Wednesday, November 30, 2005

All I Want Is U2

I love U2.
Arcade Fire are the act of 2005 (best album, best festival performance) for me, no question.
Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart is the first song on any mix-tape I do.
My favourite live song of all time is With Or Without You from U2's New Year's Eve 1989 gig (after the last verse Bono launches into a verse and chorus of Love Will Tear Us Apart).

On Monday night Arcade Fire joined U2 on stage to do a full cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart during the encore. I've made a mess just typing that sentence. I gotta get hold of it somehow.


And while I'm in the mood; Cork County Council voted to oppose the siting of an incinerator at Cork Harbour:

'Cllr Paula Desmond of Labour, who backed the motion opposing incineration, said the draft waste management plans for counties Kerry, Clare and Limerick, all made reference to "taking account of thermal treatment development plans in neighbouring areas". She said that Cork County Council should not in any way support any proposal for waste to be exported to any incinerators in the Cork area and she suggested that the Cork County Council should convey this view to the other local authorities.'

And why are there plans to site an incinerator in Cork? Maybe it's the fact that there are a dozen or more pharmaceutical plants in the Cork City area generating thousands of tons of waste that is currently exported to the arse ends of Finland and Germany for incineration. So it's ok for Cork to export its waste thousands of miles, but not ok for Kerry Co Co to send their waste 60 miles east? Remember that these same factories are providing thousands of jobs and have Cork awash with money. All the benefit - none of the responsibility. Stupid redneck hypocrites.

Career Opportunities

What, exactly, is this article saying?...

Graduates report says women earn 11% less overall
by Frank McNally

'Male graduates get paid substantially more than female ones within three years of joining the private sector, a new survey by the Economic and Social Research Institute reveals.'

So, obviously, you should be sickened that in this day and age women don't earn what men earn for doing the same job. So move on...

'The authors of Degrees of Equality: Gender Pay Differentials Among Recent Graduates, express surprise at finding private-sector wage variations among a group for which children - a key issue in later careers - are not yet a factor.'

So far, so bad - but then...

'the gender pay differential reflects the contrasting careers pursued by men and women rather than wage differences within the same jobs. Lower earnings for arts graduates affect mainly women, for example, while men are the main beneficiaries of the higher earnings among engineers.'

There you have it - on average, engineers earn more money than arts graduates. Why wasn't this on the front page? Oh wait...

Also revealed: 'men were more likely to have received employer-sponsored training in the preceding two years and were more likely to have received a promotion. "This is due to the higher proportion of male graduates in the private sector where promotions are more common."' Never!

There are certainly gender issues in the workplace that should be resolved but guff like this just clouds the issue.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Colleague

Lennyism 3 (trying to be a hit with the girls): One of the managers in the department I'm seconded to is a woman of about 40 who looks quite young for her age. Anyway Lenny has taken a bit of a shine to her and attempts to flirt the odd time, usually managing to do no more than scare her with his 'banter'. Her surname is 'Strok' and she informed him today (when he asked) that it's a Norwegian name. Lenny then announced that he once dated a Swedish girl and he thought he had noticed she had Scandinavian 'featurezzz'. I was nearly chewing my fist trying not to laugh. 'Why, that's not so funny', you say? Well it is. You see, 'Strok' is her married name. Her maiden name is 'Wright'.


I don't know what the hell I did, but I completely lost my template. Gotta fix it I suppose.

UPDATE: Well that took a while to fix, me not actually knowing any html and all and having to cut, paste and guess by trial and error all over the shop. I was titting around with the template last night when the hotel's connection started screwing up and I lost the lot! In a lesson I've been failing to learn for about ten years, I hadn't copied the data anywhere when I lost it. Ah well, sorted now.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Drug Stabbing Time

When I got back to work today I had an email waiting (one of 103) of a scanned letter sent by a lady from Virginia thanking the company for a drug that has recently been approved by the FDA for market. To quote:

'My 81 year old father has suffered with Post Herpetic Neuralgia for over 2 years. The pain he has endured had taken away his life. He was unable to put clothes on his upper body due to the lingering pain from his Shingles.

