Friday, April 30, 2010

Fishing for Trout- a Dap Hand at it?

I have been fishing since i was 6 years old, which we will just say here is a very long time ago! To put matters in perspective, my oldest grandchild is 6 in two weeks time and I hope to introduce him to the pleasures and the patience required to go after the big catch! I include a few sketches/photos with this blog some of which date back some 20+years but small fish shown were alas not caught on the May Fly which may explain their small size. A fisherman never lies about the size of his catch!! With the grandson, however, i will start him with a worm and bubble method because he is as yet too young to try fly fishing. However, I hope that he will soon experience the Mayhem and excitement of the May Fly season in the Galway/Mayo lakes. For those not familiar with this fishing method, let me briefly explain that the famous May Fly hatches out at the side of these lakes at the end of May/early June each year. So you can see dozens of fishermen in the early morning scampering among the rocks and low vegetation along these lakes picking up hundreds of live May Flies. These are then placed in the traditional timber boxes and are used on the Lake to fish by a process of dapping to catch large hungry brown trout. You simply sit in a boat for hours on end (this is where the patience comes in) holding a very long extended rod over the water with the May Fly just fluttering invitingly on the surface and waiting for a large brown trout to suck the bait down from below. Of course you must be on constant alert to strike at the slightest touch on the line otherwise the prey will rapidly disappear and all will be lost! So it honour of this special occasion I would like to set forth the following verse:

'Oh, its grand to be out in the old grey boat,

With a friend and a rod and a fly,

And to feel the lift of the boat as we drift

By the shoals where the brown trout lie'.

from Magic Camels' -W.P.F. (1938)

Note: some background information on fishing in Ireland can be had by clicking below:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Well! Well! Sentimental Potato Heart-Mashable?

This is little discourse is promoted by those twitter people who continue to send heartwarming and humorous tweets at a time of severe personal illness. I would just like to say how much i appreciate their efforts as too many tweets seem to me to be mere banal ramblings by vain egotists without any real thought or special effort. Many are even devoid of any semblance of basic common sense or humour and are only used as an easy means of expressing the written equivalent of verbal 'burping'. Thus one has come to appreciate in particular those who express genuine observations and real humour at a time of great personal stress. So I am posting a photo of a little potato shaped heart and a glass of wine to toast their efforts and to wish them good health in the near future. Those associated with the 'Good Men Project' in the USA may question the choice of a potato for this well wishing exercise. Look! I'm firstly a man and secondly an Irishman so I can't afford to be over sentimental!! Well! Well! Lets just say that my heart is in the right place and in twitter terms at least this potato is highly mashable!!

Note: This post is directed especially to the Lady suffering from Breast Cancer who makes the early morning breakfast tweet fest of my wife and i such a humorous and enjoyable experience. A 'Toast' to you in particular.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Inismaan Island:Stone the Crows!

Inismaan is the middle island of the three Aran islands of the west coast of Ireland. It is rightly famous for its beautiful wild limestone landscape and for the old cottage of J.M. Synge, the writer of 'The Playboy of the Western World'. Indeed i remember seeing a wonderful production of this play by the world renowned Druid Theatre group from Galway on the island a few years ago. However, what is less often spoken off, is the amazing number and height of the stone walls which stretch all over the island and the two stone forts which dominate the skyline. No one knows the origin of these artifacts or indeed how they were constructed so well in such an isolated and barren landscape. However, anyone with a love of natural stone and an appreciation of dry wall construction reaching over seven feet in places should pay a visit to the island. I include a few photographs below from the book by Richard Coniff which deals not only with the stone walls of Aran but also of the wonderful Burren landscape in Clare and other parts of Ireland. Finally, there is a church there called: 'Teampall na Seacht Mac Ri' which is Irish for the Church of the Seven Princes. Anyone witnessing the amazing landscape will indeed feel rather privileged and somewhat regal themselves after the experience.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Whine of El Duce! Still Dictating Bad Taste in Northern Italy!

I collect unusual wine label bottles and few come more unusual than those illustrated here which were picked up a few years ago in Venice. I certainly am no supporter of fascism nor indeed of the sentiments espoused by those selling this wine. However, I find it fascinating that such influences are still alive and well in Italy even in this century and that Mussolini's legacy however brutal and extreme is still supported by some people in northern areas of Italy. Hence the importance of eternal vigilism where fascism is concerned. They say that those who fail to heed the lessons of history end up repeating them. Thus, I keep the wine bottles to remind me that the influences of fascism are still close to the surface and the potential reappearance of such political movements should be not be overlooked particularly at a time of severe recession. I paid very little for this cheap wine and am satisfied that I was not contributing significantly to their cause by acquiring it. However, it is interesting to think that El Duce is still in a small way dictating bad taste, even in wine, in Italy today.

As a conterbalance I have included a 'Love'ly wine label with Amor Divino! That's 'amore' like it!

Note: I would like to recommend reading 'Mussolini's Italy-Life under the Dictatorship' by R.J.B.Bosworth -- for an insight into the fascist violence in Italy which devastated so many lives during the Second World War.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blue Suede Shoes and an Elephant's Eye in Traffic

I have to confess to having had a problem with shoes for some time. Indeed, I even recall buying a pair of lovely blue suede shoes (don’t mock, they were the height of fashion at the time) while being empowered by ‘flowers’ in San Francisco in the late sixties. I had a hole in my shoe (a phenomenon later immortalised by Traffic in their song, aptly titled ‘Hole in my Shoe’) which necessitated acquiring a new pair urgently. Unfortunately, the initial interaction between a pair of shoes and my feet resembles that of a rodeo cowboy trying to tame a bucking bronco. Suffice it to say that the sores occasioned by this bare ‘bunion’ ride left my poor toes and heels in such a state that I had to go around with bare feet carrying the aforementioned clogs in front of me. Of course, this did not cause me any severe embarrassment, as nudity of the feet was considered passe at the time compared to the other areas of the body which were readily on display. Anyway, a simple flower, tucked into the forelocks was a testament to ‘cool’ man, so no problem. Alas, this problem has persisted over the intervening years as my feet continue to rebel against the introduction of even the lightest form of moccasin footwear. Thus, even the thought of acquiring any new pair of shoes has left me ‘looking at the sky with an elephant’s eye’ as it were, trying to find salvation in heavenly intervention. What makes matters worse is that I no longer can be considered ‘cool’ by being seen walking the streets in bare feet with my shoes under my arm and my ever receding hairline provides little in the way of comfort zone for a flower or indeed anything else! Thus, I was in despair for some time and even considered in Irish parlance ‘taking to the bed’ to avoid heading out with sore feet. But Hallelujah! My problem is solved! By accident on holiday I came across a pair of GEOX shoes which fitted like a glove! This is not meant as an indirect endorsement of these shoe makers, for as they say on TV, no money has changed hands in this matter. Rather it is an affirmation of the importance of well fitted and comfortable footwear. The Ladies among you may choose to hobble around on stilted heels as a fashion statement but I care for comfort and style in equal measure. I feel like climbing a bubblegum tree and shouting GEOX! GEOX! to my heart and Feet’s content!!

Part Lyrics of Traffic Song: ‘Hole in my Shoe’

“I looked at the sky where an elephant’s eye
Was looking at me from a bubblegum tree,
And all that I knew was a hole in my shoe,
Was letting in Water.”

Note: This post is best enjoyed while watching 'Blue Suede Shoes' by Elvis on U-Tube

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Music and the Man: Joe Boske, Artist of Fun and Flair!

I'm known Joe Boske for over twenty years while he lived in various parts of County Galway during which time he had promised me, in keeping with several other people, numerous artistic 'works'. Despite many and heartfelt assurances over this time I managed to 'recover' only one from him. However, this was well worth the effort as it depicts one of our very young daughters (at that time) surrounded by animals and was intended for a Cd music venture which never materialised or perhaps could not wait until Joe had finished the work. It is a real treasure as this daughter is now in her mid twenties and has a child of similar age of her own. Despite this rather protracted process of artistic 'extraction' (similar at times in enjoyment to a tooth extraction), I have to say that I hold only the warmest of good feeling towards the redoubtable 'Joe'. His artwork is extraordinarily imaginative and well executed and has the added charm of an underlying sense of humour. It can be seen on posters (for many Arts Festivals in Galway and farther afield) and on original works of Art. I would therefore like to recommend that any 'followers' on this blog take the time to at least look him up on the web. He is also a talented musician and composer as can be seen from the photos accompanying this blog entry. The only word of caution I would offer however, if you decide to contact Joe in person, is that he is very lovable and charming but hard to 'pin down'.
Thanks Joe, the chase was worth it in the end.

Click on link below for more information if desired.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rhythm and Reason in Connemara Lambs!

