Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holy Crap...

...they're multiplying.

I have created blogspawn #1.

Frequent commenter and good friend Jim E has gone off and got himself his own blog.

He claims it is gonna be about hunting and stories from the road. He's got a couple of posts up about his success during deer season this year along with a story on hunting ethics and herd management.

So go visit the Jim Engstrom Blog and share the wealth.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Music Monday-Miss Sarajevo

Just barely getting this in on Monday.

This just seemed like a good piece for tonight. Passengers (U2 with Brian Eno) with Luciano Pavarotti.

From Wikipedia:

Original Soundtracks 1 is an album of songs based mostly on non-existent films; however, "Miss Sarajevo" is one of four tracks from the album that are based on real films. The film Miss Sarajevo is a documentary by Bill Carter about a beauty pageant held in the midst of war-torn Yugoslavia. The winner was a 17 year old blonde girl called Inela Nogić. Carter traveled to Sarajevo in the winter of 1993 to offer humanitarian aid and quickly found himself in the heart of the conflict. He lived for six months in a burnt out office building, subsisting on baby food and whatever water he could find in the rivers and sewers and delivering food and medicine to those in need.

Carter originally contacted U2 while they were on their Zoo TV Tour to show audiences the real people involved, feeling that the western media was ignoring the human aspect of the war. The band arranged for several satellite link-ups where Carter gave the locals — who had been cut off from communication with the rest of Europe for about a year and a half at this point — an opportunity to be heard before stadiums of thousands. The link-ups were brief and unedited.

"The idea was simple, instead of doing what the news does, which is entertain you, I wanted to do something that the news rarely does, make a person care about the issue...I wanted young people in Europe to see the people in the war, I didn't want them to see politicians or religious leaders or military spokesmen."

—Bill Carter, [1]

Carter had his camera sent to him from his home in California so he could film the documentary (which was produced by Bono) with the same goal of exposing people to the individuals living through the war. "The war is just a backdrop, it could be any war, the point is the vitality of the human spirit to survive, [to] laugh, to love, and to move on, that is something we will be addressing always."

The song protests the war in Bosnia, criticizing the international community for its inability to stop the war or help those affected by it. It was the only single released from the album. Its video combines clips from Bill Carter's documentary with footage from the Passengers' first performance of the song at the 1995 "Pavarotti and Friends" concert in Modena. Clips from the documentary contain striking imagery, such as a shot of beauty pageant contestants holding up a banner with the words "DON'T LET THEM KILL US," as seen on the single's artwork.

Sarajevo PopMart Tour performance

In addition to the "Pavarotti and Friends" performance, the song was played once on U2's 1997 PopMart Tour in Sarajevo with Brian Eno. U2 was the first band able to host a concert in the city since the end of the war, and the band was very pleased to be present there at the time. As per the Sarajevans' request, the show was not a benefit concert, and the band performed just as they did in any other city on the tour. The actual winner of the Miss Sarajevo pageant, Inela Nogic, was present at that show, and was escorted to the concert with the band themselves. Bono lost his voice during the concert, and unfortunately messed up during the performance of "Miss Sarajevo," and said afterwards, "Sarajevo, this song was written for you. I hope you like it, because we can't fucking play it."[2] In reference to the performance, Larry Mullen Jr. said, "That [was] an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. And if I had to spend 20 years in the band just to play that show, and have done that, I think it would have been worthwhile."[3]

Let us remember as we prepare to begin a new year, that we are blessed to live in this country. Even with all our problems. Reflect on your life, and the lives of our American Heroes. The men and women who stand ready to give the last full measure of devotion. And reflect on those who live in countries torn by war and strife.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Light Duty

Posting may be light this next week to 10 days. Between work this week, New Year's, Ft. Obie Winter Camp next weekend and the Motley Crew Reunion, most of my time at the computer will be spent playing Call of Duty and consuming beer while smoking cigars.

Of course, there will be Standing, preceded by ritualistic pissing. Laughing at random stupidity like Hoorch and Sand. More beer. Shoosting.

The Motley Crew L to R: Omar Squatch, Lunchbox, Rendog, Dink, and Petey
enjoying cigars on our viaduct.

A couple more of the Motley Crew.

Looking at we, the Motley Crew, on OUR viaduct.
We have slain the horrible Viaduct Troll.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy To The World...

...the Lord is come.

Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room.

And heaven and nature sing.

Merry Christmas to you all. It is a great day. Behold, unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

It has been a great Christmas. Last night, I went to Christmas Eve services with the family. Mom and Dad were singing in the choir and playing in the bell choir. The evening opened with a family brass band. A Father, 2 sons, son-in-law, 4 grand kids. 1 Tuba (son-in-law), 3 trombones (father, son, granddaughter), 4 trumpets (3 grandkids, 1 son) and the son who played trumpet also played trombone on one song. Absolutely spectacular. Then, the church music director did an amazing piece on the new organ that was just installed earlier this year. The entire service was great and ended with the candlelight singing of Silent Night.

This morning, I was able to sleep in. Since the only family around this year is those of us in town, it was originally going to be just the parents and grandmothers. But yesterday we had the idea to invite some friends who didn't have plans to be with their family's yet. What was going to be a dinner for 5, turned into 10.

After everyone had headed home, the family opened the presents to each other. It is a great way to spend Christmas. The only thing to make it better would have been more family being able to come.

A little Christmas Music.
Joy to the World-Mannheim Steamroller

Joy to the World-Michael Bolton

Hallelujah Chorus-From Handel's "Messiah." Performed by the Bethany College Choir

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Great Music Christmas-Old City Bar

How can a song about a bar be Christmas?

Simple, when Trans-Siberian Orchestra does it.

This great piece captures the spirit of Christmas. Some old men sitting in an old bar below a neon light on Christmas Eve. A child comes in and ask if they know that a lost girl is sitting outside below the streetlight. The bartender asks the child how they know the girl is lost. He replies simply, "I've noticed if one could be home, they'd be already there."

The bartender steps out taking all the cash from the register and follows the child to the girl. He talks to the girl, calls a cab and sends her to the airport, and after she leaves, the bartenders hands are empty.

The spirit of Christmas is in giving. The pure and simple joy of putting a smile on someone's face. It doesn't need to be expensive. It doesn't need to even cost money. It is simply seeing the joy on the face of a child, or a friend, or a sweetheart when they behold the love you have shown. Yes, the giving, not the receiving is the Joy of Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Christmas Albums

Saw this story on Yahoo! tonight, and found it interesting.

While Elvis has the highest sales of a Christmas album in history, only two groups make several appearances on the top 40 list.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra with all three of their Christmas Albums (Christmas Eve and Other Stories-18, The Christmas Attic-40, and The Lost Christmas Eve-38).

Mannheim Steamroller hits the list 4 times (Christmas Extraordinaire-20, Christmas in the Aire-12, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas-4, A Fresh Aire Christmas-3).

Just thought I would share this for the last minute shoppers looking for good music. Any of these albums would be good for anybody on your list.

