Thursday, July 31, 2003
Despite reports to the contrary, I think it's been a much quieter race week in Galway this year than in previous years. I was out in town last night and the few pubs I was in were hardly packed. The crowds of people that usually throng Cross street and High street barely extended further than the usual mob of drinkers outside the Quays. Maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's a definite sign of economic meltdown. Then again, tonight and tomorrow could prove me wrong.
Posted by Smoke at 11:28 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Thursday, July 24, 2003
The Damien Dempsey gig the other night was surprisingly good. There aren't many contemporary Irish musicians who can be truely called 'protest singers' but he fits that role with remarkable conviction. He's a bit of a cross between Bob Marley, Henry Rollins and Ding Dong Denny O'Reilly but anyone who has a song called 'Bring me the Head of Louis Walsh' is alright by my book.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
A fine review in Pitchfork of the new album from The Thrills - currently riding high at No.1 in the Irish album charts. I bought it last week and once you get over the fact that the sound and style of the band has been completely appropriated from any number of West Coast guitar pop bands from 1965 onwards, one cannot deny that it's a consistently entertaining record, expertly produced and containing more than a few ultra-catchy numbers.
Posted by Smoke at 4:58 PM
Friday, July 18, 2003
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
At the moment, I'm listening to 'Youth and Young Manhood', the new album by the Kings of Leon. It reminds me a lot of an album I haven't thought about in years - 'Teenage Head' by the Flamin' Groovies. The Leon boys have a harder sound and lay off the obvious Stones references but like the Groovie's they know how to construct a perfect skinny hardass funky rock 'roll song. They might look and sound like a support act on a Creedence Clearwater Revival US tour circa 1970 but don't let that put you off - 'Youth and Young Manhood' is a cracking record.
Posted by Smoke at 3:01 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Friday, July 11, 2003
So what exactly is the origin of the phrase "by hook or by crook"? Some contend that it derives from the practice of cutting firewood by using either a hook or crook - common tools in medieval times, but another school of thought has it that it relates to the geography of Waterford Bay - with Hook head on one side and a place called Crook on the other. One opinion is that the phrase may date to Oliver Cromwell's attempt to take Waterford in 1648 (incidentally, in the news today because of the recent discovery of a related ship wreck). Tony at allexperts.com discounts this explanation on the basis that the phase certainly predates the 17th century. However a letter published in the wonderful online archive of the 19th century journal 'Notes and Queries' makes the Waterford connection to a much earlier historical event - the 1172 visit of King Henry II to Ireland and his landing at Waterford bay. Fascinating suff, no?
Posted by Smoke at 12:29 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Here's an interesting little engineering project:- Building a megapixel digital camera from a flatbed scanner.
Posted by Smoke at 1:30 PM
Monday, July 07, 2003
May I draw your attention to the amazing life story of James Kirker - an Irishman who became one of the most notorious Indian hunters of the old west and who at one stage was known as the King of New Mexico. Indeed he sounds like a despicable character - however, this account from 1847 upon a rare visit by him to St.Louis, casts him in a slightly different light:
"he is still the free, kind hearted aquaintance, yet years of peril, privitation and exposure have done their work in altering his outward man: while his long association with the Mexicans and Indians has so changed his accent that few would suspect him of being a son of the Emerald Isle. Col. Kirker is a highly intelligent man, and the experience he has aquired by his intercourse with the semi-barbarians of the West, has pre-eminently qualified him to aid the public service at this crises..."
Posted by Smoke at 5:13 PM
From today's Indo - 'Net firm told thou shalt not shield nuns from evil e-mails'. The company which set up a website for a local enclosed order of Nuns has been found to be in breech of the Irish Data Protection Act for attempting to screen vulgar emails from desecrating the holy purity of the good sisters in-box. Here's their site if you wish to email them a prayer of your own.
Posted by Smoke at 2:37 PM
Friday, July 04, 2003
It's a big day in Galway this Sunday. We have the Connaught Football Final between Galway and Mayo - and I'll be there shouting for the green and red - followed by the Salthill Airshow (accompanied by the ubiquitious protests). I expect traffic and parking chaos but since I live within walking distance of Salthill, this won't bother me too much. With the weather expected to stay fine, I reckon that I'll be breaking my normal rule of not drinking on a Sunday (and no, I'm not religious) to kick back with a few creamy pints of Guinness.
Posted by Smoke at 3:36 PM
Dublin's cappuchino culture is in for an upset - Indymedia's intrepid reporter Kevin is on the story.
If you haven't yet cast your vote in Pat Freestone's 'Who Wants to Marry a Hundredthousandaire?' competition get yourself over to his site and do the decent thing. I'm rooting for Kristi - I think they'd make a lovely couple - although it looks like she still has some ground to make up to beat Susan.
Posted by Smoke at 3:14 PM
A man has sold what he billed as the world's largest chip for £120 on eBay. And, it was only 6 3/4 of an inch long. I wonder how much I'd get for what is possibly the world's greasiest chip - purchased in Blue Thunder chipper last night.
Posted by Smoke at 8:51 AM
Thursday, July 03, 2003
At the moment, I'm listening to "Happy Songs for Happy People" - the new Mogwai album. It's pretty good - quietly impressive in the way that the band always delivers the goods. "Ratts Of the Capital" and "Golden Porsche" could be the soundtrack of the summer if you spent all your time indoors decorating the walls of your room with a monsterous map of an imaginary continent. The songs aren't particularily happy but then again, neither am I. I think I need a haircut.
Posted by Smoke at 5:01 PM
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
How Spanish are the inhabitants of Galway? A question considered by a gentleman in an 1854 edition of "Notes and Queries".
Posted by Smoke at 5:45 PM