Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Social media pioneer says technology will transform education

Well what do you know - somebody important says that "technology will transform education", this is according to Mark Schaefer writing in LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman sticks his neck out and tells us that technology will replace the “factory model of education” and goes on to declare that "Technology opens up the educational echo chamber by introducing the possibility of learning from a variety of experts and perspectives. It creates an opportunity for global dialogue, expanded connectivity, and the possibility of learning from the best teachers, wherever they may be”.

WTF is an "educational echo chamber"?

Image by Campbell taken from Morten Flate Paulsen's
book "Online Education".
Back in 1999, Cisco CEO John Chambers (no relation to the echo chamber?) is quoted as saying that "The next big killer application on the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error". e-Learning sales people loved this, and I heard it quoted many times myself in my last years with SmartForce. When I joined the then CBT Systems in 1989 a rallying cry to us all that technology was about to change education - the real pioneers of learning technology were people like Bill and TG of CBT Systems who did it with 5¼ inch floppy disks!

Reid Hoffman - you are about 22 years too late with your new ideas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reputations - Gandhi

This evening's lecture in the Trinity College Reputations series was about Mohandas K Gandhi, and was delivered by Dr Mridu Rai of the History Department. From the outset she set out to tear Gandhiji's reputation apart. 

Image link to
At first, Dr Rai told us that there was a lot of myth about Gandhi. Among many arguments she presented:
  • He was effectively a "racist" because he only worked as a lawyer in South Africa for Indians, and had "no time" for the "blacks"
  • He was a snob (not her words) as he only worked for middle class Indians, and only a latterly acted for lower class Indians under pressure
  • He repeatedly "sold out" lower class Indians in India in favour of the rich and the British - preferring instead to "compromise" 
  • His tactics of "non-cooperation" and "passive resistance" were efforts to provoke violence responses from the British - not what a non-violent protagonist should be advocating
  • All his ideas were ignored by Indian politicians - so much so that he was pretty much an outcast for the last years of his life in the sense that Indian politicians like Nehru were "fed up" of him
  • She even told us that his speeches were incomprehensible in his last years as he had lost all this teeth
The lecture made for uncomfortable listening for those like me who have long held Gandhiji in awe. I have read Louis Fisher's excellent biography of Gandhi (see my short review on Amazon here), and have always believed that he was a noble and righteous man with the independence of India by passive resistance being an achievable goal. Dr Rai dissected his life with the expertise of the historian, and while we might disagree over the ultimate reputation of Gandhi - she presented a well thought out account of his life with the passion of the historian. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nostalgia moment - Lisbon 15th November 1995

Experimenting with Roma's new camera on the night before she left for South Africa I got a photo of myself wearing my Ireland jersey - it was also the night of Ireland's brilliant 4-0 win over Estonia in the Euro 2012 play-offs. I bought the jersey in 1995, and like to wear it when Ireland are playing (even if just watching the match on telly).

Come on you boys in green!
This photo reminds me of the night of 15th November 1995 when Ireland took on Portugal in the last game of the group stages of the Euro 1996 in the Stadium of Light in Lisbon - the only "away" international I have ever been to. I travelled with my brother Brian and we had a great time - my memories include drinking pints at 7 o'clock in the morning at Dublin airport, the rain, Brian's almost all day hilarious haggling with a persistent Brazilian selling "gold" rings, and the dancing girls at a Musgrave's bash after the game which we crashed.

Alas - the game which Ireland had to win to qualify, was not what we had hoped. We later lost a play-off to Holland. From FAI History Chapter 33:

The fans played their part and travelled in numbers as an estimated 25,000 crowded into the Stadium of Light in Lisbon on a night when the rain poured down incessantly. Ireland had to work to the limit to restrain a marvellous Portugal who made nonsense of the conditions by playing wonderful, compelling football.

Ireland succeeded in defying them for an hour but then Rui Costa conjured up a beautiful opening goal with a chip that floated over the top of the defence and dipped into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Ireland were ineffective in attack, unable to muster a revival as Portugal won emphatically 3-0.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Label Cloud

A new feature on my blog is a "Label Cloud" - it is just to the left of this post. The list of words in this label cloud is made up of tags from labels that I can add to each blog post. So for example, I can tag any post about YouTube with the label "YouTube" - this will then appear in the label cloud. Searching will become easier and I can categorize posts more easily - just click on a word and all posts tagged with that word will be displayed. Words at the top are larger because more posts are tagged with these labels. I have tagged my most recent 100 posts, so the list to the left reflects this - I will over time revisit old posts and tag them too. I have to remember that when I write a new post to tag it too - this one will be tagged with "cloud".

