Sunday, July 31, 2005

please and thank you

[Click the link to play the video - you can also have the video box actually on your blog if you want]

Please [Words by Bono, Music by U2]

So you never knew love
Until you crossed the line of grace.
And you never felt wanted
Till you'd someone slap your face.
So you never felt alive
Until you'd almost wasted away.

You had to win, you couldn't just pass
The smartest ass at the top of the class
Your flying colours, your family tree
And all your lessons in history.

Please, please, please
Get up off your knees.
Please, please, please, please, oh yeah.

And you never knew how low you'd stoop
To make that call
And you never knew what was on the ground
Till they made you crawl.
So you never knew that the heaven
You keep you stole.

Your Catholic blues, your convent shoes,
Your stick-on tattoos now they're making the news
Your holy war, your northern star
Your sermon on the mount from the boot of your car.

Please, please, please
Get up off your knees.
Please, please, please
Leave me out of this, please.

So love is hard
And love is tough
But love is not
What you're thinking of.

September, streets capsizing
Spilling over down the drains
Shard of glass, splinters like rain
But you could only feel your own pain.

October, talk getting nowhere.
November, December; remember
We just started again.

Please, please, please
Get up off your knees, yeah.
Please, please, please, please, ah.

So love is big
Is bigger than us.
But love is not
What you're thinking of.
It's what lovers deal
It's what lovers steal
You know I've found it
Hard to receive
'Cause you, my love
I could never believe.




Sometimes I look at other people’s blogs and I see all the add-ons and attachments and virtual pets and endless links and weather reports and clocks and yaddya yaddya yaddya and only one word springs to mind :

*coughs as he says* “OVERKILL!”

Having said that, I have to thank Gaye over at “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” for introducing me to the Video Code Zone.

Basically it allows you to show music videos on your website. How freakin cool is that. You gotta check it out, it’s totally free.

I know I’ve done my own musical overkill on the subject of U2 in recent weeks, but I’m choosing a not-so-well-known song of theirs to show off my new toy.

As many of you will know the IRA, Ireland’s answer to Al Qaeda, did the Peaceful Majority a remarkable service by pledging a few days ago to stop their campaign of violence. How nice of them, eh?

Sarcasm aside, it is of course good news. The song I have chosen is called “Please” and is from U2’s Pop album from 1997 and is all about the conflict that has plagued this island for too long.

Here’s hoping Bono’s wishes have been truly met.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

parts, both car and bodily

Dual Stromberg carburetors – was he on to something?

Trying your best to perfect your writing skills via your blog so that maybe one day you can make some money from it?

Maybe this little tit-bit from Reuters’ Oddly Enough files will have you thinking in a different direction…


A Microsoft analyst has won an annual contest celebrating bad writing by comparing fixing carburetors to fondling a woman's breasts.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual," went Dan McKay's winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

McKay, 43, of North Dakota was said by organizers on Thursday to be visiting China "perhaps to escape notoriety for his dubious literary achievement." He wins $250.



Now I can’t see myself doing a trashy romance novel anytime soon, but if I ever do, I guarantee you all the breasts are gonna be way better than “ample”…

So a computer nerd sees boobies to be like car parts … I guess second prize in the contest went to a gay motor mechanic from Schenechtady who describes how a floppy disk can turn into a hard drive…

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

why can’t you see the madness


What use all your talent
When you have no desire
What use knowing truth
When you were born a liar

What use a Rolex watch
When you won’t find the time
What use a silken ladder
When you won’t try to climb

Maybe one day hell will freeze
And I will see what your mind sees
A forest hidden by all the trees

If you can see the black cats
That cross your path each day
And if you can see injustice
From many miles away
If all your worldly wisdom
Affords you perfect sight
Then why can’t you see the madness in your life?

What use a song about you
When you don’t want to hear
What use my sharing demons
When you can’t see my fear

Maybe one day hell will freeze
And I will see what your mind sees
A forest hidden by all the trees

If you can see the black cats
That cross your path each day
And if you can see injustice
From many miles away
If all your worldly wisdom
Affords you perfect sight
Then why can’t you see the madness in your life?

I love you
Cos I have to
But it’s still love
Why can’t you see?

You hurt me
Cos you had to
But it still hurts
Why can’t you see?

If you can see the black cats
That cross your path each day
And if you can see injustice
From many miles away
If all your worldly wisdom
Affords you perfect sight
Then why can’t you see the badness
Why can’t you see my sadness
And why can’t you see the madness in your life?

© JL Pagano 2005


click here for a full index of my poetry and song lyrics

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

classic dr cox rant



Tortured by tremendously traumatizing terrorism?

Plagued by persistent petulant pessimism?

Angered by absurdly atrocious alliteration?

Cheer up and scan this vintage dialogue by Dr Perry Cox from Scrubs.

For Episode Nerds, it’s from S03E09 entitled “My Dirty Secret”.

For those who have yet to watch the show, tut tut. Yer just plum missin out there, newbies.

[Just to set the scene … JD has been bugging his mentor all day to open up to him…here’s the reply…]

"Fine, Newbie! Let me--let me tell you a little story. It starts every day at 5 in the morning -- which is just about the time that you're setting your hair for work -- when I am awakened by a sound: Is that a cat being gutted by a fishing knife? Nooo! That's my son. He's hungry and he's got a load in his pants so big that I'm actually considering hiring a stable boy. But, I go ahead and dig in; because I do love the lad and, well gosh, you know me, I'm a giver. And [whistles] I'm off to the hospital, where my cup runneth over with both quality colleagues, such as yourself, and a proverbial clown-car full of sick people. But, what the hey, my pay is about the same as guys who break rocks with other rocks and I only have to work three or four hundred hours a week, so, so far I'm a pretty happy camper! And then I head back home where I'm greeted by the faint musk of baby vomit in a house that used to smell like, well...nothing! Nothing! Nothing! I-i-in fact it used to smell like nothing at all. And all I want to do before I restart this whole glorious cycle is, you know, maybe lay on the couch and have a beer and watch some SportsCenter and, I'm if I'm not too sweaty from the days labors, stick my hand right down my pants, buuut apparently that's not in Jordan's definition of "pulling your weight". So, uh, there you are, superstar. Fix that."

Classic.

Thanks to twiztv.com for providing the script, just in case anyone thinks I sat there starting and stopping a VCR for an hour...

