Friday, August 31, 2007

Clinton on Letterman

Hilary Clinton appeared on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' last night. The show has more bad than good jokes and Letterman seems to see the show as a congratulatory award for him being so brilliant. Nevertheless, his is the most watched late night show and Hilary needs to get the sense of humour, personability factor out there so appear she did. Commenting on the possibility of her husband (the future First Gentleman?) being her VP, a woman as commander in chief and of course pants suits, the appearance seems to have been well received. Read more here and watch Hilary announce her Top 10 Campaign Promises here. (If you are unaware of the format of the show please note these are firmly tongue in cheek!)

News Coverage

FOX News, the news broadcaster of record for Israel, circumventer of facts and world record holder for over use of the term alert has been giving much coverage to the decision of Katie Couric, the lead anchor for CBS evening news, to travel to Iraq to cover the ongoing conflict. The thrust of the argument of its commentators has beent that a single mother should not put herself in such danger, ignoring the interests of her children who have already lost their father. They are slinging the mud of ratings grabbing and undermining jounalistic integrity at her. How many reporters, many of them parents, all of them children of somebody are covering the events in Iraq? Why must Kouric, a significant name in news broadcasting in the US, be subject to this sort of scrutiny, other than of course a chance to lampoon the opposition. I am not naiive enough to think that there are entirely unselfish motives at play for both Kourics profile and CBS viewership but I am still impressed by the decision to commit a high profile reporter to covering events at this stage, when the repetitive nature of major statements and military advances mean such stories fade from headlines.

To go after FOX for this type of lazy coverage, lampooning the hypocrisy of them striving to protect jounalistic integrity is just too easy, a lack of credibility is tied up with their very brand. News has become pointless live uplinks, where reporters add little to what the reader has just told us, needing to be by a camera every 15 or 30 minutes to repeat the news of an hour earlier, neither though do I expect them to venture into a war zone. To go all Michael Moore, except without the sensation, to put thought into the agendas at play in both print and broadcast media, it is difficult to have faith in much of the information. Read here a bit of a tirade from Robert Fisk (though he disses blogging the point of his article is effective), and find links of other coverage of the FOX story here.

Dog - Fighting

I was really taken aback last night watching the special BBC investigation into dog-fighting going on in Northern Ireland. The individuals involved are beyond any form of redemption in my eyes, profiting from such brutality and their disrespect for animals is disgusting. I've posted an article here from the Times Online, which details the extent of the investigation and its outcomes. I've posted a separate story here on the worrying fact that Dublin port was used as the location to smuggle pit bulls into the country for these fights.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Marx Brothers Quotes

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

Movie Review: 'Knocked Up'

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

Arrested Developemt - An Appreciation

So sitting down to find Youtube clips to give the uninitiated a sense of the madness, wryness and endless humour of 'Arrested Development', I realised I had set myself a nigh on impossible task. How in the name of beejesus could I even begin to give an insight into this show, endless layers of sight gags, pop culture references, crazy characters, dysfunction making the Soprano family look positively Waltonesque, where your father dresses in your dead wifes maternity clothes, your son fancies his cousin and your 14 year old niece cons her way into a film producer job. From endless gay puns, to having an attorney named Bob Boblaw (say it out loud) and Michael Moore cameoing to convince the mother of the piece to send her son to Iraq no type of humour and commentary is left unused. Over the last month, I have purchased, watched and re-watched the first two series and do plan to buy the lesser but still hilarious 3rd series. Jason Bateman epitomises the everyman, a very necessary anchor for the insanity of those around him. It is probably better than I don't have the know how to get clips from the disks onto Youtube, picking my favourites would be even more difficult that browsing through what is already available online. I don't know how these clips will go down without context - they should give you a taste for more though.

No 'Celebrity Big Brother' in 2008

Lets all hope this marks the beginning of the end. Tuathal wrote a great piece a while back on a number of options to bandy all these sorry excuses for TV together, as a method of eliminating the existence of this TV format and the careers (or the subsequent revitalisation of said careers) of those who choose to partake. Refresh your memory here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Blaming Mulligar is a cop-out

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

Pat Rabbitte Confirms his Resignation

Story here. No doubt more to follow.

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

Looking for an appropriate analogy for the Bourne Ultimatum, Ronseal comes to mind. Hitting on a winning formula and applying it has endured three times now, weathering the rule of diminishing returns which often leaves sequels reduced to poor, faded imitations. Matt Damon, having subtlety built a franchise for himself, with an ever present brow of sweat, is front and centre for a movie which does exactly as it says on the can – a one man show of hand held camera, fast paced brutal energy. All too importantly, while you expect the limb crunching, domestic appliance using tactics to feel tired at this stage, they maintain their effect. Bourne is the impervious, bordering on super human action hero we know of old, yet there is never a need to cast a blind eye at his incredulous escapes or abilities, the mans enforced solitude and focus, and presumably intense programming referred to, let us know he is a man built to survive. There are no neurotic side-kicks or family members to be held hostage in the final scenes and potential love interests are put out of harms way – this man learns lessons - there may be formula at play here but not so as to insult our intelligence.

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.

Aer lingus and Fianna Fail

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

the Government's refusal to intervene in the Aer Lingus controversy protected the airline's share price.

Seriously do they just want a shovel.

Limerick your a lady?

The ourtube video on the news recently about Limerick

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How come I don't have a Newspaper Column

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

Least Convincing Screen Couples

Here is another one of those pointless lists doing the rounds, this time of couples who failed to light up the screen with their chemistry. I would definitley add Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte, who had an famously bad relationship off screen, with this tension seeping onto the screen in 'I Love Trouble', itself a terrible film in the style of '40s screwball movies. Read the list here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dossing Times goes to Slane

The Dossing Times crew regrouped this weekend to view the wreckage left following Tuathal's departure from our fair blog this past fortnight. The chosen venue was the rambling hills of Slane however our intended withdrawl from the mania of city life, analysing hypotheses in physics and rambling around the halls of our heads to come up with ideas for posts was rudely interrupted by a quartet of rocking geriatrics. Unless you were hiding under a rock on a part of the island that detached and floated behind the moon blocking all communication you will no doubt have heard and read of the reports of outstanding music and performance on stage from around 9 p.m last Saturday night. The Rolling Stones with inspiring levels of energy, delivered a religious experience. I don't know what can be said about the band that hasn't been said already but I do know that I want to get across without too much hyperbole, yet with still some sense of high falutin' gushing what a great day it was.

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

Joker Up Close

This picture is likely to be taken off the internet pretty soon, seemingly it hasn't been officially released. The Joker's image has been revealed in stages to date but here he is in all his deranged glory.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Ultimate Meals

So we're talking food, tastes and dining experiences here, something as unique to the individual as our retinas I feel. There aren't any pictues, there's just no point trying to muster up the sensation of a good meal other than thinking about it and sitting down to it.

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.

15 minutes of Youtube - Rolling Stones special

Edit: The Dossing Times crew are going to be in Slane. SO I thought I would bump this up. I am particular looking forward to some Guinness. It is so bad this side of the Irish Sea

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.

Empty Houses

The CSO has released figures stating almost 1/6 of private dwellings in the state are unoccupied. The 2006 census found there are 1,769,613 homes in the State, and of those, 174,935 were vacant houses, 41,598 were vacant flats or apartments and 49,789 were holiday homes. The number of vacant homes amounts to 15 per cent of the total. It seems that while supply is forthcoming, presumably on foot of perceived demand the reality is buyers are not realising their demand due to deteriorating affordability conditions. What impact the abolishment of Stamp Duty will have on these figures will be interesting to see. I would be interested also in seeing the number of commercial properties which are unoccupied - the commerical property market we are told is consistently bouyant. Link to CSO press release here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Riverdance Rap


'Out of Time'

If you are looking to shut your brain down for two hours tonight in the company of Denzel Washinton and Eva Mendez, then watch 'Out of Time', the mid-week movie tonight on RTE 1. Every thriller convention possible, and then some, thrown at the screen. Entertaining though.

Touching Up

So this is a really girly thing to post on but I have heard of this idea of airbrushing and the work done to make celebrities look all the more beautiful when they adorn magazine covers and so reading the Huffington Post instead of the latest developments in the race for Presidential nominations or Karl Rove resigning it was the link to this site which caught my eye. The company in question is advertising its service by showing before and after shots of the celebrities they have 'worked on'. I have pasted the lovely Care Blanchette as an example. I for one am sorry I looked, taking away from the wonder that is Penelope Cruz has done me no favours. The people I see as true stars I never really want to know of their flawed human nature, I want to see them delivering great roles and being enigmatic. If you want to make yourself feel better and get confirmation that Johnathan Rhys Meyers does look like a coke head then view away. On entering the site click on Portfolio.

