Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ireland V Argentina

Half time Ireland 10 - Argentina 18. The dream is almost over. Ireland just broke through once with a moment of magic/luck from O'Driscoll. Other than that the tactic of catching the ball, putting the head down and and running straight into the closest Argentinian player doesn't seem to be working, but then again it hasn't worked for months so the chances of it changing in the next 40 minutes are slim. Argentina on the other hand have realised that there are wings on the pitch and have tried running down them.

Update: 58 mins. Ireland 15 - Argentina 21: The commentator on Setanta said O'Gara is not kicking to his usual standard. But in my opinion the problem is he is kicking to his recent standard. O'Sullivan should have taking him out the team weeks ago but doesn't know what to do or who to replace him with.

Update: 70 mins. Ireland 15 - Argentina 27: Well at this stage it would be a travesty of justice if Ireland some how managed to get the extra trys, win the game and finish more than 7 points ahead of Argentina. Though I wouldn't turn it down if it did happen. Still I take some consolation in knowing that this result messes up the French who will now have to play New Zealand in Cardiff instead of Scotland in Paris. Now the home team will have to win a game against the tournament favorites away from home. I'm cruel.

Update: Full Time Ireland 15 - Argentina 30: Better team won, fair play to them. At least we didnt put in one good preformance at the end and give Eddie O'Sullivan a chance to say "We got it right in the end". Now we know things have to change.

Burma Protest

I went into town today to see the Democracy in Burma protest. As part of the protest Burmese nationals now living in Ireland were displaying placards showing photographs of the violence currently taking place in Burma. One photograph in particular was pointed out by a speaker. Though she didn't mention him by name the photograph was of Japanese cameraman Kenji Nagai lying on the ground after being shot while a soldier stands over him. Nagai, though fatally wounded, still had his camera raised, possibly still shooting footage or perhaps trying to clearly identify himself as a journalist. This will be one of the iconic press images of 2007 and maybe for years to come.

Partly inspired by this and partly because it is a book I always intend to buy but never have, I went out and bought the World Press Photo 07 book. This is an annual publication showing the best in professional press photography for the previous year. It is always worth a look, but the reader should always remember the risks taken by some journalists to get the photographs that sometimes speak more than 1000 words.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I’m Not Okay With Injustice

Oxfam Ireland have a new campaign asking people to express the face that they are not ok injustice. If you are looking for a charity to support, have unwanted books or gifts or want to buy some fair trade goods or a present for someone then you should consider their local shops or online store as well.

Friday, September 28, 2007

HSE Satisfaction

90% of in-patients and 85% of out-patients are happy with the treatment they received from the Health Service. Or at least so says a survey commissioned by the Health Service Executive itself. Hmm, "90%"? That's pretty good, is'nt it?

Yes, but surely when you run surveys about yourself you can always do better. Next year they should consider hiring Saddam Hussein's former election managers to see if they can achieve the coveted 100% satisfaction levels.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Stylish Thriller

The Black Dahlia is on tv and the blurb in the guide describes it as a "Stylish Period Thriller". I've now come to the conclusion that when a movie is described as "stylish" what the reviewer really means is "they tried hard but it still sucks".

Mega Lego

Gizmodo has a posting about the biggest lego set ever. A 5000 piece Millennium Falcon for $499. Ok that's alot of money to spend on Lego but 5000 pieces. Wow! I wonder how long it takes to assemble.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ireland V France half time

France 12 Ireland 2 but not a bad performance for a team playing 14 against 16. Ireland have played most of the game without O'Gara, who has only managed to play for a couple of minutes when he blinked back into existance and got a drop goal. The rest of the time he looks like his mind is elsewhere. Meanwhile France have another player in blue and white, the referee Chris White is an experienced referee but is turning out to be a bit of a home town ref. How did he not feel the French player pushing him into the Irish attacker? This is the same guy who screwed over Wales in the 6 nations while they were playing in Rome.

Update: Ah, Jaysus, 30 Irish players couldnt stop this French 15 in the second half. Totally outclassed so far.

Full Time: Gutted.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mourinho leaves Chelsea

The BBC is reporting that "the special one" Jose Mourinho has resigned as Chelsea manager. No big surprise there I suppose, but let me be the first to suggest...

