Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tsunami nonsense

I cannot get over how many people I've heard on the radio who, during their reviews of the past year, have connected the Tsunami with global warming. As far as I know the weather had nothing to do with the earthquake under the Indian Ocean, but I'm probably just missing some salient facts. (I'm sure I heard Damien Kiberd make that connection twice in the same program.)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Dec 25

Too busy lately for much action here - too much excitement with the new toys, etc. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Olympic disgrace

I cannot believe that the Canadian Olympic team has decided to include Todd Bertuzzi in the team for the Games in Turin. What are they thinking?

Watching Bertuzzi attacking Steve Moore is frightening. "Bertuzzi's assault-from-behind on Steve Moore has to rank as one of the ugliest incidents in the history of the game." Okay, so the NHL - in a stomach-churning move - cleared Bertuzzi to play again after suspending him for what amounted to a few weeks for breaking a man's neck. Does this mean the Canadian Olympic team has to follow suit?

He does not belong on the Canadian Olympic team. He does not belong in Turin.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Estonia is using a flat tax and a focus on high tech to fuel an economic boom. Globalization is not the threat to Ireland that the new members of the EU are. They are not jumping on the high tax bandwagon that EU loves to tout.
I must say Steve Forbes was a genius," Prime Minister Andrus Ansip declared during an interview in his hilltop office. "I'm sure he still is," he added hastily.

The subject was the flat tax, which Mr. Forbes never succeeded in selling in the United States. Here in the polar reaches of Europe it is an article of faith. Estonia became the first country to adopt it in 1994, as part of a broader strategy to transform itself from an obscure Soviet republic into a plugged-in member of the global information economy.

By all accounts, the plan is working. Estonia's economic growth was nearly 11 percent in the last quarter - the second fastest in Europe, after Latvia, and an increase more reminiscent of China or India than Germany or France.

Cuban baseball

The American government has informed Major League Baseball that the Cuban team will not be allowed to participate in the World Baseball Classic next March. This is because the participating nations will each get a share of the money the tournament raises. If the Cuban baseball federation receives this money, it will be a violation of US law.

Whatever about the politics of the embargo on Cuba, I can't understand how Major League Baseball misplayed this one so badly. It's not like there is no precedent of Cuban teams playing in the US. Their Olympic teams have been to America on many occasions and only a few months ago their soccer team competed in an American tournament.

However, this also seems like a dumb move by the American government. Already some of the best Cuban players are playing professionally in the US thanks to their having defected. How many other Cuban stars will be lured by the big money on offer? This is not like the Olympics - nearly every other participant in the tournament will be among the world's highest paid athletes. Major League teams will be crawling all over this event looking for the best available talent. I'm sure one or two Cubans will attract a lot of interest. Current Cuban major leaguers could follow the team around.

This tournament is a much bigger problem for the Cubans than it is for the Americans. Allowing a few dollars to head south in exchange for one or two defections would surely be a price worth paying in the public relations battle with the Castro government.

Irish roots of the T.W.U.

Tom Deignan had an article on the roots of the Transit Workers Union in last week's Irish Voice.
"Seven subway workers who were members of a secret Irish organization – Clan-na-Gael, all veterans of the Irish Republican Army –— met in a coffee shop across the street from a meeting of that organization. They resolved to organize a genuine trade union to improve their situation," reads the TWU web site, which to this day credits James Connolly for inspiring them.
The TWU is at the center of the main talking point in New York today.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I'm only just exhaling after barely avoiding being labelled a "boy racer" when I'm reminded that I can still pass for a thug.
First it was the hoodie - now baseball caps are the latest fashion item to fall foul of the crusade against anti-social behaviour. A chain of internet cafes owned by Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of no frills airline easyJet, has banned customers from wearing the headgear, claiming they are associated with "deviant" behaviour.
Mr. Haji-Ioannou surely only meant to ban this particular cap, and not the regal cap I wear.

Every cloud has a silver lining

It seems that Minister Callely's unfortunate fall from grace has saved us "boy racers" from having to change the tinting on our car windows. Yesterday's Sunday Tribune (reg. reqd.) informs us that the Minister Cullen will not be in any rush to reform the NCT.
A source close to government said blacked-out windows were "not a top priority of the nation", but there would be a review of the issues involved.
I like to think that Callely's downfall was begun right here in late November.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It wasn't because they were black

Thanks to Eddie for this tip.

It turns out that white people were over-represented among those who died in New Orleans during and just after Hurricane Katrina. So far, as of Dec 16, 50% of those who died have been identified as black and 46% as white. This is despite the fact that the population of New Orleans at the time Katrina hit was 67% black and 28% white.

I honestly don't think this is all that relevant, but given the Irish media's insistence that the dead were disproportionately black, I think this does indicate that maybe those in the media should wait for a bit of evidence before pronouncing a society guilty of allowing people to die because of the color of their skin.

This is far more scandalous than anything reported after the death of Liam Lawlor, but I doubt we'll see much by way of mea culpas on the part of journalists, commentators and editors.

Gerhard Schroeder - a gas character

I'm pretty sure that had George W. Bush left office and immediately taken up a position at the head of a new gas pipeline project that got off the ground thanks to his efforts while in office it would be a huge story here. Yet, the fact that Gerhard Schroeder, until a few weeks ago the head of the biggest EU country, has done exactly that has hardly caused a ripple here. {I don't think the lack of interest is a reflection of any anti-Americanism really, it's probably more down to the fact that Irish people are obsessed with America and really have very little interest in the politics of any EU country that's not the UK.)

Schroeder's behavior is absolutely scandalous. He's taking up a position at the head of joint venture between a Russian state-owned gas company and two German companies.
The affair also revived criticism that Mr. Schroeder's ties with Mr. Putin led him to overlook abuses of democracy and human rights in Russia.

The $6 billion project has caused a diplomatic row with Poland and the Baltic states, which are being bypassed by the pipeline and stand to lose gas transit revenues as a result.
The former Chancellor of Germany is taking a position that raises serious questions about his period in office and that undermines Poland and the Baltic States, all EU members.

The Baltic Times has an interesting perspective. Schroeder's involvement may be a sickener, but at least the Germans and Russians aren't bombing one another.
While Schroeder's accepting the offer is ethically repugnant, we should welcome the spirit of cooperation between Berlin and Moscow, much of which the former chancellor helped usher in. Let the two countries build their gas pipeline, as long as they provide all the necessary ecological assurances that the Baltic Sea will not suffer in the least. For as the common wisdom holds, business partners don't bomb one another. If this be true, then may the German and Russian economies continue to integrate at full speed. All Europe will be better off.
Lithuanianan MEP Vytautas Landsbergis takes a different tack.
By circumventing Ukraine, Poland, and of course, the Baltic countries, the new pipeline promises greater leverage to the Kremlin as it seeks to reassert itself regionally. President Vladimir Putin and his administration of ex-KGB clones will no longer have to worry about Western Europe when deciding how hard to squeeze Russia's post-communist neighbours.

Should Europe really be providing Putin with this new imperial weapon? Worse, might Russia turn this weapon on an energy-addicted EU? That a German ex-chancellor is going to lead the company that could provide Russia with a means to manipulate the EU economy is testimony to Europe's dangerous complacency in the face of Putin's neo-imperialist ambitions.
Surely this merits some concern here, no?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Manhattan, Co. Dublin

The PD's want to create a Manhattan-style skyline on Dublin Bay, on the land that is now being used by Dublin Port.
Housing, offices, shops, waterfront promenades and parks could be built on more than 600 acres of land freed up by the move. The port would be redeveloped for cruise liners.

"“This has the potential to create a spectacular Manhattan-style approach to Dublin by sea,"” Mr Morrissey said.
This is remarkable for many reasons.

First of all, given that it's nearly impossible to get planning permission anywhere for a 5 story building, isn't it just a tad optimistic to imagine a cluster of 50+ story buildings going up anywhere in Ireland?

Second, the PD's are in government right now. And, the government only recently published its Transport21 plan for transportation in Ireland for the next few decades. There's nothing in there about a new sky-scraper city built where Dubln Port is now.

Third, Manhattan's skyline was not built simply to afford cruise passengers spectacular views. The city developed gradually in response to market demand for living and office space. This just smells of another government-led program from what is supposed to be our free market party.

Cheap, foreign labor

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Minneapolis has no live music because the show's producers found it was easier to use pre-recorded music. Musicians were outside the theater (in December, in Minneapolis - that's determination) handing out leaflets protesting the show's decision.
The show features the Rockettes doing their routines to -- drum roll please -- recorded music.

