Meaningless Statistic

In the first 9 months of 2015 my site has received 3043 views.
This represents 13% growth on the full year statistics in 2014.
On a month by month basis visits to my site have risen by 50%.
This represents 338 views on my site each month.

Statistics such as these are meaningless.
It might be different if I were doing this for money, but I am not.
So I don’t care if I get 1,000 or 10,000 views on my site every month or week or day.

All I care about is you, the person who is reading these words now.
I hope you enjoy what I am doing.
If I can enrich a moment for a single person my effort will have been worthwhile.
So….. how are you today?

Pompey Day


Sept 29th is undoubtedly Pompey Day.  Pompey the Great (Magnus) was born on Sept 29th 106 BC.  He was murdered on the orders of Ptolemy in Egypt on Sept 28th 48 BC.  In 61 BC on Sept 29th he celebrated his third and final triumph, for his victory against the pirates.  Organising a triumph on his birthday was an indication of the sway held by Pompey in Rome.  At the height of his power he was a man who could not be denied.

This campaign was a phenomenon of the time.  Pompey secured proconsular Imperium over the Mediterranean Sea and all land for 50 miles from the coast.  This put Pompey above every other governor and general in the Roman world.  It made him the most powerful man in the world.

Furthermore, it made him one of the richest men in the world.  The “War against the Pirates” had a lot in common with the current american “War on Terror”.  The “enemy” is a fluid quantity.  Pirate fleets had arrangements with rulers and Roman provincial governors all across the Mediterranean.

Pompey cleaned out some of the most annoying pirate fleets and stabilised trade across the Mare Nostrum.  He then brokered deals with pirate captains and local rulers the length and breadth of the sea.  They became his clients, under his protection, and they paid tribute to him.

So Pompey made a fortune and the people of Rome celebrated him as a war hero.  I wonder if the Bush family studied the classics?

Within 10 years the scourge of piracy was as bad as ever.

Blood Moon


We have a lunar elipse tonight in the small hours of the morning.  If the skies remain clear we will see a blood moon.  All the astronomy photographers will be hoping to get the shot of a lifetime.

Maybe it’s an omen for a pending disaster.  As things stand Scotland are in line for a disaster.  They are losing to the USA at half time in the Rugby World Cup.  Having weathered the Japanese typhoon last week it would be quite a disaster for the Scots to trip up against the USA.

Or maybe not, because as I write the Scots have gone ahead.  No miracle on the cards for the USA today.

The Donkey; by G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Silver Jubilee

Jubilee is a great word.  Everyone should have a Jubilee from time to time.  It smacks of a celebration, a party, marking a milestone.  Silver is for 25 years.  Tonight I have a college reunion and it is a silver jubilee. I’ll get to meet my pals from DCU business school graduating class of 1990.

Wait a minute!  Whaaaat?  25 years?  Where did that go?

I was supposed to be a millionaire before I was 30.  I had all these plans to circumnavigate the world in my 70 foot yacht with a stable on board for my racehorse.  Where did they go?

Well, along came three mini-me & Louises.  Instead of a yacht we spent our cash on ballet lessons, Irish dancing lessons, music lessons, tennis lessons, golf lessons.  There was the Gaelic club, the Rugby, the basketball.  Golf clubs are pretty expensive.  How many recorders and tin whistles did we buy over the last 20 years?  The clothes, the shoes, the boots, the books, the petrol and the time.

So, would I trade one day of it for the Yacht?

Sonnet 64: by William Shakespeare

When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.


When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be; by John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charactry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; — then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.


Do Not Stand By My Grave And Weep; by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.




Sept 22nd 480 BC the allied fleet of the southern Greek city states defeated the Persian fleet at the battle of Salamis. It was an unlikely victory, and one that stopped the Persian invasion in its tracks.
Up to this point the Greeks were in full retreat. Glorious as the 300 Spartans under Leonidas were at Thermopylae the Greeks were defeated on both land and sea.

Athens lay next in the path of the enormous army under Xerxes. When the Athenians consulted the oracle at Delphi they were advised, in highly vague terms as usual, to retreat behind their wooden walls. Athenian power came from their fleet, so they believed that this meant they should abandon the marble city and sail away. The Persians sacked Athens on the 21st of Sept. Next day the two sides fought a naval engagement; the battle of Salamis.

The victory by the Greek allies…

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Is it safe?


Anyone who has seen the movie “Marathon Man” understands the menace in the simple phrase “Is it safe?”

Thankfully my dentist is a nice guy, nothing at all like Dr Christian Szell.

Dentist Dan; by Shel Silverstein

Nentis Nan, he’s my man,
I go do im each chanz I gan.
He sicks me down an creans my teed
Wid mabel syrub, tick an’ sweed,
An ten he filks my cavakies
Wid choclut cangy – I tink he’s
The graygest nentis in the lan.
Le’s hear free jeers for Nentis Nan.
Le’s go to Nentis Nan dooday!


Oil Lamp

Burning the midnight oil tonight, listening to “Sailing By” on Classic FM.  That means it’s definitely time for bed.  That was always the music they played on Radio 4 just before the late shipping forecast.  How many nights have I spent in Glénans, standing beside the Radio after getting back from the pub hoping to get the right data down on the weather sheet!  Those soothing tones listing out Fair Isle, Cromarty, Forth, Dogger and German Bight.

Back in the day they had a special verb for working by candlelight, to elucubrate.  I’ve had enough elucubrating for one night.  Night night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

First Fig; by Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!