Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
So I've put my sense of humour under scrutiny lately. The conclusion I've arrived at is the more subtle and simple the harder I will laugh. Smart puns, dry takes on standard situations and a sense you are conversing with smart people is the ultimate in laughter fodder me. Woody Allen and more recently Joss Whedon master deadpan delivery and finding laugh out loud humour in the simplest of dialogue. These men though and particularly Allen owe much to the classic humour and put downs of the Marx Brother films, with Groucho on lead man, cigar munching duties. Relish the lines I have chosen below, if only I could be this wry in real life.
1. I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.
2. I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
3. Policeman: "A hermit eh? Then why's your table set for four?"
Groucho: "That's nothing. My alarm clock is set for eight" (A Night at the Opera)
4. Groucho: "That's in every contract, that's what you call a sanity clause." Chico: "You can't a fool a me there ain't no sanity clause" (A Night at the Opera)
5. Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
6. "Why don't you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out?" (Horse Feathers)
Sunday, August 26, 2007
For all the pot fuelled humour and sending up of celebrities there is a very uneasy reality running through the story of ‘Knocked Up’. This is best represented by the relationship of the sister and brother in law of the leading lady (Katherine Heigl), as played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. Mirroring the premise the central duo are faced with here, they married on foot of an unplanned pregnancy and both Heigl and Seth Rogen look upon their situation as a worrying prediction of how their lives could turn out if they follow a similar route. Mann, has been locked into a mould unable to see beyond her function as a mother and Rudd, feels empty and unfulfilled, with underlying contempt that the person he shares his life with understands him so little.
Neither of the central pair are at a point where they can comprehend how to deal with the huge changes stemming from such a brief encounter. Turning to parents and friends alike, the best consolation they can find is over a phone call admitting they are both as lost as each other and will need support. How they grow into these supportive roles forms the remainder of the story. The truest kind of comedy in my view is the humour that we use to cushion the sharp edges life presents. Rudd as the embittered husband is the perfect example of this – a caring and attentive father, his exchanges are nevertheless dripping in sarcasm, channelling his frustration through throw away remarks. He wants to enjoy the simplicity of blowing bubbles as much as his daughters but life doesn’t seem to allow him. In the pub set post mortem of the movie, I told my company how this was the type of movie I struggle to write about. I want to say something new in every review, stretch how I think about the movie and feel confident that I am offering some genuine insight. Part of the reason for this reviewers block is I felt I should be reviewing a comedy, so that my review should be littered with praise or condemnation for the jokes and their delivery. Instead I find myself analysing the characters, drawn into a movie where the docile pot head is opening up to his newly pregnant ‘girlfriend’ that he is normally the type to be screwed over, setting him out as equally vulnerable player in their set up.
Now before I go too far down the road of turning this into a remake of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, let me clear there is comedy here, running facial hair joke gags, the referred to digs at celebrity, dry, insult laden comments from TV producers, apt observations and who knew - ‘Munich’ gets a pop culture reference, as well the classic pool set encounter of Neve Campbell and Denise Richards in ‘Wild Things’. There is smart writing and if we believe the makers, excellent improvisational skills at play here. The movie does loose direction for a time, suffering whenever the future parents are apart, making the movie feel over long and while there is a great mix of comedy value and real world relationship ‘stuff’ the whole package didn’t gel seamlessly for me. The conclusion, though always inevitable, seems tagged on – it never gathers steam and fails to offer the convincing resolution we want to see these decent people enjoy. Ultimately, this movie is absolutely worth your viewing consideration, but the final product is shy of the effortless comedy I wanted it to be.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
So Pat Rabbitee is gone and so shall start the banding about about how his pact with FG was the reason that Labour failed to make any gains. But it was not. The reason that Labour failed to make gains is that no one really cared for their policies or more accurately their perceived policies.
The voters knew that FG and Labour were a single entity why would they vote FG when they prefered Labour. They knew a vote for was good one as a vote for another so why would they not pick their preferred shade? So why would they favour an FG TD over Labour TD it makes no real sense. Neither was it a lack of Labour articulating it’s own policies. The Greens, Sinn Fein, Socailists all lost with people on rejecting their left wing policies why would the Labour party think they could articulate these positions and fair any better?
That fact is that the positions of the left were not an issue for the electorate. Neither were the issues of the right. It was management that was the issue of the day not policy. People didn’t want radical policy change they want more of the same with more Richard Branson and less David Brent.
