Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Images near the Sea Coast at Clock na Ron, Galway

On my way to Clifden for the Connemara rugby match last Saturday, (about which enough said!), I took the coast road through Roundstone via Balyconneally to Clifden. The Village of Roundstone is called Cloch na Ron in Irish which means the seal's rock and in fact I did see a seal basking in the sun on a rock near Ballyconneally a few years ago. Much of the coastal road is blighted by too many badly designed and poorly located bungalows but there is still some wonderful scenery to be enjoyed. So by way of enticing others to perhaps consider spending some of their holidays here, I am including some photos of the sea, the rocks, and the coral beach near Ballyconneally. Magic!

To really get into the mood for this photo montage, may I suggest indulging in a can of stout (if a pint is not readily available) and listening to Mairtin O'Connor's Cd music on 'The Road West'. Ah! I can feel the beauty of it all in the soul itself!

PS. Those perceptive among you may notice that the CD cover artwork is by Joe Boske, a very talented artist whose work is referred to in a previous blog entry of mine.

Friday, March 25, 2011

All in a Twitter over the Molecule Mayhem of Flann O'Brien

After visiting my esteemed local Dubray bookshop last weekend, I acquired some new books but in my perusal of the fiction section I noticed a re-issue of Flann O’Brien’s paperback novel ‘The Third Policeman’. I recalled having read this work before and indeed there were some treasured memories of it residing in my psyche, so when I got home and searched my bookshelves I found a copy dating from February 1978, or some thirty three years ago. I soon sat down to explore its wonderful contents once again and was immediately struck how very refreshing and even exhilarating it seemed even after all these years. Described modestly on the book cover as an allegory of the absurd, it is in fact much more, embracing a hilarious comic discourse on everything from surreal policemen, through bicycles with magical properties to a macabre murder mystery. Although the book has many fine humorous passages, it is the theory of Atomic Theory expounded by one Sergeant Pluck which struck a particular and familiar cord with me on this occasion.

The essence of Sergeant Pluck’s Atomic theory is that everything is composed of ‘diminutive gentlemen’ called atoms which are ‘flying around in concentric circles and arcs and segments and innumerable other geometric figures too numerous to mention collectively, never standing still or resting but spinning away and darting hither and thither and back again, all the time on the go’. He then goes further to explain that ‘consecutively and consequentially’ when a cold hammer strikes a bar of iron over time, some atoms of the bar will go into the hammer and vice verse. The end result is he suggests, that people for example, who spent most of their natural lives riding an iron bicycle over the rocky roads of a parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle so such an extent that the many end up being half human and half bicycle. Thereafter it could be often difficult to distinguish between peoples’ bicycle and bicycle people. He cites the postman, due to long periods riding a bike, as being seventy one per cent bicycle. Of course, this ‘intricate theorem’ could also be extended to animals, as for example his reference to his great grandfather who rode horses all his life and was for a year before his death, to all intents and purposes, a horse. This old horse was in such a contrary way and gave so much trouble however, ‘coming into the house at night and interfering with young girls during the day and committing indictable offence’, that the local family had to shoot him.

I have to admit that I was greatly impressed by this Atomic Theorem, for it seems to explain many of the peculiar characteristics and behaviour patterns of my own extended family and indeed even of some of my followers on Twitter. My own good wife for example has a great affinity with chocolate which up till now, in my ignorance, I put down to a sweet tooth. However, having carefully considered her behaviour in the light of Sergeant Pluck’s theorem, I now realise that she is probably at least 45% chocolate. This of course is not a fixed percentage as it can fall as low as 10% during the Lent period but can surge to some 75% around Easter. As a result of this new insight I can now fully understand why my wife is a trifle flaky at times, states on occasion that it is her way or the milky bar way and often has a head choc full of sweet nothings. However, I think she is the ultimate sweet treat to love, bar (choc?) none. My daughters also portray many of the characteristics of Pluck’s theory. For example the older girl is at least 35% cat at this stage and 10% rugby ball with the result that when Ireland wins an international match she can be seen curled up in the corner with a small imitation rugby ball purring to herself. However, if they loose, she is best avoided as she can hiss at you and attempt to scratch your eyes out. The younger Lady has three male ‘children’, two boys and a her man, each of which is treated in the same childlike manner. The all have ‘fat Friday’ parties, cut out and colour little paper shapes and sing children’s songs. I now realise that far from developing into a maturing adult, my daughter due to her prolonged association with young minds, is regressing towards her former childhood state and is effectively now 42% child herself.

Although my own Twitter followers are difficult to read clearly from a series of short 140 character letters, nevertheless an application of Pluck’s atomic analysis to some them is illuminating.

Musicshosh for example is probably some 27% Beatle at this stage as she tweets from ‘here, there and everywhere’ along her very own ‘long and winding road’.

