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Showing posts from September, 2005

knuckleburger and fries

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Boys will be boys. Vive la difference. A woman's touch. All catch-phrases that are used to signify how each gender just plain doesn’t get the other.

It has taken me this long to realise that there are certain things about women and their behaviour that I will never, ever understand.

Now before the “sexist” taunts start flying in my direction, I need to make it clear that I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with the differences between sexes by any means. Although I’m not against “political correctness” per se, I don’t see why we should always conduct ourselves in a manner whereby we need to pretend we are all equal in every respect when clearly we’re not.

And so, while I will never grasp why many women wouldn’t consider going outside the front door without make-up or why so many feel they have nothing to wear while their wardrobe is literally full to the brim with options, I would have to concede that there must be also aspects of the male psyche that are equally puzzling to th…

stories worth a thousand words #41

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A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON...HUMAN RIGHTS



[This chapter kicks off with the lyrics for the song “Shanghai Lullaby” which I posted yesterday]

Written: November 25, 2004

In June 1995 British television network Channel 4 aired a documentary called “The Dying Rooms”, which referred to the state of orphanages in China that housed the proliferation of abandoned babies resulting from the government’s one-child-per-family policy.The programme provided evidence that the institutions let the babies die in their cots by neglect to keep the numbers down. Since having a male child was valuable currency at the time, the vast majority of these babies were girls. A common name for the female infants was “Lai-Di” which apparently means “A boy will come”. Considering my 6-month old daughter was asleep upstairs in her crib at the time, this show really had a profound impact on me.

Up to then when I thought about the topic of “human rights”, I would assume it would mostly…

shanghai lullaby

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Hush little Lai-di don’t breathe a word
I can’t guarantee your voice will be heard
The government policy is out of control
You can’t have a mind, you can’t have a soul
So close your eyes…

Maybe one day a prince will find you
Maybe he’ll break the ties that bind you
Maybe one day you’ll leave Shanghai
Maybe one day a pig will fly

Hush little Lai-di don’t breathe a word
I can’t guarantee your voice will be heard
The government policy is out of control
You can’t have a mind, you can’t have a soul
So close your eyes…

Shameful catalogue of abuses
Too many reasons, no excuses
Those not around to hear you cry
Have left you in this room to die

Hush little Lai-di don’t breathe a word
I can’t guarantee your voice will be heard
The government policy is out of control
You can’t have a mind, you can’t have a soul
So close your eyes…

Though the documentary brings me sadness
Nothing I do will end the madness
No mockingbird for me to buy
And so I sing this lullaby

Hush little Lai-di don’t breathe a word
I can’t guarantee your v…

it's curtains for this lord

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It may not have much to do with the story, but I just HAD to post this pic! My caption : "The Scots Guard show off their crack troops" .

I always thought that when you got into the British House of Lords you were there for life, but according to this nugget from the Reuters Oddly Enough files, even they can be – ahem – fired!
British Labor Party lord jailed for starting blaze

LONDON (Reuters) - A British lord was sentenced to 16 months in jail on Thursday for deliberately starting a blaze in a hotel and endangering lives after a boozy awards dinner in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

Mike Watson, who represented Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party in the House of Lords and the Scottish parliament, pleaded guilty to setting light to a curtain in the hotel following a Scottish Politician of the Year awards ceremony on November 12 last year.

During his trial, the court was shown closed circuit television footage of a figure dressed in a kilt, crouching at the base of the c…

stories worth a thousand words #40

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A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON...THE GOOD AND THE BAD CROWDS

Amsterdam – could well be where my “good” and “bad” crowds come together for my stag weekend next summer[Before I begin with this chapter, I must apologize if all the editing and name-hiding makes the story less readable - these essays are primarily for my kids' eyes, so they get to see all the actual facts and stuff - besides I don't want any libel cases on my hands!!!]
Written: December 3, 2004

I was always something of a “loner”, and never really allowed anyone, especially males, to get too close. Having said this I can still manage to muster a thousand words on what friends I do have, and I can easily categorize them into my “good crowd” and my “bad crowd”.

The labels to not refer to the quality of friends contained therein, more so to the nature of the activities in which I would indulge when with them. In the past seven days I have had classic experiences with each set which give m…

happy blogiversary to me

Today is my 1st Blogiversary. One year ago today, I made the post below to kick things off. By the way, I started with the totally unimaginative title of "JL's Diary".

My “1000 Words On…” post scheduled for today will be put back to tomorrow.

Also to commemmorate the day I wish to launch yet another blog of mine, although there is nothing new on it. It’s more of a portfolio blog, with organized links to my various offerings to the Blogosphere for your perusal. Hopefully it will make it easier for me to introduce my writing to people who aren’t as au fait with the Blog concept.

I thus invite you to have a look at “The Assorted Scribblings Of JL Pagano” when you have the time.

Here’s a second look at my maiden post, entitled "gotta start somewhere...".

Well, here it is, my first post on my first blog.
My news and views are about to be cast out into the vast murky waters of the internet! I'm not doing much tonight, just watching a football match on Sky between Yeov…

because it happens

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{NO SPOILERS HERE!!!]

Why is television drama improved by the use of swear words in the dialogue?

Because it happens.

Why is television drama improved by tackling the issue of how we handle death?

Because it happens.

Why is television drama improved by portraying a homosexual relationship as a real thing that exists between two people as opposed to a camp parody that we normally see?

Because it happens.

And why is a telvision drama improved by seeing humour in events that occur in people's lives even though it appears that they have been totally turned to shit?

Yes, you guessed it.

As sad as I am that Six Feet Under has aired its final episode (on American TV at least), I am happy it came to a conclusion for two reasons - (1) we have seen many times how a show can be ruined by overstaying its welcome on our screens, and (2) the fact that it comes to a definite conclusion underlines the show's very own theme that all things must come to an end, be they good or bad.

Congratulations, Alan …

the vicious cycle

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Winning Le Tour seven times in a row takes a lot of, er, balls

Summer of ’98. I will never forget it. Both my kids catch chicken pox from their playgroup. Daddy, of course, never had it. For the first time in my working life, I was struck down for two solid weeks.

If I had somehow been pre-warned that I was to be ill “during the summer”, I would have been rubbing my hands with glee, as it was a soccer World Cup year. Alas, it was to transpire that the darn thing was just finished when I started to itch all over.

SO what did I have to fill my days while I was laid up? Bear in mind I was determined not to get into the Ricky Lakes and the Sally Jesses. I was equally determined not to get into the Australian soaps. SO what did that leave me for daytime television fare?

Le effin Tour de effin France. Please pardon my French.

Before those two weeks, I thought cricket, horse racing and Formula One were boring sports. Not only does cycling take the biscuit, it takes the whole goddam packet and dun…

a chancellor would be a fine thing

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Apparently these two working together would be like the Democrats and the GOP sharing cabinet posts between them – yeah, THAT bad…


What I know about German politics you could write on the back of a coaster in a Bavarian beer hall. Not that it’s going to stop me giving my zwei cents, though!

So the incumbent Gerhard Schroeder is from the Social Democrats, and Andrea Merkel is from the Christian Democrats. I suppose my personal ideology would have me leaning towards the former.

Yet it seems the German electorate has posed its lawmakers quite a puzzle with its final decision. What exactly is the mandate, if indeed there is one?

Although my views are to the left, I’d have to say that if a sitting leader can’t get a conclusive result from a general election, perhaps it’s time for change.

The most striking feature of this story for me is an overwhelming sense of irony with regard to the way these results are being viewed by the international community.

From all I can make out from the various new…

stories worth a thousand words #39

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A WARTS 'N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY
1000 WORDS ON...CLOSURE




Written : December 7th, 2004


We went on an expedition that day, along a trail that led up the side of a large hill that was beside our family resort.

Once we rounded the corner to the area which we could not see from our apartment, there was a clearing that afforded a breathtaking view out into the vast Mediterranean. Since up to that day the sun had always emerged from here from our perspective, it wasn’t hard to deduce that this was a perfect spot to witness the sun rise, something I was yet to experience. I decided to set my alarm for about 5am the following morning in order to witness the daily spectacle.

Heaven only knows I needed something to perk up my spirits, for up to then this had been The Holiday From Hell in every respect. On the surface it looked like the idyllic family vacation; me, my wife and my two beautiful children off to Ibiza for two weeks in May, with her mother and sister arriving the second…

crash bang wallop

Well, I had a piece done all about the Lance Armstrong situation and I was quite proud of it if I do say so myself. When my kids went to sleep last night I typed it up on my laptop.
This morning I tried to transfer it from my laptop to my PC, which is normally a simple procedure involving a floppy disk. Alas, this was not be the case.
The least of my worries is that I cannot for the life of me open the file with the post. The worst of them is that my PC has crashed and will not run Windows for love nor money.
At least I have this laptop, and I decided to spend what little time I have today setting this up to use the internet before tackling the PC on my own before bringing it to a store where I presume I will have to leave it for two weeks before I even get a response.
That's the good thing about blogging though - even when you have a catastrophe that prevents you from doing it, you can still do it by relating the story of the catastrophe.
Writing that last sentence gave me a headac…

yet more atrocities

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Picture courtesy of Reuters.com

I am not going to use the story below as an excuse to attack anyone – I don’t need to.

My only hope is that the international community, particularly "The West", gives as much attention and empathy to those affected by this latest wave of atrocities as it has to similar recent incidents in other parts of the world.

It’s up against stiff competition, however – I mean Britney did have a baby, and Prince Harry has just turned 21, so I presume the debate will be equally spread to cover all the supposedly important stories.


Scores die in multiple Iraq explosions

More than 150 people have been killed in a series of car bombings in Baghdad, and fighters said the carnage was aimed at avenging an offensive against them in northern Iraq.

An Iraqi security source said the bloodiest strike came in the Shia district of Kadhimiyah, where the toll rose to 112 there alone, from an earlier count of 80.

A total of 150 people were killed in 11 car bombings.

The slaught…

the g.s.o.t.

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When nature plays its hand
And makes changes to our land
It helps me understand
I’m part of a great plan

One day fate will show
Which way I'm gonna go
And that may well be so
Meanwhile, this is all I know

It ain’t always fair
It don’t always care
But it’s always there
The Grand Scheme Of Things
It messes with your mind
It’s too cruel to be kind
It’s just how you always find
The Grand Scheme Of Things

So I’ll write a little song
And it won’t take me that long
Cos I guess there’s nothing wrong
With what’s really goin on

Is my writing on the wall?
Will I rise, will I fall?
It’s way too close to call
I’ll let the chorus say it all

It ain’t always fair
It don’t always care
But it’s always there
The Grand Scheme Of Things
It messes with your mind
It’s too cruel to be kind
It’s just how you always find
The Grand Scheme Of Things

The GSOT
Was about you and me
About honesty
Matrimony
Equality
And harmony
Then suddenly
We just can’t agree
Cos what I see
Is all “ABC”
And what you see
Is all “123”
Adultery
I try to flee
You forgive me
To …

stories worth a thousand words #38

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A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MELDREW MOMENTS
Victor Meldrew (aka actor Richard Wilson)
Written : November 1st, 2004

Already late for a date with your partner, you reach the main road, which you must cross to get your bus into town.One is sitting at your stop, but you catch a bit of luck in that not only is there a break in traffic coming from both directions, but also there are so many people getting on the bus that it is held up long enough for you to make a dash across the road.

So off you go, wishing you had fulfilled your New Year’s resolution to get fit but nonetheless safe in the knowledge that you will be rewarded by a seat upstairs where you can both catch your breath and get a message to your date that you will be only five minutes late instead of thirty.As you round the back of the bus, almost there, you spot the driver as he clearly catches sight of your full sprint in his rear view mirror. With that, the door closes and off goes the 46A on its m…

in memoriam 091101

[Although I first posted this song/prayer on this blog after the London bombings in July of this year, it was originally written following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and so I republish it today.]


