Thursday, May 25, 2006


Bonnie Prince Charlie is, quite frankly, a bit of a dolt. Obviously generations of inbreeding renders your average member of royalty rather thick, which is a shame given how much clout they still seem to have.

This week he made a speech saying "Many of today's complementary therapies are rooted in ancient traditions that intuitively understood the need to maintain balance and harmony with our minds, bodies and the natural world." These would be the ancient traditions where life expectancy was barely 40, and the ancient traditions that didn't understand the necessity for clean water. Right. At least the doctors in Britain seem willing to stand up to him.

Compare and contrast these two statements... "The wholesale integration of complementary medicine, simply because it's alternative, and people may want it, and feel satisfied with it, is not a good reason for integration. I believe we need one single standard in medicine and that is the standard of evidence based medicine." and "It's very frustrating that senior responsible people dismiss complementary medicine for the sole reason that it doesn't have the definitive scientific proof that other drugs have."

I don't have to point out which of those was uttered by a charlatan. I mean come on, why does this rubbish get entertained. Seriously. The principles of science should be as compulsory in education as English, Irish and Mathematics. Because people feed their ignorance with easy solutions, doing themselves no favours in the process.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stranger In A Strange Land

Despite our reputation for 'craic', and our supposed new-found confident selves, it seems the Irish still can't stand it when someone slags us off. In pre-PC times Irish people would go nuts at a 'paddy' joke on tv and I remember specifically the uproar when a horse trainer said something along the lines of "Even in a backward country like Ireland they know how to start a horse race." after the abandoned Grand National in '93 and, also, when Eastenders had a character family supposedly from Kildare that acted like a bunch of knackers. Personally I've always found it strange that some Irish people can find humour in anything no matter how potentially insulting or debased it may be (for example the Aristocrats joke) yet others are so easily offended (as I often find out!)

Well now there are ructions over the Rough Guide to Ireland and its less than complimentary words for certain parts of Ireland. I was particularly amused by the notion that Waterford and Tipperary vie for the title of Ireland's dullest county (these lads weren't in Longford at a guess). One of the authors was interviewed on The Last Word yesterday and, included in the interview, was his view that Cork people were not very welcoming (Amen brother!) Anyway, apparently the show's lines were jammed with outraged micks. Funny.

Maybe we'll mature a bit as a nation when we're able to take criticism on the chin and fix what's wrong without actually worrying about what other people think of us.

Overpowered By Funk

Muppet that I am, I bought tickets to see Hard-Fi in the Ambassador in Dublin and Editors in the Savoy in Cork (all these old cinemas converted...) only to discover that both gigs are on on the same night - tonight! So I've got shot of the Hard-Fi tickets and am heading to Editors. I asked a girl from work to come with me because I know she likes going to gigs too and she likes Editors. I hope she doesn't think it's a date or something, though! The gig hasn't even sold out - they really are clueless around here...

So Cruel

I can't stand The Frames. Specifically I can't stand Glen Hansard. That guy could make Happy Birthday sound like a death march. I can't stand the way he stops to talk crap after every single song and the way everyone in the crowd cheers his self-indulgent guff - all that taking himself waaaaay too seriously, faked emotional torture. In fact I can't stand the way everyone in the crowd, especially the women, sing along to every song with tears in their eyes as if it's all worthy, somehow. If The Frames were playing in my back yard I'd go for a walk.

So, anyway, Ginger Tosser has released a duet album with some Czech musician. The RTE review uses phrases like 'the album spans the downward trajectory of a doomed relationship... painful yearning... heartbreaking... self-loathing... despair...' And the reviewer likes this! Jebus, all of you, just build a fecking bridge and get over it.

I don't know, *ginger people*, disaster...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Day Without Me

While I was busy watching The Town get the run around from Cobh, the rest of my universe was basking in the glory that was Munster, finally, winning the Hoyno Cup. Fair play to them - even if it is a daft sport.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lover's Rock

Some of the tabloid excitement with Big Brother this year (seventh version?) is the fact that double beds have been provided in the house as producers become even more blatantly desperate to show wannabes shagging live on TV (what is it about tabloids and the inability to not use the word 'romp' after the word 'sex'?). They're not even remotely trying to disguise that this is their Big Brother holy grail.

Unlike the first edition, when the contestants seemed naively unaware of quite how much they were being monitored, watched and listened to, the contestants ever since have surely been totally aware of what they're in for and, by extension, what is expected of them. Surely no one will believe that any bit of action is the flowering of real love - right? Instead it will just be a bit of contrived sex for the benefit of the cameras and, hopefully for the non-entities doing it on TV, a ticket to celebrity status.

So why don't Channel 4 not just stick cameras in brothels and broadcast the, er, best bits for our titillation every evening at 9pm for ten weeks and be done with it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Safe European Home

What to make of the hunger-striking Afghans? I find it hard to believe that anyone from that country could not be considered a genuine refugee. Although (and it's often hard to appreciate when watching the news or whatever) there must be large swathes of the country where life is relatively safe and normal... the same goes for Iraq I suppose. Sure, Afghanistan is also ridiculously poor, but they're claiming to be political refugees. They've clearly travelled here via a number of other countries and they were supposed to claim asylum in the country they first reached, if I'm right.

I personally believe in the utopia of free movement of people, but I know it's not practical while countries differ in their approach to labour laws, social security etc and obviously while people are commited to terror. So instead I wonder why the rich 'western' countries pursue policies of economic self-interest that seems to be a zero sum of growth in the west at the expense of failure in the 2nd and 3rd worlds. Our policies lead to the level of desperation that encourages people from failing countries to become immigrants, thus storing up a world of potential trouble down the line between the immigrants and those 'natives' at the bottom of the ladder.

As for the Afghans I sympathise with their plight - I dare anyone to offer to swap places with them - but I don't think these are the actions of desperate men, they're the actions of calculating men and the Dept of Justice shouldn't give in. If anything the Afghans have backed themselves into a corner. It'll be interesting to see how they get out of it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Death Or Glory

There is a danger that my blog will turn into a "this is how my team got on" thing, but, again, I just have to record how fantastic Saturday was and how gutting yesterday was. I've torn my vocal cords at this point. Graham Geraghty is a bit of a James Blunt...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Wake Up Dead Man

One of the good things about 2006 to date had been the lack of talk about The Da Vinci Code. Unfortunately that has all changed in the last week or two following the (in no-way staged) plagiarism trial in England, which has coincided nicely with the release of the paperback version of The DVC in America, and the movie.

I heard a very succinct opinion on the whole DVC yarn over the weekend. Basically the view was that the forces of secularism and religion have fought each other to a stalemate in the west, resulting in a situation where people trust neither the reasoning of science or the faith of organised religion. Into that vacuum is fed an appetite for conspiracy theory and pseudo-science. As the Sunday Times' Bryan Appleyard said last week when reviewing another ridiculous Catholic conspiracy theory: "The heart of the matter... is the human longing to believe that behind given, quotidian reality lies a secret narrative that will, one day, be laid bare."

He goes on to say: "The huge success of The Da Vinci Code made it clear that there is a popular appetite for the idea that, somehow, Christianity is a gigantic plot, a power-play designed to shore up the oppressive powers of the priesthood. The idea itself is secular and materialistic but thrills are provided along the way by all kinds of mystery and hocus-pocus. So, apparently, people want all the trappings of popular religion - mystery, revelation, miracles etc - but they want it used to discredit traditional faith."

It's something I struggle to grasp myself - how people can maintain a distrust of anything 'official' - government, media, medicine, science, religion - yet be open and credulous of any charlatan offering the most ridiculous of parallel narratives. The interweb has much to answer for.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Fool

I love Boris Johnson! (from a 'Legends' England v Germany match)...



In fairness he wins the ball!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Something About England

Poor old Roonaldo. He may be a former blueshite now playing for YooSA (i.e. a bit of a James Blunt) - and the player who could have been the difference between Ing-ger-land doing nothing and winning the World Cup - but seeing that competition deprived of one of its potential stars is still a great pity. As yet another English footballer breaks a metatarsal, or 'foot' as I like to call it, questions are being asked about the modern boots players wear. However the wearing of boots is hardly restricted to English people, so I don't think its that. But the list of footballers suffering broken metatarsals, or 'feet', corresponds with the '70s and '80s generation of kids now at the top of the game. And what happened in the '70s? Well Maggie Thatcher stopped the provision of free milk in England's schools thereby fundamentally altering the strength of metatarsals, or 'foot bones', in Britain's working class youth. QED... and Italy will win the World Cup.

Meanwhile I went to Cavan, and got soaked, watching Louth win Division 2 at the second attempt. Happy days - bring on Meath!
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