Friday, March 31, 2006

Podcasting Friday

Eirepreneur says it must be podcasting Friday and so it must be as I have been cooking, writing and cleaning whilst playing with Itunes and figuring out the OPML thingy that  no doubt Liam Burke and others have been working on with great  diligence. I still don’t have an Ipod or MP3 player – a new years resolution that went out the window, but I am listening to more podcasts.

Today I heard David Norris presenting this mornings edition of the Eamon Dunphy Show on Newstalk 106, I followed that by listening to Jeremy Paxman presenting this weeks highlights of BBC 2’s Newsnight.  I then watched last nights ABC’s World News Tonight webcast.  I caught up on the latest episode of Eat Feed which was all about Lamb and Anne Bramley mentioned a new podcast aggregator type service called the Culinary Podcast Network where one can find a one stop shop for culinary podcasts. Whoopee!!!  

The Culinary Podcast Network is a group of passionate gastronomes; some of us are professional chefs, and others obsessed gourmands. We've collected some of the finest quality food podcasts available on the web, so you can get all of them here in one place, hot out of the oven!

So that was my afternoon’s entertainment. I wonder if Bibliocook will ever join them?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday's web stop offs

Josh Marshall lets rip at the MSM’s habit of taking stories from blogs and passing them off as their own.

Mike from Troubled Diva is planning his stag night. I wonder could Dublin survive a visit? And of course its home to so many Eurovision memories!!!

Empire State View blogs about Ryan Tubridy’s arrogance. (

Fiona got to see Condi speak and taken to task by Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Rosalyn Higgins.

Condi is coming to the UK it seems and is getting the cultural trip (to Blackburn!). And she recently had a round of Golf with Michelle Wie. Wie regards Rice as a role model – another reason not to be enamoured by Wie.  (Lucky that Rice’s golfing outing was not with Annika Sorenstam or Fiona would have had to choose!!!)

Ms. Wie it seems is going to try making the cut again in a PGA event this summer.

Anyone interested in blogging the Ryder Cup by the way?? I am going to be there for some of the melee it seems. Where are all the Irish Golf bloggers?  In fact if anyone would like to hire me as a Ryder Cup blogger I would consider any offers (especially if a golf cart for the weekend (with dashing driver) was a way of recompense!)

Cat gets ASBO

Snigger… Cat from Connecticut gets placed under house arrest.

Lewis has a reputation for preying on people including the Avon Lady. You can watch a story about it here or read about it on The Register. I’m sure its not much fun being attacked and the wounds look very sore but he’s probably bored out of his brain. And as I know to my cost, some cat attacks are about showing love…deep claw digging love!!!

What would Minister McDowell suggest in such a situation? Answers in the comments please!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bootboy kicks around the art of blogging

Ah Dermod, you hit the nail again. (And you made me laugh today too – thank you!)

“The self-obsession of bloggers knows no bounds. Their sick, narcissistic pastime of monitoring who has been visiting their monstrous creations, and discovering who has been linking to them, becomes the hollow-hearted, rock-bottom near-psychotic activity that reduces hitherto noble human beings to depraved, round-eyed, sleep-deprived obsessives. That’s when I sought help, when I was buzzing with sick pleasure, fooling myself that I was making a network of new online friends and acquaintances in Ireland, enabling me to return after 13 years away, and not feel like the geek freak that you know me to really be. That’s when I found you, my friends, and I was saved.”

Domestically Dependable...what?

Quietly and without much fanfare the Government have amended the Parental Leave Act to allow those in domestically dependable relationships to be able to take Force Majeur Leave. The sexual orientation of those relationships will be immaterial.

Minister Frank Fahey introduced the amendment during a committee meeting of the Select Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights last week. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network have a press release welcoming the changes and also have a copy of the Minister’s speech on the matter here.

He specifically refers to the disadvantages faced by same sex couples and how this amendment will respond to demands made in various agreements/documents including Partnership.  This had long been an area of concern for those in the Trade Union movement and had been raised at a seminar I attended last year held by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.  One can only wonder at the shenanigans then went on in the Department of Justice that led to the phrase Domestically Dependable being used. Will it be used again in other legislation?

I can see it now…

‘Do you Mary take Sally to be domestically dependable on you, in sickness and in health and when the force majeur be upon you?’

I think the wording is rather silly and maybe Paddy Power will let me have a bet on the gender of the parliamentary draftsman…. Patriarchy is alive and well in St. Stephens Green!


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random cat blog

Mammy Suzy fixed the printer - another thing for me to play with.
Stevie has a fixation with paper, be it a paper bag, a newspaper or the pages emerging from the printer. Excuse the size and quality of the photo, one of those moments caught on the mobile phone.

Why wouldn't you piggyback at these rip off prices?

I rarely use wifi when I am out and about except to see if I can get online via someone’s unsecured connection.

A criminal offence in several parts of the US it seems -  what’s the story in  Ireland? I leave mine open for others to use. Tim Lee writes about the issue of hopping on someone elses bandwidth in the New York Times – I don’t remember reading about these issues (apart from the security stuff) this side of the pond?

Anyway back to the rip-off, today I asked about wifi access in the Insomnia Café on Mayor Street (IFSC territory)
BT Openzone are the provider and its €10 for one hours access? You must be joking!!! Even Eircon provides it for about 60% of that for using one of their hotspots.  

I declined and went and ate my thai chicken sambo and read the Guardian.  

Friday, March 24, 2006

Corruptions and Election blogging

This week was profiled in the Irish Times, (and the site had a great redesign!) and yesterday Gavin’s excellent made it into a Dáil speech with a mention by Ciaran Cuffe.

One need only glance at the website to see many of the counties throughout Ireland being named and the individual acts of councillors who are performing rezonings for all the wrong reasons today.

Ciaran is a blogging TD. A rare species! And it appears he writes it himself, rarer still! Well if we thought 2005 was busy for blogging in Ireland, what will 2006 bring?

On relearning what you thought was your home town

Standing on that bit outside the entrance to Connolly Station today (the bit that overlooks the Luas Stop – I had never looked down on a Luas tram before – rather ugly compared to the sideways or onboard view!)

I was having a ciggie before taking the train to Leixlip. A young woman aged about 20 weighed down by her backpack approached me. Behind her stood a young man who also had a backpack and two other large bags. She smiled as she came forward and said hello. ‘Can you tell me if we can get a train or a bus to Naas?’ Train network expert that I am, I thought Naas and trains don’t really go – Sallins isn’t really Naas so I asked if it was Naas town she was looking for. She said she did not know, she had a piece of paper with a mobile number on it and NAAS in large letters.

