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Phrase of the Day #202 January 31, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“She had a face on her that’d turn a funeral down a side street !”

Ah the insulting ones are the best, aren’t they ?

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Phrase of the Day #201 January 29, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Live as long as you can and die if you can’t help it !”

– Anon

RBS 6 Nations – Ireland v Italy January 29, 2008

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If Bernard Jackman doesn’t get in the team to play Italy on Saturday, I think I will throw my hat at the whole thing and jump firmly, feet first on the anti-O’Sullivan bandwagon !

Team to be named later today …

* UPDATE – What do you do if a team is playing like shite and gets knocked out of the World Cup in the first round – why, pick them again of course ! *


Ireland team: Girvan Dempsey, Andrew Trimble, Geordan Murphy, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Ronan O’Gara, Eoin Reddan, Marcus Horan, Rory Best, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Malcolm O’Kelly, Simon Easterby, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.

It had to happen to someone ! January 25, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Oh God – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry … this had to happen to someone because its a real picture … Bless their (white) cotton socks !

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Phrase of the Day #200 January 24, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat ?

Not so much a phrase, but a witticism I’ve always wanted to know the answer to …

Heuston Station, Dublin – addendum January 23, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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And so it was, that before I had spouted all of my observations about Heuston and its transient inhabitants, I was cut off. I didn’t get much notice either – just a flashing icon that said I had 30 seconds left. And the whole “American internet” (as my work colleague would say) was on a go slow, so I had barely time to write a goodbye.

I didn’t have much more to add really …

I think the two biddies who were fretting about their train (25 yards away remember) might just have made it as the conductor blew his whistle. Mr.Agitated was never seen from again although that characteristic permeated the walk to the platform. A station security guard – well I think that’s what he was because he had a hat – shouted at a cab driver not to let people out in the middle of the lane of flowing traffic but his cab was already ejecting its occupants so nothing could be done.

Then when we were queuing for the train – don’t the Irish just love queues ? … when we were in line for the security station to get to our platform it was pissing down rain. The authorities who, in their infinite wisdom, somehow saw fit to construct a roof, nay two roofs, of exactly the same height and at the exact spot where most people stand in line but with a three foot gap, must quickly take a bow – its a sight to behold as people try to dodge both the queue and the rain !

The kicker came on the exceedingly busy train itself. Not only do you have to be on the train 45 minutes beforehand to get a seat but you are also guaranteed that the 3 seats around you in the block of 4 will be also occupied. On the inbound journey that morning there was even a commuter with his arse planted firmly on our table !

And so it was that I ended up with happy-clappy, over chatty Thai lady and her salt of the earth Dublin boyfriend (suitably tracksuit clad, of course) as well as the biggest country bumpkin you could find, giving them tourist advice – “be Jaysis, yer frum Ty-land ? That must be some quare place altogether hah ?” They were the kind of couple that didn’t quite look right together …. before 20 minutes had elapsed I had a pain in my ear from her talking at me .

I resorted to burying my head in my book and smodding* politely … and so the journey petered out before I knew it thanks to the wonderful writing of Khaled Hosseini and his book “The Kite Runner” – I can’t wait to get back to it.

* smodding – a mixture of smiling and nodding, while meaning neither ! You heard it here first 🙂

Heuston Station, Dublin – an observation January 22, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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So here I am, waiting for the train home, eager to be away from the foul, overcrowded and rain lashed streets of Dublin and get back “down the country”. So I thought I’d blog from Heuston Station – a poorly executed attempt at a modern European train station but sure what can you do – ’tis Ireland after all.

So I’m standing art one of the internet booths which costs €1 an hour. I think it’s in the middle of one of those Wi-Fi zones where anyone with a laptop can get on the web but alas there doesn’t seem to be much demand …. plenty of oul biddies running for the next train to Portarlington alright but no laptop users.

And so I thought, to while away the minutes before my departure I’d tell you good people about a few of the funny folk knocking about this place. Mad busy it is but if you stop and observe, there are a few great characters that will pass. Bear in mind that for my 4 hour train journey I need to be on the train a full 45 minutes before it leaves, just to I can get a seat. It costs €25 return whether or not your ass gets to sit down !

The fellow behind me has been annoying me for the past few minutes – he reminds me of one of those bewildered looking observers you see in travel programs about China – not doing anything in particular but staring at what you are doing as if you had three heads. And then he distractedly walks over to the next free booth and taps a few idle keys, tuts loudly and then takes up his position again. I guess he’s waiting to log on to this booth but I had to pay for it so he can wait !

Across the way there are two oul wans deeply involved in conversation – every so often – well every few seconds in fact, they look aggitatedly at their watches, nod at one another and then glance around as if a magical train conductor is going to appear to reassure them that they won’t miss their train which is 25 yards away at platform 2.  Reminds me of situations where people are so anxious not to be late, they fuss so much that they actually end up being really  late !
The loud speaker is apologising ad nauseum that the next train to Kildare is cancelled because of leaves on the line something or other and theres a conductor type person just standing there under the sign telling people the same information. You’d be amazed the people who just keep walking even after he has told them !

And heres the clincher – I’m about to be cut off – more anon …

Ireland squad for 6 Nations January 21, 2008

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I finally managed to catch up with the rugby over the weekend and cheered on the Munster Lions as they battled to a great victory over London Wasps on Saturday.

It is with interest that I noted a few not-so-familiar names when the make up of the 6 Nations squad was announced – most, if not all of the World Cup squad make the grade … Eddie O’Sullivan and his back room staff have announced an initial squad of 35, presumably to be whittled down a little further before the competition starts.

Ulster has 5 players in the squad with Simon Best not considered due to injury. Paddy Wallace – in my opinion is lucky to be included, and makes the squad along with other backs Bowe and Trimble. Connaught have 2 players make the initial selection with Gavin Duffy and Jonny O’Connor making the squad – the latter coming back from international exile after a gap of several years.

As expected Leinster and Munster make up the bulk to the squad and Paul O’Connell excepted (injury), most of the names will be familiar to people. Nice to see Cian Healy of Leinster given a chance; there’s a recall for Leo Cullen and Keith Gleeson while exciting prospect Luke Fitzgerald also is included. Personally, I was disappointed to see that Bernard Jackman wasn’t included as cover for the hooker position – Frankie Sheahan makes the squad despite not playing anywhere near regularly for his province.

Jonathan Sexton also makes the squad but I think he got injured over the weekend so Paddy Wallace will probably be the main understudy to O’Gara …

All in all the squad is along tried and mostly trusted lines – one hopes that when the squad is further reduced, that some of the younger players get a chance.

Sleeping like a baby January 21, 2008

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Why is it that people say they ‘slept like a baby’ when babies wake up every few hours ?

Does the person who wrote that quote know my child ?

The Tato Nano car January 18, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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There’s been a lot of talk of late of these Indian made cars which cost about as much as a good holiday.  The Tato Nano 623cc car only costs 100,000 rupees which is about €1700.  The most basic version, the article goes on to explain, doesn’t have power steering, a radio or air conditioning …

Now how useful is a car like that going to be ?  Just imagine one of those puppies travelling the length and breath of Irish roads !  I can just imagine a plethora, nay, an army of countrywomen returning from various ICA functions (never understood why the word function was used to mean ‘meeting’ or ‘party’) trundling along the highways and byways of Mayo or Roscommon peering out over the steering wheel at a top speed of 65 mph !  I mean there’d be no Marian Finucane to spur them on or no Joe Duffy to hear their sob story when they ploughed into a ditch as a result of their arses being as heavy as the car itself (momentum is an awful thing sometimes).

And what about country lanes ?  With rather small and thin wheels, the roads lanes around my way would literally make shit of its rear mounted engine and undercarriage.  And roundabouts ?  Would it be able to handle a 60 mile an hour complete ignoring of a roundabout and plough on regardless ?

These silly questions were brought about by a tea break discussion about whether boy-racers would simply buy these cars up in order to completely wreck them, because everyone knows that boy racers have easily enough money for one of these cars a month !

The things we worry about ….

