Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Simple Gifts On Galveston Island

(Blogger’s Note–This is a post from just over two years ago. This post took about 15 efforts to get right on a day that was hot as hell. So I’m certain it merits a second posting. )

Above is a video of me speaking the words of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts while standing on the eastern end of Galveston Island.

The video runs just over 90 seconds.

Behind me as I speak is a ship in Galveston Bay that is sailing out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Simple Gifts is one of my favorite songs.

If you click this link, you’ll see the lyrics and the song will play.

The song was written by Joseph Brackett. Here are some basic facts about Joseph Brackett.

Here is some information about Shaker music.

Here is some history of the Shakers.

From that history—

One of the numerous religious sects who emigrated to American shores in search of religious freedom, the Shakers followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774. Here they established several colonies– the first in 1776 at Nikayuna near Albany, NY–whose governing principles included celibacy and agrarian communal living.

Here are some things you could see if you visited Galveston, Texas.

Here are some facts about Galveston Bay.

Here is the link to the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Here is a link where you can track the location of ships around the world.

Here is some history of ships and boats.

The part of Simple Gifts I like best is where it says that to bow and to bend we should not be ashamed. I would like to live my life by that principle.

But so far I have lacked the discipline to do so.

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Gifts Performed At Arizona Shooting Memorial Service

(Blogger’s Note 1/13/11—Simple Gifts was sung at the end of the memorial to the Tuscon, Arizona shooting victims. This is a meaningful song with lyrics all should hear. I’m reposting my entry about Simple Gifts that I first posted in 2009.)

Above is a video of me speaking the words of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts while standing on the eastern end of Galveston Island.

The video runs just over 90 seconds.

Behind me as I speak is a ship in Galveston Bay that is sailing out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Simple Gifts is one of my favorite songs in the world.

If you click this link, you’ll see the lyrics and the song will play.

The song was written by Joseph Brackett. Here are some very basic facts about Joseph Brackett.

Here is some information about Shaker music.

Here is some history of the Shakers.

From that history—

“One of the numerous religious sects who emigrated to American shores in search of religious freedom, the Shakers followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774. Here they established several colonies– the first in 1776 at Nikayuna near Albany, NY–whose governing principles included celibacy and agrarian communal living.”

Here are some things you could see if you visited Galveston, Texas.

Here are some facts about Galveston Bay.

Here is the link to the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Here is a link where you can track the location of ships around the world.

Here is some history of ships and boats.

The part of Simple Gifts I like best is where it says that to bow and to bend we should not be ashamed. I would like to live my life by that principle, but so far I have lacked the discipline to do so.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Singing Simple Gifts At Cincinnati’s Eden Park Overlook

Here is a video of me singing the 1848 Shaker hymn Simple Gifts at the Eden Park Overlook in Cincinnati. The video runs 30 seconds.

Here is a link to more information about this classic American song. At this link I recite all the lyrics to Simple Gifts while a ship passes behind me on Galveston Island, Texas.    

It is a gift to be simple.

It is a gift to be free. 

To bow and to bend I won’t be ashamed.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

“To Bow And To Bend I Won’t Be Ashamed” Is New Personal Motto—Singing Simple Gifts In Downtown Houston

Above is a video of me in Downtown Houston singing a portion of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts. The video is 33 seconds long.

Simple Gifts was written in 1848. Please click here for a video where I recite all the lyrics to Simple Gifts while on Galveston Island. You’ll also find information about the song at the link.

I’ve adopted some words from this song as my new personal motto.

My new personal motto is–“To bow and to bend I won’t be ashamed.”

I’m going to try to live by these words to the extent I’m able.

If I can live by these words, and if I can create things of value with the talents I have in life, then I’ll merit the regard of my friends and the regard of people I meet as I proceed in the world.

It is all a work in progress.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Speaking The Words To Simple Gifts As Ship Passes Behind Me

Above is a video of me speaking the words of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts while standing on the eastern end of Galveston Island.