Great Music Monday-O Holy Night

This week's Great Music Monday is one of the greatest Christmas Carols of all time. Originally composed in 1847 by Adolphe Adams to a French poem, it has become a timeless classic that is beautiful whether sung by amateur or professional.

"O Holy Night" is a recounting of the birth of Jesus and celebrates the Holy night.

An interesting piece of history, "O Holy Night" was performed on violin in by Reginald Fessenden on December 24, 1906. Reginald Fessenden was a Canadian Inventor who broadcast the first AM radio program on that Christmas Eve, thus making "O Holy Night" the first song to ever be played on the radio.

Tonight, I am posting some of my favorite versions. The ones I feel are the most powerful renditions of this amazing song.

First, is one of the earliest versions I remember and the one that really made me fall in love with the song. It is performed by Country Music Star John Berry

Next, is one of the most amazing voices in modern music. No matter whether he is singing an Italian Opera, a Broadway Classic, or a Christmas Song, Josh Groban has a seemingly effortless power in his voice that transcends genre's.

Finally, going back to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their great Christmas Opera on DVD, "The Ghosts of Christmas Eve" we find TSO teamed up with West End London and Broadway Tony Award Winning Legend Michael Crawford. Crawford is most noted for his portrayls in "Phantom of the Opera" but has done many other productions.

All of these rendetions are spectacular and can move the soul.

As a side note. I will probably be posting Great Music for Christmas every day this week, as we come to the end of the Advent season and celebrate the arrival of the Savior.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My kind of Christmas

Pretty accurate.

Your Christmas is Most Like: Miracle on 34th Street

Sweet and caring, Christmas is about helping for you.

While Santa may not exist, you try to share his spirit.

A note to my friends...

...who live in Rockford, IL.

Please MOVE!!!

When this is the mentality of the police and you live in a state that refuses to recognize the need to be able to protect ourselves, it is time to get the hell out of Dodge.

Regardless of the motive, [Sgt. Sam} Pobjecky advises robbery victims not to put up a struggle.

“Anytime someone demands money from you, you should not resist in any way, especially if they produce a weapon,” he said. “If they are violent enough to carry a weapon, they are certainly violent enough to use it.”

Here's an idea: Take your own personal protection seriously. Learn to protect yourself. Refuse to be a victim and send the goblins to hell.

h/t to Thirdpower at Days of our Trailers*.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Music Monday-This Christmas Day

I am still on a high from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert Saturday night. If you haven't ever been to one of their shows, you really need to go. I don't care if you are not a rock music fan or whatever, theirs is music that transcends age and genre. My grandmothers who are both in the 80's have gone to show with me and enjoyed it.

This week's Great Music Monday comes from TSO's dvd production "Ghosts of Christmas Eve."

The video opens on a girl (Allie Sheridan) asleep in an abandoned theater as the lights from a small Christmas tree go out. As she opens her journal she finds someone (a Christmas Angel?) has left her a ticket home, some cash, and a handwritten note that simply says "Upon this night it is never too late." Enter Ossie Davis, the narrator, who tells us that our actions can have a huge impact on others. And thus we find a father, far away, reflecting in the light of others kindness.

The father is Tommy Farese, who sang this same song at the concert Saturday night.

Very powerful stuff. If you haven't ever seen the dvd, you need to get it. I still get chills when I watch it. It should be a Christmas classic in every home.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beautiful Sight

I had a package delivered the other day. It is a thing of beauty. So I had to share.

It is something that I don't talk about much on here (or probably ever), but I am a bit of a cigar aficionado. When I was in college, where some people experiment with drugs, I experimented with the finer things in life. There was a little tobacco shop in town and I happened in one day. On the shelf of their walk-in humidor, was a box of cigars in glass tubes. A sticker in the corner of the lid of the box said "Rated 90 in Cigar Aficionado." So I bought a couple. They were fantastic.

I bought several more during my time in college and would also try several other cigars.

After graduation, I continued to occasionally enjoy fine cigars but very few shops I went to carried the particular brand I had grown fond of.

I did find a continuous source of them through a catalog, finally.

Fast forward to this year. I have been serving as the Bourgeois of the ONW Company for the last year and in February, I will finish my term at our annual winter camp. Along with that, over Christmas, I have some friends coming in from out of state. And when friends gather, there is nothing better than catching up over good cigars.

So in preparation of these events, I went searching for the original brand that I found.

Normally, I found these in boxes of 5 cigars. But in my searching, I found a box of 20! Jackpot. So I just wanted to share the pleasure of fine cigars with you.

I present, Carlos Torano Reserva Selecta.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interesting Meeting

One of the things I love about doing sales as a part of my job is the chance to get out and meet people.

I like to think I am a "people person." Most of the time. At least I have the gift of gab.

Today, I got to meet someone really interesting.

It is no secret that I like to hunt and do frequently. The first time I ever hunted it was for pheasant and I was so young all I got to carry was a BB Gun and to shoot field mice in the snow the day after Thanksgiving in probably 1993.

As I grew up, I would usually hunt coyotes several times a year with my dear late friend, Otha and his son.

When I hit college, I started hunting birds more. I was a member of the Sportsmen's Club on the campus which shot trap every week and 2-4 times a year we would go to a pay-to-hunt club that would release birds for us.

And then one of the most influential people in my hunting life. One of my pledge brothers in my Fraternity on campus was an avid waterfowl hunter. He and I became fast friends and would spend lots of time talking about hunting. He started sharing stories of an annual hunting trip he took with some other guys from the Frat and a couple other local guys to Southern Illinois to goose hunt on the edge of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. The more we talked, the more interested I became. Finally, one day he could tell that I was really interested and asked if I would be interested in go on the trip, too. I jumped at the opportunity.

The weather for the trip sucked. High temps the three days we hunted were 64, 70, and 66 in the middle of January. Our group shot 5 geese the first day, 1 the second day, and none the third day. But we had a great time, what we can remember. I was hooked.

I came back to college and within 2 weeks I had bought an new Benelli Nova Pump Shotgun chambered for 3-1/2" Super-Mag 12-gauge and covered in Wetland's Camo.

And then I wanted to get a good goose call. I wanted a short reed versus a flute call as the short reed tends to have better sound that carries farther. I checked out the selection at Farm King and saw a Mick Lacy Chinook Short Reed Goose Call where the package said it blew easy and it was an acrylic call (cast acrylic, not turned, but still acrylic) for about $30.

Took it home and followed the directions. I sucked.

Finally, after a couple of months, I decided that I was going to have to try something easier. So I got a Mick Lacy Black Magic Flute Call.

Anywho. Over the next couple of years, I worked and worked and worked until I finally figured out how to blow a short reed. I actually had to buy a different short reed call, a Primos Honky Tonk with the instructional DVD. But I could call with a short reed.

