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Golf March 30, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor, Sports.
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Golf
by the Rambling Man

Now golf is a game of very much pain
its like hitting your head with a stick
you swing and you hit and curse when you miss,
sure the game makes the brightest look thick !

From the tee to the green, and to putts most obscene
we weekly subject all our patience
pushed left or sliced right, tis really a fight
not to lose it for lack of adjacence.

But when you hit a good shot, far more often than not
you lose all your anger in seconds
for theres nothing as cool, as watching men drool
when a birdie or eagle them beckons …

So with a good score secured, surely the worst you’ve endured
but your next shot is barely a scuff
and the lie you’ve just found, on scruffy old ground
makes long grass seem like lawn tis that rough !

So you hack and you whack, and damage your back
and grumble all the way to the green
but the ball it pops out, and leaves you a shout
at a putt like you’ve ne’er before seen.

So when out on the links, if your spirit it sinks
just remember the secret to golf
no matter how badly you play, theres always a way
to walk off the course feeling worse !

Thank You, James Harrison ! March 25, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood, General Bloggery, World Affairs.
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I came across this wonderful story about this wonderful man this morning … it’s the man we have to thank for the Anti-D vaccine, given to children with a Rhesus blood incompatibility with their mother.

This incompatibility is quite common and happened in our 2 kids – normally the doctors will check for blood type late in the 3rd trimester and then make the decision to administer Anti-D when the child is born … I thought it had been around for years but no !  The vaccine was developed when doctors discovered an antibody in this man’s blood – he has made nearly 1000 blood donations over the course of his lifetime.

So from the bottom of all our hearts Mr. Harrison, go raibh míle mhaith agat !

Read about him here …

Blood donor saves two million babies – Yahoo!Xtra News.

To those who have gone before March 24, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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So I haven’t published a poem in a long time … here goes …

“To Those Who Have Gone Before”
by the Rambling Man

Your familiar names vault from the page – an unfaltering script
clearing the mist from some long-buried fact.
I carry your blood but could not recognise your face.
Or those of your children; my grandparents.

With each secret uncovered, a new branch on a tree
grows and stirs up the questions that a fresh life can bring.
Was there another ? A name not recorded but who
smiled and laughed, cried and then faded away ?

The gallery above me, my ancestors,
in ranks, are slowly revealed.
I am but one from the bottom, looking above
at the unknown figures of my forebears.

What were you like, ‘my people’ ?
You who have shaped me and made me.
Were you bold, or humble, funny or harsh ?
In those times long since passed, but still present.

Your names I record, so that those who have gone before
shall be known to those waiting to join them.
With each name that I speak, I complete
the patchwork that is me. And my children.

I am proud to be of you. Gardener, sailor, soldier and rebel.
And too of those unknown, unable to read or yet to be discovered.
For I am of you and you are of me.
Your posterity is revived.

What think ye of Tiger ? March 23, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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So, after all his admitted infidelities and sex addiction therapy and apologies and comebacks, what think ye of Tiger Woods – the greatest golfer the planet has ever seen?

Personally speaking, I was so disappointed in him when he cheated on his lovely wife and it was contrary to everything I thought Tiger Woods stood for – heretofore he had been, in my eyes, a model of a man and a sportsman.  I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him a couple of times in my role as a player care marshall at the 2006 Ryder Cup …

So am I glad that Tiger is coming back to golf ?  Hell yeah !  Golf is not as exciting a sport without him and the US Masters at Augusta would not be the same either.  I think the golfing public can forgive him his infidelities – or at least separate them from golf – and he will once again become a crowd favourite.  That’s what I think anyway – he’s too good a golfer not to rise back to the top of his profession.

On the other hand, I hope he has made some ammends with his wife. I am not sure whether they are back together and it’s none of our business in any case – but I wish them well … she sure would have to be the forgiving type.

