Monday, April 30, 2007

Tribunal Adjournment

The Mahon Tribunal has been adjourned as of this morning until after the general election. The easy option is to presume there are big sighs of relief with the dreaded opening statements no longer a risk to the issues of the coming weeks, but the reality seems that Tribunals as a matter of course cease during General election campaigns.

The Move to Dublin

So I am very lucky that I now have an 8 minute walk to work with the only caveat being that I probably shouldn’t take that street loaded on pints as one of my new housemates has been mugged twice on it and quite literally just woke up one morning with bruises in place of a wallet. You can imagine my excited anticipation at the prospect. I can’t help thinking maybe he deserved it as somehow word spread that he had ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ in his DVD collection and asked me did I watch ‘Wife Swap’ when I was doing the necessary verifiying that the TV would be free for ‘Lost’ on Monday nights. They each have TVs in their room, I could only ever get a flat screen, space is not my friend!

We are very near to Kings Inns, a place I decided not to take a logical step into after doing my postgrad in law last year, I don’t think it’s a sign, but my housemate, younger and seemingly much more broke is managing in there so that has me thinking.

The job is going well, I feel very well steeled in after only a week and there seems to be variation within the procedural aspect of the work and potential down the line. I share an office with 3 women, so stilettos and Americas Next Top Model are the order of the day. That I will manage, my primary concern is how I will tell people what I do for a job, lets say it’s a semi-state and the name is not instantly recognisable and our work cannot be described in less than a long sentence. Is being a public servant, or working in the civil service a good conversation starter when you’re shouting across a busy bar at someone you hope to get to know a bit better. Maybe I’ll just say doctor and tell them they misheard me if I ever see them again.

Overall the city seems full of life and things to do, my next likely post will be how a weekend goes and how I entertain myself, but there seems plenty of diversion and fine sized movie screens a stroll from my house.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Reasons to be Happy

1. The Irish Film Institute Signature Burger with Blue Cheese.

2. Whether it’s true or not the people who compile polls are telling us there might actually be some element of anticipation surrounding the outcome of the election.

3. Summer is coming and we’ve already had a month of fresh cut grass and ice creams.

4. ‘Lost’ is on the home stretch, episodes always pick up pace coming towards the end of the series.

5. I got a ‘You’re a Winner’ sticker on my bottle of Coke yesterday.

6. Parking in a car park in my town last weekend a man walked up to me, tapped on my window and offered me his parking ticket which had remaining time on it. The pleasant surprise of that small gesture is still with me a week later.

Original v Cover: Kurt v Tori

As always we begin by recapping the results of last weeks poll. Although its not that shocking that Mr Buckley can out on top, I am positively amazed at the fact that he polled 89% of the vote compared with Leonard Cohen's meagre 11%.

That means that the covers are 2-0 up. Can the originals fight back this week.

On the face of it, this weeks contest shouldn't actually be a contest as we pit Nirvana's iconic Smell's Like Teen spirit up against Tori Amos. Yes, you read that right. I know it sounds like blasphemy to suggest anything could top Nirvana's moment encapsulating original, but please, just give Tori a fair hearing before and make an informed decision. In fact Kurt himself described her version as a "great breakfast cereal version"

So here goes, The Original, by Kurt, Dave and the other guy

Tori Amos' version

Vote here or on the side bar

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Earth

Thankfully with word of new land masses being created as a result of global warming dislodging huge island sized pieces of ice comes the sigh of relief that astronomers have discovered a new planet and indications are that based on its proximity to its own star it could possibly be inhabitable or already support life. Lets get our asses over there, I am nominating myself now to select who should go or stay.

Being 5 times the size of Earth it should take us much longer to ruin that planet.

Links:

'New island' story

New planet story

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Time to go back to school.

Seemingly this is one of Bush's top advisor's on History Andrew Roberts. Ones of who's claims is as follows when reply to someone giving out to him about his assertion that internment worked in Ireland. From the New Republic.
It is a mark of Hari's sloppiness that he has accused me of telling President Bush that internment was pursued successfully in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, when in fact I said Southern Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s! Does Hari deny that √Čamon De Valera's internment policy in the Irish Civil War crushed the Irish Republican Army in the southern 26 counties?
Ok who is going to tell him Dev was actually head of the IRA during the Civil war ?

Monday, April 23, 2007

The 1000th Dossing post

This is the 1000th post on the dossing times. I feel that I should acknowledge it with some long essay about blogging. But I think I will just re-post a post I did before about why I blog. Thanks to everyone who reads and who has read and who have commented. Also a big shout out to CK and Tuathal for contributing as well to this blog. It would not be what it is without you guys.

I have been blogging for over a year and a half now. And I am not sure why I still do it. I started when I lived in Barcelona. I was doing an experiment and well to cut along story short. The cavity of my ND-YAG laser was misaligned so I could not do anything. So I sat down and started my own Blog calling it the Dosing Times as I was basically dossing. Now if you type into Google the term dossing. I am second.

I worth a few posts for a few weeks and when it was time to leave Barcelona I decided to pack the blogging in. It was fun and I got only 4 or 5 readers a day. So I posted this message.

