Saturday, September 27, 2008

Deny

With now dreary familiarity the Irish Times Magazine is peddling yet more lifestyle mumbo-jumbo as fact in an interview that is basically a plug for a book - 'How to Quit Without Feeling Shit', another new book by Patrick Holford.

In an article devoid of any skepticism, the stand out quote is "The conventional understanding of nutrition is that you need sugar for energy, and protein to build muscle, and you don't need fat", which is complete horse-shit. Who, with even a passing knowledge of nutrition, thinks in terms of needing 'sugar for energy'?

The article gives the game away by later saying 'when GI (Glycaemic Index) diets became popular a few years ago, Holford came up with the term "glycaemic load", which he believes is a more accurate way of ensuring you eat the carbohydrate foods that release energy slowly' as if Holford is somehow responsible for introducing a concept that has actually been understood for a couple of decades. It's complete nonsense.

Patrick Holford is, of course, a complete charlatan. Read how he dodged a BBC Radio 4 programme earlier this year entitled The Rise of the Lifestyle Nutritionist.

Read how the British Advertising Standards Authority slapped Holford down for making unsubstantiated claims such as "If you eat a balanced diet you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.’ WRONG!” while advertising another book and his pills.

Read about the QLink Pendant sold by Holford whose inventor has 'always been clear the QLink does not use electronics components "in a conventional electronic way"', apparently.

And, lest you be in any doubt, Holford is a man who once made the statement “I have never made this claim [that vitamin C was more effective in treating Aids than the ARV medication, AZT]. What I have said in the latest edition of my book, the New Optimum Nutrition Bible… is that ‘AZT, the first prescribable anti-HIV drug, is potentially harmful and proving less effective than vitamin C’.” For real.

Just how much money does the Irish Times make from its advertorials in its Saturday magazine?

Complete Control

I might have to stop reading Ian O'Doherty. Yet again he's rehashed an old urban legend for his column. Piss poor...

'This column was recently criticised by Age Action for being mean to old codgers everywhere.
Actually, they originally made the complaint 18 months ago but their spokesman forgot where he put the envelope and it took a while to get here.


But not all old people are a useless drain on our resources (just most of them), and 81-year-old Australian Ava Estelle is currently our favourite person in the world.

After her granddaughter was raped by two men, Ava went all Charles Bronson on their ass.
After spending a week hunting down the men, she found them -- and promptly shot their balls off.


One of the rapists lost both testicles and his penis, while doctors managed to save the other rapist's mangled member but said "he won't be using it the way he's used to ever again".

After turning herself in to the police, the local police chief commented: "It's hard to throw an 81-year-old into jail. Particularly when three million people in this city want her to nominate her for mayor."'

From Snopes: 'This February 2000 e-mail is a fanciful tale of imagined revenge and nothing more...'

You'll Never Walk Alone

After last weekend's nonsense against Stoke, Liverpool have redeemed themselves, If there's to be any chance at all of challenging for the title winning matches against mid-table mediocrities like Everton is an absolute must. After all it's virtually guaranteed that Everton will capitulate when Man Yoo come to town, as usual.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Exchavaganza

The number of chavmobiles in Cork seems to be rising. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing this beauty today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Sort Of Homecoming

Yeah, so I bought a house and collected the keys yesterday. I know, you're incredulous.

I wrote this exactly three years ago explaining why I wasn't going to buy a house.

I wrote this at the end of 2006 when I felt that the crazy rises that year as a result of 100% mortgages over 40 years starting at rock bottom interest rates meant the market peak had definitely been reached.

So what has changed? Well the crash, obviously, but I know I'm buying probably a year too early. So this is my story...

Around June this year me and the woman decided to move in together. The problem was my flatmate didn't want to move out and her house was designed for rental by four single professionals - not couples. So we looked at the glut of houses and apartments available in the city and, while there was plenty available, nothing was as nice or convenient as our respective places. One or other of us was going to have to seriously disimprove our living arrangements.

Anyhoo, despondent, I started checking house prices, out of curiosity, and, while they had dropped, asking prices were still stubbornly high. I was still seeing tiny 2-bed townhouses for €360,000 in any area I'd choose to live in. Clearly people prefer to leave their houses on the market for months at a time rather than wake up and smell the coffee. The stuff in the sticks had dropped alright, 10 - 15% or so, but there was no way I was moving away from the city.

Then I found a 3-bed end of terrace on the Rochestown Road advertised as 'reduced to sell' for €325,000. If you know Cork at all , you'll know the Rochestown Road is a very desirable address. This house is beside the Rochestown Park Hotel, in a small estate built about 1983, literally 2 minutes walk from Douglas Village (as opposed to estate agent 2-minutes!). It's only 1,000 sq ft and needs sprucing up, but in terms of location, relative privacy and build quality it was ideal for me and my budget.

