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ranty, feel free to respond though.

I have been encouraged, recently, to share my thoughts on a few subjects.

On persuasion and provocation:

If one cannot be persuaded by thought and logic anymore then I am very sad for what is going on in the USA. "Exchange of ideas" implies debate internally and externally, and is not simply the presentation of extremes and then asking for tolerance. There are countless regimes across history that have done precisely that, and many of them have been evil places at the end. Weighing merits through debate is the only way to improve upon ourselves and remain conscious of the respect we should bear our neighbor (respect they earned by the way), and the public forum is the best place for that debate to happen. Asking for a debate, and then being ignored, is often what leads to provocation in the first place.

On tolerance and apathy: It is far too easy, these days, to lump people together with soundbites from the politicians in their respective parties. Political positions in the USA (to say nothing of Canada) grow more fragmented and divisive by the day. The greatest issue, and we are all guilty of this, is our inability to hold politicians accountable for what they say and do except once every 2 to 4 years. In between time, they can say any old thing and hide behind "you should be tolerant of my views" no matter how outlandish or false the statement. Essentially, they are expecting to get away with things in the name of tolerance, rather than engaging in debate where they will be tested.

Part of this is a press related problem which began during the Bush Administration when only convenient or scripted questions were invited - we ask the press to hold politicians accountable but they lost that ability long ago.

It is only a matter of time in those situations until we encounter apathy. Those who are part of a political party are frankly too relaxed about the behavior of those they support and don't challenge their parties policies and practices, just those of the other. This situation will not solve itself - and tolerance is only useful to a limited degree. When I hear a politician being a total ass-hole I say something - he was operating the public forum and so will I. If I say nothing I am being apathetic, not tolerant.

Politicians serve us, not the other way around. Apathy confused with tolerance on the part of North Americans has challenged that reality in a way that leaves me very uncomfortable. It is up to us to say something, and if that means doing it on a facebook feed where everyone can see it then that might be the bravest and best thing anyone can do.

But never assume for a moment that what is posted won't be debated. Everything posted is an invitation to debate, not a request for tolerance.

Mar. 15th, 2009

 Normally, I'm a pretty even keel guy. Today I'm frustrated and angry with a situation in my personal life I've got very little to no power to do anything about. I'd love to go into more detail, but that's just gonna make me more of what I am - frustrated and angry. 

If I snap at you in the next week or so I hope you'll let it slide. I don't do angry well.

Taj Mahal

Well, he's not for everyone, but he's one of my personal favorites:

Rapier at BIA 4

In this years final 4 the candidates to be Baronial champeen at BIA were angall , mongirl , xaviersinister , and darkfenix . I've been lucky in my life regarding my friends, and I count each of these among them, and I'd have been happy to call any of them my barony's champion.

Now, xaviersinister  has many stories about him. One story not often told is how he had the singular misfortune to be my first rapier student back when I thought I "knew" lots about fencing and life in general. To his credit, he did exactly what I taught him, and discarded that which was not useful. When I was sure I could not help him any more, I asked him to strike out on his own to see what else he could learn. 

Two years later he's Baronial champion and I couldn't be more pleased. He is fencing very well. Killed me left-handed during the champion's gate round. And darkfenix , the runner-up, also did well on the day. It is more deceptive than it looks. Trust me on that. 

As someone visiting from away put it : "I should come up here more often. You've got some strong fencers up here..." And I know we'd be happy to host/welcome more visitors who want to fence with us. HINT HINT. 

And now, if you would, please take a moment to send condolences to poor mongirl  as she has been recognized formally as my new fencing student. Hopefully I've learned my lessons well enough to be able to pass them on to her. 


stupid is as stupid does...

 What do you do when someone in your work environment is stupid. Other than want to bite their head off for being stupid, I mean. 


This has been the two most lethargic weeks of my life. I've noticed it since the end of January. What do I need to do to get going again? I've, basically, wasted a month... 

Kate's second entry

Is from Dan Bern and it's called Tiger Woods. This song was in vogue, at least in my family, this time 2 years ago.

Happy Musical Comeday! 

 worksafe? Dunno. 

Kate's first entry.

 My sisters name is Kate. She's doing a PhD (which translates roughly into a huge student loan to work for MacDonalds because there are no jobs in her field) at UCLA. 

Anyways, I love her more than anything. Of the list of 7 people in my life I'd take a bullet for, she's totally on the list. We share so much in common. And one thing we share is our love of musical comedy. 

So, when she sent me this a little while ago I flipped. And I played it at work. I work in a church. Luckily, very few people were around. 

And now: 

Here is your musical comeday. Adult in nature, very funny and cute considering the material. 

full circle

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted any Blue Rodeo. 

