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phillipos
So I thought my myself, you're kidding right?  But no.  No, there was no kidding here.

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I know that a lot of people seem confused on the issue, but the cult of personality that swept him to office has no bearing on the fact that Mr. Obama is the President of These United States, not a reality TV show star.  Considering that his administration has just started getting things up and running and we have a number of ongoing crises, I rather imagine that people need to get used to the idea that he'll be a little too busy to pretend that the White House is the setting for Big Brother: West Wing.  So sorry.

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Oh wow.  I mean, really.  Just... wow.  My rampant fiscally conservative streak is cringing.  I can only hope that this isn't where we're headed.

[Props to Michael for bringing this to my attention.]

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Wait, we're into Goth kittens now!?

My negative opinion of Emo children and Goth kids is well documented - I just can't abide whiny weepy Simple-Plan-worshipping newage hippies.  Further my lasting affection for cats is pretty much general knowledge, as is my distaste for piercings.

So this is pretty much the sum of all modern cultural evil.  Or would be if they were indoctrinated to become rascist kittens as well.

How did it come to this?

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I'm pretty interested to see what happens here.  Frankly, it's a good thing t be interested in, as it has zero effect on my life.

In a nutshell, Sir Hugh Orde is the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, and Sir Paul Stevenson is the current acting head of the Metropolitan Police Service, responsible for Greater London (otherwise known as Scotland Yard).  These two men are now the last men standing in te run-up to appointing the new permanent head at Scotland Yard.

Sir Ian Blair used to hold the post, but when Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London they had a few disagreements.  Something along the line of, "Well, something's got to give here, and since I'm the mayor, that probably means you."

I actually met Sir Hugh (in Cork of all places) and he was a much more engaging and candid fellow than I would ever have expected of head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (formerly the Royal Ulster Constabulary).  Based solely on that, I do hope he wins.

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Good grief.  
Will you just give over already!?  And frankly, it's disgusting enough and bad enough that gobs of self-satisfied 'Irish-Americans' provided the financial backing for a good bit of the Troubles - and thus are in my mind directly responsible for the pain, death, anguish and general not-quite-overjoyedness that resulted.

Irish America my ass.

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I didn't notice this before it happened, but I found it to be vastly amusing.

>>Edit: Kudos to Michael again, for this.

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It's really interesting how the rhetoric of republican idealism in Ireland (and let's be fair; the rhetoric of unionist idealism as well) have changed over the last decade or so.  Amazing how prosperity and the desire to maintain it can change change things.  This ongoing bit highlights the issues perfectly in many ways.

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>>Edit/Addition:

On the off chance any of you are particularly interested in what goes on in Northern Ireland, Slugger O'Toole is a pretty good blog, to which my friend Michael Shilliday contributes.

Michael, as you may recall, is my best mate in Northern Ireland - he of "we damn near had a fist-fight over who got to grill the steaks on the 4th of July" and "so Michael, did I tell you about the time I met the Queen?" fame.

 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Music: Still Alive - Portal End Theme
 
 
 
phillipos
This is something that continually manages to catch my attention.

Honestly, there's nothing new about it at all.  People protest.  Company copes.  It rains.  Protest ends.    Business continues.   People protest.  Repeat.

I keenly remember the first time I saw a sign on the City Wall in Londonderry/Derry, reading something along the lines of "Lord Bless Those Who Have Been Killed By Weapons Built Within This City".

The skinny is this; Raytheon, the US weapons manufacturer, has offices in and a plant near Londonderry/Derry in Northern Ireland.  All manner of craziness has ensued, including several break-ins and acts of vandalism with regard to their offices in the city.

Admittedly, there are those who accuse me of being callus and snide from time to time.  This is probably a fair and just claim.  Nonetheless.  What exactly is it that these people hope to accomplish?  They're celebrating their fiftieth demonstration since 1999.

"Oh yeah.  Fat lot of good those are doin' ya'."

Frankly, if I were an elected official in one of certain number of other towns in Northern Ireland, I'd show up at every one with a sign that said something like, "Relocation = Only Option!  [NAME OF TOWN X] = Not given to Displays of Jackassery!  Think About It!"

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As I've stated elsewhere, the fact that a fellow who has just about zero in common with me as far as political philosophy has been accepted by me.  Done.  Within five minutes of the concession speech by Senator McCain, I was reconciled.  "Aw, shucks.  Maybe next time."

But now I'm getting irritated, as I don't remember the last time I read an article from an American news source that didn't somehow link things to Obama.   I can't read the weather forecast without enduring a plug near the end indicating which way President-Elect Obama is expected to react to the chance for scattered showers later in the day.

And on the nominations for executive posts.  Enough!  Dear God, has anywone ever cared in any previous election who was appointed Surgeon General?  I mean, who doesn't like Sanjay Gupta!?  My gut reaction was that Obama went, "Oh yeah, I totally need a Surgeon Gen- hey, what's that on TV?" but still.

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Awesome.  I am seized with an deep desire to assemble my most trusted and loyal friends and beat this record, treking into the frigid arctic waste with naught to sustain us but bacon, cheese, and butter.

Perhaps some M&Ms.  Or PeanutButterCups.

Also, there's a picture of a Penguin.  What else could you want?

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I'm worried that this demonstrates a lot of things; my first thought on reading this one was,  "What does a fourteen year old need with a cellular telephone!?"

Dear God I'm old, stodgy, and pedantic.

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Differences between me and Michael Moore crystalized:

MM - "I really love our government, I think it's great.  It does a lot of things really well, except for the war and Bush and stuff.  We need it to do more to be more effective
."
PLL - "I think our government is crap.  Well, maybe not all the time.  But most of the time.  A bit crap, at least.  I only want it to do about eight things or so."

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It concerns me that the next semester begins the day after the day after tomorrow and I am still sans final schedule.

 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Music: Jimmy keeps fiddlin' with the books. It makes a sound.
 
 
 
phillipos
I'm not going to lie to you here.

My first reaction to this was "I swear to God.  Faithlessness just knows no bounds."

It's just the idea that a soldier goes off to war and then his girlfriend/wife/what-have-you can't hack it and goes lookin' for something else.  Happened to a friend of mine who did a tour of duty in Iraq, which parobably also colours my view.

I freely admit that there exist a huge number of considerations in any individual 'marriage failure' situation.  I concede that I am presuming on the idea that these poor servicemen (and women, truth be told) are just being abandoned by disloyal partners.  I take no umbrage at the fair and just contention that I'm providing zero benefit-of-the-doubt and have no analysis on this to speak on.

Still.

Digusted by these people.

Five.  Times.

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Exams are coming up!  The stench of fear in the Law Library has reached phenomenal purportions.  The air is thick with the terror and discontent of my fellow students.  It permeates the corridors and some of the grounds around the Law Centre.

I love it.

*****

Thanksgiving was fantastic. 

Ate too much.  Gained ten pounds (literally).  Happiness!

For a time I wondered if my grandparents were fattening me for the kill.

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Looking forward to Christmas.  Good times to be had by all.  Even better, a lot of friends I haven't seen in a long time are being drawn - perhaps against their will in some cases - back to Hattiesburg.  Many happy events are being planned.

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Also - Barak Obama won the election.  If I'm not complaining, I don't want to hear you do it.

The whining grates on the ears.

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A weird thing - really weird - happened to me today.  It'll end up jotted on here eventually, but right now I'm still soliciting outside analysis.

 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Music: 'Fairytale of New York' - Pogues
 
 
 
phillipos

This was written over the course of a few hours and while I can't be bothered to read over it I am convinced it's disjointed.  So; roadmap -

Rambling leading to disgust over voter registration problems in Mississippi, then treatment of voter fraud allegations in general, then rugby, then moot court.

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Even after you move past all the trite little Hallmarky bits of rhetoric, Home is one of the most fundamentally human concepts.

While I was in Ireland I kept a wide range of speaking engagements, from Cork to Belfast, and from Dublin and Drogheda to Sligo.  I found that one of the most effective methods for quickly developing a clear and tangible emotional link with the audiences - which were as diverse as you can get in Ireland, typically people of all social, political and religious backgrounds - was to play on the idea by illustrative reference to my home, which I do love dearly.

Simply put, by referencencing my own feelings on the subject in a direct fashion, with a touch of the poetic, I guided my audiences thoughts to their own feelings on the.  People are easily reminded of how much they miss whatever place they consider their home; and when reminded, they love themselves better for it.  It's important, in no small part because it is profound - 'Home Sweet Home' floormats aside.

... and that's why this has irritated me.

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I know that a lot of people have been fairly dismissive of voter fraud allegations, or on the other side hugely over-fanatical about them.  While it interests me that, as this piece notes, Democracts are crying disenfranchisement while Republicans call fraud, often over the same situations, that's not really what I'm interested in.

Voting is the fundamental form by which the body-politic exercises sovereign authority.  If the Republic were a God, this would be it's highest sacrament.  In a situation that sees it noted by the New York Times that  'round 30% of its 1.3 million voters registered by ACORN are 'faulty', somebody somewhere has to break down and objectively acknowledge that we might have a bit of a problem.

It doesn't matter if many of these irregularities were reported by ACORN; the fact is that wrongful registrations did take place, and were actively encouraged by the operation strategies used by ACORN, engendering fevered registration to boost numbers.  Ignore the fact that Mickey Mouse was registered; the poll workers would catch that easy enough.  I'm far more concerned about the ones that are far less obvious.

I also don't think it particularly matters, as a moral concept, that ACORN is working to register persons in areas and demographics that havily favour Obama.  Voter registration is an absolute end-good, until it's done wrongfully or fraudulently.

"Oh come now Phillip!" you might say.  "We all know that you hover somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun!  Surely you gloat over the increasing likelihood of systematic voter fraud in and amongst those registered by left-of-centre organizations."

Maybe.  But there are two things there; one, it has to be remembered that in the mix are Republicans and Republican organizations just as guilty; take a look at California and see what's there to see on that matter.  Second, perhaps it's that classic idealistic naivete I'm so often accused of, but I have a deep and abiding belief in the sovereign determination of the voter.  If the voters elect someone I don't agree with, eh.  Well.  It's happened before.  

Even more secretly, I'm one of those few persons who honestly believes that leaving one party in control of the Executive for too long - even if it's my party - is fundamentally bad for the Republic.  After all, in institutional terms (not denotative, ye stodgy nit-picking history majors) we are still a Republic; not an Empire.

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As one or two of you may be aware, there are two Rugby Unions in the world that I support.  Well, three if you count 'Whoever's playing England', but then every once and a while France might play England, which gives me a conundrum.

Be that as it may, one is the Sisters of Mercy of Gonzaga University in Washington State.  A friend of mine plays for them, and sent me a T-shirt featuring the statement "Support Your Local Hooker".  People in the know may or may not find that deeply amusing.

The other is, of course, Ulster.  Who's had quite the rough time of it.  Things were starting to look up after their brutal, crushing defeat by the Ospreys when they bested Edinburgh 13 - 9.

The universe promptly decided that Phillip's happiness was to be taken out to a woodshed and shot, delivering losses in Paris and against the London Harlequins, 10-26 and 42-21 respectively.  The Harlequins match was particularly bitter; Ulster gained an early lead, gained no more points in the first half, ending the half at 27-7.  Ulster didn't recover, to say the least.

Then on sunday came a surprise; Munster, the current Magners League Champions, came up to Belfast and lost 22-6; a stunning win for Ulster!  Especially when we ignore that Munster brought only 12 of their 22-man squad up to Belfast, leaving several key players behind.

... yeah, bittersweet.  We'll see where we go from here.

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Mr. Shoemaker and Mr. Brinkley asked me to serve as one of their 'witnesses' in the moot court competition in progress now; I've been kindof looking forward to it, but even though they broke through the first round of competition, I will be up on thursday at the earliest.  Kinda' disappointing.
 
 
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: 'Arthur McBride' - Planxty
 
 
 
phillipos
I'm going to finish up the bit on the IRA, but I stumbled on something that highlighted something near and dear to my heart; my vast disdain for the European Union.

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There have been a wide range of criticisms levelled at the EU over the years, ranging from being blatantly undemocratic to encouraging an insulated markets that do things like guarrantee purchase of French wine - even if no one wants the wine.  Hence the development of lakes of wine in warehouses, massive overloads of all manner of similar thing, which from time to time we dump on developing economies as foriegn aid.

After all; isn't it our perogative to find new and exciting ways to destroy third world economies?  Why concern ourselves with whether or not the local farmer can raise and sell wheat when we're giving wheat away at an aid station in the next village.  We're being helpful and progressive!

I digress.

This is a disgrace.  The European Union has consistently worked to circumvent popular opinion as expressed democratically in its member states.  The EU Constitution, for instance, was solidly rejected by French voters and even more dramatically defeated by Dutch voters.  Did the EU decide, "Oh, well, we can't do that then" ?  Of course not!  Why let their own democratic dispositions complicate matters!?

To get around the requirement of referenda, they re-worked most of the EU Constitution's elements into a 'Reform Treaty' - the Lisbon Treaty.

This time they made damn sure that their were no refferenda; calls for referendums in several member states were ignored.  EXCEPT - God love the Irish!

The Republic of Ireland, as a result of a court ruling in 1987, requires that actions significantly affecting their constitution be subject to the will of the people in a direct referendum.  By a margin of seven percent, the the only country that permitted a referendum rejected the Lisbon Treaty.

Now, you'd think to yourself, "Oh.  That's done then."

Not so much.  Other governments have just put it on 'hold', planning on it coming into effect in he future.  Plans for a re-vote are being formulated in the Republic of Ireland.  Apparently the issues first brought forward in the EU Constitution will be re-submitted by the EU leadership until such time as everyone decides correctly.

Keep in mind that, among other things, the Lisbon Treaty claims to enhance the democratic efficiency of the European Union.  How noble.

All of this brings us to the story linked above.  The EU is essentially harassing the Republic of Ireland's government for Irish obstinancy.  How DARE they allow the paltry will of their citizens to impede the great European Dream!?

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For the love of God will you just give over already!?

At this point, I don't even grasp what it is that the Real IRA and Continuity IRA are getting at.  It's been demonstrated that the issue will not be won by force of arms; each version of the IRA still in operation really ought to consider for a moment the possibility; they have lost.  Murdering civilian guards and maintenance personnel is really not likely to lead to any kind of advancement or positive advancement.  It's just not likely to happen. 

If nothing else, they should be contented with the compromise government power-sharing arrangement at Stormont.  Since spite seems like such an important aspect of their ideal-set, they really ought just take a bit of comfort from the fact that while they aren't going to get what they want, the loyalists and unionists really aren't getting what they want either.

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For those unfamiliar with the situation, the Irish Republican Army has sectioned several times.  Those who opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty broke off from the Irish Republican Army that fought against the British for the 1919 Republic in 1922 when the 1919 Dáil ratified the treaty; for convenience, we'll call them the Anti-Treaty Irish Republican Army, though both they and pro-treaty forces still referred to themselves as the IRA for a time, then the Pro-Treaty IRA formed the basis for the Irish Free State's national army. 

