Monday, October 29, 2007


... emotion, a great song and a microphone.

I'd mentioned this exact moment in an earlier post. It is Ray Kelly of The Mickey Finns singing "Sean South" at the Dublin (OH) Irish Festival this past August.
By the way — England, get out of Ireland.

And as they drew along the street
Up to the barracks door
They scorned the danger they might face
Their fate that lay in store
They were fighting for old Ireland
To claim their very own
And the foremost of that gallant band
Was Sean of Garryowen
But the sergeant he spied their daring plan
He spied them through the door
With their Sten guns and their rifles
A hail of death did pour
And as the dark of night was passed
Two men lay cold as stone
There was one from near the border
And one from Garryowen
No more you'll hear the seagull's cry
O'er the roaring Shannon tide
For he fell beneath a northern sky
Great Hanlon by his side
They have gone to join that gallant band
Of Plunkett, Pearse, and Tone
Another martyr for old Ireland
Sean South from Garryowen

'Twas on a dreary New Year's Eve

As the shades of night came down

A lorry load of volunteers approached a border town

There were men from Dublin and from Cork

Fermanagh and Tyrone

But the leader was a Limerick man -

Sean South from Garryowen

Friday, October 26, 2007

Starter For 10

Do you like romantic comedies? John Cusack in The Sure Thing, Say Anything and High Fidelity? Do you think that the Undertones "Teenage Kicks", Motorhead's "Ace of Spades", The Cure's "In Between Days" and The Smiths "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" can peacefully co-exist within the same great movie? Do you like The Graduate? Do you find Kevin to be a poncey wanker? Do you fancy being clever? Or beautiful? Are you in love with life itself?

Then rent Starter for 10 tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


On Monday I had occasion to drive from Columbus, OH to Pittsburgh, PA and back. A little over six hours in all. My iPod was on the fritz and the cd player betrayed me. I was stuck with the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the unbearable:

The radio.

The choices east of Columbus and southwest of Pittsburgh — an area herewith known as the "The Forbidden Zone" — boiled down to the following:

1. Six to eight versions of Glenn Beck — Beck and his phlegm-throated sidekick spent an inordinate amount of time making fun of the nameless "celebrities" being victimized by the horrendous wildfires in Southern California. Beck seemed to be immensely irked at the fact that celebrities have money and opinions.

Like he doesn't have an abundance of both.

Beck proceeded to fashion anemic, profoundly unfunny riffs on a central theme — People idiotic enough to live in nice houses in Southern California are getting exactly what they deserve. And if they happen to have made a couple of successful movies and aren't Bruce Willis, then they really, really deserve it.

I know it's easy to pick on Glenn Beck — seeing as how he's a loudmouthed halfwit and all — but in all fairness, he does do two things worthy of note:

He stands up for the rights of wounded veterans and he champions the cause of the criminally undermanned and largely ignored Border Patrol.

Now back to him being a dick — he rails against those who waste time with trivial things and who can't see what's really important. Then he spends an hour yucking it up about incinerated houses. Does everyone with a microphone have to be a hypocrite? Is it in their contract?

2. Six to eight versions of Rush Limbaugh — If I have to go into any further detail, then you're beyond reason and have already angrily scrolled to your Drudge Report bookmark for a dose of "truth."

3. ESPN Radio — OK, this was cool — some Mike Tirico and Kirk Herbstreit kibbitzing and talking football and getting the straight dope from Hall-of-Famer Steve Young. This lasted 8 minutes and I lost the station somewhere around New Concord — the birthplace of John Glenn!

4. Six to eight versions of Bill O'Reilly — O'Reilly is the biggest bully in a schoolyard of screechers, drug addicts, sexual harassers, intellectual cripples and profuse perspirers who never got enough love or chicks growing up ... and they find their revenge — one day at a time — on the radio, attacking anyone with the temerity to hold views that might even remotely conflict with their own.

Bill O'Reilly has one weapon in the arena of debate: volume.

He shouts and bullies so you can't hear that what he's actually saying is moronic. I'm no tough guy but I'm pretty sure that, given the chance, I could beat the shit out of Bill O'Reilly ...
and there would be much rejoicing.

5. OLDIES!!!! — I never thought I'd weep for joy to hear Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence warble "Tonight I'll Say A Prayer For You My Love."

6. Evangelical radio — I could practically see the comb-over, the sweaty forehead, the swooning rubes and the hidden mistress waiting to place the call to TMZ the second the silver-tongued charlatan slipped into his Little Bo Peep outfit at the Motel 6 later that night.

7. One version (and that was plenty) of Dennis Miller — I hate to revisit the subject of Miller's stunning decline but, Holy Tin Ear For Comedy! In the 6.7 seconds before I could lunge at the dial, Miller was able to — irony-free — let his listeners know that he doesn't like Islamic fundamentalists because he objects to the way they treated Cat Stevens.

For all their bluster and buffoonery (and the satirical fodder they provide) — Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Miller are deeply troubling. They have the bully pulpit. They dominate the airwaves so completely. People listen to them as if they are speaking some kind of revelatory truth. How exactly did this happen?

Again, I appeal to you — set me straight. What am I missing? Is Rush Limbaugh really the voice of America? Is Glenn Beck truly our national conscience? Is Bill O'Reilly our intellectual touchstone? Is Dennis Miller really the new Eric Sevareid?

Here endeth my report on the insidious liberal media conspiracy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Perfect Moment

Some days are good days
Some days are bad days
And some days have perfect moments

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Once again, I must appeal for knowledge, wisdom, insight.

President Bush recently vetoed a bill that would have expanded and extended the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — a program that helps pay for health insurance for children whose families aren't poor enough for Medicaid, but who still don't have health insurance. Families, by the way, that will soon have serious anger-management issues if the veto is not overridden by Congress.

SCHIP currently helps about 6.6 million kids across the country.

The bill would have increased spending on the program by $35 billion over five years with the hope of adding another 4 million kids to the program.

In vetoing SCHIP, President Bush said the bill was a step toward "socialized medicine." Yet, government-funded health insurance seems to be fine for him, his family, members of Congress, their families.

I was going to include military veterans in that list — but the VA said they misplaced the $5 brothersmcc inclusion fee. Then an hour later, they said they didn't misplace it all — they never had it in the first place. They were still waiting for it from Capitol Hill.

But I digress ...

President Bush seems to think that the $35 billion is too much to spend on the program — a program that enjoys bipartisan support, by the way. It's kids, for God's sake. What's not to like? Cute little moppets with stuffy noses and strep throat and asthma and allergies and diabetes and diarrhea.

I'm beginning to think President Bush doesn't like sick people. Or injured people.

Am I wrong? Am I misguided in thinking that President Bush is cynical enough to put millions of kids at risk because he wants to privatize their health insurance — a boon to the already filthy-rich and morally dubious insurance companies.
(except Anthem, of course, because they have pure souls and good hearts and a few claims forms coming their way from a certain over-caffeinated, highly-opinionated blowhard who doesn't know when to zip it.)

Am I just dead wrong when I muse out loud on the golf course that President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and the entire government have shirked their moral duty to care for our veterans by any and all means necessary?

If you believe I am, please set me straight. Persuade me that I am barking up the wrong callous, rotting, fantastically wealthy executive branch.

We are spending $1 billion a week on the war in Iraq — and President Bush wants tax cuts, and wants to freeze health care for kids in working families and leaves far too many military veterans out in the cold.
("1" being the empirical equivalent of "far too many.")

He wants to curb this wild federal spending spree.

i·ro·ny n
1. a type of humor based on using words to suggest the opposite of their literal meaning
2. something said or written that uses sardonic humor
3. incongruity between what actually happens and what might be expected to happen, especially when this disparity seems absurd or laughable
4. something that happens that is incongruous with what might be expected to happen, especially when this seems absurd or laughable
5. See dramatic irony
6. See Socratic irony
7. See $1 billion a week, President Bush, you muttonhead

The sweaty, wild histrionics of Sen. Ted Kennedy notwithstanding, there's a petition you can sign if you want to help these soon-to-be-uninsured kids. It's at Kennedy's own website, which gave me the willies when I went there but sometimes you just have to buck up.

I don't think you have to watch Kennedy's speech first but if you do, my apologies. Dude needs a bib.