Oscar Pistorius – some man ! January 17, 2008

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Isn’t it a bit mad (and maddening) that track and field’s world governing body – I.A.A.F. – has ruled that double amputee Oscar Pistorius from South Africa can not compete in qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics because – wait for it – despite having no lower legs, he is at an advantage over the multi million dollar professional athletes against whom he would compete.

Just what are they afraid of ? This guy has no legs for Chrissakes !

A larger report into this feel-bad story is here. It seems Pistorius can now run so fast on his adapted “feet” – which are carbon fibre prosthetics – that they shouldn’t be considered as “feet”, but as “technical aids” ! I mean come on ! Are the Justin Gatlin‘s of this world quaking in their boots ? Well you know what I mean – someone who didn’t take drugs … an honest athlete … why not let this guy compete against them ?

In my opinion if the guy is good enough to qualify then let him go ! Its not as if he’s wearing some special apparatus over his own regular body – this guy had no legs when he was born – to overcome that and to even be talking about the Olympics in the same breath is surely something to be put on a pedestal !

Does this also mean that if he is definitively banned, that he can then compete in the Paralympics ? I mean, if he has an advantage over any able bodied person, surely he has a double advantage then over a Paralympian ?

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This is nuts – let the guy run – if he’s good enough then he’ll make it and if not he won’t. Isn’t that what the whole Olympic spirit is about.

Phrase of the Day #199 January 16, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity.”

-Robert Hall

Barcelona – what to do ? January 16, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration.
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My wonderful work colleagues and I are off to Barcelona next weekend for one last great hurrah together before I jet off into the wild blue yonder – they are convinced that I’ll never be heard from again …

Anyway, the lovely city of Barcelona is our destination for a fun fuelled weekend – which is only 2 full days – and not having been there before, I’m asking you good people for your
” Top 5 things to do in Barcelona before you emigrate ! “ list.

So knock yourselves out in the comments – I like most things; a bit of sightseeing, some nice photo opportunities, some shopping, some a lot of eating and drinking, some aimless wandering ….

All suggestions welcome. Gracias !

Rain January 16, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Rain

by Hone Tuwhare, renowned Maori poet, who died today in New Zealand.


I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

A Duck walks into a Bar January 15, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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A duck walks into a bar and asks: “Got any Bread?”
Barman says: “No.”
Duck says: “Got any bread?”
Barman says: “No !!”

Duck says: “Got any bread?”
Barman says: “No, we have no bread.”

Duck says: “Got any bread?”
Barman says: “No, we haven’t got any f*cking bread.”

Duck says: “Got any bread?”
Barman says: “No, are you deaf ?! We haven’t got any bloody bread, ask me again and I’ll nail your f*cking beak to the bar you irritating little b*stard !”

Duck says: “Got any nails?”
Barman says: “No !”

Duck says: “Got any bread ?”

Not long to go now ! January 14, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, General Bloggery.
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It’s certainly not long to go now until we say a temporary goodbye and head first to the city of San Francisco and then on to our new home in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Amidst all the box packing (and re-packing when the baby has gone through them again !) and cleaning and clothes sorting, we’ve had little time to plan the first leg of our trip – San Francisco !!

Some distant family members have graciously offered to put us up for a few days while we break the 23 hour journey to Aoteraoa with 4 days in San Fran – its somewhere I’ve always wanted to go …

So a few questions to any of my fair readers, who’ve ever been to across the Golden Gate Bridge … I was hoping to purchase a good few items since the exchange rate between the € and the $ seems to be very favourable at the moment.

Basically I’m looking for a laptop, fairly high spec and a digital SLR camera, also towards the higher end. Does anyone know of good companies where you can just walk in a buy one off the shelf ? What should I expect to pay …. any links ?

Many thanks – I’ll post the pictures from Alcatraz – me and my buddies used to play at being the Birdman of Alcatraz when we were kids, isolated in the veritable prison that was my garage roof !

