The Flute in Irish Tradition Music: an Overview
(Some of you will have seen this essay before. in 2007, I gave a guest
lecture to the music department at UCA, and distributed copies of this essay at
Traditional Irish music began as a largely unwritten folk music, mainly used to
accompany dance, in Ireland and to a lesser degree the other British Isles, and
which was subsequently carried throughout the world in the early middle
nineteenth century during the Irish Diaspora: where the Irish settled, they
brought their instruments and music with them.
The dance forms primarily found in Irish traditional music include the jig, the
reel, the hornpipe, the polka, and the waltz. There are also other forms less
commonly played which include the air, the listening piece, mazurkas, flings,
and tunes by blind harper Turloch O'Carolan (1670 – 1738), which are some of the
oldest known Irish tunes.
The origins of most Irish dance tunes are lost, but very few of the tunes are
believed to be older than a few hundred years.
It should be mentioned that there are separate traditions of Irish vocal music,
which include the very ancient form of unaccompanied singing known in Irish as
“sean nos,” which means “old style,” and Irish ballads, which are yet a separate
form of folk music. The different folk traditions of Ireland have very little
overlap, with the single exception that occasionally the air from a sean nos
song will be played as an unaccompanied solo air. The playing and proper
interpretation of airs is a very advanced form of Irish music, and is an art
which many attempt and few master; as is also true in art music, just because it
isn't fast doesn't mean it isn't difficult to perform correctly.
THE PLACE OF THE FLUTE IN IRISH MUSIC
We largely owe the introduction of the flute into Irish folk music to Theobald
Boehm's invention of the modern Boehm-system flute in 1847; after his flute
began to gain in popularity, the wooden simple system flutes of both
professional and amateur players began with increasing frequency to find their
way into pawn shops and second-hand stores, where they were bought by Irish
musicians eager to integrate their reedy, resonant sound into their music.
This is still the form of flute most often played in Irish trad: made of wood,
with a conical bore and cylindrical headjoint, fitted with a metal tuning slide
and 6 or more keys, based in large part upon two “families” of English flute
design, the Rudall & Rose, known for its sweet yet penetrating sound and its
“old scale” tuning, which was close to quarter-comma-meantone with its open
third, and the Pratten Perfected, based upon the innovations introduced by
virtuoso English flutist Charles Nicholson (1795 - 1837): larger bore and tone
holes, and a tuning much closer to equal temper, with a much sharper F-sharp,
closer in pitch to that of the Boehm-system flute. The range of the English
8-key flute was largely comparable to that of the Boehm-system flute, consisting
of three chromatic octaves beginning with middle C.
Because of the difficulty of obtaining surviving 8-key flutes from English
makers, quite a few flutes of German, French, and American make can be found in
the hands of traditional players, and use of the modern Boehm-system flute is
The old simple-system flutes were widely criticized in their day for many
deficiencies, but not for their tone. The tone of the old wooden flutes is
darker and reedier than the Boehm-system flute, with a bit of the cutting edge
of the oboe in the first octave and a lovely glistening sheen in the second and
third. This tone had the unique and much-desired quality of both being able to
cut through the orchestra at need, and yet it could blend extremely well with
the sound of the other orchestral woodwinds.
IDIOSYNCRACIES OF WOODEN FLUTE PERFORMANCE PRACTICE
There are two unique performance practices on the old wooden flutes which are
not largely followed by modern players of Boehm-system orchestral flutes:
avoidance of vibrato and sensitive notes.
The old wooden flutes were generally not played with a breath vibrato (and its
use was considered vulgar, a convention which survives in Irish music to this
day). On longer notes, a kind of fingered vibrato called a flattement was
sparingly employed as an ornament.
A famous quote which is critical of breath vibrato: "For three hundred years
flutists tried to play in tune. Then they gave up and invented vibrato."
(attributed to Bernard Goldberg, Pittsburgh Symphony principal)
A large criticism of breath vibrato then and now is that it is too often found
to be omnipresent and unvarying; properly utilized in a controlled manner, it
can add tremendous presence and beauty to the sound of some melodies.
Jean-Pierre Rampal was a modern master of the Boehm-system flute who frequently
employed breath vibrato to good effect.
Not all historical authors were critical of breath vibrato, and from this we can
deduce that at least some players utilized it. Agricola in 1528 listed
“trembling breath” as a “special grace.” Praetorius in 1619 described vibrato
produced by the diaphragm, and Mersenne in 1636 wrote of “certain tremolos which
intoxicate the soul” and suggested four vibrations per second as the model for
wind players to follow. Delusse suggested its use in 1761 as a measured
expression of “solemnity and terror.”
