Galway Advertiser 2000/2000_12_28/GA_28122000_E1_022.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 2000/2000_12_28/GA_28122000_E1_022.pdf

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Comment & Letters A day of reckoning U S D e m o c r a t says " W e w u z z r o b b e d ! "
Dear Editor, American democracy took a real hit on December 1 2 when a Republican Supreme Court - with four justices appointed by President George Herbert Walker Bush - in e s s e n c e , a p p o i n t e d G e o r g e W a l k e r Bush to the presidency of our republic. It should never be forgotten that Vice President Gore was the choice of the American people by a plurality of nearly votes. Thanks to our quirky electoral college, a Bushista Secretary of State in Florida and an electoral process in Florida that was fundamentally flawed if not corrupt, we have an S.O.B. (Son of a Bush) as president. The current buzzword that is popular among the talking and writing heads in the media is "bipartisanship." Where w a s this " b i p a r t i s a n s h i p " in the d a y s when N e w t Gingrich was the boss of congressional Republicans? Why won't Republicans consider a "bipartisan" sharing of power in the United States Senate where there is a 5 0 5 tie? 0 I might add, where was Republican "bipartisanship" from day one of the Clinton presidency. The Republicans waged a war of aggression against President Bill Clinton that almost destroyed his presidency. As an American citizen 1 am perfectly willing to live under a Bush presidency. Nevertheless, 1 am perfectly aware of the fact, as are the 5 million plus Americans 0 who voted for Vice President Gore, that when people from academia and the media finally count the ballots in Florida that the R e p u b l i c a n s did not want to have counted, we will see that Vice President Gore was the real winner of the presidential election. J u s t as in 1876 w h e n the R e p u b l i c a n s stole that p r e s i d e n t i a l e l e c t i o n from S a m u e l J T i l d e n , the D e m o c r a t w h o had m o r e p o p u l a r v o t e s than his R e p u b l i c a n o p p o n e n t R u t h e r f o r d B H a y e s , the Republicans stole another presidential election, under circumstances equally partisan and shady. Yours sincerely, William Herziger billherzigerl00@ 940 Babcock Neenah, WI 54956


harles Lamb, as is so often the case, says it best: "Every man hath two birthdays: two days, at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time, as it affects his mortal duration. The one is that which is an especial manner he termeth his. In the gradual desuetude of old observances, this custom of solemnising our proper birth-day hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand any thing in it beyond cake and orange. But the birth of New Year is of an interest too wide to be pretermitted by king or cobbler. No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam." Lamb also hits the nail on the head when he notes that "no one ever regarded the First of January with indifference". In fact. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are rather peculiar milestones in the life we share with others. Christmas, in its original significance, only exists because of the birth of Christ which pious legend tells us took place at this time of year, years ago. But we owe our New Year celebrations, with the emphasis on seeing out the old year and receiving in return a blank slate on which nothing has yet been written, to the Romans, and to their god Janus. Janus was a two-faced deity, with one of his faces turned to the past, seeing off the last of the old, and the other firmly fixed on the future, on what is to come.

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Looking back, and turning to the future
he image-symbol of Janus is a particularly good one, because, like all profound image-symbols, what we can draw out of it, or read into it, is virtually limitless. Janus looking back suggests dismissal, departure, and the gradual distancing which always accompanies our memories of the long-gone. It can also imply nostalgia, regret, grief, and all those mental states in which we remain prisoners of our past, unable to utter the word that would discharge all the heavy burden of our debts. Janus as forward-looking most obviously summons up hope, expectation, anticipation, and even a sense of adventure such as one of the great explorers must have felt when he embarked on a journey into the unknown. But two-faced Janus reveals once again that each of the faces, backward or forward, has itself two faces. And the other aspect of the forward-looking Janus calls to mind such emtions as fear of the future, fear of letting go of the past, fear of breaking the link with the past. In his comic operata lolanthe. WS Gilbert (the other half of the pantomime horse better known as Gilbert and Sullivan) declared that "every boy and every gal / That's born injo the world alive, / Is either a little Liberal, / Or else a little Conservative". The description seems to fit the the backward-looking and the forward-looking devotees of Janus to a T. Included in the real significance of both faces o Janus is something that, in fact, they f share, and this is the idea o 'making a reckoning'. The dictionary defines the word as f "the settlement of an account or bill", and "retribution for one's actions". A reckoning is a solemn, serious affair. The ghost in Hamlet tells his son that he was "cut off even in the blossoms o my sin, / Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled./ No reckoning made, f but sent to my account / With all my imperfections on my head."


