Wednesday, August 31, 2005


So its International Blog Day or something. You pick 5 blogs to mention and I am going to talk about 5 cooking blogs. I have been meaning to post a cooking blog post so this is a good day to do it. But Suzy you are supposed to talk about blogs that do not necessarily agree with your point of view. Life is too short and I am chilled on pain killers so I will leave those 5 blogs for another day.

Back to foodie/cooking blogs. I wish I had my own acre of garden with my own veggies and herb garden, a local farmers market, a good bakery and a fishmongers. (Let's not mention Superquinn, it doesn't count!)

But I don't have easy access to these things., I do like to read about people who have easy access to great ingredients, a love of food and sometimes an interest in food sociology and food politics. And I pick up some interesting recipes on the way too.

She Who Eats writes about food from Japan and her travels. The photo's are amazing.

Cook Sister is the blog of a South African woman living in the UK. It's one of many food blogs written by people living away from home. She is also the instigator of the End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza Challenge which many food bloggers engage in.

Is My Blog Burning is a round up of food blogs and the site of food blog virtual cooking competitions which are themed - I kid you not. August was Summer's Flying, Let's Get Frying!

The Passionate Cook - Jo, an Austrian living in London - 'Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all'.

Becks and Posh is cockney for nosh. This blog by a English woman in San Francisco is another stunning food photography blog example.

And all that without a mention of Once a Month Cooking, Stay at home mothers, homeschooling and creationism. But that's a story for another post!

Thoughts on veiling continue...

La Bamba has joined in the debate on the hijab, Westernisation etc. This follows from Morgan's post yesterday in reaction to my post on Saturday. Cue the music of the Twilight Zone (click to hear the music!) as we enter the world of the blog triangle. do do do do do do do do.... La Bamba even makes me sound vaguely academic!!! Meanwhile at the Times of London the post bags are indeed filling up.


I am not going to turn this into one of those Oprah inspired 'I am thankful for...' posts.

However reading a message board for people living with lupus today I again realised the differences faced by people in the areas affected by Katerina to that which might be experienced in other countries with better welfare systems.

One of the women on the messageboard lives 5 miles from New Orleans on her own with her dog. She has severe lupus and minimal health benefits. She could not go to the shops to stock up on supplies before Katerina hit. Her neighbours have evacuated and her only family live thousands of miles away. She has no transport and there is nowhere to buy supplies and she can't move about. There is now martial law in the area she lives in and no social services operating whilst there is a search and recovery operation underway. There is a hole in the side of her small house and she can't drink the water as its polluted.

This is a dire situation and little hope of improvement in the coming days and there are power outages so she has very limited internet access.

However she is getting support and someone from a lupus group is going to check in with her and get her moved to somewhere else if needs be - and she can bring her dog too. Randy is an assistance dog, another lifeline which will need to be minded to if H is to get through this.

One thing I have noted from the coverage of Katerina and its effects is the existing poverty in the areas affected and that this will be no ordinary clean up operation in comparison to previous hurricanes. Many people were disaffected before this and reaching out to them and providing help is not going to be easy. Some questioned why people stayed put and did not leave - the answer is fairly easy - they could not afford to move anywhere else and had nowhere else to go.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Champions League and a bit of tennis

It was nearly inevitable that Liverpool would be drawn with another UK team in the group stage draw for the Champions League. After 6 weeks pre-qualifying by playing crap teams in far flung Europe (and Wales) they end up being in the same group as Chelsea. I have my fingers crossed as I don't think qualification will be easy! Real Betis could cause problems and Anderlecht might be better than everyone is saying. The Liverpool - Chelsea fixtures will be fun.

In other sporting news Amelie Mauresmo cleared the first hurdle in her match in the US Open. Amelie has been taking a break since Wimbledon in order to be fresh for this major. I won't even bother doing my getting my hopes up routine for this year. She promises so much but fails to deliver on a regular basis. But those are great shoulders. Hope to catch some matches on Sky Sports.

Thank god that is over.

