Saturday, April 7, 2018
Thursday, September 14, 2017
14 Sept 2017
Running to the top
Running to, the top of the mountain
And I never stop
I just catch my breath
Give it all you've got
And you'll reach, the top of the mountain
And you'll reach the top
Just go step by step
There's a haze
In the valley
All my days
Just go nowhere
In the alley
I don't want
To end up there
It's so hard
Feels like lead
Once you're on
The path I promise
Sets and reps
Will get you there
(And you'll be ...)
Snakes are crawling
Has their point of view
Hold on tight
To your true vision
And you will
Realize it too
(c) 2017 Frederick C. Ingram (BMI). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The most interesting people are hyphenated, and we are fortunate that Fred Burton felt a calling to document his experience from his first days in the State Department's formative Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). This agent-historian witnessed an amazing, rapid-fire turn of events on a global scale from the climactic end game of the old Cold War to the increasingly far-reaching threats of the Islamic world.
While a capable guide for the Shadow World, Burton illuminates the characters working the U.S. side of the fence. His chronicling of the rapid evolution of his own counterterrorism office at DSS is a feature he's uniquely qualified to present.
The original, 1960s-era definition of "counterterrorism" as a state-sponsored terror activity against a hostile population isn't addressed here. He also skirts other controversial areas that are "above his pay grade." Burton does occasionally note the irony that unseen political machinations can produce, as in his having to safeguard notorious underworld figures on diplomatic visits.
Many of these issues, and individuals (most notably the current POTUS), are still vitally relevant in the world today. It's not surprising that the well-connected Burton is keeping an eye on things for the Strafor ("Strategic Forecasting") consultancy. He is very active on Twitter with a straight-shooting but well humored account, often peppered with the barbs and boasts of lingering interagency rivalries.
The title of this book sounds like the Russian word for guest (Гост, gost), which might make a good metaphor for someone who's toured the Shadow World and come back to a kind of postwar vision of America where truth and justice can be captured in black and white.
It's not a bad place to be. Despite the truly epic scale of Burton's journey, some of its biggest and best and most moving moments take place in the DMV suburbs. This is a well considered book that works on many levels: addressing contemporary security issues, unspooling some secret history, and delivering an emotional salute to the largely unseen souls who make it possible for us to sleep at night.
(c) 2017 Frederick C. Ingram
Monday, March 13, 2017
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Thursday, November 19, 2015
|(c) 2015 Frederick Ingram. All rights reserved.|
De Cleyre caught my attention six years ago while I was proofreading her entry in the Dictionary of Literary Biographies. It was part of a volume on 19th-century radicals. She struck me as an intensely passionate creature.
De Cleyre raged against what she saw as the unnatural shackles of the state on the human psyche. As these were what demented the assailant who shot her, she refused to testify against him and raised funds for his legal defense.
I'm thrilled to finally have finished writing this song after so many years of daydreaming about it. I think I had to grow a bit as a musician. Learning my last song "Fishbowl" on the piano, just because one was around, was my gateway into composing a whole song on a keyboard for the first time in my life. You can hear the influence on the voicings. I don't think I'm even going to learn this on the guitar, my primary instrument; rather, let it live in the world of pianists.
I'm not a real pianist yet. It will take a long time before I'm ever ready to play it in public. I have recorded a little video to document the song and will keep hacking away at the instrument until it's presentable. There's also the matter of singing it.
Doing the performing songwriter thing really is quite a bit of work; appreciate them. Especially the guys who also strap on a harmonica. I've never gone there but who knows.
I don't consider myself a radical but I'm really, really proud of my song "Voltairine" and hope it captures a bit of her essence.
(c) 2015 Frederick Ingram (BMI)
Life, this fiendish little thing
B/D A/D G
Crying out like a baby in the night
Is there something you could bring?
B/D A/D G
Beauty, mercy, comfort, light?
Bm / G /
Bm / G /
Strife, this “terrible tension” —
You know their numbness is a choice.
Is it far too much to mention?
Will they ever find a voice?
Voltairine, is it life itself that ails you?
Voltairine, you’re a violet in a storm.
Voltairine, there’s a roaring in your head
That bleeds in words so red
Bm / G / Bm / G /
To fill a bright, white room … Voltairine.
Wife to no one on this earth.
Neither “owning, nor being owned.”
Always laughing at the church;
You’d like to burn it down.
Exquisite rebel so divine,
A hero of your time!
Poison pen, penning poison—
What you write could be a crime.
C D(6) Em /
C D(6) Em /
C D(6) Em /
F# / / /
Voltairine, they buried you at Waldheim
Voltairine, for you it’s hallowed ground
Voltairine, can you feel the worms now turning
The Revolution’s burning
Can you hear the sound?
And the state is a bitter little scandal
A massive slayer of our souls
All those torturers-in-chief
Causing endless grief
In the name of God
In the name of the Crown
In the name of
(c) 2015 Frederick C. Ingram. All rights reserved.
Monday, February 17, 2014
performing their own arrangement of
"When I'm Gone"
15 February 2014
Conundrum Music Hall
West Columbia, South Carolina
as part of
a weekend of
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