Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I recently read “The Yellow on the Broom” and “Red Rowans and Wild Honey” by Betsy Whyte. (Bonnie wee Scottish lassie, isn’t she?)

Betsy Whyte

Bessie, as she answered to when she was a wean, writes her memoir of her childhood in the 1930s as part of a family of Scottish “traveller” people. Tinkers. Mist People. Gypsies. (Although they would disapprove of the ‘Tinker’ designation.) The book is wonderfully written and attempts to describe the life and philosophy of travellers. Why they live in tents and move from place to place most of the year, only settling down when they have to in winter. Working on farms, pearl fishing, making willow baskets and many other odd jobs. How they view the country hantle.

And here we are. “Hantle?” Yup. That’s cant for “people.” Her book is rife with strange words. So much so, that I became intrigued. Was this different than Scots? Yes. Was there anywhere online with a good glossary? Not really. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a thorough one at the end of Mrs. Whyte’s book. I don’t think she’d mind if I shared some of my favorite words with you, as she lamented that it was dying out within her lifetime.

The cant that Bessie spoke was unique to the Highland travellers. Irish Tinker cant, often called Shelta, or Gammon, would be completely unintelligible to her. Regardless of which group of tinkers were speaking, the purpose of cant was secret communication, often right under the noses of the country hantle or hornies (police). Two travellers could be asking a cottar if they could boil some water for tea, but if one of them notices something is amiss, they could alert the other one in the midst of speaking to the cottage resident.

What follows is a list of my favorite cant words. This is by no means comprehensive, as I have left out many other words that are included in Betsy Whyte’s books which are published by Birlinn publishing out of Edinburgh, Scotland. (This is reproduced with their permission.) As always, please comment with any thoughts or questions.

agley- in the wrong direction

anonst- unknown (to somebody) going hunting in the field anonst to the landowner.

bagle- a lazy fellow, one who breaks sexual taboos

bang- a crowd, especially domineering and overpowering people.

barming- flighty, foolish

besom- a sweeping brush, an unpleasant woman

birse- to bristle, feel annoyed or angry

bogy roll- a twist or roll of tobacco

breenge- a lunge, an attack

broonie- supposedly a very helpful spirit creature: manshaped, ugly, covered with brown hair, with long feet and red eyes. He usually attached himself to a family, nearly always millers or farmers, and did the work of ten men.

buck- a person who as taken to the travelling life, or with only one real Traveller parent.

bullyrag- to order somebody about, to demand a lot

bung- taken, jailed

burker- an intruder. Originating from William Burke who murdered people and sold their bodies for medical research at the universities. Travellers were often his target.

caber- a heavy log for tossing at the Highland Games, slang for (you guessed it) penis.

cannyways- cautiously

chuckie stane- a small smooth pebble

cleek- to walk arm in arm

conyeeched- spoiled, petted

coorie- to crouch or snuggle down

cottar- a farmworker in a rented cottage

country hantle- the settled, house-dwelling country people

Cruelty- ‘A Cruelty’ was an Inspector of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, or any official of a local authority

dander- a stroll or leisurely walk. to take a dander might mean a short walk away from camp to relieve oneself

dreich- dull, wearisome

drookit- drenched or soaked

drumly- applied to stream water, this means disturbed, muddy, unsettled. Applied to a person, it means they are confused, mixed up.

dwam- a faint or swoon

ettling- being eager or impatient to do something

fang- the venomous side to one’s nature. to go off the fang was to lose one’s temper.

forfochen- worn out

gadgie- man

ganch, ganch- to talk too much. to bore someone by talking in too much detail

gaswork cinders- coke (soda)

gie- to give. gie us a crack- give me some conversation, let’s have a chat. gie him his tatties- give him what he deserves

glaikit- silly, senseless

glaggen- the sheen over a field of grain, hay, or over a moor

glaur- mud, ooze

gloaming- dusk, twilight

granny sooker- a pan drop, a peppermint sweet

guffie- a boorish, unfeeling, cruel person

gurly- applied to water, the weather, this means cloudy, rough. So, applied to a person, it means they are grumpy, in a bad mood.

hap- to dress a child; to tuck up in bed

haver- to talk nonsense

hornies- the police

hurl- a lift on the road

in-aboot-  to enter into an encampment from any direction and move about greeting people at their various occupations

John Barleycorn- wiskey

jugal- a dog

keek- to peep

knickit- made pregnant

lee-lang – whole

limmer- a rascal or rogue, a loose girl

moich- foolish, mad

mootyay- a rabbit

nakens- Travellers

nash avree!- get moving!

oxter- armpit, to lead by the arm

paggering- a beating

peekit- sickly looking

peevie- drunk

plank!- hide!

ploops- the police

plouter- to potter about on trifling tasks

pluffen- tobacco

plukie- faced – pimple-faced

polis- the police

puckle- a small quantity

raise the wind- to earn enough to survive

rax- to stretch, overstrain

reel-rall- helter-skelter

reenge- a pot scrubber made from tying heather together

scaldified- behaving like scaldies, town dwellers of the lowest class.

scalpions- roguish young men, eager to work off high spirits by tormenting others

scouff- freedom, sufficient space to romp and play

screich- the first light of dawn

shan- bad. really objectionable, unsavory, causing shame

shaness!- an exclamation meaning ‘bad word’ , ‘bad deed’ or ‘bad situation’ but it can be used in many different ways

shuch- the private part of a woman

sleekit- sly, cunning

smeeked- smelling of, and cheery with, drink

snooled- made to feel low or downtrodden

souch, sough- a murmur: of the sea, a river, the wind, distant voices, birds wings…

thrang- crowded, close together

thrash- scared

thraw- to argue, to contradict

toll- a cant word for skirlie, the dish made from oatmeal and dripping

trauchled- overburdened, overworked

troosh- to humble or frighten someone

tuggery- fine clothes

walsh- dried up and bad tasting

want- When we say that a person has a want, we mean that they are otherwise quite normal, but has an obsession or distorted view about some thing (or things). Such a person is usually very touchy about the subject and the ability to recognize such a ‘want’ helps one to humor the person.

whammel- to turn upside down

wheesht!- hush! be quiet!

yirdy- a toad

younker- youngster, child

German scientist Herman Freibach achieved a world first this Thursday, when he successfully combined florescent genes from jellyfish and reindeer. Said Freibach, “This will make all the children of the world interested in science again this Christmas season.” After the formal interview he added: “I’m just glad it came out like the song. I was half expecting a jellyfish with horns.” The reindeer (named Rudolph of course) is doing well in his temporary pen on the outskirts of the Black Forest, but several major U.S. retail chains have already made bids to have the cheery science experiment displayed in their windows in New York City. When asked if he would sell, Freibach said, “I can always make more!”

Andrew’s first song

Posted: February 8, 2010 in baby, Music
Tags: ,

Just a quick note. My son sang his first song yesterday. He was babbling like he usually does. But then we paid attention. He was only say “do do do.” but he definitely sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” He got the right number of beats, his timing was right, and he even gave mostly the right pitch to the notes. This is pretty exciting as I have some musical talent. It’s nice to know my genes contributed something to the mix.

This is just a quick life update. I am now a stay at home dad for two days a week. The others are spent doing projects around the house that we haven’t had time to do in the last few years. Like: ripping down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, replacing broken window panes, stripping paint, fixing the leaky basement, etc.

I have received 3 rejections from agents about their interest in my novel so far. I’m waiting on 2 more. I may start sending it out to publishers too, but I’d rather have an agent first.

I’m starting on my last semester of classes for my A.S. in Business from OCC. I like my guitar class the best so far. I know how to play, and have for years, but it’s fun remembering all the old Metallica songs I used to know and jamming with the other advanced students.

The toddler is adapting well to his first major life transition: Mom at work, he’s in daycare or with me, I’m gone at night at class. That’s it for now

That is the question.

I have been straightedge for 13 years. That is: No drugs, alcohol, or promiscuous sex. But now I am questioning my beliefs. Did I even have any?

I am Christian and so you may think, “Oh, well you don’t drink because of your religious beliefs, like many other christians I know.” But I would say no. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine, so he obviously supports drinking alcohol. Now, don’t misunderstand me, the bible says not to over-indulge, but it also doesn’t say no wine at all.

I was also heavily involved with the Hardcore Music scene of the late 90’s in Syracuse which was predominantly straightedge and vegan. I subscribed to those values easily and have since seen many of my friends “lose their edge” and drink. I was never vegan though, I just love meat too much. Mmmm steak.

So why now? I was having dinner with my wife and she wanted some wine that my godmother had given us as a housewarming gift. She seemed to enjoy it and asked if I wanted any. I (of course) said no, but I thought it was odd of her to ask. She’s known me for years, and that is one fact about me that has not changed. I just don’t drink alcohol. We even have a funny story from when we were in Germany. We were visiting some of Opa’s friends and they asked if I would like some wine. I said, “Nien danke, Ich bin anti-alcohol.” They just couldn’t comprehend that someone wouldn’t drink since that is a big part of the culture over there. So the wife said, “OK, I’ll just pour a little bit then.” It’s like that scene in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with that aunt who is astounded that the guy doesn’t eat meat. “OK, I make lamb instead!” But it got me to thinking, why not. I’m grown up. I’m not going to get plastered. Hmmmm.