So he has signed for Newcastle. Or maybe that should be he finally got a club to take him!!!

I don't really rate him at all. Useless up front for England and ok he scored for Liverpool but he was a liability injury wise and needed to be fed a lot - not a lot of initiative really.

So its off to the land of brown ale, girls who wear nothing in deepest winter while they are out clubbing and meat pies. The chairman of Newcastle is charming (not) and the manager needs anger management courses.

Cadavre wants to know about us (Liverpool) in the Champion League? But wait! Before that post we cannot neglect the fact that last Friday we had more silverware added to the trophy cabinet. Don't worry I won't bore you with a photo of me with the Champions League Cup in Anfield earlier this month.

Have a look at this instead!!! That's two cups won without Michael Owen.


So I get a text 'Why have u not posted on your blog since Saturday?'

What is this the blog police???

Does Shirley Bassey style strop out of the blog.....(spraining ankle in the heels).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Auditioning for Super-Liberator (Audition 1)

Matthew Parris must be yearning for a full postbag. Several British commentators seem to have been let off their leashes of late in commenting on multiculturalism and what they determine as the failure of minority cultures to integrate and become 'European' or 'British' or 'Dutch' etc.

In Sydney recently Matthew was stunned at his own reaction to seeing a muslim woman out with her family on a day trip - she was fully veiled. He felt it was wrong (not his reaction to this but the veiling). And he got paid to tell us this. He did not talk to the woman, he just made his mind up and decided that in Western societies women should not cover up.

It had failed to get through to this family and perhaps to the
community from which they came that in a Western country, for a person to be swathed in cloth so that only the eyes can be seen, simply won’t do; and that when, consciously or unconsciously, a woman may be under pressure to do this,
then it doubly won’t do. There should be no pressure on a woman to hide her face. It is outrageous.

So this woman immediately becomes foreign and non-western in one sentence - again he has not spoken to her and does not know otherwise. He defines what is western and what is European whether he means to or not but I guess he means it.

I am sure letters to The Times in the coming days will talk about the importance of the veil to women in safety, security and respect. I look forward to feminist Islamic scholars pointing out the issues of choice and rights and dignity and respect. The latter in particular seems lacking in Parris's column. In fact its arrogant and offensive to the very women he is rushing to protect or unveil. And its offensive to those who welcome the notion of a Europe of all cultures, faiths and beliefs and have long left aside the image of Europe as a white Christian monolith.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Breaking rules

Mike from Troubled Diva was one of the last four 'housemates' in Big Blogger UK 2005. 15 well know bloggers in a blog for 8 weeks competing against each other - you get the picture. Have not read enough to see if there are any pregnancy scares, bottle incidents or the like. Though there have been eviction controversies! Troubled Diva was one of the first blogs I started reading some years ago. And now he also has a weekly podcast complete with music!

One of his entries in Big Blogger caught my eye this morning - His Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging - I have broken several rules already. What about you?

Scoring Home Runs for the Lord

Do sport and religion mix? Could linking the two mean an increase in observance by those attending events in Ireland. Well in the USA baseball teams are hosting Faith Nights in an attempt to reach out to new audiences. USA Today reported last month that

The dozens of Faith Nights at ballparks this summer are the
latest manifestation of Christianity's increasing involvement in sports. Players pray in the locker room and on the field. They praise God in interviews. And they organize groups including Athletes In Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

And according to a report on World News Tonight on ABC this evening, these nights are catching on with attendances at Friday night games doubling.
The faith components of the evening are understated but they
are there.
Faith Nights are planned to be as unobtrusive as possible to avoid alienating fans that prefer sports religion-free. Most of the pre-game events happen in the parking lot or in an area away the field. The program is plotted so a fan could attend a game and never know a promotion going on.

"They don't shut down beer sales for Faith Night," Snider say .
"We might set up an event in a picnic area where you would have to purposefully walk over to get to."

