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Showing posts from March, 2005

r.i.p.

No chance of this actually happening I know, but I recommend we in Blogland offer at least a few day's silence on the issue out of respect for all involved in the Schindler/Schiavo affair.

May she rest in peace.

stories worth a thousand words #6

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY 1000 WORDS ON…THE REST OF THE CLANWritten: November 19, 2004
NB : The names are not important here, so I’ve changed them all rather than use #’s like Ive done before. It’s more fun that way! This time I used comedians names! I must add that the name Ambrose Hossenfeffer isn’t as far off the original as it looks!

If there’s one advantage to being thousands of miles away from the bulk of your relatives, it’s that it sure makes your weddings cheaper! Since I’m currently working towards my second, such things are important! On the serious side, the long distance has meant that although I have always kept in contact with immediate family where possible, none of them have ever played an important role in my growing up. I will use this chapter to give brief descriptions of the significant players among the remaining family.
AUNTS AND UNCLES
My mother had two adopted brothers, Joseph Jr and Christopher. As my grandparents were approaching forty when …

aftershock

I was speechless when I heard the news of a second fatal earthquake in South East Asia less than 24 hours after I had written a post on the first one. I wish I had some extra money to help them. The only thing my finacee and I can think of is to make the decision to have our honeymoon out there next fall; hopefully by then they will be built up again and would appreciate the business. If your thoughts are with Terry Schiavo and/or those suffering in the Middle East and Iraq, please also spare some for those affected by this double tragedy.

leave them be

I have been loathe to comment on the Terry Schiavo case up to now, but after hearing reports of events yesterday, I feel I have no choice.

There is no victory here. True, I am a liberal but I challenge anyone to look me in the eye and tell me they think I will be happy when she dies. Just like Roe vs Wade, just like Bush vs Kerry, just like all the other black or white issues, Schiavo vs Schindler had to go one way or the other. The decision has been made. I’m sure there will plenty of time in the future to go after the evil murdering judges that made these difficult decisions, for as we all know, judges are there to go along with what we want, not how they interpret the law.

The report I heard said that the Schindlers were resigned to their daughter’s fate. If this is true, then for the love of all that’s holy would the crowds outside the hospice ever just go home and let the family spend their last few hours with their daughter in peace. I heard some were even giving Terry’s own b…

priorities

I watched a fascinating BBC documentary yesterday evening about the tsunami tragedy in South East Asia. Remember that? I had all but forgotten it. Since then there have been plenty of topics like Schiavo and Jackson to keep the 24-hour news channels occupied with their experts and their charts and their predictions. It was the fact that it was Easter Sunday that jolted me into watching, since the tragedy happened just after our last big Christian holiday.

Two things in particular interested me. One of the first waves to hit Indonesia was preceded by a massive trough which actually sucked the water AWAY from the coastline minutes before the fatal strike. The mostly-European holidaymakers on the beaches, clearly chilled out on their hard earned vacations, remained in their sun loungers, sipping their beers and licking their ice creams, watching the unusual spectacle without so much as a care in the world. They had absolutely no idea the retreating water was nature’s way of saying RUN!!!!…

when your partner eggs you on...

Sandra : I presume you're gonna put the Easter Egg hunt poems on your blog? JL : Are you mad? S : Aw, why not? They're so cuuuute!!! JL : Which is EXACTLY why they're not going on the blog! S : I thought you said your blog was to showcase your writing? JL : Yeah, but... S : Well, you wrote those clues for your kids, didn't you? JL : Yeah, but... S : Well, they should go on your blog then! JL : Yeah, but... S : Enough with the yeah but!!! JL : OK, OK, I'll do it later. Hey, how about we take your Mom out for lunch this afternoon? S : Fine, I'll hold you to that, but why don't you post that on your blog before we go??? JL : Alright, alright...SHEESH!!! 2nd Annual Pagano Easter Egg Hunt 2005 CLUE ONE

Just like Shrek and Spiderman
The “Pagano Easter Egg Hunt” can
Be just as fun with its part two
As the first one was for me and you

So off we go this one more time
Let’s hope the words I try to rhyme
Will lead you once more to your goal
Without much undo rigmarole

We’ll start off with a…

stories worth a thousand words #5

A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MY GRANDMOTHER AND I

Written: December 31, 2004

My rugby team had won its competition, something like The Leinster Schools Junior Seconds League, with me being a substitute for the final match at Donnybrook. The captain of the team, N#### W#####, planned to have a party at his house one evening to celebrate, and issued invites to all of the members of the squad. From his point of view, it was a simple process, just asking everyone to be at his house at a certain time; it was not to be a wild night for the group of 14-15 year olds, just a supervised gathering to watch a couple of movies and munch on a few burgers and chips.
To my family however, and to my grandmother in particular, the whole event was to become an ordeal of seemingly epic proportions. With absolutely no experience of contact with other Irish parents to draw on, I think she determined the word “party” to mean something akin to a Woodstock concert, with dru…

they must mean the royal "everybody"

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You know how at the end of some movies they say “based on a true story”? Well that is supposed to tell you it’s not actually that true story.