People don’t read manifestos Labour is a party of the left and raises taxes the PD’s a party of the right cut spending. Whether or not these parties articulate these positions it does not matter. The perception of the parties is what really matters. Do people know the Greens policy of road tolling or just like the green ethical right-on aura they excused.
Their really was not much Pat could have done to save Labour. One of Tony Blair’s masterstrokes was call them New Labour the re-branding made people think again about the party. Re-assest them. No policy change can really do it is down purely to cosmetics.
Look at David Cameron in the UK spending some much time re-branding the party with the whole eco line. He rode high in the polls for ages without any policy announcements just photo ops and branding. Pat didn’t do this. he didn’t re-brand Labour he just announced policies on tax cuts. But the blame for the result will be said to be the Mulligar accord for a long time to come. Far easier to blame a single policy and an outside force then realize the flaw is yourself.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The story is present, neither wafer-thin or over convoluted. Its intense execution though grips you from the off. The espionage at play, tracking and monitor watching, particularly an early chase to Waterloo Station, are as tense as any of the outright action sequences. You never feel though you are watching a set piece, there is never a dramatic pause or shrill in the music to warn you to change your underwear for the oncoming bus of vehicular and human carnage. In fact music disappears entirely for a segment of the mandatory Bourne car smash up, only the sounds of grinding gears and scraping metal assaulting your senses. Breaks for exposition only add to the sense of urgency as motives are revealed. Any suggestion of lost lives or time for emotion that dare to show their faces are given little breathing space. The effect overall is that at least twice during watching I had to remind myself to start breathing again.
The Bourne Ultimatum is a great movie experience, inhabiting some intangible ground between the thriller and the blockbuster where heroes are the most real of people.
Seriously are this government just trying to make themselves seem worse? They sent out a briefing document to Fianna Fail TD's on the Shannon controversy to I guess persuade people that it was a good thing. One of the points
Seriously do they just want a shovel.
the Government's refusal to intervene in the Aer Lingus controversy protected the airline's share price.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Capitalist attitudes and economic growth triumphed in England because those with such attitudes came to predominate in the population by biological means. The modern English are the descendants of the upper classes of the preindustrial world, those who prospered economically. The poor disappeared. This process was most likely cultural, but we cannot exclude the possibility that the English may even be genetically capitalist.
Seriously what the hell is this article. About genetically superior capitalists. For a quick rebuttal. Ireland. We were poor the rich were British and Protestant having small families. The poor were catholic and had large families. Very little interbreeding due to the religious divide. Yet we are a raging success at capitalism.
Seriously how is did that Article get in the London Times
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Armed with wellies, ponchos and the expectation of expensive pints we battled queues for buses, felt our rib cages compress, balanced as many pints as possible as we navigated the muddy, slippery form of suction cushion the ground turned into hoping to stay upright. The skies overhead were filled with traffic carrying people to some hidden wonderland behind the castle so that they could ultimately sit in the rain as opposed to stand in it. Walking onto the castle grounds we were met with people who felt staying sober enough to be able to stand up would have been too much of a good use of their tickets. Walking out onto the ampitheatre shape surround, and never having been to a U2 concert I was blown away by the stage, as one of the lads put it, resembling the first stage in the construction of a sky scraper and this was even before the fire works, back ground graphics and detached floating stage segment. The music and the crusty men on stage, who each seem to have better physiques and more energy than I can ever hope to achieve were front and centre, turning out classic tunes like they were putting just the right amount of butter on a perfectly crisp piece of toast. I over reached there with that last sentence but it's staying in. Running from one song to another you realise the eclectic influences on their music from outright rock, to big band vibes and country 'n' western twangs and friendships with the late James Brown. I rank these men along the likes of Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris, somehow inspiring in the reckless fulfilment with which they seem to have filled their lives and what must be their complete bewilderment with what the hell this rehab fad is.
Bowie, you are next on my list.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Spare Ribs: Last year travelling around New Zealand the single best thing I ate was a plate of spare ribs with sour cream and a plum sauce. There is something satisfying about eating fiddly bits of food, getting to re-enjoy the taste over again, slow cooked, tender and something of the cave man swelling up inside me ripping off meat. There is little that can't be improved upon by barbecuing, we are lucky enough to have a fine stone barbecue out the back and have been determined to use it this year, whatever the weather may have dictated.
