Archive for April, 2008

Dare to bare?

You may have heard of Spencer Tunick. Even if his name is not familiar to you, perhaps what he makes his name in would be. In three words.

Group nude installations.

You read me correctly! Quite a good few had been making the headlines in the past couple of years, and I recall reading on BBC news (I check this site just about every morning while munching away at my breakfast) about them, rather in awe of the participants being so comfortable with public nudity that they happily took part in these endeavours. En masse.

Tunick-Greenpeace campaign

Last year’s installation, commissioned by Greenpeace, of “living sculpture” on the glaciers in order to raise awareness of shrinking glaciers due to global warming (or I like to call it global warning) was particularly striking. This is a powerful image of back to nature and reminding everyone that we have an ailing planet on our hands.

Anyway, I digress. Wondering why I am writing this blog entry? Have you guess it yet?

Yup! Tunick is planning Irish installations, not one but two(!) this summer – in Dublin and in Cork. There’s a call for voluntary participation at the moment and you can sign up online via this specially set up website.

Only over 18’s are eligible to volunteer and the installation will be taking place in private enclosed location. I guess that means no sneaking around to take a couple of quick snaps for blogging purposes either. Of course participants are advised not to bring anything of value with them despite the presence of security staff, and they will not be paid for taking part. They will, however, receive a free limited edition print of the particular installation that they’re involved in.

So dare you bare in the name of arts?

Maser loves you

A couple of weeks ago, heading into the city from Harcourt, as I normally would in the morning, something in neon orange and loving message caught my eyes. “Maser loves U”, it said. Right next to “You are beautiful”. Rather bemused, I took a snapshot of that and thought nothing of it.

Perhaps it was some sort of marketing stunt, or someone trying to propose to his girlfriend or something?

Maser 1

Then, just over the weekend, I ventured to Dundrum after some 4-5 months since my last visit out there. Lo and behold, another Maser and his love variety message, this time a not-so-pretty grafitti that’s now partially concealed by an equally ugly board of green across the front of it.

Curious. Very curious indeed.

Maser 2

Does this Maser fellow has permission to do something like this all over the city? These are but two that I have noted. How many more are there in around the city?

Well it would seem like he does. And he has done quite a few pieces of such art!

A quick googling reveals that this guy is a graffiti artist, promoting the art of graffiti in the Irish society, while working closely too with some commercial brand names in their advertising endeavours. There are quite a number of his workpieces reputedly on display quite near where I live, so perhaps I should go and have a look at them too…

Loving Mother Earth

Today is the first day this year that I left my house without a coat, in my tank top and putting my sunglasses on. How glorious to feel the warmth of sunshine and just basking in the joy of a beautiful day like this. En route to work, wanting to maximise my time out in the sun, I even strolled over to St Stephen’s Green park and sat there for a wee bit.

I’m still smiling at the memory of such little pleasure.

Perhaps this is how Mother Earth is trying to gently remind me that today is Earth Day and we really should be more proactive in looking at this planet that we’re living in. Just being aware is not quite enough anymore.

Wicklow Mountains
Wicklow mountains in spring

Ireland in general has been very good in staying green, with various initiative over the years including free recycling facilities (although we could do with more, at convenient locations), “green transportations” namely the Luas, and plastic bag levy (it does encourage more people to bring reusable bags with them).

However, are they sufficient?

We still have a long way to go in educating people to be more involved with green initiatives. There is still too much traffic on the road, often with just single occupants within the vehicle. Why not encourage car-pooling between colleagues and neighbours? There is still too much paper waste in the city, particularly with the free Metro or Morning Herald distribution, not to mention a whole lot of flyers and leaflets. Why not provide green bins in around the city that people can leave these paper waste in, instead of throwing them in the regular bin or worse, just leaving them anywhere.

It is easy to think that a small effort to go green has little overall effect. That could not be more wrong! Every little contribution goes a long way accummulatively. Moreover, that also means one less person who thinks his/her effort is going to naught. That should be viewed as a very positive move.

Happy Earth Day folks!

