Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cinci gets a makeover....

Sometime ago I wrote on Cincinnati and the lack of creativity vis a vis the Banks & new development. I hoped the then new mayor, Mark Mallory was going to make a difference but Cinci being Cinci – I held my breath.

Well it looks like the Mayor is delivering….

Last Friday Southern & Western announced their new Corporate HQ would be built downtown. Queen City II will be at 660 ft, 86 ft taller than the Carew tower. I think the aesthetic is stunning and will be a welcome and much needed addition to the local skyline.


Meanwhile the Banks development looks like it will happen. Anything built in the eyesore that lies between the two stadiums has to be a boon. The projected renderings though are disappointing to my eye anyway…

It feels like a tremendous opportunity has been lost to make a substantive statement for future generations. Compare it to shopping for a pair of jeans… do you go for the Levi’s or the “Steve & Barry’s”…I feel the city grabbed the “bargain buy”…it looks decent enough but soon loses it’s appeal, ages rapidly and becomes an embarrassment.


Anyway, here’s hoping the reality proves a lot different…well, one can hope!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Euro 2004 - Top ten goals

video

The Group stages for Euro 2008 are all but over, here's a reminder of what we're in store for next year...the top 10 from Portugal 2004 where Greece caused the upset of the century winning the tournament!

Telling the time in Italy......

video

Ah, those long hot days of an Italian summer - thanks to Global warming we have them here in Ohio & in Ireland too!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cruyff

Another journey down memory lane.

This is the move that Johan Cruyff is famous for. Not only was he one of the World's greats...in a team of World greats, he did this on 4 packs of cigs a day!

He was a fairly handy manager too when he retired from playing the game.

video

Anyway enjoy the "Cruyff turn".

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Confessor

The Shoah revisited.

The methodical extermination of Europe's Jews by the Nazis is well documented. Such documentation is crucial to show the depraved depths to which humankind can sink to.What is not so well known is the methodical killing of 1.5 million men, women & children in the Ukraine during WW2. The Ukraine has an unsavoury role in this part of World history supplying whole regiments of soldiers and prison guards, both men & women to the "Final Solution".

A remarkable French priest, Fr. Patrick Desbois (pictured left*) records the details from those Ukrainians who as children & teens witnessed horrors that should never have been seen by such young eyes let alone have been allowed to have happen in the first place by supposed "Human Beings". Fr. Desbois is profiled in this weekend's New York Times, It is an amazing work of journalism. The link is here,

Ukraine is predominantly Orthodox but has a substantial Uniate Catholic population. This faith submits to Rome though sharing some traditions with the Byzantine Rite. The role therefore of Fr. Debois is understandable and remarkable.

Desbois' role of confessor (& critically) not of that as an accuser allows souls to confess some 60 years after their participation, willing or unwilling in crimes so heinous - they defy description. These confessions, I am sure may aid the penitent in the process of seeking some type of absolution if not peace before they leave this world and face the next. This in turn allows Desbois to chronicle past, forgotten crimes against humanity in an up to now hidden part of history.
Desbois states in the article of his role, "I have to use simple words and listen to these horrors — without any judgment. I cannot react to the horrors that pour out. If I react, the stories will stop."
The cry from all regarding the Shoah or the Holocaust is "Never Forget!".

The images in years past from Bosnia, Rwanda and nowadays Darfur however seem to suggest regrettably that we have.
* pic courtesy of Antoine Antoniol for The New York Times

Famous Sons

Jim Fitzpatrick is one of Ireland’s foremost graphic artists. Forty years ago this week, he presented to the world his portrayal of Che Guevara, the revolutionary Argentinean who was one of the Leaders of The Cuban guerillas along with Fidel Castro.

I recall many years ago, Fitzpatrick being interviewed by Gay Byrne on “The Late, Late Show”. He told the audience of how as a young bartender in a Limerick bar, he met Guevara with some of his minders who were on a stopover in Shannon. Apparently the purpose of his visit to Ireland for Guevara was visiting his ancestral (Lynch) homestead in Cork. Guevara gave him some Cuban currency as a memento.

Guevara was killed in Bolivia in 1967 by Government troops, I understand Fitzpatrick then produced his masterwork…he never received a penny then or since for his work, he never intended to.

He tells the BBC of that time & that work…
Birth of an icon
Jim Fitzpatrick, who produced the ubiquitous high-contrast drawing in the late 1960s as a young graphic artist, told the BBC News website he actively wanted his art to be disseminated.

"I deliberately designed it to breed like rabbits," he says of his image, which removes the original photograph's shadows and volume to create a stark and emblematic graphic portrait.

"The way they killed him, there was to be no memorial, no place of pilgrimage, nothing. I was determined that the image should receive the broadest possible circulation," he adds.
"His image will never die, his name will never die."
Links to Jim's websites are on the right! (no pun intended).
Fitzpatrick's art is simply incredible....teaching the ancient legends of Ireland through the medium of his highly visual art, one could argue he was the latest incarnation of Yeats & the Golden Circle such is the impact he has made.
The Last Battle (1977)
Fitpatrick was also commissioned by various Rock Groups to create Artwork for various projects among them Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy.....

Do yourself a favour and look at his work, you'll be richer for it!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jose Mourinho 2004-2007

Well, he's gone and it seems like one long wake ever since! Roman brought him to the Bridge and hopefully things will be back on an even keel soon enough however I think that is a forlorn hope, ...I think of Yeats and his words in the poem - "The Second Coming";
"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold"
Carefree Chris made this video of the greatest manager that ever strode upon the turf of Stamford Bridge. Many thanks Chris from the Blue family!

We're eternally gratefully Jose!

Long life & Great success to you & yours!
video

Guinness Wexford Festival Pub Quiz.

I read that the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps is holding it's annual Pub Quiz, beginning Tueday night.
Sponsored by Guinness, It's is held over 5 weeks amidst the various hostelries of Wexford district. As I was involved in setting up the initial competitions and setting the questions, I'll be keeping a weather eye on developments.

My old pal Francis Mahon is among those involved and I am sure copious amounts of the Black stuff will be imbibed over the next few weeks. A link will be provided for any that care to check out on the right hand side of the blog.
As I write this, I think of my quiz comrades Philip Cleere, Tim Galvin & Dan Flaherty. There are quite a few stories concerning our escapades but as long as the lads keep sending the brown envelopes, I won't divulge anything.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

FIELD OF DREAMS

The Lansdowne Roar.......yes I've been part of that many a day.....


Going, Going, almost gone.....

All that remained a few weeks ago was the West Stand, the railway tracks underneath causing the delay....
How many millions of memories are caught in this place above?
....I know I have hundreds stored in my memory banks if not thousands and not all football either!
Like the day a wag told the late arriving Larry Mullen of U2 and his gorilla like minders, "we know who the F**K you are but what do yeh call your monkeys?".
I remember Oleg Blokhin charging up the field for the USSR (or in those days, Dynamo Kiev & 1) with Chris Hughton in tow and a Cork voice telling Chrissy boy to use a rather sharp pointed stick to catch him -that was my first encounter with racism. I remember it just heightened my dislike of things Corkonian even more.
The images that are most vivid though are the players that graced the park.....
Maradona, Guillit, Van Basten, Rikjaard,Michel, Butragueno, Blokhin, Belanov, Cuellemans, Gerets, Pfaff, Rummeninigge, Voeller, Klinsmaan, Platt, Whiteside, Armstrong, the Laudrup Brothers, Poulsen, Figo, Brady, McGrath, Giles, Platini, Tigana, Rocheatau, Zimako, Fernandez, Rats, Kutznetzov, Boniek, Stoichkov, Zuker, Boban...the list is endless
I remember Niall Quinn taking time for every kid with autographs...simply a class act of a person.
Paul McGrath's master-class of reading a game, and now knowing of the demons he had to struggle with makes it all the more incredulous of the games he gave in that green shirt....if ever you have a chance, get his biography as told to Vincent Hogan.
Roy Keane's tigerish displays in midfield....people never give him credit for what he was...the engine - the boss ! ... Perhaps the greatest Irish player ever. Saipan was a sad episode and will forever taint his memory in the green shirt with many but his display versus the Netherlands put us there in the first place...McAteers wonderstrike in that game regardless. I empathised with him as I saw first hand the mickey mouse organisation that the FAI can be many years ago...I wished he could have gone onto Japan, I believe honestly that we would have been at least in the final four in 2002 and who knows......still what ever good came out of Cork, eh? .. :-)

Anyway, back to the future....
Lansdowne is being demolished and then "Phoenix like" will rise in it's new incarnation...
It looks absolutely stunning and a worthy home to our wonderful rugby team, here's hoping our Footballers can do it proud also.


Goldenballs & all that!



Chelsea visited California last month and the NY blues paid a visit to a well known landmark high up on the Hollywood hills.

We had intended to go but the new house or rather the new A/C & furnace looked after that!

As it turns out the missus had one of her premonitions about going to LA. In the heel of it, She became dangerously ill & was hospitalised the day of the first game. I shudder to think what may have happened to her had we been in LA.

As for the game or the glamourfest that was Beck's first day on the job, it was a pile of shi*e, the lads could have won by a barrel-load but must have been told to lay off.

Peace!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

a moving experience....

The last post was "glad to be back" hinting I was back on the blog trail but circumstances delayed that adventure so months later I am posting yet again after the trials & travails of buying, selling and at the moment refurbishing a house with all it's attendant problems/situations.

The little fellah loves the space as do we all...It is coming together bit by bit, a decent sized garden , a voluminous garage - lots of living room or "Lebensraum" which went out of fashion as a word of the intelligentsia in the 1938-'39 era .

The lot /site I love as it is set amidst a grove of maple trees, great protection from all the elements and adding a certain aesthetic to our first home together.

It appears we are besieged by some fine people as neighbours and we look forward to getting to know them in time.

This home is a great blessing from God and we're very thankful for it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Glad to be back

I take a while off from this page and the Sporting world turns upside down back home.

Ireland draw with Zimbabwe and beat Pakistan in Cricket, not in a friendly but in the bloody World Cup!

The Rugby team win the triple crown again and are ranked 4th in the world!. The gaelic footballers of Wexford are being talked about of possible Championship material meanwhile Mick Wallace secures his dream of National league Soccer and his young charges are leading the league.


One of Wallace's proteges Kevin Doyle is setting the Premiership alight for Reading while back over on Planet Rugby, the Glenville road's own Gordon D'Arcy is one of the best players in the world game.

Meanwhile Croke Park is open to soccer & rugby, the rugger buggers doing their part by giving England it's heaviest ever hiding by the Emerald Isle. Still on Rugby, Munster are European Club Champions and look a good bet to retain their crown.

The boxers are winning tournaments all over the shop which I am sure has something to with their coach, the Olympian, the legendary Billy Walsh of St. Josephs, a true gentleman!


The International Soccer team led by Stan Laurel & Bobby Hardy secure a momentous win over the superpower that is San Marino (the Leitrim of European soccer) and were hammered by the Uber-power that is Cyprus which when translated into french is pronounced like a wooly quadruped. I'll write more, soon, on the sick beggar that the Irish international football team has become under the auspices of the Gobshites of Merrion Square & their yes-men staff but now is the time to celebrate success not mediocrity.


Our Domestic league is gaining some notoriety at last. Derry City, Drogheda United & Cork City did the country proud in European qualifying last year yet there is clearly still some way to go. Great strides however are being made every season it appears to this distant but proud observer.


The tiddlywinks team beat Lechtenstein last week while the horseshoe duo of Connors & Connors gave the Albanians a run for their money in the over 65s in Taghmon at the weekend .


How the worm has turned for Irish Sport!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A whale of a story


They are still bleating on about this bloody whale in the press back yonder. Someone had the good sense if not the taste to send the whole thing up.

Genus Muppetus

Muppets, a term Jim Henson gave us back in the late sixties or was it even earlier that that?

Anyway the word has now seeped into our consciousness particularly those of us from The Western European Isles.

If you're a "muppet", it generally means you're a "saddo", an "anorak", basically a pain in the arse.

These days I seem to meet more & more of them maybe it's me getting older and crankier but there's only so much blather one can put up with.

We have muppets that follow Chelsea for instance that swallow every crap piece of reporting or rumour mongering that the English media dream up - these muppets are known as "new fans" who have jumped on the bandwagon, particularly so in the last two years. They are not to be confused with the muppet known as a Manchester United Fan who are a different breed altogether although they do share some genes in fickleness and ignorance.

I could go on about the muppets we all encounter at our workplaces who revel in muck-raking and making mischief but I won't - the trick is not to listen and if everybody ignores the ignorant, they will melt away.

Then there are those maniac muppets we meet on the highway, the ones that absolutely, positively must get to the traffic lights at 90 miles an hour, almost driving you, your family and a host of other cars into the ditch, in their rush to oblivion and then slouch down in their seat as you pull up beside them, maintaining eye contact at a fixed point in the windscreen before them. The light goes green and they're off like Michael Schumacher in a F1 Ferrari - 2 mins later you pass them pulled over by those great folk of the Ohio State Patrol (closest thing to driving nirvana when you see that!).

There are many more species of muppet out there, like the surly "convenience/movie store clerk-muppet" or the "Stadium attendant muppet" that regards a stick of celery as an offensive weapon (Chelsea fans at Chicago know all about that one). There is a universe of muppets out there who could all do with a good dose of "exlax" laden chocolate to begin with.

I could go on but I think by now you understand the term "muppets" as we lovingly call these morons across the pond. Genus Muppetus should be the scientific term to enter the lexicon.

At least Kermit had an excuse for being a muppet, he had a hand up his arse!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Twenty Six Counties - a tour

Carl Zeiss Fenlon sent this to me today from the old Country, I may have added a bit or three!

Carlow = Mad for sugar beet, can’t get enough of it. Hobbies: Growing sugar beet. Site of many road crashes as the place is so boring, many fall asleep at the wheel. Also fond of rustling sheep from Kildare & Wicklow and depriving both Counties of a healthy sex life. Has a huge Braun factory for making moustache razors for the women of Leitrim.

Cavan = filthy, ignorant hillbillies, tight. Hobbies: discovering IRA ammo dumps and knitting black balaclavas. Still learning not to "sup tay" from the saucer. Cavan is also renowned for the discovery of copper wire when two men from Arvagh were fighting over a penny!

Clare = fiddle-playing charming people and, more recently, fine footballers. Hobbies: Falling into pot-holes and being never heard from ever again, setting up golf courses in their back lawns. Has a Giant US airbase called Shannon.

Cork = the loveable rogues of Ireland. Here for everyone else’s entertainment. Hobbies: Milking cows, being European capital of culture but not knowing what exactly that means or how they got it boy? Calls itself the Rebel County which is an oxymoron as they are known for being a shower of sell-outs & informing backstabbing bastards. Why do Seagulls fly upside down over Cork City? They're not good enough to shit on!

Donegal = away in their own world up there, not much known about this eccentric type. Hobbies: Stripping the Irish coast of fishies, running back up to their corner of the island and blaming the Spanish….aye twas the Spanish!! Winning an All-Ireland every century and playing host to Gay Byrne.

Dublin North = criminals, drug dealers and factory workers, dirty women, skinheads and all-round examples of human waste. Hobbies: Heroin and watching serial numbers being filed off stolen BMW's, joy-riding anything from a lexus to a washing machine.
Dublin South = west Brits, snobs, rich, easy glamorous women. Hobbies: talking shite and sleeping with their best friend's spouse or mother. Difference between a Northside & Southside woman having an orgasm, Southsider drops her voice, Northsider drops her chips.

Galway = sophisticated culchies, sexually adventurous, cultured and wealthy. Hobbies: Teaching sex acrobatics to foreign tourists, dropping acid, juggling with fire on the streets, paying a million euro for a three bedroom suburban house and pretending it was a bargain.

Kerry = God’s kingdom on earth, no doubt about it. Some of the best land in Ireland but they don’t tell anyone this. Hobbies: Football, swimming with dolphins, football, seeing how many foreigners they can score each year, football, hosting a massive festival every week, football, going to the south pole and football. Arrogant bastards - a kerryman with an inferiority complex is one who thinks everyone else is as good as him.

Kildare = is anyone really from Kildare or are they all just from Dublin? Hobbies: Denying they have anything to do with Dublin. Spending best part of 4 hours each day travelling to and from Dublin. Using Daz for whiter than white jerseys on a summer’s day. Known as the 3S' county - Short grass, Sheepshit & Soldiers.

Kilkenny = red haired alcoholics who refuse to believe not all land in Ireland is capable of growing barley and wheat “not a bother”. Hobbies = driving massive combines, hosting comedy festivals and having red-haired babies. Hurling royalty though Gaelic Football's red haired stepchild as they get beaten like one everytime.

Laois = harmless aul bunch of lads, hope to have the whole county by-passed at some stage by 2025 so they can get on with their own business. Hobbies: Living an honest life, collecting EU development grants, getting the piss taken out of them for being the queen’s county…ha-ha ye plantation bastards! Basically in hurling circles, they are renowned as the poor man's Offaly.

Leitrim = enigmatic reclusive weirdos. Hobbies: learning about traffic lights and roundabouts in school (night school for adults that is), Men have hairy palms and women pride themselves on their moustaches. Also known as Sligo's bitch.
Limerick = grand place, great sports people, city has bad reputation through no fault of its own. Hobbies: stabbing people, gang-land murders, drug hauls, graffiti spraying, joy-riding…. Has it's own TV show, Limerick CSI.

Longford = Gombeen men & Lumberjacks. Trees, trees & more trees. Hobbies: Legalising bestiality and wishing they were from Leitrim.

Louth = IRA supporters, smugglers and bandits. Hobbies: Tearing through Cooley at 125MPH trying to stop the boxes of cheap vodka from falling out the window. Often referred to as being anti-Semitic but they say they just prefer "McArdles".