Fast forward to today. Literally. The thing about Mick Lacy Game Calls is, their headquarters are in Princeville, Illinois. I happened to be in Princeville today and saw a sign for Mick Lacy Game Calls. So I wheeled the truck into the parking lot and walked in. Inside, there is a little black lab to greet me and an older gentleman. I introduce myself and he welcomes me to the shop. He asks me if I am a hunter. Of course. So he hands me a catalog and says to take a look at it, as he needs to go take care of something quickly. I flip through the catalog and see a picture of Mick Lacy. Wait a second. That is the guy I just talked to. He comes back and I say, "You're Mick?"


I introduce myself and he asks what kind of hunting I do. I tell him and that I have a couple of his calls. He walks over to the shelf and pulls out a couple of differnt calls and hands them to me.

"Give these a try" he says.

I do. They sound great.

We talk some more. He shows me some other calls.

All in all, it was a really cool conversation. I told him I would be back. He replied, "Any time."

So, I have decided that all of my calls in the future will be Mick Lacy calls. There is just something about meeting the guy who builds 'em that I really appreciate.

If you are ever in the area, stop in and meet Mick. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Torture Test

Caleb of Call Me Ahab posted a link to a really cool blog series.

At pistoltraining.com, they ran a feature for 7 months they called "M&P Monday" as they ran a torture test on the Smith and Wesson M&P9 9mm pistol.

62,333 rounds later, the gun had a breakage that caused lawyers to stop the test.

Go read the series. It is a heck of a testament.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Great Music Monday-There's A New Kid In Town

This week's Great Music Monday for Christmas is an amazing piece written by the late Keith Whitley.

"There's A New Kid In Town" is a song about the wise men who came from the East in search of the new King.

A simple tune that doesn't need lots of music. One guitar and a voice can make this song one of the most beautiful and meaningful you can hear all season.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a video of Whitley performing this song, and I think he performs it the best of any version I have heard.

But I did find a few videos that do the song justice. The first is the recorded version of Billy Gilman.

Second, is the only known recording (according to the description on YouTube) of the Oak Ridge Boys performing the song with the late Steve Sanders performing lead vocals (during the time when William Lee Golden wasn't part of the group).

Finally, is a recording of a duet of Alan Jackson and Keith Whitley performing the song with Jackson on leads. After the Whitley solo version, probably my favorite.

God Jul.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Turkey Shoot Videos

When I talked about the new header photo, it was requested that I post some of the other stuff from the shoot.

Well, I got my videos uploaded last night an have posted them below.

First. is the longest video. It starts with a guy having a problem getting his Brown Bess to fire, followed by Doc shooting his elk rifle, followed by The Man From Ohio and finally the Village Idiot hitting a target.

Second, is another video of the Village Idiot taking a shot and missing.

Finally, is Doc taking another shot with his certified elk killing rifle. I've seen the pictures of the elk and seen the roundball that killed it.

Some photos. Click on the photo for a larger view.

This is the photo right after the header shot was taken.

Second, it the firing line, just for some perspective on attendees.

These next two shots are just lucky captures just after ignition. Notice the orange flame from the muzzle.

Finally, is a shot of good friend Wil, just as he is about to fire his Brown Bess.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and videos.

Dumbest Holiday EVER!!!!!!

What makes a Holiday?

Think about the big 6 (the ones almost every company in the U.S observes). New Year's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

New Year's Day-probably the dumbest primary holiday of the year. More pagan than the others, it celebrates the end of the old calender and the start of new one.

Memorial Day. Traditionally, it is a day to remember those who have given the last full measure of devotion to the Country.

Independence Day. Celebrating the day a large group of slave owners who didn't want to pay their taxes told King George to fuck off. It would be 5 years of bloody fighting and 13-1/2 years before the current U.S. Constitution was put to paper. But if they hadn't, we would still be British subjects.

Labor Day. A day to celebrate the working men and women. Those who make the country strong.

Thanksgiving. A day set aside to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives.

Christmas. A christian holiday set on a day to go against a pagan ritual. It celebrates the birth of the savior of mankind. The commercialization of it is a crime.

Some of the other important holidays that are observed.
Veteran's Day. Originally called Armistice Day, it was first a day to remember the end of World War I. Today, we honor all those who have served in out military.

Columbus Day. Honoring the second (at least) man to "Discover" America. And he never even made it to the continent itself.

Washington's Birthday. Honoring the leader of the Continental Army and the first President under the current Constitution.

Lincoln's Birthday. 16th President. First Assassinated President. Preserved the Union.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday. A man who fought for equality for all. A real inspirational figure. A man who wanted his children not judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

And for all these real holidays and observances. They have been cheapened. You see, Perry County, Alabama has passed a new holiday for their employees.

Barack Obama Day.


So much for judging on the content of the character.

Barack Obama has done a grand total of...


Let's take a look at his national office history. Elected to the United States Senate in 2004 after the Chicago Tribune sued to get his opponent's (Jack Ryan) divorce proceedings made public. The contents involved some details of kinky sex with his WIFE. Obama arrives in Washington in 2005 to assume his seat. 2007, he declares candidacy for President of the United States after promising several times that he was not going to run. 4 years of a 6 year term, and 2 of those 4 have been no service because he was too busy running a campaign. Seriously, what has he done that is noteworthy, other than win one election.

How does this qualify for holiday? What about Gerald Ford Day? Harry Truman Day? Stephen Douglas Day? Chester A. Arthur Day? Woodrow Wilson Day? Buzz Aldrin Day? Jim Bridger Day?

This has to rank in with the dumbest ideas of all time. If I lived in Perry County, I would show up for work anyway just to fight the stupidity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Obviously, Omar the wunderpuppy has more sense than I.

Yesterday and today, I was delivering curbside recycling totes in a town where my company is preparing to start an new program. 239 totes in two days. The company CEO (Dad) assembled and I delivered. This puts my total of carts delivered somewhere in the 1500 range since the last week of August.

Anywho, I mentioned Sunday that it snowed here. Roads=CRAP. Interstate was clear, but most other roads had a least some problems. Roads in the town where I was delivering suuuccckkkkkeeeeddddd. Several times I had to put the truck in 4-wheel drive. For some reason fishtailing while trying to start moving up a hill with a trailer on is not such a great thing.

While I have been up doing these deliveries, Omar has gone up with me. Yesterday he spent most of the time in the truck with me. Today, I tied him out to the semi trailer we were assembling totes for a few hours.

I got back to the trailer for my third load of the day just as today's snow started to fall. In a matter of a couple minutes, visibilty was reduced to 1/4 mile. Me: Out in the snow, getting soaked as the snow covers me. Omar: went underneath the semi trailer and sat down, out of the snow, and watched me with a puzzled look on his face.

After I got the trailer loaded, since dad was going to go deliver a few other totes, I put Omar back in his kennel in the truck. Me: In and out of the cab, dumping snow on myself, hot and cold. Omar: sleeping in the kennel.

Lucky Dog.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Header Photo

You've probably already noticed the new picture in the header.

