Thursday, December 27, 2007

Music: Cathy Davey

From nialler9's Top Irish Albums of 2007, I listened to the sample of Cathy Davey and liked what I heard. She's got a great Cameron Diaz smile too. Be sure to watch the "Reuben" video under "Sounds like" on her MySpace with the couple doing a silly dance around Spain.

Also recommended: Adrian Crowley. Ryan Adams likes him. There's a Will Oldham cover ("West Palm Beach") on his MySpace.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Music: Liam Finn

Watch a video by Liam Finn. Hear more songs at his MySpace. Damn, he sounds like his dad. Which is a good thing.

(On this unofficial Neil Finn MySpace, you can hear father and son cover the Beatles' "Two Of Us", and Neil cover "Sexual Healing"!)

And try the Mash'dup House page, with Crowded House mash-ups, sensitively done.

Crosswords: Crosaire

I was delighted to meet an amateur crossword setter last night who agreed with me that the cryptic crossword in the Irish Times, by Crosaire, is often unfair. (O'Brien Books has a free sample.) As this site says, a cryptic clue should contain "a definition and an element of wordplay", and "the wordplay element obeys logical rules". Crosaire falls down on the logic part. Solvers must use induction more than deduction.

An example from Crossword No. 13,413, published December 20th, 2007:

At this stage the tree gets a hat. (7)

I had "_ _ E _ T _ _", and guessed "theatre", which is an anagram of "tree" and "hat". However, there is no indication of an anagram in the clue, and no logical reason the articles "the" and "a" should be excluded from the wordplay.

Then again, Crosaire is set by a 90-year-old who has been doing this for over 60 years, so I should cut him some slack.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Music: Christmas

The Dallas Observer links to My Morning Jacket's "Christmas Time Is Here Again (Bring Out The Joy!)". Note that are more Christmas songs at the page.

The Observer also links to The Old 97's and "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas". (But "Christmas Time Is Here" is better.)

rbally has old R.E.M. Christmas fan club songs. Surviving The Golden Age has the latest R.E.M. fan club song, a cover of Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody".

If you like remixes of old songs, Analog Giant has Dean Martin remixed by Dan The Automator.

And it's not Christmas without Chris Rea (at Keep The Coffee Coming). Lovely piano.

Coverville has a great video of a college men's choir performing a Christmas medley.

Finally, the Pine Cone Punks still have their MySpace page, but no new songs since "Coal For Christmas".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Politics: Bertie Ahern

Ireland's unbeloved Taoiseach Bertie Ahern uttered another "Bertie-ism" in November when he said that deferring pay rises for himself and other ministers would "only be playing smokes and daggers", conflating "smoke and mirrors" with "cloak and dagger" (and possibly "snakes and ladders").

Meanwhile, more details come to light of the "dig-out" in the 1990s when some of his "friends" gave him "loans". Choice quotes:

Oh, to have friends like that! Completely unrelated thought: is Ireland the most corrupt country in Europe?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TV: High-Class Totty

There are two good reasons to watch "Countdown" now: the ageless Carol Vorderman has been joined by Alison Heard. Alison has replaced Susie Dent in Dictionary Corner while Susie is on maternity leave.

Be sure to read the biography section of this unofficial website.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Music: Klima

If you like female singers from Continental Europe (and who doesn't?), try Klima. I like the way she pronounces "City".

The Times lists her as one of the New Acts Of The Year.

She also works with Piano Magic and is part of the duo Ginger Ale (my fave beverage!).