Sunday, July 30, 2006

7 seconds

The Sunday Times is sitting on the coffee table. (I didn’t purchase it!) I might pick it up for a look later on. But the significance of the location of the paper and my disinterest in it is something deserving of comment. I have been thinking a bit about my media consumption – being interviewed today about my blog for a newspaper article reminded me about the changes in how I access information. Yesterday watching and reading about contributions to Blogher, I saw part of a keynote from an 80 year old blogger, Millie Garfield. She reflected on how her day, media consumption and in fact her life has changed due to blogging and the internet.

In the past 6 months I have read fewer books, magazines and newspapers – the paper versions. When I think about buying a paper I now make a calculation about how much of it I have already scanned online and whether it’s worth buying. However I read more newspaper and magazine articles than ever before – but mostly online.

I have listened to less radio (thanks in part to Ryan Tubridy!) and watched very little television apart from the World Cup, some golf and the news channels. I have no idea what’s happening in soap land. I watch Big Brother only on eviction night, and watched my first film on TV in I don’t know how long on Thursday night. (Suprisingly good film on Channel 6 – Dirt)

I watch the news online on RTE, BBC and various US news channel websites, trying to watch the news at home when one does not control the remote was difficult enough - now I have an alternative and also choice in the stories I consume.

Technorati or my Bloglines list are now probably my first port of call for catching up on a news story – what is News though? – that too has changed for me. For example, I have more interest in technology, social media and eastern European lgbt politics than I had a year ago when I started blogging. (Whether I understand any more about technology and the tech industry, Web 2.0 etc. is debatable!!)

I know more about what is happening in Robert Scoble’s life than what’s happening on Coronation Street. I listen to the Daily Source Code and many other tech/political/food podcasts every week including bits from BBC Radio 4 and Newstalk’s output which they now podcast. The Guardian’s podcasts are also a part of my media diet. I’ll readily read politician’s blogs (sans press releases!) rather than watch Oireachtas Report or listen to David Davin Power’s analysis.

Feminist writing and analysis is more easily found online than in mainstream outlets, Feministe and Womens Enews feed that part of my media soul.

My interest in current affairs has not lessened at all, the way I consume information has. I search for items for both my blog and also for other online resources I manage and I add to my increasingly diverse pile of useless information that I keep in my head. Well try to keep or at least let pass through my brain on its way somewhere else!

Tom Raftery talks about the goldfish effect on all this information consumption – yes with the huge expansion in blogging one does have to really stand out to be remembered. But this was the same with ‘old’ media too. Blob blob blob….

Saturday, July 29, 2006

DRI vs. Ireland?

Karlin Lillington has a scoop on the front page of todays Irish Times which is worth keeping an eye on.

State may face legal challenge over its access to phone
In a potentially far-reaching legal challenge, a privacy rights watchdog group is demanding that the Government and Garda cease the collection, storing and accessing of mobile and fixed-line phone data, writes
Karlin Lillington.
Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has given the State seven days to comply, after which it will begin legal proceedings.
The ultimatum is contained in letters sent on Wednesday to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Minister for Communications, the Marine and Natural Resources, and the Garda Commissioner, asking for undertakings that data retention legislation will cease to be implemented and enforced and requests for access to data will cease.

Full article available here (no reg required!)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


With the US mid term elections beckoning, including ballots on same sex marriage or more correctly defining marriage as between a man and women, and court cases on same sex marriage producing results (all against so far) on a weekly basis, more money is being pumped into same sex marriage campaigns. This funding is now becoming a contentious issue amongst lgbt activists as other issues including employment protection are being left to one side. (more about this in a later post.)

This ad is doing the rounds of mailing lists - it was first shown 2 years ago according to the information found here and was part of this years Media that Matters Festival in New York.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Kissing Bloggers Rings...

Who’ll come to kiss the ring of Irish bloggers at the Irish election Ard Fheis?

Watch ABC Nightline’s feature on Kos, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos, and his 600,000 hits a day and the campaign against Joe Liebermann. Watch out for the baby grand piano! And that’s where Martin Bashir has got to!

