Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Patrick Day

I have repeated my basic statements on this day for the last few years, and since it's still what I want people to know about today, and what I want to say about today. I see no reason to change the practice this year.

I love my country and my country
my states and my counties
of purple mountains and four green fields
of pigskin and patriot games
of Stars and stripes and green and white
of micks and taigs
of my mother and my father
One world, and another

I am a "genuine" Irish American... so much as anyone can be said to be so.

Not some guy who's grandmother on my mothers fathers side stopped in limerick on the way over from France. I’m born to an Irish father and American mother, I'm a dual citizen, and I lived in Ireland for several years.

Today is the feast day of Saint Patrick.

While in theory Ireland’s most important holiday is St. Patricks day, in Ireland, the only people "celebrating" Patrick day (it's usually not called St. Patricks day) with wild partying, are the tourists (well... and the college students, but they'll celebrate the opening of a door with wild partying so...). Everyone else is home relaxing for the day off; or if they're still pious, off in church.

To Americans, it's a drunkards day, but to the Irish... or at least to those who are still religious, or who still give a damn about Ireland, and what it means to be Irish; its significance is something like independence day, memorial day, and thanksgiving combined... though that doesn't exactly capture it.

It's a religious holiday AND a national holiday, and one of the biggest worldwide symbols of Ireland there is... For good or ill.

For several hundred years under the British, it was illegal to celebrate Patrick day, and the conspicuous display of green on this day could see one arrested. It was considered raising rebellion against the crown... something my family has a long history of (really, look it up, fascinating stuff).

The celebration of this day is a very strong reminder to those who care about Ireland, and the Irish, what that means today, and what it has meant for the past 600 years.

Lest anyone think by these statements that I'm a supporter of the IRA, let me just say ohh ah FUCK THE RA. It isn't 1921 anymore, and those bastards have done more damage in the last 40 years than I can describe.

What most don't realize, or even even hear of; is that the IRA (and Sinn Fein the theoretical peaceful political component) are a Marxist organization. Yes they want a united Ireland, but they want it to be a "socialist workers paradise" like Cuba.

Yeah I think you all know how I feel about that.

Of course the other thing most don't know is, that since the late '80s most of the violence has been initiated on the protestant side.

The so called loyalists, and "protective associations" and other pathetic excuses for extortion gangs look at sectarianism as an ideal cover for their real goal: the control of the criminal underground of Northern Ireland.

If you want to know what someones opinion of it is, you don't need ask... just listen to what they call it.

If it's "The Cause", then they'll be singing "Boys of the Old Brigade" tonight. "The Struggle" is for those who march in orange down the Shankill road. The rest of us just call it "the troubles", and wish the lot of them to hell where they belong.

The worst part?

At this point, The Republic doesn't really want the north, and neither do the British. It's a gigantic economic drag (though it shouldn't be and certainly doesn't have to be), with extremely high unemployment, massive dole roles, very little sustainable economic base, and infrastructure costs that can't reasonably be borne... overall just a giant mess economically (part of that due to neglect, or outright hostility on the part of the British government, part of it the fault of the north itself).

If you held a vote in all of Ireland today whether to unify the country, maybe half of the northerners would say yes, and probably three quarters of those in the republic would say HELL NO WE DON'T WANT YA.

Which is a damn shame, because the Irish SHOULD be one nation, and one people. Even the English seem to accept that now; they just can't figure out how to extricate themselves from the situation while still doing right by her majesties subjects in the north counties AND saving face for the last 100 or so, or even the last 217 or so years (some would even say the last 900 or so years) of cockups.

So I think you can see why on this day, I find the singing of "rebel" songs to be a bit angering.

Now in honor of all the phony Irish assholes, and real Irish scumbags singing "The Men Behind the Wire" and "The boys of the old Brigade" in bars all over Ireland, Boston, New York, and Chicago...


The Patriot Game
-- Dominic Behan

Come all you young rebels, and list while I sing,
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

My name is O'Hanlon, and I'm just gone sixteen.
My home is in Monaghan, where I was weaned.,
I learned all my life cruel England to blame,
And so I'm a part of the patriot game.

It's barely two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold IRA,
I'd read of our heroes, and I wanted the same
To play out my part in the patriot game.

