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Scotland, like a life-long smoker contemplating quitting

February 22nd, 2014 No comments

It struck me, the other day, that the Independence Referendum debate in Scotland feels like the internal dialogue in the head of a life-long smoker. Plenty of information detailing the benefits of kicking the habit is calling out to you, but you blot it all out by convincing yourself “I like smoking”, “it helps me relax”, “I can’t really see me stopping”, “I’ve always done it”, “I like to hang with all the cool people in the smoking zone” and countless other delusions you use to avoid making that leap of faith in your own will power and taking responsibility for your future. Once upon a time you reckoned you were a smoker and you were going to stay a smoker, but now you’re not too sure. You’re swithering – your kids are nipping your head about it almost daily now and for the first time, you can actually see yourself in a smoke-free future.

Alternative visions for Scotland

Alternative visions for Scotland

 

Clearly this analogy is a product of my own pro-Independence position and the fact that I decided to stop smoking earlier this month. It certainly paints the No campaign in a tongue-in-cheek unhealthy light, but I think it resonates with the current state of the referendum campaign. I believe we’re approaching a 50-50 tilting point in voting intentions and the momentum is only going in one direction: towards YES. The lifelong smoker is actually swithering – he or she can do this. It’s only really the fear of change and the path of least resistance that is stopping you. Smoking isn’t offering any life-enhancing vision for the future. There are so many reasons to ring the changes. It won’t be easy and there might be the odd slip-up in the transition, but a confidence is growing that a change of lifestyle is within your grasp.

Should Scotland be a non-smoker? On 18th September 2014, I’m voting YES.

The Ulster Covenant: part of my heritage?

September 29th, 2012 4 comments

I’m an Irishman from Belfast currently living in Scotland. I have to admit that I’ve never really understood what exactly being British means, but there are probably half a million people in Ireland, for whom that is the national identity they feel most comfortable with.

On this day 100 years ago, half a million people lined up across the north of Ireland and beyond to sign the Ulster Covenant. A little dig around my family history reveals a mixture of catholic and presbyterian ancestry, so some of those covenanters were family of mine. I had a look at the PRONI archive to see how many I could spot.
Ulster Covenant (men) Read more…

Categories: Blog, Genealogy Tags:

A Blast From The Past

September 11th, 2012 No comments

Car bomb rocks Drumsurn villageOn Thursday 26 July 1973, loyalists exploded a car bomb outside my uncle’s pub in the small village of Drumsurn, Co. Derry. Although I was only six, I remember it quite well as we were visiting at the time. I was staying the night upstairs above the pub with 3 of my siblings and half a dozen or more cousins. Luckily there were no serious casualties.

Recently I was curious to find out the exact timing and circumstances of the bomb attack and had a look through the newspapers of the time at Belfast Central Library. I could find no coverage of the blast in any of the Belfast or Derry City newspapers – a car bomb in a rural village inflicting relatively minor injury and damage obviously struggled to compete for column inches with all the other stuff going on in the summer of 1973. Read more…

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2016 Olympics conundrum for Northern Ireland’s top golfers

August 13th, 2012 No comments

Photo by Lauren Teague

Golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, last appearing in 1904 where only two countries were represented (Canada and the USA). The International Golf Federation have proposed the following eligibility scheme to determine which of the world’s top golfers will challenge for Olympic medals in Rio:

The IGF is recommending an Olympic field of 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s competition, utilizing the official world golf rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible for the Olympics, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

Currently golf’s top 15 male players are drawn from the USA (9), England (3), Northern Ireland (2) and Australia (1). It may look different in four years’ time, but wherever they are ranked, Northern Ireland’s top golfers will face a unique and delicate choice between TeamGB and Ireland. We might see pragmatism or friendship put before personal feelings of national identity. Read more…

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Exporting “Safe Senders” from Windows Live Mail

March 20th, 2012 No comments

This note relates to Windows Live Mail version 2009 (Build 14.0.8117.0416) running in Windows XP.

I found it impossible to export or copy ‘n’ paste the Safe Senders the addresses from Tools->Safety Options in my Windows Live Mail. I wanted to do this to import the list to the server-based Junk Mail filter provided by my email host.

A bit of digging about in the registry exposed the location of the Safe Senders list as


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail\PerPassportSettings\0\Junk Mail\Safe Senders List]

Unfortunately each address is saved in a separate registry subkey, so a bit of text manipulation is required after exporting the above Registry key to a .REG file. I used Edit-Plus to sort the file, strip out the non-pertinent stuff and perform a find-and-replace on the lines containing the email addresses, which are of the format


"Exception"="goodfriend@gmail.com"

Categories: Blog, Technomancy Tags:

A quick portait of Gerry, by Maria

January 10th, 2012 2 comments

My daughter loves to draw and doodle. She has the artistic gift, something that passed me by. She doodled this simple little portrait of me the other day and I was impressed how she had captured something about me, even though it’s a very simple sketch.

Here it is morphing out of the real thing. What do you think?

photo to sketch morph

Categories: Blog, Maria Tags: