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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Subject: RE: The Coolin/chúilfhionn /An Cuilean

Re; what is the Coolin?

The Coolin or chúilfhionn in the old Irish Gaelic spelling –I have seen Cuilean as a Scottish variant is word almost best not translated for modern English –particularly modern PC English - can scarcely capture its poetic and spiritual beauty.

I searched the wide world and found my Coolin; we have shared our lives for 34 years; 25 as husband and wife with three fine children two of whom qualify to be Coolins themselves!!!

Am listening to the Lebeque sisters play a piano due of THERE IS A PLACE FOR US by Bernstein which is very appropriate and exceedingly lovely.

And that is no sae bad! Aye.

Dear Emi-san and friends:

The Coolin means a vision of a beautiful milk-white lady-like maiden of long hair a-curling and a-twinning down upon her shoulders,

Rings of gold upon her fingers and the blush of rose upon her brow!

The Coolin is a vision of womanly softness, constancy, goodness and purity of heart

whose welcome ,like her love, is true and from the heart within;

The Coolin is a maid who blushes and whose warm kiss knows no taint of sin,

For modesty is the true beauty of womankind!

The Coolin’s mouth is without fault and knows not lies nor blasphemies,

Such a maid as the Coolin is worth more than a man’s life!

That every wise man son doth know.

And all journeys end in lovers meeting,

And lucky’s the man who finds his Coolin!

When you have found her

Never let her go.

O tell me sailor who lives upon the sea and ships,

If ship or sea or star is as lovely!

O tell me young shepherd who keeps his flock

If flock or glen or is as lovely!

Many’s the prince would be proud to aspire

To the Coolin but with money you cannot buy her!

Speak to me not of a name great in story!

To win the Coolin is the greatest joy and glory!

-Richard Keith Munro

So that’s the Coolin.

When there cease to be woman of worth like the Coolin the human race is finished Highland Mary would qualify I think as a Coolin.


I had the very great pleasure of seeing the lovely Mary O’Hara perform this song while she played the harp. She spoke, played and sang with perfect harmony, sweetness, honesty and serenity.

RE: The Coolin/chúilfhionn /An Cuilean

An bhfaca tú an chúilfhionn 's í ag siúl ar na bóithre

Maidin gheal drúchta 's gan smúit ar a bróga?

Is iomaí ógánach súilghlass ag tnúth lena pósadh

Ach ní bhfaigheann siad mo rúnsa an gcuntas is dóigh leo.

An bhfaca tú mo spéirbhean lá breá is í ina haonar

A cúl dualach drisleanach go slinneán síos léi?

Mil ar an ógbhean is rós breá ina héadan

'S is dóigh le gach spreasán gur leannán leis féin í.

An bhfaca tú mo bhábán 's í taobh leis an toinn

Fáinní óir ar a méara sí ag réiteach a cinn?

'Sé dúirt an Paorach a bhí ina mhaor ar an loing

Go mb'fhearr leis aige féin í ná Éire gan roinn.

(translation R. MUNRO)

Sawest thou the Coolin a-walkin’ the roads

A morning bright of dew dewy without a smudge on her brogues?

Many’s the young man envious and longing to espouse her

Ach, they won't get my inner-most love matter what they think!

Sawest thou my beautiful woman, ON fine day when she is alone

Her hair a-curling and a-twining, and a-hanging down about her shoulders?

Sweet young woman with the rosy blush on her brow

And every worthless man hopes she will be his lover.

Sawest thou my bonny young maid beside the sea

Rings of gold upon her fingers she is making up her mind?

Said Skipper Power, master of yon ship,

Far better to win the Coolin herself than Erin entire!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Re: “The Death of Protestant America” by Joseph Bottom FT (Aug/Sept 2008);“America as a Protestant Nation and the Root Causes of Mainline Disease”

Re: “The Death of Protestant America” by Joseph Bottom FT (Aug/Sept 2008)

Dear Sir:
Fascinating, informative and provocative articles by Joseph Bottom and by Mary Eberstadt. This is why I am a loyal subscriber to FIRST THINGS. I find book reviews and articles I would not find anywhere else. It is the only magazine I have that I keep. FIRST THING articles remain useful and readable. Even your poetry is as my Auld Pop would say :”Nae sae bad.; I enjoy some of your translations. Perhaps I will send you some translations of classical Spanish poetry or of Gaelic song.”
“America as a Protestant Nation and the Root Causes of Mainline Disease”
By Richard K. Munro 3300 words.
Joseph Bottom says “In truth, all the talk, from the eighteenth century on, of the United States as a religious nation was really just a make-nice way of saying it was a Christian nation—and even to call it a Christian nation was usually just a soft and ecumenical attempt to gloss over the obvious fact that the United States was, at its root, a Protestant nation. Catholics and Jews were tolerated, off and on…”
In my view we need to describe the USA as something different; Churchill called it the “Great Republic”; I do not recall he ever called America (or Britain for that matter) a “Protestant” nation. English-speaking, Yes. Democratic, yes. Enlightened (as opposed to benighted), yes. Connected to Christendom (The Reformation and Rome), Magna Carta and the mother country and its traditions (England or Britain), yes. There may have been anti-Catholic sentiment in the USA –just as there was anti-Semitism- but America was never a “Protestant nation” -in the sense England or Scotland was- with one single established church. In the British Isles, where Test Acts were strictly enforced, prior to Catholic and Jewish emancipation in the 19th century, non jurors, Jews and Roman Catholic, were routinely barred from public life, could not exercise the franchise –unless furtively risking perjury- ,were prohibited from attending or teaching in many schools, from holding rank in the military, or serving as judges. We can say that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland circa 1707-1830 WAS a “Protestant” nation where Jews and Catholics led a precarious existence politically and materially. In this sense the USA has never been a “Protestant” nation nor a “Catholic” nation and nor even a “Christian” nation and I say, thank God for it.
The USA was founded, of course, as a nation composed predominately of Protestant Christian sects but was never truly a “Protestant” nation or a possession merely of Protestant Americans, Alexis de Tocqueville notwithstanding. And as America expanded westward to the Spanish Southwest and became the haven to immigrants from the old world the percentage of Catholics (and Jews) increased.
Father John Carroll, the first Bishop of the Catholic Church in the USA, wrote:
Thanks to genuine spirit and Christianity, the United States have banished intolerance from their system of government, and many of them have done the justice to every denomination of Christians, which ought to be done to them in all, of placing them on the same footing of citizenship, and conferring an equal right of participation in national privileges. Freedom and independence, acquired by the united efforts, and cemented with the mingled blood of Protestant and Catholic fellow-citizens, should be equally enjoyed by all. . . .
Father Carroll was an ardent American patriot and devoted to the American principle of freedom of conscience (what he called “civil tolerance”). Nonetheless, Father McShane has written “That a late eighteenth-century Roman Catholic cleric would support religious liberty so warmly was surprising--even shocking.” But not to people who know the history of Catholicism in the British Isles, Canada and America. In Father Carroll’s sermon “An Address to the Roman Catholics of the United States of North America" (1790), he called for "General and equal toleration, by giving a free circulation to fair argument, is a most effectual method to bring all denominations of Christians to a unity of faith.” Nor did Carroll operate in isolation from other religious persuasions. “No minister of religion, moreover, contributed more to the ecumenical spirit that stamped the early national period than did Carroll. He developed close friendships with almost all the leaders of other denominations.”
Bottum says “even America’s much vaunted religious liberty was essentially a Protestant idea.” There is no question Protestant thinkers and leaders, such as Milton and Roger Williams in particular, contributed to the idea of tolerance and liberty of conscience (though as I recall from Edwin Gaustad even Roger Williams did not trust Catholics with the vote). I think instead the achievement of freedom of conscience was a joint effort of all the religious factions in America, including Catholics and Jews. One of the curious facts of America’s founding is that Catholic immigrants to American (British recusants and others) came to America, settling principally in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Maryland, for religious freedom just as any other Christian or religious sect.
The precarious status of Catholics in the British Isles was exemplified by the martyrs St. Thomas More, St. Edmund Campion and many others less known but with similarly tragic stories. By the 17th century and confirmed by the 18th century there was no chance whatsoever for a Catholic restoration. This led to a complete change of mentality among recusants one in which English-speaking Catholics tolerated mixed marriages and whose hope was not a return to supremacy but for peaceful coexistence and civil equality as a minority in a land dominated by Protestants. The first legislative act of religious tolerance was promulgated in 1649 in the colony of Maryland, a haven for English-speaking Catholics. There is no question that the royal charter of Rhode Island, received by Roger Williams in 1663, was the blueprint of religious freedom for other English colonies as well as being a foundation stone for the First Amendment. Maryland’s Act of Toleration, whatever its limitations- was also an important precursor to the First Amendment. When we add what happened in New York and Pennsylvania legally and pragmatically we have truly a religious freedom crafted by the American experiences of many varied religious sects, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish.
George Washington recognized both Catholic and Jewish individuals were instrumental in America gaining its independence as well as great Catholic nations such as France and Spain. Washington wrote of this in his letter of March 12, 1790” “I presume in your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic past, which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution and establishment of their Government or the important assistance which they received from a Nation in which the Roman Catholic Faith is professed.” A goodly number of the “international heroes” who fought in Washington’s forces –Lafayette , Kosciusko, Jorge Ferragut (the father of Admiral David Farragut), Commodore Barry –the list is quite long- were Roman Catholic.

