Monday, January 31, 2005


A fundamentalist Christian couple felt it important to own an equally fundamentally Christian pet. So they went shopping.

At a kennel specializing in this particular breed, they found a dog they liked quite a lot. When they asked the dog to fetch the Bible, he did it in a flash. When they instructed him to look up Psalm 23, he complied equally fast, using his paws with dexterity.

They were impressed, purchased the animal, and went home. That night they had friends over. They were so proud of their new fundamentalist dog and his major skills, they called the dog and showed off a little. The friends were impressed and asked whether the dog was able to do any of the usual dog tricks, as well. This stopped the couple cold, as they hadn't thought about 'normal' tricks.

"Well," they said, "let's try this out."

Once more they called out to the dog, and then clearly pronounced the command, "Heel!"
Quick as a wink, the dog jumped up, put his paw on the man's forehead, closed his eyes in concentration, and bowed his head.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Now and again, a piece of writing so impresses me that I simply must's such a masterpiece by Les Barker...

by Les Barker (C)

Each night she's on the balcony
He loves her from afar
His soft, sad eyes are hypnotised
She shines down like a star.
His heart will break forever
His kind can't have affairs
For Dachshunds with erections...
Can't climb stairs.

His home's a humble bungalow
And her's a penthouse flat
He cannot go where she can go
And that, they say, is that.
He never can be near her
Although she knows he cares
For Dachshunds with erections...
Can't climb stairs.

You want to win a woman?
Just be cool... be aloof
The dog who doesn't hit the stairs
Can make it to the roof.
The dog who doesn't care
Will be the dog who wins the day
You'll never get to heaven...
With your chopper in the way.

The spirit soars, the body falls
And heavy lies the heart
That cries out with the pain of love
Be still my broken part.
How painful is the passion
And painful the repairs
For Dachshunds with erections
Can't climb stairs.

For more on Mr Barker and his band, visit Mrs Ackroyd!

I'm still very much a learner on this recording thing. For the live concerts, I've had to learn on the job and without much margin for error, I'm afraid...try to remember what I've read and heard, follow my instincts, and make the best of the options available. Oh, and I hear so many bad choices reflected in the recordings afterwards!

Still, I've been pleasantly surprised that most of it has come out as well as it did. Anyway...I've uploaded a short chunk o' music if anyone has nothing better to do with his or her time. It's from a piano recital last Spring. In deference to the player, I'll simply refer to her as Ms L. The piano is a Petrof, in a good sized hall. I was set up near the edge of the stage -- the closest practical spot -- so there is a certain amount of audience noise. My typical equipment, a pair of Oktava MC319s in a more-or-less DIN array (i.e. spread at 90 degrees), into my portable Fostex digital recorder.

The piece is lifted from a medley of hymn tunes.

Friday, January 21, 2005


It could have been my idea but more likely
I read it somewhere and forgot except
in my dreams. It rode through there
on a nightmare, this idea, calling

the names of lost children it read
from the sides of milk cartons. They could not
answer. Their eyes were covered with duct tape,
their mouths full of the lies I told.

Some day, all will be changed. Some day,
I’ll leave here and walk along your highway,
weighted down with someone else’s ideas.
Can I sell them as my own? Would you buy

the empty cartons, the stolen smiles, and take
them home for adoption? No matter,
no matter. The lost remain lost until
they find themselves, over morning’s oatmeal.

It could have been, should have been,
mine, shining through a six-thirty window.
Pebbles, lined up by moonlight, marked
that path. Have you seen it?

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Thursday, January 20, 2005


No, I haven't got 'em. Been taking my meds! Spent last weekend at the Freedom Blues Festival in Tallahassee, with my pal/performing partner Karen. Three stages, electric, acoustic, big band R&B -- it was hard to decide which one to listen at.

But that's kind of par for the course at festivals. I'd never gone to a blues-oriented one before, though I show up at as many folk fests as I can fit in. Karen kind of talked me into this one, she being a big blues fan (and player). And not surprisingly she wanted to hang around the electric stage while I wanted to go see the finger-picking acoustic players. So we managed some of each.

I had particularly wanted to hear Veronika Jackson. I'd caught like the last five minutes of her act three different times at the Florida Folk Festival and finally managed to sit down for a complete set. Ms Jackson originally hails from SW Fla, as do I, but resides in Atlanta these days. My kind of music, folky acoustic blues, lots of honest emotion, good lyrics...lyrics seem just an excuse to jam for a lot of the electric guys.

Not that there weren't some good performances there, too. Smokin' Joe Kubic and B'nois King had a great set. Sarasota Slim (not a nationally recognized name, I know) always puts on an entertaining show (I'd caught him in clubs).

Hmm...maybe I should be practicing my own inimitably inept blues finger picking more. guitar.gif

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Each day I win my battles.
Why do I feel I've
lost the war?

Stephen Brooke ©2005

been a while since I wrote a quinzaine

Friday, January 07, 2005

Like any good actor
I truly live my parts.

You can believe every word
when I say I love you.

Remember I may somedy
be cast in other roles.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

playing around with the sijo form

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Being who I am,

there are duplicates
of every love letter
I wrote you, organized

by date, in a box
with your name.
Yours are in there, too,

our words, interspersed--
you and I, between the sheets
once again.

Being who I am,

I keep my memories
on a closet shelf,
knick-knacks I cannot

bring myself to discard,
revisited each time
I clean house.

Carefully, carefully,
I must return you
to your box, being

who I am.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

okay, so I kind of hit the reader over the head with this metaphor. I can be blatant occasionally, can't I? :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A friend was telling me how bored she was over the weekend, with 'nothing to do,' and I realized that I never feel that way. Oh, I get bored but not when I'm on my own -- there are a thousand and one things I want to do, projects to work on, books to read, music to play. I really only get bored when I have to be somewhere with people, whether work or pleasure. Waiting on things is the worst.

I know one problem I have with 'relationships' is a tendency to resent the time spent on them. I get impatient. I want to get back to MY work...which is my greatest pleasure.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Last night I went up to the Stephen Foster state park for their regular first-saturday Cracker Coffeehouse open mike. Stephen Foster is in White Springs FL and a beautiful spot on the banks of the Suwanee. The park hosts the Florida Folk Festival, supposedly the longest continuous festival of its sort in the country -- the 53rd edition is coming up in May. Not too far from where I live and I like to keep in touch with the folks who run things there so I show up for this monthly coffeehouse when I can.

It was kind of a last minute decision this time and I was not really prepared so I ran through a few old things and certainly didn't impress myself, regardless of what the audience might have thought. There was a young -- well, young compared to me -- lady in attendance who had shown up there last August to make her first public appearance in fifteen years. Singer-songwriter type, as am I. In the few months between, she had managed to record not one but two CDs of her original material. Busy girl! But that reminded me of why I go to these things, which is to get my own songs out there.

It may be all well and good to practice my finger picking on Careless Love (or whatever) but, hey, I'll never be more than a mediocre player. So note to self, New Years resolution, etc....learn and practice your own songs, Mr Brooke! And get some of that material recorded.