Thursday, September 21, 2006

sh*g no more

Tomorrow, it will be two years to the day since I started this blog. What better a time to finish it.

I chose the title “A Bit Of Pampering…etc” because I thought it was funny, because I thought it was different, and, ok, I’ll admit it, because it began with the letter “A” and I hoped it would rank high on other blogger’s alphabetical link lists.

Once a week on my “bitesize bullets” post I do a thing where I show you some of the funnier google searches which were used to create a hit on my blog.

What you don’t see are some of the sick permutations using the word “sh*g” that get here. And some of those posts are about members of my family. All it takes for the searches to get here, as I’m sure most of you know, is the numerous words to be there somewhere on a particular page, in no particular order.

Even so, I don’t like people like that finding their way here that way on a regular basis, so it’s time to call it a day. Sorry, but putting the asterisk in won’t cut it.

But if you think a few sick bastards are going to stop me blogging altogether, you can sh*g off ;-)

Thanks for all your hits and comments up to now. Long may they continue wherever I may end up in the Blogosphere.

Monday, September 18, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
THINGS ARE GONNA START LOOKIN MIGHTY DIFFERENT ROUND HERE…



SUMMARY : Last Wednesday I blogged about a ludicrous protocol at the US Embassy. Then over on my Irish-specific blog, I commented on the new leader of the PD party, then I praised Gay Byrne for doing his job. Over the weekend I did two “sports shorts” posts to catch up.

PRAISE: A highlight of my recent wedding celebration was my new brother-in-law John’s excellent depiction of the dance from the FatBoy Slim video “Praise You”. It must have been the cocktails that inspired him. We all tried our best to join in.

RADICAL : As I suggest in my pre-amble, prepare for things to start looking quite different in JL Pagano BlogWorld. It’s high time I mixed things up a little. Hopefully it will all work out ok.

QUESTIONABLE: Considering how well the Catholic Church handled his accession from a PR standpoint, I’d be very surprised if Pope Benedict XVI made a mistake by causing offence in the extremist Muslim community with his recent comments. If I’m right, I can’t for the life of me see how it helps.

LYRICAL :
“Lots of girls and lots of boys
Lots of smells and lots of noise
Playing football in the park
Kicking Pushbikes after dark”

Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.


SPEECH: Thanks to everyone who complimented my wedding speech. I gave a sneak preview of the text, publishing it before I went to the church. Here’s a pic of me getting through it. For the record, the best man’s speech WAS very funny after all, in fact everyone did well.

OSSIFIED… : …is the Irish Slang Word O’ The Week. You know the way the Eskimos have about twenty different words for “snow”? Well the Irish are the same when it comes to “drunk”, with ossified, langered, fluthered, twisted, locked, stocious, pallatic, legless, pissed and rat-arsed to name but a few.

COMPLETE: “A weekly marvel. A brilliantly written hour-long fantasy about what The White House might be like if honour and intellectual brilliance ever trumped cupidity and mediocrity” An excellent description of The West Wing taken from the DVD cover of Series 4, to commemorate the release of the final Series 7.

STATWATCH : During my little break from posting, my various blogs passed the 35,000 hit barrier since May 2005, and the total now stands at 38,179. I’d trade them all to know who was reading my blog from Los Osos, California! I’m intrigued to find out if it’s someone I know!

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“frank lampard wedding September 2006”

“odd looking bullets”

“my fiancée is a bigot and a racist”

“lyrics of fairytale of roy keane”

“there’s a hole in the bucket, video, muppet”


I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” and “Statwatch” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

it’s SO not about the money



First I’d like to thank everyone who has offered both congratulations and commiserations over the past few weeks; it has meant a lot to me.

Trust me, I would really like to resume to normal posting as soon as possible, but I have had problems with my broadband since the weekend which have only just been resolved. I’d like to post about something unbelievable that happened to me the other day.

All I had to do was call the US Embassy here in Dublin and report my grandmother’s death so I could stop her Social Security payments. I really honestly thought I was doing the right thing. Well, of course I was, but I still get angry when I think about the conversation that took place.

I chose my title for this post very carefully. This is really not about the money whatsoever. I hope having read what transpired you will see where I am coming from.

After reporting my grandmother’s passing to the Federal Benefits Division, the lady very kindly expressed her condolences, and after calling up her Social Security Number on her computer she remarked that she had reached a grand old age, which at 97, of course she had.

Then I was asked for the date of death. August 31st was my truthful reply.

Immediately I was informed that since she had died before the end of August, even though it was a matter of hours before, she had to forego ALL of her Social Security benefits for that calendar month, and since it had already been paid by direct debit, this lady on the phone had to inform me that in a few days her office would be reaching into my grandmother’s bank account and taking the money back.

