Friday, December 11, 2009

My Name Is...

Dear France,

I would like to inform the citizens of your fair land that I know how to spell my own name and, despite what they may believe to be their better judgement, my passport and driver's licence are correct.

My name is not Mc Namee, my name is not MacNamee, my name is not Mac Namee... My name is spelt McNamee.

Yours Sincerely...

Now to translate this message and send it to the Securitie Sociale, my mutuelle, my landlord, my fencing club, the Revenue Service and the many other flailing arms of the great bureaucracy who have ignored how my name is actually spelt.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

FIFA's reaction to last Wednesday Night...

...Ignore it.

Well the dust is starting to settle and the shelf-life of Irish heart-break as an international headline is looking seriously limited at this point.

I saw one rumour that Henry might not play in the world cup according to the back-page of the Paris rag Le Parisien but I think I might have misread it. Roy Keane has instructed us to get over it, Eric Cantona has reminded us that he would have killed Henry, Domenech has patronised us in his arrogant slimy way, Tony Cascarino, a man who quite recently confessed that he was never actually qualified to play for Ireland has chastised Henry as a cheat, the man himself has tried to manage his falling brand image by so very nearly but, very importantly, not really apologising.

But where have FIFA been in all this? Bold statements about finally cleaning up the game? Expansive gestures towards polishing the dripping turd that is the reputation of soccer worldwide? Not a peep aside from their reading of the rule-book on Friday.

This has been the week that I gave up on Football. I have no interest in watching a sport whose governing body has for years now ignored the wishes of its supporters, has allowed cheating to run rampant in the beautiful game and has erased any shred of sportsmanship that existed in the sport through it's inaction.

This report from FIFA's own website typifies its reaction... not one single mention of the moment of cheating that turned the match. FIFA is burying its head well not in sand but in the large lake of money that it maintains in Geneva.

Soccer RIP

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thierry Henry - Class to Cheat in 0.5 second

To get some rambling and unordered thought out of my head before going to sleep...

The difference between Ireland and France this evening was the blatant cheating of the one of the erstwhile greatest players of this generation and a man who was formerly a great ambassador for the game. Thierry Henry handling the ball (twice) intentionally to keep the ball in play has lead Ireland to crash out of the World Cup qualifiers.

After exiting undefeated from a group with the world champions, after being told a week before the draw for the play-offs would be made that the play-offs would be seeded, explicitly to allow greater revenue generating nations a better chance to get into the world cup, a group of footballers dismissed as journeymen and second-rate go toe to toe with one of the greatest nations in world football... and then lose to a blatant act of cheating from the very leader of the "generation Henry"! There is no justice in sport, it is inherently unfair.

Here's my Jerry Springer summing up moment before I cry myself to sleep. If Robbie Keane had stuck the ball up his jersey and ran into the French goal and somehow the referee had allowed the goal (I know, completely hypothetical since the referee was never going to give Ireland the benefit of the doubt), would we Irish still be celebrating...

No wait, I can't do it. That situation didn't happen, that is fantasy. Henry did cheat (blatantly and intentionally) Ireland fought honestly and were given no reward. I feel nothing but disappointment and shame for Thierry Henry - he knows he cheated.

Lizarazu had the class to come out and be frank about what had happen. To paraphrase 'we cannot be proud of what happened this evening it was shameful. We can be relieved but we should be ashamed'. No one chimed in to agree (his co-host was Arsene Wenger who's hardly one to concede wrong-doing) but he was right and I think most reasonable people would agree.

Anyhow, I suppose that is the advantage of sport - "It's not a matter of life or death... it's much more important than that!".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beatbox Euphonium

Following on my post several months ago pondering which wind instrument would get the beatbox treatment next, my money would have never been on the euphonium...

While I'm at it on my wanders about the interweb I also came across Eric Lewis a massively talented pianist doing some great arrangements of pop-rock songs - his site Eric Lewis Grooves. He has a few albums and I'm investigating which one to invest in...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kitten Rage Haiku

I am the zen master, my chi is focused... A series of haiku based around my experiences with my room-mates cat.

Kitten Rage

Bare foot in something warm
stumble back leaves foot of puke
'Aw poow kittey sick'

Arrive home late night
kitchen roll torn across floor
'Aw kitty been busy'

The faint smell lingers
crunch of pebbles under foot
kitty litter in bathroom

Eating dinner starts
scratching and biting hand
scrapes with shit full claws

Day planned at races
Cat flees apartment, returns
once races are done.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The King Is Dead, Long Live Hypocrisy

Is anyone else as sick about the levels of hypocrisy surrounding MJ's death as me?

Suddenly every idiot on the planet who wasn't even born the last time he released anything more insightful than a particularly musical fart is jumping on their facebook status to claim this man very recently decried as a weirdo was "a god" and "will be sadly missed" etc.

I will acknowledge the man was amazingly commercially successful musician but it does not explain how a man can be so maligned and treated in such a voyeuristic fashion for the last 10 years only for the minute he dies to be hailed as amazing. The same public opinion which seems to have driven the man to apparently starve himself to death is now elevating him to the status of deity.

More to follow...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Brazilian Parkour

Well I can't quite get to sleep while there is a tempest complete with fork-lightning outside my window. What else is there to do except stumble across wonderfully shot Parkour from Sao Paolo. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Future Is Here

I can't imagine why this didn't catch on... Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the hover-bike.

I can think of one reason that perhaps lead to the project being abandoned. I could imagine that sitting with a turbine engine between your legs could potentially leave a man infertile after 3 minutes use.

Friday, April 03, 2009

What's Going On?

Well, it's been a while again and even though I have consistently promised to update this blog on a regular basis I have systematically failed in this venture.

My main excuse for this absence, if anyone cared to listen at this stage, is that I've been fairly busy. The international fencing season combined with French domestic circuit and the few Irish competitions that I partake in have kept me out of Paris for all but two or three weekends since the start of January leaving very little time on weekends for rumination on the nature of my adventures and I've been having a few lately. Coupled with this I've found my self once more myred in the life-sucking pit that is full-time employment so my time away from fencing has been preoccupied with earning money to pay for my fencing.

But so much has happened and I've let it pass me by for the most part. I've tried to some extent to make notes myself when I've found interesting things around me but never managed to spew it onto the interweb for no-one to see as was my original intention.

Ireland are Grand-Slam (le Grand Chelem) champions after 61 years, a fact that I celebrated while I was in Budapest, I unfortunately missed the Scotland match because I was at a tournament in Tunisia but back before all that I was racing across the frozen planes of Sweden in a Volvo V70 Convertible on my way to medalling at a very surprising competition. In between all this I've spent mornings sunbathing on rooftops in glorious sunshine after an evening of sampling desserts, only for it to be snowing later, I've seen amazing films and I've seen amazingly bad films. Most recently I was on a flying visit home to Dublin where I won the Irish Nationals for a second time. Through all this, I've written more or less nothing, which is a crying shame.

It seems I've been too busy living life to smell my own navel or at least the time I've had for deep introspection, smelling roses and belly-button gazing has been sufficiently curtailed by my enjoyment of life so that I'm going to have to get more disciplined about making posts on this blog, if I am to make any impact on recording my life at the moment. God knows I have copious notes on my life when times were perhaps at their worst (notes that for the most part will never see the light of day), so I feel I should definitely make an effort to record these times on the up-bounce. With this in mind I'm going to try and make at least one blog entry a week and set some time aside to do this.

So you can hopefully expect more of these posts and more often and of a higher quality or you can expect to hear nothing for months on end but in case anyone reads this and chooses to expect the former, I thank you for your faith.



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mr. President?

For anyone who wants some choice sound-bites from our favourite bringer of hope and change

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Could This Be Our Year?

I can barely bring myself to write this. It's taken me two days to bring myself to perhaps utter in a public domain the thought that must be running through so many Irish men and women's minds... And still I'm not sure if I can bring myself to say it directly. Could this finally be the year where Ireland win the Six Nations?

Oh no, I've said it out-loud! For the last two days I've been afraid to even fully articulate the thought in my head - now, I've definitely jinxed it.

