Showing posts from August, 2005

the cretan condom caper

"Why won't the bloody thing go in for me?"

David Kelleher cut a very lonely figure as he stood in the toilets at the Temple Bar pub in Hersonnisos on the sunny island of Crete.

Not that he was actually on his own in there, of course. It was 2am on a Sunday morning, which as far as Dave and everyone around him was concerned was still Saturday night. One could hardly expect a bathroom in a bar to be empty at this hour, particularly one aimed at the Irish.

What made Dave stand out was that unlike the others, he was not relieving his body of fluids to make way for yet more bottles of Heineken to see out the night. Instead, he was furiously trying to jam a €2 coin into a slot that was clearly designed for smaller denominations.

Up to now, this had been a trip about rules - breaking as many of them as possible, that is. From the moment he met his seven mates from school at the airport, Dave had shamelessly flouted every directive that was put before him.

Sure why should I be follow…


“Let’s go to the Bluebird
And the night will be sheer bliss!”
Never more a true word
Was spoken before this!

A boring office function
Ended in my compunction
And now I feel it is a tale I can share
Just as the night was fading
You came along parading
All you were packin clean out of nowhere

As we shared a sense of humour
Not scared of starting rumours
We quietly mocked the others one by one
Who were we really hurting
With all our subtle flirting
That’s when you said that we should prolong the fun

It had always seemed to me
That you and me
Were just never meant to be
But then you said…

“Let’s go to the Bluebird
And the night will be sheer bliss!”
Never more a true word
Was spoken before this!

The wits at my disposal
Considered your proposal
My heart was pumping more than you’ll ever know
Your words they served to flatter
Cos it didn’t seem to matter
That I had more baggage than London Heathrow

And so we left our colleagues
With all their boring follies
I liked the sound of where I was being led
In search of stimulatio…

a town called jesus

He had a plan, he would walk for a while
To clear his head once and for all now
The sun would dry all of his tears
The red soil nourish his hopes now

The sound of the sea would silence his doubt
So that he could then see a way of working it out
That’s when he saw the sign and here’s what it read

This way to Jesus
This way to Jesus

He had been walking to forget
And stop the past from taking over
He was lonely kinda needed a friend
The sign it called him over

It said “This way you’ll find what you’re lookin for
We’ll give you peace of mind and who could want more”
So he considered that sign and all that it said

This way to Jesus
This way to Jesus

He was lonely, kinda needed a friend

But he had a plan, he’d set out his goals
Security lay in another town
Follow your head, my friend, not your heart
Your instinct can’t let you down

This he said to himself as he turned away
Still not ready to find this kind of new day
Yet forever that sign would live in his head

This way to Jesus
This way to Jesus

Follow your head, m…

stories worth a thousand words #35



Written: November 18, 2004 (except the lyrics of course!)

There’s nothing like relationship problems to inspire creativity. I almost thought my artistic well had run dry until I finally conceded my marriage was on the rocks in 2000.

When things finally went belly-up, I knew more songs would quickly follow. I was determined, however, to limit myself to just one tune on the subject of my bad feelings. Just one self-pity song. From this came “A Woman For Me”.

While in Ibiza on the Holiday From Hell in May 2000 (a whole chapter on that to come), I decided to fill a bottle of water, strap on my walkman and walk for an entire morning for as long as the road would take me. Along my journey I actually did see a sign which told me I was walking in the direction of a town called “Jesus”. The irony was striking, and I joked to myself that I would walk until I found Jesus. I actually only made it halfway to the to…

a woman for me

You don’t have to tell me
There’s other fish in the sea
And please don’t remind me
I’ve got my whole life in front of me
It’s just I’m in a place right now
And I swear I won’t be long (belong?)
It’s just my way of coping
And there can’t be nothin wrong with just one self-pity song…

Can there ever be a woman for me
Can there ever be a woman for me
Evenings by the fire
Nights of pure desire
Walking hand in hand
To find our promised land
Someone I can love
Someone I’ve been thinking of
Can there ever be a woman for me

When all you have is all you need
And then you throw it away
You have a broken heart that cannot bleed
And there’s nothing you can say
Is it my imagination or are things really this bad?
As I look around for inspiration
All I can feel is sad
So here’s my self-pity song

Can there ever be a woman for me
Can there ever be a woman for me
Evenings by the fire
Nights of pure desire
Walking hand in hand
To find our promised land
Someone I can love
Someone I’ve been thinking of
Can there ever be a woman for me


did ya miss me? well did ya?

Don't be fooled by the clouds in the distance - they didn't trouble us for the week.

Hi, honey, I'm home!

I'll just ramble on for a bit to get back into the swing of things.

Thank you all for your holiday best wishes - and yes, I got out of the week exactly what I wanted, relaxation and contemplation, and not a bad colour either if I do say so myself.

Having said all of that, I will never go to Crete again, that's a given, and for one reason only. I will elaborate later just to tease you. It's pretty gross, though, you may just want to take my word for it.

You can’t expect me to go down to the local shop without something mildly amusing happening, usually at the expense of my dignity, so a week on a Greek Island was no exception. I actually took the time while I was there to write a story down on my Palm Pilot, which I have called “The Cretan Condom Caper” and will publish later in the week, for yet more teasing hehehehe…I should tell you, however, that the story is…

to chew on while i’m in the sun

Well, readers, I’m off to Crete for a week. I actually considered finding a net café somewhere near my resort to keep the posts flowing, but then I saw sense. A vacation is a goddam vacation after all.

While I’m gone, you can do no better for blog-reading pleasure than scan through the assorted blogs linked to here under "My Blogging Is Partly Inspired By..." down on the right hand side of this page, for none of them got there without being excellent bloggers in their own unique ways. To prove this, I have copy pasted a lot of stuff from there onto my palm pilot to bring with me so I can catch up while I'm gone, particularly some archives from Buffalo's Path, Michele's List of Ten Things She Has Done, as well as Sex's excerpt from her novel.
Right - I'm gone.

Keep on eye on the place for me will ya? Try not to move anything?


A couple of hours later, I see this is the cover of the latest National Geographic which just hit my doormat. Look…

stories worth a thousand words #33



Written: November 9, 2004

I’ve been in some crazy situations with women in my day, but this one was by far and away the most bizarre.At very least it provided me with the perfect anecdote with which to describe my life as a citizen of the global community popularly known as “Cyberspace”.

I had been chatting to “sharon_the_angel” for a good few months by then. Sharon was one of the regulars in Yahoo’s Dublin Global Chatroom #1. In fact, she could be better described as First Lady of the room. She was always there, and by the picture in her personal profile, I could tell she was easily the best looking. So when I (“crumlindude”) received an invite to pay a visit to her house in Tallaght on a sunny July morning in 2003, being a hot blooded single (if separated) male, I would be forgiven for thinking I was on to a good thing.

Oh, if only it could ever be that simple! First, there was my lifelong propensity to ignore …



(continued from yesterday)

There was one interesting incident while we were in Esch.

Some valuable records had been left in Bastogne and it was decided that one of the agents – a volunteer would return there and attempt to retreive them. His name was Mickey Rooney and was not related to the film star. At local intelligence headquarters he was briefed on the way to travel to get there. He was warned that there was an American road block at a certain point on the outskirts of Bastogne and to move with great caution. Rooney made the trip successfully and returned with the records. He said there was one amusing incident.

On approaching Bastogne along the road in the area where the road block was supposed to be, he was moving slowly and carefully. Then along the road in front of him he saw a lone American GI carrying a Tommy gun and with clusters of hand grenades attached to his battle jacket. Rooney stopped on direction of the soldier and identified himself after giving the pa…


The Grubstake Snack Bar in The Union, University of Wisconsin, circa 1940s

(continued from yesterday)

The train ride was great as we were on the way to a new and more exciting adventure.
We got off the train in Chicago and stayed overnight in an hotel. I remember for the first time feeling like a privileged person as a member of the army. The hotel had people queing to register and get in. We were taken to the head of the “que” and given special rates.

Arriving in Madison the next day we, the soldiers, were assigned to fraternity house along the lake. This was really living. We had meals at the “Union” where pitchers of fresh milk were on the table at every meal. Mom and the other wives found rooms close to the university. In a university town during the off-season that is never difficult.

The months in Madison were very enjoyable. We had classes five days a week, morning and afternoon with very little of the usual military discipline. The teachers were capable and good. Many were Germans …


Joseph F Lee, RIP
August 21, 1913 – August 27, 2004

Discovered by myself, his grandson, JL Pagano, on Wednesday, May 19, 2004. The following was written in a copybook bought in Eason’s bookstore, presumably the one in downtown Dublin. I imagine the memoirs were composed around the time I was travelling in America and when my grandparents lived in an apartment in Danes Court, Clontarf, and thus would be between the years of 1992 and 1994, when Mr Lee was aged 79-81. I have attempted to copy it word for word.

I will be away on vacation for both his birthday and his anniversary, so I would like to publish this on my blog over the next few days by way of commemoration.

