Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Safe European Home

Sarah Carey has a great piece in today's Irish Times, admonishing the sisters for rejecting the EU that has done so much for women's rights in this country:

"Slagging off Brussels is a cheap shot, especially when that's exactly where everyone from women to environmentalists to homosexuals rush when they want to stop Irish decisions which are not in their interest. The ability of Brussels to override our laws is exactly what Irish people, particularly women, gain most from membership of the EU."

It's hard to make this point without appearing sexist, but you do notice that in opinion polls a majority of chicks do seem to take the conservative or non-PC side on the question in hand. Just to take three I've noticed recently, the split in the US election was 56/43 in favour of McCain; "women were more likely to feel immigration had been bad for Ireland" according to a recent poll; and government sponsored research post-Lisbon showed 56% of women voted No.

They're just the examples I know of off the top of my head. I might look out for more now... you give an inch and they'll take a mile - that's what I say.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Egg-Chasing Time

Pointless punctuation and pointless sports - a beautiful dichotomy

Monday, November 17, 2008

English Civil War

There's an editorial about the use of apostrophes in written English in today's Irish Times. By coincidence I took this photo on Friday. Now I know it's not at all sharp enough, but above the phone number on the roof sign it says 'Rochestown Taxi's'...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beautiful Day

D'Town are back in the Premier!!!

I am over the moon!

Highlights from the game - watch from five minutes in if the horrific dirge the video creator has added gets on your wick! Also watch as despair turns to joy as news of Shels' result comes through:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Egg-Chasing Time

So after a full week of what can only be described as pure, unadulterated crap about today's game, the riverdancing wife-beaters have beaten the goys in green - getting out of first gear for about five minutes in the process.

I've banged on about this before but it is mind-boggling the way this Irish team is built up before every single game only to fail and fail miserably in what is a minority sport played by next to no one.

The Irish Times today:
"THE PRE-MATCH pageantry alone ought to be something. Brian O'Driscoll leading
out Ireland for the 50th time against the world's most renowned and revered team
for a shot at sporting immortality, three national anthems and then the haka; no
doubt to be followed soon after by The Fields. Croker or the rest of us will
never see the like of it again. If this game even comes close to justifying the
tingle of expectation which has been building all week in the streets and pubs
then it should be something."

The BBC's match tracker:
"FULL-TIME: Ireland 3-22 New Zealand. Thankfully, the final whistle goes.
The last 20 minutes of that game was truly awful. Nothing happened apart from a
host of mistakes from both sides."

In God's Country

Interesting factual snippets I have come across since the US election:

  • Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. As of 10th October 2008, a $10,000 investment in the S&P stock market index would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, or $51,211 if Herbert Hoover's presidency during the depression is excluded. Invested under Democratic presidents only, it would have grown to $300,671. New York Times, 14th October 2008.

  • Barack Obama's 4th October rally in Anchorage, Alaska had four times as many attendees as Sarah Palin's rally at the same time in the same city., 4th October 2008.

If Music Could Talk

I know the words of your average pop song are pretty banal - the Frames' sole reason for existence is to put a floor on the banality scale after all. So I know I really shouldn't let this bother me; but ever since I first had the misfortune to let the lyric of Beyoncé's new chart topper sink in I have had an insatiable urge to put my foot through any offending sound systems broadcasting the ludicrous pile of shite she's singing:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Somebody Got Murdered

Must make sure to join a rugby club. At least that way I'll know people will be demanding internment and the like if I ever get shot. Y'know, as opposed to forgetting I ever existed if I was just some random apprentice plumber or something.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Egg-Chasing Time

The Irish Rugby League team - made up of mostly second and third generation paddies - have, in the space of one match, shown up their fat-necked, over-hyped egg chasing brethren to be the national embarrassment they were in their so-called world cup.

Today Ireland are 80 minutes from a semi-final match with the most skilful rugby team in the world, Australia. They shouldn't and probably won't beat Fiji. But like our glorious cricketers last year they have stepped up to the plate against theoretically better opposition, given their all and achieved genuinely thrilling results.

And will you find any mention of that fact in today's Irish Times? Well I can't. But there's plenty about that mud-wrestling pile of nonsense that was the goys in green versus 15 fat lumberjacks. Laughably referred to as 'a fair test', by the same paper on the day of the match.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Career Opportunities

The pharmaceutical manufacturing plant I work in is regularly the victim of Dilbert-esque management wheezes. But in my eight years here the last 12 months have been some of the most ridiculous.

It's like this. The company had decided to adapt the concept of 'Lean' manufacturing, but then decided to go one step further and introduce 'Agile'. The theory is that our plant 'should deliver value to our customers' and 'always be ready for change'. What this means in practice is that the accountants want to keep inventories as low as possible, without actually risking having a stock outage. In other words we have to pace production to just meet market requirements and no more. That might even sound reasonable - if you make bread or bottles or something 24/7/52. However, in a drug manufacturing facility where you already make many different products, and where you could make a year's supply of something in 3-weeks, it's a bit of a nightmare.

For seven years, and in my previous job, I had been tuned to the notion that we make as much as we can, as quickly as we can, as cheaply as we can while not compromising on quality or safety. Now I have to get used to the notion of deliberately slowing processes down to keep inventories low. Worse, we have been running processes for barely a couple of weeks before stopping them altogether, going through big expensive clean-ups, making something else for a couple of weeks then doing another big expensive clean-up and going back to making the first thing again.

It's ridiculous - it wastes resources, causes confusion and, most seriously, has been causing accidents. A guy almost lost his sight in one eye last week when he took a splash of methanol under pressure straight in the eye. There's so much constant change, and so many people making changes, that the place is getting out of control. But of course you can't dare question the new paradigm. Big business is almost worse than organised religion for it's dogma (and its treatment of heretics).

Anyway on my way to Bahrain I twigged what must surely have happened. I saw this (and loads more like it) in Amsterdam Shithol Airport:

... and it hit me. Some gobshite executive in the company saw some book like this in some airport somewhere and had his little revelation (the spanner). And, of course, none of the spivs had the balls to point out that we make small quantities of complex organic compounds - not fucking Corollas.

Rock The Casbah

These are the twin towers of Bahrain's World Trade Centre (cheeky, no?). Isn't it ironic, don't you think, that I mention it today - 9/11...

Anyway they're the most impressive buildings on the island, although the effect is kind of ruined when you find out that the turbines don't actually work yet. The vibration they cause is bad for the buildings, apparently. No word on whether or not that 2-year old '2006 LEAF Awards for ‘Best Use of Technology within a Large Scheme’' award has been handed back or not.

Rock The Casbah

So, as I was saying, Bahrain is a strange spot - an Arabic / Islamic country that makes concessions to western influences, but seemingly under silent protest. A good example is the sale of alcohol. Alcohol may be sold but only in 'shops'. These shops, as you can see below, have no windows, no distinguishing marks, no advertising and explicitly state that Muslims will not be served (I'm not exactly sure how the owners would tell, however.) Also the drink bought cannot be consumed in public and can only be carried in public if covered in heavy duty black or green plastic bags (bin liners, effectively).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In God's Country

My fiancée has never been to the US so I'm planning a trip there for next May - a touring holiday or something. I have decided to immediately remove a number of States from my itinerary, entirely at random to make it easier to plan our trip. Admittedly this list affects my plans to tour in an old open-top but c'est la vie:

Randomly selected list of States that I will not be visiting next summer:
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

At this moment in time I intend leaving out Missouri also

Egg-Chasing Time

Skilful Rugby >>> Egg Chasing
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