Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

U2. Croke Park. Perfecter.

I don't think perfecter is a word. I could also use Cornelius Rabbit of Tang word "favouritest", which isn't a word either.
But simply last night was great. Objectively slightly better than Friday, I think. But I enjoyed Friday more (being in the pit makes a big difference).
Was sitting up in the Cusack stand about 1/3 way down - despite worries about sound, everything was fine.
The setlist included Out of Control in 2nd place, so I was inordinately pleased from then on.
Highlights for me were All I want is you, Streets, Running to Stand Still, Yahweh, City of Blinding Lights, Pride, Mysterious Ways.
Max from Canada guested on Party Girl. I couldn't really see if he was holding a poster requesting to play as Bono said something about advertising or if he answered Bono's random call for a "player".
It was quite funny - Bono asking Edge if he was alright.
Bono made some comment about closing with Vertigo - not playing a new song.
Really tempted to go Monday night - will see how it goes.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

U2. Croke Park. Perfect.

I could leave my review of the concert at that - one word - perfect, but given that I'm fairly verbose I'll expand a little.
Due to lunchbox mixups we didn't actually join the queue until 1.30. One group had just been let in so we were very near the front of that queue. Got the soundcheck - wild horses and vertigo (instead of unos, dos, tres, catorce we got unos, dos, tres, Hill 16 - how rock n' roll is that? ;-) )
After much moving from one queue are to another we got in at about 3.30. Went to straight to the pit and parked ourselves about halfway down pit (in between the 2 arms). 2 of my friends went to check out the merchandise and 2 of us stayed to mind our place. What a futile effort - incredibily rude people just pushed us out of their way - they literally stood in front of us and forced us to walk back. To prevent violence we went back up the pit and stood between the 2 arms, exactly flush with the middle of the stage - it was a great spot as the pit sloped downwards and we were standing on the highest point with a great view.
At 6.10 the Radiators started - despite Cait O'Riordan and their version of their own song "Faithful Departed" which Christy Moore later covered, they were basically rubbish. Snow Patrol came on around 7.15 and played a great set. I have "Final Straw" and don't listen to it much but I would definitely go see them live again.
U2 took the stage at about 8.55 - after about a million Mexican waves which were pretty cool to watch go around the stadium and several balls and frisbees flying around too (got hit in the back of the head with frisbee).
Set list was perfect.
Not much chat from Bono - most of it's here.
Highlights for me were Running to Stand Still, New Year's Day, City of Blinding Lights, Miracle Drug, Love and Peace or Else (where Larry Mullen came down into the crowd with little baby drum kit, which Bono then played - I could see him thinking come on Larry, save me!), Pride, One, Where the Streets have no name and Yahweh. Yes, I know that's most of the concert but it was just one of those nights.
Can't wait for Running to Stand Still (dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi) and Yahweh tonight. Hopefully they'll play Out of Control as well.
Will post tommorrow about the lighting and all the various symbols they used - the lights were just amazing. Best million euros I've ever seen spent on bulbs.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Who's Gonna to Ride your Wild Horses...

More to the point,who's gonna to do my study for me???
Just talked to my so-called friends (aka U2 lunatics) and we are meeting at 12.30 (yes, 12.30 for U2 concert that starts at around 8.30). They are so determined to get into the pit it's madness at this stage. Will have to eat my dinner now as I won't be able to eat later on (the old d'unbelievables joke rings true at the moment - have yer dinner in the morning for a clear run of the day) Will have to do the stereotypical Croke Park lunchbox with a flask of tae and some hang sangides (that's how we say it in Longford - not great on the ol' phonetic spelling)
I don't know what other Irish bloggers are doing about queues but this better be good. I hate queues but don't want to be a loner half way down the pitch.
Anyway - I'll be easy to recognise - I'll be the medical student who's sitting part of her finals in a few days in the queue with the load of books under her arm, her glasses shoved crookedly up her nose with a flask of tea dripping out of my bag, ranting on about differential diagnosis of leukocaria surrounded by a group of people very obviously pretending they've never seen her before in their lives.

