Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bush Shoe Animations

The video of the Iraqi shoe thrower has become the new darling of the online animation world, I expect we'll be seeing new animations for months to come and parodies for years.

I would post links to the gifs here but they were killing the Boing Boing site from whence they came so I'm just going to direct everyone over to Boing Boing to watch them. My favourite is the Three Stooges one at the end, does that mean I am saying something about my mental age?

The link to the BBC story does explain why throwing shoes at someone is such an insult in the Arab world. I do remember reading once that part of the problems Americans had in Somalia back in the 1990's were caused by soldiers sitting on the edge of helicopters with their feet dangling over the side showing the soles of their boots to all the citizens below. I don't think anyone could ever say it caused the black hawk down incident but it helped to piss off the citizens who took it as an insult from the people who were trying to save them from famine and starvation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Most depressing song

I was listening to the new Dublin radio station Christmas FM today when they played the most depressing song I have ever heard, The Christmas Shoes. A song about a little boy trying to buy new shoes for his mother on Christmas Eve because she is dying and he wants her to look pretty when she meets Jesus that evening. It's a morose piece of Christmas rubbish so I couldn't help but google it.

This led me to what had to be the funniest book title I've ever heard:
"I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard" which lists The Christmas Shoes as the most depressing song in modern recorded music history. Brilliant!

Monday, December 08, 2008


Why did the pig cross the road?

Irish Farmers Answer:
"Who knows, but thanks to traceability we are able to locate the farm the pig came from and make sure it is returned to the correct farm. Anyway only a small minority of farms ever loose pigs and the pig don't do too much damage and no cars hit the pig.

It's all just hype really, you would need to have lots of pigs crossing the road to cause any trouble or pose any real risk to passing motorists. However a far more important question is when will the government compensate all farmers for the loss of any pigs and for having to cross the road themselves to recover the pigs."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Favourite Christmas Adverts

The Christmas adverts are in full swing on TV but some of my favourites are missing so far. Here is one of the best, the Let it Snow advert from Heineken. With the economic downturn of this year I imagine there will be lots of this going on in companies all around the world plus more than a few shredders running in the White House this festive season.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The economy gets worse

Tax revenue is €7.4bn behind target for the year up to the end of November. VAT was €2.1bn behind target, with Capital Gains Tax €1.7bn less than expected. Corporation Tax was €1.5bn below target, with Stamp Duty figures also €1bn less than projected.

I suppose they will just have to throw on a few percent extra in taxes and a couple of new levies in another emergency budget. People still have money the government could take, after all they are still spending it, just in Northern Ireland.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christmas Tree

I'm off to buy a new fake Christmas tree tonight. I have to buy it tonight or tomorrow night or it will be next week before I get another chance to go to the shop. I wonder is it too early to put up the tree this week?

Update: Tree bought, still in it's box. 1.8 meters "Canadian Pine" I cheated and got one with lights attached. Fake trees, no matter how realistic still suck. Maybe next year I'll get a real one.

Friday, November 28, 2008

They did nothing wrong?

I'm sick of hearing in radio interviews how government ministers and executives from Fás did nothing wrong because they only got what they were entitled to as part of their trip. Does no one in the civil service or government realise that telling people that they only spent money because they were entitled to spend that money is bloody annoying.

I don't care if Mary Harney was entitled to get her hair done when on a government trip. I don't care if Rody Molloy was entitled to bring his wife with him because he downgraded from first class to business class. Those entitlements are wrong, just plain wrong. Why couldn't Mary get her hair done before she went, or does she need her hair washed and blow dried every day? Why did Rody have to bring his wife, would he have been kicked out of what ever functions he had to go to because he was alone? Maybe himself and Mary could have left their spouses in Ireland and gone to the functions together saving us the cost of two tickets.

Some one has got to get a handle on the idea that people are entitled to extras in the civil service and teach them that money doesnt grow on trees.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Movember - Sponsor Me

Anyone looking to donate to a worthy charity could do worse than to give some money to Movember.

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is an annual charity event held during November.

At the start of Movember guys register with a clean shaven face. The Movember participants, known as Mo Bros, have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their Mo, raising money along the way to benefit men's health - specifically prostate cancer.

A colleague of mine, Bryan Pelly, is taking part and has managed to grow an impressive tash in the last 4 weeks. He deserves some more donations, if only to make up for the slagging he has gotten from us over the last month.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Does anyone on this plane know how to land a plane?

An Air Canada flight from Toronto to Heathrow was forced to land in Shannon airport after the co-pilot became confused and disorientated and had to be restrained. The captain had to look for a passenger with flying experience to help him land the jet. In the end a flight attendant with a commercial pilot's licence helped land the plane.

I probably shouldn't post this since my girlfriend is flying home for Christmas on Air Canada and already hates the airline. She's been very unlucky when flying home on Air Canada. Her flight is always delayed. I know people say that all the time, but seriously, in all the time I've known her she has never been on a flight on her own that was not delayed by a couple of hours at the very least. I'm the lucky one and tend to not be delayed so when she flies with me the flight arrives on time, but I shouldn't boast.

The last time she flew home she was delayed by over 24 hours. She was put up in a hotel and only later learned that compensation had been provided in the form of money off vouchers for other flights that had been placed on a counter where the passengers were waiting in the airport. Unfortunately it appears Air Canada didn't actually bother to announce this and most of the passengers including my girlfriend didn't get their vouchers. Now she's worried that she wont be home in time for Christmas, you shouldn't have to worry about not getting home for Christmas when you book flights with a major international airline but she does given her past experience.

Add to that the fact that Air Canada cancelled the St Johns to Heathrow route that she used to take all the time and it surprises me that any Newfoundlander still flies with them. I guess they are the easiest way to get to Canada, but they really do need to work on their customer service. They have already changed the schedule of her flights home for Christmas 3 times in the last 3 months and she now gets back into Dublin on New Years Eve at 5pm instead of in the morning as she had originally planned. I've never flown with them and not had them change the schedule at least once. I'm not talking about just flight time changes, I've had stop overs in other cities added to my flight plan, Ottawa might be nice city to visit but not to break up the not so arduous 3 hour flight from Toronto to St Johns.

I would guess if the pilot of that disrupted flight from Toronto to Heathrow had come on the intercom and asked if anyone knew how to fly a plane most of the passengers would have just rolled their eyes and mumbled "Bloody Air Canada, messing around again".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another waste of money

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin is off to Georgia to assess the security situation on the ground there following the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia. I'm sure the Georgians will greet him like Parisians welcoming Charles De Gaulle in 1944. Their troubles are over, the Irish have arrived.

What possible help can we be? We don't have the money to help our own country out of recession never mind rebuild Georgia and from a military point of view the most we can do is send a couple of hundred lightly armed soldiers to pad out the peace keeping forces from larger nations. Unless Martin has some wonderful brain for military strategy and tactics he's wasting our money and their time trying to portray himself as an international statesman.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Late Late Toy Show 2008

Just found the new RTE Guide in the local newsagents and guess what, the Late Late Toy Show is on Friday November 28th. That's a week earlier than I expected. Have to make sure I'm home for that.

Munster Spirit

I watched the Munster Vs New Zealand game last night and have to say it was one of the best sporting events I've watched since Liverpool beat AC Milan in the Champions League Final in 2005. I was gutted when Munster lost but I couldn't believe the performance Munster put in against an All Black side that should have swept them aside and won the match by a cricket score. In the end it took a 76th minute try to edge New Zealand ahead but it was all Munster on the guts and bravery scoreboard. If only Ireland had put in a similar performance on the big occasions but somehow they always seem to fall short.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ireland closes gender gap

The World Economic Forum has released their Global Gender Gap Report 2008 which provides an insight into the gaps between women and men. Top of the pile is Norway, bottom is Yemen in 130th place. Ireland comes a very respectable 8th, which puts us above the UK, the US, Canada and lots of other countries you would think would be above Ireland in the equality sakes. In 2007 we were 9th.

The top 10 are

  1. Norway
  2. Finland
  3. Sweden
  4. Iceland
  5. New Zealand
  6. Philippines
  7. Denmark
  8. Ireland
  9. Netherlands
  10. Latvia

The UK is 13th, The US is 27th and Canada is 31st. So to all the women out there, stop complaining and go make us a cup of tea would ya love.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reeling in the Years DVD

I bought the DVD of Reeling in the Years 1980s yesterday. Stay away from it. It's a butchered, pale imitation of the original TV show. From what we've watched so far most if not all of the international clips and music have been removed.

Sure, RTE had problems securing the rights to publish lots of the material but at €21.99 a DVD in HMV I would have expected them to at least get some of the interesting stuff. It appears all the scenes that made it into the DVD are just whatever RTE itself happened to have in their archives so the DVD is basically pure profit for them.

Obama, the first tanned president

Quote from Silvio Berlusconi: "I told the president that [Obama] has everything needed in order to reach a deal with him: he's young, handsome and tanned."

We may have lost George W but we still have Silvio to keep us entertained. :-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Change can happen

If Obama accepts Cowens invite to visit Ireland he will make our Taoiseach look and sound like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Unfortunately right now in Ireland we have a choice between the three stooges so there is no real chance for change. Still there is hope. Just 5 years ago hardly anyone knew who Barrack Obama was, even in the Democratic Party. Now as the whole world knows he is President elect in the United States. Here's hoping for some new politician to appear here as well.

For those who don't remember where Obama came from here is the video of an unknown politician from 2004.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Eight People Died

In two hospitals in Ireland between August 2006 and August 2007 people with treatable lung cancer were misdiagnosed and given the all clear. Now eight of the nine people misdiagnosed are dead and you have to suspect their lives were shortened if not lost by not being treated in time.
Health Minister Mary Harney has expressed her sympathies to the families of the deceased patients.
But don't worry, the Minister is on the job and action will be taken.
As a result of this review, the HSE, the Department of Health and the Faculty of Radiology of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland are to develop an agreed protocol and guidance around complaints of error in radiology, the minister said.
So if anyone out there finds themselves dying as the result a cancer misdiagnosis they can rest assured that there will now be an official form they can fill out to express their dissatisfaction. Just make sure you fill it out correctly you might not get a second chance.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Choice 2008

Anyone who wants to remember what the candidates in tomorrows US presidential election were like before the spin doctors and campaign managers got control of them should watch the documentary The Choice was shown on More 4 on Saturday night and as far as I can tell this it's the same one produced by PBS and available on YouTube.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Christmas is coming fast

Now that Halloween is over Christmas will rapidly arrive in Dublin. I was in Dundrum Shopping center yesterday and it felt more like Christmas Eve than All Saints Day (the religious festival not the band). In fact according to today's Irish Times website a new high-tech Christmas tree will be erected on O'Connell St this year and the lighting ceremony will be on November 9th.
A French-designed Christmas tree lighting up Dublin’s O’Connell Street this year will offer a beacon of hope amid the recession, it was claimed today.

The 60ft structure, which weights five tonnes and is composed of 100,000 bulbs of different sizes, will replace the traditional natural evergreen.

I didn't realise things had gotten so bad in Dublin that we now needed a "beacon of hope" but sure it sounds pretty and might make for a nice photograph. Now I don't mean to be a Grinch, I love Christmas as much as anyone and more that most but I'd prefer to wait until at the very least November 25th before Christmas kicked in, two months of Christmas festivities is a little much and seems to devalue it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's not so bad here

Things in post Celtic Tiger Ireland may seem bad to us celtic pups but at least we have food in the shops for the winter. The town of Makkovik on the north coast of Labrador in Canada is already running low on staple foods and the shipping lanes are still open, when winter sets in properly there wont be any ships.
"There's no ketchup to buy, there's no mayonnaise, there's no salt beef," said Herb Jacque, the angajukKâk, or mayor, of Makkovik.
In case you are wondering where Makkovik is, draw a line across from Ireland to Canada and in Newfoundland that line passes close to a place called Goose Bay, Makkovik is just above that. Aren't we lucky to have the gulf stream to keep us warm.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christmas is Cancelled

At a press conference this morning the Government announced plans to cancel Christmas. Minister For Social and Economic Entertainment Mary MacLenihan said that in today's tightening economic conditions people can no longer expect the same level of festivities and reasons to party as in previous years.

"The obvious source of wastage in the party sector is Christmas." said the Minister. "Other festivities such as Halloween and Easter are just as much fun yet do not drain as many resources from the State. Look at the strain Christmas puts the public sector areas such as the postal service. Every year Christmas results in massive overtime bills, tired backs and worn shoes for postmen and postwomen up and down the country. Pint glass volume inspectors are run off their feet visiting every pub in Ireland to ensure all glasses are the correct EU mandated size. Hundreds of extra safety inspectors have to be hired to check the wiring in local authority street lights to insure they have the correct regulation insulation and bulb wattage. There is also a marked increase in unscheduled illness in the civil service as people ring in sick for the week following the office party."

Figures released by the Department of Economic Recovery detailed the exact cost of Christmas. Last year €16,000,000 was spent on a trial issue of new musical Oireachtas Christmas cards. The new card when opened would have played the 1980's Fianna Fail No.1 hit "We'll Rise and Follow Charlie" with the words changed to "We'll rise and follow Santa". Unfortunately the prototype card had a tendency to electrocute the person opening the card and several versions were found to have the incorrect tune installed, instead playing "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", somewhat ironic considering the recent withdrawal of Grandmas medical card.

The government also had to recruit 2000 new immigration officers in 2007 and has placed an order with aerospace manufacturer McDonnell Douglas for a fleet of F-18A Hornet all-weather carrier-capable strike fighter jets in order to intercept and deal with an annual influx of migrants late on Christmas Eve night. Minister for Defensive Comments Billy O'Weee explained that every year air traffic control in Dublin sees a large transport aircraft appear on radar. This craft then visits every home in Ireland and can be seen on satellite images offloading one elderly and overweight man into every home. Early in January 2009 it is planned that these new inspectors will visit every home in Ireland searching for "jolly old fat men dressed in red" while the fighter jets will patrol the skies on Christmas Eve with orders to shoot down all intruders.

