Monday, January 31, 2005

The last day of January: cool clear afternoon

____I passed up a chance to teach as a substitute at the Donne High School this morning, in order to attend my scheduled exam for state certification for clerk. This test had all computer knowledge, including rules, codes, and definitions. I failed by three points. I get to retake the test the day after tomorrow.

_____Today's shape is an ellipse. Today's colors are creamy white, the color of cottage cheese, and the color of whip cream. Today's numbers are 31, 131, 310104, 311, 31,012,004, and 2. Today's divinity is a moon goddess. Today's texture is thick grit, not too dry but not soaked grit, the grit of sandy soil. Speaking of grit, tomorrow's breakfast will include grits. Today's animal is a star-nosed mole. Today's music is dancehall reggae from Jamaica. Today's writer is Thomas Merton, whose birthday it is today. He was born in Prades, France, in 1915. He died in 1968, after he had gone travelling through Asia and had met the Dalai Lama. He had accidentally touched an electric fanafter he stepped from his bath. That was the year of the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam.

______Time to chill out with some on-line backgammon.

About Ireland: good reading for children or adults

Dennis B. Fradin's The Republic of Ireland, copyright 1984, published by Children's Press in Chicago, is an excellent introduction to Ireland. The ISBN is 0-51602767-0

On p. 96 there is a little glossary of Irish words which a beginner would find useful.

Days of the Week:
Luan Monday
Mairt Tuesday
Ce'ardaoin Wednesday
De'ardaoin Thursday
hAoine Friday
Sathairn Saturday
Domnhnach Sunday

Months in Gaelic:
Eanar January
Feabhra February
Ma'rta March
Aibrea'n April
Bealtaine May
Meitheamh June
Iu'l July
Lu'nasa August
Mean Fomhai'r September
Deire Fomhair October
Mi' naSamhna November
Mi' naNollag December

____The older of my two children is starting to willingly learn the Irish Gaelic as I am too. She'll be five years soon.

____There's also a Finn McCool story in this book, several writers' bios, and a couple of good maps. The history section is good. If you are interested in recovering or preserving your Irish heritage away from Ireland, this is a must for your library.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Still reading "The Republic of Ireland"

I picked up the book, which I found in the children's geography section at a library a couple of counties away, and read another couple of chapters near the book's end. Thus I found the words to the Wearing of the Green, a street ballad sung since 1798, the year that the United Irishmen, led by Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798), rose up against the English in many parts of Ireland, and were soon defeated. Anyway, here are the words:

O Paddy dear, and did you hear the news that's going round,
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground;
And Saint Patrick's day no more we'll keep, his color can't be seen,
For there's a bloody law against the wearin' of the green.
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand,
And he said , "How's poor ould Ireland, and how does she stand?"
"She's the most distressful country that ever you have seen,
They're hanging men and women there for wearin' of the green."

Then since the color we must wear is England's cruel red;
Sure Ireland's sons will ne'er forget the blood that they have shed;
You may take the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod,
But 'twill take root and flourish still, tho' underfoot 'tis trod.
When the law can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summertime their verdure dare not show,
Then I will change the colour I wear in my corbeen,
But till that day, plase God, I'll stick to the wearin' of the green.

But if at last our color should be torn from Irelands' heart,
Her sons with shame and sorrow from the dear ould souil will part;
I've hear whisper of a country that lies far beyand the say,
Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of freedom's day.
O Erin must we leave you, driven by the tyrant's hand,
Must we ask a mother's welcome from a strange but happier land?
Where the cruel cross of England's thraldom never shall be seen,
And where, thank God, we'll live and die, still wearin' of the green.

[The Republic of Ireland, 1984, p.91]

There seems to be some disagreement as to who has claim to the song or musical lyrics. M. Franks has it thus-- Dion Boucicault(1820-1890) "himself fled the country, coming to America as the words of his poem itself echo prophetic." UCLA's digital library has the song belonging to composer and lyricist, Chauncey Olcott, 1858-1932. Yet the musical historians of Archeophone Records backs up the claim that the song predates both Boucicault and Olcott.

You can hear this sung by Danny O'Flaherty, from the album The History of Ireland in Song.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Reading from some World War II history

When I came back from my night class, my page from BBC on the Leningrad siege was still up. I read that, and then clicked on a link to a page of testimony by a British sailor or naval officer who travelled near the coast of Russia.

As I researched and wrote this, I was listening to both classical European music on NPR and news from a different NPR affiliate, KLCC, a college radio station in Eugene, Oregon. Also, I began playing backgammon, which I'm still doing almost an hour after I began the reading leading to this.

My wife has got me drinking and liking bush tea. She started brewing and drinking it after reading Alexander McCall Smith's novels about a womyn detective, Mma Precious Ramotswe, who sets up her agency in a town in Botswana. Had to come back and edit this ten or fifteen minutes later, after finding and reading some pages from the Mail & Guardian from either Zaire or South Africa.

Dancehall Reggae to boost the soul

Today to and from work I was jamming to one of my favorite hard beat albums, Buyaka--A Collection of Dancehall Reggae, including such artists as Little Wayne, Sister Nancy, Little Meekie and Daddy Meekie, Lady Shabba, and others, all good artists.

I'm glad to see that the album is known, but so far I haven't really found much information on the artists contributing to this collection.

I'll be returning to this topic soon.

Early evening, Thor's day, 27 january 2005

Today has been the birthday of Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Today's god is Thor, the god of thunder and lightning.
Today's color is the colour of dried blood on clean white cotton cloth.
Today's aroma is the smell of wet ashes of slash and yellow pine.
Today's texture is the feel of the opaque top of a plastic food container.
Today's flavor is the flavour of red vinegar and virgin olive oil.
Today's animal is a duck-billed platypus.
Today's vegetable is an eggplant.
Today's fabric is burlap.
Today's gem is an amethyst.

On this day in 1944, a Soviet defensive manoevre ended the Leningrad siege. In 1967, three American astronauts died in a fire in Cape Canaveral.

Dinner is ready. I've got a class to set up and teach after that. Aloha!

Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

So today's the 60th anniversary. I watched the second of the series on PBS about the Holocaust. Couldn't keep it on over 24 minutes. Took a Trazodone and a Pain-killer afterwards to try to ensure some sleep.

My father's mother's people lost relatives in the Holocaust. When my uncle and grandmother tried to find other, older relatives' graves, they found that these, too had been destroyed by the Nazi's. Bulldozed the lapidaries, the Nazis or their henchmen did.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

This afternoon, Wodin's Day, 2005

____Time now, 14:02. A couple of minutes into the fifteenth hour. In the Islamic Calendar, today is 26 January 19105. By the Jewish Calendar this is the year 5765, 16th day of the month of Sh'vat. For the old Scandinavian and Germanic peoples, it was the Day of Odin, or Wotan.

Today's shape is The Golden Rectangle.
Today's color is the colour of dead grass.
Today's texture is the crisp dry feel of dry grasses still blowing in the wind.
Today's flower is the pansy.
Today's bird is the Fox Sparrow.
Today's fabric is burlap.
Today's literary selection is John McGahern's The Lanes, published in Granta Number 88, Winter 2004.
Today's first musical selection is the soundtrack to any performance of Cirque du Soleil.

On this day in 1714, was born the French sculptor Jean B. Pigalle, who made " Child with Bird Cage." Parisian philosopher Claude Helvetius was born in 1715. In 1804 was born novelist Eugene "Marie Joseph" Sue France, author of The Wandering Jew. A.W. Dave Nourse, the "Grand Old Man" of South African cricket, was born on this day in 1878. In 1880, in Little Rock, was born the child who would some day become American General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. In 1884, Roy Chapman Andrews, archaelogist and explorer, who led the 1922 expedition into the Gobi Desert, was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. The linguist Edward Sapir was born in Germany in the same year. In 1893 was born Bessie Coleman, the first Black airplane pilot. Stephane Grappeli, jazz violinist, was born in 1908.
____On this day in 1885, the Sudanese executed British Governor-General Charles George Gordon, along with some of his troops, in Khartoum. He was 51 years of age. Johann Christophe Friedrich Bach died at the age of 62. In 1920, in Germany, someone murdered Finance Minister Mattias Enzberger. I have not yet found out who did it.
____This is the anniversary of the American invasion of Grenada, titled Operation Urgent Fury.
____We have volumes and vast records of history. How is the development of herstory?

