Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another year older? Halle-bloody-lujah

One of Jonah's little pals is about to turn two, so I asked him what we should buy her for a present. 

"Bob the Builder tractors". No surprises there, then, from our resident Bob worshipper. 

The present obviously sparked thoughts of the whole birthday shebang, though. 

"Wait, Mummy. I find birthday card" came the command, yelled over his shoulder as Jonah rocketed from the room at Toddler Force 9. Seconds later, he was back, proudly displaying said "birthday card": a Guardian supplement of Leonard Cohen lyrics. (I particularly like this rendition for Mr. Cohen's fantastic grumpiness - just what Jonah had in mind, presumably). 

It would seem nihilism is all the rage with the toddler set these days... 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Maybe this is why they call it a coffin surfboard

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll be saying it again: The absolutely casual, absolutely integrated approach to religion in Ireland really strikes me after our years in Seattle, which apparently has fewer churches per capita than any other city in the good ol' US of A. 

Today's God-is-everywhere classic is brought to you by the schedulers of Ocean FM, up on the North West coast of Ireland, whose description of their Saturday morning programming runs like this:

Easy listening/obituary notices/surf report

Or, in the style of a tabloid subeditor (my secret dream job):

Beach Boys/beached boys/to the beach, boys!

In this instance, it's mostly the order in which the schedulers chose to detail the show's offerings that has me cocking my head to one side with a "hunh???" Imagine being in that programming meeting - the topics up on a whiteboard whilst everyone argued about which order made the most sense. Quite how they came up with this one is a mystery, but I'm glad they did because it made me laugh out loud, and then it made me think.

Death is especially on my mind this week, much as I wish it wasn't. And as coincidence would have it, the image this programming line-up evokes - a few bars of Good Vibrations, a moment of silence in respect of the dead, then off out to catch a wave - seems as appropriate a tribute to this particular death (of an old friend) than any I could have conjured up on my own.  As the Wilson brothers put it:

I wish we could, mate - I wish we could. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

One of those combinations as clearly wrong and yet indefinably logical as a pickled egg in a packet of crisps

You may think, as so many of us with ageing ovaries and romantic notions of best-friend siblings seem to, that it would be a fantastic idea to have kids close in age; say, 2 or so years between the little lovelies.
And so it will come to pass that just as Little Angel #1 will be mastering the vagaries of potty training, so Little Angel#2 will be (quite literally) flexing his crawling muscles. And you will spend the majority of your waking hours vigorously directing one small child towards the potty and the other small child vigorously away from said potty. The joys know no bounds.

As for the pickled egg: When I was about 17, Sunday evenings were often spent with my BFF Alex, my favourite cousin, and his mates learning to play pool in a little pub in a forest, next to the river (that sounds like some kind of Brothers Grimm tale for teenagers, but you get the gist).

The Designated Snack of the evening was a pickled,hard-boiled-egg presented (I use the word lightly) in a packet of crisps - usually salt-n-vinegar flavour. The sharpness of the crisps perfectly offsets the blandness of the egg, and the beer washes it all down gloriously. Fuck knows how this became any kind of habitual bar snack, but it was tops. And of course now, twenty years on (Christ, we're getting old), on the rare-ish occasions I play pool, I think of Andrew, his gang, and the pickled eggs.