Alas my project here has come to an end. So I no longer have the easy access to keep this blog running at the speed I normally do. So with the reason for dossing gone. I am not sure if I will be posting much here anymore. But if I get to a place where I have the time and the connection to the internet the Dossing Times will rise again. If anyone wants to contribute to this Blog by the way just drop me an email to thedossingtimes@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the contributors list. Till I write again slan go foil. simon

And that was it the end of the blogging. However 5 days later this happened. I got quoted on the BBC website. The post was about Irish Bloggers response to the IRA ending the Armed campaign it said

The Dossing Times made a Harry Potter analogy“

The point I made was not very good but I still got the mention. I wonder if that had not been mentioned I would I still be blogging. I don’t think so. That piece in on the BBC really made me think. Maybe I am not wasting my time maybe somebody really is interested in what I say. Or maybe it just gave me an ego boost.After I finished my Masters I was unemployed. And that is a depressing time. It is all fun for the first few weeks. Getting up at 3, watching Yu Gi Oh, watching TV until late at night. Living the dream. But that feeling does not last for long. Soon you are struck by an almighty sense of uselessness. Of extreme boredom. In Nick Hornbys about a Boy. The character does not work but splits his day up in to little segments. And that is what you do. You assign your self tasks to do. Nothing major but just time slots. When watching Yi Gi Oh changes from being “ha-ha I am watching Yi Gi Oh instead of doing something” to watching Yi Gi Oh is the highlight of my afternoon depression hits.

But for me I had something to occupy my mind something that in a kind of sad way gave my days a meaning. I have the blog. I would get up in the afternoon. Switch on the computer. Listen to the radio. And find something to write about. From the merits of an A Manned European Space Program to Drinking Hours to the Duplicity of Political Correctness to the state of the Irish language Gaeilge Inniu

And this occupied my day. And slowly my readership increased I got to know people who also blogged, and who commented on my site. And the months went on job application followed job application, but the one thing that kept me sane in the long lonely afternoons was that I had a purpose in an evening to write something. Maybe I should have learned a programming language or read more books. But I didn’t.

Just encase anyone is wondering the biggest post I had was when I posted details of the Dublin riots. I got linked to by one of the top 5 world bloggers. Instapundit and got thousands of hits over a few days.

Then eventually I got a job and no longer, were my afternoons empty. I had a job and a pretty nice one at that. But still I felt the need to blog. I knew many fellow bloggers and I felt part of the community. And that is what is best about the blogosphere is the community feeling. In Ireland the community is small. Like the sin boards people like to meet the others and have various meetups and awards. (Sadly I was not short listed last year for the Blog Awards but I am hopeful for next year). But even that I had something to do with my life. I realized how much of life is sat in front of the TV. Even someone with the greatest social life in the world will spend time in front of the TV watching meaningless tripe. And I thought to myself what is the point. Not only do I get more enjoyment from blogging, But also it is a lot better use of my time then watching friends re-runs.

Back in March I set-up with another Blogger Irish Election.com. Basically the idea was that there was so many political bloggers out there that it would be good to have them all in one place. So we set this up and asked others to join. And they did and the media picked it up too and we have got the occasional mention in some of the papers. And politicians actually reply to questionnaires we send to them. It is funny feeling me just a normal Joe public getting a TD to reply. Also quiet fun getting mentioned personally in the Irish Times. And being a group it gets more hits and has people of different opinions something that is hard to find in today’s partisan world.

Now that I am back in college doing a PhD I still blog. And I now blog here on mediasoc as well. I have no illusions that I will change anything with my bogging. While I might get the occasional mention in the Irish Times or get a thousand people to read something I write I am not going to change anything. And often I wonder why I do it?

Sometimes it is because I am genuinely angry at something. Like the Department of Educations recent court case over Dyslexic students. Mary Haffin or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Oppostion. Sometimes because I feel the need to supply for my audience. (Don’t I sound like a pounce) and other times simply because it is better then watching TV.

But anyone reading this I would say 2 things. Start a blog it is easy, you get to say what you want, you get to satisfaction when someone says “great post” or “well said” you may very well get quoted in a newspaper or even your own Sunday column. The other thing is it is hard to stop. I nearly managed to chuck it in the early days save I was thwarted by the BBC now I don’t think I could. So if you are reading this contact the powers that be here, get an account and start to blog trust me you wouldn’t regret it.

Boris Yeltsin - RIP

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has died aged 76.

I suppose the biggest link with Ireland for Boris is his failure to get off his plane in Shannon back in 1994, allegedly, because of over indulging the vodka. In the process he kept Taoiseach Albert Reynolds waiting on the tarmac.

In any other country it would have been a massive diplomatic embarrassment. In Ireland, it laughed off as understandable.

What Michael did next

Although some critics would argue that he spent his record breaking career trying to drive competitors off the track, Michael Schumacher is using the free time afforded to him by his retirement to promote road safety across the globe.

Old Schumi has joined the UK's Make Roads Safe campaign who are calling for a U.N conference on the issue. Tony Blair also spoke on the matter, pointing out that road deaths are the second biggest killer of young people across the world, after aids.