The Minister claimed that this is an obvious attempt by illegal elderly migrants from the North Pole to sneak into Ireland while everyone is asleep. These illegals would then attempt to acquire the now cancelled free medical cards for over 70's. Asked if the images actually showed the same elderly gentleman entering but then leaving each house and in fact did not represent a mass influx of jolly old men into the nation, Minister O'Weee admitted that this was a possibility but it seemed highly unlikely that one man would want to visit every home in Ireland in one night and so the government had to take action to protect the tax payers of Ireland. "The pilot of this craft is a rude and offensive man" stated the Minister. "Last year when a female air traffic controller tried to established contact he repeatedly referred to her as a prostitute. Over and over again he chanted Ho! Ho! Ho!. The poor lady in question suffered a nervous break down during the verbal assault and has been on compassionate leave from the civil service since this event. Doctors say she may never fully recover".

Asked if the Green Party supported the government decision Senator Dan O'Kancelled said that the exact details of the plan had not been fully discussed at cabinet. When the issue had been raised by Fianna Fail ministers the Green ministers were preoccupied making sure other cabinet members saved paper by writing on both sides of their notepads so they had not managed to table a question on this particular cut back. "In general the cancelling of Christmas would be something the Green Party would support" explained Senator O'Kancelled. "Christmas is the single greatest source of green house gasses and global warming in the developed world. Only last year 7,000,000 square miles of Arctic ice were melted by the heat produced from the Christmas lights hanging over Grafton St and another 3,000,000 miles were crushed up and used to chill drinks at the HSE office party. 10,000 polar bears were killed and their fur used to make the white trim on Christmas stockings. The whole state of Bolivia was deforested in 3 days by Christmas wrapping paper companies and 600 coal fired electricity power plants were built in China to provide the electricity to charge batteries used in toys."

Concluding the press conference Minister MacLenihan explained "People can no longer expect the State to support frivolous expenditure of time and resources. People should remember that Christmas did not exist in its current form before it was introduced in 1997 by the Fianna Fail Government. We hope that once economic stability and prosperity returns we will be able to reinstate Christmas and based on current forecasts from the ESRI we expect that in 2010 we will be able introduce a means tested Christmas for under 10's. Any child under the age limit and with a pocket money income of less than €1.18 a week will be allowed to hang Christmas decorations."

Recycling bins will be made available in supermarkets and hardware stores where members of the public will be able to recycle their old Christmas decorations. Anyone caught in possession of Christmas decorations after the 31st of November will have those decorations confiscated and will be subject to a €200 Xmas levy. The exact details of the ban will be published in the Anti-Christmas Bill 2008 which will go before the Dail early in November shortly before the Dail rises for its Christmas Mid-Winter holiday from November to March.

(This post was inspired by the news from RTE and Damien Mulley that Christmas is Cancelled)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Waterford and Newfoundland

Just back from a long weekend in Waterford. My girlfriend likes it since it reminds her of her home town of St Johns in Newfoundland. I had not been there since I was a kid so didn't quite realise how similar it is with the port and the cliffs on one side and the town center on the other.

It sometimes puzzles me how we can have so much of Ireland and the Irish just across the ocean in Newfoundland and not have more connections between here and there. Practically everyone I've met over there has Irish ancestors and just last year the last of the Irish speaker, Aloysius O'Brien, died. I was there at the time and it made all the news reports in the province. Funnily enough his mothers family came from Waterford.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not so affordable

Here is a clear example of why the government should stop getting involved in the property market. Houses on sale under the affordable houses scheme are now more expensive than houses on general sale.

Buyers can save €10,000 on €245,000 two-bedroom apartments in Phibblestown Wood, Ongar, Dublin 15, and €5,000 on €205,000 three-bedroom homes at Parnell Drive and Parnell Green, Ladyswell, Mulhuddart, by purchasing on the open market
instead of through Fingal County Council

It seems no matter how well intended most government schemes in the property market just end up profiting the property developers. The government should release their grip on the idea of massive tax income from a property boom and focus on encouraging a property market that is profitable for developers yet genuinely affordable for buyers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The bus missed

I was in a rush to get into town yesterday for a flickr meet. As I walked around the corner towards the bus stop at the end of the road I could see the 11A at the stop and realised that there was no way I could get to it in time so I had to wait 20 minutes until the next bus. That was fine because I was able to grab breakfast in the local Spar.

40 minutes later I was on the next bus turned onto Dame St and I caught up with that 11A I had missed.
Sometimes it's best to miss the bus, both as a passenger and as a Toyota Yaris.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Medical cards

In the budget this week the government decided to scrap automatic medical cards for over 70s leaving around 100,000 people wondering where they will get the money to go to the doctor. Some GPs charge €60 a visit never mind prescriptions or other medicines like say the flu vaccine, which cost my girlfriend €35 during a recent visit to her GP. So imagine if you were 70 years old retired, trying to scrape together enough money to buy food, pay the increased ESB and gas bills, then save a little money to buy Christmas presents for the grand kids and not doing anything fancy like foreign holidays. Just gettin by in Ireland today. €95 would be a good chunk out of your weekly income of say €241 which would put you over the limits.

Being over 70 there is a reasonable chance you may need to go to the doctor more than your average working age person and probably need some more medication as well. Suddenly basic health care is something you have to weigh up against lights and food. Is that pain in your arm that bad? Maybe those dizzy spells are just a bit of a bug that will pass. That lump you think you feel in your breast, probably just a benign cyst. Is it worth the money just to have peace of mind?
Some people will say the country cant afford to pay for all the little luxuries like medical cards for rich old people. But many people who will loose their medical cards are not rich, not by any means. Even if they have a little nest egg, they worked their whole lives so that they might have a little comfort in their old age. Many paid 66% income tax back in the bad old days of pre celtic tiger Ireland. Have they not paid for their medical cards? If their visits to doctors are too expensive then perhaps we should ask why doctors are so expensive and not why old people need to see doctors.

The cynic in me wonders if the government decided to target 70 years olds in the belief that they would be too weak to protest outside the Dail on a cold October day and that many of them wouldn't make it to the next election in 4 years anyway so who cares about their votes.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hockey Night in... Dublin

It's ice hockey season again and I finally get to watch at least part of a game live on TV with my girlfriend, who almost called the whole thing off early on when I joked that ice hockey wasn't really a sport. It took months of her telling me all about hockey and how great it is before she forgave me, she still doesn't realise I was joking :).