Once again I must stress, it’s not about the money, nor is my annoyance directed at this lady in particular for I understand she was just doing her job.

Surely, in this day and age, in the 21st century, considering that you are dealing with what is supposedly the most powerful and civilized nation in the world, you would expect some kind of protocol in place whereby people reporting the death of family members can be treated with a bit of compassion?

Already I have thought of several different ways it the situation could have been handled, and I have received absolutely NO training in this area.

OK – if it was about the money, how many civil servants would it take to get a calculator and work out the differential to the day? But it isn’t about the money, like I said.

The one thing that really annoys me is that I know someone else out there with a bit more knowledge of the system would be able to declare the first of the month as the date of death and not have to go through this at all.

So why didn’t she ask me for a copy of the death certificate? You can be sure if my phone call was to claim money back off Uncle Sam she would have asked for it!

Even if reclaiming the money for August were absolutely necessary, what she could have done was request that I mail in or fax a copy of the certificate, THEN outline in a letter the reasons why the money needs to be reclaimed. This way, a phone call that is difficult to make in the first place isn’t made ten times harder.

Or alternatively, they could allow for a two-week waiting period when payments begin, which will mean they cannot be paid in advance and thus need not be reclaimed, unless the death is reported long after the fact.

Any beaurocracy worth its salt should appreciate my timely notification, no matter what the subject matter.

I was left feeling like it was the stupidest thing I could have possibly done.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the month of remembrance

Please forgive me for this post – it is not my wish to bring anyone down, it’s just that I want to continue my blogging hobby and I don’t want to do so while pretending nothing has happened over the past week.

I suppose it would be wise to inform those who may not know that my grandparents brought me up as their son.


The month of August, particularly the end of it, will always be one of remembrance for my family.


August 20th, 1936



My grandparents are married in Nashua, New Hampshire.

August 21st, 1913

My grandfather is born.

August 22nd, 2004

I propose to Sandra.

August 24th, 1977

My grandparents and I say our last farewells to most of our friends as we make final preparations to emigrate from the Bay Area of California all the way to Ireland.

August 26th, 2006



On the happiest day of my life, Sandra and I are married in front of friends and most of my family.

August 27th, 2004

My grandfather passes away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 91.

August 28th, 2002



My grandmother writes the above note and leaves it by her bedside. Please note the impeccable penmanship for (at the time) a 93-year old lady.

August 29th, 1992

I married my first wife.

August 30th, 2006

That same first wife, the only other person* I had in Ireland to be a contact person for my grandmother’s nursing home, has the unenviable task of calling me while on my honeymoon in New York to tell me she had deteriorated much over the previous 24 hours, and that we should change our flights if I wanted to be with her at the end.

August 31st, 2006

My grandmother passed away quiety and painlessly at the grand age of 97. We successfully changed our flights, but touched down 45 minutes before she was gone, so we did not quite make it to her bedside. At the very least, she was not unattended.




The funeral was yesterday. As much as my grandparents both loved me and were proud to carry out the challenge of bringing me up, because of the generation gap, it could be said that they never properly understood me, and of course vice versa. For me, the silver lining of recent events is that I know now they both understand me perfectly, and will watch over me and my family for the rest of our own days on this earth.

May they both rest in peace.


* = I must note that Sandra’s immediate family would have been more than willing to be available for my grandmother, but we felt it best to ask MyX because hers was a face that would be recognized more readily, plus she is mother to her two great-grandchildren.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

hold all my calls...

Let's see - how can I involve my blog readers in my wedding, which happens to be today?

Not enough?

OK - how 'bout I let you guys get an exclusive preview of my wedding speech?

Hi everyone –

Most people who know me are well used to my making horrendous puns for cheap laughs, so I thought maybe I’d show a different side of myself and leave the funny stuff to my best man (no pressure, Ian, honest!).

First, thank you all for joining us on what has been so far an amazing day. There’s no better way to enjoy a great occasion than having friends and family around you, and we’re both delighted you could all be with us.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the Unitarian Church for their wonderful ceremony. We have attended several of their services over the past year, and though I’ll admit I’m not the most religious person in the world, I have to say it’s refreshing to see that spirituality and open-mindedness can go hand in hand.

There are of course those who could not be with us today whom I’d like to mention briefly. First there is my poor grandmother who was sadly not well enough to attend. I know she would have given anything to be here and we can be sure her prayers were with us all the way.

Then there is my mother, who was unable to make the trip from San Francisco mostly due to the fact that she has done so much to help us out with Grandma’s care, and we are both immensely grateful for this and wish she could be here today.

Finally there is my grandfather whose 2nd anniversary happens to fall tomorrow. I know for sure he’s having a pint of the black stuff up there on our behalf!

I also have to mention my father Mark and his lovely wife Vickie, who have flown all the way from Oregon to be with us today. Thank you both so much for coming, you have no idea what it means to all of us that you could make it!

Up to now although I’ve lead a happy life, I’ve always tended to do things with this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that whatever I was doing wasn’t really what I wanted to do. However there are TWO main exceptions to this rule.

The first has been my role as father to my two wonderful children, Rebecca and Christopher. I don’t want to embarrass them too much, but I have to say I’m proud as anything to be their Daddy, and have been from day one.

And then there’s this lovely vision on my left.

I hope you all take the opportunity today to tell Sandra how beautiful she looks, for this could very well be the only day she’ll ever let you! She’s a lot like myself - we don’t do compliments well!

Although it was a bit long, I chose the second reading because it focused on Friendship. I’d love to say I picked up the passage from my extensive reading but I have to confess I actually got from an episode of the TV show Friends!

Anyway – as well as all the clear attraction I have always had for Sandra, I have to say I have never met anyone to whom I feel this close, and she has literally made me feel this way from the very start. We have had our ups and downs, but no matter what we always remained friends. For me, that is what makes us work. It has also helped that I have been made feel so welcome by both Rita and John, and I’m immensely proud to see our families come together today.

Just to warn you folks – I’m going to get a bit corny here, but this is something I’ve been dying to say to her, and she’ll know exactly what I mean, and I guess that’s all that counts!

Sandra, thank you so much for everything you have brought to my life and the lives of my family, and I can’t wait to spend my future with you and together I know we really can reach for the stars.

To Sandra [toast]

Thank you all again.



Still not enough?

Too bad.

See you in a couple of weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
MY LAST DAYS OF FREEDOM…



WEIGHT : It’s starting to look as though my pre-wedding Battle With The Bulge is going to end in a tie. Though it hasn’t gone up since I started measuring a few weeks ago, it hasn’t gone down either. Oh, well.

DISTRACTION: Isn’t it extremely convenient that all of America is talking about a 10-year old murder case when much more important things are happening in Iraq, Lebanon, and most importantly for me, the upcoming elections where Dubya was due to get a pasting. So much for prevalent Liberal media bias.

LINK : Absolutely no contest for my link shout-out this week – fellow blogger Rinceoir kindly included my blogs in his “Why Link?” series. Much appreciated sir! Check out his Tiny Timid Thoughts when you have the chance.

JUSTICE: For all Irish people who presume the 11 people charged for involvement in the recent airport scares, I have two words - BIRMINGHAM SIX. To those who think that makes me sympathetic to terrorism, I say you are full of it, for I believe it makes me sympathetic to justice.

NINETY… : …is my Irish Slang O’ The Week, though it must be used in association with the word “craic” which I explained a good while ago. Basically the term “the craic was ninety” means “we had a helluva good time”. Don’t ask me why.

W*NKERS!: Though it definitely went on for too long, this year’s British Big Brother was the best so far, and congratulations to Pete Bennett for both winning the contest and raising awareness for Tourette’s Syndrome.

LYRICAL : "Beauty i'd always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore.

'cause i love you,
Yes, i love you,
Oh, how, i love you.
Oh, how, i love you."

Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.

FLICK: I recently saw One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for the first time. As well as Nicholson’s excellence, I was surprised by how many other names were in it that went on to better things – Danny deVito, Christopher Lloyd, and Brad Dourif, aka Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings.

ONE-TRACK-MINDS : There must be something in the water this week – check out the Google phrases of the week! I think I should seriously consider a new title for my blog – the word “shag” has gotta go!

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“shag games”

“her first shag”

“how long does a good shag last?”

“instructions on how to shag properly”

“humans shagging”

“horny mother in law”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” and “Statwatch” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Friday, August 18, 2006

they must be lonesome every night



And there was me thinking blogging was the world’s most wonderful waste of time.

First we have a bunch of space nerds convening to determine whether or not Pluto is actually a planet. I mean – WHY? Is it for some commercial rezoning purpose so that they can open a Starbucks out there?

Anyway – according to Reuters’ Oddly Enough files, we seem to have something that takes the biscuit. Can you believe that someone is sad enough to be bothered with this?

It's now or never: find Elvis for $3 million


Have you seen the king? As the 29th anniversary of his death passes, a $3 million (1.6 million pounds) reward is being offered for anyone who finds Elvis Presley alive.

U.S. writer, actor and filmmaker Adam Muskiewicz says he and a producer friend set up the website www.elviswanted.com mostly for publicity and to get the public involved in an independent documentary exploring the myth that Elvis is still alive.

"The hoaxing of Elvis Presley's death is the biggest myth in the history of pop culture. Does it have any merit? What are the facts behind it?" the site asks. The film and site aim to explore persistently popular rumours that Elvis did not die on August 16 1977, but may have gone into hiding.