The other old performance practice which was largely lost with the introduction
of the Boehm key mechanism is that of playing sensitive tones.
Sensitive tones refer to leading tones played deliberately sharp in pitch.
Special fingerings were used on the 8-key flute to produce this effect. The
effect can be achieved for some notes using the open holes of the “French”
Boehm-system flute; on the plateau version of the Boehm flute, the original
effect is impossible and can only be approximating by deliberately altering the
pitch of the note with the embouchure.
Here are some examples of where sensitive tones would have been utilized:
- as leading tones in scales;
- between two notes a half step higher
- in grace notes from below
- as the lower auxiliary in turns, trill terminations, and other ornamentation
Sensitive tones may in one instance involve a deliberate flattening of the
pitch; when a note occurs between two notes a half step below it, it may be
deliberately slightly flattened.
The use of sensitive tones carried over from the playing of the Baroque traverso,
where chromatics such as B-flat and A-sharp were not considered to be the same
pitch and were actually produced with different fingerings depending on the
context of the surrounding notes. The Baroque flute advocated by Quantz actually
had two keys on the foot, one for D-sharp and one for E-flat, instead of the
single key for both notes found on most Baroque flutes.
Note that sensitive tones were never used when the note is an integral part of
the accompanying harmony.
Sensitive tones are still used by players of early music on period instruments
who follow the disciplines of historically-informed performance, but are not
used per se in Irish dance music, although some players of sean nos airs do use
altered fingerings to produce a similar effect, in an effort to imitate the
particular nuances of the singer's voice.
IRISH TRAD PERFORMANCE PRACTICE
Among Irish musicians, classically trained musicians like myself are often held
in disrepute, because the most basic rules of how to approach a piece of music
are starkly different from those of Western art (i.e. “classical”) music, and
many musicians who are classically trained cannot make the adjustment to the
In Western art music, melody is king and rhythm often gives way to it, and both
variation and ornamentation are melodic in nature. In Irish traditional music,
rhythm is king and melody entirely secondary.
Additionally tunes are played with a lilt and a lift which cannot be notated
using Western notation; this makes sight-reading of new tunes almost impossible,
as to be played correctly the tune must be heard first to absorb the complex
relationship between the phrasing and the lilt of the tune. The terms “lilt” and
“lift” refer to the overall feel of “swing” of a tune, as well as rhythmic
emphasis occurring off of the beat.
Ornamentation is rhythmic in nature, and has neither a melodic component nor a
measurable duration, consisting of fast, hard slaps of the fingers against the
tone holes of the flute or the strings of the fiddle.
The purpose of ornamentation in Irish music is articulation and to enhance the
rhythm rather than the melodic flow.
IRISH ORNAMENTATION: CUTS, TAPS, ROLLS, CRANNS, & SLIDES
Ornamentation consists primarily of three commonly encountered forms:
A cut is an attack from above the note to strongly rhythmically strengthen the
note which follows it.
A tap (sometimes called a scrape) is an attack from below the note to weakly
strengthen the note which follows it.
These can be used together to rhythmically subdivide a longer note; when a note
is first cut and then tapped, this is known as a roll.
You cannot roll the bell note of an instrument such as a flute or the pipes, as
there is no lower note to tap, so a variation of the roll, the crann is used in
this instance. It involves a more complex rhythmic subdivision of the value of
the note using only varied cuts from above.
It cannot be overstated that the melody line does not determine the placement of
ornamentation; rather, ornamentation is a form of fingered articulation and
exists to strengthen the rhythm of a tune.
An additional ornament is the slide, which corresponds to the glissando. This
involves attacking a note either above or below it's pitch and then sinking or
rising smoothly into pitch. Slides from above are relatively rare and usually
only occur at the end of a cadence; slides from below are more common and are
typically used to emphasize a longer note which occurs in a rhythmically strong
position. Slides from below may be combined with other ornamentation.
NON-FINGERED ARTICULATION, BREATH, AND THE “HARD D”
The most common form of articulation on the flute in other musical styles,
tonguing, is generally avoided in traditional Irish music; oddly enough, tin
whistle players frequently use tonguing as articulation and this is accepted
within the tradition. Tonguing is considered too bright in sound on the Irish
flute, and is replaced by a technique known as the glottal stop.
The glottal stop is similar to a light single cough. This can produce a wide
range of articulation. It can be executed as a fast, light articulation similar
to some of those used in Baroque historically informed performance, which can
actually be executed almost as fast as double-tonguing.
Many flutists use breath pulses to accentuate the rhythm of traditional dance
tunes, particularly jigs and reels. Breath pulsing can add a great deal of lift
and a feeling of powerful excitement to a tune.
A heavier glottal stop can be combined with a powerful breath pulse for a
technique known as barking, which produces a note which is louder and more
forceful than its neighbors, and with a different timbre, but is still in tune.
Conal O'Grada (Irish flutist and recording artist from County Cork) is famous
for his “dirty playing,” and makes frequent use of this technique in his album
“Top of Coom.”
Breathing is also used as a form of articulation in Irish dance music, to define
phrases. Notes of the melody are intentionally dropped to allow the player to
take breaths; and the placement and pattern of these breaths help form the
phrase structure of the tune, which will vary both from player to player and
indeed also from repetition to repetition of the same tune as a form of rhythmic
variation. Although the melody is not ignored, again the emphasis is on placing
the breaths in such a way that phrases are constructed which enhance the
rhythmic aspect of the tune.
The “hard D” is a practice which has been adopted by flute players from the
techniques of Uilleann pipers.
The Uilleann pipes, the national bagpipe of Ireland, are frequently played in
session alongside flute and other melody instruments, and are both softer and
more conventionally tuned than their Scottish counterparts, having over a two
octave chromatic range.
On the pipes, the hard D is a technique for forcing a larger amount of air down
the chanter than normal on the lowest note, which is D. This produces a note
which has is rich in harmonics and has an almost harsh, cutting quality, and is
a greatly prized technique among pipers.
On the flute, a similar effect is produced using a very strong air-stream
combined with an altered embouchure. The note thus produced is forceful, loud,
and cutting, and has a certain harshness which is greatly valued for its ability
to enhance the rhythm of a dance tune. Matt Molloy (recording artist and member
of the well-regarded band The Chieftains from County Roscommon) is a famous
Irish flutist who makes frequent use of this technique.
THE BOEHM FLUTE AND IRISH MUSIC
Although most players prefer wooden simple-system flutes, there are several
noted players of the Boehm-system flute in Irish traditional music, including
Joannie Madden of the band Cherish the Ladies, and Noel Rice of the band Baal
Many of the techniques of the wooden flute transfer directly to the Boehm-system
flute. The common ornaments such as rolls can be performed on most notes and the
sound is very similar to that of the wooden flute.
MODERN “IRISH” FLUTES
Because of the difficulty of finding (and affording!) good quality
nineteenth-century English wooden flutes in playable condition, several modern
flute makers now specialize in producing simple-system flutes for Irish
These makers generally offer a keyless, diatonic version of their flutes—since
most Irish dance music is in the keys of D, G, and A, and their associated
modes, keys are not needed for the vast majority of tunes—and also offer up to 8
keys. Since low C and C-sharp are not often used, and some claim that they
weaken the bell-note D of the flute, a 6-key flute in D is a very popular
configuration. The six keys are the “long C,” B-flat, G-sharp, “long F,” “short
F,” and E-flat.
Notable makers of fine Irish flutes include Hammy Hamilton, Pat Olwell, Terry
McGee, Michael Grinter, and Chris Wilkes.
Some makers are also well-known for their very durable flutes machined from
heavy polymer, these include Michael Cronnolly (“M&E Flutes”), and Desi Seery.
Sources & Recommended Resources
1. Rick Wilson's Historical Flute Page at www.oldflutes.com . This is a
wonderful resource for general information about non-Boehm-system flutes in
general but not regarding Irish music on flute specifically.
2. The Standing Stones Irish Flute Site at
Great information regarding the history of the flute in Irish music, also a
treasure trove of information regarding nineteenth century performance practice.
3. The Standing Stones Irish Flute Site on Flute Vibrato at
Discusses the place of breath vibrato in Irish traditional as well as nineteenth
century performance practice.
4. The Woodenflute Website at
introductory information on Irish flutes and the flute in Irish music. Includes
a list of makers of wooden flutes.
5. There is an ever-expanding database of Irish and other traditional tunes
http://www.thesession.org/. Tunes are available as free sheet music and can
be searched for by tune name or by type of tune.