It is not me shooting (actually, it is The Man From Ohio), but it is a photo I took last weekend at the Fort Obie Turkey Shoot. If you notice in the pan, the sparks falling. The frizzen is not visible as it is traveling forward. I am amazed I got this shot.

There are a couple of others for the shoot where you can actually see the flame coming out the end of the barrel.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Closing Time



Look forward to your book(s).


The blogosphere is a a little dimmer this week, with the closing of the The Other Side.

Great Music Monday-Wexford Carol

There is no beating around the bush. I LOVE Christmas. From the Advent season all the way through. The anticipation of the greatest gift ever given. I love the evergreens and what they symbolize. The joy and peace is simply amazing.

So, whether you like it or not (this is my blog after all), from now until Christmas and maybe for a week or two after, GMM will be dedicated to the sounds of Christmas-and not the commercialized Christmas, but the true meaning of Christmas. You may hear some of your seasonal favorites, or maybe some that are new to you.

That is how this weeks selection is for me. I had heard of the Wexford Carol before, but don't ever recall hearing it. Then, the other night I was cruising YouTube for Christmas music and happened to play a video of Méav Ní Mhaolchatha (pronounced MAYV- Knee-Wheel-kha-ha) of Celtic Woman performing this Carol. I was completely blown away. The carol is the story of the Nativity and to hear Méav sing, it is as if you are the sheperds in the fields and hearing the song of the Angels when they appeared in the night proclaiming "Fear Not."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snow

Last night, as I left the local Arts Council Coffeehouse, the snow was starting to fall.

Snowed all night.

Snowed all day.

3-4 inches on the ground now.

I am kicking back, ready to watch Da Bears, and enjoying a Sam Adam's Winter Lager. (read about it at Contagion's as well)

All in all, a good weekend, except for having cattle out at 1:30am this morning when I got home. I will try to post some pictures of the Turkey Shoot yesterday. Got some neat shots of flintlocks at ignition.

To celebrate the season, I share a video of someone's Christmas light display synchro'd to the the Trans-Siberian Orchestra song, "First Snow."

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving was good. Small family gathering. Parents, grandmothers, Aunt, Uncle and Cousin to be. Watched some football. Played some guitar. Good Day.

Worked today. Crappy day.

Turkey Shoot at Fort Obie. Muzzleloading Rifles, Smoothbores, and Longbows. I am running the bow match.

Arts Council Coffeehouse in the evening.

Probably goose hunting Sunday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Music Monday-My Old Kentucky Home

Allow me to introduce you all to a friend of mine, the American Troubadour Bill Schustik.

I met Bill at the 2008 Alafia River Rendezvous in Florida. I was sitting in camp having a conversation with The Man From Ohio when suddenly my ears beheld the sound of a sea shanty. Looking toward the performance stage, I see a man dressed as if he has just disembarked from a ship in the harbor. Of course, I wandered over to listen. As I stood and sang along with several of the shanties he was doing, one of the others in the audience noticed me. After Bill finished his set, the audience member came over and introduced herself. She was the entertainment chief for the Alafia. I introduced myself and told her how impressed I was. So she took me up and introduced me to Bill. We talked and I told him where I was from and made refernce to the Spoon River. Without missing a beat, he immediatley asked about Edgar Lee Master's "Spoon River Anthology" and if I had ever heard the piece, "I am, I am" form the live showw. I had not and he sang a few bars. We talked for a while longer. Later that evening, they had the showcase of all the people providing entertainment in a special concert. Bill was the last peformer. The entertainment chief introduced him by saying "He know the music of the time, and he knows the story behind the music." Exactly. He performed a few numbers and ended with the full version of "I am, I am." I was blown away. After he exited the stage, he walked right up to me and asked if I noticed the song he did. Of course, I had. We talked for a while longer.

After I returned to Illinois, I e-mailed Bill about trying to get him up here for an event or two. It didn't happen but I am still holding out hope for next year. And that when I return to the Alafia in January 2009, he will be back.

Anywho. This week's Great Music Monday is a classic piece of Americana. "My Old Kentucky Home." Composed by Stephen Foster and performed by American Troubadour Bill Schustik. He will break into the music occasionally and tell some history of it. Pay attention. Valuable Information.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not that many Scots!!

I live in the land of the Swedes. Seriously. 7 miles from my hometown, there was a Swedish Socialist "Utopia on the Prairie" in the 1850's. Today, if your last name doesn't end in "son" you are strange.

That is what makes this story so strange. You see, the county I live in has a new title. It used to be we were the Hog Capital of the World, as this county was one of the largest swine producers in the Country. Now, were are the largest SHEEP producing county in the State. As of January 1, 2007, Henry County had 3,700 head of Scotsman's Special Friend. Compared to the next county, which has 2,900 head.

I just can't figure out why there are so many sheep with so few Scots in the county.

I could understand if it was up near Contagion's. He is a surly Scotsman. But not around the Swedes. It just doesn't make any sense.

Why do Scots wear kilts? Because zippers scare the sheep.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

RIP-Ronnie Drew

I logged on to YouTube tonight and saw a video that caught me off guard. It was about the release of "The Last Session: A Fond Farewell." A new CD by Ronnie Drew, released this month, following Drew's death August 16th.

I never heard that Drew had passed. Damn.

For those of you who don't know the name Ronnie Drew, he was one of the founding members of The Dubliners (originally known as the Ronnie Drew Group), one of the most famous Irish bands in the world. Luke Kelly was also a member of The Dubliners, who made an appearance in a Great Music Monday post and are on the list for several more visits.

Here a a few videos of Ronnie to appreciate.

First, very old footage of the Ronnie Drew Group performing McAlpine's Fusiliers. Drew is the singer sporting a dark and short beard which would become a sort of trademark for him over his life.

This next video is of Ronnie from the documentary movie The Dubliners' Dublin" which is described as a tour of great watering holes. "In the Rare Old Times."

Next, is one of MANY collaborations The Dubliners did. This one is with The Pogues performing "Irish Rover."

In 1995 Ronnie left The Dubliners and recorde solo. This video is of a St. Patrick's Day performance in London in 2003 of "I'll Tell Me Ma."

And finally, a tribute to Ronnie released actually shortly befor his death. This video is a bit of who's who of music from Ireland. U2, The Pogues, The Corrs, of The Dubliners, and several others that I don't recognize right off hand, performing as a tribute. "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew."

Ronnie Drew

Monday, November 17, 2008

Great Music Mondy-Turdy Point Buck

Well, not really. This weeks selection does not even come close to Great Music. But as the first firearm season for deer in Illinois opens this Friday, I felt it had to be posted.

Quite frankly, I have been getting a little bit of buck fever. In my light scouting around, I have identified two very nice bucks running the property. One is an 8-pointer, the other is somewhere between 8 and 15 points. If I get a deer or two, there will be pictures here.

In the middle of this picture is the bigger of the two bucks.
Poor quality and low zoom cell phone picture.

