Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain doesn't believe the split is healed

McCain's choice is astute if you believe that everywoman is still not happy at Clinton's loss to Obama. McCain believes that Palin will win many of those women who were excited at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton Presidency and who are still smarting after what happened in the spring. I think it's not a bad bet. Plus, Palin will win back a lot of the disaffected conservatives.

On the downside she's an unknown and she could fall apart under the scrutiny to come. It's a gamble, but a good one I think. McCain has gone for bold where Obama went for about as safe a bet as he could find. Both VP picks are probably appropriate as Obama is already a bold enough gamble and probably needed the comfort provided by Joe Biden where McCain is so old and dull that he really needed someone who brings sparkle to his campaign.

Not Michael Palin, Sarah Palin

I'd heard of Sarah Palin once or twice, but it was only when I read an interview with her early in the month that I paid any attention to her. She's the Governor of Alaska and now, apparently, John McCain's choice for running mate. From the very little I've read about her I wish she'd run for President, but then again Governor of Alaska is not one of the bigger jobs in politics. Maybe she's not up to it. I guess we'll find out.

Also, she's good looking. She was some form of beauty queen at one time. There are a lot of nice pictures of her, both recent and from years ago. However, my favorite is this photograph taken in 1982.

Shockingly she's only 6 months older than me. How can that be? I'm still young. Right?

Convention mania

I have to admit my post-vacation torpor (not sure I've used this word correctly, but I like it) has kept me from paying any attention whatsoever to the convention in Denver. I know that's neglectful of me, but the conventions are only pep rallies and I can't see what I'd get from the Democrats' pep rally.

From what little attention I did pay to this week's convention I doubt I missed anything because Hillary, Bill, & Biden I've seen many times. I guess I kind of wish I'd seen Even Bayh because I haven't seen all that much of him. Same with Senator Casey. Still, the little I did read about either of those two speeches makes me think I missed anything great.

I'm half wondering if I'll have any interest in the Republican convention because I kind of doubt it. Maybe if the Republicans find someone interesting or fresh to speak. Maybe. Governor Palin? Maybe.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So Long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. (and again)

August 7 - my last visit to Shea Stadium. Only Met fans like Shea Stadium and even some of them are down on it. I like it. It's not an exciting work of architecture or full of historical resonance, but just as someone can be fond of the cookie cutter suburban home where they grew up I'm fond of Shea Stadium. It needs a refurbishment it's never going to get, but still I love being there.

I can still recall how excited I was when I walked through the gates as a young boy. I can recall how giddy I was when I was able to make my own way there when I returned to NYC as a college student - only 1'45" each way on the subway and $6 to sit in the upper deck! Even after I moved to Ireland I always tried to get there once on each visit to NY. All of my children have been to Shea numerous times.

I knew when I bought the tickets months ago that August 7th would be my last game at Shea. The new ball park is rising in Shea's parking lot and Shea will be the parking lot come next April. August 7th was always going to be a special day. And the Mets won in dramatic fashion, which made it even more special. Only the second time I ever saw a game end on a game-winning home-run. The first was April 9, 1985, a game Met fans still remember.

Great day, August 7. It was hard to leave. Looking around as the happy crowd filed out memories just flooded my head. Memories of being there with my father, mother, brothers, friends from college, my wife and children and also, memories of being there on my own. I thought about the two Jet games I saw there thanks to parish bus trips. And all the games at Shea that I watched on t.v.

Only I couldn't leave it there and went back to NY for one last final game on August 19. Again the Mets won in fairly dramatic fashion. Two great games, two great days, more great memories.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I know you're suffering out there, but my vacation is nearly over. Trying to absorb as much sun as possible before returning to rain central.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

M50 tolling - a joke on motorists

{First the important question: will there be any toll booths on the Westlink Bridge by the end of this month? If yes, then ignore what I say below because I'll just keep paying at the toll booth.}

From the end of next month we'll have to pay more to use the Westlink Bridge. There are all sorts of ways to slice it, but no one is going to be able to cross the bridge at the current rate of €2 per crossing.

I only rarely use the Westlink - mostly going to the airport or further north. Therefore, it's not worth it to me to set up an account - administration costs are €12 per annum - so that option's out. That leaves me with two other options: pre-pay €2.50 per trip or pay after I use the bridge at a cost of €3 per trip. This is a total pain in the backside, which is the intent, I imagine.

Whether I choose to pre-pay or post-pay, I have the same choices: make an online purchase - always an annoying process - or pay at a registered Payzone outlet. I'm always reluctant to make the required effort for an online purchase and if the purchase is small enough I almost surely won't bother. Therefore, I will have to go to a registered Payzone outlet.

Of course there are no official Payzone outlets near me, which means I have to drive to a store to pay my toll. I presume, I'll have to hand over details to people in shops about me and my car. To be honest, I don't appreciate having to tell people I only barely trust to take my €2 for a newspaper that I'll be out of the house today or tomorrow.

Then there's the last option. Thanks to this hassle and the cost involved I will be much more inclined to drive towards Dublin and use the Eastlink Bridge/Dublin Port Tunnel route instead. Fewer miles, often less traffic and, at the weekend, only a marginal increase in the tolls. And, also, far less aggravation.