Monday, July 25, 2005

shoot to kill

Jean Charles de Menezes


The BBC brings home the shocking reality behind the weekend’s revelations...

Police chief 'sorry' over death


Met Police chief Sir Ian Blair has apologised to the family of the Brazilian man shot dead by police in south London on Friday.

He said the death of Jean Charles de Menezes was a "tragedy", but admitted more people could be shot as police hunt suspected suicide bombers.

The 27-year-old electrician's family condemned the shooting and said there was no reason to suspect him.

Meanwhile a third man has been arrested by police under the Terrorism Act. Police said on Sunday that the man was arrested in Tulse Hill, south London, on Saturday evening. He is the third man to be questioned under the Terrorism Act.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke described the shooting of Mr Menezes as an "absolute tragedy".

Mr Menezes, who lived in Tulse Hill, was completely unconnected to Thursday's attempted bombings, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

The one thing I have to commend The Metropolitan Police for is holding their hands up immediately for this tragic error and not trying to cover it up.

That being said, is this REALLY the policy we want to put an end to terrorism?

This man was a suspect because he was supposedly “seen emerging from a block of flats that was under surveillance”.

Let’s face it – his having dark skin did not help. Does this mean my Portuguese heritage makes me a target should I happen to find myself in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I cannot even begin to imagine what the police officers said to him on their first approach that made him start to run.

What the terrorists want is to be known as terrorists. I say we downgrade them to anarchists and stop providing them with proof that we are willing to live in a permanent state of terror.

Oh yeah, and doing whatever it takes to be sure more innocent people aren’t shot dead by the good guys would be nice too.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #28

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MONEY AND STUFF


Written: December 8, 2004 (except lyrics)

I was always one to tune out when the Sky News business report came on. What really annoyed me was the way the newscasters referred to the Financial Times Share Index as “Footsie”. I’m sorry, but in my humble opinion even a mild sexual reference can’t jazz up an update on the business world!

One day, however, in the mid 90s, my attention was captured, so much so that I turned the channel back on again an hour later to make sure that I had not been mistaken in what I had heard. I may well be wrong in the actual figures I am about to relate, but there is no doubt that the company they were on about was Guinness, so I guess that was the first thing to make me prick up my ears!

The lead story in the bulletin was all about the world famous Dublin-based brewery’s announcement of its yearly profits, and for argument’s sake let’s say the figure was £500million sterling. To my amazement, the reporter proceeded to list possible reasons for the company’s failures in the preceding 12-month period; among them were the typical things like rising insurance costs, interest rates, change in “market behaviour”; the same old chestnuts.

But wait a minute; didn’t he say that the millions mentioned were profits and not losses? Yes he had, for the figure was still present on the TV screen, in the form of the usual quirky colourful diagram. The reason it was considered a disappointment, apparently, was that the previous year’s returns had been as much SIX hundred million, so officially their “profits were down”. Well boo BLOODY hoo!

I can hear economists’ patronizing tones screaming into my ear as I type. “Ah, you don’t seem to realize successful businesses must sustain growth to survive in today’s ever-changing marketplace!”

Maybe I only studied Economics as far as First Year university level, but I still think I learned enough to know about the whole growth thing. By the same token, however, I also know what is meant by “profit”, and when a group of people consider creating an amount of wealth greater than that of several actual countries a failure, it is surely the sign of a world gone absolutely barking mad.

I couldn’t let a book on my life to date go by without including my pigeon story, and I feel this is the appropriate chapter in which to do so. It happened one day when I was in my room in our house in the Dublin suburb of Blackrock. My grandmother would always make a point of saving all leftovers from dinner so she could throw them into the back garden for the various birds, cats and even occasional foxes that would pay a visit.

On this particular day the grass was covered in breadcrumbs from end to end. I was peering out my window, most likely pondering some crucial adolescent issue that was occupying my mind at the time. The space was empty until a lone pigeon flew down from a nearby tree, and began happily pecking away at the feast. He was soon joined at the opposite end of the grounds by a similar feathered creature.

My daydream was only broken when the first pigeon stopped feeding, lowered its head, and charged towards the second, forcing it up to the tree. When it tried to return back over the other side, it was chased off again. This went on for a good fifteen minutes until a cat appeared, causing both to flee for good. All this time, neither pigeon could have consumed more than a mouthful of crumbs.

I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining what represents what in relation to the way we handle money and resources. Of course I have to include myself in this judgement. As I type this on my laptop when I also have a Palm Pilot and various other pricey luxuries, I am more than aware that I am closer to the first pigeon than the second.

There is only one rule of thumb you need to remember to grasp the goings on in the greedy world of corporate finance. Wherever there is a demand, there will ALWAYS be a supply, not vice versa. This is why governments can’t legislate fast enough to keep up with multinationals’ mischief. I guess all I can hope for is that there is a huge demand for this book so I can make pots of loot for myself…

[I decided to cop out and make up the thousand words for this chapter with the lyrics to an “a-capella” song I wrote called “Money’s Got Me” which I already published on this blog while ago, click here to have a look.]


© JL Pagano 2004


NEXT, #29 : 1000 WORDS ON…MY MOTHER AND I (years of despair)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

going for a thong



I’m a little bit concerned that so many of the Ananova Quirky stories come from Germany…


A German builder admitted stealing hundreds of pairs of ladies' knickers because he likes to wear them for work.

Police arrested the 23-year-old for stealing pants from neighbours' washing lines after he was trapped by one of his victims.

Ingrid Volkmann, 53, had her hubby install a motion sensor under the washing line to catch the thief.

After he was arrested, the man reportedly told police:

"I like wearing women's knickers to work but was too embarrassed to buy any myself, which is why I took my neighbours."

What’s more disturbing here – the fact he was robbing the panties or the fact that someone went to the lengths of “installing a motion sensor” (what-can you pick them up at Germany's answer to K-Mart?) on their washing line?

Friday, July 22, 2005

slip of the text



Then there was the time I was waiting for MyX to pick up the kids one morning about two years ago. She was meant to be here at 9am.

As it approached a quarter-past, I received a text message from her saying she was delayed. Since I had arrangements to meet my girlfriend downtown that morning, I had to send her a text in turn to inform her of what was going on.

My message to Sandra went something like this:

Her Ladyship has been held up I will let you know when she has gone.

It’s always nice to invent a couple of nicknames for your ex when you split up. I say a couple because it’s handy to have one relatively polite, and one relatively not-so-polite. I will pay her the courtesy of not publishing the latter version, at least now that I’m both sober and in a relatively good mood!

So for the civil pseudonym, I decided to parody her various airs and graces and choose the moniker “Her Ladyship”. It worked very well, especially between Sandra and me; it also helped with the whole “proving-I’m-over-her” process.

Imagine my surprise when a few minutes later I received a reply to my message which came from MyX herself and read something like this:

Her Ladyship is stuck in traffic and will be there in five minutes!!!

Seemingly I instinctively hit reply to her original report of imminent tardiness. D’oh!

This gave me five minutes to come up with an explanation.

Once the kids had gotten into her car, all I said was,

Sorry, but you have to admit, your nickname could’ve been a whole lot worse!

Believe me, it could have.


Click here for a full list of the "Lifeslice" stories

Thursday, July 21, 2005

beamed up for good

James Doohan RIP

Star Trek's Scotty dies aged 85

Actor James Doohan, who played the chief engineer Montgomery Scott in Star Trek, has died at the age of 85.

Doohan, whose role was immortalised in the line "Beam me up, Scotty", had been suffering from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, his agent said.

His wife of 28 years, Wende, was by his side, Steve Stevens added.

Doohan was a popular character actor when he auditioned for the part in 1966. When the series ended in 1969, he found himself typecast in the role.

The Canadian-born actor was a master of dialect, developed during his years on radio.

When asked what accent he thought his Star Trek character should have, he said: "I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding."


For the rest of the BBC.com report which includes links to clips of classic Scotty moments, click HERE.

All the jokes will begin, and I can’t help myself chipping in with a couple, but be sure, the vast majority intend anything but disrespect.

I’m telling you – for actors, leaving a legacy whereby your most popular character’s name is part of arguably the best known phrase ever to infiltrate the English language from a TV show is no mean feat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a warning to naked backyard sunbathers

Here’s a pretty long sentence to act as an opening paragraph to pique your curiosity even more after that rather evocative headline.

Isn’t it great how the word “naked”, together with the knowledge that a post has some pictures, can get someone’s attention even though the post really hasn’t got anything to do with nudity?

No, really, though, I’m glad I caught your eye, because courtesy of Red Mum’s cool blog I’ve found something that’s bound to have you glued to your computer screen for hours!

If you have tried Google Maps and think this is the same, well it ain’t – Google Earth makes it look like a pocket-sized travel atlas in comparison.

The cool thing for me isn’t just the level of detail with each destination, but the way you travel from one place to another. You really have to download it (it’s totally free) to experience it properly, but here’s an idea…

First you start with a view of Mother Earth…



Then, with the press of a few keys, you can be whisked away to such locations as…

Ze Awful Tower…


Strewth! Ayers Rock in Oz! Or as the natives call it, Uluru…



The Golden Gate Bridge…the resolution here is so clear that you feel you can reach out and grab the top rung…



Or you can drop in on Buckingham Palace and see what ol' QE2 is up to…



Anyway, I strongly recommend you give it a try. If you are in the USA, in most regions you can key in your actual address and watch it zoom in to the roof of your house. Watch out it doesn’t get stuck in your chimney.

And if you set aside just ten minutes or so to check it out, don’t blame me OR Red Mum if you end up wasting the whole day away…

If you want to “drop” by here any time, feel free – just hone in on 53°18’09.39”N, 6°11’59.01”W and say hello. I’ll be sure to have shaved before you get here.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #27

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…THE AIRPORT INCIDENT



Written: December 9, 2004


Booking the trip was easy. I rang around a few travel agents until I found one that had a one-way ticket to Playa del Ingles on the Sunday.

Unfortunately, the earliest flight they had was 1pm, but I knew I would still have to leave the house early in the morning to make my getaway. I went on my lunch hour on the Saturday over to Georges St to pay the fare. Once I had the ticket I called Caroline and surprised her by saying I would see her the next day and to save a spot on the beach for me.

The two of you were in your gran’s that morning, and I made some excuse to go over to see you before I went to work. The last time I looked at you both was in the kitchen, with RA down helping at the sink and CJ in his high chair. You both smiled at me as I said goodbye but of course neither of you knew what I had planned.

I got through the day’s work in the sports store downtown, and as luck would have it, the staff had a night out planned at a pub nearby, so I could at least have a few beers on me to help me sleep. Caroline rang me a couple of times while I was out to make sure I would in fact go through with it; hearing her voice strengthened my resolve.

I think I had my goodbye note written the Friday evening. I have little memory of what it said; MyX would probably remember it better. As far as I can recall it had something to do with my not feeling good enough since losing my job to provide for my family, and also that I was very sorry. I definitely did not say where I was going or who I was meeting.

And so, at 5am on Sunday, armed with a bag of essentials, I left the note on the kitchen table and went out to the front of the estate to get into the taxi I had reserved the previous day. From the time I originally picked up the ticket to the time I reached the departure lounge, time flew like it has never flown before. Once checked in, and left with a wait of about seven hours before boarding, it moved at a snail’s pace.

Although I had left my mobile phone back at the house, I could not resist calling its answering service from a payphone at the airport to see if MyX had left a message. “You have…ONE…new message” She was understandably in tears as she spoke, but a few things she said were totally unexpected; “Please don’t hurt yourself”, “This is all my fault”, and “This is a very brave step for you”. It was the second sentence that began to turn me towards staying.

I could not believe she blamed herself, for as far as I was concerned it could not be further from the truth. I was so down on myself that the possibility of her having responsibility was nigh on unheard of. I had been fired, I had been unfaithful, I was the lazy git. Guilty as charged, I was convinced they were far better off without me.

Eventually I caved and rang the house directly. MyX had calmed down considerably. I have no idea who admitted what first in this conversation, but we disclosed our respective indiscretions to each other, mine with Caroline, and hers with TheHairGuy (BikerBoy was to come at a later date). The confession felt so good. I instantly forgave her everything, and I was amazed that she was even willing to talk to me, let alone be civil.

