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Friday, September 11, 2020 5 comments

9/11. 19 years on. Still Feels Like Yesterday.

 (The annual "reprinting" of my inaugural post on Sept. 11, 2011. We shall never forget.)


The thing I remember most about 9/11 is how selfish I felt - at the very beginning.

September 11th was supposed to be the day I paid my debts and made some serious money. I clearly remember the last thing I said as my balding head hit the soft pillow on the 10th: "Tomorrow is going to be a great day, man, tomorrow is going to be a great day."
Source: Anthony Grimley

Five months prior to 9/11 and new to California, I had met several fellow Irishmen at a pub or six, which networked into an interview with a starched suit who looked me up and down to see if I could sell gold coins.

"I can sell a Yankees hat in Boston, or a Cowboys jersey in New York, surely I can sell a little coin over the phone?" I said, full of the optimism of the uninformed American sports fan.

My new boss didn't really care. I'd earn a bare stipend for a couple of months, and then work on one hundred percent commission, so no skin off his nose.

They call the big investors "whales," and it took five months of living off credit cards to reel two in. One lived in New York; the other was in Jersey. I arranged great deals with both retired men; deals that culminated on Monday the 10th, and happy as a pig in a blanket, I later went for a few drinks with the boys, having promised my whales that they'd receive the official paperwork via fax before noon EST Tuesday.

That's the only reason I was up at 5:50 a.m. PST, but as soon as I saw the plane hit the second tower just after 6 a.m. my time, I knew the deals were done - and so was I. (I had no clue how bad it would be - did anyone?)

I wallowed in pity for about thirty-five minutes until I heard another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Driving to work in my new, unpaid-for Mustang, I jumped up as far as my seat belt would allow, and let out a scream of hurt and anger I hope my ears will never again endure.

As an immigrant with naturalization papers in process, I had no doubt that the attack was on my country (I swore in July 3, 2003,) and my people.

In October 2001, I tried joining the USAF, but the recruiter told me a 19-year-old's pay "ain't going to take care of the credit problems belonging to a 31-year-old."

On 9/11, as always, I'll wear my Liz Claiborne WTC shirt that I bought 'cos the Statue of Liberty looks cool in the forefront (it was 2002 before I "saw" the Twin Towers for the first time.)

I will also reflect on how I awoke thinking only about me, but ended the day thinking only about "U.S." and the thousands whose lives had been destroyed by hate and fear.

May the good God bless the souls of all those lost on 9/11, and Lord, please continue to protect those who, with a servant's heart, always run into harms way while we scream to get the hell out of there.

One of 343 firefighters who sacrificed everything, Thomas J. Foley, 32, Rescue 3, FDNY, died in the collapse of Tower 2, WTC, New York, 9.59 am, 9/11/01. RIP

Friday, April 10, 2020 12 comments

My CovBlog: Day 26


Well, I will never win an award for math! I just now figured out today is Day 26, (not Day 25,) and this is blog post #498, (not #499!)

On the upside, I get to write one more post Monday and celebrate Tuesday with one less day before the lockdown ends in [insert best guess here.]

Though it's Easter in many parts of the world, Holy Week in Spain is a wonderful and proud tradition, and I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of people around the country missing the annual tradition of the penance processions.

I'll leave you with these pictures taken either 78 or 80 days ago, depending on who you ask.

On Jan. 17, I was walking to the pub, when I heard a commotion...

From Wikipedia: "Seville arguably holds some of the most elaborate processions for Holy Week. The tradition dates back hundreds of years. The "Semana Santa de Sevilla" is notable for featuring the procession of "pasos", lifelike painted wooden sculptures of individual scenes of the events that happened between Jesus' entry in Jerusalem and his burial, or images of the Virgin Mary showing restrained grief after the torture and killing of her son."

...Around the corners comes at least 21 lads under a bulky, heavy "practice float."

"Some of the images are artistic masterworks of great antiquity. One of the Most Popular and Beautiful Image of the Virgin Mary depicting her Sorrows is the Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza de Triana, "La Reina y Señora de Sevilla" (The Queen and Lady of Seville)."

As they can't see a thing, the lads trust and follow the voice of the guy out front...

"These pasos (which usually weigh MORE than a metric TON) are physically carried on the neck of costaleros (literally "sack men", for their distinctive -and functional- headdress)."

The procession continues up the hill... So sad their efforts were in vain this year

"Anywhere from 24 to 48 "costaleros" are hidden inside the platform of the "paso", so it seems to walk alone. Historically dock workers were hired to carry the pasos. From 1973 onward, that task has been universally taken over by the members of the confraternities who organize each procession."

An example from the same town during a recent Semana Santa

And finally....
The countdown to Semana Santa at 10:15 p.m. this past January...

12 mins & 17 seconds later... according to my timestamp.

Only in Spain :)

Wishing everyone a Good Friday and best wishes for as happy of an Easter holiday as is possible.
Thursday, April 9, 2020 7 comments

My CovBlog: Day 24


Alright quick one for today, 'cos how many adventures can one man, stuck at home for 24 days, have and not mention porn?

Well, I never run out of things to say. Ask anyone who knows me if they've ever seen me silent AND awake at the same time?

Today? Long day, but got lots of stuff done, so that was good. However, wandering out to the balcony I was robbed! All day sunny until I crack a beer and the clouds roll in like they were waiting for me to relax. I was mad and securely transferred my feelings to the cloud.

"You looking at me?"

The cloud drifted by with nary an error message so me and my jammie, jumper and beanie sat and sipped happily in the shade.


(I would have enjoyed my beer if I'd been in an Anchorage snowstorm, but that's a different story.)

Ohhhh! Part 1...

Several people, (yes, Ma....🙄)…. (<< What is he looking at? Making me nervous...) wondered what was in my care package that the other (better & sexier) half of M&M sent...

Let's go back in time, shall we!

I was running toward the sid--

NO!! Just tell us, for the love of Sunderland AFC, what was in the package??

Had fun opening my care package & after 14 handwashes, all was out!

Ohhhh! Part 2...

Speaking of beer, I started Round 3 of the Cider House Brews a couple of days ago. While different in scope to the similar-sounding 1999 movie, I continue to experiment on how to make the best possible home-brewed cider. ('Tis a difficult job being Head Cideree, but one must suffer for one's science.)

Pfft 2.0

Don't mind our wine-y Professor, Al Coholic. He's a nerdy cork who loves maths and stuff.

Life is so much more fun brewing cider. Caring for one's "Fermenter" is like being a Fosters parent in Australia, and now, if I'm locked down past my birthday, I won't need a store run to drown my sorrows 😇. (Please share if you need a restock of really, really bad pub-related jokes :)

Delicious (solar-powered:) cider in the making

The 23-liter (6 gal.) Fermenter (known in Dublin as a "Bucket") must sit there, examining the world like a nosy, old grandparent, (*via the grandfathered rule) excerpted from The Great, But Small And Yet Detailed Booklet Of Instructions.

On Page 3 (of 4) TGBSAYDBOI ("the booklet") calls for the Fermenter to be in a room where the average temperature is 20 - 30c (68 - 86f).

You must be bloody joking.

While one enjoys sampling a home-brewski or 16, one is not switching on the bloody heat to help along the process, no matter what Prof. Coholic says!

Patience is a virtue and anyway, solar power is good for the economy. Yeah! And stuff like that, too.

"Hello, children. This is your uncle Markito… don't be like me and buy cheap beer....sit in a cold room, wait a few extra days and make your own!"

(Ed. Note: Apologies. While I'm currently Covid free, I have, since Christmas 1993, had a terrible case of "Love Actually Quotes" syndrome.)

Books sunbathing when a bottle of hot sauce died in the cause of Delivery...

Ohhhh! Part 3A... Tomorrow will be my last post for this week.

(Quiet down! No cheering allowed:)

Not only is it Easter weekend (Are you heading home? :) but I'm planning to visit many awesome,❤ supportive blogger friends. Everyone's been so kind to comment -- and comment again so I absolutely need to crack a beverage and wander around going, "'Sup?"

(I'm truly shit at leaving brief comments so it will happily take awhile.)

Ohhhh! Part 3B... 

I realized the other week my blog will hit a *Big Milestone* soon.

I'd swerved out of the way of dealing with this months ago, especially on Hiatus, but then along came this Covid adventure... and the game is up, guv'nor.

My 500th post will drop Monday...

... and that's just Completely. Mind. Boggling.

I kinda have an idea what my favorite post (that I'll "reprint" one time only,) will be, but I'm not sure...

So... once I return from the blogosphere, me and a full cooler of cheap beer are getting shit-faced on the balcony while I spend many (and more than a few emotional) hours rewinding through this little blog that fucking could.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 6 comments

My CovBlog: Day 23


Day 23: Tuesday, 7 April - With a face like mine, one must be prepared for life's many adventurous ups and downs.

That's what I tell myself as I wash me teeth, look in the mirror and wonder if it's Friday yet?

Until today, it's not been warm this week

In breaking news Sunday, (don't shake your head sir. It's a blog, not CNN :) the Spanish lockdown has (not unexpectedly) been extended to April 26.

However, may I say then (with a light dollop of abundance of caution) that I hope Sunday the 26th, the 51st occasion of my birth, will bring the Spanish people (and me! and me!) a special gift.

Best part of working from home? Me @ 4:59 p.m.

Whoooo... While editing the post, I realized the last two pictures (not staged in that order!) look like I've nooo sense of fashion (true,) but that I've also lost 6 inches in height, put on 100 pounds and have a 64-inch waist (which I will have if the lockdown continues much longer...)

Where was I?

In the meantime, maybe I can go to the store twice (the scandal of it all!) twice this week? I have an off-road shortcut into town, oh and then! I can see "my" puppy who's not had any treats for 24 days (but is healthy and safe.) I drove past his house Saturday, but didn't stop/block the way in case that was the moment the Guardia Civil came down the skinny lane.

Me at 5:01 p.m. (Leave the black socks alone, man! Better than white, like!)

(Oh, Senor Braveheart, where are you now? We want our Freeeeeeedddoooommmmmm (minus the head-chopping-off part, mind you.)

I'm expecting wayyyy too much, yes, I know that, but nothing ever really happened on my birthday, did it? (Ma might disagree, but I feel absolutely horrible and birthday-ly discriminated upon!)

Why do St. Paddy's Day kids; Christmas babies and all those lucky people who celebrate the 12th of June (when Ray Houghton stuck the ball in the back of the English net) get to have all the fun memories?

Ray Houghton heads home the winning goal for IRL v ENG in Euro '88❣❣

Me? The only major event on my birthday was the Chernobyl disaster, which happened April 26th 1986, and that's not particularly useful as a conversation starter in a room full of strangers, is it now?

It did warm up today, so cheers, proost y salud!
PS: Package?

What package?

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