Haym Solomon the Jewish financier and interpreter bravely assisted the American cause as a spy at great personal risk. George Washington visited the Touro Synagogue in 1790; when he did so he may have been the first head of state to attend Jewish service since the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. Washington wrote to the Hebrew Congregation (August 18, 1790): “I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport…the Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples or an enlarged and liberal policy; a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship….happily the Government of the United States, which gives bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance…May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants.”
Nothing like the Penal Laws ever existed in the United States; the constitution forbad religious tests from the very beginning. Before 1776, Catholics like Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration, were essentially marginalized. American independence meant emancipation for both Catholic and Jews. After the Revolution two of Carroll’s coreligionists Daniel Carroll (of Maryland) and Thomas Fitzsimons (of Pennsylvania) signed the U.S. Constitution, representing 3.6% of the signers.
Many prominent Americans were Roman Catholics, intermarried with Roman Catholics, were close friends of or were related to Roman Catholics in the early national era. James Monroe and Patrick Henry befriended Father John Dubois, a nonjuring French émigré priest –later Bishop of New York- and a close associate of St. Elizabeth Seton. Catholic Mass was celebrated at the State House at Richmond when Monroe and Henry were governors (and probably in their homes as well when Dubois was a guest). Monroe’s daughter Eliza, who had attended Catholic schools in France, was a convert to Catholicism and was allowed to be a close friend and correspondent of Father Dubois. Likewise both of James Monroe’s nephews, Col Jimmy Monroe and Andrew Monroe became adult converts to Catholicism. The two Monroe boys must have attended Mass in the Monroe home with Father Dubois and their aunt as a boy, which says a lot about the tolerance of Mr and Mrs. Monroe (who were Episcopalians) and their acceptance of Catholics as Americans and Christian brethren. Col Jimmy Monroe, a graduate of West Point, was elected to the U.S. Congress. Earlier Col. Jimmy was an aide to General Winfield Scott and he often attended Mass with Gen. Scott’s wife and children who were Catholic . Andrew Monroe, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, became a convert in China. He later became a Jesuit priest and a faculty member at St. Francis Xavier’s College. Francis Scott Key was related by marriage to Roger Taney, the first Roman Catholic Supreme Court judge. Stephen Douglas, the famous Democratic rival to Lincoln, was married to the Adele Cutts, a Roman Catholic and the daughter of James Madison Cutts who was a great-niece of former U.S. First Lady Dolley Madison. Douglas’s son by his first marriage, Robert M. Douglas, raised as a Catholic, became a prominent Republican and was a member of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
The list of prominent officers, judges and politicians of the United States who were Catholic has always been very representative of the percentage of Roman Catholics in the population. The same is true for Jews and other religious and ethnic minorities with the egregious exception until recent times, tragically, of African-Americans. So in that sense though there may have been anti-Catholic feeling among some Americans –just as there was anti-Jewish feeling- Catholics have always been able to operate as full citizens in the United States.
In any case, anti-Catholic feeling as Joseph Bottum has pointed out has diminished primarily due to the ecumenical influence of Vatican II, C.S. Lewis, John Paul II, Protestant ministers like Billy Graham and the Promise Keepers movement (which included Evangelicals and Catholics). Today intermarriage between the denominations is an everyday affair; about 10% of all former Protestants are former Catholics and about 8% of all Catholics are former Protestants. The most virulent anti-Catholic animus is almost unknown today among Evangelical Protestants most of whom consider Catholics to be Christian brethren. Ironically, anti-Catholic prejudice is to be found chiefly among the “tolerant” secular intellectual left, particularly pro-choice “Sangerite” feminists.
Therefore, I believe it correct to say the USA has never been a “Protestant” nation at any time, merely a nation without an established church and with almost complete freedom of religion. But I do understand what Bottum is thinking –in the 19th century and early 20th public life and public schools had a distinct “Protestant” quality or flavor in a way that is no longer the case due to the increased secularization of society. But speaking as a former Catholic educator even American Catholic schools today lack the distinct Catholic quality or flavor that they used to have when the student bodies and faculty were overwhelmingly Catholic.
Now we turn to the nature of “Mainline disease”. Bottum is right –I have known this for years- that old mainline Protestantism is moribund not only in America but in its European homeland. But Catholicism, too , is in trouble, particularly in its ancient European homeland but also elsewhere. Bottum is certainly right to be concerned that the rapid dechristianization of the Europe is contributing to an eroding of Christian roots. At one time countries with large Catholic populations –Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Poland- reinforced and provided intellectual leadership and continuity for American Catholics. This support and encouragement, with the exception of Poland, has diminished in the past thirty years to next to zero. Most of our foreign pastors come from the Philippines, Africa or India. It has been many years since I have met a young Irish-born priest, for example. When I was a young man I found them all over America and the world.
On the other hand -and I thank God for it- evangelical Protestantism (“Bible Christianity”)- remains vital in many areas both in the United States and in third world countries particularly Africa, the Philippines and South America.
“Mainline disease” essentially boils down to a church that requires nothing from its parishioners gradually loses its appeal, its prestige and its raison d’être. Even the Bible doesn’t have intellectual prestige anymore. When was the last time in a TV interview for a general interest news program anyone made single a biblical allusion? Compare McCain’s or Obama’s speeches to the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Biblical illiteracy must be at historic highs. This is what my father called the “pale Anglican” syndrome; so pale that even marriage or baptism no longer takes place. To be such a Christian is to be a Christian in name only, by heritage only, a birth certificate Christian or a descendant of a Christian. At one time this seemed to be an Anglican condition but now the “mainline disease” has spread and continues to spread to countries like Spain and Italy and through every Christian denomination to some degree.
What is the primary cause for this “mainline disease” whose symptoms are as Kenneth Woodward has pointed out consist of “running out of money and members and meaning.”? As Joseph Bottum says part of the reason is the emergence of “mere religion”. In this new “tolerance” there is the danger of indifferentism. There is no question that I feel closer as a Christian in my attitudes towards marriage, abortion and family to Evangelical Protestants, Missouri Synod Lutherans, Mormons and Orthodox Jews than I do to ‘liberal’ (or nominal Catholics). I am aware of common ground on such issues -we all read the Bible and C.S. Lewis- but I am not unaware of our theological differences.
We have to go deeper to find the root cause of “mainline disease.” As a young man I met dozens of attractive, well-educated American women but there was, usually, a deep chasm that separated us despite the fact that we were Americans and usually shared the same public school education. It took some time and some pain to discover the reason why. Christianity –learned at home, in church in my private life- was very important to me and was an indispensable part of our heritage. I remember my father explaining the most Gaelic surnames of Ireland and Scotland were Christian surnames recalling the great age of the Irish and British missionaries. Archibald MacLeish or Anne Lorne Gillies were not just names; the both meant ‘devotee of Jesus’. MacTaggart meant “son of the priest”. MacCallum meant “devotee of St. Columba”. McBride meant “devotee of St. Bridget”. I knew who the founder of Glasgow was (St. Mungo) and his legends and my family helped raise money to build the St. Columba Cathedral in Oban (Scotland) where my father’s mother was born. I also knew my clan stood by Mary of Guise and Mary Queen of Scots. So Faith was the cornerstone of my individual and family life; it was not for many of the people I met in the big city. Theirs were primarily materialistic concerns. I remember hearing some acquaintances who were happily married but childless for more than fifteen years say that they never intended to have children and didn’t care one way or another if their line or family name carried on. I have to admit I was flabbergasted; they were postmodernists and they considered my views, “medieval”. Certainly never the twain shall meet. The American women I met, college educated women in New York area and East Coast, had different ideas, different values and even a different faith such as Feminism, environmentalism and other isms. Most were indifferent to religion and the ideal of raising a family. The less I say about modern feminism (Simon De Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinham) the better. Suffice it to say that I believe radical feminism is inimical to a happy and balanced life and I think to Christianity (or religion in general) itself.
Radical feminism involves a huge change in moral standards. In most churches –this was and is a great weakness of both Catholicism and mainline churches - wives, sisters and mothers were and are the backbone of the church. When young women ceased to be actively involved in church life, delaying marriage and child bearing, sometimes indefinitely, the social, religious and educational life of a parish or church community just withered away. This new attitude towards sex and marriage profoundly changes culture. At one time it was presumed that modesty was a good thing for a woman; indeed there is an old saying that says “modesty is the true beauty of woman.” Today many American women are sexual aggressors. When I was a young man it was considered bad manners to curse in front of children or ladies. Now many young “ladies” use language that would make a sailor blush and they seem proud of it. This is, in my view, a very unfortunate and unbecoming side effect of ‘liberation’.
Be that as it may, everyone will agree that the new moral standards of the 1960’s were at loggerheads with traditional values. This new morality emanated from the college faculties; mainline churches, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Presbyterian and so forth just followed along. The Pill, condoms and diaphragms are handed out like aspirin or M&Ms. What would have been statutory rape in 1959 –sex between a 20 year old co-ed and a professor-is just another hook up. It is not unusual for an attractive female co-ed to “date” (meaning having sex with) both classmates and professors. Perhaps this happened in 1959 too but young women did not boast about it. Today it is common for young women to publicly boast about their sex lives, what sexual experiences they have had, when they lost their virginity, even how many abortions they have had. This kind of talk used to be reserved for locker rooms or dark smoky bars. Not anymore. This is why the Monica Lewinksy affair meant nothing to millions of Americans. She was over 21 it was just some fun and some on the job consensual sex (or sexual contact).
For millions of American women birth control and the right to abortion have become absolute personal rights that are not negotiable. When this sort of Sangerite feminism takes hold of the women of a church community that community is doomed. Marriage rates and birth rates plummet. Family life as I knew it disappears. The deep love, friendship and close relationships I had with my mother and grandparents disappear. Gone with it is the home-schooling in literature, religion, culture, history and music, the home cooked meals, the family recipes, home-made costumes, family prayers, family outings, family sing-a-longs, and family celebrations. I don’t call this liberation. I call it sexual suicide.
This new way of sexual liberation –which clears women from the homes and postpones having children- whether people like to hear it or not, is an unsustainable way of life. The disintegration of the family is the root cause of the “Mainline disease.” As Mary Eberstadt has written, Humanae Vitae, was in fact Cassandra-like.
Richard ("Ricardo") MUNRO, MA (Spanish Literature)
Teacher of English, history and Spanish
Bilingual Certificate of Competence (BCLAD)
Adjunct Faculty (AP Reader) ETS
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The Vindication of Humane Vitae” (FT Aug/Sept/ 2008 “Of Pimps, Planned Parenthood and Humanae Vitae”)

By Richard K. Munro

2100 words.

It is very interesting to me that Mary Eberstadt’s “The Vindication of Humanae Vitae” followed Bottom’s article “The Death of Protestant America” because you have there the root cause for the collapse of the mainline churches (including the Catholics in European countries where the Pill and the 1960’s has arrived). It is refreshing to me to read Albert Mohler, an Evangelical Southern Baptist, criticize artificial birth control, particularly the Pill. In my view he is exactly right when he says “I cannot imagine any development in human history, after the Fall, that has had a great impact on human beings than the Pill…”
Once again I am closer to him than I am to “Mainline” Christians (generally very liberal) or indifferent cafeteria Catholics. I frankly admit that of all Catholic teachings Humane Vitae was one that I did not defend. Why? For one reason the women I knew, secular, Protestant and Catholic were overwhelmingly and strongly against it. Mary Eberstadt is very right when she says:” contraceptive sex…is the fundamental social fact off our time” as is” the fierce and widespread desire to keep it.” I had to survive, have friends, not antagonize by professors or bosses so I kept a low profile. I still remain diplomatic but I am braver and more outspoken now because I am not looking for a mate nor competing for a job.
Mary Eberstadt lists the four trends predicted by Humanae Vitae: “a general lowering of moral standards throughout society; a rise in infidelity; a lessening of respect for women by men; and the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments.” Anthony Burgess predicted the cheapening of sex and the breakdown of society into “ultra violence” in his book Clockwork Orange. I will never forget what the main character calls sex: “the old in and out”. For many young men that’s all sex is today. Many American men, too, have been spoiled and corrupted by the sexual revolution. A constant complaint I hear from nice young women is that young men (high school and college aged) can’t be bothered to date girls who don’t “give out.” These men, they say, are interested primarily in easy hook-ups without any romance, friendship or commitments. It is possible, however, that fear of AIDS and STDs is making some young Americans more cautious.
Yes, the joys of childhood are nothing as compared to the joys of adultery! In my experience artificial birth control is no anywhere near 90% or 99% effectiveness rates touted by its proponents. Perhaps mature, married adults could achieve these numbers but the reality is young adults and adolescents often lack the wisdom and discipline to use contraceptives properly. The result is a skyrocketing rate of STD infections, more illegitimacy and more abortion. For many people today abortion is just another form of artificial birth control. For this reason alone Planned Parenthood is a misnomer; it should be rechristened “Planned Promiscuity and VD Inc.”
I was always very family oriented and close to my family. To me marriage meant openness to children. My father and mother taught me “never to date a girl who would not make a good mate.” But the American women I knew seemed to have no interest in marriage; that was something they would do much later, after age 30. After a while I stopped dating English-speaking women all together; between 1973 and 1982 at least 95 percent of my dates were with non-native English speaking women (this was easy to do since I lived in New York or Europe). One virtue these non Anglophone women had, besides tending to be more feminine, was they didn’t resort to vulgar Anglo-Saxon expletives –most considered them immodest and bad manners. Though I was not Latin or Hispanic I felt I had more in common with them than I did with my English-speaking female classmates at school who were almost totally given over to Planned Parenthood, the Pill and Total Emancipation (which included the right to curse freely). That wasn’t for me. Though I didn’t realize it at the time that Catholic world I knew in Europe 1964-1980 would soon vanish. Now I hardly recognize the places I knew and few of the children or our friends or relatives are baptized let alone regular church goers. The ‘60’s have definitely arrived in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Ireland.
But I was lucky; I married wonderful girl raised in that lost Catholic world. For the first time in my life I knew a girl who knew more lives of saints than I did. She was the widow’s nut brown daughter and a woman who liked hymns, Rodrigo’s Concierto Aranjez, opera and Spanish Zarzuela. She even had a record of Amazing Grace on the pipes. She liked books and poetry but did not have –it was possible in those days- a single word of English. She was the convent educated granddaughter of a country doctor and the niece of a nun. We had a very traditional and old fashioned courtship and it was a lot of fun for us and for her family. It was a relief that on matters of religion, marriage and family we were it total agreement! When we married she made a handmade bright green woolen shamrock for my lapel and sewed it on top our ancient clan tartan; the other side had the symbols and slogans of her Spanish home town. As a boy I had wanted to get married in a kilt with a piper but as a man I wore a blue suit (with a tartan tie) and for Spanish guitars (I have no regrets).
There is no question my wife was much more strongly pro-life than I was at the time and has helped shape through prayer, teaching and discussion my views and the views of our children. We have been happily married for 26 years and we have three pro-life, pro-family and perfectly bilingual Catholic children. Though my wife and I came from different language traditions we shared the most important things: our family values and a deep and abiding faith in God. There is no question we felt we were children of the West, children of Christendom. The differences in our nationality were not that important. Nonetheless on August 4, 2008 my wife will take the oath of citizenship as an American because America is her country now as well as mine and her children’s.
As I said, I have never been a vociferous advocate of abortion rights but neither have I been in the past strongly and openly pro-life. After I saw the film BELLA with my wife I had a complete change of mind. I admit sheepishly that as a catechist I have appeased the youth who at times mock and flout the Catholic Church’s openly even during their catechism. The siren call of sexual pleasure, once tasted, is, I think for young people an irresistible temptation. I suppose I felt that Humanae Vitae and all it stood for may have been the cause of true honor but it was a forlorn hope and for society a lost cause. Now, I have changed my views. I am beginning to think that the traditional morality espoused by Humanae Vitae is the only hope of America (and the West in general). Demography will decide the destiny of nations, language families and faith traditions.
I am not laughing. I am teaching and above all I am praying. And I pray to God my own children spurn the Sangerite doctrines that dominate the colleges. My single greatest worry is that my children, who are all in college or soon will be, might be ‘turned’ in college by their peers, the music they listen to, or by their professors. But there is a great difference between today and 1965. In 1965 the Sexual Revolution caught many parents completely unaware; today concerned parents are aware of the evil in the world (and in school dormitories). So they encourage safer paths such as living off campus in an apartment with close friends. It is not a secret that I would no sooner trust my daughters to the co-ed dorms of most colleges than I would trust a pimp on 42nd street. I know that schools and colleges are not necessarily on our side in fact they may be virtually enemy institutions whose values are completely at odds with Catholicism or traditional minded Christianity. Many parents are better prepared, more skeptical and much more cautious than my parent’s generation. We do not want to lose our children to the sly forces of evil. We know who those diabolical forces are. It is they who undermine marriage and traditional values and who mock Humanae Vitae. It is they who desire to separate women form men and foment hatred and distrust between the two sexes instead of harmony. It is they who promote promiscuity, a culture of death, “planned” un-parenthood and non-traditional lifestyles.
I pray to God that one day in the near future I will attend the marriage of each of my children. Soon thereafter I will be surrounded by a goodly number of my own grandchildren. I pray for to be there for important milestones such as baptisms, ball games and school graduations and God-willing even their marriage. As I am in good health and reasonably young I have a better chance at this than many of my “with-it” contemporaries for the simple reason is when child bearing is delayed until almost middle age it is more likely the grandparents will not survive to see their grandchildren. That is very sad and it has a deletrious societal and educational effect. It was a very happy thing for us and for my children that all of them got to know and love and learn from three of their grandparents. To this very day my son talks about the trips we all took together, the ball games we saw, the games we played, the meals we ate, the realia and pictures of two World Wars, the books from my father’s library, the visits to Washington, D.C., Arlington cemetery; the movies and actors “grandpop” liked –Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery and Ingrid Bergman were great favorites. My father actually saw Babe Ruth play; he saw Clark Gable in person; he saluted and exchanged words with General MacArthur; he saw movies in Manila with Commander Robert Montgomery; he saw Leslie Howard AND Bogart on the stage; he corresponded with Gilbert Highet. My son got to know his grandfather as good man, a brave man, a man of honor, a wise man. My son came to understand why his grandfather was so respected, so honored and so loved and he cherishes the relationship he had with his grandfather as I cherished my relationship with my father’s father. Then there were the songs my mother sang; the languages our people knew and the places where they lived. “How sweet was then my mother’s voice in the martyr’s psalm!” If you don’t have close continuity between the generations all that is lost. One might as well be an orphan. It is good to learn and remember the people you came from.
There is no question in my mind that belief and action -both benevolent and evil- often go hand in hand. The Great Teacher said: “You shall know them by their fruits” (Mathew 7:16) I pray to God often that my children will be delivered from evil and so often read to myself and to them Psalm 127:
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

“Aye! ‘S truth!!!” , my Auld Pop would have said. He was, by our standards, an uneducated man, but he was wise as he was brave and loyal. He often said: “You can’t just make up your rules as you go along. “Whom God teaches not, man cannot teach” . Wisdom and humility come with knowledge of God. Remember always to DREAD GOD, to REVERENCE UNTO GOD. That is the first thing. Then be a man of honor and a man of your word. If you remember these things will not go far wrong. Aye! ” I have not forgotten. NE OBLIVISCARIS.
Too many think today: “we are wise and know more than all the previous generations before us”. So they dismiss Humanae Vitae as just meaningless nonsense. That really is a laugh.
Richard ("Ricardo") MUNRO, MA (Spanish Literature)
Teacher of English, history and Spanish
Bilingual Certificate of Competence (BCLAD)
Adjunct Faculty (AP Reader) ETS
Master Catechist (New Wine) , Diocese of Fresno.
West High School (Kern HS District)
Home of the Vikings
1200 New Stine Rd
Bakersfield, CA 93309
(661) 832-2822
fax (661) 831-5606

Monday, July 21, 2008

NO WOMAN IS AN ISLAND.............. ................ INGRID BERGMAN ............ FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

INGRID BERGMAN aged 27 during the filming of FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS circa July 1942

She won three Oscars. A Tony and two Emmy’s


No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem - the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose. The words of the original passage are as follows:

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..."

¿Por quién doblan las campanas? Argentina / Mexico / Spain
Pour qui sonne le glas Canada (French title) / France
Wem die Stunde schlägt Austria / West Germany
Gia poion ktypa i kabana Greece
Hvem ringer klokkerne for? Denmark
Kenelle kellot soivat Finland
Klockan klämtar för dig Sweden
Per chi suona la campana Italy
Por Quem os Sinos Dobram Brazil

For Whom the Bell Tolls NEW YORK PREMIERE 14 July 1943;
Swedish premiere 28 April 1944.
Spanish premier 1978 (it was banned by Franco)

If you look carefully you can see a young and very skinny Yvonne De Carlo in the Spanish cafe scene!


Ingrid Bergman ... María
Akim Tamiroff ... Pablo
Arturo de Córdova ... Agustín (violent)
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Anselmo (guide)
Mikhail Rasumny ... Rafael (Gypsy)
Fortunio Bonanova ... Fernando (calm)
Eric Feldary ... Andrés (courier to Gen. Golz)
Victor Varconi ... Primitivo (lookout)
Katina Paxinou ... Pilar WON OSCAR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS; famous Greek stage actress
Joseph Calleia ... El Sordo
Lilo Yarson ... Joaquin
Alexander Granach ... Paco
Adia Kuznetzoff ... Gustavo
Leonid Snegoff ... Ignacio
Leo Bulgakov ... General Golz
Duncan Renaldo ... Lt. Berrendo
Frank Puglia ... Captain Gomez
Pedro de Cordoba ... Colonel Miranda
Michael Visaroff ... Staff officer
Martin Garralaga ... Captain Mora
Jean Del Val ... The Sniper
John Mylong ... Colonel Duval (as Jack Mylong)
Feodor Chaliapin Jr. ... Kashkin (as Feodor Chaliapin)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maxine Ardell ... Cafe girl (uncredited)
John Bleifer ... Peasant who flails González (uncredited)
Dick Botiller ... Sergeant (Elias' man) (uncredited)
Yakima Canutt ... Young cavalryman (uncredited)
Eduardo Ciannelli ... (uncredited)
Harry Cording ... Man who flails the mayor (uncredited)
Franco Corsaro ... Elias' man (uncredited)
George Coulouris ... André Massart (uncredited)
Michael Dalmatoff ... Mayor Benito García (cliff victim) (uncredited)
Marjorie Deanne ... Cafe girl (uncredited)

Yvonne De Carlo ... Girl in cafe (uncredited)
William Edmunds ... Soldier #1 (uncredited)
Lynda Grey ... Cafe girl (uncredited)
Soledad Jiménez ... Guillermo's wife (uncredited)
Christopher King ... Cafe girl (uncredited)
Alice Kirby ... Cafe girl (uncredited)
Frank Lackteen ... Elias' man (uncredited)
Louise La Planche ... Cafe girl (uncredited)
Manuel López ... Civil Guard (uncredited)
Antonio Molina ... Guillermo (cliff victim) (uncredited)
Ernesto Morelli ... Civil Guard (uncredited)
Alberto Morin ... Soldier #2 (uncredited)
Mayo Newhall ... Ricardo (cliff victim) (uncredited)
Manuel París ... Officer of Civil Guards shot by Pablo (uncredited)
Marcella Phillips ... Cafe girl (uncredited)
Pedro Regas ... Soldier #3 (uncredited)
Tito Renaldo ... Young sentry from Anselmo's village (uncredited)
Luis Rojas ... Drunkard who flails Guillermo (uncredited)
Armand Roland ... Julian (horseman killed by Roberto) (uncredited)
Konstantin Shayne ... Karkov (uncredited)
George Sorel ... Bored sentry reading newspaper (uncredited)
Robert Tafur ... Faustino Rivero (handsome cliff victim) (uncredited)
José Luis Tortosa ... Civil Guard (uncredited)
Trini Varela ... Spanish singer (Madrid cafe) (uncredited)

$3,000,000 (estimated)

$7,100,000 (USA)

Filming Dates
July 1942 - October 1942 JUST AFTER CASABLANCA (1942)

I like Gary Cooper and I like the Spanish setting. Hemingway had Gary Cooper in mind even before he wrote the original book (as per Cooper's daughter). The character is a composite of a Spanish professor whom Hemmingway knew in Spain and Cooper who was from Montana like Robert Jordan.

I love the musical score from VICTOR YOUNG (two OSCARS; he did the music to the QUIET MAN,AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS -probably his most famous sountrack, RIO GRANDE (John Ford),Johnny Guitar (a classic western with Joan Crawford). He also did the soundtrack for the SANDS OF IWO JIMA and died Nov 10 1956 (the Marine Corps Anniversary). He won his Oscar postuhomously.

GREAT QUOTE from Ingrid Bergman:(she had been gang raped by nationalist rebels)

In spite of all the things that were done to me...I never kissed a man until you...and now there are only three days and three nights!

ROBERTO Are you afraid?
Maria: Not now. I love you, Roberto. Always remember. I love you as I loved my father and mother, as I love our unborn children, as I love what I love most in the world, and I love you more. Always remember.
ROBERTO I'll remember.
Maria: Nothing can ever part us now, can it?
ROBERTO Nothing, Maria.

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS was Ingrid Bergman' 's first Technicolor film.

Ingrid Bergman was in her late 20’s and at the height of her beauty and charm.

Bergman could speak Swedish (her native language), German (her second language; her mother was German) English (learned when brought over to United States but she always had a slight Swedish accent) Italian (one of her husband was Italian) French (learned formally from teachers.

In addition, she acted in each of these languages at various times on the stage or in film which is really remarkable.

I don’t think any other great actress even comes close in this regard.

She was gorgeous as a young woman but she was not primarily a skinny model type. She had three children (two with the director Robert Rosselini) and really by her late 30’s and 40’s she was very full figured.

She lost some weight for Anastasia (1956)that she put on during her Italian years but by the time she made INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS (1958) she was quite middle aged and (by Hollywood standards) fat.

The Original book on which INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS was called the “Little Woman” because Glady Alyward as so small and thin (only about 100 pounds!) so the had to find a new title for the film because there was nothing little about Ingrid . I think she was 5 ‘ 10 or 5 ‘ll and even in her prime probably weighed at least 145.
That film was Robert Donat's final film. His last lines were "I think we shall never meet again. Farewell." He played the part of a roguish Mandarin who converts to Christianity in the end.

In Ingrid's later films I am sure she was not 200 but 175 or more.
She was not a small woman. BUT A GREAT ACTRESS and a mother of three children.

My Auld Pop would have said "yon's nae a paltry woman!"

He always said 'paltry women wadna survive a Highland winter until Easter."

I like Gary Cooper too and of course this is the only book and film I know where the hero is an American Spanish teacher. I love Hemingway's novel too of course.

In the film Greek actress Katrerina Paxinou one the Oscar for best supporting actress as the matronly earthy Pilar.

See the uncut version and read the book or at least scenes of the book on which the film was based.

Amazingly there has never been a CD of the soundrack but I have an old mono LP of the soundtrack from the fifties.

Of all the Hemingway films this was the closest to his own work.

Ingrid was a great favorite of my parents and they knew her daughter Pia Lindstrom socially (she was a TV announcer in New York in the 1960’s and 1970’s). My mother could speak several languages fluently including Swedish and German.

