Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I am outraged, no fuming at the way the Irish government has trodden their hobnailed muddy boots all over civil liberties and freedom of speech in the last 24 hours. For those not aware of what has happened.Two days ago someone entered the halls of the Irish national gallery and (without permission) hung a nude drawing of the current Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen amongst the other paintings. It took a while before this was noticed and the painting was promptly removed. Big joke, no harm done and all that one would think. WRONG!

The "event" was covered on the national news which showed some of the pictures. They were not offensive insofar a drawing of a naked obese man can be deemed not offensive. There were no grosly distented erect penises or anything of the likes. Just a naked fat bloke.
But great offense was taken in the halls of Dublin castle!
To everyones surprise the national broadcaster RTE last night broadcasted a public apology for covering the story and showing the images.

As if this wasn't enough they also removed all links to the original broadcast from their website. Big brother, police state, thoughtcrimes?
As if this wasn't outrageous, ridiculous and offensive enough the Gardai (Irish police) this morning entered the offices of Today FM, one of Irelands bigger radiobroadcasters, and demanded copies of email they had exchanged with the artist that made the paintings. Apparently they had no warrant, but sure that would be OK, wouldn't it? Audio coverage of this can be heard here.
The government has now also demanded that the Director General (RTE's head honcho) steps down over this as the coverage has caused great offence.

Let's put this in perspective for a minute; after years of mismanaging the country and buggering the collective Irish population the government now feels like they are above & beyond criticism and that they can use the Irish judicial system to surpress political satire?! Offensive? I can think of justified comments on the government that would be a lot more offensive.
Are we going in the direction of Thailand where people get thrown in jail for offending the king?
It would be bad enough if this type of action was supported by legislation but as far as I have been able to ascertain it isn't which shows us that the government is willing to act on an arbritary basis. Cowen was obviously not joking when he said that he: "would run this country the way he saw fit".....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ikea "group-buy" idea...

I am moving house (again) at the moment.
Because of this redecorating the new abode is being considered. As someone who lived on the European continent I have been exposed to the phenomenon that is Ikea. Great furniture etc. at dirt cheap prices. Especially great if you have kids that break stuff at an alarming rate.
Living in Ireland I am now faced with the problem that the nearest Ikea is an 8 hour round trip. Not exactly shopping inducing distances...
So while pondering this over last night I come up with the idea of an Ikea "group buy".
The idea is fairly simple;
We get a large enough number of interested parties, we compile a list of what everyone wants, money gets collected (incl. a small fee for collection) and we drive up in a van/lorry/truck to pick up the items.
Some of it can be dropped of on the way back and for the rest we can decide on a central location for pickup (a lot closer for everyone that Belfast).
I put the idea out on Twitter and got enough positive feedback to take this further.
So what I suggest is that anyone who is interested or who has suggestion just posts this as a comment to this post.
I will then look at all the comments and see if I can organise the whole thing...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

No Tweets today...

I will no longer post my Tweets on this blog and will remove the ones already there until such time that Big brother will stop looking over my shoulder and "penalizing" me for my comments...

04/07/08: Update.
I've received a number of messages from people asking me what this post is all about so I've decided to expand a little on the original message.
I've been (automatically) posting my Twitter messages on this blog using "LoudTwitter".
One of my more recents Tweets included a comment that was slightly critical of an Irish state body. Someone inside that organisation read the comment and took offence. This led to the same organisation pulling the plug on sponsorship that had been promissed for a business networking event that I am organising. Petty really...
I offered to discuss the circumstances of this comment but there was no interest in this.
What's more, since this happened the same IP address from within the same network checks my blog several times a day now. I can only guess why as it is private blog with very irregular postings. Obviously they do not have anything better to do.
What's more; I have never seen any visits from this organisation on my business blog which contains postings that should be a whole lot more interesting.

Anyway, because of the fact that the event that I am organising is aimed at helping start-ups ventures and new entrepreneurs and the fact that any sponsorship would only be used to benefit these parties by providing prizes that will help them to develop their venture, I have decided that rather than persist and maybe cause more damage, I will remove all twitter messages and not post any new ones...

It's a shame but so be it...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sensitive condoms...

This is too good to even comment on:
"A musical condom designed to play louder and faster as lovers reach a climax is to go on sale in Ukraine. Grigoriy Chausovsky, from Zaporozhye, said his condoms came fitted with a special sensor that registers when the condom is put on. It transmits a signal to a miniature speaker in the base of the condom which play a melody.
He told local media: “As the sex becomes more passionate, it registers the increased speed of the movements and plays the melody faster and louder."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Security issues at Shannon airport..

I am a regular visitor at Shannon airport. Either traveling myself or picking up - dropping of people. One thing that surprises me every time I go there is the lack of security.
Now I am not talking about the security inside the airport affecting travellers but rather about the perimeter security.
The airport is surrounded by an industrial estate, fields, a fuel storage facility and water. The only visible security is a little guardhouse manned by (at most) two unarmed airport security staff. Lately that checkpoint has also been unmanned.
I doubt it that there is any covert security.
That leaves a multitude of avenues of attack open to anyone with bad intentions.
Seeing that a large number of US troops travelling to and back from the Middle East make stopovers at Shannon as well as (allegedly) the odd rendition flight and visit by US dignitaries this would make it a high value target.
Now I am not going to outline details here as I do not intend to provide a manual for suicidal idiots. However off the top of my head I can come up with 4-5 possible attack scenarios with an above average probability of success. Combined that with the fact that terrorists nowadays are not too concerned with a escape route or their own survival rate and the tendency to commit suicide attacks that net a single digit number of "kills" and you can see where I am going.
I am sure that with the ERU being deployed in certain areas of nearby Limerick they can spare a few men to carry out a risk analysis and provide adequate perimeter security.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A taxing time...

I recently wrote about my experience being audited by the Irish taxman.
This "story" got a huge amount of exposure and ended up on the front page of the two major Sunday newspapers in Ireland. This was followed by articles in another Irish newspaper on Monday and mentions in a raft of other Irish media (radio, blogs etc.).
The story was even picked up in my homecountry, The Netherlands, and got a similar level of exposure there. It was featured in several newspapers, blogs and on an online radiostation.
In the days following this I was asked by a lot of people if I wasn't afraid of "offending" the taxman. To be honest i was a bit taken aback by all the media exposure but seeing that I was not critical at all of the taxman i expected it to be taken in good spirits.
Obviously I was wrong.....
Yesterday a big brown enveloppe from the Irish revenue Commissioners arrived in my mailbox. It contained a lot of forms and a covering letter. It now turns out that they are auditing my personal finances.
I am expected to produce within the next 21 days:
- Records relating to all my sources of income from 1/1/05 to 31/12/07
- Bank, credit card & loan statements from 1/1/05 to 21/12/07
Now again, let me repeat that I have nothing to hide and am not reluctant to provide this information. However it is a huge pain in the behind and will take up quite some time to collate. These people don't seem to realise that I have other things to do....