Friday, February 28, 2003

An Irish-Catholic Football Dilemma

On March 13th 2003, Liverpool and Glasgow Celtic football clubs will meet in a quarterfinal of the UEFA Cup. This poses an interesting dilemma for not a few Irish soccer fans who may have allowed their English and Scottish sporting allegiances to be determined entirely by religion. The sectarian division of Glasgow football is fairly well-known (Celtic = Catholic, Rangers = Protestant) but older generations recall a similar (but confusingly alternating) split for the city of Liverpool (Liverpool FC = "Protestant," Everton FC = "Catholic") that has now dissipated but has been replaced by a perceived alignment of Irish Catholic with Liverpool FC. For instance, observers have noticed an intriguing overlap between preferred songs at Celtic and Liverpool matches, and in one case the song was clearly put into the mix by historically minded Irish fans of Celtic. That song is The Fields of Athenry. But just because you hear the nice tune from the 'Pool fans, don't assume the lyrics are the same. The opening lines might be this:

Outside the Shankly Gates
I heard a Kopite calling :
Shankly they have taken you away
But you left a great eleven
Before you went to heaven
Now it's glory round the Fields of Anfield Road.

The rest is here. Our guess is that the Irish affinity is much stronger with Celtic these days -- there are no Irish internationals amongst the Liverpool starters, and the more neutral fan gravitates towards mindless support of Moneychest Utd. But on this site, we're Liverpool fans.
The language barrier saves Marc Rich

Remember Marc Rich? Tarnished Bill Clinton's final days in an office with a messy pardon. Well, he's back in the news, but only in France. You'd think the vast right wing conspiracy would be looking for any excuse to get a Clinton scandal back in the news but we suspect they are too busy bashing France to actually learn anything about the place. Anyway, Rich is in the news because in a weird coincidence, his company, Glencore, is linked to two affairs of the type that get the French all upset about globalisation: the Prestige tanker spill off Galicia, and the closure of a century old lead factory in the northwest without any cleanup plan for the site or a layoff plan for the workers. The ownership trail in both cases seems to lead to Glencore. I think we learn from this that the typical American right-wing rabble rouser is much stupider than his English equivalent, who can at least master a little French.
Bertie, put in a call to Paris NOW!

So the Irish government needs to buy a new government jet but is worried about the appearance of spending money on such a luxury in a recession. We have a solution: financially troubled French entertainment giant Vivendi is selling THREE jets. Given the rate that Messier was spending money, they are doubtless top of the line and in excellent condition -- and there's no sign that Arthur Andersen ever got to the odometers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Kerry is not an Irish name anyway

One of us has been corresponding with Roger Ailes about this, but for completeness we'll put the posting here since Roger seems swamped. There was a controversy about whether Senator John Kerry allowed people to think he was Irish-American when he is not. But just putting that surname out there doesn't make people think he's Irish -- because Kerry is a rare Irish surname. It is the name of a county but barring some Ellis Island substitution of place name for original surname (like Corleone-Andolini), relatively few people of Irish descent will have that name. Check the Irish phone directory online:

There are precisely 14 Kerry listings. There are over 12,000 Murphy listings. If the Senator's family liked the sound of that name and wanted to seem Irish, they would have spelt it like like Mariah does.

UPDATE 10 June '04: The distinction between the county name and actual ancestry is understood in Ireland, unlike at the Boston Globe. In a report linked to the death of Ronald Reagan, this Irish Times story notes:

[Ballybunion, Co. Kerry] also has a bronze statue of President Bill Clinton, unveiled by the president during a visit to play golf. There are tentative plans to invite presidential hopeful Mr John Kerry, because of his connections with the name of the county, should he become president.

Friday, February 14, 2003

So we open with a reference to Star Trek: TNG (our title) and the Beatles (our text) but over time we'll hold forth on more than that. Although isn't that plenty?