Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Shameless method of generating traffic

This young lady is Megan Fox. She is there for no other reason than an experiment. And to keep my pervier readers happy (howaya Darren and Sean!).

Since I have added my Feedjit widget to the lower right hand side of my page I've noticed a lot of traffic coming in through Google image searches, mostly looking for pictures of Nicky Whelan and Natalie Portman, if I'm not very much mistaken. This is not really why I want people to visit my page but i'd like to think that one or two of them do stop and look around a bit. It's also fascinating to be receiving hits from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Netherlands Antilles, South Africa, Japan and Finland, plus somewhere called the UK. This makes me feel very cosmopolitan and like a terribly exciting individual.

So, I'm gonna be away for the next couple of days - in Wexford, where I don't think they have computers. I probably won't check the blog again until Thursday evening and I'll be interested to see how many passers-by this picture will draw in, given that the lovely Megan was the most-Googled image of 2007 and has recently been named as FHM World's Sexiest Woman for 2008.

If you're passing by and have taken the time to read this please click the wee comment button and say something. As long as its reasonably nice. Perhaps tell me what the weather is like in your part of Uzbekistan or what system of government you have in this mysterious 'U.K.' Tell me all about the time you briefly felt attracted to your goldfish, the first time you ever cut your knee really badly, the way you like the breeze ruffling your hair...you get the idea, talk to me people!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Magnificent Munster

What a match on Saturday! Not exactly a display of scintillatingly skillful rugby (finals rarely are), Munster fought tooth and nail every step of the way to gain a superb 16-13 victory over Toulouse (do they ever make it anything less than nerve-shredding for their fans?).

This was a display of sheer doggedness, passion and intelligent use of the ball against the technically-superior French side, who are undoubtedly the better side man-for-man on paper. Happily, these things rarely count for much against Munster. Toulouse looked massively dangerous whenever they got the ball out wide or into the hands of dangermen like Yves Donguy, Yannick Jauzion and Cedric Heymans, but it was to Munster's enormous credit that this wasn't allowed to happen too often. along with the sheer brilliance of every single one of their front eight, Kiwi backs Doug Howlett and Rua Tipoki were superb - making big hits when necessary and almost combining for a superb try, a slightly forward pass by Tipoki meaning that Howlett's scything run didn't get its just deserts.

Ronan O'Gara was his usual self, kicking for the corners with accuracy and nailing the kicks that needed to be nailed - though he did give some cause for alarm when a couple of his clearing kicks were charged down, luckily with no particularly serious repercussions. He wore his usual expressions of concern and annoyance throughout the match, though I did enjoy the momentary look of boredom while he hung around waiting for a drop goal opportunity that never quite materialised as his forwards slightly over-exerted themselves during an incredibly long phase of pick-and-drive. I have to say, nothing pleased me more than to see O'Gara end the season on such a high, after his miserable experiences in the World Cup last September. I had my doubts at the time that he would ever fully bounce back from that, but I'm delighted to say hat he has entirely proven me wrong. Any personal problems he may or may not have are certainly not manifesting themselves on the pitch any more.

So well done Munster, you've made the country proud again, and given a fitting send-off to your wonderful coach Declan Kidney. If Kidney can instil the same sense of pride in the shirt and courage and patience under pressure into the lads form leinster, Connacht and Ulster then happy times are surely ahead for the national team.

New Zealand to come in the autumn, anyone got tickets?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Things I Learnt from Bruce Springsteen

1. Aiken Promotions/ The RDS couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery. All tickets for the concert were printed with a specific colour-coded 'route' on them. The RDS is a big fucking place and yet I saw only one sign outside giving any indication as to which route was which. Most people were having to ask the Guards where they should be going and that isn't really their job. Queues were a shambles, with very few barriers, very few indications of what exactly one was queueing for, and even less of a security presence. Presumably the fact that the place was only half-full at 7.30, when the show was scheduled to start, is the reason why it didn't actually begin until 8.10.

2. Bruce doesn't need a support act. This man rocks so hard and so long that he just warms you up for an hour before really kicking into the show for the next hour and a half.

3. The sight of Bruce straddling his mike stand and hanging backwards off it like a poledancer can do surprising things to an otherwise heterosexual man.

