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WordPress stats are funny May 31, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Have any of my fellow WordPressers ever looked at their statistics page and shuddered ? Try going to your Blog Stats page and checking out the words that people used to find your site … I’m thinking about doing a regular “Answer the lost blogger” type post based on the sometimes alarming but always amusing search criteria used to find the Rambling Man.

Like today for instance …

Somebody wanted to know how to pronounce ‘dopiaza’ which as far as I know is an Indian chicken dish. And I think it’s pronounced “dop-ee-ah-zah” or “doe-py-a-zzzaaa” if you’re from Tipperary.

I get the usual plethora of standard enquiries regarding Trevor Brennan (the world seems to be obsessed by that case), Podge and Rodge phrases and a few of the restaurant reviews I have done.

Today I also got one for “stray cricket ball hitting car” – how in the name of Himself upstairs did that search term lead to me ?

Or the one from last Tuesday that asked about the current address of Carola Häggkvist, who I blogged about in this article … must be some mad people out there …

An old one but a good one May 31, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

Johnny Ryan walks into a pub and orders 3 pints in 3 glasses. He walks to a table, sits down, and drinks each drink one at a time. When he was finished he went up to get 3 more.

The bar man said, “Why do you get three different drinks at a time ?”

Johnny said, “When my two brothers moved away we all promised that every day we would drink a pint for eachother.”

The bar man said, “Jaysis that’s great altogether !”

So Johnny did this for a number of months. But one day he walked in and only ordered two pints. Everybody looked up and bowed their head. When Johnny walked up to the bar man, the bar man said, “I am so sorry about your brother.”

Johnny looked at him and said, “Oh no, tis all right – I’m just off the drink for Lent !”

Phrase of the Day #140 May 30, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“Jaysis, she has a face like a trigonometry problem !”

X² – 3 / ( ½ × 5y) = π, declared as ∞(⅞ – 1y) where y ≥ 2 indeed !

A wee retort (pardon the pun!) May 29, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Poetry & Humor.

I felt I had to put finger to key to retort in a tongue in cheek but nevertheless well meaning response to the latter half of this post by the talented and always entertaining Flirty Something.

It involves a male’s inability to pee all his pee into the toilet bowl and not onto the floor or rim of the loo. The bould Flirty was looking for some sort of an explanation of this …

A couple of things, which I feel I have to mention in defence of all my male peers (pee-ers, geddit ?) should be noted as follows :

1) It doesn’t always come out straight !
A woman has the benefit of sitting down before peeing commences, thus enabling her posterior area to cover the target 100% effectively. The likelihood of spillage is therefore reduced to an absolute minimum.

2) Erm, I don’t quite know how to put this subtly but here goes … if a lad’s lad has a lid, the lid might interfere with a lad’s lad’s trajectory. Conversely lidless lads or more correctly, lidless lad’s lads, are not so directionally challenged. Right, no explanation needed on that one !

3) Bearing in mind point 2, streams can split – rather like the tornadoes one sees in nature programs on National Geographic.  Priority must therefore be given to the stronger stream to ensure it hits the target.  This sometimes happens to the detrement of the aim of the second, weaker stream.

4) The force of gravity and how it effects the perceived “appendage to target” line and flight is proportional to the pee-ers hand to eye coordination or in this case, his hand to lad coordination. So in other words, if he can’t play snooker or catch a ball or is about as accurate with a gun as a delirious ostrich, the lad’s lad will point at a particularly splash back vulnerable part of the toilet i.e. everywhere but the water.

5) Several other outside factors have to be taken into account.
These include, but are by no means limited to, the time it takes to reach the bathroom, the coldness of the day, how much one has imbibed, how “burstin” one is and whether, at the last minute, attention has to be drawn away from readying oneself by having to correctly apportion the toilet accoutrements and seating arrangements.

So there you have it !

A non offensive joke May 28, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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While spoiling a good walk on the golf course recently, one of my playing partners came out with this one liner (well two liner really)

“Did you hear about the Irish homosexual ?”

“He prefers women to drink !”

I thought that was quite clever.

Note : The Rambling Man in no way condones anti-homosexual carry on or indeed anti-drinking carry on, unless we go overboard (who, Irish people ?) and get shitfaced 4 times a week …

The want of a bit of land May 28, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.

The only piece of land I own is my back garden and while it is not of the postage stamp sized variety that comes with most new houses, it will never be the template for a new business or an extended house or even a first rate vegetable garden. Land is something that I’ve always wanted to have a bit of – to call my own. And gardens don’t count.

With this in mind I regularly keep an eye on the property pages of the newspapers and in this motth-urrhn modern technological age, the many property websites that have appeared on the back of the Celtic Tiger. It’s rare you find a good quality property website with photos of the property or bit of land you want clearly displayed – that’s if they have a photo at all. And rarely do you get a website that has quite a comprehensive listing and doesn’t suggest sites and houses in areas that you hadn’t searched on …

But the single thing that has flabbergasted me about the property industry around where I live (and it’s not Dublin, where property is even more expensive) is the astronomical price. It can only be a falsely inflated pricing structure we are living in. I mean, there are sites going on the net around here (a third of an acre site) for upwards of €200,000 ! Two hundred grand for a third of an acre, next to a main road, in the middle of nowhere.

My worry is that if the property bubble bursts, deflates or whatever, will there be hundreds of people left owing the bank for the rest of their lives ? Like my mate who was looking into a driving range business and wanted to get something half manageable within a 10 minute drive of the city – needless to say he fell short when a 12 acre site (most of it marsh) sold recently for €27 million. Say it slowly – twenty seven million euro. Fuck me but thats nuts … the economy is driven by multi-billionaire builders who just buy everything up. The small man will remain just that – small and landless.

So in our look out for a possible and potential new property, it has been impossible to get something half decent (a couple of acres of a site) or a house suiting our needs with an acre minimum for less than 6 to 7 hundred thousand. I mean completely forget about it. What farmers are doing now is selling off low grade land, useless for agriculture, and charging you the worth you’d get if you built a house there and sold it. I think I’ll become an auctioneer – you don’t need any experience, any qualifications and all you do is get the local parish priest to swear you’re a daycent fella – sure what more would you want ?

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Phrase of the Day #138 May 26, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I’ve had lots of kids come up and ask for my autograph, I’ve had a grandmother stop me and ask me if I know a good place to buy underwear.”

– Mixing with the plebs is not lost on Britain’s Prince William

There’s fierce violence lately May 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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I’ve nothing much to say today … I can’t be arsed giving out about the election any more because Fianna Fáil are running away with it and it depresses me. So here I sit and watch the clock tick away until 4-45pm until I can make like a tree and get out of here.

What else is happening these days around the world ? There sure is some fierce violence going on about the planet this last week …

Like the situation in Northern Lebanon with fighting breaking out all over the place. Fatah al-Islam (an Islamist militant group) are killing people in the name of their religion and trying to impose Sharia law on the refugee camps in that area of the world …

More kidnappings of oil workers have taken place in Nigeria with 2 Brits, 3 Americans and a South African being nabbed there today. A quote on this Sky News report says “There is widespread resentment in the area that billions of dollars worth of oil has been extracted but most people remain in poverty.” No shit ! And still they cannot see why stuff like this happens ?

The North Koreans (the DPRK) are apparently launching test missiles over the Sea of Japan so God knows what’ll happen there. These are the crazy people who have a dead man as their “Eternal President” … and I’m sure the US will get themselves involved at some stage or another, although there were 2 crows fighting over a bread crust this morning in my garden and I’ve yet to be informed of their policy on same.

The US government has approved US $120 billion for the ‘war of against terror’, making sure that the killing will stop and they’ll all live peacefully and harmoniously in their freshly imposed democracy and the US troops won’t get home sometime before 2010.

People to kick the bucket recently were the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands , Michael Lunt, the captain of St.Andrew’s Golf Club and Peggy Ryan, the former postmistress and famous swallower of gallons of gin, who was from my village.

