Saturday, March 31, 2007

So Cruel

That game was even closer than a 48 run defeat suggests.



England were struggling to make 220 - 230 and suddenly Collingwood steps up and does great to orchestrate 65 runs from the last five overs. Then we lose our big hitter Jeremy Bray right at the start. On these couple of twists our hopes floundered. And yet we were in the hunt for a long, long time...

On a bright note I can look forward to two mockery-free months now that Boring Munster have finally found their level. Snigger...

'Pool v Gooners kicks off in a few moments. About time Rafa beat one of his main rivals...

Update: Oh Yes! Oh Yes!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dreadlock Holiday

So here it is, Stuttgart Part Deux...






We shouldn't win, we should get hockeyed.

England should, in fact, put on a cricket score...But wouldn't it be something else? What I wouldn't give...

Trent and the Legends, your country expects!

If You Wear That Velvet Dress

I saw the results of Ireland's Most Stylish Woman (or something) last night on the news. It was a quick clip, so I didn't get to examine the mutton dressed as lamb too closely. But the one that won it? Lisa Fitzpatrick? I know it's not a beauty contest per se, but still! Andrea Roche was one of the judges, so I'm sure there was an in depth process of elimination...

Speaking of boots, D'Town stormed to a 6 - 2 victory over so-called principal rivals Athlone Town last night. Four games into the season and ALREADY clear by 5-points. Are you watching FAI?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

If Music Could Talk

Stuff I've been buying recently...

  • LCD Soundsystem - I like.
  • Air - Supremely dull, I was very disappointed - this review sums it up perfectly.
  • Kaiser Chiefs - Disgracefully bigged up by the British music press. Britpop by numbers - I was conned.
  • Bloc Party - Just can't get into it. I Still Remember is excellent - a bit early '90s baggy.
  • Field Music - Found via Metacritic, very fond of this.
  • The Besnard Lakes - Ditto. Not normally my cup of tea but a couple of these songs send shivers down my spine.
  • And last but not least Arcade Fire - the RTE review covers it well. Not as good as Funeral but, bar a couple of dull fillers, still a cracking album in its own right..

A Sort Of Homecoming

Best performance and result since we beat the Yugoslavs in '99. It's on, end of...

Well not quite - I'd just like to point out that a pair of victories is preferable to fat men crying each and every day of the week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

Well here we go again.

I think it'll be better than Saturday.

I think we'll play at a higher tempo and with more shape.

I think the Slovaks will come out to play - the goal count in their previous games suggests this.

I think tonight will prove just how shit the pitch is/was.

I think we can win.

I think that, following a victory, there'll be a bit of premature 'told you so' flying around the Irish campand and the press will seize on it as 'only Slovakia' and the whole circus will continue...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Deny

This Horizon documentary could be well worth watching tonight. Not that it will affect the sales of spit in a bottle one bit either way...

By the way does anyone know what the hell the Seven Signs of Ageing actually are?

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Celebration

Lisa Hannigan, the only thing remotely attractive about the music of that whiny git Damian Rice, has upped sticks and left.

On the downside he'll definitely manage to milk an entire album out of this.

There's always a downside.

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

It’s often said, in another one of our bouts of self-congratulation, that the Irish love sport. That’s not strictly true. What the Irish love is a sense of occasion, which is different.

When everyone was jumping on the Jack’s Army bandwagon back in the late 80s / early 90s there wasn’t the slightest knock-on for League of Ireland match attendance figures.

Similarly today rugger tickets can’t be found for big games yet attendances at AIL games are paltry and even Celtic League matches have only attracted crowds this season.

Then there’s the GAA. Every summer the complaints are loud and long from the inhabitants of the successful counties that they can’t get a ticket for a day in the Championship sun, yet only a fraction turn up to see the same teams in the National League.

Bernard Dunne’s fight last night was a sell-out and there was a raucous atmosphere but the vast majority present have probably not been to a fight since Steve Collins’ days over a decade ago, if ever.

