Monday, May 29, 2006

buckpassing


Like I said last week, my blogging habits are going to be disrupted for a while as I settle into a brand new routine. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to republish this song called "Buckpassing" by way of congratulating my friends Conor and Nicola on their recent new arrival. I was inspired to write this just over twelve years ago, as I was about to become a new parent myself. Best of luck to you both with little BDW.



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



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

Monday, May 22, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
O HONDA CIVIC! BAD NEW TREND!…



BREAK : The good news is, I will FINALLY be out of the house in Booterstown this week; the bad, it will probably mean I won’t be blogging for a while afterwards. Nothing definite as yet, just don’t be surprised if I don’t post for the next few weeks.

HUH? : No, this isn’t a cast photo from Lord Of The Rings, it’s Finnish metal band Lordi, who won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with their – er – rousing? anthem called “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. I’m sure Helsinki will be delighted this lot earned them the right to host next year’s event!

LYRICAL :
“It's hard to believe
That there's nobody out there
It's hard to believe
That I'm all alone
At least I have her love
The city she loves me
Lonely as I am
Together we cry”


Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.

CRACKED? : Even though I’m normally the laziest book reader ever, I managed to get through The Da Vinci Code in under a week before I go see the movie. I will review both soon. Can you crack my code in the intro to this post? The answer is in the comments.

BUSHBASHING : I’m intrigued that the US Senate felt the need to pass a decree stating that English was the national language recently. Maybe it’s simply a nod to The White House since like the rest of us they can’t decypher any communications coming out of there these days.

TUNES : I was out the other night and heard a track from the Police album “Regatta de Blanc” so I decided to play it in my car stereo, mostly because it has two of my all time favourites by anyone, “Bring On The Night” and “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”.

FOUND : In packing away stuff from Booterstown house I found the book I wanted to use for my Irish slang bit each week : it’s called “The book of feckin’ Irish Slang that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies”. Call it an alternative phrasebook for toursists if you will.

SPLIT : It was of course a shame to see these two going their separate ways. Everyone seems concerned about how his money will be divvied up since there was no pre-nup. Well at least it shouldn’t cost him an arm and a leg since she only needs a leg! Buh-bum-PISH! Sorry.

CRAIC... : ...is the first word I’ll take from the slang book and in Ireland it is pronounced “crack” and simply means “fun”. Believe it or not in Ireland you can ask for a pub where you can “get great craic” and noone will so much as bat an eyelid.

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“who lead argentina to the final and then lifted the trophy at mexico 86”

“crouching position police india”

“liverpool horny blogspot”

“militant republicanism short strand”

“meetings for textaholics”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.

Google phrases of the week appear courtesy of StatCounter.com

Friday, May 19, 2006

le concourse des chansons merdes [reprise]

No time for an original post today, but to keep this blog ticking over, I'll dip into my archives. It's Eurovision weekend once again, and here's a piece I did on the event last year. Just substitute Athens for Kiev and you get an idea of what's happening tomorrow night - my attitudes haven't changed all that much in twelve months!


A while ago I made fun of a particular TV show, “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Living in Europe as I do, I can imagine many Americans reading that piece would assume I was having a swipe at all things red white and blue and would no doubt jump to its defence. In reality, there are several TV offerings from across the pond I enjoy, with “The West Wing”, “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” being among my perennial favourites.

Even so, I feel compelled to berate some European television fare to even the score, and tonight’s “Eurovision Song Contest” (ESC), a glorified talent show comprising around 40 or so nations across the continent, gives me the perfect opportunity to do so.

This annual event is under the stewardship of an organization known as “The European Broadcasting Union” (EBU). Casual observers from the USA would be forgiven for thinking this was our equivalent of ABC or NBC, but in reality, it is far from it. It is actually a blanket body representing each country’s state-funded television networks. I can only assume the purpose of this occasion is to both justify and perpetuate the EBU’s existence, because I sure don’t hear much about it the rest of the year.

As Ireland discovered throughout the 90’s, the worst thing a country can do in the ESC is actually win it, since this inflicts you with the severe financial burden of hosting the damn thing the following year. I think we won three times in a row at one point which meant our national network RTÉ (and in turn the taxpayers) had to repeatedly foot the bill. This year, at least, our entry hasn’t even managed to qualify for the final night, so we can leave our hands out of our pockets for another year.

So what’s wrong with a televised song contest between nations I hear you ask? You obviously haven’t heard any of the songs. They are beyond awful. They are one of the reasons the term “Eurotrash” was first coined. And what’s more, each country has its own contest a few months before to decide which one gets to make it to the ESC so when you see a bunch of people croaking out their entry on stage for the final event, you are struck by the realization that this four minutes of audio torture actually the best that nation had to offer. It beggars belief what the other songs were like. Let’s just say it’s not exactly somewhere we’re going to find the next Lennon/McCartney and leave it at that when it comes to the talent pool.

