Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

What a Weasel!: How Delta damn near destroyed a dream vacation

It’s been a while since we had one, but Delta is officially our Weasel for 2016.

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So we just got back from our vacation. Barely.

I’ve recently been on a screed about Delta. As a long term, medallion member, I used to have a lot of loyalty towards the company. That loyalty has greatly waned, to a point of near despisal. If I did not already have several trips bought and paid for through them I would not be using the company anymore. But for at least two more months I am stuck with them. We booked this one via Delta Vacations, way back in March.

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Insulating An Duin 2

So the first thing we did was put plastic down in the hallways and anywhere we ran the hose. The idea is to prevent insulation from going throughout the house if the hoses separated at a joint. We also laid plastic down under the attic door, as with a hose you are bound to push some down in to your living space. WP_20160521_08_33_34_Pro WP_20160521_08_34_05_Pro

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Insulating An Duin

So today we have an electrician at An Duin who is finally rewiring the house.

I’m all for do it yourself engineering but there are somethings I much prefer leaving to professionals so I know that they are adhering to local code. Saves me a lot of headaches as well.

Meanwhile once he wraps up it will be time to get dusty with one of the easiest and dirtiest things you can do to help reduce your electric bill: insulation.

We found that a big portion of our attic space was completely void of insulation when we first did our home inspection. We used a broom and kicked some of it around (reducing the overall thickness) to try to make up the difference but that was  band aid. Its time to actually fix the problem.

So here is some information that may help you should you ever decide to do this.

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March Passing

So with the end of March having occurred I no longer have an excuse to be lazy. The truth is I have written so many articles over the years about Ireland and the Irish, that in March I rarely add new stories any more. I try to make an effort, however, to add at least one new one each year. End result is I have a plethora of Irish work on the website, which is ok, because it seems to drive a wealth of traffic as well. In previous years I changed the visual theme of the website to the current theme you see now. We used a different visual theme the rest of the year. The woodland theme more reflects my thought process these days.

With all of that I always feel sad to see March pass. While an excuse to be somewhat lazy on the site it is also a nice time to share heritage, heraldry and see days like St Patrick’s Day as being more than just a drunken rampage (not to say I haven’t participated in a few). There’s a reason its a known holiday, beyond green beer and shamrocks as well as silly hats. Learn it, understand it, then celebrate it.

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Lex: End of line

I wrote this in March of 2012 once it had finally settled in to my brain on the passing of Neptunus Lex. Brother in Arms, Brothers in Ink, Milblogger, and a man I’d like to consider a friend. I think it needs to be reposted as its that time of the year again.

It is Ireland’s sacred duty to send over, every few years, a playwright to save the English theatre from inarticulate glumness.
Kenneth Tynan, Observer, 27 May 1956

We didn’t send him to England. But really, for an Irishman there really isn’t much difference between death and England.

For me, it didn’t really click until this morning.I had an eval with my current employer, I sat in front of my laptop at 4 o clock this morning with my coffee, and on impulse clicked Lex’s blog link from my bookmarks. My nerves akimbo. I wanted some peace.

Over the years the people I have known via websites have waxed and waned. When I first started writing on line back in 1995, there was one other site I visited with regularity. In 2000, there was eight. In 2002 twenty two. In 2007 almost 52.

Now? 17…and of those fully half are inactive links. Its a testament to my love for Lex’s work that I kept him on my book mark list. The others I liked and I keep hoping that they will update. I have been reluctant to remove the inactive ones from my bookmarks for this reason.

As I clicked his link, and the page loaded the hot coffee turned cool against my lips as I was reminded by whisper…he’s gone. His words will not grace us any longer, save for works in days gone by. His thoughts of previous days left to haunt us in the present. No new posts will cross our screens, no sea stories to grace our world.

I set my cup down and wondered. This digital snap shots in to our lives. Where will they go? What will happen to them. For many, when the costs come due our families will shut them down, turn off the lights, and our words will vanish in to the ether at some point.

Our words left unread by those in the future whom may read them. It is one advantage our print and media brethren have over us. Our archives are only around as long as someone wishes to pay for it. There are no libraries whom receive our subscriptions, no history scribes whom will hallmark our work and words. It is up to us to find ways to back up these works, save them, and distribute them in some fashion for others to hold dear.

