Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Do You Know: A Snare Drum Stand Works for the Banjo

(Perfect for playing the long neck as if it were a baby grand.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Trial of Omar Khadr

The best context for this neglected Canadian comes from an American blog by Andrew Sullivan.

If the kid called Omar Khadr
Thought it would have made him richer
He’da thrown a grenade at any one of you.
But if that’s the Talibanny way
Making money how you can, hey,
Corporate thinking’s fundament’list too.

Because our Omar Khadr
Was indeed a child soldier
Who felt if he showed prowess he might live.
But if he thought there was money to be made
Then it’s like Blackwater’s militant aid
Cause freedom fighting can be so lucrative.

The wife of his victim at the trial
When shown the kid, she called him vile
Declared her husband should’ve seen his children grow.
But the child soldier should
Lose his missing childhood
And the freedom that the dead man’s children know.

After that our Omar Khadr
Said he wished to be a doctor
Though prob’ly not the expert witness kind:
(Who swore Omar had learned in prison
To hate, though how that was known to him’s
Not clear. This is common here, you’ll find.)

Then Omar Khadr really must have lost
His taste for mercenary business
When he met the prosecuting lawyer pro,
Who deals with torture, lies and facts
As if they’re loonies and greenbacks
And proves the law is a business dealing too,

Just like the child soldier Khadr
Who thought it just might make him richer
If he killed a soldier in the Afghan game.
But a soldier’s not a toy
Unless that soldier is a boy,
Then he’s dressed in straw for the US justice flame…

(And Canada won’t escape some blame
For leaving him to his Guantanamo rock star fame.)

image from here.

This song is part of a cycle being developed around the theme of exile for a show around the banjo for Crow's Theatre.

And this post officially reboots the long-neglected, once-retired, banjo banjar blog.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


You know, when I started the blog, there was very little banjo presence on the internet. Now we have gold like this.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Blog Is Defunct

Long long defunct.
Please join me here instead.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Multiple Sidosis

The quintessential one-man-band movie has a scary title and a slow start. It's now in the US Library of Congress along with another favourite, A Woman Under the Influence.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Is there anything better than this?

Can't seem to recall how to make the link elegant.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Title, New Cover

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Not quite what I set out to get, but here's my new piccolo banjo, built in 1895, in Philadelphia by S.S. Stewart. It's little, but not a toy. Chris Coole told me these things can have trouble tuning, but so far this one's a dream.

Oh yeah.

And then there's this. That's me in the middle. With the make-up.


This cat appeared on our doorstep early last spring, having spent many days apparently traveling from somewhere near Parkside and Howard Park, where (we've heard) he spent the last two winters. He was like an apparition. Scared the shit out of us. Emaciated, wide-eyed, emanating terror. He had crumpled ears and no tail, was mostly blind, could barely walk, and was terrified of people, running slowly away every time you approached to feed him. Still, he accepted the food, though sometimes diverted by blades of grass or small bumps in the ground. And his slow moving ways spared him from the cars that have been speeding down Grenadier Road all summer (impatiently diverted away from the construction on the Dundas Bridge. ) Stronger cats in the neighbourhood would sit by him as he slept in the sun. On rainy days he would sleep on a bag of topsoil underneath Wesley and Arif's front porch.

We gave him food. The nice-garden lady across the street fed him too, as did the raccoon-cat lady a few houses west. His favourite feeder however seemed to be the old Polish lady down the street, who would sit with him when he ate. He wasn't as wary of her as he was of the rest of us. But as the weather got colder she came out less and less. After the first snow she wept to see him, cold and damp and creaky. Every morning that we didn't see him, Kat thought he was dead.

Last week, on the final sunny day before the big cold and the snow, four of us managed to scoop him up from the street, afraid that he would die of frostbite if left outside this winter. We missed getting him on our first attempt, due in part to our reluctance. And then he gave us a run for our money, cantering first toward the porches across the street and then straight down Grenadier. We brought the traffic to a halt as he veered towards a laneway and then barreled head first into a low wall. That didn't stop him though and he very nearly succeeded in eluding us. When Kevin finally got the blanket around him he fought with all his strength, but we eventually got him into a catbox.

He spent the night in an office in Luanne's nearby apartment, panting out his trauma but then coming out eventually, making the most out of a bad situation by eating the food that had been left for him and then sleeping on the heated blanket.

A vet's examination has revealed that at some time in the past he walked away from an encounter with an automobile that broke both his back legs and shattered all his teeth, lost him the iris in his right eye and the sight in both.

(I'm thinking somewhere there's a canary-yellow Hummer with a sizable dent in the grill. The driver was probably okay though. You need a rugged vehicle like that to guard against the feral creatures of this city, maliciously hurling their bodies into your path. Oh, and to supplement your use of a vacuum pump in the treatment of erectile disfunction.)

Some time before that (probably not after) he contracted a mild form of feline herpes. Sometime after, he lost most of both his ears to frostbite. The bobtail however turned out to be what he was born with. He's five years old. We just found out that the nice-garden lady calls him Ciao. The old man who fed him over at Howard Park for two winters called him Garfield. Don't know what the Polish lady calls him. She doesn't speak English. Kat calls him Bubba. Luanne and Kevin call him Bubba now too. It looks like Bubba's going to stick.

I've never saluted the resilience of a creature before. But this cat appeared on our doorstep the same week that Kat's mum was diagnosed with a serious illness. Eight months later it appears that, despite serious odds, both Bubba and Lida are going to be okay.
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