Friday 31 October 2008

The Friday Album Cover #20

I was sure album cover #19 wouldn't last too long and with the benefit of hindsight I think it's fair to say, I may have been misguided in that particular belief.

So, confidence shattered and stuck for time, this week's cover is simple and (possibly more importantly) world famous. A real early bird's one!

Cue sheepworrier in 5...4...3...2...1...

Thursday 30 October 2008

The Friday Album Cover #19 (Side B)

No takers on Fridays effort then?

It was meant to be 0898 Beautiful South by The Beautiful South (who split in 2007 citing"musical similarities").

Here is the original:

I thought it was a pretty decent likeness myself.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

The wind was sighing, and the day was dying

At lunchtime on Saturday, while walking along the banks of the canal near Mountjoy Prison , I looked up and was surprised to see three normally nocturnal birds perched in the branches of a nearby tree.

One sat near the top of the tree while the remaining two were on branches lower down.

The owl triangle!

Friday 24 October 2008

The Friday Album Cover #19

It has been a good week.

The new albums from Duke Special and Ben Folds have been purchased, listened to and thoroughly enjoyed.

I did a gig last night and managed to fill 15 minutes without using any material - and it was good too (which caught me by surprise). Of course, it helps when the guy from the anti-litter ad (the boys and the girls in the fashion parade) and a woman who works in Arnotts lingerie department are in the crowd. Sometimes it all falls right into your lap.

The only downside was my complete un-preparednesses of this weeks album cover which comes from the early 90's. If the face in last weeks obfuscated matters then the outlook is bleak.

And now, on with the show....

Thursday 23 October 2008

Vitamin V is good for me.

I have just received what may be the funniest spam e-mail I have ever had the privilege to read.

Menthol Viagra - fresh breath and fresh impressions!

I'd love to see the television ad for that!

A sprightly looking pensioner, dressed casually in chinos and a blue cotton shirt, walks into his kitchen carrying 2 empty wine glasses. As he does so, he looks back over his shoulder and calls "more wine dear?".

An unseen female companion replies seductively - "oh yes please!"

While pouring the wine he addresses the camera:

"You know, they say life begins at 40 but its hard to maintain that Joie de vivre when Mother Nature won't let you enjoy the.... finer things in life to the extent to which you are accustomed . Regular Viagra helped with some things but my chronic halitosis was another problem entirely. Then I found these...."

He picks up a bottle of the tablets, displaying them to the camera before giving the contents a rattle saying...

"Menthol Viagra.... it has all the magic of regular Viagra...AND it freshen's my breath. Not only that, but I save on my monthly prescription costs as I don't need to buy mouthwash to treat my halitosis"

Making his way back to his companion he pauses before entering the room and says "Menthol Viagra - fresh breath..."

He pauses to give a conspiratorial nod and wink before resuming with a slight inflection in tone.

".... and fresh impressions."

He smiles and we see a twinkle (complete with customary ding sound effect) from his sparkling white teeth.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Some days have bouncers and won't let you in

Negotiating Dublin's rush hour on two wheels can be a tricky ordeal at the best of times. Your time is spent, constantly on edge, wondering is she too busy putting on make up to see me, does he look like he's about to change lanes without looking or will I fit through that gap (and if I won't does he look like somebody who would be upset if I took his wing mirror with me)?

When filtering through traffic in this manner, what I like to call "catching a bee-baw"* is probably the finest thing that can happen. Essentially this is when some vehicle with blue flashing lights and a screeching siren zooms past, allowing you to travel unfettered in its wake as other cars, trucks and buses part like the Red Sea before it.

Of course, things don't always work out as planned - for example, a bee-baw can break read lights while I, as a rule, don't like to.

Or, you could decide to sit in behind a convoy of garda motorbikes, army land rovers and a Paddy Wagon transporting John Gilligan from Portlaoise to Dublin for a court hearing. (It would appear gardaĆ­ suffer from severe paranoia when a man on a black motorcycle, dressed all in black with a dark visor on his black crash helmet suddenly begins following their little convoy - but that's a story for another day).

There there are the days, like this morning, when you find yourself behind a garda biker in no particular hurry to get anywhere. On such occasions, the man on the bike with the blue light becomes the world's ultimate authority on where that fine line between filtering legally and riding recklessly lies.

There were 6 of us, tootling along behind him like the best behaved bikers the world has ever known.

It felt like the journey in took a month!

* In all likelihood nobody else has or will ever call it this.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

It's a kind of magic!

My mastery of mathematics ain't what it used to be.

The revocation of automatic medical cards for over 70's in the budget speech was implemented in order to save €100 million.

Following the subsequent (and apparently completely unexpected) public outcry, the weekly income limit for eligibility was increased to €240 per week for a single person. This may have been a panic measure but it certainly wasn't a U-turn as it was in keeping strictly within the parameters outlined in the budget.

Today, in another non U-turn (no... really!), Brian Cowen announced that the income limit for a single person is to be increased to €700 per week. In addition, the government will enter into negotiations with the IMO for a reduction in the fees received by GPs who treat over 70's medical card holders. All of this, according to this morning's statement, will ensure the "savings required by the budgetary framework" are maintained.

So, 95% of over 70's will be entitled to automatic medical cards and some future negotiations may see some reduction in the fees paid to GPs, yet they can claim this non-U-turn is budget neutral (i.e. it will still save €100 million).


Monday 20 October 2008

Wouldn't it be nice...

This blog recently registered a hit from Niceville, Florida.

Intrigued by the name - Niceville should really be a fictional town name used in a Superman script or a childrens fable (where the neighbouring town would be called Meanieville) - I did a bit of googling.

It was previously named Boggy Bayou, but the name was changed to attract more tourists.

Admittedly, Niceville is a marginal improvement on Boggy Bayou - but so too is Moderately Damp Bayou. Unless a town was originally called Murderville, renaming it Niceville probably isn't likely to result in a drastic rise in tourism. A bit like the Australian national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair", Niceville doesn't set the bar of expectation particularly high. (Would The Nice Canyon, The Nice Wall of China or The Nice Barrier Reef receive as many visitors as their great and grand counterparts?)

Mrs. Bradshaw, my Leaving Cert English teacher, absolutely forbade us to use the word nice in essays, maintaining that constant overuse in everyday conversation made it one of the tamest, least descriptive adjectives available. We could, she said, use it as a proper noun but she would prefer the absence of adjectives to the presence of the word nice.

They had carte blanche - the could have pushed the boat out and picked the type of place name that kicks you in the shin and demands you pay it a visit. That they didn't, instead favouring a cautious, conservative option, probably tells more about the towns folk than the new name ever could

If my Niceville reader ever returns, may I suggest the following alternatives...
  • Fantabulousville
  • Freeliqourville
  • Drunkandeasysinglesville

Thursday 16 October 2008

The Friday Album Cover #18

Is it just me or is The Friday Album Cover coming around more frequently than it used to? It seems that no sooner have I poster one album cover, then sheepworrier has guessed it and the next deadline comes whoosing by!

Contrary to what first impressions may suggest, this week's album was not recorded by Nick Cave after he had been horribly disfigured in an out of control house fire. The head of the artist in question is, in fact, a more reasonable size and in proportion with the rest of his/her body.

If you don't pay too much heed to the head area it may look reasonably similar to the actual album cover.

Off you go!

[Edit: It might help to look at it cross eyed]

Thursday 9 October 2008

The Friday Album Cover #17

"The Man" sent me off to the glamorous surrounds of Amiens Steet this week. I have spent the latter half of the week working for a certain semi state body (whose internal newsletter is wittily titled "The Gasette") and observing the coming and goings at the nearby methadone clinic. Oh yes! Nothing but chic cosmopolitan hubs for me. In addition to listening to the half-baked notions of the fine Dublin citizens gathered below the window I have witnessed what, to me, is a completely new phenomenon.

There is a set of pedestrian lights outside near the client's office. At lunchtime today I stopped by them, pressed the button to summon the little green man and stood at the roadside waiting for the lights to change. After roughly 30 seconds a man stopped beside me, jabbed his finger at the button 5 or 6 times and joined me in waiting for the signal to cross.

