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.