Pia would go to all the plays and operas and fund raisers etc. She was almost as tall and beautiful as her mother EXCEPT she was very thin and trim all the times we saw her.

Of course CASABLANCA is probably Bergman's most famous movie and I like it but it is NOT my favorite Bogart or Bergman movie.

My favorite Bogart film ("Bumphrey Gocart" was our affectioate nickname for him)is probably PETRIFIED FOREST and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (and Inn of the Sixth Happiness) are my favorite Bergman movies.

Long live Ingrid the Berg (the Mountain)as my father used to call her.

And he loves her all the more!

(Richard K. Munro 1955- )

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna

Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where our hero was buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night, The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light And the lantern dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast, Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said, And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead, And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head, And we far away on the billow!

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone, And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him --
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down, From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone, But we left him alone with his glory!

Charles Wolfe

My father used to recite this to me ; he knew dozens of poems by heart and often would recite them when we went walking.

My ancestor Aonghas Rothaich (Angus Munro) was a witness of the burial at Corunna and a veteran of the Peninsular War. There is a township in the Western Isles named Corunna after this famous rear guard action and burial.

There is a story he saved a Spanish girl and her duenna at Ciudad Rodrigo and he fell in love with her but she did not want leave her homeland and go so far away to Scotland.

Well as he came back from the wars he told this story wherever he went. In one cabin near to Perth he told the story to a Miss Keith who was no an unattractive woman but pushing 30 which in those days was virtually an old maid. She is supposed to have said to him: “ Well I will go away with you to the Highlands and you won’t have to tell the story of the Spanish girl any more! “ Angus married her and so that is how our line of Munro crossed with the Clan Keith

(Richard Keith Munro)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Caritas patiens est, benigna est

The three Theological Virtues listed in the Bible are (1 Cor 13)
• Faith (πίστις)
• Hope (ἐλπίς)
Love or Charity (ἀγάπη)

In Catholic theology, it is held that these virtues differ from the cardinal virtues in that they can not be obtained by human effort. A person can only receive them by their being "infused"—through Divine grace—into the person

There are four cardinal virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. These were derived initially from Plato and adapted by Saint Ambrose, Augustine of Hippo, and Thomas Aquinas (see Summa Theologica II(I).61).

The term "cardinal" comes from the Latin cardo (hinge); the cardinal virtues are so called because they are hinges upon which one’s life and fortunes swing.

Charles Mangan has written:

"Whenever authentic hope is recognized in another, the observer comes away greatly edified, fortified in his own difficulties and strengthened in his personal pursuit of an increase in supernatural hope." Saint John Bosco (1815-1888), whom the Church liturgically commemorates on January 31, is a model of hope for all brothers and sisters of Jesus. Riddled by scorn heaped upon him by the anti-clerics of his day and acknowledging the horrendous obstacles which plagued the young men under his charge, Don Bosco responded with warmth, courage and charity. His eyes were fixed firmly on the Savior. This indefatigable apostle of the youth — hailed by Pope John Paul II as the "teacher and father to the young" — endured all trials which confronted him. Instead of lashing out in anger, he realized that God would preserve Him and give the success to his hands which the Lord Himself desired".

One of the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila wrote (this is the translation from the Spanish,

"Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end"

1 Corinthians Chapter 13
Charity is to be preferred before all gifts.
English (Douay-Rheims)
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up,
5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil: 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth:
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void or tongues shall cease or knowledge shall be destroyed.
9 For we know in part: and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child.
12 We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known.
13 And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

Old Testament first published 1609 by the English College at Douay
New Testament first published 1582 by the English College at Rheims
Revised and Annotated 1749 by Bishop Richard Challoner
Imprimatur. +James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, September 1, 1899

Latin (Clementine Vulgate)

1 Si linguis hominum loquar, et angelorum, caritatem autem non habeam, factus sum velut æs sonans, aut cymbalum tinniens.
2 Et si habuero prophetiam, et noverim mysteria omnia, et omnem scientiam: et si habuero omnem fidem ita ut montes transferam, caritatem autem non habuero, nihil sum.
3 Et si distribuero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas, et si tradidero corpus meum ita ut ardeam, caritatem autem non habuero, nihil mihi prodest.

4 Caritas patiens est, benigna est. Caritas non æmulatur, non agit perperam, non inflatur,
5 non est ambitiosa, non quærit quæ sua sunt, non irritatur, non cogitat malum,
6 non gaudet super iniquitate, congaudet autem veritati:
7 omnia suffert, omnia credit, omnia sperat, omnia sustinet.

8 Caritas numquam excidit: sive prophetiæ evacuabuntur, sive linguæ cessabunt, sive scientia destruetur.
9 Ex parte enim cognoscimus, et ex parte prophetamus.
10 Cum autem venerit quod perfectum est, evacuabitur quod ex parte est.
11 Cum essem parvulus, loquebar ut parvulus, sapiebam ut parvulus, cogitabam ut parvulus. Quando autem factus sum vir, evacuavi quæ erant parvuli.
12 Videmus nunc per speculum in ænigmate: tunc autem facie ad faciem. Nunc cognosco ex parte: tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum.
13 Nunc autem manent fides, spes, caritas, tria hæc: major autem horum est caritas.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes

I have probably heard every Kenneth McKellar recording 100 times or more. I don’t listen to him EVERY Day but certainly at least ONCE a week and in the old days I listened to his music at least one hour a day and sometimes over and over until I memorized the lyrics of LOCH NA GAR. Byron spent some of his childhood in Scotland and of course was very conscious and very proud of his Scottish origins.

It is one of my favorite Scottish songs in English and I often play the tune on the piano.

"Loch na Gar"

Lord Byron

Away ye gay landscapes, ye Gardens of roses
In you let the minions of luxury rove
Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love.
Yet Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains
Round their white summits though elements war
Thorough cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains
I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd
My cap was the bonnet, my coat was the plaid
On chieftains long perish'd my memory ponder'd
As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade.
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star
For fancy was cheered by traditional story
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.

'Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?'
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices
And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale.
Round Loch na Garr, while the stormy mist gathers
Winter presides in his cold icy car:
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers;
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.

'Ill-starr'd, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?'
Ah! were you destin'd to die at Culloden,
Victory rown'd not you fall with applause:
Still were you happy in death's earthly slumber
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar'
The pibroch resounds to the pipers loud number,
Your deeds on the echos of dark Loch na Garr.

Years have roll'd on, Loch na Garr, since I left you
Years must elapse ere I see you again
Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you
Yet still thou art dearer than Albion's plain.
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved o'er the mountains afar
Oh for the crags that are wild and magestic!
The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr.

Midi sequenced by Barry Taylor

Written by Lord Byron it was included in his "Hours of Idleness" (1807).

Byron spent part of his early life near Loch na Garr, which together with Ben Mcacdhui, Cairntoul and Cairngorm, from the the Cairngorm range of mountains, rising at the meeting of the Shires of Inverness, Banff and Aberdeen.

It's height is approximately 3,777 feet (1,151 m).

Byron described Loch na Garr as 'certainly one of the most sublime and picturesque among our Caledonian alps'.

The air was composed by Mrs Patrick Gibson (1786-1838) of Edinburgh, who also ran a boarding-school for ladies. A tip of the hat to Mrs. Gibson; yon's a fond tune, aye!

A Fine Song for Singing a Rare song to hear!

Lover's Call

By Kahil Gibran
(Set to music by WILLIAM JACKSON)

Where are you, my beloved? Are you in that little
Paradise, watering the flowers who look upon you
As infants look upon the breast of their mothers?

Or are you in your chamber where the shrine of
Virtue has been placed in your honor, and upon
Which you offer my heart and soul as sacrifice?

Or amongst the books, seeking human knowledge,
While you are replete with heavenly wisdom?

Oh companion of my soul, where are you? Are you
Praying in the temple? Or calling Nature in the
Field, haven of your dreams?

Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?

You are God's spirit everywhere;
You are stronger than the ages.

Do you have memory of the day we met, when the
halo of
Your spirit surrounded us, and the Angels of Love
Floated about, singing the praise of the soul's deed?

Do you recollect our sitting in the shade of the
Branches, sheltering ourselves from Humanity, as
the ribs
Protect the divine secret of the heart from injury?

Remember you the trails and forest we walked, with
Joined, and our heads leaning against each other,
as if
We were hiding ourselves within ourselves?

Recall you the hour I bade you farewell,
And the Maritime kiss you placed on my lips?
That kiss taught me that joining of lips in Love
Reveals heavenly secrets which the tongue cannot

That kiss was introduction to a great sigh,
Like the Almighty's breath that turned earth into

That sigh led my way into the spiritual world,
Announcing the glory of my soul; and there
It shall perpetuate until again we meet.

I remember when you kissed me and kissed me,
With tears coursing your cheeks, and you said,
"Earthly bodies must often separate for earthly purpose,
And must live apart impelled by worldly intent.

"But the spirit remains joined safely in the hands of
Love, until death arrives and takes joined souls to God.

"Go, my beloved; Love has chosen you her delegate;
Over her, for she is Beauty who offers to her follower
The cup of the sweetness of life.
As for my own empty arms, your love shall remain my
Comforting groom; your memory, my Eternal wedding."

Where are you now, my other self? Are you awake in
The silence of the night? Let the clean breeze convey
To you my heart's every beat and affection.

