Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cold But Good

Not long back from Christmas skite into the West. First stop was the hilly wilds of County Sligo and Finn's Dad's big round house. Finn was working the day before Christmas Eve so we left in the Christmasmobile late that night. The car was strewn with tinsel and the singing Santa head went in the back with the stuffed cat. We had hot punch in a flask, mince pies and chocolate treats, and sang along with the carols on the tapedeck. Yeah, we're Christmas bunnies (or is that reindeer? elves?) It was a good journey up and we arrived in time for soup and bed. Christmas Day itself was great - lots of guests, food, charades, and watching of films (Mama Mia & Once). We relaxed St Stephens's Day and then headed further west and south for Ballyvaughan, County Clare. Here's a photo of window of house there and the Burren hills beyond. Not long back. There's a new year's party and then it's down to work. I've a ton of it for 2009 - books and film projects. More about that on my Book Blog. HAVE A GOOD ONE, Y'ALL!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dorky Christmas Songs

Jaze, the Christmas tree is starting to look a little wilted. That's Finn's fault. She makes us get it early. I'm wrapping the last of my presents and listening to various seasonal albums. Some thoughts on the lyrics of same:
1) I wish it could be Christmas every day. Really? Ham and turkey and pudding and custard every day? Spending more money that you've got every day? Cooped up with your family every day? Hmm.
2) There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas. Duh. And since the song is part of Bandaid's 'Feed the World' one would think that no snow would be a good thing for, say, refugees in tents who are used to subtropical weather.
3) He (a spaceman) hung in the sky like a star. Whoa. Should we put ET figurines in our crib scenes along with the Magi? (Are angels really aliens?) Skip the Birth of Christ, the big story here is the alien with a message that goes "nah nah nah nah nah nah nah."
4) Keep the vampires from your door. And this is on a Christmas album why?
5) How did Christmas Day become "Saviour's Day." Not that St Cliff can do any wrong. Didn't he write that song "Our Father"?
Okay, enough seasonal cynicism.
That's a wrap.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Solstice

Heading off for Solstice Celebration tonight at Le Chéile in Newcastle. There will be meditation, shamanic drumming, a bonfire and maybe some dancing. It's an all nighter with sunrise by the sea and then communal breakfast. Looking forward to it though I am exhausted with Christmas shopping (so is my bank account!). Nearly done. Meanwhile here's a lovely photo that came with my University of Toronto Alumni Newsletter. Red bird and red berry were caught on camera outside the Benson Building. Oh, lucky Canadians, you have snow! (Photo credit: Caz Zyvatkauskas)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Silly Season

Yes, I am well into the Christmas madness, though keeping calm for the most part. (Meditation, methinks.) The tree is up, there
are lights sparkling in the window, an old-fashioned crib scene in the porch window (I'm a Christian Buddhist, go figure), 'winter magic' oil burning in the snowman scenter, decorations all over the place, turkey ordered, plans confirmed for trips to Naas (Finn's granddad in nursing home) and then Sligo for Christmas in the Gyreum (http://www.gyreum.com/). Hope it snows, but not before we get there! I confess I am not doing cards this year. Will get back to them next year. Sorry about that folks, but something had to give! Here's a pic of the ginger bread house Finn and her cousin, Alice, made last year. They'll be making another one this year.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Actually, the American bizarro got cut from the film (good editing) and it is quite an excellent documentary. Though it is clearly dealing with the nightmare of a motorway being ploughed through the valley of Tara, the film is not a straightforward protest piece. Instead, the Director explores the bigger questions of control and domination of sacred territory, the archetype of male kingship dominance over female goddess landscape, historical patterns in the will to power over Tara, and so on. The layers show how the ancient northern kings of the Ui Neill, Daniel O'Connell the Catholic Liberator, the British Israelites, Maude Gonne and the Celtic Renaissance, Eamonn De Valera and the Irish Republican movement, all used Tara as a focal point for their efforts to influence the Irish nation. And who is now wielding control over our holy ground? A Spanish consortium and EU funds. As the film shows, this road and the destruction of Irish heritage comes straight from Brussels. The doc is mostly in Irish - hurrah! - but there are English subtitles. I think you can view it online if you go to TG4's website. It's a wonderful production using clips from old movies and news reels as well as interviews and lots of on site action with the protestors. Very sad though. Modern Ireland is a mess. Hopefully the recession will bring the uglification of this beautiful land to a halt.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Teamhair trailer.mov

Here's a peek at Finn's Dad's film on Teamhair/Tara which is being broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday, Dec 3. Don't know why he starts out with an American bizarro, but I'll find out tomorrow when I attend the launch in Dublin. The film is about the history of Tara and the motorway being ploughed through its sacred valley this very minute. More to come after tomorrow's viewing.