The Red Baron even had time to pen an article in today's Guardian where he states that one person dies every 30 seconds across the globe because of an car accident.

Good on Michael for getting involved and hopefully, with his stature within the motoring world, he can help in some meaningful way.

At the time of writing over 100 people have died already on Irelands roads in 2007.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Movie Releases

Released this weekend, 'Half Nelson' is the movie that earned Ryan Gosling his surprise Oscar nomination earlier in the year. It tells the story of a drug addicted teacher and the strange relationships he strikes up with his students. I hear good things and I look forward to it. Also this weekend, 'Lives of Others', the winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar is in the second week of its run, with terms like 'classic' being used in reviews.

Enough Already

Can I get a show of cyber hands of those among you tired of auction politics? I know I am.

I’m a great believer in the maxim "know thy enemy" so I did a little research on the term “auction politics” and discovered that unsurprisingly the phrase is widely misused today. Once upon a time the phrase “auction politics”, derived from the latin “politicus auctionus”, referred to the politics involved in organising an auction. Nowadays the phrase is used to describe an unsettling new political strategy developed 6 months ago and used exclusively to date in Ireland. Irish politicians’ are trying to "buy" our votes by offering to do things if elected. Forget bird flu, this left wing cancer must be stopped before it spreads abroad.

Left wing cancer? Think about it for one second. How does anybody ever win an auction? They spend the most money. Auction politics is leading to politicians offering the sun, the moon and the stars before the election, each desperately trying to outbid the other. Tax cuts here, more social welfare there and more government investment here. Who’s going to pay for all this? That’s right, me and you the hard working people who pay taxes and get by with the minimum of fuss. Politicians are trying to use my money to buy my vote. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s wrong with socialism.

The cheek of it. Let them use their own money to buy my vote or use my money to buy me another persons vote.

What’s worse is that society as a whole will become even more dependent on government handouts in the meantime. If politicians follow through on these populist guarantees then society will soften up, get lazy and go around with its hands outstretched. Hard work and graft will be a thing of the past. The very things that have made the capitalist system such a success are being attacked here. Thomas Jefferson once said that “democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

Here’s the funny thing; the political parties agree with me that auction politics is wrong. They use the term as a lazy slur every time a political opponent makes a point they can’t be bothered engaging in honest debate. (Just look what happened with Bertie after the Ard Fheis) Still, they can’t help themselves. Take Mary Lou McDonald, who yesterday come out and correctly attacked the opposition parties for indulging in a bit of auction politics. Yet in the very same breath Mary Lou is pledging to raise the minimum wage to 60% of the average industrial wage. Blatant auction politics and the pot calling the kettle black. They can’t help themselves.

That’s why I’m thankful for Bertie Ahern’s and Fianna Fail’s point blank refusal to partake in this dangerous left wing practice. Following the Ard Fheis Bertie was attacked for making 50+ promises ahead of the election. “Auction politics”, the opposition parties cried. “He’s a hypocrite” was the charge. The fact is Bertie set out Fianna Fail’s plan for government. He told us what he will do when he’s elected, not what he would do if he is elected. That semantic distinction is imperative to grasp. Enda, Pat and the rest will fulfil their pledges if you vote for them. Bertie will follow through on his promises regardless. You see, unlike the other parties, Bertie is not trying to buy our votes with his 50+ plus promises. Bertie will fulfill his promises and I’d challenge anybody to tell me how someone can fulfil a promise without making it first.

The faith of this country lies in your democratic hands dear readers. Let me close by saying that I trust you. I know you will not be seduced by auction politics. Refuse to vote for parties and politicians who practice auction politics and we can rid the world of this threat to democracy. We can get back to the days of yore, when elections were fought honestly and neither side tried to tempt you into voting for them.

Top 6 Friday: "What" Jokes

Sorry guys, times a little short this week so not much time put into this top 6 list. So for this week we set out the top 6 question posing 'What' questions

6. What do you call a deer with no eyes?
No idea

5. What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?
Still no idea

4. What do you call a Spaniard leaving a hospital?
Manuel

3. What do you call a Spaniad who's vehicle has been stolen?
Carlos

2. What's pink and fluffy?
Pink fluff

1. What's purple and fluffy?
Pink fluff holding its breath

A-thank you

Thursday, April 19, 2007

15 minutes of Youtube Paxman Special

After watching Bill O'Reilly on the Late Late show. I think we in Ireland really need some one to really stick it to people in Interviews. In the UK they have Paxman.

First up he takes on George Galloway note how he starts every interview with a question to get people angry

Next up on the other side Ann Coulter.

The famous Paxman questioning of Michael Howard asking the same question over 10 times

Paxman doing to weather.

Original V. Cover : Cohen v Buckley

To begin, last weeks poll ended in a resounding victory for the Gypsy Kings with 75% of voters favouring their version of Hotel California over the Eagle's original.

This week is a real titanic battle. Leonard Cohen takes on Jeff Buckley. Hallelujah!

