You’re all racists.

The Telegraph’s Dan Hodges has provoked a storm or possibly stirred up a furore (sorry, stuck with an online thesaurus today) by pointing out that laughing at racist jokes makes people racist.

Controversial stuff.  Now I’m not going to go down the line if splitting hairs over whether nationalistic jokes are racist jokes because they are and I’ve covered that in the past.

But everyone is racist.

Ever tapped a hand on your wallet pocket when passing a particularly swarthy or bearded fellow in the street?

Ever laughed at an Oirish joke?

Ever challenged an Englishman on the behaviour of his country during the colonial past?

Ever tensed up slightly when a chap of another skin hue has glanced at you on a train?

Ever spat in someone’s face because you didn’t like the colour of his skin?

You’re a racist, of one degree or another.

We all are.  Even me and I’ve been subject to at least one of those.

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


Mobile Provider Choice

How do you choose a new mobile provider? I’m out of contract with three and looking.
You ask them, you ask your mates and you do a bit of research.

Data on three is a bit crap at the moment, you move between masts and that data indicator stays on but there’s no data there.  It’s very annoying.  It reestablishes eventually but it’s not great.  And I’ve checked with friends, it’s not me, it’s not my phone, it’s them.  So …

Two Sims, one for me, one for my wife.  We have HTC Ones.  I’ve got the X and she has the V.  We’re happy with them.  They do the job.  I’ve got an otter box for mine and I’m not switching.
She’s a heavier calls user than me, I’m a heavier data user.
We both need to call to the UK, she more than me.  And at least one phone will need data in the UK.  We’ll both be making calls in the UK.  We get over at least twice a year.

So I asked them, simple tweet, outlining requirements. 

O2 came back within an hour, full of friendly info.  I left O2 previously because their smartphone plans were a bit lame but they seem to have stepped up on that front.

Three came back shortly after but went silent when I asked about the data reestablishing issue.

Vodafone and Meteor haven’t bothered.  Maybe they’ve got lots of cash and don’t want mine.

My big concern about O2 is the merger with Three.  If Three’s data is a wee bit shite now, will O2’s go the same way?

And there’s one other concern.  How do these providers perform inside my local.  Meteor never worked there, but they don’t want my money apparently.

So far O2 is looking to be the best of the bunch.  Any thoughts?

Edit: Vodafone respond to a nudge. Interesting plans with a roaming charge similar to O2 but with a little bit more data …


Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


A Haunch Of Venison

So I’ve got a haunch of venison in my freezer.

It’s about 4lb frozen.

What should I do with it?

I’ve also got a large amount of Wicklow lamb.

I’m open to ideas, you see there are only 2 of us and the bambino and once we thaw it we have to cook it before we can refreeze it (we can refreeze it after it’s cooked, right?)

We’ve considered mincing it with some of the lamb and make meat loaf and/or pies.

Does anyone with any chef type proclivities have any ideas?


Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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BBC Weather Hacked On Twitter

Oh those funny Syrians:


The long winter nights must just fly by.

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Newsy


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Gay Marriage: The Hidden Science Danger

There’s a theoretical and imaginary element called marriagium and there’s only a finite amount in the universe. By allowing more people to get married there is less marriagium per marriage and as such people become “less” married.

That’s right, the more people who are married the less married those people who are married become.

Marriagium is next to Narrativium on your periodic table of the elephants.

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Commentariat


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Yeah … Well … Politicians innit?

A great many people seem to have adopted a policy of blaming politicians for everything as a means of abdicating personal responsibility for anything.

Given any situation, any discussion, any thing some people will adopt a position of saying “Oh well it’s politicians.” Then they can not do anything themselves to remedy anything because it’s not their fault.

This personal policy of allocating blame and washing hands is used as displacement by many to avoid action. “Why should I do anything? It’s Politicians hand in hand with the bankers who have created this situation, let them sort it out … the bastards.”

A recipe for idleness and inactivity.

But why should we sit around waiting for someone else to sort out the world? Do we not have abilities ourselves? Do we not have capabilities ourselves?

Is it in my interests to sit around while I blame someone else for the situation I’m in? To some that seems to be an ideal situation. Personally I find that to be an awful state of affairs. I could not sit around idle for that length of time, I can sit around idle for a reasonable length of time (ask my wife) but after a while even I would need to get up and do something.

So … as to the politicians … In Ireland we elect our politicians through a process called “democracy”. What happens is every few years we “elect” these politicians from a number of available “candidates”. Who can be a “candidate”? Anyone? Absolutely anyone who is an Irish citizen. So if you’re an Irish citizen and you think that all politicians are corrupt self-interested bastards in the hands of big business and you can convince others who have the same concerns that you are not one of these miscreants then you could be a candidate and maybe even get elected. You could run as an independent and by being willing to work with other such independents you could work together to turn the country around. That’d just be amazing, wouldn’t it? At this point someone will normally say “Oh well, you can’t trust independents, they won’t work together, you’ll end up with lots of people pulling in different directions.” To such people I ask, if it was you would you want to work together for the greater good or would you want to pull in your own direction? If you were electing an independent would you vote for someone who would pull together or pull in their own direction? If you wouldn’t want to work together, don’t stand. If your candidate wouldn’t want to work together, don’t vote for them. Are you, as part of the electorate, incapable of electing representatives of who would serve the greater good?

