Sunday, December 30, 2012

we are the little folk

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Rudyard Kipling (30 december 1865-1936) writer,  nobel laureate

today is the birthday of rudyard kipling a fascinating individual and brilliant writer. in 1907,  kipling was awarded the nobel prize in literature. he was the first english language writer to receive a nobel and remains the youngest literature laureate. 

kipling was a prodigious writer - short stories, novels, poetry.  today's quote comes from  the jungle book,  perhaps his most famous collection of short stories.
when i read in the writer's almanac that  today was kipling's birthday, it wasn't his short stories or  kim, a picaresque novel about an adventurous boy named kim, that came to mind;  rather it was his poem a pict song that jumped into my consciousness.  the poem appears at the end of a short story entitled the winged hats which is part of fascinating 1906 collection of short stories published under the title of  puck of pook's hill. each story in the collection is bracketed by a poem which relates to the theme or subject of the story.
the picts were the original inhabitants of scotland and are often characterized by their blue war paint. although they were persecuted by the invading romans they were never subjugated by them.  kipling  celebrated the defiance of  underdogs and "little folk" in his poem a pict song. 

i first encountered the poem as a song on billy bragg's 1996 album william bloke.   

as we end one year and enter a new one,  i offer this as a song to lead us into a new year!

photo: historical reenactor outside of edinburgh castle, scotland, october 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

christmas time's a comin'

At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year. 

Thomas Tusser (1524-1580) english poet

i've had the song, christmas time's a comin, stuck in my head since thursday night when we went to the barking spider to catch hillbilly idol, one of our favorite local groups, for the spider's annual holiday extravaganza.  below some snaps of hillbilly idol performing at the cozy spider.

the musicians for thursday's show were andrew (last name unknown - as of yet the band doesn't have a regular member on the bass, but they are extremely lucky to always get extremely talented folks to sit in), roy king on drums, the versatile multi-instrumentalists jen maurer and paul kovac, rachel wearsch on keyboards and below, al moss on pedal steel guitar.  everyone sings depending on the song

thought i'd be nice and pass the song along - however, if it becomes an earworm, you may consider me a bit naughty.

christmas time's a comin' has become a holiday classic in bluegrass and country music circles, it was written by tex logan and made popular by bill monroe.  although the youtube version of bill and bluegrass boys performing the song is fun there's too much chatter, so i offer this lovely version by larry sparks from the 1988 album christmas time back home.


top photo: billboard off i-39/90, wisconsin july 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ride my motorcyle

Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth, would be to have been young and never dreamed at all. 

Jean Genet (19 december 1910 - 1986) writer & political activist

cards to write, projects to finish, cookies to bake....oh my no time to blog.  but lots of time to dream!

for the country and particularly for the community of newtown, connecticut,  we have had a tragic lead-in to the holidays - so many shattered dreams.

thoughts of comfort, solace and healing to all those touched by the horrific violence and rage that visited sandy hook elementary school.   may each of us add a special prayer to the end of violence which rides through the world this holiday season.

photo:  cleveland, december 2012

arlo guthrie performing his hilarious song (with requisite arlo storytelling banter) on the johnny cash show. according to the portal, the arlo appeared on episode #16 which aired on january 21, 1970.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

roads to moscow

One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to. 
Alexander Solzhenitsyn  (11 december 1918 - 2008) writer, dissident, human rights activist

today's tats adorn the neck and face of two colorful blokes i cross paths with in london .  the first photo was taken of a fellow leafleting along brick lane - this snap was taken using guerrilla photography techniques (in other words i didn't stop and ask permission).   second photo is of a  fellow staffing the muttley's kitchen stand in the greenwich market.  muttley's specializes in dog treats which are hand made in greenwich (of course we had to bring treats home for the family pups!).   as you can probably tell this guy did know i was taking his photo - in fact, i even asked permission!

photos:  london, october 2012

al stewart's epic song roads to moscow, according to songfacts, stewart supposedly read forty books and spent countless hours doing research to write the song.  the song contains some beautiful acoustic guitar work.    there is a bit of controversy about who the song is about - some say it is solzhenitsyn's story, others say it is about an anonymous russian soldier.

