Tuesday, June 29, 2004

the White House's Irish ire

Good morning messers Follman and Sullivan,

I thought it might be a good idea to inform "rivals" at the same time about something which seems to have slipped unseen n the US.

I honestly don't know that the level of interest the media in the US had with respect to the visit of G.W. Bush to Ireland for the EU / US summit. I do know that the presidential interview conducted by Carole Coleman has caused an almighty stink to rise from the White House. "[T]he White House has since complained to RTE, the Irish Embassy, the Irish Government, and the reporter herself"

Article about the complaints.

Official transcript of the interview.

One question I have is how fawning are the US presidential interviews? As EU political interviews this was fairly soft! As the blogsphere has mentioned, if the White House thought that this was bad, they have not seen the BBC's Jeremy Paxman in action.

take care,

p.s. some blogs on the interview. Sorry Andrew, they aren't very complimentary.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

St John's Eve

Gentle reader,
I remember my first St John's Eve.

It was a Sunday. The Dublin-Cork train runs on a hill overlooking the Blackpool valley before it goes in to "the" tunnel. That twilight evening, the air was dark with smoke and on the hills stood the flare of hundreds of small bonfires.
"What's going on?"
"It's Saint John's Eve."

I have to admit I know nothing about the ceremony and the link. These summer bonfires mostly replace the usual hallowe'en fires of my childhood (yes I'm a blow in). In that respect it's like "Women's Little Christmas", something that seems to only really get celebrated in Cork.

I half remember St. John's Eve being one of the witches holidays (both equinoxes and solstices), but I don't understand the link to Cork.

Anyone care to tell me?
Oh, and is this also celebrated in the Shannon area? It sort of matters at the moment.

take care,

beating around Bush - Press release

Planning for the visit of President Bush and the EU/US Summit has been ongoing for some months and has involved apart from senior Gardaí, the Defence forces and security services from the United States of America. The Garda Commissioner with his senior officers finalised plans for the visit on Monday 21st June at Garda Headquarters.

President George. W. Bush arrives with the First Lady at Shannon Airport at 8.15 p.m. on Friday 25th June, 2004 and is scheduled to depart at 3.00 p.m. on Saturday 26th June, 2004.

The security operation, which has been put in place, is to ensure the safety of all persons attending the summit and in particular the President.

Upwards of 4000 Gardaí will be deployed during the course of the EU/US Summit and they will be augmented by the Defence Forces.

A number of protests are planned to take place during the course of the event both in Dublin and Shannon itself. The Gardaí will afford every facility to protest groups during this time. Every person has a right to protest peacefully within the law and it is only when people engage in criminal activity that An Garda Síochána have to deal with the situation.
In this regard the Gardaí are determined to prevent criminality and public disorder and will ensure a prompt and effective response. Temporary CCTV cameras will be erected at the proposed protest sites and all activities will be monitored. The Garda Air Support will also supply video footage of all activities from the air. Three Garda Command Centres have been established and are sited at Shannon Airport, Dromoland Castle and Shannon Garda Station.

Special arrangements have been put in place for residents, employees and visitors to the Shannon area during this time but because of the extensive security operation it is envisaged that ordinary members of the public may experience some delays. This is unavoidable and regrettable.

We have again secured the services from our colleagues in the P.S.N.I. of two water cannons, which will be on stand by in Shannon. Public Order Units will also be on stand by at different locations in the Shannon area but will only be utilised in the event of difficulties in normal policing methods being experienced.

Special arrangements have been made for the detention of prisoners in Limerick Prison. A unit in Shannon Industrial Estate has been designated as a Garda Station/Courthouse and Detention Centre to ensure the smooth and timely processing of prisoners.

Part of the security operation has involved the security of all primary and secondary routes which entailed the checking of water mains, man holes, gully traps, culverts, bridges, livestock underpasses, wildlife underpasses and walkways etc.,

There is also an ongoing liaison between the ourselves and the American Security Services. Assistant Commissioner Dermot Jennings of the Western Region will be in overall charge of the operation

beating around Bush - Traffic

Traffic arrangements E.U./U.S. Summit 25th and 26th June 2004.

The following traffic arrangements will be in place for the upcoming E.U./U.S. Summit on 25th and 26th June 2004.

The following arrangements will be in place from 3pm Friday 25th June to 3pm Saturday 26th June.

The N18 will be closed between Clonmoney, Shannon and Skehanagh, Clarecastle.

Galway bound traffic will be diverted at the Clonmoney flyover on the Limerick side of Shannon via Sixmilebridge and Tulla. Traffic will rejoin the N18 at Lough Cutra near Gort.

Ennis bound traffic will also be diverted at Clonmoney via Sixmilebridge on the R352 into Ennis.

Traffic travelling from Galway and Ennis will be diverted at Skehanagh, Clarecastle via Quinn and Sixmilebridge. Traffic will rejoin the N18 at Clonmoney.
The following arrangements will be in place from 10pm Thursday 24th June to 3pm Saturday 26th June.

The R458 from the Clare Inn roundabout to Ministers Cross, Newmarket on Fergus will be closed.
Gardai will be on duty and diversion signs will be in place.

Shannon airport will operate as normal on 25th and 26th June. Intending passengers are advised to add an extra 2 hours to their travelling time to allow for any delays. This is in addition to any extra time advised by airlines or tour operators.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

...but no cigar

Well E,

I'd say you'll need to buy the book. Somehow I suspect that the most thumbed chapter will be about his affair will be, well, thumbed, read and put back on the shelf. Most of the details I suspect will be in other chapters. According to this interview, while Clinton has a lot of friends, but this is an election year in a very partisan year. His enemies (or rather the allies of Bush) are probably hoping to tar him by remote, and that the tar gets spread around.

Personally, I'll wait for the highlights in the press, and the paperback. I've read the first book.The movie already came out. Actually two movies so far.

take care,

Friday, June 18, 2004

Leopold's Bloom

You'll love this Jerry,

Thomas Keneally's briefcase broke while he was visiting the states on a book tour, so he called in to a bag shop. The owner of the shop was a Mr Leopold Page (a Beverly Hills bag-seller), formerlly known as Leopold Pfefferberg.

Mr Pfefferberg and his wife Mischa were saved from Auschwitz by Oskar Schindler.

Leopold told his story to Thomas, and so the book and the film Schindler's list came to be.

All because the briefcase broke at that point of a book tour.

So while you celebrate Leopold Bloom thius weekend, I'll remember Leopold Pfefferberg instead.

Enjoy the kidneys...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


You know Clo, I can't help but think that Minister Martin got something right, but maybe not quite for the right reasons.
Last weekend, Galway City had a buzz about it.

The streets were thronged with revellers, and there were at least 10 hen parties (the silly costumes make them easier to recognise than the plainly dressed stags). But the Quay Street felt like you had walked in to one big party.

The pubs were packed, but on the summer's day, the streets were packed with the over spill, all chatting away.

It's the smoking ban that did it!

Before, the pubs would be packed, and the merriment would all be out of sight behind darkened doors. With the smokers outside, there is less peer pressure to go in. Considering the volume of some of the "entertainment" these places had, you had to leave if you wanted a chat.

But the improvement of the atmosphere in the pubs has led to an improvement in the atmosphere of the place. For different meaning of the word atmosphere of course.

I wonder if the same thing happened in Temple Bar?

In Cork, it's not exactly the same. Our expanded Patrick Street would be their Eyre Square (both under re-construction at the moment). Oliver Plunkett Street isn't pedestrians only. Paul Street and Rory Gallagher Place are a mass of road works and barriers. But once the blocks are down, the real capital might feel like a party capital.

take care,

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Hi Clo,

My arse is in ribbons. My behind hasn't received a pounding like that before. I need sudocrem to keep the chafing to manageable levels. But I cycled from Cork to Galway.

The sponsored cycle was in aid of the Chernobyl Children's Project so I'll take that tenner off you (and if you know anyone else there that wants to send some cash, please do so. It's odd to think that the accident happened 18 years ago. There is an entire generation that grew up in the shadow of that cloud!

One thing I'll say about it, you get to meet a lot of people, most of them from Pfizer. I thinks a gang from every plant was there. You get to know every pothole on the way. And just how much water you shouldn't drink along the road. The weather was sunny, and windy. Yes I'm complaining, but I'm in pain so I'll get to moan.

And if it doesn't clash with something else, I just might do it again next year!

Yes I'll sing at your wedding, but get himself to pick the songs. I suspect he can pick something that sounds suitable but is completely inappropriate. On that note, should I try out for this. INXS are looking for a lead singer (they tragically lost Hutchence, and somehow lost Terence Trent D'Arby and Jon Stevens to other bands along the way). Now they are turning to "reality TV" to pick the next lead singer. Somehow I think it's Australia only.

Where did you say your honeymoon was?

take care,

Thursday, June 10, 2004

And what would you like to do?

Hugh proposes an interesting technique on how to blog your way to a job.

Step 1 is "Imagine your dream job".

This is the interesting step. It brings be back to when I was young. I wanted to be a doctor. Actually I wanted to be a mad scientist doing weird and wonderful stuff to strange things. In real life, I'm doing strange things to computers. Oddly enough, I can use scientist as my job title. Hmmm.

Anyway, my ideal job sort of moved about a lot when I was growing up.
Art dealer.
Games programmer.
International playboy billionaire.
Evil overlord of the universe.

Oddly enough, I never wanted to be the classic train driver or astronaut or international sports star.
Oddly enough with the exception of brief spells in two of the above, I've not done them, and don't miss not doing it.

My point is, that your ideal job moves a lot. Some jobs look great, but you might hate them (in my case, the actuary). Some jobs are not even considered until you have spent time in your then ideal position.

It might happen, but you may not want to keep it.
take care,

I still want to try out for the billionaire position if it becomes available.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Knackered. That's the only way to describe it.

