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

IAN : An Informal Chat with Tony Slevin, former U.S. Marine Corps.

An Informal Chat with Tony Slevin, former U.S. Marine Corps. [from Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, May issue]     I’m something of a slow learner, always have been.  Come to think of it, maybe the only time I learned something really fast was when I never got married again after making such a screw-up of it the first time.  It’s funny because it’s true. For several years back in the noughties I had a terrific job, one that took me all over the world.  And in every country, no matter how far off, I was running into Irish men and women.  I didn’t take much heed of it at first; it was just something at the back of my consciousness, this awareness that the Irish got around to an extent that was ’way out of proportion to their country’s size. Then one evening I was checking into a hotel on one of the Cape Verde islands and I heard someone calling:  ‘Hey, Charley!  How are you?’ It turned out to be someone I had known back in Limerick in 1980.  He had been a young fella who collected glasses in a long-gone bar called The Davin Arms.  Now here he was, working as an accountant on a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean – and we run into each other.  The following month I met up with a couple of brothers who hailed from County Roscommon and who had just opened a business in Panama.  Then there was the beautiful Irish woman who had been one of the famous Bluebell dance troupe in Paris and who was now selling high-end property in Mexico. With the penny finally dropped I approached Cliff Carlson, publisher of this magazine, with a suggestion that I do an extra column each month on the... Full Article →

Tea, Sympathy and Donkeys

Tea, Sympathy and Donkeys I can…. I c-c-c-can… *woah*… Deep breath there Brady, you can do it.  I can see, well kinda see… ah, what the hell:  I can kinda see Leo Varadkar’s point. There.  I said it.  I can see Leo Varadkar’s point.  Was that so hard? Oh man, you will never know how difficult that really was.  Me, agreeing with Mr. Smiley Tonsils Varadkar, the man who never ever saw a photograph of himself that he didn’t instantly fall in love with. Yet what do you want the guy to do?  Rewrite the Constitution?  Not a bad idea, come to think of it, considering that the Constitution was written at a time before we had people like the charming Lisa Marie Smith on the scene. As of my writing this, Lisa Smith is under detention and will be questioned by the United States after being captured and detained as an enemy combatant with a United Nations-designated terrorist group. Now, I know that I’m living in an age when we’re supposed to feel sorry for everyone.  This is a ludicrously touchy-feely era when we are subtly being trained to  forget about the feelings of those affected by utter outrages and are supposed instead to try to understand the motivations of those who perpetrate or are apologists for those same outrages. Lisa Smith is no victim, you can be damned sure of that. She is a grown woman of 37 and has made her own choices. She chose to become a soldier in the Irish Army.  Just stop for a moment and think about that:  at one point in her life she chose to serve and to protect the country that she was born in. She also chose to convert to Islam in 2009.  And good luck to her if... Full Article →

“Let’s be Careful out There…”

“Let’s be Careful out There…” Obviously written just after Liam Neeson upset the Usual Suspects — and before the most boring, right-on Oscars in history — this appears in Chicago’s Irish American News for March, 2019. It was the regular watch-your-backs utterance on most ‘Hill Street Blues’ episodes.  There was Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, played by the great Michael Conrad, telling his men that they had better be careful out there.  And he was spot on.  Those cops were going out into a world where they might be shot at or stabbed.  ‘Let’s be careful out there.’  Too damned right.  Fast-forward a few decades and you also have to watch every word that you say or write, proving once again what a crazy old world we live in.  Because there are anonymous cowards out there, all puffed-up with their newfound power of a keyboard and who are perpetually on the look-out for something to be offended over. As the actor Liam Neeson found out this past month. You know what I’m on about by now:  Neeson was giving one of those boringly tepid puff-piece interviews that anyone actually interested in cinema dreads almost as much as I’m sure the actors dread themselves. These days, I avoid them. If I like a movie, I just like it and that’s it.  Case in point:  I loved the latest remake of A Star is Born; and as a hardcore Kris Kristofferson fan I nearly gave it a miss, thinking that it couldn’t possibly be better than the version with himself and Streisand.  Hit that bell – *Wrong!* It was great…but as I hear Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper gushing and whispering sweet nothings to each other in every bloody interview, I’m about at the point where if I never hear of it again it... Full Article →