The festive holiday music wasn't even recorded in the U.S., according to Brad Eggen, president of the Musicians Union in the Twin Cities.

"No U.S. orchestras will do recordings to be used like that," Eggen said. "They went to Ireland to find an orchestra."
Cheaper, foreign labor putting the locals out of work. Terrible.

I'd love to know if this is the RTE National Symphony Orchestra. Are my taxes helping put American musicians out of work this Christmas?

RTE & the internet

Why is RTE developing its internet capabilities? I can see no good reason for this whatsoever. The law demands that I pay an annual €155 ($186) tax (license fee - same thing) to fund RTE. RTE makes radio & television programs and distributes those over a terrestial network. Maybe there was an argument for this at one time, but today the only reason for keeping things as they are is that too many have a stake in the status quo.

Even if there is a valid argument for tax-payer funded programming, there is surely no reason for the taxpayer to fund RTE's internet development, even indirectly. RTE should not be allowed to compete with the private sector in the eBusiness environment.

Prisoners - Yes; emigrants - No

According to this report, Irish prisoners will soon be able to exercise their right to vote by postal vote. Pedophiles, rapists & murderers will all have a say in how the nation is governed, but not those who were born and raised here, but now live outside Ireland.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Talking rubbish

If you want to read my latest rant about my local refuse collection service, it's here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Passing through Shannon

Is the US government using Shannon as a transit point for those who have been detained by the CIA and are being sent to Guantanamo (or any other prison/detention center)? Almost nobody in the Irish media seems to believe the American government when they answer that question with a 'no'. Yet, the Irish government does accept this.

Why such a big disconnect?

Part of the problem is that the Bush Administration has failed utterly to concern itself with European opinion. It may have been a futile exercise with segments of the media, but that doesn't mean that they should have just abandoned the effort to explain, repeatedly, why such operations as Guantanamo, etc. are crucial in the war against Islamo-fascism.

This failure has allowed the more virulent anti-Americans and the more determined pacifists to monopolize the debate. People like Richard Boyd Barrett, who couldn't even win one of the 28 seats on the Dun Laoghaire County Council at the last local election, are on the radio more often than any spokesman for the US Embassy. Why is that? I'm sure the Palestinian delegation is on the radio more often.

For what it's worth I'm fairly certain that no detainees are passing through Shannon. There's a good practical reason for why this is probably the truth: Shannon is not secure enough. I would imagine that CIA planes passing through Shannon are on any number of possible missions, such as bringing consultants like Joseph Wilson around, but that when they have detainees on board they'd use a military base in Britain or Germany. This is because they'd probably want medical personnel handy and they certainly aren't going to be asking the local GP in Ennis to come down and administer a sedative to a potentially unruly detainee for before his flight departs. A military base would be able to do that much more effectively and quietly.

Tech help anyone?

I can't access blogger.com from Firefox. Every time I try to access this site I get a page that says "Web Site Blocked By NETGEAR Firewall". That's all fine, but shouldn't my router block access to the site from Opera and IE too? It doesn't.

This problem started yesterday at the same time as another, probably related, issue arose. I'm getting regular updates from my router telling me the following:
TCP Packet - Source:,2492 Destination:,80 - [BLOCK]
These messages are coming every 15 minutes or so and the 4 digit number after changes each time. That second IP address - - belongs to blogger, I think.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rendition flights

So, authorities in the European Union knew about this practice. Well, there's a surprise. NOT! I'm sure the biggest issue in the EU with regards to this practice is that the US authorities can't do enough to keep such things out of the press.

Transporting people on "secret flights" is one thing, but torture is another. The two issues have been, wisely, fused by those in the anti-war camp. I have no problem with al Qaeda members being whisked off for long stays in Guantanamo or wherever. They are, after all, the enemy. Torturing them is another issue.