And so it is no surprise that the build up to Saturday’s game was far more low-key than in advance of the rugby matches. Right now the Sword of Damocles seems to be forever hanging over the Irish team and they’re playing accordingly. The opposition were no great shakes either.

It’s getting depressing watching the national side at the moment. Talented young players are being mismanaged but, worse, the nastiness that seems to accompany every game is draining what life there is left from what is after all a spectator sport, a source of entertainment.

People qualify their hostility and/or indifference by banging on about ‘passion’ and ‘over-hyped millionaires’ and the rest. Clueless guff. They should sit and actually watch a video of the hoof-and-rush rubbish masquerading as football that we once thrived on and that any competent coach can counteract easily today. What’s ‘passion’ anyway? Breaking Ryan Giggs in two in the first five minutes?

To be honest I’d be quite happy to see the glory-hunters bugger off and those of us left behind could go back to Dalymount and watch some football in peace.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Fool

Well two days before our 'historic' (and, more importantly, make-or-break) series of matches in Croke Park get underway, the 21st Century Irish Gospel according to Sir Royston of Keane is kicking into gear.

The latest polemic from the pulpit includes the comedy gold "If you are telling me that Liam Miller is not one of the best players - what is the squad that has been named, 22? there are lads in it that are not even in their first-team squads. "I don't just say these things. There is no doubt in my mind, Liam Miller being from Cork certainly didn't help him."

Apropos of nothing, there's a bloke in the Ireland squad called Stephen Ireland and another called Colin Doyle. You could look it up if you like but I'll save you the bother - both are from Cork. The difference, however, is that they haven't had repeated opportunities at international level over the last three years and singularly fail to take a single one of them.

And did any craven-bastard journo call our Royston on this? What do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Overpowered By Funk

Arcade Fire were just unreal in the Brixton Academy last Saturday night (I was already on a nervous tension high as it was!). I'll admit I was initially disappointed with Neon Bible but it has rapidly grown on me to reach (but not surpass!) the love I have for Funeral. All the songs were spine-tinglingly good all night.

The only downer for me was that the second encore was the acoustic cover they have been doing of The Clash's Guns of Brixton (which I had been really looking forward to). Basically it was so acoustic they didn't use microphones so you couldn't hear a thing and thus the ending became a bit of a damp squib. Still, on the day that was in it, one of the gig highlights of my life...

A better version from St John's Church...!

Beautiful Day

I don't like St Patrick's Day. I do, however, love International Trent Johnston Day, to be celebrated henceforth on March 17th in honour of the man who led Ireland to its greatest moment in any field of human endeavour since someone wrote 'The End' on the Book of Kells...

London Calling

Meanwhile London, which is one city I had never gotten around to visiting properly, was a delight. Between the gig and the cricket I managed to avoid the St Patrick's Day shindig in Trafalgar Square (although I couldn't avoid running into four hammered, wrecked birds in an assortment of GAA jerseys - Kerry, Mayo, Tipp and Clare, I think - at one of the Tube stops); made it to the British Museum, Westminster, St Paul's and the Tate Modern.

So here is the philistine in me - the majority of the stuff in the Tate Modern is godawful rubbish. The building and its layout are the best thing about the place. It's not the art so much as the utter guff that's written on the accompanying cards. Some of the stuff written about the ubiquitous tin of red paint chucked at canvas-type pictures is hilarious.

The best guff was probably on a huge canvas covered in brown paint with one thick red-orange vertical stripe and one thin blood-red vertical stripe called Adam. This represents the artist's fascination with the Jewish myths of Creatiuon or something. The brown is earth and the red is blood and God is often represented as a beam of light and... sorry - I'm laughing now, it looks like bad wallpaper:




Another favourite bit of guff was on Juan Muñoz's Towards the Corner:



'The unsettling effect of the encounter is accentuated by Muñoz’s manipulation of scale. The figures are slightly smaller than life size. When seen from a distance, they appear to be of regular height; yet the slight reduction in size means that they still seem far away, even when viewed in close proximity.'