While I like this idea, the cloud that Blogger provides is very boring - just see for yourself the square paragraph of text that makes up my cloud. allows you to create a cloud - you just provide a list of words and it will do the rest. Below is the same list created by Wordle that as of today makes up my label cloud to the left - much more interesting I think you'll agree: 

Created by Wordle.

So come on Blogger - you can do better. Or better still - come on Wordle and make a gadget for Blogger!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How To... Use If Statements in Excel 2010

IF...THEN...ELSE - always fascinated me since I first learned about IF statements back in the 1980's when I first learned programming. Logic is central to IF statements - that's why I like them. I always had fun writing them and testing then to see if they worked. 

IF statements can be used in Excel as conditional statements. My latest video show Excel users how to write a basic IF statement. The syntax is quite simple:

IF(logical_test, "value_if_true", "value_if_false")

In the video I use the example of using an IF statement to check if a student score is a pass or a fail - the IF statement for this is as follows (assuming a pass mark of 40%):

IF(B2>=40, "Pass", "Fail")

where "B2" is the cell where the mark is located on the Excel spreadsheet. In this statement you are testing to see IF a value (the contents of cell B2) is greater than or equal to 40 - if this is True, then the word "Pass" is displayed. If this is not True, then the word "Fail" is displayed. So for example, if the value in cell B2 is 60, then this is greater than or equal to 40 - therefore the statement is True, while a value of 30 is not greater than or equal to 40 - therefore the statement is false. Check out the video on YouTube and see what you think:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reputations - Marie Antoinette

This week in the Reputations series of lectures by the Trinity History Department was about Marie Antoinette by Dr Linda Kiernan - this was a really good lecture! Very informative, and full of interesting insights into what people (particularly the French of the late 1700s) thought of her. She was a much maligned woman, and was seriously the victim of a vicious campaign against her by the revolutionaries that ultimately succeeded in getting her to the guillotine. A sympathetic view, but not the complete view as presented by Dr Kiernan.

Image link to Wikipedia.
I particularly enjoyed Dr Kiernan's analysis of the image of Marie Antoinette. Her presentation and illustration of the many pamphlets that were distributed about Marie Antoinette were both entertaining and informative. Also - with 52 slides for her lecture, Dr Kiernan also went to come effort to provide us with as much material as possible. The analysis was deep and thoughtful - her role as a Hapsburg and as a French Queen was critically analysed. This left us in no doubt that Marie Antoinette was both a simple (devoted to family) and a complex character (trying, but failing to be a Hapsburg at a French court).

I have always felt some sympathy for her - for example, she never said "Let them eat cake". She was also portrayed as as a foreigner, lesbian, abuser of her son, frivolous, having undue influence on the King, a whore, among many other things - many untrue. Her trial was a joke, but her execution inevitable. 

Much of Marie Antoinette's problems were due to her being a woman in a man's world. Traditionally, the King's mistresses were singled out as the cause of problems at court, but as Louis XVI had no mistresses -  Marie Antoinette was singled out to blame. She stood no chance.

However, Marie Antoinette and the King were hopeless and useless - they did nothing to revert the tide of public opinion against them. They were extravagant, without any real sense of the misery their subjects lived in. They were true cuckoos in cloud-cuckooland. "Spin" had not yet been invented - they certainly could have done with a PJ Mara or Alastair Campbell at court!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My YouTube Channel - more views than either the Open University or Trinity College

Last Wednesday (November 16th) - my Learn with YouTube hit a new landmark figure. For the first time the viewing figures crept over 3,000 views in one day. As I've written many times before, it  is very gratifying to me that so many people find my learning videos so useful - the Channel is going from strength to strength.

Image link to
YouTube provides detailed analytics for the channel and its individual videos. As I write this post the channel has 621,911 views. YouTube also attempt to show most viewed channels and videos in each category. I classify all mine as "Education" videos, but the Education Most Viewed list does not show channels like mine - it concentrates instead on Colleges and Universities. At the top of the list with a staggering 97 million views is the Khan Academy. So I checked out where my channel would fit on this list.