Lost Weight on the McDonalds Diet

From National Review Online
Soso Whaley ate at McDonalds for 1 month, lost 10 pounds and 40 cholestrol points.
She originally started her diet after watching Super Size Me. She says "Spurlock asks where "personal responsibility ends and corporate responsibility begins" at the start of his film. As far as I'm concerned personal responsibility for your own life never ends. Besides I don't need some corporation to be "responsible" for me and my actions."
Tech Central Station has some articles on Super Size Me and from different people who lost weight on the McDonalds Diet.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Civic Duty Announcement

In last week's Irish Times ticket Paul McGuinness said that City of Blinding Lights "looks like it's going to be at number two behind that fuckin' Crazy Frog thing. I can't believe Crazy Frog is stopping us having our third number one in a row. It's not going to break my heart, but I am annoyed."
Well it was number 2.
As Bono sings in CoBL, "blessings are not just for the ones who kneel" well, if we , through free market liberal expression and all that, boycott that headache inducing Crazy Frog and buy City of Blinding Lights in bulk we too, can and will be blessed.
Good people of Ireland, buy CoBL and send that Crazy Frog to foot of the charts where he belongs.

More on Billary

From the Independent Women's way I'm going to read the book. Reading that blog post and the linked articles is more than enough.


It's just been one of those days - tried to study ENT (ears, nose and throat); ophthamology (eyes) and obs and gynae (babies and the birds and the bees) and failed on all fronts. Probably something to do with the fact that I'm playing my U2 Slane DVD
on loop supplementing it occasionally with the neccessary additions from the current tour.
I just want the concerts to be over at this stage so I can listen to U2 without a big dirty cloud of guilt hovering over me ever time I recite Bono's chats between songs word for word - guilt that I'm not reading one of the above mentioned subjects.
Got my tickets sorted out through multiple swaps with family and friends - going tommorrow evening with some friends (make that tommorrow morning - they're determined to get into the pit) and Saturday night with my baby sister (she's 15 - her first concert ever). The other sister is going Monday night with my original tickets - an extra one there that might not been given to a friend - she'd better - I can resist everything except temptation and a 3rd U2 concert is just much for my sickly jelly-like will.
Time to get back to the causes of red eyes and prolonged labour.....or maybe I'll just sing and talk all the words to "Out of Control" one last time.....

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Truth About Hillary

I've been hearing a lot about "The Truth About Hillary" by Edward Klein, the new Hillary Clinton expose, from the Conservative Book Club (which I joined because you can buy your first 3 books for $1 each and have never bought anything since and am plagued by both email and snail mail stuff since)
They are particularly fond of reviews which give you a massive list of things that the book they're trying to sell you will tell you.
I'm not a big fan of the Clintons, especially Hilllary, I really really dislike her strident feminism but most of the reasons are hyperbolic claims of "news", that anyone who followed the Clintons at all, already know.
For example -
"Clinton insider: "Hillary never wanted to be a wife. She wanted to be president" Newsflash! - How Hillary faked being scandalized when the Lewinsky story broke
How Hillary knowingly allowed women to be hired that were regarded as "safe" for Bill to have affairs with
How Hillary signed off on all major White House appointments -- including Supreme Court nominees
How Hillary reacted to losing the presidency of her high-school senior class: a foreshadowing
Hillary's pattern of moving to the right -- and then lurching left again when she thinks she's in the clear

but my favourite is -
The New Hillary: how she's remodeling herself as a "God-fearing, church-going Bible reading Democrat from a Southern state" -- and is also "Botoxed to the hilt," according to a physician who knows.....Botox is the opposite to God, Bible and Southern....who'd thunk it??
I don't think I need to buy this one. The take home message is fairly simple - Hillary=bad.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Music on Monday

I've decided to introduce a regular blog post every Monday with a CD or artist I really like and think everybody should listen to.
Given that I either buy or download at least 1 CD a week I should have plenty of material to keep me going.

2 artists to start off on - John Eddie and Maria Taylor.

In keeping with the Springsteen theme of the last few weeks, John Eddie took over from Bruce playing the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Given that I didn't really know who he was, and a friend from New Jersey recommended him to me I decided to start with his last album Who the Hell Is John Eddie? The answer is a straightforward rocker with good song writing and a lot of talent. Some of the songs on the album are very autobiographical - Forty is about his age (and he how he consoles himself that Bruce and the Rolling Stones are older) and Play Some Skynyrd and Shithole Bar are about trying to play original stuff on the small bar circuit. Everything and If You're Here When I Get Back are just excellent rock along songs.

