Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Paddy's Day and a Few New Facts and Tidbits about Guinness

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, the national holiday of my heritage, i was required byt cultural obligation to down not just my usual half  Guinness maybe twice a week, but instead a full bottle. This left me feeling  little full as well as full of myself, but everyoneaournd me was in a similar state so no one was exactly in a position to compalin. I think the therapeutic value of Guinness for me is best when I limit myself to half a bottle a couple times a week, but that doesn't mean that I can't indulge a bi further for a really good cause, and If, St, Paddy's Day isn't a worthy cause I don't know what would be one. Invasion by the Visigoths, maybe?

Anyway, if one keeps ones mind open and relatively lucid (the key is relative here; being 100% lucid on Saint Patrick's Day is a waste of perfectly good Guinness) one can learn at least one new thing virtually every day of his or her life. today i was able to do just that. I came across a website that listed twenty interesting facts and novelties regarding guiness. I'll give you the website and allow you to peruse at your leisure. I will  insult neither your intelligence nor your ability to read anything without me interpreting it for you. I will, however share just a very few of my favorite intersting tidbits regarding Guinness.

One thing I learned is that Guinness Bubbles are significantly different than the bubbles of any other beer. they're a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen,  which gives a theick head, very little carbonation, and a smooth taste. Advertising executive and atist john Gilroy came up with the 1930's ad campaign, 'Guinness is good for you." A 1930's University of Wisconsin study (maybe not the most objective of academic institutions where alcohol consumption is the subject of a study, though still probably more objexctive in that regard than the univerity I attend) found that Guninnes contained  high anti-oxidnt properties and a hgih iron content. also, the Guinness company that brews stout is affiliated with the guinnes book of World records. A 1954 Guninness executive, Hugh Beave , was an argumentative sort, and chose to use the company's resources to commission an official reference guide to solve all disputes.  The site contains a wealth of information besides what I've shared. Check it out.

Regarding my mom's party, the highlight was pribably when she my mom standing in her Steinway (it's a good thing it was her piano; no amount of drunkenness would make me think it was OK for anyone to stand on my piano, even if the person were a lightweight) singing "Carrickfergus" while my Uncle Scott accompanied her on a harp someone borrowed from someone who knew someone who  owns a harp that is hardly ever used.( If the people had known it was being lent to beople who stand on top of their own pianos, they probably never would have let my relative have it, but no one stood on the harp, anyway, It's not easy to stand on a harp when it's in an upright position. I could probably manage it if I tried, but why would I try?) Anyway, My Uncle Scott, who doesn't actually know how to play the harp, was doing his best to pluck out chords to the song as my mom sang it. Playing a harp when you don't know how is easier thn it sounds, as it is linear, as are the keys of the piano, and follows a logical diatonic progression. Still, that doesn't mean my Uncle Scott didn't make more than a few mistakes while playing this song, "CarrickFergus," while my mom sang it, which to me just made the whole thing funnier. The anount of booze he had probably did nothing to assist him in his technical accurracy, either.

"Carrickfergus" is a song about a woman who lived in -- surprise, surprise -- Carrickfergus when she was young. Now that she's old and feeble, she'd swim across the ocean to get there to her own true love, but he's dead anyway, and besides, she knows she'd drown trying to swim there. (It kind of reminds me of that 80's movie, A Trip to Bountiful.)She needs a handsome boatman to ford her across the sea. There's little point of going there, anyway, as her childhood friends and old relations have all passed on. She probably has some really good genes working in her favor, or maybe she's a Seventh-Day Adventist (statistically, they're supposed to be healthier even thn the Mormons). So now, since there's no other reason left for her to go to Carrickfergus and to that long road that leads to the sea, she just wants the handsome boatman to ferry her there so she can die and the young men can carry her casket to some scenic spot in a graveyard. Isn't this song a barrel of laughs for a party?

My mom and two of her sisters were sobbing before my mom finished singing the song. My dad thought it was about as hysterical as I thought it was. My dad says he doesn't care WHAT my mom's will says: "Carrikfergus" will not be sung at her funeral, rosary, or wake if he outlives her, and he says that if he doesn't and I do, it's my solemn responsibility to make sure that the song is not sung at any function in connection with her death because it's a silly, highly bathos  song.

Erin go Bragh! (My mom's name is Erin.)



  1. Belting out 'Carrickfergus' atop a Steinway. I like it.
    This little incident from Mulligans Bar yeterday.

    "Hello, Mulligans Bar?
    "I'd Like to speak to Maya Buttreeks."
    "Hold on, .....Maya Buttreeks!....Anyone here know Maya Buttreeks?"
    "Ha, ha, ha, ha, your butt reeks all the time, you should change your pants more often!"

    I think you should 'fess up Alexis.

  2. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Your parents sound very cool.

  3. I love this story and would have absolutely loved to have watched this scenario play out! Sounds like your parents and family are a lot of fun to hang out with.

    I'm not Irish, I'm Scottish/Welsh. At least my ancestors were. My son in law is Irish. His family cracks me up.

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  5. Amy, my family, or at least my immediate family, my mom's side of the family, and the few of my dad's siblings and their spouses and kids with whom we associate, are fun most of the time. We all have our moments, but I suppose that's normal.

    I've only briefly been in a part of Scotland, but what I saw was breathtakingly beautiful, and I really want to go back to see more of it. i don't know much of Wales, but the Welsh people I;ve known have been fine, fun people.