Anyway there is hockey on Setanta Ireland tonight though apparently it's not the same without the theme tune, the real theme tune that is, not the fake new one CBC will pick over the next few days.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Speakeasy iPhones coming soon? accidentally, it appears, published details of their prices for speakeasy iPhones. For new users the prices were

8GB iPhone 3G €529
16GB iPhone 3G €589

Upgrading users only had the option of the 8GB phone. The page for new customers has already been removed but the upgrade phone is still listed here though that could be taken down as well at any time. More details can be found on the O2 forums.

So iPhones could be the most desired present this Christmas, though probably the hardest to get.

Interest Rate Cut

The central banks Europe, the UK, the USA, China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland all just cut their interest rates by 0.5% in a co-ordinated move. When something like this happens with all those countries acting together on any issue you can just smell the panic in government buildings around the world. Lets hope some coordinated action does the trick or God only knows what will stop the economic crash.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


donnybrook \DON-ee-brook\, noun:
1. A brawl; a free-for-all.
2. A heated quarrel or dispute.

The word comes from the suburb of Dublin called Donnybrook which used to be famous for its annual fair where loads of fights and brawls used break out. Today its one of the more affluent posh areas of Dublin.

Monday, September 29, 2008

7 is the unlucky number

I noticed tonight that the breaking news ticker BBC News 24 said that the Dow Jones ended up down 7% with a fall of 777.7 after the US congress voted down the 700 Billion bail out. The TV numbers were rounded up but on the web site the numbers were more accurate and less interesting.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bonjour Mr Sarkozy

So President Sarkozy is on his way to Dublin today in an attempt to find out why we voted No to the Lisbon Treaty. I don't know why he thinks coming here will help him understand why we said No considering he didn't understand it when the French voted Non to the original EU constitution. He didn't let his own people vote again and just pushed through the Lisbon Treaty so it is generous of him to say we should
vote again instead of strong arming Cowen into just rubber stamping the treaty in a similar way.

I'd love it if Cowen stood beside Sarkozy at this evenings press conference and announced Ireland will vote again, but only as part of an EU wide referendum. Everyone in Europe gets to vote or the treaty dies. Imagine the look on Sarkozys face :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Repairing the Spire in Dublin

I was in Dulin city center last night and was lucky enough to be walking past when they were repairing the spire. There is a cool platform that is placed around the base of the spire and then lifted up the length of the spire by a crane. It moves slowly but not as slowly as I would have expected, the platform made it half way in about five minutes.

More photos can be found on my flickr account.

Quiet Here Isnt it

It's been very quiet here lately, over a month since my last post. It's been a hectic couple of weeks with people moving, first my old flat mate was moving out and then my girlfriend was moving in so the apartment was in chaos, work stuff, photo stuff and just general bits and pieces. I only get to blog properly from home since my iPhone still does not have a decent blog tool and with no cut-n-paste it's difficult to blog and post links to the things I am blogging about. Still I'll try to post more often.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I voted

I voted yesterday and in the end my fonal decision was made on the way to the polling station. For a long time during the campaign I was on the No side, though as I found out more information and listened to the arguments I gradually drifted to undecided.

Both side were saying "vote for us or bad things will happen". It was like someone asking you would you rather have your left leg or your right arm cut off. Neither please. Personally I would have prefered if this constitution and treaty had never been proposed. However it was and it seemed that we were stuck with making a decision.

It came down to the people involved. Who did I trust more? The Yes campaign had the support of most mainstream groups while the No
campaign had too many groups I feel I disagree with most of the time.

Finally in a funny way it came down to Brian Cowan V's Bertie Ahern. I think Cowan is more likely to fight for Irelands interests in Europe than Ahern who always seemed to want to compromise and seemed to have one eye on a job on Europe do didnt want to upset anyone. Had Bertie still been Taoiseach I might have voted No since I would not have trusted that Bertie was not putting Europe ahead of Ireland.

So I voted yes. It felt like the best choice, the one that had fewer downsides. Its sad that my decision came down to that, though listening to the tallies I may have been in the minority.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Voting Delay

So I went to vote before work this morning. Got out of bed, shower, shave, grabbed my passport and voting card then headed off to the polling station.

I was most of the way there when I heard an advert on the radio from the referendum commission asking people to come out and vote... on Thursday, i.e. tomorrow. Duh!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sex and the City Billboards

Went to see Sex and the City, with the girlfriend. I'll admit the story was better than I expected. The movie itself was watchable, better than the last chic flick I had to see, 27 Dresses, but afterwards I felt a little exploited, like I'd spent 20 quid to buy a book and found every second page had an advert on it.

I know part of the Sex and the City thing is the clothes and I was willing to put up with that but I dont think there was a single scene that did not have product placement, clothes, bags, books, magazines, phones and so on. That movie must have broken even just on sponsorship deals. They should have paid me to go see it.

At least now herself has to sit through Star Trek when it comes out :-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Indianna Jones and the Photoshopped Skull

I went to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull recently. I'd been looking forward to this for ages but had a little worry in the back of my mind ever since the on set photos started to be released. It all looked like Indiana Jones but it to lack the Indiana Jones sparkle. These worries were increased when I saw the trailer. CGI tastic with scenes that looked like they were pulled straight from The Mummy Returns. Still I was looking forward to the movie, after all it was Indiana Jones and that had to count for something.

Unfortunately it counted for very little. From the moment Indiana Jones stoops down to pick up his hat the whole movie feels more like a series of cut scenes from a state of the art computer game than a major cinema release. Maybe it was the screen I watched the movie on but every scene seemed to have been "enhanced" by computers. Spectacular and colourful skies that look too spectacular and too saturated. large jungle canopies. Jungle scenes where half the jungle trees seem to have been added in. The final scene filmed on a mountain peak looked like it was a blue screen effort. Even the bad guys seemed too regular, too smooth, too generated. I'm sure they filmed lots of the stunts, Spielberg and Lucas insist that most of the stunts were real and not computer generated but it looks like they took those stunts and then photoshopped the background to make the scene more dramatic or more colourful.

But it's not all bad, Harrison Ford might be old and sometimes he does seem just a little too old for some of the action scenes but he still manages to pull off the role. Shia Labeouf is not as annoying as I imagined, in fact he might be able to pull off an Indiana Jones movie as the lead character. Some people did not like the plot but lets face it after The Ark of the Covenant, a priest who can rip the hearts of his victims out with his bare hands and a thousand year old crusader knight no one should go to this fourth movie expecting realistic plot points.

All in all I'd give this a 2.5 out of 5. Not good not bad but perhaps if this had been The Mummy 3 instead of Indiana Jones 4 I'd have given it an even lower score.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


How in the name of God did the Eurovision get so popular it can be on TV twice this week? Sure the Eurvision itself can be a laugh for its pure stupidity and bizareness but do we really need two semi-finals? No wonder RTE sent a turkey, they couldn't afford to host 1 Eurovision never mind 3.

It's like the EU, the more we vote the bigger and more painful it gets.

Update: Just saw Dustin perform. Only one way out of this now. Vote No to Lisbon and tell them it's all part of the same anti-EU campaign :-)

Update 2: So we didnt make it through, my national pride is a little bruised yet relieved. Was anyone truely surprised?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Anyone want a Spire?