Latvian sailor

Trinity College Economics Professor, Sean Barrett, says the Latvian sailor will be like the Polish plumber in Paris. He could be right, but what if the sailors weren't actually from Latvia? On December 4 Douglas Dalby wrote in the Sunday Times that Latvian sailors wouldn't work for the wages that Irish Ferries is offering.
Jazeps Spridzans, the director of the Latvian seamen's register, told Leta, the Latvian national press agency, that the Riga-based firm tasked with recruiting staff at €3.60 an hour will have to source contract staff from poorer former Eastern Bloc countries rather than Latvia, where ships' officers command better rates on German and Scandinavian ships.
This got me wondering - is Irish Ferries actually hiring Latvians? How do they know? Could they unknowingly be hiring sailors from non-EU countries? How does Irish Ferries know that their new employees are from Latvia and not from Russia or Byelorus or wherever?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Irish News

If anyone reading this can enlighten me, I'd love to know what happened to the Irish News web site. It's been down since early on Saturday morning.

A Bronx Tale

Yesterday, I read this in an article in Sunday's NY Daily News:
Lillo Brancato looked destined for great things.

Picked off a crowded Jones Beach by talent scouts who spotted the 15-year-old's natural tough-gangster looks, the Yonkers schoolboy was suddenly acting alongside his idol Robert De Niro.

But Steven Armento, his alleged partner in yesterday's break-in and the man who cops say fired the shot that killed Officer Daniel Enchautegui, was simply a career criminal.
Then last night I turn on the t.v. and what do I see on RTE2, but the Bronx Tale, the movie that was Lillo Brancato's big break. I guess it's not that weird, but I had forgotten all about the movie until I saw that article yesterday and then, there it was on RTE last night.

Friday, December 09, 2005

C.S. Lewis and the Culture War Chronicles

Someday you will be old enough to read fairy tales again
--preface to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

There's evidently a lot of agitation out there over this week's release of the movie version of the C.S. Lewis children's classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. What could be the problem with a movie about four children who discover a magical world by traveling through a wardrobe? As the Washington Post noted in its Style section yesterday, the controversy centers on the contention that the book is a Christian allegory. In an entertainment world filled with the empty-headed likes of Lindsey Lohan and Yours, Mine, & Ours, it's surprising to realize that a movie might be controversial simply because of religious undertones. But a lot of ink has been spilled already, apparently to warn heedless parents that they might be exposing their children to something insidious. They may think they're taking their kids to an adventure story about a fantasy world filled with epic animal battles, pitting good vs. evil, but actually, they're endorsing Bible Belt entertainment. The Passion of Christ without the gore. What's next? Nascar on Sesame Street?

As Peter Steinfels wrote last Saturday in the New York Times, "Critics uncomfortable about the religious subtext of Lewis's stories have been launching pre-emptive strikes to alert the susceptible. Stopping short of proposing a PG-13 label (Parental guidance strongly advised -- contains religious content and fleeting Christian imager"), they have recognized the seven Narnia books as good escapist fantasy but please, please don't pay any attention to the other stuff."

These critics are quite vocal, and quite worked up. Adam Gopnik writes in the New Yorker, "Aslan, the lion, the Christ symbol, who has exasperated generations of free-thinking parents" is "in many ways an anti-Christian figure." Hmm. A lion-king who can liberate a world from evil only by sacrificing his life -- and then miraculously returns to life? An anti-Christian figure? "The books are better when read without the subtext," wrote Charles McGrath last month in The New York Times Magazine. "Aslan, for example, is much more thrilling and mysterious if you think of him as a superhero lion, not as Jesus in a Bert Lahr suit." In Salon, Laura Miller states, "The religious right is hyping The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But just how Christian is it?" She goes on to shudder, "In addition to the usual TV and newspaper ads and theatrical trailers, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is being promoted by the Barna Group, a marketing firm that specializes in generating buzz to the Christian scene, by making advanced screenings, study guides and block ticket sales available to churches. Right-wing groups like Focus on the Family have endorsed the film." Tuesday night, a CNN segment that seemed transparently designed to terrorize blue-staters reminded viewers of the box-office punch of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, focused on a Baptist minister's determination to include the movie in his sermons, and finally burbled, "But sometimes a lion is just a lion!"

Whew. Isn't this all a little -- disingenuous? Regardless of the critics' consternation, although it is first and foremost a good read, Narnia cannot be stripped of its Christian underpinnings. "The whole Narnia story is about Christ," Lewis once wrote. "That is to say, I asked myself, "Supposing that there really was a world like Narnia and supposing that it had (like our world) gone wrong and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?" He also wrote that he wanted "The Chronicles of Narnia" to take the parables of the New Testament and cast them "into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday School associations," hoping that this would make them "appear in their real potency."

