Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Blame My Mick Mother!


My classmates in grammar school knew me as that weird girl that wore green a lot, had an affinity to cats and was fiercely proud of being Irish. Over the years, the green gave way to black and the cats are of the LOL variety, but the Irish pride is still there.

Growing up, I was surrounded by shamrocks, belleek and statuettes of wee little men with gin blossomed cheeks clutching heaping pots of novelty sized coins of gold. February would start the countdown to my mom's favorite Holiday. She was raised in what was lovingly referred to as the Irish Ghetto of St. Paul - the corridor of Arch and Lyndon. It was an area of refugees and mafia types. This was the nexus that controlled St. Paul. The people that designed the twists and turns of our state capitals roads and put the street cars out of business came from here. It was also home to the Speakeasy's with their secret knocks, ample supplies of tommy guns and bathtub whiskey.

My own mother's history has some areas of gray (or muted green). There was a mob tie, but it was very loose. My grandfather was able to wriggle free by way of being an adoptee into the 'family', and a single father. His sweet little wife had passed after spending over a year in a tuberculosis asylum, leaving him to find an honest living to care for his daughter. He was working class Irish - beaten, poor and a bit of a drunk. Mom remembers a lot of her early childhood sitting at the local pub, hearing tales about the mother country accented with booming, thick brogues. She didn't mind, the stories came with shiny nickels and ice cold bottles of coke.

Though her people were poor, they were also very proud. As with every Irish family with the name Joyce in it's tree, there were rumors that we were related to James himself (even my own husband has gotten caught up in the hype - claiming he sees a resemblance). My mother was entrenched in tradition and each 'St. Patty's' would come with a celebratory brunch of soda bread and irish stew (though I'm not terribly sure how the ancient druids would feel about bright green beer). The bowler hat of buttons saying 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' and 'It's a big day for wee folk' would be donned and off the adults would go for the famous St. Patrick's Day Parade and Guinness soaked debauch. Even the parade itself had family ties. My own cousin and former mayor (god bless him) was one of the founding fathers of the St. Paul St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Former Mayor Tom Byrne passed in April of last year. This will be the first year that much of his family will be celebrating St. Pat's without him. Since that St. Patrick's Day in 1967, when Tom carried the shillelagh and led a merry group of revelers out of the Hilton hotel (now the Radisson) and down Kellogg Blvd to the St. Paul Hotel, the people of our state capitol have celebrated their heritage (or pretend heritage, if only for a day). Tom left other legacies: under his leadership, St. Paul became the first city in the nation to pass a human rights ordinance. He was one of the first to adopt a housing law, and when a group of angry residents staged a sit-in at his office in '68, he didn't get the authorities, he got them coffee and doughnuts and listened to their grievances. Even though I laugh about being a 'mafia granddaughter' and sing little ditties about being torn between my orange and my green, it's this part of the family that simply leaves me bursting with pride.

So tonight I dragged my step-daughter into my own traditions. Fabric paint and the appropriate shirt of green was acquired - custom made Irish T by Miss N. will make it's debut tomorrow. I wanted to give her just a little bit of what I had as a child. That strong sense of heritage, of belonging to a special group with a great history. As we painted, she was told the colorful family legacy of the Flaherty's, Barrett's, Joyce's and Byrne's - and dare I say, a good part of it was true.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Just For Fun - Oscar Twitter Feed

Sadly you have to read it bottom to top --- because I'm lazy and tired now.

. RT@jonnyblackout:   


@kellyoxford @ebertchicago: Linda Hamilton is enjoying a cigar and some fine, aged brandy. via web 
Retweeted by you

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@JasonReitman : You have reason to be very proud! :-)

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Well, lost @jonnyblackout for the night. Now he's googling 'naked Helen Mirren'. Thanks @CocoMault :-p
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The ceremony sucked, but the commentary was pure Oscar gold wrapped around chocolate #OscarTweetFest'10
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RT @Alifjack James Cameron was all smiles till he realized he went home with jack sh*t tonight. hahaha sucks to be a brilliant asshole
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Aside from 'Drunken WeHo engagement' & '2nd place best dressed @ Hllywd '06', 'Tweetfest' Oscar Night has been the funnest Oscar Night ever!
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Those Oscars are heavy suckers. I had one wrapped in a sock in a gym bag on my living room floor for a while. It hurts when you kick 'em.
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And they'll all float to the Oscar parties on the tears of James Cameron.
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"I Am Woman" - Really academy orchestra?
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. RT@jonnyblackout:   


@trixifone: It's okay, he has a hooker, half a pound of blue makeup, and Sandra Bullock's phone #.
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Cameron is already crying in the limo.
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Yup - Still has a chip on her shoulder. Give it up Yentl!
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Oscar history HAS been made - a Razzie and Oscar win in one day!
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RT @Erik_Haltson This testimonial thing is weird. It's like an intervention for people who are addicted to being awesome.
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Don't Blink Oscar nominee!
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. jonnyblackout:   


Play the Dude off, keyboard cat.
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Yay! RT @jonnyblackout FLYNN WINS!!!!
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And people think that Colin was joking. In rehearsal that speech ended with 'lover'.
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@maxsparber: And that, in turn, sounds like a sex act #firththathill
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@theplate : Random PR dude got a mention for heavens sake. Even her death was overshadowed by M J - Poor Angel. ;-) #Farah
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@jonnyblackout @theplate : And Saturn 3, Canonball Run, Dr. T and the Women... #Farah
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@theplate : Hello - Logans Run! #Farah
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Noms for Best Documentary - Hurt Locker...oops, sorry.
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Snork! RT @jonnyblackout Hey! It's the guy who played me!
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I'm so glad that the Oscars are thoughtful enough to give us this interlude so that we can go refresh our drinks.
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Is there an LA performance of West Side Story woefully missing their performers tonight?
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AGREED! RT @ebertchicago No Farrah Fawcett in the memorial tribute? Major fail.
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@darrenroark: SUPER lame! #farahshun
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Seriously. Did I blink and miss her? They did some PR guy, but not THE poster girl of the 70's? I call Sham! #Farah
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Did they skip Farrah Fawcett? #OscarTribute
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. maxsparber   


Somebody from Avatar had better thank Roger Dean.
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Eli Roth - had a riveting conversation with him at a party once, then he went and humped part of a bouncy castle #truestory
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@FraggleRockstar : Edward Scissor Hands? Really? Perhaps they just thought 'well, it's Burton, so it must be horror'. #kindaclueless
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So, does a little part of Cameron die when Avatar loses one to another film?
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I think they're a little confused about what 'horror' is.
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Is that the violin music from Young Frankenstien? about 2 hours ago via web

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The genre we always ignor, so we're going to throw them a bone tonight! #Oscars
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@MINIPirate @kitty17kms :I think James Cameron's a douchebag w/vision & no ability whatsoever 2 write dialogue or a storyline w/depth.
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@Erik_Haltson :They don't show us the real sketches...which are on napkins....drawn while they're drunk.
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@maxsparber : That grossed me out a little bit. I don't want to see the 'it' that Oprah touched.

. Bacall, the one that coined the phrase 'Rat Pack'. A fine lady!
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Reitman is getting a lot of camera time....
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Oscar night will always remind me of the night I got engaged...and missed seeing the Oscars. #Oscars
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Well, at least Star Trek won something!
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I think that they gave so many to Carey to present because she looks so adorb! #weelittlepocketperson
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@Erik_Haltson : Only the really BIG ones are fixed ;-)
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Speechus Interuptus #Oscars
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@kitty17kms : Well, so is St. Patricks Day, so they best suck it up! #schoolnight
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Carrie Mulligan - DON'T BLINK! #sallysparrow
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Hah! RT @Erik_Haltson Excuse me, but that's "Samuel L. M#### F#### Jackson," to be correct.
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. ebertchicago   


What a great Oscar moment! The children of John Hughes.
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I was, is, and always shall be a 'duckgirl'. This is lovely. #johnhughes
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'You got a hard-on for trash?' *sigh* #jhughes
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Awww...John Hughes - TEAR!!!!! <3
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Tina Fey must have told her hairstylist that she wanted to look 'excited and full of energy'.
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Robert Downey Jr moment .............. brb............
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@maxsparber : Maybe it's his cute and quirky code for saying he's happy he gave up being with men for her? #rainbows
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So loved District 9! (my fingers are crossed in Indie hopefulness)
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All I really want to see is pretty dresses and who 'kacked it' this year. I'm so deep *sniffle* #Oscars

. Yay! THANK YOU!! @straythenomad found a live stream of the Oscar coverage on ilemi.com.
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Utterly annoyed by lack of live web feed of the Oscars. Yup, we're 1 of those 'no-TV couples' & are VERY snobbish about it (snobbish=rueful)
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Poor Quentin Tarantino - he's totally losing his voice! Diane Krueger - smoking hot old Hollywood look #Oscars

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I've read too many stories about Jennifer Lopez on Bitter Waitress. Even when I see her in a fluffy white gown, all I can think is 'ghetto'.
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It seems like Sigourney Weaver has the smolder of underlying annoyance in her eyes when discussing working with James Cameron. #Oscars
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Morgan Freeman is the epitome of cool. Go Easy Reader! #Oscars
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Tina Fey's 'do' makes her look like she's slightly startled. And Miley Syrus looks beautiful, but she must stop slouching! #Oscar
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. PoisonArrowPR   


Two (well, actually three) of the more noteworthy tweeters to follow during this years red carpet fun - @fuggirls & @ebertchicago #Oscars about 6 hours ago via web