Friday, May 30, 2003

Bullies and Empty Hands

I come to you with only Karate,
Empty Hands,
I have no weapons.
But Should I be forced to defend myself,
my principles or my honour,
should it be a matter of life or death,
of right or wrong,
then here are my weapons
Karate
my Empty Hands.


(Senior Grand Master Ed K Parker)

Bullies. I've had to deal with them my entire life.

In the present day and age, the schoolyard is a land of zero tolerance. A child can't use the word "gun" in a sentence, let alone take a swing at anybody, without alerting the PC police. And if a young miscreant decides to pick on some weakling of a schoolmate, the one who defends himself in any way is subject to the same punishment as his attacker. I've had more than one shouting match with some twit school bureaucrat. ("You mean to tell me that my son is supposed to just stand there while some punk beats the crap out of him until one of you decides to show up? Is THAT what you're trying to tell me????")

Where were these intellectual giants when I was growing up? In high school, my principal would tell me I had the right to come back swinging. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. He wasn't around when it didn't.

I was telling Mom about it the other day. I got the usual question: "Why didn't you tell us about this at the time?" Uh-huh. I did, Mom. You and Dad couldn't agree on what to do. You wanted me to clean the guy's clock, and Dad wanted me to walk away.

As a father, I made up my mind to settle the matter for myself and my son. I was in a martial arts school for several years. But I didn't beyond the fourth belt, and to this day, the only black belt I have is the one holding up my pants. My son fared better, though. He earned a black belt in American Kenpo (a Western variation of a Japanese art form) about seven years ago.

Paul can hold his own in a scrape. With a smart mouth like his (a genetic trait handed down from both parents), he has no choice.

Roughly half the zydeco dances I go to are in bars. One in particular, the Cat's Eye Pub in Baltimore's colorful Fells Point neighboorhood, was the scene of a near mishap one week ago last Sunday.

I was at one end of the bar, laughing it up with two young ladies I had just met. I was prepared to show them both how a guy can cut a mean rug (and I can, you know). Down toward the other end was a tall, lean, somber-looking fellow, obviously in the company of a woman with whom I -- well, shared a common history, one that she ended rather discourteously. I was looking at the game on the TV at the far end, with this guy's head in the way, from time to time. A couple of times I passed by the entourage, which consisted of the man (let's call him "Biff"), my former companion (let's call her "Betty") and a mutual female friend of us both (let's call her "Veronica"). Being the good sport I am, I'd say something in passing to Betty.

At one point, it got REALLY crowded. Somebody shoved me, or I otherwise misstepped, right on poor Betty's toes. We both laughed out of embarrassment, remembering how she hated going there for that very reason. I apologized profusely, and continued wading through the crowd, while the band played on.

And that's when it happened.

I walked back to my place at the other end of the bar, and Biff just snapped. Coming up right behind me, and grabbing my arm, he upbraided me for staring at him the whole evening, and trying to "mess with my head." Biff challenged me to take him on. As he boasted of his prowess, and what he could do to me, I assured him there would be no such match on that evening, as I made it clear that I was unimpressed with his bravado.

Biff backed away. So did I. The whole crowd saw it, including the bartender. I went to the back room to cool off. After about ten or fifteen minutes, I and a couple of the gals in back decided to head to the front, where the music was more accessible. Unfortunately, it involved passing by the trio of BB&V. I thought I'd try the gentleman's approach: "Sir, I must apologize if I gave a false impression. I was just watching that TV over there, and your head was..."

It didn't help. Biff had had a couple of pints by now, and he was ready for action. "Don't try to fool me, buddy..." and on he went, while I kept walking. I assured him I wasn't afraid of him, when he replied, "Go ahead, name your poison!" With the certainty that this did not mean offering to buy me a drink, I looked right at Betty, and gave the parting shot: "So this is who you're hanging out with these days, huh?" Betty and Veronica shouted back, "Go away, David."

This was certainly not in the interest of my personal safety. But knowing Betty, I could not help but wonder whether or not she might have put Biff up to this. Of course, I had no proof of any connivance, and Biff did not make any point of defending the lady's honor. Still, I wondered...

Whatever the prospect of hidden motives, that's when I took it to the next level. I met the guy taking money at the door.

