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Showing posts from July, 2012

Cuchulain [Cuhoolin] - Hound of the Culann & the Red Branch of Ulster

Cuchulain [Cuhoolin] ©Shers Gallagher 2012
- Hound of the Culann and the Red Branch of Ulster
Cuchulain is best described as the Hercules of Irish folk legend because he was the biggest and strongest of his people. He was given the name Sétanta at birth, his mother sister to Conor MacNessa, Ulster chieftain and High King of Ireland. His suspected father was not the mortal married to his mother, but the ancient Celtic god Lugh the Long-Armed, who seduced Sétana’s mother by deceit and trickery. 
‘Hound of Culann’ is what ‘Cuchulain’ actually means, and the boy's name came from killing a ferocious watchdog – an Irish Wolfhound - with his bare hands. 
But how did this happen?
Culann, a well-known blacksmith of the region, had invited the king of Ulster to his house to partake in a banquet, which you could liken to a modern BBQ...but of yore. On the way there, King MacNessa saw his young nephew Sétanta playing hurling, an Irish game of two teams with 15 players each and quite similar to hoc…

Following the Tao: a rough guide

© Shers Gallagher 2012
    My first teaching term in Beijing I thought I could master at least what I nicknamed 'Yellow Cab Chinese', meaning basic words and phrases I'd need to know to get around the city in a taxi, on a bus or riding the metro. These would be words like 'turn right', 'turn left', 'go straight' and 'stop here'. Rudimentary communication, in other words, is necessary for one not wanting to end up on the other side of town when going shopping at the mall. Yet after only a few weeks of class I was knocking my head against a wall because of hearing myself mixing up my newly spoken Dutch with the Mandarin I was trying to speak. I had immigrated to Holland four years before accepting another international teaching assignment, and one of the requirements of immigration was to pass a language state exam before being allowed citizenship. Having successfully done so had freed me to again accept assignments to teach abroad. Yet the mix…

My Meeting with the ‘Thin Man’ – a life-altering experience

[photos courtesy of: http://thethinman1934.com/movie_stills]
©Shers Gallagher 2012

I’ve been in love with the concept of husband/wife sleuthing since meeting William Powell at the Hollywood West Hospital, which had then been owned and operated by a friend of my father’s. And when I met the famous actor – who’d starred in The Thin Man series along with Myrna Loy – I was all of 11-years-old and had just gone through an emergency appendectomy, leaving me hospital bound and gleefully missing a week of school. Looking back, I recognise what special treatment I got from the head doctor and the small, hand-picked staff of his private hospital, which are few and far between these days. In fact, I don’t believe Hollywood West Hospital still exists. At the time of my brother and my births, it bore the name of La Brea Hospital, adjacent to LA’s infamous tar pits. I don’t know why the name was later changed, but perhaps it was a question of etiquette. I mean, who wants to associate their hospital w…