On September 23, 2005, we received the good news
[drug approved]. His doctor prescribed the medication on October 4, 2005; and on October 12, 2005 he was able to put a shirt on for
nearly the first time in 2 years! I talked to him yesterday and even though he has some
residual pain in his chest, it is nothing compared to what he had suffered before.

He has been on a variety of drugs for the last 2 years, but nothing provided relief. He tried acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, and many other avenues. It was very depressing to find nothing that would work. Thanks to the researchers and those who participated in the clinical
trials. This drug has given my father is life back.

I don't know if drug companies ever receive thank you letters
[apparently mine never does, hence we all got sent this letter]. You always see bad things in the news regarding drug companies. I want you to know that this drug literally saved my father's life. Thank you from one very grateful family.'

Reading it sent a warm feeling through me. I worked on the manufacture of this drug last year and, even though any half-competent spanner could do what I do, as opposed to the R&D people who really deserve the credit, it felt good knowing something I'd worked on had helped someone in genuine pain. Neuropathic pain, described as the feeling of having a hot iron pressed against your flesh, is seriously debilitating and this man would have been suffering to the point of wanting his life to end.

People who realise that acupuncture and homeopathy are just tools for fooling people into stress-relief often claim that they do no harm. Well here's an example where this quackery does do harm - giving people false hope in avenues where none exists.

Things about Montreal...
My half-assed French was so well understood in one book store that the lady behind the counter started yammering on to me for nearly a minute. I went pure red and had to butt in and tell her that I hadn't a clue what she was saying. She loudly told half the shop making me the butt of a (hilarious) joke I can only guess at. This means, however, that the people in the bar in Paris last year (who pretended not to have a clue what I was saying when I did my best to converse in their language) understood every word of my rant about them being a big bunch of cowards that lost every war they ever fought.
Two English lads on the train going up on Thursday got a hell of a grilling from Canadian immigration - almost twenty minutes in front of everyone else on the carriage. They stayed remarkably even-tempered and polite, despite some questions that were totally uncalled for. I have to say I was really hoping one of them would lose it and scream "Listen, bitch, whose f#@king queen's head is on the front of whose f$%king money!?
It shows you how good U2 must have been that I never mentioned Arcade Fire. Well they were excellent too in front of their home town crowd. It was some difference from the time The Golden Horde were booed and insulted off the stage at Zooropa in the RDS (ah, memories...)
I went to more art galleries while in Montreal. That's after being to galleries in Paris, Florence, Rome and New York. I still know sweet feck all about art, though. I'm clearly wasting my time.
(A painting depicting Homer's return from his Odyssey and slaying all the men after his mott Penelope)
I also forgot to mention that Bono broke into Rock The Casbah during the show (set list)and paid homage to Joe Strummer. That was class, for me anyway.
Lennyism 2: (another outrageous conclusion drawn from scant evidence) 'Awww... I'd say the atmosphere in New York will be better on the 9th than on the 2nd, d'y'know. I'd say New Yorkurzzz would be in a relaxed post Thanksgiving mood on the 2nd and then more up for Chrimbo the following weekend, d'y'know hey...' Lenny attempts to differentiate between trips to New York on December 2nd and December 9th by psychologically pigeon-holing the mood of a city of 8 million odd people.


I know I'm late with this but I'd like to congratulate the meeja back home for their coverage of the passing of a football legend...

