Saturday, December 01, 2018

Highlands Backpacking

I recently re-gained my childhood interest in hiking and backpacking. How would some of my ancestors handle a night out in the open?

Take a look at an amazing way one contemporary Scot would replicate the old days:

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Many years ago, in the summer of 1999, Tracey and I drove to Sumter, SC, for the annual July 4th air show at Shaw Air Force base. After the show we walked to a tent where a band was setting up; we had no idea what was in store for us. The band playing that day was "Seven Nations." From the first note we heard, Tracey and I were captivated by this Celtic rock group. After all these years, after many changes, they are still going strong. SCIWAY News wrote an excellent review of the band and the event.

One of my favorite songs from their "Old Ground" album is "Canadee-I-O," a song written by Nic Jones (former Seven Nations member).

It's of a fair and handsome girl, she's all in her tender years
She fell in love with a sailor boy and it's true that she loved him well
For to go off to sea with him, like she did not know how
She longed to see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O 
So she bargained with a young sailor boy, it's all for a piece of gold
Straighway he led her all down into the hold
Saying I'll dress you up in sailor's clothes, your jacket shall be blue
You'll see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O 
Now, when the other sailors heard the news, they fell into a rage
And with all the whole ship's company, they were willing to engage
Saying "We'll tie her hands and feet me boys, overboard we'll throw her
And she'll never see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O." 
Now, when the captain he's heard the news, well he too fell into a rage
And with his whole ship's company he was willing to engage
Saying "She'll stay all in sailor's clothes, her collar shall be blue
She'll see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O." 
Now when they came down to Canada, scarcely above half a year
She's married this bold captain, who called her his dear
She's dressed in silks and satins now, and she cuts a gallant show
She's the finest of the ladies down in Canadee-I-O 
Come all you fair and tender girls, wheresoever you may be
I'd have you follow your own true love when he goes out on the sea
For if the sailors prove false to you, well the captain he might prove true
To see the honour that I have gained by the wearing of the blue.

Here is the version I have listened to for many years:

Here is a video of them performing live:


Wednesday, November 28, 2018


On this date in 1757, William Blake, the English poet and artist, was born. Among his many now famous works was one called "And did those feet in ancient time."

In 1916, Sir Hubert Parry set music to the poem, which is widely known as "Jerusalem," and considered England's unofficial anthem.

You can find more information on the poem, including a beautiful classical version of the musical rendition, at this page from

The first time I was exposed to "Jerusalem" was through Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" album. Here is that rendition:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Delivery Costs

In this time of near instant-delivery of all sorts of things, do we have any idea of the cost of instant gratification? Setting aside the cost of credit (which is extremely expensive), what is the human cost of this unreasonable expectation of having everything in our hands right now, today, the sooner the better?

Listen to the NY Times report on "The Human Toll of Instant Delivery."

Monday, November 26, 2018

Of Joy, Happiness and Success

Yesterday, I gave my first sermon ever. It could only had happened at a Unitarian Universalist church, of course. The sermon was titled "Living a Life of Passion" — some may think that as false advertisement, but that is their opinion and they can have their opinion, of course. After all, it is theirs, they own it, and who am I to argue with them?

But I digress. I won't bore you with the whole speech here. Suffice it to reflect on the closing words, which I though were pretty OK:

"If I may, don't go chasing after happiness, or after success. Go after the things that bring you joy. In those joyful things you will find what you are passionate about, and then you will find happiness, and success, and all of that. Joy is the nectar that puts more life into your years, and more great years into your life."

See? I just saved you 20 minutes of a sermon … although it was a good sermon, as sermons go.

Being black and armed is not a crime

Yet another black man is killed in what appears to be, at best, a case of mistaken identity.

Links to Alabama Mall Killing

Commentary about the killing:

Indeed, being black and armed is not a crime; moving away from a dangerous situation is not a crime either. We need to be honest with ourselves and confront our biases. Until we all do that innocent people will continue to be murdered by the same people that are supposed to serve and protect ALL citizens.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

For All That Is Our Life

Last Sunday at church we sang this beautiful hymn, one that I have sung before, one that has moved me every time, and last Sunday was no exception. I wanted to share it with you all.

For all that is our life we sing our thanks and praise;
for all life is a gift which we are called to use
to build the common good and make our own days glad. 
For needs which others serve, for services we give,
for work and its rewards, for hours of rest and love;
we come with praise and thanks for all that is our life. 
For sorrow we must bear, for failures, pain, and loss,
for each new thing we learn, for fearful hours that pass:
we come with praise and thanks for all that is our life. 
For all that is our life we sing our thanks and praise;
for all life is a gift which we are called to use
to build the common good and make our own days glad.

If you are interested in an even more detailed review of the hymn, please visit this link:

For a recorded version, please go here:

Friday, November 23, 2018

Five basic skills to develop

I recently came across this video that quickly details five basic skills (and related skill sets) that could be useful under many circumstances: