You Don’t Mess with a Dailey with a Pen.

One St. Patrick’s Day back in the early 1980s, I came home from school in tears of shame because “Everyone else is Irish and I’m not!” My mother had to explain to me that a “Dailey” is about as Irish as one can be without being an actual leprechaun.

As a freelance writer, I toyed with different business names, but I am glad I chose to slap the name “Dailey” on it. Because as it turns out, down the ages, the name Dailey, O’Daly, O’Dalaigh or Ua Dalaigh has been inextricably linked with the literary arts in Ireland, and among Irish people everywhere. It is the Emerald Isle’s greatest export, and contribution to the modern world.

Not just writers. Daileys.

Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Bram Stoker were Irish. But they weren’t Daileys.

The first Ollamh of poetry in Ireland was Cu Connacht Ua Dalaigh in the 1100s. The Ollamh was the royal poet who was just beneath the King on the social ladder. They apparently held their own court! The name means “Son of Dalach” which suggests descent from the mythical figure, Dalach, but more generally refers to the descendant of a councilman or professor. They were teachers, and founded schools, and throughout the later Middle Ages and Renaissance period, a string of Ua Dalaighs were Ollamhs, or Chief Poets of Ireland, the royal poets. That person, of all of the members of the O’Dalaigh family, was known as “the O’Dalaigh.”

As in, you may be a Dailey, but are you the Dailey?

These poets were perhaps given such a high position of power because of their reputation for vicious satire. One poet, Aonghus Ruadh O Dalaigh, reportedly reamed a rival so badly in verse that the guy packed up his life and moved to another county. The Irish are a superstitious people, and legend has it that if an O’Dalaigh took aim at you poetically, it would physically manifest as boils on the victim’s skin.

You don’t mess with a Dailey with a pen.

Aonghus O’Dalaigh, grandson of Cu Connacht, is the common ancestor of all Daileys today. By his time, the name was usually “O’Dalaigh” since English rule outlawed Gaelic names. It seems names like Ua Dalaigh or Ui Dalach were a grave threat to the Empire. So the prefix O’ that we associate with Irish names today came from a decidedly anti-Irish attitude. It is a contraction of the English “of Dailey.”

By the mid 1400s the names O’Daly, O’Daley and O’Dailey were starting to show up and eventually some dropped the “O” altogether. Being that “Ua Dalaigh” referred to the son or grandson of Dalach,” the change symbolizes a line of poets bent on making a name for themselves.

Poets struggled to find steady employment by the 1600s. When Angus O’Daly was commissioned by the British to satirize Irish Chieftains of the day, sadly he went where the money was. The acerbic Dailey wit being what it is, he quickly raised many of the wrong eyebrows. He was murdered for his efforts. Around the same time, Lochlann Óg Ó Dálaigh was writing poetry lamenting the loss of the old culture of Ireland to the constant waves of invasion. His work inspired a new wave of affinity for Irish cultural identity in Ireland, hence the incredibly Gaelic name.

The bardic O’Dalaigh tradition is a legacy to be proud of, but even a millennium of family history does not make one a good writer. Maybe it is in the blood to some degree, but one has to put in the work. You know, actually be a good writer. Anything less is stolen valor. So all of my writing is just a humble offering to the memory of the Ua Dalaigh poets of old Ireland. Call it a humble pride.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

“Log On To Our Presidents’ Day Blowout Server-Crasher Sale!”

If you were an actor, I might tell you to break a leg before you got on stage. I wouldn’t, but I might.

Way back like a hundred years ago or whatever it was when people still expected crowds in their stores, they might hold a big “door-buster” sale. Those were big on and around Presidents’ Day for reasons I’m not clear on. But they went over well, because…I mean, what else are people doing on Presidents’ Day? Name one Presidents’ Day tradition.

While you’re thinking about that, though:

With the rise of the dreaded Covid-19, those door-buster sales have largely gone online. Maybe it hasn’t been long enough for the Presidents’ Day Blowout Server-Crasher Sale to be a thing yet. But it’s not literal, anyway. Just like you wouldn’t really want your actor friend to break their leg, the owner of the local mattress store is not really hoping their door will be bashed in by rabid comfort seekers. And even if it were literal, having your server crash is much less of a problem than having a hole in your building. Because if your online traffic reaches such a level that the whole situation comes crashing down, odds are you’ve done pretty darn well already that day. You’re going to come out ahead, after the tech comes in, after the ensuing down time. Meanwhile down at the mattress store, they broke your building before they even bought anything, and now maybe they won’t because it’s a whole scene and the local news is there and everything…

I always wanted to write something for a client that would result in such a surge in traffic (in-store or online) that they didn’t know how to deal with it. Freelance isn’t free, but that would be its own reward, in its own little way. To know that I created just a little problem for my client that isn’t really a problem at all. In fact, quite the opposite.

By the time this post hits the streets, maybe you business owners will still have a Presidents’ Day sale lingering. Or maybe you’re already gearing up for your St. Patrick’s Day Blowout sale. Good luck with that. But even luck needs a little nudge.

That’s where I come in. You tell me what you need them to know, and I write it. With your loyal existing fan base, you can depend on the shares on social media that will boost your clicks, multiply your sales, and….oh I don’t know, maybe crash your server. But again, by then you’ve already done some business.

Literally.

Let’s see what we can do. Contact me today. I look forward to working with you.

Hey, Long Time No See.

Well, hello.

Some time ago I mentioned I might be moving. And then I just carried on posting here as usual. And then I stopped. So if you missed that “I’m Moving” post and you don’t follow me on Facebook you may wonder what happened to me. Short story shorter, because I ended up writing here on a wide variety of topics, I started to feel like I wasn’t reaching anyone. I am passionate enough about a few specific things to write about them often, so I have started (so far) three different blogs.

One is about baseball. It’ll be about current events in Major League Baseball, the game’s history, the intricacies about the game itself, maybe some book reviews, or whatever else I feel like spouting off about relating to our Grand Old Game.

Another is about music. Depending on what day you catch me on, I will be a dixieland jazz know-it-all, a punk, a Beatlemaniac, or I may decide I have to talk about something weird like zydeco or something. Probably some music reviews sprinkled in there. You just can’t know until you read it.

And the third one is all about the city I live in, Rochester, Minnesota. Like the others this one is probably going to be a lot of history, some current events and a healthy helping of “did-you-know?” type stuff. As you can probably see from the blog’s title, “Not Just The Med City” it is an attempt to put the spotlight on this town beyond what it is world famous for, being the home of the Mayo Clinic.

Stop by. I’m just getting started.


McCartney III: The Album Fans Have Waited 40 Years To Hear

As you can probably tell from the title, when I decide I like an album, I tend to overstate that fact. I do. I remember going around for a short time in 2002 or so, telling people that “By the Way” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was the greatest album of all time. We all probably listen to new releases from our favorites with rose-colored ear buds.

But let’s not do that with McCartney III.

I will say that for me it is about III times better than McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980) combined, but really the title of this post comes from the fact that it’s taken 40 years for the third installment. Critics felt the same way I do upon the releases of the first two, but over time, both of eponymous records have achieved cult classic status, the first among the lo-fi crowd, the second with electronica fans. McCartney III is a more complete album for me, in that there are no instrumentals, and it isn’t a niche album in the way it’s two predecessors were. It’s a very straightforward Paul McCartney pop rock album. The only thing that makes this album “McCartney III” is that it’s the first time he’s recorded totally alone since 1980. In 1970 he did it because he didn’t have a band anymore, with the Beatles’ recent demise. In 1980 he went back to the drawing board as a solo act because Wings had recently broken up. With McCartney III, we find Paul going it alone because with Covid-19 raging, he’s had nowhere to play this year with his current band.

“Long Tailed Winter Bird” is almost an instrumental, aside from a droning vocal bit at the end. The musicianship on this song is fresh and exciting, but still a few minutes into it I began to wonder if this album was going to be heavy on the guitar jam sessions, like McCartney (1970).

“Find My Way” sounds, at first, like the story of an old man wandering around his house at night, celebrating knowing where he was. But the more I listened, the more it sounded like a spiritual guide who’d come and gone before and knew the way. But if my first interpretation of “Find My Way” were correct, then it was amusing to think that “Slidin’ ” suddenly found him skydiving. At least at first glance. Really, “Slidin'” is about taking risks and the rewards for doing so, along with the obligatory nod to caution. Take it for what you will.

While “Lavatory Lil” is one of those character sketches McCartney has been doing since “Eleanor Rigby”, this one about a gold digger/groupie type hurtling toward her expiration date, “Pretty Boys” too is a scathing if generic condemnation of materialism and superficiality.