“The Rugby” March 22, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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So I’m just going to come out and say it … I think Paul O’Connell ain’t all that !  He couldn’t handle a hot dinner on the weekend … dropped feckin’ everything.

(waits for inevitable reaction and sharp intakes of collective breath)

So there ! And as for Sexton, Best and O’Callaghan and a few more … they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either.

We lost to Scotland ! For the love and honour of Jaysis … not that they are a bad side but they aren’t supposedly as good as Ireland.

We couldn’t throw, couldn’t catch, couldn’t kick goals and couldn’t scrum and yet Ireland were still level with 5 minutes to go … please tell me we don’t have another manager afraid of changing things !

Leprechaunism March 19, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, World Affairs.
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So given the week that’s in it, I thought I’d give out about one of my pet peeves – people dressed as leprechauns !  I mean, have you ever seen anything more ridiculous in your entire life as three or four grown men at a football match donning cheap sandy beards and puke green jackets and hats ?

I mean look at the state of the guy !

I hereby vow never to let any child of mine dress up like a leprechaun – even for Hallowe’en !!  The trouble is, people think its the thing to do – but as you can see from this story – dressing up as one of the wee folk will ultimately get you nowhere !!

Diddly-dee me arse !

So how about a new National Anthem ? March 16, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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EH … just like this one

Alleged assassination plot March 10, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in World Affairs.
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So it seems that a number of people were arrested here in Waterford yesterday over an alleged assassination plot – the plot is linked to a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad having the body of a dog.  Something that is most offensive to Muslims.

There are many facets to the argument of whether it is wrong to ridicule someone’s religious beliefs and as to whether it is OK to publish said ridicule, whilst knowing that the subject will offend.  In the case of Muslim people, their religion being of the utmost importance to them, ridicule of their religion offends deeply.  I mean why bother offending someone ?  To sell papers ?  To defend the freedom of speech ?

So I think that, within reason, we should not offend anyones religion – Muslim, Catholic, Jew, whatever – if we are of another faith or none at all.   We know people get so offended and go to different extremes to show their anger … simply, why bother offending someone ?  Is it irresponsible to be going around printing stories about terrorists and so on when these people have not yet even been charged ?  Will the damage not have been done ?  These days you have to be very careful about what is printed in the media because of the damage words can cause.

If a story was printed in mainstream media about the Holocaust not having happened, or Mary being a bit of a floozie, or Buddha being fat or whatever, do you think there would not be outcry by those offended ?  I mean, for God’s sake (ooops) we now have a law in Ireland making it a crime if someone takes umbrage to your comments on their beliefs – so the Muslims are not the only ones who get angry.

I think it just might be a little daring at the moment to make fun of the Muslim reaction to their religion being criticized.

How much more will we take ? March 8, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Say it like it is.
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I’m angry !

Really fucking angry – steam coming out of my ears, start a revolution kind of angry !  What am I going to do about it ?  Ah, nothin’ really … I’m Irish you see !

Without wanting to get into a full-scale political debate, I want to ask “How much more will Ireland take?”  Not how much can we take, but how much more will we take ?

Suffices to say that if Mother Ireland was a camel, that her back is now well and truly broken by the straws that keep hitting her.  This country has been revealed to be the cesspool of corruption and so-what?-ness (sic) that many feared.

The latest in a long line of stories that would make other democracies (or republics) shit themselves in disbelief broke this morning … the board members from the Dublin Docklands Development Authority have covered themselves in publicity with their caviar, champagne and thousand euro a night hotel rooms.

But I digress lightly from the title of this post – the fact is, that at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, going forward etc. etc. we just don’t give a shit.  We don’t give enough of a shit to change the country.  Bottom line !

The following is all I ever hear in my peers’ political debate : “Ah isn’t such and such an awful chancer” or “Did you see what yer man was doing!” “Terrible isn’t it and the country in the state that it is!” …

Followed quickly by “Sure aren’t they all the same!” or “There’s nobody else to vote for sure!” or “Sure what can we do about it? Aren’t they all as bad as each other!” (or even worse “Wouldn’t you do it if you could get away with it ?”)

