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Sunday, October 15, 2017

A fallen hero: David Walsh

                                                               David Walsh

David Walsh, the sports writer, was one of my hero’s as I admired his journalistic tenacity and talent when he went after another sports hero and American icon that defined a decade or more, Lance Armstrong. He did not stop there. David looked closer to home in Ireland for yet another sporting hero, the cyclist Stephen Roche, and went after him in the year 2000 with the same zeal. David nailed Lance to the wall and rightly so but did not quite pull it off with Stephen. Overall it looked like David had slain Goliath and was mooching around for a more local victory but just not of the same high profile or pedigree. David was now the super hero himself by virtue of going after other imposters. There is always in anyones life a peak, whether it is in age or accomplishments, and the high point of David’s Walsh career was a man called Lance Armstrong. He has now fallen a lot further than Lance ever did or may ever do. This is in regard to David’s behaviour in defending the former Irish Times journalist Tom Humphries. 

                                                         Tom Humphries

Humphries went after a thirteen year child to groom her for his own sexual
gratification. He had sent her 16,000 texts in a three month period alone during that grooming and finally sexually assaulted her several times in his apartment. He was only found out when he handed his phone to his daughter to be donated to charity. He took out the sim card not realising his texts were still locked into the phone. His daughter read them and they were so graphic in nature that she handed the phone to her mother. At that moment Humphries wife not only knew that her marriage was over but the man that she was married to she had never known at all. She went to the police. That was 2010.

By 2012 David Walsh was and still is Humphries most ardent public supporter and tried to enlist a few more in that support. He asked another journalist, Paul Howard, to set up a sports magazine just for the benefit of Humphries. Paul turned him down. In a 2012 radio interview he repeatedly called Humphries a fine man. That opinion has not changed since. At least now we know what the definition of a fine man is by David’s standard when it comes to a man like Humphries where even Lance Armstrong or Stephen Roche cannot hold a candle to him. 

                                                           Donal Cusack

By 2017 David was back in court trumpeting again that Humphries, who is awaiting sentencing, was a great guy along with another fellow trumpeter, Donal Cusack. This character referencing is to try and make sure that Humphries does not get his three hots and a cot in a cell measuring 8 X4 where he belongs. Even in prison there is a moral code when it comes to child molesters. They rank at the bottom. Prisoners locked up inside have shown a more understanding of the problem than those outside underlining the rage that many of them felt that got them locked up in the first place. It must be remembered that Humphries only pleaded guilty just before the trial still looking like a rat in a trap trying yet to find way out.

Donal, a former all Ireland Cork GAA player, said, in defending his character reference about Humphries, was that he was helping a man in a dark place but failed to provide the same help to the child who had been raped with the same quality of empathy. She was no doubt in a more darker place and may never fully recover. David talked about the good volunteer work that Humphries did for the GAA sports company without considering that it was this very method he used to groom and finally assault a vulnerable child. The girl wanted to play camogie for her local GAA club and Humphries was the helpful coach.

Walsh said he could not abandon a friend. With a friend like Humphries then these two clowns have all the enemies they want who were once friends by defending him. Did Walsh and Cusack comfort his victim by their actions? No, they just made her sick to her stomach. 

The only lesson I have to remember is to beware of falling statues as they may hit you on the way down.

Barry Clifford

Monday, August 28, 2017

On matters of just boxing: The greatest ever, Floyd Mayweather

                                                                    Rocky Marciano

The great Rocky Marciano, who's record has proved if nothing else that he truly belonged at the top of the list of boxing's greatest, has finally been undone by the now greater Floyd Mayweather. I believe Floyd is the greatest boxer that has ever lived bar none which includes such luminaries as Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield to name but a few. What set Floyd apart from all of them, including Rocky, is that he rarely got hit for it was mainly him doing all the hitting. It seems that Floyd shares this opinion of himself as well and said it best as only he can in explaining why that is a fact:

                                                                   Mosley v Floyd

"What are we judging fighters on? Because if we are judging fighters on standing for a cause then it's Ali hands down. But if we are talking about the taking the least punishment and breaking records, it's Floyd Mayweather. Muhammad Ali paved the way for me to be where I am today, he's a legend but when we talk about breaking records we've got to talk about Ali losing his world title to a fighter with only seven fights. I have to take my hat off to Ali but I didn't give this sport 40 years to say that there's another fighter better than me."

                                                                        Ortiz V Floyd

The media called Floyd's opinion trash talk yet it is not just an opinion of Floyd's, it is the unvarnished truth. They grudgingly call him 'perhaps' the greatest fighter of his era. He is the greatest fighter of any era unless someone can conclusively prove otherwise by facts and the stats that has to go with it. Any opinion has to have substance before it can be elevated to anything more than trash talk itself.