Our children may not come of age knowing our works, or what motivated us without these very lines I type. How we thought and the people we sought to be, in the end are portrayed here, in black and white and sent to you in hi definition on 1,024 x 768 pixels through a OC48 pipe from one coast to another.

Lex is gone. That much is final. His words may one day slip in to obscurity. Like my other blog friend triticale whom we lost in 2007, or Acidman whom we lost in 2006, their websites stand testament to their sentiments, themselves, and their values. Digital monuments.

But one day those digital monuments can and will fail. Companies get sold, servers crash, people move on, costs become exorbitant. For me a culmination of almost two decades of writing belong on two websites…the thought crosses my mind…what will happen if? I have no regular blog partner with keys. My wife has no interest in these things, and no interest in voicing her own ideals. It will simply become like my coffee, cold, and one day to vanish in to the electronic ether.

End of Line as Tron repeated so often many years ago in its interpretation of the digital world.

Maybe I am bleak because a little light has left this world. Because one who continued, with others fell to the way side, to provide us with measured, rational doses of words, wisdom and work. Who shared with us his day to day experiences, struggles and life.

Maybe I am bleak because how many of us, in that former profession, had those narrow misses? Those brief glances in to our future? that feeling that all we knew and had was about to change in a single instance….and once he was past that point he chose to go back to it, willingly, knowing the costs at stake? Only to be snatched at the last possible instance mere feet from safety?

It seems incomprehensible really. But the Banshee does not care about prose, wit, or talent and at some point when she calls to us to warn of us of An Bás, the time to prepare will be over.

I prefer not to think that those engines final whine were the cry of the Banshee for Lex, although fitting it may be.

When An Bás came calling, I choose to think that someone, up there….just wanted a good debriefing on how life is down here these days. And to keep it interesting he picked the best writer we had.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
May he rest on peace

Irish Stew

I first published my recipe last year, thought I would share it once again! -BS

Currently being made here at the Wilderness Retreat

Currently being made here at the Wilderness Retreat

Folks who say the Irish are horrible cooks are fools. Just my opinion. The Irish have some of the best meals around in my book, and if your a meat-and-potatoes kind of person who has been eating pasta instead, you are truly missing out.

You don’t have to just eat this recipe on St Patrick’s Day. While it is traditional, much like eating black-eyed pea’s on New Years Day is in America, Irish Stew can be made and eaten pretty much anytime just as its American counter part.

I recommend it throughout the winter months, and if you have friends over.

This is my family recipe mind you, so treat it well, Aye?

If you don’t like it feel free to blame us. If you do, just share a wee bit o the credit. :)

Recipe after the Jump

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The Starvation Orders: The Greatest Generation?

(Editors Note: I first published this at the beginning of 2012. For March, I thought it was a good story to bring back up and republish. Enjoy!)

The Irish and the British will always have issues because the British never remember, and the Irish never forget.

It’s a hot button issue in Ireland.

At the time, and now to an extent, many feel that the over 5,000 Irishmen who left Ireland to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II were  and are criminals, or deserters.

They left the Irish Army, leaving Ireland who was neutral, to fight to stop the Nazi’s in World War II.

Today, there is a possibility they may be pardoned.

The Starvation Orders were the orders to blacklist those 5,000 troops upon their return. They could not get jobs, welfare, pensions or any assistance what so ever, some of them made a go at it. Others left the country yet again. Whats more the orders extended beyond just the individuals, but their families as well. It’s how my own family ended up in America.

Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution. They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen – but he wears his medals in secret. Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.

“They would come and get me, yes they would,” he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: “I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years.”

Mr Farrington’s fears are not groundless.

 

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County Armagh: A look at Bandit Country

(BloodSpite’s Note: I originally wrote this in March of 2011. I’ve republished here for this years Irish Heritage celebration. I hope you enjoy!)

I’ve mentioned before that my family hails from County Armagh. However, my family does not align itself with the Ulsters. It’s one of the reasons we left Ireland in the 1940’s my grandfather having had enough of the frictions between the North and South, “We were all Irish, dammit.” he would often curse in his latter years with a shake of his head.

This post isn’t about politics however, it’s more about a place that politics happened.

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The Fields of Athenry

I first wrote this back in 2010. I have reposted it for our Irish Heritage Month – BloodSpite

Without a doubt this is my most favored Irish song. It’s not really traditional, having been written in the late 1970’s.

