Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to going on 4600 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at:
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Greetings and blessings to all,
We hope this edition finds you and yours in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. And if this is your first newsletter, many thanks for signing up; we hope you enjoy our musings and meanderings and will forward them on to your family and friends.


Our prayers go out to all of you who may be affected by the terrible floods along the Mississippi. God willing, things will improve for you soon. We've had some pretty rough weather here in our Ohio Valley as well - but nothing like other regions of the midwest. The good news for other parts of the country is that while we're three weeks into hurricane season, it has been remarkably quiet. May it stay that way. The bad news for out west has been the terrible heat and subsequent fires. We hope and pray any readers out there are safe as well. Russell's mother once told us she'd read that the USA has the worst climate in the world. Maybe so.

In other happenings much closer to home, our daughter Catherine was in a very serious car accident. An old man went right through a stop sign at an intersection and t-boned her. Her car is demolished, but even though she is badly bruised and has a fractured vertebrae, the prognosis is good. thank God! It will just take a while to make a complete recovery. If you could see the car, we think you'd agree she is very lucky that it wasn't a whole lot worse.

On a much lighter note - EXCITING NEWS - The Elders are in town on Tuesday, June 24 and we're going to interview them after their show at a club called Jaspers. If you live in the area there are still tickets available for the concert which starts at nine pm - PLUS we'd love to meet some of our local readers. ALSO...in celebration of their tour, their publicist is giving away a CD, a DVD and a pair of tickets to one of their shows. Just send us your name in an email and well put you in the drawing: Send your name to Bridget at:

To learn more about the group and check out where they'll be playing, please click

Enough of the blitherin'' ...on with the update:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery.
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From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site where we post the latest headlines from Ireland every morning and we keep two week's of of previous news, http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be found here:


Armagh: Sam lobbies to claim apple variety
Sam McNeice, whose family have been growing apples on land close to Ardress House near Loughgall since the early nineteenth century, is spearheading a campaign to recognise the county's association with the Bramley cooking apple. Sam, chairman of the Fruit Industry Federation, has applied for recognition of the variety under the European Union Protected Food Names Schemes. If successful, the Bramley apple will acquire Protected Geographical Indication and will be known as the Armagh Bramley apple. The designation would apply to apples grown in defined areas including parts of counties Tyrone and Derry.

Cavan: Former Gowna GAA man honoured
The anniversary of the late Eamon Coleman, who managed the GAA club in Gowna which achieved five country championships and two league titles during his tenure, is to be marked with a special day. The committee for the Eamon Coleman Memorial Fund have organised a match between members of the Derry 1993 All-Ireland team and a selection of All-Ireland players who played for and with Eamon.

Cavan: Dust off your instruments
The time will soon be here for past pupils or teachers with the Bailieborough School of Music to dust off their old instruments, or polish up their new ones, for a proposed reunion. The organisers are hoping there will be enough interest to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the school in October. They are planning a night of song and music, and a night when both pupils and teachers can meet up with old friends, and showcase their talent. The evening has been planned to allow people to acknowledge the musical start they received at the school.

Clare: Clare Bat Project goes ahead
The Heritage Council has awarded the Clare Bat Box Project 2008 €3k in funding to provide twenty bat boxes in five locations throughout the county. The boxes will be placed at locations in Ennis, Flagmount, Kilrush, O'Briensbridge and Two Mile Gate/Ballycuggeran to provide nurseries for the young of the species. The county is host to nine of the ten species of bat to be found in Ireland, including the endangered Daubenton's bats as well as the Lesser Horseshoe and Leisler's bats. The Clare Bat Group is organising a series of bat walks and talks, including a special one solely for children.

Donegal: Family meets man who helped rescue their father
The family of an airman who crashed in Donegal in January 1944 travelled to the Blue Stack Mountains area to visit a man who had helped rescue their father. Jim Gilchrist from Surrey in England had kept in touch with Joe McDermott over the years, and when he died his family decided to visit the area where their father's plane had crashed, killing seven of the nine people on board. Jim and his fellow survivor had knocked on the door of Joe's house and while his mother looked after them, the then ten-year-old was dispatched to Brochagh Garda Station to get help.

Down: The end of the road for the Needhams at Mourne Park
Mourne Park House in Kilkeel near Rostrevor is to lose its connection with the family in whose ownership it has been for more than five hundred years. The present owner, Marion Needham Russell, having spent a number of years restoring the house, has decided to sell it and to move to another property overseas owned by herself and her husband Alan. The land was granted by Edward VI to the Kilmorey family in 1552 and the present house dates from the early years of the nineteenth century.

Dublin: New walking tour attracts hundreds
When Dublin City Council organised a walking tour of Jewish Dublin as part of European Neighbours Day, they had no idea how popular it would be. But historian and author Pat Liddy found himself leading a group of almost three hundred local residents, tourists and members of the Jewish community. While similar tours in the past had attracted in the region of thirty walkers, this tour necessitated the help of the Civil Defence to provide ambulance cover and traffic management. Among the places included in the walk were the Jewish Museum on Walworth Road, and the Bretzel Bakery on Lennox Street, and the tour concluded with a Jewish themed reception at Tailors Hall.

Galway: Underwater display for ancient canoe
As part of the exhibition for World Ocean Day, a five and a half thousand year old dugout canoe was placed on display at Galway Antlantaquaria in Salthill. The pine vessel was found by Brian Ó Carra, local school principal, and his son Ronán at Turlin Bay near Barna following a storm six years ago. It lies in a desalination tank at the Salthill venue where its conservation will be monitored by experts from the National Museum. The discovery of the canoe is further evidence that Turlin Bay was once a freshwater lake, according to Professor Michael O'Connell and Conor Newman of NUI Galway.

Kerry: Explorer's daughter attends passing-out parade
Mary Crean-O'Brien, daughter of the legendary Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, attended the passing-out parade at the headquarters of the Irish navy at Haulbowline as guest of honour. Ms Crean-O'Brien was invited since the twenty-nine strong recruit class had been designated the Tom Crean class. The eighty-nine-year-old was accompanied at Haulbowline by her son Brendan, and she presented the award for being the best recruit to Amy Roberts. Annascaul man Tom Crean, who joined the navy at the age of fifteen, rose to the rank of petty officer.

Kildare: Record attempts to feature at jamboree
The country's largest ever scouting event is due to take place in Punchestown in August and one of the features will be attempts at a number of records, including the tying of the world's biggest knot. And all the proceeds from the attempt will be given to Marian Finucane's charity Friends in Ireland. More than twelve thousand beavers, cubs, scouts and venturers are expected at the tented city, included two and a half thousand from overseas. The 'city' will be erected in three days and the organisers have pledged that, within five days of the Jamboree finishing, the site will be returned to its original condition.

Leitrim: War victims remembered in Killargue
Recently, a group of people gathered in the village of Killargue to remember those people from the area who lost their lives in the two World Wars. A plaque dedicated to their memory was unveiled by former Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces Lt.General Gerry McMahon, while a wreath-laying ceremony also took place. In addition to the families of those whose names are listed on the memorial, the ceremony was attended by the president of the Irish Ex-Army Services Association and representatives from the units the deceased men had served with.

Leitrim: Actors sought for Glenfarne production
Local people are being sought as actors, musicians and dancers to take part in a production of William Trevor's "The Ballroom of Romance", which is to be staged in the Rainbow in Glenfarne. Starring Glenroe's Mary McEvoy, the performance will take place with the audience seated around the edge of the dance floor, men one side and women the other as it was in the ballroom's heyday. And at various points in the play they will be invited up to dance while the action continues around them. It is particularly fitting that the play is being staged in Glenfarne, since it was on this ballroom that Trevor based his play.

Louth: European award for Carlingford
Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula have been named as the winner of this year's Ireland Regional European Destinations of Excellence Tourism & Local Intangible Heritage award. The award will result in the area being the focus of a major international promotional campaign which will include a photo-shoot and DVD.

Mayo: Facelift for Friary
Experts have begun restoration work on the stones of the ruined Franciscan friary at Rosserk on the Moy estuary, which has been paid little attention for the past four hundred years. At present the bell tower is surrounded by scaffolding to allow for repointing, but the Office of Public Works, which is carrying out the restoration, hopes to have completed the task by July or August. Already the holy well has been renovated and extra parking has been provided.

Mayo: Ballina bishops on the move
An unusual, if not unique, planning application has been lodged with the county council, seeking permission to exhume bodies from the cathedral crypt in Ballina and to re-inter them in a new cemetery in the cathedral grounds. According to Parish priest of Kilmoremay Father Brendan Hoban the restoration of the crypt of St Muredach's Cathedral is not feasible, and so a liturgical ceremony is to be arranged to mark the reburial. Bishops Peter Waldron, Thomas Feeney, Hugh Conway, and John Conmy will have a new resting place, along with Father Martin Timlin and Father Michael Geraghty.

Meath: First Swift festival proves a success
The inaugural Trim Swift Festival which took place recently was dubbed a success by both audience and participants. The festival was officially opened by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and the opening ceremony was followed by two performances given by Trim Castle Singers. Among the events was an open-air debate on the Lisbon Treaty chaired by George Hook, featuring Joe Higgins and Mairead McGuinness, and a dinner in Brogan's Hotel. The festival came to an end with a dramatised reading of an extract from Jonathan Swift's "A Tale of a Tub" by Trim Drama Club in a version adapted by Paddy Smith.

Sligo: Remembering the old days in Forthill
The Forthill Community Art History and Men's Group have organised an "Old School Days" exhibition which opened at the Forthill Centre in Sligo recently. Members of the group gave tours around the old schoolroom, which had been restored to its original aspect with the help of the pupils from St Edward's National School. Bishop Christy Jones was among the guests at the launch of the exhibition who also enjoyed inspecting a handmade scale model of the Rathquarter area from about 1876. There are now plans to expand the exhibition by turning the room into a museum, and producing a DVD and book on the project.

Tipperary: Faddan More book to be recreated
The Latin manuscript found in a bog in Faddan More two years ago is to be recreated by experts at the National Museum using digital technology. Discovered by bulldozer driver Eddie Fogarty on land owned by Kevin and Patrick Leonard, the Faddan More Psalter is believed to date back twelve hundred years. Raghnall O'Floinn, head of collections at the museum, has acknowledged the difficulty in preserving the manuscript since it is very fragmented. The text was used by monks for praying and teaching, and also found in the vicinity was a leather carrying bag which, it is suspected, may have once contained the manuscript.

Waterford: Established business on the move
A business which has been located at The Quay in Waterford city for more than seventy years is transferring to a new site on the outskirts of the city. John Hearn Ironmongers was founded by the grandfather of the present proprietor, Paddy Hearn, who is a joint director along with his father Ronnie. The business is moving in the next few weeks to a four-unit retail park at Six Cross Roads, off the Outer Ring Road. According to Paddy the new location will be much more convenient for both customers and for suppliers, who will have more room for loading and unloading.

Wexford: Wreath-laying remembers Ballycarney brothers
A ceremony carried out last weekend by members of Cumann Pící na h-Éireann (the Irish Pikemen's Association) honoured the memory of three brothers from Ballycarney who lost their lives in one of the first incidents of the 1798 Rising in the county. John and Patrick Redmond were killed by a cavalry patrol and Moses was later hanged. Before the wreath was laid by veteran pikemen Tommy O'Sullivan and Jimmy Murphy, Johnny Foley from Castledockrell gave a brief talk on the history of the event before leading those assembled in a silent commemoration of all those who lost their lives at that time.

Chile: New ambassador has Monaghan connections
Ireland's new Chilean Ambassador, who presented her credentials to President Mary McAleese last month, is a descendant of a Monaghan man who achieved fame in the South American country. Cecilia MacKenna is a sixth generation descendant of Don Juan McKenna, known as the Liberator of Chile, who came from Aghananimy just outside Monaghan town. And the new ambassador first visited her home county eighteen years ago, when she was welcomed by Monaghan Town Council and given a conducted tour of the area by members of the McKenna Clann. In 2004 Cecilia was appointed Chieftain for the Clann, a title she held for two years before handing over to Willy McKenna.
In an answer to Patty's question, Patricia writes:
God made the Italians for their beauty. The French for fine food. The Swedes for intelligence. The Jews for religion. And on and on until he looked at what he had created and said, "This is all very fine but no one is having fun. I guess I'll have to make me an Irishman."

An Englishman thinks, seated; a Frenchman, standing; an American, pacing; An Irishman, afterward.
ED NOTE: Thanks. Patricia!

In our last edition Karin wondered if the custom of wearing red and/or white carnations on Mother's Day was an Irish tradition.
Anne O'Leary writes:
I am from Ireland & I never heard of the white & red  flowers for Mother's Day.
ED. NOTE: Anyone else care to comment?

Phil from Western Australia writes: To add to your story on Sean O'hAilpin
His two younger brothers Aisake and Setana (both at around two meters, or six foot six in your lingo and two hundred and twenty pounds) play, Australian Rules Football, for Carlton, in the Australian Football League. BIG blokes !!

Jim writes: Do you know what this saying means: (sounds like) " TIN-KA DUN-KA ", I was told that it is usually said at Irish wakes.
ED. NOTE: We haven't a clue. Anyone else?

Kate Egan writes:
Can you recommend an excellent on-line source for learning about Traditional Set Dancing (including the steps, the figures, the history, the music, etc). I would greatly appreciate any advice or direction!!