"Here, pal, you forgot to collect the cover from me when I came in early."

"Hey, thanks. I appreciate your honesty."

"Not at all. The guys in the band are friends of mine, and I don't want them stiffed. Oh, uh, by the way..."

That's when I alerted the staff about Biff. He was six-foot-four, with a Panama hat and a deadpan demeanor. Not exactly the life of the party. The management offered to have one of the gals on board go to the gate at the alleyway in back and let me in to get my stuff.

I met the Red-Headed Lady in back. "Hey, I ran into the guy you're talking about. I asked him to move so I could get past him, and he wouldn't budge an inch." I was counseled to avoid this troublesome trio for the evening, which I did. Betty was like a cheerleader after the big game, bouncing all over Biff to the beat of the music, while her Knight in Genuine Draft Armor barely moved the whole time. Obviously a man out of his element, at least on a dance floor. Maybe something else was on his mind. Go figure.

Of course, I had my own moments that night. The two young ladies gave me the benefit of a dance, and one of them, who saw much of what happened, allowed me to walk her to her car. We had never met before that night, but we had mutual friends in Philly. I taught a young couple very much in love how to dance; first the lady, then her boyfriend when he came over.

On the down side, I didn't get to sit in with the band on the blues harp. It might have meant negotiating for passage with the Two Lovebirds mentioned above.

When I finally left, I walked out like a man. Facing one's fear, whether in combat or elsewhere in life, has a power of its own. It is one that is tempered by wisdom, knowing when and when not to use one's power.

Through self-discipline and self-restraint, Biff's kneecaps will both live to see another day.

Talking to Veronica on the phone the next day proved most illuminating. Seems Betty was "less than impressed" with Biff's conduct that night, and that we probably wouldn't see much of him again. Knowing Betty, I'm not so sure. Veronica didn't remember much of that evening, but was fully prepared to defend Betty's good judgement in such matters. (I'll make a note of that if Biff ever does what Betty's second husband... no, that's another story.)

In a subsequent e-mail, I reminded Veronica of how she told me I behaved with her a few years ago, after downing five Coronas in an evening. (Don't ask.) Veronica accused me of implying that she was a liar. But I didn't. I simply drew a comparison between how both of us responded to a similar situation, each at different times.

There's a fine line between lying and denial. The former is when we deliberately attempt to deceive another. The latter is when, out of fear or human weakness, we deceive ourselves. Calling such a person a liar doesn't make it any more so, and failing to call them one doesn't make it any less. Was Veronica lying? I have no idea. Was she kidding herself? Probably.

I was also reminded of something Veronica once told me, of how "the novelty was wearing off" with respect to the local zydeco dance scene. Indeed. In the past year, I have had to come to grips with the possibility, that a few of my fair-weather friends may be little more than a bunch of drunks. Maybe it was the influence of my son, who at seventeen, recently celebrated one year of sobriety. And so I have broadened my interests of late, both on and off the dance floor.

Or maybe I simply decided to grow up.

Betty, if you're out there, maybe you should too. Before Biff decides you're the one trying to mess with his head.

Hope Breeds Eternal (or What Happened The Day The Dog Ate My Newspaper)

Yesterday, comedian Bob Hope turned 100 years old. He was from Ohio, you know?

That's where I met him 29 years ago this summer. I was working at Kings Island Amusement Park, for the second of two seasons, as one of those animal characters. A few of us suited up and headed to the nearby Kings Island Jack Nicklaus Golf Course for a routine photo-op. While three of us animals stood there looking mildly amusing, the Man Himself did his usual schtick: "I'd like for everyone to meet a few members of my family. (mild laughter) I always see them whenever I'm stuck here in the rough. (more mild laughter)"

The rest is history. At least for me, anyway.

We can't all live to be 100. But the man did it somehow. Married to the same woman the whole time, and after entertaining two generations (three, maybe?) of lonely men and women fighting for our country. He kept up their spirits in war, and that of the rest of us in peace.

My paternal grandmother passed the same milestone as well. Over the living room couch in my parents' home, is a photo taken in August of 1997, with Viola (Barga) Alexander and six generations of her progeny.

To both of you, thanks for the memories.

Just in time for the wild weekend...

