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I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in "Cheers & Jeers".  

OK, you've been warned - here is this week's tomfoolery material that I posted.

ART NOTES - prints and paintings (between the 1920's and 40's) by Georges Rouault are at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma through April 20th.

POLITICAL NOTES #1 - recent elections in Serbia have given a former subordinate of Slobodan Milosevic more power than any leader ... since Milosevic. Yet Aleksandar Vucic has softened his nationalistic tendencies of the past and appears to want greater ties to the West.

THE OTHER NIGHT yours truly hosted the Top Comments diary with a look at what I consider to be (at least so far) the linguistic trend of the 21st Century: responding to questions not with an "Umm", or "Well" ... but instead with "So .."

THURSDAY's CHILD is a Virginia kitteh rescued from a townhouse fire, suffering from smoke inhalation - but given oxygen by firefighters and is now recuperating at an animal hospital.

POLITICAL NOTES #2 - this past weekend, France held the first round of its local elections ... and although coming in second on the first ballot: in the upcoming runoff election, Anne Hidalgo - the daughter of Spanish immigrants - is expected to garner enough Green Party votes to be elected as the first female mayor of Paris.

HAIL and FAREWELL to Ralph Wilson - one of the founders of the AFL and owner of the Buffalo Bills - who has died at the age of 95.

FRIDAY's CHILD is Cye the Cat - an Ontario kitteh certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's shortest cat (just 13.6 centimeters, or 5.35 inches) from floor to shoulder.

BRAIN TEASER - try this Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC.

CONGRATULATIONS to Japanese architect Shigeru Ban - who has designed both grand buildings as well as temporary structures for refugees and evacuees all over the world - who has won the 2014 Pritzker Prize: the highest award in the field of architecture.

SEPARATED at BIRTH - US Senate (R-NC) primary candidate Thom Tillis - who has listed two different colleges as his alma mater - and Doug Collins - the veteran NBA basketball star, coach and broadcaster.

   

...... and finally, for a song of the week ................................ someone whose work can he heard in Irish pubs around the world today is Pete St. John yet who - although a noted performer himself - has often seen his works become well-known through other performers. But he along with Phil Coulter, Rory Gallagher and Christy Moore reflect a generation of Irish performers who came-of-age in the 1970's and offered a fresh, more wide-ranging Irish voice than the traditional John McCormack tenor songs of yore.

Born Peter Mooney in Dublin, he worked at many different crafts before embarking on a career in music. Educated as an electrician, he emigrated first to Canada, then spent time in Alaska, Central America and the West Indies. He eventually became an electrical contracting executive in the US, spending nearly 15 years before returning to Dublin in the late 1970's.

Along the way, he became very active in the peace and civil rights movements - that, along with his concern about unemployment and other social issues led him to begin writing songs about social issues.

He didn't, though, forget about more traditional Irish themes - and The Fields of Athenry is his most noted composition; describing a man who was caught stealing grain during the Great Famine and was banished to Australia. True-to-form, it was versions by Danny Doyle and Paddy Reilly which became the famous versions.

He has two sons who live in the US and given his fifteen years living here: he wrote two tributes to 911 in the USA and a follow-up 911...The Answer later ... and you can listen to the first song at this link from his US site.

More recently, he has had success and praise for his song Never Drink & Drive - and been cited for his efforts in diabetes research as well. Pete St. John has received awards for not only his music but his works for peace organizations - and it's a safe bet that in Irish pubs world-wide, you can hear some of his songs performed not only at St. Patrick's Day - but year-round.

   

Upon returning to Dublin in the late 1970's, Pete St. John was distraught at some of the changes he saw had taken place over the years. And one of the first songs he wrote was not a traditional Irish theme (the Famine, the Crown, the Troubles) but one of loss of the old places - a theme you might here in any musical genre.

Dublin in the Rare Ould Times (fair-use extract below) was first made famous by the Dublin City Ramblers and is a song that you could request from a band performing at a traditional Irish pub ...... and probably receive. Below link you can hear its most famous version (by the Dubliners).

The years have made me bitter
The gargle’s dimmed me brain
‘Cause Dublin keeps on changing
And nothing seems the same
The Pillar and the Met have gone
The Royal long since pulled down
As the grey unyielding concrete
Makes a city of my town

Fare thee well, sweet Anna Liffey
I can no longer stay
And watch the new glass cages
That spring up along the Quay
My mind’s too full of memories
Too old to hear new chimes
I’m part of what was Dublin
In the rare ould times

Ring-a-ring-a-rosey
As the light declines
I remember Dublin City
In the rare ould times

Originally posted to DKOMA on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 08:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks.

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