Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Home / About / Archive

USIT liquidating

USIT have gone into liquidation.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot today. Money matters worry me. The more I add things up, the more I realise it’s going to cost me a hell of a lot to go to Vancouver this summer for an expedition that may only last three or four weeks. The more I weigh things up, the more I think about pulling out.

On Japan

For some reason, Japanese culture has interested me for a long time. Maybe it was Jushin Liger that did it for me….

But anyway, as a result it’s no surprise that this page kept me rapt with attention (c/o 13 Labs).

Mugabe bad, very bad

As far as I’m concerned, in this situation anyway, condemnation just isn’t enough unless you have the action to back it up. It seems to me that the Commonwealth is prepared let Mugabe get away with a lot of bad shit before they do anything substantial.

More suspicions

The more I see articles like this, whether they tell the whole story or not, the more suspicious I get.

Suspicions

So, it seems I was right to be suspicious after all: even Colin Powell, who hasn’t got the cleanest track record in human rights, wants the US government to change its position regarding the detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

New World Order

The nWo is back.

It’s about time the WWF started doing something interesting. I’m rubbing my hands with glee!

There seems to be a lot of speculation as to who will be a part of the group (the names Nash, Hall, even Hogan are being bandied around; and ‘Mr. Perfect’ Curt Hennig, a former nWo member, returned at the Rumble), and also whether it will be just another invading force (like WCW was last year), or a stand-alone promotion, like WCW was supposed to be.

One of the main problems with WCW’s failure was that the WWF fanbase, for the most part, resented and detested the name and the brand. However, the nWo was always a cross-over hit: fans at WWF shows can still be spotted wearing the classic black-and-white nWo t-shirt today. Maybe it was because they were bad, they were the outlaws, the iconoclasts that the WWF fans would like to be.

I guess it’s gonna make for some pretty good television.

Friday Five #3

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What cologne or perfume do you wear?

Don’t wear cologne. A good anti-perspirant (Sure, of course) is enough for me.

2. What cologne or perfume do you like best on the opposite sex?

Well I’m not up on the brands or anything so I’ll generalise: I don’t like anything that’s too strong. Subtle fragrance gets my attention.

3. What one smell can you not stomach?

Rotten eggs. Cabbage. Poo. Need I go on?

4. What smell do you like that others might consider weird?

I can’t really answer this….. I don’t know what other people would consider weird.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend?

Yet again, my Post-Kant essay, plus I have that tutorial presentation to prepare. Luckily I got about 99% (update: now 100%, after a bit of debugging) of my DTD done for my XML class.

Jesus do I sound boring.

The idiot factor

The mere existence of this is further proof that 90% of the world’s population are idiots.

Even more on Camp X-Ray

On the hot topic of the detainees in Cuba: I’ve been mulling over this a lot since yesterday, taking in arguments from both corners, regretting to an extent my ‘outburst’ yesterday afternoon (it’s not something I’d want to use as an argument in a debate, anyway), but one thing has stuck in my mind.

Why did the US govermnent release those particular photos of Camp X-Ray? I mean, they can’t be that naive as to expect no reaction from the rest of the world, particularly their supposed British allies. I keep hearing the same excuse, sorry ‘explanation’, that the photos were taken just after their arrival at the camp and were not an accurate reflection of their current or continual condition (whatever that’s supposed to mean). But that still begs the question, why those photos? It is a blatant attempt to bait the liberal media into some sort of moralistic mud-slinging match? And if so, why? Shouldn’t they be trying to rally everyone behind their cause, rather than encourage the rest of the world to be suspicious of their motives? The clandestine activities surrounding the Camp X-Ray situation (the name alone is too creepy) aren’t going to help.

I just checked the Fox News website (I won’t link to it, ’cause I think they’re right wing scumbags), and their front page barely even mentions the camp conditions. There’s one link that mentions Blair defends the camp (the BBC puts it more specifically; according to the official spokesman of the PM, as far as the captive Britons are concerned, there are no complaints about their treatment), and another that states simply that Rumsfeld says ‘camp is just’. ‘Just’ can be an ambiguous word, Donald, and I’m not sure your idea of just would fit in with everyone else’s.

I think it’s a safe bet to remain firmly cyncial for the moment.