C o m e o n , give back the bag.
Dear Editor, Please, M r Editor, if you will allow me to address the people who took my case: - Just a brief note for the people who took my case. You might not read this is the only way I know to let you know that I really need the case. As you will you have seen, it's only o u r w o r k in t h e r e , and w e are t w o p e o p l e trying to live from that, and this was going to be the way to m a k e s o m e m o n e y by g o i n g back h o m e after Christmas. So if you change your mind and decide to bring the case back, my telephone number is 091 753722 and you know my address because it's on the case

Sights a n d sounds of the G a l w a y Millennium:
Dear Editor, Would you allow me the s p a c e to put d o w n my impressions about Galway in the first year of the new millennium? A taxi s t r i k e ; m o r e independent bus services; mild and w a t e r y c u r r y (take away); Help Wanted s i g n s ; n i g h t c l u b s in doivntown Galway; a drunk trying to sing and beg money for drink (two nights in a row in the same s p o t ) ; guy with m o v i n g dolls and guitar music for c h i l d r e n / p a r e n t s on a S u n d a y e v e n i n g ; new university bar with line of s t u d e n t s w a i t i n g for a c h e a p m e a l ; the g r e a t feeling after four pints of Harp; a November storm and gale force winds; very good looking girl busker with a great v o i c e : 4 0 . years of Coronation Street on the telly; best begging and busking area is near McDonalds; the smell of money and implied financial h a r d s h i p on young couples; smokeless coal; a 10.30am traffic jam* in the pedestrianised area' of Galway; hard to findf Diet-Pepsi - Galway is a | C o k e t o w n ; very bad> s u g a r - f r e e gum ( l e m o n lime); the social services^ number that you must have to get a hotel room; the: lads talking about this and that but ending up talking about sex. A Yank's perspective, November and

A time for self-examination
eckonings are useful, even if we no longer believe that until o unless we have r made a reckoning, our fate in the next world hangs in the balance. But the important aspect of the reckoning can be appreciated even after the religious aura that has surrounded it is gone. A reckoning is really a rigorous self-examination, a confrontation with the moral consequences of our actions, and a clear-eyed consideration of how we have acted in the year now dying and the motives, good o ill, r upon which we acted. An absolutely honest reckoning of our actions and reactions and their moral dimension is not something embarked on lightly. For if we draw up the things we have done, and the things we have left undone, and let ourselves off the hook, the picture is not likely t be a very pleasant one. In Oscar Wilde's great moral fable. The o Picture of Dorian Grey, the consequences o avoiding an honest reckoning are literally f imprinted on the painting o the pleasure-seeking reprobate o the novel's title, turning f f the portrait o the adonis-like youth into the likeness o a hideously corrupted fiend. f f Fortunately, most of us are O the middling sort, neither wicked like Hitler nor saintly f like St Francis. Our faults, the things we have done and the things we have not done, are not such as would detain the Grand Inquisitor very long. But you can't quantify behaviour this way. Our cruel, ignorant, foolish, shameful behaviour can't be compared with anyone else's. Who we are and what we have become are, first and foremost, our concern. And the annual reckoning at the New Year provides a chance for to recognise and accept this. Of course, we don't really begin on January 1 with a clean slate, o anything like it. r Continuity between the backward-looking face of Janus and his face that looks forward is real, and in fact allows us to make sense of who we are. But there certainly is - or there can be - something about 'starting over' as the first day of the new year dawns that is not just fantasy. Provided we have the courage to open the books and tabulate the figures, the losses and the gains, the debits and the credits. New Year can be a time for discharging the old in order to make way for the new.

T a k y u a d Merry C rsm s hn o n hi t a Refuse




already too high
Dear Editor, As we are members of the European Union and their directives must be adhered to, I feel it only fair to aks if the corporation and the Government have prepared for recycling, or prepared or advised the public, or made available segregation units for recycling articles. Where are they? Where are the recycling plants? Where is the market to buy same? I would like to compliment our wonderful refuse collectors on their wonderful w o r k . I feel that the problem of refuse is caused by a lack, or no control of our domestic food and appliances. Their packing should be environmentally friendly. So let the supermarkets set a standard with the wholesalers. The existing refuse charge is too dear. I call on our elected c o r p o r a t i o n m e m b e r s to set a s t a n d a r d for Galway. Yours faithfully,

December, 2000.


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