However, the story behind is as saddening as the lyrics.

More after the Jump

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The Orangemen of Ulster

(I first posted this on March 10, 2007 at Techography.com it has been reprinted here for posterity and your enjoyment)

The Orangemen are a peculiar amalgam of history, anger, controversy, patriotism, and pain.

The Orangemen of Ulster March

It was founded in the same County that my own family heralds from…Armagh. Given Armagh’s heritage with apple’s it’s no surprise that we settled in Ellijay then, the Apple Capital of Georgia. The Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal organization based predominantly in Northern Ireland and Scotland with lodges throughout the Commonwealth, Canada and in the United States.

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St. Patricks Day: About St. Patrick and his Day

I first published this at Techography on March 17, 2007. I’ve reposted it here for posterity and your reading pleasure!- BS

    I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.
    St. Patrick, The Confessio

The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn Succat, and he almost didn’t get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.

Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

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Easter Rising: The Beginning of the Troubles

This story was first published by myself on March 3rd 2007 at Techography. I republished it here in 2010. – BloodSpite

On Easter Monday, shortly after noon, Patrick Pearse and a band of ill armed and ill prepared poets and romantic patriots rose in rebellion took control of the General Post Office in

Click for large version

central Dublin and several other strategic sites around the city. The Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin, and the insurgent Tricolour suddenly broke upon startled eyes flying from the flagstaff above the General Post Office in the very heart of the Irish capital.

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No Irish Need Apply

Editors Note: I wrote this December 2010. As its a current Irish affair laced with some history I felt it could use another look this month. Enjoy!

This really chaps my ass.

There just isn’t a better way of me saying that.

What? Is it friggin’ 1860 again?

We have Hispanics of multiple origins pouring over our southern border that our current Administration refuses to secure and furthermore refuses to address (save for amnesty). The vast majority of them are not contributing to our economy, in fact they are draining it quickly. $65 Million dollars...in just one state!

But if your from Mexico, China or India the doors open! Never mind the fact that Ireland’s migrants have just as much education or experience….the short version is: they are the wrong colour. If your from one of those countries this is a great program, and I applaud the ideal of making it easier to get in to the country legally. However setting a standard as to who should go is not a standard of equality.

Reverse discrimination against the Irish, twice now , has never been so disgustingly blatant. In a age when Democrats are constantly repeating how wonderful immigrants are and how necessary they are to our culture, it apparently only applies to certain immigrants from specific places.

But America has taken it a step further, no longer are they simply saying “No Irish need apply”

Now they simply say “No Irish are Welcome here.”

The Irish have already proven themselves in this country, we have done our time and our hardships. The railroads that criss cross the nation were built on Irish backs, with Irish labour.

Unfortunately the same folks who declared immigration necessary are freezing out a proven group of workers, and opening the flood gates to a group that wants a free ride…versus one that has paid its dues. Again great program from one of those countries, everyone else who is affected though? Not so much.

There is no justification for this. I am not racist, I have friends of many cultures, and have been to many countries. But this ruling is not just a travesty of human rights, and an assault to basic human respect it’s a sham and a obvious ploy to buy votes by an Administration that is desperate to receive any support it can get even if it means buying those votes through back door legislation.

This action is in a word: disgusting.

This is the third time we have placed such a stranglehold on the Irish community. First in the 1860’s, again in the 1960’s and again now. Furthermore here’s a jaw dropper: The number of people who will emigrate from Ireland in 2010 and 2011 will add up to 120,000. And as the business editor of the Irish Independent pointed out last week, that is the figure given by the last census for the population of Cork City. Compare that to the estimated 10 Million  illegal immigrants in the country currently.

Making it harder for a group who is willing to come here legally, is counter to any sane immigration program.

Want to make a difference?

Legalize the Irish. Contact your elective representative. Sanity needs to be restored.

The Blood of Cú Chulainn

This one is a fairly new one, as it was just written in 2010. As with our other March stories we thought we’d share it once again! – BS  2013 UPDATE: Video corrected

Irish history is more than just words on paper. Like so many civilizations past we tend to put our stories, our mythos in to song.

Many have heard the songs of Ireland and found them any array of reactions from distinctive, to beautiful, to addictive. Music is not merely a form of expression for the Irish. It’s a way of reliving our past, and it is probably one of the few mediums in which blood has not been shade amongst ourselves.

The son of the god Lugh and Deichtine, Cú Chulainn was originally named Sétanta . He gained his better-known name, Cú Chulainn, as a child after he killed Culann’s fierce guard-dog in self-defense, and offered to take its place until a replacement could be reared.

This is a story oft told me as a young lad

More on Cú Chulainn after the jump

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Danny Boy (or Londonderry Air)

I originally wrote this in 2010 here. While I try not to add anything to my original posts when I re-post them I do try to correct spelling, punctuation, etc. I also have a bad habit of adding new pictures upon occassion. Otherwise you should find little, to no differences between the reposted material, and the original. – BloodSpite

Click for larger version

Danny Boy is one of over 100 songs composed to the same tune.

The author was an English lawyer, Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929), who was also a songwriter and radio entertainer. In 1910 he wrote the words and music for an unsuccessful song he called Danny Boy. In 1912 his sister-in-law in America sent him a tune called the Londonderry Air, which he had never heard before. He immediately noticed that the melody was perfectly fitted to his Danny Boy lyrics, and published a revised version of the song in 1913. As far as I know, Weatherly never set foot in Ireland.
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Cloch na Blarnan: The Blarney Stone

(I first wrote this March of 2011. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

It’s been said that we Irish are blessed with the “gift of Blarney” or gift of speech. Which is why we make such great story tellers, writers, authors, poets and actresses.

The Blarney Stone, from below

Renowned for such wit and humor as that which came from the likes of Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats and others. For we Irish, words and language are so very important…My grandfather once told me that if a picture is worth 1,000 words then it takes 1,000 words to paint a picture.

But this Irish gift of wit doesn’t come out of thin air, so the legends say, but rather from solid stone!

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The Coffin Ships

National Famine Memorial Cuimhneachán Náisiúnta ar an n Gorta Mór in Murrisk, Connacht, in County Mayo

(I first wrote this March of 2011. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

Coffin Ships are a rather sad part of Irish history. Originating during the Great Irish Famine, and of course the prison ships to Botany Bay. The first vessel with Irish convicts for Botany Bay arrived in Port Jackson on 26 September 1791.

They were called “coffin ships,” because so many poor souls had been dying on them as of late, leaving behind widows and orphans and broken families. Typically untrustworthy vessels, these ships were purchased literally from salvage yards (where they awaiting dismantling) by unscrupulous owners who had no intention of repairing them. Sailors who agreed to serve on board these floating wrecks typically knew nothing of the dangers until they were well out at sea, vagabonds, and those desperate for work (of which there were plenty) quickly volunteered.

Concerned only with profits, these same ship owners heavily overburdened the ships then insured them against expected losses of cargo. They were quite literally worth more at the bottom of the sea than upon it.

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Bloody Sunday: An apology almost 40 years in the making

I originally wrote this in June of 2010. I thought it would be worth while to show how things have changed in the years. There have been developments since this, but all the same it is relevant and worth mentioning I think.

Bloody Sunday Monument

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

U2, Bloody Sunday

January 30, 1972
The Bogside area of Derry, in Northern Ireland.
On one side over 15,000 civil rights protesters against British rule.
On the other, British Para’s, the cream of the British Army.

In the outcome over 27 people shot, and 14 dead.

This was the time of Troubles in Ireland.

“… it is expedient that a Tribunal be established for inquiring into a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the events on Sunday 30th January 1972 which led to loss of life in connection with the procession in Londonderry on that day, taking account of any new information relevant to events on that day”

Resolution of the House of Commons, 30th January 1998,
and of the House of Lords, 2nd February 1998

The world has changed since those days. Do not take this apology lightly my peers. Let us not return to those days of Belfast and yon. There need be no violence on this day. The point is made. They have admitted their errs. Use it to your advantage and push, politically, diplomatically for the freedom you have fought for.

But if we’ve learned one thing in these past years, is that bloodshed never washes away bloodshed.

Be better than that.

Be Irish.

A tribute to the victims:

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Radio Intercepts

@AACONS he's a libertarian. He will. 😉

  • photo from Tumblr

    Lagavulin 18

    08/24/16

  • photo from Tumblr

    Cucumber Collins at The Hamilton of Washington D.C.

    08/23/16

  • photo from Tumblr

    The Earhart cocktail as featured at The Hamilton Hotel in Washington D.C.

    08/23/16

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