I solemn celebration of this hallowed weekend, this weeks Not So-Great Music Monday is the deer hunter's classic "Da Turdy Point Buck."

Good luck to all the hunters, be safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Redneck Moving Crew Returns!

A couple months ago, I told you about the Redneck Moving Crew.

They made their triumphant return today. Not moving desks out windows, but a dog kennel. A 10-1/2 foot long dog kennel that is 4 feet wide and 5 feet tall, weighing somewhere between 300 and 400 pounds.

With winter about to set in, I wanted to get Omar the Wunderpuppy's kennel moved from the tree line North of the house to the South side of the house, where it will be protected from the wind and so that I can put a heating mat in the dog house attached to the kennel.

The experience started by lifting up the front end of the kennel and propping it up so we could back a truck underneath it. Problem. Prop not long enough, Legs won't clear the tailgate. So I hold the front end of the kennel up while dad backs truck into place. With the truck back as far as we can go, we then slide the kennel over the fenders to the front of the bed. Problem. The legs are 8 feet apart. Bed with tailgate down=less than 7 feet. (Remember, we don't measure before beginning action) Ah, what the heck. it'll ride alright. So dad begins the drive with me walking beside the kennel to help stabilize. As we take off across the yard, there is a decent hump to start up the hill. As the truck goes up the hump, the legs that didn't make the bed drag on the ground and almost pull the kennel out of the truck. Crap. "Put a block under it." So we put a 4x4 under it and that gave us enough clearance to clear the hump and make it across the yard. Pull around the the South side of the house and examine where to put the kennel. (Pre-plan? What's that?) The unload went about like the load. Slide out to the back legs, I hold the front up the air while dad drives out from underneath.

We then start the process of moving the kennel into position. I was trying to move the dog house end of the kennel closer to the house, when I don't know if Dad moved the other end or if I slipped or what, but the kennel jerked and the roof of the dog house tried to collapse my windpipe when it smacked me in the throat.

Finally, we go the the kennel in place so Omar can be nice and comfortable all winter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1 Month

One month from tonight, December 13, I will be going to see this:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great Music Monday-Theme from Schindler's List

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Also known to many, especially those who are more experienced than I, as Armistice Day or to some as Remembrance Day.

The Armistice was signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th Day, or the 11th Month in 1918, thus ending hostilities of World War I.

Tomorrow is the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice. The last I heard, earlier this year, there were only 3 Veterans of WWI still alive in the United States.

My Great-Grandfather served in The War to End All Wars.

My Grandfather and Great Uncle both served in World War II. To read my reflections on their service, I told a short version of their story on the 64th Anniversary of D-Day.

I have many friends and Brothers who served in Korea, Viet Nam, the first Gulf War, and now the War on Terror.

So tomorrow we all take just a couple minutes out of our "busy" lives to say THANK YOU to all who have served in our Armed Forces. Those who have stepped up to the plate, willing to give "That last, full measure of devotion" to their Country.

So with this spirit, I searched for a selection that could capture the importance of tomorrow.

What I found, was a theme song. The "Theme from Schindler's List," composed by John Williams and performed by Itzhak Perlman.

In case you don't know the story of Schindler's List and Oskar Schindler, here is a very short synopsis. Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi Party, who saved the lives of over 1,200 Jews from the Concentration Camps by employing them in is two factories.

The theme is incredibly powerful. I found myself choked up at the end.

So, for those who pushed across Europe and the South Pacific, for those who fought in the Trenches of the Great War, for those who fought to halt the spread of Communism in Korea and Viet Nam, for those who fought to free Kuwait, and for those who fought in Granada, for those who fight today in Iraq and Afghanistan, for those who serve in Germany and Korea and Japan, for those Citizen Soldiers, and for those who stepped up to the plate and signed on the dotted line, Thank You from the deepest regions of my heart. You are why this Country is great. And to you, I dedicate this song.

Please leave thought and ideas in the comments.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Need Advice

I know some of you my readers are like me and into guns.

Well, for those of you, I need some help. I am looking to buy an AR-style rifle prior to inauguration day, just to be on the safe side.

My issue is, I am most particularly interested in one chambered for the 7.62 x 39mm (also known as the AK round). The only company I have found that actually manufactures an AR rifle in this chamber is DPMS Panther Arms.

They have two different models, the 20" barrell Panther, and the 16" barrell Panther.

Mostly what I will be doing is target shooting and predator hunting. But, ya never know what can happen. Just want to be prepared.

The main reason for the 7.62 x 39mm is because I think .223 is undersized and basically, an overglorified .22, and a .308 is really expensive to shoot. But 7.62 x 39, I can buy Mil Surp in 750 and 1,000 round sardine cans pretty cheap, as well as lots of other brands out of Eastern Europe/Asia.

The advice I need is what kind of luck anybody has with the DPMS guns and in particular the 7.62 x 39. Or if someone can convince me of a different caliber or manufacturer for the same kind of money for the gun/ammo.

I figure I have about 65 days max.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Presidency Defined

Think back over time and previous Presidents.

There always seems to be one to three major defining moments or issues in a Presidency whether they had anything to do with the moment or not.

W.: 9/11, War in Iraq/Terror, Economic Collapse
Clinton: Oval Office Sex
H.W. Bush: "Read My Lips, No New Taxes" and raising taxes, The first Gulf War.
Reagan: Fall on Communism/Berlin Wall
Carter: Total Ineptitude on everything

But Barack Obama (who doesn't even become President-Elect until December when the Electoral College meets to vote) has already had the entire term defined by the MSM. And it only took 15 minutes of the drivel about it to wear me out.

The issue is of course, race.

Wednesday morning I woke up and turned on NBC (We only have 5 networks at my house, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS) and from 7:00 until 7:15 all they did was talk about how Obama was the first black President. And how proud Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King would be.

What a crock of crap. Why should it matter. Rev. Dr. King talked about being a "Colorblind Society." Too bad that concept is totally lost. Obama's Presidency is completely about him being black.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Gonna Print a T-Shirt

I have a plan for a T-shirt that I want to print for wearing during the next 4 years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Great Music Monday-Shenendoah

This week's Great Music Monday song has been recorded by many, many artists going back to before the 1950's.

The lyrics and tune of the amazing "Shenandoah" will take you down "the wide Missouri."

The story of a young man who falls in love with the daughter of Indian Chief Shenandoah.

The tong will haunt you or take you to a village on the river. Amazing.

I have posted 4 different videos of the song by different artists.

1. The Legendary Tennessee Ernie Ford.

2. The American Tenors

3. Hayley Westenra-Hit play and listen, but don't pay any mind to the pictures flashing. Granted she is good looking but they photos don't fit with the song. But the voice is amazing.

4. The Statler Brothers. This one is a little faster than I would normally do this song but it is good with great harmonies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busy Weekend

Friday: Did nothing for Halloween. Packed the truck for the weekend.