"Following a review of intelligence and an assessment of threats by the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Homeland Security Council, has made the decision to lower the threat advisory level to an elevated risk of terrorist attack, or 'yellow level,' effective 3:00 p.m., eastern time..."

The Great Novena

(For all my ex-Catholic friends, here we go down memory lane again. La-de-da...)

For nine days after Our Lord ascended into heaven, Mary and the apostles gathered in the Upper Room, and awaited the Holy Spirit. Thus was born the "novena." These days, you can't swing a dead cat in the Church without hitting a novena, but for the next nine days, we're gonna give you the original.

This ancient Latin hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus, is the "Sequence" (hymn before the Gospel) for Pentecost Sunday, The verses are attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856), and were set to Gregorian chant. The Latin verses have been translated into English in various ways, including the familiar hymn, "Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest", a 19th century metrical hymn by Edward Caswall.

"Ghost" is another English word for "Spirit", from the German "geist", while "spirit" is from the Latin. And to think as a kid I thought they were talking about a real ghost. Duh...

When a Latin hymn is translated, it is usually done in metrical form so that it can be set to music. Although the translation is not literal (word-for-word), and the rhythm may not be precisely the same, the idea is to keep both the essential meaning and poetic verse-form of the original. (Translators call that the "dynamic equivalent.")

And so tonight, a devout Catholic family may gather at the table, and for the next nine days, they will light a candle and say the ancient prayer together:

(All) Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

(Leader) Send forth Thy spirit, and they shall be created.
(Response) and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Holy Spirit to have right judgment in all things and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Then, as the candle is being lit, they will sing a different verse of the aforementioned hymn each night, followed by its appropriate oration.

The Great Novena: Day One

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.


Holy Spirit, Lord of Light.
From thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Let us pray. O God who hast taught the hearts of thy faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Update: The following is a continuation of the devotion, for the remaining eight days.)

The Great Novena: Day Two

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum,
veni, lumen cordium.


Come thou father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure,
Come thou light of all that live.

Let us pray. O Holy Spirit, thou father of the poor , come fill my poverty-stricken soul out of the plenty of thy eternal riches. Warn me, I beg thee, of every opportunity in my daily round of duty, to lay up treasures where no thief approacheth nor moth corrupteth, that I may enjoy them together with thee forever. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Three

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae.
dulce refrigerium.


Thou of all consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Let us pray. O Divine Consoler, and of all Comforters the best, to thee do we come in trouble and distress. Do thou, in the all powerful name of Jesus, our Redeemer, and out of love for Mary, our sorrowful mother and thy chaste Spouse, come to our assistance and comfort us in all our trials and tribulations. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Four

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solacium.


Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

Let us pray. O God, who didst give the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, grant to thy people he effect of their pious prayers, that on those to whom thou hast given grace, thou mayest also bestow peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Five

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.


Light immortal, light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine
And our inmost being fill.

Let us pray. May the Paraclete, who proceedeth from thee, enlighten our minds, we beseech thee, O Lord; and even as thy Son hath promised, may he lead us into all truth. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Six

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.


If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Let us pray. Send down, we beseech thee, O Lord, the Holy Ghost in His might, to the merciful purifying of our hearts and to our sure deliverance from all danger. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Seven

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.


Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour thy dew;
Wash the strains of guilt away.

Let us pray. Burn up, O Lord, our reins and our hearts in the fire of the Holy Ghost; that chaste of body and clean of heart, our service may be well pleasing to thee. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Eight

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.


Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.

Let us pray. Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, come into our hearts; give to all peoples the brightness of they light, that they may be well pleasing to thee in unity of faith. Amen.

The Great Novena: Day Nine

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.
Amen. Alleluia.


Thou on those who evermore,
Thee confess and thee adore,
In thy sevenfold gift descend.

Give them comfort when they die
Give them life with thee on high,
Give them joys which never end.

Let us pray. Send down upon us, we beseech thee, O Lord, the Holy Ghost, that, inspired and encouraged by him, we may comply with the duties of our state, carry our daily crosses patiently, and grow daily in Christian perfection. Grant us, we beseech thee through the same Divine Spirit, the intentions of this novena or what is most conducive to our eternal salvation and thy glory. Amen.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Hail Which Festival Day?

As a third degree member of the Knights of Columbus, I get (among other things) a little calendar for my wallet every year. On the back, the holy days of obligation are listed. For the Feast of the Ascension, we are told of how Christ rises to Heaven "43 days after Easter."

I'm not making this up.

I was present at the national bishops' meeting a few years ago, when they decided that various jurisdictions should have the option of being lard-asses and let us wait until the following Sunday to celebrate what was supposed to have happened the previous Thursday. After all, they reasoned, the Western states have a shortage of priests, and we have to make allowances. Eventually the idea spread to the East Coast, where there is no particular shortage of priests.

But what the hell. Tonight I'll be at Old Saint Mary's, where the Mass is celebrated in Latin according to the classical (1962) Missal, and the Feast of the Ascension is remembered -- well, forty days after Easter. They assigned me the task of extinguishing the Paschal candle immediately after the reading of the Gospel.

Then I'll go dancin.' Eh toi!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

In Memory of Robert Stack

...courtesy of Molly's Musings.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

THAT WAS THE WEEK(END) THAT WAS

I'm back from Ohio. Pat's wedding went just fine. I went to get my friend Carol up in Cleveland. On our first night in Cincinnati, the hotel was full of teenagers running around loose. Seems a high school band competition had just rolled in from Missouri. So we found a little place across the Ohio, in Covington KY, where they played some genuine New Orleans boogie-woogie piano. Not a bad gig.

Carol is one hell of a dancer, and I was meaning to invite her to meet my family for a long time now. They got on rather well. My mom is looking better following back surgery; if nothing else, she stands up more or less straight. My dad is about the same. I got him an early Father's Day present, something I had never gotten him before -- a tie. Not just any tie, but a really colorful one with illustrations of postage stamps. Dad has been an avid philatelist (stamp collector) since he was a kid, and he and Mom still keep up the work. While admitting that the tie was "not exactly my style," he agreed to put it on for the reception, where it became a good conversation starter. What a good sport.

I got to see some aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in awhile, including Uncle Roger, a farmer who has no plans to retire. On the Rosselot (pronounced ROSS-uh-low) side, the tradition of the family farmer contines, with one of Roger's boys and three of the late Uncle Bernard's still behind the plow -- so to speak.

Carol and I put on a zydeco and swing dance demonstration that wore us both out, but got the crowd's attention. Meanwhile, the hotel where the bash was held was full of kids from a high school band competition from Missouri, and one of the girl's mothers -- Jody was her name -- was watching us from the wings. When I went out into the hallway to rest, she begged me to take her back in and dance with her. Seems her daughter was too embarrassed to let Mama join in her festivities.

Who was I to say no? She later said (and I'm not making this up!): "You made my night." It can happen.

Come Sunday, I took Carol into the city, and we gazed down upon it from Mount Adams, an historic hillside neighborhood just east of downtown, in front of Holy Cross-Immaculata Church, the famous "Saint Mary of the Steps." From there is a breathtaking view of downtown and the Ohio River.

After leaving Carol in Bay Village on the west side of Cleveland on Monday, I visited my former mother-in-law. It had been a couple of years since I had seen her last, and the visit lasted for about half an hour. Such was the result of an agreement reached some years ago with the family after my marriage broke up.

While in Pennsylvania, I stopped at a few places to go antiquing. When the subject of inheritances comes up in the family, I tell them I only want the family bible and the big screen TV. Of course, I've already got dibs on the depression glass collection, and used to display it in my home when I had a bigger place. I was tempted to expand my collection (Floragold, made by the Jeannette Glass Company in the 1940s and 1950s) at a place in Bedford, PA. It can wait.

A number of subjects have come up in the last week. I'm taking them all in this entry...

"Will you miss me when I'm gone..."

June Carter Cash
, daughter of "Mother Maybelle" Carter and wife of Johnny Cash, and a country music legend in her own right, died last Thursday. She was 73.

The Delta Queen

A steamboat that has graced the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for much of the last century, and which counted Cincinnati as a home port, has been saved from bankruptcy:

"Sixteen months after its 'final' voyage, the 76-year-old National Historic Landmark is back on the river and, say longtime fans, better than ever."

I've never ridden her before, but I may do so if I go back to Cincy this fall for the quadrannual "Tall Stacks" celebration. Should be quite a shindig.