al states in the liner notes that the song is about "The German Invasion of Russia, on the 22nd June 1941 was on of the greatest single events in the history of the world. The hero of "Roads to Moscow" fights his way first backwards towards Moscow, and then all the way to Berlin, only to be imprisoned by Stalin, as were incalculable millions of others at the end of the Second World War." 

those aware of solzhenitsyn's story can tell the song was obviously inspired by solzhenitsyn.  it is a powerful, poignant  and at times haunting song. 

roads to moscow appeared on stewart's fifth studio album, past, present and future in 1973. each song on the album has a historical theme and represents a decade in the 20th century. the final song nostradamus is about the prophecies of the alleged prophet

Monday, December 10, 2012

higher ground

Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, closes to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: The neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

today is human rights day.  in 1950, the u.n. general assembly established the day to honor the u.n. 1948 proclamation of human rights, the first global enunciation of human rights.

since its inception there is generally a theme associated with the day.  this year the theme is my voice counts - whereby each individual has the right to have their voice heard in public life and government, including freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly.

photo: music shop in the collinwood section of cleveland, ohio. december 2012

for today it seems only fitting to go around the world through music with playing for change.  playing for change is an  multimedia movement which seeks to unite, connect, and advance peace through music. click on the embedded link to learn more about playing for change. 

today's song, steve wonder's 1973 hit song higher ground.   in 2004 rolling stone listed the song among the 500 greatest songs of all time.

according to the portal there is an interesting story about the saving power of music with respect to this song.
'Ground' was recorded just before Wonder was involved in a near-fatal accident in August '73 that left him in a coma. Early in Wonder's recovery, his road manager sang the melody of 'Ground' into the singer's ear; Wonder responded by moving his fingers with the music.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

whole lot of shakin' goin' on

We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. 

 Joan Didion (5 december 1934) writer

the mouse is back and so is wall wednesday!

even though i didn't go on a deliberate street art safari while in london (it wasn't for lack of desire, more that i simply didn't have time) i still had the good fortune to encounter some marvelous stuff while wandering about.

today's three photos were taken on princelet street, which intersects brick lane in east london.  turns out east london is nirvana for street art aficionados!

the second photo is of an intense piece done by the visiting artist mear one (aka kalen ockerman).  the piece is entitled freedom for humanity - while we were standing there studying it, another bystander said that rumor had it that the piece was going to be whited out in a few days.

hmmmm,  some power that be must have felt its critique was too radical or maybe its accuracy was a tad too threatening?


i don't know about you but i find the piece pretty damned powerful  - - and in terms of my world view it is pretty spot on - rich fat cats playing their games on the backs of working people.  yeah, sounds about right.

curious mouse that i am did a bit of research on the piece (isn't google wonderful). during which i discovered the marvelous stop action video below.

the vid was filmed over the course of three days and the artist discusses the meaning of the work and the reactions he encountered while working on the piece.


today's posted photos were taken on october 6th;  which might have been just days after the mural was finished.

i wonder if the work is still up.  do any of mouse's visitors know?  if so, please leave a comment.

across from mear one's masterpiece is this little delightful hodgepodge of graffiti:

aren't you just tickled by the ewok on the skateboard and the i like you tag?

guess who else has a birthday today?

none other than little richard (b 5 december 1932) here he is on a 1964 broadcast of shindig! with the classic whole lotta shakin' goin' on

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

i didn't see it coming

Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with. 

Thomas Carlyle (4 december 1795-1881) scottish essayist & philosopher

tattoo tuesday is back!  been a while, eh?

today we travel back over the pond to the isle of skye to check out a little body ink -  a memorial tat on the arm of a very lovely lass named siobhan. 

siobhan was our server at the the charming and delicious harbour view seafood restaurant in portree.  she shared a bit of the story which inspired the tat which is in memory of her boyfriend who died a few years back.  it has been a couple months since we were there, so i can't remember all of details of the sad tale, but i recall his name was ollie and that there was a car involved in his death.

i can't remember what the top row with chinese characters reads - perhaps it is a translation of his name or something else.  below the characters is inked the german words  ich liebe dich (i love you)

i didn't see it coming from the 2010 album belle and sebastian write about love

Monday, December 3, 2012

ramble on

We all need space; unless we have it we cannot reach that sense of quiet in which whispers of better things come to us gently [and we need] places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in.
Octavia Hill (3 December 1838-1912),  social activist/reformer

above is a photo of  "i, goat" by kenny hunter - 2010 winner of the spitalfields sculpture prize.  hunter's goat is located in the spitalfield market neighborhood of london;  the work, a hand sculpted goat which sits atop a stack of packing crates was inspired by the community's rich and diverse social history.

