Sunday, January 25, 2009

You'll Never Walk Alone

So Rafa shuns Robbie Keane again. Unbelievable. The guy endured a slow start to the season - a situation exacerbated unnecessarily by Benitez refusing to give him a decent chance - then scored three goals in two League games only for Benitez to drop him entirely for the Newcastle match and that horror show at Stoke. Well Rafa needs a good kick in the hole if the best chance Liverpool have had to win the Premier League in 13 seasons isn't to evaporate completely. So I'll say this now - I won't give a toss if those mid-table mediocrities beat Liverpool today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In God's Country

I've enjoyed watching the inauguration today. Pity it had to be ruined by the Irish media indulging those nutjobs in Moneygall. Fist-chewingly awful.

Oh and I found that poster!:

All I Want Is U2

First impressions of the new U2 single? Well I really dislike the opening guitar lick. I dunno it's just cliched or something. Anyway it gets better after that and I think I already prefer it to the similar tracks on Atomic Bomb (an album I was very unhappy with) like Vertigo and All Because of You.

Still what has me excited about the new album is this description on Amazon: 'the remainder of the album sees the band diversifying in ways similar to their Zooropa days.'

I hope that's true.

Career Opportunities

The slightly strange US company I work for informed all of its global workforce via email that: 'Each year, through the Integrity Pledge, we ask colleagues to confirm that they understand and are abiding by the standards described in the Summary of Policies on Business Conduct.'

Now unless I'm going mental I have, in fact, never been asked to do anything of the kind in eight years with the company. Nonetheless I have to do it. It's an 'interactive training' yoke and the first screen was...



and so it went on. For a full half hour. Horrific.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Silver And Gold

With all this recession talk and tales of doom and gloom you rarely hear anyone say that maybe everyone is getting exactly what they deserve.

I mean there is one basic rule about money - something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. With the proviso that you are not about to be the victim of fraud, it's Caveat Emptor all the way.

I've gotten stung a bit on shares, for example, but I'm not bitter about it. I contemplated bailing out of my CRH portfolio in the summer of 2007 and I was all set to sell as soon as they hit €40, which would have been a substantial profit on my investment.

However they never quite hit €40 and I hung on as they went on a downward slope ever since. I have recently sold the lot at €20 because I'm convinced that, in the current market, they're now overvalued and relying way too much on Obama ending the US recession soon.

I figure I'll be able to buy them all back at €12 or €13 by the summer, although I think I'll actually throw the proceeds into an ETF like the Dow Jones EuroStoxx 50, which will diversify my exposure so as to be positioned nicely from the return to growth in Europe.

My point is, though, that the market determined last week that my shares are worth €20, whereas I think they are only worth €13, so I sold up. That's my gamble.

Similarly it was my gamble not to buy a house until recently. I was going to sell my CRH shares and add the proceeds to my SSIA and contemplate using the total to fund a home purchase as I was wavering in my conviction about how far house prices could fall.

But I knew that I didn't think houses were worth what they were going for at that time, I was confident I was right in my assessment of the madness and I feel vindicated in making a 302K purchase of a house in 2008 - down over 70K from peak prices for similar. You could argue that I've offset my paper loss on the stock market a few times over in the property market. Then again maybe my house is already worth 5 - 10% less than what I paid for it, but I'm very unlikely to hit negative equity.

So I have zero sympathy for people who insisted property was worth what it clearly wasn't and jumped in like the lemmings they were without any rational assessment of what they were doing. I have zero sympathy for people who are getting burned alive in the rental market and even less (if that were possible) for people who bought off plans hoping to flip to the next mug that came along and are now paying mortgages for empty houses and apartments no one will either buy or rent. I have zero sympathy for people who have racked up massive personal debt on flash new cars and SUVs, foreign holiday homes, the best of clothes and the best of restaurants.

The banks have nearly broken themselves lending stupid amounts of money they didn't have to people who could only afford to pay them back for as long as the music kept playing. They were in a position to control people's indebtedness but they didn't through pure greed. The people who should have made sure the banks weren't out of control have failed us all badly and I hope the State, belatedly, has the balls to go through the executives' dealings with a fine tooth comb, drag the bastards through the courts for anything illegal they can find and have them jailed. It won't happen in this crony society, though. Maybe the Americans will try to extradite a few, if we're lucky...

But all that doesn't mean that ordinary citizens are in a position to abdicate repsonsibility for the mess they're now in. No one forced them to buy shoeboxes in some overloaded village 20 or 30 miles from town centres; no one forced them to buy SUVs and other luxury cars they didn't need; no one forced them to go to property expos for bloody India, Morocco, Cape Verde and all the rest.

In other words no one forced anyone to spend money they didn't have. If they're in trouble now then tough tits; and goddamn I'll be pissed off if any more of my money is taken off me to rescue fools.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Safe European Home

The picture of the new Moroccan ambassador on the front of today's Irish Times:



Maybe it's his traditional dress, but why does he look like a Ku Klux Klansman who has just pulled back his hood?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Orange Crush

The thing that makes me angry about that inbred kraut halfwit referring to his buddy as a 'Paki' is that gingers are in no position to be slagging anyone off.

You'll Never Walk Alone

Rafa out.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Hate And War

From Donald Clarke's review of the movie Defiance in today's Irish Times:

'Still, given recent events in Gaza, it's hard not to wince at the scene in which a cowed peasant, surprised by the Bielskis' bellicosity, declares: "Jews do not fight." There's one myth that no longer requires deflation.'

Jesus - there's so much wrong with that you don't know where to begin. Is it beyond the gumption of people like Clarke to realise that it's precisely because of what happened those 'cowed peasants', that would not fight then, that Jews now fight so hard against those that hate them, those who would annihilate them given the chance?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Armagideon Time

Finally caught up with 24: Redemption tonight. Standard Jack Bauer fare really but the best character had to be the UN worker - a bureaucrat, a complete coward, a bit of a spiv and, brilliantly, French. Quite possibly the laziest, stupidly stereotyped character the show has yet produced. Which took some doing.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Egg-Chasing Time

Boring Munster defeated... sorry, thrashed at home (Cork doesn't count) in 'domestic' competition for the first time since 1995.

Eerily analogous to the birth and death of the Celtic Tiger you could say.

Even recessions have their upsides.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Deny

Michael Flatley proving that any brain he may have is in his feet:

MICHAEL Flatley has attributed his remarkable recovery from a mystery virus that had plagued him for three years to an energy healer.

The dancer claimed that Michael O'Doherty's treatment was nothing short of astonishing -- and he is now able to train and dance properly for the first time since 2006.

Almost three years ago, Flatley was rushed to a London hospital after being struck with the mystery virus on the eve of the European tour of his show 'Celtic Tiger'.

Despite a battery of tests and scans in the London Clinic, one of Europe's leading private hospitals, doctors were unable to clarify precisely what virus has struck down the dancer. Doctors described the illness as a systemic or whole body infection and ordered the dancer to undertake weeks of complete rest.

The entire 'Celtic Tiger' tour -- which had sold out shows throughout Europe -- had to be cancelled as a result. Flatley was left plagued with symptoms ranging from acute lethargy to joint and muscular pain, which failed to clear up despite months of rest.

"Conventional medicine failed to cure me from my mysterious virus.

"And then, by chance, I met a young man from Ireland called Michael O'Doherty who works on the body's energy," Flatley told the Irish Independent.

"When he came to visit me in Ireland, I could barely get out of the chair.

"He saw me for about an hour and I walked for about a mile afterwards, which was the first time in a year that I'd been able to do that.

"He visited me about 10 times afterwards and, now, I feel really good. Great, in fact. I can dance at speed and I'm close to 100pc fit again," he said.

Flatley's recovery has been so dramatic that he has been able to take part in US celebrity dance TV shows and has resumed his strict daily training regime.

Friends admitted that the dancer -- whose wife, Niamh, gave birth to the couple's first child, Michael St James, in 2007 -- is now close to recapturing the health he enjoyed before he was struck with the virus.

Based in Ennis, the Plexus Bio-Energy Clinic was established by Michael O'Doherty and Tom Griffin in 1988.

The treatment works by integrating a network of powerful and effective healing techniques -- all with the aim of rebalancing a person's life energy.

The Irish men developed and refined a healing system which has roots tracing back centuries to both the Balkans and the Far East
.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Radio Clash

I've had the radio on a lot the last couple of weeks and it is literally driving me nuts. No matter what station I put on (with the obvious exceptions of Newstalk or Lyric I suppose - but Christmas just doesn't seem the right time for them, somehow) I'm hearing the same crap set-list regurgitated over and over.

Only this minute taking a break at work I've thrown on Today FM to hear that bloody Killers song 'Human' with its excruciatingly pointless and inane "Are we human or are we dancer" line... Dancers you fucking idiot! Plural!! And it still makes no fucking sense!!!

The set-list consists of the following steaming pile of turd:

Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire
Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl
Leona X-Factor some shite - Run (the Snow Patrol cover)
Alexandra X-Factor some other shite - Hallelujah (a-bloody-gain! And then they wheel out the Jeff Buckley version!)
Killers - Aforementioned Rubbish
The Script - Breakeven
Katy Perry (again) - Hot 'n' Cold
Kings of Leon (again; I hate them now) - Use Somebody
Beyoncé - If I Were A Boy (I REALLY hate this song)
Estelle - American Boy
Take That - Greatest Day
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars

There - all you need to have a daytime radio show in Ireland. I now despise each and every one of the above songs and acts (if I didn't already). I like the radio when I'm knocking around, I prefer it to messing around with stereos and playlists when I have work to do. But I've hated the ridiculous repitition of the last few weeks

If I see any of them in public... Gits.

And would you believe, as I'm about to hit 'Publish', bleedin' 'Use Somebody' has just come on AGAIN, as has Katy Perry AGAIN.

New Year's Day

Deliberately stayed away from the interweb thingy the last cuple of weeks as much as possible.

So, belatedly, Happy Christmas and New Year!
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