Friday, November 30, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday


Say hello to Billy Bigot! The Orange Order's new superhero! (Edit: He's possibly not going to be called Billy Bigot... maybe Agent Orange... or Super Sammy (B) Special... Jimmy Jaffa?... Graeme Souness!)

I also enjoyed '[w]hile the unnamed character still sports a sash, the traditional bowler hat has been replaced by a trendy purple cape.' I'm fairly sure I have never seen the word 'trendy' paired with 'purple cape' before.

Edit: This is also on The Chancer.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

In God's Country

In here, somewhere, is the Terry Venables that soon won't be a parody, I fear...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

From November's By The Rivers of Babylon column in Prospect:
'Asia cup settles tribal dispute

Two tribes near Najaf, the Fatla and the al-Ghazalat, have been feuding
over land for decades, leaving dozens dead. All past attempts at brokering a
truce have failed, but when Najaf's governor asked Iraq's Soccer Federation to
brandish the Asia Cup - won this summer by the Iraqi national team - in the face of
the stubborn sheikhs to shame them into reconciliation, peace finally prevailed.
It had been the custom for tribes to settle conflict by swearing upon the Koran,
but Iraq has a new national totem, lending credence to the quip that Islam is
Iraq's second religion - behind football.'

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deny

A Fr Kevin Hegarty does some gentle yet precise skewering of the Shell to Sea NIMBYs in today's Irish Times...

'Shell to Sea has a plethora of spokespersons. It is difficult to know who
actually speaks for it. The emphases sometimes vary but the mood music is
similar. They all express an angry frustration with people who do not accept
their dark visions of a future with Shell.

According to last Wednesday's Irish Times , Mary Corduff, one of these
spokespersons, now has no confidence in the EPA. On what authority does she base her claims that her view is superior to the considered reflections of a
reputable and independent agency? I think we should be told.

I believe that Shell to Sea should recognise that support for their
intransigent stand has dropped significantly. Former Mayo independent TD Jerry
Cowley's passionate engagement with their cause did not translate into support
for him in the Erris region in the general election. He failed to get a majority
of the votes even in the areas most affected by the project.

The number of daily protesters at Bellanaboy has dwindled. It is
occasionally swollen by the importation of serial environmental protesters from
far places. These people arrive as dawn breaks over Bellanaboy. They march along the road, tangle with the Garda and shout insults at workers entering the
terminal.

By early afternoon they have fled the scene. In the evening, in the
comfort of their homes, they watch on the news the colourful fodder they have
earlier provided in distant Mayo. How meaningful is that?

Many people fear that the Shell to Sea opposition to the Corrib gas
project has toppled into extremism. To use a phrase, beloved of its supporters,
there is no "community consent" for the badgering of gardaí as they seek to
maintain the rule of democratic law at the gates of Bellanaboy.

Shell to Sea has gambled too long in the environmental casino on an all or
nothing approach. Moderation is the only game in the last-chance saloon.'


All very reasonable - so will probably be ignored as a result.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Drug-Stabbing Time

Just heard Olaf Tyaransen, who pretty much only has a job/profile in journalism because he's so open about his recreational drug use, on The Last Word on Today FM.

I probably agree with his 'prohibition doesn't work' argument. But I'm wondering if it's a side effect of the drugs that he's a dislikeable arsehole, or if he's just like that anyway?

Out Of Control

I never talk about the Health Service because, frankly, it's a really boring topic of conversation.

However two things strike me about the current race to call our health service 'third world' as often as possible.

First, if the people living in every gap in the ditch in the country didn't take to the streets and the airwaves whinging and crying every time it's suggested that maybe having A&E, cancer treatment and maternity services in every said gap in the ditch, and instead accepted that that probably isn't an efficient way to run a health service, then maybe things like the cancer cock-up in Portlaoise wouldn't have happened.

Second, if a lot more people took more responsibility for their own health - i.e. stopped smoking, drinking themselves into the gutter, having unsafe sex, eating shite, driving like lunatics and taking stupid and totally unnecessary risks in the workplace - then maybe the system wouldn't get clogged up and people who get sick through no fault of their own would get the focused care they need.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

Great day in the footie. The miserable September and October seems a long time ago already. The 'Pool seem to be out the other side of their poor form, still unbeaten in the League and after tearing the odious Fat Sam a new one. For good measure ManYoo and their absolutely gash midfield prove they're next to nothing without Rooney 'n' Ronaldo.

