Saturday, August 31, 2013

The butterfly farm

    Leaf insect
       The sign on the window said Closed
     This is Mabel Fox 103 1/2 years young.

Well after I got my car fixed up I rang Mabel to say that it is time for our yearly visit to the Butterfly farm in Straffin Co.Kildare, we have been going there every year for the last 4 years. Iris who runs the show takes out the snakes and spiders for us to all see.
It has just closed for the winter now.
But come next June make a B line for it.

You know Mabel has lived through 2 World wars plus the civil war, she well remembers 1916 and the rising.
She is a sharp as a tack, she reads the paper every day and has opinions and questions on all the topics of the day.

She is the youngest 103 1/2 year old I know.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A little bit of history

    A red London bus drives around Dublin...Destination Paddington.

 1916 The leaders of the Easter rising sit in Croke Park at a time when the British army were looking for them

This smiling lady became an Irish citizen today

50 years ago on this veryday Martin Luther King made the famous speech.

"I have had a dream"

Black people got the vote since then and today the USA has a black leader.
We have all come a long way in 50 years.
It is very hard to believe what the state of human rights were back then.

100 years ago this week big Jim Larkin organized and unionized the workers and the Lockout began.
This was the spark which propelled Ireland to 1916 and the Easter rising.

Though it propelled thousands of Irish men into the British army where they died on Flanders fields.
The only alternative was starvation.

The lovely Nigerian lady was late for her big ceremony in the Conference center, so she jumped out of her husbands car into my taxi and we shot off along the bus lane.
..He would arrive there around 40 minutes later. The traffic was manic.
A really big day for her, her 3 children and her husband have all got Irish passports, today she also got one .
I really wish her well she is very well educated and has taken up nursing.
She is becoming really Irish by being a little bit late.

I read in the paper that a young Irish solicitor Maeve O'Rourke   now aged 26 is to be awarded Pro Bono Lawyer of the year 2013 the highest prize  for her outstanding work in fighting for the survivors of the "Magdalene laundry's" She single handed took the Irish officials through the highest courts in the World in Geneva all alone and shamed the Irish government into admitting that what they did was illegal, inhuman and what was happening was slavery... Good girl,,,,we need more people like her to be willing to fight for our rights.

On the taxi front I had a squeak from my front wheels, the bearings were giving trouble on both sides.When the wheels were off one of the shock absorbers was found to be leaking and the front brake pads needed replacing.. A cool €730 !
Still it is better than to be broken down in the middle of nowhere.
You could see on one of the hubs where it had heated up quite a bit.
It must have been whining like a taxi driver as I was going along.

The business on the street is up as the students are back.
Many say that the school teachers who drive taxis when they are not teaching improve business when they go back to their real jobs.

A pilot teacher was in the taxi the other day, that man has seen the world for sure.
He spoke about when he was younger flying between Peru and Argentina 4 times a week.
He should get a job with the tourist board as he described the places and people of the world.

He has to tell a young guy who has spent around €90,000 on flying lessons and training that he will never make the grade. He started off in that flying in that flying school which went bust and the pupils were left stranded in Floriday for months.
After spending all that cash he just doesn't have the ability to be a pilot and the flying school will not take any more money from him as it is throwing good money after bad..
That is a bit worse than failing your school exams for sure.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A dream takes flight

      If you have a good bike, you must buy a good lock and chain..
 be careful not to loose the key though
 Another kettle of fish altogether !
   My sons new computer! Its called a raspberry pi  So it is not an apple

They were looking for a taxi on the Clontarf road.2 lady's with a baby and a man.
It turned out to be a husband and wife with their baby and his mother in law.
He was Indian looking and his wife was Hungarian and she looked very Irish with beautiful green eyes.

I don't know what it is but many races of people have their own "look"
When you can guess Swedish?or Polish?
you get a great. How did you know?
It is not just done by look or accent either.

I would love if Google would do a"Tribes of the World"
We could compare Korean people for looks with Japanese and then to make a comparison with Tibetan people.
Americans would not count as they are from all over the world...Unless you would compare Navajo to Cheyenne.
Brazilian woman are so good looking, they have a fantastic mix of race which makes them stand out.
They are happy happy people as well.
Today I brought 2 of them to their destinations.
The first was tall with very black hair,at journeys end I asked if she had Greek blood?
"No my father is Portuguese and my mother is Indian"
Though her skin was very pale she had her mothers beautiful eyes for sure.
The second lady was very Hispanic petite with light colored hair a bit like that very famous film star that is in all the movies Penélope Cruz
She came here to learn English as did her sister. Now they are both married to Irish men.
Did you know that the Chinese are the second largest group learning English and the Brazilians are the biggest group. They outnumber the Chinese 2 to 1
Brazilians like Ireland because both nations we like to have fun and we are both very laid back.
She told me that when you are learning a language you are submerging yourself in a culture, our culture suits them best.

Anyhow to get back to my Indian friend.
He dropped off the family at Connolly station and we headed off to the airport..
He told me that he had come to Dublin and worked for Cyclone  couriers for around 7 years...
All that time he was saving up for what was about to happen last Monday.
In the week just past he was sitting his pilots exams in Hungary..
His dreams hopefully by now will be a reality,he will be a fully fledged pilot.

I hope their lives take off from now as there must have been a lot of effort and sacrifice on the road to his final test.

It great when people can shoot for the stars and follow their dreams.

As I said good luck to him a Spanish lady got into my taxi to go back into town .

Happy days

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What happens in Vegas

     DCU a modern university
   A man on  a bike

A friend of mine went to LasVegas and brought me home a bumper sticker.

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"

Now they say,

"What happens in Vegas stays on Youtube"

In the papers is the story of a young 17 year old girl filmed having sex at a rock concert.
It went viral and she is very upset.

You might remember the story of a group of youths in a taxi..
At journeys end they got out without paying.
One of the guys was identified on the video tape as being in the group (though he got out earlier in the journey)
He was named and came forward
Now the fare was paid but the poor guy who was named had paid the others his share and and he was wronged.
In the effort to clear his name, and to have the video removed from the Internet he went to the courts.
You might think that YouTube would say,
 "Sorry about that we will remove the video today"
No............... writs had to be issued and top gun barristers fought every piece of paper through the courts.

The judge is not pleased with the attitude of the big Internet companies and he has told them so.

Legal costs have exceeded €3 million and the costs are still rising.


On the taxi front things are not that bad for me.
The HailO system still makes the difference between making a slim living and going out of business altogether. 
You could trawl the streets for hours and get nothing.
If you had an airport pass you could wait for 2 1/2 hours for your next job.

Sometimes your luck is excellent, a run to the airport and you find someone on the way back into town straight away. 
If  you have to rely purely on Lady Luck you are heading for a bumpy ride for sure.

Yes folks the kids are starting to go back to school this week !

Where did the Summer Go?
Perhaps we will have an "Indian Summer".

I got rear ended a few weeks ago by a complete prat who I reckon was on drugs,
I believed him when he said he would "Look after everything"
I had the car checked out and my man said it was fine, so I left it at that.
Until 4 days later I started getting darting pains in  the neck and back. 
When I turned my head it was very painful.

A solicitor in the car told me I should have called the Garda straight away especially if you suspected that the other guy was on drugs.
 So around 5 weeks ago I was hit by a jeep which rooled back at the lights, my passinger could have sued, I didn't notice the slight dent on the bonnet from her spare tyre.
Now from behind.

Before Christmas a guy threw the passinger door into the passing traffic and took the side out of a passing car !
She drove away and was gone so long that the guy was just going into the pub when she came back.
She sufferedd no impact, she grazed the door.
She was a learner driver with no other driver with her.
My insurance company contacted her and agreed to replace her car with a newer one and give her a rental car for 2 weeks...
What happened next?
Within an hour she rang the claims agent and said...

"By the way I have whiplash and soft tissue damage"

They paid her anothe  €17,000

I must conclude that I am a complete mug


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Festival of Tango this weekend

11th International Tango Festival - 2013

11th International Tango Festival in Ireland
Dublin, 22th-26th August 2013
Special guests

 Mario de Camillis & Natalia Fures (Argentina)
..the Champions
Mario is several time tango champion in Argentina: Metropolitan champions Bs As 2011- Milonga, Metropolitan champions Bs As 2011- Vals, Metropolitan Sub-champions Bs As 2011- Tango. Young and versatile, he has extensive training in both traditional dance and tango. He's a very skillful dancers and most appreciated teacher in Argentina and abroad.
Watch Mario's winning performance here 

Natalia was born in the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a dancer, DJ and musician. Natalia’s dance is highly musical. She expresses the music with all her body. She has performed in many milongas in Buenos Aires – Club Sunderland, Floreal and MILONGA 10. As a DJ she regularly plays music at the famous milonga La Viruta, MILONGA10, El Yeite tango club, El beso, El Motivo and VIVA LA PEPA.
Mario and Natalia's idea about teaching tango is: “We want people to see that tango is a beautiful dance, deep and complex. But also accessible. The tango is there, waiting for each person to enjoy the embrace with all the magic that is found by dancing it.”
Mario and Natalia will teach workshops on the 24th and 25th and perform at the milonga on the 24th.

 Odysseus Dada & Lea Kai (South Korea)
...East Tango meets West Tango!!!
Odysseus Dada is is director of the Argentine Tango Association of Korea and the Art Tango Center. He has studied a variety of Tango styles from many teachers such as Jorge Dispari, Miguel Angel Zotto, Mariano Chicho Frumboli and Sebastian Arce. He is also poet, novelist, film Critic, film Director. He is currently the most famous film critic in Korea and is a broadcast facilitator. He is also supervisign and directing a feature film called RED TANGO.
Lea Kai is married to Odysseus. She has been teaching tango in the Art Tango Center and is the co-director of the Art Tango Center. She has also great interest and passion for tango music and she is the most famous Tango DJ in South Korea.
Lea Kai & Odysseus Dada have performed at the Jakarta International Tango Festival 2013 and Taipei Tango Festival 2012 among other events

Watch one of their beautiful performances here
Odysseus and Lea will perform at the milonga on the 24th.

La Revancha del Tarila y el Lora (Argentina)
(alias Hernan Catvin & Quique Ringa)
..The Odd Couple!

This is a couple you cannot miss! ..They are gorgeous, glamorous and talented! ..Their performances are breathtaking and their classes highly sought-after.
In other words.. if you haven't seen this couple, you haven't seen Tango!!!
Unfortunately, no video is available as the couple wishes to share their unique talent and style exclusively with those who will be present at the performance.
Hernán graduated in Dramatic Arts at The National Drama School, Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2000, having studied theatre and dance since 1989. He has worked as dancer, actor and theatre director on independent and commercial productions. Quique discovered tango in his native Argentina in 1995 Since 1999, Enrique has worked as a full-time professional dancer, has taught and performed in major festival., shows in Argentina and Europe
La Revancha del Tarila y El Lora will teach men's technique workshops on the 24th and 25th and perform at the milonga on Friday the 23rd.

Jessica Quinones 
The virtuoso...
New Mexican flautist Jessica Quiñones blends the fields of flute performance, flute pedagogy, and ethnomusicology into an active international career. Acclaimed for her beautiful tone, detailed musicianship, and innovative teaching techniques, she has given recitals, masterclasses and lectures to audiences across the globe.

Jessica will teach a tango musicality workshop on Sunday the 25th of August
Resident teachers: Hernan Catvin & Simona Zaino
Resident DJ: Johan Steyn
Directed by: Simona Zaino & Hernan Catvin
Festival team: Liz McSkeane, Kyoko Odamura, Stephanie Culson, Susana Serrano, Robin Brady

Pre-festival event

Saturday 17th of August
Tango Crawl & Tapas   
Venue: Dublin City centre and en Boteco Brazil
Meeting point is the Gaiety Theatre entrance on South King Street (off the top of Grafton Street) at 2pm sharp.
From there we will tango on designated streets of the city centre until we reach our destination Boteco Brazil on Upper Ormond Quays at around 4.30pm. Here we will rest our feet and enjoy some divine Tapas and wine!
Join the Crawl and let's bring some tango glamour into Dublin City! All welcome, expert dancers and budding ones!
Dress code: wear red and black and ..bring your umbrella (just in case)
Main Festival events

Thursday 22nd of August
Chacarera workshop & Milonga, 7.30pm     (€10, €5) 
Venue: The Globe Pub (basement), South Great George street, Dublin 2
Chacarera is a traditional Argentine dance. It is a dance of lively rythm with a flattering pantomimic game and simple steps where dancers move with the group and together with their partner. Chacarera is often performed at milongas as well as other social events. This year will focus on zapateo and zarandeo to bring your chacarera skills a step up! :) Taught by Hernan Catvin and Simona Zaino.
No previous experience necessary. No partner required.  Watch a Chacarera video for inspiration! :)
The milonga will be on from 9pm.
€10 for workshop (includes free entrance to milonga). Milonga only is €5 (from 9pm)
Tango Lounge ,   7.30pm- 1am    €15 (see packages for discount)
New Venue: Boteco Brazil Wine Bar, Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin
A relaxed and atmospheric milonga in one of the coolest venue in the heart of Dublin! Two floors all for us! One for enjoying the divine tapas and wine served by the super friendly and smiley staff. And another floor for tangoing until you drop!!!
Entertainment  will be provided  by the trendiest tango couple on the block, La Revancha del Tarila y el Lora ..a performance that will send shivers down your spine! :) Also, the ladies will not want to miss the Tango catwalk by designer Kornelia Boros won't resist her gorgeous dresses!! Finally, Argentine artist Enrique Ringa will add a cultural touch to the evening with his collection of contemporary artwork on display.
-NOTE: Boteco Brazil will have a Tapas promotion on the night... 4 tapas and 2 glasses of wine for only €20!!-

Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of August
Tango Workshops with guest and resident teachers
Click here for workshops timetable, venue, prices and booking details
Saturday 24th of August
Los Clandestinos-  Grand Milonga,  doors open 8pm   (till 1.30am)   €28 (see packages for discount)
Venue: Garda Club, Harrington street, Dublin 8
And the theme for this year's grand milonga is ... "A tango speakeasy joint! A hangout for compadres, guapos and cabaret girls"..Get your costumes out, ladies and gentlement!
The evening will also feature amazing performances by the guest and resident teachers and the traditional chacarera session.
DJ for the evening: the one and only Johan Steyn!
Sunday 25th of August
Musicality workshop by  Jessica Quinones  1.40-2.40pm (free of charge)
Venue: Garda Club, Harrington street, Dublin 8
--5  Surprising Things You Probably Didn't Know About Tango Music--
How might the bellows of a bandoneón indirectly influence today’s dance? How can mugre be heard in music –and why is this important? How do tango musicians use improvisation? How does the voice of Gardel still influence tango phrasing today? American flautist, and tango scholar Jessica Quiñones will discuss five surprising musical angles – all which invite you to not only rethink how you might listen to this music,  but can inspire new approaches for your own dance interpretations.
 Sunday 25th of August
La milonguita   8-11pm    €5
Venue: The Globe Pub (basement), South Great George street, Dublin 2
The closing milonga. Come and share your festival experience with your fellow tango dancers over a glass of wine.
Monday 26th of August
El Almuerzo- celebrating The Gathering   12noon-2pm
Venue: Boteco Brazil, Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin City centre
Did you know that Che Guevara had Irish roots? And Irish Admiral Brown had fought for the cause of the Malvinas (Falkland Islands)?
Join us for a delicious Latin style lunch and hear how the history of Argentina and Ireland are intertwined..
-Please book your place by calling Boteco Brazil on 01-8749778. Tell them you want to join the Tango Festival table!
Story-teller: Hernan Catvin
If the page above is no good click here and follow the link.

Starting next Friday

This guy moves well.
But is he as good as "The Silver Fox"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Agenda 21

Keep your ears open my friend and you will learn a lot while you drive your taxi.

"Did you ever hear of agenda 21?"

I hadn't known of it so I looked it up

watch it on your laptop or tablet.

Its quite scary!!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Last resting place

           Sutton graveyard
 There must be few things as bad as loosing a child.
Phil Lynott would have been 64 yesterday, his Ma was at the unveiling of his repaired statue.
She has to be around 85 now and she looks really great.

I had to go out to Howth today, it was a beautiful sunny morning here in Dublin.
On the way back I stopped to pay my respects at the grave of Phil Lynott.
On the way over to the grave you pass the grave of a 14 year old girl, her photo is on the grave stone.

As we pass through this life we often don't appreciate what we have under our noses.

Get your life back on focus.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Exam results

Just a word on the exam results.

They really mean nothing !

No I do mean that.
The richest man in Ireland up to a few years ago was Sean Quinn.
He never even graduated from national school, his father died and he had to work to support the family.

There are loads of examples like this.

But in most cases  the student didn't bother to open the books.

Look don't go loosing your mind over it.
Put your head down and try again.

At present there are very few opportunities even if you qualify in many of the "traditional trades"

But whatever you do do don't become a taxi driver

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Boy is coming back

  The statue wrapped in plastic returns

This Thursday at 11AM The statue to Philip P Lynott will be unveiled in Harry St just off Grafton St.

He got smashed by a few drunks when they pushed over the statue.
If he had lived he would be 64 now.
Rock and Rollers live hard and die young.

For a few summers now up in the St Stephens Green shopping center they have held a Thin Lizzy exhabition.
Many of Phils guitars and loads of stuff.
When its on again
go !

Friday, August 09, 2013

Gorse Hill and London

   A Blue rooster in Trafalgar square
   Look HailO works in Norbury ! Its way out in the sticks.
Never heard of him?
Google it. Erik Weisz took his name and became Houdini !

This clock has hands that move but it has no visible works!

It is priceless, the only other one I saw only had an hour hand.

Well the other day the court case came to the high court.
Gorse Hill on Vico Rd. Dalkey a house on on 3 1/2 acres of land.
Valued at €30 million in 2006.
Now it is valued between €6-€7 millions.
The parents were involved in property speculation.
The house was given as security for the loan..
The adult children were living in the house and refusing to leave.

But the house was given in security for a loan and now the bank is asking for €71 million.
But the children will be OK
Their parents are still involved in milti million pound developments in London.

So no matter what happens the rich stay afloat and fight tooth and nail against paying any of their debts.
Perhaps it is a small victory?
But perhaps it will go to the supreme court?

Well I went away to visit my son in London and the buses go on strike.
One driver said he made €600 in one day, another said he made not one extra penny.
The truth lye's well below the middle line.

I must say a couple of days away is good for the mind.
London is a great city for moving people. 2 Minutes walk to the station 20 mins to Victoria, cross over to the underground with your Oyster card in your hand and you are standing at Big Ben in 25 Mins.
The others wanted to go to a Shakespeare play and I decided that this was not for me.
But on Monday at a loose end ! What is there to do?
The Magic Circle meets on Monday so I wrote a few e mails and got an invitation to the club.
I love magic and as I was having a guided tour with one of the members I must have been asking the right questions, because he brought me into one of the locked rooms to see their secret treasures and I was wowed to see what they had there.

Every day can be magic if you put a little magic into the lives of others!

You know since I came back I have met some really interesting people.

Did I meet you?