Guess what - I would be at #78 in the top YouTube 100 Education channels in the world! I do realize that if this list included all channels classified as "Education" that I would be way further down the list as channels similar to mine would inevitably get higher on the list. However, I would be ahead of The Open University Channel on 612,506 views, and behind St Petersburg College (Florida) on 632,807 views. No Irish College or University makes the top 100 - my view count is about 3.5 times that of Trinity College (176,681 views).

Sure aren't I great all together? It's fun to compare figures and see where my piece of the learning world fits in with the big boys.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Graduations at NCI

Yesterday was Graduation Day at the National College of Ireland - a real highlight of the academic year for me. Many students graduating have been in my classroom over the years - my especial congratulations go out to the B.A. (Hons) in Technology Management, the B.A. in Management of Technology in Business, and the Certificate in Business Analysis classes. Well done to you all. Lots of smiling faces of graduates who were the best dressed I have ever seen them over four years! It got me thinking of my own last graduation day in July 1988 in Trinity. As academics attending the NCI ceremony, we get to wear the same gown used for our graduations - in my case the colourful Trinity PhD scarlet and gold gown. So I had my photo taken and compare it below with a photo taken 23 years ago. The gown is the same, but the rest has changed quite a bit!

My own Graduation Day (with my Dad),
14th July, 1988

At the NCI Graduation Day,
18th November, 2011
The NCI ceremony was held in the National Convention Centre, and it was my first time in this magnificent building. At least this will be a fine legacy of the building boom years in Ireland that we can leave with pride to future generations. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roma in South Africa

Right now - Roma is in Capetown on the Niall Mellon Township Trust Building Blitz 2011. She arrived there on Saturday and started work at 0700 on Sunday morning. I have spoken to her twice since she started on the Blitz - she sounds exhausted, but very happy. The Trust has a Facebook Page - check it out for photos and good wishes coming from people back home here in Ireland. 

The Blitz have some folks uploading photos to the Trust Facebook page - Roma is on the Grey Team, but no sign of her yet on the photo album despite my efforts through comments to get more photos of her team. Maybe tomorrow? If so I will link to on this blog.

We are surviving at home without Roma. This evening for dinner we had three sausages and some chicken that had to be cooked. Since she is away we didn't cook any vegetables ;-). We had only one potato left, so we supplemented it with a bag of chips from Aldo's in Cabinteely. Harley (the cat) has hidden his food from us, and the goldfish in the fish tank is looking more appetizing by the day! Tomorrow I think we'll get a Chinese takeaway from Fu Moon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Social Media Presence Infographic

Yesterday I delivered a Guest Lecture to some fourth year students here in the College - something I have rarely done during my career as a Lecturer. I think this may only be the second or third time at most that I have been asked to do a guest lecture in NCI - many thanks to @pj_wall for inviting me into his class.

The lecture was basically about my own experience and presence on the World Wide Web. I tried my best not to be in a "look at me and aren't I great" mode. Perhaps my lecture would help to inspire students to think about their web presence and develop it to the best of their abilities. For the lecture I prepared one slide (always a good idea not to have too many slides) showing the following infographic:

This shows how my Blog, YouTube Channel, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin communicate with one another - for example: when I publish a blog post, Blogger automatically sends out a tweet through Twitter, updates my Facebook page, and adds to my Linkedin page. One post, four updates to give me activity on several sites. Gmail helps me to manage everything as each social network tool automatically sends me an email if someone comments on my blog, retweets one of my tweets, likes something on Facebook, or comments on Linkedin.

Also above I for the first time showed off my new website (which has taken me two years to get going) -! It is hosted on Tumblr and has its own Twitter account (@thereshudbalaw), and Gmail account. I'll blog about this at a later date.

All of the above takes up quite a bit of time, but thanks to automatic feeds, I don't have to visit each site on a regular basis. My blog and YouTube channel takes up most time. I rarely post directly onto Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin - preferring instead for Blogger to do the work for me.

Reputations - William of Orange

Last evening the Reputations II series of lectures from the Department of History in Trinity College continued after a two week break with a lecture on William of Orange presented by Dr Robert Armstrong. This was a fascinating lecture with the theme of William as a European Statesman - there were many facts and interpretations of William that I had not known before. I was hooked on every word wonderfully presented by Dr Armstrong.

