the wrong violin revisited…


The “wrong” violin

Guarneri violin label

Guarneri violin label

You know the days…when everything seems to be going fine and then you get one of those phone calls from “left field”.

Some years ago while in my office at TV58, the receptionist calls me and says your wife is on line two and she doesn’t sound too happy.  “Hello” I say and I got back “You stupid bastard…you took the wrong violin”.  It all went down hill from there.

On March 25 2011, many, many years later, we take the “wrong” violin to be looked at and possibly restored … the rest of the story follows…

James Perry violin

My wife’s father was a publican, gentleman farmer, story teller and musician.  He played the piano, the violin and sang on “special” occasions. He entertained his four children and bride creatively because there was nothing else in those days.  He was a great husband, father and an inspiration to his children, especially my wife.  In that she was the only one of his children to immigrate to America, their relationship was most loving and a “bit” confrontational at times.

Mr. Purcell’s old pub and house

I remember him fondly…and one such memory is about Shep #5.

He wanted to show off his newly trained sheep dog.  He called them all Shep and I think he had about 4 or 5 of them over the years.  I squeezed  into his mini car and Shep got into the back seat, to this day I have never seen a display of unconditional love between a man and an animal as I saw that day.  I will never forget it, Shep knew he had to perform and “Jack” would have accepted nothing less than a perfect show.  That I got, and to this day I love to watch those ESPN sheep dog competitions.  Shep 1-5 would have been a blue ribbon contender.

Jack died  March 25, 1987 and we left for Ireland the next day.

Death in Ireland is a celebration, a time to remember and a time to morn, and we did all.  Our stay lasted about ten days and the day before we were to leave Mary asked me to go into the sitting room and pick out the best of her father’s two violins to take back to the states.  That I did.  I even swapped cases and put what I thought was the violin and the case that was in the best condition aside for our trip back.

The Purcell’s old house is now an award winning restaurant called the Sha-Roe Bistro.

The building has been very sympathetically converted, with many details – an odd little insert in an uneven original corridor wall provides a shelf for a nightlight, for example, and a tiny old cottage window in the back of the dining room has been retained, allowing a peep into the kitchen.

Window to kitchen Sha-Roe

On winter nights, a welcoming log fire burns in the  sitting room and, in the dining room itself, a glowing stove in a big open stone fireplace has wood stacked up alongside ready for refills.

Back to the states and it must have been a year or two later when “that” phone call took place…and the conversation continued…

You do remember there was another violin left behind in the sitting room.  That one was given to Mary’s sister.

…Phyl wanted her violin fixed up so Des took it to be appraised and for an estimate to restore it… Phyl is Mary’s sister and Des is Phyl’s husband.  Well apparently the man that looked at the violin was so impressed with it that he told Des that he would hold onto it for a while so that he could do more research on it.  Des was not too comfortable with the man and his suggestion and left with the violin…he took it to someone else and then Mary asks me “do you know what they told him?”  I said “No I don’t”  “Well let me tell you Mr. “wrong” violin man…it’s a…his name starts with a ‘G’ and according to this guy some  people consider him to be as good as Stradivarius was.” “Oh” I said and Mary continued “He appraised it for some unbelievable amount and Des told him to restore it.”

Mary called the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s office the next day to ask for a referral to an “expert” on violins.  She then visits with that “expert” and was offered a written or a verbal appraisal on our violin.  The cost difference between the two is substantial and Mary opted for the verbal.  She was told who made it, where it was made, the time frame and the quality of the workmanship.

Our violin maker’s name did not start with a ‘G’ or a ‘S’ but with a ‘P’.  James Perry, the “world famous” musical instrument maker from Kilkenny Ireland.  He is recorded at Back Lane, Kilkenny, in 1790 and 1792 and had apparently been in the city from c. 1781.  His output included violins, violincellos, tenors, guitars, German flutes and fifes.  He is the cousin of Thomas, whose violins sell today for large sums of money.

