Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Politics for grown-ups

Mario Cuomo and Newt Gingrich will discuss political issues tonight at Cooper Union. It's available via web-cast live and later via download. (I don't know if there's a charge or not.)

I'd love to imagine that this is the future of American politics, but I doubt it.

No more Mr. Nice Guy?

When was the last time that the nice guy lost the Presidential election? I know it's hard to pin this down, but really I think you'd have to go back to Nixon to find a winning candidate who was not the kind of guy who you could imagine as just being "nice".

Will the 2008 election see the end of the nice guy's run? If the election comes down to Rudy Giuliani vs Hillary Clinton I think the answer is most definitely yes. Neither of those two could be considered 'nice', although I think Hillary has done an awful lot to try and soften her image, to adopt some of Bill's charm.

Maybe Giuliani will do the same, but I just can't imagine him coming across as pleasant, charming, nice. He's mean and he knows it. So does the American public or at least those who know much about Giuliani. There's a long way to go, but if Giuliani keeps rising in the polls I will conclude that Americans have decided to agree with the unlikeable baseball player/manager Leo Durocher, who famously said that "nice guys finish last".

Are we winning?

The Independent has one of those breathless front pages they're so fond of. Today's yell/rant is "How the war on terror made the world a more terrifying place". Some of the numbers do sound alarming, but what I want to know is are we winning?

This article implies that the answer is no. And, thanks to the failure of the Bush Administration to provide any reasonable method for evaluating success or failure in the war on terror the answer has to be taken as 'no'.

Yet, yet, if that's the case, then why would the enemy try to kill Dick Cheney? Surely his role in what is so 'obviously' the wrong approach would be welcomed by the enemy, no? And, therefore, doesn't it stand to reason that killing Cheney would be a dumb move by the Taliban/al Qaeda? Just a thought.

Something else that bothers me is the slightly slick management of the numbers as presented in the Independent's source for the article. I haven't gone into them in any detail, but the Independent's data comes from this article from Mother Jones.
Also undermining the argument that Al Qaeda and like-minded groups are being distracted from plotting against Western targets are the dangerous, anti-American plots that have arisen since the start of the Iraq War. Jihadist terrorists have attacked key American allies since the Iraq conflict began, mounting multiple bombings in London that killed 52 in July 2005, and attacks in Madrid in 2004 that killed 191. Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London bombers, stated in his videotaped suicide "will," "What have you witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq." There have been six jihadist attacks on the home soil of the United States’ NATO allies (including Turkey) in the period after the invasion of Iraq, whereas there were none in the 18 months following 9/11 …
Well, yeah, but what's glossed over here is the Bali Bombings. 200 people were killed in that attack, which yes, took place on Indonesian soil, but I think it can be safely said that Australians and other westerners were the target. 124 citizens from the 2003 'Coalition of the Willing' died in that attack, which took place before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They left out the Bali bombing because it makes their evidence look a lot less certain.

Look, all that really matters is winning and I'm not sure that this article makes a very strong case that we're not. I admire the Mother Jones effort, however. At least they're trying to establish facts regarding success/failure in the war on terror.

Going for a post-match dip

I didn't read all or even much of the coverage after Saturday's life-affirming VICTORY in rugby, but I hadn't heard anyone mention this little snippet that Fergus Finlay related in yesterday's Irish Examiner.
Those of us who normally walk dogs around the Forty Foot were all much too polite to ask what effect the sea had on a unique band of swimmers last Sunday morning. Paul O’Connell, Gordon D’Arcy, Shane Horgan and the rest of the Irish team all arrived in the team coach and, to the astonishment of the locals, most of them disrobed and dived in. One minute we were watching them play the match of their lives in Croke Park, and before we had even recovered from the sheer drama of it all, there they were, leaping into the coldest water in the western world like excited schoolboys.
I think if I'm following Finlay here, the team partook of the Forty Foot's delights in the manner of times past - minus clothes.

Ahhh victory.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Driving me nuts

The last couple of days I've been getting my dates wrong. Until a few minutes ago I couldn't figure out what was causing my problems. However, now I see it. My wall calendar is wrong.