'Over the past fifteen years, we may have given the impression that, apart from being the greatest unfulfilled talent in football, George Best was an abusive, foul-mouthed, relationship-wrecking, embarrassing alcoholic bum. Following George’s death we would like to confirm that he was, in fact, the greatest player ever, and a loveable rogue who was loved by everyone who ever met him. Apologies for any confusion caused.' © Pretty Much Everybody

Sunday, November 27, 2005

All I Want Is U2

It's about 2am now. I think my nuts are about to fall off - it's so bloody cold - but Oh... My... God - what a fantastic show! How do they do it? How, after all these years, do they manage to put so much heart and soul into every show? The place was absolutely lifting from start to finish. I swear, when Bono attempted a Pavarotti job on the soprano section of Miss Sarajevo there were people crying (cos it was emotional, not cos he sucked). They finished off with Bad, inviting Daniel Lanois on stage to play it with them. Unbelievable. I used to think his name was pronounced 'La-noise', which was the first thing I thought of when he came on stage. In a new thing I hadn't seen before some wee fella, no more than six at a guess, was brought on stage to shout "no more" into the microphone during Sunday. Tres Emotional as they may or may not say 'round these parts. The show ended at aboot 11:30, so I headed for the Hard Rock Cafe where a U2 tribute band were playing. They were virtually flawless, and had decided to play songs not played tonight so stuff like Ultraviolet, Love Is Blindness, Unforgettable Fire and A Sort Of Homecoming all got a run out. Class!

I'm going to bed...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

All I Want Is U2

I'm off tomorrow and Fiday for Thanksgiving. Woo and, indeed, Hoo. My first Thanksgiving in the US is going to be spent in Canada, which is a whole other country (apparently). Save trees, eat beaver - that's what I say... My last big huge mega concert of the year - U2 supported by Arcade Fire indoors in Montreal - takes place on Saturday and I'm taking the train up in the morning. I heard that the Quebecish speak Arrogant Surrender so I better not get the whole deliberate blank response thing I got in Paris at last year's Ireland match, when I attempted to communicate to the natives in each of Arrogant Surrender, Anglais and Universal Gesticulation with no success.

The problem is that, while today is a beautiful day (snigger), the first winter snow is due to hit tonight - 3 inches are supposed to fall around Hartford by 6am - and I'm supposed to be driving 180 odd miles to Schenectady (pronounced Sken-eck-tiddy, apparently, not Shen-eck-tadey, which caused great hilarity here) in upstate New York to catch my train for 10:30am.

Lenny, meanwhile is supposed to be going another 80-odd miles into New York state (hence the reason for catching the train up there) to stay with his aunt. So he wants to go up this evening and stay there then drive me back to the train in the morning. Now there's three things wrong with this. One, I feel uncomfortable dropping in on someone's family home unexpected, particularly the family of someone I'm not exactly fond of, two, it would add 160-odd miles to my already long journey and, three, I've heard his aunt and family on the phone and they're such motormouths they even shut him up for a while, which (believe me) is some accomplishment. Then again I've seen a picture of his 25 year old med-student cousin and she's hot. Dilemmas...

In a potentially new feature I think I'll highlight some 'Lennyisms' (outrageous conclusions drawn from scant evidence):

Lennyism 1: (on hearing news that a lady colleague of ours was being transferred to his old department) 'Awww... I'd say the companeee made that decision because they felt a woman would soften the department a bit, d'y'know...'

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stories For Boys

Even RTE are at it now. What's with the promising story intros that turn out to be way less interesting than promised early-doors?

If God Will Send His Angels

"EWTN - providing the solid Catholic programming that feeds your soul"

I'm watching The Journey Home on a Catholic TV channel - The Coming Home Network. I've never seen it before, but this episode is an interview with David Quinn filmed this year in Maynooth and basically it's a 1-to-1 between him and the presenter with Quinn talking about his life story and how he became, basically, and in his own words, a defender of Catholicism. He's also trying to describe Catholicism as it now exists in Ireland to an American audience. He's being very matter-of-fact and hasn't said much you'd disagree with, given the high level synopsis he's giving.

But now that the conversation has moved on to church-abuse scandals the presenter (Marcus Grodi), who has sat and listened until now, has managed to try and dilute the scandal with a "they were all at it" type of reasoning and then he's tried to blame it on the aftermath of Vatican 2! In fairness to Quinn he's knocked both notions on the head, at least in an Irish context. Audio/Video links to tonight's show should appear here and if you really like, and own a Region 1 DVD player, you can buy it on dvd. You won't learn anything about the Irish Church, I suppose, but it's interesting watching documentaries about us from the other side that aren't full of skiddly-idle-doodle-didle crap.