William of Orange.
Image link to Leibnitiana.
William of Orange (or William III) is mostly known to us Irish as the Protestant King who won the "Cogadh an Da Ri" (War of the two Kings) over the Catholic King James II. He was the victor at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and is remembered particularly in Northern Ireland by the Loyalist community there. He is not particularly remembered in any other country.

However, as Dr Armstrong told us, William was not really interested in Ireland (he only stayed here for a few months). Instead, he cared about England's position in Europe and the prevention of French dominance. He succeeded in keeping the Netherlands independent, though at a high territorial cost, from the French. When he invaded England in 1688, he may not have intended to become King. He was known to be religiously tolerant, but was also a private and cold person. He was almost constantly at war during his adult life, but was not an especially outstanding commander. His main aim in life seemed to be "Stop the French" and Louis XIV.

Overall - this was a memorable lecture on a leading European character who had a huge influence on Irish history.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Blog is Five Years Old Today!

On 13th November 2006 I created this blog with a short My First Post. I posted my second post the day after with a note about my Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but did not post again until four months later on 11th March 2007. In fact during the first year of this blog's existence I only posted FIVE times in total. It was really only in early 2008 that I started to post regularly, with seven posts in February and 124 for the year. These days I can't imagine such a low level of activity. Nowadays I average over 20 posts a month - not quite every day, but fairly regularly nonetheless. I rarely post more than once a day, though I sometimes write more than one post in a day and hold some back to publish on another day.

Image link to Rosy ~ Posy Blog.
This is the 717th published post on this blog, and the 234th this year. Simply put - I love blogging! I may even be addicted to blogging - according to this site, I am 80% addicted!

80%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Over the past five years I have posted about many things - family, sport, education, politics, travel, holidays, books, films, motorbikes, YouTube, and many more subjects. I don't have a particular theme, and I don't blog as part of my job. In fact I rarely blog during working hours since I was once wrongly accused by a student of writing a blog post instead of answering that student's email during the day. Nowadays during work hours I usually either publish a post that I have previously written, or write about education matters (which is part of my job).

Below are some statistics from Blogger's Stats Overview of my blog which only goes back to going back to May 2009. Currently there is an average of about 100-120 hits per day according to (as you can see Blogger has a higher count). I am very curious as to why the most popular post of all is my How To... Draw a Polar Diagram in Excel - nearly three times more than the next post. I cannot explain this - perhaps it is search engines that are responsible. I regularly post about videos I have uploaded to YouTube, but this one is low down in YouTube View Counts (4,753 views since December 2008). In fact it is only the 28th most popular video on my Learn with YouTube channel. I have seen it linked to on other sites, but can't explain its popularity.

Many of my blog posts, especially from 2008 and 2009, have not been read at all (0 views), or have just a few views. Most traffic sources are from Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Most searches that lead to the blog are searches for variations on my name. Ireland, the United States, and the UK dominate page views by countries. It will be interesting to see in another five years if anything changes!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Classic Motorcycles Show at Leopardstown

Today I went up to Leopardstown Racecourse to see the IVVMCC Annual Classic Motorcycle Show. There was quite a big crowd there with of course a lot of bikers attending. There were also some families with small children. But what a disappointment the Show was!

Honda CD175.
For a start, there were not many vintage bikes on show. There were plenty of stalls selling all kinds of parts and bits n' bobs for bikes. A more accurate title for the event might have been the "Annual Bike Bits in a Box Jumble Sale". None of the old parts interested me - mostly because I didn't know what this bar, or that pipe, or the other lump of iron was for. Of courses there were enthusiasts there who were drooling over all the bits, but sadly - not me. There were a few old bikes - but I'd say no more than 20 in total. There was even a guy selling country and western CDs!

I was tempted to enter a draw for a Harley-Davidson Sportster - but tickets at €50 each was a bit rich for me. The most interesting items by far for me were two Honda CD175s, one red and one blue, for sale at one of the stalls. I took a photo - the red one is just like the same bike my brother Joe and I had back in the late 1970s (see photo to left! - that's me leaning on the bike!). So this was quite a nostalgic moment for me - our red CD175 was stolen from Trinity College on 8th December 1981. The bike above brought back some memories. I asked about it and the guys on the stand think it was a 1978 model - they wanted €400 for it. It is not working and would take quite a bit of rebuild and repair to get it going. As someone who has almost no mechanical knowledge, I thought about buying it for about 2 seconds and decided not to. As you can see it is in pretty poor shape, even though it is 33 years old.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Clever Clogs (again)!

