Tag: Personal

Charity link meme

I hate tag memes and rarely participate in them as I see them as little more than chain letters and time wasters (yeah, I know, bah humbug!).

However, I’ve been tagged by Gavin and Bill to add to this charity link meme. The idea is to improve the page rank of charities in Ireland. If ever there was a good reason to join a tag meme, this is it.

The list of charities so far is:

And the charity I am adding to the list is the extremely deserving
Debra Ireland

Who to tag next? How about –
Ina and

Airport security is a joke

Not that we haven’t known that for some time but it was recently drilled home to me on my flight back from Madrid last week.

My son Enrique has asthma. He got quite bad with it earlier this year when we were in Spain and a Spanish doctor prescribed a cough suppressant called Expectu to help him sleep.

When I was in Madrid, my wife asked me to get another bottle of Expectu to bring home. So far, so good. Except, the bottles for sale in the pharmacies were 200ml and you can only bring bottles less than 100ml onto the plane (I only had hand luggage).

What did I do? I asked the pharmacist to decant the 200ml of Expectu into smaller bottles (in dreadfully pidgen Spanish!). He obliged and poured it into four 75ml bottles. I put these bottles into a clear plastic bag along with my deodorant and toothpaste fully expecting to be stopped at the airport.

Not a bit of it. Going through security, the guard took out one of the four bottles, checked the volume of it and, satisfied that it was less than 100ml, replaced it in the clear plastic bag!

Fantastic! For all you aspirant terrorists out there making liquid bombs – decant the bombs into small bottles if you want to get them onto the plane and you are sorted (oh, and just in case you thought I was serious, here’s why you should save yourself the trouble of trying to make a liquid bomb)!

Airport security is a joke!

Niall Greaney 1987-2007 RIP

Niall Greaney was the son of my first cousin Greta Greaney. He was born 10th June 1987. Yesterday, 8th June 2007, I attended his funeral.

Niall died  as the result of injuries he received in an horrific car accident on Wednesday morning (Jun 6th) last.

Niall was full of life. At 19 he was already a well known sportsman and musician in his community.

His funeral yesterday was one of the biggest and most poignant I have ever attended.

To Niall’s parents Greta and John and his brother Sean and sister Linda, no words can adequately express the sorrow one feels at a time like this. You have my deepest sympathies.

Irish safe driving campaign

The Irish police force have started a road safety campaign which includes mounting wrecked cars at busy intersections with the words Drive Safe under them.

I saw the example above shortly after hearing that a 20 year old cousin of mine had been killed in a car crash yesterday morning.

I am such an idiot!

We were flying to Madrid this morning.

Everything was set. Bags were packed. Ticket printed. Accommodation arranged. The lot.

My wife lived in Madrid for six years so we have friends here who we had arranged to met up with. Needless to say we were looking forward to the weekend for a long time.

We arrived at the airport just about on time (05:40). Queued up to check-in. Got to the check-in desk only to have the woman at the desk tell me I had brought an out-of-date passport for Tomás.

In my haste to get out the door quickly I had grabbed the wrong one from the drawer.

His face completely collapsed when he realised he wasn’t getting on the plane. Words cannot describe how badly I felt for him (and his mother who really needed the break since I have been away so much recently).


What made it worse was that, as I am speaking at Remix Madrid on Monday, I had to get on the plane, leaving them behind.

If the locks haven’t been changed when I get home on Tuesday, I will be amazed.

Reflections in Bilbao

I’m sitting in the cafe of my hotel in Bilbao, sipping a cortado waiting for my lift to the airport to fly home.

The sun is shining, a refreshing breeze is blowing, I’m looking at the Nervion flowing by lazily and the ediface of Gehry‘s incredible Guggenheim Museum is shimmering in the light.

I’m very far from Cork.

I think I will enjoy another coffee in this wondrous setting before I have to leave.

Dolphins in the river Lee!

I was waiting for the ferry between Passage West and Cobh this morning when I noticed a pod of dolphins in the river. I didn’t have my cameras with me (d’oh!) so I couldn’t get any decent shots.

After I boarded, the dolphins played around with our ferry before rushing off to play with the incoming ferry.

I barely caught them heading to the other ferry on my camera phone – sorry about the quality.

Click To Play

America really is the land of extremes!

Apart from all the tech stuff going on at Mix07 last week I met a guy there who really brought it home to me that America really is the land of extremes.

It started innocently enough. I was sharing a breakfast table with a bunch of guys. I introduced myself and one of the guys said “You are on the Euro – you must be loving it over here then; everything is so cheap”

Stupidly I responded with “Yup, we have a lot to thank George Bush for”

Well, that set him off on a bizarre, sick, rant I will never forget.

First off, it wasn’t George Bush who was to blame for the state of the economy, it is Alan Greenspan, I was told. George Bush has done nothing but good for the US.

In any case, the United State economy has never been stronger, I was informed.

I didn’t ask “then why is the dollar so weak”. I did bring up the US’s massive foreign debt though. This was dismissed as inconsequential given that as a percentage of GDP, it has been higher in the past.

Next rant, the Euro is a failed experiment I was informed. It hasn’t been tested. As soon as there is any problem in the Eurozone, it will completely fall apart bringing down the European economies with it!

Then we started to get more bizarre. The war on Iraq is really a war on Islam. Islam is the most hate-filled religion in existence. It is the only religion which preaches killing non-believers. There are three occasions in the Koran where it specifically says that if you can’t convert an infidel, you must kill him.
I tried arguing that in the bible it says “an eye for an eye” which can be taken as a validation of retribution. I was quoting out of context, it seems. This guy’s answer was, seriously, nuke them all!

This led us on nicely to the death penalty. He just could not understand how “you Europeans don’t have the death penalty”. At this point I could have brought up the fact that the US is the only Western country executing criminals and it still has the highest rate of violent crime. No, I stopped arguing with him at this point as I was losing my appetite.

Finally, the majority of crime in the US is because of Mexicans. Mexicans have a violent culture. Mexico city is the most violent city in the world. They come to America and because of their innate violence, they end up in prison. According to this guy, Mexicans outnumber all other nationalities in US prisons.

I left the table.

On the other hand you meet great people like Chris Messina, Mike Arrington, Marc Canter, and Brad Abrams in the US.


Making up the rules as they go along!

I was talking to a friend in Dublin the other day who runs a software business. He received a phone call last week from Enterprise Ireland (EI) asking why his reported spend on Research and Development (R&D) had dropped from €300,000 last year to €0 this year!

Well, because the CSO (the Irish government’s statistics agency) had told him that under their guidelines his spend on software development, even if it is for product development, can’t be classed as R&D.

Ah, said the EI rep, sure don’t worry about that when you are reporting to us!

Great, now we know why the government can’t get anything right – the various branches of the civil service are making up the reporting rules as they go along!