Thursday, January 31, 2008

Radio Clash

My da has bought a new widescreen LCD tv. It has this snazzy function where the aspect ratio automatically changes so that the whole picture fits properly on the screen.

The thing is it has a habit of shrinking or stretching randomly while you're watching a programme, if that programme has a bit of camera trickery or pop-up graphics / subtitles in it.

And it annoys the crap out of me.

Overpowered By Funk

Stuff I'm loving right now:

British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music
Yeasayer - All Hour Symbals
Foals - Hummer EP
Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation

Meanwhile I went to Stars last week in Cork...





And American Music Club last night...





The next thing now is to seek out Verona Riots, apparently they're worth checking out if you like Wolf Parade (check!), Kings of Leon (check!), Interpol (check!) and Editors (check!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You'll Never Walk Alone

It's not like blue-shite manager David Moyes to be a bit of a moany oul bitch but it's particularly funny to hear his suggestion that the whole Premier League should shut down during the African Cup of Nations (which has been class entertainment, by the way) because some Premier League clubs have African players.

But Dave, you new there was an ACN tournament in January/February before you signed your African players, didn't you? Well then shut the fuck up.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What's My Name

Three times in the last week, just by flicking around, I've come across Richard Waghorne in the broadcast media. I've seen him on Prime Time on RTE1 (seriously pissing off Fintan O'Toole!), on Vinnie Browne's new yoke on TV3 and I heard him on Sam Smyth's The Sunday Supplement on Today FM yesterday. I believe he has a Mail column as well although it'll be a cold day in hell before I read that nonsense.

I'll be honest, I never expected that ego to make it past contrary blogger and into the mainstream. This is a guy, you see, who caused a mini blog furore when he claimed the London police were right to murder Jean Charles de Menezes before he knew even half the facts, then attempted to erase what he had written from the interweb in embarrassment.

I had kinda forgotten about him since then and since his Freedom Institute website ("Our proposed policies will make Ireland a better place to live."!!!) bit the dust. Back then I wondered then who took that guff seriously, well it would appear that, unfortunately, some people evidently do. RTE et al must be seriously stuck for new voices. I wonder if Dickie's path from contrary college politics to wannabe right-wing commentator is typical of how your average rent-an-opinion hack starts out?

A Sort Of Homecoming

Saw the Belfast Giants play the Edinburgh Capitals in Dundalk on Saturday evening. They won 5-1. There was a savage crowd of nordies down for it, all in hockey jerseys of all descriptions, and the place was packed. I'd say there was about 2000 there.

By a bit of a fluke I managed to record the second goal, not that I kept up with the puck or anything!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Silver And Gold

The Irish Independent, none of whose owners or staff have any vested interest in the property market at all, claimed today that '[h]omeowners are poised to benefit from the first cuts in interest rates for four-and-a-half years, as a direct result of global stock market turmoil', which is an interesting attitude to take to a potential world recession.

Anyway that notion was knocked on the head even before most people would have had a chance to read the paper. Why would anyone be surprised? The only weapon against inflation is higher interest rates, and inflation is way too high in Europe. The Indo tries to cover itself with the frankly ridiculous statement that '[t]he European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to begin cutting rates as soon as April'. That's some definition of 'soon', considering the Fed reacted to a stock plunge in a matter of hours.

We'll see.

This Is England

*snigger*


It's political correctness gone mad!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Egg Chasing Time

I watched Leinster yesterday before I headed for work. I wish I hadn't - my blood was boiling by the end. Watch the video to see what that squat, fat, no-necked fucker White does to Leinster's Malcolm O'Kelly. It's an absolute joke that these walking heart-attacks waiting to happen are even considered sportsmen. A lot of the match was similarly disgusting.



It's bad enough that this sort of thing happens between the rugger trenches but it's much worse that the officials - who get to demand the sort of ridiculous schoolmaster-esque obedience that you'd hardly see in a stage adaptation of Oliver Twist - punish such a blatant act of scumbag thuggery in the same manner as the most obscure of rule infractions.

However what really pisses me off is the reaction of the rugby 'fraternity' to what happened. It was nearly a joke on Sky Sports, with one prick I saw this evening getting the obligatory 'You don't want to condone violence' bit in, before going on to do precisely that, and having a good chuckle in the process.

Meanwhile the fans on the radio phone-ins in Ireland castigated O'Kelly for not fighting back! They're not interested in watching sport - i.e. real athletes - they just want to watch a fight; they want to cream themselves watching big meatheads get physical with each other.

This is how the Sunday Times reported it: 'Tempers continued to flare and Julian White was carded on the half-hour for throwing a punch at O’Kelly, even though the prop failed to make contact.' For real! Had the gobshite no access to video? The hack was a Nigel Botherway; is there any limit to the number of English egg-followers with ridiculous names?

Meanwhile the bloke in the Sunday Telegraph reports that '[f]or a while this was rugby on the edge, with every collision seeming to possess the richest potential for a scrap. Goodness knows why this was - maybe Leicester were irked by Leinster out-muscling them in this pool's opener in November - but it certainly provided unexpected entertainment. It didn't last, of course.' What a shame, huh?


I didn't watch Boring Munster, although I believe they kicked the ball out of play a sufficient number of times to earn an easy victory. So I suppose I'll just have to hope that whoever they're playing next will be able to silence that piss-poor '70s rebel wannabe song they so love. You know, that one about some field in some village in another part of the country altogether...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Egg Chasing Time

When I point out the similarities between World War 1 trench warfare and the union-code of Egg-Chasing I'm not being kind. So this has me quite bemused:

'In the end, they were fighting for inches, like soldiers on the front in
World War 1.True, there weren’t any bullets but still you marvelled at the
courage of the extraordinary men of Munster.'



Just when I was thinking Egg-types couldn't get any further up their own holes.

Complete Control

Ah, lovely Limerick - the city of my birth (I legged it within a week and didn't set foot in the place again until I was 22) - and a great story from Ian O'Doherty:
'Writing in the super soaraway Evening Hegguld last week, dashing
hackette Dee O'Keefe commented on the kerfuffle caused by a judge on You're A
Star calling the Wicklow accent "knackery", which was an outrageous slur against
knackers everywhere.


O'Keefe defended the use of regional accents, which was unusually liberal of her, but it wasn't enough to prevent one reader from objecting in an email: "I can't believe you get paid for writing wanky articles like the wan in the Herald.


"It's West Brit D4 whores like you that are what's wrong with this country.

"I'm from Limerick and we have class accents, not like you jackeen
orange wannabe yanks with your stupid muppet accents.


"If you ever walked around Limerick with your Horsey head, buck
teeth and sad Knocklyon accent you would get the head pucked off you.


"Knock in those horsey teeth of yours and keep your picture off the
paper you braindead c**t."'


Deadly!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You'll Never Walk Alone

Unbelievable! The magic of the FA Cup!!


Havant and Waterlooville of... some League I've never heard of... are going to Anfield in the next round. Just how class is that?!

And the shackles are off the Duffman on the night tictac-free Keegan returns to the Barcodes!

In God's Country

Most bizaare story of the year so far?...
"A controversial Virginia lawmaker is trying to introduce new legislation to ban rubber testicles from being fitted to the back of trucks... Truck drivers who sport fake testicles on the back of their vehicles would risk a $250 fine under his proposal."
If he just banned rednecks from driving trucks that do about 3 1/2 yards per gallon the fake rubber testicles wouldn't be anything like as useful as they clearly are...

Beautiful Day

Kevin Keegan is back as Boss of the Barcodes! Best news I’ve heard all day!

Hopefully we can all look forward to moments like this:




And, more especially, this:



Is it really nearly 12 years since all that? My God…

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Silver And Gold

If you're willing to give it a chance, and you're curious as to just how big a deal the current mess the global financial markets appear to be in, then this debate in last month's Prospect was well worth reading.

Robert Wade is very convincing when he says:
"This is a topsy-turvy world, where the international financial system pushes
exchange rates the wrong way, amplifying rather than reducing current account
imbalances. Bubbles in the markets for credit, foreign currency and houses
become more likely, often followed by crashes. It is not that financial markets
are irrational. The problem is that unrestricted capital inflows prevent the
mechanism of depreciation from working. More recently, the instability has been
amplified by... the arrangements for splitting, spreading and hiding risk, to
the point where no one is able to assess it or take responsibility for it."
Anatole Kaletsky, a London Times columnist, tries to argue, on the other hand, that everything is, in fact, hunky dory.

However Private Eye have recently profiled all of Kaletsky's duff economic predictions, making him the star of their Hackwatch column in one issue. In the current issue the Eye details how Kaletsky's financial advice service apologised for publishing (and they quote here) 'a piece [in November] called A Year End Rally, in which we argued that the stage was set for a strong recovery on shares. As it turned out this was not our best call... Indeed month to date the World MSCI has dropped 3.6%, on track for the second worst December performance in at least 25 years.'

I'm guessing Wade is right and we're all screwed, then.

Deny

I wonder if all the NIMBYs who tried to object to those wonderful wind turbines on the fallacious basis that wind-generated power is some sort of big lie are still desperately clinging to their googled beliefs, now that Airtricity has been sold to Scottish & Southern Energy for over €1 billion. And fair play to the Irish guy, Eddie O'Connor (who was once shafted royally when CEO of Bord na Mona), who had a vision, realised it, and is now a multi-millionaire as a result.

Back in the day, when I first heard of the Irish Wind Energy Truth Alliance (aka NIMBY gobshites), I wrote:
"If these people know the 'truth' about wind energy then why did they not
form their action group when the turbines were being built on the Arklow Bank a
few years back (and save all those private investors their, as yet not wasted,
cash)? Clearly because that’s not their real agenda – the ‘truth’ claims are an
attempt to reinforce what is, in essence, standard NIMBY obstructionism."
Well I only wish I had the cash to invest heavily in companies involved in alternative energy... oh wait, I did!

You'll Never Walk Alone

The pantomime at Anfield has me thoroughly depressed. What on earth is that stupid, stupid septic doing coming out with that nonsense about Jurgen Klinsmann? Why? Why would he go to the press with such a story?

It is thoroughly ironic that all of ManYoo's worst fears about the Glazer takeover are now coming true at Liverpool. They basically have no money, can't borrow money and now Liverpool can't buy players or start building the new stadium. What a pair of arseholes.

Like all good revolutions, the Rafalution is turning sour after the initial successes. Rafa hasn't helped himself with some ludicrous team selections, failure to buy cover at centre half and then other poor signings. But he doesn't deserve all this nonsense.

Looks like ManYoo can set their sights on the magic 18 after all...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Egg Chasing Time

I'll be at work on Sunday when Boring Munster are playing in France. In one sense I'll be glad to miss this most mocktastic of events, but in another I'll be very dissappointed not to be knocking around if they get stuffed (right now I'm trying to work out just what I'd sacrifice to see them whipped off their little reincarnation of Ypres). I'm probably better off - imagine they won, or something!

If Music Could Talk

In November I saw Blitzen Trapper supporting Two Gallants in Cork and threw up a dodgy photo at the time. Only about 15 people bothered to watch their set. Anyway I bought their album, Wild Mountain Nation, that night and now it'has popped up on Metacritic - getting good reviews across the board including this 8.5 / 10 from Pitchfork:

"[A]s diverse as it is, and as joyous as it is, Wild Mountain Nation just has songs worth coming back to. It's the title track's early vocal hook that begs you to replay it before anything else, and then maybe the fact that it's so crammed with slide guitars that the edges glisten. The gentle, almost uptight pop (comparatively) of "Futures & Folly" bely its resilient melody, as it's the nugget that holds up best after repeated listens. I could list more highlights-- like, the downtuned dark horse "Hot Tip/Tough Cub", or playful glam tribute "Murder Babe", or or or-- but if you're down with the diversity and can sit still while the band tears through every idea it has left, Wild Mountain Nation is a revelation from beginning to end."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Acrobat

More miscellany...

  • The two biggest James Blunts in Irish journalism - Barry Egan and Brendan O'Connor - made it into a short-list of three for 'Worst Irish Journalist 2007' at the inaugural Gooseberries award. Cool.
  • Fucking Cork fucking railway unions. They have got to be the most militant bastards in the country at this stage - this time, last time, another time, and another time, and yet another time... Wankers.
  • I bought the first series of The Wire on dvd at the HMV sales because Jim Carroll is always raving about the show. I had never seen any of it before, but I watched the first episode after work this morning. Quality.
  • My flatmate, Ginger Rave, has been watching ALL of the darts coverage, which is annoying the crap out of me. It's not even the 'good' darts (the competition on Sky) but the rump on BBC, where the useless tossers (geddit!) are down to single figures before they finally check-out. The coverage doesn't even have Sid Waddell for God's sake! Ginger git.
  • There's a strong rumour two Irish Sunderland players are about to get the sack for being caught using recreational drugs. Gobshites (if true).
  • The thieving bollixes that are all those with a vested interest in keeping Irish residential property at artificially high prices tried to claim in the run up to Christmas that the ECB would start cutting interest rates again. Today's statement shows what a load of nonsense that notion was.
  • I've had the Television Peronalities' track 'Part-Time Punks' on repeat this morning. Liking it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

In God's Country

Today the Irish Times, surprisingly, perhaps, reprints a Christopher Hitchens article about Barack Obama that was published in Slate on Monday:

"There's something pathetic and embarrassing about our obsession with
Barack Obama's race.


To put it squarely and bluntly, is it because he is or is it because he
isn't? To phrase it another way, is it because of what he says or what he
doesn't say? Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is the current beneficiary of a
tsunami of drool. He sometimes claims credit on behalf of all Americans
regardless of race, color, creed, blah blah blah, though his recent speeches
appear also to claim a victory for blackness while his supporters—most
especially the white ones—sob happily that at last we can have an
African-American chief executive. Off to the side, snarling with barely
concealed rage, are the Clinton machine-minders, who, having failed to ignite
the same kind of identity excitement with an aging and resentful female, are
perhaps wishing that they had made more of her errant husband having already
been "our first black president."


Or perhaps not. Isn't there something pathetic and embarrassing
about this emphasis on shade? And why is a man with a white mother considered to be "black," anyway? Is it for this that we fought so hard to get over
Plessy v. Ferguson? Would we accept, if Obama's mother had also been Jewish, that he would therefore be the first Jewish president? The more that people claim Obama's mere identity to be a "breakthrough," the more they demonstrate that they have failed to emancipate themselves from the original categories of identity that acted as a fetter upon clear thought.

One can't exactly say that Sen. Obama himself panders to questions
of skin color. One of the best chapters of his charming autobiography describes
the moment when his black Republican opponent in the Illinois Senate race—Alan
Keyes—accused him of possessing insufficient negritude because he wasn't the
descendant of slaves! Obama's decision to be light-hearted—and perhaps
light-skinned—about this was a milestone in itself. But are we not in danger of
emulating Keyes' insane mistake every time we bang on about the senator's
pigmentation? If you wanted a "black" president or vice president so much, you
could long ago have turned out en masse for Angela Davis—also the first woman to be on a
national ticket—or for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. So, why didn't you? Could it have been the politics?

Last week happened to be the week that the nation of Kenya—birthplace
of Obama's father—was
convulsed by a political war that contained ghastly overtones of violent and sadistic tribalism. It would sound as absurd to a Kenyan to hear praise for a black candidate as it would sound to most of my European readers to hear a recommendation of a "great white hope." A white visitor to Kenya might not be able to tell a Kikuyu from a Luo at a glance, but a Kenyan would have no such difficulty. The time is pretty much past, in our country, when a Polish-American would not vote for a candidate with a German name or when Sharks and Jets were at daggers drawn, but this is all because (to borrow from Ernest Renan's definition of a nation) people agreed to forget a lot of
things as well as to remember a number of things. So, which are we doing
presently?


Sen. Obama is a congregant of a church in Chicago called Trinity
United Church of Christ. I recommend that you take a brisk tour of its
Web site. Run by the sort of character that the press often guardedly describes as "flamboyant"—a man calling himself the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.—this bizarre outfit describes itself as "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian" and speaks of "a chosen people" whose nature we are allowed to assume is "Afrocentric." Trinity United sells creationist books and its home page includes a graphic link to a thing called Goodsearch—the name is surmounted with a halo in its logo—which announces cheerily that "Every time you search or shop online! Our Church earns money." Much or most of what Trinity United says is harmless and boring, rather like Gov. Mike Huckabee's idiotic belief that his own success in Iowa is comparable to the "miracle" of the loaves and fishes, and the site offers a volume called Bad Girls of the Bible: Exploring Women of Questionable Virtue, which I have added to my cart, but nobody who wants to be taken
seriously can possibly be associated with such a substandard and shade-oriented
place.


All this easy talk about being a "uniter" and not a "divider" is
piffle if people are talking out of both sides of their mouths. I have been
droning on for months about how Mitt Romney needs to
answer questions about the flat-out racist background of his own church, and about how Huckabee has shown in public that he does not even understand the first thing about a theory—the crucial theory of evolution by natural selection—in which he claims not to
believe. Many Democrats are with me on this, but they go completely quiet when
Sen. Obama chooses to give his allegiance to a crackpot church with a decidedly
ethnic character."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Acrobat

Some miscellany...

  • C'mon on D'Town!

  • I like wishing people a Happy Christmas before Christmas; I feel daft wishing people a 'Happy New Year' when it's all over.

  • I got a cheque today for €25.72 from my old car insurance company. Apparently they over charged me two years ago! Can't wait to blow that!

  • There are 11 sets of traffic lights within the first mile of my drive to work from my girlfriend's house.

