Yes, it's Christmas .I mean it's Halloween which is a great time to remind you that Christmas is just around the corner. Some people find Christmas stressful and so that you don't suffer stress at Christmas, here's a few tips about Christmas shopping...


Gift-buying is one of the most stressful aspects of Christmas, according to a spokesperson for Hamleys toy shop in London. But there are things you can do to relieve the pressure, he says.

  • Don't wait until Christmas Eve to buy your gifts. Do your shopping over several weeks or months to spread the cost and have more time.
  • Buy gifts online to spend less time in heaving shops, which can be stressful and exhausting. Children's toy websites include Hamleys at www.hamleys.co.uk and the Early Learning Centre at www.elc.co.uk. For books you could try www.amazon.co.uk or www.whsmith.co.uk.
  • Use mail order catalogues, but make sure to order goods well in advance to avoid postal delays or stock shortages.
  • Decide how much you can afford to spend on your children and stick to it. That way they'll choose something they really want and you won't get into debt.
  • You can also save time by shopping for other Christmas needs – from Christmas cards to decorations – online. Search for 'Christmas' on any major search engine – if you try www.yahoo.com for example you will find more than 46,000 listings. Or try one of the special Christmas search engines. For shopping, recipes, crafts and even present ideas for your pets try www.christmas.co.uk or www.christmas.com.

    If you're not Christmas shopping tonight, watch out for ghosts and ghoulies!


    Further adventures of the McConns.

    Every time the McConns make the headlines and aren't happy with what they read, they retaliate. The reports today of the McConns using the"Find Madeleine" fund to pay their mortgage are followed shortly by McCanns defend using public fund to pay mortgage.You don't want to read that, you just have to read about The Hoax Theory which...
    appears to rest upon the relationship between Gerry McCann and Peter McCann, who is the chairman of Castle Craig, a group of rehab clinics for drug and alcohol abusers
    With links in the theory to the US and British military, Peter McCann, John McCann, swingers and a private jet. It's a blog post not to miss.

    I can't wait to see the film.

    Junk Mail from...

    Did you notice that on the top left corner of the envelope it reads Northern Ireland Assembly?
    That was delivered by Royal Mail this morning. Of course I open it expecting a possible invite to a bloggers gathering, or something grand like that, in Stormont or Hillsborough. I was extremely disappointed to find it was junk mail from an MLA. This MLA I have previously seen driving his yummy mummy jeep into Greyabbey with one hand on his steering wheel and the other holding his mobile phone. I didn't think that MLA's could multi task.

    Inside the envelope was...

    This piece of junk mail, which is on it's way to the bin, read...
    Dear Constituent.
    Thank you for your continued support, I do not take for granted the trust that you have put in me along with the responsibility that this entails. This card is a simple reminder of the ways in which I can be contacted if you should need any help in issues relating to housing, planning, tax credits, benefits and other constituency related issues...blah blah blah...
    It went on to advertise that the DUP have now a Satellite Advice Centre held in Ballywalter Village Hall, that sounds dishy. They also have Satellite Surgeries in Killyleagh and Portavogie.
    As a typical political blogger would say, instead of repairing and advising people on satellites you'd think they'd be better doing what they're paid for.Haha.

    I was thinking about complaining about the possible misuse of Northern Ireland Assembly stationary and postage, but as I have been a recipient of 'hot' stationary from Stormont in the past I won't. It's a pity my uncle wasn't still alive and working up there. It would have been laptops for all the kids at Christmas.

    I better stop now I've just seen a PSNI vehicle drive past my house.



    A search has begun for a number of talented individuals to take part in a unique film project currently known as `The Amazing Donna' to be filmed in Belfast in the near future.

    'The Amazing Donna' is a comedy set in a contemporary Belfast that focuses on one woman's fight for her own identity. Donna must be accompanied on this journey by an array of characters who are yet to be cast. These characters are from a variety of backgrounds, races and age ranges with one thing in common – they're individuals.

    We're not just looking for actors. Comic-books are a major theme in `The Amazing Donna' so we're looking for all potential comic-book fan-boys, fan-girls and people who just like to dress up in spandex to join us both in the filming and the promotion of the project.

    In January 2008 we will begin script readings and film some rehearsal material so if you'd like to join Donna and be part of this exciting project then please register your interest now by emailing amazingdonna@hotmail.co.uk with your name, contact details and headshot.

    Donna will be heard.

    [source -The Amazing Donna]

    Donna's also on MySpace @ http://www.myspace.com/amazingdonna


    Your Messages, please.

    This looks interesting, from the blueblog...

    One thing I'm really pleased we are doing this Autumn, is re-releasing the astonishing Messages , written by Lynne Rees & Sarah Salway.

    If you've not come across it before, this book was written as 300, 300 word stories/writings over a period of a year, with each being a response to the previous, if you see what I mean.

    i.e. One of them wrote something, and the other read it and composed a response to it within 72 hours. An amazing achievement, when you think about it. Especially as what they actually wrote between them is really good.

    Anyway, for the re-release, we wanted to do something a bit special, and I'm really pleased to say that throughout November, Lynne and Sarah will be encouraging other writers to join in the fun at their lovely new bloggy web site http://www.yourmessages.org/.

    What we are going to do is:

    1. On each day during November, Lynne or Sarah will upload a 'Message' and anybody that wants to write a 300 word response will be welcome to add it to the site.

    2. At the end of November, the pair of them will select the best of the responses, and they will be showcased there and on the bluechrome site.

    3. As that isn't really a good enough ending to this particular story, we will also be producing a book, to be called Your Messages, that will be launched early next year, and all of those included will be invited along to read their work, alongside Lynne & Sarah who will be answering questions about the whole project, and no doubt knocking back the sherry while they mingle. (They do mingle so very well)

    4. All of the profits from the sale of the Your Messages book will be donated to a charity of Sarah & Lynnes' choice.

    The first Message will be uploaded on 1st November...so don't miss it.

    It's good to see bloggers doing this, Sarah blogs @ Sarah's writing journal and Lynne @ an open field. If you're keen to practice before the start in November, try it here. So remember to bookmark,visit and comment @ http://writeyourmessages.blogspot.com and tell your friends and your granny about this.


    If I was to tag bloggers to take part in this I'd include those blogging @...
    A Constant Source of Disappointment
    Any Danger
    Coffee Helps
    Counago & Spaves
    Deuteronomy 90210
    Fresh Blade
    I didn't quite catch that...
    Miss Read
    My Forehead is Bleeding
    my gap year
    Nelly's Garden
    Well done fillet
    When the Belfast Child Sins Again

    Last night I had a dream...

    I dreamt I saw a man stumbling, trying to run, followed by two other men. He looked like he was carrying a child. The men following him were saying 'It's OK Gerry we'll help you hide her' A booming voice, as though it was God speaking, echoed 'You can't hide anything from me'. The man kept running. The strange thing about the dream was , when I woke up this morning I remembered the dream. I also remembered what the man carrying the child looked like, so I quickly sketched the image that I'd dreamt.

    Stranger still, when reading the news @ the Guardian I noticed that a similar picture had been drawn. Could this be a message from God? Am I the anointed one that God has chosen to solve this mystery? If I have any more dreams or visions I'll share them here.


    Q & A

    Who's shorter on average, has lower intelligence, is three times more likely to be left-handed and has suffered more head injuries as a child.


    If you ever visit 'The Cuan' in Strangford...


    I'd called in for a meal at the Cuan with my wife and daughter on the way home from Newcastle. We filled in a card which had been left on the table. We'd made a big mistake! By signing this and by giving them our name and address we had joined their mailing list . This was the Cuan Licensed Guest Inn in Strangford village, who claim...
    In January we were the first small hotel in the UK to receive the BS8555 Environmental Award acknowledging our exemplary approach to environmental awareness.
    This morning my wife received a card from Royal Mail requesting that she collect a parcel from the Newtownards sorting office as it had unpaid deficient postage. My wife's name was on the Cuan's mailing list. Thinking it was important I called into the Newtownards sorting office to collect the parcel and pay the extra postage that the sender hadn't paid. That's a 14 mile round trip of car exhaust fumes polluting the Ards Peninsula. A further payment to park in a Newtownards car park and a ticket given when entering the car park by the parking attendant which was disposed off in a bin. This adds to further wastage. I collected the parcel as pictured below.

    My wife, giving a look of disbelief said 'Is that the parcel? (The size of this letter is termed as a parcel by, Royal Mail) It was Seasons Greetings from the Cuan which included their Christmas menu and other junk. So the advertising used by the Cuan cost an extra £1.16 + petrol + parking + time, just to read it.

    Exemplary approach to environmental awareness?

    What if this happened to every person on the Cuan's mailing list and the total was tallied up. What if every person on the mailing list, because of this advertising campaign by the Cuan, reacted by never wanting to visit the Cuan again. I think we'd see a Licensed Guest Inn up for sale.

    The Cuan Licensed Guest Inn in Strangford village also claim...
    At the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Awards in May, The Cuan was highly commended in the top three Guest Inns in the whole of Northern Ireland
    I ask, what for?

    The menu itself was fascinating, on the back of the leaflet just what is a...

    My wife received a letter from the Cuan signed by Caroline McErlean, which read...
    Dear ...........,
    You were part of our Christmas Mail correspondence and unfortunately it has come to our attention that some of you had the gross inconvenience of having to go to your local sorting office to pick it up and incur a charge of £1.16. I would like to offer our sincere apologies for the irritation cause by this error.
    Being aware of how strict postage has become I personally went to our post office with one of the said envelopes to have it weighed and to check which stamp would be required but I was wrongly advised.
    Your details were gathered from The Cuan's Customer Care Cards which you very kindly took the time to complete for us. This process is very important to us as it guides many of the changes that we make in the Cuan. This knowledge increases our embarrassment as you have, inadvertently, been inconvenienced for this much appreciated feedback.
    We hope this Gift Voucher makes some amends for the annoyance caused.

    Yours Sincerely
    Caroline McErelean
    A £5 Gift Voucher, compliments of the Cuan, was enclosed with the letter.

    If mileage =

    Cars (privately owned)

    • 40p per mile for the first 10,000 business miles in the tax year
    • 25p per mile thereafter
    The National Minimum Wage = £5.52 per hour

    14 miles + 1Hour 30 mins = ?