All in all lads, tis utter misery – but at least it’s not raining and I can go play golf.

Phrase of the Day #137 May 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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We have a saying down here (and I’m sure it’s elsewhere too) that someone can be a ‘hungry’ so and so … it doesn’t mean that they yearn for a batter burger and taco chips (my God !) but that they are more than a tad stingy ! So it was with great gusto that I laughed at today’s POTD … enjoy

“He’s such a hungry bastard, he’d make his will out to himself !”

Take a deep breath May 24, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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A tortoise is walking down the street when he’s mugged by a gang of snails. They take everything but his shell.

The police come and ask him what happened. He replies: “I don’t really know… It all happened so fast.”

– corny as hell but you gotta love it … thanks to the brilliantly named “Bingo Caller of Love” for this one.

Some useful websites May 24, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Just a few link shout-outs to some sites that are worth a browse :

www.donedeal.ie – a classified ads site that seems to have a fair amount of stuff on it. Advertise for as little as €3 a go.

Never be short of a convincing technical excuse again, with the brilliant “Bastard DIY Excuse Board” …

Ruby on Rails – open source web development environment that looks cool, acts cool and delivers great results.

www.baby.ie – Ireland’s largest online baby store – everything from buggies to clothes …

Free access to newspapers from all around the world, digitally on your desktop. This site shows you the actual paper, not a website version of it.

Cam Ireland – great deals on digital cameras and equipment and they ship to and from Ireland !

Overheard at a dinner party May 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

I overheard this at a recent dinner party and have come to the conclusion that every man, woman and eligible voter in this country should vote for Bertie, to teach ourselves a lesson …

One lad : “I think I’ll vote for Bertie. I feel really sorry for him the way he was treated after he got caught with all that dodgy money ! Sure if he takes out a bit on the side, doesn’t he put more back into the country …”

The other lad: “Yeah me too. Sure they’re all at it – he was just the one that got caught !”

Examine that for a second – the words “feel sorry for him” and “caught with dodgy money” come out in the one sentence and are seen as OK and justified. Are we goddamn politically illiterate or what ? The fact that he “puts something back ” doesn’t f*cking make the fact that he took something out OK !

I’ll tell you something people, politicians may all be equally as bad as each other, but if that crowd of thieving f*ckers in the Dáil get back in come Friday, we’ll well and truly deserve it ! We love complaining about them but can’t bring ourselves to change the government.

Phrase of the Day #136 May 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.”
Hoo yah to Mark Twain.

China – animal rights and wrongs May 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in World Affairs.

I was quite shocked this morning to see a Sky news report on the disgraceful treatment of animals in some Chinese zoos. The report (and we were adequately warned) was quite graphic and showed the Chinese visitors and zoo keepers alike delighting in the live animal baiting where several huge Siberian tigers lazily attacked their live prey.

Picture the scene – at least 6 lazy and overweight tigers, fat from not having to run for their food suddenly perk up when they see the blue van roll into view. The van has to move through a circle of Chinese buses, crammed with camcorder toting tourists. They are as eager as the tigers – they can smell a kill. The trap door on the van pops open and a live cow pops out, looking dazed and confused. It is short-lived as two of the tigers pounce on it dragging it to the ground with two more jumping on its back as it tries in vain to run away. The crowd cheers and the cow moans its last breath, as excited fathers show their sons what life in the wild is really like …

The buses circle further, vending live poultry and small animals through openings in the side. The tigers chase the buses knowing that more food is on it’s way. One Chinese man, eager to show his new found spending power, pays the $10 to throw a live duck out the window to a waiting cat. Squeals of nervous excitement fill the air; squeals of death emanate from the bird – the women are impressed, the men brave.