  • Surely sat-nav emasculates a man far more than resorting to asking directions?

  • Ireland ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 and, as a result, my factory is being audited next week to ensure all our chemicals are for commercial use and not being used in weapons manufacture!

  • My flatmate, Ginger Rave, leaves for work after me and keeps leaving the sitting room door open, which means we lose all the storage heating for the day and the place is freezing in the evening. He then complains about the cold in the evening. I gnash my teeth.

  • Another RTE 'comedy' show got a chance last night - The Roaring Twenties. I smiled at the start when they showed a picture of two fellas kissing when tag rugby got mentioned, given that at the end of the day it's just a bunch of sad folk with no social lives running around trying to grab each other's asses. I should have turned it off at that point.

  • Ex-PD Tom Parlon proved himself to be a thoroughly unpleasant bloke last night on Questions & Answers. Glad he's well out of government.

Meanwhile we already have the Picture of the Year 2008 - no question:

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Sort Of Homecoming

Ever hear of Sunderland? No? Funny, because back in August you'd swear they were about to conquer English football lead by that most gallant of Gaels, Royston Keane. Instead we're into twenty-o-eight (as I've decided to call it on a whim) and Sunderland are the only club in the bottom five of the Premier League not to have sacked a manager this season. That could have read bottom seven - only Spurs and Bolton have pulled away, slightly, after sacking the managers they started with.

It's also worth pointing out that Sunderland have spent more, a good bit more, than any of the clubs around them including spunking stg£9 million on 'keeper Craig Gordon only to end up with a goal difference of minus 20. Only woeful (and broke) Derby County are worse.

The fact is, if he wasn't Roy Keane, Sunderland's inept boss would be a laughing stock by now.

In that old post someone gave me a surgical dissection of all that's wrong with Irish football. He/she finished it with 'Sunderland for Europe!' There, in a nutshell, is proof that the average Irish punter really, really knows sweet fa about football.

Anyway today I paid up for a stag weekend I'm going on in March to Newcastle, which includes taking in Sunderland's home match against Everton (Jaysus...). I'm expecting plenty of leg room on the bandwagon...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Egg Chasing Time

A selection of words I memorised from RTE's slightly odd circle-jerk, Reaching for Glory, broadcast last night (odd in that there were some 9 White Nations post mortems injected into the original documentary footage) about last year's Greatest Moment in the History of the Nation (© fat toffs and bandwagon-jumpers nationwide):

Transcend; unique; epic; historic; focus; discipline; passion; effort; concentration; arse biscuits; aggression; collisions; intensity; incredible; extraordinary; emotional; momentous; victorious...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Silver And Gold

A little project I had for the 2007 was to analyse my spending to the penny, to see where all the cash was going. I'll share some of what I found...

Getting around is the most expensive part of my life:
Bloody car - €7,139 (Includes repayments on my '06 Leon, tax, insurance and one service).
Tolls and Parking - €240
Petrol - €1,709 (20,000-odd Kilometres)

And yet still I took other transport a fair bit:
Trains - €806
Buses - €122
Taxis - €560

Eating cost a bit:
Groceries - €2,191
Dining Out (includes take-aways, work canteen, coffee shops as well as restaurants) - €4,092

I had the other unavoidables:
Rent - €5,400
Mobile - €720
Cable - €300

And I had to enjoy myself, of course:
Nights Out - €3,735 (ouch!)
Tickets for gigs - €943
Going to said gigs (not including transport or food) - €1,156
Football matches, gambling (losses!) etc - €1,358

Generosity strikes me the odd time:
Gifts - €1,887
Charities - €813

And selfishness more often:
Clothes - €3,503 (suits and suit shirts for all those weddings killed me)
CDs, downloads and DVDs - €1,230
Papers, books and magazines - €499

I had to keep myself clean and healthy:
Toileteries - €480
Meds - €132 (I don't break down much!)
Barbers and hair stuff - €141

And finally travelling burned a big hole in the pockets. I had weekends in Edinburgh and London; Athens for the Champions League Final; and two weeks in France:
Air Travel - €1,775
Accomodation and Spending - €4,669


I'm guessing I could pare a few of those back. I'm way too generous to charities for a start...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Day

Well, almost - all was quiet on New Year's Day...

Christmas is class! I had a great time back in D'Town.

Liverpool are gobshites. I f#cking hate Steve Bruce, although the Rafalution has to take most of the blame for this one. I mean one striker at home against relegation certs...
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Irish Blogs