He was a protege of the Ormond family.  His instruments were generally indifferent and without the slightest pretentious approaching artistic design.  Workmanship quite rough but not entirely unskilled.  Purfling sometimes scratched on instead of the usual inlay.  Often very weak fibred wood, now frequently worm-eaten.  Dark brown varnish generally but occasionally a brown of lighter  shade verging towards yellow.  Remarkably sweet tone but impoverished in roundness and strength.

Our violin is not worm-eaten and yellow.  The thing is over two hundred and thirty years old…for fuck sake.

This “expert” says he could restore it and it would be worth what we paid to have it restored.  She took it home and …

… the “wrong” violin has been buried in our basement for years and it has been only the last few that I have displayed it in our fireplace…yes  in our fireplace.  When anyone asked me about the violin I would then tell them this story.

Fireplace display with violin

…until …

We brought the “wrong” violin to a little Chinese gentleman for an estimate to restore it.  He looks at it and says…not too clearly I might add…”biolin berry, berry old…need lot of work”…and with much difficulty and time he proceeded to tell us what had to be done…and an hour later…I was exhausted before he told us what it would cost and then…he said “when I finish it will be berry beautiful”.

I was sold.

I wanted it done and Mary reluctantly agreed and we left leaving the “wrong” violin with Tuo.

Phyl’s violin is mounted on the wall of their home in Portmarnok, Ireland and it is not for sale.  It has been prominently displayed in their home for many years.

After two weeks, Tuo called … “Your biolin is finished.”

I picked up the “wrong” violin within minutes of the call … and it is indeed, berry, berry beautiful.  I hope to start lessons soon.


the “wrong” violin

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…a sunrise for you

Mix – Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (Official Video)


Our Irish car is a diesel and returning to Clonegal from Dublin we stopped for petrol (gas for us yanks).  Got out of the car and pumped 72 euros (@$90.00) of petrol (regular gas) into the car.  The cap is clearly marked diesel and somehow I only noticed this when I screwed the cap back on.  In horror, I  knocked on the car window and asked Mary “Car just takes diesel right?” 

We attempted  to talk to two guys in a tow truck next to the pumps and couldn’t understand a word they said…save “don’t dive the car buddy”…Went inside the station and told the manager what had happened and she said that I must have the tank pumped out and don’t drive the car.

In the mean time the two guys pushed the car away from the pumps.  She finds a number to call and she says he’ll be there in about an hour and that I would still have to pay for the gas.

At this point we had already been on the road for about an hour and a half and were a “bit” tired from whatever trouble we caused in the city the night before. 

He arrives and tells us it will cost about 225 euros plus the new gas we would have to put in and it would take about an hour to do.

We were not looking forward to the remaining drive on roads as big or I should say little as your drive way … adding  dangerous curves and Irish drivers that seem to enjoy driving 90 mph on this section of the road.

While the car was being pumped I spent sometime talking to the manager and she told me she had just returned from a wedding in New York.

At the wedding her husband got violently ill and was rushed to the hospital and is now in a Dublin hospital awaiting a bone marrow transplant and is going through chemo and she is not sure if he is going to make it.

At this point the 90 dollars in gas, the 270 dollars in pumping, the new gas put back and the wasted 5 hours in time was just so dismissive and minor that we looked forward to the remaining drive ahead.

I lead with Jeff Buckley’s version of 


for this reason…I wish this woman’s husband and family well.


Jeff had so much going for him when he drowned in May 0f 1997.

and may a sunrise in your life open your eyes and soul for others that are going through a difficult time.


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just thinking … again

there is a commercial for a diet company  that touts …buy into the program and get two months of food for the price of one…that’s like getting the second month free…


got questioned by a police officer at 3 am leaving the beach … interesting conversation but I almost told him to fuck off…that’s almost, I’m older and wiser now.

got questioned by the Irish emigration  authorities about my illegal stays in Ireland…moi… wanted to tell them to fuck off…

still looking for my cannabis farmer from Northern California that I met at a bar when my car broke down on Easter Sunday…great story…Julian my man…lost your number.

I admit I am a fair weather fan of the Bruins…WTF

I will not discuss politics unless

Finger pointing

When it comes to the news…I frequently move on to Family Guy reruns…

I am writing this 3o minutes before game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals … 

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 27: Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins checks Robert Thomas #18 of the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game One of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It is no wonder the rest of the country hates Boston sports teams and their fans… if the Bruins win 

excuse me ….

the stones “Gimme Shelter”  just came on

…it’s just a shot away…

I’m  painting a lot and I think I’m getting better at it.  It is like fishing …your mind is at ease … but I have to get back to my fiddle and mission …

by now you have gone on to other things and said “he has lost it”

I have and I’m looking for it … can you help

can’t understand what happen to the the Celtics…

 RIP Hondo…Bill Buckner…

the Bs lost in overtime…

Ya know I have been on skates just once in my life…never been skiing … didn’t watch Game of Thrones once … not sure if this is the show they are all talking about.

I promised myself that I would never watch a series again after the Sopranos.

Can you believe these kids making thousands of dollars, yes one made over a million, on youtube.  I just love it…their entrepreneurial  spirit that is.

I love kids…they are the future…and I am about to become a grand dad to my second any day now…the first one is ….

a Beatles fan and can sing yellow submarine…

She calls me Papa Dan … counts, sings and speaks in Spanish and English…I haven’t detected an Irish accent yet…

Just had to show this again…I love it

Oh ya then there is six degrees of separation…

Will close now with an appropriate picture of our spring…wait till August the beautiful green lawn we all have will be brown.

Go Bruins!!!!!

While doing this came across my favorite Mark O’Neill painting…

O’Neill’s Band of Brothers


and remembering Henry…


God bless America

God bless America

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Easter Sunday and the cannabis farmer

After four months in Ireland, my old BMW started right up upon returning to Milton.  Unfortunately every light on the dash board was lit up but it didn’t stop me from driving it.

I was invited to join my sister and and brother in law for Easter dinner  at a restaurant in Westport and thought it might be a good idea to have the car serviced before I went.

Drove it home and all was good to go.

Easter Sunday came and off I go and as I got to the Braintree split all the lights came on and I lost power.  The traffic was heavy and cars around me were not pleased with my car’s performance.

After an extended wait, AAA came and towed my car to the shop that just worked on it.  Once the car was dropped off I asked the driver to drop me off at a restaurant/bar in East Milton.

The restaurant was packed with well dressed families out for Easter dinner but no one was sitting at the bar.  After several beverages a guy comes in and sits next to me.  To say he was not dressed for Easter dinner would be kind.  I said hello and we started talking.  He had just left a restaurant on the next block because the bar tender was ignoring him and he suspected it was because of the way he was dressed.  A certain homeless look, you might say.

I asked him if he was new to the area and he said he was in Massachusetts for business and was renting a house in Stoughton.  He was commuting weekly from Northern California and every other week to Columbia.

And what business are you in I asked.  “Cannabis…I own a 24 acre farm in Northern California and came to Massachusetts to establish a base.”

Would you happen to have any with you now, I continued.  He then opened his jacket vest and he must have had 20 containers in individual pockets.  He picked one out and gave it to me and I said how much do I owe you.  Nothing… and we continued to drink.  

He came around to ask me what I did and I explained that I no longer worked and that most of my career was in the television business.  I added that I paint and attempt to play the fiddle on occasion .

The fiddle is 236 years old…check out my blog about it.

He  asked if I had any pictures of my paintings and I showed him what I had recently painted.  He pulled out a roll of cash and said he liked two and that he would give me $500.00 to hold them for him.  I said no, he should see them in person before he bought them. 



We continued to drink.

He gave me his cell phone number on a card and asked me to call him so that he could pick up and pay for the paintings.

We continued to drink.

