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The Ballad of the Lost Children of Tara February 29, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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The Ballad of the Lost Children of Tara

by Suzanne Neeley, a fine poet.

In Tara’s halls, harps echo;
around doth ruin lie.
Though far from home,
we shall come there by and by.

We wait as anxious children,
for their mother, now no more.
And we, with arms outstretched in passion,
reach toward that blessed shore.

Our wait is never done;
everlasting beyond Death.
Alone, in haunted twilight,
you may hear our bated breath.

Our cries for Mother Tara,
unheard in lands away,
echo in the rooms within Her,
beyond your Judgement Day.

Find out more about the Hill of Tara here.

Phrase of the Day #206 February 28, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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” To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it. ”
-George Bernard Shaw

Say what now ? February 27, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

I came across this little conundrum whilst travelling to Spain recently. Anyone care to offer an explanation as to what in the name of Fred is going on ?


EVER I drink it into the aircraft … well why didn’tcha just say that to begin with !

Once February 26, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, World Affairs.
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Many, many congratulations to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who won Best Song at the Oscars in Hollywood over the weekend.  Their song is called “Falling Slowly” from the film, ‘Once’.

As Marketa herself says at the end of this clip … “Fair play to those who dare to dream … !”

This is a bad joke (but I laughed anyway) February 26, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day finding the most perfect shoes in the first shop and a beautiful dress on sale in the second. In the third everything had just been reduced 50% when her mobile phone rang.

It was a doctor notifying her that her husband had just been in a terrible accident and was in critical condition and in the ICU. The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was and that she’d be there as soon as possible. As she hung up she realized she was leaving what was shaping up to be her best day ever in the shops. She decided to get in a couple more shops before heading to the hospital.

She ended up shopping the rest of the morning, finishing her trip with a cup of coffee and a delicious pastry compliments of the last shop. Shewas jubilant.

Then she remembered her husband. Feeling guilty, she dashed to the hospital. She saw the doctor in the corridor and asked about her Husband’s’ condition. The doctor glared at her and shouted, ‘You went ahead and finished your shopping trip didn’t you? I hope you’re proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself in town, your husband has been languishing in the Intensive Care Unit! It’s just as well you went ahead and finished, because it will be more than likely the last shopping trip you ever take! For the rest of his life he will require round the clock care. And you’ll now be his caregiver!’

The woman was feeling so guilty she broke down and sobbed. The female doctor then chuckled and said, ‘I’m just pulling your leg. He’s dead. What’d you buy?’

Hat tip : Northern Grump

Car for Sale – Suzuki Liana February 25, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Well despite my best efforts, I am having problems selling my car … so here goes …

NO REASONABLE OFFER REFUSED – please bloggers of Ireland, help me out !

2006 Suzuki Liana 1.3  lt
5 door, hatchback, silver, taxed until April
16 k miles,  petrol, not a scratch on it
CD, air bags, central locking,  electric windows, electric mirrors etc.

I NEED TO SELL THIS CAR, because I’m  leaving the country !

All Around the World #2 February 23, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Sorry to keep on about this stats thing, but today I did it !  Got hits on my blog from all 5 continents and a few more far flung places besides !

Europe – Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Poland
Middle East –  Dubai, Iran
Far East / Asia – India, Phillipine Islands, South Korea, Hong Kong
Africa – Nigeria, South Africa
North America – USA – just about everywhere, Canada, Mexico !
South America – Chile !

So thanks to the guy/gal in Santiago de Chile for completing my round the world trip !

There endeth the self obsessed statistics posts …

Tech Support – Medieval Style February 22, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Norwegian language skit on how a “technical” helpdesk might have operated in the year dot.

All Around the World February 21, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Just look at this screenshot from the aforementioned StatCounter program – it still continues to grab my interest every time I run the report to see where my readers are coming from.


The only continent I’m missing is South America – although I had a lad hit me from Argentina the other week … who’d’a thunk it ?