David O'Connor writes: My beloved mother Elizabeth Mabel O'Connor (née Burke) is in her ninetieth year, alive and well She's the classic Irish matriarch and her children love her profoundly. She still resides in her own abode. There's no nursing home for her. Most of the children pitch in to help Mom stay at home. The day is coming much sooner than later that I need to think about her funeral arrangements. We are devote Catholics and my mother will have a funeral Mass in a Catholic church at which my wife and I serve as Eucharistic Ministers. I'm also a member of the church's Pastoral Council. There is a song recorded live by the Chieftains about Sacred Mary. It was sung by a young Irish female vocalist. I want to have that song performed at my mother's Catholic funeral and I don't wish to offend the local Diocese. Can you find the name of that song and the CD upon which it appears?

Irish Blessing
A lovely slide show of Ireland accompanied by Joanie Madden playing Down by the Sally Gardens. This one has been sent to us several times - this last one was from Joe McTiernanan. Go raibh maith agat, Joe and to everyone else who has shared it with us.

Mary's Public Gallery - Ireland
Here's a collection of beautiful photographs. Enjoy!

The Irish Page from Jack & Vivian
It seems that Jack & Vivian think we might be in need of some relaxing humor as their previous articles have been a bit on the serious or poetic side. Herewith a joke in Irish and English: 

Free Mammograms
Many women can't afford the test, but here's how you can help: Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if the site gets enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
Okay, moms, you've survived Mother's Day, Dad's Day, and maybe a few First Communions, Christenings, weddings and graduation ceremonies over the past couple of months. Just maybe it's time to take a deep breath and place an order with the Celtic Attic. Why? Because you will receive our complimentary "Relax" gift package comprised of a tea and cookies assortment. Order a gift sent to your mom and she will get this $5 dollar value gift as well. But hurry, this offer ends at midnight on June 30th. Also ending on June 30 is our FREE shipping offer - that's right, no charge for shipping on all standard ship orders except international or weight over 2lbs.
Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
Order on line:

A Toast for a bachelor:
May you have nicer legs than yours under the table before the new spuds are up.
Sign in an Irish village store:
Take cabbage from top of stack, or heads will roll!
Newlywed Repairs

A man came home from the office and his new bride met him at the door looking a wee bit apprehensive. "I feel terrible," she told him. "I was pressing your suit and I burned a big hole in the seat of your trousers." "There, there,"consoled the husband. "Remember that I've got an extra pair of trousers for that suit." "Yes, I know," she said, brighteining up. "And isn't it lucky for you that you have!" "I was able to use a piece from them to patch the hole!"
1. The preserved body of an 8 foot tall Crusader may be seen at St. Michan's Vaults, Dublin where, due to unique atmospheric conditions, bodies do not decompose?
2. The late Michael 'Butty' Sugrue from Killorglin, Co Kerry was Ireland's strongest man? Among his feats of strength was the pulling of a passenger-laden double decker bus.
3. Ireland's oldest mother was Mrs. Mary Higgins of Cork City, who was born on 7 January 1876, gave birth to a baby girl on St. Patrick's Day 1931 when aged 55 years and 69 days?
Source: 'The Mercier Book Of Irish Records' by Padraic O'Farrell
First off, the answers to our last quiz:
1. The Dying Breed -  Declan Hughes
2. Taking Pictures -  Anne Enright
3. The Secret Scripture -  Sebastian Barry

A round of applause and pints for the following Irish literary sleuths:

Helen Dowd:
Please come browse a wide assortment of writings including bible quizzes, devotionals, inspirationals,stories and more.

Hartson Dowd
Hartson gave us a quartet of Fiddle links
http://www.Fiddle.com  Fiddler magazine based in Cape Breton
http://www.CathalHayden  -  One of Ireland's most influential fiddle player
http://www.FrankieGavin   -   The official website for fiddler, Frankie Gavin
http://www.KerryFiddles.com  (the name says it all) Fiddle holidays for complete beginners and intermediates
 He also included a bunch of fiddle one-liners like the following:
What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?
No-one minds if you spill Guinness on a fiddle.
Thanks for the giggle, Hart!