Well, if nothing else, it gives me a chance to satisfy my need to create groan-inducing puns ad nauseum.

I presume if anyone did come forward with an Elvis, the people offering this reward would have Suspiscious Minds, and if you are found out, you may well end up In The Ghetto or at worst, doing the Jailhouse Rock. To those who may consider this, I say Don’t Be Cruel. Although I Just Can’t Help Believin’, and the King’s whereabouts is Always On My Mind, and often has me Crying In The Chapel, even a Fool Such as I wouldn’t believe anyone who claimed to see him, so their correspondence would have to be marked Return To Sender.

Ok I’m done. I guess it was all Too Much. Sorry, but the whole thing has me All Shook…OK! I’ll stop!!!!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
WHAT GOES ON TOUR STAYS ON TOUR…



RECOVERING : The stag weekend in Westport was perfect in my book. Of course there were a few drawbacks, but I had a blast, and I’m very grateful to the lads who came along and made it so. Tradition prevents me from blogging about particulars, however…

RENTAL: If you liked The Matrix you will enjoy V for Vendetta, though you may need to bone up of the whole Guy Fawkes thing first to get what it’s about. Ironically I saw it for the first time the night all the airport scares were happening.

LINK : For my link shout-out this week I have to thank Phillipa for adding me to her blogroll on her daily News Planet. As you can see I have done likewise.

BUSHBASHING: "Apparently the Dixie Chicks had to cancel 14 shows on their tour, because of slow ticket sales. There's some concern they're losing their fan base. How ironic is that? They finally have something in common with President Bush." -- Jay Leno

MUPPET : …is my Irish Slang Word O’ the Week though I think it is common all over England as well. To make it Irish you’d best stick the word “bleedin” before it. It’s a mildly derogatory term which calls both a person’s intelligence and competence into question.

TUNES: Intelligence, Humour, Musical Talent. All combined in the works of sheer genius Tom Lehrer. His greatest hits adorn my car cassette deck. My personal all-time favourite is “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park”. Guaranteed to cheer you up if you have a slightly demented streak like me!

WEIGHT : Considering I’m just back from a weekend of beer, curry, beer, Pringles, beer and more beer, I’m quite proud of the fact that my weight has stayed the same since last week. I’d very much like to see it start going down as of now, however.

CURIOUS : Conspiracy theorists the world over will be intrigued by the news that NASA have reportedly “lost” the footage of the famous moon landing in 1969, which many people think was contrived to make it look like the USA were ahead in the Cold War/Space Race. Definitely a story worth following!

LYRICAL :
“But sometimes man it just seems
Everybody only wants to dis-cuss me
So this must mean I'm dis-gusting
But it's just me I'm just obscene”


Who sang that? Check the comments for the answer.

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“what does the irish word hooley mean”

“rugby drinking games involving cocktail sticks”

“kim cattral shaves”

“stories of when grandparents embarrass you”

“man who never knew son country music lyrics”


I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Friday, August 11, 2006

no more sides



Yet more fear at our airports.

Where will the airline restrictions stop?

Can’t a volatile liquid/detonator be easily concealed within a suicide bomber’s clothing?

Does this mean we have to travel naked or not at all?

Well let me make a few points perfectly clear.

I will NOT hold my tongue when I hear George W Bush make such ludicrous statements as “America is safer now than at 9/11”.

I will NOT let people like him force me to polarize my views to “side” with him in his so-called “war on terror”.

I will NOT be terrorized by extremists, whether they speak from from a bunker in Afghanistan, the White House, a mosque or Downing Street.

I will NOT allow my desire to give an open-minded appraisal to events be deterred by being dubbed a “conspiracy theorist”.

I will NOT let this bullshit ruin my honeymoon in New York in a few weeks.

I will NOT feel compelled to teach my children to be afraid.

For as long as you call someone your enemy, they will be.

Monday, August 07, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
REMEMBER GEORGE GALLOWAY?…



WEIGHT : Still no increase, but no decrease either in my bulk. The good news is, I survived a jog last Thursday morning, so hopefully I will be able to make that a habit for the weeks to come which should well help out my cause.

PREPOSTEROUS… : …is defined as “contrary to nature, reason or common sense”, and is a word frequently used by George Galloway in his incredible interview with Anna Botting of Sky News over the weekend. You just simply have to watch this if you have any interest in the Lebanese situation.

LANGER… : …is my Irish Slang O’ The Week as recommended by Dolores McCrumble a while ago (sorry it took so long – I’m working in alphabetical order!). A langer can either be the male reproductive organ or simply an idiot. Either way, not something you want to be called.