But there was no way I was paying €325,000 for it so I did some research and discovered that it had gone on the market for €375,000 in September 2007 and that a sale had been agreed in February this year for €355,000, which subsequently fell through. Anyway I liked it, so I offered €295,000. The estate agent shot me a look that would kill, which I enjoyed, and said "That's not a realistic offer". "Go read the papers" I said, "I'll be offering 275 in six months...

The long and short of it is that we settled on €305,000, pending the engineer's report. The engineer said lots of great things about the structure, but that both the fuse-board and gas boiler needed replacing. So I beat another €3K off the price and, in the end, I've paid €302,000 - 20% off the original asking price.

So was what I wrote in 2005 wrong? Well no, it wasn't. For a start I've basically gotten my house for the price it would have been at the beginning of that year - and I've the guts of four years more savings in that time. I'm paid a lot more than I was then too. Also, and I'm very grateful for this, my Da has been in a position to help me out, which he wasn't at the time.

And, if I want to be very pedantic about it, I can back-calculate the effect of inflation in that time (as recorded by the CSO) and find that €302K now was worth about €262K at the end of 2004. Now I don't think I've bought at the bottom of the market at all. I think the same houses could be going for another €20K less this time next year. Although I think it's more likely that people who got so used to thinking that their badly built identikit shoeboxes in the sticks were worth €400,000 just won't bring themselves to sell.

Instead the real carnage will be in the buy-to-let sector when all those idiot investors are forced to flog their apartments to avoid defaulting because they can't find anyone to rent them. And to think people tried claiming rents were going up!

But as far as I'm concerned I've been rewarded for holding on when all the geniuses insisted the price of property was just going to go up for ever, that Ireland was different and all the rest of that shite. I've a very affordable mortgage, fixed for three years, and I have no intention of trying to trade up for at least six years. So I should manage to see out the crisis.

Still though, houses really are money pits. We'll spend as much on furnishings as we would on rent for a full year... she better be worth it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Complete Control

In true John Giles fashion I fired off an angry-worded letter to the IT last week about Maura Harrington's 'hunger strike' and Lorna Siggins. They didn't print it, instead I got a personal reply from the editor, Geraldine Kennedy, stressing that they would not allow Lorna Siggins to be compromised by Shell to Sea and that she had communicated that to those dingbats! She didn't refer to them as dingbats, though, mores the pity.

It's not every day, etc...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rock The Casbah

Those crafty yanks just don't get enough credit. Osama bin Laden's 3rd cousins (probably) buy out Man City so George Dubya and the boys decide to take the fight to their doorstep by becoming ManYoo's primary sponsor. Clever, clever...

Monday, September 15, 2008

You'll Never Walk Alone

Bit late with this but... YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And about bleedin' time.

It's way too early to know if Liverpool have any chance of competing for the League. However it's worth remembering that had Liverpoo beaten United home and away last year they would have finished above them. So maybe they're not too far away, despite the penniless paper-millionaires that own the club.

I wonder if Sunderland have already found their level this season?...
'On Saturday, Zaki scored his fifth goal in five games for his new club, helping Wigan secure a 1-1 draw with Sunderland in a raucous match that they would have won comfortably if not for a determined defensive showing from Roy Keane's side'.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Complete Control

A couple of years ago I went on a rant about the nonsense 'reporting' of the Irish Times' Lorna Siggins in relation to the Shell to Sea shite. It was bloody obvious back then that this 'reporter' was entirely on the side of the NIMBYs and she has consistently dressed up her reports to be sympathetic to them.

Well now Maura Harrington, the school principal who has been off on a sickie for I don't know how long, is on hunger strike. Interestingly she claimed on the radio yesterday, during a hilarious interview on the Last Word (two minutes in), that she would only call off her hunger strike if the captain of the gas-pipeling laying ship communicated his intention to leave Irish waters... to one Lorna Siggins of the Irish Times.

Today's Irish Times mentions the ongoing protest and Ms Harrington's 'hunger-strike'. But interestingly makes no mention of her terms for ending it. That they have allowed their reporter to be compromised in this way, and effectively hoodwinked their readers, is a disgrace, frankly.

If Music Could Talk

Delighted Elbow won the Mercury. Absolutely delighted.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Fake Plastic Trees

Oh God, the whinging about Christmas starting earlier every year has started already...

The Sweetest Thing

Bought Rolos for the first time in an age yesterday. They were manky. Do they even use cocoa anymore? They were as bad as American chocolate.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Complete Control

I needed something to give out about yesterday, so I reached for a Sunday Independent. The Life supplement is always a very safe bet if I want to get pissed off at the complete losers that infest this country and it didn't let me down.

They ran a list feature about what's stylish and chic in 2008 (kind of obvious for the end of August, innit?) and somehow managed to claim that Andrea Roche (a complete munter in my book) is the number one, er, style icon (or something) in Ireland today. For real.

'Where culchie charm meets exotic looks, where high fashion meets high street. Still the one who shows the rest of them how it's done...' Ugh...

Lest you've never had the pleasure of hearing it, here's Andrea speaking on the radio back when she was competing in Miss World ten years ago:

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