Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car

In this country you hold a Provisional Driving Licence for two years before you have to get it renewed. The waiting list for a driving test is 45 weeks, at absolute worst. Therefore each and every whinging tosser has had at least a year (or the opportunity to do it twice) to get their act together and prove that actually yes, they have earned the right to share the highways with me. But they didn't bother their holes because they knew the law wasn't being policed. And then they cried about it when someone announced that maybe such a law should be policed. Pathetic.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Silver And Gold

Premiership footballers are an easy target for oprobium - millionaire lifestyles for a few hours training a day and, two matches a week (at most) for 40 weeks a year. Often the hacks can't use the word 'footballers' without the prefix 'pampered, overpaid millionaire'.

Recently a nurses' charity in England carried out a quite disgusting blackmail job via the media when they revealed they had asked for a donation of a day's wages from all the Premier League footballers and then published the names of the players and clubs who did not contribute. Gareth Southgate, Middlesbro' manager, went way up in my estimation when he told them where to go.

Now without meaning to engage in whataboutery, it's worth remembering that relatively few footballers earn the megabucks compared to the total numbers that ply that trade for the entertainment of others worldwide, and that they do so at the permanent risk of career-ending injuries in a career that will only last 'til the age of 35 (at best).

Furthermore those that succeed in football do so almost purely because of nurtured talent and a drive to be the best. It is pretty much independent of all those things that give people an accepted advantage in any other walk of life - where you're from, the colour of your skin, how good your parents are or how much money they have, the quality of your education etc.

Yet footballers seem to get all the grief, probably due to our fixation with celebrity culture (although I'm sure they can cope!) whereas company directors get away with scandalous wealth accumulation and tax avoision (it's a word!) with, at most, the criticism of a handful of media commentators and nothing more.

For example the former CEO of the company I work for presided over the virtual destruction of shareholder value (the share-price has halved in the last 5-years while the market trend has been upwards) and yet he walked away with a package of some $80 million last year!

Now the word is that the main man at Merrill Lynch investment bank could walk away with $150 million in stock and pension after he was sacked for major losses. In fact to avoid taxes (worldwide) the annual bonuses company directors receive are often in stock options, and in excess of their annual salaries, where once they would only have been a relatively small percentage (i.e. what the rest of us normal professionals get).

It also has to be remembered that these people award themselves their pay packets (it's an insult to be told shareholders vote on them) and that they're often directors of more than one company (and each other's companies).

And yet no one says a word (or would even dream of doing something about such ludicrous pay levels). Instead poor, dumb sports people - who at least divert the blue and white collar muppets' attention from our daily grind working for these silver-spoon gobbed Harvard shysters - get all the grief. Laughable, if you think about it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dirty Day

You'd know it was the October Bank Holiday and Cork Jazz Weekend - the weather is after turning rotten. I'm (almost) glad I'm working. I'm still going out tonight, though, to see this fella...



Jazz is perfect for a place like Cork - this place is already full of folk blowing their own trumpets.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Colleague

A moment of pop psychology, as I type, from the great Lenny as he tells me about his impending bank holiday with the in-laws...

"Awww... you can't separate a woman and her mother d'ya'know what I mean, hey!"

Er... ok?...

Unforgettable Fire

While the Beautiful Game continues to bitch-slap me about the place (although watching Arsenal right now is like watching ballet with a football) at least music diverted the mind for the last two nights.


On Tuesday I saw The Enemy in Dublin's Ambassador - a great wee gig, I hope they and their Jamminess go far - and last night I saw Arcade Fire in the Phoenix Park. Despite the philistines [that's right I said philistines ;-)] it was another fabulous show, if slightly let down by the sound and the poor views of the stage.

The Brixton gig I saw on St Patrick's Day was better but only because of the venue. Once again the ten minutes or so where Power Out is rolled into Rebellion was sensational.



