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(The following was recited at a wake for a long-time member of the LAOH by the esteemed orator Vincent McCormack)

how me the one
who has laughed often, loved much and played
the game of life by the rules of God; who has
appreciated and expressed the wonders of
nature's beauty; who has earned the respect of
decent women, the admiration of intelligent
men, and the love of little children.

Show me the one
who has stood tall while answering the drums
of tragedy; who would do without so others
might partake; who has left this world a better
place whether by a lovely song, a rescued soul,
or an act of kindness to a stranger; whose
destiny is heaven.

Show me the one
who shares the joys and hides the sorrows; who
believes in honor and would cast no shame on
mankind in the names of the father; who the
blind call beautiful.

Show me the one
whose life has been an inspiration, whose
memory a benediction and I'll show you the
meaning of Mother.

The poetic gem above was written over 44 years ago by Peter Ryan, oboard an LIC452 (amphibious gunboat) off the coast of Bikini Island during World War II.


The above link is a video of eminent author/singer/teacher Raymond J. Clarke singing his rendition of The Ballad of the Boats. Enjoy!

The Ballad of the Boats

(Sung to the air of "At the Close of an Irish Day")

From April, Eighteen Fifty Three
To March of Fifty Four
Three boats were built to brave the sea
At Knock on Shannon's shore
Three boats were built with axe and adze
With mallet and the saw
By fishermen and farmer lads
For leaving Clonderalaw

They came from families in Clare
Forgotten now their names
But two were Carriggs, brothers there
Called John and Murty James
Their hopes in Ireland were all gone
Though they survived the blight
And as the building work went on
They talked about their plight

They talked of Eighteen Forty Eight
Of Malachy their kin
Without a morcel on his plate
His children wasted thin
He had the rent and set it down
But hard work did not rate
Without a parchment from the crown
Eviction was his fate

They had no titles to their lands
No grant from royalty
But God gave title to their hands
To build for liberty
They'll sail to lands they've never seen
In far America
To government without a queen
Without Victoria

There came the time to say goodbye
To family and friend
To head out toward a distant sky
Where ancient kindreds end
They see their sister standing there
Four brothers at her side
A widowed mother with her prayer
'Let Heaven be your guide'

They left the river with the tide
Three boats through Shannon's Mouth
Around the coasts of Kerry wide
Then veering toward the south
Old Ireland disappears from sight
The points on shore they know
Now sun by day and star by night
Will point the way they go

I can not tell the ocean tale
And how they crossed the sea
The courses taken under sail
Are all unknown to me
The days of hunger, or of cold
The days of wind, or fog
In Heaven only is it told
And written in the log

But one day came like none before
In May it must have been
They saw ahead a distant shore
It lying long and thin
And as the mist began to clear
They saw the buildings there
From all three boats a lusty cheer
So long unheard in Clare

Then at that moment of their glee
A wind rose from the west
A storm was moving out to sea
The waves began to crest
As if it sank beneath the deep
Their new world disappeared
And now they had their lives to keep
The deep is what they feared

It's off the coast of Hatteras
They likely were that day
But in the blowing wind, alas
They could no longer stay
They set their hands to sail and rope
And turned the boats about
To head southeast their only hope
To try and ride it out

The boatmen strained all day and night
Among them James and John
And when they looked by morning light
The other boats were gone
'Oh Heaven help them,' cried the crew
As winds around them moan
'And we might be the only few
This part of us alone'

The Shannon boat was blown and tossed
Her rigging in a wreck
The tiller broke and then was lost
As waves washed o'er the deck
The force of nature in command
They knew the end was near
And they were beached upon the sand
Four miles beyond Cape Fear

It's on the Carolina shore
They set their feet on land
As strangers at a farmer's door
They sought a helping hand
New neighbors gave them food and board
A place to heal and sleep
The days and nights to thank the Lord
Who saved them from the deep

When James was out with John one day
As it was later said
He took a stick and turned the clay
And saw that it was red
'There's no potatoes here would grow
To suit the Irish mouth
We'll have to take our feet and go
To see what's further south

Potatoes in the southern state
That may have been their wish
But want of food to fill the plate
Required them to fish
On river banks they made their boats
Among the Cherokee
To trade their catch with settled folks
At Charles Town by the sea

The Carriggs came from County Clare
To Charleston by the sea
And this is why they're fishing there
And how it came to be
A story that my cousin heard
From Willie, Murty's son
And though it's not the final word
This song I sing is done.

(Begun in Leitir Mealláin, Co. na Gaillimhe, finished at Northport, Long Island, 24 October 2008, by Raymond J. Clarke)

The New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee is pleased to announce the Grand Marshal of the 248th Parade will be Michael J. Gibbons.

Michael was raised in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. His father hailed from County Mayo in Ireland and his mother was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada of Scotish-Irish descent. Mike graduated from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York and served in the U.S. Navy.

In 1967, he joined Estée Lauder, Inc., the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of quality cosmetics products. Michael served as Vice President of Clinique and General Manager of Aramis. He retired as an Executive Vice President and General Manager of Estée Lauder in 2007.

Mr. Gibbons is currently the President of The Ireland-U.S. Council - an organization dedicated to promoting business bonds and commercial connections between Ireland and America. During his six years at the helm, the Council's roster of programs and activities has been expanded and its stature has grown on both sides of the Atlantic. The Council operates a variety of scholarship and internship programs, stages seminars and hosts frequent events in Ireland and in the United States.

He is currently a Director of Flax Trust America, a member of the Mayo Society of New York and a Director of The Irish Institute. He is also a member of The Taoiseach's Economic Advisory Board in the United States. Mr. Gibbons is a former Chairman of the International Center in New York, a private, not-for-profit organization that welcomes and assists immigrants and refugees to America. He is a past-Director of the American Ireland Fund, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Foundation and the former co-chairman of the of the Knights of St. Patrick. Michael is also a member of the the Lt. Patrick J. Walsh Division 29 A.O.H.

Mike and his wife, Cynthia, have four children and four grandchildren. They reside in Palm Beach, FL and in Carmel, New York.

Mr. Gibbons will lead the marchers up Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 for the world's oldest and largest civic parade and celebrates the faith of Ireland, Irish heritage and culture.

The parade marched for the first time on March 17, 1762 - fourteen years before the Declaration of Independence. It is regarded as the most popular parade in New York City, and honors Saint Patrick the patron Saint of the Archdiocese of New York and Ireland. The New York Parade consists only of marchers and each year hosts some 250,000 marchers, along with many great marching bands, bagpipers in marching formations, high-school and college bands from throughout the United States and from all over the world. The occasion is televised live nationwide for four hours by host station WNBC Channel Four to millions of households. The broadcast of the Parade was available for the first time in 2008 via the internet through the Parade's web site and was broadcasted via satelite on The Travel Channel.


This was sent to me by Wildrover51

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "And as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest. God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. Then Satan created HMO's.


by Anonymous

Note: This was sent by an e-mail to me. I do not know who the author is.

Classic Version:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come the winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.



The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come the winter, the ant is warm and well fed. So far, so good, eh?

The shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like him, are cold and starving.

The BBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper, with cuts of the ant in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.

The Brits are stunned that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty.

The NDP, the CAW and the Coalition Against Poverty demonstrate in front of the ant's house. The BBC, interrupting an Welch cultural festival special from Carmarthen with breaking news broadcasts of them singing "We Shall Overcome."

Moira Stuart rants in an interview with David Dimberly that the ant has gotten rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share."

In response to polls, the Labour Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti-Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant's taxes are reassessed, and he is also fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as helpers.

Without enough money to pay both the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

The ant moves to France, and starts a successful agribiz company.

The BBC later shows the now fat grasshopper finishing up the last of the ant's food, though spring is still months away, while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain it.

Inadequate government is blamed. Ken Livingstone is appointed to head a commission of enquiry that will cost 10,000,000 pounds.

The grasshopper is soon dead of a drug overdose. The Sun and The Times blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity.

The abandoned house is taken over by a gang of immigrant spiders, praised by the government for enriching England's multicultural diversity, who promptly set up a marijuana grow op and terrorized the community.


Societal Cannabalism: A Commentary

by Fir an Iarthair

How many times have we heard that children are our most precious resource? What do we mean by "precious"? A synonym  for "precious" is "dear". "Dear" can also be another word for "expensive". What about the word "resource"? A resource can be a person, place or thing. Using such logic, a child is an "expensive thing". Thus, it is obvious how far-reaching the statement truly is. Also, the criminal, a drain on society, is the antithesis. Can we afford either? The excess "things" of today should be eliminated before they become the criminals of tomorrow.

Children are the "apples" of our eye according to some. Note the reference to food. Children as food? A radical idea! Not so. Societal Cannibalism has been known throughout the ages. In our day and age, however, it is frowned upon (if not downright criminal). Proponents of the practice are often looked upon as sick and treated as if THEY were the real criminals. What a sad state of affairs for the fact is they are not.

Consider this. As the world's population increasing rate, we will continue to need to find solutions to the inevitable lack of fuel, food and living space. In the Middle Ages, the plague killed one-third of the population of Europe. After it ran its' course, prosperity came the way of many of the survivors. I'll say something briefly about this later on.

It is also a fact that there are more births than deaths during almost any given year. The so-called third-world countries and China are among the worst offenders. It is in these areas where Societal Cannibalism should be enforced.

It is also common knowledge that young flesh tends to be the tastiest. Therefor, it is proposed under Societal Cannibalism, that excess children be taken to a communal butcher at about the age of six months for processing. In some areas, the choicest cuts can be stored for community festivals. (Among the members of the Feline Tribe, the Feast of the God Vlad is one of the most important). The rest would be distributed to the populace. Likewise, those convicted of capital crimes and repeat offenders would be executed and their flesh and bodily fluids distributed to alleviate hunger and aid industry.

