Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

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Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"One Summer Night", by The Danleers...'s on the Sirius Radio station here at Tanner's Coffee in Culver City, CA where I'm blogging - as we speak. Give a listen. Classic 50's doowop. I love this shit.

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Justyna's Christmas card.

As I've mentioned on numerous blog posts, Justyna is my best girl friend from high school. We've known each other since we were 14. This was the first year in a while that we didn't spent time at her home in Irving Park (Chicago, basically) for the holidays. It was odd - that, and not being with my family as well. She gave me a great gift - the latest CD (an emotional and poignant one at that) from Lowen & Navarro, "Learning to Fall". I met Eric (Lowen) and Dan (Navarro) through Justyna a couple years ago and have seen them in concert twice.

My review of their latest work is forthcoming.

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"Letters to Brett Favre - A Fan Tribute".

Thomas Hapka, in collaboration with Erick and Adam Rolfson (the brothers who brought you, put together this wonderful fan tribute to quarterback Brett Favre, called, "Letters to Brett Favre - A Fan Tribute". And my letter was lucky enough to be included in the publication.

Chapter 7 - Brett, You're Our Hero, Page 115

I found my quote - well, part of it anyway. I thought, "wow, they edited it and cut'er down". Which I thought odd because it was a great letter (well, I am a writer and I love Brett Favre) and there were tons of other letters that were multiple paragraphs. So I went exploring and found they HAD used my entire letter, but chopped it up into three pieces to use in three different chapters of the book:

Chapter 9 - Trouble in Titletown, Page 130

Chapter 2 - Brett Was One of Us, Page 49

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"Who are you again?" Fighting to remember with Alzheimer's.

I've heard that Alzheimer's is a horrific disease. 26.6 million people were affected by it in 2006 - that number is estimated to quadruple by 2050. I know of at least two people who've suffered from it. And I know the loved ones of these people who have suffered from it as well. Recently I had my first direct, long-term contact with Alzheimer's' patient, and I can now unequivocally say that Alzheimer's IS horrific.

During the holidays, I spent four days housesitting for a friend. Part of our arrangement was that I check in on my friend's elderly in-laws who live nearby. I prepared their breakfast and dinner and kept them company for a bit.

"Jane" (as I will refer to her as) is suffering from Alzheimer's - it's just setting in. Seems like a cold way to describe it - "setting in". "Jane" would seemingly spend "hours" searching for breakfast food while I'm preparing dinner or looking for the butter in the refrigerator when I had already given it to her to place it on the table just a minute ago. One second she's recalling with great detail how she met her husband during WWII in San Francisco. The next minute she's putting ice cream in the cupboard and calling me "Thomas" - believing me to be her son.

I stated earlier that I was uncertain as to who suffers most from Alzheimer's - the patient or the those surrounding the patient. I can only imagine what's going through "Jane's" husband's mind...what he has to deal with 24/7. This is his wife, his lover and his friend. But he never made any mention of Alzheimer's to me, per se. He'd comment, "where is she off to?" or "there she goes again", but he never mentioned the word, "Alzheimer's". I can only imagine what her children are going through, seeing Mom slowly deteriorate the way she is.

Then I thought of myself, keeping "Jane" and her husband company a few hours at breakfast and a few hours at dinner for four days. I can't tell you the frustration on my part when "Jane" would suddenly morph into a funk, while my dinner is setting on the table getting cold. Or when she can't find her fork and yet there are two on the table right next to her and three others she just set out on the kitchen counter top. My frustration? How selfish, yet that's the reality of Alzheimer's. It's the outsiders who see the terrible toll this wretched disease is inflicting on their loved one. Early on, the patient has an idea of what's happening to them, but there's nothing they can do about it. They struggle, forget, hesitate and move on. That's all they can do. They have no choice.

It's easy to feel sadness toward an Alzheimer's patient. To think of what they used to be like - what their mind used to be like. But you can just as easily think how strong that person is for not giving up the fight - not just quite yet. The determination to try and push forward, to try and remember, to struggle but try and make sense of it. To try.

In the end, I realize that this disease will rob "Jane" of all her memory and, eventually, her life. So I will cherish those four days I spent with her and her husband. It will be my "lifetime of memories" that I will not forget.

I hope.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Colin Cowherd of ESPN is dead WRONG. And I want a retraction.

Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio hosts "The Herd", which I get on KSPN-710 in Los Angeles weekday mornings. He's hated or loved - nothing in between. OK, I like him. He does come across pompous-ish. But he made one comment this morning that I vehemently disagree with - and he's wrong.

And I want a public retraction.

He called New York QB Brett Favre of the New York Jets a "coach killer". That was it. Nothing to back up the statement. And he made it sound as if a precedent had been set with past Favre coaches. All this on the heels of the Jets firing of Head Coach Eric Mangini today and - well, Cowherd spouted his mouth off and if he had done his research (he always states how he does his homework) he would have never made the comment in the first place. He went on to say - without actually saying it - that Favre is responsible for the Jets starting out 8-3, then dropping to 9-7; thus, a "coach killer".

