Thursday, January 29, 2009

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Black bird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain's new fall
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning.
Born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
Praise ev'ry morning,
God's recreation
Of the newday!

Words: Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has Broken, written in 1931 for an old Gaelic tune associated with the Scottish village Bunessan. It was later popularized by the folk singer Cat Stevens.

Performed by Mezzo Soprano, Elizabeth Dobie-Sarsam with piano.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More on John Coleman and the band that sent him to the showers.

Thanks John, You did America Proud! Forget the petty stuff and remember what a wonderful honor it was to see Obama and wave!

This is hard to Believe!

Ohio Pipe and Drum Corp Boots Firefighter for nodding at the president!


A local firefighter says he has accepted his six-month suspension from his role in the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes and Drum Corp for giving President Barack Obama a nod and wave during last week's inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.

Drum Major and Cleveland Heights fire inspector John Coleman spoke exclusively to NewsChannel5's Duane Pohlman about his violation.

Coleman has been with the pipes and drums for 17 years and said he doesn't want to bring negativity or shame to the band.

"We returned from Washington and in the parking lot in the bus, I was told I was receiving a six month suspension for conduct unbecoming the band," Coleman said.

He said there was a lot of hard work by the band in Washington and it was a great moment.

"I just was told this was a military parade and I was not to salute the president, which I did not and I happened to glance over at the booth and see if the president was even in the booth reviewing," he said. "Contact was made with our eyes both together and he smiled and waived at the band and just as a gesture, I nodded my head. I gave him a slight wave and went on."

Coleman said he doesn't feel he did anything wrong.

"With the president, I could not just ignore him," he said.

Coleman teared up when talking about the incident, saying he was hurt by the suspension.

Bandleader Pipe Major Mike Engle said Coleman violated the proper decorum required of a military parade.

Engle says other pipe bands complained about the behavior.

Please Watch the video the guy does nothing to deserve this. My guess is the band had allot of Republicans in it! I think the clip is sweet he looks like he is honoring our president! John Coleman has since quit the pipe band he loved for 17 years because of the bad press. I think Bandleader Pipe Major Mike Engle should quit for being unAmerican! It's a once in a life time thing to make eye contact with the president and John did the right thing to respond warmly to the Commander and Chief!$62451

Racism in Northeast Ohio

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Burns Lights up Dumfries

Photo by Purplebox

A huge, happy crowd of at least 15,000 came to Dumfries on the 250th birthday of Robert Burns, carrying lanterns and small children to enjoy processions and a spectacular fireshow on the Whitesands.

There was tangible excitement as the huge lantern processions wound their way down to the Whitesands, each procession led by a pipe band. Dumfries & Galloway's communities could be recognised by their lanterns, the Rhonehouse Horse, Allanton's Whole World, the Boys Brigade's Anchor and Mausoleum, Ewart Library's Ship, the Wee Byre's Flock of Sheep, bobbing above the crowd. Even the Dragon who led the procession in 1996 turned up, spruced up for a new celebration.

As darkness fell, the lanterns were lit, and an appreciative crowd enjoyed great music from the big stage and screen. The First Minister, flanked by his standard bearers who carried a huge Saltire lantern, spoke from the stage to thousands of people about the great atmosphere in Dumfries.

Crowds of people lined both sides of the river, standing in lines at every level they could find as the lone piper played on Devorgilla Bridge, and the Tam O'Shanter fire sculpture was spectacularly lit.

TV crews came to Burns Light from all over the world, and photographers from as far away as America squeezed onto the Devorgilla Bridge and onto walls to get the best angles.

Hotels in and around Dumfries report being full to capacity - a good sign in a cold, recession-hit January.

But in Dumfries & Galloway there's lots more to come!

Photo by Purplebox

This is too cool, sign language letter to Obama

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Address To A Haggis by Robert Burns

Preparation time overnight

Cooking time over 2 hours

This is an authentic recipe from Scotland and the ingredients and methods of cooking may be unfamiliar but we hope you enjoy the results.

1 sheep's stomach or ox secum, cleaned and thoroughly, scalded, turned inside out and soaked overnight in cold salted water
heart and lungs of one lamb
450g/1lb beef or lamb trimmings, fat and lean
2 onions, finely chopped
225g/8oz oatmeal
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground dried coriander
1 tsp mace
1 tsp nutmeg
water, enough to cook the haggis
stock from lungs and trimmings

1. Wash the lungs, heart and liver (if using). Place in large pan of cold water with the meat trimmings and bring to the boil. Cook for about 2 hours.
2. When cooked, strain off the stock and set the stock aside.
3. Mince the lungs, heart and trimmings.
4. Put the minced mixture in a bowl and add the finely chopped onions, oatmeal and seasoning. Mix well and add enough stock to moisten the mixture. It should have a soft crumbly consistency.
5. Spoon the mixture into the sheep's stomach, so it's just over half full. Sew up the stomach with strong thread and prick a couple of times so it doesn't explode while cooking.
6. Put the haggis in a pan of boiling water (enough to cover it) and cook for 3 hours without a lid. Keep adding more water to keep it covered.
7. To serve, cut open the haggis and spoon out the filling. Serve with neeps (mashed swede or turnip) and tatties (mashed potatoes).

Haggis "is typically served on Burns Night,January 25, when Scotland celebrates the birth of its greatest poet, Robert Burns, who was born in Ayrshire on that date in 1759. During the celebration, Burns poems are read, and the haggis is addressed by a member of the party, ceremonially, in the form of verses from Burns' poem, 'Address to a Haggis.' A typical meal for Burns Night would include Cock-a-Leekie, Haggis with Tattie-an'-neeps, Roastit Beef, Tipsy Laird, and Dunlop Cheese."

As it's Burns Night tonight (25th January), here is a recital of Robert Burns 'Address To A Haggis' read by a gent known only to me as Brad.

Address To A Haggis

Type: AddressFair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

The Rapidly Changing Political Landscape or David Slays Goliath, Act 1.

Kirsten Gillibrand and her new son.

Gov.David slayed Goliath Kennedy with this move appointing Gillibrand not Kennedy. Thanks wee shepherd lad. We do not need more figure heads we need hard working public servants with guts and vision. That is what David gave us with one blow.

I have to say Kennedy looks more odd to me all the time. I am thinking the tragedy in her life has really damaged her ability to deal with public life. How can it not when you think about it? I am concerned about her children quite frankly. It has been widely reported she has had a rocky relationship with her husband for a long time and has been "linked" to New York Times' publisher Arthur Sulzberger. She has made a mess of this senate thing. Whether she is having an affair with "Pinch" or not she is on bad footing. She is so fragile and totally not suited to politics. It is still a huge relief to New York State she did not take this seat. Her kids are far from on their own and she has made a real mess of things for her family with her unsteadiness and sudden withdrawal. She appeared so weak when interviewed it is really quite shocking. Her lack of understanding of how politics really work on the grass roots level shows she has no place in the US senate or in national politics. The more I read the more I think she is completely wrong for any position in government. I just read a piece in New York Mag. that tries to explain the whole crazy thing with Paterson and Kennedy.

There is so much spin in this piece although it is artfully written it does not even confront the other realities that made this a bad idea to have Kennedy fill this seat. The power base is shifting and Sen. Chuck Schumer knows it and those outside the New York City cloister know it too. When the dusts settles the map will be very different. By the time Hillary Clinton's seat is opened to an election in two years it will be as though Mount Saint Helens reshaped the landscape. Those in the know are making ready. Gov. David Paterson is being painted by many as inept and egocentric and I think he is being the opposite. He is acting like the seasoned savvy politician he is. His pick was brilliant.

It's interesting I read at Huffington Post every day and usually post some. Many of the people posting just really still do not understand what is going on and how the whole political landscape and power base in this country is shifting. The big players like NYC Mayor Bloomberg will not be the ones calling the shots much longer. I predict Bloomberg will not get his third term because of the fallout from the financial collapse and because of his self serving flip flop on term limits. Even the New York Times is insolvent. New York City is on the decline as a world business center and may be weakening as the center of NY's Democratic Party. The biggest factor I see in the change in politics however is in the power of the Internet. Instead of the year 2000 being the big defining year of the century as so widely hyped at the turn of the 21st Century, I predict that 2010 will be the watershed year that changes everything. You can feel it coming now in 2009 can't you? I certainly feel it.

New York Magazine

New York Magazine was founded in 1968. It reaches 1.6 million readers each week and is published by New York Media Holdings, LLC.

New York Times

Caroline marriage 'is over'

Tam to ride fiery steed at Scotland's biggest Burns party

Published Date: 25 January 2009 THE SCOTSMAN
By Jeremy Watson

OF MICE, there will be plenty, as well as a flock of sheep, a giant cart-horse, a Spitfire, a bicycle and a copy of Lincluden Abbey. Carried aloft as home-made lanterns, some requiring several hands, there will be 3,000 of them making their way through the streets of Dumfries and lighting up Robert Burns' house and his burial place on the way down to the town's historic Whitesands.
Of men, there will be even more. Around 10,000 marchers are expected to crowd into the town this evening as the first weekend of Scotland's biggest national party gets into swing with four "Burns Light" processions that will converge to witness a 15m wooden model of Tam O' Shanter astride his horse be put to the torch on the River Nith.

For Shirley Bell, chief executive of the Robert Burns World Federation, it is yet more proof of Burns' universal appeal. "The numbers are amazing and if Robbie had been around he would have been proud of what was being done in his name," she said. "Burns Light will be truly spectacular. It is an event that has captured people's imaginations both here and abroad and the enthusiasm is just astonishing."

The Scottish Government's Year of Homecoming celebrations got under way in earnest yesterday in Alloway, Burns' Ayrshire birthplace and the setting for many of his most famous poems. Last night, an official Burns Supper attended by First Minister Alex Salmond was held at the Brig O'Doon Hotel – just one of 3,000 logged worldwide for this weekend.

In the Year of Homecoming, which officially ends on St Andrew's Day on November 30, Scots descendants and expatriates from around the world are being invited to visit Scotland. Today, meanwhile, the 250th anniversary of the Bard's birth in a stone cottage in Alloway will be celebrated by a range of events throughout the country, although his Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire stamping grounds will remain at the heart of the activities.

The showpiece is Burns Light, for which Dumfries has been preparing for months. Three thousand lanterns have already been made, but organisers expected a rush to last-minute workshops yesterday so there could well be many more.

Over 100 community lantern workshops have already taken place, with groups including 42 schools, Guides, Scouts, Brownies, Cubs, after school clubs, church groups, local charities, local businesses, community groups and Boys Brigades. Some villages are chartering buses to bring families and entire primary school rolls to Dumfries to take part in the processions.

The spectacular finale will be the fire sculpture, believed to be the biggest Tam O' Shanter in the world and weighing in at 4 tonnes. Tam, made by local artists Alex Rigg and Trevor Leat, who make the Edinburgh Hogmanay fire sculptures, will be fired in the middle of the River Nith beside the medieval Devorgilla bridge. A concert featuring contemporary and ceilidh bands will then be held on the Whitesands stage.

Earlier in the day, the town's St Michael's Church, where Burns is buried, will be the scene of the unveiling of two specially commissioned stained glass windows, created by Moira Malcolm, of Rainbow Glass, in Prestwick. One depicts Burns, the other his wife, Jean Armour. A life-sized marble bust of the poet, hand-carved by David Cornell and gifted to the church by the World Burns Federation will also be unveiled.

Alloway itself is hosting an "Alloway 1759" event where the streets of the village will be transported back 250 years to the day the Bard was born. Street characters will welcome you to Alloway and visitors can take a horse and cart ride, visit the A Star Is Born exhibition or enjoy a re-enactment of the Tam O' Shanter ride.

The Burns House Museum in Mauchline, South Ayrshire is hosting a poetry, music and storytelling event between noon and 4pm, while the first major stage production of I, Robert Burns, for 50 years is being presented in Ayr's Gaiety Theatre.

In Glasgow, this evening, the City Chambers will be illuminated, with the story of Burns told in sound and light. Between 5.30 and 7pm families can join the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and other special guests at a homecoming celebration in George Square.

Edinburgh is joining in with a line up of poetry, performers, art and music at the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street.

Children can attend free drop-in sessions with one of the best Scots language writers, Matthew Fitt, author of the hugely popular children's book A Wee Moose In The Hoose. Christopher Tait, the world's leading Robert Burns impersonator, will entertain visitors with poetry and song. Music will be provided by a strong line up of traditional musicians.

But for those who want to celebrate the anniversary without leaving their own home there is also the "Toast", and an attempt on the Guinness World Record for a simultaneous toast. The organisers suggest raising a glass to "the immortal memory of Robert Burns", count the number of people "toasting" and then log on to ||WEBSTART||||WEBSTOP|| and complete a simple online form to record the details so the numbers can be counted as part of the worldwide total.

The current world record sits at 462,572 people who gathered in pubs, restaurants, bars and concert venues across the US. No mean carouser himself, Burns would surely have appreciated the sentiment.

Staying with the record books, the highest Burns supper in Scotland was held this year on Ben Nevis by Scottish mountaineer Chris Dunlop, who holds the record for the world's highest ever Burns supper on top of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, in 2008.

But perhaps the most unusual Burns Supper will be held in war-torn Helmand. Around 800 service personnel will sit down to a Burns-themed evening "scran" in the camp galley tent at Task Force headquarters in Lashkar Gah. Festooned with saltires for the occasion, and with the pipes playing on the stereo, the galley will serve haggis, neeps and tatties, while copies of readings and poems will be given out. Whisky, however, will be conspicuous by its absence.

Some of the other Burns supper plans in 2009 include a supper on the highest structure, in the CN Tower, Toronto; the most chilled out supper, hosted by a Clan Chief on Balmoral Beach in Australia; and possibly the most remote supper, to be held by the Scientific Exploration Society in the east of Bolivia.

In Azerbaijan, the Baku Caledonian Society celebrate their 12th Burns Supper with 200 international guests.

In Switzerland, balloonists at the annual balloon fiesta in Chateau d'Oex will munch communal trays of haggis while overshadowed by the tallest piper in the world – a 155ft balloon in the shape of a piper.

South Africa will see a clan chief and 360 guests toast Scotland at the Cape Town Burns Supper attended by the Cape Town Highlanders, who are a fully operational 125-year-old mechanised infantry unit with strong links to the late Gordon Highlanders and the current Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In Canada the Tam O' Shanter Dancers will perform "A Portrait Of Burns" in front of 300 guests as a giant Celtic framed painting comes to life when a Burns actor steps forth from it to recite his songs and poetry.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, boasts a "Community Tam" when guests share the reading of Tam O' Shanter.

'His popularity is greater than ever'

EXTRACTS from the First Minister's address at the Homecoming Burns Supper at Brig O'Doon, Alloway, last night.

We are here to celebrate the life and work of one of the greatest Scots of all time. A man whose life was short, but whose legacy spans centuries. Whose poems and songs celebrate and dignify the human condition.

A democrat, a patriot, a ploughman, a poet, a hopeless romantic. Robert Burns was many things. But an ordinary man, "for a' that". Tonight, as we celebrate the genius of our national poet – a stone's throw away from his home, a few hours away from the 250th anniversary of his birth – we herald in a momentous year for Scotland. Homecoming 2009.

Another great Scotsman and scholar, John Stuart Blackie, said that "when Scotland forgets Burns, then history will forget Scotland". In two and a half centuries, Robert Burns' popularity is undiminished. Indeed it is greater than ever. The man who modestly said of himself, "my name has made a small noise in the country", now commands universal appeal.

This weekend, countless armies of Burns' societies around the world will be raising a glass to Scotland's national poet. From Bahrain to Bangkok via Banff, Buchan and Bishopbriggs, the haggis will be addressed. The Immortal Memory of Burns revered. The lasses toasted.

The size and influence of the Scots Diaspora is vast – and the passion for Scotland runs deep. That is indeed why the life and work of Robert Burns is a truly global celebration. You may find yourself overwhelmed, and more than a little "ramfeezled", if you consider the full extent of
Burns' legacy. There are more international monuments to Robert Burns than to any other writer – around 200 in all, as far afield as the United States, China, Australia, New Zealand – and aye, even Scotland.

The cultural legacy of Robert Burns is everywhere – and can be seen on so many landmarks of popular culture. John Steinbeck wrote of "the best laid schemes o' mice and men". J D Salinger found inspiration in Burns's poem 'Comin' thro' the Rye'. And Frank Capra knew to end his Oscar-winning It's A Wonderful Life with the Burns' hymn to universal friendship, 'Auld Lang Syne'. As the world's most popular song, it ushers in each New Year, sung by millions worldwide – regardless of whether they can hold the tune, or even know the words!

Burns' fans include everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Kofi Annan. Bob Dylan has described him as his "biggest inspiration".

No other cultural or literary figure is commemorated quite like Robert Burns. His popularity transcends class, country, culture and time. Over 200 years since his work was written, it has been translated into every known language. And it is as resonant today as it ever was.

We continue to celebrate Burns, because his work celebrates us. And we should continue to engage with Burns, because his work can engage us on the deepest levels.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we begin tonight's festivities, and this historic year for our country, it is interesting to speculate what Burns himself might have to say on the occasion.

He might have said: "While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy" ('Tam O' Shanter'). Or he might have said: "From scenes like these, old Scotia's grandeur springs, That makes her loved at home, revered abroad" ('The Cotter's Saturday Night')

Burns was a man who spoke for all occasions. A man born of humble rank, whose legacy today goes far beyond riches. Tonight, we celebrate not just the man of the moment, but Scotland's human being of the millennium.

Happy 250th Birthday Robert Burns! (1759-1796)

Robert Burns Mausoleum

Situated in St Michael's Kirkyard, is the impressive Greek Revival Mausoleum in which Burns, his widow Jean and five of their family lie. Burns was originally buried in a modest grave in a corner just to the left of the Mausoleum and it was not until 1815 (20 years after his death.) that his remains were moved to this more fitting location. He shares the kirkyard with many of his friends, colleagues and contacts.

Inside the beautifully proportioned Greek Revival temple is a lovely marble sculpture that portrays the Genius of Coila (Kyle) finding her favourite son at the plough and casting her mantle over him. Over fifty designs were submitted to the Mausoleum Committee and that of Thomas Hunt of London accepted. The foundation stone was laid with due Masonic ceremonial by William Miller, son of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, Burns's friend and landlord at Ellisland, who died in 1815 and, in addition to the usual deposit of coins and papers, there was laid in the stone a bottle containing a grandiloquent inscription in Latin, in which Robert Burns is described as 'incomparably the first Scottish Poet of his age.' The Mausoleum was completed in 1817, when Turnerelli's sculpture was erected.

The engraving below was done 100 years after his death and published in the Illustrated London News

Burns died of rheumatic fever in Dumfries on 21 July 1796. After the funeral of Scotland's National Bard, Robert Burns, was laid to rest in the north-east corner of the cemetery, St Michael's Parish Church Kirkyaird, Dumfries. A spot chosen by the poet himself. He wrote of his choice - 'When I am laid in my grave I wish to be stretched to my full length, that I may occupy every inch of ground I have a right to.'

Upon the evening of Sunday, 24th July 1796, his remains were conveyed from his house in Mill Vennel to the Town Hall in Dumfries. On the following day his body was borne in procession, with military honours, and the Volunteer's Band playing 'Dead March of Saul' as they advanced to St Michael's Churchyard. The chief persons of the town and neighbourhood took part in the procession and the streets of Dumfries were lined by the Fencibles Infantry of Angus-shire and the Cavalry of the Cinque Ports, then quartered in the town. The funeral arranged by the poet's friend, John Syme, was attended according to Allan Cunningham by a multitude amounting to ten to twelve thousand. We can only but agree with Allan Cunningham when he wrote - "I could, indeed, have wished the military part of the procession away. The scarlet and gold in the banners displayed - the measured step, and the military array - with the sounds of martial music, had no share in increasing the solemnity of the burial scene; and had no connextion with the poet."

Over the grave a sharp volley of farewell shot cracked out, while at the house in Mill Vennel, his widow, Jean Armour, lay in labour with her ninth child, a son whom she named Maxwell, after the doctor whose unfortunate advice had hastened her husband's death.

There was an immediate talk of raising a subscription for a suitable monument, but as time dragged on Jean suspected that it naught but talk and covered the grave, at her own expense, with a plain tombstone, inscribed simply with the name and age of the poet. In 1813, however, a public meeting was held in Dumfries, with General Dunlop, son of Burns' friend and patroness, Mistress Frances Dunlop, in the chair; a subscription list was opened and contributions flowed in from all quarters. The present costly doric mausoleum was erected in the most elevated site of the cemetery, there was not enough room where the poet lay in the south-east, and there the remains of Robert Burns were solemnly transferred on 5th June 1815. Buried alongside the poet were his sons, Maxwell, who died in 1799 (aged 2 years 9 months) and Francis Wallace who died in 1803 (aged 14). His widow, Jean Armour, who died at Dumfries on 26th March 1834 was interred in the Mausoleum on 1st April 1834.

The Mausoleum still attracts thousands of visitors every year, and if you are visiting the churchyard, take the opportunity of seeing Burns' chosen burial spot and visiting the graves of many people associated with our National Bard. During the tourist season you can also take advantage of a conducted tour of St Michael's Parish Church carried out by members of the congregation. A Christian Church has stood on the spot for over 1300 years and amongst the many points of interest inside the present Church is a brass plaque marking the site of the pew occupied by Robert Burns. His widow, Jean Armour, continued to occupy the pew regularly for the next thirty-eight years until her death.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation

David Sibbald of presenting A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation by Robert Burns from his CD "The Greatest Poems in the World" set to photos of Scotland by Peggy Edwards (AKA Peigi McCann) and edited by Vilma Alexiadou.
Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory!
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name.
Sae famed in martial story!
Now Sark rins over Salway sands,
An' Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands --
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
What force or guile could not subdue
Thro' many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane --
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
O, would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour
I'll mak this declaration :-
'We're bought and sold for English gold'--
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!


Farewell to all our Scottish fame,
Farewell our ancient glory!
Farewell even to the Scottish name.
So famed in martial story!
Now Sark runs over Salway sands,
And Tweed runs to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Through many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O, would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My old grey head had lain in clay (be buried)
With Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour
I will make this declaration :-
'We are bought and sold for English gold'-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

The Robert Burns Grove

The Robert Burns Grove
Planting a Grove of native trees in honour of Robert Burns and the 250th anniversary of his birth in 2009 - acknowledging his love of and connection to the land he celebrated through poetry and song.

Violinist plays for those who saved his arm 'I wanted them to see the work they'd done was successful'

This is a really nice human interest story!

Kirsten Gillibrand is our new Senator

I am very pleased Gov. Patterson picked Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton. She is an excellent choice and will serve upstate NY and Western, NY well. Thank you Gov. David Patterson.

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - Upstate New York hasn't had representation in the United States Senate in almost 40 years, but that is about to change.

Friday, Governor David Paterson ended weeks of speculation and appointed a relatively unknown congresswoman from the Albany area to fill Hillary Clinton's shoes in the Senate.

Elizabeth Randell of Buffalo said, "From what I've heard, she has more experience than Hillary has with this part of the world, so hopefully she knows a little bit more about what we need."

People are just learning about Kirsten Gillibrand, a pro-gun conservative Democrat, twice elected to Congress in a rural Republican district.

Gillibrand (D) said, "I will look for ways to find common ground between upstate and downstate. There are so many issues where we can come together."

One big issue seems to stand out for western New Yorkers.

Mike DeFranco said, "...the economy, man. It's horrible around here trying to find a job. Good luck."

Randell said, "...obviously bring jobs; economic stability. That's the big thing."

Bruce Fisher said, "Is she interested in foreign policy? Who cares. What we care about, what western New York cares about, what the whole country cares about right now is the economic crisis."

Bruce Fisher is an Economics and Finance Professor at Buffalo State College.

He's worked for three U.S. Senators, and thinks the governor picked Gillibrand because she's an upstater who he can run with in 2010.

Fisher said, "Some people may disagree with his pick but I think it's a fairly astute statement. It's his way of saying 'that I am a candidate for governor in 2010.'"

The state political culture is dominated by downstate politicians.

Fisher thinks Paterson upset many of them. But he believes the governor wanted a woman to replace Clinton, and thinks it could be a smart political move for Paterson.

Fisher said, "It was a very tough decision. Many people will disagree with it. I see where it might work for him."

Gillibrand will be sworn in as a Senator on Sunday.

She'll have to run for the seat next year, and she'll likely be challenged in the Democratic primary.

Kirsten Gillibrand meets with concerned dairy farmers in rural, NY.

Obama lauds Gillibrand pick

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ye Banks and Braes

Here is a song by Robert Burns in one of his more soulful moods as he describes a love-lost girl as she wanders by the banks of the river Doon in Ayrshire. traditional melody, text by Robert Burns - Mezzo Soprano, Elizabeth Dobie-Sarsam with piano..

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary, fu' o' care!
Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro' the flowering thorn!
Thou minds me o' departed joys,
Departed, never to return.

Aft hae I rov'd by bonnie Doon
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And ilka bird sang o' its luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine;
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree!
And my fause luver stole my rose -
But, ah! he left the thorn wi' me.

Meaning of unusual words:

Caroline in the Pines

Kennedy will not be the replacement for Hillary Clinton after all. I am very pleased Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from the process. First it was said it was over her Uncle's health then over tax and nanny issues but what seems to be more like the truth of the situation is she has been involved in a lengthy affair with a married man, one Arthur Pinch Sulzberger.

Caroline sure does look like she is in love with this "Pinch" hitter! Ouch take me out to the ball game!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rantin', Rovin' Robin

Tune: Daintie Davie.
It is thought that Burns may have written this as a celebration of his 28th birthday. The version on this video I made is by The Battlefield Band

There was a lad was born in Kyle,
But whatna day o' whatna style,
I doubt it's hardly worth the while
To be sae nice wi' Robin.

Chor. - Robin was a rovin' boy,
Rantin', rovin', rantin', rovin',
Robin was a rovin' boy,
Rantin', rovin', Robin!

Our monarch's hindmost year but ane
Was five-and-twenty days begun^2,
'Twas then a blast o' Janwar' win'
Blew hansel in on Robin.
Robin was, &c.

The gossip keekit in his loof,
Quo' scho, "Wha lives will see the proof,
This waly boy will be nae coof:
I think we'll ca' him Robin."
Robin was, &c.

"He'll hae misfortunes great an' sma',
But aye a heart aboon them a',
He'll be a credit till us a'-
We'll a' be proud o' Robin."
Robin was, &c.

"But sure as three times three mak nine,
I see by ilka score and line,
This chap will dearly like our kin',
So leeze me on thee! Robin."
Robin was, &c.

"Guid faith," quo', scho, "I doubt you gar
The bonie lasses lie aspar;
But twenty fauts ye may hae waur
So blessins on thee! Robin."
Robin was, &c.

Ca' The Yowes To The Knowes

Robert Burns Ca' The Yowes To The Knowes presented by David Sibbald of from his CD "The Greatest Poems in the World." set to photos of Scotland and edited by Peggy Edwards (AKA Peigi McCann).Ca' The Yowes To The Knowes

Ca' the Yowes to the Knowes

CA' the yowes to the knowes,
Ca' them where the heather grows,
Ca' them where the burnie rows,
My bonnie dearie.

As I gaed down the water side, 5
There I met my shepherd lad;
He row'd me sweetly in his plaid,
And he ca'd me his dearie.

'Will ye gang down the water side,
And see the waves sae sweetly glide 10
Beneath the hazels spreading wide?
The moon it shines fu' clearly.'

'I was bred up at nae sic school,
My shepherd lad, to play the fool,
And a' the day to sit in dool, 15
And naebody to see me.'

'Ye sall get gowns and ribbons meet,
Cauf-leather shoon upon your feet,
And in my arms ye'se lie and sleep,
And ye sall be my dearie.' 20

'If ye'll but stand to what ye've said,
I'se gang wi' you, my shepherd lad,
And ye may row me in your plaid,
And I sall be your dearie.'

'While waters wimple to the sea, 25
While day blinks in the lift sae hie,
Till clay-cauld death sall blin' my e'e,
Ye aye sall be my dearie!'

GLOSS: yowes] ewes. knowes] knolls, little hills. rows] rolls. row'd] rolled, wrapped. dool] dule, sorrow. lift sky.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Robert Burns, My Favorite Poet

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)

Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a 'light' Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt. Burns wrote of his own rural experience as well as dealing with themes of patriotism, republicanism, class structure, and sexuality, with wit, humor and sometimes bawdy but always accessible verse. He devoted much of his life and writing to honoring Scottish heritage and culture; its people, literature, folklore, ballads, and music. He was also at times deeply troubled by the societal values that led to conflicts and wars and he was considered radical for his political views. He alienated himself from many friends when he expressed support of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. While not forgetting his humble roots he went on to be one of the most celebrated poets during his lifetime and up to the present, almost two hundred and fifty years later. His life and works have inspired many other writers including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hugh MacDairmid, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. A cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world, celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature.

As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well-known across the world today, include A Red, Red Rose, A Man's A Man for A' That, To a Louse, To a Mouse, The Battle of Sherramuir, and Ae Fond Kiss.

Burns was born two miles (3 km) south of Ayr, in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland, the eldest of the seven children of William Burness (1721-1784) (Robert Burns spelled his surname Burness until 1786), a self-educated tenant farmer from Dunnottar, The Mearns, and Agnes Broun (1732-1820), the daughter of a tenant farmer from Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire.

He was born in a house built by his father (now the Burns Cottage Museum), where he lived until Easter 1766, when he was seven years old. William Burness sold the house and took the tenancy of the 70-acre Mount Oliphant farm, southeast of Alloway. Here Burns grew up in poverty and hardship, and the severe manual labour of the farm left its traces in a premature stoop and a weakened constitution.

He had little regular schooling and got much of his education from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history and also wrote for them A Manual Of Christian Belief. He was also taught by John Murdoch (1747-1824), who opened an 'adventure school' in Alloway in 1763 and taught Latin, French, and mathematics to both Robert and his brother Gilbert (1760-1827) from 1765 to 1768 until Murdoch left the parish. After a few years of home education, Burns was sent to Dalrymple Parish School during the summer of 1772 before returning at harvest time to full-time farm labouring until 1773, when he was sent to lodge with Murdoch for three weeks to study grammar, French, and Latin.

By the age of 15, Burns was the principal labourer at Mount Oliphant. During the harvest of 1774, he was assisted by Nelly Kilpatrick (1759-1820), who inspired his first attempt at poetry, O, Once I Lov'd A Bonnie Lass. In the summer of 1775, he was sent to finish his education with a tutor at Kirkoswald, where he met Peggy Thomson (b.1762), to whom he wrote two songs, Now Westlin' Winds and I Dream'd I Lay.

At Whitsun, 1777, William Burness removed his large family from the unfavourable conditions of Mount Oliphant to the 130-acre (0.53 km2) farm at Lochlea, near Tarbolton, where they stayed until Burness's death in 1784. Subsequently, the family became integrated into the community of Tarbolton. To his father's disapproval, Robert joined a country dancing school in 1779 and, with Gilbert, formed the Tarbolton Bachelor's Club the following year. In 1781 Burns became a Freemason at Lodge St David, Tarbolton. His earliest existing letters date from this time, when he began making romantic overtures to Alison Begbie (b. 1762). In spite of four songs written for her and a suggestion that he was willing to marry her, she rejected him.

Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland

In December 1781, Burns moved temporarily to Irvine to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the New Year celebrations of 1781/1782 the flax shop caught fire and was sufficiently damaged to send him home to Lochlea farm.

He continued to write poems and songs and began a Commonplace Book in 1783, while his father fought a legal dispute with his landlord. The case went to the Court of Session, and Burness was upheld in January 1784, a fortnight before he died. Robert and Gilbert made an ineffectual struggle to keep on the farm, but after its failure they moved to the farm at Mossgiel, near Mauchline in March, which they maintained with an uphill fight for the next four years. During the summer of 1784, he came to know a group of girls known collectively as The Belles of Mauchline, one of whom was Jean Armour, the daughter of a stonemason from Mauchline.

At the suggestion of his brother, Robert Burns published his poems in the volume Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect, known as the Kilmarnock volume. First proposals were published in April 1786 before the poems were finally published in Kilmarnock in July 1786 and sold for 3 shillings. Brought out by John Wilson, a local printer in Kilmarnock, it contained much of his best writing, including The Twa Dogs, Address to the Deil, Hallowe'en, The Cotter's Saturday Night, To a Mouse, and To a Mountain Daisy, many of which had been written at Mossgiel farm. The success of the work was immediate, and soon he was known across the country.

Burns was invited to Edinburgh on 14 December 1786 to oversee the preparation of a revised edition, the first Edinburgh edition, by William Creech, which was finally published on 17 April 1787 (within a week of this event, Burns sold his copyright to Creech for 100 guineas). In Edinburgh, he was received as an equal by the city's brilliant men of letters and was a guest at aristocratic gatherings, where he bore himself with unaffected dignity. Here he encountered, and made a lasting impression on, the 16-year-old Walter Scott, who described him later with great admiration:

“ His person was strong and robust; his manners rustic, not clownish, a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity which received part of its effect perhaps from knowledge of his extraordinary talents. His features are presented in Mr Nasmyth's picture but to me it conveys the idea that they are diminished, as if seen in perspective. I think his countenance was more massive than it looks in any of the portraits ... there was a strong expression of shrewdness in all his lineaments; the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and literally glowed when he spoke with feeling or interest. I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most distinguished men of my time. „

— Walter Scott

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for this day. It is hard to express the joy and hope that have rekindled in my heart. Barak Obama has changed everything. I never thought this possible. This is real leadership something that has been lacking in this country for over 20 years! WOW! I mean Wow! This is a day I will never forget. What is wonderful is he is all of us. He is Black and he is White. He is native and he is immigrant. He is old stock and he is new stock. He is heartland and he is Islander. He was raised by his mother and grandmother and like so many in America today he seldom saw his father as he grew up. He is a man that is both educated and folksy at the same time. He is privileged in education and yet has been discriminated against for his dark skin. His education makes him part of the highest station but his humble birth keeps him mindful of all who still struggle. I am so grateful we have Obama, he can make old things fresh and new with his unique prospective and he can help us all find new ways to make America better. America has been given a gift.

Obama's inaugural speech

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
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Obama's speech: Sober with dose of hope

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration

Following is the complete text of "Praise Song for the Day, A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration".

by Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.
Copyright © 2009 by Elizabeth Alexander. All rights reserved.

This will be published by Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. A chapbook edition of Praise Song for the Day will be published on February 6, 2009.

The Nightmare is Over!

The Nightmare of the Bush years is over at last! It's been so long and hard to take this. I am very happy about Obama but as happy that this is the end of the reign of Mad King George! This man stole the presidency with the help of his brother Jeb and others. Glory be to God the electorate has awakened and there was a honest change in leadership this time! I may not be Black but I feel like I have reached freedom at last!

American Banner

by C.K. Roshong

Wave on high grand old flag
For the sake of all who care;
You're the symbol of our freedom,
The answer to our prayer.

You give us strength to hold our ground
Against the brazen few
Who would test our mettle,
Our fortitude, dedicated to you.

Your colors stand for more
Than what we learned in school;
They blend together,
Form a wrapper, for the golden rule.

You guide the way we carry on
When faced with a mighty test;
Each minute and hour of every day
We resolve to do our best

To stand as one before the terror
That violates natures laws,
To protect the rights of all
Who pledge allegiance to your cause.

Wave on high, grand old flag,
It's you we loudly cheer;
You radiate a wondrous spirit,
That helps us conquer fear.

When hope, care and promise
Are the world's greatest need,
You shine bright from way on high --
A banner to take the lead.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Multiple Shots of Plane Landing in Hudson River, NY

Video of the Airbus A320 that splashed down in the Hudson on Thursday

This is by now all over the web but I just had to say how happy I am no one died and no one was hurt badly except the one member of the flight crew. Can I say how proud I am of my fellow New Yorkers who sped to the scene to help get people off this air bus? This whole event is hard to even get your mind around.

Just seconds after the first officer of US Airways Flight 1549, leaving La Guardia Airport and bound for Charlotte, N.C., pointed the nose of his jet into the sky, he noticed that there were birds on the right side — “in a perfect line formation.”

The plane’s captain, who had been busy watching the cockpit instruments, managing the radios and looking at charts, then looked up.

The windscreen, he told investigators, was filled with birds. The plane, at roughly 3,000 feet, was going at least 250 miles an hour. The captain’s first instinct, he said, was to duck.

Seconds later, flight attendants aboard the plane reported hearing a thud or a thump — a sound they had never heard before. The engines went quiet. And the plane’s captain, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, smelled something.

“Burning birds,” he told investigators.

Kinda like hitting a deer in the sky I would say! Thank God for a pilot with nerve!

New York Times

Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Andrew Wyeth passed Away on the 15th

Meter Box

The American painter perhaps best known for his painting of a young woman in a field, "Christina's World," has died, according to an official with the Brandywine River Museum in Pennsylvania.

Andrew Wyeth received the National Medal of Arts from President Bush in November 2007.

Wyeth, 91, died in his sleep Thursday night at his home near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to Lora Englehart, public relations coordinator for the museum.

The acclaimed artist painted landscapes and figure subjects and worked mostly in tempera and watercolor.

He was widely celebrated inside and outside of the art world.

Wyeth received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Kennedy in 1963, and President Nixon sponsored an exhibition of Wyeth's paintings at the White House.

In 2007, President Bush awarded Wyeth the National Medal of Arts in recognition of his lifetime achievement and contribution to American arts and culture.

Two years earlier, Wyeth and his wife, Betsy, presented to the White House his painting "Jupiter," which is displayed in the residence's family sitting room.

Bush issued a statement Friday saying that he and first lady Laura Bush "deeply mourn" the death of Wyatt.

Master Bedroom

"Mr. Wyeth captured America in his paintings of his native Pennsylvania and Maine," Bush said. "On behalf of the American people, Laura and I offer our sincere condolences to Betsy and the Wyeth family."

Wyeth, who lived in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and Maine, "has been enormously popular and critically acclaimed since his first one-man show in 1937," according to a biography in InfoPlease.

His main subjects were the places and people of Chadds Ford and Cushing, Maine.

"Christina's World," painted in 1948, shows a disabled Maine neighbor who drags herself through a field toward her house in the distance. The painting, displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, has been regarded as Wyeth's most popular.

"His 'Helga' pictures, a large group of intimate portraits of a neighbor, painted over many years, were first shown publicly in 1986," the InfoPlease biography says. Those were painted in Pennsylvania.

Wyeth, the youngest child of painter N.C. Wyeth, formally studied art with his father as a teen, "drawing in charcoal and painting in oils, the media of choice for N.C. Wyeth. It was during the family's annual summer vacations in Port Clyde, Maine, that Andrew was able to experiment with other media to find his own artistic voice," according to a biography in the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine.

Groundhog Day

This is really nice!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ranting in a House of Cards

There is a rumor that Caroline Kennedy is promising that Obama will Campaign For Governor Paterson if she manages to get the senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. This would be a pay to play scheme. What is going on now is really frightening and this political posturing contributes to the uncertainness here in New York. Things will get much worse. This recession and possible depression is rooted in NY. Because it's just the beginning of the melt down of the American financial system, no one is looking at the big picture they are all selfishly focused only on their own piece of the crossword puzzle. Things are going to get much worse before they get better. New York State is the epicentre of this because of it being the country's financial heart. I am so apposed to Caroline Kennedy demanding and getting Clintons Senate seat because she is exactly the kind of politician who can't help us here in NY. Just the fact Kennedy is Bloomberg's buddy makes me ill. Bloomberg knew all about Bernard Madoff. These connections could bring Obama down before he even gets started. The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market was Madoff. Bloomberg knew what Bernie was doing was shaky at best. Bloomberg is the kind of politician I can do without. He changed parties just to get elected just for starts. Then after supporting term limits he reversed and now wants to run again for Mayor of NYC! Caroline is very very tight with Bloomberg. I don't like the smell of any of it. The whole house of cards is going to come down. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. I do not want a senator that is connected to Bloomberg. No one would have said a thing about the process in NY state of replacing Hillary had Caroline not tried to make us except her and started throwing her family name around like a shot put. She knows what she is doing is wrong but she is doing it anyway. If she gets this seat it will be like a neo-con move. It makes every fiber of my Democratic body revolt.

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