Saturday, June 23, 2018

Flee Me On Facebook

I'm quite active on Facebook. It's a terrible temptation to someone like me who is always getting struck by miscellaneous thoughts and likes to have an audience for them.

Not all of my blog readers will be on Facebook. Why should they get off scott-free? Life isn't all beer and skittles. Here are some of my Facebook posts of recent times. All of these are from June!

I've long felt that "stray from the beaten path" is a bad phrase, at least when it comes to a usage such as: "I like to stray from the beaten path." In the figurative sense, I definitely like to stray from the beaten path.

In the literal sense, however, I LOVE beaten paths. I greatly enjoy walking along tracks made through a field by lots of people walking there over time. It's a symbol of so much I love: folk-life, tradition, custom, and so forth.

I suppose I don't really like to stray from the beaten path, when it comes down to it. I like to stray from the asphalted, signposted and floodlit path!

How come there is such a thing as brunch but no such thing as dipper or sunner?

Trams in Dublin have recently been bedecked with rainbow colours and the slogan: "Homosexual, heterosexual, who-gives- a-sexual". A promotion campaign by Smirnoff, the vodka makers.

It is laughable how Christians are always solemnly being told that they are allowed to believe whatever they want but they have no right to impose it on other people, the public square must be kept neutral. How many people find this kind of thing offensive? Plenty of gay people too, I know. I have heard gay people complain about the tackiness of so much done in their name. The tackiness is the worst part.

I was in the supermarket the other day and heard a song with the words: "Everything is better when you're naked", or something like that.

As to why I like snowglobes so much....many reasons, but partly because of the amount of times I find myself thinking such-and-such a thing is "like a snowglobe". They are very versatile metaphorically!

Had a conversation with a colleague about Catholicism. (I didn't look for it.) I was told:

1) Catholicism has to eschew dogmatism if it's to survive in Ireland.

2) The Catholic Church fought science and specifically the theory of evolution every inch of the way.

3) God couldn't have been behind evolution becau
se it was haphazard and could have turned out differently at any one of innumerable junctions. (This one just baffles me.)

So many sighs....

I loved this scene in School of Rock. Better than the whole rest of the movie. I found myself thinking of it today. It would be neat to have this kind of encyclopaedic knowledge on ANY subject.

(You can't really see it unless you expand the pic, but the blackboard lists different trends in popular music, and the links between them.)

Maurice Baring, a friend of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, wrote an autobiography entitled Puppet Show of Memory. I think that's an awesome title.

Here is something I don't understand about the Marxist left. They are willing to denounce Catholics and social conservatives for being "reactionary" and on the "wrong side of history" when it comes to homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism, etc. etc.

But it could easily be said that THEY are reactionary, and "on the wrong side of history", when it comes to trade unions, privatization, zero hour contracts, the commercialization of education, etc. And as a matter of fact, I would often be on their side on these matters.

Surely the important thing is to stand up for what you believe is right, no matter whether your side is in the ascendant or on the ropes? Surely you should support what you think is right whether everybody agrees with you, or whether nobody agrees with you?

When I was in Hull, I saw a little street called The Land of Green Ginger. I assumed it was some kind of publicity stunt, but's had that name for centuries and nobody knows exactly why.

Once, when I was folding overdue letters in the library (before we went fully automated), I saw one addressed to "Pollyhopple Lane". At least, I'm SURE I did. I can't find that name anywhere now. Maybe I got it a bit wrong. It was a street in Ireland.

Do you know any fun or interesting street names?

One interesting little quirk is that Nassau Street in Dublin has a completely different name in Irish, It's Sráid Thobair Phádraig, meaning Patrick's Well Street. (Although the street plate says "Sráid Nassau".)

I love tradition. It's one of the abiding fascinations of my life. And I'm especially interested in Catholic traditions. But what saddens me is the way tradition so often becomes weaponized in Catholicism.

