Tag Archives: economics

Small Mercies in Hard Times

Yet again Jack gets over the wire in time –

Just as a change from all the heavy stuff of late, here’s something completely different.

About ten years ago I had a hankering for a small guitar, mainly because I was traveling back and forward to Scotland and still gigging over there and I wanted one that would go in the overhead locker in the plane.

So I did some research and found a guy in California who dredged the auctions and found parlor guitars that he then put up for sale. He went by the name of Fat Dog! He put up pictures of what he had, so I took a chance and sent him a check for one that looked interesting.

It was a Lyon and Healy Lakeside made in 1916, and what caught my eye was that the back and sides were made from oak. Very unusual! It had originally sold for $6 via a Sears Roebuck catalogue.

l&H front

When it eventually arrived it was playable, but only just. Back in those days many guitars had ‘ladder bracing’ inside which encouraged a split along the top and this one was no exception. But it had a wonderful sound and a very playable neck. Over a few years it began to split more and the neck developed problems too. So, through the wonders of networking I sent it through a series of hands to a wonderful luthier in Nashville called Chris Bozung to be completely restored. It took him a year between other jobs but when it came back I was astonished.

He hadn’t attempted to make it like new, but simply to fix everything, including many things I’d not noticed. So it looked just as it had originally come to me but solid and easily playable.

I’ve had many guitars over the years and my workhorse for a long time has been my Schoenberg Soloist made by Dana Bourgeois, but the Lyon and Healy has taken over. For a small instrument it has a big sound and my elderly fingers can manage the chords more easily.

I don’t consider myself much of a guitarist, really only using it to accompany songs mostly, but there’s something about the relationship between the player and the instrument that’s very special.

The irony is that I ended up borrowing guitars when I traveled to Scotland, so the wee Lyon and Healy has never had to go in the overhead locker!


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Filed under between books, crafting, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

Time to Select Reverse

Jack finally gets a Wednesday blog post up on time – – –

Back in the 1990s I was working as a middle manager in a local Scottish community college. I was head of construction crafts, and that department was fairly low in the pecking order. So I decided to find a focus for us that would boost our profile.

I had been interested in environmental topics for a while and did some research. That resulted in a series of projects funded by the EU and with partners all over Europe. The college senior management supported me and I traveled regularly from Belgium to Denmark and Germany and Italy and even eventually to Romania and Vietnam.

earth image

But I worried continually that I wasn’t always producing the educational outcomes that I had promised. It was many years later that I discovered that these were never the expected outcomes in the first place. It was always just about getting people from different countries and cultures to interact and talk to each other!

This brings me to the real point –

I discovered a few weeks ago that my hard-won US Citizenship can be arbitrarily taken from me at the drop of a hat and the whim of a faceless bureaucrat. This seems to mirror what’s going on in Britain right now as well. Not just there but all over the world there seems to be a resurgence of the fear of ‘the other’.

Of course I don’t expect to be deported any time soon. I’m not black or Hispanic. Not Mexican or Muslim. Not Catholic or Italian. Not Irish or Chinese. I’m a white guy from Scotland – – –

So come on folks. It’s time to put all this nonsense behind us. We inhabit a tiny dot in the universe and we need to look after each other – and that tiny dot too!

“There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions.” – Douglas Adams



Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch