Saturday, December 08, 2007

Words to make you shiver

[And by the way, what is Ian Paisley signaling with his left hand? "Martin's got a wee one"??]

From the BBC: "Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness appear to have charmed not only each other, but also George W. Bush."

Yeats on Paisley

"The hater who hates with too good a heart soon comes also to hate the idea only; and from this idealism in love and hatred comes, as I think, a certain power of saying and forgetting things, especially a power of saying and forgetting things in politics, which others do not say and forget." — Treasury of Irish Myth, Folklore and Legend.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Your very own Agreed Ireland

From the London Review of Books: "Bew’s commentary on the political negotiations behind the scenes, and the realpolitik which lay behind reversals of policy among the mandarinate, is fascinating. This is his home ground in every sense, and his delineation of the shifts and stratagems of the 1990s, bringing Sinn Féin first into discussions and then into government of the state it had sworn to eradicate, deserves very close reading. Tutored by the Irish, the British quickly learned linguistic ingenuity; Orwell would have appreciated the way ‘an “agreed” Ireland’ turned out to mean the very opposite of a ‘united Ireland’, while ‘power-sharing’ came to denote ‘separate spheres’, not reconciliation.

Forms of words mattered as much as they did at the time of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, when a civil war had been fought over a formula of loyalty (not, it should be noted, over the question of a partitioned Ireland, which somehow went through on the nod).

On the language of the IRA’s ‘decommissioning’ of its arsenal, Bew is predictably scathing, and the last section, written in 2006, is called ‘The Breaking of the Good Friday Agreement’. Northern politics has not yet ended up in the asylum, but it remains to be seen whether the spectacle of Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley finally running a devolved Northern Ireland together, while ‘peace walls’ (Orwell again) continue to be erected in its towns and cities, bears him out."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Reasons to go "huh?"

"But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity..."

From the Irish Times, Ian Paisley speaks: “Mr Bush is a down-to-earth man. Mr Blair was the great actor. He was a perfect actor and not a good negotiator because of that. Because the negotiations I was in wasn’t acting, it was a matter of life and death. So the president talked to me quite often. In fact, I said once to Blair, does the president tell you what I say about you? No, he says, he doesn’t. What have you said? So I told him something of what I said about him. He was absolutely shocked,” he recalled.

“I’ve been in the White House before. It means very little to me. I’m not impressed very much by political figures. I suppose I’m a kind of unbeliever in that respect,” he said.

At a small gathering at the New York home of the American Ireland Fund’s Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Dr Paisley spoke about why he had made the decision to share power with Sinn Féin. The First Minister said that “before the end of my days on this earth” he wanted to leave a legacy of peace.

“There are many mysteries in life about the causes of wars and rumours of wars. But one thing we do know is that we will not be here forever,” he said.

It is my own opinion that Dr. Paisley's words are at least 50 percent bullshit. But even if he is 50 percent sincere, it is better than nothing. Or, to put it another way:

"He that repenteth and forsaketh his sin, he shall find..."

Speed Racer

Coming soon, a new movie called Speed Racer, from the eejits who did the Matrix trilogy. I love the bold colors.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One if by car, two if by buckshot

This is Dick Cheney, above, in a photo from the 1970s. Slightly more recognizable, below.

New York Stock Exchange: visiting (Northern) Irish people

Yesterday, some Northern Irish tourists visited the New York Stock Exchange. From left: a man, then Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chairperson of the American Ireland Fund, Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and former Chief of Staff of the IRA, Reverend Ian Paisley, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Duncan Niederauer, CEO of the Stock Exchange...

Monday, December 03, 2007

God-destroyer Christopher Hitchens defeats another myth — British teeth

Christopher Hitchens, who earlier this year wrote God is Not Great, a bestseller which argues that the very idea of God is offensive to any hard-drinking English journalist, recently hauled his 58-year-old cadaver (and royalty checks) to every high-priced beauty expert in the U.S. The result, including teeth, above, is shocking to say the least. Below, before his dentist visit...

Thief drives out of Guinness with 40,000 pints

Irish Independent: Guinness would have you believe that good things come to those who wait.

But a man who drove a truck into the company's famous Dublin brewery moved fast before hitching up a trailer containing 450 kegs of different beers and escaping through the front gates.

The audacious robbery took place on Wednesday afternoon at the St James' Gate brewery in Dublin 8, and could ensure a very merry Christmas for someone looking at approximately 40,000 pints.

Diageo, the drinks company that owns Guinness, Budweiser and Carlsberg, said yesterday that the tab stands at €64,000.

That works out at less than €1.60-a-pint, as it does not include mark ups by the Government or the publicans. In the pub, the haul would be worth €160,000.

From Irish Echo to Inside Man

Inside Man, a 2006 Spike Lee thriller, was mostly filmed in and around 20 Exchange Place, lower Manhattan. I spent a day last spring, without the actual address, walking around lower Manhattan trying in vain to find the bank building where an elaborate hoax heist hostage drama takes place in the movie.

Manhattan below Chambers Street is such an inexplicably complicated nest of streets that I never found my way inside Inside Man. More recently, the newspaper office for which I freelance relocated to 11 Hanover Square (which, as evidence of how complicated it gets down there, is located at 78 Beaver Street), and I still get lost finding it. So here, above, is a Google map of how to drive from my office to 20 Exchange Place... watch out, you might get dizzy.