Newstalk reported today that several monuments including the Spire, O'Connell Monument and Parnell Monument on O'Connell Street might have to be removed for several years to allow construction of the new Metro. Brian Cowen is only in charge of the countey for 24 hours and already he's redecorating the gaff.

When I first blogged about this over at the Dublin Community Blog I thought it was a good idea. Now though I wonder if the cut and fill approach to building the metro is the way to go?Why cant they dig tunnels underground and minimise the impact above ground? Why is it going to take several years to complete the O'Connell Street section of the line? If this is the rate of progress that can be expected how long will it take to build the line from St Stephens Green to the airport? How much of O'Connell Street will be closed to the public? Will it the work be completed in time for 2016? Will they restore all the monuments back to their original positions?

Monday, May 05, 2008

President Laura Bush?

I just watched Laura Bush on BBC News giving a press conference announcing aid for Burma in the aftermath of the cyclone that has killed thousands. She went on to condemn the Burmese government for their actions. I wonder if she is padding out the international affairs part of her CV for a run to the White House after President Hillary Clinton. At that stage she'll probably be running against Senator Chelsea Clinton.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mayor Boris

The BBC is reporting that Boris Johnson is likely to be elected Mayor of London. There is a God and he has one hell of a sense of humour. This is going to be a classic mayoral term.

If you dont know who Boris is, look at this:

It's official, Boris is the Mayor of London for the next 4 years.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Austrias PR Image

The Austrian government is worried about it's image in the aftermath of the case of Elisabeth Fritzl who was imprisoned in a cellar under her family home for 24 years by her own father and forced to bear him seven children 3 of which were held in the cellar with her. Alfred Gusenbauer, the Austrian Chancellor says his government is planning a PR campaign to demonstrate that Josef Fritzl's actions were not representative of his country.

"We won’t allow the whole country to be held hostage by one man."

I think it's fair to say Fritzl is not the worst Austrian in history (... *cough* Hitler...) so why make such meal of it. A year ago all those journalists were in Portugal searching for Maddie McCann.

No offence to Austria but I don't think anyone, except maybe the Austrians themselves, are blaming them for this one. Punish the crime and stop hiring PR agencies.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bulmers name

Bulmers cider from Ireland has to be branded as Magners Cider for the international market since another company owns the international rights to the Bulmers name and sells a cider called HP Bulmers.

On Saturday I saw a shop on O'Connell St selling cans of HP Bulmers. Is this legal? Hardly seems fair to Irish Bulmers if they can't use the name abroad but HP Bulmers can use it in Ireland

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cancelled Flights

I've been listening to people bitching and moaning on the radio about Aer Lingus cancelling business class flights to America they bought
for 5 euros online yesterday. It was obviously a mistake, 5 euros across the Atlantic would clearly be a mistake but in business class? Come on.

No one can be so naive as to think that offer was genuine. They must have booked knowing it was an error and hoping to get something out of it be it cheap flights or some compensation. The best one so far was a guy was on the radio complaining that he now had to cancel his hotel booking.

No one seemed to notice the hypocrisy of assuming he had the right to cancel something but Aer Lingus doesn't.

(Edit: I hate using blogger on an iPhone, too difficult to type and read. Roll on the SDK and hopefully a decent editor)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Peoples Photography 2008?

Does anyone know if the Peoples Photography exhibition around St Stephens Green will be on this year? I've emailed them a few times over the last few months but got no reply and the web site has not been updated since 3rd May 2007 so almost a year ago.

At this stage I'd guess it must be dead and thats a real shame as it was a great way for amature photographers to show off their work.

[Update: 13th May 2008] I just got an email back from the organisers. The exhibition will be on again this year on the weekend 30/31st August

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Quake 3 on an iPhone

The guys over at HermitWorks took the source for Quake 3 and "with a few modifications had it running pretty quick" on an iPhone and an iTouch. They posted a video on youTube showing an iPhone and an iTouch playing multiplayer Quake.

The iPhone is one hell of a great phone :-)

Missing buses

As I stand at a bus stop waiting for an 11 bus to come by a question is bugging me. Why does the bus service in this city seem to get worse when there is a big sports event like Manchester United in the Champions League on TV?

There always seem to be large gaps in the schedule on those days and nights. I hope if any drivers rang in sick today they aren't too ill to lift their heads and watch the match.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bertie announces resignation date

Bertie Ahern has announced his resignation. He will leave office on Tuesday May 6th. Its some how ironic that after leading a cabinet for 10 years where resignation was removed from the dictionary Bertie himself resigns. Perhaps now we will see some change around the stale cabinet table.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Health Service Protest

I went into the health service protest on Saturday. Initially as I wandered around Parnell Square I was concerned that it seemed to be the same regular protesters that you see out at each and every protest in Dublin. I mean the groups who have turned Saturday protests into their regular social outing. They probably think they are fighting some good fight or other but really they just tire the public so now no one notices a march or two passing in between the buses. In fact one group tried to upstage the main protest by staging their own march up to Parnell Square and to the front of the main protest. I'm sure they felt they were expressing solidarity but it seemed like attention seeking to me. A Garda I was talking to at the time was surprised to see them marching but insisted that they would be rewarded for showing up late by being put to the back of the march. That was the last I saw of their banners.

However despite the semi-pro protesters getting there early once the start time of the march got closer the crowd built up to become a gathering of general people, old and young, male and female. Most of the people who took part in the march looked like they were off on a Saturday outing to the park or to the shops. These are people who in previous years would have been interviewed saying how they thought Bertie was a nice decent Dublin lad, doing his best for the country and he'd get things right in the end. Now they were marching down O'Connell Street calling for change. Many seemed to have brought their own placards. This wasn't a group of people who had a few minutes to spare and decided to join in for something to do. They were angry and wanted their voices heard. If they are not heard then they should be heard at the next election.

I doubt the organisers got their predicted 70,000 marchers but there were 1000s. When the march got going the pedestrians lining the route of the march did seem interested and some even had their own posters on display. Even passing tourists stopped to take photographs and one American woman I spoke had heard about and understood the reasons for the march.

At the end there were speeches on a stage on Molesworth Street. In general these were not that interesting, mostly being delivered by high profile people from the campaign or the trade unions. I thought the organisers could have done more to highlight individual patient cases. Politicians are not afraid of Union spokespeople or medical professors telling the public about how more funds are needed for their members or how they are going to this international conferences. Bertie knows the general public don't relate directly with those speakers. They are however afraid of cancer patients with microphones or a widowers with an audience, any of us could become one of them while the current government examines it's profit and loss seats.

In the end I doubt the march will achieve anything directly or in the short term. Harney and Ahern know they are in too deep now and the change people want will have to come from the top down. If change does come it will be because junior members of the Dail will begin to feel their seats getting shaky beneath them and they will start to put pressure on those above them for new faces at the top.