6. The Fiddler's Companion at
http://www.ceolas.org/tunes/fc/ is a
searchable treasure trove of history, stories, and general information about
7. The Arkansas Celtic Music Society (ACMS) website at
http://www.arcelts.com/ has information about Irish sessions and concerts in
the central Arkansas area.
8. The Ceolas Celtic Music Archive at
http://ceolas.org/ceolas.html is a
portal with links to databases of tunes and extensive information sites
regarding Irish traditional music as well as other traditional musics of the
Sometimes the truth is the most magical story of all...
Once upon a time, so very long ago that the earth wasn't even here yet, there
was a Star.
The Star had shows brightly for many many years, but, as everything alive one
day does, the Star got old and he no longer shown so brightly.
One day the Star become desperate to shine as brightly as he used to, and he
used himself up all at once, trying to shine as brightly as he could. Because he
was old and trying to shine so brightly all at once, he exploded, and nothing was
left where the old Star used to be but dust.
A long time later, but still very very long ago, that dust from the old Star
gathered around a new Star, and that Star is our sun, that we see in the sky.
The dust started sticking together. At first it was very small, smaller than
your hand, but as time passed, the dust of that old Star got bigger and bigger,
just like a snowball rolling down a mountain gets bigger and bigger, until it
finally became so big that it was the Earth, and that's the very same Earth that
we live on today.
That's where our Earth came from, and that's where you and me and everybody came
from, too: like everything else on this Earth, we are made of the dust of a dead
Star, and because we live, in a way that old Star lives on, too, in us, because
we are made out of him.
Some people talk to a Father in the sky, but I sometimes wonder if they are
really talking to that old Star, because he really was the Father of us all.
Thoughts on what it means to play "in tune"...
Everybody wants to play in tune, but most musicians, even
those who have played for years, have only the most basic idea of what "in tune"
means--to most folks, if their instrument centers the needle on a tuner, then
they are "in tune" and they quit thinking about it.
There's a little more to it than that....
Every note has a frequency, measured in Hertz, or
vibrations per second. The note A is usually defined now as 440 Hz, and the note
a an octave above it is 880 Hz.
Note: octaves have a 2:1 ratio. That means if you look at
their waveform on an oscilloscope, every other wave lines up.
Octaves when in tune are an "open" interval, which means
that they are beatless. What you hear as "beats" when two notes are out of tune
is actually their waveforms marching in and out of line with each other,
creating interference patterns...which are the "beats" you hear.
Perfect fifths, when perfectly in tune, have a 3:2 ratio.
They are also a beatless, "open" interval.
Ok, so you start at a note, say C, just to have a point of
reference. And you go to the fifth above it, which is G, and you tune them until
there are no beats, and they sound absolutely open and perfect.
Then you go to the fifth above the G, which is D, and you
tune them to be open and beatless. The tuning you are creating is called "just
Then you tune D to A, and A to E, and so on, all around the
"Circle of Fifths," until you finally find yourself having just tuned B-sharp.
B-sharp and C are "enharmonic," which means they are
different names for the same note.
Or are they?
The b-sharp you just tuned will be about a fourth of a
semitone sharper than the C you started out with. This is about a 24 cent
difference, and this difference is called the Pythagorean Comma.
This poses a problem.
If you take the last key you tuned, and just basically pull
the last fifth 24 cents flat out of tune, you've created what's called a "wolf
fifth"--and the key you are in when you do that just became horrible sounding
and unusable, and it's related keys are gonna be pretty horrible, as well.
So now you can't play in all the keys.
Well, maybe that's a big deal to you and maybe not. If
you're playing Christmas carols or traditional tunes, in the key that you just
tuned to, then you are gonna sound absolutely wonderful...as long as you don't
play against a piano or a guitar. Here's why...
Different tuning schemes have been used through the years
to arrive at different compromises to handle that pesky comma.
The one that finally got settled upon is known as equal
temper...you divide the comma up equally among all the fifths, so that each one
is just a little bit out of true. (Actually, not just the fifths--it gets
divided out among the intervals within the scale, and it's divided out exactly
the same way in every key.) This makes all keys equally usable.
It also makes all keys sound the same, and you lose the
glorious interval of the open, beatless fifth, which is major sucky.
Quick review point: pianos are tuned to equal temper.
This means that they are intentionally out of tune in every key but by an equal
amount. A piano can play in any key and sound as good (or as bad) as any other
key, but no key will sound absolutely wonderful on a piano. However, since the
notes on a piano don't sustain for very long, your ears don't have very long to
pick up that the intervals are off, and so it works reasonably well.
