Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I hate this. You know that feeling when you find a really great book, one that consumes you for two days straight as you plough through it, captivated? And then you finish it only to find that the world is cold and hollow? Well it’s been over a week now since I finished ‘The Gathering Storm’, book twelve of The Wheel of Time, and I’ve been in that dark place since.
It’s like when your favourite pair of trainers finally pack in and you’re forced to wear that ‘new’ pair you bought months ago. You eventually come to love them too, but not before a spell of huffing. Well, that’s the way it is for me anyway.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Right, so I’m not sure what the rules are on this sort of thing, nor do I care (I’m a rebel, you see, a real bad ass), but I’ve replaced the post that was here.
Previously I had up a tongue-in-cheek, letter-to-the-editor type article by Newton Emerson for the Irish Times. I thoroughly enjoyed the piece, which is why I posted it in the first place, but on reflection it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of my stuff. To start with, it could’ve only really been appreciated by someone familiar with the subtle ridiculousness of Irish history and politics. Plus it was so long it took up half the page. (If you’re intrigued you can read it here.)
Instead I’ve put up another news story from the same week that made me smile just as widely, and will be appreciated by anyone in their right mind. I find one’s attitude towards tea to be a strong measure of one’s character. Maybe that’s just another Irish thing.
Anyway, here you go, the news I’ve been waiting for. Finally, they’re saying something I love is good for me!
Drinking eight cups of tea a day 'reduces heart attack and stroke risk'
Drinking up to eight cups of tea a day offers "significant health benefits", including a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, according to research. Read More
These are a few delightful animations from an art show on Japanese news channel NHK World. I can’t tell from the info on YouTube what the artists’ names are. God, but I’d love to have the patience to learn that language... Anyway, I think the first one is particularly enchanting. I actually saw the artist on the programme talking about the piece and I had to hunt it down. She showed how she made it by hand cutting many, many sheets of paper into the lace-like patterns you see and then layering them for effect. Watch it, it’s wonderful.
Friday, November 20, 2009
My fiance laughs at me every time I talk about football, but he doesn't know about this blog so I might get away with this...
So 82% of French people want the match replayed, Sarkozy has apologised to Brian Cowen, and now even Henry himself has called for a rematch (even if he did wait until after he was sure it wouldn’t happen).
Here at home they’re protesting the French embassy and there’s petitions for a replay flying all over the place.
It won’t happen, will it?
For years I’ve bemoaned the apathy that abounds in this country, where the general population have put up with- worse, they’ve endorsed- a regime that would make the most corrupt African dictator blush. Sure, everybody's disgruntled now things have gone belly up, but we've had a totally inept government since long before I was able to vote with hardly a peep out of anyone about it.
Now, it seems, the Irish have grown themselves a back bone and all over a silly game of football. No, not a silly game, a brilliant game, played out by heroes who for an hour and a half gave a nation hope.
We were robbed, and we should be going to South Africa. All based on that one little match, granted, but the fact that we had a lethargic qualifying campaign (the French did too) in no way diminishes the verity that that game was OURS.
What people don’t realise, though, is that they were never going to let us win. ‘They’ being that pervasive entity known as FIFA. I’m not saying that they fixed the match or told Henry to cheat, That Incident aside, the officials were only a little bit biased across the two legs.
But there’s simply too much money involved for FIFA to allow a little team like Ireland to triumph over the former world champions. We’re not brand-able enough. That’s why the governing body decided to seed the play-offs half way through the group stages. They changed the rules after the game had started!
Now that they’ve got what they wanted they hide behind their rule book, ignoring their own mantra of ‘fair play’.
Will we stand for it? It would appear not! And the French, it seems, have too much honour to accept their tainted victory so they may even back us up.
Tomorrow they march from Lansdowne, who knows what might happen. It’s a small hope, very small, but hope nonetheless.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Here's a something I found on holdthefrontpage.co.uk a while back and thought it was so lovely I saved it. The journalism website had it in their funnies section 'cause of a subbing error which labelled it an obituary but I'm a bit blinded by the sentimentality of it. I've been going out with my fiance since I was 16 and we were supposed to get married next year but the recession has killed that idea. Ah well, I've waited this long, what's another couple of years?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
First of all, I just want to point out that I am by no means claiming to be a ‘Child of Danu’ ( that, in my opinion, would be arrogant). Nor do I intend this to be a place where I’ll mull over the great goddess, or any of her demigod children.
I simply thought the term to be an apt, if a little irrelevant, heading for a scrapbook of my flights of fancy. Apt because it alludes to many such fanciful flights, irrelevant because it may be that after this initial post I’ll never refer to anything pertaining to it directly again. Who knows?
Anyway, here is as concise an explanatory note as to its meaning that I can provide:
But that’s just a local yarn, sourced from a story about a drunkard who fell in a ditch one night and found a hidden, external opening to one of the passageways. He claimed to have spoken with one of the horsemen who, astride his mount, woke momentarily to tell the bewildered gentleman of their apocalyptic-esque plans.
It is likely that the stories of the end of the Tuatha De Danann’s reign inspired the tale. You see, with the arrival of the Celts and the subsequent advent of Christianity, like the people of Avalon, the Tuatha De Dannan did not simply die away. Instead they retreated from the world of men into the mounds of the earth, supposedly revealing themselves on occasion to this very day. They are the Aes Sidhe (usually simply called ‘Sidhe’), more commonly known as the fairy folk.
According to a wee woman down the road, and probably American tourist guides to Ireland, they can still be found living in trees and caves, by ancient stones and sacred lakes, around ruined forts and craggy hills.
More than that, many of the practices and characters that litter the sagas of the Tuatha De Danann can be yet found in Irish society in the guise of saints, shrines and sacraments. From Danu herself (St Anne) to the patron St Brigit (Brigid, goddess of love and war), and in the now holy days of Beltane and Samhain. The list goes on and on… They weren’t the most inventive, the early Celtic Christians, but they certainly were adaptive.