30 January 2011


DRINK. Talk show host and raconteur Dick Cavett shares his dry wit in The Wrath of Grapes, in which he holds forth on the enjoyments, over-indulgences, and aftereffects of imbibing alcohol. Among my favorite quotes from the article --

"This is one of the disadvantages of wine: it makes a man mistake words for thought." ~~ Samuel Johnson

"We lost our corkscrew and had to live on food and water for several days." ~~ W.C. Fields

"It tastes like I've eaten an assortment of larvae." ~~ Dick Cavett, during a hangover.

BUMPED. Many of us have known the wrenching feeling that comes with discovering that one's flight has been cancelled. Michelle Higgins offers some creative advice for avoiding it happening to you, and for minimizing the trauma if it does, in her How To Fight Back article. As air travel becomes ever more crowded, frustrating and user-unfriendly, this is timely information.

BLOODY SUNDAY. Some horrible events simply must be incised into our individual and collective memories, lest we revert to apathy and allow such evil to happen again. Assassinations, nations invading nations, genocide, and wartime atrocities all are difficult to think about, but it is imperative that we do so.

One example happened on this day in 1972. Quoting from Wikipedia -- "Bloody Sunday was an incident in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, in which twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders were shot by members of the British Army .... Thirteen males, seven of whom were teenagers, died immediately or soon after, while the death of another man four and a half months later has been attributed to the injuries he received on that day. Two protesters were injured when they were run down by army vehicles. Five of those wounded were shot in the back .... The Provisional Irish Republican Army's (IRA) campaign against the partitiion of Ireland had begun in the two years prior to Bloody Sunday, but public perceptions of the day boosted the status of, and recruitment into, the organization enormously. Bloody Sunday remains among the most significant events in the Troubles of Northern Ireland, chiefly because it was carried out by the army and not by paramilitaries, and in full view of the public and press."

The history of Ireland is rich with Celtic traditions, and rife with invasions by Vikings, Normans and most recently the British. Details may be found here. Long story short, the 1921 Partition was an attempt by the British government (predominantly Protestant) to recognize the reality that Catholic Ireland was coming into its own as an independent nation -- while retaining the six northernmost of Ireland's twenty-nine counties as a Protestant enclave and British protectorate. The political and religious sundering of the isle of Ireland has been the source of much pain over the years, turning friends and family members against each other needlessly. This writer wishes it were possible to reunite Ireland and Northern Ireland, just as East and West Germany were reunited at the end of the Cold War. Each time one of Ireland's sons or daughters suffers, so do we all.

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