Nursery Rhythm for Connemara visitors:

'Colm snapped a little Lamb, it's fleece was white as snow,

As everywhere that Colm tweeted, his Followers were sure to go,

They followed him in verse and blog, which was not a Twitter rule,

But it made them laugh and sometimes wince, to see him play the fool,

Why does the lamb say 'Luck of the Irish' some eager tweets did cry,

Why, Irish is as Irish does' the canny Colm did reply.

Note: This week all the lambs I saw in Connemara were white while last week those i saw were all black. Does this mean that I am only seeing things in Black and White. Going out tomorrow to see if i can find a 'grey' lamb!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Twitter:Please Don't let me be Misunderstood!

In response to some confusion about my intentions on some of my blog content may I refer to my Bio stating that it is only some 'musings and amusings' on my personal behalf and hence has no serious intent whatever!!

Thus, I find myself a little 'sheepish' when i find that some people have misunderstood this and hence I can only echo the part of the 'Animals' song lyric below:

" I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,

O lord please do not let me be misunderstood"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TuWhoo!TUTweet!TuWhoo! A Merry Note! Twitter Labours Lost?

Note: This verse is written in jest and does not purport to be a cry for either assistance in using the Twitter process or God forbid a veiled search for Romance.

I’m afraid I had a mind to Tweet to the World,
But now see this as folly and slightly absurd,
On Twitter I have followed an extensive motley crew
And I’m sure in the process lost quite a few
But I have now sent out over 950 tweets
While on my home page there are constant treats,
I have eagerly penned a 140 character line,
To the brave, the dour, the funny and the fine,
In the process I have contacted Obama, spoke freely of Nama
And even tried tweeting the illustrious Dali Lama,
At home, Miriam O’C has been my ‘queen’ Bee
And have even contacted Morning Ireland on RTE
I have contacted Ina, Beena and even Catriona
And I’m no longer sure where to draw the ‘liona’
For sure I have tweeted the poor and the best
And have even received a retweet from Ryan Seacrest.
Yes! I have tweeted Muslims, Christians and Jews
And constantly receive updates from Marklittlenews
For some days now I have tried contacting Stephen Fry,
But alas to my great chagrin I have received no reply
I have at times turned a pale shade of green and started to toil,
And in efforts of remedy have even tweeted ‘sendboyle’,
Yes comments and reflections are as common as rain,
And some Tweetieblog ‘Mums’ are causing me pain
You see try as I may the core tweeting questions remain,
Am I an Android Addicted Phonie just bleating in vain?
But wait! A spinning circle heralds a new emerging tweet,
From a TweetiePie in Florida who just wants to beat
The record for fantasy foodie consumption on the go
And asks if I could advise and let her gratefully know
My views on this subject at the risk of being lewd
So my hunger for ‘sweets’ is now greatly renewed
From the Semantics of Words I shall no longer stray,
For ‘Words are all I have to take your Heart Away’!

This verse should be read while listening to Boyzone singing ‘Words’

YouTube - Boyzone - Words

Thursday, April 8, 2010

U2 & One:'To drag the Past into the Light'

Publishing 'One' photo of U2 and this puppet character in Moycullen, County Galway last year!

Still sharing the aspiration of their song words to

'Drag the past into the Light'

with the help of 'good wife', two daughters and two lovely grandsons and extended family!

Flying Solo with 'Old'-Wan Kenobi and The Star War Kids!

After more than 15 years attic raided to retrieve old Lego Star War kits and videos and busy making up Star Stations from the Outer Galaxy again with two visiting grandchildren and becoming re familiar with Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vadar. Unfortunately after all these years, the state of my knees could be considered as a 'Phantom Menace' for this activity and my poor eyesight means that distinguishing ever smaller pieces of the Lego can be an experience akin to the the 'Revenge of the Sith'. After a visit to a Star War exhibition in Dublin last week I have even been chased around the garden by two little people brandishing 'light sabres'. Indeed the whole experience could be said to equate with the general impact on one's physique of the intergalactic warfare illustrated in the movie of the 'Emperor Strikes Back'. Thus, I'm not entirely sure that, in my diminished physical condition, i totally welcome the 'Return of the Jedi' but the spirit is willing and the two boys seem happy to join in the fun with this 'Old-Wan' Kenobi!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Posturing Grandparents Teaching Easter Fun!

To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word "boo." ~Robert Brault,

The only good thing about the ridiculous posturing by Irish teachers at their Easter Conferences in Galway over an alleged drop of 20% in their take home salaries is that it gives grandparents an opportunity to 'take home' their grandchildren and adopt as many ridiculous 'postures' of their own to amuse them during their Easter break from these same teachers.