Today is Australia Day!

From Writers' Almanac

"Today is Australia Day, the day on which Australians celebrate the establishment of the first British settlement in that country in 1788. Captain James Cook had been the first European to discover the island continent in 1770, and he informed the British government that it might make a good place for a settlement. By 1780, Great Britain's prisons were growing overcrowded because they had lost their colonies in America, which was where they had been sending prisoners. So they decided to start sending convicts to Australia, which was then called New South Wales.

The first shipment consisted of about 730 convicts, among them highway robbers, jewel thieves, and a woman who had tried to steal 24 yards of black silk lace. The military guards carried no ammunition, so that their guns could not be used against them in a mutiny. Two attempted mutinies were put down during the voyage. Forty-eight people died before they reached their destination, which was considered a remarkably successful survival rate. They arrived on this day in 1788 and settled an area they called Sydney Cove, around which would grow the city of Sydney."

How many of the ones in that convoy of 730 prisoners were Irish?

I've started a bulletin board for the discussion of Irish history at the Yahoo Bulletin Boards.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A little Irish history: the rebellions

England was one of the most powerful nations on earth in the late 1700's and early 1800's. This most anyone who knows any history, knows. The Irish had an ice cube's chance in hell to defeat the English Army. Even so, there were some brave Irish souls who dared to risk their earthly lives in pursuit of a little earthly liberty.

One of these was Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763 -1798), a Dublin lawyer, who, in 1791, in the northern city of Belfast, helped to found the Society of United Irishmen. The goal of this society was to form a united and independent Ireland.

Another was Robert Emmet, born in Dublin in 1778, the last of 17 children, and like Wolfe Tone, a Protestant. Like some other Protestants in Ireland, he was angered by the situation of the Catholics. He would hear his father speak about Irish independence. At the age of twelve, Robert Emmet wrote a poem that began:
"Brothers, arise, our country calls. Let us gain her rights or die."

I got this little information above from a very good book with which to introduce to children at the middle school or junior high level, Irish geography and history:

The Republic of Ireland. 1984.Dennis B. Fradin. Chicago: Children's Press.
ISBN 0-516-02767-0

Why not learn sign language? Here's British

One day soon I should learn sign language.

But first, I have to finish some other projects.

Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Tuesday, named for a god of war. The second day of the work week, the third day of the week. The fifth and twentieth day of the first month. Time now, past the eleventh hour of the first half of the day. The twenty-fifth minute of the twelfth hour. Seconds are ticking or silently slipping by, slipping around me like molecules of water in a stream flowing, a river flowing so slowly you don't notice it on the surface, but underneath are swiftly flowing currents, unseen and dangerous if you don't know to avoid them, or if you aren't adapted to swim or float in the murky waters of the river.

Sunshine glints off my golden pickup truck parked backed-in to the driveway, not the parkway, facing the asphalt hard-ball narrow street named after one of my favorite evergreen trees. Beyond that a yard, beyond that the busy highway, narrow by-way which leads either to the Atlantic Ocean or the Savannah River and the South Carolina Piedmont.

Now the only sound in here the tack-ticking of the keyboard keys and the sound of plastic model dinosaurs manipulated by the hands of my four year old daughter, who is on the pine-wood varnished floor of the salon. Why call it a living room when you live in most parts of the house? Also one can hear the rumble of vehicles on the Highway from here. The Highway is also called Main Street, though most folk I hear refer to it as 123 North, or 123 South, or just the road to Donne.

Today's color: blue
Today's shape: circle
Today's number: 5^2 or five squared
Today's texture: thick scratchy wool weave
Today's sound: the hums of fan blades
Today's taste: strong coffee with milk, no sugar

I've got to do my German lesson now. I've interrupted this post to start on it, but now I'll interrupt my lesson to finish this post. Here's a funny story for y'all linguists and travellers in German lands:

Going nuts
My mother and father were married in Germany
while my father was stationed there just after WWII.

A famous story in the family has to do with my father.
During the reception at my grandparents house
he picked up an empty dish that had contained nuts
and asked: Wo sind die Nutten? Little did he know that...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

More information on Iraq and the war

I ran across Iraqi Bounty Hunter as I was perusing other peoples' blogs. Not your usual war blog.

among the Berbers, by Jeffrey Tayler

I found that issue of National Geographic, January 2005, with the article by Jeffrey Tayler, and photographs by Alexandra Boulat, whose name may be familiar to those of you who read the Geographic. I enjoyed reading the article after a delicious luncheon of grilled chicken, sliced and served on Romaine lettuce and a tangy oily dressing. With the lunch I had a Budweiser long-neck. We listened to Taj Mahal's Phantom Blues.

[We're listening now to Vincenzo Bellini's The Montagues and the Capulets, on The World of Opera Today, on NPR.]

Driss and Khalid, two Berber guides, led Jeffrey Tayler and Alexandra Boulat on a 400 mile trek on foot, using donkeys to carry their gear, along the ridge of the High Atlas mountains, from Midelt in the northeast to Imouzzer des Ida ou Tanane, where some beautiful water falls flow, according to Tayler. I learned that many Berber prefer to be called Amazigh, or "Free Person," and that there are some 25 million Amazigh in North Africa, mostly in Morocco and Algeria.

The photographs are of course excellent, the story line is interesting if not dramatic. Tayler does include peoples' testimony to injustices in Morocco, such as corrupt government officials and lack of medical services. You are also invited to go to a mass wedding , Amazigh-style, through the words and pictures of Ms. Boulat. Also, Mr. Tayler describes his 2 months on a mule in the land of the Amazigh.

More prisoner abuse in Iraq

It's been a busy week, what with being called up again to substitute teach, my night class teaching English, and the Inaugural celebrations. But I did hear some talk of more revelations of abuse of prisoners by Anglo-American troops in Iraq.

I must read up more on this, but for now I say this: we must all who have a voice and the means to disseminate our thoughts, express concern and even outrage for any abuse of human rights, against any assault on life and dignity.

More language learning

I had written something to the effect of having written "enough' about languages for a while. That was silly of me. Learning language and using them are activities that continue every moment, even in our dream state.

I had been writing last night about this film, Nowhere in Africa. Much of the dialogue was in Ki-Swahili. That too was one of the good things about the film. So I looked up some more web resources on learning this fascinating lingua franca of Africa. Hassan O. Ali has created Swahili Language and Culture, an introduction to Ki-Swahili. Zanzibar has an interesting page on the language. Tim and Beth have done another page which bears looking into.

Here's a map showing the different languages spoken in Kenya.

Ah well, so much to do, so little time...

Iran and Nuclear Weapons

Some people are posting a rather interesting conversation on American foreign policy concerning Iran and Iraq. Seems that the starter for this discussion was an article in The Guardian.

So, do you think the United States would dare invade Iran? Do you think that the United Kingdom would support or discourage any move in this direction? How much of a threat is Iran? What can the United Nations do, or the European Union? How will China, Russia, and other countries neighboring Iran respond or react to Iran's getting nuclear weapons?

I'll have to take a look at Foreign Policy journal and Foreign Policy in Focus websites.

But there are other matters to attend to first.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Considering a move outside Morocco

While watching Nowhere in Africa, a story about a Jewish family who flees Germany, settles in the farmland in Kenya, and how they adapt to life in Kenya during the World War II and the Holocaust, my daughter was curious about the scene in which the locust plague arrives to the new farm, where a main staple seems to be corn.

My explaining what are locusts, and how some people respond to them, led to my daughter's questions, "Where do the locusts come from?" "Where are they now?" I did find a U.N. map of where the locusts had roamed in the infestation as of December last year.

Although the film sets an invasion of locusts in the year 1947, Lisa and Sylvia, from Calgary, got a record from the Desert Locust Information Service or the University of Florida Department of entomology and nematology, a major swarm of desert locusts invading Kenya in 1954. But the swarm in the story is perhaps just a band. At any rate, the family and the workers and their families succeed in repelling it.

As to moving out of Morocco, we may do so soon, after I locate that article in December's National Geographic, and exploring Morocco more. Then, which way should we go? Toward Mauretania, or through Algeria eastward?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Still in Morocco

Alas, I had promised that I would write about Morocco last week, and did not get off more than one post the whole week.

I noticed that in the January issue of National Geographic, there was an article about Morocco, specifically starting out from Marrakesh. Also, there was a radio travelogue on a famous market in Morocco on the NPR last week. I'll try to find the web page that links to that audio file.

In the meanwhile, you can learn how to manage with street hustlers at this National Geographic page.

afternoon, Inauguration Day

I came back just a half hour ago from Donne, in a neighboring county, where I substituted for a coach and physical education teacher. A good day, all in all.

Got to listen to the start of the Inauguration speech on NPR, and watch some of the Parade on Fox television at Smitty's Lounge, on the highway from Donne, and just outside our county line. Ate some grilled shrimp and vegetables which I bought on "take out" from the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant.

Have got to go teach English to my little class of immigrant adults. That, and before I go, piss away some of the beer in me. No, alls I had was one Guiness, and a couple of glasses of water.

Wilma is going to take a job at an apiary. She's fixing some tea for me to take as I go to teach the English class.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Late at night. I shut off the television. To post & to bed

Just saw most of the second half of Unforgiveable Blackness, the televised biography of Jack Johnson. This was edited by Ken Burns, now one of the eminent American historians.

From The Book of Lists, I garner these facts on Mr. Jack Johnson: He fought from 1897 till 1945. He won the title from Tommy Burns in 1908(KO in 14 rounds). He lost the title to Jess Willard, ten years his junior, in 1915 ( KO in 26). He fought 113 fights. Won 44 of them by KO. 30 by decision, 4 by fouls, 14 draws, 14 no decision; lost 5 by KO, 1 by decision, 1 by foul.

I missed yesterday evening's showing of Burn's biography of Jack Johnson. I feel that I'll have to view it another time.

I have been in danger of burning the candle at both ends. These days, it is only my morning laziness, which lies with its promise of redemption through later action, which keeps me from losing the sleep I need to keep from falling off the edge into total insanity. And so I bid the Muse and Wakefulness good night. Here, o reader--take a torch to light the way.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King day, Ben Franklin's birthday

Today we honor M.L.K. and the lives and efforts of all who work for peace and justice.

There's a movement afoot to boycott just about everything on the day of the Inauguration. Hmmmm.... that's the twentieth of this month.

O.K. I've marked that on my calendar. Now to do my Gaelic and German lessons on-line.

BBC has revamped their Irish Gaelic learners' site, Blas. However, I don't know why I can't get to the sound files. Might be the heavy noon traffic, but I was able to get Writers' Almanac. Maybe it's a combination of overseas traffic and my 56 K modem.

This weekend we got a dinosaurus sticker book for my girl. I took a little time to search up some sites for her to learn on, starting with this fishy looking beast.

Jetzt, ich bin beschaftigt

German vocabulary for today:

beschaftig -- (has an umlaut over the a. what would be the right code to select and what key to hit? In ASCII what is it?) "busy" in English.

der Kafig -- the cage
die Dose --the can
versogen -- to care for something or someone
fangen -- to catch

"Denk daran, mich spater wieder anzurufen." Remember to call me again later.

[From Berlitz German Picture Dictionary. ISBN 2-8315-6255-4

Yesterday I enjoyed watching Mostly Martha, a film about a woman chef who finds she has to care for her niece, after the loss of the girl's mother, the chef's sister. Also tells the story of this woman's love of cooking and what transpires in a restaurant in Germany. It's a very good film. I don't want to spoil the story for you all. Watch and enjoy! In German with English sub-titles.

For kids, teachers, and parents

Good morning! Once again, I quietly push against the tides of time. Reading posts, writing other posts in response. Kids are watching Thomas the Tank. Wilma is napping to the music of songs in honor of Martin Luther King.

I've been roaming Yahoo posts again. Last few were in the area of literature. I've been doing some study of children's literature. In the area of non-fiction, for anyone from middle school on up who would like to learn or review their Balkan history, I recommend:

Kosovo the Splintering of Yugoslavia, by Tricia Andryszewski. 1998. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press.
ISBN 0-7613-1750-3

Also, for American history, here's

An Album of the American Revolution, by Leonard W. Ingraham. 1971. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc.
SBN 531-01511-4

Good reading!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Die Seiten sind unbeschrieben. The pages are blank.

And suddenly, they are not so. But my mind, is it not all a jumble? I had just a little while ago finished reading out loud to Annie Franck from Alice in Wonderland, assisting her in play-acting the scenes out. Now the girl and her brother are in the kitchen playing. Gareth is on the wheeled hobby-horse, and Hannah is trying to direct him to stay in some spot, and getting rather frustrated at her toddler brother's failure to follow directions. Ah, well, I'd better intervene.

Wilma is in the bedroom napping.

And I'd like to take one or both children to the Hispanic Mass at St. Jude's which is celebrated at 13:00.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Remembering Kosova

I found a book on the children's shelves, Kosovo the Splintering of Yugoslavia. by Tricia Andryszewski. copyright 2000, by Millbrook Press in Brookfield, Connecticut. I've yet to read all the book, but it looks like a good way to teach our children what happened there. My daughter is disappointed because it doesn't contain any photographs of mines, which apparently fascinate her.

I've taught her a little mine recognition and safety, using a coloring book provided by the United Nations, published all in Serbian or Croatian, and Albanian. We have all versions in house.

One of her first words, when she first started to verbalize, was the Albanian "Tungjateta!" She just thought it sounded funny, and would break into laughter whenever she heard it.

I'd better get away from the terminal. My daughter is threatening me never to play if I don't play "treasure" with her.

Learning to write cursive, Russian and English

My daughter Annie Franck and I did a little cursive practice on sheets I copied from one of my Russian language workbooks. Together, we did A,B,C, D, E, the Russian letter Zh, and the Z. As we began, we were fortunate to hear Nora Jones perform a version of her song, I wonder why? to teach the letter "y."

Now where did that German workbook get to? Two days ago, Annie got to take three stickers out and place them on the table, the lamp, and another I forget to practice the words Tisch, Lampe, and ?... Her German is actually very good. I am making better efforts at developing mine. The day before yesterday, I met one of the German women in our town, who is waitressing at another restaurant than the one at which we first met her. She's got a son Altgeld's age. I suggested they get together with Wilma and our children, visit and speak in German together.

I realize it will take longer to learn more languages, and we do have our language priorities. First English, then German and Spanish, more or less as opportunity presents itself, then Russian or Irish or Arabic. We will be travelling some day, and I hope some of this will prepare us for the different encounters and experiences that develop.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Burning the candle at both ends again

Going to be getting up at 06:30 tomorrow. Who knows if I'll be teaching this class for the last day tomorrow, or if the mother of this lady teacher is going to be needing care for longer.

These kids pose the biggest disciplin problem I've faced so far.

I'm going to be reading up on how to manage class room discipline this week end. And I'll be reading Ms. Frizzle's blog.

Have got to get some sleep. In the meantime, to liven your internet reading time, I leave you with a story of a bounty hunter who set out to make an elite organization of bounty hunters. His name is Joshua Armstrong.

The music for tomorrow is either Rachmaninoff or Chopin. The color is pine green. The goddess of the day is Freya. The book of the day is The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien. And the car of the day is an Austen Mini.

Way past my bedtime

So much to do, so very much to digest, so much to write, such little time.

Tomorrow another early rising to go sub for a sixth grade math class. Oh man, wait till I tell y'all.

My Granta arrived in the mail!

Did I say tomorrow? I meant, later on today, this morning! Good night!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Writer's Block

Yeah, I must admit to myself I've had this more often than I had cared to realize. Yes, I may have been in denial.