Here's my old-man rant, though: There were loads of people sticking their shfugly girlfriends (and sometimes their mates) up on their shoulders during the best bits. It's got to be the most ignorant thing you can do at a gig. It's bad enough that my concert stalker is always there to block my view at concerts without those arseholes doing it too.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Deny

There's a Head 2 Head debate in today's Irish Times about the Erris gas terminal and pipeline, between Pádraig Cosgrove (in support) and Maura Harrington (NIMBY).

Mr Cosgrove's piece is standard stuff - investment in a deprived region, jobs for the locals, cash for the community from a large multi-national eager to appear to be responsible corporate citizens. He also points out the undeniable truth that a lot of the protestors are from outside the area - in my words, a bunch of self-important wannabes who fancy themselves as anti-globalisation protestors (i.e. half-wits).

Ms Harrington's piece is great, however, because surely any reading of it shows that the protestors don't deserve even a modicum of sympathy...

'It is standard Big Oil spin to talk in terms of "local benefit", when the
bottom line for all such corporations - in this instance Royal Dutch Shell - is
the maximisation of shareholder profit. Shell makes a conservative €2 million
profit per hour, 24/7. To talk therefore of "benefits" of €1 million here, or
€20 million there, is insulting when it is looked at in terms of one or 10 hours
of Shell profit in any one year.'
So what?! She makes it sound like she's just exposed their dirty big secret. Since when was maximising profits some kind of great evil? Shell are quite free to insult me with €1 million any time they like!

"...[I]n Rossport, Dooncarton/Glengad and Pullathomas (the scene of major
landslides in 2003) - in fact all the villages in the parish of Kilcommon -
there exists an intelligently informed resolve that the project as proposed is
unacceptable. This resolve is attested by over 80 per cent of parish inhabitants
willingly signing a petition to that effect."
A petition? Democracy is now having someone shove a clipboard in your face to see if you have the balls to risk being seen to go against the local loudmouths? And what has a landslide got to do with anything? Straw-man argument.

There then follows the standard puff about how beautiful the area is, as if extracting natural resources guarantees its destruction. Of course you can point to examples all over the world where that has, indeed, happened. But one does not automatically follow the other and that is why you elect governments to create agencies like the EPA to ensure a company abides by the regulations set down. I have worked for two major multi-nationals and have dealt with the EPA in both. It is a fine, dedicated organisation that deserves to be trusted by the citizens to do its job.

"In Erris, there is support for the proposed project from the usual
quarters, the Chamber of Commerce, the golf club, local party politicians and
anybody who is currently making a few bob."
An ad hominem argument, bordering on the slanderous.

"The Rossport Five and the Shell to Sea campaign have done the State some
service."
God she's delusional. Trying to leave us dependant on foreign countries for our fuel and energy needs on the basis of lies, innuendo, weak analogies and a poor grasp of science and engineering. That's some service alright.

I wonder if she's gone back teaching yet (you know, the job she's paid to do from the taxes paid by private sector workers) or is she still out on the sick?

See that? Anyone can do ad hominem...

Somebody Got Murdered

So the guy who rang RTE's Liveline on a mobile phone from his prison cell has been shot dead.

I wonder will the phones be eerily quiet today! Unlikely, I suppose, which is a pity...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Power sharing or not Northern Ireland in general, and South Armagh in particular, is still a diseased little shithole of a place.

A Man And A Woman

Last night I decided to walk home from the pub I was in in Cork, rather than get a taxi. It was about 12:30 a.m. and, about halfway, a woman came out of a house on her own about 50 metres in front of me. Within a couple of seconds I realised I was catching her very quickly and, without thinking, crossed the road to pass her from the other side. I'm sure you can guess why.

When I was sure I was a fair bit in front of her I crossed back but suddenly panicked that I had done the wrong thing, and that I might have scared her into thinking I was going to stop and face her. So I put my head down and quickened my pace some more, without ever turning around. I still can't work out if all that was a bit OTT or not.

Orange Crush

Cosmo Landesman gave this 5-stars in today's Sunday Times. I now declare the world a strange and hostile place for me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

Nervous as hell this morning. I'm very worried about how the most important match of the weekend is going to go... C'MON!