“Kiss of Venus” has the feel of “Calico Skies” from McCartney’s album Flaming Pie mashed up with the reprise to “Venus and Mars” on the Wings album of the same title. Inspired by a book about the flight patterns of celestial bodies in our solar system, if anything “Kiss of Venus” is a love song to the cosmos.

I thought “Seize the Day” may turn out to be a sappy song about making every day count regardless of / because of 2020. I think it actually could be about the end of the world. I suppose at times this year, the differences between the two have been negligible. Casual observers may not realize that McCartney’s lyrics are often more complicated than they appear, and this and other McCartney III tracks demonstrate that.

“Deep Down” is a repetitive, bluesy groove, more like anything on McCartney (1970) than anything else on this new set. And oddly, for a fleeting moment it reminds me of “Rock of Ages” by Def Leopard. It’s sort of a return to McCartney’s “Dance Tonight” from 2007 in some ways, so it’s nice to hear Sir Paul still likes to party. “Deep Deep Feeling” is not just similarly named, but just like “Deep Down” it’s a long, sprawling meditation of a track. This one tackles the subject of devoted love, and mortality, and how the two intermingle. It’s like the more and more he considers both, the more they become a mashup in his mind.

“Women and Wives” is a cautionary tale about the choices we make, the legacy we leave behind and how they are connected. Similarly “Winter Bird / When Winter Comes” after a brief instrumental reprise of the album’s opening track, picks up on that same theme – preparation and planning ahead – not just for ourselves, but to leave something behind for others.

Ever since 2007’s “Memory Almost Full” McCartney has been dropping tracks here and there about how he and his listeners might be remembered when we’re gone. Themes that may not be quite as relevant to younger listeners. In that time he has always tried to reach across the generations with each successive album. Though this album could be enjoyed by anyone, it doesn’t feel like he went out of his way to do that on McCartney III. Maybe that is due to the fact that, he claims, he started laying down these tracks without the intention of an album. Maybe that’s the best way.

Krismyth: The Evolving Story of Santa Claus

You’ve probably heard of him. Santa Claus. Saint Nick. Father Christmas. Kris Kringle. For most of us who are familiar with the story, the same basic images are probably evoked by any one of those names.

Did you know that Santa Claus did not have any reindeer until he was given one in 1821? It was in a poem called “Old Santeclaus with Much Delight,” author unknown. Then apparently he quickly gained some significant clout, because two years later in “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore (now commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) he had eight of them along with an airborne sleigh.

I don’t know how Santa Claus made his deliveries each Christmas Eve before then. No matter. He now had a vehicle. Now he needed a suit. Santa Claus got his red suit in an 1868 advertisement for a confectionery company. I mean he had a suit before that. It’s just that before 1868, Santa Claus dressed, randomly it seems, in white, green, blue or even brown.

Every heroic figure has got to have a side kick. Santa Claus got an entire workforce full of them in a publication called “Godey’s Lady’s Book” in 1873 where the elves, as well as a workshop were first depicted. We soon found out where that workshop was situated in an 1879 Thomas Nast illustration showing a child mailing a letter to Santa Claus at a North Pole address.

Then in 1939 in the wake of “one foggy Christmas Eve”, a book written by Robert L. May introduced us to Rudolph, a ninth, and red-nosed reindeer. It also introduced us to the moral complexities of the the other eight reindeer, but that’s a story for another day, I suppose.

It’s almost like we’re making the whole thing up as we go along, as if the story of Santa Claus is an evolving work of fan fiction.

Ready-To-Assemble Wokeness

I try to avoid the hot-button issues like religion and politics here. But today being the beginning of Hanukkah, I got to thinking about the whole matter of saying “Merry Christmas” to folks who may or may not celebrate Christmas. It’s a religious matter but somehow we’ve managed to make it political in America.

  • Should you say “Merry Christmas” anyway because it is, in fact, nearly Christmas and it’s simply a nice thing to wish someone well?
  • Should you be well versed in the many different celebrations observed by folks of many different traditions this time of year?
  • Should you say “Happy Holidays”?

I think I had a breakthrough that could aid in understanding why some find it most appropriate to say “Happy Holidays” during this time of year, rather than “Merry Christmas” or any other holiday-specific greeting. It had to do with assembly-required furniture. Having assembled more than a few desks, shelving units, tables, etc., out of a box, I’ve seen a few sets of directions which included something like this:

With your left hand, hold section B upright, while with your right hand, tighten bolt 18c.

