Monday, August 24, 2009

My email to the Iona Institute

Hi there,

"Heterosexual and homosexual couples cannot be equated and it makes no sense to treat them in the same way."

So says Dr John Murray, a spokesman for your group, according to today's Irish Times. I'm afraid I disagree with Dr Murray. Hetero- and homosexual couples can be equated. I, and many others, equate them all the time. My gay friends who are in relationships are quite the same as my straight friends in relationships. They have all one thing in common -- love.

How bad for your institute to allow your fears and prejudices cloud your judgement and vision. You are Christians. Think what Christ would think of your lack of charity and understanding to your gay brothers and sisters.

John Rogers.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Science, religion, God

Below is a comment I made on this article in The Irish Times --

I find a discrepancy between reading Dawkins (when I read "The God Delusion" I found myself agreeing with most of it) and watching or listening to the man (I find him a little too aggressive and he may need to lighten up).

Personally, I am a religious atheist, with a splash of paganism! Or as a friend once said when he was asked what religion he belonged to, "I'm an atheist, thank God."

Seriously though, I wouldn't call myself an atheist for two reasons: 1. I don't like defining myself by what I am not; 2. I can't say for certain that God doesn't exist (especially when you start considering all the possible definitions of God). Is there an all-knowing supreme being who sits in judgement in heaven? I don't know but I doubt it greatly. Do I believe in the inter-connectivity of all things in the universe, living, dead or neither? Of course I do. Is that God? I dunnu -- that's up to you.

I love that question posed earlier -- "what is the scientific proof that only what is empirically verifiable is true?" Right now, and probably for all time, there is no such scientific proof but that is not to say that some time in the future, we won't come up with one.

Science came about from trying to figure stuff out. So did religion. A good scientist admits that he/she doesn't know all the answers and admits that it may be impossible to ever do so -- there will always be another question. A good religious person admits he/she may well be wrong -- to do otherwise is to lose your humility; the cornerstone of faith. Bad science believes in the power of rationality alone and sees faith as the enemy. Bad religion believes in the power of faith alone and forgets the importance of doubt and asking questions. These two fundamental mindsets sit at either end of the spectrum. All of us sit somewhere in between, usually favouring one pole to the other. We all use faith and instinct and rational thinking at the same time.

I am starting to realise that true science and true religion are the very same thing. Religion does not need a god.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Playspace is back, baby!

Playspace comes to Galway -- running every second Wednesday from 7 to 9pm at the Galway Social Space. Our next session is Wednesday coming, 15 July...

Ionia Ní­ Chróinín will facilitate -- she will give us "a basic introduction to voice work from breathing to floor work to simple projection."

As ever, Playspace is open to all so don't be afraid to bring a friend and please spread the word to anyone who may be interested. As ever, Playspace is free but any contributions to the Social Space are appreciated.

If you have any questions, email me, or call me, 087 287 9131.

Monday, June 29, 2009

'The Hangover' and why women aren't any fun, unless they're hookers

Oh boys oh boys. Little wonder men have a bad rep when you see a movie like 'The Hangover'. This film plays all the greatest hits -- misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia. And it's not all that funny either.

Now everyone's raving about this film (4 from 5 in The Irish Times!) so my friend Miriam and I wonder if it was just us who, for whatever reason, didn't get it when we saw it last night. You, Reader, may enjoy it wholeheartedly. Comedies, more than any other genre, suffer from hype. I often find that a comedy that is recommended to me by everyone will fail to live up to expectations when I get round to seeing it. And the opposite applies. I saw 'Little Miss Sunshine' before it became a huge hit and loved it. Some friends of mine, after finally seeing it on video, wondered what all the fuss was about.

But I can only go on what I saw last night and the impression it left me with. 'The Hangover' has some good moments but not once did I have that laughing-so-hard-I-seriously-might-puke feeling. It's slow and plodding and makes a meal out of some quite origional setups. So a mediocre comedy then?

Worse -- it managed to piss me off. All the men are adolescent boys (what happened to real men on screen? Clint's character in 'Gran Turino' would've chewed these hoopleheads up and the fucking tiger while he was at it). The women are worse. They are either one of the following:

tarts with hearts of gold.

I'll readily admit, I'd forgive the purile nature if the flick was fecking funny but....

I'll give 'The Hangover' two serious kudos; it looks great and the soundtrack isn't bad. But this is meant to be a comedy. I don't know, maybe I'm becoming a bit of a dry-arse, as we'd say in Mohill.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Drama workshop

I'm running a very rudimentary drama workshop on Wednesday coming (1st July) in the Galway Social Space from 7 to 9pm. It's open to everyone and anyone, regardless of experience or background. Also, if you wish to bring a friend, please do. I only ask that you try and make it on time.

This workshop is to see if we can get an actors' studio up and running in Galway. It's free but any contributions to the Social Space will be appreciated.

If you have any questions, email me or call me on 087 287 931.