Maria Taylor is well know in certain circles and I came across here via Bright Eyes who does backing on one of the tracks on her debut CD,
I listened to this album for the first time last night - I just took my pyjamas out of the tumble dryer so they were nice and toasty and took out Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband and planned to read for a half hour before going bed. I got so cosy and into Maria Taylor's CD that 6 spins later and much colder PJs, I went to bed after 2am! Which was not a good idea but her CD is. Folky, soulful, fab voice, great arrangements. That said, I might not be dying to play her again in 6 months but it's as good as you're going to get in the delicate female singer songwriter category.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Forget eBay - Get MY U2 tickets! (at face value) has U2 tickets for 200 and 300 euro each - what a scandal! I have a combination of seated tickets for Saturday (1) and Monday (4) night that I want to swap for GA (standing) for Saturday and Friday night - have exams Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and a U2 concert in the middle of them is probably not the greatest idea ever.
Leave a comment if you're interested

In other music stuff - Chris at alt-tag posted a review of Mrs Bruce's (Patti Scialfa) second album - 23rd Street Lullaby. While I like that album a lot, I think her first one is better - Rumble Doll. Baby Don't and As Long As I Can Be With You are great little rocking songs.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Kathy Sinnott on EU stem cells

I got this email from Kathy Sinnott (via a few friends) - It's worth checking out if you disagree with embryo stem cell research.

Public Consultation on proposed EU Commission Regulation on "Tissue Engineering" and "Advanced Therapies" -

The pharmaceutical industry strongly supports the proposed EU regulation, because regulations are legally binding across the EU and the companies would not have to comply with differing regulations (and bans) in Member States in relation to these products.
Serious ethical problems arise in connection with these regulations:
First and foremost, an embryo is a new human being. Embryo therapies including embryo stem cell therapy involve the destruction of new human life.
Secondly, both embryo stem cell therapy and xenotherapy (animal cells used in humans) have shown in trails to carry serious health risks.
Previously the EU Commission has held that decisions concerning the use/non-use of any specific type of human cells, e.g. germ cells and embryonic stem cells, are entirely under the competence of Member States. However, if the use embryo stems cells are included in these regulations then the EU will give recognition to the use of embryonic stem cells in countries like Ireland where it is banned.
The contents of the regulation which will be finalised after the public consultation process are critical to Ireland's right to protect life.
Since the regulation is based on Article 95 (internal market), the danger exists that Member States like Ireland will no longer be able to ban research with embryonic stem cells because it will be allowed across Europe as part of the EU's (open) internal market policy. In this way, embryonic stem cell research would be recognised "through the back door". Remember that Irish Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy is responsible for Internal Market Policy.
In your submission please stress that it has to be absolutely clear that Member States are not forced to accept products which contradict their ethical and legal position.
Also that adult (somatic) stem cell therapies are proving safe and very effective for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, the healing of muscles and organs, etc. Yet ethical adult stem cell research receives little funding. At present embryonic stem cell research which is both unethical and unsuccessful receives 95% of stem cell research funding.


The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, The Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy...

Following on from my previous Lomberg posts, a review of this book "The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, The Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy" from Tech Central Station

The Truth about the Environment

To do justice to Lomberg's arguments check out this article of his from the Economist and the Copenhagen Consensus, a group he's involved with which asks experts to make a world priority list. Note that the environment is at the bottom of the list. Gavin's new enterprise Irish Corruption fits in nicely as number 9 on the priorities list. (I think they mean corruption globally, but corruption fighting, like charity, begins at home)

