FINDING “THE QUIET MAN” – SEPTEMBER 1990

Fandango’s Dog Days of August #1 – Ireland, September 1990

I’m not sure what makes this month more of a dog than any other month. Meanwhile, the happiest critter in the house is Duke. He’s always happy and usually hungry Here’s a rerun of the best vacation ever: our honeymoon in Ireland. I always hoped we’d go back, but it didn’t happen. Whenever we had time, we didn’t have money. When we had money, we didn’t have time. Today, we have memories and a whole lot of non-digital photographs. I’m running a couple of days behind on links and probably will. So just … well … deal with it.

💚💚💚💚💚

In 1990 in Ireland, Garry and I decided to find where they had filmed John Ford’s “The Quiet Man.” We were in the right location and it turned out that we were not the only seekers of that location. There were little maps that showed you where to go, where to walk. You couldn’t get there by car alone. You had to park, then trek through a field where sheep roamed — which is not good for your shoes.

Maureen O’Hara had to do one scene in a field like that barefoot and she said it was absolutely disgusting. I’d probably have to wash my feet at least 100 times before I thought they might be clean enough to go to bed with me.

Cong, September 1990

Anyway, we got maps and we got moving and then, we saw it. We didn’t see the cottage because except for a bit of rubble, the cottage was completely gone. It wasn’t even the remnants of the cottage. A few rocks and that was it. But the setting was the same. The stream across which they drove the carriage and the long field.

Ireland

We followed the track, explored, and then went back to town. Many scenes for the film were actually shot in and around the village of Cong, County Mayo, on the grounds of Cong’s Ashford Castle. Cong is now a wealthy small town and the castle a 5-star luxury hotel, but when we were there, it was another small, struggling town who were trying to keep the remnants of the movie’s fame because that was the only notable thing which had ever happened there. Now that we live in a small town, we get it. If anyone made a major motion picture here, you can bet it would be the feature of everything.

Somewhere in Ireland

That was our “track following.” It was a lot of fun. I have followed a few other tracks. I followed a mountain path up Mount Gilboa to see the wild irises in bloom and climbed down Land’s End. So there have been a few tracks I have followed around the world. But this was the most fun.

TODAY IS NATIONAL ASSHOLE AWARENESS DAY!

There has never been a dearth of assholes in our world, but I think this past year has raised it to a level of importance it never previously possessed.The assholes are everywhere! They are the ones who still think the pandemic is a joke, who don’t care who gets sick because of them. They are our glorious leader and his lying tribunes.

Obviously, we all know who the biggest asshole of them all is, but please don’t forget the rest of the crowd. Because no one should be forgotten!


No need to name America’s biggest asshole. We all know him.


I have to thank my husband and his friends for bringing this important holiday to my attention. I had long felt that the morons, jerks, and assholes in our lives were not getting the recognition they deserve.

Often ignored and disrespected, this is a special day, dedicated to them all. The assholes we love, the ones we meet on the street. The ones we worked with and for. And most especially, for those we elected to run the nations of the world. If you voted for an asshole, please feel free to add yourself to the list.


To all assholes everywhere, this is for you.


Obviously, we have one overwhelming asshole, but he has gotten more than enough recognition. I think we should try to remember our local and less-international assholes. Not world leaders, yet somehow, they manage to get under your skin. They are the people you really don’t want to invite to your next party, but sometimes, you just don’t have a choice.

We worked for them and with them. We’ve lived with them. We are related to them.

This is your day, assholes. Enjoy!


AND A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO GRACE WHO SENT ME THE PERFECT SONG TO GO WITH THE MEDAL.
MAYBE WE SHOULD JUST KEEP THIS UP ALL YEAR ROUND.
YOU JUST CAN’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF ASSHOLES.


 

AN ODD ST. PATRICK’S DAY POST – GARRY ARMSTRONG

St. Patrick’s Day usually is a cause for upbeat feelings around here.  But the 2020 version brings no joy.