4. The E Street Band contains many of the coolest people on earth. None more so than Clarence.

5. Bruce is 58. I will have a heart attack within 3 minutes if I try to do what he does when I am 58. I would have one within 7 minutes if I tried to do it now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Mystical adventures of May 21st

Verily last night our heroes didst set forth upon a night of revelry that didst lead them to many emporiums of devilry, whereupon comely bar-wenches and strapping bar-blokes didst say unto them "Come hither, my child, and I shall fill your goblet with a delicious liquid of many hues of black and white, all for the modest sum of four and a half of your shekels."

And lo! The liquid was indeed most delicious, and it filled our heroes with the sensation of being cleverer and funnier than perhaps was strictly true. And it emerged that the liquid made the torturous sight of the writhing snake-man-beast of Western Iberia lifting a rather large and supposedly significant silver jar somewhat less torturous.

Our heroes didst trek from cave to cave, in search of the cave where they come drink longest and most deeply from the magical fountain of Arthur. Sometimes the ogres guarding the cave had to be slain in order to gain entry. Not with sword and shield, but with kind words, eye contact and a smile.

Nay, tragically, upon the witching hour our heroes were granted access to the fountain of Arthur no longer, and were cast forcefully from the cave by said ogres with the curious cry of "Have yiz no homes to go to?" Whereupon long and bewildering conversations didst occur with an ancient scribe from an 'independent' periodical whose name escapes us right now. Then our hero bravely ventured forth in a chariot steered by a Moorish fellow, reluctant to engage in witty dialogue with his passneger, but more than willing to take from him the princely sum of 16 shekels. "Fare thee well young charioteer!" our hero cried as he tarried forth into the night, having been dropped at his place of residence.

Which he entered and proceeded to log onto his blog and post a picture of a nubile young Australian soap star and type complete gibberish. He knew the fact that he could barely see the keys would lead to many a speeling mistake but he did not care.

Don't drink and blog kids!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Where I've been

My apologies for being shockingly lazy about posting recently. To be quite honest, what happened was that Natalie Portman was so pleased about my favourable mention of her in my 'Modern Heroes' piece the other day that she called me up and we've been sitting in a bath feeding strawberries to each other ever since. Beats working, I guess. There she is above, drying off, poor lass.
I'll be embarking to a public house this evening with a good boozehound buddy of mine to sink many a Guinness in order to be able to endure the scenario of either Cristiano Ronaldo and Wes Brown or Cashley Cole and John Terry lifting the Champions' League trophy.
Actually, pints of whiskey might be more in order.
I'll no doubt return in a less than sober state, and may decide I want to do some rambling then.
If young Natalie could just stop checking her Facebook page.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


R.I.P. Ian Curtis

I couldn't really let today pass without mentioning that it is the 28th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis of Joy Division. I'm no afficionado of their music but I do appreciate the brilliance of many of their songs, the influence they have had on so many bands since, and the tragedy of so much talent passing from us at such a young age. I was going to attach a video of their most famous song 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', but my lack of blogging nous has let me down again.

Its probably in your head already.

One week in

So, one week in and I feel like I've been in the blogging game for a while. It all started last Saturday night/ Sunday morning during one of my frequent late night internet perusals. I wondered if setting up a blog and getting going on it was as easy as it sounded so I tried to access Wordpress, failed to connect to it for some reason, then set up a page on Blogspot instead. You snooze you lose, Wordpress. It was every bit as easy to to set up as I thought it would be, but actually writing something proved to be less so. When confronted with a blank screen I became encumbered with blogger's block, or 'blogstipation' as Lottie rather brilliantly referred to it in her first post http://www.lizlyons.ie/?p=3

I decided to write very little, published it, put a couple of links in the comments on Darren's page and went to bed.

