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Rugby tickets anyone ? January 31, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Sports.
2 comments

Where in the name of God have all the rugby tickets for Croke Park gone ?

Does anyone, at this late stage, have a clue where I could get one for either or any of the home games this season ? It seems to me that the capacity has nearly doubled from what it was in Lansdowne Road but still there’s not a ticket to be had. I’ve tried my local club, the Munster RFU branch, online etc. but everyone is telling me there are absolutely none left – the funny thing is that the club said it didn’t recieve any more than normal. Have the rugby equivalent of the prawn sandwich brigade decided to make the trip north of the Liffey en masse ?

I’d be very grateful to anyone who could point me in the right direction … I’d even consider swapping Euro 2008 football tickets (v. Germany or Wales) for one for the rugby.

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Phrase of the Day #95 January 31, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“That fella is so short, his hair smells like feet !”

Should the IFA and the FAI merge ? January 30, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
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Last week, our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, suggested that the F.A.I. and the I.F.A. merge, forming one national football association on this island. This would have a number of consequences, not the least of which would be a single representative team representing the island of Ireland.

The positives and negatives of a move such as this would be sure to cause much tea-room chat around these islands and is sure to create much opposition.

Before a process like this gets hijacked by the whole political, nationalist vs. unionist and national identity debate, let’s look at the scenario from a more sporting point of view. There are at present 2 national associations and therefore two representative teams on the island, one representing Northern Ireland (IFA) and the other, the Republic of Ireland (FAI). Northern Ireland have not qualified for a major championship of any sort since 1986 and the Republic have only qualified for 4 out of the 11 finals in that same 20 year period. So it’s safe to say Irish football, north and south of the border, isn’t up to much these days (notable one off results an exception).

From a footballing standpoint, I think the idea is a good one. More players to choose from, one league on the island with more teams and more divisions and an opportunity to improve the standard – hopefully this would lead to a better “Ireland” team.

Now bring in the other side of the coin – the politics, the teams being seen as a “United Ireland” team and so on … there has been a fierce amount of debate about it which in my mind is missing the point. Can this issue not be discussed from a football point of view ? and if the answer is ‘no’, then aren’t we just back at square one when it comes to better cooperation and good relations with Northern Ireland ?

Maybe it is time to drop this whole identity thing we have going. We signed away our supposed “right” to the North’s territory in the Good Friday Agreement remember ? It’s time to move forward, not as a united republic that those in the North don’t want and not as a separate Ulster that exists at the moment … yadda yadda … have I a point ? Maybe it’s too simple to say “Let’s be one sports team !” without bringing politics into it ?

Sporting-wise they are already doing it with rugby, hockey, cycling …. They’ve rightly changed the songs, the attitudes and such so why cannot football follow suit, without the politics ? Let the politics stay where they are and the sports prosper …

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Phrase of the Day #94 January 29, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Jaysis that fella has the IQ of a mouldy cabbage !”

Explanation : For ‘cabbage’, read any other sort of stupid looking vegetable … I think most veggies look kind of stupid, don’t you ?  Them’s good eatin’ though, as one might say if you had said IQ … oh and it’s important you pronounce the word “mouldy” above, as “mowldy”.

Phrase of the Day #93 January 28, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“You’re so dumb, you have to be watered twice a week !”

Explanation : I wonder would the cleverness of the subject improve if he was “beered” twice a week instead ?

Because I could not stop for Death January 27, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Because I could not stop for Death

by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity

– In memory of those lost at sea. We pray they are brought home soon. –

The Effects of Haggis January 26, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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The Effects of Haggis – in a dirty, great Scottish accent.

Oh what a sleekit, horrible beastie
Lurks in yer stomach efter a feastie
As ye sit doon amang yer kin,
There starts to stir a michty wind.
The neeps and tatties and mushie peas,
Stert workin like a gentle breeze

But soon the puddin’ wi’ the sonsie face
Will hiv ye blawin’ a’ ower the place.
Nae matter whit the hell ye dae
A’body’s gonnae huv tae pay

Even if ye try tae stifle,
It’s like a bullet oot a rifle.
Haud yer bum tight tae the chair
Tae try tae stop the leakin’ air.
Shift yersel’ fae cheek tae cheek
An’ pray to God it disnae reek.

But a’ yer efforts go assunder,
Oot it comes like a clap o’ thunder.
It ricochets aroon’ the room,
Michty me! A sonic boom!

God almighty, It fairly reeks
(I hope a hivnae’ shit ma breeks)
Straight tae the bog ah better scurry
Aw whit the hell, It’s no ma worry.

A’body roon’ aboot me’s chokin’
Wan or twa are nearly bokin’.
Ah’ll feel much better fur a while,
Ah cannae help but raise a smile.

“’Twis him!!” Ah shout, wi’ accusin’ glower.
Alas, tae late.  He’s jist keeled ower.
“Ye mingin’ clert!” They shout and stare.
Ah amnae welcome ony mair.

Where e’er ye be, Let yer wind gang free
(Sounds jist the job fir thee an me)
Whit a fuss at Rabbies pairty
Ower the sake o’ wan wee ferty.

Anonymous

Phrase of the Day #92 January 26, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“She had a mouth dirtier than a wicker toilet seat !”

Explanation : Nasty ! Imagine if you had to run …

Unsung Irish : Tomás Ó Criomhthain January 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge, The Unsung Irish.
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Tomás Ó Criomhthain (pr. O’Croh’en), was a Blasket Islander, fisherman, native Irish speaker and writer who lived all his life on Great Blasket Island, Co. Kerry from 1856-1937.

He is most famous for his two works of literature which he wrote late in life and which give a great insight into the now extinct way of life of the islanders of the 18 and 1900s. I have just purchased his second and perhaps best known book An tOileánach, meaning “the Islander” and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Once persuaded to write, Ó Criomhthain began recording his day to day life in the form of a diary and sent them to Killarneyman Brian Ó Ceallaigh, who then edited and arranged for them to be published.

If the final few lines of the book are anything to go by, I am glad to have become aware of this book and this man so few have heard about. These people were the true native Irish and had traditions, lives and language etc. that would perhaps seem as foreign to us modern Irish today as French or Japanese.

ocriomhthain.jpg “I have written minutely of much that we did, for it was my wish that somewhere there should be a memorial of it all, and I have done my best to set down the character of the people about me so that some record of us might live after us, for the like of us will never be again.”An tOileánach.

 

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Phrase of the Day #91 January 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“That one’s got such a bloody big mouth, she could eat a watermelon through a picket fence!”

Explanation : Thinking someone recently kicked out of Celebrity Big Brother ?

Trevor Brennan loses the head January 24, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
2 comments

One of the most controversial rugby topics of the moment (besides the question of where in the hell have all the Croke Park tickets gone ?), is the severe belting former Irish player Trevor Brennan gave some Ulster fan at a match in Toulouse last weekend.

Apparently, a certain section of the crowd brought the nightime habits of Mr.Brennan’s mother into question and he (understandably) didn’t take too lightly to it. Some of the papers were reporting that all the Ulster fans did was shout a jibe aimed at the drinkability of Brennan’s pub’s Guinness, as Brennan co-owns an Irish bar in Toulouse with Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas.

So a player can’t take the abuse from fans and wades – arms flailing – into the crowd … what should happen to him ? What would we do in the same situation ? I think the onus is on the player to turn the other cheek and realise the privileged position he is in. It reminds me of the children’s rhyme ‘sticks and stones’ but again, if I were put in that situation, I don’t know what I’d do.

Brennan will probably (rightly) get a ban from the game but if he does, the Ulster “fan” who shouted the abuse should also be banned from rugby grounds for the same amount of time. Somebody somewhere knows who it was – and it wasn’t necessarily the fella who got the clatter. There is no place for shouting repeated and “unendurable provocation” – as Toulouse rugby club have called it – at anyone. I know things can get a bit hectic at sporting occasions but that is no reason to lose your sense of dignity and respect for others. I suppose the same thing goes on every week and to a more vehement extent at sporting grounds up and down these islands … I guess it just takes a Cantona or a Brennan to flip the lid and bring it to the public’s attention.

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“Take it or leave it” marketing January 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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“Take it or leave it” marketing is what I call it, when in all kinds of inclement weather (like last night !) a door-to-door salesman salesperson calls to the door looking to sell something to “the homeowner”, and you must sign up there and then without any leaflets or discussion or feckin anything …

Phone companies are especially adept at it – or ‘a dab hand‘ as my father used to say. And so it was that last night, in the middle of the most positively Baltic conditions this part of Ireland has experienced since last winter, a heavily wrapped up and foggy spectacled girl from Eircom phonewatch called to the door. After I had reassured the dog that this lady didn’t want to axe murder us all with her clipboard, she set about explaining to me what it was she thought we needed. We had, as it happens, been on the lookout for an alarm or an alarm system of sorts, so at least I heard her out. Their offer wasn’t bad ….

But then she hit me with it – the terms and conditions (not her clipboard !). She didn’t have any leaflets that explained the prices nor was she allowed to carry them. And (sorry for starting a sentence with ‘and’ mother !) could only extend me the introductory offer if I signed on the dotted line there and then. There and then – that’s it – make your mind up while she shivered in the doorway (I had, of course, asked her in out of the cowld !)

I just think it’s a little weird that companies expect people at doorways in the middle of Eastenders to sign up to things when they are not given any time to discuss it with their family or cannot refer to literature about it … I mean, she was ready to take the first month’s payment out of my wallet there and then.

So out of principle, I politely declined and told her to stay in out of the cowld and not to be wearing her jacket in the car because then she wouldn’t get the benefit of it when she pulled up at the next house …

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Phrase of the Day #90 January 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“He’s as useless as rubber lips on a woodpecker !”

Explanation : Try to imagine someone with rubber lips, pecking away at the bark of a tree …

Phrase of the Day #89 January 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“If you don’t leave me alone, I’ll hit you so hard you’ll have to unzip your pants to brush your teeth !”

Explanation : Just trying to picture this one – I guess he’s going to knock his teeth so far down his throat ?

Celebrity Big Brother is utter tripe January 20, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, World Affairs.
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Oh my God ! I’ve just watched a re-run of last night’s Celebrity (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense) Big Brother on Channel 4 and I must say it’s nothing but a pure and unadulterated bag of shite !

First of all, if any of the idiots in there were once in a bracket that one might describe as ‘celebrity’, they most certainly have fallen far, far from that pedestal and second, do Channel 4 do their utmost to find the thickest, most ignorant and god awful people that they can ?

This week’s CBB has been taken over by the whole racism controversy between Jade Goody (herself the original Big Brother inspired village idiot) and the Indian actress Shilpa Shetty. Not wanting to get into the ins-and-outs of whether or not what went on was racist or not, I just have this to say. Just because people do not believe that their views are not racist (like Jade), doesn’t mean they actually aren’t ! There is inherent racism in a lot of people which doesn’t manifest itself into racist action.

Anyway, my main point is how awful and downright thick do you have to be to become a celebrity in the UK at the moment ? It seems anyone with a modicum of talent or good looks can go a long way. Take Jade as the prime example or Jack Tweed, one of the other housemates. He didn’t even know where Norfolk was for God’s sake ! But Jade has had a couple of TV shows, a hairdressing business and God knows how many endorsements for this, that and the other and the woman hasn’t the brains God gave a worm ! This is to say nothing about Daniella whateverhernameis who had to give up her Miss UK crown because she was shagging one of the judges and lied about it !

Come on people – why do we watch this tripe ? There’s a lovely documentary on RTE2 tonight about the breeding habits of the knitting beetle, so why not pick up that remote and change …

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Is this the beginning of Internet censorship ? January 19, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in World Affairs.
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There has been a lot of controversy across the pond lately about the whole issue of online betting and gambling in general. The Yanks were never ones for legalised betting to begin with and have always had quite strict betting laws. However, these laws are now beginning to become enforced (if that’s the right word) on that bastion of freedom of expression – the Internet.

I’m partial to laying a small few bob on the odd football match or what not, but wouldn’t know one end of a bookies’ shop from another. I feel safer in the online environment where no bet-up ould fella looks crossways at you because you don’t know “the code” for a Yankee or a treble backways super-cross multi-line odds against sure thing !

Given many people’s tendency to bet online and seeing the huge growth in online poker, gambling and betting sites (and their advertising and TV coverage), it’s interesting to see that the biggest online poker site on the web has pulled out of the US market with immediate effect. PartyPoker.com has quit the US because of a law called the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” recently passed by the US congress. And they aren’t the only ones. Huge online betting company Pinnacle Sports last week informed its American customers (over two-thirds of its business !) that it could no longer take wagers on horses, sports and whatever your having yourself …

My question is this … Is the Internet now becoming so regulated by the countries in which it is viewed and used (in this case, the USA), that the governments of that country decide what the people who use it – in a virtual sense – can and cannot do. I mean, there is a law in America that says bomb making is wrong but people still access information on the web about that … why not let people gamble online if they want to ? What’s to stop someone from American signing up to a gambling site in Taiwan and betting from there ?

Will it ever get to the stage where the governments of countries will start banning all sites about everything they don’t agree with, don’t want people to see or perceive to be “bad” for the people ? It’s happening in China already. But what if, in a couple of years, you try to log on to a website about global warming or Kyoto and you happen to live in New York or somewhere that has drastically contributed to such a problem … will the site be banned ? The same could be said for gay rights or immigration issues or “The War of on Terror” or a whole host of things …

Internet censorship – is it the next online crisis ?

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Phrase of the Day #88 January 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“What are you going to do for a face when the baboon wants his arse back ?”

Explanation : Lots of these insults seem to be about comparing people to monkey’s arses – effective though …

Remember those lost at sea January 16, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Our thoughts and prayers must be with the bereaved families of last week’s fishing trawler tragedies off the South East coast. Unfortunately, drownings like this are an all too regular occurrence in the Wexford / Waterford harbour area and are one of the most striking and rememberable memories (if I can put it like that) that have stayed with me from my childhood in the area.