Jebus. I think if the lads watch the whole small / far-away thing on Father Ted it could be cleared up for them...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gone

Newcastle today.

London tomorrow.

'tis a busy life! But I'm going to see Arcade Fire in Brixton tomorrow night! Can't Wait!!

Deny

I've always had a sneaking regard for Kevin Myers. No longer. Here's his article in the Indo. Looks like he bought into that nonsense last week too:

'THE world has gone mad, utterly mad, as if, eight years after the event, people have only just realised that the millennium is upon us, mankind is doomed, and it is time to repent, repent.

Rational people have abandoned reason, and entire polities are one by one surrendering to the hysteria of the global-warming scare. Vanity meets inanity, and their hybrid offspring is a posturing, self-righteous buffoon who thinks that with a bit of self-denial, the sun can be wooed and the earth can be cooled.

There is nothing mankind can do about global warming. Nothing. There is not even any proof that mankind caused it, merely evidence that it exists - for the moment anyway.

Thirty years ago, scientists were united in their triple declarations that (a) a new ice age was upon us, (b) the earth was running out of oil, and (c) within two decades civilisation as we knew it would be over. Today, only hypothesis (c) remains intact, but now for entirely different reasons. This time, the world is in dire trouble - goes the theory - because we are emitting too much carbon dioxide, and unless we do something about it, the planet, once again, is doomed.

The hysterical rubbish which fills our airwaves has generated an unquestioning vocabulary, a meaningless liturgy of clichés and pieties. Suddenly, politicians and TV presenters are talking authoritatively about 'carbon footprint', as if the term had any real meaning.

In fact, it has as much value as the indulgences which were once hawked around Europe to pay for the reconstruction of St Peter's Basilica, with an equally cynical agenda behind it. Not merely is green the new religion. There is also money in green commodities.

There are profits to be made from selling windmills and trading in carbon credits, as there once were from selling those special papal dispensations that reduced or even eliminated the punishments for your sins, the spiritual carbon footprint of the era.

The eco-priests of our modern lunatic sect, intoning their fluent gibberish, dominate all discussion about the environment. To doubt is to be isolated and ignored. All debate is predicated on the prevailing dogma that global warming is caused by man-made endeavours, and can be cured by us alone. This is now an immutable article of faith, as once was the existence of the Divine Trinity, and as immune to proof or disproof. Indeed, even to suggest it might need analysis is itself a heresy. The hysterical babbling greens are ready to lynch any who dissent.

What insane vanity is it which says that we are responsible for global warming, when we share our planetary system with the thermonuclear psychopath that is the sun? It weighs 300,000 times as much as the earth. Our earth has a diameter of 13,000 kilometres. The sun is 14 million kilometres across, and its heart burns at 15 million degrees centigrade. Solar flares reach temperatures of 10 million degrees, each containing the energy of a million nuclear bombs. Every second, the sun sheds a million tons of charged particles at 6,000 Celsius into space.

So anything we do to change the earth's temperature is like reducing the Pacific ocean with a salt-spoon.

Earth's weather grows warmer and stormier during periods of heavy sunspot activity.

So, when the sun had no sunspots between 1645 and 1715, the Maunder minimum resulted, and the earth went through a mini-Ice Age - hence all those Dutch masterpieces of people skating on frozen lakes. What a difference a few sunspots make, because earlier in the 17th century, tobacco was grown as a crop in Warwickshire, and vineyards flourished in Kent.

And no-one said a word about carbon footprints back then, possibly because they were too worried about the Reformation and the Thirty Years War, and other religious-related matters.

Now we have our new religion of climate change, before which we prostrate ourselves, performing the 21st century equivalent of rain dances, which - unless we are careful - will soon turn into the Aztecs' practice of sacrificing their children to placate the insatiable appetites of their barbaric deities.

Because when the brainless pieties of the green salons are turned into policy to propitiate the weather gods of our own fevered imaginations, they will inevitably limit growth. And however uncomfortable - say - a 10pc reduction in output is for us, it will be a catastrophe for the developing world.