Mourinho for the Ireland Job ;-)

Joking of course, Stauntons not doing *that* bad a job and I dont think the entire Irish media have enough cameras to satisfy that particular ego. I wonder where he'll go now? Out of England I'd guess. Any big jobs available in Europe?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Where is the sea of Green?

I realised this morning that something has gone wrong with Irish Rugby. The national team is in the doldrums, two bad performances and the toughest games yet to come. Written off by everyone, myself included. Castigated, abused, insulted. I was as guilty as everyone else, bitching and complaining about their poor performances. It was this morning as I read the news and blogs from the weekend that I realised what a large part of the problem is. I wouldnt play for this shower of begrudgers either.

What does it take for the Irish team to win? Ronan O'Gara summed it up back in 2006 when Munster won the Heineken Cup.

"Once the screen went to Limerick there was no way we were going to be beaten in our third final. That was an incredible boost to us"

They need to play for the fans but they dont seem to have many fans this morning. I'm wearing my Irish Jersey this morning and everyone is asking me "Are you not embarassed to wear that?". My answer was, "No! This is the jersey from when they played well".

They dont have a flag or an anthem, the cross border nature of the team robbed them of anything real apart from a made up flag and a song only the composer would find inspiring before the match of a lifetime. All they had were the fans back home and we turned our backs on them when they needed another shot of a sea of red on O'Connel Street in Limerick.

They are fighting and they are winning. They may not be playing well but they are still out there getting kicked and punched, bitten and gouged, slammed into the ground and thrown into the air. All to win a ball, win a few yards and win a match. So what if they dont win by a cricket score, we should go support the cricket team if thats what we want to see. This is our national rugby team and we should be proud they are in the World Cup. I'm changing answer to the earlier question to a simple "No!". I'm not embarassed. I'm an Irish supporter. I may have forgotten my way for a while but I'm still a supporter. So I'll wear my old jersey today, my new jersey on Friday for the French match and my Munster Jerseys in between, how many others will join me?

Government Cancer Plans

This caught my attention over the weekend. The governments plan for the development of nationwide radiotherapy treatment for cancer is now up to three years behind schedule.

The thing is the plan was announced in July 2005. After two years of work the plan is now three years behind schedule. So, in theory, if the Department of Health had done nothing we'd actually be a year closer to getting proper cancer treatment in Ireland than we are now. Typical. I bet the contractors and consultants working on the projects are still getting paid their daily rates.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ireland 14 - Georgia 10

Ireland 14 - Georgia 10 and Georgia were unlucky not to win. Jaysis that was awful. Awful. I was in Kielys in Donnybrook the biggest rugby pub in Dublin and people were completely deflated at the result.

Fan 1: "This is a performance that would get any of them onto the Clongowes team!"
Fan 2: "No way! Newbridge, maybe."

At least we now know what we have to do for the rest of the world cup. It's knock out now. We have to win every match, France, Argentina, Quarter Final, Semi Final, Final. Loose one and the team is going home early.

UPDATE: I've come to the conclusion that I should stop complaining about the Irish team and support them. Like the Munster fans did in 2006 when Munster won the Heineken Cup. I'm going to wear my Irish rugby jerseys with pride.

Friday, September 14, 2007

England 0 - 36 South Africa

Jaysis, England 0 - 36 South Africa, and we were proud of beating England in Croke Park last year. Turns out it wasn't much of an achievement. I actually began to feel sorry for the English team by the end, especially when Jason Robinson pulled his hamstring ending his career and spent the rest of the match sitting on the bench looking like a boxer in his corner after getting a beating in a fight. It's looks like the 6 Nations are about to get a wake up call from the Southern Hemisphere.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Harsh punishment for McLaren

McLaren Formula 1 have been found guilty of spying on Ferrari and punished by the FIA. The team has bees stripped of their points in the constructors championship and fined $100 Million. No, that is not a typo. They have been fined $100 MILLION. That's crazy, or should I say Evil. I wonder who gets the money from the fine? It would be a nice little windfall for the smaller teams or any charity but I suspect it will just get added to the coffers of the FIA.

Ferrari will have now effectively been handed the 2007 constructors championship but if they have any self respect they will take the trophy and hide it at the back of their cabinet, behind all the ones won when Ferrari were the best team in the sport.

This is what the Formula 1 table now looks like
  • 1st Ferrari: 143 points
  • 2nd BMW: 86 pts
  • 3rd Renault: 38 pts
  • (McLaren: deducted 181 pts)

Former Formula 1 boss (and Irish hero) Eddie Jordan was speaking to the BBC and even he doesn't know where the money is going.
"To the outside world this is a ridiculous amount of money, and we also need to know where is this money going to?"

Steve Staunton

Woops, looks like poor Steve is on the way out of the Irish managers job after last nights loss to the Czechs. He just got the dreaded endorsement/vote of confidence from the Football Association of Ireland, but to make it worse it was a "guarded" endorsement. In other words 'We fully support the manager. The locksmith isn't available to change the locks until tomorrow morning...'

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ITunes TV shows in Ireland

My iTunes auto updated yesterday and when I started it up this morning I was brought into the iTunes shop which has a new option, TV Programmes. I knew it had been launched in the UK last week but when it didn't appear in my iTunes at the time I had just assumed Ireland was being negotiated separately.

I didn't purchase anything but the option if there now in iTunes so I presume it must be live in Ireland. Unfortunately prices are in British Pounds so an episode of Lost costs £1.89 which translated to approximately €2.76. Bit expensive but I suppose if I missed an episode of my favourite TV show I could catch up on it, legitimately. :-)

Junior Cert Results

Damn, it's that time of the year again. In my opinion this is the third biggest day of the year for off licence sales after Christmas and Good Friday. The Junior Cert results are out today so town will be packed with kids out celebrating their results. Every year I see 14 and 15 year old kids with beer and spirits walking around the area I live in and I wonder if the staff in my local off-license have any souls left.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Photoshop Express

It wont replace Photoshop CS but Adobe just released a screen shot of a new photo editing tool they are working on, Photoshop Express. The interesting thing about this is that it is an online application, possibly Flash based, that will allow the user to do some simple photo editing tasks. All that is available at the moment is a screenshot that shows Crop & Rotate, Auto Correct and White Balance under a Basics tab. Other tabs include Tuning, Details, Touchup, Fun and Recent. It wont replace Photoshop or even Elements but it's big selling point it it's free, well in so far as it'll probably be ad-supported.

I've been considering buying Photoshop CS3 but at €833.69 there is no way I can justify paying that especially with other tools like Gimp, Elements and Paint Shop Pro free or a fraction of the cost. Even with other options available I've gotten caught up in the photography communities addiction to Photoshop CS and I'd still gladly put up up with some adverts if I could pick up a more affordable copy of CS3.

[via Gizmodo]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Irish Rugby

Ireland 35 Namibia 17. Not only does the new Irish rugby jersey resemble a soccer jersey now the Irish rugby team resembles the Irish soccer team. So much for points difference counting later on to get us out of the group stages. They should have done better, you can bet France and Argentina will when they play Namibia. At one stage I thought Namibia would run the score even closer and a dodgy try at the end at least made the scoreboard look like a comfortable victory. On the up side, no one broke a leg, at least not before Eddie O'Sullivan got them back to the dressing room.

UPDATE: I've come to the conclusion that I should stop complaining about the Irish team and support them. Like the Munster fans did in 2006 when Munster won the Heineken Cup. I'm going to wear my Irish rugby jerseys with pride.

Rugby on the Radio

Is any radio station in Ireland carrying decent coverage of the Rugby World Cup? Newstalk has made much of their exclusive coverage but during the pool stages they are only broadcasting one game a day, apart from Saturday 15th when they have two games on. Please tell me the coverage is not "exclusive" and some other station I haven't found yet is covering the matches Newstalk has overlooked.

