Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome to Ireland, now get lost

Good piece by Matt Gross in today's New York Times on being "Lost in Ireland". It is interesting how different the piece is from something that would have been written a few years ago. Now, rental cars from Dublin airport are "cheap", roads are surprising good, but the radio is non-stop depressing gloom and doom about the economy.

I was surprised to see Johnny Fox's pub on the list of places he visited. In my experience, this pub in the Wicklow mountains is not somewhere you can find without a good map or GPS. More than once, I have had to follow the Dublin Bus which I know drives past it. But perhaps the best way to find it is to first get lost?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CNN's circular road trip around Ireland

It's always good when you get the impression that the person writing about a road trip actually went on the road trip themselves, and didn't just write it from a guide book. This CNN road trip around Ireland by John D Sutter is good, for this reason.

For the record, here are my own recommendations on driving around Ireland (follow the links at the bottom of the page for more)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They shoot horses, don't they?

Echoes of the depression in this story in the Irish Times today about the fate of Irish horses left behind after the boom: It includes this nugget of information:

If a horse has a “clean passport” – meaning that it hasn’t received drugs in its lifetime which make it unfit for human consumption – it can go to a meat factory, where it will be humanely killed. Its meat will then go into the food chain destined for Europe.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Therapy? are still on the go....

This is a band I first saw at the Buttery in Trinity College Dublin circa 1993. Although a friend pointed out that they derived from Big Black (and she gave me a cassette to prove it), they were excellent and who could forget their cover of Joy Division's Isolation. The best thing to come out of Larne since the ferry to Stranraer.

Latest news here:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mick Lally Dead

Sad to read today that Mick Lally died. He was familiar to generations of Irish people who watched Glenroe on Sunday evenings:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Boston versus New York music listening compared

This handy widget (hat-tip to Momus) allows you to compare the music listening tastes of Boston residents versus New York residents.

Results? Well, sadly it seems that while Boston residents listen to Coldplay and Eminem, New York residents listen to MGMT and Jay-Z. Radiohead tops both lists however.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Franklin Park Zoo has free admission today (9 July 2010)

Franklin Park Zoo has free admission today....

And I suspect it's a lot warmer than it was when I took this photo:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Petport at Boston Logan Airport

Nice idea, though it may more accurately be called "poop port"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Where to buy your Roslindale real-estate from a Russian Spy

David Harris on Wicked Local Cambridge points to the website of Ann Foley, one of the alleged Russian spies arrested today. A quick search of her website shows some Roslindale properties. Fancy a nice dacha up in the Roslindale steppes?

Trout Records in Dublin

Who can resist a shop called "Trout Records". Photographed in George's Arcade, Dublin:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is it a stereotype if it's true?

At this point I think the more accurate stereotype is of a hyper-sensitive Irish person complaining about caricatures of drunken Irish people:

Monday, May 10, 2010

A tale of two huge tethering phone bills

Two differing stories:

- Verizon refuses to budge on an $18,000 phone bill related to data tethering:

- O2 Ireland, by contrast, are very reasonable and understanding when faced with the same situation:

It's worth quoting the O2 Ireland response, since it contrasts so much with Verizon's hardline attitude:
“When we see abnormal data use, we look into it and we find reasons that explain it, such as a customer buying a prepay smartphone with data capability, putting their old SIM into it without adding a data add-on to their account. These cases are exceptional and we deal with them as proactively as possible,” she says. Usage patterns are a good indicator of whether or not a customer is aware of what costs they are incurring on data. “If we see unusual activity we contact the customer directly . . . reach an agreement that is manageable.”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Interesting comment on the upcoming Supreme Court nomination

Spotted on the BBC Website:

"It is indeed an oddity that the court absent Stevens consists of 6 Catholics and 2 Jews. I have joked in the past that it's a fair offset for the overrepresentation of WASPs in the Congress (and until 2009, the presidency)."

That does seem rather surprising. Perhaps an unusual number of Catholics took to the law in the USA 40-50 years ago? A sort of 'Kennedy effect' we didn't know about?

Not really that surprising. Both Catholicism and Judaism have traditions of legal interpretation (canon law for Catholicism and Talmudic interpretation in Judaism). Protestantism in most of its forms looks to the Bible as the one and only source. You don't have the same tradition of dispute and resolution.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celtic vs Rangers at Gillette Stadium

This summer? Could it be true?

I'd imagine there would be a lot more Celtic fans around here, but it would be interesting to see how many Rangers fans come out of the woodwork:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Donald Clarke, Irish Times film critic, asks "Are Americans stupider than Europeans"

He asks the question in jest, of course, regarding the fact that European film names are sometimes changed when they are shown in the US.

I would add the counter-example of the Pauly Shore "classic" Encino Man which was renamed "California Man" in Europe because Europeans may not know the significance of Encino.

Here is the article - the comments are worth reading.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Irish book of the decade

My vote goes to Netherland by the Cork-born Joseph O'Neill. Many of the other books are quite "worthy", but Netherland has the advantage of being a good read.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Google Maps places a bank branch right on the Red Line

Quick - where is the TD Bank branch at 579 Boylston Street? Near Copley Square, right?

Bing gets it right:

Google Maps, on the other hand, reckons that this particular TD Bank branch is located right on the Red Line train tracks heading south from South Station, or perhaps it is in the Fenway.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Best by February 1912

Seen on a Stop and Shop frozen vegetables packet:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Show me the way to Vermont

Pictured last week in the Yarra Valley, near Melbourne in Australia:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phoebe Prince

This is a story which has got no attention in the Irish press, although it concerns an Irish girl who recently moved to Massachusetts (South Hadley) from County Clare, went to school in South Hadley, and then killed herself as a result of bullying there.

Speaking as someone who moved from Ireland to Massachusetts also, the whole "US High School" thing is very confusing and I can only imagine what it would be like to move from a small village in Clare into a US high school.

Ireland leaves the PIIGSty

Ireland famously was included in the "PIIGS" group - Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. But now Ireland may have exited the group, having implemented tight budget controls:

“Ireland has left the pigsty for the time being and it has come out smelling of roses,” said Stuart Thomson, who helps oversee more than $100 billion as chief market economist at Ignis Asset Management in Glasgow, Scotland. “It doesn’t face the same problems that the southern Mediterraneans face this year.”
From Bloomberg this morning.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mind the Melodica Deathship

Looks like good advice. Seen in Tara Street DART Station in Dublin:

Friday, January 1, 2010

The British Government's guide to finding faggots in Methuen

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a handy listing of "British Shops in Massachusetts". But, with my Irish radar on, I can't help noticing such entries in the list as "Cape Cod Irish Village", "Erin's Own Irish Imports", "Irish Imports Ltd", the "Irish Speciality Shop" and the "Irish Cottage". hmm...

Thwaites Market in Methuen is the real deal though. It is described as a "Retailer and importer of British meat pies and meatballs, pork pies, sausages, scotch eggs and faggots." It's good to know that the Her Majesty's Government is providing a helpful service for seekers of pork pies, scotch eggs, and faggots in Methuen.