Also, Happy Birthday to one of my good friends, Robin Todd. I hope it's the best birthday yet. I also hope that Seattle is being very, very good to you.
I like St. Patrick's Day. Always have. I don't much care for the drunken carousing part. It's not really my thing, but I do love the music. Sadly, SXSW ruins it for me because the traffic and overabundance of tourist drunks makes it...difficult. So, there's no getting out of the house today, not really. Much sympathy to those with similar issues. That said, there are alternatives. For example, watching a film, and having a nice meal at home. I recommend a nice salmon. I'd skip the potatoes. (Potatoes were imported from South America.) Also, a good Irish whiskey won't go amiss. Here are my suggestions:
1. The Quiet Man--Released in 1952, this movie is a love letter from "man's man" and Irish American director John Ford to Ireland. Keep in mind, it's an idealized, Hollywood version of Ireland. However, it apparently gets enough right that it has many Irish fans. It's also the only John Wayne movie I own. I love the film's pacifist vs violence themes. I also enjoy the hell out of the sequence where Maureen O'Hara talks to the priest in Irish. For the record, I did, in fact, name a character after Maureen O'Hara's character. I always looked up to Maureen O'Hara. She was an amazing, powerful woman. The downside is that John Ford was a raging misogynist. And that is blatantly obvious in this film.
2. The Wind That Shakes the Barley--I adore this tear-jerker of a movie. It's gorgeous and wonderful on so many levels, and if you want a quick and dirty overview of the history of the Irish revolution, this is a good start. And well...Cillian Murphy is scorching hot in it. (He's also what I always imagined Liam In OB&H would look like.) That said, definitely bring the tissue box, and prepare yourself for some violence.
3. Bloody Sunday--This is another emotionally tough film, but well done, well researched, and well worth it. Again, if you want an education in Irish History, this isn't a bad place to start. Also, I dare you not to watch this and not think of what has been going on in the US.
4. In the Name of the Father--A powerful film. Daniel Day-Lewis kills it in this thing. And yes, you will need that damned tissue box. Again, I double-dare you to not think of what's been going on here re: police unaccountability and police brutality toward political protests, especially if those protestors are persons of color.
5. Hunger--I could go on and on, but this is the last of the super-serious films I'll recommend today. Again, it's incredibly difficult to sit through emotionally, but well worth it.
6. P.S. I Love You--And now, for something completely different, an Irish American romantic comedy. I plug this baby into the dvd player whenever I want a good laugh and a good cry. It's heart-achingly awesome. I promise. Bonus: Gerard Butler is amazing.
7. Road to Perdition--This is my favorite American gangster film hands down. I adore practically everything about it. Tom Hanks is an acting god in this. Yes, it has that pacifist vs violence theme I adore so much.
8. The Secret of Roan Inish--One of the most drop dead gorgeous films ever made about Ireland, and that's saying a lot. The cinematography is nothing short of stunning. It's also suitable for children. It's a selkie story, and well...I adore selkie stories.
9. Ondine--I'm not a Colin Farrell fan, but I love this movie. Yep, another selkie.
10. The Boondocks Saints--There's a lot to enjoy in this very uneven American film. Frankly, the Italian character isn't one of those things to enjoy. Still, it's kind of a hyper violent Bugs Bunny cartoon with Irish gangsters. Best part for me is when the brothers walk up to the altar in the middle of mass to get a blessing. As an ex-Catholic, that one slams me. Why? Because the shit has to have hit the fan in a big, big, big way for that to be okay.
Go forth, avoid the tacky Plastic Paddy green beer, and have a wonderful day.
 Here's my list of good whiskeys easy to find in the States: Bushmill's Black Bush and Bushmill's 21-year old Single Malt, Redbreast 12 year old, Jameson 18 year old (blend), Knappogue Castle (my fave,) Tullamore Dew, and Teeling small batch.
 When I went to Ireland last year it wasn't anything like that green. Of course, I was there in the off season (early spring) before the grass got serious with the greening. Also? I was in Northern Ireland for the most part which is very different from John Ford's vision to say the least.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.