Monday, December 13, 2004

welcome to the big leagues

After a lengthy spell in the reserves, I have finally been accepted to the First Team of Public Opinion. Having had my text messages and emails read out on a regular basis on NewsTalk 106 for a couple of years, tonight I had a serious email about the Northern Ireland situation read on the respected RTE Current Affairs show Questions And Answers. With reference to the recent collapse of the talks on the strength of a squabble over a Polaroid photograph, I said ; "There is only one photograph that I would like to see and that is one of Dr Paisley and Mr McGuinness outside Stormont ready to go in and govern the north the way the majority on both sides of the border want them to." I tried to give my pen name of JL Pagano but was not too disappointed that I was officially announced as Jeff Lee. The leader of the Irish Labour Party, Pat Rabbitte, said "here here". As you can see I'm a bit chuffed!

I am now a fully fledged fan of the comedy show "Little Britain" and all its assorted characters, especially the bloke in the wheelchair ("I want THAT one") and Vicky Pollard ("yeah but no but yeah but no but"). Nearest thing to the good old school comedies like Python and Blackadder and such I've seen in years.

Friday, December 03, 2004

a question for you, messrs bush and blair....

Exactly how many people would a weapon have to kill for it to be considered one of "mass destruction", and would one that killed that number less one be ok???

Thursday, December 02, 2004

cabbage and bakin'

The two buzzwords representing my weekend in Amsterdam are "cabbaged" and "baked", for this is what I was for the three days. From the moment I lit my first joint in the Grasshopper bar to my night's sleep on Tuesday night which was aided by the hash muffin I smuggled home, I was in a parallel universe where all I wanted to do was either sleep or smoke some more. My travelling companion Jason disappeared a few times to either "make a phone call" like he said he was doing, or perhaps he was knocking on doors in the red light district; either way he proably even more cabbaged than I was. All in all it was good to get away for a couple of days and simply relax, and I will hopefully return one day for the same purpose.

It is only this morning that I am starting to focus once again on my future and what it should hold. My first goal should be to get this house cleaned up and also to get my writing back on track. I have the kids with me this afternoon, and then the "good crowd" is meeting up for it's-ahem-"Christmas Drinks", which will probably entail 4 pints then chips then home as it alkways does. There has been talk of visiting the new nightclub across the road from the Stillorgan Orchard, but I won;t hold my breath!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

i click th3r3f0r3 i sp4m

Just how many different ways will internet pharmaceutical companies find to spell the word "viagra" to beat my anti-spamming measures???

My car badly needed a service, so I wanted to leave it in to Carroll & Kinsella in Walkinstown where I first bought it. They have moved to the Ballymount Road, so I took the excuse to try the new "Luas" line into town on my way home; I got it to Connolly station then got the DART back here. It also gave me an excuse to listen to the new U2 album "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" properly and I am officially a fan. Hopefully my 95Golf is good for a little while longer, I will find out in a matter of hours.

One of Jason's selling points on the upcoming weekend in Amsterdam was the fact that we would be able to get accommodation for round €15 per night. Some internet research proved this to be true, but only in a shared hostel with up to ten other people. My 35 years of age, I feel, puts me in a bracket beyond staying in such establishments, however, and I convinced him that we should instead get a twin room in a 1-star hotel, which I was able to do for €45/night. We are thus all booked in the Travel Hotel on Beursstraat.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

incroyable mais vrai

I've been known once or thrice to get on my high horse about Disney movies, but I gotta admit, this one knocks me clean outta my saddle! The only thing "credible" about "The Incredibles" is the predictable tight family unit around which the plot is based. The rest lives up to the flick's title on a rollercoaster ride that's not to be missed. Go see it, we just did. Even bring the kids if you have to. Toy Story 2, Shmoy Shmory Shmoo!!!

walk of shame

Went for a walk with the kids just now, up to the Shell station at the top of Booterstown Avenue. We go every Sunday when weather permits, for a bit of exercise and to buy their "Sunday sweets". Today when I got to the counter with them and our shopping, I realized I didn't have my wallet. On top of everything, the girl at the till was a cute blonde chick!!! The kids had to offer me their own pocket money, I just about made up the change, and overall looked like a complete fool, and we then looked around the shop for the wallet which I remembered only AFTER we went gave up and went outside I actually left at home, and not ten minutes earlier had put in my breast jacket pocket so I wouldnt have to bring the wallet!

It was not my first scatter-brained episode, and definitely not my last. Naturally I assume that both the cashier and the mother who was with her kids behind me thought I must have been some sort of drunk separated dad out with his kids on a Sunday morning. Actually it was uni-flu not alcohol!!! So anyway for a brief moment as I walked with my kids from the Shell station I felt totally humiliated, until I realised first that they aren't embarrassed by me so why should I be, and second that if I wrote down an account of the incident in my blog I'd see that the whole thing wasn't anywhere near as terrible as I thought. Luckily I was right on both counts!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Making someone like Condoleeza Rice the Secretary of State of the USA would be like putting Pro-Life campaigner in charge of Abortion clinics. God help us all. At least there's enough of the rational global thinking 49% of Americans in important places to get those real pictures of the behaviour of US soldiers in Iraq to the general public.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

derby o' thrills

The Spurs v Arsenal "local derby" match today did not disappoint the fans. My boys somehow managed the rare achievement of scoring four goals at home and still losing 4-5. The only silver lining was that I had a €5 bet on Spurs captain Ledley King scoring with a header which he did, winning me €85. But five defeats in the last six Premiership games does not make a pretty picture for Spurs.

There hasn't been much to report lately, hence the gaps in entries. I've been doing a lot of work on the 1000 word project though; I now have 14 of the planned 50 chapters done. Plans for tonight involve going to a pub downtown called Ba Misu to hook up with a crowd of Sandra's work mates.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

glowing report

The kids had their parent teacher meetings this morning, Ruth and I both went, and it was all good. They both seem to be settling into their new schools nicely. As always with these meetings, I didn't see many other fathers there.

Spurs drew Liverpool at home in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup, won't be easy, but at least we avoided the tricky threesome of Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

keane to progress

Spurs won, 3-0, with Robbie Keane getting two of them. I was a bit annoyed at the new coach for substituting him with half an hour left, only because I had a bet on him to get a hat trick which would have won me €180!!! I'll take the win though, and look forward to the big one against Arsenal on Saturday.

text of despair

I just got a text from Sandra which read : "I will have to go can not deal with it any more its killing me I feel like I'm going to break down". She is being driven demented by her job which usually entails being faced with a long queue of patients and coping with elderly people who are either profoundly deaf or profoundly ignorant, if not both. She has been having nightmares recently which involve her doing immense damage to herself, like scratching at her legs. She rang me earlier this morning and told me she will see a doctor on Friday, and obviously since been stressed out further in work. I wish there was something I could do for her myself.

As predicted, Spurs named assistant Marin Jol as their coach last night, and he kicks off tonight with a crucial Carling Cup match against Burnley. It's a make or break type of game and it's live on Sky. Not sure I'll be able to watch.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

willo the wisp

I had heard about an exciting new Irish player from Dublin bursting onto the Premiership scene at Manchester City by the name of "Willo" Flood, and was moved to watch their derby game with Man United today to see what he was like. Before the game the Sky Sports cameras were trained as always on the tunnel leading onto the pitch to observe the two teams standing in line before beginning their march outdoors. Immediately I spotted him, not having seen him before. Emerging behind the tall frame of City keeper David James was a scrawny skinny pasty white skinned red haired lad who proved my powers of observation by turning his back briefly to reveal his name Flood and number 44. Why am I writing about this? (a) it was funny at the time cos he stood out like a sore thumb, and (b) I immediately came up with the title. The teams drew 0-0, Flood played ok. Spurs lost their 5th out of 6 yesterday and are in turmoil.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

cutting the act

She took him back, and is out with him tonight. Well fancy that. If you wonder what I'm on about, read the post "cutting the grass that's greener" below, it's quite a story.


From left to right...Suzie (who's boyfriend was caught face licking), Bernie, and Sandra.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

no magical mystery

Got another comment on my writing, this time on the sister blog which has 1000-word pieces on various aspects of my life to date. "Thanks for the interesting narrative. I found it (you?) bit lacking in magic; but honest, interesting and eloquent." I know exactly what he means by the magic thing, I actually thought that myself when I was posting it. I feel it's improtant to go for quantity rather than quality and hope the quality eventually sorts itself out. I heard something on the radio about a "November Novel Challenge" where they suggested prospective writers have a go at a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. For my Stories Worth A Thousand Words, this of course would mean 50 chapters. I set myself a goal to have them all done by Christmas instead, or at least to try and do one a day.

Poor Sandra is extremely unhappy where she works right now, which is in the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital downtown. They have her making appointments with the patients, the majority of which are elderly and thus head-wrecking. She has constantly asked to move to another department, to no avail. Although she has made many good friends in there, I have a feeling she may be prone to a bit of back-stabbing by some of the girls which won't be helping her. She says the job is "destroying her soul" and I wish there was something I could do beyond give comfort and advice, but of course there isn't.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

election vigil

No results in as yet. There seems to have been a high turnout, which supposedly favours Kerry. I have Sky News on, waiting for the BBC’s commercial free coverage to start at midnight. I have made a tentative resolution not to visit the USA again until Bush is out of the White House.

[based on projections Bush 39 Kerry 3 so far]
Ohio has just been declared “too close to call”, not a surprise there as it’s a crucial “swing state”, but interestingly Virginia is the same, having been a Bush win in 2000. The two networks I am watching have all their experts banging on, with the Democrat friendly BBC (Beat Bush’s Campaign) on one side, and SKY (Send Kerry Yonder) on the other. The early projection lead for Bush was expected with the big states like California and New York bound to drag Kerry back into the race.

[based on projections Bush 94 Kerry 78 so far]
Only the safe states have declared so far, still nothing for Ohio. I’m starting to nod off for long periods. Many feel this could go well beyond tomorrow morning, early indications make this seem bang on.

[based on projections Bush 172 Kerry 112 so far]
Still no surprises. The gap still looks wide, but don’t forget California and New York should go to Kerry and represent about 100 between them. About seven or eight states are too close to call. I just noted that New York has already come in for Kerry. I’m starting to care less about the whole thing with every passing hour. Analysis of the 3 key states have Bush ahead in FL and OH, Kerry ahead in PA.

[based on projections Bush 197 Kerry 112 so far]
It’s not looking good for Kerry. Still nothing decided in the 3 key states and it seems clear now that these will decide the outcome. I’ve been up and about the past hour. Jesse Jackson is now talking to the BBC, still upbeat. Of all the states that have called one way or another, things are as you were since 2000, though that may change when New Hampshire declares, their 4 votes could go to Senator Kerry.

[based on projections Bush 211 Kerry 188 so far]
One of the BBC’s panellists, a black friend of Condoleeza Rice, kept saying the word “mature” with a hard “t” which really bugged me. Also bugging me is the fact that Kerry’s chances are extremely remote. Florida is definitely gone, and Ohio is also looking bad. Also confirmation is through that both houses on Capitol Hill have gone to the Republicans.

[based on projections Bush 246 Kerry 206 so far]
The Ohio vote so far has Bush ahead by 129,000 votes, which is fascinating since there is apparently a dispute about that many votes in the state, something about people voting that were unsure if they were registered, called “provisional ballots”. This could all get ugly again, especially since New Hampshire and possibly Nevada swinging to Kerry. Having said that, reports have Fox News calling Ohio for Bush, and their campaign headquarters is claiming four more years.

[based on projections Bush 249 Kerry 217 so far]
Ohio’s 20 votes will virtually clinch it for Bush. At 269 Kerry can still tie, but the casting vote will go to the Republican House of Representatives, so go figure. Time to go to bed methinks.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

voter anarchy

Today is polling day in my country of birth. It fascinates me how a nation that prides it self on democratic principles can have a voting system that is anything but fully representative. Electoral college? I don't care what the intentions of the founding fathers may have been; what the Americans of today are left with is a format whereby the duopoly of political parties get to greatly minimise their campaign spending by simply concentrating on the so-called "swing" states, leaving over half the population of the country constantly ignored by the prospective candidates right up to polling day. I read an article about possible change in the "middle ground" states, with apparently Colorado leading the campaign to have these states award all of their electoral college votes to the winner of the NATIONAL popular vote, rather than that of within its own state. I would be fully in favour of this. Should ten or more states agree to do it, the donkeys and the elephants in Washington may finally prick up their ears.

I received an envelope over 2 weeks ago with a sample ballot, shortly followed by a confirmation card saying that I had been registered. Pity the actual ballot itswelf never arrived in time for me to cast my vote. Bloody Schwarznegger-led administration!!!! It's not so bad, though, as I am reliably informed that California is a lock for John Kerry, who would have of course been my choice.

Monday, November 01, 2004

shaggy dog story

Well, I slept on it. Still in a quandry. The evidence doesn't add up, she's just not that stupid. If she is, then what am I letting myself in for. She says she came back from the toilet and stood in the wrong place for half an hour. She has been in that pub dozens of times. There's a guy Michael that has been chasing her, and I have a theory that she saw him there and was afraid to have me see him because I would think she went there on purpose to meet him. Truth is, I probably would have thought that, cos I'm a serious paranoid android. So what now???? Tonight I am committed to dinner in her mum's house, then bringing her dog Jesse to Sandra's animal grooming class to be used as a guinea pig. I need to go through with that, and see how I feel when I'm with her. Then I think I should stay away from her until Friday, when we usually do something. I don't need this bullshit, torn between fear I'm being made a fool of and a fear that I'm making a fool of myself.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

café insane

The only really memorable incident of the weekend happened Friday, but maybe it's one I'd rather forget!!! Met Sandra after work, we went for something to eat, then met her pals Michelle and Julie-Ann in Searson's. Had a good few there, then eventually moved on to Café En Seine on Dawson St, the scene of many a crime for Sandra when we were split up over a year ago.
We moved around a few times to find a good spot, finally settling not too far from the entrace, leaving all our bags there. We were all pretty well on at this stage. Then Mich & J-A go to the loo together, and a couple of minutes later Sandra says she has to go as well and do I mind being on my own briefly. As the other girls would have been back shortly, I didnt mind. Or so I thought.
About half an hour passed and no sign of anyone. My theory was that the 3 of them decided to go for a dance and left me as a human cloakroom without telling me. So, being understandably miffed, I picked up my jacket and my bag, left all of theirs, and set off looking for them. I had felt like an absolute plonker standing on my own. As I get to the back of the pub I meet the two girls and ask have they seen Sandra, they say they thought she was with me. So we go back to our spot, no sign of her. The two girls take it in turns to go off looking, and I'm getting more worried by the minute. Sandra is on medication which leaves her prone to epileptic fits - having said that, it has only happened once with me in the four years I have known her. But at this stage it was the only possibility, without going into the paranoid zone of thinking she was with another bloke, of course.
When the second girl came back without her, I had to go looking myself, and I could only think to ask a bouncer if there had been an incident with a girl having a fit. He led me to both ladies toilets but could not find her. I apologized and headed back to where we were. I was like a parent having lost their child, in that I was worried sick but would kill her if I saw her (metaphorically...). Sure enough she was with the girls at our place when I got back to the seat. I grabbed my bag, told her to go fuck herself, and stormed out of the pub.
Once outside I went and sat on the ground not far from the entrance. Michelle came running out a few moments later. She told me Sandra was drunk and had gone to the wrong place. I had a real struggle believing that story, but I agreed to make sure Sandra got home ok. When she herself came out Sandra started yelling and screaming to herself in annoyance for her being so "stupid" to go to the wrong place. She was even hitting herself at one point. With great difficulty I got her into a taxi and brought her home. I was honest with her in that I had serious trouble believing her plea of having gotten lost. It would be one thing in a pub she's never been to before, but she practically lived in Café En Seine last year.
As we normally do, we worked it out the following morning, and spent the whole day together. We had been invited to her friend Alex' house for Saturday night, and also to her mother's for dinner this afternoon. I fulfilled both engagements and spoke no more about the whole thing. But I have to admit it has all left a bad taste in my mouth. Surely I'm not so stupid myself that she and her mates are running rings around me? I need to sleep on it all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

no nails left

Football is an agonizing game to listen to on radio, especially when your team is holding on for a win!!!! Spurs were playing a tricky Carling Cup match at Bolton, and I was listening on the internet radio. Bolton went 1-0 up, we levelled. Bolton went 2-1 up, we levelled with 4 minutes to go. Extra time, we get 2 to go 4-2 up, then they get one back. They last 15 minutes were very bad for my nerves especially as the ball spent a lot of time around the Spurs goal and the commentator kept raising his voice!!!! They held on to win 4-3. Burnley away in the next round in November; not easy either.

I almost chickened out of the Amsterdam trip, but Jason had already paid for tickets, so I'm in. Will do me good to get away with the lads for a couple of days, I guess I can't spend all my time tied to Sandra. Should be good.

The brats are on mid term break and I have them all day tomorrow, looking forward to it as always. I was worried when I moved back in with my grandmother that they would not enjoy being here, but they don't seem to mind at all. On average they stay with me better than one night in four, which a lot of separated fathers would be more than happy with.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

heading in the right direction

Could the title "JL Pagano's diary" BE more boring??? Time to spice it up, and let that be enough changes for one day. The new heading was simply my answer to Sandra's recent question : "Jeff you do so much for me, what do you expect from me in return?"


Having received a couple of comments to the blog which were obviously the result of google searches of the word "pagan", I decided to add an "o" to the end of my pen-name to scare off the devil worshippers from blogland. I find it gives the name a more Latin sound to it, and encourages people to soften the a's and say "pah-GAHN-o" instead of "PAY-gun" which I would undoubtedly get with the other way. No offence intended, Mark n Vicki!!!!

Did another 1000 word piece this evening, and decided to make it a bit less tear-wrenching than my previous ones. It's called "1000 words on Bleeding Heart Liberals" but is maily about the presidential race in the USA which takes place next week. I know I'm tooting my own horn, but I like the way it came out. So there.

The Amsterdam trip at the end of November is on the cards. It will probably do Sandra and myself to have a weekend away from each other to let this engagement thing settle in our minds. I will give Jason the money tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2004


All my jogging all my working out all my supposed diets for weeks and when I have my picture taken I still have that goddam double chin!!! The party went well nonetheless, well, up to the point when I had a couple of shots of Sambuca and turned into Mr Hyde for a while, but I paid the price with a wicked hangover this morn, also placing a call on the porcelain telephone a few times.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

go to see saw

Sandra and I brought her mother out for a meal and a movie last night; we went to the Liffey Valley Centre and ate at Spur Steakhouse, followed by the thriller "Saw".
The film is similar to "Seven", which I thought was one of the most compelling serial killer thrillers I have ever seen. This one isn't quite as good, but does keep you watching throughout and does not fail to shock and surprise you at every turn. If you like that sort of thing I strongly recommend it.

My friend Jason(who we call "The Cat"), has asked me if I want to go for a couple of day's cultural experience in Amsterdam at the end of November. I will let you draw your own conclusions as to what I mean by cultural experience!!! I am going to meet him for coffee this afternoon to get details; he claimed in a text message yesterday that he can get a very cheap deal to go there.

Speaking of movies, I have to laugh at the latest release of the movie "Alien Vs Predator" or "AVP" which is one of a series of films which turns a video game into a movie, when in the "old days" the movie always came first!!! Having said that, Sandra and I are looking to stay in tonight so she can nurse her cold and relax in preparation for the fancy dress party wich is tomorrow night, so the fact that local network RTE2 is showing the original movies of both Predator and Alien back-to-back gives us the ideal reason to stay in with a few beers and microwave popcorn on a Saturday night!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

seventh heaven

The Red Sox won Game 7, 10-3. They took a 6-0 lead early, and I counted every out to the end as their superior pitching staff brought the game home. Sporting history was made. Unbelievable. I even have an avid Yankee fan that I can email to take the piss out of. Sorry, Ben!!!

Meeting Sandra for lunch in Hourican's Pub at 1, then picking up the kids from school and bringing them back here for the night, as is the norm for Thursday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

tale of the tape

If you know little or nothing about baseball, I would say that you still may find this entry interesting, but I would suggest that you ignore the segment between *JARGON BEGINS* and *JARGON ENDS*. Only true baseball converts will get this part. To the rest, if you have ever been emotionally involved in something you have seen on TV be it sporting or otherwise, you will appreciate how I felt this morning.

My favourite baseball teams can be easily classified as follows :
#1 The Oakland Athletics (aka A's)
#2 The San Francisco Giants
#3 The Boston Red Sox
#4 Anyone but the New York Yankees.

As the A's and Giants both narrowly missed the playoffs this season, my attention has been naturally drawn to the American League Championship Series between The Boston Red Sox and The New York Yankees. You may consult the above chart to find where my loyalties lie! It consists of a "best of seven" matchup with two games in New York, three in Boston, and the final two back in The Big Apple. Once one team wins its fourth game, they go on to the World Series while the opponent must prepare for next season.

Add to that tension the bitter rivalry between The Sox and The Yanks, which goes all the way back to 1918 when Boston traded one Babe "The Bambino" Ruth to the Yankees (a trade which resulted in what is known as "The Curse Of The Bambino" which is reportedly responsible for The Red Sox' failure to win a World Series Championship since), and you get an idea to the importance of this series. This is what spectator sports is all about. So what if you can do nothing to influence the outcome? So what if it's only a load of guys running after a ball? Excitement just does not get much better than this!

The Yankees, who are the Manchester United of baseball in that they have the top salary earners on their staff and begin EVERY game they play as favourites, proceeded to prove this by winning all of the first three games. Each game would be played overnight, so I would tape them and watch them the next morning with the added benefit of fast forwarding through all the non-action bits (which are very frequent in baseball!). After the Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the series, however, my interest took a nosedive. NO TEAM IN BASEBALL HISTORY HAS EVER WON A SERIES HAVING BEEN 3-0 DOWN, IN FACT NONE HAVE EVER EVEN FORCED A GAME SEVEN. I just clicked on the website the next two mornings to check the scores of Games 4 and 5. To my surprise the Red Sox won them both, each in exciting fashion.

This piqued my interest enough to set my video for last night's game 6 back in Yankee Stadium. I got up this morning at 6am as has been the norm, and was pleased to see my weight has finally dipped under the 18 stone mark. I then got myself a coffee and started watching the game.

The big story going into the game was the condition of Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who had the most wins during the regular season, but who had also damaged his push-off ankle against the Anaheim Angels in the last round. He was hit all over the park in Game 1 against the Yankees, but since Games 4 and 5 had gone to extra innings, Boston's bullpen was stretched to its limits so if he was at all fit Curt really had to put in a quality start if there was to be any chance of prolonging the series to a Game 7.

Schilling produced the most incredible comeback pitching performance I have ever seen. He pitched 7 quality innings, and his only slip up was a solo home run hit by Bernie Williams in the 7th which just stayed fair. The rest of the time he kept the Yanks' incredible lineup of Jeter, A-Rod, Sheffield, Matsui, Posada & co in check, and was ably backed up by 4 runs from his own team's line-up which is pretty impressive in itself.

The umpires played an enormous part in the game, with two incredibly gutsy decisions. With Boston already up 1-0 and 2 runners on, their 2nd baseman Mark Bellhorn hit a shot to left field which at first appeared to come back off the wall for Hideki Matsui to field and throw back to the infield, but on viewing the replay tape it was clear that the ball cleared the wall and actually hit off of a fan and thus should be declared a home run. Red Sox manager Tony Francona came out to dispute and to their credit the six-strong umpire team agreed to converge and discuss what they had collectively seen. Obviously some of them had seen what had happened so it was left to the crew chief to announce to the home town crowd that it was in fact a home run and what had been a 3-0 lead for the visitors was now one of 4-0.

This third inning appetizer was nothing to the main course the officials were to serve up in the bottom of the seventh! Schilling had been relieved by Bronson Arroyo, who was himself hit all over the park in Game two but pitched a solid inning in relief in Game 5 the previous night. With 1 out in the 7th, one run was already in, it was now a 4-2 game, with Derek Jeter on 1st and A-Rod at the plate. Rodriguez chopped a grounder between the mound and first base, which Arroyo fielded himself and went to tag the runner for the 2nd out. Instead, the ball fell out of his hand, the runner was declared safe, and Jeter strolled in for another run to make it 4-3.

Or did it? Francona was out again protesting. Arroyo was down on his honkers in disbelief. Then we saw the replay. To quote a famous baseball commentator, HOLY COW!!! As A-Rod passed Arroyo he clearly swatted the ball out of the pitcher's hand, which of course is interference, and should be out. The umpires went into their second huddle. After a prolonged consultation, they called A-Rod out and demanded Jeter return to first. It was then clear why they had taken so long to decide. Clearly it was obvious what had happened and what the correct call was, and the only thing left to determine was how to handle the eventual reactions of both the crowd and Yankees coach Joe Torre. After the crew chief made his signal, Torre was allowed rant for a good 5 minutes without being ejected, and Francona had to take his players off the field as the hometown fans hurled missiles onto the playing surface. All six umpires deserve medals.

After it all died down, what had been a situation whereby it was 4-3 Boston with 1 out and a runner on 2nd, it was now 4-2 with 2 out and a runner on 1st. What a difference. Arroyo picked himself up to get Gary Sheffield to pop-up for the final out. The Sox went quietly in the top of the 9th, and so it was set-up for a Red Sox reliever to get the 3 outs required to bring us all back the following night.

Back in Game 1 I could not believe the fact that the Red Sox had Keith Foulke in their bullpen. I had followed my beloved A's all season so did not know where he had been traded. Sure, he's an established closer, but when asked THREE TIMES to close out victories for the A's last year AGAINST THE RED SOX he choked and Boston came back from 2 games to 0 behind to win that series 3-2. So I was equally surprised when I saw Foulke was being brought in to pitch the bottom of the 9th for the Sox against the meat of the Yankee's batting order, especially when you remember Boston is a club which more than most has been influenced by ghosts from playoffs past!!!

With me well on the edge of my seat, he walked the leadoff hitter Hideki Matsui, to bring the tying run to the plate, but proceeded to strike Williams out swinging for the first crucial out.

Welcome back non-baseball fans! Basically when it came to the end of the game Boston just needed to get TWO Yankees out to win the game and be the first to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie. Fully engrossed in the game, I wondered who the next batter would be.


Imagine my frustration!!! Let's just say an expletive or two was yelled!!! Luckily the sports channel that carries baseball, NASN, is currently showing a replay of the game and has JUST reached the part where the tape ran out. I still don't know who won as I type. There will a pause between this line and the next as I return to the edge of my seat.


He got the second out, but then walked Ruben Sierra. Now a home run wins the series for the Yankees.


3 balls and 2 strikes so far to the Yankees second-string first baseman Tony Clark.