Having said all of this, there is at least one part of the evening that makes worthwhile viewing - the voting. Once the thirty or so, er, “acts”, have completed their routines, we are then treated to the technological wizardry of the computer scoreboard which contains all of the countries listed in alphabetical order at first, until the show’s host speaks one by one to representatives of each of the participating countries to discover how their viewers have voted for the winner.

The rules for voting are simple. You pick up your phone and dial the appropriate number that corresponds to your favourite, with the understandable proviso that you cannot vote for you own country. An amusing aside to this format – last year a convoy of people from Wexford (south coast of Ireland) travelled up and over the border with the UK-ruled Northern Ireland to commandeer phone boxes and make multiple votes for their local boy who was representing The Emerald Isle. Their hero still didn’t win – no doubt their Ukrainian counterparts living near the border with Poland did likewise in greater numbers.

Each nation then ranks its final tally and awards “points” to their top ten. When they are called on to reveal their results, they read out their list in ascending order, with respect of course given to Europe’s multi-lingual nature. And so a typical exchange between the show’s MC and a country’s representative could go like this…

MC : “And now we go to Berlin, guten abend Deutschland!”

German rep : “Guten abend! And thank you for hosting such a wonderful event tonight! [translation – on behalf of German State Television, thank God we didn’t have to pay for this!!!] Here are the results of the German jury…Belgium, one point.”

MC : “Belgium, one point, Belgique, un point.”

GR : “Netherlands, two points.”

MC : “Netherlands, two points, Pays-Bas, deux points.” …….


And so this goes on until the top mark of twelve (douze) points is awarded to that country’s perception of the best of an extremely bad lot. The computer then instantly calculates the total scores and tells you who’s in the lead before they move on to the next country’s voting. In case you’re wondering, it has apparently been mathematically proven over the years that countries tend to award their votes along predictable political lines. In other words, the UK would give top marks to Ireland, Ireland would give no points to the UK and Switzerland would give equal points to everyone if they could.

Actually, when Ireland are competing, and are still in the running with the voting towards the end, you can actually get into it a bit, but it is simply mindless patriotism since anytime I’ve cheered to the words “Irelande, douze points” I would have completely forgotten how the song which attracted the marks actually sounded. Since we failed to get past the first round this year, I think I can find better things to do with my Saturday night than tune in to events from Kiev.

It still bugs me that I’m helping to pay for it, though. All I ever got out of it was an ability to name most of the countries of Europe in French, which makes it a pretty lavish foreign language course if you ask me. The title of this piece, which very loosely translates to “The Awful Song Contest”, I had to search online.

Monday, May 15, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
APPYPOLLY LOGGY FOR ALL THE CHEPOOKA




EXPERIMENT : I tried out a new type of speed-writing post last Friday, and I think I know how I want to do it from now on. From now on it will be called “Taking the fifth” and where the number was ten before it’s now, well, you work it out!

RENTAL : Last week I finally got to see “A Clockwork Orange”. Besides the various the messages throughout, what struck me was how over-the-top the desire was to shock in the early seventies, be it in décor, art, dress, even language. I find expression these days to be more direct and obvious.

SHITE… : …is this week’s Irish slang word and rhymes with “fight”. Though it is a variation of shit, it is considered to be a softer usage. Common phrases include “Go and shite”, “That tastes like boiled shite”, and “Guinness makes you shite through your elbow”.

BUSHBASHING : How ironic is it that most powerful nation in the world can send a team to a major sporting event, this summer’s World Cup to be precise, yet be the only one unable to display its flag on the team bus for security reasons?

LYRICAL :
“It's silly, no?
When a rocket ship explodes
And everybody still wants to fly
Some say a man ain't happy
Unless a man truly dies
Oh why?”

Who sang that? Check comments for the answer.

OVER? : I know all good things come to an end, and I know even the best TV drama can be ruined by going on too long, but if Sunday night’s series finale was the last ever, it was a sad event for American television, and it will be sorely missed.

AGREEMENT? : Spare a thought for the people of Northern Ireland as once again their politicians try to reach a consensus on how to govern the region eight years after the people implored them to. The trouble is, it’s the Extremist parties that are heading the negotiations. I won’t hold my breath.

TUNES : I guess I’m back to the one-album wonders in my car stereo this week – with the entertaining gospel inspired rock tracks that make up the Hothouse Flowers’ debut album “People” from 1988. Maybe their association with the Eurovision Song Contest was to be their undoing.

LINK : This week’s shout-out goes to The Swearing Lady for linking me twice on her entertaining new blog “Arse End Of Ireland”. Maybe my American readers will need some more Irish slang translation before they appreciate it, though…

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“the day and time roy keane left the irish squad in saipan”

“washing line panties”

“three legged footballer”

“brazil sex show”

I hope they all found what they were looking for.
I really, honestly, truly don't make these up.

