First, meet some of my favorite people in the world: the Pickin' and Singin' Gatherin'. This is a group of Albany, N.Y., area folk music fans who enjoy making music more than just sitting around and listening. We sponsor the GottaGetGon (the world's greatest little folk festival) every spring, plus the Last Gasp (a folk festival without the concerts) every fall, and monthly everybody's-welcome gatherings from October to April. PSG's website has links to lots of other folkie sites: coffeehouses, festivals, performers and more.
Fixation is the folk duo made up of me, myself, I and my best buddy and singing partner, Bill Bracken.
We specialize in contemporary folk music written in traditional styles -- all sorts of traditional styles, from a cappella sea chanteys and drinking songs to singer-songwriter stuff from the 1960s and beyond. We also do some of my originals, which include odes to frugality, duct tape, camping, love after 40 and John D. MacDonald's literary hero, Travis McGee.
Our musical inspirations include Tom Paxton, Christine Lavin, Bill Staines, Camille West, Stan Rogers, Tom Lewis, David Wilcox and the good folks of the PSG.
I'm also a member of the Solidarity Singers, who perform songs of labor, peace and justice around the area, mainly at rallies and union gatherings.
For the best listings of concerts in the Albany area and beyond, check out the Folk Times.It's run by Addie and Olin Boyle, aka Whoopee Jazz. If you get a chance to hear them, DO! They are must-see folk!
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Morris dancing is a centuries-old tradition from England that has its roots in pagan fertility ritual. Despite its age, it is alive and well all over the world. Learn more from the Pokingbrook Morris Dancers (the Albany area's own local morris team) or this comprehensive list of morris links. (P.S. It's easier than it looks, and part of the morris tradition is drinking beer! Join us! See Pokingbrook's page for details.)
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My Day Job
I teach Spanish and Latin at The Adirondack School of Northeastern New York. This is a wonderful little private school, a haven for youngsters whose gifts went unappreciated in public school. The kids are awesome!
I owe a big debt to another school, St. Mary's Hall of Burlington, N.J., which gave this middle-aged teacher wannabe her first chance to touch young lives. Lots of learning happened in my first classroom there at St. Mary's last year -- and I learned the most. Thanks, John M., Pat, Susan, Robin, John C., Dr. P and everyone else for your love and support.
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to Live By
(some of my favorite quotes -- and a poem)
"There is more of good in you than you know, child .... If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - J.R.R. Tolkien
"All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific." - Jane Wagner
"Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs." - bumper sticker
"Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks." - Robert Heinlein
"Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear; They should never settle merely for equality. For women, 'equality' is a disaster." - Robert Heinlein
"Life is complicated, so think small." - Garrison Keillor
"Blessed be the hand! Blessed thrice be the hands that work!" - Helen Keller
"To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are not interested in anything but figures." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers." - T.S. Eliot
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog." - Mark Twain
"Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself." - Rita Mae Brown
"There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls." - George Carlin
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
"I choose to think [God] has a sense of humor. If not, there would be no such thing as a duckbill platypus, and there certainly wouldn't be any people." - Allan Sherman
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup." - bumper sticker
For Strong Women
A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
A strong women is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing Boris Gudonov.
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears
in her nose.
A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
aren't you dead?
A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.
More Great Sites
In memory of Mikey -- A memorial page for my brother Michael, who died in February 2002.
Richard Lederer's Verbivore -- A must-see for anyone interested in words and wordplay.
The Internet Movie Database has the best info about movies, TV shows, miniseries et al. out there, with lots of links to reviews, fan sites and much more!
What Breed of Dog Are You? A fun quiz, one of many at this site. For the record, I'm a basset hound.
Adoption Law Office of Linda E.F. Lach -- Even if you're not interested in adopting a kid, go meet my sister, the world's coolest lawyer (in her case, that's not an oxymoron).
RinkWorks -- A great humor site! Stupid people tricks, Book- and Movie-a-Minute and more.
Judy's Tree-House -- Judy was my sister and soulmate back in high school. After 20 years apart, we've realized we still have tons in common. We're both still into folklore, although her thing is re-enacting and costuming, and mine is music. And we've both retained our love of animals. Check out her site. You can also cruise to her husband's site from here.
Miriam's site -- Miriam is a brilliant poet and activist who shares my love of folk music, peace, justice and the good people of the traditional music and dance world. And she and her partners have moved back to Albany!! Attention, women over 35: Her poem "December Rose" is a must-read!
Snopes.com is the definitive source on urban legends -- the place to check out those stories you hear from a friend, who swears he heard it from a friend of a friend. Also those wild tales that turn up in your e-mail. Don't spread that story without checking it here first; stop the insanity!
JR's site -- A guilty
pleasure. JR is afternoon host on WRCZ 94.5 -- aka 94 Rock. Remember Don
Imus when he did comedy? JR is like that, only better. Sometimes politically
incorrect, often outrageous, always brilliant.
Send me e-mail at: email@example.com
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