Drama workshop

Wednesday 1st July 2009
from 7 to 9pm

Galway Social Space
Middle St.

Tel. 087 287 9131

Friday, May 29, 2009

Will anyone ever learn?

Two things about the report into child abuse that came out last week. Firstly, I was struck by everyone's indignation about the deal done between Church and State that limited the congregations' contribution to re-compensation payment. That was a sneaky deal done for the Church's benefit, at the cost of the State. We have a right to be pissed off by it. But it's almost like this got people more agitated than the contents of the Ryan report itself. It's as if this angle on the story was easier to get a handle on than the reported instances of abuse, the number of children involved, the number of abusers involved (we can put the "few bad apples" argument to rest now), the nature of the abuse, the moneys involved, the complicity of doctors, judges, police, ISPCC and so on. And now that it looks like the 18 congregations involved are finally being coerced into doing the right thing, the heat of this issue has quickly lessened. For the first time since Thursday last week, this story hasn't made the front page of The Irish Times. It'll be quickly forgotten and something else will come along and get us all up in arms. Remember swine flu? That seems ages ago now.

The other issue from all this is a story by Carl O'Brien in Saturday's Irish Times (click here) where he tells us:

IT MAKES for shocking reading. The State knew that 20 deaths – many as a result of State neglect – took place within the space of a few years. Many vulnerable children were in accommodation that was not subject to any form of independent inspection. And all the while, the State was aware that 6,500 children were at risk of abuse or neglect.

These are disturbing findings. But they aren’t the conclusions of a State investigation into historical abuse of children in institutions. They are facts about children in State care today, where vulnerable young people continue to be failed by a system under severe strain.

So nothing's changed then.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Who pays the price?

Today's budget is tough as we all knew it would be. But is it fair?

Well, we'll all have to have a closer look at the details before we can decide. However, one fear I had was a further cut to foreign aid.

From the Irish Times website:

Dóchas, the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, criticised aid cuts contained in the budget.

"The Irish overseas aid budget was cut by €45 million in July 2008, another €15 million in October, and by €95 million in February this year. Today’s announcement takes another €100 off the budget," a statement from the agencies said.

“Today’s Budget means that in the first four months of 2009 aid spending has been cut by €195 million, or 21.8 per cent of the projected total for the year," said Hans Zomer, director of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Ireland’s major aid agencies.

“These cuts go to the heart of Ireland’s aid programme, and will without doubt lead to people losing their lives,” said Mr Zomer.

Most of us in this country can handle a drop in our standard of living and while it may not seem fair to do so as many of the culprits of the current mess get away scot free, let us please think about those less well off in Ireland and abroad. These men, women and children never got to share in any of the recent economic boom yet they will end up paying the price for our mistakes.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Viewty photos

Some pictures from my new phone.

Release of the new U2 album.

Monday, March 02, 2009

My new phone, going home more often, 6 Nations, Brian Cowen, my two favourite theatre companies and U2's new album!

Yes folks, all this and more I have for you tonight on Blog le Bad. However, it is coming on 4 am and I need to be up for work in the morning (in 4 hours that is) so it will all have to wait.

Oh ok, here's a synopsis:

New phone -- I'm ridiculously happy with my new phone and I must get round to showing you all some of the photos I've taken already.

Home -- I'm making the effort to get to Mohill more often and I'm happier for it, especially staying up to two in the morning as the old man falls asleep watching the History channel while I work on a friend's website.

6 Nations -- 3 down, 2 to go. Boys, oh boys but I coulda done without that last try from England but nonetheless, on we march to destiny. Bring on the Scots.

An Taoiseach -- he's the man in charge so let him get on with doing what needs to be done. Just please Brian, hit the likes of me and you the hardest and go easy on the less-well-off and the not-well-off-at-all.

Mephisto & Moonfish -- my favourite theatre companies go to stage this week with exciting performances. Mephisto are playing "The Importance of Being Earnest" in Nun's Island, see here and Moonfish are playing "An Enemy of the People" in Irish (with English subtitles) in the Black Box, see here.

No Line on the Horizon -- it sometimes takes years to appreciate truly great albums so I am not asking that yet off the new album from U2. But I'll say this, the song I like the least is "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" and I am starting to like even it! This album could well be a champion. Go out there and get it and make your own mind up.

Oíche mhaith.

PS Happy birthday, Aine Rogers!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Mystery of the Mysterious Golden Circle

The mystery being that no-one can tell me what these guys did wrong.

Seán Quinn ages ago buys options on a load of shares in Anglo Irish bank (I think that's what he did -- I don't fully understand this). The value drops dramatically so Quinn can't afford to go in so the shares look to go to the market which could then sink the bank. So the boys and girls in the bank decide to go to a bunch (ten or more) of prominent business people -- our golden circle! -- to take the options. Here's where it gets seriously dodgy... the bank itself would put up the finance for these people to buy the shares, including a guarantee that if the value dropped even further, the bank would cover the shortfall.

