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Posts Tagged ‘U2’

The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher

I missed two blog entries last week due to an annual golf trip to Ireland.  This year, we went to the West, in County Clare and the Galway area.  After playing a gorgeous round at Lahinch and before an unbelievable plate of stew at Gus O’Connor’s pub in Doolin, we stopped briefly at the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher.  Standing on O’Brien’s tower gives you a 700 foot vantage point on Galway Bay with the Aran Islands barely visible out in the Atlantic.  It’s a spectacular spot and thanks to both our tour guide Tim and Wikipedia, I learned that it served as a backdrop for The Princess Bride, the latest entry in the endless line of Harry Potter movies, and even the hazy cover art for U2’s recent album, No Line on the Horizon.

CliffFall

Sign #1

Along the walk up, the tourist bureau posted a series of warning signs.  It may be true that much like Scotland, Ireland and the United States are two cultures separated by a common language, but really, a few words may have been in order to help clarify the meaning of these imaginative, if over-reaching symbols.

They started simply enough with Sign #1: a triangular-shaped warning that sprinting along the edge may cause both damage to the cliffs and an ungainly posture.  Indeed, this simple visual messaging would easily translate for visitors from most any culture around the world.

Sign #2

Sign #2

Sign #2 however, began the descent into indecipherability.  It could mean ‘please don’t kick the oversized black piano keys’ or perhaps ‘no hurdling gravestones.’  Maybe it means that ‘climbing shipping boxes of framed paintings requires two hands’ or perhaps even something as prosaic as ‘no dancing too close to obstructions of any sort,’ but that seems unlikely given the Irish proclivity for enthusiastic if ungainly dancing.  No, Sign #2 remained something of a mystery to our group, but whatever it warned of, apparently we were able to walk away unscathed and apparently, without egregious violation.

Sign #3

Sign #3

Sign #3 though totally lost it with the implied intent.  ‘No hovering at altitudes higher than the local birds’?  ‘No walking on flaming coals while littering candy wrappers’?  ‘Beware of fire gulls’?  The possibilities for misinterpretation seem limitless and would require someone with expertise in a made up academic discipline like “Symbology”–that’s right, I’m talking to you Robert Langdon and you too Dan Brown–to interpret the meaning of the graphic artist here.

Then again, take another look at the top picture.  See all the non-cushioning layers of shale and sandstone that might provide only a harsh and temporary break in any unfortunate fall over the nearly vertical cliff face that ultimately ends in the frigid crashing sea hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of feet below?  Taking that perspective, it seems Nature already provides all the warning labels one might need to keep all but the most determined visitor from tumbling off.  That’s keeping it simple…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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My wife and I wanted to do something special to mark our older daughter’s sixteenth birthday.  Sunday afternoon, it became glaringly obvious that taking her to the U2 concert at Soldier Field would definitely qualify as something special, and after a quick trip to Stub Hub, we scored four tickets to the show.

Reasonable people may ask what we hoped to accomplish taking not just one but both our young daughters (we do things as a family so Zoe’s nine year old sister came too) to a rock concert, on a school night no less.  Aside from some lessons we weren’t looking to teach either of them (“Smell that?  That’s marijuana smoke and we better never smell that on you.”  “See them?  They’re tripping on ecstasy–notice how stupid they look.”), the lesson that was declared with rib-thumping, giga-watt intensity was the transcendant power of imagination and possibility…

Smell That?  I Better Never Smell That Near You

It's About So Much More Than Music...

How could four guys from Dublin evolve from a high school cover band to an international cultural phenomenon that transformed both music and activism on the global stage?  How could their pure love of music lead them to create an 80 ton ‘spaceship’ for a stage, an eye-popping behemoth Bono jokingly referred to as “…the latest in a long line of U2 collectibles.”  How can music unite 65,000 strangers into one arm pumping, head bobbing, grin wearing mass?

All of this happens from ideas, from imaginations running loose to explore new possibilities.  And more than anything else, I hope Zoe takes that as her gift.  She’s a sweet, thoughtful kid whose remarkable imagination first impressed me back in the first grade.  She crayoned a drawing of clouds, each in a different pattern of stripes or polka dots and the rain she sketched falling from those clouds fell in stripes and polka dots as well.  It was a marvelous bit of whimsical fancy she tossed off without thinking, without consideration, something bubbling up pure and sparkling from an unfiltered muse.  Knowing all of the obstacles that rise up and conspire to stifle that free-thinking spirit, particularly during the often casual brutality of the high school years, I hope and pray she takes last night’s lessons to her latent artist’s heart.  And never stops dreaming.

Maybe that’s a Disney movie sentiment, but hey–it came with an awesome sound track.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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