Steak and Rice: This is the meal that I cook for myself most often and when I do manage to go shopping will ensure I have the ingredients for. At home, my father has usually been to the English Market in Cork and have bought fillets the size of my head. There the steaks are cooked on a grill, with potatoes, onions, mushrooms, some other form of veg and if my sister is cooking a pepper sauce. On my own the steak may be some bought from a butcher I pass on the way home from work and on days where I want a treat I go all out for a marbled rib-eye. You are entitled to char you steak however you choose,the more blood the better as far as I am concerned, mine is cooked for mere minutes. Your steak must be let rest to leave the juices run back into the centre, then sat on a bed of rice and on the side half a tub of greek yoghurt with a red chilli, spring onion, parsley and lemon juice combined to make a sauce that will suit any dish. Dinner done in 15 minutes, tasty as hell.
Toasted apple, cheese and mustard sandwich: This is obviously a snack moreso than a meal and may fall under the category of strange food combination that everyone seems to develop a taste for at some stage during their lives. Use a toasted sandwich maker if you like, I prefer the grill for this. Cheddar cheese, sliced apple (green, I don't know why) and too much mustard all let melt on toasted bread.
Bacon and cabbage: This is the meal that is cooked on the day anyone in my family returns home from travelling whether it be a 2 week poolside sun holiday or 6 months seeing some of the southern hemisphere. It doesn't get old. Nevertheless, I have cooked bacon in Coca Cola, that is put bacon in saucepan, cover with 2 litres of Coke and cook - an idea picked up from Nigella Lawson, the bacon is somehow infused with essence of barbecue and is on a par with the classic meal itself. You'll have lived half a life if you haven't tried it.
Christmas Dinner: Two years ago it fell to me to cook Christmas dinner. The precision exercise in time and motion studies required to co-ordinate this meal is made all the worthwhile sitting down to relish your work. This meal, guaranteed once a year and part of the reason I came home from New Zealand, is full of ritual, stuffing and the single handed best reason for sitting at a table - the roast potato, crunchy exterior, floury interior - we're taking perfection time here when done well. See also: Sunday roasts.
Dessert in my books can go wrong far too easily and can taint the meal that may have gone before. I do not have a sweet tooth, would never eat dessert straight after a meal at home and would pick a beer over a dessert when in a restaurant. Some sense of savouriness is required so that I might venture the way of cheese cake or pecan pie but my ultimate dessert would have to be apple tart.
The Rolling Stones tickets went on sale this morning and, eventually, sold out. Tickets were still available well after 9am which astonished me. Maybe, the Stone's audience were still in bed, I don't know. If it had been a McFly concert it would have probably sold out in 20 minutes...that's today's music scene for you.
Anyways, all 3 authors here at the Dossing Times will be in attendance in August. To celebrate here is a special 15 minutes of Youtube dedicated to Mick and the boys.
To begin, Gimme Shelter. This is my favourite track by the Stones, something I share with Martin Scorcese...that or he's contracted to put it in all his movies.
Sticking with movie themes, here's Paint it Black, famously used in Full Metal Jacket.
Next, Miss you
Changing gear a little with Ruby Tuesday
Finally, a real cigarette lighter song, Angie
This 15 minutes of dossing was brought to you by the Dossing Times...your number 1 dossing destination.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I understand a language evolves, but this evolution should also include relegating words to the ‘what were we thinking’ pile or leaving it behind as the symptom of the time it was relevant in. There is some validity in lots of the suggestions in the 2007 list. I certainly want to get rid of the hybrid celebrity couple name thing and also people saying ‘we’re pregnant’. I am going to put a bit of thought into some suggestions. I know from this year’s election I never want to hear the word ‘squeeze’ again. Be sure to comment on terms and words you would like to see banished.
Friday, August 10, 2007
This song is newly popular again having played over the closing scene to 'The Sopranos', it is the perfect mix of cheese and finger tapping, 80's commercial rock.
This then is a pretty cool video, maybe my eyes are failing me but it seems to have all been done in one take.
The problem arises from the fact that Eircom have a monopoly on the lines. They can do what ever they like with the infrastructure as they have no competition in this area. Hence they can use this position to control the rest of the market.
The same goes with Aer Lingus. The problem is that Aer Lingus had a monopoly on the slots in Heatrow. These slots were deemed necessary for our countries good and should have been kept by the government in a holding company. Myself and Dan among others suggested this when the privatization was done. We should have had the situation where the 4 Shannon slots should have been available on franchise to however wanted to run this service. Be they Aer Lingus, Aer Arann or Air France.
But by again repeating the mistake of the Eircom privatization and putting the monopolistic infrastructure in the hands of a private company. That is the lesson to be learned from privatization. At least with the ESB the ESB and the grid are already separated so if the ESB is broken up the grid can remain with the government.
With Ryanair, workers and the government over 50% of shareholders are against this move. It will be interesting to see if they change this. Indeed could they oust the board? But one thing they should do, and I think Ryanair would support this move. Is to try to use this 50% to move the slots back into public ownership. Whether this is possible or not is not clear. But certainly if the government care about spatial strategies they have little choice even if it costs.
moves to takeover Aer Ryanair are getting great publicity from this highlighting their commitment to Shannon and that they had no plans to get rid of these slots. I wonder are people regretting not supporting Ryanair's Aer Lingus takeover bid. They committed to keeping the Heatrow links, and have shown great support for Shannon and Ireland throughout the years. If they had taken over we probably would not be in this mess.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Now one thing you have to know is that between us we have about 26 years of physics education behind us. So you would think that physicists playing disk would have lots of conversations about the physics of the thing. ..... And you would not be wrong. The pros and cons of the flight were discussed. The idea's about the design were sought. Why are their ridges on the top surface? (Distorts the air more giving more lift). Would it fly further if thrown at 45 degrees. (No the air resistance would be greater as there is more surface area facing the direction of travel thus increasing the drag thus can causing the disk to stall in the air and return in the same direction as thrown). The different effects of heavier and lighter disks (Heavier more stable and go shorter).
So after lunch we managed to convince Hero to over come his reluctant to waste time throwing a disk around and (Like if apply our knowledge to a piece of plastic is a waste of time) head out on the green and throw the disk around and marvel at the way that Dino can continually be consistent in his throwing while the rest of us mealy occasionally throw it straight and true but mainly we curl the disk while God makes his go backwards. Of course the reason we throw it is clear. We are throwing the disks at non-flat angles perpendicular to the direction of flight. But even with knowing this we do not do it. As the saying goes doing and knowing are two different things.
How can this be good for a human being? Who are these people, who think this flash in a pan, no exercise dieting works. I am no one to preach, I am neither fit nor eat particularly well, but I would never con myself or others that this logic could work. Maybe I'm usually surrounded with enlightened people but isn't it supposed to be teenage girls who fall victim to this fad focus,and the fallacy of something being achieved with these pointless grasps at reforming how we eat. How can eating an entire bag of bland sweets be better than eating a third of the nice ones? Not alone are my witness to this gastronomic scam but I worry I am slowly becoming victim to it. I have always been the happy go lucky guy in the office that people feel compelled to bring sweet things to. If this ends what have I got left? What will endear me to coming to work in the morning - their personalities, their bitterness at me being younger and working at the same level as them, their culchie jokes - let me just be clear these are sarcastic suggestions - there is nothing to reel me in. If I am to be surrounded by women and their generalisations about men, their delusions about men and inherent bitchiness they had better bring me good quality sweets.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Over on Orga Sinn Fein’s blog they have released details of
The Shoot to Kill 25th Anniversary Committee has launched a new website. This site has been launched as part of a series of events and activity to commemorate the events of 1982; when 6 unarmed men were murdered by the RUC.
Now I know this is a simple argument to make but it is still very valid. Will they commemorate the few thousand innocents shot and blown up by the IRA? No of course not, but are we supposed to sweep this under the carpet? In some case the push to ignore comes from the people pushing through “a progressive” agenda who seem to ignore the murder of thousands of innocents to use Sinn Fein to push though a certain view on taxation policy. Others think we should move on from the past. Which is foolish as the past has a direct impact on the present.
