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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Celebrated Women Gamblers:

Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland
Hardcover
By Malachy McCourt


Quote:
More of self-described 'blaguard' Malachy, brother to Prulitizer Prize-winner Frank and pioneering disability advocate who helped initiate the closure of - ugh! - Willowbrook.

More of brother Frank.

And STILL ANOTHER brother.





Quote:
Now, the status of women in medieval Gaelic Ireland was hardly a grand one; they were defined by their relationship to men -- some man's daughter or some man's wife. They did, however, have certain rights that their counterparts in England and Europe did not, dealing with ownership of property. A married woman in Gaelic society retained her property - in most European cultures ownership was transferred to the husband - as well as retained her maiden name. This right of ownership would be the subject of some of Granuaile's greatest and serious battles.

...That Granuaile was her own person there is little doubt. She hadly fit the mold of the traditional Gaelic woman. She had a penchant for swearing, a reputation for being sexually adventurous, was known for her violent temper, and had an apparent fondness for gambling. She did not wrap herself in a pan-Gaelic/Irish flag - indeed that would been impossible for it was the very independence and disunited nature of the Gaelic order that brought about its downfall. Like all those around her, Granuaile acted solely to ensure her own survival and the survival of her family, as long as the two did not interfere. When one of her sons joined with her archenemy Bingham, she quickly made war against him! In fact, the tales that have come down through tradition aver that Granuaile was often "warring" while twice in official English records it is calculated that by 1593 she had been "warring" for more than forty years. (I truly love this woman's boldness. What her enemies called "piracy" and "treason" Granuaile described to Elizabeth I herself as her "maintenance by land and sea.") (From Chapter XI, Grace O'Malley - Granuaile, p. 120-122)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Gambling on God:

A Long Stone's Throw
Hardcover
By Alphie McCourt


Quote:
More of the book.

More of the writing McCourt clan.





Quote:
Soon we put the Griffin house behind us and move closer to the center of the city, to the lane behind Saint Joseph's Church. Our lane, Little Barrington Street, runs parallel to its parent, the real Barrington Street, which is a grand and proper thoroughfare up the hill and in front of us. Barrington Street is home to the shepherds of our souls, the secular priests and well do they abide in their priests' house.

Before too long, from the steps of that same priests' house, a priest will "read" my mother. He will publicly rebuke her for her sins. She had gone to the priests to ask for help for us, her children. Don't come here looking for charity, missus, he would have said. You are not a fit person to be standing here and you in your sinful state. Everyone knows that you don't go to Mass on Sunday and that's a mortal sin. His purpose was clear, for if everyone didn't know my mother's sins before, then they would certainly know them now.

"The poor are always with us," we are told by way of consolation.

"We are, Father," we remind ourselves and the priest. "For aren't we always with us and shur who else would want to be with us?"

And "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven." They tell us that as well, as a reassurance, I suppose. We should rejoice in our own poverty and not envy the rich man. We, at least, have some chance of getting into heaven. The rich man has none, stuck, as he is, between the camel and the eye of a needle.

To us, a camel passing through the eye of a needle is an exciting image, but it doesn't put any bread on the table. For a loaf of bread and a quarter pound of salt butter we would take our chances with the eye of a needle. (-- pgs. 69-70)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Through Irish Eyes
A Visual Companion to Angela McCourt's Ireland
Foreward by Malachy McCourt




Quote:
We Might As Well Have a Pint Before We Go, Joe

"As is well known there is a large consumption of porter and whiskey amongst the labouring classes. In many cases an undue porportion of their earnings is spent on these beverages, with consequent deprivations of home comforts and even necessaries.

"The workman is blamed for visiting the public-house, but is to him what the club is to the rich man. His home is rarely a comfortable one, and in winter the bright light, the warm fire and the gaiety of the public-house are attractions which he finds difficult to resist. If he spends a reasonable proportion of his earnings in the public-house is he more to be condemned than the prosperous shopkeeper or professional man who drinks expensive wine at the club or restaurant, spends hours playing billiards or cards and amuses himself in other expensive ways? At the same time it cannot be denied that there is much intemperance amongst the working classes and that the women, who were formerly rarely seen intoxicated, are now frequently to be observed in that state. The publicans themslves are averse to drunkards. Their best customers are the men who spend a moderate proportion of their wages in drink, for the drunkards lose their situations." Sir Charles Cameron, How the Poor Live, 1904 (-- p. 20)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Impossible Odds:

A Long Stone's Throw
Hardcover
By Alphie McCourt


Quote:
More of the book.

STILL MORE of the book.

More of the writing McCourt clan.

More of the PokerPulse Gambler's Study Guide - Best Bets for Success.





Quote:
Our cousin joined the Irish Army and was issued two pairs of boots and two pairs of shoes only to desert this neutral peacetime Army and go to England where he joined the British Army. When the British Army presented him with two pairs of boots and two pairs of shoes, he changed his mind, deserted again and returned to Limerick. A rich man now, he was proud owner of four pairs of boots and four pairs of shoes.

Our cousin of the boots and shoes had little or no education and not much in the way of opportunity. I'm more than fortunate. I will soon move on to the Christian Brothers Primary School on Sexton Street. Ten times the size of Henry Street School, "The Brothers" has a secondary school attached. I am in the great world of school, the first of my family to go to The Brothers. Admission is based on a written entrance examination. I know that I did well on the examination. I also know that my brothers would have done as well or better. If so, why had they not been admitted? (-- p. 87)


What's so great about a school run by the Christian Brothers?

From Loaded Dice:

Angelas Ashes
Paperback
By Pulitizer-Prize winner Frank McCourt


Quote:
Read the excellent tribute to Frank posted Aug. 1/09 by his pal, Larry Kirwan of the Irish rock bank, Black 47, and host of Sirius Radio's Celtic Crush program.



Quote:
More wisdom from the senior literary McCourt, who ultimately became a teacher at a posh New York public high school.

More on those who did not share the McCourt enthusiasm for a Jesuit education.





Quote:
We go to school through lanes and back streets so that we won't meet the respectable boys who go to the Christian Brothers' School or the rich ones who go to the Jesuit school, Crescent College. The Christian Brothers' boys wear tweed jackets, warm woolen sweaters, shirts, ties and shiny new boots. We know they're the ones who will get jobs in the civil service and help the people who run the world. The Crescent College boys wear blazers and school scarves tossed around their necks and over their shoulders to show they're cock o' the walk. They have long hair which falls across their foreheads and over their eyes so that they can toss their quiffs like Englishmen. We know they're the ones who will go to university, take over the family business, run the government, run the world. We'll be the messenger boys on bicycles who deliver their groceries or we'll go to England to work on the building sites. Our sisters will mind their children and scrub their floors unless they go off to England, too. We know that. We're ashamed of the way we look and if boys from the rich schools pass remarks we'll get into a fight and wind up with bloody noses or torn clothes. Our masters will have no patience with us and our fights because their sons go to the rich schools and, Ye have no right to raise your hands to a better class of people so ye don't. (-- pgs. 272-273)


On the efforts of two elder McCourts toward entry:

Quote:
... Mam tells me give my face and hands a good wash, we're going to the Christian Brothers. I tell her I don't want to go, I want to work, I want to be a man. She tells me stop the whining, I'm going to secondary school and we'll all manage somehow. I'm going to school if she has to scrub floors and she'll practise on my face.

She knocks on the door at the Christian Brothers and says she wants to see the superior, Brother Murray. He comes to the door, looks at my mother and me and says, What?

Mam says, This is my son, Frank. Mr. O'Halloran at Leamy's says he's bright and would there be any chance of getting him in here for secondary school?

We don't have room for him, says Brother Murray and closes the door in our faces.

Mam turns away from the door and it's a long silent walk home. She takes off her coat, makes tea, sits by the fire. Listen to me, she says. Are you listening?

I am.

That's the second time a door was slammed in your face by the Church.

Is it? I don't remember.

Stephen Carey told you and your father you couldn't be an altar boy and closed the door in your face. Do you remember that?

I do.

And now Brother Murray slams the door in your face.

I don't mind. I want to get a job.

Her face tightens and she's angry. You are never to let anybody slam the door in your face again. Do you hear me?

She starts to cry by the fire, Oh, God, I didn't bring ye into the world to be a family of messenger boys. ....

Mr. O'Halloran tells the class it's a disgrace that boys like McCourt, Clarke, Kennedy, have to hew wood and draw water. He is disgusted by this free and independent Ireland that keeps a class system foisted on us by the English, that we are throwing our talented children on the dungheap. (-- pgs. 289-290)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Impossible Odds:


'Tis
A Memoir
Hardcover
By Frank McCourt


Quote:
Read the excellent tribute to Frank posted Aug. 1/09 by his pal, Larry Kirwan of the Irish rock bank, Black 47, and host of Sirius Radio's Celtic Crush program.

More of the literary McCourt brothers.

More of the book.





Quote:
Horace, the black man, sits on a bage of peppers and reads a paper from Jamaica or he reads a letter over and over from his son who is in university in Canada. When he reads that letter he slaps his thigh and laughs, Oh, mon, oh, mon. The first time I ever heard him talk his accent sounded so Irish I asked him if he was from County Cork and he couldn't stop laughing. He said, All people from the islands have Irish blood, mon.

Horace and I nearly died together in that fumigation room. The beer and the heat made us so drowsy we fell asleep on the floor till we heard the door slam shut and the gas hissing into the room. We tried to push the door back but it was jammed and the gas was making us sick till Horace climbed up on a mound of pepper stacks, broke a window and called for help. Eddie Lynch was closing up outside and heard us and slid the door back.

