Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for March 30, 2012

Playwright and sometimes gangsta, Mariah MacCarthy

[Singing for Our Supper | A Fractured Atlas Project] -- I apologize for not posting a flashback last week. Between a Friday evening attending the live taping of the Nerdist podcast in Philadelphia and a Saturday derailed by a migraine, I just never had the time to make a post. But this week, we have something a little different. It's also kind of special. Playwright Mariah MacCarthy and her merry band of artists are running a unique fundraiser to help defray costs of producing her new play, The Foreplay Play. In a nutshell, Mariah and her cohorts will perform any song you desire and post the video on YouTube. Now, whether they do the full song depends on the extent of your donation:
  • 10 gets you at least 30 seconds of a song (most likely a verse, chorus, or bridge).
  • $20 gets you at least a minute.
  • $50 gets you the whole song.

For details about this fundraiser, called "Singing for Our Supper," or to make a donation, go to

As luck would have it, Mariah and friends have done a few 80s tunes! So I am featuring three of their clips this week. (Don't worry, I'll also include links to the "real" versions of the songs. Yeeesh, you're so pushy, Internets!)

Which songs were requested, and how did this courageous band of artists perform them? Read and hear more after the break.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Zealots Gonna Zeal! (Santorum)

I thought I would make a little poster for Rick Santorum. This accurately sums up his campaign, doesn't it?

(I would not cast a vote for this guy as dogcatcher, let alone the President of the United States!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hail Spring!

On this, the day of the Spring Equinox, I wish the blessings of Ostara (Eostre, Oschder, Alban Eilir, etc.) upon all my family, friends, and kindred spirits. Here is a little something I wrote for an Ostara observation in 2008 (it was later featured on this blog in 2009):

Frigga, ever wise, Mother of all 

Freya, our Lady of love, beauty, and fertility 

Nerthus, earth Mother, womb of the world 

Sunna, Lady of the heavens, bright and glorious in your return 

Ostara, the spring Maiden, it is in your name we gather this day 

  Winter is over 

The land is awakened with your creative and sustaining powers 

Flowers long to bloom 

The light quickens, lengthening the days 

And, soon we hope, warming them as well. 

  Thus the cycle continues. 

Spring is nigh upon us: 

Ostara takes root in our hearts 

And then blossoms in our deeds. 

We depart knowing her blessings.

© Brian Weis 2008 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for March 16, 2012

[When Irish Eyes are Rocking] -- I posted the other day about why I am not celebrating St. Patrick's Day. So, I'm sure it is a tad surprising that the Flashback this week is about Irish bands. Well, I can be opposed to the celebration of St. Patrick and still be in favor of great rock music that just happens to have come out of Éire. Now, when most Americans are asked, "Who is the best Irish band of the 80s?" they will invariably answer: The Pogues. However, the Pogues -- although they do play punk rock with a certain Celtic flair -- are from London, so they will not be making an appearance in today's Flashback (sorry, Gary). And this Flashback post is not about the "best" Irish rockers of the 80s, it's about the most overlooked Irish bands of that era. That means we will be short on chart burners, but long on quality today. Well, I think these bands are long on quality, and I hope you enjoy them as well. To find out who made this week's list of underrated performers, you can read and hear more after the break.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Breastplate (And a Message for St. Patrick) Redux

[This post is a slightly updated version of one that I published on 3/17/2009.]

So, Saturday is St. Patrick's Day. Well, I for one will not be putting on the green and celebrating. I do not celebrate the lives (real or imagined) of those who tried to put down my ancestral faith. For those of you who didn't realize, the driving out the snakes thing has been pegged as a likely metaphor for stomping out the ethnic and traditional practices of the Irish people. (However, you should also know that Celtic Reconstructionist Brenda Daverin (Branruadh) indicates that this metaphor is one of three common misconceptions about Patrick). Still, Patrick is the focus of the upcoming holiday as well as the ire of many a Pagan. Hence, this post is directed to "him."

Patrick, if you truly existed (even if only as a composite of several individuals as I suspect), I have a message for you. Neither you nor your brethren drove out the "snakes" -- you merely forced them undergound. Nor did you eliminate their traditions. In fact, your beloved Church is riddled with more of my ancestor's traditions than those of the early Christians, and by this I am referring to practices from the first few decades of Christianity, or "the Way of Yeshua" as it was likely known by its earliest adherents. And in case you missed it, Patrick. The "snakes" are back. We are back, and every year our numbers grow as more people awaken to the old ways -- be they Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Romanic, etc. -- and make them relevant today. For our ways are relevant as they are a means of being in this world, being with it, and not trying to simply control it or ignore it in the hope of achieving some afterlife. Originally written and posted in 2008, "A Heathen's Breastplate" is still appropriate to post now:
The Lorica (or Breastplate) is a prayer written in Irish and Latin that is often attributed to Saint Patrick. There are many variations of it (one can be found here), but I have decided to rewrite it in "honor" of the old saint who is said to have driven out the pagans. Now it has a nice Heathen slant...
A Heathen's Breastplate 
I arise today 
Heir to the strength of Asgard; 
Light of the sun, 
Splendor of fire, 
Swiftness of wind, 
Depth of the sea, 
Stability of earth, 
Firmness of rock. 
I arise today with mine own strength to pilot me; 
Thor's might to uphold me, 
Frigga's wisdom to guide me, 
Odin's hand to guard me, 
Heimdall's watch to shield me, 
Freyr's vitality to sustain me, 
And Freya's love to bless me. 
Afar and anear, 
Alone or in a multitude. 
The ancestors are with me, 
before me, behind me, 
on my right, on my left. 
As sure as 
The Earth beneath me, 
The Sky above me, 
The Holy Powers within me. 
I arise today 
Rooted in the mighty traditions of my past. 
And I walk Midgard, 
Sending forth the blessings of this day's deeds to generations yet unborn. 
copyright 2008 and 2010, BSW

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for March 9, 2012

Wilhelm Kienzle Wall Clock via VandM

[I'm Saving Daylight for This?] -- This weekend, the United States will renew their annual campaign to save daylight hours. Just as many outdated government mandates, this effort to save daylight is futile as the average American wastes up to five years of their lifetime anyway (give or take a Facebook post or two). Still, Daylight Savings Time, or Summer Time, unites Americans in griping about a lost hour of sleep and it affords me a Flashback theme when I needed it most. Of course, in true Prophet or Madman style, once I settled on this theme I realized that U2's The Joshua Tree turns 25 today. Still, I'm sticking to time idea. So, in honor of turning the clocks ahead one hour, we have songs about time -- particularly about how fleeting it is and how easily and carelessly we waste it. If you would like to waste ... er, I mean, wisely spend ... some time remembering great 80s tunes, then you can read and hear more after the break.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for March 2, 2012

Calvin & Hobbes demonstrate the not-necessarily-official past-time of Leap Day

[Leap Year] -- Wednesday was Leap Day. We got a whole extra day just tacked right on the end of February! Of course, Leap Day is not a federal holiday or anything, and it occurred in the middle of the week, so it was just another work day. While listening to music sets in my cubicle, I realized that I was not posting Flashbacks when the last Leap Day rolled around. This is my first chance to celebrate the Leap Year in 80s style. Now, there aren't many songs specifically about Leap Year (in my copious spare time, I will start a movement to create Leap Day Carols). So, instead of trying to find songs directly, or indirectly, about Leap Year, I decided to grab a few songs about the act of leaping -- or jumping.  What tunes hopped onto this week's playlist? Read and hear more after the break.