Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Deny

I missed it the first time but Panorama (becoming a bit of a bugbear of mine, isn't it?) showed one of the most shambolic excuses for investigative journalism I've ever seen last week. Basically, what masquerades as an investigation into the 'concern [that Wifi] could carry health risks', is, in fact, nothing more than a Sun-esque scare story - a noughties version of the mobile phone radiation nonsense.

The problem isn't that they're necessarily wrong (there are no conclusive studies). They just went about presenting their story in a manner so far removed from real scientific (and journalistic) enquiry that it would be laughable if it wasn't so criminal. They were 'measuring' 'radiation'. What sort of measures? What sort of instruments? What do the readings mean? And, of course, the use of the word 'radiation' - making people who don't know better think your downloading fallout from Chernobyl whenever you use the interweb yoke.

I could go on but, instead, the Bad Science column covers it well...

Egg Chasing Time

I was in my room yesterday evening, and my flatmate was in the living room watching TV, when I heard what I thought sounded like a World War 1 movie playing. It sounded like the lads were psyching each other up at the Somme, before fixing bayonets and charging over the top to 'spill fucking blood' on the field. Being a bit of a nerd for WW1 history I headed in to watch. This (or the actual documentary) was what was actually on...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Deny

One Independent TD that I was glad to see defeated was Dr Jerry Cowley in Mayo. Dr Cowley virtually hitched his political future to the Shell To Sea mob - and lost. Indeed he polled fewer votes in the Rossport area than Fine Gael's Michael Ring. How's that for gratitude! Of course it is possible to draw one conclusion from this: maybe the people of Mayo don't support Shell To Sea? I mean have those people ever asked those among who they live? Have they ever checked whether or not their protests really have the support of the community? Of course not. They are entirely self-proclaimed. Maybe those that shout loudest in their support might take that onboard in light of the election result.

Meanwhile I think the election is very easily understood. In general the people that can be relied upon to vote are the elderly and those over 25 in comfortable employment - all reasonably engaged with the issues. These people will tell you that they're worried about crime, the health service in particular, and the provision of public services in general. However these very same people have few if any negative experiences within the health service and are rarely victims of crime or anti-social behaviour. Their personal experience of those issues generally come from reading or hearing about the misfortune of others.

If the economy had started going belly-up by now, and personal circumstances were disimproving, Fianna Fáil would have suffered more and, undoubtedly, health and crime would have been fingered as the cause. But the people who do vote, have voted the way they have because their circumstances are fine, cheers for asking. Feeling sorry for someone on the Joe Duffy show with a sob story might make someone demand that 'something should be done' over a drink. But they don't remember that stuff when they go to the polls. The majority of people are happy. The vast majority of people who vote are happy. They might hate the PDs but they're more than happy with what FF has done for them and they weren't going to boot out the government on behalf of the people for whom Celtic Tiger 2.0 hasn't been so kind.

They won't be so happy with FF the next time, however. I bet there'll be another election by the end of 2009...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Fool

I've been watching the election results all night.

It looks like a FF/Green coalition is possible, which is preferable to FF/Labour in my eyes. All the small parties must have got a text message cos every single one interviewed has come out with an identical mantra - "Presidential style election, blah, blah, blah, we were squeezed". The instances of the word squeezed is in the double figures now.

Bertie took some swipes at the media in his first interview on RTE. The po-faced, thin-skinned gits will get him for that tomorrow...

And five more years of shinner obscurity. Sweet!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Complete Control

Oh this is turning out to be very funny! Fianna Fáil might even get a majority the way things are looking.

Where do you begin?...

Media - Their opinions and various op-eds of faux outrage utterly ignored by the people.

Shinners - I'd like to think it was Adams making a tit of himself for the last month, but in reality FF's foot soldiers have done the job on the ground to squeeze them out. Right now Mary Lou looks like missing out; thank Christ for small mercies. Pity about the dumb-asses in my county returning that moron Morgan...

