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The Numbers Game

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This was my second piece in the show, I'll not say what it's about and see if you can guess before you get to the end.

A person onstage marking white strokes on a black board.  Another person comes on.

Person A       What are you doing?

Person B       Counting

Person A       What are you counting?

Person B       Deaths

Person A       Really? 

Watches for a while, then speaks.

Person A       There seem to be quite a lot, what did they die from?

Person B       Can’t you guess? 

Person A       Oh, I don’t know. Terrorist attacks?

Person B Stops and turns around to speak.

Person B       That’s a lot of terrorist attacks in the space of a month.

Person A       Oh, it’s just in a month.

Person B       Hmmm, ok, I think I’ve got it, famine in Africa.

Person A       It’s not Africa, it’s here in Ireland.  I don’t think there would be too many dying from famine in Ireland, at least not this century

Person A       Oh, it’s Ireland. Wow, I thought it was in the world.  (Thinks for a minute)  Ok, I think I’ve got it. Car accidents, yeah, it has to be car accidents. (Feeling pleased with himself) I know road deaths are high because you have all those ads on the telly.

Person B       It’s not road accidents

Person A       Oh it’s not. Are you sure?

Person B       I’m sure.

Person A       Ok, (thinks for a minute) Cancer.  Yes definitely cancer.  That’s why you don’t really hear about it.  Yes, it’s cancer, I mean everybody dies with cancer these days don’t they?  (Feeling pleased with himself again)

Person B       It’s not cancer

Person A       It’s not?  Really, God I can’t think what else it could be.  Ok, give me a clue?

Person B       Alright, here’s another statistic - It’s a factor in more than half of all suicides.

Person A       Ah it’s depression, it has to be depression.   I mean that’s usually why people kill themselves, isn’t it?  I mean, I know quite a few people who’ve killed themselves and a lot of them were depressed.

Person B       It’s not depression.

Person A       It’s not.  God, this is a hard one isn’t it.  (Studies the board for a moment) Ok, give me another clue?

Person B       They reckon it costs the health service 1.2 billion euros every year.

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot of money, I could do with some of that, eh?  Ok, violence, maybe, yes violence because you always hear about violence and how much it costs the country

Person B       It isn’t violence, although it’s a significant factor in many violent assaults

Person A       God, I dunno, knives, guns something like that, yeah that could be it, cos people use guns and knives to kill themselves and hurt others.  You know like all those druggies you hear about in Dublin.

Person B       It’s not knives or guns either.

Person A              Jesus, it’s not that either, awh, you’ve got me, I can’t think what it could be.

Person B       You really can’t guess?

Person A       No

Person B       It’s drink...alcohol

Person A       Really, that many?  God, I wouldn’t have thought.......so how many exactly?

Person B       88

Person A       Every month?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Here...in Ireland?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot.

Person B       It is, isn’t it?

Both walk off

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This is the first of my sketches that appeared in the show on Wednesday. It's about treating physical health as mental health.  It went down really well and got a lot of positive feedback from the audience.

Reception of an A&E.  Two people come in, one of them has a broken leg. There is a receptionist at a desk.

Person A              Please, can you help?  I think my friend has broken his leg.

Person B              (groaning in pain)

Receptionist       Ok, (exasperated) let’s see if I can get you an appointment.

Person A              An appointment, what are you talking about?  Didn’t you hear me, I think he’s broken his leg and needs to see a doctor now.

Receptionist       Right, I can get you in on the 29th.

Person A              The 29th? But that’s 2 weeks away.

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that’s the earliest appointment I have. 

Person A              An appointment?  He needs a doctor now.

Receptionist       Well, I’m afraid you can’t.  All health problems require you to make an appointment so that you can be referred for treatment.

Person A              What do you mean, referred?  You mean the doctor isn’t going to fix his leg?

Receptionist       No, he’s not qualified, he will have to refer him to a specialist.

Person A              Are you kidding me?  His leg is broken.  Look!  He can’t walk on it.  He needs to see a doctor now.

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that isn’t possible, it’s the new rules. 

Person A              What new rules?

Receptionist       Health care has been equalised.

Person A              What do you mean equalised?

Receptionist       From now on all physical and mental health problems are to be treated equally.  There’s to be no difference between them.

Person A              What?  This doesn’t make sense. I mean, this is A & E.  He had an accident and this is an emergency.  Why does he have to wait two weeks now?

Receptionist       Well, you still can be seen in an emergency.  I mean if he had broken both legs and arms, then you would be deemed to be completely incapacitated.  So he might get seen then. 

Person A              What?  This is insane!  What the hell is he supposed to do until then. 

Receptionist       Well, make sure he doesn’t miss his appointment.  They don’t like it when that happens.

Person A              I mean, about his leg?

Receptionist       Well, he should probably sit down more and try not to put any weight on it.

Person A              Is this a joke?

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.