Less Is More (well, more or less)!

From 1950 to 2000, the square footage of the average home in the USA doubled in size, and held half as many people. This trend toward excess showed signs of continuing, until recently.

"The ready-made mansions are still marching on suburbia, but some move-up buyers are rejecting them in favor of scaled-down homes with features tailored to their personal tastes, says architect and author Sarah Susanda in Raleigh, NC... whose books, including The Not So Big House, promote a scaled-down school of thought.

This has long been a big subject with me, and may be touched upon later this year on this weblog. There is a rapidly diminishing number of single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing in the nation, which I believe has contributed to the current homeless problem.

Onward...

Life is settling back to (???) normal. We've got a five-night zydeco dance marathon, starting tonight. Sure hope I can last that long. There's always Memorial Day to catch up on my sleep. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"Step we gaily on we go, heel for heel and toe for toe, arm in arm and row on row, all for Patty's wedding..."

I'll be taking off tomorrow. While I'm gone, I'll be taking a few notes, to be posted whenever I get anywhere near a public library with internet access. Last night I was out with my son, combing the thrift stores all about the Beltway, in search of the perfect tuxedo for prom night. If he can ever send me the measurements (Paul, you payin' attention, boy???), the search may extend to the Buckeye State in between social engagements. The big one is on Saturday afternoon. Stay tuned for the "Ohio Road Trip," coming to a blog near you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Anniversary

Last night I attended my son's AA meeting, where he celebrated one year of sobriety. Paul had a rough go of it for awhile, and he still comes to grips with issues like giving up smoking, focusing on school, life with his mother, and rebuilding his relationship with his father. To serve the latter, tonight we'll go bargain-hunting at thrift stores for a tuxedo. If we find one that fits him, he'll save a lot of money on rental for his first prom. (Paul is in the eleventh grade.) His mother was also there, and we both got to meet his friend "Sarah," another member of the Program, who will be his escort for the evening in question. Nice girl. He could do worse.

Meanwhile, I am relieved by the thought of losing that extra pound or two that crept up on me in the past month. (From a peak of 220 pounds in September 2001, I have been holding at around 190 pounds since the first of the year. My ultimate goal is 170-175. No gimmicks, just diet and exercise. Stay tuned...) At least now my blue suit will fit comfortably rather than tightly, for when I go to my sister Pat's wedding in at a parish near Cincinnati this Saturday.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Ohio: Round at Both Ends, High in the Middle

This year is the bicentennial of my native Ohio. It is said that the Buckeye State is one where people simply pass through on their way to someplace else, without becoming too attached to the place for long. Perhaps this explains why we claim the inventor of Teflon among our native sons.

Another Song and Dance Weekend

I didn't expect this past weekend to amount to much. After all, most of the zydeco crowd was in Fort Lauderdale for the Annual Crawfish Festival or whatever it's called. I have to wait a year or so before re-living my college spring break fantasies that never happened.

Fortunately, one of those few who stayed around had other ideas. "Sheila" lives in a high-rise downtown and doesn't own a car, and sometimes I give her rides to dances. We wheeled on uptown to the Chevy Chase Ballroom, where Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg held court for the area swing kids. Having been a terminally-intermediate swing dancer for the last twenty years, I did better than I thought. Best of all, I won the door prize of a free series of lessons. In working out the details, I confessed to Debra that Tom Koerner was the attorney who represented my so-called "wife" in the divorce, and wanted her to tell him this would make us even. What a hoot!

It was a bad weekend for salsa. Not enough women at the places in Adams Morgan on Saturday night. So I trucked on over to Glen Echo Park for an evening of Peaches O'Dell and Her All He-Man Orchestra.

Sunday, I called Mama, doing what I always do, with a song in my heart:

"M is for the many things she gave me.
O is for the OTHER things she did.
Put them both together, they spell... MOTHER!
From your long lost son -- Da-v-i-i-i-i-d!!!"

(copyright ©1995 David Lawrence Alexander)

It still gets to her every year.

That afternoon a group of us went to the Greek Festival at Saint Sophia's Cathedral. I'm still in search of the perfect icon of Christ the Teacher. Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Grit

As a boy growing up in Ohio, I remember trips upstate to Sidney, to visit my paternal grandparents. One of my pastimes on lazy days was to read the weekly newspaper that circulated the Midwest in those days, a newspaper known simply as Grit.