Oh wait, hang on....There's still Game 7 tonight. I'm gonna set my VCR for 8 hours on Long play. Don't ring me in the morning, I'll be busy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I love this picture. The fact that it's blurred makes it even more appealing in my book, almost like it's a painting. It's taken by my camera phone and is of Sandra, her dog Jessie and of course my two kids RA and CJ. It's set in the field behind RA's old school in Greenhills, Dublin. It's what summer Sunday afternoons are all about.

back to normal

I brought Grandma to the Royal Hospital Donnybrook Day Hospital this morning for her "weekly" visit for physiotherapy and assessment, her first such visit since the passing of my grandfather back in August. It is very important for me that she goes every week as it is important back up for me to have her monitored so I can be sure I am doing ok with her.

Last night I wrote the second in my series of 1000-word pieces of summaries of my life to date, and my subject was my propensity to send text messages to the local radio station NewsTalk106. Doing the piece has gone a long way to help me come to terms with an aspect of my life which is holding me back to a great degree. See the latest entry to my "sister blog" I must admit I did send one text to The Eamonn Dunphy Show this morning, but since have honoured my "Text Free Tuesday" pledge. It's not easy!!!

Monday, October 18, 2004

an average weekend

Had an average weekend as the title suggests....went for drinks with Sandra on friday evening, had the brats Saturday and Sunday nights, went to see the movie "Shark Tale" yesterday afternoon with the three of them. I enjoy those afternoons with Sandra and the two kids, as it's great the way they all get along. By the end of the movie my daughter RA was resting her head on Sandra's shoulder. I'm over the flu now and was able to go for my run this morning after a week's rest, which was a good feeling.

I will be publicly humiliating myself next Sunday night as I will be dressing up as a gangster for a fancy dress party thrown by a work-mate of Sandra's. There will probably be pictures, whether they make this page remains to be seen!!! She is going as Cleopatra.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

poles apart

I've been taken to place the odd online wager lately, and have been quite successful. My latest wager was a 5-game accumulator of last night's World cup Qualifiers. I had Ireland and England to win, with the other "home" nations, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, all to draw. Had I clicked them all I would have won close to €1000. Instead I got 4 out of 5 and got about €50. The Wales-2 Poland-3 scoreline was my undoing. At least I was up on my €20 stake.

The 3rd Presidential debate took place in the wee small hours, I taped it, got up and watched it, and got more of the same as before. No knockout punch delivered. Bush tried to paint Kerry as an unrealistic idealistic leftie, Kerry had a Tony Soprano joke that didn't really hit home as well as it could. This race will clearly go right down to the wire, as did the race in 2000. The crucial difference for me is, in 2000, neither candidate had already had 4 years in The White House to show they can run the country. Bush has had those four years now and still polls show more than 50% of voters unsure whether he should still be there. That should really say it all. It's time for a change. Maybe Kerry would make mistakes, but the fact remains he's the best man to send in and fix the mistakes that have already been made. Plus the prospect of Bush being a Lame Duck president is truly frightening, and I am surprised this fact has not been mentioned.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

a lone voice from blogland

I wasn't that concerned that noone had yet commented on my blog, since it has been primarily for my own benefit. Yet I could not help but react to a double comment from a Keith from Austin Texas last night, which more or less said my blog was a bore. I was actually a bit annoyed until I read his profile, and then his own blog. He's a 20 year old student from Texas who seems to think he's Lucifer. Enough said. I presume he was drawn to my site by the word "pagan".

I am pretty much over the last of my flu, so I should really get down to my long list of shit that needs to get done. I have a pile of papers here bside my which needs to be gone through - divorce papers, bills, all kinds of stuff that has been on the long finger too long.

I got my report back on my second assignment for my writing course. She said I missed the point of the first section, which involved writing outlines on potential articles as well as the opening paragraph from the same article. She did however say the opening paragraphs were good. The main piece I did however, she reported as "excellent"...and went on to say : "You worked through the information in a methodical manner. Your pace was good - you dealt with each part of the article equally, not rushing through any part. The style was relaxed and it made for some easy reading. The outline you provided was very good, and (was) worth sending to the Editor." You can't ask for much better feedback than that!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

one flu over....

I came down with a bug on which I think I picked up when I went out with Sandra and her flatmates on friday night. It has put my jogging on hold as well as pretty much everything else, but I have been able to do my immediate responsibilities, like bringing the brats to school, dealing with grandma, etc, etc. I am on the road to recovery which the uni-flu I bought this morning should spped up considerably.

It was just a meal and a few drinks with Sandra's flatmates, Bernie and Suzie. We went to Mao Chinese restaurant on Chatham St, the food of which was ok, but I had some issues with the service. We went on to a pub called Ba Misu which is part of the Powerscourt shopping center. The flatmates were drinking wine and shorts while Sandra and I stuck to the beer, so by the end of the night they were worse for wear. When we got back to the flat, Bernie decided to knock on the door of the flat next door and invite to of the lads living there in for a chat. I must admit I was a bit annoyed, but I suppose it was something different. I was more annoyed when Sandra introduced me as her "boyfriend", after which I said "BOYFRIEND?" giving her the chance to upgrade it to fiance, which she didn't take, she just sat there speechless. Now I wish to make it clear that my annoyance did not come from the saying boyfriend first, that was an easy mistake. But in the split second when she was faced with a choice of saying she was engaged in front a couple of lads who live next door, or denying it and making up with me later, she chose the latter. I had it out with her the next morning and she apologized. Of course now, I feel like an asshole, but I suppose I was right to speak my mind however paranoid it may be.

Friday, October 08, 2004

blah blah blah

Met the good crowd last night. Told ya!

Plans for today include cleaning up the house, picking up the kids from school, collecting sandra from work, going back to hers, then going out for dinner with her and her two flat mates for a meal to celebrate our engagement.

Sandra has had several advances from men over the past few weeks. One was from the brother of a bloke she went out with last summer while we were "on our break". I have to really control the part of my brain that controls paranoia when I think of this story. She planned a girls night out with flatmate Suzanne and they were to go to Cafe En Seine, which was her main haunt for the aforementioned summer. Sandra told me beforehand that she had a funny feeling the ex Andrew was going to be there. Turns out the next day that instead the brother was there and that he chatted her up the whole night. Paranoia says : Why did she let him chat to her the whole night? What really happened? Yesterday, he rings her in work, asking her to go for lunch. Of course she said no, and not to call her again. He knew where she worked because she dated his brother, so I can't fault her there. What's bothering me is that fact that it's bothering me. She is an absolute stunner, and this is not the last time she is going to get an offer from a bloke, especially one with a lot more money than I have, not to mention a lot less baggage. Every time she goes out without me I will be insecure. How long can I go on like that? Tomorrow night I have the kids, and Sandra and two of her workmates are booking a night in a hotel to go out on the piss. I don't smoke hash anymore so I guess I will have to buy some beer or something to let me sleep through the night. This is not a good way for someone to feel when he has just gotten engaged. I have to do something. I don't know what. And what is more we are still at the same scenario as we were when we lived together. I suggested the possibility of her coming over to me some Saturday evening when I have the kids and watching a movie after which I could drop her home after they fall asleep. Not a thrilling evening's entertainment by any means, but at least it would show appreciation for the fact that I have responsibilities. I'm an insecure prick and should just get over it, shouldn't I???