A while back, on Facebook, I asked a question about the devotional songs people remembered singing at Mass. I instantly regretted asking the question as it immediately became a lightning rod for complaining about Vatican II etc.

I have previous experience of this tendency to weaponize tradition. It's happened in Ireland. The Sinn Féin republican party in Ireland, who supported terrorism, used the Irish language and other aspects of Irish tradition (including Catholicism) as a weapon in their fight against the British. They have no real concern for any of those things. They're Marxist internationalists. Their liberal-secular-internationalism is now becoming blatant.

I agree the comparison with Catholicism is not the same because orthodoxy IS a concern and abuses are real. Ironically, Vatican II was faulted for cautioning that popular devotions had to avoid such abuses. (Sadly, this translated into a prejudice against such devotions amongst some.)

But basically, I just find it sad that tradition becomes an occasion for anger and bitterness and enmity rather than joy or piety or devotion. I've avoided talking about Catholic traditions on FB for this reason.

P.S.: It just occurred to me that someone might argue that Catholic traditions SHOULD be weapons, that Padre Pio called the rosary a weapon, etc. Yes, in the sense of spiritual warfare against the demonic. Fine. But I'm talking about inter-Catholic warfare here.

I was sitting on the bus behind two guys who were speaking in Russian, or some East European language. They were chatting away and laughing. Obviously I couldn't understand a word...until one of them said: "Jessica Rabbit" !

This poem from A.E. Housman often comes into my head. I like its originality. The theme is a rather unsual one for poetry...the provincial in the metropolis. Well, it's an unusual theme for short lyric poetry.

From the wash the laundress sends
My collars home with ravelled ends:
I must fit, now these are frayed,
My neck with new ones London-made.

Homespun collars, homespun hearts,
Wear to rags in foreign parts.
Mine at least’s as good as done,
And I must get a London one.

My attitude towards pretty much anything is dictated by this question: Does it destroy or does it preserve? Does it break down or does it build up?

Of course, there are things worth destroying. Of course, sometimes you have to destroy to create. But I do think we should have a BIAS towards preservation, towards creation-- and against destruction and erosion. I do not admire people who find a glee in destruction, and mask it with rhetoric like "mould-breaking", "forward-looking", "progressive", "liberating", etc. etc. etc.

I was on a bus and I was thinking about games. I've realized recently that it's a long time (literally years) since I've played any game of any description. Suddenly I was seized (and "seized" really is the perfect term) with an intense desire to play lots of different games and to know about them. I was thinking especially about games like shove ha'penny, backgammon, and all those traditional kind of games. And this desire was overwhelming for a little while.

I get these fancies all the time. I've had them for as long as I can remember. It can be something completely random and sometimes even difficult to put into words. It's very strange.

In my letter to the editor today, I was responding to the main columnist of the Irish Times, who was arguing that our old national anthem is now outdated because "We have an open, fluid, multilayered identity."

Here is the thing that baffles me: this man is SIXTY. I can understand how, in your teens or perhaps your twenties, that kind of talk-- "open, fluid, multilayered", etc-- would seem exciting and clever and subversive. But....when you are thirty? When you are forty? When you are fifty? When you are sixty? How could you still find that inspiring, or indeed anything but clapped-out and banal? This isn't rhetoric on my part. I GENUINELY don't get it. Surely at a certain age a person should see past what is ephemeral to what is enduring.


  1. Thanks for these! I'd never heard of the Land of Green Ginger - glorious. I love street names; they always seem laden with poetry: names like Lordship Lane and Lavender Hill in south London. There's a street in Lewes called Paines Twitten, the shortest street in York is named Whip-ma-Whop-ma-Gate.

    1. It's nice that someone else FINALLY shares my fascination! Yes, The Land of Green Ginger seems almost too good to be true. For my money, when it comes to London, nothing can beat Threadneedle Street. But those others are good, too. And Whip-ma Whop-ma Gate is marvellous!