After the first couple of calls I was still planning to leave. Apparently in the meantime she brought the kids over to her mother’s and told her everything. Then I called again and we started to talk about my coming home. I called Caroline’s mobile and found it very easy to tell her answering service I wasn’t going through with it. MyX drove to the airport to collect me and I threw the ticket into the trashcan outside the arrivals hall. We went back to the house on our own, talked a little bit, and even made love. Thinking about it now it was all so bizarre. Yet it happened and I could not be more ashamed.

In case this hasn’t quite sunk in, allow me to recap. I planned to leave my wife and two kids and take off for the Canaries to be with a girl ten years younger for a fling that would not have lasted more than a month at best. I got as far as buying the ticket, leaving the note for MyX, and heading for the airport. I then chickened out, though had there been a flight in the early morning I wouldn’t have.

For some crazy reason, I actually believed it would all be ok after this. Even MyX’s official press release of “I can forgive but I can never forget” didn’t get through to me. As far as I was concerned, if I forgot what happened, so would everyone else.

RA and CJ, I am so incredibly sorry for this, but I feel it is something you both deserve to know. I hope as the years go by you can look back on how I’ve been with you and know that although I will always have guilt in my heart for what I did; whenever I am with you both all I can feel is the love that I cannot describe in a million words let alone a thousand.

Monday morning came, and I opened the shutter to the sports store. I decided a display of the new rugby jerseys would look good down in the main window – it would take me the best part of the day, but the store definitely needed a fresh new look.

© JL Pagano 2004


NEXT, #28 : 1000 WORDS ON…MONEY AND STUFF

Monday, July 18, 2005

and a-rove-ing I went


I knew little or nothing about Karl Rove before last week, so I decided to rectify the situation.

My sources comprised Wikipedia.com, plus a piece by fellow blogger James Shott which more or less comes to his defence on the Valerie Plame situation.

Three things regarding the whole state of affairs piqued my interest.

1. This story from Rove’s youth :

In 1970, at the age of nineteen and while a protege of Donald Segretti (later convicted as a Watergate conspirator), Rove snuck into the campaign office of Illinois Democrat Alan Dixon and stole some letterhead, which he used to print fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing," and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters. Admitting to the incident much later, Rove said, "I was nineteen and I got involved in a political prank."

Start as you mean to go on, eh?

2. His forte seems to be “attacking people on their strengths”. Since mud-slinging seems to be his, maybe a taste of his own medicine would do the chap no harm at all.

3. If there are indeed no flames to go with this smoke, it would be nice for his boss to come out and actually say so publicly, yet he seems to refuse to be drawn, deciding instead to be seen walking down the White House lawn beside Mr Rove every other day, which is hardly the same thing.

One thing on which I do agree with Mr Shott; the man is entitled to a public hearing to settle this whole thing once and for all. So bring it on.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

thought for the weekend



“Love thy neighbour as thyself.”

I wonder if whoever came up with that well worn phrase ever heard of alcoholism, drug addiction, obsession with plastic surgery, anorexia, depression and all the other numerous forms of torture we do to ourselves, all most likely resulting from various levels of self loathing.

How many times have you seen an attractive person of either gender and thought something like : “Ha – I bet they absolutely love themselves!!!”

Not that it would necessarily be true in their case, but if it were, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.

Friday, July 15, 2005

hail to the (editor-in-) chief



As an American citizen it still troubles me that from the 1987 sci-fi/war flick Predator, THREE of its cast have since run for election to be governor of American states, and TWO of them actually went all the way. That’s a fact, everybody.

Here’s what seems to be the opening salvo in California’s next gubernatorial (what an amazing word that is! Find an excuse to use it people!) campaign, courtesy of Reuters’ Oddly Enough files…


Schwarzenegger making millions as muscle mag editor


Arnold Schwarzenegger may be forgoing a state salary as California governor but he is still pulling in millions of dollars a year as an editor of two bodybuilding magazines.

American Media Operations, which publishes "Muscle & Fitness" and "Flex" magazines, said on Wednesday it was paying the former Mr. Olympia $8.15 million over five years to serve as executive editor of those magazines.

Schwarzenegger announced his role with the magazine last year but declined to detail payments. American Media disclosed their "consulting agreement" with the governor in Security and Exchange Commission filings.

"Having Arnold as executive editor of both magazines has enormous value and brings credibility to the publications," said American Media spokesman Stuart Zakim.

The firm, which bought Weider Publications formerly owned by Schwarzenegger's mentor Joe Weider in 2003, may be happy about the arrangement, but some analysts say earning millions on the side while serving as governor is troubling.

"I would say that if someone is getting $8.1 million from the fitness industry, even if it is a magazine, it potentially creates a conflict of interest," said Bruce Cain, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. "If is not in violation of California law, it certainly violates the spirit of our conflict of interest laws."

Schwarzenegger's office confirmed that $8.1 million figure, but said it did not constitute a conflict of interest. "My reply is so what, what's the harm?" communications director Rob Stutzman said in an interview.

"We've been clear ever since he's become governor that he still would have outside income," he said. "He reports that income under state law in a form filed on an annual basis."


For the rest of the article click here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #26

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MY RETAIL CAREER

Written : November 8, 2004

It would have been February 1997. My written statement of the events of a few nights before clutched in my hand, I managed nervous smiles to all the staff members as I made my way up the staircase in Donnelly Sport’s HQ on O’Connell St, Dublin. Bill Dobson, the Operations Manager who had summonsed me, was at the top of the stairs, and stoically led me into a private office, along with Katrina O’Sullivan from HR and Managing Director Pat Macken’s PA, whose name I think was Sarah. She was supposedly there as “my witness”.

What proceeded was a kangaroo court whereby Mr Dobson turned my account of the story into a means by which I could be fired from the company. I vividly remember the moment when he mentioned the word “terminated”. I could not have felt lower. Well that’s not quite true. My wife’s initial reaction to the news of “Oh my God what am I going to tell the people I work with?” managed to knock me down a few more pegs.

This is not meant to be a medium whereby I protest my innocence. Suffice to say that a subsequent legal challenge under the Unfair Dismissals Act proved successful to the tune of an amount which more than made up for my loss of earnings between then and the start of my new job for their principal competitor.

The simple fact of the matter is that had my performance as a retail manager in the Donnelly Sports chain had been satisfactory, I would not have found myself in that position. And by performance I mean the political ball game which needed to be played to advance within any organization. I was absolutely awful at it. I was neutered by desires not to be seen kissing people’s arses, and also not to be seen looking for kisses sent in my posterior’s direction. I just got on with my job and tried to be fair.