RENTAL : Lucky Number Slevin is definitely worth a rental. Good plot, good twists and turns, good performances all round. I still felt something was missing, however, and maybe Tarantino behind the camera would have delivered it.

LINK : This week’s Link shout-out goes to The Rambling Man for adding my Irish blog to his list recently. I was more than happy to return the favour.

DOPES : The Justin Gatlin doping saga is the latest in a long line of scandals that make you wonder if we can ever take the sport of track and field athletics seriously again. Are the gold medals really going to the best, or the best at not getting caught?

LYRICAL :
“Talkin' to herself, there's no one else who needs to know...
She tells herself, oh...
Memories back when she was bold and strong
And waiting for the world to come along...
Swears she knew it, now she swears he's gone”


Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.


TUNES : The latest cassette to inhabit my car stereo has been Genesis’ self-titled album from 1983, the year I discovered music. Tracks include “Mama” and “That’s All”, but it’s a solid work throughout.

JOKE :
Little girl at her first wedding : “Mommy, why is the bride wearing white?”

Mother : “White is the colour of happiness, dear, and this is the happiest day of her life.”

Girl [ponders this for a moment] : “Then why is the groom wearing black?”

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“i am an acrobat swinging trapezes through circles of flame”

“mysterious nashua”

“wart ointment kilkenny”

“hiring ladies wear on qe2”

“sergeant peppers two ibiza spain”


I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

the mother of all battles


I'm never averse to allowing a guest writer on my blog, and today is no exception. I wanted to write about the crisis in Lebanon, but then my mother showed me this piece she wrote and I figured it would be better to share it with you guys instead.


"Lebanon 2006: Déjà Vu All Over Again, Again" by Maura Lee August 1, 2006

A lesson cannot be learned if it is improperly understood, and it seems obvious from everything that’s been written from both sides of this sad and monstrous tale that the powers-that-be just do not get it.

The lesson of Viet Nam was that it is impossible to prevail over an indigenous popular opponent unless the invader/attacker is prepared to kill them all. Period.

That’s it – what part of this is unclear?

Regardless of the force of your fighting machine – whether you are using Fourth Generation warfare, Space Tools from DARPA, or Vulcan Martial Arts – you will fail, unless you are prepared to extinguish the lives of every man, woman, and child in the country you’ve chosen to attack, and unless you are capable of doing so with no exception.

Though they should be obvious, the reasons for this inevitable failure are as follows…

1. Regardless of how these people felt about you before you started to attack them, I guarantee that they’ll hate you once you start.
2. Paraphrasing Yoda, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to suffering, suffering leads to thoughts of revenge.
3. Every capable native will do everything possible to fight you. This will mean different roles for different people – some will pick up arms, others will nourish the fighters, others will hide them in their home. Their feelings against you will unite them.
4. As much as you attempt to dehumanize them, as many lies that you tell and as often as you exploit the media, your brutality will be seen and remarked upon until one day you find that after fighting that much harder for that much little credibility, your efforts convince nobody but those among you who must also believe.
5. Your opponent has but to prevail to survive.
6. They are already home. It is for this home that they must fight.
7. It is you who must give up and leave.

It is truly frightening that for perhaps the first time in history, a military machine exists that is capable of obliterating an entire nation and with it, every man, every woman, and every child born and unborn.

Will it be used? Will we set aside our squeamishness and “cleanse the soil” so that it can bear fruit? Would we have any reason to believe that this new fruit would be our kind of fruit? Would we be capable, at that stage, of knowing what, exactly, would define our “kind of fruit”?

And yet, what is the point of having such an incomparable projection of power if you’re not able to use it?

What, indeed.

Monday, July 31, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
MOVE OVER SPIELBERG…



WEIGHT : I think I offset what gains I had by my diet by over-indulging in beer over the weekend. The scales still have me at X minus four, which means nothing lost this week. I want to see some results fast so it’s nose to the grindstone from now on.

TUNES: How did I grow up missing the Stone Roses for God’s sake??? I got their greatest hits CD in a sale at the weekend and I couldn’t believe how many of the 15 tracks I recognised but never knew it was them. “Fools Gold” was the only one I knew.

LYRICAL :
“Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh, this means no fear - cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.”

Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.

BUSHBASHING: He sent troops into Iraq for weapons that weren’t there, but when Israel and Hezbollah are firing the real thing at each other 24/7 with thousands of innocents needlessly slaughtered, he does nothing. And no, I don’t feel sending Neo-Condi out there to hold selective talks counts as doing something.

KNACKER… : …is my Irish Slang O’ The Week and it can mean either our answer to a hillbilly or our answer to a “homey” or “chav”. A common yet unfortunate term for Dublin’s poorer suburbs is “Knacker-agua”. As a verb, however, to “be knackered” simply means to be very tired.

