Archive for March 8th, 2007


Via Gerry, I happened across Conservapedia.

It claims, apparently with a straight face:

Conservapedia is an online resource and meeting place where we favor Christianity and America. Conservapedia has easy-to-use indexes to facilitate review of topics. You will much prefer using Conservapedia compared to Wikipedia if you want concise answers free of “political correctness”.

Curiously, its fifth commandment says:

As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.

I think this has to be some sort of elaborate hoax. Not only are their concise answers free of “political correctness”, but they are also free of any useful insight.

The overarching purpose of the site is to impose limits on knowledge, which is pretty much the same thing as imposing ignorance.

Here is their entry on Mother Teresa:

Mother Teresa was a Albanian Roman Catholic nun, who created the Missionaries of Charity in India. The mission of the organization was to care for the homeless, and needy, who felt that they had become a burden to society. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa in 1979 for everything that she had done to help those in need.

How generous in spirit were the needy of Calcutta. Not only were they poor and diseased, but it seems they also had the presence of mind to realise that they had become a burden to society.

Conservatism isn’t stupid, but this site sure as hell is. Stupid and fundamentalist.

Opening Shots

I was thinking about opening sequences to films.

I’m not a huge fan of Tarantino film, but I love the opening sequence to Jackie Brown. It’s so good it blocks my ability to recall the opening sequence of any other film.

No, wait a minute. I really like the opening sequence to Volver too:

Strange that both involve a slow, measured movement of the camera from right to left. Since I’m normally used to my eyes moving from left to right when reading, maybe the sensation of being taken in the opposite direction is unusually attractive.

In the case of Jackie Brown, you have the sensation of moving from right to left but still staying in the same place, since the camera is fixed on Pam Grier and moves at the precise speed of the travelator.

With Volver, you have a similar sensation of moving, but whereas with Jackie Brown you feel like you are staying in the same place, here, the camera keeps returning to the same place, i.e. a row of graves getting tended, in what may be intended as an allusion to the film’s title and theme (Volver meaning ‘return’).

A foul devil, spewed forth from its lines

When I call a call centre, I have no hope of anything. This is called the triumph of experience. Even by these low expectations, Eircom’s service has still managed to leave me a gibbering wreck.

Before Christmas I made the grevious error -perhaps infused with a sense of goodwill, it being in the mouth of Christmas- of allowing myself to be persuaded to sign up for Eircom’s broadband service. I was overcome with a dose of homo economicus vulgaris and figured out I would save money switching from UTV.

But as the washing up liquid ad teaches, it’s only less costly if your sole concern is cash savings. But no-one is paying you to put up with their fantastically obnoxious IVR system, the long periods on hold, having to explain yourself every time you call back for an update, having to call again when you’re inexplicably cut off, and so on. Even assuming that the service will work swimmingly once eventually set up, I will have still incurred a net loss -in terms of time I could have spent doing far more useful things- by switching across.

It’s nearly three months since I signed up, but still no broadband. Yet they’ve still been getting my money for phone calls in the meantime. I haven’t even been explained why the service hasn’t been switched across yet.

It seems to me that Eircom’s new broadband strategy, at its core, works something like this: invest as little as possible in customer care and infrastructure so as to offer a competitively priced product. Then, once the poor suckers have signed up for it, pay no heed whatsoever to their complaints, and under no circumstances waste any resources in informing of delays or calling back as promised.  They’ll eventually lose the will for the fight, and will be so demoralised by the experience of switching across that they’ll never trust any company ever again.

Luckily enough (and I say this guardedly, since it was crap service from UTV that opened my mind to switching in the first place), I still have the UTV connection. Another small consolation is that, from what I have read on other sites, there are lots of Eircom victims far worse off than me.

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March 2007
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