All this seemed a long way away from my Psychology degree which I had picked up 6 years earlier. Most would be thinking of how they would make the most of a having achieved a 2.1 honours grade, but not me, I was planning to get hitched and set off around the world. I can honestly say that it wasn’t just a case of me thinking career choices was something for the future, it was something I did not think about at all.

When we arrived in San Francisco shortly after our wedding day, it was my love of all things sporting that sent me into Copeland’s Sports on 5th and Market in search of a job. When I left a year later, I was told that I was a good candidate for a trainee management position, and this sounded attractive to me. The next job in Hermans in Boston was more of the same, really, and once MyX fell pregnant with our first child our thoughts were directed at returning home.

And so my American experience was to stand me in good stead for my interviews for Donnelly Sports in May of ’94. The sporting goods industry was relatively young at the time, and Pat Macken had a clear vision as to where to go with his chain. I started in their branch in the Ilac Centre and again was quick to catch the eye of my superiors, so much so that I was bumped up to Assistant Manager of Grafton Street before long.

It was here my fortunes started to decline. The staff of the company, especially those in Grafton Street, were, shall we say, fond of the nightlife. Desperate to fit in, I fell between the two stools of bonding with my work colleagues and supporting my young family. I never knew where I was going, and my work suffered. I was dumped over to Assistant of a smaller branch not far away, a kick up the arse which led to a good recovery and resulted in my taking over as manager in my own right.

And so I was elevated to the next level, and I was expected to “play the game”. Meanwhile I was also expected to stay at home more, as our second child had now been born. Looking back it is hard to imagine how I could have managed both easily. Few of my peers had young kids. It wasn’t the done thing. I was torn between my two lives and spent most of my time putting out fires from one to the other. It did not take Bill Dobson long to spot this when he came along. His job was to turf out the weeds, and I was one of them. His own tenure as the company’s hatchet-man lasted just six months.

The competitor gig was fine while it lasted; I shifted from store to store until being given my own shop on the northside. This would have been perfect if only I could drive. Instead the hours I needed to put in there were exacerbated by the time I spent getting two buses to and from the place. It was while I was here that my marriage failed, though the job was only a bit player. Having moved out of home, I left the company of my own accord as I felt I had to start afresh.

Neither of my next two jobs, one in a gas fire showroom and another in a smaller sports chain, inspired me as anything worth taking through to retirement. As of now I’m still not sure if my inheritance from my grandmother’s cousin was a blessing or a curse, but the result is I am here today with a poor CV and little certainty as to what the future holds. Officially I am my grandmother’s carer and a part-time father, but I fear posterity will choose not to praise me for these achievements. An iron will need to be pulled from the fire pretty soon, that’s for sure.

© JL Pagano 2004

PS : In case anyone reading this knows both me and the real company in question, I wish to point out that it is under new management these days and would by no means be associated with the behaviour of those in charge during my time in their employment. My behaviour, on the other hand, hasn't changed so much.

NEXT, #27 : 1000 WORDS ON…THE AIRPORT INCIDENT

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

let’s talk about the weather



I sit here, determined to write something but unsure where to begin.

My recent blogging has painted me into a corner in that I feel trapped by an artificial necessity to post one of the following

• a chapter from my autobiography
• the lyrics from a song I wrote years ago
• a snippet from Reuters’ Oddly Enough files accompanied by the result of some Image Search/Photoshop follies
• My latest take on the MakePovertyHistory campaign, which has been both my most important and at same time my most boring contributions of late. I’m even afraid that a passing-by browser’s glancing eye may notice those three particular words shoved together and go fumbling for the “next blog” button without a moment’s thought. I’d love to say that doesn’t bother me, but it does.

Despite this routine I have fallen into recently, I felt I needed something new to post about. Then, as I was typing that last paragraph, an incredibly simple notion surged forward and dived headlong into my pool of creativity, causing enough of a splash as to get my fingers freely tapping.

“Hey, buddy, what don’t you just blog about what has happened to you the past few days?”

Wow, this could be a first for Blogland!

Sunday was my grandmother’s 96th birthday. In order to resolve the conflict between her lifelong love for travelling and her limited mobility on account of her age, my fiancée Sandra and I had been planning for weeks to drive her up to a town called Carlingford, up near the border with Northern Ireland, to see where she lived as a child. Whenever I tell people that, they say, “Oh, I never knew she was Irish!”, a sentence which is meant to be small talk but is one that forces me to tell the story of how she was born near Boston Massachusetts, and was sent with her mother to Ireland in 1914 where she stayed with her grandmother to live until after WWI was over.

I stayed in Sandra’s Saturday night, partly because I knew my grandmother liked to have her own space when preparing for a long journey. Since I said we would pick her up at 12:30, no doubt she had been up since about 6 busying herself with getting ready. This over-preparation is not a symptom of her age; it’s more one of her character. In the past whenever our family would be ready to embark on long plane journeys it would be her bidding to book a room in a hotel by the airport the night before.

As we looked out the window Sunday morning, we thought it seemed to be a perfect day for travelling. For the first time this summer, the sun was splitting the skies, and the temperatures were soaring to what we in Ireland at least would call heat-wave levels. Little did we know that back at home, my grandmother had inadvertently knocked on the central heating and left it running for several hours.

Don’t worry; the house did not blow up or anything. Instead, when we arrived bang on 12:30, the house was like an oven, and my poor grandmother was sweltering from the heat she did not realize was artificial. And whatever way she had switched the system on, I spent half an hour trying every possible combination of buttons in an attempt to switch it off to no avail. Then I noticed it had a reset button much like my palm-pilot, which needed something like a pin to activate. Finally, almost an hour behind schedule, the radiators started to cool and we could hit the road.

The ride up was both quick and pleasant – there had been much work on the Dublin to Belfast route since I last travelled north and for once we were able to make the trip to our destination without being stuck in tiny villages waiting for flocks of sheep to cross the street as was normally the case. Thanks mostly to European Union funding, the Irish infrastructure has greatly improved over the years.

And so around 3pm, we arrived. The view in the above picture is pretty much the one we had on our approach. Again we were presented with proof the good weather wasn’t as much of a good thing as we first thought. Carlingford is located by the water and such a day affords breathtaking views of the surrounding hills, a fact not lost on the hundreds of fellow day-trippers that had their cars parked all over the place. We chose to travel to a bar that was located beside a marina and have some lunch to come up with a game-plan for the rest of the afternoon.