I mean, a wedding at home is bad enough, but wading with the flowers is another matter. Of course, its a handy wedding present if you have the skill and the time. But Mum hasn't the height to lift her creations on to the church windows and the alter pieces.

And the roses! I know why brides love them, but they are a bugger to deal with. Touch them (ok, fondle is a bit closer) and they start fading (at least the 'tight' tea roses do, cabbage roses just fall apart after a few days without any help).

It's no the lifting or the late nights with the button holes and bouquets that has me. No, it's the stress of that she generates in her wake. Combine that with wedding nerves, it's sort of like near breakdown by proxy.

Never again. (How many times have I heard that one).

And it was a political wedding. Not joking. Between the wedding and the reception (moving flowers from the church to the hotel, heaving lifting again) I popped in to the supermarket near the hotel. Yup, there was the politico (I'll spare you her name) doing a bit of canvassing for ... someone ... I honestly don't know if it was for local or European. The advantage of her knowing me, and knowing I'm in a different constituency means I got spared. She made it back without too many of the guests noticing. Still, two hours of hanging around is a bit long.

The weather was great, no one was in the bar, all on the grounds. Puffing away.
You know, the smoking ban is interesting. I've never seen so many ornamental urns on formal grounds marked with "cigarette ends" before.

Still it fared better than the wedding in your part of the world. Dropped dead at the stag sounds like a joke, but it's not quite true. I also assume the wedding is off. Still the details appear to be incorrect. He left the stag early, but never made it back to the hotel. He was found at the side of the road the next morning (or really early in the morning, the details are a few hundred miles that-a-way so...
Anyway, what was the father of the bride doing at the stag. I mean, the state of most grooms at their stag is something you don't want the 'parents that are going to be doing the judging' seeing.

Arrived up late last night and managed to get nothing done.

But still have more to do. (Who's slogan is that)

I stupidly agreed to do a cycle. Cork - Galway.
It's about 200 miles, and I hope most of it is downhill.
Which reminds me, I've still got to get the details.

take care,

Dirty no more

Gentle reader,

The Dirty nights run by the Freakscene crew are due to shut down for the summer. Tomorrow is the last night for a while.
Just thought I'd better mention it.

take care,


"When you are raking in a big pot (of poker winnings) it's better than an orgasm. And it lasts longer too."
A female caller on Radio 1 on Monday morning, the phone in was about high stakes poker

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Das machine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und corkenpoppen mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pockets. Relaxen und vatch das blinkenlights!!!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Repressed memories

Gentle reader,

Something happened over the weekend that recovered long forgotten memories from my childhood. This caused sleepless nights and much anguish. I bought Midway Arcade Treasures.

According to the above review... Midway Arcade Treasures includes 24 games: Spy Hunter, Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Paperboy, Rampage, Marble Madness, Robotron: 2084, Smash TV, Joust 2, Bubbles, RoadBlasters, Stargate (called Defender II in this and most other classic game packages for some mysterious reason), Splat!, Blaster, Rampart, Sinistar, Super Sprint, 720, Toobin', Klax, Satan's Hollow, Vindicators, and Root Beer Tapper. However I only noticed 20, and didn't find the interviews with the developers, but then again I have the PAL version, not NTSC.

Just looking at these games brought me back to my childhood. Or more particularly to a childhood holiday somewhere on the coast of Sligo. Well, more particularly to the arcade on the beach near where we stayed, where I happily spent most of that week.

This arcade was a little run down, so while this game (games?) has a few problems with the controllers, it's a realistic experience of that arcade with battered old machines and a lot of fun.

I have to admit, I played a little with MAME, and I poked a bit for roms, but the above collection more of less covered what was in there, add Asteroids, Q'Bert and Pac-Man and remove Satan's Hollow, Vindicators, and Root Beer Tapper. My machine isn't powerful enough to cope with the roms I threw at it (long since deleted when I discovered I couldn't play them mr copyright person, sir), so I could never recreate my dream arcade. That and the hydraulics needed for Space Harrier far beyond me, and I can't afford an "Addams Family" Pinball game. Everything that came after is available for the PS2. Including the just released Anniversary edition of Street Fighter II.

It's strange what will kick off a series of memories. Playing gauntlet, I remembered the cannon on the beach. The "sit-in" type ride, of a helicopter that had an articulated arm that raised the rider up a good 10 feet (if you are small enough to fit comfortably in one of those children's rides, you will figure out just how dangerous it is to have your toddler 10 foot in the air). The chipper attached to the arcade. And finding my twin brother.

Ah yes, the other Will. While I can't remember the name of the place, he lived there. Not quite born and bread, but still. Born on the same day, at more of less the same hour, in the same place. I have no idea where he is. Or who he is, maybe we shouldn't have swapped identities :) .

As for the anguish... well playing arcade games in the afternoon until the dawn chorus indicates that I've over done it a bit. I was wrecked all weekend.

take care,