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The Wisdom of Galty

Monday, 2 January, 2017 0 Comments

At 85, he has distilled a life’s wisdom into rustic aphorisms. “Cats are cleverer than dogs,” he says. “You can’t get cats to follow cattle.” And every cattle herder and sheepdog owner would agree.


Happy New Year!

Sunday, 1 January, 2017 0 Comments

Resolution for 2017: “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” — Cormac McCarthy, The Road

The fire

Light Shining out of Darkness

Saturday, 31 December, 2016 0 Comments

Light in the darkness

Light Shining out of Darkness

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

William Cowper (1731 – 1800)

Note: The cat was highly thought of the age of Cowper, especially by those artists who were judged to be a bit mad. Cowper, who had bouts of madness and depression, was the foremost poet of the generation between Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth and for several decades had probably the largest readership of any English poet. He espoused the cultivated beliefs of the time: a love of nature and thereby a love of animals. In The Retired Cat written in 1791, the plight of his cat that has become trapped in a dresser drawer offered an opportunity for a moral tale.

Meditations on meat

Friday, 30 December, 2016 0 Comments

“How good it is, when you have roast meat or suchlike foods before you, to impress on your mind that this is the dead body of a fish, this the dead body of a bird or pig.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Image: Sean Fitzgerald’s butcher shop, Main Street, Ballylanders, Co. Limerick, Ireland.

The media shift from reporting to resistance

Thursday, 29 December, 2016 0 Comments

Michael Wolff predicts that media wars will replace culture wars in Trump Era. To support this thesis, he asserts that “an agape media, full of umbrage, disbelief and panic, has elevated his cabinet picks to daily drama and turned Trump’s business affairs into an impeachable offense weeks before he is even to take office.”

In the Hollywood Reporter, Wolff heaps contempt on the Fourth Estate and he locates the behaviour of some journalists in the annals of terrorism:

“This is part of the sudden new journalism credo about not ‘normalizing” the 45th president (a concept originated by pro-Palestinian groups trying to restrict or ban any ‘normal’ activities — including kids soccer games — between Israelis and Palestinians). In other words, Trump, despite the paradox of his election, ought to be considered a rogue occupant of the White House. And, too, that the media should not commence ordinary relations with him.”

Wolff posits that part of the Trump goal might be to change the narrative of modern American life from “urban-global-multicultural to middle-American-nationalist-populist.” If that’s the case, going after the media, “the chief representative of the former, is bound to solidify his standing with the latter.” The mistrusted media is, says Wolff, a “better, more inclusive enemy in the cultural wars — much better to rally around these days than gays and abortions.” The smug media shift from reporting to resistance means we’re in for a fun four years.


Wednesday, 28 December, 2016 0 Comments

When you take out insurance to minimize the risk that illness will end your income, or you buy life insurance to support your family in the case of your death, that’s a hedge. This hedge, however, is the typical boundary formed by closely growing bushes and it’s overgrown, so it will have to be trimmed… today. To the hedging!

Our hedge

The day of the tractor

Tuesday, 27 December, 2016 0 Comments

The Running of the Bulls (in Spanish: encierro) is a custom that dates back to the 14th century and the most famous bull run is held during the eight-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of Saint Fermin in Pamplona. The annual tractor run in Anglesboro is the Limerick equivalent. Sort of.

Anglesboro tractor

George Michael: Praying for Time

Monday, 26 December, 2016 0 Comments

This is, perhaps, his most elegiac song. RIP George Michael. Time ran out too soon.

These are the days of the open hand
They will not be the last
Look around now
These are the days of the beggars and the choosers

This is the year of the hungry man
Whose place is in the past
Hand in hand with ignorance
And legitimate excuses

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 25 December, 2016 0 Comments

The journey of a “A rugged billion miles” has many twists and turns said the poet Emily Dickinson. The task of developing a moral vision is arduous and it’s a hard road we’ve been travelling since Bethlehem but we do have a guide. Now that we’ve arrived at Christmas Day, let’s recall those who introduced us to its true meaning. On behalf of the Rainy Day team: Happy Christmas!

The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman

The Savior must have been
A docile Gentleman –
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen –

The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that ‘twould be
A rugged Billion Miles –

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

I Believe In Father Christmas

Saturday, 24 December, 2016 0 Comments

As 2016 entered its final stretch, the Grim Reaper, who had begun with David Bowie on 10 January, called to the home of Greg Lake on 7 December. The English guitarist, singer and songwriter gained early fame as a founding member of the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but he’s anchored in popular memory with the song that launched his solo career in 1975: “I Believe in Father Christmas”. It was interpreted as a protest against the commercialisation of Christmas, but Lake countered that the lyrics are about a loss of innocence and childhood belief:

“They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
‘Till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
‘Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise.”

Keith Emerson, who killed himself in March, loved classical music, and he suggested adding an instrumental riff between verses. Thus the “Troika” portion of Sergei Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé Suite was included. The video, by the way, was partly shot in the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

“I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish, pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear.”

Two more sleeps to Christmas

Friday, 23 December, 2016 0 Comments

“2 More Sleeps”. That’s how John Cummins terms the countdown to Christmas Day at this late stage of the season. Cummins is a “Poetician” and “Dublineez” is his language.

Before turning to poetry, professional football was John’s game but it came to bad end during his days with 1860 Munich, as he told Breffni Cummiskey. Snippet:

“I played football to a fairly high standard. I was over at Arsenal briefly as a kid. Had a trial. Then during my decade living in Germany I played for 1860 Munich. I’d a couple of serious injuries and that was it. On my 21st birthday actually, in 1994. I was on a pre-season thing to Austria. It was before the World Cup. I went up for a header and woke up in hospital. I had been knocked out and fell awkwardly and snapped all my ligaments in my left ankle. That was the guts of a year out. Six months on crutches. I got fucked over by them during that time. 1860 Munich sent me the hospital bill to pay. I couldn’t afford it.”