Leonard Cohen's original

Jeff Buckley's cover

You decide, here or on the sidebar

Edit: Poll finished. Jeff Buckly Victorious with 89% of the vote.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Move Is On

So the inevitability of a move to Dublin has now become an imminent event and in the space of the past two weeks I’ve accepted my role in a semi-state body and worked my notice at my temping role and in the space of the last two days, organised some accommodation and done the medical, happily finding out I am in good health.

So now I must face the big smoke. It seems like I’m slotting into line on an assembly line – what we’re producing or to be component parts of I have no idea but walking across O’Connell bridge watching rows of traffic, rows of people moving in various directions completing a daily set of transactions, processes I knew that come Monday my day was to become part of the collective hum of the city.

It feels right though, I’m looking forward to the move, the change, the challenge, seeing what I can make of it all. Will I find my feet, make friends through work, slot into a hybrid of the lives of the people I know up there leeching of them looking for guidance?

Its mixed reviews on all counts, friends there for years happy with city life but discontent in their work, people I would consider established, that I would look to in my opening weeks still feeling like blank canvases – when does that feeling end? - and friends there for months knowing city life is not for them already and plotting their escape.

The house hunt was thankfully short and relatively successful, walking to view the house, there was an unease I haven’t felt since lost inside in River City in Bangkok, I will be living here, this will be my trek home when I have a few pints in me – is it safe, are the faces on the street becoming more multi-ethnic, has the Garda presence on the street increased? – then thinking I have found the place my worries were not substantially lessened, however walking around to find my bearings I discover I walked to the wrong house and on viewing I like the people, the atmosphere of the spot and despite the fact my room is a cupboard cleverly disguised as a sleeping quarters I think I have found a base to start whatever phase I will title this in the grand scheme of things. (Those ‘Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” Australia ads on TV as I write are unsettling, that this is all a second best to my travels could be the subject of a whole other post). So I will post as seems appropriate – there will no doubt be benchmarks worth noting and totally banal encounters and events that I will share with you all nevertheless.

If by chance anyone wants to post places to drink, eat, do shopping, have a pint and generally map out a reasonably priced yet tastefully eclectic existence up there let me know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

15 minutes of Youtube

It is that time of year again. Eurovision. Here is some of the "favourites".First up Israel song about Nuclear annihilation.

Last years we are the winners

Don't worry we will limit your pain. Here is Bill Maher on George Bush and Patriotism

Random Tuesday # 4

Ya but no but
For a while I’ve been meaning to take up golf. I reckon I would enjoy golf if I was able to play it. I like the tranquillity of it; just you, the ball, the flag and that bloody bunker directly in your eyeline. Alas, to date my attempts to play the grand old game have quickly morphed into a Dick Cheney like hunt, as having released my ball into the wild, I spend the next 10 minutes searching for it. This process repeats itself over the course of 5 hours.

To fix this problem I joined the Golf Society here at work after seeing they were offering the chance to get some professional lessons at cut prices. I thought "I'll get the fundamentals and then it'll be a breeze". My lessons began a fortnight ago and after 2 lessons of having my swing completely reconstructed I’m worse than I’ve ever been. Hitting the ball is now a real challenge.

However as bad as my golf game is, it could be worse. On the bus journey out to Leopardstown last Thursday I was subjected to the stupidest conversation I’ve ever heard. Three teenage girls decided to sit behind me for the duration of the trip and whilst I wasn’t trying to eaves drop I, along with the rest of the bus, couldn’t help but. Listening to them try to construct a coherent sentence was like watching a child trying to build a house of cards beside a fan. After one or two shaky components were in place the whole thing fell in on itself.

Over the weekend I watched a TV show Top 50 list of the greatest comedic character of all time. Vicky Pollard featured highly and no surprise. Its an astonishing performance from Matt Lucas.

The Third Fifth Wheel
Do you know whats worse than being the 3rd wheel? That’s right, being the fifth one.

I agreed to head to the Hurling League Semi-Finals in Thurles with a friend of mine from Kilkenny. My beloved Tipperary were’nt playing but I thought what the hell, it’ll be good to see the competition in action before the summer.

I was horrified to find out Saturday evening that my friends new girlfriend would be coming too.

However, worse was to follow as my friend’s girlfriend decided to invite her housemate and her boyfriend to make a nice party of 5.

The two happy couples and me.

It was exactly as bad as you’d imagine…and thanks to Kilkenny’s performance the hurling wasn’t up to much either.

Same old…
As night follows day, so another school shooting tragedy in America is followed by a debate on the merits of tigher gun control.

On BBC Newsnight last night, President of the Virginia Citizens defence League and anti-gun control guy, Philip Van Cleave (cool name) was making the case for arming the public as a solution to the problem. Phil said that crime happened when you least expected and attempted to make the argument that if every student had carried a gun to Virginia tech yesterday the tragedy would not have occurred.

Cough.

Likewise, over breakfast this morning the chap who reviews the newspapers for Sky News (apologies his name escapes me) was making a strong argument in favour of guns for us good guys. He pointed out that although Britain had one of the strictest set gun controls in the world, gun crime was on the way up.

An interesting point to be sure.

However then I thought, wait a second. Would I rather live in a society where gun crime was on the increase, but increasing from 631 crimes resulting in serious injury or fatality a year (2005, 78 of which were homocides)? Or, would I like to live in a society where there was over 80 gun related deaths recorded every single day?

Tough choice

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yes that will do it.

Feck a ban on guns America needs a ban on Die Hard they don't get it is fiction. In response to one of the worst school shooting in American. The solution is that more people should be armed. Thinking that if they were armed this guy would have been shot.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Who Decides the Issues?

So talk radio, political commentary and in particular The Independent seem to have decided that Stamp Duty is the issue of this election and how it is dealt with by the canvassing parties and how they propose to reform this duty could be instrumental in winning over voters.

Where is the beginning point though in deciding what are the issues? House prices and the costs associated with investing in property are nothing new, they have been a central tenet of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ and surely could have been an issue at the last election or any of 10 years of budgets.

Yet this time around it is agreement on how to structure any reduction of the duty (as part of the FG, Labour joint manifesto), the impact it will have on house buyers and the effect on the housing market which is dominating the anticipation surrounding the release of manifesto carrots.

Despite the fact that events are obviously ongoing in the area of health, employment and crime the fact is these issues could be a bit stale and troubling for the political parties on both sides as focusing on them could be a Phyrric victory.

What can the opposition really say that would convince us that they could do a better job than the coalition with regard to these quagmires of issues. There is a difference of 50 seats to make back and the problem of a leader, whose face is conspicuously absent from campaign posters. They certainly have thrown promises at us but largely in the form of strong white font on a black background with little tangible evidence to support their achievability. There was a world of mismanagement last time out to lever the government out of power with, yet they failed miserably. In the lead up to this election the leader of the main party in power received payments in means as questionable as others who have been dragged through the Tribunals. What sort of lunkheads are we dealing with that Bertie Ahern can still be front and centre to their re-election campaign, with candidates running under the banner of ‘Berties Team’, and they have failed to build up a front bench anyway endeared to the public that they could put one of their faces on the national campaign? Tactic: launch a half-assed partnership with Labour, who know they don’t want Bertie in power but are also not so sure about Enda, and have Stamp Duty negotiations be the only issue leaked.

As for those in power they know only too well that we’ve been here before when it came to big promises. So while certainly debates will require them to play the positive on many of these issues, yet again we find they are once more focusing on potential than what has been done to date. Asking us to take the next steps together isn’t really that big a departure from telling us there is a lot done and more to do. Nevertheless there is the hypocritical lambasting of the opposition for entering into auction politics when they do the very same at the first opportunity. Is this a panicked reply to the promises of the other parties, feeling they need to match such aspirations, in the fear that there will be a universal rolling of eyes if they have the audacity to fall back on their past record, telling us they’ve done good.

So I am interested to see will Stamp Duty be turned into the water charges of this election, will FF respond with a commitment on the duty or merely criticise the tactics of the opposition. They seem all too ready to resort to promises. So has there been a brain storming session in some quiet room in the Dail that Stamp Duty is the chess board of choice? Our opposition can’t put across a convincing argument that they can take on our woes and those in place are too afraid to open up a can of worms on their performance. Get ourselves a red herring to distract the masses and God forbid there be any element of ideals or vision to our campaigns.

The One to Watch: 'Entourage'

There is something missing in my life at the moment - good comedy on TV. 'Scrubs' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' are the only comedies airing original episodes this year and they have yet to reach these shores.

Tomorrow night brings 'Entourage', a HBO show now in its third series Stateside, cataloguing the adventures of a newly A-list actor and his childhood friends and how they adapt to moving from New York to LA.

Packed with multiple cameos each episode, allegedly based on the bugeoning days of Mark Wahlberg's career (who serves as producer), starring Jeremy Piven and the product of HBO the reasons are at least intriguing if not positive to watch it.

Begins tomorrow night after 'Lost' on RTE 2, circa 10.50 p.m.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Air Travel

I posted the folowing on Irish Election. And as predicted people have come out against Air Travel.

I am sure that much will be written about Michael O’Leary announcing €10 flights to America and how it is terrible and how we should not fly due to climate change and all that. But what people miss is that we need to maintain and grow Air travel.

Looking at existing technologies air travel is about the only thing we cannot do renewable. We can have power from windmills and wave power backed up with flow batteries. We can burn wood pellets and geothermal for home heating etc. Trains for transports. But planes are not likely to replaced anytime soon. Indeed if we really really wanted to I am not sure we could. The power needed to lift a 747 off the ground is probably not deliverable by anything but kerosene.

Despite being probably the only use of fossil fuels that does not have a decent replacement Air travel seems to be one of the main focus of climate change emissions lobby. While only accounting for 3% of global emissions (might be more damaging as higher up but still but lower down the scale).

The reason the air travel is targeted is two fold.

  1. It is deemed elitist
  2. It is deemed unnecessary

The elitist attitude is a left over of the days when a flight to London was 500 punts. But now times are changing and travel is opened to a lot more people then it was. While lets be frank it is not the people from Ballymun who are from flying on weekend breaks. But it is certainly the case that air travel is open to more people then SUV driving and probably less elitist then organic food.

The second idea is that it is unnecessary. In the ever globalised world it is very much necessary for business to be conducted on a worldwide scale. For people to be able to move and integrate with the world, for people to learn about the world. For simple tourism jobs. It is vital. I doubt we would be where we are without it.

Michael O’Leary offering flights for €10 to America should be celebrated as a great investment in the our future economic stability. But of course the editorials will be about how it is bad for the environment and all that. Because it is an easy target it makes good press. If people really want to deal with climate change they should deal with the big causes, cars and power stations. Things we can actually deal with. Every time people pick on the lefts favourite target in Ireland Michael O’Leary is one less time when the opportunity to push the real issue is lost. And the real solutions

Cars and power stations, Cars and power stations, Cars and power stations, Cars and power stations. I have written about those some time ago.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Summer Movie Double Bill

Down Dossing Times way the month of May brings big cheery anticipation as to what the cinema screens will bring us this summer. It’s fair to say that whatever the outcome, and a lot of the most hyped movies have a lot to prove in my book, we are in for one hell of popcorn munching, blockbusting, release date set before script is even thought of, ride. In the spirit of pictures always saying more than words the first top 6 in our double bring is some form of picture from what will be the biggest movies of the summer, sequel and franchise heavy, pictures and titles tell you all you need to know.

1. Spider-Man 3 3 villains, personality conflict and 2 love interests, lets hope this over-achieving works out.

2. The Simpsons Movie

The most unexpected entry into the summer line-up, done right this movie can do no wrong.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

A cast member has announced he has snorted his fathers ashes with coke, no one was very surprised!

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Star has been caught up in a 'can act' shocker. No previous evidence of such ability.

5. The Bourne Ultimatum

Surprising fact, Ian McKellen was last years biggest grossing movie star with X3 and The DaVinci Code. Could Matt Damon take up this mantle with Bourne and Ocean's 13 this year? 6. Die Hard 4 (Live Free or Die Hard)

Die Hard goes global, hi-tech and brings us probably the years best trailer.

The next 6 are the movies that haven’t had trailers released a year in advance, will try their best not to clash with the opening weekends of the above list and could fall into the category of sleeper hit, gain cult following or simply be good.

1. Black Sheep New Zealand setting, evil Zombie sheep, Weta, not as over hyped as Shakes on a Plane = all good things

2. Grind House Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino like kids let loose in the playground of their dreams have put together a double bill, exploitation, zombie slasher fest with fake trailers at the intermission. Expect careers of 70s and 80s stars to be resurrected.

3. Stardust The story of a young man entering a fantasy world to retrieve a fallen star only to find a feisty girl in its place, we have here an FX heavy movie from the director of Layer Cake, starring Robert DeNiro, Ricky Gervais, Michelle Pfeiffer and Clare Danes. The line starts here.

4. Ratatouille The Pixar entry isn’t under normal underdog entry but after what was deemed the ‘failure’ of ‘Cars’, quality generally not being up to par with an over saturation of animated movies in ’06 and the fact that the production has been troubled, changed directors and that not many kids will know what the title means, the film is facing an uphill battle. Premise: rat dreams of becoming a chef.

5. Super Bad High-school comedy, starring Michael Cera, the unfortunately named George Michael of Arrested Development, spends the movie trying to score beer to get girls. That boy has mastered awkward teenage angst. Sounds like great stuff.

6. Used Guys Emily Mortimer lives in a female-run future society, where male clones can be purchased as mates. Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey star as a pair of unwanted male clones.

Subconscious reactions

Certain stimuli provoke certain reactions in all human beings. For example, a change in lighting will cause the pupil of the human eye to change size, adapting to the new intensity of light. Similarly, when exposed to cold temperatures the hairs on the human body stand up and the person begins to shiver in a subconscious attempt to retain body temperature.

Be warned, clicking on the below link and reading the headline of the article will elicit a similar basic, subconscious, uncontrollable animalistic response; a groan

Be warned: link

Was I right, or was I right?

Can you imagine how long that person was waiting to use that? They probably cried with delight when finally the opportunity presented itself. They might even have won an award. At the very least they must surely be the uber celebrity of their workplace.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Original V. Cover : The Eagles v The Gypsy Kings

This is very simple premise. We take a well known song and give you the original and a cover and you tell us which version you prefer. We'll try and make it a bit of a contest each time, so you won't be seeing any Robbie Williams or Westlife doing swing.

To begin, Hotel California

First up the original by The Eagles

Next the Gypsy Kings

Tough call I think. Vote here or on the sidebar.

Edit:
And winner by a landslide are the Gypsy Kings with 75% of the vote.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

7% GDP on education?

To me education is the most important thing that a state does. More important then Health even. Maybe it is the right winger in me. But for instance I have no problem with for profit health care as the left tend to term it. If a guy/girl set up a hospital hire staff etc etc then they deserve pay in the form of profit. Doctors make money from Health care why not anyone else. My only problem is that people don’t get equal access to health care. That is not the fault of the private sector but the government and the fact that many people can’t afford health insurance. The best way to insure more people can afford health insurance. Is educate them for good jobs. So therefore you would think the idea of ring fencing 7% of GDP for education would be a big hit with me. You might think that but.

