Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions I can live with....

I have been in a funk. Call it after Christmas whatever. Maybe I was getting charged up from the DC energy I had wreathed around the Christmas Hats I was wearing from Thanksgiving through Christmas, and now that the forcefield has been removed I'm running out of energy. Who knows....

The past couple of weeks has been very busy as far as the Poetry Scene goes; ...with at least 3 more events up and coming. I may have to miss one on principle alone. Say... "Oh, I can't make it to this one because I have to clean my Bathroom this evening..." ...or something like that.

I don't really know what it is but I seem to need a break. That is partially why I have not blogged as I had intended. I know I said I would post a blog devoted to my "House-Husband- Christmas- "koekies". Sorry Ladies, maybe next year.

I have been reading a book that Jimmy gave me that he had to read for a History Course entitled " The Island at the Center of the World" by Russel Shorto. ("The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten Colony that shaped America.") (...Thats where the term "koekies" comes from...) ...Dr. Sullivan calls the book a populist diversion. It has been a diversion for me in that it is informative, light, ...and something I can do that takes my mind off of all the things I said I would do but haven't for lack of...well, "Cleaning My Bathroom".

"Cleaning My Bathroom" is something I do when a relationship is about to end, or I am about to start something BIG and NEW. You see, I clean Bathrooms (and other things) for a living at this point, and who wants to do that when you get home after a full day of doing it 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Don't get me wrong, my Bathroom is not so bad that I am growing Black Mold, but it isn't as Spic&Span as you might expect from a professional at the moment either. What I'm talking about here is a Deep Down Clean with a Toothbrush kind of thing. PURGE is the word that often comes to mind.

So, I feel like I should resolve some thing or other. Its that time of the year after all. It might be time to leave "The Island at the Center of the World" so to speak. Here is my attempt. An attempt at a Populist Tradition:

New Years resolutions I can live with....
  1. I am taking a week off in January to finish up my Videos. Life has just been to busy to complete this project in the timely fashion I had intended.
  2. I will shave off my mustache in the spring and let it grow back again in the fall. O.K. so thats what I do every year but thats what makes it something I can live with! After all I always have....
  3. I will not take in another stray this year... fortunately, I DON'T HAVE THE ROOM ANYMORE! This one is too true, hits close to the heart and needs to be dealt with seriously for once.
  4. I will try not to define myself by the Women I am with. I hereby resolve to find someone with no more baggage than I have. HONEST! I promise Kids....
  5. Perhaps come April Fools Day I will shave off Half of My Mustache that might be fun! I will certainly be an April Fool!
  6. I will focus on turning the outlines for the next five chapters of "O' Wasterly Gale" into actual drafts as soon as the Videos are done. Even at the expense of my poetry if need be. (This one may be the first to be broken as poetry seems to work on its own timetable...)
  7. I will only drink Black & Tans made with "Sierra Nevada Pale Ale". (I think I can live with this one... as long as I'm in a Pub where they actually serve "Sierra Nevada Pale Ale" in which case I may just have to settle for the next best thing... or the second best thing... or...)
  8. I will set up my Bedroom into the "Sanctum Sanctimonious" I have always dreamed of... "No Kittens to knock things over and push things under the black whole neath the Bed allowed!"
  9. I won't fall asleep on the couch watching PBS every night of the week. (...maybe only once or twice a week from now on...)
  10. I'll Love everyone I can and tell them so. Even if I don't I'll try. Even if they are a Kitten named Guinness who knocks things over all day long... (O.K. Sarah?)
Yeah, maybe this isn't fair. After all I'm setting myself up for success and maybe thats not the point of "New Years Resolutions" is it? ...You do it your way, I'll do it mine, I can bet you that I will feel a lot better about myself in the morning when I wake up on the couch!!!


"Smilin' on the inside
And on the outside!"


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Greetings 2008!

Me, Sarah /Jimmy and Devin.

Merry Christmas
from Our Clan to yours!

I received a Christmas gift today from the Reid Family: Proprietors of Greenmount Lodge!

A transcription of the Poem "Greenmount Smiling Annie" that hangs in their Common Room. The poem is as I understand it anonymously attributed. I share it with you here with all due respect. An authentic slice of life based (as I was told) on real events from the 18th Century in which the Squires son James fell hopelessly in love with a Servant Girl.

Greenmount Smiling Ann

On a summer day, when flowers were gay,

Beneath the sun’s bright beam,

Near to a grove, where lovers rove,

Beside yon silver stream;

There gently strayed a lovely maid,

Her beauty rich to scan:

A maiden fair beyond compare,

Sweet Greenmount Smiling Ann.

