Today, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, we pay a lovely homage to the land of my mother’s ancestors. The Irish, throughout their long & glorious history, have always been the victims of persecution & discrimination. The English Protestants have always given them a bad deal in their own country. The American Protestants have rooked them blind over here consistently treating them much worse than they’ve treated the blacks, Jews & other minorities. Unfortunately I’ve never gotten a chance to go to Ireland but I’ve always heard that it’s quite an exceptionally beautiful country. This entry isn’t meant in any way as a deep serious historical commentary on Ireland or its history. It’s only intended as a simple doffing of the hat to a fine country & culture. Many twentieth century Irishman, such as Michael Colllins, James Joyce & Eamonn de Valera, & Irish~Americans, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O’Connor & The Kennedy family have contributed to making the world quite an especially interesting place.
Monthly Archives: March 2011
Until “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” made its debut with Regis Philbin, quite a long time ago by now, I’d always considered Alex Trebek’s “Jeopardy!” to be my very favorite game show. It still is in a very close second place although for some odd reason I haven’t bothered to watch it in quite a long time. I liked it when I was a kid when Art Fleming was on it too. Although I like “Wheel Of Fortune” & “Family Feud” too I can’t stand all the annoyingly cutesy gimmicks. People on those & other shows have a habit of yelling out things like “Good answer, good answer!” & all sorts of other childish catch phrases. It truly bugs the hell out of me when “Family Feud”‘s Richard Karn asks a contestant at the end of each show how much he’s trying to win & he yells out, “Twenty thousand Dollars!” “Jeopardy” & Meredith Vieira’s “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” are, as a general rule, relatively staid, quiet shows where more attention is paid to the subject matter of the questions than to giving each contestant the satisfaction of letting him lose control in public. Each show has a large share of intellectual questions, that are geared mostly toward people who are college educated. To keep it as well balanced as possible, there are a wide variety of different questions of that nature becaue everyone’s educational background will differ. They also have a lot of questions that are oriented toward pop culture, both past & present. I’ve always stunk at the very recent pop culture questions because I have no interest in today’s pop culture. A major distinction between the shows is that “…Millionaire?” has a one~strike ~you’re out policy,& only one contestant at a time, while “Jeopardy!” pits three people, in each game, against each other. In “Jeopardy!” each answer has to be phrased in the form of a question while in “…Millionaire?” each answer has to be referred to as the contestant’s final answer. “Jeopardy!” tends much more to put the contestants under pressure by imposing time constraints but the current version of “…Millionaire?” no longer does that. Ultimately they’re two really good shows, the very best on TV.
It recently occurred to me that if I were ever to try to compare my life to that of anyone in the world of fiction I should have to describe myself as a combination of Charlie Brown & the typical character portrayed by Woody Allen in his (Allen’s) movies. Charlie Brown is the kid who just can’t get a break. Although he ultimately appears pretty happy he goes through life getting the short end of entirely too many sticks. He messes up every ball game~I don’t like sports but it works with other things too. His Halloween trick~or~treat excursions always provoke the words “I got a rock”. He likes the little red haired girl but she perpetually eludes his amorous advances. I’ve always been terrified of red hair so I stay away from everyone like that anyway but it’s a good symbol of all my frustrating adventures. Like the typical Woody Allen character, I’m also a bespectacled neurotic who incessantly can be counted on to fumble my way through all sorts of misadventures. Allen’s a Jew steeped in his Judaism & I’m a Catholic equally steeped in my Catholicism. He plays clarinet & his movies’ soundtracks are all filled with Cole Porter, jazz, classical & other kinds of serious music. I play guitar & my life’s soundtrack is filled with the Beatles especially~my all~time favorites~& all sorts of other pop music. Like Allen & the little round~headed kid, I also have a seemingly endless cast of offbeat eccentrics with whom I can interact, thereby offsetting my daftness with theirs. Life for each of us is an endlessly lopsided combination of happy & sad.
It gets me plum crazy even to have to think of it but 2011, right from its very beginnning, has given me nothing but trouble. The night before New Year’s Eve, I was at 7:00 Mass at O. L. Sorrows & came down with a raunchy flu that lasted for most of January. I wanted to go to the Pro~Life Demonstration in Washington, D.C. on January 24 but I was forced to back down because of below zero temperatures. February came & I got yet another flu. This time it was only temporary but the symptoms were even worse. With the beginning of March & lovely~as~can~be weather, all my major health troubles are gone but I still have a persistent cough. To make things even stupider, yesterday afternoon my father even noticed that my front passenger side tire was flat. I took it to the Citgo station on Wyoming Avenue, & the guy who checked it for me said it wasn’t damaged by a nail or anything else he could find. It was just plum out of air. He filled it up for me with forty lbs. of pressure. All goes well so far. I know it’s easy, from the looks of this post, to get the distinct impression that life for me is a washout. Fortunately that’s not true in general. It’s just been a very tough time lately.