Friday, April 30, 2004

There’s allot of hype in the Irish media at the moment concerning tomorrow’s meeting of the 25 EU heads of state in Dublin. The occasion is the ten new accession states joining the EU. The main ceremony will take place in Farmleigh House in The Phoenix Park on the north side of Dublin city. Violent protest is expected and media reports state that the Gardai (the Irish police force) are armed to the teeth.

Apparently an army of anarchists is going to descend on Dublin from all corners of Europe and ferment trouble. The city centre has been designated an unofficial no go area for the weekend, and a certain amount of low level hysteria dominates the airwaves. As a result a lot of people I know intend avoiding the city at all costs.

Of course there’ll be trouble of that I’ve absolutely no doubt. But not on the scale expected by the media. People who should know better are preparing for a doom and gloom scenario. Such is the suggestive power of the media.

Ps came across a rather interesting blog recently. It’s written by Ze who is a gravedigger. You can access it here. The style in which this blog is written amazes me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Here's an email someone just sent me. Anyone over 30 and living in Ireland should appreciate it.

Growing up in Ireland

I'm talking about Hide and Seek in the park, The shop down the road,
Hopscotch, Donkey, skipping, handstands, stuck in the mud, football with
an old can, Dandy, Beano, Twinkle and Roly Poly, Hula Hoops, Jumping the
stream, building a swing from a tyre and a piece of rope tied to a tree,
(If you live in Dublin the lampost), building tree-houses, climbing up onto
roofs. Tennis on the street, the smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.

Hubba Bubba bubble gum and 2p Flogs, macaroon bars and woppas, 3p
Refreshers and wham bars, superhero chewing gum, golf ball chewing gums and
liquorice whips, desperate dan and roy of the rovers, sherbit dips and Mr.
freezes, marathon bars and everlasting gobstoppers. An ice cream cone on a
warm summer night from the van that plays a tune chocolate or vanilla or
strawberry or maybe neopolitan

Wait ... Watching Saturday Morning cartoons ... short commercials, Battle
of the Planets, Road Runner, He-Man, Swapshop, and Why Don't You?,
Transformers, How do you do?, Bosco(SANDY), Forty-coats, the Littlest Hobo
and Lassie, Chucklevision, The Muppet Show, MacGyver, Scarecrow and Mrs
King, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, or staying up
for Knight Rider and Magnum PI.

When around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like
going somewhere.

A million midget bites, sticky fingers and mud all over you, knee-pads on
your jeans, Cops and Robbers, Rounders, tip the Can, Queenie-I-O, climbing
trees, spin the bottle, building igloos out of snow banks, walking to
school, no matter what the weather, running till you were out of breath.
Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt, Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights,
Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles,
Being tired from playing... Remember that?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon

Football cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.

And don't forget the Marietta sandwiches we'd make by buttering a cupla
Marietta biscuits and stickin' them together. And that quare oul mixture
made in a tall glass with HB ice cream and Taylor Keith Red Lemonade.

I'm not finished just yet...

Eating raw jelly, orange squash ice pops

Remember when ... There were two types of sneakers - girls and boys and
Dunlop Green Flash and the only time you wore them at school, was for
"P.E.", Gola football boots.

It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends, when nobody owned a pure
bred dog, when 25p was decent pocket money, when you'd reach into a muddy
gutter for a penny, when nearly everyone's mum was at home when the kids got
there, when it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner
at a real restaurant with your parents

When any parent could discipline any kid or use him to carry groceries and
nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When being sent to the head's office was nothing compared to the fate that
awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our
lives but it wasn't because of muggings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents
and grandparents were a much bigger threat! and some of us are still afraid
of them!!!

Remember when....

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo." Mistakes were
corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!"

"Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were
handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly", the game of life and
connect four, atari 2600's and commadore 64's. The worst thing you could
catch from the opposite sex was germs. It was unbelievable that Red rover
wasn't an Olympic event...

Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a biro barrel pea
shooter or an elastic band. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better,
Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable vitamins, Ice cream was considered
a basic food group.

Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.. Abilities were discovered
because of a "double dare" Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but
also the fiercest protectors

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED!!!! Pass
this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown up" life...

I DOUBLE DARE YA!!! Bagsy it, no returns and no magical changes.

Yahoo. Last night I put a design in the sky above Dublin as part of the Vectorial Elevation project. The link to the project is here. Have fun. If you're around Dublin at 10.08 GMT tonight I've another design for the city. The wonders of technology.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Somehow I've got the feeling that some of our politicians are using the healthcare issue as a stick to beat immigrants with. In my opinion immigrants are being used as a scapegoat for our run down health care service. Tell me who is to blame for the lack of resources in health care? This present government.

Rather than provide health care with adequate funding they give €60 million to the GAA. After all people in hospitals can't get up out of bed to vote. People who play Gaelic games can.

Be warned we are setting a very very dangerous precedent here. Accept the consequences.

Friday, April 23, 2004

An international football match took place in the field in front of the house where I live last night. Barcelona played AC Milan. It was Ronaldhino against Kaka. The maroon and blue of Barcelona against the red and black of AC Milan. We were in the Camp Nou or the San Siro. We were in a field where a bunch of kids were playing a game of football.

This is it I thought the sheer joy of the game. No big money. No diving. Here for me was a sport that is instantly recognisable throughout the world. From the slums of Rio to the wealth a suburb in Milan, if a ball is placed on the ground two sets of improvised goal posts made you will know that a game of football is about to take place.

At the top it’s riddled with corruption, and used for political purposes. But still we dream, still we dream. Have to watch it am starting to sound like Eamon Dunphy.

Monday, April 19, 2004

I've decided to come down from the fence and welcome Roy Keane back into the Ireland set up. We need all the help we can get. A tentative yes so. Go on Keano show us what you're made of.

Had a good weekend meself. Was out with D most of the time. He's still mourning his Dad. Today was his first day back in college.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

So Roy Keane is on the way back. I can't make up my mind if thats good or bad and will just sit this one out on the fence.

Friday, April 09, 2004

At the moment I’m reading Zulu Time by Mark Little. I have to agree with his conclusions especially those concerning George W. Bush and America.

The general assumption is that George is an idiot and taken on face value this can be said to be true. From our perspective it is blindingly obvious that some of his pronouncements seem ludicrous. Neither is his diction what you would expect from the president of the most powerful country in the World. In short the man is a fool.

I’ve always felt uneasy with this idea, however appealing it may seem. In fact I honestly believe that George W. Bush is a calculating politician playing to an audience. An intellectual he is not. But clever he certainly is. No one who is genuinely stupid gets to be President of The United States. George has fooled us all into thinking that all he is is a stupid cowboy from Texas. The man is laughing up his sleeve.

As I write this the situation in Iraqi is becoming extremely serious thanks to a Shia inspired uprising. Things seem to have become very tense in the country and the voices of moderation seem to be unheeded. For the ordinary Iraqi people it must be very frightening. Riverbends blog seems to express this.

June 30th is the day when The United States is due to hand over power to an interim Iraqi administration. But what if the situation deteriorates between this and then? Will power be handed over to an Iraqi government? Will we have a peaceful withdrawal of United States force?

Mention has been made that this is another Vietnam for the Americans. I don’t think so, not just yet. Though it has the potential to be so, and because of the nature of the force involved it has the potential to be a Vietnam for everyone in the west.

Despite my pessimism I still believe that the situation can be resolved. If peace is restored quickly and a UN controlled force is brought in I believe many people’s lives will be saved. This must happed without delay.

It may sound that I’m in favor of the actions of the United States in invading Iraq. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like 100,000 others I marched through the streets of Dublin in protest against the war. I considered it, as I still do, to be an illegal war.

The last major war that brought about a major protest was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and that contributed to the end of the USSR. Italy and Germany both flouted the League of Nations prior to WW2 and both were defeated. The omens don’t auger well. As I have said the outcome of the war will have repercussions far beyond the borders of Iraq.

I’ll try to finish on a bright note. Last week I read Picasso’s War by Russell Martin. The book tells the story of Picasso’s painting Guernica. A story which runs to the very day. In a previous post I mentioned seeing Guernica in the Sofia museum in Madrid. It is a wonder life affirming read born from the tragedy of war. A book I would highly recommend.

Monday, April 05, 2004

While in Madrid I went to the Renia Sofia Gallery. In the Gallery Pablo Picasso’s anti war painting ‘Guernica’ hangs. Picasso painted ‘Guernica’ in 1937 in response to the bombing of the Basque town Guernica by the German airforce during the Spanish Civil War.

The painting is truly as great and as wonderful as anything I’ve heard or read about it. No reproduction can do ‘Guernica’ justice. The sheer scale of the painting took my breath away. Its emotional power is heart stopping. I wandered around the Sofia returning again and again to view ‘Guernica’.

Eventually I left the gallery and crossed the road to Atocha station. Distinctive red candles burned brightly in an impromptu memorial to the victims of the recent bombings. Messages of sympathy from across the world were posted on a wall. Colombia, Mexico, Ireland, France, Italy. Two old women moved among the candles relighting those blown out by the wind. I lit a candle and paid my respects.

I arrived back from Madrid on Tuesday and by way of putting things into perspective I got a call the next morning from DW to say that his father had died. I’ve written about DW’s father before, old Mr.W. A genuine Dubliner who reared five fine children who have done him proud. Quite a contrast. I spent most of last weekend in DW’s company trying my best to console. You can only say so much in these circumstances. Mr.W may you rest in peace.

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