I directed her to the Bus Aras and said she would find busses there. She asked about where to get tickets and I told her that she could buy them on the bus or at a ticket desk. As she left I asked her was this her first time in Ireland. She said yes, she and her boyfriend had just arrived by bus from Warsaw and were going to stay a friend’s house. I wished her luck on her journey and she and her boyfriend shared the luggage carrying and made their way down the staircase.

The train journey to Leixlip was a new one for me. Whilst I had taken a train from Leixlip into the city before I had never really had a chance to look out the window.

I went through parts of  Dublin I had never really seen before, well maybe on trains to Sligo or Leitrim a few years ago, but everything looked very different. Rows upon rows of apartments, many under construction appeared along the train line. At Broombridge, Coolmine, Ashtown, new construction was everywhere. It did not feel like Ireland. It reminded me of heading out of London to the suburbs, complete with the dumping grounds, and the endless apartment complexes. However unlike London most of the building here is brand new, there are few services, shops or schools around these complexes. The train stations enroute are ugly and impersonal and full of metal barriers

Arriving at Confey with the commuters after what was a very short journey I still felt like I was in South East England. Maybe somewhere like Hemel Hempstead – a settled town with lots of housing and many cars waiting for their owners in the car park.  I was thinking about being the 18 year old in 1988 arriving in the UK to live and work and I thought about the young polish woman I met arriving in Ireland to start her life here.  Powodzenia!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

When its your time of the month and you might die because of it...

There is an early day motion before the House of Commons which caught my eye whilst reading Jo’s blog.

That this House recognises the prominent role played by women in the struggle for democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe; is appalled that the dignity and health of many women in Zimbabwe is seriously compromised by the lack of access to sanitary products at anything other than prohibitive prices; welcomes the Action for Southern Africa Sanitary Appeal launched by Thabitha Khumalo, Women’s Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions; and calls upon the Department for International Development to find ways of making available funds to support this initiative.

I can’t imagine what it would be like not able to purchase basic toiletries or necessities. When I realised the implications of not having access to sanitary towels for women in Zimbabwe it became so clear that this is about a whole lot more that your trip to Boots or having the money in your pocket to buy what you needed. And it’s Mugabe’s regime which is causing this and so many other circumstances to occur and the worlds attention is drawn elsewhere.

Dignity. Period! is a campaign run by Action for Southern Africa which highlights the many effects on women not having access to or being able to afford sanitary products.

Being a woman in Zimbabwe is like going to war with a gun minus bullets. Sanitary towels are now threatening the Zimbabwean woman's livelihood. In Zimbabwe women are unable to afford the small quality and quantity of sanitary products that are available currently in the market…

  • …This lack of available sanitary products has led to an increase in vaginal infections.

  • With the shortage of drugs in hospitals treatments are either unaffordable or unavailable.

  • This has led to incidents of domestic violence and the fear is that these incidents will increase, due to lack of spouse/partner knowledge about the difference between STI/STD's and vaginal infections.

  • These infections provide an optimal biological environment for the spreading of STI's and particularly HIV/AIDS…

You can listen to a Zimbawbean Trade Union Activist, Thabitha Khumalo speaking about the situation facing women and children in the country here.

Hat-tip: Jo Salmon

Thank you Minister

I’ve been having restless nights of late like the Minister, but I would like to thank Michael McDowell T.D. for making my restless nights a little more bearable. The one and only time I think I will thank the Minister for anything – unless he cocks up again.

Ok so he has since apologised to Richard Bruton and withdrawn the horrendous jibe made at John Gormley and talked about playing the man and not the ball etc. (Which PR guru thought up that one?)

The real reason for this post is to point you in the direction of Vincent Browne on Monday Night…oh glee does not represent the atmosphere in Montrose that night. You can listen to it here (realplayer required – about 10 minutes in.)

And many of us have been waiting for this day and we are entitled to our little moment of glee. Richard feels he might top the poll in Dublin South East and maybe there is a grain or two of truth in that but I think the Minister will think again before losing it.  He may still be able to operate in such a manner under Dáil privilege with the assistance of the Ceann Comhairle but he is not taking part in L&H debates and I think he finally realises that.

Youth is not wasted on the young

From Americablog I read about a 16 year old gay man’s ‘tussle’ with is US Senator at a townhall type meeting. Read Tully Satre’s account of his questioning of Republican Senator George Allen.  Think Tully will go far.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Take a parachute and jump...

[this post was originally published on]

The phenomenon of parachute candidates is one that many think unique to Irish politics given our multi-seat constituency system (which no matter how much moaning is done about it means that blogs like this one would not be half as exciting!)

(I know that several UK Conservative and Labour MP’s have parachuted (by hundreds of miles sometimes) so maybe its not unique to us.)

In terms of definitions of parachuting as a political modus operandi – well I think I would define it where a candidate is moved into a constituency to contest an election for the following reasons.

  • A previously non party member who because of their celebrity status (Media/Acting/GAA/Rugby) a party believes they would have a better chance of being elected than the current incumbents or available ‘resources’. (eg: Orla Guerin in 1994 European Elections)

(These candidates would never be referred to as people to back up an existing running mate as they would not give up their media or other status if they did not think they would get elected).

  • Formerly elected officials who are seeking new ground because they do not believe that they could be elected again in their former constituency.
  • Currently elected officials whose constituency boundaries have changed or constituencies have completely disappeared.
  • Politicians from another political jurisdiction completely (in the Irish case, Nothern Ireland) who are looking to continue to ply their trade in a less hostile situation. (Oh I can hear the comments already!)

My interest in this subject was renewed recently by the selection of Frances Fitzgerald to contest the Dublin Mid-West Constituency in the next general election. Frances was one of the 22 FG T.D.’s who lost their seat in the last general election. Several other former T.D’s have been selected to recontest their own former constituencies. However I think so far Frances is the first to put the parachute on her back?

I live in Dublin MidWest, and I judge the activity levels/electoral chances of most parties on a number of criteria; the amount of paper that comes through the letter box, the coverage in the local papers and also the appearance by TD’s/Councillors/Wannabees discussing local issues on Newstalk 106. The constituency is made up of two large Dublin suburbs – Clondalkin and Lucan.

Fine Gael are very quiet in terms of stuff that comes in my door. The most visible parties on in terms of number of leaflet drops are Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Labour in that order. I have no idea what the party organisation on the ground for Fine Gael is like but it would seem to be weak in terms of leaflet drops or door knocks.

Cllr. (and former Senator) Therese Ridge is Mayor of South Dublin County Council and would be well known in the Clondalkin Area especially for pointing out all our lovely new bus lanes with no busses on them. Word is that she is not amused with the decision to select Frances Fitzgerald to run. I have no idea if she has any links to this area and in fact I don’t know what Frances has been doing since the last general election unlike a few other former FG TD’s (Alan Shatter has been doing his law bit, Norah Owen has been busy being a former Minister for Justice commenting on Michael McDowell etc.)

Whilst I have a problem with the clientilist system of Irish politics and the notion that one can make a good TD because one has done their time at council level, I do think that parachuting candidates and those derailed in the process is rather unfair.

I am not going to get the Tipp O’Neil quote out for its usual irish politics first year essayesque quote but local issues do drive Irish politics. Frances Fitzgerald has a very busy year ahead of her if she is going to make any impact in this constituency, which is hugely under served in terms of resources and infrastructure. I think that the electorate are rather sophisticated and will look through the name (if they recognise it in the first place) and reward effort by politicians to improve or highlight the situation facing those living here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Some people are more Irish than others...

The Chairman of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, John Dunleavy, has outdone his predecessors in the bigotry stakes.  

In an interview with the Irish Voice quoted in the New York Times and elsewhere he said;

"If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, would you allow neo-nazis? If African Americans are marching in Harlem do they have to let the Klu Klux Klan in? If we let the ILGO -- the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization -- in, is the Irish Prostitutes Association next?"

He claims that advocacy and political groups are not allowed march. So how come NORAID are marching Mr. Duleavy?  Again irish queers are told they are not really Irish.

Christine Quinn the speaker of New York City Council who is also a lesbian is not marching.

Anne Maguire has recently published her account of the campaign by Irish lesbians and gay men to March in the parade in New York. Rocking the Sham! is available in Anthology Books in Temple Bar.  It defines a period in Irish Lesbian and Gay History that seems not to have concluded!  

I was involved in organising the lesbian and gay floats  in the Dublin parade 10 years ago.  We entered twice and that was it, seen it done it and no problem. But sure Dublin is not really in Ireland is it?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Lesbians on the Television and this time they are married

Update: - The full interview can be viewed through the link on the Late Late Show's webpage. (Real Player required.)
Another moment in the history of lesbians on Irish Television last night. Katherine Zappone and Anne Louise Gilligan appeared on The Late Late Show to talk about their marriage. What was so different about this was that they are already married. It’s done. Their case is about the recognition of their foreign marriage. They did however outline so clearly that it is about a whole lot more than that.

Whilst they could not talk in detail about their forthcoming high court case on 3 October, they talked about how they met, they located their relationship within the context of human rights and movingly they talked about their love for each other. They weren’t just doing this for themselves, they mentioned younger people coming out after them and the importance of this issue for them.

Auds is probably happy enough as there were people in the audience who opposed same sex marriage. RTE does balance. Susan Philips (ah yes there she is again) a well known member of the Church of Ireland and Sean Mullen from Evangelical Alliance of Ireland were in the audience. Interesting that both of them were not Roman Catholic. Susan told Katherine and Anne Louise that they should consider themselves lucky that they lived in Ireland. This was when the audience laughed at her (after being told there was not a dogs chance of having same sex marriage because Dev made sure the family was based on marriage). And the laughter from the audience at Susan Philips meant this was when gay and lesbian Ireland probably breathed a bit easier. At the end of the interview the majority of the audience indicated that they would vote for constitutional change. Quite unscientific I know but the applause and shouts of support at the end were good to hear.

There is a table quiz on Wednesday 15th March in aid of the Kalcase initiative. It’s on in the Front Lounge at 8pm and is organised by the Labour LGBT group. I’ll be there.

Irish Blogging as a table quiz question

Question asked at the table quiz in Dublin tonight organised by Labour LGBT in aid of the KalCase Initiative

Who won Best Blogger at last weekends inaugural Irish Blog Awards?

Ans: Twenty Major

Drip…Drip…Drip…there was probably lots of ‘whats a blog’ but there were a few right answers!

And yes the questions were fairly evil but the winners got 32 of a possible 48 so I don’t feel such a bad quiz mistress!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wednesday's Pick and Mix

  • Comedian Dave Gorman is aiming to do for Flickr what Ricky Gervais did for podcast downloads in the UK. Well he's having fun with a Flickr account here and writes about it in today's Guardian here.

  • Just been for a cheap feed with a mate to a place I had not been to in at least 12 months. For €8.50 I got Tomato Bruchetta and a huge plate of freshly cooked Farfalle Contadina (farfalle with chicken in a creamy tomato sauce) followed by a cup of tea. Very tasty. This special lunch menu is served all afternoon and has 4 starters and 6 mains to choose from. Sometimes you get lunch ala microwave in a canteen manner but even then the food is very good. And the location of this cheap nosh? Steps of Rome, St. Andrews Lane. And the fact there are always a lot of Italian young people eating there is a good sign for me. This might be the start of a series on Maman Poulet - where can I get a decent two course lunch for under a tenner.

  • Rebecca Loos is not a lesbian, she just makes money talking about us and shags us occassionally. "I am bisexual... I do fancy some women, but only very occasionally... I'm very picky." Fair enough Rebecca but next time you are asked to talk about lesbian issues or sex with women you might defer to someone else? Save us from any more Power Lesbians on Sky One.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gay Iranians should not open the closet door 'too openly'.

Bjorn writes about the recent activities of the Dutch Integration and Immigration Minister with regards to repatriating Iranian lesbians and gay men who seek asylum in the Netherlands. In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, Mrs Verdonk wrote:

It appears that there are no cases of an execution on the basis of the sole fact that someone is homosexual … For homosexual men and women it is not totally impossible to function in society, although they should be wary of coming out of the closet too openly.”

Human Rights Watch and several other organisations (in dutch!) say otherwise and there is much commotion in the Dutch Parliament and media about her statement. If anyone knows about what is happening in Iran, Scott Long from Human Rights Watch does. Another friend of mine recently met gay Iranians whilst on a visit to Turkey where they also told of the situation at home.

Verdonk is known as ‘Iron Rita’. Ah ring any bells anyone? ‘Mad Mullah McD’?