Nah, I'm only kidding - there's another match taking place today that's just as important and has me just as nervous... C'MON!

That's it. There is nothing else happening today that I could give a flying... about.


Update: Uggh 1 and uggh 2 (despite the win).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Somebody Got Murdered

I met more than one person this week that presumed a 'non-national' was responsible for the murder of that Swiss girl, Manuela Riedo, in Galway. And I doubt those that said it to me were the only people thinking that...

Well a thoroughly Irish fella has now been charged with the murder. By the way who are these freaks that turn up outside court houses to jeer the accused when this sort of thing happens? Not as hateful as criminals, obviously, but odious pricks all the same. It makes you wonder just how far we really have evolved from the days of the stocks.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dirty Day

Right. That's it. That's definitely it this time - get him out now. When I think of the money I spend following the team... I just don't know. I don't blame the players - it's all down to the manager. I said the other day that I wondered if the good performances were despite him. They were. What went on last night was ridiculous. It was obvious from the moment the team was announced that we would struggle. The team he put out was unfathomable. But I didn't boo. I would never boo. John Delaney, you are some ####.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Somebody Got Murdered

Ah, so he was just some coked up Brazilian. Well obviously that makes shooting him seven times in the head while lying on top of him alright, then. Wankers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Deny

Football, music and giving out about charlatans are the combined passions of this blog and, in this post, at least two of them come together!

Our gallant Scottish cousins are on the verge of qualifying for the European Championship in the Anschluss and Nazi-Goldbank next summer. Furthermore they currently lead a group that contains the World Champions, the runners-up and a beaten quarter finalist.

I don't normally like seeing major teams failing to qualify for tournaments - you definitely notice when the likes of England, for example, or Holland aren't there (except, of course, when we qualify at their expense!) - but it looks like it's going to happen here.

So which one to want to see the back of? Well I'm going with France. That does mean having a major tournament not graced (and I use that word deliberately) by Thierry Henry for starters. But it would mean the batty Raymond Domenech getting the bullet. And that would be a very good thing.

Because, you see, Domenech is not only a very keen astrologer and tarot reader he actually allows it to influence team selection! He doesn't trust scorpios (!) and often refused to select Robert Pires regardless of form on the basis of his date of birth.

So for that nonsense alone I want the wops to join the jocks.

And if you can read all the way through this without your eyes bleeding then fair play to you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Acrobat

I discovered something getting the train to Dublin for the match on Saturday - elderly people can't manoeuvre sideways. The train was full and I had gotten out of my seat for some old dear, meaning I had to stand in the aisle. To my growing frustration plenty of people were heading to the snack-car but at least most attempted to sidle past me with minimal contact. However every single coffin dodger that came along just barrelled straight through me like I wasn't there. People in their seats started laughing about it after a while. I remained stoic.


As for the game itself I was very happy, yet wondered what could have been. Still if it was a sign that the players are developing under Stan, as opposed to performing despite him, then the future may be bright after all. We don't have much strength in depth but we have very decent (and young) players in just about every position on the park with good back up too. I didn't see that coming two years ago to be honest. Still, with Scotland doing so well, you can't help wondering what a really decent coach (Paul Jewell maybe) could do with that team.


What Justice Paul Carney said about Majella Holohan's Victim Impact Statement was entirely correct. That people have attacked Carney since and defended her 'right' to do what she did in effectively branding Wayne O'Donoghue a paedophile actually proves that Carney is correct. Because for these people to defend what she did means they accept what she implied as being fact - despite the evidence, such as it was, being deemed either inadmissable or unsound. Maybe Wayne O'Donoghue doesn't deserve much sympathy, and certainly not in comparison to Ms Holohan. But to go from being guilty of your neighbour's manslaughter to being his paedophile murderer in the eyes of the public on the basis of innuendo is disgraceful and shouldn't have been let happen.