Cowen to succeed Ahern

It is confirmed, Ireland has a successor to Bertie Ahern, in the form of Brian Cowen. As the sole candidate for the leadership of his political party Fianna Fáil (are politicians here seriously lacking ambition, or too polite to announce their intention to be in the running for the position?) he has now been officially elected at the parliamentary party meeting this morning.

I guess that means this job recruitment advertisement is now defunct, seeing how the position is filled. However, with Brian Cowen now poised to be handed over the position as Taoiseach, a new question arises. Who is going to be the Tánaiste?

Smart marketing?

A friend of mine forwarded this link to me, and at the first glance, my thought was “surely this can’t be true – a property in Mars?”… Of course you would be curious too as to what they are offering. So go on, click on the image and have a peek at it yourself!

Red Horizon

I have to say, this is a well thought out marketing strategy. Intriguing idea, fresh look. The website is sleek and simple yet beautifully designed, deigned to capture one’s imagination. I wish I can do some web designs that are this sophiscated. Well maybe one day, when I finally take the time to learn how-to properly.

And no, I am not paid to promote this site. It’s just the whole idea that appeals to my geeky side that I couldn’t resist bringing this to your attention. ;-)

Bertie to quit as Taoiseach

Something I haven’t quite expected at this point of time, and would have thought to be a hoax has this broke out yesterday but yes, Bertie Ahern is stepping down from his position as Taoiseach!

According to breaking news from the Irish Times:

Bertie Ahern is to step down as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail on May 6th, he announced this morning.

Amid mounting pressure about his personal finances, Mr Ahern said he was proud of his political achievements but denied any wrongdoing in relation to his personal finances.

Flanked by cabinet colleagues including Brian Cowen, Martin Cullen, Mary Coughlan, Willie O’Dea, Noel Dempsey, Brian Lenihan and Green Party leader John Gormley, Mr Ahern said a “constant barrage of commentary” was distracting the work of Government.

Mr Ahern was set to come under pressure in Dáil this afternoon as the Opposition parties seek an explanation for evidence given to the Mahon tribunal by his former secretary.

The Opposition will press Mr Ahern on the sterling payments lodged to his Irish Permanent building society account by Gráinne Carruth. Fine Gael and the Labour Party earlier called on Mr Ahern make a statement about his financial affairs.

The tribunal is investigating claims that Mr Ahern received money from property developer Owen O’Callaghan. The claim by Tom Gilmartin has been repeatedly denied by Mr O’Callaghan and by Mr Ahern himself. However the tribunal invetigations have thrown up questions on lodgements to Mr Ahern’spersonal accounts in the early 1990s.

The total value of lodgements and other transactions that have to date been queried by the tribunal in its public inquiries into Mr Ahern’s finances, exceeds £452,800. The lodgements and transactions occurred between 1988 and 1997, although the vast bulk of the money was lodged in the period to 1995.

The total is the equivalent of €886,830 in today’s terms, applying the consumer price index for the period 1994 to 2008. The total excludes lodgements where the tribunal has been shown the money was transferred from one bank account to another, but includes such lodgements where neither Mr Ahern nor the tribunal have been able to find independent confirmation as to what occurred.

Last week, acting Progressive Democrats leader and Minister for Health Mary Harney and Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley also said Mr Ahern needed to clarify the situation. However, Government sources insisted last night the Taoiseach had no intention of giving a wide-ranging response to the Opposition during Leaders’ Questions today and would not be dealing with issues that were going to be the subject of hearings by the tribunal or the courts.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern revealed yesterday that he had spoken to the Taoiseach over the weekend and strongly advised against his making a statement on his personal finances in the Dáil today.

The Mahon tribunal made significant concessions to the Taoiseach on the first day of his High Court challenge to its inquiries yesterday, saying it accepted the Constitution prohibited it from questioning him about the veracity of statements made by him in the Dáil about his financial affairs. It indicated it would be questioning the Taoiseach primarily about statements made outside the Dáil. The case continues today.

Well, I guess the pressure for him to resign must have mounted majorly given the ongoing tribunal investigation, and for once, the thing that doesn’t stick on the “Teflon Taoiseach” this time round is his role as the leader of the country.

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