Archive for November, 2005

Catch up… …move on

November 30th, 2005
Not much time for blogging recently. Busy, distracted, crazy in no particular order. But apparently people expect something every now and then. There have even been complaints.

Horrible bus journey’s aside; Gary’s dads funeral in Killarney went as well as can be expected. Lots of nice touches; the funeral cortege walked through the down on sat morning, which doesn’t happen in Limerick anymore. There were no less than 4 guards of honor from different sports clubs and local organisation that Gary’s family has been part of.

Killarney cathederal is a nice building, sort of isolated in the middle of town (although, apparently 4 streets and something like 30 families were demolished/evicted to make room for it). Its a more-or-less standard cross-shaped Gothic Cathederal built in the 1840s by Lord Kenmare to help alleviate suffering caused by the famine (except for the eviceted families, I suppose). Its being renovated at the moment and the altar had been moved to a stage near the center of the church (at the base of the head of the cross). So the altar is very close to the people in the body of the church creating a nice intimate venue, while behind the altar the whole head of the cross looms dark and deep and foreboding and a little bit mysterious.

Lots of beer etc as is traditional at these things. most of it in the Lake Hotel in Killarney which is in a fantastic location.

Between beer and funeral stuff and too-warm hotel rooms and cemetries half way up mountains on cold days, I came down with a nasty cold and associated coughiung and mucus and suffering so I ended up missing a few days of college. So I had a few days to myself alternatively feeling miserable and bored, according to how much medication I was taking and when. Hurrah for Family Guy and dvds. And books – although I can always tell that i am really sick when I can’t concentrate on reading for more than a couple of hundred pages a day.

We have had a string of birthdays. Mark’s and My Mums last weekend – I took my parents to the Greenhills in Limerick. And this week Ronan’s and Edu’s. Ronan’s birthday is tomorrow but as he and I are off to Paris for a project meeting tomorrow we had tasty treats a day early. Edu, who is 28 on Friday, is still away in Rome.

Our 5 mile run is coming up real fast (dec 09 don’t forget to sponsor someone) and the usual suspects are out training in secret. I haven’t been doing enough running since october so I will just have to hope that what little I have done along with aerobics and spinning and yoga and fencing will stand to me in the end.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody

November 24th, 2005

Haircut 100… 99… 98…

November 18th, 2005
One of the not so fun things about gettting haircuts these days is that it is becoming more and more obvious that hair isn’t growing back in all the places it was cut from last time. On the bright side having less hair means I don’t have to spend so long in the barbers. They still charge you the same though.

Off to Killarney this evening for the funeral of the father of a friend of mine. Going to stay overnight and hopefully be back up in time for lunch and rugby tomorrow.

I started the whole headstand sequence in yoga properly this week. A bit too much strain on the neck, but good fun. Must practice.

Bit of a nosebleed this morning, no apparent reason – must be stress of something!!!! Lots of blood and I managed to roll over my headphones twice while trying to stop the bleeding and now they don’t work. Crushed and bloody headphones make me sad.


November 15th, 2005
So on a sacle of 1 – 10, zorro completely sucked. But thats what happens when you don’t book cinema tickets in advance on a cold, dark november evening. The plot was even simpler and more transparent than a 45-7 defeat to New Zealand.

And I would love to blame it for the projectile vomitting incident on Saturday night, but that was probably from drinking all day and then some. Here’s a tip, if you are going to be projectile vomitting in your bedroom at night its handy if you have a sink in your room but do try to make sure you have enough sobriety left to aim. Beware that if you just fall comatose after the incident then all the liquid drains away and you have a quite horrible gooey ricey (if you had indian food) mess to clean up the next day. But at least its all in the right place. And maybe a small splash on the walls.

Did another “lecture with mike” for the WAR group on Monday and it went really well, if a bit long. Thesis good. Drafts coming together. persevere is our word for the week.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


November 11th, 2005

Ghosts of the Great War, 2005
Posted by Teresa at 11:11 AM * 0 comments

(See also, last year’s comment thread on this same post.)

“We’re not making a sacrifice.
Jesus, you’ve seen this war.
We are the sacrifice.”
Ulster regiment, marching toward the Somme

Eleven eleven has come round again, when we remember what used to optimistically be referred to as the last great imperialist war. Many of my links are repeated (with adjustments for link rot) from 2003 and 2004. What the hell; they’re still relevant. Maybe more so.

World War I was what got me started reading history. I was at home with pneumonia, and somehow picked up a copy of a Penguin illustrated history of World War I. I was horrified: They did what? Then amazed and horrified: And then they did it again? And finally plunged into a profound mystery: And they kept doing it, again and again, for years? In some ways, all my reading of history thereafter has been an attempt to understand the information in that one small book.

In memory of the men who fought, a jolly contemporary folksong: Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire.

Have a look at Tony Novosel’s two pages of spooky, evocative photos of Great War memorials:

The actual Menin Gate, on which are carved the names of the 54,000 Missing from the Battle of Ypres.

Kathe Kollwitz’ Grieving Parents, near the site where her son and his comrades are buried.

The Silent Sentinels, Langemarck German cemetery in Belgium.

The Sentinels again.

Watching over the German graves at Langemarck.

Le Mort Homme (The Dead Man), Verdun.

Another view. “ILS N’ONT PAS PASSÉ” means “They did not pass”.

The Guardians of Verdun.

Views of the war: John Singer Sargent does one of each.

Wilfred Owen’s grave.

Not pictures: A pertinent selection of Wilfred Owen’s poems. And a bit of Philip Larkin.

The Lost Poets of the Great War website, with its calculation of total casualties.