Now, one week later, I've received some terrific support from my real-life buddies Darren and Liz, been visited and commented on by some very influential bloggers whose work I really admire, had some other relative newbies pop by with encouraging comments, and been fluffily linked to by the Big Daddy of Irish Blogging himself http://www.mulley.net/2008/05/15/fluffy-links-thursday-may-15th-2008/

Which is all incredibly gratifying, especially given the fact that I think my blog has so far been lacking in the wit, sharpness and clarity that I would hope to bring to it. This is partly due to the time constraints of work, social life etc, but also down to the fact that I am a traditionalist when it comes to expressing myself and composing my thoughts. So this post is being written first on an A4 sheet, with a nice pen, lying on my bed with a bag of Haribo Goldbears. And its fucking great!
I think a continuation of this approach may bring about an approved standard of post. Though if I have to work my way through 175g of feckin' tasty little bears every time I post my health may not see such an improved standard.

I also want to address something that may have been glaringly obvious in its absence: pictures. As it stands, all my posts have been prepared fairly quickly and I haven't had the time or inclination to be adding pictures to them. I also don't think it would have added a huge amount to any of my posts so far. But, above all else, I'm not really certain how you do it. I really ought to go round to Darren sometime. I'll bring cake. And Goldbears.
Update: I've just figured out how to do it, it really wasn't that tough. I'm still gonna vist Darren with cake and Goldbears, though. If he'll lift the restraining order.

Anyway, I've enjoyed my first week immensely - especially the way I now look at every little thing I come across and think "Hmmm...I could write about that." So thank you very much to everyone who's given me support, or taken the time to read the blog and comment. To anyone who's been visiting and has yet to comment, please feel free to do so - it makes my day. Darragh has a brilliantly comprehensive piece about how to do so at http://darraghdoyle.blogspot.com/2008/05/how-to-comment-on-blog-beginners-guide.html so there's really no excuse not to. If there's nothing in particular you want to say, just write "Hi, you muppet."

I'll know you mean well.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Modern Heroes

After writing my last post and slamming many of the 'celebrities' young people look up to these days, it got me thinking:
Who in the public eye deserves admiration and respect for their achievements and general conduct, rather than for sleeping with someone famous, or winning a show where they were voted "better at sitting around on their hole than anyone else"?
Rather than look at the obvious answers of aid-workers, Nobel-prize winners, poets, etc., I'm talking about people who are really quite famous, who everyone is well aware of.
I'm going to examine this under a number of fields and list the people who I respect and who I think provide a good role model for the younger generation who really seek them. I'd love to know how other people feel so please do comment after you've read this.


Hollywood is packed with egomaniacs, drug addicts, money-grabbing bastards, deathly skinny young actresses and Tom Cruise. Not good.
One actress who stands out for me is Natalie Portman. She is more beautiful and talented than Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba or Hilary Duff. She postponed her movie career to go to university. She speaks several languages. She (just about) keeps her clothes on. She talks sensibly about the situation inisrael, of which she is a citizen. She didn't remake Herbie.
I don't for a minute think Natalie Portman is perfect, but she presents a finer role model for young girls than anyone else I can think of.


This is one of the major areas where young men look for heroes. And what a sorry lot most of them are. Rape scandals, dogging, 'roasting', drink-driving, pissing on bars, screaming at referees who dare to make a decision they don't like, diving, skiving, getting paid 65 grand a week to sit on a bench. Not an impressive bunch.
Although he deserted my beloved Arsenal, Thierry Henry stands head and shoulders above most footballers for me. Skillful and honest, he always gives his best for whoever he's playing for. The man is known to train ferociously hard and doesn't drink because he sees it as damaging to his body. Although not a complete saint, he does not have a reputation for cheating or haranguing refs.


George Bush, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Bertie, Vladimir Putin, Brian Cowen, Sarkozy, Billary Clinton? No thank you.
One of the few politicians I have ever held any respect for is Nelson Mandela. Now there is a man who stood up for what he believed in, paid the consequences, then ultimately brought about a sea-change in attitudes and conditions. We should treasure him and regard him as a living legend while we still can.


