A Spot of Christmas Spam Baiting

Background
My Mother, Isobel, lives 10 houses down the road from us at #14 and is one of the “Silver Surfers” using her computer and now iPad Mini daily for internety stuff. She is pretty saavy when it comes to the net, however being a nice human being some of the more nefarious scallywaggery that goes on can still catch her out. It was a nasty email that looked like something she was actually expecting caught her out and her email got compromised by a scammer. I did the change all the passwords thing, however they had put in place a forwarder on her email account to i.mcdonagh@outlook.com which remained active. The owner of this account made the mistake of sending me a scam mail pretending to be my mother. Now it has been a while since I had the inclination to bait a scammer with the carrot of greed and stick of nonsense … but it is Christmas and he/she was pretending to be my mother … for your education and edification here is the conversation we had
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23 December 2014

Hi son! How are you? My mail was hacked into, just changed my password, I will be very busy tomorrow, please I’d love to you to help me send some money to a brother in church via western union, and get back to with the mtcn, the brothers name is daniel morgan, the sum of 1500pounds use the church address!.

Love
Isobel
Mum
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23 December 2013

OH NO!! I am afraid there are many evil people in the world who will take advantage of someone who does not understand PC’s.They are evil, evil people who have more than likely been abused in the past and have lost themselves to demonic possession and perhaps even are becoming followers of Satan’s rancid flesh Sinn Fein party members!!

Do you need assistance with your PC. I can get an train home tonight and be with you first thing in the morning and I can help you with getting your email accounts back to normal. I was planing on comming back on Sunday to celebrate Póg an turcaí bod with the rest of the family but I can make new arrangments if you want.       
       
I am sorry to hear about Daniel Morgan, is he the replacement Aire na coiligh in St Xaviver’s Sacred Turnip Chapel? I do miss those meetings with Doctor O’Toogerty or “Old Plangecock” as we used to call him after that incident with the chicken and the trifle in the nativity play. Oh how we laughed that Christmas, good times, good times. 🙂

Oh how I miss those services when the Royal Abstinent Rising Sons Of Cormac’s Loyal Order Of Oliver Plunkett Fife and Drum Band would help out with a rousing chorus of  “Jesus wants me for a shamrock” I do miss those days down here in the big city surrounded by unbelievers, harlots and men that do unspeakable things. Yes .. unspeakable but that is Protestants for you !

Let me know how I can help and I can sort that out tomorrow before the banks close for Christmas and Póg an turcaí bod.

Loads of Love from Me
Steve xxx

PS make sure you never mention that Euromillions win to anyone, particularly now your email has been hacked!!!

[Editors note “Pog an turcai bod”  Kiss the turkey’s cock and Aire na coiligh = Chief Cock]
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Hello son!

Compliments! Yes maybe they have been abused in the past, and don’t bother yourself coming down till on sunday for the celebration of pog an turcai bod.
I want you to send the money via WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER, with the name: DANIEL MORGAN, use the church address. And get back to me with the MTCN. Please send it this morning so that he can get it today as well before the bank closes, €1500 thanks son.

Love

Isobel
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Mum

I am glad you caught me before I left for the Gardai Christmas gala otherwise I would not have got this email until this evening. Detective Chief Inspector O’Mally of the Internet Fraud squad has put me incharge of the donkeys for the parade down O’Connell street! I have great hopes that this is a sign that 2014 will see me promoted to Sargent, but we will wait and see.

I have been down to the Western Union however since the Ulster Bank was used by the McGruntfuttock gang to launder their ill gotten gains from their Tinned Tuna smuggling operation from the UK. I still think that the Government was wrong to ban Tuna because of the chances of unobtanium  poisioning! However as you may not be aware any transaction of more than €1000 euros requires both parties to send a signed picture of themselves to the bank to ensure the police can recognise both the sender and the recipient. Can you contact Daniel Morgan and get him to send me a small picture of himself signed in green biro by email, once this is done I can get the wheels in motion.

Oh is Daniel Morgan Welsh by any chance because if he is her has to sign his name using his Welsh name. The UK customs and excise re very strict on that since the EU made them recognise the cultural exclusivity of the Welsh and Scottish! It is a small thing but can slow things down.

Oh it has been 3 years is the Church address still

14 Rua Cúradh Fual
Leithris
Coleraine

Or did they move like they said they would?

See you soon
Steve
[Ed note “Curadh Fual” = Foaming Urine and “Leithris” = Urinal]
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Ok son! I’m happy for you! I don’t want any further delay because of time! It christmas eve you know? Ok send the 1000euros then! So that he can receive it as soon as possible!. Really can’t wait to have you around son! Thanks

Love

Isobel
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Mum
Excellent!
I am on the way to the western Union now with Jimmy McFlannery who will act as wittness to the withdrawal. He is a really good enforcer as he works for African Interpol Inforcment Department. He is off to Ghana next week to enforce an extradition order for some internet fraudsters who defrauded the son of the Prime Minister of €20,000! I am sure 10 years on the Craggy Island Prison Labour Camp will put them right look what it did to Charlie Haughey!!!

Got to Rush or the bank will have closed for 12:00 prayers for the respite of the Virgin Mary’s perinatal contractions.
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Ok son, my regard to jimmy, the internet seems to be no longer safe! Well I can see that the government is really trying to put a stop to all the fraudulent activities on the internet, and also I am proud that my son is part of its team! Ok son stay safe! You can send me the MTCN once you are through in Bank.