This evening Roma and I went to a Table Quiz in aid of Tightrope Productions - a drama production company based in Dún Laoghaire. Our daughter Vicki is a member of the company. The quiz was held in the Baker's Corner pub and was attended by mostly young people.

Image link to
We found the quiz quite hard - there were just the two of us in our team - I felt like Johnnie No-Mates! In the end between us we scored 57 out of 100 points, but it was enough to WIN! We were in the lead for most of the quiz, closely followed by another team (of six adults). We were ahead by 1 point going into the final round, but won by 3 points in the end. First prize was €40, which we did not accept - preferring that it be added to the fund-raising for the evening. We had a very enjoyable evening - I even won the raffle in which first prize was a €30 voucher for Diffney's Menswear!

57/100 is actually a very low score to win a quiz. Three weeks ago at the Killiney Lions Club quiz night (in which I prepared the questions and was also quizmaster) - a score of 86/100 was the winning score. So I won't get carried away with this victory. Nevertheless, it is exciting to be leading a quiz and winning in the end. In February of 2010 I was also part of a winning team in another Killiney Lions Club quiz night with a score of 82/100 - so we are on a roll!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Recent business closures in my area

Yesterday TGI Friday's on Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock (South Dublin) closed - this is directly across the road from our estate. It used to be The Playwright pub, which was a very popular pub when we moved here in 1996. A few years ago during The Boom it was purchased for over €8 million and redeveloped as TGIs. In the beginning it was extremely popular - especially with families. I can remember waiting up to an hour for a table with a radio controlled buzzer to be called to a free table. The food was nice and very American - but over priced. Nevertheless we went there on many occasions as it was very handy to our house. In the last few years there was no bother getting a table (I wonder where the buzzers have been?). Large sections of the restaurant were closed off, and the number of staff greatly reduced. Food quality suffered too as the company tried desperately to stay in business with special offers (eg a pint for €2), and even introduced pool tables recently. It couldn't last and sadly is now no more.

TGI Fridays in one of several businesses to shut this year close to my house in the Google map above. To the right the Centra is closed, and a small barber shop too is gone. To the left is TGIs, and not visible is Papa's restaurant which closed earlier this year. This gloom of closed and empty shops is I'm told repeated all over the country. It's almost impossible to find any areas with small businesses and shops that don't have empty premises. Some will stay closed for many years, while others may re-open under a new name (Centra above traded as Blackrock Fair for a few months before it finally closed a few weeks ago).

A flicker of light is that a new restaurant is about to open in the old Papa's premises. It is undergoing renovations right now and will open as "Blackrock's New Dining Experience" soon under the name of Le Plancha. I wish whoever is brave enough to do this very well, and I'll be sure to support this new venture. In the midst of all the doom and gloom, there is hope.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Birthday Dinner

Last evening the O'Loughlin clan gathered to celebrate my sister Kathleen's 50th birthday at the Sha-Roe Bistro in Clonegal, Co Carlow. The evening started in Osbournes Pub where we managed a pint before dinner. This is a very quaint and picturesque pub with a wood stove in the centre of the bar - well worth checking out as it is also beside the starting point for the Wicklow Way. We proceeded to Sha-Roe next door.

The Birthday Girl!
As you can see - the birthday girl looked very glamorous (as did the rest of the family). We all very much enjoyed the evening and I think it was a special one for her too. Plenty of banter and chat - we even sang some songs after dinner!

The Sha-Roe Bistro is a gem - it was my first time ever to eat here, it is a top class restaurant. Its chef, Henry Stone, is Georgina Campbell's Chef of the Year for 2011. I anticipated a fine meal and I was not disappointed. We had a table to ourselves (nine of us) beside the kitchen a little removed from the main restaurant - this was just as well for the packed diners in the other room as we were quite boisterous.

The food was simply perfect - I had a to-die-for seafood "bouillabaisse" as a starter. Rich and tasty - clearly a lot of effort went into making this. Several of us had perfect rib-eye steak for main course, while others had the delicious venison. Everybody at the table enjoyed every bite - it was quite simply a divine dining experience. I will certainly be back - recommended.