That is why Sinn Fein hammer on about the past. Trying to get us to remember things like shoot to kill in an effort to legitimise their violence and make them seem like the victims and more electable. With the likes of Labour aiding the people who are un-repentant for putting Patsy Gillespie into a car and telling him that if he did not become a human bomb his family would be killed. Or the thousand of other murders Sinn Fein have no problem with. That is what we should be remembering. But alas more people in this country know the name of Booby Sands then they know Patsy Gillespie. Booby Sands is a man, an Myth and legend. Patsy Gillespie is a statistic, an anonymous name on the roll of the dead that few have read and perhaps depending on your definition Ireland’s first suicide bomber. Sinn Fein are winning or indeed have won the battle to shape the way our history is told. They are winning the youth already, the youth who have little memory of the troubles. Who’s knowledge of it is in many cases is the Spin Fein version. With the likes of Labour full willing to appease Sinn Fein’s past few murders for the sake of political expedience it will not be before long that the past is won by the Sinners. In 20 years the name Patsy Gillespie will be even more obscure then it is today and Booby Sandswill probably have a street named after him.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
DVD for August: 'The Grifters'
The Grifters is a strange combination of styles and themes. The era it most clearly evokes is that of film noir. The story has John Cusack caught up in the troublesome machinations of two femme fatales, his estranged mother (Angelica Houston) and his girlfriend (Annette Bening). The world of the movie is one of double cross and playing cons with scenes drenched in shadow and smooth dialogue right out of a pulp fiction novel. Director Stephen Frears delivers a great visual mix, ranging from a split screen introduction, a dark, rich textured feel to a night time car pursuit and beautiful shots such as an elevator descent, clearly an ode to the films ‘The Grifters’ seeks to emulate. The film though is not just a straight lift of the classic story structures used in film noir as used in other modern noir such as ‘The Last Seduction’ or ‘Body Heat’. No one is imperviously cool, Houston, a seasoned con is still the pawn of a bigger player, and is subject to human frailty – whether it be concern for her son or a reliance on the power of money. Bening is on the surface the classic mix of personability and seductiveness, but the way in which she uses her body comes across as more seedy than sexy. Both the female leads were Oscar nominated.
Cusack though not nomination material does deliver a great performance, playing well how essentially out-of-depth he is, struggling to pull off short cons, meet the demands of his girlfriend and fathom his relationship with his mother, one which crosses the line of merely making Oedipal suggestions. He reminded me of Frances McDormands character in ‘Blood Simple’, who had no true sense of what was going on around her, yet was dragged into a world dictated by the selfish actions of those around her. Here too Cusack is only ever a method of advancing or a method of escaping. No one can emerge as a tragic figure, they are each too flawed, too fallible to vengeance and the power of money and too akin to striking suggestive poses to deserve sympathy. Nevertheless, they are somehow compelling to watch. Be sure to consider this the next time you are rummaging through DVD titles.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Here is an interesting song about Guantanamo.
Gin Soaked boy
And my favourite. Becoming more like Alfie
bottom 6 decile spend more then they earn. But before we talk about stuff that can be done about it from a government point of view. What can be done about from a people’s point of view. If we take the the expenditure of each decile from the income of the above decile. i.e. what happens if the 6th decile spend what the 5th spend. We see something interesting.
But before we go eureka we have solved the problem 2 things have to be considered first. The poorest are still in debt. And secondly what level of expenditure is needed?
Labour’s Eric Byrne recently brought out a living wage bill for Dublin Corporation with a living wage in
Now I could point out a few graphs about where money could be saved. But even though I have a few done I will not bore you with them (Saves me uploading them as well) But here is one of percentage of income spent on alcohol. That graph says a lot not just about fact that 11% of income of people in the lower decile but also the fact that the average spend on alcohol is 47.18 for alcohol and tobacco vs 42.67 for clothing.
One thing to note that each decile does not necessarily mean 10% of the population. The bottom decile has about 4% of the population. Or I guess basically the unemployed. With the major source of income of the 3 decile’s being pensions and other social welfare payments. Save for the 3rd deciels where salary is second largest source of income.
So do people on pensions need the same living wage? The National Federation of Pensioners Association were looking for about €300 Euro’s a week. So if this is what pensioners need to live this reduces the amount of people not needing €390 for a living wage.
So what about the remaining people what can be done? First we don’t want to create welfare traps where people are better off on the dole then off it. So I would be slow to suggest adding 233 Euros a week onto the dole. But other things can be down. VAT for instance effects the poor more the wealthy. Reducing VAT on many essential items would help as well. Also stuff like TV licences are regressive forms of taxation and should be noted. But increased welfare payments should indeed be considered.
But what of the other decile’s who are in debt yet are earning enough to be considered safe. What can be done about them? What can the government do to ease their debt. The question really should be if people are in debt yet earning enough to live is it any business of the government if they can’t do a household budget and stick to it?