I really wanted to listen to the Canada v Wales game this afternoon followed by the South Africa V Samoa game but Newstalk broadcast the All Ireland Camogie Final instead. The same game that was on RTE radio. Before anyone argues that it is only proper for Newstalk to cover the All Ireland we should all be honest and admit that 99% of GAA fans would prefer to listen to Micháel O’Muircheartaigh on RTE than Oisin Langan on Newstalk and they probably did. I feel Newstalk could have been brave today and covered the rugby instead of playing second fiddle to RTE. In the end I listened to the Camogie on RTE, well done Wexford. I'm home now and watching Scotland steamroller Portugal in the rugby.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Irish Jersey

This is not something I never thought I'd ever hear myself say but... I agree with Ross O'Carroll Kelly. I rarely buy the Irish Times but today I saw the tag line "Ross O'Carroll Kelly gets shirty" on the front page and I knew what was coming. Ross has been let loose on the new Irish rugby jersey. His latest adventure sees him almost being refused from Kielys pub in Donnybrook and told to go to Longs next door for trying to get into the infamous rugby/poser pub while wearing a soccer jersey. After some confusion the bouncer realises that Kelly is wearing the new Irish jersey and a plot is hatched to restore the collar to the jersey.

I can see where he is coming from. The new jersey is a darker shade of green going towards the color of the Irish soccer jersey and, more importantly, has lost its collar in favour of some new stubby collar. The material is lighter and tighter, more like normal sports clothing and there are weird shiny patches on the front, sides and shoulders which I can only conclude are meant to be slippy. Someone has obviously concluded that if they took away the collar, made the jersey skin tight and coated the Irish team in Teflon then the All Blacks would just slide off and we'd win the world cup.

Also just in case slippy pads were not enough The Guardian (which I normally read) has an article informing me that the Irish team is getting a 2.7% boost in performance from their new jersey. You see it's one of the new IonX jerseys which uses negative ions to promote blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the muscles thereby boosting performance.

I agree with Ross, God forgive me. The new jersey is a soccer jersey and worse still it's not for the average man or woman on the street. I've never had the body of an athlete and these days I hear actual athletes my age wondering if they will get another year or two at the top level so I guess I never will get a toned body and a six pack, at least not one that doesn't come in a cardboard holder. Therefore a skin tight, All Black repellent, ion generating, jersey was never a runner for me. Fortunately the powers that be have recognised this fact and released a "Classic" jersey which I now own. It's still a little bit tighter than my old one and the color needs a couple of washes but at least it's just a collar short of a rugby jersey.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Port for Dublin

Transport and Marine Minister Noel Dempsey has announced a project to build a new port for Dublin up at Bremore near Balbriggan. This would appear to be a step towards the idea of redeveloping the current port area into the Progressive Democrats "A New Heart for Dublin". Apparently Bremore is actually a good location since it is a deep water facility unlike the current port.

Personally I like the idea of a developing the current port into a new "Manhattan-style approach to Dublin by sea", as the PDs describe it, but I doubt we'll ever see it. The final results of grand plans in Dublin never seem to quite match the artists drawings shown when the projects are announced.

I have to wonder, as does Cian on Irish Election, what happens to the Port Tunnel if the Port moves? Sure, it will be used by commuters coming from and going to the new apartments and offices but it seems like a bit of a waste to have spent so much time and effort building the tunnel and then, a year after it opens, announce a plan to build a new port elsewhere. The money and resources used on the tunnel may have seen the new port open for business already, reducing traffic from the old facility and possibly even seen new development occuring on the old port site already.

The Port Tunnel, aside it does sound like a good idea to build a new port away from the city and allow the old facility to be developed. It would open up a whole new area within the city that the people of Dublin could live in and enjoy. New apartments, shops, offices, parks and waterfront spaces. If done properly it could be something great for the city.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I've been distracted with other things for the last week or so and haven't had a chance to blog. I am coming up with a backlog of things I want to post about so I should try to post some of them.

This morning when I loaded up Bloglines I was struck by the symmetry of these news stories being beside each other. Look at the attached photo.

So now it looks like if you get cancer in Ireland you should go back to college, study medicine, become a consultant and then you'll be able to pay for your own treatment.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the cost over runs in the HSE? They were caused by patients claiming back the cost of drugs. Why cant they just be happy with placebos and let the consultants go back to the golf course?