Could we ever see this happening here? Imagine Roy Keane leading the Republic of Ireland team in the Rosary before the game against France? Or Brian O’Driscoll inspiring the faithful at Lansdowne Road with Ag Críost an Síol? Jason Sherlock giving testimony on how Jesus told him to choose GAA over Soccer?

It might sound hilarious but already GAA players and other sporting stars are being targeted to wear the yellow Be Not Afraid wristband inspired by Daniel Philbin Bowman and launched by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The wristband honours JP2 and is aimed at young people of all religious faiths and none but it is being marketed through churches and schools. Sport and religion are linked in this country in other ways eg. the local PP giving thanks for the parishes team getting through to the country final, blessings of golf courses and the like.

Look closely at the mentors of a hurling team and you’ll easily find a priest, and while there are few other signs of religion or organised religious services at sporting events at the moment – at major sporting occasions this idea could catch on. One day we might have to stomach more than Irelands Call when going to watch our team.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Keeping your legs together.

So onto the Luas at lunchtime which I am getting addicted to travelling on or so I thought. A Stella Duffy book in my bag and Liveline on the radio. But the whole journey was ruined by the guy sitting beside me for most of the journey who refused to keep his legs together.

The Luas was busy and there were no other seats until it got to St. James's Hospital.

Is it deeply uncomfortable for men to sit on public transport with their legs together? He would not budge. He needed all the space around him to 'show' his wares. Or was that what he was doing - I don't get it at all. I so wanted to use my stick for a use that it was not designed for but is very good at doing.

Suggestions of strategies on coping with this behaviour are welcome. A recent public transport behaviour quiz on SI did address some aspects of this particular difficulty but I need more help!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blog wagging

Joel Achenbach writes about blogs in The Washington Post. He started one in January in order to publish the pieces and musings not published in the WP. But he finds it is taking over his life.

The blog is hungry. The blog will not be ignored. It is an insatiable little beast, a creature still unclassified by science -- hairy, warty, slobbering, with its own fiendish agenda. I often fantasize about killing the blog, but I worry that it will respond just like the crazed computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey": It will try to kill me first.

And he notes that with many blogs it is the commenteers that have taken over blogs and the witterings of the bloggers are insignificant!

I have often said that blogging is for oneself (yep I wittered that to you last Saturday Morgan, over that battered teapot) but as I think about the rubbish, oops I mean earnest and not so earnest postings each day - and the fact that there are a few others reading it, I start to feel some pressure.

Do I want to write things for me or for my readers? Do readers give a toss what I write about? Should I worry about my punctuation? (actually I will never spell or punctuate anything properly so if you are sadistic in that regard give up reading me now!)

And as the blog gets listed in search engines which words will it be that drag readers to read?

So if I talk about Angelina, Brad, Britney, Paris Hilton, Posh and Becks, I would have loads of readers? In the same way that SapphicIreland has had loads of guests reading the post about Dundrum Shopping Centre*, a mere mention of hot lesbian sex could have readers here in their thousands.

I hate to dissapoint you! (But I will be - on all fronts!)

* I have no idea why SI has had loads of people (not just search engine crawlers) reading a thread on Dundrum Shopping Centre - it's fairly innocuous altogether. The Film Festival thread is far more interesting!

Catching up on events of the world

Snigger...From Wonkette

From today's "press availability":
Q What else are you going to do? Are you going to be bike today?

THE PRESIDENT: I may bike today. I've been on the phone all morning. I spent a little time with the CIA man this morning, catching up on the events of the world. And as I said, I talked to Condi a couple of times. Tonight I'm going to be dining with the Governor and the delegation from Idaho, spend a little quality time with the First Lady here in this beautiful part of the world. I may go for a bike ride.

Q Any fishing?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know yet. I haven't made up my mind yet. I'm kind of hanging loose, as they say.

Let's hope he takes care of that before the bike ride. Especially if there's going to be some "quality time" later...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ah isn't Christianity wonderful

Pat Robertson calls for assassination of Chavez

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." (Washington Post 23rd August)

This the same Pat Robertson that supported Jerry Falwell as he blamed 9/11 on homosexuals. I don’t particularly support the Chavez regime myself but this is just another in the latest line of wisdom from one of the leaders of the US neo-cons.