When ever people use percentages of stuff I always worry. Take relative poverty, 60% of median wage makes you poor. So what does the person on 61% have that make them not poor. It is a silly measure that is used for ideological justification. Very few things are percentages of averages indeed very few things are percentages of anything.

7% sounds great doesn’t but what is the point. We have problems in the education system, that need to be solved. Class sizes, people thinking Chemistry is a cooler science then Physics, IT equipment, school transport, primary school drop-out rates, special needs etc etc. This 7% is not going to solve any of it by itself. Each of these need coherent plans for them to be solved, with money being spent to solve it. Now that figure maybe 7% of GDP or not or more. That should not matter. All that should matter is solving those problems.

The 7% of GDP is purely a ideological device. “A signal of intent” to say we are dedicated to education this much. Using comparisons of percentage spends with the rest of Europe. This is stupid, we should be setting goals and achieving them. Not trying to look good on paper.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Indo ripping off

Seems the indo has ripped someone off

Election not in Doubt, Validity Is

Its difficult to know what will come of yesterdays news that Finian McGrath 9Dublin North Central) and Catherine Murphy (Kildare North) have launched a legal challenge to the upcoming election on the basis that the ratio of TDs to constituents is imbalanced in a number of constituencies violating the Constitution.

The report in the Tribune and follow up reports this morning each state that the TDs consulted with legal counsel for the past 6 months and while they were waiting on final census figures from the CSO to strengthen their claim it seems strange they have waited until now, a mere 8 weeks at most to polling day to create an awareness around the issue. What can it achieve? Yesterdays Tribune proclaimed in its headline the election could be in doubt though gave no evidence in the article that followed as to how this could come about. Indeed the Department of the Environment this morning does not forsee any threat to the election. McGrath is adamant that the proceedings will go ahead and that while the make up of the 11 constituencies in question will not change for this election the judgment will be historic.

So the overall result should be a further reason not to vote and a pre-election banner headline for the independent TDs in question. A valid point raised in the midst of all this is that they felt compelled to act as watchdogs (their constituencies are not effected and they need to grasp at some justification for taking the case, though how that will stand up in a court of law is open to question), while the Department of Environment sat by indifferently to our voting rights. Why is it that we already have posters, fliers and conferences bombarding us in the lead up to what seems to be our longest running election campaign yet when the fundamentals to a democratic election are not in place? - spend millions on faulty electronic voting machines, change the deadline for postal voting each time out so that many abroad or confined to their homes loose their opportunity to vote and have a terrible record in managing our electoral register. The very purpose of our electoral system is that any number of votes can change the very make up of a government, what good is it when the outcome could be such an inaccurate reflection of the wishes of the electorate?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Sopranos

'The Sopranos' returns to TV screens stateside tonight for its final run of 9 episodes, closing the doors on the series. Speculation is rife online as to how events will unfurl. I'm sure those who can and are big enough fans will find a way to see the episodes and avoid being spoiled.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Top 6 Friday Returns

A while back now Simon created the Dossing Times Top 6 Friday list. A unique take on the list, something people seem universally fascinated with. We’ve decided to bring it back (I wanted to say resurrect but I don’t know would it have been in bad taste considering the weekend?) and for its first week we’ll ease you into its ubiquitous nature with 6 bits of random Easter information. (See the link to past Top 6 Friday lists on the right of the screen).

1. From now on when asked ‘when is Easter this year?’ you can reply knowingly that Easter Sunday falls the Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Should clear it up no end.

2.Sunshine’ is the big movie release this Easter weekend. It is a great watch, bounding at white knuckle pace from thrilling sci-fi to Galaxy Quest type science that has even luddites like me frowning and ultimately a hoky ending. Its fair to say there are few new ideas in this movie but it was still great viewing, a real visual experience and a good adventure at times. Afterwards give some thought to the influences – Alien, 2001, Solaris. Having a quiet weekend, there is always the option of renting ‘The Squid and the Whale’, the first entry in the Dossing Times DVD Club. See below.

3. Since its conception as a holy celebration in the second century, Easter has had its non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan festival. The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. When the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity. They did so, however, in a clandestine manner.

It would have been suicide for the very early Christian converts to celebrate their holy days with observances that did not coincide with celebrations that already existed. To save lives, the missionaries cleverly decided to spread their religious message slowly throughout the populations by allowing them to continue to celebrate pagan feasts, but to do so in a Christian manner.

As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.

4. We all ought to be aware that 12, 000 children caught up in the slave trade on the Ivory Coast are those picking the cocoa beans to make your Easter Egg. Consider buying Fairtrade chocolate or Tesco own brand, one of the Fairtrade sanctioned brands.

5. Speaking of Easter Eggs, they do have another connotation, they also describe hidden features stored on DVDs and video games. Filmmakers who take pride in their output, giving more than vanilla DVDs usually give up some time to putting in some extra footage, scenes or bloopers. The sites, eeggs.com and dvdeastereggs.com are two of many sites cataloguing such eggs so have a look and you’d never know what extra material has been sitting on your shelves.