But most entertaining was Sunderland's result. I don't like Irish players having such days and I admire Niall Quinn's love for the club, and I admire their fans. But I just can't help having a large dollop of schadenfreude about the whole thing. Especially on the day that The Irish Times' award winning columnist, Keith Duggan, wrote: 'But Roy Keane could lead England back to international respectability. The two qualities needed to manage England are a cool intellect under fire and plenty of cop on. The Corkman has both in spades and he could and would make England happy and glorious once again.' Would?!? Do you not think he should prove he can coach first, Keith?!

Back in August I said: '[T]he Sunderland bandwagon should stall before it properly gets going. You see they're not very good. In fact they're very average, severely lack a bit of craft and they'll have to fight like dogs in their games to get results, which means they won't be pretty. The fact is, even if they survive, Sunderland will lose more often than they'll win. The day-tripping, glory hunting fuckwits - more used to Celtic walking the Scottish Premier, Man Yoo putting someone to the sword with the aid of the ref in the Theatre of Prawns, and Boring Munster grinding their way to Heino triumph - won't put up with that.'

Is it too early for 'I told you so'?

Stay Free

Yet another Prime Minister who hitched himself to the Warren Terror (age 6) bandwagon has bitten the dust. Nice - well done the convicts!

Having said that I think I read one of the most fantastical stretches of logic I have seen in a long time on the Irish Times' Letters page:

Madam, - Maire Garvey (November 22nd) decries the general apathy
towards the brutal sentence imposed on an unfortunate rape victim in Saudi
Arabia and hopes that our Government will make a strong protest to the Saudis.
Unfortunately, her call will probably fall on the deaf ears of a Government
which is cravenly sycophantic to the Saudis' major ally, the US.


The obvious brutality of the Saudi regime exposes the US crusade
for global democracy as phoney rhetoric. This clarion call is only used to
justify such misadventures such as the Iraqi invasion and the ongoing
vilification of the democratically elected President Chavez of Venezula.
What really drives US foreign policy, and thus by default EU foreign policy, is
energy security and the maintenance of the system which allows wealth to be
concentrated in the hands of the few.


It is no coincidence that at the recent Opec summit Saudi Arabia
vetoed any discussion of changing the trade in oil from dollars to other
currencies. With the US economy in such a fragile state, the prospect of oil
being traded in euros could prove the final nail in its coffin.
Iran and Venezuela, two major oil producers pushing for this change, are also under constant attack from the US regime. - Yours, etc,


BARRY WALSH, Church Road, Blackrock, Cork


I honestly can't even begin! I mean a woman jailed for being raped in a nutjob, fundamentalist sandpit is actually the fault of the Americans, because they don't want oil to be traded in Euros... Good Jesus there are some awful gobshites in this country.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Career Opportunities

Bombshell news for me at 7am this morning - my Plant Director (two levels above me) is being promoted, and my boss (or 'Team Leader') is being promoted into that position, which means my boss' management job is now up for grabs!

I'm not the eldest in my group, but I'm the longest serving in this position (by choice I should add; those that were here longer than me were so itchy for any class of a promotion that they have since been moved on to various classes of invent-a-job). Furthermore I'm demonstrably better at my job than my equivalents. That's not being big headed, it's just that I've a lot more experience - going back to a time when the plant experienced a lot of teething problems and I learned a lot under pressure - than those who have arrived since.

But that's not a good reason to be promoted. The Team Leader job is fairly different to what I do now. It means managing the group I'm in and the egos in it; it means taking shedloads of crap from the Director above as well as the minions below; it means whole days block-booked with meetings; it means fighting your corner against your equivalents in your own department and in others; it means fighting with unionised foremen twice your age and twice as cute (as in Cork-cute, not looks-cute). And it means a fairly pathetic pay-rise.

Furthermore I'm not a good company man. I only go to meetings where I'm one of the main speakers; I openly disdain many company mantras like applying six sigma everytime someone so much as drops a spanner; and I scorn much of the touchy feely American-style corpo-guff that management here have to be seen to be fully bought into. And the people who have been getting promoted in recent years are those who are most adept at showing themselves to be good company folk.

So basically, unless the attitude of those who do the hiring changes, I haven't a chance. So I feel I'm wasting my time applying. I totally disagree with those who say you should interview for experience or to show you're ambitious or whatever. The fact is that the chances of getting a promotion in the future are not one bit impacted by previous interviews.

For a start it's likely that all such decision makers will have been rotated out by the next time, and anyway they forget about you (and the 30 others) once the process is over. Besides, for internal promotions like this one, the people making the decisions will already have an idea who they want. If it's me they'll let me know one way or the other.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Deny

Following on from the Homeopathy post the other day, my hero Ben Goldacre was on The Last Word on Monday afternoon (starts 16:36 into the link). Well worth listening to him, and the Irish Society of Homeopaths alchemist who comes on later.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rock The Casbah

This is unreal; sickening and unreal.
An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped.

The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack.
They picked the wrong sandpit to invade that time.

We are better than these people, no excuses, end of. Dunno why people in the West get uncomfortable knowing that.

Overpowered By Funk

Forget the other week, last night I was at the best gig I think I've ever been to in Cork - Caribou in Crane Lane. Stage set-up was the same as this video. When I saw two drumkits at the front facing each other I just knew it was going to be class!





As for the races the other day I did ok - this is Cheyenne Star romping home in the 7.45 to win me the princely sum of €19!




I also went ice skating in the new IceDome in D'Town. Amazingly, for a fella whose sense of balance is not in his ears like everyone else, but up his hole, I did not suck at it. Can't wait to go back!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses


Going home today for the first time in a couple of months, and going to the races tonight. Looking forward to seeing the setup and losing a wad...

Meanwhile D'Town's dissappointing Division 1 campaign should peter out in the first round of the Play-Off tonight in Ballybofey.

After storming to the top of the table early doors, long-term injuries to key players and an alarming loss of confidence have left us facing yet another season in Division 1. However, just to make absolutely sure, the League has also suspended a number of our players for picking up yellow cards.

In most proper Leagues such suspensions are automatic, whereas here a panel has to meet to dish suspensions out. So players who should have missed meaningless end of season games are all now out for the crucial play off as the panel only met about two weeks ago. Great.

Deny

Ben Goldacre, once again, clearly explains why homeopathy is nonsense (thanks HughG).

One thing I've realised, though, is that the very people who should read and understand this article are the sort who would struggle to get through a couple of paragraphs without getting bored and reaching for Celebrity Quick Chat Tea Break Now! magazine.

Most people can't get their head around what the homeopathic 30C and 100C doses imply. To look at the labels you would think that 100C is, in fact, the stronger dose (a stronger dose of nothing, remember). But that is explained succinctly thus:

The typical dilution is called "30C": this means that the original
substance has been diluted by 1 drop in 100, 30 times. On the Society of
Homeopaths site, in their "What is homeopathy?" section, they say that "30C
contains less than 1 part per million of the original substance."

This is an understatement: a 30C homeopathic preparation is a dilution
of 1 in 10030, or rather 1 in 1060, which means a 1 followed by 60 zeroes, or -
let's be absolutely clear - a dilution of 1 in
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

To phrase that in the Society of Homeopaths' terms, we should say: "30C
contains less than one part per million million million million million million
million million million million of the original substance."

At a homeopathic dilution of 100C, which they sell routinely, and which
homeopaths claim is even more powerful than 30C, the treating substance is
diluted by more than the total number of atoms in the universe. Homeopathy was
invented before we knew what atoms were, or how many there are, or how big they are. It has not changed its belief system in light of this information.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If Music Could Talk

A couple of months back I bought Fionn Regan tickets for his gig in Cork last Saturday night. Singer-songwriter types just aren't my cupán tae, to be honest (I can't take them remotely as seriously as they take themselves, plus I think all that emotion is faked for the most part), but I figured they'd make good date tickets.

So I took the current squeeze to his gig on Saturday night and all I can say is 'what a crock of shite!' He came on about 9:50pm and was wrapping up, post encore, by 10:40pm. Furthermore the saucepan-haired freak insisted on singing two songs sans microphone, AND QUIETLY, standing at the edge of the stage, which meant only those right up the front could hear anything. Tosser.

I should have demanded my money back but I'm not the confrontational sort. She was well unimpressed too, but at least didn't blame me for taking her to something so dull. Still, if you read this you'll be asking why I ever dreamed of getting tickets in the first place.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Egg Chasing Time

Number Crunching

21,506 - Attendance at the Heineken 'European' Cup match in Coventry on Saturday evening between the reigning champions and the previous year's champions.

23,431 - Attendance at English Championship (i.e. Division 2) side Coventry City's recent match against Colchester Utd, officially the 28th and 38th ranked teams in English football, in the same stadium.

Boring Munster were less boring than normal. Probably why they lost (couldn't see the Liverpool game anywhere).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If Music Could Talk

My iPod: 22nd November 2004 - 9th November 2007. RIP. Won't restore, won't format. The various message boards and the like seem to be blaming iTunes 7. I probably should be pissed off with Apple if their new software has broken my iPod. They charge €260 to repair, according to the Apple website.

But I have decided to just go buy a new one now. They seem to have improved a bit in the last few years - might even be able to get the train all the way home and back without having to bring a charger with me!

I've started hearing people again too. Coughing, sniffing and crying babies are not sounds that soothe the soul. And people talk such shite! Fascinating...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Career Opportunities

Remember the survey I mentioned? Well we found out today that the global response rate was 87%. The other 13% probably already know they're being made redundant.

Anyhoo apparently 'Every people manager, who had four or more colleagues respond, will receive access to their individual scorecard.' Gotta love that grammar.

'These survey results will serve as a baseline from which we can measure our improvement as we move forward. But these scores are just the starting point. Each manager’s scorecard will provide an opportunity for discussion within teams and mutual action planning. Everyone needs to be involved in this action planning to make an impact on engagement and make a difference in our work environment.' And gotta love the corpo guff.

'Every people manager will be expected to have a 2008 performance objective that includes having an action plan and working on it, with their team, throughout the year. You will hear specifics about this objective during the objective setting process. When the survey is again administered late in 2008, we can then measure our improvement.' Looking forward to it already.

You'll Never Walk Alone

As I watched Liverpool trounce Besiktas last night (yes, they were crap - teams that let eight goals in generally are, so what's your point?) I realised that it was the first time I was able to sit back and enjoy watching my team play since the 5-0 spanking of Derby or Ireland's 4-0 friendly victory in Denmark in September. Football is a bitch.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Complete Control

Delighted for them...

Julia Kushnir, the woman who survived the car crash in which former
Fianna Fáil TD Liam Lawlor died, has settled her libel actions against five
Irish newspapers.

Ms Kushnir, a Ukrainian interpreter based in Prague, was suing the
Sunday World, the Sunday Independent, The Irish Sunday Mirror, the Sunday
Tribune and the Irish Independent.

Lawyers for the Sunday World, Independent Newspapers and the Sunday
Tribune apologised to Ms Kushnir in court today.

The newspapers said they were happy to confirm that Ms Kushnir was a very
respectable woman and never had any involvement whatsoever with prostitution.

They accepted the articles should never have been published.

Substanial damages have been paid to Ms Kushnir, The settlements with
Independent newspapers and the Sunday Tribune are subject to a confidentiality
clause but she is believed to have received at least €500,000 and her costs.

This Is England

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because
players couldn't understand it.

The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday
after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a
temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a
winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some.
Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could
not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with
several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said:
"On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The
numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.

"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher
- not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.

"I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't
say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or
lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been
misled."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fast Cars

Have I totally missed something, or is the death of that girl following a car accident (tragic and all as it must be for her family and friends) getting so much more attention than other road fatalities just because it happened in Australia?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Original Of The Species

Saw Andrew Maxwell last night in Cork. Great gig. This is some of the stuff he did. His little digs at Cork people were great but he slagged off d'Town too, the little git. Should have slapped him...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Overpowered By Funk

I've been to three gigs in the last three nights in Cork - Fight Like Apes, Cathy Davey and Two Gallants:


Fight Like Apes on Tuesday. Great fun - mad as a box a frogs. Not sure I'd buy their stuff, though.


Cathy Davey on Wednesday - she was dressed as a she-devil and the backing band are all in skeleton costumes! Really great gig and a great album too.


There was, in fact, only one Gallant as the other one couldn't leave the States due to, eh, 'passport difficulties and issues with US authorities'(!) So that became a fairly dull acoustic gig, which was a shame. The support, Blitzen Trapper, were a lot more interesting - 70s style American Rock, not dissimilar to Kings of Leon maybe. Anyway I bought their album at the gig. Good tunes for driving.

Cheapskates

Apropos of absolutely nothing, some politician in Britain decided to make a name for himself yesterday...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hitsville UK

In an attempt to break the interweb I just googled 'Google' on google.ie.

I clicked the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button and was brought to... google.co.uk

Fake Plastic Trees

Do you know what's really annoying about all the Christmas stuff starting up after Halloween? All the people queuing up to give out about it. I think there might be a prize for the first letter published in the papers or the first call to Joe or Gerry whinging.

'Oh the ads start earlier and earlier every year...' No they don't. If they really did we'd be seeing ads in June by now, because people have been moaning about that for at least 20 years.

'I was in Brown Thomas / Debenhams / Arnotts / Clery's and they have their Christmas displays up ALREADY! Isn't it awful?...' Yes, trees and coloured lights offend me greatly too.

'Christmas has got sooooo commercialised...' Oh I know! I much prefer the other ten months of the year when there's no one trying to flog you anything.

Seriously, get over yourselves.
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