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The Owls December 29, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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The Owls

by Charles Baudelaire

Under the overhanging yews,
The dark owls sit in solemn state,
Like stranger gods; by twos and twos
Their red eyes gleam. They meditate.

Motionless thus they sit and dream
Until that melancholy hour
When, with the sun’s last fading gleam,
The nightly shades assume their power.

From their still attitude the wise
Will learn with terror to despise
All tumult, movement, and unrest;
For he who follows every shade,
Carries the memory in his breast,

Of each unhappy journey made.

Phrase of the Day #79 December 26, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I’m busy now. Can I ignore you some other time ?”

Explanation : When they just won’t go away …

A Christmas Wish December 22, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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The folks at the Rambling Man (well just me really …) wish you and yours all the very best this holiday season. Whatever you may believe and wherever you may find yourself, keep safe, in out of the rain and enjoy that holiday feeling …

Phrase of the Day #78 December 22, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“When she comes into a room, the mice jump on chairs !”

Explanation : Playing to the stereotype, but in reverse …

Unsung Irish : Ann “Goody” Glover December 21, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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Ann Glover (pop. “Goody” – Goodwife) was an Irish born laundress, hanged in Boston in 1688, accused of being a witch ! She was the last person to be hanged in Boston as a witch and the infamous Cotton Mather – of the Salem Witch Trials infamy – was instrumental in bringing about her death. Having being sold as a slave by Cromwell, she found herself in Barbados before ending up in Boston where she and her daughter worked as housekeepers for a John Goodwin.

Upon the children of that family falling ill, the folks in Boston could come to no other conclusion than the fact the children had been bewitched and made ill by their housekeeper. At her “trial” several doctors, ministers and decent citizenry attested to her witch-like state and this was apparently compounded when she did not recite the Lord’s Prayer in English – she said it in Irish and said the Catholic version – and she was duly hanged on November 16th, 1688.

On November 16th 1988, Boston City Council recognized the injustice done to Glover and proclaimed that day “Goody Glover Day”.

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Phrase of the Day #77 December 21, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Jaysis, you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the cage this morning !”

Explanation : Can be used in any sort of circumstances really – you might shout this at a friend with a grumpy head or at a sleazebag …

I See You Dancing, Father. December 20, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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I See You Dancing, Father.

by Brendan Kennelly

No sooner downstairs after the night’s rest
And in the door
Than you started to dance a step
in the middle of the kitchen floor

And as you danced
you whistled.
You made your own music
Always in tune with yourself.

Well nearly always, anyway.
You’re buried now
In Lislaughtin Abbey
And whenever I think of you

I go back beyond the old man
Mind and body broken
To find the unbroken man.
It is the moment before the dance begins,

Your lips are enjoying themselves
Whistling an air.
Whatever happens or cannot happen
In the time I have to spare
I see you dancing, father.

Phrase of the Day #76 December 19, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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” You ! Off my planet !”

Short and sweet – if only you could load up an oul space pod and catapult a few bastard boy/girl racers of this rock …

Phrase of the Day #75 December 18, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“When you were born, did they let your Mother out of her cell ?”

Explanation : Useful in circumstances where there are skangers about … although the irony of it might be lost on them.

In Flanders Fields December 17, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Phrase of the Day #74 December 16, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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” Save your breath … You’ll need it to blow up your date !”

Class one this – one for the ladies to remember when that greasy “ten-to-two” dancing partner just won’t bugger off …

Padraig Nally found not guilty December 15, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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Padraig Nally has been acquitted of the manslaughter of John Ward – a traveller who was trespassing on his property.  I don’t know whether I agree with the decision of the jury and am wondering did the socially confrontive nature of the case influence the jury in any way ?

I am supportive of Nally in his right to defend his property but obviously do not agree with his decision to reload his gun, follow the intruder down the road and, for want of a better phrase, finish him off.  But the jury differed in their deliberations and found that Mr.Nally did not use unreasonable force in following his victim down the road and shooting him in the back – dead !  I am torn by being alarmed by that decision and having a lot of sympathy for Nally, as he thought his life was in danger.

I also heard of reports that in Mayo, near where the incident took place, cars were witnessed driving at speed past halting sites and beeping their horns in celebration.  How pathetic is that ?  and what a horrible message of non-tolerance those idiots have sent out.

At what point does manslaughter become murder ?  At what point did a thought flash into Nally’s head that he had to do more than shoot the victim once and was he thinking straight at the time ?  Does a burglar lose his rights when he breaks the law himself ?   I look forward with interest to the legislation we now need in this country – and need quickly – before another tragedy like this happens again.

We’ll Go No More A-Roving December 14, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

We’ll Go No More A-Roving

by George (Lord) Byron

So, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

Phrase of the Day #73 December 14, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Sure, I’ve seen people like you before – but I had to pay an admission …”

Explanation : Another fine weapon in your armoury. Be careful though …

Freud thinks we’re nuts ! December 13, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

The Irish are one race for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” So said the legendary psychoanalyist Sigmund Freud.

Wasn’t Freud the right funny man and before his time huh ?  We’re a right little country all the same.  There follows a few little things that if eliminated, would go oh-so far to making us even better … call me a grumpy old shitebag (steady on!) but hey – it’s my blog and I’ll grump if I want to.  And feel free to continue the list … I was trying not to be too serious but sometimes contempt gets the better of me.

(1) People who, whilst waiting for elevators, press the down button if they need to go up, or vice versa – thus ensuring that when the lift door closes, it opens again.

(2) “L” plate drivers who think it’s OK to cut someone off when trying to change lanes – still haven’t calmed down about that one !

(3) People who call Fine Gael “Finna Gwale”.

(4) Jaywalking – in all it’s forms.

(5) People who think it’s grand to leave the car/lurry/van/heap-of-shit 1980’s Cortina anywhere as long as the hazards are on.  Sure they’ll only be gone a minute …

(6) Workmen, who whilst installing a new bathroom, think it prudent to try and flush sealant foam down the loo, only to have it solidify and crack the bowl !

(7) Homebase.

(8) An electorate who votes their leader even more popular than he was before he admitted taking bungs and backhanders.

(9) Common criminals and drunks who get away with doing whatever they did because “they had a lot of drink taken”, “regret the incident” and are now “in gainful employment”.

(10) People who leave household rubbish in other people’s skips.  Just ask – there would probably be room !

Phrase of the Day #72 December 13, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“Can I borrow your face for a few days ? My arse is going on holidays !”

Explanation : Nice …

Driving etiquette for girl racers December 12, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

This morning was the last straw – I’ve been holding off on blogging about driving etiquette and especially the Irish tradition of never, ever letting someone into a queue or out onto a road. Alas, I can hold off no more. Below is a much toned down and curse-word-less version of events which I endured this morning …

To get to work I must drive up a long, winding side road and join a dual carriageway – despite this dual carriageway’s infamous mentions on AA Roadwatch bulletins, it’s rarely as bad as it’s made out to be. This morning, however, the traffic was plodding along quite slowly. I’ll say nothing about the motor bikes speeding in between lines of stationary cars or the schoolkids playing some sort of balancing game on the double yellow lines …

I must, at some point, make a lane change into the left hand lane in order to make my turn off and there is usually a slack spot on the road with a slight incline which allows me to do the change quickly and safely … there I was this morning watching the inside lane in order to change.

Spotting a gap in the traffic, I check the mirrors, indicate and edge out and get half way across when she spots me ! An “L” plate driver in a blue souped up Peugeot complete with furry dice. As I slowly moved across, I hear the roar of her engine – she had floored it. Must’ve thought “No way I’m letting that bastard in !”. She wasn’t stopping in her idiotic attempt to “not let me in”, obviously oblivious to the fact that I was three quarters the way into the other line of traffic. She didn’t stop – I slammed on – she slammed on ! What the f*ck ! So, heart in mouth and angry at the fact that someone would just floor it and attempt to cut me off before I did the horrible act of changing lanes, I managed to safely join the other lane. I look back as if to say “What the hell are you doing, you silly bitch – do you think that’s the way it’s done or something ?” In typical Irish fashion, I got the finger … lovely. And she wasn’t really a girl racer looking type either – she was quite smartly dressed – the car and her stupidity gave her skanger side away. So there are people in Ireland so angry that they won’t let people change lanes and think it’s OK to give them the bird if they do !

It made me think do these provisional drivers – who need no driving instruction before they get behind a wheel – end up absorbing bad driving habits and the etiquette they see arouns them and then think it’s OK not to let people out or as happened to me, try to cut someone off before they do it. It’s plain good manners – let someone out every once in a while and the same thing will happen to you. But in Ireland we’re brutal for it – and everyone I talk to says “Yeah it’s awful – nobody ever lets you out!”

Well how’s about starting people … if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem !

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Phrase of the Day #71 December 12, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Jaysis she could open the post with that nose !”

Explanation : Aah, back to the insults – we had a teacher like this once. Such a schnout  he had on him …

The perplexities of “secret” Santa December 11, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

Secret Santa, Kris Kindle, Kris Kringle, Secret Snowflake – call it what you like – is a thing I can’t stand. What I’m talking about is this lark of a group of people getting together and deciding that instead of everyone buying everyone else individual gifts, they’ll put names in a hat (or other handy hat-like receptacle) and one person buys a gift for one person. That way everyone gets a gift and you don’t have to buy loads … yadda …yadda …

Is it just me or is the most Jaysis frustrating thing ever effing invented ? Secret Santa my arse … because the guy or gal who bought the thing for you is bound to seek it out and nod approvingly, complete with admiring smirk, at the present they bought for you while on the other hand you are desperately trying to hold back the vomit inducing contempt for the hunk of junk they’ve just given you … and are even more mad at the fact that they would think you’d like something like that !!

