Monthly Archives: September 2015

Scott Archer Jones Author- THE BIG WHEEL

THE BIG WHEEL

by Scott Archer Jones

Robko Zlata is sprinting across America, on the run with a call girl-his ex-wife-on a hot red motorcycle. Robko is a thief, and he has stolen the wrong thing, a device that can guarantee immortality. His wrathful target, a corrupt billionaire politician, wants the world’s greatest piece of technology back. Robko’s new worst enemy unleashes his fortune and corporate security in unrelenting pursuit. “Golden Boy” Thomas Steward is asked to follow the money and uncover the thief with massive illegal surveillance. Thomas, morphing into his prey, becomes the most dangerous of hunters. But Thomas could die too. A gang of ex-mercenaries, good at killing, torture, and rape, are hot on the heels of Robko and Thomas. The thugs are ready to murder anyone who knows about the immortality device. Throw in the underground world of thieves and billionaires, drugs and punk clubs, five-star hotels and cheap motels, and Robko and Thomas are in for one hell of a crash. As in the best of plots, nothing

The Big Wheel is a finalist for the NM – Arizona Book Awards as a drama/action novel. There are 5 other great books up, so we won’t hold our breath, but surely a book in a SW contest that has scenes in an illegal L.A. bar will win?

Available at: syppublishing.com   Amazon.com   Barnes&Noble.com

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Bob Boze Bell Author- TRUE WEST MOMENTS

TRUE WEST MOMENTS

by Bob Boze Bell

Arizona’s Most Outrageous Historian

History with some bark!

Where Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Bob Boze Bell tells it like it is, true history, warts and all, with a pinch of outrageousness thrown in.  Go to bobozebell.net for contact info and book signings.

Some history you can chuckle at!

“I always look forward to Bob Boze Bell’s TRUE WEST MOMENTS.  These fascinating and colorful little nuggets of information keep the history of the Old West alive and lively.”- Marshall Trimble, Official Arizona State Historian

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Mattie Lennon Irish Author- THE HILLS ABOVE THE VALLEY

THE HILLS ABOVE THE VALLEY.

By Mattie Lennon.

   Some years ago I was producing a DVD Sunrise on the Wicklow Hills” and it was a struggle to get fourteen or fifteen Wicklow songs. It would appear that there was a dearth of songwriters in the Garden County.  All that has changed. Wicklow singer/songwriter Barry Kinane is bringing out an album, “The Hills above the Valley.”

    All are Wicklow songs which, in the true ballad tradition, tell tales of love, hardship, tragedy, hope and humour.

The Hills Above the Valley.

Where Brook waters Flow.

Biddy Mulvey and the Landgrabber.

Mrs O’s Delight.

Mary.

Cockahoof.

The Ballyknockan Band.

Ballinahown.

A Stonecutter’s Journey.

Madonna and Lion.

 All tracks are composed by Barry.

  Barry, who grew up in Ballyknockan is married with two children and lives in Carrigacurra, overlooking the beautiful Blessington Lakes.   He has been a songwriter and composer of music most of his life and I started playing in bands as a teenager.

     In the past decade he has released eight albums, five with critical acclaimed band Glyder, a solo album, a project album with “Maggie Simpson” and an album with The Whole Hog Band. His music has been played on BBC, RTE and their equivalent stations in Sweden, Germany and Norway as well as rock shows all over the world. A track was played on the legendary “Nights with Alice Cooper” show which was syndicated all over the world. While in Glyder he toured all over Europe and opened for international acts like Metallica, Slash, Thin Lizzy and many more. Glyder were a well-respected band in the rock scene in UK and Europe and the albums were released internationally on SPV (Steamhammer) for Europe and USA and JVC Victor for Asia. In 2010 I released a solo album, “A lifetime to Kill” described as “folk prog” by Hot Press magazine. It featured Johnny Cash’s bass player Dave Rorick as well as top Irish musicians Rob Strong and Pat McManus. It got favourable press and some airplay in Ireland on RTE and regional shows.

   He recently released a country and Bluegrass album, which he recorded and produced in his own studio with The Whole Hog Band album called “Ordinary Days”. It features some of Ireland’s finest bluegrass musicians. It received the award of best debut album at the Leinster Entertainment Awards.

Barry has  been finalist in many song writing competitions and in 2014  won the prestigious  Sean McCarthy Ballad writing competition in Listowel, Co. Kerry, says “ I have written in many styles ranging from rock, folk, country, metal, pop and soul.”

   The CD is due for release in Mid-November and will be available from Barry at; bat.kinane@gmail.comBarry

Mattie Lennon

mattielennon@gmail.com

 

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Mattie Lennon Irish Author- LAR AN’ DAN AN’ PAT

                                                                   LAR AN’ MATT AN’ DAN AN’ PAT

                                                                                                            By  Mattie Lennon.

