Sunday, December 31, 2006

On The Sixth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me

SIX More Cups of Coffee
(yes, I spend my New Years rather differently than most)
Four smoking goats,
Three beers strong,
Two working taps,
And a Nanny to take good care of me

Saturday, December 30, 2006

On The Fifth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me

F I V E MORE YEARS (to smoke legally in bars in fascist Amerika)

Four smoking goats
Three beers strong,
Two working taps,
And a Nanny to take good care of me

Friday, December 29, 2006

LISTS for 2006

And here's some randomness:

Best New Band

Best Dance

On the Fourth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me

FOUR smoking goats

Three beers strong,

Two working taps,

And a Nanny to take good care of me


"The Irish through the centuries have honed their backstage wits on the observation of Britain’s imperious weight in the world. What do we want this striking green-eyed sage to tell us about ourselves, our writers and politicians, our American performance at home and on the wider stage of this young global century?"
  • You need to listen to this program - and start submitting your writing to journals for publication. O Brien speaks beautifully about writing and writers in Ireland. WOP and I once thought about starting a blogger book club, but it seems that we all tend to read different things and once classes start, of course, no one has time to read (even what is assigned), so I doubt anything would come of it. But listening to this program with O Brien and running into a group of guys last night with the classics in thier pockets (quite literally), roused the interest again. I tend to think that the curent rage for book-clubs, popularized by the big O, is a result of the abandonment the canon of western literature by our educational institutions over the past 30 years. We no longer, even as highly 'educated' individuals, find much literary common ground for discussion and, therefore, must engineer a situation in which more than 3 people have read the same thing. We can no longer assume that a person with a university degree will even know James Joyce, Dante or Dickens, let alone have read them. We've replaced giants with pygmies; we throw Chaucer in the trash and exult the latest victimization-narrative so we can wallow in the collective sins of Western Civilization. Perhaps the Renaissance has dried up and I should just get over it, but like Voyager II the further we remove ourselves from the life-sustaining atmosphere near the ground, the more tenous, hazy, and useless the signal becomes. Once the lifeline snaps, we just drift aimlessly.
  • So, what HAVE you been reading? I jut finished a fine little history about a Scots lad gone bad, John the Painter: Terrorist of the American Revolution. A person at Hogwarts recently posited tha if he pursued history there was nothing new to discover or wite about. Well this little gem proves the point that a keen mind and creative use of sources can indeed add new wheel-ruts into well-worn roads. I also dipped into Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne for a needed escape from work-related literaure. Great stories both. So, what were your best reads of 2006?
Yits: Has the VQR arrived here yet? And have you ever heard of Belfast writer Bernard MacLaverty?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On The Third Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me

Two working taps,

And a Nanny to take good care of me.
NANNY'S with C - 8pm Tonight Thurs 28th - ALL WELCOME

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lá Fhéile Stiofán

Happy St. Stephen's Day to the faithful.

So as I try to get back to my work after a rather subdued but reflective Christmas, I can't help but think of the seven American families who will have to live evermore with the burden of Chistmas because their father/brother/son was killed in Iraq on the 24th or 25th of December 2006. I have to wince everytime Mr. Bush speaks of sacrifice; and the audacity of him to send another 40,000 troops to that hell-hole he created after the referendum -- yes Mr. Bush, it was a referendum on your war-making policy -- handed down last November. here's an interesting twist to the already rich tapestry of mishaps, bungles, and stupidity of the Bush administration: apparenly we can add to the growing list of administration 'accomplishments' the destruction of Christmas. That's right, W is also responsible for ruining Christmas. Now before you react redfaced and spit ad-hominems like Tony Snow and the boys and girls from FOX, the only 'explainers' of this administation's disastrously failed policies, consider this. W and his evangelical friends attempted the free the Middle East and promote democracy (as long as they don't elect people we don' t like) and rescue the poor oppressed Christians of the region, but instead they've provoked Jihad which has not only plunged Iraq into chaos and civil war, but also has led to the destruction of Christian churches, the killing and expulsion of Christian commnities that have existed in the region for nearly 2000 years. Most Chritians from Iraq have actually fled and are living as refugees in Syria of all places, where they are rotected. Along with the report this Christmas day of yet another American serviceman KIA comes the news that Iraqi Christians weren't even allowed to celebrate the feast day due to concerns for their safety. Thanks George for preserving liberty and religious freedoms around the world.

On a brighter note, I am also reminded of a particularly carefree St. Stephen's Day I spent with a wonderful Canadian family at their manor home outside of Bandon, County Cork in 1999. I have to admit, the home was a grand Georgian edifice of the by-gone Anglo-Irish ascendency and we spent the week in the manner of something akin to an episode of Masterpiece Theatre or a Jeeves and Wooster novel, but these Canukes are good people, and Catholics, so all is well with the world in Bandon. Comforting memories include: a massive stilton, about 18 inch diameter, on the sideboard in the formal dinning room; playing parlour games in a real parlour (no TV of course anywhere); a well-stocked larder from which I produced not a few of my best meals for a crowd (the creamed haddock soup was a particular hit); a wall of Murphys in said larder that sustained the aforementioned parlour games and cooking endeavors; meandering walks across the estate; and an outing on St. Stephen's to the coast at Seven Heads Bay where we ran into the Straw Boys. Ah you have nae heard of the Straw Boys, or the Wren Boys? Well we had passed a troop of them early in the day, dancing about a slow moving hay wagon, while we drove to a small car-park near the coast for our wee stroll along the cliffs. Covered with all manner of multi-colored ribbons and strips of cloth, with straw protruding from beneath hats, tabards and jackets, and in one instance a floral-print housemother dress, 'the Boys' at 10am were just getting their act together with few drus, bells ad whistles. By 4pm when we encountered them again, this time while warming ourselves in the local pub after our hike, they were in full form. One of the things the Boys do is go from house to house, or in this case pub to pub, singing Wren Boy songs and collecting money to bury a dead wren (thus the name, ah ha). Yes, this is all an elaborate funeral service (what the hell, it is Ireland afterall) for a bird; and an ingenious way to drink free all day in local pubs. The treacherous wren, you good Catholic devourers of haigiography will recall, was afterall responsible for the death of St. Stephen - so I guess the little bugger had it comin. I didn't actually see that they had a wren that day, but I expect they could have just as well pickled the poor thing by breathing on it. The whole day, and my recollection of it today, makes me remeber that the world is a far older and better place than Disney, Hollywood, or MTV will ever know.
So all good and true Hibernians, go out there and kill your birds! Happy Hunting. See you in the Pub.
How lovely is the inspiration exhibited by those who are good, and how sweet is the joy which they disclose! See, we acquire a feast from a feast and grace from grace. Yesterday the Lord of the universe welcomed us whereas today it is the imitator of the Lord. How are they related to each other? One assumed human nature on our behalf while the other shed it for his Lord. One accepted the cave of this life for us, and the other left it for him. One was wrapped in swaddling clothes for us, and the other was stoned for him. One destroyed death, and the other scorned it. - from sermon of Gregory of Nyssa delivered on the feast of St. Stephen, 26 Dec. 386

Plant the seed of a wild place deep down inside - Merry Christmas

I asked the Master Builder, why did he make John Muir
From the seed of a man so hard and unforgiving?
A father who tried to use the Gospel to ensure
That his son's life would never be worth living
And the Lord's voice whispered on the high Sierra wind
From the mountains where the clear waters lie
Saying "Hold the bravest heart above the gravest of sins
And I'll show you how to make a hero rise"

"Leave Calvin and the Bible to the parish of Dunbar
Give a blind man back his eyes to find the brightest of the stars
And lead him to the altar of a better God by far
In the vale of the Redwood Cathedral"

I asked the Master Builder how did he find a way
To put the man in the mountain and the mountain in the man?
How long did he search to find the uncommon clay
That he needed for his Master Builder's plan?
And the Lord's voice came down from the high Sierra skies
Saying, "Take a heart of hard Scottish stone
Plant the seed of a wild place deep down inside
And I'll show you how to call a hero home"

As I stand by the thunder of the roaring mountain falls
And I hear California call you saviour
I cannot help but wonder had a different fortune called
Would you have done the same for Scotland the Brave
Your home and your father's?
God lives above the redwoods so they say
Looking down straight and true at the best of all his treasures
And if a man should stand among them to pray
It's against them the lord will take his measure
And who grew straighter than long Johnny Muir
A redwood of flesh, blood and bone
Filled by the Master Builder with a passion so pure
For the mountains that no one can ever own

Song Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan
[and yes, I'm getting psyched up for the dogs]

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Greetings From YITS

The stars always appear to shine brighter on the long cold nights that adorn the heavens during the winter months; brighter and truer. And when they do bear down upon us we know that winter’s chill wont be far away and that any wanderer who finds himself alone under such scenes realizes that the world is a big place, the universe even bigger, the heavens a mystery, and existence a solitary burden; he understands that the only voice he can trust is the one that looked to the stars and asked for guidance. All men seek guidance, all carry burdens, but this does not mean that we cannot find some respite. The season of goodwill and merriment is upon us, when all men deserve to shed the burden of existing, and enjoy living. So may whatever constellation or star you are under tonight guide you to a home and a hearth; a friend or family, and a healthy, happy Christmas – Nollag Shonna

Thursday, December 21, 2006

C Night at Nanny's - Thursday 21 Dec

All are welcome!

10 Things I like About You

Ten things you can do after achieving the position of Supreme Leader: A eulogy of sorts for Saparmurat Niyazov, taken from his own life (1940-2006).
  • 10 - Erect a 35ft gold statue of yourself in your hometown that follows the path of the sun (much more impressive than showing up at your high school reunion in a porsche with the trophy bride).

  • 9 - Declare beards and long hair illegal (easy way to put a stop to bad poetry, except yours of course which you will read on national television).

  • 8 - Officially change the names of days and months for family members and friends, reserving of course January for yourself, and declare that there are only eight months in a year just for good measure (this is also a good reason to befriend meglomaniacal Supreme Leaders)

  • 7 - Write your own mythic autobiography and then require all school-children to read and memorize it as their primary textbook

  • 6 - Ban all opera, ballet and recorded music as 'unnecessary' (the people have your poetry to listen too afterall).

  • 5 - Institute 'National Melon Day' in celebration of your country's proud tradition of growing melons: "Let the life of every Turkmen be as beautiful as our melons." (I assume this holiday was concocted during a particularly boozey night at Hooters in Ashgabat, kind of like Kwanza).

  • 4 - Close every hospital ouside of your capital (funny this, dictators usually don't have a problem attracting the sick).

  • 3- Put your portrait on all the stamps and money of your country, so all of those poor sots you rule over can always adore you even if they can't buy anything with your worthless currency.

  • 2 - Show that you are a loving family man, by officially changing the word for 'bread' to your mother's name (hey, we love motherhood and apple pie, why not just combine them? Ummm...I would love a nice slice of homemade Barbara Bush with my coffee about now).

  • 1 - Build an Ice Palace celebrating your rule despite the fact that you rule over a country in the world's hottest desert (taking a cue, methinks, from our beloved Gilles Duseppe of 'Le Bloc' I fear. Can the enormous Sleigh of Profundity pulled by a hundred wolf-riding dwarves be far behind?).

Ah -the world mournes the passing of yet another crazy-assed son-of-a-bitch!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Oh Maron!"

Since WOP seemed to enjoy the pic (not Pict) from days gone by, I thought I'd really hit him with a blast from the past. Of course going through these old photos is having a breaking effect on the 'big decision.' Though I must admit, this weather adds allure to the prospect of living in Massachusetts.

So when are we all going to have the good-bye Nanny's Night? There isn't much time remaining.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So Christmas Break, time to read, time to sleep, time to eat, and time to get in a little writing. I can't say that PW has proved to be the most active of forums lately. I'm still convinced that we are all either just too apathetic or too fearful to put our thoughts into words. I do know that there are readers out there who have NEVER bothered leaving a comment. WE need to add Sobes as a contributer, since he does tend to keep up and write, and I'm sure he'll have some great stories when he gets back from Rome (Sobes - if you're out there and have access to a Vatican comp, please post us a few lines fom the Eternal if you have a minute) . So anyway, a few Paddy randoms:
- a little dopamine makes a person happy; a surge of dopamine makes a person euphoric; an abundance of dopomine makes a person schizophrenic; Igor Stravinsky caused riots!
- My dopamine this week came from dining at Le Paradou, a local eatery owned by a fellow Hibernian's people, probably one of the better restarant meals I've ever had. Let's see if Paddy can remember the menu:
Amuse: califlower mousse w caviar
1st: Diver scallop tartar served in egg shell over lobster mousse (this may have been a second amuse, but it was large enough to be a course)
2nd: Terrine of foie gras wih apricots and caramel
3rd:Oysters in creame served on the half-shell
4th: Roasted Lobster in a Sauternes butter sauce w ginger and grapfruit zest
5th: Filets of tubot and scallop
6th: Roasted stuffed boneless quail with chestnut gnocchi
7th: Chocolate mousse mille feuille served with avacado gelato
All accompanied with properly paired, and outstanding, wines. A big thank you goes out to our gastronomic Hibernian and his family for such a wonderful and memorable evening with my mother.

for those looking for a geat dining experience:
Le Paradou • 678 Indiana Avenue, NW, Penn Quarter, Washington, DC 20004
Reservations: 202.347.6780 • Private Dining: 202.347.8160
25 Best New Restaurants in the USA
-- Esquire Magazine

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Saturday Afternoon Dream

Most of you know that Paddy possesses a rather lively dream life -- both in sleep and awake -- and I've always regretted not keeping a dream-journal over the years (shit, I'd have a collection that could keep Gabriel García Márquez working for several lifetimes). So, since we are livin' in a dream-world at Hogwarts anyway, I thouht I'd share what I woke up with today:
I wake up in on a lounge sofa just off the main hall of an opera, still in my dirty t-shirt, still holding the historical novel about Scots hero William Wallace, the book that I had actually been reading when I fell asleep. Well a crowd had gathered at the edge of the seating area, not ten feet from my sofa, and as I rouse myself I notice Chris Bredie's father, immaculately dressed in a grey suit with pink shirt/tie combo. He is motioning to his wife and making movements to leave, and i don't want to get up and be forced to engage in polite conversation, as I am sorely out of place in my jeans and T, so I just huddle over my book, head down and pretended the read. I think most people around me think I had just perched myself there as some pauper in order to hear the opera - it was Mozart's Idomeneo. I see a man approaching me from the left, just his suit trousers and shoes, and figure he is about to ask me to leave. I force myself to wake up. The opera was wonderful! Dream over.
What the heck that means is up for grabs; I have my own thoughts on that matter.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Back of the net

Soccer is such a wonderful game. I love to play whenever I can. Yesterday, my neice Lauren, convinced me to go over to the usual Saturday pick-up game that takes place in my town. I was wearing my Hiberian 2005 t-shirt from Hogwart and decided to wear it to play. The game was great fun. There were, however, some englishmen playing, who, when they saw my shirt, inquired as to the meanings of some of the Gaelic on it. When I told them what it meant they began to play a bit rougher. I promise you that this italian loves rough play so I joined into the fray with relish. I almost felt irish. To make a short story, shorter I disposessedd on of the englishmen of the ball near his own goal and in a way "my day had come" that saturday, as I watched the ball hit the back of the net. It was indeed a treat!.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sadness and Happiness

College Football as sad this weekend as Notre Dame lost to USC and Maryland fell to Wake Forest. Sadness prevailed in DC and in Bowie.

Sunday brought happiness in Bowie at least as the Bills won and the Redskins eked out a win also.

May Nanny's remain open forever!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

WOP is back...

Thanksgiving is coming and so is my whole family. I am very excited to have them here for the holiday. There will be 21 people at the Italian's Thanksgiving table which should make for wonderful conversation, bold extravagant aruguments and general good cheer. My daughter was in the the middle of the shooting at Annapolis Mall on Saturday night. She is alright but she will never forget it I am sure. Makes me wonder why we expect Iragi youth to forget the American soldiers, tanks and planes shooting up their country. Scares me to death what revenge motives we must be conjuring up in their hearts. George Bush is the worst President the republic has ever had to endure.

Even though Steny Hoyer is my local Congressman, I am still upset that John Murtha did become the majority leader. He is the reason that the democrats are back in control and deserved to be majority leader. Rep. Hoyer supported the war right from day 1. The sad thing about Hoyer is that he didnt even have any opposition. The republicans don't even put up a candidate against him. Somebody needs to.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Thursday November 9, 2006The Guardian

For six years, latterly with the backing of both houses of a markedly conservative Republican Congress, George Bush has led an American administration that has played an unprecedentedly negative and polarising role in the world's affairs. On Tuesday, in the midterm US congressional elections, American voters rebuffed Mr Bush in spectacular style and with both instant and lasting political consequences. By large numbers and across almost every state of the union, the voters defeated Republican candidates and put the opposition Democrats back in charge of the House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years.

In US domestic terms, the 2006 midterms bring to an end the 12 intensely divisive years of Republican House rule that began under Newt Gingrich in 1994. These have been years of zealously and confrontational conservative politics that have shocked the world and, under Mr Bush, have sent America's global standing plummeting. That long political hurricane has now at last blown itself out for a while, but not before leaving America with a terrible legacy that includes climate-change denial, the end of biological stem-cell research, an aid programme tied to abortion bans, a shockingly permissive gun culture, an embrace of capital punishment equalled only by some of the world's worst tyrannies, the impeachment of Bill Clinton and his replacement by a president who does not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. The approval by voters in at least five more states of same-sex marriage bans - on top of 13 similar votes in 2004 - shows that culture-war politics are far from over.

But at least the passing of Mr Rumsfeld shows that someone in the White House now recognises that things cannot go on as before. Business as usual will not do, either in general or over Iraq. Mr Bush's remarks last night showed that on Iraq he has now put himself in the hands of the Iraq Study Group, chaired by his father's consigliere James Baker, one of whose members, Robert Gates, an ex-CIA chief, was last night appointed to succeed the unlamented Mr Rumsfeld. Maybe the more pragmatic Republican old guard can come to the rescue of this disastrous presidency in its most catastrophic adventure. But it has been the American voters who have at last made this possible. For that alone the entire world owes them its deep gratitude today.

Monday, November 06, 2006


THANKS SASHA - The lamb was delish !

"This is the part I like the best;
This is the wettest part
of the quest..."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What may we wish for now as the autumn light ebbs and with the passing of Samhain the ensuing darkness of another encroaching winter threatens. What more exists to light and enlighten? Yeats wrote that the grey morning melancholy runs through all the legends of the Celtic people, and so it is there I shall seek. It is there where, on our isolated isle at least, fallen angles too good to be lost and too bad to be saved work out there time; where all life past and present walk unknowingly side by side: where souls seek solace. Waning light gives way to a waxing soul, and the grey dawn gives life and hope to any who will open their hearts to it. They are the magic hours on this rock and it is in the waters that hold the grey dawn up where I shall bathe my Celtic soul in search of repose from the infinite Celtic melancholy.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Tis the night before Samhain and all through the house,
All the creaures are stirring, while Sasha dresses the grouse.
The pentagrams are hung from the tree-limbs with care,
In the hopes that Carnunnos soon will be there.
The initiates are fretting all freaked-out and more,
While visions of terror into their brains bore;
And Asbill in his sporran, and Wolfe in his kilt,
Have just come to terms with the blood that they spill't.
When out in the forest there arises such a clatter,
That I flee from the graveyard to avoid the whole matter.
On towards the firelight I fly like a flash,
Tear open the mullien leaf and start humming The Clash.

The moon through the gaps of the boughs ever shifting ,
Gave an eerie dull glow to the headstones I'm lifting.
When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear,
But the hulk of a man with the head of a deer.
With a pack of hellhounds from regions afar,
I recall in a flash that its Féile na Marbh.

More dreadful than Balor onward he comes,
In a low gutteral voice, a kind of keening he hums.
"To Alban, and Breacan, and Cairneach, and Damhan,
To Eochai, and Failbhe, and Iarlugh and Garbhan.
As the veil slowly lifts and the two worlds combine,
I command you to rise and get behind me in line."

And then, from the dead-wood, I hear a low wail
And the scratching and clawing of each fingernail.
As I suck in my breath, and start turning around,
The Cailleach Bheur rises up from the ground.
She is dressed in dark blankets from head to the feet
And carried with her an odor that smelled faintly of peat.

A magical hammer, the Blue Hag carries by her side,
And her arms when held out stretch nearly 15 feet wide!
Her eyesockets hollow, she's long lost the eyes,
And the vegetation as she passes simply shrivels up an dies.
She speaks not a word, but goes straight down the drive,
And after her passing I doublecheck that I'm alive.

The dark side and I on Samhain are one.
What's left when its over is the devastation she's done.
The Tree of Life till Beltane sleeps
And this is the tradition, this Hibernian keeps.