Sheila, Buddy, Bella and Biddy.

Meet Buddy!

Accordingto Sheila's Wheels (UK car insurance company aimed at women...)

We have now created the ‘Buddy on Demand’, a blow up man that inflates at the flick of a switch if and when a passenger is needed to be used whenever a woman driving alone after dark needs an instant passenger.

It is designed to help women deter road-rage attacks, car jacking and intimidating behaviour by other motorists - especially at night – by giving the appearance of two silhouettes in the front of the car, instead of a single, female figure behind the wheel.

Four out of five women* (80%) say they feel safer behind the wheel when there’s someone sitting beside them – but of course it’s impossible to always travel with a partner, friend or relative. This is where having a ‘Buddy on Demand’ can reduce the fear associated with driving alone.

If the above research is correct then there is about 10 percent of the population (Lesbians) who will not be served by Buddy or at least not completely comfortable with Buddy's flick switching services. Why does it have to be a he? Can we not have Bella, the blow up butch, for the femmes in our hour of need? Or Biddy, the lipstick lesbian who'll be there for you whenever you need her.

So off I go looking for suitable blow up dolls for this purpose to propose to Sheila's Wheels - purely in the interest of this blog and its readership you understand.

Butch blowups for the discerning dyke are thin on the ground. But a blow up dolls search on google did produce this image...

Rachel Maddow is a presenter on Air America and also a commentator on MSNBC and an out lesbian.

She can pop up in my car any time (not that I drive you understand but she could do the driving...)

Justine Reilly writes about her inflatable hero on the Guardian Travel Blog.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday's Musings

  • Google is your friend - at least in how to 'get a girl and get laid'. Damien spent his Sunday writing this - does it work as well in 'getting a boy'? I suggest Damien spends next Sunday trying it out and of course reporting back on his experiences!
  • Gay Community News (or GCN as its now only known these days) is 200 editions old this month. Maman Poulet’s picture appears twice in this edition. Anyway to mark the occasion they have 12 mp3 tracks available for download on their site from 12 different irish queer artists. Shaz Oye, Zrazy and Michelle Ann Kelly are on my Creative Zen today.

  • As Simon hinted the other day there has been conflict over the issue of highlighting the situation facing gay people in Iran. Some western organisations are disputing whether the 2 teenagers executed last year were gay, they also say that protesting against these actions is Western oppression of Islamist culture or something like that. Well Al Fil of the Middle East Gay Journal Blog replies to all this hokum and tells the Western Gay Movement (well the official professional NGO wing) to cop on.

I hate what Long [Scott Long of Human Rights Watch] says about "imputing a Westernized ‘gay’ identity on these youths", which is a steaming pile of donkey-#$%@. Islamists are putting a gay identity on people in the Middle East just as much as the West is. Gay people in the Middle East didn't experience the current level of persecution until the 1990s, when the gay movement began to gain momentum in the West. Why? It's simple - Islamists want to distance the East from the West. By showing how gay the West is, and how gay the East isn't, they accomplish their goal. Why do you think there has been so much coverage of gay marriage in Western nations? Gay people are a group that evoke relatively little sympathy in the Middle East, and are an easy target for the Islamists. The current crackdowns targeting gay people are merely an extension of the Islamist vs. Western Imperialism battle that has been raging for decades. Islamists superimpose the term "gay" just as much as Westerners, and it's uninformed - and a bit ethnocentric - to say otherwise.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Same-sex pair skating at 2006 Gay Games

The Gay Games ended in Chicago last night. Over 12,000 people competed from 65 countries. One of the unique features is the same sex ice and ballroom dancing where couples (and the non coupled!) compete. Here is an anonymous couple's interpretation of Brokeback Mountain.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blogging Councillors

Something is definitely happening in Labour Party HQ regarding candidate blogging, we suddenly have a rash of blogging councillors. These are councillors with blogspot blogs too - written themselves (or at least humans rather than robots!) I previously mentioned Dominic Hannigan's blog which continues to entertain including his version of how he missed the vote for the Cathaoirleach of the council.

“Don’t be late, we could be voting in ten minutes” said Jimmy, who I had agreed to support for Cathaoirleach.“I won’t be late!” I responded.

Well, I fu***d up and got caught with a planner for 15 minutes. By the time I returned I entered the chamber and Jimmy was in the Chair. He had been elected without my support.

I felt very embarrassed, because I know how this could be made to look. I had driven to Navan specifically to vote for him and I had missed it. (If I wanted to avoid it I could have been otherwise engaged on a business meeting in London or New York). There was nothing to do but apologise profusely to Jimmy, and the Chamber for missing the vote.In my two years as a councillor this was the biggest mistake I made, and if I could have re-lived the day I would have made sure I didn’t leave the chamber at the wrong time.

Added to my bloglines recently are the blogs of Eric Byrne, Seamus Ryan, Sean O hArgain and Aodhan O'Riordan. I can hear Sean's accent as I read his blog, I first met him in 1990 on the Mary Robinson campaign.

Any new FF, FG, PD or SF blogs out there? Written by the councillors or candidates themselves and not full of press releases or capital letters?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Save Audioscope

Whilst there has been much outcry at the decision to end Mystery Train and Rattlebag on RTE Radio 1, I only learnt this morning that Audioscope is also for the axe.

This 15 minute programme made for blind and visually impaired listeners is being removed as RTE say that listeners can be provided for in all other programming.

Oh pull the other one! RTE's track record in disability programming is abysmal. They patronise the shit out of us, give us crap like the Ability Awards and god forbid a crip woulud get anywhere near making mainstream programming in the first place.

There is a petition going which you will find here. Sign it and spread the word.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Supporting LGBT and other refugees in Lebanon

Whilst the focus of the western media on the attacks in the Middle East has been on the mass evacuation of foreigners there is now a huge refugee crisis developing. Lebanese citizens are fleeing their homes and seeking cover. Already there are stories of hardship and hunger and disease.

I have had the opportunity to work with and support Lebansese lgbt migrants in Canada. Last year I had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Montreal which discussed double and triple identities in the lgbt community there including a focus on issues facing those from the Middle East.

Helem Montreal is part of a network of groups around the world reaching out to Lebanese and other Arabic migrants in the north America and Australia. All the groups provide support to Helem in Beruit which provides a range of vital services for lgbt’s and has become established and supported by private foundations and NGO’s in the face of opposition from Lebanese society.

Helem Beruit is now providing assistance to refugees from the conflict. I am not aware of much published work on the effects of conflict and displacement on lgbt’s but would think from my contacts and knowledge of similar incidents that lgbt’s suffer like others and maybe are even more effected as conflict and surges in nationalism increase violence against minorities. If you feel like making a donation to support their work you can find information here.

Update: Pam notes that the wingnuts are blaming the war in the middle east on us fags and dykes already – in particular targeting the organisers of World Pride which is due to take place next month in Jerusalem.

La Petite Anglaise et fini? Non!

Blogger loses job over blog. Blogger is female and has blonde hair like Bridget Jones. Cue many articles and radio items about blogs and cigs, chocolate and alcohol intake no doubt. How many will actually know what they are talking about? Blogger is on way to major book deal. She is also suing her boss.

You can read La Petite Anglaise here and watch an interview with her on More4 here.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I blog therefore I???

Mick Fealty writes in the Guardian’s Comment is Free on blogging and what can be learnt about it from the UK bloggers vs. Prescott/MSM etc. etc.

The piece makes for excellent reading when considering the ‘Will Irish Bloggers effect the next General Election’ theme that was around earlier this week. In particular I like the way he reminds us what bloggers do – Sometimes we forget!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

When is an unannounced audit not an unannounced audit?

The cleanliness audit of Irish Hospitals is out today. Lots of improvement all round which is to be welcomed– but I don’t believe in the unannounced nature of the audit. Having worked and visited two of the hospitals listed this year I know that they were expecting the audit and knew when approximately it would take place.

The infection control nurse who tried to bring herself and two workmen in to the treatment room I was occupying with two doctors and a nurse conducting a test on me gave the game away. Her insistence that she needed to install cleansers and the like was just a bit OTT and then she added that it needed to be done before the auditors arrived later that week.  The control of infection I might have caught with all the tooing and froing of non-clinical staff whilst having intravenous treatment was furthest from her mind.

And wouldn’t the CEO’s be ringing each other saying so and so ‘is headed down to you next.’  As a part-time business standards auditor it’s clear to me how this game is played, and manys the time I’ve been asked by store manager A about my travel plans so he can tip off store manager B.

Backing down and copping out

Remember that HIV/AIDS Fundraising concert in the USA with the homophobic line up I blogged about a few days ago?

Well its been cancelled. And the organisers are copping out even further by saying that they feared violence? So if their chosen acts sang about shooting and hanging queers that would have been ok? But if anyone demonstrates or protests against homophobia they cop out?

And Lifebeat turn the screw even further by saying that the Caribbean American community are now losing out.  They hope the black lesbian and gay bloggers and others who ran the campaign to remove the rappers from the lineup will work with them on awareness raising in the community

Suggestion to Lifebeat – consult the community and get real before making such a mess of it the next time. They have lost a unique opportunity to speak out against homophobia which is one of the core issues in the transmission of HIV in the first place.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New (to me) podcasts

I have not mentioned Podcasts in a while. My latest additions to Itunes (I am still learning about Podshow + and don’t really think it will replace Itunes as my podcast catcher etc. )

  • Calmcast – a podcast with birdsong, other sounds of nature and some very relaxing music. Perfect for meditation, massage and last thing at night clear your mind stuff.

  • Gay USA TV – this is now available as an audio podcast. I caught this in New York last year – it’s a public access television programme and its been going for years. I really enjoy the presenters (shock horror – older lgbt’s on the TV!). It’s not all fluff like so much of the previous efforts I have seen at lgbt TV/radio programming.

And of course you don’t need an ipod or an mp3 player to listen to podcasts, you can play them on your PC or even put them on your phone memory card.

I want my, I want my, European Parliament TV?!?

With apologies to Dire Straits fans....

The European Parliament is going to bring us it's own web television channel. Hold yourselves there now, no use getting too excited at the moment - it's a pilot project. The report which recommended this new development to the parliament stated that this move

"matches changing social patterns, with many Europeans, particularly the young, looking increasingly to the internet for news and information."

Ah young people, the future of the continent. And worried parliamentarians have set up a committee to monitor the coverage - just in case the hairdo's are out of place or there are too many shots of MEP's falling asleep, assualting each other, or applying too much fake tan!

UK Political Blogging coverage continues

And the coverage/fallout from UK bloggers versus Prescott/MSM/whatever continues.
Guido Fawkes (Paul) and Slugger (Mick) were on Radio Ulster (MP3 file) this morning. Slugger's (Mick Fealty) prep notes for the interview are interesting reading.
BBC Radio 5's Up All Night slot on Pods and Blogs also discussed the issue with Iain Dale and Emily Bell (editor of Guardian Unlimited) and you can listen here - with an interesting aside on bloggers ego's. (why aren't the BBC podcasting this feature rather than strangling us to have to listen on their media player????)
The Press Gazette reflects here. And yesterday I forgot to link to Emily Bell's cautious piece on bloggers and what they have added to this story.
You might notice I am only really interested in the reflections/discussions on the impact of blogs in UK politics and not the 'target' or validity of the information being leaked/discussed/produced.
I am also interested in that not many Irish blogs are discussing what is happening in UK blogland at all! Only Slugger and myself have paid the issue any heed - of course if you have commented/blogged on this you can leave a comment and let me know. being so unwieldy at moment (for me anyway) I have not found anything yet.
I wonder how long it will take Irish blogs to reach the stage where MSM journalists are hanging onto someone's every word. Also how long before some MSM journalist or editor starts shooting off saying bloggers are loose canons, not to be trusted, or allergic to fact checking. How long before some injured MSM party is subjecting us to an indepth expose of a blogger and his or her private life and trying to diss us all as hobbyists. And some of us are already dissing our own potential? Or at least stirring their cauldrons...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Changing the name but not much else

£35million spent and not a penny in profit and now we have a name change. Don't be thinking that there is any originality involved here though!

Ireland on Sunday (the free cd's make good bird scarers) is going to change its name to the Mail on Sunday (Guardian, registration might be required). Should that not be the Mail on IRISH Sunday, or IRISH Mail on Sunday or Mail on Sunday IRISH, or whatever? Evening to my Associated Press based readers by the way, hope you are all well, those of you in the UK seem safe job wise, not so sure about the writers over this side of the Irish sea. But maybe they are going to keep pumping money into the paper and one day take back the 26 counties, not that they would admit that they gave them away in the first place.

Tuesday's Queer Links

  • Keep your Jesus off My Penis. Not work safe!

  • Slightly related to the above - Martina Navratilova is doing a lot of interviews for her new book. I could not bring myself to her interview a few weeks ago with Ryan Tubridy. Yesterday she did an interview with Women's Hour on BBC Radio 4 - one of my must listen to podcasts on itunes - where she pondered on George W. Bush's difficulty saying the word lesbian. Incidentally Martina is saying she is retiring to spend time with the 'One I love' - linguistic queer sociologists could have a whole load of fun deconstructing that phrase.

  • Black lesbian and gay bloggers in the USA have launched a campaign against a concert raising funds for a HIV charity. Those headlining the concert? Beenie Man and TOK, Beenie Man's concerts around the world have been cancelled following campaigns by lesbians and gay men. Why does it not surprise me that a HIV/AIDS group invites these homophobic singers who support murder of gay people to raise money for them? KeithBoykin, one of the opponents to the concert and the participation of the rappers said "As a black gay man, I've had enough of the excuses and the hypocrisy and the fear. I will not sit back quietly while a so-called AIDS organization gives a microphone and a stage to two musical groups that want to kill me." Reminds me of some people not sitting back whilst gay organisations here invite politicians to hijack events when they don't fully support equality not just lgbt equality either. In fact they believe in inequality as a natural phenomenon

Monday, July 10, 2006

UK bloggers analysed again

More on UK bloggers, the Mainstream Media, John Prescott and is it only a rightwing organised blacklask gainst a Labour Politician?

Patrick Barkham writes in the Guardian (Full article here - worth a read!)

Another of bloggers' charge is that big-media journalists lazily pinch stories they break. "On any given day, you will find on Ephraim Hardcastle, the Londoner's Diary and other diary columns two or three stories that they will have got - totally lifted - from me or Guido," says Dale. "No attribution or anything." At least bloggers, he argues, link back to wherever they first read a story. Dale also says several tabloid journalists telephoned him with snippets from Tracey Temple's diary which the Mail on Sunday had not published when that scandal broke in the spring. He obliged, of course.

Given the number of Associated Press and Independent House based readers I get each week I think that many mainstream journalists are looking to see what Irish bloggers are saying. But are we saying anything worth stealing?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What will we do after tonights match?

Lots of apres match bits are available on Youtube. This one is a great mishmash of the punditry we have been subjected to for the past month. I will miss the football but not the pundits - but I do hope Martin O'Neill returns to television or management soon!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Birds do it, Donegal people do it

Ms. Fitz at Slugger points to the latest issue of the Donegal Democrat and the research commissioned by them on Social Attitudes in Donegal. There’s got to be the obligatory question on gays amongst the questions on sex thinks I. And I was right
What did we find? That most young people in this county think it's all right to have sex before marriage.
70% of Donegal people polled do not think it was all right to have casual sex. And 64% of them say they have no difficulty with people having same sex relationships.
The print version probably contains much more information – I don’t know if this was a question on same sex relationship recognition or just the plain old queers getting it on with other queers type of question which is so 1990’s. And surprise surprise the church are not happy about the ‘erosion of morals’ indicated by the survey.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

UK political bloggers take the stage

  • There is a whole load of blogging going on in the UK at the moment on John Prescott, the dome owning billionaire he had free jaunts with, how many extra-marital affairs he has had and with whom, why has he not resigned or been asked to walk the plank by now (Seems he has a lot of dirt on Tony Blair). And finally there is a lot of talk by MSM types on ‘who the hell do these bloggers think they are getting away with this naming when we can’t do it’.  