But I stumbled on a thread in Yahoo which was actually not people dissing each other, cursing, flaming. It's on resolving writer's block.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

More BookCrossing

I had a lot of fun Sunday morning registering books, writing the release notes, and "seeding" them throughout an area along four or five miles on the highway which runs north and south, from South Carolina to Florida's St. Mary's River and Okefenokee Swamp. It gave me a whole new perspective to places I had come to take for granted, or just thought not exciting.

I drove by the car wash this morning. The paperback I'd left on top of the drink machine is still there. I don't even remember what it was... you can go to

This evening I'm leaving a copy of The Return of the King in the reference section of the small library at the Technological College.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Not enough time to read all the news I'd like

Good day's work I did, teaching math.

You can learn more about Ireland and goings-on through BBC. Here's a story about this character the authorities have released in N. Ireland.

Bain sult as an l?
/ Enjoy the day

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Spread the knowledge

This morning I found BookCrossing. At this site you can register books which then you can place anywhere you think someone may notice them, pick them up, and take them to read or share. You can also participate in a sort of game by following directions or clues to find books other people have left "in the wild." Here are my first offerings.

Friday, January 07, 2005


I've found where I can order copies of this book, by the canon Peadar tAchta ua Laogaire. I'm getting psyched.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Just beginning to learn the old Irish legends

I've heard of the Ulster Cycle. This includes the stories of Cuchullin. But what is the Fenian Cycle?

Ah so here is a very brief description of the four great cycles of Irish legend...

1. The Mythological Cycle: stories of the Tuatha Te' Dunaan, goddess Dana's people, who inhabited Eire before the coming of the sons of Mil, whose descendants are the current people of Ireland.
2. The Ulster Cycle, the Red Branch Cycle, mainly about King Conchobar and Cuchullin
3. The Fenian Cycle, the Ossianic Cycle. Of Finn Mc Cool
4. The Historical Cycle. A miscellany centred on the various high kings.

The Betrayal of the Sons of Usnach

I have this hard-bound book which is scarcely larger than a pocket book, of Irish Sagas and Folktales. This is by Eileen O'Faolain. I have enjoyed reading from it, and am still doing so, just having finished the story of the Naisi orNaoise, and his brothers, the sons of Usnach. Now I've found another version of the Betrayal of the Usnach, of which Megan Powell has put her copyright on a version of the old Irish legend.

It was hard for me to find a link to a review of O'Faolain's book. Am still looking. I would like to do the first review for Amazon, but they aren't paying me, and in order to log in and write a review I have to give them a credit card number. Uh uh, not yet. I'm not about to donate my services to that giant. Maybe some independent, small book seller.

Anybody have any inside connections to Amazon to where they'd pay me for my reviews?

I'm going to commit as much of the Cuchullin and Fin Mac Cool stories to memory, and pass them on to my children and others. Already at the school where I sub, one of the students asked me to teach him some Irish language and poetry.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Midwestern English and the cot/caught merger

I had been aware that my speech was taking on more and more of the Southern English accent and dialect as my years living south of the Mason Dixon line grew into decades. But I still think I have remnants or aspects of the Midwestern or Midlands American English dialect. I'll be looking into this as I record myself speaking at the workplaces, home, and about the country.

I do know my wife and I have had strange reactions to hearing our four year old come back with a marked Georgia drawl, especially in her pronunciation of words which as I grew up were to be said with a long i, e.g. "nine," "fine," and "wine." We both have found ourselves asking her to speak the words with a Standard English in our house, so as to be able to switch back and forth when she needs or finds it comfortable to do so.

"Do you speak American?"

I just got out of the kitchen from watching a documentary titled "Do You Speak American?" which aired on PBS from 20:00 till 22:00. I think its producers were some of the same folks who did the History of the English Language film some twenty years ago.

This film tonight depicted the growth and variety of the dialects of English spoken in America, or the United States of America, today. Languagehat wrote an entry in his linguistical and philological web log. When I get back from the Reidsville Book Club tomorrow, I'll take a look at the PBS website. Today and for the next two days I'll be substituting for a sixth grade math teacher, for eight hours a day, so this week will finish up busy.

