Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter (1916) part II

recorded in the clinton studios in New York City, this is one take folks. Not a lot of mix, not a lot of edit. One goddamn take!

Here are the lyrics.

The Foggy Dew, by Francis Pearse O'Neill

'Twas down the glen one Easter morn
To a city fair rode I.
When Ireland's line of marching men
In squadrons passed me by.
No pipe did hum, no battle drum
Did sound its dread tattoo
But the Angelus bell o'er the Liffey's swell
Rang out in the foggy dew.

Right proudly high over Dublin town
They hung out a flag of war.
'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky
Than at Suvla or Sud el Bar.
And from the plains of Royal Meath
Strong men came hurrying through;
While Brittania's sons with their long-range guns
Sailed in from the foggy dew.

'Twas England bade our wild geese go
That small nations might be free.
Their lonely graves are by Suvla's waves
On the fringe of the grey North Sea.
But had they died by Pearse's side
Or fought with Valera true,
Their graves we'd keep where the Fenians sleep
'Neath the hills of the foggy dew.

The bravest fell, and the solemn bell
Rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Eastertide
In the springing of the year.
And the world did gaze in deep amaze
At those fearless men and true
Who bore the fight that freedom's light
Might shine through the foggy dew.

I get my fighting spirit from both sides of my heritage. I must admit that six years of Republican Authoritarian rule have made me feel decidely ungovernable. They're lucky I'm an old fart and corrupted by my luxuries.


Which Level of Hell Do You Belong In?

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

At first, I was little ashamed for only achieving the Second Level. Then I looked at some of my company. Tell all the righteous hypocrites that The Minstrel Boy is hanging with Helen of Troy and Cleopatra. I like it just fine.

Easter (1916)

"Here's to the Irish
The Men that God made mad
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad."
- G.K.Chesterton.

The words of William Butler Yeats can say far more than I could ever dream of accomplishing.

I HAVE met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

These are pictures of some of those men.

Michael, The O'Rahilly. Killed in action. He crawled to his doorstep and had enough strength to scrawl a note to his wife and three children. It said It was a good fight anyhow.

Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. Arrested easter tuesday, 1916. Shot without trial at the Portobello Barracks May 3, 1916. A pacifist who argued passionately against any form of armed rebellion even in self-defense. Founder of Sinn Fein.

Eoin MacNeill, B.A. Sentenced by Court Martial to Penal Servitude for Life. Co-founder of the Gaelic League. President of the Irish Volunteers. When he learned that a shipment of arms from Germany had been intercepted by the English he tried to stop the rising from proceeding. He took out an ad in the Sunday Independent cancelling "scheduled manoeuvers."

Éamon de Valera. Sentenced to death. Commuted to Penal Servitude for life. Released in 1917. President of the Republic of Ireland 1959 to 1973. Died 1975, age 92. When questioned by a New York Times reporter on the Irish neutrality during World War II, he remarked "Mr. Hitler is bombing London? La."

Sean Connelly, playwright. Killed in action while attempting to raise a green flag with a golden harp atop the dome of City Hall. He had used that same flag in a play he wrote where the main character deserts the British army carrying a green flag, saying "Under this flag only will I serve. Under this flag, if need be, I will die."

Thomas Ashe. Sentenced to death upon surrender. Commuted to Penal Servitude for Life. Died 25 September, 1917 from complications due to forced feeding in the prison at Mountjoy. He had begun his hunger strike demanding he and other Republicans be treated as prisoners of war.

Michael O'Hanrahan. Executed by firing squad before trial at Kilmainham Prison May 4, 1916. Author of "The Swordsman of the Brigade."

Thomas J. Clarke. The first man to sign the Easter Proclamation. Upon surrender taken to Kilmainham Prison, shot by a firing squad without trial May 3, 1917.

Tune to "Down By the Glenside"
by Paedar Kearny

'Twas down by the glenside, I met an old woman
She was picking young nettles and she scarce saw me coming
I listened a while to the song she was humming
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men

'Tis fifty long years since I saw the moon beaming
On strong manly forms and their eyes with hope gleaming
I see them again, sure, in all my daydreaming
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

When I was a young girl, their marching and drilling
Awoke in the glenside sounds awesome and thrilling
They loved poor old Ireland and to die they were willing
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.

