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

Date: March 2016

Elsewhere: My Goodreads review of My Life In Wrestling … With A Little Help From My Friends by Gary Hart

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

“Now – I’m not down on wrestling fans, but fans don’t know what they want. They shouldn’t know. That’s not their job. Their job is to come and be entertained – and hopefully be tricked – so they’re elated with adrenaline rushing through their body.”

Now there’s a distinct whiff of bullshit from many of Gary Hart’s words in this memoir of his life and times as a wrestling manager in the territory days, and later in the Crockett/Turner NWA. It’s impossible to escape the notion that the reader is constantly being worked, as he contradicts himself from page to page as the circumstances demand.

But every now and then there’s a glimpse of wisdom that stands out for its crystal clarity. And it’s those, as well as the general entertainment value of reading Hart tell his stories no matter how much he might be kayfabing you, that make this worth seeking out for any dyed-in-the-wool wrestling fan.

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy

Modern 'American' comedy, as the compilers make clear in their intro, which is a shame because British comedy of a certain era has been just as influential on American humour than their own legacy. #link

Everyone’s offended these days

This is an important blog post, on how even web natives (individuals and services alike) aren't keeping up with the shifting manifestations of harassment online. #link

The Great Wight Hope

David Bixenspan on The Big Show's ill-fated foray into boxing, one that appears to have come at a serious cost to his health. (And Hulk Hogan's involved? Why does that not surprise me?) #link

How the WWE Is Taking Concussions Seriously

But are they really? I could make a decent-sized list off the top of my head of active roster talent who'd likely find themselves in the 'at risk' group if they were tested to the same rigorous degree. And that's the real problem. WWE needs an off-season, but achieving that will be difficult, requiring significant changes to its live touring business. #link

From alright to zap: an A-Z of horrible words

Alright! This is great stuff, even if it's permissive of misheard word-manglings that annoy me so. But perhaps the bigger takeaway is that so much grammar pedantry seems to revolve around a general misapprehension of the concept of metaphors, or satire (take 'guesstimate', which I've always taken to be poking fun at the puffed-up, self-delusional business-world redefinition of a 'guess', whether educated or not, as an 'estimate', with all the mental labour rigour that implies.) #link


The Simpsons screencap search engine (and image macro maker) we've all been waiting for. #link

Why Wrestling Matters

Despite dwindling TV ratings and PPV buy rates, wrestling -- or to be more specific, WWE -- has never been more popular. It's simply suffering from the same changes affecting all media: the surplus of choice and the shifting of platforms. #link

The Second Act of CM Punk

Kind of a loaded interview, and I can see why Punk got upset: would any other fighter be asked about being intimidated in the octagon? Most likely not, because the default assumption is that they're serious athletes who are only there because they're tough enough. But a pro wrestler? That shit's fake, right? #link

WWE's Sexism Problem Is Just Getting Worse

Getting worse because the history is becoming more visible, yes. I don't think Vince gives a shit one way or the other, though; he just goes along with Kevin Dunn's (alleged) misogyny. #link

Why the calorie is broken

Because, in short, some calories are different from others; our bodies are more discerning about how they break down the things we eat than food science long gave them credit for. Anecdotally, it makes sense to me: I've been eating more protein and even more (brown) carbs since the start of the year, but less sugar. Same amount of calories as before, give or take a few, but my weight loss has been much easier. #link

One Hundred Years of Arm Bars

Amid what's an engrossing dissection of the Gracie clan's history and hubris, containing lots of remarkable trivia (did you know the family can trace itself to the New York mayor's official residence?), this choice insight into the minds of elite MMA athletes: "The experience of raw, knee-trembling, paralyzing fear is not what separates great champions from average competitors. Rather, what distinguishes the best fighters is the ability to recognize the exact size and texture of every grain of fear and feel it fully and discretely, while also functioning physically at an elite level. Because fighters are obliged to live with a maximal amount of crippling fear to gain an advantage over their opponents, they rarely seem heroic in the lead-up to a fight." #link