One of whom was young Umberto Boccioni, Italian Futurist artist. This is his “States of Mind” series: The Farewells. Those Who Go. Those Who Stay. There aren’t many paintings by Boccioni. This is a piece called Unique form of continuity in space. There is even less sculpture by him.

If there are universes with multiple branching timelines, there are thousands of them very much like ours, except that in them no one’s ever heard of J. R. R. Tolkien. The destruction, the toll of the dead, is as difficult to comprehend as the Black Death.

At one point I looked up the history of Tolkien’s unit, the Lancashire Fusiliers. First they significantly distinguished themselves at Gallipoli. Then they significantly distinguished themselves at the

href="">Somme. Here they are, about to be killed. No wonder Tolkien came back from the war saying, “Everyone I know is dead.”

An account of the Newfoundlanders.

Bad place to make a landing, Gallipoli. A few words from the last surviving ANZAC. And the other last surviving ANZAC.

There is great generosity in the monument to the dead of both sides at Kabatepe Ariburun Beach, inscribed with the speech Ataturk made in 1934 to the first ANZACs and Brits who came back to visit:

Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons front far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land
They have become our sons as well

An affecting, low-key page about New Zealand public memorials: Lest We Forget: War Memorials of the First World War.

The New Zealand war memorials of the First World War have become part of the common fabric of our lives, like stop signs or lamp-posts. Virtually every township in the country has one, usually in the main street. Excluding the many honours boards and plaques in schools and churches throughout the country, there are well over five hundred public memorials to the soldiers of the Great War.

Despite their numbers, the memorials are not boring or stereotypical. This was because New Zealanders showed much inventiveness in remembering the dead of the Great War. By the time the war ended, over 100,000 young New Zealanders had served overseas and some 18,000 had lost their lives. Sacrifice of this magnitude engendered enormous emotions.

One of my two favorites is the Kaitaia memorial, in Maori and English. The other is the annual ceremony at Piha. Every year there, at low tide on Anzac Day, they process out across the sand to lay their wreaths on Lion Rock ; and then the tide comes in and carries the wreaths away.

Addenda, 2004

The Gardener, a short story by Rudyard Kipling.

Gassed, John Singer Sargent.

Art from the First World War: 100 paintings from international collections, loaned to mark the 80th anniversary of the Armistice

Aftermath: When the Boys Came Home, dedicated to the aftermath(s) of the war. A blunt, bitter, cocky site that just keeps accreting material.

The Heritage of the Great War, a broad and deep site that, like Aftermath, just keeps accreting great material. Its photo essays are especially good. Some segments:

Origins and causes of the war.

99 Quotes from the Great War.

The war in color photography.

Bloody picnic: forbidden photos of the war.

German war photos.

Panoramic photos, 1919.

Another calculation of the casualties.

Children who fought in the war.

Shot at Dawn: Executions of deserters.

An Unforeseen Epidemic of Shell Shock.

Belgium’s inadvertent stockpiles of poison gas.

The Americans Are Coming!

Why America Should Have Stayed Out: a 1936 interview with Winston Churchill.

Tolkien: Frodo in the marshes of the Great War.

Hemingway’s natural history of the dead.

Conquering Baghdad: the real problems always come afterward.

All the cool kids are doing it!!!

November 10th, 2005
The Keys to Your Heart

Uncomfortably Numb

November 8th, 2005

Had my final (for now) visit to the dentist, and while I may be 300 Euro poorer I am 3 fillings richer.

Presentation Skills

November 7th, 2005
As part of our welcome to the WAR group sessions we are going to give a basic presentation skills talk sometime soon; don’t say “AM” or “OK” too much, don’t walk in front of the projector, don’t swear, projectile vomiting on the audience is not often appreciated and so on and so forth. Add your favourit presentation foobar in the comments.

I think the most important advice will have to be that if you only throw your presentation together 20mins before you have to give it then sometimes it will go well and sometimes it will be about 5 mins of good stuff and 35 minutes of insane ramblings. And at times like that its good to have a blackboard or whiteboard or even just acetates and markers to fall back on and drag yourself back to coherency , if not necessarily sanity. And if you are up there with all the insane ramblings and the no-way-out then its no good hoping that your phone will ring.

We’re Alright!

November 4th, 2005
Our bar people in both our locals are really very good to us and will often serve us beer a wee bit after closing time and are generally in no hurry to kick us out. The payment for this seems to be that they get to treat us with disdain and can insult us whenever they like.

Personally, I blame John for all this as he keeps breaking the round system. Nev and I started going for beer after fencing a couple of years ago. I had the seicento of doom and so we would only have one pint and be on our merry way. After we moved into town Yann joined us. After a few weeks Orla must have got sick of us turning up and nursing our single pints for ages and so one evening she dropped 3 pints in front of us with a “sure ye were going to order them anyway”. Since then its been a confused jumble-round-thing of 3 people having 2 pints on a wed night.

Then Archery got in the way so we moved the round to Thursday night. This suited everybody and we were able to pressgang John in as a fourth person and drop the whole whose night off is it thing. Except, if he isn’t coming from the gym, John keeps turning up late and doing strange things like ordering Heineken. And the girls have got used to us turning up as a group of 3 loking for 3 Guinness, and we get stange looks when people order 2 (or God help us only 1) pints and then change the order later on by adding orders for John. Catherine is coping by being Catherine, which ocassionaly means we have to order twice or cancel a second order that she will pour out of habit. And Orla copes by insulting us!

twice as unlucky

November 4th, 2005

The WAR birthday season kicks off today. Nev’s birthday is Sunday, so there were tasty treats at 11 and there will undoubtedly be beer over the weekend.