Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the future for less,,,,,

I saw this in Dixons this afternoon. Didn't know they even made fax machines any more. The future for less label seemed a bit inappropriate.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

from 1936

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

sad song

came across this on you tube. Reminds me of my youth and misinformed passions. A song for a dark November Dublin evening. Tempted to wallow in simplicity and easy answers. Don't believe in the message any more but still love the voices of Jaon Baez and Steve Earle.


Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

ipod touch day

the ipod is six years old today. and today was the day I gave in and bought an ipod touch which I didn't need. Couldn't resist finding out what the touch screen and new interface looks like. Looks every bit as good as I imagined it, I just get the feeling that I should be holding it to my my ear and making a call. the volume seems a bit low on song playback though, hope that silly euro nanny thing about limiting volume hasn't been set up.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

only the shallow.......

Only the shallow know themselves.
- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, October 18, 2007

From Here To Eternity

Deborah Kerr died today aged 86. I thought she was older and had died many years ago.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

let the trees grow apples

Saw a link to this photo on the FAKE STEVE site. Apart entirely from the fact that this must be a worrying picture for Microsoft, it's even more amazing to me that I can spot only one guy using pen and paper.

Friday, September 07, 2007


The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
- AA Milne

Thursday, September 06, 2007

big words

Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
- Stephen King


I liked this picture in the New York Times this morning. Steve Jobs holding one of the new ipods introduced yesterday. In profile he looks old, like an old man discovering something. Looking at it intently as if looking for directions. There is also a sci-fi futuristic feel to the photo. Jobs on the deck of some spacecraft Kirk or Picard like trying to communicate with some alien life form. Great new ipods by the way, especially the much derided new “fatty nano” which I think will sell millions.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

goodbye Mr Calculator

In town today I was sad to see a for sale sign on the “Mr Calculator” electronic shop. Once upon a time it was one of the few places to go in Dublin to look at new tech toys. Never cheap, it must have found it impossible to compete with the internet – ironic since it was one of the first places in town you could buy wireless and web devices. The Indian guy who owned it was passionate about his stuff. Wonder what he decided to do? Retire probably. I would have bought more stuff there if it wasn’t so expensive. It had a small shop window that was the tech equivalent of a Dickensian toy shop window. As it happens, I remember buying a Bluetooth adaptor for a Compaq iPac there one Christmas Eve years ago.

Friday, August 24, 2007

data center

PC world site was down today, had this picture on site down notice. So old and futuristic all at the same time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

maoning ireland

A phone in show on RTE at the moment with the Joe Duffy stand in talking to people who have decided to leave Ireland. The presenter doing his level best to get the new wild geese talk about how the “quality of life” in Ireland is making them leave but the callers keep talking about wanting to leave because of the bad Summer weather. The show was clearly intended to be another RTE moan about how the Celtic Tiger has made us lose our soul etc but ends up being about people who want to leave to get year round sun. Very funny.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

beige bath towels

Nothing says, 'I have no idea what to get you,' quite like giant beige bath towels.
- Missbhavens

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hanif Kureishi on Italy

A fine piece of travel writing in today's Guardian Travel section by Hanif Kureishi. He's writing about being on holiday in the The Grand Hotel Gardone on Lake Garda in Italy. It's a piece that sometimes strains for melancholia :

"What to do? How to cope? I have no answers, but can only gape at the lake from an old hotel, which resembles a dissolving sugar lump, continuously reminded that western civilisation is in crisis. Indeed, as I tell the journalist, I consider it to be doomed, as cracks open up across its formerly firm surface, like the ping-pong ball the little boy and I use for table tennis."

But youth and optimism, like the face of his son mirroring his own youthful self, is what stays in my mind after finishing the piece.

I read it at a sunny suburban Dublin table while eating dinner. The piece, and the welcome sunburst during a wet Irish Summer makes me want to visit Italy again.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

i think so?

Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised.
- Marilyn Manson

Monday, June 25, 2007


Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
- R. Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, June 17, 2007

wonder if this is true?

Gore Vidal talking about Howard Austen, his companion, but not lover, for 53 years. 'It is very easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part and impossible when it does.' This satisfies no one of course but there, as Henry James would say, it is.'