DEBUT: Don’t say you haven’t been warned…that little movie I published on Sunday won’t be the last production from JLTV studios now I know how to manipulate both Windows Movie Maker and YouTube! The possibilities are endless. Be afraid, VERY afraid folks.

JOKE : Two not-so-clever Eskimos were paddling along the icy river and decided they were even chillier than usual, so they lit a fire aboard their vessel. To their surprise, it sank. The moral of the story is : you can’t have your kayak and heat it too. Sorry.

FLICK: “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented, it's as simple as that.”
The Truman Show was on network TV last night. Ironically, this was a role that I feel Jim Carrey was born to play, with excellent support from Ed Harris.

STATWATCH : A reader from Chatham in England happened by this blog last week and proved to be my 20,000th hit here since I started the counter in May ’05. Of course, the surfer’s prize is the honour of having where his internet server is located mentioned in my “bitesize bullets” feature.

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“s★gsot

“eligibility to play for republic of Ireland”

“how long does it take to get from castlecomer to Dublin”

“solitary occupations”

“stealing undies from washing line”

“do I let him shag me”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” and “Statwatch” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Sunday, July 30, 2006

disappear



Just began messing around with Windows Movie Maker and YouTube. This took me ten minutes to put together. I have to warn you I could be addicted to doing this kind of stuff...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

croc of old?


Say what you like about people who work in legal circles – perhaps indeed they are on a gravy train born mostly from our misery, but from what little I’ve seen of the inside of a courtroom, its day-to-day running must surely be a perennial snoozefest.

Given that, just imagine how much enjoyment those in attendance at the Liverpool Crown Court would of gotten out of this case, as described by Ananova’s Quirky files.


Crocodile Gran


An 80-year-old woman re-created a scene from the film Crocodile Dundee to tackle a knife-wielding burglar.

Winifred Whelan, from Liverpool, was threatened in her home by a man brandishing a 10-inch knife.

The pensioner grabbed a larger carving knife from her kitchen before shouting: "That's not a knife, this is a knife!"

Mrs Whelan was quoting the famous line from Crocodile Dundee when the film's star Paul Hogan brandishes a hunting knife at a mugger.

She told a newspaper: "I said to the robber: "You call that a knife?" His was around 10 inches long and I had a carving knife measuring about 14 inches.

"I pointed it at his belly and said: 'This is a knife!'"

Two men were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court in connection with the incident, which happened last September.



Judging from the look on her face, she wouldn’t have hesitated to use the damn thing either. I reckon the two men will be happy to go behind bars to get away from her!

Monday, July 24, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
I WONDER DOES ANYONE CHECK MY FIFTY WORD LIMIT…



WEIGHT : So far so good with my plan to reach my goal weight for the wedding- where X is what I weighed last week, I’m currently at X minus four pounds. Still a lot of jogging and pumping iron and dodging delectable dishes left to do!

BUSHBASHING: I was a bit alarmed to hear that there is a possibility that Florida governor Jeb Bush may run for President in 2008. I think twelve years of Bush rule is enough for everyone, don’t you? Jeb was in Dublin recently for a lecture and got a frosty welcome.

JACKS… : …is my Irish Slang World O’ The Week and is a word used mainly in Dublin which refers to the men’s room. While I’m on the letter “J” I will also explain “jar” which means a pint of alcohol. “He’s been in the jacks all day after too many jars”

FLICK: I finally got to see The Da Vinci Code, and I suppose I have to say that Ron Howard made as good a stab as anyone at putting it together. The only drawback, I found, is that there’s no way you could follow it had you not read the book.

STAG : Americans call it a “bachelor party”. This side of a pond it’s a stag party, which over the years has become elongated to a stag weekend. Mine is going to be in Westport in County Mayo in mid August, and there will probably be 11 of us altogether going.

TUNES: In my book the only “I used to be a pretty boy pop singer now please take me seriously” album that every actually worked, George Michael’s “Listen Without Prejudice Vol I” now occupies my car stereo.

ATTENDANCE : The RSVPs are coming in thick and fast for the wedding, and we were delighted to learn that my father, whom I met for the first time only in 2003, will be flying over from Oregon with his wife for the day. My mother, unfortunately, won’t be coming.

JOKE:
Top 3 Reasons Eminem's Wife Filed for Divorce

Sure, he talks and raps like a black man, but when he takes down his pants...

…Would rather end up like Nicole Kidman than Nicole SIMPSON…

...And The Top Reason. . .

Overheard 5-year-old daughter shouting, "Faggots!" while watching Ernie & Bert.




LYRICAL :
“Let me tell you now
Everybody’s talking about
Revolution, evolution,
Masturbation, flagellation,
Regulations, integrations,
Meditations, United Nations,
Congratulations.”

Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“spider poop image”

“the general starring brendan gleeson”

“the away game socceroos lucas neill brokeback mountain”

“irish shag”

“pampering the rogue country pakistan”

“getting rubber bit guards on”

“scarleh wedding dress”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

shot to hell



"...from this day until the ending of the world but we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother..."


William Shakespeare's 'King Henry V' : Act IV, Scene III




Say what you like about Steven Spielberg.

Whatever about his films, he has always retained an unerring talent for reaching out from his director’s chair right through the camera lens, through your television screen, and right down into your tear ducts, emptying everything inside – a volume of tears you never even knew was there.

A long time ago, since we share a similar taste for TV drama, a good friend of mine suggested I buy the DVD box set of “Band of Brothers". As I watched it unfold I realised it was based on a part of the American WWII campaign very close to the situation my grandfather found himself in when he served in military intelligence.

For some reason, however, despite the family interest, I found viewing the series from start to finish extremely tough going. It is only now that have been able to see the final few instalments, and I was particularly moved by episode 9 where the American batallion first came across a concentration camp in Germany.

I am and always will be a pacifist. If I have learned anything from my past few years of reflection on what it is that makes this life worth living, it’s that once you see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel of your own confusion, you should never take your eyes off of it.

Even with a well scripted, cast, acted and directed TV drama, I could barely come even close to understanding what my grandfather experienced in Europe.

What I do know is that if I can’t make head or tail of his actions since I came into his life, I should learn to let them be. Once fate offers you a future as it has done me, you must first find it in yourself to let go of your past.

Though I have been lucky enough to have avoided it up to now, I would venture a guess that war is something that takes what you previously understood to be reality and shoots it clean to hell.

Sure, the Nazis needed to be stopped. Sure, Saddam Hussein needed to be stopped. Sure, there will one day be a new enemy to fear, to loathe, to conquer. That still doesn't convince me that war has to be the final option without exception.
This subject is particularly relevant today as bombs rain down over Lebanon and northern Israel. For me, each side is as bad as the other, though it sickens me that the international community lends credibility to one side just because they are the military of a sovereign nation. In my book, they're all terrorists.

I suppose all we can really do is ponder the role of Extremism in our lives, and learn to understand it more.

To have an Extremist viewpoint is a human right.

To impose an Extremist viewpoint on others is and always will be a human tragedy.

Monday, July 17, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
STOP BLOGGING? I WILL IN ME ARSE!…



WEIGHT : The countdown to the wedding is nigh and my weight has become an issue yet again. Let’s call my weight this morning X and see how much under that I can go between now and the nuptials.

TUNES: OK this is either totally cool or totally embarrassing. You decide. A while ago I came across my vinyl “collection”, most of which were ready for throwing out, but I did keep the first record I ever owned myself, ABBA the Album, which I got when I was 8.

DOH! : On Saturday on my Irish blog I bemoaned the fact that no Irish station covered the midweek club soccer games, only to be politely informed they did. It’s one of the more embarrassing things that can happen to a blogger. Suffice to say my researcher has since been sacked.

HOOKED: Though I’m not what you’d call a gamer, I do have a PS2. I never dreamed about buying a golf game until I tried the one on my mobile. I have since gone on to buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 second-hand and I am already a fully-fledged addict.

LYRICAL :
“My bed’s full of takeaways
And fantasies of easy lays
The pause button’s broke on my video
And is this real cos I feel fake
Oprah Winfrey, Ricki Lake
Teach me things I don’t need to know”


Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.

CATCHUP: I have found a way to keep up with my favourite blogs without swinging around from link to link like Tarzan on speed. If you haven’t already, try Google Reader for size. The only drawback is, if you’re a bit lazy like me, you won’t comment as often as before.

STATWATCH : I have a regular visitor to my blogs whose IP server is based in Los Osos, California. Any chance you’d like to make yourself known to me? If you’d rather preserve the mystery I’d totally understand, but if not you can email me at jlpagano@eircom.net.

BUSHBASHING :
Q: How many Bush administration officials does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: There is nothing wrong with the lightbulb. Its condition is improving everyday. Any reports of its malfunction are the result of “spin” by the liberal media. Why do you hate freedom so much to ask?


“I… : …WILL IN ME ARSE!” is my Irish Slang O'the Week and basically is meant to convey a person’s intention NOT to do something in particular. For a little extra emphasis that’s also quite a bit more graphic, substitute the word “hole” for “arse”.


GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“carlsberg text”

“to phone county wexford from london what numbers must I dial”

“boiled shite”

“calcio, cosmopolitan, photos”

“boy’s overgrown larynx”

“people shagging in parks”

“funny keystroke art”

“trust an irishman?”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” and “StatWatch” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”

Friday, July 14, 2006

sprechen sie fußball?