I grew up as a huge Oasis fan, believing their hype in trying to convince people that Liam Gallagher was a soulful, sensitive, anti-establishment hero. Time, of course, brought me to the realisation that he is a thuggish, moronic boor.
Current mucical 'icons' include Britney Spears, Pete Doherty, Leona Lewis and 50 Cent. The less said about any of these, the better.
Radiohead have long been heroes to me, and remain so. Their determination to make the music they want to make rather than what will sell well has possibly cost them millions. They took the evolution of music sales on a step with the 'pay what you like' system for In Rainbows. They still make great tunes, and they are at their best when performing live - something many musical stars are blatantly incapable of doing without huge technical assistance. They show both a poltical and environmental conscience in both their words and actions, without rubbing it in everyone's face. But will they continue to inspire future generations? Probably not.

This is really just a way of finding out what others think. Who inspires you? Who provides a better role model than many of the wasters kids aspire to be like someday? Am I way off the mark with any of my choices?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


What others were feeling like today

Trawling through the copious books in my family home today I found one called 'The Assassin's Cloak - An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists'. Given that blogging is, or at least can be, the modern form of diary-writing, I picked it up with great interest. And what a book! An imposing looking tome of nearly 700 pages, it goes through selected highlights form famous diarists for every day of the calendar year. Naturally, I wanted to see what people were talking about on the 14th of May. Here's three of my favourites:

Something dreadful - or eerie is going on all around us. Every house door is locked. You can't visit your firends because no-one opens up to a knock. If you're lucky you run into someone you want to visit on his way home, and after a brief exchange he quickly slips behind the door, which is instantly locked behind him. Why? Because everyone is afraid of Russian soldiers, who try to force their way into homes at every opportunity. Granted, many of them are harmless, but many aren't, and those that just rob you aren't the worst. Above all people are afraid, and rightly so, that they'll rape the girls and women in the house. I wish I could prove that the people who tell stories about these sorts of rapes are liars. But I can't!

John Rabe

A little stirring of sex today. Not much. It occurs to me that, of all the sensual pleasures, sex is the only one which depends partly on reciprocation. That's its power. imagine if an orange said: 'Darling I was just longing for you to eat me. I was so afraid that horrible old man would. He's not at all my type.'

Christopher Isherwood

I find it difficult to write each day, but if I don't I'm swamped with guilt. Where does the compunction come from?
Perhaps I inherited it from Dad - he could never keep still for a moment; even when reading a newspaper he would tap his foot keeping time to silence. Back and forth I go into the garden, like the boy with anorexia who weighed himself every five minutes. At rest, a nervous pit quickly develops in my stomach and overwhelms me, forcing my mind to change direction.
I'm sleeping better, even have nights when I do not wake. But awake, I have the concentration of a grasshopper. Only the pressure of a film set keeps me focused for a day.

Derek Jarman

I love all three of these posts for the differing feelings they convey, and simply for the fact that reading them adds a little bit of history to a day that to me, along with most people, would otherwise be an entirely inauspicious one.

John Rabe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rabe) was an extremely interesting guy who seems to have been something of an Oskar Schindler type figure to thousands of Chinese refugees during a Japanese invasion in 1938.

Christopher Isherwood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Isherwood) was an Anglo-American novelist, who seems to have been quite preoccupied with sexuality through much of his work.

Derek Jarman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Jarman) was a film-maker and gay rights activist who died in 1994 of an AIDS related illness.

You can buy the Assassin's Cloak at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+Assassin%27s+cloak

Or, if you know me, you could ask really nicely to borrow it.

I will no doubt return to this book again when in need of inspiration for a post.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Want to go away?

Just a very brief post to recommend an option for anyone thinking of doing some volunteering sometime. http://www.hostelhoff.com is a website where you can find out about volunteering in Moshi in northern Tanzania, in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The organisation is run by a friend of mine and offers a lovely hostel to stay in at a reasonable price, along with different volunteer projects you can work at for as long as it suits you. independent volunteering works out a hell of a lot cheaper than going with organisations such as i-to-i, which are really just businesses. I worked there in an orphanage last summer for a month and there isn't a single day when I don't think abou the kids there and how much I'd love to be back there having fun with them.

Tanzania is also a phenomenally beautiful country, with several brilliant safari options, such as the Serengeti National Park, sunkissed beaches at Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salaam, and of course, the surprisingly climbable Kilimanjaro. If you have alittle bit of time and money, and the inclination to do good things, look no further.