There are, apparently, a lot more than a handful of Irish people that chose to watch England and France re-enact the battle of the Somme (minus Germans) on Saturday night rather than watch their country play a Euro qualifier (including Germans). This country is going to the dogs and England now appear to be the Greece of 'world' cup peanut-hugging.


Saw the Pigeon Detectives in Cork on Friday. Decent set, but as generic as it gets, really. Dublin review here. Super Furry Animals in Cork tonight. I've never seen them, looking forward to it. Work has blocked myspace, so look them up yourselves!


Speaking of which the blocking page has this message: "We have blocked myspace.com as a result of the proliferation of malicious software being distributed from this web site. Corporate IT understands the personal value some colleagues receive from this web site, but the business risk is unacceptable." So now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Paint It Black

*snigger*



Obviously before they hired the choreographers... and became steroid junkies...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Colleague

You may remember Lenny, the work colleague I was sent to the States with this time two years ago. Well we're still working on the same project but, thankfully, I managed to convince the boss man that we would be more effective concentrating on separate plants in our project rather than both of us trying to do bits in every plant. This has had the favourable knock-on effect of allowing me to limit my dealings with a guy that absolutely does my nut in.

So all's well and good. However this week there's a 'Leadership Team' in town. Now in the company I work for everyone is a 'Leader', in fact 'leadership' is one of the comapany's core values (Jesus weeps...). Furthermore everyone whose job function has 'Leader' in the title (i.e. everyone bar the blue-collar grunts and the bottom-level technical staff like me), AND everyone who aspires to be one of these Leaders, must complete a Leader Behaviours course designed to ensure that all these types stay on message at all times. Of course if everyone is on the same road and going in the same direction you'd wonder why so many leaders are required...

Anyway I digress. So these junketeers are in town - mostly in from the States, some from England - and they were to get tours of the plants and presentations on various projects, including ours. So the boss man decided Lenny's stuff would be presented. This was absolutely fine by me because a) the various managers brick themselves over these things and are a pain in the hole as a result; b) they're a lot of extra work and meetings and I'm busy enough as it is, thanks all the same; and c) the junketeers never actually listen to a word you say and openly spend the time checking emails and going out of the room to make calls and so on.

But Lenny, having delusions of leadership grandeur, was delighted, and set about preparing his stuff with great enthusiasm. We all went to a meeting on Monday to do a pre-check of his stuff and the fella had pretty much written out essays on PowerPoint slides. I, not unreasonably, mentioned that the secret was in the name - 'Point' - i.e. short, snappy bullet points that you talk around (I personally have a 6 x 6 rule - no more than six bullet points and no more than six words per point in a slide). It didn't go down well and it wasn't changed. I didn't care, I tried to help.

So fast forward to today and the boss man asks me if I'm going to the tours and presentations. I said I hadn't intended to, so I was told to turn up for Lenny's to have the whole 'team' present. Next thing I know Lenny is ringing me up and telling me not to say anything during his presentation! I mutter 'no problem' on the basis that I figure he's well able to make a fool of himself on his own. So, anyway, up I went at the allotted time and no sign of the junketeers. I hung around for half an hour and then asked to go back to work.

It turns out that the junketeers had stayed at lunch for almost two hours and were so late they basically had to run past everyone's presentations in jig-time. What should have been 15-minutes for Lenny to make a lasting impression (in his eyes - the gullible shite) was turned into less than 3-minutes of waffle from the boss man, with Lenny glumly and unsuccessfully trying to get them all to listen to him, before they headed off to the next poor sap whose time had been equally wasted.

I laughed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Career Opportunities

The average job: paper-pushing, deskbound, punctuated by meetings with people you loathe... in fact pretty much the only time in your life that you're forced into close, conversational proximity with a variety of other people, regardless of your feelings about them, on a daily basis. Mana from heaven, you would think, for a bit of comedy gold.

And so last night BBC2 had The Grumpy Guide to... Work. I've never seen one of these 'grumpy guides' before but I figured it had to be good - universal recognition of the subject matter, targets like fish in a barrel (corporate guff, internet dossing, meetings about meetings, sickies, office parties etc), British satire being the best in the world...

