Sunday morning music

This past week, I was doing some research for a forthcoming book.  I was intrigued to come across a reference to the fabled Irish highwayman Willy Brennan, about whom the famous ballad “Brennan on the Moor” was written.  The origins of the song are disputed:  versions exist from the early to mid 1800’s stemming from Ireland, Britain, Canada and the USA.  To set the scene, here’s a recording from the 1960’s featuring The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem.  If you find the Irish accents a bit impenetrable, the lyrics are here. Like many highwaymen and other “popular” criminals, folk tales grew up about Brennan’s exploits. 

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Kids earning pocket money?

The Silicon Graybeard recounts the story of a nine-year-old girl who wanted to earn some extra money.  Her mother advertised her availability to help with domestic chores – leading to a visit by the police, to ensure she wasn’t being exploited.  The mother concluded: The knee-jerk distrust of all adults around all kids is a hallmark of our times. Where we could see verve, we see vulnerability. Where we could see neighbors helping neighbors we imagine the worst. Where we could see kids growing up with confidence and competence, we see a rising tide of anxiety. Letting kids do some work for

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“If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first”

Last week Tucker Carlson produced a long, thoughtful analysis of the problems of America today.  He may be a conservative commentator, but his analysis isn’t grounded in conservatism as such.  Instead, he looks at the root of American society – families – and asks how we got where we are today.  He identifies both major parties (quite correctly, IMHO) as equally guilty of the current malaise – something I’ve done in these pages for years, as regular readers will recall.  Mr. Carlson calls for a family-focused and family-centric solution.  I found it very hard to disagree with either his arguments

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An interesting exercise

I’m busy with a writing project that involves using words according to their historical meaning, rather than the way in which they’ve been reinterpreted in these politically correct times. to avoid stigmatizing or offending people.  There are a great many such words, and by allowing the Social Justice Warrior brigade to redefine their meaning, we’re essentially surrendering a very important front in the culture war. As part of my research, I looked for older dictionaries online, which I could compare to their modern equivalents.  A very valuable resource has been Webster’s Dictionary.  You’ll find the original 1828 edition online, as well as the

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(Departed) soul mates???

This is one of the more unusual relationship breakup stories to pop up. An Irish Jack Sparrow impersonator who married the ghost of a pirate has revealed she has split from her 300-year-old hubby. Earlier this year Amanda Sparrow Large, 46, said she’d found her “soulmate” in a Haitian pirate from the 1700s who was executed for thieving on the high seas. The loved-up couple were legally married by a shaman priest in a boat off the Irish coast in international waters. But now the mum from Drogheda, Co Louth, has revealed the unlikely union is over. Posting on social media

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A rose by any other name . . .

. . . would smell as sweet, according to William Shakespeare.  Clearly, he wasn’t thinking of Star Wars when he said that – unlike the parents of a hapless felon in Tennessee. The Force was not with Luke Sky Walker when he was arrested this week by Tennessee police, according to a report. Walker, 21, of Johnson City, Tenn., was arrested Thursday on a charge of violating probation, WJHL-TV reports … He was arrested in 2017 on charges of stealing 46 road signs with three cohorts, the Elizabethton Star reported at the time. There’s more at the link. Actor Mark Hamill played the character Luke Skywalker in

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Cult nation?

I’m very familiar with religious cults, from a professional perspective (as a former pastor and chaplain) and from counseling those trapped in them, trying to help them break free.  I’ve seen signs of cult-like behavior on the extremes of the American political spectrum, but I’ve never consciously equated the two fields.  Now the Federalist makes the resemblance clear. Consider for a moment today’s culture, which is saturated with the constant agitation of political correctness. It rarely allows for any real discussion or debate without automatic vilification of those deemed politically incorrect. Sadly, this is especially true in the very place where there

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News and views you can use

There have been so many weird and wonderful news reports and blog articles over the past couple of days that I can’t keep up with them all.  I figured I’d post links to some of them here, and let you explore those that interest you.  In no particular order: Clint Smith, of Thunder Ranch (under whom I’ve trained multiple times), talks about ammunition and gunfights.  Money quote:  “I’ve never heard anyone complain about having too much ammunition in a fight.” I had to laugh at the Conservative Treehouse’s glee over President Trump’s most recent burst of activity.  They seem to be enjoying themselves

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