Let me guess Verdonk's efforts that went into assessing the situation in Iran – did she pick up the phone to the Iranian Embassy and say

‘Groetjes, do you kill gays?’

‘Ah no Mrs Verdonk, we don’t kill them but they need to keep the closet door shut.’

‘Dank u. Tot ziens.’

Last summer Doug Ireland and others documented the stories of gay people under threat and those executed and made contact with Iranian expat gays who confirmed the oppression that exists. Iran, of course said there were other reasons for the executions of 17 year olds and others.

I noticed a story yesterday on Dutch citizenship classes for immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. (Those from the US, Europe, Australia and Japan will be exempt.) A video of two men kissing and images of a gay wedding will be shown to those seeking to apply for citizenship. That’d be anyone other than gay Iranian’s kissing I’d bet, because they have to mind the closet door.

Annie Proulx on the Oscars

On the sidewalk stood hordes of the righteous, some leaning forward like wind-bent grasses, the better to deliver their imprecations against gays and fags to the open windows of the limos - the windows open by order of the security people - creeping toward the Kodak Theater for the 78th Academy Awards. Others held up sturdy, professionally crafted signs expressing the same hatred.

…. And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash - excuse me - Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver.

Annie Proulx (the author of the Brokeback Mountain) writes about her experience attending the Oscars in the Guardian.  

Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone

A few weeks ago at the suggestion of my best friend I purchased a usb phone thingy – it looks like a mobile phone on a lead and you can use it through your PC in conjunction with services like Skype. I purchased it (on ebay) instead of a head set because

i) I thought it might last longer than a headset - I would probably walk on it or otherwise break it and

ii.) I only like noise going into one ear at a time unless I am on the bus and need both earphones to hear Newstalk or whatever I am listening to over the engine noise.

Here comes the science : Skype is a service which allows one to make calls for free over broadband to other Skype users, Skype users can also use the service to make low cost calls to non skype users. There are other services available and Voice over Internet Protocol technology and services seem to be the new black (after Irish blogging of course!). Waits for comments from telecoms blogger types telling me how naïve I am.

So far I have made 2 long calls on Skype to friends (including the original suggestee) and I have to say I am hooked. The quality is not bad, a little bouncy or echoey but what I am fascinated by is the way in which because the call is free the interaction or flow of the conversation changes. Last night for example in the midst of a 30 minute call we paused (put down the headsets) to get dinner or put the kettle on (its not a wireless phone – that’ll be my next purchase should one exist!) and we didn’t mind doing it. I got my dinner from the oven and returned to the PC and picked up the headset and munched away. He put the kettle on in Warsaw and ate a banana. We both laughed as we realised if this was a landline call we would be thinking of every minute – whilst still enjoying the call but under the tick-tock of money mounting up.

I realise I am a late enough adopter in this regard. There are probably other services out there that are better value or of better quality. For now I am fascinated by the possibilities and will look at having a Skype account for making other long distance calls to non Skype users and also seek out Skype helplines for companies I deal with etc.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Blogging Skool

Last week That Girl posted about getting blogging workshops going and Damien created a wiki. I have failed on the wiki part so am just going to blog about my to do list/suggestions for blogging workshop curricula.  If you like me can’t work the wiki you can also post your questions here.

I am thinking about the writer/musing bloggers with some of my suggestions – those of use who don’t want to become MSCE certified – ok maybe an ECDL type of blogging course if we must have something to align it to. (ducks…no exams or certs or anything please!)

  • I need to sort out my blogroll – really I need to find an easy way of managing it.

  • I want to debate/learn about if having my own domain name and a different blogging software is worth it and will I just be bound up in endless techy stuff maintaining my blog. I currently use the MS word blogger tool to upload blog posts (unless there are pics/graphics) as it is easier for me due to my disabilities and also updating the post as I go along/spot the grammar mistakes works for me. (such a bad habit I know!)

  • Try as I have I want to learn about tagging – I have read some stuff on it but still am none the clearer.

  • A session on legalities/libel and blogging would be very useful.

  • And something about the onus of the blogger (I really like That Girl’s term Curator) – beyond the law – I suppose we are talking about blogging ethics.

  • Aggregators etc. I am fairly sorted on this but would think many newer bloggers would be keen to learn how to get others to read their blogs?

All forms of meeja remind us of the Bloscars

So we’ve had the photos, really cute black and white ones too, the various blog reports including the hangovers, the podcast, and now the video. Tomorrow  we’ll have the MSM coverage in the Irish Times.  Have fun reading, listening, viewing all!

I am busy thinking about parachuted election candidates in elections (with thanks to Something Happens) and wondering what people make of the Phil Flynn appearance on the Political Party on TV3. In other words I am back to blogging and thinking about blogging and its lovely.

Update: I have the text of the Irish Times article thanks to a friend who is online and not a blogger but has the necessaries. (yup Helen that’s you…mwah).  If there are photos with the article you’ll have to find out otherwise. Thanks to Jon and Madam Editor for the coverage and this blog post might destruct if the lawyers come after me.

Irish Times 13 March 2006
King-size kudos for web author 'Twenty Major'
Jon Ihle

An anonymous online writer understood to be from south Dublin won the award for best blog at the first Irish Blog Awards at the Alexander Hotel in Dublin on Saturday.

The blogger, known only by the name of his idiosyncratic website, Twenty Major, also scooped awards for best blog post and most humorous blog post.

A man identifying himself only as Tim, a self-described "childhood friend" of Twenty Major, accepted the awards on behalf of the blog and its author, but declined to offer any comment apart from a brief apology on behalf of the mysterious blogger.

Twenty couldn't make it tonight," he joked. "Maybe he can next year when there aren't so many people after him."

More than 160 members of the Irish blogging community attended the awards. A total of 1,700 people, not all of them bloggers, submitted votes in an online poll to decide the winners.

Founder and organiser Damien Mulley, a technical writer and chairman of Ireland Offline, a voluntary organisation that lobbies for the development of internet infrastructure, said the idea behind the awards was to expose Irish blogs to a wider audience and "to encourage passionate people to blog themselves".

RTÉ 2fm DJ and blogger Rick O'Shea, the MC for the night, said the awards showed "blogging had gone from something done in dark rooms at 3am to something more mainstream".

Members of the audience were disappointed but not surprised that the man behind Twenty Major - whose anonymity is as much a part of his authorial persona as is his frequently scatological approach to social commentary - chose not to attend.

Other winners included Annette Clancy, a management consultant, whose site Thinking Out Loud was honoured with best fiction and best personal blog awards.

Sinéad Gleeson, winner in the arts and culture category said: "Thank God some women won awards. With these things there's a perception it's male-dominated."

The winner of best use of the Irish language, Conn Ó Muíneacháin, started his blog after getting tired of "looking for content I couldn't find".

"Maybe next year we'll see some Irish language blogs in other categories moving into the mainstream," he said in his acceptance speech.

Mr Ó Muíneacháin, a software engineer, is the first person to begin podcasting in Irish. He recently reached the 100 mark and currently does one podcast per day. Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video online for downloading, often through subscription services.

Microsoft Ireland was the largest sponsor of the awards, having offered €2,000 to pay for the function room at the Alexander after the number of registered attendees exceeded Mr Mulley's estimates for a smaller venue.

"What I'd like is for [ the awards] to show that this isn't just about online diaries," said Mr Mulley. "We had stuff worthy of journalist prizes."

Blogging: a beginner's guide
Blog is short for "weblog", a website or online diary to which items are posted on a regular basis in reverse chronological order.

Blogs often focus on a particular subject, such as politics or technology, although this is not a requirement of the medium.

A key characteristic of blogs is real-time reader interactivity and participation, usually through comment software.

Blog entries typically contain some combination of text, images and links to other websites, but video, photo and audio blogging are becoming increasingly popular as broadband becomes more widespread and multimedia technology becomes more robust and affordable.

There is some dispute as to who was the first blogger - some credit Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web, others an American college student named Justin Hall - but it is generally accepted that blogging began in the mid-1990s. Although the term "blog" came into currency in 1997, blogging didn't take off as a mass movement until the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, dramatically expanded the global appetite for political commentary, news and media criticism, which bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) and Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo) supplied in abundance.

By the time of the US presidential election in 2004, blogging was cemented in the American media landscape, as bloggers began breaking news stories, most notably discovering a story by CBS news on president George Bush relied on forged documents.

Blogging in Ireland emerged in the wake of this upsurge in the US. Apart from blogs such as best political blog winner Slugger O'Toole, which covers Northern Ireland and has won a loyal global readership, much of the Irish blogosphere steers clear of politics, preferring to focus on overlooked art forms, cultural ephemera or just the vicissitudes of daily life, among a huge range of topics.

Many of the first reports and images of the Dublin riots of last month appeared on blogs.

Annette Clancy, whose site Thinking Out Loud was honoured with best fiction and best personal blog awards describes blogging as the gathering of "communities of interest".

"There's a discourse out there that we're wannabe journalists, but that's a naïve understanding," she says. "Blogs are curatorial spaces, individual statements of voice where sophisticated conversations about identity can take place." -Jon Ihle

Irish blog awards: winners
Best Blog: Twenty Major -
Best Blog Post: Twenty Major - - "New York Diary"
Best Fiction: Thinking Out Loud - - "47 Hours"
Best Comment: Kevin Breathnach -
Best Technology Blog: Tom Raftery
Best Use of Irish Language: An tImeall
Best Political Blog: Slugger O'Toole
Most Humorous: Twenty Major
Best arts and culture: Sinéad Gleeson
Best group blog: The Community At Large -
Best photo blog: In Photos -
Best personal blog: Thinking Out Loud
Best contribution to the Irish blogosphere:

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Declining fatherhood

Matthew Dubay does not want to be a father to his born child. He does not want to pay child support or have the legal or emotional responsibilities involved in fatherhood.

I am a little confused here. Some in the men’s ‘movement’ wish to have the right to be consulted when children are put up for adoption. Some men wish to have the right to be consulted when a woman seeks to terminate a pregnancy. Other men are fighting both here (reg. required) and in the UK (and the European Court of Human Rights) to stop embryo’s which have been fertilised by their sperm being used by former partners at a later stage. (Pro life supporters are a little quiet on all of this are they not? Is it the IVF that’s stopping them?)

Matthew could of course have said no, or perhaps wear a condom. And I don’t believe the ruse where he said his partner at the time claimed to be infertile and using birth control just in case. Again disposing of his responsibility in the matter. The use of the term ‘being duped’ into fatherhood is interesting too….wish it were as respected when used by the women misled, assaulted, abused, sectioned etc.

And what about the rights of his child to a parent?

And the winners are...

Well that was an absolute blast.  More tomorrow but the coat drama was one of the best laughs of the night…looking forward to Red Mum’s photo!  

And the winners….

Best Blog/Blogger - Sponsored by
Twenty Major

Best Blog Post - Sponsored by
Twenty Major - New York Diary

Most Humorous Post - Sponsored by BEECHER.NET
Twenty Major - New York Diary

Best Photo Blog - Sponsored by Imagefile Ireland
In Photos

Best Fictional Piece in a Blog - Sponsored by
Thinking Out Loud - 47 hours

Best Arts and Culture Blog - Sponsored by Wiki Ireland
Sinéad Gleeson

Best Political Blog - Sponsored by
Slugger O’Toole

Best Group Blog - Sponsored by
The Community At Large

Best Comment/Commenter - Sponsored by Spark Ireland

Kevin Breathnach

Best Personal Blog - Sponsored by Hosting365
Thinking Out Loud

Best Use of the Irish Language in a Blog - Sponsored by
An tImeall
Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere - Sponsored by
Roger Galligan -
Best Technology Blog/Blogger - Sponsored by Bitbuzz

Tom Raftery

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Bloscars

So the big day is here, cruelty to Barbies averted, (the barbies have not been spray painted according to Damien on Dave Fannings Show on Thursday). That Girl and Red Mum have been pondering internet anonymity with two very thought provoking posts. Lots of us are going to see what each other looks like tonight and that comfort zone is going to be shifted a bit.

The awards have provided the basis for some interesting conversations over the past few days.

‘No I can’t go on Saturday.’

Incredulous reply (Maman Poulet does not usually go anywhere on a Saturday.)

‘Why not?’

‘Because I’m going to the Irish Blog Awards.’

‘The What Awards?’

‘The Irish Blog Awards – it’s a computer thing’

And there I backed out of going any further because it would take too long and anyway it’s my space. And I don’t mean my blog as such but my interest in blogging. I wonder for others if the awards ceremony is lending some support/comfort to guilty bloggers.

