Friday, June 30, 2006


Quote of the Week

If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.

Alfred North Whitehead
English mathematician & philosopher (1861 - 1947)

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Thursday Morning Meltdown

It happens almost every morning but this morning it really pissed me off. I'm generally a peace loving person except when I'm driving a car. There is something about being behind the wheel of a car that makes me more aggressive than an East German hammer thrower back when East Germany existed. Every morning I get into my little festy, fondly known as 'Jonesy', (I'm a girl so I felt compelled to name the damn car when I got it) and cross three lanes of traffic to get into my lane. Jonesy is parked by the side of the road outside my house and depending on which direction the car is pointing in the morning this 'getting into the correct lane' manoeuvre sometimes involves doing a u-turn. While this is not my favourite way to start the day its not what drives me crazy. The thing that wrecks my head is that the left hand lane (my lane) is fairly narrow and the middle lane is badly defined with road markings. The lights always go green for those of us in the left lane before they turn green for the middle lane. It invariably happens that a car in the middle lane takes up too much room and those of us in the left lane can't get past it and have to wait for the middle lane cars to move before we can. This has happened to me umpteen times and while it’s always annoying I think the reason I nearly lost it this morning was that it was a stupid SUV type vehicle that was blocking my way this time. I can't fricken stand any SUV type vehicles. This is Ireland not America! I recently read an article featured on the New Scientist Blog entitled 'SUVs and Risk Compensation' and dated the 23rd of June 2006 that pointed out that SUV drivers are more likely to take risks on the road because they feel that driving an SUV is safer than driving an ordinary car. I could rant on about SUVs for ages but it probably wouldn’t do my blood pressure any good. I wish that Cork County Council would clearly define the three lanes near my house with proper road markings and that Irish people would stop buying fecking SUVs.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The Tempest

A production of William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' is currently running in Fitzgerald's Park as part of Cork's Midsummer Festival. The play previewed on the 20th and 21st of June and will run until the 1st of July. The Tempest is generally considered to be William Shakespeare's last play. Prospero is the protagonist of the play. He was the rightful Duke of Milan before his usurping brother Antonio sent him off on a boat to die with his three year old daughter Miranda. Antonio did this so that he could become duke. Prospero and Miranda survived on the boat and found exile on a small island. Prospero then learned sorcery and used it while on the island to control the other characters. This play deals with themes of family ties and reconciliation in a mythic setting. (The above is for those of you who like me were unfamiliar with the play). Corcadorca have staged an excellent production of The Tempest and have used the natural landscape of Fitzgerald's Park to create the magical world of Prospero's spirit inhabited island. The play is staged on and around the pond and it does feel sort of magical. The performance starts shortly after 10.15pm and continues until about midnight. The costumes, the stage setting and the music are all done well. Although it has to be said that at one point during the play a duck and her six gorgeous little ducklings managed to steal the show when they went for a wander across the pond which included a stroll on and off parts of the stage. This took place on the side of the pond where I was sitting so I had a perfect view of it. :-)


Footprints in the Sand

This photo was taken on Inchydoney beach recently.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Talking Cars

About a year ago I mentioned to a friend as we were walking to lunch that it would be great if cars could talk to each other (this was an idea that had just popped into my head so I characteristically revealed it straight away). I thought it would be great if a car could say 'thank you' to another car or 'please let me overtake you as I'm fricken late for work'. Said friend scoffed heartily at my foolish words and basically proceeded to make fun of me for the rest of lunch because of my outlandish idea. Well according to a recent post on the New Scientist Blog it's not such an outlandish idea after all.


NoFit State Circus' ImMortal2

We are about half way through Cork's Midsummer Festival for 2006 which is running from the 20th of June to the 1st of July. NoFit State Circus' ImMortal2 is one of the events that was held on Mardyke Walk last week. I hadn't been to see anything organised by the festival until last Friday night when I went to see ImMortal2. NoFit State Circus was established in 1986 in Cardiff, Wales and is now celebrating 20 years of its unique brand of Circus. In 2005 ImMortal2 was rated as the best ever UK Circus show. The show was the hit of the Edinburgh fringe and won a total of four major international awards. The show is unusual and to be honest I didn't know what to expect as we were greeting by guys in kilts and waistcoats, and ushered into a space age tent. Once inside the tent we were addressed by a lovely accordion player with a fetching flower clip in his hair and introduced to the night's performance. There was excellent live music throughout the performance which really added to the atmosphere and drama of the show. The audience moved at different times during the show depending on what the performers were doing. There was tightrope walking, trapeze artists and unbelieveable feats of balance. There was always something going on. Sometimes it was loud and frantic, then it was beautiful and mesmerising but it was never boring. Definitely an interesting way to spend a Friday night.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Quote of the Week

Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

Samuel Butler
English composer, novelist, & satiric author (1835 - 1902)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Stretch Armstrong V Peter Crouch

Has anyone else noticed the striking resemblance between Peter Crouch and Stretch Armstrong? While I was watching the England V Sweden match last night I couldn't stop staring at Crouch's extra long arms and legs - they're like the eight wonder of the world!


England Top Group B

England played their third and final game in Group B last night. They haven't shown much spark in this world cup so far but it looked like they were on form for the first half of this game despite Owen's tumble and subsequent removal from the pitch. England's first two matches against Paraquay and Trinidad & Tobago were lacklustre to say the least. The win against Paraquay was attributable to an own goal and there wasn't any scoring in the Trinidad & Tobago game until the last ten minutes. England play Ecuador this weekend and for the sake of the fans I hope they can pull off an entertaining game. One of the more amusing sights of last night's game was Wayne Rooney acting like a petulent child when Sven took him off after 69mins!


What the Hell Did this Cat Eat?

Ok, when I saw this on a website recently I felt that it should be shared. This is the world's fattest cat weighing in at a hefty 40.8 kilograms (89 pounds). I've had an assortment of cats as pets over the years. Cats with eclectic names like Tadgh (commonly refered to as pussy), Finrover and Weezer. Some of these cats would have been considered to be pretty well fed but nothing like the picture of the cat on the left. It looks like this cat has eaten a dog! The antics of this cat can be seen in a short video clip.

Friday, June 16, 2006


The Man Most Afflicted with 'Foot in Mouth' Disease

The leader of the free world, George W. Bush, has made yet another gaff. The man is a slave to 'foot in mouth' disease!

At a recent press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, Peter Wallsten (a journalist with the Los Angeles Times) entered into an exchange with the President that went a little like this:

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, Peter. You're going to ask that question with those shades on?

PETER WALLSTEN: I can take them off --

BUSH: No, I'm interested in the shade look, seriously here.

WALLSTEN: All right. I'll keep it then.

BUSH: For the viewers there's no sun. (Scattered laughter.)

WALLSTEN: I guess it depends on your perspective.

BUSH: (Laughs, laughter.) Touche. (Laughter.)

It turns out that Peter Wallsten is legally blind and that's why he was wearing sunglasses. President Bush later apologised to Wallsten. He called him on his mobile phone and told him that he didn’t know he [Wallsten] had Stargardt’s disease. Wallsten replied that no apology was necessary and that he didn’t feel offended since he hadn’t told anyone at the White House about his condition. Bush has made many blunders in the past. In March 2002, Stevie Wonder performed at a Presidential Gala at Washington's Ford Theatre. President Bush is reported to have waved at Stevie Wonder and then dropped his hand as he realised his gaff - that Stevie Wonder is blind and couldn't see him waving.


Quote of the Week

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde
Dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Speedy Gonzales