If you are well-fed, then a loss of one tenth of your calories makes you slim; if you are already at the breadline, then a 10pc reduction makes you dead. It is that simple and that certain.

Meanwhile, China and India - rightly - are continuing to expand their economies, churning millions of tons of CO2 into the environment.

But their production of this 'greenhouse gas' is nothing compared to what nature does.

THERE are 500 active volcanoes in the world, and a single volcanic eruption can release more CO2 than all of mankind's production in a year (which is relatively easy: less than 1pc of the atmosphere is CO2).

Moreover, both the seas and autumn leaf-fall dwarf our production of this supposedly lethal gas. And superintending all is the real source of global warming, the sun, all 2000 trillion trillion tons of it.'

Likening scientific research to religious belief - the refuge of an ignoramus.

The sunspot stuff is debunked here.

Journalists really are idiots. Dangerous idiots at that.

Beautiful Day

Unbelievable match. Bray digs out a century despite the others giving up cheap wickets, then we get on top of the Zimbabwe run rate only for the excellent Matsikenyeri to up the rate big time. Anyway it all came down to the last over. Zimbabwe needed 9 runs to win with 6 balls left and the last man in...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dreadlock Holiday

It's On!!

Bailing (geddit!) out of work now to go watch the gents in green take on nasty old Zimbabwe!

C'mon!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Deny

If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck then it must be a duck.

Similarly, if someone cherry-picks scientific data that reinforces an opinion, and ignores or dismisses scientific data that contradicts that opinion, then they must be biased.

And so it is with Channel 4's Great Global Warming Swindle. It's true that the more sensational the claims made about global warming, the more likely they are to get publicity in mainstream media (Y2K anyone?). It's also true that there are a mish-mash of vested interests on both sides of the debate (pinko hippies that would have us living in some non-existant, pre-industrial golden age; coupled with right-wing conservatives fearful of the 'developing world' actually developing, for example).

In fact it does raise some very interesting points with regard to global temperature changes. But then, on the flipside, it talks about solar winds and cosmic rays affecting climate more than greenhouse gases, which is nearly flat-earth territory.

But it should be fairly clear that the potential for a 1-hour documentary about such a complex issue to take contributions out of context, and to misrepresent what contributors are telling them with skilful editing, is huge. For instance the septuagenarian 'ex-editor of New Scientist' hasn't been its editor for about 40 years!

More seriously, though, one of the contributors, Carl Wunsch, Professor of Physical Oceanography at MIT, has since said “The movie was terrible propaganda. It is characteristic of propaganda that you take an area where there is legitimate dispute and you claim straight out that people who disagree with you are swindlers. That is what the film does in any area where some things are subject to argument.”

Most of it is debunked here.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Complete Control

In relation to a comment piece about footballers I said that it was a very long time since I said something good about the Sunday Independent. It was tongue in cheek but in truth I had forgotten just why I hate - yes hate - that paper, its writers and its editors. Well I only needed to wait one week to remember...

'Garda who lost wife and son in childbirth shot John Carthy'

I don't like to swear in this blog but... what a bunch of fucking cunts they must be to have put that on the front page the day the guy buried his wife and newborn child (or any day for that matter). It would be bad enough coming from the News of the World but coming from a paper that classes itself 'quality' (as opposed to 'tabloid')?... I don't think I have the vocabulary to describe just how tremblingly-angry I felt and still feel thinking about it.

And to think the fuckers got to celebrate at the bottom of the same front page that they have 1-million readers for their poxy rag. Jesus wept. I'd rather take razor blades to my eyes than ever read another word it prints. But seeing as I already boycott the thing I feel somewhat powerless...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

The goals from the game the other night - The Town's equaliser is an absolute peach...



Yesterday's egg-chasing was horrendous nonsense. But sure at least we won the annual Losing to France award. A bit of revisionism about this Championship might be required - poor in Wales, poor in Scotland and outplayed, in truth, for most of the game against France. Emperor's New Clothes?...

