Thursday, April 28, 2005

Here's a fun one!

Check this out guys,

What about Ghost stories as oral traditions?

Why not, we all remember sitting around a fire and telling ghost stories. The best thing is, they are like majorly involved in the oral tradition. Think about it, all the stories have a specific model they follow. The absolute classic is a guy and a girl making out in their car at a deserted spot. If someone starts this story, you know damn well there is going to be a noise outside the car, a scratching noise. Then somebody is going to check it out and get killed by a guy that has a hook. It always goes this way. If you make up your own ghost story, 10 to one you will start with one of the following:

A long time ago on a night just like tonight...
It was a rainy night...
This is a story about something that happened not too far from this very spot...

Ghost stories break down into specific parts, we all know what will happen. That is why a person can be elected to tell a ghost story and accomplish the task. They work like the Odyssey, Perry said that it has specific parts and breaks down into specific rules. The same with Ghost stories.

Ghost stories work like oral traditions. The best thing about them is that we can relate them back to Yeats. Why do we all remember the same ghost story. The answer is because they deal with the grotesque. Also, the teller of the story has an important role: scare the shit out of the campers. This shows how the teller of the story is very important.(ONG) And why we remember them. (Yates)

What do you guys think about this? Wanna have some s'mores.

Now I remember! This is great!

Ok listen up!
I wrote in a previous journal that I wasn't so sure if I agreed with the point that Joyce made when he implied we are most awake when we are asleep. Man, I'm questioning myself now! Darn you Dr. Sexson, if you make me more curious about the Wake I may have to read it, and I wouldn't want to do that.
Anyways, i was arguing that when you sleep, your dreams are really messed up. And I also said that it would be a really strange world if your dreams were reality. I argued that you never remember what you dream, so what good is that.
The other night I had a dream and things became very clear for me. I love the book All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. In that book a boy goes and stays on a ranch in South America. The ranch had the coolest name I've heard, but it was a long name and it is in spanish. When my mom wanted to name our ranch, I told her she should name it a spanish name because they sound so good. All I got was a joke from her and when I drove up to the property there was a cheap wooden sign that read, El Guapo Rancherro with a picture of a damn donkey bucking. She was basing this name on the antagonist, el Guapo, in the rediculous movie, The Three Amigos. Anyways, I am digressing. I always loved the name of the ranch in the book but could never recall it from memory. In fact, I cant think of it now. But it was long and complicated, and in Spanish. When I dreamed the other night, I dreamed I bought a ranch and was going to name it. In the dream, I remembered the ranch from the book! It was amazing, it was clear as day to me, and I had it right. When I woke, I could almost remember it but not quite.
That is amazing to me because it is a difficult name I thought I had just forgotten. But it was in my brain, the right synapses just had to be opened. It is in there, if I could only master how to grab it again it would be great. I couldn't believe how this worked. I feel different about Finnegan now, please disregard what I said earlier.

Ballads, and Jeremiah Beasley as Johnny Cash

Hey guys,
As you allknow I sang in class on Tuesday. I sang for something that Dustin was going to memorize but changed in the last minute. What a sang is considered a ballad. I kind of wanted to find out what, if anything this has to do with oral traditions.
Well, ballads have a lot to do with oral traditions. Ballads were originally songs that were passed down by word of mouth! Many of the songs were sung to a popular tune, but I guess the words were different than the original song. Whenever words were written down, they became known as broadsides. But even these just had some of the words of the original, and a description of the tune it was supposed to be in.
This is all very intersting me because I sing some ballads in my band. I have noticed that with a lot of ballads, the words are spoken and not sung. If there is some singing, it is minimal. Another thing I've noticed about ballads is that they tell a story...duh! But anyways, there are no chorus' to ballads in general, the story just goes on. However, there are some elements of oral characteristics within the ballad. For example, there are repititious phrases and epithets. For a specific example of a somewhat modern ballad entitiled, "The Ballad of Curtis Lowe," Curtis Lowe is known as the finest picker to ever play the blues. This ballad is done by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I suggest listenint to it if you haven't, it is Balladalicious. It Rocks.
So, when I sang in class on Tuesday and did Boy Named Sue, it was like a traditional ballad. I did have the words in front of me, but it was my first time doing it, and I made up a chord progression and messed up the words a bit. This is probably how a lot of ballads went back in the original days. Here's a site to a ballads page if you would like to know more about their history:
I wanted to give you guys some lyrics to some of my favorite ballads:

A Boy named sue:
My daddy left home when I was three,And he didn't leave much to Ma and me...Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid,But the meanest thing that he ever didWas before he left, he went and named me 'Sue'.
Well, he must o' thought that is was quite a joke,And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk.It seems I had to fight my whole life through.Some gal would giggle and I'd get red,And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head.I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named 'Sue'.
Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,My fist got hard and my wits got keen.I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.But I made me a vow to the moon and starsThat I'd search the honky-tonks and bars,And kill that man that give me that awful name.
Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-JulyAnd I just hit town, and my throat was dry.I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.At an old saloon on a street of mud,There at a table, dealing stud,Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me 'Sue'.
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dadFrom a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.He was big and bent and gray and old,And I looked at him and my blood ran cold,And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do! Now you gonna die!"
Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,And he went down, but, to my surprise,He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.But I busted a chair right across his teethAnd we crashed through the wall and into the streetKicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I tell ya, I've fought tougher men,But I really can't remember when,He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.
And he said: "Son, this world is rough,And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough,And I know I wouldn't be there to help ya along.So I give ya that name and I said good-bye.I knew you'd have to get tough or die,And it's that name that helped to make you strong."
He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight,And I know you hate me, and you got the rightTo kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.But ya ought to thank me, before I die,For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eyeCause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you 'Sue'."
I got all choked up and I threw down my gunAnd I called him my pa, and he called me his son,And I come away with a different point of view.And I think about him, now and then,Every time I try and every time I win,And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name himBill or George! Anything but sue! I still hate that name!

Curtis Lowe:
well I used to wake the mornin befor the rooster crowed searchin for soda bottles to get my self some doughbrought em down to the cornerdown to the country store cash em in and give my money to a man named Curtis Lowe old Curt was a black man with white curly hair when he had a fifth of wine he didnot have a care he used to own and old dobro used to play across his kneeI'd give old Curt my money he play all day for me(chours) play me a song Curtis Lowe Curtis Lowe well I got your drinkin money tune up your dobro people said he was useless them people all were fools cuz Curtis Lowe was the finest picker to ever play the blueshe looked to be 60 maybe I was 10 momma used to whoop me but I'd go see him again I'd clap my hands, stomp my feet tryin to keep in time well he'd play me a song or 2 then take another drink of wine (chours)play me a song Curtis Lowe Curtis Lowewell I got your drinkin money tune up your dobropeople said he was useless but them people all were fools cuz Curtis Lowe was the finest picker to ever play the blues on the day old Curtis died nobody came to pray old preacher said some wordsthey chucked him in the clay well he lived a lifetime playin the black mans blues and on the day he lost his life thats all he had to lose (chours)play me a song Curtie Lowe Curtis LoweI wish that you was here so everyone would knowpeople said he was useless but them people all were fools cuz Curtis your finest picker to ever play the blues

Ira Hayes

Ira Hayes, Ira Hayes
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to warGather round me people there's a story I would tellAbout a brave young Indian you should remember wellFrom the land of the Pima Indian A proud and noble bandWho farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona landDown the ditches for a thousand years The water grew Ira's peoples' crops'Till the white man stole the water rights And the sparklin' water stoppedNow Ira's folks were hungry And their land grew crops of weedsWhen war came, Ira volunteered And forgot the white man's greed
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill, Two hundred and fifty menBut only twenty-seven lived to walk back down againAnd when the fight was over And when Old Glory raisedAmong the men who held it high Was the Indian, Ira Hayes
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
Ira returned a hero Celebrated through the landHe was wined and speeched and honored; Everybody shook his handBut he was just a Pima IndianNo water, no crops, no chanceAt home nobody cared what Ira'd done And when did the Indians dance
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
Then Ira started drinkin' hard;Jail was often his homeThey'd let him raise the flag and lower itlike you'd throw a dog a bone!He died drunk one mornin' Alone in the land he fought to saveTwo inches of water in a lonely ditch Was a grave for Ira Hayes
CHORUS:Call him drunken Ira HayesHe won't answer anymoreNot the whiskey drinkin' Indian Nor the Marine that went to war
Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes But his land is just as dryAnd his ghost is lyin' thirsty In the ditch where Ira died

I hope you guys enjoyed this, and check out some of these tunes. Great stuff!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My Presentation on Joel Chandler Harris

Hey gang,
As you all know, I did my presentation on Joel Chandler Harris and disected one of his great stories into a map of all the contents an epic poem should have. I couldn't believe it when I asked the class if they have heard of Uncle Remus or Joel Chandler Harris and hardly anyone raised their hand. "I am mortified and Stupified," as Jackie Childs would say on Seinfeld. Perhaps it is because Joel Chandler Harris is more of a Soputhern tradition. But you guys should have heard of some of his stories. Uncle Remus, I believe, was in the Disney production Song of the South. Remember the big black man with the birds that came and landed on him and he was singing "Zip-a-dee-do-dah." Yeah, that was based on Harris' stories. I don't think you can get that movie anymore because it was considered racist or something. I personally don't feel it is racist. Harris, by writing down the stories as Uncle Remus, was trying to preserve African-American oral traditions. Dr. Sexson should include some of his stuff in his lectures. I've been to Harris' house, it's in Georgia where I'm from. He is very interesting and I hope that you guys will take it up on your own accord to study more about him by looking at the website I've posted. Especially if you're English majors. You need to know about this guy.
Here's the site:
If you scroll down on this site go to the table of contents hypertext. From there you can read more, and even check out a few of the works by Joel Chandler Harris.

Sherman Alexie

Hey guys,
As you know, Sherman Alexie came and talked at the sub last Thursday. I went and was very impressed. I had not read too much by him, but I think I will now. His talk was awesome. For a while I was scared that it might bore me, but it seriously was funny as hell. In fact, the whole thing was like going to a stand up comic. He made jokes all night long! It wasn't cheap comedy either. It was very intellectual and Sherman was trying to make a point. I won't try to go through and remember all the jokes, I'd probably mess them up! I will try to tell you what his main point was.
Sherman is known for offending people. He spent the night making funny jokes about everyone he could think of. There was probably not one person in that room that wasn't slightly offended by what he said. He poked fun at himself, Indians, liberals, conservatives, all religions, all area of politics, straight people, gay people, vegetarians, meat-eaters, and all races. He presented everything in a way that though it might be offensive, it was still funny. The best part about everything was the fact that he had a reason for doing all this. For at the end of his two-hour stand-up speech he made the point that when a person thinks he/she is right on a certain topic, that they couldn't possibly have the wrong opinion, that person should ask themselves, "What if I'm wrong." It was a great point. If people asked themselves this question, it would lead to their having a more open mind. It would eliminate intolerance. It would eliminate hate. It's a great concept that I will try to follow. It's a concept that everyone should make a part of their everyday lives. Think about it, you all have that friend that is annoying as hell because he/she refuses to accept others opinions and they have a shallow mind.
For anyone that is interested in persuing more on Sherman Alexie I have included a great website that has a lot of his works on it, and a biography. It has everything! Check it out.

Here's the sight:

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Seeing or Hearing

I have to say that everyone's presentations went extremely well!
One group wanted us to answer the question whether or not we remember better what is seen or heard. It was the group that did the project when we had to blindfold ourselves and listen to their presentation. That was a great idea. I suppose I can remember a lot from that presentation because it was so different. I liked the sound effects and especially liked how different smells passed through the room. The pipe smoke was the best. These elements made everything seem real, therfore they are memorable.
In direct response to the question at hand, I would have to say that personally I think I can remember things that are seen. It's a weird question because usually you are seeing someone and listening to them. It's not like I close my eyes when people are talking to me. But, as it has been read in Yates, many people feel that things are going to be remembered when they are associated with the grotesque. I think this works on many levels. Everybody that you talk to isn't a grotesque person. But many different things about the situation that you are in with that person will be remembered. I think remembering is much easier when there is a face involved. The topic of conversation also adds to what will be remembered. Small talk will not be so memorable. However, I can remember what I said exactly in bad situations. For instance, I've broken up with a few girlfriends and remember all that was said on both parts. I think this is where that "grotesque" thing comes into play. You should have seen some of my girlfriends.
We're talking Coyote ugly! Just kidding, that was mean.
Lord forgive me for that last comment and be with the starving people in New Guinea.
Ok, back to what I was saying, the grotesque thing can be associated not only with looks, but topics of conversation. And in answer to the question at hand, I would have to say that sight plays a huge role in the remembrance of things. I think the real person that we should ask this question to is a blind man!
Lord forgive me for that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Hey y'all
Well, as you know I created an oral map. No one could believe that I actually hid something at the end of the map, but I did. I just wanted to say congratulations to Josh because he is the one who went and found the bottle of wine I hid. He drank it and thanked me because he hadn't been drunk in a while. He will also recieve extra credit from Dr. Sexson.

Where was the bottle you might ask?
The bottle was hidden under a bridge (where land meets water) on little bear creek.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Hi everyone,
I noticed many people talking about the Kabbalah in class and I wanted to research it further because I wasn't too sure what it was or what it was about. I'm also going to give a link to the site I used.
It seems that Kabbalah, also spelled many other ways, comes from the root of a Hebrew word that means, "To recieve, to accept." Iguess that when in the Bible Moses recieved the Ten Commandments from God, he also gave moses some oral laws that were not written down. This oral law was supposed to be passed from generation to generation thus making it an Oral tradition.
The Torah, or the first five books of the old testament: Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy, are believed to be divine, yet they are written down. It is believed that by studying this oral tradition along with the Torah, that one can unlock the secrets to creation.
Thgis is very interesting to know while reading Yeats because in a lot of the memory theatres created by the people Yates discussed, some people thought of them to have magical elements and branded them as bad. I was wondering why they would consider these theatres magical. Well, if someone was going to find a way to unlock and know in their minds the secrets of God's creation, I can see that as magical. On the site provided it gives some examples of memory theatres associated with Kabbalah and Hermetic Kabbalah (non-Jewish studiers of Kabbalah.).
It's all very interesting, if you would like to look at the site, its address is:
I hope you enjoy.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Journals for all (your classmate's journals)

Here are some journals from your peers. I'll list a bunch, but Kelly Stoll's is the best by far!

Here they are!


J Newman:

Nikole Didier:

Upcoming Group Project

Hi all,
I guess you realize that we have a project coming up real fast. My group consisting of Heather, Faith, and Tracy, will be presenting on the subject of Maps. Maps in oral cultures had different values than maps of today. They were used to show not only directions, but relationships among individuals, ecological realationships, and so on. By listening to oral maps a person could gain great insight as to how nature worked and about their ancestry. Also by listening to oral maps today, a person can find great reward.
That's right. My part in the project is to make a Oral map and present it to the class. I created a fun little story with real directions. The directions on a oral map are not the same as they are on something like an atlas. You must listen closely to the directions and remember it. I've included elements in this map that are similar to those of old oral maps. For example, as I'm giving directions I will head off on a tangent and tell another story. That will help you remember what I say.
The best part is that my map will serve as a scavenger hunt. If you can find where I'm talking about, I hid a bottle of wine at that spot and its all yours if you get there first. If the wine is corked, I'll by you a new bottle. If you get the wine first, and you are a girl, and it is corked, I'll take you out for a free drink. No guys though please(that means you Warwood!)
Well, I hope you guys' projects are going good. I hope you like my oral map.....and good luck!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Secondary Orality

Hey guys,
I was cruising around the net looking for articles to publish on my journal. Here is a real good one:

This guy is speaking of none other than Ong himself. He makes the argument that hypertext is the main source of secondary orality and that it may enhance our understanding of primary orality. He gives great details about hypertext. It's all very interesting when looked at in light of the Finnegans Wake article. Tell me what you think.