They anti-treaty lot then styled themselves the 'Official' IRA. 

The Provisional Irish Republican Army broke off from the Official Irish Republican Army in 1969, because the Official IRA was bent towards using political pressure to accomplish it's goals, was in favour of taking up seats in the legislature of the Republic of Ireland (which theretofore some of its members had won but abstained from taking up, since they considered the Republic illegitimate), and had a pretty Marxist outlook. 

The Continuity IRA split from the PIRA in 1986, because the PIRA decided to reconsider political involvement and lift the ban on its members participating in the political Pary Sinn Féin and taking seats in the legislature of the Republic of Ireland. 

The Real IRA split from the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1997 when the PIRA opted to support the peace process.

It's interesting to note that each of these organizations considers themselves the 'legitimate' army of the Irish Republic, and either do or have (it's hard to keep this bit straight) claim/claimed that their respective Army Council is the legitimate governing body of a 32 County Republic that is the continuation of the 1919 Republic declared in the Easter rising of 1916 and established by the creation of the Dáil Éireann in 1919, which ceased to exist after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, ratified in 1922.  This treaty established the Irish Free State in the southern 26 Counties, and partitioned the six Counties of Northern Ireland in accordence with a plebiscite of the population in the six Counties.  The Treaty was rejected by many Republicans in the South, leading to a civil war that pro-Treaty forces won.  Others continued to deny the legitimacy of the Treaty, the Free States, the partition, and the whole lot; thus, the IRA's contentions that they are the only legitimate government by descent from the 1919 Republic, and that they are the legimitate army and their Army Council(s) are the legitimate government.

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Quote of the day, from Prof. Berry in Torts class; "Well, yeah, but we don't want people to be evil."

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Eh.  Speaking engagements are starting to pile up.  I'm going to be spending a lot of time in my car travelling the length of Mississippi this year.

 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
Current Music: 'Ireland's Call'
 
 
 
phillipos
20 October 2008 @ 06:01 pm
Eh.  The Dow comes and goes.

So far a few gains are holding, so the mind-blowing universe endng fiscal apocalypse shouldn't interfere too badly with the Halloween party.

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Okay, so this is a bit silly, but it's true.

I'll be attending my first 'college party' come thursday.

"Now Phillip!" you might say.  "You've a undergraduate degree, you've submitted your dissertation for your masters (during which you lived a year in Northern Ireland) and you're now in Law School.  This is surely not your first party!"

Eh.  Well, yeah.  It is.

Stodgy.  Pedantic.  Boring.  What about this has yet to be made apparent?

I've always preferred the company of just a few friends.  In addition, during undergraduate I didn't have time for that manner of thing, especially from sophomore year on when I was competing in Forensics and had three jobs (four for a while, but one of those only sortof counted).

Then in Belfast I mostly just hung out with a few friends, and meddled in all manner of thing; I also had such a titanic load of speaking engagements that it boggled the mind.

So now I'm off to the Halloween party on thursday.  What does one do at these things?

I refuse to wear a trendy costume.  I will dress up as something stodgy and pedantic.

*****

I am alarmed by the number of people who are now adopting blog format similar to my own.  Perhaps, after doing this for years, I've finally started a trend?

*****

I was reminded yesterday of what was, quite possibly, the last perfect day that I had.

I went with Michael to Ruth's, and the three of us (with Bear the dog) had good times, including some driving about and all manner of absolutely insane laughter.  One of those situations in which you laugh so hard that you've reached the point of absurd silliness, at which no matter what is said next, more laughter is destined to insue.

We ended up playing in the sun in up on a little mountain in Mourne.  It was kindof like being a little kid; all silliness and play.  I took great pleasure in scrambling uphill a bit and leaping down at Bear, crying out, "DEATH FROM ABOVE!"

And the view... it was spectacular.

Anyway... yep.  That was a perfect day.

I'd do it again.

 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
 
 
 
phillipos
16 October 2008 @ 10:30 am
I changed my mind.

We're all screwed.  There is no hope.

I hope that all of those prospective retirees are girding their loins, because I'm afraid that enormous amounts of their retirement planning is being pissed away.

But look on the bright side: there's a new Star Trek movie coming out next year, plus the Watchmen.

I also find that looking at shiny objects tends to make things better.

*****

Okay, okay, in all honesty they're no way to be certain what the ultimate effects of our economic woes will be.  It just won't be good.  Enormous masses of value are being lost every time the Dow takes a hop, skip, and a fall-down-really-hard-on-your-face-on-the-side-walk-because-you're-a-jackass-who-couldn't-be-bothered-by-avoiding-risks-that-far-outweigh-the-potential-gains.

Ahem.

I quote Dr. Ciaran O'Kelly (who's gonna have a little Dr. O'Kelly soon!  Exciting.) who remarked, "... they all swarmed around a pie that wasn't a pie."

Furthering that thought, I've come up with several ideas as to what that pie might've actually been, but most of them are pretty obscene, so I feel no need to note them here or utter them aloud.

I also feel compelled to point out that there are is speculation to the effec that there are a  lot of interesting contributory causes for a lot of the problems we've been dealing with.  For instance, pressure on lenders to provide much lower-interest on mortgages and loans, allowing a larger number of relatively lower-income people to take out loans was (partially) a result of pressure from left-of-centre political groups in the US. 

I'm sure you can figure out the relationship to the sub-prime catastrophe on your own.  It's just a contributory cause, keep in mind.

Still; I found that interesting, and I'd love to know what the extend of that pressure was, and more precisely what role they played in creating an economic environment in which it was both easy and somehow advisable for lenders to take on massive amounts of horrendously bad debt.

*****

The weather today is fantastic though, so that's something, too.

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Before I forget - Rhia still rox.  Like, rather a lot.  Absolutey Fabulous.

>>> Though I'd still happily trade her for her weight in Coleraine Cheddar.  A man has to have principles.

 
 
Current Location: Torts
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: 'Some Red Handed Slight of Hand' - Cursive (props to Miss Huddleston)
 
 
 
phillipos
14 October 2008 @ 09:30 am
Y'know, this economic crisis has been a bit worrisome.

Even with the Dow's gain of 976 points yesterday coming as a welcome reprieve from the decidedly gloomy tone of the news over the last several weeks, people still seem concerned.  Even jumps from Europe and Asia haven't quite made us feel all warm and fuzzy about the situation.

Allow me to allay your worries.

After all; as long as the market can inadvertantly screw over some terrorist assholes, then there's still hope for American Capitalism!  Yayz!

For the link non-inclined, the happy news is that the IRA are heavily invested on Wall Street, to the tune of something around €200,000.  Their level of risk could be staggering.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  It's good to American.

And snide.

*****

This morning in Torts class there has already been a reference to Monty Python.  Today could be a very good day.

 
 
Current Location: Law Centre
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: 'Ruby Tuesday' - Rolling Stones
 
 
 
phillipos
Whoever you are reading this right now, whether I know you or not, whether I love you or not, I feel that you should be aware:

I would gladly sell you into slavery for your weight in Coleraine Cheddar.

Hell, they could have you for half.

I'm sorry to tell you this way, but really, it's best that we be honest with each other.

*****

Right.  Election.  Whatever.

This is being pointed out to people as a sign of how crazy-freaky Obama and his supporters are.  I'm of two minds on this topic.

On the one hand, I do find it vaguely unnerving, and the use of Obama as a emotionally-based feel-good icon is troubling.  The manner in which people venerate does look, at times, like the veneration of the saints.  I don't much care for it.