The video runs just over 90 seconds.

Behind me as I speak is a ship in Galveston Bay that is sailing out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Simple Gifts is one of my favorite songs in the world.

If you click this link, you’ll see the lyrics and the song will play.

The song was written by Joseph Brackett. Here are some very basic facts about Joseph Brackett.

Here is some information about Shaker music.

Here is some history of the Shakers.

From that history—

One of the numerous religious sects who emigrated to American shores in search of religious freedom, the Shakers followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774. Here they established several colonies– the first in 1776 at Nikayuna near Albany, NY–whose governing principles included celibacy and agrarian communal living.

Here are some things you could see if you visited Galveston, Texas.

Here are some facts about Galveston Bay.

Here is the link to the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Here is a link where you can track the location of ships around the world.

Here is some history of ships and boats.

The part of Simple Gifts I like best is where it says that to bow and to bend we should not be ashamed. I would like to live my life by that principle, but so far I have lacked the discipline to do so.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up With Illustration Of Official State Of Texas Cooking Implement

Below is the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The Texas Progressive Alliance is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

Above is an illustration of a Dutch oven. The Dutch oven is the official State Cooking Implement of the State of Texas.

Here is a list of Texas State symbols.

Here is the link to the Lone Star Dutch Oven Society.

The third paragraph in this Handbook of Texas Online article about Buffalo hunting mentions use of the Dutch oven by the hunters.  

Here is the link to the International Dutch Oven Society.

The round-up–

CouldBeTrue of SouthTexas Chisme is sick of cronies running our cities our state and our country!

WCNews at Eye On Williamson on more GOP shenanigans: Republicans, hypocrisy, the stimulus, and more Carter “nuttiness”.

Off the Kuff notes that as Texas’ unemployment rate continues to rise, we are now in the position of having to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government to fulfill our unemployment insurance obligations. Heckuva job, Governor Perry!

John Coby at Bay Area Houston has posted a A How to Guide for Illegal Immigrants to Vote in Texas Elections.

Xanthippas takes on more disability-as-diversity nonsense. Also, on a side note, his blog Three Wise Men‘s 5th anniversary is this Tuesday. We’ll be putting up a special post in commemoration.

The Texas Cloverleaflooks at how the NTTA will be raising rates because volume is down. So much for supply and demand theory.

This week, an old author returns to McBlogger with a true story about dogs. Completely unrelated to politics and nothing but funny. Continue reading

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Inauguration Poem Was A Winner—Obama Acknowledges Wait Staff

I thought the poem by Elizabeth Alexander that she read after Barack Obama’s Inauguration was a winner.( Here is Ms. Alexander’s web home.) The poem was lofty enough for the occasion without being abstract. (There is nothing wrong with abstract, but this was not the right event for that.)  

The poem addressed the words we use, the relationships we have, the work we do, and our history. These are important subjects that serve as foundations of the beliefs we hold and the public policies we pursue. They are things we don’t always talk about. I don’t know if that is because we think of them as mundane topics. Or if it is because they are subjects we find painful in many respects. (The lyrics to Simple Gifts, which was part of the music at the ceremony, are here in this blog post.)

I also noticed that Mr. Obama acknowledged the wait staff at the Statuary Hall lunch after the Inauguration ceremony was completed. He thanked them in his remarks at the lunch. If the President of the United States can behave in a respectful manner towards these workers, surely we all can behave in a respectful manner towards the people who help us during our day.

Here is the poem—

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.”

We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.”

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Politics | , , , , | 4 Comments

Copland’s Appalachian Spring Should Be New National Anthem

  

I’ve recently been listening to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

(Here is another link to Aaron Copland.)

( Above is a picture from near Bristol, Tennessee.)

I think this American classic, which lasts around 25 minutes, should be the new national anthem.

(Click here to listen to a program about Appalachian Spring.)