Now I see why at the end of each episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” the first thing to come up on the screen is “based on the comedy of Ray Romano”. It’s obviously meant to tell you it’s not actually comedy.

I had seen only excerpts before, so in the spirit of fair play (and nothing else being on TV) I decided this evening to sit through an entire episode. My suspicions were more than confirmed.

Oh my good Lord, how can a program meant to evoke laughter be SO not funny???

If you try to dive into the deep mysterious depths that are the main characters, it will be like jumping off a springboard into a paddling pool.

First there’s Ray – the husband, the father, the guy who tries to do his embarrassing guy stuff without his wife knowing.

Next there’s the wife, who of course is doing all the REAL work running the home and bringing up the kids. She can’t …

when i was the greatest

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Here’s a story about something I used to do when I was young and bored.

It would only last about 10-15 seconds, but in that time, I was The Greatest Footballer In The World.

First, let me be clear on what I mean by “football”. There are several sports out there that go by this name, but as far as I’m concerned, most should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Association Football, or “soccer” as the Americans call it, is the ONLY game that can be legitimately referred to as “football”. Why? Em, because the BALL is primarily propelled by the FOOT, duh!!! There’s your association! All the other sports should be re-named, and here are some suggestions….

“Rugby” is often called football. No way. If anything it should be “carry-ball”. Have you ever tried kicking a rugby ball? The damn thing can go anywhere! No wonder that dude William Webb Ellis decided to pick it up and run with it – he was the only one who had any sense!!!

“American football” is no more deserving of the name. That …

united we stand; how does the rest go again?

Gun control.

The Schiavo case.

Abortion.

The War on Terror.

The Raising and Distribution of Taxes.

Gay Marriage.

President George W Bush re-elected, November 2004.

51% of total votes for him, 49% against him.

I always thought a good leader was one who brought unity.

To everyone, not just to those who agree with him.

Don’t think for a minute that I believe there’s a Democrat out there who could do any better.

I simply recommend the country be renamed The Divided States Of America until further notice.

stories worth a thousand words #4

A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MY GRANDFATHER AND I

Written : October 21, 2004 (Speech done August 27, 2004)

It was about 1:30am when the call came. As soon as I saw the words Royal Hospital Donnybrook on my phone I knew what had happened. The head nurse from the night shift complied with my wish to ring me on my mobile and not subject Grandma to being first to hear the news. At the very least he had passed away in his sleep like he had always wanted.
So now what to do? I had the kids staying with me. I wanted them out of here when I told Grandma. I had to get them ready in the morning and bring them to school, THEN come home and break the news. Still not quite 2am, I called Sandra and told her. She told me she would take the day off work on Friday to be with me. I was so glad she was there when I eventually informed Mrs Lee of her husband’s passing.
Of course there was no way I was going to sleep now. Then it struck me – what if I have to say something a…

cutting the grass that's greener (reprise)

Love can conquer pretty much everything it seems. The following post was written in November 2004. I chose to alter the names of those involved.
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Bizarre happenings last night. Sandra's roommate Sheila is a good close friend of hers, and she has been seeing this guy Mike for the past 7 months. They have had their problems but according to my fiancee they have gotten over them. Being a typical guy, I'm only half listening when she tells me about the situation, but I paid enough attention to know that he spends long periods of time away from her when with a bit of effort on his part they could be together. The fact that made me laugh was that he would constantly leave the flat early on a Saturday morning because he had to drive all the way home to "cut the grass". With that I privately christened him The Lawnmower Man.
And so Sandra and I were in Liffey Valley Shopping Center last night. We were to see a movie, The Grudge, at 7pm. We …

beannachtaí lá ‘le phádraig

(I’m pretty sure that’s “Happy St Patrick’s Day” in Irish)

My fellow blogger Shan’s hilarious post insipred this entry.

Did you hear the one about the Irishman? He was stupid!

This has been the gist of Irish jokes over the years. But did you ever wonder how the Irish were perceived as being intellectually challenged???

Allow me to go through the country’s history and explain in vivid detail exactly how 800 years of oppression by the evil British empire led to everything the Irish said, especially literal translations of phrases from the Irish language, being misconstrued for a general lack of brain power.

Ok, maybe I already explained it with that last sentence; let’s go straight to the examples!!!

Consider the following sentences:

1. “I’ll be with you now, in a minute.”

2. “I turned away for a second, and when I looked back, there it was, gone.”