I finally left him at the bar and stumbled home.  I was not used to walking that distance in cowboy boots.

The next morning got up and immediately looked for the card.  I must have ripped the house apart.  

No card, no money…no grass.

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Rocky, Rake and Gideon’s Bible

Rocky Raccoon checked into his room
Only to find Gideon’s Bible
Rocky had come, equipped with a gun
To shoot off the legs of his rival
His rival it seems, had broken his dreams
By stealing the girl of his fancy
Her name was Magill, and she called herself Lil
But everyone knew her as Nancy
Now she and her man, who called himself Dan
Were in the next room at the hoe down
Rocky burst in, and grinning a grin
He said, “Danny boy, this is a showdown”
But Daniel was hot, he drew first and shot
And Rocky collapsed in the corner

The second night back from Ireland at around 2am I heard noises from the attic and initially thought it was mice.  The noise got much louder and I thought…could be rats.  The noise got louder and louder and I finally decided to investigate.  I opened the attic door and focused my flashlight toward the noise.

Rocky Raccoon was now my tenant.  I must say Rocky was well fed and was the biggest raccoon I have ever seen..  He looked at me and said I’m out on the town for awhile and I’ll be back so keep the doors open.

Rocky returned the next night and next and sleep was nowhere to be found.  The battle was on.

Fortified the vents, kept the attic lights on with radio blasting. I opened the attic door just to see Rocky leaving for another night out… he turned toward me and smiled.

The next night it was pouring rain, it was 3am and I heard him trying to get in.  I jumped out of bed ran outside in the rain and yelled, made noise and flashed lights on him.  He came down and sat on the gutter and looked at me saying Hey dude it’s raining out and I want to stay dry.

I immediately went to the attic and made a barrier that Godzilla couldn’t get through.

Opened the back door to look up and there was Rocky sitting on my grill on the back deck.  I picked up a heavy log and threw it at him. Missed and dented the cover of my grill.

Please let me revisit my bat story.

Home alone and Mary had hired a woman to clean the house every other week.  I came home after a few beverages and ended up in bed. Sometime in the early morning hours I was awakened by a noise sounding like a toy jet flying around the room.  I put my glasses on and a bat was heading right for me.

I jumped out of bed and room and closed the door.  Went into the garage to get a rake and then returned to the bedroom.  No more bat.

The next morning I went to work and left the rake on the bed.

Just so happened the cleaning lady showed up the next day.

My wife returned weeks later and asked her if things went well.  She said fine but she couldn’t understand why I slept with a rake.

It was only starting to get strange when I started to take Rake drinking with me.

He said, “Rocky, you met your match”
And Rocky said, “Doc, it’s only a scratch
And I’ll be better, I’ll be better, Doc, as soon as I am able”

Now Rocky Raccoon, he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon’s Bible
Gideon checked out, and he left it, no doubt
To help with good Rocky’s revival

Will Rocky return tonight or has he met his match.

Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles

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Irish luck

Winning the euro lottery …BIG!!! Thank you very much…

…but before I get to that I must tell you of my interrogation at the Irish immigration office…

…so Mr. Carney your passport indicates that you stay in country longer than you are allowed.  How long have you been doing this and hasn’t anyone ever questioned you about this?

…well I believe it would be about 8 years and no one has ever questioned me about it (I did not tell them of the time when upon arriving in country they were going to send me back on the next plane)

…do you have a job here? Yes I do…and what would that be?  Getting up in the morning…wise arse…no sense of humor…

…reminded me of my Marine Corps potato chip story.  I was assigned to the Joint Planning Group Headquarters Marine Corps.  Before I started I had to meet with a Navy Psychiatrist.  He asked a lot of questions and then asked me if there was anything strange about me.  I thought for a while then said.  My head sweats when I eat potato chips.  He called for a Navy corpsman to go out and get a bag of chips.  He gave then to me, I opened the bag and started eating…sure enough I started to sweat…he then asked if he could have one and I said no you bought them for me …wise arse he said

…oh ya back to the lottery…it will soon be public knowledge so I might as well tell you all that I hit the euro lottery big.  I placed my bet yesterday morning and by 11pm was notified that I won.

