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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in mopti's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, August 12th, 2010
11:41 pm
Dublin Bikes
I am irritated that Dublin Bikes registration requires (a) a post code, which we don't have yet in this city and (b) a mobile phone number. I am also irritated that a subscription is renewed automatically. The word "cancel" does not appear in the conditions.

I am pleased to see that the company will use a customer's contact details only to contact the customer, and then only in relation to their subscription and the service.
Sunday, June 20th, 2010
8:30 pm
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
8:50 pm
Rudbeckia hirsta Beck Mixed: Seeds sown 7 Feb 2010; germination stated to be between 7 & 14 days.

Germination today, right bang on time!

(Melon seedlings a tad tall for the propagator. Not sure they are developed enough to move out of the heat.)
Sunday, February 14th, 2010
11:59 am
Not Ireland
My modern Greek is non-existent, but I trust the reporter when he says that these protestors are chanting "this is Greece, not Ireland, we the workers will resist".

Very different indeed.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
11:11 pm
Melon, but not cauli.
Trying to do research on d'internet on growing the Sweetheart variety of melons (specifically: in containers) in the week before St Valentine's day produces a lot of noise.
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
12:45 am
Sinead's Hand
This short film, Sinead's Hand, has been posted on YouTube. It was screened at the Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival earlier this month (although that version contained a credit, acknowledging the US-made short film Permission).
Friday, August 21st, 2009
12:08 am
The state's objective with tax is?
If I am reading a short enough report from the Department of Finance correctly, my government's objective is to get the wealthy to pay 20% tax. And this is while others, not in that high-pay category, are required to pay 41% on a significant dollop of their income.

WTF. Or please tell me I have misunderstood the report.
Thursday, June 25th, 2009
8:44 pm
It's the dole fraud, stupid
EamonnCork has an interesting comment on CedarLoungeRevolution summarising an aspect of the spin on the crisis in the public finances (and how the fraudsters on the dole are to blame)

Sunday, June 21st, 2009
7:34 pm
While we are voting
Seeing as we will be getting out those ballot boxes in the autumn, could I suggest we put this on the agenda?

Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2009


As initiated









Mar a tionscnáodh




1.    Amendment of Article 35 of the Constitution.

2.    Citation.










      WHEREAS by virtue of Article 46 of the Constitution any provision of the Constitution may be amended in the manner provided by that Article:


      AND WHEREAS it is proposed to amend Article 35 of the Constitution:




1.–(1) Article 35 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:


(a) in the Irish text – [...],


(b) in the English text –

(i) the insertion of “except as provided for in section 6” after the word “office”, and


(ii) the insert of the following section after section 5–

“6 The remuneration of a judge may be reduced during her or his continuance in office only when and to the same extent that a reduction in pay is applied to a significant proportion of workers who remuneration is supplied from public funds.”.


2.–(1) The amendment of the Constitution effected by this Act shall be called the Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution.


(2) This Act may be cited as the Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution (Putting Manners on the Judiciary) Act, 2009.









Purpose of Bill

The Bill is designed to amend the Constitution in order to achieve the following purpose: To make it constitutional for the pay of members of the judiciary to be reduced provided that this is done in a way and at a time that is similar to any reduction that applies to other public sector workers.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
2:35 pm
An election observation
Before the European and local elections, my councillor friend and I were discussing the state of the nation over a beer, as you do.

He made the point that Fianna Fail's dominance in Irish politics has had two characteristics: (a) when they do lose power, they have been out of office for only one term; (b) they have a TD elected in every constituency. (I was told about 20 years ago that there was a sort-of exception to that at some stage in the 1960s or 1970 in Dublin South County when their sole sitting TD died and they didn't keep the seat in the bye-election.)

It is the second of these that interest me here. It is true of the Dáil that FF have a seat in every constituency, but it is not true at other levels of the Irish political system.

The first shock to the soldiers of destiny that I know of was when they did not get a party nominee elected in the single-seat constitutency that is the presidency (when Mary Robinson was elected).

My councillor friend and I both noted that the Lucan electoral area has been a bit of an anomaly in that it did not return a FF councillor five years ago (and I note here that Lucan repeated that snub to the soldiers again last week).