Thursday, October 07, 2004

the good crowd

My male friends can easily be divided into two distinct categories : "The Good Crowd" and obviously "The Bad Crowd". The good lot consist of settled, married, good-job-having, golf-playing, wine-tasting, poker-playing, cigar-smoking, have-a-midweek-drink-but-not-stay-out-too-late-cos-i've-work-in-the-morning types. Decent people all, I must add. On the other hand I have my bad lot which comprises spliff-smoking, womanizing, dirty-joke-telling, bookie-frequenting, drink-anywhere-anytime types. Again, decent people underneath it all. When I do get out without Sandra it is normally with the bad crowd, and we go to a night club, get blotto on vodka and chat up girlies. (Here I should add that often when I have the kids overnight, Sandra goes out and gets blotto and gets chatted up - doesn't mean anything untoward actually happens!) Meetings with the good crowd are much more formal, and usually consist of meeting up on the first Thursday of every month in the Stillorgan Orchard pub at 9:30, have a few jars, bang on about how great their lives are, stop for a bag of chips, then head home. I still go each month, and must admit I am often intimidated because of my lack of high powered job like them, though I know I shouldn't be. I guess if I felt that badly about it I would not go at all. I missed the last two months on account of my USA trip and my grandfather's funeral, so I don't mind making an appearance tonight. Besides I feel a bit better about myself on account of grandma's good doctor's report and my improved fitness on account of my regular jogging. This is about as much as I feel I can write about these monthly meetings; in future I will probably just say after the event "Met the good crowd last night" and you will get the idea!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

doubly healthy

Well, I said I was worried about the two doctor's assessments I was due to receive on Grandma and myself respectively, so I should be doubly relieved that both of us were given clean bills of health! I am especially proud of Grandma's report as I have been responsible for her food intake since November of last year. I left the surgery without a prescription for her which must register as some kind of success in itself. I keep feeling guilty that in the most part I am doing nothing to contribute to society as a whole so this report proves that I am actually making a difference. If she was on her own there is no way she would be eating properly. If she was in a home there is no way she would be happy because her independence would be all but eliminated.

As for my own health, my worries were not helped last night by my watching an episode of the plastic surgeon drama series Nip/Tuck in which one of the main characters Christian Troy is waiting on results of blood tests thinking he may be HIV positive. Now I haven't had anywhere near as many sexual partners as he has in the story, but this shows you how my mind works. If given the opportunity to worry, I will. I mentally prepared myself for the doctor telling me something terrible, but of course he didn't. Cholesterol, blood sugar, everything that was tested turned out ok. He said just to keep up the jogging and watch the diet and I will be fine. I go back to him in two months to see if the blood pressure goes down, but he didn't even seem too concerned about that.

I taped the debate between American Vice-Presidential candidates Dick Cheney and John Edwards, and watched it this morning. It was interesting to a point - on the Iraq issue JE pretty much re-iterated what Kerry had said last Thursday, although this was something he needed to do because they are trying to reach out to the un-decided voters who don't want Bush but are sceptical about voting at all. Cheney put forward a better case overall than the president had, and I feel his opponent missed his chance to use the Haliburton card effectively. The facts are simple - The Bush administration pushed for war, and a company of which DC was a director ends up taking all the spoils of the reconstruction. If you can't use that plain and simple truth to question the admistration's motives for going to war maybe you shouldn't be in the race at all. I'm sure his advisers were at pains to tell him to be careful and whatever, so I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. They briefly discussed gay marriages, on which JE mentioned the fact that DC's own daughter is gay, which DC did not seem to appreciate at all. Overall I feel the debate was a tie, but considering JE is trying to prove his suitability for office, a tie is a better result for him.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

what's up doc?

I moved in here to my grandmother's house in Booterstown back in November of 2003. Since then although she has had her moments her health has appeared to remain stable in that she has never seemed to be in need of immediate medical care. Her principle difficulties have been digestive problems and a heart problem but (touch wood) they have as yet to manifest into anything in any way serious. I still feel it necessary to have her checked out, and today I bring her for her first doctor's appointment on my "watch". It is to the Blackrock Medical Centre and Dr Brigid Sheehy, who has examined her on several occasions before. Here is hoping the feedback is good. Then there is my own follow up appointment tomorrow morning where I will receive results of my blood tests and who knows what THEY could reveal. I hope to be able to plan my future a lot better after these two appointments.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Taken at Taaffe's pub, Shop Street, Galway on Friday, October 1st, 2004. She is probably thinking "Ok, he has spent over a grand on the ring and I love it and all, but should I mention the fact that he;s farting like a trooper???"

gas craic altogether

She loved the ring. She had a horrible morning in work on Friday and was telling me how upset she was when I picked her up, so I came over with spontaneity. We had to stop off at her new gym and I waited in the car as she picked up her stuff. I cleared out the glove compartment and fecked all the shite from within into the back seat. I got the ring out of my bag, opened the box and placed it in the g.c. When she got back I told her to get a cd out of there maybe it would cheer her up. Of course at first she said "Ah no yer grand, sure we can play some music later!!!". Eventually I had to say "Just open the bloody thing!!!!!" So she did, and was almost moved to tears by the ring. I'll post a pic of her sporting it later on.
The trip went well, we had a laugh as we always do. We are very relaxed together. The only drawback was my upset stomach which lasted the entire weekend and manifested itself in a series of atrocious farts which I could not keep in the whole time. Looking back I now realize of course she knew it was me that was doing them. Especially with the smoking ban in place everything you do in pubs gets noticed. I had a few jars on me and let a few off for pure relief but OF COURSE she knew it was me!!!! SCARLEH!!!! I'm gonna bring a cork with me next time!!!

The A's lost the first two games to the Anaheim Angels and so our season is over. Heartbreaking. They should have easily won the division. They are still the best value-for-money team in baseball, however, and I dearly hope they are never forced to leave the Bay Area. My support must now be for the Boston Red Sox, who are still under "The Curse Of The Bambino", not having won a World Series crown since 1908.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

take me away from the ball games....

After football, my favourite spectator sport is baseball. It's pretty much the only All-American thing I actually heartily endorse!!!! And after Tottenham Hotspur, my favourite sporting club is the Oakland Athletics. Going into the final 3 games of the regular season, the Athletics (or A's) are tied for first place with the Anaheim Angels, and those final three games happen to be between the two teams in question. It just quite simply don't get better than that. I have paid up fully for the MLB.TV service and thus could watch all 3 games live on broadband internet. Instead I will be in Galway (hopefully) celebrating with my fianceé. Hmm....where would I rather be....(the Galway thing, in case you're wondering! But GO A'S anyway!!!!) By the way, my ex-wife no longer has a meeting (calling into question its ever having existed) so we can now hit the road early.

going the extra mile

Ok, maybe it wasn't quite a mile, but the fact is I feel very good about myself that I was able to run about twice as far this morning for my jog. It dawned on me as I set off that if I got up at 6am tomorrow morning as has been my wont over the past few weeks, it may leave me unnecessarily knackered in the evening once we made it to Galway, which would not look good considering it is meant to be a romantic weekend!!!! So in mid stride I decided to adopt a new route, which instead of taking me to the tree stump outside the Radisson hotel and back, I continued up the hill to the Stillorgan dual-carriageway then back down via the short cut at the top of Booterstown Avenue. Sure enough when on the SDC I experience a Paula Radcliffe style burn-out and has to walk for a little bit, but the adrenaline soon kicked in and I was able to finish the run spurred on by the feel-good factor. Throughout all this running my weight, which I measure every morning after I get up, has held steady at about 116kg, about 18st3, something I really have to get down. I am primarily concerned with my waistline, however, as my weight may be up because I have broad shoulders on account of my weight training. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME AND MY VANITY FOR NOW.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sandra and myself the last time we went to Galway.

oh god it's friday!!!!

This could only happen to me. I thought I had it all set up. Sandra's birthday was back on September 1st, but as her present I paid for a weekend in Galway, on which we will be setting off this coming Friday. We have been to Galway a few times before and it is our favourite Irish destination. So for the past couple of weeks I have been bugging Sandra to ask for a half day this Friday so we could set off early. Finally on Monday she asked and sure enough she has been let off at 12:30 on Firday. great. All set!!! Off we go!!!! She has me all to herself for a few days, no work, no kids, no grandparents, great stuff, all sorted. OR SO I THOUGHT. For reasons only known to the inner reaches of my brain, I didn't factor in the fact that this year I am now expected to collect the kids from school on Friday afternoons. I have even done it for the past few weeks, but never copped on that the same arrangement would be expected this week. It only dawned on me last night, so in a panic at 10:30pm I had to text my ex-wife Ruth to ask, beg, PLEAD that either she or her mother could collect the kids and let me head west at lunchtime as planned. Too late. Ruth has a meeting at 2 and can only make it home around 3:30, and her mum is away to Mallorca this week of ALL weeks. So today I had to meet sandra for lunch and tell her that because of the kids we won;t be leaving as planned. Negative brownie points!!!! The only silver lining in this dark cloud is the fact that I now have the engagement ring wich she herself picked out a while ago, and this fiasco has only served to answer my questions about what stage of the weekend would be best to present it to her. AS SOON AS FUCKING POSSIBLE!!!!! Wish me luck.............
Made the difficult phone call to my grandparent's lawyer this morning, but she was very helpful. Turns out my grandfather didn't have a will after all, which is very strange indeed. Anyway, Mrs O'Boyle will come here to the house to discuss matters with my grandmother, which is good because I do NOT want to be involved in the discussions at all. She will also help me out with the next stage of my divorce proceedings.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

i'll give her a ring at the weekend

I'm picking up the engagement ring tomorrow, and I plan to give it to Sandra when we are on holiday in Galway this weekend. I let her pick it, but told her I couldn't afford it until after Christmas, so hopefully she will be surprised on Friday evening! And pleasantly so! I hope she realises that I don't want the wedding to take place before summer 2006. We can discuss that during the course of the weekend. I think this is the right decision for me. Many would say "For God's sake man you will be a bachelor get out there and sow yer oats", but considering how well we get along, plus the stability in my life the relationship brings for the kids, I am sure I am doing the right thing.

Speaking of relationships, I have to take the next step in my divorce proceedings today by contacting my grandparent's solicitor with a view to having my papers notarized. I also have to enquire about the situation after my grandfather's death. Not a phone call I am looking forward to! I can't wait until the divorce is finally through, though.

Monday, September 27, 2004

rugger bugger

The weekend was eventful in that I got drunk Fri and Sat nights. Friday I met Sandra and some of her work crowd at a new place called "Karma" near Christchurch Cathedral. We got drunk very quickly and went back to her place before midnight. Saturday we did our own thing, with me meeting Ado Conway and his Mayo boyos in Tramco while she went to Cafe En Seine with the girls.
I was surprised to see rugby star Brian O'Driscoll in Tramco. Not that he's not entitled to a night out, I just would not have put him there especially when it was awash with culchies!!!I pointed him out to one of the Mayo lads and before I knew it the chap was bending BOD's ear about something or other!!! SCARLEH!!!! He stood there listening to him rant for a while, but did not look impressed. For my part, I had a laugh and a skinful of vodka and went home alone. Sunday was spent in Sandra's mum's recuperating.

Brought my grandmother to the "month's mind" mass for my grandfather, who naturally passed away exactly one month ago today. It was a brief mass given in The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook and was in front a congregation mainly consisting of elderly patients, many of whom snoozed through the whole thing. If anything it was a worthwhile exercise in that it got her out of the house for a while.

Sandra begins her "animal grooming" course tonight. I am going with her to the college so she gets used to getting there by DART as I am familiar with Killester. Since I have been doing writing and computer courses, it has inspired her to do something she enjoys. I think she would be great running her own animal grooming business. I hope the course goes well for her.

Friday, September 24, 2004

logging my jogging by blogging

15 days out of the last 18, I have gotten up at 6am, and gone for a short run. Big deal, I hear you say. Well I feel good about it. For the past two years I have been what amount to a lazy bollix and my decision to start jogging at an early hour is the first part of my plan to re-tune my biological clock to that of the regular 9-5 working public. I also was inspired by pictures of myself on our recent trip to the USA which finally revealed to me that I am grossly over weight and need to do something about it. The reason I need to watch my weight is very simple - my girlfriend Sandra looks hot and won't want to stay with a big fat fart!!!! As long as I look relatively good my baggage of two kids and ex wife and an elderly grandmother won't become too much of a factor!!! Besides that though I am proud of the 15 out of 18 figure in that I have tried several times over the past couple of years to adopt new regimes, all of which have fallen by the wayside. With this jogging one, it's a case of so far, so good, and long may it continue.
The kids (or "brats" as I affectionately call them) stayed with me last night, and now it's time to make them breakfast and get them ready for school.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

quiet morning

I got up at 6am, went for my short run, at which I am getting better [bloody well should I've been doing it 3 weeks now!!!]. Since then, however, I haven't achieved much. I finally put together my "daily memo" which is my challenge to myself in the form of a list of chores which if completed will make me feel like I have had a productive day. I am meeting Sandra for luch at 1, then from there I go to collect the kids from school as is usual for Thursdays and bring them back here.

