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He described the bewildered and ugly, the hairy and bald, the royalty and mountebanks—it was, after all, the museum of man, with an occasional nod to women. They were all dead. All except Descartes, whose cogito kept him from resting in peace. He and the companion and I were sitting on the veranda overlooking what was once the family valley, trees of every pedigree basking below us, a fox looking for something to kill, a tractor groaning up a hill.

I was growing sick and tired of Mossy, sick and tired of Descartes. Adding insult to injury, Mossy had taken over the scullery. A gaudy carpet appeared first. Then came items of antique furniture. A birdcage with no bird. A microwave oven. Only when I saw paintings of my ancestors on the scullery walls did I realise he was stealing from me.

The problem, according to Mossy: Descartes had been lost and found so frequently, there were now, in addition to the Paris skull, four others. This would seem the obvious moment for Mossy to pull his prize out of the bag. But that was not the kind of man he was. Late in that pregnant pause Bella eventually nodded, yes, that she saw. And so did I. Nodded, I mean.

Embarrassed, probably, not to know what the hell he was talking about. This embarrassment is surely the reason slipshod scholarship thrives in the world: no one speaks up during the pregnant pause. It got credit for most of our little victories in the past. How it achieved all this was seldom spelled out in detail because history was full of pregnant pauses during which doubters failed to speak up. At a certain point, therefore, it was assumed we all knew what we were talking about. That was only half the catastrophe. While the soul was spiritual and flighty, the body, a heap of gradually disintegrating molecules, was easier to nail down.

It had, for example, hairs in its ears. How such a body and such a soul, apples and oranges if you will, could ever conjoin and get along together—that was one conundrum. How they could now drift apart, as Descartes suggested—that was a bigger conundrum. People now wanted safer cigarettes, cuter children, less dirt under the fingernails, more snow at the North Pole. In such a climate of misgiving, all those skulls had a disconcerting effect. Second-hand heads, if you like, already the worse for wear. Sometimes there were a few teeth left.

Often there was an opening where none was expected. No two were alike. And that was just on the outside. Each of the misplaced craniums was on a shelf somewhere, probably in a fancy box, brooding and waiting. With or without teeth. Definitely without the tongue, the eyeballs, the old familiars. No more hair. No more wax in the ears. No more ears. A finger once picked the nose.

Spare a thought for the finger.

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Those bones once spat and winked, somewhere back along the road we came. And another thing. Killing, once practised only by a few, was becoming the rage. One worried that a higher power, if there were still one, might grow tired of us. The intelligentsia was befuddled. Writers hovered in vain over their computers. Until my own Here Below , which had been translated into everything, reminded people that nearly everyone, given the opportunity, disapproves of killing and prefers instead to talk things over. For talking things over, though, one needs pros and cons.

And, as my book pointed out, the great proponents of pros and cons were philosophers. Of whom there were, I added tartly, precious few nowadays. This caused an outcry. This little speech had a galvanising effect. He went for a long walk in the rain. I could see him far down in the valley making up his mind. The modern world, he was surely thinking, was an old horse, tired, walking through abandoned meadows in search of a quiet place to die.

Supper: imagine three old wrecks like us gathered around a plastic table in the solarium. Small talk seemed superfluous. Since he still had the skull, the trump card, Tommy Makem sang about the wild colonial boy and the jug of punch while we washed down the fish with dandelion wine. A moment came when none of us could think of anything further to delay the proceedings. The box, I could see, was made of ebony, black and shiny. The opening ceremony was surprisingly banal, no golden key or electronic whatnot. He just lifted the lid.

One would like to think, if the Grail is ever found, that it will be a sensational find creating fireworks on earth if not actually in heaven, orgy and ecstasy and bands playing. Even the Clancy brothers had fallen silent. There were no celestial phenomena. The skull, as skulls go, looked reassuring, typical. A mild, patient skull. He decides to go over the heads of the book people and write for the universe. The world was interested—how could it not be? The world had time.