So, anyone who wants a little honky-tonk can click below.

Warren Zevon

The misfortune of his career, if there ever was one, was that Werewolves of London was so huge, and nothing else had the same mass appeal. 

He's such a great writer. I wish he was still alive. He was a party animal who loved lived too long by his own admission. He wrote this song not many years from death. Warning - this is a very powerful song. Don't listen to this at work. 

And here's another one, but it's not work-safe either for language reasons. 

hey there folks,

Just in case you didn't know where my kick-ass icons come from, they are without exception found at IconsbyCurtana. She's on LJ, and she's awesome, and a friend of mine. Check her out sometime. Iconsbycurtana.livejournal.com.


because it's been a while:

 A master of the guitar: Kelly Joe Phelps


 Well, now I have the songs on demo. I need to go see a lawyer about some sort of copywriting procedure. That's just gotta happen, there seem to be fewer and fewer ways to protect one's material these days. 

The demo: Well... It's not my best singing. It's not my best playing. What it is is finished, and thats just as important at this stage in the game. And, warts and all, it's mine and it's what I've been trying to say for years but can't do without musical input. A whole bunch of things in there are said that I'd never have the nerve to say otherwise. And that has made me a bolder person, or maybe just a braver one. If only it made me a smarter one.

There were more songs than I thought. I've written 12 in the last 2 years, 9 of which I felt were strong enough to be recorded. It's a whole record, really. But I've seen to many singer songwriters toil in obscurity for years because they're not crisp performers. It would take alot of time that I'm not sure I'm ready for yet. But no door remains closed forever. 

So, once a lawyer is found I'll be able to perhaps share some songs. 
 I haz demo!!!!! 

So far, not bad. 
 Yarrrrrr.... check it out! 

Birka and other stuff

Well, Birka came and went. It was a really good time, thankfully the long drive was mitigated by having really good company.

So, what can I say about the experience?

Well, for one thing, Angall and Dannicus can really drink. I just can't keep up with those guys. They finished one of those big bottles of vodka, you know, the kind that looks like it's too big to carry in your hand? I bow before their livers and proclaim them my superiors. 

It sounds like Dannicus is gonna start coming around again, and I'm happy to hear that. Not only because we're good friends; it's more fun when he's around.

A word about what comes next - it's not my fault. I blame Caine. Caine thinks I suck. I think he's ugly. So, it all works out. 

There was the fencing tournament, the traditional Birka Bear Pit.  I did take a few breaks though they weren't for very long. I think the longest one I took was about 8 minutes when I went to participate in the LORA prize fight.

I won the tourney in the end by a small margin. I have a few people to thank, like everyone who came out to fence, everyone who agreed to fence me, and the people (Nataliia and Xavier the Sinister) who brought water to my list a few times because I was too tired to walk over there myself. 

Now, the only thing I'll say about the scoring totals is this - they might look impressive on paper but today my body is not distinguishing between my wins and losses. I am sore, though today's not nearly as bad as Sunday was. Just one more reminder that with every tourney win there is a price to pay.

And I met this guy - a man after my own heart - and finally got to have a few words with him. I hope he'll come up sometime soon and crash on my extra bed and teach me a few tunes: 

Yep, that's Harold everybody! A real old time musician...


I didn't get any shopping done - there was no time. 

I got to hang out with lots of friends - these events are always happier when I have the gang there with me. 



Birka is coming and I'm excited. I'll get to see my friends, maybe make a few new ones, and fence and shop and drink. What's not to like?

See all y'all there who'll be there. We're arriving Friday sometime afternoonish.  

likely new to you, but I'm a big fan

This guy - Mike Evin - should be huge. But he's not yet.

Just trust me - it's worth it. Especially if you're Angall! 

This song is called "Stripper in my car"

 And Danish Bullies: 

The Boss just gets better

Well, I've got none of the new stuff. But, my admiration for the Boss just grows every day. When I heard this, I shit you not, for the first time YESTERDAY, I was floored. 

And a little Dylan, because I can...

The one true disadvantage of youtube - too much stuff to sift through. I'm sure there are lots of indy's out there that I don't know about, but I don't know who they are and don't have much free time these days to look for them. Any suggestions? I'd love to present some newer talent on this lj...

Recording and where do i go from here

Lately I've felt more uncertainty in my life than at any other time. There are never any guarantees for musicians, you live or die with what you can do. Lately I've been seeing more about what I can't do than what I can. That's not a great way to live.

But anyways, I've been working on getting the glass to be half full instead of half empty. I have a friend who has helped with that, and there are lots of good things in my life to be grateful for.

But primary in my musical life was yesterday's recording. I managed 7 tracks in about 3 hours -  a really good average. My performances are not stellar, but they are not supposed to be. They are supposed to communicate the energy and meaning of words and music and they accomplish that.

But most importantly, for 3 hours yesterday I did music that really mattered to me, that I felt ownership of. That's really big for me, because although my life is always so uncertain, at least I found certainty yesterday. My music matters to me. Thanks to everyone who has supported me in the endeavor. 

Now, the business of finding a publisher is a different matter. I can only hope for the best in that regard, I've no clue where to start. 

18 hours left

10 AM I'm in the studio tomorrow recording my songs. That's nerve-wracking. I'm going a little crazy here. Mostly, I'm nervous. And worried that they are not good enough. 

On the other hand, I'll have a great sense of relief when I get it over with. I've been practicing these  songs too long, I need to move on and start writing new ones. 


musical comeday

Today is musical Comeday!

today's representative:

Da Vinci's Notebook, I believe they are defunct now, but they are really funny.



Georges Brassens

Here's a few words from one of my personal muses - Georges Brassens. Not one of my favorite songs, but it's got subtitles... 

and for those who can speak french and those who are too serious about themselves (sometimes that's me too): 

 Brain like mush!!!!

Getting hout of  'ere. 

a few thoughts

 Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. One seeks the most general ideas of operation 
which will bring together in simple, logical and unified form the largest possible circle of formal 
relationships. In this effort toward logical beauty spiritual formulas are discovered necessary for the 
deeper penetration into the laws of nature. 


Yesterday my choir rocked, but I had 4 extra pros to help us on our way. I really don't know if I want to improve me choir that way. It seems to me that the not pros will feel undervalued.


Well, since Freya doesn't know that must mean that nobody else does either.

The short version:

I'm recording my original songs on the 20th of January. That's pretty huge for me, I've never done anything like this before.

No, I'm not in it to be a rock star. That's for folks who are younger and looking for sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. I'm looking for something quite different. If you don't know what that is, I can't tell you. 

Anyways, the recording is why I bought the guitar - I needed more firepower, more sound, an easier touch, etc... 

Now I just need to keep my hands and wrists from hurting and I'll be good to go. 
 i'm back from vacation. Fun was had, flu was got and less fun was had, too much sleep so it figures that i'll be sleep deprived in just a few days. Anyways... Recording happening in 2 weeks. I need to find some practice time pronto...
 I've been in an achy way lately. My nerves in my legs are giving my all sorts of grief. Luckily I have Alexander, which is keeping most of it at bay. I'm not down for the count yet, but when I stretched this morning it hurt so bad I was nearly in tears. 

Christmas was the same as usual. Too many pressies, too much stress, not enough time off. Ah well, at least there are projects that are coming to completion this month. THAT is the most important thing. I really believe in completion. 

I bought a Taylor 510 with the money I've been saving since easters. I've still gotta pay it off in installments, but it's a sweet sounding guitar with sound to burn and character all across the strings. And I got it at a bargin basement price - $1800 with the taxes included. That's roughly a 60% markdown. It's not like I could afford it, but installments are a WONDERFUL thing. A small down payment now, I get about 6 upgrades in guitar for the same price as I would have had with the other lesser model.  

It's so much fun to play, and I'm really enjoying owning it. It needs a check-up pretty badly, and I suppose that's something I'll do this week. 

I've already found a home for my old one, which is also very nice. One of those "loan until I forget where it is" deals that I prefer. 

Sometimes I wish that the music I wrote was happier. It ain't, I guess I've gotta accept that. I can't wait for happy music to come out though, its been a while...


In the meantime I present Heinrich Isaac. 

Isaac was famous. I mean, really, really famous. These days he is not the first choice for many early music groups. This is, in part, because his music is so very hard to perform. Some of his pieces that last 10 or 14 minutes are vocal punishment. Beautiful music, but totally unaccessible to any but the most capable musicians. 

So here's a piece that is totally doable by an ensemble of middling calibre. Still beautiful, yeah?

There are 2 distinct styles of early music - loud music and soft music. The soft music is all about viols and recorders and was meant for intimate gatherings in smallish rooms of the affluent.

(noses firmly pointed in the air!)  

a toast

To you my absent friends,

Merry Christmas, or happy holidays, or Happy Chanukah, or happy however you chose to spend this time of year. I wish you all the best of health and happiness, and hope I'll see more of you in 2009.  
This is a very long article. Totally typical of the way we live today...


So who is it?

There's so much great music in the world. I could go on and on, and if you keep watching this particular station, eventually I might run out of things to post.  

