Category Archives: U2

Keeping the peace

(Never thought I’d have to do this, and probably dont have to now, but given my role, let me just say any comments made here are purely my personal ones, and I would prefer, however hard, to keep all political comments out of any replies, should there be any)

Its fair to say that my Irish ancestry has an interesting background, though given both sides of my family moved to the UK at the start of the 20th Century, its too distant (by 1 generation on both sides) to apply for an Irish passport now, if I wanted to. Interesting? Well, my father was from Irish Catholic ancestry from Kerry, my mother from Irish Protestant roots from Offaly. Yes, somehow or other, a few generations later, in the UK, they got married, and the rest is history! Well, me, anyway! It means that my first 9 years (until my father left my mother) I was brought up as Catholic, before quickly going to Protestant roots once he was gone.

So to say that to me, the Troubles in Ireland was an even more complex issue than for most, would be putting it mildly. Lets not comment too much on that, as a view from either side, as my ancestry was from the South, anyway. By the time I first visited Northern Ireland (I was about 30 by then), my look at it would be from the Protestant side, its fair to say.

Eventually, in the 90’s, the peace process came to Northern Ireland. One of the figures behind that, was Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Fein, and IRA background. To say he had a shady background would be putting it mildly, but fine, some of the Democrats past wasnt a lot cleaner, but anyway… The rest is history, the 2 sides came together, and peace was born out of the troubles. Yes, its had a few less than perfect moments over the years, but we still have peace! Yes, as you’ve probably heard on the news everywhere, Martin McGuinness has just died, at 66.

Thankfully, I have nothing to forgive, or not forgive him for, as the case may be. Others have a less easy choice, and I can understand their views, whichever way they look at it. But lets just remember one thing, without him, the peace process may not have got started as soon, and even more innocent people may have lost their lives.

Its funny, I remember back in the ‘bad old days’ being whisked around the edge of Belfast, on the ring road, as no one wanted to go into the city. Now, several times, I’ve been to Belfast for cricket, and not seen any trouble. That, at least is something. The irony, the ground is at Stormont, not a long way from the parliament building!

Having said I wont get political, there is one song that relates strongly to the events of the troubles, so it was hard to ignore.

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How things have changed?

Nowadays, when a Big 10 team heads to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, its a few hours on a plane from the mid west to get there. Just imagine how long it took Michigan to get to Pasadena in 1902 for the first game that would become the whole Rose Bowl legend? I would guess about 3 days or so, by train, each way? For what was technically 60 minutes of football, wow!

Incredibly, that game didnt even last 60 minutes, as Stanford gave up when losing 49-0, at some point in the 3rd quarter! Since then, with the exception of a few early years, and 1942, when the game moved East due to the threat of Japanese attack during WW2, its been going ever since.

Most of that time, its been the Pac 10 (or earlier related conference) against the Big 10 (or related conference), champion against champion. In recent times, when champions have been involved in Championship games, other teams have stood in, and a couple of times, the Rose Bowl has hosted said championship, or qualifier for it, but generally…

The famous stadium itself has only been around since 1923, mind. Yes, I know, thats still a long time! Hard to imagine what we would have made of a game back then, when passing the ball was a very rare event indeed! Equally, what those fans, and players would make of the current game, hard to imagine?

But yes, just imagine, if you’d told those Michigan players, heading west in 1902, that they were going to play in a game that would become part of history, they probably would have laughed at you! Ah well…

Yes, I’ve been to Pasadena, but I havent seen the Rose Bowl yet. Maybe in May?

Right, the video. Normally this game, by tradition takes place on New Years Day. Except when it happens on a Sunday, when the NFL takes priority in modern times. So yes, in just over half an hour from writing this, the game will happen. Just think, that first game, no TV, no radio coverage, you had to be there to see, or hear it! But yes, for its traditional date, this very early piece of U2 seems apt.

The sweetest thing

Well, yes, today officially was the big day, I hit 57. Unless you have done so elsewhere, feel free to leave greetings. OK, lurkers, I know you wont, but no harm in asking.