More on Camp X-Ray

The whole situation – the contrivances of the US government’s handling of Afghani prisoners in Cuba – smacks of Old Testament-style eye-for-an-eye retribution. Call me cynical, but there is no way I would ever believe any ‘official’ report pertaining to it.

I watched Newsnight on Friday, where the main story was the US allowing the Red Cross into the camp at Guantanamo Bay, but under the condition that the results of their investigation remain confidential. I mean, that’s a Catch-22 situation for the Red Cross: whatever their recommendations, the military can just shrug them off and they won’t be able to do diddly squat about it. And it’s not like anyone will find out about it, ’cause it’s all confidential! How convenient.

And just a short while ago I watched an interview on Sky News with a ‘terrorism expert’ named Larry Johnson, who was asked about the controversy surrounding the images of the camp that have been released. He first went on some wild tangent talking about things that weren’t even relevant or pertaining to the inquiry (people being held up on hooks, etc, really embelleshing the Wizard of Id imagery). He was stopped in his tracks by the Sky anchor, whose name I seem to have forgotten, and asked specificaly about the masks, the gloves, the earmuffs, the blacked-out goggles. This question was totally dismissed by Johnson, who retorted quite venomously to the effect (for me) that us Europeans are nothing more than namby-pamby bleeding-heart liberals.

Sure, many of the prisoners in Cuba may well be highly dangerous (a defense of sorts for the apparent sensory deprivation techniques being used) but I’m sure that US soldiers were considered highly dangerous to the Viet Cong back in the ’60’s and ’70’s, or to the Japanese back in World War II.

On Camp X-Ray

If this happened to Americans – any Americans, regardless of what they were doing – held captive in Afghanistan, nobody would stand for it. So how can they get away with it themselves?

Is journalistic integrity a thing of the past?

From Poynter:

CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson sent a memo to his staff asking them to downplay Afghan civilian casualties, saying it was “perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan” and demanding that when viewers see civilian suffering in Afghanistan, “it’s in the context of a terrorist attack that caused enormous suffering in the United States.” That is, take sides and bury bad news.

A very interesting article here by Andrew Stroehlein, c/o onfocus. Some might argue that it’s never been the case, but it seems to me that the integrity of mainstream journalism in the United States doesn’t exist anymore.

Friday Five #2

Friday Five #2:

1. What do you have your browser start page set to?

A blank page. Minimalism, you see.

2. What are your favourite news sites?

I’ve been visiting the Guardian website a lot recently. I can’t believe I only started reading it (the paper, that is, not the website) last September. To be honest, though, I usually get my news from the television, or the Evening Herald, then follow it up online if need be.

3. Favourite search engine?

Google (isn’t it everyone’s?). I’ve been using it since 1999. I sometimes use Dogpile too.

4. When did you first get online?

The end of 1998, athough I didn’t really get into it for ages, until after I joined the Watt list and started the website.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend?

Same as last week: working on my Post-Kant essay. Except this weekend I’ll actually get some stuff down on paper. I also plan to feel better than I have been the last couple of days; that is, if you can plan such things.

Bloody Sunday

I just followed a link on Mat’s blog and it inadventently led me to this.

Well, I mean, the Tories have a vested interest so of course they would denounce it as Irish propaganda, but the fact of the matter is the British Army fucked up big time that day, whatever actually happened, and while arguments made by some Republicans that Bloody Sunday directly led to over 30 years (and counting) of unrest don’t hold water – the situation was such that the Troubles would have happened anyway – there’s no question that it was a catalyst, maybe the catalyst.

There was a piece about this in the Guardian earlier this week by Mark Lawson that tells it better than I could right now. Lawson also makes a particularly valid point about this film potentially being taken as gospel, which of course it shouldn’t, but middle America doesn’t really have a history of reading between the lines.

Frustration

A 20 year old postman, Daniel McColgan, was shot dead on Saturday morning by Protestant paramilitaries (namely, the UDA, a worthless gaggle of cowards if there ever was one) simply because he was Catholic. In response, the Communication Workers Union called for a suspension of all postal services in the North as a mark of respect, and hopefully to persuade the politicians to stop faffing about and actually get some work done.

It happens all the time, it has been happening for years, I almost felt completely apathetic to the situation since it’s never going to end – well, not in my lifetime – as long as blindly self-righteous attitudes prevail. But this one got to me, I don’t know why.