... so what?

The thing that should be kept in mind here is the theoretically objective subjectivity of politics.

Yeah, yeah, contradiction in terms.  I made the phrase up and liked it, so pftbtbtbtbtbtb to you.  My point is that we're subjective about our political desires; but we should also be more or less objective in understanding the relevative nature of our views in a massive body politic in which people will vote for what they believe to be best.  Thus, I can disapprove of Obama or the manner in which his supporters behave, and dislike his stances on various issues, and vote against him.

And nobody should rend their garments and freak out about it.

Because everyone still needs to calm the hell down.

Further to the point, I can likewise decide that I'm not so impressed the curmudgeony John McCain and decide I don't like the snide, smug, stodgy condescension of his supporters any more than I like that snide superior 'spritually' enlightened attitudes of Obama's.

The sensationalization of things like that video are only going to muddle the political issues that need be decided come november.  I believe very strongly in the adversarial process of politics and law, and I have an abiding love in the Republic.  If it is the will of the body politic that Obama win, then guess what?  Democracy has worked.  If McCain wins, same point.

But I want the question of the next President of These United States decided by policy issues; not Youtube videos and freakish theatrics.

*****

Pops had a meeting in Batesville Arkansas being put on by an equipment company, and crashed at my place last night.  I didn't actually find out until not too long before he arrived.  I rather enjoyed having a guest, and the apartment was clean anywayz, so good times were had by all.  I made him breakfast and we had tea before I left for ye olde Law Library, and all was well.

As a side-note, I discovered last night that my couch is actually reasonably comfortable.  Good to know.

*****

 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Music: That irritating background buzz
 
 
 
phillipos
25 September 2008 @ 01:47 pm

My Ipod randomly cycled to Roger O'Hehir and The Jolly Beggar-Reel while I was doing some Archive stuff in the Eastland Room.  Considering this to be an odd coincidence, I glanced up at Senator Eastland's portrait and was struck by how amazing it is that people can make such colossally bad choices based on transient circumstance.  The circumstance of a heated moment, the circumstance of a period in history; it's ultimately the same decision-making calculus writ large or small, isn't it?

I suppose it may be that it's just too easy to be disappointed in people.

*****

That the debate here at Ole Miss may not happen tomorrow has caused a bit of displeasure.

The big screen-thingy at the stadium also (I'm told) caught fire a little bit this morning.

Lesson to be learned: God hates the University of Mississippi in general, and possibly Chancellor Khayat in particular.

*****

Somebody told me that they think I'm the only 1L with a job.

I refuse to believe this.  I'm not ready to be truly and genuinely embittered.

*****

Eh, yeah... I work at the Law Library.  At present I'm in charge of the archiving project for the materials in the Eastland Room - everything from LQC Lamar's letters (the few that they have there) to Eastland's papers.  I've also been appointed 'Manager of the Faculty Library', which is an invented title originating three weeks ago and involving little work and less responsibility or prestige.

It's about as exciting as it sounds.  I get so terrifically bored that I voluntarily perform minion-tasks.  Shelving books has actually become a twisted form of vaguely masochistic therapy.

They pay me quite a bit (it's good to have an LLM in your back pocket I suppose) and I can literally work whenever the fancy strikes me, so it's much more attractive than working part time at a Firm or bank.

*****

Dr. O'Kelly and I have been exchanging a lot of e-mails in the wake of Wall Streets latest adventure.

I don't know why, but I quite liked that observation.  It's actually a little frightening that our opinions are perfectly in line here; when I opined that regulation and the massive coming legislative back-lash to this would fail to provide a remedy despite the cost, he agreed hands down.  The sad truth is that corporations are allowed to make errors - even errors as grotesque as these.  The problem lay in a risk-taking culture in which the potential benefits do not justify the possible harms in the event of failure; to believe that government can so drastically alter the landscape of governance regulation as to limit the ability o corporations to take risks is both practically and theoretically terrifying.

... we're working on finding something here we disagree on.  I don't know that we've ever agreed before.  Scary.

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On the up side, I'm pretty sure that my LLM (in Corporate Governance and Public Policy from a top-ten UK law school!) has doubled in worth, or more, in the last two weeks.

Is it immoral to be pleased when Wall Streets mismanagement of its own interests to the detriment of the public good has made me more financially secure?

... 'cause I sortof hope not.

*****

Reason for this long and cripplingly disinteresting entry: I had to fill a desk shift.  I have to fill another tomorrow morning.

... I hate desk shifts.  To say that they're mind-numbingly boring does a grave disservice to undertakings that are merely mind-numbingly boring.

*****

I tried desperately (literally) to pick a fight with Czarnetzky in Civil Procedure over the International Shoe case.  I so very much wanted to see how it'd go down!  Unfortunately he just got out the vital statistics and then explained 90% of the relevant concepts himself rather than indulging me.

That's a cruel thing to do to a young man typically so very pleased with the sound of his own voice.

Alas.  I was shut out and shut down.

*****

Plans:

November 13th: Speaking engagement in Gulfport
Thanksgiving: Virginia
Christmas: Home
Spring Break: Snowboarding


*****

I'm quickly closing on completion as far as my current carving project.  Mayhap I'll take a picture of it as it is now and post it.  As soon as I'm finished I'm going to start working on a triptych for Fiesty - she's deserving, and it's quite overdue.

I rather think that I may have to enlist Prof. Thompson's aid on the final bits; I'm going to peg the panels together rather than use screws, and make decorative pegs and wooden hinges with which to accopmlish this.  He will have the knowing of this.  (Thompson is the master carver I apprenticed to when I was learnin' me some carvin'.)

*****

Tori - one of my former students - got a 100 on Prof. Thompson's Reformation test!  She missed the fewest problems of the entire sophomore European History class!

... which is particularly good since I stayed up until past midnight on Skype helping her and a friend of hers prepare for it.  Both got 100s.  Thompson discounted the first three missed, and Tori missed only two.

The credit is all hers, as it's a question of personal discipline and studiousness - I merely helped.  Still, it's good to see the kids I like get ahead.

*****

I unexpectedly had to head home last weekend.  The circumstances were decidedly sad, but I'm glad that I went.

Everybody at church was pleased when I unexpectedly took my place in the choir loft, re-robed and grinning.  I think that the sheer scale of how much I miss my church exceeds anything I expected; it was bad enough when I moved to Belfast, but when I came back I got too comfortable again, and too soon headed off to Oxford.

Mum seemed exceedingly happy to have me home.  She was hoping I'd come back this weekend too, but I've got some things I need to do with the archives, and I want to get some work done on my carving and knock out all of the remaining CALI and Citation exercises for Legal Writing and Research.

*****

Irritating thing:

While I was in Ulster and later when finishing my dissertation I got in the habit of using British spellings.  Favour instead of favor, centre instead of center, that manner of thing.  Now that I'm done with all of that I'm trying to break the habit.

Surprisingly difficult.

*****

First rule of the Library's severe weather protocols:

STAY CALM.

I'd pay real money to have this altered to 'DON'T PANIC'.

*****

I found the original proposal for the construction of the Law Center in the archives.  Interestingly, there was meant to be a pretty cool diamond-shaped auditorium/movie theatre attrached to the north, but it was never built.  That's unfortunate.  Interesting, though.

... yes, I've run out of things that are only passingly boring to remark upon.

And yes, I did initially type 'Law Centre' instead of 'Law Center' above.

WORST.  BLOG.  EVER.