Now, after the opposition brought this to light, all the focus is on naming the investors and bringing them to justice if they did anything wrong.

If they did anything wrong? What about the bank? They initiated this. What about the Financial Regulator? They let this go ahead. As did Cowen, who was informed of some of this while he was Minister of Finance.

So the Government and the Regulator dropped the ball and the bank started the ball rolling in the first place (messy analogy, I know). But all the media is fixated on is a red-herring, a witch-hunt for ten or more business people who were offered a good deal and took it. Sure there are questions to be asked -- eg. did these investors have access to information that was kept from other shareholders? But there are bigger fish to fry.

And the Opposition are losing sight of this too. They too are putting too much emphasis on what may or may not be the wrongdoing of a chosen few, while ignoring the (less sensational, I'll admit) sloppy handling of the whole financial sector by the people supposedly in charge.

And now, my own party leader is banging the pulpit and threatening that anyone found of illegal financial dealings will be brought to justice.

That's great Minister Gormley, but what of incompetence of the Government and the Regulator? I know stupidity and laziness is not illegal (maybe it should be) but shoudn't we be saving more of our bile and dedication for justice for the people who we know for certain screwed up? Shouldn't we be looking more closely at the smart alecs in the bank who let this happen? (By that, I don't mean this current deal with Quinn's old shares but the earlier reckless business of giving out credit like it was water.) Should we not be asking why in the name of god the Financial Regulator accepted legal advice on this deal from the bank itself!

But the Government are cute. They are starting back on an old FF trick -- how to simultaneously be in Government and Opposition. They know that if they too start to hound this golden circle (or at least look to be hunting them) they can slowly align themselves with the people and join the ever-growing ranks of the victimised. By creating a mystical golden circle who all sit in some cigar-smoke filled room while they laugh at the one-up they got on the average John and Mary, they can hopefully divert all public anger here and thus away from themselves. And if they do come up with a way to name these people (or convince them to come out) the country can cheer a victory of the little man against big business and we'll all feel a little less indignant.

Come on men and women of Ireland. Wake up. The (get ready for a whopper here) Golden Circle should be renamed the Golden Wonders -- for they truly are small potatoes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God bless America

It was hard not to be at least impressed by the new American President and by the entire nature of his Inauguration Day. However, I hate to rain on anyone's parade but all the references to God left me shaking my head.

The US is rightly proud to have finally elected their first black President but last week showed to me that a cross-dressing socialist would have a better chance of getting that job than an atheist.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"You don't know...

... how beautiful you are."

So we have a new U2 song called 'Get On Your Boots' and it's good, quite good. It practically picks up where 'Vertigo' left off which is odd considering all the talk about how the new album, No Line On The Horizon, is as big a sonic change for the band as Achtung Baby. However, the first thing that struck me on first listening was, wow, that sounds different. And when the guys sing, "you don't know how beautiful you are", my heart lifts. But most surprising for a song of this nature is that it's a grower.

So a good single. I just hope the album lives up to the expectation. All U2 albums of late have been excellent but for me, personally, Zooropa was the last album that made me think "Greatest Band On Earth." I hope this one is as good, if not better.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get On Your Boots

U2 have a new album coming, No Line On The Horizon, and by all accounts it's going to be as big a turn as Achtung Baby. The first single will be "Get On Your Boots" and as usual, Dave Fanning has it first. Unfortunately, for some reason, he's returning to 2FM to play it, next Monday morning apparently, on a show called (I'm not making this up) The Colm and Jim Jim Show. Jim Jim... what the hell? I haven't tuned into 2FM in a long time but... Jim Jim? I thought it was a typo until I checked out the 2FM website.

Anyway, according to it's going to be on after the 8am news.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Short term memory loss

Last night, I went too close to the edge. I'll put it down to the new character I will start becoming on Tuesday.

Trollied is a new play, written and directed by Róisín Stack. It's about twenty minutes long and takes place as part of Múscailt 2009. Múscailt is an arts festival that runs annually in NUIG. All performances run in the Bank of Ireland Theatre and the festival is in the second week of February. I play the part of Cian, a man in his late twenties who comes across two sixteen year old girls drinking in a carpark of a Friday night. The girls try to impress him by pretending to be older than they are. He doesn't believe them but doesn't stop them either. As Róisín says, "the play takes a more honest look at the way younger people play at being grown-ups with sometimes traumatic consequences."

We start work on Tuesday and I am glad to be getting back up on stage.

A friend said to me this week that I look more at ease on stage than off -- doesn't say much for my everyday comings and goings, does it?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sun is shining, sky is blue...

... and my New Year's resolution is to keep smoking.

2009 -- eight years on and still no sign of that damn monolith. Stanley, Arthur, what were they on about? What were they on?

Hello all and welcome!

What is this blog for? I have no idea. I need to get some stuff in order. I need to get my affairs in order. I need to start living.

Sun is shining, sky is blue. My idea ancient, my heart still new.