Eh, people !!?  YOU’RE MISSING THE FUCKING POINT !

“They” might all be as politically inept or financially inexperienced as eachother but that still doesn’t mean you allow the same said inept fools to continue to damage you … if you don’t change Fianna Fáil and the Greens for someone else, they’ll stay where they are and continue to hurt you.  You’ll continue to grumble about it and feel apathetic about it and continue to vote for them because the divil-you-know is better than the divil-you-don’t !  Well electorate of Ireland, you don’t know the fucking half of it with the Divil-you-know that is Fianna Fáil.

Can we wise up ?  Will we wise up ?  Do we honestly give a shit about Ireland and the future of our children ?  Stop blaming it on there being nobody else to vote for !  Stop blaming it on Enda Kenny if you see him as the only alternative !  Blame it on yourselves – on ourselves – for not undertaking our democratic responsibilities enough and figuring out just what we the people want.

Genealogy rocks ! March 5, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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One of my favourite pastimes at the moment (when I have time to pass), is genealogy. I’ve been building my family tree on the fabulous free site www.geni.com for the past 3 years and each day I find something new or something to update.

On one side of the family, I can go back to 1790 and on the other to the 1820s. Once I knew or could guess pretty much who was who, and had all the people in place, my search centered on finding out as much as I could about the times they lived in and what they would be like – maps, photos, websites, history … I can’t get enough of it.

So here’s my top 10 tips to researching your Irish ancestors and what to do or not do in some cases …

1) Sign up to www.geni.com – it’s awesome ! Links between people and stuff like that are easier to define when seen in tree format.

2) Visit the Irish Times website – here. They have a great family history section and while there are no listings on it, they have several indexes and links to where to begin looking.

3) Visit the 1911 census online here and the 1901 census (partial) online here. Bare in mind that ages of people in this census can vary wildly from their actual age.

4) If possible, visit the church where you think your relative may have been baptised or married. You may or may not have luck – it depends on the priest who holds the paper records. Some priests are not cooperative !! And some even hint at being paid !

5) The best cert to get is a marriage cert, in my opinion. It gives the couples names (+maiden name) and addresses, their fathers names and professions and the names of witnesses. All these are great in building a picture of where to look next.

6) Go visit the graveyards of the parish in which you think you relative might have died. If you locate a grave, the priest will have a death cert and you can work back from there.

7) If possible, and although it’s a complete racket, and the indexes are assways, visit the General Records office in Abbey Street in Dublin – online here. It can be invaluable – this office has birth, marriage and death records of everyone registered in Ireland since 1864. But because a lot of names were common – e.g. John Murphy – you might find 5 John Murphy’s in the index in the same area in the same year and not know which is your relative. You cannot look at the originals and its €4 a time to get a cert which (in my case) often turns out to be a complete different person.

8) Ellis Island records – free search – online here, is invaluable for researching ancestors who went to the United States. Lucky them ! Be sure and check the ship’s manifest document – also available – for invaluable information like who the immigrant was going to meet !

9) Interview older members of your family – on camcorder if possible. Don’t fire questions at them but talk around to the subject you want to talk about.

10) Register at www.geni.com – did I mention its awesome ?

PS : I found it strange yesterday when I realised I was an Irishman researching his American ancestors as opposed to an American researching his Irish ones ! Funny little planet this …

Poor bastards ! March 4, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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The most horrible way to go has to be the fate that befell these poor unfortunate Russian blokes the other day, when mistakenly having turned the water temperature in their plunge pool up to a dangerous level, they jumped feet first, to their deaths. Boiled alive !!

Which, by the way, was the main punishment in Henry VIII’s time for someone who had been caught poisoning a person. Death by boilage !

Read the article here.