My main bones of contention are thus :

(1) Secret Santa (or as it is inevitably but yet lovingly called in my workplace “Saycret Santeee”) is neither secret nor Santa like … everyone will end up knowing who got what for whom and it’ll cause ructions at the Christmas party … “Jaysis you should’ve seen what Seamus bought for me … I wouldn’t dress the dog in it !” Nor is the idea Santa-like. Santy is a giver of gifts that people actually want ! Letters are written with explicit instructions of what’s required (oh and a surprise please !) So when Sheila from accounts gives me a pair of orange-grey knitted mittens with butterflies on them, you quickly realise that that item wouldn’t have been top of my wish list … and there was me thinking I was going to get something that I didn’t immediately assign to the depths of my attic !

(2) When it comes to Secret Santa shenanigans with families – which my family have recently taken a fit of – there are oh so many places where it all just goes horribly wrong. First the “organised one” arranges everything and pulls the names from a hat and you inevitably get paired with someone you didn’t want to have to buy for – What in the name of soggy mince pies am I going to get so and so ? So you end up swapping – or asking are swapsies allowed (cue endless debate) – and buy something totally unimaginative, inevitably last minute and therefore defeating the whole purpose of using your imagination when buying a gift someone would really appreciate.

(3) What’s the deal with the price limit and where to set it ? Is €100 too much if it’s your family – is €20 too little if it’s your work mates … “I’m not paying €20 for that f*cker from personnel – you should see what he got me last year !” And what if it is a larger amount like €100 and your present – thoughtful and appropriate as it may be – is only worth €78 ? Do you buy them lots of fill-in presents for the remaining €22 ?

It takes the surprise out of Christmas. Don’t we all remember being handed a parcel on Christmas morning (or the day before if you’re like my fair wife) not knowing what the Jaysis it was and delighting in slowly unwrapping it – as opposed to your brother or sister saying “Here’s that DVD you wanted !” Secret my arse … Multiply this by 4 this year and you see something akin to which I’m faced with … one Kris Kindle each for work, family, mates and bridge club (OK so the last one is a white lie …)

Bring back buying little, thoughtful, inexpensive pressies for everyone – and get rid of the smiling nod in the direction of your anonymous gift’s recipient and the dubious feelings that ensue on both sides. Bring back thoughtful Christmas pressies !

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Phrase of the Day #70 December 11, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“Why don’t you go to the library and brush up on your ignorance ?”

Explanation : A nice one this – you can just imagine the “ignorance” section of the local library , popularly attended by hoardes of waitresses, double parkers, shopkeepers and Gardaí …

Mending Wall December 9, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Mending Wall
by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’

Phrase of the Day #69 December 9, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I don’t think you are an eejit, but what’s my opinion compared to that of thousands of others ?”

Explanation : A nice one for getting away with calling someone an eejit by not actually calling them an eejit …

A Peck of Gold December 7, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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A Peck of Gold

by Robert Frost

Dust always blowing about the town,
Except when sea-fog laid it down,
And I was one of the children told
Some of the blowing dust was gold.

All the dust the wind blew high
Appeared like god in the sunset sky,
But I was one of the children told
Some of the dust was really gold.

Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
‘We all must eat our peck of gold.’

How not to publicise your invention December 6, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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I’m sure that by now, everyone in Ireland has either seen, heard or laughed out loud at the infamous incident on the Late Late Show of two weeks ago. Heckler Paul Stokes stole stealthily past tight RTE security before walking, live on air, onto the Late Late Show and effing Pat Kenny out of it, amongst others, in front of a live audience.

Apparently an inventor, it appears that Mr.Stokes has it in for the folks at RTE as well as a whole litany of other personalities and politicians because of their reaction to his invention that he claims will end road deaths in Ireland. Now while this subject matter is not to be dealt with lightly, Mr.Stokes could hardly have chosen a worse way to endear himself to the Irish public that the strange sequence of events that occurred on the Late Late and since then.

One must wonder what it is that makes a man think “Right, in order to make my great invention known and made, I’ll drive my car into RTE’s front door, F their biggest paid presenter out of it on live TV and bomb the Minister of Transport’s email box with 2 million spam mails !” “Yeah, that’ll surely make them hop to it and mass produce my car …”

Mr.Stokes, if your project has viability then create a business, get funding – do it the correct way and let’s see what the Roadrunner chip in a car can really do. The only thing you have introduced into Ireland so far is great pub conversation … “Did you see yer man on the telly …? ”


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Phrase of the Day #68 December 6, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Don’t let you mind wander – it’s far too small to be let out on its own !”

Explanation : One for use where the intended recipient is a little low on grey matter.