Saturday morning: Up and around early, leaving the house by 7:00 to hit the road. Drove to the kennel where I got Omar. Got there between 9:30 and 10. After a short discussion with the kennel owner and a run for Omar, I was on back on the road. From the kennel I had to get to a 12:00 Masonic Lodge meeting in Milton, WI. I arrived about 11:15 and proceeded to get changed into 18th century dress. The lodge meeting is for a regularly constituted plural membership traveling Masonic Lodge. The meeting lasted about a hour and a half. At least I dodged a train during the meeting. When it came time to begin the election of new officers (one of the primary reasons for having this meeting), the current Worshipful Master suggested that he wouldn't mind staying in the East for another year, as he is trying to organize having a Lodge meeting in Wyoming next July. No one complained so I get to stay in the South for another year.

Saturday afternoon: After the meeting, I headed back down the road to Janesville to get checked into the hotel. As I was hauling my stuff up to the room, I see two good looking women waving from the pool. Not something that normally happens to me. I look again and it is Red and Ktreva. So after dropping off my stuff I head into the pool area where Wil and Contagion are sitting at the hot tub drinking beer. Of course they offered me a beer and I couldn't turn it down. After a couple hours at the pool, it was time to get ready for the Ball. Literally.

Saturday Night: Wil, Red, Contagion, Ktreva, and I headed to the Women's Club Building for one of the coolest events of the year. The Ball started with Hors d'ourves and social time. At 6:00, we had a fine meal of Pork and vegetables, followed by a fine cake. I had prepared ahead of time and had a different wine for each course of the night. First, was a Leacock's 3-year old Rainwater Madeira as an aperitif. For the main course, I had a fine bottle of Williamsburg Winery Two Schilling Red-a semi-sweet red that was a perfect compliment to the pork. For dessert, I had a Leacock's 5-year old Malmsey Madeira. Following dinner, it was getting rather warm inside so I headed outside, along with several others. Within 10-minutes there were about a dozen folks standing outside and cigars were being passed. I was offered an Acid Wafe cigar. it was a good short smoke, in a really strange shape. Very fine. Finally, it was time to start the music. Everyone headed upstairs where the band was ready. The evening started with the Grand March and then there would be a couple of period dances followed by a couple songs by the band, The Stonering. This was the third year I have attended the Ball, but the first time I actually danced at it. The biggest lesson I learned. Hobnails on granite floor=VERY BAD. More than once I damn near ended up in the splits as a foot tried to slip out from underneath me. Note to self. Next year, put non-slip pads on the the bottom of the buckle shoes. The Ball finished with the three traditions. "Goddamn Dutch" (the song that got me flipped off in a bar one night), "A Toast to the Company" (as most of the people attending were members of the ONW Company), and a final Waltz. After the band finished, a drunken Wil kept requesting that I sing "Parting Glass. After a couple minutes of me trying to explain that this was not my show, Wes ( of Bodhran Roll, Please) started into the song dragging me along with him. So we sang it, and were joined on the chorus by several others and the Host of the evening singing the whole song with us. It really sounded good. After we got back to the Hotel, we gathered in Wil and Red's room for after Ball social hour. Buffalo Summer Sausage, Kitchen Cooked brand Cheesy Poofs, cookies and beer.

Sunday morning: Wil, Red, Contagion, Ktreva, and I went to breakfast and then it was back on the road. Time to go back and pick up Omar. When I arrived, he was running in the big run with his Grandpa T-Bird, Grandma Deia (and Italian Immigrant), and Tubby. I talked to the breeder and he said Omar was a very good boy. Also said he looked good, and he was impressed by how well responded to the commands and could tell that Omar has been very well socialized. He also commented that he was big (58 pounds Wednesday when we went to the vet to get a supply of Heartguard). Finally, he said that his color looks a lot like his old dog, Guido, and said that if Omar turns out half as good a hunter as Guido, he'll be a great dog (Guido had some really good prizes in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association). Before we left, the breeder planted a couple of pigeons in launchers out behind the kennel and we took Omar out for some live bird work. It was beautiful. He was out working in the field and you could see when he caught wind of the bird. A couple of seconds later he had the bird located and locked on point. I should have taken a picture. Some dogs point only about 2' in front of there face, but Omar was between 5 and 10 feet back. A nice distance and one time I came up in front to flush the bird and the other the breeder moved up and Omar remained steady as we moved up and to the flush. Right after the flush he broke point and went to the launcher. It was absolutely amazing. Next weekend, we will be in the field hunting pheasant or quail or chuckar. We also grabbed a couple of frozen birds and used them get Omar interested in retrieving. He actually retrieved the birds basically to hand with a slight bit of coaxing. I was thrilled. It is really getting exciting.

Finally, we headed home, listening to the Bears game.

A good weekend.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama

I have gotten into a habit of listening to WIND 560 AM during the day while I am on the road for work.

Today, after leaving a meeting I was on the road from noon til almost 2:30 making some deliveries and sales calls. From 12:00 until 2:00 is the Mike Gallagher Show. During the show, he spent quite a bit of time talking about a new video on YouTube with over 11,000,000 views. Just listening to the audio broadcast I got goosebumps and chills.

This is an EXTREMELY Powerful video. Watch it below and pass it around. Everyone needs to see this, no matter what side you are on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Music Monday-Don't Give Up, You Are Loved

I had thought about doing something for Halloween this week, but on Saturday morning I was headed down the road with the family to see my Brother and his wife, and the nephew, CB, I was thinking about being a good influence on the kid and teaching him about the outdoors and such. As I was thinking, a song popped into my head and I immediately felt inspired.

And that is what Great Music is about. Bringing out strong, new emotions. Now, I have felt inspired before, but not in the sense that I had on Saturday. I felt like it was so important to serve as a good mentor to this young child.

So what is this song that the mere thought of it and hearing it in my head could bring forth this moment?

An amazing piece, "Don't Give Up, You Are Loved" by the incredibly talented Josh Groban.

And as always, please leave thoughts, stories, etc. in the comments along with any suggestions for future Great Music.

Norris for President

In the past, I mentioned that Chuck Norris is Awesome.

We all know that Chuck Norris can kick some ass, but this year he also has injected himself into the political process. First by endorsing (pointless for all celebrities-who cares) Mike Huckabee. But in the last week, Norris has stepped up to the plate with some very good perspective.

First, I read this article by Norris discussing what will (or should, among other things) cost Obamaramadingdongdiddleyhopeychangey the election. And he does not discuss ACORN (fraudulent registrations) or William Ayers (Domestic Terrorist), but the lack of decisiveness in b.HO's personality. It is a very good read.

And then this evening, when I open YouTube to get a video for Great Music Monday and I see that the NRA has a new video up of a commercial they have filmed with Chuck Norris about investigating the record of the candidates and protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights. Very Cool.

The video is embedded below.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Now That's Hot

This is my kind of Girlz Gone Wild.

Blogroll Update

As soon I can figure out why I can't get into my BlogRolling account, I am going to be updating the listing at the right of blogs I regularly read.