For one thing, unlike our present national anthem, the song has no mention of war.

For another thing , if we were all to silently reflect and consider our nation and our lives for 25 minutes each time we listened to our new national anthem, maybe we would be a better country.

Though I admit, it would be an act of discipline for some not to focus on their anger and disappointments for those 25 minutes.

Still, I think we could all use some more time to think things out.

In Appalachian Spring, Copland “samples”, to use a more modern word, a portion of the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” ( Here is a history of Shaker music.  Here is a history of who the Shakers are.)

Here are the lyrics to Simple Gifts—

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

I think these would be excellent lyrics for our national anthem.

Here is a link to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Here is a link to the Urban Appalachian Council of Greater Cincinnati.

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Welcome To Texas Liberal

Texas Liberal is a blog of politics and political history.

My name is Neil Aquino. Here is my profile.

I can be reached at naa618@att.net. 

Additional focuses of the blog are books, art, poetry, personal relationships and, also, sea life and marine mammals. 

( The picture above is of the Houston Ship Channel. A narrow channel can lead to a wide sea.)

The signature post of this blog is the Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.  This list is the best of it’s kind on the web.

Another good post is my reciting the words to the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts on Galveston Island, Texas as a ship passes behind.

I live in Houston, Texas and I do sometimes write about political issues in Houston and in Texas.

I also often write about my former hometown of Cincinnati, and about the great beach city of Galveston, Texas.

I define liberalism as a role for government in the economy to help make life more fair, and a broad acceptance of people regardless of who they are.

This is why it says “All People Matter” at the top of the blog.

A blog grows one reader at a time. If you like what you read here, please consider forwarding the link.

Texas Liberal began regular posting on July 25, 2006.

I also blog at the Houston Chronicle as one of eight featured political bloggers, and on Where’s The Outrage? which posts out of North Carolina.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

June 30, 2006 Posted by | | 40 Comments

Give Yourself & Others The Gift Of Your Larger Involvement In Public Affairs—TPA Blogger Round-Up

At the end of this post is the most recent edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

TPA bloggers blog away even at the holidays.

That said, we do indeed wish for you and your family to have an excellent holiday season

For example, the family you see below is enjoying a fine Texas Christmas.

And , of course, Texans know Santa is a Texan. Nobody else is aware of this fact, but I’m certain it is being taught in our schools by order of the far right-wing Texas State Board of Education.

Not all Texans celebrate the same holidays. Below we see Texas Governor Rick Perry at the lighting of our state menorah. Governor Perry is quite ecumenical in the sense he is willing to use the cover of any faith to obscure  how the Texas state budget will be balanced on the backs of the poor in the 2011 legislative session.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, a great gift  you could give yourself, to the people in your life, and to your fellow citizens, is the gift of your increased  involvement in politics and public affairs in 2011.

In 2010, the so-called Tea Party out-organized and out-worked folks on the other side of the ideological aisle. The Tea Party/Republican Party is enjoying the holiday season right now looking forward to a Republican U.S. House of Representatives right after the new year.

We need to wise up and fight for each other and for a better world. Those elves you see below are not working to protect tax breaks for the rich. They are not going on about Muslims and immigrants. They are fighting for a better world and sticking together  even in hard times.

We’ve got a number of challenges ahead in both Texas and in our nation. You’ve got to decide for yourself that you are not going to let your state and your nation be taken over by right-wing extremists. You’ve got to decide that we can and will make progress.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff celebrates the DeLay verdict.

Bay Area Houston has a visual suggestion to the judge in the Tom DeLay trial regarding the sentencing.

Did employers or their representatives provide ‘assistance’ to their employees as they voted in La Joya? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme would really like to know.

Public Citizen over at TexasVox is getting ready for the sunset hearings on the TCEQ and Railroad Commission, coming up December 15-16, bylooking at a national report which gives Texas’ regulatory agencies a D-. Continue reading

December 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment