Talent

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Help! I’m falling! – Don’t blackmail us!

Fair play to the Grrrreekz! They demonstrated two facts today: one, whatever happens in Greece will profoundly affect the rest of Europe and the world: when they declared a week of bank holidays today, stock markets and the euro went down worldwide; second, of course the decision on Greece’s future can never be left to unelected bureaucrats and even less so bankers who have nothing on their mind than profit margins for them and their client investors/gamblers, so they announced a referendum in about a week’s time.

images2All this, of course, because they are intelligent, well-versed in Game theory, and firmly grounded in democratic principles. Greece is where democracy was born, they even invented the word for it. They certainly don’t need a lecture from the Germans, nor anyone else for that matter, on democratic principles.

The heat is on – not just in Athens, but also in Hamburg. If you believe the weather forecasters (can you really believe anyone on the telly these days?) temperatures in Hamburg will exceed 30o. It’ll be hotter in our apartment, being on the top floor and exposed to the sun all day long with no shade whatsoever. It’ll be fun! – We are prepared though: when Lidl had those blow-up canoes on offer, we bought one planning to use it the other way round. Instead of putting it on water, we’ll put the water into the canoes and create a mini-pool for Pádraig. Can’t wait to see it working!

Talking about Pádraig, he still has a tiny bit of a cold, but nothing serious, really. He continues eating his three extremely healthy ‘meals’ every day (ReadyBreak with stewed fruit, soup, and carrots with potatoes – mustn’t forget to change the menu one day).

A new problem we’re facing are mosquito-type flies who seem to wake up in the night, make this awful noise, and love sucking blood out of innocent people, leaving itchy marks behind. We’ll have to find an effective solution for that one soon…

An Saol

Live your Life!

The Andy Warhol – type poster of Pádraig really impressed me! Like the brilliant picture of the Dreamboat on the cover of Amhrán do Phádraig it was done by one of Pádraig’s really talented friends. Pádraig once produced a ‘logo’ for his An Saol podcast, using a very cheap internet-based service.

I want to start working on PR material for An Saol – but I could never produce a logo of the quality of any of the stuff prepared by his friends…. They’ve just got so much more talent! (Get the hint?:)

Anyhow, here’s to An Saol – Live your Life!

Today’s German Music Tip
Glasperlenspiel, Paris. “Wir können immer noch frei sein… Lass’ es jetzt nicht vorbei sein…” The brand new song of one of Germany’s best known bands.
What’s hot
Talent, intelligence, and democracy
What’s cold
Blackmail
The German word/phrase/verse of the day
Der schnöde Mammon

Warhol

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What a work of Art!

From the poster to the food to the raffle and painting to the music and the magic in the air. Pure Pop Art!

Well, I’m still not quite sure what happened over the past few days….

I went over to Dublin for the NCT (which the car failed because of a badly fitted bulb). There was an extra day and a half I had which, for a change, had not been ‘verplant’. Then I met neighbours, builders, friends and before I knew it the few days were over.

Graphic by Eoin 'Warhol' Mac Giolla

Graphic by Eoin ‘Warhol’ Mac Giolla

For the first time, I was fortunate enough to be in Dublin for one of the great events Pádraig’s friends had organised. FeileSchaler was a fantastic night – and I had to leave around midnight when the music was about to kick-off. The work, the preparation, the enthusiasm and creativity that went into this was incredible: from the contribution by several supermarkets (hundreds of burgers, sausages, and meat), to the fabulous food friends brought along, to items for the raffle (still think that the raffle itself was a bit of a fix:), the paintings for Pádraig, and the music. There were amazing stories of random acts of kindness and support from people who don’t even know Pádraig.

What was particularly nice was that I met friends I had been in touch with via the blog but had never met in person, as well as so many of Pádraig’s brilliant young friends who have been in touch with us either via notices, mail, letters, or in person.

It was a fantastic way to start the holiday season, to meet up before people start to disappear into the four corners of the world. How Pádraig would have liked to have been there. Thank you to all involved in the organisation, all who contributed, and who came on the night!

Back in Hamburg today where temperatures will rise about 30o in the coming week. (Germans do believe in the accuracy of weather reports:) We went our for walk down to the Wandse. While I had been away, his wheelchair had been adjusted and a few parts had been replaced to make the chair fit better – it worked out so well and the chair fit Pádraig so much better now that going for a walk is a pleasure.

The good news is: the autumn is not really that far away (alright,… don’t think about it if you’re just about to go on holidays…)  and time will fly. It’ll be no time until Pádraig will be back in town. On his pop art Dreamboat:)

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Pádraig is alive and keeps getting better.

imagesSo infinitely more than any of the doctors who treated him would have thought.

There are many hundreds of people all over the world who have in a real and very significant way contributed to his very slow but very steady recovery.

There are thousands of people, some are random strangers, who have heard about what happened to him, who have heard Unknownabout he phenomenal support by his wider family and friends, who spontaneously send messages of supports and contribute to caringforpadraig.org.

Right now, two years ago, we were frantically booking tickets to get to Cape Cod as fast as was possible. Pat and Pádraig’s sisters here in Dublin, myself in Sanya, on an island in the South China sea. Nothing was real.

They promised us that he would be alive when we got there.

Today, Pádraig had a picnic in the park with Pat, and a beer, to celebrate. He is alive and keeps getting better. And soon, he will be back in Dublin.

Now, how’s that, Dreamboaters?

Féile

There is no two ways about it: Pádraig’s friends, the young, the old, and those of no determinable age, have this joie de vivre that is just contagious.

I will write More details about the Féile Schaler later in the morning.

Have to go to bed. Good night!

 

 

 

Diggin’

Cancel all appointments or meetings you might have tomorrow evening and make your way down to the Conradh for Féile Schaler! Check out the details here.

When I arrived back home to Dublin today for a short visit, building work on Pádraig’s extension had started! It’s magic and it’s going to be the best extension ever built. Because people know how important this is going to be for Pádraig coming back to Ireland. Check out these pictures!

In the afternoon, two of Pádraig’s friends from Coláiste Eoin turned up together with their wheelbarrow to help. They did magic! One of the men working on the site said: “Wow, he must be a special person – if I tried to call on my friends from secondary school, I’d be on my own. – Thank you so much for your help!


I’m going to write a short piece every day on the accident, coming up to the second anniversary. I took the following short video on Rt. 6A Eastward, the direction both Pádraig and Mr Couto were travelling. Watch the pedestrian on the right, how the cars are very much slowing down, and how the cars (there’s also a truck similar to Mr Couto’s) are driving around that pedestrian very slowly. – Now, imagine Pádraig on his bike, on the left of the white ‘fog line’ delimiting the right side of the road. And imagine Mr Couto overtaking him, with his foot on the accelerator, driving at a speed of approximately 30 miles per hour – while, at the same time, another car (with one of the key witnesses to the accident) was pulling into Rt. 6A from Croker Lane in plane eyesight and now driving straight into his way.


Tonight at 8pm, there was a big feature on Raidió na Life about tomorrow’s Féile Schaler with an interview and an airing of the brilliant recording of “Pádraig” by Markus. You can listen back to the few minutes of the interview to get a taste (!) of what is going to happen tomorrow in the Conradh.

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Viral

Would you have a few minutes and do me a favour, could you?

Take a few moments and either (1) write a short email or (2) tweet (or do both:) to:

  • The Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker and
  • The Attorney General of Massachusetts Ms Maura Healey
    • to consider the request made by the parents of Pádraig Schaler in the open letter of 22 June 2015 to them, to establish an independent investigation into the accident on Route 6A in Brewster, MA, on 27 June 2013, that left their son and your friend Pádraig in a minimally conscious state. Here is the link to the letter: https://padraigschaler.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/ol-mass-150622.pdf

Here are their contact details:

  • The Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker
    • Twitter
      • @MassGov
      • @CharlieBakerMA
    • Email
      • Could not find an email address, just a form to fill in: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/contact-governor-office/
  • The Attorney General of Massachusetts Ms Maura Healey
    • Twitter
      • @MassAGO
        @maura_healey
    • Email
      • ago@state.ma.us

imagesOnce you have done this, please take another moment and ask you families and friends to do the same – may be we can create a snowball effect right in the middle of the summer!

Look at it as an experiment:

  • How many people will we get to send them a note? – 20? 30?
  • How many countries will these emails/tweet come from? – 5? 10?
  • … by next Saturday – the second anniversary of his accident.

I think the more of us write to them the more likely it is that they’ll take notice.

Let’s make it viral.

From a very different sphere: It’s amazing how everything slows down and the ‘important’ stuff retreats into nothingness when you close the door, sit beside Pádraig, hold his hand, talk a little or just sense a silent but very strong connection. No need to take a course in meditation or mindfulness. It’s all there. There is a huge energy in the room, not the kind of busy energy, but a kind of re-assuring, centre-ing one. It is hugely rewarding to spend that time with Pádraig. I hope he feels that too.

And all along, we keep building dreamboats: trips to Alaska (remember Alaska?) or just down to Tating (we discovered there are wheelchair you can push into the sea) or to Drumdarkin (in the middle of nowhere, literally).

Today’s German Music Tip
Fard, Reich und Schön. Don’t get turned off by the name of the singer… This is a really good German rapper song. Rapper are the new Neue Deutsche Welle, only that the background of most German rappers is not German.
What’s hot
Viral campaigns
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Letters
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Wo kämen wir da hin, wenn das alle machen würden?

Circulate

After Pádraig’s accident, there were three things I wanted to do something about. The insurance madness, the police ‘investigation’, and the lack of care for persons with severe ABI in Ireland.

imagesWith the second anniversary of the accident coming up, I spent today finishing up the Open Letter to the Attorney General and the Governor of Massachusetts, and then faxing it to their offices (remember faxes?). Couldn’t have done it without the help of Pat, and a good friend in Boston we met on our visit there some weeks (months?) ago.

That turned out to be the easy part. I then faxed (!) it to the Irish and German Departments of Foreign Affairs, as well as our Embassies in Washington and our Consulates in Boston. Once the faxes were out of the way (pp.!!), it was all downhill with emails to the US-based Irish news channels, Boston and Cape-based papers, the Irish and the German papers, finishing up with Twitter.

If you haven’t got anything better to do and are looking for a light read you can have a go at the letter here. CIRCULATE – CIRCULATE – CIRCULATE

It’ll be interesting to see the reaction. If there will be one…

Pádraig today turned out to have a bit of a cold, not quite a temperature yet, but not well at all. Yesterday was the official start of the summer in Germany but it feels more like an autumn day here.

Today’s German Music Tip
Tonbandgerät, Deine Tasche riecht nach Schwimmbad (May2015). Sometimes I wonder myself how I find those…. You MUST check this out. Even if you don’t like the song, you’ll be hooked on the video. Promise!
What’s hot
Open Letters
What’s cold
Faxes
The German word/phrase/verse of the day
Och nee, Alexis, nich schon wieder! Warum seid ihr nur immer so knapp bei Kasse?

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SolsticeNo2

A few short notes at the end of the longest day of the year, the summer solstice.

imagesIt’s also Fathers’ Day in Ireland today (not in Germany) and while I heard all the last minute adds on how to get your father a last minute subscription the Irish Times online edition I neither got that nor any other present. We did have a special ‘take away’ tonight though to celebrate the day (and my stomach is feeling sick already because of the over-indulgence;).

Weekends with Pádraig are always great because there is never a rush to get ready for anything. We can take all the time of the world in the morning for washing, some exercises, and cleaning up while listening to lazy irish Sunday morning radio.

During the day, I wrote the first version of an open letter we intend to send to the US authorities in relation to the investigation (or the lack of it) of Pádraig’s accident. We want to have that with them and with the media this week, ahead of the second ‘anniversary’ of the accident this coming Saturday. Going over what happened again produces a strange kind of helpless rage. But there is no way that we will let this pass by without at least a good try to tell the other side of the story, not the “he cycled out in front of a van, mam” story police repeated like a mantra once Pádraig was on his way to the hospital. At this time, not many people believed he was going to make it and the case could have turned out to be one of some kind of manslaughter which made it even more important, it seems, for the police to conclude that the driver, Mr Couto, had done everything he could to avoid the accident while Pádraig had just suddenly cycled across into the path of the van – to conclude before they had even properly started the investigation, to conclude and share their conclusion with the press who spread the word within hours. The local man was absolutely and completely innocent. The foreign cyclist was not just responsible for the accident but also for his injuries because he did not wear a helmet. (I checked and there is scientific evidence to show that if you are hit by a 4.3 ton van at 30+ miles/hour your head does not stand a chance – with or without a helmet.)

UnknownEven the longest days come to an end. From tomorrow, the days will get shorter again.  All part of the ups and downs of the circle of life that goes on and on and on. And we are right in the middle of it. Dealing, as best as we can, with these ups and downs. But always believing, always looking forward, always trusting our instincts, always depending on our families and friends, always Dreamboaters.

Almost forgot: Today, 110 years ago, Jean-Paul Sartre was born, good friend of Simone de Beauvoir. Sartre is the guy that had the idea of “L’enfer, c’est les autres”. Well, he was a philosopher and he didn’t mean it literally. It’s not always easy to live with other people. It’s impossible to live without them. And more, it’s the people around us who define us and who give our life a meaning. Tataaaa!

Today’s German Music Tip
Alpa Gun, FÜR DICH VATER. Alpa is a rapper with Turkish origin. He sings this song in German, a song that a German of German origin would not have written, or sung.
What’s hot
Summer solstice
What’s cold
Incorrect police reports
The German word/phrase/verse of the day
Das kannse dia vonne Backe putzen

Goodbye

St Patrick’s church was where today’s Requiem Mass was held for Sara. The church was packed to capacity to celebrate Sara’s life and to say good-bye to a very beautiful young woman and a fighter like no other. Pádraig and I were there in spirit. Sara will always be with us, we will never forget her. She and her family, Mary, Martin, Niamh are so much part of our new life. There were prayers of the faithful that included a prayer for all victims of severe ABI in Ireland that they will receive the treatment, therapy, and care that they so much deserve. Nobody like Sara and her family making that case over the past years.

You might remember how Pádraig managed to hold the mobile while talking to his aunt. Well, today he did one better. I never know when they are finished talking – except today Pádraig handed over the phone back to me when his aunt had hang up. I don’t want to make too much of this, it could all have been coincidence and it was really not much more than a movement of his arm with the phone in his hand – but…

This weekend they will fly back home the bodies of those who died in Berkeley. I just hope that the best of care will continue to be given to those who were badly injured and who are staying behind, at least for the time being.

Tonight, for Sara: Sarah Connor, Wie schön Du bist

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