Archive for May 21st, 2008

May 21 2008

Lisbon And Me – Finian McGrath Gives It To The President

Published by under Blog,Politics

It seems the No campaign has finally got legs, a voice and a brain at last. I can understand how some can see the No campaign as nothing more than a few archaic parties more interested in putting a lid on this thing called the EU than in deciding what is best for this country. It is clear that many of the No campaigners are going about things the wrong way entirely (Sinn Féin and Libertas, I refer to you here), but that doesn’t mean they are ultimately wrong on Lisbon.

Finian McGrath, TDIndependent TD, Finian McGrath, yesterday sent a letter to President Mary McAleese asking for her to call a Council of State to decide on the constitutionality of the Lisbon Treaty. Being that I am not a political aficionado, I didn’t know this was an option open to us. McGrath is suggesting that the Treaty goes against Article 9 of our own constitution, which states that fidelity to the Nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens. According to McGrath,

The Irish people need clarification on this matter. Lisbon would establish a supra-national European federation for the first time, and in effect establish a new State.

And it would seem that adding Article 28.4.11 to our Constitution would put EU Law and EU Treaties ahead of our own Constitution. We have already said No (Update: I refer here to Europe having said ‘No’. See comments below) to a Europe wide Constitution and we should now say No again, to this watered down stepping stone towards a single European State.

The President is put in a difficult situation here. Entertaining Finian McGrath’s request could send out a message to the People that Lisbon is unsound and could sway the vote towards a No, and this is not the job of the President’s Office. However, ignoring or rejecting his request sends out a clearer message that the President is endorsing the Treaty. It will be interesting to see what twist this takes in this ongoing saga.

Either way, McGrath is to be commended for being the one of the first people in the No campaign to do something constructive and criticise the Treaty not because it is too pro-Europe, but because it may be against our Constitution and ultimately anti-Ireland.

There is no reason why we can’t be loyal Irish people and also be part of Europe, but supplanting our Irish pride with a blind faith in Europe is not the way forward.

Side note: Bruce Arnold today replies to Minister Roche’s article in yesterday’s Independent. He rebukes everything Roche said. I don’t have much more to say on this except that the pair seem to be playing a bit of a tag-you’re-it game. They both made good arguments, while attempting to change the focus onto something their side can campaign for. Roche was right yesterday regarding the issue of taxation. Arnold is right today on the issues of the pressures the EU would be able to exert if the Treaty is ratified.

Previous Posts

5. Lisbon and Me – Roche’s Reactionary Rant

4. Lisbon and Me – Consequences

3. Political Apathy and a Yearning for Change

2. Lisbon and Me – Deciding The Future

1. Lisbon and Me

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May 21 2008

Tom Waits Tour Details Announced

Published by under Blog,Music

Finally, the dates and details of Tom Waits Irish gigs has been confirmed. He will be playing on July 30th and 31st and on August 1st (my birthday is the 2nd). It will be in the Rat Cellar in Phoenix Park tickets will go on sale at Tuesday 27th May at 9.00am. It’s fully seated, €116.25 and €131.25, which is a touch pricy to say the least.

But I’ll still be going! Wooohooo!

Here is one of my favourite Waits tracks, God’s Away on Business:

5 responses so far

May 21 2008

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls

Published by under Blog

Indiana JonesIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls is Harrison Ford‘s fourth outing as the intrepid adventurer and takes place 19 years after the last movie, The Last Crusade, the time of the Nazis being replace by the Cold War era. This tale sees a weather-worn but not worn-out Indiana, team up with the rebellious Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) and Indie’s long lost love from Raider of the Lost Ark, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), in search of the answer to the enigmatic Crystal Skulls, while being chased by a group of Russia military types, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett).

Anyone who reads this blog should know fairly well that I am Mr Positivity. I am happy and cheery about almost everything and even the things that piss me off usually have the hint of a silver lining.

Indiana JonesLet me tell you about the silver lining in Indiana Jones. It is a fun and funny movie. It’s an exciting thrill ride that plays out like a high octane computer game with impressive graphics. It has some great action sequences and a quality fist fight that hasn’t been seen in movies for a number of years.