But in all truth, because of the way things work out with life, it was actually Saturday that proved to be the magical day this weekend. It wasnt in my plans to have Saturday off, but it suited work, due to the Cheltenham Festival and all that, but it made for a nice change.

And due to Nicole being elsewhere this evening, we took that chance to have my birthday celebration meal a couple of days early. And I took the chance to wear a strapless, green dress, most suitable for this weekend, given the cricket yesterday (not too much about that please), and the fact that its St Patricks Day tomorrow. Yes, I know its a silly thing, but I do love wearing a strapless dress nowadays, even if I’m not giving a big show of cleavage in doing so.

So fine, just after 6.30, we get back home, and I have an email from a friend, asking me for some personal details, for ‘something’. Given I know him well, I passed them on, hey, it was only my name as on my passport, nothing more anyway. He had mentioned leaving messages on Facebook, and Yahoo messenger as well, so I went off to those, to let him know the deed was done. He was still on Yahoo, so we started chatting. All I was told at this point was that something would be waiting for me in LA.

No, not a mad scientist who was literally going to turn me into Jean Harlow lol! Though given its Hollywood, there may well be one!

So fine, after a little while, the news came out, and for those who havent read the follow up comment on the last blog, its basically this. I am going to that party in Hollywood, and I dont have to concern myself about the cost, as the ticket, and dinner have been paid for, and given to me as the most wonderful present by James (yes, he was the one I was talking to), and Kate (who I soon ended up talking to as well). Words cannot describe how lovely a gesture this is, and now all I’ve got to decide is which dress I’m wearing!

Today has been calmer, got some nice stuff designed to make me even more beautiful from the folk here this morning as well, though I’m not sure how much of a miracle me looking stunning would take! But anyway…should look better after tomorrow, as I have a massage, and facial booked for the afternoon.

Oh, the cricket. Ireland did well, won more games than England in fact, but didnt make the quarter finals. But even so, its been a great few weeks, watching them down under. Hopefully at some point this summer, I’ll get to see them in the flesh, though job finding, and schedules may play a part in seeing how much, and when.

The video, from a time when U2 took themselves less seriously. And it sums up perfectly the gift received, from two truly wonderful friends, on Saturday evening. Just under 5 weeks from now, ‘Jean’ will go to the ball!

I believe in Father Christmas

No, dont worry, seriously, at my age, I dont. I cant remember at what age I discovered the truth, but its fair to say it was well over 40 years ago, probably 45! 45 would be very apt for a music video, hope some are old enough to get that in-joke! 😉

Trouble is, I believe Father Christmas could make a better job of running my trains than Trans Pennine Express do! The new winter timetable started last Sunday, not that there were any differences for me that I noticed at least. So far, 9 journeys (got a lift home Sunday evening) since then, of which 5 have been on trains arriving more than 10 minutes late. Well, in fact the best of those is 14 minutes, but you get my drift, 10 is a nice round number. Today they got the double. Yesterday was the Christmas miracle, both were on time! So yes, 5 journeys badly delayed, a grand total so far of 84 minutes this week. Will they get the unwanted century tomorrow, I wouldnt want to bet against it!

Its not even like they have been at peak times, one was Sunday morning, the next was early (before 7) on Monday, and a third was Wednesday evening (just before 9), so hardly peak traffic moments. That could just about be used as a reason for both today, but… I think it really annoys me because fares are going up by about 8% in the new year, but the service is so awful.

Alright, brief rant over.

The song, well if you havent guessed from the title, I’m surprised. Personally I think this is one of those great Christmas songs that seemed to creep under the radar, perhaps because its not all sugar and spice? And yes, you were going to get the Greg Lake version (and I would seek it out if you dont mind repetition), but instead I’m going to offer a version by a promising Irish group, that some may have heard of. Yes, I am being cynical. Bono seems to be one of those love or hate people, so if you hate, then go find Greg Lake instead. Personally I think its quite a good cover though

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qGrsQ7F-h5c

The next one on Sunday (all things planned) is another anniversary one, for a life taken far too soon. See if you can work out who?

Edit to add,

If it hadnt been for the stopper train being delayed by very late running TPE trains tonight getting into Leeds, I would have got the century, as my planned to get train arrived 17 minutes late!