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Royal Song of the Day: July 25, 2011

The Animal Years by Josh RitterGirl in the War by Josh Ritter is the Royal Song of the Day.  The US media daily fails to report that the US is in five wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya) spanning the Middle East and northern Africa.  For instance, the cost of this war is trashing the US economy, yet in all the discussion of the potential default on US debt that is not mentioned.



The Duchess & I first became fans of Ritter’s 2003 break-out album Hello Starling.  The title of the album came from the breakout single, Snow is Gone.  The song Kathleen also garnered radio play.

It’s seems that Ritter has now become a crossover artist.  His first novel Bright’s Passage has been getting excellent reviews.  Former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky said it is

An adventure story with the penetrating emotional colors of a fable; a myth-like survival quest with the convincing texture of a movie; a good read that stays in the memory.


Royal Book of the Week: Monday 7/25/11

More info about this book at (new window)Book of the WeekNonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.  Duchess Susanna  and I have worked hard to improve our communication skills.  All of us are taught in school how to speak a language, but not how to communicate.  Our society often teaches that communication is not as important as power.  We are taught that the most important thing is make sure you are not the loser.  Nonviolent communication (NVC) provides tools to seek a win-win situation.

The ability to communicate better is important in relationships, whether they be personal or political.  Too often we waste a great deal of time talking around what we need because we can’t figure out how to get to what what both really need.  Even worse, we are most frustrated when we know we are reacting negatively to someone else’s emotional outburst, even though the voice in the back of our head wants to head us in a positive direction.  Too many times we find that both parties walk away unhappy, and neither feel they have communicated what they want to say. Nonviolent communication teaches skills to help us work together to get what everyone needs..

I want to share my view of some of the skills I have gained from NVC training. First is active listening.  That means stepping back from our emotional entanglement, and even our own need to feel we are solving someone else’s problem.  Active listening means we are trying hard to understand what the other person is saying. We have to dig down to get at their concerns, without judgment.  This allows us to understanding what their emotional state is, and what caused it.  This often requires repeating back what they said in our own language to check with them if we are understanding correctly. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 7/25/11

Song of the Day: Friday 7/22/11

Capitol Records 45rpm record label for USA rel...
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“Yellow Submarine” is the Royal Song of the Day for today. You can find this song on page 179 of Rise Up Singing.  It’s hot! And we need something fun to sing that reminds of cool water. Close your eyes and dive deep into a technicolor cartoon ocean.  The blue meanies have taken the day off.  So sing-o along with Ringo as the credits roll by.



In a town
where I was born
lived a man
who sailed the sea


Peace Song of the Day: Sunday 7/17/2011

Woody Guthrie NYWTSDuke Augustus: Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) by Woody Guthrie. This song was chosen from Duchess Susanna’s copy of  Rise Up Singing .  This poem was written by Guthrie in response to the 1948 plane crash.  Over 60 years later, we are still fighting the same battle.  Ten years latter, Martin Hoffman wrote the music.  Pete Seeger and Woody’s son, Arlo, have popularized the song. Unfortunately, the racist attitudes in this song are as common today as they were when they were written 60 years ago.

This is video is a little shaky, but worth it to hear Arlo explain about how his father wrote the song:  Continue reading Peace Song of the Day: Sunday 7/17/2011

Tagore, Yeats, Neruda & Cooperatives

Essential TagoreDuke Augustus: My attention was caught by an opinion piece in The Hindu titled  Tagore and the idea of Cooperation which started with a quote from Nobel-Prize-winning Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore:

“Today, economic power has been captured by a small minority. But it has acquired this power only by accumulating the productive power of others. Their capital is simply the accumulated labour of a millions of working people, in a monetized form. It is this productive power that is the real capital, and it is this power that latently resides in every worker …” — Samabayaniti/The Co-operative Principles, 1928.

As the piece goes on to explain: Continue reading Tagore, Yeats, Neruda & Cooperatives