I mean those of us who read and read other blogs, craft our pieces and think about our blog on the bus or the Luas, or those who carry a camera to capture something ‘that’d be good to put on the blog when I get home.’ This weeks UK research (by Google) that indicated people are using the internet more than watching TV certainly made me feel a whole lot better about myself anyway. :-)

And the Irish Times piece yesterday (helpfully republished by GUBU) has meant that I might not have to explain myself too much more about what a blog is. Maybe next Monday’ s feature in the main pages will make it even easier again. Fustar ponders the MSM coverage of the awards. And yes I too have had those worries about how they have been covering it.

I’m looking forward to meeting ye all and then disappearing back behind the screen.

And (to the tune of Eminem’s Slim Shady) I wonder if the Real Twenty Major will please stand up…or will it be the person formerly known as Twenty Major, or will it be his agent as surely he is the Irish blooker of the future.

Thanks Damien for all the hard work and also for the profile given to blogging and for the chance for some of us to dress up (casually not so smart for me I fear!)

Update: Twenty Major has indicated he is sending a representative…yeah like we believe that.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The implications of the Blarney Case

I have been thinking a lot about the Blarney case since the verdict was reached on Tuesday evening. I know I was somewhat flippant in my initial post but it was more anger and sarcasm and disbelief than anything else.

There is much much more which needs to be said about both the verdict and also the implications for cases involving discrimination on the sexual orientation ground. But putting my thoughts in print about it might say the very unpopular, the unhelpful even. As disturbed as I am about the judgement I question my opinions and their helpfulness at this time. However the lack of response from queer and other groups to the result of the case (whilst unsurprising) might mean that other people are guarding their responses too. In the efforts to bring about equality for lesbians and gay men (especially in terms of relationship recognition) any comment on the other ways lesbians and gay men are discriminated against might be seen to be confusing issues. Maybe people feel that this case is not a good one to make a fuss over – however I have seen or heard nothing to indicate this and the Equality Authority supported the case from the start.

Put simply this judgement will do absolutely nothing to encourage those who are discriminated against in both employment and access to goods and services on the basis of sexual orientation to take cases. Particularly those who would end up taking a case to the District Court.

There …I said it.

This judgement by its statements on morality and lack of a compensation award has in fact legitimised discrimination, cast judgement on behaviour of lesbians and gay men in public, and again indicated to us that we are alien, other, and should go to Dublin or Amsterdam if we want to show affection for each other.

Each year the annual report of the Equality Authority notes the difficulty in getting those who experience discrimination on the sexual orientation ground to come forward and take cases. Anonymity can be granted, there are case workers and legal supports available to assist claimants. However many do not make the call or even follow up on their initial queries to progress cases because they are afraid, they do not think it is worth the stress and hassle and people want to try and get on with their lives.

Anyone who is not lesbian or gay or maybe who is not out might not understand how this judgement can and is being read by those who are in anyway out or comfortable about their sexuality. One (straight) caller to a late night talk show last night summed it up perfectly for me in the midst of lots of ‘that sort of thing should not be allowed ‘ rhetoric.

‘Sure if they go to their own pubs they risk getting their heads kicked in when they come out.’

We’re dammed if we do and we’re dammed if we don’t.

The Equality Authority, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the lesbian and gay movement need to review the legislation and the ways in which plaintiffs/ claimants are encouraged and supported. Michael McDowell needs to say something supportive at this time:-

  • to acknowledge that lesbian and gay realities are about more than getting hitched

  • and that people should be able to show affection for their partners in public and be who they are whether they live in Fananfore or Fanad.

Support the Victor Connell Trust Fund

I was listening to the News at One on Radio 1 today and heard the story of Victor Connell who was seriously injured playing rugby. I thought of the silence in Lansdowne Road a few weeks ago when Marcus Horan was injured and everyone feared the worst. I also thought of a guy in college who is a quadriplegic like Victor as a result of a sporting accident.

On Saturday there will be a bucket collection for Victor at Lansdowne Road with 250 collectors. There are other ways of donating. This being Ireland ie. a small world, there is an Irish blogging link to this story. Gavin is a cousin of Victors and he writes about how one can donate to the trust fund established to support Victor when he comes out of rehab and continues with his life.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

'I took away the cradle and left the playpen'

‘I took away the cradle and left the playpen.’

Michael Neary’s words of ‘comfort’ to some of the 129 women who had caesarean hysterectomies.

For the past two nights (Tuesday/Wednesday) Vincent Browne has been playing reconstructions from Michael Neary’s fitness to practice hearings held by The Irish Medical Council in 2004. You can find the links to hear them here. It is not easy listening but more people should hear it. Last weeks report from Judge Maureen Harding Clark does not tell the whole story.

The Problem with Women and Work 2

Piaras replies in the comments to this post and indeed to the posts of That Girl, Babblogue, Damien and Sinead. I am putting my response as a post in the attempt to continue the discussion and the comments section frequently does not a good reply make in terms of composition.

Hmm... people seem to have completely misread my original post. I agree the original title was a bit troll-like, but it was meant to encourage discussion rather than cause offense.

Oh I don’t think many people misread your post at all Piaras. And you have indeed encouraged discussion and for that matter a lot of humour!

I'm not talking about being able to tell jokes, I'm talking about being able to stand in front of an audience and showcase your achievements.

Oh I think we got that loud and clear. What you seem to have failed to recognise is that in your pinpointing of what you perceive as some sort of failure in women’s presentation skills you have put this ahead of the many other issues, which keep women attached to sticky floors, or hitting against glass ceilings.

You said that you felt that funds should be spent on public speaking rather that targeting women into certain professions. In my post I highlighted the fact that many believe these programmes do work and only last week a UK government report highlighted good practice in this area. The identifying of women not following a male ethos or performance standard fails to see women as different in fact is comes across as you wanting women to be the same when there are many reasons why we don’t want to be and in fact are prevented from being.

Statistics are showing that women score better than men, but yet they still don't get as many top-level jobs. While having children plays a factor in this, I think that men might be just talk themselves up a bit more.

No disagreement there Piaras, just interested in why men talking themselves up more is not seen as actually being the problem – rather than suggesting women should engage in similar activities.

I work in PR, a profession dominated by women so either I work with a load of comedians or with people that are passionate about their work and not afraid to shout about their results.

Why do we need to shout? Whilst I would agree there are many working in PR and indeed they were one of the first areas where I saw many women at the top (Terry Prone, Bride Rosney, Brenda O’Hanlon, Mary Finan, Rhona Blake etc). It is not the same in all professions and there is a multitude of research out there which indicates many reasons for the inequalities – I just argue that learning to shout loud or how to speak in public would not be a leading solution of the ‘problem’ and that employers and other stakeholders including men need to reflect on their part.

