Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Mad Puck Goat

In case you have the urge to burst into song,
here's an Irish favorite:

An Poc Ar Buile

Ar mo ghabháil dom siar chun Droichead Uí Mhórdha,
Píce i m' dhóid is mé ag dul i meitheal,
Cé chasfaí orm i gcumar ceoidh
Ach pocán crón is é ar buile!

Alliliú puilliliu
alliliú tá an poc ar buile.
Alliliú puilliliu
Alliliú, an poc ar buile!

Do ritheamar trasna trí ruilleogach
Is do ghluais an comhrac ar fud na muinge,
Is treascairt dá bhfuair sé sna turtóga
Chuas ina ainneoin ar a dhroim le fuinneamh

Alliliú puilliliu
alliliú tá an poc ar buile.
Alliliú puilliliu
Alliliú, an poc ar buile!

Níor fhág sé carraig go raibh scót ann
Ná gur rith le fórsa chun mé a mhilleadh,
Is ea ansin do chaith sé an léim ba mhó
Le fána mhór na Faille Brice

Alliliú puilliliu
alliliú tá an poc ar buile.
Alliliú puilliliu
Alliliú, an poc ar buile!

Bhí gárda mór i mBaile an Róistigh
Is bhailigh fórsaí chun sinn a clipeadh
Do bhuail sé rop dá adhairc sa tóin air
Is dá bhríste nua do dhein sé giobaíl

Alliliú puilliliu
alliliú tá an poc ar buile.
Alliliú puilliliu
Alliliú, an poc ar buile!

I nDaingean Uí Chúis le haghaidh an tráthnóna
Bí an sagart paróiste amach 'nár gcoinnibh,
Is é dúirt gurbh é an diabhal ba dhóigh leis
A ghaibh an treo ar phocán buile!

Alliliú puilliliu
alliliú tá an poc ar buile.
Alliliú puilliliu
Alliliú, an poc ar buile!

No translation here: just trust that it's a story involving
an insane goat and the police. The Chieftains do a good job
singing it on
Water from the Well.


Monday, November 30, 2009

In Memory of Grandma Ruth (1921 - 2009)

Among the many little pieces of paper I found in my grandmother's books was this prayer, which I scanned for this post.

I think it's a great old-fashioned message that my grandmother would appreciate me sharing.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Safety Tips

Some time-honored pointers for a safe haunted holiday:

1. When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.

2. Never read a book about demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.

3. Do not search the basement, especially if the power has gone out.

4. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.

5. When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER pair off and go alone.

6. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

7. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.

8. If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, GET OUT!

9. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not check for short circuits; just get out.

10. Do not take ANYTHING from the dead.

11. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look around.

12. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you're doing.

13. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are female. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.

14. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on -- kill them immediately.

15. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), anywhere in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine.

16. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had most of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway, and most likely be eaten.

17. Beware of strangers bearing tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.

18. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to move in with the in-laws. This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices. Also if your house ever tells you to "GET OUT!!!" do so immediately. Leave your stuff and go.

19. Dress appropriately. When investigating a noise downstairs in an old house, women should not wear a flimsy negligee. And carry a flashlight, not a candle, preferably a heavy flashlight. Wearing steel-toe boots would show great insight.

20. Do not mention the names of demons around open flames, as these can flare suddenly. Be especially careful of fireplaces in this regard.

21. Do not go looking for witches in the Maryland countryside.

22. If favorite dolls or toys begin telling you things or playing with you, don't wait to see if they are going to turn evil. Nothing good has ever come of these situations, so go ahead and get rid of them.

23. If you are a teenager, do not have sex or smoke cannabis in your car in a dark, deserted place.

24. Always avoid showering in the Bates Motel.

Heard these on the radio. My friend Paul added the last two.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Chieftains 5

Volume five (1975) is a great Chieftains album, as is its famous predecessor, Chieftains 4. You'd do well to read about the early history of the band - the line-up of musicians, the change in sound. Paddy Maloney and the boys helped shape Irish music from lonely fiddle players and pipers to ensemble performances that blend the sound of many instruments. You can hear their influence in so many bands that came after - The Bothy Band, Lúnasa, Altan, etc.