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Wise piece of advice from “aunt Sally(!) in the Sunday Times magazine today :

I once asked a therapist to define soul mates. She said: “It’s two people who recognise the damage in each other.” So much for romance – but what she was actually saying is that we are attracted to fragilities in other people that we know, often at an unconscious level, we share ourselves. If you really were at ease, you wouldn’t need to go around rescuing people who are insecure, anxious and inclined to melancholia. You wouldn’t need to rescue people at all. So, why do it? Well, when we don’t like our own fragilities, we deny them by painting ourselves as the opposite. We literally deny who we are. It’s called the false self.”

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

middle of nowhere?

A very provocative piece by Edward Luttwalk in this month's issue of PROSPECT magazine:

"The middle east was once the world's most advanced region, but these days its biggest industries are extravagant consumption and the venting of resentment. According to the UN's 2004 Arab human development report, the region boasts the second lowest adult literacy rate in the world (after sub-Saharan Africa) at just 63 per cent. Its dependence on oil means that manufactured goods account for just 17 per cent of exports, compared to a global average of 78 per cent. Moreover, despite its oil wealth, the entire middle east generated under 4 per cent of global GDP in 2006—less than Germany. Unless compelled by immediate danger, we should therefore focus on the old and new lands of creation in Europe and America, in India and east Asia—places where hard-working populations are looking ahead instead of dreaming of the past." (more HERE)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Election Sunday

Went to IMMA yesterday to see the Georgia O Keeffe exhibition. Still love her paintings, the cloth like desert warmness of them - even though they also always remind me of snow in Taos New Mexico where I lived in 1984. Saw the work of two others artists there too, photos of Thomas Demand and paintings by Alex Katz. Liked both a lot. The Thomas Demand work made me look forward to Berlin where I'm visiting in May.

Bertie called the election yesterday, so I'll be out of the country on election day and (worse) the day of the count. Not that bothered about missing the election but really pissed off at missing the count. Should have thought of all that before I booked my trip. Oh well, I'll observe it from Berlin.

It was strange to have the election called on a Sunday morning – apparently the president was leaving for America and had to sign the Dáil dissolution order before she left. Waking up and unexpectedly listening to a slightly over excited RTE special news programme was a bit disconcerting. No “Sunday Miscellany” today then. You’d think it was September 1939 again, that fine Sunday that Chamberlain declared war on Germany! Still, the end of an era. Took this photo in the grounds of IMMA.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

God and the City

Another great quote from AA Gill in today's Sunday Times : "It’s only in a city that God really understands how to organise nature." He's talking about cycling by the river in London but what he says can be applied to many cities. As usual, in his funny provocative and OTT way he hits the nail right on the head.
"If this were the country, I’d never be able to get near the river. There would be a Passchendaele of barbed wire, seeping drums, decomposing agricultural machinery and miles and miles of agri-business megafields with an odd bit of brutalised hedgerow. The only thing skulling the river would be a skeletal sheep’s corpse. The countryside is nature’s scrap yard. You need a park to see the true symbolic beauty of Gaia’s bounty, and London has the greatest parks of any city — certainly far better than any bit of unmade, raw, grubby, poisonous, dung-and-pesticide countryside."
The full article (masquerading as a restaurant review) can be found here
The photo is from today's New York Times
(another city and another park as Spring arrives in NYC)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

LA Stories

a very good piece by Steve Gillmor about friendship, the 1970s and LA :

"LA is somehow feeling more like the 70’s now than in decades. I hated the 70’s at the time; a rough mix of post-Beatle depression and chalky outlines around the body that was the revolution. Thank god the revolution was over, but thirty years to wait for the wisdom that comes from enough mistakes to convince you of your own mortality"

more here

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Talking Sense?

