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Happy Holy Day of Obligation!

Irish author and actor Malachy McCourt's memories of St. Patrick's Day are gloomy, rainy and awful. That's how it was in Limerick, Ireland, where he was raised. In the U.S., there became spirited parades coupled with solid beer-drinking. And then what happened? Ireland copied the fun. The only difference? Crowds in the U.S. are homophobic, whereas, in Ireland, "the home of the whole bloody thing," as McCourt says, gay people get prizes and awards for being the most colorful group in the parades.

McCourt talks to Big Think about it all, from his days as a raging alcoholic who destroyed his first marriage to his brief stint running for governor of New York. How did he feel when his legendary brother Frank died in 2009? "He was the only smaller person I looked up to," says McCourt.

He gives us a taste of a proverb and a limerick, and lets us in on his utopian vision for the world -- let's just say it calls for doing away with all types of weaponry including the bow and arrow. Plus, what does it mean to be Irish in America today?

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