Google phrases of the week appear courtesy of StatCounter.com

Friday, May 12, 2006

all the tens

This isn’t really a “meme” per se – this is just something I want to try out by way of a different method of posting. Of course feel free to try it yourself if it seems interesting.

I’m quite the control freak. I can’t post on my blog unless I type something up on Word first then scrutinize it a gagillion times before publishing, and even THEN I have to go back and re-edit over and over.

Fellow blogger Shandi gave me an idea to test myself via this post of hers.

So for this writing exercise I will do the following –

1. Open up my Blogger dashboard
2. Pick up a random book
3. Go to the tenth page
4. go to the tenth line on that page
5. go to the tenth word on that line
6. if the tenth word has less than four letters, I will take the nearest word of four letters or more that comes before it
7. as soon as I identify the word, I must type it, then start my timer for ten minutes and write whatever I can about that word
8. then I just hit publish and hope for the best

Here goes…


Today's word is... TIMES
Ok times - well I'm thinking about newspapers right now - The Irish Times in particular, how their leading columnist of many years Kevin Myers recently defected to rival publication the Irish Independent. He was too controversial for this country's leading publication I guess. I always remember reading a piece he wrote about a poor girl who was killed down in County Wexford a couple of years ago. She was from Germany and worked for a family down there as a nanny. She was pushing a buggy containing the couple's baby son and the buggy had gone out onto the road while she was still on the sidewalk and got stuck as a big truck was approaching. she tried to wave to the driver to get his attention but as he had a stack of boxes beside him in the cab he didnt see her. So she heroically pushed the buggy forward beyond the truck but tragically she herself wa shit and killed by the truck who never saw her until it was too late. It was clearly a harrowing event for all concernec. Anyway Myers was writing an article about our judicial system saying how hard it is to achieve speedy justice. The girl's poor parents had to come back and forth from Germany to attend various hearings and as far as I know, the man was not convicted and is still driving today. I could be wrong though - remember the nature of these posts is that I spew out what pops into my head and keep my head down and don't even check for spelling mistakes [though I will be honest I have backspaced a good few times already! Anyway - the part about Myers' piece that bugged me was the way he made a flippant reference to the girl after the accident as a "flattened piece of steak tartare", which although his overall slant was in favour of her and her family in the case, I found to be a morally reprehensible choice of words. Now I'm wondering why the hell the word "times" made me think of that story, but my own time is now numbered, so I guess I will wrap this up. This is an interesting excercies but if you try it remember to minimise your distractions as you do it. turn off your phone, get you head down,m and type. Here's a long sentence to finish off with that doesn't really msay anything but will use up my laST TEN SECONDS.

Monday, May 08, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
RESPECT FOR ME, RESPECT FOR MY FAMILY…



CHALLENGE : I had an idea the other day to spice up the “Lyrical” bullet each week by leaving the name of the song off the post and putting it in the comment section to see if you can work it out for yourself. Are you up for it?

TUNES : He may have gone on to earn a reputation as a writer of mushy drivel like “Lady In Red”, but I still contend that Chris de Burgh's earlier albums “Spanish Train” and “The Getaway” were quality, and the former is currently in my car stereo.

SLANG : The “Nextblogging” feature wasn’t doing it for me, so instead I’ll start introducing my non-Irish readers to various forms of Irish slang – this week I’ll focus on the word “scarleh”, pronounced just like it looks, and is used to denote embarrassment. It comes from saying “scarlet” in a Dublin accent.

LINK : Thanks yet again to Paige A Harrison for once more referring to me as "The Godfather of Blogging" and also to adding this site to her linklist. As a courtesy I’d be more than willing to whack any blogger that criticizes her in future, so be warned…

LYRICAL :
"When I'm deep inside of me
Don't be too concerned
I won't ask for nothin' while I'm gone
But when I want sincerity
Tell me where else can I turn
Because you're the only one that I depend on"


Know who sang that? Check the comments for the answer.


APE : I finally got to see Peter Jackson’s attempt at King Kong last week. It was definitely worth seeing for the special effects, particularly Kong himself. Also the bonus DVD features about the making of the film are interesting viewing.

SCARLEH : Now you know what this word means, I can now tell you that I was TOTALLY scarleh when I realized the character known as “Sarah” from my LifeSlice story about being a movie extra had found the post and read the whole thing! At least she thought it was “entertaining”…

SPURS : I don’t often cover sports here, but I have to pay tribute to what was a brilliant season for my favourite team. Though we were 4th since January and bumped down to 5th in the final game yesterday, it was still a great improvement on the past ten years.

PROGRESS : Not a good first week for my plans to get back to a decent weight – I actually put on two pounds. I put it down to stress surrounding my grandmother having difficuly settling into her new living situation. Hopefully things will improve on all front this week.