Are you fondling my face in your memory? That image
Is no longer my own, for Sorrow has dropped his
Shadow on my happy countenance of the past.

Sobs have withered my eyes which reflected your beauty
And dried my lips which you sweetened with kisses.

Where are you, my beloved? Do you hear my weeping
From beyond the ocean? Do you understand my need?
Do you know the greatness of my patience?

Is there any spirit in the air capable of conveying
To you the breath of this dying youth? Is there any
Secret communication between angels that will carry to
You my complaint?

Where are you, my beautiful star? The obscurity of life
Has cast me upon its bosom; sorrow has conquered me.

Sail your smile into the air; it will reach and enliven me!
Breathe your fragrance into the air; it will sustain me!

Where are you, me beloved?
Oh, how great is Love!
And how little am I!

Movie Review: Peter Berg's the KINGDOM

PETER BERG’S THE KINGDOM: A GOOD MOVIE THRILLER. ENTERTAINING AND PRO-AMERICAN but not really as sophisticated as it tries to be.
THE KINGDOM does not have as many pretensions, however, as SYRIANA. It is above all a thriller with timely “War on Terror” setting. I imagined US Marines or US soldiers seeing this film in Camp Victoria in Iraq and cheering! That’s not bad in my book. I PREDICT THIS WILL BE A MAJOR HIT of 2007.


By Richard Munro

In days now long, long gone I used to go to the movies after I read the New York Times movie reviews. I might still read NYT reviews for fun as an afterthought but neither they nor the NYT is a part of my daily life anymore. (I still read the WSJ when I can, however which gave the KINGDOM a mediocre review which I disagree with). I went to see the KINGDOM the new anti-terrorist thriller by Peter Berg not because of ads on TV or movie reviews in the paper but from buzz from people I trust on the internet who include ex-Army officers and ex-Marine NCO’s and officers.

I was not disappointed but then I did not expect THE KINGDOM to be LAURENCE OF ARABIA or even THE FRENCH CONNECTION. The first four minutes were, I think, the most imaginative and educational first four minutes of any film have ever seen. So for a few moments the film seems like a four star movie ready to make movie history. I give Peter Berg credit for trying to educate the public about the connection between the American oil industry, America’s support for Israel and the rise of Al-Qaida (Islamo-fascism). He leaves out BP, the British background (but perhaps he assumed everyone has seen Laurence of Arabia) not to mention the French and the Germans and everyone else who was up to their eyeballs in financing and building Saddam Hussein’s bunker’s and armies. Unfortunately, the film does not live up to that initial hype and turns into a very good -but predictable- cops and robbers movie with the good cops (our guys the FBI battling both the bad guys and corrupt turncoats at the same time (reminiscent of let’s say THE UNTOUCHABLES.)

Nonetheless, there is no question that The Kingdom is a worthy effort as a welcome anti-terrorist thriller with SOME brains. The production was professional and the acting, especially by Ashraf Barhom, as Faris Al Ghazi the Saudi cop, was uniformly first class. Jamie Foxx as special agent Ronald Fluery is the kind of black male solid family role model we wish we had more of; but that having been said, he was very good. Jennifer Garner is nice to look at though a little too small skinny I think to fight with the vigor she fights; we needed a homely but towering Gertrude from Iowa or Wisconsin for this spot, realistically speaking. (But since this is Hollywood you have too have some sex-appeal and Texan Garner is cute but not too pretty and girlish for the role). The movie wisely sticks to the drama, however, and has no silly romantic subplots. Ms. Garner is told to cover her ‘boobies’ and she does for the rest of the film; there are no shower scenes here. Chris Cooper, whom I remember from Mel Gibson’s the PATRIOT, does a very good job as the explosives expert who knows how to shoot –reminding me of old David Niven in the Guns of Navarone which I saw when it first came out, thinking it was the greatest film of all time (but I was only six years old at the time!)

In the genre of thrillers THE KINGDOM comes close to the best ranking below classics like the UNTOUCHABLES Sean Connery ,Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner (1987), French Connection (1971) with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider and the The Third Man (1949) with Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. THE KINGDOM does have a bad guy ABU HAMSA –presumably a sympathizer with Bin Laden and Al Qaida- but he is not a bad guy you really get to know and hate like De Niro’s Al Capone or Fernando Rey’s Alain Charnier. Who could forget Capone’s banquet scene or the terrorist bombing that killed an innocent little girl or the scene in which the honest cop is frozen to the bone while the corrupt drug king pin is having a leisurely gourmet meal with his ill-gotten gains?

I would rank THE KINGDOM just about the level of Voice of Terror (1942) the entertaining Anti-Nazi Sherlock Holmes film with Basil Rathbone and Dirty Harry (1971) with Clint Eastwood. Those were entertaining movies, splendidly acted and paced but really only pretended to be sophisticated and worldly wise.

But of course THE KINGDOM is not just in the genre of thrillers. It also is a Middle East mess genre movie so it could be put on the ‘must see list’ along with LAURENCE OF ARABIA ( masterpiece so towering that the KINGDOM is a cartoon by comparison –a good cartoon but a cartoon nonetheless) and the near-great Aussie film THE LIGHTHORSEMEN (1987) directed by Simon Wincer starring mostly Australian cast plus Anthony Andrews who splendidly plays Maj. Richard Meinertzhagen the non-pommy Pommy Officers.

Of course as this setting is the same as Laurence of Arabia they share a character in common: General Allenby. The Lighthorsemen deals more with the Turks than the Arabs but it is still a splendid war film that gives a background to modern Middle East history. It was British Empire and Commonwealth bayonets –not Americans who created Iraq etc. Aramco came later and America has essentially filled the vacuum of a fading and faltering British Empire. This is not a well-known film but I highly recommend it. It was brilliantly filmed and acted and unlike the KINGDOM it is based on a true story not unlike LAURENCE OF ARABIA though from a different perspective.

In today’s culture a movie will have much more impact than a book and if it catches on will have an enduring influence on the popular culture. I have always been a discerning moviegoer and I like to see great films in theaters and on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen. Nonetheless, I believe movies are very important for entertainment as well as for their educational and political value. In the 1850’s people saw stage versions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; today we see movies. So I try to stay up on movies.

Another new film with a War on Terror theme is due out October 2007 called Rendition and the word on this film is that it is anti-American and shows the CIA to be as bad or worse than the Gestapo or the ruthless Cuban DGI or Soviet KGB. I have already made a mental note to boycott Rendition. If I want anti-American propaganda I will watch Al-Jazeera. I didn’t really like the nihilism of Jarhead either though it has some good parts. But I would never see it again nor recommend it to anyone.
I think it was the NYT that said that THE KINGDOM was ‘Syriana for Dummies’. In 2005 I saw Syriana (directed by Stephen Gaghan) which was interesting, particularly in its depiction of he crazed, brutalized and alienated young Muslim (Pakistani) who turns suicide bomber and terrorist. On the other hand the ‘noble Arab prince’ with a PHD (in “Liberal Democracy”?) who is denied his chance at a coup d’etat to turn HIS Kingdom into something worthwhile was, in my opinion a silly caricature perhaps made to pander to Arabs. Gaghan ,who made the movie TRAFFIC, seems to equated all big business (especially Big Oil) with corruption and theft ; forgetting their important role in the development in the economy and the production of a very valuable and needed product. So ultimately I did not find SYRIANA satisfying or believable though it was a good try and a grown up movie.
THE KINGDOM does not have as many pretensions as SYRIANA. The weakest part of the entire movie was the phoney gnomic wisdom ending reminding us that violence only begets violence warning us perhaps not to enjoy vengeance TOO MUCH. But in my view this would be like giving a Hitler Youth SS Division grenadier that last word in a movie which depicted the massacre of unarmed allied soldiers. That was the stupidest movie line I have heard in a long time but I think it was sop to world opinion that the Americans are just as bad as the bad guys so buy a ticket, Mustafa.
But what the KINGDOM is above all, is a thriller with timely “War on Terror” setting. This is no Ken Burns documentary with an attempt at real depth. All the American characters were foul-mouthed secular humanists; one would never know from THE KINGDOM that people from Southern Virginia are more likely to be pure-mouthed Bible thumping Evangelicals rather than cussing nihilists like the Chris Cooper character. The only really moral person in the movie is Ashraf Barhom as Faris; he is SO GOOD I almost felt –momentarily of course- that Islam is the Answer (to cussing and excessive boozing at least). But I will say this as well, the American families wiped out by the terrorist attack seemed pretty clean cut and innocent. There is absolutely no sympathy in this music for mass murder, torture or decapitation by knife which is a good thing. Peter Berg does not know or ignored the fact that Bin Laden and his ilk deeply fear the USA for what it really is: the heart and soul of the Christian West both Catholic and Protestant. Bin Laden knows he can eventually undermine and overwhelm Secular Europacifists but he knows the muscular Christianity of America is his true enemy. If he can destroy or weaken America he can destroy Israel.
Yes, the KINGDOM is not a masterpiece, sorry to say. It is a cross between the UNTOUCHABLES, WHERE EAGLES DARE –they never ran out of ammunition either- and CSI.
Yes, if you want some sleuthing, some heroic action, some adult substance and pure thrills THE KINGDOM will not disappoint. Of all the post 9/11 movies I have seen (World Trade Center, Flight 93, Syriana) this is the best one and I rate it just above Flight 93 for pure entertainment and better than the other post 9/11 movies. The KINGDOM is not a must see movie by any means but it is a very satisfying film if you want to see a wicked gang of bloody thirsty and ruthless terrorists get whooped (they do and good). It is almost like OBJECTIVE BURMA goes to Saudi Arabia (the enemy body count is about the same).
I predict this will be a major hit just for that reason. I remind everyone that in 1968 one of the top grossing pictures was John Wayne’s Green Berets. In some Southern towns younger brothers and sisters of American soldiers and Marines saw it a dozen times. They desperately wanted a movie showing the Americans as the good guys and John Wayne put his money where his mouth was and obliged them. To this day John Wayne is a number one hero to many veterans for that reason alone. They remember he was on their side.
I imagine US Marines or US soldiers seeing THE KINGDOM in Camp Victoria in Iraq and cheering! For them alone, Hollywood should make more movies like the KINGDOM. They did during WWII and they should do it now. Those who do will be remembered honored and loved for all time the way John Ford, John Wayne and Henry Fonda are remembered today with their classic films THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, the SEARCHERS and his MISTER ROBERTS.
So here’s to THE KINGDOM. A rattling good show in which OUR SIDE to quote the London Times, “Kicks Ass”. Hooray for that. The Kingdom

CLIAR: a Great Highland Band:Tha gach nì slàn aig a’ chòmhlan seo.”

S e glè bheag a chòmhlain air thalamh a tha nan tosgairean cho cumhachdach air eachdraidh an dùthcha – ceudan de bhliadhnaichean de chànan, cultur, òrain, is sgeulachdan. Tha smior eachdraidh Ghàidhlig na h-Alba aig cridhe Chliar – còmhlan de shianar stèidhichte air Ghàidhealtachd ‘s ann an Eileanan na h-Alba – agus co-dhiù tha iad air àrd-ùrlar no air clàr, chan eil ceist ann ach gu bheil iad làn-airidh air an cliù mar chòmhlan cho adhartach ‘s a th’ ann an ceòl traidiseanta na h-Alba.
“Duine sam bith air thòir air sàr-eisimpleir de cheòl acustach air Ghàidhealtachd, cha ruigeadh iad a leas a dhol nas fhaide. Tha gach nì slàn aig a’ chòmhlan seo.”


There are few bands in the world with the ability to represent their country’s history – hundreds of years of language, culture, music, song and storytelling – so powerfully. Cliar, a six-piece band based in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, captures the essence of Scotland’s Gaelic history and presents it on stage and on their albums in a way which leaves no doubt about their place at the leading edge of traditional Scottish music.
"Anyone looking for a definitive example of acoustic music in the Highlands need look no further. This band has it all."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Obama: Spanish as an official language of the USA?

RE: Subject: How do you say 'Up yours, pal' in Spanish? (Obama’s educational advice to Americans)


How do say ‘Up yours, pal’ in Spanish?

Speak for your self Sportin’ life (Mr. Obama)..

I think it was in extremely bad taste for Obama to make fun of mainstream Americans in public and pandering to the anti-American feelings of some immigrants (and European reporters present).

To assert that immigrants will AUTOMATICALLY learn English regardless of the kind of teaching and curriculum they are given or regardless of their school attendance is an insult to every teacher of English language development.

For Mr. Obama to assert that any American who supports English as the official language of America is “English-only” or anti-immigrant or as he suggested ignorant and xenophobic is completely out of line.

I have ALWAYS favored instruction in the English medium as the focus of American education k-12 but at the same time I have NEVER been an advocate of English-only. I was raised in a multilingual household and I have raised my own children in a multilingual environment though I have always taught them English is THE LINGUA FRANCA for Americans and educated people around the world It is the language of Milton, Shakespeare, the King James Bible, Shaw , Twain, Lincoln, Jefferson and Churchill.. Studying English in depth and valuing it as the American language par excellence does not preclude the study of other languages.

I am the strongest advocate possible of the study of world languages and culture languages such as Latin, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Japanese and Chinese. |I think any educated person should know English and at least some of one or two of these languages. But English is the SINA QUA NON.

But if Mr. Obama –who has numerous times VOTED AGAINST ENGLISH as America’s official language is say that SPANISH should be a required subject for ALL AMERICANS as a co-official language with English then he is extremely misguided.

Spanish is a very important language –I have spoken Spanish for the last 45 years on a daily basis- and I have taught it to my children and many many students. But it should remain part of an optional foreign language curriculum. If some students prefer to meet their foreign language requirement by studying French, Latin, Japanese or Chinese they should be able to do so. Some people might find Spanish as a very useful second language and others –who may have dealings with Canada , France, Africa or Asia might find that French or Chinese are more useful to them.

Now to my Army and Marine friends I turn to the translation of “Up yours, pal”.

This is of course a somewhat vulgar (but not extremely so) pejorative expression.

One could use, to be colloquial the expression “Vete a la mierda”.

Mierda is a rude word and used to be considered too rude for most dictionaries some will translate it as (Coll: excerement).

I think it is SLIGHTLY less rue than its four letter English equivalent but the reader should not imagine that it is O.K to bandy this word about in daily conversation.

I feel bound to put on record that in a well-to so Spanish household I heard the hostess , a very polite, well brought up convent educated girl refer to someone she did not like as a mierda seca, which we could render as a “stupid little jerk” or perhaps ‘a complete ass”. That might prove a useful expression to you.

Now there is another Spanish expression which might do here such as ESTO NO VALE which could be translated as THAT’S NOT RIGHT or THAT DOESN”T FIT HERE!

The Mexicans have an expression –they don’t use the word VALER very much “ME VALE MADRE” which perhaps Mr. Obama can learn and use. It means, more or less I don’t give a S**T.!

But “Up yours, pal” remains almost untranslatable , certainly without some “ch-“words and so “jo-“ words (“four letter words”) in Spanish but I think VETE a los rábanos or VETE AL DIABLO tío or VETE a la M****A tío.would do the trick quite nicely.

Slightly less vulgar and slightly less upset : VETE AL DIABLO tío ( Up yours, pal ;literally go to the devil or go to the blazes pal)

Slightly more vulgar and slightly more upset –something a Spanish Marine or sailor would use would be <> (which translates as Go to H**L or UP YOURS, PAL).


You humble servant and

Yours most sincerely,

Richard K. Munro, MA Spanish language and literature


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fama Clamosa Fiona MacKenzie gets Munro a-thinkin' aboot Auld Music

Hey Kevin I though you might lke this. I got a message from Fiona Mac (it actuall came from a friend of hers>) A Living Tradition : Preservation or Innovation?
Category: Music

A Living Tradition : Preservation or Innovation?

This is the title of an article I'm going to write, and I want to gather as much opinion on the subject as possible!

I'd really like to hear from a broad range of people connected to the world of folk and traditional music -- avid folk fans, folk club organisers, folk gig and festival promoters, musicians... in fact, anybody with an opinion they'd like to express!

What role do preservation and innovation play in upholding our tradition?

Does one detract from the other, or are they mutually beneficial?

What tensions might exist between the proponents of preservation and innovation?

How far can innovation go before it no longer remains true to the tradition, or to what extent might preservation stifle innovation?

That's just a few questions to get you thinking, but feel free to take any angle that you feel is fitting!

I'd be really grateful if anybody would re-post this in their blog or on any folk-related internet forums to which you may belong, as I'd like to get as broad a range of responses as possible before I start to knit it all together!

I can be contacted by e-mail at mike @ folking . com (without the spaces!)

Thank you for reading!

Hi Fiona Mac...this is Old Munro here from America. Let me say I love all kinds of traditional music. Part of me likes to hear historic instruments like the mandolin, the Irish harp, the harpsichord and the clavichord. But I only play the piano myself and love hearing traditional and classical music played on the piano. The Piano is a wonderful, enduring and versatile instrument. It's defect is that it is heavy and so is best for the church or parlour. I love Scots songs and art songs and the old Big Songs. Poetrically I think the traditional Scots ballads and the Gaelic Big Songs are really superb for their quality. But commercially one has to cut down the songs to something more more accessible. People knock the Kennedy-Fraser and Kenneth MacLeod adaptations of the Songs of the Hebrides BUT it is their arrangements which are world famous and they helped create an interest and a wider audience for Gaelic songs. Today it is relatively easy to find Gaelic recordings and texts but for most of the 20th century it was a relatively rare thing. In the early 1960's, for example, I had perhaps a handful of Scottish songs sung in Gaelic (recordings by Sidney MacEwen from the '30's 78's and a handful of song sheets and I remeber I had one exact ONE folkways album with Irish Gaelic songs. I was fascinated that some of the melodies I recognized as Scottish such as MY AIN HOOSE (Mo Dhaichaidh) and O Sr run mo cheile bha ann. At that time I couldn't really read Gaelic at all I could just barely make out the song titles and of course I really didn't know there was any distinction at all between Irish and Scottish Gaelic (My Auld Pop could speak Scots Gaelic but he was almost completely illterate ; what little education he had was in English; he was born in 1886).

Later I bought a folkways recording of Hebridean waulking songs and it had historic interest but muscially it was very mediocre and the recording -from the 1930's or 40's was very primiitive. On the other hand my mother sang Songs of the Hebrides songs like Vair mi O, Turn Ye to Me, The Bens of Jura, the Road to the Isle etc and we always enjoyed them very much. Even in Irish ceilidhs in the New York area you would sometimes here these songs. We probably saw as much Irish traditional music and some Welsh -I remember Thomas L THomas as Scottish music in the 1950's and 1960's. The really big name in Scottish music in those years was Kenneth McKellar. He seemed to have a new album every year and he came to the states regularly and he even sang in our local high school (Kearney HS, Kearney NJ and made an appearance at the Argyll Restaurant. In those days before the Internet one bought albums at the concerts lp's or at the Piper's Cove shop next to the Argyll restaurant. That was -as far as I know the only place where one could get British and Irish pressings and labels like Gael-Linn and later Lismore. Of course when friends or relatives would travel back to Scotland they would bring special treats like Anne Lorne Gillies , Calum Kennedy records and Flora MacNeil records or the MacDonald sisters -things we never saw in the states. Then by the 1970's we had a weekly program on the radio the THISTLE AND SHAMROCK. That's how i was introduced to WILLIAM JACKSON(then of OSSIAN) and Mairi MacInnes and Maggie Maggine. So I have heard all sorts of Celtic music all of my life.

I heard it then car -songs my parents knew that I have never heard recorded anywhere. Songs my mother played on the piano- she mixed them up with broadway show tunes like Camelot and like South Pacific and art songs in Italian and German and hymns too. We heard a lot of Irish tenor music in the John McCormack tradition -I am thinking of Frank Paterson, Robert White, James McCracken (he was well known as an opera singer), and then of course Kenneth McKellar, Helen McArthur, Moira Anderson and Mary O'Hara Then of course there was the folk music one heard at Scottish Highland games and Irish resturants -it was less elegant and polished but made up for that by being very accessible. But one thing I remember in every venue everyone sang along at least part of the time. You would be amazed how many Americans like mysefl -the children and grandchildren of Scots- know so many songs by heart. I never was exposed to them at school except perhaps Loch Lomond and we had to sing a disgusting slowed down Americanized version with correct grammar (I and my true love...I am not kidding but the original version was a bad influence I suppose)

Then came the Clancy Brothers who were very commercial but lively and then came the Chieftains. the great thing about the Chieftains is that you could expect to see them regularly and like Kenneth McKellar you could always find their records. So in those years we had only three regular sourcs of music : radio (i hour a week ) the Thistle and Shamrock and then a few big international stars PLUS the Scottish and Irish ethnic stores where it was all hit or miss. There were some real treasures I remember David Solley -i have all his Gaelic LP's and then the SOUND OF MULL -they made two LP's and I have them both. Now both of these artists sang a somewhat moderinzed or commericalized Gaelic song. So to some purists they don't like them. As for myself I love Sean-nos singing and acapella singing I have done some myself! But to me the thing is INTRODUCING THE MUSIC, THE MELODIES and the SONGS to a new generation. I will be eternally grateful to

1) the Irish folk societies and all the concerts they hosted

2) The Scottish Regiments on tour

3) the Highland games you could always find books, song sheets and LP's there

4) the famous commerical artists like Frank Paterson and Kenneth McKellar and Mary O'Hara too they were trail blazers and they kept knowledge and awareness of the Celtic song tradition alive in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. And let me say one thing more. All of these singers had crossover songs in their repetoir. McKellar sang Irish songs or Italian songs and he sang Beatle Songs too and even recorded a few. Paterson -when he came to Jersey City or Kearney where there are so many Scots would talk about his wife's cousin Father Cumey who was a parish priest in Govan (big cheer there ; I think half the population at that time had Govan origins) and of course Frank would sing some Scottish songs like Loch Lomond, The Flowers of the Forest or the Four Marys, Mary O'Hara would sing in Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, English and even an Italian song now and then. So there is no question they all considered good songs good songs. They same SOME songs in a traditional way a cappella or just with a harp and other times with big orchestras. The best performances were the small venues in a school auditorium or in a church because afterwords you could talk to the peformers. I will never forget Mary O'Hara having coffee with us after Mass -we had seen her in the concert the night before and she recognized us and just sat down to talk to us. I will never forget what she said. I introduced myself and said my name was Richard and she said "Richard -that was my late husband's name" and then she talked about her love for her husband and the short happy marriage they had together. She was a very spiritual person and had a great personality on stage and in person. But talking to her was just like talking to my Aunt Annie or my mother. Sitting with us she was just one more. And that is the last thing I want to say. I love all kinds of music and I love classical music too. But classical music is not really my first love for this simple reason: It is remote and the artists are prima donnas and very remote. Folk music -Highland music in particlar -is a smaller world and very warm and humane world. I have met in my travels many artists in person -at the Park Bar in Glasgow -at St. Mungo's -in small Highland townships like Lochinvar and Dingwall at the Staig Fort Inn (Ireland) and Tom Moore's house -at the Sylvia Wood Harp Center in Glendale LA, in the George IV Pub in Vancouver , BC in Kearny High School auditorium and on the street corner of Kearney Ave on the way to Argyll Fish and Chip Restaurant. Sometimes the musicans were Black Watch Soldiers or Argyll soldiers. One time my father and I met a Corporal Munro who was from the North and came from the same place Cioch Mhor (Near Dingwall) where my great grandfather had been born. I think Corporal Munro was as thrilled as we were -it was his first visit to New York and I even asked him for his autograph. To me -I was a teenager at the time- to meet a real Argyll like my Auld Pop and his friends in person was a real thrill. Frank Paterson also was a very lovely man -I didn't see him as often as my friend Kevin Darcy who grew up in San Francisco but I did meet his wife's cousin Father Cumey because of all people who sat next to me in St. Mungo's cathedral but he! And we flew to America together on the same plane with Alistair Fraser! He was shocked i knew who he was and his parish but we had had news from Govan and Frank Paterson on an off for thirty years. He had been a priest in Scotland fo fifty years and yes, he knew Father Collins the man who baptized my father March 17, 1915 at St. Anthony's and the man who married my grandparents and the man who led my grannie and my father and his brother and sister to the clock tower near where you have the tall ships now. They took the ferry from Govan and he walked with them from West Glasgow up a hill and down a park right to the pier. That was August 1927 and I heard that story many times from my father. Grannie never returned and my father did not return until 1967 and then we walked down the same path. Every time i am in Glasgow 1975, 1979, 2000, 2005 I walk down that path to the tall ships. I walk in Kelvin Grove and visit the Kelvin Grove museum. I go to St. Mungo's and see the WWI memorial in George's Square. My granne and father were there in 1923 when it was inauguranted and the General was there (Haig I think). I always go to the Park Bar my Auld Pop and his Argyll cronies often went there and went there in August 1914 and the last time in November 1919. My great-grandfather went here too and he also went to the Commercial Bar -it is a rough old place in Dingwall -my Auld Pop never went there except to the front door... and of course there are the old Parish churches. My father's mother was born in Oban so the old church is not there -they have a Big Red Cathedral there I know my family was one of the many that contributed to help build it. I knew about it and dreamed about it long before I had ever seen it. It went up in 1959. Everyone was excited about it but the old folk never lived to see it. But I promised Auld Pop I would go there and say a prayer for granny there just for him and I did anns a Gaidhlig. Auld Pop knew his prayers and he taught us how to say them as well.

Well I am going on too much.

But the point I would like to make is that music must have an audience and must win over SOME of the new generation if it is to survive and not just be a fossil. Some people don't like CELTIC WOMEN -and they are not my favorite...but let's face it -they do sing traditinal material and they do sing Gaelic songs for a mass audience and are on TV and they sell out wherever they go. For my money I would rather see Anne Lorne Gillies , Mairi MacInnes , Arthur Cormack or William Jackson or Fiona MacKenzie and her sisters any time BUT shows like Celtic women will lead people to explore the REAL THING and of course if they develop a taste for the real thing they will help support traditional music.

And to some extent music changes and adapts. William Jackson uses a bouzoki (I hope I spelled that right) and the traditional music adds new and old instruments. The imporant thing is that there is respect for the continum of music. There are some groups that ONLY play new music or their own compositions and though it is always charming it is always disappointing. I expect fo hear SOMe songs I knwo like LOCH MAREE ISLANDS or FHIR A BATA or Lochnagar or even Westerning Home, the Rowan Tree, the Northern Lights or My Ain Folk. My people loved all kinds of music and to them they loved My Ain Folk -which dated back to WWI and the end of their time in Scotland- as much as old songs. Perhaps because they were song of their youth they were extra special for them. I know there is a special love for songs I learned from my mother or from my favorite artists.

So be authentic and learn from the old traditons and when possible do music in that style. But the fact remains one has to be commercial and one has to appeal to a mass audience to some degree and to a youth audience. That last point is very important. The Chieftains made recordings with James Galway -crossovers -that were very successful. They made recordings in Spain and play Galician music and had guest artists like Linda Ronstadt singing IN SPANISH. There is no reason French people and Spanish people and German people can't like Celtic music etc. etc. But above all Paddy Maloney and Frank Paterson and Kenneth McKellar were always entertaining and FUN. They were never too serious -William Jackson is the same way and so is Alistair Fraser -they are 100 times better in person because they are so funny! That is the key -be yourself be human be Highland which means be genuine and warm in the heart. And you will be loved and blessed keepers of the ancient flame.