The cosmos needed feedback. The cosmos, designed for give and take, is constantly running down unless we give something back. This is especially true of meaning. Everyone knows there is a dearth of meaning in the world. So, go out on a limb. I forget who John F. That means plot and motivation, commas and the devil knows what. The good news is that it can be got right. A dippy photographer shoots talking donkeys and invisible strangers. A professor who in his youth vowed to kill Ian Paisley has so far failed to do so.

A brash young journalist wants the local paper to save the world, but the editor prefers football. Only a thin veil separates the world we think we know from the other universe we suspect.

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Does a son always know his father and vice versa? When a large old duffer gets stuck in Newgrange, can love provide a way out?


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Michael J. Farrell insists his stories are what people brood over in the small hours until some see the light. What they see is the fragile earth redeemed time and again by surprises. Ballinasloe may seem an odd beginning of the end of George W. A saintly old archbishop and a worldly new bishop climb Croagh Patrick together, ecclesiastical chalk and cheese each in search of a different end of the rainbow. New arrivals find one astronaut too many at the International Space Station. Life here below, Farrell contends, would be a dire place without insights and epiphanies and, of course, porter.

The stories surprise, and are full of surprises. They are funny, provocative, clever, charming and quite brilliantly written. And he can be very funny, too. He was a priest for some years, during which time he edited the annual literary reviews, Everyman and Aquarius he edited a book of the highlights from these, Creative Commotion , for the Liffey Press in Farrell spent his middle years in the practice of journalism in the USA where he was an editor at the National Catholic Reporte r.


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What are their legacies? What was it like to be alive back then? What brought joy and sadness to their lives? Words and Music copyright, John Farrell The sun was shinning bright and the grass Was oh so green We were laughin', we were singin', it felt good to be a team. We had new shorts and socks - on our shirts they wrote our names Everything was goin' great until they said, "Let's start the game! Their coach was yellin' at 'em, he even called us names. I couldn't help but wonder, "Does he know it's just a game?

It's just a game! We're only kids. We're not the pros. We joined the team to learn and play and have some fun.

We'll try our best to win but if we don't there is no shame. Please remember this: "We're only kids - It's just a game! They did play well together. They scored time and time again. We made some good plays too and we tried hard until the end But then the game was over. We went and said "nice game!

Till we heard a grown-up shouting, "It's your fault, you're to blame! And our teamwork and our friendships grew and grew. But when the last game ended another team finished first They played well. They played hard. Where do you find the time? Where do you work?

Is there really a North Pole? My name is Francis Tolliver.

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I come from Liverpool. Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school. It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung. The frozen field of France were still, no Christmas song was sung. Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony. The cannons rested silent. As soon as they were finished a reverent pause was spent. The next they sang was 'Stille Nacht". All sights were fixed on one lone figure trudging from their side.

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more. With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war.

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The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung. In Liverpool I dwell. Designed by Zsolt Kacso. Skip to main content. Search form. How About You? All Around Us Oh Yeah! Lyrics not currently available. That can be done Oh Yeah! Copyright John Farrell There are fifty states in the U.

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Dover, Delaware and Denver, Colorado. Bridges span hardship, triumph, and sorrow A dream is a bridge from today to tomorrow Bridges let us to see things from the other side Bridges solve problems that used to divide Some bridges ens where other bridges start Friendship is a bridge that comforts the heart Some bridges get crowded Some seldom get used Some bridges are acient, others are new We need bridges to the future And from the past Stories are bridges that last and last Bridges connect the earth and the sky Bridges rise up, transcend, and inspire Bridges are proff that dreams can come true Words are a bridge from me to you Bridges unite, bridges inspire Bridges connect the earth and the sky Bridges are proof that dreams can come true A smile is a bridge from me to you.

Copyright John Farrell A small boy walked home One rainy Halloween Two big kids were waiting On the dark side of the street Those big kids came over And knocked that boy down Took all his candy And left him there on the ground How would you feel If that happened to you? Rodgers and Hammerstein, Williamson Music Getting to know you, getting to know all about you; Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.

Chorus Listen to the stories that the elders have to tell, of the good times and the hard times they have known For the stories that they give to us Are pictures of the past And maps to guide us as we travel on I remember when the first car roared through town and scared our horse It was black and noisy oh, we loved it so.