“Stone is lasting: all life ends in death, but stone lives on.”  (Michael McLaverty.)

In My father’s time . . .(I’m beginning to sound like the late Eamon Kelly . . . if only.) anyway, in the early days of the last century there was a Cullen man, in Ballinastocken,   who  was known as  “LaaBaa .” I’ve no idea what the nickname means or where it came from. I once asked an old schoolmaster in Lacken, who was into numerology, and he told me that the life path number of LAABAA is 9. The Destiny Number 9 in numerology stands for the ubiquity of the immortal soul and therefore the nine is always surrounded by an aura of mystery and mysticism. Those  born with this number will have much success in life. What I do know is that the soubriquet adhered so persistently to Mr Cullen that only those of his own age or older knew what his real first-name was.

   He is remembered mainly for rhyming-off the names of his four brothers who went to America in the 1890s, “Lar an’ Matt an’ Dan an’ Pat.” Three of them were stonecutters who learned their trade in Ballyknockan.    I was recently contacted by Marge Campbell, in Illinois, a granddaughter of Matt, who is very proud of her Irish ancestry.

   Laurence Cullen emigrated first and settled in Chicago where he was joined by Matthew and Patrick both of whom worked at Stearns Quarry. In 1901 the both left, for Superior, Wisconsin,  and joined the William Penn Stone Company.  Both brothers married in 1901   at Christ the King Cathedral, Superior.

    Patrick worked in Vancouver from 1907 to 1911 when he went to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

   Mathew also went to Minnesota where he became President of the Minneapolis Stonecutters Union.  I wonder did he cut his trade-union teeth before he crossed the  Atlantic?  There was a prolonged strike in the Ballyknockan quarries in 1901. When it was settled Archbishop Walsh (the “Billy Walsh” who featured in Joyce’s  Gas From a Burner)  had a pamphlet distributed congratulating the quarry-owners and the workers on the settlement. Matthew died from typhoid on 16th August 1914 aged 40. His wife had died on 29th January 1914 twenty days after giving birth to twin girls one of whom, Helen, was Marge Campbell’s mother. Matthew’s brother Dan became guardian of seven orphans. Dan, who was a steamfitter,   had his first child with his second wife when he was age 69 and his wife was 46. He died in 1956.

   Patrick Cullen, who worked on many prestigious projects, including the entrance to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium that can be viewed today, passed his skills on to sons Myles and Bernard. Myles Cullen also carved a statue of the Virgin  Mary  which  is still on display on top of one of the Mayo Clinic buildings in Rochester, Minnesota. Patrick lived until 1947 and his last job was the dog which lies on top of the money box on the F&M Bank.

   In the 1930s Bernard Cullen carved many well-known faces, included Stalin and Mortimer Snerd, as gargoyles on All Saints Church.  He said, “We didn’t have pictures of the gargoyles so we were told , ‘carve any face you like and have fun’ .” Surprisingly, for a man with a  Wicklow father, Bernard Cullen didn’t like granite. He said he preferred to work in , “ . . . any good Minnesota limestone.”  He carved a piece of the Rock of Gibraltar for the lobby of the Prudential Insurance Company and described the Monolithic limestone as “An oddball to carve.” Obviously he wouldn’t agree with the character in Seamus Murphy’s Stone Mad  who referred to the Ballyknockan granite as being “like oatmeal “  and commented on how easily carved it was.

The Cullen brothers worked on the 20 ton replica of the Great seal of Minneapolis which was hoisted on to the wall of the Minneapolis Auditorium in the 1960s.  The Minneapolis Tribune of 17thFebruary 1967 had a picture of Myles Cullen dwarfed by the seal, which was 26 feet in diameter.

   His brother Bernard said, “ The Great seal was so big we had to hire a ballroom so that we could lay it out.” Myles Cullen’s sons say  their    father’s work felt normal and common to them when they were young. Every Saturday they would help clean stone dust from a workshop their father and uncle bought, and be rewarded with a soda pop. Today, they say, they are amazed by their father’s work.

   Laurence Cullen’s sons, Patrick and Laurence, were also stonecutters. Patrick was Recording Secretary for Chicago Stonecutters Union.  It is no surprise that the men from Ballinastockan passed their crafts on to the next generations.  In  Ballyknockan,  a Wicklow Stonecutters’ Village  By Seamas O Maitiu and Barry O’ Reilly, we are told that, “ Stone cutting is a craft that does not just spring up out of the ground on the discovery of a promising seam of rock. It is passed on from generation to generation and stone cutters have always been willing to follow their trade.”

   It has been said that if you want something to last forever you should either write a song about it or carve it in stone. Well, the Cullens have left many “poems-in-stone” in the USA. And wouldn’t LaaBaa be proud of his brothers and nephews knowing that it all started with the departure of “Lar an’ Matt an’ Dan an’ Pat.”

Mattie Lennon

mattielennon@gmail.com

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Mattie Lennon Irish Author- NEWS WORTH IT?

NEWS WORTH IT?

By Mattie Lennon

The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them: inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehood and errors.”

So said Thomas Jefferson.  I don’t agree with that but now I’m going to go on a bit  of a tangent.

    You know when you need two screws but you are obliged to buy a packet of twelve? Or when the sitting-room clock battery needs replacing and you have to purchase a brace of them? Annoying isn’t it?  Well, market forces do that kind of thing to me every day but especially on Sundays.

  You see, newspaper magnates are biased against people like me. We have no interest in sport and lack the finances necessary for an interest in the Travel, Property and Finance sections of newspapers. Yet we are forced to purchase the complete newspaper while reading, maybe, only 25% of it.  I weighted last Sunday’s Sunday Times. The total weight was 641 grammes. While the    parts that I read or wanted to read weighted only 139 grammes.

   The price of that particular paper is three euro but . . if I were allowed to buy only the sections that I wanted, according to my I would be paying only 65 cents.

In a restaurant if you don’t take the side-salad you don’t have to pay for it. When purchasing a loaf of bread in a Supermarket you are not compelled the buy a pound of butter as well. Although I will admit there is no refund when I leave the Yorkshire Pudding behind on the plate or refrain from using the shoddy Rawlplugs that come with flat-pack furniture.

In  one of these supplements  there is an ad which offers me a residence in Glenageary at 4.5 million Euros or a house to let near Laragh for a meagre 40,000 Euro a month.

   Do I look like a potential customer for either of those?  My little dog  usually sleeps on  predictions of the outcome at Landsdowne Road,   Croke Park or  Dalymount  Park  and  I am obliged to bin, unopened,  financial advice by Eddie Hobbs (A friend of mine pointed out that anybody who needs Eddie’s Advice doesn’t deserve to have money in the first place.)   How many beautiful trees gave their lives so that me, and my likes, could fill the recycle bin with pictures of swimming pools in Barbados, Estate agent’s descriptions of Ailsbury Road, a full page account or a row at the match between Rathnew and Tinahaley and the latest figures from Dow Jones?

    And another thing. I’m sure you have noticed that you seldom see a witty headline in the financial, business or sports section of a newspaper.  The best headline writers seem to avoid or be steered away from those sections.  But you will find some very clever headlines in the main section of even Provisional papers.

    A couple of years ago there was a little bridge swept away during a storm at Ballinastockan.  Because of formalities and regulations it took the local Authority a long time to replace it. The headline in the Wicklow People? “  New Bridge held up by red tape.” You wouldn’t find anything like that in a report about Denis O Brien in the Financial  Times.

 When there was an industrial dispute at Arigna mines  the Leitrim Observer had the headline, “If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile.”

  And the health supplement of the Irish Times told us, “New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group.”

  The long gone Evening Press was reporting on a bit of a situation pertaining to reproduction at Dublin Zoo. The headline read, “ Pandas refuse to mate; vet takes over.”

   The Irish Voice in America revealed in a headline that ,” Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft.”

    What gave me this idea about only paying for what I am going to use? I think it may be genetic memory. My grandfather was about to appear in court . . . something about trespass of livestock. He went to a local solicitor for advice. The solicitor did his best, told him what to say in court . . .and more importantly what NOT to say.   When the session was finished the grandfather took his hat up off the floor and headed for the door.   The solicitor called him back and reminded the grandfather that he owed him twenty guineas. “For what” said the grandfather. “For my advice” replied the solicitor. “At” says the grandfather, “sure I’m not taking it.”

  All newspapers, Sunday, Daily and Provincial, have a section or sections in which I, and many more like me, do not have any interest.  So I am suggesting to the Media magnates of the world that you introduce a pay-as-you-read system. That way those who only need the salacious accounts of the carryon of celebrity society will not have to pay for accounts of how a club footballer in Manorhamilton missed a free.

   Charles Lamb said of newspapers that no one ever lays down one without a feeling of disappointment. I haven’t  that statement but maybe he had a point..

   You know, I think I’m wasting my time. Nobody will pay any attention to me. I’ll have to go on buying a, largely, unwanted Wicklow People where last week we were informed that., “ The Cold Wave is Linked to Temperatures.”

Mattie Lennon

mattielennon@gmail.com

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