    If you win a Nobel Prize in Literature people like me start to take notice.

    It's not because of the prize, or a lifetime's work as a writer but an interview in a Spanish newspaper. How could I miss statements, from Doris Lessing, like...
    "September 11 was terrible, but if one goes back over the history of the IRA, what happened to the Americans wasn't that terrible,"

    "I always hated Tony Blair, from the beginning. Many of us hated Tony Blair. I think he has been a disaster for Britain and we have suffered him for many years. I said it when he was elected: This man is a little showman who is going to cause us problems and he did."

    "As for Bush, he's a world calamity. Everyone is tired of this man. Either he is stupid or he is very clever, although you have to remember he is a member of a social class which has profited from wars."

    "I hate Iran, I hate the Iranian government. It's a cruel and evil government. Look what happened to its president in New York: They called him evil and cruel in Columbia University. Marvelous! They should have said more to him! Nobody criticizes him, because of oil."

    If she hasn't already, she should take up blogging.

    "As for Bush, he's a world calamity"


    The John Hewitt Society

    an afternoon of readings
    by RUTH CARR
    to celebrate the centenary year of the birth of John Hewitt



    Doors open 3pm
    Readings 3.30-4.30pm

    email: info@johnhewitt.org

    Who demolished the bandstand?

    For years there was a bandstand in Arthur Square in Belfast.It was a landmark, which I'd guess had never been bombed. Artistically, if it was still standing I'm sure it could represent the determination of the people of Belfast who had suffered during 30 years of troubles. Of course it was demolished giving the Northern Ireland Executive, or whoever, an opportunity to waste more tax payers money.

    The Department for Social Development’s Streets Ahead Project has invited a number of internationally renowned artists to submit proposals for an artwork for Arthur Square in Belfast city centre.
    Arthur Square is a key location and will be a major point of access to the Victoria Square Development. The artwork will provide the finishing touch to the refurbishment of Arthur Square by creating an iconic structure that will be recognised as special to the revival of the city centre.
    The final selection of the Artwork will be decided by public vote, which will run from Monday the 22nd October to Sunday 4th November 2007.
    This is your opportunity to have your say. If you have already seen the artworks that have made the final list then go ahead and vote for your favourite artwork online.



    The Bible reading this morning is from...

    John Chapter 3

    1 Naow dis guy Nicodemus iz a Pharisee and leeds teh Jews.

    2 He comez to teh Jesus in teh nites and he sez "We knoes u comez frum teh Ceiling Cat and we knoes u pwn."

    3 An Jesus sed, "Ceiling Cat has invisible haus, u gots 2 borned agen 2 see it."

    4 Nicodemus sez, "wtf dood? How doez dat werk?"

    5 Jesus sez, "is da truth, u hafta be born agen wif waterz an spiritz an stuffs.

    6 Flesh givez birf 2 flesh, but teh spirit gives birf to spirit, k?

    7 Y r u so konfoozled?

    8 Is lyke wind, it doz its own stuffs an u dunno how it werks, but is all ok, amirite? Is like that!"

    9 Nicodemus sez, "I doez not get it." :(

    10 "Den ur not gud teecher," sed Jesus. Burn!

    11 "Ok, iz da twoof. We says sum stuff dat we sawed, and teh peeplez is still konfoozled.

    12 I ben talkin bout teh stuffs on Earth and ur still lyke, 'whut?' so whut bout Heaven an stuffs?

    13 I iz da only wan whos gone to Heaven so u haves 2 trusts me, mkay?

    14 U gots 2 b lifteded up lyke Moses an his snakedy thingy,

    15 coz if u beleeves ur not gon be ded! Eternal lifes, u can has it!

    16 So liek teh Ceiling Cat lieks teh ppl lots and he sez 'Oh hai I givez u my only son and ifs u beleevs in him u wont evr diez no moar, k?'

    17 Cuz teh Ceiling Cat not snd hiz son 2 take all yur cookies, but so u cud maek moar cookies 4EVAR!"

    The LOLCat Bible Translation Project

    Thanks be to God, Lolcats and to I.Z Reloaded for introducing me to this translation of God's Word.


    A game played by two teams of 15 players each on a rectangular field...

    Rugby. Yes, I believe that 30 men will be chasing an odd shaped ball around a field later today. One of the men has an odd name, at least I think it's odd. Schalk Burger, not Angus Burger and not available with french fries. He's South African and we all know what a South African burger is, don't we?

    To get you all into the mood to watch the highlights, on the news, of what those 30 men get up to...
    image from - sobrugby.com

    Why do rugby players like smart women?

    Opposites attract.


    Rugby player in Chinese restaurant:
    "Waiter, these noodles are a bit crunchy."
    Waiter: "That's because they're the chopsticks, sir."


    A man went to the doctor one day and said: "I've just been playing Rugby and when I got back I found that when I touched my legs, my arms, my head, my tummy and everywhere else, it really hurt." So the doctor said: "You've broken your finger."

    Anyway, I'm away to mow the lawn.


    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not associate with...

    Poem of the week, from Poetry International Web, is written by Cosmas Mairosi a Zimbabwean.The latest news from Zimbabwe could easily create a sense of pathos when reading the poem.
    The News...
    Zimbabwe's main opposition said President Robert Mugabe's government was escalating a violent crackdown against its members, but said it would not walk away from talks with the ruling party.

    Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told journalists the opposition was worried by increased cases of violence against its supporters...
    The Poem, which I can't help but sharing here...


    the lord is my shepherd
    I shall not want any other leader besides him
    (even from his own party)
    I shall have no other political party besides his
    I shall not suffer any domination by the British or
    the Americans
    and my country shall never be a colony again

    the lord is my shepherd
    even if I walk in the valley of freedom
    I am forced to attend his rallies
    I shall not say what I want
    because the police and the military will descend
    on me

    even if I walk in the shadow of poverty
    I shall continually shout his name and sing his
    “long live my leader”

    the lord is my shepherd
    I shall not associate with members of the opposition
    I shall not walk with demonstrators
    for should I be found out
    I shall be beaten or tortured

    I shall have no other TV stations besides his
    I shall see what he wants me to see
    I shall hear what he wants me to hear
    I shall read what he wants me to read

    the lord is indeed my shepherd
    I shall not starve
    for I shall certainly be given food handouts
    to vote for him
    and other people’s land for free

    but now the lord is not my shepherd
    I have suffered many setbacks
    my business operations have been closed my bank accounts frozen
    my house has been demolished
    my land has been confiscated
    and unto me a new law hath been given:
    “thou shalt praise the lordship in all his follies”.

    © 2007, Cosmas Mairosi


    Who's next?

    Saturday - The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Lembit Opik has announced he is to stand down from the post.

    Monday - Sir Menzies Campbell has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats "with immediate effect".

    Is Air-Pollution just a mist-demeanor?

    I was driving around a roundabout beside a 4x4 diesel contraption this morning. I'd the ventilation turned on in my car, which was a mistake because the fumes that engulfed me from that yucky mummy mobile, made think for a brief moment about the holocaust. It took about a minute before the smell of the fumes dispersed, though the effects of that encounter may last longer.Recent headlines...

    Diesel pollution 'clogs arteries'
    Diesel fumes appear to combine with artery-clogging fats to raise the risk of heart disease, research suggests.

    Roadside diesel pollution poses heart danger
    Air pollution reduces blood flow and interferes with the body's natural ability to break up blood clots...
    The researchers tested 20 male volunteers, who pedalled an exercise bike while breathing diluted fumes from the exhaust of an idling Volvo diesel engine.

    I've been trying to find out if any action can be, or has been, taken here in Northern Ireland about air pollution. I know that most councils enforce smokeless zones which relate to what type of heating fuel is burned. If I lived in Chester I could help identify smoky buses and lorries and report the details to the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency. ...

    Air Quality - Smoky Diesels

    All diesels produce some smoke when they are started and during acceleration. Poorly maintained diesel engines produce many times more pollution than well maintained vehicles. The smoke that is produced is extremely unpleasant to breathe and dirties buildings.

    The information, available to me online, about air quality in Northern Ireland covers only Belfast, Derry and Lough Navar. The Environment Agency Pollution Prevention Guidelines don't mention air pollution.It's commonly believed on this side of the Atlantic that the USA is the biggest polluter on earth. That may be so, but some good ideas originate from there and I'd like to see brought into practice here.From GASP...

    Diesel Campaign

    Diesel exhaust poses a serious risk to Allegheny County residents' health. Diesel exhaust shortens the lives of 237 Pittsburghers each year, and triggers hundreds of heart attacks and thousands of asthma attacks. Our children and the elderly are most at risk from the harmful effects of diesel exhaust.

    The good news is that there is existing technology that can cut diesel emissions by 90% or more. Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) has begun a comprehensive program that involves educating the general public, school districts and local leaders about the harmful effects of diesel exhaust and strategies they can take to clean up existing diesel engine fleets. GASP is also advocating for a variety of regulatory clean-up options that will reduce diesel exhaust locally and regionally.

    GASP created this magnet to remind school bus drivers not to idle now that there's a "no idling" regulation in effect.

    Today is Blog Action Day and on the off chance that anyone reads this that has any influence over managing or providing guidelines on preventing air pollution in Northern Ireland please don't forget that diesel can seriously damage your health.

    Reminds me of a song...
    Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe.


    a whole lotta links...

    I've a favourites folder entitled 'to post on CyberScroll.Com' and I think I'll empty it here. Some of the links have been in that folder for a few weeks/months. I really should've mentioned them before, but because there isn't 28 hours in a day yet I haven't. So here goes...

    Belfast Poets tour
    So far New York - very positive - MInneapolis outstanding
    New Zealand - well we met up with Hinneamoana Baker and performed for her Writing Class and then at the Wellington open mic - so all good there again - I had forgotten how truly uplifting Hinnemoana Baker's voice was.
    We are in Cairns on the 22nd
    Darwin - 24th and 26th
    Perth - 28th, 29th, 30, 31st - Gordon only
    Sydney - September 1st and then - 2nd at Harp Bar
    Brisbane - September 9th

    from Bloginboots
    I have been steeped in the heady brew of performance poetry as uttered, barked, hollered and volleyed by the Belfast Poets Touring Group made up of Gordon Hewitt, Chelley McClear and Phatbob. On Monday the 3rd Gordon and Chelley visited my classes and delivered poetry workshops which worked a treat. Some of my students are pretty bloody gifted at crafting a decent poem. I was done proud. Chelley's a great teacher and Gordon is a clever, tough and uncompromising rolemodel for arrogant young lads who think they know everything. Gordon's got this towering, spitfiring stage presence for all of his audiences, but it works well particularly for young men to see a new way for working with language, an unembarrassing way to write and utter poetry.

