Les Morts Dansant

Les Morts Dansant is a 1984 song by Magnum. from their classic album “On a Storytellers night” The song was initially called “Cannon”, this Tony Clarkin composition is about one of the horrors of war. In World War I, a surprising – some would say disgraceful – number of British soldiers were executed by firing squad for cowardice. Many of these men were in fact suffering from shell shock.

Although it is about World War I, I believe it applies to all wars, past and present.

” Cannons roared, in the valley they thundered
While the guns lit up the night
Then it rained and both sides wondered
Who is wrong and who is right?

On the wire like a ragged old scarecrow
Bloody hands and broken back
When they fire, see him pirouette solo
Jump in time to the rat-a-tat

What a night though it’s one of seven
What a night for the dancing dead
What a night to be called to heaven
What a picture to fill your head
To fill your head

By the wall in silhouette standing
Through a flash of sudden light
Cigarette from his mouth just hanging
Paper square to his heart pinned tight

Gather ’round, reluctant marksmen
One of them to take his life
With a smile he gives them pardon
Leaves the dark and takes the light

What a night though it’s one of seven
What a night for the dancing dead
What a night to be called to heaven
What a picture to fill your head
To fill your head.

They dispatch their precious cargo
And knock him back right off his feet
And they pray may no one follow
Better still to face the beast

When the field has become a garden
And the wall has stood the test
Children play and the dogs run barking
Who would think or who would guess?

What a night though it’s one of seven
Le mort dansant
What a night for the dancing dead
What a night to be called to heaven
What a picture to fill your head
To fill your head

What a night though it’s one of seven
Les mort dansant
What a night for the dancing dead
What a night to be called to heaven
What a picture to fill your head
What a night

What a night though it’s one of seven
Les mort dansant
What a night for the dancing dead
What a night to be called to heaven, heaven
What a picture to fill your head




My war against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

In April 2017 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It happened only days after my mother in law passed away, and at the same time my sister had a stroke. I was also still recovering from an eye operation, so as you can understand it wasn’t a great time for me.

I had a choice though, would I sit down and be a victim or would I just get up and fight? I chose for the second option even though I knew it was a fight I wasn’t really going to win, at least not in the short term.

But before I continue let me first give a brief explanation what Rheumatoid Arthritis is.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints. Hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected, but it can also damage other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can make your joints feel stiff and can leave you feeling generally unwell and tired. It is most common between the ages of 40 and 70, but it can affect people of any age, and occurs more frequently in women than men.

What causes it?

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. It is not clear what triggers the initial attack. Some theories suggest that an infection or a virus may trigger rheumatoid arthritis, but none of these theories has been proven. In my case I believe it was caused by trauma, because prior to the aforementioned traumatic events I also had to deal with the death of my brother in law which happened only 6 months, prior to that. The death of my father in 2015 and the fact that I had already lost one eye in 2011, and was facing a potential loss of the other eye(luckily that didn’t happen) so I think the accumulation of all these things triggered the unset of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, but that is only based on my presumptions not on science.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This is when your immune system, which usually fights infection, attacks the cells that line your joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful. Over time, this can damage the joint itself, the cartilage and nearby bone. Basically an autoimmune disease is when the body’s natural defense system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells.

So what does this all mean to me?

To me it means that I am in pain every day of my life. Does this mean my life isn’t worth living? Of course it doesn’t because despite the pain I still consider myself lucky. I am still alive and the pain reminds me of that. Furthermore I still live a reasonable normal life. Luckily I was diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, and the Rheumatologist was able to come up with a treatment which would halt or significantly slow down the progression of the disease. Prior to his consultation the Medical Assessment Unit on St. John’s hospital had put me on a high dose of prednisolone steroids tablets to ease the pain. I was in severe pain, I couldn’t move my arms and my left knee felt like it was shot and someone was constantly poking it with a knife(this is no exaggeration). When the Rheumatologist assessed me he told me that I needed to get of the steroids, because they were masking the symptoms. In order for him to set a correct diagnosis I had to suffer a bit more. When he eventually confirmed it was Rheumatoid Arthritis he put me on a cocktail of medicines.