On Raglan Road January 12, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Whether in song or in verse, this piece remains one of my favourite …

Raglan Road
by Patrick Kavanagh

On Raglan Road of an autumn day I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue
I saw the danger and I passed along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s play
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay
Oh I loved too much and by such by such is happiness thrown away

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret signs
That’s known to the artists who have known the true Gods of sound and stone
And words and tint without stint, I gave her poems to say
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay
When the angel woos the clay he’ll lose his wings at the dawn of day

Vorsprung durch Technik January 11, 2008

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“Vorsprung durch Technik ” is one of the more well known car manufacturing slogans of our time but before I learned the language (i.e. German), I used to think it was the “Four Sprung Duck Technique” such were the velvety gravel tones that the radio announcer used to utter the sentence at the end of each Audi advert.

Nearly as bad as my wife’s ” … in a Chelsea stable …” where she should’ve been singing ” … in Excelsis Deo …” from the hymn Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

Anyway back to the Germanic – “Vorsprung durch Technik” means “advancement through technology” and the phrase doesn’t mention a technique at all … a nasty bit of transliteration there.

Nearly as bad as the time after the Second World War when the British dropped food parcels and medicine over Germany to help the war displaced, complete with the word “GIFT” stamped on the packages ….. Gift, auf Deutsch, of course means …… ?

Poison !

I wish I liked wine January 10, 2008

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‘I wish I liked wine’, I’ve often thought to myself, as I sup on some claret of varying vintage or other, most often recoiling in horror as the sourness hits the appropriate taste bud.

I can safely say that I have only on a few occasions had a glass of wine that I liked and am wondering why this might be.  It is hardly the case, I ponder, that over the 15 odd years of my legal drinking life, I’ve never had the “right” wine ??  Can it ?

I mean, its not as if I know completely nothing about wine – in my former incarnation as a New Yawk Cidy bartender I was told to attend a wine tasting course being run by one of the most prominent Long Island sommelier.  So there I was, along with the other bartenders about to sample the tones of Autumn that the guy was fawning over when I get hauled out (not literally) to come stack boxes.  Seems the course was €100 a head and because I was surely only there for a short while, I wasn’t worth the money.

That’s kind of like what I feel like about wine.  Not worth all the hassle !

So that’s where you kind people come in – I am obviously wrong about the Exlir of the Gods, so let’s educate together !

Tell me a wine to buy (within reason) and what to eat it with and what I should be tasting – I mean do people really pick out tastes of blackberry and elm bark ?  I think I’d like to love wine … so any recommendations greatly received.

My liver will thank you !

I always wondered that too ! January 10, 2008

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Our dog is cool ! January 9, 2008

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God Bless Molly and her skittish black and white, silly doggy habits …

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She’s so cool that she drinks coffee !  and we wonder why she’s skittish ?  Hey Laurie, do you reckon Molly and Riley could be related ??  they look so alike …

Movie Review – I am Legend January 9, 2008

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Readers will note that last year, I mentioned the fact that I would like to see the movie “I am Legend”.  So over the Christmas period I managed to steal a few hours away from the madness and go see it.

It was shit !  Absolute and utter shit … I was going to do a proper review but then stumbled across this review from Liars & Lunatics and I couldn’t do any better …

Except to disagree with his last line …. “Not quite as shit as I, Robot”  Oh yes it was – three times as shit in fact – at least the chick in I, Robot was hot !

PS : the book (as always) is meant to be much better -tells the tale from the point of view of the zombies I think – as in Will Smith is the only different one, trying to kill them, not the other way round.  The film would’ve been much better had it tried to show it from both sides but I guess Hollywood block-fluster won out !

Phrase of the Day #198 January 8, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“The height of your accomplishments will equal the depth of your convictions.”

– William F. Scolavino

Anyone want to rent our house ? January 6, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration.
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Does anyone want to rent a reasonable, nice house in a quiet area in Waterford while we’re away travelling the world ?

Ah go on – at least have a look !

New Zealand here we come January 3, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration.
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So I might as well just come out and say it …

Our days on this funny little green island on the eastern Atlantic seaboard are numbered.  Yes that’s right !  These Celtic Tiger cubs are foregoing the wonderful scenery, immense prices and material eyes and heading for a new life in New Zealand.

Yours truly has been offered a job in the city of Tauranga, New Zealand and we intend to be there by March !

So much to do and so little time … but we’ve been thinking about it for years … only now does it seem real !