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Watch Little Boy Blue 1997

watch little boy blue 1997

My best friend: The Embrace of Life, the Loss of Life. His Spirit Soared!

My best friend: The Embrace of Life, the Loss of Life. His Spirit Soared!

We all have had childhood friendships. We all had “best friends.” Sometimes those friendships span a life well into adulthood. This was no less true for me. His name was Barry McConnell He was my friend. He was my best friend.

This was a friendship unlike others. It was a friendship bound by mutual admiration and esteem. It was a friendship that was woven with bitter irony.

Read on.

At a very young age, seven or eight years old, I fell into a bad of local lovable misfits: The McConnell brothers---respectfully Blake, Blaire and Barry—were an extended family of all brothers that also included Bill, Brian, Bruce and Brent. The grand total in the McConnell family was seven boys. I was astonished to behold such a large family.

Around the age of ten I had already honed my smart-ass ways: “The next letter in the alphabet is C,” I quipped to Mr. and Mrs. Connell, taking note of the fact that each boy’s name began with the letter ‘B’.

Of all the McConnell brothers, it was Barry who stood out. I was blown away by his insanely inspired comical abilities. Once, I had a seltzer bottle at hand and was stricken with a wicked whim: just for the hell of it, I squirted Barry in the face. Barry, as if on cue, immediately dropped to the floor clapping his hands together yelping like a seal. It was uproarious. I was astonished at Barry’s spontaneous zaniness as his impressive take of a seal.

All the McConnell brothers proved to be certifiable lunatics looking for trouble and fun. But it was Barry and me who were not to be outmatched by the others. “You guys are crazy,” Blake would say said when Barry and I pushed the envelope too far on some prank.

The McConnell brothers and I hung around store fronts like Bowery boys sipping Cokes and snacking on Cracker Jacks. There we were, young louts hanging around on the streets arrogantly popping gum, our shoe laces carelessly tied and jeans tattered. As a group of restless teens, we agreed that life is all far too tedious for unruly punks inclined to have fun and disrupt the social order.

Our pranks bonded us. We were each other’s best friend, but that friendship had to be demonstrated. For example, a test of true friendship was measured by letting a guy take a swig from your bottle without wiping it off afterwards.

“Hey, don’t hog it all, Pross!” Barry complained after entrusting me with his Coke. I gulped the drink and Barry snatched it from my hand.

“Hey, I’ll let you have a sip from mine one day, McConnell,” I complained, wiping my mouth off. “Don’t flip out.”

Addressing a guy by his last name meant you respected him; it was a form of male bonding to call him by his sir name. Slighting a friend was also a way of masking the esteem you felt. “Hey, Pross,” you nigger lipped my Coke,” Barry said, examining the bottle as if searching for prints.

The insults rolled out as if on cue:
“Eat my shorts, McConnell.”
“Eat my mother, tool.”
“I will. I had to take a number.”

Feeling that they were becoming too unruly, Mr. and Mrs. McConnell forced their sons to attend church. I tagged along for the hell of it. I was enormously inspired by the solemn atmosphere of the services, insofar as it served as a foil for my devilishness. But it wasn’t just that: I was perplexed by the referential attitude that this primitive superstition elicited. The McConnell brothers, especially Barry, simply hated the whole process. A religion that supposedly exalted love and joy was, in practice, a set of dreary duties and a source of agonized idiocy.

Seeking relief from the boredom, Barry and I would laugh ourselves silly during the actual services. What we found hilarious was the rigid solemnity of the rituals and the vacant expression from people who looked as if they had just been chloroformed. “These assholes look as if they wished they were somewhere else.

They look as if they are called upon only by duty,” Barry said, making what I thought was a perceptive observation.

Seeking relief from boredom, Barry and I would laugh ourselves silly during the actual services. What he found hilarious was the rigid solemnity of the rituals and the vacant expressions from people who looked as if they had just been chloroformed. Other congregation members looked as if they wished they were somewhere else and were called upon only by duty.

Barry’s restless nature came to full force. Born with an uncanny ability for mimicry, he gave way to imitating the minister’s speaking manner with an eerie accuracy that was both amazing and hilarious. Barry could make me laugh with a simple comical remark, a subtitle nuance in the voice or facial expression. My amusement would inspire Barry to indulge further in his antics.

Feeling competitive with Barry, I would try to match his comic skills with my own brand of humor: I drew funny pictorials of the congregation and the minister. “Here, take a look,” I said, dropping the drawing in Barry’s lap. Barry laughed out loud, and this would get us all g



In the recent past, Saint Patrick's Day was celebrated only as a religious holiday. It became a public holiday in 1903, by the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by the Irish MP James O'Mara. O'Mara later introduced the law which required that pubs be closed on March 17, a provision which was repealed only in the 1970s. The first St. Patrick's Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931 and was reviewed by the then Minister of Defence Desmond Fitzgerald. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday is still a religious observance in some areas.

It was only in the mid-1990s that the Irish government began a campaign to use Saint Patrick's Day to showcase Ireland and its culture. The government set up a group called St. Patrick's Festival, with the aim to:

—Offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebrations in the world and promote excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity.
—Provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent, (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations.
—Project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal, as we approach the new millennium.

The first Saint Patrick's Festival was held on March 17, 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long.

Many Irish people still wear a bunch of shamrocks on their lapels or caps on this day or green, white, and orange badges (after the colours of the Irish flag). Girls and boys wear green in their hair. Artists draw shamrock designs on people's cheeks as a cultural sign, including American tourists.

Although Saint Patrick's Day has the colour green as its theme, one little known fact is that blue was once the colour associated with this day.

The biggest celebrations on the island of Ireland outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, where Saint Patrick was buried following his death on March 17, 493. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick's Festival had over 2000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers, and was watched by over 30,000 people.

The day is celebrated by the Church of Ireland as a Christian festival. Saint Patrick's Day as a celebration of Irish culture was rarely acknowledged by Northern Irish loyalists, who consider it a festival of the Irish Republicans. The Belfast City Council recently agreed to give public funds to its parade for the first time; previously the parade was funded privately.[citation needed] The Belfast parade is based on equality and only the flag of St. Patrick is supposed to be used as a symbol of the day to prevent it being seen as a time which is exclusively for Republicans and Nationalists. This allowed both Unionists and Nationalists to celebrate the day together. The Unionists (orangemen) wear orange instead of green on St. Patrick's day; both colors are in the Irish flag, and orange represents the protestants of Northern Ireland.

Since the 1990s, Irish Taoisigh have sometimes attended special functions either on Saint Patrick's Day or a day or two earlier, in the White House, where they present shamrock to the President of the United States. A similar presentation is made to the Speaker of the House. Originally only representatives of the Republic of Ireland attended, but since the mid-1990s all major Political parties in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are invited, with the attendance including the representatives of the Irish government, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Fein and others. No Northern Irish parties were invited for these functions in 2005. In recent years, it is common for the entire Irish government to be abroad representing the country in various parts of the world. In 2003, the President of Ireland celebrated the holiday in Sydney, the Taoiseach was in Washington, while other Irish government members attended ceremonies in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Savannah, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Korea, Japan, and Brazil.

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