My photos from the march are up on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Mmm coffee, I missed you over the last 40 days. Now my venti tripple latte is coursing through my veins, buzz buzz buzz :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bertie and Txting

Is it rude to go to someones house and while talking with their wife to keep taking txt messages? At what stage should you turn off your phone or at least switch it to silent? What if an aquaintance had invited you over and you took so many txt messages that they were forced to ask if there was a crisis or emergency at home, would that be impolite? Would you go down the pub and joke about it to show how cool you were?

Alternatively what if you were in an important work meeting, or at least one you claimed was vitally important, and you kept reading txt messages from your mates telling you how the match was going, would that be unprofessional? Would you go back to the office and joked about it in front of the people who are supposed do be your bosses and whom you had convinced to let you go in the first place?

I ask because of an article in the Sunday Independent today where Bertie Ahern laughs off stories of political pressure on him with a yarn of how during his recent visit to the White house for St Patricks Day, one of a series of Ministerial trips Bertie justified as vital to the profile of Ireland abroad, Bertie received so many txt messages that Laura Bush asked if there was a crisis in Ireland. Bertie explained to her that everything was ok and it was just his mates in Dublin txting him the news that St Vincents had won the Club Championships. Cringe. I wonder if she found it a refreshing change from all the serious world leaders that cone to visit or if she quietly asked the secret service to turn back on the cell phone jammers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New jobs in Ireland

The Government is getting desperate for good news on the jobs front. Minister for Trade and Employment Micheál Martin has announced that IBM in Mulhuddart are creating 21 new jobs.

Anyone remember the days when announcements were in triple digits?

Victory in Iraq

Good news all, George Bush has declared victory in Iraq, again. Now he can leave office happy with a job well done, the world a safer place and hand over a better America to his successor. Of course from now on should anything in Iraq go wrong it can only be for one of three reasons:
  • The old white guy was too old for the job and had spent too long with the commies in Nam to be trust worthy. If Star Trek has taught George anything it's that real Klingon warriors don't get taken alive.
  • The young black dude was too young for the job and he was probably a sleeper agent anyway. If 24 has taught George anything it's that the non-white guys with the funny names are bad. That and watch out for our Dad making strange deals with Arabs.
  • The scary chic was too, well, too female and was probably all emotional and teary when the bombs needed to be dropped. If Sex and the City has taught George anything it's that women are irrational.

Monday, March 17, 2008


After all my complaining I found myself standing in an O2 store on Friday playing with one of the demo iPhones which wisely were fully functional and connected to the internet. I typed in the urls of a few of my favourite websites did some reading and was hooked. The thing works perfectly for what I needed. Add to that the fact that the store had stacks of 16GB phones and I was hooked.

The only problem was that I made my purchase at lunchtime and the phone needed to be activated so I spent the day in work watching the clock and dying to get home only to then have to spend a couple of hours in Dundrum shopping center with the girlfriend doing some shopping, I think a little piece of her was enjoying the torture. Eventually I got to my laptop at about 9pm and sat down to backup my old phone onto my computer then load up iTunes and sync with the iPhone.

There was another delay as iTunes did what it was supposed to do and synced 16 GB of music to my phone. Silly of me really but I decided what the hell and let it run, by now anyway the girlfriend deserved a little attention or she would start to think I was abandoning her in favour of a shiny black and silver thing. By the time I finally got to actually play with the iPhone it was after midnight but it was still fun.

I have now spent 2 full days playing with the phone, using it for email, web browsing, finding directions to a friends new house. While waiting for the Dublin parade to come by I was watching videos on YouTube. My email now arrived like an SMS with the phone set up to check my accounts every hour. After two days of messing around with it the usage details tell me I've only uploaded 4.6MB and received 37MB, seems a little low to me, if it's true I should have no problem with the 1GB monthly limit. My only gripe so far is with the keyboard, it works well but I'm still trying to get the hang of it. It's improving but I don't think I'll ever be able to use it to write long emails or blog posts. As a result I haven't written any blog posts with it yet. Still the phone is a great gadget and I think in a few years we will wonder how we ever got by without mobile internet access in the same way we now wonder how we got by without mobile phones.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why is property so expensive?

Why is property and rent so expensive in Ireland these days? Who knows? Maybe the government should do something about it, after they finish managing their property portfolios of course.

Topping the list of property holdings was former Fianna Fáil minister for state Frank Fahey, who declared full ownership or part-interest in properties in 29 apartments in Ireland, Europe and the US.
Nice work. Good think sitting in the Dail is a part time job these days. At least we know if and when the property market crash really starts to bite the Government will come up with a package to ease the burden on investors.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Delay for 16GB iPhones in Ireland?

After reading about the last nights iPhone SDK release I decided to give in and preorder an iPhone. I like the iPhone and I liked the plans Apple had for the updates and third party apps. It still seems like Ireland is getting a poor deal when compared to the UK but I figure O2 wont change the package and even if Apple do release a 3G iPhone in June it probably wont reach Ireland until several months after that. So I headed into the nearest O2 store to preorder a 16 GB iPhone.

After a quick chat with the shop assistant I was handing over my credit card to pay the deposit when as a side thought he informed me "Oh by the way we cant take deposits on 16 GB iPhones since we don't know when we'll get them". "What?" I said. "Well, we'll possibly have them on the release day but we may not" he explained. Somewhat puzzled I asked "So do you have any idea when you will certainly have them?" "No, but you can put a deposit on an 8GB iPhone and ask on the release day to upgrade to a 16GB phone. If we have them you can have one, if not you can have an 8GB one or just wait". My credit card went back into my pocket and I said I'd wait.

Thinking that perhaps the problem was that store I went to another and asked again about the 16GB iPhone. They too admitted they did not know when they would get them but they believed it would probably be the release day. I asked when they might know and was told it would be the night before the release when they get the delivery.

What the hell? Are O2 trying to dump 8GB iPhones on the market, sell them off to early adopters and then drop in the 16GB to the people who were willing to wait and see if something better came along? Since their CEO expects to have "Apple Freaks", as she called them, queuing out the door to pick up a iPhone then perhaps she should also consider the fact that those "freaks" she expects to pack her shops on the 14th will want their top spec iPhone and she'd better get them on the shelves if she wants to sell out.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

O2's Paddy Tax

I have to admit that I am seriously tempted to buy an iPhone, I love the interface and I have found myself using the internet on my current phone a little more than I should. Unfortunately when the phone was announced last week my excitement was seriously dampened by the comparisons I've seen of the O2 Ireland tariff compared to the O2 UK version on Damien Mulleys blog.

€45 - 175 mins, 100 texts, 1GB data
€65 - 350 mins, 150 texts. 1GB data
€100 - 700 mins, 250 texts, 1GB data
NO visual voicemail, NO wifi hotspot access

£35 (~€47) - 600 mins, 500 texts, unlimited data
£45 (~€60) - 1200 mins, 500 text, unlimited data
£75 (~€100) - 3000 mins, 500 texts, unlimited data
Visual voicemail, access to UK-wide wifi hotspots.