This is a problem? Then what are we to do with, well, much of the works of Western civilization? Skip Milton, because some ministers in a red state emphasize fire and brimstone, and we are so much more progressive? Turn our backs on Micaelangelo's Pieta, because its beauty and power are somehow negated by its subject? Avoid Dante, because hell is like, such a downer?

I can understand that non-Christians might not want to see some sort of dogmatic tract, but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is, like most works of literature, something that can be enjoyed on many different levels. It has unmistakable echoes of World War II: The children have been sent out of London to the countryside during the Blitz -- Narnia can certainly double as a stand-in for the Third Reich and the deadly effects of a world conquered by evil. The Beavers represent the stalwart Brits, and so on.

But the book has endured precisely because of C.S. Lewis's restraint and lack of proselytizing. It's a timeless tale of children cast in a world without adults, children who must brave terrors and make ethical choices. It's filled with centaurs, fauns, dwarves and talking animals -- and sheer adventure. Many, if not most children, don't grasp much beyond the immediate story line -- but the chapter of Aslan's sacrifice is one of the most powerful and memorable in all of children's literature. My daugher turned her face into my shoulder and asked me to stop the first time we read it. Someday she will understand the deeper message in it -- one that a child of a different religion or no religion at all may not ultimately share, but can either appreciate or choose to igore. In the end, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is about the wonders of the imagination and the redemptive power of love. To try to undermine that is, well, sillier than hiding in a wardrobe.


Great book. Read it. I have pretty much zero interest in horse racing, but I could hardly put this one down. And, as the old saying goes, if you saw the movie don't let that put you off.

UPDATE - 11:40pm: Link to book fixed, thanks to comment from the helpful "joesoap".

"Parting is such sweet sorrow"

If Shakespeare was alive today, he might very have Juliet saying those words to an aging bus rather than a young man such is the reaction to today's final run for the Routemaster in London.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Immaculate Conception

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (not to be confused with the Immaculate Reception). I'm not sure why, but the church was nearly full today for Mass when it was probably no more than a quarter full the last Holy Day, All Saints Day. I couldn't come up with any possible explanation for why so many more people were at Mass today compared with November 1.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Women don't emit enough gas

That's greenhouse gas I'm talking about. Apparently, men are responsible for global warming. Ulrike Rohr, director of Genanet-Focal point gender, Environment, Sustainability is demanding "climate gender justice".

And, how does Ulrike know that men contribute more to global warming? "To give you an example from Germany, it is mostly men who are going by car. Women are going by public transport mostly". Well, there's no justice in that is there? She's got all the scientific evidence one could hope for to prove her case. I guess women will just have to drive more often.

I have to admit that I thought Ms. Rohr's argument was going to be about that other source of greenhouse gases and that she was going to bring up that old falsehood about men and their powers of production in this sphere.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Unions and child care

It's disingenuous to close schools (sub reqd) this Friday so that you can take part in a labor protest that really doesn't affect you and, at the same time, try to claim to be concerned about working parents. Nothing makes working parents angrier than unnecessary, unplanned school closings.

Listening on-line

One thing that makes listening to the radio on-line fun is getting to hear the local ads. Occasionally, I listen to KRLA from Los Angeles. One ad I heard last week gave me insight in what it's like to live in that part of the world (I've never even visited the area). The ad is for Housebath and begins, "Now that the fires are over . . .". I can't imagine living in a place that has a fire season. I've heard of a rainy season, a dry season, a growing season I've even heard of The Four Seasons, but I've never before encountered anyone talking about what sounds like a "fire season".

Burned on eBay - UPDATE

Well, I wasn't burned after all. The item I bought arrived today despite the fact that it really looked like it was a lost cause. The package came from Hong Kong, not the UK as I had been led to believe. The seller was guilty of deceiving the eBay buyers by claiming to be in the UK, but at least he wasn't just a crook.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I finally finished reading A Few Bloody Noses by Robert Harvey. It's a history of the American Revolution written by a British historian. It was the first time I read anything about that era from a British perspective. I had to fight myself to concede that some of what he had to say about America's founders was true, but just as true is the fact that he omitted much of what made them great. Almost none of them comes off well from this book.
And, Harvey is fixated on the Vietnam War, which he refers to frequently and annoyingly.

Now I'm reading Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which I'm enjoying a lot more than I expected. I'm only about half way through, but it's one of the best sports books I've read. And, I'm not a fan of horse racing.

