Friday, November 10, 2006

Today's Butterflies

Today scores of butterflies visited the sunny flower beds at west-facing Clog-House, Est. 1935:

Gulf Fritillary
Cloudless Sulfur
Long-tailed Skipper
another brown Skipper – 2-3 white checks on wings
Zebra Long-wing

It is truly pleasurable and amazing to this Idaho transplant that so many butterflies visit our north-central Florida flower beds this late in the season.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

United In Death - November 8

Today' mashup unites an American painter, a British poet, and a Scottish philospher, all of whom died on a November 8th.

Norman Rockwell 1894-1978, American painter
John Milton 1608-1674, British poet
Duns Scotus 1255/66-1308, Scottish Philosopher

Rockwell is best known for his cover paintings for the Saturday Evening Post.

Milton left Cambridge University following a fist-fight with his tutor. His work Areopagitica, published as a pamphlet, is a seminal reference that argues for freedom of speech. View his poems here.

An interesting discussion of the birthplace and philosophy of Blessed John Duns Scotus is available in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

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Rumsfeld Is Bugging Out

Donald Rumsfeld is leaving the Bush administration. So said a brief statement on Reuters at 12:53 p.m.

President Bush confirmed it at 1:06 during his televised conference, and praised Rumsfeld for his service. Bush nominated Bob Gates to replace Rumsfeld, a former Director of Intelligence who has served in 6 administrations.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

More Dance and Music

Yesterday was a busy day for the Clog-wife and me. She had a series of performances with the Greenwood Morris side at the annual Gainesville (FL) Downtown Arts Festival. I put in a 3-hour stint with the newly-formed trio of which I am the guitarist, Fear No Weevil, playing for the Gainesville Old-Time Dance Society's bi-monthly contra dance. We played a series of energetic (gross understatement) old-time Appalachian fiddle tunes for the dancers. For three hours.

Fear No Weevil's lineup includes banjoist/fiddle leader Chuck Levy and fiddler Dave Forbes. Dave is an extremely accomplished instrument artisan. His banjos, produced earlier in his career as a craftsman, are one of the most sought-after instruments among 5-string clawhammer style banjo players. His bows are played in orchestras world-wide, and are the recipients of many awards. Dave currently also plays string bass in the Gainesville Fl Jazz band Hot Club de Ville, with band leader Marty Liquori, who you may remember as a legendary mile-runner from a former era.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dance Magic Dance

The Clog-wife and I travelled to Jacksonville, FL to participate in a half-day dance workshop taught by Kieran Jordan. The workshop focused on fundamentals of Irish Sean Nos and Cape Breton styles of percussive dance.

The group was extremely fortunate to have live music to learn steps and dance to in the lively duo Laura Risk on violin and Paddy League on guitar and bodhran. The Clog Almanac wholeheartedly recommends Kieran Jordan's dance workshops and performances to anyone interested in exploring stepdance traditions, and likewise the music workshops and recordings by both Laura Risk and Paddy League. Follow this link to watch a video of Laura and Paddy performing on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.

After the exhilarating workshop we hied to a traditional folklife festival in White Springs hosted by the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center, where two of the workshop participants joined fellow members of the Cross Creek Cloggers to perform several of their traditional Appalachian clogging routines. Just spitting distance from the beautiful and legendary Suwannee River. We drove home to High Springs as the sun was setting in the west and the full November moon rose in the east. That was a lovely end to a fabulous day filled with traditional dance and virtuosic live music.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Scottish Cello Music - CD Review

New in the mail yesterday: Castles, Kirks, and Caves - Scottish Music of the 18th Century, featuring the haunting and powerful virtuosity of cellist Abby Newton. Newton's restrained and nuanced interpretations of the selection of tunes are sublime.

I especially enjoyed the 5th track - Neil Gow's Lament on the Death of His Second Wife. This is a classic and well-loved tune generally played by the violin, but as she points out in the liner notes, this melody is a man's lament equally well-suited to the range of the cello.

I recommend the CD (RWMCD 5410) to anyone with an ear for fine music from the Celtic lands. Listen to track samples here.

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Greenhouse Gases Up Up Up

Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at an all time high. A senior scientist at the World Meteorological Association suggests that controls more stringent than those of the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 are required.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Decline of Fish

Get your seafood while you can. It might be all gone within your lifetime.

Remember those history lessons about the Grand Banks? That cod fishery collapsed and is probably gone for good. the same is now happening on a global scale.

Let's make it an object lesson. Scientists warned, politicians ignored the facts and did little to address problems and implement solutions, factory [over]fishing went unabated, and fish stocks went extinct.

Now apply that object lesson to other issues like global warming, international whaling, deforestation, &c, &c.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

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