Tractor square dancing.

I heard about this when the local news where my parents live did a story on it. I don’t think this is from that area, it mentions the PA farm show and I’m pretty sure that was held in Harrisburg when I was growing up. I haven’t checked this out but apparently it’s really really funny, if my friends who’ve seen it are any judge.


Another kind of bow.

It’s the ebow, which is this thing here.

Lots of people like to mess with it on electric guitar,
which is what it was made for I guess, but there’s some nice stuff on acoustic as well, like this video.

Or this one here.

Finally, here’s some noodling I did on electric, remember I’ve had the thing for all of about five hours. I try to imitate a berimbau at one point, only partially successfully, it needs more buzz. I suck at guitar and I really suck at moving around on single strings, so hey, more stuff to learn. Woo!

The mouthbow.

In case you don’t happen to know what a mouth bow is, it’s a bow, looks like a bow from a bow and arrow, that you hold against your mouth. You then pluck or often strike the string, and change the shape of your mouth to obtain different notes. It is in essence similar to a trump/khomus/jew’s harp. They’re found all over Africa and in America, and possibly in some other places. Often they are used to accompany song. This led me to investigate a point, which I’ll get too at the end of this post. For now, have some youtube links with the mouth bow.

A demonstration of a couple American style mouth bows.

Home made mouth bow, probably American. American mouth bows tend to be more flexible allowing pitch bends.

Somebody does some passable throat singing while playing a mouth bow, really nice sustain on the mouth bow.

Nice song with mouth bow!

Some truly awesome African style mouth bow! If you don’t check any other link out, check this one! Singing with mouth bow, and use of at least two different pitch centers for overtones. This brings us very close to my investigation, so listen carefully.

Finally, let’s hit something that I actually own, the ghost catcher. This is a little bit more like a guitar or such than a proper mouth bow, but it’s still pretty awesome.

OK, so I said there was an investigation here. After listening to a CD of African mouth bow music from various parts of Africa and comparing it with some examples from America and New Guinea, as well as the ghost catcher, I’ve come to a tentative conclusion. The jew’s harp and the mouth bow function differently.

among the Yakut people a distinction is made between two sorts of khomus playing, singing khomus and talking khomus. The Norwegians seem to refer to these as open and closed playing. In talking khomus, the larynx is used, that is you are essentially whispering some sort of actual speech sound through the instrument. In singing khomus however, the larynx is not used, though breath is passed through the instrument. This is essentially impossible on the mouth bow, since there is no space between a frame and a reed for air to pass between.

So, you may have noticed, particularly on the ghost catcher and African style mouth bow, the larynx was used a lot. The African style bow had a sound most people would probably associate with robots on TV shows, or possibly speech synthesizers on a computer. This my conclusion, the mouth bow primarily uses the larynx, what we might call talking mouth bow, as opposed to the jew’s harp which can function in both modes. Stunning, isn’t it? But so far as I know, I’ve never come across anybody else pointing this out. So now you know, unless I’m wrong of course.

Carter Family chords and lyrics.

Most of you who read this and have an interest won’t really need it, but I like stuff like this. I’ll have enough trouble muddling through trying to learn the Carter scratch, i.e. the picking style, that I don’t need to waste extra time just figuring out the chords. Sure I’m lazy, you’re just now noticing? Shame on you for being so unobservant.

I didn’t know this but apparently all three original members of the group played guitar, and they played in different styles. Homespun has a DVD out I just might have to snag in the near future, since it seems like a fun style to learn. In “Guitar for the Absolute Beginner”, Happy Traum doesn’t introduce it until the third CD, I believe. I’m not sure why, because it seems easier than his two or three finger picking stuff he introduces earlier. Sure the bass runs are harder, doing the melody is tricky, but no reason why he couldn’t start with alternating bass and just build from there. Anyway, here’s chords and lyrics and all that.

Oh and here’s a link to the Homespun DVD, go buy it if you’re interested in this stuff, because it sounds fascinating. They even have a download system now, though I need to look into pestering the makers to see if it can be made screen reader friendly.

Extemporaneous about birds.

Stork, stork, stork!
Nut hatch, hatching nuts,
Open the mind, if the mind is a nut,
Caesura, hearpe! Old English,
Very old, lost to most,
Oh heron will you skim the waters?

Will you look, diving for lost fish?
Oh greedy bastard!
Skim the surface, all you know,
Fish on the surface, skinny bony meal!

Oh hawk, holding wings steady,
Steady on thermals, no wet feathers,
Wet feathers, hawk flies to ground,
Crash! Crash poor hawk!
Live with your chicks in the mess of bits of meat for a while!

O eagle!
Stupid, stupid, stupid bird!
Arrows in one claw, branch in another!
Witless bitch, ken ye what it means at all anywise?

Redbreast, Robbin, what do you say of them?
Stupid birds to fly so high, likely to get hurt!
Look, rocks, mountains, if I crash soft grasses!

Robbin, redbreast, have you never read Zhuangzi?
Stupid old China man, had a point.
Fish fuck fish, deer fuck deer,
Humans fuck humans, who knows what’s fuckable?
As he said, who fixes the standard of beauty?

O birds! You fly, you sing,
Sing we say though ’tis nonsense to us,
Oh stupid twitterings, we pretend!
Be Sigurd, eat heart of dragon,
Win cursed gold and tell me one sensibility of a bird’s song,
Stupid wretch, your father drunk on poison mead!

“Strain it through your mustache”,
Did you hear him?
Clearly you heard, and did his command just so,
Fell down dead like a log,
Tell me hero, oh man of might,
Where’s your stupid bird council then?

My favorite comedian!

Now some of you might be shocked. It’s not George Carlin, though he often spoke the truth. It’s not Patton Oswalt, funny as he is. It’s not Lewis Black, and it’s not Mitch Hedberg, as awesome as they are. Herewith, I give you my favorite comedian.

Good job Sarah! Women just adore being compared to large animals, they absolutely LOVE it! Did you all catch her comedy genius there? She didn’t start off with cows and work her way up, she just jumped right on into the deep end with elephants! Absolute genius!