Driving back up the M50 tonight to my place of residence I couldn't help but notice I was really driving rather fast. Somewhat above the 120 km/h speed limit, in fact. I didn't feel remotely bad about this as there was absolutely no traffic around and my car felt well able for it. However, I was in no particular rush, as is sometimes the case when I break speed limits. More often than not though, I'm simply thinking it would be nice to have a cup of tea/ browse the net/ watch TV/go to bed/ see my ladyfriend ten minutes or so earlier than I would be able to do these things if I stuck to the speed limit.

All of which got me thinking: Do only assholes speed? Do only assholes, plus me, speed? Am I an asshole? It has been pointed out to me recently that I'm starting to become the kind of driver I've always given out about - speeding, lane-hopping for quick overtakes, tailgating (I really think I don't do that one but I'm told otherwise), even the occasional use of the phone. I recognise these things as wrong and try not to do them, but can't help wondering how others feel about the speeding issue. Doesn't everyone do it to some extent? Should we have laws more like Germany, where on parts of the autobahns you can do whatever bloody speed you want? Or are Irish people in general too incompetent as drivers to be trusted with that? It strikes me that people drive whatever speed they feel reasonably comfortable at, rather than what they are told to, particularly when its late at night and there is zero chance of being caught by a speed trap.

Which brings me to my next point: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/twothirds-of-speeding-drivers-get-off-the-hook-1367599.html
Recent figures showing that two thirds of drivers caught speeding get away without paying the fine or receiving any penalty points, simply by claiming they never got the summons of fine notice. Now, does this not make everyone incredibly ashamed of both our government and our police force? (Actually, mostly just the government, I'm certainly of the opinion that the average garda on the street is doing a wonderful job.) To me it just beggars belief that this can be the case. And it will surely get worse, now that the less cute whoors out there have been made aware of just how easy it is to get away with it. Despite my casual approach to speeding I have yet to be caught. But I fully accept that it will happen and, when it does, I believe I will hold my hand up and say "Fair cop guv". I really do think I hold the attitude of "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
This debate is already raging over at the Indo link I posted above but, if you're not speeding away already, I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this topic. Do you speed too? Does Brian Cowen speed? Is this speeding fine shambles the kind of thing that should bring down a government? Do we need a more liberal approach to speeding or a more zero-tolerance one? Am I just an asshole?

Monday, May 12, 2008


A new blogger talks about blogging

Right then, as someone new to this I want to talk about why I think it's worthwhile.First and foremost, I am not an internet geek. I don't play online games, don't know html, am not on first name terms with Tech support at Google and don't even know how to use Twitter (though no doubt I will learn at some stage). I can't even type very quickly.But I recognise that the internet is now the medium people use when they want bang-up-to-date info, and a place where one's opinion can be expressed completely independently, without censorship and without an agenda. I am sick to death of reading articles in magazines and newspapers that are adverts in disguise. If I ever refer to products or brands that I like on this blog you can rest assured that it will be simply because I like them, not because anyone is making it worth my while to do so.
What I like about blogging is that I think most people share this approach. Ireland has a small but lively blogging community at the moment, where a lot of the same names appear as links on different pages, and also as commenters.I think its natural that the Irish would take to blogging, as its in our psyche to pontificate at length on all the goings-on around us. Perhaps blogging will save an entire generation from alcoholism, as our need to be the wise old wag at the bar is removed.

So, what should be expected from this blog? Well, it will undoubtedly be more private in nature than some blogs - partly due to my nature and partly due to my job (a teacher).I'm unlikely to post pictures of myself, or to go into too much depth about my life. I admire blogs where people lay everything out in the open, its jsut not for me. But I will hopefully give a pretty good sense of myself anyway, as my opinions will always be honest and without much restraint. I hope some people will find it funny, I like to think that I am. I will talk about things, places, people, music, movies, websites etc that I like, and will try to welcome those who disagree with me.

And I will keep popping up on other blogs, if only to shamelessly shepherd people towards me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Year Zero

So, this is my first entry.
As it stands I'm not too sure how I want to use this blog, who's going to want to read it, or even whether I really want all that many people to read it.
I probably do want people to, though, so leave comments.

I don't have a fucking clue what I'm doing.

This can only get better.