Mayo = Depressing, defeatist, negative, misery-laden losers, emigrate as soon as the umbilical cord is cut. Hobbies: roaring about how great they are, whinging about why nobody likes them. Home of the term - "Culchie" (Kiltymagh) & site of Europe's most misplaced International Airport.

Meath = either Dublin wannabes or mad country bucks. Hobbies: Beating Dublin at GAA and hoping that one day somebody in Dublin will actually notice, driving massive john deere’s cos they’re big, green and yellow too. home of Irelands's answer to Essex man - Navan man. Meathmen learned to walked upright in the last century, they have come a long way since in fairness.

Offaly = Bog. We put the "y" in Offal. Hobbies = exploiting bogs and later making them into tourist attractions…hats off! Noted for having the biggest mental hospital in Ireland. An Offalyman is affectionately known to Leinster's hurling royals (i.e.) Kilkenny & Wexford people as a "Biffo" = "Big Ignorant Fucker From Offaly".
Roscommon = flat county, a silage pit is a mountain. Hobbies: Sheep-stealing, favourite tome is The "Sheep Kama Sutra", they don't have a horny sheep on their crest for nothing!

Sligo = either in their 20s and a surfer or in their 80s and a granny, no in-betweens. Hobbies: Surfing and knitting wet-suits for their grand children. Link road between Mayo & Donegal.

Tipperary = promiscuous girls, Tipp does not have two different Ridings for nothing! Hobbies: Getting a flat in Dublin and losing their accents and hoping their parents don't find out. Has a town that sounds like an ambulance siren - Nenagh!

Waterford = decent honest hard-workers generally good folks and if you believe that, hah! Hobbies: Calling a strike, blowing glass, calling a strike, eating blahs. The only good thing to come out of Waterford is the road to Wexford.

Westmeath = like most midlanders, generally boring. Hobbies, much like some people up north, winning one football title and then believing they know it all about football. Home of Ireland's "Las Vegas" - Mullingar, gave us such stars as Foster & Allen, Joe Dolan & Donie Cassidy's wig.

Wexford = Brown earth you’d wanna take home in your pockets. Hobbies = selling their “home-grown” organic fruit (bought at supermarket that morning) at the side of the road in summer and ripping-off gullible Dubliners out for a drive in the country. Also beating Kilkenny in hurling and going on the piss for the rest of the summer (with the team). Home to Ireland's own version of "deliverance" - Kilmore Quay.

Wicklow = either country snobs with range rovers or poor aul sheep farmers with peak caps and a small black and white sheep dog with dirt all over him. Hobbies: setting up illegal dumps in their back lawns and denying all knowledge of that 300,000 tons of asbestos, nappies and syringes -"Never saw it till now your honour". Wicklowmen are also known as Sheep hustlers as opposed to the rustlers below in Carlow. What do you call a Wicklowman with 3 sheep? - a pimp!

Monaghan was missing, but did anyone really notice? A sad state of affairs when it's best known son was a chronic masturbator who wrote about "the stony grey soil".
To come, the remaining six counties of our lovely Island..Stay tuned!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Finnish Cowboys & the Hook

The search has been on for the movie "Leningrad Cowboys go America", a simply brilliant movie from Finland. it had it all, Rockabilly, pointy shoes and quiffs to die for. The music incidentally is brilliant! I have located a dvd across the pond and it soon should be winging it's way over here fairly soon. Their concert with the Red Army Choir in St.Petersburg will also be joining the Library. Have a looksee here at "Kalinka" from that concert here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJIeBsvxh4k

The lads decide to tour America but one of the group dies on the way there so they tour America with the stiff in his coffin tied to the top of the car; I've located a clip here from the movie here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcovyF8j50g . The Cowboys hit Nashville. As they cross the states they try a variety of musical styles from Steppenwolf to Mariachi..it is just a great little movie and deserves a proper re-release and a new generation of fans discovering it.

The movie was so big in Wexford's Hook peninsula that even the trees got in on the act. Actually I just had to include this picture in this blog. I took it in '98 one winter's day on the Hook Drive just up the road from Templetown. "The wind can get hairy down here during the winter", my cousin Billy Walsh told me when I was visiting him at the Hook lighthouse. Looking at the tree above, you knew he was telling the truth.
Billy was one of the keepers at the Hook till the Commissioner of Irish Lights automated all the stations. Billy is a great fellah who gave me many opportunities to explore the tower and marvel at it's engineering. Nowadays I understand it is open to the public. If you're in the vicinity, pay it a visit.