Friday, 31 August 2007

Remembering an Angel

Ten years ago a beautiful woman was taken from us. A woman who travelled the world, helping the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. A woman who never ever played on her "celebrity" status, a woman who was always honourable, kind, fair and just.

Many have said how she personally touched their lives, how she created miracles worldwide and to this day she is remembered as one of the greatest women of all time.

I refer of course to the wonderful Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Underground Party

Since 7 / 7 people using the London Underground have felt that they have to be friendlier to each other, i guess in a little way it helps reassure everyone around you. What better way than by staging a dinner party on the Tube?

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Ireland rugby fans in bizarre sun worship ceremony

A beautiful august evening at Ravenhill. Belfast people, unused to sunlight revere this celestial body as a God when it makes a rare appearance.

Thanks to Keith for the ticket, apparently they were gold dust!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Bridging the gap

Possibly the worst thing about a holiday these days is the Irish sea ferries, especially from Belfast to Scotland. I just can't believe the type of people who travel on these vessels, where the hell do they come from, I never see these people at any other time but on ferry you can be sure to see them plunging their Giro cheques straight into the "fruits".

For a few extra quid you can "upgrade" to a club class traveling lounge, a necessity these days.

Imagine however piling into the car and driving ANYWHERE in the British isles, imagine maybe even driving down to Dover and popping your car on the Eurostar, direct to France and the potential of driving anywhere in Europe without having to set your wheels in the metal deck of a ferry boat.

Sounds a bit pie in the sky, doesn’t it, well maybe not. The Centre for Cross Border Studies has held a consultation about a plan to build a bridge or tunnel link across the North Channel from Antrim to Galloway, 21 miles away. The Centre believe that this ambitious plan could be put in place by 2030.

A similar bridge is to open in China linking Shanghai and Ningbo, the 22.5 mile bridge will carry six lanes of traffic at a speed of around 60 MPH.

No more sharing ferry cabins with shell-suit clad day trippers.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Technological Dead End

Isn't technology wonderful, we were recording the latest edition of Hit the North - The Northern Irish Podcast last night and had a great stream of chat going, one of the best ever in my opinion. Then I lifted my eyes to our of our computer systems and found that the bugger had shut itself down so all that stuff we talked about was lost forever.

Oh well, listen to the rest of the recording now by clicking here (or right click and do that save target as... thingy)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Big Fat Lie

Okay, you are Thomas Martel from Bonnie Brae, Colorado, you've waited absolutely ages to buy the new Apple iPhone. You can imagine Thomas's dismay when he found his big fat American thumbs were too large to use the phone.

The solutions (Reports the North Denver News) : A revolutionary new operation called "Thumb Whittling", a surgical operation to shave bone off Tom's Thumb to help him send his equally chubby pals a text message or order another Pizza.

North Denver News have later admitted that the story was a hoax (Editor's Note), stating that the piece was homor [sic], and not to be taken literally.

My solution, lets all go back to the house brick style of phone, it would go well with my camel hair coat.

Museum Of Hoaxes

Monday, 13 August 2007

Factory Founder Dies

Tony Wilson, founder of Factory records and media presenter has died (aged 57) at the weekend of a heart attack at Manchester's Christie Hospital.

Wilson developed the "Madchester" music scene and introduced acts like Joy Division, Happy Mondays and New Order. He was also responsible for the Ha├žienda nightclub in Manchester. He presented programmes on television for both Channel 4 and for Granada as well as presenting political radio programmes.

Wilson never made much money from either Factory records or the Ha├žienda as the 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, which stars the comedian Steve Coogan demonstrates. Wilson didn't sign contracts with many of the top bands and relied on loyality, a factor that rival record labels exploited.

In 2003 Wilson helped to launch a campaign for the North West to be given a referendum on the creation of a regional assembly.

Wilson was always a controversal figure, attracting ridicule from music industry insiders for his strange ideas and working practices. He was such an influential figure on the british music and media scene that he will be greatly missed.

Thanks Tony, we'll miss you.

Full obituary available from Times Online

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Feile an Phobail - West Belfast 5th-12th August 2007

As featured in the podcast this week the Feile is a vibrant part of Ulster's cultural fabric. The idea behind this festival (Europe's largest) is to promote West Belfast to an international audience and celebrate the creativity of the local people.

The events bring great acts to Belfast and also promote local talent.
One of the Feiles great strengths is its diversity. From the "Trad Fest" which features sessions from Belfast's traditional Irish musicians to a celebratation of " 30 Years of Belfast Punk" at the Duke of York on August 7th the richness of Belfast's grass roots culture is highlighted.

For me one of the most interesting aspects of the Feile are the debates which take place in the heart of the community rather than the arid confines of the TV studio. On Wednesday 8th August "West Belfast talks back" will kick off at 7.30pm at St Louise's Comprehensive College. This year panellists range from the DUPs Edwin Poots to Catorina Ruane from Sinn Fein

While the Feile promises to be great craic, I think it also opens up a debate as to how people here celebrate their identity. Is the dream of a festival were Irish dancers and flute bands play together that bizarre? I would argue that instead of seeing ourselves as two tribes we should recognise that we are one people and that the "Orange" and "Green" traditions must come together if this country is to have a future.

But enough debate! This week whether your Irish, British, Ulster-Scots or "Norn-Iron" get yourself up the West and lets hope the sun stays out.
If you see me up there mines a Guinness!

By Leonard Johnston

"Bright Spark" loses job because of facebook

We keep hearing these days of people who lose their jobs because they criticise their employeers on social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook, etc. Also job seekers are now warned to watch what material they publish about themselves on these sites because human resource managers are now building profiles of potential candidates from these sites.

A case was in The Sun newspaper today of Tom Beech, 20 from Wokingham in Berkshire who was suspended from his £6.55 per hour job in Argos after saying "I Work At Argos And Can't Wait To Leave Because It's Sh**."

Young Tom is now appealing his dismisal however Argos confirmed that Tom was sacked after "placing inappropriate entries on Facebook."

When will people learn, the internet can be viewed by BILLIONS of people worldwide and once content is there, it can be difficult to remove. Watch what you say online at all times, employers are quite rightly getting savvy to networking sites in an attempt to monitor the suitability of workers or potential workers.

Goodnight Mr Tom!

THE SUN - Argos slur lad gets Faceboot

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Langham Verdict

Comedy actor Chris Langham was this week found guilt of viewing and downloading level 5 child pornographic images (the highest level and worst type). Langham is now in jail awaiting sentencing, however his defense is hopeful of a short sentence, saying that Langham was abused as a child and in some sick way used these images as a form of therapy.

Langham has suffered from his own personal demons throughout his rocky television career, he was sacked from television programme "not the nine o'clock news" for alcohol abuse, however recently has enjoyed success in series such as "people like us" and "Help" with Paul Whitehouse.

Throughout the trial Langham told the court that he downloaded the images while researching a television character for the new series of "help", a story which Whitehouse says he has no knowledge of.

Whatever the supposed reasons, whether for therapy or research, downloading this material perpetuates abuse and must never be tolerated. I enjoyed Langham's acting however I hope he gets a long prison sentence and also the help that he desparately needs.

News like this is so difficult to take, especially when the defendant is someone you respect.

During the trial Langham was found not guilty of sexually abusing an under age girl,

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Sports ground hounds

I like nothing more, especially in the Summer months than getting up early and going to a local sports ground for a bit of a jog. I'm definitely no Linford Christie, I just do it to keep fit.

I get very angered however by the amount of dog owners who use the park. Dogs seem to love running directly at joggers, i suppose the animals feel it fair game, they possibly feel a little threatened. The owners do little or nothing to prevent the dogs jumping, barking, and occasionally biting.

Councils throughout the UK provide excellent facilities for people trying to keep fit, for example in my local area they cut the grass almost every day. The facilities are totally spoilt by "animal lovers".

I'm not totally opposed to someone walking their dog on a lead on these grounds but they should never be allowed to roam free and has anyone heard of a "pooper scooper"???

Backside pinch no laughing matter

This Youtube video shows Channel 4 News reporter Sue Turton reporting on the flooding in Oxford. Always the professional, Sue keeps her cool when a passer by pinches her bottom. The chap has been identified and cautioned by local police.