Her hair, so fine, waved in the wind

In ringlets bright as gold;

Her figure neat and smile so sweet,

Were charming to behold.

Her lovely eyes might well entice

The heart of any man,

Who gazed upon that matchless one

Called Greenmount Smiling Ann.

The wee birds sang, the woodlands rang,

As she strolled slowly on;

The trees o’erhead, their green leaves spread,

To shield her from the sun,

All nature there was rich and rare,

And beauty o’er it ran;

But the fairest in that lovely bower,

Was Greenmount Smiling Ann.

When the grove she neared a lad appeared:

The old squire’s son;

A charming lad, his smile so sad,

As he greets this lovely one.

For the squire had sworn he would disown

His son from wealth and lan,

If he would decide to make his bride

The Greenmount Smiling Ann.

“O Jamie dear! When you are near,

You’re all the world to me;

But your father’s vow will not allow

That I your bride may be.

Your birch is high, low rank have I,

Yet love e’ermore I can;

I’ll not consent to yur punishment”,

Signed Greenmount Smiling Ann.

“Ah dearest Ann! Look no so wan,

Consent to be my bride;

I love but you, and I’ll be true

Till death doth us divide.

Your love to me more sweet will be

Than rank, or wealth, or lan”.

He gently presses her to his breast –

His Greenmount Smiling Ann.

“I’ll toil for you, I’ll never rue,

For I my love adore;

The world is wide, and whate’er betide,

I’ll cling to you evermore.

We’ll sail away to Amerikay,

And scorn this cruel ban”.

She gave consent, and off he went,

With Greenmount Smiling Ann.


Merry! Merry! Merry!



Thursday, December 18, 2008

...what I expected to find ...

I don't know what I expected to find at Ardboe. What I did find was not what I expected. I guess I was thinking it would be like many of the other ancient places we had seen up to this point, but I was taken aback by the presence of so many recently dead from "The Troubles."

As we were wondering about the sight, which was rather hard to find in the first place, a man walked up to us and started a conversation with Steve. I believe his name was Paul Ryan. He was from Brooklyn. He explained that was here to bury his father and visit the graves of his brother's.

His brother, Peter Ryan was Catholic and a member of the IRA. Acording to the Index of deaths during the conflict he was shot during an ambush by undercover British Army (BA) members, while driving through Coagh, County Tyrone on 03 June 1991 at the age of 35.

Another Grave that he pointed out was that of a hunger striker named Michael Devine who was 27 years old and a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). Michael joined the hunger strike on 22 June 1981 and died on 20 August 1981 after 60 days without food.


We were shocked when we worked our way around to the back side of the Church Walls, and peered inside at the graves filling the entire foundation. I can't describe it even now. The picture in the Video doesn't convey the reality of being there either. You just have to take my word for it.

It has taken me some time to process my feelings about this location. I couldn't even approach it chronologically when I was creating the first video's so I skipped over it and decided to come back to it later. It's later now and I'm still profoundly affected.

As you read through the Cain website you find that Surnames do not always indicate affiliation with one side or the other. Of the Gilmore/Gilmour's for instance 3 are Catholic and 2 are Protestant. It's always about Religion. Not the teachings of Christ, but the teachings of Christ as two sides interpret it.


Signs of the conflict were visible most everywhere we went; but we went there anyway. I walk as a "Child of Light" as Pastor Brian has said of me and we were in some neighborhoods that people we stayed with and visited would have cautioned us from going in the strongest of language. I never inquired of Alan about his own experiences, I'm sure that as the head of the ER in Derry he must have had some harrowing moments. I didn't think it was polite to inquire for some reason. I guess I was still processing. The conflict and the peace process has pretty much subsided for now. I pray that it is at an end for good.

I LOVE Ireland! North and South. Protestant and Catholic (...of which I am descended from both.) I refuse to take sides and so stand in the middle. A "Child of Light", loving everyone, in spite of themselves. As the Man Jesus would have done.


I couldn't do the spacey new age music in this Video. It just didn't seem right. That may have given some people a more "Thin Place" feel, but it just would have avoided the issue's. I have used as a Soundtrack a song by my favorite Ulster-Scot Musicians: "The Low Country Boys". The Song is their version of Doc Watson's Classic: "Beautiful Golden Somewhere." I saw Doc and Merle preform the same song many years ago at "Lenox on the Lawn" in the late 70's during my "Hippie Day's". When I heard The Low Country Boys do it, it seemed to be connected for me. It summed things up in a way I couldn't.