But there's music, and then there's music that tickles a certain bone in me, a melancholy and excited and giddy and sad and angry and happy part of me. That's generally what I post.  

Ambivalence is impossible with Springsteen - either you love it or it's not your cup of tea. Thunder Road is nearly as old as I am, but it's still one of the best ballads I know.

Thanks Bruce. 


 It's hard to describe how I feel today. It's been such an emotional rollercoaster of a month, I've been up and down so many times... 

I've been wrestling with a my neglected interest in spiritual life. Some large emotional and spiritual spaces have opened up to me. I'm a more well-rounded person, but i've also been a bit flaky of late. One of my friends calls me Mr. Universe sometimes...

Maybe I always was a flake? 

The problem is, since then so much has become boring. Secondary. Unconcerning. I'm letting many practical parts of my life just slide and I don't think that's a good thing. But I'm having so much trouble putting it down for the work day. 

So I'm struggling for balance. 

Know what I mean? 

I really hope you do. this is really hard to describe. 

Can't embed this one...

Alright, this is mostly for one snippet in the middle. Start watching about 1:46 and you'll see why Johnny Gimble was one of the great violists of his era.



Ok, just a few words about G. P. da Palestrina.

Once Horowitz said that he felt ALL music was romantic. I'm not sure if he's right, but Palestrina is one of the most romantic composers ever. And today, because I can: Gloria from the Missa Papae Marcelli - a 6 voice mass that he wrote in a more "conservative" style to satisfy the conservatives of his day that his music was not lacsivious. Tomorrow, if I remember, I'm post a piece that was considered too raunchy for church. 



If you like early music, how can you not love this? 


when I was 6 months old

My mother says she heard my first recognizable sounds. I sang.

What did I sing? A Mozart Horn Concerto? an ironic piece by Randy Newman? 


I sang the flintstones theme along with the TV when it came on. 

When she rushed in the room she saw me lying in my crib playing with a toy, oblivious of what I was doing. 

Not much has changed. 

because it's been a while....

 A little something to keep my humble. THESE guys are masters. I'm just a hick from Manitoba. 

Angels from the realms of Glory

This is concerning an ongoing set of posts found here:

http://lumineaux.livejournal.com/ to see more...

What this wikipedia article won't tell you:


Is that this particular hymn has an incredibly long and complex history. It was written in 1816 and dominated hymnody in England for many years in the 1800's. It was set to so many different hymn tunes, more than 80 in total, that there was a time some remarked that they only seemed to sing that text at church. And, of course, being so popular meant it was sung everywhere, including public houses and so on. Not too many of those versions are still known today, but i've heard a few of them sung by folkies and they are terrific.

So anyway, one of the tunes that it is most commonly associated with that particular text is called IRIS, also known as Les Anges dans nos Campagnes in French. You know, it's the one with that long extended "Gloria in excelsis Deo" at the chorus... The tune IRIS in English is commonly sung to "Angels from the realms of glory." But in FRENCH, the translated english text is actually "Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly o'er the plains."

Texts and tunes are put together in all english church hymnals based on the number of syllables in the text. So, the text for "Angels from the Realms" is in 87 87 47, or 41 syllables

For example:

"Ye who sang creation's story is 8 syllables
Now proclaim Messiah's birth" is 7 syllables.


"Angels we have heard on high" is 7777 plus refrain which works with very small modification to the tune.

ANYWAY, today when she entered the text

"Ye who sang creation's story
Now proclaim Messiah's birth"

I got it wrong. I've been wrong before in this contest and I'll be wrong again! But in the meantime I protest that this time, it was being wrong for a reason. There really ARE two answers to your question Lumineux. But please keep it up. I'm really enjoying following those posts.

The hunt

I'm on the hunt for another acoustic guitar. The one i have has great tone, but it's very hard to play and hurts my hand if I go too long. Luckily I have the cash so I can make a significant purchase. I'm looking at second hand models on craigslist and kijijii. Today I went to look at one that was.... Disappointing. Super easy to play but no deep tone, a very flaccid instrument. Also, I'm starting to see that my fingernails (i'm a picker) are more routinely in the way during every day stuff than they ever were before. Having them long makes it much easier though, so I guess I'm going to modify my habits somehow.

And, today I finally learned to pick my new song. That's really a big deal, I've been picking for months with no discernable improvement, but the new song really put me over certain technical hurdles that have been good for me. With the recording date about 40 days off, it's good to be improving and feeling confident.

Today I set up the new desk in my office. Today I'm not sick for the first time in 2 weeks. I didn't get into work until 1 PM.

It's been a really good day.

Nov. 24th, 2008

Too much work, not enough of the right kind of work, and I need a day off badly... Meh.