You find yourself wanting to blog about not blogging.
Archive for March, 2006
This blog is going on extended hiatus. Shall be updating Irish Corruption though hopefully.
All the best.
I never talk about cultural or artistic much these days, probably because I have been dwelling on politics and corruption. I have a great affection for Irish music, I used to play it in bars in Cork, but have since gotten very rusty. One of the people I used to play in sessions with was the legendary (in Cork at least) Jimmy Crowley. His most recent album was Uncorked.
One of my favourite songs will be known to some, but may be obscure the others. ‘Johnny Jump Up’ is a song about the name given to a drink that is alleged to have been sold in Cork during the Emergency (or so the story goes). Cider was put into wooden whiskey barrels, leading to a potent mixture. Jimmy’s version is one of the most famous, though he did not write it. A sample set of lyrics are here.
Have a listen (Windows Audio, couldn’t be arsed converting), I hope you like it.
Says I, I’ll try cider, I’ve heard it was good.
Oh never, Oh never, Oh never again
If I live to be a hundred or a hundred and ten
I fell to the ground and I couldn’t get up
After drinking a jar of the Johnny Jump Up
Bloggers beware, this Bill will affect you.
The Defamation Bill was brought to Cabinet last June, but, following strenuous objections to it from more than half the Ministers present, was not published pending the preparation of a Privacy Bill.
The Minister then established a committee, under the chairmanship of senior counsel Brian Murray, to prepare a report on “the appropriate legislative basis for the protection of privacy which would be consistent with freedom of expression”.
This report was expected to be out before Christmas last, but was delayed, and will now be brought to Cabinet the same day as the Defamation Bill.
The Defamation Bill is largely based on a report on the subject from a committee chaired by senior counsel Hugh Mohan, but differs from it in one important respect. The report recommended a statutory press council, which would have been appointed by the Government.
Following objections from the media, this proposal has now been replaced by a voluntary press council, which will have a statutory basis, in that it would meet criteria laid down in legislation, including that it have a majority of non-industry representatives. Having a statutory basis will give qualified privilege to its decisions and reports.
Meanwhile, the director of the UK Press Complaints Commission, Tim Toulmin, is in Dublin this week to speak at a symposium in Dublin City University on the topic, “Can the Press regulate itself?”
The PCC was established by the media industry as a self-regulating body, but has a majority input from members of the public, and is staffed by non-journalists, Mr Toulmin told The Irish Times yesterday.
He disputed the view that it is not effective in dealing with public complaints against the press, because it can impose no sanctions other than public acknowledgment of inappropriate behaviour, stating that such criticism misses the point.
“We are an effective conciliation service. What most people want when they have a complaint is for it to be put right,” he said.
In addition to a range of remedies, Mr Toulmin added, “There is an ultimate biting sanction, which is public naming and shaming by the PCC, which must be published in the paper in question without editing.
The papers do care about this, especially the nationals, as it means a professional standards body is stating they are not living up to those standards.”
SO pissed off was I today with the Gerry Ryan show that I emailed them to complain. The subject of my anger was a very ill-thought out quiz, where Aer Lingus are promoting their new route to Dubai. Now as readers know I have been there quite a few times, so I would have known alot of the answers anyway.
Maybe I have a little too much time on my hands these days, but I thought some of the questions to be entirely unfair, and appear to be as a result of very poor research. If you are going to do a quiz for a prize, then at least ask the people fair questions. And no, I wasn’t trying to get the prize myself :-)
Here were the questions:
1. How many Emirates make up the UAE?
2. Name the smallest Emirate.
3. When was Aer Lingus first registered as an airline?
4. When is Aer Lingus’s inaugural flight to Dubai?
5. What is the official language of Dubai? (Would have accepted Arabic, English, Urdu…and more)
6. Who is the current ruler of Dubai? (Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rasheed al Maktoum)
7. What hotel is the most luxurious hotel in Dubai?
8. What is Aer Lingus an anglicisation of? (Confused a number of callers, answer was Aer Lungus)
9. What is the largest Emirate? (Abu Dhabi)
10. When was Dublin airport completed? (1936 given, 1950 given, 1952 given, caller questioned the question, Gerry then scrapped the question)
11. Dubai has a land reclamation project currently going, what is that project called? (Palm Island Jumeirah given, accepted, but correct answer is given as the ’3 palm island project’
12. Name the annual horse racing event in Dubai (World Cup)
13. Name the main beach in Dubai (Jumeirah)
14. When was oil discovered in Dubai? (1966)
15. What mountain range are the Hatta rock pools located on? (al Hajar)
16. What is the time difference between Ireland and Dubai? (3 hours given, told she was wrong, and therefore lost the chance to win)
The last question was especially ridiculous. The time difference varies since there are no Daylight Savings. For half the year it’s 3 hours, for the other half it’s 4 hours. Technically both callers were both right and wrong. Question 11 could have been several answers also, including the World, which Gerry didn’t mention.
I thought it was all quite unfair to the callers, IMHO.
Apparently these phrases are quite expensive to buy for adverts. Why the popularity?
malignant pleural mesothelioma
mesothelioma law firm
cause of mesothelioma
mesothelioma lawyer texas
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mesothelioma lung cancer
mesothelioma california lawyer
I have been posting more over on Irish Corruption, thanks to an upsurge in Tribunal activity, and a number of stories coming out. It has also received its first comment from a member of Dail Eireann, and its first mention in the Dail, by Ciaran Cuffe during Private Members time on Political donations and planning.
Expect more additions to the IC blog soon, along with the normal building of archives from the national media relating to corruption, I would hope for opinions to be expressed and anger to be perhaps vented by readers.
It looks like all the mapping websites, including Google Maps and Virtual Earth, will have access to far more and far more frequent data.
GeoEye says its next-generation satellite, GeoEye-1, will be capable of acquiring each day approximately 270,000 square miles of imagery, an area about the size of Texas. That’s about seven times the area covered by Ikonos, the best imaging satellite the company has running today.
DigitalGlobe, the satellite imagery supplier for Google Earth, plans to launch its next orbital, WorldView 1, later this year. The company says it will be capable of collecting up to 193,000 square miles of imagery per day.
Next-generation satellites will also revisit locations more frequently.
Chuck Herring, spokesman for DigitalGlobe, anticipates that by combining WorldView and existing satellites, the firm will be able to revisit practically any point on Earth’s surface on a daily basis. (Currently, the company revisits about once every three days.)
Of all the things Google have done in the last year, I like Google Finance the most, it is simplicity itself.
It was released last week, and is worth a look.
Markham and Richard are disagreeing about the famous WTC jumper photo. Markham notes:
The Falling Man is the perfect news photo. It’s clean and symmetrical; it has incredible impact on the reader; it portrays the horror of an event, a warzone disaster situation, without being sullied by debris, smoke, or facial expressions. We don’t need to see what he’s ecaping or what awaits him, it’s understood. That you can’t see the man’s face, or indeed pick out any features at all, draws you into speculation, and all of a sudden you’re thinking deeply about the photo; about the subject’s motivations; about the last minutes before he stepped out of the window frame into a freefall over New York.
The image isn’t beautiful, it’s unbearable. Its clinical starkness, denuded of its explanation in its austerity, seems to lie. I agree with Markham that the image serves as an invitation, but precisely because it is so inadequate and so sickening. The untruth of the image is its false serentity and its artificial singularity. The gut reaction says – ‘no, it wasn’t clean, it wasn’t ethereal, it was sordid, fleshy, evil, and real’. It’s not art, it’s not beautiful, it was murder like never seen before.
I watched the documentary that Markham refers to in his post, a fascinating documentary it was. What I got most from it was that the writer of the original piece didn’t do his job. He went to a family and essentially told them it was their father, before he had looked at other photos that Richard Drew took of the same man. It strikes me that he should have done some proper research before even hinting to a family that the photo might represent their loved one.
That aside is the issue of printing the photo in the first place, which a paper in Pennsylvania did in fullness on September 12th 2001, much to the chagrin of many of their readers. What strikes me is that the photo is, as Markham describes, almost serene in its composure. Having seen the other photos taken seconds before, and seconds after, it was the most serene of photos that depict the man in various stages of falling. This points to the selection of the photographer rather than the serenity, or not, of the photographs.
This issue was raised in the past. Glenn Reynolds posted a photo and later removed it. I posted about Glenn’s posting back in 2003, where I linked to a different photograph of a jumper, perhaps less ‘artistic’ in nature.
I tend to agree with Markham on this one. Perhaps ‘beautiful’ is too strong a word, more like thought-provoking, provocative, even insightful. Richard though takes a different line, instead arguing that the image was cropped (it wasn’t), or that it doesn’t take in the surrounding events, that it is a picture in isolation. I don’t agree fully. We know the surrounding events. However by their nature photographs take things in apparent isolation, so I think readers are intelligent enough to take this on board.
The picture is exactly what it shows, the last moments of someone’s life. Because it happens in the modern context maybe we are more shocked by it, because we remember that day maybe we are more inclined to react emotionally. I often watch documentaries, and what strikes me is the uncontroversial nature of depicting the shooting dead of civilians – maybe if it’s more removed from the observer, and happened before the life time of the individual it makes the images more acceptable. I can’t count how many times I have watched real footage of people being killed by firing squad in Second World War documentaries. But have I been conditioned to think less of it because the footage is old, lacking colour and is a little jumpy?
Is the person about to be shot by Nazi soldiers any less gruesome than a person jumping from the World Trade Center? You are watching the last moments of someone’s life in both instances. And, as far as I’m concerned, both are compelling precisely because it is the last moments of someone’s life. And that’s the key word, artistic understandings aside, the photo is compelling.
Finally Richard’s assertion that it was ‘murder like never seen before’, while technically true, strikes me as somewhat misleading. Yes September 11th was a unique event, but then all events are unique. Murders happen all the time, wholescale murder has happened all too regularly in the history of humanity. As Westerners perhaps September 11th strikes home in a way no other murder has struck us – that it was people like us. Unfortunately murder just like this has happened countless times, not just in modern history – that it happened in our time, live on television, perhaps makes it more poignant and emotive.
If we were to take a recent example, Eddie Adams’ Pulitzer-prize winning photo from 1968, depicted the moment before the execution of a Viet Cong soldier Nguyen Van Lem, created equal controversy when it was published. It too depicts the last moments of a man’s life, but I ask myself, do I react the same to that photo as I do the jumper photo? The answer for me at least is no. It might have something to do with being unable to relate properly to the VC figure, or to the circumstances surrounding his death. But it remains that I feel more emotionally attached to photos relating to September 11 than to photos of Vietnam or World War Two.
In the end, it is an entirely subjective analysis as to what you find beautiful or not. I don’t find this particular jumper photo sickening as Richard does, to me it depicts a person who, facing the choice of death by inferno or being crushed by a building collapse, chose to end their life by jumping. It was essentially the only thing left for them to choose. So yes the photo does take some sense of isolation from events, as a result I would argue it be published without fear, but perhaps could be moderated by appearing with other photos from the same sequence – giving a better indication of the nature of the fall – a dreadful 10 seconds long.