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“baseball commentator holy cow”

“song words for nottingham forest”

“she was fantasizing about”

“history of how we got to dog pampering”

“wedding jeff woman girl”

“virgin prunes t-shirt”


I hope they all found what they were looking for.


Google phrases of the week courtesy of StatCounter.com

Friday, May 05, 2006

a cure not to be sneezed at

“Pucker up there honey I’ll be right with you…”

And there was I thinking I had tried everything to prevent my annual bout of hay fever. If only I knew sooner about this study brought to light by those reliable folks at Ananova's Quriky files…

A snog can 'cure hayfever'


A new study says a passionate 30-minute kiss can help relieve the misery of hayfever.

Researchers found kissing relaxes the sufferer and reduces production of histamine which triggers hayfever.

A team at Satou Hospital in Japan told 24 men and women with hayfever to spend 30 minutes kissing their partners while listening to soft music.

The experiment was repeated with cuddles but not kisses. Blood samples showed a significant drop in antibodies fighting the allergens after the kissing session but no response at all to cuddling.

The same happened in patients with atopic dermatitis, a skin condition also triggered by allergies.

Research leader Dr Hajime Kimata said:
"These results indicate for the first time that kissing may alleviate allergic responses."


Well, there it is, ladies, cast iron proof. You can be sure I have it printed out to carry around with me in case of a sudden attack in public, depending of course on who is in the viscinity…

Two questions arise [pardon the pun] from this story for me:

1) Is the research leader male or female, and
2) Who would be willing to kiss someone with red eyes and a stuffed up nose?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

gateway to allah


Aide : Mr President, I think you should take a look at this photograph.

Dubya : Gee whiz, can't you see I'm busy? Ive seen hundreds of these goddam satellite photos from Iraqi mosques before - why would I wanna look at this one?

Aide : That's just it, Mr President - this is not taken from Iraq, it's from outside a police station here in Washington.

Dubya : Huh? What are they all doing there?

Aide : They're waiting to give their statements claiming that they were somehow involved in 9/11, sir.

Monday, May 01, 2006

bitesize bullets



TEN TOPICS…
NO PARTICULAR ORDER…
ONE MAN’S OPINIONS…
FIFTY WORD LIMIT ON EACH…
YET ANOTHER BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND…



ACCOMPLISHED : Last week was a big one for me – on Tuesday, my divorce was finalised by a judge, then on Saturday, I made the big move for my grandmother to her sheltered accommodation an hour from Dublin. She seems to be settling in ok so far – fingers crossed.

NEXTBLOGGING : I just hit the “Next Blog” and it led me here. Seems like a respectable personal blog by a lady from Canada. Shame about the overly self-deprecating profile tagline, however. There’s a brief interesting post down the page about Mick Jagger’s plans to star in a sitcom.

LYRICAL :
“When yer lonely and you start to hear
The little voices in your head at night
You will only sniff away the tears
So you can dance until the morning light
At what price?”


Oasis, “Sunday Morning Call”, taken from “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”

CHARLIE : Speaking of Oasis, I used to think I always got the hidden references in the show “Lost”, but only recently did I realise what was represented by the Charlie character. He’s supposed to be a junkie in a band from Manchester with his brother Liam? Duh!

WEIGHT : Although I did well last autumn with a weight-loss regime, since Christmas I have fallen off the wagon somewhat. Time to go back to keeping a record of my progress here. Let’s just call “x” my current weight and see how much I can shed in the coming weeks.

BLAIR : It is nine years to the day since Tony Blair came to power in Britain. Surely with all that is happening his days as prime minister are numbered– not only are his senior colleagues involved in various scandals but there is also the small matter of Iraq.

CORLEONE : Even if it is tongue-in-cheek, I can’t help but be flattered by fellow Irish blogger Paige (or is it Roisín?) A Harrison’s post where she refers to me as “The Godfather”. It came after an interesting series of comments following her piece on Irish blogging phenomenon Twenty Major.

TUNES : Though many bands from the 80s sound dated today, I guarantee you the Housemartins’ debut album “London-0 Hull-4”, currently in my car stereo, would still be a hit if released now. Their singer Pd Heaton went on to form The Beautiful South while drummer Norman Cook turned into FatBoy Slim.

STATWATCH : This blog has taken a relative surge of hits lately, eventually tipping over the 15,000 mark courtesy of someone from India. The returning visitors stats are also holding steady which is a good sign. The Irish blog just passed 8,500 as well.

GOOGLING : Latest phrases to lead people here include …

“man pampering”

“play roberto baggio game”

“sex word of the day”

“diego maradona pronunciations”

“matt santos liberal quote”

“arsenal are like jordan too many foreign implants” *



I hope they all found what they were looking for.


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