For the last two years that I've been living in Paris I've been waiting for last Saturday's result. At least three times I've had to endure Irish defeats to the XV of France and then face my clubmate's jeering. This was on top of the massacring I would get for my own poor results and served only to compound my embarrassment.

In 2007, Ireland were favourites going into the tournament were playing their historic first match at Croke Park and lost with the last kick of the game as the restart was fumbled and France ran in for a try in the dying seconds. Crushing our Grand Slam ambitions in their infancy. Extra insult to injury was added when we missed out on winning the tournament by a points difference of 4 to France.

In the World Cup in Spetember 2007, we were in the group of death and died. The less said about that tournament the better. This helped to compound a particularly miserable time for me in the Autumn of that year.

And in the Six Nations 2008 we forgot to tackle Vincent Clerc which put shut to that tournament for us before it had begun. Here's a clip of Jonah Lomu showing how it's done -

At least that tournament saw the end of Eddie Hobbs... sorry, I mean Eddie O'Sullivan... as manager and perhaps saw the death of the cult of the personality that had pervaded the team.

So in some ways the ups and downs of my own performance were being mirrored by the shortcomings of the Irish team (albeit in a different sport, at a different level of performance and being far closer to achieving their ultimate goals before exploding in an angry ball of rage and self-doubt brought on by that unidentifiable Irish-Factor which I will return to later).

A Sea-Change?

For for the last 2 years, and for another five before that, I've been watching Irish teams of various forms and at various stages in their attempts to win the Six Nations hitting a brick wall when it came to France. So much so that we invented a trophy for ourselves seemingly in the "Triple Crown" for the team that beat the three other teams between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.* It was as if we were saying "Sure we'll never beat France anyway" to me.

One can never be comfortable watching Ireland. The match on Saturday was 80+ minutes of anxiety right up to the final whistle, even through the dying seconds with a 9 point lead. France's repeated line breaks particularly at the beginning of the second half when they began to pay dividends were truly gut-wrenching occasions but again and Ireland's defence tracked back and the vast majority of France's opportunities came to nothing.

Quite simply it was an excellent match, both teams were playing at their absolute utmost level and created an amazing spectacle even from a neutral perspective. All over the park there were outstanding performances and for once this actually paid off. So very often as an Irish fan (and this extends beyond rugby) you see excellent performances that end in narrow defeats. That an Irish athlete will be riding high and in excellent form only for them to be chopped down just as the whole country is paying attention and they crack under the pressure of that collective expectancy.

The Irish Factor

That is perhaps the Irish-Factor. That millisecond of doubt that creeps in... Those few crumbs of the remants of Irish catholic guilt that make us instinctually demand just for perhaps a fleeting moment "Do I deserve this?"... The fossil in the tar-pit of our national psychey that prompts us that perhaps not winning is the natural order of things... That all pervasive sense of subconscious inferiority born coming from a backward little, disorganised island on the edge of civilisation.

Our hope is that maybe an individual, or a group, can someday escape this and that maybe this will pull some of us along with it. It won't be our politicians, and it won't be our business leaders... you know, the ones who perhaps should be giving leadership to our nation... and asking a group of athletes to help the country grow up might be a above there station but it might just get the ball rolling. Nothing breeds success like success afterall.


Now as the dust begins to settle, all the talk is of calming down and that this is just the first match - BOD tells us to chill. Kidney as is his want as a great manager and truly classy individual while heaping praise on his players and deflecting it from himself is being sure to instill the virtues of taking each game as it comes (More reaction here).

So while everyone is saying this is just another game, the paradox is that that at once is true and untrue and that only a reflection on the tournament as a whole will prove this. For the players that are playing these games (as any athlete will know) there is only one game to focus on - the next one. For those following this team and has seen them take shape over the best part of a decade and is willing them to succeed on our behalf with every fibre of their body this is just another game... but if we are to look back at this in a few months and this was the start of the road to glory, then I'll never forget this springtime in Paris.

*While the term had existed since 1883 a trophy was only presented for it by Bank of Scotland in 2006. Ireland had won the Triple Crown and Bank of Scotland had just entered the Irish market - mmm, I smell synergy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

All Things Passive, Yet Aggressive

Found this site randomly - It is a growing tribute to passive-aggressive notes... delightful.