They left out last Friday, the 24th (Update: err, I mean the 23rd. See what I mean?). So annoying. Interestingly, even though the calendar lists the 28th of February as a Thursday, it also lists March 1 as a Thursday. I suppose I can stick with the calendar despite this flaw.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tubridy Tonight

Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances I found myself watching Tubridy Tonight on Saturday night. Oh my God, I can't stand Ryan Tubridy or his show. I know the show is doing well in the ratings so obviously the fault is mine, but that show is just another piece of evidence that what I enjoy and dislike is completely disconnected from mainstream of the Irish populace. Give me one of TG4's subtitled Irish language documentaries any day.

Barring Jimmy Murphy

Poor Jimmy Murphy should have known better, but he didn't. He shouldn't have returned home to visit his family while he was waiting for his green card.

I can see how this whole thing came about. He's living in Iowa, his wife's expecting a baby and they find a good deal on tickets to Shannon and they buy them. What with a baby coming who knows when they'll be able to come again.

Unfortunately for Murphy, when his visit home was over the US authorities refused him permission to reenter the country. This is the kind of story that drives me nuts. Yes the law is the law and the law should be enforced, but there are details here that just sound mean.
Returning to Shannon on January 6, the couple presented themselves at US immigration, only to be told that Mr Murphy was ineligible to return to America as he had breached the terms of his status upgrade application by leaving the US without a special written permission. His bag was removed from the plane's luggage hold and he was sent on his way.

"I couldn't even shake hands with my wife to say goodbye," he told the Limerick Leader. "She was on one side of a line on the floor in American territory; I was on the other side, still in Ireland." He had €17 in his pocket and, having paid €12 bus fare back to Newcastle West, was almost destitute, with just €5 to his name. He was taken in by his brother Joe at Oak Park while frantic attempts were made to rectify the situation through the US embassy in Dublin.
There seems little doubt that Murphy was going to get his green card and this sounds like nothing more than a slight bureaucratic inconvenience that he forgot to file the appropriate paperwork. Why can't the INS see this and say, "Look you can't reenter because of this failure to file the right papers. We'll get your wife back here and the two of you can work out what you want to do."

This wouldn't have cost the INS a thing. The law would still have been enforced, but in a way that is just more human. What really gets my goat is that these INS agents - some of whom are so decent and others who are so damn surly - are the face of the United States. This kind of story appears in the local press here all the time. I'm sure it's a story repeated across the globe.

This sort of thing breeds anti-Americanism as much as any foreign policy decision because for many people outside the US, immigration authorities - at airports and embassies - are the only personal contact that they have with the United States. I know it can be tough to be in a job that requires constant vigilance and is at the same time probably mind-numbingly dull work. Still, something should be done to ensure that the normal human reaction is not overlooked.

And the Oscar goes to …

After my late night drive around the city I watched a bit of the Oscars. What a bore. I haven't seen the Academy Awards in a long time, but I don't remember them being quite that dull. I know I should know the name of the woman who hosted the show. I don't and I don't even care enough to look it up. She doesn't have enough personality for such a role, but she wasn't the whole problem.

How anyone could watch that over a sporting event I'll never understand.


I had a rare occasion to be out driving around the city in the middle of the night last night. I can't get over how many foxes I saw. Is the fox population growing rapidly? Or are foxes just being driven into residential areas by development? Maybe it was just a big night for foxes and they were all on their way home after a big vulpine gathering.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Graffiti near Croke Park

I love this from the Observer's coverage of yesterday's Ireland vs England rugby match. Somebody painted 'No Crossley Tenders Beyond This Point' on a wall near Croke Park. Intelligent, humorous and, from what it says in the article, not-that-difficult-to-clean graffiti. Good stuff.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's not just Europe either

There have been "mass brawls" at Argentinian soccer games the past few weeks.
On Tuesday afternoon, as police fired rubber bullets into a crowd to separate warring fans in a Buenos Aires suburb, a congressional committee was grilling the president of River Plate, one of South America's most famous soccer clubs, about the violence that has resulted in the closure of its 65,000-seat stadium for five games.
Although the violence in S. America has its roots in Argentina, the gangs (barrabravas) behind the violence are expanding their influence.
According to local security officials, the gangs -- which began in Argentina in the 1950s -- have begun exporting their methods. Javier Alberto Castrilli, an official with Argentina's Interior Ministry who is in charge of soccer security, said the barrabravas' influence has spread in the past five years across South America and into Mexico.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Kids today

They just can't appreciate quality. The other day I noticed in the listings that King Kong vs Godzilla was going to be on yesterday so I recommended they watch it. Highly recommended it.

And what happened? They didn't like it and turned it off after a few minutes. I mean, you just can't go wrong with those 1960s Godzilla movies, can you? I guess that means they wouldn't like Godzilla vs Mothra either.

Soccer's crowd troubles

I can't understand why soccer is unique in the world of sports for the crowd trouble that is a part of the game. Whenever there's trouble at a soccer game there's always an argument about who was to blame. Fans' bad behavior? Or police over-reacting. Or in the case of the Lille vs. Manchester United game on Tuesday - the club for distributing the tickets too early.

Okay, maybe the club did distribute the tickets a month ago, but why should that be a problem? Why would any normal fans travel to France for a Tuesday night soccer game without the certainty of a ticket in their pocket? What is it about soccer that makes distributing tickets a month early an accusation of encouraging crowd trouble?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Polish witch hunt

I had to smile when I read the Irish Times's coverage (sub. only) of the Polish President's visit to the National Forum on Europe on Tuesday. Apparently Joe Higgins claimed
that the Polish government was conducting a "witch-hunt" against people who had been obliged against their will, according to Mr Higgins, to collaborate with the former Stalinist regime.
I guess Joe is worried about a few pals from the good old days in Poland.

Poles and their President

Yesterday the President of Poland said that he rejected that homosexuality could be "'freely promoted' and 'treated as one of several choices'". He then went on to say that if "homosexuality were to be promoted 'on a grand scale the human race would disappear'". Okay, so the President's views on homosexuality don't suit modern Ireland. Besides, his point is actually kind of silly, but he doesn't exercise any power over us - at least no more than the leaders of all the other EU countries - so no big deal, right?

No, apparently not. In response to the Polish President's remarks the Irish Independent today published what is the most negative opinion piece I've seen about any immigrant group in Ireland.
I have been personally abused and attacked by members of the Polish community. Myself and my partner walking down the street, we've had insults and we've had things thrown at us by the Poles.

I asked in the gay community after that and I was told it is a constant source of attack, vilification and abuse against Irish gay people. One of the gay bars is close to a Polish bar in Dublin - I'm not going to say which at this moment - and I understand that patrons going there are subject to abuse. They've made it hell on earth for young Polish gay people from their community.

The men who are outside the pubs and attacking people are ignorant and sexually very unsophisticated.
I'm not sure how the author so easily distinguishes between Poles, Russians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and all the other E. Europeans who live here now, but I'll assume he can.

He's basically claiming that the Poles are a race of Neanderthals whose views on homosexuality disqualify them for a place in Irish society. I'm actually stunned that the Independent published this column.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Drug testing in schools

Okay, so kids taking drugs is a problem. I'm not going to argue with you on that one. But, drug tests in school?

That was Enda Kenny's suggestion recently. He wants schools to introduce random drug tests in school (and, alcohol too, apparently).
I believe that where the management of a school, in consultation with parents, decides to introduce random drug and alcohol testing, then the Department of Education and Science should provide the resources to allow this testing to happen. Instead of continually applying the same rigid and inflexible policies to all schools, I want to empower them to deal with this issue in their own way.
I don't see what this is going to accomplish. What happens if a child refuses to cooperate with the drug test? What if a child's parents don't want their child tested? Will that lead to automatic expulsion?

Drugs in school are a problem. Schools are great places for drug dealers to operate (and, yes, many dealers are only school-age). Rather than random drug testing I'd be in favor of sniffer dogs being brought into schools.

The problem is not that some kids take drugs when they're not in school, the real problem is that schools are ideal places to deal drugs. It's entirely possible that the money-making dealer would fly through a drugs test. Sniffer dogs are the only way to be sure that schools are not breeding grounds for criminal enterprises and that our children are safe in school from dealers and their minions.

In-car infidelity meter

Pretty soon every car in the UK will be fitted with an in car monitor to make sure that drivers don't go where they "shouldn't"? The British government wants to install monitors to track where cars are driven so that those who use the roads can be charged. Yeah, but what do you want to bet that every wronged spouse in the country will demand to see the records of where the other spouse's car has been?

I've read about E-Z Pass records being subpoenaed for divorce courts in the US, but imagine how much more useful it would be to be able to track a car like it's a cell phone, which you can at least turn off.