The report cuts to Sky’s man on the bus – shocked as much by what he has seen outside as by the crazy, bloodthirsty attitude on the buses. The zoo keepers stop briefly to attach the still kicking carcass of the cow to a rope and hitch the rope to their truck. They speed off with the tigers in pursuit, honing their latent and long forgotten skills trying to paw meat from rope. Later we see a monkey so institutionalised that he continuously beats his head off a nearby tree. And a tigress who repeatedly walks up and down her cage all day long to relieve the deadening boredom … I could go on …

I was sickened. But also realistic. This is obviously perfectly acceptable in China and people pay good money to see it. What is acceptable to you and me, may not (and often is not) to him and her. And vice versa. What maddened me was the joy the parents took in pointing out the cow’s last desperate moments to their chattering children. “Look honey, did you see how that brave tiger tore the flesh from that silly cow’s neck with his teeth ?” Meanwhile the cow bleeds to death while other animals tear at its hind quarters. More cheering. A family day out, Beijing style.

If this is modern China, then you can have it. You have to know you have a problem before you can solve it and what country will be the first to say it to them ? What would the reaction be ?

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Green eyed dog May 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

We currently have a bit of a dilemma with the biggest baby in our house – the dog !
She’s a lovely, timid old thing who was rescued by us from the pound and had been badly treated and abused. It was a pleasure for us to watch her gradually come out of herself and become just a dog.

Then last October when the new arrival came on the scene, the poor old dog plummeted down the food chain. We did everything we could to try and ease the transition, knowing that in a few years when the child can throw a ball for the dog, all would be well with the world. The tennis ball is the dog’s world ! But that is 1 and half years away …

Does anyone know what we can do with a dog who is so jealous of the baby that when the baby is playing on the floor, the dog will sit with its back to her and if Mum or Dad even do so much as coochie-coochie-coo at the baby, the dog is in our face, jumping madly about as if to say “Look at me ! I’m here too !” It’s getting so bad now the wife is afraid she’ll trip over the dog while holding the baby because she’s constantly under our feet and never seems to be able to rest.

We feel so sorry for the dog – no amount of praise, introductions, treats, playing with the baby and the dog together etc. will calm her. She’s confused by the fact that we now use the same tones and actions towards the real baby as we once did towards her. We spoiled the dog when we first got her because of how badly she had been treated. In fact, it was so bad that the poor dog rooted in the bins for the first week so unused to being fed regularly was she.

Anyone got any ideas ? It’s breaking our hearts – and to make matters worse, the baby thinks the dog is the best thing EVER !!

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Cutty Sark ruined by fire May 21, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in World Affairs.
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This is a sad story – the Cutty Sark, one of the very few genuine tea clipper ships remaining intact, was this morning destroyed by fire.  Police are treating the incident as suspicious …

Read more here … 

A great start to the day May 21, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

My day, nay my week, got off to a wonderfully comic start this morning and proves a point that some stuff you just couldn’t make up.

Picture the scene … I’m waiting at the kerbside outside the childminder’s house because it’s a small bit too early to land the child on her when I get a knock on the window of my car.

An decrepid looking old woman, at least 90 years of age and fresh from having been dragged through a hedge backwards, hobbles up beside me with a hot water bottle and asks me to take the top off it. “No problem ma’am” says I, and duly take the top off the water bottle. “Thanks very much” says she and turns slowly on her heels and heads off. I didn’t pay much attention until I caught a glimpse of her in the rear view mirror … I hadn’t noticed the bright pink and black Playboy pyjama bottoms she was semi wearing !! What a sight …

At least 90 …

Steve Davis advert May 21, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

You know the one … “In 1984 I won the World Snooker Championship. Then in 1985 I won the World Snooker Championship and then to everyone’s surprise in 1986, I won the World Snooker Championship …”

OK so we get it, as the advert says, “being predictable can sometimes be good” but after listening to Davis talk with the monotony of a Friday evening Dáil debate, does anyone know what the jaysis ad is for ? If there ever was an example of an advert making me snooze the minute it comes on, then this is it. Davis spends more time talking than does the person from the bank – the fact that it’s for a bank we only find out in the last 10 seconds.

Somebody up in (insert name of company here because I’ve forgotten) is having a toffee crisp …

Phrase of the Day #135 May 20, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

W. Edwards Deming

Unsung Irish : Annie Moore May 19, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in The Unsung Irish.