This morning the issue was raised on RTE's Morning Ireland by Pat Phelan who called it a Paddy Tax on his blog and wants to organise a boycott of the iPhone in Ireland until O2 introduce fair prices. I'd like to think it will achieve something but unfortunately I don't see the boycott stopping people buying the phone. Of more interest is Phelans announcement that his company will make available information on buying iPhones from abroad and unlocking them here. Still it's not likely to make a difference to O2 but may save some people some money.

What is more likely is that O2 could react to bad publicity and change the tarrifs to include more data or minutes in the package but again the chances of enough publicity building up are remote. O2 and the other telcos know they have a cash cow here and you cant blame them for exploiting the Irish consumers like myself who in the end will just give in and pay. It is a better tarrif than the one I'm on at the moment so unfortunately, if I'm being realistic, I see myself buying one and just hating O2 Ireland a little more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Transport 21 Mark II

Two years after announcing the plans for Transport 21 and the future of transport both public and private in Ireland the government is asking the public what they think should be done. Of course most of the submissions will probably be ignored and the government will probably push ahead with more motorways, more large scale construction, more disruption and more trophy projects.

Personally I'm still not convinced of the need for a Metro or a Dart interconnector. I think we should focus on building one large but efficient transport system rather than new and different lines that do not fit together properly. More Luas lines, all over the city, no need to go under ground just find routes that can take tram lines and build a large network of trams to bring people into and around the city. Throw in lots of park and ride stations and as many trams as the timetable can fit then people will be able to get into and around Dublin quickly and easily. Lets just focus on getting one system working properly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

H ere today D ead tomorrow

So HD-DVD is dead and Blu-Ray wins. I suppose the only surprising thing there is that when the end came in the format war it came so suddenly and so completely. However I did find it interesting how many people on the radio seemed to be asking "Does this mean my HD ready TV wont play the new disks?". It sounds like Toshiba had the market in the palm of their hands with people confusing HD TV and HD-DVD players. Perhaps if they had gotten enough players on shop shelves a couple of years ago so that people could buy a player bundled with their TV then Blu-Ray would now be a PS3 feature instead of the future of DVDs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The FAI finally got their man and appointed Giovanni Trapattoni as the new manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team. Everyone says its a good appointment but I'm finding it hard to get excited about it. Not because I think he's a bad manager or that I don't think he can get the team to the next world cup. No, I find it hard to get excited because this is the FAI and things are never that good. Like a puppy thats been slapped on the nose one time too many I'm looking suspiciously at what the FAI is offering and thinking how will this go wrong, what have they screwed up?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

If anyone was in any doubt that the world at large cares about the USA you only have to look at a TV or turn on a radio today and into tonight. The media in Ireland is dominated with Super Tuesday. The level of coverage the voting today is getting is almost as complete as for one of our own elections.

It seems the exit polls are saying things are swinging towards Obama. Unfortunately New Hampshire taught us that exit polls mean very little. I wonder if we'll be hearing about dodgy electronic voting machines in the morning.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Microsoft Yahoo and Google

Microsoft want to buy Yahoo for $44.6bn. Naturally Google are a little annoyed at the idea and want it stopped by the US government.

If I was Google I'd hit Microsoft on their home turf as well and get out there pushing Linux and OpenOffice like there was no tomorrow. It is a challenge, but if Google could cut the legs out from under MS Office by making OpenOffice more popular with ordinary net users, get manufacturers to bundle it on more new PCs and then take advantage of a poor reputation for the launch version Vista to fund and push some operating system like Ubuntu to business users, Microsoft could end up wishing it had its $44.6 billion back.

Living through Irish

Over the last few months there have been increasing demands for improved services through Irish. Ever since we got Irish adopted as an official EU language it seems people are finding new ways to complain that services provided to them are not available in Irish. Some are slightly dodgy, for example I heard last week of people appealing speeding tickets given to them in English on the grounds that they want the process to be dealt with through Irish. Some actually sound dangerous, such as people claiming that they want health care delivered to them through Irish.

Leaving aside the fact that Irish is our national language and every effort should be made to preserve it, are there really people in the Ireland of 2008 who don't understand English well enough to explain their symptoms to a doctor? Surely if nurses and doctors have to be able to speak Irish then that excludes many professionals currently working in the health care service who come from abroad?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

More money wasted on IT

More taxpayers money has been wasted on a computer project, this time in the blood bank. It constantly amazes me that the government keeps starting IT projects, having them fail and writing off the money. I feel like quitting my job, setting up my own IT contracting company and just milking the government. IT projects are difficult but come on people, learn from your mistakes and get it right sometime.

Monday, January 28, 2008

HSE Hiring Freeze

This morning as I listened to the news headlines I was pissed off to hear the latest service scam being run by the Irish Health Service Executive. Last September the HSE announced that they had exceeded their budget by €245 million and so were introducing a recruitment freeze. Then, just before Christmas they relaxed the freeze but on the 8th of January they announced that any posts that had been vacant during the freeze and had not been filled by the end of December were being abolished. Brilliantly simple.

The managers cant do their jobs and control their budgets so they freeze recruitment of front line staff. Then after the freeze ends they use the fact that they didn't hire anyone to do a job during that 3 months as proof that no one is needed to do that job and therefore they can abolish the posts, probably earning themselves a bonus for not being able to do their jobs in the first place. The more I think about it the more I admire the sheer dilbert quality of this. Has anyone contacted Scott Adams because this would make a great cartoon, if people weren't dying as a result.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life on Mars?

Looks like the Chinese have found life on mars, and it's the little green man we all hoped for.

However for those who like their alien life forms to come with pointy ears perhaps this will be of far more interest, the teaser trailer for the new Star Trek movie.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Criticising Bertie is Treason

Mary O'Rourke accused Enda Kenny of a “disloyal treasonous act” for being critical of Bertie Ahern's personal finances while Bertie was out of the country. In case you were wondering what treason is defined as in Ireland then this section of the Treason Act, 1939 may prove useful.

WHEREAS it is provided by Article 39 of the Constitution that treason shall consist only in levying war against the State, or assisting any State or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against the State, or attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by the Constitution, or taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt
The Treason Act also deals with the punishment for treason

(1) Every person who commits treason within the State shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer death.

So does Mary believe that on top of being critical of Bertie Ahern, Enda Kenny is attempting by force of arms or violent means to overthrow the Government? If she does and if she has evidence to back up her serious accusations then she should disclose that information to the Department of Justice. The Act also a section to deal with people who don't reveal what they know.

