10 September 2007

Thus We Refute Darwin, #3,422.

Customer: I'd like to get an interlibrary loan please. How long would it take?

Dogsbody: An interlibrary loan? Typically, about a week to ten days.

Customer: That long? I wouldn't be able to get one by tomorrow?

Dogsbody: Er, no. Unless you can find a library anywhere that could get a book to us by tomorrow.

Customer: Oh - you mean the books actually come from other libraries?

Taw shay mahogany gaspipe.

Anois is féidir an ciclipéid arlíne is fearr leat a fháil as Gaeilge. Anseo: Vicipéid.

Mar shampla:

John Millington Synge;

Brian Ó Nualláin;

An Taoiseach;

agus mar sin...

I want my, I want my, I want my N. D. E.

THE BIG GUY: I definitely don't feel well. But now I seem to be floating... floating... up to the ceiling. Yes, I'm up on the ceiling looking down on some fat fella... oh. That's me. I've definitely looked better. But what's that up there? A glowing white light... a light of uncommon purity. And who's that coming out of the light?

GOD: Hello Luciano. Are you ready to come home?

THE BIG GUY: Is that... really you, God?

GOD: Most certainly.

THE BIG GUY: Has anyone ever told you you look a lot like Marianne Faithfull?

GOD: I do get that sometimes, yes.

THE BIG GUY: So... so this is it, I suppose.

GOD: "It"?

THE BIG GUY: The end. The end of my life on earth and the beginning of... I don't know, really.

GOD: "Life everlasting", you mean?

THE BIG GUY: Well, I suppose that's up to you, isn't it? I get judged on the good and the bad I've done, and if the balance turns out right, I go up to heaven. And if not, I suppose I get sent to... that other place.

GOD: "Other place"?

THE BIG GUY: You know, the place Down Below. With all the fire and brimstone and multiple piercings and eternal punishment and heavy metal records played backwards.

GOD: I don't think there's any fear of that, Luciano my dear boy. You've done plenty of good in your time. You've raised money for charity. You've uplifted and inspired people with your music. You've kept thousands of restaurants financially solvent. Have no fear, when the time comes you'll be coming up to Heaven along with all the other bright shining souls. We are short a few tenor voices in the celestial choir, after all.

THE BIG GUY: "When the time comes?"

GOD: Well, this is it, you see. You've been a great example to the rest of humanity and now here you are, terminally ill, in pain, living out your last few days. The least I can do is give you a little slack time. I think it's only fair that you get time to end your days with a sense of noble finality, blessed with the knowledge that when you finally do pop your clogs, you'll be up here with me for the rest of eternity.

THE BIG GUY: So my time has not yet come?

GOD: Oh, it'll come sooner rather than later. It's up to you, really. All I'm offering is a few days at the most, to say goodbye to your family, friends and loved ones.

THE BIG GUY: Well, that's wonderful. So I can stay a few more days, put a full stop to the sentence and make a dignified end to my life, is that it?

GOD: If you want. Or you can come with me now if you prefer.

THE BIG GUY: That's a very kind offer. But I've made my peace with everyone. I've been unwell for over a year now and it's no picnic, but I've been a lucky man in life. I've had a good family, plenty of friends. I've said goodbye to them all, really.

GOD: Well, what about that Irish fellow you used to hang around with?

THE BIG GUY: You... you mean Bono?

GOD: Yes, indeed. Good old Bono. Lovely boy.

THE BIG GUY: Bono's back down there waiting for me?

GOD: It looks as though he might even start singing, any minute.

THE BIG GUY: All right, God. You can take me now then.

19 July 2007

Four minutes and thirty three seconds.

"I have spent many pleasant hours in the woods conducting performances of my silent piece... for an audience of myself, since they were much longer than the popular length which I have published. At one performance... the second movement was extremely dramatic, beginning with the sounds of a buck and a doe leaping up to within ten feet of my rocky podium."
- John Cage: Silence: Lectures and Writings.

03 May 2007

Seen and not seen.

Seen: Mark Eitzel in The Crane last night. No complaints there; in spite of a couple of unwelcome technical hitches, Eitzel is still an absolute genius. Why? Because when the PA starts acting funny, he stands away from the mic and sings and plays without any amplification whatsoever. The songs actually have more impact that way (though there are probably not many places where you could get away with it). And Clive Barnes, who played support, was fine too. (Here's an old interview with Eitzel by Dave Eggers.)

Not seen: I've got an artsfest, you've got an artsfest, everybody's got an artsfest. But the Drogheda Arts Festival, happening this May Bank Holiday Weekend, is the only one that has Terry Riley playing at it. (With his young fella on guitar, no less.) Sadly, chances are slim that I'll be able to go.

OB-seen: ...But I bet the tickets will be a lot cheaper than the upcoming Streisand gig in Kildare. (There are a lot of very useful and practical things you can buy for 550 euros, thank you very much.)

27 April 2007

"Pirates of the Corribean," it says here...

The Galway Early Music festival, with a hey-nonny-no and a fol-de-rol and a couple of howsyourfathers. A quick look at the programme shows that they'll be putting on a few things here in Queen's College as well as around ye olde towne.

Real old-skool stuff, from back in the long-ago days when you could drink the water...

23 April 2007

Songs for swinging scribblers.

Nenagh's favourite son, Julian Gough, has just scooped up the British National Short Story prize for his short story The Orphan and the Mob. (Link is to the full story, now amn't I too good to you?)

Gough is not only the author of the darkly comic and brilliantly human novel Juno and Juliet, he also used to be the singer of Toasted Heretic - the rock and roll band that the Tayto man doesn't like.

And yes, the band's original site is down, and typing doubleyou-doubleyou-doubleyou dot toastedheretic dot com now redirects you to Gough's own site. Presumably because the evil Tayto man said so.

Shame on you, Tayto man.

Last week I met one of those proper writer people, one of those people who actually makes money for writing words that real people actually read on paper, and 'twas far away from them fecken blogs he was raised. He was on his way to a launch and asked me to come along, but for one reason or another I couldn't do it. Pity, because it was the opening of an ongoing exhibition of the work of Joe Boske - the German-born artist whose posters, prints and general visual flair have made Galway a damn interesting place to live in for the past couple of decades and a half.

What was it they used to say back in my college days? Drink Guinness and the world looks like it was created by Flann O'Brien. Smoke dope and the world is like something out of a Freak Brothers comic. Take mushrooms and it's not unlike living in one of Joe Boske's fabulously fantasmagorical arts festival posters from way back when. That's what I heard, anyway.

The Works (Images 1972-2007) is running in the Arts Centre on Dominick Street, and if in the locality, you should do your third eye a favour.

15 April 2007

A foodie blog for the rest of us?

A lip-smackingly good guide to diners, greasy spoons and caffs throughout the UK? Or maybe just a excuse for a bit of breakfast porn? Any road up, Egg Bacon Chips and Beans is fascinating stuff. (Yes, I said breakfast porn).

(Sigh.) The proverbial heart attack on a plate.

(Those links are safe for work as long as no-one minds you drooling over fetching shots of high-cholesterol yumminess.)

Discovered via the ever excellent London blog, Diamond Geezer.

12 April 2007

Lonesome no more.

Somehow it seemed appropriate, on learning this morning of Kurt Vonnegut's death, to go and put my hands on some of his books as soon as possible. One of the advantages of working in a library is that you can do that straight away. So I did. I got ten of his books off the shelf and piled them up on my own desk.

As co-workers walked past me they'd take note of the pile of books. Some had heard of him, some had read one or two of his books. Some hadn't but asked about him our of curiosity. Since they weren't really my books, a couple of people even took a book with them, to read or maybe just to skim. But that's good, I guess.

I suppose it's strange to be typing away with a lump in my throat for someone I never actually met. But from the age of 12 onwards Vonnegut and his simple, brilliant stories and novels were a major influence on my life, and the lives of many of my generation and background. I once became friends with someone simply because we'd struck up a conversation about the slogan on the back of their leather jacket - it read: "Schlachthof Funf".

If I were still a smoker, I would have probably sparked one up in memory of Mr. Vonnegut, who chain-smoked untipped Pall Mall most of his life. But, the little plastic nicotine inhaler is as far as I go these days. So instead I spent my lunch break reading his latest book, A Man Without A Country. Though not a "book" proper, more a collection of essays and speeches, it's as warm, funny, moving, bittersweet and ultimately human as anything he ever wrote. This particular bit jumped out at me.

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


Fair enough.

02 April 2007

The eyes in his head see the world spinning round.

One feels even more of a fool than usual, at this point, actually. Having got up early, done the usual shaveshowerquickcuppatea thing, and cycled into work on a gorgeous sunny morning. And then arrived to work only to realise that, as Dante Hicks once said, "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

Because, owing to an administrative snafu, I'm supposed to be taking my Easter holidays a week earlier than originally intended, and nobody bothered to tell me.

This isn't too bad, at the moment; all may yet be well. I'd had plans to head off somewhere, but they didn't materialise for one reason or another. Plus, the beauty of flexi-time is such that I now have an extra half day in my favour.

So now, a whole week (and a bit) to play with. Time for some spring cleaning I guess.

24 March 2007

...Jayzus, the class of spam we're getting these days...

"You assume right. A concert it is-and now. We havent had any live he left, he made this recording. Told me to give it to you. Told me clue now to the whereabouts of the alien artifact. A clue that was be certain. Were not taking a chance on that. Lets show them what a pack of real rats can do! any possible tails the Admiral had put on me. I was risking my life-in and dropped onto the couch. Oh-so we have remembered it at last. Dont you want to know what it at war we seek only peace. We survive. They will kill themselves, but Applied technology, he said. Perhaps this lot isnt as bad as the Always good to meet a true fan. We all bowed now since this was not me as I fled. I was the last to arrive and I collapsed and joined the up, yawned and stretched. With great reluctance the sun had finally I thought you said computer? was my baffled response. have been thinking about the poison and counting the days before I"
But have no fear, darlingest lecteur. Spam is only a bad dream you had once, on a summer night when the lightningbugs throbbed outside your window and it was way past beddiebyes time. You are here, this is now; all is good. Feel no shame over the state of your inbox, for it is a clean and pristine place. The streets are safe. Honest. Really.

21 March 2007

So, what's it going to be then, eh?

Let's see, there's

or even the more obvious

but let's face it, the most accurate description of this particular bit of online muck you're reading would probably be more along the lines of

(Blog threat levels courtesy of sedition.com.)

16 March 2007

Barr an mhaidin chugaibh...

Where else could it happen, and at what better time than St. Patrick's weekend? At this writing, the water in my hometown is being tested for possible contamination with Cryptosporidium, so we've all been advised to boil water before using it - even before brushing our teeth. So there's been no coffee (because coffee urns don't boil water), no tap water, and I've had to be creative with the usual morning dental ablutions. I did my customary session at the gym this morning (40 minutes of cardio and some weights) and, cheap bastard that I am, I usually bring in an empty water bottle and top off from the water fountain. Today, though, I actually had to pay 90c for a litre bottle of Volvic... boo hoo.

Fortunately, this is occurring (ahem) at a time of the year when very little water will be consumed...

More importantly, tomorrow is my dad's birthday, he'll be 74 this year. Happy birthday, pops! :-)

11 March 2007

Many are called, but few are chosen, and a bloody good job too sez you.

Time for you to meet some of my friends. People who make my life the immeasurably wonderful, bristling-with-possibilities thing that it is. With the aid of these fine folks, I would never have been able to improve my sex life, get myself a Ph.D. without even having to study, become rich beyond my wildest dreams (simply by depositing some money in a Nigerian bank for a few months), get cheap jewelry, medication and "handbag replicas" or "make [my] dick bigger than a (sic) Statue of Liberty..."

Where would any of us be without these fine people? Are they not truly the Florence Nightingales, the Mother Theresas, the Mahatma Gandhis even, of the interwebbity? For they keep our inboxes well provided with material that is often likened to a cheap, pork-based foodstuff much celebrated in Viking song. And all our lives are enriched tenfold, thanks to them.

Their nomenclature is somewhat distinctive also, because many of their names sound like the sort of multicultural hodgepodge delineated in cyberpunk fiction. Yet another sign of the dynamic, ever-changing world in which we live in. Here are some of them. Perhaps you too have encountered several of these people. Or you may run into them sometime in the future. If so, please pass on my sincere thanks to such sterling souls as:

Williemae Yoshie
Medusa Tynes
Rusty Berger
Alana Aguirre
(As in "Wrath of God", eh? Just what spammers deserve I suppose.)
Cadwallader P. Hustings
Lorenzo Martin
Bauer & Whitlock Fontenot
Dixon Marcelo
Louella Diaz
Emerson Lesley
Margret Felicia
Weston Delmer
Sophie Clayton Ragland
Pedro & Rigoberto
Eugenia Roxana
(Got to be a porn star, this one.)
Gaye Kayla (Ditto.)
Sommer Delaine (Ditto ditto.)
Delfuego Borg
Miguel McCribben
Radhakrishnan Belmondo
Refugio Leblanc
The Vincent Marino

Thanks to these and many other fine people, my life has changed beyond all recognition. For now I amble around the place in bootleg designer clothes. My digits twinkle with cheaply obtained jewelry. My neck also is hung, festooned even, with cut-price bling. My libido has heightened to the degree where I now require several partners a day.

My eyes sparkle with pharmaceuticals purchased at knock-off prices. I hold three Ph. D.'s, five M. A.'s, two M. B. A.'s, and licenses to practise law, medicine and chartered accounting in most civilised countries. Sometime soon I shall be receiving bank draughts worth millions from several African financial institutions. And speaking of "hung", I can no longer wear short trousers, because my penis now reaches below my knee, and is as thick as my forearm.

01 March 2007

With appy polly loggies to the divine Ms. W...

(To the tune of REHAB by Amy Winehouse.)
They told us we could stay with Rahab
We said, "No, no, no."
They said "you gotta spy, give it a try,
Just go, go, go"

She used to be a pro
But that was before we took Jericho
And now we've put her in the Bible
So you'll know, know, know.
She said, "Just hide beneath this flax
I'll keep the soldiers off your backs"
She told them "Sorry, I ain't seen no spies today
They must have gone... that-a-way..."
So now we owe it all to Rahab,
Don't you know, know, know
She gave us all the skinny, so we could win
At Je-Rich-O
When Joshua blew his horn
That poor old wall was torn
Now she can get another job
And stop being a ho', ho', ho'.
(Joshua 2:1-27)

22 February 2007

Mega thrill-power alert:

2000AD - the comic that brought us Judge Dredd, Sláine, DR and Quinch, Nemesis the Warlock, Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, Ace Garp, Halo Jones, Zenith and many other masterpieces of sequential art and storytelling, the comic that introduced an unsuspecting world to the talents of Pat Mills, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Dave Gibbons, Peter Milligan, Neil Gaiman, Bryan Talbot, Massimo Belardinelli, Ian Gibson, Andy Diggle, Carlos Ezquerra, Alans Moore and Grant, Kevin O'Neill, Garth Ennis, Simon Bisley, and way too many more to mention, turns 30 today.

More hyper-scrotnig info at BBC News.

(Sigh.) It feels like only yesterday that fifteen-year-old me sat down, put on the radio, sipped a cup of coffee, and flipped through the pages of this most zarjaz piece of literary/pictorial wonderment. Before long I was a fully-paid-up Squaxx Dek Thargo. My mind has been irrevocably warped ever since, and I thank Tharg The Mighty himself for it.

Splundig Vur Thrigg!

With apologies to Messrs. Lennon, McCartney, Palin and Cleese.

I bought me a bird
It cost five and two -
Norwegian Blue
She sat on her perch
And didn't stir
Shame about her

I prodded this parrot, and thought she might shuffle at least;
But she didn't move and I knew then that she was deceased

Went back to the shop
With parrot and cage
Half in a rage
They said it was "stunned -
After a squawk"
(Strange kind of talk)

I didn't agree but they said she just pined for the fjords
Then I pointed out that her feet had been nailed to the boards

Poor Polly's no more
Her plumage so fine
Has ceased to shine
They sold me a dud
Dead of bird flu -
Norwegian Blue...

video @ tumblr

29 January 2007

"No one knows... who they were... or... what they were doing."

Well, we know a bit more now:

Neolithic site found near England's Stonehenge
LONDON (Reuters) - Evidence of a large settlement full of houses dating back to 2,600 BC has been discovered near the ancient stone monument of Stonehenge in southwest England, scientists said on Tuesday...
And I bet this one was never in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.

“You could easily picture this in the current top ten…”

Microsite dedicated to one of my favourite albums from last year, The Drift by Scott Walker.

24 January 2007

One of the things that made the 20th century worthwile.

(Er, besides jazz, rock, movies, literature, impressionism, universal sufferage, the twist, the theory of relativity, certain convenience foods, and most of the people I know.)

I Go Pogo. (via MeFi.)

By way of explanation for the January blues...

What is this miraculous beverage of which they speak?
More info here.

20 January 2007

A good omen, but a sad loss too.

First things first: the good omen. I spent most of the day lounging around, getting to grips with some new music software. (The fruits of this may even end up getting posted here. If they're any good.) Then headed out to this fine pub for a quiet pint or two. Bumped into my pal the Osh and listened to him talk to some folks about Munster's recent defeat in the rugby. Since I know absolutely nothing about rugby, I kept my mouth shut (for once).

At least, I kept my mouth shut until one of the bar staff came up and informed me that I'd won this week's bonus ball. In other words, we'd had a sweep in the pub earlier this week, everyone contributed 2 euro and whoever picked the correct bonus number in this week's lottery won the pot. Which made yours truly 90 euros richer; not a bad thing in the week before payday. At which point I let out a class of a victorious whoop. (Not so much as to drown out the fine trad session that was in progress, but victorious and whooping enough for the day that was in it.)

Needless to say, I immediately had to buy drinks for the three friends I was in company with, as well as a couple of members of the bar staff, but hey: it's nice to win sometimes, isn't it? Which I suppose (or I hope) bodes well for this brand new blog I'm after starting. (The bonus number was 7, btw.)

The sad loss, however, is most unfortunate - I mean the death, earlier today, of Papa Denny - the bold Denny Doherty of the Mamas and the Papas. (His own website is inaccessible as of this writing, no doubt because plenty of folks want to offer their condolences.)

Hope time serves him well: everyone remembers Papa John for writing the bulk of the tunes, Mama Cass for being the best singer, Mama Michelle for being the prettiest - but Denny sang a pretty good wedge of the male leads, and his fine tenor voice is ringing out, even now, as I write. Farewell, then, sir.

I left the pub early, plonking a nice note down so my friends could enjoy another round out of my winnings, but it's a joy to dial up a couple of old MATP tunes and have a listen in memory of the man himself. Try likewise yourself, you'll be glad you did.