A snowy day at the Hobbit Hole

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I could see flakes by the earliest dawn light, resolving into the scenes revealed here by mid-day.

The snow is wet and heavy: with fat flakes feathery from the aching cold aloft.


The way to study true Zen is not verbal

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Photo by flickr user Sascha Sormann. Appearing via Creative Commons license. All rights revert to originator.

“I feel sorry that I cannot help you very much. But the way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, whether you think it is good or bad, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude. Sometimes you will do things without much reason, like a child who draws pictures whether they are good or bad. If that is difficult for you, you are not actually ready to practice zazen.”

— Shunryu Suzuki, Not Always So

Reggae Covers: Eek A Mouse – Dyer Maker (Led Zeppelin) + BONUS TRACK

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A classic cover, and one of which I’ve been aware since it’s 1991 release. Eek A Mouse’s unique verbal stylings, which he calls ‘Chin-Indian Music,’ is the perfect vehicle for Robert Plant’s staccato, mumbling delivery in the 1973 original.

You’ll have to forgive the ‘elevator reggae’ backing track. As ever, Eek is the star of his own show.

…and a bonus reggae cover of this same song, this time by the legendary Sly & Robbie:

E. E. Cummings – i sing of Olaf glad and big

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tumblr_me4j0frSrQ1qad1obo1_1280i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but–though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments–
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
“I will not kiss your fucking flag”

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but–though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat–
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some shit I will not eat”

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.

Sengkan and transformative illumination

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Photo by flickr user Abdul Rahman. (CC) All rights revert to originator

It’s really this simple: like unzipping a zipper.

When Daoxin (the 4th Patriarch) was 14 he traveled to see Sengkan, so named since his transformative encounter with Master Hui’ke.

Daoxin pleaded “I beg the master to have mercy. Please instruct me on how to achieve release.”

The master said “Is there someone who constrains you?”

Daoxin said “There is no such person.”

The master said “Why then seek release when you are constrained by no one?”

Reggae Covers: Pat Kelly – A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)

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Kingston Jamaica’s Pat Kelly is a veteran vocalist from the rocksteady days, recording for Duke Reid when Treasure Isle Records was the king of the dancehalls. Kelly modeled his vocal style on US soul singer Sam Cooke, a crooner’s method that finds a likely number in Procol Harum’s 1967 hit ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale.’ Kelly doesn’t really try anything unusual or new with this 1984 recording, though a talented vocalist rendering a memorable song is worth a listen even under the worst of circumstances.

And although my eyes were open
They might have just as well’ve been closed

Reggae Covers: The Cimarons – Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas)

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This 1995 cover doesn’t bring much to the memorable 1974 Carl Douglas original, though it’s worth mentioning that The Cimarons themselves –Franklyn Dunn, Carl Levy, Locksley Gichie, Maurice Ellis, and Winston Reid (aka Winston Reedy)– were class-act session musicians in Jamaica before emigrating to the UK.

Bonus FunFact: Carl Douglas himself is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.