I learned a few years ago, after an exhaustive search, that it was still around as a bi-weekly magazine. Today, I see it is now a monthly, and like most periodicals today, it has a website. Looking at the current issue, there is a story of "Chateau Larouche," a curious landmark situation near the place where I grew up:

"The banks of the Little Miami River in Loveland, Ohio, is probably the last place one would expect to find a 10th-century Norman castle. However, that is exactly what people will find in the small Cincinnati suburb.

The castle is the work of the late Harry Andrews-newspaperman, scholar and castle builder for more than half of his 91 years. It was his dream to build a real castle, and until his death in 1981, he labored nearly every waking hour to make his dream a reality..."


I remember a stone marker near the castle, where the old man claimed there was once an end to a rainbow. No pot of gold, just a marker. The castle today is maintained and overseen by members of an order of knighthood which the builder founded for boys -- and in the current day, for boys-at-heart.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Cinco de Mayo

Today is a national holiday in Mexico. It's not their Independence Day, and the day tends to get more attention up here in "El Norte." Yet the past weekend was full of excuses to play Latin music outdoors and drink plenty of Corona beer.

I spent the weekend looking for a decent salsa dance. After two failed attempts on Friday and Saturday night (Long story.), I finally got the chance on Sunday night. Yes, I could have gone into Baltimore that afternoon to watch Buckwheat Zydeco play for a bunch of drunks. But I passed. After all, it could only have been more exciting in Cincinnati, where we know how to party.

Anyway, last night I learned of a great salsa mixer known as a "rueda." I first saw this done in "Dance With Me," a 1998 sleeper of a movie starring Vanessa Williams and Cheyanne. I just assumed it was some over-choreographed moment for the camera. Then I saw it in real life.

I also bought a tent at Goodwill. A 10 by 12 Greatland (the house brand for Target) dome tent with a 6 foot center height. For twenty bucks, everything works. Not a bad deal -- so far. What will happen when it rains? Stay tuned...

Friday, May 02, 2003

Haiku

Accounting for each
idle word
... the verse shocks us
into brief silence.


-- dylan @ more last than star

Hey, I wanna be a Canadian too... eh?

Bedlam in the Blogosphere

For those sites that use Blogger, today has been one for minor gliches. Access can be blocked by the alleged lack of a default page. In my instance, my URL is normally listed as...

http://manwithblackhat.blogspot.com

I found that when I added the "WWW," as in this case...

http://www.manwithblackhat.blogspot.com

...the problem went away. A similar situation occurs with other Blogger sites, as of this writing.

Meanwhile, I'm currently hitting the "submit" buttons at eBay, in search of a Yamaha SHS-10 Electronic Keyboard. I lost the first bid, but there are two more to go. I should have gotten one ten years ago when Big Lots was selling them at half price. All the same, wish me luck.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

The merry month of May

"O, the month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!
O, and then did I unto my true love say,
Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my summer's Queen.

"Now the nightingale, the pretty nightingale,
The sweetest singer in all the forest quire,
Entreats thee, sweet Peggy, to hear thy true love's tale:
Lo, yonder she sitteth, her breast against a briar.

"But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo;
See where she sitteth: come away, my joy:
Come away, I prithee, I do not like the cuckoo;
Should sing when my Peggy and I kiss and toy.

"O, the month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green;
And then did I unto my true love say,
Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my summer's Queen."


-- Thomas Dekker (1570-1641)

"In Oxford, people gather on Magdalen Bridge very early on May Day morning. At 6am, from high above the top of the tower of Magdalen College, the sounds of a Latin hymn can be heard, sung by the college choir. The hymn is followed by a madrigal and then morris dancers set out to make a round of the city. Nobody is sure how this custom first started, but it was well established by 1650, when the choir sang at 4am. At a later date, musical instruments were also played and the performance went on for two hours. However, this was drastically reduced one wet and miserable May Day morning late in the 18th century..."

The Color Purple

"I was born and raised in the mouth of the Hazard Holler,
Coal cars roaring and a tumbling past my door,
Now they're standing rusty, rolling empty,
Because the L & N don't stop here any more."


--Jean Ritchie