Sadly, once we had eaten, the only game-plan my grandmother was interested in was returning home to Dublin. We never had time to see the house where she had lived or the church where she received both her first Holy Communion and her Confirmation on the same day in June, 1919.

In spite of our brief stay, Grandma seemed to enjoy herself. The flaw in our plan was our attempt to do it in one day. Next time, all things going well, we will be able to stay over in a hotel the night before. At least now she has a new story to tell her assorted visitors that is different to the plot of a drama she has watched on TV.

The good weather continued through Monday and Tuesday, and things seem to be hopeful today. Yesterday I took myself down to a town south of me called Dun Laoghaire. For those who think that place name looks like a mouthful, it is actually quite easy to pronounce. Just imagine the comedian/actor Denis Leary having a brother called “Dun”, say his name and you’ll have it.

Dun Laoghaire is a harbour town which draws most of its business from the fact that the car ferries to Britain dock there. As well as the sea-going folk the harbour also boasts two long piers to which people from all over Dublin come to take a healthy stroll down and back. It really is quite an invigorating walk and should you ever travel to these shores and be blessed with the weather I strongly recommend it.

My walk yesterday afternoon inspired me to do something I have not done in a long time – write a new poem. I know I have been posting a lot of my old stuff here lately but if you look under each one you will see they were all written pre-2002. As I sat on a bench down the end of the pier on such a beautiful day listening to my favourite tunes, I could hardly but be moved to piece some carefully chosen words together; so much so that when the stunning view was spoiled by the garish, pointy, unsightly arrival in the harbour of the ferry itself, I could not get home fast enough to try and get them on paper.

Since it is about Dublin, I chose to post it on my separate blog for things exclusively Irish, should you wish to take a look.

Now, I must decide how to take advantage of yet another beautiful day, and set this long overdue rambling off into the Blogosphere. Thanks for letting me share it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

outcome of the g8

As you may have noticed I took more than a passing interest in the MakePovertyHistory cause recently. That is because with the G8 summit taking place in Edinburgh last week, it was an important time to focus on the issues at hand. Below is an email I received from the campaign organizers last week which outlined how they got on with their aims.

The 2005 G8 Summit took place against a background of tragedy. The attacks in London yesterday focused all of our attentions on the terrible waste that each and every life lost always represents. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those killed and those who were injured.

At a time when terrorists have shown such disregard for our shared humanity, Make Poverty History is a living embodiment of it.

Never before have so many people stood in solidarity with the poor. While there is a great deal more G8 leaders should have done in Gleneagles, today they responded to our campaign for justice by making significant commitments to increase aid, cancelling some of the debts of some of the world's poorest countries, and saying they will apply fewer conditions to them. They also agreed to strive for access to AIDS treatment for all by 2010. These commitments will give hope and life to millions of the world's poorest people, and they're down to you.

Are you wearing a white band? Remembering all the emails you've sent? Did you rally along with quarter of a million people in Edinburgh last weekend? Then you helped deliver the pressure that made 2005 the year the world accelerated on the road towards justice.

Today's announcement marks a turning point in the human story, but it falls far short of the plan that would truly make poverty history. To do that, and secure a place in history, world leaders must go a lot further at 2 crucial talks later in the year - the UN Millennium Development Goals summit and World Trade Organisation talks - and we need your continued help to make sure they act.

Millions of people are trapped in the prison of poverty. Today the G8 chose not to do all that we have asked them that could set those people free. The people of the world are already on the road to justice. They expect their leaders to be with them. Today's announcement has shown that the G8 need to run much faster to catch up.

The Make Poverty History Team

P.S. This year the UK government have responded to campaigners by placing Africa on the agenda as a priority for the G8. They have worked hard with European Union and G8 colleagues to deliver significant steps toward debt cancellation and more and better aid. Throughout this summit the government have demonstrated leadership on these vital issues. We must keep up the pressure on them to ensure they show the same commitment for the rest of this crucial year and beyond.

Congratulations to all those involved in both organizing and participating, and may your good work continue later in the year. This blog, for one, will be right behind you.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

heavy stuff


(These lyrics make up the rest of the chapter in my autobiography entitled “1000 words on…More Of My Lyrics” which I first posted yesterday)


Nobody told me it’d be this hard just getting through the day
With complications, situations getting in my way

I remember when I was a little boy
Who thought nothing at all could get in my way
The shit grown-ups told me used to build me up so high
That I swear to you I thought that I could fly
But then an overdose of reality left me shaking like a leaf
I found out life ain’t a fairy-tale much to my disbelief
Then all of a sudden all my childhood games didn’t matter anymore
And though I found it hard I had to disregard all I had learned before

Well I’ll tell you what
I’ve had enough
I don’t wanna play no more

Nobody told me it’d break my heart to see what’s really going on
With desperation, sheer frustration, making me write this song

Now whenever I see a little boy
Who thinks nothing at all can get in his way
I wanna sit him down, wanna spin him round, wanna open up his eyes
And show him the power of an open mind instead of fillin his head with lies
You know the sun’s what makes the rain worthwhile
A frown’s ok so long as you smile sometimes
Just try and find the light shining through the darkness
And maybe then you’ll begin to understand
You see noone’s got the monopoly on loneliness
In fact you could say that supply exceeds demand

Make me laugh – tell me a joke I ain’t never heard before
I think laughter keeps me from going crazy
You know maybe the past would come out that much clearer
If the future wasn’t so damn hazy
I know suicide may be painless but it doesn’t solve a thing
It makes a fool of birth and surely can’t be worth all the heartache it can bring
If only I could find the light shining through the darkness
Maybe then I’d begin to understand
I guess noone’s got the monopoly on loneliness
In fact you could say that supply exceeds demand

And when you add it up
You just get fed up
You want out but you don’t know how
Well I’ll tell you what
I’ve just had enough
Of this heavy stuff
Can I go home now?
I said – can I go home now?
I wanna go home…

© JL Pagano 1994

NEXT, #26 : 1000 WORDS ON…MY RETAIL CAREER


click here for a full index of my poetry and song lyrics

Saturday, July 09, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #25

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

NB : I have split up this chapter so that the two song lyrics can each have their own post.

