Year: 2005

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Amphibian guts galore - I seem to have stumbled across a crime scene, stretched over 50m of road. (Nasty picture warning - avoid if squeamish!) Dead frogs - some flattened, some burst, some frozen, mid-movement, cause of death unknown. It seems early in the year to spawn - I thought it would be too cold for for them. But no, they seem to have been making their way towards the pond in a nearby quarry. Out of the ten that I find, maybe three are flattened, passing cars. It's the others that intrigue me - their tiny fingers raised in some last melodramatic plea, spawn piled on the tarmacadam alongside. What do I do? I take photographs. - Dave

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I hate reviewing books too long after I've read them. I should really write the review as soon as I've finished it - there and then... But no, I must have finished John Ronson's The Men Who Stare At Goats around the 21st of January - and here I am, now trying desperately to review it. 'Remote viewing' might be a common phrase to anyone used to reading websites like blather.net, or leafing through issues of Fortean Times. But to the average Sunday supplement reader, it's could be related to do with controlling their TV set. In this book, Ronson, in his trademark disarming style, has broken through, introducing the normals to a shedload of Special Ops weirdness. Ronson set out to investigate the US military's interest in remote viewing, a method of 'seeing' into remote places (like the Kremlin) or influencing distant events, using personnel - often ordinary soldiers...

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Rather nice new Dublin collaborative project... let's go postal... Was prowling around Anthology Books earlier. Stumbled across a free, beautifully produced comic, produced by a bunch of Dublin artists. Called This Way Up, it's a weird and wonderful account of the adventures of a bunch of Dublin characters, centred around one guy called Jimmy, a young postman. The thing is, every page of the comic is created by a different comic artist, lending a weird, dreamlike feel to the story. My favourite page involves Jimmy being accosted by a hairy regular from Grogan's pub (Blather's city centre HQ). Micky pursues Jimmy around the William St. area, uttering mad rubbish. Two 'oul wans' pass by Grogan's: 'Wasn't Nellie Grogan the great woman?' 'Ach aye, she was, she was' Happily, the comic is also online. I'm not sure that the web does the comic real justice, but it's definitely worth a look....

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A special article by guest writer and Mother of a small army of Bastards, novelist Catherine Barry... A topical debate about 'lone parents' sparked off by Professor Ed Walsh seems to have invited a flurry of poison-pen articles. These 'self appointed' armchair psychiatrists seem to have it all wrapped up, and want to impart their words of wisdom and teach me a thing or two about how I should live my life. I don't like naming names, but I will mention one and it is only because I take considerable offence to having my beautiful children referred to as 'bastards'. They are not. Kevin Myers, ('If I had a brain, I'd be dangerous') author of this insult and others, ought to think first before they wilfully hurt Irish children who are educated enough to read this appalling and inaccurate 'lone parent bashing'. These people seem to have us Lone Parents...

blather.net
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Today we salute Kevin Myers, possibly the greatest mong on the island of Ireland. And Lord knows, there's quite some competition... The Irish Times has carried yet another turgid rant from Supertroll Kevin Myers - again disgracing the pages where Flann O'Brien once wrote. Having previously insulted just about every ethnic, religious and secular group in the country, Supertroll has turned his attentions to unmarried mothers. Or, as he so delightfully puts it 'MoB's' - Mothers of Bastards. Copyright laws prohibit me from copying the complete text of the article, but I'll give you just this small sample of Supertroll's latest discharge: "Even as things stand, we are bribing the unmotivated, the confused, the backward, the lazy into making the worst career decision of their young lives, and becoming professional unmarried mothers, living off the State until the grave takes over. Our welfare system is creating benefits-addicted, fatherless families who...

blather.net
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Dave told many of us last week that he was 'going to France'... "Well, I am, bound for Lorient, via the island of Madeira. Right now, I'm in a gale, a hundred nautical miles west of northern Portugal/North West Spain. "The Esperanza left Falmouth last Friday night, with 34 crew on board, including guests from French farming organisations. One of them is the famous Jose Bove - you may remember him from a few years ago, when he was involved in a high-profile 'dismantling' of a new MacDonalds restaurant, in Larzac, in the South of France. He's also famous for his impressive walrus moustache, his old-skool pipe, and his nickname in the French media: Asterix "Late yesterday afternoon, about halfway between the coast of Portugal and Madeira, we tracked down our quarry - *The Golden Lion*, on its way from Argentina to France with a cargo of animal feeds, made...

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Sent in from our western correspondent' (a.k.a. Sue) There have been many incredible developments in the rain swept west this week. Such excitement! The Wheelie Bins of Change can be heard rumbling through Tuam, as the town embraces the Age of Technology'? The Tuam Herald reports that 15,000 bins have been implanted with 'hi-tech' chips, allowing a satellite to track the weight of its contents. According to Wheelie Environmental Refuse Services (WERS), this will give more control over the cost of refuse disposal. But to whom - the people, or the authorities? Right, at the danger of falling prey to insane conspiracy theories - is Galway County Council now spying on the waste habits of Tuamanians? Will the fair inhabitants of Tuam be next for implanting of these 'hi-tech' chips? How much easier it will be to keep Tuam clean when everyone can be programmed to do so! On a...

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Guess who's coming to town? Finally, thankfully, mercifully, Dead Can Dance have announced their tour dates for the highly anticipated 2005 reunion tour. I can guarantee that at least one blather correspondent will be going... Date: Thursday March 10, 2005 Venue: Olympia Theatre, Dublin Black Sun Murderer! Man of fire. Murderer! I've seen the eyes of living dead. It's the same game - survival. The great mass play a waiting game. Embalmed, crippled, dying in fear of pain. All sense of freedom gone. Black sun in a white world. Like having a black sun in a white world. I have a son, His name is Eden. It's his birthright, Beyond estranged time. Give me 69 years, Another season in this hell. It's all sex and death as far as I can tell. Like Prometheus we are bound, Chained to this rock of a brave new world, Our godforsaken lot. And...

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Blather correspondent Sue plays Ophelia in a new production of Bill Shakepeare's Hamlet... In Galway in January? Sue is Ophelia in a new interpretation of Morwax's production of Hamlet at the Town Hall Theatre. Set in the 1930s, and directed by Peadar de Burca, the cast includes John Leyne as Hamlet, with John E. Regan, Rose Flynn, Sue Walsh, Danny Cronin and John Tuohy. It's on from the 24th to the 29th of January, tickets cost €16/€14 Tickets from the Town Hall Theatre » I do not know, my lord, what I should think. - Ophelia

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A cheerful piece of verse, found on a headstone in Co. Meath... (click for larger version) 'O cruel Death, you well may boast Of all tyrants thou art the most As you all mortals can Control The Lord have Mercy on my soul' Charming!