As you might have guessed from the long gaps between posts, I am on holidays — holidays in dial-up land, also known as Ireland. Here, without links or diacritics, are some random observations:
As the number of Poles in Ireland continues to rise, journalists continue to make no attempt whatever to spell their names right. A helpful Pole will tell a gullible Irish journalist that his name is “Martin” and so into the paper of record goes “Martin” instead of the interviewee’s real name: “Marcin.” Journalists seem unfamiliar with the idea of writing down names and checking them. So the Irish Times wrote last week about “Magdalena Sobezak.” It should be “Sobczak,” as thirty seconds using Google would have shown. In fact, Google even suggests the right spelling for you. It is all too evident that print journalists use the internet to write their stories. Could they not use it to check spellings? Or better yet, get the spellings right first time?
Irish bread is still inedible. A Polish bakery has been established in Dublin.
The University of Limerick is looking for a Research Centre Administrator on a salary of �45,000. Too bad if you are merely an academic: the salary for a junior lecturer in politics there starts at �39,911. There’s better money for top gun big brains to be made in University College Dublin: they’re looking for a professor of geography and offering from �105,927 to �136,299. The president of
UCD is behaving like an English football club manager, which is great news for the David Beckhams of the academic world but a little less exciting for the lower third of staff in UCD who are denied pension rights because they are on fixed contracts. I wish the new professor of geography two thirds of the best luck.
Staying with matters academic: on a visit to Trinity College Dublin’s library I was met by new automatic doors. And I do mean “met.” They do not slide across; they open out — towards you as you walk in.
Thursday’s Irish Times reports Primesident Lechoslaw Kaczynski saying that there is no anti-gay bias in Poland. It’s all a media myth. (It’s funny how the media everywhere in the right-wing, capitalist, neo-liberal, free-market west is implacably left-leaning, at least according to those who are most right-wing, capitalist, neo-liberal and pro free-market. And yet it’s the lefties who are accused of being conspiracy theorists.) Kaczynski is quoted as saying “In Poland, there are homosexuals who take very high [political] positions.” Who could he have in mind?
Since I am now outside the jurisdiction of Poland I can say that both Kaczynskis are *********, ******** ********** without being arrested and questioned. No, wait a minute: they’re trying to sue a German newspaper for breaking Polish anti-free speech laws. Maybe I’ll go back and delete the above.*
The Kaczynskis could learn something from the example of Zachary Guiles, a US student who won in court the right to wear a tee-shirt that is critical of his president, George W Bush. God Bless America!
New civil service offices built outside Dublin in a move to decentralise the administration of this sprawling nation have been found to have a few “snags.” 400 pages of snags, to be more precise. The company that won the tender to build the offices turned in a bid that was far lower than that of any of its rivals. The result is numerous breaches of fire safety regulations and offices whose light switches are in the corridor. If this were Poland everyone would assume that a bribe had been paid. But this is Ireland, so it was probably greed and incompetence.
The minister of state for housing has come out against housing speculators. He thinks they should be taxed out of existence. So far so Big-Government good but here’s where the greed and incompetence come in: the minister said that such people should be “playing the commodities market in the London stock exchange on oil or cocoa beans or whatever…” See? It’s perfectly okay to “play” with the livelihoods of impoverished south American cocoa farmers but not with the houses of first world property owners.
*Duly deleted. I am back in Poland.