1000 WORDS ON…MORE OF MY LYRICS

Text written : NOVEMBER 18, 2004

I really thought I had it all worked out when I was writing these songs. My philosophical musings led me to believe that it was enough to assume that we didn’t know what was going on, and that there was no need to define a purpose for being alive; all we had to do was get on with it. Nobody really knows what happens when they die; most of them just prefer to accept what they have been told and live their lives accordingly. Indeed, I sure was one smug son-of-a-bitch in the 90’s!!!

Although “Buckpassing” was written to my offspring, it was conceived before they were. I remember distinctly I was standing on the platform at Alewife station in Boston when I got the tune in my head – I even grabbed my wife and hummed it into her ear hoping she’d help me remember it later. The lyrics came surprisingly easily, built around the scaffolding of the central theme.

Heavy Stuff” is really an ode to my adolescence, the period in which innocence is lost and understanding begins. The first draft looked much more like a suicide note and thus the reference to its futility had to be factored in. Again I was surprised with how easily the words flowed as I came up with them in my head; here we probably have the only two of my lyrics I would say I’m totally satisfied with.


© JL Pagano 2004

buckpassing

As sure as darkness can be full of many dangers
As sure as little children shouldn’t talk to strangers
As sure as night follows day you’ll ask me the question
As sure as Mother Nature cannot be predicted
As sure as one to nicotine can be addicted
I’m sure I can safely say you’ll ask me the question

“Daddy, what’s really going on?”

Well, I could give you a bible and tell you to read
I could give you commandments and tell you to heed
But could I honestly say they’d answer your question?

Ask me how,
I’ll show you ways in which you can proceed
Ask me where
I’ll show you places you will not believe
Ask me any of the above and I’ll gladly reply
There’s just one thing though
Don’t ask me why

Now if you wonder why I question my ability
My train of thought it’s greatly lacking in mobility
In fact, when it comes to this, it’s stuck at the station
I asked the conductor what on earth the whole delay was for
He just laughed and said “Stop using stupid metaphors!
You can dodge all you like but they’ll still ask the question!”

“Daddy, what’s really going on?”

Ask me how, ask me where,

Ask me which,
I’ll help you choose the one that serves you well
Ask me what,
I’ll give you things to use for show-and-tell
But with one small request I cannot comply
You get the picture
Don’t ask me why

See in my soul, there’s a void
That I can’t avoid any longer
Whenever I try another year goes by
And the feelings can’t get any stronger
So when you ask me why I’ll sing this lullaby
In the hope that one day you’ll see
I’ll always learn more from you
Than you could ever learn from me

Ask me how, ask me where, ask me which, ask me what,

Ask me when,
I’ll take you all the way through history
Ask me whodunit,
And I’ll help you solve the mystery
But if it’s reasons you seek then don’t even try
I sure can’t help you
Don’t ask me why

© JL Pagano 1994

(I will publish “Heavy Stuff” tomorrow)


click here for a full index of my poetry and song lyrics

Thursday, July 07, 2005

in memoriam 070705



If all hatred is a river
And her rapids human pride
Then can we build a bridge across her
To the peace on the other side?

Though the currents may seem strong
And the distance far too wide
We’ve been waiting far too long
To find peace on the other side

If there’s one thing I believe in
If there’s a love I just can’t hide
I want to follow my own children
To the peace on the other side

So if hatred is a river
And her rapids human pride
Can we build a bridge across her
For there’s peace on the other side!

© JL Pagano 2001



Wednesday, July 06, 2005

dear fools,



Dear fools,

Yes, indeed, you are all fools, and there is no better word to describe you. That is, if you really thought you were either helping the MakePovertyHistory campaign or ending Globalization with your actions this week. I am well aware that many of the perpetrators of the riots had absolutely no interest in the cause and were only using it as an excuse to partake in senseless violence, and I am equally aware there were no doubt a good many baton-happy police officers to blame also, and the English language has another word for all of them; scum.

I prefer, however, to direct this letter at those from the first category as outlined above. What you have done by making these less than ideal headlines is play straight into the hands of those against whom you are protesting. And don’t think being dragged kicking and screaming into a police wagon is going to make you a hero – for I suspect this may be your primary objective, even if you may not realize it.

If you want to really, truly help this cause, there is no need to charge at a cordon of riot police with weapons. Try charging at a cordon of ignorance with reason. Think of all the people you have day to day dealings with who don’t give these concerns a moments thought and pass off the MakePovertyHistory campaign as yet another charity drive or as simply another excuse for Geldof to get on his high horse.

Take a minute to explain to these people the three aims of the project: Fair not Free Trade, More and Better Aid, and Drop The Debt. We need to make these issues ones that the politicians know must be debated for the next election, rather than miniscule changes in tax rates or the price of cigarettes and alcohol or which oil-rich country to tear down and rebuild next. That is all you have to do. That is what can make you a hero, nothing more. That is what can help make poverty history. It’s that simple. And IT CAN BE DONE.

What you have done in Edinburgh the past few days is beyond despicable, and it actually gives me half a mind to don some riot gear and give you all a good bashing myself. Since that would make me a hypocrite however, I would have to resort to more peaceful means to try and change your minds. If “Live8” was designed to influence the leaders of the G8, perhaps a similar concert should be organized for you lot; we could call it “LiveApe”.

When you truly believe in something, and when those beliefs are challenged by hard-line extremists on the other side, you also have to be wary of the militants on your own side, for they can do just as much damage to your cause. The fight for equality is much like a pendulum, which must be allowed to swing both ways before it reaches its resting spot at the centre – those who try hold it back on either side must be shown just how strong it is, and how determined it is to reach its natural destination.

Don’t be fools. Join the cause for what it is, with a view to achieving tangible results.

Yours sincerely,


JL PAGANO

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

oh to be like mike



Shaggy IV > Mike Todd


It was recently suggested that I needed a sense of humour transplant (I’m just gonna go ahead and start spelling it “humour” – I’ve exhausted my Thesaurus before now out of respect to my American readers – just get used to the “u”, please!), so I figured it’s about time I paid tribute to a blog which actually does get the sides of my mouth turning upwards on a regular basis.

Blogland is great for many different reasons – it can inspire you, it can put a new spin on something you firmly believe in, it can shed new light on something you believed not to be the case, it can get you riled up that someone can be so bold as to have a view that differs from yours, and, once in a while, it can make you laugh.

