after complaining about the conditions of the training ground. However this interview in the Irish Times today sparked off a futher row with team manager Mick Mc'Carthy, which apparently ended with Keane launching a tirade of abuse against him. At which point McCarthy basically told him to fuck off home with his attitude. Bravo for Mick. ...but the whole team might as well head home now....

A new study from Chigago shows that looking at a picture of an attractive woman is enough to dramatically boost a man's ego:- from the New Scientist. I'm not quite sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

From the Chicago Sun Times:- Irish war on terrorism may be won yet.
Everything you need to be a true son of Ulster.
Here's a review of 'Memento' director Christopher Nolan's new movie 'Insomnia'. It's due to open in the US on May 24:- from Via the Horse.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Here is today's piece in the NY times about the Irish general election. It's always interesting to read how others see us. It's a predictable enough report but the writer is incorrect in asserting that the inclusion of photos on the ballot papers is further proof of the focus on personality in Irish politics. Actually they were included after many years of lobbying by Ernie Sweeney, in order that the small percentage of illiterate people in society could exercise their democratic rights without embarassment.
Cancer claims the life of a brilliant writer and evolutionist. Stephen Jay Gould passed away yesterday at the age of 60.
Michael Rubin in the National Review Online suggests Mary Robinson should be tried as a war criminal. While he may have a point in relation to the ineffectuality and occasional hipocrisy of the UN human rights commision he is totally wrong about any accountability she may have for the EU distribution of funds that eventually ended up with Palestinian terrorist leaders. As the head of state she carried few powers and only moderate influence with the Irish Government.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Well there was mighty entertainment on the telly this weekend with the election counts. Sad to say but I find the whole thing fascinating - the slow process whereby the successive winners are revealed, the debates and predictions of the pundits as surpluses and preferences are being distributed, the small local stories behind each distribution - geographical or party, personality or vote management stategy. I even spent some time last night down at the Galway west count center in Leisureland. Although I witnessed Michael D get that last vote he needed on the 13 or 14th count, I passed on the drama as Cox and Grealish sweated it out for the last seat. Interesting as it was, hanging around there for another hour or so until 12:00 was a bit much for one night. With the electronic voting being introduced for the next election, these type of counts are now history. The day of the Tallyman has passed.
How a mobile phone and a digital camera can save your life. Dave Mills was rescued from an ice floe last night while attempting to be the first person to walk solo to the North Pole. Read his on-line diary here.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Here's a cool blog that lays out a recipe for what you should do every single day. And it uses the same template as me - albeit with the boring old colour scheme.
One of the most entertaining things on televison this week was the Jeremy Paxman interview of Tony Blair for BBC's Newsnight. Here's a great exchange:-
These funding stories, they come, they go! These are people who own the Express Newspapers.


Well, in my view, it is perfectly acceptable for us to take a donation from them.

They also own Horny Housewives, Mega Boobs, Posh Wives, Skinny & Wriggly. Do you know what these magazines are like?

No, I don't, but I do know that if someone is fit and proper to own one of the major newspaper groups in the country, there's no reason why we shouldn't accept donations from them. The only difference between us as a political party and what went before is that all the donations are made openly, so that every single thing about party funding is, for the first time, out in the open.

Read the complete transcripts here.

I promise there will be no more toilet humour today. There is a temporary new colour scheme however. Just thought I'd re-assert my nationality.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Okay - last post of the day, and to finish off where I started here's a nice little flash game that explores Britney's real talent.
This is one of the strangest (and most downright disturbing) flash games I've come across. Blast the natives with your shotgun or they'll do a deliverance on your ass.
Where is my Mind?
You're smart, shy, and often nonsensical. You have dreams of being famous, and you're quirky enough that you just might pull them off. Some would call you a genius, others would call you insane, but in reality you're pretty well-adjusted. Take a vacation once in a while- it'll help take your mind off of your troubles.
Which Pixies song are you?

Lads, here's a dietary supplement that promises to enhance your 'oral' sex life:- Sweet Release for Men. No excuse for spitters after this!
The mother of invention - Electric Chicken presents the Apple iToilet

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

On his blog yesterday PatioPundit gave an insiders perspective on the likely reason why Reprise dropped Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? His explanation sounds plausible as I don't believe the album is anywhere near as sonically extreme or experimental as initial reports would have you believe. Indeed it seems to me to be a logical progression from the pop focused Summer Teeth. Granted it's a move away from the traditional and possibly passé alt-country sound of their earliest recordings. It's arguably their strongest album yet and one which to my ears at least taps into the same vein which Radiohead's 'OK Computer') and Grandaddy's 'The Sophtware Slump' did.. It's currently running at the top of my list of albums of the year so far.
In this months edition of the Atlantic online, Steve Olson writes about how it's likely that nearly every European is decended from English royalty. And indeed it's probable that each of us is a descendent of Charlemagne and even Confucius. There's an Irish angle here too - Olson has come to Ireland to trace his roots and bases the article on the work of DCU computer scientist Mark Humphrys. Via Arts and Letters Daily.
New Blog from an American priest ..they are having it pretty tough at the moment:-From the Middle of the Storm

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Here's an interesting tech focused weblog from a well wired guy (or two?) who seems to be doing a fair bit of travelling around the country :-Underway in Ireland
Tom Quinn writes in today's An Irishman's Diary piece in the Irish Times.
"In many ways it seems that the loss of British identity contributed to the economic, spiritual, artistic, moral and linguistic impoverishment of 20th-century Ireland. What is an even graver speculation however, is that the end of British rule may have given the most squalid elements in the Irish soul free rein to wreak havoc at every level of society."

Something tells me that this is going to generate a lot of correspondence for the paper. Indeed my blood is only prevented from boiling over due to my unlimited reserves of cool....
Worker's champion Eamon Mc'Cann writes about dodgy goings on in Colombia which do not involve Gerry Adams. He thinks it should be an election issue....I kid you not.
I belatedly went to see the movie version of 'About a Boy' last night. I'm sorry to say it was yet another disappointment - alhough with Hugh Grant in it I shouldn't have expected too much. I didn't think much of the performance of the kid that palyed Marcus either. And they wrote Kurt Cobain out of it as well!

Monday, May 13, 2002

The Irish Independent reports that the Irish Govt. is considering taking in one of the exiled Palestinian militants. This is crazy - what if Ireland is targeted by Hamas in order to intimidate us out of proceeding with any eventual extradition of this gentleman to Israel ? (Israel has reserved to right to press for extradition in the future)
The 100 greatest online games. A work-avoiders wet dream....
The results of the BBC national IQ test are now available. Looks like the people of Northern Ireland are of below average intelligence. Maybe the brainy ones were watching the 'Stars in your eyes' Coronation St. special.
...but wait...this survey from 2001 indicates that the US tops the poll (124 shags a year on average) with the Greeks (117) coming a close second. I presume this one surveyed people of all ages.
Getting back to the question of which nation is the horniest....this BBC report suggests that the UK tops the league - at least as far 16 to 21 year olds are concerned. Unfortunately Lebanon wasn't included in the survey.
Can't tell the difference between Brittney Spears and Christina Aguilera? Here's a useful guide to sort you out.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Somebody has come to this site while searching for "horny lebanese" on Google. ... Horny Lebanese theres a thought - who is the horniest nationality in the World? I must check it out.
Nothing much to report today I'm afraid. Hungover after last night - I blame the Bulmers.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Eh? Did you say money's too tight to mention?
Looks like it's turning into a nightmare week for the Gardai. First we have the savage display of brutality which some members of the force engaged in and which was fortuitously caught on camera. Then the allegations in court that two officers had planted incriminating material in order to obtain convictions and procure promotions. Finally and potentially most disturbing of all, it now seems that the Gardai may have withheld information that could have prevented the Omagh bombing.
Just a stray thought on the anti-globalisation movement. If Dev was alive today would he be part of it? His economic policies where those of self-sufficiency and economic protectionism and he had a vision of Ireland which he famously described thus:-

"The Ireland which we would desire of would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as the basis of a right living, of a people who were satisfied with frugal comfort and devoted their leisure to the things of the soul; a land whose countryside would be bright with cosy homesteads, whose fields and valleys would be joyous with the sounds of industry, with the romping of sturdy children, the contests of athletic youth, the laughter of happy maidens; whose firesides would be forums for the wisdom of old age."

No automobiles, no foreign industries ....add the face painting and the neo-electro street beats and we have the quintessential eco-socialist utopia.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Looks like the Irish anti-Globalisation movement now have their own little Genoa and Seattle, what with monday's Reclaim The Streets march in Dublin being broken up by the Gardai (Irish police) with excessive force. The pictures on the news yesterday were shocking - some members of the Gardai were clearly shown flailing wildly with their batons and deliberately trying to "crack skulls". Whats worse it appears that these policemen also removed their identifying badges to prevent subsequent identification. Naturally there's been an national outcry. I'm sure the offenders will get punished and hopefully it will result in a positive measures to install some sort of independent monitor of Garda activity.

That said, I've no doubt that there was some provocation of the police - not that that mitigates their actions. And furthermore the media coverage of this demonstration is a god send of publicity for the rag-bag of organisations and causes which gravitate around and/or constitute the anti-globalisation movement. It may well be that aggravation of the police is a definite tactic of the militant tendancy within the movement.

As far as I tell the main groups involved here are the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, the Globalise Resistance movement and the aforementioned Reclaim The Streets group. Already it appears that tensions exist between these disparate groups over the decision to hold a protest against police brutality in Dublin tomorrow.
Lets see what happens then - there is a strong possibility that it will do nothing to garner additional public sympathy and will be hijacked by Joe Carolan and the loony left.

Incidentally here's irony for you - what do you think the first questions are on the application form for the UK arm of Globalise Resistance? Of course its your Bank branch and sort code. Make of that what you will.....