Irish Ferries, the NUJ, the Irish Independent

Read Alan Ruddock's article in today's Guardian. The article is about the Irish media and the Irish Ferries dispute, but the problems he identifies are about more than just the Irish Ferries or even business issues.
The Irish media operate in a bubble that shields them from an evolving Irish society. Journalists are rarely sacked and can expect a job for life once they have union membership and a staff position. Culturally, they tend to come from an older Ireland: consensual, undynamic and left leaning. Just as significant, however, is the lack of diversity in Ireland's media, with none of the sharp ideological divides that characterise the British media. If there is a media bias against business, it is deep-set and cultural.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Best funeral

Oh my Lord, what's going on? I can understand worshipping your sporting heroes, etc., but isn't this going just a tad too far? People are camping out so that they can be among the 30,000 people who will be admitted to the grounds of Stormont for George Best's funeral. The other hundreds of thousands of expected mourners will have to make do with lining the funeral route. And, if you can't make it to the funeral, we're getting live coverage on UTV, RTE, BBC, and probably a couple of the news channels too.

If you have no idea who George Best was, here's his obituary from the Daily Telegraph. However, the combination of this from Sky News this morning, "He was a footballing genius" who "squandered two livers" and this headline from the Belfast Telegraph gives a great summary of who Best was: "Ex-wives to join girlfriend at the funeral". (Thanks Carrie.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

For rent – one ski lodge

Okay, not yet, but soon. According to this article in today's (London) Times, Ireland will soon be having much colder weather. That means my house, nestled snugly in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, will soon be next door to ski trails etc.

Okay, I admit, mediocre ski trails - the "Mountains" are not all that big. More like hills. Still, maybe skiers from London can be enticed over to rent out my 'lodge' for a weekend of skiing and night-life in Dublin (only 15 miles from here).

I can smell the money already. Almost as good as a mobile strip club and without the slimy trappings.

Bush Doctrine

I couldn't find this item in the Irish Times, Irish Independent or Irish Examiner this morning, but yesterday two Saudi women became the first women to ever win gain elected office in their country. They were elected to seats on Jeddah's Chamber of Commerce.

This is a result of the pressure being exerted by the Bush Administration for change in Saudi Arabia. Same with the elections in Egypt. The results may not be what the US wants, but there's no doubt that for good or ill the Bush Administration has decided that the US will continue to press for greater liberty and democracy in the Middle East.

Any entrepreneurs out there?

A would-be entrepreneur can wait a lifetime for an idea like this one. This is a sure-fire, can't-miss idea for the Irish market. Mobile strip clubs.

A Tampa-based businessmen unveiled the idea at last week's Buccaneers' game. They used a 40 foot long bus, in which they served alcohol and provided two classes of lap dances – the $20 dance and the $40 dance.

If you consider the fact that at current growth rates there'll soon be more 'gentleman's clubs' than coffee shops in Dublin and that there is an unsatisfied, pent up demand throughout the smaller cities and towns in Ireland then the mobile strip club surely has a future. And, those who would like to protest are now so brow-beaten, down-trodden, despondent that they know that no matter how much they hate seeing the mobile strip club parked next door to their local church, it would be like spitting in the wind to speak out.

A can't miss opportunity.


Loads of people rave about eBay and, despite losing my few bucks, I can understand why. Almost anything you could imagine wanting is available there. Yet, it's Paypal that really amazes me. Anyone can now transfer money electronically to anyone else, regardless of where they live. Paypal even allows for different currencies. It allows you to link up with your bank so that you can transfer money back and forth between your Paypal and bank account.

When I was in college I worked as a bank teller during summer and holiday breaks. The bank made quite a bit of money selling money orders to people who had to send money across the country or bank drafts for those who had to send the money abroad. The inconvenience and cost of that to the customer was never a concern to the bank. Today all of that and more, much more, can be accomplished from a PC in the house, library, dorm room or whatever at zero cost.

Viva La Revolucion!

Burned on eBay

I don't buy much on eBay and this is why. A week or so ago I bought something from a seller about whom I knew nothing other than the 99+% positive ratings he (she?) had on eBay. I paid immediately, as I always do, and now I see that a week later this seller has racked up dozens of negative ratings since my purchase. And, he's quit eBay. Looks like my $20 is down the drain.