Download here (no password):


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


In case you were wondering just how much J.R.R. Tolkien put into creating his world, here is an amazing account of the philology of one his Elvish languages. Tolkien followed Grimm's phonetic laws. If you look carefully at his work, you can learn how words in Quenya mutate into Sindarin words. This is the equivalent of the verb "essen" in German becoming "eten" in Dutch or "eat" in English.

If you revere Tolkien's work, I think you might enjoy reading this research by Helge Kåre Fauskanger.

Sindarin - The Noble Tongue

More of Fauskanger's work on the languages of Tolkien can be found here.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Y Gweithdy Cymraeg

Some remarkable work on the the lathe, plus you get to hear what the Welsh language sounds like.

I'm amazed at the finishing touches he uses at the end. You need a steady hand there!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Druid Organizations

Though they can't claim an unbroken connection with ancient ancestors, modern Druids have their own stories to tell. Drawing from Welsh and British culture, Celtic lore, Arthurian legend, and a love of trees, these creative nature-oriented folk are certainly a great modern-day addition to the spectrum of spiritual paths that one can explore. Two organizations you might enjoy reading more about:

The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids

Ancient Order of Druids in America

and a good book for starters...

which you can get here.

Beannacht (and Happy May Day!),

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elgar: Symphony No.2 - Vernon Handley

Recorded in Watford Town Hall, Herts - April 1980. Here is my Amazon review from 2002 (when the recording was still in print):

5.0 out of 5 stars An EMI Classic, March 5, 2002
I find the Second's opening movement, to say the least, psychologically complex. It took me a while to get it; it inevitably grew on me over time. I can say the same for the symphony. I think it's for this reason that I keep coming back to listen. Certain orchestral works just wow you from the get-go. This brilliance of this symphony is that its power is subdued. The overall effect accrues in one's conscience over time. The orchestration ebbs to the surface subtly and gracefully. The slow movement (Larghetto) is one of Elgar's finest, along with the slow movement from the Violin Concerto. The wispy Rondo boasts some colorful woodwind detail. The strings play with variations on thematic elements from the opening movement. The finale makes a beautiful opening statement, builds in intensity, and fades to a breathtaking, quiet conclusion. The advantage of Handley's recording is the augmentation of the bass line with pipe organ pedals in the closing few minutes of the symphony. Overall, Handley's skill as a conductor of English music shines through quite well in this recording. I hope EMI keeps this one in print. Again, this is a recording you will return to with pleasure. Its power springs from its ebb and flow and the ultimate serenity that it conveys.

Download here (no password):

I never get tired of this symphony. Nice front cover, I might add. For some reason in the past few years major record companies have opted to re-release older classical recordings with ugly covers. I don't get it.


Friday, April 10, 2009

King Sunny Ade - Juju Music

I still know only a little about Nigerian culture, but I've always enjoyed this album - has awesome vibe.

Still in print. You can link to Amazon MP3 downloads here.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vernal Meditation

I haven't spent much time outdoors recently, but I was asked to do a meditation. Here's a welcome for spring...

I am enjoying a moment of solitude with the sparrows, the chipmunks, the tall canopy of oak and elm, the understory of burgeoning leaves. Alone, perhaps, but not lonely. I have all this woodland with which I can keep company, and I am content to remain in it for a while. There is a calm greatness in this place, not far from the doings of my fellow man, but far enough so that the sounds I hear are no longer noise, the pulse I feel is no longer electric, but my own. The wind is wind rather than a whirring displacement of air – I hear no cars, no sirens, not even an air horn. Instead, a mighty breath of wind rustles the remnants of last autumn in the direction of the lake. I have at least another hour before I need to head home, so I walk on and take a seat by the water.

Now I am skipping stones and watching as the circular ripples leave their brief mark on the surface. The ripples widen and join the larger patterns made by the wind. I feel as if the concerns from earlier in the day are being lifted from a repressed, silent place inside me, that the angers and frustrations are being washed; transformed into a genuine presence, mine, here and now. Here, I am being made whole. The ancient mystery of the world is being revealed, slowly, moment by moment. I will carry some sorrow and bitterness with me all my days, but I can let them go in this solitude. I see it happening. That broken place in me, always aching to be fixed, is fascinated by the diaphanous layers of water.

