Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Adolf McDowell

So at last we see McDowell and the PDs for what they really are. And despite all his guff, democracy is not one of their interests. Neither himself nor Mary Harney seem to realise the enormity of what they have done. This is indeed the arrogance of office.

It buggers belief that a Minister of Justice can not only use the privilege of the Dail to comdemn someone of a crime for which he has never been charged, but also compound this by leaking Garda documents from a criminal investigation to a newspaper to further this campaign of vilification. And this is the same minister who last year brought in measure (5 years in jail) to stop Gardai leaking to the press.

And surely we must note that the CPI (McDowell’s victim’s organisation) was taking an interest in the obscenely expensive acquisition by McDowell’s department of land in North Dublin for the building of a prison.

He should of course resign but in this Celtic Tigerland ruled by builders and barristers, this is unlikely to happen.

It remains for the media to continue to shine a light on this murky business but of course the Independent Group are hopelessly compromised so the usual suspects will have to carry the load – Fintan O’Toole, Vincent Browne, and liberals like David Norris. Fair dos to Dunphy on Newstalk for devoting nearly an hour to the story this morning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ruminations on the Moronic Inferno

Back in the Moronic Inferno after a gap of 18 months. The most noticeable change is in the attitude of the media towards Bush. Before it was hard to find a newspaper or TV station with a critical word to say about him - you had to rely on the New York Review of Books or left-wing journals. Now even august right-wing organs like US Today and the main new channels (except of course Fox) are bashing him constantly.

Boston can be heaven with coffee at eleven and a stroll down Newbury Street. This beautiful tree-lined street has more art galleries per square metre than any place on earth I suspect. I called into a number of them and was not overwhelmed by the quality of the art - but liked the opulence and the fine lighting. It was mostly bland, abstract and decorative - it lacked the expressiveness I relish in art. Barbara Krakow's gallery was an exception to this - in addition to a number of Scully's she had some interesting edgy contemporary work.

Went to "Capote" on my last evening. A master-piece of acting, photography, score, and period recreation. But a creepy masterpiece - especially in Philip Seymour Hoffman's vitruouso performance as the poison dwarf.

The madmen they allow on US TV. One of the morning news channels, NBC I think, featured two garish frauds espousing their latest tome about the end of days - the saved will be air-lifted to Heaven and the rest of us sinners will be consumed by fire and pestilence. It's started already, they maintain, citing Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, 9/11 etc. In Europe these old fraudsters would be laughed out of court but here on prime-time US TV they are interviewed reverently by the tanned, buffed, bland Kens and Barbies that populate the major channels.

And why are the portions so bloody big. If you order and eat a starter I guarantee you will not eat your main course. Such mindless excess.

And Boston traffic is just as bad as Dublin's.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dromoland Castle Encounters

I spent the weekend at Dromoland Castle attending my nephew's wedding. Notwithstanding the fact that it will be forever tainted with the slime of George Bush (a brief resident last year), it is the best Irish hotel I have stayed in. The grounds are extensive and varied, the food is first class (especially the breakfasts), the decor is the usual castle chic (nooks and open fires, narrow corridors, bewildering signs inviting you to get lost), the rooms are well appointed, the facilities are first rate (swimming-pool, golf, tennis, terrorise the pheasants etc.) but, while all of these things matter, what most impressed me was the sustained excellence of the service from the moment we approached the hotel. It managed to be both friendly and efficient - without a hint of that unctuousness that you often find in five-star hotels. The staff were allowed to let their personalities show and even engage in some mild badinage.

The wedding was all very well. I was however deeply alarmed to find myself sitting next to this genteel old lady who turned out to be BK - a fondly remembered object of my adolescent lust. More than forty years ago she was a Junoesque figure around Collins Tennis Club. She was an excellent player with a particularly strong forehand. She was however disadvantaged by being the possessor of a prodigously large bosom which rendered her less mobile than was ideal. Also, she favoured extremely short dresses. This gave her adolescent admirers (lined behind the court) frequent glimpses of her generous rump, barely covered by her struggling knickers. Forty years on there were few hints of these wonders. Egypt and Greece goodbye and goodbye Rome.

The breakfast room on Sunday morning contained a few interesting faces. The disgraced Judge Curtin was there bold as brass. He was with an oppressed-looking middle-aged woman. They exchanged not a word as he ate like a man devoted to his appetites. Also there, in splendid isolation, was Tom McGurk - RTE jack of all trades. I assume he had been covering the Munster/Castres match in Limerick. Were RTE paying we ask?