I really do see it a lot wherever a dexterous task is being described. Do you see what they did there? Granted, about 90% of the population is of the right-handed persuasion according to the most recent…wherever we get statistics of that type. But the based-on-a-true-story set of instructions above kind of makes that decision for the assembler. Being of the left-handed persuasion myself, I can categorically tell you that is not how I would install bolt 18c.

Hence I can conclude that these instructions are not for me. They describe a world which is foreign to me.

I suppose that is fine, because the instructions will hit their mark for nine out of ten assemblers, and I can improvise. But if it said something like “with your non-dominant hand, hold section B upright, while with your dominant hand, tighten bolt 18c” it would be less presumptuous. Maybe “non-dominant hand” seems a bit technical, but something like that.

It would be the “Happy Holidays” of furniture assembly instructions.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Shubh Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Happy Holidays.

…and for those of you of the Christmas persuasion, may you have a stress-free assembly of all of the things on Christmas morning!

My Broadcaster’s Voice, Allegedly.

When I am not writing things, I work in an insurance agency. I do marketing and I set up appointments for our agents. Today, a woman I’d called a few days ago was in the office. As I rolled by she flagged me down and asked if I was the guy she had talked to. I said yes. She told me that I have a “wonderful broadcaster’s voice” and suggested I should be on the radio.

I considered replying with “Thank you. It makes up for this face. It’s why I cover most of it with this beard.” But I didn’t. There is a time and place for sarcasm and self-deprecation. And anyway it was a nice compliment, and one that I have been given on a few occasions. I’m not bragging. I’m just reporting events as they happened.

I sort of hear what they mean, but I doubt that it is just the tone and timbre of my voice. A bit of the illusion has to do with my tendency to word things differently than most normal people when I speak. It’s a gift inherited from my maternal grandfather, probably. Like a lot of people, I write in my natural “voice” so speaking that way has enhanced my writing.

I thanked the woman and told her I’d keep it in mind should I be looking for a side gig. I’d rather be writing as a side gig, but honestly being a radio personality or podcaster has long been a pipe dream of mine.

Honestly I can picture myself pretty damned well pontificating about this song or that band between songs.

So why just a dream? I’ve never went for it because I am not a good “in the moment” kind of guy. I’m very prone to the umms in a speaking situation I am uncomfortable with. Not an uncommon phenomenon, and anyone can work through it. Even so, I keep thinking I function best as a writer, where I can take the time to perfect the craft. But I’ve gotten this far in a job where most of my responsibilities involve speaking to people on the phone, mostly off the cuff and conversational. And I’ve impressed enough of those people, what, with my broadcaster’s voice and all.

So there may be a side side gig on the horizon. I’ll keep you posted.


Monolith!

On November 18th, a twelve-foot triangular metal pillar was discovered in the desert in Utah by a drone tracking sheep or something. A minor frenzy ensued on social media regarding the origin and purpose of the monolith with very few answers other than that the object was eventually declared to be Earthly in origin.


On November 28th, the pillar was removed as mysteriously as it appeared. Nobody knows how long it had been there, how it got there, who put it there, who removed it, how they did it or where it went. Though people continue to speculate about it, the monolith now belongs to the ages.
A lot of people said “well of course they’d say that” but personally I’d be more concerned if they were not able to come to that conclusion. That’s just me.

It has been pointed out that the object resembled the pillar in Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey which marked a major leap forward in human evolution. Perhaps the pillar was an art project meant to symbolize the opportunity the pandemic and its fallout could present mankind to change course.

For some, this will be the year that wasn’t, and this weird pillar appearing and disappearing in the desert will be another in an endless string of “Well, it’s 2020, so why the hell not?” events. This has been the year of postponed or cancelled plans. The year of tragedy and broken dreams. For those who do reserve space for it in their mental scrap book, it will likely be spoken of in hushed tones. But probably we will talk about it in one form or another, eventually. Wish as we might, an entire civilization can’t put an entire calendar year in a mental blind spot. I think this monolith and it’s time in the limelight represents how most of us will remember (or not) this year.

What will 2020 be for you?

a. Anonymity? – We don’t know how long the monolith had been there before a survey drone noticed it. For all we know it was simply an art project which the artist (somehow) placed there then just waited for it to be discovered.

In other words: Maybe you’ve been waiting for whatever this is to pass, for your chance to be discovered.

b. Mystery? – There was a lot of talk about how terribly unlikely it would have been for the monolith to have been installed by human hands and equipment. But then again the same thing has been said of the pyramids of Egypt.