The Coronavirus aka “The Satan Bug” has thrown cold water on worldwide celebrations. Hell froze over in Ireland where all pubs were ordered closed as safety measures. It became clear the action was necessary when bleary-eyed celebrants seemed oblivious to the danger of public gatherings right now.

Irish Eyes are not smiling in Boston where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has also been canceled. No parade. No boisterous parties with green beer spouting from spigots hither and yon. No one day Irishmen puking their guts on the streets of revelry.

Shamrocks

I usually covered St. Patrick’s Day for the Boston TV station where I toiled for 31 years.   Yes, I hauled out my green corduroy sports jacket, dark green dress shirt, plaid green tie, and loden green khakis. I topped it off with some awful green-tinged tobacco in my pipe which was constantly lit through the long, loud and off-key version of “Danny Boy,” “Galway Bay,” and “Wild, Colonial Boy” streaming out of myriad pubs I visited for stories.

Each stop required I share a pint or two with the regulars to confirm my Irish roots. The legend had become fact after our 1990 Irish Honeymoon where I learned, to my great surprise, that I indeed had Irish ancestors.  It made me something of a local hero in Southie (South Boston) where Irish Boyos are regarded with esteem.

Our news “live shots” were always a challenge on St. Patrick’s Day. No way of dispersing the lively crowds who surrounded our camera and equipment, serenading me as I delivered my reports with exuberance. I frequently was doused with “good stuff” as I wrapped up my reports. I’m proud to say it WAS good stuff, usually Guinness. Sometimes Guinness and Irish Whiskey, depending on the crowd’s affection for me. Ah, those were the days.

All the old school Irish Pols showed up, telling the same tales about the good old days with “himself,” James Michael Curley, the legendary Boston Mayor of “The Last Hurrah” fame. Crime usually took a partial day off. Lots of drunks and disorderlies but few hardcore, violent felonies. There was a line you didn’t cross on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

From “The Quiet Man”

Then – as now – I looked forward to the traditional viewings of “The Quiet Man”.  I remember one year, Marilyn and I watched the John Ford classic about the ‘old country’ on several stations running the film simultaneously. You could catch John Wayne courting Maureen O’Hara for several hours all over the TV channels. When we watch “The Quiet Man”, Marilyn and I exchange smiles, taking in the places we visited on our honeymoon, including young Sean Thornton’s cabin which was still in decent shape in 1990.  No, I never give Marilyn a whack on her backside. John  Wayne could do that to Maureen O’Hara but not Garry Armstrong to his Marilyn.

“The Quiet Man” will air tonight at 8pm our local time and I wonder how it will feel on another day of the Coronavirus, the political follies and our general sense of melancholy. I’m putting my money on Young Sean Thornton,  Red Will Danaher and all the rest of those folks from Innisfree to bolster our spirits on THIS St. Patrick’s Day.

Any question about who’s the best man in Innisfree?

ROSES FOR THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

February 14 – Roses for Valentine’s Day


For everyone who celebrates the holiday, happy Valentines’ Day!

WHAT YEAR IS IT? – Marilyn Armstrong

It will probably take me until sometime in March before I know what year to schedule my posts. So far, each post for 2020 has been posted for 2019. After that, I have to find it because I don’t remember where it might be. The short cut mean I have to remember its title. No, I do NOT remember the titles of mine or anyone else’s posts. If I’m lucky, I remember one word that’s unique I can search for. I also don’t remember anyone’s names, faces, or directions. I can usually recognize buildings, if they have a sign in front telling me what they are.

My kind of calendar

I have been lost my entire life. My mother never understood when I said I was late and had gotten lost, usually someplace less than a mile from home, I wasn’t making up a story. I really was lost. I get lost in large houses, too and in buildings where all the hallways look the same. It’s humiliating. I’ve gotten lost on my way to the same doctor I’ve been visiting for 10 years because it snowed and everything looked different. I don’t recognize people if they aren’t wearing their usual clothing or they got a haircut or removed a beard.

Old year, new year

And this whole “change of year” stuff? I’m going to be writing the wrong date for months. By the time I get it together with the calendar, it’ll be just about time to flip to the next one. I also forget to change the month and year when I’m reblogging.

How pathetic is this? Pretty bad!

THE YEAR IS NOT NEW…I MEAN THE YEAR IN REVIEW – By TOM CURLEY

It’s that time of the year again. At the end of the year. In more normal times, the time of the year we look back, reflect and get shit-faced drunk on the last day hoping the next one will be better. For the last few years, we changed that to looking back in dread of the current year and looking forward with sheer terror to the next.

One tradition that hasn’t changed is the “Year-End Review.” All the media does it.  I know, I used to have to put the damn video packages together for many, many years.

I HATE YEAR-END REVIEWS.

So, in what has now become a year-end tradition, I give you “The Only Year End Review You Need.”

It’s short, to the point and has no pictures. Not because it doesn’t need them. It does. I’m just too lazy to look any up and I’m really into a video game that I want to get back to. I’d do this later but it’s the end of the year and I’m running out of time.

Curse the March of Time!

Here it is.

JANUARY:  Oh God, it still sucks.

FEBRUARY: It still sucks. And it’s really cold. And what the fuck is a “Polar Vortex?”

MARCH: Well, there’s always the Mueller Report.

APRIL: The Mueller Report is out!!

MAY: We waited two years for that???

JUNE: It just keeps getting worse.

AUGUST: Well, at least it’s warm. The warmest month in history. Great.

SEPTEMBER: They might impeach him!

OCTOBER:  Who was I kidding?

NOVEMBER: Holy Shit, they actually might impeach him!

DECEMBER: Holy Fuck! They impeached him! Yes! Wait, oh yeah, the Senate. Damn, this year sucked.

But there is hope. Next year is 2020. An election year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s just hope it’s not an oncoming train.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/wirral-leaks-advent-calendar-day-3-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel/

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S EVE?

Who Sang It Best? by Rich Paschall

Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Oh, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year’s?
New Year’s eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly twelve o’clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year’s eve

Maybe I’m crazy to suppose
I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You received

Oh, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year’s?
New Year’s Eve?

Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) wrote the song in 1947 and it was first recorded by Margaret Whiting that same year. You can hear it above, but we could find no actual video of her singing it.

The doo-wop group The Orieoles had a hit with it in 1949 which stayed on the charts into 1950. That is the second You Tube video above.

The perpetually cute Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt posted a rather amateur video of this in 2011 which has gone viral. It has well over 20 million views.  It is the third video above.

A few years ago we posted a New Year’s article that included Seth MacFarlane singing the song with an added intro that many have used. MacFarlane is the creator of some of your animated favorites and voices multiple characters on his show, Family Guy. The multi talented performer is quite a singer as well and you can check that out here.

Frank Loesser did not intend for the song to be a holiday tune. He was looking well off into the future, “Maybe it’s much too early in the game.” According to his daughter, Susan, “It always annoyed my father when the song was sung during the holidays.”

Who do you think sang it best?

Sources: Song facts, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?song-facts.com
What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS BY CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE – Marilyn Armstrong

By Clement Clarke Moore


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads.

1864
1864

And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

1883
1883

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

1886
1886

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;
“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

1896
1896

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys — and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack.

1898
1898

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

1901
1901

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

A PERFECT GIFT – Marilyn Armstrong

“I want these earrings, or something as close to it as you can find,” I said, handing him the picture, item number and the website address. The trouble is, my husband doesn’t take orders. If I say I want those earrings, he will buy the other ones because he likes them better. Which would be fine, if he were going to wear them.

I am pretty good at following orders, but it isn’t much fun.  I always tried to find something a little creative … until I realized he didn’t want something unique. He wanted that shirt, that sweatshirt. He didn’t want different colors. He wanted it to look exactly like all his other ties, all his other shirts.

A couple of years ago, my best friend got desperate. She bought the beautiful hand-made leather bag she wanted, handed it to her husband. “Wrap it up,” she said. “You just bought my Christmas present.”

That is one approach. I came up with an alternative.

We buy each other something relatively small for Christmas — an “under the tree” gift. We try to be sure it’s something each of us wants. Amazon wish lists can be a big help (just saying). After Christmas, we go shopping. He gets the stuff he wants and tries it on. So what if it’s the same items he always buys? It’s his choice.

I buy the earrings I want, a sweater that fits. The electronic gadget I’ve been yearning for, the lens on my wish list.

We are both happy. We shop together, share the experience, get to make suggestions, offer input and have a lot of fun. Prices are always rock-bottom after the holidays are over and if you wait a few extra days, the stores aren’t crowded. It totally removes the stress from trying to find a perfect gift.

It turns out if you bring the recipient with you, he or she can choose and they will always find the perfect gift.

“‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND UP IN THE HOLLOWS” – BY KIM HARRISON

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows . . .

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.

The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.

So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.

When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.

Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”

I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold.  We were in it thigh deep.

‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.

His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed.

The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.

“Morgan, you witch.  You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church.  There’s no place to hide!”

Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.

But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.

“You loser,” I shouted.  “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.

Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”

With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.

I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’

“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.

My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.

The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.

So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.

But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”

Kim Harrison
December 14th, 2005

Kim and Guy wish you and yours all the best of the holiday season and a glowing new year. Happy Holidays!

 

THE SURPRISING CHRISTMAS – Rich Paschall

A family plus one holiday tale

by Richard Paschall

72-Christmas Eve_013Kyle was coming home for Christmas. He was bringing with him his college roommate. The boys met during freshman year and became fast friends. Somehow they maneuvered the dorm manager into assigning them to be roommates for sophomore year. There was no one on earth Kyle would rather spend time with than Michael.

So, he was glad Michael agreed to come to dinner on Christmas Eve. This was in exchange for Kyle agreeing to go to Michael’s parents’ house on Christmas day for dinner. Michael was going to make a big announcement to his parents and of course Kyle had to be there.

Kyle’s father had slipped into a den on the east side of the house. All of the family noise was a bit more than his reserved nature could take. Kyle’s sister, Mary, who was 8 years younger than Kyle, was louder than usual, and no matter how many times grandma told Mary to “quiet down,” things didn’t get quieter.

The threat of Christmas carols by Mary and Uncle Roy was enough to drive dad into the den. There, he immediately made haste to the bar where a glass of sherry seemed to be in order. Dad only drank a sherry on special occasions and this certainly was one of them.

It was dark now and the neighbors across the street had turned on their Christmas lights. Almost everyone on the block had a nice display so the street was well-lit. Kyle’s dad was drawn to the window to see the lights, look at the gentle snow flurries and enjoy a moment of peace.

As he stood there sipping his sherry and waiting for Kyle to appear, he finally spotted his only son walking quickly down the street with another young man right behind. As they got to the walkway that led up to the house they stopped to exchange a few words. Then a sight took dad’s wondering eyes totally by surprise. Kyle kissed the other boy. It was not a short kiss, but long and passionate which they both seemed to enjoy.

Soon Kyle rang the doorbell just to announce their arrival before he put his key in the lock and opened the door. Off the entranceway on the left was a door to the den. Kyle’s father was standing in the doorway just staring at the two. Kyle’s mom came through a big archway on the right that led to the living room. Mary was close behind and eager to see her brother and his friend. Uncle Roy and grandma did not vacate their seats. They knew the rest would join them soon.

First Kyle walked over to his father and said, “Dad this is my room-mate, Michael.” The roommate held out his hand and the father shook it. “I am pleased to meet you, sir. Kyle says such wonderful things about the family.”

Kyle’s dad just sort of nodded at that, while studying this stranger in his home. The silence was out of character for the head of the household and a bit of a surprise to everyone except Michael, and that is only because Michael did not know him.

Then Kyle introduced Michael to his mother and his “little brat sister” Mary. Michael held out his hand to each in turn but the little brat held out her hand instead as if he was supposed to take it and kiss it, so he did and she squealed and ran from the room. At that Kyle’s mom offered to introduce Michael to the others. Kyle’s father then announced to all, “We will join you in a moment.”

With a more serious tone, father said, “Kyle, would you step in here for a moment, please?” This was not a question but rather a command of the type Kyle knew was not good. As the father retreated into the room Kyle followed. Before turning around dad said, “Close the door.”

last snow low contrast winter

Kyle only took a few short steps before his father turned around. He looked at him as if he had never seen him before. It was the strangest look Kyle had ever seen from his father. “Kyle, is there something you should be telling me?” the “official business” dad said in an odd businesslike tone. Kyle figured it was some sort of trick question but knew he should answer it anyway.

“No, dad. I don’t think so.” This clearly was the wrong answer. His dad did not say a thing but his body language spoke volumes and Kyle became as nervous as a first-grader who has been caught stealing Oreos from the kitchen. Now the master of the den, the commander of the car keys and the payer of his tuition walked slowly to the window, looked around the outside and turned to Kyle.

“You know, son, that there is a great view of the neighborhood from this window. You can see all of the beautiful Christmas displays across the street. You can see a nice Christmas snow flurry. You can see everyone walking down the sidewalk and turning up the walkway toward the house.” At that Kyle’s father fixed his sights squarely on Kyle and said, “So now is there anything you should tell me?”

Kyle stood motionless as his dad threw a stare at him that went right through and hit the door behind. It took Kyle almost an entire minute before he realized what his father had seen from the window of the den. All the while, that whole long minute of time, Kyle’s father stood there waiting.

Uxb Common Christmas Poster

Kyle wanted to begin “I’m sorry dad…,” but nothing came out of his mouth. He was so nervous and so afraid of his father’s reaction that he could say nothing. It is not that he wanted to be silent, he just couldn’t speak. Fear of saying the wrong thing paralyzed his tongue for the moment. Finally, Kyle’s father just nodded that same nod he gave Michael when he was introduced, walked around Kyle, opened the door and walked across the foyer to the living room.

Kyle was knocked off his spot when his mother’s voice came floating into the room. “Kyle, don’t be rude. Come join your guest.” Kyle shuffled across the hall and searched around the room for Michael. He did not look at anyone else as his eyes avoided everyone but Michael. At that moment, with a room full of family, he had no way of telling his mate that he needed a hug and he thought he might need to cry. After a little small talk by grandma and Uncle Roy, Kyle’s mom asked them all to go to the dining room. Christmas Eve dinner was ready.

“Michael, you sit right there next to Kyle and Kyle will sit next to me. I have this end of the table and Kyle’s father will carve things up at that end of the table. Uncle Roy will be there next to you and grandma and Mary will be on the other side.” At that, the little brat sister ran around the table and dropped herself on the chair opposite Kyle. She looked at him with a smirk as if she knew his little secret and was going to blurt it out if he did not stop calling her a brat.

72-GAR-Night-Uxbridge-121015_005

Everyone sat in silence until Kyle’s mother looked down the length of the table and said to her husband. “Sweetheart, will you say grace for us?” There was a long, awkward pause before he said, “No. Tonight Kyle will lead the prayer.”

At that instant, Kyle prayed that something, anything that made sense would come out of his mouth. All eyes were on him as he began, “Bless us, oh Lord…” The words that fell out of Kyle’s mouth were for blessing and thanksgiving, but in his heart, he was praying for acceptance.

That became the only gift he truly wanted for Christmas this year.

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Christmas Memories


2003

From 2003, granddaughter Kaity putting the topper on the tree. Sixteen year later, she is all grown up.

Merry Christmas to all!