As to yourself, outside the direct sphere of politics and elections, what can you do? Could you lobby? Could you represent wider interests through activism and engagement? Could you do something, anything? Would you?

And as to the wider economy … Apparently that’s not your fault either. Apparently there’s no point having any sort of idea of any sort of enterprise because no one will ever trust you to do anything with it. No one will ever invest in you and no bank will ever lend you any money. And is that so surprising if you won’t even have the trust in yourself to try because you’re sitting back and waiting for the government and the politicians you don’t trust to do something?

So have an idea, have a dream, write a business plan, go to the banks, go to investors, try something, do something, because they don’t own your ability to achieve. You own your ability to achieve.

Or would you prefer to just sit around and go “Oh well, it’s not my fault.”


Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Commentariat, Setting The World To Rights


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In view of the various deaths from online bullying it appears that kids (and maybe a few adults) need to be educated on dealing with idiots.

Someone who tries to bully you online is an idiot.
Someone who can’t respond to something you say online without recourse to personal abuse is an idiot.
Someone who down thumbs or otherwise denigrates something you say online without offering any sort of constructive explanation is an idiot.
Someone who, on the basis of no relation with you apart from an online one, tries to act like they “expected better of you” is an idiot.
Someone who spends untold amounts of time trying to wind you up online is an idiot.

Do you care what idiots think of you?  Should that make you change your behaviour or react?  No.  Of course not.  Ignore the idiots.


Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Commentariat


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The Atheists Hymn

To the tune of “To Be A Pilgrim”:

v1. I read a book today
“the God Delusion”
It said that I can say
Religion is illusion
There’s no discouragement
Shall make me once relent
My first avowed Intent
To mock religion.

v2. Who so beset me round
With fairy stories
Do but themselves confound
My obstinacy the more is
No faith shall stay my might
Though I with straw men fight
I’ll tweet all through the night
And mock religion

v3. On Sunday I shall go
To my mum’s for lunch
I shall not mention this
She would not like it
Then Atheism flee away
I’ll fear what she would say
To an avowed intent
To mock religion.


Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Commentariat


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The Irish Are Mystifying

A report today shows that the Traveller community in Ireland has 85% unemployment.  Cue a lot of hate and vitriol from the “settled” community about the travellers.

But the report also shows that the Traveller community is only 0.5% of the population.  It’s like one person in 200 is fair play for being subject to all the hate for the other 199.  How can that ever be acceptable?  Say you lived in a village of 200 people and one person there was the subject of constant hate and abuse.  Would that be OK?  What if you were that person?

But what’s mystifying is this exists within the Irish penchant for taking offence (see various previous blogs.)

the Irish are a people who will on the whole take offence at the drop of a potato … often dragging in this whole “800 years of oppression” nonsense … but given half a chance many of them will turn on the traveller community with a malice that defies understanding … and so the formerly oppressed have become the oppressor… unless …

Unless there’s a reason for this malice.

As travellers this community have avoided the property crash and the extensive negative equity gripping the “settled” community.

Could this be a simple case of jealousy?


Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Commentariat


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Hey Let’s Make Lots Of Little Echo Chambers!

There’s more talk today of the dangers and risks of online bullying, highlighted by Leo Traynor’s troll (Read this blog, seriously, read it) and the recent unfortunate death of another teenager driven to suicide by similar online bullying.

One of the general knee jerk reactions to this is, of course, the removal of anonymous accounts for commenting.  Obviously, I cannot agree with this.

I’ve been online commenting and playing as Damocles for about 20 years and I stand over anything I’ve said or done as Damocles in context in that time.  Including standing over certain people’s xpilot bases and shooting them as they respawn, you deserved it … really you probably did … or I’d been drinking … and let’s be fair we’d all been drinking.

But now people are saying we can’t be anonymous online, and we can’t because some people abuse online anonymity.  Some people also abuse alcohol (I’ve had my moments) … shall we ban alcohol?

So what do we lose if we lose online anonymity and force all accounts to be linked to a readily identifiable person?

We lose the whistle blowers, we lose the ability to ask and discuss without being identified, we lose controversiality, what if you had an embarrassing ailment and you wanted to discuss it without letting people you know in on it (chronic athlete’s foot if you must know)?  We lose, in fact, necessary anonymity.

On controversiality we’d all suffer.  I, for one, know I hold some opinions that others will disagree with.  I also know that some of those people are idiots, often stupid, mindless, violent idiots.  Now, if I say something that I believe to be true, like suggesting as I did this morning that the UK has a duty to retain Northern Ireland as long as the people there indicate by self-determination that they wish to do so, some people might be moved to violence.  If I say this as Damocles what can they do?  Hit a red thumb button, complain at me a bit (to which I’ll respond if their point of debate is of interest) and then move on.  If I do this as a readily identifiable real life person what can they do?  Oh, they can look me up in the phone book.  Great.

So no one would be able to be even a little bit out there because it just takes one idiot with a phone book to over react.

So where would be then?  No debate, no discussion, just lots of little echo chambers with no one daring to speak out.  Again … Great.

Still, what to do about unnecessary anonymity and the trolls and the haters and the bullies?  Well what do we do about them in the real world?  Oh yes, we pursue, prosecute, and censure them and we keep our loved ones alert to the dangers and we protect them and help them.  Let’s do that then.

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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Commentariat


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