Can you name the countries cheered on by the fans in each pic and work out what way I've organized them? Click the picture for a closer look - the answer is in the comments section.

Though the so-called mainstream media will have you thinking otherwise, I feel my little collage above fully captures the memory which will last the longest from the German World Cup extravaganza over the past month.

I will refer briefly to the head-butting incident. At first, I was relieved that such an action was not rewarded by ultimate victory. Then, I was disgusted that simple taunting actually could be. Now, I am relieved to hear that FIFA will be investigating what Materazzi supposedly said to Zidane – though in a way they have to, since “Kick Racism Out Of Football” is quite rightly one of their banner campaigns this weather.

As for the match itself, I thought the bloody thing kicked off at 8pm my time. I had it all organised – my kids were with me, and we were going to get a Chinese dinner from the take-away across the road. I ordered it at 7:15, and went to collect it fifteen minutes later, only to discover to my horror that not only did it start at 7 but I had missed two goals!

Alas the rest of the game was not to amount to much as a football contest, but considering what was at stake, it was tense right to the end. Taking the entire night’s action into account, even without Zizou’s folly, the Italians were worthy winners overall in my book. And I suppose if any outcome was going to make the third place playoff worthwhile, a German victory was just the thing.

But enough of such nonsense. This tournament went above and beyond what I expected it to be. My kids loved every minute, from the opening ceremony right up to Grosso’s final penalty in Berlin. They now know the flags and the location of 32 nations, and what’s more, they have a keen interest in the world’s most popular pastime.

And what about that support from the fans? Each and every nation proudly represented, and my picture only depicts the fans of those who actually qualified – thousands upon thousands of fans from the 167 nations who failed to reach the finals made the trip to the sporting mecca bearing their colours as well.

This four-yearly event is not just about some guys kicking a ball around a park. It’s not even about being proud of where you come from. I ask you – how else would countries like Mexico and Iran, or Togo and Switzerland come together but in a World Cup finals encounter? It is a celebration of humanity’s diversity more than anything else.

And what better place for diversity to be celebrated in the next instalment than in South Africa in 2010.

You can be sure I’ll be blogging every step of the way.
Pictures courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk

Monday, July 10, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
CONGRATULAZIONI ITALIA CAMPIONI DELLA COPPA DEL MONDO!…



STATWATCH : First thanks to whoever reads my Irish blog from Granby in Canada (or should I say Quebec?), for they provided it with its 10,000th hit last week. I also recently surpassed 30,000 hits since May 2005 between all of my blogs. Go me.

CALCIO: I would like to wish the Italian soccer team all the best as having won the World Cup they of course now go on to take part in the Solar System Cup where I expect they will run rings around the Saturn champions in the first round. Boom boom.

JOKE :
Scientist1 : “Hi - I’m from the lab across the hall– we were wondering if you can spare any remains from your rodent dissection program – we are particularly interested in the back half of the animals.”

Scientist2 : “I couldn’t give a rat’s ass.”

Scientist1 : “Sorry I only asked!”

TUNES: Using the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” for my lyrical bullet the other week inspired me to stick the album from whence it came, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, in my car stereo, which time-warped me back to the age of 16 when it first came out.

HOOLEY ... : ...is this week’s Irish slang word and simply refers to a party, which of course being in Ireland would involve the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or twenty. For example – I bet there was some hooley on the streets of Rome last night!

FLICKS: No rental movies this week, so we dipped into my DVD archive one night after the football and Big Brother were over and stuck on the first Lord of The Rings movie, “The Fellowship of the Ring”. Can’t go wrong watching this one – you notice something new every time.

LYRICAL :
“If dreams are like movies then memories are films about ghosts
You can never escape, you can only move south down the coast
Well I am an idiot walking a tightrope of fortune and fame
I am an acrobat swinging trapezes through circles of flame”

Who sang that? Check comments.

WHY?: I guess I was a big fan of the whole thing when I was younger, but nowadays I can’t help but think that pouring so much time and money into a Shuttle that has bits falling off of it 24/7 is quite literally a waste of space.

LINK : This week’s shout-out goes to Bock the Robber who was kind enough to put a link to my Irish blog on his site with the original description of my good self as : “Some Dublin fucker, but I like it.” I suppose I’ve been called worse!

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“george galloway lions quote”
“dear diary I lost my virginity”
“what does a.e.t. stand for in soccer?”
“where can I find the irish word for grandmother?”
“nicotine stains moustache”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.



“Google phrases of the week” and “Statwatch” courtesy of StatCounter.com

“Irish Slang Word O’ The Week” courtesy of “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”