…a date to remember for sure…

April 1, 2019, 1 April 2019 or




April fools day…hope you had a great one

The potato chip and immigration stories are true.

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the answer is b.




Not a good time to tempt the law or regulations.  That bank job is going to have to wait.

Apparently I should have gotten an Irish driver’s license some time ago… and… I’m only allowed to stay in country for three months…clearly stated on my passport.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog you might remember when the authorities were going to put me on the next plane back to Boston just after I landed in Dublin.

…a bit of a problem

Gee I have always done things by the book … except that time when … and perhaps when I … oh let’s not get into those minor details.

Today I took  a “theory” test for rules of the road.  Questions like … all multiple choice answers… What do you do if you kill a sheep in the road?   a. hide the carcass in the bushes  b. put it in the truck and sell it to your butcher c. tell the sheep farmer the sheep attacked you  d. report it to the local priest.  Had to guess on that one.  And then… the gauge for petrol is on E and the car stops running what might be the problem? a. the seat belts are not fastened b. the left front tire is flat c. the hitchhiker you picked up is drinking out of a hose attached to the side of your car d. Donald Trump… this one was hard.  What is the penalty for accidentally smelling a pint of Guinness and driving after? (believe me it is that bad over here re: drinking and driving)  a.  an all expense paid trip to Fall River Massachusetts b.  4-6 years at Mount Joy Prison  c. an overnight with the local priest  d. watching a 3 day cricket match

As you can see it was not an easy test…I had to have numerous smells of Guinness before I was back to normal.  Oh ya I passed.

Should be all set to go … not so fast …now I have to take 12 fucking driving lessons at 450 euros and then pass the actual driving test.

As for staying in country for longer than 3 months, I would have to become an Irish citizen or continue to violate the law.  Right now … in violation.  My new friends from Chicago that live in the village have done both… got their Irish driver’s license and became dual citizens.

Back to the test.  A few questions about eco-driving.  What the fuck is eco-driving  you ask.  Well one of the questions was … What would not contribute to eco-driving? a. driving a well maintained vehicle b. driving safely c. taking public transportation d. impeaching Donald Trump

I recently asked a relative by marriage what was the main reason they hated Trump so much.  His answer …climate control. 

As always I refer to the late great George Carlin, one of the most liberal comics of all time, re: endangered species and climate control.

George Carlin – Saving the Planet

I’ll keep you posted on my progress … Mount Joy Prison looks like a comfortable place to visit for a while.

By the by Mount Joy Prison might sound familiar to regular readers.  I have written about a certain IRA escape from there in A day to confess

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Daniel Carney

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and don’t smell too much and the red L has to go on your car…back and front. 

A is for adulteress L is for learning to be one.

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painting yellow submarines

I like to fish, surf casting, in the summer.  When doing so all the mindless things floating around my little brain disappear and I am at peace with  myself.

For the last few years I have been painting, doing found object/driftwood art and trying to learn five, that’s all, five songs on my 236 year old fiddle.

As with fishing, I am at peace and forget about the petty things that somehow bother me. Don’t understand why I should be bothered by anything, but … just five fucking songs.

On the art side, I was fortunate to have a private showing at ArtBank in Bunclody, Ireland and had an exhibit with my sister in Milton, Massachusetts.  A documentary on me, by Dick Dona, actor, film producer, artist and his wife artist Marja Van Kampen,  was  also submitted to the Wexford Film Festival.  I don’t believe it won.



As with the fiddle, I have taken  lessons from two great musicians and teachers, Aidan Maher and Jeff Angeley.  Recently a close friend of my son in law, an accomplished violin master, suggested to me “just five songs, Dan cuz you’re never going to make it to Symphony Hall” 

Little does he know there’s a bar called Symphony Hall.

My sister Carol Veiga and brother Bob both went to a fine art school.  I remember Bob putting some interesting price tags on some of his work and would say “people think it must be good if it costs this much”.  I kind of followed his lead until I met a woman that does magical things with old windows.  She invited me to display my stuff at a show on the Boston water front.  She is married to a former Boston Bruin hockey player and he looked at my driftwood and found object art and said he liked it, then asked “if you cut your price would that change your life style?”  “you probably would sell more and get the satisfaction that someone likes your work”  He was right…and so was my brother.

I never made a living out of art…my sister and brother did.  I’m just having some fun while getting lost…

A Carol Veiga painting…and Bob Carney drawing done when he was nineteen.  You might see the difference between fun and talent.

I’ll get back to some painting now because sadly my constant companion and buddy was killed on the road up front.  He was abandoned two years ago and found us and never left.  RIP Jake…

Posted in Art, Family, Uncategorized | 1 Comment



Does anyone listen anymore?

John Cage did and his 4’33” commands you to listen.  Most people will dismiss this creative presentation as a joke.

Did high school, college teach you to listen?  Life teaches you to listen, your j0b teaches to listen.  One of my early career jobs was in sales and my boss taught me a lot.  Two stand out, listen to your customers/potential customers and don’t drink at lunch.

The best salespeople in the world are listeners.

At the present time I am in Ireland and no one, no one listens over here.  Anyone younger than  30 years old is over educated and can’t understand why they can’t find a good car mechanic and when they do she charges 100 euros an hour.  You go girl.

I lost John Cage.

Check 4’3″ out … think about it … listen …

listen to life… listen to John Cage …

John Cage’s 4’33” – YouTube


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tommy john untucks victoria’s secret


Anybody else ready to shoot Mike from My Pillow?  Now he’s doing a mattress cover…maybe I’ll shoot myself before I buy one.  Oh ya, I got sucked in and bought a pillow for 3 thousand dollars and did not get a second one free.  I want my second pillow.

You ask…am I sleeping better?

Fuck no…all I can think about is Tommy John underwear.  Did these guys replace the untuckit shirt people?  Untuckit shirts must have advertised on every sports show on TV…don’t see them anymore…now  Tommy John underwear is everywhere. Well not on me yet.


I haven’t looked into who the founder of Tommy J underwear is yet.  I wonder if it is “the” Tommy John, if it is, he would be one of the few that could do what this ass hole does in  GMC’s truck commercial.  Come on Madison avenue this is so stupid.
Nov 20, 2018

A man surprises his wife with a special gift for the holidays. He leads her out into their driveway where two …


The Christmas TV car commercial season is here as is my annual praise and bitch session on commercials in general.  Do yourself a favor and at least watch the last two.

Of course with that comes lots of spots where one spouse surprises the other with a brand new BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Range Rover or whatever costs more than $80,000, with a big red bow on top.  And guess what?  I HATE THOSE COMMERCIALS!  Come on…do you know anyone that would do this.

I think I’ll put a red ribbon around my car to cover up the dents… a Christmas gift to me…and maybe some thing else…

Mercedes made up for their red ribbon spot with this

Then again..was an apology necessary for this ad…I don’t think so but they, Mercedes, did.

Have ta show this Guinness commercial

…and this one brings a tear to your eyes…

…not Christmas but Guinness again

Can’t imagine the above being shown in the states…not PC I guess.

If you liked Monty Python you’ll like this Guinness spot…

Round up your mates for a GUINNESS on St Patrick’s Day – YouTube 

Feb 29, 2012 – Uploaded by GuinnessGB

To help friends get together, GUINNESS® has trained a highly specialisedsheepd


I love the Bud Light series of commercials


My favorite candy bar is Snickers and this commercial is brilliant.

Snickers again

Always got a big kick out of the e-trade commercials…come on you liked them too…

ETRADE Top 5 Baby Commercials

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