Showing posts from April, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #12


Written: November 17, 2004 (except the lyrics of course!)
Seeing how it’s my book and everything, I won’t feel so badly about bending my own rules a little bit to allow me to fill a few chapters with the lyrics to the various songs I’ve “written” over the years. I use the quotation marks because the tunes remain locked in my head, and I could only reproduce them by singing and going “ba-ba-ba” for the various instrumental parts! My works can be clearly divided into three phases: “pubescent”, “early-philosophical”, and “post-separation”.
The inspiration for the early stuff can be attributed mainly to one album, the Police’s “Synchronicity” from 1983. This was the first my mother ever bought me and thus was the first to which I listened intently. I was stirred by Sting’s constant references to his own loneliness, though his was rather more justified in that his marriage had just failed and I was just a spotty te…

season five is even cooler

I wrote this review on when The West Wing : Season 4 was released. Apparently 18 out of 22 people who read it found it to be helpful. I expect the commission check to land on my mat any day now.
Making Politics Cool, October 12, 2004
Reviewer: JL Pagano from Dublin, Ireland

If you have been put off watching The West Wing in the past for reasons like "Ah, I think politics is boring" or "Ah, it's an American network drama so it must be predictable" or anything along those lines, I challenge you to watch just ONE episode. ANY episode. Then tell me your head is not filled with enough questions to go back and watch from Series 1, Episode 1. For this is pretty much what happened to me!

The dialogue is intellectual and extremely pacy. Bodies are moving everywhere in every direction with what must be precision timing. And this is before I mention what can only be described as heroic antics by the cameramen who are often forced to travel backwards at quite high s…

a familiar face

The way it was set up, you’d think I was being hauled up before the principal for smoking behind the bike sheds. Well, I suppose in many ways, I was. I had done a very bad thing, and it was time for me to face the consequences.

The principal’s secretary (Mike’s Mom) had a stern look on her face as she let me in and guided me through to the waiting room (the Portugal family’s living room). I sat there patiently waiting for about five minutes as I went over in my head what I was going to say. Eventually I was instructed to go on up to the principal’s office (Mike’s Room)

Mike Portugal was a very serious person. I was friendlier with his next door neighbour Keith Harley, but they pretty much came as a set, and they always used to hang around together in school. I think Mike appreciated the way Keith and I had similar senses of humour and he probably saw his association with us as a way of being drawn away from his solemn stereotype.

Now, however, was a time for being serious, so natur…

anyone seen my big hat?

From Reuters...

Feeling frustrated because you can't remember where you left something? Don't worry: even the Pope loses things sometimes.

The new Pope Benedict's elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, 81, told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper Sunday that the pontiff's main weakness was his forgetfulness.

"He sometimes misplaces things, and all of a sudden doesn't know where his watch, his keys or a specific paper are anymore," the paper quoted Ratzinger as saying.

What does Georg value most in his sibling, who is 78?

"His clarity of thought," his patience and "that we help each other out," Bild am Sonntag quoted him as saying.

Georg Ratzinger, who is a priest, has previously been quoted as saying his brother might be too old for his new job.

He attended Sunday's inaugural papal Mass by the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger but said he had not brought a gift for a man who had everything.

He said he planned to ask his brother for just on…

stories worth a thousand words #11


Written: December 2, 2004
Over the years Fr David Carson became the closest friend our family made while living in Ireland. I suppose it could be argued that my grandparents’ interest in him could have come from his being parish priest at the local church, but considering he must have experienced sycophants on a regular basis, his continued attention to our humble selves must demonstrate an awareness that our friendship was genuine. Once a week he would arrive at the house to give communion; my grandmother would construct a quasi-altar on the dinner table so he could make his proclamation in Latin before doling out the host.
Being the pre-teen boy I was, my continued participation in this weekly service was based on my sniggering at the part of his recital where he said the word “fuctum”, which suggested a combination of the words “fuck” and “rectum” which no school going child could possibly ignore. Apart fro…


What if it’s David? That bastard never liked me. He’d love the chance to boss me around. It has to be either him or Kathy from the Henry Street store. She’ll be ok I reckon, but she’s not long where she is, so I guess that’s wishful thinking. Of course they could promote somebody to manager; if they did, I wonder who’d be best qualified to run this store…

My body was lacing a pair of sports shoes for a customer. My mind, however, was lost in speculation over who would be taking over from my boss Sharon, who two weeks earlier had been awarded the lucrative post of manager of the new store at the Jervis Street Shopping Center. With each passing day my curiosity grew stronger, so you can imagine how it was by now.

“So does it?”

“I’m sorry?” I said, having been shaken from my daydream.