Prospect magazine asks people what will replace the left/right agenda. I liked this reply by Rudi Bogni:
"Left vs right was and is purely a nominal distinction between two strands of the same totalitarian posture. The real problem of the 20th century was that the demographic and economic pressures that fractured the empires gave rise to national states with leaderships ill equipped to face the nihilist challenge. The vacuum was filled by totalitarian regimes, whose ideologies set fire to Europe and the world. Remember that Hitler was a failed architect, Stalin had studied for the priesthood and Mussolini was a schoolteacher. The heirs of the 19th and 20th century nihilists are today's faith-based terrorists. If today's democracies fail to win against the new nihilists on the intellectual and communication level, they will have no chance to win in the security space and will create another dangerous vacuum, ready to be filled. Nation states have proven a disastrous political experiment in the 19th and 20th century; they may well prove catastrophic in the 21st century, due to nuclear proliferation. Nevertheless, I hope that the 21st century will see a substantial reduction of political infrastructures. If a conglomerate is bad or indifferent at most of what it does, shareholders force it back to its core competences. Everything else has got to go. Why should it be different for governments? This is neither left nor right; it is common sense. Large countries' politicians love to deride small countries' direct democracies. Why? Because they fear their example and their nimbleness. The political systems inherited from the 20th century, whether democratic or totalitarian, are neo-feudal, incompatible with a 21st century when electors vote every so many years, but consumers vote and bloggers blog 24/7."

favourite clip from a favourite film

Sunday, March 11, 2007

12 good things about 2007 #10

just finished watching the movie THE LIVES OF OTHERS. I know its early in the year, but I'll be surprised if I see a better movie this year.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

12 Good things about 2007, # 11

AA Gill's food column in the Sunday Times Style magazine. Today he is writing about bores. Here's an excerpt , you can read the whole thing here:

"There was a time when numberless bores strode the earth. They were famous, fascinating and feared. Hostesses would use them to punish rivals. They were pitted against one another in great buttoned-leather, port-fuelled, fireside bore-offs, competitive raconteuring. A bore’s lonely calling was respected — the slow winnowing of facts until just the grittiest chaff could be thrown in the faces of the stultified. But today, a fractured society, disjointed by haste and hustle, fleet with texting, e-mail, iPods and Sky+, has worn away the bore’s domain. Where are the 12-course dinner parties of yore, the bridge evenings, the wet-country-weekend lock-ins? Nowadays, it’s lean pickings for the bore. The only protected environment left to him is a newspaper column, where he can expostulate ad infinitum into the darkness and the kitty litter."

Did he overlook Blogging as part of that protected environment?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Alice Munro

Just finished listening to “The View from Castle Rock” by Alice Munro. A very satisfying book, its Southern Ontario Gothic perfect for a foggy Februaury Dublin Sunday!. Something beautiful and “woven” about the writing and the feelings it evokes of place ,time and memory.

Monday, January 08, 2007

hotel california

I’ve watched more TV this past Christmas than I have in a long time. All thanks to BBC 4. Already a long time BBC Radio 4 junkie, it now seems that the TV version has me hooked as well. Well, maybe just for those nights when there’s nothing good on the internet. I’ve just finished watching a good documentary on California and the way folk/rock music based itself in LA in the mid 1960s. Something Jackson Brown said in the programme sticks in my mind. Talking about David Geffen and Asylum records, he referred to him as “the Medici of rock” (or words to that effect) It set me thinking about record labels and the way we all take heart today in their decline and the rise of sites like “myspace” where musicians can make direct contact with the public. I’ve always gone along with the conventional wisdom that this is good. But I wonder if artists need the power of the Medici behind them? And if so, who are the Medici of the web? Is Goggle it? Microsoft? Apple? None of them , not even Apple, seem to fit the bill. Is it time for a multi millionaire to set up a site and pick and choose who to promote on it? Do we need managers again, or editors? Do we need a virtual Asylum?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

12 Good Things about 2007 , # 12

Leo Enright, as stand in presenter on RTE Radio's Drivetime programme. He's become one of those floating broadcasters, slotted in when the regular presenter is on holiday. I always thought he had a great radio voice, the right mixture of excitement and authority. He is of course forever associated in my mind with his commentaries on space travel on RTE going back to the days of the Apollo programme. Even today, when I hear his voice on radio there is part of me waiting , and wishing, for him to tell us about some great new milestone in space exploration.