3. “I always used to do that sometimes”

All have been used by Irish folk over the years.To English speakers from Britain or North America, they may al…

stories worth a thousand words #3

A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MY LIFE BEFORE IRELAND

Written : November 2, 2004


I was strolling down the stairs in our big house on the corner of B####### Road and R####### Avenue, before anyone else had woken up. I was saying out loud to myself something like, “So what if I’m 6 years old today? So it’s my birthday – Big deal!!!!” That would have been my earliest memory that I could confidently put a date on, which would’ve been March 21st, 1975.
“100 B####### Road” WAS a big house, located in Pittsburg, California, which is about 50 miles outside of San Francisco. At the time the two roads at the junction in question were very important connectors to adjoining towns like Antioch. The big white structure was previously owned by a S##### M#####, who had the shrewdness to build a smaller dwelling on the edge of the property, move into it herself and sell the original house for a substantial profit. My grandparents had moved there in the late 1950’s, when…

six brave women – the first victory

“Sinn Fein is accusing the PSNI [police force in Northern Ireland] of refusing to question suspects .. and turning away witnesses who want to give evidence regarding the murder. Martin McGuinness says the police have a politically-motivated agenda in wanting to drag the case out.”

A group of unfortunate people standing at a bus stop jumped out of their skins as, while stopped at a red light, I bellowed expletives at my car radio after hearing the above report an hour ago.

It seems I was right to suggest the McCartney sisters were considering entering the political arena. The following news sent a chill down my spine, as it would for anyone who knew the man in question was himself a convicted terrorist :

“Mr McGuinness said the McCartneys needed to be very careful they did not step over the line into party politics, which he said could do a huge disservice to their campaign to bring the killers to justice.”

Yet Robert McCartney’s partner and his five sisters have seen their courage rewarde…

be my guest

[I've been WAY WAY too serious with my posting lately!!! I need to lighten up a little, stop watching the news and reading the papers for a week or so, and maybe even rent a few comedy movies and catch a few stand-up routines on the TV. Even tuning in to what my kids say to each other for five minutes brings forth a giggle. This post perked me up a notch or six. Thanks, Mike!]

Hardware’s gone soft by Mike Todd
My wife Kara recently tricked me into thinking we were going tool shopping. I know, I know, I should have smelled a trap. I’m like Wiley Coyote – she paints the tunnel on the rock face, and I run smack into it every time.
She fooled me by taking me to a store called Restoration Hardware, and I, for reasons that seemed obvious at the time, expected to find myself in a hardware store. Once we got there, though, I realized it was really a Pottery Barn in disguise. Talk about your dirty tricks. Someday, I’m going to open up a sports bar called “Pillows n’ Scented Candles.”
I actuall…

bullets and booze

St Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, a day which sees America and Ireland celebrate the similarities in their respective cultures.

Today I am reminded of one parallel that I very much doubt will be a theme for a float anywhere come Thursday.

Imagine an entire nation rocked by regular carnage caused by something which is supposedly for practical and even recreational purposes and which in the wrong hands can be drastically transformed into a lethal weapon. So much money is made from this product that the industry involved does everything in its power to prevent legislation being enacted which will affect its profit margins. The industry hides behind an organisation it created itself, arguing the product in question is supposed be a part of that very same nation’s national heritage!

I am of course referring to the NRA.

BUT HERE’S THE CATCH.

I mean The National Roads Authority here in Ireland.

Drink driving accounts for an increasing amount of road deaths each year. I’d love to quote you precis…

not in my back yard

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HOTEL RWANDA

Can you really show me power?
Cos I can show you a slave!
And can you really show me a border?
Cos I can show you a grave!

[The movie reminded me of this part of a poem I wrote back in the 90's (when I was convinced I knew everything) called "Human Constitution" ]

I have no doubt in my mind that there isn't a single human being alive today that wouldn't do anything and I mean ANYTHING for his or her family. What this film highlights, IMHO, is that one of our biggest problems as a race is that we all have different definitions as to what our "family" entails. Some see it as those in their home, some as those in their country, some as from their own ideology, some as from their own religion, some as just themselves.

Think about what you consider to be your "family" and watch Hotel Rwanda.

That this movie did not win an Oscar is blatant proof of the theme running throughout its own storyline - the "West" plain and simple does not c…

stories worth a thousand words #2

A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…BEFORE I CAME ALONG

Written: December 21, 2004


From: JL Pagano
To: Maura Lee
Date: December 8, 2004 2pm
Subject: Brain Picking

Hi,

I was wondering if you could help me with an assignment I'm working on. Inspired by Grandpa's memoirs, I have decided to do something similar for my kids. I‘d like you to contribute in the form of a chapter entitled “Before I Came Along”. The only restrictions would be that the piece covers the family history from 1909-1969, and that it contains exactly 800 words. I know that is pretty brief, but conciseness is one of the themes of the project as a whole. Should you agree, whatever you put forward will go in to the completed work verbatim. My aim is to have the whole thing completed by New Year’s Day, so any time before that would be ideal.