Friday, November 18, 2005

You'll Never Walk Alone

The man who caused (ok, I'm displaying which side I was on there) the biggest nationwide split since the Civil War (assuming nothing crazy happened before the late 70s that I don't know about) has just completed one of the most publicised, one of the fastest and one of the most surprising divorces in sports history. Keano has been some player, but I could never worship him the way some do. By the way, just in case any egg-chasers have notions about their place in the grand scheme of things, they should see check what dominates tomorrow's front pages*.

'He's big, he's red, he put Keane's career to bed, Peter Crouch, Peter Crouch!...

(tee hee)

Football365 recalls some of the Corkonian's legendary rants.

Meanwhile reports from home tell me that the Examiner's sports editor stated on Sky Sports News that the 'a lot of people in Cork will want answers'. That's Cork people in a nutshell for you... that's the 'Irish' Examiner in a nutshell for you too, come to think of it.

Pity all this is overshadowing the closest League showdown since Dundalk won the title in 1995 and since Dundalk beat Cork in similar circumstances in Turner's Cross to win the title in 1991 and since Dundalk beat St. Pats (managed by one Brian Kerr) in Oriel Park to win the title in 1988. Memories...

*Yes, I know there's been yet another mass murder in Baghdad, and that should dominate the headlines, and I know that the Irish Times letter writers already have their typewriters out for anyone who dares lead with the Keane story, but who even pretends that the media organise their headlines in order of true importance anyway?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Drug Stabbing Time

Not a lot of people know this, or maybe don't care, but the best selling prescription drug in the world is Lipitor - a drug used to lower LDL ('bad') cholesterol in the body. However next year one of its competitors, Zocor, goes off patent - meaning that generic copies can be sold. Worse (for big pharma), a recent study, sponsored by Lipitor's makers, failed to demonstrate a substantial difference in efficacy between Lipitor and Zocor.

This has major implications for the drug industry, and the share price performance of big pharma reflects this (as do all our middle class pension funds). Governments and private healthcare insurers will be pressurising doctors to prescribe the generics over the branded drugs. So, in order to stave off a collapse in sales, the big pharmas are attempting to reposition their anti-cholesterol drugs in such a way that all patients remain on the prescribed brand names.

The first stunt being employed is to combine the statins (the name for these types of drugs) with drugs that treat hypertension (high blood pressure) into one pill. Given that high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure usually go hand in hand as part of the 'too lazy to get up off my hole and try living a healthy lifestyle syndrome' class of illnesses, there is a huge sales potential for a single treatment. Also, conveniently enough for the drug companies, these new treatments will be covered by new patents.

The second stunt to be employed is to combine drugs that lower 'bad' cholesterol with drugs that balance LDL levels with HDL (or 'good' cholesterol) levels, in order to show a demonstrable difference in efficacy. Again these new treatments will be covered by new patents and the fundamental benefit to the drug companies of these treatments is that, once prescribed them, you stay on them for the rest of your days - the ideal treatment!

Hate And War

If it's *a good thing* to topple tyrants that terrorise and impoverish their own people, as I believe, then aren't the consequences of the Americans fucking up their Iraqi adventure so badly far worse than any lies or falsehoods that may have told before the war?

So Cheney invoking a "won't somebody think of the children" defence on behalf of the troops, who continue to die for their country because of the Bush administration's incompetence, makes me think Democrats are just missing the point. Don't attack the politics that got them there - hammer them for the fuck ups that are keeping them there.