    From UNITYblog including photographs...

    The Belfast Poets Collective treated the audience to their show "Love Poetry, Hate Islamophobia", currently on world tour. When they heard about the attempt by racist fundementalist Christian preachers to demonise New Zealand's Muslim community, they made a sharp detour, to lend their support for RAM's strong anti racist stance. Their show gave thoughtful, radical and sharp lessons from a city where communities have been divided, strengthening the resolve of the audience to stand up and be counted for unity and peace.

    OK, away from Belfast Poets and now to Battle of the Bone which is currently in production...

    BATTLE OF THE BONE is a movie set during a period in Northern Ireland that will hopefully never happen and asks the question - what extreme do we have to go to before there is peace. Its the 12th of July, and as the parades begin to march, and the demonstrators begin to gather, an army of zombies make their way towards the city centre - determined to eat anything that moves! Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, are three friends who's sole mission is to cross into the East, so they can avoid the trouble thats around them. This proves harder than expected, and their morning only gets worse when the zombies arrive, chasing them into the middle of the rioting public who's only hope now is to join together as one, and bring peace to NI once and for all - ironically!! *********************************************************** Packed with stunning martial arts battles, horrific zombie attacks, and a claustraphobic tour through the streets of Belfast - BATTLE OF THE BONE guarantees to offer its audience something new in the face of Irish cinema! ***********************************************************

    NI Talk
    Northern Ireland's only forum!!!!!

    The VARK Questionnaire - How Do I Learn Best?

    I love reading interviews and this is no exception...

    On the Set of City of Ember with Director Gil Kenan It isn’t often the director of a film looks younger than the teenagers he’s guiding through their lines. Gil Kenan is just such a director -- a wunderkind, dynamic personality who showed incredible talent during his college years at UCLA. Now directing City of Ember in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Kenan made such an overwhelming impression with his student thesis film that producer Robert Zemekis introduced him to famed director Steven Spielberg...

    Thinking Aloud
    the weblog of David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane. After this I'll check and see if he's got his RSS feeds working yet, so I can add this to my collection @ Bloglines. If they are, the blog will be added to 'Bloggers from, or in, Norn Iron'.

    More later...

    Get Your Speeding Tickets And Fines Cancelled In Five Minutes!

    Occasionally I find sites on the internet and wonder,does what they claim really work? Like this one...

    Got A Speeding Ticket And Don't Want The Points Or Fine?
    That Will Get ANY UK Speeding Ticket

    What do you think?


    That's Gross!

    Teny Gross, that is. He's the director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence and he's visiting Northern Ireland to train residents in nonviolence. Teny is blogging about it here and, surprisingly, it's well worth the read.He's staying in Ireland until the 20th Oct, so I'd suggest that now's the time to visit the blog and comment.

    Getting ready for Blog Action Day

    An Inconvenient Truth = convenient LIE that USA and Europe can stop global warming


    From Page 3 to...

    My wife's career as a model is deteriorating fast. About 10 years ago she'd made it as a Page 3 model, for the Saturday Telegraph. You thought it was for The Sun or The Star, didn't you? This week she's featured in the local paper. She's the one hiding behind yer woman at her skool reunion. Doesn't she look well. Does she remind you of a Cyclops or something like that?

    It's astounding, time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll...


    Would you believe it?

    Giants Causeway
    Originally uploaded by Red Mum
    Man Makes Replica Of National Landmark Out Of Cheese
    A man from Bangor in Northern Ireland's seaside town of Bangor is hoping to go into the record books as the first person to have modelled the Giant's Causeway out of Mini Babybel cheese.

    An elated Simon Pole told our arts correspondent:

    "This is dead brilliant so it is an' all. See? I've spent twenty years on this like an' it's just stickin' out to be going into the record books. Just friggin great. Here can I say friggin?"

    And Mr Pole's good news doesn't end there because at the time of going to press trendy London art gallery, Tate Modern, has made a bid for the work. Their spokesman on preposterous acquisitions, Tarquin Boyd-Manningtree, comments:

    "Well you see, a large crack has opened up in the floor of the Tate and we think that perhaps all this cheese might be melted down and used to fill it in so to speak.

    We have pukka, wicked, chav-boy chef, Jamie Oliver, lined up with an army-surplus flame-thrower and we're going to charge mugs with more dough than sense £2000 a pop to see him doing it.

    It's a cause way too good to miss! Quipped the upper class oik as he made what he regarded as having been an amusing quip or joke if you will.


    Fine £360

    I stole this from Gemma Friel's Notes on Facebook
    Read the 'offence' and if you've done it, you owe that fine. Keep going until you've read each 'offence' and added up your total fine. When you are done tell me what your fine is £..."
    Please don't confess your answers, just the amount of your fine.