The Skeptical Environmentalist

I saw Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist in DIT this evening. He was a really good speaker - much younger and more dynamic than I imagined - read the book a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot.
Won't go into his stats (he loves his "sexy graphs") but an interesting point was raised in the questions and answers session that followed his presentation.
The main thrust of his argument is that environmental meltdown is increasingly unlikely (and even if we run out of oil we will have long come up with an alternative and with better agriculture we'll always have lots of food to feed people) and that these decisions come down to a values choice - people or the environment? It's not even that simple a decision, considering that 1 years spend on Kyoto (which will only delay global warming by 6 years) could provide clean water to the 1 billion people worldwide who need it. One lady in the audience couldn't understand this, saying that no one chooses between people and the environment (I got the sense from her that she would have rathered biodiversity instead of people) but simple utilitarian economics dictates that with what little money that is left over from running our countries we must make decisions which do the most good. Bjorn Lomberg favours spending money on such things as HIV/AIDS, starvation, malaria and clean water as they will ultimately do much more good for humans than "saving" the environment, given that the environment isn't really in that bad a shape.
I hope I've done justice to his arguments - it's interesting how one's view of the human person influences everything - if you believe that people are worth something, that they've an unique dignity and the right to something better, saving the 0.07% of species that go extinct every year isn't quite the same priority as fighting HIV/AIDS. Lomberg is a very balanced individual - a vegetarian who would love to do loads of good things for the environment but recognises that our financial resources to change things are limited and wants to do the most good with what's available.
The changes in public policy needed to reflect his common sense attitude will take years and years to come about, given the widespread culture of fear that the various environmentalists work so hard on creating.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 (Holmes from Tom Cruise) - like the way these people think. Followed link to oprah video from Gavin's Blog a while back and this is definitely the most logical next step....... ;-)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Globalisation Girl - the New Feminism

From one my favourite the American think tanks, the Independent Women's Forum - Global Gals is a report on how free trade benefits women and calls on feminist organisations to support the removal of trade barriers as globalisation is a positive force for women.
Can't imagine any of the regular Irish "feminist activists" supporting this, given that most of them speak at events like Marxism 2003 and re-run at Marxism 2004 (Ivana Bacik)!!! Can't access to provide links.
I think I'll just have to set up my own little Irish Independent Women's Forum and do things like fight for female globalisation !!!! (If that makes any sense....)

Was JP2 the Greatest Mass Murderer of the 20th Century?

An excellent article from Tech Central Station by Michael Cook.
Needless to say, the answer is no despite the crazy assertions to the contrary - Cook goes through these flimsy arguments about the Catholic Church's role in the spreading of AIDS with a big stick and loads of facts. And a little bit of common sense as expressed here -
"Two doubtful ideas run through all these criticisms. The first is basically this: African Catholics are so devout that if they have sex outside of marriage, dally with prostitutes or take a third wife, they will piously refrain from using condoms because the Great White Father told them not to. Ms. Toynbee darkly invokes 'the Vatican's deeper power... its personal authority over 1.3 billion worshippers, which is strongest over the poorest, most helpless devotees.'
But she can't have it both ways: these benighted dark-skinned Catholics can't be both too goody-two-shoes to use condoms and too wicked to resist temptation. "

P.S. If Elton John actually wanted to help those with AIDS in Africa he would try to get the Church onside, not ridicule the Pope at the Live 8 press conference, simply because us Catholics don't believe in condoms....Catholicism does not spread AIDS. I like Sacrifice as much as the next person and Tiny Dancer is pretty brilliant song, but Elton John at a press conference telling the Pope is quite simply
"getting more and more absurd" as he sings himself in "Sorry is the hardest word."


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

D stood for distinction - John Kerry

From The Boston Globe - Kerry's grades were about the same as Bush's in Yale despite the fact that we were constantly told last year that Kerry was much brighter than Bush.
Interestingly he never released his academic transcript until now, while Bush was always upfront about his C-studentship.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More Amnesty Bashing

I just can't help myself.
From WSJ's Opinion Journal - Amnesty campaigned for the release of Ahmed Hikmat Shakir who is thought to be an al Qaeda operative who was involved in the USS Cole bombing as well as 9/11.
The article quotes Natan Sharansky (who is on Bush's "reading list") on the Guantanamo Bay-Gulag analogy - " Natan Sharanksy-a man who actually spent time as a Soviet political prisoner-described Amnesty's gulag analogy as 'typical, unfortunately,' for a group that refuses to distinguish 'between democracies where there are sometimes serious violations of human rights and dictatorships where no human rights exist at all.'"


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Amnesty transparency??

From Little Green Footballs - Amnesty head honchos contributed max amount to John Kerry's presidental campaign.
That's not very non-partisan, is it???

(not impressed with anti-Muslim vein of some of the comments on LGF - beside the point as far as Amnesty's bias is concerned)