So - "Happy Birthday" to Kayo for another year!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Seven Reasons Why Educators Should Blog

Steve Wheeler is a blogger who I sometimes check out - he is Associate Professor of Learning Technology at Plymouth University. Recently I checked out his post - Learning with 'e's: Seven reasons teachers should blog. He writes that from his "personal experience blogging is one of the most beneficial professional development activities I have ever engaged with. I learn more from blogging than I do from almost any other activity I participate in". I too learn a lot from blogging - here are Professor Wheeler's seven reasons why teachers should blog:

  1. Blogging causes you to reflect
  2. Blogging can crystalise your thinking
  3. Blogging can open up new audiences
  4. Blogging can create personal momentum
  5. Blogging can give you valuable feedback      
  6. Blogging can be creative
  7. Blogging can raise your game
A comment from Doug Woods on the blog in reaction
to above also adds:

    8.  Blogging is fun

                   Image link to
                     Open Gardens Blog.

Each of the above points is developed further, but point #3 is my favourite. Prof Wheeler writes "You can become a teacher within an infinitely larger classroom, and as you blog on subjects you think are interesting, you will discover that there are plenty of other education professionals 'out there' who are also interested. I don't know how many educators read this blog - there are an average of 80-100 unique visits per day, I hope that some are involved in education. As Prof Wheeler puts it, they can perhaps "learn something new from you".

There are also reasons for educators not to blog. Peter Corliss in a comment on Prof Wheeler's blog points out concerns about issues such as "privacy", IT "policies", "bad-mouthing", "exposing flaws", and "embarrassment". I agree that these are serious issues that are putting up barriers to more widespread blogging.

Two of my academic colleagues at NCI are bloggers - check out Dr Leo Casey and Prof Jimmy Hill. It would be great if others did so too :-).

Friday, November 04, 2011

Solidarity with the Greeks

Lots of opinion and comment in the news and media this morning about the Greeks - most shed this beautiful country in a poor light, with the open thinking now being that Greece could drag both the euro and Europe into crisis. In Germany - Bild says that Greece and Papandreou are "zerstört" (destroyed), while our own Examiner newspaper uses words like "debacle" and "drama".

Panathanaikos FC
Image link to Wikipedia.
Me - I like Greece. I admired their Euro 2004 team for the way they won the European Championship without multi-millionaire celebrity stars. I have been to Athens three times and loved it, and I have also holidayed in Crete. In all cases the people were very friendly and helpful. The restaurants and bars were always excellent value, and good quality to boot. I even got to like Ouzo when I was there!

While in Athens I bought a Panathanaikos FC t-shirt - it has an interesting logo with a shamrock. I'm sure I'm not the only Irish person to buy one of their shirts.

Today, as the ordinary Greek people are going though a very tough time, not all of their own making, I am wearing my Panathanaikos FC t-shirt as a sign of solidarity and support for the ordinary Greek people who have to pay for the sins and mistakes of others. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NCI's 60th Anniversary Ceremony

This evening I attended the 60th Anniversary celebrations for the National College of Ireland (NCI). The College first started in February 1951 and is still going strong 60 years later. There were about 200 people at the event which was held in the Atrium of the College. It was great to catch up with colleagues - both present and retired. Little bit of name-dropping, I also chatted with Norma Smurfit and Nora Owen - two very nice ladies.

The speeches did go on a bit - there were eight in total. However, it was good to hear about times past in the College and to experience a little bit of nostalgia as two former Presidents - Joyce O'Conner and Paul Mooney spoke about what NCI means to them. A nice touch too was some speeches from former and current students.

Overall - a very enjoyable evening. Congratulations to all involved in NCI - here's to the next 60 years!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Kayo Five-O

It's my sister Kathleen's birthday today - welcome to the over 50's club Kayo! From now on you will have to start listening to those over 50 ads on the radio - but don't worry, I think that when they say "over 50" they really mean "over 60"?

Kayo's party piece for many years was a version of "Singing in the Rain" when she got us all to put hands, knees, and everything else together. Great fun!

Here's the scene from the film of the same name starring Gene Kelly in one of cinema's classic moments. This is for you Kayo - have a great day...