But no, it was a pile of cack. I'm not suggesting that being a music journalist/DJ (Stuart Maconie) isn't a real job; nor that being a TV review journalist (Kathryn Flett) isn't a real job, nor that being a... er... whatever Laurence Llewellyn Bowen does isn't a real job; nor being a stage actor (Nigel Havers) or a stand-up (Steve Punt). But, at the same time, what do any of these know about the sort of work the vast majority of us do; i.e. work that doesn't put you on the telly or on the radio?

So instead of getting those knowing 'YES' moments when it feels like you're in on the best of in-jokes, and instead of hearing the killer lines I could rob to entertain my colleagues, all I did was sit there and think 'you don't have a f#cking notion, do you? You twat' as thespian Nigel sat and tried to be funny about email and as Laurence quipped about something or other and as Stuart tried to be witty about meetings.

I should do my own show for BBC2. I'd call it The Grumpy Guide to... No-Mark Celebs Being Lined Up to be Unfunny About Stuff They Clearly Know Nothing About for a Half-Hour of Cheap-Ass Telly. It'd be class.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Deny

I used to buy the Observer regularly, but stopped and went back to Rupert's Sunday Times because the Observer had been so blatantly dumbing down since it changed to Berliner format (or whatever it's called). I got it again yesterday for a train ride back to Cork from Dublin. It'll be the last time I buy it for a very long time at a guess. The same nonsense appeared in most of the tabloids too, but you don't expect any integrity from them. Of course the Sunday Times has a bit of history with bullshit reportage too.

Egg Chasing Time

So apparently the biff-bang-wallop 'World' Cup is still going. I thought they might have cancelled it in sympathy when the Golden Generation TM got dumped out of it. How inconsiderate.

Still I must say that I'm delighted that both the riverdancing wife-beaters and the convicts have been knocked out.



Very Maori looking guy, your man licking his chin there.

You see the French decided to go toe-to-toe with New Zealand's war dancers (which makes a nice change from when the Germans shape up in front of them) so, had they not won, all we'd be hearing is 'Ooh, they they made the All Blacks mad staring down the haka' etc, etc. Pass the sick bucket...

So for that reason alone I'm glad France won.

Meanwhile maybe the New Zealanders could do the planet a favour and drop the convicts back to HMP Australia on their way home? Carbon footprint and all that...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Drug-Stabbing Time

Back in the day I wrote a wee piece about the state of the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland. It was the day after it was first announced that "Amgen, the great white hope, are postponing work on their plant for a couple of years (so they say now)", as I put it at the time. Well, to precisely nobody's surprise (except Mickey Mouse Martin, the Enterprise Minister, it would appear), 'a couple of years' has become 'never gonna happen'.

In fairness to the government, the problems really are specific to that company and no reflection on Ireland as a place to do business (for once) but still the original announcement was clearly bollocks designed to minimise any effect on the local Fianna Fáil TDs in the election. Of course everyone around here knows that, and has been telling anyone who'll listen that *they* knew that, so you have to wonder why they didn't 'punish' the government TDs at the time if they believed the government were to blame?

Electric Co

Pretty much the only job my flatmate, Ginger Rave, has in our apartment is to pay the electricity bill. I do pretty much everything else. But the bills always seem quite high as there are only two of us in the gaff and we don't have many high-wattage appliances like microwaves, second TVs and hair driers to drink the juice. I've been putting it down to increased energy costs and such and such.

So anyway Ginger Rave is away at the egg-chasing 10-White Nations at the moment so, when the bill came in, claiming to be overdue from July, I figured I'd sort it out myself. It was for €160, which I couldn't understand as we never had the heating on all summer despite the crap weather.

So down I went to read the meter and I rang the ESB to balance it for me. Turns out the dumb fecker has NEVER done this and instead of owing the ESB money they owe us money! We've enough credit to see out the year and beyond! What a bleedin' idiot. Pleasant surprise, though!
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