Friday, December 21, 2007

A Celebration

I was at a carol concert in St Francis Church in Cork last night. The star attraction was the soprano Cara O'Sullivan of whom, needless to say, I have never heard. Anyway the choirs were a lot more palatable to my ears than her solo operatic affairs.

O Holy Night is always beautiful and was gorgeous last night. But my sneaking favourite was the Ukrainian Carol (or Carol of the Bells), as ably sung here by Mr Mackey, mmkay...



Also a children's choir from a local Gaelscoil sang a traditional Zulu song translated into Irish. Luckily I had my Zulu-Irish, Irish-Zulu dictionary on hand to ensure they weren't cheating...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Original Of The Species

Went to Jesus - The Guantanamo Years in Cork last night. There was only about 20 people there, which made the whole thing a damp squib. Incredibly, for such a small crowd, there still managed to be one tremendously unfunny heckler. Not sure it was all that anyway - this clip will give you a taste:

Silver And Gold

Unbelievable!

Nobody won the Lotto and it's rolling over to a big Christmas draw on Saturday. Who'd've thunk it?!

Not sure if it will be a record jackpot on Saturday, and next Wednesday is St Stephen's Day, so it might roll over just once more...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lose This Skin

I got a crispy baguette for lunch. The crust tore up the roof of my mouth. I'm now playing with the flaps of skin with my tongue. Hate that.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Overpowered By Funk

Cos I've seen similar elsewhere, here are the 20 albums I listened to the most this year through iTunes:

1 Kings of LeonBecause of the Times
2 The HoursNarcissus Road
3 BeirutThe Gulag Orkestar
4 Art BrutIt's A Bit Complicated
5 Bloc PartyA Weekend In the City
6 LCD SoundsystemSound of Silver
7 Field MusicTones Of Town
8 The ClashLondon Calling
9 AirPocket Symphony
10 The Arcade FireNeon Bible
11 BattlesMirrored
12 Cansei de Ser SexyCansei de Ser Sexy
13 Cold War KidsRobbers & Cowards
14 The EnemyWe'll Live and Die In These Towns
15 Kings of LeonYouth & Young Manhood
16 The LemonheadsThe Lemonheads
17 Kings of LeonAha Shake Heartbreak
18 The ClashThe Clash
19 Fleetwood MacGreatest Hits
20 Arctic MonkeysWhatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

To be honest that list isn't at all accurate. A few reformats of the old iPod wiped my play counters.

Tap Tap, Interpol, Editors, Arctic Monkeys, The National, The Hold Steady, The New Pornographers, Caribou, Stars, Beirut, The Good The Bad & The Queen, Cathy Davey probably all belong in there somewhere.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

Once again ManYoo pull their best Everton impression in Anfield. Fooking sickened. Liverpool were bloody awful.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Silver And Gold

Last time we had a record Lotto (i.e. tax on stupid/desperate people) jackpot in this country I pointed out that we would regularly have massive jackpots, simply because the odds of winning are roughly one in four times the total adult population of the whole country.

Now the jackpot has rolled-over to €10 million+ for tomorrow's draw, coincidentally just in time for Christmas.

I do have a hat ready, just in case, but I'm willing to make a wager of my own - that the jackpot will roll-over again tomorrow, and again on Wednesday and the biggest jackpot EVAH! will be won on Saturday 22nd December in the last draw before Christmas. And it will all be a pure coincidence, of course.

EDIT: Shockingly, the jackpot is, indeed, rolling over til Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Deny

I groaned when I saw this headline - 'I quit the cancer treatment and got better my own way' - in today's Irish Independent. I thought 'here we go' and, within a couple of lines, the hack describes how...

"It wasn't the disease, she believed, that was in danger of killing her; it was the cure. After suffering a profoundly negative reaction to chemotherapy, the 47-year-old Drogheda woman did something that most cancer patients wouldn't contemplate.

She abandoned her treatment and walked away from conventional medicine.

By all accepted healthcare standards, it was a crazy thing to do. She was potentially signing her own death warrant. Convinced that she had little
choice, she embarked on a complex 'natural holistic' programme of treatment,
devised by herself, based around diet and meditation. Not only is she still
around to tell her tale, she looks the picture of good health."

Of course there's a very good reason why they haven't interviewed all those women in equally poor health, that turned to alternative 'holistic' treatments in desperation - only to find they didn't work. People like my similarly-aged aunt, for example.

They're all dead.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Partygirl

OK. I've had enough.

Apropos of nothing, a tragedy is when a person of potential greatness is destined for downfall or destruction because of 'fate' or some flaw of character.

A lot of people should go read Othello.

That is all.

Deny

People who should be sterilised... or at least have the vote taken off them... Part 92: People who buy this book...

According to today's Irish Independent, The Secret is in line to become the No. 1 selling book in Ireland for Christmas.

If you don't already know, "the 'secret' of obtaining anything you desire is now revealed by prominent physicists, authors and philosophers as being based in the universal Law of Attraction. And the good news is that anyone can access its power to bring themselves health, wealth and happiness. Fragments of The Secret have been found in oral traditions, literature, religions and philosophies throughout the centuries."

Sexism alert! - Unfortunately I suspect a lot more women will read this book, and be credulous of its nonsense, than men.

Back in March The Onion summarised the books main points:

  • You deserve whatever you want no matter how awful you are.
  • Try not to use any critical-thinking skills or logic when pondering concept of The Secret.
  • Capitalizing on basic human feelings such as greed can bring you vast wealth.
  • Eat a hearty breakfast every day.
  • Please allow universe six to eight millennia to deliver.
  • You can never be too tan.
  • The Secret does not work if you are attempting to learn it from stolen, bootlegged, or borrowed products from Prime Time Productions.
Also, back in May this time, Slate took Oprah to task for promoting the book (one of the main reasons for its success):

"Since you gave it your endorsement, The Secret has become one of the fastest-selling books and probably the most successful infomercial in history. The gaggle of gurus who peddle The Secret's message all over the world are still out there, arguing that it is the answer to every atrocity and tragedy. One went so far as to blame the suffering in Darfur on stinkin' thinkin'."
The nonsense that is the Law of Attraction is dealt with here.

Maybe I should picket Eason's?...

A Sort Of Homecoming


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Complete Control

As sure as night follows day, a 'nation is going to hell in a handcart' headline is on the front page of the Sunday Independent. As sad as the recent cocaine deaths have surely been for the families of those who have died, stuff like 'Ireland's cocaine crisis is set to dramatically worsen...' is sensationalist, fear mongering rubbish.

The vast majority of cocaine users may be wankers, or at least act like wankers on the drug, but they will also ultimately just grow out of taking it. That's not to suggest it's harmless, or that there aren't very unpleasant anecdotal incidents arising from its use (the effects of its illegal distribution is a separate argument), but to claim that 'the consequences [of increased cocaine consumption] will dwarf the heroin crisis of the Seventies and Eighties' is scandalous reporting, virtually identical to the over-hyped ecstasy scares of 15-years ago.

If the yoofs have learned anything this week they'll have learned that you don't eat coke, which you would have thought was bleeding obvious anyway. So hopefully no one else will die that way.

Anyway the best line in the piece is 'In [a] Sunday Independent survey, 90 per cent of people said they believe that the gardai should get tough on cocaine abuse.' Surely one of the most stupid, pointless, er, lines that you'll read this year?

Dreadlock Holiday

RTE are looking for nominations for the RTE Sports Awards 2007.

Harrington and, more importantly, our cricket team should be absolute shoo-ins. Especially considering the debacle in the football and the utter, utter failure of the over-hyped egg-chasing bandwagon. Maybe I'm wrong but I suspect they'll play safe and boring and give it to the Kerry football team.

It would be a nonsense to give it to the Special Olympians either, which is a strong possibility too. Nothing against them, it's just they're a team in a very loose sense of the word. In reality they're a collection of individuals who competed in different sports with varying degrees of success. Not the same thing at all.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Deny

Went to Dara O'Briain last night in the Cork Opera House. Pretty good stand up but he's not a natural. Anyway my favourite part of the show was when he got stuck into alternative medicine and the media. I can't find a clip exactly the same, but it was a bit like this bit:

Partygirl

I knew the hand wringing would be nauseating, and so it is. There's a real blizzard of it, and the Indo (no shock there) seems to be leading the charge to the lines.

They should get Elton to release a charidee song - Scandal in the Sind' maybe. Ginger 'Barry' Ego might like that. They might have to reform Band Aid too. Never mind Africa - if this keeps up there won't be snow in Krystle this Christmas either.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Silver And Gold

This post is, almost, my annual post explaining why I won't buy a house. In September 2005 I explained, via some maths I could barely understand myself, how if I wanted to buy 'a €250,000 house I would have to find the first €20K of that and borrow the other €230K. That mortgage over 30 years at the current Standard Variable interest rate (3.3%) works out at a repayment of €1,006 per month. For the sake of a simplified argument, assuming that I stay in that house for 30 years, don't change my repayments and the interest rate never rises, then I will pay a total of €362,160 back to the bank and €382,160 in total for the house - a 53% increase on the purchase price.'

At today's interest rates for the same house those figures become 5.2% and a monthly repayment of €1,246. Over 30 years I would pay the bank €448,560 and a total of €468,560 for the house, which is now an 87% increase on the original €250K purchase price!

I also explained that it all 'equates to a bank profit of €367 per month. I pay rent of €425 per month.' Those figures are now a bank profit of €607 per month while my rent is now €450 (although due to go up to €475 in the New Year). See the change? And remember to 'profit' from my house it would have to be worth more than the €468K I really pay for it in 30 years AND that doesn't factor in the decrease in the value of money due to inflation (i.e. the real figure is somewhat more again, probably about €600K at inflation of 2% per year for 30 years).

Last year I said a fall was coming (not clapping myself on the back, btw) and I explained why I justified in 2005 'not buying a house to myself on the basis of actual cost (as opposed to perceived costs) over the period of a mortgage, which would effectively equate to my entire working life.' and how 'since that time the banks have started offering 100% mortgages and repayment periods of up to 40-years, directly fuelling another staggering jump in house prices this year. Well we're now at the point where only those with a vested interest (the banks, the landowners, the developers and the auctioneers and, I suppose, those who have been buying in at the top end since early 2004) in seeing the madness continue genuinely believe it can.

Anyway I bring it up because of the opening lines from David McWilliams' article in last Sunday's Business Post:
'You would be mad to buy a house now. In recent days the Irish housing lobby
- which has hijacked the economic debate in this country and made an absolute
fortune in the process - has started to spin the line that ‘‘now is a good time
to buy’’. First-time buyers, the most hard-pressed financial subgroup in the
country, are being urged by banks and estate agents to take the plunge. Do not
be tempted, because you will only be the lemming-like suckers who bail out
developers in trouble. Hold onto your cash. Guard it zealously, because prices
are headed lower - not just here, but all around the world.'

He's right. And it doesn't matter what Biffo does in the Budget today...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Partygirl

While reading Ian O'Doherty's excellent tell it as it is piece on Islamonutjobism on the Irish Independent's website over lunch, the 'Most Popular' list caught my eye - the top FIVE of the ten stories listed are about Katy French.



Anyway rumour has it she's shuffled off to a party in the sky as of about an hour ago. If true, the hand wringing is going to be nauseating.

EDIT: Whoops! Jumped the gun a bit I think!

Ivan Meets GI Joe

'Western governments expressed concern about the poll in which President Vladimir Putin's party secured almost two-thirds of the vote.'

Sounds like the unpopular bastards are all a bit jealous - 'Would you look at your one's votes - they're never real! There's no way he has votes like that naturally...' etc.

Charlie Don't Surf

Apparently hacks looking for a reaction from Katy French's modelling, er, pals to Ms French's imminent demise said that Glenda Gilson refused to comment when told the news... but that she looked very surprised!


I crack me up.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Stories For Boys

Saw this in a pharmacy on Saturday. I know there's nothing 'ol scary eyebrows wouldn't, eh, front up for.



I'm sorry the picture sucks - the strapline is her Glendaness saying 'I increased by a full cup size in just 3 months', promoting some breast augmentation cream or other. Oh, and can I assume that it's unnecessary for me to confirm that I wasn't actually browsing the breast augmentation cream section?...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Egg Chasing Time

I didn't expect Leinster to beat Boring Munster, to be honest (no one did I'd say), so I missed a glorious opportunity for some high quality wumming all last week. I'll have to make up for it on Monday. I particularly enjoyed how the 'best rugby supporters in the world' TM went all quiet and headed for the exits despite there only being one score between the teams towards the end. Meanwhile I've been practicing the Heimlich Manoeuvre, just in case I run into rog anytime soon...

Rock The Casbah

And this is more of it. The teddy-bear story is well known by now. And obviously they're a bunch of nutters. In fact it's amusing that news organisations have decided to explain 'the issues', as if people who demand a woman's execution over a teddy-bear deserve to have their beliefs respected.

But anyway the Have Your Say on the BBC website is overflowing with comments - 10,241 published as of now with 6,405 awaiting 'moderation' (free speech, eh?).

Reading the comments can be fun, if you remember not to take the contributors in any way seriously, because it really can be quite surprising just how many people attempt to rationalise the irrational...
'The law is the law whether in the Sudan or the UK, we may not like or agree
with what constitutes an offence or the punishment that is dispenced
(sic).'
... defend the indefensible...
'I thought that the teacher in question was some kid who was over there
dong a tefl course. When I discovered the age of the teacher in question I
thought what an idot! She was working in a Muslim country, did she not know
how sensitive the people in such a country were when it comes to their
religion? Lock her up for sheer stupidity!'

... or totally miss the point...
'I'm sure it was an innocent mistake but unfortunately, I feel the teacher
should have been better informed of the customs in the country she is
working.'
It's also hard to work out how some of the people have enough brain cells to even turn on a computer...
'Funy to hear the government mad with the children naming the teddy. Is the
government has nothing to do with other things than monitoring the people.
Children could even insult the mothers and the fathers because they knew nothing
and God love children prenty much. Why will someone should be excused because of children choice? This is all about politics!'
Good grief Penfold. What the hell do the moderators do?...
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