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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By Patrick Van Roy On June 11th, 2019

Guest post by Paul

Pat made a good natured comment on a thread earlier about Patty and Daphne, the ‘suspicious women’ who no longer seem to be around and it got me thinking to the various personalities I’ve encountered on ATW over the years who no longer seem to hang around this place.

I first came across ATW by accident while doing research for my LLM around 2005 and started commenting almost immediately, first under the pseudonym WOCI and after being told off by Ernest Young for lambasting David while using a pseudonym then changed it to Paul McMahon. Over the years there have been many varied and colourful characters (virtually) who ran around these pages although these are the ones for me who jump out from the past but are no longer with us for whatever reason. I’m sure I’ll have missed some on the list.

– David Vance – Our gracious host. I seldom agreed with David on anything but with very very few exceptions found him to be impeccably polite, helpful and accomodating. When I finally met him in reality I found him to be the same affable person he was in cyberspace. The Captain sadly seems to have largely abondoned his ship for bigger fish to fry.

– Andrew McCann – Rabidly hard line unionist, articulate and diametrically opposed to the politics most of the Irish commentators on ATW would, (to differing degrees?) espouse. So vehement in his loyalty that he could never find it within himself to be civil with those who disagreed.

– Mauradin Ruad – Broadly unionist in outlook, knowledgeable, good humoured and slippery as a well oiled eel in conversation

– Chris Gaskin – Someone I who would have considered very much a fellow traveller. Knowledgeable and forensically sharp. Chris and I had mutual friends although we haven’t been in contact for quite a few years now.

– Felix Quigly-  Felix had an Irish surname but was so unquestionably pro Zionist that I’d bet the farm on him being male genitally mutilated.

– Monica / Grizzly Momma – The better half of the whole. Pretty conservative in outlook but with a natural diplomacy and feminine nurturing. Something missing from her then half of the tag – team. I’m sure she’s doing well or the now mild mannered Pat would have let us know.

– Republican Stones – Like Chris, someone who I would have considered having an outlook similar to my own. I don’t know what’s happened to him / her but there’s an occasional comment on Slugger O’Toole from an RS which is somewhat in the same vein of tone. I hope it’s he / she.

– Ernest Young / Mike Cunningham – I seldom agreed with either and while I found Mike’s contributions autobiographical, short storyesque and more often than not a bit crabbed I was always impressed by his fierce devotion to his family, in particular to his wife. Ernest usually gave a concise, conservative, older person’s perspective and of course was, AFAIK, the only person on ATW to see combat, (in the Korean War). Due to advancing age I sadly suspect that both are no longer with us. I wish them peace wherever they are.

– Pinky- Irish (West Belfast?)immigrant to the US and seemingly pretty close / knowlegeable to the then Obama administration. Irish nationalist and deep blue Dem.

– Patty- I always had the image of Patty as a Valley Girl arts lover. For me Patty was at her best when commenting on poetry, art etc. Her political comment  was usually quite disappointing after the election of the current POTUS as it normally consisted of ra-ra cheerleading devoid of analysis or sense.

– Daphne- The fiery, tough Texan lady. Smart and sassy. No shit talked, no shit taken. I have images of her in a pair of cowboy boots with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and a Colt 45 in the other. Fair, deep thinking and straight talking. The kind of US Republican I can respect.

– Charles- Another Texan and like Daphne fair and deep thinking. (Genuinely) pious, honest, always civil and affable. What always struck me most about Charles was his very obvious, deeply ingrained humanity, a humanity which sometimes brought him into conflict with his political ideaology. I always regarded Charles as a deeply decent, thinking man’s conservative with a small C.

– Agit8ed – Like Felix Quigley an unquestionable defender of Zionism. He wrote the way Christopher Walken speaks and his comments were always underpinned by an unquestioning deeply religious foundation which, for me at least, usually bordered on the maniacal. Like MR a difficult one to pin down and like Ernest and Mike I suspect sadly no longer with us as a result of advanced age.

– Harri- Completely devoid of sense or logic on any matters regarding the EU. Dismissive of facts and absolutely driven by emotion regardless of what credible and accurate evidence said to the contrary. A guy whose sole commentary and analysis consisted of heavily partisan newspaper and weblog links and far right soundbites. But still, usually entertaining.

I’ve often thought of ATW as a barroom where these characters would gather to chew the cud and no doubt have forgotten a few that came through its cyber doors. I’d also like to say that the short biogs of each character are nothing more than my own opinion based on what’s been written here. No doubt we have different opinions of the various characters here based on our own experiences.

Sadly while there’s still a few regular reprobates still frequent and  ATW bar’s doors aren’t closing for good just yet I suspect that the pub’s glory days have passed.


33 Responses to “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

  1. Many thanks Pat.

  2. my pleasure

  3. Monica / Grizzly Momma – The better half of the whole. Pretty conservative in outlook but with a natural diplomacy and feminine nurturing. Something missing from her then half of the tag – team.

