Thursday, June 23, 2011

SpongeBob Squarepants--in Gaelic!

My friend Paul Curran sent me a link to the song and video of "SpongeBob Squarepants" in Irish-Gaelic. Surely this is a sign of the apocalypse!

Here's the text of the song:

Spongebob Squarepants
Cé chónaíonn in anann ar bhun an aigéin? SpongeBob Squarepants
É súiteach, is buí agus pórúil ann féin. SpongeBob Squarepants
Más roinnt meidhreacht mhara‘tá uait i do chroí. SpongeBob Squarepants
Bhuel, sruthlaigh an deic agus téimís ag spraoi SpongeBob Square pants..... 

Click on this link to hear it:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Karan Casey, the Great Irish Singer, at Cain Park

This past Saturday some friends and I saw Karan Casey and John Doyle perform at Evans Amphitheatre at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights. We got to see one of the world's great singers sing in one of Cleveland's best performance venues. The crowd was small but enthusiastic for Karen Casey's performance. I've seen this before when a world class artist plays before a small audience. One instance comes to mind around 1977 or so when Malcolm Dalglish, perhaps the world's greatest hammered dulcimer player, and Grey Larsen, flute, whistle, concertina, and fiddle player extraordinaire, played at Jim Tarbell's "Arnold's Bar and Grill" in Cincinnati to a very small audience (with no cover charge!). That night, as with this past Saturday, I felt both blessed and a little sad that great artistry is not always recognized.

I was aware of Karan Casey's extraordinary voice but knew nothing about John Doyle. I found him a very good singer and a tremendous guitarist. Casey and Doyle work very well together. They performed many songs from their latest cd--traditional folk songs, including a very old Childe ballad. Also included were some works from the Irish-American group Solas. One remarkable song was called "The World Turned Upside Down--The Diggers Song," and is set some 360 years ago in the era when English landlords were dispossessing the native Irish. Here are the powereful lyrics:

In sixteen forty-nine to Saint George's Hill

A ragged band they called the Diggers came to show the people's will

They defied the landlords, they defied the law

They were the dispossessed, reclaiming what was theirs

"We come in peace," they said, "to dig and sow

We come to work the land in common and to make the waste ground grow

This earth divided we will make whole

So it can be a common treasury for all

The sin of property we do disdain

No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain

By theft and murder they steal the land

Now everywhere the walls rise up at their command

They make the laws to chain us well

The clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damn us into hell

We will not worship the god they serve

They god of greed who feeds the rich while poor folk starve

We work, we eat together, we need no swords

We will not bow to the masters or pay rent to the lords

Still we are free men though we are poor

You Diggers all, stand up for glory, stand up now"

From the men of property the order came

They sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Diggers' claim

Tear down their cottages, destroy their corn

They were dispersed, but still the vision carries on

You poor, take courage, you rich, take care

This earth was made a common treasury for everyone to share

All things in common, all people one

We come in peace, the order came to cut them down

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Congratulations, Colin!

Colin, my beautiful grandson, is ten months old today--and he just started walking! A great achievement (yet, of course, one that we all accomplish). Walking takes balance, strength, coordination. And it is accomplished after so much falling. The great strength of babies is that they don't let failure, don't let falling, stop them. They won't be discouraged! If a human could take this approach throughout life--can you imagine what could be accomplished?

As we would say in Irish-Gaelic, Maith Thú, a Colin! Good for you, boy-o!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Carolan's Blog from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The following can be found at the website of the Southwest Conservation Corps. The original has 2 beautiful photos with it:

"Teetering on the Precipice of a Promising Season"

Posted by SCC on Sunday, May 29th, 2011.

Written by Carolan Coughlin, a crew leader with the Los Valles Region:

The Beginning of the Blizzard

Here I am, reporting on the glory felt by all on the first of many 9-day hitches. Reflecting back on the blur of the busy days brings on a bout of dizziness. My mind swirls, trying to fit names to each of the delicious multi-colored mush-like dinners, trying to recall when the winter blizzards abated and when the hot mountain sun surged upon us, trying to timeline the lessons and to puzzle together the nights of hilarity with the quiet nights when we all thankfully and immediately sought out warm sleeping bags and private tent-caves.

But of course, this hitch was also made of some memorable moments. Nate, another crew leader, and I spent an afternoon trying to perfectly set our crocodile- shaped rock for a French Drain. The numbness of the icy water crept up my arms as I pivoted the rock, pulled up delicate handfuls of sandy soil, and constantly glanced at the sky, silently urging the sun to come out and bring feeling back to my fingers. The crocodile was stubborn, as rocks tend to be, and the icy water stayed icy and the sun did not heal my numbness — but the satisfaction of setting the rock helped a bit of feeling rush back through my body.

Nate, Amy, and Brandon checking out the view from the N. Crestone trail

Another day of hitch, we rejoiced in hiking to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness sign, which, becauce of breakage, read “Angre de Cristo.” “Uh oh!” we joked, “Looks like we are actually in the Anger of Christ Mountains!” (Which is, of course, a pretend translation.) Bad joke. The next day, the mountains and the snow showed us their anger, with 6+” of snow, a blowing howl of wind, and, at times, near white out. It’s hard to work on a trail when you can’t even find it! But even hard weather couldn’t hide the beauty of this area. I sat at lunch, shivering and stunned, overwhlemed by both the cold and an appreciation of silent, frozen winter mountain minutes.

Incredibly bad expedition hairstyles (evidently an “expedition behavior” faux pas) and booming Italian operas carried us through the rest of the days, and we emerged, dirty, smelly, satisfied. And ready for a burger, a shower, and a nap.

Happy Bloomsday 2011!

The action in James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place on a single day in Dublin, Ireland--June 16, 1904. It is said that that day marked James Joyce's first outing with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. In the book, the protagonist is Leopold Bloom (his wife is Molly Bloom). Ulysses may be the great novel written in the English language; it may well be the greatest unread novel in English, along with Moby Dick.

It is a great book even if not the most accessible. The final chapter of Ulysses is a wonderful lyrical love poem, the poem of "Yes." (Read it to find out what I mean.)

There are events celebrating Bloomsday all over the world (and the day has been celebrated beginning in 1954, the 50th anniversary of June 16, 1904). One event going on in Cleveland is a marathon reading of Ulysses at Nighttown, the great pub of Brendan Ring in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Of course Brendan's pub is named after the redlight district of Dublin that James Joyce knew and featured in his novel.

There was a nice article on the Nighttown reading of Ulysses that appeared in the Plain Dealer, the storyt is available at at this link:

To your memory and artistry, James Joyce. Slainte!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Billboard Seen in Nelsonville, Ohio Protesting Senate Bill 5

We saw this billboard in Nelsonville, Ohio--about 20 miles north of Athens, Ohio, where we attended my daughter Emily's college graduation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Denny Coughlin!

Happy Birthday to my brother Denny, my partner in crime (well--mostly mischief, not so many crimes) from childhood to adulthood.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Irish Blessing, in Irish-Gaelic and English

Irish Blessing

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d'aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

Approximate Phonetic Transcription:

/guh NARE-ee un BOE-her LAHT/

/guh RAH un GHEE guh BRAH egg duh KHOOL/
/guh LAHN-ree un GHREE-un guh TAY er DIE-eee/
/guh DITCH-uh un WAH-shtakh guh MEEN er duh FARK-ahn-nuh/
/AH-gus guh MU-uh-lih-midge luh KHAY-luh uh-REESH/
/guh GHINN-ee DEE-uh ih MUSS ah LAW-vuh HOO/

[The capitalized syllables above receive more stress. What I transcribe with "kh" is written "ch" in Irish, and represents the sound at the end of the word "loch" (lake) or the "ch" in German words like nicht or Nacht. Some Irish sounds can only be phonetically represented by a system like the International Phonetic Alphabet, which I don't have access to. Irish has many dialects, and I think my pronunciation is a mishmash of dialects. Imagine speaking an American dialect with elements of John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Dennis Kucinich--that's what my Irish pronunciation is probably like.]

I'll try to find a way to post an audio or video version of the blessing (haven't figured out how to do that yet).

Traditional Translation:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

[A more idiomatic translation of line 1 is something like “May you be successful.” But I love the strangeness and poetry of “May the road rise to meet you.” Literally the verb “éirigh” means “to rise,” but in this context it means “to be successful.”]