Irish Man Jailed for 'Mooning' in Senegal

The Department of Foreign Affairs is currently seeking the release of a Belfast student who has been in jail now for 3 weeks having 'mooned' an official's house while on a working trip to Senegal. The Irish Times covers the story here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ryanair :)-

Ryanair have annoyed a Unionist MLA with this add. Have to say I think it is very funny.

Monday, August 13, 2007

'Empire' Blog

Empire Movie Magazine, or as I like to call it 'My Movie Bible' has launched a blog within the last month. The magazines contributor's post on a mixture of movie and media related topics, giving time to ideas and topics I wish I had more time to develop here. Most recently they have written on the sorry fate of many quality TV series. The site accompanying the magazine is my first choice for movie news.

The indo blogs

Just noticed the indo has a new blog section. Seems only Rugby at the mo. Well done indo.

Karl Rove Resigns

The news story of the day and quite possibly the week, is Karl Rove's resignation from his role as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Bush administration. The man described as the architect of Bush's successful campaign for a second term in office as well as the man drafted in to handle the outrage at the mismanagement of the Hurrican Katrina disaster, he is the best known example of the smarter men we imagine pulling the strings behind the dimwit at the helm. Read here at that mountain of knowledge, Wikipedia, the string of controversies the man has been caught up in.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Best Clip Ever

I was introduced on Friday night to the clip below, even without alcohol its still dam funny.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Language of the People

Lake Superior University since the 1970s has taken upon itself the task establishing a committee to decide upon banishing misused, over-used and just down right irritating words. Nominations can submitted by anybody, through the website here for the 2008 list. There are no details as to where this banishment extends to, which leads me to believe the college in not setting such parameters, feels it is speaking for the English speaking world. Other than this being a bit pretentious, I feel this is an admirable cause. Every year new slang words, or unfortunate catch phrases that have somehow entered the vernacular having been coined online or through entertainment news makes its way into dictionaries.

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

Friday Feeling

There is a scene in an episode of 'Scrubs', the episode having beeing filled with Journey music, where Turk tells JD that he is getting to like Journey. JD having returned from the jukebox, tells him he will enjoy the next 23 songs then!

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 with Aer Lingus Privatization

After the debacle of Eircom you would think that the government would have realized the problem with privatization. Much of the flack over the privatisation of Eircom center on the fact that it failed. This was attributed to the fact that it was privatised not to the actually factors that made it fail. The reason it failed was because they didn't follow Mary Harney's mantra. "If there is anything worse then a public monopoly it is a private monopoly". Whether she heard her own advice we will never know.

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

Be Kind, Rewind

I think I'll stick my neck out and speculate that this movie will be one of the best of the year. I'm motivated by blind faith as well as the great cast (Jack Black, Mos Def), the credible man behind the lens (Michael Gondry director of 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'), the potential of the premise and of course, this trailer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Optimash Prime!

Mr. Potato Head does Transformers! This may be the funniest thing I have ever seen. I want one now!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The wonderful world of Frisbee Part I

Recently me and some of my work mates who I shall refer to as Dino, Hero, God and Well Good have been exploring the wonderful world of Frisbee. Well Good had a Frisbee (or should we say sports disk as the term Frisbee is copyrighted) that was left over from a conference he had gone to previously so we flung it around one sunny afternoon. Obviously by the word sunny I mean that I am living in England where on Saturday it was about 30 degree's here in the sunny south east. As we flung the first sportsdisk around we start noticing various effects of how it flew in flight. And concluded that it was a cheap old sportsdisk which would always have difficulty in flying. So Well Good decided to buy a Ultimate Sportsdisk.

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.

Skinny Sweets

Today my colleague, or drain on the energy of the office as I prefer to call her, returned to the office after lunch and on offering me sweets momentarily clawed her way back my the rankings of people I can tolerate for more than 15 minutes at a time. Imagine my disgust when the sweets turned out to be a Marks and Sparks product, entitled 'Skinny Sweets' - essentially cola bottles, with no sugar, flavour, texture or hint of being a sweet or generally anything worth eating. I mean its after lunch, we're hitting the part of the day where its closer to going home than it is at any other point in the day and we are expected to celebrate this with a brown piece of gloop. This is not the first such instance of low standards when it comes to food in my office. First up, I learned that the receptionist is ordered to bring in low fat milk. This is milk which is translucent in look and in taste, if I wanted watery milk I would have some ice with my milk. If I am being disciplined to have cereal then I dam will have proper milk as God intended other than of course the pasteurisation. 'Energy drain' even goes to the trouble of warming her watery milk to add to her Special K, such practices putting me off the entire concept of breakfast. Of course the little carton of proper milk I do bring with me is frowned upon and called 'Fat Milk'. So too Diet Coke, Pepsi Max or Coke Zero are ordered as opposed to 'Fat Coke' and a Chinese is a 'Fat Chinese'.One of the other women is currently on a milk shake diet, with a special treat of chicken soup twice a week - she hopes to loose a stone in a week by living on rehydrated powder shakes.

