ICE Age

 

H&J

Main Dublin to Cork Road in the 1960’s

 

 

ICE Age; by Donal Clancy

 

In Cork City at the Newspaper office

are three photos of Cork Docks.

Cork of the past

in the age of sail and steam

when the Bandon train on Albert Quay

met the Steamships and the Sail Ships

and carried their cargo south.

Cork of the present

where the bridges to the island

are congested with cars

which own the roads

ahead of pedestrians or cyclists.

Cork of the future

with soaring buildings

and efficient electric light rail

and an absence of the dinosaurs

the mammoths and the internal combustion engines

that progress made extinct.

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Little brown jobs

Gerald-Durrell

Gerald Durrell with a pair of little brown jobs

When he founded Jersey Zoo Gerald Durrell changed the very purpose of the Zoo.  Instead of being an exhibit for the entertainment of the bored public Durrell created a haven for threatened species.  In the process he moved the entire zeitgeist of Zoo Keepers from the entertainment paradigm to a model of study, conservation and preservation of species.

The greatest success for a Durrell style zoo keeper is not the display of animals, but the act of returning them to the wild, to a habitat made safe for them.

Gerald had a special place in his heart for the animals he called “little brown jobs”.  The bored public came to the zoo to see the headliners, the Tigers, the Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Gorillas and so on.  It is not enough to save the species we admire.  To be true conservationists we must also protect the species that are less exciting, and indeed some that we find truly repulsive.

 

To a Lady, viewed by a Head-Louse; by Denise Riley

I with my triumphant bites
Vex useless human parasites.
You world-devourers are for – what?
“Useful” you yourselves are not.
Refer me, lady, to your Gaia –
My jaws will raise your blush of fire.
When humans pause to think of me
It makes their skin crawl eerily:
“Delusional parasitosis”: infestation
Of purely phantom nits’ gestation.
It’s my sole work to multiply –
The task of ladies to ask “Why
Should such a pointless breed exist?”
Only the entomologist
Admits my “good-for-nothing” species
To own the interest of its faeces
For those can raise allergic wheals
Then mortified parental squeals
Or groans of mums or dads who find
Their darlings’ hair home to my kind,
Each louse egg’s tight-cemented pearl
Superglued to their shampooed girl.
I’ll plant rosettes of telltale red
High on her neck, low on her head
Until your steel rake catches me
Or unguents loose their fatal sea.
Fleas acquire some charming tropes
For amorous fluid-mingling hopes;
Lice? Condemned to Owen’s trench
By reportage of mud-blood stench.
Some sorts are meals for grooming birds
While others have engendered words
Like “lousy”, apt for human speech –
Each head-louse purely is for each.
My species’ world obeys no brief
Of reciprocity – such a relief
Not to claim virtue. Ah, your “rich
Biodiversity”! Makes you itch.
I am for nothing – only to increase
My number, swelling after my decease.
“Purposeless” insects may prove good
For thwarting your delusion that all should
Conform to human dreams of mutual aid –
Presumptuous fantasy we lice downgrade.
Lady, I’d answer Robbie Burns:
Let other species take their turns
And do not keep so dour and mean
Vaunting your old Anthropocene.

Modern Working Life

Hostelworld

Hard at work in Hostelworld

Jobs I did

Lounge boy in McGowans Broadstone Inn

when it was a cabaret.

Lounge boy in Finglas Castle,

not Finglas and never a castle.

Steward on the B&I Line ferries

to Pembroke and Liverpool Docks.

Storeboy in Dunnes Stores

on Georges St. with a blue shop coat.

Attendant in James Connolly Memorial Hospital

cycling to Blanch through Finglas and Dunsink.

 

Clerical Officer in the Dept. of Posts & Telegraphs

a civil servant for 4 months,

then becoming an uncivil servant, Executive, Administrator,

in Telecom Eireann, which became Eircom, and then Eir.

If anyone else buys it I expect it will become E.

 

Senior Scientific Officer in Enterprise Ireland

or Forfás, or Forbairt, or whatever it was called.

Bórd Gais market development manager,

market research manager, heat sales manager.

Leo Burnett Strategic Planner,

I don’t advertise that one.

I donned a robe and a mortar board,

and cultivated the minds of tomorrow,

and more than a few of yesteryear.

 

And then the real work started,

the self employed work,

the contract work,

never a dull moment, never a routine.

Finance today, beer tomorrow,  pass the fags,

sporting clothes, babywear, cooking pots,

pan handling, networking, adding value,

finding syngeries and changing games.

 

I changed the sheets in Hostelworld,

not bedsheets, spreadsheets.

I worked in Waterford for the Canadians,

life in the sun, with Sun Life, was testing,

data testing.

 

Sometimes Project Manager or Senior Business Analyst,

a DQA for the USA an MBA Association Panellist.

You see him here you see him there,

the contract guy is everywhere,

three workplaces in one year,

three job titles in one chair,

dedicated follower of management fashion,

no wonder I have grey hair.

 

Tiles

Real work!

Marriage is Creation

Louise Hourihan Hi-Res (14 of 104)

Lifestyle for sale!

We grow up hearing the Hollywood Fairy Tale which brings a relationship to the point were the hero and heroine unite at last, true love triumphs, barriers to happiness are removed, a marriage ensues and …… they all live happily ever after.

But that is not reality.  In real life the wedding ceremony is only a beginning.  People who see their “perfect day” as some kind of ending to be enshrined and treasured forever are fated to be disappointed.

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”                  from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniéres

This entwining of roots is an interesting metaphor.  From the day of the wedding we begin a long journey of co-creation.  We create the partnership and to a great extent we create the person that our partner becomes, and they have a heavy hand in creating the person we become.

Every day in every act and interaction we give each other tiny permissions, approvals, disapprovals, censures etc.  We validate certain behaviour patterns with our permissions and we invalidate others with our refusals.  As the years go by we settle into these patterns like the couple on the beach in Beckett’s play “Happy Days” who settle deeper and deeper into the sand of their routine.

So think about this;  If you get 40 years into a marriage and you find you can’t stand your partner just think about the fact that this is a person you created.  You are rejecting the very thing you have had a strong influence in building.  What does this say about your feelings for the person you are?

If on the other hand you are lucky enough to have a marriage that deepens in love and mutual respect then well done and give yourself a pat on the back.

The house above is our current home and we have it up for sale.  It is a home where my wife has deep roots, her Grandmother was born here.  The DNA of her extended family is woven into the very fabric of the building.  While I have had a role in creating the person Louise is today there is no doubting that this house, this land, these fields and streams had a role in creating her too.  Never have I felt more like Thomas Kinsella than in this house.

P.S. If you want to buy my lifestyle it’s for sale here:  Ballykelly

 

Another September: by Thomas Kinsella

Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw
with the touch of the dawn, wrapped in a minor peace,
hears through an open window the garden draw
long pitch black breaths, lay bare its apple trees,
ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweetened soil,
exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates.
Nearer the river sleeps St. John’s, all toil
locked fast inside a dream with iron gates.

Domestic Autumn, like an animal
long used to handling by those countrymen,
rubs her kind hide against the bedroom wall
sensing a fragrant child come back again
– not this half-tolerated consciousness
that plants its grammar in her yielding weather
but that unspeaking daughter, growing less
familiar where we fell asleep together.

Wakeful moth wings blunder near a chair,
toss their light shell at the glass, and go
to inhabit the living starlight. Stranded hair
stirs on still linen. It is as though
the black breathing that billows her sleep, her name,
drugged under judgement, waned and – bearing daggers
and balances – down the lampless darkness they came,
moving like women : Justice, Truth, such figures.

Letter frequency

Enigma

Code Breakers understand that letter frequency is core to breaking down a code.  I really simple terms, using a code written in English, a single digit word may be a number, but could be the letter A.  The most frequently used digit in a long block of text is most likely to be the letter E.

In the 1930’s an unemployed architect called Alfred Butts (b. April 13th, 1899) did a letter frequency count using the New York Times front page as his template.  Using those frequencies he applied difficulty scores to a word game he invented called Lexico.

After some tweaks the game was purchased by James Brunot, and built by him under the name Scrabble.  Brunot launched the game in 1948 and in the first year sold 2,400 “sets”.  In the process he lost $450.

150 million sets + have now been sold worldwide.  It has spawned multiple online versions as it is a board game that converts perfectly for social media.

The original inventor of the game is immortalised by children.  Put a game of scrabble in front of a group of 7 year olds and it won’t take them long to spell out the surname of the inventor.

 

Scrabble

 

Sail along silvery moon

Billy-Vaughn-25.jpg

 

100 years ago on this day Billy Vaughan was born.  One of the biggest selling band leaders of the 1950’s with hits such as La Paloma, Blue Hawaii and this piece of schmaltz.

Sail along Silvery Moon

Vaughan developed a very distinctive and recognisable front sound by pairing saxophones for the lead melody.

He was able to follow his hit successes in the 50’s with world tours in the ’60’s and ’70’s.  The music has not stood the test of time and sounds kitch, hokey and very basic today.  He holds the very dubious honour of being the “Most successful orchestra leader of the rock era”.  A man out of step and out of time.  King of the squares.

Fishtrap 2

AA

I was fishtrapped by the AA this week.  This is the Automobile Association, not the one with the alcohol… or should I say without the alcohol!

So how does the fishtrap work.

Welcome to the AA.  Here, have some cheap motor insurance.  And take out our breakdown membership too.

1 year later:  Here is your vastly inflated insurance quote.

Me:  No thanks.  I’ll go elsewhere. And cancel the breakdown cover too please.

AA:  Here is your membership renewal.

Me:  No thanks.

AA:  And here are your membership documents.

Me:  I said no thanks.

AA:  Welcome back to another years membership.

Me:  Cancel.  Cancel.  I want to cancel my membership.

AA Aaron here:  Sorry, we can’t take a cancellation at this email.  You need to call us.

Me:  No I don’t.  My bank says I just need to cancel the direct debit.  Cancel the direct debit.

AA:  Sorry we can’t accept your instruction by email.

Me:  Cancel the goddam direct debit.

AA:  Success!  You have paid your membership for the year.

Me:  Dear Financial Ombudsman….. here is what happened.

AA:  Here’s your money back.

Marketing Lesson:  And this is not me.  This comes from Seth Godin.  Digital Marketing Guru.

When you have a relationship that is very trusted people will give you “intravenous permission” to take their money.  The above is not it.  If you abuse your access to a customers bank account you will alienate them.  The above dialogue is accurate and is what happened me.  Some gobshite in AA marketing thought this was a good plan.  It is not a good plan.  It is a great way to lose friends an alienate people.  It is a great way to get onto the Ombudsmans “most wanted” list.

This is NOT marketing.  This is customer rape.  This is theft.  This is corporate crime.  This is what gives marketing a bad name.  Please stop.