                                                                   Hatton V Floyd

Ali, Foreman, Tyson, and Holyfield hit hard and got hit harder. All were knocked out not just once but several times in their careers. Ali would bear the very visible scars of these heavy hitters for the rest of his life and he would be mourned and pitied because of it long before he died and I was of those in the crowd mourning.

                                                            Cassius Clay V Sonny Liston

You cannot define a period of a career alone as the best ever but only a career in entirety. Cheery picking is the time when Ali was 20 years old until they stripped him of his title and his superior fighting skills when he was 26 years old, which was the best Ali ever was or would ever be again. He was the young Mayweather then without doubt. When he made his comeback it was a slow Ali and getting slower, and this at only 29 years old. He had to learn then to be a slugger rather the pugilistic artist he once was. Long before all that, a very young Cassius Clay appeared in a cameo role in the movie 'Requiem Of A Heavyweight' in 1962; Cassius had yet to play the ageing Muhammad Ali who also had to step into a wrestling ring just like the ageing Louis "Mountain" Rivera had, the main character played by Anthony Quinn, as he tried belatedly to make some much needed money when it really mattered. It was art imitating life in the most tragic and visible sense and one that turned out to be a terrible brutal reality and a postscript of what was yet to come for Ali.

                                                              Muhammad Ali V Inoki                                                  

Floyd is still pretty boy Floyd and bears no scars physically or mentally except those from an understandable wounded pride. And that pride has been attacked on its own merit and little else and led by one very angry media emotion: jealousy. Floyd will beat that too for the only foe anyone has really in life is oneself and he is not into self-flagellation. Every aspect of his spending is analysed with the scrutiny of a mad accountant, every historical domestic spat heightened to more lurid accounts of what really happened. We all have but one life and he lives it as he sees fit and hurts nobody outside of a boxing ring. If it sells newspapers, truth or fiction, then 'what the hell' is the media narrative and don't let the truth get in the way of a good story; not that it ever did anyway. For my dollar I will always bet on Floyd "money" Mayweather as the best there every was or is ever likely to be.

                                                                    Mc Gregor V Floyd

It was the 21st of September 1955 since Rocky Marciano made 49 and 0, almost 62 years ago. It will be a lot longer than that before Floyd Mayweather's record of 50 and 0 will be broken. One way or the other his legacy is secure as the greatest inside of any boxing ring; all the rest is just an opinion.

Barry Clifford

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


For those of us that are fortunate enough not to be lonely it is perhaps timely for us to remember those that are. These people live in Oughterard and throughout Connemara, and don’t stop there, they are everywhere and in every corner of this beautiful planet. They have no significant other in their lives because of feckless children, bereavement, depression, or were on a path where they never got around to having a partner in their lives because of shyness or believing that someone was going to get a share in their land. In the end the lonely persons were to be the only ones on that patch of green, a single person living a life now of regret.

There are a myriad of other reasons why this is so as well and scribes have spoken about it for centuries and will continue to do so as I do now. To be truly lonely can be comparable to the loneliness of a polar bear adrift in a vast soulless ocean where it is only him or her alone and always will be.  

It can be destroying in any countryside even more so for any person who is without the benefit or the distraction of a busy city life, and where the beautiful scenery is just not enough anymore; it can also lead to early illness and an earlier death. You may have noticed these almost forgotten people from time to time where ‘All the lonely people where do they all come from’ was so poignantly observed in the Beatle’s song Eleanor Rigby. They are all hidden in plain sight.

Sometimes you might notice them in the check out line of a supermarket, complaining enough just to make conversation. It is often the curmudgeon at the bar giving harsh voice about the young or how it was better in their day. What they are really hoping for, awkwardly so, is the wish that they are interesting enough to you that you will hang around long enough to at least listen a while and see beyond the fact that they talk just a little too much.

It is sometimes supposed that they seem to drink too much when is in fact the only company or friend that they have, as long as they can afford it. What can anyone, other that observe that loneliness is more than a state of mind, do about it? A lot.

If we just take one and preferably two hours a week to visit a person on their own, it will not make a whole lot of difference to our week but mean everything to who you choose to visit. It is as simple as that. You won’t have to try too hard to find out where they are. Even just a few phone calls every week to a person that feels they don't even exist anymore takes a lot less effort and time. For the person on their own to be relevant is to breathe itself and encourages the wish to continue to do so.

If you don't have a lonely person in your life perhaps it is time to find at least one. The local community centre is a good place too start, or the local retirement home, or ask a friend do they know somebody that needs somebody.  Someone always does.

Barry Clifford

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ancient Viking Laws For Living

Be not a braggart for if any work done be praise-worthy, others will sing your praises for you

The unwise man is awake all night worries over and again. When morning rises he is restless still, his burden as before.