The Lad of Legends, meanwhile, had another great game today - beating the previously unbeaten Meath-Splitters by a whopping 8-points...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Sort Of Homecoming

It's on!


The all new (snigger) League of Ireland is back!! And, like most years, Dundalk FC kick off first on the first Thursday of the season. Tonight's game is a bit special, though - it's Dundalk's 2000th League match in Irish football and they're storming favourites to win both this game and the Division. So they'll probably lose.



If you're bored you could do worse than listen to live coverage at 7:45 tonight on dundalk fm, if only for the accents, the vitriol and the hilariously one-eyed coverage!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Celebration

No way did I think the 'pool could take Barca over two legs - class!

Not for the first time I wish I was Paul Merson's bookie (skip to the last 2:50 to see why)...



On the flipside the game was a carbon copy of the ManYoo game at the weekend. Liverpool dominating the opposition physically and creating all the chances, only to display all the cutting edge of a butter knife.

Finnan, Carragher and Agger were immense but the inability to string a couple of passes together or even hold on to the ball, particularly in the second half, was worrying. Steven Gerrard has been muck all season and it showed. The fact that, at the moment, half the team seem to have the first touch of a rapist is discomforting too.

Still, we didn't believe in 2005...


After all the football I got in touch with my feminine side by watching Desperate Housewives (why has Terri Hatcher got so bloody thin?) then the end of a documentary about chick-lit on RTE 1.

I had to laugh at George Hook rubbishing chick-lit and attempting to write his own under a female pseudonym. Apparently he started the book with a sentence that was something like: 'It was the summer of 1944 in Krakow and the Nazis were still occupying Poland...'. Two different publishers said 'This has been written by a man' as soon as they read it! I'm sure there's a sociological study there for someone...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

In A Lifetime

Obviously I'm not an economist, and obviously if you keep predicting something you'll be right eventually, but it appears that the tipping point for house prices that I figured had been reached in November was indeed reached.

It's on.

The stats aren't there yet but the anecdotal evidence is - a house price 'correction' is underway, and particularly so in the suburban sprawls where, finally, people seem to have stopped buying paper-thin shoe boxes in estates with no services or amenities, miles from anywhere civilised.

A sober Irish Times on Saturday ran a headline that the 'Property Slowdown [was] Confirmed' and said that 'AIB... lowered its forecasts for house price inflation in 2007 to a range of 2-4 per cent, down from a previous range of 3-6 per cent...'

A slightly more excited Sunday Independent ran a front page headline about the housing market 'going under' before laying into Biffo Cowen for... not exactly sure what - it's a bloody rag.

Anyway like I say I'm not an economist. But why would house prices flatline? That makes no sense. The only way they can flatline is if supply pretty much matches demand exactly. Are the nation's estate agents and developers going to ensure that that happens? Do they know exactly how many buyers are out there in each region in order to sell or build accordingly? Of course not.

If there are more houses for sale than people buying, then the sellers have to drop the price to make their place more attractive than the next guy's - simple logic, simple economics - and there are a massive amount of houses on the market.

They're also trying to claim now that rents are increasing. But why would they do that? To make sure the investors don't bail out of the market en masse when interest rate rises mean yields are even worse than they already are, that's why. That implies that the investor-owners are in control, but that's bullshit - it has been a renter's paradise for five years and nothing has changed in the last three months.

Prices 'will grow moderately', rents 'are rising' - all crap designed to prop up the house of cards. The election is the only variable right now. Otherwise house prices are going the way of birds in winter.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Clampdown

There's a radio ad running in Ireland for Deloitte - the experts in tax avoision (it's a word!). It's an ad for new staff and involves an employee, who is on his holidays, ringing the office to see if they want him to do any work. They tell him that, really, it's ok - sure he's due back on Monday anyway.

The schtick is that Deloitte employees love their job *that* much. However the reality, to my mind, is that, a bit like the ads for Blackberrys, you're left wondering what kind of poor, soulless bastard would want to end up in a job where you think about work on your holidays and where you'd be at other people's beck and call 24-hours a day!
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