Why did he feel the need to press the button? Did he think I am unaware how pedestrian lights are supposed to function? Perhaps he was under the impression that the lights would instinctively understand that his desire to reach his destination was more urgent than mine. Or maybe he felt pressing the button a number of times would convince the lights to change quicker - in much the same way Daddy Ambassador seems to think clicking his mouse button harder somehow encourages his PC. I don't know if the various etiquette books in publication cover such scenarios - but if they do, I can only imagine the following is the correct response.

Thanks God you're here. That's the kind of radical, outside-the-box thinking I could have done with 4 hours ago. Do you know I've been standing here, racking my brains, trying to remember what I was forgetting. I'm going to be so late for work

To say I was dispatched to Amiens Street at short notice would be an understatement. My departure was so swift that the latter half of the week was spent fretting over the half complete album cover on my laptop back in the office.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures so, unwilling to break the emergency glass in order to retrieve The Beatles "White Album", I went for something super-simple yet super-classic. The early bird will definitely get the worm this week.

Monday 6 October 2008

Baby we can talk all night!

T-man has just pointed me in the direction of this - a thread following last weeks VP Debate on a site called "Rapture Ready"

Scary stuff!

When you pull that dead man's hand, your gamblin' days are up.

From Reuters:

Bus with gamblers flips in California, 10 dead

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bus traveling to a casino in northern California ran off a rural road and overturned, killing at least 10 people, the San Francisco Chronicle and other media reported on Monday.

The newspaper's on-line edition said police confirmed 10 passengers had died and more than 30 others were injured when the charter bus left the road and rolled over into a ditch about 60 miles north of Sacramento on Sunday night.

Local television stations showed the crashed bus in a muddy drainage ditch where it landed back on its wheels.

Rescuers had trouble communicating with the passengers because many spoke Lao, a California Highway Patrol officer told the newspaper.

The bus was travelling to a casino resort in the farming town of Colusa.

Talk about dicing with death!

Closer than close!

It's getting closer. Almost tangibly close. Not tangible in the strictest sense of course - but soon I will be able to point to a 2 inch square on a Violent Veg calendar and say "That...[pause for theatrical gulp]... that is the day I will be married" (Not marred).

While we are both looking forward to being married, I think it's fair to say the act of actually getting married is being viewed with some apprehension as neither I, nor the CPF, particularly enjoy being the centre of attention.

The slimmed down format we chose to adopt means there aren't many pieces to the "big day" puzzle and, by extension, there is not a great deal to organise. Yet, every decision made, every deposit placed seems like a giant step towards next June.

On Saturday morning the CPF took my future mother-in-law to see the dress had she tried on (and loved) two weeks ago. Before they returned, the order had been placed and the dress paid for in full.

In time honoured tradition, I want to know nothing of the shape, size, cut or colour of the dress. Yet, convinced I will lose all composure* upon seeing the CPF walk up the aisle, I find myself in the peculiar position of wanting to know just a little of what to expect lest I am rendered speechless by the vision of beauty before me.

At present, all I have to go on are the following texts the CPF received from her father ..

I've heard all about the dress. Am sworn to secrecy but some of the words used were 'fabulous', 'beautiful' and 'simply stunning'.

and sister...
Mam says your dress is beautiful. Very elegant. You will look gorgeous in it.

Aren't I the lucky one?

* I cheerfully admit that I expect to lose my composure and cry like a big girl on a number of occasions throughout the day.

Friday 3 October 2008

The Friday Album Cover #16

One from my teenage years this week.

I don't know many people who possess (or even know of) this album so hopefully it won't prove too obscure.

E-Hug #3

It's that time of the week again:

Last week's question and results:

How do you usually write when using a pen or pencil?

18.6%.............Cursive (handwriting)
24.9%.............Personalized combination of the two
24.1%.............Sometimes one, sometimes the other

No big surprise that "Print" was the top answer.

The question on everybody's lips this week?

Have you ever whitened your teeth?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Whitened what?

Presumably the last option was included for employees from the deep south who may not have been aware the word tooth has a plural.