This island of ours has for long been half free.
Six counties are under John Bull's tyranny.
So I gave up my Bible, to drill and to train
To play my own part in the patriot game.

And now as I lie here, my body all holes
I think of those traitors who bargained and sold.
I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those quislings who sold out the patriot game.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Creators Are People Too

For many people who are not serious con-goers, or who don't go to a lot of live music shows, or who don't participate very much in the "author" or "independent/genre flim/tv" or "independent musician" regions of social media; the people who create the art they love, are seemingly remote... set apart from "normal" folks.

Sometimes these folks wonder how it is I have met and/or know so many authors, actors, producers, directors, musicians and other artists and creators that I like; and how I've been lucky enough to have become friends with more than a few.


  1. Find out where they are going to be in public, be it a con, a book signing, a reading, a lecture, a showing, a festival, a small show, a big show you can get a backstage pass for, a public event of some kind...

    It's easy... they'll tell you when these things are happening, and ask you to show up and support their work.
  2. Go there, while being reasonably well groomed and bathed, preferably with a few friends who also like the creator in question (though not a huge gang all at once... that can be overwhelming). Big Plus if you include an item of swag you bought from them in your accouterments. Big minus if you go as them in cosplay, because that's just creepy.

    Bringing me to...
  3. Say hi, and tell them you like the stuff they create.. but don't be creepy. You may love everything they have ever done, it has changed your life, you have defined yourself by it... but don't gush... too much anyway. A little gushing is OK.
  4. Remember, creators are fans too... And if you're a fan of their stuff, there's a good chance they're fans of other stuff you like, and you're fans of other stuff they like.

    Most creators were fans... and very big intense fans at that... long before they were creators themselves, and becoming a creator doesn't stop them being a fan. You may love their stuff... but you may both gush together over your mutual love of someone elses stuff.

    .. actually I can say without doubt, I have spent far more time with my creator friends, obsessing about the stuff that we love that other people have created, than every other subject combined
  5. Say hi on Facebook, or twitter, or their blogs, and add them. Follow their posts, interact with them. JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE.

Because creators are people too... No matter how remote they may seem

Often, they're very lonely people, especially on the road stuck away from their families for weeks or even months at a time. Someone being genuinely nice to them and liking their stuff, and being genuine and human and real, and not just wanting a piece of them... is great.

One step beyond...

Now... here's the advanced level course, for those of you who would like to be IRL friends with your favorite authors, or at least hang out with them:

Creators are often broke (or at least not rich and not on big expense accounts), and often like things such as steak and beverages.

Yes, really, you and everyone you know may love everything they do, but most authors, actors, directors, and other creators in general, don't make very much money most of the time.. and often, most of what they do make goes into trying to make more of the stuff you like.

It may be years in between books, or gigs with decent pay. In between, they're just trying to get by,often while living in the stupidly expensive New York or Los Angeles...

...and no matter what, creators have lots of non creators to pay... Lawyers, agents, accountants. publishers... It's not cheap to be a creator who wants to make a living from their creation

So, when they're out on the road promoting their creations, creators are often trying to maximize enjoyment and fan engagement, while minimizing cost to their personal wallets (most creators are eating on their own "thank god this is tax deductible" dime most of the time. Even if you can get one to do so, every dime another company fronts you for "promotional expenses" is probably 2 dimes taken out of your earnings).

So, if you're cool, and you're not creepy, and after interacting you seem to like them, and they seem to like you... If you get the opportunity, offer them free food and beverages.

This works particularly well if that food is something that your city is particularly good at that they haven't tried, or it's one of their favorites, or if it's beyond their normal budget.

How do you do that?

Again, simple:

"Hey... we really like what you do. We're going to get some of this awesome food. If you've got time and are up for it, we'd love to have you come get some of this awesome food with us. Because we love what you do, we'd be really happy if you'd let us buy you lunch/dinner/breakfast/elevenses"

Yes, really, it's just that simple...

If they have time, and you've been cool and non-creepy, there's a very good chance they'll take it. And if they don't have time, they'll still be happy you offered, because they know it means you like them, and their stuff.

Because the most important thing you have to remember, is that mostly, CREATORS ARE JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

...except usually more broke, and with less time, and less room in their heads for stuff other than what they are creating.