In God's Country

So this evening College Jeopardy was on TV. I hadn't realised all you have to do is go "What is..." and give the answer, even if it's grammatically bollox. Anyway one category was "the country of the state agency" with five questions for $200, $400, $600, $800 and $1,000 and the order was Central Intelligence Agency, Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, MI6, Mossad and... in Oglaigh na hEireann G2. Well the students got the first four but hadn't an iota of that last one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm So Bored With The USA

Well a certain somebody seems to be. I got an email today asking what it was like being in 'Dumbfuckistan' and it got me thinking. I skim through a paper most days, either the New York Times or USA Today depending on how much time I have and I watch maybe half an hour of news in the evening. Well, in the six weeks I've been here, I don't remember seeing Dubya on TV or reading any quotes directly attributed to him - despite the Plame thing. Odd.


Just when I was about to tidy up my links and relegate realitycheck(dot)ie to the mists of time, I see that she/they... how do I say this next bit?... is/are back.

Auds mentions the current issue of Hot Press and the lack of an outcry at it's printing of a picture of a priest masturbating (I haven't seen it myself). She's right that all the mag is doing is kicking an easy target when it's down. The one thing, in general, that right wing-nuts seem to achieve, that pinky-lefty liberals don't, is consistency. Why, when in anti-America mode, is it not ok to criticise or satirise or even despise those who would use their religious beliefs as a grounds to terrorise others; yet it is fair play to give an organisation like the Catholic Church both barrels?

You will find no defence of the Catholic Church from me, but crimes commited and other mistakes made by its members and hierarchy does not automatically translate to tarring all priests with the same brush. In an Irish context you would be (rightly) condemned for labelling all Travellers as violent scumbags as a result of the constant inter-family feuds, for example, or for labelling all Cork people as arrogant gits, for another example.

For the sake of argument, they're the same way with drugs. The pinkos want to 'liberalise' drug-laws i.e. make chemical substances, proven to have adverse health consequences to some degree or other, available to adults who want to 'choose' (and I agree in principal - prohibition never works, regulation can). Yet one of the current favourite targets of pinko ire is big-pharma, whose products get pulled from the market (to the detriment of both the company and, more importantly, vast quantities of patients) if even circumstancial evidence suggests that potential risks exist to a minority of patients.

For example one big-pharma company, who treated Nigerian patients suffering from a highly infectious form of bacterial meningitis with a new treatment in late stage development, had a hatchet job done on them by a Channel 4 documentary, Dying for Drugs. The inference was that the company was testing it's drugs on human guinea pigs. The reality was that the drug had already been tested on American patients and that a potential epidemic was on the cards in that part of Nigeria. My point is that the people who would buy into this sort of anti-corporation propaganda are the same people who would be willing to make most or all currently illegal drugs freely available.

As a student I bought Hot Press for a while, but I soon stopped. It seemed to get like MTV for a while in the late '90s - you did well to find any music. Instead it seemed more interested in printing articles engaged in church-bashing, government-bashing, cop-bashing, yank-bashing and pieces by that bloke, with the stupid Viking name and the smart-ass voice, goading the police with his constant tales of dope smoking.

I still have two copies of Hot Press in my hoard of magazines. One from when U2'a All That You Can't Leave Behind was released and one from when How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was released. Both feature editorials from Niall Stokes, ostensibly about the band, but used to take yet another predictable swipe at the Church. Despite the intervening four years the wording of both pieces is pretty much the same. What a shame it is for Stokesie that he's preaching to the converted... all 1% of the population. A 'pretentious, posey whiner'? Can't think of a better description myself.

The Colleague

All day (we share an office) I've been listening to:

"Awww, there's nooo neeeed for her to feel so in-sekkk-urrre, d'y'know."

"I never minded when her mates and herrr say they like some bloke off teee-veee, hey."

"She hung up on me, d'y'know, that's worsssse than anything I did, d'y'know hey."

and on, and on, and on.

At one stage I ventured to say "If I was you (*mutter* I wouldn't have acted the clown in the first place) I'd attempt the biggest capitulation seen since Napoleon got the fuck out of Moscow."