    I hope the reference wasn’t lost on you 😉

  4. I miss the other MR.

    Is the rumour true that Logical Unionist has been in Syria the last few years single-handedly dismantling Islamic State?

  5. LU was one of the ones I had in mind but went out of my head Reg. I’ve heard the Jason Bourne cinema saga was based on the sixth instalment of his autobiography.

    Either that or he was a spoofing waffler mooncat.

  6. That was a really entertaining post Aul, thank you.
    Some of whose names were real blast from the past, I remember so many of them and your analysis foremost is spot-on. I think I’ve been on this site for too long.
    You should do another one featuring us regulars Paul.

  7. Fantastic post Paul, and what a great summary of so many old regulars from years gone by. If I was to summarise all those individuals myself It would hardly differ an inch from your accurate character observations of those who have left for good or just lingering back for the moment.

  8. Thanks guys.

    I really do wonder what’s happened to them all? Wherever they are I hope they’re all safe and well. That’s fifteen people there on the list and I don’t know if I’m looking at things through rose tinted glasses but there was a time when ATW seemed to be much more lively and enjoyable. I really do think that ATW’s glory days have passed 🙁

    I also wonder how many readers ATW has which read but don’t comment?

  9. I think that in any blog there are at least as many who never comment as who do comment- Maybe much more

    Where the hell is my sometimes buddy Ernest Young

  10. Paul,

    Great post. Astute summaries of the characters in question.

    FYI – you forgot one other. There used to be a likeable, humorous libertarian guy from the arse end of England…Pat Moore or something? Haven’t seen him around in ages.

  11. Yes Reg, it seems to me that a few years ago there used to be more discussion and exchange of views rather the pervasive propaganda that seems to pass for it today. Maybe I’m just looking at the past through rose tinted glasses or maybe ATW is another victim of the polarisation which seems to have occurred from 2016.

    Phantom, I wish those that read would also comment so some new blod could be introduced into the equation. It also seems that we’ve lost Noel and Seimi? and I wish good English Conservative voices like masterson would come back.

    It’s good to see smcgiff make a return though.

  12. Noel has not gone away unless that happened very recently

    Seimi Does comment once in a while

  13. Both Noel and Seimi’s frequency of comments have fallen drastically. I fear it a precursor to stopping completely, although I hope I’m proven wrong.

  14. I hope the reference wasn’t lost on you 😉 no… and I agree

  15. A good post the names of some of the missing……

    I miss many of those listed. What I miss though is something else Paul said the exchange or debate of positions. No one tries to explain the reasoning behind their position.

    We have a good variety of views and beliefs, but we all know each others positions all too well. Some new blood commenting would be nice.

    David used to attract new people, but all his free time from his business is spent trying to achieve greater things with the other platform as the base. The rest of us are not public figures and attract no one to come here.

    That is something we have to work on.

    I have always looked at this site as a cyber pub. A nice corner taproom.

  16. We need females ! Daphne, Patty, Monica, Pinky, Aileen , Alison , Mairin and other occasional commenters of the fairer sex who tempered our toxic masculinity ! Come on girls, if there are any of you just reading, stop being wallflowers and get tangling with us in this gender imbalanced web 💕

  17. //Both Noel and Seimi’s frequency of comments//

    I’m still here, Paul (and thanks for the post).
    I’m wiped out with work and private matters recently, so don’t have as much time to comment or read as I used to.

    I think an important turning point was, ironically, the consolidation of the peace deal in NI and the DUP-SF partnership in government. That kind of knocked the wind out of a lot of unionists (and Unionism), and when NI gradually became just another place with normal people and normal problems it ceased to feature in many posts.
    At the same time, the focus very sharply shifted to the US. The “culture war” in the US really exploded around the same time, with Obama taking over from Bush, a polarised Congress and all the enemities and hatred that that generated. I think a lot of the old regulars simply weren’t too interested in that kind of battle and fell away, which is fair enough. Madradin Ruad or Aileen are just not the kind of people who get excited about, say, the relative merits of American talk radio hosts.

    Brexit has more recently led to a renewed focus on Britain, and even NI appeared again, but still the main emphasis seems to be on American news, and I’ve a feeling that that will only increase when the Brexit issue is settled one way or the other.

    I think there’s a risk the place could become perhaps too American, and I think the Yanks here should avoid acceleratign this trend if they can. I’d prefer to see a broadening of posts to include issues of the 3 World, Asia, Europe, etc, that don’t fit into the US or British political divide.

    Pete Moore is really the only one who writes on things with a broader scope, and this is very welcome. Otherwise the endless, jaded arguments of Dems vs Reps will just become too tedious for everyone except the few true American junkies.