Love
Isobel
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Mum

All done 

On Jimmy’s instruction and he knows about this sort of thing, it is his job after all I have used the Irish Western Union Special Instructions for payment. He says this makes it safe for you and for Daniel.

Here is the receipt from the WU

Love
Steve

scam7<== The Fake WU receipt

 
[Editors Note the special phrase on the WU for = I have extemly large testicles]
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Ok thanks son! I should forward the receipt down to daniel now.

Love

Isobel

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Mum

Great news … I am just having a quick plate of Christmas Irish Turnip and Hedgehog soup (not as good as you used to make) down at the Gardai Station before I put on the festive red Gardai cap and off to wrangle the donkeys for the Christmas Parade!

Poor old Liam McNoogerty has to look after the camels and the wise men and wait till you hear the wise men are all from Offaly!!! Isn’t that the funniest thing!!

See you later Love Steve
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Hey son!
That’s great! Enjoy yourself, and be careful you festival like this can be dangerous at times!, and daniel told me that he is out of ireland that he is in london now. Can anything be done?

Love

Isobel
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Mum
I am kind of busy just now the Virgin Mary has started labour in Brown Thomas’s window and I cannot leave the donkey’s unguarded. I will see if I can slip away before the WU offices close

Steve

(sent Via Mighty Shamrock Mobile)
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Ok son!

Thanks for helping me. He said that he will get the money by friday morning, I’m sure he will get it, so don’t bother yourself again, I will get back to you on  friday morning. And hope your day went smooth and the festival was fun. Do take very good of yourself son. Thanks

Love

Isobel
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Mum

Righty ho! That is good because the build up to Midnight Mass is well underway and I have nipped off for a cup of coffee before the fuss starts.

Joesph and Mary have arrived at the Inn and are in the stable that has been prepared for them next to the Perfume Display in Brown Thomas’s windows the donkeys are a bit restless but that is because there is a bit of a blizzard in Dublin just now so there is. There was a moment of crisis when one of the camels tried to get on the 220 bus to Ballymunn but my mate Jamesy managed to get it off, thankfully all the shoppers thought it was part of the show so it was OK

I will see you on Thursday morning as expected and if there are problems I can sort out then. It will be good to get back home and see the rest of the family. Has cousin Kevin got over his “problem” i know the doctors were very worried when he started to think he was Yoda and that Ballygofumblewank was in the outer rim.

Love Steve
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Merry xmas son,

Glad to know that you are ok, and everything went well yesterday.
And I heard the banks will start its operations on friday, well I’d be glad to have you around son. And do take very good of yourself.

Love

Isobel
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You Sir or indeed Madam are a Crook!
More than that you are a good for nothing reprobate, a cheat and a schoundrel who would pretend to be someone’s mother for finanical gain and at Christmas too something that is SURE to make the baby Jesus cry!

I was aghast, shocked and angry to discover on telephoning my mother to wish her a Merry Xmas that she knew nothing about this at all! I also contacted Father Mallloy and he has NEVER heard of a Daniel Morgan attached to the church or otherwise! What Perfidity is this????????

I have of course phoned Western Union and stopped the money order, sending them your details and forwarding all correspondence. They were most interested to hear their good services were being used in this manner and have “Red Flagged” the transaction so that any person trying to cash it it will find themselves detained and investigated thoroughly.

In consultation with my colleagues in the Internet Fraud office, once Western Union have caught you and handed you over to the relevant authorities then we will begin extradition proceedings and the cold frosty cells of the Father Dougal Penitentiary on Craggy island await you, you nefarious jackanape!

I am insensed and were I not a serving member of the Gardai I would be inclined to seek a more physical retribution for your crimes. You may not be aware of this but from ancient times impersonating a mother in Ireland is a crime considered beyond forgiveness. As I am constrained by an oath to protect the law my options for revenge are somewhat limited so I had a meeting with my Father Confessor and he assured me that while wishing ill on another human was indeed sinful it was perfectly acceptable in cases of mother impersonation and/or Protestantism  to suggest in prayer form a catalogue of punishments to Saint Leonard that he might pass these on to the demonic horde so that should you pass from this earth an unrepentant soul they can have your punishment cell ready and your eternal torment can begin immeadiatly.

Believe me, I would attend to your spiritual salvation with uncanny haste for should you wake up tomorrow dead, eternity for you will be an very unpleasant time of having things inserted into orrifices that were not designed to take Pineapples, Porcupines, Orbital Sanders and Red Hot Pokers> I have also added the provision that your own crying mother is to watch as the child she brought into the world is brought low.

I do hope we never meet and you have a long and happy life, the alternative i assure you is too awful to imagine!
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… and so it ending…. Perhaps

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Guest Blogpost – A DUP Pamphlet admirably dissected and rebutted

Steve Writes Many of you will know that I am not naturally one who has a lot of time for the Northern Ireland Political Arena or the folk that ply their trade in the corridors of power in Stormount, Westminster and Brussels (Sometimes all at the same time). I have even on occasions taken to the blog and berated them in oftimes less than a civil tone. This post in somewhat in that vein. A non-blogging colleague from t’internet Mr Martin Price approached me with his concerns about an unsolicited pamphlet that was stuffed through his letter box recently from the DUP. Unlike me he did not just rip it up calling down all sorts of pus ridden curses upon the heads of the Paislite and Robinsonesque minions, oh no he actually read it all the way through and then dissected it. I have to say I agree with him 100% and agreed to publish it here on Slightlydoolally.com. I have not edited or changed any of his words, over to you Martin …

Martin Price writes …
A DUP pamphlet dropped through the letterbox recently and I noticed that there was a lot wrong with the pages towards the back. This isn’t a nationalist response – like 47% of people in Northern Ireland I’m not part of either the unionist or nationalist communities[1] – there’s just a lot of problems with what the DUP are saying.