  1. Methotrexate (MTX), formerly known as amethopterin, which is a chemotherapy agent and immune-system suppressant. They are small yellow pills. Which I take once a week
  2. Humira: Humira belongs to a class of biologic medicines known as TNF( tumor necrosis factor) blockers. It specifically binds to TNF and blocks it from acting within the body. It is an injection which I take every fortnight.

In order to reduce the need for additional pain killers , I decided to follow a course called Living Well with Arthritis and Related Conditions, which was designed by Stanford University ,California USA. The course was brought to my attention by course leader/tutor who also happened to be a cousin of my wife.

The course ran over 6 weeks and focuses on self managing the condition by a variety of tools like, physical activity, making action plans, distraction.

Although I was already doing a lot of the things covered by the course. I still found it very beneficial. One of the main benefits for me was that the fact I was there with people who were in the same situation as I was.

There was no need explaining how I felt, they just knew. One of the frustrating things for anyone living with a chronic diseases is that their family and friends don’t understand what that means, they just couldn’t understand, I look externally like a fit and healthy man.

The course benefitted me so much that I now have become a course leader/tutor myself and not only for Arthritis but also for other chronic diseases.

There is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis as of yet, and we don’t even know if there ever will be one. But that shouldn’t scare us, we just have to deal with the illness as good as we can , working together with healthcare providers and organisations who deal with Arthritis. For me that is Arthritis Ireland.

As I stated in the title that is a war, it truly is. Sometimes you fight battles on a battlefield other times it is like conducting guerilla warfare, My weapons are the medicines, the living will tools and constantly educating myself. Not listening to those who sometimes have bizarre conspiracies about the treatment and try to convince people about unproven alternative treatments. They are akin to the collaborators of the enemy, in my case Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Sometimes people think that it is unfair they contracted Rheumatoid Arthritis, and maybe that is true, but life isn’t always fair not isn’t it always meant to be easy. It was meant to be challenging and that is what makes it interesting. There is nothing more boring then traveling over a smooth surface all the time, you need the off obstacle.

The Covid 19 pandemic has not made things easier but it has created a few opportunities which weren’t there before. The aforementioned living well courses are now available on line, so you can do them from the comfort of your own home.

My latest battle is the Covid 19 vaccination, which I will get in the next few days, but this means I have to stop taking my medication 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after the vaccination, which does cause me a little bit more discomfort. However in the greater scheme of things it is a sacrifice I gladly make.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis is a war but at the moment I am winning.

From April 12 to April 18 it is the National Arthritis week in Ireland. Please support the organisations who deal with Arthritis wherever you are. The research is not cheap. The science has come a far way, until recently Rheumatoid Arthritis was a severely crippling disease.

I am not asking you for donations here . I just want to raise awareness. Having that said, donations are always welcome.






The Football War

Footbaal war

The legendary Dutch Football coach ,Rinus Michels, once said “Professional football is something like war. Whoever behaves too properly, is lost” this quote is often misquoted as “Football is War”.

However nearly 52 years ago, Football actually did cause a war between Honduras and El Salvador.

The Football War was a brief war fought which lasted for 100 hours, between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. Existing tensions between the two countries coincided with rioting during a 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifier. The war began on 14 July 1969, when the Salvadoran military launched an attack against Honduras.


Both countries tried to qualify  for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

There was fighting between fans at the first game in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on June 8, which Honduras won 1–0. The second game, on June 15 in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador, was won 3–0 by El Salvador; even more violence followed. A play-off match took place in Mexico City on June 27, which El Salvador won 3–2 after extra time.

2019-07-14 (1)

On June 26, the day before the deciding match was played in Mexico , El Salvador announced that it was severing diplomatic relations with Honduras. The government justified this action by stating that Honduras had taken no action to punish those who had committed crimes against Salvadoran immigrants.El Salvador dissolved all diplomatic ties with Honduras, stating that in the ten days since the game in El Salvador 11,700 Salvadorans had been forced to flee Honduras.


The border between the two countries was locked down and border skirmishes began on a regular basis. Anticipating that a conflict was likely, both governments had been actively increasing their militaries. Blocked by a US arms embargo from directly purchasing weapons, they sought alternative means of acquiring equipment. This included purchasing World War II vintage fighters, such as F4U Corsairs and P-51 Mustangs, from private owners. As a result, the Football War was the last conflict to feature piston-engine fighters dueling one another.


Early on the morning of July 14, the Salvadoran air force began striking targets in Honduras. This was in conjunction with a major ground offensive which centered on the main road between the two countries. Salvadoran troops also moved against several Honduran islands in the Golfo de Fonseca. Though meeting opposition from the smaller Honduran army, the Salvadoran troops advanced steadily and captured the departmental capital of Nueva Ocotepeque. In the skies, the Hondurans fair better as their pilots quickly destroyed much of the Salvadoran air force.

The Organization of American States (OAS) negotiated a cease-fire on the night of 18 July which took full effect on 18 July. Salvadoran troops were withdrawn in early August.

El Salvador lost all 3 matches during the first round of the 1970 world cup and failed to progress to the knock out stages.


I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.




Sports International


Soccer Politics

Compromise of Nobles-April 5,1566.


In 1566 the Netherlands were still under Spanish rule and was part of the greater Habsburg empire. The ruler of the Netherlands was Philip II of Spain. He had appointed his half-sister Margaret of Parma as his Regent.

Philip was very much opposed to the Protestant teachings of Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Anabaptists, which had gained many adherents in the Netherlands by the early 1560s. To suppress Protestantism he had promulgated extraordinary ordinances, called placards, that outlawed them and made them capital offenses.

On April 5,1566 a covenant of members of the lesser nobility in the Habsburg Netherlands , known as the ‘Compromise of Nobles’, came together to submit a petition to the Regent Margaret of Parma  with the aim of obtaining a moderation of the placards against heresy in the Netherlands. This petition would prove to have a crucial role in the events leading up to the Dutch Revolt and the Eighty Years’ War.


The leaders of the nobles were Louis of Nassau, and Hendrick van Brederode. On 5 April , permission was obtained for the confederates to present a petition of grievances, called the Request, to the regent, Margaret, Duchess of Parma. About 200 nobles marched to the palace accompanied by Louis of Nassau and Brederode. The regent was at first alarmed at the appearance of so large a body, but one of her councillors, Berlaymont, allegedly remarked “N’ayez pas peur Madame, ce ne sont que des gueux” (Fear not madam, they are only beggars).

Afterwards Brederode stated that if need be they were all ready to become beggars for their country’s cause. Henceforth the name became a badge of honor and was used in several configurations during the war.

In the petition the nobles, who presented themselves as loyal subjects of the king, asked him to suspend the Inquisition and the enforcement of the placards against heresy. They also urged the convening of the States-General so that “better legislation” could be devised to address the matter.

The Regent replied to the petitioners that she would forward it to the king and that she would support its requests. Brederode handed over a supplementary petition on 8 April, in which the petitioners promised to keep the peace while the petition was being sent to Spain.

The King Philip II took a long time to reply, but he rejected the petition.

Below is the English translation of the petition;

“To all who shall see these presents, know that we who have put our signatures below
have been told and have learned with adequate assurances that a host of foreigners-men without
any concern for the welfare and prosperity of these Low Countries, with no care for the glory and
honor of God or for the public interest but desiring only to satisfy their own ambitions and
avarice even at the expense of the King and all his subjects, although they falsely pleaded their
great zeal to maintain the Catholic faith and the union of the people-have nevertheless managed
to win over His Majesty by their well-turned remonstrances and false teachings, so that he has
been persuaded, in violation of his oaths and of the hope which he always nourished in us, not
only to refrain from moderating the edicts already issued concerning religion but even to
reinforce them and to introduce the Inquisition among us in all its strength. Not only is this
Inquisition iniquitous and contrary to all laws of God and man, in its barbarity exceeding the
worst practices of tyrants; it cannot but result in great dishonor to God’s name and in the utter
ruin and desolation of all these Low Countries. This would be all the more true because, under cover of a few persons lying hypocrisy, it would destroy all public law and order and all equity,
completely weaken the sanction and respect for the ancient laws, customs, and ordinances which
have been observed from time immemorial, and deprive the States of the country of any freedom to express their opinions; it would abolish all ancient privileges, liberties, and immunities and thereby not only make the burghers and common people of this country wretched and everlasting
slaves of the Inquisitors, who are themselves men of no quality, but would also compel the magistrates, officials, and the entire nobility to submit to the mercy of their inquiries and searches, and in the end it would expose every loyal subject of the King to continued and open peril of his life and property. Not only would the honor of God and the Holy Catholic faith  (which they claim to be defending) be gravely involved therein, but also the majesty [sovereignty] of the King, our head, would be lessened and he would face great danger of losing
his entire state, for ordinary business would come to a halt, the trades would be abandoned, the
garrisons of the frontier towns neglected, and the people incited to continual sedition. In a word,
nothing could result from it but horrible derangement and disorder everywhere. Having carefully weighed all these things and having fully considered and taken into account our callings and the duty to which we are all bound as faithful vassals of His Majesty and especially as men of gentle
birth, being all in. this regard His Majesty’s helpers by our prompt and willing service in
maintaining his authority and greatness and in providing for the welfare and safety of the country, we have come to the judgment, which we still hold, that we cannot fulfill our duty except by eliminating these wrongs while at the same time providing for the safety of our
property and persons so that we may not become the prey of those who wish to become rich at the expense of our blood and our goods under the pretext of religion. For this reason we have
decided to form a holy and lawful confederation and alliance by which we promise to bind ourselves mutually under solemn oath to use all our efforts to prevent the reception or introduction of this Inquisition in any way, open or concealed, under any pretext or in any disguise whatever, whether it be called inquisition, visitation, edicts, or otherwise, but to extirpate and eradicate it completely as the mother and the cause of all disorders and injustices.
We have before our eyes the example of the people of the kingdom of Naples, who have rejected it to the great relief and repose of their entire country. Nonetheless we protest in good conscience before God and all men that we seek nothing which may in any way turn to God’s dishonor or the
diminution of the grandeur and the majesty of the King or his states; on the contrary, our purpose
is only to maintain the King in his state and to preserve in it all good order and law, resisting to
the best of our ability every kind of sedition, popular tumult, monopoly, factiousness, or
partisanship. We have promised and sworn and do now promise and swear to uphold this
confederation and alliance as sacred and inviolable for all time, without any break, as long as we
live. We take God the sovereign lord as witness of our consciences that neither in deed nor in
word, neither directly nor indirectly will we knowingly and willingly contravene this
confederation m any fashion whatever. And, in order to ratify this alliance and confederation and
to make it stable and firm for all time, we have promised and do promise each other full
assistance with our bodies and our goods, as brothers and faithful companions, joining hands so
that none among us and our confederates may be investigated, harassed, molested or persecuted
in any way, either in our lives or our property, for any cause emanation from this. Inquisition or
based in any way upon the edicts favoring it, or indeed because of this present confederation.
And, in the event that anyone, m any way whatever, visit any molestation or persecution upon any of our brothers and allies, we have promised and sworn and do promise and swear to help him with our lives and our property, and in fact to do everything we can, sparing nothing and
avoiding all evasions and subterfuges, just as if we were involved in person; with a specific and
quite express understanding that we will in no way be exempted or absolved from this, our
confederation, because the said molesters or persecutors may try to cover their persecutions by
some other pretense or pretext (for instance, if they claim that they are only punishing rebellion
or some such pretext), until it has been demonstrated in fact to us that these reasons are true. We
maintain this position especially because we hold that in such cases it cannot be claimed that the crime of rebellion has been committed when its source proceeds from a holy zeal and praiseworthy desire to maintain the glory of God, the majesty of the King, the public tranquility
and the safety of our lives and goods. Nonetheless we agree and mutually promise that in such an
event each of us will follow the common opinion of all his brothers and allies, or of those who
will be given such duties, in order that this sacred union may be maintained among us and. that
what will be done will be more certain and stable because it is done with common agreement. In witness whereof and in assurance of this confederation and alliance, we have invoked and do invoke the most sacred name of God, the Sovereign Lord, who created the sky and the earth, as our judge who sees into our consciences and thoughts and knows that this is our decision and resolution. We most humbly pray that by His power from on high He will keep us firm and steady and give us such prudence and discretion of spirit that, always possessing good and
mature counsel, we may achieve our purpose with a good and happy success, bringing glory to
His name, to the service of His Majesty, the King, and to the welfare and safety of the public. Amen”



I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.




Songs that made a difference.

songs (1)

To quote John Miles”Music was my first love and it will be my last”. Music is my passion, its power has no equal. A good song can make you happy, sad or angry, a great song will make you think.

There are songs that made a difference and made people think. Unfortunately nowadays artists only seem to care which toilet should be placed during their gigs, while they don’t mind being paid millions to perform in countries where nearly every human right is ignored and/or broken, but that is a different story. In this blog I want to focus on songs where artists saw real injustice and sang or wrote about it.

Although I don’t always agree with the message they were giving,I do respect them because they are doing it out of a noble principle.

Starting off with probably the most powerful one.

Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” (1939)

I always liked this song but it was only a few years ago I realized what this song was about and ever since the bittersweet sounds have been haunting me.

Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is a protest song with enduring relevance. It’s lyrics symbolize the brutality and racism of the practice of lynching in the American South. It was the first time a black artist had sung such controversial lyrics. The song itself has endured and become a symbol of the racism, cruelty, pain.

“Strange Fruit” was originated as a poem written by American writer, teacher and songwriter Abel Meeropol, under his pseudonym Lewis Allan, as a protest against lynchings.In the poem, Meeropol expressed his horror at lynchings, inspired by Lawrence Beitler’s photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana.


He published the poem under the title “Bitter Fruit” in 1937 in The New York Teacher, a union magazine. Though Meeropol had asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set “Strange Fruit” to music himself. His protest song gained a certain success in and around New York. Meeropol, his wife, and black vocalist Laura Duncan performed it at Madison Square Garden.Barney Josephson, the founder of Cafe Society in Greenwich Village, New York’s first integrated nightclub, heard the song and introduced it to Billie Holiday. Other reports say that Robert Gordon, who was directing Billie Holiday’s show at Cafe Society, heard the song at Madison Square Garden and introduced it to her.[11] Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939.

Amazing Grace -John Newton 1772

A hymn that has been performed by many artist, however I chose the version of the most famous of all singers,Elvis.

Former slave ship captain John Newton wrote Amazing Grace in 1772 .


He mentored William Wilberforce in his long fight to outlaw slave trading. The song took root in the US during the Second Great (religious protestant) Awakening in early 1800s. It became a standard hymn sung by all races but also a protest song associated with civil rights and with Martin Luther King. It remains a hymn, a freedom song and also has a life as a radio chart hit for performers as diverse as Mahalia Jackson, Judy Collins and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. It is the song most frequently sung on Martin Luther King Jr Day in the US.

Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley 1973

“You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. So now we see the light! We gonna stand up for our rights!”

Marley was inspired to write this song after touring Haiti where he was moved by the extreme poverty  Haitian people faced. The song describes taking action to avoid oppression by higher forces.

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son

The song, released during the peak period of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, is not explicit in its criticism of that war in particular, rather, it “speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself,” according to its author, John Fogerty. “It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.

‘Fortunate Son’ wasn’t really inspired by any one event. Julie Nixon was dating David Eisenhower.


This song is said to be inspired by the joining together of two political families when David Eisenhower, grandson of President Dwight Eisenhower, and Julie Nixon, daughter of President Richard Nixon, married. Writer John Fogerty told Rolling Stones he “had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war. In 1968, the majority of the country thought morale was great among the troops, and eighty percent of them were in favor of the war. But to some of us who were watching closely, we just knew we were headed for trouble.”