Sunday, 29 August 2010

Friday, 27 August 2010

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Arlo Guthrie


Went to watch Arlo Guthrie's gig in Holmfirth (W. Yorks., UK), last night. I'm still so into it I won't tell you any more until the euphoria has gentled down a bit. But, no, he didn't sing Alice's Restaurant (the soundtrack to a film that enormously influenced the way I've thought about so many things since 1970), saying with a grandfatherly grumpiness,

"There's a good reason some songs are on a record".


In storyteller mode.




Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Vietnam / Afghanistan



Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,

Uncle Sam needs your help again.

He's got himself in a terrible jam

Way down yonder in Afghanistan

So put down your books and pick up a gun,

We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.


And it's one, two, three,

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan;

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why,

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.



Well, come on generals, let's move fast;

Your big chance has come at last.

Gotta go out and get those freaks —

How else will the world inherit the meek?

And you know that peace can only be won

When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.



And it's one, two, three,

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan;

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Huh!



Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,

Why man, this is war au-go-go.

There's plenty good money to be made

By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,

Just hope and pray like Christians can

And stick it to the Taliban.



And it's one, two, three,

What are we fighting for?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan.

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why…

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.



Well, come on mothers throughout the land,

Pack your boys off to Afghanistan.

Come on fathers, don't hesitate,

Send 'em off before it's too late.

Be the first one on your block

To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan.

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why,

Whoopee! we're all gonna die



Adapted from the original "I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag" (aka Vietnam Rag), Words and Music by Joe McDonald




Monday, 16 August 2010

A Sunny Sunday in Lancaster, UK

    The breakfast time sky formed a ceiling of childish blue before sliding to the ground like a spread sheet of gold as rich as one might see on the finest morning on a French campsite. 

    Passing midday and smothered in laziness, we drove into that little North of England city, parked free on a central cobbled square, walked down a cobbled street passing a range of genuinely historic buildings and into a restaurant where, being half of all the customers, we chose a table next to the big front window. The (optional cheeseless) pizza tasted as good as any pizza anywhere.

    Much of the afternoon passed hammock-bound in our back garden, hiding from the sun in the summerhouse (it doubles as our only dining room), other-worlded in headphones, mp3 player shuffling for summery playlists.

    Evening slid into a rusty sunset with a limey green afterglow, a hint of dew, the dance of bats, a drift of honeysuckle and a near-golden half moon.

    Tomorrow's forecast is fine, so fine that, based on the experience of recent years, these two days will probably be our whole summer.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Efficiency is (the) Key?

Yesterday I cycled into town to get a spare mortice key cut and to buy a new watchstrap. My watch is not trendy or even good looking, but it's twelve years old and astonishingly reliable. And Chinese.  Anyway, I didn't go to any well known firm (rhymes with Timpsons), because I'd read that our local Green Party (of which I'm a not spectacularly active member), had successfully proposed an effective plan to keep open the market hall in Lancaster. Besides, I'm generally quite determined to avoid big firms and to give my small amount of business to a local person.


The friendly chap in the market had only one strap which matched my conditions: not metal, not leather. It seems to be OK, but rather smaller than I'd've liked.

I rode home. The new key was completely useless. Well, as a key it was, although it might've made a good something else. I rode back and the woman at the stall had a go at improving my key.  I rode home. The newly modified key was completely useless. I rode back and the bloke started all over again. I rode home. The new key worked.


Now, I wasn't particularly busy and I do need the exercise, but three journeys to get one key cut? That's a long way from being efficient, isn't it. What if I'd been some poor old biddy with bad legs and no reliable neighbours to run errands for me? Not so long back I made several trips to a local bike shop after a brand new tyre had exploded at 110 psi when its limit was 120. The firm replaced the tyre free of charge, and fitted it, but refused to replace the exploded inner tube.

Is there anywhere in the world where people can get proper compensation for the inconvenience entailed in exchanging shoddy goods, or services?

Wingless Angels


Monday, 9 August 2010

In reply to those who want to "Keep Jesus Christ in our Schools".

Why, when this world is already so very wonderful, might there be any good reason to imagine anything which does not exist? STOP IT!


All so-called gods are imaginary. There are no gods. There is no evidence of any god(s) anywhere. GET REAL.


Base your values on things that are. Be kind, be fair and keep on trying to ensure that your existence causes minimal harm to anyone and to anything.

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