Go you must. No guest shall stay in one place forever. Love will be lost if you sit too long at a friend’s fire.

Be your friend’s true friend. Return gift for gift. Repay laughter with laughter again, but repay betrayal with treachery

Moderately wise a man should be, not too crafty or clever. A learned man’s heart whose learning is too deep seldom sings with joy 

A farm of your own is better, even if small for everyone’s someone at home. Though he has two goats and a coarsely roofed house it is still better than begging.

A lying tongue had bereft him of living and life, and all without reason or right

Deceit sleeps with greed

Even three words of quarreling you shouldn’t have with an inferior

The coward thinks he will live forever if he keeps away from fighting; but old age won’t grant him a truce even if the spears do. 

Tell never an evil man if misfortunes thee befall

Wake early if you want another man’s life or land. No lamb for the lazy wolf, no battle won in bed.

Monday, August 14, 2017

John Waters said

                                                                   John Waters (left)

On social welfare recipients:
“There should be no question, in a free and fair society, of the forced redistribution of earned income to assist those who are, for whatever reason, negative contributors to society.
Imagine how you would feel if, instead of having to subsidise your work- free neighbour, you had to accept direct responsibility by talking him into your home and catering to all his needs. How long would you tolerate him hanging around your sitting room, eating your corn-flakes, and flicking around your Sky package?”

On Paedophlilia:
“They (the media) don’t regard paedophilia as a serious matter at all. If clerical abuse did not exist in the church, I greatly suspect that we would by now have a campaign to legalise paedophillia from these quarters (the media).
Was it the case that the thrust for acceptance of paedophilia was stymied only by the emergence of the clerical abuse scandals in the Church, which the left saw as an opportunity to destroy the authority of the Church?”

On closing the Irish embassy in the Vatican because of their cover up of the sexual abuse of children:
“An opportunistic act of neurotic bigotry by militant atheists seeking to impose their myopic beliefs on the rest of us. The closure of the Irish Embassy in the Vatican is further evidence that we are now governed by the most bigoted, anti- religious administration in the history of the State.”

On secular education:
“ A ‘secular’ education sets out to produce citizens, consumers and functionaries rather than human beings animated with affection and curiosity. No longer will our children be told that they are Christ’s chosen ones, but instead the accidental offspring of the pointless oozing of primordial slime, units of meat and bone, existing for random junctures by bread and rules in a pointless, meaningless, and indifferent universe.”
They call this ‘rationalisism,’ but have no idea where it will lead. Like chimpanzees with hammers poised over the engine of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, they gibber their stunted nonsense and set enthusiastically to work.”

Can anyone take this man serious bar himself; he even calls himself a journalist. Finally the Irish Times realised that he was not a journalist either and got rid of the self professed bard. Phew! Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I am free at last. 

By Barry Clifford

Life's looking glass

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him/her, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy. “

“ If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

“ Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy, but this is not accurate. You make yourself unhappy.”

“ In interactions with others, instead of trying to be right, why don’t we try to be kind?”

 “Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you.”

“ It is impossible to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.”

The child in you, like all children, loves to laugh, to be around people who can laugh at themselves and life. Children instinctively know that the more laughter we have in our lives the better.”

W W Dyer

Saturday, August 12, 2017

In matters of war

"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on"
Ulysses S Grant. American civil war general

"During war, laws are silent"
Cicero. Roman philosopher and statesman
"Let us be frank: provoking military-political instability and other regional conflicts is also a convenient way of deflecting people’s attention from mounting social and economic problems. Regrettably, further attempts of this kind cannot be ruled out."
Vladimir Putin. leader of Russia

"When the swords flash let no idea of love, piety, or even the face of your fathers move you."
Gallus Julius Caesar. Roman military leader

"I have made all the calculations; fate will do the rest"
Napoleon Bonaparte. French general

"We made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake. We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers."
Robert E Lee. American civil war general

"It is certain that the two World Wars in which I have participated would not have occurred had we been prepared. It is my belief that adequate preparation on our part would have prevented or materially shortened all our other wars beginning with that of 1812. Yet, after each of our wars, there has always been a great hue and cry to the effect that there will be no more wars, that disarmament is the sure road to health, happiness, and peace; and that by removing the fire department, we will remove fires. These ideas spring from wishful thinking and from the erroneous belief that wars result from logical processes. There is no logic in wars. They are produced by madmen. No man can say when future madmen will reappear. I do not say that there will be no more wars; I devoutly hope that there will not, but I do say that the chances of avoiding future wars will be greatly enhanced if we are ready."
George S Patton. American World War 11 general

"One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are a statistic"
Joseph Stalin. Russian World War 11 leader

"My Patience is at an end."

Adolf Hitler. Leader of Germany 1939