Some died on the glenside, some died near a stranger
And wise men have told us that their cause was a failure
They fought for old Ireland and they never feared danger
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men

I passed on my way, God be praised that I met her
Be life long or short, sure I'll never forget her
We may have brave men, but we'll never have better
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men

Tomorrow, music from the Chieftains and Sinead O'Connor.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Random Ten

Here's what hitting my playlist.

What's on yours?

Audio Track 9 - - - Just some shit I'm working on, that it bubbled up on top might be a sign or somthing.

Boogie Chillen - - - Buddy Guy & Muddy Waters
Ghost Riders in the Sky - - - Marty Robbins
And She Was - - - Talking Heads
All Through the Night - - - Cyndi Lauper (live bootleg from Paris)
Peace - - - Sweet Honey in the Rock
Mo Ghile' Mar - - - Me and Medskool girl
Eggs - - - Martin Mull
Can't Find My Way Home - - - Traffic
Joan of Arc - - - Leonard Cohen

Bonus: (hit random twice take the top)

Audio track 16 - - - more work stuff, damn, now I gotta do some.

Blog Against Theocracy

Some good folks have taken it upon themselves to try and express their alarm at the rising tide of theocracy. Visit their flagship site here.

You would think that anyone with even a cursory knowledge (like junior high civics) would realize that the separation of church and state is dealt with in the first amendment because, just maybe, the founders thought it was that important.

That's the big problem I have with the folks who want to institute their faith as the de jure faith of the nation. They don't have an argument with me, they have an argument with our founders. They are arguing with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Nathaniel Green, and John Stark. Very different men who held different, often individual beliefs. Many were Christians. Most people in the colonies at that time were some manner of Christian. Many of them had been living in colonies with a state sponsored religion. Benjamin Franklin had to jump through many legal hoops to get around the laws of Pennsylvania which favored the Society of Friends (Quakers). John Adams, while personally devout, had his scuffles with the institutionalization of the Congregationalist Church by Massachussetts.

One thing that the founders understood was that backing one sect through government is an essential and primal assualt on the liberty of the individual to follow the most personal and private of decisions.

Oddly enough, among the most fervent backers of the first amendment was the fledgling movement of the Baptists. They had seen their young sect relegated to the far fringes of the wilderness by the Anglicans in Virginia, the Quakers in Pennsylvania, and the stern Calvinists of New England. They had been told many times that their personal faith was grounds to deny them access to the public arena. They wanted to make sure that this did not happen.

George Washington said it very well when he was responding to the inquiry by the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island (the very first synagogue in the United States) asking if, as Jews, they might expect "tolerance" from our new nation.

"The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live in under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."

It is not tolerance that I ask for in my spiritual choices. I demand, as my right in this country, liberty. The most basic liberty of all, liberty of the heart, liberty of the soul.

Jefferson once said "It makes no difference to me if my neighbor worships one God, three Gods, or forty Gods. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg."

This is where the choice for me becomes very simple. Who should I side with in this debate?

On the one side we have:

James Dobson
Jerry Falwell
Ralph Reed
Ted Haggard
George W. Bush
Karl Rove
Jimmy Swaggart
Oral Roberts
Aimie Semple McPhearson
William Jennings Bryan

On the other side we have:

George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
Alexander Hamilton
James Ogilthorpe
James Madison
James Monroe
Patrick Henry
Samuel Adams
John Stark
John Jay
John Marshall
Aaron Burr
Governuer Morris
William Morris
John Hancock



Thursday, April 05, 2007

Guilty Literary Pleasure

Arturo Peréz-Reverte is a Colombian author who now lives and teaches in Madrid. He writes beautiful stuff. My favorite book of his is The Queen of the South about a young girl from Culiacon who ends up as a coke smuggler in Spain. It is at the same time packed with action but also with humanity. I have a great fondness for both Spain and Mexico so that was a natural. Throw in some beautiful citations of the narco-corridas that are sung along the border and you have a perfect recipe for entrancing a minstrel.