“Does this style come in different colours? “

“What? Oh, no, well- it did, but this is the newer model, I doubt I’d have it in your size in the old one.”

“Ah, ok. I have to say I’ve never seen someone so devoted …

finally the 49% fight back

Well it's about time. President Bush hailed his victory last November as though it were some kind of God-given mandate to rush through his entire Neo-con agenda. Although I would not be surprised if he eventually does get this by Congress, I am delighted to hear that things are at least being made sticky for him at Bolton's nomination committee hearing. THIS is what democracy is all about. I reckon Kofi Annan is having a quiet giggle when he reads it.

seeking advice from on (a) high

I left this as a comment on another blog when they were still choosing a Pope ... thought I'd share it ...

To honor the events in Rome, my friends and I have bought a load of different types of hash-smoking paraphernalia and we will lock ourselves in a room until we decide which one is the best. When you see white smoke coming from the chimney you will know for sure that a new Pipe has been chosen! Ar Ar Ar.

stories worth a thousand words #10



Written: December 25, 2004

On Christmas day you can’t get sore
Your fellow man you must adore
You’ve time to rob him all the more
The other three-hundred and sixty-four!!!

Tom Lehrer “A Christmas Carol”

Five words enter everyone’s vocabulary every year, right around the time the months start ending in the letters “-ber”. Five words that make many people roll their eyes to heaven, partly out of surprise that yet another year has gone by so quickly, and partly out of realization that their wallets are soon to take yet another beating. For around this time, everything that is discussed, everything that is planned, everything that is speculated is done with the necessity to bear in mind that we are “coming up to the Christmas”.
Christmas is for many people a time when family gets together and does exactly the same thing every year, but I seriously doubt any two of the festive periods I have experienced can be compared. Thi…

what's in a name indeed!

When I worked in the pub just up the road from me there was a lounge girl called Carina. I always noted her name because, well ok, she was quite attractive, but I was also dying to ask her if she was named after the Toyota automobile. You know what I mean, how some people are named after the place where they were conceived?

She worked with us for over a year, and never shied away from joining in the fun we all had while employed there. Whenever we went to the local nightclub after work (which was often) she’d tag along, and she wasn’t averse to joining in on our plans to haze the new staff by being the one to request that they go to the other pub down the road for a bucket of steam or a can of striped paint.

Like many of the staff, indeed like my good self, Carina was only working there to earn money for socializing through university. When she eventually did hang up her tray, we had one hell of a night out to see her off. A couple of weeks later, she came in to pick up her tax document…

stories worth a thousand words #9


[Point of Information : “College” in this case refers to what Americans call “High School”]
Written: 10 November 2004
As far as I was concerned, there could only have been one reason why Fr “Rabbit” McCoy asked to see me after school.

And in case you think this is yet another tale of Catholic school buggery, think again. Perhaps Brother Saul was a little over helpful with me getting on the weights equipment one day when I was in second year, but that would be the extent of my complaints in that regard.
The only transgression I could think of was the fact that I was going home when I should have been attending the school memorial masses. Blackrock College was not only an academic institution but also it served as a rest home for retired priests from the Holy Ghost order. Every day we would see frail elderly pastors being taken out for walks around the outskirts of the campus. One particularly witty pupil coined …

what's next - oscar the cheerful?

From Ananova:

No more treats for Cookie Monster

Sesame Street favourite Cookie Monster is going on a diet.

He is aiming to get healthy during the show's new series reports the New Zealand Herald.
Other characters will also get involved in the health drive. Elmo will be shown exercising.
As part of the project, Cookie Monster, who used to sing that "C is for cookie", will be telling viewers that biscuits are occasional treats. He now sings: "A cookie is a sometimes food."

The producers of Sesame Street will now start with a health tip about nutrition, exercise, hygiene and rest.

Producers deny that Cookie Monster has been placed on a diet. "We would never use the word diet with pre-schoolers," said a spokeswoman. **************************** Say it isn't so!!!! Is NOTHING sacred???? For the record, Cookie Monster never actually ate the cookies as far as I can recall. They always crumbled on the edge of his mouth and went all over the floor. That's the b…

roof goof

I normally try to avoid bringing my kids to McDonalds when I possibly can. It has nothing to do with being afraid they will become obese, nothing to do with my being afraid I will become obese, nothing to do with culinary snobbery. The reason I hate taking them is that social stereotype known as “The McDonalds Dad”, i.e. the guy whose wife left him and who, being male and obviously unable to master a stove, pretends to treat his children with fast food when in fact he is really covering up his own inabilities. I’m actually quite nifty in the kitchen but that’s not easy to prove when you’re sitting on a plastic bench wishing you’d remembered to ask for curry sauce to go with your son’s McNuggets.

