A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Monthly Archives: April 2006

1o Mayo

I’ve been enjoying listening to Spanish radio out here in California, partly to practice my Spanish, partly because I’m about to live in a latino neighborhood, partly because I’m really grooving on the tuba sounds played during Piolín por la Mañana as I’ve been driving around.

With the talk of new immigration laws in the air, some immigration activists are calling for a ‘stay-at-home’ protest on May 1. I’m starting my new job then, so I don’t think it would be wise to not go to work on my first day… But it did encourage me to write to my US representative and senators:

Dear …,

As you are no doubt aware, on May 1st many people are calling for demonstrations and boycotts in support of fair and just immigration reform. To the extent that you can, I urge you to identify and support immigration reforms that:

– allow immigrating families to stay together,
– allow immigrants access to necessary health and other human services, and
– ensure that immigrants receive fair wages and benefits

while maintaining (non-militarized!) security and control of our borders.

Best regards,

Will Fitzgerald

(Thanks to Mark Nielsen for his prompting to do something in support of fair and just immigration reform).

Bunker busting nukes?

See Union of Concerned Scientists’ Simulation (flash animation).

Mid-week updates

Here are some mid-week updates, in case you care:

  • It looks like I have a place to stay until fall (at least): the Church of the Sojourners is planning to let me stay as a guest member. This makes me very happy.
  • I had great fun singing at the 2nd Annual Golden Gate Sacred Harp Convention this past weekend. I even met someone who already knew by because of things I post to the Internet. “In the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people.”
  • As well as singing for three hours again on Sunday, and two more on Monday.
  • I attended my first Friends’ Meeting with fellow singer Linda. Such lovely Quaker faces and structured silence. It was good to have a quiet space to adore/confess/give thanks/make requests.
  • The Omar Sosa performance was a gas (as us hipsters say)–such lovely world music faces and structured noise.
  • I’ve dived into the last days at NASA and it looks like enough will get done, but it’s busy.
  • How I miss Bess and Jane!


Tomorrow I leave for California–here’s the plan: I have one more week to work at NASA, and then, on May 1, I start at Powerset, a new search company. Exciting, and a bit scary: the plan is for me to be in California (say) three weeks per month and (say) one week in Michigan. Bess is on board with this, but we’re all a bit daunted at being apart so much.

I am looking forward to the joys of being in the San Francisco area: this weekend is the Second Annual Golden Gate Sacred Harp Singing, and my friend Khalil Dalal has invited me to go see Omar Sosa at Yoshi’s.

But still:

Yes, my native land, I love thee,
All thy scenes I love them well,
Friends, connections, happy country,
Can I bid you all farewell?

Can I leave you,
Far in distant lands to dwell?

Home, thy joys are passing lovely,
Joys no stranger heart can tell;
Happy home indeed I love thee;
Can I, can I, say “Farewell?”

Qual question: What is the worst poem?

Daughter Jane has an assignment to “savor [the] awfulness” of a very bad poem, so we got to read some one unto another. Seamus Cooney has a Bad Poetry page, but there isn’t much that’s truly awful there, except perhaps, Kalamazoo (bottom of page) by JB Smiley:


On the outskirts are celery marshes
Which only a few years ago
Were as wet as a drugstore in Kansas
And as worthless as marshes could grow,
Well some genius bethought him to drain them
And to add in a short year or two
About eighty-five thousand dollars
To the income of Kalamazoo.

The Michigan Insane Asylum
Is up on the top of the hill,
And some irresponsible crazies
Meander around there at will,
And they frequently talk to a stranger,
And they sometimes escape, it is true,
But the folks are not all of them crazy
Who hail from Kalamazoo.

I tried to convince Jane that the Sacred Harp poem O Come Away was truly awful, but she so dislikes Sacred Harp, she can’t even think of it as bad:

Oh come, come away,
From the labor now reposing,
Our jubilee has set us free —
Oh come, come away!
Come, hail the day that celebrates
The ransom of th’inebriates
From all that does intoxicate,
Oh come, come away!

We welcome you here!
With heart and hand wide open,
Ye gallant sons of temperance —
We welcome you here!
Heav’n’s blessings on your plans, we pray!
Ye come our sinking friends to save,
And rescue from a drunkard’s grave;
We welcome you here!

We welcome you here!
Ye who with taste perverted
Have seized the cup, and drank it up —
We welcome you here!
Come, join us in our holy aim,
The poor besotted to reclaim,
The broken heart to cheer again,
Oh come, sign the pledge!

(It does have a rollicking tune, though).

Among people trying to write bad poetry, we liked Love guppy, too long to repeat here. But I prefer the lyrics to “Hump my hump“:

Hump my hump,
My stumpy lumpy hump!
Hump my dump, you lumpy slumpy dump!
I’ll dump your hump, and then just hump your dump,
You lumpy frumply clump.

(Though the rest of the article isn’t fit for pure eyes). Ok, qual takers out there: what’s the worst poem?

Real live preacher

The Christian Century has a series of articles by Gordon Atkinson, the “Real live preacher.” The first one, How to find a church is quite good. His sermon from Cornell, The Richest Man in Town, a retelling of Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler, is wonderful.

Harmonia Sacra recording order form

John Lamb has posted an order form for his recording of the 2006 New Year’s Harmonia Sacra singing at Goshen. I previously noted that John had put several lessons up on the Pilgrim Production website. As I said then, I’m really looking forward to this recording. John has several other recordings available, too.

The most dangerous parish

From Andrew White’s homily for Easter:

The … Church has faced many questions. Will the church divide or split? Is there really hope that the Church will grow? What will happen about the issue of homosexuality? In Baghdad these questions are irrelevant. My congregation will, too, have questions: Will their children return from school? Will there be food on the table tonight? Who will be the next to be killed or kidnapped? For the people in Baghdad there will be no questions about God, or faith or even the Church. The one thing that never changes will be their faith in the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth.

(via robotwisdom).

Luke, soy tu madre

Fun song, randomly discovered: Luke, soy tu madre by Ultraplayback. Quiero bailar.

Good Friday

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isa 53:3