You're two lucky bastards, he said, and he wanted to take us up the street for a few beers to clear our lungs and celebrate. Horace says, No, mon, I can't to that bar.

What the hell you talking about? says Eddie.

Black man not welcome in that bar.

Fuck that for a story, says Eddie.

No, mon, no trouble. There's another place we have a beer, mon.

I don't know why Horace has to give in like that. He has a son in university in Canada and he can't have a beer himself in a New York bar. He tells I don't understand, that I'm young and I can't fight the black man's fight.

Eddie says, Yeah, you're right, Horace. ...

Peter McNamee is platform boss while the regular man is on vacation and when he sees me he says, What in the name of the crucified Jesus are you doing here? I thought you had a brain in your head.

He tells me I should be going to school, that there's no excuse for me humping sides of beef in and out when I could be using the GI Bill and moving up in the world. ...

Horace, the black man I nearly died with in the fumigation chamber, tells me if I leave the university I'm a fool. He works to keep his son in college in Canada and that's the only way in America, mon. His wife cleans offices on Borad Street and she's happy because they've got a good boy up there in Canada and they're saving a few dollars for his graduation day in two years. Their son, Timothy, wants to be a child doctor so that he can go back to Jamaica to heal the sick children.

Horace tells me I should thank God I'm white, a young white man with the GI Bill and good health. Maybe a little trouble with the eyes but still, better in this country to be white with bad eyes than black with good eyes. If his son ever told him he wanted to quit school to stand on an assembly line sticking cigarette lighters into cars he'd go upt o Canada and break his head.

... I walk to Eddie Lynch and pass him my baling hook, making sure to offer him the handle to avoid the insult of the hook itself. He takes it and shakes hands with me. He says, Okay, kid, good luck, and we'll send your paycheck. Eddie might be a platform boss with no education who worked his way up but he knows the situation, he knows what I'm thinking. I walk to Horace and shake hands with him. I can't say anything because I have a strange feeling of love for him that makes it hard to talk and I wish he could be my father. .... (Chapter 26, pgs. 142- 155)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Omens and Lucky Charms:

District and Circle
Hardcover
By Seamus Heaney


Quote:
LOTS more Heaney, a PokerPulse favorite.





Quote:
Anything Can Happen

after Horace, Odes, I, 34

Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter
Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head
Before he hurls the lightning? Well, just now
He galloped his thunder cart and his horses

Across a clear blue sky. It shook the earth
And the clogged underearth, the River Styx,
The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.
Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune
Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,
Setting it down bleeding on the next.

Ground gives. The heaven's weight
Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle-lid.
Capstones shift, nothing resettles right.
Telluric ash and fire-spores boil away.

(-- p. 13)



Recommended books on Sirius Radio's excellent Celtic Crush Playlist, May, 2009:

Quote:
Five Points - Tyler Anbinder

Michael Collins : a biography by Tim Pat Coogan, 1990. ISBN 0-09-968580-9.

Eamonn DeValera: a biography by Tim Pat Coogan

The IRA or The Troubles by Tim Pat Coogan

(Any of these four books will give you a good background to the history of Ireland - in a fairly detailed but readable manner - over the last 100 years)

The Great Hunger by Cecil Woodham-Smith is a dispassionate but striking book on the Potato Famine of 1845-47 that caused so many Irish to emigrate to the US.

Ten Men Dead - The Story of the 1981 Hunger Strike - David Beresford. This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand modern Irish history.

Tarry Flynn or The Green Fool - Patrick Kavanagh He is better known as a poet and do check out his poetry. But these two small books contain a wealth of information of what it was like to grow up in rural Ireland of the last century.

Country Girls Trilogy - Edna O'Brien. Three wonderful books written by a great writer and a rebel in the soul. Ms. O'Brien is as readable as she is profound.

100 Favorite Irish Poems (I love this site and perhaps it will lead you to full works of the poets represented therein.) http://www.robotwisdom.com/jaj/100poems.html

The Commitments, The Van or pretty much any book by Roddy Doyle. Easy to read, lots of fun but will also introduce you to the complexities of modern Ireland.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Dubliners - James Joyce. These are two excellent and slim books to get a feel for Sunny Jim's work before you make the life decision to tackle Ulysses. Don't despair if you find yourself bogged down in this greatest of novels; it's happened to us all. Just have a drink, pop open any page and begin to read aloud. But whatever you do, don't miss Molly Bloom's closing soliloquy. It's one of the wonders of literature - and more than that in a way that words fail to do justice.

The Secret Scripture or any novel or play by Sebastian Barry. A very modern writer who delves into the past. Barry is true poet who uses beautiful language and creates unforgettable characters that leave a mark on you.

Astrakhan Cloak - Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill or any collection of her poetry. An earthy, yet spiritual, look into the soul of a powerful Irish woman.