 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Mood: blankblank
Current Music: 'The Jolly Beggar-Reel' - Planxty
 
 
 
phillipos
16 September 2008 @ 10:35 am
In relation to my last post -

"Lord Tebbitt raged: "If she would have been happy to have been a terrorist then I would have been happy to have seen her shot as she carried out her acts of terrorism."

The politician's wife Margaret was paralysed in the Brighton IRA bomb blast in 1984 when the Conservatives were holding their party conference.

Lord Tebbitt added: "Perhaps she would like to come and tell my wife why she supports the IRA, why she would have joined the IRA."

(From: the Sun )

Oh Rose McGowan.  You fulfill my dream to see Peers of the Realm and former Conservative chairmen voraciously berate Americans.  Lovely!

*****

Had an interesting micro-conversation yesterday.  Yes, I do rather like red-heads.  No, Miss McGowan does not count.

She's an honorary blonde.

... with a ski mask.

*****

I think that we have a serious problem with urban planning in this country.  Our cities are not old enough to justify some of the massive inefficiencies in traffic and population management.  Some one should do something about that.

Which reminds me that the serious parking problem at Universities is a noxious plague, a pox on all mankind.  Or at least all those who attend university.  I typically arrive no later than 7:20 A.M. and I still have to scramble for a parking space.

I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure that the book of Leviticus states that this sortof thing is an abomination.  Wallace, a budy of mine, agrees.

*****

There were gaggles of barely post-pubescent girls on every corner between my car and the law school.  They braved the brisk, cool morning in their short-shorts to urge me to vote for Jen.  Or Aiken.  And a couple of other names that sound like they belonged in a reality television lineup.

I told them I'd vote for Lucifer Morningstar if he could get my car with a five minute walk of the Law School.

This confused them.

... irony?  It's there if you're looking for it.

*****

People I would gladly hunt and kill:

1.) Hippies
2.) the people behind the BlueBook and it's accompanying Interactive Citation Workbook.

That's right; at long last I've found someone else to hate.  Though really, I suppose I should list them in reverse order, as really I feel only disdain for hippies... but those others?  I really hate them.

*****

I think that I'm still, after all this time, shell-shocked by how inexpensive ice cream is here.
 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Music: "Legend of Zero" - Koh Otani
 
 
 
phillipos
12 September 2008 @ 09:53 am
First: righteous indignation.

Celebrities really need to shut the hell up.

Celebutards in general irritate me (and I'm not alone.)  They're welcome to their opinions, but have to accept the scrutiny that comes with it considering their fame; especially when they say something so very galactically stupid.

This particular case is one that, in my opinion, links to a wider problem among Americans who consider themselves "Irish".

You're not Irish.  Most of you have have never seen Ireland.  Most of you have never seen an Irishman.  Not in your whole lives.  But you go to little Irish pubs and talk about how Irish your grandmother was and if there's a little jar at the end of the bar that says "For Ireland!" you've put ten bucks in there and feel good about yourself.  You've done this for thirty years and more.

Way to help.  You know what they - Catholic and Protestant - tend to call you?  Plastic Paddies.

True Fact: The IRA (Provisional, Real, or otherwise) is a terrorist organization.  Both the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland identify them as such.  This is also true of the UDA, UVF, and a gaggle of other loyalist paramilitaries.  These people do bad things to people.  During the Troubles they indiscriminately killed wide ranges of people - Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Presbyterian, Pagan; whatever - by planting bombs in neighborhoods and crowded downtown areas.

You want to glorify the 'Bold struggle to free Ulster from British dominion' by making loud noises about 'the good fight'?  Go to google, and type in "Omagh Bomb", or "Enniskillen Bomb" or "Lisburn Bomb". 

Then come talk to me.

Y'know what?  Lemme make it easer.  Omagh Bomb.  Eniskillen BombLisburn Bomb.

And if you wanted to glorify 'The Glorious Defense of the Kingdom!' then don't worry; them that shout 'Fear God and Honour the Queen!' have done things just as distasteful.

In Omagh, many of the victims weren't even Irish; many were tourists.  Many were children.  The bomb went off in their down-town shopping district.  In Eniskillen they targeted a public gathering on Remembrance Day at the city's War Memorial, striking when people were most vulnerable.  In Lisburn the morons were trying to kill a police officer, and instead nearly killed an innocent fifty year old teacher, and who knows how many of her neighbors!

Glorious.  Valiant.  Go join up, Miss McGowan.

Rhetoric like the crap being spewed from Miss McGowan's mouth by Americans - famous and humble - have been helping get people killed in towns and cities all over Ulster for decades.  That money you put into jars?  It is not too far fetched to mentally translate that directly into it's worth in guns and explosives.

This example is especially disgusting, as Miss McGowan's new release is a film about Martin McGartland - a man who joined the IRA so as to pass information to Security Forces.  He is personally responsible for saving lives.  As a result, when his identity was discovered he had to escape at great risk to his own life, and was re-settled in Northumbria.  When his identity became known, he suffered an attack and was shot six times, barely surviving and going back into hiding.

Great job, Miss McGowan.  Your enlightened views are well taken.  I would suggest that you invest a little time in taking a look at the realities you're so blithely glorifying when you comment on 'the Cause'.  I now believe that you're one of those people who needs to have her speaking privileges revoked for at least a month.

Main point: my preaching aside, the fact of the matter is that when this situation is treated the way many Americans of Irish descent - protestant and Catholic - treat it, by glorifying one side or the other in the context of their paramilitary terrorist activities, that rhetoric literally gets people killed where the metal meets the meat.

>>>Edit: Actually, I think she should really just go ahead and join the Real IRA, and see how much she likes it.  I'd pay to see that movie.

>>>Edit: This was pointed out to me as a fine example of 'the good times funny.'

*****

Here's more! 

Thank you, Matt Damon, for your brilliant political commentary!  I hadn't seen it, but you're right!  Palin does resemble one of those Disney movies!  The resemblance between her life-story and a bit of film that glorifies the potential of the average American to accomplish great things in the context of this Republic TOTALLY makes me terrified that she might become president!

And Pam, wow!  I've always had great respect for the effect that you've had on the course of American democratic thought, but now your critique of such a vicious woman - she hunts and kills animals!  Omigahwhathehell!

*****

Law school continues.
 

*****

Actually... that's just about it.  A lot of life revolves around law school and work.  ... and being irritated by stupid people.
 


 
 
Current Location: Law Library
Current Mood: annoyedIndignant
Current Music: Dead Boy's Poem - Nightwish
 
 
 
phillipos

So.  People in Oxford are some of the most inconsiderate drivers in the universe.  They refuse to move over for people merging onto the highway.  It's wierd.  Or am I missing something...?

*****

So far, law school isn't anything near as mind-numbingly hard as I was led to believe... but only three classes have met so far.  It's far too early to really tell.

*****

A guy in my contracts class claims that he loves contracts.  He finds it inspirational.  I told him that when you open a contracts casebook and feel compelled to shout, "I have found the light!" you've pretty much hit rock bottom.

*****

This makes life worth living;

 
 
Current Location: The Habitat
Current Music: 'Blow Me Away' - Breaking Benjamin
 
 
 
phillipos
Right.

First off, I am in fact still alive.

Second, the reason I haven't updated in quite the long time is simple enough; I got fantastically busy in Ulster, and then when I finally found I had time to update, I looked back on the sheer mass of things that I would feel compelled to note here, and decided that I'd do it later.

Four months later I landed in the US, and thought, "Right, should do that."

But  believe it or not, even more stuff happened during the intermeaning months, so I didn't really feel like making what would have been an even larger entry.

Another month passed.