I'll post this now, and will probably come revise and edit it later. Would like to get this bait in the cyberspacial waters now.

Got The Hightower Lowdown

Jim Hightower's 'zine came in the mail yesterday or the day before. I'll post some of his findings later on tonight. In the meanwhile, you can read it at his website.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

mid-morning, Tuesday 4 January 2005

Writer's bloc do I have, or am I just lazy? Distracted? Maybe a little of all of these and more. What's the problem? For one, I've an essay I want to finish on flag etiquette. Then there is that pesky end of term report. And finishing my workbooks for my dispatching job.

At least I finished reading Harper's review for the week.

Oh, and there's the issue of exercise. And I promised my son we'd do that.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Travels to Marrakesh

I think that every week I'll feature a different country from the Arab speaking world here. Next Friday we'll start with Morocco, and work our way east.

To this day I wonder what ever happened to Bill Inglebright, who told me the day I ran into him at Manny's Pancake House, that he and his girlfriend were travelling thus, on the train from Morocco to Turkey. That was one spring day in 1985. I have never heard from him since.

Bill Inglebright introduced me to Zen Buddhism back in 1978-79, when I was a senior in English, where the teacher was Mr. Allard. This was at Galesburg Senior High School, Knox County, Illinois 61401. I was very straight-laced then. I thought Bill was something of a dumb jock, but he showed me, to my embarassment, that I had mis-judged him. He was actually very intelligent, wise, and humble enough to keep this on the down and low. Sure do miss him.

Hope for Ireland during the holidays--let's pray!

US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss has been trying to help the peace process in North Ireland, while at talks in Leeds Castle. The BBC published "IRA photos still on agenda" on the 18th December last year.

""There was an opportunity to try and see if we could bridge the divide between the DUP and Sinn Fein over photos and so it seemed to me that it might be possible to delay the publication of the photos as a way to address the concerns on both sides," he said."

Have learned about another great Irish writer

Recently I happened upon a discovery through the Gaelic pages of the Blas site of BBC North Ireland. Since I can't read yet the Irish, I took a name which seemed interesting, from the heading History, and ran it though a search engine. I got an English language copy of an article by Nollaig O' Gadhra, who seems to be himself a scholar or writer of some note.

So Mr. O'Gadhra wrote about this Canon, An tAthair Peadar Ua Laoghaire, a priest in Ireland who, it is said, pioneered modern Irish prose about the same time Joyce was away in Paris putting down the words to Ulysses. Or so I understand. I'm going to look up this man's works. S?adna and Mo Sc?al F?in were taught in Irish schools for years.

Recalled O'Gadhra during a lecture in Guag?n Barra, in the West Cork Gaeltacht, "It is a pity that more has not been done by official and academic bodies, especially in Cork, this year to remember An tAthair Peadar or at least to recall his achievements in context so that children would not grow up with a belief that Bloomsday was about the only thing that was going on in Dublin or in Ireland in 1904 and that some effort would be made by our media and literary critics to recall the full mixture of forces that moulded the Ireland of the first decade of the 20th century."

Taking up Arabic again.

I kind of remember posting my New Years' Resolutions on the blog last year. I wonder if I can salvage the list? The other day I looked in my archives, and I don't think they went back that far. Anyhow, learning Arabic is again on my list, and I've picked up a second wind. Thanks to Talib Deen, who gave me some encouragement, and thanks to others too.

Some books I'd ordered to read to my children, which teach the numbers and colors in Arabic are helping too. Tonights' feature was the Milet Mini Picture Dictionary, by Sedat Turham and Sally Hagin, which you can order from www. out of London, England.

While you're waiting for that book, you may check out this.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

What I've been reading New Year's Day weekend

Happy New Year! This is my first post of the year on this blog. This introduction to Clive Barker I'll be re-writing, but to get the ball rolling here goes. Have just finished his The Great and Secret Show, early this Sunday morning. A few days ago I re-read Weaveworld. I enjoyed that the most of all his works, I think.

Barker is a writer of great imagination and accomplishment. It would please me to share with others some thoughts on his work and life.

Also found these sites on C.B.: