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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

the revolution? sometimes it depresses me.

stillsostrange, I in particular commend this to your attention:

via truepenny, pursuant to a discussion of this month's Peter Mulvey MP3 download ("The St. James Infirmary"), (go. get it. it's free, legal, and good; how often does that happen all at the same time?) Letter from New Orleans #13, with particularity to the folk process and the St. James Infirmary Blues. I feel for the writer's fascination with that song: I have a similar obsessive collection of "House of the Rising Sun" and "Stagolee" versions.

Not that I'm really as familiar with folk music as I'd like to be--I'm a dabbler, not a historian--but there's an echo of that much varied chorus about the pallbeareres and the carriage horses in the English ballad "Jack Hall," which is told from the point of view of the guest of honor at a Tyburn hanging.

And you know'd there was twelve coal black horses on Britannia Street
Twelve coal-black hustlers decked in leather, don'tcha know it?

Yeah, I like the Dr. John version too.

And when I talk about homage and pastiche and fanfiction and retellings, this is exactly the storyteller tradition I'm talking about. "Thus," as my father would say, "the folk process."

As a side note, this seems in particular appropos when I've just sold Blood & Iron, which is not only a Tam Lin Arthuriana retelling riff, but also hopefully a book about the process by which fairy tale retellings occur.

This ties back into that thing about chickens and dinosaurs. "The St. James Infirmary Blues" is "The Unfortunate Rake." Just with feathers, and a beak.

As an aside, does anybody know offhand who currently holds the rights to the Bobby Sands poem "Back Home in Derry," frequently performed as a ballad? (I know Seven Nations, Wild Mountain Thyme, Jonathan Ramsey, and Christy Moore all do versions--to "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," in fact--and I checked ASCAP and got nothin'.) (As a further digression, Phil Chevron's "Faithful Departed" has to be one of the prettiest sets of profoundly depressing lyrics in history: There is no pain that can't be eased / by the Devil's holy water and the rosary beads.)


misia, here's one for your list of uncompromising songs performed by women about sex. I'm amused because, again, I like my misheard lyrics better than the original lyrics.


Progress notes for 13 May 2005:

Whiskey & Water

New Words: 1,521
Total Words: 74,609
Pages: 340

Still not to the end of this scene that is a chapter, and not a short chapter, neither.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
74,609 / 160,000

Reason for stopping: taking a break for a while
Mammalian Assistance: Mebd impersonating a keyboard, Paladin underfoot, Marlowe licking my hand while I try to mouse
Stimulants: lime passion tea
Exercise: gothercise
Mail: nomail
Today's intentionally bad sentence written to illustrate a problem: "He froze like a doe in the glare of the bank of floods atop a Chevy Bronco with a jacked-up suspension might while staring down the barrel of Joe-Bob's 10-guage."
Today's words Word don't know: moonflowers, Foehn, katabatic, Koembang, Samiel, Inanna, lamper, taloned
Words I'm surprised Word did know: adiabatic, Simoom, Sirocco, Chinook (Sometimes, a real joy of omniscient is the ability to stop everything--screech--for an artful two-paragraph infobolus. Wheee!)

There is a curious phenomenon known to meteorology as the Foehn effect. Dry air cooled by a glacier becomes a katabatic wind, which is to say that the heavier, colder atmosphere drains away from the peaks. Upon descending the mountain slopes, this frigid exhalation is transmuted through the alchemy of adiabatic compression into a hot, ionized dragon's-breath reputed to provoke madness, wickedness, and sickness where it blows.

These winds have names--Chinook, Sirocco, Koembang, Simoom, Samiel. And those names are stories.

Matthew, descending like Inanna in the darkness, inhaled the mother of them all.
Tyop du jour: Ore or less.
Darling du jour: He'd see how far he got in the dark.
Books in progress, but not at all quickly: Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver; various things I'm critting in draft.
Interesting research tidbits of the day: The Foehn effect; also, winds of the world (Including Maria. *g*)

Also, if you are ever interested in a quick overview of the fluffier side of the web, google some names from Sumerian mythology. Go looking for Inanna's descent, wind up on astral projection and channeling sites. Are Sumerian deities particularly prone to being channeled? I particularly like the one with the headline-style page headers: INANNA DEFEATS ENKIITES; NINURTA, NOT MARDUK TO NEXT RULE EARTH . If only the NY Times' election results were that interesting.

Other writing-related work
: Some comments on, lo, about the first half of stillnotbored's book


"He froze like a doe in the glare of the bank of floods atop a Chevy Bronco with a jacked-up suspension might while staring down the barrel of Joe-Bob's 10-guage."

That's crying out to be a country song. :)

There used to be a spectacular website on Inanna's descent - as acted out by S&M and couture-clad Barbie dolls. Sadly, it seems to have disappeared.
It's nice to know that I can in fact write like shit when I really put my mind to it. *g*

Hee, barbie dolls.
When I see your words that Word doesn't know, I'm reminded of when I worked for the ISP. I'd answer the customer support mail, and the spellchecker rarely recognized surnames, and would always suggest substitutes. Any last name beginning with Fa -- Farris, Farelly, whatever -- would invariably get the suggested replacement of "faggot."

That would have gone over so well in response to a complaint letter.
Um. yah.

Stack o Lee!!! Another Fan!!!

During the napster heyday, I manged to snag about 100 or so different recordings of the 5-8 core versions of this song. My Stagger Lee mix CD's have been the Bane of my wifes existance. Please contact me if you want to compare versions and swap some songs.

You probably have anything I have, because I think I only have ten or fifteen. Which is probably enough by most people's standards. *g*

Poor wife. I do it to my husband with House of the Rising Sun. *g*
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,"
Since Gordon Lightfoot wrote it, you might want to start there. Would copyright be listed on albums because I think the hubby owns his greatest hits CD?
Nope, because I don' care about the tune, just the words, which are B. Sands.
Oh, that Letter from New Orleans was fun to read. Right when I was wondering if I should email the writer about The Unfortunate Rake, I got to the part where he bought the Folkways release from Kenneth S. Goldstein. I learned about that ballad from Kenny Goldstein, and he was a wonderful professor. Good memories. I took 2 classes from him and one other folklore class, which is a lot for an engineering major.

Incidentally, Goldstein's theory was that music and lyrics vaired in the folk process for centuries, but then with the advent of recorded music, the tune became fixed and used for varying words - this is the Streets of Laredo branching off of Unfortunate Rake mentioned in the Letter from New Orleans. Which makes sense in general, because most versions of Staggerlee I've heard are based on the same tune, just sped up or slowed down or ornamented differently. Looking forward to reading Blood & Iron.
Interesting, and thank you!
Are Sumerian deities particularly prone to being channeled?

In my experience? Inanna/Ishtar is darn pushy that way. She's kind of a 'ho, really.

But here you run into a whole bunch of problems, having to do with the difference between "channeling", trance possession, and the milder forms (aspecting or drawing down) that Pagans typically use....and also that even the strongest archetype gets filtered through the personality and shortcomings of the "horse".

...and I'm going to spare you the long ramble on the subject. Just observe that, for the most part, people who know what they are doing and aren't full of shit don't write up their messages on websites...

The other big problem is that Inanna and other Sumerians are featured in lots and lots of hokey pseudo-occult tomes, the "Necronomicon" being the most popular.
*g* I was raised Pagan. Ramble away.

In a horrifying sort of way, I think that just made my weekend.

(Have some Sumerian.)
Yeah, once I tripped over it, I REALLY needed to pass it along. It's almost sublime, isn't it?

and oo, thank you. *g*
There was a fairly recent book about the history of the Stagolee story, I saw it on the U of R's new acquisitions shelf.
"Stagolee Shot Billy" or a different one?
When I was in San Francisco in the mid-Sixties, I wrote a filk of "St. James Infirmary" called "The Narc Who Came in from the Cold," about an undercover cop who did such a good job imitating a hippie that the regular cops beat him to death. A few weeks later, a nonfatal version of it happened.
That's spooky.

I have a similar tendency; popular figures mentioned in very brief passing in my fiction seem to have a fairly high attrition rate. So far, I've gotten Stuart Adamson (of the band Big Country), Robert Forward, Julia Child, and a few others.

The latest victim may be Peter Jennings, who gets a nameless cameo in B&I. I am becoming somewhat gunshy.

I need a smooch-face emoticon, dammit....

;-* maybe?
I have a recording of a fellow from Seattle (does small bars) doing that. It was the first I'd heard the song.

Lot of those guys and gals who do small bars are really damned good. QED