Uggh. Of course, I can imagine the government will encourage those who are planning on adultery to make sure that they use public transportation.

I'm only making a small, light-hearted point about this, but really is there no end to the amount of information that governments want regarding what the citizens are doing? This monitor is totally superfluous seeing as each gallon of gasoline (petrol) is taxed at an enormous rate already. I'd rather pay more tax on gas I use than be under constant monitoring.

Who fans in the park

I'm not sure The Who is really thinking about their most devoted fans with their concert in Dublin this summer. They're playing in Marley Park in June. Now, Pete & Roger may be in great shape for men in their 60s, but that doesn't mean that many of their life-long devoted fans are able for a concert in a park with no seats available. Maybe there'll be a seniors section stretching all the way from the stage back so that those who bring lawn chairs will be able to see.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Al Gore's not going to love us

Greenhouse gas emissions from our cars and other transport were up 7% in 2005. That's a pretty big increase, considering that if we're going to meet our Kyoto commitments (chuckle chuckle) we're supposed to be seeing big falls in emissions.

I guess we should expect a good telling off during the Gore Aid, err, sorry, Live Earth concert(s) next summer.

New Orleans may be a lost cause

I never saw New Orleans and figure I never will now. Yes, it seems almost unimaginable, but the years of neglect and corruption combined with the costs of rebuilding and keeping mother nature at bay are probably just too great. Today's NY Times reports that the better off and better educated are abandoning the city.


Great to see Guttenberg, NJ getting headlines. The mayor's caught up in something of a possible scandal, but that doesn't interest me.

My wife and I lived in Guttenberg for our last year in the US before moving to Ireland. It was our oldest daughter's first home. A nice little town and "little" is the word. You can walk around the whole town in about 45 minutes. We were only talking about it the other night and how much we enjoyed our time there.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Don't marry in haste - in Croatia

Croatia's bishops are apparently none-too-pleased with the behavior of Irish Catholics who turn up in Croatia looking to get married.
The main complaints concerned:
  • putting Croatian priests "under a lot of pressure" to get married at short notice;
  • couples not having the proper papers;
  • little or no preparation by the couple and guests;
  • lack of awareness and respect for rules on receiving communion;
  • people, mainly women, wearing inappropriate clothes in church.
The rules of the Church should be enforced and people should respect the Church if they want to be married in a church, so good for the Croatian bishops. Still, I wonder if the Croatian tourism body will be entirely happy with the insistence that rules must be followed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Warm and positive?

Dermot Ahern was in Israel on state business last week and he assured Israel's Foreign Minister that Ireland has "warm" and "positive" feelings for Israel. Hmmm, I'm not too sure about that. It's my impression that those who have "warm" and "positive" feelings for Israel are few and far between.

Just a quick note to the NY Times

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show IS NOT a sporting event and has nothing to do with sports.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This is your captain speaking …

Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short…
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and sixty six.
How great would it be if the pilot spoke those words before take off? Even better if you're on Flight 666.

Bruce Dickinson, formerly with Iron Maiden, was the pilot for Glasgow Rangers' flight to Israel for their game there tomorrow night.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Reagan statues in the EU

A statue of Ronald Reagan is planned for Katowice, in Poland (tip Pinetar Rag). Another one may rise in Warsaw. And, there are also plans for a Reagan statue in Prague.

Oh, how they laughed at and mocked him in W. Europe during the 80s. I wonder what they'll think when they find themselves face-to-face with "Ronnie Ray-gun" in Warsaw, Prague or Bucharest?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Don't bother with reviews any more

I can't imagine why a newspaper would bother with reviews - movies, music, books, plays, restaurants, whatever - after yesterday's court ruling.

The Irish News lost a libel action taken by a restaurant owner who sued for libel after getting 1 star out of 5. What? Maybe there's more to this story than RTE offers here, but if this is all there is then the whole notion of reviews is dead.
The reviewer criticised the quality of the food and drink, the staff and the smokey atmosphere, and gave the restaurant one mark out of a possible five.

The owner of Goodfellas, Ciarnan Convery, took a libel action against the Irish News with his lawyers claiming the review was defamatory and damaging, and said the paper had failed to apologise or print a retraction.
Maybe newspaper reviews could be like modern youth sports events where everyone gets a medal? Everyone gets 5 stars no matter how awful the food, play, movie, book, whatever.

