Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Most people would say that fighting is violence, and violence is bad.

People who fight tend not to be respected in the dominant culture.

People who fight for a living- boxers, for example- are often considered to be "brutes" who are unintelligent. It is often suggested that if they were smart, they would do something else.

And yet.

What is the best thing someone can say about a person who is very ill or injured, or who is near death or heading that way, as a way of creating hope? "She's a real fighter."


Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Last night's training at the firehouse was knot tying.

I love knots. Been tying them since I was a kid.

Our county has the good fortune of having some state fire instructors who also love knots, who are skilled at both tying and teaching. You can easily recognize their students.

Last night, it was interesting that the people who have had recent training through the county were all having a grand time, tying knots, sharing different ways of tying the same knots, tying rope onto and around just about everything in the room. But the people there who have NOT had recent training... had not even heard of some of the basic fire service knots. Yet another suggestion that people need to keep current on their training. One among many.

Being knot loving folks, we came home and have been consulting the knot book, learning a few new ones today. Came across this quote below, which I love not only because of what it says about knots, but because it applies to many things that I do and love, fencing included.

"The appliances of this chapter verge on the mechanical in nature. Many of them grip the rope, instead of the rope's gripping the appliance. They are designed either to make a quicker or an easier coupling, or else a simpler one that the inexpert cannot go wrong with. The greater proportion of them were made for the use of either the horseman or the housewife, and considerable ingenuity has been expended in their construction. Some of the horse-and-carriage fittings have been sketched from memory. Others were salvaged from the family garage that had started out in life as stable and carriage house.

It may seem unprofitable to resurrect such material, much of which is obsolete today. But knotting is merely the application of certain mechanical principles, and a principle itself can hardly become obsolete. As conditions change, new applications are bound to appear. The fact that something is not required today is no reason for believing that it will not be needed tomorrow."

Clifford W Ashley, The Ashley Book of Knots, 1944