Unsung Irish : Joe Carr February 20, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in The Unsung Irish.
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Joe Carr, born in Dublin in 1922 was one of Ireland’s best ever amateur golfers and rubbed shoulders with the world’s best, all the while maintaining his amateur status. His adoptive parents – his aunt and uncle – had just returned from India and had been appointed the stewards at Portmarnock Golf Club and this allowed young Joe to take up his interest in the game from a young age.

He was a highly decorated amateur golfer winning the Amateur Championship on three occasions and finished 8th overall in 1960. He was also the first Irishman to compete at the US Masters, when in 1967 he made the halfway cut ! He went on to play in 3 US Masters, 8 British Opens and the US Open of 1967.
He played in a record 11 Walker Cups and went head-to-head with Jack Nicklaus in the 1961 event. He retired from competitive golf in 1971 but his association with the great game didn’t end there. he was named captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St.Andrew’s – the home of golf – in 1991. And to cap it all off, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. That is some achievement.

Sadly Joe died in 2004. His family runs a successful golfing holiday business in Ireland.

Castro resigns as Cuban leader February 19, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in World Affairs.
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It appears this morning that Cuba is facing the end of an era with the announcement that it’s leader of almost 50 years, Fidel Castro, has resigned as President.

Castro, 81 – the world’s longest serving leader – has been ill and frail for some time and handed over power to his brother Rául in 2006. Writing in the Cuban daily paper Granma he says :

“I neither will aspire to nor will I accept – I repeat – I neither will aspire to nor will I accept, the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief ”.

Cuba’s national assembly are due to meet this Sunday to decide various positions, possibly including the now resigned position of president. Having never visited Cuba, I am sad that I now will never see the country during the reign of Castro as I’m sure it will change at a fast rate. I wonder will McDonald’s be one of the first ??

Fantasy Golf ! February 19, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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A somewhat loaded question was again raised at that veritable institution of scandal – the morning tea break – this morning when the issue arose of ” Who would you most like to (insert appropriate verb here) … ”

Of course, there were a few – both women and men – who guffawed about who they would or wouldn’t bring to a desert island and ahem … “talk to” and other’s topics ranged from people they’d like to see, to places they’d like to go and in our case, people they’d like to play golf with …

All the greats were mentioned … Palmer, Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Woods etc. as was the venue for your favourite mythical four ball … How about You, Woods, Nicklaus and Seve ? At St.Andrew’s ? Wow ! For the record, if I could choose, as mentioned yesterday, Team Twat would take on Tiger Woods and my cousin Aidan (!) in a fourball skins (matchplay on the side) game for, ooh let’s say, $2000 a hole ? Just to play with Tiger and for the 3 of us cousins to stand on a tee and have him tee off with us would be reward enough to forego the dazzling prospect of just myself and another 3 famous golfers ! Awww shucks !

So then the smart arse at the end of the table said “One night of screaming passion with Angelina Jolie or a round of golf at Augusta ?” No prizes for guessing what came out on top … and it wasn’t Mrs. Pitt !

Phrase of the Day #205 February 18, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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” I’m beginning to think there may be something in this climate change after all. Four months ago it was very cold and now it’s quite warm !! ”

– Alan Heath’s novel view on the climate crisis

Luxury Self Catering at Glengarriff Lodge February 18, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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The good folks at Glengarriff Lodge, Co. Cork have hit on the idea of a Web 2.0 inspired competition aimed at drumming themselves up some business – and why wouldn’t they !  A quick scan of their site reveals a fantastic, luxury self catering facility that anyone looking for a relaxing break would enjoy.  I wonder if they let pets along to the lodge – the lady at the ” 3 Dog Blog ” would certainly appreciate the holiday !

As an interesting aside I remember once in history class hearing about the Earls of Bantry and their associates, for whom Glengarriff Lodge was built as a hunting lodge.