Of all the blogs I’ve seen, I know of only one that I can repeatedly go back to and know I can relax and take it all in without fear of having my beliefs trampled on and yet still be able to let all previous tramplings be swept away on a wave of hilarity.

So without any further ado (man that word looks weird when written dunnit – oh wait, these parenthises count as further ado don’t they? I’d better close ‘em) … without any MORE further ado that is, I’d like to award The Fourth Shagadelic Contribution To Blogland Award to Mike Todd over at “Just Humo[u]r Me”.

Have you ever gone to the furniture store, or hung out with some relatives, or had nightmare with the plumbing in your house, and seen them all as events which were at best humdrum and at worst mind-numbingly frustrating? Somehow, Mike manages to take these occurrences and fashion them into hilarious posts which double as contributions to “the venerable Conshohocken Recorder” amongst other publications. I was going to suggest you try and say the name of that town ten times fast, but I can’t even do it once!!!

I have chosen his post “Et tu, Mike?” as a sampler for you, but do by all means peruse his entire blog, and then set your diaries to catch his weekly column, which he generally publishes on a Monday. And don’t miss his Good Frickin Picture Wednesdays, either. You won’t argue with the title.

Just wait and see; Mike himself will no doubt leave a hilarious comment on this post to show you just what I mean! No pressure, man...honest...


Previous Winners :

I > Shandi – “Who says you can’t have the fairytale?

II > Dol – “Corporate Whore!

III > Buffalo – “Bangkok

Monday, July 04, 2005

stories worth a thousand words the stories so far

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

When my grandfather passed away last August I realized how much I regretted never getting to know him properly, a feeling no doubt many people experience at some point in their lives. Since at the time I was trying to explore my abilities as a writer, I thought it would at least be productive to try and write down my own stories in case one day my own kids have the same curiosity.

I thus gave myself a target of having 50 essays on various topics written by New Year’s Day 2005, and I devised 50 headings which would cover the years from 1969 to the present day. I also decided to factor in a level of nerdiness as befits my character when I made the stipulation that every chapter had to be EXACTLY one thousand words, or at least according to Microsoft Word’s word-count function.

And so I achieved my goal, and although the chapters were not written in sequence, when put together it seemed to come out the way I intended. I was amazed at how much I learned about myself with the experience; maybe it is even more than my kids will when they are old enough to understand it. I thoroughly recommend it.

Although I started this blog back in September of last year, it wasn’t until around February 2005 that I was able to set a pattern to my posting. My first contribution went the way most do on blogs, with something like “Well, here I am, starting my own blog, yaddya yaddya…”

Eventually I realized that I didn’t have to enter on my experiences of that day, and from browsing a selection of excellent offerings from others, I began to develop my own style, and telling stories about amusing incidents from the past proved to be the most rewarding practise, at least judging by the feedback.

Of course, stories eventually run out, unless of course you venture into fiction, and who knows, maybe one day I will. But for the meantime, I realized that I actually had 50 ready-made posts for this blog, ones that would keep it ticking over when my well of inspiration ran dry. And so I kicked off on March 6, 2005 with the intention of posting one chapter every week, but being impatient as I am, I quickly decided to up the pace to one post every 5 days.

And so by now I am nearly half-way, having posted 24 of the 50, and so far with stories on topics like Introductions, My Grandfather, The Lee Household, Imaginary Friends, My Mother - Years of Admiration, Live Aid and The College Years, I have covered the time span from around the time of my birth to the time I was married. The stories to come will demonstrate the process whereby I slowly but surely realized that life is not as plain sailing as I had reckoned it to be.

There are far more posts in the second half which justify the tagline “warts ‘n all”, in particular stories on The Airport Incident, The Demon Drink and The Hash Years. There is also a lot more ranting, on subjects like Money And Stuff, Human Rights, Bleeding Heart Liberals, plus my two favourite countries, The Republic of Ireland and the USA. Next up will be a post with more of my lyrics for the various songs I have written over the years, from the 90s which was my most productive phase.

It’s great to have this blog as an opportunity to finally release this stuff from the confines of my skull.

Thank you all for your continued logging and commenting.

NEXT, #25 : 1000 WORDS ON … MORE OF MY LYRICS

Sunday, July 03, 2005

millstone, u.s.a.


I was headed down Interstate 9
And I could not find my way
That’s when I saw the sign
“Now Entering Millstone, U.S.A”

There was reason to celebrate
And at first I couldn’t work out why
That’s when I checked the date
And saw it was always the Fourth of July

There was bunting and banners all round
Pride in the land that their fathers did found
An elderly couple walked up to me
A smile in their eyes as they said unto me

They said; “We were wondering what could be holding you back?”

Hey, check out that TV show!
Live footage of America’s greatest crime!
Hey, check out that mixing bowl!
It slices, it dices, it even tells you the time!

I was so overwhelmed by it all
Even the price of a long distance call
I thought about how sad my life had been
With all of these wonders that I’d never seen

And I started wondering what could be holding me back

I was enthralled with what I learned
Of great battles and heroes to admire
Independence that was truly earned
An amazing history that could not but inspire

So I started to talk of my home
I had several legends and tales of my own
That’s when I noticed the crowd around me
The looks in their eyes served to astound me

If indifference was atmosphere
Then I could feel a storm brewing that night
I guess they just didn’t want to hear
About places out of mind and out of sight

Now I’m wondering what can be holding them back?

And so I got back on Interstate 9
Glad I had finally found my way
I just smiled as I passed the sign
“Thanks for visiting Millstone, USA”

© JL Pagano 1994


click here for a full index of my poetry and song lyrics

Saturday, July 02, 2005

a good day to turn vegetarian


Having clearly converted the entire blogosphere to the cause of MakePovertyHistory.org, I think it’s time to lighten things down a notch, and you can always rely on Ananova’s Quirky files for inspiration...

Gravediggers held BBQ in cemetery


Gravediggers in a Belgian city have been criticised for holding a barbecue party in a cemetery.

It follows a complaint from a couple who visited the cemetery at Merksem, Antwerp, to visit the grave of their son.

François and Magda Boljau were shocked to find the gravediggers holding a party in a shed at the cemetery, reports Het Nieuwsblad.


click here for full story

Click the name JL Pagano at the top of the page to see my latest posts