Redheaded Ramblings: Sheila A-stray  

"This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am." -- James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Rossi rants. And I agree with every word. I'm done, too.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/13/2003 03:00:00 PM

Friday, June 13, 2003  


I read Andrew Sullivan every day. Andrew Sullivan is one of the main reasons I got my own blog. I love a lot of his writing.

I believe that gay people should be able to get married. I am with him on that. But I do not think it is a top national priority. I think that, quite frankly, we have other more important things to worry about at this moment in time. He says: "I'm a little stunned by how little coverage there has been of the Ontario decision to grant equal marriage rights immediately."

I know it's rude, but I rolled my eyes when I read that. I may have even groaned out loud. As a matter of fact, I'm sure I did.

Sullivan says, in the post above that one, about the growing demonstrations going on in Teheran: "Why it isn't on the front pages of the papers I don't know."

So ... there's a TON of important stuff that doesn't get onto the front pages. As he well knows. It's challenging enough trying to keep up with suicide bombers, Israeli attacks on Gaza, Iran revolting, Iran getting nukes, clashes between Iraqis and US soldiers, the Congo in complete chaos, Myanmar cracking down ... I mean, come on. A gay couple getting married in Ontario is supposed to compete with all of that?

Something else about Sullivan: Wunderkinder has a thought-provoking post about Sullivan's latest donation drive. The man made $80,000 six months ago and is already holding another pledge week. A lot of people have a lot to say about this. Michele, at a small victory, describes perfectly what, exactly, is so annoying about Pledge Drive # 2. But Wunderkinder points up some inconsistencies which had, up until now, eluded me.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/13/2003 11:03:00 AM


As I posted that journal entry below, I had to hold myself back from making snarky comments about my 14 year old self.

But I finally cannot help myself. Here are things I noticed:

-- White sneakers are "punk", Sheila? "PUNK"? Uh ... Are you sure about that? Sid Vicious is punk, okay? Putting one safety pin through the lapel of the purple coat you bought at Weathervane does not make you punk. Also, "white sneakers" were never punk. Ever.

-- I went to the trouble to buy chewing gum to guard against ear-popping during the plane-landing. And then completely forgot to use the gum until it was too late.

-- I start the entry at "10:00 pm". I write for a while, a couple of paragraphs. Then I write "10:15 pm." It's not like a huge gap, like I wrote the first section at 10:00 am, and the next time I mention the time it's 3:00 pm. Like: a lot can happen in 6 hours that would warrant an update. But I clearly had only been writing for about 15 minutes! What is the purpose of listing that "10:15 pm"? Obviously nothing earth-shattering had gone down since I had written "10:00 pm".

-- I am embarrassed at how mean and annoyed I was by my little brother Brendan. Brendan was so homesick he never really got over the fact that he was in Ireland. To this day, Brendan remembers nothing about our trip. Siobhan, who was 4 years old, probably remembers more. Recently, Brendan said to me, "The only thing I remember was that I accidentally put salt on my corn flakes, and then had to eat the whole thing."

-- The line "I'm really scared, folks" makes me blush with mortification. Folks? Who ya' talkin' to, Sheila?

-- "I listened to my SK Pades tape". Now, I am not even sure what I am referring to here. SK Pades is a variety show, put on by the junior class every year at my high school. It's meant to bond the class together, to face the difficult last year. But it's for the JUNIOR class. I was only a freshman at the time of the trip to Ireland. So ... what I am gathering is that I had snuck a tape recorder into the SK Pades of that year, the class two years ahead of me, taped the whole thing, and then hauled the tape around Ireland with me, listening to it like a lunatic. Please remember, too, that this was pre-Walkman. Or, if there were Walkmans in existence, I sure didn't have one. So when I say "I listened to my SK Pades tape" what that means is that I had a little cassette recorder, playing the damn tape, which also means that saying "I listened to the tape" is not quite correct. What it means is "I made everybody in my room at the B&B listen to the SK Pades tape with me." I was clearly insane, and probably should have been in an institution.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/13/2003 10:44:00 AM


Thanks to Beth Just for this link.

A crosswalk leading nowhere has been implemented, by mistake, in Rhode Island. This is a classic Ocean State story. It warms my heart.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/13/2003 09:49:00 AM



This is the first entry in the journal I kept during the O'Malley trip to Ireland, years and years ago. My parents took us all to Ireland for a month … I was 14, my youngest sister Siobhan was 4, and there are two other siblings in between. We traveled around as a family in the teeny European cars, all staying in two rooms at various B&Bs. It was insane. Anyway, my mother just found the journal I kept. It is mortifyingly embarrassing to read. Because I am 14 years old, in the full bloom of self-obsessed adolescence. But it is also painfully funny. I had to walk away from my cubicle yesterday because I was reading it and making a scene.