He looked at me. It was the first time he'd shut up all day. I think, because I spoke about something he didn't understand (i.e. something other than himself), that I confused him. He turned his head slightly, as if pointing one ear in my direction; did one of his strange gassy belches and, after a few cogs had attempted one full revolution in his brain, said:

"Awww... you're right, hey, she is being unreasonable..."

I turned away again.

Dirty Days

Well, not only was my plan to invade Deutschland next summer ruined, but it looks like we're going to end up with a major shortage of shite, slightly thick, barstaff as well for a couple of weeks...

And as for those God-damned atheist, Nazi Gold thieving feckers; they've made it too. It's a bad day.

Stories For Boys

Easy to misread headline of the day

Monday, November 14, 2005

Love Is Blindness

Pretty much the most bizarre court case I've ever heard of:

"The number of people Phadnis claimed were involved in his parents' slayings, as well as their ethnicity, changed daily, according to Phadnis' testimony. One day, the gang was comprised of a handful of Samoans and their girlfriends. Later that same day, there were also two whites, a couple of blacks, one Native American and, perhaps, even one transgendered individual in the gang. By the end of the trial, Phadnis was saying there were more than 30 armed Samoans involved."

Needless to say the jury convicted him when they stopped laughing.

So the Celtics got beat easily by the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. I hadn't realised they were the current World Champions (when in Rome...). The rest of the weekend was mostly the standard sight-seeing stuff. This 'off-Broadway production' sounded like a joke but isn't. Who would go to this? It sounds like something Troy McClure would do.

I also took this picture of the Red Sox Fenway Park from the top of the Prudential Tower. It's digital zoom through a dulled window so pretty good, huh? Thanks again Dermo for recommending this camera.

And now to the title of the post. I got a call from a Spanish bloke working with me on Saturday. He and some friends were going to an Ethiopian restaurant in Boston on Saturday night and then on to some club called Rumor, which his sister works in. Anyway Ethiopian food is lovely, if a bit odd - I had Zilzzi Tibs as a main course. So we get to the club at 11pm and the qeue is at least 200-long. Only girls and rich looking blokes with girls on their arms were getting in. So on we saunter in past everybody! I even get a "Good evening sir" off a bouncer! Stuff like this never happens me.

Then I get a call from Lenny while having pre-club cocktails in some VIP lounge. He and the mott are looking to go for 'beers' apparently. So I get ready for the whole 'No can do' routine when the Spaniard offers to get him in. So half an hour later it's me, Lenny, the Spaniard, six of his friends and Lenny's mott who knows none of us. What's more there are now legions of girls dancing on tables and counter-tops each trying to outdo the other in terms of outrageous exhibitionism.

Needless to say a guy like Lenny, with all the subtlety of a train wreck, has his eyes popping out of his skull. And, obviously, the music is pumping, which means carrying a conversation is impossible - although a boom box like Lenny tried chewing the ear off each and everyone of us. So Lenny's lady stands there in silence feeling inadequate and miserable until about 1.30 am when she finally has enough and asks Lenny to bring her home. The first question asked by the Spaniard was "How long is she in Boston for?" (three nights) "Then why did he want to bring her here?" Well, now, because the guy has no cop on is the only real answer.

So I'm getting an earful today about their last day together yesterday, which was spent in sulky silence apparently. She also gave out to him about the weird gassy belches (so it's not just me!). So today Lenny is hacking me off by seeming to think that I, as a fellow male, will understand why there's nothing wrong with ogling lots of young, nubile scantily-clad, frankly gorgeous girls in front of the girlfriend he hasn't seen in over 6-weeks. He's wrong.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In God's Country

Back to Boston today - go Celtics!

Picking Lenny's bir... girlfriend up from the airport about 5 hours from now. I'll have to ask her if she agrees with Lenny's belief that if he were to snog another girl it would not be doing the dirt...

I'll also have to see if she's one of those teachers who struggles to make the transition from talking to 5-year olds all day to talking to adults.

Actually I can't be arsed. Just glad to be shot of him for a weekend.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stay Free

Shock tonight as democracy actually works. Surprise of the evening: The DUP voted against extended detention of terror suspects.

According to Blair "People will believe parliament was deeply irresponsible." Well, maybe the Daily Mail reading Little-Englanders might (must check the op-ed pieces later/tomorrow) but extended detention without trial is just wrong. They've settled for 28 days instead of 90. What could police discover between the 29th and 90th day anyway that will make Britain safer?

The majority against was 31. Supposing it had been closer? Supposing it was, for the sake of argument, a victory for the government by... oh, 4 votes. Then the Shinner's abstentionism would have been responsible for introducing a law that allows terror suspects to be held without charge for 90 days! That would have been irony, Ms. Morrisette. Ah well...

Egg-Chasing Time

The flipside of missing proper football is that I'm not subjected to any egg-chasing guff whatsoever on this side of the pond. Apparently Ireland are engaging in a bit of trench warfare with Her Majesty's Smaller, Wales-esque, Former Prison on Saturday. This means the Irish public (or at least everyone in Dublin 4, Douglas and the tenements and slums of Limerick - aka the 'real' rugby fans) will be lapping up the mockery that is Ireland's Call and watching a bunch of wannabe Riverdancers, who are about as polynesian as Michael Flatley, doing their little tribal war dance.

(I prefer the cheerleaders meself). It'd be class to relive *that* scene from Indian Jones on the whole lot of them while they're busy slapping their arses and licking their chins.

Lenny loves the old egg-chasing, as it happens, being a big fan of Tag-Rugby (aka Rugby League for girls) and even joined some junior club at one stage earlier this year - deciding to play full contact rugby for the first time in his life at the age of 30.

Of course he was stuck out on the wing, where you never see the ball when playing at that brutal a level. This wasn't good enough for him, of course, so he was eventually chucked off the team for repeatedly 'coming in from the side' trying to join in the ruck/maul/pile-of-closet-cases-rolling-in-the-muck.

He, like the rest of them, wasn't able to fully satisfy his thirst for aggression without joining in the all-male pile up. Makes you grit your teeth and go 'Grrrrr...' just thinking about it.

Safe European Home

You can't dismiss people's fear for their livelihoods lightly, but the CAP is exactly the sort of protectionism that makes our support for 'Drop the Debt' style campaigns simply hypocritical.

Understandably IFA president John Dillon is supporting his members, but claiming that CAP reform would bring an end to quality control on food, an end to traceability, swine fever, foot-and-mouth and avian flu is scaremongering, feeds prejudice and xenophobia. What's more it's rubbish. Europe's richest farmers benefit from CAP the most, not the breadline small-holders.

He actually said "Brazil will deliver us over 30-month-old beef, produced by slave labour and full of hormones. Mandelson is inviting in the South American ranchers at the expense of Irish and European farmers." Those perfidious foreigners, obviously incapable of meeting our quality standards.

Of course we pay such high prices for our food because all those immigrant workers in our food production industry are treated so well. And aren't Brazilian cattle ranchers cutting down rainforest so much easier to demonise than African farmers? Besides we shouldbe really careful who we side with - the French are due a major surrender some time soon.

Colts Pats game was good:

I doubt I'm really their number 1 fan - despite what my foam appendage claims...

Lenny tried to runover a Colts fan after the game in the Car Park. People from Indiana don't like nearly being hit by cars, to Lenny's apparent surprise.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Eye Of The Tiger

Slight diversion from my usual, super-stretched, Clash/U2-inspired title; but warranted having spent the weekend in the home of odd, bitter-tasting cream cheese advertised by odd, ... er... women.

For anyone who has never seen Rocky's marathon early-morning training-run around Philadelphia, this is the view down Franklin Parkway from the top of the steps up to the Art Museum, which I legged it up - Rocky-esque - not a bother on me.

I really liked Philly, although having someone who knows their way around is, obviously, always a huge plus (Dermo, 'twas a ball - all knots will be untied by next time).

