Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Disband the 'Christian' Brothers

Ireland is still reeling from last week's publication of the Ryan Commission which details the horrific and endemic physical and sexual abuse of children in religious- and state-run schools right up to the 70s. The truth is everyone here knew what was going on - at least about the physical abuse - but because these children came from the lower classes and also because the Catholic Church ruled mind and body, no objections were made. Truth, also, is that both church and state were making money out of the slave labour of the children so it was a profitable form of abuse. (The perfidy of humanity shatters the soul.) Of all the guilty religious orders, the most perfidious is the so-called Christian Brothers. Canadians will remember that the first class actions brought against them by their victims took place in Newfoundland. I remember the Christian Brothers in charge of the boys at our school in Toronto. We knew to avoid them. We knew they were violent men. One broke a lad's arm and when that lad's father came in and beat up the brother, we were all delighted. In the military, when a unit is so thoroughly corrupted and dishonoured, it is disbanded. There is no question but that this should be the fate of the 'Christian' Brothers and let their lands and resources be distributed amongst their victims.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Enjoying Sundays

The blog I entered yesterday kept half-deleting itself, I think because of the youtube posting below it, so I'll rewrite it here:
One of the problems with being self-employed, along with the constant financial insecurity, is that there are no boundaries between boss and worker, and the former is usually a slave driver. Sure I can go off on adventures whenever I feel like it and my time's my own, but it has taken me years to wrest basic rights from myself like a one-hour lunch break and a 6-day work week. (What? There are 5-day work weeks?!) Sunday is my day off, yet there I was thinking of writing - I'm in love with my new book - but I caught myself in time. Instead I went for dinner with a friend and then we headed off to see STAR TREK. It was FABULOUS. I laughed out loud at so many parts. The young Spock, the young Uhuru and the young Scotty were my favourites.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pre-Stargate Fun

OK, this is hilarious, not only because of Jack's dreadful hair cut ( I can't believe he was MacGyver. I used to watch that show!) but also because General Hammond is moonlighting. I've got another to post with Teal'c as a student and MacGyver as a class visitor. It's amazing what you can find on youtube. It's also amazing the things you can do to avoid work! (Pas en anglais, désolé.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tesco Ireland is Tesco England

Well here I am, first thing in the morning, ready for a rant. I was eating my porridge and thinking, "gad, this tastes awful, why did Flahavans go and change their product?" Being me, I decided to ring them and ask (okay, demand) why they had to mess with a good thing. The matter was soon cleared up. I had actually bought another brand of organic porridge - hey, we take our oats out of the package and put them in a container - because Tesco Ireland has decided to stop stocking this wonderful home-grown Irish product made by a wonderful home-grown Irish family business ( and are only buying English brands. Given the state of our economy this is infuriating. Even Tesco Ireland (I use the term loosely) needs the Irish economy to improve so that its customers have more money to spend. Surely supporting Irish small businesses is crucial in these times? Well, feck them, I am off to shop in Dunnes where they still stock the best. (And no, this is not a paid advertisement. What's that? How do I eat it? With apple chunks and raisins, plus maple syrup and milk.)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Research With Horses

The main character in my new adult book has made it quite clear to me that she is a horsewoman even though I, alas, am not. This means I have had to read a lot of books about horses and also to get out there and meet with friends who are horse-lovers and horse owners. (Yes, this is the kind of thing writers do. It's a bit like being a method actor!) Of course I am scared to death of the great and noble creatures, so the best I can do is clean out their stables and admire them from afar. Two of the most amazing books I have read are The Irish Draught Horse, A History, ed. by Mary McGrath and Joan Griffiths (Collins, Cork, 2005) which includes articles on everything under the sun, including folklore and legend (as Irish books are wont to do) and The Undisciplined Horse by Ulrik Schramm (J.A. Allen, London, 1986) which goes on wonderful rants against cruel riders and mistreatment of horses. Can't wait to read The Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov (New World Library, 2001).

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


My family - both in Canada and Ireland - is subject to passing fads and obsessions which we all share. We are sci fi and fantasy mavens, fans of Star Trek since the days it was televised in black-and-white and just as fanatical about other series like the Gatetarn Robin Hood (mentioned below) and, of course, Stargate. Recently my sister Tallie bought all the Stargate DVDs, ten seasons, plus the three films, the first one with Kurt Russell and James Spader and the two newer ones Continuum and The Arc of Truth. Well, I swear to God, we are all bug-eyed! Finn even has her boyfriend hooked. And of course there are the usual debates: Who is better - Jack or Cam? Sam or Vala? General Landry or General Hammond? T'ilk with hair or no hair? The movie Daniel Jackson or the television Daniel Jackson? (Both are mighty fine as thinking women's crumpets go.) My favourite episodes are the ones involving the Multiple World Theory of quantum mechanics, where there is an infinite number of dimensions in which we act out the choices and diverse paths that confront us in the course of our lives. Fabulous head spins and brain twisters. Brilliant writing, too, I might add - the storylines, the characters, the dialogue, the humour, the pathos. It's my treat at the end of a working day, so I'm off now: Season 2, Disc 6. (And yeah, I've just finished work, going on midnight. Sigh.)