Friday, May 30, 2008

City Of The Dead

Movie reviews seem a bit pointless at the best of times. But Donald Clarke's 1-star review of Sex and the City ('witless, reactionary tripe') in today's Irish Times is probably as utterly futile as it gets.

Safe European Home

Jim Corr as an 'ordinary concerned citizen' last night on The Last Word. Oh. My. God!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hate And War

I figure Vincenzo Browne was drunk when he wrote most of today's column. Speaking of the crazy Islamists who controlled Somalia until the Ethiopians went in he says '[w]hile there were human rights abuses perpetrated by the Islamic Courts Union militia, for the first time in over a decade there was a semblance of peace and order in Somalia and, in particular, in Mogadishu...'. Glossy...
"IRELAND'S FOREMOST foreign ally, the US, is bombing towns in southern
Somalia, killing civilians, obliterating homes and driving thousands of people
into refugee camps. No war has been declared on Somalia. No United Nations
Security Council resolution has authorised military action against Somalia. No
justification for these actions has been offered by the US administration, save
for the generalised "cover" of the "war on terror".

Last Sunday, two towns in southern Somalia were bombed by the US. The
US has confirmed responsibility for several airstrikes on Somalia over the last
few months in which more than 100 civilians have been killed. But aside from
these military excursions, the US has backed a neighbouring state in its
invasion of Somalia and has aided and abetted actions of the army of this
neighbouring country, characterised as "war crimes" by human rights
organisations.

The neighbouring country is Ethiopia, which invaded Somalia in December
2006, backed up by the US with military assistance and military intelligence.
Thousands of Ethiopian troops remain in Somalia.

Just last week, Amnesty International issued a report on Somalia
documenting atrocities against Somali civilians by Ethiopian troops and troops
of the Somali "government"ie, the faction recognised by the US as the
government. The report includes interviews with Somali refugees who describe
Ethiopian and "government" troops routinely slitting the throats of civilians,
carrying out gang rapes, conducting house-to-house searches in Mogadishu and
summarily killing residents, and blasting entire neighbourhoods suspected of
being sympathetic to Islamic insurgents.

The report states: "There is a dire human rights situation in southern
and central Somalia, which has largely contributed to the current humanitarian
emergency. One million Somalis are internally displaced; hundreds of thousands
are newly displaced refugees; journalists and human rights defenders fear each
day for their lives and many are fleeing the country, some 6,000 civilians were
killed in attacks in 2007 and the entire population of Mogadishu carries the
scars of having witnessed or experienced egregious violations of human rights
and international humanitarian law. In addition, all parties to the conflict
have committed human rights violations or abuses, which included unlawful
killings, extrajudicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, including
rape and beatings, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances."

The US has a special responsibility for what has happened. The former
dictator of Somalia, Said Barre, who came to power in 1976, first sided with the
Soviet Union in the cold war, but then switched support to the US. However, with
the end of the cold war in 1990, US support vanished and Barre was overthrown by
warlords, who, since then, have ravaged the country and were the major
contributory factor to a famine that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of
people.

In December 1992, the US intervened, sending troops into Somalia to
create a secure environment, mainly to take on the warlords. But in response to
the killings of US troops and the infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident, president
Clinton withdrew troops in 1993. Since 9/11, the US has supported the very
warlords US troops targeted in 1992/93. This has been mainly due to apprehension
that al-Qaeda had secured a base in Somalia and that an organisation known as
the Islamic Courts Union was gradually assuming control of the country, seeking
to institute Islamic law.

While there were human rights abuses perpetrated by the Islamic Courts
Union militia, for the first time in over a decade there was a semblance of
peace and order in Somalia and, in particular, in Mogadishu in 1996. But then
Ethiopian troops intervened, partly arising from a civil war in Ethiopia but
mainly to support those warlords that opposed the Islamic Courts Union. This
initiative was supported by the US, which gave air support and special ground
units.

Amnesty International reported there was a marked increase in
executions of civilians by Ethiopian troops in the last two months of 2007.
Amnesty said it obtained numerous reports of killings by Ethiopian troops in
which Somali civilians were, according to witnesses, "slaughtered like
goats".

This is significant for Ireland for two reasons. One is whether Shannon
airport is being used to facilitate this slaughter. This may be unlikely for
there are no US troops on the ground in Somalia and the bombing by US aircraft
is probably undertaken by aircraft from carriers in the Red Sea or Indian Ocean.
But nonetheless, it would be reassuring to know that Ireland was in no way
facilitating these alleged war crimes.

The second is that the Lisbon Treaty attempts, in my view, to tie us
into a war on terror in a way that never previously arose. While Ireland's
involvement in this war could be vetoed by the government of the day, the panic
of the current Government that the electorate might take a stance on the treaty
that would annoy our allies, suggests that if it were put up to then, the
Government would balk at opting out of "the war on terror". And then of course
we already have signed up to that war via Shannon."
I figure the last drink kicked in before he wrote the final two paragraphs.