J.

From: Maura Lee
To: JL Pagano
Date: December 8, 2004 9pm
Subject: RE: Brain Picking

Jeff,
Let me think it over, ok? I'm working straight through the holi…

chain blogging

I, in turn, borrwed this from "Buffalo's Path". While blog surfing this afternoon I discovered the following, and "borrowed" it, from Michele's Hangout. 1. Grab the nearest book. 2. Open the book to page 123. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions. 5. Don’t you dare dig for the “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest. The book on my desk is THE REMOURSEFUL DAY by Colin Dexter (The last Inspector Morse Novel) ...fine pint of Morrell's Bitter - of which Morse took liberal advantage that early Saturday lunchtime. The printed menu and the chalked-up specials on the board were strong temptations to many a man. But not to Morse. These past two decades he had almost invariably taken his lunchtime calories in liquid form; and he did so now. Hm! This looks interesting! Maybe I'll actually read it!!! [it's my grandmothe…

six brave women : follow-up

Imagine drawing a line in the sand, and then having your own people push you over it.

The six brave women I wrote about a while ago are still demanding that their loved one’s killers be brought before the courts.

They have managed to rock the Republican movement to its very core and galvanize public opinion behind them in a way no politician on either side has been able to do for a long, long time.

So much so that the political wing of the IRA, Sinn Fein, have been falling over themselves to remind everyone that they are actually on the side of the sextet. They have been quite rightly exposed for doing a u-turn in their policy based purely on the actions of Robert McCartney’s five sisters and his partner.

So much so that the IRA itself issued a statement yesterday admitting not only that its own members were involved in the stabbing, but that they even offered to kill the perpetrators. How nice of them. Naturally the offer was rejected. So much so, that even Unionist politicians, from the …

it was no walk in the park...

Saturday, June 12, 2004 was the day I finally realized I wasn’t young anymore. It had been about ten years since I was at a concert like this, and I am sure the only difference between the two was the eyes with which I viewed them.

Today’s the day! The Pixies and the Chilli Peppers live hooray! Get a bus into town, another one out to Phoenix Park. Not quite sure where to get off or where to go? Just follow the crowd! Off at the final stop of the Number 10 and follow the crowd! Walking and walking down the road to the corner. Long line outside liquor store. Get around the corner, what an incredible sight. Empty cans and plastic pint glasses and crumpled bags without chips and squashed chips without bags and bodies and everything all over the ground. Girlfriend has to pee; I’ll wait outside the pub. Boy no older than my 7-year old lights up a cigarette in front of me. She comes out of the pub, couldn’t go, line too long. Walking and walking to the front gates of the park. They’re handing…

not a good sign!

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Consider this Dublin road sign for a minute. It is situated at a significant T-junction coming from a road which comes from a major ferry terminal (other than Dublin Port!). Imagine you are a traveller over from Britain in a rented car. You look at your map, and you see that Wexford is located due south of Dublin..... Note that Dublin drivers are generally reluctant to allow you time to take in all the specific information a sign like this has to offer. Good luck to you!!!

stories worth a thousand words #1

A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY


[I decided this morning to publish my "autobiography", which I composed towards the end of last year, on my main blog one chapter at a time, every few days. It will at least ensure I have something to post on a regular basis!]


1000 WORDS ON…INTRODUCTIONS

Written November 14, 2004


I would say I had stumbled across my grandfather’s World War II memoirs at least a half a dozen times before. Each time I would close the red hardbacked notebook as quickly as I had opened it. This time however, it was able to grab my attention, as by now Joseph Lee was permanently bed ridden at the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook and his condition was deteriorating on a daily basis.

I took it upon myself to type out what he had written for posterity. As I was doing so I was fascinated not only by its content, but also of his mindset at the time of writing. At a few points during my transcription I noticed he made references to a “Mom” and I was confused as t…

receipt deceit

Maybe it’s not new to the Irish, but racism is definitely new to Ireland the country. Hard to believe that we are no longer on the receiving end though!

The past ten years has seen our economy flourish, mostly thanks to handouts from the European Union. Some bright spark economist coined the term “The Celtic Tiger” to represent our boom period.

This prosperous spell has, quite naturally, led to an influx of people from all kinds of different countries, most notably China and Nigeria. Now, all the so-called “crappy” jobs in fast-food restaurants, gas stations and the like, have been taken by these people.

The Irish just don’t know how to handle it! We’re used to most people being white! Names being O’Leary and Ryan and McGuinness! Everyone being Catholic! Black people, Chinese people, everywhere we go!!! What oh what can we possibly do???

Last year, the people of Ireland overwhelmingly voted “yes” in a referendum to the proposal to take the right to determine who gets to be “Irish” out of …