Maybe it was after reading this in today’s Guardian, a quote from the South Belfast UDA commander (an anonymous coward, obviously, who confirmed that the postman’s death was simply a warning to republicans) following talk of further threats against Catholic postal workers and teachers:

“The UDA is not backing threats against teachers,” he said. “This is in no way a return to war. It’s about the frustration loyalists are feeling.”

Er, excuse me? Frustration? What fucking frustration? I, as someone brought up a Catholic but not religious, have never felt the need to go out and shoot a Protestant. I couldn’t understand how anyone would, and I would certainly never endorse it. But you, Mr. Coward, you would effectlively endorse the shooting (and murder) of a Catholic, out of frustration? More like a blatant attempt to scare the Catholic republican community into total submission.

Ladies and gentlemen, as long as fuckheads like this exist (and there are thousands of them, on both sides), the world will never be a safe place.

Ninjas are totally awesome

I can’t remember how I found this site, but it has to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

A sample:

Q: I heard that ninjas are always cruel or mean. What’s their problem?
A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like other mammals, ninjas can be mean OR totally awesome.

Friday Five #1

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What was your first job?

I had a paper round once a week from the autumn of 1992 through till just a few years ago (I can’t remember now exactly when I finished). My first ‘proper’ job was at the local multiplex cinema in the summer of 1999, when The Phantom Menace opened. I did good work, but they didn’t seem to recognise it till I told them I was leaving that Christmas. I left, then went back for a month the following summer (I was broke) before I got the job at the large music store.

2. How old were you when you had your first kiss?

Geez this is a bit childish, isn’t it? But I suppose I must answer; I haven’t had a kiss yet that is worth remembering.

3. What was your first car? What happened to it?

I don’t have a car, I don’t have a licence and I can’t drive. But if I did have a car I’d probably still have it since cars are too expensive to simply dispose of after a few years. That’s the same reason I’m still using this crappy computer.

4. What was your first concert?

I think it was Watercress at the Mean Fiddler in August 1998. I didn’t go for the music, it was someone’s birthday. I was never a big gig-goer until I went to college, so I missed lots of really good stuff, like Fugazi in the summer of ’99 (still kicking myself over that one).

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend?

I have an essay on post-Kantian German philosophy to work on. Not very exciting, I know.

Google Art

This is an interesting concept. I may try it out myself at the weekend.

Mulholland Drive to South Park

Just got back a while ago from Mulholland Drive at the IFC. I enjoyed it, which surprised me, it being a David Lynch and all. But as we were on our way home, Dave seemed to crack it (the plot, that is) and now we understand. We think. Does it matter?

And right now South Park just finished. It was a good one, a satire on organised Christianity. Cartman became a preacher. It’s funnier than it seems from my telling of it. I used to really like South Park when it started. Then it seemed like everyone in the country was watching it and I thought it was shite. But now that everyone seems to have forgotten about it (drawn in by the hype, realised just how crude it really is) I started watching it again recently, and it’s actually quite good now.

The thing about the Euro

I really should have mentioned something about this, seeing as it’s a signifigant occurance, but I’m just a tad non-plussed about the euro. Sure, we’ve got funky new banknotes and coins, and everything seems more expensive than before (even though it also seems that we’re making more money), but it doesn’t feel like that much of a deal to me. It’s just money after all, does it really matter what it’s called or what it looks like?

In fact, the only problem I have with it is that some of the coins are quite small compared to what we had before (the one cent coin is like an old French centime piece, not a sturdy, robust coin like the penny), and the five cent coin is copper when it should be silver, or gold, or whatever, but not copper.

And another thing is the dual pricing mechanism that will remain in place for another four weeks. I keep noticing the punt price first. If only the euro price was displayed, I wouldn’t be so confused. It’d help me adjust to the value of things more smoothly.

Other than that, it’s grand. It’s not like I was attached to the punt. In fact, all my punt currency is gone now. And we’ve only had the euro since Tuesday.

It is interesting to see other, fellow Europeans’ reactions though. The Euro is something completely different for most of them, especially the Italians (who seem to be absent from this piece).

Here’s another link on the topic. (You’ll need Flash for this one.)