These two forms of population control (or redistribution) are ideal for impovished and overpopulated areas. Remember what I said about the plague during the middle Ages? One could expect the same results: fewer people to drain the economy and its' resources while raising the standard of living. Just imagine living in a world where the likes of Emeril and Julia Childs have been replaced by Hannibal Lecter as the pre-eminent chef. Just the thought of it drives me to excess. Anyone want the last leg?


by Fir an Iarthair

I wrote this parody some time ago from a part of a brochure that came into my possession. I was originally slanted to the ancient Greek culture. It simply HAD to be updated.

By the Wet Bar, where the alcoholic portion of the wake began, three pints was thought the proper, moderate amount of ale to imbibe. The deceased's family was in charge of the pace of drinking, and since rituals accompanied the first three pints, they could even force the mourners to finish the number of pints served. At some gatherings a Bar Tender was in charge to see that all received an equal amount of ale.

In a play by a writer named Fitzgerald, the Leprechann describes the pints: The first pint, he says, is for health, the second for love and pleasure, the third for sleep. At this point wise drinkers go home. Should mourners drink onward, the fourth pint leads to boastful talk among males. The fifth leads to shouting, the sixth to revelry, the seventh to black eyes, the eighth to court summonses, the ninth to bile and the tenth to madness and people throwing the furniture about.

Sounds about right.

All the while, though, preventatives to avoid drunkenness were disregarded lest the deceased not have an opportunity to join them. Mourners wore wreaths of shamrocks, for the shamrock was believed to thwart all efforts of law enforcement officials to successfully prosecute them for their behavior during this period. It was also believed that a certain stone would enlighten them with the Gift of Gab - the ability to tell tall tales with a straight face and talk anyone out of issueing parking tickets, moving violations, DWI's and any charges stemming from the occassional bar brawl - and so wore it at every opportunity. That belief remains in the word we use for the stone today: the Blarney Stone.


by Fir an Iarthair

Legal Disclaimer: The characters and events depicted may be fictional or not. Does it really make a difference?

You could see the cat fights overhead and hear the cries of wounded felines as they crashed upon the ground. The war was not going well. It was also raining as if there was no tomorrow. A puppy hit me on the head and everything went dark.

When I came to, Noah was beside me. Noah was the local "character." He could also get you anything! It didn't matter if it was legal or not. He also enjoyed smoking and drinking those same legal and illegal substances. As was his wont, he was babbling on about something or another. Today, God told him to build an Ark, gather together two of everything and wait for the inevitable. Whatever he was smoking, I wanted some.

Through his mostly incoherent ramblings, I began to understand something of what he was saying. It appeared that God was going to destroy all those who were evil by drowning them. In order to repopulate the earth, Noah was to gather only the best of the best and place them in the Ark. When the waters rose high enough, he and his zoo would float away in safety. Everyone else be damned. With his outlook on life, who knew what deranged picture the new population would look like. I thought he was surely a few braincells short of an amoeba and opted not to join him in his "New World Order."

Several weeks later I went to see him about my shipment of curare. It was the only thing that even started to slow the kids down when they were at the flat. You could've floored me with the scene when I arrived. His front yard was entirely taken up with a huge aircraft carrier. It was just like Noah to go the extra yard. This time, though, he did it quite literally. The lenght of the ship also extended into his neighbors front yards, and they weren't too happy about it. Squadrons of seagulls were taking flight from its' deck patrolling the area, dive-bombing those who would dare to impede its' construction. The UFO's were also a nice touch.

After being cleared by security, I was escorted by a hairy ape (I later learned his name was Harry) to Noah himself. He hadn't changed any telling me he was on a "mission from God" and muttered something about The Penguin. He was almost finished with the Ark and was merely waithing for the snacks to arrive before closing off the perimeter. After several hours of Papal imitations, I departed with my package.

It wasn't long after that when the rains came again. It came down so hard and for so long that the war was postponed due to bad weather. The waters rose and rose and rose. It was so wet and the waters so deep that only the pubs remained open for business. So there I was, standing at the bar in the Jolly Rogerer finishing my 6th Guinness and a 20 pound note in my hand. A fresh pint was on the way as a fish swam by my leg in the foot deep water. At this point you might think the scene a bit bizarre, however, we had become used to the rising water level as the alcohol kept us warm and beyond caring why the water was rising. The sundial on the wall hadn't worked for ages and the publican wasn't sure when closing time was so the place simply stayed opened. As we had our fill, we would call it a day (what day we called it differed, depending on the state of sobriety and if the in-laws were visiting).

Finally the dreaded day arrived when the publican announced those fateful words: "The pub has no beer." The quota hadn't arrived and the kegs were empty. Even the dregs from the barrels would have seemed like heaven, but they were also finished. Thus it was we had to leave. I can still remember those parting words: "You may not be able to get home, but you can't stay here."

There was truth in those words. The water level was so high that the tops of four-story buildings were inundated. So it was that I decided to move to a better neighborhood where the sharks were not on a feeding frenzy and the pubs were still well-stocked with the energizing waters of life. Tying together several passing unicorns as they floated by, I built myself a raft and raided the local market for the necessary staples needed for survival, supplies of intoxicants and bar snacks. Thus my journey began.