Thursday, January 29, 2009

Which T-Stop is this?

I photographed this station on Tuesday. Where is it?

Answer: This station is in Oslo, Norway. They use the same black-on-white T logo as Boston's MBTA uses.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Interactive snow etiquette Flash feature on really goes in for Flash graphics. Now the have a snazzy "Snow Etiquette" feature, in which you can scroll around and click on cartoon drawings which talk of real Bostonian experiences in the winter (shoveling snow, falling over, and the like):

Based on my recent quick trip to Dublin, I look forward to the Irish Times producing a similar "Rain Etiquette" guide.

Claiming Obama as Irish

- Good piece by Fintan O'Toole in Saturday's Irish Times on the tongue-in-cheek efforts to claim Barack Obama as Irish, including a local politician's idea to build “some sort of heritage center, museum, some sort of monument” in Moneygall, the village where Barack Obama's great-great-great-grandfather lived. As O'Toole notes, "The endless game of claiming everyone as Irish can be fun and even educational – up to a point."

Friday, January 23, 2009

All bollixed now

Once a purely North Dublin phenomenon, the word "bollixed" is spreading far and wide.

- On Sunday, Boston's "Universal Hub" reported that "The Red Line was all bollixed up"
- Today, Yahoo Finance contains a story about the mortgage crisis, where an interviewee says "He's tried that with several lenders, but because he doesn't have any income, they won't do it ... It doesn't seem fair that it got so bollixed up."
-Back in 2006, Robert Cringely reports in Infoworld that "D-Link routers are bollixed"

I blame the Commitments. This excellent Roddy Doyle book was about American culture transplanted to Ireland, where it could "thrive like a new bacterial strain" (in the words of Kinky Friedman's 1989 New York Times review of the book). But that book, and the resulting film, had the opposite effect, of taking North Dublin street slang across the Atlantic. Now we are all bollixed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Roddy Doyle short film on Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project site

This short (11 minute) film, based on a Roddy Doyle story, is well worth watching. The film is about an African boy on his first day at school in Dublin. The site says that the film is only licensed to be watched online only in the US and Canada though....

[ Hat tip to Turbulence Ahead ]

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brrrring it on

Very cold here in Boston. And am I the only person who thinks that Matt Noyes from NECN looks like he just stepped off RTE (Ireland's state TV broadcaster).

For those of you thinking "-6C is nothing", those temperatures are Fahrenheit. I was caught out by this a couple of times when I moved to the US. When people would mention "below zero temperatures" and I would think "that's nothing". But below zero fahrenheit is cold.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jax Roslindale "Closing Forever"

Anyone who has walked through Roslindale will be familiar with the Jax store's "Closing Forever" signs. These "Jax Roslindale is closing forever" signs have been on their store for a least as long as I've lived in Roslindale. I've cynically come to interpret them as "this store is forever closing". But according to the Globe, it actually may be closing now, to make way for Family Dollar:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Irish analogies with Gaza and Israel

Jeff Jacoby in today's Boston Globe:

Imagine someone vehemently asserting that Ireland has no right to exist, that Irish nationalism is racism, and that those who murder Irishmen are actually victims deserving the world's sympathy. Who would take his fulminations for anything but anti-Irish bigotry? Or believe him if he said that he harbors no prejudice against the Irish?

Robert Fisk in the Independent:

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army's "research and assessment division" announced that "no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them." Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn't want to lower ourselves to the IRA's level.

Lively debate on the Slugger O'Toole Site:

And just to add a flippant point: From the Anderson Cooper coverage on CNN, parts of the Israeli border with Gaza actually look like Ireland (trees, green fields, rolling hills).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Waterford Crystal

So Waterford Crystal finally cracks, after seemingly going for years from one financial crisis to another. The Irish Times hits the nail on the head here:

However, the company has also been author of its own misfortunes. This is particuarly so in the case of its approach to the US market for Waterford crystal. Long after luxury giftware customer taste had migrated to more modern, informal glassware, such as Riedel, Waterford was persevering with its emphasis on more traditional heavy-cut crystal.

Its investment in Rosenthal and deals with designers such as John Rocha for more modern glassware have amounted to "too little, too late".

It also persevered stubbornly with a policy of distributing its range through A-list department stores, ignoring trends that showed customers increasingly buying their homewares at other outlets such as the Bed, Bath Beyond and Williams-Sonoma chains.

An anecdote:
A few years ago, I wanted to buy something to give as a corporate gift at a conference in Miami. I thought "what about a set of John Rocha Waterford Crystal wine glasses". Sleek, well designed, something that I thought was Irish but still modern and something you'd feel happy using every day. So anyway, i could not find any modern Waterford Crystal wine glasses for sale in places I'd expect. I had to go to Macy's in Downtown Crossing, seek out the small range of chintzy "heavy cut" Waterford Crystal glasses which looked like something from the 1950s, suited to a house with net curtains and shamrock wallpaper, but not something I'd feel happy giving as a corporate gift.