This new blog thing has given me the idea for a writing project which I will start soon. I want to bring the blog up to speed on my life to date, and will do so by way of a series of passages which I will entitle "1000 Words On...". Already I have planned to write 1000 words on my grandparents, my mother, my marriage, and Sandra. As I complete each passage and am happy I will publish it. For the earlier stuff I will try to use excerpts from the diary I used to keep, which ranged from ages 13 to about 25.

Time to start doing things on my list!!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

two week wait

The doctor's appointment went ok, though I have 2 weeks to wait for the results of blood tests. I also made an appointment yesterday to finally getting these lumps that are all over me checked out. I won't lie, I'm really very worried about them and what they may be. I've had them since I was young, but they have spread in the last ten years. I don't see the dermatologist until November, so I suppose results of any tests won't come through until the New Year.


Today is supposed to be "International Car Free Day". Although I don't have a "proper" job, I had to see the doctor, and go to the shopping centre to pay more off the engagement ring and to get a few things I forgot to get yesterday. I left the car at home and walked everywhere, and was faced by a scene of pure irony on the way to the doctor's at around 9am as I walked up Cross Avenue in the rain with car after car after car headed in the other direction. The car-free idea was to show people they don't have to be slaves to their cars, and it was I felt an honourable sentiment. Maybe I would have felt differently if I was actually in the rat race, but I couldn't help but despair at people's lack of regard for something that has been touted in the press for weeks now. And what's more, I feel like a fool for having actually tried to adhere to it. Who is it that needs the life here?


Should you be mad enough read this blog regularly you will notice I like to rant the odd time. Isn't that what blogs are for? For the past few years I have tried to discover where I stand on most issues, and I guess you can say I'm slightly left of centre. My dislike for the far left and the opportunistic actions of large unions is only outweighed by the pig-headed ignorance of the right. The only thing I can respect conservatives for is their decisiveness, though I disagree with most of what they decide! So it goes without saying I hope John Kerry can defeat George W Bush in the Presidential election in November!

I would also hope the opposition parties here in Ireland can get together and put forward a viable alternative to the Construction-industry backed Fianna Fail government which seems to have been in power for ever. When I first heard Enda Kenny speak I thought he came across as a promising statesman, even though he went on to lose to Michael Noonan, who went on the lead Fine Gael to its worst election result of all time. Now he is leader and has spent the last couple of years in the shadows quietly re-organizing theparty from within. I wait with quiet optimism to see how he, The Labour Party and The Green Party can work together and challenge this government, which has gotten away with murder for years without so much as being challenged.

An example of the murder? The Minister for the Environment spending €50million on machines to count the election results, then not using them, thus wasting the money. Everybody knew about it, it was all over the papers. He did not so much as even offer to resign, nor did anyone really push him to do so. Eventually, public attention turned elsewhere.

Another example? On Saturday February 4, 2004 in the afternoon, a bus came up onto the pavement downtown and killed about 5 people. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahearn was nearby at a function at the time, came over to the scene, had a look, and took off. I feel he should have said to the people there "I will make sure we find out what exactly happened and we will have an answer by Monday" He then should have gotten his people to ensure they worked morning noon and night to have an explanation for the incident. Instead a "report" was due for May and then Dublin Bus said on their website that the "publication of the report of the investigation into the cause of the Wellington Quay tragedy on the 21st February 2004 be deferred until his office has concluded its deliberations. We consider that we must accede to that request, and accordingly the report will not become available until a later date." I read this to mean that the people accountable need time to cover their tracks. People died due to an accident. Their families deserve an explanation. They will most likely sit down to the Christmas dinners without their loved ones and still waiting.

Rant over (for now)

I love football, most of all because it's the world's game. It's also a soap opera for men! When we watch a match, it's not just to see who wins, but also to explore all the sub-plots. How will the new signing play? Will the manager be sacked if they lose? Will the referee react to the crowd if challenged on a penalty decision?
When we moved to Ireland in 1977 I knew nothing about football, besides I was only 8. I didn't know the difference between the different divisions - in those days what is now known as The Premiership was simply called "Division 1". Tottenham Hotspur were in Division 2 at the time, but actually made the news one weekend when they won a game 9-0, with a player called Colin LEE scoring 4 goals. I was drawn to this news, and adopted Spurs from that day as my favourite team. And as any true supporter will tell you, once you choose you can't go back. The were promoted to the top division that year and have thankfully been there ever since. There has been a bit of success, with FA Cup wins in '81, '82 and '91, a UEFA Cup win in '84, and a League Cup in '99.
The League has been a different story, though, as we have never really challenged. A new regime this year, however, shows promise, with Frank Arnesen as Director of Football (He is best known as they guy who discovered Ronaldo) and Jacques Santini (who has won French Championships with Lyon) taking over as coach. In our five premiership games to date, we have only conceded 2 goals, an amazing record for us. Long may it continue!
Tonight we have a banana-skin cup match at Oldham, two divisions below us. It's live on Sky so you can be sure I will be watching.

gotta start somewhere....

Well, here it is, my first post on my first blog. My news and views are about to be cast out into the vast murky waters of the internet! I'm not doing much tonight, just watching a football match on Sky between Yeovil and Bolton, and I have a fiver each way on Yeovil which should keep my interest going. I have a doctor's appointment in the morning, where he will be checking my cholesterol levels as I finally decide to do something about my weight.
I just did a spell check on that first paragraph and was very surprised not to see the word "blog" in a blog's dictionary!!!! It suggested I use "bloc" instead!!!!


My name is Jeff Lee and I was born in Walnut Creek, California, USA on March 21, 1969. I am an only child who was brought up by my grandparents. We emigrated to Dublin, Ireland in 1977 and I have pretty much lived here ever since. My grandfather passed away in his sleep less than a month ago, and at the moment I am pretty much full-time looking after my grandmother who is 95, but in pretty good physical and excellent mental shape.
I am separated from my first wife Ruth, but had two wonderful children with her, RA and CJ [I will try and hide their names for security reasons....RA is a 9 yr old girl, CJ a 7 yr old boy]. We are in the midst of divorce proceedings which take a long time here in Ireland; I suppose I should be glad they can happen at all considering the country's predominantly Catholic legal ethos!
I consider myself extremely lucky to have since met Sandra, a tall beautiful 30 year old who has agreed to be my fiancee with a view to us possibly getting married in 2006, once our career futures are somewhat certain. At the moment I am a full-time carer for an elderly lady as well as an aspiring writer, while she pulls her hair out on a daily basis dealing with patient's appointments at a hospital downtown.

For the first few weeks of this blog I will attempt to go over my life to date, then obviously I will tend to editorialize more. This will give me a good chance to keep my writing skills sharp, by only worry is that I may lack the discipline to post regularly, I suppose only time will tell. Ok, now time to kick back and watch the match.