Collected Stories - Frank O'Connor. A very readable writer with a remarkable insight into the Irish soul. Also try his biography of Michael Collins, The Big Fellah, should Coogan's be unavailable or too bloody dauntingly long.

Station Island or any collection of poems by Seamus Heaney

Horse Latitudes or any collection of poems by Paul Muldoon

Any collection of short stories by William Trevor

Borstal Boy - Brendan Behan

Amongst Women or The Dark - John McGahern

Year of the French - Thomas Flanagan

Star of the Sea - Joseph O'Connor

At Swim Two Birds or The Poor Mouth - Flann O'Brien

Strumpet City - James Plunkett

How Many Miles to Babylon - Jennifer Johnston

Book of Evidence - John Banville

Banished Children of Eve - Peter Quinn

The Gathering - Anne Enright

The Year of the French - Thomas Flanagan

Green Suede Shoes - Larry Kirwan (I hesitate to recommend one of my own books but this will give you a sense of Wexford, a special town that you may choose to visit in the first chapters. It will also provide you with a relatively dry-eyed look at a life in the music business of the last 30 or more years)

Demand the monthly Celtic Crush playlist by writing to the PokerPulse gamblers' pal, program host Larry Kirwan of the band, Black 47, at blk47@aol.com. Listen to the show Saturday mornings 9-12 noon on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 18 The Spectrum.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Omens and Lucky Charms:

Station Island
Paperback
By Seamus Heaney


Quote:
BBC 4 audio clips of Heaney





Quote:
Alerted

From the start I was lucky
and challenged, always whacked down
to make sure I would not grow up
too hopeful and trusting -

I was asking myself could I ever
and if ever I should
outstrip obedience, when I heard
the bark of the vixen in heat.

She carded the webs of desire,
she disinterred gutlines and lightning,
she broke the ice of demure
and exemplary stars -

and rooted me to the spot,
alerted, disappointed
under my old clandestine
pre-Copernican night.

(-- p. 106)


Listen:

Station Island
Audio Cassette only, unfortunately!
Read by the poet




Quote:
Editor's Note: We note with interest the Amazon price July 30/09 at $125! Must be a first for a contemporary poet who's still, happily, with us.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Omens and Lucky Charms:

Those Were the Days: The Essential Liam Clancy
Audio CD




Quote:
Rocky Road to Dublin

In the merry month of June from me home I started,
Left the girls of Tuam so sad and broken hearted,
Saluted father dear, kissed me darlin' mother!
Then drank a pint of beer, tears and grief to smother
Then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born,
Cut a stout black thorn to banish ghosts and goblins!
Bought a pair of brogues rattling o'er the bogs
And fright'ning all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin!

(Chorus):
One two three four five,
Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road
And all the way to Dublin, whack follol de rah!


Sing along with Liam and Luke!



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voices & Poetry of Ireland
Hardcover
A Collection of Ireland's Best-Loved Poetry with Readings by Maeve Binchy, Bono, Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Bob Geldof and Many More
With Audio CD


Quote:
More of the book.





Quote:
Death of an Irishwoman

By Michael Hartnett Mícheál Ó hAirtneada
Read by Theo Dorgan


Ignorant, in the sense
she ate monotonous food
and thought the world was flat,
and pagan, in the sense
she knew the things that moved
at night were niether dogs nor cats
but púcas and darkfaced men,
she nevertheless had fierce pride.
But sentenced in the end
to eat thin diminishing porridge
in a stone-cold kitchen
she clenched her brittle hands around a world
she could not understand.
I loved her from the day she died.
She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a card game where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a language seldom spoken.
She was a child's purse, full of useless things.

(-- p. 81)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Losing Streak:

Some Irish Loving
A Selection
By Edna O'Brien
Paperback


Quote:
More of the book.





Quote:
Donal Oge: Grief of a Girl's Heart

By Augusta Gregory

O Donal Oge, if you go across the sea,
Bring myself with you and do not forget it;
And you will have a sweetheart for fair days and market days,
And the daughter of the King of Greece beside you at night.

It is late last night the dog was speaking of you;
The snipe was speaking of you in her deep marsh.
It is you are the lonely bird through the woods;
And that you may be without a mate until you find me.

You promised me, and you said a lie to me,
That you would be before me where the sheep are flocked;
I gave a whistle and three hundred cries to you,
And I found nothing there but a bleating lamb.

You promised me a thing that was hard for you,
A ship of gold under a silver mast;
Twelve towns with a market in all of them,
And a fine white court by the side of the sea.

You promised me a thing that is not possible,
That you would give me gloves of the skin of a fish;
That you would give me shoes of the skin of a bird;
And a suit of the dearest in Ireland.