Hard to point you in the direction of one piece that sums it all up. Matt Wells in the Guardian provides a piece which is forms a good launch pad through where you can read about how Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale and others have been stirring it up, Iain Dale is defending himself in the Guardian’s Comment is free.  Nick Robinson and Paul Mason of the BBC reflect on political bloggers and their new influence/lack of credibility/Americanisation.

So long farewell to

It would seem I like many other bloggers are abandoning using as a source of information for blogs and blogposts. Well I know the more advanced set were using their own feedreaders or whatever already but I liked to jump in from time to time to read something new. I really am going to have to sort out some sort of blogfeed reader thingy or whatever its called. Suggestions are welcome!

The straw that broke the camels back? Joan Burton – sorry Joan, its not a blog, I don’t want to read about it on Irishblogs.

Thursday Links

  • Peter Tatchell is complaining about the Sun calling Ronaldo (the Portuguese one!) a nancy boy. Eh Peter on Saturday you were calling Benny Ratz a Queen?

The Independent (UK) covers the story here. Trust Peter to defend the most reviled Portuguese man in the UK.

  • I’m awaiting the release of Podshow +, a new delivery system for podcasts and podsafe music. While we wait we get to see Adam Curry poke at the screen and wave to us eejits.

  • Money does not buy happiness, but extra sex can make you feel a whole lot richer.  Waits for the next ESRI survey which incorporates tool (bad choice of word) for analysing relative sexual poverty and absolute sexual poverty – Richard will be interested too as he does not believe in poverty – or the way its monitored and reported anyway!

  • The 14th Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival was launched last week. You can find out details of the festival here. This years honoured openers? Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan – of the KAL Case. So no McDowell then – ah shucks what a pity – maybe he would have been able to tell us about all the gay couples he has met since who do want marriage, despite telling those who turned up to listen to him that he didn’t know anyone... I  might be tempted to go see a few movies this year after last years boycott. We’ll see.  

Monday, July 03, 2006

Blogging and the Irish General Election

Just heard Brian Dowling from the Irish Independent speculating on Today with Tom McGuirk about the significance of bloggers in the next general election. Reminded me about the notion of a Irish Election bloggers Ard Fheis? Sort of war summit of bloggers with maybe an interesting guest speaker or 2? I'd be interested in helping get it together. Have we any takers for this?

With that I head for the hills for a day or 2 looking forward to your comments.

Ryan Tubridy gets more time on the radio

I know there has been much gnashing of teeth elsewhere about the changes on Radio 1, particularly the loss of Rattlebag. (online petition in favour of retaining it can be found here.)

It seems last Friday, a lot of the backroom staff at many RTE programmes were also given their moving orders. Ryan Tubridy was not happy at losing his producers and researchers, he had a meeting with Ana Leddy and came out of it hearing he had an extra hour of a programme to fill each morning from next year!

Maman Poulet can hardly contain herself! 2 hours of Ryan Tubridy's oh so special brand of moaning about mobile phones and other rudenesses, patronising the sick and disabled, proclaiming his heterosexuality, and otherwise 'quirky' moments.

Ms. Leddy you are going the right way about losing your listeners. And if this means that Ronan Collins and his rare but wonderful cranky moments are to be no more I'll be very unhappy indeed (have to say though I was delighted that you sent John Creedon to the radio graveyard that is Late Date!)

I must be one of many that are waiting for Newstalk's national station launch and wondering what you have in store for us - maybe Joe Duffy and more Orla Barry and less Declan Carty???