Some like it Hot.

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On this Presidential inauguration day I am reminded for some reason of Marilyn Monroe, who had a relationship with a previous president.  She famously sang “Happy birthday Mr. President” to JFK.  Rumour has it that their intimacy ran far deeper.  No wonder he had a bad back.

From this I jump to my favourite of her films, “Some Like it hot”.

That reminds me that Billy Wilder stuck in two of three parts of the joke into that movie.  He puts in the beginning, which has a great hook.  Later on he puts in the end, which sounds like a good punchline.  But he leaves us without the context, the narrative that makes the beginning fit to the end.

I suspect the Trump presidency will be a lot like that joke.  All flash at the beginning, explosive at the end, but with nothing to show for it all.  Lots of pizzazz and no sustenance.

So what is this great joke anyway?

Have you heard the one about the girl tuba player who was stranded on a desert island with a one-legged jockey?

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So the one-legged jockey says, ‘Don’t worry about me, baby. I ride sidesaddle.’

The Lure of Fish

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It is the time of year when the Salmon rivers in Ireland and Scotland begin opening for the season.  Scotland in particular makes a big splash of the opening of the rivers.  Whiskey is poured as a libation before the first flies of the season are cast.

Then it is all about the records.  First fish of the season, largest salmon of the day/ week/ month/ river/ region.  There are never larger fish caught than the ones that got away.  The life of a fisherman is a life of imagination, what might be and what might have been.  The fish you actually caught are almost a throwaway to fortune, because they only represent the thin edge of what might one day be.

I recall standing in front of a large board of lures like the one above in a fishing shop in Dublin.  I asked the shopkeeper which lures were the best for catching trout.  He replied that he didn’t know about catching trout, but he could tell me which were the best lures for catching anglers.

THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS: by W.B. Yeats

I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Anarchism, Italy and Ireland

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In August 1920 Carlo Tresca, a New-York Italian Anarchist, helped Ireland in the War of Independence from Britain.
He organised to picket the British Embassy in Washington.  He also organised for boycotts of British ships by crews from Italy, Greece etc.

Tresca opposed British tyranny in Ireland, and tyranny anywhere in the world, be it in Fascist Italy, Communist Russia or Mafia dominated unions.

He was murdered, on this day, in 1943, probably by a mafia gunman.

Many people make the mistake of holding Communism as the polar opposite of Fascism.  In fact Anarchism belongs in that position.

Anarchism may be defined as: the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion;
the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government.
Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth;
an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life,
according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations……………Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)

Earworm

I always wondered why earwigs got such a bad rap.  As kids we were convinced they would climb into your ear and drive you insane.  This myth was reinforced by the habit of the earwig to insinuate itself into cramped dark spaces.

Also as kids we were convinced that earwigs were responsible for ruining our apples.  How many times I have pulled an apple from a tree to find earwigs occupying the core, yeuch.  It turns out that the earwigs were relatively innocent of the crime.  It is the larva of the codling moth worm that does the damage to the apple.  Where the larva exits the earwig enters, and is caught red handed at the scene of the crime.

It turns out that earwigs get their unfortunate name from the practice of using ground up beetles as a form of ear medicine in ancient times.  They never actually invade our ears unless we stick them in there.

The German name for an earwig is Ohrwurm, which translates roughly as Ear Worm.  From this we get the term for a song or tune that sticks in your mind and can almost drive you crazy, as we once thought the earwig would do.

I have an earworm today, but it is not a song.  It is a poem.

 

Do not go gentle into that good night: by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.