Feb 28, 2012

This and That

I got an email from a friend last night saying she saw my face when she was in Berlin last week. I've been so busy working on a couple of different deadlines, visiting New York City's museums for Fodor's Travel Guides, getting a year older, getting my pup a haircut, and avoiding household duties, that I didn't even notice that I was in Berlin ... but it seems like the perfect explanation for my absence here, so let's go with it.

A few things I would have talked about if I wasn't not at a film festival in Berlin ...

1661 Poitin

Irish entrepreneur Ashlee Casserly is on a mission to make you the life of the party. A native of Westmeath now living in Washington DC, Casserly was recently successfully funded in her Kickstarter project to bring some authentic Irish culture to the States in the shape of Poitín, the thousand-year-old Irish liquor banned by the British Crown in 1661 (hence the name). Instead of showing up to a party with a bottle of been-there-drank-that Jameson or Baileys, you can soon produce a bottle of Poitín—a drink  rooted in Irish tradition, history, and spirit (it may have been banned for three-hundred-years but it was secretly distilled all across Ireland), but appealing to a modern, discerning drinker. By all appearances, 1661 will be the real deal, handcrafted in small batches in an Irish distillery using only local Irish ingredients.  

We may have missed the boat on funding the first batch of Poitín (bummer, we also missed out on the cool T-Shirt and our names on the packaging) but I'll stay in touch with the makers and shakers so we can all be ready to swap out our whiskeys, bourbons, and vodkas and shake up our cocktails with this old-but-new rocket fuel. Check out Casserly's recipes for Cucumber Poitini, The Kennedy (a cranberry-Poitín cocktail), and Irish Iced Tea for inspiration and get ready to raise your glass to Irish innovation. Watch this space ...

Sinéad O'Connor

Sinéad O'Connor just released her new album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? Rolling Stone Magazine calls it her "strongest album in years." Not sure if that's because it's her first recording in five years, but I just downloaded it and can't wait to decide for myself.  I want to love it. Already love that O'Connor told RS that she would have called her album "How About I Be Me (And You Fuck Off)?" but she was worried Walmart wouldn't stock it.
Sinéad is currently touring to promote the album and a review of her El Rey concert on the L.A. Times Music Blog made me wish I could have caught her in action while she was in New York last week: 
"As she made her way to the microphone, many were perhaps wondering whether she had endured some sort of breakdown, and if so, how it would manifest itself during the concert. There were probably even a few gawkers in attendance. But as the capacity crowd welcomed her with a collective cheer that seemed filled with compassion, O’Connor flashed a big smile and those dimples shined; her eyes lighted up, and a palpable sense of relief filled the El Rey. She’s OK. Now, can she still sing?
Yes. Holy mother of God, yes... " 
How about I give the album a listen (and you give it a listen, too)?

Listen to two songs from Sinéad's new album for free on Soundcloud
Download her new album on Amazon ($5.99)

Work Your Angles

I've been dusting off my resume the past week and taking a realistic look at strengths and weaknesses, things I like to do and things I don't like to do, and considering what I bring to the table and what I already want to find at same table (if I must leave my own table at home). I came across this"Hire Me I'm Irish" T-Shirt and was reminded of a time years ago when I was hired because my interviewer's Grandmother had the same surname as my Grandmother. Hey, in this economy, you have to work every angle ...

HireMeTee, $16.95

Happy Tuesday!

Feb 1, 2012

Tomorrow (and Yesterday)

The Cranberries were the unofficial soundtrack to my early nineties (thanks for saying I don't look a day past 89 but I'm referring to the decade, not my age!). Every time I hear the song "Empty" I'm back on a bench on a wide suburban Dublin street. On a Tuesday. On my way to a doctor's office for my Immigration health screening. Two hours early. Dressed in my least-ripped jeans. Feeling a bit lost and scared. Listening to my yellow walkman. Yes, my walkman.

"Something has left my life and I don't know where it went to. Somebody caused me strife and it's not what I was seeking. Didn't you see me? Didn't you hear me? Didn't you see my standing there? Why did you turn out the lights, Did you know that I was sleeping?" stops me.
Guts me.
I sit back on a bench and cry openly. No one cries openly in Ireland. That's why we travel. A woman with a busy body way about her stops, gingerly sets her plastic bags of carrots, biscuits, and tea bags between us on the bench, and asks if she can help. She means it.  I feel bad for thinking she's a busy body. I want to give her my headphones so she can hear, and maybe have a bit of a cry, too.

"Say a prayer for me. Help to feel the strength I did. My identity, has it been taken? Is my heart breaking on me?All my plans fell though my hands, They fell Though my hands on me. All my dreams it suddenly seems, It suddenly seems, Empty."

"You'll be grand, love," she says as she gathers up her plastic bags.
She was right. I was grand, and so was Dolores, by the sounds of Roses, The Cranberries' first album in over a decade. Check out their first single, "Tomorrow:"

Can't but wish for a little more grit, but it's a catchy song, and it's good to hear Dolores O'Riordan's voice (and the original Cranberries ensemble) again. Wikipedia tells me she's only a few years older than me so it makes sense that instead of "Zombie," "Disappointment," "The Icicle Melts," and "Empty," these  days she's singing "Tomorrow could be too late, tomorrow could be so great, if only you had some faith." She and I should go for a pint because we're obviously in the same place; neither of us has the time—nor the dramatic energy—to be sitting in someone else's shopping, crying.

Tomorrow will be here before we know it. (No need to argue.)

Preorder Roses from Amazon and iTunes.
Get tour dates and news on Cranberries.com.
Stalk Dolores  on FB and their official YouTube channel.