Friday, August 30, 2002

I've things to say but I don't feel like saying them, stuff to post but it's a struggle today - call it a hangover I suppose. Last night was supposed to be about a few quite ones, some socializing to keep up a Thursday night tradition. Save the big drink for Friday and the Shane MacGowan gig. It wouldn't be right to be too sober for that - songs written the under the caress of Whiskey and Gin are meant to be delivered and listened to under the same conditions. ..but that's tonight. Last night, 2 o clock in the morning, CP's nightclub; two bottles of beer in hand, the place was packed - as the man crudely put it "shaking with box, from ceiling to floor" and I am asking myself, 'what the fuck am I doing here?' Music is really really shit and I'm in no mood to be making shite-talk to pretty young ladies. No offence like but just not into it last night. I tried, found myself making smalltalk with a really lovely looking girl, against her initial judgment I'm sure, but we conversed easily. Couldn't bring it to the next level though, didn't really try I guess. Didn't give a shit in fact. Some other time it would have been easier... So last night I knew I'd be wrecked this morning and I wasn't wrong. Plus I got drenched on the walk home. Do I sound negative? I don't mean to but while we are at it:-

"The Sum of All Fears":- I saw this the other night. It's an awful, awful movie. It has bad acting, bad plot, really poor pacing and stupid story inconsistencies. For a supposed thriller it doesn't thrill for even one second. The whole thing was probably rewritten or maybe even reedited for the post-9/11 market... but that's no excuse.

Now for some positivity:-

Springsteen's new album "The Rising" is brilliant. Believe the reviews. I had expected that it wouldn't live up to the hype but it's been on heavy rotation in my place all week and I have to say it is a seriously impressive album. It's a work of real craft and a genuinely personal response to the ubiquitous 9/11. And the single 'The Rising', gets my vote for single of the year so far.

Starting to feel better already....

Thursday, August 29, 2002

America's new Mc'Carthyism - from this week's Sunday Business Post.
The Integrator:- Integrate your function on-line without going through all the messy that's sure to make your day!
From Archie McPhee's online store:- Nunzilla. "This fire-breathing wind-up sister trudges straight out of a Catholic-school student's nightmare like a determined disciplinary force, with green eyes blazing and sparks flying from her mouth..."
Ireland is placed at no. 23 in the 2002 World corruption perceptions index published yesterday. Better than virtually all African and South American countries but worse than most of the rest of the EU (Greece and France are below us). Not surprisingly the trend is downward - Ireland was rated 18th last year. Finland tops the chart for the third year in a row.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

A good Irish history site thats new to me:- -- The Epic History and Heritage of the Irish.
Hard to believe but there's a law in Florida which requires mothers who wish to put their baby up for adoption, to publish details of their sexual history in ads in the local papers. The law applies equally to teenage rape victims. If they cannot conclusively identify the name and address of the child's father then they must publish names and descriptions of all men they have slept with. So while striving to protect the rights of the father and the child, the mother is getting shat upon - where have we heard that before?
An example of a recession-proof industry:- Traffic to Adult Web sites have risen 5% from year-ago levels.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

70,000 Aussie's claimed to belong to the "Jedi" religion in last year's census. The forces of the dark side in the form of the Australian Government may strike back with fines of $1,000 each.
A flash game of dubious taste:- Big J's birth game. Any resemblance to Jordan the model is purely coincidental.
As I discovered a couple of years ago when I was called for jury duty in Westport (about 50 miles away from where I live), Irish courts do not pay milage or expenses to jurors. At least in the U.S, jurors get $40 a day plus mileage. which initially, was not enough for computer consultant David Williamson. A court summons soon shortened his gallop.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Ireland's top lovely girls competition (I hate that word - pageant) concludes tomorrow. I like the look of the Cork girleen. Paddy Power is giving odds of 7-1 on her to take the crown. As they say on their website "personality genuinely does count but boggers tend not to win".
With the weather being good and a high tide in Galway this evening at 8:30 I'm thinking of taking down the rod and reel and heading off to Spiddal tonight for a bit of fishing. While checking up on fishing reports on the web I came across this interesting story about the first forays into big game fishing in Ireland. Check out the pictures of the monster tuna caught off Donegal. I'll be happy with something a wee bit smaller.
Thomas Pynchon paper dolls.
Now what could this headline be about? - 4,500-mile wild goose chase leads trackers to a chilling end.

Friday, August 23, 2002

New music of the Week: Tift Merritt's debut album "Bramble Rose". She has a voice to rival Emmylou Harris' or Shelby Lynnes, a band which takes its country music cues from 'Let it Bleed' and a set of songs that fit into the classic country template and do not disappoint. The real deal as they say. George Graham has a typically restrained and to the point review (including audio samples) here.
Last night I managed to avoid prostituting myself for some misconceived cheapo TV show hosted by a minor D-list celebrity. There I was in the Quays enjoying a pint with the lads when we were interrupted by a girl who claimed to be looking for a 'date' for next week. It turned out that she was being filmed for the "Ask Anna" (or is it "Help"?) show. Anna, of course, was helping her to find love. Suffice to say we declined her offer, at which point she asked if we would be so good as to move to an area in full view of the camera and pretend to be chatting her up. We were happy where we were and she wasn't the type of girl that immediately inspired feelings of attraction and desire (although I'm sure she has a lovely personality) so we stayed put and sent her on her way. All this while, Anna Nolan herself was sitting nearby looking as anonymous, unglamorous and bored as she looked during her long internment in the Big Brother house. Ten minutes later, another lady who I gathered was the producer of the thing sauntered over and pleaded with us again to do the chat up routine for Missy No Mates. Apparently the place was full of tourists so good looking (?) Irish lads were at a premium. But none of us had any desire to look like a bunch of sad tits on nationwide tv and no money or free drink was on offer, so it was not to be. I hope they have fun extracting what they can from their 3 hours of brilliant footage.
The U.S state department has released previously classified documents relating to Argentina's "dirty war" during the period of military rule there between 1976-1983. In that time, possibly as many as 30,000 people disappeared in the crackdown on leftist groups and political opponents. Some of the correspondence indicates that the U.S. government could have done much more to pressure the Argentine leaders over their record of human rights violations. 19 years on, we can only hope that lessons have been learned, and that sometime in the future, children will have no need to write letters like this.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Ever wonder what the guy who does the voiceover for all the movie trailers looks like? Well, here he is, featuring in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's new movie no less. Via Fimoculous.
Dromore Co. Tyrone is the source of the first Irish gold being mined in modern times. If you have a few hundred quid to spare you can buy jewellery made with it from www.galantá
LVF bastards. What is this intimidation of an innocent man meant to achieve? The ethnic cleansing of the Northern Irish football team? For more on this story, I recommend Slugger O'Tooles blog for links and commentary.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Voyager 1 was 25 years old yesterday. Generations from now will recognise the Voyager program as one of the Mankind's great expeditions of discovery. I remember the wonderful excitement I felt when the images taken by Voyager 2 as it passed Jupiter and Saturn were first released in the early Eighties. Since then, subsequent high tech probes seem to me to have lacked the sense of adventure of Voyager. We've had comet chasers and Mars surveyors and the Gallileo program and all, while scientifically bountiful, have not captured the imagination in the same way as Voyager. But then again maybe it's just me getting older and more cynical.
UK Pensioner conquers wing-walking record. This is a great story. Les 'Dizzy' Seales 88, a pre-war British sidecar champion who as a WWII RAF gunner heroically walked across the wing of his plane in mid flight to save his trapped pilot, and 15 years ago lost a leg in an accident involving a bus. Yesterday Les took the record of being the oldest person to stand on the wing of a flying aircraft.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

M. Night Shyamalan's crop circle hokum movie 'Signs' is still riding high at the US box office. Meanwhile the small village of Clonegal in Co. Carlow is experiencing it's own version of the phenomenon with mysterious circles appearing on a nearby GAA pitch. Perhaps it is indeed the result of alien or paranormal activity. After all, Clonegal Castle is the home of the 'Fellowship of Isis' - a Druidic/Wicca society with a sophisticated organisation and liturgy founded in 1976 to foster greater communion with the Egyptian goddess of fertility and motherhood. (and which tickles the paranoid impulses of some local folk). Interestingly, UFO/crop circle 'expert' Steve Canada has written a book about the connection between Isis and crop circles. Then again, maybe the Clonegal rings have an entirely natural explanation.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Friday, August 16, 2002

I was going to post something about Elvis given the day that's in it but I'm not really that much of a fan. Someday I'll read the Peter Guralnick biographies and maybe then I'll embark on a re-exploration of his music. For today, I'll direct you to The Smoking Gun for the autopsy report on "The King". Anyway, that's it from me until Monday. Have a great weekend.
The Flak Magazine Review of Icelandic linkage site: Tilveran.
And from the same publication. Here's an interesting article about the history of one of those ubiquitous objects that are everywhere but of which we rarely if ever think about - the Phillips headed screw.
The Casio Effect. Responsible for airplane collisions, unhealthy diets, typos in published documents and crap Eighties dance music.
From Blogcritics: Ken Layne's piece abut the fuss over Steve Earle's new song about John Walker Lindh - the American Taliban. I think Layne has it wrong in claiming that Steve is courting the controversy but there are elements in the US Media who are making a meal of it, which is ridiculous. Steve of course couldn't give a shit. I just hope the attention will lead to increased record sales for him. I can't imagine him losing any fans over it anyway.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

So Baz Luhrmann's next movie will be about Alexander the Great and is set to star Leonardo DiCaprio. Sounds like it could be a great project. I've often thought that Alexander's life story could provide the basis for a really wonderful movie. But will Luhrmann resist the temptation to camp up Alexander and his homosexual (or homoerotic) army?

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

What the hell are Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams doing in a Gap Ad? Old Mr. Rebel and the sell out kid are back in town. Horses are tied out the front signing autographs....
A virtual smoke break. Via - a great site for flash games and other timewasting thingies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

An obligatory Elvis story link: Artist makes giant Elvis portrait from toast. Surely burger buns would have been more appropriate?
www.75orlesscom - Album reviews in 75 words or less. I like it.
Sleater-Kinney's new album "One Beat" streaming online here. Their last album "All hands on the Bad One" was pretty good - containing four or five ass kickin' punkette anthems. Like the White Stripes they could use a bass player to offset the mid-range fatigue that set in over the length of the whole album.
The HisTory of Michael Jackson's face. Disturbing indeed.

Monday, August 12, 2002

What the fuck is wrong with Blogger today??? Jeez...

Amongst the punters in the crowded pub, Paul McGuinness and Michael Colgan were there supping away at their white wine and eyeing our seats jealously (since I had been drinking there since 8:30 I had taken advantage of fine comfortable seating beside the window). Theatre types are a strange breed and best observed from a distance - self conscious, self referential, self congratulatory, they probably are the same the World over. McGuinness however is a different animal, shrewd business man, clever, a player. The man who made U2 what they are today. And in my book, anyone who manages PJ Harvey must have some rock and roll credibility.
I'm not sure I'm capable of stringing together sentences today. Must have been a tiring weekend I guess. Smokesignals production was suspended on Friday while I attended a wedding in Kilkenny - a banal affair at which I knew only one person and which followed the usual conventions of the occasion - dress up in suit, drive, get lost looking for church, drive, have a few pints, get stuck into a big feed, drink, drink, make conversation with strangers (including a woman who was the spit of Sissy Spacek and was appropriately married to a guy at least 15 years her elder; a man who drives dumpers with the groom), dance stupidly to super sounds of the sixties, seventies and eighties rendered by a band who last updated their image in 1987, dance, drink, talk shite, get lost looking for B&B, sleep.

The next day I explored the Marble City, and discovered the fantastic art of Tony Bevan at the Sight Specific exhibition. Inspired by his work, I made a mental note to go back to painting again. I stopped some years ago, having no time, space or money to continue. But now, with the tech industry recession sapping every last opportunity for the exercise of creativity out of my once interesting and intellectually stimulating job, this could be the time to go back to the oils and canvas.

Kilkenny has a lot of good bars and one of the best is Cleeres. It seems to have built up a good reputation as a music venue; Jay Farrar is playing there in a couple of weeks, his only Irish gig outside Dublin as far as I can tell. I got that Uncle Tupelo compilation two or three weeks ago and while I figure that Tweedy's stuff is more interesting, Farrar is the guy who created the basic alt country blueprint which has been much copied by many lesser bands since (and perhaps even the odd greater one.)