On this particular day, however, I chose to give in to their pleading, and have a side order of pride to swallow along with my Big Mac Meal. I had them for an afternoon, of which there was an hour left to kill before the ex got home from work and I could drop them off and go on to my computer c…

how to wait patiently to dismantle an atomic bomb

Just 74 days till the U2 concert and counting.....

stories worth a thousand words #8



Written: December 31, 2004

It didn’t take me long to think of a story that best described the atmosphere in the Lee household as I was growing up. Of all the unorthodox interactions we had over the years, the one that clearly had to take the biscuit was The War Of The Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
I had recently learned how to use the grill above the oven to make my own snacks, and being a spoiled teenager, I was prone to leaving the pan for someone else to clean. My very presence in the kitchen was to become a battle of wills between myself and my two elderly guardians that would appear comical to anyone outside our dysfunctional trinity.
From my point of view, I believed that when one prepares a snack they should at least be allowed to enjoy it before they consider cleaning up afterwards. From their standpoint, this was an issue where they finally had to stand up to their grandson, as their laissez-faire policy …

bill, me, later?

Although I love to write, I’m afraid to say it takes one hell of a book to capture my attention beyond its first two or three chapters. I have just started reading such a publication, and I dare say I may actually make it through to its end, even though it’s a huge thing with hundreds of pages and very small print.

It’s the story of a man who never knew his birth father growing up, and whose mother was forced to work in the big city, leaving him for a spell as an only child in the day to day care of his maternal grandparents.

Why do I identify with this? Because it is my story to a t. Who is this book about? Bill Clinton.

I could have easily written this excerpt myself:
“For all their own demons, my grandparents and my mother always made me feel I was the most important person in the world to them. Most children will make it if they have just one person who makes them feel that way. I had three.”

Obviously the parallels between our respective versions of “My Life” end rather abruptly there…

stories worth a thousand words #7



Written: December 10, 2004

“I’m going to have to stop you right there, Jeff. I have to tell you right now, here, in front of all your classmates, that I’m seriously considering replacing you in the final production. You seem to be talking to yourself up there, you are not at all animated, and in all my time putting on these operas I have never seen a more unconvincing villain. Am I being unreasonable in what I just said? No, I didn’t think so.”
If I had to choose a Catholic priest that I had met in my life up to now for whom I could say I had utmost respect, it would definitely be the late Fr Jarlath Dowling, who was head of music in Willow Park School. Every year he would produce, direct and almost single-handedly choreograph what he called an “opera” but was actually an operetta, on the stage in the gym hall. He was fiercely passionate about his work, and demanded a similar dedication from all involved.
I was in…

two weddings and a funeral

How's this for irony...The decision to hold Pope John Paul II's funeral on Friday has forced Prince Charles, the future head of the Church of England, to move his second wedding to Saturday. Seemingly thousands of pieces of memorabilia that have been manufactured bearing Fridays date have now lost their value. If I remember my history correctly, it was a Pope's failure to grant permission for an English monarch to marry a second time that caused the split from the Catholic Church in the first place! What goes around, etc, etc....

il papa

This morning I went to Sunday service in a Unitarian church which is situated in downtown Dublin. Although I was raised a Catholic, I am hoping to marry my fiancée in a place of worship next year and since I have already been married once before, I cannot do so in my own church even though I will be legally divorced.

Since Pope John Paul II had passed away less then 24 hours before, I was very curious to hear what the minister of this church had to say on the matter. He covered this ground with his opening remarks, and IMHO did so very well. His words went something like this:

“We must begin of course, by offering our deepest sympathies to all in the Catholic community of Pope John Paul II's passing yesterday. It could be said that I did not exactly see eye to eye with him on many things, in fact I dare say most people here did not see eye to eye with him on many things; this is probably the bulk of the reason why we are all here today! Nonetheless, it must be said that he was undou…

over the edge

April always reminds me of a funny thing that happened to me when I was seventeen. Well, when I say funny, I mean it is now when I think of it, but my life could be so much different now were it not for Lady Luck looking after me.

Peter O’Reilly was in my class for all subjects in school, but I never really hung out with him outside the classroom. It just so happened that we were both hanging around after hours for different reasons on this particular day. He had to wait a while before his ride home and I was just staying to get an hour’s study done in the peace and quiet of the Study Hall since there were so many annoying distractions at home.

Rather than get down to his studies, Peter decided to single me out from the few people scattered all over the Study Hall and inform me that he knew a much more secluded place to get study done. Although I didn’t know him all that well I always had him down as a reasonable sort, so I packed my books into my bag and went with him.

It was to the…