He has also written a series (it's been out in Spain for about twelve years, but has only been being released in English one book a year for the last three years) about Captain Alatriste. Set during the thirty years war at the beginning of the seventeenth century it is Dumas quality swashbuckling beauty. I received my copy (pre-ordered of course) of the latest release (the first being Captain Alatriste and Purity of the Blood called The Sun over Breda. Our narrator, Inigo Balboa, 15 years old now, and serving as a page to the noble Alatriste gives a grunt's eye view of the "glory of war." I recieved the book on Tuesday afternoon and it's finished now. Part of that is because they are short novels (260 pages), but also because once begun it's hard to put down.

One of the things about Peréz-Reverte that sets him apart when he writes books like this is that there is an almost total absence of the formulaic approach that one finds in writers like Bernard Cornwell (whose Sharpe novels made much better BBC television than books, and I say that with full disclosure that I own every single one of them, and end up with the DVD box set more often than I curl up with the books). With a Captain Alatriste novel, you never know where the ride will take you.

I was listening to the talking heads prattle on and on about how the British sailors and marines disgraced themselves by not fighting before their capture, and further disgraced themselves by not resisting their captivity. Then I realized that the shitheel spouting that particular shit was retired Air Force. An entire fucking service of Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers. (REMF's in grunt speak)

The best response I can muster comes from Inigo Balboa in The Sun over Breda. This young man has been searching through a town that has just fallen, scrounging food for his master and finds a terribly wounded Englishman. When he reports this to Alatriste and says "We must help him." Alatriste slits the Englishman's throat. When Inigo questions what kind of help that might be Alatriste says "When the moment comes, pray to God that someone will do the same for you."

Then this bit of terrible beauty:

There, alone, standing before that corpse, I began to look at the world in a very different way. I knew myself to be in possession of a terrible truth that until that instant I had intuited only in Captain Alatriste's glaucous gaze: He who kills from afar knows nothing about the act of killing. He who kills from afar derives no lesson from life or from death; he neither risks nor stains his hands with blood, nor hears the breathing of his adversary, nor reads the fear, courage, or indiffernce in his eyes. He who kills from afar tests neither his arm, his heart, nor his conscience, nor does he create ghosts that will later haunt him every single night for the rest of his life. He who kills from afar is a knave who commends to others the dirty and terrible task that is his own. He who kills from afar is worse than other men, because he does not know anger, loathing, and vengance, the terrible passion of flesh and blood as they meet steel, but he is equally innocent of pity and remorse. For that reason, he who kills from afar does not know what he has lost.

I recommend all of Aurturo Peré-Reverte's novels. Especially the Captain Alatriste series. Especially for all you REMF's out there, you need to know how the grunts feel about you.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Iran Captives

As I was listening to the news about the impending release of the British captives in Iran I then heard a "retired military consultant" deriding their training and their courage. I was only using the news for background noise more than anything and didn't get a chance to hear which asshat it was, but, dude, get fucking real. You have no idea what went on. You have no idea what the situation really was. Both the British and the Iranians are proven fucking liars with no vested interest in the truth of anything getting out. Throw in a hefty dose of American self interest and the truth is the last thing we will ever know about this.

Here's the thing that I fear. One day the captives will be Americans. They will be publicly tortured. It will be filmed and shown on TV's around the world. Nothing that is being done to them will be beyond what has already been done, with official sanction by orders of our military and intelligence services.

We will not be able to protest. We will not have any basis for outrage. In the words of Aeschulys:

So, in the Libyan fable it is told:
That once, an eagle stricken with a dart. Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft; "With our own feathers, not by others' hands, Are we now smitten."


Monday, April 02, 2007


Shakes, formerly of Shakespeare's Sister has moved the blog, with its new name Shakesville. Blogrolls and favorites listings should be updated.

My heartiest congratulations on your great looking new site. Salutes to Fritz for his efforts to design and construct it.

carry on troops.