    Smoked pot -- £10
    Did acid -- £5
    Ever had sex at church -- £25
    Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you -- £40
    Had sex with someone on MySpace -- £25
    Had sex for money -- £100
    Ever had sex with a Puerto Rican -- £20
    Vandalized something -- £20
    Had sex on your parents' bed -- £10
    Beat up someone -- £20
    Been jumped -- £10
    Cross dressed -- £10
    Given money to stripper -- £25
    Been in love with a stripper -- £20
    Kissed someone who's name you didn't know -- £0.10
    Hit on some one of the same sex while at work -- £15
    Ever drive and drank -- £20
    Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk -- £50
    Used toys while having sex -- £30
    Got drunk, passed out and don't remember the night before -- £20
    Went skinny dipping -- £5
    Had sex in a pool -- £20
    Kissed someone of the same sex -- £10
    Had sex with someone of the same sex -- £20
    Cheated on your significant other -- £10
    Masturbated -- £10
    Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend -- £20
    Done oral -- £5
    Got oral -- £5
    Done / got oral in a car while it was moving -- £25
    Stole something -- £10
    Had sex with someone in jail -- £25
    Made a nasty home video -- £15
    Had a threesome -- £50
    Had sex in the wild -- £20
    Been in the same room while someone was having sex --£25
    Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars-- £20
    Had sex with someone 10 years older -- £20
    Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 -- £25
    Been in love with two people or more at the same time-- £50
    Said you love someone but didn't mean it -- £25
    Went streaking -- £5
    Went streaking in broad daylight -- £15
    Been arrested -- £5
    Spent time in jail -- £15
    Peed in the pool -- £0.50
    Played spin the bottle -- £5
    Done something you regret -- £20
    Had sex with your best friend -- £20
    Had sex with someone you work with at work -- £25
    Had anal sex -- £80
    Lied to your mate -- £5
    Lied to your mate about the sex being good -- £25

    Your fine is --£
    Mine fine was £360. I'd like to know what your fine was and especially the bloggers listed below, if they've been bad...

    Make Yourself Heard...

    Once again comes to you kicking and screaming like a mental patient with anger management issues who has just found out his nurse ate the last Cornetto.... live from the Black Box (the electricians have finally fixed the place, and now we have a floor to perform on, unlike last time!). Impress us with you fine upstanding poetry and literary skills, or just gently wow us with your keen ability to listen attentively without heckling!

    Make Yourself Heard - the open mic poetry night that probes deep where other poetry nights can only tickle.
    Thursday 11th Oct
    Doors open at 7.30pm
    Black Box, Hill St (around the corner from the Duke of York)Belfast.
    Two earth pounds entry

    You can listen to recordings @ MYH VII on the 13th April 2007 here

    Book of the month

    @ Guildhall Press is

    Sean O'Reilly, author of the foreword
    “Worders are thresholds where the self suddenly understands where it stands in the world. They aspire to being as instantaneous as a text message but can be thought about again and again as small parables of human life. The luminous moment must fade… but the memory remains and is transformed into language by these writers co-operating across global boundaries. Here, then, is a stimulating and often moving collection of new writing born from the fusion of today’s technology with the human experience of the vastness of every passing moment.”
    In this fast-moving age of juggling work and family life, commuting and queuing, overtime competing with quality time, it has become harder for people to find extended opportunities to relax and read. The Wonderful World of Worders is our panacea – a restful lay-by on the manic motorway that is our daily lives.

    Worders are micro-stories varying from 60 to 250 words. Our collection – lovingly gathered, nurtured and presented by Jenni Doherty – contains 525 Worders from 72 authors and 27 countries. The stories are alive with originality, craft, emotion and ideas from all walks of life and corners of the world, many first created within online writing communities. They range from contemporary modern-day issues to horror, from science fiction to romance, humour to grief, religion to satire, philosophy to surrealism, experimental to wacky – all genres and styles that we have come to expect from full novels.

    Fresh, fast and fun, this collection proves we can communicate at anytime, any place and anywhere. It also proves that fiction continues to be a stimulating, challenging, boundary-breaking genre with many dimensions still to be explored. Let the literary adventure begin!

    Launch on Friday 12 October at 7.15pm in the Verbal Arts Centre, Derry

    You can buy this book directly from the publishers and Jenni owes me another drink or a free copy or two of the book.


    Keeping the ship afloat.

    It's sad to read...
    McCartneys may leave NI 'to heal'
    A sister of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney has spoken of her need to leave Northern Ireland to try to heal.

    Paula McCartney said it was "soul destroying" as the family were continually running into people they believe are linked to the murder.

    Mr McCartney, 33, was beaten and stabbed to death outside a bar near Belfast city centre on 30 January 2005.

    It is understood Paula is considering moving to Spain, while her sister Catherine may emigrate to Australia.

    Paula said: "We are not running away either from Robert's killers or from the campaign. I believe I need not to be in this country for a while, should it be a year or two years or whatever.

    "For me, personally, I need healing and I can't do it here."

    She said her mother did not have much faith in Northern Ireland and was totally behind her children's decisions...


    Catherine said that last week's Policing Board meeting was told Sinn Fein was co-operating and had encouraged members to come forward.

    "The impression was given that Sinn Fein had done all they can," she said.

    However, she said they had also spoken to the officer investigating the murder who told them that Sinn Fein was "not helpful".

    "What I see is that it's all about the politics, it's not about the people. It's about keeping Sinn Fein and the DUP's ship afloat," she said.

    This, to me, seems to say so much about what really is happening here in Northern Ireland. I'm sure there are many more victims who's voices haven't been heard are saying the same as the McCartney's. Many more victims suffering everyday. Today it's been announced that
    The Stormont First Minister and Deputy First Minister pledged their full support to whoever is eventually appointed as a Victims Commissioner before the end of the year.
    Surely helping the victims of the troubles should be made a priority.

    Black Bastard ?

    I've been called that, once. But what is a Black Bastard?

    A term that racists use?
    A police officer?
    A member of the Orange Order?

    No, it's an Energy Drink

    Would you ask for one in the pub?


    Please Sir, I...

    The Mrs attended her skool reunion last night and, among other photocopies - quizess etc, brought back this....
    Parents write some amazing letters of apology:
    • I kept Jean at home yesterday because my wife had twins but I can assure you that this will not happen again.
    • Please excuse Moira for not being at school this week. I have been upside down with the painters for the last three days.
    • Please excuse Jenny's absence. She came home on Tuesday afternoon with it and we just can't get rid of it.
    • I am sorry George was absent from school yesterday, but he had the skitters (sorry I can't spell the proper word)
    • Please excuse Marion from stripping for PE as she has had a bit of a chill and is suffering from a touch of diarrhoea. Would it be alright if she did it in her tracksuit?


    Do they speak Irish in the Dáil?

    A recent news story has led me to ask 'Do they speak Irish in the Dáil?'

    An Ulster Unionist assembly member has said he is tired of listening to Stormont ministers speaking in Irish.

    David McNarry has tabled a motion for debate seeking to have the practice stopped.

    Mr McNarry said there was plenty of recognition already for the language and is also opposing proposed legislation for an Irish Language Act.

    Caral Ni Chuillin said Sinn Fein would vigorously oppose the motion which she described as "unacceptable".
    I also wonder do they have translators in the assembly, not just to translate for those MLA's who speak Irish but if Anna Lo starts to speak Chinese what happens then. When we have Polish or Portuguese elected as MLA's and they decide to speak their native tongue?


    Dublin's Finest Performance Poets @...

    Poetry Place
    Central Library
    (Conference Room, 2nd floor)
    Foyle Street, Derry
    (opposite the Bus Depot)

    in association with

    BBC RaW

    Thursday 11 October
    7pm - 8:30pm
    Some of Dublin's Finest Performance Poets:
    Desmond Swords
    Desmond Swords is a poet from Ormskirk in Lancashire, whose parents are from Mayo. Poetry Director of the Monster Truck Art Gallery, Desmond’s main research area is the four cycles of Irish myth. He is one of the country's most gifted live poets, is a Cuírt Poetry SLAM finalist and the catalyst responsible for initiating the Inaugural All Ireland SLAM Poetry Championship in 2007. His work has appeared in numerous mainstream and avant-garde print and internet publications throughout Europe and America, including Blazevox, Aesthetica, Neon Highway, X Magazine and West 47. His practice is at the cutting edge of internet technology and he is currently number one of the 17 poets and 37 poems showcased in the Ó Bhéal "youtube" Irish poetry charts. A regular at the Open Mics of Dublin, he has a honed live skill and his work appears all over the internet in poetry and prose.

    Nicholas 'Birch' Jackman
    Wicklow-born poet Birch performs his work in Dublin and was a popular and compelling performer at this year's Electric Picnic. His work straddles the border between poetry and song and is a very charasmatic entertainer. Flawless in his intonation, he is part of the new wave of live poets throwing off the shackles of the page in Ireland and was one of the original SLAM poets at Dublin's infamous weekly Write & Recite nights since in began in 2004.
    "My work does tend to come close to the brink of a very fine line of song, comedy, spoken word and beats.
    Political diatribe wrapped up in snappy little pieces and one or two epics is how I'd sum up my work. I aim to please. I aim to entertain. I don't write for me; I write for 'you' - the audience (but feel free to boo me if you like, I have a very hard neck!)"
    Original pieces to be performed on the night include Roma Gypsies, Mortgages, Scoring Big Ladies and many more.
    Originally from San Francisco, now residing in Dublin, Raven is one of Ireland's most prolific, entralling and exciting live poets with a rare gift of passion, power and sincerity in both his words and delivery. Runner-up at the Inaugural Electric Picnic Poetry SLAM 2007, he performs at many poetry events and Open Mics in and around Dublin. He is also a regular visitor to the North-West.
    "I found my orphaned voice one day, living in the ruins of a house collapsed years ago beneath the weight of what was unspoken. I sculpted diction like pulp fiction and gifted it the colloquial violence of a gun. I lifted glib scriptures from a street preacher's passions to fashion misspelled gospels from its own fears, while the illegible heart left the tracts of its tears untranslated - but the word got out."