Before the days of the ascendancy of the piano, different
keys had different, characteristic sounds. The key of E-major was very bright
and happy,for instance, where the key of E-flat major sounded more melancholy,
and it's related C-minor sounded just tearjerker sad. Composers used to use
this and write for it, which means that in particular when you hear Baroque
music played on modern instruments, you are NOT hearing the music as the
composer wrote it, and much of its original nuance is lost. This is why there
the "HIP" (historically informed performance) movement exists, where musicians
go back to period instruments (or modern replicas), and try to find out as much
as possible about historically-accurate performance practice as possible, so
that the music they produce is much closer to the music that the composer
intended. One thing that fascinates me about Irish flute playing is that,
unlike many other instruments, we know exactly at what point in history Irish
traditional musicians began playing the transverse flute, so that Irish flute
performance technique is a very clear window into early nineteenth-century flute
performance practice...those folks who heard my guest lecture at UCA have heard
me drone on about this before. <grin>
Now tuning a flute (when you make a flute as opposed to
when you play it) requires its own set of compromises. One key on a simple
system flute will be diatonic...that is, its tone holes will form the notes of a
D scale if opened one at a time. But these diatonic notes also have to work in
other keys, and the top tone hole also has to be the octave vent for the D and
it also tunes your cross-fingered C-natural.
Also the octaves have to be in tune. Just two octaves isn't
too bad, but when you add the third, things get very dicey, and more serious
compromises have to be made or the third octave notes will just be too horrible
to ever use.
Finally, the tone holes need to be where the fingers can
reach them, which is really not the best place for them to go, so they wind up
being different sizes, which creates yet another set of problems that have to be
So the tuning of a simple-system flute isn't really any
traditional tuning, per se.
Some makers tune closer to just, others closer to equal,
yet others closer to some of the older, more antiquated compromise tunings like
"quarter-comma meantone," which is a scheme that allows you to keep your open
thirds, which is another open interval in just tuning. This allows each key to
have some of its original character (though the effect is reduced), while
opening up the possibility of actually being able to play in any key.
Some folks are surprised to learn that thirds can be (and
should be) beatless, because the major third in equal temper (like on a piano or
Boehm-system flute) is anything but beatless. In fact, in equal temper the third
is very sharp. Pull it down a bit and it'll get more and more open until it's
Hmmm...the bell note on a flute is D and the F-sharp is one
major third up from there. Maybe tuning that F-sharp "flat" compared to a
Boehm-system flute or a piano isn't a mistake after all, hmmm? So the currently
tendency of some flute players to try to "lip up" that note, depending on the
context of the key that they are playing in, is very probably a mistake, and is
going to make their playing sound worse, not better.
Which brings us full-circle: with tuning, and playing in
tune, everything is context. The G-sharp that is in tune relative to A-major is
NOT the A-flat that is in tune relative to E-flat major. Context. Also, blows
this whole ridiculous idea "enharmonic notes" right the hell out of the water.
These are deep waters, and I've only gone just slightly
past the surface in this long reflection. There is a lot more to it.
But it's pretty cool stuff to know, because it explains a
lot of the "whys"--why a flute is tuned like it is, why on a Baroque flute
B-flat and A-sharp aren't fingered the same, why it just may be a bad thing that
on the Boehm-system flute every key sounds like every other key.
Fascinating stuff. <grin> And lots of lovely math!!!
If you are using Vista and gameplay is choppy, try turning off Readyboost.
History's Mistery: of absinthe and irony
December 5, 2008
About ten years ago now, I became fascinated with the wooden simple-system
flutes that were played by nearly everyone in the 19th century. The flute had a
popularity then which is has never since regained; literally, one of the
defining hallmarks of the 19th century gentleman was his skill at playing upon
I began researching to try to find out why it was so popular, and what
happened--why don't you see men walking down the street with specially made
canes that had a built-in flute, or prominently displaying their flute case?
These were common sights in the early and middle 19th century.
Well, I found out what happened: one T. Boehm, desiring to make a more perfect
flute, designed the new metal instrument, and it caught on pretty much like
wildfire everywhere except England and Germany, and the places strongly
influenced by them. Finally, the famous English flutemakers Rudall, Rose, and
Carte "caved" to pressure and revamped their line of flutes around the
Boehm-system instrument. This has to be one of history's all-time worst business
decisions: it single-handedly killed the popularity of the flute as a solo
instrument, a blow from which it wasn't to even start to recover until J.P.