6. Finally, a note on Easter Island. Located over 2,000 miles from the nearest population center, (Tahiti and Chile), it is one of the most isolated places on Earth. A triangle of volcanic rock in the South Pacific - it is best known for the giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coastline. The early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Admiral Roggeveen, who came upon the island on Easter Day in 1722, named it Easter Island. Today, the land, people and language are all referred to locally as Rapa Nui. The place is subject to much speculation and controversy, the origins of the people living there, its own bloody history before Western Civilisation arrived and the construction of the statues subject to every possible theory including extra terrestrial involvement.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Yes to a mid-week vote

Is it me or does Bertie's idea of having the general election on a Thursday make sense.

I realise that a Thursday vote is likely to make a significant impact on the number of students who manage to vote, but I ask. is that a bad thing?

Simon has been campaigning over on Irish election for the past while, even setting up a petition, to get voting on the upcoming general election put on a Saturday or Sunday. Some witty wag has deemed a Thursday vote as 'temporal gerry-mandering'. Sure enough Enda and Pat have taken the bait and whole heartedly endorse the idea of a weekend vote.

Again, I beg the question, is a Thursday vote such a bad thing?

Do we really want more students voting in the next election? Students are likely to vote with their "Cool-O-Meter" rather than their head. This means 1 thing; more votes for Labour, The Greens and Sinn Fein.

Do we really want the next Dail to contain 10, or more, Green Seats, ditto for Sinn Fein and around 30 Labour seats? I say no. I want a government founded on who is best suited for the job. I don't want a bunch of no good lefty liberal green students to swing the election based on their idea of whats groovy.

Damn Irish Election and their principles. Principles, like religion, are fine, so long as they are kept to oneselve. They have no place in the democratic process. Principles, unchecked, are dangerous things with the potential to cause great damage to you and everybody you hold dear.

If a Thursday vote increases the chances of the next Government being a viable, practical Government then I say its our duty, as citizens of this great nation, to demand a mid-week vote. A Dail with 50 seats divided between Labour, Sinn Fein and the Greens is hardly viable and practical.

Principles be damned. Think of the bigger picture.

Demand a Thursday Vote.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dossing Times DVD Club

I hope to begin posting a review each month, of DVDs that won't necessarily be front and centre at Xtra-Vision or have received a blaze of advertising but will be quality viewing and good entertainment. There won't be rhyme or reason behind my choices, though I will ensure the DVD is available for rental rather than dipping into my collection and all comments on my reviews are very welcome.

So the 1st entry into our DVD Club and the DVD for April is:

The Squid and the Whale

This 80’s set movie, tells a semi-autobiographical tale (on the director’s part) of a family finding their way through a divorce. Both academics, the parents of the piece despite their best matter-of-fact approach, fail miserably to devise a clean and hospitable break. Caught up in their own selfish ends, locking themselves into a weekly routine and using the children as pawns in one-up manship both parents are oblivious to the deep impact their separation is having on their young boys. The eldest of the boys, doting on his father, bitter towards his mother seeks to live up to the ridiculous and flawed standards of his father. Jeff Daniels plays a monster of a man, conceited and blind to the concerns of others, he remarks how he is a predecessor of Dickens, bathing in his son’s admiration, no idea of the impact he has on the teenagers personality.

The youngest boy is equally confused, frustrated and retaliating to disturbing effect. The movie is a heavy watch. It is no Kramer v Kramer where you are conflicted by your sympathy for the characters involved, this is a dissection of self-serving individuals, their values failing in a time of crisis, acting irrespective of the consequences for others. Performances all round are excellent, characters are laid bare through pointed exposition (the opening tennis game sets the themes effortlessly) and a well paced story. There is some sense of progress toward the end, but only very limited, this is merely a cross-section of a story that continues, which includes the very fact that the director brings it to film form years later. The effect of this is that the ending feels insignificant. The movie is still a resounding piece of work, well worth your time.

15 minutes of Youtube

Spitting Image. Pure Genius nice one of Paisley

Coffee with a laser. Gives me idea's

Hamell On Trial 3 ships.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Work-to-Rule in Practice

I'm temping in Cork University Hospital at the moment. It is a place riddled with politics, disgruntled employees and a rigid refusal to step outisde the bounds of your Union issued job description. It is the type of place where a work to rule makes a real impact before you ever begin to contemplate the fate of the now extremely congested Accident and Emergency. A meeting to discuss the impact on my role as Ward Clerk expected the work to rule to last no longer that 6 hours before A&E would come to a standstill. Communication is coming to a halt throughout the hospital, beds are not being freed up, appointments are not being made, jobs are being done by people untrained to do so. No phones are being answered, patients charts are missing and the atmosphere on many wards is decidedly frosty.

A&E is the type of place where there are so many other important things going on around you that even on a normal day I feel like a hedgehog ready to retreat into a ball if any of my questions or queries rumble or distract from saving lives. Today I feel like I am walking on wafer thin ice over a lake of strern faced nurses, consultants frustrated at having eveything so unprepared for their brief rounds and generally a sense of worry and unease as to what is to come. I will post again if anything of note happens.