Train In Vain

David McWilliams on those wankers in Cork that should be fired from their cushty train driving job.

Somebody Got Murdered

or as good as.

Yet the bloke who shoots him gets 12 years because of 'an early plea'. Now I'm not one for hand-wringing every time a court doesn't lock someone up and chuck away the key, but 12 bloody years for shooting someone in the head?...

No surprise it's Justice Paul Carney again.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Egg-Chasing Time

To my untrained eye Boring Munster were the better team on Saturday. And that's all that matters.

But only the most blinkered Jonny-Come-Lately daytripper could claim that Munster's tactics in general and, what I believe is referred to as 'closing out the game' (or rugby's equivalent of running to the corner flag and trying to keep the ball there) for a full 15 minutes in particular, are anything other than utterly, utterly boring.

Or, to quote Donncha O'Callaghan in today's Guardian, "It's ugly but it's effective for us... It might be boring but who cares?"

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Right Profile

So there's this block of flats being built in Cork city centre and they looked like they might be quite nice pads. But then they picked a name for the development - The Elysian. Mother of God.

How on Earth could anyone with a modicum of self-respect end up having 'The Elysian' as their address? The Elysian Fields are, after all, the supposed final resting place of the blessed, chosen by the gods, in Greek mythology. I mean how pretentious can you get?

Well even more pretentious, as it turns out. As you can see from these photos they're not trying to advertise somewhere to live - they're trying to advertise a lifestyle while they're at it. The Elysian - 'a very stylish affair' indeed. Vomit inducing.


Train In Vain

I said it back in January and I'll say it again - fucking Cork fucking railway unions, the most militant bastards in the country.

If ever you'd want to see strike breakers brought in to bust heads it's for that shower of cnuts. If I don't get a train to Dublin tomorrow for the match I'm going to lob bricks at the bastards.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Exchavaganza

Another fine specimen from the streets of Cork:


Dirty Day

I'm not talking about last night. Spawny gits have had their name on that trophy all season and last night was just more of it.
I fully expect Boring Munster to jam their way to undeserved victory this weekend as well. Thank God I'll be busy travelling to Il Trap's first game.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Safe European Home

Having already made my mind up to vote Yes to the Lisbon Treaty because Sinn Fein want me to vote 'No' any lingering doubts have been well and truly squashed by now.

I haven't heard one cogent argument by anyone pushing a 'No' vote that doesn't sound like hysterical scaremongering; that actually uses irrefutable facts; or that has been backed up by actually quoting the parts of the treaty that are supposed to force abortion / war / taxes / unemployment or any of the rest of it on us.

You don't need to read the treaty. All you have to do is get those halfwits to open it up and show you exactly where it says, in black and white, that we will be obliged to send the men who died for our freedom and low corporation tax to fight in Chad on behalf of the French. Or something.

Overpowered By Funk

I saw Born Ruffians last night in Cork, supporting Caribou. They really went down well with the half decent crowd. Nice lads as well - I had a quick chat with them after their set, bought their album (out next week - fab) and got them to sign it...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Koka Kola

Just in case you've never seen it, here is possibly YouTube's finest moment - the video for OK Go!'s Here It Goes Again:




Now, the other day, I saw this ad for the vitamin supplement Berroca on TV:



Just how much money would Bayer have paid to this ad's 'creators' to blatantly rip off an internet phenomenon? It really is the most brazen rip off I've yet seen in advertising.

If Music Could Talk

The National in the Olympia last Thursday night. An only amazing gig.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Overpowered By Funk

Y'know when you're at a party and you're having a grand time? Drink and chat flowing; catching up with old friends and making some new ones; hopefully some half-decent tunes in the background? And then some party hijacking Nazi whips out a guitar and suddenly everyone has to shut up and listen or join in some half-assed sing song?

Well I hate that. Total mood and conversation killer. Fine for the tool with the guitar and the couple of drunks who like singing along who couldn't care less that they've just ruined the party, crap for everyone else. Anyway usually I just leave at that point. It's easier than moaning about it and getting accused of being a killjoy by said Nazis.

But there's a flipside to inappropriate music being a conversation killer - being at a proper gig where people won't shut the hell up. I was at two gigs last week in Cork - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Iron & Wine. Both were excellent but both had their quieter moments (of which there were many during during Iron & Wine) ruined by incessant chatter.

Now I'm not talking about expecting reverential silence here, I'm talking about people who, after paying 30 quid give or take, proceeded to have full conversations with each other and talk over the music as if they were in a noisy bar somewhere. It was damn annoying. I nearly slapped the head off the two 5-foot-nothing munchkin girls in front of me who talked absolutely non-stop for the full set. And no I couldn't move - EVERYONE seemed to be talking. If ever there was a place where people loved the sound of their own voices...

BRMC:


Iron & Wine:

Egg-Chasing Time

The interviews with former Leinster backs coach, David Knox, are only hil-arious. Really fabulous stuff...
"I have been here for three years and I have never seen him create
space for anybody. Yet over here he ranks with
Dan Carter
as the best fly-half in the world. I have never heard such rubbish."


"Munster's record is fantastic but you can't tell me they play anything
but 10-man rugby. Unfortunately, players can't just switch on style play when
they get into the international arena. Munster get 30 points on the board by
grinding away and when the other team is shot, they try and throw the ball
around a bit. Then people say, what a great team. It's rubbish."


However even funnier is the outraged reaction of the rugger fraternity to what he said. Trying to work out which journo, ex-player or general hanger-on has the most sand in their vagina over the whole thing is just highly entertaining.

In fact Knox said a lot of similar things a couple of years ago and no one seemed to notice then.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You'll Never Walk Alone

As I sit here sipping a fine port that I've been nursing since my wee trip to Portugal five weeks ago I think about today's football and I think about how, back in 1999 when ManYoo jammed their way to that treble (Bergkamp you twat... Munich you twats...), I guessed that it would be at least 2010 before they passed Liverpool's 18 English titles. Well back then 2010 seemed like a hell of a long way away. It doesn't anymore...

Meanwhile, after today's match, here's some food for thought:

Fact one: Man Yoo have had one penalty given against them in the League all season, in a game they subsequently lost.

Fact two: Man Yoo have had two players red-carded all season. Both were for head-butts, which means that, officially, in 38 games of football, not a single Manchester United player is considered to have commited two bookable offences or denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

They say refereeing decisions balance themselves out over the season, don't they?

Meanwhile I'm watching an excellent South Bank Show about David Peace's The Damned United... there's really only one damn united...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Egg-Chasing Time

New Ireland rugby coach, dissected...




Silver And Gold

When I was a six year old all I wanted was a Henry Hippo to save my few (but ridiculously large in hindsight) 10p and 20p coins in; and, of course, the free junk that went with opening the account. But I never did get my Henry Hippo. I was stuck with a boring old Bank of Ireland account and a boring old plastic lorry moneybox...

Anyway the fat git is back and apparently his name was Henri Hippo all the time - Henri with an 'i'... wouldn't that make him On-ree Hippo?... Obviously the kids who so loved their Henrys back in the day are all of child-bearing hips now, so the plan must be to pass off their nostalgia onto their young 'uns. Very clever. If I had a sprog I'd probably do what I should have done 24-years ago.

Holidays In The Sun

It's pretty hard to think of anything more embarrassing than having the entire country hear all about how you got so hammered on the first day of your holidays that your kids were taken into care by the local authorities. Except they weren't drunk - they caught food poisoning from those dastardly Portuguese! No wait! Their drinks were spiked with drugs!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

London Calling

Boris Johnson is class!



and, back here, you'll see one of the best 'tackles' in the history of charity football, or even here for that matter:

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Safe European Home

The Lisbon Treaty is clearly complicated and there's a whole world of misinformation doing the rounds already for added good measure. So maybe my handy step-by-step guide will help you decide...

Step 1: Find out what way Sinn Féin would like you to vote.

Step 2: Vote the opposite way.

Quick, efficient, no reading a pile of euro-guff or listening to daft debates and, most importantly, guaranteed to be the right decision.

You'll Never Walk Alone

You know what, I'm kinda glad Liverpool went out last night. Beating Inter and beating Arsenal was exceptional. And for a while last night, midway through the second half, beating Chelski was on the cards too. In fact if they'd really gone for it and tried to finish them off after Torres' equaliser, instead of playing for Extra Time and allowing Chelski regroup, I think they would have.

But ManYoo, the Boring Munster of English football, would have beaten Liverpool in a final in all honesty - and that's just a level of pain I never want to endure. The gits seem to have their name on the cup this year with their spawny draws and constantly escaping with awful away performances. Besides way too many of Liverpool's players are scarily mediocre for that level anyway - mostly out wide. Rafa needs to buy a bit more quality and a bit less quantity to have any hope of competing next season.

Still, D'Town could go 8-points clear tonight. That has me happy.

Miracle Drug



Was having a great time in Spain, then promptly fell ill with tonsilitis, which I'm still not over. Did you know you can get antibiotics over the counter for next to nothing there?

My golf score went from 28 (good) the first day, to 18 (mediocre) the second day, to 6 (a score a paraplegic midget could better) on the last day.

Standing in endless queues in an airport when you're ill is one of the more unpleasant things I can think of. So my mood was greatly worsened by the seemingly endless stream of middle-aged Irish women in front of me who hauled themselves up to check-in with 40Kg+ luggage only to act all surprised and indignant when informed they'd have to pay extra. Leathery wagons added at least an hour to the queue.
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