The Pamphlet

The Pamphlet (click for LARGE image)

Points 1-3 deal with a section on same-sex marriage and points 4-6 deal with a section on the Union flag issue written by Peter Robinson.

1. “The DUP…will oppose any attempts to redefine marriage.”

Either the DUP doesn’t know the history of marriage, or they are deliberately ignoring it in order to make their position appear stronger. Presumably, they support redefinitions of marriage such as the 1882 act that allowed wives to own property[2], the 1929 act that raised the minimum age for marriage to 16[3] and the 1991 act that allowed husbands to be prosecuted for raping their wives.[4] They should not present their position as a defence of a traditional, unchanging conception of marriage, nor should they pretend that same-sex marriage would alter it for the first time. In addition to the three examples mentioned, there have been several dozen ‘marriage acts’ that have redefined marital law in the United Kingdom alone [5] and in places outside of the UK, same-sex marriage is part of the traditional definition and considerably pre-dates the introduction of Christianity.[6]

Marriage never had a single definition that applied universally and even in this particular place the current definition is the result of many changes and is increasingly out of step with the legalisation occurring in the rest of the world.[7]

2. “The Coalition for Marriage has taken legal opinion which states that any protections [that churches would have to exempt themselves from the legal obligation to perform same-sex ceremonies] will be successfully…overturned by the courts.”

The was no citation explaining the legal opinion taken, although what this quote presumably refers to is available on the Coalition for Marriage’s website.[8] A single lawyer, Aidan O’Neill, presents several cases that he believes show that future church protections will not stand up in court. The Government Equality’s Office in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport offer a detailed, case-by-case analysis of why Mr O’Neill’s concerns are groundless.[9]

The use of a single dissenting lawyer (who opposes same-sex marriage morally in addition to his comments about its legality [10]) to give a veneer of respectability to their claims was in evidence in the tactics of an earlier pamphlet against same-sex-marriage that the Coalition for Marriage produced. Independent political fact-checking website fullfact.org

concluded that their use of statistics in the pamphlet was both “unfair” and “misleading”.[11]

3. “We believe in religious freedom and tolerance…It’s wrong and intolerant that parties pushing this issue have not recognised this as a matter of conscience.”

This is a continuation of their point, above, that people will have their freedom of religion imposed upon by same-sex marriage. Their legal concerns don’t stand up to any scrutiny. However, the wider problem with their argument is the assumption that there are only two possible positions on same-sex marriage; either you are morally against it and want it to be illegal, or you’re morally for it and want it be legal.

In reality, you can be for the legalisation of same-sex marriage regardless of your moral feelings about it and this is the stance that the DUP should be taking and promoting with their literature. It’s possible to be morally opposed to same-sex marriage whether it is legal or not, but it is obviously not possible to marry another person of the same sex if same-sex marriage is not legal. This is the difference that the DUP gloss over. Their moral opposition to same-sex marriage is unaffected by its legality, just as their moral opposition to different faiths is unaffected by their legality, just as the opposition of someone with a different faith (or no faith at all) to the Protestant religion does not require that it be outlawed.

4. “…Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance for colluding to disrupt the status quo.”
Leaving aside context, ‘colluding’ is a bad word to describe the Union flag vote, as Peter Robinson (who wrote this section) acknowledges that the move was taken by ‘the 24 nationalist councillors facilitated by the 6 Alliance Party councillors every step of the way’. Secrecy is the main part of the definition for the word ‘collusion’ and illegality is also implied when it is used[12], though this will not materialise either barring an unexpected decision from the Equality Commission.

Given that it was wrong word to use anyway, why use a wrong word that also has such a loaded meaning in the context of Northern Irish politics? This was either an extremely careless choice or Peter Robinson is deliberately comparing the Union Flag vote to the involvement of state security forces in paramilitary murders.[13] Assuming that it was a deliberate choice – and it is difficult to believe someone so used to speeches as the First Minister would choose such a loaded word inadvertently – it shows a total lack of perspective, incredible insensitivity and is needlessly inflammatory.

5. “96% of the public responses supported the retention of the Union flag and less than 10 out of 16,600 responses supported designated days.”

There is no information on how, when or where this polls was carried out, what the questions were, their level of response etc. There isn’t even evidence that it occurred, although it obviously wouldn’t be difficult to poll specific areas of Belfast where these results could be obtained, so I don’t doubt that it did. The lack of transparency is the problem, as the figures are presented as if they represent the public at large, whereas Spotlight polls showed that even immediately after the vote, only a slight majority support the right of protesters to take to the streets at all, and 77% thought the protests should stop by late January[14], which indicates that the DUP are concealing something in the methodology of the polls they cite in order to inflate the perceived level of opposition to the Union flag vote.

6. “Scores of police officers have been injured and many of the young people involved in the violence will emerge…with nothing to show…but a criminal record. All of this because of an unwanted and unnecessary decision of Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance.”

Here Peter Robinson is laying the blame for the violence carried out by those who disagree with a political decision at the door of those who took the political decision. This is at odds with the central message his and other parties have publicly stressed since the beginning of the peace process – that violence is not an appropriate response to political disagreement. Like the use of the word ‘collusion’ above, this is either extremely poor phrasing – to the point of unbelievably poor – or counter-productive, hypocritical, insensitive and needlessly inflammatory.