He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Off to stir my cauldron…

Look me in the eye dammit

I attended a meeting yesterday with a man where I seriously doubted my ability to get myself out of the house looking respectable.

I suppose over the years I have become expert in watching body language and I pick up a lot of things and think about them.  Now some might call it paranoia but if someone spent time looking at one part of your body rather than addressing you wouldn’t you get worried.

This person was not visually impaired, was in a senior management position in his institution but failed to be able to look me in the eye.  He kept looking at my left cheek and/or my left breast.

Now there is nothing spectacular about either the cheek or breast.  And I kept checking that my bra was not showing and that nothing else was showing. I then wondered had I spilt my lunch as I regularly do. But no  - all was clean there.

And indeed the better half had given me a lift to the bus stop earlier and had not passed any comment – which she would if she had to.

When he left the meeting room to get documents I checked myself out again. And when I got home I looked in the mirror.

The report I write about the meeting and his interaction with me will be interesting to say the least.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday Night Catblogging

This is Stevie, Maman's petite chat (apologies to Aurelie) - making his first escape from the house about a month ago. Maybe he realised that I might return to blogging and he would become the subject of Friday Night Cat Blogging. Just have to find the camera!

For those of you who are not in the know, Friday Night Cat Blogging started as a bit of a joke amongst bloggers to relieve tension or arguments in blogs. It has been written about as an internet phenonmenon. Kevin Drumm can be thanked for starting it.

And I now own a cat I can blog about, any day of the week and not just on Fridays!

Ambulance chasing or really useful?

So Irish solicitors are trawling the country for Vioxx users and preparing cases for the biggest legal action since oh I don’t know, maybe thalidomide or some might say unkindly, army deafness.

I am very lucky never to have been prescribed Vioxx or Celebrex.  The NSAID’s I have taken over the years have kept me going ok.  The real dilemma is that for those who were on this medication, the other older forms of painkillers had not worked.  I consider myself very lucky to have never been in the situation of having to step down.  My GP told me how lucky I was earlier this year as she was preparing to take other patients off the medication and put them back in NSAID, the very old drugs.  They had stopped being effective a long time ago.  

This litigation will take years to proceed through the courts, is not guaranteed to be successful and meanwhile there are many suffering pain. No new drugs on the horizon and no cure for the arthritis.  

Friday, August 19, 2005

Ah no posts in a year and three in one day

So blogger now lets you post directly from word.  Testing testing aon, do, tri!

Mo Mowlam

Lots of the tributes to Mo today have been really infuriating. There has been very little political analysis of her accomplishments and loads of colour pieces full of fluffy stories and nice words. John Prescott was top of my list of dickheads who were patronising. Tony Blair won't have to make the decision about whether to attend her funeral as it will be private with a memorial service in a few months time.

Anyway I liked her a lot, I thought she was a great communicator and a realist about what she could achieve and she kept trying even when Trimble and Paisley were passing her by en route to No. 10.

When she was on the Late Late last year it was sad to see her so ill - I remember people thinking she was drunk. It was so different from the woman who had people dancing at Stormont, who walked into the Maize and talked to Adair and co., who was a supporter of integrated education and who supported the inclusion of women and other sectors of society excluded from NI politics.

The 90's watching Mo at work were fun and the world is a better place having had her in it.

One year on...almost

A discussion with some friends this morning who have new blogs reminded me of this place, so I thought I would pop in to remember what I wrote! It's a year since I last posted and so much has happened.

SapphicIreland has probably become my blog in the 6/7 months. Although there are things I would not post there that maybe I should post somewhere else. I don't mean personal things per se but maybe political opinions which I would not want as an owner of a website to post which could end up stymieing (my blog - I'll spell how I want to) discussion.

Anyway as I posted last time, I won't never say never to a blog and indeed will install the blogger software on the laptop so if it ever takes the fancy I might post!