My army experience began at Camp Devens in Massachusetts in the Spring of 1942.It was an induction center which means that new recruits who went there were processed and made ready to be sent to an outfit where they would be trained. Uniforms were issued and tests were taken there. It was all very unreal for things happened so …


Take all your troubles
Take all your fears
Lose all your worries
From over the years
Lay down beside me
Turn out the light
Let’s dance with the angels

And if you still have regret
I can help you forget
For a night

There are those who will scorn us
And be sure there are those who will warn us
That we’ve got so much to lose
Yet between us we choose
Not to end what we have

One day you’ll leave me
And run far away
Back to your homeland
To a brighter day
Always forever
My thoughts will be with you
Don’t doubt for a moment

There’s no way I can let
Myself ever forget
Of this night

Just ignore those who scorn us
Pay no heed to the ones that will warn us
That we’ve got so much to lose
Yet between us we choose
Not to end what we have

So take all your troubles
And take all your fears
Lose all your worries
From over the years
Lay down beside me
Turn out the light
Let’s dance with the angels

And if you still have regret
I can help you forget
One more night
© JL Pagano 2005

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

stories worth a thousand words #32



CJ aged 1 day, with his old man

Written: December 20, 2004

Everything was much more relaxed coming up to the birth of our second child, in fact, this time MyX decided to schedule an induction, so rather than have a bag ready-packed beside the front door, we could have everything in order and be prepared for a day in The Coombe Hospital that suited our schedule.I was even able to book two weeks off from work to be there for the event. Now, when I said relaxed, I meant every stage right up to the arrival in Delivery Room 4 of a woman who can only be described as The Man-Hating Midwife Bitch From Hell.

“Ok, you can leave now if you want”, she barked, as she stormed past me upon first entering the room. By the time the birth was imminent, I was tempted to end a life in conjunction with the one that was beginning, hoping noone would mind! I do not know what this woman had against the fathers being present, but whatever it was,…

…and what do you get? “busted!”

Gimme a “Q”… now a “U”… now an “I” … an “R”… now a K… and a “Y”…

What have you got? This nugget from Ananova’s Quirky files…

Cheerleaders help nab motorist

A group of cheerleaders who saw a driver speed off after causing a pile-up turned his number plate into a cheer.

The Lincoln High School varsity cheerleading squad didn't have a pen handy when they saw the smash near the University of Michigan campus.

So they did what comes naturally by chanting the car registration in unison to remember it, reports the Ann Arbor News.

Senior captain Kimmie Ostrowski led the nine-member squad's impromptu performance until the police arrived.

My first reaction – maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time and of course I’m delighted it worked, but isn’t a group of teenage girls wearing skirts dancing by the side of the road more liable to CAUSE a pile up than it is to report someone for creating one?

More power to them all the same.

hu's on first?

Yeah, I’m sure you’ve all seen this already as it has been doing the rounds via email, but I don’t care; it’s too funny to pass up, especially since I don’t feel like being creative myself today…

And yes, I can admit I’m just about old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, so sue me…

Hu's the new leader of China

Playwright Jim Sherman wrote this after Hu Jintao was named chief of the Communist Party in China.

(We take you now to the Oval Office.)

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?

Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

George: Great. Lay it on me.

Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.

George: That's what I want to know.

Condi: That's what I'm telling you.

George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes.

George: I mean the fellow's name.

Condi: Hu.

George: The guy in China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The new leader of China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The Chinaman!

Condi: Hu is leading China.

George: Now whaddya'…

ghost in the machine

Today’s story happened around the time I had to take two buses every day to get to work.

We only had the one car, which MyX had commandeered as she was responsible for bringing the kids to their playgroup.

Since I was the manager of my sports store and had to be there before everyone else, I had to leave home at around 6:30am. Since I am not your fall-out-of-bed-and-head-straight-to-work kinda guy, this meant that in order to be properly ready to leave the house I had to set my alarm for 5am. Yuk.

We were doing ok financially at the time, and had recently purchased our first home personal computer. With it came a video game, a soccer simulation one called FIFA96. It became part of my morning routine to drag myself out of bed, make a huge mug of coffee, and sit down for about 20 minutes to half an hour’s play as I tried to gradually guide my favorite soccer team through a full season.

Luckily my early morning ritual meant my 2-year-old daughter was also asleep, so the house was at perfect …

and that’s the truth, ruth

(warning – this post contains strong offensive language)

If you haven’t seen Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece “Do The Right Thing” then I strongly recommend it.

Maybe I should qualify that statement – if you want American racial tensions encapsulated within two hours of a powerful moving story which does a better job than most of putting a human face on senseless violence, then this is for you.

Excellent performances from Lee himself, Rosie Perez, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Samuel L Jackson and Richard Edson amongst others makes this a movie that has you gripped and keeps you thinking and teaches you things you didn’t even know you needed to learn, and what’s more you don’t even have to convert to the teachings of Malcolm X to do it.

Below is the dialogue from my favourite part of the movie. Five of the main characters go on a “Taunt-Off” with Samuel L Jackson’s character coming in at the end to try and make them see sense.

When I first found the script website I despaired because the whole mo…

stories worth a thousand words #31



Written : November 8, 2004

My Uncle Jim lived in Brentwood, a tiny community out in the East Bay in California, about 70 miles from San Francisco.I can’t quite remember his friend’s name, let’s call him Buddy. If Jim wasn’t quite the personification of rural America, Buddy certainly was. He wore jeans, a tank top, and one of those horrible square baseball caps. It was the summer of 1986, and the three of us were seated at the kitchen table in my uncle’s house at mid morning.

To all extents and purposes, they were the experienced 40 something elders, and I was the raw impressionable 17 year old over visiting the USA for the first time since emigrating to Ireland nine years before. For this reason I kept quiet as they carried out their discussion.

They talked about several different topics, mostly of a local nature, but Buddy’s attitude changed the minute Jim happened to mention the Russians. His face …

san francisco (you can be my mistress anytime)

[With my doing so much posting that could suggest that I was totally anti-American this weekend, I thought I’d stick these lyrics in for good measure to even things up; they are from a blues song I wrote all about my second favourite city. The women in the song are strictly metaphorical, I promise...]

Lemme tell you the story
Bout how you won my heart
Well-that’s not really true cos, What you really did was,
Tear it all apart

There was I, a happily married man with a beautiful woman
Occupying mind, body and soul
Then you just walked clean outta nowhere honey
And played around with my so-called self control

And though our relationship was always shaky (get it?)
I didn’t mind
And understanding like yours and mine
It’s so very hard to find

But though we had so much in common
Like our sense of humour, our taste, and our liberal views
Even now when I’m pressed for a decision, baby
All I wanna do is play the blues

Play the blues…

You got your keen dress sense
And your long flowin hair
Your sleek smooth body

remember japan's 9/11

I love every member of my family, despite our flaws, despite mistakes each and every one of us has made in the past.

Those mistakes cannot be ignored, nor can they be forgotten. If we can bring ourselves to at least acknowledge them, they can serve to help us get on with our future.

The same applies to my country. I am an American citizen, and I am very much happy to be one.

On July 4 of every year, The United States of America celebrates everything about herself for which she is proud, and rightly so.

I believe August 6 should be a day of reflection for all Americans, where we take in everything that happened around that day sixty years ago, and maybe, just maybe, we can look at the world in a light that doesn’t follow the over-simplistic “good guys/bad guys” mentality many would have us believe is reality.

Pearl Harbour, Nazism, 9/11, Bali, Madrid and most recently London all were human tragedies.

So were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In retribution for attacking a military target, Weapons Of M…

the bomb

[I have already posted these lyrics on this blog before, but since it is almost 20 years since I wrote them, and almost 60 since the event in question, I thought it would be poignant to post them again. I’ll have more to say on it tomorrow.]

The scene at Buckingham Palace gate
In London, 1945
The people of England celebrate
They’re all amazed they’re still alive
But cast your eyes to the other side
of the world, where war is still waged
An emperor who can’t swallow his pride
A president who won’t calm his rage

Harry goes into the conference hall
Can he survive through one more day?
In three months he thought he’d seen it all
Till an army commander gets up to say
“Mr President I’m afraid our boys
would die in their thousands if war goes on”
Harry says “Then, we’ve got no choice.
Go ahead and drop the bomb.”

So many people know it was wrong
And our cries are much too late
But the fact that we’ve been fighting for years
Doesn’t mean that there’s no room for change

The man on the radio does his job
The news th…

between two stools

August could very well be a tough month for me as it is coming up to a year since my grandfather, who regular readers will know reared me as his son, passed away.

I know for a fact he wouldn’t mind my telling this story in an attempt to cheer myself up.

During his time in permanent residence at the Royal Hospital Donnybrook, visiting my grandfather was always a traumatic experience, but it was made even more so when I’d bring my grandmother with me. She always blamed herself for his being there, even though she could hardly look after him herself on her own being well into her nineties herself.

This one particular day I had her in her newly-acquired wheelchair and I was pushing her into his ward. As we passed the nurses’ station, she was warmly greeted by all the staff. Since my grandmother has retained her American accent, they would always treat her as if she was some kind of ageing movie star, which of course she totally lapped up.

Having worked in a hospital herself in her day, she wa…

stories worth a thousand words #30



Written: December 24, 2004

“Would you like to hold your daughter now, Mr Pagano?”

That sentence was weird on so many levels! First, who the hell is Mr Pagano? Second, you mean to tell me this screaming pice of flesh wrapped in a blanket before me is actually my daughter? Indeed it was, and the amazing thing was that I would swear she was actually staring back at me as I held her for the first time.

Looking back although it wasn’t exactly the most traumatic labour in maternity ward history, being our first, everything was a new experience and was thus difficult to cope with. MyX was a week past her due date, and woke up early on the morning of the December 23rd in a blind panic as she could feel nothing. As a precaution we got a taxi into the Coombe from this house here in Booterstown where we had recently moved with my grandparents. This birth was the culmination of a hectic few months since returning from the USA, w…