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Is there no end to these simple but addictive flash games? Here's one where you attempt fly a helicopter as far as possible. In this age of x-boxes, PS2's and incredibly complex PC games it appears that the average desk bound 'information worker' is happy with variations of 'pong' and 'breakout' to while away the time they should be working.
Sky Sports are running Premiership goalkeeper of the year – here's your chance to make sure that Shay Given (Ireland goalie) gets it!!

It being a long weekend in Ireland, I didn't get around to doing any postings yesterday. I'm pretty tired at the moment, I drove 400 miles and drank maybe 40 drinks over the last few days. And I'm back at work now with my brain not fully engaged...... to get the week off to a fine start, here's a review of my blog by Kathy from the Peer to Peer review project. While it's pretty negative, I have to say that it's quite fair. I've been meaning to implement a new template and add some personal details and stuff. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time on my hands to do this and at the moment I guess I'm just using this blog as a place to record interesting links and the occasional stray opinion...this of course being something which a weblog is the perfect medium for.

Friday, May 03, 2002

I came across this interesting article yesterday. In it the author demonstrates how our concepts of race are entirely arbitrary and that the pale skin mutation (i.e. "white people") probably first evolved in northern Europe relatively recently. He suggests that this probably happened 5000 years ago....which raises the possibility that the first residents of Ireland and indeed the occupants of sites like the Ceide fields in North Mayo where actually black. Indeed the climate change which initiated the growth of the Irish bogs may have reduced the level of sunlight and thus made it difficult for dark skinned peoples to live on agriculture alone.
11 year old girl's doodle is interpreted as a 'terrorist death threat' by her teachers. Read the story on CNN. Is this another blow for the 'War Against Terrorism' ??
James Lileks has a typically wonderful piece today on how we are now in the golden age of children's illustration:- (LILEKS) James :: the Bleat

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Here's an interesting and deeply moving article on the cultural transformation of the New York Irish population in the nineteenth century. Within a generation the New York Irish moved from being the dregs of society to become influentual and important players within the American mainstream. The catalyst for this change was a man called John Joseph Hughes. Via
Mr. Tuncay Ozcan's night of shame - read today's story in The Sun.
He hung his head in shame as the city’s Crown Court heard the three-year-old Welsh pony called Rose was good natured before that attack, but was now “nervous and skittish”.

I love the way they altered the photo of the pony to protect it's identity!

I first encountered it in a toy store in Texas in August 2000. It seemed cute and funny at the time. Since then they seem to be everywhere - allegedly even the Queen has one. Yes I'm talking about the singing billy bass toy - this site pretty much sums up what I think about it now.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Last night I went along to the Evan Dando gig in the Roisin. It was great. Although it was quite sad to see the toll that drink and drugs had taken on the ex-Lemonheads singer, he delivered a sparkling, crowd pleasing set of old favourites with four or five new tunes thrown into the mix. In my opinion, most of the new songs were unremarkable with the exception of "Hard Drive" and "The Same Thing You Thought Hard About Is the Same Thing I Can Live Without" a song obviously about his battle with the drink. He is now teetotal and like Georgie Best uses medication to combat the urge to drink. He made a point of explaining that the word in the song chorus was "can" not "can't".

At the end of the set, before the encore he set-up an impromptu Q and A session with the audience. Apparently he missed a gig a few years back cos he was busy gettin' it on with two lesbian junkies . He would have made the show only for the crowds of people he had to get through to get to the stage. He reckons it was a close run thing but wasn't worth it in the end ..

What really made the night for me however were the support acts. Playing guitar for Evan and doing a short set of his own was Chris Brokaw the guitar player from Come and Pullman. He also played on Thalia Zedeks solo album from last year.

And best of all we had a set from the ex-Vaselines singer and guitar player Eugene Kelly. You may remember that Scottish band for their songs which Nirvana covered - "Molly's lips" and "Jesus doesn't want me for a sunbeam":-

Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam,
Cause sunbeams are not made like me,
And don't expect me to cry,
For all the reasons you had to die,
Don't ever ask your love of me.

Don't expect me to lie,
Don't expect me to cry,
Don't expect me to die for thee

Eugene joined Evan on stage for the encore which I think was "River Clyde Song". Two fine masters of the craft of the Pop Song who have failed to reach the audience they deserve. Proof if any were needed that popular music is the most fickle of the modern arts.

Do you drive? Are you subject to road rage? - take the test here.
Yet another Irish Election website - focuses on the big issues - the humour.

P45 Election Postcards

Here's another Irish Election website - This one seems more geared to soliciting candidates comments and debate. However the absence of any constituency profile for Mayo is disappointing. Hopefully this is not indicative of a Dublin (or Leinster) centric bias on the part of the administrators.
Good to see our old friend 'Ming the Merciless' is still in politics. He's running in the Irish general election in the Rocommon/Longford constituency. Best of luck to him I say. Although I have my suspicions that his notoriety as a campaigner for the legalisation of Marijuana will endear him to the conservative Roscommon electorate.
Maybe Dunnes Stores should set up a branch in Korea to sell 'St. Bernard' branded juice?