Rampal's post-WWII Baroque revival.
But I digress. In reading about the flute in the 19th century, I discovered that
there were two things which were the defining hallmarks of the artist and the
gentleman: they played flute, true, and they drank copious quantities of
something called absinthe.
It didn't take much reading to determine that absinthe was banned in 1915 and
now has a widespread reputation of being a very dangerous hallucinogenic poison.
I read that there was an elaborate ritual involved in the preparation of
absinthe for drinking, centered around diluting it with about five parts of
water to one of absinthe liquor, while dripping the water over a sugar cube
suspended on a perforated metal spoon. The active--and dangerous--ingredient was
the chemical thujone, a component of the herb Grande Wormwood, which is both the
main ingredient in absinthe (except, of course, for alcohol: absinthe is 136
proof!)--and is also one of the bitterest substances known to man.
You would think a drink made of the stuff would taste horrible...and yet people
drank it in vast quantities. Vast. And addiction to it was supposed to be so
commonplace that it had its own named disorder: absinthism, a permanent
derangement of the mental facilities which was attributed to overindulgence in
I was fascinated. Here was something that was once very commonplace, and which
no one alive seemed to know much about. I discovered that there are some
international brands of absinthe still made...and I read that they resemble
real, historically-accurate absinthe about as much as petroluem jelly resembles
Then the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula" came out...which is on my list of the ten
best horror flicks of all time...and it had a scene involving the drinking of
absinthe, complete with ritual dilution. I was elated, and my curiosity was
brought to a fever pitch.
But you can't stay curious forever, and as in the U.S. I was unable to buy
absinthe, and what was available for purchase abroad had the reputation of
illegitimacy, my readings and historical ponderings went in other directions.
Years passed, and I pretty much forgot about the whole absinthe issue; it was
filed away in the back of my mind along with other pieces of curios but
essentially useless information.
Then something remarkable happened. An expert on historic absinthes sacrificed a
small amount of very valuable pre-ban absinthe to a gas chromatograph. It
contained no thujone. He repeated the test. It still didn't contain more than
the slightest trace of thujone. He obtained the use of an actual antique
absinthe distillery and tried to make his own using recipes he had ferreted out
in his studies. And he analysed that. And it contained no measurable thujone.
So this fella, Ted Breaux by name, apparently went to the government and said
something like, "Look, absinthe is illegal because it contains thujone, right?"
And some government official nodded disinterestedly. "Ok, other than the thujone,
there is no reason for absinthe to be illegal, right?" Again, the distracted nod
of a public servant secretly wishing to get back to surfing the Web. "Ok, then
let me sell absinthe, because historic absinthe contained no thujone, and
absinthe made with historically-accurate techniques also contains no thujone,
and I can prove it."
And so, starting in 2007, real absinthe is being made again, and is available
for purchase in America. My wife bought me a bottle for our anniversary, and my
years-long curiosity was finally satisfied.
It's good. It tastes almost nothing like I expected, but I do enjoy it. Not
everyone will, so far most of my friends who have tried it haven't cared for it
Ok, in the title of this odd little bit of rambling, I promised you irony, so
here you go.
Thujone, they say, is bad and dangerous, and in large enough quantities it can
cause hallucinations, convulsions, and even death.
That everyone thought absinthe contained a significant amount of thujone was why
it was banned for all of those years, right?
Ha ha ha hee hee ho ha ha...heh...hee...wheeze....gasp...ha ha....chuckle...you
get the idea
Know what has thujone in it? A hell of a LOT of thujone in it? Like it can be
HALF thujone and still be legal?
Sage. You know, sage. As in dressing for turkey, and Thanksgiving, and all of
There's your irony.
One final question: when you are in the Thanksgiving post-feast stupor, is it
REALLY the triptophan in the turkey that has you blissed out?
Food, as they say, for thought. ;-)
December 4, 2008
'Tis the season for raking leaves...we have leaves about six inches deep
around our new house. I'm guessing it's going to take about 25 or so 30-gal
trash sacks to bag 'em up. But we gotta get it done to use the fireplace safely.
I've started; I'm about 1/8th done. It's gonna take days. Oh well.
Tonight we play Irish music at Something's Brewing in Conway...always one of our
best sessions, lively and fun. Looking forward to that!
One other thing I'm looking forward to: I've had to take two weeks of sulfa
drugs to clear up a persistent infection. Three more doses left. Looking forward
to being done with that.