at the unveiling of the work in january 2011, hunter stated that "Goats are associated with non-conformity and being independently-minded. That is also true of London, its people and never more so than in Spitalfields."


photo: i, goat by kenny hunter at twilight with christ church in background,  london, october 2012

led zepplin's ramble on which is on their 1969 album led zeppelin II - written by jimmy page and robert plant, the song is included in rolling stones list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

give a little bit

The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is an unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented response. In particular it requires solidarity -- between the healthy and the sick, between rich and poor, and above all, between richer and poorer nations. We have 30 million orphans already. How many more do we have to get, to wake up?
Kofi Annan (b. 1938) diplomat,  peace & health/AIDS activist
served as UN secretary general from 1997 - 2006

today is world aids day.  world aids day reaches back to 1987 and WHO's global programme on aids based out of geneva switzerland. since 1995, the us government has issued an official proclamation.

this year's proclamation by president barack obama:
On World AIDS Day, more than 30 years after the first cases of this tragic illness were reported, we join the global community once more in standing with the millions of people who live with HIV/AIDS worldwide. We also recommit to preventing the spread of this disease, fighting the stigma associated with infection, and ending this pandemic once and for all.

In 2010, my Administration released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, our Nation's first comprehensive plan to fight the domestic epidemic. The Strategy aims to reduce new infections, increase access to care, reduce health disparities, and achieve a more coordinated national response to HIV/AIDS here in the United States. To meet these goals, we are advancing HIV/AIDS education; connecting stakeholders throughout the public, private, and non-profit sectors; and investing in promising research that can improve clinical outcomes and reduce the risk of transmission. Moving forward, we must continue to focus on populations with the highest HIV disparities -- including gay men, and African American and Latino communities -- and scale up effective, evidence-based interventions to prevent and treat HIV. We are also implementing the Affordable Care Act, which has expanded access to HIV testing and will ensure that all Americans, including those living with HIV/AIDS, have access to health insurance beginning in 2014.

These actions are bringing us closer to an AIDS-free generation at home and abroad -- a goal that, while ambitious, is within sight. Through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we are on track to meet the HIV prevention and treatment targets I set last year. We are working with partners at home and abroad to reduce new infections in adults, help people with HIV/AIDS live longer, prevent mother-to-child transmission, and support the global effort to eliminate new infections in children by 2015. And thanks to bipartisan action to lift the entry ban on persons living with HIV, we were proud to welcome leaders from around the world to the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
Creating an AIDS-free generation is a shared responsibility. It requires commitment from partner countries, coupled with support from donors, civil society, people living with HIV, faith-based organizations, the private sector, foundations, and multilateral institutions. We stand at a tipping point in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and working together, we can realize our historic opportunity to bring that fight to an end.

Today, we reflect on the strides we have taken toward overcoming HIV/AIDS, honor those who have made our progress possible, and keep in our thoughts all those who have known the devastating consequences of this illness. The road toward an AIDS-free generation is long -- but as we mark this important observance, let us also remember that if we move forward every day with the same passion, persistence, and drive that has brought us this far, we can reach our goal. We can beat this disease. On World AIDS Day, in memory of those no longer with us and in solidarity with all who carry on the fight, let us pledge to make that vision a reality.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2012, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

photo: one of the 128 panels of the names project aids quilt that were on display in cleveland during the weeks surrounding last year's world aids day.

okay, so today's song/video is an advert for coca cola, the action in the video is real thing!!  watching this sure makes me feel good and i hope it makes you feel good also!

from my research (google) i learned the advertisement came out this summer. i must not have been watching much television during the summer as i don't remember seeing it; the first time i saw it was last night when a friend posted it on his facebook page. 

by the way the ad is set to supertramp's 1970s bubbly sweet tune and is performed by roger hodgson. roger along with being a member of supertramp (1969-1983) also toured with ringo starr's all star band in 2001. these days roger still performs sometimes as a solo but other times with other musicians and sometimes with full orchestras!