Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Sort Of Homecoming

Last September I explained why I wouldn't buy a house. You have to bear with my sums, but basically I reached the conclusion that getting a mortgage of over €250,000 (what would be required to live in any half decent area in the Cork City area) would be so expensive as to be the equivalent of rent (and that's at current interest rates). Now I simply won't do it, and the anecdotes of my over-extended acquaintances aren't exactly making me reconsider. Of course they think it's 'worth it' in the long run - but then they don't have social lives.

So today it has been reported that the average price of a house being bought by a first-time buyer is over €250,000 for the first time. There is a reason for the recent surge in prices, of course - the 100% mortgage. People are simply borrowing as much as they can be given to buy the same houses that people two years ago were buying when they were being restricted to 95% and 5 years ago when they were being restricted to 90%. In other words people are Lemmings. 100% mortgages don't make houses more affordable, they make them equally affordable and more expensive.

Why haven't people twigged that house price inflation is directly related to how much the banks are willing to hand over, and over how many years, in order to make the monthly repayments appear affordable? Wage inflation hasn't matched house price inflation, not since 2002 anyway, so the only way these houses remain affordable is to make people pay over longer and longer periods of time.

A 25 year-old gagging to buy a 3-bed semi in the sticks is now going to be in hock 'til they're at least 60. Do you think they think about that? No chance! Tonight's Last Word (link won't work until tomorrow sometime) discussed the issue in the run up to 6.30pm. The people on the show appeared to think along the same lines. The auctioneering and banking sectors will, of course, drown out these voices of sanity.

Monday, February 27, 2006

White Riot

I haven't read the analysis of what went on on Saturday because I don't need to. It is the most cut and dried case of scum being scum in our country I may have ever seen. Security arrangements? - not the point (although the State has failed to uphold democracy in this instance). Access to building materials? - not the point. Hundreds of scum gathering in the city with the sole intention of having a fight with either the loyalists or the GardaĆ­? - totally the point.

Sometimes riots, while inexcusable, are sadly predictable and rooted in a genuine sense of injustice (real or perceived); the Rodney King riots in LA spring to mind. Only an utter fuckwit, however, could attempt to rationalise Saturday's scenes with a straight face. The Love Ulster crowd are a pure joke. They are as myopic as they come, which is some achievement for the North. By claiming a monopoly on suffering they forfeit any right to be respected, while the so-called politicians who back them just prove how bigoted they are.

However the best thing for southerners to do on Saturday was either look and laugh or just get on with living while the knuckle draggers got on with deepening their chips in our, infinitely more advanced, society. Instead we were lowered to their level by scum orchestrated by Dublin republicans. The rest of what you read and hear is only smokescreen. I'm only sorry the Gards didn't beat a hundred of them into comas.

The Love Ulster clowns should be invited back by the State to have their parade and the army should be called in if necessary to beat a path to Leinster House for them.

The BBC said the Loyalists' buses were attacked with missiles outside Dundalk. Thanks lads, well done. Now do the rest of us a favour, pack your collection of Celtic shirts, piss off to South Armagh and die there.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Overpowered By Funk

Back before the excellent Electric Picnic my alcohol-shunning acquaintance stated his intention to see Mr Scruff. Well I didn't make the Sunday that time but, as it happens, he's playing in the Bodega bar in Cork this Sunday '4pm 'til late' as part of the Bud Rising thing. I only found out last night but I gots to go!

Meanwhile I was given a straight red-card this morning. Ah well...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oxegen 06

Entertainment.ie are reporting that the first wave of bands have been announced for the Oxegen festival...

Saturday 08 July 2006
The Who, The Strokes, Bell X1, Arctic Monkeys, Richard Ashcroft, Primal Scream

Sunday 09 July 2006
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, Manu Chao, Damian Marley

Fairly unimpressive - Sigur Ros are the only band I haven't seen previously that I'd be bothered with. The ones I have seen indoors previously - Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand - are unlikely to be much better in a festival setting and the Chili Peppers have just been done to death here at this stage. A lot of room for improvement methinks.

I'll definitely go to Electric Picnic, even though making it 3 days is a bit of overkill. Selling tickets before announcing any acts is also taking the piss a bit.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Beautiful Day

WOO HOO!

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic

The Mancs were muck. Momo Sissoko is gonna be a legend. Stevie Finnan is a legend. Peter Crouch can head a ball when he doesn't have to jump and, to cap it all, Fat-boy Rooney wasn't in the game and Git Neville had a shocker and got the shit kicked out of him for good measure. Oh happy days...

However you've got to feel awful for poor Alan Smith. On the pitch five minutes and he manages the impressive combo of a broken leg and dislocated ankle. The ashen look on his face was saddening. The Coupe de Monde is out of the question and his career could be in jeopardy. Hopefully not…

My favourite Southampton player (on account of his class name) Dexter Blackstock ended up in goals today after their 'keeper was stretchered off with his leg in a splint too. Bad day for legs, but a great day for the 'pool.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Rock The Casbah

I'm starting to wonder if this is deliberate...

Anyway saw another South Park last night - the Super Best Friends episode first aired in 2001. This one shows Stan enlisting the help of Jesus, Mohammed, Kushna, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Lao Tsu and Moses to stop the cult of David Blaine. Mohammed is drawn in all his glory. There was no embassy burning at that time, but probably because some troublemakers didn't hawk the episode around the Middle East for four months to stir the shit. Then again 9/11 happened a couple of months later...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Armagideon Time


24 last night - Class!

If Music Could Talk

The Broken Social Scene gig was mostly fantastic. However, much like the album, there was a couple of songs dragged out interminably, which seemed to flatten the atmosphere slightly. But still, they were very good. I particularly enjoyed when the lead singer announced that his parents were from Cork - an announcement greeted by a chorus of boos! Hah!

Deny

Yesterday's Observer reports on British doctors being 'angry at vaccine backlash'. Basically a bunch of what can only be described as morons are insisting that 'too many jabs can overload a child's immune system and lead to illness.' I was totally amazed to read about this. It's not that long since it was finally proved, once and for all, that the MMR vaccine was not responsible for Autism in children, which should have allayed fears but there you go.

As the article puts it quite simply: 'Even if the concept of immune overload was true, campaigners would still not have a leg to stand on,' said Dr David Elliman, of Great Ormond Street. 'Far from increasing numbers of antigens to stimulate immune defences, we have reduced them a hundredfold.' Until a few years ago the whooping cough vaccine given as part of the 5-in-1 jab (see box) used whole bacteria. These contained about 3,000 antigens, each raising an immune response. Today the vaccine uses a fragment of the bacterium containing only five antigens and triggering five immune responses. 'The idea we are overloading the system is therefore utterly ridiculous,' said Elliman.'

And the conclusion drawn that: ''Twenty years ago, news of a new vaccine that could save children from dying from meningitis would have been hailed as a medical breakthrough,' said paediatrician Adam Finn, of Bristol Children's Hospital. 'Now it is howled down as a threat to their well-being. It is very depressing.'' is, indeed, very depressing.

The Leader

President McAleese has a bit of a habit of saying things that erode one's ability to truly respect her. This idea that she's some sort of 'bridge-builder' or 'peacemaker' has always struck me as, frankly, bullshit. So when she said that the Irish people "abhorred" the infamous cartoons, well, she wasn't speaking for me for a start. It's truly unfortunate that, as our elected President, it appears she therefore speaks on all our behalfs - only we didn't get to elect her this time, did we? Well, for me, this is one gaff to far.

According to the Independent today 'Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah expressed his formal thanks to President McAleese for Ireland's response to the Danish cartoons. At her meeting with him, the monarch, also said Islam was "a religion of peace, tolerance and love and not a religion of violence".' Last November a teacher was sentenced to Forty months in jail and 750 lashes for 'mocking Islam' because he discussed terrorism and 'reportedly encouraged his students to analyse differences between the Koran and the Sunna'. This was in Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm So Bored With The USA

I don't think they're lying, but why announce the detail about a foiled attack on LA in 2002 today? Just for info purposes? Of course not. After all the fact that there was such a plot was revealed last October, according to the BBC report, so there must be some alterior motive for the timing...

Stan

The fixture list is out and my travel plans for the next 18 months are mapped out,

Germany in September for their World Cup hangover.
Bologna this time next year.
Bratislava followed by Prague within four days of each other in September next year.

ooh yeah!

The trick now will be to book the flights on Ryanair before they twig and jack the prices up. Unfortunately the Krauts tend to move around so it's hard to know where to fly to. They have 60 days to declare which stadium they'll use. If I've said it once I'll say it a thousand times - those huns are just soooo inefficient. Italy should be bookable soon enough, though. The

In the meantime my trip to Liverpool, for March's glamour tie against Charlton, is booked. Hope the weekend is as good as last time...

You'll Never Walk Alone

The slump is finally here. Ah well, just as long as they're over the worst of it when Gary Neville - football's biggest James Blunt - comes to town. The failure of Morientes to make it in English football is v. dissapointing - I was clamouring for the 'pool to sign him for years and was over-de-moon when they did.

Ireland's current best player, one of the top three 'keepers in Britain today and pretty good-looking guy, Shay Given, is the subject of Getting Annoyed By A Twat From Navan on RTE tonight. This one should be good actually.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rock The Casbah

Saw Family Guy: Stewie - The Untold Story last night. In it Stewie suggests that Jesus' miracles have been "overstated somewhat" before cutting to a clip of Jesus performing basic hand-tricks for a group of unimpressed Judeans. I'm still not feeling insulted.

Thinking back, I remember loving Spitting Image in the late '80s and early '90s. At the end of every episode was a musical bit running over the credits. One of the more famous ones is after Italia '90 - Cry Gazza, Cry. But my favourite was My God Is Bigger Than Your God with puppets of Pope JP II, Paisley, a Provo, Mohammed, Jews, the Archbishop of Canterbury at that time and more (although the only words I actually remember are from the Jew saying "Our God says to cut our foreskin/pork we mustn't cook" - dunno why that has stuck with me!).

I had it on tape for ages and even showed it to an elderly nun that was a distant relative of my mother's. She tut-tutted, and that was the worst reaction I ever saw or heard of about a satire sketch lampooning virtually every major organised religion in the world. Ah the late '80s - more enlightened times...

The Ground Beneath My Feet

Tagged. Thank you Ms Auds. Honesty is the best policy - that's what I never say...

Gender: Male

Age: (1-18; 19-30; 31-45; 46-60; 60+) 19-30 (28)

Nationality: Dundalkish

Country of residence: Ireland; People's Republic of Cork... God that's laughable...

Sexual Orientation: Straight / Lesbian

Do you have a disability? Only inabilities.

Is rugger a sport or an excuse for the middle classes to salivate over legitimised violence and satisfy a thirst for physical confrontation while attempting to improve their social cache? Hmmm...

How would you describe your political philosophy? Muddled - Social / Liberal (with some caveats) that remembers to stand-up for Liberty and Justice.

Level of education (primary; post-primary; third-level; graduate; professional) BSc from UCD - barely worth the paper it's written on.

If you were to vote on party lines which party would you choose (Ireland)? FF - but it pains me to say it. It would be Labour if they weren't such a bunch of clowns.

If you were to vote on party lines which party would you choose (UK)? Labour, if Gordon was running the show; Lib Dem if they weren't such a bunch of clowns.

If you were to vote on party lines which party would you choose (USA)? Democrat, but I'm not sure Europeans realise how far to the right both US partys are.

Where do you stand on the EU? Support the idea of integration but Europe is too diverse and even parochial to try and control it from a centre. At most they should promote Liberty, Equality and Justice and let us sort out our own details.

Did you support the invasion of Afghanistan? Yes - the Taliban are mental.

Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Not really. Support the idea of toppling dictators but not when the world is that divided over the issue.

Do you continue to support either or both of those conflicts? Both in theory (update - hang on a second is supporting conflict right?...), although it's hard to know how anyone could fix the Afghanistinians. Likewise the Americans should finish the Iraq-job properly although eventually they'll probably settle into an occupation designed to deal with low level civil-war. Better to have to fight the rag-heads over there etc...

What do you believe is the single biggest issue facing Irish politics? Should be the Shinners and their barely concealed plans to gain electoral victory in both North and South with a 'war' coffer built on massive organised crime - but no one seems to care. Health and Transport by default.

What do you believe is the single biggest issue facing European politics? Standing by enlightened ideals in the face of nationalist and religious extremism. Letting the Turkans in is a good way of showing Europe means business.

What do you believe is the single biggest issue facing international politics? Global poverty.

Are you, have you ever been, and do you ever wish to be involved in politics in a party political manner? No, unless everyone agreed I could be dictator of the world... then I'd be a democratically elected dictator of the world...

Who would you have voted for in the past US Presidential Election? Kerry, but because of Bush's errors (botched wars, ambivalence to torture, inability to speak English) - not Kerry's ability.

Have a go Dermo.

Stories For Boys

It's not like the Daily Telegraph to print a photo of naked women and pretend it's a genuine news story. Not at all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Overpowered By Funk


Bit late this but the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah gig was just how I'd thought it would be - good show, crap venue. Broken Social Scene are next on the agenda in the Temple Bar Music Centre. These have yet to win me over. Some tracks are excellent but there are at least three songs on the album that are too long, too unwieldy and waaaay over-produced. The punk in me does not like that! I got my tickets for Ireland v Sweden in three weeks too. Sweet, although the head-stampers will have the pitch ruined by then. I suppose it does belong to them, so if they want to re-enact the Battle of the Somme then there's not much you can do.

Wake Up Dead Man

Don't know if it was deliberate or not, but last night on Paramount Comedy they showed a South Park Christmas Special. In it, Cartman worries that Santa won't visit so he starts a campaign to deliver presents to Eye-raq to improve his good:bad ratio. Santa thinks it's a great idea but gets shot down by insurgents over Belfast... Baghdad and kidnapped and tortured. So the boys enlist a gun-toting Jesus to help rescue Santa. Jesus gets killed in the process of rescuing Santa, so Santa decrees that "from this day forward" Christmas should be dedicated to Jesus because of his bravery.

Was I insulted? No.
Would more pious Christians be? Probably.
Did they riot? No.
Did they burn down embassies? No.
Did they make a show of themselves in general? No more than usual.
If they thought they would have been offended what could they have done? Not watched the show.

I'm sure I'm going somewhere with all that...

Please

It's a sign of how far we've moved on that no one really cares what Doc Paisley said about our President. It's not that long since normally sane people would have fallen over themselves to express their outrage. The old doc has a constituency to pander to - Middle England wannabes, whose children have buggered off out of the dump and who need their old anti-Irish prejudices reinforced, and Loyalist knuckle-draggers, who're too stupid to realise that Paisley and the DUP despise them. The loyalists are ignored by the DUP until they need to use them as casual boot boys when it suits the DUP to issue veiled threats of violence. The Northerners really ought to wake up. We've already passed them (all) by; in fact the world is passing them by.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Egg Chasing Time

Well the peanut huggers appear to have screwed the Eyeties over royally on Saturday. Nice to see that Dricko bloke attempt to cave a guy's armpit in by repeatedly jumping on it. Real men, and all that. Still, if he did it to Arjen Robben I probably would have no complaints. I predict that the Goys in Green will be gang-banged to within an inch of their lives in Paris.

Complete Control

One thing about the cartoon controversy that has been overlooked is that it has demonstrated to all, if evidence was still required, that Scandinavians are about as funny as a kick in the stones.

Is there not some irony, though, in hordes of people reacting violently to some (witless) cartoons implying that their religion makes them act violent?

Still, my favourite piece of coverage over the weekend was reading Robert Fisk in the Indo lecturing the western world like a particularly annoying school teacher that "Islam is not a violent religion [let's not make it one]". This was followed on the next page by a picture of a protestor in London holding a placard saying "Behead all those who insult Islam".

You might remember an episode of The Simpsons where Homer gives Ganesh a peanut and then tells Apu that when religions were being dished out, Apu must have been out taking a whizz. Thankfully for Homer Apu is a Hindu, not a Muslim.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

What's My Name?

I've just been on the phone to a tech guy in the Phillipines doing some work for me. His name is Lenin Toledo. Now isn't that just a fantastic name? Definitely knocks current favourite Danny Invincibile into second spot.

Meanwhile at a (long) meeting this morning I was subjected to some of the worst management jargon-guff heard in a long time. When things got a bit muddled at one stage, one guy announced that some "blue sky thinking was required". I assumed this was a variant on "thinking outside the box". Later, when the group seemed unsure of the scope of the matter at hand, one of the management chicks (that might seem disrespectful to women. It's not meant to be - it's meant to be disrespectful to management) opined that "perhaps a helicopter view is required?"

I then offered the view that the helicopter view would indeed be useful but only when we had ensured the blue sky thinking had been applied as, without it, the helicopter view might be obscured somewhat. As I finished my stomach turned over in the sure knowledge that I was seconds from the sack. Instead there was a collective nodding of wise heads as the clarity and genius of my interjection sank in.

As the section of the meeting involving my project finished up, I was asked by the manager taking the chair if it was "fair to say that the key deliverables had yet to be finalised for inclusion in the project rollout plan?" I said "Hmmm... I could not fail to disagree with that less" and walked out the door...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Egg Chasing Time

Oh no. Oh no, no, no. This is all wrong. I'm a bloody shareholder and no one ran this mockery by me. There should be rules...

Rock The Casbah

Those Arabs have too much money!


Acrobat

According to Lenny (my project colleague) our project leader, Ciaran, "is not good at explaining things" - or so he says regularly.

According to Ciaran, when discussing my frustration at having to work with C-sharp computer programming (which I've no training in), Lenny "is not good at explaining things" - or so he said just now.

And I wonder why I'm stressed!
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