“Uncommissioned” nude portrait of Brian Cowen hung in galleries

Don’t worry, we have no images of the art in question. From the Sunday Tribune:

an anonymous prankster who hung a nude portrait of Taoiseach Brian Cowen in the hallowed halls of the National Gallery.

The still unidentified renegade artist had painted Cowen as he was sitting on the loo with a roll of toilet paper in his hand. The painter’s attempts at lifting the country’s spirits certain­ly worked as dozens of visitors to the gallery last week were left chuckling at the unorthodox artwork.

It was not vandalism, a source is quoted as saying it was rather “just adding another one to the collection.”  The description card put up along side the art is classic. Read the article.

Credit crisis explained in 11mins

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Works well in full screen – click the button in the bottom left.

At least Mark and Adrian have posted this already, but one or two people have asked me to explain this. And while my ranting email replies had more Irish context, the above is a bit more coherent.

One of the things I’d add to the video is reckless lending to developers. Also note it’s a bit US centric, but it’s good anyway.

22km today


Only did 22km today.  Good I suppose as an add-on to the 40km+ on Friday.  And a lot of it was more of a stop-start nature compared to along the coast two days ago.

Didn’t feel like doing laps of the park so left it and went back towards the city via the Navan Road and to the Docklands. It’s about the same as going from one end of the main ave in the park to the other six times. All was at full hog, bar about 2km talking to another cyclist. And talking about full speed, good thing my breaks are working well.

The plan here is lose the weigh I’ve gained at different points in the last 10 years, then go back to little more than normal commuting and weekend cycling. I’ve no wish of being super fit or get into racing cycling or anything such as that, just fed up of being over weigh.

What else am I doing? Not a massive lot, but a bit. I hope enough. Eating a bit more health food in the canteen in DCU. Cut back on fast food, but I’m not going to say cut out. Went back to eating food rather than consuming it, which normally leads to over eating… I hate the Irish mentality of “finish your dinner” which is built into my mind. Also continued to drink more water and less coke etc.

Note to self: Exclude normal commute from these posts, and buy weighing scales.

Why blog about this? Besides liking ranting on my blog, it’s a bit of an incentive to keep it up. I have being doing this in stints before, but have let it go by the wayside. Since the start of the year I’ve built my fitness up slighlty, but to a point I’ve being at before, so, this time, I want to build on it.

NRA's Eastern Bypass

Eastern Dublin bypass report shows National Roads Authority needs fixing, if not sniping

NRA's Eastern Bypass

(VIA cuffestreet.blogspot.com) Above are artist impression images of the National Roads Authority’s proposed Eastern Bypass across part of Dublin bay.

The over ground option of the bypass would, from the south end of the M50, cut through a large part of south Dublin, cut through the bay as above, cut through the south Docklands which is being transformed largely into a residential area, then cut across the river and through the main and north section of Dublin Port which is also — in the longer term — proposed to be offices and homes.

In light the Department of Transport apparently going greener under Minister Dempsey, and government policy also generally going the same way with a push by the Green Party, how did this report every see the light of day?

The answer is likely largely due to having agencies such as the National Roads Authority (NRA) in place in the first place – they need to push projects that aren’t needed and are against general government policy because they have to justify their existence.

A larger all-in-one transport authority is better for this among other reasons – it’s focus is not just on a limited area such as roads. The bigger picture is looked at. As Cuffe says:

“It is incredible that the NRA can produce a Report almost one hundred pages long in 2009 with only a passing reference to climate change. The Report also acknowledges that the Eastern Bypass may lead to the transfer of people from public transport into cars (Page 79). How many more Reports do we need to show that more roads are not the solution to transport issues in urban areas.

“This report deserves to be binned. I intend writing to my colleague Noel Dempsey, the Minister for Transport, and request him to look again at the terms of reference of the NRA so that this type of approach is not repeated. It is anachronistic that tax-payers money has been spent on such a document”.

Maybe, now that most of the motorway network is built, An Bord Snip should take a keen interest in the NRA?

NRA's Eastern Bypass

Cycled 40km today

My fitness level must be increasing, or maybe I was just having a freakishly energetic day?

Ended up cycling 40km today (ie around the length of the original M50, that’s excluding the Port Tunnel which is now part of the ring road).

It included the 6.4km or so of a commute to DCU in the morning, then out to the Howth Head in the early evening and back to town. Surprising thing is I went back into town to see a film after getting home from the cycle, no collapsing on the armchair (nor half falling a sleep in the cinema)!

In fact, with the round trip to the cinema included, you could add 4.6km to that.

Mid-life crisis at 25, so, does that mean I’m only going to live until 50? Or 102 reasons why I’m a cynic but still love the world…

In other news…

Tried to set up a second regular publication along with a journalism society in DCU, and failed. The committee in charge said they don’t think the uni can support another publication.

For the record, DCU has one newspaper that comes out once a month. Compare that to UCD where there are two papers which print on a fortnightly bases. Even taking into account of the larger size of the latter, one publication at DCU for every four at UCD is a joke since DCU is packed with journalism and other media students.

Also tried my hand at changing things from within the College View. Went for joint editor, failed.

So, you’re getting a better picture of the mid-life nonsense in the post title then?

It gets better.

I’m also getting heavily disillusioned, or cynical towards, Irish journalism. Blurred Keys and a general unhealthy interest in media news has made me hyper aware of the shit that goes on.

Same goes for the kind of people who recycle and think they are brilliant for it but still drive everywhere. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up when I was five years old. So, give me a fucking break.

And on the subject of denial and delusions, exercise is making me acutely aware that I’m still overweight.

Another reason I’m so bloody cynical is I think about this kind of stuff too much. Like people talk about wars starting and ending, I think: “Yeah, but there’s been conflict non-stop on one level or another for the whole of my life.” One of my most prominent early memories is, depressingly, hearing about war a radio news bulletin.

No, I’m not talking world peace, I’m – apparently – too cynical for such thoughts. Things should and could be much better, but, for example, the Blue Berets are still operating in places with both hands behind their back. No reform even after the troops have in a number of cases let genocide happen because of strict rules they operate under.

And I still haven’t mentioned the recession or homelessness, but I think I may just be able to sleep now that I got all of that out.

A matter of design

The College View, the student newspaper at DCU,  is out this morning. It’s the last edition under the current team, with the last paper of the term under a new team.

I was taken on to work on the layout team and later made joint layout editor (in the unlikely event you’re reading this, thanks again Stan, Mick, and David). We’ve massively improved the design of the paper.

Improved it first compared to last year, and secondly compared to our first edition in September. I’m quite happy with these last two editions.

See, positive post.

Denmark attempts to outdo it self

Via copenhagenize.com:

COPENHAGEN — While the U.S. Congress debated whether to include less than $1 billion in funding for Amtrak in the stimulus package, the Danish parliament has put all its economic stimulus eggs in one basket: transportation. The small Nordic country of 5.4 million people will spend 94 billion kroner, or about $16 billion, by 2020 to improve transportation. Two-thirds of that money will be used to make public transit even better than it already is.

The government will invest billions in high-speed intercity trains that will cut travel between northern Jutland and Copenhagen by a third, install light rail systems, expand the Copenhagen Metro, and widen and lengthen city bike lanes.