The Tuesday Talking Stick: acapella edition, Anonymous Four

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On the day before the day before the new year
The snow is falling on my prairie home
I'm so far away from where I started
But no closer to where I belong

How many trails have I gone down for no reason
Just to learn that I can't leave myself behind
And the only devil I've ever seen was in the mirror
And the only enemy I know is in my mind

Won't you tell me how long must I pay off these dues
Won't you tell me, is winning learning to lose
You said it, oh but say it's not true
Is winning really learning to lose

Everywhere that I turn the cards stack against me
And I wonder, was it bad luck or just design

And all the things I've had to do without have been a blessing
But sometime a blessing is a curse in disguise

Won't you tell me how long must I pay off these dues
Won't you tell me, is winning learning to lose
You said it, oh but say that it's not true
Is winning really learning to lose

Is winning really learning to lose

I saw jesus on the cross on a hill called calvary
"do you hate mankind for what they done to you? "
He said, "talk of love not hate, things to do - it's getting late.
I've so little time and I'm only passing through. "

Passing through, passing through.
Sometimes happy, sometimes blue,
Glad that I ran into you.
Tell the people that you saw me passing through.

I saw adam leave the garden with an apple in his hand,
I said "now you're out, what are you going to do? "
"plant some crops and pray for rain, maybe raise a little cane.
I'm an orphan now, and I'm only passing through. "

Passing through, passing through...

I was with washington at valley ford, shivering in the snow.
I said, "how come the men here suffer like they do? "
"men will suffer, men will fight, even die for what is right
Even though they know they're only passing through"

Passing through, passing through...

I was with franklin roosevelt's side on the night before he died.
He said, "one world must come out of world war two" (ah, the fool)
"yankee, russian, white or tan," he said, "a man is still a man.
We're all on one road, and we're only passing through. "

Passing through, passing through...

(let's do it one more time)

Passing through, passing through...

"There's Anger In The Land"

There's grievin' in the country
There's sorrow in the sand.
There's sobbin' in the shanty
And there's anger in the land.

A woman broods in silence
Close beside an open door;
Flung on her flimsy doorstep
Lies a corpse upon the floor.

"you'll not ask me why I'm silent"
The woman said to me;
Her two eyes blazed in anger
And her throat throbbed agony.

Once my heart could cry in sorrow
Now it lies there on the floor
In the ashes by the hearthstone;
They can't hurt it anymore.

Oh, let the wind go cryin' yonder
In the tree-tops by the spring
Let it's voice be soft and feelin'
Like it was a livin' thing.

There's grievin' in the country
There's sorrow in the sand.
There's sobbin' in the shanty
And there's anger in the land.

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"The Water Is Wide"

The water is wide I can not get o'er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that will carry two
And both shall row my love and I

O love is handsome and love is fine
And love's a jewel when it's first new
But love grows old then waxes gold
And fades away like morning dew

There is a ship it's sailing the sea
It's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as the love I'm in
I know not if I sink or swim

The water is wide I can not get o'er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that will carry two
And both shall row my love and I
And both shall row my love and I

Each tea bowl carries a few of those thoughts in it. Thoughts about hopes, thoughts about regrets, thoughts about betrayals, thoughts about the future, thoughts about beautiful memories. Just as each tea bowl is somehow infused with the water of the sponge used in that moment – complete with the minerals from the water supply, so too each tea bowl has a thought inside it the way a bit of salt embeds in paper when a human tear falls on the fibers in the writing of joy or grief.


What we do matters. We “make” life with each mindful moment the way a potter makes a tea bowl. …wedge, throw, spin, open, pull, cut, repeat. We repeat tasks like shopping, praying, walking, working, fighting, eating and the goodness or the evil in the act infiltrates life around us like smoke in a kitchen or lavender in a drawer.

The Unloved,'s series on maligned and forgotten work soldiers on with an entry on Roland Emmerich's hated film on the Oxford Theory.

For nearly 100 years, national park rangers have dedicated their lives to protecting America’s most precious places and the millions of people within their boundaries. But when Congress closed the national parks, angry visitors criticized the Park Service for keeping people out. As federal employees, park rangers can’t share their personal views publicly. So we offered anonymity in return for their testimonies. This is what they wrote.

Since its beginning, the internet-driven collective Anonymous has emerged as one of the leading hacktivist movements, targeting high-profile institutions with fearless cyber attacks. Looking into how this collective of online hackers went from pranksters to vigilantes for global justice lead to an intriguing discovery of unique qualities that form Anonymous. A certain tonal element of Anonymous resonated with me and immediately translated into an exciting aesthetic I was eager to take on. There is a mesmerizing and compelling, but also terrifying quality to the dynamic spread of a collective who’s story is being written with every new day and operation.

The Occupy movement is an international socio-political movement against social and economic inequality and the lack of "real democracy" around the world. Its primary goal is to advance social and economic justice and new forms of democracy. The movement has many different scopes; local groups often have different focuses, but among the movement's prime concerns are how large corporations (and the global financial system) control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy, and is unstable. It is part of what Manfred Steger calls the "global justice movement"


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Today's magic time machine ride is tragic ... and sadly ongoing

It was 15 years ago today when the U.S. invaded Iraq on the false pretense that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. The attack came despite worldwide protest and a lack of authorization from the United Nations Security Council. At around 5:30 a.m. in Baghdad on March 20, 2003, air raid sirens were heard as the U.S. invasion began.

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During today's musical focus on acapella music, we'll be enjoying my wife's favorite ensemble. I Their sound creates a meditative and contemplative climate that fosters healing and wholeness.


Renowned for their unearthly vocal blend and virtuosic ensemble singing, the four women of Anonymous 4 combine musical, literary, and historical scholarship with contemporary performance intuition as they create ingeniously designed programs, interweaving music with poetry and narrative.

In addition to their unmatched medieval repertoire, Anonymous 4 has often reached out into the realm of contemporary music, and has premiered works by Peter Maxwell Davies, John Tavener, Steve Reich, and Richard Einhorn. The group has most recently expanded their repertoire to include traditional music of the British Isles and America.

Anonymous 4 has performed in major venues and festivals throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. The ensemble has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," "CBS Sunday Morning," A&E's "Breakfast With the Arts," and NPR's "Weekend Edition." Anonymous 4's award-winning recordings have attained unprecedented popularity, rising to the top of Billboard's classical chart, and selling almost 1.5 million copies worldwide.

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Lookout's picture

The vernal equinox begins about noon ET today. From now till June 21 the days will grow in length. Enjoy the increased sunlight!

May the sun shine in your backdoor some day!

8 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

phillybluesfan's picture

@Lookout Very nice tune. Woulda included it had I know 'bout it.

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Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets

mhagle's picture

Cool. Thanks. Enjoyed your essay as always.

I don't seem to ever have much to say in the comments, because they are fodder for contemplation and there isn't anything to say.

Nice. Smile

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"Make dirt, not war." eyo