O Donal Oge, it is I would be better to you
Than a high, proud, spendthrift lady:
I would milk the cow; I would bring help to you;
And if you were hard pressed, I would strike a blow for you.
O, ochone, and it's not with hunger
Or with wanting food, or drink, or sleep,
That I am growing thin, and my life is shortened;
But it is the love of a young man has withered me away.

It is early in the morning that I saw him coming,
Going along the road on the back of a horse;
He did not come to me; he made nothing of me;
And it is on my way home that I cried my fill.

When i go by myself to the Well of Loneliness,
I sit down and I go through my trouble;
When I see the world and do not see my boyt,
He that has an amber shade in his hair.

It was on that Sunday I gave my love to you;
The Sunday that is last before Easter Sunday.
And myself on my knees reading the Passion;
And my two eyes giving love to you fore ever.

O, aya! my mother, give myself to him;
And give him all that have in the world;
Get out yourself to ask for alms,
And do not come back and forward looking for me.

My mother said to me not to be talking with you, to-day,
Or to-morrow, or on Sunday;
It was a bad time she took for telling me that;
It was shutting the door after the house was robbed.

My heart is as black as the blackness of the sloe,
Or as the black coal that is on the smith's forge;
Or as the sole of a shoe left in white halls;
It was you put that darkness over my life.

You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me,
You have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
You have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me,
And my fear is great that you have taken God from me!


(From the section entitled, The Female, pgs. 187-189)


Listen:

Ramble Away
Al O'Donnell
2 Audio CDs
Featuring Donal Og


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Impossible Odds:

Goodbye to All That
Hardcover
By Robert Graves


Quote:
More of Graves and his advice to would-be writers.

STILL MORE of the book.





Quote:
In English preparatory and public schools romance is necessarily homosexual. The opposite sex is despised and treated as something obscene. Many boys never recover from this perversion. For ever yone born homosexual, at least ten permanent pseudo-homosexuals are made by the public school system: nine of these ten as honourably chaste and sentimental as I was.

... What surprised me most at this school was when a boy of about twelve, whose father and mother were in India, heard by cable that they had both suddenly died of cholera. We all watched him sympathetically for weeks after, expecting him to die of grief, or turn black in the face, or do something to match the occasion. Yet he seemed entirely unmoved, and because nobody dared discuss the tragedy with him he seemed oblivious of it - playing about and ragging just as he had done bfore. We found that rather monstrous. But he had not seen his parents for two years; and preparatory schoolboys live in a world completely dissociated from home life. They have a different vocabulary, a different moral system, even different voices. On their return to school from the holidays the change-over from home-self to school-self is almost instantaneous, whereas the reverse process takes a fortnight at least. A preparatory schoolboy, when caught off his guard, will call his mother 'Please matron,' and always addresses any male relative or friend of the family as 'Sir', like a master. I used to do it. School life becomes the reality, and home-life the illusion. In England, parents of the governing classes virtually lose all intimate touch with their children from about the age of eight, and any attempts on their parts ot insinuate home feeling into school life are resented. (-- pgs. 17-18)


On bullying and how to address it:

Quote:
See also Kurt Vonnegut on the devastating effects of an insulting high school gym teacher.

... Is all of this why British children are so unhappy, one wonders?


Quote:
From my first moment at Charterhouse I suffered an oppression of spirit that I hesitate to recall in its full intensity. Something like being in that chilly cellar at Laufzorn among the potatoes, but a potato out of a different sack from the rest. The school consisted of about six hundred boys, whose chief interests were games and romantic friendships. Everyone despised school-work; the scholars were not concentrated in a single dormitory house as at Winchester or Eton, but divided among ten, and known as 'pros'. Unless good at games, and able to pretend that they hated work even more than the non-scholars, and ready whenever called on to help these with their work, they always had a bad time. I happened to be a scholar who really liked work, and the apathy of the class-rooms surprised and disappointed me. My first term, I was left alone more or less, it being a rule that new boys should be neither encouraged nor baited. The other boys seldom addressed me except to send me on errands, or coldly point out breaches of school convention.

In my second term the trouble began. A number of things naturally made for my unpopularity. Besides being a scholar and not outstandingly good at games, I was always short of pocket-money. Since I could not conform to the social custom of treating my contemporaries to tuck at the school shop, I could not accept their treating. My clothes, though conforming outwardly to the school pattern, were ready-made and not of the best-quality cloth that all the other boys wore. Even so, I had not been taught how to make the best of them. Neither my mother nor my father had any regard for the niceties of dress, and my elder brothers were abroad by this time. Nearly all the other boys in my house, except for five scholars, were the sons of businessmen: a class of whose interests and prejudices I knew nothing, having hitherto met only boys of the professional class. Also, I talked too much for their liking. A further disability was that I remained as prudishly innocent as my mother had planned I should. I knew nothing about simple sex, let alone the many refinements of sex constantly referred to in school conversation, to which I reacted with horror. I wanted to run away.

