St. Patrick's DayA little history: According to tradition, St. PATRICK died in 461, but the date of his death is uncertain --March 8th or 9th-- so church officials compromised by adding the disputed dates together, making it Mar 17. FYI: Patrick was born on the coast of England in the year 383... As a boy, he was captured by pirates and carried off to Ireland to be a slave, where he grew up and became a priest. The Pope sent Patrick, (by then a Bishop) to Ireland as a missionary, where he became Bishop of Armagh, and is said to have built more than 300 churches and baptized over 120-thousand people.. He basically is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland. As the saying goes, "St. Patrick found Ireland all heathen and left it all Christian..." Quotable: "Then the Protestants came along the combination resulted in some wonderful Irish lyrics such as, "There's a Catholic 'round the corner with a loaded .45; ya better keep your head down if you wanna stay alive!" --And who could forget: "Landmines and Leprechauns Never Get Along," "Someone Shot Off Me Shellelagh!" "Don't Shoot Till Ya See the Whites of Their Irish Eyes," "Shrapnel in Me Shamrocks," "Killin' Limeys in Killarney" and "O' Danny Boy... DUCK!" --Few people know the story of exactly how Saint Patrick drove out the snakes. He stood on a broad plain, raised his arms and said, "Enough is enough. I have had it with these motherfreakin' snakes on this motherfreakin' plain!" (I'll bet all the guys on Disney Radio are using that joke!) --As if. All most people know about Patrick is that he's the excuse people annually use to get wasted. --Saint Patrick is famous for, among other things, chasing all the snakes out of Ireland, whereupon they immediately immigrated to America and passed the bar exam.Irish traditions explained by Better Homes & Gardens magazine: The ritual of serving corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day was started by Irish-Americans in the mid-1800s. Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon in the traditional Irish dish of bacon and cabbage. Legend has it that Saint Patrick used three-leaf clovers to illustrate the concept of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). They are abundant in Ireland, which is why they became a symbol of St. Patrick's Day. Four-leaf clovers are rare and are therefore considered lucky. According to the National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, Ireland, if you can catch a leprechaun, he is obliged to tell you where his gold is stashed. But keep a close eye on him; legend has it he's liable to disappear if you look away. (Kaye)St Patrick's Day: St Patrick's Day has been celebrated in North America since 1737. It started with the formation of an Irish Charitable Society in Boston. Local Irish took to the streets to celebrate and it has since expanded to what is now the largest ethnic celebrations in North America.Luck of the Irish: Feelin' lucky, punk? Richard Wiseman is a psychology professor at England's University of Hertfordshire, and the director of the Luck Factor. His research points to four ways you might improve your luck: 1. Improve Your Chances by surrounding yourself with supportive people. 2. Stir The Pot by trying new things constantly --from taking a new route to work to new food to new sports. 3. See a Full Glass --the power of positive thinking can bring luck! 4. Take Charge by recognizing what you can't control and focusing on those you can --diet, exercise, where you go, etc. Other tidbits Wiseman's research turn up about luck: --The Irish really believe in the luck o' the Irish. A survey in the U-K found that people of Northern Ireland were more likely to consider themselves lucky than the English and Scots. --People born in May consider themselves the luckiest people. --People born in October consider themselves the unluckiest.States with the largest Irish-American populations: There are many more Irish people in the U-S than in Ireland --if you believe 'em all. There's just 4.6 million people in Ireland (and another 1.8 million in Northern Ireland) but In the US today, there are 33.1 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry. So there are more than five and a half times as many Americans with at least partial Irish ancestry as there are people who live in Ireland itself. Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only those of German ancestry. (source: U-S Census Bureau)5. Illinois- 1,511,5694. Florida- 1,645,5853. Pennsylvania- 1,981,1062. New York- 2,451,0421. California- 2,611,449 Quotable: "For folks in California, New York and Pennsylvania, it's like Cinco de Mayo for white people." --"Then again, St Patrick's Day in L-A is the only time you see people with green hair and green clothes drinking green beer --with no green cards." The state with the highest percentage of Irish people, though, is Massachusetts, where almost a quarter (24 percent) of the people are descendents of Irish immigrants. That's more than runner-up (and neighboring) New Hampshire (20 percent) and Rhode Island (18 percent). The remaining New England states --Connecticut, Vermont and Maine-- also rank among the top 10 in this category, as does Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Montana. Irish is among the top-five ancestries in every state but two (Hawaii and New Mexico).Cities with the largest Irish-American populations (by percentage): Twenty-two million Americans --or about 7.2 percent of the population-- say their “primary ancestry” is Irish, according to the US Census’s American Community Survey. Another 13.5 million Americans claim at least some Irish ancestry, bringing the total to 35.5 million Americans --or 11.6 percent of the population-- who have at least partial Irish ancestry.10. Wilmington, DE, 13 percent9. Long Island, NY, 13.1 percent8. Philadelphia, PA, 14.2 percent7. Camden, NJ, 14.8 percent6. Worcester, MA, 14.8 percent5. Syracuse, NY, 15 percent4. Albany, NY, 15.6 percent3. Peabody, MA, 16.9 percent2. Middlesex County, MA, 16.9 percent1. Boston, MA, 20.4 percentSt Patrick's Day parades: Believe it or not, one of the oldest St Patrick's Day parades --of the nearly 100 across the U-S now-- is in Savannah, GA, where there's a large Irish population. It was first held in 1824. The first city to hold a parade on St Paddy's Day was in Boston in 1737. New York followed in 1762 and Philadelphia in 1771 --all before the US existed as a country. (Source: Wikipedia)The biggest St Patrick's Day parade is held in New York, and originated in 1762 when a group of Irish-born militia on their way to a breakfast celebrating St. Patrick's Day staged an impromptu march through the streets with their regimental band, and they've been marching ever since.Signs you're at a lame St. Patrick's Day parade: --Smallest leprechaun is 6'2" 260 --It's sponsored by O'Doul's (a non-alcoholic beer) --Instead of shamrocks, just ShamWows --At the end of the rainbow, a pot of Bitcoins --Someone named Pat M'Loins keeps offering to drive the snakes from your pants --Leprechauns keep showing off their lucky charms, if you know what I mean --The green drinks come straight from the local river --It's delayed because the mayor got lost in a herd of leprechauns --It's 8:30 am and everyone is still sober --It's AugustThere are four U-S cities named Shamrock, with Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia and Shamrock, Texas, the most populous, with 2,623 and 2,029 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Indiana had 168 residents and Shamrock, Oklahoma, 125. However, there are nine cities in the U-S named Dublin. Dublin, Ohio, is the most populous, at 31,392, followed closely by Dublin, California, at 29,973. There's also Emerald Isle, North Carolina, with 3,488 residents, of whom in a ratio of 1-in-6 are of Irish descent.There are 25,870 U-S residents who speak Irish Gaelic at home.Some Irish stats:The personal finance website WalletHub released its St. Patrick’s Day By The Numbers report, which includes the following factoids: --60 percent of Americans plan to celebrate St Patrick's Day --of those, 83 percent plan to wear green! --45 pounds of vegetable-based dye is used to turn the Chicago River green... but it only lasts five hours. --St Patrick's Day ranks fourth among the most popular drinking days of the year --right behind New Year's Eve, Christmas and the Fourth of July. --13 million pints of Guinness... will be consumed worldwide on St Patrick's Day. --$1.3 million... is the current market value of a leprechaun's pot of gold, which contains a thousand gold coins weighing one ounce each. --St. Patrick’s partiers will spend an average of $35.40 to celebrate on the big day this year. --There's a 70 percent increase in cabbage shipments during St. Patrick’s week --33.1 million US residents claim Irish ancestry --or about seven times the current population of Ireland. --Irish is the second most frequently reported European ancestry behind German. Editor's note: For a nice graphic for your station's website, head HERE.Drinking on St Patrick's Day: Actually the custom began much earlier, in the year 464, perhaps because the dying saint had urged his companions not to mourn him, but to take a small drop or two of spirits to ease their pain upon his passing. And the Irish, being a loyal and passionate people, have yet to recover from their loss. Quotable: "Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat." --Alex LevineMost popular drinking days:With St Patrick's Day in the headlights, a survey of two-thousand U-S adults by Yahoo! revealed the five most popular drinking days:5. Thanksgiving4. St. Patrick's Day3. Fourth of July2. Christmas1. New Year's EveThree famous Irishmen: --ARTHUR GUINESS, who opened his brewery in Dublin in 1759. --JOHN JAMESON, who opened his distillery in Dublin in 1780. --Whoever invented Bailey's Irish Cream. Gilbeys of Ireland reportedly introduced the mixture in 1974 to prop up their international sales. Although legend has it the drink was created by ANDREW BAILEY of the R-A Bailey Company, PETER O'CONNOR of Bailey's says "There's no Mr or Mrs Bailey. We wanted a name that was Irish, but not 'show' Irish. The R-A Bailey was a way of putting a name behind the factory, a way of getting across that the product comes from Ireland."The wearin' of the green is a popular St. Patrick's Day tradition, since green is the national color of Ireland, and symbolizes the island's lush landscape.More Irish Factoids (Irish Tourist Board): --The shamrock was first used by St Patrick to convert the Irish king Leary to Christianity. He explained the Trinity by showing that just as the three leaves made up one shamrock, so did the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make up one God. --The official emblem of Ireland is a silver and gold Irish harp on a blue background. The oldest Irish harp in existence is the "Brian Boru Harp," dating from the 14th century and named after the most famous king in early Irish history. --The shillelagh was named for a village in County Wicklow where oak and blackthorn trees are plentiful. It was first displayed in battle in 1209. --The tri-color Irish flag [green, white, and orange] first gained acceptance as the flag of Irish independence in 1848, and became the national flag when Ireland finally achieved its independence in 1921.And what about the potato, then? The potato did not originate in Ireland. The lowly spud was actually brought to the Emerald Isle in the early 17th century from America by Sir WALTER RALEIGH, who had a large estate at Youghal [pronounced "Yawl"] in County Cork. But by the 1840s, the potato was a staple of the Irish diet. The potato's popularity was based on the fact that poor tenants working the land could produce more food per acre than any other crops Irish farmers had grown before. Because it was so abundant, some of the poorer parts of the country relied entirely on the potato for food.Origin of the Potato Famine: In 1846, there was a blight of the potato crop --a fungus that left acre after acre of Irish farmland covered with black rot. The stores of food rotted in the cellars across Ireland, and so there was nothing to sell for rent. If you ate the rotting food, you got sick and entire villages came down with cholera and typhus. This was the start of the Great Irish Famine, which lasted four long years, from 1846-50. What happened next was what caused the U-S to have such a large Irish population --the landlords (many British) evicted all their tenants --hundreds of thousands of peasants-- who then either crowded into workhouses or emigrated to America on crowded "coffin ships" --so named because up to a third of passengers could be lost to hunger or disease on the crossing. A million Irish were killed in the Famine, and thanks to emigration, the population went from 8 million to 5 million.St. Paddy's Day Glossary: (courtesy of YANKEE magazine) --Banshee: Female spirit. According to Irish folklore, this fairy woman's wailing was the harbinger of doom. --Boxty: Potato pancakes or griddle cakes, Irish-style. --Bushmills: The world's oldest distillery (since 1608), located on the coast of Ireland in County Antrim. --Champ: A popular mashed potato dish made with scallions, milk and butter. --Coddle: Potato and pork casserole; the traditional Irish Saturday night supper, enjoyed with a few pints of Guinness stout. --Crubeens: Brined and boiled pigs' feet. --Irish coffee: Hot, strong black coffee, sugar to taste, with a measure of Irish whiskey, all topped with cold, fresh heavy cream. --Irish Mist: A blend of four whiskeys, along with honey, heather, clover, and the essences of more than a dozen herbs. --Jackeens: Dublin natives, so called by Irish country people. --Stout: A strong, dark, malty-tasting beer. Ireland's most popular drink, considered a national treasure. The Guinness family began brewing its stout in 1759 along the banks of Dublin's River Liffey at St. James Brewery, where it has beeb produced ever since. --Tightener: A filling supper.Some quick lines: --St. Patrick's Day, the day when puffy white guys get drunk and fall down. Come to think of it, just where is TED KENNEDY? Oh, right. --Nice thing about St. Patrick's