Monthly Archives: March 2011

The story of North Africa’s political tribulations, told through the medium of Angry Birds

For those of you not in the know, Angry Birds is a hit game played first on the iPhone and now on all smart phones. 12 million copies of the game have been sold on Apple’s App Store.

Here, the birds face the challenge of destroying the premiers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya (aka The Three Pigs).



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Filed under Africa, America, Current Affairs, Laughs

Olimpia Zagnoli and her illustrations

A couple of months ago, I posted these pictures of the artist Spacesick’s book cover versions of film posters. Since then, I have become far more attuned to artistic merit of book covers and the effects they have on whether or not I want to read them.  In conclusion: The simpler, the better.

The Milanese artist Olimpia Zagnoli has produced work for publications such as Grazia, The New Yorker, The Guardian and Yale University Art Gallery.

Here are a couple of sample book covers I thought were wonderful:

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Filed under Art, Books

Able & Game

Able & Game Cards is an Australian outfit set up in February 2009, selling Valentine’s Day cards. Since then, they have expanded rapidly and increased their output. All the cards feature hand drawn messages with references to pop culture that people of my generation will almost certainly identify with. The cards are all printed at A & G’s offices in Melbourne from 100% recycled paper. I think I’d buy some just for the name.

That last one reminds me of my friend Anna, who fell in love with Byron after reading some/all of his books in second year. A woman’s capacity to fall in love with literary figures never ceases to astonish me.

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Filed under Art, Cards, Laughs, Love

Children answer the question: “What is love?”

My friend Beth put this up on her Tumblr. I’m not the sentimental type, but…

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” – Chrissy, age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” – Terri, age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” – Danny, age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” – Emily, age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” – Bobby, age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” – Nikka, age 6

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” – Noelle, age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” – Tommy, age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.” – Cindy, age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” – Clare, age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” – Elaine, age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt.” – Chris, age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” – Mary Ann, age 4 (This makes me miss my dog, a lot)

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” – Lauren, age 4

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” – Rebecca, age 8

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” – Karen, age 7

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” – Jessica, age 8


Filed under Cute, Love

‘Hope’ by Joseph O’Connor

The effects of the financial crisis have been felt more or less everywhere and Ireland in particular, being the first nation in the Eurozone to enter economic recession. Eventually, the Irish government formally requested aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

It was around this time, in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2010, that the following poem by Irish author Joseph O’Connor (brother of Sinéad O’Connor) was published in the Irish Times. In the midst of all the doom and gloom surrounding the state of Ireland’s economy at the time, it was a welcome change of tune. It is full of imagery and names that will be familiar to Irish readers, but it can be appreciated by people everywhere. I think it’s an anthem for those with the temerity to hope.


Perpetual budgets; our spirits are frightened,

Holes in the finances, tension is heightened

By feeling we’re buying a pig in a poke.

But there’s one thing untouchable: the treasure called hope.

Hope is commitment, courageous and tireless.

Hope is a song you might hear on the wireless.

Hope’s an old buddy who says: “Good to see ya!”

It’s Count John McCormack singing Ave Maria.

Hope is a currency opens all doors.

It can’t be downgraded by Standard and Poor’s.

It’s Colm Gooch Cooper; it’s Binchy and Heaney.

It’s Sean Og O hAilpin. It’s the Pogues. It’s Puccini.

It’s Robbie Keane. It’s Colm Toibin.

It’s walking through the frost in Stephen’s Green.

The Who, U2, The Quo, The Queen,

Kiddies dressing up for Halloween.

Hope is a fisherman waiting on a bite;

Hope kicks a ball in the park every night,

Two jumpers for goalposts, no crowd in the stand,

But hope knows it’s destined for Wembley in the end.

Fate has a foot that can kick us where it hurts,

When we’re waterlogged with worries and we’re losing our shirts,

But hope makes a dash from the halfway line

And it smashes in the winner — in extra time.

Hope is a home, it’s a lesson you learn.

Hope belts out a ballad like brave Mary Byrne

Defying all the losers who never even tried.

Hope is a bachelor. Hope is a bride.

Hope is the Sugarloaf. Hope is the sea.

It’s the voice of Van Morrison, soaring and free.

It’s the silence of The Burren, it’s the hills around Tara.

It’s the homes of Donegal and it’s the lakes of Connemara.

Hope is a dancehall, hope is a flirt,

Hope is going on when your feelings got hurt.

Hope is a mother who just had a baby.

The cynic says ‘no’. Hope says ‘maybe’.

It’s Bray’s Katie Taylor and she weaving and ducking

And it’s Crystal Swing from Cork (if you’re into Hucklebucking).

Hope is a homecoming, hope is a groove,

Hope is a mystery. Hope’s a smart move.

Advent is coming. The season of a light

That some say shone on the Bethlehem night,

And maybe it’s a fable, but believing it is free;

Hope says look at the stars, never know what you’ll see.

Hope’s an old soldier and hope is a birth,

It’s 33 miners raised up from the earth.

Hope is a sentence in Anne Frank’s journal.

Hope is the winter; it springs eternal.

It’s Imelda May’s blues, it’s a wild Irish rose,

It’s the feeling you get when the north wind blows

On a winter’s night and you’re safe inside.

It’s living with dignity, passion and pride.

Hope knows the stories of heroes and greats.

We’re the people of Larkin and Davitt and Yeats,

Better than a Taoiseach who causes distress

As he simpers in a cupboard called the tabloid press.

We are more than a balance sheet, a plus or a minus.

Don’t give the mediocrities permission to define us.

Gloom is a tomb

But desire is a door.

Anyone can open it.

That’s what it’s for.

Defeatists try to lock it, they’re afraid we’d be free.

But we’ll slip right through; hope is a key.

Hope is an armour; hope’s an escape,

Hope is a holiday anyone can take.

So powerful it should come with a Government Warning.

Hope could be the clothes


Putting on

In the morning.

– Joseph O’Connor

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Filed under Ireland, Money, Poetry, Politics

Are you scared of spiders?

After the floods in Pakistan, spiders climbed to higher ground and nestled in the trees.

Reminded me of my favourite Gary Larson Far Side cartoon:

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Filed under Laughs, Photography

Yarn bombing and Esslemont & Macintosh

“Yarn bombing is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.”

I like.

Austin, Texas

Potholes by the Seine

M24 Chaffee

Parking meter, Vancouver

In other news, Jamie Oliver is apparently planning to open an Italian restaurant across two floors of the Esslemont & Macintosh building on Union Street in Aberdeen. Ever since I watched his TED Talk video about fast food regulation, the man has become one of my idols. What a shame I’ll have graduated and disappeared from these grey shores.

The building in question has been boarded up since the department store within went bust and was shut down just before I arrived at uni. It, like the rest of the main street of Aberdeen could do with the business some one like Oliver could bring to the area.

Esslemont & Macintosh, Union Street

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Filed under Aberdeen, Art