What has interested me, though, is how that pattern is now much more widespread. Anybody with an interest in Irish politics probably now knows that the party has no seat in the European Parliament constituency of Dublin. And it has occurred in a number of other places at the level of local authority electoral areas, particularly in Dublin. Here is a list of the electoral districts for city and county councils where Fianna Fáil got no councillor elected last week:

In Dublin:
(Fingal County Council)

(South Dublin County Council)

(Dublin City Council)
North Inner City
South-East Inner City
South-West Inner City

(Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council)

In Wicklow:

In Limerick City:
Limerick City North
Limerick City South

In Cork county:

In Carlow county:

In Waterford City:
Waterford City North
Waterford City South
A map of the Dublin local authority picture can be seen here.

I don't know if any of those are continuations of previous patterns (Limerick or Waterford cities, possibly). And I suspect that one or both of Midleton and Borris might have their FF-Councillor-free status because of the wonderful concept of the "Independent Fianna Fáil" councillor the party manages to create every so often when a disgruntled member leaves it (or vice versa, as one such departee described the separation). Nor do I know if there have been the other (presumably outlier) instances over the decade since the party was first elected to power in 1932.

In any case, it seems to me that we have just witnessed the first widespread signs of the next fundamental shift in Fianna Fáil's dominant status.

Monday, June 1st, 2009
10:36 am
Something we might be proud of? Oh God
The EU Observer reports that one of Europe's biggest exports is reality TV programmes.
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
8:52 pm
This weekend, I finished building the second raised vegetable bed and filled it with topsoil 'n' stuff. It's 1.2 x 3.6 metres and above the level of the paths it is 15 cm; however, the growing medium goes down further than that because I had to clear a substantial amount of builders' rubble. The soil is likely to settle over the coming weeks, and as I want to put a rhubarb plant (inherited from my father, who got it from his father - must check how many generations back these plants go) into one end of the bed next winter, I have put temporary items into it for now: some annual flowers I had growing on window sills and in pots on the patio, and some ingredients for salads: plants of two Fantasio F1 tomato plants and four dandelions, and seeds for lettuce, rocket and oriental mustards. Sweet corn seeds are now in degradable pots ready to plant when it germinates.

On the patio, two (bought) tomato plants are in 35-cm terracotta pots (Gardener's Delight and Moneymaker), and I'll pot on a third own-grown one (Red Cherry) into a third large terracotta pot tomorrow. Six plants of strawberries are coming along nicely in two terracotta pots, and I put netting in an ad-hoc frame around them today (to keep them for me, me, me and not the birds).

Three containers of Carlingford potatoes are starting to flower, which means they should be nearly ready for harvesting. I must put my hand in and root around to see what size the tubers are. They are from seed potatoes I'd planted last August with a view to having new potatoes for Christmas dinner. Frosts did for that (because I didn't cover them with protection), and a few months ago I was preparing to dump the compost into my compost bin when I discovered the plants re-emerging.

In the raised bed I built last year (which is half the size I eventually want it to be), the ten asparagus plants are all fronded up. I will eat the first crop next spring. In the space at the end, I have eight pea plants growing up (Keveldon Wonder).

And then there are two pots on the patio with flowers (one containing two varieties of sunflower and one with two calendulas and a gazania). The last pout out back contains three herbs: sage, thyme and oregano. The thyme and the sage are in flower, the sage spectacularly so.

The flower bed at the front door is still struggling. The daffodil leaves still dominate. I'm hoping it will eventually acquire a cottage garden look. To help with that, I planted out some flowers I had growing in pots: yellow poppy, delphinium, pansy, and marigold. They join the hydrangea I inherited with the house and the two foxgloves (which are bulky but not giving any sign of sending up a flower spike), the Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) which did flower but were lost in the daffodil leaves, Primula vialli (not flowering and I wonder if they are suffering in the bed), and Lilly-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) (flowering, but also lost).

With the raised bed finished for the moment, next serious project is to prepare the ground along the left-hand (west-facing) wall to take three dwarf apples next winter.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
11:44 am
A sick irony

The front page of the CORI website lists "Dates for Your Diary", and in the list the organisation tells us that June 4 is International Day of Inocent Children Victims of Aggression.
Friday, May 22nd, 2009
10:21 pm
A joke I just heard
Listening to Gardeners' Question Time. The Executive Director of the Royal Horticultural Society is on, and the interviewer put it to her that the RHS is seen as an elitist and stuffy organisation, and told this joke to illustrate: 
Q: "How many RHS Committee members does it take to change a light bulb?"
A: " 'Change'? Did you say 'change'?"
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
2:38 pm
Accuracy I could be proud of
I was at a family event over the weekend. One of the seven-year-old nephews-plus-one* displayed an interest in the butterflies in the back garden, which caused an aunt of his to become alarmed and explore the cabbage leaves. She discovered eggs, and was about to destroy them when he stopped her. He wanted to keep the patch of leaf where the eggs had been laid and put it in a jar to see the eggs hatch and caterpillars grow ("Mammy has cabbages", he explained when asked how he would feed them.)