Greens - No boost despite all the focus on the environment; people want their cars and motorways, and they don't like being made feel guilty. Also folk in the sticks just aren't going to vote Green.

Labour - Squeezed on the economy. For all the shite about inequality, the people who vote are still living affluent, spendthrift lifestyles and like the status quo.

PDs - Everybody hates them, end of. I'm glad Harney is back, however.

FG - Trusted more than Labour, picking off the disliked PDs - a good election for them.

FF - The vast majority of people don't think national, barely think regional and only care about local when something affects them directly, like an overcrowded school or a hospital being closed. Furthermore, as we get more affluent as a nation, we are increasingly less *genuinely* socially conscious. People think about their personal circumstances first and foremost and vote accordingly. Maybe just because the health service and crime dominate the airwaves, these results show that passionate anecdotes are not a barometer of widespread deep-seated feeling. 'The last ten years have been good for me, so why change?' Surely that's what the silent majority think. Then again they've been drinking shit in Galway for 6-months and the Government vote is up!

Independents - It says a lot about our country, in fact, that someone like Michael Lowry continues to top the poll whereas a man of principal and a fine orator like Joe Higgins (even though I wouldn't agree with a thing he says, personally) loses his seat.

Media (again) - I'm going to enjoy seeing how they explain this away! I wonder will they give out to us all again?

Dirty Day

The gamble with shelling out the bucks to go to things like a Champions League Final in Athens is that it's hard to persuade yourself it was worth it when your side loses. But I'm glad I went - just about!...

As for the game I said before that I wouldn't be surprised if Milan won and there was an air of inevitability after they got that free kick. We all kind of realised it was game over when Gerrard got in and Dida made the save after 62, or whatever, minutes. Mascherano did a great job on Kaka and I was surprised he was subbed - Kaka played that spawny fecker Inzaghi in about three minutes later for Milan's only good chance of the entire match. Yeah, one chance and two goals... and we had been worried about the ref before the game...

Someone said that Liverpool were lucky in Istanbul so Milan deserved luck in Athens. That's bullcrap. Liverpool weren't lucky, Milan screwed up - there's a big difference. Liverpool's goals were good and Dudek made the saves he had to. Milan's goal the other night, on the other hand, was just typical of that git Inzaghi. He hadn't a bloody notion what was happening and if he had he would have raised his arms more to make the handball even more blatant, cos the ball was heading straight for his face!

Kaka is a class act, as are Nesta, Maldini and Pirlo. But Liverpool showed Gattusso up to be the Rangers reject he is - fine against lightweight midfielders like Man United's, at best. And how Clarence Seedorf, who I have never rated, has four Champions League medals is beyond me. I thought the magnanimity in defeat almost went overboard. Liverpool should know that they left it behind and that the old failing of having the cutting-edge of a butter knife has haunted them yet again.

As for the organisation, well, what can you say? The tickets looked like they had been ripped from a magazine, such was the shite quality. There was only one, tiny hologram on them. I could have forged one with a piece of bog-roll and a biro. The entrance points to the stadium seemed to consist of parked riot police vans and loads of people who had headed out to the stadium hoping to find touts instead found that they could sneak straight in! One of my buddies was one of the unfortunate ones who not only didn't get in, but got tear-gassed for his troubles. The tears of rage and despair on his face when we met up later soured the whole thing.

I'll say one thing for Mr Gaillard, though - he has some cheek. He was the same after the Utd fans had trouble in Lyon. If tickets are easy to forge, people will forge them - it was up to UEFA to make sure that they're not, and it's up to UEFA to ensure the ticket checking systems keep forgeries, and chancers, out. I know I'm stating the bleedin' obvious here. And another thing, how come it's ok to refer to football fans as if they're some single amorphous entity? How does it become someone like my mate's fault if some other random punter blags his way into the stadium just because he supports the same football team as if we're all in the same family or something?

Ah well, at least the Town won...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

Well, I'm off to Athens first thing tomorrow and back Thursday.


