Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Week

I have been lazy again and have not been paying attention to my blog. Not a lot happened this week, really. The hot and humid weather in Dublin finally broke and we have returned to a more familiar pattern of wind, rain and cooler conditions. But it is not too bad.

The entire family went to see Billy Joel in concert in Croke Park, Dublin, last night and it was a fantastic event. Joel was superb and the band he assembled was awesome! I can't remember their names, but the saxophonist (also flute and clarinet), trumpeter and drummer were superb and were fully in synch with Joel's cool piano playing.

He did all the standards and, as expected, finished the show with Piano Man, leaving the audience enthralled and satisfied. He also included some material from his early years and it was absolutely perfect, particularly the song about the fishing communities of New York's islanders. That was a highlight for me.

I was at the Dublin v Offaly Leinster final recently and had a great time, complemented by a superb Dublin win built on a superior second half performance. Dublin now face Westmeath in the next round and I would expect them to win. We had a good few beers before the game and a few more after it - a great way to go to a game.

I am horrified by the atrocities being perpetrated in Lebanon, largely by the totally disproportionate actions of the Israelis to Hezbollah attacks. While I agree that the attacks and kidnaps visited on Israel are completely wrong, the aggression of the Israelis - when they know that they must inevitably kill civilians - are reprehensible and, in my view, amount to war crimes. Today's massacre of women and children is appalling and cannot be excused on any level. George Bush and Tony Blair - Bush's poodle - can't escape blame for this atrocity, since they both support the Israeli action. Bush is on the way out, at least; the sooner the Labour Party has the sense to get rid of Blair, the better. But's let hope they don't replace him with that cretin, Brown. Any man who has not had the balls to challenge the leader when he knows he is wrong and when they clearly disagree on many issues is not, himself, a leader and does not deserve a leadership role. At least Jack Straw, belatedly, had the guts to disagree publicly with Blair.

I'm delighted to say that I have discovered a new author and that is always a fantastic thrill. Although he is not a new writer (he is a veteran, in fact), James Lee Burke is new to me. I picked up one of his books by accident and, in the next three weeks, read five of them in a row. He places his characters in Louisiana - a place I am familiar with - and Montana. He writes in the first person, which suits his style perfectly but which I would probably find hard to do. He writes in the dialect and idiom of south Louisiana and I cannot praise his books highly enough. His plots can be quite complicated, although I think I have discovered a bit of a formula in his writing. But, nevertheless, he is a great author and I recommend him highly. His book about the American Civil War, White Doves At Morning, is probably one of the best I have ever read. Other crime novels I have read are Heaven's Prisoners; The Neon Rain; Crusader's Cross, all of which feature detective Dave Robicheaux, and Heartwood, which features lawyer, Billy Bob Holland. Read these books and enjoy great American writing.

In complete contract, I picked up an omnibus by Colin Forbes and never read such pathetic, episodic, stale, sterile, confusing and incoherent drivel in my life. What a load of old rubbish. I did not even get past page 70 of this crap and will never waste my time on such awful shite again.

Watching the Gaelic football today on the television, I can't help but be very disappointed at the amount of pushing, dragging, falling and basic cheating in the modern game. I think fans deserve better.

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