Person A              I don’t fecking believe this, are you serious?  I mean, a broken leg! Can you understand what that means?  He won’t be able to work or anything

Receptionist       Oh, work?  Oh, I can assess him for that. I went through the training program last Wednesday afternoon.  (gets up and walks over to person B)  Can you raise your hands up over your head?

Person B raises his hands.

Receptionist       Can you stand up?

Person B stands up (leaning on one leg)  Can you move a bit? (hops along for a couple of steps)  Ok, you can sit down now.  (to person A) See, he can still work.

Person A              How can he work with a broken leg?

Receptionist       Well, what does he do?

Person A              He’s a painter.

Receptionist       Well, there you go, he can still paint, he’d be able to do it sitting and he can stand for a bit too.

Person A              Jesus, I don’t believe this.  And how do you assess someone who’s ill with something like depression?

Receptionist       Well, the same way.  If you can move you can work, that’s the policy.  So now, does he want the appointment or not?

Person A              Good God, what a set up....do you want the appointment?  (to person B)

Person B              Yes!  YES!  For God’s sake, YES! (groaning in pain)

Another person comes in holding his chest.

Person C              Help, I’m having terrible chest pains! 

Receptionist       Look, I told you last week, your appointment’s on Friday.

Person C              Man lets out a loud groan and collapses in to the seat next to Person B,. 

Person A              I don’t believe that just happened? (incredulous)

Receptionist       (Lifts the phone)  We have another one, can you come and well, you know........

In the background person B is poking and looking at the collapsed man. Two people come in and drag him off

Receptionist       Well, that was a bit of luck.

Person A              Sorry?

Receptionist       For your friend....an appointment has just opened up for Friday.

Person A              What?

Receptionist       Well, do you want it or not?....The appointment?

Standing looking bewildered and shaking his head.

Person B              Take the appointment!  Take the appointment! (shouting)

 Receptionist      Ok, we’ll see you on Friday morning at 10.30, don’t be late.

Person A              So, how long will it be after he’s seen the doctor?

Receptionist       Well, once he gets his referral, his name will go on the list.

Person A              What?  A list?

 Receptionist      Yes, everybody goes on the list now.

Person A              Sorry, just bear with me for one minute.  He can’t see a doctor for 2 weeks (trying to stay calm)

Receptionist       Now, now that’s not true, don’t forget, he got an appointment for Friday.

Person A              Ok... he did......but then he has to go on a waiting list. (taking deep breaths) Ok, now how long is the waiting list?

Receptionist       Well, the waiting list at the moment is 10 months.

Person A              10 months!  You cannot be serious!!?  10 months!  To see someone to fix a broken leg.  This is a joke, this has to be a joke!  (exploding with anger)  How the hell is he supposed to manage for 10 months with a broken leg?

Receptionist       Well, as I said before it would probably be best to sit down more.  You know, I saw this in a film one time. A man was injured out in the jungle, it was his leg too, and they tied a piece of wood to it and taped it up.  You could try that.  It would keep him going,... you know.....until you get to see the specialist.  And, you never know....you might get lucky again.

Person A              What do you mean, lucky?   Again?

Receptionist       Well, someone might...you know...(lowering her voice) pass on...

Person A              What?

Receptionist       Pass on... you know...like before...(nodding over in the direction of the man who collapsed) that’s been happening a lot recently.  We’re saving an absolute fortune.  The government thinks it’s great.  It’s a wonder someone didn’t think of it before.

Person A              What the hell is going on here? (almost hysterical)

Receptionist       Well, I don’t know what you mean?

Person A              I brought my friend in here, he can’t see a doctor for 2 weeks and then he’s going to have to go on a list and wait another 10 months.

Receptionist       But he’s seeing the doctor on Friday.  You were lucky, other people have to wait too, you know.

Person A              And this is supposed to be a health SERVICE?

Receptionist       Well, it’s not my responsibility,  I don’t even vote so don’t blame me for what the government does...(getting angry, she stands up)  and anyway that’s how it’s been for mental health for years and I didn’t hear you complaining then.

Person A              What are you talking about, you....you....?

Receptionist       Look, that’s the way it is and there’s nothing you can do about it.  You were lucky he got an appointment for Friday.  My friend’s son had depression and killed himself before he even got to see the doctor.   You should think yourself lucky he only has a broken leg!

Person A              Standing, looking at her with his mouth open

Receptionist       Well, it’s time for my break....(leaves)

Person A moves over to person B

Person A              I don’t believe this...(stunned) I’m sorry.  (helps him up, he groans and they move towards the exit).....here I tell you what...my brother in law has a pair of crutches....from when he broke his ankle, remember......playing footie.  I’m sure he would lend them to you.....(they hobble off stage)

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An Grianan Theatre

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I'm making my stage-writing debut tonight in An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, in a show called Waving Not Drowning.  It's a montage of scenes all to do with mental health.  I have written 2 scenes for the show.  One is a satircal comedy piece about treating physical health as mental health and is called Broken.  The second piece is called The Numbers Game and is to do with statistics in areas of mental health.  i'll post them tomorrow after they've debuted.  So if you're anywhere near Letterkenny tonight and find yourself at a loose end, then come along and bring a friend or ten.

We're hoping to tour it in the new year and already have a few dates so if you can't make it tonight, keep and eye out for us in the new year and maybe you'll catch it later.

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Billionaires and their house repairs

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 11 Oct 2020, 09:29

Three hundred and sixty-nine million pounds! Three hundred and sixty-nine million pounds! I just can't seem to stop myself saying it, maybe it's because of how it rolls off the tongue. Three hundred and sixty-nine million pounds! What a number!  And you can write it in so many ways too...you can write it in numbers like this, £369 000 000 or you can write it in letters, three hundred and sixty-nine million pounds.  Or, if it is your want, you can write it using both, £369 million pounds.  Take your pick, try any of them.

I prefer to write the whole thing out in letters.


You really get the full impact of it like that. Of course, it's a mere pittance to a billionaire, little more than pocket change...but then do you think billionaires have pocket change??  Hmmmm, not sure about that...

But apart from that, how could you even think of objecting to it? I mean, she's an old age pensioner and she needs her plumbing and electrics fixed, poor thing!  All together now...awwhhhh!  And she does so much for us doesn't she?  Like.. like..ok give me a minute to think of something....oh yes!  Tourism, she brings in all those tourists.  Just think of all the people who come to see Buckingham Palace, they might not come if she wasn't there.  Just like Egypt, because no one has gone near those pyramids since the Pharoah's died off. Or France.  Has anyone ever bothered to go there since they got rid of their royals??? 

But sure if it's upsetting you, just think about little George and Charlotte, I mean, they are just sooooo cute!  What's not to love??  And I'm sure you wouldn't want them to visit a house that didn't have proper lights and plumbing. God!  Do you think they still have an outside toilet??

But what do I care that the taxes I pay on my pathetic minimum/living wage is going to help do up the house of the richest woman in Britain while the NHS is being starved of funding.  I mean, it was those same taxes that helped to bail out all those rich bankers when they gambled and lost and royally screwed the economy and us poor working saps!  Sorry, I mean hard-working strivers!  Because that's just what we're here for, to make the rich richer and allow ourselves to be shafted again, and again, and again.  Royally shafted even!

Now, my nephew has a young son, and he's just as cute as George (actually he's cuter but I don't want to brag)  Can his granny get some millions to do her house up?  Because she could really use it, she had a bit of a flood recently and she has MS, she could really do with some help. But when I think about it, she wouldn't even need millions, a couple of thousand would suffice. Any chance the government might give her a handout, do you think?  Or what about his great-granny, I'm sure she would like a few million from the hard working, tax paying, suckers... Oh!  Sorry again,  I don't know why that keeps happening....I mean strivers, STRIVERS!

Well, why does Mrs Elizabeth Saxe Coburg Gotha-Mountbatten, deserve to be given three hundred and sixty-nine million pounds of taxpayer's money to do her house up?  (Yes, I know, Windsor IS a lot more user friendly...like when they changed the name of Windscale to Sellafield) But still, for the life of me, I can't think of one valid reason.

Ok, so she's the queen..but what does that even mean?  I know that centuries ago people used to believe that royalty had blue blood and had a Divine right to rule (nothing to do with me,by the way)  But then, people used to believe that the Churches were Christian and a guy called Santa lived in the North Pole.  ( I even believed that one for a while,but then I grew up...)

Ok, she comes out now and again and smiles and waves to people.  I could do that, and for a whole lot less, let me tell you. But I've been giving this some serious thought, just in case someone would object, like maybe OUR public representatives, and I think I have a solution.  Since it's coming out of the public purse, maybe we should make it a crisis loan.  You know, like when you're on the dole and you have an emergency, like your washing machine breaks down and you need to buy a new one, you can get a crisis loan. Of course, you have to pay it back.   You can't expect the Government to hand out money to people and not get it back..  (Sorry, what was that...bankers??)  But she has millions and millions in property, jewels, money, even race-horses!  She would be able to pay it back in no time at all!  And if she couldn't afford it, then she could do what all those other people who lived in London had to do when their benefits were cut and they couldn't afford the rent.  She should downsize or move out of London.  Well, there's always Balmoral or Sandringham and I'm sure if she was really stuck, Charles could find her something down there in the Duchy of Cornwall.

By the way, my car broke down recently, and I think it's going to be expensive to fix, probably more than the car is worth..(that's expensive for me on my wage, not expensive from a billionaire's perspective..a mere speck of dust in the corner of their wallet, if even that)  Do you think the government would give me some money to fix it up?? After all, technically, it is my money, I've been working and paying tax for years.  Yeah, that's what I thought too...

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016, 12:34)
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US Election Trump vs Clinton

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So, we're finally here after all the bitching, whining and insults with the big vote tomorrow.  In theory, I should support Hilary as I'm a feminist and it would be an historic moment for the US to have a female president.  

On the other hand, we have 'the Donald', the candidate of choice for the anti-establishment vote which, in theory, I should also support.

Between a rock and a hard place!  The only difference I can see is that there's less chance of a war with Russia under Trump.  Realistically, the power of the president is curbed by Congress and the judiciary so I don't think he could really do much damage on a global scale but then again, who knows?

In the end, I don't really think it will really matter who the US votes for because the government will still get in anyway.......

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The arguments over Brexit are still rumbling on and even if you were a remainer, the best result of it so far has been getting rid of Dave the Rave and pipsqueak George.  As a leave voter, I was both surprised and delighted by the result.  I didn't stay up to watch the result on the night as the media were sure 'remain' were going to win so I went on to bed.  But in the continuing narrative surrounding Brexit, is the assumption that 'remain' were right and 'leave' were wrong. No one can say for sure how this will pan out and it will take several years before any conclusion can be drawn as to the rightness or wrongness of the result.  For me, one of the positive outcomes will be that we will not be able to blame the EU for all our woes (at least in the long term) and the buck will now stop in Downing Street.  This may revitalise an interest in politics for the masses as the influence of the EU seemed to induce a sense of apathy in voting as people felt more and more powerless and that their issues were not being listened to or cared about.

One of the ironic outcomes of the result has been the remain vote here in NI, with Sinn Fein campaigning for it.  I asked a question about this in an online debate, The question was this, 'Why would Sinn Fein who fought for 100 years against British rule in Ireland quite happily hand over the sovereignty of Ireland to the EU?  I'm still waiting on an answer.  The funny thing about this is that Sinn Fein have been at the forefront of a campaign in the Irish Republic against water charges, something that was imposed by the EU.  You couldn't make it up!

Then, the same in Scotland, complaining for years about being under the yoke of Westminster, then when they get a vote on independence, they bottle it. Now, they want another vote so they can leave Britain but hand over their sovereignty to the EU.

Strange times indeed......

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Fidel vs Obama

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sept 2022, 12:53

I couldn't help but love the report that Fidel tore into Obama (the greatest political disappointment of recent times).  Being an old communist myself and considering how much harder it is getting to be left wing these days (just listen to the continuous vitriol about Jeremy Corbyn) it was good to see that Fidel still has fire and passion.  Now, I know that not everything is fine and dandy in Cuba but it was good to see that he is still holding his own and hasn't sold his soul and bowed to the 'empire'.  

Go Fidel!!!!

And talking about 'empires', I am voting out of the EU and no amount of scare-mongering by the Bilderburg puppets ( Tony Blair, Barrack Obama etc) will change my mind.  As a good rule of thumb, I find that anything Tony Blair disagrees with these days is probably a good idea. I still can't get over the fact that he is a middle east peace envoy????  It's like making the Yorkshire Ripper an advocate for women's rights!!

Quite frankly, he should be at the International Court in the Hague for war crimes and human rights violations along with his friend Dubya.  The whole sorry Isis mess is a direct result of their meddling in Iraq and every crime committed by Isis should be laid at the feet of Bush and Blair.

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 13 Mar 2017, 20:30

I'm on a roll tonight, 3 posts in a row.  Well, I haven't posted in a while but now that the books have been put away the creative juices have started flowing again. This poem is from my level 3 creative writing course and has been hanging around for a while.  One of the things I learned from the course is that writing evolves over time and like good wine needs time to mature.  I got good feedback on this when I first wrote it and I hope I have improved it in this version. This could be the final version, I'll not know until I come back to it at some point in the future and see if there's something I want to change..I feel I'm missing a line or two after 'disapproval' but I can't think of anything I want to put in there yet.  Anyway, here it is....enjoy (I hope)

The Awakening

Ssshh!  She is sleeping, peacefully

under the frosted covers

and all is still, except 

the rhythmic cycle of her breath.

The children stand in silent contemplation,

swayed by the rise and fall of her chest,

her breasts: waiting.

Waiting for the light to lengthen the day

Waiting for the heat to penetrate the cold mantle of her skin.

Waiting to be called from the darkness

where they rest, to rise and dress


In a gorgeous cloak of velvet green.

Green!  Those greens!  Those bold and brazen greens!

Lively limes lust over flashy emeralds

but obstinate olive holds the ground

as sassy sage flirts outrageously

with dark broody bottles and precocious jades.

Vivacious, verdant mosses,

mass and march over field and hill,

in a luscious invasion of tree and hedgerow, 

Hanging with happy orange and laughing yellows

as those radical reds antagonize

the philosophical purples in a

cacophonous discourse on colour;

while blousy blues look on in disapproval.

Look! look! A snowdrop!

She is awake!

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Kitchen roll and driverless cars

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016, 20:25

Many years ago if you spilled something on a floor you had to clean it up with a cloth or a mop which could be tedious especially if it was something oily, what with all the mopping and rinsing not to mention the hand-scalding water. Then someone had a great idea and kitchen roll was invented.  A God-send to many a downtrodden housewife back in the day.  So, instead of all the wiping and rinsing, the spill could be mopped up and the sodden paper dumped straight into the bin.  Voila!  Another great weapon in the feminist arsenal, helping to free women everywhere from a little bit more of the old daily drudge. (I would nearly bet you could find a direct correlation between the appearance of kitchen roll and the rise in separation and divorce in Ireland) Anyway, as good as the kitchen roll was, it did have a bit of a downside, the paper was a bit thin and tended to fall apart.  So, the manufacturers had a bit of a competition to improve the product.  Lo and behold, they did.  Over time kitchen roll improved so much that it could actually be rinsed out and re-used.......just like a cloth.....well....er!

Anyway, one of the girls at work mentioned seeing a driver-less car on a television programme recently.  This is the latest thing in car technology and the way we will all be driving or not, in the future.  So, I was thinking about this and thinking about how once a thing is invented, it inevitably keeps being updated and improved as little flaws in the original idea surface. So, we start with a driver-less car but we can't go completely driver-less because of the unexpected road accident or event that may disrupt the journey so the driver still has to be able to take control of the vehicle as needed. This is where the driver-less car is as we speak.  So imagine in the future, we'll have all these driver-less cars on the road, all going different places and sometimes to the same places like a football match or a concert.  Now wouldn't it be a good idea if we could take all the cars that are going to the same places and find a way to join them up so they could all go together and only one driver would be needed to keep control which logic would dictate would be the car in front.Well, it makes sense to me.

Then someone might have the idea of making the seats adjustable so that over long journeys people could lie down and sleep arriving at their destination well-rested and refreshed.  Still with me, ok then, let's take it another step further, what if there were special roads or tracks set aside for them to separate them from other road traffic like tractors and horses and the old Luddites who are still driving full time in their manual cars'  This would in all probability, make driver-less cars even safer.

So, we have driver-less cars which can be joined up to other driver-less cars when they're all going to the same place which only need one driver to maintain control.  Not forgetting that you can lie down and sleep,or read,or do your tax return (if that is your wont) and they have their own special road to drive on......hmmm.....now that I think about it, isn't that a train???  The future, it's where we're headed.

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Glut point

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016, 20:23

I have identified an economic sociological phenomena or a sociological economic phenomena, depending on your point of view, well, what's a 3rd level education for???  Anyway, I was thinking about the present state of the economy and the looming recession or maybe even depression and I have identified where we almost are.  The phenomemon I have identified and named too, is 'Glut point'.  

Glut point is (as identified and defined by me) the point where the wealthy in a capitalist society have exploited all resources to their advantage to then find that the only way to keep on making money is to start paying decent wages to those whose efforts they have exploited so that they can create a demand for products thereby stimulating the economy. Which will, in turn, allow those on top to start making money again.  

Which will be any day now.  Actually, I think the Conservatives may almost be there with their call for a living wage, reality is slowly dawning.  So, watch and listen and remember you heard it here first!

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David Bowie

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 11 Oct 2020, 09:37

What can I say - heartbroken at the news.  A huge influence and a huge loss.My sons had bought me a Double DVD of his hits for Christmas since my old video is too fragile to play.  What a rotten start to a week.

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Star Wars - The Force Awakens

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I've been down with flu for 3 days now and was itching to see the new Star Wars film having avoided all media reports so I would know nothing about it. So I dragged myself from my sick bed yesterday and ventured to the cinema with my sons to see it.  We're all big Star Wars fans in my house.  I won't mention anything about it in case anyone hasn't seen it yet but it was worth the effort.  A much darker film than expected but highly enjoyable and a definite must see for us die hard fans.  I'll get out again for another viewing over Christmas, once I get rid of this dose. 

And as today is the winter solstice, (a special date in my calendar) I'll wish everybody a happy solstice and look forward to the days lengthening again.  (I'm thinking about reclaiming this holiday back again from the Christians)

Anyway, I've decided to finish up with the OU, I've completed 5 years and have my 300 points so I'm going to cash them in and go.  This is the third dose of flu I've had in as many months and it comes at the end of what has been a very tough 3 years both personally and professionally.  At this point I feel completely burned out with study but I also feel I'm missing out on too many other things. I've turned down so many invitations recently and missed out on job opportunities that I'm really resenting the time I have to give to the books so I think it's time to go.  I'm going forward to the new year with a great line from The Force Awakens - the belonging you seek won't be found in the past but in the future - so that's where I'm headed with my degree and hopefully a new job as well come January.

So good luck everybody with your studies and I hope you all have a lovely solstice/winter fest/Christmas and a happy and productive new year.

And for all us Star Wars fans, may the force be with you.

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Just back from watching the fireworks and now settling in with a glass of wine and Bram Stoker's Dracula and it got me thinking... was Bram trying to tell us something about people who give themselves titles and live in castles? 

That maybe they're blood-sucking parasites who feed off the life blood of the ordinary people???

Something to think about?

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First assignment just sent off. As usual, you think you're never going to get it written and then you wish you had another 500 words. Well, I'll sleep peacefully tonight now that it's away and ce sera, sera!!. 

I'm looking forward to my long weekend now, I'm off work Monday and I've so much to catch up with not least the trailer for the new Star Wars film, roll on December!!  Star Wars and Whitesnake to look forward too, it seems that winter may not be so bad after all. May the force be with you as you hurry to get your assignments in.....

Now where did I leave that light sabre,,R2 have you seen it.........?????

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Saturday, 12 Sept 2015, 11:57

Just sitting here watching the Labour leader result and how great to see Jeremy Corbyn win.   At last the Labour party has thrown off the dead weight of Bliarism and will now hopefully return to their true roots of social democracy and the party of working people. 

 I had lost interest in politics for so long and didn't even watch the news anymore but this is the most I've been excited about politics since the Scottish Referendum although at least this time the result is the one hoped for.

I feel today some hope for the future which is something I haven't felt in a long time, well done Jeremy Corbyn and thank you so very much to all who voted for him.

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Short story

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I have taken to going to Derry on Saturday mornings to browse around Eason's while gathering up the books I need for next year.  Then, I usually go and enjoy a coffee and a croissant in Synge & Byrnes cafe before the crowds start to roll in (who knows, I might get a free coffee for the plug). 

Anyway, I was sitting thinking about stuff and this (very short) story came to mind.  Feedback is welcome and if anyone wants to join me some Saturday morning for a coffee and a chat or even a meaningful conversation then, you are most welcome.  I do miss the odd week so if I'm not there, sorry, and try again some other time.  I don't have a title for it yet, it usually takes a while for me to come up with titles.  I hope you enjoy it.


'The fire's dead' said the woman to the man, 'I left everything sitting right there for you and still......you let it die.   I mean, how many times?'  She stopped and shrugged.  'What's the point?' she said and left the room and went upstairs.  She didn't bother to undress but laid down on top of the bed and slowly died from lack of interest.

It was later reported the man died from hypothermia.

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 13 Nov 2015, 13:00

This is the first serious poem I wrote for A363 this year.  It's called Landscapes and it was based on a summer's day long ago when we used to have definite seasons, when me and a friend spent most of the day jumping from a fence into a pile of straw that was left behind after the farmer cut the field.  Our houses used to be surrounded by fields and they were great places to play.  Around the same time as the troubles were breaking out, the fields started to disappear as first factories were built and then the rest of them were turned into a large housing estate. The loss of playing areas was mirrored by the loss of freedom as society divided into their respective camps.   Then after the events of Bloody Sunday, everything changed for the worse and some dark insanity seemed to take hold of the world.  As the landscape changed so too did the political landscape. 

I've developed this into a screenplay which I'm working on again so I hope to see this on screen at some point in the future.  So I hope you enjoy it, comments as always, are welcome.


In the playing fields of childhood,

we spent a last, carefree summer's day

where life hopped, flitted and buzzed

in a concerto of movements and sounds

around us.

We gathered armfuls of straw and hay

and climbed and jumped, and climbed and jumped,

until legs, wobbly and weak

gave way.  We wandered home

like two happy drunks,

bodies tired but spirits light as

the warmth of day gently faded in the west

and the drifting hum of Sion mill

lullabyed us to sleep.

While we slept;

Darkness covered the land

An army of grey men,

Led by hard mouths

 - raised in anger,

invaded the land.

They screamed in fury

as they stripped the skin from the earth,

their unforgiving teeth

ripping into the soft ground;  Unopposed.

Uprooted homes were left to die

without care or ceremony.

The casualties fled in terror,

as fences deposed hedgerows.

Grey stone walls, set deep into the ground,

Divided, conquered, divided, conquered:

The gentle melodies of summer

were lost.

The dissonant cold of winter blew in.


no longer free, confined

by barricades, borders and bigotry.

Thirteen people lay dead

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2022, 13:28

It's rather ironic that the year I was doing a 'writing course' is the one in which I was writing very little for the blog.  I'm off work this week so I promised myself I would use this week to get back in the habit of more regular postings.

There is so much going on in politics at the moment that it's a bit difficult to decide where to begin.  Greece is the big news and good luck to them for defying the 'autocrats' and fear mongering of the troika and voting no.  The biggest threat to the EU monolith is the chance that Greece would pull out and make a success of running their own country - I sincerely hope they do, then maybe Spain, Portugal and Ireland might consider doing the same.  I support the idea of a common market for Europe but I don't support the idea of a European State controlled by corporations, the IMF and the World Bank.  The creation of the single currency was a con that sucked in poorer nations who were never going to be able to compete economically with richer nations like Germany, and now it has come back to bite them on the ass and deservedly so - I've pasted this article by Chris Kanthan from nation of change.org as he can explain it all much better than me;

Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can't pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie ... not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.

If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business - stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant's accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it's a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

Now, let's map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.

Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the "Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as "mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.


A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies - S&P, Fitch and Moody's - who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.

But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!

Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!

Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.

In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment - the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.

Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that's exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates ("yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.

From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.

The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.

(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).

The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.

Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds' yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.


Now, here is another fact that most people don't understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country's assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.

Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of "austerity” or "structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.

In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government's budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.

So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government's revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you "fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.

After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.

If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn't have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

This is the essence of the New World Order -- a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.

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One of John Jones on his anniversary.  There's no date on this poem so I'm not sure when it was written.  It's called Mr Fantasy and I've taken the liberty of doing some light editing on it.  I hope no one minds!

It was around the time

That beer had a password and

the mattress was strained 

with the thoughts kept from priests,

That I first ever listened 

to the quality of your wisdom.

I had no means of understanding

the sadness from your guitar,

for hadn't I yet to compete

in a game that wasn't cricket.

I hovered; and wasn't to know

there would be blood on the mistletoe,

and no one in the bandstands,

save for Timothy

clutching a well-chilled bottle

of shoplift wine.

He would be looking forward

to the soup run

and I would have to pray

to the moon for him

because it's not much fun

either side of the ladle;

That the kids in our footsteps

would wear badges and earrings,

and all their heads 

would be full of emptiness.

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50 Shades of Grey

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 20 Feb 2015, 21:42

There are certainly 50 shades of grey visible from my front window at the moment, even the grass looks grey. Mind you, this is about as close to 50 Shades as I'll be getting.  No, I haven't seen the film or read the book, (a cousin did give me the book, thinking because I'm single I must be desperate for some....what?... I'm not entirely sure???) but realistically, if I wanted to watch some man physically assault a woman, I would ring up the police, find out where the local domestic violence hot-spots are, and go hang out.  

Now, don't get me wrong, on the sex side of things, what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom is entirely their business....whatever turns you on.  But really, 50 Shades, doesn't it all seem a bit naff, I mean, wasn't this all done back in the 70's?

And what is the big deal, it's about sex, or should that be ...Ohhh, it's about sex???  Are we still in the playground?  Or should that be, are the media  still in the playground? Well, I suppose they are, page 3 and all that nonsense....come on guys, it's a penis, it's a vagina, get over it.  And for gawds sake, Miley, would y'all put it away.  

Maybe I'm becoming prudish in my old age or maybe I've just seen it all before, but what is the big deal?  Now, I know sex can be fun, (at least  I think it was, as far as memory serves) but without something more meaningful to it, doesn't it all become a bit soul-destroying.  I mean, it isn't that hard to get these days (pardon the pun) and it seems to be freely available 24/7, but like everything now, there's no mystery left.  Where's the anticipation, the imagination, the seduction?  Now, it's all wham, bam, and tweet it?

I get so fed up with it being constantly shoved in my face, I mean that metaphorically not literally,...no actually,when I think about it...I do mean that literally.  You can't even go to the local shop for a pint of milk but some silly tart is all over the papers spilling their guts about their latest bedroom action.   It would drive you to the convent or a burka!!!  And let's face it, when you get right down to it, how sexy is it when it's all on display... constantly.....every day.....all day.....with nothing left to wonder about?  Still not convinced?  Then let me ask you this, which of these is sexier?  Marilyn Monroe fully dressed, Madonna dressed like an old tart and flashing her ass or Miley Cyrus naked?

I rest my case.

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 June 2017, 20:03

So, the Islamic extremist's are at it again, and all in the name of God no less, but this is what I don't understand about it, if they really believed in an all powerful deity, why do they need to carry out his 'work'?  Surely if he/she or it is so powerful, he/she or it can fight their own battles and take care of all those terrifying cartoonists with their pens or all those scary girls who want to read books, get an education and learn to think for themselves.

We here in the west act a whole lot of smug over this but at the end of the day, the good Christians of the west have been party to some fairly horrific acts themselves over the centuries.  I think Islam is going through the same crisis that Christianity went through in the 16th Century and it will probably implode at some point and most of those believers will eventually become like the rest of us and drift towards passive atheism, once they realize that the worst terrors of hell are man made, not God made.

It would be interesting to see, if people weren't indoctrinated into religion by their parents, how many of us would end up believing in God?  I think too often religion and religious belief is used by people to absolve themselves of responsibility.  They use their religion as an excuse for acting/not acting or behaving in a certain way and by following the tenets of their 'faith', they don't have to think or act for themselves.  By focusing all their attention on some heavenly afterlife, they ignore the reality of life as it is.  If there was no such thing as the belief in a better life to come, after you're dead ????( just writing that makes me realize how ridiculous the whole idea is), then maybe they would do something about the here and now and try and make it as good and enjoyable as possible for everyone.  

I mean life is really not that long, why waste the 3 score years and ten (if you're lucky) with all the negatives of human behaviour, tolerating the most miserable situations, and all in the name of religion?  And if we were weren't meant to think for ourselves, then why do we all have a brain of our own?

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Wipe out

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I've been feeling wiped out recently and now I'm off work with the worst dose of flu I've had, in quite some time, as if the interminable gloom of January wasn't bad enough.  We've had some snow recently and it is a welcome sight to see the white dusted fields of Croaghan Hill and the ermine covered shoulders of Knockavoe.  It certainly helps to relieve the grey misery of the longest month of the year.

If I wasn't so sick, I'd be off to Gortin Glen with my camera but my energy levels are at their lowest and a even walk to the local shop feels like a marathon.  There's nothing I hate more than being sick, except maybe the Tories.  Hmm, I think that's a good sign, the political pulse is still working! 

Anyway, I was to post more of John's poems over Christmas but between work and the general strains of the season I didn't get around to it so here is another one.

This poem is called FOR SEAN, I don't know who Sean was, I'm assuming he was a friend of Johns and it was written in June 1977, the year of the Queen's Jubilee and the Sex Pistols,  Vive le Punk Rock!  I remember it well!

For Sean

Your shoulder stuttered

under the varnished pine.

The weight was elsewhere.

It blurred the aisle

with your rampant tears.

Helpless from a pew

I looked on at 

a bearer conceived 

at a healthier happier time.

The sun was stubborn,

out of place and order.

It was a sad day in May.

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Christmas time

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I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all bloggers and readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.  May all your assignments be in on time and all your marks high.  Merry Christmas everyone!!

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John Jones

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 14 Dec 2014, 18:34

A while back I put up a poem written by a young man named John Jones who died at the tender age of 22.  His nephew found the poem on the blog and contacted me and then put me in touch with his mother who is John's twin sister.  We've been keeping in touch and she has given me permission to put up the rest of the poems so I said I would do that over the month of December.   The poems were all written back in the 1970's and this is the first of them. 

Conditional Surrender

Some want

A curfew on laughter

Graffitti void of frolic

Oil slicks for seafaring dodo's

Crimes for every handicap

Multiple pile-ups on easy terms

Mutual interest in select perversion

An empty ledge for every desperate man


An audience for the crocus

An encore for the rain

A meal for every stomach

An end to human pain,

A mother for each baby

A truth for every dream

Lovers for the lonely

Peaches with ice-cream

Stalemate again:

In trenches near and far

January, October 1976

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Black Friday

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 28 Nov 2014, 22:53

Black Friday

So the annual glut fest begins in earnest, as if we weren’t gorging enough with Christmas, we now have the cultural imposition of another Americanism, Black Friday, where you get to see humanity reduced by the brainwashing of the media and the capitalist system into a spending frenzy, buying stuff they don’t need and if they really sat down and thought about it, would realise they probably don’t want either.

It kills me to see human beings brought down into acting like rats fighting over the scraps from the bin, and for what?  A bargain buy, another piece of stuff to fill the house with, as if we didn’t have enough already.  At the end of the day, are you really any happier with the latest iPhone, has the quality of your life suddenly improved because you can now download your apps a little quicker?  (I don’t even know if that’s correct, I have a very basic mobile, I don’t have an app to my name)  It’s heart-breaking to see how many people fall time and again for all this nonsense, it seems as if the whole world is brain-dead.  When did we all become fashion victims?  When did we stop thinking for ourselves?  Are we all so desperate to feel ‘accepted’ that we have to follow like sheep to the next ‘big thing’.  Social acceptance is like a cancer in our minds, and who are we all trying to impress? 

Why does anyone give a damn what anyone thinks about them?  No one else is living your life but you, so why does some stranger’s opinion matter?  And really, if you need certain stuff to fit in with whoever, maybe you should re-think who your friends are and start connecting with people who accept you for who you are, preferably without the need for all the stuff! 

Because that’s what this is all about, the judgement of others.  There was never a time when human beings were subjected to the ‘tyranny’ of public opinion more so than they are now.  We watch week in and week out, programmes like the X Factor and those crap shows Channel 4 specialises in about people on benefits.  Watching the news tonight, didn’t the media just love it, watching the scraps for crap!  They point the finger in condemnation, like the Tories and their self-righteous pillaring of the poor and unemployed.  Let the self-righteous point the finger when they haven’t been party to encouraging the whole sorry spectacle to begin with.

Immediately after the news story on Black Friday was an item about Ebola in Sierra Leone, here is a country in crisis and people living in the most appalling poverty.  We have so much here and still we’re brain-washed into wanting more, more, more!

If we are into adopting Americanisms, then let’s try this one, let’s adopt the habits of the original Americans, let’s take only what we need from the earth, let’s re-build our communities (tribes) and look out for each other, let’s take care of our people and our environment and let’s stop with the competition.  Instead of working to out-do each other, let’s work together and support each other and let’s work to make sure that every human being has access to the things that really matter, like food, clean water, a decent and safe place to live, health care and education.  Then maybe, at some point in the future if you really have to go shopping, you can go knowing that in your community, there isn’t a child or older person going without or feeling lonely or that out in the world, there isn’t another human being sleeping on the streets or dying from the want of some of the basics in life that we all take for granted.




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