No kissing in Blarney....or maybe we could organise a snog or two

Well done to Myra McGuirk and Eileen Twomey for taking and winning their case (reg. req.) against Malone's Bar in Blarney – thats MALONE's BAR in BLARNEY, CO. CORK! (Name and Shame!) (An earlier report on the story is available here.)

However I feel a whole lot of kissing coming on.

The bar owner does not have to pay any damages to the couple because Judge Patrick Clyne thought that the women should have remembered they were in Blarney and not Dublin or Amsterdam.

Oh no we don't do dat down dere do we...?? And what's this with telling lesbians how they should behave so they won't be thrown out of pubs.

How about a queer snogging bus tour around Ireland? Stopping off throughout the land to kiss, embrace and otherwise demonstrate that being lesbian or gay and showing affection for your partner is something that should be able to happen anywhere and that it does happen everywhere. I suggest the tour starts in Blarney where the merry group rejoin to Malone's Bar following kissing practise at the Blarney Stone.

Update: Fiona presents the legal science bit here and has more information on Judge Clyne.

The Problem with Women and Work

Ah for the day that was in it I was planning a post, one documenting the history and significance of 8 March*.

Others seem to have forgotten or maybe they have their own take on it. Women have a problem it seems – reaching the top. And they need help!!! Public Speaking Lessons instead of equality programmes or programmes attracting them into certain industries. And the lack of women in comedy was also mentioned as an example of the problem. Laugh? Oh I am rolling in the aisles here.

Women do blog/network about their expertise and skills. Maybe not as loudly as some male bloggers/networkers but they seem to be getting there. Last week I heard an interview with 3 women who have established their own home businesses having identified gaps in the market for products that mothers used. These women could not or would not work full time for someone else because of family commitments so they decided to work for themselves and have online support networks to help them.

Some women seem to be subtler in their attitudes to seeking advancement/promotion at work and demonstrate different traits. Many don’t need to leave their jackets on the back of their chairs to indicate they spend all day in the office, and they complete their tasks/projects on time because they have to with more work facing them when they get home.

It’s interesting how women are perceived as the problem in some opinions of why they don’t reach the top. They lack confidence, they only want to have babies, they want an easy life, they don’t play the game in the same way men do, and they are not team players because they don’t go for a pint after work (because they often can’t). Those who do reach the top are seen as genderless, or being more like men, playing dirty, not good enough mothers, castigated if they decide not to have children and whispers begin about their sexual orientation.

In Down to Business on Newstalk106 last Saturday I heard the question posed – Are there any part-time Chief Executives? And the answer was no. That is no surprise. Given many women’s preference to work part time it is not surprising that there are few CEO’s or Chief Financial Officers as these are seen as only full time positions.

In the various treatises that appear problematising women in work the issues of discrimination are rarely mentioned. It does not happen, sure aren’t we all equal now.
However discrimination on the basis of gender and pregnancy are two growing areas of investigation for the Equality Authority and the Office of the Director of Equality Investigations/ Equality Tribunal.

One has to wonder about the anomalies that exist in traditionally female occupations of teaching and nursing where men are over represented at senior positions. It’s not that there are not talented suitably qualified women there to take up the positions. But time out to have children and easier routes of advancement for men means that there are (per capita) more men in senior positions than women

Last week the Women And Work Commission in the UK published a report aimed at increasing women’s capacity and access to all areas of the workplace and ending gender segregation. (I did a quick search of the report and did not find any suggestions for public speaking classes, lots of good examples of training and support initiatives though.)

Increasing women’s employment and ending the gender segregation that blights the jobs market in which women are concentrated in the five ”c”s – the caring, cashier, clerical, cleaning and catering sectors – would benefit the economy by as much as £23 billion, worth 2 per cent of GDP.

Programmes that target women and increase their access and capacity to other industries were recommended. The report highlighted the over qualification of many women for the roles that they currently occupy and the ‘sticky floors’ which exist and prevent women moving upwards. These floors are sticky because of lack of routes for advancement, lack of training, and stereotyping of women’s roles and abilities.

The report also indicated that women in full-time employment still earn less than men in similar employment. This ‘pay penalty’ occurs not only because women take time out to have children but also because their roles are seen as different than their male colleagues.

It appears we get report after report which highlight the gendered differences in work, pay opportunities and promotion. However public discourse often exclaims that women have the problem and place the barriers themselves or need more confidence. There are rarely reflections on the workplace as the problem and those who make the decisions and the attitudes of many male colleagues and other women that are often the biggest barriers that women face.

Happy International Women’s Day* Piaras and Everyone else! I hope you have a great day, I’ll be out working in my part time, not very well paid position.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

'Serving your country but only reading what we want you to'

Wonkette reports that US Marine surfers based in Iraq are block from visiting the site. In fact the list of sites that gyrenes can and cannot visit makes for interesting reading.

  • Wonkette – “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”

  • Bill O’Reilly ( – OK

  • Air America ( – “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”

  • Rush Limbaugh ( – OK

  • ABC News “The Note” – OK

  • Website of the Al Franken Show ( – “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”

  • G. Gordon Liddy Show ( – OK

  • Don & Mike Show ( – “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies.”

On a slightly related note Maman Poulet says hello to her readers from Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park, we hope you enjoyed your trip!

The Portland Fellowship

Some ex-gays at work- a video webcast interview with a leader from the Portland Fellowship, a group from Portland, Oregon who help gays seek spiritual healing from homosexuality. These are the ‘nice’ guys, bit of a goatee thing going on don’t you think?

Wait for the bits on comparisons with alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and the bits in finding happiness in love, which can be overcome by becoming a living sacrifice!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscars ala Youtube

So there are mixed reviews for Jon Stewart’s performance at the Oscars last night. Instead of wading through the specially produced for International Audiences highlights (which nark me) I turned to Youtube.  You can see the Gay Cowboy montage here (who said there were never any gay cowboys in Hollywood!)

The opening sequence is viewable here. And George Clooney’s acceptance speech here.

"And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch."George Clooney, at the Academy Awards

And check here for Unlikely things to hear at the Oscars from Mock the Week

Minister for Tourism going nowhere

Tim O’Brien reports in today’s Irish Times… (sub not required). ‘Do you not know who I am’ does not work – I imagine the Minister will shortly appear in a cartoon in a Ryanair Ad somewhere.