The way I look at it is this: Milan are not as good as they were two years ago (no Crespo or Shevchenko, older defence) while Liverpool are better than then (no Traore, Mascherano instead of Biscan, Crouch could cause a lot of bother) but Milan really should have closed the game out in Istanbul instead of collapsing.


I think Liverpool's defence can handle pretty much anything but, to my mind, Mascherano shackling Kaka is the key to the game.


I won't be one bit surprised if Milan win, but obviously I'm hoping for a repeat of these scenes...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Overpowered By Funk

I really meant it when I said I thought The Immediate's debut was the finest Irish rock debut in my lifetime and now I've only just read that they're splitting. Now that is a crying shame...

The Fool

I'm still pretty sure Fianna Fáil are trying to throw the election, and Bertie looks very, very tired, but they might still win it because the so-called opposition is making a bigger hames of this election by the day.

The second Leader's Debate (between those who would be king) showed that Bertie was there for the taking by any half-competent politician (i.e. one that could actually think on his feet when he had run out of soundbites).

Instead, however, when Enda had exhausted his Joe Duffy routine - trying to illustrate his contentions about the supposed mess the health service is in and the crime 'epidemic' with useless anecdotes about people in fear in Ballydehob or Termonbarry or some other backwater out in the sticks, where very few are *actually* a victim of crime at all - he fell flat on his face when Bertie seized the initiative and made Kenny look like an amateur incapable of running the country.

For no other reason than the fact that Fine Gael politicians have repeatedly told lies about crime and crime rates and gotten away with it, I wouldn't dream of voting for them in a fit. In fact I'd struggle to choose between them and the shinners, which is as big an insult as I can think of without resorting to the use of James Blunt.

They could still be running the country by the weekend, though...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Leader

Last night the leaders of the four minor parties debated on RTE. It was pretty piss-poor stuff, really, although there was one great bit where Gerry 'reality' Adams tried to steer the debate to the effects of drugs on society (and about 'rights' for the umpteenth time), in order to make him seem like a man-with-the-people, only to be shot down by Michael McDowell saying that Sinn Féin sold IRA expertise to FARC narco-terrorists in Colombia for $25 million! (Go to 47-minutes into the clip - it's great!). "You know and I know it's true..."

To be honest, as this campaign has progressed, it has become obvious that you have to be some kind of moron to vote Sinn Féin. Gerry 'reality' Adams showed himself up to be a total political lightweight when it comes to normal-country politics. The guy hasn't a notion about the economy or the public services. Just watch how he avoids every single question and tries to start talking about 'rights' and then the peace process at every opportunity. Caoimhghín O Caoilain, TD for Cavan/Monaghan, was at the same nonsense on TV3 on Monday night.

It will all still fool 10% of my compatriots (or not make a blind bit of difference either way, which is worse). In fact it's a shame that I can't have shinner voters rounded up and gassed to up the average IQ and improve the gene pool...

Fat Rabbitte was considered to be the winner but I didn't find him one bit impressive. For a barrister, McDowell spoke very badly to. On the basis that he's a relative novice, and considering that Fat Rabbitte tried hijacking all of his points, I think Trev of the Greens came across best.

Just a shame that you could see all the notes he'd written on the palms of his hands!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Complete Control

In the finest traditions of the British tabloid press the following headlines give an indication of why this Robert Murat guy (currently a suspect in the hunt for the missing English girl) is clearly guilty until proven innocent:

'One-eyed Robert Murat, 33, was taken from the villa...' - The Sun.

'Murat, who has a glass eye...' - The Daily Mirror.

'He has a glass eye and wears dark glasses' - The Daily Express.

"He does look odd, because he has a glass eye" - A childhood friend, quoted in the Daily Mail.

Right, where are the lynch mob gathering?...

Deny

I said before that Panorama had been dumbed down by the BBC so that it could be shown in a 'prime-time' slot on BBC1, and last night's episode is nothing much in the way of investigative journalism, but it's still well worth watching just to see what a bunch of scary, freaky cults Scientologists are...

