Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Friday. Let's Boogie!

Les Negresses Vertes - Zobi La Mouche

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Avoiding the Obvious Joke

Belfast man wins world stone, paper, scissors competition:

Mr Cleland said: “Facing off against the finest rock, paper, scissors players in the world was an intense challenge that pushed my skills to the limit.

“I tried to look for patterns in my opponents’ throws, and in the end, they played right into my hands.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Good to Talk

I would gladly pay to have the job of reminding Margaret Thatcher that Denis is dead. Is there not a way we could set up a phone line, purely as a public service, so that the British people could text her for free whenever they felt the need, just to keep her updated on his status?

Say It with (Tim) Flowers

Fans at this weekend's Welling v Maidstone match let the keeper know how they feel about him after he let in an easy goal. The full message reads, "It is our considered opinion that your talents would not even be sufficient to qualify you for the position of reserve goalminder in the Scunthorpe ladies' team."

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Friday. Let's Boogie !

The Airborne Toxic Event - Does This Mean You're Moving On ?

It's a Dog's Life

Behold Your Future Master

The July 14 issue of New York magazine explains why Leona Helmsley's dog, Trouble, is having to survive on $190 grand a year:

Trouble’s annual expenses fall into six (6) general categories: Guardian’s fees, security, grooming, veterinary care, food, and miscellaneous (there was also a one-time cost of transporting Trouble to Florida last September). Pursuant to the Guardianship Agreement, I receive a monthly stipend and the Guardian’s fees total $60,000 per year. Full-time private security for Trouble costs approximately $100,000per year. Grooming fees total approximately $8,000 per year. Veterinary care, based on costs incurred since September 2007 (when Trouble first entered my care), currently costs approximately $2,500 per year, but there will be increased costs of veterinary care associated with the worsening of Trouble’s kidney condition with age, and I estimate that such veterinary costs can be reasonably projected to reach a peak of approximately $18,000 per year. Food costs approximately $1,200 per year, and miscellaneous expenses cost approximately $3,000 per year. These estimated costs (totaling $190,200 per year, including veterinary costs at their peak) are more than sufficient to provide for Trouble’s maintenance and welfare at the highest standards of care, and no more money is needed to maintain that standard. Two million dollars, even if not invested (although I understand it will be invested to yield a reasonable return), would be enough money to pay for Trouble’s maintenance and welfare at the highest standards of care for more than ten years, which is more than twice her reasonably anticipated life expectancy, even taking into account the likelihood of worsening medical conditions, increased veterinary expenses, and any other contingencies.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hold Lefort

A concise and clear summation of the philosophy and career of Claude Lefort here by Miguel Vatter in the form of a review of a collection of Lefort's writings from 1945 to 2005 (in French only, for the time being, sadly).

If I'd Known You Were Coming, I'd Have Baked a Cake (With Razors in)

Edel Coffey brings the clichés on holiday to sunny Bettystown

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Space Race Is On

Arthur C. Clarke astride his chopper

Vs. Lance Armstrong astride Neil Armstrong

John Squire, Eat Your Heart Out

Jackson Pollock's Windscreen (2008)
Acrylic, House Paint, Metallic Paint on Canvas, 48" x 36"
($150,000 o.n.o.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Black Books

If, like me, you have read Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method, Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness, Maurice Merleau-Ponty's The Phenomenology of Perception, and Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology and Dissemination from cover to cover, and all just out of curiosity, then I think it's fair to say that 1: You're a div, 2: You're a div with too much time on your hands, 3: You're none the wiser and 4: You'll know that the only benefit to be derived from the exercise is the chance to impress nobody at all by telling them you've read all that bollocks (and should anyone tell you they have, incidentally, 1: they're a div and 2: the correct response is, "Of course there's no point reading any of those unless you've read the complete works of Edmund Husserl beforehand.")

There's also a 5, however, which is that you could have saved yourself a lot of bother and read Dermot (not Dylan) Moran's book An Introduction to Phenomenology. This is a hefty book in its own right, but you could get through it in a couple of weeks even if you're a slow reader, like I am, and even if your lips move at the same time, because Moran manages to keep the jargon to a minimum, and most of the book is actually spent presenting biographical details of the various phenomenologists (Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Sartre, Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida) rather than plumbing the profundities of phenomenological terminology. Of course, if you're seriously masochistic, you could go to the texts themselves (there are some useful commentaries out there on Being and Nothingness and Heidegger's Being and Time for those who prefer masochism-lite) and you'll find all the abstract theorizing your perverted heart desires. What Moran focuses on doing is putting the Phenomenologists into some sort of context, explaining why it was that Husserl embarked on the project of generating a "science of sciences" in the first place, why and how Heidegger felt Husserl's work fell short as a philosophy and how Heidegger's work fits in with his Nazi sympathies. And unusually for such an introductory text, Moran doesn't pull his punches, either. Sartre's ontology, for instance, is described as embarrassing in its naivety; indeed, Moran doesn't seem to think much of Sartre as a philosopher at all, seeing him as more of a literary figure with a flair for self-promotion, plagiarism, and a nice turn of phrase. On occasion, I found myself thinking, "How odd. An introduction to a subject that actively discourages the reader from delving any further into it. He must really hate phenomenology."

Part of the problem, of course, is that phenomenology is such a difficult philosophy to outline without if those profundities are not plumbed, but even sticking a toe into the water takes the reader into unknown waters. However, it's fair to ask, what layperson in their right mind would be looking for an introductory book on phenomenology? There isn't one. Therefore, it's fair to assume that this is a book aimed at undergraduates and that a small amount of jargon is permissible. All well and good, except that while phenomenology involves a form of introspection that all of us engage in from time to time, the moment the jargon is introduced, the reader is rapidly pulled down a slippery slope with no handrail to hang onto to slow their descent. One piece of jargon leads to another, and to another, and another, all with a dizzying inevitability and with no bottom to the abyss.

Moran very wisely avoids dragging the novice reader into those uncharted waters, but the result is that the reader may well feel (to labour the metaphor) stranded on the beach and not all that much wiser for the paddle. But that doesn't really matter because, as I pointed out at the beginning, reading the original texts will leave you none the wiser either. In the words of Lin Yutang (thanks Stuart!) :

"As for philosophy... the danger is even greater that we lose the feeling of life itself... We really can afford to do without it... I am such a materialist that at any time I would prefer pork to poetry, and would waive a piece of philosophy over a piece of fillet, brown and crisp and garnished with good sauce."

And I don't even like fish.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Edna O'Brien, Paul Muldoon

But don't let that put you off going. On the upside, there's Chris Morris, Dylan Moran, Tony Allen, and The Neath Male Voice Choir.

And who knows. You might even spot Manuel.

"I Can't Talk Now. I'm on the Phone."

Blake Aldridge confuses the opposition.

Find Me A Following, From Altrincham To Timperley

We've Got Colin Little,And We're All Off Our F*****g Tree!

Monday, August 11, 2008

All the News That Matters

No Irish People Living in South Ossetia, reports Sunday Tribune.

Shining Wit

It's what's known as a Spoonerism.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nerban Metrosexual*

I've been cleaning out the guest bedroom over the past couple of days in preparation for the arrival of a fellow Counagoite coming to stay next weekend, and amongst the extremely well-hidden and deeply buried items I uncovered were a set of photos taken on holiday in Turkey about five years back. It was of a fashion show put on for hotel guests to flog them leather coats. The final catwalk presentation included one or two guests. I was very, very drunk at the time. I present these pictures now purely for your amusement and as a warning about the perils of raki.

Perhaps you understand now why they were so well buried.

Someone did buy the coat I was modelling, btw. No commission was forthcoming.

* Nerban Metrosexual. See how many other names for me you can think of.

Friday, August 01, 2008