Lake effect

I remember when I was a kid I used to begrudge those who lived in western New York because they got "lake effect snow". "Unfortunately", the lake effect snows died out somewhere near Utica and never reached us in the suburbs of Albany.

The lake is Lake Ontario and when the lake isn't frozen any passing winter storm can juice up over this huge body of water and then dump what it's collected on the towns and cities along the lake's eastern shore. A good lake effect storm will reach as far as Utica, but generally there's little left by the time the snow reaches Albany.

I can remember one time my cousins in Watertown got a month off school when something like 80 inches of snow fell in a week. Oswego, NY is "enjoying" something similar right now. They've had nearly 6 feet of snow since Saturday with another two or more feet in the forecast. "It’s like putting one end of a hose into the lake and then taking the nozzle and pointing it in one direction over Oswego County".

from the Oswego Palladium Times.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Carbon footprint

I was out a few weeks ago and fell into a political discussion with a guy I'd never met before. He was (isn't everyone?) to the left of where I stand, but he was good-natured and it was fun. At one stage he jokingly asked me if I worried about my carbon footprint. That was good for a few chuckles.

Anyway, I was thinking about this later and about another conversation I had with someone where I (jokingly) said that divorce was terrible for the environment. "All those people now living alone who used to live with at least one other".

Even though I was joking, I'm sure there's some truth in there somewhere. Maybe we as a society can use it. Rather than trying to guilt people into staying married for the sake of the children or because it's the right thing to do, maybe we could say, "Think about what will happen to your carbon footprint if you walk out on her (or him)".


Today's Irish Independent tells us that the Taoiseach has supposedly "scuppered" a "United Nations TV station which was to have been based in Dublin, creating 80 jobs". Thank God for that.

"Backers of UNTV said it would have created 80 jobs and provided an international profile for Ireland." Does Ireland need an "international profile"? What benefit would that bring to those who live here? It seems to me that it would have provided us with an international profile as a nation of suckers. This was just another boondoggle that the government was expected to pay for with our money.

"Foreign national children"

What makes a "foreign national child"? I ask this simply because the government is going to provide extra funding to schools depending on how many "foreign national children" the school has.

Well all three of mine have US passports. Are they all "foreign national children"? Or maybe only the one who was born in the US? Obviously, my children don't need "language support", but if the school's principal can count them in the total for "foreign national children" and get more resources why shouldn't she?

I know of one expensive fee-paying primary school in south County Dublin which is a particular favorite with the ambassadors and other diplomats based here. A large percentage of the children in that school are "foreign national children". Will that school be at the top of the list for all this extra government money?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I would not be happy if I was a fan of Liverpool FC. They have new owners, one of whom is Tom Hicks, who also owns the Texas Rangers. You can sum up his experience with Texas with one 'word': A-Rod. It was Hicks who signed Alex Rodriguez for 10 years at $25m per year.

And how many championships did the Rangers win before A-Rod and most (but not all) of his contract were off-loaded to the Yankees? ZERO. Hicks bought what was a fairly successful team (from G.W. Bush, among others) and managed them into mediocrity. I don't know much about Hicks's partner George Gillett, who owns the Montreal Canadiens, but Hicks's involvement doesn't bode well for the Merseysiders.

So, who's missing winter now?

Remember when I was just wondering if anyone would miss winter if it stopped coming? Well, if winter could speak it would be letting loose with one loud, "I'm back". As I heard on one report from Chicago yesterday, "Man, we could use some global warming here".

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Inherited capital of stability"

It's such a relief to be modern. Unlike the situation back in November 1995 when the referendum that legalized divorce was barely carried, more than three quarters of the public would vote 'Yes' if another referendum were held today according to a recent poll. All those backward notions about marriage, family, stability were just a load of hot air.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed didn't believe divorce had undermined "the institution of marriage". I can understand why so many people would say that because divorce was legalized after cohabitation and single parenthood had become socially acceptable. [UPDATE: Just realized I left out 'legal separation', which I intended to include.] All of these 'developments' have "undermined the institution of marriage", divorce probably the least of them. Also, the divorce laws are still fairly restrictive, which is a good thing.

If the divorce referendum were held today, I'd probably vote yes. I think divorce should be legal, difficult to obtain and essentially unacceptable. If divorce was less acceptable there'd be fewer people willing to toss their marriages aside, often for selfish, almost nonsensical, reasons.