Rita T Roche
Baltimore, MD
Still don't have a favorite Irish website

John Laney
Just finished reading Red Branch by Morgan Llywellyn. She really takes you into ancient Celtic lives and minds.
ED. NOTE: To learn more about Morgan and her work, please click
Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter? Who wrote:
1. Charles Trevelyan and the Great Irish Famine
2. Medieval Ireland c. 1170-1495
3. The Priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, 1172-1541: Lands, Patronage and Politics
Send in your answers to Bridget at:
To begin with, the answer to our last Mind Messer:
Mr. Moody grumbles about trains keeping time from morning till night! On one particular morning he was quite justified. His train left on time for the one hour journey, to Dublin, and it arrived 5 minutes late. However, Mr. Moody 's watch showed it to be 3 minutes early, so he adjusted his watch by putting it forward 3 minutes. His watch kept time during the day, and on the return journey in the evening the train started on time, according to his watch, and arrived on time, according to the station clock.
Q. If the train travelled 25 percent faster on the return journey than it did on the morning journey, was the station clock fast or slow, and by how much?
A. The station clock is 3 minutes fast.
The morning journey took 65 minutes, and the evening journey therefore took 52 minutes, and the train arrived 57 minutes after it should have left, that is, 3 minutes early.
This one proved to be a bit more of a challenge for our Riddle People as we didn't get many correct answers; an honorary mention goes to John Laney who thinks Mr. Moody should stop his grumbling and just enjoy the trip!.Congrats go to Tim Murphy from Florida who was first in. Well done, Tim!

And now for our next head-banger:
Out of smpathy for our daughter whose car was totalled by an egit running a stop sign, we thought the following might be an appropriate choice:
Four cars come to a four way stop, all coming from a different direction. They can't decide who got there first, so they all go forward at the same time. They do not crash into each other, but all four cars go.
Q. How is this possible?
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Since 1999, we've become known worldwide for quality gifts, great prices, quick shipping, and friendly personalized service. We invite you to come browse our wide selection of Celtic themed gifts. From Blackthorn Walking Sticks, Shamrock and Wildflower Seed to Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks, Hanna Hats of Donegal and much more.
1. Article: St. John's Eve - Part I
2. Article: St. John's Eve - Part II
3. Article: Only a Fortress Could Hold Such Treasures
4. Article: Surf Ciulture in Ireland - A Brief Introduction
5. Article: How to Savour Ulysses this Summer
6. Article: A Taste of Ireland -Soda Bread
7. Article: Who was Behind the Doors of Dublin?
8. Book Review: The Traditional Crafts of Ireland
9. The Irish Kitchen: Fraughan Fool
10: Basic Irish - Going on Holiday
11: Kids' Ireland - Old Whiskers Wins a Wife
12: Music Review: William Ramoutar reviews Karan Casey's Ships in the Night
13. June Trivia Contest. Just a week or so left to enter! All entries must be in by midnight, June 30 whatever time zone you're in. http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html
14. Circle of Prayer : The second Novena in this cycle ends on June 22 and the third one begins on June 23rd. Since our last edition, we have had a special request for military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who are enduring stifling heat on top of risking their lives. Please pray for them and all those serving their countries throughout the world. Please also pray for Char whose mother passed away yesterday, for our daughter Catherine recovering from injuries in a car crash; the family and friends of the McTiernans, Pauline Dewberry, Cyndi Matyi, Mickey, Hartson and so many others. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please remember them in your prayers and meditations.
So that's the long and the short of it until we write again. This will be our last edition until we get back from vacation on July 14, so let us be the first to say pinch, punch, first day of the month White Rabbit for July Ist, a safe and happy Independence Day to all of our readers in the USA on July 4th, and if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and our next issue, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.

We'll take our leave with this blessing edited and adaptedfrom one by Fr. Andrew Greeley

Whichever hemisphere you reside in...
May the sun shine bright on your joyous days'
And the rain refresh you through peaceful nights
May summer (or winter) show you God's wondrous ways
And prepare you for heaven's great delights.

...And as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.

Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.

Sea Isle Cty, NJ - Every Friday this summer
Fintan Malone, Irish traditional musician extraordinaire from Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare and Pete McDonald will be teaming up on Friday evenings at Kix McNulty's, 6400 Landis Avenue from 5 5 to 8 p.m.
For changes and updates, please check the website schedule page, http://www.petemcdonald.com/schedule.html

Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below, one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307

Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and on-going Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click

Eastern Caribbean Irish Genealogy Seminar Cruise - January 09
The Irish Ancestral Research Association is organizing an Irish genealogy cruise in January 2009 on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Speakers include our friends Eileen & Sean O'Duill from Dublin. For complete details, please click

We were very sad to learn that George Carlin, one of our favourite comics has died from heart failure.

In his memory, we're publishing the following which was sent it to us by our friend Audrey in California. We think he would have enjoyed it. We hope you do, too:

Asylum for the Verbally Insane 

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its
paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but
not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of
all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a
humanitarian eat?

In what other language do people
recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the
same, while a wise man and
a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a
language in which your house
can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out,
and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And, in closing, if Father is Pop,
how come Mother's not Mop?

Rest in Peace, George - we'll miss you.