Apr 29, 2010

Of reivers and religion.

"The opening chords are from the last movement of Vaughan Williams' Sixth Symphony. It goes from there to a Skip James motif. Following that it moves to a Gregorian chant, Dies Irae. It's the most scary one in the Episcopal hymn books, it's all about the day of judgment. Then it returns to the Vaughan Williams chords, followed by a blues run of undetermined origin, then back to Skip James and so forth."

-- John Fahey, describing his piece, "Stomping Tonight on the Pennsylvania/Alabama Border"

Apr 23, 2010

St. Augustine Blue Grass

I want to do right, but not right now.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."

-- Tom Stoppard

Apr 21, 2010

An artist remembered

R.I.P. Sandy Denny (6 January 1947 – 21 April 1978)

"frightful to behold"

At 4:30 p.m. on April 21, scout Deaf Smith (pronounced "Deef Smith") announced the burning of Vince's Bridge, which cut off the only avenue of retreat for both armies without having to cross water more than 10 feet (3.0 m) deep. The main Texan battle line moved forward with their approach screened by the trees and rising ground. Emerging from the woods, the order was given to "advance" and a fifer began playing the popular tune "Will you come to the bower I have shaded for you?" General Houston personally led the infantry, posting the 2nd Volunteer Regiment of Colonel Sidney Sherman on his far left, with Colonel Edward Burleson's 1st Volunteer Regiment next in line. In the center, two small brass (or iron) smoothbore artillery pieces (donated by citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio) known as the "Twin Sisters," were wheeled forward under the command of Major George W. Hockley. They were supported by four companies of infantry under Captain Henry Wax Karnes. Colonel Henry Millard's regiment of Texas regulars made up the right wing. To the extreme far right, 61 Texas cavalrymen under newly promoted Colonel Mirabeau B. Lamar planned to circle into the Mexicans' left flank. Lamar had, the day before, been a private in the cavalry but his daring and resourcefulness in a brief skirmish with the Mexicans on April 20 had led to his immediate promotion to colonel.

The Texan army moved quickly and silently across the high-grass plain, and then, when they were only a few dozen yards away, charged Santa Anna's camp shouting "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!," only stopping a few yards from the Mexicans to open fire. The Texans achieved complete surprise. It was a bold attack in broad daylight but its success can be attributed in good part to Santa Anna's failure to post guards during the army's siesta. Santa Anna's army primarily consisted of professional soldiers, but they were trained to fight in ranks, exchanging volleys with their opponents. The Mexicans were ill-prepared and unarmed at the time of the sudden attack. Most were asleep with their soldaderas (i.e., wives and female soldiers), some were out gathering wood, and the cavalrymen were riding bareback fetching water. General Manuel Fernández Castrillón desperately tried to mount an organized resistance, but was soon shot down and killed. His panicked troops fled, and Santa Anna's defensive line quickly collapsed.

Hundreds of the demoralized and confused Mexican soldiers were routed, with many being driven into the marshes along the river to drown. The Texans chased after the fleeing enemy, shouting "take prisoners like the Meskins do!", in reference to the burning of bodies after the Alamo and the mass murder of Texans at Goliad. Some of the Mexican cavalry plunged into the flooded stream by Vince's bridge but they were shot as they struggled in the water. Houston tried to restrain his men but was ignored. Gen. Juan Almonte, commanding what was left of the organized Mexican resistance, soon formally surrendered his 400 remaining men to Rusk. The rest of Santa Anna's once-proud army had disintegrated into chaos. From the moment of the first charge the battle was a slaughter, "frightful to behold", with most of the Texan casualties coming in the first minutes of battle from the first Mexican volley.

During the short but furious fighting, Houston was shot in the left ankle, two of his horses were shot from under him, and Santa Anna escaped. The combat itself lasted 18 minutes but the slaughter of the Mexicans continued for "another hour or so". The Texan army had won a stunning victory, killing about 700 Mexican soldiers, wounding 208, and taking 730 prisoners while suffering 9 killed and 30 wounded.

-- Wikipedia

Morning dirt.

Apr 20, 2010

Anti-hipster scooter

"In 1947, the US 75 mm (recoilless rifle) was acquired as war surplus by the French military and mounted on a Vespa scooter. It was used by French paratroops as a mobile anti-tank and anti-fortification platform and saw service in Algeria and Indochina."

Apr 16, 2010

Gott hilffe mir.

On April 16, 1521, German reformer Martin Luther, 34, arrived at the Diet of Worms, where he afterward defended his theological position behind the “Ninety-Five Theses” (first advanced in 1517). It was at this assembly where Luther concluded his defense with the historic words: “Hier stehe ich; ich kann nicht anders tun. Gott hilffe mir. Amen.” (“Here I stand! I can do nothing else. God help me! Amen.”)
--quoting Bill Blake

He was condemned as a heretic and ex-communicated.

Apr 15, 2010

2 o'clock A.M.

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.'"

-- Charles M. Schulz

Apr 2, 2010


Psalm 51 (The Message)

Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been;
my sins are staring me down.

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I've been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don't look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I'll let loose with your praise.

Going through the motions doesn't please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don't for a moment escape God's notice.

Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem's broken-down walls.
Then you'll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!

Apr 1, 2010


Psalm 51 (Luther Bibel 1545)

(Ein Psalm Davids, vorzusingen; da der Prophet Nathan zu ihm kam, als er war zu Bath-Seba eingegangen.)

Gott, sei mir gnädig nach deiner Güte und tilge meine Sünden nach deiner großen Barmherzigkeit.

Wasche mich wohl von meiner Missetat und reinige mich von meiner Sünde.

Denn ich erkenne meine Missetat, und meine Sünde ist immer vor mir.

An dir allein habe ich gesündigt und übel vor dir getan, auf daß du recht behaltest in deinen Worten und rein bleibest, wenn du gerichtet wirst.

Siehe, ich bin in sündlichem Wesen geboren, und meine Mutter hat mich in Sünden empfangen.

Siehe, du hast Lust zur Wahrheit, die im Verborgenen liegt; du lässest mich wissen die heimliche Weisheit.

Entsündige mich mit Isop, daß ich rein werde; wasche mich, daß ich schneeweiß werde.

Laß mich hören Freude und Wonne, daß die Gebeine fröhlich werden, die du zerschlagen hast.

Verbirg dein Antlitz von meinen Sünden und tilge alle meine Missetaten.

Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein reines Herz und gib mir einen neuen, gewissen Geist.

1Verwirf mich nicht von deinem Angesicht und nimm deinen heiligen Geist nicht von mir.

Tröste mich wieder mit deiner Hilfe, und mit einem freudigen Geist rüste mich aus.

Ich will die Übertreter deine Wege lehren, daß sich die Sünder zu dir bekehren.

Errette mich von den Blutschulden, Gott, der du mein Gott und Heiland bist, daß meine Zunge deine Gerechtigkeit rühme.

Herr, tue meine Lippen auf, daß mein Mund deinen Ruhm verkündige.

Denn du hast nicht Lust zum Opfer, ich wollte dir's sonst wohl geben, und Brandopfer gefallen dir nicht.

Die Opfer, die Gott gefallen, sind ein geängsteter Geist; ein geängstet und zerschlagen Herz wirst du, Gott, nicht verachten.

Tue wohl an Zion nach deiner Gnade; baue die Mauern zu Jerusalem.

Dann werden dir gefallen die Opfer der Gerechtigkeit, die Brandopfer und ganzen Opfer; dann wird man Farren auf deinem Altar opfern.