  18. I check in on you guys daily, but most of the posts don’t pique my interest enough to comment.

    Fully agree with Noel’s comment – this place has become a tad repetitious and stale – perspectives on other happenings in the world or delving into non-political topics might breathe a little life into the site.

    People do move on in life. We’re about to send our youngest off to university, thinking about selling the house, considering starting a small business. Debating red meat politics on the internet isn’t at the top of my list these days. Electing moderate republicans/democrats in Texas is, so I focus on that particular political issue.

    Love most of you so much – I’ll always wish y’all well, but I can’t see myself firing up to comment unless the topics vary a bit or juice my interest.

    Plus blogs are mostly dead, everybody is on facebook and twitter waging verbal battle.

  19. So Noel when are you submitting a piece on the 3 World, Asia, Europe, etc, that don’t fit into the US or British political divide.

    I have put this offer out before I will put it out again. I have authority to print what I want. Believe it or not my judgement is trusted to decide if a piece can be placed on this site. I am not the owner, but he knows me to be fair, Paul and Seimi have taken advantage of the opportunity.

    If you have a topic please write it and share.

  20. here ya go Noel write your take on it….

    Iran has accelerated enrichment of uranium, IAEA says

    or this

    Hong Kong postpones debate on China extradition bill after protesters storm the streets

  21. How about a politics free week ? No Brexit, No Mueller, No Donald, No dodgy Dems, No Rabid Republicans, No Tepid Tories or slippery socialists . Let’s talk about sex drugs and rock and roll only baby 😎

  22. what else is there……….?

    Colm why don’t you write us a piece…. tell us your life story.

    I’d read it.

  23. We all know that Colm’s life really began when he discovered ATW.

    Patrick, did you see the American girls yesterday? – 13 goals in 90 mins.

  24. yeah a good game Noel…. I don’t follow soccer, but I did enjoy watching it.

  25. ATW has generally been a place of recycled right wing stories of the day posted with little original thought punctuated by liberal, moderate and some conservatives offering hilarious comments debunking same. You could find the right wing posts on any blog, but the humerus (many of the posters clearly do). But the funny comments would be absent.

  26. Paul

    Thank you for your kind words! I still read ATW every day, but little entices me to comment anymore. I think that after 20 years, we are all like the old married couple that can finish each other’s sentences.

    You are correct that my sense of humanity and thoughts of Catholic social justice come into conflict with my conservative values. I still think that American conservatism and free markets are the best ways to lift all boats, but with an adequate safety net for those left behind.

    Cheers mate!

  27. Howdy

    I believe that based on your past comments you don’t only believe in an adequate safety net for those left behind

    An adequate health care standard for all citizens and legal residents will keep many from falling behind in the first place.

  28. True Phantom, I have dipped my toe in that water. Insurance for all.

    What do you think of Medi-Cal for illegals? It seems the right thing to do, but also seems to incentivize illegal immigration.

  29. California is absolutely encouraging illegal immigration.

    Other states and cities are too.

    And then these guys hate it when you say that they are ” pro open borders ” which they totally are.

  30. What’s better than catching criminals? Preventing the crime from happening in the first place.

    What’s better than giving aid to someone who goes bust due to medical costs? Preventing such things from happening, by covering everybody for health care, and having everyone paying something into the financial pot to fund it.

    This ain’t rocket science. We agree on this.

  31. I’m not sure that it would encourage illegal immigration. Most evidence would suggest that immigrants cross the Rio Grande in search of work, not benefits. So introducing new benefits for illegal immigrants is unlikely to be a major draw for them. Ultimately what it may do is encourage already present illegal immigrants to move to California.

    So I don’t think it would make a lot of people in Mexico and El Salvador move to California. But it make make already present Mexicans and Salvadorians in New Mexico or Arizona decide to move to California.

    But even in that it will be limited. Most of the evidence suggest illegal immigrants go where they can find work. So if there is a lot of jobs available for illegal immigrants then there will be a lot of illegal immigrants, other incentives or disincentives be damned.

  32. Good medical care is an incentive, especially if someone else pays for it.

    Legalize those who serve a purpose, give nothing to those illegals who don’t.

  33. Like Noel, my work and family life have very much dictated how much time I can spend on here. I don’t think I even commented on the last post I submitted.
    There’s a lot of truth in what some here have been saying. If you don’t want to ‘debate’ about Donald Trump or about Muslims/Black people/anyone not White, then the scope for dialogue really is very narrow. This isn’t helped by the fact that the only people who post on a regular basis are both Trump fanboys (one seems to have a particular hard-on for Trump, and the guy isn’t even American!) and one of the two is shamelessly racist.
    So I tend to be like Daphne: I look in on a regular basis, but I rarely comment anymore, because I feel like I have said the same things on the same topics over and over again.
    I enjoy the all-too-rare excursions to Different-Topic-Land, but they are rare indeed.