Again, I hope that they will forgive me for not waiting for permission, (..that poor starving Artist thingie again...) And I hope you will patronize their Web-site as linked in the paragraph above. I give them credit here and in the Video; with much thanks and Peace in Christ...

...Maybe you could even buy a CD or two while you're at it. I received mine when I visited the Ulster-Scot Agency Building in Belfast... but that's another story, for another day....


I wrote this a few days ago, got involved in searching down
Genealogical leads.... I only got the chance to post it now as I just finished the Video.

Sunday 21/Dec/08 2:03 a.m.

Friday, December 12, 2008

...Being Happy all the time CAN REALLY PISS SOME PEOPLE OFF!...

I've always been happy for the most part. Optimism is what has carried me through much of the hard times in my life. I seem to be able to fall on my face and pick myself up with a smile and say: "...I meant to do that!..."


I've said it before, I'm the person who people hide from first the thing in the morning before they have their first cup of coffee because: "I'm so chipper!"

Apparently since I came back from Ireland I have been unbearably happy! More than once in the past few weeks someone has frowned at me and said:

"...don't you ever turn off?" "How do you do it?" "You're driving me crazy!"


As anyone who works in Retail knows, in America, in most stores, Christmas Carols begin at 12 midnight Thanksgiving night. After all the Turkey is absorbed, when you are still drugged up on the mythological "Tryptophan"... BANG! They hit you with five versions of "Santa Baby" and the latest Plop-Star's version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Wino!"

The next thing you know, it's "Off we go!" 8 Hour's a day! ...on a 28 day Magical Misery Marathon Tour of Christmas Cheer!

By the time we make it to Christmas Eve with a screeching HALT! ...THE DREADED HUMMING BUG has bummed you and everyone who works in the Store out!

(...Well, almost everyone that is...)

You see, some of us come prepared to the FUNHOUSE! Some of us even belong to the FUNHOUSE on purpose! We enjoy belonging so much that we bought season tickets for life intentionally!

Here is my Membership Card, believe it or not, I ware it on my head:

I call this one: "Frosted the Snowman!"

AND... I have more than one too!

This one is "Rudolph-O'dúid~"

Most times he's simply referred to as "Rude-ee!"

"Whats up hot-stuff! ...Can I guide your sleigh tonight?"
"...Wanna see if you can make my nose light up?"

...Now you know why he's referred to as "Rude-ee!"


(...2 degrees in Art and what do I do? ...I make Silly Hats! ...Go figure!)


There is this old curmudgeon who comes into the store every day. When I see him I greet him with: "How are you doin' today! ...are you having a good day?" Invariably he responds with: "Lousy! ..I'm having a rotten day." or something derogatory like that.

Today I made my normal chipper greeting, something like: "How's life treatin' you pal?" ... but today was different. Today he looked me right in the eye and said: "Why do you always ask me that Mark?" To which I responded: "Well Pal, I know that you're a bit of a pessimist, and I have always been an optimist, so I just naturally believe that one of these days you are going say: "I'm Happy! Life is Good!" ...and it will make my day!"

...and again he looks me right in the eye's and deadpan as you please he says:

" why would I want to do that, it would ruin my day..."

I was dumbfounded. On the one hand it was one of the funniest things he had ever said! On the other it was one of the saddest....

Then he winks, and cracks a smile!


"...I may never turn off!" "...I don't know how I do it!" "...and I just love driving you all crazy!"

"...Some days being happy all the time makes me even happier still!!!!"


...and you know, you might not admit it, but thats what you love about me! isn't it?!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Orienteering the Glebe Home....

Killaloo Townland circa 1840, showing Alexander Gilmour's tenancy
along what was then the Oughgath Road,
before the A-6 bisected the center of the Townland.

O.K., so I' don't sound like Walter Cronkite, and I need to stop choking up on the Mic... The next one shouldn't take quite as long and I hope it will be more fun to make as well. This one was fun yet frustrating in a challenging sort of way.

But, I finally managed to do it! I still have some problems with recording issues and managing the soundtrack to perfect, but I think I did a passable job with my skill level. We upgraded our Ram and I tweaked all the settings in the program as much as I can tweak; saved after EVERY change (whether minor or major) and here you have it...

Writing dialog, dubbing narration, doing animation and editing without a million dollar studio... Who would have thought it possible even 20 years ago! It's romantic to dream of living in the past but I love living in this future! Even if I don't yet own a Jet-pak or live in the sky like George Jetson...