Anyway, that was by way of putting a context on a story his father told me. My nephew devours anything with a scientific or nature bent. His bed-time "story" last week was a book on volcanoes. When he was four, the Dad got Jurassic Park from the video library for him. That night, at 2.00 a.m., the nephew came into his parents' bed room with a problem. Stephen Spielberg had made a mistake. One of the dinosaurs in the film (the nephew could name it at the weekend, I cannot remember now what it is called) was not around in the Jurassic period but comes from the cretaceous (I think) period. He wanted to write a letter to Stephen Spielberg explaining this, which his Dad helped him do the following day.

Spielberg never replied.

*Actually, he is the son of a first cousin of mine. I'll call him nephew for ease of reference.
Thursday, May 14th, 2009
5:00 pm
Kids games
On following up a link on Damien Mulley's blog, I came across a nugget of information that causes me to struggle to figure out exactly what it tells me about the State Of The World We Live In.

Apparently kids in Mexico, instead of playing cowboys and indians, play "wetbacks and Border Patrol". (Well, actually I extrapolate from one Mexican village where Dan Baum lived some years ago.)

Thursday, May 7th, 2009
12:05 am
And in not my garden
For the last two years I have tried to get (bought) seeds for two Primula species -- the plain oul primrose (P. vulgaris) and the cowslip (P. veris) -- to germinate. They are notoriously difficult to get going, and for the circa tenner I spent on a number of packets of seeds, I have the grand total of zero seedlings to show for my efforts.

Last saturday afternoon, I took a wander around the estate with two others on the committee scouting out the place for our Spring Clean (which will be happening a month late) when I noticed that further up, cowslips are growing wild and in reasonable abundance in different places. But not in my garden.

Plan B is now to pop along regularly to some of the sites over the next few weeks and see if I can harvest fresh, ripe seed, because that is reported to have a good chance of germinating.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
9:33 pm
Our leaders
It was pointed out to me in the pub on Friday (by somebody who acknowledges that the observation was not originally his) that the top three political leaders in the country at the moment -- Taoiseach, Tánaiste, and Minister for Finance -- all inherited their seats in bye-elections on the death of their fathers.

I suspect that it would be stretching things a tad to try to claim that this accounts for their incompetence at the moment, but I would note that their route to ascendancy meant they didn't have to elbow their way into the political space in the way others have had to.
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
2:20 pm
Left wing intellectuals are to blame.
[You're getting this third-hand. Terry McDonough on www.progressive-economy.ie has posted an item sent to the AFEEMAIL list, about an article in the 9 March issue of the New Yorker (this last of which I, at least, would need a password to get in full).]

Hannes Holmsteinn Gissurason is described in the New Yorker piece as a libertarian professor of political philosophy and a free-market intellectual, and he has the following to say about where the fault lies for the current economic shenanigans:

. . . some of us are to blame indirectly, because we created a climate in which the entrepreneur was applauded. The businessman, the guy who takes over companies, asset-stripping—he was a hero in Icelandic folklore that was created by some of us who strongly supported the free market. . . . Indirectly, I take some blame for it, but, if you think about it, it’s not my fault. It’s the fault of the left-wing intellectuals, who should have been giving a counter-view!. . . You can’t blame people for their successes—you have to blame those who fail. We were too successful with the free-market philosophy.

Just so you can understand who really is at fault.
Monday, March 16th, 2009
11:51 pm
Am trying to upload some music from my CD collection onto my phone. When I have the internet connected, so that the software goes and puts the names and things on the phone with the tracks, it blonks at six tracks on my Stravinsky CD and refuses the transfer them over. But when I try to transfer them without the aid of the rest of the universe, it does so without an electronic bother (though I have to put the titles of artist, albums etc. in using good ole Explorer).
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