I'm NFL-ing again tonight. This time it's the New England Patriots at home to the Indianapolis Colts (biiiig game). Myself and Lenny are going tail-gating with fellas from work. Tail-gating here obviously doesn't mean Cork rednecks driving up your hole in an SUV. It is, in fact, a car park bbq/piss-up that a lot of the fans have before the game. It seems to be a bit of an institution. I said the drink-driving here was pretty crazy didn't I? Well there's even Budweiser sponsored designated driver reward schemes onsite! Anyway, seeing as I'm still in ribbons from whatever it was I ate, I'll be driving and sticking to milky/watery coffee.

While I'm at it this little story brought a... smile to my... face.

You'll have noticed that Lenny has not got much of a mention lately. I'm still hacked off but, unfortunately, the instances of complete clownoscopy are being replaced by constant gnawing irritants that, if shared here, will just make me look like the bitch I quite probably am.
So here goes. Lenny's talk is just plain irritating. It's all dull noises and pregnant pauses: "awww...", followed by loads of filler words per sentence: "y'know... awww... d'y'know what I mean, like." Then there's no such thing as an off-the-cuff statement with him. So even if you make a throwaway remark, he'll sit there ("awww...") as if some kind of complex calculation is being carried out by the mice in the wheel where his brain should be, before saying: "I don't get yee, how d'y'mean, like?"
Everything gets some ridiculous tag as well. People are 'characters' (or 'kyarrr-accc-terrrrs') regardless of context. Things like the golf-clubs are 'these babies'. A fella's flash BMW became 'this puppy'. Anything judged to be not-shit is 'cracker' (or 'kraaaackerrrr') and something that puts him in good form is 'legend'. Going to bed is 'hitting the cot' and anything out of the ordinary is 'one of those oddball types'. I feel like head-butting the nearest wall.
Anyway the weird thing is not the talk but the typing. The guy actually writes emails and text messages like he talks. Example: a text message to me in Philadelphia Airport, from he in Buffalo airport; from his personal mobile to my personal mobile...
"Alright, man. How are you doing man?... this is Lenny here... All has been cracker here in Buffalo you know. Legend night last night - Buffalo characters are real Americans do you know. How was Philly there man?... Any action with the fillies? ha ha ha... Eh my flight has been delayed by a storm do you know. Odd ball situation. I won't be in Hartford until near midnight. OK then? Cheers, man... Lenny."
What a way to give me good news. So last night an act of nature left me stuck in a closed airport waiting for a delayed flight to arrive from Buffalo 'til midnight. I can't blame Lenny for that but I can blame him for bugging the crap out of me in general.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Complete Control

Yes, it's football. Yes, watching Man Yoo's current woes is pretty damn funny. But the Daily Mail is still a Xenophobic rag, which is the point of this post...

'No more pussyfooting around. No more Europhile posturing...there is absolutely no evidence that Carlos Queiroz has the slightest idea which ingredients go into a traditionally rip-roaring United team. To hell with the thinking man's game, and if that means unseating the Continental professor at Old Trafford, then so be it.

'United have been marching to the beat of a different drummer. The thunder of Ferguson's sound and fury have given way to the slower, less insistent lilt of his assistant's native fado. Here is Scottish rage diluted by Portuguese melancholy.'

Queiroz seems unable to recognise, let alone stimulate, that quintessential way of playing which has been the basis of United's half century of glory.'Not for nothing is Ferguson known as the Godfather of Premiership managers. He had called for a revival of the cavalier spirit. Still the dead hand of Queiroz was on the sterile tactics and tempo.

'Unless Ferguson takes action without pity, Queiroz will drag him down with him'

Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail today. A piss-poor midfield trio is not their problem; Johnny Foreigner is.

Three questions to put this in context:

1. Where's Jose Mourinho from?
2. How come the 'half century of glory' includes a 26-year period without a league win?
3. How many English managers have won the Premiership since it was formed from the old Division 1?
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