” Gone Fishin’ “ February 17, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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Well not exactly ” Gone Fishin’ ” but we are presently here – Carton House Hotel in Co.Kildare. It’s a cross between a treat for the wife for Valentines and a last golfing hurrah with my 3 favourite golfing buddies.

The wives are going to the spa at the husband’s expense while they make a mess on the golf course ! Who said rose-mantic Ireland is dead and gone ?

Statcounter rocks February 16, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Statcounter, the free on-line based website statistics package just plain rocks !  Not only do you get a decent amount of statistics of different types, you get a good enough log size for free !

So how does it work ?  You add a small piece of invisible code to every page on your site that you want to record activity on and open an account with Statcounter.  I have it both on this blog and on our main websites at work and the results are fantastic – you can tell down to the city or town who is looking at your site, where they are and how they came to you … and they now have a code snippet especially for blogs.

Exicting stuff if you are in to it or your business depends on the geography of your users !

Based on the stats for my site I think I should write more posts concerning the great country of America and I might just well do that, given the shennanigans beginning to unfold in the race for the White House.

Just this morning I’ve gotten American visits from Peoria – Arizona,  Dixon – Illinois,  Nashville – Tennessee and Tuscaloosa – Alabama, as well as several more from the bigger cities.  Across the world, I’ve been hit from Tallinn – Estonia, Quezon City – Philippine Islands,  Baku – Azerbaijan and Osaka – Japan.  The Japanese visitor, obviously lost, ended up staying for 48 seconds !  See !  Tonnes of useless useful information …

So there you go – check out Statcounter and tell ’em I sent ya !

Trappatoni – exactly what we need ! February 15, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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Jaysis, I’d say Stephen Ireland is shitting himself !  The subtitles are real, by the way.

Phrase of the Day #204 February 14, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

” I just saw a van drive by with the company name “Seafood Solutions”. I must admit, I didn’t know seafood was a problem ! ”

– Martin Kristos

Cavan becomes part of the UK ! February 13, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Has anyone seen this ? It appears our great leader doesn’t know what country Cavan is in ! It’s a tough one alright because it’s up there near Northern Ireland but this is absolutely staggering !  Muppetry of the highest order !!

Persevere until about 45 seconds in …

Hat tip : Damien Mulley

Would this person be called HillBilly ? February 12, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Classic !

Weekend Sports Review February 11, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
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A few things caught my eye this weekend on the sports fields and off …

Fair play to the Manchester City fans for keeping quiet and respecting the minutes silence at the football derby game on Sunday.  The fact that the authorities gave out free United and City scarves before the game led to the proper atmosphere being observed.  Unfortunately on the field, United were beaten and are in serious need of a good striker … their management blames it on fatigue and whereas they may have a point, it then doesn’t make sense to bring the entire squad on money making midweek friendlies to play some team in the United Arab Emirates in the middle of the season !

It was another gloriously honourable defeat for the Irish rugby team in Paris (still a defeat though right ?) as they came close to beating the French …. ah, we just love it when we ‘nearly’ do something.  They played like turkeys in the first half and only got going in the second.  Another ten minutes and we’ve’d ‘ad ’em !  or maybe not.  The worrying fact for me is, now that there has been a bit of a performance, people’s expectations will grow, re-pressurising the players.  And let me say the backs were poor again on Sunday.  Fair enough they were missing 2 regulars (Horgan and D’Arcy) and the in-form wing wasn’t even in the squad (Bowe) but the reason they came back at the French was the forwards.  They mauled them up and down the pitch and were first to the ball in the breakdown.