Note: I have included some photos taken during our 'easter egg hunt' and 'bubble blitz' but have used a cartoon sketch to depict my two lovely 'grand' boys as 'Fanboy' and 'Chum Chum' (as in the Nickelodeon Show)to protect their identity on the Internet and not as any reflection on their beautiful appearance.

Lord Save the Harley Davidson Man!

A man was riding his Harley beside a Sydney beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and in a booming voice, The Lord said. 'Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.' The biker pulled over and said, 'Build a bridge to New Zealand so I can ride over anytime I want.' The Lord said; 'Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking, the supports required reaching the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind.' The biker thought hard about it for a long time. Finally, he said, 'Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand our wives. I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing's wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy'.
The Lord replied; 'You want two lanes or four on that bridge?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Semantics of M.A.T.,Banana Republic and Android Donuts!

I was reared in a household in the mid fifties in Ireland where television or indeed other media technology made little intrusive impact on our daily lives and we relied for our news source on a large solid PYE radio set.
To broaden our media awareness, my father used to read to my brother and me before we went to bed. One of his favourite authors he deemed suitable for this nocturnal pursuit was the short stories of O. Henry (the pseudonym for the American writer William Sydney Porter). We loved these stories, because they seemed full of intrigue and suspense, and we were never sure whether the ending would be tragic or comic, a defeat or a victory and hence they were ideal as nighttime entertainment for young inquisitive minds. The source of many of these stories was the book ‘Cabbages and Kings’ in which O. Henry coined the phrase “banana republic” to describe small unstable Latin American countries such as Honduras where he had fled from Houston in 1896 to avoid facing a charge of embezzlement. It is worth noting that this descriptive term is now used to describe any ‘out of control’ republic and has been used extensively to describe our own state’s condition after the recent Bank crises.

I was reminded lately of one of these lovely stories in which O. Henry relates the details of a search for a character known as a Man About Town in New York, but which in now common parlance would simply be referred to as a ‘M.A.T.’ The storey is beautifully written and can be read for free on the Internet. The ending has a twist to it like all good O. Henry stories and the narrator ends up in a hospital bed after a traffic accident none the wiser for his search but on picking up the paper finds himself described as a classic example of a ‘Man About Town’ or ‘M.A.T.’ I still love this little story and I was wondering whether it would have any resonance for our new media savvy youth today.

I feel that the storey would need some updating to give it an I-Pad punch! For example, his search would probably have to be conducted by use of the S.A.S. (Snapdragon Android Phone) powered by at least a 1.6 Donut device with a cloud computing interface if necessary. As a consequence his phone would be more likely to end up in hospital that himself. After all, it would take at least 6 hours in casualty on a trolley in recent Irish experience before he would be able to reflect on his condition as described in the original story and by that time most young people would have ‘zapped’ or ‘app’ed elsewhere. Thus, many young people approaching this storey would entirely miss the twist in the tale of the storey which is perhaps a sad reflection on our instant messaging world.

In conclusion, therefore, surely it is reasonable to speculate whether the aforementioned Fictional Finales are really worth sacrificing for Android Donuts!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Politics Explained and The Cow Parade!

Politics Explained is a page from the 'Stumble' share site explaining politics in terms of cow ownership and I particularly like the Surrealism explanation.

Very funny but wise!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Bunnies,Good Health and a 'Barrowed' Egg!

A famous slogan of the seventies was 'Go to Work on an Egg' but lo and behold, scientists have now discovered that 'An egg can go to Work on You'. So just in time for Easter they stated that eating dark chocolate can be good for you and actually may lower blood pressure. Taken in conjunction with an earlier recommendation that a glass of red wine is good for the heart, things are really looking up for the Festive season. However, as usual there are qualifications to their advice. They say that dark chocolate should be taken in 'moderation'! However, as we know one man's moderation is another man's binge. And when it comes to the good Ladies, Chocolate moderation has even being carefully worked into the normal diet regime so as to afford 'comfort' motivation to the committed participant. Thus in answer to large hints proffered by my own 'good wife' for an Easter gift, and a somewhat 'blue' tone to her temperament of late,I decided to get her a small Easter egg which is illustrated in the 'barrow' accompanying this discourse. You see, I have always adhered to the well known wedding mantra to keep her good self happy at all times. Thus, even at Easter, i try to ensure that I have something 'barrowed' to accompany something blue'.
Thanks to 'Yes Flowers' shop in Galway for sheep and Bunnie rabbit models and to 'Lir' chocolates for the well behaved egg!!
Happy Easter Every Little 'Sheep' from Galway