Here's a clip from the South Park episode 'Trapped In The Closet' that Tom Cruise tried to get pulled by threatening not to do promo work for Mission Impossible 3...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Fool

This is, comfortably, one of the funniest things I have ever seen on YouTube. Take it away Enda!...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Drug-Stabbing Time

The Chief Financial Officer of the company I work for was around yesterday for a 'Town Hall' meeting. He's the most senior person to visit the plant since I joined the company, given that the actual manufacturing of drugs is a distant last behind marketing, research, legal, lobbying and investment in the company's list of priorities.

For a fortnight we've had extra painters, carpenters and gardeners on-site to get the place looking as neat as possible for his visit. I watched gardeners scraping moss out from between the pavement bricks (as soul-crushing a job as I can think of right now) and managers even went around hijacking potted plants from offices to line the corridors this fella was going to be guided down!

It's called a 'Town Hall' meeting everywhere these guys go to invoke an image of small-town American communities gathering together to discuss the 'issues'. Unfortunately, over here, we just think of the meetings with Mayor Quimby in The Simpsons.

Anyway, and I'm surprised at my own naiveté, I actually assumed that the employees who were hand-picked to attend these meetings got to ask questions of their own choosing. I suppose I assumed the company would trust the hand-pickeds not to cause a scene.

But I was very wrong. The employees that went to the meeting were all handed a list of questions that they were permitted to ask. Most barely strayed beyond something like 'Mr CFO, just how great is our company?...' Some were side-footed shots about 'plans for the future' but, strangely, the issue of massive job-cuts and factory closures went entirely unaddressed.

The guy's performance was a demonstration of cool, calm, brass-necked, nothing-speak that would make a shinner blush. I can't think of a term for them, but the meeting... ah, what the hell... charade, was littered with three and four word phrases that just made me want to vomit. There was 'Living the Priorities'; 'From Vision to Reality'; 'Supporting a Strong FDA' (a very loaded phrase that one, if you ask me); 'Safety by Transparency'; 'Progress Towards Priorities'... Some were even combined to make-up whole sentences of absolute guff.

The whole charade was wretched stuff. It was such an exercise in control that if it had been a scene from 1984 I really don't think anyone would have felt it out of place. I was left wondering two things: Who do they believe leaves such a cynical exercise more satisfied and happy with the company's senior management than before? And what kind of upbringing and existence brings you to a point in life where you have underlings prepared to actually swipe plants to decorate the paths you walk?

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Leader

Gerry Adams is bigging up his local no-mark in the Rebel County (ugh...) today as the shinners kick off their election campaign. The lads were out putting up posters during the last week or so. They looked like thugs...

Apart from anything else (like crazy economic policies and that whole paramilitary army on the side thing) I seriously object to the notion that the shinners could have a say in how the country is governed when absolutely none of the party leadership are either from this country or will stand for election in this country.

They'll probably pull 10%-odd of the vote nationwide - cos elections tend to show that roughly 10% of all populations are prepared to vote for unsavouries. But hopefully they'll be restricted to 5 seats or less...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Beautiful Day

Honestly, I went with all the pundits who said Chelsea would score and Liverpool couldn't score three. Well all I can say now is that Liverpool, who topped their group easily and were clearly the better side over two legs in each of the knockout rounds, fully deserve their place in the final.

Oh, and Arjen Robben you snaky, cheating little cnut, that's called karma.


UPDATE:

*snigger*


I've my flight and accomodation booked for Athens - I regret missing out on Istanbul waaaaaay too much to let that happen again! I wasn't going to go if it was Utd (fear of trouble, fear of spending a fortune to see Gary Neville lift the trophy... grrrrr...). Actually I'm delighted that the spawny bastards have finally been punished for a full season of muck away performances. All I need now is a ticket....

As for Man Yoo and CSKA London they at least have the consolation of fighting it out in the Champions League 3rd/4th Place Play Off - aka the FA Cup Final...

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Irish Blogs