So why do I not drink? Back in high school, I chose not to, to avoid binge drinking at parties and the casual sex that could result from said drinking. The Hardcore scene supported my choice and provided a strong sense of unity and belonging. “We are strong because we choose not to pollute our bodies and minds.” But part of me wonders that the real reason I don’t is that I have a semi-addictive personality and I’m scared I might turn out to be an alcoholic. Are you surprised? Have you seen me in one of my phases? Like the straight razors, or pirates, or martial arts, or…

I also think that, Well, I’ve been drug free all these years, it would be a shame to throw that away. Plus alcohol is just another thing for me to spend money on when we go out. Water is always cheaper than beer. (from the sips I had when I was 14, I remember not liking beer, or scotch, which is blasphemy from someone who identifies himself as Scottish)

Why do I WANT to drink? I suppose that I associate it with being grown up, having a glass of wine with supper. My cousin also brews his own beer and I always feel like I’m insulting him by not trying his creations, even though he knows that I don’t drink. There is also a huge amount of medical evidence that red wine is good for you, but on the other hand, I could just take Resveratrol supplements and get the same benifits. I also feel that I am somehow missing out on the pleasure of well made drinks. I certainly enjoy drinking a great many things. Coffee, tea, juice, fruit smoothies, etc. Conversly, there are so many styles of coffee and tea that I could be happy for years drinking the different varieties that just those two beverages have to offer.

So what should I do? I guess for now, I will continue in my sobriety until something changes. I don’t have a strong urge to drink and now that I started taking resveratrol, I don’t have anything to gain from the benefits of wine. One pill equals the amount of reveratrol in 200 glasses of wine, without the damage to your liver.

What do you think?

So here’s a quick update:

I had my first glass of wine at Easter dinner this year (2011.) (I bought the bottle for my wife for Valentines Day and kinda forgot she was pregnant so we had to wait to share a glass) It was ok, not great. I didn’t get drunk. I didn’t feel a magical bubble pop in my psyche. I didn’t feel my cells rejoice about their shot of resveratrol. A few weeks a ago I attended a wedding at a vineyard. I had 2 &1/2 glasses and may have felt a tiny buzz, but that may have been a headache from the sulphites. I also had a beer at a family BBQ and experienced the same “meh” feeling. I could not imagine myself drinking 5 or 6 of them in a row.

So that’s it. I do drink now, but I’ve still never been drunk and don’t really plan to be.

Why did I start now? Well, I’m 30 now so I guess I qualify as “grown up.” I feel like I should be able to have a glass of wine if I want to. An old friend and I were talking about this topic a few weeks after I had my first sip and he said, “Don’t let labels define you. You have enough of them that other people place on you as it is.” Being “straightedge” isn’t as vital to me now as it was. I’m not suddenly going to start doing black tar heroine or anything, but I feel like I shouldn’t feel bad about trying my cousin’s homemade ale, or sharing in a champagne toast at a wedding.

What do you think?

Awesome reimagined take on the story, cool music, slick design

This is a song I wrote in ’96. Since abortion seems to be a hot issue right now, I thought I’d publish it here. The song focuses on Vegans and Vegetarians in the hardcore scene who say that they support abortion. This gives a little more backstory on my beliefs regarding murdering babies. As with any inflammatory issue, I expect people to have vastly different opinions on this subject. Please leave your comments, but keep it civil.

No Choice

You say that you are vegan

And protect the animals’ rights

But when asked your views on abortion

You say that you are pro-choice

No choice

You say that you’re vegan and stand up

For animal rights, yet you give the O.K.

To slaughter innocent  human life

Conscious beings immersed in their mother’s

Womb, they have as much right to live

As the animals that you protect

Thousands of cattle

Cannot make up

For one slaughtered

Human life

There is no

Justification

For what

You believe

Kutiman has taken hundreds of separate videos from youtube and edited them together to make some really chill songs. The Moods range from reggae, hiphop, jazz, techno, r&b, and beyond. Enjoy!

Synth Battle

Posted: February 19, 2009 in design, Music, Sword
Tags: , ,

My new favorite commercial.

I love this video. Here’s this unassuming guy in a suit coat that’s too small, with bad teeth. He goes up against Pierce, and Simon Cowell who are both very mean and nasty music critics. Watch what happens. Note the judges looks especially.

This will be stuck in your head all day. For all you Arrested Development fans out there, this one goes to G.O.B.

I play penny whistle at church. I have a few different keys that I need for different songs so I just have to stick the other whistles in my pockets or on the ground when I’m not using them. When we were praying, I gently propped one of them on the guitar stand and it fell over and clattered against the others on the ground causing a ruckus. I thought, “All right, that’s it. I need to make some sort of holder.” So I drew it all up and my friend who works at a metal machining plant will fabricate it for me. It will be solid aluminum, but the materials will only be around $40. I don’t want to give away too much of the design because I think there could be a market for it and I could make some chop. It is totally different than the picture at the left and would be marketed to the performing musician rather than a display rack. I’m excited.