Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

Recent Articles

Who’s that Knocking at the Door?

Who’s that Knocking at the Door? Chicago’s Irish American News, February 2019 “Well, how do you do? I see you’ve met my faithful handyman. He’s just a little brought down because when you knocked He thought it was the Candyman.” The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Most of us had our own special little wish for the Christmas just gone.   After all, it was that time when we hope that the Man in the Red Suit will reward us for being nice rather than naughty. I had the same wish as I always have:  that the beautiful Candyman actress Virginia Madsen would come down my chimney in a Santa Clause outfit. But, as usual, nothing.  Zilch.  Another year, another no-show.  Even though I’d tried repeating her name five times whilst staring into the mirror.  Maybe she doesn’t know the way to Oranmore. Still, it could have been worse; I could have been living in the Dublin Rathdown constituency of Minister for Transport Shane Ross.  Shane, it seems, got it into his head – proving that not much else can be going on in there – that after dark on Christmas Eve (yes, Christmas Eve!) would be the ideal time to wander around whilst wearing a Santa hat in order to deliver little pamphlets telling a lot of harassed parents what a fine fellow he is and what a great job he is doing.  And if he had just stopped with dropping them in through the letter-box and then buggering off into the night, maybe it wouldn’t have been too bad. I mean, relatively speaking, like.  After all, there is no time that looking out of your window and seeing Shane leppin’ around the place like the Ghost of Christmas in Hell would be a good thing.  You’d never be the better... Full Article →

Reasons to be Cheerful

  Chicago’s Irish American News, December 2018       Good old Sinead O’Connor.  Well, as was.  Between the jigs and the reels I haven’t found a lot to smile about these past few months, but Sinead’s latest shenaninigans are… oh, different.  Even for her. As you’ll know by now, Sinead O’Connor is no more. Earlier this year she changed her name to Magda Davitt.  Something to do with wishing to rid herself of ‘parental curses’; you know – the usual problems that beset all of us.  Nobody seems to have noticed or cared and so now she’s done the big one:  converting to Islam and changing her name once again, this time to Shuhada Davitt.  Apparently it means something like ‘martyr’ which would appear to be appropriate considering how the lady has always viewed herself. With a proper sense of occasion Shuhada/Sinead wrote in October: “This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim.  This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey.  All scripture study leads to Islam.  Which makes all other scriptures redundant.” She then went on to burst into song with a rousing rendition of the Islamic call to prayer which, if recorded, one suspects will probably NOT equal ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in selling power.  Or even on a list of memorable tunes to hum along to. Naturally enough, Shuhada Magda’s conversion – ah hell, I’m just going to write Sinead for the sake of convenience – is her own business.  And if she wants to share her happiness with us, that’s fine too; whatever floats your boat, says I. But Sinead being Sinead, she has never been one to leave things alone and so of course she had go that extra step and – having given it possibly no... Full Article →

“All I ask is a Merry Yarn… when the Long Trick’s Over…”

“All I ask is a Merry Yarn… when the Long Trick’s Over…”   Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’ September 2018   It’s not the earliest memory I have of my parents, of course it isn’t; but it’s certainly one of the nicest. There was my brother Donald and me – he, six years of age and me, eight – in the back of my dad’s old Ford Zodiac. Crazy, the things you remember. I loved that Zodiac because of the little fins it had on the back of it. I was already into science-fiction and it made me think we were being sped along in that underwater vehicle from Gerry Anderson’s 60s TV puppet show ‘Stingray’. And we were coming back from a day on the beach at Ayr, Scotland.  I can’t remember what sort of messing around we were doing in the back; it was probably annoying our little brother Tom, who was four. But in that vague way you have when you’re that age, you always have your big ears open to what’s going on with the adults – the grown-ups – the ones that make life safe for you; not that you think of it in those terms.  But whoever first coined the phrase: ‘Little pitchers have big ears’ had the right of it. And we could hear Tom and Agnes ‘Nan’ Brady — our parents– talking back and forth about the lovely day we’d just had. White noise, really, except… Out of the blue, Nan asks Tom what was the happiest time in his life; and Tom says:  ‘This is.  This is the happiest time in my life’. I can still remember Donald and me just stopping – one of those magic moments of stillness that you never ever forget – and looking at each other, this... Full Article →