I am not sure if the fish I see are smallmouth bass, but they are as busy as the tadpoles, water striders, cattails – all playing their part in the lengthening warm days of the season. Between these layers of activity I see a thread woven by divine, maternal hands. I am so blessed. Overhead, geese are migrating in v-shaped patterns. How beautiful, and how brief. I need to head home in a little while, I think. I can’t stay here forever.

Before I go, though, maybe I should think what lesson I can carry away from this moment. I am trying really hard to learn something from this. Maybe now I understand my part in the living world as a dynamic process, that I need to participate naturally in the flow. But I don’t think that lesson will last long. Soon I will be thrashing about in my daily activities, bothered and confused about this and that. I think the best thing I can learn is that there are places I can go to renew my spirit, places like this. I will return when I am ready.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gustav Holst - The Hymn of Jesus Etc.

This is a GREAT recording of Holst's choral works, including:

Hymn of Jesus
The Wandering Scholar

Ode to Death (text by Whitman)
Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda

Where else will you find this?
Once again, out-of-print. Enjoy!

Download here (no password):


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Poet's Garret

If you are interested in verse, here is an excellent resource to bookmark:


Thanks to Terry Clitheroe for this site - "proudly made in Australia" as it says on the top of the page. You'll find information on many forms, such as odes, ballads, sonnets, even bardic verse such as you'd found in Welsh and Irish poetry.

I've written many a poem inspired by this site. I'll share, but only if you ask.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Rickenbacker Guitars

Rickenbacker. Made in the USA. They're well known for their bass and electric 12 string models, but I'm highlighting the six string here. Awesome instruments!

Model 360 (She's playing a classic Chet Atkins tune):

Now for some cool blues:

Dreamy stuff:

Model 330 - lefty. GREAT sound on this one:

Model 330 (also cool):

A 325 with Mike Campbell on slide guitar:

Model 620 (one of my favorite guitar designs):

Excellent solo work on the 620:

And one excellent 12 string performance of a classic:

What do you think? I'll have to get better at my acoustic before I go on tour with an electric guitar. I'll probably never go on tour with any instrument, but I do update this post with new videos I come across. It's just fun to watch and listen.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clannad - First Album (1973)

Of Clannad's many albums, this first is a gem. Try it! It's an easygoing sound rooted in the Irish countryside. Much of it is sung in Irish. May it lead you to listen more to all their early albums:

The mp3s are tracked and labeled properly. Enjoy!

Download here (no password):


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Another great picture found on the World Wide Web - if you know the artist, please let me know the name. Looks like a wild meditation - love this kind of stuff!


Friday, January 2, 2009

The Journal of Mythic Arts

The Journal of Mythic Arts (click for link), sponsored by Endicott Studio, has fascinating articles in its back issues and great links to other media. Please feel free to visit them! Here is some information on Endicott Studio from their Web site:

Founded in 1987, The Endicott Studio is an organization dedicated to literary, visual, performance, and environmental arts rooted in myth, folklore, fairy tales, and the traditional stories of people the world over.

For more than 20 years, Endicott has supported a wide variety of mythic projects, events, and publications in the U.S. and U.K. -- while at the same time raising money for charities assisting homeless, abused, and at-risk children. The slide show above features work by some of the contributing artists and writers in the Endicott Circle. (A longer list can be found here.)

Endicott's award-winning web journal, The Journal of Mythic Arts, appeared online from 1997 to 2008, promoting contemporary mythic arts and providing resources and information for mythic artists, students, and scholars. Although publication of JoMA has ended with the Summer 2008 issue in order to allow us to move on to new endeavors, we will continue to maintain 10+ years of JoMA material online, keeping this mythic information freely available to readers both new and old.

The Endicott Studio itself is not ending, however -- merely evolving into a new phase now that it's reached the ripe old age of 21. We've got some intriguing new projects in the works, so please stayed tuned.