Every year of my life there has been someone lost off that coast, whether it be a boat that gets into trouble or a swimming tragedy or someone getting swept into the sea. Terrible tragedies all, stirring up memories of life boats, a flotilla of search vessels, stricken relatives, ambulances taking too long to arrive, shivering blanket-covered rescuers, remembrance masses …

Seven men at one time is too much to bear and we can only imagine what the families of these people must be going through. People will ask the tough questions – was safety paramount in the men’s minds ? Were they wearing life jackets ? Were the boats overloaded ? Was it safe to be out at all in the inclement weather ?

Now is not the time for questions. Now is a time for mourning and remembrance. The sea has taken these men, these fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, friends … there is not one of us that can say that these men did not do all they could to keep alive. Crashing waves, huge swells, terrible weather conditions – the rage of a black sea, their livelihood’s provider turned in an horrific instant to their killer … we ask that their families may soon have some comfort and that the men’s remains are found and bear in mind that there but for the grace of God, go us all who live and fish in the area …

If you are in the Dunmore East area, remember these men (and many others) by spending a quiet moment at the ‘wall of remembrance’ monument situated in Dunmore East harbour, bearing the names of those local men lost at sea.

It will soon bear the names of Tom and Pat Hennessy, Pat Coady, Billy O’Connor, Andriy Dyrin, Ger Bohan and Tomasz Jagla. We shall remember them.

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Phrase of the Day #87 January 15, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“If his brain was chocolate, it wouldn’t fill a Smartie !”

Explanation : Smartie brain – oh, the irony …

Phrase of the Day #86 January 14, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Is that your nose or did you inhale a melon ?”

No explanation needed – tell all those large nosed irritants to fotxtrot oscar …

The Road Not Taken January 12, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Recycling – a costly business January 11, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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We all know we should be doing more for the protection of the environment and to try and reduce the effects of global warming (does the rain ever stop ?), but for many ‘green’ families it is turning out to be quite an expensive process.

Let’s take the example of the recycling ‘system’ in the area where I live. We have a one bin system, run by a private company whom we pay through the nose for the service. It breaks down to €33 per month for 2 bin lifts. On top of this we must pay €5 per bag for recycling, which is collected every other week, making up the monthly collections. Considering that we usually have at least 1 bag of recycling and after Christmas we had 4 (!), it all adds up to a costly wee sum. I estimate something in the region of €500 a year is spent by our household for refuse collection and recycling … that’s a bit much no ?

The thing that I am beginning to be interested in is what actually happens to the waste that is taken away to be recycled ? With this in mind, I wrote to the bin providers a couple of months ago but have yet to hear anything in return. As appears to be industry standard across Ireland and the UK, a lot of the recyclable waste is sold on to countries like China. This idea is compounded by this interesting article on Sky News, where a family in England found that their waste (complete with envelopes etc. bearing their name) ended up in China … so it appears that some waste, taken from homes in the UK and presumed to be on its way to get recycled, is actually shipped to China for processing and contributes to the pollution and so on of towns like Lianjiao (see article above).

I wonder what happens to waste in Ireland given our propensity to just chuck everything in the one bin ?

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A great name for wine ! January 10, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Came across this beauty at a recent meal at a friend’s house. Have the producers of this wine called it after a donkey – either that or a popular Irish abbreviation of the name Edward ?

ned.jpg

Yes waiter, I think I’ll have a bottle of “the Ned” please … (Red Ned maybe ?) … although I’m sure some wino wine aficianado will tell me it’s short for something or region related but there you go …

Phrase of the Day #85 January 10, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“God when that girl talks, other people get hoarse just listening !”

Explanation : As someone famous once said ..”Aahhh shaaaaadaaaapp !”

Unsung Irish : John Pius Boland January 9, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in The Unsung Irish.
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Not everyone knows that at the very first modern Olympiad – held in Athens in 1896 – an Irishman won 2 gold medals ! His name was John Pius Boland and he was born in Dublin on the 16th of September 1870.

Having become interested in tennis at an early age and encouraged by his teachers at the Catholic University School, Leeson St, Dublin, he continued playing from time to time in Oxford, where he had begun studying. After befriending a Greek man called Manaos, Boland arrived in Athens before the 1896 games as a spectator but was persuaded by his friend (who happened to be on the organising committee) to enter the tennis competition.

And so it was that on the 11th of April 1896, John Boland from Dublin won the Olympic tennis title. He also went on to win the doubles event partnering a German called Traun, whom he had earlier beaten in the singles.

As with a lot of Irish achievements at the time (and even some since !) the medals were credited to Great Britain, even though Boland had arrived in Athens simply on holiday. Following the First World War some research by Olympic historians (including Ernest Bland) and thereafter entered in the official history of the Olympic Games, shows Boland as having represented Ireland at the games as he was not part of the British team.

He would go on to become a member of the British parliament for South Kerry from 1900 to 1918, representing the Irish Nationalist party.

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