Annie Moore from west Cork, was the first emigrant to pass through the then newly constructed Ellis Island landing facility in New York in the year 1892. Annie, born in 1877, turned 15 the day she arrived and with her brothers Phillip and Anthony, travelled to meet with her parents who had already settled in Manhattan.

Having made the arduous 12 day journey from Cobh (then named Queenstown) in Co.Cork on a steamship called the SS Nevada, she became the first emigrant to be registered at the centre. She was presented with a $10 gold coin to mark the occasion. I can’t help wondering what she made of it all at such a young age.

Moore married and had some 11 children before dying at the early age of 46. The fact that the girl was the first emigrant through the gates of Ellis Island, which served as a monument to freedom for so many refugees and emigrants seeking a new life, ended up as her legacy. Two statues stand in her memory at the start and end points of her historic but oft repeated journey (Ellis Island and Cobh harbour) – a girl picked out among so many and remembered.

Her story is fictionalised for children by author Eithne Loughrey, who wrote a trilogy of books about her.

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Phrase of the Day #134 May 18, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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BLAMESTORMING : Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

With thanks to here.

To the Ocean Wild May 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

To the Ocean Wild

for my late father, by the Rambling Man
(written only today)

Under a keel that bore the weight of a treasured ship
is how I remember you;
happiest while freeing planks of last year’s paint;
In old jeans and a splattered cap and a shirt past it’s best
you call to me for water or turpentine or some damn thing

I see you rise, red faced, from both sun and toil
and watch your failing limbs climb carefully the homemade steps
and we crank the engine, me never knowing when to let the lever go.

You are gone now and so is she … to the Ocean Wild
wherever you sail I hope that she is with you;
your treasured ship – and me.

Joe Gamble called up to Irish squad May 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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8 times U-21 capped Joe Gamble (25), from Cork City F.C., has been called up to the Irish senior football squad for their imminent tour to the US.  Great to see a League of Ireland player being called up but given the non-importance of the matches against Ecuador and Bolivia, I don’t see why more Ireland based players have not been given a chance.

This coupled with the fact that so many of the young UK based lads who were originally called up have had to withdraw and many others we simply hadn’t heard of.  Best of luck to Joe and the rest of them.  I still think Stan’s a management catastrophe and an eejit though.

Phrase of the Day #133 May 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

ASSMOSIS : The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

With thanks to here.

Secularism in Europe May 16, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in World Affairs.

My interest in world religions and the effects of said religions on the states in which they are practised has been stoked recently by events in Turkey. Turkey is a secular state, meaning it is officially neutral on matters of religion and neither supports or opposes any one religious belief or another. It also has no state religion although de facto, 97% of people in Turkey are Muslim. A similar situation exists in Ireland where we are officially a secular state but on the ground, one religion is bigger than the rest of them.

Turkey has recently had the beginnings of a presidential election, which now, due to protests and lack of a quorum from the parliamentary members in its vote, has been put on hold. To cut a long story short, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was the sole candidate but twice failed to achieve the two-thirds majority of votes needed to become president. Turks have been protesting in their millions about this election because they fear the ruling Justice and Development Party will attempt to change Turkey’s strongly secular background in favour of a more extreme Islamist outlook.

So there is currently no presidential candidate and therefore a new parliament, with a general election to be held in July, will later choose one. Polls indicate that the ruling party is losing a lot of ground to its opposition …

Anyhoo, my interest was caught by an interesting map in WikiPedia which showed secular states all over the world. One notable exception was the UK with another being Norway. It never struck me that, for example, Church of England was the state church of the UK with the monarch at its head. The incoming regent must swear to uphold that state faith (C of E) and that coupled with places reserved in the House of Lords for clergymen means the UK is not a secular state. An interesting point and one that I didn’t know.

The contrast of the UK then, with other non-secular states like Iran and Pakistan is interesting as one tends to associate non-secular states with extremism … something the Vicar of Dibley wouldn’t be too into, I’d wager !

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