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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

For those who don't know, it's race week in Galway this week. So far, I've had little luck, with zero winnings to show for 6 races. Not to worry; I'm off up to the racecourse in half an hour to throw away more of my money. Sure, what else would I do with it?

Monday, July 28, 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.
I bought one of these yesterday. It's probably a piece of junk, but I think it looks cool - and the 'radioactive' lens is supposed to be a gem. Anyway it cost me less than the price of a round of drinks.
A ticket for Damien Dempsey's gig in the Roisin came my way, so that's where I'm off to tonight. I'm not familiar with his recent work but he sure looks like a serious chap doesn't he?

Friday, July 18, 2003

I know, posting was light this week due to the pressures of work. In the current economic climate I'm lucky enough to have a job at all I guess... Anyway I'm off to Ballina for the annual Salmon festival this weekend. Have a good one y'all.

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Bananaslug - a revolutionary new search engine (not).

Monday, July 14, 2003

Friday, July 11, 2003

1978 to 1983 may have been the golden age of punk and new wave , but in Ireland it was also the golden age of MOR showbands. Here's one musician's record of that era.
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 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?

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Apparently, builder James C. Kenny of Kenny Construction Company will be President Bush's new ambassador to Ireland. Sure, he might be able to help us out with some of those hot infrasture projects that are currently stalled.
Here's an interesting little engineering project:- Building a megapixel digital camera from a flatbed scanner.
Here's a map showing the mobile phone mast closest to where I live. I'm not sure it's up to date since a strange construction which I assumed was a new mast has recently been erected near Rahoon Road.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Cabin Fever is filming in Galway this evening - perhaps I'll pop down for an up-close look behind the scenes of this misfortunate excuse for a reality TV show. Then again, the mast or suchlike might fall off the ship and kill me.....
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..."
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.

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.
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.
I've started a fotolog - the Smoke Signals Image Repository.
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.

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.
LIT.ORG: a community for readers and writers.
What a great bit of scientific investigative work. Using relatively simple experimental methods, researchers have discovered that the African dung beetle uses the polarisation of moonlight to navigate - the first animal known to do so.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

The Great Canadian Beaver Eating Contest. Charming entertainment for a night I'm sure.
Still Life With Stem Cells.

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".
Isn't it strange to think that 'Tory' is probably the most used Irish word in British politics?
A guide to the counties of Ireland ..."Most of Fermanagh is deserted; the only urban centre of note is Enniskillen, which is a bit like Ennis, but with more killen". Unsurprisingly, the author has emigrated.