Kevin Drumm on Bandcamp

The noise musician's page for his prolific self-release catalogue. Bit expensive for digital vanity projects, mind. #link

Heavy Metal Be-Bop

Interviews about jazz and heavy metal by Hank Shteamer, the man behind the recent Craw reissues (which are fabulous, by the way, and I'd have a physical copy if I could afford one). #link

William Gibson on the individual, and other things

"We do tend to have this unexamined assumption that the individual is a huge fucking deal. Because it feels to use that we are. Because our neurological equipment seems to demonstrate to each of us that we are quite obviously the exact center of the universe. Just as we are all, subjectively, politically quite sensibly centrist. The key to racism is that racists literally don’t know they are. They think it’s a specious category invented to shame them for simply being sensible." [c/o LinkMachineGo] #link

The Day the Music Died: Linda Kite in Her Own Words

D Boon's fiancée shares her story of that fateful night 30 years ago. This is from over a year ago but I only saw it via a tweet recently; some relief that no individual was to blame for what happened, though that was never what mattered. #link

Elsewhere: My Letterboxd reviews of The Hallow, 22 Jump Street and Sing Street

The Hallow, reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

Alas, The Hallow. Yet again we have a film where the germ of a good idea – in this case a uniquely frightening take on Irish folklore – is rendered sterile by uninspired execution. Apart from a couple of delightfully gruesome set-pieces, this arboreal horror does little new with the mish-mash of tropes it so liberally employs, nor the scares it so brazenly steals.


St Patrick's Day: some helpful facts and figures

The Guardian runs the data on our national holiday. But I do have to point out, about the Irish language thing: that's most likely a case of unreliable reporting based on wishful thinking, as there is no way 40% of the country can speak Irish with any fluency. I know I certainly can't. The language is taught so badly in schools that unless you grow up in an Irish-speaking environment (and I do have friends who speak as Gaeilge at home and elsewhere) it simply won't stick. #link

6 Ways To Be A Better Nerd In 2016

I'm constantly amazed by the lack of self-awareness or self-reflection among the so-called 'geek' communities. Which is to say, I'm not sure the message of this article would get through to those who need it most. #link

Why Are So Few Film Critics Female?

There's no good reason for it, other than the usual institutional biases. (Although, from personal experience I think things are more balanced on this side of the pond; often plenty of women at the press screenings I attend, for instance, though not exactly gender parity, I'll grant.) #link

Aurora Forecast

Real-time mapping of aurora activity, which may give a heads up if it stretches down to Ireland as it did a couple of times recently (and which I missed, boo). #link

The Darkness Before the Right

On the 'Dark Enlightenment' political philosophy of Nick Land. Which is a contraction in terms, so you know the rest will make a whole lot of sense, eh? (File under 'ubermensch bullshit'.) #link

The 2015 Good Gift Games

Another fine list by Matthew Baldwin, and the bulk of them two-player options too. I'm looking at Patchwork and Lanterns in particular. And while I'm at it, there's Tiffin, Rael Dornfest's upcoming collect-and-deliver game; I hope it's a good one for two players. #link

Rents around the country are still rising, rising, rising...

Is anyone surprised? Ireland needs a fundamental rethink: priority investment both in homebuilding and supportive infrastructure to secure long-term 'growth' (I hate that term so much). Doesn't even have to be in Dublin: plenty of depressed or depressive satellite towns and secondary cities that could do with the investment. Ireland is growing, and we need somewhere for our people to live. Can we stop hiding from this fact, please? #link

What's Really to Blame for San Francisco's Housing Crisis

This is pretty close to what's happening in Dublin, too: lots of handwringing about the capital's housing crisis, zero action in terms of protection for tenants (from rent hikes, eviction) or building to feed demand (because of backwards notions of urban growth 'killing' pastoral Ireland or whatever). #link