Favre played under 4 coaches at Green Bay:

1. Mike Holmgren, who left GB because he wanted to become a coach/GM at Seattle. No coach killing there. He nurtured Favre from the beginning and they won a SB together. Shoulda been at least 2 more.

2. Ray Rhodes came on aboard and lasted one season. Rhodes killed his own career.

3. Mike Sherman coached from 2000-05. He had an overall winning record but in the end, couldn't finish the job. Believe me as a Packer fan all my life (until I boycotted them this year in favor of Favre and the Jets), you poll GB fans and 99% will tell you Sherman killed his own career.

4. Mike McCarthy - 2006-present; one of the three, now famous, 3 Wise Monkeys of the GB management team who thought it best for the team to "ride the train outta town" without Brett Favre this past season. The Packers, who were 13-3 the previous year and one win from the SB, fell to a 6-10 record this past season under the leadership of their new QB, Aaron Rodgers...and the 3 Wise Monkeys.

So you see, Mr. Herd, Brett Favre is NOT a "coach killer" as you alluded to on your show this morning. If anything, he's been an asset to coaches throughout his career, as well as their own careers. How can you make such an irresponsible, blanket statement like that without checking your facts? Notwithstanding Mangini's firing this morning (and, as I've said, even when the Jets were 8-3 I constantly questioned much of Mangini's coaching moves/strategies), I want a retraction and I want it done on your show for the nation to hear.

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How 'bout a Holmgren-Favre reunion at the Jets?

Mike Holmgren just retired from the Seattle Seahawks. Eric Mangini was just fired as coach of the New York Jets. Brett Favre - well, we don't know if he'll come back to NY.

What about bringing Holmgren to the Jets? One last hurrah or an effort in futility?

I say a resounding, "hurray, hurray!" (I'm giving my co-worker Robert Yu 75% of the credit for this idea, but had it not been for me bringing up a coaching carousel question, it may have never come up.)

PS - Bring in Steve Mariucci (Favre's QB coach for 3 or 4 years and ex-49er/Lions' head coach) for good measure.

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Maria (the Maria and Donovan and Baby Grace that I'm always talking about in Tunjunga) is having regular contractions as we speak. Donovan is grabbing some last minute thingys and it's off to the hospital to see if my soon-to-be Goddaughter, Gwyneth, is ready to join our world.

Exciting, isn't it?

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Are you watching, Good Karma gods?

A Christmas card was delivered to work this morning - addressed to a Jason H. We don't have a Jason H. working for us. So I opened it up. $100 from someone in Hawaii inside. I go to 1st floor. No Jason H. there. Then I go to 2nd floor. They have a Jason H.

He wasn't in but I hope he's appreciative of my honesty. And I hope the good karma gods are appreciative as well. I could use it.

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NY Jets' Rumor Mill - Coach Mangini is out.

Heard on ESPN Radio in LA this morning on my drive in to work. I've questioned his coaching all season - even when the Jets were sitting pretty at 8-3.

Also, QB Brett Favre will have an MRI on his shoulder today. Whether he comes back to the Jets next year is unknown. I hope he does; it'll be his 19th year and I believe he and the Jets have can build on something great.

The Jets lost yesterday to the Miami Dolphins, 24-17. Miami wins the AFC East. Jets go home, and since Baltimore won, the New England Patriots go home even though they had an 11-5 record. Good.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's a first place lemon meringue pie!

Not this one - this is a Von's pie which we had for dessert a couple nights while I was preparing dinner for Bill and Marilyn Walker in Westlake Village (see post below).

In 1939 during his junior year at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, Bill and his schoolmate won 1st-place in a baking contest. They won with a lemon meringue pie.

Bill and Marilyn obviously haven't tasted my molasses cookies.

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Bill and Marilyn Walker's Christmas Tree.

I've been housesitting my bosses' home in Westlake Village since the day after Christmas Day. Part of my responsibilities include peeking in on his in-laws, Bill and Marilyn, who live just 5 minutes away.

Bill, 86 and Marilyn, 81, fend after themselves fairly well. It's just that their daughter felt a bit more at ease if I'd help them prepare breakfast and dinner. So we've had muffins and coffee and bacon & eggs, spaghetti & garlic bread, chicken &'s been very nice getting to know a little about their lives. Bill's an ex-Navy man from Southern California who served in WWII and Marilyn is from Chicago. They met in San Fran during the early part of the war - Marilyn was working at a restaurant there and Bill came walking in and the rest is history. They raised four children and Bill spent much of his career as a newspaper writer.

Today, life's slowed down quite a bit for both of them. It's getting a bit more difficult for Bill to read the newspaper and remembering things isn't like it used to be for either one. But almost every time we've sat down to eat, Marilyn will turn to Bill and smile and say, "I love you".

So...some things don't change with age, do they?

Lovebirds after over 60 years of bliss - Bill and Marilyn.

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Merry Christmas from The Johnson's in Westlake Village, Cali.

I'm housesitting my for my boss who's visiting his family in Minnesota for the holidays. Nice - quiet. I'm also checking in on Bruce's wife's elderly parents who live about 5 minutes away. More on them later.

Welcome...come on in.

Getting closer. Don't be shy. Come on...