I've been breaking the law on a regular basis over the past couple of years but I finally got my comeuppence a couple of days ago. I left my sister's place having had a yummy dinner and headed home to watch some relaxing TV. I threw on the radio and was happily murdering some poor song as I whizzed along when I saw something very unpleasant. As clear as day there was a garda car, a speed camera set up on a tripod (so you couldn't fecking miss it) and three gardaí. Well I knew then that I was well and truly caught. As I got the hand signals from one of the guards to slow down and pull in off the road, I had a brief but almost overwhelming urge to put the boot down and burn rubber. But luckily reality hit and I realised that I probably wouldn't make much of a getaway in my one litre festy. After all, the minute I hit seventy (mph not kmph) the steering wheel starts to shake - nts: I must get that checked out sometime soon. One of the guards strolled over and asked for my licence. Then he toddled off as I frantically rummaged in the glove compartment for my licence. Having found it I sat there waiting for the guard to come back. I nicknamed him Derek because he had that look about him (don't ask). Anyway he took my licence and transcribed my details. He then proceeded to show me the speed camera, I'm presuming this was in case I didn't believe that I had been doing 88 in a 50 zone (that's kmph not mph).I nodded mutely to show that I understood I had exceeded the speed limit. As he was checking my postal address (it's important to get this right so the fine doesn't end up in the wrong place) he remarked in a conversational tone that the gardaí were having a bit of a blitz at the moment and really clamping down on speeding. He smiled and said that I had probably heard about it on the TV and radio to which I replied (in the driest tone that I could muster) that no, I hadn't heard about it. His parting shot was to inform me that I was now the proud owner of two penalty points on my licence and I could also expect a fine in the post. He turned and strolled back to his colleagues ready to catch the next idiot travelling above the speed limit. I sat there for a minute and then realised that I was free to go on my merry way. I travelled the same route last night and I absolutely crawled through the 50 kmph zone. Resolutely refusing to go above 49 kmph despite the cars whizzing past me at a rate of knots. I felt like putting up a sign saying 'I was caught for speeding recently so you are crazy if you think I'm going any faster than this!'.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


'Foot in Mouth' Disease

Every so often I'll get a bout of 'foot in mouth' disease. I unintentionally say something really stupid and I don't even realise it until it's too late. To be honest I've made so many gaffs and blunders in my time that it's hard to pick out a good example (I must be getting better at blocking them out). This might sound cruel but it always heartens me when I hear someone else going through a bout of 'foot in mouth' disease. It makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone with my relapsing condition. Just the other day I heard a women near me at work congratulate another women on her pregnancy. Unfortunately the women being congratulated wasn't pregnant. The moral of that story is never congratulate any women on being pregnant unless you are 100% sure that she is pregnant. In fact I'd actually advise waiting until she tells you that she is pregnant before handing out the congratulations!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Charles J. Haughey

Charles Haughey was the sixth Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland and served three terms in office between 1979 and 1992. He died today after a long battle with cancer. Haughey is credited with transforming the economy while he was in government between 1987 and 1992. The actions taken by Haughey's government during this period did transform the economy. One of the main schemes put forward which would have enormous economic benefits for the country, was the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin. However, his political career was far from smooth with scandals such as the arms crisis and the phone tapping incident. He also lost many supporters when revelations came out about his personal finances and lifestyle after he had retired. I only have vague memories of Charles Haughey when he was in power considering that I was in primary school for most of that time. In fact my abiding memory of him comes from 'Scrap Saturday' the Saturday morning radio comedy show from the late eighties. Dermot Morgan aided and abetted by co-scriptwriter Gerard Stembridge and Pauline McLynn mocked Ireland's political, business and media establishment. In particular the sketches about the relationship between Charles J. Haughey (the then Taoiseach) and his press secretary, P.J. Mara were legendary. I remember some of these sketches, particularly Haughey's dismissive attitude towards P.J. Mara whom he would summon with a guttural "Maaaara". Mara would then respond with an adoring and grovelling attitude calling him "Boss" and "Man of Destiny". Unsurprisingly RTE axed the show in the early 1990's at the height of its popularity which caused public outcry. An RTÉ spokesman famously said "The show not being axed, its just not being continued!"


Keano Retires

Roy Keane has called it a day and retired from professional football after receiving medical advice regarding his injuries. I think Roy will be missed by players and supporters alike because of his huge commitment to the game. He was a footballer player first and foremost rather than a footballer/model or footballer/celebrity. He split public opinion in 2002 when he returned home from Saipan after an argument with Mick McCarthy over the inadequate preparations made by the FAI for the 2002 World Cup. This incident inspired the muscial 'I, Keano', which was a huge hit in Ireland and was also shown in the UK. I hope that he does go on to become a coach and a manager because he was a great player and has a lot to pass on.