1. Home on the Range. I may be in love. A good looking red-headed Celtic gal who likes to shoot and cook. You'll leave hungry and trigger happy.

2. On Tap. This blog has three great authors. Cam Edwards-A radio talk show host of Cam and Company on NRANEWS.com and Patriot 144 on Sirius Satellite radio. The second is Jim Geraghty, a professional blogger, and third Marshall Manson, a political consultant. I used to watch Cam Edwards on the live webcast, but got out of the habit when job locations and their schedule changed.

3. Arts & Ammo: High Caliber Culture. Defending Western Culture and traditions through a rational discussion of the arts (emphasis on durable music) with unavoidable references to politics, religion, law, ranching, and the quest for a good martini.

All of them hit at least some on the 2nd Amendment and Gun Rights. Go and read.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


As I sit by the last dying coals of our fire in the quiet valley, the smoke gently curling from my pipe, I reflect back.

Just last night, a dozen hunters were gathered at this same fire telling stories, exchanging good-natured jabs, sharing jokes. All seemed good in the world. Many good laughs were had at the story of how our Native Scout had lost all his food the night before to some furry masked bandits. He assures us that he nearly stopped one with his war club. Then the joke becomes how could they have been brave enough to come into camp with all the snoring, especially the Grizzly Bear only six feet away. Crafty Devils.

But now, I am the only one left in camp. I stare up to the sky lost in a day dream. Watching the leaves fall in the crisp breeze, and thinking that it won't be long before these falling leaves are replaced by falling snowflakes.

Suddenly, my peaceful serenity is broken by the sound of thundering hooves approaching and 30 cows and calves lope by, being herded North for weaning.

I watch as the last black calf runs after his mother up the trail and ponder life. A grin comes across my face as I take the last draw from the pipe. It is time to get moving. I bury the fire pit, gather my gear, and hit the trail back to civilization.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Great Music Monday-Rocky Road To Dublin

I wasn't going to go back to a Celtic tune tonight originally, but as I was going through my list this song just seemed to strike me as right for the day.

And I don't know why.

The song is "Rocky Road to Dublin."

From Wikipedia:"Rocky Road to Dublin" is a fast-paced 19th century Irish song about a man's experiences as he travels to Dublin Ireland from his home in Tuam. The tune has a typical Irish rhythm, classified as a slip jig and is often performed instrumentally.

The words were written by D. K. Gavan, "The Galway Poet", for the English music hall performer Harry Clifton (1824-1872), who popularised the song.

I am actually going to post several videos of different people doing the song.

For starters, The Dubliners with lead singer, the late Luke Kelly. I am starting with this video for my friend Wes of Bodhran Roll, Please. At the Blogcrawl, he and I were discussing music in our inebriated state and I was trying to explain who Kelly was.

Another group I was trying to tell Wes about is a newer group called The High Kings which was put together by the David Downes, who established the amazing group Celtic Woman. The High Kings is a group of 4 very talented Celtic musicians.

This is their version of the song.

And no grouping of videos for the "Rocky Road to Dublin" would be complete without a group of innovators, for 46 years, The Chieftains (wiki) have been taking Celtic music to places it has never been before.

One simply cannot help but start your feet a tapping when this song is played.

As always, don't forget to leave comments and suggestions.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Train That Hit Me

Ever have one of those days where you hear the whistle and a split second later,


A train hits you.

Also known as getting Railroaded.

Yep. That was me. Last week at the Fort Obie Rendezvous.

I arrived on Thursday night, later than I had planned as it was already well past dusk. I began setting up my lean-to and cracked a beer. It had been a long day. While I was setting up my camp, the Booshway, my friend Ark Builder and asked me to be the Head Dog Soldier for the weekend. Then before I could spit out a word, he said "Thanks" and walked away. I was left sputtering with the feeling that I had just be hit in the gut.

Friday came around and we had a very sparse kids day. I demonstrated some woodworking using old style hand tools. There was also people doing period dyeing, casting round-ball, showing off some fine guns and horns, and several others. The kids who were there got to see some neat stuff, but we had only a fraction of the normal attendance.

Friday afternoon, I got a chance to talk with the Booshway and his pater familius, Wil. And that is when the tracks started to rumble. After the poor showing at kids day, Wil suggested that he would run kids day if I would be Booshway next year. Of course, this is after he has been telling everybody at every event for 3 months that he was going to be the 2009 Booshway.

I thought my only saving grace was it is up to the camp at the Saturday night camp meeting to elect the next Booshway.

Fast forward to the Camp Meeting. The meeting is just getting started and Wil interjects himself into the conversation of the meeting. All he says is is "All in favor of Petey being Booshway next year? Opposed? Congratulations."


Did someone get the number from that locomotive. That kinda sucked getting hit by that.

Just what I need. Something else on on my plate.

Trek report later. Tired now. Busy week ahead. City Counsel Meeting Monday. Local Blue Lodge Tuesday. Blue Lodge Degree work in Wyoming Wedenesday-I am obligating two new Entered Apprentices. Sometime this week, a friend is hoping to pour concrete, and of course, work with the usual personnel headaches, plus added bonus headaches this week.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I know I promised an explanation of how I was run over by a train, but it has just been a hectic week.

Monday night I ended up working 'til 8:00pm and by the time I checked e-mail and put up the Great Music Monday, all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights were completely used up creating Ye Old Catfish Report for the ONW Co. Tuesday was writing, layouts, and re-typing articles. Wednesday night was finishing my monthly column and then running copies, address labeling, stamps, folding, and sealing. By the time that was done, all I could do was drag myself up the stairs.

Tonight, after an executive meeting at work from about 4:15 til 5:15, I had to come home and do all of my organizing and packing for this weekend's squirrel hunting trek. Finally, I got to sit down at the computer, and check e-mail and such.

Tomorrow morning is making Scotch eggs first and then on to the trek.

Hopefully I can post a recap of the trek and give the explanation Sunday night.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Music Monday-Flesh and Blood

I'll eventually get to explaining the last post.

But for now, the music.

This week, we are going back a few years to visit "The Man in Black" Johnny Cash. And for the life of me I can't figure out why, but this week the selection is a "love" song of sorts.

Sitting in a field, surrounded by all the amazing beauty of nature, the mountains and streams, silver maples and the wildlife passing by, but even with all of this, the "Flesh and Blood" needs "Flesh and Blood."

As always, please leave thoughts in comments along with any suggestions for other great music.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


That really freaking hurt.

Getting hit by that train.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Great Music Monday-Requiem (The Fifth)

I thought this week needed a change of pace.

So what better way than to go the group that inspired this weekly feature, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

The piece is "Requiem (The Fifth)" which is from TSO's rock-opera "Beethoven's Last Night"

The story:
by Paul O'Neill
Music By Paul O'Neill, Robert Kinkel, & Jon Oliva

On a late night in the spring of 1827 the city of Vienna is experiencing the largest lightning storm in its long history. Within a large disheveled room, Ludwig Von Beethoven is slumped over his piano and on the piano sits the just completed manuscript for his Tenth Symphony. It is his final, and he is certain, his greatest work.

From the shadows a beautiful spirit, Fate, and her deformed dwarf son, Twist, emerge to inform Beethoven that this is to be his last night on earth. They are accompanied by numerous spirits and ghosts from his past, and he finds their babbling unbearable. He begs them to leave, but Twist tells him that as shadows they only exist by the light that Beethoven's life has cast and that light is slowly dimming. With each successive crack of lightning the spirits all draw closer.

At the stroke of midnight, Mephistopheles suddenly appears and informs Beethoven that he is there to collect the composer's soul. Beethoven, faced with eternal damnation, is terrified and claims that it cannot be his time, that he has yet to complete his Tenth Symphony. Mephistopheles looks at the manuscript and then, with seemingly uncharacteristic generosity, offers to give him as much additional time as he needs as long as he will tell him now what parts he plans to add or change. His bluff called, Beethoven is forced to admit that he would not change a single note.

The Devil nods thoughtfully and then makes the composer another offer. If Beethoven will give him all his music, allowing Mephistopheles to wipe it from the memory of man, he will return his soul to him. Beethoven is overwhelmed by the situation. Fearing an eternity of damnation and torment he is desperate to reclaim his soul, but the thought of losing his music, his life's work, causes him to hesitate.

Mephistopheles, sensing his confusion, offers to leave for one hour before returning for Beethoven's answer. As the devil is turning to leave Beethoven notices that the hands of the clock are moving faster than normal. When he points this out to Mephistopheles, the devil replies that the maestro should consider it a final favor because where Beethoven is going, they never turn at all.

Crushed by the dilemma he finds himself in, Beethoven tries to recall the particular actions in his life that have led to his damnation. In anger, he confronts Fate for having dealt him such a cruel hand. Taken aback, she asks what he would have her change. Forced to review his life, he discovers that the removal of what he considers the most painful moments of his life would also remove the inspiration for what he considers his finest works. He also realizes that his music is who he is, the reason for his existence, and decides that he would rather suffer for eternity than have it destroyed. He cannot remove this music that he has seen bring so much joy to so many.

When Mephistopheles returns to find his offer refused, he quickly replaces it with another. If Beethoven will only give him the un-released Tenth Symphony (which no one else has heard, so he reasons it will never be missed) he will return the maestro's soul. Beethoven agonizes once more and after conferring with the ghost of Mozart, again decides that he is unable to destroy his music.

In a final desperate attempt to obtain the Tenth Symphony, Mephistopheles points out through a window to a child sleeping in the gutter. He tells the old man that he, Mephistopheles, owns this child's life and in great detail lists all the horrors and suffering that she will experience in her short existence. If Beethoven will release to him this final musical creation, then Mephistopheles will give up all claims on the child, irrevocably removing himself, all his evil and unhappiness from the child's life.

Beethoven turns away from the sight of the little girl, determined to pronounce a firm and final no. But before the words can leave his mouth he finds himself once more looking towards the child. He desperately tries to convince himself that she means nothing to him. Besides, she is not his responsibility and even if he does save her there are millions more like her. This single life will make no difference while his symphony will bring joy to countless generations.

Despite his best efforts he can not bring himself to leave the child to this evil and collapsing on the piano bench, he tells the devil that he has a deal.

Mephistopheles dances with delight as he picks up the manuscript never noticing Twist who sneaks over and whispers in Ludwig's ear, "How do you know that Mephistopheles will keep his word?" Beethoven sits up and repeats the question aloud. Mephistopheles, never looking up from examining his prize, replies that Beethoven can draw up his own wording for a contract that they will write on the back of a page torn from a bible. Beethoven glances questioningly towards Fate who is still watching from the background. She nods her head for even the shadows know that a contract written on such sacred paper is unbreakable, even by the devil himself.

Beethoven, totally exhausted, mutters his consent but is unable to write the words that will bring about the destruction of his beloved Tenth. Fate, seeing his dilemma, offers to write down the agreement for him and he hands the paper to her. As he stares out the window Fate writes,

It is agreed upon this night, March 26, 1827, between the undersigned, that the music of the Tenth Symphony, composed by Ludwig von Beethoven, first born son of Johann and Maria von Beethoven, in the city of Bonn, shall henceforth be the property of Mephistopheles, Lord of Darkness and first fallen from the grace of God. It is also understood that it is his intention to remove any signs of this music from the memory of man for all eternity. In exchange for the destruction of the aforementioned music it is also agreed that Mephistopheles and all his minions will remove themselves from the life of the child presently sleeping in the gutter directly across from the window of this room. This removal of influence is to be commenced immediately upon signing and to be enforced for all eternity.

Ludwig Von Beethoven


Mephistopheles reads the paper, signs it and pushes it in front of Beethoven. Without even looking at the document the composer signs the paper. Immediately, Mephistopheles reaches over the piano, seizes the Tenth's manuscript and thrusts it over a lit candle. It is engulfed in a wall of flames. But when the flames have died down the devil is stunned to find that not only does the manuscript still exist, but it is not even singed. Thrusting it back over the candle it is once again engulfed in flames only to emerge unscathed.

Sensing that he has been tricked, he screams for an explanation but Beethoven's expression tells him that he is as shocked at the turn of events as the devil himself. As Mephistopheles is glancing once more at the manuscript he hears a giggling from the darkness. There he sees Twist who is poorly concealing his delight.

"What are you laughing at you wretched troll?"

"The composer's parents gave birth to a son prior to the maestro's birth. They named him Ludwig von Beethoven but he died within the year. The man before you is Ludwig Von Beethoven, second born of Johann & Maria. You have purchased the Tenth Symphony of Ludwig Von Beethoven, first born of Johann & Maria, if he ever writes one." Mephistopheles glares at Fate, who smiles back at him demurely. Then, throwing the music back at Beethoven, he screams in frustration and disappears in an explosion of smoke and flame.

Beethoven is surprised by Mephistopheles' rapid departure and asks if he is not coming back to collect his soul. To which Fate replies that he never had any claim to his soul.

"But Mephistopheles said..."

"He is the devil," Fate replies, "He lies." And with those words a warm feeling of peace spreads throughout Beethoven's body and across his soul.

When he asks Fate what is to happen next, she tells him that it is time for him to rest, for tonight he will dream a new dream within the gates of paradise. As the words weave their way into his soul, Beethoven lies down on the couch near his piano and begins a new dream.

With the departure of his soul the storm begins to break and a stillness settles over the room as one by one the ghosts and shadows fade away. All seems at peace until the sudden re-appearance of Twist returning through a window. He gazes about the room, a look of mischievous delight spread across his face. Scampering over to the piano, he takes the manuscript for the Tenth Symphony and then climbing up a bookcase, carefully slips it behind a wall. Here it will remain hidden, the world blissfully unaware of its existence, until that one day in the future when it will be discovered and it will once more live again.

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