Friday, June 29, 2012


One of the first things on my to-do list, once I had high-speed internet was to update and improve the organization of my Insolent Lad Emporium. In that it was something of a chore, I put it off for a while, while enjoying the new speed to play around on line.

But I have finally buckled down and got some stuff done. There is more to do when I feel ambitious but I am fairly much up to date now, with my latest design now up for tee-shirts and other merch. That's the 'hunter-gatherer' set:

Nothing ambitious here, just some text and humor for your tees. You choose whether you prefer to hunt or gather!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Old Music

I was giving a listen-through to my old recordings – the two albums of material I’ve put out over the last decade and a half – with the thought of maybe combining them into something I could release until I actually can get back into music seriously. They sound...okay, I guess, considering the methodologies. Too much reverb, for sure, and too slowly paced, frequently. I don’t think I’ll inflict them on anyone (though I still have copies of my EP from a little while back, ‘Dust and Stars,’ if anyone wants one).

Anyway, they are not going to show up on CD Baby or any other commercial site. I hereby officially abandon ‘The Wind on the Prairie, the Wind on the Sea,’ which was the title I had chosen a couple years ago. I had actually gone so far as to make an abortive attempt to offer it through Cafe Press before they stopped doing CDs. Lulu also abandoned that market shortly thereafter.

This does free me up, in a sense, to redo any of that material sometime down the line. I have been, very very slowly, getting the studio into some sort of order so I can record. That probably won’t occur until the cooler fall weather comes in, though one never knows.

Another reason I’m not likely to record soon is that I’ve had recurring ear and sinus infections this year, bad enough to make my tongue swell at times. That is most certainly not conducive to singing well. Or at all.

It’s making me wonder if maybe I’m allergic to the dog. I’ve never lived with one before so how would I know? Perhaps Tucky should go to a new home; it’s not so easy having a rambunctious and fairly large dog in the house when I need to take care of Mom. She (Tucky that is) is another drain on my time, as well. Not that I mind that but I do have to give my duties priority.

* * *

It’s windy from TS Debby but the rain is not part of today’s weather. We got a fair soaking Saturday afternoon and Sunday; that’s something we needed and need more of. At least it’s helping further east where they also need all the precipitation they can get.

My last Golden Rain Tree, nursed along for three years, seems to have succumbed to the heat at last. Just not suitable for here, apparently. I may transplant a dogwood into its spot, right outside my mom’s bedroom window. They’ll grow, anyway, though it might be well to wait till next spring...or do it today while it’s damp and cloudy.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two-Party Blues, a song lyric


Don’t like me no Democrats, but them Republicans is worse
Don’t like me no Democrats, but Republicans is even worse
The one leads me to swearin’ and the other makes me curse

One blames the other and the other blames the one
One blames the other and the other just blames the one
As long as they’re fightin’ no work is gettin’ done.

When they’re two sides of the coin, which one do you choose?
Right hand washes the left, got them two-party blues

Both like them bankers and they aim to please
Both like them bankers’ money and they aim to please
Take them to the White House and hand them the keys

Lesser of two evils seems to be my only choice
Lesser of two evils is gonna be my only choice
No matter which way I vote, will anyone hear my voice?

When they’re two sides of the coin, which one do you choose?
Right hand washes the left, got them two-party blues

Stephen Brooke ©2012

Pretty much tongue-in-cheek, of course, and not meant as a serious song.

I haven't been here much lately. Too much else in my life at the moment and I've been a bit depressed. Or more depressed than usual. Being a care-giver full time can be a little much occasionally and watching my mom decline weighs. It's becoming increasingly difficult to get her to eat and drink; anything else I can handle but that is something that may eventually be beyond me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Music Pages

Who knows when I’ll ever get back to performing music but a while back I went ahead and did an ‘artist’ page at FaceBook and opened an account at SoundClick. Both of which languished until recently – now that I have a faster internet connection I can do a little something with them.

Of course, unless/until I can resume the musical part of my life, there’s not much point in doing more. I did upload one of my old recordings to SoundClick, mostly to keep the account functioning. That’s at . I may put some songwriting demos up there eventually.

The FaceBook page is at . No one much ‘likes’ it yet but that’s okay. There’s nothing much to like right now!

Monday, June 04, 2012

G.K., C.S. and Me

G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, that is. It puzzles me that these two – both of whom I somewhat admire – have been adopted by the conservatives. Neither was at all on the ‘right’ in his own time nor are their ideas particularly in sync with modern conservatism.

G.K. Chesterton, for that matter, claimed to be in favor of liberalism but only to have a problem with liberals. He had a problem with both sides, it would seem, and punctured the ideas of both liberal and conservative equally. He was, perhaps, ‘socially conservative’ as we would say today. A better description would be ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘traditional.’

I like a respect for tradition. As Chesterton put it, “Tradition is only democracy extended through time.” Why should only the living have a voice? Let our ancestors weigh in as well – they had just as good ideas as we do.

One thing is for certain, the man was no libertarian. Neither was C.S. Lewis.

Lewis was pretty much a moderate liberal in his own time, both politically and theologically. Certainly a good deal more liberal than his buddy, J.R.R. Tolkien (Whose views are often rather close to those of Chesterton, albeit expressed rather differently. That is a subject for another time.). He was certainly no fundamentalist, no denier of science.

* * *

I suppose that I, myself, am somewhat conservative in my personal life. That, however, has nothing to do with politics, government, or economics.

When it comes to those, I would be more on the liberal side. This is actually somewhat the opposite of many of my acquaintances who label themselves conservative – they tend to be libertarian, socially liberal and economically...well, liberal in the 19th Century sense. I’m closer to a traditional blue-collar union-member liberal or Mid-western progressive farmer.

So I do choose to call myself ‘old-fashioned,’ not conservative.

At the same time, I am not exactly a ‘big government’ liberal. I tend to be against big anything, public or private. I believe in doing things as locally as possible, and preferably through co-ops, unions and such rather than government – not that government doesn’t have its place.

This is essentially the concept of ‘subsidiarity,’ the idea that no larger unit should perform a function that can be accomplished by a smaller one. Bigger is not better.

I feel that our greatest concern should be the accumulation of power by those ‘big’ entities. And by power, I mean economic power. That is the only true power. The ownership of productive property, be it land, factories, natural resources, is too concentrated.

Whether it be federalism or feudalism, there needs to be a balance between the centralized power and the local. There also need to be safeguards against large impersonal entities gathering too much property and wealth to themselves.

G.K. would approve of that, I’m sure. Maybe C.S. as well (not to mention J.R.R.).