    PJ Brady
    Cavan Poet, actor and Patrick Kavanagh expert, PJ Brady and former Director of the Dry Bread Theatre Company (1987-2002) is the current Director of the Arts Organisation Phoenix Dawn. He has played the role of the Monaghan poet for over twenty years in five one and two men shows, including the acclaimed theatrical piece Heart Laid Bare by Hugh Carr, whereby 95 per cent of the script was culled from Kavanagh's own prose. He has also played the poet on the hundredth anniversary of his birth in the Church where Kavanagh was finally laid to rest and works with victims of state and church abuse, helping them heal with the poetry of the Monaghan Magus. Other credits include numerous TV and screen appearances plus radio broadcasts, namely RTE's Music of Words co-hosted with Des Gerrathy, and alongside Pat Boran on The Enchanted Way as the Leaving Cert Kavanagh expert. His poetry has appeared in various publications including the Anglo Celt and Drumlin; the latter a magazine published by Cavan Arts Council.

    Jessica Peart
    Jessica Peart is a PHD student and English lecturer at Maynooth College, Dublin, and is currently working on a dissertation on Contemporary Irish Poetry which includes the Belfast Poets Ciaran Carson and Medbh McGuckian. Jessica lives in Dublin and is a regular reciter at the various Open Mics. Her work is evocative, unique and intelligent, with a linguistic valency of a very high order. She recently performed at this year's Patrick Kavanagh Celebration in Dublin.

    Poetry Place is a newly-formed open poetry appreciation group based in Derry's Central Library, in Foyle Street, who meet up once a month to listen to, discuss and appreciate poetry of all kinds. Featuring guest readers and followed by open readings from the floor, it is held in a relaxed, informal setting where everyone is welcome.

    Admission is FREE and light refreshments are available.


    Past Poetry Place guests have included:

    Citizen 32 Company of Poets from Manchester: Chloe Poems, Rosie Lugosi, John G Hall, Conor A and Jackie Hagan): from Belfast (Brian Bailey, Gerard McKeown and Mark Cooper); from Derry (the Poetry Chicks, the Derry Playhouse Writers' Group and the Derry Scriptwriters' Group) plus poets from Limavady and Magilligan; the Roe Valley Writers' Group, the Ballycastle Writers’ Group, Co Antrim and from Co Donegal: the Inch Island Writers' Group and best-selling Culdaff-author Hazel McIntyre, including performances and readings from many other local and visiting writers.

    For more details please contact the Central Library, Derry tel: 02871-272300
    or Jenni Doherty email: irishpenjen@yahoo.co.uk

    Today is....

    National Poetry Day, possibly the day that Ganching publishes her latest poem. It's the day evening when my ex creative writing/poetry tutor Ruth, is launching the new Poetry Place programme at Holywood Library for 2007/2008.
    Holywood Library is hosting an evening of poetry with Shalom House Poetry Group headed by local poet Ruth Carr. The event begins at 8pm and will feature members of the group reading from their recently published anthology A Trail of Silver Papers. This anthology is a mix of the group’s finest work alongside previously unpublished poems from the pens of some of the greatest Irish poets writing today.

    Seamus Heaney writes:”….I’ve gone through it thoroughly – which is more than I do with most anthologies – usually it’s a dip-in, dip-out kind of engagement. What struck me as I read is how well it is put together, how often poem answers poem…..here’s to the new silver papers.” [source - NI-Libraries.net]

    I was checking what my friends @ Facebook, who happen to be poets, are doing today. Responses were...
    I'll be in bed in Beeston library reading and making up poems for the public

    yup -true

    and then I'll be going to see Pam Ayres

    I'll be on Radio Foyle talking about poetry & doing a wee poem with one of my partners in crime - Abby - from about 9am and then... back to work where I'll be talking in rhythm & rhyme with the rest of my co-workers. Aren't they lucky?! lol

    Pam Ayers? That would be cool. Enjoy. :)

    I'm in pefidious albion I'm afraid - deepest darkest heart of it too... near The Forest of Dean...and we all know what happens there, indeed we do my dearie,..

    I'll try and mention these poets again today and encourage you to buy their books, see them perform and contribute to their pension funds ;-)

    As it's National Poetry Day it's a perfect excuse to mention Niamh McMullan.
    Ten year-old, Niamh McMullan, a pupil at St. Aengus N.S. Bridge End, Donegal, scooped the Overall Winner prize of a new laptop computer and accessories for her poem that she wrote when taking part in the WordFlight Young People's Written & Verbal Arts Project. Niamh was also placed first in the 8 to 10 year old category, and collected an additional £100 cash prize.
    Patrick Kearney, writer and director with Artists in Creative Enterprise, who managed and delivered WordFlight, said:

    "Niamh was one of 3000 young people aged 8 to 17 years across Ireland, Britain, Europe, the Middle East, and the USA, who participated in WordFlight. The project was designed to encourage young people to connect with this year's commemorations of the Flight of the Earls, and to use the Flight as a focal point to explore, through creative writing and storytelling, their own experiences and imaginings of loss and new beginning
    [source -
    And finally, the winning poem by Niamh McMullan which scooped Overall Winner prize
    My Uncle Jason moved away
    a few years ago.
    He's over in Boston at the minute.
    There is a lot of snow.

    I think it was a big jump
    for him when really young.
    But now I think
    he has moved on.

    I think it was an experience
    for him to move away.
    I go to my granny's house and
    on the phone we talk to him each Tuesday.

    I would love to go to Boston,
    and to see him.
    I could play and talk all day,
    just me and him.