The Johnson's Christmas tree.

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Jets versus Dophins. Sunday.

Jets have to win. And they're 1-3 record as of late doesn't bode well for the Jets at home. Plus, even if the Jets win, they'll need some help. If New England loses to Buffalo, Jets win the AFC East. If the Ravens lose to the Jaguars, the Jets win a wild-card.

But they have to win first. Honestly, I don't think the Jets will do it. My gut tells me so. And the shitty thing is even if they beat Miami, they'll need help from one other team to get into the playoffs.

Which sucks. At 8-3, the Jets were looking might fine and they let it all flitter away. And it's not just Favre at QB. It's the defense who've played maybe 2 complete games all year; it's the O-line for not protecting Favre consistently; it's the coaching staff and it's the receivers for not getting open and not catching balls Favre put right in their hands. Overall, it's the entire team that's been a let-down these last 4 games.

I can only pray for a Christmas miracle...

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Scenes from Richard William's Oscar-winning "A Christmas Carol". Lost animation from my childhood!

Animator Richard Williams won an Oscar in 1972 for his animated version of "A Christmas Carol", a childhood favorite of the Ircink's. I just recently found this on YouTube; it's only available on VHS and 8 millimeter and it ain't cheap. William's animation is superb, thus his Academy Award win. Click on READ MORE! to see more stills from this 1/2 masterpiece. Oh - Alistair Sim, who portrayed Scrooge in the 1951 film version (our favorite and unquestionably the best) performs the voice of Scrooge in this film.

Here's the film in its entirety. I hope you're as mesmerized as we are.

(WAIT! There's more...)

The Ghost of Christmas Past.

Scrooge flying with the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Lost souls forever trapped between Heaven and Earth.

"Ignorance". Beware this child the most!

Jacob Marley and the chains he forged in life.

Old Joe surveys Scrooge's lot after death.

Coal miners singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".

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Christmas Day self-portrait.

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A few lessons from "A Christmas Story".

When walking in the snow, watch before you step.

Always be alert for the Bumpus hounds - or any other hounds, for that matter.

Making up a convincing lie is always better than getting beaten by your mother.

No matter what happens, you are always loved.

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From Mom To Jeff.

If you know me or have read this blog, you understand what this means. Thanks, Mom (she feels the same way).

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Mrs. Nowak's Christmas Tree, Santa Barbara, Cali.

Mrs. Nowak opening gifts on Christmas Day.

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Melissa & Jeff - Christmas South American-style.

Melissa Aldecoa did some mission work in South America a couple months ago and brought back hats for my brother and I. Do you like?

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Christmas Day at the Nowak's.

Christmas Day at Mrs. Nowak's home in Santa Barbara. There's Mrs. Nowak opening a gift, Tom Nowak to the far right, Melissa Aldecoa and her brother, Mark, by the tree. Their dad, Mark, is out of the picture on the right, foreground.

Uncle Bob Nowak, Mike Nowak and Natalie Nowak. Another blurry indoor picture! I love my Nikon Cool Pix but I can't seem to master the art of indoor picture-taking.

This one's a little better. Laura (Nowak) Aldecoa - Uncle Bob's youngest sister (foreground) and my Aunt Ev (dad's youngest sister).

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Christmas snack mix.

From my folks for Christmas. M&M's, raisins and peanuts.

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Candy Raisins.

Another gift from my parents for Christmas. A year-round staple (but especially at Christmas) on my mother's side of the family - the Datka's.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa Claus Lane, Near Santa Barbara, Cali.

Almost forgot...I passed this sign on the 101 headed up to Santa Barbara on Christmas Day morning. Heading back to Westlake Village the next day (I'm housesitting for my boss for a few days), I pulled off and snapped this shot.

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Welcome to the Tom Nowak Christmas Show part-of-the-blog.

Tom's door. That's a wreath. Merry Christmas...come on in!

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Tom Nowak's Christmas Tree, Santa Barbara, Cali.

Tom is my Uncle Bob's brother...and since my Uncle Bob Nowak is married to my Dad's youngest sister (Aunt Ev), Tom is not my uncle (I've explained this is previous posts concerning the Nowak family).

Anyway, here's his tree, complete with Santa's snacks and a rocker for him to rest in. Santa - not Tom. I spent Christmas Day with the Nowak family as my Uncle Bob, Aunt Ev and their two youngest - Mike and Natalie - traveled in from Grafton, Wisconsin to spend part of the holidays with Uncle Bob's mother.

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Goodies for Santa.

A mug of something, some chocolate almond biscottis and healthy oats and honey bars.

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Van your ear - I mean, your heart out! Tom Nowak's Festive Decoration Idea.

Tom had this unique idea to hang Christmas tree ornaments from his skylight. It turned out pretty cool - whatdaya think? Here's two more views in case you can't see the aesthetic significance of Tom's art in the first shot.

As they say with many examples of great art, you really have to experience it first-hand to get the full effect. Bravo, Tom! Encore! Encore!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Christmas Day!

What's to-day?" cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

"Eh?" returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.

"To-day?" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."

"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow!"

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

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The Many Faces of Santa Claus.

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