If all hatred is a river
And her rapids human pride
Then can we build a bridge across her
To the peace on the other side?

Though the currents may seem strong
And the distance far too wide
We’ve been waiting far too long
To find peace on the other side

If there’s one thing I believe in
If there’s a love I just can’t hide
I want to follow my own children
To the peace on the other side

So if hatred is a river
And her rapids human pride
Can we build a bridge across her
For there’s peace on the other side!

© JL Pagano 2001


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

the clash of the ash

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Given Ireland’s reputation as a nation of seasoned drinkers, I reckon there are few in America who would be surprised that “hurling” was one of our national pastimes over here.

To the unititiated, however, it may be important to point out that the hurling to which I refer has a lot less to do with this…



And a lot more to do with this…




Tomorrow, on the second Sunday in September as is the tradition, teams representing the counties of Galway and Cork will battle it out for the biggest prize in the game of Hurling, The All-Ireland Senior Championship. They will play at this country’s most impressive sporting facility, Croke Park, which is where I saw U2 play a few months back.

Here’s a brief history of the sport :

THE GAME OF HURLING

Hurling is one of the fastest and most skilful field games in the world. It is an ancient Gaelic sport, played long before the coming of Christianity. The earliest written record of the game is contained in the Brehon Laws of the fifth century. The first great hur…

for pete's sake

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OK, I know it’s a different peat, but maybe it will count anyway…

It never ceases to amaze me what lengths people will go to for their 15 minutes, or if this guy is lucky 15 seconds, of fame.

Ananova’s Quirky Files gives details…

Pete's on a mission

A man named Pete is on a mission to find 1,999 other people with the same name to set a record.

Pete Trainor has set up a website to try and get 2,000 Petes together at the same place at the same time, reports the Sun.

He had originally planned to gather together 99 other Petes, but the goal posts were moved when a man named Mohammed broke the record by gathering together 1,500 men with the same name in Dubai.


At the risk of sounding extremely un-PC, but are they sure that Mohammed guy MEANT to get so many people of the same name together, or was it just daily prayer down at the mosque?

Should Pete manage to break the record, I wonder will he also go into the Guinness Book of Records for Most People With Too Much Time On Their Hands To Congreg…

lies, damn lies and statcounter

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When I started this blog almost a year ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what the whole phenomenon was all about.

I started with the old reliable post “Well, here it is, my first attempt at a blog…etc”, and like a kid setting up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk expecting to be a millionaire by dinnertime, I guess I actually did think I would be receiving comments right from the off.

That was September, and I reckon it was February before I got my first remark from the Blogosphere. Once they started coming, I have to admit I was kind of hooked on the feedback for a spell, becoming what the blog vernacular seems to be a “comment whore”, judging each entry’s worth by the amount of people from whom it evokes a reaction.

Then I discovered StatCounter. At first all I thought they did was provided a counter on your blog which ticked over whenever anyone (besdies yourself of course) logged onto your page. Then I started clicking around, and I saw a whole new world of information …

stories worth a thousand words #37

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A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…THE OTHER WOMEN

Written : December 9, 2004

[This chapter kicks off with the poem “Serviettes” which I published yesterday. I presume it goes without saying that the names in this chapter have been heavily compromised to hide identities.]


The more I read that poem now the more I see how much it encapsulates the nature of my relationships with the opposite sex over the years. It was actually written about a girl called Cathy Nelson, who I dated for a few months soon before meeting MyX. Looking at it now it illustrates an insecurity from which I still suffer today to some degree.