The most unfortunate disability of all was that my name appeared on the school list as 'R. von R. Graves'. ... Businessmen's sons, at this time, used to discuss hotly the threat, and even the necessity, of a trade war with the Reich. 'German' meant 'dirty German'. It meant: 'cheap, shoddy goods competing with our sterling industries.' It also meant military menace, Prussianism, useless philosophy, tedious scholarship, loving music and sabre-rattling. ... Considerable anti-Jewish feeling worsened the situation: someone started the rumour that I was not only a German but a German Jew.

Of course, I always claimed to be Irish, but an Irish boy who had been in the house about a year and a half longer than myself resented this claim. He went out of his way to hurt me, not only by physical acts of spite, like throwing ink over my school-books, hiding my games-clothes, attacking me suddenly from behind corners, pouring water over my bed at night, but by continually forcing his bawdy humour on my prudishness, and inviting everybody to laugh at my disgust. He also built up a humorous legend of my hypocrisy and concealed depravity. I came near a nervous breakdown. School ethics prevented me from informing the housemaster of my troubles. The house-monitors, though supposed to keep order and preserve the moral tone of the house, never interfered in any case of bullying among the juniors. I tried violent resistance, but as the odds were always heavily against me this merely encouraged the ragging. Complete passive resistance would probably have been wiser. I got accustomed to bawdy-talk only during my last two years at the school, and had been a soldier for some little time before I got hardened and could reply in king to insults. (-- pgs. 33-35)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Losing Streak:

Wrap the Green Flag
Favorites of the Clancy Brothers withTommy Makem
Audio CD




Quote:
Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye



While goin' the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy
A stick in me hand and a drop in me eye
A doleful damsel I heard cry,
Johnny I hardly knew ye.
With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your drums and guns and drums and guns
The enemy nearly slew ye
Oh my darling dear, Ye look so queer
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild
When my heart you so beguiled
Why did ye run from me and the child
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run
When you went for to carry a gun
Indeed your dancing days are done
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home
All from the island of Sulloon
So low in flesh, so high in bone
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg
Ye're an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
* Ye'll have to be put with a bowl out to beg

Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again
But they never will take our sons again
No they never will take our sons again
Johnny I'm swearing to ye.


Rory O'Shea Was Here
DVD


Quote:
More on Dublin's Centre for Independent Living that inspired the film.





Quote:
Editor's Note: ... and apparently, the Irish aren't kidding about this. While Rory and Michael are inmates at the albeit fictional Carrigmore Residential Home, they are expected to spend an occasional afternoon in the city centre even in the rain, soliciting donations supposedly to augment the cost of their care at the facility. ... How we wish governments would review care options for people with disabilities before committing soldiers to conflicts real or imagined.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Mortal Gambles:

The Villager
My brother Frank: The teacher who walked beside me
By Alphie McCourt
Volume 79, Number 11
Aug. 19 - 25/09


Quote:
More of Alphie, the latest brother to submit a lyrical set of memoirs to a McCourt-loving public.


Quote:
My brother Frank McCourt died on July 19 this year: one month, to the day, before his 79th birthday. The world took notice. Walter Cronkite died on July 17. My wife, Lynn, said that Frank waited a couple of days so that Walter Cronkite could have his moment. Frank McCourt? And Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America? In the same breath? Isn’t this a great country?

Frank’s early miseries are well known, as are his teaching career, his monumental success as a writer and his vast international popularity as speaker and humorist. He has always been a strong presence in my life, along with my brothers Malachy and Michael. I will never speak to him again, nor see him. I can’t believe that. But I will have to get used to the idea. Death comes to, and for, everyone.

As is well known, seven children were born to my parents. Three died and, as Malachy has pointed out, for many years the odds were in favor of the survivors. Three were gone and the four of us still stood. Now the odds have shifted. (emphasis added)

Frank was 10 years older and, from my boyhood, I remember him as being serious, austere, even: disciplined, determined and with a sense of mission. Ten years distant from any possibility of an easy relationship with him, I was a little bit intimidated. Until the day I borrowed his bike, crashed it and awaited his wrath. Wrath never came. Frank dismissed the incident without any fuss. In our Limerick, in the bleak harshness of the 1940s and 1950s, no one said I love you. But Frank didn’t chide me, or shout or threaten. No, he forbore and, to a child reared on fire and brimstone, more especially on the Irish Catholic version, such forbearance, in the face of destruction and stupidity, was nothing short of love.

In 1949 Frank left Limerick, the city of his rearing, and returned to New York, the city of his birth. We were left behind: Mam, Mike and myself. Malachy was already away in England. Our hearts broke when he left.

A long 10 years would elapse before I came to New York. And, a couple of years later, in 1961, when I was staying with Frank and his wife in Brooklyn, Frank and I went for a few beers in a bar in Downtown Manhattan. All too soon it is 4 a.m., closing time, with the dawn coming up, too late and too early to take a subway or bus. At Frank’s suggestion we walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Two men, walking side by side; fat or thin, tall or small, rich or poor; there’s a magic in that.

We are nowhere near drunk. It would be hard to get drunk even on a succession of small 15-cent glasses of beer. But we are cheerful. By this time I am as tall as Frank, my oldest brother. Out of the night and into the day we walk, out of the darkness, into the light and the promise of the future. Only in retrospect, and only after many years, did I see the symbolism. To this day I treasure it. Ever the teacher, Frank didn’t send me or walk behind me. Nor did he lead. The teacher walked beside me.

Eight or nine years later, when I was living in Dublin and attending University College, Dublin, Frank came over to work on a doctorate, at Trinity College. I was sharing an apartment with two friends. Frank lived elsewhere but he had a key to our apartment. One miserable rainy afternoon I came home to find him in the kitchen. Standing, still in his coat, he was eating a soft-boiled egg. One single, solitary, soft-boiled egg, with no bread, no butter, no tea in sight. That was his way. Only what he needed, that’s what he took. He kept the faith.

Twenty-five years later, the success of his first book, a memoir, left him bewildered. Throughout most of his adult life he had been “only the teacher.” “Angela’s Ashes,” a saga shot through with poverty and hunger, became the engine of his success. Now even Gourmet magazine was asking him to write a piece. “Irony is my constant companion,” he would remark as he poked fun at his status as a newly minted big shot.

Frank survived typhoid fever as a boy and endured chronic conjunctivitis. In the 1980s he would survive cancer. Having thoroughly embraced and enjoyed his dozen years of fame, he was now afflicted with melanoma. Treatments and hospital stays would follow, all to no avail.

During his last days, in the hospice, he lies propped up in bed. Two or three other people are in the room. I indicate to him that I must leave and that I will be back tomorrow. Frank raises his right hand, the first and second fingers extended; the middle finger and the pinkie folded back, the thumb lying flat.

Smiling as he is, this gesture means something. I can tell. The others in the room are watching him and they laugh when he raises his hand. With the crinkle of a joke at the corners of his smile he forgives the others their laughter. Still looking directly at me, and with the same wide smile, he moves his right hand: upward, and slowly downward, then left to right, in a continuous motion. Oldest to youngest, fatherless now as we have ever been, in timeless rhythm he gives me his blessing. And without a thought I cross myself.

Next day Malachy and I are with him in the room. Frank’s wife, Ellen, is away, briefly, on an errand. Frank becomes agitated. His shirt is bothering him and we help him remove it. Still he tosses. We can’t settle him, can’t seem to relieve his discomfort. We decide to use the emergency device to call the nurse. “Where is it?” I ask Malachy. “It’s hanging by the side of the bed,” Malachy answers. I look for it, without success, and I continue to search, while Malachy insists. In the end, I get down on my hands and knees. Malachy, with his busted leg encased in the big black boot, begins the search on his side of the bed. Neither of us can find the device.

I have a fleeting vision of Malachy, Mike and myself, all of us under the bed searching for the device, and the nurse arriving in. “Where is everybody?” she would ask Frank. “Where have your brothers gone?”

“Damned if I know,” would be his response. “The behavior of my brothers has always been a mystery to me.” And he would sink back on his pillow, resigned, as always, to our vagaries. That was my imagining.

... Years ago Frank told me that he was strongly attracted to the writings of J. Krishnamurti, to the idea that we should abandon all the grandiose notions and practices of established religion, that we should look with wonder at whatever is before us, and that, toward everyone and everything, we should behave in a just, loving and compassionate manner. He didn’t say this in so many words, but that was the message. Be guided by justice and love. That’s the most practical approach.

I hadn’t seen or sensed any angels at Frank’s bedside. No secular spirit-guides-for-hire, either. I doubt that he would want them. Instead, I believe, he had been getting himself into fighting trim, accepting change as it came, as he always did, shedding all excess baggage and preparing for the trip.

Then the nurses come. With care and tenderness, they move him up in the bed, adjust and plump up his pillows and settle him. Soon he is asleep, and he will continue in sleep. There is talk of seizure, of complications. I think I know better. On his left side, now, and with his left palm under his chin and his chin slightly raised, in the thinker’s classic pose, peacefully he sleeps.

... A few years ago he said to me: “We are all we have, the brothers, the women and the children.” Now, of course, we are one less. But maybe, after a nice rest, and God knows he deserves it, in another 66 years, or however long it takes to reach retirement age, Frank will break away from the mass of the great vibration and, once again, lend his voice to the shunned and the excluded.


Think On These Things
Paperback
By gentle philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti




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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Gambling Warriors:

Iraq
Black 47
With Sirius Celtic Crush host, Larry Kirwan
Audio CD




Quote:
Downtown Baghdad Blues



Got a buddy in Najaf, he’s playing it straight
Prays to the Lord Jesus Christ every night
Got a homey in Samarra goin’ up the wall
Every time he hear an Islamic prayer call
Me, I don’t care much for Jesus or Mohammed
They don’t stop bullets to the best of my knowledge
Later for the both of you, catch you in eternity
Hopefully, towards the end of this century

I didn’t want to come here, I didn’t get to choose,
I got the hup, two, three, four Downtown Baghdad Blues.

I wish I was back home rootin’ for the Padres
‘Stead of dodgin’ bullets from Mookie El Sadr
I wish I was back in the land of Giuliani
Instead of takin’ heat from Ayatollah Sistani
Don’t know what I’m doin,’ but one thing is clear
Twenty years old, I can kill but I can’t buy a beer
Keep your head down, don’t get your brain cells fried
You’ll be home by Christmas - dead or alive!

I wish I was back in the US of A
Instead dodgin’ rockets in Falluji-ay
There’s a lady with my tattoo on her so special
Dream of her and me out in the desert
She ridin’ round in her Daddy’s Ford Explorer
I’m kickin’ in doors, hey, I thought this war was over
Got sand in my nose, sand in my eyes
But the sand can’t cover up the sights of a
Sniper with my number, got his finger on the trigger
Hope my baby’s okay, still waitin’ for a letter
All I get are emails, so much unsaid
It’s hot here, baby, but it’s so cold inside my head.

Mission accomplished, yeah, up on deck
Got no armor for my Humvee, left facin’ this train wreck
Shia don’t like me, want Islamic Revolution
Sunni say civil war is part of the solution
Maybe someday there’ll be peace in Fallujah
McDonald’s on the boulevard, Cadillac cruisin’
I’m tryin’ hard to keep this whole thing straight
But will someone tell me what am I doin’ here in the first place?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Loaded Dice:

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem
Recorded Live in Ireland!
Audio CD




Quote:
The Maid of Fife-E-O
(Traditional)



There once was a troop of Irish dragoons
Come marching down through Fife-e-O
And the captain fell in love with a very bonny lass
And her name it was called pretty Peggy-O

There's many a bonny lass in the town of Ackerglass
There's many a bonny lassie in the cheerie-O
There's many a bonny Jean in the streets of Aberdeen
But the flower of them all is in Fife-e-O

"Come down the stairs, pretty Peggy, my dear
Come down the stairs, pretty Peggy-O
Oh, come down the stairs, comb back your yellow hair
Bid a long farewell to your mammy-O

"I never did intend a soldiers's lady for to be
I never will marry a soldier-O
I never did intend to go to a foreign land
And I never will marry a soldier-O

The colonel he cried: "Mount, mount, boys, mount"
The captain he cried: "Tarry-O
Oh, tarry for a while, for another day or twa
Til I see if this bonny lass will marry-O"

Long 'ere we came to the town of Ackerglass
We had our captain to carry-O
And long 'ere we reached the streets of Aberdeen
We had our captain to bury-O

Green grow the birks on bonny Ethen-side
And low lie the lowlands of Fife-e-O
Well, the captain's name was Ned, and he died for a maid
He died for the chambermaid of Fife-e-O


Yes, but more typically:

At Home with the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and Their Families
Audio CD





Quote:
As I Roved Out
Traditional



As I roved out on a May morning
On a May morning right early
I met my love upon the way
Oh, Lord but she was early

Chorus:

And she sang lilt-a-doodle, lilt-a-doodle, lilt-a-doodle-dee,-
And she hi-di-lan-di-dee, and she hi-di-lan-di-dee and she lan- day

Her boots were black and her stockings white
And her buckles shone like silver
She had a dark and a roving eye
And her ear-rings tipped her shoulder

Chorus

"What age are you my bonny wee lass
What age are you my honey?"
Right modestly she answered me
"I'll be seventeen on Sunday"

Chorus

"Where do you live my bonny wee lass
Where do you live my honey?"
"In a wee house up on the top of the hill
And I live there with my mammy"

Chorus

"If I went to the house on the top of the hill
When the moon was shining clearly
Would you arise and let me in
And your mammy not to hear you?"

Chorus

I went to the house on the top of the hill
When the moon was shining clearly
She arose to let me in
But her mammy chanced to hear her

Chorus

She caught her by the hair of the head
And down to the room she brought her
And with the butt of a hazel twig
She was the well-beat daughter

Chorus

"Will you marry me now my soldier lad
Will you marry me now or never?
Will you marry me now my soldier lad
For you see I'm done forever"

Chorus

"I can't marry you my bonny wee lass
I can't marry you my honey
For I have got a wife at home
And how could I disown her?"


Chorus

A pint at night is my delight
And a gallon in the morning
The old women are my heartbreak
But the young ones is my darling

Chorus


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