In other words: How did this happen? How did we get here? What is going on?

c. Hysteria? – The natural bi-product of entry b, above. Though I think we’ve pretty much avoided the widespread panic that accompanied other possibly, maybe, probably not supernatural events. But there are pockets of it. Probably on Reddit.

In other words: No seriously, how did this happen? How did we get here? What is going on?

d. Legendary? – Hey, listen. The monolith just disappeared a couple of days ago as of this writing. There is plenty of time for this whole matter to be cleared up. But what if it isn’t? Like all mysteries which we are left to wonder “what the hell was that?” it will become the stuff of legend. Myth will grow around the events of November 18th-28th in the Utah desert. Maybe even a religion. Weirder things have happened.

In other words: As alluded to above, this could be the chance for any of us to make an epic switch in consciousness and therefore direction in our lives. As with any life experience, it is up to each of us what we take away from this calendar year. None are wrong.

In conducting some shallow research on the subject of monoliths, I noted that they are often of religious significance in their literal form. In their metaphorical form, they often represent a political figure or a prevailing societal institution. In perusing the actual definition of the word, the phrase “intractably indivisible” caught my eye.

Intractable means uncontrollable.
Indivisible means unified.

I feel like if you boiled down this year to its most basic elements, the result would be those two words, albeit in the most cynical (defeatist?) form possible, and the most idealistic (naive?) form possible. We’re more than eight months into this being a declared pandemic and at the moment all signs point towards it getting worse before it gets better, if I may be allowed a cliche. But a vaccine is well on the way toward widespread availability. How much we unify behind the cause of eradicating the virus is yet to be seen. But it will determine whether our 2021 will be another year that isn’t, something legendary, or somewhere in between.

I’m Moving.

…..very soon.

This blog originally came of the desire to tell stories of my experiences as a writer. Since I was a teen first discovering the craft of writing, I’ve dreamed of piloting a publication called “The Dailey Weekly.” This seemed like a good platform for the moniker. It quickly became my place to promote and advertise my freelance writing business.

In the long and many months since Covid-19 struck, that effort has become less and less productive. I started to lose the audience I was building so I tried to branch out by posting writing on various subjects which would serve as demos for anyone who still was interested in a freelance writer. Unfortunately, as my content became varied, something got skewed in the algorithm. Google doesn’t seem to know what to do with it anymore. At the same time, it doesn’t seem to be making any headway with WordPress users either.

For all intents and purposes, this blog is just broken. That’s a hell of a pickle to be in when you’re trying to build an audience. It’s as frustrating as it is puzzling.

I am going to start over with a new publication. It will be less business-promotiony and more observational humor pieces. Well, whether it is humor will be a matter of opinion, I guess. The point is I will be writing for the sake of writing again. I won’t focus on “current events” because I think we’ve all had more of that than we need for a while now. I’m envisioning a column-type thing. Real Andy Rooney-like. Without the eyebrows.

I need an audience that will interact with my work and exchange ideas with me.

I haven’t settled on a name for it yet so I haven’t created the blog. If you’ve stuck with me so far though, please hang around and once I’ve generated some content I’ll let you know where you can keep following my work.

Onward.

You Might As Well Be Speaking Klingon

Jargon. Every industry has it. It’s own dialect of sorts that its members use at work every day. It’s a secret code, passwords that deliver to the receiver a message much more complex than is apparent at face value.

In virtually any business, in trying to simplify concepts essential to what you do, you risk talking down to “outsiders.” But you don’t want to talk over your audience’s head either. If you are just targeting your already-established client base then you probably don’t have a problem. But to allow your business the chance to expand, you need to create general familiarity first. Once you get them “in the door” chances are they’ll not only be using your industry’s jargon before too long, but they’ll be speaking the language particular to your company culture.

And that, friends, will be a loyal customer.

That alone is the best reason to hire a freelance writer – to translate that jargon, those terms, phrases and concepts into the universal language. Freelance writers are like the Rosetta Stone for any business wishing to communicate with the general public.

You want a freelance writer who will take the time to understand those terms themselves. The freelance writer is the filter you put that jargon through before it gets published. Jargon is a short hand of sorts. It’s the technical version of an “inside joke.” So a freelancer may say it in more words – dilute it a bit – but it allows a much wider audience to be in on it.