That last epithet is the one that usually sparked the fist-fight, when the people I grew up among started slanging each other. Which is why this clip from NYMag actually made me laugh:
Peter King Will Get Punched in the Face Instead of Celebrating His Wife’s Birthday
“It’s her birthday and she hates boxing,” U.S. Rep Peter King said of his wife, Rosemary, who does not support the 68-year-old’s plans to spar with New York State kickboxing champion, “Irish” Josh Foley, at a Long Island pub on Saturday. “She’s already told the police not to bother to come and get her if anything happens to me.”
In related quasi-nostalgia, a genuinely lovely essay in the NYTImes from John Patrick Shanley:
MY father came from Ireland and he had the gift of the gab. Part of the reason the Irish developed the gift of the gab was simple. They lived on an island. They had to get along. Not that they did get along. But they had to try. So a style of speaking developed that allowed them to say awful things. With charm…
No sooner had we cleared the door than all hell broke loose. My Aunt Mary was sitting by the turf stove, leaning on a cane. She let fly with a vigorous speech, not one word of which I could understand, though she was apparently speaking English. Her husband, my Uncle Tony, turned out in a Greek fishing cap, white shirt and weathered vest, was waving a pipe. He had electric blue eyes as well, the eyes of a malamute, and a crafty, gleeful expression. He, too, was holding forth, and although I could not understand a word of what he was saying either, his accent was utterly different than that of his wife. He spoke in a measured and forceful tone, while Mary’s declarations came out at the rate of water gushing from a fire hose.
The one linguistic quality they shared was emphasis. Each and every thing they said was said with an air of such conviction it seemed impossible anyone could disagree. And yet, they did disagree, and attempted to shout down and dismiss every statement made by the other…
My maternal grandmother was inordinately proud of being the only native-born American among her nine siblings, so it never surprised us that she wasn’t interested in visiting the Ould Sod. My father’s parents were adults by the time they emigrated separately from Connemara to Manhattan, by way of Montreal. But when their grandkids asked why they never went back for a visit (as most of our neighbors in similar circumstances seemed to), the answer was always that Granny was an only child and all ten of Granpa’s siblings had scattered to every corner of the British Empire. We didn’t discover the truth behind that until after both of them and my father were gone, but that’s a story for another day…
The prophet Nostradumbass
You forgot culchie. My parents came here in the late 1950s.
it is getting way too calm down there.
My family came from Ireland during the Civl War. Supposed to land in Savannah and head west to homestead with relatives out in Texas area, war broke out after the ship left and by the time they arrived the Union had blockaded many of the southern ports. The ship was redirected to NYC, and they settled in Brooklyn. My great-something grandfather signed up with the Union army and fought in a war he didn’t know shit about, but it made him a citizen.
In a way I’m thankful that the south seceded as I’d otherwise be a Texas boy, and well, neither Texas nor I would be happy with that arrangement.
Actually “that’s a story for another day” is exactly why nothing is said. Another day does not come.
So, is this an open thread? Or one of those threads wherein I have to either pretend to be Irish or like the Irish?
speaking of fighting–the next idiot who tells me that I “should just try harder to be happy because PTSD isn’t real” is going to get kicked in the fucking neck, and I don’t give a damn if it’s some random guy on the street, or my dumbass cousin.
I am one of those rare white American ducks who has no Scottish or Irish blood in me. But even at that the vast majority of my family didn’t arrive until the early 20th Century. On the continent is a different story.
What? You throw out that tempting teaser and then say “but that’s a story for another day?” Now I really want to know the story!
Ethnic backgrounds are boring. Especially for Americans. The future is humanity, not tribes. Let’s kill the aliens before they kill us!
Speaking of arguments…
Another archive dive!
It’s real. No doubt. And it can shape is for good or ill, depending how hard you resisist trying to understand your past experiences. Quite frankly, those who accept their past, warts and all, without allowing the past to consume them do well in the long run.
@Wag: I know that my experiences have shaped the man I am today, and even done so in ways I may never truly understand. But while I know that I am a different man because of those experiences, they do not define me. They are not the sum of who I am.
But we all have hard days, and some days are harder than others. Sometimes for no discernible reason. And that’s where I’ve been most of today before wingnut cousin decided to gift me with her tremendous insight gained from a life as a trophy wife with a BS in Education and having never worked a paying job since college.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
My wife likes to say she’s Irish by contamination. Family name is Welsh.
Same here. Polish, German, and (gulp) British. (Although with the last one some mingling is perhaps likely).
Why are you all speaking with Irish brogues? You’re absolutely lilting. (I’ve been watching Speechless on Hulu, so I may be suffering from a hearing impairment.)
Edit: ‘cept you, Spaghetti. You sound funny.
So, given a Illy loss tomorry, Iowa finny’s #6 in the B10 and is projected to miss the Tourney. Yet Illy and Minny, #’s 7 and 8 in the B10 and 2 games undy 500, are projected to make the tourney. WTF?
When’s the last time a team in a major BCS confy gets stiffed by the NCAA Tourney in favor of not one, but 2 teams that finished lower in conference?
Yes, I’m angry chair about this…
Edit: sorry AL, thawt this wuz a Open Thrizzle.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Punchy: Sorry, what language is that? Which sport are you talking about? Is it basketball?
Anne Laurie, it may be a story for another day but I do hope you’ll tell it.
In trying to track down my husband’s relations, who had never written a name on the back of a photograph, I discovered a truth: family lies. I started this project about 20 years ago, just to sort out which side of the family all of his aunts and uncles belonged to, as well as whether Uncle Charles was married to that woman he always brought to family parties, or if she was his sister, because the women shared the same first name.
His aunt handed me a couple of family “journals” that had been written down a generation removed from the actual events and the basic story was heart-warming, touching, rose-colored with a brave little orphan at its heart and a happy ending. Except a huge chunk of it was lies, and the real story was much more interesting.
They were shanty Irish and dirt poor; Irish, even though the last name sounds suspiciously Swedish to me. I finally located his great great grandfather’s village last spring after so many years of digging through notes and memories. The family had the name of the place all along but they knew nothing of history, and they kept trying to tell me he came from Cobh. He came through Cobh, from a village near Belfast. He arrived in New York City in 1863. It was right there on a page one of my husband’s cousins emailed me, and nobody had bothered to look at the one page where someone had started to fill out one of those silly family tree charts that look like a tree.
There are several families there with his last name so they’re undoubtedly distant cousins. We intend to go for a visit next year.
Great great grandpa George was a bit of a monster; left his wife and 5 of the 6 kids, took the youngest girl (a 13-year-old) and said he’d send for them when he had the money, said he was going back to Ireland. They never heard from him because this was a Poor Man’s Divorce, also known as Divorce by Abandonment: both parties consider themselves widowed and they claim this on documents like census papers. The three oldest had jobs so they were ok, but the two babies were turned over to the reform school/orphanage and in a few months they rode the Orphan Trains to Illinois.
Way OT….but I can’t help myself, since I’m wallowing in nostalgia and other unhealthy emotions this evening.
RIP Alvin Lee…
and because glorious guitar excess
I’m Going Home
and because I feel this way these days…
I’d Love To Change The World
As mom said “Anybody with any get up and go got up and left”
I’ve been back though, hiking through Killarney and Dingle. Pretty country, but nothing is out there but the sheep and bartrotters.
Just watched Melancholia where the main character, Kirsten Dunst, a couple of days before the world actually and not metaphorically does end at the end of the movie, says with certainty that we’re alone in the universe, and when the end comes, which it does, that that will be the end of humanity forever, no future for humanity. This is it. Would you rather have that be true, or know that the only other life forms are killer aliens which will be coming for us, like the aliens in Alien, which we would actually have to continuously and completely eradicate?
The prophet Nostradumbass
@opie jeanne: There are actually fairly decent records from that time period in Northern Ireland, both Catholic Church and government birth and marriage records.
My mom’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to New York in the early 20th century and essentially disappeared after sending a few letters home.
Killed my grandfather. From it, he nearly killed his family many times.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: Yes, basketball, because baseball and field hockey and softball are all winter sports with tournaments one qualifies for….
@? Martin: I gave all my guns to my dad when I got back from my third tour. I don’t know that I was ever a threat to myself or anybody else but well, I guess if you’re not certain that you’re NOT a threat to self or others, you probably ought not have access to a gun.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Face: there is also NCAA Hockey, which should be around tournament time as well.
@Soonergrunt: My grandmother woke up in the middle of the night several times with him standing over her holding a knife. He turned on the gas to the oven a few times as well. He spent almost his entire life after the war in the VA hospital. He’d get released, there’d be one of these incidents, he’d go back in. They didn’t know how to treat it in the 40s and 50s. At least he got some treatment, though – most WWII vets didn’t. The doctors diagnosed him as schizophrenic just to give him some treatment.
@the Conster: In the absence of other information, I’d choose the human eating aliens – if they are the only other lifeform in the universe, and they need to kill us to go on, well, I can understand.
If they’re just one of one gazaillion trillion billion quintillion lifeforms existing in the Universe (and more!), then, well, no big deal. Right? All life should respect life, and those Xenomorphs need to learn some manners.
@Soonergrunt: I once had a doctor tell me that my severe anxiety attacks were just me overreacting and feeling sorry for myself, and what did I have to feel stressed about anyway? Punching him in his fat neck was the first thing that popped into my crazy little head at the time.
@YellowJournalism: What do you have to be stressed by anyway? Are you the President of Yellow Journalism or something?
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Redshirt: What kind of question is that?
@The prophet Nostradumbass: A nonsense question?
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Redshirt: More like a dickhead question.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: Whatevs brah
Where did the time go?
The prophet Nostradumbass
@mdblanche: Nowhere, yet, but then I’m in California :-)
@The prophet Nostradumbass: Yeah, I knew about it and he was Catholic but I didn’t know where to look until I found the town. A bunch of people in Ireland with the same last name have hailed me on Fb but none of them knew anything about George.
We visited the Republic a couple of years ago, our first real trip off of this continent, and loved it. Everyone was friendly, they’d cross the road if they saw you pull out a map and show you where you were going and how to get there. We found a park next to the Collins Barracks, called Croppies Park. There was a tribute to the US engraved on a stone, but darned if I can find it right now.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@opie jeanne: You should visit the North as well, if you get a chance. Belfast is a fantastic city, the Ards peninsula is nice, the Antrim coast is amazing, and the interior has its charm as well. It would be very easy for me to live there, based on the number of relatives I have in the area.
Look! A whole prime time dedicated to the ballad. Cultcha! They had it back there in past.
Site with the crankiest left-wing commenters- Alternet, Raw Story or Dkos?
We live in a Universe consisting of (at least) 4 dimensions and when one mucks around with Space one can muck around with Time. Thus therefore hence and QED … Time, occasionally goes wandering off all lovey-dovey with Height, Length, or Width (I suspect Time has an ongoing love affair with Length since they are both “Birds of a Feather” in a strange Dogs-and-Cats-living-together kinda way) such that Length + Time makes everything just that much longer since we’ve added some Time along that dimension but since everything is Longer we don’t notice it but we do notice Time has flaked off.
@SatanicPanic: Great Orange Satan. The other two I’ve barely heard of for their commenters.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: We are planning a trip to Belfast, now that we have a good reason to go there. I don’t know how things are right now, but in 2010 we did not go into the north because there was a bit of shooting going on there, and who wants to vacation amongst the flying bullets? I can get that at home.
Seriously, now that I know where to look I should be able to find out more, and whether he really did take his daughter to Ireland. My thought is that that was a lie and that he went west and took the daughter to keep house for him; in 1880 a 13-year-old girl was old enough to be sent out to do housework for pay. I’d like to find out what happened to her.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@opie jeanne: The kind of shootings,, of the sort you’re talking about, has mostly been gone from Northern Ireland for many years. The rate of shootings in Northern Ireland, even during the troubles, was lower than in New York City at the same time.
@Anoniminous: Well, when you put it that way, I suppose it makes sense.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: We thought about moving to West Cork when we visited, thought about buying a building in town that Michael Collins lived in briefly. It was a pipedream. Our house was for sale in Anaheim and we were planning a move to Seattle, but at the back of our heads was this thought of just saying “fuckitall” and moving there. It was so lovely to visit but I know that the reality might have been a bit harsh.
We think my family is from Edgeworthtown, we are Edgeworths but we don’t know how we are related to Maria, just that we are. My great great grandfather came over sometime between 1800 and 1832 when I found the first record of him in Canada.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: There was a momentary rise in hostilities at the time, and we only had so much time to be there so we thought we’d wait. There are gorgeous things to see there, I know.
I will have to research the trip to death before we go.
pseudonymous in nc
I have to respect my Irish friends here, and their ongoing shudder at the brighter-green strain of American plastic-padditude, even if my own ancestral origins are undeniably from Ireland.
@The prophet Nostradumbass:
And even when there are brief flare-ups of bother, it happens in the NornIrish equivalent of the housing projects, where you won’t be spending time unless you go on a mural tour, and you won’t be taken on a mural tour if there’s bother. The North collectively grew out of a lot of that shit, because the smart and talented young people from both communities stopped leaving as soon as they could.
What is the history of the term ‘bog-trotter’ as an insult. I have somehow not managed to run across it yet, although it sounds vaguely familiar. Is it a term of contempt for peasants forced by colonial masters to live on marginal land?
I wish I could trace my ancestry, in the U.S. back generations, but sadly as a first generation immigrant there aren’t any ancestors to trace my roots back to :-(
Go for it! Bastards.
I have depression which may have a PTSD component from childhood (51 tomorrow). Just had a change in sleeping meds, doc says they use it for PTSD, it irradiated that it is not available in the US(zopiclone).
Of course this does not compare to what you have been through. Take care.
Where the hell has empathy gone?
FFS, is it that time of year?
Do we have to pretend to like Catholics again?
My paternal grandfather’s family came from Connemara. Small world!
Crime fiction, as written by Irish peeps from Ireland is all the rage…in Ireland. One writer speculated that when/if the British pull out of Northern Ireland there will be bloodshed on the order of Bosnia, though this time between Catholics and Protestants.
If you’re up for a great read, check out Adrian McKinty’s The Cold Cold Ground.
My husband ad I wet to Ireland about five years ago, before trhe Coltic Tiger died. It was a lovely trip in efery way except fore the traffic. I think that it is probably safer to dirve around in Baghdad than in Ireland.
I was struck by how middleclass everyone was. And, once we got home, I was sruck by how much visibel poverty there is in America.
I’d live in Ireland in a heartbeat if the Irish would learn to drive. I am afraid that cars will transformt he country into another America, though. When I was there, Ireland was clearly divided into two types of landscape: quaint, attractive urban and countryside. Towns, villages, and cities stopped abrubtly without sprawl and suddenly became greenery. NO trashy garish fsatfood places or gas sattaions, no groceries with parkinglots the size of airports. It was obviulsy a pre-car place.
But they took those Eurodollars and paved eerything and people were driving eveywhere and they do not have on freakin’ clue how to drive. And I don’t mean because they supposedly drive ont he left, eeither., I would have been happy if they drove on the left. They drive in the middle of the road at inappropriate speeds like a nation of sixteen years olds.
@Ramalama: Thanks for that! I’d loved an earlier work of his, then lost track of him.
Trilogy! That’s a bit of all right!
I’m mostly of Irish ancestry. Grew up and lived much of my life in and among the “Irish-Americans” of Queens, NY. Many are among the most backward, bigotted folks around, living in enclaves described in coded language as “close-knit”, such as Breezy Point. For them, integration meant letting Italians in, although they all lived on one street known as “Lasagna Lane”.
I am and always will be “American” and although my ancestors came from Ireland, I have no ties to that country or particularly special interst in it. Most of the folks that I’ve met that are professional Irish Amricans are not really all that nice, unless you are one of them. Your experience may be different, but that’s mine.
@WereBear: I’m an unabashedly huge fan of all of his work. Adrian McKinty’s writing made me a crime fiction fan. Prior to stumbling upon his work, I never veered that way. Glad you think so too.
My mom came over from Ireland as a baby with her parents and two older sisters; my dad came over in 1964. I can trace my entire heritage back to two small villages, one in Mayo, one in Galway. This is why I’m packed to the gills with recessive genes. We weren’t big fighters, although we were big talkers. And I heard many discussions like the one you mention – people who are speaking with such righteousness that you know they must be right, even if they are taking opposite sides.
My ancestors somehow got out of Donegal in the famine year of 1848, and ended up in Albany. A distant relative was one of the protagonists in the real-life story that forms the basis of William Kennedy’s book “Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game,” and my maternal grandmother once dated Jack Diamond.
I’m eternally grateful to my mom for snagging a college boy and getting the hell out of the Capital District.
I’ve been to Ireland twice, and I like it a lot, but it strikes me that the parts of Ireland I like best–the CBD in Dublin and the college-bar neighborhoods in Galway–are probably the most American parts of Ireland. I probably wouldn’t handle Donegal very well.
There’s an easy solution to the Hawkeyes’ problem: win two games in the conference tournament. Winning three would be even better.
Also, too: howdja like that beatdown, Tarholes?
Ha! That’s a term I mockingly use as well. And I’ve got plenty of mick blood in me. (Our emigration story is even more interesting than Frank Burns’, but I’m not going to tell it here, because anonymity!) I just don’t find being Irish particularly notable or worthy of this endless navel-gazing people do.
It’s fairly pathetic that you actually consider that to be some sort of clever insult.
@burnspbesq: It’s not that it’s particularly clever. It’s just that it’s so accurate, as I’m always being told.
that’s all, folks!
@shortstop: What does it mean? I grew up in California around people some of whom, like me, have Irish as part of their makeup but didn’t identify as Irish-Americans.
Re: Irish crime fiction: somebody here recommended Tana French sometime last year (Faithful Place, The Likeness) . I read all 4 of her books and loved them all. I’ll have to check out Adrian McKinney. As for bog-trotter, and least in French’s books, the country policemen from the rural west were described as bog-something the same way we’d hear someone described as a country hick.
Malamute eyes are always brown. Huskies are the ones who can have blue eyes.
pseudonymous in nc
The speeds are considered appropriate for the people who know every bump and curve on those roads, with the assumption that nobody else is going to be driving them. But yeah, Irish teenagers kill themselves at an alarming rate on those rural roads, driving them like it’s a rally stage.
The dark at night in Western Ireland is like no darkness I have ever experienced before or since.
I live in New England, grew up spending my Sundays (after Mass) at the Irish-American Home in Glastonbury, CT, which I am guessing was a major financial supporter of the IRA throughout the 70s-90s. My father would get pissed when news reports about IRA activity would say it hearkened back to the 70s, because he believed the IRA was fighting against the English Colonialism that went back 800 years.