Supporting Links

[1] http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2012/Political_Attitudes/UNINATID.html

[2] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/45-46/75/contents

[3] http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/private-lives/relationships/overview/lawofmarriage-/

[4] http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1991/12.html

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Act#United_Kingdom

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

[7] http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2011/06/08/1226071/546254-gay-marriage-map.gif

[8] http://c4m.org.uk/downloads/legalopinionsummary.pdf

[9] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/86499/RESPONSE_TO_AIDAN_O_NEILL_QCs_LEGAL_OPINION.pdf

[10] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/11/schools-will-be-forced-to_n_1585933.html

[11] http://fullfact.org/factchecks/same_sex_gay_marriage_coalition_leaflet-28736

[12] http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/collusion

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles#Collusion_between_security_forces_and_loyalist_paramilitaries

[14] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21331212

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The Global recession and its affects on the Intergluteal Cleft

It is a sad indictment of the state we find ourselves living in that the cut backs and fiscal penny pinching has reached such a proportion that it has reached into the very private inner sanctum of silent contemplation that is the “loo”. There are less fragrant de-odourising agents. Whereas at the height of yuppiedom we were treated to the light and subtle tones of a Tuscan Spring Morning after a light dew as the calendula open their yellow heads to point at the Mediterranean sun now we get Wet Sunday afternoon in a cardboard box that smells more that slightly of pee.  Similarly the soap that would both cleanse and moisturize ones hands as you ablute has now morphed into solidified lumps of weak carbolic acid that remove the top two layers of skin if not washed off directly after application.

Most worryingly is the change to cheap toilet paper!

The care of one’s posterior is something that should never be shirked, should never be held up to the vagaries, and profit and loss spreadsheets of those that control the “spend”. Alas it seems we have reached a point where this is indeed the case 🙁

So it was that this email was crafted to ensure that the powers that be were made fully aware of the situation vis a vis the collective corporate posterior.

 

Image 522

 

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Of Public Meetings and engaging with the powers that be.

Tonight I totally forgot that Flowerfield Arts Center pottery class was deferred by a week because of the launch of the NW200 2013 events program. However I noticed while hovering around reception that there was a public meeting being held in Portstewart Town Hall. Now I am not one for Public Meetings I have been to a few and they are inclined towards excessive amounts of “What-about-ery”, acrimony and finger pointing. This one caught my attention because it was a study into “Cultural and Heritage Activities of local community groups” being done by the local Borough council in association with the Peace III initiative, which has as one of it’s aims:

“Building Positive Relations at Local Level aims to challenge attitudes towards sectarianism and racism and to support conflict resolution and mediation at the local level.”

I approve of the idea that of a collection of social policies might , just might, promote the healing that this wee province badly needs and at that broad level such an aim is admirable and needs both our interest and support. – [SFX of a sharp intake of breath] I have to say at this point that experience has left me with little faith in the ability of elected officials to see beyond the double locked manacles of their party’s policies and the mandate they were elected on, this is in a nutshell the tyranny of democracy 🙁 We want those we elect to represent us yet we choose them on the basis of their policies some of which we are diametrically opposed to. We also expect them to be as fired up and enthusiastic about the things we are fired up and enthusiastic about and for a lot of the time that is just not the case. Politics and politicians are perhaps a necessary evil we all have to endure so we can continue to have the levels of freedom we currently enjoy. However as I get older I realise that this “grinning and bearing” the vagaries of Ulster politics both local and provincial has left me apathetic. I shout at the TV and rant and rave about the high percentage of plonkers that are supposedly running things, but do I do anything about it?  I can hear myself answering that now “… well I have a busy life and I don’t have the time to be bothered with all that childish posturing !” and that is not really an answer. If I want the people that are representing me to represent me I have to let them know what I think, what I want and how best they can do what they were elected to do.

Having convinced myself that this was something after 30+ years of not being involved I would dip my toes in the water again and see what would happen. This particular meeting was a part of a wider program that wanted to find out what people define as cultural activities in the public spaces of the Borough and how to asses how these contribute to the social fabric and economy of the local area.

I was first to arrive and for a moment had the awful sensation that there was just going to be me. It seems that my own apathy is shared by many others, while I was not alone there were only 10-15 people in attendance.

Much was discussed and we all danced the “careful waltz” around those traditional activities that divide us. I am not sure what the meeting accomplished and I have been asked to present answers to a questionnaire that I will have to consider carefully and get back to them.

However one thing did strike me as we talked, culture and heritage are not those dusty things of the past that try to define us (and sometimes in Northern Ireland succeed) they are part of the heartbeat of a community. Culture is just the out working of the community being the community it reflects who we are both good and bad. Heritage is just the echo of the culture of the past.

What we see as “bad” in our culture is never our fault we are very quick to point the finger and blame who ever it is we feel is dragging us down conversely we are very proud of the good as it reflects well on us.

What we and through us, our elected representatives have to do is find a plan where the largest number of people get that proud, good positive vibe out of how our community expresses ourselves and minimize those things that the community feels are negative.

This will take a lot of time and effort.

Overall I left the meeting encouraged, I think although we were a small group and somewhat chronological gifted , we gave the organisers ample things to think on. Perhaps it is time I looked to becoming more engaged in local politics. Councillor McDonagh has a certain ring to it 😉

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.o0( Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. )

RIP Fizz :(Today was a day of an ending – The last “t” was crossed the last “i” dotted and a big tear stained full stop was placed at the end of the last sentence of the last paragraph of the life of Fizz McDonagh. 🙁 It seems that some time last night he went for a doze under a hedge as he was wont to do and had a heart attack or stoke and died … we found him this morning.

Every life is a story and stories suffer if not told.

This is a wee bit of Fizz’s story ….

The McDonaghs of number 14 have always had cats, in fact the day #14 was built and handed over to myself and Val we were only able to take up residence when the imperious and some what circumferentially gifted “Muffin” gave her seal of approval. Years and indeed decades passed as did Muffin, Jade and then Amber. After each kitty funeral the house felt empty and the absence of a purring furry mass of barely suppressed feline frustration at meal times was sorely felt … and this was the reason Fizz and his litter sister Kizz joined the family.

They were rescue cats and had a pretty poor start in life as they were found just 3 weeks old, in a sodden cardboard box in the middle of a busy road. I would like to think by mistake, but knowing human nature is sometimes less than pleasant than we would admit. , I have a feeling the location was chosen to achieve the result of killing the kittens. They were cold wet and close to making an exit from life before they had had a decent shake of the stick.

Val, Niall and I were cat less at the time and on an impulse driven by that need that all cat owners get when deprived of the sort of unconditional love a wee furry person is very good at giving we went to the local animal sanctuary and were introduced to Fizz and Kizz.

Fizz – a ginger Tom – made sure we could see him by climbing the chicken wire of his cage and hanging spread-eagled, Garfield like at Val’s nose level. We had agreed before hand it was going to be “just the one cat” but there was no way we could separate Fizz and Kizz so we left with both.

About 2 weeks after arriving Fizz threw a fever and we whisked him down to the vet and he was diagnosed with Viral Feline Enteroritis. The vet sucked air ‘tween his teeth in the manner of a car mechanic working out exactly how many 0’s that squeaky clutch would cost to repair and told us it might be better to say “goodbye” there and then as the outlook in a kitten so young was very very poor.

Val would have none of that!!

So the Vet told us to take him home and kept him hydrated with an eyedropper every half hour and perhaps in a monumentally enormous massive almost infinitely small turn of good luck he just might be OK.

Val taking on the role of chief nurse,  sat with the poorly wee ginger mite for 36 hours feeding him water and cleaning the mess when minutes later most of what went in  appeared at the other end. But after 36 hours the start of a wee purr could be heard and gradually over the next few hours things improved. Fizz had survived .. and it was all down to the Val’s nursing routine that became known as “lie down, roll over, tickle tummy, close eyes, go sleep” I can heartily recommend it 😉

Mind you it was not without cost. The fever had wrecked havoc in his insides and was as they used to say “Of a delicate disposition in the bowels” so much to his disgust he was not allowed to share in the family curry nights. Similarly the fever was of sufficient ferocity to leave him all but silent apart from his purr and … well there is no way to say this nicely .. render him very very very stupid! Oh and his rear legs were rather wobbly when cornering. Didn’t seem to bother him greatly he just went through life in a fairly constant state of either surprise or confusion while avoiding any activity that required having back legs that worked in sympathy with his front set.Fizz1

We have a snake called Sunni who is an Amelanistic Sun Glow Corn Snake and was a point of constant confusion for Fizz. He would sit like this watching “Fizz TV” for hours. We think he was convinced it was a tail and was waiting for the other ginger cat to appear …. It never did 🙂 Kizz his sister would watch with the disdain only a female cat can master with an almost visible thought bubble hanging over her head that read

.o0( stupid stupid boy! )

… and so I sit here missing the big ginger cat that slept on our bed, got me up when he felt breakfast was a bit late, purred like mad when you tickled that bit behind his ears ….

Why the F**K do we do this? Why do we let these creatures come into our lives sure in the knowledge that someday we will feel this sharp hot pain of separation?

Yet … I do not believe, even for a moment, that we will never get another. I know full well that there are just too many animals out there in need of a home. If Val and I were to take  the rather self-indulgent road of saying the heartbreak of the loss of a furry family member is too much ever to want to go through with it again … well …  such an admission would mean that all the wonderful times you have with your pets over the years are not worth the unhappiness at the end and sorry for being blunt but that is a crock of shit!

I have an idea that all you reading this that have pets will be nodding in agreement 🙂

I will sign off now as it is difficult to see the screen properly when my eyes are full of tears that need to fall. I will leave with this thought from the diaries of my hero Leonardo Da Vinci “The smallest feline is a masterpiece” and he more than anyone would know!

RIP Fizz McDonagh – like myself a bit of a flawed masterpiece

 

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Ponderings on the value we put on “things”

Tis Sunday a day of rest and reverie and as such that is what I am doing with the help of Faure’s Requiem – a great piece for a Sunday morning at the end of a bad week.

The week was fractured locally by a continuing unrest here in Norn Iron over flags and their importance. It occurs to me that we are not learning that we should really try to value people over things. The “things” can be possessions, politics, religion, fame, traditions or anything that we feel defines who “we” are and most importantly defines who “they” are, the other ones, the ones we don’t like.

At home here in Norn Iron we have this whole flag furore where a piece of coloured cloth defines one group to the point where we have riots, threats of riots, bomb scares, burning cars and buses, injured police persons and a new spate of tit for tat death threats issued against public figures on either side.

The removal of the flag did not start some form of republican rapture where Loyalists were sucked into limbo by the giant  spectre of Éamoon de Valera weilding an enormous green white and gold Vatican vaacum cleaner. No flag on Belfast City Hall has not made the Loyalists any less loyal, it has not made the Republicans any less republican.

So why the unrest?

The flag is just a thing .. but it is a thing that represents something else. It is a territorial marker that defined the building it flies from as “ours” not “ours” and definitly not “yours”.  So the last two weeks have basically been the barking of old grey dogs that have found they can no longer piss on the lamp post a the end of the street.

So where is this the striving for a “shared democratic future?” It sure as fuck isn’t happening at Stormount! MLAs are chronically indisposed to the idea of sharing, having said that what they ARE good at is engineering miracles – for who but a group of MLAs can actually make a mountain out of a mole hill and do it every fecking day, day after fecking day and on each occasion make it about “Us” vs “Them” ? … and the worse thing about the whole bollocks is this – we elected them so in a way it is all out fecking fault!

If we are to have a future at all we need to have a sound economic grounding which brings jobs which in turn need education and health none of which our vaulted democratic representatives are showing any inclination to achieve .. but disrespect a flag, open a sexual health clinic or suggest dinosaurs did not frolic with Adam and Eve in the garden of eden and they rise up out of their traditional slumbers frothing spleen, full of vim and vigour – Since democracy is meant to bring benefit to the scoiety that elects it I can safely say on the evidence of the last 40 years this democracy is as useful as a chocolate fireguard or tits on a bull.

As we ramp up to Christmas can we just try for 2 weeks to be nice to each other, accept that we have different aspirations, aspirations that we do not have to respect but we should at least tolerate. There is no Loyalist Ulster where the skies are always blue or an Ireland that is united – we are where we are – so instead of prancing around looking like complete brain dead numpties let’s be pragmatic and try something different in 2013 and for the love of (*insert diety or secular idol here) wise the fuck up!

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Norn Iron, Flegs, Fleg Poles, Rioting and their importance

I realise that with all the twitter and FB guff that has been around since the #fleg debacle and the ripples of spleen, golf balls, paint bombs and broken glass, some people not from “Norn Iron” will be confused as to what the F**K is going on.So here is a brief summary of Ireland North and South “Fleggery” for my non-culshie chums.

Ireland is an island to the west of Britain, but Northern Ireland is just off the mainland – not the Irish mainland, the British mainland.

The capital of Ireland is Dublin.  It has a population of a million people, all of whom will be shopping in Norn Iron this afternoon.  They travel to Norn Iron  because it is in the North, which is not part of Ireland and as such is cheaper.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland.  It has a population of half a million, half of whom have houses in Donegal.  Donegal is in the north but not in the North.  It is in the bit of the south that is further North than the North.

There are two parliaments in Ireland.  The Dublin parliament is called the Dáil, an Irish word meaning the place banks go to steal taxpayers’ money.  The one in Belfast is called Stormont, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “place of grey men who fart through their mouths”.  Their respective jurisdictions are defined by the border, an imaginary line on the map to show fuel launderers where to dump chemical waste.

Travel can be confusing because Ireland (north and south) is the only country in the world with two M1 motorways.  The one in the North goes west to avoid the south and the one in the South goes north to avoid the price of drink.

We have two types of democracy in Ireland.  Dublin democracy works by holding a referendum and then allowing the government to judge the result.  If the government thinks the result is wrong, the referendum is held again.  Twice in recent years the government decided the people’s choice was wrong and ordered a new referendum.  Belfast democracy works differently.  It has a parliament with no opposition, so the government is always right.  This system generates envy in many world capitals, especially Dublin.

Ireland has three economies – northern, southern and black.  Only the black economy is in the black.  The north is red,white and blue simultaneously and the south is just red very very very red.

The peace process was introduced 10 years ago because republicans complained that “Provisional” and “Continuity” IRAs meant there were big words, hard to spell and the walls in Belfast and Derry were too small to fit all those letters in. Since,we the taxpayers were against the idea of building lots of wider low rent housing to accomodate the slogans we decided to have a “peace process” a by product of which was the introduction of the “Real” IRA which was easier to spell and left more room for pictures.

“Flegs” is the local patois for Flags. A lot of people not from Norn Iron think that we think that Flegs are really important. This is not in fact the case. Flegs are not the important thing at all,at all,at all.. it is the Fleg Poles that are important.

Fleg Poles are an ancient fertility symbol, a Lingam, a symbol of the eternal procreative germ part of the indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates. The Orange Order is a secret sect of Fleg Pole worshippers. They revere the Fleg Pole and try at all times to be penis-like in it’s honour. They regard it as a scared right and duty rooted (if you pardon the unintentional pun) in the traditions of generation after generation of fundamental cockishness. Part of this reverence is the flying of Flegs on the Fleg Pole,for without the , the fleg pole is sterile and stands ineffectually firing blanks into the blue skies of Ulster.

This is why Flegs on Fleg Poles are so important and worth all the fuss, to do otherise would meana quick slip into a state of symbolic castrastion.

So gentle reader when you see rioting on the news and hear  the newscaster say “It is all over the taking down of a flag” remember that standing erect on Belfast City Hall is a poor unsatisfied Fleg Pole, it’s string twanging sadly in the December wind, singing a sad song of unrequited Flaggishness into the heavens ….

Posted in Blogging, Old Git Wisdom, Steve, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Farewell Uncle Henry!

Just found out my Uncle Henry, from the Canadian branch of the family, one of life’s true quiet gentlemen and a A+ first grade go to the top of the class Uncle has died 🙁

Although this was not unexpected as he had been ill for a while, death puts an indelible full stop on the pages of all the lives it touches and the finality of life’s adventure ending for someone you know and love always comes as as shock.

It seems oddly fitting that only a few months ago he was on a visit to Ireland and the UK and was sat on my mother’s sofa and we were disccusing art, walking and tech in the usual gloriously disjointed and tangential way that McDonagh conversations have a habit of flowing. This can be a bit of a shock for some people but Uncle Henry even though our meetings were well spaced out in time did as he usually did and slipped right back into the Irish branch of the family as if the years and 1000’s of miles between meetings did not exist.

When my cousins let me know Uncle Henry has died I remembered my own father, now 30+ years dead. Dad had cancer and was being looked after at home by my Mum and I was nursing at the time and would come up on my days off and take “the night shift”. Coversation turned one night to the elephant in the room and I asked him “Are you scared?” He did not answer for a moment and the replied with a simple “Yes” and we moved onto another topic. The next day he handed me a piece of paper on which was a poem he hoped would explain his feelings and would help me understand. Over the years these words have stayed with me and came echoing back to me as I heard that my Uncle had died. It is a short poem and expresses eloquently a life well lived that is as apt for Uncle Henry as it was for my Dad.

A SONG OF LIVING:
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young love on the lips, I have heard her song to the end.
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.
I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
Amelia Joesphine Burr

So with that I raise a glass and toast – Farewell Uncle Henry and here is to a life well lived!

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My evening with Sanal Edamaruku, Irish Atheism, the whore of Ballymena and a career change

Gentle reader, here I sit in the kitchen of Casa McDonagh typing this post and sipping a cup of coffee in quiet contemplation prior to retiring for the night after a most interesting evening.

I was at a special meeting laid on by Atheism Ireland to highlight the story of an Indian gentleman by the name of Sanal Edamaruku.

To cut a long story short (you can read more here) Sanal and his group are famous for exposing fraudsters, hoaxes and debunking myths in India. He and they are equal opportunity rationalists and will debunk nonsense where ever they find it be it Christian, Hindu, Muslim or indeed secular.

In the city of Mumbai there is a chapel where a supposed miracle was happening, holy water was seeping from the feet of a statue of Jesus on the cross. 100’s would flock to this church daily where the attendant priests would collect the water and distribute it with due reverence to their swollen congregation who would sing hymns of praise for this gift from God and leave blessed by this miraculous foot centric exudate.

Sanal did some basic research and was able to prove to the priest, bishop and assembled faithful the holy water was not a gift of heavenly podiatric joy juice from a celestial Dr.Scholl loving deity but the contents of a blocked sewer pipe that ran under the crucifix. Once a plumber had been called and the blockage removed the holy toe jam beer stopped and needless to say the contents of the collection plate rather dried up when the congregation discovered they were genuflecting and in some cases drinking the contents of a Mumbai toilet.

The Bishop for the area took umbrage at Sanal and accused him of  “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community” which under a legal anachronism is blasphemy. This law comes from a time when the English strode into India, burnt down villages,made the natives grow tea and by good fortune discovered cricket. All done for the glory of a white Anglican God, the dynastic pleasure of a fat German Queen and to correct the affront to all civilized men in the home countries – Johnny Foreigner’s trains being late. Being a fair and just system this statue requires no formal trial, the police come around arrest you and you go straight to jail for 3 years, do not pass go,do not collect £200.

WTF?

Seriously 3 years in pokey for stopping people drinking sewage? All be it piss and poo from the nether regions of priests which I suppose must count for something although I would hazard a guess that it comes complete with the full gamut of bugs, beasties and undigested bits of sweetcorn. Being of a scientific bent this is only a guess because I have not partaken in the natural evacuations of any bottom whether it has been sanctified by ordination or not.

Now while Sanal is no shrinking violet when it comes to rational explanations he has not actually as far as anyone can see transgressed the blasphemy law he has only annoyed a bishop of the catholic church who very magnanimously has offered to forget the whole thing if Sanal apologises.

Again WTF?

Were it me i can see it now .. “Bishop please accept my heartfelt apologies for not realizing that your priests and congregation where partaking in a symbolic sacred feast where the fallen, sinful, debased nature of man is remembered by the ingestion of a suspension of shit, piss and toilet duck – As a token of the sincerity of my apology I have liquidized some of my own effluent gathered while saying the Hail Mary. This is good stuff as I am as big a sinner as you are likely to find in the whole of Ireland” …  perhaps I am not the best one to be making THAT apology.

What is worrisome is that Ireland stands alone in Europe at the minute as the only country to have got rid of it’s blasphemy laws and then like an ecclesiastical yo-yo brought them back in again. All you Norn Iron folks need to be careful too – if you casually let slip a “Jesus Christ!!!” when you next drop the settee on your toes when you are looking for the change that has mysteriously worked it’s way to the furthest reaches of the lair of the dust bunny they you too could be had up for blasphemy. The Law Lords, bless their big red cloaks and periwinkle wigs, when getting rid of blasphemy in England and Wales felt that the good people of Northern Ireland would rise up and very probably smite something, we do have a reputation for that sort of thing. Never let it be said that all those hours spent in Sunday School were wasted.If those lessons on the bloody end of  The Canaanites, The Amelikites et al taught us anything it was the effectiveness of a damn good smite!

Now wait a minute  … Blasphemy is illegal here …hmmmm … Big Ian and the congregation of the sacred bleeding martyred turnip and other dur humourless vegetables are for ever going on about the Pope being the antichrist and being a papist equates to already having a demonic poker up your bum. That HAS to be blasphemy … it certainly offends me … so the RCs could take the Free-Ps to court and the Free-Ps could counter charge the RCs for being the personification of the whore of Ballymena (or was that Babylon … I am sure it begins with a B) Let’s face it the Free-Ps don’t like line-dancing or swinging on a swing in a park on a Sunday so being a whore must be really offensive and potentially blasphemous … that could tie up the courts for decades …. hmmm time to change careers and become a barrister.

Seriously though why is it that one religion can hold another as heretical, evil or just down right wrong and it is not blasphemy, but when an atheist shines a candle into a religions dark corners it is blasphemy – makes you think doesn’t it.

Anyway time for bed – One last thing Sanal is in exile in Europe he refuses to aplogise and the threat of prison still hangs over him. Go visit his site and if you can lend your support to try and get this sort out as soon as possible.
To sign the Petition against Sanal’s case, click here.
To donate to the Sanal Edamaruku Defense Fund, click here.

Thanks to Atheist Ireland for a very thought provoking evening and thanks to Sanal for sharing his experience with us!

Posted in Steve, Thoughts | Leave a comment

The dangers of Demons and paying the Visa Bill

…an odd thing happened yesterday. I had to go into town at dinner time to pay the Visa bill and other deeply boring chores. As I turned the corner into the Diamond (or town square if you are not from NI) I was greeted by an physically imposing foreign sounding chap waving a large book and declaiming to anyone that would listen in a voice that needed no amplification.

He had obviously been at it for a while as there was foam flecking at the corners of his mouth and beads of sweat glistened on his brow, I had missed his opening comments but it was fairly obvious what his topic of the day was ….

“SIN! SIN!!!!!!! SIN!!!!! and lots more SIN!!!!!!!!!!!” (extra !s indicate the amount of spittle expectorated. This chap was like Roy Hattersley on speed)

I paused for a moment on the steps of the Temple of Mammon more commonly known as The First Trust Bank. While street preachers are fairly common in Northern Ireland this chap had a uniquely fired up manic way to him and I do like a bit of street theatre from time to time.

Although I missed his opening salvos it seems that we the great masses of those unwashed in the ovine haematological laundry of the Almighty are possessed by demons,
and not just any demons but the self same ones that had to their credit the Sodom and Gomorrah Tour 2300BC and the lesser known (at least to me) bringer of antipathy to the idea of rebuilding the temple in the book of Haggai and not forgetting the chief of the Demons who currently resides in Pope Benedict and is leading the Roman Catholic Church to hell where priests will have Satan specified special jobs that involved red hot pokers in the bottoms of any Protestant unfortunate enough not to be “saved”

These pearls of wisdom where thrown below the feet of the assembled Friday shopping Culshies in a voice that defies any complex classification other than “Impressively loud and damp”. I lit a ciggie and watched with growing anthropological interest, the Visa bill payment forgotten for the moment.

The world, as is very often the case, kept on spinning and people did as they normally did and went about their business of the day politely ignoring the preacher and his protestations. This was also true for a  by-passing Coleraineite couple who parted company slightly to the preachers left. She to pursue the glory that is Superchem he to do something else on the other side of the town hall. This meant passing in front of our expectorationaly gifted orator. If there was a poor decision made in this tableau of real life it was this, just after this moment of separation the stranger paused, checked his watch looked at an official looking envelope and glanced first to one side of the town hall then the other. He was caught in a momentary paralysis of indecision but to the visiting preacher it appeared as something else entirely.

The preacher had got to the bit of his sermon which involved the details of the process of divesting humans of demonic possession. A skill he told us that was gifted to him by his tripartite deity and one he claimed he was particularly good at having bested demons, witch doctors and warlocks. Noticing the chap pause some 4 feet to his left there is was plain as day, at least to him, a demon possessed soul transfixed by the sanctity of the sermon being preached.

Turning he swapped the bible to his left hand and slapped an enormous hand on the paused stranger’s forehead and declaimed “DEEEEEEMON I COMMAND YOU IN THE NAME OF JEEEEEEEEEEEEZUUUUUUUUSSSSSSS TO LEEEAVE!!!”.

Squinting up the preachers arm the demon responded in a most un-demonic way .. he said

“What?”

“DEMON I CAN SENSE YOU THERE IS NO POINT DENYING IT … I ABDURE YOU TO LEAVE IN JEEEEEEEEEEEZUUUUUUSSSSS NAME >> AAAAAAAAMEN!”

This time the response was slightly more demonic but not what you would call diabolical.

“Eh? What are you on about mate?”

“CONFUSION CONFUSION AND CALUMNY ARE BROUGHT BY DEMONS TO MAN! A THIRD TIME I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE IN JEEEEEEZUUUUUUSSSS NAME!”

I had to look up what Calumny was and sadly it is not the bad things that Calum Best might get up to on a Saturday Night in Spearmint Rhino with 3 strippers, a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit and a purple wheelbarrow – it just means lying or slander.

The stranger now more than a little annoyed, swiped the hand from his head and said in a voice that carried without being loud and came complete with a fully illustrated sub-text guide to the consequences of further discussion.

“You can fuck away off!”

With those words hanging heavy in the seconds of silence that followed the stranger turned and walked away leaving the preacher arms outstretched as if asking for a Divine answer to why the demons he usually deals with could not both swear and walk away AT THE SAME TIME (*gasp* shock horror!!)

T’was then that two uniformed officers of common decorum appeared and “had a word” with the preacher in the sheltered confines of Stone Row (a stylish wee street off the Diamond, stylish because it has both Laura Ashley AND Yankee Candle shops. Coleraine is nothing if not down with the hip trendy folk!.)

As a result the rest of the conversation was lost to me and I returned to the mundanities of bill paying and seeking lunch. Such happenings as this make life more interesting don’t you think?

Posted in Blogging, Steve | 1 Comment