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It’s been some time since I’ve written about particularly good books for small kids, and I must apologise (especially to Kim) for being somewhat remiss in this area during the last few months.

For me, there is something very gratifying about sharing a compelling book with my kids. It quickly brings me back to my own childhood years by helping me relate to my children on their level. This book ticks all these boxes.

There’s No Such Thing as a Ghostie (Cressida Cowell and Holly Swain)

“But when they turned round… THERE WAS NOBODY THERE”

In this book, a young queen and her best friend do battle with the arrogant Sergeant Rock-Hard of Her Majesty’s Guard as he leads them through the castle in an effort to convince them that there’s no such thing as a ghostie. Little does he know… It’s full of delightfully poetic snippets: a Prime Minister that bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain 1980’s British PM; regular alliteration – “ghostly, ghastly feet”, “creepy, creaky staircase”, very accessible colourful drawings, and (of course) plenty of ghosties hanging around in the background. Near the end of the book, the reader is enjoined to open a trunk bearing an alarming secret. It’s one of those books in which you and your kids discover something new every time you re-read it for them.

If you know of other children’s books that really deserve a read, please let me know.

At last, a sunny day, on the very day the children go back to school.

So, in accordance with the Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc ordinance of 1876, I now decree that childrens’ summer holidays be banned forthwith. 

Forever.

I managed to go on a fantastic walk up the Nire Valley in west Waterford this Sunday. While most people were enjoying a relatively dry morning, we decided to seek a place of near constant rain and mist. 

The walk took us from the car park over an improvised bridge and up into the mountains via a long gentle ridge on the western side of the valley. Once we reached the Comeragh plateau, we passed down a boggy valley leading (unexpectedly) to the top of the Mahon Falls. From there we headed towards The Gap and back to the car park. All in all, the walk lasted 6 hours.  

The heather is in full bloom at the moment. Pictured against the deep greens of a wet Irish summer it’s nothing short of spectacular. 

And now, a bonus: a quick time-lapse video featuring some pretty nifty high-speed sheep..

I didn’t realise there was a stated law, or rule of thumb, in place concerning the use of Nazi analogies in a debate or online discussion, and that it dates all the way back to 1990.. 

Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

Also stated as “The first to mention Hitler in a debate, loses”. 

Order has now been restored to my universe.

A small drawback of WordPress is it’s inability to accept posts via email.

Well, if this works, maybe it’s not so much of a drawback any more..

I’ve just set up an account on Posterous.com to do just this..

 

The videos are up. If any of you would like a better quality DVD (with photos and extra video footage) of the whole thing, send me an email.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

What more can be said? Two Majors in a row.  Two British Opens in a row. First European to win the US PGA since 1930…

Fantastic.

Ok, so while I get my videos together on the Kerry Way walk (I’m nearly done, and I’m happy with the result – it’s just that I’m having major problems sourcing music for it), I thought I would post up a TED video that knocked me for six.

Larry Brilliant is a guy who more than lives up to the idea that we should leave the world in a better state than how we found it. Eradicating smallpox has to be one of the greatest achievements that mankind has ever put its collective mind to. Now polio and blindness are on the radar for elimination from the planet. What other scourges might scientists of the 21st Century eradicate given the collective will and sufficient resources?

The presentation contains so much: horror and fear, but also a copious dose of hope and inspiration for humanity. It finishes up with a call to action that was compelling enough to win Larry the $100,000 TED Prize in 2006. 

Just a warning: this presentation contains some harrowing images that are extremely difficult to watch. Try to bear it out. This talk is simply amazing.

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