So I will just list the first entry, so you can get an idea of the level of language the entire journal is written in:

April 3, 1982
Logan Airport, 10:00 pm

It is raining like crazy, and it was lightning and thundering. But Anne Ross called Aer Lingus and everything is on schedule. I am psyched but I am pretending that I am cool as a cucumber. I'm going to be very adult on this trip.

As of 10:00 pm I am sitting in a chair after going through that metal zapper machine (without a hitch, I might add) and watching all the punk white sneakers stroll by. I am crazy about white sneakers (Rick Springfield, Rod Stewart, Blackie Parrish and Darryl Hall all wear them), a contributing factor to my fondness for them. I'm pretty punk tonight with my jeans, purple coat and safety pins.

But why am I talking about this??? My family is going to Ireland for a whole month!!! I am going to miss all of my friends incredible. Mere and Betsy and Jhumpa and Beth and Kate. I've never even been on a plane before and I am stocked up with gum.

I went to a Good Works play last night with Mere, Betsy, and Beth. Brian Cerullo was there. OH GOD. I love those three kids so much – Mere, Betsy and Beth. We all hugged and kissed goodbye and this morning I talked to them all on the phone and said, "See ya next month."

I am now on the plane all buckled in next to Brendan (thrrrills … he's gonna talk the whole way). I have a window seat, nanny nanny boo boo. (Oh, how adult I'm being.)

We have a really nice English stewardess. I like her accent. She's talking to us. Her best friend's name is Siobhan. Imaaaaaaagine that!

A grease bomb just walked by.

I have never been so frightened. We are going a trillion miles an hour. Don't let me die. We are up SO high! I'm really scared, folks.

1:00 am (6:00 Irish time)
We just had dinner.

Guess what movie they're showing – FOUL PLAY. Is that a coincidence or what? (I am madly in love with Chevy Chase.)

April 4, 1982
County Clare

Watching the sunrise out of the plane windows was gorgeous. All the clouds were pink and orange and we couldn't even see the ocean. And flying in over Ireland – oh, it was so pretty! All of the fields divided by hedges – oh, it was so wild. But I forgot to chew gum on the way down and it felt s if someone was pounding on my head with a hammer. I hurt incredibly.

We had to stand in line at the Shannon airport and wait around. We got this tiny gold car that is so cute. We drove around those winding streets lined with tall hedges and after an hour or so we found a place to stay - McMahon's Bed and Breakfast Place. It is in Ennistymon. The beds are so comfortable (featherbeds) and Mrs. McMahon is so nice. So are all the people here. They all wave. We unwound for an hour or so and then we went down the street to the Falls Hotel. There we found a river and beautiful waterfalls. Dad took some pictures and then we took off in the car for the Cliffs of Moher. The roads were thin and high and we could look down over the hills and thatched roofs . It was great!

But the cliffs! They were SO incredible. I felt quite nauseous because they were so high. I only went up to this tiny stone castle but Jean, Brendan and Dad went all the way up to the top. It was SO FAR DOWN. I almost couldn't look.

We took a different ride home and on the way back we stopped in Kilfenora to watch an Irish football game. We stopped and we asked this girl if we had missed the whole thing. And she said in her Irish brogue, "No, we've got another half to go." I like listening to them talk.

We watched the game and it was not at all like our football. The ball was round and they dribbled and pushed and shoved. It was kind of neat.

But I was wiped out and slept the whole way home. I went upstairs and wrote letters to Betsy, Mere, and Beth until supper. We washed up and Mrs. McMahon served us soup and lamb and homemade French fries. It was delicious. Jean loved the soup but I didn't, so I drank some of my broth, then we secretly switched bowls. Brendan started to cry at supper. It was all very embarrassing.

After supper we went upstairs and we took care of Siobhan while Mum and Dad went for a walk.

I listened to my SK Pades tape and then got into my pjs. I was the only one who got into my pajamas.

God, I am so tired. I'm going to bed.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/13/2003 07:55:00 AM

I hesitate to blog much these days, because in my mind, I am already off of

But something rather amusing happened last night, which I do feel like re-telling.

I know this will be rather hard to believe, but I had a date last night. An actual date, which involved going out to dinner, which involved the man paying with his credit card and then getting insulted when I went for my wallet ("Come on now, why do you want to go and do that? I'm a traditional Irish boy ... put that away."), which involved a polite exchange of phone numbers at the end of the evening.

Also, Lord help us and save us, he's an Irish-American boy with cousins in "Southie". He's from Massachusetts obviously and is obsessed with the Red Sox. He wears a claddagh ring with the heart turned outwards, like I do. He is an engineer and runs a paper mill. He can speak fluent Latin, which was the main reason why I decided not to completely ignore him. Anyone who can speak fluent Latin is a TYPE of person, they may be pompous, they might NOT be pompous, but they have done something which I find so admirable, so fascinating ... He is a pudgy pasty Irish boy. With freckles. This is my type.

I will not divulge his name.

The whole way this happened is rather amusing, and adds to the mounting evidence that my life is not actually a life, but a literary conceit.

I met him, he struck up a conversation with me, and then half an hour later he said, "What are you doing for dinner? Will you have dinner with me right now?"

"Uh ... sure."

I haven't been on a date-date in so long that I didn't know how to behave, and made some mistakes. I said the word "friggin" with alarming frequency. As in: "It's just so friggin' stupid, don't you think?" I said inflammatory things about Howell Raines at the New York Times, not once considering that that might not be an appropriate getting-to-know-you topic. He said at the end of the night, "So ... have you enjoyed yourself?" And I said breezily, "It beats the hell out of Will and Grace reruns!" There was a pause and he said, "Wow. That was so insulting."

I am out of practice.

I feel like I do not have a romantic bone left in my body. But ... that didn't seem to bother him.

We talked about our trips to Ireland. We talked about Latin. I grilled him on Latin phrases I needed translated. We talked about Rush Limbaugh. He explained Bush's tax plan and why it is such a mess. He explained it very well. He provided context for me. We talked about the downfall of the New York Times. We talked about Salvador Dali and the Torment of St. Augustine. We talked about his cat, Floyd, who ate 3 birds in a 10-minute period, right in front of him. We talked about recycling (after all, he runs a paper mill). We talked about the band Oasis. We talked about my writing, what I'm working on now, what my goals are. We talked about God. He said, "The problem with church is that it wants to get between you and God." He goes to St. Mary's. Where I go. In Hoboken. He went to U Mass, Amherst. I can't tell how old he is. He's either 26 or 32, I'm guessing. Hard to tell.

I felt, at times, like an awkward prickly weirdo. I'm too old for this dating game!

We met at Willie McBride's. I was there to watch the Red Sox game and to work a bit on The Enchantment of Things, which I am submitting to a new literary magazine, one called At Length. The magazine's thrust is LONG pieces ... they have a minimum of 10,000 words and no maximum. The Enchantment of Things is over 25,000 words. So I had to make a couple of changes I kept saying I wanted to make and then send it off to the editor. I find Willie McBride's relaxing when nobody is in there. Anyway. The man sitting next to me immediately struck up a conversation with me, and 45 minutes later we were sitting at Portofino's, drinking scotch and eating shrimp cocktail.

He had come right from work at the paper mill, and was filthy, which I did not notice at all until he made a self-deprecatory comment about his appearance, which I found relatively endearing. He invited me out to dinner and then said something that kind of went over my head ... It turns out, he said, "Give me 15 minutes to hose off." But ... I didn't really hear it. I thought he was running to A&P to get money, or something. I didn't hear the 15 minutes part. So I waited, and waited, and waited for him to return. I was confused. Finally, my sanity returned, and I thought: I will NOT sit here for half an hour, hoping he will come back.

So I wrote a note on a scrap of paper that said: "What happened? Where'd you go, dude??" Then I left my cell phone number. I slipped the note into his cigarette pack, which he had left behind him, and I walked out. As I crossed the street to head home, I saw him hurrying towards me ... he obviously had RACED home, showered like a MADMAN, re-dressed himself, and was RACING back to meet me. And here I was, totally walking away. He called out, "Where the hell are you going? I told you to give me 15 minutes!" (He lives right around the corner, as do I.) I said, "Oh ... Jesus ... sorry ... I didn't know what you were saying ..." I also was mortified because he suddenly looked amazing, immaculate, in very very cool clothes ... he cleaned up real good ... and I felt like a scrub.

I said, "I left you a note inside. I just didn't want to sit there waiting - if you weren't gonna come back." (I can be a very suspicious person. And extremely self-protective. Before anyone has a chance to reject me I have already walked out the door. I am GONE, nowhere to be found.) However, I jumped the gun in this case.

He went in, got his cigarettes, came back out, and read the note in my presence.

He absolutely thought it was hysterical. "This note is a keeper. A total keeper." He kept muttering to himself, "Where'd you go, dude?" He kept repeating it: "Dude. You called me DUDE."

But ... the point of this post, is to say that I had a "friggin'" date last night, and I actually enjoyed myself. Despite the bitchy "Will and Grace reruns" comment, which, in retrospect, I can't believe came out of my mouth. Terrible! I'm a nightmare. But I'm also rather comedic. You just have to have the right attitude.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/12/2003 02:27:00 PM

Thursday, June 12, 2003  


It's happening every which way. Everybody is moving, transforming. It's awesome. I will be over there myself, shortly!

Dean Esmay has made it his mission to help people, out of the goodness of his heart, to make the transfer, which can be quite daunting, when faced alone.

Some of my favorite bloggers have made the move, so go check out their new sites: (I've updated my blogroll to reflect all the new non-Blog URLs):

Benjamin Kepple

Allison Kaplan Sommer at An Unsealed Room

Tim Blair

Damien Penny

Kimberly Swygert's Number 2 Pencil

Sgt. Hook

The Volokh Conspiracy

  contact Sheila Link: 6/12/2003 10:06:00 AM


There was an O'Malley extravaganza in Manhattan this weekend for my father's 60th birthday. Aunts, uncles, cousins ... My mom organized the whole thing and kept it a surprise (sort of. My dad is uncanny at guessing things like that.)

So funny how the two tables at the restaurant just naturally broke down into the "adults table" and the "kids table". All of the "kids" are 15 and over. We're talking about 40 year old men sitting at the kids table, because we are COUSINS, and of THIS generation, not the generation before. I loved hearing the ROARS of laughing coming from the "adults table". My father seemed very happy. Family is the most important thing. Having his family all together around him is the most important thing in the world.

Good job, Mum! Planning such an event! It all was beautiful.

Then we went to see Urinetown: The Musical, which was, as my friend Mitchell refers to things which are so much fun you want to roll around the floor with glee, "sheer liquid joy". I was crying with laughter. Jennifer Laura Thompson reminds me of Madeleine Kahn. She has THAT command of comedic possibility. She had a line in the middle of the love scene, "I didn't either!", where she is supposed to be surprised at something she has in common with her new love, and somehow, miraculously, the woman got a huge laugh out of it. She was wonderful.

And it's just a little bit of a miracle that a musical which ends with the entire cast screaming, "HAIL, MALTHUS" is a huge hit on Broadway. Malthus on Broadway?? Who ARE these people? I am in love with all of them.

So it was a very good day. A family day.

Unfortunately, our family day also coincided with the Puerto Rican Day parade, my absolutely least favorite ethnic holiday in New York City.

I have two words, two words only: FASHION POLICE. The Fashion Police are desperately needed every year to patrol the Puerto Rican Day parade and make numerous arrests. The parade takes over the entire city. Lateral movement becomes impossible. You cannot get from A to B without going through G. Our family good-byes were swept away in a tumult of Puerto Rican pride, we had to shout our good-byes throughout the throng of terribly dressed people. I normally avoid Manhattan like the plague on the day of this parade, but alas, this year I could not. I had to descend right into the belly of the Puerto Rican beast.

I mean, God bless America, let's all celebrate our heritage, but I don't have to celebrate yours WITH you. I prefer to stay home and chill the hell out.

But I digress.

Happy late birthday, Dad ... It was a wonderful Sunday for all of us!

  contact Sheila Link: 6/10/2003 03:10:00 PM

Tuesday, June 10, 2003  


Well, let's just say, "The time has almost come for me to abandon Blogspot for good."


Blogspot: Thanks for getting me started, thanks for being the equivalent to scratching a drawing into a cave wall ... the beginnings of something. A good way to start. But now it is time for me to move on. It is time for me to move from cave painting onto the Renaissance, okay? Progress, baby, progress.

As I said, not quite yet. I will announce it here when I move myself over.

Mr. Dean Esmay has been, obviously, not just a huge support, but a driving force, as well as a facilitator. I saw the opportunity he presented to me and to many others and I have leapt upon it. I am so grateful. He's made it easy, simple. I'm very excited!

I feel very little nostalgia for Blogspot, although, again, it is a great way to start out blogging.

But I sure won't miss disappearing archives. I won't miss my permalinks NEVER working (which means other bloggers hesitate to link to me). I won't miss the template not matching what you actually see on the page. I won't miss having to republish my archives every 5 seconds. It's ridiculous.

More information to follow, a new URL and all that, when everything is set up and complete.

  contact Sheila Link: 6/10/2003 01:57:00 PM

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