Proper blog post to follow soon, I promise.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Yesterday, I sat through Steven Soderbergh's Ché - the epic re-telling of two episodes from the life of Ernesto "Ché" Guevara. I'm somewhat sorry to say, as a self-professed Fidelista and an avid-follower of all things Cuban, that this film will almost certainly be doomed to obscurity and will likely be panned by the mainstream media... and somewhat understandably so.

For it's general release the film will be divided into two parts. The first part, "The Argentine" follows Guevara's part in the guerrilla war in Cuba. The second part, "Guerrilla", follows his leadership of the ill-fated revolution in Bolivia which eventually lead to his capture and execution. Enthusiastic to see this take on one of the most iconic individuals of the 20th century, I braved the four-hour version comprising of both films on the anniversary on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Cuba.

Benicio Del Torres is brilliant in the lead roll and the likeness to Guevara is impress but we learn little of the man from this movie save for that he was a man of unquestionable and unwavering ethics and values. He is stoic and noble at all times no matter what is going on and even in the midst of his asthma attacks commands the unquestioning respect of his men. Dealing with his asthma is perhaps the one interesting insight we get to the man and even then he battles to show no weakness - at no point do we see a particularly human side. 

We are also treated to his dealings with his friends in the first movie which makes it a lot more bearable than the second. His dealings with Fidel, Camilo Cienfuego and others at least give him someone to play off but in the second half no other characters emerge that are of any real interest. This really makes the second part a lot more tedious than the first and knowing how it is going to end, the only question you ask yourself is how much worse can things get before he is captured and shot. Even when this does happen, it isn't particularly dramatic or treated very interestingly and it's more with a sense of relief that you leave the cinema.

The film is shot in HD in a documentary style and the few times there is any action the camera goes all shakey and you have no real sense of what's going on (truly groundbreaking stuff there). I've seen this type of style used to great effect particularly in dealing with the depiction of historical events but all it just doesn't work this time. Whereas in other films I've seen this style makes you feel as you are just peering over someones shoulder as this unfolds before you, as if you were really there. It just becomes frustrating watching these guerillas trek through the jungle followed by some idiot with a camera only for when some piece of action to happen the cretin with the camera falls over. We have no sense of really being there and are left wondering "why is this half-wit filming this from such a poor angle?"

By the by, if the last few paragraphs contained any spoilers for you, then this movie really isn't for you. This leads us to one of it's major flaws - that at once it requires a significant amount of prior knowledge of the life of Ché Guevara but at the same time if you do possess that knowledge it gives you nothing new. While many bio-pics are criticised for historical inaccuracies or the director taking licence with the facts or supposing too much about the historical fugures he is depicting - I'm imagining making Michael Collins being an action hero, for example - this is the very opposite end of the scale. The movie style is hyper-realist it seems as if nothing was put in the movie without it having been described in Guevara's own journal or some other document, the is no interpretation of the facts or for that matter any real emotional content, we are just shown what happens. 

Considering all the fascinating and thought provoking aspects of the Cuban revolution and of all the astounding events through which the life of Ernesto Guevara took him, Soderbergh has chosen to make a film about the mundane and difficult life of a guerilla rather than trying to say anything about his life. Guevera literally wrote the book on guerilla warfare and there is probably more insight to be gained from that publication than this film. If this is an examination of those principles expressed in that book there is nothing to really to imply that at all during the movie and that would only be an effort to hang something on what is a failed piece of film making. Anyway, we see those principles as a glorious success in part one and an abject failure in part two.

If you are to see one of these films see the first one. This is a more interesting chapter of the man's life and with more interesting characters surrounding him and there is some degree of film-making deployed in inter-lacing this trying time with Guevera's address to the UN. The second film, is a mirror-image of the events of the film going completely wrong and seems to barely look away for a second from the downward slog towards his umtimely death. 

So for those who have read histories of Guevara's life we are given an accurate but somewhat cold version of something we have already read and for those who have only a passing interest in the man, they might as well be getting one of the t-shirts with that print on it for all the insight we get into his persona. 

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