There are regular features in the press about "deadbeat Dads", fathers who don't pay child support. Those men (& I guess women too) are treated as pariahs by the media, but that's only because they're not sending a check home. So long as they pay for the dental bills and football club the fact that they walked away from their family is virtually ignored. Anyone who just walks away from marriage should pay a price socially. Too many lame excuses are accepted from those who abandon their wife or husband.

Marriage is about a lot more than just money. It's the basis of our society. The fact that we've undermined this ancient institution may not be as apparent because the undermining is a slow process, but there will be a cost. I believe that the price our society will pay for the destruction of marriage will be far greater than the costs associated with climate change.

I like this from yesterday's speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury:
And that's of course one of the sad things about some of the debates we have about marriage these days; that a great deal of the running is made in commentating in reflective terms by people who don't perhaps fully see how much they are trading off the inherited capital of a stability and yes, a prosaic heroism that's evolved over generations. And the fluidity and changeability of relationships and the transience of marriage may look perfectly fine if you belong to the commentating classes of north London [or Dublin or New York or Los Angeles … - IE], but you don't have to go very many miles to see what the cost is for people who can't take that sort of thing for granted.
We're spending our capital, which will eventually be all gone.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Truman over Hitler

I had started reading Ian Kershaw's Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis, but I just abandoned it. I hadn't gotten very far - maybe 80 pages and I stopped reading it. Maybe it was because I picked up in the middle and didn't read Kershaw's first volume on Hitler. Maybe the print was too small or maybe I just wasn't that interested. I don't know.

Or, maybe it was because while I was away over Christmas I picked up a copy of Truman, by David McCulloch. I only started reading it the other day, but I'm really enjoying it.


EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy backs Angela Merkel's Transatlantic Free Trade Area proposal "110%". Only, according to Der Tagesspiegel, Merkel didn't propose anything nearly that far-reaching. She was only suggesting an arrangement providng for "common technical standards and patent laws".

Whew! Sure, a free trade area could be good for both the EU and the US, but I'm not so sure Ireland would benefit from such an opening. Ireland is doing all right as a sort of door way to the EU for American firms. Why mess with success? Maybe when things turn a little sour I'd be more receptive, but for now, "Pipe down, Charlie".

Explaining football

Yesterday's Sunday Business Post provided a 'helpful' guide to understanding football (American style). I don't think there's a whole lot that's incorrect in their explanation, but my God it sounds so complicated. Even though I'm not a fan (didn't stay up last night to watch the Super Bowl and didn't care who won) I understand the game. I doubt anyone among the "uninitiated" could possibly have gotten much from the Business Post's explanation. I think you'd be better off just watching a few games.

Oh, and there is one minor error. "On the offensive side, the linemen are the heavy players and weigh an average of 26 stone." 26 stone is 364lbs. At first I was willing to accept that players had grown that big, but then I decided to have a look and found that the team with the heaviest line in the league, Oakland, has an average weight of 323lbs. Still, that's outrageously heavy. Those guys are doing a lot of grazing.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Picked for the Irish team

Charlton Athletic's Darren Randolph, who is from Bray, was selected for the Ireland team the next European Championship qualifier. Randolph is the son of basketball player/coach Ed Randolph, who coached my daughter for a year. Not only does Ed live in Bray, but he's from the US (Florida) and a really decent guy. I really hope his son is a great success in his soccer career.

College Application Oligarchy

What's not to love about those who control monopolies. The last few days have been hell for all those final-year students who are planning on going to college here. The CAO controls the application process for all the colleges here and their web site has been unable to cope with the surge in demand as the deadline approaches.

Yesterday the CAO washed their hands of the problem saying "students had their application packs for months and had been urged not to leave it until the last minute". Today, the CAO's Operations Manager said that there was "no need to extend the deadline as most of the applications were in". I guess if you're not among the "most" you're out of luck.

The problem is entirely of the CAO's making, but they've decided that there's no need to do anything to alleviate the problem, like extend the deadline. I wish I could understand why the deadline is so important that they must add a little torture to teenagers' lives. The college year doesn't start for another 8 or more months. What's so urgent that the deadline can't be pushed back a week?

The CAO did agree to accept all applications (snail)mailed by 5:15 today. Of course, postal applications incur an extra €10 fee. Well played, CAO. Well played.