Hlane on the other hand could be said to be a mix of 15% cat and 25% dog with the result that she appears at times to be going around in circles with her dog disposition constantly trying to catch up with that of her cat.

RhiannonPaine I seem to believe is a good 20% dancer, 40% book and 12% chocolate which may explain why she spends so much time dancing around with a book in her hand looking for chocolate and why she is thus invariably ‘Late for the Festival’.

KarlaTelega may well be 22% comic sleuth combined with a 15% insomniac disposition which leads her to form cookie companies in her sleep; perhaps through a form of sleep talking on her oldtube I-Phone.?

AbbyHarenberg could possibly be 27% camera by now which may explain why her fine tweets can be so black and white with very precise memory exposure.
Tracytid is 33% out of sorts, sort of clever, sort of amusing and sort of smart cookie!

And other followers display similar unusual characteristics, the extent of which can be guessed at through careful tweet analysis. For my own part, my good wife has told me that I have become a mix of 28% old goat and 35% Twitter addict over the last year. I feel that this is widely exaggerated but I don’t wish to lock horns with her over the matter. Rather I pointed out to her that I has been working on a new social web site called Front Door Square where everyone who visits this pub tweets their location to each other. However, she remains sceptical that such a silly location defining device would catch on and says that I should stick with being a sap rather than aspire to being an app. Must end now however as I need to tweet the barman for another pint of stout.

Note: This nonsense discourse is for amusement only but I would seriously recommend that anyone reading it would be well served by becoming familiar with the comic works of the famous Irish writer, one Flann O’Brien.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wouldn't It be Handy if I became A Yankee Doodle Dandy?

Investment in our poor country is now running to the sea like a river in spate
With many people wondering if we any longer have even a real sovereign state
And for many like myself life has been very tough and has taken a hard toll
But suddenly there is hope from green shamrock contained in a little Superbowl.

Our Prime Minister Enda gave it as a present to the USA on last St Patrick’s Day
And your President in turn then promised to come visit and cheer us up in May
But how could a humble little bowl of green plants lighten our own financial task
And how a recovery in fortune could result from same, you may well indeed ask.

Well you see that we as a nation are not as green as this plant from an Irish field
Because this shamrock in a form of hedge fund with which riches can be sealed
So in return for retaining a corporate tax here as low as twelve and a half percent
We will ensure that all American Foreign National’s profits to home can be sent.

And to those who may be incredulous and doubt that this will please your Uncle Sam
Can I simply point out that the same was done before with tulip bulbs in Old Amsterdam
Our Celtic Tiger was a cub from a liaison like that between Freedie Mac and Fanny Mae
So the green shoots of recovery can be found in the humble shamrock whatever they say.

Those who have scoffed or have said a spell of change would take the Magic of a Merlin
Should try to remember like minister Harney that we may be closer to Boston than Berlin
And a little bowl of shamrock brought a broad smile to the cheeks of one Barack Obama
Not to mention the green hue appearing on our Edna’s face like a chubby Irish Dali Lama.

Yet some you remain unconvinced by my treatise and think that I am merely teasing
But most Irish people would also like to benefit from your Dollar’s quantitative easing
Indeed the White House fountain has turned green and Obama has a very friendly tone
And it’s said that Timothy Geithner of the US Treasury Dept is even considering a loan.

A new alliance with the United States in our current dilemma could indeed prove handy
But it could lead us to loose identity and be referred to as a mere Yankee Doodle Dandy
Still we could claim as our new president Barack Obama, who has charisma and charm
So even if we turn our country into a mixture of Disney and Dallas, is it really any harm.

But wait, is it certain that the Molly Blooms in our green Irish garden will ever be rosy
Or is this proposal a mere knee jerk response to the remarks of French President Sarkozy
Maybe we should reflect a little longer before we apply to use the standard dollar bureau
And despite our reservations continue with the IMF/ECB rescue and especially the Euro.

You see, joining the United States team would not be without some problems after all,
For example, we might have to eat humble Apple pie and replace hurling with baseball
So perhaps on balance, we are not as badly off as we think and should stop our wailin

For come next election we might not get Obama as we hope but good grief, Sarah Palin.

So we’ll simply resolve to be better at being Irish and we will not give up all our hope
For good and all as Obama is for Ireland, can he really be as infallible as a German Pope
And staying as we are means we can still enjoy fine drinking, long chats and good craic
Without feeling obliged like our American Yankee friends to invade countries like Iraq.

And sure green shamrock is best worn on a proud chest but one Saint’s day each year
As even hedge or field funds do not guarantee vast returns of income it has become clear
So let’s simply raise a toast to being Irish, to our fine country and especially to our stout
For when it comes to facile money answers, there are already enough daft solutions about.

Note: This is a light fictitious verse written strictly for amusement only and is dedicated to Martyn Turner the wonderful cartoonist with the Irish Times whose shamrock cartoon inspired the little verse.

Sporting Ri Ra agus Ruaile (Rooney) Buaille?

What a great sporting weekend in Ireland. Having just beaten England at their very own game, cricket, the Irish stopped the English firmly in their tracks at rugby as well, just as England seemed to be heading for a Grand Slam victory in the Six Nations Championship. Before the game no one forecast that the Irish team would rise to the occasion but on the day they simply outplayed and outclassed the much vaunted English team. Not since the national recession swept the country have the Irish had a real opportunity to celebrate their pride in being truly and uniquely Irish. O Joy! What magic and I can agree that the sentiments of the old Gaelic phrase used in the title to this piece readily sums up the popular feeling among all sport lovers here.

"Ri Ra agus Ruaile Buaille' translates as uproar and commotion' in English.
P.S. It emerged today that England were so sure of beating Ireland and winning the Grand Slam that they made a Victory video and printed 500o T-shirts with Grand Slam winners 2011 emblazoned on them! Poor boys, don't they ever learn that you can never beat the irish!!!

Those perceptive among you will also notice the introduction of Wayne Rooney into the title. This is by way of celebration at the visit of our two grandchildren for the match and the six year old's obsession with Manchester United. (hence his little cartoon drawing). Although I myself am an ardent Spurs supporter, I feel that in a spirit of generosity brought about my our sensational routing of the English, I should at least do Sean the compliment of including his United talisman here too.

Thanks to the grandchildren and the Irish rugby team for a brilliant weekend and Ok, Sean,I suppose that Rooney isn't too bad either!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Saintly Enda has got it off Pat!

On the 17th March we celebrate Ireland’s patron St Patrick each year
With such as green beer, Irish dancing, street parades and good cheer
But this time our European bank bailout is clouding our nation’s attention
And in this respect our new prime minister, Enda is worthy of mention.

For already European leaders have adopted an aloof stance with a shrill whine
And on the subject of renegotiation have reaffirmed the self same fixed line
That Ireland must stick rigidly to the terms of their recent EU/ECB/IMF deal
No matter what deep sense of injustice the plain people of Ireland may feel.

But it seems that Enda borrowed from St Patrick a reference to our green shamrock
To assert with full conviction that it is high time for them to newly take stock.
And reminded them that the EU/ECB/IMF was simply a mere symbolic troika
Just like the petals of a shamrock and so they could go and ‘get on their Boika’.

He acknowledged that Ireland may for some years have had a Celtic Tiger as a pet
Yet this was hardly a reason alone to leave the Nation with a mountain of debt.
But some Heads of State had seemingly not been spoken to like this ever before
With the result that before the meeting was over there was abuse and uproar.

The French President Sarkozy went blue with rage and had a major fit of pique
While he rocked back and forth on his toes in the hope of enhancing his petit physique
Stressing that Ireland's problems were due principally to our regulations too lax
He said a sign of good faith would be a unilateral reduction of our corporation tax.

Chancellor Merkel professed herself at Ireland’s new direct attitude, deeply shocked
Obviously her nation’s forbearance has just resulted in their efforts being mocked.
She reasserted her view that all her senior bondholders must never feel pain
While acknowledging that some his points of reference may indeed be germane.

Silvio Berlusconi said he was impressed and Enda should not have to wait on
Provided on his next trip to Italy he brought along the lovely Lucinda Creighton
For his own part he would have preferred a musical message more ‘sunga sunga’
But he did feel that pointers could be gained to defend his own bunga bunga!

The Greek Prime minister, Papandreou, asks why the need for all this Olympian drama
For after all didn’t Ireland transfer all its financial problems to something called NAMA?
And why couldn’t Enda simply enjoy some Ouzo and employ a Greek like resolution
In support for refinancing all loans over an ever extending period as an ongoing solution.

The others sang dumb and even Barroso thought this firm attitude unfair
But the alternative was Ming Flanagan so they thought it best to ‘beware.’
To protect Irelands interests Enda declared he would accept no volte face
On corporation tax or Irelands sovereignty and he sat down to rest his case.

So come next Thursday when we enjoy our annual St. Patrick’s celebration
And for one day we can be merry and forget the woes of the nation
We should toast Enda the Taoiseach, his honour, his fortitude and his skill
Which if he perseveres with it, will stop Europe doing down our people at will.

Only then can we be reborn as a People and once again we can forever walk tall
And in political terms, sure Enda Kenny, as Taoiseach, will have no rival at all
And even St Patrick as patron may have in time to be displaced and be stood down
For a more illustrious and virtuous Mayo Man from Castlebar could well take his crown.

Note: This is a light fictitious verse written for the amusement of all those enjoying St Patrick’s Day! Hope you are all green with envy!!

P.S. I have no connection with Fine Gael or indeed any other political party!