Ireland Supporting England

I happened to hear a little bit of the Ray D'Arcy show this morning. They had carried out a poll to find out how many Irish people would support England in the current World Cup. Ray reported that 47% of those asked would support the English football team. It's nice to know that I'm not the only Irish person supporting England's chances for the 2006 World Cup. :-)

Monday, June 12, 2006


ER versus Grey's Anatomy

ER finished up about a week ago and won't be back on our screens until December. They left us with a lovely cliffhanger to keep us hanging on for the next six months. RTE in their wisdom are providing us with a new medical drama 'Grey's Anatomy' (when I say new obviously I mean new to RTE as this program has already been on several other channels for months) to keep us entertained on a Sunday. I enjoyed the first two episodes of Grey's Anatomy that were shown last night. It's a nice change from ER. Don't get me wrong, I like watching ER which is a good thing considering that I've been watching it for more than ten years. But sometimes it's nice to have a break from the mini trauma that it normally induces on a Sunday night. Grey's Anatomy seems fluffier and funnier with a distinct lack of graphic blood and guts. It also doesn't hurt matters that Patrick Dempsey plays Dr. Derek Shepherd. I first encountered Patrick Dempsey in a late eighties gem called 'Can't Buy Me Love' and although he did plenty of movies and TV after that I didn't notice him again until 'Sweet Home Alabama' a couple of years ago.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Quote of the Week* (Returns)

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Herm Albright (1876 - 1944)

*A quote may not appear every week, in fact one hasn't appeared in about nine weeks but that has more to do with laziness on my part rather than an inability to find a quote that I like.


BellX1 in Galway

BellX1 are playing at the Galway Arts Festival - Live at the Big Top on the 22nd of July. Tickets can be bought from Ticketmaster. The Big Top has been a feature of the Galway Arts Festival throughout its 29 year history. Other artists performing at the festival are David Gray, UB40, Simple Minds and Rodrigo Y Gabriela. The final concert features some American soul and r'n'b artists - Charmaine Neville, Marcia Ball and Allen Toussaint - in the New Orleans All Star Party on the 29th of July.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


World Cup 2006

The World Cup is starting tomorrow and sadly Ireland is not taking part. However this will not stop Irish soccer fans watching it in their droves and supporting an adopted foreign team. I will be lending my support to England purely because some of their players are recognisable to me (I'm not a big soccer buff). I also supported them in the 1998 World Cup while I was au pairing in Germany. I knew all the players names and watched all the press conferences with Glen Hoddle. This probably had more to do with the fact that Sky News was the only English speaking channel that I had access to rather than any great love for the English team. Supporting England is always tough. You want them to do well but you know that if they do win they will be unbearable. The fact that we are still hearing about how they won the 1966 World Cup is a case in point. :-)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Sunshine and Exams

The weather is great at the moment, lots of sunshine and warm evenings. We all know who we have to thank for this weather and no its not global warming. Thank you to all the leaving cert and junior cert students who are sweating it out in exam halls around the country just to provide us with a couple of days of sunshine. Without the students we wouldn't have this guaranteed period of good weather every June.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Superman Returns

I saw a trailer for 'Superman Returns' when I went to see 'X-Men 3' and now I'm really looking forward to seeing it. (I'm going through a bit of a superhero phase) It's great to see some new blood in the superman story. Superman has had a good run on TV, first with 'Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman' and more recently with 'Smallville'. However there hasn't been a superman film since 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace' in 1987. The new superman film picks up after 'Superman II' which was released back in 1980. I'm not sure whether it's the blue tights or the red cape but I'm a bit of a sucker for the superman story - so roll on the release date for the film which I think is sometime in June?

Friday, June 02, 2006


X-Men 3

Went to see X-Men 3 in the cinema recently. Having previously enjoyed both X-Men and X-Men 2, I was looking forward to seeing the newest (or last) installment. The film was good and some stuff happened that I wasn't expecting, which is kind of nice in a hollywood film. I love the fact that they cast Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast. Another piece of inspired casting was Vinnie Jones as Cain Marko/Juggernaut - get a load of the computer enhanced thighs! (I'm guessing that they were enhanced by a computer) Thankfully Logan/Wolverine was as hairy and blunt as ever. The makers of the film have said that this is the last film in the series. They even called the film 'X-Men 3:The Last Stand' to prove their point. But to be honest there is a part of me that feels there might be an X-Men 4 sometime in the future. :-)