There are no exceptions, as Minister for Arts and Tourism John O'Donoghue learned to his cost on being refused permission to board a Ryanair flight at Cork airport because he carried no picture identification.

Mr O'Donoghue was travelling to Dublin where he was scheduled to record an appearance on the RTÉ programme The Week in Politics.

The Minister was asked for identification at the Ryanair check-in desk, and when he could not produce the required level of identification he was refused admission to the 9.50am flight to Dublin.

Continues here

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ex-gay movements

Justin has received a cease and desist letter from Exodus International for his parody of their billboard ad.

Although we have not seen the emergence of an Ex-gay movement in Ireland, there have been reports on the development of the movement in the UK. I am not aware of any reports of conversion therapy being used in Ireland either? What would be the response of the Irish lgbt movement to the establishment of conversional therapy resources/programmes here?

This week the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force in Washington released a report on the activities of ex-gay groups and those promoting conversion therapies. A pdf file of the report is available here (It is co-written by Irish-American Sean Cahill who has worked on several excellent reports on lgbt issues including lgbt ageing)

In particular this report highlights the new tactics of such groups in targeting young people and their parents in offering programs which claim to cure homosexuality.

The press release accompanying the report lists the key findings including

  • Not only does ex-gay therapy not work; there is a growing body of research documenting the harm it causes and the ethical violations it embodies, especially when applied to children against their will.
  • Ex-gay programs and conversion therapy practitioners could be shut down and even held liable for the harm they cause to clients based on malpractice, consumer fraud, false advertising, or under contract or child abuse and neglect laws, particularly for minors forced to attend an ex-gay program.
  • For decades, anti-gay leaders have portrayed homosexuality as a malign choice to support their "special rights" argument. However, that message is contradicted by theories posited by ex-gay leaders and evangelical Christian right leaders, who claim that "pre-homosexuality" develops as the result of dysfunctional relationships between parents and children, as well as child sexual abuse. These claims are based on flawed research, most of which would not withstand the scrutiny required to be published in respected, peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • A study of 202 former conversion therapy clients published in 2002 reported that 176 participants experienced significant harm, including depression, social isolation, low self-esteem, internalized homophobia and even attempted suicide.
  • The study also found ethical concerns and violations, including the use of false and prejudicial information disguised as science to convince clients that they needed treatment.
  • Perhaps because of the growing number of ex-gay leaders who have publicly "fallen off the wagon," ex-gay programs have confusing and conflicting definitions of what it means to "change" as the result of their programs. For example, Exodus International claims that "change is possible," but John Smid, director of Love In Action, has said, "There is no cure for homosexuality."
  • Ex-gay leaders also cite wildly varying and conflicting numbers of people who have "changed" as the result of their programs, ranging from "hundreds" to "hundreds of thousands."
  • Several of the groups who made submissions to the Oireachtas All Party Committee on the Constitution's recent report/hearings on the Family cited the work of leading exponents of the ex-gay movement including Dr. James Dobson .

    What worries me most is that the thoughts of this proponent of hate and harm to lesbians and gay men were included in the final report of the committee and were unchallenged or examined in anyway by the committee. Dobson is presented as a family psychologist - he is not referred to as the leader of Focus on the Family - the leading anti-gay movement in the USA. An Irish branch of Focus on the Family exists but seems lighter (or maybe more deceptive) on the anti-gay/ex-gay theme in its events/books and publications, however its submission to the all party committee quoted James Dobson liberally.

    In thinking about the work of conversion therapy movments I can't help thinking of Zach a 16 year old from Tennesee who in his blog documented how his parents were preparing to send him to a Love in Action facility for a Refuge programme to address his homosexuality. He was terrified.

    Zach entered the programme and his story received much media coverage which led to a state investigation of the programme that was later called off due to lack of evidence of abuse. However Statemental health authorities havecontinued to call for the Memphis based group to be closed.

    Zach was told to stop blogging by his parents, his previous posts were removed and one last post was made where he defended the programme and asked for people to leave him alone. One hopes that he will be able to be who he wants to be soon.

    ExGay Watch blogs about the ex-gay movement and indeed provides a criticism of the NGLTF report.

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    World Book Day....

    Always one to stand out from a crowd me....I'm reading nutting at the moment, nada, nowt!

    There are stacks of unread books at the moment in the bookcases in the box room. Many of these will make their way to Oxfam in Parliament Street.

    I have not read a book in a while and am rather proud of it - am on a PhD holiday :-)

    I have been surfing Amazon though - does this count?

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    The degaying of Temple Bar

    Ryan Tubridy was in Temple Bar on Tuesday. Lots of interviews with traders, cultural workers, residents and visitors. No mention of the gay community or the lesbian and gay owned businesses or residents of the area, but should we expect anything else.

    Senator David Norris called in to leave message about the gay history of Temple Bar- Ryan read the message – ‘the world would still be waiting for Temple Bar only for the energy of the gay community who started the whole thing off.’ Ryan replies ‘and they’ll take credit for that too (laughs) and why not.’ He finishes the programme.

    Someone needs to document the impact of the gay community in Temple Bar – Temple Bar Properties degayed the area and its history when they took over. But from my memory and the many stories I heard and people I have met before the stag, hens, tourists and posh penthouses took over, Temple Bar was a run down bus park where few people ventured into. The Hirschfeld Centre was a vital resource and lesbians and gay men still own and work in business’s there and with the impending opening of a new gay bar the area will again be queered. But God forbid that us queers take credit for anything….we should know our place.

    Spring is sprung...

    Some Links to start the month….

    New food blogger Tea and Cookies documents her decent/assent into blogging! It’s very funny, don’t eat anything whilst reading it or you might choke! It’s full of reasons why I would never make a good food blogger!

    Another good round up of blogs about the Dublin riots can be found on Blurred Keys.

    Aidan Culhane, Labour Candidate in Dublin South is blogging. Useless information -  I once contested an election with Aidan for a position and lost.

    Nominations have recently closed for the Lulu Blooker Prize – the first literary award ceremony for blogs that have been turned into books.

    Jill at Feministing writes about how a Chicago Judge was trying to make a rape victim watch a video of the rape during her cross examination at a defendants trial.

    The Ninth Carnival of the Feminists was hosted last month by Mind the Gap, a Welsh group of feminist women. Lots and lots of interesting posts are included in their round up – much thought and plenty of reading. The March Carnival nominations close on March 5 and submissions can be made here