Day in L-A: it's the only time you see people with green hair and green clothes drinking green beer --with no green cards. --Watch to the hookers in town with their St. Patrick's Day specials. You can tell because they're usually wearing a button that says, "Kiss me, I'm $50."Irish eatin': If corned beef and cabbage is part of your St Patrick's Day tradition, the Weight Watchers website has a few fun ideas on how you can enjoy the holiday without blowing your diet. --Try the Irish jig. You're sure to burn a few calories dancing. --Instead of watching the parade from the sidelines, join a group that's marching. --Trade in the green beer for leafy greens like spinach and broccoli. --Green tea isn't a traditional part of St Patrick's Day, but you can make it one. There are tons of health benefits associated with green tea. --Don't forget the old saying, "Kiss me, I'm Irish!" Kissing burns 10 calories in 10 minutes. That's quite a work-out!What being Irish means (internet): 1. You will never play professional basketball.2. You swear very well.3. At least one of your cousins holds political office.4. You think you sing very well.5. You have no idea how to make a long story short.6. You are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf.7. There isn't a huge difference between losing your temper, and killing someone.8. Much of your food was boiled.9. You have never hit your head on the ceiling.10. You spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling.11. You're strangely poetic after a few beers.12. You will be punched for no good reason... a lot.13. Some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations.14. Your sister will punch you, because your brother punched her.15. Many of your sisters are Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary... and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth.16. Someone in your family is incredibly cheap.17. You don't know the words, but that doesn't stop you from singing.18. You can't wait for the other guy to stop talking, so you can start talking.19. "Irish Stew" is the euphemism for "boiled leftovers from the fridge."20. You're not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up in frequency.21. There wasn't a huge difference between your last wake and your last keg party.22. You are, or know someone, named "Murph."23. If you don't know Murph, then you know Mac, or Sully. You probably know Sully McMurphy.24. Your parents were on a first name basis with everyone at the local emergency room.25. And last but not least... Being Irish means... your attention span is so short-- oh, forget it.Anyone for St. Paddy's Day Bits? --How about an "O" game? Think of all the famous Irish names that begin with "O," like "O'BRIEN," or "O'MALLEY." Bonus points for celebrity names like BILL O'REILLY, CONAN O'BRIEN, PETER O'TOOLE or RYAN O'NEAL. OPRAH and Oklahoma do not count. --Maybe it's just me but the idea of people arguing in accents is funny. Hearing two listeners argue in Irish accents might be a hoot. Okay, for maybe 30 seconds before you've had enough. Or settle a husband-wife argument by getting the couple to argue in Irish accents. Now THAT might be funny. Better have a good prize. For both of them. --There must be SOMEthing you can do with that freeway cloverleaf in your town.Partly personal: Was riding in the Philly St Paddy's Day Parade in back of a band singing the Irish version of the British song, "Join The British Army," with the following amusing lyrics: When I was young I had a twist of punching babies with me fist And I thought I would enlist and join the British army Too ra loo ra loo ra loo, they're looking for monkeys up in the zoo If I had a face like you, I would join the British army. There's more, of course, but we only have so much time. (RB)Some Irish drinks besides beer and whiskey: Nutty Irishman:1 oz Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur1 oz Bailey's Irish Cream1 oz Cream --mix together in glassCerebral Hemorrhage:1 oz Bailey's Irish cream1 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur1 oz peach, or strawberry schnapps3 drops grenadine syrup --Add Kahlua, then carefully layer on Bailey's, then the schnapps. Put the drops of grenadine in for effectIrish Car Bomb:1/2 shot Jameson's Irish whiskey 1/2 shot Bailey's Irish cream 3/4 pint Guinness --Float the Jameson's on top of the Irish creme in a shot glass; drop into glass of Guiness, then chug it before it turns into a coagulated mess! Editor's note: Now THAT's one hell of a Boilermaker!Cement Mixer:1 oz Bailey's Irish cream1 oz lime or lemon juice --mix together in mouthButtery Nipple: 1 oz Bailey's Irish cream1 oz Butterscotch schnapps Editor's note: A bonus St Paddy's Day quiz, below, in Last Word.