Surgerysday

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.

Fat Thursday

Paczki

Paczki

Fat Thursday is a traditional Catholic Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter.

Fat Thursday is celebrated in Central and Eastern Europe.  It is similar to, but should not be confused with the French festival of Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”), Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday as we know it in Ireland.  There is clearly an East/West divide between the whole Thursday and Tuesday thing.

Traditionally both focus on the eating of treat foods that are soon to be banned for Lent.

Today I celebrated my first ever Fat Thursday by gorging on Polish pączki, fist-sized donuts filled with rose jam and slathered with a sticky marmalade flavoured icing.  We have a very international office where I work at present, in HostelWorld.  As a result we get to eat ALL the party foods.  It’s great!

 

Ode to a Donut; by Donal Clancy with help from John Keats

 

My stomach rumbles, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of decaf I had drunk,

Or emptied some caffeine free beverage into my veins

Three O’clock, and feeling punch drunk:

‘Tis not for naught called the mogadon slot,

But being too happy in thine happiness,—

That thou, lardy Dryad of the teas

In some melodious plot

Of powdered sugar, and sprinkles numberless,

Singest of simmer in full-fat grease.

 

O, for a draught of chocolate! that hath been

Warmed a moment in the microwave,

Tasting of marshmallow and the cocoa brown,

Dance, and Aztec song, and sunburnt mirth!

O for a beaker full of the warm South,

Full of the true, the blushful cacao,

With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,

And chocolate-stained mouth;

That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

And with thee fade away into the tea-station dim:

 

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget

What thou among the PC’s hast never known,

The weariness, the fever, and the fret

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,

Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;

Where but to think is to be full of sorrow

And leaden-eyed despairs,

Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,

Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

 

Thou wast not born for keeping, immortal pastry!

No!;  hungry generations chomp thee down;

The noise I hear, this chew and swallow was heard

In ancient days by emperor and clown:

Perhaps the self-same song that found a path

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,

She stood in tears amid the alien cronut;

The same that oft-times hath

Charm’d magic croissants, opening on the scone

On Devon teas, with clotted cream forlorn.

 

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell

To toll me back from thee to my hungry self!

Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well

As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.

Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive savour fades

Past the gums, over the tongue,

Down the throat; and now ’tis buried deep

In the straining belly:

Was it a Berliner, stuffed with jam and cream?

Fled is that donut:—Do I wake or sleep?

Public Taste

Image

There is no accounting for public taste.  PT Barnum famously said that nobody ever lost money by UNDERESTIMATING public taste.  Spend an hour trolling what is hot and what is not on the internet and you rapidly gain an appreciation for the breadth of the church that is “popularity”.  The prevalence of cat videos consistently astounds me.  There is an entire race of people out there who seem to spend every waking moment following cats around with a video camera looking for the next YouTube sensation.

From time to time something pops up that really piques my interest.  I have heard of the women who fall in love with death row inmates, or who marry mass murderers who are in prison for life.  There is something about a dangerous man that flips an attraction switch for some women.  So I guess this story should come as no surprise:  http://fox40.com/2014/06/18/4-arrested-in-operation-ceasefire-sweep/

A police mugshot of a good looking guy goes viral.  Good looking and clearly dangerous when you consider the context, the prison tattoos and the scar over his eye.  But contrast this with the teardrop tattoo, the sensitive lips and the deep penetrating eyes.  Obviously a guy with a very sensitive side (go on, admit it) who brings out the mothering instinct in many women, and the messiah instinct in others.  You know, that instinct to save him from the inevitable wreck that is life is going to be.

What this guy needs now is a good agent, a PR guru.  A ghost writer to pen the “autobiography” so we can share the pains, trials and tribulations of his back story.  He needs a stylist to dress him for the trial, really bring up those qualities that the head shot captures.  Give him a voice to go with the looks.  Then before you know it we can get him on Ellen, Oprah, Letterman, Leno.  Option the movie. Release a hip-hop album.  A line of clothing.  Sports shoes.  A fragrance.  Lets harness these 15 minutes people!

On Fame; by John Keats

FAME, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
And dotes the more upon a heart at ease;
She is a Gipsey,—will not speak to those
Who have not learnt to be content without her;
A Jilt, whose ear was never whisper’d close,
Who thinks they scandal her who talk about her;
A very Gipsey is she, Nilus-born,
Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar;
Ye love-sick Bards! repay her scorn for scorn;
Ye Artists lovelorn! madmen that ye are!
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu,
Then, if she likes it, she will follow you.

Smart Law – Stupid Enforcement

When the founding fathers of the USA passed the second amendment to their constitution in 1791 they did do with a specific aim in mind.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In case you don’t already know, I don’t believe in rights.  I find the concept of “rights” to be something that causes confusion to stupid people, and instills a culture of dependency.  There are no “rights” without obligations, and it is more useful to express the obligation than to express the right.

The obligation in the US constitution is to preserve the Union, to guarantee the freedom of the state from the actions of tyrants or from the threat of foreign invasion.  The obligation, clearly stated, is for citizens to enroll in their local militia for the protection of the state.

The founding fathers would weep cups of tears to see how their well meant law has been abused by stupid people and weak politicians.  They would rail and scream to see the massacre in Connecticut of small children and their teachers.  To know that their constitutional amendment had been abused to permit idiots to own machine guns would shame them.  It does shame them, and it shames the great legacy of the constitution given to the American people.

People will call for gun control in the aftermath of the massacre.  The local chapter of the NRA will stage a rally in the area to establish clearly their “right” to bear arms.  Their “right” which is “enshrined” in the constitution.  Stupid people leaning on what was once a smart law to protect the rights of stupid people to do stupid things with dangerous weapons.

The dependency culture intilled by “rights” is insidious.  The right to bear arms is pointless without the right to use them.  Using them against other people is a short step in the mind of a stupid person who believes somehow that “society owes him”.

In Ireland we have people who believe the same thing.  They sometimes commit suicide.  Usually by themselves.  Sometimes they take their own family first.  They don’t have access to assault rifles, so they don’t take a swathe of the population with them as they go out in a blaze of glory.

If you feel like taking your life but you don’t want to do it alone, perhaps you are not yet ready for that particular journey.  Read some poetry, and think about it some more before you start buckling on your small arms.

Ode to a Nightingale; by John Keats

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
         But being too happy in thine happiness,—
                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                        In some melodious plot
         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
                Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
         Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
         Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
         Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
                With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                        And purple-stained mouth;
         That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
                And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
         What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
         Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
         Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
                Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                        And leaden-eyed despairs,
         Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
                Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
         Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
         Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
         And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
                Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
                        But here there is no light,
         Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
                Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
         Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
         Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
         White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
                Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
                        And mid-May’s eldest child,
         The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
                The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
         I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
         To take into the air my quiet breath;
                Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
         To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
                While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
                        In such an ecstasy!
         Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
                   To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
         No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
         In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
         Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
                She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                        The same that oft-times hath
         Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
                Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
         To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
         As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
         Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
                Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
                        In the next valley-glades:
         Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
                Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?