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.

Socialist wanting to control the blogosphere

Looks like the some of the Daily Kos (the big US democrats blog) brigade want to start a Blog union with benefits and code of ethics etc. Other then the fact that bloggers are in-essence self-employed more IBEC then SIPTU these people are taking blogging far to seriously. So who will want to be Arthur Scargill? Also they was talk of nothing letting right-wing bloggers in . Is America really this divided? I wrote about the Next American Civil War a year or 2 ago and I still get the odd comment that scares me. Cop on people blogging is a hobby.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Remember what we have forgot

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.

Ron Paul tops military spending?

Interesting analysis of the donations from the military for US candidates for the various parties primaries. Ron Paul the republican libertarian candidate tops followed by Obama and Clinton. With Rommy and Rudy Giuliani towards the end.If you wondering who he is. Here is clips from the debates

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Dossing Times DVD of the Month

I don't know, in fact I doubt it very much, that anyone noticed there was no DVD for July. Put simply I didn't see anything I liked, or at the very least felt worthy of describing on the blog. August has brought a movie I have wanted to see for a long time.

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

The Divine Comedy

The divine Comedy are one of my favourite bands and the fact that the Frames get more coverage then them is well amazing anyway. Here are 3 songs from them all them Great.

Here is an interesting song about Guantanamo.

Gin Soaked boy

And my favourite. Becoming more like Alfie

Indebtedness of the Nation

Possible the most shocking statistic to come out of the CSO’s household budget summery is the inequality that exists in perms. According to the data people in the 1st Decile (the lowest) spend on average 0.19 Euro a week on perms compared to 0 in the 10th decile (richest) and the national average of 0.09 Euro. This statistic is certainly something the girls at should look into. But another aspect of the survey was that was pointed out by Conor was that many people up to 1/3 or even ½ of the population are living in debt. i.e. spending more then they earn. That is nearly as shocking and Conor points out that it is linked to the growing inequality in society. But while it might show that for most the indebtedness is not a symptom of inequality but plain old spending too much.

First lets look at the graph of difference of expenditure vs Income. As can be seen the


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.

previous.JPGOnly the people in the bottom decile are in debt. All those people in the 6 groups above are now clear of debt.

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 Dublin thought to be about 10 and hour. If we this as being the wage needed to survive in the entire country which compared to the rest of the country is being generous. We get for a 39 hour week. 390 euro. Now the living wage defined on wikipedia says that this is what is needed without addition income. But if anyone differs with this definition please just drop a comment. (Prefarable with all the maths done for me to save me doing this). So if we say that this 390 is the money needed to live. We have the bottom 3 decile under this with the rest above this in debt due to choice not necessity.

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.


But that is not talking about the bottom 3 groups who are under the living wage.So what can the government do to bring these people up to this living wage total. With the first decile 233 below, second 146 and third 31 Euro below.

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?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

'Halloween' remake trailer

I haven’t watched this trailer, I need to poise and steady myself for the frustration I will feel at this most recent example of Hollywood’s inability to leave stuff alone. I am not puritanical, I was even interested to watch Gus Van Sant’s shot by shot remake of ‘Psycho’. This however smacks of laziness. Horror movies are cheap to make and make plenty of money, so no matter how Rob Zombie spins it, telling us of his respect for the original and how he wants to bring the original to a new audience I just don’t believe him. If you want to bring the original to a new audience, re-release it this October. However desensitised we are to what passes for horror these days, watch ‘Halloween’ alone some night and every creak and movement around your house will have you on edge. It is truly unnerving stuff. As remarked in post-modern style at the end of the first ‘Scream’ film there is no explanation or back story to Michael Myers antics, he is just evil. Why mess with such simple effectiveness. Hang your heads in shame remakers.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007 The code is 79308-19472.

Dossing times in top 20

We are all a bit sad over here in Dossing Times Towers with Tuathal's departure. But seemingly if you rank Irish Blogs by most in bound links. We are 19th in Ireland. Irish is 7th. So that is something to be happy about. (Hat tip Rambling man)