Author Archive: Eamonn Fitzgerald

Ex-pat Irishman keeping an eye on the world from the Bavarian side of the Alps.

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Hasselblad on the Moon

Saturday, 20 July, 2019

The Hasselblad company was established in 1841 in Gothenburg by Fritz Wiktor Hasselblad. His son, Arvid Viktor, was interested in photography and started the company’s camera division. The Hasselblad website quotes him as saying, “I certainly don’t think that we will earn much money on this, but at least it will allow us to take pictures for free.”

The most famous use of the Hasselblad camera was during the Apollo 11 mission when the first humans landed on the Moon, 50 years ago today. Almost all of the still photographs during this mission were taken using Hasselblad cameras.

Hasselblad

Note: In 2015, the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI acquired a minority interest in Hasselblad, and in early January 2017, reports indicated that DJI had acquired the majority interest. Last July, DJI’s Mavic 2 PRO drone was the first to carry a camera featuring the Hasselblad branding.


Narrative judo from the NYT and the WaPo

Friday, 19 July, 2019

The objective of narrative judo is to cast the victories of the opposing tribe as defeats. In this case, the opposing tribe for both the New York Times and the Washington Post is the America that sent the first man to the Moon. The narrative judo used by these two newspapers has to be seen in the context of their intense hatred of everything that does not accord with their elitist view of past, present and future.

NYT narrative judo

WaPo narrative judo

NYT narrative judo


Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore

Thursday, 18 July, 2019

Filmmakers Ciaran Vaughan and Myles Shelly made a short video accompaniment to Seamus Heaney reading his poem Postscript. The clip was filmed in County Clare — mainly around Finavarra, where the poem is based.

Postscript

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open


A Pagan Place

Wednesday, 17 July, 2019

“The towns were the colour of a creamery tank, pewter.” The novelist Edna O’Brien was born in Tuamgraney in County Clare. Many of her books are infused with that peculiar Irish sense of locality. The father in A Pagan Place (1970), in which every character is frustrated to the point of madness, had this Celtic notion of place to an uncanny degree in those pre-GPS days. Snippet:

“When the car crossed from one county to the next your father knew although it was not written up. He knew the fence or the stone wall, or the tree, or whatever it was that marked the boundary between one county and the next. If there was something in particular that he pointed to, you tried to focus it but your stomach began to sway and the sway interfered with your vision. Excitement got the better of you. Each time when he said ‘Look’, you got dizzy and couldn’t see.”

A Pagan Place


Clare music: pipes and concertina and jigs

Tuesday, 16 July, 2019

The concertina player Liam O’Connor and the uilleann piper Cian Talty live beside each other in Glendine, just outside Miltown Malbay, the unofficial capital of Irish traditional music. Liam’s mother is the well-known tin whistle player, Bríd O’ Donohue, and Cian’s grandfather was Martin Talty, a dear friend of the legendary West Clare piper, Willie Clancy. Nuff said. Scaoil amach an bobailín!


The scandalously naked Burren

Monday, 15 July, 2019

The name means “stony place” and it is one of the strangest landscapes in Europe. What’s called The Burren occupies most of the top western corner of County Clare and this region of solid rock, which looks like a desert, is quite the opposite. Cattle are fattened by its limey grass and Arctic flowers blossom beside Mediterranean perennials between the niches of the limestone slabs. Emily Lawless (1845 – 1913) set her novel Hurrish (1886) in what she called this “Iron Land”. Snippet:

“Wilder regions there are few to be found, even in the wildest West of Ireland, than that portion of north Clare known to its inhabitants as the Burren. Seen from the Atlantic, which washes its western base, it presents to the eye a succession of low hills, singularly grey in tone — deepening often, towards evening, into violet or dull reddish plum colour — sometimes, after sunset, to a pale ghostly iridescence.

You picture them dotted over with flocks to sheep, which nibble on the sweet grass… But these Burren hills are literally not clothed at all. They are startlingly, I may say, scandalously naked.”


The horror of wokeness

Sunday, 14 July, 2019

Wokeness is the state or quality of being woke (aware of social and political issues relating to race, gender, class, whiteness, environment, migration, Trump…) But this Frankenstein child of identity politics is, in fact, self-righteousness masquerading as enlightenment.

Kinne Tonight is an Australian comedy television series hosted, written and produced by Troy Kinne. The first season premiered on 27 May this year and it offers a needed antidote to wokeness.


Putting on the pullover

Saturday, 13 July, 2019

The gifted Mexican artist David Álvarez told the Spanish public radio and television service, RTVE.es, that “cada imagen que ha creado está apoyada en la ‘metáfora para intentar sorprender a quien mira, para que la imagen sobreviva a la primera lectura y que, con suerte, propicie alguna pregunta.'” In other words, each image he creates is supported by the metaphor of trying to surprise the person looking at it so that it survives the first encounter and prompts some questions.

David Álvarez


The Orange Order

Friday, 12 July, 2019

On 1 July 1689, the Dutch-born Protestant King William III defeated the last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, King James II, at the Battle of the Boyne in County Meath. The victory of William of Orange is celebrated each year by the Orange Order on the Twelfth of July, when marching bands from Orange lodges all over Northern Ireland parade through villages, towns and cities. The Orange Order was formed near Loughgall in County Armagh in 1795, when its founding members pledged their loyalty to the British royal family and swore to defend the Protestant faith.

The Orange Order

Photo: Michal Pudelka


The miracle stone of Labamalogga

Thursday, 11 July, 2019

The small monastic site of Labbamologga on the Limerick/Cork border was founded in the 7th century by Saint Molaige, and the name Labbamologga is an Anglicized form of the original Irish, Leaba Molaige (the bed of Molaige or Molaige’s resting place). Locals say that if you pick up a stone from the ruins of the second church on the site and apply it to an area of the body that is being affected by illness, while simultaneously praying or wishing for a cure, miraculous things can happen. You may carry away your “miracle stone” from Labbamologga but it must be returned at some point. On that, there is universal agreement.

Labamalogga stone


Yay, Team America! From China and Ireland via Apple

Wednesday, 10 July, 2019

Apple celebrated the Women’s World Cup win by the USA with an all-female red, white and blue graphic. How very woke and patriotic. Up to a point. The same Apple announced at the end of June that its new Mac Pro will be assembled in China, not the USA, and the very same Apple uses Ireland as a haven to pay minimal taxes on the profits it makes on those Mac Pros. So much for patriotic bit. As regards the wokeness, the company’s Inclusion & Diversity page shows that 67 percent of Apple’s workforce self-identifies as “not women”, which allows lots of women lots of time to hone their dribbling skills in the run up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Think different indeed.

Apple wokeness