Harrison Ford slips back into the role of the aging Indie with ease – it’s his role and he plays the wisecracking professor cum explorer brilliantly. Shia LaBeouf, formerly of Transformers, could be the next Tom Cruise (I mean this in a good way). He can pull off the action sequences (his sword fight with Cate Blanchett rivaled Bond’s fencing frenzy in Die Another Day) and he can definitely act (he pulled off a impression of James Dean without me cringing). John Hurt, as the former friend and colleague of Jones, turned mad by the Skulls, is excellent. He offers a tense and interesting character, who serves as a human map to the inevitable lost Kingdom.

That’s the silver lining. It’s a movie worth seeing for the many reasons listed above…and if you are an Indiana Jones fan and fully intend on seeing the movie, read no further than this.

Indiana Jones

The silver lining has a big black cloud. I’m sure I read somewhere over the past year that most of this movie was done without the overuse of computer generated imagery, that it was going old-school, using stunt men and huge set pieces. So why then, in this age of Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Iron Man and Superman Returns, do we have scenes in a major blockbuster movie that have such awful, woeful, pure unadulteratedly poor CG sequences.

I have no intention of giving away any spoilers in this review, but I feel I must warn you about one particular scene. Perhaps you could orchestrate a bathroom break around it, or maybe choose this scene to be extra affectionate towards your partner. In a CG laden car chase that at times resembles Toy Story in it’s cartoon-like scenery, LaBeouf is caught up in some vine which sends him hurtling into the trees. In the trees he meets some cute little monkeys (if the monkeys are CG, they are quite impressive). The monkeys begin swinging from tree to tree, so LaBeouf decides he can do the same. Now, this is a leave-your-brain-at-the-door action movie, so swinging from tree to tree is not unfathomable, but the shockingly poor CG characters swinging through a cartoon landscape actually embarrassed me – I put my head into my hands while watching (as I type, I am red faced). I find it hard to believe that Spielberg and Lucas could not see the awfulness of this scene (and some others) and then to do nothing about it… I can only assume that they saw the problem but decided not to rectify it, as surely only kids will watch this movie.

Cate Blanchett in Indiana JonesEven before the media campaign for this movie started, I was deeply concerned about Blanchett being cast as the bad guy, a Russian (I think, but she may have been French or German) who either has psychic power or wants psychic powers, I couldn’t really tell. I like Cate Blanchett. She is a fine actress and deserves many of the accolades awarded to her, but as the Indiana Jones nemesis, she was distressingly cheesy, over the top and very difficult to watch – her accent was worse than Richard Gere’s Irish accent in the Jackal. I know these movies are known for being OTT at times, but she became very grating very soon.

Ray Winstone, too, a fine actor, who I have loved in many movies, played the role that many hundreds of people have played before, the bumbling buffoon of questionable loyalties. Do you remember The Mummy and the jester in that who tried to steal all the gold whenever he could? Picture him, make him English, add some fat, and voila, Ray Winstone in Indiana Jones.

The only good thing that can be said for the opening few scenes of the movie (in which he survives a nuclear explosion by hiding in a fridge) is that it could only get better from there. And it did. This is by no means a bad movie, it’s just not a great one either.

The storyline isn’t bad. It ranks along side the other Indie movies and escalates the more mysterious sides of history, just as each movie did before it. The eventual payoff however is let down by that which precedes it. The climax is epic, if a touch obvious, and would be a good way to finish the series (although I believe there is already rumours of two more movies).

And then the very final scene is jaw-droppingly poor and should either be removed from the movie, or given an additional comic payoff that was heavily lacking. I wonder if, like Iron Man, there might be an additional scene added when it goes on full release (May 22nd).

Indiana JonesGo see it if you’re a fan. It really is good fun and has some great action sequences, but don’t go expecting it to be better than the previous Jones outings. One of the reviewers said it meets expectations but doesn’t exceed them. I think they were being kind. I think it’s time for Indie to hang up his hat for good.

Sidenote: Ray Foley is on the radio now slagging off Rick O’Shea’s introduction of the movie in the Savoy last night. 🙂

8 responses so far

May 21 2008

The Hottest Woman Alive(?)

Published by under Blog,Movies

I don’t think there’s a man on this planet who can say he didn’t find Jessica Rabitt sexy. Look at her, she’s gorgeous:

Jessica Rabbit

Just when you thought she couldn’t get any sexier, Pixeloo has brought Jessica Rabbit to life:

Click for larger image

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