3. —Every person who, knowing that any act the commission of which would be treason is intended or proposed to be, or is being, or has been committed, does not forthwith disclose the same, together with all particulars thereof known to him, to a Justice of the District Court, or an officer of the Gárda Síochána, or some other person lawfully engaged on duties relating to the preservation of peace and order shall be guilty of the felony of misprision of treason and shall be liable on conviction thereof to penal servitude for a term not exceeding five years or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
If on the other hand Mary just believes that anyone who is critical of Bertie is a traitor then she has a whole other set of problems that she needs to deal with and announcing them on the national airwaves may not be the best way to work them out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

10 things you didnt know about Bertie

Following on from the lies told by Enda Kenny about Bertie Ahern I thought I'd clear some things up with 10 things you didn't know about Bertie.

  1. Bertie hand prints every Euro in circulation in Ireland, such is his concern for the Irish economy. Prior to the Euros introduction he used to hand draw the old Irish 20 punt note.
  2. Bertie is responsible for the collapse in the US dollar and the rise of the Euro. His declaration at the Mahon Tribunal that dollars don't exist caused a rush on the market.
  3. Everyone knows Al Gore invented the internet, but less well known is the fact that Bertie invented email. Apparently he hated envelopes.
  4. Bertie invented internet banking. He found going to bank branches to be tedious and unnecessary. He was the first man in Ireland to do all his banking from a pub.
  5. Bertie personally designed the new Croke Park. The reported gap in the stands by Hill 16 doesn't actually exist and is just media speculation and leaks from the engineering inspectors office that say his design is not complete and full of holes.
  6. Bertie has years of experience in the construction industry and is a fully qualified brick layer, carpenter, architect, crane driver and plasterer. Each evening after work he likes to spend hours on DIY and improvements to his friends houses.
  7. It was the rumour that Bertie was being called up to the Irish soccer squad that led to the confrontation between Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy. Roy had seen Bertie kick a ball during a visit to Old Trafford and wanted Bertie to be named Captain but Mick didnt agree and wanted him named manager. The experience Bertie gained negotiating a ceasefire in the resulting Second Irish Civil War helped him find a solution to the Northern Ireland Troubles.
  8. Bertie personally brought peace to Northern Ireland. He confiscated all the guns, melted them down to make the tracks for the Dublin Luas and hosted meditation classes for Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.
  9. Bertie had trouble with his hand writing early in his career. It was messy and hard to read. Berties great friend Charles J Haughey spent many hours sitting with the young lad helping him practice his signature on pieces of paper until he got it perfect.
  10. Bertie introduced Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski. He believed that Hillary needed something to cry over if she was to ever have a chance of becoming the first female president of the USA. He also helped New Hampshire when they didn't know how to run the recent primary and loaned them some world class voting machines.
All of the above may or may not be the truth, who really knows. But we do know that anyone who doubts the power of The Bertie is just a bare-faced liar.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Everest has died. I mention it here because though Hillary was from New Zealand when I was a kid I assumed he must be Irish. You see from 1976 to 1990 a man called Patrick Hillary was President of Ireland and my childhood logic assumed two famous people with the same unusual name had to both be Irish. I've always found my own stupidity to be amusing :-)


While I think many nurses, gardai and teachers do have genuine cases for pay increases I'd like to point the other civil service unions, currently on TV and radio complaining about benchmarking, to the following resource through which they can seek the pay increases they feel they deserve: Irish Jobs.

If things are that bad in your current job do what the private sector workers do, stop complaining and leave. Stick it you that manager who refused you a pay increase or grade promotion. Show them you wont be pushed around and ignored. You are not enslaved to the civil service. No one is going to stop you taking your valuable skills elsewhere. On the other side there are plenty of people in the private sector who would like a shot at what they see as your great pension and work conditions to fill your position so then everyone will be happy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

No Wi-Fi for Dublin

Dublin City Council has decided to not provide a city wide WI-FI service. There were two reasons for this.

Firstly at €27 Million it was deemed too expensive. In an era when many tourists coming to Dublin are bringing WI-FI enabled devices like mobile phones, PDA's and laptops could reliable access to WI-FI have made their stay more enjoyable? How about business people stuck in taxis on the way to meetings, would easy and cheap access to the internet have been useful to them? In truth there would have been many financial reasons to justify the expenditure.

The second reason given by the council is a little more honest, "the plan would be contrary to EU law on state aid". In plain speak, there are too many companies making too much money from either providing expensive and limited WI-FI in spots around the city or selling 3G services that depend on absence of WI-FI. The city council is not allowed, or perhaps just not willing, to provide a service that would challenge those companies. A service will be provided on a test basis to areas like Ballymun and Ballyfermot, where there is a lack of coverage, or in other words areas that seem less profitable for private companies than the City Centre or Dublin 4.

There are a few free WI-FI spots in bars and restaurants around the city and the council will provide a service in libraries and public buildings but for the moment most of us will have to continue paying private companies.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My New Old Camera

My girlfriend bought me a present for Christmas at a camera market in Canada before returning home to Ireland. A Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. This is a rangefinder camera from the 1960s and I love it. She, being deep down inside a true photographer though these days she hides it well, said I should learn to use a real camera and not always use my modern DSLR.

I have to admit it has been a struggle. First of all it uses 35mm film and it's been a few years since I even loaded film. Two wasted photo trips around Dublin taught me the proper way to load film. Unfortunately my third trip started well but ended badly when I realised that the sprockets in the camera chewed the film. Also the exposure settings are fun. I'm so used to the camera guiding me to a correct setting and then using the screen to examine the results that the first few clicks on the Minolta and I was looking at the back of it's leather case wondering where the photo was. The battery in is drained, probably since the 1970's :-) so I'm still using my DSLR to meter and then try to guess myself. It's harder work than I would have thought. I'm probably learning more in an hour than I learned in months before hand.

I'm determined to keep trying. Its hard to explain but this old camera really appeals to me and to others. It's a proper old camera. People don't mind you pointing it at them. A big DSLR with a pointy lens poked in their faces seems offensive but a 50 year old silver camera with half the photographers face still visible draws more curiosity than annoyance. As I walked down Grafton St one guy stopped me and asked me about the camera. He was a pro that uses Leica and other range finders for proper Street Photography. A long chat ensued and I realised that there is a whole side to Irish photography that I never really see.

I love the click it makes when I press down the shutter release. It's not a button flush with the body as we have today, it's a rod that sticks out of the top of the camera. I love the the feel of the film advance lever. I've taken shots just to wind on the film. I'll continue to work at it and, hopefully, eventually I'll get a roll of proper B&W photographs which even if they don't meet the grade technically will mean a lot more to me than my gigabytes of digital photographs because they required more time investment, more effort and more thought. Thanks Lauren :-)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Spaceship Two

Look what's coming on Jan 23rd, Space Ship Two. Cool, very cool. Though it'll be the end of 2009 before the comercial flights start.

[via Engadget]

The EU made me do it

The government has announced, late on a cold Friday when they think most people wont really notice, that "it has received legal advice that confirms schools here must pay water charges based on usage levels and cannot be exempted". This is because an EU directive says they have to charge all non-domestic users for water.

Bertie, if you go to jail I doubt it will be because you wouldn't charge children for water to flush the toilet and wash their hands.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year (and a belated Merry Christmas) to everyone.