Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne ?


For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
And gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

According to Luke (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

All That Glitters is Not Gold

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost,
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
he crownless again shall be king.

He became at last the most hardy of living Men, skilled in their crafts and lore, and was yet more than they; for he was elven-wise, and there was a light in his eyes that when they were kindled few could endure. His face was sad and stern because of the doom that was laid on him, and yet hope dwelt ever in the depths of his heart, from which mirth would arise at times like a spring from the rock.

- composed by Bilbo Baggins; unknown

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10

Someone tell me the difference.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good in so many ways

Hay for the Horses - Gary Snyder

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,---
The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to Vote Right

Here's what you need to know to make a smart vote on November 4th:

OBAMA plays a 1983Gibson RB-4 Pre-War Reproduction 20 Hole Flathead, burled walnut, Crowe spacing. He plays straight up Scruggs/Reno. He a beginner but is progressing nicely.

BIDEN plays a Huber Roanoak. Interestingly, Joe ordered it with the classic Gibson Hearts and Flowers fingerboard and peghead inlay pattern. His resonator and neck are fashioned from figured maple and finished in the classic Amber Brown color and a tone-sensitive lacquer overcoat. Biden is a very good player.

McCAIN plays a Janish Picker. The obvious question is, “McCain’s arms and hands are all gombed up. They shot his ass out of the sky and caged him and beat the crap out of him. How can he play banjo?” Answer: John is a frailer, and a pretty good one. He tunes to D and frets bar chords with his right hand. [Most people don’t know this, but Obama and McCain are leftys. 8 of the last 10 Presidents used the wrong hand.]

PALIN plays an Ome Monarch, an older version of the exact model I use when I perform. Her banjo is a dandy, a beautifully-made instrument, simple, and yet elegant. And powerful. Sarah plays with noticeable attack, displayed rather arrogantly in her 2-5 slide in the 14th measure of Dixie Breakdown. Remember, she is heavy thumbing that lick down the neck. She strings her ‘jo with medium gauge GHS strings which, you know, is extremely rare for a woman.

CHUCK BALDWIN (Constitution Party) doesn't even play the banjo but does play the guitar, a Taylor NS42CE mahogany nylon, pure fingerstyle but through an Ibanez amp which gives him volume but completely flattens the low end.

And that’s what you need to know about that.
Thanks Fitz.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The American Idea (II)

A Republic (if you can keep it)

The United States adopted the constitutional republic as its form of government. To the framers of the Constitution this meant that the source of federal power to govern was from the states and was limited. Structures (Congress, Senate, Presidency, Supreme Court) were specified and limits to power clearly articulated. But the Constitution did another important thing. It described the general form of government to be used by the states. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution provides: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government..." This general term republic was everywhere understood to mean "res publica" a government in which the people were involved. The Constitution imposed nothing more upon the states. The idea was that the states would vary, that they could be different and they were. Some states invoked no religion, some had virtually state sponsored religions. Nebraska chose to have only one legislative chamber. Massachusetts chose a commonwealth form. The state's rights to experiment with the government closest to the people within the specific limits set by the US Constitution was regarded as central to the federal union and it is today.

The American Idea (I)

This is the first of what may become a series of short summaries of principles which, over time, formed the basis of the core of the American Idea.


Capitalism is not the same thing as a free market economy or an open market. Capitalism is not the same as encouraging the accumulation of private fortunes or expanding dependent forms of wage labor. For capitalism to work throughout the economy wage labor should be a stepping stone to independence. Policies which support the reasonable expectations of capitalists and expectant capitalists are capitalist policies.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Streets of Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, in the old city, the streets which are perpendicular to the Delaware river were named after trees which were planted along side each street. Sassafras, Chestnut, Locust, Spruce, each planted with trees according to its name. A few were named by their nature, such as Race (where the horsemen raced), Market (where all the Market stalls were located) and South (at the South end of the docks). The streets running parallel to the river were numbered sequentially. This was the plan of William Penn who settled on the scheme because much of the population could not read and write and this naming convention did not require such learning, though it did require a knowlege of trees.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Sentence Only a Lawyer Could Love

This sentence is among the finest examples of the lawyer's art, prolix, recursive and each word loaded with meaning.

Insofar as there is an enabled disclosure of a broad invention that neither reads directly on the prior art nor on an embodiment rendered obvious by the prior art, the applicant generally will seek a generic claim that may, within its scope, include mutually patentable independent and distinct species.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I like poems
they can be short
you can be easily fooled
into reading one

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meditation on Tao te ching (Ichiban)

In innocence we see the beginning.
Thru error we see the end.
Two different names for one and the same.
The second we call dark, the dark beyond dark.
The first we call light, the door to all beginnings.

A point of the Tao if it has one is that the door was always there. It has never changed or been locked. We call the dark, dark and light, light as though by naming these we give them meaning they did not already possess. The way has always been there but it is not a name or a place or a direction. It is a verb expressing the manner in which we see and act in the world and beyond it. In Christianity the interaction of faith and grace (both verbs) are names for the way and through them the door to all beginnings.