So here we are.  I am not going to write down the high points of what I did during those last several months.  Whenever I muse on something that happened in the intermeaning time, I'll explain it.  That's that.

The kettle is whistling.  Tea.  Yayz.

*****

Right, so now I have tea.

*****

I'm sick of the presidential race.  Really, I am.

Bear with me here; it's not that I'm disinterested.  Quite the opposite, I consider the election to be vastly important.

I do feel, however, that my new personal slogan/catchphrase/life's philosophy should apply.  It goes thusly:

EVERYBODY NEEDS TO CALM THE HELL DOWN.

I first devised this new mantra when the family (or rather certain members) started taking detours off the highway of the normal emotional spectrum and got stuck in the tourist trap of over-excitability.  In any event, it applies here too.

Obama-supporters behave like the Second Coming is marching inexorably to the White House.  I find this troubling, as neither they nor I have what I feel would constitute a firm command of his stance on a wide variety of positions.  This is in part because he uses rhetoric even more bland on most specifics than the normal presidential candidate (and that's sayin' somethin'!)

McCain supporters seem to entertain themselves by mumbling something vague about a Messiah complex, and race-baiting, and throw in a few dumb would-be insults like 'demoncrats' or 'dumbocrats'.

Please.

I think that I have profoundly different outlook on politics than I did back in the day, largely because the political landscape in Ulster was so very different.  While I'm still somewhere to the right of Charlemagne, and none of my personal outlooks have changed, I've grown sick and tired of hearing about it all.  And this isn't some sortof reactive 'I've now lived abroad and the US is not the centre of the universe, come see how mature and worldly I am'.

After all - the US is the centre of the universe, or rather the bit of it that matters to us.  I like it that way, and I have a healthy appreciation of that fact on a political, economic, and cultural level.

Rather, it's basic and simple: I'm sick of people starting conversations with me along the lines, "Oh, you will not believe what Obama said this time!'  or If McCain wins, I swear, I'll kill myself.  Or someone.  Well, something.  Anyway."

I'm frankly more interested in whether or not my milk's expiration date is monday or tuesday.  Try again in early November.

*****

Eh, I live in Oxford now.

No, I have not wandered back to the Isles - Oxford MS.  I do have a differed admission to Tulane, which I'll use to transfer after my first year (probably; it's all about best advantage.)  I'm at Ole Miss saving a massive pile of cash on my 1L, which is definitely a plus.

I was a bit worried about the apartment, which I leased via e-mail from Belfast.  It turned out quite nicely, though; it's about three times larger than what I really need, the price is good, and there are no undergrads within ear-shot.

I'm not too impressed with the town, but as Fiesty told me, very little will get a glowing review from me so soon after having spent so active and successful a year in Northern Ireland.

Well, at least there's to be a Presidential Debate here next month.  Good times.

*****

For the last time, I did not personally up-close witness any sectarian violence while I was in Belfast.

Sorry to disappoint.

The closest I came was when Michael and I quite seriously almost had a knock-down drag-out fist fight over who was going to get to grill the steaks on the 4th of July.

*****

I'm having Dr. Crockett look over a couple of sections of my dissertation before I give it a final once-over and send it in.

Honestly I'll be glad to see the hind-end of it.

I also recently verbalized, without meaning to, exactly how I feel about my dissertation.

Several years back Katy wrote an essay for a history class at PHS in which, amongst other things, she set up a scenario in pre-Civil War Mississippi in which the slaves on a plantation were beaten for 'losing' the cotton.  Yep, lost it.  All twenty-five tons of it.  They were also to be beaten every thursday just on principle.

Ever since, traditionally my family has referred to thursday as 'The Day of the Beatings', and when we can't find something, we assume philosophically that the missing item is in the same place as the cotton, which has likely ended up in the same place Zeno's Arrow went.

Katy make the remark that she found it troubling that everyone remembered this one insignificant thing she had written, and had exploded it out to epic purportions.

I leaned forward across the dining room table and threw her the classic raised-eyebrow, and said, "Katy, you should be pleased that you've written something so remarkable that it'll be remembered forever.  I've written a 17,000 word dissertation that, a week after I send it in for marks, will never be read again.  No one will ever remember anything that was in it.  Ever."

How true!  I'll have to mention it to Dr. O'Kelly, this new amazing thing I've realized.

*****

At some point kallie3point0started formatting her entries in much the same way I format mine.  Egad!

*****

Crap.  I meant to liberate my copy of Paradise Lost from Max's room before I left.  Now I am without.  It's a volume with Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.  Ergh.

I remember Paradise Regained as very bittersweet, because while it does manage a reversal of the seminal event in Paradise Lost, it doesn't do much to reverse the condition of a lot of the significant characters - which it can't, for obvious reasons, but nevertheless.  I remember thinking that it illustrated a very sad possibility, that for some people, well... the things that we lost can't be had back - ever.

I especially wanted to re-read it because someone said something to be eight days ago that I've been turning over in my mind ever since, and reminded me of how I'd felt upon reading the poem.  It was one of those irritating situations where someone says something in passing that really nudges you off balance and leaves you with the disconcerting possibility that something very important that you hadn't known about yourself was oddly obvious to someone who really isn't even all that discerning.  She said, "I don't think you ever got 'round to learnin' how to fall out of love."

Irritating.  I'm no where near Emo enough for the kinds of thoughts that one stirs up.

*****

Speaking of Emo, these people understand me -




*****

At least it's been raining here.  Not like the rain in Ulster; much heavier, more sporadic on-and-off, rather than a lasting soothing drizzle.  I rather enjoyed it, though.

Ah!  I am reminded - I need to post some of the stuff from the flooding the've had in Belfast this month.  The new under-pass near the City Centre was completely filled with water!  Kirsty wrote me that it was "Pissing down rain!" and Michael opined that it was nice of the Roads Service to install a swimming pool on the Donegall Road.

*****

While I wait for Michael to tell me where that can be had, this came to my attention by way of Michael Ruffin, and pretty much made my week.

 
 
Current Music: The Woman I Never Forgot - Planxty
 
 
 
phillipos
19 April 2008 @ 07:24 pm
Journalists irritate me.  Their job is to present facts, information.  That's it; to just inform the public.  But when asked "why do you want to be a journalist?" the average journalism major says something along the lines of "To make the world a better place."

Huh?  Then work for the Red Cross, chief.

This is quoted from a story about Time Magazine replacing the flag in the famours Iwo Jima picture from World War II with a tree, in order to make a statement about environmentalism and global warming -

Stengel also appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on April 17 and had no difficulty admitting the magazine needed to have a “point of view.”

    

     “I think since I’ve been back at the magazine, I have felt that one of the things that’s needed in journalism is that you have to have a point of view about things,” Stengel said. “You can’t always just say ‘on the one hand, on the other’ and you decide. People trust us to make decisions. We’re experts in what we do. So I thought, you know what, if we really feel strongly about something let's just say so.”


Now, I won't lie; I'm vaguely offended by their replacing the flag in that icononic potograph with a tree, cheapening it's meaning in order to make a trendy statement about their position on global warming.  But that's not really relevent.  The point is that journalists at what we fancy the pinacle of western media are now openly telling us, "Yeah, we're not really giving you facts anymore.  Now we're much more interested in making sure that you stupid people adopt the correct points of view.  After all; we're journalists.  We can be trusted!"

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

*****

The conference in Ballymena was... interesting.  Disappointingly, Michael didn't pull off the win for President, but about half-way through he decided he didn't really much fancy the job anymore.

The conference was aimed at making significant progress in advancing the cause of students in Northern Ireland in a wide array of areas ranging from academic rights to financial and social policies.

I can say this for it: the food was good.

*****

Game day tomorrow - us v. the Trojans.  Ha!
 
 
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles, Belfast
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: 'Star Wars Main Title' - John Williams
 
 
 
phillipos
It's been a long time since I've posted, and a lot has happened, so we'll take things in order of importance, excluding the last item, which has been dominating my thoughts today and is actually the most important event of the last few weeks.

*****

So I met the Queen.

By this, I mean Herself - Elizabeth II.  Of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland Queen.  Queen of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Lord of the Isle of Man.  Head of the Commonwealth.  Paramount Chief of Fiji.  Etc.

She wanted me to tell Miss Huddleston "Hi."

Herself came to the Queen's University of Belfast for the Centenary celebrations, which also came close to coinciding with the ten year anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.  I called in every marker I had to get to meet her, and it payed off.  After my invitation was secured, the University prompted me to tell her all about what a wonderfully international institution they were, and were eager to show off their first non-Irish Union Speaker.  In any event, I was the first person in the room to be Presented to Her Majesty.  I was even given permission to speak to her.  And she offered me her hand.

It may sound a bit petty, especially that last bit, but come to find out it's a fair big deal.  Lord Trimble was there, and he didn't get to speak with her.  The richest man in Ireland was there, and she didn't offer him her hand.  (I know because I watched closely).

Needless to say it was an amazing experience, in no small part because she's a genuinely impressive woman.  Beyond the titles, fantastic hat/dress ensemble, and entourage, she was just... impressive.  Sure, she's been born and trained to it, and has decades of experience in these situations.  But at her age, the sheer force of presence she exuded was unexpected.  The skill and grace with which she managed people and conversation was flawless.

In most situations in which I'm introduced to new people, I study their eyes for a moment and arbitrarily decide whether or not they're interesting.  Of course, since she's the Queen of England it's a foregone conclusion that she's interesting, but nonetheless I started off by looking her in the eye to see what I could read there.  They were a clear striking blue; bright and reserved but not icy or stiff.  She looked up at me (she's rather small) holding my eyes without blinking and took my measure in the exact same instant I was reflexively taking hers.  It was surreal to find that she was analyzing me in much the same way I was analyzing her at the exact same instant, and I'd've given anything to know what she thought in that second and a half after I bowed and straightened to look her in the eye.  The moment passed and she asked me who I was, what I was, where I was from, what my thoughts were on Belfast and the United Kingdom in general (it didn't escape me that, after a fashion, she asked "So, whaddya think of my place?")

It was very brief.  A short few bits of conversation and she was moving on towards others waiting to meet her, leaving me to reflect smugly on having been first, and to wallow in the experiential whirlwind of the pomp and circumstance of the event.

Best of all?  Two buddies of mine (the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland chaplains for QUB) said that she mentioned me when speaking to them, a whole seven minutes later!  I figured I'd've been dismissed from her mind within a half-minute!

I win at life.

I also got to meet Prince Philip, Lord Trimble (architect of the Belfast Agreement), the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the richest man in Ireland, and a swath of other important type folk.  Good times, good times.

(Michael was furious that I got to meet the Queen and he didn't get to see more than her Land Rover and Prince Philip.  I think it took him a good three days to forgive me.)

>>>edit: Correction, Michael has not in fact forgiven me for this yet.

*****

I turned 23.  Not as exciting as you might think.

<<Edit - Michael's gracious, intelligent, insightful, and artistically inclined girlfriend Ruth made me a cake.  It tasted like joy.  Also, Michael broughe me the gift of Coleraine cheddar!  Not as good as the cake, but there you have it.>>

*****

Max came to visit me for a week, which included St. Patrick's Day (we went up to Londonderry) and my birthday.  Good times, good times.

I took him about Northern Ireland, and then we went on a road trip with two buddies o' mine, Sarah and Shane, to wander about the interior.  Mostly County Meath.

Good times had by all.

*****

Two weeks ago I went out with the Queens delegation to NUS, the National Union of Students in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It was horrible.

I've never seem such an extremist public event in my entire life.  People at the lectern proudly called themselves revolutionary communists.  What the hell...!?  I always thought western communists were like big-foot; you hear about them, but no body ever really proves that they exist.

Needless to say, 'conservative', 'right-wing', and 'capitalist' were all spoken like dirty words.  Finally a motion came up that I just couldn't ignore, in no small part because one poor fellow got up and made some practical points that got him labelled a right-wing nutjob.  Incensed, I managed to get the next speech allocation, and went into Phillip-mode.  A friend of mine recorded the speech on his cell phone, so there's a video of it somewhere or another.  Amongst other things I said, "I realize that I've taken my life into my hands here.  I'm arguing against the motion, and I'm publicly admitting to being a conservative american, so I assume that I won't be leaving the room alive.  So be it..... are we real people here, or just jumped-up adolescents playing at being grown-ups?  How can any of us expect to be taken seriously when anyone who makes a practical argument is dismissed as a right-wing nutjob?  Consider that it is only in our diversity that we find strength; every additional voice - even if it dissents from the view of the majority here - makes us stronger.  And every voice that is silenced by animousity, personal attacks, and intimidation, every voice lost, diminishes us all."

Essentially I berated them for being freaky liberal extremists and rhetorically couched it in the idealism of the 'tolerant left'.  I got no heckling or booing, and a fair deal of applause as a result.  We all left early so that I wouldn't be torn apart by a mob though.

On the second day of the conference we just left and went to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach.  Roller coasters!  Ah!  Good times.

*****

I've been totally and abysmally swamped for quite a while.  Last week alone I had five speaking engagements, a council meeting, a meeting of the Belfast Rotary Club, and three strategy sessions over coffee/pints with Michael plotting his campaign for the NUS/USI presidency.

I did get a lot done, though.  My speeches were very well recieved, the Council meeting went very well, and I formally appointed Michael as Deputy Speaker.  Good stuff.

Next week I have speaking engagements on monday and tuesday, then I leave for Ballymena for the NUS/USI conference on wednesday, to be back on Friday.  Egh.

But tomorrow!  Football game!  US against LIMERICK, on our home field!  HAHAHAHA!

*****

I was kindof hoping that the US economy would magically fix itself sometime last week.

It didn't.

Lame.

*****

I took Ciarnan Helferty to meet with one of the Rotary Clubs in Belfast the other day.  I want to get him set up to put in a winning application for the Ambassadorial Scholarship available for Ireland.  It's the same scholarship I won, and the competition is fierce.  If he wins (which I think he very well could) he'd probably study for a year in the United States.

Good times.

*****

A couple of days ago Max IMed me to tell me that Pops has developed prostate cancer.

After talking with him and e-mailing with Mum, the situation doesn't look good.  It could be a lot worse, but it's not good.  Pops had a biopsy done on wednesday, and he's very weak and irritable, and he developed a bout of septicemia.  The options range from chemotherapy to surgery.  Luckily it looks like it can be contained and repaired, and there's time to consider the options.

From what I understand the current plan is to wait until he's strong enough for surgery.  They're telling me it looks like it'd be in July sometime.  At least I'll be home then.

... for the first time since I left Mississippi, I feel as though I really am three thousand miles away.
 
 
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles, Belfast
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
Current Music: 'Goodbye Sky Harbor' - Jimmy Eat World
 
 
 
phillipos
My football team had its first 'game'.  Really it was just a scrimage against the Dublin Saints, but good times were had.  We won 26-0, and five of their players were injured, including their first and second string quarterbacks.  I myself bore Irishmen outweighing me by four stone to the ground on no less than three occasions.

Of course, on one play I put my center of gravity to far forward and one clever fellow pushed down on my helmet so that I went down with embarassing speed.  Yeah.  But I had him for it on the next play, it it was largely all right.

One behemoth I took down had the ill grace to land hard on my left arm, leaving quite the whoppin' bruise.  My wrist and forearm were sore for most of the week.  But nonetheless, we did frightfully well.

*****

Class is out until late April sometime.

Life is good for me.

*****

I was invited as a principle guest to the Limavady Rotary Club's Presidents' night; a fantastic ball in the Radisson Hotel in Limavady.  It was absolutely fabulous; the food was fantastic, the company was excellent, and the entertainment was wonderful.  They brought in a professional comedian to do an hour long set, and then... the dancing.

Unfortunately I was the only one their who knew how to dance.

Forunately, being able to spin girls around without stepping on their feet is enough, and some of them learned quick.

I also got an invitation to the East Belfast Club's 40th Anniversary Ball.  That could be quite good...

*****

Got a tour of Stormont from an Assembly member for the UUP.  Good times.

*****

Next week is going to be fantastic; among other things Max is flying in on Sunday, and he'll be here for a full week.  Good times will be had by all.  And St. Patrick's day approaches!

*****

George RR Martin.

I have mixed feelings about him.  I like that he takes his plots seriously, in that he puts characters in deadly serious situations... that actually result in his death.  It's unlike other novels that, frankly, have characters survive such a myriad of deadly circumstances that it just doesn't matter anymore.

"JAMES BOND lay suspended by a burning rope ten feet above a tank filled with sharks driven into a frenzy of hunger by the bloody water!  Will he survive!?"

Yawn.  Of course he will.  He survived the laser beam to the crotch thing, and the bomb thing, and all the other things.  Do you expect me to seriously worry?

Martin, though... he's not kiddin' around.  He invests 700 pages in the first novel to a character, making you genuinely love him... and then he's dead.  BAM.  In an instant.

So at first you think it's a trick; he's somehow survived.  But you know what?  Not so much.  Then you're angry - how dare you George RR Martin!?  You killed someone I care about!  Now I'll kill someone you care about! ... only I can't because I'm too worried you're about to kill off someone else I like, so I'm too busy reading.

In the end... I am for George RR Martin, for this simple reason - he's not full of crap.  And while I miss the characters that die, I also never failed to take them seriously.

*****

It got really cold, so I switched my radiator from one of it's two settings to the other.  Now that it's gone from 'Off' to 'nuclear' it's ungodly hot in here.  Lame.

*****

I was elected to attend the NUS conference for Queens at Blackpool in early April.  Since I'll be in England anyway, I was going to hop over to visit Rhia for a while, but it's looking like that might not work out after all.

Ah, well.  There's still a chance...

*****

I have been accused of stealing the Blarney stone.

I defended myself from this vile attack upon my honour, insisting that I would never!

So they then contended that I had swallowed it, instead.

... I neither confirm nor deny.

*****

I'm finding that if one is in an uncertain social situation, being brazenly and totally outrageous can somehow completely negate all possible negative outcomes.

Further, I am worried that I am becoming a little to comfortable over here, where I can do pretty much anything I want because I'm leaving in July.  Coming home will be somewhat limiting.

Then again, I have had no ill consequences as a result of some truly outrageous utterances and hehaviours.  Quite the opposite, really.

Hmmmm... acting as if negative consequences are an impossibility for the rest of my life could be an interesting life-philosophy.

... and I have a great song that goes with it!
 
 
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles, Belfast
Current Music: 'Consequence Free' - Great Big Sea
 
 
 
phillipos
22 February 2008 @ 02:09 am
I came upon a fantastic dilemma yesterday;

A man stands before three thrones, holding a sword.  A crowned figure with the hard expression of a just man passing judgment rises from the first throne, and says, "Slay these other two, for I am your lawful king, and I command it."

Another man, a priest wearing a regretful expression rises from the second throne.  "These men must be put to the sword my son," he says in a sad voice, "for it is the will of God."

The third man stands, his fingers glittering with jewels, and says in sharp voice thick with conviction, "Kill both of them, for my wealth is without compare, and I shall reward you with wealth beyond all the dreams of avarice!"

Who survives?
 
 
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles
Current Music: 'New World Symphony' - Dvorak
 
 
 
phillipos
Right.

*****

The weather here has been unseasonably warm and dry; I don't think it has rained since I came back, and there has more often than not been ample sunshine.

It's gotten much colder in the last couple of days, though.  Perhaps things are getting back to normal?  I rather liked the bright, flawless blue skies though.  Some lovely sunrises.

*****

The visit home was swell.  I was right to keep it relatively secret; as soon as it got out that I was home everyone in the universe wanted me to hang out with them for a while.  On the upside, I had lunch engagements for the entire two weeks or so by the end of the second day I was home, and half of my dinners had been called dibs on.  Made me feel reasonably warm and fuzzy inside.  Also, I was able to gain 7 pounds!  I'm rather proud of that accomplishment.

I had especially good times with a lot of my former coworkers, and of course a lot of friends that I hadn't seen for some time even before I left.  It goes without saying that I got to spend a lot of good times with Fiesty and Meagan.

That reminds me...   I need to call Fiesty or she might destroy me.

Hm.

Anyway, Seeing the family is always good, and so is a little target practice out at the Thompson estate.  I regret that I didn't get to spend a little more time out there, actually.

I had tea and dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Bridges.  I've always rather like them, and I'm glad that things are going well for them and theirs.

Sandy gave me custody of Claus Von Buhler.  That's always proven useful for some of teh good timez.

Eh.  A lot of other stuff happened, but really it's more of the same.

Oh, wait.  I took the LSAT.  First standardized test I ever took that I thought was really hard. 

It sucked.  A lot.  I feel as though I did terribly on it.  But from what I understand of the scoring norms, hopefully that'll turn out to mean 'reasonably well'.

*****

Council has voted to invite Her Majesty the Queen to visit the University in its Centennary.  It's unlikely she'll come, but it'd be awfully nice if she did.

*****

Tragically, I have also missed several football practices as a result of my trip home, then I was a bit ill saturday evening and all day today, and alas, that added to my tally of missed practices.  I'm concerned with regard to my readiness when our first scrimmage match comes up.

Let's face it; that whole 'physical grace' thing never game well to me and I'm a pretty crappy player.  Advantages; I'll hit anything and I can absorb a lot of damage.

*****

Ah!  Good news - the Italian Synod of Bishops has decided that porn, in general, is bad!  Good show.  Glad they cleared that one up for us.

*****

I love how non-condescending the government here in the Kingdom is in dealing with the people they are appointed to serve.  Even better, their dedication to preserving the individual rights and freedoms of choice that are the hallmarks of democracy fill my heart with joy!

*****

Kosovo has declared its independence from Serbia.  Many of my fellows really won't care, but it's a very dymanic development.  Even moreso, for Americans, since we've exerted a great deal of effort over Kosovo.  I'll keep my opinions on this development to myself until I've had time to read a little more on the development.

*****

 
 
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: 'Finish Line' - Yellowcard
 
 
 
phillipos
08 February 2008 @ 04:58 am
Things are going fantastically well - I'll update more substantively on that end when I return to Belfast.

*****

In two areas things are not particularly well.  One of which involves hospitalization (of Michelle, not me) and the other involves a long talk that Pops and I randomly had that challenged and pretty much unseated a fundamental moral premise that I'd been operating on for about eleven years.
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: 'Turkish Song of the Damned' - Pogues