The Cork hurlers and footballers look like they will not be participating in the league or championship in 2008, which is a great shame.  A good summary of the dispute can be found here … let’s hope it gets resolved before next weekend.  On the upside, it’s one less team for my own native county, Wexford, to be hammered by.  But having said that the yella bellies beat Waterford yesterday which will provide me with oh so much  ammunition for friends and work colleagues alike – they’ll be only too glad to see the back of me !  (not long now)

And finally, if reports in this morning’s Irish Examiner are to be believed (cough) then Geovanni Trappatoni has been apppointed the Irish football manager and the successor to Stephen Staunton’s miserable regime a full 150 odd days after the latter mercifully got the sack !  If its true, that is such a coup for the suits in Merrion Square and a fantastic figure to spearhead the international team’s efforts.  Here’s hoping Signore Trappatoni doesn’t get pissed off too quickly with Fawlty Towers the FAI and their unbelievable special  way of doing things … all together now Óle, óle, óle …

Phrase of the Day #203 February 9, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.

“… the greatest love – the love above all loves, Even greater than that of a mother – Is the tender, passionate, undying love, Of one beer drunken slob for another”

– Anon.

What is Cardinal Connell hiding ? February 7, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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OK, to cut a long and painful historical story short, Irish priests have been sexually abusing children in their care and in their trust for years.  It went uncovered for a long time with priests being moved about by religious authorities who pretty much failed to do anything concrete about the matters until more recently.

Cut to today – Cardinal Desmond Connell – the former Archbishop of Dublin refuses to allow a series of documents pertaining to the churches handling of several abuse cases, be released into the Government Commission of Investigation’s hands.  He finally said today that “he was willing to go to jail, rather than release files“.  Files relating to victims of alleged sexual abuse and to those that abused those victims.

My thoughts on this would be very bottom line.

Firstly, these cases relate to child sexual abuse.  That’s a horrific crime and we should stop at nothing to uncover those responsible and those who did nothing to prevent it when reported.  Read that again – adults, using their priestly positions as influence, had sex with children.

Secondly, how could any right thinking person want to hinder an investigation like that.  How could you not want to get to the bottom of those files and see that the perpetrators are brought to justice ?

And thirdly, who does the cardinal think he is ?  He may be ordained a man of the cloth but if he persists in withholding evidence, what are we to think ?  That he has something to hide ?  Who is he protecting ?  Remember the bottom line – sexual abuse !  You can’t pawn off that mantle with bureaucratic paper pushing or filing systems or sources, claims of procedure or whatever …. what have you got to hide ?

Ireland v Brazil February 6, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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So tonight, the rudderless and managerless Ireland take on the mighty Brazil.  I’m taking bets amongst my work colleagues that Robbie Keane, when presented with a barn door, will tonight not be able to hit it from 5 yards.  And the kicker is that I’m offering a further 15/8 on him scoring at least one goal on the weekend for Spurs, when there isn’t a green shirt in sight.

Any takers ?

At least, for once, you’ll be able to roar “Ah, it’s just like watching Brazil !” ‘cos that’s exactly what it’ll be.

PS : The writer is more than prepared to eat lorry loads of humble pie come tommorrow, if Robbie scores and we beat Brazil … (cough)

The Black Spot February 6, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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For those heathens out there, I’d like to remind you that today is Ash Wednesday.  Today is the beginning of Lent and of the wonderful period before Easter – 40 days and 40 nights – where you decide to give something “up” !  “Whaddya givin’ up for Lent ?” we used to ask one another as kids ?  Sweets, too much TV, calling your sister rude names, the fags .. were all popular choices.

Lent and Ash Wednesday are less popular these days I see – on my lunchtime walkaround I noticed only two or three people with the black spot on their forehead.  I’m guessing that there’s just too much misery in the whole thing for the youth of today and the idea of going around the place with a black spot of cremated ash in the centre of your forehead to show your humble beginnings (as dust), is just not high up there for most …

So whereas I didn’t get the black spot today, I note that many of my colleague’s kids did – and that’s because they are in state run schools, which remain predominantly run by the Catholic Church.  I think I’d like the option of not having my child get this symbol on their head … I wonder how that’d go down ?

Anyway that’s a bit off point – so what am I giving up for Lent ?  more to the point, what are YOU giving up for Lent ?

For the record, I’m trying to eat less bread.  Big, bad bread … and watching reality TV … oh, and to recycle more …