Welcome to Rainy Day, my weblog with daily observations on events, technology, politics, sport, music and media. Not everyone understands or even likes the word "blog" and its cryptic progeny such as blogger, blogosphere, blogrolling and warblogging, but the concept is absolutely brilliant. Bloggers have taken the idea of the journal and given it a vital new role. Using the technologies at the core of the Internet revolution, bloggers are recording and interpreting our world in a way that's new but in a style that would have pleased Samuel Pepys.
If you're new to the form, I'd like to point out that blogs are biased and unedited that's their attraction for me, although many would regard such matters as weaknesses. But as Scott Rosenberg noted in Salon.com: "...the editorial process of the blogs takes place between and among bloggers, in public, in real time, with fully annotated cross-links."
Rainy Day is a pulpit for my passions: the smugness of European elites at a time when the West is under attack; the greed of bureaucracies bleeding nations dry; the stupidity of exalted opinion makers; the appalling wasteland that is television; the music of Liam O'Flynn; the writing of Christopher Hitchens; books, football, films, wine, travel... the list is long.
And why do I call this blog Rainy Day? Well, my mother, God love her, raised a family on a small farm in the south-west of Ireland at a time when small farming there was a subsistence activity, and she was fond of quoting the "Keep-something-for-a-rainy-day" proverb when moved to warn us of life's uncertainties. Thrift was a value and waste was a vice in the hard world in which she lived. Excess was unknown in her economy and recycling, long before the eco brigade discovered its uses, was a matter of necessity. The lesson was learned and as a result I have developed a tendency to hoard (which does not preclude an inclination to share), a distinct dislike of meanness and a severe antipathy to the SUV-led attack on the world's resources.
Another reason for paying tribute to the Rainy Day is to honour the memory of the uilleann piper Seamus Ennis. The first track on the essential "Forty Years of Irish Piping" album consists of the three reels: "The Merry Blacksmith, The Rainy Day, The Silver Spear". This is Ennis, the musical giant, in splendid form. The tempo is impressive, the regulator work is tasteful and the variations, especially the repeated use of the "bottom D" on the "Rainy Day", are so satisfying that I will never tire of them. His playing here is almost arrogant in its perfection, but Ennis was such a master that he was entitled to indulge his vanity.
A final reason for calling this blog Rainy Day is to draw attention to frogs. They are keenly aware of rain's life-giving properties and they are sufficiently self confident to avoid today's mania for visiting arid places. It cannot be a coincidence then that frogs belong to the family "Ranidae".