Anyway, there was no live music in Cleeres that night. There was however a group of theatre types and Dublin arts community journos and glitterati up for the premier of the stage adaptation of 'The Book of Evidence'.
Flash versions of Pacman, Space Invaders, Snake and other classics. Via Fimoculous.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

A blog dedicated to counting the black marks on Britain's report card -UK shamed again.... A few positive counterpoints wouldn't go astray like eh...ahem .....let me get back to you on that.

Actually, one could point to plenty of similar blackmarks on Irish society these days like this, this,this or this.
A Moron's Guide to Toast: An Online Humor Resource for Those Who Want Toast. Why did he even bother?
Here's an interesting article on female promiscuity. Some anthropologists claim that "slutty" behaviour of women may help to bind communities together and improve the gene pool. It's all based on studies of primitive Amazonian tribes.
How to build an inexpensive aquarium in a pint glass. I'm sure that with a few additional mods (like some fish food) the life expectancy of the resident goldfish could be extended beyond a week.
A virtual tour of the Guinness Storehouse located at St. James' gate Dublin. Easier and drier than visiting the real thing. To do so today you would first have to negotiate the wind and rain of the Irish 'summer'.
A survey of 18 to 35 year olds in the UK reveals that one in three marijuana users is employed in the IT and telecoms industries. Yeah right.....whatever you say.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

So Pakistan's president doesn't believe that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the WTC attacks. Is Musharraf preparing himself politically to distance Pakistan from the US led 'coalition against terrorism'? Perhaps he is fearful of the political consequences at home that a US war against Iraq would lead to and is merely engaging in placating the extremists. Maybe he even knows where Osama is hiding?
Last night I watched the concluding episode of 24. It was the first major series in quite a while which I've managed to stay with from beginning to end. Exciting at times, it was ultimately, a disappointment. The real-time conceit was not utilised sufficiently well and the succession of unlikely story elements continuously erroded it's credibility. Still, it was worth watching and while not commiting myself at the moment to seeing all of the second series, I will try and catch the first couple of episodes in the hope that the producers will have learnt from their mistakes.
Syd Allan: Frequently Asked Questions About Women. According to Syd, men who walk or take the bus are more attractive to women....

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

It was a long weekend over here this weekend, thus explaining the absence of any posting from me yesterday. I spent the weekend in Dublin at what was in effect a festival of Gaelic Football - the four championship quarter finals in Croke Park over Sunday and Monday. While not the most ardent GAA fan in Ireland, I had already planned to support Mayo on their road to inevitible humiliation and decided late last week to make the most of it and catch the existing champions Galway, vs. Kerry - those perennial advocates of football as an artform. (Unlike most Mayo supporters, I harbour no malice towards Galway and have always wished them well in their success). As it happens, both Galway and Mayo were defeated. But the weather was the best we've had this summer, the atmosphere in Croke park was amazing, everybody enjoyed themselves and awash in summer sunshine, the expanse of countryside on the long drive West was a magnificance of lush greens and golden fields. It felt good to be Irish.

Friday, August 02, 2002

A fantastic night in Galway last night - the streets were packed with drinkers, racegoers and lads and lassies showing off their nice new suits and dresses. I got drunk, crashed a party and eventually got psychoanalysed over a cup of camomile tea and a sandwich. The pinnacle of summer and after this weekend it will feel like what should have been our season of sun is over for another year. Time to plan some real holidays. And time right now to go racing once again.
A blog by a guy who is obsessed by panties....and a good read it is too.
One of those not very funny but I'll link it anyway things. Take the quiz - Are You An American?
Flash game of the week. Be Osama on a board with Rooftop Skater v2.1 .

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Regular readers (there are a few I think) will remember occasional linkings here to sites about the history of common or garden (literally) vegetables. The Food Timeline however is the motherlode of food history sites. It's a wonderful collection of links that provide another dimension to social history. Via Memepool.
Today's black marks on the scorecard of Irish society:
- Corruption/Incompetence in the Irish police force.
- Irish tops European league for illegal drug use.
- Headmaster of multi-denominational primary school sacked over his insistance that Protestant and Catholic schoolchildren should receive common religious instruction together but that matters of doctrinal difference (e.g. holy communion) should be taught outside school hours. School management board disaggrees saying all religious instruction should occur at school and that segregation to occur where necessary. The school is a "Gaelscoil", meaning all teaching is done through the Irish language.