Although I can’t count my tryst with first snog Máire Nelligan as a relationship, it was because of her I met Cathy, under pretty shameful circumstances. I brought Máire to my “debs” as I really had no one else to ask, being a single bloke at the time. We went to my friend Mike Portugal’s house for aperitifs before the event, and, you guessed it, Cathy was…

serviettes

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You sit there, tearing yours to shreds
As you outline yet again your doubts
Something about former lovers
Or is it your mother? I’m not quite sure;

All I can see is the way you are tearing
While you sit there staring at nothing
With those bad, mad, sad eyes.
But who am I to talk? I look down,

To see mine folded neatly into strips,
As I sit listening, waiting to be torn.
“God, is that the time?”, you say,
As you gently lay down my wrist.
The moment is lost; we both now must go our separate ways
And leave the sad looking waitress to clear the debris.


© JL Pagano 1988

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

facing your demons head on

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Shaggy V > John

A friend of mine who reads this blog regularly (hows things Conor mate) once said to me he couldn’t believe how much personal stuff I express here. I told him I thought it was a good way of revealing personal information in a manner in which you could both control it and come to terms with it.

Having said that, I also felt like telling him that if he thought THIS blog was personal, he should see the one my future brother-in-law has going!

We all have our demons. We all have a past that created them. And finally, we all have our ways of dealing with them.

At the risk of being accused of blatant nepotism, I would like to award The Fifth Shagadelic Contribution To Blogland Award (aka “The Shaggy”) to John over at “Self-Harm : You’re Not Alone”, in particular his very first post, “You Are Not Alone, I Self Harm Too”.

He may be practically family, but I doubt you can help but appreciate the bravery it must have taken to put that first post out onto the internet back on May 12…

the night i ate the worm

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The night that I turned twenty-one
My friends set out to have some fun
By wreaking awful havoc on my pride
At first it didn’t bother me at all
When I saw they’d bought me alcohol
But little did I know what lay inside

To rousing cheers and hands a-clappin
I started to remove the wrappin
And what I said brought smiles to everyone
“Hey, I’m not one to pick n choose
but ain’t somethin floatin in that booze?”
and so my night of hell it had begun

For I’ve been legless, I’ve been pissed
I’ve been known to raise my wrist
And there’s one thing I know I can confirm
All night sessions, I’ve had plenty
You could say I’ve had one too many
But I’ve never been that drunk before the night I ate the worm

Now down there in ol’ Mexico
They got funny customs don’t ya know
Like eatin chilli peppers when they’re raw
But I can’t think of nothin sicker
Than dead inverterbrates in liquor
It’s gotta be against some kinda law

But I couldn’t stall for any longer
My will sure wouldn’t get any stronger
It was nothin like I’d ever tried bef…

stories worth a thousand words #36

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A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…THE DEMON DRINK


Written : November 17, 2004

They say when you are in college one of the most important things you can do is make as many influential friends as you possibly can.

In an obvious attempt to keep this age old academic tradition alive, I made sure during my spell at Belfield campus that I did my networking amongst members of a strategically critical institution; The UCD "Bar Committee”.

It was run by a group of drunkards elected from the student body, who in effect were in “control” of the premises, although the disdainful attitudes of the fully paid up members of the Barman’s Union working within would tell you otherwise.

It was on one of the many nights that I used my friendship with committee member Barry Mullen to secure a couple of after-hours’ beverages that this anecdote took place. I was on full automatic pilot as I stumbled home, which was then my grandparents’ rented house in Blackrock. As I passed the t…

not exactly bright sparks

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I love stories like this one from Reuters’ Oddly Enough Files about New Zealand's dumbest criminals…
How would you like to meet these guys?

Three men trying to steal fuel from a New Zealand farm Monday ended up setting fire to their own car.

Police said the trio had siphoned diesel into a petrol-driven vehicle. When their car would not start, they examined the fuel pipe using a cigarette lighter.
One click, a boom and the car burst into flames.

"It wasn't a major whodunnit," senior sergeant Ross Gilbert told Reuters, from the small North Island town of Waipukurau, about 140 miles northeast of Wellington.
"Fortunately for them, there is no criminal charge for stupidity."

The men, aged 18 to 19, escaped injury but were charged with theft.


It reminds me of another one I heard a while ago, something about a well-known criminal from Puerto Rico who, having escaped to America, got a bit cocky and called the detective inspector he eluded back home to gloat. The officer ad…